Remember when Pope Francis gave that interview? And he said something heretical-sounding? And all orthodox Christians blew a fuse? And it turned out the interview wasn’t proofread and Francis never said that?
One of the people who blew a gasket was the Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore, calling the Pope’s interview a “theological wreck.” (Ecumenical best practice?)
And remember how, just a few days later, Moore was profiled in the Wall Street Journal and described as calling for a “pull back” of Evangelicals from politics, causing conservative Evangelicals to blow their own gaskets? And then he had to issue a clarification and say no no no, that’s not what I said at all? He who lives by the media-misquote…
By the way, I don’t think I’ve seen Dr. Moore apologize to the Pope.
Lest you think I am calling out motes without noticing the beam in my own eye, I am writing this because I fell for this too. In appraising Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber I critiqued a statement of hers I found unorthodox. My source for this was a Washington Post article. And of course it turns out that the quote was wrong.
Of course religious people are accustomed by now to the idea that the media covers religious topics absurdly. But it is a statement of our dark, pharisaical hearts that we still treat media accounts of religious people as authoritative when it gives us ammo to denounce someone.
From this succession of fiascos we should draw a simple rule: serious Christians should never, ever, EVER rely on media (at least mainstream media) accounts of a person’s theology to get an impression of that person’s theology. Please. Are y’all with me?
And of course I apologize to Ms Bolz-Weber.