A blog covering religious groups and events on the University of Oklahoma campus was started two weeks ago.
The blog, Sooners Seeking Sanctuary, aims to increase knowledge about the religious community on the Norman campus. Nine blog posts will use photographs, audio and video to report on activities of groups of various faiths.
According to freshman Phoebe Lo, a member of the Christian group Chi Alpha, religion is rarely discussed in the media. Lo said conversations about faith in media such as blogs and newspapers are vital to the well-being of religious groups.
Students say that it’s important to discuss religion through media because of misunderstandings some have about faith.
“A lot of times Christians in general are grouped together in the media,” Susan Stancampiano, publicity intern at St. Thomas More University Parish and Student Center, said.
“Catholics aren’t mentioned [in the media] unless it’s more or less controversial or an opinion by the Pope.”
Lo said she thinks many students are confused about her organization.
“I guess when I ask people about Chi Alpha they most often think it’s some kind of sorority,” Lo said.
Sama Astani, president of the Baha’i Association, said media coverage of religions helps shed light on political situations across the world.
“Given what we’ve been through as a religion, it’s disappointing [that Baha’i does not get more media attention],” Astani said.
“In Iran, since it’s an Islamic nation, we’re not really allowed to be Baha’is. Baha’i students aren’t allowed to go to school, to universities. Their rights are being stripped away from them. They can’t live a normal life. A lot of Baha’is are imprisoned unfairly, unjustly. The media can raise awareness of religion’s human rights perspective.”
Astani said he thinks articles and publications about religion are important in a newly globalized world.
“It’s important to keep people open-minded to help spread tolerance,” he said.
“We’re at a point where tolerance is looking a little harder to grasp, especially between Muslims and Christians. Given what’s happened in the last ten years, I understand why it’s happening, but talking about religions in the media helps spread tolerance and knowledge.”
Sooners Seeking Sanctuary will publish a new blog post roughly every week. The blog can be found at http://soonersseekingsanctuary.blogspot.com.