Worst religion story of the year

Joe Carter blasts what he calls “the worst religion story of the year.” The story in question appears in the NY Daily News, and it lampoons an evangelical family trying to plant a church in Brooklyn. Carter describes it this way:

I should warn you of what to expect. Imagine a parody article like you’d find in the The Onion, only without the wit, humor, satire, or intelligence. But also a straight-news story and not a parody. In a (sorta) real newspaper. That makes you feel dumber for having read it…

This is such bad reporting the paper ought to have to return one of their ten Pulitzer Prizes as penance. The stale topic, clichéd writing, condescending editorializing, and insulting caricatures combine to make this the worst religion reporting of the year. That’s quite an ignominious feat. So congratulations, Daily News. You may only be the fourth most widely circulated daily newspaper in America, but when it comes to horrendous religion reporting, you’re number one.

Joe delivers a well-deserved wallop in this one, and you can read the rest of it here.


  • Brett Cody

    Perhaps this is a foretaste of what journalism will be like once the CORE Curriculum has run its course and successfully indoctrinated the next few generations.

  • Lauren Bertrand

    This NYDN article is unsubtle, unfunny, self-aggrandizing, and–sad to say–utterly typical of the attitude many (but certainly not ALL) New Yorkers have toward Southerners in general. But Southerners, you’re in good company! These New Yorkers treat Midwesterners, Appalachians, and even Philadelphians or Staten Islanders with a similar degree of derision; I’m speaking from experience. Thankfully there are plenty others who compensate for the solipsistic New Yorker, but clearly the journalist who wrote this article isn’t one of them. Judging from his name, he probably isn’t even nominally Christian…not that that should matter. When in a place like Brooklyn, it is wise to avoid the Sasha Goldsteins, who usually manifest themselves pretty quickly as soon as you answer the question “where are you from?”, and fortunately the gracious New Yorkers aren’t so hard to spot either.

    One of the tactics the NYDN article uses are “scare quotes” around the disingenuous word “plant”. Bear in mind this is a strategy employed by many journalists–including those writers for conservative Christian publications. The culture wars interest me greatly, and hardly a day goes by when I don’t see an Evangelical periodical use those same scare quotes around the issue du jour–whether it be gay “marriage” (even in a state where it is legal), the word “gay” itself (since it doesn’t mean “happy” any more) or “Christian” when applied to a group or individual who is Mainline, Mormon, or Catholic. Most recently, the very conservative Christian News website used scare quotes around “Archbishop” Desmond Tutu. I’m no big fan of Tutu, but that is beyond disrespectful. Anyone wielding quotes is clearly trying to delegitimize the issue at hand, and it’s no more respectful when it’s a liberal or a conservative putting those rabbit ears around something.

    Bringing it a bit closer to home, all we need to do is travel back over the past few days to see dozens upon dozens of disparaging, patronizing, snarky comments about PC(USA) here on this blog. Some people–some Christians–are liberal and some are conservative. They will inevitably have different opinions on very basic things. C’est la vie. We ALL should bear this in mind before we erupt in self-righteous indignation.

  • Chris Ryan

    This is objectionable? Really? The Daily Show dishes out harder stuff than this 3 days outta the week. Most of the jokes were aimed at NYC (and a few at Brooklyn itself). Half the objection voiced by the community was in reference to Southerners…but that’s nothing new. Yankees get plenty of grief in Atlanta, too.

    I’m usually pretty sensitive to the denigration/derision of religion, but I don’t read the church as the target of the article’s quips, I saw the target as secular NYers themselves. Frankly, the publicity alone will probably help them build the church.

    I even gave the “plant” thing a 2nd read & don’t see how its objectionable, esp in light of 1 Corinthians 3:6-8. We use harvest imagery all the time in our messages. One of the commenters objected to the use of the word “paratroopers” b/cs it sounded militaristic. That’s rich considering the frequent singing of “Onward Christian Soldiers” in evangelical churches and how frequently our sermons use imagery like “Armor of God”, or “Sword of God”, or “bare God’s arms”. If we embrace the imagery of Wrath, then we can’t be surprised when outsiders ascribe warlike terms to us…. Another commenter said they didn’t like the appellation “Holy Roller”. Perhaps b/cs I was raised Pentecostal I don’t find it objectionable. In fact I rather like it.

    I’m sorry but I just don’t take offense to this; not in the slightest. We have to be made of sterner stuff. I usually find that people who know how to laugh at themselves do the best at making new friends, If the church doesn’t take it personally they’ll do just fine.

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