With all the sharp criticism they're getting right now, I understand why conservative readers are touchy about terminology. And I suppose that's why I'm hearing the question about why so many news articles are referring to members of the Michigan-based Hutaree group as part of a "Christian militia," as in today's story on Page A2.

Well, if you look at the Hutaree Web site, which is registered to Jt Duvall of Morenci, Michigan, the references to Christianity aren't just prominent -- they're clearly the group's defining mission. (I am making the assumption here that hutaree.com is the same group, though I was unable to contact anyone there.)

Mainstream Christian? Definitely not. Maybe readers would prefer that be made clear in references in news stories. I know I've heard similar requests in reference to breakaway religious congregations that identify themselves under a larger group's name.