Category : Media
On the morning of July 4, I left Delhi for Uttar Pradesh to report a story on India’s feverish toilet-building campaign. I was out on the street most of the day, when I noticed ink in my journal was smudged with raindrops. “The monsoon has arrived,” I noted.
The smudged page also contained a fragment of overheard conversation: “We will marry our daughter to you only if you have a foot.” It was the first line of an intriguing story I would never write, because the next day I went for a morning jog in Delhi’s beautiful Lodhi Gardens.
That is really the last thing I remember with certainty. I only learned later that I had, somehow, made my way from the gardens to New Delhi’s Golf Course Colony, several miles away.
This is where a malignant brain tumor, as yet undiagnosed, struck me down and left me thrashing on the ground.
At one point he was taken for dead by a mortuary crew, who toe-tagged him: “Unknown Caucasian male, age 47 and a half.” Almost 70, @rodnordland found something to cheer him up after a brain tumor was found. “Well, I could learn to love this tumor.” https://t.co/EWlnJNoVYB
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) September 1, 2019
The Latest Edition of the Diocese of #SouthCarolina Enewsletter https://t.co/zVzdA1XCmi #parishministry #lowcountrylife #anglican #churchgrowth #theology #lowcountrylife #anglican #media #religion pic.twitter.com/Xz9vFPHfNx
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) July 10, 2019
Cornelius Ryan was a 24-year-old war correspondent when he had a chance to see a defining moment in the defining event of the 20th century — the Allied landings on the coast of France to retake France and bring down Hitler.
Ryan at first witnessed the invasion from a bomber that flew over the beaches. Then, back in England, he scrambled to find the only thing he could that was going to Normandy. A torpedo boat that, he learned too late, had no radio. “And if there’s one thing that an editor is not interested in,” he said, “it’s having a reporter somewhere he can’t write a story.”
Recalling those five hours off the coast, watching the struggle on the beaches, he remembered “the magnitude of the thing, the vastness. I felt so inadequate to describe it.”
But today, as the 71st anniversary of D-Day approaches on June 6, Ryan is most likely to be remembered for being the one who did describe it, who told so many millions the real story of what happened that day, in his book which became the famous movie, “The Longest Day.”
Panoramic view of successful D-Day landing, 75 years ago: pic.twitter.com/8F73zvdvig
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) June 6, 2019
The Spring issue of the Jubilate Duo has just published! A front page article salutes our church plant – St. Timothy's – https://t.co/0lrrUV6tRM
To subscribe tothe Jubilate Deo, go here: https://t.co/tiTmvbIx3O pic.twitter.com/889A11PtE8
— St Pauls Summerville (@StPaulsSVille) May 20, 2019
(GR) Richard Ostling writes on recent reports about Religious Affiliation in America and what to Make of them
Writing for the interfaith journal First Things, Mark Movsesian of the St. John’s University Center for Law and Religion (who belongs on your source list) joins those who say the U.S. is experiencing “a decline in religious affiliation among people whose identification was weak to begin with.” As with politics, he proposes, “the middle seems to be dropping out in favor of the extremes on either end.”
Examining the post-2000 mystery, reporters could theorize that priestly molesting scandals undercut Catholic involvement – but they were a continual embarrassment the prior 15 years. Liberals may have been alienated by Protestant churches enmeshed in conservative politicking – but that was the case for two decades before 2000. Many younger Americans reject old-fashioned sexual morality, but churches that upheld that belief fared better than “mainline” Protestants who’ve liberalized since 2000.
So what gives? The Guy proposes that reporters look for underlying societal factors. Americans have eroding faith in all institutions (among which religion is the ultimate institution). And what about the lure of weekend leisure, entertainment and athletics over against attending worship? Perhaps most powerful is the way social-media addiction undercuts face-to-face involvements. How are your area volunteer fire departments or Kiwanis clubs faring?
Two former Bishops of Lincoln “turned a blind eye” to alleged abuse cases and did not report them to police until decades later, a BBC Panorama investigation…[revealed yesterday].
A list of 53 Lincoln Diocese clergy and staff was also eventually referred to the police in 2015, eight years after a review into past safeguarding disclosures was announced.
The Church of England Past Cases Review which examined thousands of records in 2008 and 2009, including some child abuse cases, found that some names could have been referred years earlier.
The police investigation that followed resulted in the conviction of three people….
https://t.co/lf3c1ZB03Z Looks like Lincoln is another Chichester. I’m sure plenty more will emerge from this & other dioceses. @churchofengland has been hiding much & hoping things would lay undisturbed. They are in crisis and still not owning it properly.
— Gilo (@seaofcomplicity) April 29, 2019
Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop said: “It has been harrowing to hear survivors’ accounts of their abuse – shared on BBC Panorama – and we issue an unreserved apology for how we have failed them. We acknowledge that the Past Cases Review, PCR, from 2008-10, however well-intentioned was in hindsight clearly flawed, as shown in the independent scrutiny report by Sir Roger Singleton published last summer. The ‘stringent criticisms’ of the PCR, shared with IICSA, are being acted upon and all dioceses are now carrying out a second past cases review, PCR2. We fully acknowledge that it was a serious mistake not to work with and hear from survivors during the original PCR. The new review will ensure survivors voices are heard. We are aware of the courage it takes for survivors to come forward knowing that the effects of their abuse are with them for life.
I would urge anyone affected by the Panorama programme to call the NSPCC helpline number 0808 800 5000.”
Watch it all (30 minutes).
— John Harvey 💜 (@Mr_John_Harvey_) April 29, 2019
Please join us tomorrow for our final Lenten Teaching Series with The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence. 11:00 – Holy Eucharist (Chapel)11:45 – Lunch served (Fellowship Hall)12:10 – Teaching time (Fellowship Hall)12:50 – Blessing and Dismissal https://t.co/dXxdBPa2ON pic.twitter.com/2u80ePrDkX
— St. John’s Church (Anglican) (@STJOHNSFLORENCE) April 10, 2019
(Local Paper) Anti-human trafficking posters placed in South Carolina arena bathrooms during NCAA tournament
South Carolina law requires posting of human trafficking awareness posters in hotels, bars and airports.
But with Columbia hosting first- and second-round games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this weekend, the posters are on display for the first time ever in Colonial Life Arena.
“There’s always an increase in online solicitation around large sports events, which lands a lot of people in trafficking,” said Alexis Williams Scurry, the project coordinator for the Richland County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force who pushed for adding the posters.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) March 21, 2019
Dr Smith said, however, that there were insufficient penalties for companies who ignored the new standards. “With little consequences for companies flouting the rules, and few teeth to enforce these new directives, the Committee of Advertising Practice needs to step up their approach.
“With so many of the proposals relying on betting firms to self-regulate, I sadly have little hope for major changes to the way gambling advertises.
“This endless barrage of adverts has normalised gambling, and we now have 55,000 children who are problem gamblers and it is time for the gambling industry to take this issue seriously.
“It is our moral duty to protect young people from gambling-related harm, and I hope the Committee of Advertising Practice will support my General Synod motion demanding tighter regulation around gambling advertising.”
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) February 15, 2019
Whatever Mr. Levin’s intention, he has provoked an outpouring from people attesting to the wonderful difference Christian schools have made in their lives. Nor is it only conservatives who speak this way. Here’s Justice Sonia Sotomayor in 2013, offering her version of #ExposeChristianSchools when she learned her own parochial school, Blessed Sacrament in the Bronx, was shutting down.
“You know how important those eight years were?” Justice Sotomayor said in an interview with the New York Times. “It’s symbolic of what it means for all our families, like my mother, who were dirt poor. She watched what happened to my cousins in public school and worried if we went there, we might not get out. So she scrimped and saved. It was a road of opportunity for kids with no other alternative.”
One of the lesser known things about Catholic schools is that they boast a 99% high-school graduation rate—with 86% going to a four-year college, nearly twice the 44% rate of public schools. Particularly in the inner cities, these schools are a lifeline, not least for the tens of thousands of non-Catholic children of color who without that education might be condemned to lives lived at the margins of the American Dream.
Among the features that set Christian schools apart is the command to see the face of Christ in each child. Human nature being what it is, reality often falls short. But it remains a beautiful expectation, a reminder that the children before you are to be not only taught but loved.
— Bill McGurn (@wjmcgurn) January 29, 2019
The BBC is launching a year-long series of programmes examining faith, belief and values in modern Britain.
As part of its coverage of a society that is “more diverse, more complex and more divided than ever before”, the corporation will launch a major survey of attitudes to contentious issues and ethical dilemmas.
The broadcaster’s “Year of Beliefs” commissions include landmark series and one-off documentaries on television and radio to address issues such as science and religion, LGBT+, circumcision, surrogacy and medical ethics.
Among the programmes is Inside the Vatican, a look behind the scenes at the independent city-state at the heart of the Catholic church, filmed over a year. The two-part documentary promises “astonishing access”, including to Pope Francis, the choristers of the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican’s security personnel, diplomats and gardeners.
A one-off documentary, Welcome to the Bruderhof, explores a village near Hastings that is home to 300 Christians who live together as disciples of Christ, spurning cars and mobile phones.
(GR) Washington Post editors still don’t understand that private schools – left and right – have doctrines
All in all, this was a perfectly normal elite mainstream newsroom story about this divisive religious-liberty issue — especially since the newspaper’s religion desk was not involved. The story quotes exactly the sources one would expect to see quoted, without any troubling information from old-school liberal First Amendment sources.
As always, let me stress that journalists do not need to agree with the views of traditional religious-liberty liberals (often called “conservatives” these days) when covering stories of this kind. It is essential, however, to understand the points of view on both sides, while providing accurate coverage.
The key: Do readers finish this Post story knowing that religious institutions on the left — not just conservative schools and organizations — have these kinds of policies defending their beliefs? Religious liberals and secularists have been known to drive wedges into national life, too.
Again, please consider the experiences of an evangelical — an ordained Anglican woman — in that earlier Vanderbilt case.
Why not look at both sides of these issues? Why not examine the work of religious educators in voluntary associations on the educational left and right?
Read it all and follow the links.
It was the big tech equivalent of “drink responsibly” or the gambling industry’s “safer play”; the latest milestone in Silicon Valley’s year of apology. Earlier this month, Facebook and Instagram announced new tools for users to set time limits on their platforms, and a dashboard to monitor one’s daily use, following Google’s introduction of Digital Well Being features.
In doing so the companies seemed to suggest that spending time on the internet is not a desirable, healthy habit, but a pleasurable vice: one that if left uncontrolled may slip into unappealing addiction.
Having secured our attention more completely than ever dreamed, they now are carefully admitting it’s time to give some of it back, so we can meet our children’s eyes unfiltered by Clarendon or Lark; go see a movie in a theater; or contra Apple’s ad for its watch, even go surfing without — heaven forfend — “checking in.”
“The liberation of human attention may be the defining moral and political struggle of our time,” writes James Williams, a technologist turned philosopher and the author of a new book, “Stand Out of Our Light.”
We need to master our devices, not let them master us.
Finding It Hard to Focus? Maybe It’s Not Your Fault https://t.co/zlCQtu1QE3
— Philip Cannon (@epcannon) August 18, 2018
(WSJ) Egyptian Legislation treats social-media accounts with more than 5,000 followers as media outlets, opening Twitter and Facebook users to prosecution
Egypt’s parliament passed a law giving the government sweeping powers to regulate traditional and social media, a move critics say will boost the Sisi regime’s ability to crack down on free speech and dissent.
The measure allows authorities to penalize traditional media like television and newspapers for spreading what the government terms fake news. It also treats social-media accounts with more than 5,000 followers as media outlets, opening Twitter and Facebook users to prosecution on vague charges including defaming religion and inciting hatred.
Most prominent media outlets in Egypt are pro-government, and some analysts and rights groups see the law as an aggressive attempt to restrict social media, which remains one of the few remaining arenas of free expression in a country where independent news websites are often blocked and unauthorized street protests banned.
“These laws would legalize this mass censorship and step up the assault on the right to freedom of expression in Egypt,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa campaigns director at Amnesty International, commenting on the law and related legislation ahead of the vote.
(NYT)“What? I’m pregnant. I’m still a man. You have questions? Come talk to me. You have a problem with it? Don’t be in my life.”
Paetyn, an impish 1-year-old, has two fathers. One of them gave birth to her.
As traditional notions of gender shift and blur, parents and children like these are redefining the concept of family.
Paetyn’s father Tanner, 25, is a trans man: He was born female but began transitioning to male in his teens, and takes the male hormone testosterone.
“I was born a man in a female body,” he said.
His partner and Paetyn’s biological father is David, 35, a gay man.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
(GR) Julia Duin–When profiling ADF’s Kristin Waggoner, why not include facts about her Pentecostal roots?
There’s so much good in this story, as the details are the result of hours of observation by a keen-eyed reporter. It’s the stuff that got left out that drives me batty.
The story talks a lot about Waggoner’s friendship with Stutzman but doesn’t mention how Waggoner honed her craft through years of working in a law firm here in Seattle, where she got her fill of the liberal politics in this ultra-blue state.
I learned the details of her religious upbringing in Ken McIntyre’s Daily Signal piece where we learn Waggoner is the daughter of an Assemblies of God minister, Clint Behrends, who is on staff of Cedar Park Assembly of God in Bothell, a Seattle suburb. She attended an Assemblies of God college in nearby Kirkland; clerked for a Washington Supreme Court judge, then spent 15 years with Ellis, Li & McKinstry, a Seattle law firm that includes many Christian lawyers. And ever since moving to Arizona to work with ADF in 2014, her star has gone straight up.
We also learn her husband is a lawyer and that they have three kids. Most importantly, she is a Pentecostal Christian. That’s what growing up in the rather moderate Assemblies of God means. Thinking back to 2008, when another female Pentecostal, Sarah Palin, climbed onto the national stage as the Republican Party’s vice presidential candidate, reporters hadn’t a clue how to cover her church. Not much has changed.
I don’t know whether the Post reporter didn’t grasp Waggoner’s beliefs enough to ask her about them or whether she did include those details but an editor took them out. But if this woman’s faith renders her unflappable amidst some tough high-profile cases, not to mention the personal toll of overseeing dozens of lawyers working on similar cases while staying married with three kids, then we should know more about it.
Once again, what is the logic – in terms of journalism basics – for omitting this kind of core information?
When you apply this to other crucial First Amendment doctrines then you would find yourself defending the rights of a single baker (a traditional Christian) to decline a request to create a one-of-a-kind artistic cake celebrating a same-sex wedding rite (after offering the couple any of the standard cakes or desserts in his shop). The baker’s very narrow, faith-based refusal of this task was offensive and caused pain, yet the gay couple had many other options in the local marketplace. The baker is “the powerful” force in this legal fight?
It would also be possible to defend Catholic nuns who refused government commandments that they cooperate with efforts to provide contraceptive options to their own staff, in violations of important Catholic doctrines linked to their mission. The elderly nuns represent the “the powerful” classes in this legal fight?
This Times piece, if the goal was balance, really needed to document cases of conservative forces rising up, during the past decade or two, to DENY First Amendment freedoms to liberal people and liberal organizations. Shouldn’t we be seeing a wave of those? Are liberal voices being silence in public life (as opposed to inside private associations)?
For example, are there examples of liberal, perhaps mainline Protestant, churches and ministries being pressed to violate their doctrines, perhaps being compelled to deliver messages that violate elements of their evolving doctrines? Perhaps there are cases linked to the sanctuary movement?
I am left, once again, wondering what label to assign to contemporary people and groups that are weak in their defense of free speech, weak in their defense of freedom of association and weak in their defense of the free exercise of religion. What should fair-minded journalists call them? What should the Times team have called the powers that be on the “progressive” side of the debate (including the newspaper’s editorial-page team)?
The one label that cannot be assigned to these groups is “liberal.” That just won’t fly, in the wider context of American political thought.
Read it all (my emphasis).
(GR) New American Bible Society policy defends (a) ancient orthodoxy, (b) evangelicalism or (c) both?
Let’s start with a few old questions about Christian doctrine and church history.
First, what does does the Roman Catholic Church – at the level of its Catechism – teach about the definition of marriage and the moral status of sex outside of marriage?
Second question: What doctrines do Eastern Orthodox churches around the world affirm on these same topics, which have implications for issues such as cohabitation before marriage and premarital sex?
Third question: What do the vast majority of Anglican churches around the world teach on these same issues? Ditto for United Methodists?
Come to think of it, what does the ancient Christian document known as the Didache have to say on issues linked to marriage and sex?
I could go on. However, let’s jump to a current news story that is linked to these issues. In particular, I would like to call attention to the Religion News Service report that was posted with this headline: “Employees quit American Bible Society over sex and marriage rules.”
The May 18 mass shooting at Santa Fe provides the latest evidence of a phenomenon that researchers have in recent years come to recognize, but are still unable to explain: The mass shootings that are now occurring with disturbing regularity at the nation’s schools are shocking, disturbing, tragic — and seemingly contagious.
Interviews with law enforcement officials, educators, researchers, students and a gunman’s mother, as well as a review of court documents, academic studies and the writings of killers and would-be killers, show that the school-shooting copycat syndrome has grown more pervasive and has steadily escalated in recent years. And much of it can be traced back to the two killers at Columbine, previously ordinary high school students who have achieved dark folk hero status — their followers often known as “Columbiners” — in the corners of the internet where their carefully planned massacre is remembered, studied and in some cases even celebrated.
Investigators say school shootings have become the American equivalent of suicide bombings — not just a tactic, but an ideology. Young men, many of them depressed, alienated or mentally disturbed, are drawn to the Columbine subculture because they see it as a way to lash out at the world and to get the attention of a society that they believe bullies, ignores or misunderstands them.
The seemingly contagious violence has begun branching off Columbine, researchers say, and is now bringing in more recent attacks, many of them building off the details and media fixation with the last.
— YourNews24H (@YourNews24H) May 30, 2018
The Church of England has launched an “Alexa skill” that provides answers to questions about faith and prayer, and can find a church to attend on the basis of the user’s location.
Launched on Wednesday night, the skill is compatible with all Amazon Echo and Alexa devices. Users can ask questions such as “Who is God?” and “How do I become a Christian?” besides making the device read specific prayers or prayers for different situations or periods of the day.
The skill is similar to an app on a smartphone or tablet, and is one of the “first significant faith-based resources” for Alexa, the C of E’s head of digital, Adrian Harris, says.
It works alongside the website A Church Near You to help users find their nearest church events and services.
Users can launch the C of E skill on Alexa by saying “Alexa, open the Church of England.” A full list of commands is available online.
(WSJ) Julia Duin–It’s Hard to Find God on the Front Page: A lack of reporters means religious news gets short shrift—and lots of corrections
It’s always been a struggle to persuade news executives that Americans are more interested in religion than, say, sports. Associated Press religion writer George Cornell addressed the issue a few months before he died in 1994. He noted that religious giving in 1992 totaled $56.7 billion—some 14 times the gate receipts for America’s three biggest sports. Cornell also said that attendance at religious events, according to Gallup polls, was 5.6 billion in 1993. That was 55 times the 103 million total attendance reported by the professional baseball, football and basketball leagues. The gap has narrowed in the past 25 years, but religious giving still maintains a multibillion-dollar lead.
Such involvement—no doubt much of it in religiously active flyover country—was not reflected in the average newsroom, even in the relatively cash-flush 1990s. The typical regional paper employed small armies of sports reporters while maybe employing a religion reporter. And Cornell’s pessimistic piece came at only the beginning of a decadeslong decline in daily newspaper circulation. Never-ending layoffs, firings and closings left religion among the most decimated of the specialty beats. Whole regions of the western U.S. and Canada have no staff reporter covering religion. Imagine if no one covered sports in Oregon, Wyoming and Arizona….
It’s a shame so few outlets seem to take religion seriously anymore. Done right, the beat can be quite profitable. Anyone who wants to understand the forces behind much of today’s news needs to understand faith.
Mohler quoted a 2016 official report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in which the chairman, Martin R. Castro, wrote, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”
The commission’s report, Mohler pointed out, placed both religious liberty and religious freedom in scare quotes as if they are “linguistic constructions without any objective reality.”
“We are now witnessing a great and inevitable collision between religious liberty and newly declared and invented sexual liberties,” he said, listing various incidents illustrating how the collision is now taking place.
Mohler encouraged Christian leaders to hold on to the truths expressed in the Declaration of Independence and to defend these truths “that should be, but often are not, recognized as self-evident.”
And to the generation of young people who are committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ but assume that the defense of religious liberty is political, Mohler said they also need to be committed to the free propagation and voicing of the Gospel, without which sinners will not hear the Gospel.
“We’re in a fight that’s worth fighting,” Mohler said. “And we understand that as we contend for the freedom of religion, and the freedom of speech, and the freedom of press, again, we’re doing this not just for ourselves and for our children, not just for our churches, but for the world.
“Let’s pray that God will give us wisdom to hold these truths in perilous times,” Mohler concluded.
[Billy] Graham gave the editors four pieces of advice that still ring true, even in today’s embattled journalism marketplace.
1. Increase local, national and global religion news coverage — period. Look for “street-level” religion and don’t be afraid to put these stories on page one.
2. Dig deeper than the “bare facts,” probing the ethical and moral angles of issues in medicine, science, business, academia and law.
3. “Build bridges” to religious leaders through face-to-face contacts, just like media leaders do with business people and politicians. Also, help religious leaders understand the realities of the news business.
4. There’s no way around it: Hire experienced religion reporters who have demonstrated excellence on that beat. Isn’t that, Graham said, the way you hire sports reporters?
…one truth cannot be denied.
“Religion often sways whole societies,” Graham said, “and can even change the course of history.”