Tuesday, April 15, 2003
They fear what they do not understand: In the midst of my moving/home-improvement distraction, I missed the news that Secretary of Education Rod Paige caused a brouhaha among the East Coast elite by mentioning religion.
What Paige said, in response to a question from the Baptist Press (the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention) about whether secular or religious colleges and universities had a "better deal" was:
That's a judgment, too, that would vary because each of them have real strong points and some of them have some vulnerabilities. But, you know, all things being equal, I would prefer to have a child in a school where there's a strong appreciation of values, the kind of values that I think are associated with the Christian communities, and so that this child can be brought up in an environment that teaches them to have strong faith and to understand that there is a force greater than them personally.
This caused both the New York Times and the Washington Post to editorialize, suggesting that Paige should recant his remarks or resign.
Others rushed to Paige's defense, starting with former Education Secretary Bill Bennett, the Wall Street Journal's Brendan Minter and Boston University professor Peter Wood in National Review Online.
In short, this whole incident seems like little more than religion-bashing that has become the norm since George W. Bush became president. Sure, while in office President Clinton also talked about his faith and God, but he wasn't really serious -- and his behavior with a certain intern demonstrated that fact.
There's a hostility and a suspicion in much of the mainstream media with regard to matters of religion and faith -- mainly because too many don't have any first-hand experience with Christians, observant Jews or Muslims. In their ignorance, they must resort to caricature and supposition.
This attitude probably won't change until more Christians enter the news business -- something that is unlikely to happen in large numbers while the media is so hostile to them.