Don't Ask People To Sing the Lord's Praises
Published on May 22, 2013 by Sara Foss

Big time journalists do all kinds of things I would never think to do.

The latest example: When interviewing a young woman who survived the Oklahoma City tornado, CNN's Wolf Blitzer said, "I guess you got to thank the Lord, right?" and then, when the woman didn't immediately answer yes, he asked, "Do you thank the Lord? For that split second decision?" And the woman replied, no, because she is an atheist.

You know, I've interviewed tornado survivors in Alabama, and they were not shy about talking about God. If people want to thank the Lord, they will. You don't have to shove the idea of God down their throat. It's perfectly reasonable to have a conversation, and try to understand the person's outlook, and how their belief system might be playing a role in how they're reacting to the disaster. That's fine. What's not fine is imposing some sort of idea of how a tornado victim is supposed to act and think upon them.

Journalists are supposed to be smart and observant. They're not supposed to bring mawkish God talk into every story that involves a natural disaster or human tragedy. If people want to talk about God, they will. But you shouldn't try to make them.

Here's Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on why Blitzer was out of line.

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