No gray area: Look what happened when a Godbeat pro covered '50 Shades of Grey'

I haven't read the book. Don't plan to.

I haven't seen the movie. Don't plan to.

But alas, "50 Shades of Grey" — which opens in theaters today — has been pretty impossible to miss in my Twitter feed:

Amid the 50 shades of links — most promoting blog posts and columns — I was pleased to spot an actual news story by a top Godbeat pro quoting religious leaders:

JoAnne Viviano, as regular GetReligion readers will remember, is the award-winning religion writer for the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio.

Her story on "50 Shades" quotes a half-dozen religious people — from a Catholic bishop to a Jewish rabbi to a liberal Protestant pastor.

The ministry leader highlighted in the lede is familiar to me:

Lynn Stevens has been watching in horror as her friends make plans to see Fifty Shades of Grey, a film that tells the story of a recent college graduate involved with a man who introduces her to sadomasochism.
“My stance is empowering women, not overpowering women,” said Stevens, who directs We Are Cherished Ohio, a group that takes the Christian message to women who work in the sex industry.
The film, which opens Friday in advance of Valentine’s Day, “glamorizes and glorifies domestic violence” and creates a romantic image of a man who abuses and manipulates women, she said.
“And that’s not a love story in any sense of the word.”
Stevens is not alone in her concern over the wild popularity of a film, and the book on which it’s based, that critics say sends an unhealthy message about the nature of sexual and loving relationships.
The Fifty Shades of Grey novel by E.L. James is the first in a trilogy that has sold more than 100 million books worldwide. The Fandango movie-ticket website said the film has become its highest-grossing R-rated movie in prerelease sales.
As the film debuts, religious leaders have called on clergy to discuss the nature of loving sexual relationships with their congregations. A social-media campaign called #50DollarsNot50Shades is asking people to donate $50 to a women’s shelter instead of paying to see the movie.

I recognized Stevens' name because I interviewed her for a Religion News Service story I wrote last year on "We Are Cherished":

Here's what I like about Viviano's Dispatch story: It's timely. It reflects a range of voices. It's interestingly told. 

And it's meaty, despite being less than 800 words — a fair length, by the way, for a daily newspaper story of this kind.

I'm curious: Have you seen other Godbeat coverage of "50 Shades" — good or bad?

By all means, please share a link below or tweet us at @getreligion.

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