WorldNetDaily has been taking whacks about a book called "The Shack" for months now, culminating in a WND-published book purporting to offer a "gripping counter-balance" to it.
So what's the big deal?
"The Shack" is a self-published novel that, as Slate describes it, occupies a middle ground between religious and secular fiction, casting God as a path to happiness without serving up dogma. The book has sold more 10 million copies despite, or because of, the book's quirky prose and "too-weird-for-the-pulpit thoughts" that give it a "rough-hewn, handmade quality" but also succeed at "connecting recondite doctrine to the tastes, rhythms, and mores of modern life."
Such success breeds coattail riders, as well as detractors. Enter WorldNetDaily.
WND columnist Jim Fletcher has been denouncing "The Shack" for quite some time:
In a July 2009 column, he cited the book as central to the problem of Christian bookstores' pursuit of profit, complaining that "you see 'The Shack' in virtually every Christian store, even though many ministries and individuals have objections to author Paul Young's worldview." Fletcher made the same complaint in an August 2009 column.
A November 2009 column noted "the controversy surrounding Young's theology" and lamented that "Young's success has further cemented the marriage between the evangelical world and the larger world."
A December 2009 column claimed that "the readers/authors of such books [as "The Shack"] are not necessarily "committed to the full teaching of the Scriptures" though they insist that they are."
In a Feb. 26 review of "The Shack," Fletcher asserts that there are "both subtle and overt challenges to orthodoxy" in the book, and that "There seems to be a free-wheeling emphasis in 'The Shack' on personal experience and feelings, something the Bible warns against." Fletcher also notes that "One of the problems conservative Christians have with "The Shack" is the portrayal of God" as a black woman or, more to the point, an "Oprah-esque figure," adding, "That kind of dialogue and imagery just doesn't square with our understanding of God from Scripture."
WND's promotion for its attack book "Burning Down 'The Shack': How the 'Christian' Best-seller is Deceiving Millions," portrays the book as "blasphemous" and filled with "counterfeit Christianity," not to mention "more than 15 heresies":
Worse, says author James De Young, its depiction of God as an African woman who suffered Christ's crucifixion – and the book's exclusion of any existence of Satan and hell – represent just some of its many dangerous deceptions.
If such deceptions, which upend biblical teachings on sin, redemption, salvation and damnation, go unchallenged, says De Young, this "feel-good novel" could prove terribly divisive and destructive to millions of Christians.
The WND book also appears to be a weird sort of revenge on the author; De Young is described as "a former longtime colleague of Paul Young, and was his Portland-area neighbor when Young wrote 'The Shack.'" The article adds: "He also takes unique creative license and shows readers stories and instruction in Scripture that would have helped Paul Young's fictional character, Mack, find the forgiveness and restoration he so desperately sought – but was not offered."
Meanwhile, WND editor (and WND Books operator) went on a May 31 tirade against "The Shack," calling it "dangerous and spiritually subversive" and claiming it "represents unmitigated heresy in its view of salvation, an anti-biblical portrait of the Creator of the universe as our buddy and a thoroughly paganistic message that there really are no consequences for sin." (As blogger Richard Bartholomew points out, "if Farah is believed in 'consequences for sin', surely he’d be terrified of how he’s going to explain to God why WND publishes so many lies?") Nevertheless, Farah continues:
Why is it important to dissect the theology behind "The Shack"?
Because it has indeed deceived millions – and continues to mislead more every day.
It embraces a universalist creed that suggests everyone is saved. It rejects the clear biblical condemnations of sinful behavior. It preaches the false "I'm OK, you're OK" gospel and rejects the reality of eternal damnation.
The wholesale acceptance of this book by the Christian establishment – radio networks, publishing houses, churches, bookstores and clergy – is alarming to say the least.
Nowhere in the WND's attacks does it mention that the publisher of "The Shack" has addressed many of the questions raised by its critics, including whether the book promotes easy salvation and a God that is "too nice."
Farah doesn't quite admit that he wants to sell books and make money. Nor does he explain how apparently only he knows the One True Way and that everyone else is a blasphemer and heretic.
CNS Baselessly Claims Judicial Nominee Has 'Record of Leniency' Topic: CNSNews.com
A June 11 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas carries the headline "Obama’s Appeals Court Nominee Sent to Full Senate with Record of Leniency for Sex Offenders, Serial Killer." Lucas himself writes that the judge in question, Robert Chatigny -- whose nomination to be a federal appeals judge was recently advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee -- "has a record of lenient sentencing for sex offenders." But none of the evidence Lucas provides offers any evidence of "leniency."
Lucas recounts an incident in which Chatigny "took what many considered extraordinary judicial actions in 2005 to prevent the execution of a serial killer," which amounted to making sure the killer was not mentally incompetent. While Lucas provides a mostly balanced detailing of Chatigny's actions, he does not explain how that equates to "leniency."
Lucas also stated that Chatigny "ruled as unconstitutional Connecticut’s Megan’s Law because it supposedly violates due process rights," which was upheld by an appeals court but overturned by the Supreme Court. Again, Lucas did not explain how this equates to "leniency."
Lucas' MRC bretheren have previously promoted a factually misleading attack on Chatigny that selectively cites facts.
Geller hasn't written a column since April 26, and sometime in the past couple of weeks, her name disappeared off Newsmax's "blog" list. That seems to be more than enough evidence that Geller is done at Newsmax -- after all, it's probably best that Newsmax not look too extreme while it's in the hunt to buy Newsweek.
This, of course, opens up Geller to get a column where her Obama derangement has a more comfortable fit: WorldNetDaily.
Robert Ringer Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Today, the Komarovsky mindset is a serious problem in the United States. I keep saying that Obama and Co. know they are going down to massive defeats if there are elections in 2010, but maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps I've underestimated their determination to get enough people on the government dole and government payroll to mathematically assure victory.
I continue to say that most of the big stories in the news are nothing more than distractions – distractions that take people's focus off the biggest problem Americans are facing: an irreversible loss of their liberty. That includes the BP oil spill, illegal immigration and even Obama's attempt – repeat, Obama's attempt – to buy off Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff in their Senate races with Arlen Specter and Michael Bennet.
Worst of all, the Republican Party itself has a whole army of Viktor Komarovskys in its ranks, ready to support the Obamaviks at the drop of a vote. Names like Mitt Romney (the de facto architect of Obamacare), John McCain ("I was in favor of illegal immigration before I was against it."), Lindsey Graham (an unabashed hard-core progressive), Mike Huckabee (the slickest politician in America), Orrin Hatch (a deeply entrenched member of the go-along-to-get-along club) and Mitch McConnell (another deeply entrenched member of the same club) come quickly to mind.
These men have conclusively demonstrated that they are more than willing to support the progressives' notion of "social justice" if that's what it takes to get elected and re-elected. Their greatest threat comes from people with names like Bachmann, Ryan, DeMint, Rubio, and Paul & Paul.
Over the next five months, you can be sure that a lot of Republican blood will be spilled in the war between the Viktor Komarovskys of the Republican Party and those who refuse to go along with the business-as-usual Dr. Zhivago Option. And you can guess which side the socialists in the Democratic People's Party will be cheering for.
WND Still Ignoring Full Story on Sestak Topic: WorldNetDaily
Following in the footsteps of CNSNews.com, a June 10 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh repeated claims by Rep. Darrell Issa that the Obama administration committed a "prima facie" violation of the Hatch Act regarding alleged job offers to Joe Sestak and Andrewswithout telling readers that legal experts have disputed Issa's claim that ther Hatch Act was violated.
Unruh's article is part of a pattern of WND ignoring the other side of the story on the Sestak controversy.
The MRC's War Against Soccer Topic: Media Research Center
Why does the Media Research Center hate soccer so much?
A June 9 MRC Culture & Media Institute article by Sarah Knoploh and Matt Philbin is an extremely long, World Cup-inspired anti-soccer screed, raging against the "mainstream media" that try to "to force soccer’s square peg in the round hole of American culture." Knoploh and Philbin declare that soccer is "A Game of the Left,"especially on the youth level:
And to conservatives, the troubling aspects of the game aren’t confined to the pros. Soccer requires comparatively little from children but the ability to run after the ball – the risk of failure for anyone except maybe the goal keeper is zero. Even the strong chance that any given game will end in a tie makes it attractive for parents reluctant to impart life’s difficult lessons to young kids.
[Stephen H.] Webb wrote in First Things that, “Sporting should be about breaking kids down before you start building them up. Take baseball, for example. When I was a kid, baseball was the most popular sport precisely because it was so demanding … you had to face the fear of disfigurement as well as the statistical probability of striking out. The spectacle of your failure was so public that it was like having all of your friends invited to your home to watch your dad forcing you to eat your vegetables.”
In short, a powerful component of character building is missing from youth soccer, an important component of character is missing from pro soccer, and a sense of purposefulness is missing from the entire sport.
Knoploh and Philbin even try to explain away the fact that soccer outdraws baseball in Seattle: The baseball Mariners are "a horrible team," and the soccer Souncers "play in a very liberal city, are currently benefiting from World Cup year interest in their sport, and they play a schedule that allows far fewer opportunities for fans to attend."
As if the point that soccer is a wussy liberal sport and not a manly American sport wasn't driven home enough, Knoploh and Philbin add: "As healthcare reform and stimulus spending have underscored, if Europe jumped off a cliff, the American left would be right behind it. So it makes sense that the media’s main argument for accepting soccer is that 'everybody’s doing it.'" And they approvingly quote a writer who says that football "requires American characteristics in order to succeed."
Interestingly, CMI is not the only MRC division on an anti-soccer kick (pardon the pun). A June 10 CNSNews.com article by Terry Jeffrey repeats a Zogby poll finding that "63 percent of American men say that soccer is not likely to ever be as popular as football, baseball, basketball or hockey in the United States."
The MRC's hostility toward soccer in strange given that its employees are not exactly known for any demonstrated athletic prowess. Perhaps they protest too much.
President Obama has decided that his real enemies aren’t Iranian genocidal dictators, anti-Semitic reporters or Muslim terrorists. His real enemies are conservatives and corporations.
How can we tell? From his rhetoric. Obama doesn’t punch anyone in the face directly (not that his fists would do much damage, judging from the way he throws a baseball). But he does lash out at his enemies with his most valuable tool: his silver tongue. When Obama talks about his enemies, his honeyed mouth becomes a blunt instrument rather than a scalpel. The supposed master of the nuances of the English language is apparently rendered stupefyingly inarticulate when faced with those he dislikes; he’s suddenly a WWE wrestler pumped up on testosterone, the mic boosted to deafening levels. He calls people out. He uses colorful and confrontational language. He threatens physical force.
When Jew-hater Helen Thomas suggested that Jews in Israel return to the lands of the Holocaust, Germany and Poland, Obama said that her remarks were “out of line, “ but said it was a “shame, because Helen’s someone who ... was a real institution.” (So was Father Coughlin, for the record.)
-- Ben Shapiro, June 10 column, published at CNSNews.com
New Article: Anti-Semitic Hypocrisy Topic: Media Research Center
WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center have attacked Helen Thomas' controversial remarks on Israel and cheered her abrupt retirement. So why did they publish Pat Buchanan's complaint there are too many Jews on the Supreme Court? Read more >>
CNS Still Hiding Half the Story on Job Offers Topic: CNSNews.com
A June 9 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas uncritically repeated claims by Rep. Darrell Issa that the Obama adminstration "violated the Hatch Act that restricts federal employees from using their official authority to influence or interfere in an election" through alleged job offers to Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff in exchange for not running in Senate races.
NewsBusters Falsely Claims Olbermann Didn't Criticize Thomas Topic: NewsBusters
A June 10 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth carries the headline "Olbermann Slams Anti-Helen Thomas Rabbi in ‘Worst Person’ Segment, But Not Helen Thomas." But in his post, Wilmouth quotes Olbermann, um, slamming Thomas' remarks on Israel and Jews: "It was sad. It was narrow minded. I can't defend it."
That lie aside, Wilmouth seems more upset that Olbermann criticized the person who posted the Thomas video, Rabbi David Nessenoff, for a video in which he engages in Mexican stereotypes. Such mocking stereotypes are apparently hunky-dory with Wilmouth, for he offers no word of criticism of them.
Then again, neither Wilmouth nor his MRC co-workers saw anything wrong with Pat Buchanan's Jew-counting.
Will Fox Allow O'Reilly to Shill for Newsmax? Topic: Newsmax
As we've previously noted, Bill O'Reilly has signed on to join Dick Morris in hawking Newsmax's latest money-making scheme. But Fox News in the past has reined in its hosts' previous shilling, such as Glenn Beck with Goldline and Sean Hannity at a tea party event. And then there's O'Reilly's own professed claim that "I'm not an economist."
Will Graham Criticize His Co-Worker's Mocking of Thomas? Topic: NewsBusters
Tim Graham spends a June 9 NewsBusters post appearing to be offended that liberals are "making fun of [Helen Thomas'] face." Perhaps Graham thinks that making fun of Thomas' looks are the province of conservatives.
Indeed, just a couple hours before Graham's post went live, his Media Research Center colleague Matt Philbin Twittered:
And a NewsReal post from earlier in the day featured this photo, captioned "The Potomac Troll Heads Back to the Bridge":
It seems Graham doesn't want liberals to horn in on conservatives' territory.
Media Matters' Matt Gertz dismantles Jerome Corsi's latest conspiracy theory, as outlined in a June 7 WorldNetDaily article -- that BP has escaped regulation under the Obama administration because Rahm Emanuel once lived rent-free in a bedroom at the house of friend Democratic consultant Stanley Greenberg, who has also served as a consultant for BP.
Gertz sums up nicely: "The theory crumbles for the same reason most conspiracies do -- there are far simpler, more rational explanations for what happened."
All Mr. Obama seems capable of lately is reading the teleprompter and giving another stupid speech that sounds good but will do little to address the underlying problems. Mr. Obama would rather find fault than find a solution. Just as any good attorney, if he can find fault he can sue.
Mr. Obama, a lawsuit will not mop up the oil. Suing Ahmadinejad will not stop him from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Litigation will not stop lawbreakers from coming across the border and invading our country. Kim Jong Ill is not concerned about a court room.
Either lead or get out of the way. I suggest you get out of the way. Then call on one of the few adults left in your administration with some practical experience who can get to work on the problems. In the meantime, you go hang out on your 747, play rock star around the world and eat your $200 a pound Waygu beef. Turn over the critical issues to people who can lead. People who are willing to serve a child, while the child plays. Let them clean up your mess while you play golf.
May I suggest Hillary as your first choice? At least she has a pair and understands how to get things done.
We Get Results: WND Reports on Beck's Embrace of Anti-Semitic Author Topic: WorldNetDaily
A few hours after we pointed out that WorldNetDaily was among the ConWeb outlets who had attacked Helen Thomas for making controversial remarks about Jews and Israel that had ignored Glenn Beck's embrace of the anti-Semitic Nazi sympathizer Elizabeth Dilling, up pops a June 7 WND article by Drew Zahn noting that "Glenn Beck has come under heavy criticism for citing a book on the air last week written by an anti-Semitic Nazi sympathizer named Elizabeth Dilling."
If WND got the idea for the article from us, it would never admit to doing so -- they're too busy pretending we don't exist -- so we'll embrace the correlation-equals-causation fallacy and take credit anyway.
If it seems strange that WND would attack a fellow conservative like Beck, it really isn't. WND editor Joseph Farah has had it in for Beck for mocking birthers.