Saturday, July 21, 2012

Baptist Press hits a lick at the 'Phoenix Pastor Jailed' story

A few days ago I wrote on the case of a Phoenix pastor who was jailed for having a church on his property:

Don't get suckered by the 'Pastor Jailed for Holding Bible Study' case

Baptist Press has now picked up the story and includes six paragraphs about it under their "Culture Digest" feature:

The article is not signed and does a decent job of representing both sides of the matter. 
It has always been somewhat of a mystery to me how our journalistic sages at Baptist Press decide what to cover, what not to cover, and how to cover. 
I don't dispute that this particular story is interesting and relevant, for several reasons: 
1. An agressive, highly visible and communicative pastor is in jail and partly because of his holding a church on his property. 

2. Churches are subject to certain laws and statutes, and rightly so. Zoning laws are relevant and have sometimes been misused in this area. Baptist Press could provide some depth here but doesn't. Perhaps they lack the interest or personnel.   

3. A high-profile lawyer is on the case. Has John Whitehead and The Rutherford Institute a close enough relationship to get our denominational press to put a neutral piece up about his latest ecclesiastical cause celebre case? Perhaps Todd Starnes, who wrote about it for Fox and who used to be at BP, made a phone call. I daresay that if Whitehead wasn't involved BP wouldn't be touching this one.

Seems to me that this case, which doesn't involve an SBC church or minister, is a matter of interest to Southern Baptists only if sufficient context and background is provided, which Baptist Press doesn't do.

If this is part of a culture war sort of thing, then we should be helped to  understand more about it, how it affects us, how it reflects some cultural trend or reality. 
Baptist Press should either do a real story on this or leave it alone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

See story #2, July 13 News Headlines at