Journalism highs and lows: Christianity and gays edition

Journalism highs and lows: Christianity and gays edition June 24, 2013’m elated to be able to highlight a wonderful article headlined “Christians’ views vary on gay marriage.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette news piece shared just that — how Christians view marriage and why.

A sample from the work:

Most opposition to same-sex civil marriage is rooted in religious conviction. A recent Pew poll found that 73 percent of those who believe that gay sex is sinful oppose it, while 84 percent of those who say it’s not a sin support it.

Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man has sexual relations with a man … both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death.”

That Bible verse isn’t what led Wesley Hill, assistant professor of biblical studies at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, to conclude that his gay sexual orientation requires him to be celibate. The first two chapters of Genesis, which “presents male and female as the partners of one another” and Jesus’ affirmation of that in Matthew 19, are far more important to him.

Mr. Hill, 32, grew up in a Baptist family where homosexuality was unacceptable, but he knew that other traditions found it compatible with Christianity. He studied all sides, he said.

“I found myself convinced of the more traditional reading of scripture, that marriage between one man and one woman was the only context for sexual expression in a Christian setting, and that if I intended to remain a traditional orthodox Christian, I needed to be celibate.”

He believes people are born with same-sex orientation as a result of the fall — humanity’s original rebellion against God — which brought imperfections to the world. He hasn’t settled his view of same-sex civil marriage.

I wish I could excerpt the whole thing. It’s full of descriptions that are nuanced and balanced and really dig down into the doctrinal views of the various parties. We hear from many sides and we get to hear them explain themselves in their own words. How sad that this is so rare in reporting on the matter. But what a great contribution to civil discourse.

For the absolute opposite end of the spectrum, I offer the video embedded above from ABC “News.” A reporter sent it to us with a note saying that the program should be called “To Catch A Christian” (a riff on “To Catch A Predator”). The piece is so appalling I almost don’t know what to say about it.

It uses child actors posing as Boy Scouts to loudly discuss the one young boy’s professed homosexuality. Another boy, directed by ABC “News” tells the boy posing as gay to “pray it away.” See, tmatt! You’re always saying you never heard a real person say that line. But you’re wrong! Reporters say it all the time when caricaturing Christians!

I literally couldn’t bear to watch more than three minutes of the ABC “News” piece. It was just too much vile propaganda. I did find it fascinating the way that ABC was fine with using hidden cameras and actors to sting “Christians” under the pose of news gathering. (And, believe it or not, this really is ABC News that puts on this program. See here.)

Remind me again how ABC News has reported the stings done on abortion clinics, including those of the massively federally funded Planned Parenthood, that use live actors and show abortion clinic employees talking about how they’d kill babies born alive, cover up child sex trafficking, violate laws regarding reporting of rape, approve abortions done solely because the child is female, and take money from racists, and so on and so forth?

Heck, come to think of it, why is a media so cool with “undercover” reporting not actually doing undercover reporting at, say, late-term abortion clinics? Why just on Christians in Texas? Or why not do one of these gay children stings in ABC News’ back yard of New York City, which actually has a serious problem with violence against gays?

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  • FW Ken

    It’s cheating, mollie, to link to an article and not tell us it’s by Ann Rodgers. OF COURSE it’s good. Everything you said.

    Now, I will pick a nit or two. Setting theological discourse in terms of “conservative” and “liberal” is intrinsically limiting, which the rest of the article demonstrates, in my opinion. Second, there are about a half-dozen sub-topics around the main topic are each worth discussion. I kept saying “yes, but” to the various quotes, and would have liked to see more back and forth: depth, if you will.

    But those are nits. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

  • Darren Blair

    As far as the video goes –

    ABC showed just how low it was willing to go last year when they openly targeted Mormonism. They kicked it off with the “Romney funneled Bain money to the church!” allegations that proved to be nothing (the money and stock represented his tithing), and then that same week they had an episode of “What Would You Do?” that was set in Utah and sought to reinforce negative stereotypes about Mormons.

    Thing is, outside of Mormon circles I don’t recall seeing a lot of commentary about what they did.

    In that sense, I guess they figured that they could get away with it since so few people seemingly called them out on it.

  • Filipe d’Avillez

    I agree that the ABC piece is twisted, but I did enjoy seeing the reactions of these supposedly “bible bashing gay hating red necks”… No condemnation, a few cases of firm opposition to the act, but never to the person, and a lot of proper Christian, if sometimes misguided, understanding and solidarity.
    Red neck Christians 1 – ABC 0, I say.

  • Ann Rodgers

    Thanks Ken. My first draft was more than double the finished length — and my editor was incredibly generous with space. It ran over our normal limit by about 20 inches (huge in newspaper terms). I was sad that it lost a lot of nuances, but pleased that people on all sides and the angst-ridden middle seemed to find themselves represented somewhere in it.

  • Chris Nugent

    I’m not getting the objection to the ABC piece. GR is always slamming the press for not allowing people to articulate their views without distortion. My main complaint about the overall excellent segment was how little the restaurant patrons were pushed to rationalize the tension between their good intentions and their theology. BTW, my very Catholic mother specifically told me prayer could change my sexuality; I find it implausible she is the only one to have expressed that idea, and I can see a lot of strategic advantages in a marriage equality opponent’s not using words to that effect.