Today I received a phone call from Laurie Goodstein, Religion Editor for The New York Times. Laurie was calling me as background for an investigative piece she is doing on Ergun Caner and Liberty University and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.
For those unfamiliar with Lauri, she was the reporter who first exposed Pope Benedict's XVI's involvement in covering up the actions of a sexual predator within the Roman Catholic Church. Without surprise, after her investigative article on Pope Benedict and the Roman Catholic Church appeared, loyalists for the church blistered Laurie, calling her "left-wing," "biased," and "an enemy of Christanity." The official spokesperson for the Roman Catholic church, William Lavada responded to Goodstein's article by declaring:
"I'm not proud of America's newspaper of record, the New York Times, as a paragon of fairness. Both the article and the editorial are deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness that every American has every right and expectation to find in their major media report. I ask the Times to reconsider the attack mode about Pope Benedict XVI and give the world a more balanced view of a leader it can and should count on."However, on the April 3, 2010 Fox News Watch telecast, evangelical media star Cal Thomas was asked about Laurie Goodstein's article. Listen to his response:
I thought Laurie Goodstein's piece was very well researched. I didn't think it had a hostile angle. And this is in a newspaper that is openly hostile to everything the Catholic Church stands for, from pro-life to contraception to married priests. I thought it was a pretty good piece. And I think it's forcing the Vatican to deal with something it needs to deal with.Cal makes three excellent points about the secular media writing about problems within the church: (1). It is possible for an investigative piece about church matters, published in a secular newspaper, to be well researched and fair, (2). Sometimes it takes a paper like The New York Times to help the church confront "inner darkness," and (3). Something good can come to the church by secular exposure of our problems, in that we begin to "deal with" matters we might otherwise ignore.
Peggy Noonan had a very good column in Saturday's Wall Street Journal in which she said — she actually praised the New York Times in this case and in some others, the media do a good job of forcing the Catholic Church, or any institution, political or religious, to confront some of its inner darkness.
I don't know what Laurie Goodstein will write about Ergun Caner, and I don't know whether or not she will publish any article prior to June 30th and the official report from the internal investigation being conducted by Liberty University. However, knowing that Laurie is now looking at the Ergun Caner situation, those Baptist loyalists who blister anyone that exposes Caner's embellishments while speaking to Baptist churches become more of an embarrassment to the name of Christ than Ergun Caner's lies and embellishments. To blindly defend the indefensible promotes Baptist "religion" above true Christianity.
Here's hoping Cal Thomas and Fox News don't wind up having to defend the New York Times against attacks by Southern Baptists. For that to not happen, some Southern Baptists need to grow up and shut up.