The New York Times was criticized for having double standards after it carried a full-page anti-Catholic ad in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of Hobby Lobby, after having rejected an anti-Muslim ad in 2012.
The ad titled “Dogma Should Not Trump Our Civil Liberties”, which was proposed by Freedom from Religion Foundation against the Catholic Church, highlights the irony of an all-male, all-Roman Catholic majority at the Supreme Court putting religion over women’s rights. The ad accused the ultra-conservative majority at Supreme Court of siding with fanatical fundamentalists who draw parallels between contraception and abortion.
According to Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who submitted an anti-Muslim ad that was rejected in 2012, the Times told them that the ad would have been published if the situation in Afghanistan was not as bad. But, considering how things were at that point, Bob Christie, senior vice president of Corporate Communications for the New York Times, did not deem it fit to inflame an already hot situation. They also promised to reconsider publishing the ad in a few months time.
News analyst Matthew Balan said that even though the Times is entitled to decide what ads it wants to publish, its response to Geller and Spencer only prove the duo’s argument, which is, “…no Catholics are likely to respond violently to harsh criticism of the Catholic Church, but enough Muslims are likely to respond violently to harsh criticism of Islam…”
“There are plenty of peace-loving Muslims, but unfortunately there are also enough extremist Muslim thugs to affect what the Times is willing to publish,” asserted Balan.
While FFRF does have a list of honorary board members including Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Julia Sweeney, Oliver Sacks and Ron Reagen, this ad by them was mostly perceived as a fundraising device for offering a lifetime membership to people for $1,000 and an after-life membership for $5,000.