The political left and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel consider traditional Christian teaching on sexuality and same-sex marriage “intolerance,” but will they extend their criticisms to a Journal Sentinel reporter?
During the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court race, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Molly Beck grabbed a One Wisconsin Now press release and flogged the conservative candidate Judge Brian Hagedorn with it. Hagedorn’s alleged fault was daring to live his Christian faith and help found a school that had a code of conduct for the faculty.
State Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn in 2016 founded and now oversees Augustine Academy in Merton, which partners with Ambleside Schools International, a Christian, college-preparatory school that blends private and home-based education.
The school’s statement of faith says the school community believes that “Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church.”
In its code of personal conduct listed on the school teacher application, school officials say teachers may be fired and students may be disciplined or forced to withdraw from the school if they or their parents violate the code’s policies. The rules include no “immoral sexual activity,” defined as any activity that occurs outside of marriage between a man and a woman.
This unprecedented examination of the judge’s religious beliefs became part of the basis for Democratic attacks on Hagedorn’s personal beliefs and labeling him a “bigot” by his political opponents. Hagedorn did not buckle under the attacks and, in an op-ed in RightWisconsin, called for conservatives to come to his defense. The backlash against the coverage and unfair attacks helped propel Hagedorn to victory.
When Rick Esenberg, the President of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, said Hagedorn’s victory was a victory for religious liberty, Beck’s Journal Sentinel colleague political gossip columnist Dan Bice responded by calling Hagedorn’s religious beliefs “intolerance.”
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty chief Rick Esenberg argues in a column that Judge Hagedorn’s victory is a “vindication for religious tolerance.” Interesting spin on Hagedorn’s less-than-tolerant position on same-sex marriage and gay rights. Intolerance = tolerance.
Given the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s own lack of tolerance for traditional Christian teachings, you would think that Beck would be more careful about where she makes her public appearances. Beck recently spoke to a journalism class at Concordia University in Milwaukee.
Thank you guys! Your class had great questions!
— Molly Beck (@MollyBeck) April 25, 2019
But as Beck (ironically) wrote in her article on Hagedorn, Concordia University has codes of conduct regarding sexual behavior, too.
“Concordia University, for example, has a policy that states ‘consensual sexual behavior outside of marriage is prohibited’ and that God ‘forbids sexual union with persons of the same sex,'” Beck wrote.
That’s not all. Concordia, a university of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, includes in their staff handbook potential violations of standards of conduct, “Lifestyles offensive to the LCMS.”
In a hit piece spawned by another One Wisconsin Now attack, Beck’s colleague Patrick Marley reported that Hagedorn spoke at events sponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), echoing the flawed Southern Poverty Law Center calling the ADF a “hate group.” (Marley did not mention criticisms of the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s labeling of groups to generate revenue.)
The Concordia University system and the LCMS also worked with the Alliance Defending Freedom to create a handbook for religious schools to defend them against lawsuits from sexual orientation lawsuits. Despite this, Beck still spoke at a class at a university that works with an organization that was labeled by her newspaper, “a hate group.”
Writing in RightWisconsin, George Mitchell asked about the newspaper’s new interest in the private religious beliefs of public figures.
“Now that the Journal Sentinel and Judge Lisa Neubauer’s opposition research folks have opened this ugly door, let’s watch to see if the Journal Sentinel will follow the only logical and fair course which is to dredge up social media and other supposed evidence of untoward, faith-based beliefs,” Mitchell wrote.
We’ll see if that inquiry will extend to the newspaper’s own reporters. Bice could look through everything Beck has ever written, all the way back to high school, to see if there was any bias in her writing. He and Marley can examine every personal relationship she’s ever had.
If any Wisconsin realtors still advertise in the newspaper, will they want to be associated with a reporter that speaks at Christian universities? Maybe they should have their public relations people write op-eds demanding that Beck be fired.
In the meantime, let’s all look forward to One Wisconsin Now’s protests outside the newspaper offices until Beck is fired. The newspaper will report on it, right?