Rand Paul

Curious about the religion of the 2016 presidential candidates? Check out RNS' impressive '5 faith facts'

Curious about the religion of the 2016 presidential candidates? Check out RNS' impressive '5 faith facts'

Did you know that Hillary Clinton "was, is and likely always will be a social-justice-focused Methodist?"

Did you know that even as governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee "maintained his pastoral instincts, sometimes contacting members of his Southern Baptist church when he learned of a death in their families?"

Did you know that Ben Carson is "a twice-baptized Seventh-day Adventist?"

You knew all of those things — and much more — if you've been following Religion News Service's "5 faith facts" series on the declared candidates.

I really like RNS' "5 faith facts" format.

In this listicle age of journalism, it's an interesting and informative way to report on the candidates' faith. Plus, for a wire service such as RNS, it presents value-added content that news organizations can use either by itself or as a sidebar to other major coverage. I definitely intend to save the links for future reference.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

New York Times claims Rand Paul is 'lone candidate' in GOP defending civil liberties

New York Times claims Rand Paul is 'lone candidate' in GOP defending civil liberties

As a rule, your GetReligionistas do not write entire posts about headlines. I will make an exception in this case.

Why? In the past couple of months I have had conversations with a number of mainstream journalists -- both in Washington, D.C., and New York City -- about this whole issue of the "scare quotes" (also known as "shudder" or "sneer" quotes) that editors keep putting around the term "religious liberty" in news coverage of events such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act wars in Indiana.

One theme consistently emerges in these talks: The vast majority of journalists covering these stories believe (a) that these disputes don't have anything to do with religious liberty since they don't affect what happens inside churches, and religion is what happens inside religious sanctuaries, and that (b) what we are dealing with here is intolerant speech and/or hate speech (or actions) and, thus, is not protected by the First Amendment. Good religion is protected, while bad religion is not.

One journalist summed it up this way: This isn't about religion. It's about hate. It has nothing to do with religious liberty, so that's why journalists are using those scare quotes.

This brings us to the following headline in The New York Times:

Rand Paul Tries to Stake Territory as Lone Candidate Who’d Guard Civil Liberties

Really now?

Please respect our Commenting Policy

M.Z. Hemingway asks a 'mirror' question: Why not ask left some tough abortion questions?

M.Z. Hemingway asks a 'mirror' question: Why not ask left some tough abortion questions?

During her eight years at GetReligion, M.Z. Hemingway probably heard one question more than any other from her critics: Why do you spend so much time on abortion when the purpose of GetReligion is to critique mainstream coverage of religion news? Or words to that effect.

Over and over, M.Z. and I responded with variations on several key points: (1) Almost every key media-bias study on religious news issues has included questions about abortion, as a key moral issue. (2) While there are atheists and agnostics who oppose abortion on demand (various links here), debates about abortion in America almost always involve questions about religion and religious groups almost always play prominent roles. The phrase "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries" comes to mind. (3) There is no question that Roe v. Wade played a major role in inspiring the creation of the Religious Right and that defense of abortion rights remains a major priority of the Religious Left.

I could go on, but here is the bottom line. It's almost impossible to discuss religion-news coverage in the mainstream press without digging into bias, balance, accuracy and fairness issues linked to moral issues such as abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.

Anyway, M.Z. has a new post up at The Federalist that digs into this same territory, using an interesting exchange in a Rand Paul press conference as a hook. It's must reading, but I will share one or two chunks of the piece (including a major GetReligion flashback).

The key moment comes roughly eight minutes into the video at the top of this post.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Pay no attention to Rand Paul (or Christian persecution!)

A Washington Post Politics news blog on Senator Rand Paul’s appearance before the Value Voters Summit in Washington last week has left me perplexed. Reading the article entitled “Rand Paul: ‘There’s a worldwide war on Christianity’”tells me little about what the Kentucky senator said.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Got news? Is a global 'war on Christianity' newsworthy?

Would it be newsworthy if a U.S. Senator claimed in a public address that American taxpayer dollars are being used in a war against Christian believers in — to pick one key region — the Holy Land?

Please respect our Commenting Policy