Dallas paper advocates for Methodist same-sex marriage

Let’s try this again.

I thought Tamie “wife of this blogger” Ross had a catchy title on her post last week concerning The Dallas Morning News’ inability to find anyone to quote supporting the United Methodists’ stance on homosexuality as “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

That title: “If at first you don’t succeed … find another source.”

Instead, the Dallas paper settled for attempting to reach a single source:

The UMC bishop for this region, Bishop Michael McKee, didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Well, the Morning News had another chance over the weekend to demonstrate its commitment to balanced journalism, as it produced a second story about the same gay couple being married by a retired Methodist pastor:

Jack Evans and George Harris married Saturday in a church ceremony attended by hundreds and punctuated by a challenge to the United Methodist Church to fully accept gays and lesbians.

The couple, together for 53 years, held hands as they walked down the aisle of the high-ceiling Midway Hills Christian Church in northwest Dallas. The ceremony was officiated by the Rev. Bill McElvaney, pastor emeritus of Northaven United Methodist Church. The trio, all in their 80s, brought celebrity through their years of North Texas activism.

“It is not my intent to politicize this service,” McElvaney said, “but suffice to say that George and Jack are offering a gift, an invitation and a challenge to the United Methodist Church to become a fully inclusive church.”

The United Methodist Church officially holds that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” McElvaney risks being charged and tried by the church.

The wedding was held at Midway Hills to avoid repercussions for the neighboring Northaven and its senior pastor there.

So the couple has issued a “challenge” to the denomination — as readers are told twice in the first three paragraphs. The pastor emeritus risks being “charged and tried by the church,” the fourth graf reports. The service was moved from a Methodist church to a Christian Church to avoid “repercussions,” the fifth graf states.

At this point, is there any doubt that the Morning News needs to give the “other side” — the side that supports church teaching — a voice in this story? Hey, maybe the paper could even call that unnamed senior pastor and see where he stands.

Rather, once again the Dallas paper settles for a “no comment”:

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More personnel changes on the Godbeat

Here at GetReligion, we don’t generally report the news. We critique media coverage of the news.

But when significant developments occur among Godbeat pros, we try to share that information with our faithful readers. That’s because we believe that it matters who’s covering the religion beat — and who isn’t.

Lately, we’ve had a number of these inside baseball developments to pass along, including the departures of three Godbeat stars: Bob Smietana from The Tennessean, Ann Rodgers from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Tim Townsend from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

Our posts prompted the Poynter Institute, the  journalism think tank, to report on the state of the Godbeat (including confirming that The Oregonian laid off its religion and ethics writer, Nancy Haught). Poynter’s story, in turn, inspired more reflection at GetReligion, which drew Rod “friend of this blog” Dreher into the discussion over at The American Conservative. And Dreher’s column, of course, gave us a reason to consider that age-old question, “Do religious leaders really want quality religion coverage?”

OK, is everybody caught up now? Because the roller-coaster ride continues.

In a few of the posts mentioned above, we noted that Cathy Lynn Grossman, longtime religion writer for USA Today, took a buyout earlier this year. If USA Today has hired someone to fill Grossman’s post, we don’t know about it. But we can tell you where Grossman landed.

Many thanks to RNS for letting us know personally about Grossman’s new gig:

Meanwhile, another religion writer at a major newspaper — Rose French of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune — is leaving the Godbeat.

Poynter reports:

Rose French and Brad Schrade, husband and wife, are leaving for jobs at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Schrade — along with Jeremy Olson and Glenn Howatt — won a 2013 Pulitzer for their series of reports on the increase in infant deaths at daycare homes in Minnesota.

French will join the Atlanta newspaper’s education team as an enterprise reporter. In a memo cited by Poynter, Star-Tribune managing editor Rene Sanchez said:

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