WaPo Website Merges Photos of Gays With Mormon Church Fire Story

A 60-year-old Mormon Church in Massachusetts burned to the ground on Sunday. A story about the incident appeared on the Washington Post website last night. It's an AP entry discussing the fire that chased worshippers out of the building in a panic on Sunday. But it is accompanied by a rather odd choice of images. Is it a photo of the fire-damaged church? Perhaps it is a snap of frightened churchgoers or a resolute minister vowing to rebuild? Well, none of those really.

The odd choice of photos accompanying the story of a fire at a Mormon Church is one of gay couples that "brought a lawsuit" over gay marriage in Massachusetts.

One might wonder what the heck a photo of gays has to do with a church burning down? The answer seems to be that the Washington Post doesn't seem to think there is any time that isn’t suitable to attack the Mormon Church over its opposition to gay marriage. They turned this simple story of a fire into an excuse to play politics.

The story is short enough with but a few quick paragraphs detailing the fire and how it gutted the building. Also revealed is that worshipers had been involved in a tele-conference call with Mormon leaders when the fire broke out. It tells us the fire chief said the fire started in the attic and the roof of the 60-year-old building had collapsed. And that is about it.

But the photo put with the story (see screen shot below) has nothing whatever to do with that particular church nor the fire...unless the Post is trying to intimate that gays burned the church down and I doubt that is the case.

No, the photo is of gay couples that the caption dutifully informs us had “brought a lawsuit” against the state over gay marriage. In fact, the caption of the photo is almost longer than the story about the fire.

Gay couples who brought the landmark lawsuit that led to the first legalized gay marriages in the United States pose for a photo during a reunion in Newton Mass, Sunday, May, 17, 2009, celebrate their fifth anniversaries, five years after Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage. Pictured are, front row, from left, Gina Nortonsmith, Avery Nortonsmith, 12, Heidi Nortonsmith, Quinn Nortonsmith, 9, all of Northampton, Mass., Attorney Mary Banato, who heard the landmark case before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and Ellen Wade, Maureen Brodoff, of Newton, Mass., Rob Compton, and David Wilson, of Boston, Ed Balmelli, and Michael Hogan of Jamaica Plain, Mass., Gary Chalmers and Richard Linnell, of Whitinsville, Mass., and Gloria Bailey-Davies and Linda Bailey Davies, of Orleans, Mass., (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds) (Josh Reynolds - AP)

It might seem odd to you that a story about a Mormon Church burning to the ground is accompanied by a photo of complaining gays. But then one remembers that California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 had a major Mormon connection. In California, you see, the Mormon Church helped the anti-gay marriage forces spread the word about Prop 8 and helped get it passed by the majority of Californians.

So the Post seems to have decided that any time Mormons are discussed, even if it is because one of their churches burned down, then that is a good time to discuss how rotten Mormons are for opposing gay marriage.

If this isn't the "news" people acting as advocates, what is?

I took a screen shot of this page just in case the Washington Post suddenly decides that they'd gone too far with this one and decides to scrub history like so many Old Media sites have done over the years.

(H/T NewsBusters reader Joshua Hartshorn)