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Audio

Michael Harrington

Religion in the News Editor

Persecution of Christians in India is ramping up

Thu, Mar 26, 2020 at 8:17 am

Persecution of Christians in India is ramping up

Ramesh Kumar is a pastor who leads about a dozen house churches in villages outside of Uttar Pradesh. He tells International Christian Concern that persecution is virtually constant, saying “Almost daily, I encounter a situation where I am asked to stop preaching the Gospel and recant my faith in Jesus. Some days, it is only a mild warning, other times a physical assault.” Hindu radicals are responsible for most of the attacks. They vow to make India a Hindu-only country. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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The gospel is spreading amidst the virus outbreak

Thu, Mar 26, 2020 at 8:17 am

The gospel is spreading amidst the virus outbreak

A crisis inevitably turns peoples thoughts to questions of eternity. Global Media Outreach, which focuses on digital evangelism, says there’s been a surge in questions about faith and conversions since the outbreak. Spokesman Walt Wilson tells the Christian Post “What we’re seeing is millions of people open to talking about faith in the face of fear, and we’re ramping up to be available for them.” GMO is reaching out via the web, cell phones and secure messages. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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Finally, some good news from Nigeria

Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 8:07 am

Finally, some good news from Nigeria

The Anglican Church reports that the wife of a bishop and a church secretary have been set free by gunmen who kidnapped them in Kano State earlier this month. It’s unclear who their abductors were, but the Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram has been carrying out kidnappings of Christians in Nigeria for years. The terrorists have also killed thousands of believers in the northern part of the country there the government seems powerless to intervene. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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Churches will remain open in Michigan

Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 8:06 am

Churches will remain open in Michigan

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has bar all gatherings of 50 or more people, but houses of worship are exempt. She tells Fox News “That’s an area that we don’t have the ability to directly enforce and control”, pointing to her understanding of church-state separation. The governor is still urging congregations to consider calling off worship services until the crisis has ended and many of them are doing just that — albeit voluntarily. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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A message from the Vice President to America’s Christians

Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 8:42 am

A message from the Vice President to America’s Christians

He is urging believers to be in prayer for the nation as the virus outbreak continues and he’s also calling on them to keep tithing to their churches and ministries, even if they are currently closed. Pence says that even if Christians can’t be in the pews on Sunday, “It’s still a good idea, if you can, to go ahead and make that donation. All the ministries are continuing to play a vital role in our communities and we encourage your continued support.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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A Christian poll-taker has a new mission

Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 8:41 am

A Christian poll-taker has a new mission

George Barna — founder of the Barna Group — is joining up with Arizona Christian University to launch a new entity. Barna tells the Christian Post that the Cultural Research Center at ACU will be tasked with restoring a Biblical worldview to American culture. Barna says “The Center is going to help leader focus on what the people say matters, while providing those same people with a yardstick for measuring how well they are being served by their leaders.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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Religious Americans weigh-in on immigration

Sun, Mar 22, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Religious Americans weigh-in on immigration

The poll question from the Public Religion Research Institute is simple: Should illegal immigrants be granted a pathway to U.S. citizenship? 55% of white Evangelical Protestants say YES as do 68% of white Mainline Protestants. Amongst other faith groups, 54% of white Catholics also believe that illegal immigrants should have a chance to earn citizenship as do 77% of Hispanic Catholics and 71% of black Protestants. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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A Christian poll-taker reflects on young people and technology

Sun, Mar 22, 2020 at 12:39 pm

A Christian poll-taker reflects on young people and technology

David Kinnaman is president of the Barna Group, which has done a lot of reporting on how Millennial Christians are more apt to read the Bible and practice their faith in the digital realm than are their parents and grandparents. Barna says “Church leaders can respond by providing thoughtful integration of digital tools, strategies and content into their spiritual development efforts. Young Christians are telling us that they are comfortable with the tools, whether church leaders are or not.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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Christian ministries are being branded as hate groups — again

Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 8:58 am

Christian ministries are being branded as hate groups — again

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual listing is out and it contains, as always, several well-known Evangelical organizations — simply because they do not accept same-sex marriage or the LGBT agenda. On the SPLC’s latest hate group list are the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, D. James Kennedy Ministries and several churches. The hate list is often used by corporations and foundations to determine where their charitable dollars go. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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Do you fact-check your pastor’s sermons?

Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 8:58 am

Do you fact-check your pastor’s sermons?

The Barna Group has been asking Christians what they are actually doing during Sunday services. The vast majority of believers in all age groups say they’re mostly just sitting their and listening. But some are actually putting the pastor to the test in real time, fact-checking his sermon — usually with a digital device. And as you might imagine, given their tech skills, Millennial Christians are the most likely to fact-check during services. Baby Boomers the LEAST likely. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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Another pro-life bill advances at the state level

Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 8:38 am

Another pro-life bill advances at the state level

The Mississippi House has approved legislation that would bar women from having abortions on the basis of the unborn baby’s race, sex or potential genetic abnormalities. Pro-life advocates are cheering. Sue Liebel of the Susan B. Anthony List says “Abortions carried out because of potential disability, such as Down syndrome, is no less than modern-day eugenics.” A number of states are considering similar measures to limit abortion. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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Another battle over religious freedom on campus

Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 8:36 am

Another battle over religious freedom on campus

The University of Iowa has kicked Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship out because it will not agree to allow non-believers to serve in leadership positions. A district court ruled the school was out of line, but Iowa officials have taken the case to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Inter Varsity, says “No group should be forced to accept leaders who don’t even agree with the group’s mission.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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A pro-life victory in Maryland

Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 9:31 am

A pro-life victory in Maryland

Lawmakers in the state Senate have opted to withdraw a bill that was designed to enshrine abortion in the Maryland constitution. Several states have been working on similar legislation as abortion advocates try to protect the procedure from a possible repeal of Roe versus Wade by the Supreme Court one day. Democrat Susan Lee, the sponsor of the Maryland measure, says she pulled it because she feared “a long debate that strays from the underlying intent of the bill.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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The Family Research Council wants more pro-life legislation

Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 9:31 am

The Family Research Council wants more pro-life legislation

The ministry is pointing out that very few places have laws that protect babies who manage to survive an abortion attempt. Comprehensive born-alive laws have only been adopted by 16 states, though legislation is pending in Ohio, Wyoming and Kentucky. However, the FRC points out that a comprehensive federal born-alive law is unlikely to pass because Democrats control the House of Representatives. Repeated attempts — including one this year — have failed. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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A Christian educator fights for religious freedom

Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 8:19 am

A Christian educator fights for religious freedom

Nicholas Meriweather was disciplined by Shawnee State University in Ohio because he refused to call a male student, who is living as a woman, by female pronouns. He took his complain to District Court and saw it dismissed, but he’s not giving up. With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, the professor is now putting his case before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. ADF spokesman Travis Barham says “Professors don’t give up their First Amendment freedoms simply by choosing to teach.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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The two remaining Democratic presidential candidates talk abortion

Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 8:18 am

The two remaining Democratic presidential candidates talk abortion

Sunday’s debate was an opportunity for Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders to fight over who is the LEAST pro-life. On the Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer dollars for abortion, Sanders — who opposes it — challenged Biden for his past support. Biden quickly fell all over himself to say that he ALSO opposes Hyde, saying it would be unthinkable for a poor woman not to be able to have an abortion because taxpayers didn’t want to foot the bill. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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A Kentucky school district surrenders to an atheist organization

Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 9:23 am

A Kentucky school district surrenders to an atheist organization

After receiving a threatening letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, officials in Letcher County have removed several religious signs in the public schools. One of them, posted in a high school locker room, read “But the Lord is with me like a Mighty Warrior.” That’s Jeremiah 20:11. The Foundation sends a lot of these demand letters to school systems and small towns across the country. They usually decide to comply rather than risk a costly legal battle. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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Evangelicals aren’t the only ones who like President Trump

Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 9:22 am

Evangelicals aren’t the only ones who like President Trump

A new poll released by the Pew Research Center reveals that about two-thirds of white Mainline Protestants believe that the president “fights for what I believe in”, as do 66% of white Catholics. 56% of Mainline believers also say they agree with Mr. Trump on all or most of the issues — 58% of Catholics feel the same. The poll indicates that while the president can always count on Evangelicals, he also has a lot of supporters amongst the rest of the country’s Christians. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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New York state changes its birth certificate policy

Sun, Mar 15, 2020 at 2:29 pm

New York state changes its birth certificate policy

In another effort to support the transgender movement, state officials have announced that residents as young as 16 will be able to change the gender on their birth certificate to match whatever gender they currently believe they are. Adults were already allow to do this in New York, but now children under the age of 18 will too — something that is only legal in Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Alaska and the District of Colombia. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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A defeat for the pro-life cause in Europe

Sun, Mar 15, 2020 at 2:28 pm

A defeat for the pro-life cause in Europe

The job of a midwife is to help a woman give birth. But in Sweden two Christian women were denied midwife jobs because they were not willing to perform abortions. They sued, but the European Court of Human Rights has refused to take up their case. Alliance Defending Freedom International is decrying the court’s decision, stating that “A positive judgment from the Court would have been an important step in the protection of the right to freedom of conscience.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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A member of Finland’s parliament is in trouble

Fri, Mar 13, 2020 at 8:40 am

A member of Finland’s parliament is in trouble

Pavi Rassanen doesn’t like the fact that the Lutheran Church participated in an LGBT pride event last year and SAID so on Twitter, adding a Bible verse. No problem here in the U.S., but in Finland she is facing police investigations. Rassanen is being accused of hate speech and has been subject to interrogation. Observers point out that while most Americans believe free speech is a staple of all European countries, few other nations allow such unfettered freedom as the U.S. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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Help for churches as election season heats up

Fri, Mar 13, 2020 at 8:39 am

Help for churches as election season heats up

Alliance Defending Freedom — a Christian legal group — has released a guide to let pastors and congregations know what they can and cannot do in relation to the big vote. “Five Things To Know: A Legal Guide For Churches” tackles such issues as sermons and speeches, general education of voters, use of church facilities, lobbying, and financial support. ADF spokesman Ryan Tucker says “Churches have a unique opportunity to make their voices heard in the public square.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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California lawmakers consider a housing bill with a religious twist

Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 8:30 am

California lawmakers consider a housing bill with a religious twist

The legislation would allow churches, ministries and other religious groups to build housing for the poor on their land — no matter what the local zoning laws say. The sponsor of the measure is Democratic State Senator Scott Wiener who says “Churches and other religious and charitable institutions often have land to spare, and they should be able to use that land to build affordable housing and thus further their mission.” A number of churches have already shown interest. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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Bernie Sanders unveils his abortion plan

Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 9:19 am

Bernie Sanders unveils his abortion plan

It’s called “Reproductive Health Care and Justice for All” — the Democratic presidential candidate’s blueprint for rolling back pro-life initiatives at the federal level. Sanders wants to repeal the Hyde amendment, expand Planned Parenthood’s funding under Title 10 and make contraceptives available free of charge. He would also urge Congress to condify Roe versus Wade with a federal law. Senator Sanders has a 100% pro-abortion voting record, according to NARAL. Michael Harrington, SRN News.

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