One of the first signs that the religion beat was in trouble at USA Today was the decision to shutter veteran scribe Cathy Grossman's "Faith & Reason" weblog. Using a question-and-answer format -- Grossman asked a news-related questions and readers would chime in -- it allowed her to put quite a bit of interesting material into play for people who wanted more than a few religion headlines in the regular news pages. Day after day, Grossman used the blog to point readers toward interesting links and information sources.
Then it vanished.
Then Grossman left USA Today, one of many veterans on the beat who have been on the move in the past year or two.
Now the blog is back, as part of her duties at Religion News Service. I saw a link on Twitter, commented on one of her early posts, and Grossman dropped me a line or two, adding this background.
When I accepted the USA TODAY buyout offer in May, RNS folks and I began discussing the right role for me at Religion News Service. High on all our lists was to revive Faith & Reason -- my news-based blog designed to build a community of thoughtful, civil (mostly) readers.
I joined RNS in mid-September and took six weeks to get my footing as senior national correspondent. Covering news is my first love. But if you know me, you know I love questions -- particularly those with more than one answer. The timing was right to reboot.
I hope you, the GR staff, and, of course, your readers, will subscribe, comment, react, club me now and then (what¹s life without a smart critique from peers?!)
For more info, check out the post that announced the Faith & Reason 2.0 project.
The first question?
Does kid-centric programing in churches or synagogues lead to faithful adult followers?
The question that grabbed my attention on Twitter, linked to the activity today at the U.S. Supreme Court?
Does the idea that any government body decides which clergy, which prayers, are suitable -- or censored -- worry you?
Join in. And welcome Grossman back to the blogosphere.
A final comment: Please note how some of the comments on the current question (yes, I think mine apply) are similar to the content of U.S. Supreme Court remarks today by several justices (the all-important Justice Anthony Kennedy among them) focusing on whether state officials have the right to edit prayers or to legislate which prayers are acceptable and which prayers are not.