The May 31 appearance of this religion story in the Daily Beast had some of us at GetReligion scratching our heads. The Beast is not a site one ordinarily goes to for religion reporting or even hard news, period. After all, this is a nearly 7-year-old website launched by Tina Brown that merged, at one time, with what's left of Newsweek.
However, in recent years it’s attempted to come up a bit in quality. John Avlon, its new editor (Brown left in 2013) said in a recent interview, “We seek out scoops, scandals and stories about secret worlds; we love confronting bullies, bigots and hypocrites.” Thus, the website -- as of Wednesday night -- had entries ranging from “Putin’s New Blitz” to a story about a Maryland woman “Killed by her Back Alley Butt Implants."
Kind of supermarket tabloid meets Foreign Policy magazine. How much of this is traditional news? It's often hard to tell.
Meanwhile, the Beast also ran a piece titled "Megachurch: Stay with your kiddie porn-watching husband or face church discipline.” It’s by Matthew Paul Turner, former editor of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) magazine who’s turned superstar blogger and contributor to the Beast. Turner has written on church discipline before, notably regarding the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, so it’s not a huge shock that he’d jump on the chance to cover this story. Here is a key chunk of the text:
After attending seminary, Karen Hinkley, along with her onetime husband, Jordan Root, dreamed of becoming missionaries. The couple married in the spring of 2012 and eagerly began seeking opportunities to serve God overseas.
At the time, she had no way of knowing that alleged abuse of the most awful kind would sink their marriage. Or that the church would discipline her for wanting to end her marriage to a confessed child porn addict. Or that her pastor would try to block her from leaving the congregation.