Let me be silly for a moment. One of the things I love about the religion beat is that valid and even interesting religious content can show up literally anywhere in the newspaper. If you needed evidence of that, check out this chatty little story from the Washington Times, focusing on the highs and lows of celebrity parenting.
On one side, we have Dina Lohan, the hip mom of that human tabloid story -- Lindsay Lohan. On the other side is the achy breaky daddy, Billy Ray Cyrus, the parent in charge of the entertainment-industrial complex named Miley Cyrus, or Hannah Montana, or whatever. What does faith have to do with this contest between Dina and Billy Ray?
One cites Bible verses and grounds his daughter when she misbehaves; the other drinks cocktails and goes club-hopping into the wee hours with her celebrity daughter. Says celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton (aka Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr.): "Billy Ray Cyrus actually sets boundaries. ... Dina Lohan is an enabler, a parasite. ... The Lohans are role models for dysfunction."
The effect on the kids? Well, make your own judgment -- but one of the girls has been in and out of rehab and has an arrest record; the other recited Ephesians 6:10-11 on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Parenting just might be a factor. ...
Chicago-based parenting coach Sharon Pieters (childminded.com) says the latter might be easier for Ms. Lohan than the former.
"I think to Dina Lohan, Lindsay is primarily a friend, a playmate," Ms. Pieters says. "She leans on her kids for emotional support, and in the end, Lindsay and her sister are probably saying, 'Who's taking care of me if my mother's not?' " she says, adding, "If she wants to give her children support, she should give them advice and bring them their favorite sandwiches -- not go out for tequila shots at two in the morning."
And on the other side, what, pray tell, was Hannah Montana quoting to Oprah from the Good Book?
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
So this is an interesting faith reference about, I would assume, the Hollywood life. But that's that. This entire faith-based angle of the story vanishes.
So Billy Ray has his daughter ready for a Bible drill. There are actual faith questions that could be asked at this point. Many a Nashville star and starlet has started out in the church choir. I would imagine that the young Cyrus had a slightly easier lift off than that.
But there's always an easy question that can be asked: Where is the family pew? Who is their pastor? If the story is about good parenting and, well, bad parenting, and there is a hint that faith has something to do with it in this case, could we please have some facts? In other words, the faith element is worth taking seriously. Can I get an, "Amen"?