Here at GetReligion, we believe in ghosts.
We don’t like them, but we know they exist.
As tmatt explained in the very beginning (of this weblog, not the world):
Day after day, millions of Americans who frequent pews see ghosts when they pick up their newspapers or turn on television news.
They read stories that are important to their lives, yet they seem to catch fleeting glimpses of other characters or other plots between the lines. There seem to be other ideas or influences hiding there.
One minute they are there. The next they are gone. There are ghosts in there, hiding in the ink and the pixels. Something is missing in the basic facts or perhaps most of the key facts are there, yet some are twisted. Perhaps there are sins of omission, rather than commission.
A lot of these ghosts are, well, holy ghosts. They are facts and stories and faces linked to the power of religious faith. Now you see them. Now you don’t. In fact, a whole lot of the time you don’t get to see them. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
Which leads us to the subject to this post: a heartwrenching Denver television report on a boy suffering from a painful — and potentially fatal — skin disease.
Here’s the written summary that accompanies the video:
Ever wonder what’s your purpose in life? Why were you put on this earth?
It’s a question many of us contemplate at some point in our lives, but probably not until we’re a little older.
A very special little boy named William may not be long for this earth. He has a genetic skin disease that makes him live with pain every day.
But his mother says, William is definitely here for a purpose.
Libby Weaver tells William’s story in the video clip.
Purpose in life? Reason for being put on earth? The nauseating cliches of local TV journalism aside, anybody think those questions might have the potential to elicit responses that are, well, linked to the power of religious faith?
That was the hunch of the reader who sent the link to GetReligion:
It’s clear that some religion, probably a form of Christianity, is what gives this family strength, but that whole part is kept vague.
In the four-minute report, the mother confirms the reader’s suspicion with this soundbite:
I do really believe that my faith has helped and that God does give each of us the grace for what he puts us in.
Note to TV station: That kind of quote might merit some followup questions.
For example: Can you please describe your faith? Do you belong to a congregation or faith community? What do you believe? Do you believe in life after death? How does your faith sustain you? What purpose might God have for putting your son in this situation?
You know, questions like that — the kind that scare away ghosts.