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Chicago Sun-Times Writer Cathleen Falsani Needs Sensitivity Training after Comparing Jerry Falwell to Tony Soprano

UPDATE on this story: Chicago Sun-Times religion columnist Cathleen Falsani — author of a controversial column titled, “Sigh of Relief over Falwell’s Death” contacted Americans For Truth late Friday afternoon for the sole purpose of requesting that we remove her copyrighted photo from our website (which we did). When AFTAH President Peter LaBarbera sought to engage Falsani in a discussion about her anti-Falwell column, she curtly said she was only calling for the “legal purpose” of removing the photo. “I’m not interested in engaging in dialogue with you,” she said.

When LaBarbera countered that this was odd since Falsani is a “reporter” who talks to people for a living, Falsani replied that she is not a reporter, but a columnist. (As you can read below, she was only recently relieved of her reporting duties at the Sun-Times.)

Said LaBarbera, “This story only gets weirder: a religion columnist cruelly trashes a conservative minister days after his death, then refuses to discuss her column with a critic. It seems Cathleen Falsani can dish it out but she can’t take it. We echo Illinois Review editor Fran Eaton’s call for Falsani to be fired as a Sun-Times religion columnist. As one who is obviously bigoted against Bible-believing religious traditionalists, she should not be writing on religion for a major metropolitan daily.”

Our original article follows:

__________________________

You can write Cathleen Falsani at cfalsani@suntimes.com; or write a letter to the Sun Times (phone: 312-321-3000) at letters@suntimes.com.

In fact, my very first thought upon hearing of the Rev. Falwell’s passing was: Good.
     And I didn’t mean “good” in a oh-good-he’s-gone-home-to-be-with-the-Lord kind of way. I meant “good” as in “Ding-dong, the witch is dead.”
— Cathleen Falsani, “Sigh of Relief over Falwell’s Death,” May 18, Chicago Sun-Times

I wrote Cathleen Falsani to say how sad it is that a religion columnist would so cruelly denounce and defame a man shortly after his death. (More of that HERE.) The Religious Left — of which one could now safely say Falsani is a member — prides itself on its compassion, but when it comes down to it, they can be quite mean and guilty of the same harshness and “hate” of which they accuse others. It reminds me of the pro-abortion-rights liberals who fancy themselves as compassionate people who look out for the downtrodden (“the little guy”) — and yet can’t face their own hypocrisy in zealously defending the “right to choose” to kill society’s most helpless people: the unborn.

Sometimes Christian-identified writers and reporters go overboard in attacking Biblical traditionalists to show their media peers that they’re not a tool of the stereotypical “religious right.” Maybe that’s what happened here. Whether or not that’s the case, it’s tragic that Falsani, a Wheaton College grad, has sunk to this level. This is an ugly and tacky piece of writing that exposes the hypocrisy of self-righteous liberals and the disdain of the media for traditionalist Christian leaders. 

Like many in the Fourth Estate, Falsani needs sensitivity training and would surely benefit from a sabbatical at Falwell’s Liberty University. She should be removed as the Sun-Times’ religion columnist (at least she is no longer a religion reporter for the paper), but that won’t happen because most of the paper’s staff probably loved her column. Nothing like beating up on the ‘fundies,’ dead or alive, to burnish your credentials in the media. (Now, writing a fair column about a man or woman who has left homosexuality behind, through the power of the same Christ that Falsani professes to follow, that’s another story….)

Congratulations, Cathleen: you scored some more points with the Left, but you did so at the price of your own dignity, your Christian testimony, and to the detriment of your once noble profession.— Peter LaBarbera 

The following is excerpted by Media Research Council’s “NewsBusters” blog, by Tim Graham (emphasis added). You can read Graham’s entire piece by clicking HERE, and Falsani’s nasty column HERE):

Chicago Sun-Times Writer: Jerry Falwell Was a Spiritual Bully, Like Tony Soprano

By Tim Graham, Newsbusters.org, May 18, 2007

It might not be surprising for liberal blog commenters or talk-radio callers to denounce Rev. Jerry Falwell upon his death, but it’s a little more surprising when it comes to a professed Christian who’s religion columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Cathleen Falsani reflected on her first reaction about hearing Falwell was “relief” and compared him to gangster TV character Tony Soprano:

Knowing I didn’t have a deadline to meet that day, my first thoughts were not of what to say or write.

 

In fact, my very first thought upon hearing of the Rev. Falwell’s passing was: Good.

 

And I didn’t mean “good” in a oh-good-he’s-gone-home-to-be-with-the-Lord kind of way. I meant “good” as in “Ding-dong, the witch is dead.”

 

But that thought — good riddance, I suppose — was not meant to be cruel or malicious. [!]After all, the faith that the Rev. Falwell and I share teaches us that he was, at that moment, in a far better place, with Jesus in heaven, and not roasting on a spit in Hell’s kitchen.

 

By shrugging off his mortal coil, the Rev. Falwell had ceased to suffer the pain of humanity.

 

Still, I’m not particularly proud of my knee-jerk reaction. But there it is….

 

My initial reaction to the Rev. Falwell’s death was, and remains, relief — not unlike the ease I felt when a particularly nasty bully who used to spit at me on the playground and threaten to beat me up after school moved to another town.

 

The Rev. Falwell was a spiritual bully. He was the Tony Soprano to Pat Robertson’s Paulie Walnuts.

How on Earth can a religion columnist compare a televangelist to a malicious mob boss and killer? We could understand the typical Elmer Gantry comparisons, but Tony Soprano? Including Robertson on the list suggested clearly that was Falsani believes is that conservatism and orthodoxy are “bullying” and that liberalism and relativism brings true spirituality and harmony with God. Falsani couldn’t let the HBO-mobster thing go:

People who know both of us have told me over the years that we’d probably have liked each other, the Rev. Falwell and I, that he was an affable, almost jolly man, not nearly as smug and awful as his public persona made him out to be.

 

I’m sure, were he real, Tony Soprano also would make a charming dinner companion, sharing his lasagna and an expensive bottle of Orvieto while telling great stories and asking how your grandmother’s doing in the home. And then he’d have you whacked and thrown over the side of his deep-sea fishing boat. But he’d send flowers to the funeral.

 

After all, as another famous Christian leader once told me by way of explaining how some evangelicals turn on each other (never mind their perceived enemies): “We shoot our own.”

 

I won’t miss having to apologize for the insensitive, mean-spirited, sometimes downright hateful things the Rev. Falwell said in the name of Christ. I won’t miss having to explain that not all evangelicals are like the Rev. Falwell, that not all of us are that self-righteous, judgmental and holier than thou.

 

The Rev. Falwell’s absence from this realm will mean one less voice telling my gay and lesbian friends that they are somehow less loved by God, that AIDS is God’s wrath, that they are to blame for calamities such as 9/11 or Katrina. I really won’t miss the pain in my friends’ eyes when they ask me how the Rev. Falwell and I could both be Christians but be so different from each other.

 

I will not miss seeing him on CNN, pontificating about what God’s intention was in allowing and/or causing the latest natural disaster, massacre, plague, famine or terrorist attack. I will not miss the Rev. Falwell’s voice or point of view.

Falsani does not seem to recognize that what she is writing can be very easily described as “insensitive, mean-spirited, sometimes downright hateful things…in the name of Christ.”

This is not a surprise, coming from Falsani: in a 2005 column (loved by the far-left Truthout site), she found more charity for a “Jewish atheist” friend as they both denounced President Bush, who she found to be “downright evil.”

Click HERE to read the rest of Tim Graham’s post “in NewsBusters”

This article was posted on Friday, May 18th, 2007 at 1:40 pm and is filed under A - What does the Bible say about homosexuality?, B - Ex-Homosexual Testimonies, D - GLBTQ Pressure Within Churches, News, Pro-Homosexual Media, Religious Leaders, The Bible, Churches, & Homosexuality. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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