Friday, September 24, 2010

Archbishop Chaput Addresses Journalists

A great speech. Here is a snip:
Freedom of the press clearly includes the right to question the actions and motives of religious figures and institutions. Our constitutional safeguards for the press developed partly in response to efforts by Puritans like Cotton Mather to have editors and publishers tossed into jail for satirizing local pastors and mocking Christian beliefs in their pages.

But freedom doesn’t excuse prejudice or poor handling of serious material, especially people’s religious convictions. What’s new today is the seeming collusion—or at least an active sympathy—between some media organizations and journalists, and political and sexual agendas hostile to traditional Christian beliefs.

When this happens, the results are bad for everybody.

It’s no accident that freedom of religion and freedom of the press are both named—in that order—in the First Amendment. The country’s founders believed that protecting these two freedoms would be vital to the American experiment. They saw that a self-governing people needs truthful information and sensible opinion from sources other than the state. They also believed that morality grounded in religious belief is fundamental to forming virtuous people able to govern themselves.

These beliefs about American liberty were once widely shared by media professionals. In the mid 19th century, one might often find anti-Catholic sentiment on the editorial pages of America’s major papers—just as we do today. But it served a Protestant consensus. Newspapers attacked “Popish” infiltration, the better to push Protestant goals like prayer and Bible reading in public schools.
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