Over the last two weeks, I've followed the news concerning Oklahoma State University's homecoming parade tragedy both as a journalist and as a concerned Oklahoman.
After a driver crashed into a crowd of spectators Oct. 24 — killing four people and injuring dozens — I wrote a front-page story for The Washington Post on Oklahoma State grieving yet another calamity:
On the news consumer side, I've kept up with developments in the criminal case against suspect Adacia Avery Chambers by reading The Oklahoman, to which I subscribe. In fact, that case is above-the-fold, Page 1 news again today:
In today's story, there's an interesting note concerning religion. The newspaper quotes forensic psychologist Shawn Roberson, who examined the 25-year-old Chambers:
Many of Chambers’ statements during the evaluation were nonsensical, irrelevant religious references, Roberson reported. When asked why she no longer lived in Oologah, Chambers said “Well, I guess it’s changed now. Jesus died for me ” She also told Roberson she was “talking to Jesus” suggesting that Roberson was Jesus, and told him she was to marry Jesus and God. Chambers then began crying hysterically, explaining that she missed Jesus, Roberson said.
But my reason for this post concerns an earlier Oklahoman story.
In the Sunday edition, the paper ran a little profile (about 700 words) of attorney Tony Coleman, who represents Chambers.
The attorney representing the driver accused in the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade crash said he feels convicted to help those in need.
“There is something associated with representing someone who … needs a voice,” attorney Tony Coleman said last week. “Those are the cases that speak loudest to me. Those are the cases that tend to capture my attention and stir my passion.”
Could Coleman's conviction to help have something to do with religious faith?
Maybe. Maybe not.
I kept reading:
Coleman, 49, of Edmond, also said God has blessed him with a gift.
“Whether you have a born gift or one that God blesses you with alone the way, you are charged with a responsibility of using that gift,” Coleman said. “I wanted to use my gift for the good, and that is, I like to help people. I really, really do. I feel that I have a unique ability to reach all walks of life.”
OK, at this point in the story, I was prepared for The Oklahoman to ask a follow-up question (or two).
Such as: What role does God play in your life, Mr. Attorney? Or: What is your religious affiliation? Or: What exactly do you believe?
Surely my hometown newspaper wouldn't allow God to play just a cameo role in the story. Surely the paper would recognize the need to delve deeper into Coleman's faith and elaborate. Right?
Wrong. Cue the crickets.