Monday Mix: Reeling Penn parish, un-Celebrity Jimmy Carter, Satan in Arkansas and more

Welcome to the Monday Mix!

What's that? Well, nine months ago, we introduced Friday Five, an end-of-the-week feature highlighting important and interesting links from the world of religion news. Readers have responded positively to that approach.

So today, we add this feature as another avenue to offer quick information and insight, focused on headlines you might have missed from the previous weekend and late in the week. You see, lots and lots of religion news gets published on Saturday and Sunday, when readership of this blog tends to fade a bit (some people go to lots and lots of baseball games, for example).

Frankly, there are times when it's hard to keep up, pointing readers toward some of what comes out over a typical weekend. Thus, we're trying out this new feature.

Please note: 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. “Did Jesus feel let down when Judas took off?” On Sunday's front page, New York Times religion writer Elizabeth Dias went behind the scenes of a Catholic parish in Pennsylvania that, with the release of last week's grand jury report, finally learned why its popular priest abruptly resigned in 2003.

Dias is an exceptional writer and experienced Godbeat pro, and this story reflects that. It's definitely worth your time.

Other weekend follow-ups tied to the Pennsylvania report include the Washington Post's "‘Wasted our lives’: Catholic sex abuse scandals again prompt a crisis of faith," a piece anchored by religion writers Julie Zauzmer and Michelle Boorstein, and USA Today's "Why the Roman Catholic Church still struggles with sexual abuse scandals," with religion writer Holly Meyer sharing in the byline.

2.  “He doesn’t like big shots, and he doesn’t think he’s a big shot." The nation's longest-serving ex-president, Jimmy Carter, is a genuinely kind human being and devoted man of faith, based on everything I've read. 

Every few months, decade after decade, a journalist goes down to Georgia and writes about the Sunday school class that Carter teaches at his hometown Baptist church. I generally enjoy those features.

But this is one of the best ones I've read: The Washington Post just published a really nice profile of Carter titled "The un-celebrity President" on how Carter shuns riches and lives modestly in the small town of Plains. It's not a religion piece per se, but the Post includes the important religion angle.

3. “It’s not a secret that he’s a pastor, he’s not going to hide from that.” A Southern Baptist pastor is running for Congress in North Carolina, and his past comments in sermons -- including preaching that women should "submit" to their husbands -- are drawing attention.

The Charlotte Observer covered the religious questions in a piece that offered some insight — including a quote from Mark Harris, the pastor and candidate in question — on Baptist beliefs concerning submission. 

The story is relatively nuanced, although my initial reaction — after a quick read — is that it could have delved a little deeper into the theology.

Also in the Mix

4. The Washington Post really seemed to enjoy news of the unveiling of a bronze statue of the satanic goat monster Baphomet at the Arkansas Capitol building.

But the story did require a correction, mentioned at the bottom of the report:

An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the masked man with a big stick yelled at Lucien Greaves about leading people to hell. He yelled at a different speaker.

OK, glad that we got that straightened out.

5. For your listening pleasure, Issues Etc.'s Todd Wilkins interviewed David French, constitutional law professor and National Review senior writer, in response to a New York Times multimedia explainer on "How a Supreme Court Shaped by Trump Could Restrict Access to Abortion."

"(I)f the court does hear a case that brings up the issue, it is hardly clear that it would take the drastic step of overruling Roe," said Times Supreme Court writer Adam Liptak.

Said French: "Supreme Court precedents can be reversed by the Supreme Court. Roe is not in the First Amendment. The right to abortion isn't in the Bill of Rights."

6. Why do — and don't — Americans go to religious services?

The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., reported on a Pew Research Center Pew Research Center report on that subject. 

Other coverage on that report has included CNN Religion Editor Daniel Burke's listicle on "10 reasons Americans go to church — and 9 reasons they don't." 

Religion News Service's Emily McFarlan Miller also wrote about the report.

In case you missed it

7. In this space, we'll make sure to point you toward our weekend GetReligion posts, including the weekly podcast.

The latest "Crossroads" podcast, featuring editor Terry Mattingly, focuses on the latest twist in the case of Colorado baker Jack Phillips. Read the post, and listen to the podcast.

8. Other posts you might have missed include Richard Ostling's "Not all religions are the same, you know: Can a faith be good if it’s not true?" and tmatt's "Editors: Try to imagine using 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' in all those headlines."

Question to start the week

9. Do you still subscribe to a print newspaper? If so, why? And which one? If not, why not? 

I ask because I know GetReligion readers believe in quality journalism. And because The Hill published a fairly depressing opinion piece over the weekend on how the "Demise of print newspapers may have far-reaching consequences for communities and the nation."

Happy Monday, everybody!

Have a terrific week!

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