I have been on the road for almost a week, joyfully busy with family life.
I kept glancing at news email and, let's see, what was there to talk about?
That would be: Russia. Russia. And more Russia. Oh, and lots more Russia.
Among my fellow Orthodox Christians, there was lots of laugh-to-keep-from-crying chatter about a certain magazine cover.
It appears that Time magazine is still publishing and that the editors really thought that they nailed the whole nasty Russia is taking over the White House media storm with one image -- an image so strong, so perfect, that it didn't even need a headline. You can see that cover at the top of this post, of course.
I feel the need for some music, here, to capture the heart of this multimedia story.
Now, here is how the Gateway Pundit site summed up what happened.
TIME Magazine has the Trump White House morphing into the Kremlin on this week’s cover.
But that’s not the Kremlin.
It’s an Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow.
Their cover is almost as phony as the fake Russian conspiracy. Almost.
TIME magazine mixed up the Kremlin with St. Basil Cathedral on its cover!
The Christians are coming!
Well, it is certainly true that the world famous sanctuary in question is popularly known as St. Basil's Cathedral, but the reality is a bit more complicated than that, as is discussed in this note from an Orthodox friend of mine:
OrthodoxWiki refers to this church as the Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God upon a Moat. So there may be some ecclesiastical complications here.
But one thing is sure -- this is not the Kremlin. We are talking about a church.
Gateway Pundit offered this simple little graphic to note what is what in this particular location in Moscow.
So once again. This is a church. It was not the Kremlin, the center of the Soviet state.
This is a church.
This is the Kremlin.
Note the big red star on that tall and very obvious Kremlin tower.
You see, Time editors, it really would have helped if you had not used software to cut the crosses off the image of the church. That's a good rule, in general.
Now, there are some churches located inside the walls of the Kremlin and there are other churches nearby, including the sanctuary on Red Square commonly referred to as St. Basil's Cathedral. You can see that in this helpful map -- found online with a search for the word "Kremlin."
Once again, just to be helpful, note that churches in Russia have crosses on top of their signature onion domes.
Think of those onion domes as steeples. Why do they have this unique shape? Click here for an Orthodox essay on that point. Yes, heavy snowfalls are part of the answer.
Oh, and one more thing. Believe it or not, the political desk folks at CNN need to note that there is a difference between a church steeple and the minarets found on the great mosques of Islam.
As you would expect, minarets -- tall towers from which Islamic prayers are chanted -- do not feature crosses.
In this illustration offered by the Orthodox Meme Squad, you can certainly see the crosses atop the onion domes.
Personally, I would written a different headline there, since America has certainly never been an Orthodox or predominately Orthodox culture. I would have said, "Make America Orthodox. Amen." The rhythm still would have worked,
Let's wrap this up. There need to be several corrections, obviously.
There is also a chance that Time rather ripped off the same error from many, many other journalistic sources. As in:
The pros at The Washington Post offered a long and very colorful multimedia piece on this angle in editorial graphics -- with illustration after illustration -- while devoting next to zero material to the religious angle of this mistake.
The Post team noted that this was St. Basil's on the Time cover, but it would appear that the editors sort of thought that this substitution for the Kremlin made sense?
Needless to say, some Orthodox believers are not amused by all of this, as can be seen by this online request for an apology.
The May 29th Time Magazine cover designed by Brobel Design depicted St. Basil's Russian Orthodox Christian Cathedral, located near the Kremlin in Moscow, enveloping the White House. This accompanied an article discussing "Russia's social media war on America". Additionally, the image displayed does not portray the several prominent crosses located on St. Basil's Cathedral. They have been removed from the image.
We find all of this misleading, unprofessional, and unbecoming a respected organization such as Time Magazine for the following reasons:
1) Portrayal of a Cathedral belonging to the second largest Christian group in the world, the Orthodox Christian Church, as something harming America.
The Orthodox Christian Church (of which the Russian Orthodox Church is a part of) has thousands of parishes within the United States, and millions of American citizens belong to the Orthodox Christian Church. To portray a Cathedral of the Orthodox Christian Church as an enemy of America is an insult to, and an attack on all the members of this faith.
2) Removal in the image of the crosses which are prominently placed atop St. Basil's Cathedral.
Removal of the crosses from the cathedral in the Time Magazine cover masked the fact that this building--and by extension all other Russian Cathedrals in this style-- is in fact a Christian Church. This enabled Time Magazine and others to display these Churches as dangerous to America without disclosing that they are in fact Christian Churches: Churches of the religion held by the majority of Americans.
We demand that Time Magazine, the Editor of Time Magazine, Nancy Gibbs, and Brobel Design issue a public apology for the above reasons.
I will settle for a nice, long, detailed correction at Time. CNN, too.
After all #journalismmatters