Death penalty

Monday Mix: Andrew Brunson, Texas clergy abuse, child porn preachers, death penalty, Christian Post

Monday Mix: Andrew Brunson, Texas clergy abuse, child porn preachers, death penalty, Christian Post

Welcome to another edition of the Monday Mix, where we focus on headlines and insights you might have missed from the weekend and late in the week.

The fine print: Just because we include a headline here doesn't mean we won't offer additional analysis in a different post, particularly if it's a major story. In fact, if you read a piece linked here and have questions or concerns that we might address, please don't hesitate to comment below or tweet us at @GetReligion. The goal here is to point at important news and say, "Hey, look at this."

Three weekend reads

1. "Well, we were at an all-night prayer meeting during the trial and we got home and we fell asleep. We were up all night. Praise God! I’m so excited! Oh that’s wonderful! Thank you so much for letting us know. We’re so happy.”

How did the parents of a U.S. pastor imprisoned in Turkey for nearly two years react upon learning the news of his release?

Reuters had the faith-filled scoop after a reporter reached Andrew Brunson’s mother at her North Carolina home and notified her of the happy development.

By Saturday, Brunson was kneeling in the Oval Office and praying for President Donald Trump.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

The religion behind why some people of faith support the death penalty — and why others don't

The religion behind why some people of faith support the death penalty — and why others don't

"I wonder if Frank Keating has any comment?"

That was my first thought last week when Pope Francis decreed — as The Associated Press reported — "that the death penalty is 'inadmissible' under all circumstances and the Catholic Church should campaign to abolish it."

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Keating — a lifelong Catholic — served as Oklahoma's governor, I covered the state prison system and later religion for The Oklahoman. On both those beats, the conservative Republican's support for capital punishment came into play.

I always enjoyed interviewing Keating because he wasn't shy about sharing his opinions — even if that meant calling then-Pope John Paul II mistaken in his opposition to the death penalty. In February 1999, Keating famously skipped Mass one Sunday because he said he couldn't sit silently while then-Oklahoma City Archbishop Eusebius Beltran read a letter criticizing the governor's death-penalty stance.

After the news involving Francis last week, GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly offered astute, must-read commentary ("Death penalty doctrine: Francis builds on insights of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI?"), followed by a helpful podcast.

Beyond the important questions tmatt raised, I was curious — perhaps because of my past experience with Keating — to see coverage of Catholic governors in states with active death chambers.

For example, Texas executes more inmates than any other state, and yes, it has a Catholic governor.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, is a staunch death penalty supporter and longtime friend of Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson, who prayed at his inauguration. However, Abbott has clashed with his friend and the state's other bishops on issues such as immigration. "We agree to disagree," Olson told me on the immigration issue last year.

I was pleased to see an AP story delving into the quandary that Francis' decree could pose for U.S. politicians.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Don't write off capital punishment just yet — Tuesday's elections gave death penalty a boost

Don't write off capital punishment just yet — Tuesday's elections gave death penalty a boost

To hear opponents tell it, the death penalty is under fire and losing favor in America.

But is that really true, based on election results in California, Nebraska and my home state of Oklahoma?

And if not, what does religion have to do with it?

We'll get to those questions in a moment. But first, a little background might be helpful: This subject long has interested me, particularly since I spent a few years covering state prisons for The Oklahoman, where I witnessed four executions and wrote a narrative story on a "typical execution day."

More recently, in a freelance piece last month for the French-based global news agency Agence France-Presse, I reported on an Oklahoma referendum on capital punishment:

The ballot measure comes at a time when 36 US states have paused executions, or stopped them altogether, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
This November, a ballot measure in California -- which has 741 death row inmates -- might end the practice in that state. Conversely, Nebraska voters will decide whether to restore the death penalty.
A key factor is the pharmaceutical industry's mounting opposition to supplying lethal injection drugs, causing a supply shortage.

An opponent that I interviewed voiced optimism:

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Bottom line in busy days ahead: Look for full texts when Pope Francis speaks

Bottom line in busy days ahead: Look for full texts when Pope Francis speaks

In the days ahead, prepare for wave after wave of information about what Pope Francis does or does not believe and what his words and actions, during his visit to the all-important Acela zone that is home of all of our nation's media that, you know, really matter.

Traditional Catholics already know that it will be risky to read most of this coverage on their computers while drinking coffee, because the keyboards could be at risk. 

As for me, I will follow the usual suspects (as in the full papal texts at Whispers in the Loggia and the omnipresent John L. Allen Jr.). However out in flyover country, most of the nation;s news consumers will have to settle for cable television coverage and the Associated Press.

The trends there, alas, are not good -- unless the networks hire some quality liberal and conservative insiders who can hold meaningful debates. I cannot stress this too highly: Reading the actual papal texts will be even more crucial than ever, this time around.

We can the usual editorial templates in effect already, in some of the explainers that are beginning to turn up in the press. Take, for example, the following chunk of the Associated Press pope guide that ran under this headline at The Oregonian: "Where does Pope Francis stand on gays, women, immigration? His views, explained."

Abortion
Francis has upheld church teaching opposing abortion and echoed his predecessors in saying human life is sacred and must be defended. But he has not emphasized the church's position to the extent that his predecessors did, saying by now the church's teaching on abortion is well-known.

Please respect our Commenting Policy