Pod people: From clubhouse to courthouse

For this week's Crossroads, host Todd Wilken and I talked about media coverage of tragedy involving baseball star Josh Hamilton and about news reports on the impact of Illinois' new civil-unions law on faith-based adoption and foster care services. We revisited my post on Hamilton's unfortunate role in the death of a fan at a recent Texas Rangers' game:

An Oakland Athletics player hit a foul ball that ricocheted into left field. Rangers All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton picked up the ball and tossed it toward fans in the bleachers behind the out-of-town scoreboard. A man in the front row with his 6-year-old son reached for the ball, leaned a little bit too much over the railing and fell headfirst behind the left-field wall — as the entire crowd, myself included, gasped.

In my original post, I noted that anyone familiar with Hamilton and his demons knows that his Christian faith is a big deal in his life. Wilken and I discussed the media's reporting on Hamilton's statement that he believes "God has a plan" even in such a sad circumstance. I also pointed out a subsequent quote from Hamilton that attempts to make sense of the freak accident. Here's the version of the quote that appeared in USA Today:

Hamilton said his Christian faith, which helped him overcome alcohol and drug addiction to become one of baseball's brightest stars, has buoyed him and his family this week. He said his family continues to pray for the Stone family.

"This is life," Hamilton said. "There are tragedies, things that happen that you have no control over and you don't understand them. One of them is standing in front of your maker.

"Maybe I was a little more prepared to handle a situation like this. Still, it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt and affect you. It was just a random act of kindness that turned tragic."

After my visit with Wilken, I came across another piece — this one from ESPN Dallas — on Hamilton's faith helping him cope:

"I don't know all of the answers to everything, but I have a relationship with God," Hamilton said. "It's changed my life. In some ways, I feel like I was picked. In a lot of ways, I feel like I was picked because in my situation I just happen to have faith. My family's handled it well also. It's been tough, but we've talked through some things and we've prayed a lot."

In the other half of the interview, Wilken and I focused on my concerns about some of the coverage of Catholic Charities refusing to place foster children with gay couples despite Illinois' new civil-unions law. In a later post, I found a bit more to like in a Chicago Tribune story on the legal fight. In an updated story, the Tribune reports that the state will hold off cutting foster care funding to two other faith-based organizations.

Anyway, check out the podcast. Wilken asked some enlightening questions, and I did my best to answer them.

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