Even though it’s only April, the New York Times may already have run the most embarrassing correction that will appear in any major newspaper in 2013. In their story on Pope Francis’s first Easter message, no less than the Times’s Vatican reporter informed readers, “Easter is the celebration of the resurrection into heaven of Jesus, three days after he was crucified, the premise for the Christian belief in an everlasting life.”
As appalling as that is, the correction didn’t help matters all that much: “An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the Christian holiday of Easter. It is the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, not his resurrection into heaven.” We hope during the weeks before the Feast of the Ascension, the Times finds a moment to clarify that no follower of Jesus has ever believed that he was “resurrected into heaven.”
This correction further confirms that the Times’s well-documented animus against Christians is accompanied by an unwillingness to familiarize itself with even the basic tenets of the faith. This is the same paper, after all, whose former executive editor Bill Keller wrote a column for the paper in 2011 demanding that Republican presidential candidates be aggressively questioned about their religion because “I care a lot if a candidate is going to be a Trojan horse for a sect that believes it has divine instructions on how we should be governed.” Of course, Keller could have done some basic research before he set about making demands politicians explain their faith to the Times. And his obnoxious column was eventually updated with its own doozy of a correction:
Because of an editing error, an essay on Page 11 this weekend, about the religious beliefs of Republican presidential candidates, misstates the proportion of Americans who believe that extraterrestrials live among us. It is about a third, not a majority. The essay also erroneously includes Rick Santorum among politicians affiliated with evangelical Christianity. Mr. Santorum is Catholic.
Keller actually wrote that Santorum—one of the most publicly outspoken lay Catholics in the country—was part of a “fervid subset of evangelical Christianity.” The only thing fervid here is the Times’s invincible ignorance of all things religious.
But if the Times is comfortable adopting a hostile posture toward religious adherents, at the very least we hope they give a damn about how stupid they look. National Review’s Mark Steyn noted of the Easter correction:
It reveals the Times as know-nothings to 1.2 billion Catholics. Leaving aside the massed ranks of Anglicans, Methodists et al., it exposes the Times to believers and non-believers alike as culturally ignorant. The Bible underpins a big chunk of western art, music, and literature, and not to know its basic concepts is to condemn yourself to bobbing around in the shallows. . . . America’s supposed “newspaper of record” has just announced itself to the world as civilizationally illiterate.
Steyn’s observation is bang-on, though The Scrapbook has one quibble. The Times hasn’t “just announced itself to the world as civilizationally illiterate”—that’s been an ongoing project at the Times for years.