What is a journalist?

It was a stunning victory. Despite the bias of the liberal press, the lack of support from his party’s big hitters, and Hillary Clinton’s professional, well-oiled campaign machine, Donald Trump emerged the winner on Election Day. I do not know about anyone else, but I was surprised.

Polls revealed that approximately eighty percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump, and in the post-election they made no effort to hide their joyous celebrations. I think they were just as surprised as me.

In contradistinction, Clinton’s supporters have done nothing to hide their disappointment over her loss, whining and protesting the outcome of our democratic process. I think they were just as surprised as me also.

In the wake of the election many question how Christians could so strongly support a man so lacking in Christian character and who is unapologetically immoral. A recent article in the Washington Post, titled “What is a Christian,” highlights this kind of thinking and shines a spotlight on the bias of a liberal press.

I think it is unwise to try and judge an electorate’s Christianity based on the outcome of a political contest, but that did not stop the Washington Post. People, believers and unbelievers, cast their ballots based on a host of reasons that have nothing to do with faith. Donald Trump was not elected on the white evangelical vote alone.

More importantly, and though the percentage was smaller, why didn’t the Washington Post question the Christianity of those who voted for Clinton? She defends Planned Parenthood’s harvesting, and selling to the highest bidder, body parts of aborted babies, supports abortion on demand, and sanctions same-sex marriages just as immoral as Donald Trump’s adulterous affairs.

The truth is neither political party gave us a clear moral choice. But the bigger question here is, why many in the media, like the Washington Post, question the Christianity of Trump’s supporters, but not the Christianity of Clinton’s supporters? The only explanation is the unmitigated bias that exists in liberal journalism.

I thought it was a mater of journalistic ethics to be fair and objective when reporting the news, but we are increasingly subjected to more opinion and commentary than we are information. One exit poll said fifty-three percent of white women voted for Trump, but no one is asking, “What is a white woman?” One thing the Washington Post can count on is genuine Christianity will not be defined by the bias of a liberal press.

In his Sermon on the Mount, specifically Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus decries hypocritical judgment. One of the dangers of hypocritical judgments are the tables can be turned on you. Jesus said, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged,” Matthew 7:1-2.

So here is my question, why is the Washington Post asking its readers, “What is a Christian?” when they should be asking themselves, “What is a journalist?”

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4 thoughts on “What is a journalist?

  1. Let me begin by saying that I enjoy reading your posts and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on such a regular bases.

    Your question is a fair one but I would like to share some of my thoughts before I presented the question I think that the Washington Post should have asked.

    I am a naturalized citizen of the United States. I was born in the island of Jamaica, West Indies. I found out that I am a black man in September 1997 when I enrolled in Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I did not realize that I was black until my college experience here in the United States. You may consider it hard to believe, however, the Jamaica motto, “Out of many one people”, may provide some insights.

    I went to Catholic schools throughout my early years until college. My teachers (mostly about 98 percent) were white Jesuit priests and nuns. I mentioned these points because I want to emphasize that my biases are slightly different.

    I was not totally surprised by Mr. Trump’s victory because I realized that there was always a possibility of him winning. I was hoping that he did not win. I would not say that I supported Mr. Clinton either because I look at support much differently.

    On the hand, I supported Mr. Obama by this I mean that I was actively involved (not monetarily, but rather time and effort). Of course, you could say that time and effort translate to money. Why? He is a black man and I am prejudice to some extent. Do I agree with all the platforms of his political party? Absolutely not!

    I found the two polls that you quoted in your post to be very interesting. They are 1.) Eighty percent of white evangelicals and 2.) Fifty three percent of white women voted for Mr. Trump.

    The author, Ronald Sider, of one of the books we used in a class at Rockbridge stated that

    It is common knowledge that during the civil rights movement, when mainline Protestants and Jews joined African Americans in their historic struggle for freedom and equality, evangelical leaders were almost entirely absent. Some opposed the movement; others said nothing.

    Sider, Ronald J. (2005-02-01). The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World? (Kindle Locations 251-253). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

    The poll result of the past election caused me to wonder how much has changed and how much they remain the same. Therefore, I thought the Washington post could have asked the question, “What is a white evangelical Christian?” Why? It is my opinion that the term Christian is too general.

    Secondly, I was wondering based on the second poll result what or how did slavery affected the psyche of white women. I realized that the questions regarding slavery in the United States of America are usually crafted in relation to people of Africans decent (and, probably rightly so) but I rarely ever hear any discussions of its effect on white women.

    These are a few of my thoughts in regard to this past election results.

  2. Paul,

    At the outset, I want to thank you for reading my articles and taking the time for a thoughtful response. I congratulate you on your naturalization as a citizen of the United States of America. I welcome you as a fellow citizen and more importantly as a brother in Christ.

    Whenever religion and/or politics are discussed it is easy for the discussion to degenerate into an argument guided by emotion rather than reason and faith. In this case, I think you wanted to share your thoughts with me on the recent election and give a different perspective. I welcome any discussion that brings light and not heat to the issues.

    When you wrote, “I found out that I am a black man in September 1997 when I enrolled in Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I did not realize that I was black until my college experience here in the United States,” I took that to mean you were introduced to the racism that has been a blight on our country since the introduction of slavery. As one American to another, I apologize for that introduction.

    The part of your experience I find odd is that you learned of racism in one of the northern states that was a part of the Union during the Civil War and fought to liberate the slaves in the southern states. If you had experienced racism in the south it would have been understandable, though not acceptable, it seems strange that you experienced it in a northern state. But racism is but one of the sinful manifestations that come from man’s fallen nature, a nature not bound by time or place, and the only remedy for that is the cross of Christ.

    The article in the Washington Post referred to the Civil Rights Movement you mentioned in your reply. They cited the absence of white evangelical support for the movement and that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had, and I think justly, questioned the Christianity of those who did not speak up during that pivotal time. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Christian minister of the Gospel and both an ardent and articulate spokesman for the abolishment of racism. In contrast, the Washington Post in recent memory has not taken a stand in support of biblical truth on any social issue I am aware of, and was merely attempting to clothe their question of Christianity in a righteous cause. They were being “wolves” in “sheep’s clothing.”

    Further, I think the article in the Washington Post carried the subtle undertone that if one voted for Trump they were not really a Christian, and was a despicable attempt to use matters of faith to manipulate the political opinions of the electorate. While some revel and others bemoan Trump’s victory, I take a wait and see perspective and trust God. No one’s Christianity is defined by how they vote in an election.

    You say you supported Obama’s election and voted for Ms. Clinton, that is your right as a citizen; I do not fault you for it, nor does it, in my opinion, define your Christianity. Like the rest of your fellow believers, you informed yourself on the issues, prayed about how you should vote, and then voted. I commend you for that. I was asked once during President Obama’s administration what I thought of his policies, my reply was, “I believe he is doing the will of God.” I said that because I trust the Scriptures that God is in ultimate control of human affairs and earthly governments, Isaiah 40:15-17, Proverbs 21:1, not because of what he did as our President.

    I would agree with Ronald Sider that many who claim to be Christians do not practice genuine Christianity, and this is probably because they do not know what genuine Christianity is. But if those who claim to be Christian do not know what genuine Christianity is, I do not expect secular journalists to know what it is and to be capable of making a judgment of it.

    The actual question asked by the Washington Post, “What is a Christian?,” in the context of the article, actually was questioning what it means to be a “white evangelical Christian.” It was the survey of white evangelical Christians that prompted the question. So that was in essence what the Post was questioning.

    The reason Christian seems too general, is because our culture has accepted a too general meaning of Christianity. If, as I believe, Christian means to live as Christ lived, then there is no white or black Christian, there is no Protestant or Catholic Christian, either one is a Christian or one is not, and any attempt to modify its meaning contaminates it, and in doing so furthers division within the body of Christ instead of unity.

    My wife grew up on a farm. Between going to school and farm work when not at school, she said she and her siblings felt like they were slaves at times, but neither of us have owned slaves, nor have our parents, grandparents, or great grandparents, nor do we know anyone who was a slave nor their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents. Slavery as practiced in the antebellum south is not a part of any modern white woman’s experience I know of, how could it possible affect their psyche?

    I observe that when it comes to social interaction people tend to self-segregate because most marry within the culture they were raised in, probably because that is most natural and comfortable to them. While interracial marriages are more common than they once were, they are still rare. Both my wife and I have cousins in our extended families in interracial marriages or relationships and while I make every effort to make them feel comfortable when I see them at family gatherings, I do not think they always are.

    When we celebrated Thanksgiving everyone here was white, because our close family is predominantly white. Our Chief of Police is a black woman and lives in the house across the street from us and when her family celebrated Thanksgiving I could not help but notice her family was predominantly black. I do no think she is a racist, and I hope she does not think I am, it is just an observation.

    I think this tendency to self-segregate socially means the black and white cultures do not interact enough, and as a result we never get to know one another on a personal level. Lack of knowing one another personally can lead to misunderstandings, which can breed distrust, which can give birth to and sustain racism. This may be a reasonable explanation but it is by no means an excuse to be racist.

    Government can make and enforce laws in an effort to prevent blatant discrimination, but racism will only come to an end when we make an effort to know and trust one another, and we will only do that as hearts are transformed into the image of Christ. Racism has very real and practical consequences, but at its essence it is a heart problem, and I do not think the political process is capable of solving the deep-seated racism of the heart.

    I simply do not believe anyone should judge anyone else’s Christianity based on how they voted in this past election, and that certainly applies to a biased press. I do not believe either party gave us good candidates, and whether one voted for Ms. Clinton or Mr. Trump does not determine one’s Christianity. I choose to believe each Christian cast his or her ballot in good conscience trusting the outcome to our righteous Father.

    I appreciate your comments and the opportunity to reply more fully to your concerns. My articles are limited to 500 words or less. This means more people read them because they are short and concise, but it also limits me from addressing all my thoughts on a particular issue.

    I appreciate you Paul, and I pray God’s blessings on you, your family, and your ministry today and all the days that follow as you seek to serve Him!

    • Gary B. King,
      Thank you for your excellent response. I have never met you in person but my experience with you through posts during our classes at Rockbridge I am pleased to call you my brother.

      I also pray God’s blessings on you, your family, and ministry. I know that I still have much to learn and appreciate you for your unique approach to life on this side of eternity.

      • Paul,

        You can call me Gary. Jesus was addressed by His given name and I think myself no better.

        Thank you for your encouraging words. Some responses to my articles are not always so kind, but it is part of being a minster of the Gospel at times.

        We have never met and may never this side of eternity. I do not know what liberties we will enjoy in eternity, but if allowed, I would certainly enjoy looking you up and catching up on any fellowship we may have been denied here while in pursuit of God’s service.

        One thing I am certain of in eternity. The racism man is unable to abolish here, will be forever banished there.

        If I can ever be of any service to you here, and it is humanly possible, please do not hesitate to call on me.

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