Mayor Bill de Blasio

Can terrorists act in the name of religion, or do they follow ‘political’ ideologies, alone?

Can terrorists act in the name of religion, or do they follow ‘political’ ideologies, alone?

Throughout the era defined by 9/11, most journalists in the West have struggled to follow two basic concepts while doing their work.

The first concept is, of course: Islam is a religion of peace

The second would, in most cases, be stated something like this: There is no one Islam. The point is to stress the perfectly obvious, and accurate, fact that Islam is not a monolith. Islam in Saudi Arabia is quite different from the faith found in Iran. Islam in Indonesia is quite different from the faith found in Pakistan. There are competing visions of Islam in lands such as Egypt, Turkey and Afghanistan.

The problem with these two concepts is that they clash. Note that Islam, singular, is a religion of peace. But which Islam is that, since there is no one Islam? In the end, many journalists appear to have decided that wise people in the White House or some other center of Western intellectual life get to decide which Islam is the true Islam. The fact that millions of Muslims, of various kinds, find that condescending (or worse) is beside the point.

At times, it appears that the true Islam is a religion and the false Islam is a political ideology. When one looks at history, of course, Muslims see a truly Islamic culture as one unified whole. There is, simply stated, no separation of mosque and state in a majority Muslim culture. The mosque is at the center of all life.

You can see all of these ideas lurking in the background when American politicos argue about what is, and what is not, “terrorism.” As the old saying goes, one man’s “freedom fighter” is another man’s “terrorist.”

As it turns out, the word “terrorism” has a very specific meaning for Western elites. Is the same definition accepted among the minority of Muslims who have adopted a radicalized version of Islam?

Here is what the conflict looks like in practice, in a St. Cloud Times story about that attack the other day in a Minnesota shopping mall. Readers are told that St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson:

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Gray Lady celebrates LGBT St. Patrick's Day victory (with two crucial words missing)

Gray Lady celebrates LGBT St. Patrick's Day victory (with two crucial words missing)

It's time for a news update -- care of The New York Times -- on National Irish Pride, Political Clout and Green Beer Day (previously known as St. Patrick's Day).

If you have followed the political wars over New York City's iconic St. Patrick's Day Parade, you know that they have boiled down to one basic question: Does this event have anything to do with the Roman Catholic Church and, well, one of the greatest missionaries in the history of Christianity, a saint beloved in both the Catholic West and, increasingly, in the Orthodox East.

Now, there isn't much question about how the organizers of this parade would answer that question. Yes, most of New York City goes nuts, for reasons that have little to do with a feast day for a holy man. I get that. I once accidentally spent the evening of St. Patrick's Day in a hotel directly above an Irish bar, which was not a wise choice.

However, if you go to the official website for the New York City Saint Patrick's Day Parade, you can still read this:

The New York City St. Patrick’s Parade is the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world. The first parade was held on March 17, 1762 -- fourteen years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The parade is held annually on March 17th* at precisely 11:00 AM in honor of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland and of the Archdiocese of New York. The parade route goes up Fifth Avenue beginning at East 44th Street and ending at East 79th Street. Approximately 150,000 people march in the parade which draws about 2 million spectators.

That's pretty clear.

However, if you read the new Times update mentioned earlier you will certainly notice that it is missing two rather interesting and important words, for a story on this topic.

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Los Angeles Times strives, strives, strives to ignore religion angles in Rafael Ramos funeral

Los Angeles Times strives, strives, strives to ignore religion angles in Rafael Ramos funeral

Did you know that almost all funeral services held inside churches are actually services of Christian worship?

I just thought I would bring that up -- again -- after the Bobby Ross Jr. post that covered some of the early coverage for the funeral of slain New York City police officer Rafael Ramos. That post noted that some reports -- CNN and The New York Times, to be specific -- gave readers a glimpse of the officer's life in a true evangelical megachurch, Christ Tabernacle -- a multi-site New York congregation.

However, the stories left Bobby wanting more details about the church and the work Ramos did there, especially since he died right as be was set to launch into his work as a police chaplain. He offered praise, but want to know more.

Well now, contrast that with the story that moved later from The Los Angeles Times. This story, basically, missed every single religion angle in this moving story. The fact that Ramos was poised to become a chaplain, after years of involvement with this megachurch, as been known for days. How was that handled? Basically, we're talking crickets.

How about the church itself, which is an example of a evangelical and charismatic explosion in New York City that has received a little bit of media attention, but not much? Next to zippo, in this story.

Want a taste of what did make it into this report?

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Rites of mourning, anger and faith in New York City's changing public square (updated)

Rites of mourning, anger and faith in New York City's changing public square (updated)

Anyone looking for the high-church rites of American civil religion need only pay a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, where the symbols of government, power, duty and sacrifice are blended into the religious traditions of those who have died.

The same thing happens in major cities, especially in New York, when police officers and firefighters die in the line of duty. This is made perfectly clear in a lengthy and fascinating news feature from the metro desk of The New York Times, following the stunning execution of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.

All of the political intrigue is included in this story, of course, amid the rising and very public tensions between the city's police and Mayor Bill de Blasio. If you have not already seen it, watch the video at the top of this post for one of the key events.

But this story focuses on the next step -- the funerals. Will the mayor speak? What happens if he chooses to do so? The mayor has already stated that he will attend both events.

"Events"? How about "worship services"? This is where the story, briefly, gets very interesting:

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