Muhammad, satire and blasphemy: What Muslims really believe

Related posts:

This analysis of media coverage appears online at

January 2015: GetReligion


‘Devout Muslim’ killer?: New York Times profiles gunman who assassinated two New York City police officers. Published Jan. 3.

Welcome to 2015: New year brings happy new developments to the Godbeat. Published Jan. 6.

At least 12 dead as terrorists strike French satirical newspaper ‘that lampooned the Prophet Mohammad.’ Published Jan. 7.

Muhammad, satire and blasphemy: In wake of Charlie Hebdo attack, exploring what Muslims really believe. Published Jan. 8.

Disparity in news coverage: As many as 2,000 dead in Nigeria, but France dominates front pages. Published Jan. 13.

Damage already done? Charlotte Observer replaces slanted report on gay substitute teacher let go by Catholic high school. Published Jan. 14.

Three things I liked about The Washington Post’s story on French Muslims torn by ‘I am Charlie’ slogan. Published Jan. 15.

Part-time Godbeat: The Tennessean reports — briefly — on a local PCUSA vote on same-sex marriage. Published Jan. 16.

Religion ghosts in media coverage of 7-year-old who survived plane crash that killed her family? Pastor says yes. Published Jan. 20.

For Supreme Court, it’s all about that Muslim beard — or was religious liberty case really about Hobby Lobby? Published Jan. 21.

Terri Schiavo case revisited: What role did faith play in Jeb Bush’s fight to keep her alive? Published Jan. 22.

Culture war of cakes: Associated Press story on gay rights, religious freedom less than perfect. Published Jan. 23.

The year in tweets: My top stories, blog posts and columns of 2014


Journalists love year-end lists.

This is mine.

Via Twitter, some of my top stories, blog posts and columns of 2014, along with a personal tweet or two:

His dad was a preacher — and a pedophile


His dad was a preacher — and a pedophile (reporting from Somerset, Pa.): After discovering his father’s secret, Jimmy Hinton strives to create awareness of sexual predators.

SOMERSET, Pa. — Jimmy Hinton grew up at the feet of the wolf.

For 27 years, his father, John Wayne Hinton, proclaimed the Gospel to the sheep of the Somerset Church of Christ — a century-old congregation in this southwestern Pennsylvania coal-mining community.

“I went into ministry because of him,” said Jimmy Hinton, 35, the middle child of 11 brothers and sisters.

But three years ago, the son — who became Somerset’s preacher in 2009 — learned a horrible secret: John Hinton was a longtime child molester who had sexually abused young girls and escaped discovery for decades.

Jimmy Hinton uncovered the truth after an adult molested as a child confided in him. The Holy Spirit, he believes, drove his response.

“I believe you,” he told the victim.

He reported his father to police and prompted an investigation that resulted in the pedophile preacher, now 65, pleading guilty to sexually assaulting and taking nude photographs of four young girls, ages 4 to 7.

While his father — inmate No. KP7163 — serves a 30- to 60-year sentence in Rockview State Prison, Jimmy Hinton works to help heal his home congregation and create awareness far beyond Somerset, a town of 6,300 about 75 miles east of Pittsburgh.

This story appears in the January 2015 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

‘Worship is our protest’

‘Worship is our protest’ (reporting from Ferguson, Mo.): In Ferguson, a predominantly black church focuses on healing its community by glorifying God.

FERGUSON, Mo. — Brian Owens feels a need to protest.

But his protest doesn’t involve waving a “hands up, don’t shoot” sign, staging a “die-in” or chanting “I can’t breathe” during a march.

“Worship is our protest,” Owens told fellow members of the predominantly black Ferguson Heights Church of Christ on a recent Sunday.

It’s the fight for hearts and souls — not the fight in the streets — that matters in “Christ’s righteous revolution,” the 34-year-old Christian said.

His comments came amid a national spotlight on high-profile police shootings of unarmed black men.

Violence that included gunfire, looting and buildings set on fire erupted Nov. 24 in this St. Louis suburb after a grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, who said he fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in self-defense.

Nine days later, a New York grand jury chose not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo, who used a fatal choke hold on 43-year-old Eric Garner when the suspect resisted arrest.

The deaths of Brown and Garner — and similar cases nationwide — have sparked coast-to-coast demonstrations emphasizing that “black lives matter.”

Related story: 50-50 split: A Ferguson-area church models racial diversity

These stories appear in the January 2015 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

5Q+1 interview: RNS writer David Gibson on the Godbeat, falling into journalism and his conversion to Catholicism


5Q+1 interview: RNS writer David Gibson on the Godbeat, falling into journalism and his conversion to Catholicism.

GETRELIGION.ORG — On his Twitter profile, Religion News Service national reporter David Gibson describes himself as a Catholic convert, a Vatican veteran, a faith fan and an alliteration addict.

His RNS bio notes that he has written two books on Catholic topics, including a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.

Gibson was honored recently as the Religion Newswriters Association’s Religion Reporter of the Year for large newspapers and wire services. His winning entry included “The story behind Pope Francis’ election,” “Is ‘Just War’ doctrine another victim of the Syrian conflict?” and “The ‘Breaking Bad’ finale was great. But was it good?”

GetReligion has both praised Gibson’s work and — sometimes — questioned why RNS publishes his “analysis” pieces without labels identifying them as such.

What I like about Gibson is that he seems to enjoy the give and take and not take it too personally.

Case in point: his willingness to do this interview.

Related post: 5Q+1 interview, part 2: RNS writer David Gibson on what GetReligion doesn’t ‘get’ about religion news coverage

This analysis of media coverage appears online at

December 2014: GetReligion


Are they crazy? Despite Ebola threat, Texas missionary couple planning return to Sierra Leone. Published Dec. 1.

As D.C. bans gay conversion therapy of minors, where are the opposing religious voices? Published Dec. 3.

Washington Post seeks an expert on ‘homegrown American extremist’ tied to Christian identity hate group. Published Dec. 4.

5Q+1: Godbeat pro Lilly Fowler on covering faith and the front lines in #Ferguson. Published Dec. 5.

A pastor reports death threats for performing same-sex marriages, and guess who a Kansas newspaper decided to quote? Published Dec. 8.

Holy ghost? New York Times offers a faith-free profile of an American doctor who survived Ebola. Published Dec. 10.

Five glimpses of faith in Time’s story on ‘The Ebola Fighters’ as 2014 Person of the Year. Published Dec. 11.

Islamic State’s reign of terror named top religion story of 2014 by Religion Newswriters Association. Published Dec. 12.

Islamic extremism role in Australia? Facts sketchy in Sydney hostage crisis. Published Dec. 15.

5Q+1 interview: RNS writer David Gibson on the Godbeat, falling into journalism and his conversion to Catholicism. Published Dec. 17.

5Q+1 interview, part 2: RNS writer David Gibson on what GetReligion doesn’t ‘get’ about religion news coverage. Published Dec. 18.

Religious freedom vs. gay rights: Have your cake and read both sides of the story, too. Published Dec. 19.

He’s baaaaack! Los Angeles Times features former pastor who decided to ‘live without God’ for a year. Published Dec. 23.

Blue mourning in New York City: More glimpses of megachurch attended by slain officer Rafael Ramos emerge. Published Dec. 27.

Kansas City Star story on woman who wants to be Roman Catholic priest needs less advocacy, more reporting. Published Dec. 30.