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Friday’s religion wrap

The Journey team selects stories that got us talking this week. 

Theocracy won’t grow under PM ScoMo

ABC News explores Christianity in public life after Scott Morrison, a noted evangelical, became Australia’s Prime Minister. Simon Smart writes many of Australia’s top leaders have been Christians (Julia Gillard being one big exception) and there’s very little chance the nation will be plunged into a theocratic state just because those in power are Christian.     

“The public square should not be devoid of religion and religious voices,” writes Smart. “It’s equally wrong-headed to think that the politician who is a believer can, or should, leave their faith at home. Faith is personal but can’t remain private, and of course all people bring one worldview or another to their big commitments in life, whether they are religious adherents or not.” 

Church shut down in a flash after refusing cameras  

Christianity Today reports on the Zion Church in China which was recently banned and had their materials confiscated after refusing to install CCTV cameras in its sanctuary. Zion is the biggest house church in Beijing and had been ordered by the city authorities to install 24 surveillance cameras apparently for “security reasons”. The church declined the order and thought it was inappropriate. 

Things escalated when state security officials and police began to harass churchgoers and after recent Sunday services the authorities banned any future “mass gatherings” and the distribution of “illegal promotion material”. 

Zion pastor Jin Mingri said, “I fear that there is no way for us to resolve this issue with the authorities. Churches will continue to develop. Blocking the sites will only intensify conflicts.” 

Politicians and religion need not be a united state 

Fortune covers latest findings by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research on the importance of religion for politicians in North America: it turns out most Americans don’t think their political candidate needs to be religious or even share their religious beliefs. 

According to the data only a quarter of respondents felt it was very important that a candidate has strong religious beliefs and only 19 per cent thought it was very important for a candidate to share their religious beliefs. The data also showed seven in 10 white evangelical Protestants supported President Trump and 51 per cent thought it was very important a candidate had strong religious beliefs. 

Holy cow! Is the end times near? 

The Express reports that the fulfillment of a Biblical prophecy could be close to happen. A red heifer was born in Israel at the end of last month and according to the Jewish and Christian theologians, this could mean the return of the messiah. The sacrifice of a “red heifer without defect or blemish” is part of a cleansing ceremony, necessary for the construction of a third temple in Jerusalem.

This red heifer is the first one born in 2000 years. That is why it has been examined by the Temple Institute, organization in charge of rebuilding the Holy Temple. For now, it has been established that the heifer is pure red without any blemishes; a viable candidate for the red heifer mentioned in Numbers, chapter 19. Yet the end of world could not be near as the animal’s condition could change as it grows and could be disqualified. It will be on constant examinations on the next three months.

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