Hopping on, once again, the old GetReligionista merry-go-round ...

Demonstrator at a Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally. (American Life League/Flickr)

If there really is "nothing new under the sun," I suppose a return to GetReligion isn't really "news," however pleasant it might be for a particular writer.

But here I am again, friends, happily climbing into the saddle to critique -- well, whatever tmatt and company permit.

There will be one exception. I will not be taking on the Deseret News, where I served 20 months as a national team reporter covering faith and freedom. That's a fine paper with good people, but having been in their employ, I can't be as fair-minded as you should expect a GetReligionista to be.

There remains, of course, a ton of material out there to examine, so, the Good Lord willing, I won't be short of subjects.

Take, for example, that religious freedom divide. That very timely subject -- though I agree with the crew here that we could all do without the "scare quotes," please -- is a particular interest to me. This blog has always been concerned with First Amendment issues, on both sides of the equation (religious liberty and freedom of the press).

So, too, is the way the media does (or doesn't) understand religious movements with which they are unfamiliar.

Don't ask why, but the Daily Beast seems to stand out in my memory on that topic, if, in fact, that is a mainstream news source. Sometimes it is and, well, sometimes we all wonder about that.

The misunderstandings, of course, aren't limited to 19th-century born American religious groups. The recent kerfuffle at The New Yorker over just what denomination Betsy DeVos is affiliated with, ably discussed by tmatt, is a good example.

Another that will likely resurface in the months ahead is the connection, or lack thereof, between President-designate Donald J. Trump (who actually becomes President-elect after the Dec. 19 Electoral College vote) and the Marble Collegiate Church of the Norman Vincent Peale-Arthur Caliandro era. The New York Times took that one on, but again, we'll see more about Trump and his religion in the months ahead. I hope it will be a tad more nuanced than that Times piece.

Anyway, jumping back into the GetReligion mix is a great privilege, and I'm looking forward to the exchanges.

My thanks -- and a salute -- to Jim Davis for his years of good work here, and to you, faithful readers, for sticking with this most useful (IMO) of media criticism websites.

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