Friday Five: Aretha's funeral, Trump's evangelicals, Catholic sex abuse, what to call Mormons and more

As we've noted, religion is a vital part of the life story of Aretha Franklin.

Today, prayers and stars filled a Detroit church at the Queen of Soul's funeral, reports The Associated Press.

In advance of the memorial service, the Detroit Free Press published a piece pointing out that Franklin's "spiritual grounding in the black church" would be on display at the funeral. It's a good story but in places paints with broad strokes on "Baptist theology" when it seems to mean black-church theology. Baptists (like a lot of denominations) are all over the place when it comes to worship traditions.

Anyway, R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Franklin is just one of the stories making religion news this week.

For more, let's dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: Nearly two years after Donald Trump's election as president, hardly a day passes when a news story or column doesn't ask, "Why do evangelical Christians support Trump?"

Some of the pieces are much better than others.

One published in recent days -- by longtime Birmingham News religion writer Greg Garrison -- is particularly well done and full of insight (including biblical insight) from supporters and opponents of Trump.

Check it out.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: By my count, this journalism-focused website has published 11 posts since last week's Friday Five related to the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal with particular emphasis on Pope Francis, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.

To read all of them, go to our home page and scroll down.

But which of the many excellent posts by Terry Mattingly and Julia Duin was the most-clicked analysis of the week? That would be tmatt's opening salvo, his commentary on "Nuclear war in Rome: Vatican's former U.S. ambassador claims Francis protected 'Uncle Ted.'"

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): Expect to hear a lot about Roe v. Wade next week during U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing before a Senate panel.

Reuters sets the scene in an advance report with a headline that will shock no one familiar with Kavanaugh's nomination:

Abortion looms over Senate fight on Supreme Court nominee




So what else is new?

4. Shameless plug: "Editors: Try to imagine using 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' in all those headlines," tmatt wrote earlier this month.

In his nationally syndicated religion column, the boss man delves deeper into the subject of what to call, um, those Latter-day Saints previously known as Mormons.

Read the column here. It'll be up at on Monday.

5. Final thought: When is theology off topic? Apparently when it relates to an Episcopal News Service story, one veteran religion-beat pro said in an email pointing out the irony.

The news service announced this week that it would disable comments on stories. It's just the latest media organization to do so.

But the reasoning given caught the attention of the reader sent us the link:

(I)ncreasingly, some voices have come to dominate the discussion, which at times has strayed from the stories themselves into theological and ideological arguments. 

Happy Friday, everybody! Enjoy the weekend!

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