Home/Rod Dreher/The Media, Syria, & The Unheard Voices

The Media, Syria, & The Unheard Voices

Tonight at 8pm Central/5pm Pacific, Kevin Allen of Ancient Faith Radio will host a live call-in show talking with Eastern Christians about the situation in Syria and America’s response. You will be able to listen to the livestream here. 

Somehow, the word is getting out to American Christians that they — we — have a particular stake in Syria, in that our brothers and sisters in the faith are facing mass murder and exile. Pastor Rick Warren has come out against Obama’s war on Syria, as have Dr. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and more than 60 percent of the country’s Evangelical pastors who are members of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 45,000 local churches across America. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with Pope Francis, has called on the American president to turn from war on Syria. Metropolitan Philip, the North American leader of the Syria-based Antiochian Orthodox Diocese, sent a letter to the president expressing concern over US support of the rebel forces, some of whom are attacking Christian targets. (And by the way, St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai has closed to the public and battened down the hatches because of Islamist attacks.)

What is going on in churches around the United States? What are pastors saying to their people about Syria? Is there any difference between now and the run-up to the Iraq War in the attitudes of US Christians to war in the Mideast? If so, what accounts for it? How, in particular, will Evangelical thinking and activism around Syria affect the Republican Party, for whom Evangelicals have been such stalwart supporters?

I would like to know this. The newspaper I subscribe to, The New York Times, is not writing about this today. It is, however, writing about an all-nude gay resort in the Ozarks, a story that led its homepage for the last day, and that appears in the A section of the print paper. Here’s how it starts:

Rick Fausett bobbed onto the deck of the campground pool, clutching a Busch Light with one hand and waving the other like a wand. He wore nothing but flip-flops and a top hat decorated with long pheasant feathers and fabric-spun magenta poinsettias.

“Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up,” he said, repeating a line from the 1950 movie “Sunset Boulevard.”

Across the pool, a bald man with a large stomach sitting naked in a chair turned to a friend and murmured out the side of his mouth, “You think that’s just a tad gay?”

And the most important newspaper in the world — I don’t use that term ironically — is writing a touching tale today — front page of the Metro section — about elderly gay male sweethearts who reflect fondly on the days when they cruised public toilets looking for anonymous sex:

“We all gravitated to the connection between the two trains,” he said, recalling a time from half a century ago. “And that was sexville.”

Mr. Leedom shook his head at the memories.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “And the toilets in the subways — in those days if you traveled, say, 14th Street to 59th Street, you had to make at least three stops on the way, to check out every toilet.

“And there was always gay activity going on in the toilets. And I think it cost a nickel to get in in those days.”

I typed in the words “Syria” and “Christian” in the newspaper’s search box, seeing what has appeared in the Times about Syrian Christians, or American Christians discussing Syria in light of the US political controversy. Nothing. I don’t know whether it’s the case that The New York Times doesn’t know its own country, or simply despises tens of millions of the people in it, such that they don’t care to report on them.

A friend in Baltimore writes to say:

My skinny little Baltimore Sun today contains at least four, if not five, gay-angle stories.

There also is a story on US Catholic bishops standing up on immigration.

The pope’s major event opposing Syria intervention and the similar events around the world?


What about your local newspaper? Are you hearing, reading, or seeing anything about the movement among American Christians to oppose this war policy?

Maybe if the Metropolitan Community Church or Bishop Gene Robinson speaks out against the war, the demented New York Times will deign to pay attention to a major religion story unfolding in real time in this country. Maybe if a gay bathhouse in the outskirts of Aleppo gets grenaded by the Syrian rebels, Times editors will cock an eyebrow. Or something.

This is beyond frustrating. Look, I know the Times didn’t spike major stories about Christians and Syria so it could run sentimental features about gays, but I do think it’s fair to wonder (yet again!) why the Times places so much editorial emphasis on cheerleading for gay stories but consistently ignores other, more important stories, or at least stories that are far more relevant to far more people off the island kingdom of Manhattan. I mean, I know perfectly well why they do this, and so do you, but still, it’s worth noting for the record.

Anyway, for those who want to know real information about what’s happening in Syria, in particular to that country’s Christian minority, please listen to AFR tonight.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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