Newsweek religion reporter Lisa Miller, no Bible-thumping fundamentalist she, doesn't understand why the heathen rage against Brit Hume. From her January 5 post at the magazine's The Gaggle blog:

I'm not at all sure why the liberal left is always so shocked that evangelical Christians want other people to become Christians. The outrage that followed Fox News anchor Brit Hume's  plea to Tiger Woods to find Jesus has been totally disproportionate to the statement itself. The usual suspects—MSNBC and The Huffington Post—and indeed the whole liberal left blogosphere leapt all over Hume for his arrogance and conservatism.

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The word "evangelical" comes from the Greek word for gospel, or "good news." Evangelical Christians are those who want to spread the good news. They aren't pretending to believe in salvation through Jesus Christ. They actually do believe that it—and yours, and mine—comes through him. 



"This week's abortion conversation is about politics. Let's not pretend it's about anything else," Newsweek's Lisa Miller huffed in a November 18 Newsweek.com post, complaining about how the moral issues surrounding abortion are taking on a life of their own in the health care debate.

We suffer, this week, from a moral myopia. Thanks to the passage in Congress of a health-reform bill, abortion is in the news again, but with the same old warriors brandishing their same old spears.

But while Miller went on to list both pro-life and pro-choice "old warriors," it's hard to believe her beef is with both sides of that fight equally. Miller laments that:

Our entire health-care system (and the proposed reform) is rife with "complex moral issues." To activate our consciences only in the realm of abortion relieves those consciences of too much responsibility. 



Lisa Miller, Newsweek | file photo via Newsweek.comNewsweek religion editor Lisa Miller, contributing to her magazine’s “20/10” list of top 10 cultural moments of the past decade, revisited the “furor surrounding...[the] alleged anti-Semitism” of Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ, and concluded “the film is, in fact, anti-Semitic.” Miller also accused Gibson of making “Jesus in his own image.”

The 2004 film was number eight on Newsweek’s list of cultural moments, and the religion editor began her synopsis by rehashing another of the critics’ main charges about the movie- its apparent glorification of violence: “Mel Gibson’s pious gorefest The Passion of the Christ may not be remembered for all the controversy it courted upon its release, or for its surprise opening-weekend take of $83 million—and perhaps not even for its director’s widely mocked decision to have his actors speak only Latin and Aramaic.” Widely-mocked? How did she come to that conclusion? More than a few outlets, including the notoriously liberal NPR, noted how the movie revived interest in Aramaic, the language spoken by the Jews in the 1st century AD.

With those lines of criticism of the way, Miller moved on to the criticism which she bought the most- its supposed anti-Semitism: “Nor will The Passion be chiefly remembered for the furor surrounding its alleged anti-Semitism. (The film is, in fact, anti-Semitic. Those most thirsty for Jesus’s blood are the Jews whose brown teeth and matted hair disallow any individuality. Meanwhile, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate—who, according to history, did sentence Jesus to death—is as soulful and ambivalent as Hamlet.).”


In a piece on Nov. 11 called “False Dichotomies,” Newsweek religion writer Lisa Miller advanced a very sensible argument regarding the Ft. Hood gunman. “The question about Nidal Hasan isn't whether he's a mental-health victim or a terrorist. He has shades of both, so let's not reduce him to a caricature.” Putting it another way, Millar quoted Georgetown professor Bruce Hoffman: “Just because somebody may be mentally unstable doesn't mean this isn't an act of terrorism.”

Given the incomplete and contradictory reports about Hasan’s activities and statements before the shooting, that seems wise. But rather than leave it at that, Miller ended up reinforcing aspects of the politically correct approach to issues of Islam and terror, and blaming Americans to boot.

Miller cited New York Times’ David Brooks in particular, and partially agreeing with those on the right that complain of the media’s politically correct desire to explain away Hasan as just a lone psycho (or even better: a psychological victim of Bush’s wars).

“Major Hasan may suffer from loneliness, isolation, PTSD, and a terror of being deployed overseas. He may, indeed, be mentally ill,” Miller wrote. “But he was also allegedly exchanging e-mail with Anwar al Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric whose rhetoric urges Muslims to see terrorism as a selfless and righteous act for the greater good of the global Muslim community.”


Not only does Pope Benedict XVI have crappy PR, he has absolutely no excuse for it, Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller informs readers in a May 14 piece written for the May 25 dead-tree edition. Yet while insisting that her advice is submitted "with respect," Miller failed to remove the log from her own eye by considering the role that she and other reporters play in trumping up alleged papal PR blunders by virtual of their biased, shoddy reporting (emphasis mine):

Benedict makes international news only when he does something thoughtless (like "reconciling" with a Holocaust-denying bish-op) or when he fumbles in public, as he did on the plane to Cameroon in March when he awkwardly noted that AIDS "cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics; on the contrary, they increase it." This remark, though in keeping with his theology, reverberated in the media echo chamber for a week—overshadowing other stops that might have served him better, such as meeting with representatives of Cameroon's Muslim community and a mass for as many as a million people in Angola. Benedict will never be John Paul, but why don't he and his people do a better job—to be perfectly crass about it—marketing their message?

While Miller tries to insist that the Pope would be more loved and respected if only he had a better PR shop, she betrays the fact that she really finds fault with his steadfast adherence to traditional Catholic teachings, particularly on sexual morality. Far from constituting a "fumble," back in March a top AIDS researcher -- no conservative Catholic he -- defended as accurate the Pope's remarks on condoms and AIDS infection rates in Africa. It seems that Miller is either ignorant of or willingly disregards this fact two months later. As I noted in NewsBusters back then:



While she pronounced his prayer as a "good job" for being generally non-offensive and inclusive-sounding, Newsweek's Lisa Miller -- who earlier this month suggested ditching inaugural prayers altogether -- was nagged by the "lingering question" that "remains" from the way evangelical pastor Rick Warren closed his inauguration ceremony invocation in the name of Jesus:

Warren's conservative theology teaches him that there is one path to God, and that is Jesus. So when he wraps his great big arms around Muslims and Jews (and homosexuals), does he really believe there's hope for us? Or is he just being nice?

Miller, as a religion reporter, should know better. Yes -- the evangelical Christian would answer -- there is hope for everyone who puts his or her hope in Christ alone, and that's why preachers like Rick Warren preach the Gospel of salvation in Christ alone. They truly believe it, and as such, it's not nice to keep the good  news of salvation and peace with God to one's self for fear of the niceness cops of the media world.



Lisa Miller, Newsweek | file photo via Newsweek.comInvoking the threat of "religious fundamentalists abroad" and tacitly comparing them to religious conservatives in the United States, Newsweek's Lisa Miller advises President-elect Obama to ditch the practice of having clergy offer prayers at the presidential inauguration:

Our new president might use his Inauguration then to showcase the values that have made this country great: pluralism, moderation—and the separation of church and state. Though not as politically expedient, the better choice might be to pray in private.

Miller wrote her article for the January 19 print edition in light of a lawsuit "filed by the atheist gadfly Michael Newdow." While she noted that "[e]ven some of Newdow's ideological allies are steering clear," Miller went no further in exploring whether it may be Newdow who is showcasing a  modern value that threatens the country's greatness: the filing of spurious lawsuits.

Instead, Miller sought to show that historians are uncertain just how traditional the role of religious faith plays in presidential inaugurals. Indeed, as far as Miller is concerned, the convention is all too recent and worse, a musty relic of the Cold War (emphases mine):



This news item led me to ask the question posed in the headline:

(Reuters) - Newsweek magazine is planning staff cuts as part of a major editorial makeover likely to result in a slimmer publication, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people close to the magazine.

The cuts are expected to be outlined in two companywide meetings on Thursday, and will come from an extension of voluntary redundancies offered in the spring, when Newsweek shed 111 jobs, the paper said.



Update (11:37 a.m. EST): Miller is now on the radio program. She insists she had a radio show scheduling conflict. Ingraham apologized for saying she chickened out.

Update (11:26 a.m. EST): Miller backed out of appearing even solo with Ingraham. Mohler is now talking with Ingraham.

A few minutes from now Newsweek's Lisa Miller will appear on the Laura Ingraham radio program to defend her recent article that insists the Bible can reasonably be interpreted to defend same-sex marriage. Shortly after she goes toe-to-toe with Ingraham, the radio host will feature Baptist theologian Albert Mohler who will offer a full-fledged rebuttal. Apparently she refused to go on the show at the same time as Mohler.

Find Laura on a radio station near you using her station finder page here.

For a taste of Mohler's arguments, see his December 8 critique of Miller, "Turning the Bible On Its Head."

Shortly before 11 a.m. Eastern time, Mohler posted the following to his Twitter page:



Jon Meacham’s ascension to the editor’s chair at Newsweek has marked a very noticeable trend toward turning it into Opinion Week (or OpEdWeek). Its cover stories are often not investigative news pieces, but long editorials.



Newsweek still shot from Dec. 8, 2008Shortly after dismissing the Bible as archaic and "lukewarm" on marriage, Newsweek's Lisa Miller waxed poetic about it as a "powerful" "living document", essentially suggesting that religious conservatives who consider Scripture to be the inerrant, eternally true decrees of God Himself have a lower view of the Bible than religious liberals:

Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should.

Perhaps ignorant of the biblical warning against double-mindedness (James 1:5-8) four paragraphs earlier Miller began her treatise by misrepresenting and then scoffing at the Bible's teachings on sex and marriage, confusing human sinfulness for biblical teaching and Jesus and the Apostle Paul's teachings for a virtual loathing of marriage:



Seven days before America elects a new leadership team, Newsweek is making a last-ditch attempt to portray GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin as a religious nut.

In her article "Jesus and Witches," Newsweek Religion Editor Lisa Miller suggests Palin believes in witchcraft, thinks the world is coming to a fiery end in her lifetime, and may have a "special sense of destiny" fueled by her "apocalyptic theology" and Alaskan "Last Frontier identity." Miller even hints Palin may be anti-Semitic.