Book of Esther

Friday Five: New Zealand, Houston drag queen, Trump as Bible's Esther, Elizabeth Warren's faith

Friday Five: New Zealand, Houston drag queen, Trump as Bible's Esther, Elizabeth Warren's faith

Oh, the joys of life over 50 …

I got my first colonoscopy this week. Then I ate Chick-fil-A. So I either survived or died and went to heaven.

But enough about me and my fun times.

Let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: Today marks one week since 50 worshipers were slain at two mosques.

The Associated Press reports that New Zealanders observed the Muslim call to prayer today, the first Friday after an act that an imam told the crowd of thousands had left the country broken-hearted but not broken.

“I could not have brought enough Kleenex for this,” tweeted one of the AP reporters covering the story. “So moving.”

2. Most popular GetReligion post: Julia Duin’s post on “Houston’s drag queen story hour” is our most-clicked commentary of the week.

Duin noted that there are so many questions and so few journalists asking them:

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Hey Washington Post: About Paula White and those 'bible-bleeding' Christians who support Trump

Hey Washington Post: About Paula White and those 'bible-bleeding' Christians who support Trump

Here's my question for the Washington Post: What's a "bible-bleeding" Christian?

If you're one of the Post's 11 million Twitter followers, you may have noticed the newspaper's story on televangelist Paula White's comments concerning President Donald Trump as a modern-day Queen Esther.

Readers have pointed out a few things to your friendly GetReligionistas: First, the Post quotes White as making the remarks on Tuesday. But actually, White has been out of the country since last Friday (in Greece), so the remarks were recorded earlier for a taped appearance on "The Jim Bakker Show."

Second, this story has a real hard time with basic Associated Press style (lowercasing "bible" while uppercasing "Godly," for example). Granted, we live in strange times where the value of copy editors has been downgraded by revenue-hungry, online-first news executives. So who's to know how many editors — if any — actually read a story before it goes straight to the World Wide Web and millions of Twitter users?

But anyway ...

The most egregious — and I'll admit, humorous — error in this story comes in a quote. See if you can spot what I'm talking about in the ending quote from Stephen Strang, the founder of Charisma Magazine:

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Two Jews, three opinions: Doctrine and the Netanyahu speech firestorm

Two Jews, three opinions: Doctrine and the Netanyahu speech firestorm

Is there a more desirable photo op for an Israeli politician (excluding Israel's Arab and some of its left-wing Jewish parliamentarians) than one taken at HaKotel, which is the short-hand Hebrew term for Jerusalem's Western Wall?

Oh, never mind; silly question. And ditto for visiting dignitaries who also flock to the mostly Herodian-era stone blocks, the exposed portion of which stands 62-feet high. The resulting image screams identification with Israel's binary raison d'être -- secular contemporary Zionism and traditional religious piety.

Which is why Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu was there the Saturday night prior to his highly charged Washington address to Congress, when he implored President Barack Obama not to sign a deal with Iran that would allow the Islamic republic to retain its suspected nuclear weapon capabilities. The visit dominated the American news cycle for the better part of a week, a virtual eon in this time of 24/7 deadlines.

Yes, it was political theater of the highest order. But it was something more, because anything to do with Israel automatically takes on a religious tone. You know, Jews versus Muslims, the knee-jerk equating of all things Israeli with religious Judaism, the entire Holy Land gestalt.

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