Fred Barnes is a Christian conservative who runs an openly conservative magazine and attends a conservative Anglican parish. He also spends a lot of his time in the world of talk television, which means he is used to stating his views in short bursts of information and he doesn't mind if people disagree. With all of that in mind, what we have here is a very short and opinionated take on GetReligion's 5Q+1 questions.
Once again, I think that the crucial point about Barnes -- made in an earlier post on this blog -- is that he is a religious or moral conservative more than he is a political conservative. He sees religious issues through the lens of his church (even more than through his famous eyeglasses).
Also, let me sound a note of serious, serious doubt about the answer that Barnes gave to question No. 1. Whether you agree with his opinions or not, it's clear from his writing and editing that he reads much more widely than Christianity Today and World, when it comes to gaining information about the world of religion. I also think it's interesting -- and a glimpse into his own story as an adult convert to real Christian faith -- that he lists his own grown children as major influences on how he sees the world. Every time I have ever heard Barnes speak, he has referred to the impact that his own children -- daughters, if I remember correctly -- have had on his faith and beliefs. Interesting.
So here come the Barnes soundbites. Prepare to fire back at him.
(1) Where do you get your news about religion?
Mostly at church, The Falls Church in Falls Church, Va. Or from my grown children, all Christians, or from Mike Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who knows everything about religion. Also, I belong to two Bible studies. Oh, yes, I read Christianity Today and World.
(2) What is the most important religion story right now that you think the mainstream media just do not get?
That's simple. It's the threat from Islamic radicalism. The media sees it as a problem in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not a real threat to Western civilization and Christianity. The media reports on it without understanding it at all.
(3) What is the story that you will be watching carefully in the next year or two?
The decline and fall of the Episcopal Church. I belong to a parish that voted to withdraw from the Episcopal Church. It's a vote I don't regret in the least.
(4) Why is it important for journalists to understand the role of religion in our world today?
Because religion in one form or another drives events in many if not most parts of the world.
(5) What is the funniest, most ironic twist that you have seen in a religion news story lately?
The leaders of the Episcopal Church, who are liberal and politically correct and in favor of multiculturalism, now feel compelled to criticize, and criticize quite stridently and intolerantly, the Anglican leaders in Africa and Asia, who are orthodox believers.
BONUS: Do you have anything else you want to tell us about religion coverage in the mainstream news media?
The coverage is biased against traditional forms of Christian faith.