Jason Carter: “Strategizing a Christian Coup d’Etat” by The L.A. Times’ Jenny Jarvie sheds light on an ambitious movement undertaken by a group called Christian Exodus to gain enough seats in the South Carolina legislature to regain conservative ground on issues including abortion and prayer in schools. Jarvie gracefully side-steps the religious-people-are-crazy landmine by reporting the differing views within the Christian right, but she does miss an opportunity to delve more deeply into the separation of church and state. CE’s apparent violation of the doctrine could have been balanced by reporting the group’s frustration with federal laws that restrict Christian practices and arguably violate the First Amendment.
Senator Rick Santorum, says Joe Feurherd of the National Catholic Reporter, has “got his story and he’s sticking to it, whether he’s telling it, as he has during this book promotion tour, to Katie Couric on the ‘Today Show,’ Jon Stewart of ‘The Daily Show,’ irreverent radio host Don Imus, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, NPR’s ‘Morning Edition,’ the National Catholic Reporter, or the dozens upon dozens of other media outlets that want a piece of the provocateur from Pennsylvania.” What’s interesting about most of these accounts is how they tack toward Santorum’s religiously-infused bellicosity without addressing the substance of his religion; or, for that matter, the ideas Santorum says he derives from his Catholic faith. Feurherd’s story is an exception. The National Catholic Reporter is no friend to the kind of culture-war politics practiced by Santorum, but Feurherd does something not even friendlier media outlets managed: He takes Santorum’s ideas seriously enough to argue with them as only an honest reporter can — by pointing out their factual contradictions.