Sacramento Bee: Where Were You?

Tanner DiBella
4 min readDec 27, 2020

by Tanner DiBella

Since March, the Sacramento Bee, a newspaper based in Sacramento, has written numerous articles and op-ed pieces on Destiny Christian Church in Rocklin, California on the church's decision to continue to practice its first amendment right to gather and worship.

Sacramento Bee: Where were you?

Where were you when Destiny turned it’s facility into a COVID response center, creating a network of over 100 churches and non-profits in Placer County to provide food, clothing, toiletries, and PPE to families in the midst of the pandemic?

Where were you when Destiny launched a crisis hotline back in April for members of the community to call for assistance, prayer, and mental health concerns?

Where were you when we made over 5,000 masks for Veteran Affair Hospitals and homeless veterans in our area?

Where were you when we distributed computers to Foster children in our region so that they could effectively participate in virtual education during the pandemic?

Where were you when Destiny hosted a drive-thru for hundreds of families to receive school supplies and backpacks?

Where were you when Destiny created and gave thousands of gift baskets full of food, gift cards, prayers, and books to elderly community members who hadn’t seen a soul in months since the pandemic started?

Where were you when Destiny launched a county-wide campaign to help small businesses and gave over $35,000 (and growing) in support to businesses who were struggling to stay afloat?

Where were you when Destiny supported restaurant employees who were out of work and hungry?

Where were you when Destiny delivered care packages to essential workers like the Rocklin Police Department?

Where were you when Destiny hosted drive-thru events for hundreds of single moms to bless them with clothing, toiletries, and prayer?

Where were you when Destiny gave thousands of articles of clothing, toiletries, and food to displaced families from the California fires?

Where were you when Destiny spent $500,000 to build a school in one of the poorest areas in Ecuador — the first school in the entire region?

Where were you when Destiny committed almost $200,000 to benevolent services abroad?

Where were you when Destiny partnered with Dress2Soar to give clothing to foster adolescents applying for employment?

Where were you when Destiny distributed close to 1,000 toys to children-in-need this Christmas?

Where were you when Destiny received thousands of letters, emails, and phone calls of tearful mothers, fathers, neighbors, and friends who said they wouldn’t have made it through this season if it wasn’t for the Church?

Where were you, Sacramento Bee?

I respect and honor your journalistic duty — but that obligation is not to slander a House of Worship with a clearly vile bias and contempt. Dozens of churches within your geographical scope of reporting have remained open, and yet you have chosen to target a single church.

In your latest Op-Ed, you said that there is “no war on Churches.” What do you call a newspaper that has written more articles on Destiny in the last 9 months than they have done in the church‘s 30-year history combined?

Over the last 10 years, Destiny has given over 30,000 bikes and toys to children, 15,000 articles of clothing, 60,000 pounds of food, 15,000 backpacks, and hosted over 4,500 family and resources classes. Destiny has reached over 4,843,312 through its Global Outreach initiatives and has distributed over $13,000,000 in free services to marginalized communities in the community we all live in. Where were you?

Like your op-ed writer confirmed in their latest piece, it seems to be your goal to create public criticism and negative news coverage in an attempt to embolden fear and do what cancel culture does: force compliance. Wouldn’t it be better and more productive of your time, resources, and your audience to report on ALL that Destiny is doing, and not just what serves the purpose of selling more views?

Taking your own words, it would “be easy to shame” the Sacramento Bee, its writers, and its leadership for “selfishly ignoring” the countless dollars, hours, and resources Destiny has selflessly given to the community out of a Biblical mandate to do good. “But in the spirit of compassion” here is my message to the Sacramento Bee: I am appealing to your journalistic values to write what is framed ethically, publish what is truthful, and report on what is whole; and not what is divisive, partial, and one-sided. As a member of the public relations and communications community, I understand the pressure and task at hand to your organization, but I would urge you to be a news agency that doesn’t insight fear or bias for the sake of traffic, but reports on the truth, and the whole truth.

The purpose of this letter is to highlight all of the things that you could’ve reported on, but chose not to. Instead of reporting on what’s relevant and important, you chose to only report on what’s controversial and what sells. That’s not journalism. That’s entertainment.

Tanner DiBella’s words are the expressed opinion of his own and not of Destiny Christian Church.

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Tanner DiBella

Chairman of the American Council, Tanner DiBella intersects faith, politics, and culture in his writings on some of today’s most pressing topics.