I saw a reporter on TV a few weeks back who was interviewing a woman who had survived a tornado that had flattened her house. She was standing amidst the rubble of her home and telling a miraculous story of how her whole family survived by hunkering down in a drainage ditch.
The reporter was hanging on her every word, then said in a chipper voice, “You must be thanking God today that everyone is alright.” When the woman made a non-committal reply, the reporter pressed on, saying, “When you say your prayers tonight, I’m sure you’ll be thanking him for his protection in such dire circumstances.”
The woman looked him square in the eyes and, despite being exhausted and a bit shell-shocked, she said clearly, “Actually, I’m an atheist.” Bravo! She stood up to be counted as part of that often silent group that is growing every day – avowed atheists who aren’t afraid to tell others that they are non-believers.
The reporter seemed startled. He didn’t know how to respond and was flustered. He quickly changed the subject to the rebuilding efforts already underway in the small town.
This reporter’s suggestions that the survivor of the hurricane should be thanking God for her survival is just the kind of insidious religion seeping into the news and politics every day. Being unbiased is part of the man’s job description! Yet he inserted God into the equation and was quickly rebuffed by the woman he was interviewing. We need to see more of this and less of reporters bringing God into the news reports. Divine intervention is a belief, not a fact. In theory, the news is an impartial reporting of the facts of a case, but we often get Fox news instead.