Does anyone else remember RSS feeds?
The whole idea of RSS — Really Simple Syndication — is that websites can allow you can set up an automated feed that feeds you updates on specific topics in a standardized, computer-readable format.
The key is that computer algorithms are supposed to detect when stories address issues that interest a specific reader.
Anyway, I received this item the other day in my RSS feed devoted to New York Times stories about religion. In this case, the Times defines the RSS criteria, not me.
In terms of religion news, this one is pretty weird — even for today’s Times. The headline: “Ilyse Hogue, Influential Abortion Rights Advocate, Will Step Down as NARAL Chief — In an interview, Ms. Hogue discussed a tumultuous era for abortion rights and the future of Roe v. Wade.”
In other words, this is a kissy-kissy Q&A marking Hogue’s exit after eight years as leader of NARAL Pro-Choice America. The Times informs readers that “abortion rights are at something of a crossroads, with Democrats facing the choice of whether to try to deliver on their promise of codifying Roe v. Wade.”
All right, says I, let’s see the many points in this report that touch on religion. After all, the RSS algorithms put this in the “religion” feed.
I found three, and even that it is stretching it. Can you spot the religious content in the following three bites from this news feature? The questions, obviously, are in bold type:
Let’s start with perhaps the biggest question: Is Roe v. Wade safe?
No. One of the lessons that we learned over the last eight years is that constant vigilance is required to secure all of our rights. When I came in, the whole conversation was: “Oh my God, the country is so divided. It’s all 50-50.” Everybody understands that’s not true now.
How about this one?
Your book and podcast, “The Lie That Binds,” tracked the history of the anti-abortion movement and your view of its ties to white supremacy. Do you see connections between the siege on the Capitol and the anti-abortion movement?
Part of, as I say, steeling the spine and building the courage for elected officials is making sure that we own the accurate history of this movement. Clinic violence during the ’80s and into the ’90s was the precursor for the violent extremism we’re seeing now. Why that’s been allowed to continue is because society writ large — and certainly politics — has allowed them to wrap themselves in this faux religiosity and get away with stuff we would never allow in other parts of our culture.
If you talked to any abortion provider, they know what that feels like to be under siege. So really understanding that — and that goes back to the underlying ideology of the modern-day anti-choice movement, and this is not to say every person who identifies as pro-life — but the movement is one that believes in minority control to right Christian men. So there’s just immense symmetry between these ideologies.
One more. You may miss this one the first time through:
So is there room in the party for Democrats who do not support abortion rights?
There always has been and there always will be room in the party for individuals who have all sorts of different feelings about everything, and abortion is no exception. What there is zero room in the party for is people who would oppose the seven in 10 Americans who don’t think politicians should be governing their decisions about pregnancy and family. The opposition to abortion never, never actually mapped onto faith as much as it mapped onto hostility to social progress, gender equity, racial equity.
So we have three remarks, two of which contradict one another.
I suppose this must be the Times’ algorithm at work, but it must be one moronic algorithm.
Well, at least the Times capitalized God, which is a point of journalism style that can hardly be taken for granted in many news sources today.