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Questioning our faith

OPINION by Harry Porter | April 3, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

It is amazing how often in the newspaper business our Christianity is questioned. Fairly often the people who are the subject of our stories think we must not be Christians or else we wouldn't write the stories about them.

What is really baffling is that we never hear that comment from people who are featured in positive stories. It is only the folks who are committing crimes or doing other things they don't want the public to know about that question our faith.

Now, I can understand how some people would be upset with us when we cast a spotlight on activities that they would prefer to keep hidden. Many times those activities are either embarrassing, illegal, immoral, dangerous, harmful or some combination of them all. It is only natural to not want your neighbors to know about your bad behavior. But it is a newspaper's job to report things that have an impact on the community at large. If we as a newspaper are doing our job we must report on these uncomfortable things. We have a responsibility to the public to keep them informed about happenings in the community that impact them. I can assure you this is a responsibility that we take extremely seriously and it is at the core of what we do. We will never shirk our duties and we realize that an informed community is a better community for everyone.

That is why I find it odd that we are rarely questioned about the facts in our stories or the way we construct those facts in the telling of the story but rather our belief in God is the thing that is questioned. Why would that be the case? Could it be that the subjects of our stories know the facts are correct and since they can't attack us on that front they want to appeal to Christian charity to save them from the repercussions of their own deeds? Or could it be that they feel if we were Christians that we would not want to hurt our fellow man?

I can assure everyone that it is never our purpose to cause harm to individuals. However, it is our duty to report the facts and ensure the public is as completely informed as possible. Deeds that cause harm or make our community go backward are not beneficial to anyone and we as a newspaper believe that the only way to drive out the darkness is casting light upon it. Unfortunately, sometimes that light can burn and be harmful to individuals or institutions but in the long run everyone is better off when these things are exposed.

Ephesians 5:11 says, "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them."

We as a local newspaper face many challenges in doing our job correctly. We are impacted by the weather, local economy, national economy, the price of oil and any number of other variables that we as a business must manage. One of the greatest of these challenges is having the available manpower to do our job well. I would love to have double the number of reporters we currently have on staff but like any other business, I have to be fiscally responsible to make sure that The Sentinel-Record, an institution around since 1877, is viable and thriving for another 145 years. This is why we take our job very seriously and when we approach a story we have a moral obligation to get it correct and make sure all parties are heard. It is this strong, moral obligation that drives us.

The French philosopher and writer Denis Diderot said the following about journalism, "All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings."

We will do our best to continue to examine and investigate with a strong sense of our moral obligation to our fellow man. Regardless of your religious beliefs, I think most folks would agree that seems like a Godly place to start from.

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