GetGetReligion: Stop the presses!

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medium_marylandWonders never cease. GetReligion, the watch and ward society of MSM religion reporting, has seen fit to criticize RSM (Right Stream Media) religion reporting. That would be a Breitbart story by Austin Ruse on the Suffragan Bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Maryland, who allegedly killed a bicyclist with her car and then drove off.

To be sure, George Conger had to begin by declaring how great fan he is of the Breitbart website (“a fresh and vibrant addition to the stable of online news portals”). But he does go on to take apart Ruse’s lede:

‘The first female bishop of the Episcopalian Church and the second in command of the denomination in Maryland has been named by her diocese as the driver of a car that mowed down a father and beloved Baltimore bicycle maker two days after Christmas.”

This sentence combines bad grammar, confusing syntax, factual errors, and maudlin sentimentality.

Conger points out that Heather Cook is not the first female bishop of the Episcopal Church — the first was appointed way back in 1969 — or even in Maryland, which actually has two Episcopal dioceses, the other of which has had a couple of them. And what’s that “beloved” doing there? Good for you George!

Yet two cheers is all I can muster for the effort. It’s not just that all Conger can manage by way a bottom line is “could do better.” It’s that he makes no effort to elucidate Ruse’s, ah, ideological point.

One of GetReligion’s favorite parlor games is “Find the Ghost” — wherein the reader is invited to identify the missed religion angle in a news or feature story. The point is always that, once again, the MSW has shown its secularist bias.

So where’s the ghost in Breitbart’s machine? Clearly, when Christian denominations start letting women into the hierarchy beloved fathers are going to get run over. Beware Liberal Religion!

  • Austin Ruse


    I had no ideological point — “ah” or otherwise — in the piece about Heather Cook. Just reporting the news.

    Being a Catholic who was raised Methodist, I should have know the Episcopal Church was called just that. Moreover, should have made it clear she was the first female bishop in that diocese. Mea culpa. But no “ah, ideological point.”

    austin ruse

  • Chaplain Martin

    First, I give my heart felt condolences to the Tom Palermo family in the senseless lost of Tom’s life.
    I found it rather sickening to read the reaction of the supposed religious web sites.

    Second, when I read the account on Heather E. Cook, the Suffragan Bishop of the Episcopalian Church of Maryland, I saw the red flag about her DUI and drug arrest four years earlier. As a now retired drug and alcohol counselor and pastoral counselor, I have completed many intake interviews and the signs of addiction began long before, usually years before some cataclysmic event that brought them either to treatment or jail/prison, or both.

    Third, What does religion have to do with it? Nothing really, accept when a person decides to drink (usually while they are sober enough to know better) and then drive what happens, like the killing of Palermo, makes it something of a premeditated event. We know what the scriptures indicated about murder. ANY lawbreaker should be charged to the full extent of the law. Reducing the plea because of sharp lawyer or ecclesiastical pull is circumventing our legal system. My opinion (not a lawyer) is that a charge of vehicular manslaughter should be made.

    Fourth, Heather Cook, maybe, can learn how to minister the follow prisoners (that doesn’t include helping them make “buck”) and hopefully take full advantage of any A and D treatment programs.

  • Austin Ruse

    And, this was not a religion story. it is crime story.

  • Chaplain Martin

    Actually, I agree. Its seems to be made into one, however, and I thought my comments were in order.

  • Three dioceses in Maryland — Washington (south), Easton (east) Maryland (Center/West)

    First woman bishop in 1989

    I must have overlooked in the article the point about the accident having been caused by her being a bishop..

  • samuel Johnston

    HI George,
    Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. In this case- with death resulting- I would hardly dismiss it as an “accident”. If you do not not think that her actions have a bearing on her fitness to be a Bishop- presumably offering moral guidance- then you are clueless indeed as to why the Episcopal Church is in rapid decline. They (the clergy) stand for nothing but tradition, and fancy dress up parades.
    In my youth I attended such a Church for a decade. My excuse is that I was paid to sing, and as a poor kid, I needed the money. I did notice that when the Rector left for greener pastures he was in a new car pulling a new boat, given to him by the Church.

  • Austin Ruse

    So, her high-ranking church status would only be relevant if she was on a Church call and killed someone? Or if she, say, got drunk and fell on someone in the narthex?

    Of course, her rank in the Church is relevant to the story. However, mentioning her rank in the Church does not in and of itself make this a “religion” story.

    by the way, I quoted you in my follow up today. Many thanks…

  • Austin Ruse

    My comment was not directed at you, Chaplain, but at Mr. Silk. This was nota religion story.

  • Austin Ruse

    One more comment, the reason that was no “ah ideological point” is the Episcopal (thanks, Mr. Conger) Church is free to have women as priests, bishops or the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is a matter of absolutely no interest or consequence to me.

  • Kim Jonas

    With all due respect, Austin, you spend the first 24 words of your lede on a very religiously-themed ‘who’ before you start on the ‘what.’ And you do so in a way that gets into unneeded specifics and hits the reader over the head with them.

    Cleaned up:

    “A bishop of the Episcopal Church in Maryland has been named by her diocese…”

    That was all you needed to say. The only reason I can see to make it more complicated than that is to reopen the whole “should women really be allowed to be priests/bishops/etc.?” business, with a “see, this is what happens when you do that.”