Dallas Police Chief David Brown is a man of faith.
Even if you've followed the major media profiles of Brown in the wake of Thursday night's sniper ambush that claimed the lives of five officers in Dallas, you might have missed that.
With a notable, praiseworthy exception — and we'll get to that in a moment — the stories on Brown that I've seen have overlooked or downplayed the religion angle.
That's the case even with stories that are, otherwise, extremely compelling, such as this Washington Post piece highlighted by former GetReligionista Sarah Pulliam Bailey:
Yes, a quote in the Post profile cites Brown's "professionalism and faith," but that's as far as it goes.
Other stories leave out "faith" entirely:
I spent Sunday in Dallas doing reporting of my own for The Christian Chronicle:
Since I was busy, I hadn't seen The Dallas Morning News' Sunday profile of Brown until my friend Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Abilene Christian University, pointed it out to me:
Here's what Cheryl said about the Morning News story:
This one in the DMN is particularly good and seems to address the issues of faith with more specificity and depth and some others. Thought you might like it for GetReligion.
Check out the Dallas paper's excellent treatment of Brown's faith:
Faith, family and his love for his hometown are what drive Brown, say those close to him. He stresses the importance of family time. He's married to former police Sgt. Cedonia Brown, and they have a 10-year-old daughter.
Brown believes in bedrock Christian doctrine -- faithful submission to God's plan followed by an eternal reward. He sees his job as a "divine assignment" and brings a Biblical perspective to all his decision-making, said his pastor, the Rev. Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship.
Brown doesn't compartmentalize his personal life and his professional life -- he brings the same awareness of God to both, Evans said. And he's been able to keep leading the department despite his son's death, through repeated calls for his ouster from his own officers, and now, this ambush. Evans said that's because Brown has a "faith comfort level" that God has a reason for making things happen -- even horrific things.
"There are innocent people who suffer for the wrong that people do," Evans said. "How God calculates that, I don't know. All I do know is that nothing happens by chance."
Brown sees himself as a representative of good fighting evil, Evans said. That's what keeps him grounded during tragedies and crises.
When I read a story like this that gets religion, I'm always curious about the writer. In this case, the byline belongs to veteran public safety reporter Naomi Martin. If that name sounds familiar, it's because we've praised her before at GetReligion: