January 23, 2009

The first entry I wrote for SOF Observed (which was never published as it was part of a blogging trial) was about the fallen Evangelical pastor Ted Haggard. More than two years ago, news had broken about his then-alleged homosexual entanglement and solicitation of crystal meth. The e-mails were making rounds among the SOF staff.

Not only were all of us shocked like so many others, we were also discussing the news coverage. If I recall, most of us thought it was surprisingly restrained. Many critics of Ted Haggard who might have reveled in his demise, didn’t. And those who might have demonized his accuser were beseeched to pray for him instead. Boy, just thinking back, the Evangelical Right still held quite a bit of political sway. The NAE — of which he was president at the time — was rocked to its core.

November 10, 2008

A retired butler at the White House misses the chance to tell his Helene about the first black man bound for the Oval Office.

November 07, 2008

Our intern draws upon music suggestions as she reflects on global reaction to U.S. politics.

October 16, 2008

A reflection on the compassionate nature of our listeners' conversations when we addressed the topic of abortion in 2008.

October 13, 2008

This presidential election feels like it’s moving at gastropod’s pace. As subtle as a leviathan, this large body exerts an irresistable gravitational force on everything around it. We keep talking about it here in the office, but we’re also wondering how much politics we can all handle, and trying to balance relevance against saturation.

We’re trying to give voice to some interesting people during this election season, but next week, we’ll back off the political stuff and re-air our show on autism. Following that, a show on leadership, religion, gender, and race with the dynamic preacher Vashti McKenzie. It’s about her but also very much about the issue of biography in this election cycle.

Then comes the weekend prior to the election. What to do…

We will be airing a repeat that week, and the question came up: relevance or saturation? Can we provide a non-political alternative, or should we offer something useful for the occasion? We decided that we couldn’t well ignore the reality of the situation — gravitational pull.

October 02, 2008

September 29, 2008

On Thursday night before the debate, I wrote something that meant a great deal to me. It was about a trip I made to Ole Miss in August and the incredible symbolism of that the debate on that campus, a cultural triumph it signified far larger than who won or lost.

The drama in financial markets nearly stopped the debate completely, and overshadowed a few hours of reflection we might have allowed ourselves on race. But Scott Simon did a lovely piece on Saturday morning, and Slate produced this: “Negro to Address Ole Miss Class” (The headline you won’t be reading about tonight’s presidential debate.) A white presidential candidate in civil debate against a black presidential candidate is a monumental, quiet victory of a milestone worth pondering, and celebrating, in a world in which bad news gets all the attention.

September 26, 2008

Our managing producer takes a sharp look at our journalistic profession's cultural appropriation of stereotypes in the political season.

September 25, 2008

Krista reflects on a recent trip she took to Oxford, Mississippi — the setting for the first 2008 U.S. presidential debate.

September 23, 2008

In this TED talk, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt breaks down human moral values into five basic elements, then shows how an individual's placement on the liberal-conservative spectrum is determined by how much emphasis that person puts on each of these values.

September 19, 2008

View a couple of campaign commercials in which presidential candidates wear their religion on their sleeves.

September 18, 2008

With all the press given to Gov. Palin's Pentecostal past, many forgot the Democratic Party has its own share of influential Pentecostals running the show.

September 17, 2008

Are religious values sometimes used as a shield for discrimination?

September 06, 2008

News reports selectively cited quotes from Sarah Palin's speech to "M.C." students. View her entire speech and add your own knowledge.

August 19, 2008

Krista vents her frustration about certain media coverage on the Saddleback forum with Sens. Obama and McCain.

August 13, 2008

A column Waldman wrote for the Wall Street Journal asks whether a campaign video may have crossed the line.

June 04, 2008

Finding the line between doing good and crippling those one's trying to help — at home and abroad.

April 11, 2008

CNN is broadcasting a presidential candidate forum on faith issues this Sunday, April 13, at 8:00pm ET that includes both Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (as of this post, John McCain had not accepted the invitation to participate).  I hate to admit it, but I think I’m not alone in acknowledging that my attention to this year’s presidential election ebbs and flows as the long months of campaigning continue.  But I will tune in this weekend with hopes of hearing a substantive dialogue on ”pressing moral issues that are bridging ideological divides now more than ever, including poverty, global AIDS, climate change and human rights.”