Remember the other day, when The New York Times published a full-page ad by an atheist group, calling in very vivid language for Catholics to leave their Church? I said then:
I don’t really object to the message here — I mean, the organization has a point; if you believe these things, then you really ought to think hard about whether you should remain in the Church — but the language of the ad is hysterically spiteful. I find it impossible to believe that the Times would have allowed an organization that denounced Judaism or Islam in those terms to purchase an advertisement. For The New York Times, some religions are more equal than others.
Well, that didn’t take long. Pamela Geller and her crew tried to place just such an ad. Here’s what happened:
Bob Christie, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for the New York Times, just called me to advise me that they would be accepting my ad, but considering the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, now would not be a good time, as they did not want to enflame an already hot situation. They will be reconsidering it for publication in “a few months.”
So I said to Mr. Christie, “Isn’t this the very point of the ad? If you feared the Catholics were going to attack the New York Times building, would you have run that ad?”
Mr. Christie said, “I’m not here to discuss the anti-Catholic ad.”
I said, “But I am, it’s the exact same ad.”
He said, “No, it’s not.”
I said, “I can’t believe you’re bowing to this Islamic barbarity and thuggery. I can’t believe this is the narrative. You’re not accepting my ad. You’re rejecting my ad. You can’t even say it.”
You don’t have to be a supporter of Pamela Geller and her group to see quite plainly the ugly things this stunt reveals about The New York Times‘s integrity. I don’t think publishing the anti-Catholic ad is a sign of anti-Christian bigotry. One should not assume that the Times leadership agrees with advertising the paper publishes. But choosing to publish that ad, while refusing to publish a similar ad criticizing Islam, is, to my mind, a sign of anti-Christian bigotry at worst, and cowardice and hypocrisy at best.