Diary

Reporting on the Strange Customs and Behaviors of the Animal Species "Churchgoer."

In the wake of John McCain’s loss and the continuing furor and speculation regarding the future prospects of Sarah Palin, it is natural that virtually every reporter on earth is asking her the same question: Does she plan to run in 2012? Palin’s response has been pretty much what you would expect from any person with more than a passing familiarity with the notion of faith in God: I don’t know what the future holds for me, so we’ll have to see what doors God opens and shuts in my path.

Get a load of how the media interprets this eminently common sentiment from a person of faith.

AFP: Palin wants God to show her way to White House.

Ladies and gentlemen, yet more evidence that the average member of the mainstream media has never actually been to church (apart from maybe Christmas or the odd Easter) in their lives. It is not that they are merely irreligious, it is further that they have no understanding whatsoever of how religious people think and believe. This same kind of “those religious people might be aliens” thinking led the media to wildly misreport the significance of Palin’s prayer for the troops at her church in Wasilla as some sort of bizarre belief that the troops were on a modern day version of the Crusades.

So here’s a free tip for the media that will aid their understanding in a way that’s much easier than actually going to church somewhere and trying to understand the bizarre things going on around you: when someone prays that God will show them the way, or that God will bless what they are doing, they are not in fact expressing a belief that God has already decided to bless a particular course of action, or that God whispered in their ear to tell them what to do next. In fact, they are more or less doing the exact opposite. I know this is counterintuitive to your way of thinking, but people who walk around thinking the cartoonish beliefs you’re trying to pin on Sarah Palin don’t feel the need to pray for God to open doors for them. Chew it over for a little and see how it tastes.

Until then, by all means keep reporting on common statements of faith and humility as if they were bizarre expressions of hubris. It makes your lack of seriousness and understanding easier to spot.