Stop the presses! Newsflash from NBC’s Jamie Novogrod! Here’s the scoop:
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann yesterday attended a church here in Iowa, where the pastor called homosexuality “immoral” and “unnatural,” and later showed a testimonial video from a man who claimed to have been gay before having a conversation with God.
Hold on a minute. A Christian presidential candidate visits a Christian church that espouses Christian doctrine. I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly sure what is so newsworthy about this report. Let’s think through the possibilities. Which of the following do you think makes this item newsworthy?
1. Christians still believe what they’ve believed for 2,000 years—that the only sanctioned sexual union is the covenanted union of one man and one woman in marriage. All other sexual unions are “immoral” or “unnatural.” Is that a surprise to anybody? This observation is akin to reporting that the grass is still green or that the sky is still blue. Surely this isn’t the news item.
2. Christians still believe that God saves sinners—yes, even homosexual ones. This is good news—the good news in fact. But surely this isn’t the news item—that Christians still preach for the conversion of sinners. It has to be something else.
3. A presidential candidate attends a Christian church. What presidential candidate in the history of the Republic has ever failed to attend a Christian church at least once during a presidential campaign? Maybe you know of one. I don’t. Again, no real news here.
4. A presidential candidate is a bona fide believer in the Christian faith. This would be an important fact to know about any candidate. And perhaps there have been fewer authentically Christian presidential candidates than we’d like to admit, but is this really earth-shattering news? It must be something else that is newsworthy about this story.
5. People reporting the news now believe that the Christian faith is outlandish and extreme and that any presidential candidate that holds to Christian teaching must be exposed. Aha, now I think we’re on to something. This report doesn’t tell us anything new about Christians or presidential candidates. This report tells us something new about the people reporting the news. They believe it to be a liability for presidential candidates to hold to Christian teaching about human sexuality. This hasn’t always been the settled opinion of America’s reporting class, but now it is.
Now that’s news.