For Beliefnet, these are busy times. Super Tuesday, which featured two-dozen state primaries and caucuses, was followed hard by Ash Wednesday. In addition to political coverage, Caldwell and her team were juggling features on chronic pain, the top 10 spiritual moments from American Idol and the Beliefnet Film Awards. Someone had also proposed reviving the annual I Hate Lent blog. “A lot of people do hate Lent,” Caldwell agreed.
The morning meeting was a reminder of the ubiquity of religion in American life ”“ from politics to pop culture ”“ and hinted at the currents that are propelling Beliefnet. Each month, more than three million visitors flock to the site, according to ComScan, the media metrics company, making it the most popular religion destination on the internet.
One measure of Beliefnet’s influence is that it managed in this hectic election season to land exclusive interviews with several of the top US presidential candidates, including Mike Huckabee, John McCain, John Edwards and Barack Obama. Edwards talked about the importance of faith after the death of his son. Huckabee disclosed that the Lord gave him wisdom for the Iowa debates. And Obama reiterated that he is not Muslim, and said he prays each night that he is “an instrument of God’s will”. The two candidates who refused Beliefnet ”“ Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani ”“ were among the first to drop out of the race. All this from a site that did not exist a decade ago.
Beliefnet’s clout seems destined to grow….