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Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism

Religion, Politics and
Policy: From the White
House to the School House

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Pitfalls in Covering Religion and Politics

Journalists assigned to cover the ever-more-important role of religion in politics and society in America suffer from blind spots, erroneous assumptions and that ever-popular bugaboo of the Religious Right: a liberal bias. (Story, video and more)

Superstition and Fairy Tales - the Stereotype of Religion Still Survives in Newsrooms

Newsrooms have come a long way from the days of cigar-chomping editors who approached religion as superstition and fairy tales, and insisted on sticking to "just the facts" said Chris Lehmann, feature editor of the New York Magazine, but journalists still struggle with their own suspicions and unconscious assumptions (or what Lehmann termed a residual "H.L. Mencken belief") when it comes to covering religion. (Story, video and more)

Counting the Ballot of Belief

Polls, statistics and demographic numbers linking religion and voting trends are easy to come by in an election year. But the real stories are the ones that dig beneath the simple surface statistics to try to examine why the numbers are what they are - and what they really mean. (Story, video and more)

Historic Context of “Civic Religion” in America

Through the religious prism "Chosen Nation" vs. "justice for all" represents the struggle between differing visions of America. (Story, video and more)

Hispanics - the “Sleeping Giant of American Politics”

Neither religion nor economic status is a sure predictor of where the unpredictable, volatile Hispanic voting block will go, said Gaston Espinosa, an assistant professor of religious studies at Claremont McKenna College. (Story, video and more)

Understanding the Nones: Those Who Say They Have No Religious Affiliation

The single fastest-growing religious group is made up of those who do not belong to, or do not identify with, any established religion. These so-called "nones" still cultivate spiritual lives and believe a certain level of spirituality is consequential to public life, even though they do not go to any specific church, temple or mosque. (Story, video and more)

How Religious Rhetoric Plays out in Political Campaigns from the School Board to the White House

Political rhetoric and religious sermons share the common goal of inspiring a crowd into action. The job of a free press is to devote the time and energy to report when the goal of one creeps into the other, religious experts say. (Story, video and more)

The First Amendment: Collision of Two Freedoms?

Journalists should not feel guilty about struggling with religious issues that even the Supreme Court finds difficult, said Melissa Rogers, Visiting Professor of Religion and Public Policy at Wake Forest University Divinity School. (Story, video and more)

The Battle Continues Between Science and Religion

The battle between science and religion dates back further than the Catholic Church persecuting Galileo for saying the Earth was round, but in the modern "culture war" talk radio serves as this generation's version of burning at the stake. (Story, video and more)

Religion is a Major Force in U.S. Foreign Policy

One of the most overlooked forces behind major U.S. policy initiatives is the intense lobbying efforts by Evangelical Protestants to push for what has traditionally been a liberal concern - human rights. (Story, video and more)

African religious landscape fragmented - and unavoidable

On a Friday morning in March, the coalition air-dropped fliers on Fallujah, Iraq, to intimidate insurgents. The postcard-sized flier had two green eyes, cut out from a Marine Corps poster. The text read, "The eyes of the coalition are watching you." (Story, video and more)

Following the Money Trail

Many of the great social movements that have transformed American life have arisen from religious principles, which is why the language of the First Amendment recognizes that religion cannot be separated from civic life. (Story, video and more)

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Funded by the John S. and
James L. Knight Foundation