If you read GetReligion, chances are great you attach major importance to the need for religious literacy among those who practice journalism. And not just to excel as a designated religion writer.
Given the role religion plays today in global affairs, you probably also feel strongly that a basic competency about religion is necessary in the coverage of just about any journalistic subject -- domestic politics, business, entertainment, and sports, among them.
Additionally, if you've been a university-level religion journalism professor (or an adjunct professor, as in my case), I'll bet you also think that the level of religious literacy exhibited by your students was disappointing, which was my experience.
(If your experience was better, I'd be delighted to hear about it. Might even lift some of my cynicism and lower my blood pressure. Use the comment section below.)
Religious literacy is on my mind this week for a couple of reasons.
One, was the media's confusion in trying to label the faith of San Bernardino terror attack victim Nicholas Thalasinos. This episode made clear the gaps in journalists' understanding of religious terminology -- and probably the public's as well, though that's much harder to gauge because of the public's dependence on what the press tells them. (I'll get back to this below.)