Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Whose Faith & Values Is The Tennessean Covering?

Posted By on Tue, May 21, 2013 at 4:22 AM

If you visited The Tennessean's "Faith & Values" page on Monday, you saw stories about Mormon girls, the cast of Duck Dynasty talking about their Christian faith, Jim Wallis' book about faith in God, churches dealing with mental health issues, a couple who write hymns, a Lutheran coming to town, the woes of a group that guessed wrong about when Jesus is going to come back, and a bunch of new Catholic saints, not to mention a column from Ray Waddle about Christians and God, a piece by the pastor at Woodmont Christian Church, and a missive from a guy in Williamson County about how God helped him downsize. Plus you can take a quiz about how well you know the Bible. The only story on the page that wasn't explicitly monotheistic and implicitly Christian was about how you can go help clean up the City Cemetery.

The Tennessean's "Faith & Values" section does a terrible, shameful job of recognizing that there are a lot of Nashvillians who aren't Christian and who still have faiths and values they might want to read about in the paper. I mean, is there not one Jewish or Muslim person in town who had God's help making some major life change? No one at the Nashville Gurudwara has thoughts about God and politics? None of our Buddhists have thoughts about how to help Nashvillians with mental illness? There are no authors at the Sri Ganesha temple who might have books Nashville might want to hear about? No pagans brought anyone interesting to the area recently?

Oh, wait! The pagans did bring interesting people to the area recently. Yes, this past weekend there was a huge pagan shindig out at Montgomery Bell State Park—the annual Pagan Unity Festival. They invited important spiritual figures like Dorothy Morrison and Oberon Zell and interesting authors like Alex Bledsoe and M.R. Sellars.

Why Christians like to watch Duck Dynasty on the TV is not a more important "Faith & Values" story than the big gathering of Middle Tennessee people faith-&-valuing it up in Burns. It's just not. And I say that as someone who loves Duck Dynasty.

I know that every year, Gannett tells The Tennessean they're going to have to do more with less. And it's pretty easy to cover only Christians — after all, we have a lot of big, entrenched Christian institutions that know how to work a press release, and a lot of Christian leaders who are used to jotting off editorials. But The Tennessean is the city's daily paper. It's not just the paper of the Christians.

And, frankly, Christians don't have a monopoly on "Faith & Values." It'd be nice if the daily paper acknowledged that.

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