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Another Journalism Fail As Reporters Swoon for Political Nuns

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reports

Jim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)

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Two stories in major Pennsylvania newspapers illustrate so much of the problem with journalism today as they ignore two elephants in the room with the nuns.

A group of Catholic nuns who prefer to worship Mother Nature rather than Jesus Christ (the Person they pledged to serve) is suing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approving the $3 billion, 198-mile Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project; because it will run through their cornfield. Perhaps the sisters consider themselves Sisters of the Corn? We previously told you about this small group of nuns who use the same natural gas that will flow through Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline to heat their own property.

The nuns, with the help of radical Big Green groups, plopped a couple of wooden park benches and portable flower trestle in the middle of the same corn field—clearing some of those precious stalks of corn—declaring the spot a “chapel.” What a joke.

What if you want to temporarily clear some corn to dig a trench and bury a pipeline? No, no, no. Now, that crosses the line for the Sisters of the Corn, according to this story from the Philadelphia Inquirer (a newspaper now propped up by the William Penn Foundation, we might add):

A group of Roman Catholic nuns is suing a federal agency, saying a buried natural gas pipeline approved to run through their rolling Lancaster County cornfield would violate their religious freedom.

The suit seeking to keep the pipeline off the property says the sisters from the Adorers of the Blood of Christ order “believe that God calls humans to treasure land as a gift of beauty and sustenance that should not be used in an excessive or harmful way.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s “decision to force the Adorers to use land they own to accommodate a fossil fuel pipeline is antithetical to the deeply held religious beliefs and convictions of the Adorers,” the suit states.

“This is a really deeply held and sincere religious belief of the Adorers,” the nuns’ attorney, J. Dwight Yoder, said. “What is being proposed by Transco just completely violates what they believe in. This isn’t just some landowner who suddenly found Jesus. These sisters live out their faith.”

“As women, we celebrate the rhythms of creation; with Mother Earth we live the Paschal mystery of life, death and new life and, with others, preserve and nurture creation,” states one part of the pact…

Carl H. Esbeck, an expert on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and a professor emeritus at the University of Missouri, said the nuns could have a hard time proving their case but could succeed.

First, they must show sincerity of their beliefs, he said, which should not be difficult. But they then would have to demonstrate that the pipeline would place a substantial burden on their religious faith, which could be more difficult.

It seems the Sisters of the Corn began worshipping Mom Earth back in 2005, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News:

An order of Catholic nuns who believe in “the sacredness of Earth” is suing the federal agency that approved a natural gas pipeline that’s expected to cross its property for violating its religious freedom.

The nuns, who allowed the construction of an outdoor chapel in the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline’s path through Lancaster County, are in the midst of separate battle to block Williams’ seizure of the one-acre parcel via eminent domain.

“It’s clear they take seriously their belief that the Earth is God’s creation and it needs to be protected and preserved,” said J. Dwight Yoder, the attorney representing the Adorers of the Blood of Christ in its case against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…

The nuns allowed a protest group, Lancaster Against Pipelines, to build the chapel in a cornfield on its land in West Hempfield Township, near a retirement community operated by the order. The chapel, which is comprised of a wooden arbor and pews, has since held several ceremonies there, garnering local and national media attention. The protest group has built several other structures in the pipeline’s path…

The Catholic order’s opposition is guided by a “land ethic” adopted in 2005. That means that the nuns honor the sacredness of creation, reveres Earth as a sanctuary for all life and treasures land as a “gift of beauty and sustenance and legacy for future generations.”

Editor’s Note: Jim’s disgust with these nuns is fully justified and as a Catholic, I’m simply embarrassed these leftist sisters suppose their mission is more about radical environmentalism than salvation. I’m also disgusted with the reporting as neither story addresses two simple facts that render everything else BS.

The first is what we reported here; that the leftist nuns have no problem using, and promoting the fact they’re using, natural gas in their retirement community. It seems fossil fuel use is not “antithetical to the deeply held religious beliefs and convictions of the Adorers”—only the delivery of the fuel. It has to fall out of the sky like manna from heaven I guess. How can a reporter who took the time to contact a law professor about the validity of the lawsuit (suggesting it’s uncertain when it’s obvious there is none) but ignore this fundamental flaw in the sisters’ logic? Unfortunately, we know the answer; it’s not part of the template or the agenda of modern journalism, which is one of editorial advocacy masquerading as reporting.

Journalism

Nuns’ website promotion of their retirement home villas superimposed on photo of their “chapel” dedication where they spoke out against delivery of the natural gas they use and promote.

The second story at least notes the sisters operate a retirement center but the reporter, once again, never bothers to ask if they use the natural gas they propose to prevent others from having. Maybe I’m dreaming here, but isn’t that the first question an enterprising journalist would ask? The fact it’s ignored speaks volumes. 

Both reporters also neglect to ask for an explanation from anyone as to how opposition to pipelines delivering gas one uses could possibly be a “deeply held religious belief.” Where does it say in the Bible, or any other religious text for that matter, that pipelines are on the “thou shalt not” list? How is anyone supposed to take this seriously? It’s a joke, just as Jim says it is, and a cruel one for those of us who do take religion seriously. Yet, neither reporter asks the obvious “how” question or consults a religious authority (say, Archbishop Chaput, for example) to ask if there’s a legitimate religious issue here. Instead, they just regurgitate the blather without addressing the question staring them in the face.

Such is journalism today. It is why journalists are the only group of professionals rated higher on the “very low” trust scale by Gallup consists of members of Congress.

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11 thoughts on “Another Journalism Fail As Reporters Swoon for Political Nuns

  1. Some other questions one might ask:

    1. Did the sisters (and others building things in the paths of pipelines) get permits and conduct environmental assessments?
    2. How does the sisters’ retirement home violate their respect for the land? Should they raze the home and restore the land to its native state?
    3. Do the sisters get other utility services such as water and electricity via pipelines or electric transmission line that go over or under the land?
    4. Do the sisters utilize roadways that are obviously scars on the land?
    5. How do the sisters communicate? Do they use telephones that require physical use of the land at some point.
    6. Can the sisters name just one thing that they use in their daily lives that is not somehow made possible by fossil fuel?

    • When I think of leftists, I think of Joe Stalin. If I remember correctly, ‘ol Joe was not a fan of religion, especially the Catholic Church.

  2. Well the questions you and your commenters have asked are interesting and I think Jim has nailed it with the expression journalism failure. The failure should not be underestimate either nor pooh-poohed like meh the media has always been a failure and this is just more faux news. Before it became fashionable to talk about faux news and media failures which is a very hot topics these days, years before in fact, some of us were saying there is a severe problem in the reporting field when it comes to pipelines, natural gas, fracking and ferc and this problem is one that must be addressed.

    These nuns make absolutely no sense whatsoever. And a LOT of what anti pipeline activists say doesn’t either and it is a huge problem that reporters and editors do not recognize this. How can they be alerted? What do reporters need to understand and learn about pipeline proposals, ferc and more? It seems apparent many do not have the wherewithal to get the information on their own and it is very different now to find real information because of the years of misinformation, often deliberate, dispersed by the antifracking pipeline resistance movement. This seems so to me so the information must be made available to reporters. About pipelines, ferc, how eis process works, what different proposals are and at least some of that responsibility must be owned by companies.

  3. Jim, as a fellow Catholic, I think this a perversion of the faith! And as you and Ken point out, if their devotion to mother earth is so strong, and they don’t want to be hypocrites (as all anti’s are), they should stop using anything that violates the earth. Do not use electricity, natural gas, the roads, anything that might violate their “religious beliefs”. To be absolutely true to their beliefs, they should raze the buildings, tear out all the electrical equipment, tear out all pipelines, go off the grid and build mud huts for the elderly with their bare hands, because use of equipment would violate their principles.

  4. Incredibly, years ago i used to be a Democrat… But they morphed into the party of sanctimonious Liars Hypocrites and Fools who are destroying this nation from the inside out. Urban elitists and their media propped up by the huddled masses, the young, and the naive…

  5. http://www.dailyprogress.com/newsvirginian/opinion/guest_columnists/opinion-our-elected-officials-and-the-pipeline/article_abbda4e2-6ceb-11e7-9979-97cd1400b922.html

    This isn’t an opinion about the same pipe the nuns are resisting. It about a resisted pipeline nonethless. Does it mention Cuomo and the constitution pipe? Sure. Is it incoherent rambling ranting ? Sure. The thing is that ranting hits enough points that resonate with people (our elected officials aren’t working for us they work for the gas companies for example) that it will resonate with people much like any political or rabble rousing speech can.

    What the woman in that article is selling though is nonsense. In reality we have environmental laws, a nepa process by which pipeline projects are assessed and there is a federal body charged with overseeing that process and granting certificate orders. That is the government in action. It is how things work. And her way and the antifracking movements way does not work. What does this woman or the antifracking pipeline resistance movement have to offer in place of the system, law, process etc that we have currently? Agitprop? Hysterical ranting? Making decisions based on who gave the most rousing speech at a hearing when those speeches are never grounded in reality, fact, data or science?

  6. Everybody loves a circus…especially if they bring a multitude of “clowns”. Are you not entertained???? 🙂

  7. I suggest the pipeline company go around them and give the money to build under their farm to their neighbor. They must not have been offered any yet if the pipeline is only expected to cross their farm or they may not be protesting. Churches love getting money.

  8. This is obviously an attempt by Big Green to use this as a reason to ask for more donations. They made $14million in North Dakota. They tried the Native American angle here but it did not work, again. So now they are going to try to use Catholics as the poster child of “oppressed people”.

    The gas industry needs to connect the dots with these lawsuits (the nuns filed a lawsuit for those that did not know) and all of the other sue and settle cases and “direct actions” funded by the same organizations, then file a RICO suit against those funders. Other industries have started to fight back against this money making scam, it is time the gas industry do the same thing.

  9. Pingback: Enough of This Nunsense: These Atlantic Sunrise Opponents Use GasNatural Gas Now

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