There is great religion writing and there is lousy religion writing -- though most of it, like most journalism in general -- falls somewhere between the poles and is not worth endless discussion. But the following Times of London piece is such a missed opportunity that it's worth pulling it apart as a text-book example of how not to do the job.
In short, it's beyond lousy.
It should probably come as no surprise that the piece ran on Christmas Day. I say this because, and this just my conjecture, Christmas Day is probably the day we’re subjected to the year’s very worst religion journalism.
That, I'm guessing, is because of the self-created newsroom belief that something -- anything may be the better word -- relating to the holiday, or religion in general, must be published that day. Or who knows what will happen?
Will people not have received the “news” that it was Christmas? Will people drop their subscriptions and advertisers withhold their Christmas-related sales going forward? Don't really think so.
Oh, the things we do to ourselves out of misguided beliefs and our professional ruts.
OK, now onto the piece itself. (Take note: The Times website requires registration, though it will allow you to read a couple of pieces monthly for free. Also, the newspaper’s website is one of the more inefficient ones I've come across in some time.)
Here’s the top of it:
Politics and religion should not mix, according to the British public, who want politicians to keep their personal faith to themselves.