As you may recall, I was not impressed with initial media reporting on a transgender-related bathroom bill in Texas.
Perhaps the title of my January post -- "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" -- gives some clue as to my overall analysis of the news coverage.
Fast-forward to recent stories on religious leaders in the Lone Star State entering the fray, and I'm feeling a little more generous in my appraisal.
The Austin American-Statesman, in particular, deserves a high passing grade for its fair, evenhanded treatment of the Godbeat angle.
I should stress that I'm grading on a curve because the American-Statesman — like other news organizations — faced the difficulty of reporting on both sides when one side closed its proceedings to the press.
The lede from the Austin newspaper:
The fight over legislation to block transgender-friendly bathroom policies ventured into the religious realm Thursday as faith leaders gathered in Austin to promote competing views.
The day began with a closed-door briefing for Christian pastors by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and other state officials who see religious support as crucial to the passage of Senate Bill 6, which would limit the use of bathrooms in schools and government buildings to the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate.
The event by the U.S. Pastor Council was billed as “show up time” for those who would lead the fight in support of the bill.
That was followed by an afternoon gathering of more than 40 religious leaders — many holding signs reading “My faith does not discriminate” — who oppose SB 6 as immoral.
“Our lawmakers are considering anti-transgender bathroom bills and bills that come disguised as religious freedom — dangerous pieces of legislation that place a religious mask over what amounts to state-sanctioned discrimination,” said the Rev. Taylor Fuerst of First United Methodist Church, where the event was held.