Mark Fisher is the editor of the Faith & Values section of the Columbus Dispatch. There are often complaints from atheists that we are never featured on these pages. For some reason, “values” exclude non-religious people.
Fisher wrote about the types of stories run in the F&V section:
During the last two years, Faith & Values has had 290 cover stories, of which 183 (63.1 percent) have been about Christianity. Another 39 stories, or 13.4 percent, have discussed multiple faiths, usually including Christianity.
We’ve had 12 cover stories about Islam (4.1 percent) and 11 about Judaism (3.8 percent). Five stories were about Buddhism (1.7 percent).
We published one article each about atheism, Hinduism, Scientology and Shintoism.
He also says that the non-religious make up approximately 12% of the Columbus region.
So there is a huge discrepancy here. It’s not very different from other areas of the country.
What is Fisher going to do about it?
Although Faith & Values isn’t ignoring Christians, my tally does suggest that we are giving nonreligious people less attention than they deserve. We’re already taking steps to correct that.
… Nonreligious people have their own codes of ethics and explanations for the meaning of life. Many pursue independent spiritual paths; others are happily secular.
I think these people deserve more coverage in F&V. What do you think?
I think it’s great. And I wrote Fisher to tell him just that.
He was getting more responses to this column than he is used to receiving, so he sent a generic, but sincere, letter to those who wrote him:
Thank you so much for sending me your thoughts on my Faith & Values column, which has generated far more responses than I expected — about 35 e-mails so far, of which 34 have been positive.
I hope you will forgive me for sending you this universal reply. I have always been punctilious about responding to every e-mail individually, but in this case there are just too many. (I’ve never been the subject of a blog before.)
I assure you that I am reading every e-mail thoroughly and taking note of the valuable suggestions that many writers have offered.
Sincerely (albeit generically),
Well, I’m going to become a more frequent reader of the Columbus Dispatch Faith & Values section.
How often do you hear that phrase…?
[tags]Pharyngula, atheist, atheism, Mark Fisher, Faith & Values, Columbus Dispatch, non-religious, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Scientology, Shintoism, secular[/tags]