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In a series of articles by its editorial board, media columnist Margaret Sullivan, and former Voice of America Director Amanda Bennett, the Washington Post has mounted a coordinated attack on Robert R. Reilly, the new nominee for VOA director, claiming he is an existential threat to the organization’s mission to provide independent reporting to foreign audiences.

The reason they deem Reilly disqualified to serve as VOA director isn’t about a lack of credentials. He was director from 2001 to 2002 and for a decade before that produced a weekly talk show on VOA. No, according to Bennett and WaPo, Reilly is “dangerous” because he believes what the Catholic Church teaches on sexuality — which is ironic, to say the least, given legacy media’s favorable coverage of Joe Biden’s Catholic faith.

Reilly’s Traditional Views Are ‘Extreme’

In a Dec. 11 op-ed for the Washington Post, Bennett labeled Reilly’s beliefs on homosexuality “extreme.” She cited Reilly’s 2014 book, “Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything,” as evidence. Bennett says the book describes “homosexual acts as ‘habitual moral failure’ and lament[s] the ‘legitimization of homosexual behavior.’” The Washington Post editorial board similarly maligned Reilly for his “tirade against the LGBTQ community.”

They might be forgiven for not knowing that “Making Gay Okay” was published by one of America’s preeminent Catholic publishing houses, Ignatius Press. It has also published books by Benedict XVI, John Paul II, cardinals, and many bishops.

Bennett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, should not be so easily excused for either not knowing or failing to acknowledge that Reilly’s book is simply restating and expanding on official Catholic teaching about sex. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

Granted, it is no surprise that Bennett, Sullivan, and the Washington Post take issue with Reilly’s views on homosexuality. What is alarming, however, is how they tacitly declare any person who subscribes to Catholic teaching on this issue to be effectively ineligible for public office.

A Sorry Excuse for Journalism

It gets worse. Bennett added: “In an earlier book, ‘The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis,’ Reilly asserted that Islam abhors reason and has committed ‘intellectual suicide.’” Read that sentence closely, and you’ll see that Bennett’s study of Reilly’s book on Islam appears to have amounted to little more than a quick Google search. Indeed, her description of the book is simply to rephrase the title. If this is what counts as journalism at VOA, perhaps it’s better that Bennett resigned.

It’s possible Reilly’s books are bad, although the Washington Post or other prominent legacy media are not in a good position to tell us, as they ignored both when they were published. The publications that did bother to review Reilly’s book on Islam, including the Imaginative Conservative, the American Spectator, and the Objective Standard, all praised it for being well-researched and well-argued and for offering interesting insights on contemporary trends in the Muslim world, especially as they relate to the academy and scientific research.

Moreover, Reilly certainly had professional experience regarding Islam. He worked in the Near East/South Asia section of International Security Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Also in Reilly’s favor is that he has a long career in academia and federal service, and his books — including his most recent one defending the American founding — have been published by respected conservative or Catholic publishing houses with high professional standards. What is more plausible is that Bennett, Sullivan, and the Washington Post don’t really know much of anything about what Reilly thinks about homosexuality or Islam because they haven’t bothered to read more than an Amazon page or a book jacket cover.

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The Left Doesn’t Understand the Right

This points to two broader problems, one of which is shameful, the other deeply concerning. The first is that the left is largely ignorant of intellectual conservatism.

The Washington Post, to take but one example, has not bothered to review some of the most prominent conservative books published this year. Not Michael Anton’s “The Stakes,” not Rod Dreher’s “Live Not by Lies,” and not Joshua Mitchell’s “American Awakening.” Indeed, this year the Washington Post didn’t bother to review a single book by Encounter Books, one of the most prestigious conservative publishing houses in America. It reviewed only two books by another prominent conservative publisher, Regnery.

Compare this to the fact that The Federalist, The Claremont Review of Books, National Review, New Criterion, First Things, and the American Conservative, among other conservative publications, have widely reviewed the most popular books on the left. Those include the works of Ibram X. Kendi, Robin DiAngelo, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

To put it bluntly, it is clear from this that conservatives read and try to understand liberals far better than the reverse. Recent data substantiates this: In his book “The Righteous Mind,” Jonathan Haidt discusses a survey of more than 2,000 Americans in which he discovered that conservatives were far better at articulating the views of liberals than liberals were at articulating the views of conservatives. Other surveys have discovered similar results.

So Much for Tolerance

Not only does the left have difficulty understanding conservatives and right-leaning Christians, but it regularly demonizes and targets them. Before Reilly was Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Mike Pence, and many others.

Kamala Harris maligned Brian C. Buescher, a nominee for the U.S. District Court in the District of Nebraska, for his affiliation with the Catholic charitable organization Knights of Columbus. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Biden’s choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, used his authority to enforce pro-abortion policies against religious and pro-life groups, including the Little Sisters of the Poor. Becerra has a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood.

The hypocrisy here is thick. Many on the left, although claiming the mantle of tolerance and pluralism, engage in ignorant caricatures and prejudice to vilify conservatives whose ideas they don’t even bother to study. Beyond the blatant posturing is a normalization of anti-Christian bigotry in the media, in academia, and in the halls of power that threatens to remove faithful Christians, be they Catholic or anything else, from public service.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, messages that Biden, who has been publicly censured by numerous Catholic clerics, will promote a different understanding of what a “Catholic in good standing” looks like. In other words, only a WaPo-endorsed version of Catholicism will be allowed in Washington. There’s a word for this: bigotry.

Casey Chalk is a Senior Contributor at The Federalist, columnist for The American Conservative, Crisis Magazine, and The New Oxford Review. He has a bachelors in history and masters in teaching from the University of Virginia, and masters in theology from Christendom College.



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Convicted fundraiser who tried to work his way into Biden’s inner circle sentenced to prison

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Amajor Democratic bundler, who raised large sums for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and consorted with Joe Biden, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for what prosecutors said was a “mercenary” political influence scheme.

Imaad Zuberi, a Californian businessman was sentenced Thursday for schemes to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns, then take millions of dollars for himself.

The Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Assistant Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien said Zuberi was “purely a mercenary, funneling money to whomever he believed would do his bidding.”

Among the many unsealed court records, Zuberi was seen photographed with Joe Biden and Barack Obama when they were Vice President and President. He was also pictured with former President Bill Clinton and former presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. He took pictures with former Republican Rep. Paul Ryan when he was speaker of the House as well as the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Also included in the Times report was a hacked email chain released on WikiLeaks. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook messaged colleagues saying, “I’m OK taking the money and dealing with any attacks.” Jennifer Palmieri responded saying, “Take the money!”

He also attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in New York City in 2016 as well as serving as a co-chair of The Trump Presidential Inauguration Committee.

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Zuberi made more than $950,000 in unlawful donations to the political committees of Obama, Clinton, McCain and others. Zuberi’s activities extended as far as a recent attempt to work his way into the Biden circle, according to Politico.  

In addition to the money he made, Zuberi also raised $270,000 for Hillary Clinton and $1.3 million for President Obama.

Zuberi, 50, pleaded guilty to a “three-count information charging with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)” for making false statements on a FARA filing as well as tax evasion and illegal contributions to political campaigns. He also pleaded guilty in a separate case earlier in June 2020 to a count of obstruction of justice.

“Zuberi turned acting as an unregistered foreign agent into a business enterprise,” Assistant Attorney General for National Secretary John C. Demers said in a Department of Justice news release.

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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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