Worldview Journalism

I am not a fan of American evangelical media.  I think the movies, with few exceptions, are cheese; Christian comedy isn’t; and most magazines should turn in their presses to the local media police. Not that the secular versions of these are morally satisfying fare, but rather they don’t pretend to mediocrity — their quality is not judged secondarily to their worldview.

When it comes to journalism, I appreciate honesty and objectivity. I used to like the New York Times, but their super-liberal bias clouds their ability to effectively relate the facts, and they’ve lost the ability to be honest about what they believe and who they are. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t pretend, and while I see a great failure to answer many pressing social issues, and a total lack of journalistic compassion, at least the WSJ doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.

I liked Newsweek, until the December 15, 2009, issue that declared “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage.”  I’ve heard the same arguments before, but this article, and the editorial column that preceded it, claimed something that had heretofore not been part of the discussion: that those who believe otherwise are irrational, worthless fundamentalists who might as well give up.  “A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism. The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it’s impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours.”  All this in the guise of journalistic objectivity.  

Secularity becomes a worldview unto itself, one that purports to interpret and define both religion and rationality.  Where are the Christian voices that speak out against this hyprocisy of supposed reason?  I’ve looked at World magazine, but found it utterly unsatisfying and often pedantic and over-politicized.  Then I found Christianity Today.

Christianity Today is the first current news magazine where I read an article and think, yes, that was fair-minded and shared my worldview.  It was clear about its Christian perspective, but it didn’t manipulate the facts to produce a desired result.  The most recent issue (Feb 2009) has two great columns, one responding to the Newsweek Article (p. 18, “Let’s Talk — Seriously), and another talking about the response in California to the passing of Proposition 8 (p. 52, “California’s Temper Tantrum”).  Sadly, neither article is yet online, so I can’t link to them (see the bottom of this post for some choice quotes).

But in this world where I get just about all my news from the web, I’ve decided to do something totally last-generation.  I signed up for a subscription.


From “California’s Temper Tantrum,” by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway:

The violent mobs and sneering media confirm one of the arguments made by traditional marriage proponents: Same-sex marriage and religious freedom are on a collision course.

Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown University law professor and gay activist who drafts federal legislation related to sexual orientation, has publicly said that when religious liberty conflicts with gay rights, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”

Indeed, religious liberty almost always loses.  A lesbian couple in Albuquerque successfully sued a Christian photographer because she declined to shoot their committment ceremony.  When Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage, Catholic organizations had no option but to shut down their adoption services.

The California Supreme Court ruled that doctors must provide reproductive services to lesbians despite religious objections.  A Methodist camp in New Jersey lost its tax exemption after it told a lesbian couple they could have their commitment ceremony anywhere except in buildings that are used for religious services.  The list goes on.

From “Let’s Talk — Seriously”:

All of this would be infuriating and insulting if it were not so sad.  Ironically, even before the first word of Miller’s religious case for gay marriage has been read, Meacham has conceded that it is not a case at all, but a simple assertion.  While they both claim they are arguing for inclusivity, they have tried to exclude from this critical national conversation a huge proportion of Americans who believe there is a strong biblical case for traditional marriage.

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