The God-beat professionals at www.religionwriters.com have a biweekly listserv feature called ReligionLink that floats story ideas and resources for reporters who are looking for feature stories that spin off current events in the news. This is tricky territory since, to pick a metaphor, artists tend to paint with the colors that are already on their palette. I'm sure that if Doug and I put out a GetReligion.org list of stories that we wanted mainstream reporters to cover, and sources of information to flesh it all out, then we would be open to criticism as well. That's reality.
What we need is more voices and information, not less. So "amen" for the ReligionLink effort. For a sample of what they are up to, check out the current offering on a story that is lurking at the edge of the same-sex marriage debates -- quiet efforts to legalize polygamy. Yes, it's kind of edgy. But some of the links run off into surprisingly deep waters. The newsletter notes:
In some regions of the country, many people take the attitude that religiously motivated polygamy should just be left alone as a matter between consenting adults. When polygamists are prosecuted, it's usually for what some label "polygabuse" -- charges related to crimes such as incest, underage marriage or welfare fraud. But many, including women who have left polygamy, say polygamous relationships are inherently patriarchal and tend to mistreat women. The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints outlawed polygamy in 1890, but some unofficial offshoots of the church continue to practice it.
Will polygamous communities press for legitimacy? While a number are openly hoping that they will gain standing through legalization of same-sex marriage, they are counterbalanced by those who insist on defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.