May 10, 2008

Faith Section In Your Local Paper?

Do you have any sort of section devoted to religion in your local paper? My local paper has one called "Faith and Values" that appears every Saturday. As might be expected from my location (Mississippi), this is exclusively Christian. Moreover, it clearly promotes Christianity in the community. Many newspapers do something like this, and some occasionally print op-ed articles written by atheists in this section. Not surprisingly, this infuriates some Christians.

My local paper does not include material written by atheists in this section but has printed some op-ed articles written by a local atheist in the Opinion section. These have, of course, generated some lively discussion on the paper's Internet forums. Most of the discussion is civil, but there is sometimes a sense that local Christians would prefer not to be exposed to what atheists think. It is almost as if simply being reminded that atheists exist is interpreted as a lack of respect for their religion.

This may surprise you, but I really don't have a problem with having a religion section in my local paper. I wish they would call it something other than "Faith and Values" because these terms, when used together, have an unpleasant political connotation. I'd also like to see broader content rather than having it so Christian-focused. Then again, I realize that the overwhelming majority of subscribers are Christian and would oppose anything else.

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