The great omission

Jon Gosselin and Hailey Glassman go Whole Foods shopping in New JerseyI’m not sure GetReligion has ever highlighted a gap in religious coverage before. But I think I’ve find just the occasion. And my blind hope is that the reasoning behind this omission was a collective decision to ignore the problem — in this case, Jon Gosselin, the former co-star of “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ and a fallen hero for American evangelicals — and pray he will just go away.

Jon’s been making lots of noise during the past month as he lashes back at Kate. He’s also been dating a Jewish girl and, according to an interview with ParentDish, he likes it!

PD: That sounds fun. Tell me more about your interest in Judaism.

JG: I just went through Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur and learned about the new year and every Friday is the Shabbat dinner. I love challah bread. I’m learning about Jewish food, going to Zabar’s. I love that place. I’m learning about kosher and when not to order a bacon, egg and cheese and make an ass of myself. Hailey makes fun of me. My mom came to the city on Yom Kippur and asked where all the traffic was. I got from the West Side to Midtown in five minutes. She wants to come to the city every year on Yom Kippur.

PD: Are we going to see you converting to Judaism?

JG: I talked to Rabbi Shmuley a couple of times. He has nine kids. I was really nervous dating a Jewish girl. She’s like the best girl ever. All my friends are like ‘I’m so jealous’ and I’m like, ‘Stay away, she’s mine.’ She’s the rock of my life. She’s been through hell in the tabloids. They made up lies that she’s a lesbian and she’s doing drugs. We’ve both been through all this turmoil. And we just keep on loving each other.

PD: That’s so sweet.

JG: Yeah, I’m not used to that. It’s totally different than it was with Kate.

For a moment, excuse the comedic value of these questions. Or the fact that the interviewer refers to Jon’s girlfriend Hailey Glassman as a “family friend.” (I’m not sure I would even know where to start.) I’ve never held ParentDish — ParentWhat? — up to be The New York Times of the parenting journalism world. The questions are curious, maybe even a bit reality starstruck. But, I mean, this wasn’t Deborah Solomon doing the interview.

Jon’s responses on the other hand … Far as I can tell, Judaism is all about having lots of kids (go Jon!), eating Jewy food (go me!) and not doing drugs or gay things (go Hailey!).

This ParentDish interview has popped up on a few blogs — Huffington Post, Beliefnet’s Idol Chatter and, heavens forbid, even The God Blog (“Oy. We need him like we need Michael Richards.”) — but, to my knowledge, Jon’s Jewish comments have yet to appear on the website of a major newspaper.

Why is that worth celebrating? Well, just think back to two of the stories I bemoaned a few weeks after joining this team. Both involved Judaism and poorly informed reporting. One concerned Britney Spears, the other Madonna.

Yes, Justice Stewart, I think this does qualify as obscenity.

Now, we could argue the newsworthiness of celebrity religious experiences. What’s more difficult to debate is the depth and detail of religion reporting involved in stories by the verbal paparazzi. That’s apparent on it’s face. And it typically needs at least a nose job.

PHOTO: Jon and Hailey grocery shopping. Hope it’s kosher.

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  • Peggy

    I confess to having watched JK8 until this past year. I was startled to learn that many churches were inviting the Gosselins, especially Kate, to speak. On what basis, I wondered? I was surprised Kate wrote books with scripture in them. I don’t want to call them nonbelievers or pagans, or anything. The seemed a-religious to me. The family never struck me as being Christ-centered. Kate and Jon never struck me as being spiritual. We never saw the family go to church as much as they were filmed–although I could understand not filming at or inside a church. We never saw them pray. The family certainly never talked about church or religion in their lives on the show. The Hawaii renewal of vows did not seem primarily Christian. If I had talked to my husband in the demeaning the way Kate talked to Jon, we’d be divorcing too. They seemed like nice enough people, but…Well, we all know now what’s been going on underneath the facade, though few are really surprised. Poor Jon on rebound and “in love.” That’s tragic. Though his motives are questionable, I am glad Jon’s getting the kids off TV. Shame on Kate. The poor children. [Boy, do I know too much, or what?]

  • Julia

    When did it become OK to date as soon as you weren’t living with your spouse? Is that now OK with Jews as well as Christians? That’s how going steady used to work – as soon as you said it’s over, you were “single” again – is being married now like going steady? Or are we borrowing from Muslim culture – where you say “I divorce you” three times and it’s over?

    This isn’t a theological question – it’s a question about how the press views and reports the OKness of “dating” again.

  • Davis

    There’s a Borscht Belt joke somewhere in Jon leaving his harping, dominating wife for a Jewish woman. Where’s Henny Youngman and Carl Reiner when you need them for perspective.

  • Brad A. Greenberg

    A great point, Julia. If you recall from the Steve McNair murder, media outlets repeatedly referred to his mistress as his “girlfriend.”

  • Adam Greenwood

    We really live in a self-centered society and one that badly misunderstands marriage when someone’s feeling that the marriage is over, or intent to end it, is the same as ending it.

  • Peggy


    Yes. In fact, I noticed the public’s acceptance of infidelity particularly when Leno’s (?) audience cheered Mel Gibson, formerly serious Catholic, announcing that his mistress was pregnant–he was (and is?) still married to the mother of his other children. Then we saw Letterman’s audience applaud his recent revelations and giving him a pass on infidelity and, er, inappropriate office relations–I am wondering if there could be sexual discrimination lawsuits pending. [This disregard for marriage is also rampant in nonchalant coverage of athletes and their girlfriends who mother their children, but they never marry.]

  • Izzy

    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is a nice guy, writes some interesting books, but has the worst taste in “clients.” He is someone who is not famous, but attaches to the famous and semi-famous. He is considered, in most Orthodox Jewish circles, to be somewhat too far gone.

    Maybe he should tell Jon about another circumcism, that touching another woman before he marries her is wrong. That he should be a father to his children first!

    Judaism isn’t easy, and Rabbi Shmuley shouldn’t water it down just to please a B-list celebrity.