Not quite sure how I missed this one. I found the following article on the Christian Post this evening reporting an incident in which a FEMA cameraman tried to censor a faith-based disaster relief group. You can read the article here.
In part, the article says:
According to reports, a cameraman who was videotaping the post-tornado cleanup in the small town of Ebeneezer, Miss., had asked some of the volunteers to change out of their shirts before being part of an on-camera interview.
The volunteers, members of Crossgates Baptist Church in nearby Brandon, said the cameraman made the request because he didn’t want anything faith-based. They were wearing shirts with the Salvation Army logo.
FEMA officials have since apologized for the cameraman’s lack of judgment. According to FEMA, the cameraman was acting on his own when he did this, and his actions do not reflect FEMA policy.
For their part, the Mississippi relief workers seem to be taking it well enough. They seem disappointed, but understanding. Likewise, the Salvation Army seems satisfied with FEMA’s explanation and subsequent apology.
Really, I only point out this story for two reasons. One, because it reflects the deepening divide between church and state in our increasingly secular society. A sign of further misunderstandings to come. Today it’s an isolated incident, tomorrow it’s federal policy. This is something to keep an eye on.
And, two, because it happened in Mississippi just a few miles from where I live. Crossgates Baptist in Brandon is just a stone’s throw away from here. Good people. I’m not surprised they were so understanding and forgiving about the whole thing. That’s Mississippi for you.