The notion of what religion news is and where it belongs has changed dramatically in the last decade. Years ago, religion was usually relegated to the “church page,” where stories of denominational policies and church anniversaries played a starring role. Now news about many different faiths leads televised and radio broadcasts, inspires thousands of Web sites and tops front pages of newspapers around the country and around the world. It’s also found in every section of the newspaper. What’s changed?
- The country is more religiously diverse, and its religious makeup, even among Christians, is changing. More faiths are more common in neighborhoods throughout the country, and some of their practices require special accommodations from schools and workplaces.
- Crimes such as sexual abuse, terrorism and financial wrongdoing have thrust religious groups into the news.
- Politics is heavily engaged with issues affected by religious beliefs, including abortion, end-of-life issues, stem cell research, same-sex marriage and more.
- Religious denominations are entrenched in bitter conflict over homosexuality, abortion and women’s roles.
- People are practicing their faith in different ways, often switching houses of worship, eschewing the faith they were raised in, blending the practices of more than one religion or choosing to express their faith outside religious institutions.
- Religion has a prominent role in many international conflicts.
- The increasing numbers of evangelical Christians, who are committed to sharing their faith in all venues of their lives, has increased the number of religious debates about the proper role of religion in schools, workplaces and government.