Those pesky religious details in Palestinian-Israel conflict

I’m no expert on the fighting in the Gaza Strip. In fact, I’m typing this post with trepidation — hoping not to say something entirely stupid (yes, that’s a weekend softball for all my snarky friends). But seriously, I offer the above caveat before critiquing a front-page story in today’s Houston Chronicle on dueling rallies by [Read More...]

What language did Jesus speak? The Tablet knows

So, did the pope and Israel’s prime minister have a rancorous exchange in Jerusalem over the topic of Jesus’ mother tongue? One thing is certain: Headline writers had a field day with the “spar”, as Reuters characterized the encounter. Was it a “spat,” as per The Chicago Tribune? Did they “publicly bicker” as per The Age [Read More...]

WPost probes hot debate on the banks of River Jordan

I have crossed the Jordan River twice in my life and both times the experience was quite memorable. The river itself isn’t much to look at, but the social dynamics surrounding the location are fascinating. The first trip was a singer in a choral music tour, done with the cooperation of the U.S. government, to [Read More...]

On the cautious use of loaded terms such as ‘messianism’

So let’s try this again. The other day I wrote about a news report that ran in The Los Angeles Times that used a very interesting and, in the context of Israel and the Middle East, very loaded term. Here is the lede on that piece, once again: WASHINGTON – The White House on Tuesday [Read More...]

Whoa! Was John Kerry being too messianic or Messianic?

Holy dictionary! Talk about leaving a crucial term in a story undefined, unexplained, unattributed or all of the above. I almost spit my Diet Dr Pepper all over my iPad this morning (which is easier to clean than a computer keyboard, just sayin’) when I read the top of this Los Angeles Times report about [Read More...]

Religious facts in the slaughter in upscale Nairobi mall

Based on the mainstream media reports pouring out of Kenya, it’s clear that the terrorist attacks on the high-end Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi had a lot to do with religion. CBS News even managed to get one of the most gripping religious details into its lede: Gunmen threw grenades, fired automatic weapons and targeted [Read More...]

The controversial mind and Lebanese soul of Helen Thomas

As I have mentioned before here at GetReligion, at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks I was a member of a largely Lebanese and Syrian Orthodox parish in West Palm Beach, Fla. Our priest, as an Arab Christian, volunteered to be a grief counselor at the still-smoking ruins of the World Trade Center. A [Read More...]

A ghost in here? IRS targeting Jews too?

Fear not religion news reporters, you too can jump into one of the hottest news stories on the wires. Buried deep within an article reporting on the Internal Revenue Services’ harassment of conservative advocacy groups lurks  a religious liberty news story. That may not sound too exciting but you could rephrase the story pitch this way for [Read More...]


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