A New York Times reporter who says he wants to write about the experiences of students who attended Christian schools is facing a backlash on social media.
Perhaps it’s because he used the hashtag #exposechristianschools to describe his reporting venture.
It was Dan Levin, on Twitter as @globaldan, who posted: “I’m a New York Times reporter writing about #exposechristianschools. Are you in your 20s or younger who went to a Christian school? I’d like to hear about your experience and its impact on your life. Please DM me.”
I’m a New York Times reporter writing about #exposechristianschools. Are you in your 20s or younger who went to a Christian school? I’d like to hear about your experience and its impact on your life. Please DM me.
— Dan Levin (@globaldan) January 24, 2019
He was accused immediately of preparing a hit job on Christian schools.
Even self-proclaimed atheists weren’t buying his story line.
“Oh, please, I’m a left coast atheist who thinks that Christian is superstition, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he has already written some ‘true horrors of Christian schools revealed!’ work of fiction that he wants to decorate with snippets that fit the story. I’ll pass,” wrote “defogger.”
Another Twitter user, Dave Collum, took up the criticism: “I am a pro-choice, atheist and recently wrote in support of religion and against those tearing at the institutions. You are making a grave mistake trying to tear down catholic schools, especially with the rot inside public schools. You can see the damage on the college campuses.”
And the atheists weren’t done, with Jeff A. Taylor adding: “Dan, I’m atheist, a credentialed reporter in DC for 15yrs and I cannot imagine what in the hell you intend to write about or how it could possibly be newsworthy. Did you or your editor come up w this idea? Were you both sober?”
Levin didn’t fully explain his intention, only adding that he was looking for “all types of experiences.” But Christian schools have been headline fodder in recent days.
Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, was criticized by the Huffington Post for returned to a teaching part-time teaching position at a Christian school near Washington that does not allow sex outside of marriage, including homosexual behavior. There’s also the media-driven controversy over the Kentucky Catholic schoolboys who were badgered by protesters and confronted by a Native American activist.
A viral video edited to support the narrative that racist boys were harassing a Native American later was refuted by longer videos.
As Breitbart explained: “The heightened hostility toward Christians on the social media platform comes in the wake of left-wing activists’ condemnation of watercolor artist Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, who returned to teach art recently at the Immanuel Christian School, which holds and teaches Christian beliefs about human sexuality and traditional marriage between one man and one woman.”
It continued, “The anti-Christian hostility toward the Pences veered immediately to the recent news story of the Covington Catholic High School students who found themselves at the center of a national media hoax that pundits across the political spectrum immediately pounced upon before bothering to research all available information.
“Deceptively edited video of the Catholic students – attending the March for Life in Washington – portrayed them as disrespecting Native American activist Nathan Phillips and the religious sect known as the Black Hebrew Israelites. However, other video of the entire encounter shows the students were not only verbally accosted and insulted by the black activists – who hurled racial and homophobic slurs at them – but that Philips himself initiated the encounter with the young students, yet failed to provoke them.”
The reporting effort by Levin immediately was suspect.
“If we had a great experience will that be shared in your op-Ed or just the negative stories to validate your #ExposeChristianSchools position???” asked Daniel Branon.
Cameron Gray added, “Just a hunch, but this will be a largely, if not exclusively, negative hit job on Christian schools.”
Dozens of Twitter users told of their positive experiences at Christian schools as well as negative experiences at public schools.
“#ExposePublicSchools would be a good story,” said “Steph.” “The s— goes on in those schools will make your hair stand up.”
Twitter users also warned Levin not to make generalizations. Levi Breederland commented: “I’m in my 20s, went to a private Christan from grade 8-12. And had a great experience. I’m guessing, by the hashtag, that you don’t want to give any balanced reporting, so I won’t bother sending you a private message.”
Karen Pence was attacked because Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, where she helps follows the biblical guidance on homosexuality.
Media outlets largely condemn that openly as “anti-LGBT,” not addressing First Amendment protections Americans enjoy protecting their religious beliefs.
The Daily Caller reported Levin’s hashtag also attracted Twitter users who wanted “to express their animosity toward Christian schools.”
One, Peace Is Active, suggested that Americans do not have the right to their own religious beliefs, stating, “We know ‘Christian’ schools hypocritically discriminate against LGBT students.”
But the testimonies of several personalities drew attention.
“I was surrounded by people who cared about me as a human being, not just a student. I got a top notch education that allowed me to graduate magma [sic] cum laude undergrad and w honors from law school. It wasn’t perfect, but there was a high standard and love,” said Fox News host Shannon Bream.
“Apparently #ExposeChristianSchools is trending in the US,” wrote Pete Hegseth, also of Fox News. “Let’s start a real one: MOST of today’s PUBLIC (or government) schools are PC-obsessed, safe-space, leftist indoctrination fortresses that utterly FAIL our kids & our country. #ExposePublicSchools”
Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino took after the originator: “Of all the disgusting, disgraceful, horrifying, anti-American hashtag campaigns I’ve seen on this platform #ExposeChristianSchools is the most egregious. Anyone promoting this atrocious garbage should hang their heads in eternal shame.”