U.S. Pastor Council

Neutral or slanted coverage: Texas newspaper reports on pastors group's lawsuit over LGBT hiring

Neutral or slanted coverage: Texas newspaper reports on pastors group's lawsuit over LGBT hiring

Last year, I praised an Austin American-Statesman story for its fair, evenhanded coverage of religious leaders on both sides of a fight over transgender bathrooms.

That story mentioned the U.S. Pastor Council, which favored limiting the use of bathrooms in schools and government buildings to the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate.

The same group figures in a recent story by the same newspaper. But this time, reader Thomas Szyszkiewicz, the Catholic media pro who shared the link with GetReligion, questioned the American-Statesman’s lede.

Here is that lede:

A conservative Christian organization has sued the city of Austin in federal court in hopes of overturning a nondiscrimination ordinance that offers employment protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Houston-based U.S. Pastor Council argued that the ordinance is unconstitutional and invalid because it does not include a religious exemption for 25 member churches in Austin that refuse to hire gay or transgender people as employees or clergy.

Szyszkiewicz’s comments:

Am I reading too much into it or am I right in thinking that it could have been written in a more neutral way? Or that at least a second sentence or phrase could have been added to make clear that they're trying to protect their religious liberty?

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