Friday Five: Arizona kerfuffle, synagogue shooting, religious persecution, plugs for Dawn and Mollie

“He is risen!” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey posted on his official Facebook page on Easter.

Thus began a church-state controversy that resulted in the Arizona Republic quoting sources who said the post violated the First Amendment.

The story was almost as interesting as the Twitter exchange between the governor and Republic journalist Maria Polletta:

With that, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: Saturday’s deadly shooting at a Southern California synagogue was the week’s top religion story. Tied to that, the Los Angeles Times’ Jaweed Kaleem reported that the attacks in are Poway, Calif., and Pittsburgh six months ago are part of an increasing trend of physical violence against Jews.

Among GetReligion’s posts on the shooting, Julia Duin examined the initial media coverage, and Terry Mattingly noted that the shooter, John Earnest, put “the Christian label into play” and said that’s half the equation that reporters need to cover.

In a separate post, tmatt delved into the “weaponized Calvinism” of the accused shooter who apparently believed his salvation was assured no matter.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: Religion ghosts in “Strollerville?”

Yep, said tmatt, in a post tied to a faith-free New York Times story on New Yorkers’ “epic quest to find that extra bedroom.”

A crucial paragraph from that post, which was our most-clicked commentary of the week:

Let me be clear: I am not saying that this Strollerville story is a “religion story.” I am saying that religion is one factor in this equation and that it deserved one or two (maybe three!) paragraphs in a long, long feature.

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): An important story from the Wall Street Journal notes that anti-Christian violence is surging in Egypt, prompting an exodus:

In one recent incident that echoed many others, residents of central Egypt’s Sohag province were seen in a video recorded earlier this month and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal beating their male Coptic Christian neighbors with sticks as women screamed, leading to the shutdown of a local church, according to Coptic groups and a human-rights organization that documented the incident.

Also, the BBC has a story out today reporting that “Christian persecution 'at near genocide levels” in parts of the world.

As The Associated Press notes, President Donald Trump said this week that violence and terrorism against people of all faiths must end, and that “all civilized nations must join together in this effort.”

4. Shameless plug: We need to plug two former GetReligion contributors this week: Dawn Eden Goldstein and Mollie Hemingway:

5. Final thought: This week’s kicker comes to you courtesy of Rob Downen, one of the Houston Chronicle reporters behind the big “Abuse of Faith” investigative project on sex abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Be careful out there, folks, especially in Birmingham!

Happy Friday, everybody! Enjoy the weekend!

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