Monday Mix: Andrew Brunson, Texas clergy abuse, child porn preachers, death penalty, Christian Post

Welcome to another edition of the Monday Mix, where we focus on headlines and insights you might have missed from the weekend and late in the week.

The fine print: Just because we include a headline here doesn't mean we won't offer additional analysis in a different post, particularly if it's a major story. In fact, if you read a piece linked here and have questions or concerns that we might address, please don't hesitate to comment below or tweet us at @GetReligion. The goal here is to point at important news and say, "Hey, look at this."

Three weekend reads

1. "Well, we were at an all-night prayer meeting during the trial and we got home and we fell asleep. We were up all night. Praise God! I’m so excited! Oh that’s wonderful! Thank you so much for letting us know. We’re so happy.”

How did the parents of a U.S. pastor imprisoned in Turkey for nearly two years react upon learning the news of his release?

Reuters had the faith-filled scoop after a reporter reached Andrew Brunson’s mother at her North Carolina home and notified her of the happy development.

By Saturday, Brunson was kneeling in the Oval Office and praying for President Donald Trump.

2. "It’s pretty much obvious that the Catholic Church cannot be trusted to police themselves." On Sunday’s front page, the Dallas Morning News followed up on last week’s announcement that all 15 Roman Catholic dioceses in Texas will release names of clergy who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of children since 1950.

The Dallas newspaper delved into — as the headline on the online version of the story puts it — “6 things to know about Texas Catholic dioceses' sex abuse inquiry.”

Among the key questions highlighted:

What does “credibly accused” mean?

3. “If Moses couldn’t get into the promised land for striking a rock, they shouldn’t be in a pulpit. There needs to be some standards in the faith community.” Should churches allow convicted sex offenders to preach?

That’s one question explored by Mississippi’s Clarion-Ledger in an in-depth investigative piece by Jerry Mitchell.

Mitchell is, of course, best known for his hard-hitting journalism on civil rights era cold cases. His work has helped put four Ku Klux Klan members behind bars.

Also in the Mix

4. The death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in state of Washington last week, making it the 20th state to ban or suspend capital punishment, as noted by USA Today.

But according to the national newspaper, this ruling is bigger than just one state:

Legal scholars, however, see this as the latest step toward the continued abolition of the punishment, its death knell, so to speak, and believe Washington’s move toward commuting death sentences to life in prison will become more the rule than the exception across the United States.

“It is part of a very clear trend over the last 10 years of states abolishing the death penalty, either through their legislature, like in New Jersey, or through their courts, like in Washington, New York and some of the other states,’’ said Ellen Kreitzberg, a Santa Clara University law professor who has written extensively about capital punishment.

As always, religion is a key factor, as the story reports.

5. The publisher of the evangelical news site The Christian Post has been indicted, as former GetReligionista Mark Kellner reports for Religion News Service.

Kellner writes:

(RNS) — A New York City grand jury has indicted Christian Media Corp., the publisher of evangelical news website The Christian Post, and William Anderson, its former chief executive, on financial fraud charges, along with Etienne Uzac, who ran Newsweek magazine’s parent company.

The allegations center on more than $10 million in loans to buy computer equipment, but the proceeds were actually used to keep Newsweek magazine, owned by a related firm, operating, according to an indictment unsealed this week.

Some of those funds were funneled to The Christian Post’s parent firm, the indictment alleges.

In case you missed it

6. Here are two GetReligion posts that you might have missed over the weekend:

Forget politics and focus on faith: Thinking about that 'evangelical' puzzle again (by Terry Mattingly)

Same-sex dating on evangelical campus: Are there two sides of this hot-button story? This is our “Crossroads” podcast for this past week. Please check it out. (by tmatt)

Question to start the week

7. Columnist George Will asks a highly relevant question for our times: In his latest column, Will quotes Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse in suggesting that our No. 1 public-health problem is loneliness.

The question posed by Will:

How can we fix it?

Go ahead and read the whole column. It’s important and worth your time — with obvious implications for the work of religious congregations and ministries.

If you have any feedback, by all means, reply below or tweet us at @GetReligion.

Happy Monday, everybody. Have a terrific week.

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