Analysis articles that drew the most views from Baptist News Global readers in 2021 were dominated by the same topics that led in the categories of most-read news and opinion: the pandemic and vaccines.
Three of the top 10 pieces dealt with vaccines and controversies surrounding religious exemptions to vaccination, while a fourth article about conspiracy theorist Greg Locke summarized and debunked his claim that vaccines are more deadly than the coronavirus.
The remaining stories captured other topics favored by BNG readers: controversies surrounding the Southern Baptist Convention, megachurch scandals, white privilege and the twists and turns of Calvinistic Reformed theology.
Presented here are BNG’s leading analysis pieces for 2021. Note that two of the 10 were published in 2020 but remained among the most-read pieces on BNG’s site this year based on 2021 stats alone.
- “Church ‘religious exemption’ letters against COVID vaccination mandates likely won’t work,” by Mark Wingfield, Aug. 18, 2021 — While some religious leaders urge followers to get COVID-19 vaccines, others are increasingly using faith to seek exemptions and even offering them to non-members.
- “Pastor Greg Locke is all over the internet spreading conspiracies; here’s why you shouldn’t believe him,” by Rick Pidcock, Aug. 2, 2021 — Locke’s promotion of conspiracy theories demonstrates the fundamental ignorance he claims to see in others.
- “Why Beth Moore’s departure from the SBC really matters,” by Mark Wingfield, March 10, 2021 — Moore said she is a Baptist who can no longer identify with the SBC because of its embrace of Donald Trump.
- “I lived in the culture of ‘The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill,’ and there’s one part of the story that’s wrong,” by Rick Pidcock, Aug. 24, 2021 — The mix of Reformed theology, toxic masculinity, celebrity culture and desire for power has brought down more than one church.
- “Six ways ‘American Gospel’ is small-minded and abusive,” by Rick Pidcock, Aug. 14, 2020 — No wonder men with a highly penal view of the gospel also get it wrong on authority, human identity, other religions and human suffering.
- “Interpreting the data: Why are some Christians getting vaccinated and others aren’t?” by Mark Wingfield, April 29, 2021 — Mistrust of the media and government inspires large numbers of white evangelicals to shun COVID-19 vaccines.
- “Get ready for more claims of ‘religious exemptions’ to vaccine mandates,” by Mark Wingfield, Aug. 10, 2021 — Most states do not have a legal definition of what constitutes a religious exemption from vaccination even as the push for religious exemptions continues to grow.
- “Ruffled feathers: Wild Goose Festival is a case study in how hard it is to disentangle from white supremacy — even when you want to,” by Amy Hayes, Oct. 5, 2021 — A study in how even groups that stand against white privilege can fall victim to white privilege.
- “‘Jezebel’ is one of three common racial slurs against all Black women and girls,” by Yvonne McLean, Feb. 12, 2021 — In response to the two Texas Baptist pastors who called Vice President Kamala Harris a “Jezebel,” a review of how this trope has been used as a slur against Black women for generations.
- “American Gospel: Christ Crucified is stuck in a time warp,” by Rick Pidcock, Dec. 28, 2020 — A review of the second film in the series seeking to portray Calvinist theology as superior to progressive Christian theology.