NPR- National Propagandist Radio

NPR shared this link.

NPR gay marriage cartoon

NPR Cheney TG

My comment on their thread:

There are many of us (Christians who understand that neither homosexual behavior nor gay marriage is condoned by God) who are joyfully setting a place at our Thanksgiving table for our family and friends who are gay. You will not hear their thoughtful, biblical, and informed explanation from NPR, however, which insists on airing slivers of their opinions or more likely simply shutting them out. Which is why this media outlet gets less and less of my listening ear. NPR, you are bent on presenting and inflaming a distorted view of Christians who follow the Christ who condemns both sexual immorality (all sex outside or man/woman marriage) and the pride to which I too easily succumb. NPR listener, if you have not heard from those Christians on this news source, ask yourself if NPR is giving you the whole picture.  NPR programmers, I dare you to find someone who is walking the biblical line of holding fast to orthodox beliefs while extending genuine, sacrificial love to their gay family members.  And give them more than five seconds of air time.

AsktheBigot Christian readers, the mainstream media is unwilling to accurately represent us.  May we expose their loud bias as we throw the doors of our hearts and homes open to our gay family and friends this Thanksgiving.

(And if you want to know how to respond to the caucasian Jesus above who “didn’t denounce gay marriage”, this post should help.)


36 thoughts on “NPR- National Propagandist Radio

  1. Bringing Dick Cheney’s daughter into the discourse, even through a comic, is contemptible, and more so on account of the suggestion that the Cheney parents are disdainful of her.

    • Truly. I know that there was some cyber-exchanging of words by the sisters last week over the issue. And the cartoonist did not miss the opportunity to further pigeon-hole supporters of man/woman marriage as haters.

      • Liz Cheney was not pideon-holded as a hater. She was characterized as some one who believes lesbians have fewer rights than straights, analogous to the way kids have fewer rights than adults.

        Not to state the obvious, but this is an opinionated political cartoon. Like many other opinionated political cartoons, it exaggerates to make a point. Like many other opinionated political cartoons, it isn’t very funny. And, like every other opinionated political cartoon, it shouldn’t be taken nearly as seriously as people here seem to be taking it.

        • Keefe, your understanding of this depiction as a political statement in terms of “kids/lesbians have fewer rights than adults” makes sense (but was not my initial take obviously), but I think the more evident interpretation is that she is excluding her sister from the family function. It does present her as a “hater” (despite the warm relationship the sisters have had within their family as mentioned on this thread) simply because she disagrees about the definition/function of marriage.

    • I couldn’t disagree more.

      Dick Cheney’s daughter was ALREADY in the discourse — this comic didn’t put her there.

      Further, the cartoonist is not suggesting that the Cheney parents are disdainful of Mary Cheney. If you look, Lynne Cheney (Mary’s mother) is setting 10 places at the main table, suggesting that she expects Mary to join them. Liz is the one who is ostracizing her sister.

      • Right. Because most viewers are going to count the number of places at the table and draw the inference you have about the love and acceptance Lynne Cheney has for her daughter Mary, and of course the cartoonist should expect that, since it’s so obvious. Because of course the comic doesn’t look like the three of them are happily acting together to prepare for the holiday meal. Indeed, how could one miss the conflict of intentions between Lynne and Liz? Plain as day, I tell you.

        As for whether Mary Cheney was already in the discourse, I suspect it would have scarcely made a difference in this discussion if I had said “kept her in the discourse.” If you find it significant to quibble over whether she was brought in, brought back, or kept in, I scarcely care. She should never have been brought into it in this way in the first place. The point is that representing this family for the purposes of a political point, bringing their heartfelt relations into it as though it made some kind of worthy point is offensive. It crosses a line in much the same way that the great and noble John Edwards crossed a line (pretty much the same one) when he told Dick Cheney to his face at a Vice Presidential debate how the man loved his lesbian daughter. Why, I believe John Kerry made similar remarks during that campaign. I also recall reports that the remarks by Senator Edwards, although Mr. Cheney was smart and gracious enough to thank him on camera, engaged Lynne Cheney, as well they should have.

        If, however, one doesn’t get how bringing these personal relations of these individuals into the debate is offensive, there is little more than can be said.

  2. I’m a total NPR junkie, so I’m saddened that you feel like your perspective isn’t represented by them. I could understand how you feel, though – my guess is that in general NPR covers the side of the church that is in favor of gay rights in part because that’s where conflict tends to be, which is what makes it news. In this case, while the cartoons both appear to represent the same side of the issue, my understanding is that this column in general is meant to offer political cartoons that represent various sides of conversation happening around the country on many issues. Looks like NPR failed in this case, perhaps. But I wonder if – to air your concerns – you might be better served by sending NPR a more general letter about how they represent evangelical Christians across their programs and website, and might do so with a bit more nuance? If nothing else, I feel that media in general is too quick to turn things into soundbites and not deal with the very real pain and complexity of families and churches wrestling with the issue of changing cultural values around homosexuality. None of us who care about deep relationships should allow them to be diminished in this way – by anyone.

    Hang in there!

    • Great to hear from you as always, friend. Your suggestion is a good one, and indeed I have approached NPR about this issue in the past. (See one such letter in the post “What is the purpose of this blog, The issue was not solely this cartoon set, but that I do not think that I have EVER heard NPR give the perspective of one who interprets scripture along historic and orthodox lines and who is clearly striving to love those with whom they disagree. The one sided depiction was especially pronounced leading up to the DOMA decision, which was when I became truly resigned to the reality that NPR has decided to present a slanted perspective, at least on this issue. (As have most media outlets, discussed here: But I would love to be proved wrong! If you ever hear NPR give airtime to a supporter of man/woman marriage, Christian or not, who is articulate, informed, compassionate and biblical please send it my way. That would be blog-worthy.

      Have a wonderful holiday, Aimee!

  3. From my perspective as an atheist, Christians are an increasingly fractured and inconsistent group. Christianity’s internal doctrinal disagreements make it impossible for a short news segment to represent all the divergent views. In my opinion, you should not be surprised your views went unacknowledged and direct your emotional response not toward NPR, but toward yourself and the other Christians who create the simultaneously steadfast and constantly changing body of Christian morality that the rest of us are forced to navigate through while not offending someone.

    • This was a very odd comment to receive in my email updates. So Christians are so fractured on the subject of homosexuality that a news program making a historical and apparently Biblical statement cannot readily understand that this fracture on the topic of homosexual behavior and the nature of marriage is a purely modern phenomenon in a religion that has, prior to very recent years, consistently and universally condemned homosexual activity and affirmed marriage as it has been known for about two thousand years (and then some thousands on top of that, if one adds the years before the Incarnation)? Come on. This can’t be taken as a serious criticism of this post. Saying that NPR just didn’t know, cos us Christians just ain’t got our act together, is absurd.

      Or is this comment intended to say that the “divergent views” NPR had no way of knowing are that many Christians are actually warm and welcoming to all their friends and family at Thanksgiving dinner? Come to think of it, to say that NPR hasn’t the wherewithal for its short segments to be aware of that and should therefore just assume that the Cheneys and Christians in general are callous in their personal relations is even more ridiculous.

  4. I did intend for my criticism to be taken seriously. Christians do not have their act together. Wasn’t Askme’s original point that her Christian perspective was not presented by NPR while more accepting Christians like Methodist Pastor Frank Schaefer who officiated at his gay son’s wedding and less accepting Christians like Liz Cheney were? Virgil, do you personally know people who consider themselves to to be Christians and have unreconcileable views on the appropriateness of gay marriage? My guess is that like I, you do.

    The NPR article cited Dicky Cheney’s support for gay marriage.
    I did not take it to assume callousness toward gays from all Cheneys or all Christians. I will concede that the cartoon they posted did imply a degree of callousness.

    It occurred to me that a link to Askme’s comments on the NPR site might help put this discussion into its intended context.

    • I’m trying to find a quote where Dick Cheney clearly and unambiguously declares his support for gay marriage, and I’m having difficulty.

      This is his 2009 statement that many are interpreting as voicing his support for same-sex marriage, including the headline writer:

      “I think that freedom means freedom for everyone,” replied the former V.P. “As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don’t support. I do believe that the historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis. … But I don’t have any problem with that. People ought to get a shot at that.”

      He says that “people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish,” which is not the same thing as saying that the state should recognize such unions as marriages. He also says the matter should be up to the states: “Different states will make different decisions. But I don’t have any problem with that.” It sounds like he doesn’t have a problem with states recognizing same-sex marriages, or with states not recognizing them.

      • When putting together my post, I was looking at several different news accounts. I decided to use the excerpt from Huffington Post because theirs was longer than the others. Now I see that HuffPo has clipped out the “different states make will make different decisions” part.

        Here’s another version, this one from Fox News, which has a headline that more accurately represents what the former VP said: “Cheney: Gay Couples Should Be Able to Marry if States OK It”.

    • Keith, thanks for the comments. I am not saying that NPR should solely air my viewpoint. However, I would posit that there are two major camps within Christianity on this subject. Those who agree with the historical interpretation of God’s views on sex and marriage, and those who have begun to interpret scripture through the lens of modern-day sensitivities. So if NPR (and other outlets) were genuinely reporting on the news, then they would conceivably give equal air time and personal perspectives from both camps. That’s not to say that every story has to present both narratives. However, especially around the time when Obama came out in support of gay marriage and media was abuzz with the controversy, I kept listening (and hoping) for fair representation. It didn’t happen. They would air only soundbites of traditional marriage supporters or give their own summary statement instead of airing the first-hand audio. It became quite clear that they were not “reporting” on the issue. They were obviously trying to shape public opinion by presenting an unbalanced perspective. The very fact that you think “Christians do not have their act together” and are “fractured and inconsistent” is indicative of the media’s push to discredit us. On this issue, there is great coherence across denominations including Catholic and Protestant and zealous support from black pastors(who recognize the deep need in their communities for not just “parents” but for fathers specifically).

      Question: where have you heard thoughtful and intelligible advocacy for man/woman marriage? Have you ever heard it from NPR? If so, when? I would ask you the same question that I posed to Aimee in this thread. Please, prove me wrong. Otherwise, the only logical conclusion is that NPR has a significant bias.

  5. “Who pays the piper, calls the tune” comes to mind. NPR is government radio, therefore it broadcasts government policy. What else?No less the public schools. Christian radio does the same; it is just more honest about it…
    Christian churches represent a repressed sexuality in general, applying the same rules to all, from what I can see.
    Western Christian cultures have been uniformly anti-homosexual and antisemitic traditionally. America seems to have moved from anti-homosexual past acceptance toward promotion as part of its increasing rejection of its founding Christianity. I suppose the propaganda outlets such as NPE will reflect that…

  6. Maggie Gallagher was on the Diane Rehm show on NPR recently (in the past couple of weeks) as part of a 3 person panel. She was the lone supporter of one man/one woman marriage. She was given a ton of airtime as the other panelists and Rehm asked her question after question to determine why she supports this crazy old view (short version: marriage as an institution protects children, even if individual couples do not or cannot have children). I was totally and completely shocked at how much airtime Gallagher got, actually, as well as amazed by how gracefully she answered the questions. See if you can find the podcast on the NPR site. It’s a must listen.

    • Thanks for the tip, Mary.
      Here’s a link to a page where you can get the audio or a transcript:

      I didn’t listen to it, but I read the transcript, which I find to be quicker and easier, so it’s possible I’m missing some tone-of-voice subtleties

      I thought Diane Rehm did fine as the impartial interviewer. t used to listen to her when I lived in DC, but now I’m in Philly and the local station doesn’t carry her show. It looks like the producers sought balance on the show, one pro, one contra, and one representative from Pew Research, a polling organization that has a well-deserved reputation for impartiality. However, when Ms. Rehm asks Pew’s MIchael Dimock a question that seemed to be directed to his expertise as a pollster (“So how have the lives of gay people changed since the Supreme Court ruling?”) he starts talking from his personal experience and gives up the pretense of objectivity.

      Ms. Gallagher handled herself very well, as always.

      • Hi Steve, thanks so much for the link. I had a chance to read through the transcript yesterday. And you are right that Ms. Gallagher was excellent- gracious but firm. What a stellar example of engagement. I especially appreciate how she responds to the emotion-driven caller. That, for many, there is no way to say that children need and deserve their mother and father without it being offensive. And yet, that truth is too important to modify, regardless of the “offense” it may create.

    • Mary, thank you for making me aware of this interview. We don’t get Diane Rehm on our local station. But I read the transcript last night. The caller who said that one hour is not enough to cover all the facets of this issue was right, but I am grateful that Ms. Rehm gave ample time to each speaker. The questions and responses cover all the major questions and objections on the subject. And Ms. Gallager could tutor us all on how to respond with informed tact.

  7. First: Welcome back! Glad you are blogging again.

    Second: I totally agree that the so-called mainstream media is full of misrepresentations when it comes to the issue of gay marriage. However, those misrepresentations effect BOTH sides. I mean, how much air time do people get who are straight, devout Christian and support gay marriage on moral grounds?

    That said, I don’t think NPR is a major culprit. They aren’t perfect, of course; it is always good to get news from a diverse set of sources. But NPR, in my opinion, is one of the most fair on the subject. For instance, another commenter referenced the Diane Rehm show, above. Other examples:

    A congressman professes his love for his gay son while opposing gay marriage:

    The co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage debates a gay man and gay-marriage advocate who is also her close personal friend. (A quote from the story could easily have been about you: “If you do endorse gay marriage, her argument continues, you automatically send the message that a married mom and dad are not really critical. And then, she insists, more kids will end up hurt.”)

    An evangelical pastor gives a loving, family-based case against gay marriage:

    And another loving, family-based case against gay marriage:

    • Keefe, great to “see” you here again. Thanks for your comments, as always. My sincere apologies that I haven’t had a chance to respond to some of your comments yet and indeed won’t even tonight. (I’m going to play the mom card- I’ve been consumed with nit-picking, literally, for the last few nights and am so bleary-eyed I can barely type. Lice is THE four letter word of our home.) I started looking over the links you provided above, thanks for those, and hope to review and comment later. Maybe Monday when I get a pre-school break? We shall see…

      One thought for tonight however. You talk about how there is little in the way of representation of those Christians who support gay marriage on “moral grounds.” It seems that the first cartoon above, of the Caucasian Jesus consoling the Methodist minister, paints a very flattering picture of your position. No?

      Anyway, I see you have met Virgil. You are two of my favorite commentators and the pair of you out-pace me intellectually. So I look forward to really studying both of your comments over the next couple days. I have the sneaking suspicion that my abrupt summer break left a conversation with you dangling mid-thought. If that is the case and you remember where we left off, please let me know. Until then, be well, friend.

  8. Virgil T. Morant wrote:

    “The point is that representing this family for the purposes of a political point, bringing their heartfelt relations into it as though it made some kind of worthy point is offensive.”

    If you feel offended that’s real and valid and I respect your opinion. I wonder: Are you equally offended by this cartoon?

    I ask because your words suggest that your problem is with political cartoonists in general, who have been representing families to make political points since Thomas Nast in the 1800s (if not before). Political cartoonists have represented the Obama and Bush families for the purposes of making a political point. They’ve represented the Clinton family, the Gore family, the Palin family, the Reagan family, Abraham Lincoln’s family probably, in comic form, in an exaggerated way, often depicting (obviously fictitious) private family moments, all for the purposes of making a political point. If that manner of expressing political opinion is offensive to you then, well, okay.

    For the record: The Cheney sister’s feud over gay marriage was national news. Every major news outlet that covers politics — from conservative to liberal — had a story on it. This cartoon didn’t bring their “heartfelt relations” into the spotlight. It was already there. The Cheney’s themselves put it there. The cartoonist in question was reacting to it already being in the news. If this cartoon helped keep it there it did so only minisculely.

    • No, I’m not equally offended by the teleprompter comic.

      Thanks for the lesson on the history of political cartoons. And for putting your last remarks on the record. I was rather hoping to order a copy of the transcript from the court reporter.

      • Okay then. So it seems that you are not really offended by a cartoonist “representing [a] family for the purposes of a political point” after all but that you disagree with the Cheney cartoonist’s opinion. Which is fine. This blog is great for getting, and sharing, different opinions. I just think gay marriage is a topic that people of good will can debate without being offended by an opposing viewpoint — and without resorting to snide comments.

        • Indeed. It is unfortunate to be snide. Just about as unfortunate as it is to quote one phrase of a sentence of mine, ignore the rest, and thus incorrectly characterize the meaning.

          The point is that representing this family for the purposes of a political point, bringing their heartfelt relations into it as though it made some kind of worthy point is offensive.

          The bold portion is of course what you’ve quoted once or twice to state my position. Of course the full sentence does not at all say that I am opposed to all uses of family representations to make a point. You were able to put heartfelt relations in quotes in response to a comment of mine previously. Funny, then, that you should ignore the phrase it belongs to in overgeneralizing my opinion.

          When it comes down to this kind of disagreement, I confess I tire easily and don’t mind being a bit facetious. You and anyone else can read what I wrote in toto and draw whatever conclusions. I’m not going to explain my own plain statements or argue the nuances of language any further than I already have.

  9. Except I didn’t ignore any of what you wrote. I considered it in toto (with their hit “Africa” playing in the background, no less). I then quoted your sentence that seemed to best summarize your point. The sentence seemed a good choice because it started with the words “The point is . . .” but if that missed the mark, I apologize.

    The Cheney cartoon presumably touched on “heartfelt relations” in part because it pictured family members in a Thanksgiving scene, the holiday traditionally being a time for heartfelt family relations. That was offensive to you. But the Obama cartoon — which did the exact same thing — was not.

    The Cheney cartoon cast in an ill light on relationship within their family to make a political point. That was offensive to you. The Obama cartoon — which did the exact same thing (with minor children and a grandmother who has consciously avoided the spotlight) — was not.

    Perhaps you can consider how your comments have the appearance, if not the reality, of a double standard.

    • The Cheney cartoon showed Mary Cheney treated like a second-class person in her home. The Obama cartoon showed that the President was such a bad speaker that he even needed a teleprompter to say grace. Different.

      • Well obviously they are different cartoons. But what you profess to find offensive in the Cheney cartoon — a depiction of a (fictitious!) family scene with heartfelt relations to make a political point — exists equally in the Obama cartoon too.

        I’ve stuck with this because this blog does such a great job at explaining an opposition to gay marriage in a loving, thoughtful, Christian way while also (usually) recognizing that proponents of gay marriage can come from a loving, thoughtful, Christian place too. That’s how meaningful dialog on this issue happens, not by jumping past “I disagree” and going right to “offensive” and “contemptible.”

        • How tiresome. I said in my very first comment that it was the presentation of disdain within those family relations that was contemptible. In my last comment I pointed out that this was the crucial difference between the two cartoons. Is quoting one phrase of mine here or another phrase there as though the totality of my thought were contained in this line or that out of context (and once someone says, “out of context,” it is assured that the conversation has reached this special level of Internet insipidity) the loving, thoughtful, and Christian way that you adore about participating in the commentary on this blog? I find it rather tedious and pedantic myself.

  10. It’s hard for anybody but the cartoonist to know exactly what was in his mind when he drew the cartoon. It’s likely that others are analyzing it far more than he did himself.

    Nobody on this thread has mentioned Heather Poe, Mary Cheney’s longtime (20 years) partner and the one, I think, who fired the opening salvo in the Facebook feud. Another reading of the cartoon is that it is for Heather that the extra table is being set. Had Mary married a man, her husband would automatically be related to the Cheneys: he would be the son-in-law of Dick and Lynne and the brother-in-law of Liz. Were any children to come from the union, he would be the father of Dick and Lynne’s grandchildren and of Liz’s nieces and nephews.

    In fact, Mary has given birth to two children while she was with Heather but before their union was legally recognized. Who or where the father might be has not been made public, but as far as I know Heather is completely unrelated.

    Whether or not Heather Poe is part of the Cheney family might depend on whether one’s view of the “definition/function of marriage.” In her Facebook post, Heather was offended that Liz did not recognize her as a sister-in-law:

    I was watching my sister-in-law on Fox News Sunday (yes Liz, in fifteen states and the District of Columbia you are my sister-in-law) and was very disappointed to hear her say “I do believe in the traditional definition of marriage.”

    Which, I think, is what is symbolized by the cartoon Liz setting up a separate “Lesbian’s table”: that she does not recognize Heather as kin.

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