Pope’s abuse apology: Media did a fair job, surprisingly

Mainstream media didn’t pile onto Pope Francis. I know that sounds cynical — something like “Johnny’s trumpet recital didn’t suck!” — but in the story of Francis’ personal apology to victims of priestly abuse, reporters actually reported. They left pontifications to the pontiff. Francis, of course, has apologized before for the abuses that his predecessors allowed to persist. In April, he vowed to impose sanctions for the “evil” done by churchmen. But many media have seen the broader, more severe… Read more

Babies and holy ghosts in Texas surrogate pregnancies story

Give the Austin American-Statesman credit for a couple of things. First, the Texas newspaper has the start of a potentially fantastic, enlightening trend piece: AUSTIN — A nurse spread gel on Nicole Benham’s pregnant belly and slowly moved a sonogram wand over it, describing the images on nearby monitors. This scene, in which parents get an early glimpse of baby, is played out many times a day in medical offices across America, but this plot has a twist. Benham is… Read more

The Boston Globe veers into the doctrines of ‘Kellerism’

Just the other day, I heard a long-time GetReligion reader use a very interesting new journalism term — “Kellerism.” Wait for it, faithful readers. Let’s walk through this with newcomers to the site. What, pray tell, are the key beliefs in the journalistic philosophy that is “Kellerism”? Yes, this is another reference to the pronouncements of former New York Times editor Bill Keller, with an emphasis on this 2011 remarks (video) at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin…. Read more

Back in Boston with abortion protesters and fair reporting!

I wasn’t expecting gifts for July 4 weekend, but I feel like I got one in this feature story in the Los Angeles Times. It’s a follow-up on the Supreme Court’s recent decision that overturned a law in Massachusetts meant to keep protesters away from abortion clinics. The article is a good example of old-school long-form journalism. It’s nuanced, detail-rich and balanced — at least more balanced than I might have feared. We’ll discuss my reservations later. For now, the… Read more

How does that HHS mandate ruling affect American religion?

THE RELIGION GUY EXPLAINS: So far, no-one has yet posted a question on the June 30 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing certain religious exemptions from the Obama Administration’s birth control mandate. So The Guy is posting his own analysis of an important case that highlights the nation’s religious, moral, legal, and political divisions. The case involved the Hobby Lobby craft stores and two smaller businesses wholly owned by evangelical Protestant families. They believe that because human life begins at conception… Read more

Sun leaves Hobby Lobby out of its timely higher-wages story

So, are there any Hobby Lobby stores in the greater Baltimore area? Yes, it appears that there are. Hold that thought for a moment, because I would like to connect two dots that I just read in two different newspapers. We will start with an op-ed page column by Ross Douthat of The New York Times. Yes, it’s an editorial column — but I am interested in his timely news hook. The headline: “A Company Liberals Could Love.” Douthat’s goal… Read more

Al Jazeera America: a solid piece of religion journalism?

Let’s see: a meaty, 3,200-word religion story — part profile, part trend piece. Quick, name the national news organizations producing such in-depth journalism on the Godbeat these days. Did Al Jazeera America make your list? That relatively new U.S. media organization spotlighted “Downwardly mobile for Jesus” over the weekend. The superb feature drew praise from ordinary readers and journalism pros alike. “Good reporting,” said the subject line on an email from a GetReligion reader. The reader wrote: This article could… Read more

Pod people: White House vs. the Wheaton College covenant

From the very beginning, some mainstream news organization have — appropriately so — emphasized that many, if not most, progressive religious organizations have not only supported Obamacare, but the controversial Health & Human Services mandate as well. This raises a logical question: What are the doctrinal fault lines that are dividing religious groups on the many moral issues linked to the mandate? Obviously, some groups oppose the mandate — period. Catholics oppose its requirement that all forms of contraception be… Read more

You can confess — but not to an Anglican priest

The Adelaide Advertiser reports the Anglican Church of Australia has lifted the veil of secrecy between priest and penitent, no longer requiring its clergy to maintain the seal of the confession. I expect many people will be surprised and some upset by this development. Not least of all the writers of mystery thrillers who will see one of their favorite plot devices disappear. Alfred Hitchcock used this motif in his 1953 picture I Confess. In the film a priest, Montgomery Clift,… Read more

Louis Zamperini: A life transformed by … Billy Graham?

Louis Zamperini had an amazing, amazing life. Actually, he had two of them since — pardon my French — he was a born-again Christian. You can get the amazing details of his first life in all of obituaries that are running in major news publications. However, if you want to know much about how this amazing man made sense of all of the pain and suffering in his life, how he was healed (in several senses of that word) and… Read more


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