Jewish Journal

‘Palin’s Pastor Urges Flock to Pray for the Press’

by Brad A. Greenberg

September 8, 2008 | 1:04 pm

When I first saw the headline—Palin’s Pastor Urges Flock to Pray for the Press—I thought: Well, prayer is meant to comfort the afflicted and the press do exist to afflict the comfortable, but has Pastor Larry Kroon really had it so bad over the past week that he needs God to reign in an unnecessarily intrusive press. My answer, despite some of the harsh portraits painted of Kroon, would be no.

But then I read the AP’s short dispatch on Kroon’s sermon yesterday, and I realized what a gracious host he has been to the droves of reporters who have come through town looking for political and theological dirt on Sarah Palin and who even sit through his sermons and then report on the most mundane of messages. (Conversely, The New York Times had a wonderfully written profile yesterday of how Palin’s Christian beliefs affect her politics: “Her foundation and source of guidance is the Bible,” the Times reported, “and with it has come a conviction to be God’s servant.”)

The more forgettable example of religion reporting, tied to the headline, is after the jump:

Kroon began services asking any reporters who might be in the crowd to respect church members’ opportunity to worship.

“This isn’t the place to be fishing for interviews,” he said.

He then asked the 300 congregants at the first of two morning services to pray for all of the candidates for president and vice president, and to be thankful that all four are willing to provide the nation with their public service.

He urged churchgoers to “pray for the press.” Kroon said the media are to be “cherished and respected,” citing 19th century philosopher Alexander de Tocqueville’s works describing a free press and freedom of religion as essential pillars of democracy.

Kroon said he’s done a series of national media interviews during the hectic past week since his church was thrust into the national spotlight - a significant event for a relatively low-key congregation who sit in folding chairs in the large and new church, down a dirt road at the edge of town.

I know. Riveting.

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