Friday Five: Minister tax break, Mormon death, The Crown's religion, Trump's dirty words and more


I watched the first season of "The Crown" on Netflix with my wife, Tamie.

I enjoyed it, although I wouldn't say I was goo-goo over it. When the second season came out, we caught an episode or two. Then my bride binged on the rest of it one day while I was busy with something more important (probably playing Words With Friends on my iPad). 

Suffice it to say that I haven't made it to the part featuring Queen Elizabeth II and the Rev. Billy Graham. (Right now, Tamie and I are in the middle of "Greenleaf," an Oprah Winfrey-produced drama featuring a black megachurch in Memphis, Tenn. That series reminds me of "Dallas," but with religion, not oil, as the family business. But I digress.)

Back to "The Crown": The Washington Post published an excellent Godbeat piece on it this week. More on that in a moment.

First, thought, let's dive right into this week's Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: Chicago Tribune religion writer Manya Brachear Pashman delved into a recent federal court ruling that has received little attention but could have a big impact if it survives on appeal — and yes, that's a big "if."

I highlighted Pashman's terrific story -- "Chicago-area clergy defend housing allowance as it faces legal challenge" — in a post Thursday.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: My post headlined "Duck, duck, goose: Three different approaches to covering Mormon church president's death" occupies the No. 1 spot this week.

That post concerned major news organizations' obituaries for Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In response to a whole lot of criticism about the New York Times' treatment of Monson's death, the newspaper's obituaries editor wrote a column (mostly) defending the piece:

But I also acknowledge that many of those who found the obituary wanting feel we did not provide a more rounded view of Mr. Monson -- perhaps his more human side. I’ll concede that what we portrayed was the public man, not the private one, or the one known to his most ardent admirers.

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): "Religion writer Jim Jones was ahead of his time. Now the public can see why."

So declares a Fort Worth Star-Telegram headline atop a story about a temporary library exhibit called "Everything Old Is News Again" and focused on the late Godbeat pro's journalism career. Check it out.

4. Shameless plug: Washington Post religion writer Sarah Pulliam Bailey is a former GetReligion contributor, which we like to brag about every chance we get. This week, Bailey seems to have merged the religion beat with the royal beat -- and in a fantastic way. 

Her story fact-checking "The Crown's" portrayal of Elizabeth's faith and her relationship with Graham is just great. (I think GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly plans to explore that story in a more in-depth post this weekend.)

In another story this week, Pulliam asked: "Who was Thomas Cromwell and why did former White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon compare himself to a beheaded adviser to a king?" That piece, too, is worth your time.

5. Final thought: Reportedly, President Trump said a dirty word. Not for the first time. However, he tweeted this morning that -- in the latest case -- "this was not the language used." 

Come to think of it, let's go with a final thought that doesn't include the president's (alleged) vulgarity.

Take it away, my friend Steve:

Yes, please, tell me something good!

P.S. Oh, guess who jumped on the religion angle in the Trump quotes, which are clearly the ^+@ $# %&! story of today? That would be Sarah Pulliam Bailey. How are diehard Trump evangelical leaders responding to these not-safe-for-Sunday-school remarks about suffering people in impoverished nations (including some that are centers for Global South Christianity)?

Click here for her story.

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