With its story this week on beards in Texas prisons, The Dallas Morning News does a nice bit of foreshadowing.
Both the "For God's sake" headline and the "come-to-Jesus" lede provide a strong hint of the level of seriousness with which the Texas newspaper will treat the religion content.
In other words, not seriously at all.
Let's start at the top:
AUSTIN — Last year, Mario Garcia had a come-to-Jesus moment. The 29-year-old father of six, wanted on a domestic violence charge, flipped his truck as he was trying to outrun police. He lost his freedom. Again.
Last week, sitting in a gymnasium at the Travis State Jail, a large silver cross dangling over his white prison uniform, Garcia said he considers his second prison stint a blessing.
“It’s made me slow down and opened my eyes,” he said. “Faith is a major factor in my life right now.”
Perhaps the Morning News intended that "come-to-Jesus" opening to be clever rather than flippant and cliché, but the newspaper never gets around to describing how Garcia came to faith.
Was he a Prodigal Son who returned to the religion of his youth? Or did he find Jesus behind bars? This shallow report seems oblivious to such obvious questions.
The news peg is, of course, tied to that U.S. Supreme Court ruling on prison beards earlier this year: