By Dr. Rich Turner
Citizens Journal Florida is live!
The exclamation mark might be surprising and maybe you are asking yourself the question: Why is that such a big deal? Quite possibly you are thinking, with so many national and local news outlets, what does one more voice matter? Don’t we have enough news sources already?
(Rich and Sandy Turner shown in photo, above)
Citizens Journal Florida is different in a number of important ways. First, it is a news source that desires to present the news as factually and objectively as possible. Of course, we all see the world around us through our own biases and preconceived ideas. But the editors of Citizens Journal Florida recognize this and are attempting to first and foremost present news that is relevant, accurate, and impartial. A great example of impartial reporting can be found here: Fernandina Beach Pride Event- 6-11-22 – Citizens Journal Florida
This desire to produce relevant, accurate, and impartial news is the exact opposite of what we are currently observing from the so-called “Mainstream Media.” In much of the mainstream media opinions are heralded as facts, and inconvenient news or news that is inconsistent with the editorial staff’s worldview is minimized, ignored, or even worse, altered. One only has to muse for a few seconds to think of clear examples where this type of “journalism” resulted in reports that were completely contrary to the actual truth. Examples that come to my mind include many COVID articles, the exaggeration of the protection that cloth masks provide against the spread of COVID, many Summer 2021 violent protests being portrayed as non-violent, the whole Trump Russia hoax, and the dismissal of the Hunter Biden laptop stories. These are just a few examples. In all of the above cases, plus many others, the media initially took a strong stand that was totally wrong. A initial stand that was against the truth.
Point number two as you think about all the current local media outlets, they are all, at a minimum, left leaning with some having abandoned any attempt at honest reporting. Nassau county needs a place where the truth is honestly reported and point number two, conservative opinions and ideas are provided a place to be freely expressed. Of course, liberal ideas will also be provided a place of expression. But what is actually needed is a place where honest conservative thoughts, opinions, and ideas can be expressed, discussed, and even debated. The reality is the truth can not only handle scrutiny but desires such investigation.
That brings me to my third and closing point. The truth matters. What we want to be true, what we hope is true, or what we wish was true, at the end of the day does not really matter. Imagine going to the emergency room reporting strong and persistent chest pains. What you need from that doctor is simply the truth, with all the tests and their best understanding, you need to know the truth. Without the truth, you could possibly leave the Emergency Room and make subsequent decisions that could have tragic outcomes. In all areas of our life the truth matters. We need to learn to desire the truth, even when we do like what we have learned. The truth matters in every area of our life. Where did we come from, how did the universe come into being, what things are driving inflation, or what have we learned about how to respond to COVID? Although these questions are very different and even their overall importance is very different, they all have one key element in common. The truth matters!
As Jesus Christ of Nazareth stood before Pontius Pilate, after much questioning by Pilate, Jesus stated: “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 10:36; ESV). Pilate then responded with a question: “So you are a king?” (John 10:37a). At which point Jesus responded: “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world — to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 10:37b; ESV). To this, Pilate essentially ended the conversation by responding: “What is truth?” (Joh 10:38a). What a foolish and tragic response. A man who needed the truth in every other area of his life, failed to see the importance of the truth in this area.
If we are not careful, we can make the same tragic mistake in areas of our life. We can delude ourselves into believing the actual truth does not matter, only what we want the truth to be true. This type of thinking can prove to be disastrous.
Citizens Journal Florida is committed to first and foremost presenting the truth in all areas of reporting. I contend that the truth not only matters but is critical in every area of our lives. Earlier in his ministry on earth, as Jesus spoke with Jews who had believed in him, he told them: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Joh 8:31b-32 ESV).
That is the nature of truth. The nature of lies is bondage and error. The nature of the truth is freedom.
Dr. Rich Turner is the leader of the “Truth Seekers” Sunday School class at First Baptist Fernandina Beach. He also serves as the Associate Vice President of Academic Operations and Dean of Kent Campus at Florida State College at Jacksonville.