Monday, October 29, 2007

Bible bending in Journalism

The New York Post covered the ruling on how the estate of Brooke Astor, the famous NY socialite and philanthropist, will be divided by giving it this lede: "Judge's Biblical Tack in Astor Family Feud."

I have written on several occasions about journalists' ubiquitous use of biblical illusions or rhetorical appeals to "what the Bible says." The introduction of this article is a perfect example:

A Westchester judge played King Solomon yesterday in settling a dispute between the feuding flanks of the Astor family - as he appointed administrators from both sides to oversee Brooke Astor's $200 million estate.

Surrogate Court Justice Anthony Scarapino Jr. split the baby by naming JPMorgan Chase and retired state appeals court Judge Howard Levine temporary administrators of Astor's legacy.

How can anyone doubt the Bible's cultural relevance? We live in a society where the religious icons public officials affix to their doors receives attention from halfway around the world; where Christian leaders answer questions on the Bible in otherwise secular newspapers; where street preachers are a notable part of our urban landscape; and where the sexuality of a fictional character is questioned on biblical grounds. Remind me again why we are not addressing the Bible in schools?

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