Monday’s Religion News Roundup: Quotable Pope * Mideast Talks * Rick Returns

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Pope Francis in Brazil, via Wikimedia Commons:

Pope Francis in Brazil, via Wikimedia Commons:

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The quotable, retweetable pope delighted the 3 million-strong crowds in Rio de Janeiro, telling the youth, “I want a mess…I want trouble in the dioceses!” On his way home from World Youth Day, Pope Francis gave a spontaneous interview with reporters that is gaining much attention. On gays, he said, “Who am I to judge them if they’re […]

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  • Jon Cleland Host

    Um, Abracentric much, Sarah?

    You referred to three of the branches of Abrahamic religion as “the three major religions.”. There are at least dozens of non-abrahamic religions with more adherents than Judaism, and religion is much wider than Abraham. The article linked to was at least able to use the correct term by specifying “Abrahamic”. Given the overbearing Christocentrism of our American culture (especially in the south), and the similar slant often found on religionnews, I guess I shouldn’t have expected more. Nonetheless, I would think that a religion reporter would actually be a religion reporter, and not an evangelist for Abramism (by implying that other relgions don’t matter, don’t exist, etc.).


  • Rick Warren said, ”God knows what it’s like to lose a son”?

    Not really. We humans have to deal with that tragedy. Jesus was up and about a day and a half after his death. Jesus didn’t die for our sins; he had a bad weekend for our sins.

  • Jason

    Jon, potential audience and plausible audience are two different things. Sure, it’s possible that the billions of people in China, India and other Eastern nations /could/ read this, but in reality, the vast majority of RNS’ plausible audience is in the West and likely to be adherents to Abrahamic religions. It would be pointless for RNS to report on matters that aren’t going to resonate with their audience.
    If you’re going to tilt at that kind of windmill, you’d better also hit up every other news outlet on TV, in print and on the web, telling them to report more about food security, natural disasters, politics, finance, culture, development and everything else in China, India and elsewhere that goes (literally, not virtually) unreported here in the West.
    Further, Sarah and her colleagues are aggregating news from other sources. Such a job is infinitely more difficult when dealing with websites that don’t use Roman characters.
    It’s a big, varied world, and one news service isn’t going to be able to cover everything. You’re being completely unfair.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Jon, for some reason in my haste, I read “major religions” instead of Abrahamic religions. Maybe it is a bias, I don’t know. I changed it to make it more specific. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Thanks, Jason. I changed it to make it a little more specific as to not cause further confusion. The point is that the story itself is interesting. Appreciate you reading the roundup.

  • Jon Cleland Host


    I think you may have misunderstood me. I was not suggesting that RNS give coverage in proportion to worldwide adherents. Instead, I was pointing out that it was not appropriate nor professional for Sarah to change the phrase “major abrahamic religions” (which is correct in the source article) to “major religions”, which is incorrect, even for the West or the US.

    Sarah’s calling the Abramic religions the “three major religions” is incorrect for several reasons.

    First and foremost, I would guess that RN aspires to be about religion in general, not about just Christianity or even just Abrahamic religions. I will concede that point if RN states that they intend to ignore non-abramic religions, as Sarah does. If RN does so, then maybe rename it “Christianity today”, then Sarah could write for “Christianity today”, not RN.

    Second – the major religious views of those in the US or Europe are, in rough order, Catholicism, Protestantism, and No religion. That only overlaps with the abrahamic branches of “Christian, Muslim, and Jewish” on one of the three. In the US, there are about a dozen times as many no-religion people as there are Jews, and that’s even higher in Europe. A similar comparison can be made for Islam. So even your own idea – that RN is just for the west or the US, would still make Sarah’s use of “major religions” for “major abramic religions” incorrect.

    I would guess that RN is covering religion over time, not just in the past. So, even if RN was narrow enough to be focussed only on the west or US, it would also have to be myopic enough to ignore the future. Most of the non-abrahamic religious views are growing quickly in the west and the US, and many of their main points are already well established here. For instance, a quarter of Americans believe in the Hindu idea of reincarnation, which is much, much more than the 2% Jews or <1% Muslims here, which are the ones that Sarah called "major".

    For all of those reasons, I hope that Sarah corrects her mislabeling of the Abrahamic religions as the "three major religions", and apologizes for ignoring non-abrahamic religious views, and I hope that RN begins to use "respect for diversity" as a factor in its hiring.


  • Jon Cleland Host

    Sarah –

    I just saw your note. Thanks for doing so, and I apologize if anything I said sounded harsh. Your roundup is useful and interesting! Have a great day- Jon

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Phew! I hope my hire was not a huge mistake!