Ghost of Cowtown: That crucial missing question in Texas story on Jimmy Carter and Habitat for Humanity

 Here at GetReligion, we like to go ghostbusting.

Today, I decided to do so deep in the heart of Texas — in Cowtown, to be specific.

This Fort Worth Star-Telegram headline drew me in:

Carters build hope, homes with Habitat for Humanity

Before even reading the story's lede, two things made me wonder if this report would include a religion angle: Jimmy Carter's well-known Baptist faith and Habitat's nonprofit Christian mission of "seeking to put God's love into action."

So I grabbed my hammer, nails and ghostbusting equipment and clicked the Star-Telegram link:

FORT WORTH — Henry Wills never thought he would own a home, much less have a former president help build it.
But on Monday, former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, swung hammers and hauled wood with hundreds of other Habitat for Humanity volunteers, including country music stars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, to help build the Willses’ home in Fort Worth’s Central Meadowbook neighborhood.
“I never thought I would be able to work beside a president,” Wills said, grinning. “I am just elated on what is going on. I always wanted my own home, but I never think it would arrive. But God is good.”


Sorry, that was my 2014 Holy Ghostbusting Sensor (thank you, editor Terry Mattingly, for providing all of GR's contributors with the latest model) going off. 

We're only three paragraphs into the story, and already, God has made an appearance. But will this be a starring role or a cameo?

Let's keep reading:

Since 1984, the Carters have dedicated a week each year to helping Habitat for Humanity in their Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.
The couple will finish up their work with Trinity Habitat for Humanity on Tuesday, building 20 new homes and repairing 44 others in the southeast Fort Worth neighborhood. On Wednesday through Friday, the Carters will be helping to build 30 homes and repairing 20 more in east Oak Cliff with the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity.
“It is a pleasure to see the two cities working as a team,” Carter said. “This is really not very common in the United States or anywhere else.”


I hoped the Star-Telegram might bite at that easy prompt ("God is good") and ask Wills about his faith and how he sees it playing into the construction of his new home. But nope. At least not immediately. 

Perhaps later in the story? Nope. 

Readers do hear again — briefly — from Wills, but not about his faith:

Wills and his wife have over 350 hours in building homes for Habitat, said Wills, who is supposed to move into his one-story house surrounded by other Habitat homes by the first of next year.
“I’m just trying to drive as many nails as I can into something I’m going to own,” he said, his tan work belt carefully clipped and his hammer hanging by his side.

As for Carter's Baptist faith and Habitat's Christian mission, the Star-Telegram goes silent on those potential religion elements, too.

Apparently, this is a totally non-religious story. Or at least that's the way the newspaper presents it. But GetReligion readers know better, thanks to your friendly neighborhood GetReligionistas (a.k.a. ghostbusters).

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