Easter Surprise: NBC Acknowledges U.S. 'A Very Religious Nation'
The last story of Holy Thursday’s Nightly News broadcast featured anchor Brian Williams acknowledging “we are a very religious nation.” The lead-in was for a story on workplace chaplains, a growing trend being offered by companies seeking to provide amenities that are meaningful to their employees.
The story featured the nondenominational Corporate Chaplains of America which serves 450 firms in 26 states. Corporate chaplains offer on-site opportunities for employees to talk with a person of faith about any issues that are bothering them.
After introducing the chaplain at HomeBanc Mortgage’s Atlanta headquarters, reporter Anne Thompson jumped in with the obvious anti-religion question: “Are you trying to convert people?”
To her credit though Thompson let the chaplain explain that his job is to listen to people regardless of what they want to talk about. He told her, “If people have questions about a spiritual matter we answer those questions. Just like if they have questions about how to get their baby to sleep all night.”
The story then focused on the firm’s receptionist who commented that having an on-site chaplain means she can get help or advice when she needs it and sees the service as more coaching than ministerial. Thompson’s following stand-up read like a positive endorsement for faith in the workplace when she said, “Labor experts say employers who don’t acknowledge their employees spiritual side are missing the boat. Especially since today's workers spend so much time on the job.”
David Miller, author of God at Work, The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement, had a sound bite in which he strongly asserted that on-site chaplains must be seen as a resource, not a requirement.
Thompson closed the pro-faith-at-work story by citing HomeBanc’s belief that the addition of the corporate chaplain program has reduced employer turnover and is paying big returns for the company.After the bashing that religion and faith have taken during Lent (see link here), this refreshing look at the positive side of faith is a welcome relief. Kudos to NBC for this pro-faith feature.