Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mea Culpa

Last month I wrote about "The Blob and I," an article by Rudy Nelson that appeared in Books and Culture, published by Christianity Today. Nelson was refuting a recently published book by Jeff Sharlet. Here's one paragraph from my November entry:

"And a new book, The Family: the Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet, called a journalist because he is a contributor to several magazines, including Harper's and Rolling Stone, and creator of a couple of blogs purporting to monitor "America's secret theocrats," suggests that this movie was a fundamentalist Christian group's deliberate attempt to sway public sentiment by making the monster a metaphor for Communism."

Mr. Sharlet left a comment earlier today on that posting, objecting to what he perceived as my questioning the validity of his title of journalist and refuting Nelson's article. I suggest that my thousands of followers read his comments and my response rather than my repeating them here.

However, Mr. Sharlet noted that he is more than just the creator of a couple of blogs and that he does more than just monitor a particular religious group.

In fact, Mr. Sharlet is the creator of two online religious journals: Killing the Buddha, "a religion magazine for people made anxious by churches, people embarrassed to be caught in the "spirituality" section of a bookstore, people both hostile and drawn to talk of God. It is for people who somehow want to be religious, who want to know what it means to know the divine, but for good reasons are not and do not," and The Revealer, "a daily review of religion in the news and the news about religion" published by the New York University Center for Religion and Media.

Mr. Sharlet writes about a number of topics in his blog, Call Me Ishmael. I read only the most recently posted one, dated February 3, 2008, about his book, The Family.

I regret not having explored the two sites before writing my post and for not including links to Mr. Sharlet's blog and the other two sites. As I wrote in the previous post: "
Ah well. Read the articles for yourself. You decide. That's what a free, unbiased press is all about, right?"

But I should have given you the tools to do so.

And, regardless of my semantical struggles over the title "journalist" and regardless of any other opinions I may hold, Mr. Sharlet is a best-selling author and prolific writer about religion in America. I did him a disservice in suggesting otherwise.

My apologies to him and to you.

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