Plug-In: Lots of news about Southern Baptists, U.S. Catholic bishops and even a modern Jonah

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This makes three straight weeks that the Southern Baptist Convention’s big meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, has topped Plug-in.

Want an impossible challenge? Try highlighting the best coverage out of the plethora of headlines produced in Music City this week.

Some of the big news:

• The surprise election of “moderate” (if you’re OK with that term from the SBC past) pastor Ed Litton from Alabama as the SBC’s president.

Religion News Service’s Bob Smietana, the Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Christianity Today’s Kate Shellnutt, the New York Times’ Ruth Graham, The Associated Press’ Travis Loller and Peter Smith and ReligionUnplugged’s own Hamil R. Harris all offer insightful coverage on that. (Even the Los Angeles Times weighs in, via Atlanta bureau chief Jenny Jarvie.)

The skirmish over critical race theory, which Chris Moody describes in an in-depth narrative piece for New York Magazine.

Also, don’t miss The Tennessean’s Wednesday front-page report by Katherine Burgess, Duane W. Gang and Holly Meyer.

For more on the CRT angle, see Adelle M. Banks’ RNS story and Greg Garrison’s Birmingham News coverage.

The major action to confront sexual abuse in the denomination, as the Houston Chronicle’s Robert Downen, CT’s Shellnutt, the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Burgess and RNS’ Smietana detail.

In addition, the convention approved its “most absolutist statement yet in opposition to abortion,” note AP’s Loller and Smith.

And a challenge over pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren’s California church ordaining women pastors was referred to the SBC’s credentials committee, reports RNS’ Banks.

What did I miss?

Power up: The week’s best reads

1. Catholic bishops this week will discuss if Biden qualifies for Communion: It’s the culmination of decades of abortion politics: The Washington Post’s Michelle Boorstein sets the scene for the week’s other big religion story.

Equally interesting: Religion News Service’s Jack Jenkins, Claire Giangravé and Alejandra Molina reach out to every Catholic bishop in the country to ask where they stand. (Spoiler alert: Few offer a firm yes-or-no answer on the big question, RNS notes.)

How high are the stakes?

“This is a week that could change Catholic life in this country,” wrote Clemente Lisi, at GetReligion. “That is not an exaggeration when you consider what the bishops will be debating.”

First-day coverage of the meeting, which opened Wednesday, includes stories by RNS’ Jenkins and The Associated Press’ David Crary.

2. How hip-hop gravitated toward religion:Hip-hop, a counter-culture genre born on the Black and Latino streets of the Bronx in the 1970s, has gotten religion,” the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Sandi Dolbee writes.

“It even has a name: holy hip-hop.”

3. Israel’s ultra-Orthodox parties, shorn of influence, vow to unseat new leader: Yes, a little knowledge of ancient Scriptures will help with understanding this story.

“I will use what our father Jacob used when he needed to deal with Esau: gifts, prayer and war,” one source tells the Wall Street Journal’s Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber.

“Just as we survived the pharaoh in Egypt, so too will we pass this government,” another says.

CONTINUE READING: “Big News Involving Southern Baptists, Roman Catholics And Even A Modern-Day Jonah” by Bobby Ross, Jr., at Religion Unplugged.

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