Accurate Holiday wars update from Santa Monica!

Oh my! We may have a Nativity Lent miracle on our hands! Trust me that I have read enough horrible “Christmas wars” stories in my journalistic life to recognize a decently reported one when I see it. I think the following Los Angeles Times story about the ongoing Santa Monica Nativity scene battles includes a [Read More...]

Pod people: Red America and Bible Belt atheists

On the latest Issues, Etc. podcast, host Todd Wilken and I discuss my recent post on a Washington Post story that featured a red-state American in her natural habitat. I explain why I liked that story better than some other post-election autopsies of Republican-leaning states, such as this New York Times story. While the Post story devoted 1,800 words to [Read More...]

When Bible Belt atheists go to church

A church service for atheists? Really!? Here in my home own state of Oklahoma, that’s the basis for a religion story in today’s Tulsa World. The headline grabs readers’ attention this way: All souls welcome at church’s morning service for atheists OK, I’m curious. The top of the story: Why would atheists go to church? Wouldn’t [Read More...]

Which religious group should be blamed for the election results?

Well, everyone, we made it through another presidential campaign year! Congratulations to the winners and condolences to the losers and all that. With the election over, we’re now in the stage of the airing of grievances and assigning of blame. It’s usually much easier to do this than this year, where the campaign wasn’t about [Read More...]

The day after: The prophet John Green, revisited

It should be a quiet day on the religion-beat front, in the wake of yesterday’s nail-biters in the real world of politics. If the past repeats itself, as it often does, it will take a few days for the religion elements of the story to emerge, other than the usual “Obama won the Catholic vote [Read More...]

What has God got to do with drones?

“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,”a United States major said today. He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong.  So began Peter Arnett’s 8 Feb 1968 report from the town of Ban Tre. Published in the [Read More...]

A non-journalistic flight to heaven and back

In the past week of so, I have received a number of requests for a GetReligion news critique of the Newsweek cover story that ran under the grabber headline: “Heaven Is Real: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife.” The problem, of course, is that this cover story by Dr. Eben Alexander is a perfect example [Read More...]

ABC on Jesus the sky pixie

Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live! These words close Vladimir Mayakovsky’s 1924 poem “Vladimir Ilych Lenin“.”  Written in the months after Lenin’s death, “VI Lenin” is the greatest of Mayakovsky’s works and the apex of the socialist realist style of poetry that flowered in Russia in the decade after the Revolution. “VI Lenin” is [Read More...]


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