How does that song go? "There she goes, there she goes again"?
Obviously, you can (sadly) take the Divine Mrs. M.Z. Hemingway out of GetReligion, but you cannot take the GetReligion DNA out of her (thank goodness) in her work with The Federalist.
Case in point: If you get religion-beat pros together, we often end up sharing hilarious (laugh to keep from crying, actually) examples of mistakes that news organizations make when attempting to cover religion news. Click here for a USA Today op-ed piece that I wrote on this topic long ago.
Mollie likes to play this game, too, and specializes in hunting for the most prestigious prey -- mistakes in The New York Times. You'd be amazed how often basic mistakes on Christian history and doctrine show up in those holy pages.
Take, for example that travel story that ran last week under the headline, "Hoping War-Weary Tourists Will Return to Israel." Let's read the top of this story in its current form on the website of the world's most prestigious newspaper. Readers, your assignment is to guess where the error WAS in the printed edition. (Of course, you probably already looked at the art with this post, but let's pretend you didn't.)
On a recent afternoon in the Old City of Jerusalem, while fighting raged in Gaza, Bilal Abu Khalaf hosted a group of Israeli tourists at his textile store in the Christian Quarter -- one of Jerusalem’s tourist gems.
Dressed in a striped galabiyya and tasseled red tarbouche, Mr. Abu Khalaf showed his visitors exotic hand-loomed silks and golden-threaded garments from Syria, Morocco and Kashmir that adorn Israel’s most luxurious hotels and ambassadors’ homes. The Israelis were entranced, but they didn’t buy anything.
“That’s the first group I’ve had here in more than a month,” Mr. Abu Khalaf said. “There have been whole weeks when no one has been inside the shop. I’ve sold almost nothing the entire summer. Business hasn’t been this bad since the first intifada in 1989, when the Palestinian groups ordered us to shutter our stores.”
Nearby, the vast Church of the Holy Sepulcher marking the site where many Christians believe that Jesus was buried, usually packed with pilgrims, was echoing and empty.
Yes, believe it or not, the Times team printed that story with a statement that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the site where the body of Jesus IS buried -- present tense. Oh my, what a tourist site that would be for atheists!
As you would imagine, MZ was amused, but not amused.
Are you smarter than a New York Times copy editor? Did you know that Christians do not believe Jesus is buried in a tomb in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre because they believe he rose from the dead? Oh you did know that basic teaching of the world’s largest religion? Congratulations.
A hint that’s good for journalists confused on the matter is to consider the church also goes by the name “The Church of the Resurrection.”
Or to visit the tomb for yourself and note that it does not contain the relics of Jesus Christ. Or to read Scriptural accounts of what went down on that first Sunday of the Resurrection. ... The Resurrection of Jesus Christ -- which is tied to the empty tomb -- is arguably the most influential event in human history. It’s really something one should know about.
Now, mistakes happen. We all know that. That's why newspapers run corrections.
Only, in this case, the Times desk declined to run a correction. At least, I do not see one (and I just checked again before clicking "publish" on this post) at the top of the bottom of the corrected article quoted above.
What's up with that?
Come on Times people, confession is good for the soul.
Thumbnail image: Christ Pantocrator icon in main dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.