Editor should stop promoting Christianity

In the time frame since our current editor has been at TGI, we have been subjected to various religious articles in our island newspaper, several taking up the front page.

Though we are a small island we do have many religions here other than Christian, and we have many people who are not religious as well.

The TGI editor who I will refer to as ‘our editor’ seems to be a great guy. His running articles are always good, he loves dogs and probably other animals, too, but he does not raise ‘our paper’ beyond his Christian slant. For me, when I open the paper I want news, not religion. If I wanted religion I’d go where it is in abundant supply, namely a church or other house of worship.

Sure, there will be slow-news days. Then find something, anything else, run more wire stories if necessary, but don’t put blissed-out evangelicals with eyes closed with head and hands raised after having been told “they are important” on the front page.

Do these people seeking recognition as being ‘important’ realize others are important, too? What about immigrant families seeking a better life? How important do they think they are? Somewhat less important? Less important enough that many or most evangelicals support the current president’s separation of nearly 70,000 children from their parents? 70,000 children who, subjected to this trauma and may grow up psychologically damaged and many will never be reunited with their parents.

There are some who insist religion should be a legitimate force for discrimination if the Bible reinforces that for them. A well-known example is the cake-baking company that refused to make a cake for a gay couple because it somehow was against their religion. As if the gay couple wasn’t battling enough discrimination in their lives, they couldn’t order a wedding cake from a bakery selling cakes to the public. This was not a private bakery selling cakes at church or out of their home, it was a storefront bakery allowed to make a couple of people feel quite bad, thanks to the what? The Bible, they claimed.

Religion can be a source of good. It can help people get a sense of belonging, and if it makes them happy, fine, but do that on your own time. Personally, I don’t want to see apostilization in our paper, though some do, of course. Those who chose to can be as religious as they want, but why should we all be subjected to it our local news print?

The next day after the front-page article and picture of the evangelical person ran, we had another story on the front page of the second section which started off with “According to the Bible…”

Organized religion is helpful to many, and that’s fine. But I ask our editor to support his religion however he pleases, just not in our paper.


Paulo Tambolo is a resident of Wailua Homesteads.

  1. behappy December 2, 2019 3:16 am Reply

    Do you really have nothing else to complain about?

    1. Surfer December 2, 2019 4:27 pm Reply

      Arguably the most important principle of the American system is the separation of church and state. Although the principle is constantly under attack (presidents saying “god told” them to make certain decisions, or the gov. adding “in god we trust” on our coins in the 60s, etc), it is still relatively intact. To this day, the overwhelming majority of Americans agree that this separation should remain. I haven’t seen the articles that Paulo references, but if they are promoting Christianity, I agree that they have no place in the newspaper. The newspaper is for news, the reporting of facts, not the promotion of any particular belief system. If Christians want to read about Christianity, they have plenty of options. If you don’t agree with this, just think to yourself: what if the editor was running articles ONLY promoting Islam? Or ONLY promoting Hinduism? Sikhism? I have no problem with reporting on religious activity, but PROMOTING any ONE religion, is not the Provence of a newspaper.

  2. Cory Balsom December 2, 2019 4:20 am Reply

    The paper reports on local events that local people are attending. Take a look at how many churches are here on our island. These are filled with full time local people. It is a huge part of the culture and activities such as Sunday services, youth groups, Bible studies, summer activities for all keiki plus big concerts for all. I bet if you submit activities you want stories on, the paper would cover it.

  3. Ginger Doll December 2, 2019 4:37 am Reply

    There are more Christian denominations than anyone can count, each with adherents believing theirs is the true faith and finding comfort in their beliefs.
    But on our island we must recognize the many other faiths that provide the same comfort to it’s followers.
    So it’s a good idea to reach out be recognize the diversity of religious beliefs among us and share stories about people who are other than Christian. They are part of our island too.

  4. Steven McMacken December 2, 2019 5:04 am Reply

    This commentary is long overdue and I sincerely hope that the editor will take heed. I would have thought that Mr. Buley would be intelligent enough to know that a (supposedly unbiased) newspaper is not the right place to promote your own personal views on religion. Having a religion page or section is one thing but when a high percentage of articles and stories are infused with religious overtones, then it is going too far.

  5. Jenifer Stein December 2, 2019 5:54 am Reply

    Why can’t you just turn the page? I have no interest in sports but I don’t demand that they be removed from the paper.

  6. Rick bundschuh December 2, 2019 6:26 am Reply

    Mr. Tambolo laments the inclusion of so many religious, particularly Christian stories in the Garden Island and lays the blame on the Editor of the paper. He finds no interest or use for this kind of thing regardless of the fact that a huge swath of people who read the Garden Island, this writer included, find it interesting and refreshing to see how people express their faith.

    But I understand his complaint. It appears to me that the editor of the paper is also a fan of organized sports as there are daily articles about this team or that winning some kind of “pointless contest”. As someone who isn’t particularly interested in such things and thinks it is immoral to spend millions of dollars on salaries and games when there are starving people in the world I think the space in the paper so often given to celebrating sports should be used to promote some other endeavor. (Name your hot button cause)

    Sarcasm intended by the way, I don’t think sports are pointless contests, but I do think there pointless Op Ed pieces.

    Or perhaps those who take issue with a small town paper, telling the stories that are of meaning and value to those in the community (even if the Editor embraces some of those values) could simply skip those stories that they don’t resonate with and read the ones they do rather than whine about it and go on an anti Christian rant in print.

  7. Rev. James E Brooking December 2, 2019 6:31 am Reply

    Very well stated. As a Christian pastor I get very frustrated with those who believe themselves to be superior to others! I am sure that Jesus’ heart is breaking over the families that this “Christian” government has separated. Find a scripture where Jesus teaches that! I am tired of fundamentalist Christians telling me what they believe….SHOW ME!

  8. ruthann jones December 2, 2019 7:21 am Reply

    Paolo…I am in agreement with you!

  9. Dude December 2, 2019 7:23 am Reply

    Jesus is OK with me! It’s the man made climate change religious zealots that Im tired of hearing from!

  10. pointfisha December 2, 2019 8:58 am Reply

    Enough of the silencing of one select population.

    You act as though religious expression is illegitimate as a voice in society when there are choke opinions and agenda being forwarded in every article, whether that’s environmentalism, commercialism, nationalism, regionalism, humanism, social justice, and on and on.

    People with values other than yours get to talk, too, and from their own viewpoints as to what matters in life. Don’t like it? Start your own paper that you really can call “ours.”

    Religion is not illegal and it’s not taboo. It’s a vital, crucial and protected aspect of life. That’s not oppression; it’s freedom.

    No one is forcing you to read articles that you don’t like. You have control over your eyes and you have the freedom to skip the articles by the editor that you don’t want to read. At the same time, the editor gets the freedom to express him(or her)self. That’s called, “equality.”

  11. Eleanor Snyder December 2, 2019 9:30 am Reply

    Thank you for an articulate letter that totally expresses my point of view. We have plenty of churches on this island that promulgate various forms of beliefs. I hope the editor takes your advice.

  12. doug henry December 2, 2019 9:36 am Reply

    I like seeing Christian articles, especially around Christmas. After all, this holiday is all about Christ Jesus.

  13. I saw a Vampire once December 2, 2019 10:19 am Reply

    Nobody’s forcing it on you. Religion. You may choose to go wherever you like. I don’t know. Las Vegas strip club for example. And still have sex and drink up there. With someone of course.

  14. Patrick Flores December 2, 2019 11:24 am Reply

    In comment to Mr. Tambolo, first off when we purchase a newspaper we are not taking ownership, we are purchase a product. If a person doesn’t have an interest in a certain article turn the page, rip it out and toss or ignore. Tolerance is what will allow us to co-inhabit a very diverse world without melting down because of it.
    Patrick H Flores Wailua Houselots

  15. gordon oswald December 2, 2019 12:04 pm Reply

    Thank you “pointfisha” for a well written and logical comment showing how the lost, self deprecating, and hypocritical liberal clowns strive to control everyone else’s lives. Now the paper can’t comment on Religion, even if the vast majority of readers either like the articles because they’re religious, or they don’t care. Paulo belongs to a special group of individual. Those who don’t have a smidgen of common sense, and will end up in the trash heap of our uneducated, “clueless”, and naïve members of our Society. Right along the garbage politicians with nefarious intent who are currently participating in an attempt to unseat a duly elected President. America is a Christian Nation! Built on a firm belief in the Judeo-Christian Society! You don’t like it? move to Russia. No Christian articles there.

    1. Steven McMacken December 3, 2019 6:23 am Reply

      How Christian of you, Gordo. Are you familiar with the word hypocrite?

      When you say that “America is a Christian nation,” and then damn the individual who thinks otherwise or doesn’t happen to believe as you do, it only illustrates how thorough your ignorance of our nation’s founding is. You might want to ask yourself why there is no mention of God in the Constitution. While you’re at it, check out the First Amendment.

      You’ve sanctimoniously wrapped yourself up so tightly in the American flag, I’m afraid it’s squeezed all the intellectual juices from your brain.

      Well, better go get those jackboots shined up.

    2. Alan Maislen December 4, 2019 3:33 am Reply

      Triggered much?

  16. paulot December 2, 2019 1:52 pm Reply

    Aloha all. I appreciate your giving this some thought and mahalo for your comments.

    Though I made my point that I don’t agree with religious items taking front page in our paper, I did not title it EDITOR SHOULD STOP PROMOTING CHRISTIANITY. Of course I wish he would stop but gave my opinion on why it can be divisive, ending with this, I “ASK” OUR EDITOR TO SUPPORT HIS RELIGION HOWEVER HE PLEASES JUST NOT IN OUR PAPER.

    I also would like to mention after decades of reading TGI we did not have it splashed with Christian articles till our current editor stepped aboard.

    For those who asked why didn’t I just turn the page? That’s what I’ve been doing for several years. But when you see the ways various religions can hurt others, sometimes you might need to take a stand, controversial or not.

  17. Sheeples December 2, 2019 5:45 pm Reply

    We should also realize that most local papers are owned or supported by a few large media conglomerates. They are incentivized to push Christian and right wing propaganda. They made it all the way to the annals of power from the beginning of time, why would they stop now? We are being sold a fake narrative which supports the upward transfer of wealth, ending soon(for humans) in ecocide through resource exhaustion, famine and war. It fits like an rhapsodic peg in the ignorant hole of the masses. Have fun during the apocalypse sheeples……

  18. Khsgrad December 2, 2019 8:30 pm Reply

    70,000 children WHOSE parents made a choice to BREAK the law…… They can cry all the way back to whoever they came from….. Don’t throw politics into your bashing of Christianity….I happen to love the feel good religious stories…. Keep up the good work Mr. Editor. Go watch CNN if you want a different kind of news….

    1. Ginger Doll December 6, 2019 5:04 am Reply

      Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them
      The families of 70,000 children fearing harm or even death to their children made the perilous journey to protect them are called illegal?
      I believe true Christians believe differently.

  19. Thad miller December 3, 2019 6:44 am Reply

    The fish and other animals are dieing all a round us on day three he made us rulers to care for the Animals.The 5th day he gave us seed and plants to eat.Not Animals..So as we move into the next houes .There will be no kill or eat of Gods Angles..Then and only then we will live with out sick and the bad things will be gone..

  20. tunnels December 3, 2019 7:13 am Reply

    In other news, JESUS is the reason for the season! Merry CHRISTmas everyone!!!

  21. Charlie Chimknee December 3, 2019 8:40 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    Another idea would be if the Garden Island, at least in its online edition, offered Sunday articles on all the world’s most popular religions. Online? To save money by not having paper to contend with.

    In no particular order there is Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhs, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity (Protestants with Lutheran s, Methodists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Baptist, Episcopalian, and ?), and, Catholics, and then there is the absence of God in Atheism and Non-Theism. For sure there are many more.

    It would be educational, and a promotion of tolerance to know something of all religions. They all have something to offer in steering mankind through life and time, especially in more ancient days when Heaven was naively straight up regardless of where you stood on earth, that is in which Hemisphere, or east or west of anywhere, after all living on a globe, earth, there is only outward and never upward. There was a time where the world was considered flat and there was ignorantly only up.

    Religions speak to human behavior and character and having said that…treatment of one another.

    So if our Editor, Mr. Buley, could see fit perhaps he could enlist spokesmen and women of the religions to educate us to the wonderful things of the religions or the absence of.

    The reader could see where they fit best in one or more religions to assist them through life or uplift their mind above the often turbulence of being a human in these modern trying times. Certainly we could use more help getting beyond drugs, suicide, crime, disrespect, war, disease brought on by ignorance, brought on by abuse of Petroleum, brought on by capitalism’s profit at any expense.

    From what we’ve studied and learned all religions would be of some benefit…after all a salad is enhanced by its many varied contents, leave what you do not enjoy, ingest the rest and absorb its nutrition, its GOoDliness.

  22. Onebrahda December 3, 2019 9:49 am Reply

    Paulo, no buy the paper.
    And most people get this wrong, separation of church and state meant back then, that the government cannot tell the people what and who to believe in, sort of what Paulo is doing.
    That is what our military fights for. In China, the Chinese cannot be caught with a Bible.
    The paper is owned by someone and not the Kauai community.
    Just like the “Wall Street Journal” they print what they want.
    It’s nice to see positive articles in the paper. To all that don’t like what is written, go create your own newspaper and “censor” what you want in that.
    That is what you’re actually doing.

  23. Kauai Sis December 3, 2019 10:00 am Reply

    Thank you Paulo for having the courage to write this letter. Thank you Bill for printing it.

    Personally I feel the same as Paulo. Religion is based on gods that are not present or proven. Yes, they’re a big part of our culture and give comfort, but are also divisive and damaging, and the world would be better off if all religions just disappeared. Look up Matt Dillahunty, Richard Dawkins, Aron Ra, Christopher Hitchens, etc. on youTube if you want to argue for religion.

    As a 40 year subscriber to TGI, I COULD turn the page or ultimately cancel my subscription, but I’d prefer to have a newspaper I can read with unbiased reporting of local, national, and international news that may impact me and my loved ones. Articles about churches could be included occasionally depending on newsworthiness or in the Religion section,

    I’ve also noticed odd articles on the front page such as the one recently about a young lady starting a business. I suppose I should feel glad that Kauai has “slow news days,” but do we really have nothing else going on? I would suggest the reporters join the Kauai Rants and Raves group on Facebook.

  24. Craig Callaway December 3, 2019 6:31 pm Reply

    Paulo, I absolutely KNEW two things when I first read your column. (1) That several people would roundly disagree with your content, and say so, but (2) that only ONE person — Gordon Oswald — would stoop, as he always does, to a vicious, smarmy attack on you personally. It is simply what he does to make himself feel big.

    And sure enough, there he is, announcing that ” Paulo belongs to a special group of individual. Those who don’t have a smidgen of common sense, and will end up in the trash heap of our uneducated, “clueless”, and naïve members of our Society.”

    Actually, I knew a third thing: That Bill Buley would let Gordon get away with it.


  25. Kalehua December 5, 2019 10:44 am Reply

    I do get tired of all the snarky and mean comments. Gordon Oswald you are one cranky guy. Your posts are always filled with ignorance, prejudice, and hatred. I do
    Not see your professed Christianity shine through in any way. Respectful listening, patience, Compassion, understanding and tolerance will bring a possibility for peaceful discourse, not name calling and banging shut the vault to your mind and heart.

  26. HanaleiRed December 5, 2019 4:43 pm Reply

    For a public newspaper to report significant religious news is certainly valid. The journalistic code guides news sources to report news that is truthful, fair, and balanced.

    For a public newspaper to proselytize one religion by filling the paper with biased information while neglecting others, is unconscionable.

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