CNN LOOKS AT CATHOLICISM
Catalyst June Issue 1999
Voices of the Millennium is a series of short clips that CNN has been running during commercial breaks on featured programs. On April 21, during the “Larry King Live” show, a two-minute segment was run on “Women in the Pulpit.” In it, a female minister, a male author and a Harvard feminist offered their thoughts on women clergy. The latter two criticized the Roman Catholic Church for not ordaining women.
Swanee Hunt, who heads the Women’s Leadership Institute at Harvard University, said that if the Catholic Church was to “live, grow and thrive,” it will have to ordain women. She further stated that “As long as God looks like Michelangelo’s image of the Sistine Chapel with a long, flowing white beard, we will continue to worship maleness.”
The Catholic League sent the following statement to the media:
“CNN has a problem with Catholicism and the problem begins at the top. Two months ago, CNN owner Ted Turner sent an apology to the Catholic League after we criticized him for making anti-Catholic remarks at a pro-abortion conference in Washington, D.C.; he is currently being investigated by Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig for his behavior. In 1990, Turner apologized for stating that ‘Christianity is the religion of losers.’ In 1994, CNN apologized to Cardinal Bernardin for running an unsubstantiated story about him, accusing him of sexual abuse. And now it has the audacity to offend Catholics by lecturing them on the wisdom of their doctrinal prerogatives.
“Here’s the Catholic League’s Voice of the Millennium: It is no more the business of CNN to criticize the Catholic Church’s house rules than it is the business of the Church to criticize CNN’s house rules.
“As for the Harvard feminist, we have news for her: only a sexist like her would equate worshipping God with worshipping maleness.”
William Donohue called the Atlanta headquarters of CNN to lodge a complaint. The person he spoke to initially took the position that the offensive spot was really supposed to be about the lack of opportunities for women in the 20th century. Donohue responded by saying that if that were the case, then CNN should have done a spot on women in broadcasting.
Donohue continued to press the CNN spokesman, questioning whether CNN was planning to do a segment that criticized the dietary laws of Orthodox Jews. The CNN staffer got the point. Donohue was told that this segment of the Voices of the Millennium would no longer be run on TV.