Embrace diversity

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BE INCLUSIVE. Strive to write stories that people of all viewpoints — and with all levels of religious knowledge — can appreciate and understand. When writing about an issue, explore which faith traditions are involved; don’t limit yourself to the ones you’re familiar with. Avoid faith-specific terms such as church or minister when you really mean houses of worship and clergy.

BE DIVERSE. When reporting about religion, every kind of diversity can enrich a story — diversity of faith, ethnicity, race, economics, geography, age, etc. Make an effort to explore them. Religious beliefs and practice are usually affected by where people live, where they came from, how much money they have and what stripe of what faith they practice.

IN RELIGION, THE MAJORITY DOESN’T ALWAYS RULE. Minority voices matter – within a faith or across the spectrum of belief. One of the biggest stories in religion is the way people of an ever widening array of faiths are learning to live and work more closely together. Whether they are Jews, Sikhs, Muslims or groups within Christianity, minority voices are crucial because they often raise concerns shared by many beyond their group or offer a “canary in a coal mine” first alert to a conflict. Religion also makes for strange bedfellows, with surprising alliances forming around issues, so reporters can’t always assume they know who represents the majority view.