Kerry only gets religion around blacks, says Washington Post

Folks monitoring religion and the 2004 presidential campaign will certainly be buzzing about today's front-page story in The Washington Post, "Kerry Keeps His Faith in Reserve." The deck hits one controversial point: "Candidate usually talks about religion before black audiences only."

Jim VandeHei writes, "Outside of black churches or meetings with African Americans such as those at the NAACP convention yesterday, Kerry has been largely silent about the personal Catholicism that once inspired a flirtation with the priesthood and the Christian beliefs friends and family say guide his life and political thinking."

That "should be a bombshell," writes Jeff Sharlet over at New York University's religion blog, The Revealer.

The Post tags this devotion as strategy, but ignores its inherent racism. Imagine, for instance, if it was reported that Kerry loves to dance, but only when he's around black people. The Post would probably try to interview Baryshnikov. When it comes to Kerry, religion, and black churches, they don't seem to be able to find any theologians, black Protestants, or ordinary believers of any variety to talk to. Instead, the article is simply a meeting in print of usual suspects, Washington "bigs" who know as much about religion as they do soccer -- or, at least, soccer moms.

Okay, Sharlet says, they do hit one important name, Amy Sullivan, who has been on a long crusade to get the Kerry campaign and other Democrats to talk more about—and, more importantly, to understand—religion.

But "Sullivan takes pains on her own blog to explain why and how the Post got her wrong," Sharlet writes. Well, not quite, but she does go into much more detail about her ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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