Please. Pretty please. Can we ask Katie …

image1945536So what are the questions that faithful GetReligion readers would like to ask Katie Couric?

You think I’m joking? Click here to head to the new Couric & Co. site:

“Dear Katie …”

Is there a question you’re burning to ask Katie? This is your chance. Send us an e-mail with your question — one question per e-mail, please — and over the next several days we’ll sift through them and ask Katie to answer them.

A few ground rules:

Questions must be serious and substantive. (But witty and substantive will also be accepted.) No questions about hair, makeup, shoes or wardrobe. Please. Pretty please.

Questions must be brief and to the point. We may edit them for length, clarity and, yes, grammar.

And so forth and so on.

As you would expect, I am tempted to email in the tmatt trio. You may remember them.

(1) Are the biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus accurate? Did this event really happen?

(2) Is salvation found through Jesus Christ, alone? Was Jesus being literal when he said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)?

(3) Is sex outside of the Sacrament of Marriage a sin?

Yes, it is true that these are questions I use when trying to find out where Christian leaders fall on a doctrinal (not political) scale from left to right, from progressive to traditionalist. And, yes, the issue for a journalist is not what she believes, but how accurately she can cover the beliefs of others, including those with whom they strongly disagree.

Yet is is precisely where Couric’s religious critics have faulted her in the past and I assume they are now watching her every move like hawks. Also, social, cultural and religious issues have long dominated most polls and debates about media bias.

I have to admit that I have not been watching the CBS Evening News lately. I would be interested in knowing if any major religion stories have been covered on her watch. I assume that the pope story drew some serious air time. Any comments from GetReligion readers?

Any questions that you would like to ask Katie? I would assume that the out-of-bounds instructions — “hair, makeup, shoes or wardrobe” — would also include questions about camera angles and legs.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://www.geocities.com/hohjohn John L. Hoh, Jr.

    Hmmm, the tmatt trio? Well, here goes.

    1. I believe in the literal, historical resurrection of Jesus. Paul says its so, that he saw the risen Christ. He also directed his readers to over 500 witnesses to this event. Only one disciple died a “natural” death. The rest were martyred for their beliefs, the central tenet being the resurrection. ‘Nuff said.

    2. I do believe Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Ironically, that statement starts with “I Am,” or “ego eimi” in the Greek, which would be, literally, “I, the I Am.” And how did God reveal his name to Moses at the burning bush? Oh, yeah, “I Am.” Jesus offers full and free forgiveness and salvation through his blood shed on the cross. All other prophets merely tell you how to live to “get right with god.”

    3. I do believe sex outside marriage is a sin. But being Lutheran, we don’t qualify marriage as a sacrament. Am I deducted in points?

    The trio is akin to the “trio” I use in reveiwing Bible story books for children. Only my trio consists of:

    1. Is the Creation treated as 7 24-hour days?

    2. Is Jesus’ birth of a virgin?

    3. Is the resurrection of Christ included and treated as fact?

    tmatt’s trio is more to determine a person’s religious leanings. Mine is to see where a certain Christian stands on the fundamental doctrines. Interestingly, the CCM singer Amy Grant wrote a childrens’ Bible story book. Believe it or not, she left the resurrection account out of that book altogether!

    John

  • Liz B.

    I’ve been wondering, tmatt– in question (3), are you trying to get at the homosexuality question, or something else? If something else, can you say more about why that question in particular? If homosexuality, why phrase it in such an indirect manner? (Since it is often the definition of the marriage sacrament that is contested.) Just curious. :)

  • http://parableman.net Jeremy Pierce

    Why does (3) need to be about anything other than what is says? It’s asking whether extra-marital sex is always wrong. Evangelicals will generally say yes, and most people will say no, so this question does indicate a separation.

  • Liz B.

    Sure, but there are lots of questions that indicate a separation (e.g. abortion), and I’m just wondering why this one in particular. :)

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    LIZ:

    Back in the 1980s, we began to see signs that the progressive wing of the mainline Protestant world — led, in this case, by the PCUSA — was seeking theological language to declare sexual intercourse, in or out of marriage, a sacrament (and almost a human right). Of course this was linked to the gay issue, but the issue is much bigger than that. Some liberal theologians — in a burst of candor — began to say that adultery was not always a sin and that the Holy Spirit might, in some cases, lead a person into adultery. “The wind blows where it will…”

    Meanwhile, in the typical “conservative” church, pastors have fallen silent on the sins that beset their own flocks, mostly sex outside of marriage and before marriage, and trumpet their church’s stance on what gays are up to. It’s the plank in the eye issue.

    The emphasis in Christian tradition is on sex and marriage. A journalist who asks this question in this way will disturb the left and the right and, I have found, will almost always gain new information.

    Again, my goal with these questions is journalistic. I was trying to find out what questions would get me past the POLITICAL left vs. right divide.

  • Joe Carson

    Dear Get Religion reader,

    There was a clarification/correction posted to the Katie Couric website about contacting her, it follows:

    ********************

    September 26, 2006

    Ask The Anchor

    A teensy reminder, to follow up on our “Dear Katie…” post from yesterday…

    If you’d like to send a question to ask Katie, kindly send it via e-mail .

    Just click the “E-mail Couric & Co.” listing at the top left corner of this page . Or you can drop a line to: couricandco@cbs.com.

    Thanks.

    **********************
    The following is what I sent her, comments from GR readers?

    Joe

    **********************

    Dear Katie Couric,

    Thank you for inviting my comments. I am a licensed professional engineer (P.E.), employed as a nuclear safety engineer in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). For doing nothing more or less than my positive legal and professional duty to “blow whistles,” when necessary to protect public health and safety, and then confronting, via rule of law, DOE’s retribution, I have likely “prevailed” in more whistleblower-related litigation than any federal employee in history of civil service and engineer in history of profession in America.

    My profession has basically “washed it hands of me,” for being so foolish as to actually risk to defend its code of ethics. My profession is “in the ditch” in significant ways regarding the scope and implementation of its code of ethics, as the attached article I recently authored for a professional publication indicates.

    So what? Well, it turns out that I am basically a mark in a charade, a profit center (litigation related to my case has likely generated about 2 million dollars in attorneys fees) to so-called whistleblower advocacy groups and attorneys who specialize in federal employment law. Specifically, the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC), created as an independent Executive Branch agency in 1989 for the primary purpose of protecting people like me from exactly what has happened to me, is a systemic and persistent lawbreaking failure. Its lawbreaking includes the lawbreaking of possibly hundreds of attorneys who have been employed at OSC during that time (about 40% of OSC approximately 110 employees are licensed attorneys). By law, OSC is to “act in the interests” of federal employees who seek its protection. Given that, the licensed attorneys at OSC are “doubly sworn” – as attorneys and federal employees – to ensure OSC complies with its statutory obligations to those who seek it, frequently federal whistleblowers like me, who “blew whistles” to comply with my “doubly sworn” duty – as a P.E. and federal employee. So I perceive there has been “meltdown” in legal ethics at OSC and I perceive the legal profession does not care – the scope and implementation of its code of ethics appears to be “in the ditch” in significant ways too.

    Now turning to you and your profession. Because of the first amendment, journalists, unlike lawyers and engineers, do not need State licenses to practice, the State does not regulate the practice of journalism, unlike law or engineering. But journalists have professional societies, which require adherence to a code of ethics as a condition of membership. Do you belong to any of these societies? How, if at all, do you model and advocate journalism ethics in your vocation? What specific code(s) of journalism ethics do you ascribe to?

    Have you given any thought to advocating the creation of a national consensus board for members of your profession, which could issue a professional credential – not as an entitlement, as a college degree; but as a privilege, similar to a State license to practice a given profession, a privilege that can be removed for cause? I suggest you have a leadership position in your profession, in which many of its members openly say “it’s a trade” (i.e. there is no viable code of ethics), providing you the opportunity to uplift your profession and its service to society, by advocating elevation of the scope and implementation of its code of ethics.

    What would be the result if CBS were to require its experienced journalists to hold a national board issued professional credential as a condition of their employment and the national certifying board required adherence to its “rules of professional conduct” as a condition of holding that professional credential? Would that provide these professional employees more legal and professional ability/need to say, when required, something as “boss, I really respect you and want to please you, but I cannot do “A” or I must do “B” to comply with the rules of professional conduct of my professional board, please understand.” Do you think public trust in the products of your profession might rise? Do you think it could serve as a model for journalists in other parts of world, who work for State-run media outlets?

    Do you think it could be a tool to make your profession and its members more proactive about supporting human rights and democratic rule of law, at least within your profession?

    I say nothing novel to note there are many cynical members of your profession, because the ideals they heard in journalism school are too much honored in the breach, apparently due to commercial pressures. What, if anything, do you perceive yourself owing them, now that you are, to many, the face of your profession?

    Respectfully,

    Joe Carson, P.E.
    Knoxville, TN

  • Liz B.

    tmatt- Thanks! That’s interesting and exactly what I was curious about. And suspected to some extent, but the homosexuality issue is so prominent and so frequently equated with the sanctity of marriage that I wasn’t sure. I agree it serves as an excellent relatively-non-politicized way to get at the nature of a person’s approach to faith and orthodox xianity.

    Incidentally, I’m not sure that any conservative voices would feel disturbed at all answering the specific question (“well, of course it’s a sin”); whether they prioritize it in their preaching or community life is a different issue. :)

  • http://revjph.blogspot.com/ MadPriest

    In respect of Q3 I personally don’t believe you can call something a sin unless there is both cause and effect.

    Sex outside of a faithful loving covenanted relationship stands a much higher chance of causing physical or psychological harm to the people involved than sex within such a relationship.

    It is very possible to have a sexual relatonship without any commitment without any harm resulting from it. But you cannot ever be certain. So to avoid sin one should avoid promiscuity.

    This view of sin and sex gets rid of all the problems regarding gender and what exactly constitutes marriage discussed ad nauseum in the Church.

    Well it works for me.

  • Alexei

    It is very possible to have a sexual relatonship without any commitment without any harm

    Unless you’re a Christian. I don’t see any evidence in Tradition or Scripture that suggests this.

    This view of sin and sex gets rid of all the problems…

    Soloviev’s “Tale of the Antichrist” illustrates an important point: the Antichrist will not appear to be disgusting, vile and evil. He will want to attract people to him, in order that they might forsake Christ. Thus, the Antichrist solves the problems of the world, satisfies the needs of the people, and quenches people’s love for the True God.

    I leave it to you to make the connection.

  • Larry Rasczak

    Technical note:

    Somebody may want to yank Joe Carson’s phone # from the website before it winds up all over the World Wide Web and he start to get fundraising calls from Nigeria and such…

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