Thursday, October 21, 2010

At Least They Aren’t On Fire



For the non-Southerners out there, I saw a perfect example of national politics on a local (Southern) scale yesterday. I didn’t have to look far. I was “in town” doing some business and picked up the local newspaper. On the front page, taking up the entire bottom half (minus the advertisement) was this story:

‘Still a Christian nation:’ Local church going on campaign

”“Our president has made a statement that we’re no longer a Christian nation,” said Associate Pastor Kenneth Horton of Family Worship Center, a Congregational Holiness church on Church Street in Griffin.”

Well. That was certainly news to me. It never ceases to amaze me. No matter how many papers I read, newscasts I watch or radio programs I listen to, I always seem to miss the big news. Even if it’s old news. Check the date on this from FactCheck.org.

"Did Obama say we "are no longer a Christian nation"?

Unfortunately for Obama, he stumbled just a bit when he delivered the actual quote, as can be seen in this video of his speech, posted on YouTube by the Obama campaign. The way it actually came out was:

Obama, June 28, 2006 (as delivered): Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. ”


The fact that some whacky Christians have decided to start a movement (that nobody has joined) doesn’t bother me. This nation was founded by whacky Christians. What bothers me is that the story took up half the front page of the local paper less than two weeks before a national election.

It’s all very subtle but it’s all very real. Front page. With a picture. It gets attention. At the beginning of the story -- the inflammatory quotes. The lack of any rebuttal by the reporter. Even a direct quote from the President would have been shorter than the reporter’s unhelpful and non-clarifying explanation of the event.

”Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”

And last but not least, after insinuating that there was a national campaign underway...

”He said other churches in other parts of the United States are engaging in a similar campaign...”

....we find out that -- so far -- nobody else has joined up locally.

”He said there are many churches in Griffin and he would like all of them to participate. Thus far, it is only the Family Worship Center that is participating.”

Those of us that bother reading stories until the end noticed that. But we (that includes newspaper people) all know that most people don’t read stories all the way to the end. How many of you read the FactCheck.org story until the end and caught this?

”And if this is the centrally organized effort that it appears to be, we would like to remind its supposedly Christian organizers of the Ninth Commandment: "Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour."”

Can I get an “Amen” brother?

Don Brown
October 21, 2010

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