Saturday, February 09, 2002
Fred Barnes has an excellent article on a little-publicized event for journalists held every year on the eve of the National Prayer Breakfast.
Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and TV talking head, started the dinner more than a decade ago. The first one was held in the Hilton bar, which easily held the 25 people who showed up. The speaker was evangelist Billy Graham.
Mr. Thomas's idea, then and now, was to bring Christians in the media together with their non-Christian colleagues for an evening of fellowship. The aim is to reproduce the conditions under which Mr. Thomas himself became a Christian in 1973--by being exposed to "educated, talented professional journalists who have a relationship with God." Speakers usually talk about their Christian faith in a personal way. There is no altar call.
So what's the significance of the turnout? It obviously doesn't amount to a full-blown revival in the Washington press corps, with masses of hard-bitten reporters converting to evangelical Christianity. Rather, it suggests something more modest, yet still impressive: a turn to faith among dozens of journalists in the nation's capital.
One of these days I'd love to attend this event. This year's speaker was Foxnews anchor Tony Snow.
Mr. Snow's speech was a self-effacing account of what he has learned as a Christian. "I'm kind of a dull guy living an exciting life," he said. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the media are "in a quest for news," not truth. "You want the truth?" Mr. Snow said. "Read this thing." He held up a Bible, which he jokingly summarized this way: "We had this big fight. God wins."
His final point was that we must pray for our enemies because even in them we "see the face of God." At this point, he looked at Sam Donaldson of ABC-TV in the audience. "Sam, you're the face of God." Mr. Donaldson snapped back: "That's a terrible thing to say about God."
Mr. Snow got the last word. "Sam," he said, "I said God has a sense of humor."