This isn't a news story, which means that it has no direct connection to the purpose of this weblog. However, it is a insightful note by a veteran religion reporter who, sadly, now has to let his insights into the Godbeat trickle out through blogging at a site other than the one he used to call his own. That would be Jeffrey Weiss of the Dallas Morning News, who now appears on a regular basis over at PoliticsDaily.com, while he holds down his day job covering suburban news. For more info on that sad story, click here.
Anyway, like anyone with a brain who cares about news, and about religion news in particular, Weiss has been trying to keep up with the flood of information coming out of Iran. After doing this for several days, he realized that there were voices that he was used to hearing in these kinds of stories that he was, to his surprise, not hearing this time around.
Watching the TV and Internet as events spin wildly in Iran, I went searching for what I was sure would be religious institutional voices weighing in. I've mostly come up dry. Usually such hugely public events mean that my e-box fills with official statements from the broad spectrum of institutional religion. So far I've seen nothing. So I went searching. I've done Internet news searches for "Iran" and a bunch of other religious terms: "Bishop" and "Catholic" and "Baptist" and "pastor" and "rabbi."
Aside from the leaders of a few U.S. congregations that include Iranian immigrants, I'm finding nothing. ...
There's nothing on the website of the Southern Baptist Convention. Understandable, perhaps, because the SBC's annual convention is set to begin in Louisville this week and pretty much anybody important is in transit.
The U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops is similarly silent. That body's semi-annual meeting just ended a few days ago, so maybe they too are in transit.
United Methodist Church, Union for Reform Judaism, Committee on American-Islamic Relations, Unitarian Universalists. These are all folks who usually jump pretty fast to take stands. All silent thus far.
Over at the World Council of Churches, the leadership is thinking about the Middle East. But that means more talk about the Israel-Palestine conflict. The National Council of Churches is still focused on torture. Nothing so far at the National Association of Evangelicals, either.
In the wake of Tiananmen Square, Weiss wonders if it would actually help for American religious leaders -- think Jews and Christians -- to speak out in this case. It is also possible that mainline leaders are watching the White House and are trying follow its lead, by being careful.