Tens of Thousands fill National Mall on day of prayer and repentance

"Tens of thousands packed the National Mall in Washington Saturday (Sept. 26) to cry out to God and repent. The gathering stretched from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol." - BPNews

See also: 50K Pray for Nation ‘in crisis’ to Return to God at DC March

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G. N. Barkman's picture

I looked in vain for any news report of this event.  Nothing.  Not even on Fox News.  Did I simply overlook the reports, or was there a deliberate news blackout?

G. N. Barkman

Mark_Smith's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

I looked in vain for any news report of this event.  Nothing.  Not even on Fox News.  Did I simply overlook the reports, or was there a deliberate news blackout?

Are you surprised? If it's legitimately Christian its persona non grata, even on Fox News. Even worse, it was Franklin Graham who organized it! He's a racist bigot after all... everyone knows that right? (That's called sarcasm)

G. N. Barkman's picture

Some on SI seem to question the degree of bias in the media.  Yes, there is a bit here and there, but for the most part these people are professionals and are doing a fairly decent job.  O really?  How does every other gathering of people with an agenda, no matter whether a few dozen or a few hundred, and occasionally a few thousand, merit media coverage, but tens of thousands of Christians gathering in DC for prayer and a call for national repentance merits NO mention whatsoever?  Selections about what to cover and not cover are Huge!  That kind of bias may be more serious than slanted news stories.

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

It's possible many Christians don't really care about the prayer march Franklin Graham organized. I personally did not. I was busy doing real life; and I'm not trying to be sarcastic. I suspect Franklin Graham's appeal is largely to a particular subset of age 55+ American Christians. I don't know a single younger Christian who follows what he does or cares. I personally do not. That doesn't mean he isn't a good man. It just means I don't follow what he does, and I paid no attention at all to his prayer march. I saw it (rightly or wrongly) as more of the same Christian nationalism from a man who's a known commodity. When you turn on Hannity, it doesn't matter the day = you know what you'll hear. So it is with Franklin Graham. Hence the apathy for his prayer march, at least for me.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Perhaps the media are doing us a favor by ignoring this, as Matthew 6:5-13 comes to mind in this case.  Don't you think?  I'm all for standing up politically, but sending letters to politicians and bureaucrats seems to be the application we would follow after praying for these situations, not necessarily making a big deal about praying in public.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

G. N. Barkman's picture

Yes, many Christians don't care about what Franklin Graham does, and yes, promoting public prayer is not exactly what Jesus commended.  But that's not the point.  Many people don't care what BLM does, but every protest seems to get news coverage.  My point is not what people care about or whether Christian prayer should be publicly promoted.  My point is about media bias, and yet another glaring example of the same.  The media reports what they wish to promote.  They ignore what they don't want to promote.  It seems to have little to do with what is important or newsworthy, and everything to do with media opinion influencing. 

If 50,000 people showed up at DC for Any left leaning cause, they'd get endless coverage, but let a crowd come with a Christian, or conservative agenda, and they are ignored.  That's not reporting, that's agenda promotion.  That's not what news reporting is supposed to do.  If they want to be respected, they need to be objective.

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

I hear you, I'm just not outraged by it. It just isn't news. I doubt it's something that would interest that many readers. It doesn't even interest me.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

G. N. Barkman's picture

Tyler, I understand that this doesn't interest you.  Perhaps the BLM protests don't interest you either, and it may not be something that interests that many readers either.  But it serves the agenda of the media to keep covering it, and in that manner, promoting it.  

My point is not whether the prayer walk interests you.  My point is to ask why it is of no interest to the media?  I'm concerned that the national media continues to demonstrate bias by what they do and do not cover.  Am I outraged by this?  No, I don't think that's the correct term, but I'm concerned that we continue to get more propaganda then objective news reporting.  That should concern every American.

 

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

My basic attitude is to shrug and not be surprised. Why does this disappoint you? It's like complaining because the world isn't fair. Doesn't everybody know that? Does anybody suspect media outlets care about Christianity? Of course not. So, I just shrug at this kind of thing. It's just the way the world is.

Am I outraged by this? No, I don't think that's the correct term, but I'm concerned that we continue to get more propaganda then objective news reporting.  That should concern every American

I disagree. News is available everywhere, even according to one's partisan preferences! What more can we ask for? I subscribe to WSJ, NYT, SpectatorUSA, ChristianityToday, WORLD, and National Review. Between them, I get all the news I need from a variety of perspectives. The info is out there for people, if they curate their news sources. So, I'm really not moved by this. You may be referring to cable news, but that's all been a joke for quite some time.

But, look here for media coverage of the event. The Washington Post even covered it. So did the Daily Mail in the UK. From one local outlet:

“These people have come from all over America at their own expense. They’re coming to pray for the country,” former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said while hosting the event livestream. “They’re here to solve the trouble our land is in.”

Well, the trouble will never be solved without the Gospel. So, spend your time on that mission, not on stunts like this. My two cents. I suspect that's why many younger Christians don't care about this prayer march. They're done with the Religious Right's excesses, and what is Graham but a legacy from the now moribund Religious Right? Russell Moore's comments here, from his book Onward! (2015) have always rung very true for me, personally:

... the older generations are mistaken if they assume the next generation will be more of the same, just with even more prayer for “revival” and “Great Awakening” in the land. The typical younger pastor is less partisan than his predecessor, less likely to speak from the pulpit about “mobilizing” voters and “reclaiming Judeo-Christian values” through political action and economic boycotts. This is not because he is evolving leftward. It is because he wants to keep Christianity Christian. As a matter of fact, the center of evangelical Christianity today is, theologically speaking, well to the right of the old Religious Right. It’s true that the typical younger pastor of a growing urban or suburban church doesn’t look like his cuff-linked or golf-shirted forefather. But that doesn’t mean he’s a liberal. He might have tattoos, yes, but they aren’t of Che Guevara. They’re of Hebrew passages from Deuteronomy.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

GN, understood that it's unfair, but let's keep in mind that if we obey God in this and actually spend the time praying and acting on God's Word instead of driving to DC, we are going to circumvent any media blackout in such a way that they won't know what hit them.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

G. N. Barkman's picture

In my first post, I asked if anyone had seen any media coverage of this event.  No one responded, so I  assumed no one had.  Now you report on some coverage, minimal as it may be.  I thank you for that helpful information.

I agree that the secular media, largely hostile to all things Christian, should not be expected to report such things as a Prayer Walk favorably.  It is an example of the world simply acting according to its sinful nature running from the light.  My point was to highlight this media bias as a counter to several comments on SI over the past few months defending the high quality of secular media reporting.  Some have defended the secular media as largely objective, in spite of a few exceptions.  My contention is that there is an underlying bias against all things Christian, and most things Conservative, that colors virtually every story.  The selection of what to report is an example of this.  Saying, "So, what do you expect?" is hardly the point.  I expected exactly what actually happened--a virtual news blackout.  But others have defended the secular media's professionalism and objectivity.  When that is challenged, the reply is, "So what.  That's what I expected."  Hmm.  Which is it?  Professional objectivity or institutional bias?

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

I'll try to be clearer, then I'll likely bow out:

  1. There are many good news sources available. People simply have to know what they're getting. I listed all the outlets to which I subscribe. NYT is reliably excellent ... except when it comes to US politics (opinion pages and editorials are a different beast, and I'm not referencing them here). WSJ leans right, and is an excellent counterpoint because they often cover the same stories. Spectator USA is a conservative-leaning British publication, which is very helpful for getting an outside the echo chamber perspective. National Review is what it is, and it is formidable. CT is CT. WORLD is a Christian take on news.
  2. This means, when you refer to a "media blackout," I literally have no idea what you're talking about. I'm not trying to be obtuse. I heard about the prayer march from perhaps three sources to which I subscribe (I don't remember which, because I didn't care about the story). If you mean you didn't hear about it from the free cable news or print resources to which you usually refer, then fine. But, there was no "media blackout."
  3. In the outlets I described, professionalism is generally there. You just need to know to chew the meat and spit out the bones. Every person, and every outlet, has blind spots. So does every preacher. You know when it's coming. You know it, because on SI you can usually agree with something someone says ... until he brings up Israel and the church, and you can sense the wild gleam in his eye, and you say, "Oh, boy, here we go ..." So, just filter it out, and don't let that blind spot be the prism that colors your opinion of the whole thing. Because I subscribe to so many news sources, this doesn't bother me. I have never expected one source to be perfectly fair, balanced, and objective.
  4. The younger Christian disillusionment with the Religious Right's model of cultural engagement is real. Very real.

I hope I've been clearer. Have a good Wednesday.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

G. N. Barkman's picture

Thank you for the additional information and perspective.  Although I don't subscribe to as many sources as you, I do subscribe to several, such as the WSJ and World magazine.  I access a good bit of news on the internet.  I didn't see anything about the Prayer March in the news.  I received a mail-out from Franklin Graham, announcing it several weeks in advance.  I saw a post on Facebook from a former church member who attended with his wife and two grown children.  That was all until I saw the post on SI.  Maybe I wasn't looking closely enough.  But I couldn't help contrast the paucity of coverage of this event, with 50,000 Christian gathering peacefully at the Washington Mall, with the endless coverage given to other gatherings, many much smaller.

Here in Alamance County, our local newspaper promoted a BLM style protest before it happened, covered it when it happened this past Saturday, and then ran yet another article on Tuesday reporting the organizers assessment of its success.  And that for "a few dozen protesters", some of whom came from out of town.  But when Alamance County Right to Life holds a rally with much larger numbers, all local citizens, the coverage is minimal.  I see this kind of media bias regularly.  As a Christian, I understand it.  As an American, I lament it.  To me it demonstrates a serious defect in news reporting which is detrimental to the health of our nation.

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

In Olympia, WA, local media are extraordinarily liberal. But, in the rural corner of the county where I live, the local paper is traditional small-town conservative. They cover the Farmer's Market, local business stories, and "wholesome" things.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?