Tuesday, June 28, 2005

New York Duplicitous

Earlier, I had reported about a funny exchange between a clueless Times reporter and one of his interview subjects. James, as Barbara Nicolosi would call him (and luckily, as is his first name), was searching hard for a story, a story linking conservative think tanks in D.C. with conservative Christian filmmakers in Hollywood. In keeping with traditional Red state/Blue state rhetoric, James does not seem to understand differences between political, cultural, fiscal and theological conservatives. Or how non-for-profits work, for that matter.

But he does make for a funny read. And what is more hilarious, the New York Times, heretofore the most prestigious daily in the US, is reduced to producing such inocuous and unprovable statements as:

According to two people who have worked with him and who spoke anonymously to protect their industry relationships, Mr. McEveety, [edit., McEveety recently left Icon Productions. Yes, Mel Gibson's company. The guys who produced that conservative juggernaut, The Passion.] who declined to be interviewed, controls a $100 million fund devoted to making and promoting family-oriented movies. (Mr. McEveety did note in an e-mail message that his criterion for making films is whether "my kids would be able to see them," not politics.) He is collaborating with Mr. Bannon, 51, on two new Catholic-themed documentaries, one on cloning, and another on Pope Benedict XVI, which is budgeted at about $1 million.

And, as if making movies with such outlandish budgets about someone as trivial as the new pope is not crazy enough, get a load of this:

The two men have also participated in discreet, religiously based outreach and financing initiatives, including gatherings arranged by the Wilberforce Forum, the Virginia-based evangelical public policy group whose chairman is the former Watergate figure Chuck Colson and which has a mission to "shape culture from a biblical perspective," according to its Web site, wilberforce.org.

Now, just in case you missed that, Wilberforce is a branch of Colson's Prison Fellowship ministry. And although no one would argue that Colson is a liberal, he does tend toward the compassionate side of that fence. Another truth is that it is, according to the website, their goal is to be roaring lambs, to use Bob Briner's (God rest his soul) phrase. In other words, Christians need to engage culture. If Wilberforce is deciding, like its abolitionist namesake, to engage in culture and make some difference, to help in some way, people of like-mind in the arts and entertainments, how is this wrong? When it becomes a conspiracy? Lunacy.

But to her credit, with few pitfalls (What the heck is a Catholic activist, anyway? If someone called me an Evangelical activist, I'd give 'em a slice of mah fist, left cheek be danged.), Barbara Nicolosi was able to engage James and give him some levity. Though he somehow tied her into the the vast Wilberforce conspiracy.

To clear the record, Barbara is very much a conservative in terms of Catholic theology, especially vociferous in regards to life, especially dealing with euthanasia (she hated Million Dollar Baby for the obvious reason) and abortion. And she's an unapologetic Catholic. In shorthand, of course, she's a Catholic activist.

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