As some of you know, my time as a regular contributor at GetReligion is coming to an end due to other commitments relating to my legal career. I hope to continue to contribute from time-to-time on various issues, however I know I will miss regularly contributing to the community in this space.
Religion ghosts float in and out of news stories, good stories as well as shallow, incomplete stories. Sometimes people see the ghosts and that’s a good thing.
An aftermath of the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision to require the state to allow same-sex couples to marry is reported by the The Des Moines Register as a major story with potentially significant implications when in fact it is not that significant of an issue. At least it’s not significant based on the facts buried in the story. Here, a magistrate, not a judge as the headline inaccurately proclaims, announced that he will no longer perform marriage ceremonies partially in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
There has been a slew of coverage of Miss California’s statements that she does not support gay marriage laws and her belief that her comments resulted in a missed chance at being crowned Miss USA. For a summary of the in depth, extensive coverage of the incident, and to make sure I don’t misconstrue any of the critical details of this factually sensitive story, here is a summary from the Associated Press:
One must really think through this article from the San Francisco Chronicle about some students, disciplined for praying in a college faculty’s office, being permitted to sue the college for violating their free speech rights. The story’s problem, and this may not be the newspaper’s fault, is that there seems to be little to no explanation for why the college attempted to punish the students in the first place.
Most news stories I have surveyed on President Obama’s speech Tuesday on the economy (among other things) have mentioned his use of the biblical metaphor of the nation’s economy being built on a rock, but few have gone beyond the message’s surface. (See here, here, here, here, here, and here.) For starters, none of the stories I read mentioned that President George W. Bush used a lot of religious metaphors and was at times criticized for using such language.
The one-year anniversary of the removal of 400-plus children from West Texas ranch operated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a tremendous reminder of the valuable asset newspapers are in providing substantive coverage of issues and events that require lengthy and rigorous review of records and in-depth investigation.
National Public Radio had an interesting interview a few days ago regarding the announcement of former Indianapolis Colts coach and Super Bowl champion Tony Dungy’s invitation to President Obama’s White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Yes, the invitation was officially announced (nice work Dan Gilgoff), and yes, Dungy declined that invitation for the stated reason of the time constraints of a retired NFL coach.
The Chicago Tribune‘s coverage of what appears to be a minor news story about a contract dispute between a national franchise (Dunkin’ Donuts) and a local franchisee deserves a mention of praise for its accuracy and relative depth on the tricky religious and legal angles. For starters, the reporter portrays the article’s primary subject precisely and in a way that conveys the information readers need to know: