Three weekend reads: Another #MeToo case for SBC, faith-based adoption and Bible teacher Jimmy Carter


After a week in Puerto Rico on a Christian Chronicle reporting trip, I'm still catching up on my sleep — and my reading.

Speaking of reading, here are three interesting religion stories from the last few days.

The first concerns the latest #MeToo case facing the Southern Baptist Convention. The second is an in-depth analysis of religious freedom vs. gay rights in taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care. The third is a feature on the Sunday school class in Plains, Ga., taught by former President Jimmy Carter.

1. Southern Baptist officials knew of sexual abuse allegations 11 years before leader’s arrest

Sarah Smith, an investigative reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, delves into how the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board handled allegations that a 25-year-old seminary student sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl.

A crucial question: Why didn't the board report the matter to police?

Smith meticulously reports the facts of the case and gives all the relevant parties ample space and opportunity to comment, even if some choose not to do so or to issue brief statements that shed little light. This is a solid piece of journalism.

2. Why children have the most to lose in the latest battle over LGBT and religious rights

This is a topic where media coverage often is slanted, but Utah's Deseret News offers an excellent, balanced overview, as one reader rightly pointed out.

Gillian Friedman, who writes for the newspaper's in-depth team, focuses on a court case out of Michigan and presents not just the legal issues but also highlights real people on both sides of the dispute.

For a little more background, I'll make a shameless plug for a Religion News Service piece I wrote in March on "When adoption agencies can turn away gay prospective parents, what happens to the kids?"

3. In Plains, Ga., an evangelical politician like no other

Every so often, we come across yet another feature on former President Jimmy Carter teaching Sunday school at his Baptist church in rural Georgia.

Most of these stories contain common elements, such as Carter asking visitors where they're from.

But I'll admit this: I generally enjoy these pieces, even if I'm familiar with much of the content. That's the case with Christian Science Monitor writer Harry Bruinius' report from Plains this week.

Your turn, kind reader: What religion stories are occupying your time this weekend? Please share links and observations in the comments section below or by tweeting us at @GetReligion.

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