Monday Mix: Get out the (faith) vote, clergy sex ramifications, Booker preaches, Catholic SCOTUS

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. "I believe in Jesus Christ AND I believe in liberal progressive values." NPR’s Jerome Socolovsky reports on faith groups working to get out the vote for the midterm elections.

The story features a progressive seminary whose leaders feel “called in the Trump era to motivate young voters.” No surprise, we’re talking about the Episcopalians.

In the heart of the Virginia Theological Seminary campus, a pub named after the year the flagship Episcopal seminary was established — 1823 — recently hosted a get-out-the-vote event.

The seminary registrar, Rachel Holm, was in the pub, driving home the importance of these midterms elections to the mostly 20- and 30-somethings in the crowd, and livening it up with a game of election trivia.

"So, what are the three topics millennial voters care about most when voting?" she asked.

"Themselves, themselves, themselves!' one of them shouted, as the others erupted in laughter.

Then, joking aside, Holm told them to make sure they understood the requirements for registering to vote in Virginia.

2. "Our people still do believe in God. But they don't believe in us." Wall Street Journal religion writer Ian Lovett tackles the response of parishioners to the ongoing Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal.

The Journal notes:

The sexual-abuse scandals that have rocked the church this year have left some of the country's most devoted Catholics questioning how to reconcile their longtime faith with the realities of the institution they rely on to channel it. For them, decisions that were once a given — like whether to attend mass, send their kids to Catholic school or even have their children baptized — have suddenly become agonizing.

There were 74.3 million Catholics in the U.S. as of 2017, down from 81.6 million just two years earlier, according to the Center for Applied Research in theApostolate, a nonprofit at Georgetown University. A Pew Research Center survey released this week found 72% of them approve of Pope Francis' job performance job performance, the lowest of his pontificate and down 12 points since the start of the year. More than 60% of American Catholics think he is doing a fair or poor job handling the sexual-abuse issue.

3. "No one from the White House has ever communicated with us since the new president came in.” Religion News Service’s Adelle M. Banks explores the selective access to favored faith groups granted by the Trump administration.

Banks reports:

Though the White House is always a busy place with limited invitation lists, the two previous administrations made concerted efforts to connect with a wide array of faith groups that may not have agreed with most of their political positions but nevertheless could meet together, at least on occasion, for what the Obama administration called “partnerships for the common good.”

Now, it appears the Trump administration is taking a different approach — giving selective access to the White House to some faith groups while having cabinet-level offices meet with others. Some groups say they have been left out.

Also in the Mix

4. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, made his way to Iowa after the Kavanaugh confirmation vote Saturday.

According to The Associated Press, Booker talked about “this room full of faith” in his speech to 1,000 party activists.

AP also suggested:

Booker's delivery toggled between soft and reflective to bellowing, like an evangelical minister. Several times he brought the audience to their feet.

Religion ghost, anyone? (Also, do evangelical ministers, in particular, bellow? I’m not sure the adjective “evangelical” is necessary there.)

5. The Media Project’s has a must-read piece on “Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court’s Catholic majority.”

Lisi writes:

Some critics have called the current makeup of the Supreme Court a “Catholic boys club” given that they dominate the majority and are male conservatives. The reasons for this vary. While Evangelical Christians are very politically active, Catholics tend to attend law school in larger numbers as a career goal to reach the middle class. It also helps that there are a lot of Catholic centers of higher education. For example, one out of every 10 American law students are enrolled in a Jesuit law school. There are currently 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Of these institutions, half also have a law school.  

“For a lot of Catholic and Jewish immigrants, law school was – in a very real way – a ticket to the middle class,” said Richard Garnett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame.

In case you missed it

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

Thinking about Christians in politics: 'Usual suspects' labels just don't work, do they? (by Terry Mattingly)

Old question from world of sports: Why avoid role of faith in lives of many great athletes? (by tmatt)

Searing story on kidnapped Laotian child brides is religion free — but look at the photos (by Julia Duin)

Question to start the week

7. Did you know that some reporters are geniuses? The Charleston Gazette-Mail’s Ken Ward Jr. was awarded a $625,000 “genius” grant by the MacArthur Foundation. Hey, sign me up for one of those!

Happy Monday, everybody.

Have a terrific week.

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