- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2000

What's 'fit to print'?

"Many of us who have read the paper most of our lives, including some who would never call themselves conservative, know that something has happened to the [New York] Times in recent years that is deeply distressing. For on the most contentious social issues of the day multiculturalism, feminism, gay rights today's Times is highly unreliable, scarcely even bothering to pretend to neutrality. Indeed, having chosen sides, the paper itself often seems as interested in reshaping society as the most committed activists… .

"Things started to get really bad at the newspaper of record in the early '90s after the paper's venerable publisher, Arthur 'Punch' Sulzberger, stepped aside for his son, Arthur, Jr. . . Pretty soon, even many unalert readers were noticing that approved thinking was to be found not just on the editorial and op-ed pages, or in news analysis pieces, but could turn up anywhere: infiltrating the sports and entertainment sections, shaping the tone and content of news stories… .

"Since as everyone knows the Times sets the agenda for the rest of the press, and especially for the geniuses at the networks, who scan it each morning to discover not just what's important but what to think about it, the paper's view of things tends to quickly leech into that vastly more popular medium. So despite the fact that NBC's gutsy Lisa Meyers had broken the Juanita Broddrick story on 'Dateline,' the Times' handling of it enabled the networks, including NBC, to painlessly pass on the rape charge in their flagship newscasts."

Harry Stein, in his new book "How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy"

Darwinian theology

"Every five minutes another book appears explaining why our traditional understanding of God is outmoded, no longer acceptable among thinking people, and otherwise fit for the scrapheap. Books cite all sorts of reasons for this, but among the most popular is the notion that a grasp of Darwinian evolution demands a complete rethinking of theology… .

" 'Any thoughts we may have about God after the life and work of Charles Darwin … can hardly remain the same as before,' John Haught writes in the preface to his new book, 'God After Darwin: A Theology of Evolution.' … Haught, a professor of theology at Georgetown University and director of the Georgetown Center for the Study of Science and Religion, is one of a number of recent writers who insist on this fundamental divide: Before and After Darwin… .

"In Haught's theology … God is 'a divine source of being that resides not in a timeless present located somewhere "up above," but in the future, essentially "up ahead" … The term "God" in this revised metaphysics must once again mean for us, as it did for many of our biblical forebears, the transcendent future horizon… .'

"Many readers will be surprised by Haught's invocation of the biblical witness. How can this picture of God be reconciled with the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the personal God who wants to do business with us?"

John Wilson, writing on "Your Darwin Is Too Large," in the May 22 issue of Christianity Today

New neighborhood

"The house I grew up in was a 1950s heaven. The four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home was part of a housing development built for young families; the neighborhood was filled with white-collar workers whose wives stayed at home to tend to a growing brood of kids. These all-Americans carpooled to work, were home in time for dinner, and still had time to mow the lawn before dark.

"But today, it's clear the old neighborhood has changed. Next door to my childhood home lives a Vietnamese family. The young owners, who share the house with a sometimes alarmingly large group of people, work different shifts in separate hospitals, about 30 miles away. They were married in a traditional Vietnamese ceremony that included on the sidewalk in front a parade of guests in colorful silks, who carried banners and set off firecrackers to chase away the evil spirits… .

"The old neighborhood is changing because the neighbors themselves have changed whether simply by aging or by aspiring to assimilate and prosper in a new country."

Lisa E. Phillips, writing on "Home Is Wherever," in the June issue of American Demographics

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