Journalism, religion and a botched execution in Oklahoma

What was it like? How do you feel? Years ago, when I covered the state prison system for The Oklahoman and began serving as an official media witness for executions, those were the kinds of questions friends asked. Truth be told, I felt numb. I mean, I knew I had watched someone die. But I did [Read More...]

New York critics, heaven and a very busy religion week

OK, think of all of the stereotypes that you have heard about elite critics in New York City, those powerful mainstream-media scribes who are said to have the power to determine what is good and what is bad at the highest levels of American culture. Do you have that picture in your mind? Now, don’t [Read More...]

Politics, sin and serious reporting in La. bayou country

As I’ve shared before, I spent a few years of my early childhood in West Monroe, La., where my dad attended the White’s Ferry Road School of Preaching. That now-defunct school was operated by the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ, now known nationally as the home congregation of the Robertson family of “Duck Dynasty” [Read More...]

WPost: Confessions of a (liberal) Christian film critic

The following observations have little to do with the normal work that we do here at GetReligion, since our goal is to dissect the mainstream press coverage of religion news, seeking the good, the bad and the ugly. Nevertheless, I think faithful readers of this blog will be interested in a new essay by Washington [Read More...]

Boo! No ghosts in WSJ coverage of rural-urban divide

In a 2006 column about my grandparents, I reflected on my rural upbringing: I close my eyes and I am back in Hayward, a speck on the map in southeastern Missouri’s Bootheel where my Papa and Grandma Ross lived. I see my grandparents’ wood-paneled station wagon parked outside the two-story house that Papa built himself. [Read More...]

Pod people: Continuing the Elevation Church debate

At this point, I am not sure what the Rev. Steven Furtick was thinking when he declined that interview request from NBC Charlotte, which was researching a report about those mass, quickie baptism services at his Elevation megachurch. It’s possible that he genuinely distrusted this news outlet and reporter Stuart Watson, even though the station [Read More...]

Half-naked dancers and public prayers in Oklahoma City

“Gonna wear my Thunderwear in Times Square.” My friend Randy Roper, the preaching minister for my home congregation in Oklahoma, came up with that winning slogan in a 2009 contest sponsored by the Oklahoma City Thunder. As a result, Roper earned a free trip to New York for the NBA Draft Lottery. (That was, of course, before the Thunder [Read More...]

Got news? So what’s RFRA got to do with Arizona?

For the past 20 years or so, while watching more and more debates over the First Amendment sneak into the headlines, I have been asking myself the following question: What should journalists call a person who waffles on free speech, waffles on freedom of association and waffles on religious liberty? The answer: I don’t know, [Read More...]


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