Friday Five: Trump's Christmas, Hatmaker's critics, Dallas monks, remote Catholic places and more


It's Friday again.

At least I think it's Friday. I've been on vacation all week celebrating Christmas, and I've mostly lost track of what day it is.

"Nobody knows what day of the week it is," John Mayer tweeted earlier this week. "Any attempt to answer is mere bluster and bravado. It’s just dark and not 2018 yet."

But I just checked the calendar and confirmed — just to make sure — that it's time for another Friday Five.

Here goes:

1. Religion story of the week: I'll admit that I haven't paid a lot of attention to the news this week — religion related or otherwise. Please refer to my earlier note about vacation (albeit not at GetReligion, which naps but never sleeps).

However, here's a well-done story I did catch (and highlighted in a post) from PBS: "How the 'war on Christmas' became a political rallying cry."

2. Most popular GetReligion post: Julia Duin has our most-read post of the week: "Evangelical rebel Jen Hatmaker deserved more from Politico than a puff piece."

Suffice it to say that Duin, who recently wrote a long Washington Post Magazine profile of Trump pastor Paula White, did not endorse the kid-gloves treatment Politico gave Hatmaker:

Like it or not, Hatmaker is now part of the growing evangelical wing of the Religious Left. Let's hope she owns it. And let's hope that future articles on her and others like her will be far more investigative, will probe her motives and dig up all sorts of stuff out of her past in the same way that more conservative personalities have had to endure.
I have zero confidence that the cadre of female journalists I see following Hatmaker are willing to take that extra look. Let's hope I'm wrong.

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): Regular GetReligion readers are familiar with our references to "guilt folder" stories. These are pieces we mean to get around to mentioning but for whatever reason delay and delay and, well, feel guilty about ignoring for so long.

Well, here's a compelling example of religion reporting that I don't think we noted here at GetReligion when it was published ... way back in July. In our defense, I'm not sure we heard about it then, but I guess I feel "guilty" that we didn't. It's a feature on moving — and burying — deceased Cistercian monks.

The writer, interestingly enough, is Mike Wilson, the top editor of The Dallas Morning News. D magazine noted — in another piece we missed — how unusual it is for someone in Wilson's position to write such a story.

4. Shameless plug: In the hullabaloo of the holidays, I don't want you to miss saying goodbye to Mark Kellner, who wrote his final post this week in his second stint with GetReligion.

As GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly noted on Twitter, KMark — as we nicknamed him in our internal discussions — "chose not to write a farewell. So please send him off with warm comments on this post!"

5. Final thought: Here's an interesting item via Aleteia: "Where are the most Catholic places in the U.S.?"

Hint: The most Catholic place is not Boston, New York, Philadelphia or Chicago, as the article points out.

But if you guessed a community next to Fargo, N.D. ...

Actually, there are quite a few interesting story hooks in this piece for reporters out in the hinterlands.

That's it for this week's "Five." We'll look forward to seeing you back here in this same space next year — aka next week. If you have recommendations for any of the items in our Friday Five, by all means, leave a comment or tweet us at @GetReligion.

Official White House photo by Andrea Hanks

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