The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s “Religion News on the Web” page is one of the places I go to peruse religion news.
A headline from Illinois caught my attention today:
AP: Politics and the pulpit: Black churches at heart of gay marriage debate in Illinois
That topic interests me, so I clicked on the link.
Let’s start at the top of The Associated Press report:
SUMMIT, Illinois — When a proposal to legalize gay marriage started gaining momentum in the home state of President Barack Obama, it seemed a quick and easy deal: The pastor of his former megachurch endorsed it with powerful testimony at the Capitol and Democrats control Illinois’ government.
But fervor over the idea has stalled for months in that exact spot where faith and politics are inseparable.
Black churches — where the pulpit has always been political — are deeply divided over their support for same-sex marriage and are central to the Illinois measure’s passage, which awaits a House vote as early as this week. On either side of the issue, pastors and politically active congregations have waged intense campaigns with robocalls, columns and sermons.
What do you think of that lede?
When I worked for AP, I always enjoyed writing creative ledes much more than inverted-pyramid-style ledes (meaning straight-news, just-the-facts intros). So I understand the desire to grab the readers’ attention with something more stimulating than “Black churches in Illinois are deeply divided over same-sex marriage, stalling proposed legislation on the matter.”
But honestly, the lede AP used contains way too much editorialization for my taste. And way too little attribution. Who thought the proposal seemed like a “quick and easy deal,” for example? Doesn’t that subjective fact demand a named source?
Still, I kept reading, holding out hope that the story would reflect passionate voices on all sides of the debate.
The first source introduced — an openly gay pastor — certainly seems fired up: