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Newsflash: i sat through a whole church service!

It's Easter, the religious holiday of renewal and acceptance, and yet the internet has already pissed me off.

Actually, I've been peeved all week. Ever since the country heard Jeremiah Wright talk like a Black preacher (oh the horror, the ethnicity) every reporter got the same lame idea for an investigative story. "I know!" they said over their collective martinis, "I'll go into that Black church down the street from me and see what it's like! And report the results to the American people. Who DEMAND TO KNOW!"

The latest example is here and I have to say, come on economist blog, I expected more from you. The problem you see is that most journalists are atheists, (and Jewish! Happy Purim NPR!) so merely showing up to a building with a steeple is some sort of magical anthropological expedition to them. "Here we have the foolish believer tribe," they whisper into their field mini-recorder, "performing their strange work-ship-string ritual, or so I am told." The economist writer paints the descriptive scene of St Thomas in Philadelphia (imagine the following in a first-grader's voice for full effect): Everyone was dressed up? and they had a choir? but the choir was dressed in robes? and they had an adult choir AND a kids choir? and they sang hymns? along with the congregation? and they even had a trumped player!

No shit, dude! a trumpet player? On Easter???

The other common theme to these i-wented-to-a-churchy stories is the fact that the reporter seems to be genuinely surprised by how nice and welcoming everybody is. In an interview on NPR earlier this week, a correspondent who had visited Rev Wright's church kept reiterating, as if it was incredible news, how nice and friendly everyone was, how warm, how welcoming. Alex Chadwick was like, "Yes, but did they say anything about the Obama controversy?" And the reporter was like, "No, but there was this little old lady there, and she offered to sit next to me, and she told me she liked my tie!" It was like Newsflash: People at church are nice. They smile at you. They offer you coffee and cookies. Editors rooms on Monday will be filled with proposals for five-part series on the topic. You know, because they invited me back for their Wednesday night spaghetti supper, and I think America needs to know.

I don't know what kind of dark smoke-filled card rooms reporters typically frequent on Sunday mornings. The ones filled with high-class call-girls they picked up from their investigative reporting the week before, no doubt. But I do know that many, many Americans went to church today, and in fact a small fraction will go again next week, and none of this strikes me as hard-hitting news.

My only hope is that preachers continue to make You-tube sermons, and reporters everywhere will continue to say, "Holy crap! Did you know there are people who get together and talk about God? During national hangover time???" And in this way we will slowly convert the heathen, unbeknownst to them, to true and unending live in Him. Or whatever, get a really voluble description of the Easter service for the next bulletin: "At last Sunday's Easter service, 'Adult and youth gospel choirs belted out hymns with gusto' and 'clerical collars and incense were abundant.' Also, Christ rose from the dead to remind us to daily renew our lives in Him. See y'all at Christmas!"

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