Friday Five: Baptist sex scandal, NYT paranoia, Brooklyn bridge, Julie Roys story, drive-thru priest

Do you want a hippopotamus for Christmas?

If so, enjoy the video.

If not, what request would you like me to pass along to Santa?

Meanwhile, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion of the week: The investigation by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram into sex crimes in independent fundamental Baptist churches nationally is the must-read story.

For additional insight on that topic, check out Kate Shellnut’s coverage for Christianity Today.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: Editor Terry Mattingly’s analysis titled “Tale of two New York Times stories: Seeking links in ultimate anti-Pope Francis conspiracy” occupies the No. 1 spot.

His intro sets the scene nicely:

What we have here are two interesting stories, which appear to be connected by a bridge of New York Times paranoia. It’s that latest addition to a growing canon of work attempting to connect Donald Trump to a vast right-wing Catholic conspiracy to bring down the compassionate, progressive Pope Francis.

Read it all.

3. Get folder fodder (and more): GetReligion has written about A.R. Bernard before.

But here’s a new New York Times piece — interesting and well done, according to my colleague Julia Duin — on Bernard’s work “to transform the land around his Brooklyn church into shops, a school and 2,100 apartments.”

4. Shameless plug: Last month, I wrote a news story for Religion News Service on megachurch pastor James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel suing some bloggers and a freelance reporter for World magazine.

Many people were curious about exactly what the freelance reporter — Julie Roys — was planning to write for World.

Well, now they know: Her investigative report, headlined “Hard times at Harvest,” for that major evangelical magazine has been published.

Check it out.

5. Final thought: Yep, that was a Catholic priest buying people’s meals at an In-N-Out Burger in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. (I’ve actually eaten at that location, but I had to pay for my own double-double burger!)

Father Jim Sichko is a papal missionary of mercy, and The Associated Press has an interesting profile of him.

Happy Friday, everybody!

Enjoy the weekend!

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