Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, is front-page news today in newspapers including the Washington Post and his local Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
If you've somehow missed the controversy surrounding Patterson, check out tmatt's recent commentary on "Southern Baptists, domestic violence and divorce: Will SBC '18 be a must-cover press event?" and "Southern Baptists and domestic violence: It's a tough issue to cover after Twitter explosion."
Actually, this post is only tangentially about Patterson and the domestic violence issue.
I mention that news only because I find it ironic that Patterson also is a key source in a front-page Houston Chronicle story today — but one with a completely different topic and tone.
The Chronicle story quotes Patterson related to a Texas prison seminary run by Southwestern Baptist. It's a program that the Houston newspaper has covered before. In fact, I wrote a GetReligion post about the feature that ran two years ago. The title of that post: "Jailhouse religion in Lone Star State's toughest lockup raises church-state question."
A few months later, when the Dallas Morning News did a similar feature on state-sanctioned minister training inside the Lone Star State's toughest lockups, I repeated my original question:
My only criticism — and it's more a question than harsh criticism — is the same as I had concerning the earlier Chronicle story: What exactly is the relationship of the state and the seminary concerning this program? How does the state sanctioning pastor training inside a prison not violate the separation of church and state? What are the rules, and how is Texas making sure to follow them?
Not to sound like a broken record, but my question remains unanswered in this latest Houston Chronicle story, which fails to offer any skeptical analysis of a Christian seminary embraced and endorsed by public officials.