WPost: We reward success

successThe religion reporters at the Washington Post used to run a great blog called God in Government. A few weeks ago they merged that blog with Under God, the fantastic news blog written by On Faith editor David Waters. We've been somewhat less than enamored with the Newsweek/Washington Post On Faith section in general but Waters represents what is best about that site -- provocative questions with balanced coverage. The new blog is called Under God: Religion, government and politics in the news. At the time of the merge, the Post announced the departure of religion reporter Jacqueline Salmon. I already miss her contributions and hope we hear soon about her new adventures.

Anyway, at the new blog, I came across this post, which is reproduced in its entirety:

Looks like the activist tradition of pulling gay celebs out of the closet is moving to the parish.

Angry over the Catholic Church's work against same-sex marriage efforts in Maine and Washington D.C., a former seminarian turned netroots organizer has launched a campaign to gather names and information about closeted gay priests (as well as straight priests who engage in heterosexual affairs) "to combat the hypocrisy of their silence."

Phil Attey says the Catholic Church depends on gay men, and that he is tired of anti-gay efforts that he feels hurt gay and lesbian youth -- particularly those growing up in the Catholic Church.

Attey insists he doesn't want to forcefully out the priests, but rather "use the knowledge of the truth of their lives" to boost the case for equality, to get them to sign onto a petition by Clergy United For Marriage Equality. He calls it a "tough love" intervention, a "spiritual intervention."

We'll follow what success he has.

It's been several weeks since a GetReligion reader first alerted us to churchouting.org, the site in question. But most of the media coverage at that time was in the gay press. And now we're seeing some mainstream media coverage.

There is no question that the launch of this outing site should be covered. And the Post's write-up of the details is good, particularly for a brief blog post. But I found that last line a bit jarring. I'm sure it just means that the Post religion reporters will stay on the story, as they should. But it also could be read as giving Attey a great incentive to continue in his efforts. Should the mainstream media reward those involved with intimidating tactics such as these? I'm not sure.

And when you don't even mention that this method of activism is controversial and frowned upon even by some in the gay activist community, it could use a bit more explanation.

The local NBC news outlet also had a brief item on churchouting.org. But their item included a quote from someone affiliated with Dignity USA, a group that works to change Catholic church doctrine regarding homosexuality and certain other sexual issues. That person strongly disagreed with the outing tactic.

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