by Jamie Buckingham
The two stories were side by side on page one of the morning newspaper —both with daring headlines. One said, "SLAIN PASTOR'S DOUBLE LIFE ALLEGED." The other: "ACCUSED SHOPLIFTER WAS 'GOOD MINISTER.'
The first story was of an admired Methodist minister in Texas whose body had been found in the back of his van near the town where he pastored. He had been beaten and strangled. The police said there may have been a chance the 55-year old pastor had been living a dou-ble life and was deeply involved in drugs and illicit sex.
That was all the Dallas Morning News needed. They waited until Sunday—of course—and ran the article on page one. The second story told of a 41-year old Roman Catholic priest in Illinois who along with a 60-year old woman was ac-cused of stealing $9,000 worth of gold jewelry, books, greeting cards and other trivia at a shopping mail. The priest had been arrested Wednesday, but the Chicago papers waited until Sunday to print the story.
Our editor printed it alongside the first story in the Monday edition. Why this obsession on the part of newspaper editors to give extra publicity to ministers who are accused of going bad? In fact, anyone claiming to be a Christian runs the risk of newspaper crucifixion if it is discovered he is a sinner.
Several years ago when an elder in our church was accused of mishandling funds in his investment company, the story ap-peared on page one under the head "CHURCH ELDER ACCUSED." His misconduct, though, had absolutely nothing to do with his relationship with our church.
Recently a noted pornographic magazine printed photographs of a deceased congressman, showing him in compromising poses with a prostitute. The pornographer gleefully pointed out the congressman claimed to be a Christian. Is this obsession on the part of media people simply a battle of Good against Evil, with Evil doing everything it can to discredit God's people? Or is there something far deeper at work here? read more