A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Media and the mainline

Check out this graphic from media matters if you want to see the significant voice that religious conservatives have in the media in juxtaposition to progressives.

What is also interesting is that if you look at the progressive speakers, few represent the mainline protestant tradition. It'd be interesting to see how many mainline leaders are asked to speak on matters of faith and theology, not just politics.

Of the list I recognize Jim Edgar from the Nat'l Council of Churches and John Thomas, who heads up the United Church of Christ. Lots of reasons for the public perception about religion and Christianity in particular, but the media coverage certainly plays a part.


At 6:18 PM , Blogger Jonathan said...

Interestingly enough, the post is incorrect in stating that most americans are progressive or moderate Christians. According to a recent Gallup poll (one that I just happened to post about as well), 78% of American citizens believe the Bible to be the literal word of God, or inspired by God. Liberal Christianity would state otherwise.

Also, the leading conservative speaker, Tony Perkins, is one of the most outspoken Christians in today's political realm. It is no surprise that he has recieved as many interviews as he has, especially considering his charisma and strong ability to present on television.

At 1:02 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

I never said that liberal Christianity is a majority position. Only that the mainline (which is bigger than liberal protestantism) is not represented in the media in a way which reflects their actual numbers. And most all of us, including myself, would say that the Bible is inspired.

But reading your post on your blog in breaking down the numbers, more Americans would hold a mainline view of scripture than an evangelical one, or at least an inerrantist view.

But it would seem to me that a media interested in all sides, would have more balance in terms of representing religions views, instead of providing the overwhelming soap box that evangelicals have.

At 9:18 AM , Blogger Jonathan said...

I was referencing the original post that used the graphic, and I should have been more clear.

Again, the greater response is certainly more in line with each individual's political activism. Sure, Willis writes Sojourners and all that, but Tony Perkins JOB is to loby politicians one way or another. That means he is going to be knowledgable on nearly every political lead, and will be able to represent evangelical Christians all the better.

Because he has done a great job in the past, and because he knows his stuff to the T, he has been asked back. If these interviewers are doing well and are being asked back, are you going to levy the powers of media so they have to rotate a conservative and a liberal?

Not to mention that in most cases, evangelical Christians are brought on because of their specific stance on an issue, which tends to be controversial or strange to the general public. This type of invitation would not work for both sides.

And let's be honest: the media is not interested in both sides. The only channel I have seen cover both sides of an issue well is FOX, which ironically is seen to be the most bias of all by some radicals.

Shows like CNN, ABC, and MSNBC all have clear liberal bias, and assuredly they are not out to spread conservative Christianity.

At 10:45 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

Jim Wallis is an evangelical as well. I was interested to see what mainliners are invited and the numbers are even lower than media matters presents, because they include a number of evangelicals as blue on their list.

Every mainline protestant church has a Washington DC office that lobbies congress. There are ecumenical organizations such as Bread for the World and Concerned Clergy and I have yet to see such folks represented though they have the same job as Perkins.

I think the numbers would look even more lop sided if you didn't just have: what religious voices get on tv, but how often are mainline protestants ever brought on to talk about faith matters, theology versus evangelicals.

The ignorance of the mainline is profound in the media. My fav example is Judy Woodruff on CNN acting incredulous when Howard Dean said it was his faith which led him to sign civil unions in Vermont. She chalked it up to insincerity even though Dean's church and denomination supports gay marriage.


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