Religion in the News Editor
The Salvation Army is starting Christmas a little early this year
VERBATIM: The giant Christian charity usually kicks off its legendary “Red Kettle Campaign” the day after Thanksgiving. But with a lot of people in economic straights because of the corona virus, the Salvation Army will begin its holiday fundraising drive early “in order to rescue Christmas”. Now the kettles still won’t be showing up until November, but you can start giving to the Christmas campaign virtually right NOW at the Salvation Army website. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Netflix is suffering a backlash
VERBATIM: Last week the streaming giant released “Cuties” a French film which claims to decry the sexualization of children — all the while presenting children in sexualized ways. Critics, family groups, Evangelical leaders and people on the right AND left condemned the movie, and now cancellations of Netflix are surging. Variety reports that the cancellation rate in the U.S. jumped to eight times the daily average right after Cuties was released. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Scotland considers a hate crimes law
VERBATIM: Conservatives and Evangelical leaders are urging lawmakers to vote the bill down, warning that it will muzzle free speech and threaten religious liberty. The legislation would add sexual orientation and so-called “gender identity” to current hate crimes statutes in Scotland. Nigel Kenny of the Christian Institute says “Without specifically protecting the expression of religious and philosophical convictions of every sort, the bill undermines its people.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.
What happens when you die?
A new poll released by Arizona Christian University finds that 54% of Americans believe that they will be going to heaven when their time on earth is over. 15% say they have no idea what happens when a person dies and 13% are convinced that there is no afterlife. The poll, which is part of ACU’s 2020 American World View Inventory, also reveals that eight percent of respondents think they will be reincarnated upon their death. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Most Americans oppose virus exemptions for churches
According to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, 79% of U.S. adults say houses of worship should be required to follow the same rules about social distancing and large gatherings as other organizations or businesses in their local area. Among Christians, about three-quarters say churches should be subject to the same rules as businesses or civic organizations. Lawsuits have been sparked in states where churches have been held to higher standards, however. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Some good news for Evangelicals
A study released by the Public Religion Research Institute finds white Evangelical Protestants are the least likely of all major religious group to live in counties that are highly affected by COVID-19. That’s primarily because Evangelicals are LESS likely to live in crowded cities are MORE likely to reside in the more spread-out suburban areas in the country. As a result, this group has some of the lowest rates of corona virus infection so far. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Enrollment is down at Christian schools
The corona virus is to blame. Many parents of both public and private school students are holding their kids back, trying to figure out what is safe with the pandemic continuing to play out in different ways in different parts of the country. Headmaster Walt Shaffner of Bell Shoals Baptist Academy in Florida tells Baptist Press “In the midst of all this stuff, people want their child to get an education. I think all the schools in the nation are struggling with this.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.
The Satanic Temple is trying to get around abortion laws
The atheist organization believes it can skirt pro-life statutes in some states that restrict first trimester abortions by designating the procedure a religious ceremony protected by the Constitution. A spokeman for the Satantic Temple says “No Christian would accept a mandatory waiting period before they can partake in Communion or be baptized”. It is unclear if any court will deem abortion to be a religious sacrament. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
A question for the NCAA
The college sports governing body has decided that players will be allowed to wear social justice messages on their jerseys when they compete this season. So some Christians are wondering if expressions of faith will be allowed as well. Steve McConkey of the Christian sports group Four Winds USA says he contacted the NCAA and didn’t get a straight answer. He argues that if players can say whatever they want on their uniforms, Christian messages should not be censored. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Pro-life Democrats want a voice
Another deadly attack on Christians in Nigeria
Morning Star News says 14 members of a Baptist church have been killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen who hit a village in Kogi state. All the rest of the local Christians have fled the area. The Fulani and Nigeria’s home-grown Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram have murdered more than 1,400 believers this year alone and there are calls for the international community to do something. Nigeria’s government has had little success in stemming the violence. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Evangelicals are not the only conservatives in Christendom
Everybody knows that a strong majority of America’s White Evangelicals identify as conservative. But a study released by Religion In Public indicates that White Mainline Protestants are also about TWICE as likely to identify as conservatives as they are liberals, as are White Catholics. This research dovetails with other polls that indicate while Evangelicals are perhaps the KEY constituency for President Trump, he’s likely to get a lot of Mainline and Catholic votes this fall too. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
One of America’s leading pastors takes a stand
John MacArthur has reopened Grace Community Church in defiance of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s corona virus lockdown orders. In a video statement MacArthur says “We will obey God rather than men. We’re going to be faithful to the Lord and we’re going to leave the results to Him.” The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is investigating the church and could levy fines. California has been seeing a surge in corona virus cases. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
A prominent pastor says Christians should vote for President Trump
Robert Jeffress, who leads the First Baptist mega-church in Dallas, says “The only evangelicals who are going to vote for Joe Biden are those who have sold their soul to the devil”. Jeffress, who appeared on Lou Dobbs Fox Business show, says Biden’s support for virtually unlimited abortion should be a bridge too far for any Evangelical voter. Recent polls indicate that an overwhelming majority of Evangelicals WILL vote for President Trump. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Who should solve the problems in your community?
A new poll from the Barna Group finds that about one-third of American adults think the government is the agency best suited to fixing what ails local communities. 25% say churches and Christian ministries would do a better job. Practicing Christians see it differently. 33% of them favor the leadership of churches and Christian organizations, though 31% think the government is best suited to tackle the problems of their communities. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Some troubling findings in a new poll about the Bible
The survey conducted by Life Way Research reveals that nearly one-third of Protestant churchgoers say they accept some truths from scripture but “others just don’t fit what I believe”. The poll also indicates that 24% of respondents agree with the statement “As culture changes, some Biblical truths become obsolete.” Life Way spokesman Scott McConnell says “it’s surprising to see this many practicing Christians giving their own word priority in their beliefs.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.
A researcher says America’s big corporations are moving left
Turkey takes new action against Christians
Female athletes petition the NCAA
A group of 300 wants the college sports governing body to reject demands by liberal groups that it boycott Idaho. That state is in the crosshairs because of a law that would force transgender athletes to compete as the gender they truly ARE — no men or boys competing against women or girls. 60 liberal organizations, including the National Center for Transgender Equality, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood want an NCAA boycott. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Five Christian aid workers are murdered in Nigeria
Muslim terrorists who have pledged themselves to ISIS carried out the atrocity, releasing a grisly video of their work and warning that a similar fate will come to “all those seeking to convert Muslims to Christianity.” Several terrorist organizations are at work in Nigeria and thousands of Christians have been killed in the northern part of the country over the past decade. Some are calling for intervention by the international community to stop the bloodletting. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Troubling news from France
The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe reports a 285% increase in anti-Christian incidents in France since 2008. In just the last 18 months, six French churches have been set on fire — the Cathedral of Nantes last week. The increase in attacks has coincided with the influx of hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants. The man who is accused of burning the cathedral is from Rwanda. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Do you understand the Bible?
A new poll from Lifeway Research finds that 57% of Protestant churchgoers AGREE with the statement “I find it challenging to make sense of the Bible when I read it on my own.” 41% say no — they understand the scriptures pretty well. Despite their problems making sense of the Bible at times, a majority of Protestant churchgoers say they feel confidant that they can answer doubts that other people have about it. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Christians return to church in Mexico
Temperatures taken and anti-bacterial hand sanitizer applied, the faithful passed through a disinfecting arch set up in front of centuries-old wood-and-stone doors at one of the Mexico City’s oldest churches. Still, some congregations have decided to wait for the number of infections to go down further before opening, despite official authorization. Mexico’s Episcopal Conference says each pastor should assess the situation before resuming services. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
A pro-life activist picks up a can of paint
It’s becoming popular for activists to paint “Black Lives Matter” in giant letters on streets across the country. So Taylor Hansen of Salt Lake City decided to start painting “Baby Lives Matter” in similar proportions in front of Planned Parenthood clinics. The artist and pro-life activist says he’s going to try and do this every where he can. He’s already painted the slogan outside an abortion clinic in his home town and one here in Washington, DC. Michael Harrington, SRN News.