It appears the Donald has someone to blame! (Anybody surprised?)
On Tuesday, we highlighted the Republican presidential frontrunner's non-snafu snafu concerning the Second Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians:
Now comes news via CNN that Donald Trump blames his gaffe (which he apparently acknowledges that it was) on Tony Perkins:
Washington (CNN) Donald Trump says it's Tony Perkins' fault he said "two Corinthians" instead of "Second Corinthians" during a speech at Liberty University this week -- a mistake that raised questions about his biblical knowledge as he courts evangelical voters.
The Republican presidential front-runner said in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon Wednesday that Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, had given him notes on what to say when he visited the evangelical university in Lynchburg, Virginia.
"Tony Perkins wrote that out for me -- he actually wrote out 2, he wrote out the number 2 Corinthians," Trump said. "I took exactly what Tony said, and I said, 'Well Tony has to know better than anybody.' "
Trump's pronunciation of the Bible verse drew laughter from the Christian audience -- but he downplayed it, saying his Scottish mother would have said "two Corinthians," as well.
Um, did I miss something (and there's every chance I did)? Why is Perkins giving notes to Trump?
But concerning how Perkins wrote it out, would Trump have said he was glad to be in "Lynchburg, V-A-period" if Perkins had written "Lynchburg, Va.?" Or would he have understood the nomenclature? That's the point, right?
GetReligion readers, as they are apt to do, made some excellent points on the last post. I want to share two of those comments.
First, this one from Thomas Szyszkiewicz, the veteran Catholic scribe:
I went to what is considered the most "evangelical" of Catholic schools -- Franciscan University of Steubenville -- and took a theology degree. When talking about the books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles or Maccabees, the letters to the Corinthians, Thessalonians or Timothy and the multiple letters of Peter and John, saying "second" or "two" (or "third" or "three," in the case of John) was interchangeable. I would never have laughed at such a reference. Instead, I join with "the divine" MZ Hemingway in her wonderment at how the MSM that calls a crosier a "crow's ear" can possibly lecture anyone on the proper way to reference a biblical citation.
Also, this one from Dallas Morning News journalist Jeffrey Weiss, a former Godbeat pro:
I think you got this pretty much right. However, those who say the MSM has no standing to critique the D on his biblical acumen because some reporters make religion-related errors are pretty much wrong. That would be a non sequitur. (And jokes made about this are jokes. I posted the bar line my own self. Because I thought it was funny...)
It is, in fact, interesting to me that the Brits say "two Corinthians." They also spell "color" with a "u." Neither of which would seem appropriate in colloquial American usage.
I suggest it is a safe assumption that Trump was not using British phrasing. It is also a safe assumption, I think, that most of his audience considered his phrasing as a small goof -- perhaps evidence that he knew not so much of what he was speaking. Which makes it fair game in a news story.
Media treatment of the "Two Corinthians" pronunciation sparked a GetReligion-esque column by James Warren. If that name doesn't ring a bell, Warren is a contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report and the chief media writer for the Poynter Institute, the prominent journalism think tank.
Warren, a former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, writes:
The media, especially the political press, can get queasy when a religious topic evolves beyond a narrow recitation of which candidate evangelicals, Catholics or Jews might tend toward, at least according to polling. The essential blind spots the press embodies are rather consistent, namely biblical literacy and a lack of a sense of history, according to Steve Waldman, founder of LifePosts, a soon-to-be-launched site for online memorials and other life commemorations. He co-founded Beliefnet, a previously terrific (subsequently purchased) website on religion, while he's authored "Founding Faith," about the religious convictions of the nation's founders.
"When it comes to covering religion, reporters tend to veer between being overly cynical to being overly credulous," he says. But he does believe political reporters are "waaaaay better" than they once were, as he put it for emphasis.
And later in the piece, he notes:
Picking on Trump for his "two Corinthians" comment does seem pretty petty, says Richard Rosengarten, dean of the University of Chicago's Divinity School. But the overriding challenge for journalists in covering this topic remains two-fold: First, many publications just don't have the space. It's both the actual number of words allotted to religion and, as important, the lack of any systematic, ongoing coverage. It's not close to what they reflexively give to, say, business.
Go ahead and read the whole column, then come back here to discuss.
Do you agree that political reporters are "waaaaay better" at covering religion than they once were? Why or why not?
Also, is a shortage of space really the problem when it comes to religion coverage? Or is "the lack of any systematic, ongoing coverage" the more significant issue? Please explain your answer.