The York Daily Record

So a key player in Pennsylvania clergy sexual abuse report keeps quoting Scripture. Why?

So a key player in Pennsylvania clergy sexual abuse report keeps quoting Scripture. Why?

After the Pennsylvania attorney general dropped a bomb last month with its release of a massive report on clergy sexual abuse, we all started combing through the state’s media, seeing who was reporting on what.

Seven weeks later, they’re still out there working away. Although it’s not the state’s largest newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is leading the charge with numerous pieces packaged at this site.

The other day, the Post Gazette came up with a profile of the Pennsylvania deputy attorney general who was the leading force behind the nearly 900-page report and investigation.

It talks of a man with a strong moral sense; an ingrained conviction of right and wrong, of someone with the endurance to spearhead the five years of work that produced the massive report (which has elicited copycat investigations in at least eight other states).

HARRISBURG — Like in the Batman reruns he grew up watching as a kid, there is something about the battle between good and evil that, even as an adult, Daniel Dye can’t seem to shake from his conscience.

Maybe it’s because in those stories, someone shows up, flaws and all, when duty calls. Or maybe it’s because those people are unafraid and unabashed at feeling righteousness.

Mr. Dye, 38, muses openly about such things. On social media, where his posts often cite famous men in history or discuss the fight for justice. In a coffeehouse on an overcast weekday afternoon. And in a grand jury room, where as a senior prosecutor for state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office, he’s spent the last five years building the cases that led to the damning report on Catholic clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania — once even quoting scripture to a defrocked priest he was questioning.

As I perused more than a year of Dye’s tweets off his Twitter account, I saw a man who is passionate about punishing evil, especially regarding anything having to do with sexual abuse of children. He is also someone who very occasionally drops in a scripture quote into a tweet and, as the story says, likes Batman.

Wait. Scripture?

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Concerning the brave 'pastor for pot': Are facts about his church and denomination relevant?

Concerning the brave 'pastor for pot': Are facts about his church and denomination relevant?

Let's say that you are a regular reader of religion news and you see a story with this simple, but bold headline: "Meet Pennsylvania's unlikely 'Pastor for Pot'."

In this story, you find out that the clergyperson in question -- introduced as Shawn Berkebile, with no "The Rev." -- likes to wear a clerical collar and that he has a bishop, with whom he consults on crucial questions about his parish and his work.

Now, combine these symbolic facts and most religion-news consumers are going to ask a rather basic question. It's certainly a question that sprang into the mind of the religion-beat veteran who sent me an email the other day about this story.

Apparently, editors at The York Daily Record didn't think this question was all that relevant.

The GetReligion reader, and media pro, noted:

NOWHERE in the story does it say what kind of congregation it is: Episcopal, Unitarian, Assemblies of God, whatever. ... And the only reference to his bishop is strangely devoid of context. ...
The omissions ... took what should have been a good story and just made it strange, as if the writer was trying to conceal something.

This religion-beat veteran noted that there is a photo -- a quite small one, in the online version of the story -- in which one can read a sign identifying this pastor's congregation as St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church. It would be logical to assume that this means Berkebile and his small flock are part of the progressive Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A bit of online digging confirmed that.

Why omit this perfectly normal and, in this case, not very shocking fact? Religion-beat professionals and dedicated readers: Raise your hand if you are surprised that a young ELCA pastor is in favor of liberalized medical marijuana laws. Anyone? Not me. Still, this long, chatty (it verges on a kind of journalistic Dr. Seuss approach, at times) and interesting news feature opens like this:

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