Got news? Bavarian rabbi in legal trouble for WHAT?!

With GetReligion's move to the Patheos universe, it's highly likely that this here weblog has lots of new readers. As a result, some of the language that we use over and over may sound a bit strange, for people who have not been around for our whole eight-year journey. Take, for example, the constant references to religion "ghosts." Confused? This is a big one, so please click here and read.

And what, pray tell, is the "tmatt trio"? Here's a collection of URLs that will help you work that one out. And what about "tmatt" as a name (it's a lower-case "t," by the way)? That showed up years ago, a digital nickname bestowed by the wife of my family's Orthodox priest. Many of you may know the work of the justifiably admired writer Frederica Mathewes-Green.

You may, on occasion, see a reference to the Rt. Rev. Douglas Leblanc. No, he is not an Anglican bishop, I bestowed the title on him in a rather postmodern fashion. I mean, who is to say that he is not an Anglican bishop, that's his decision and not anyone else's, right? Meanwhile, he is the co-founder of GetReligion and I leave his name on the masthead because of my vast respect for his work (and in hopes that he returns to this space, some day, somehow).

And so forth and so on. The key term for this post is our ongoing "Got news?" features. This is a label that was created to let us write about stories that seem very important to us as readers, yet for some strange reason, they are not getting very much or any coverage in the mainstream press. We even have an archive category for these posts.

If one of the goals of GetReligion is to spot religion-news sins of commission, then "Got news?" is a label that we have pinned on some of the sins of omission. Does that make sense?

So here is a perfect example. The following story from Europe seems very important, seeing as how it perfectly illustrates what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was talking about the other day in her unusually candid speech on the rising global tide of threats to religious liberty.

What often happens is that major stories get stuck in the world of the denominational press or, when it comes to religion news, the alternative "conservative media." The implication is that only true believers care about this stuff.

With that introduction, consider the top of this very alarming story from, a news service dedicated to covering Jewish news.

BERLIN (JTA) -- A court in Bavaria is considering criminal charges of committing bodily harm against a local rabbi, in the first known case to arise from an anti-circumcision ruling in May.

The investigation against Rabbi David Goldberg, who is a mohel (or ritual circumciser) undertaken after a complaint was filed against him with police by anti-circumcision activists, means that the May decision in the state of Hesse has been applied in Bavaria, confirming the fears of Jewish leaders here that the local ruling would have a wider impact.

Goldberg, 64, a Jerusalem native living in Hof Saale in Bavaria, told JTA he had not yet received a notice from the court. He said he would decide what to do after he had seen it. The charge was confirmed to the main Jewish newspaper of Germany, the Juedische Allgemeine Zeitung.

The rabbi also said he did not know what act the charges could refer to, since he has not performed any circumcisions recently in Germany. "Only abroad: in Budapest, in the Czech Republic, in Italy," he said. Still, the rabbi said no secular ruling would stop him from performing brit milah in the country.

Read it all.

Once again, the goal here at GetReligion is not to discuss, let alone argue, about the doctrinal or political issue at the heart of this case. We are trying to do something that is a journalistic cut above that. The goal is to discuss whether this is an important story and, if it is, why isn't the story breaking out into the mainstream press.

Was this story covered in the newspaper -- analog or digital -- that landed in your metaphorical front yard this morning? Have you seen significant coverage of this significant event in the mainstream, as opposed to niche, sites that you frequent? Why or why not?

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