Did you read about the American who was caught in Pakistan attempting to hunt down Osama bin Laden? As soon as I heard the man was from my home state of Colorado, I became more interested in the details. Dr. Scott Faulkner spoke in defense of his brother, the 52-year-old Gary Brooks Faulkner, to Denver NBC affiliate 9News:
"My brother is not crazy," Scott Faulkner said. "He is highly intelligent and loves his country and has not forgotten what Osama has done to this country." . . .
"When 9/11 happened, as a Christian we took that very personally, as did most of the country," Scott Faulkner said. "It really messed up the psyche of America, and Osama had made some references to our God - the god of the bible and in a poor light - and the fact that he was taunting America and getting away with killing thousands of Americans, my brother took that very personally."
Why is that g in God lowercased? That's not Associated Pres style. Anyway, Scott Faulkner tells the reporter that his brother felt the U.S. government was not doing enough to find bin Laden and he had gone to Pakistan six times without suffering a scratch. He also said that his brother is trained in some martial arts. Although the danged copy desk produced copy that termed that "marital arts" -- a big difference indeed!
There was also this little note from officer Mumtaz Ahmad Khan:
Khan said Faulkner was also carrying a book containing Christian verses and teachings.
Hmm, wonder what that book could be. The Associated Press report on the guy calls it a "Bible." Which makes the description above seem pretty funny.
Anyway, the AP story is no gem itself, however. Here's how the religion angle is handled:
Catching bin Laden was 50-year-old Faulkner's passion, his brother Scott Faulkner said. A devout Christian with a prison record, Faulkner has been to Pakistan at least six times, learned some of the local language, and even grew a long beard to blend in, relatives and acquaintances said.
Now, I by no means think that a prison record is incompatible with being a devout Christian, but this is really poor phrasing. What, exactly, makes him devout? His flouting of American law? There's clearly a religion angle here that needs to be explored, but this only raises more questions.
Telling us that this man is a generic "devout Christian" replaces that exploration with a fairly meaningless label. What are his specific religious beliefs? How does he demonstrate devotion to those beliefs? Why is the phrase "devout Christian" being used here? Show us his devotion to Christianity rather than tell us without any evidence.