Sunday, August 17, 2008

Religion angle serves as setting in murder analysis

This story in today's New York Times has an interesting use of a bit of religion-related detail.

The story is about a particular gunfire death in Birmingham, and opens with a description of a night with a shooting. The story does a nice job of incorporating detail in a way that puts a human face on the 55th homicide in the city this year.

The role of faith in the neighborhood is presented in some of the details chosen, including the fact that a neighbor was reading the Bible, when she hit the floor after hearing gunshots (the story gives chapter and verse), friends and neighbors visiting the victim's family sit "under the gaze of small ceramic angels and choirboys in the living room" and the victim's father wears " loose-fitting shirt with a pattern of handprints, as though left by a laying on of hands."

I thought this was a good example of how religion as a part of life can be part of religious journalism, even when it is not the major topic of the story.

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