Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Texas Faith 29: What religion stories should the media focus on?

Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.
I'm pleased to announce the participation of two new panelists: Dr. James Denison and interfaith proponent and blogger Mike Ghouse.  They will join our team as we move into our third year. Over the next few weeks, we will add a few more panelists, but today I want to welcome Jim and Mike.
Jim long served as pastor at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas. He now is president of the Center for Informed Faith and is a distinguished adjunct professor of religion at Dallas Baptist University. He also is a theologian in residence for Texas Baptists.
Mike presides over the Foundation for Pluralism, is active in the World Muslim Congress and blogs regularly at various sites. He also has been a city commissioner in Carrollton, Texas and serves on the board of the Dallas Peace Center.
You can read more about them on our website later this week. Meanwhile, I know Wayne Slater, Sam Hodges and I look forward to their participation.
Now, onto this week's question:
There has plenty of criticism of the media for the amount of attention paid to Terry Jones, the pastor of the 50-member Florida church who had been planning a Quran-burning until he was talked out of it. Colin Powell typified the questioning of the media when he wondered on ABC's "The View" last week how a guy like Pastor Jones could end up commanding so much attention from the press.
That's a fair question, so let's turn the tables this week, which comes a few days after the anniversary of 9/11. Here's the question for discussion;
If you were a media baron, an editor or a television or radio producer, what religiously-based stories would you focus on?
Read on for numerous responses from out Texas Faith panelists, many of which conclude that
"sensationalism sells."
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas

So much effort is put into producing the media's products. How much money does it take to run a newspaper press, a news station, and a radio show? However, at 10 a.m. when the paper has been read, what is its value? It is simply fit for the bottom of the bird cage.
Who records the TV news station to see it for a second time?
Therefore the Vedic truth compares the literatures that do not touch on eternal topics, such as God, to a garbage dump. (*SB 1.5.10) Whereas factual spiritual literature brings about a change of heart (*SB 1.5.11)
"According toNîti-úâstra(civic laws) one should not speak an unpalatable truth to cause distress to others. Distress comes upon us in its own way by the laws of nature, so one should not aggravate it by propaganda." -Srimad Bhagavatam 1.13.13 PURPORT
Everyone naturally suffers from the threefold miseries: ones produced of the body & mind, ones from other living entities, and ones from the environment itself. Spiritual literature affords a means to extricate ones consciousness out of such suffering to experiencing reality at a transcendentally pleasurable level.
As a hungry bird in acage is not pleased by the polishing of the cage so similarly the hungry heart is not satisfied with literature devoid of God. (*SB 1.5.12)
Therefore I would focus on those news events, such as Radhanath Swami's new book The Journey Home, that bring about a change of heart and a relief from the sufferings of this material world.
Hare Krishna :)
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das
To see all the responses from the Texas Faith Panel click here