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Friday’s religion wrap

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

Christians won’t be left out of representation

ABC News reports on why left-wing Christians are an emerging voting bloc this election and why their politics aren’t as simple as traditional leftists. ABC claims that, “unlike conservative Christians on the right, who rally around a distinct set of issues – including same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and abortion – on the left, things are more complex”. 

Arguing that a commitment to social justice is important to the religious left, they are not completely aligned to the left’s “full agenda”. Refugees and asylum seekers are of big importance to the religious left and there is more diversity on the Christian left rather than the Christian right, including a willingness to work with other faiths. 

One area where there is a distinction between the Christian and traditional left has been sexuality. Christian law student Clement Ngai says, “Something I believe would be that the proper place for sex is in a marriage relationship, and many people would see that as oppressive and very outdated.” 

Christians using porn: to support or scorn? 

The Christian Post examines the prevalence of pornography use and addiction in Christian circles and asks how should churches respond to the growing XXX-rated epidemic. Past surveys indicate that two-thirds of practising Christian men “reported looking at pornography monthly or more often” and conservative Protestant women are “twice as likely to divorce their husbands over the issue of pornography use as compared to non-conservative Protestant women”.

A new book—Addicted to Lust: Pornography in the Lives of Conservative Protestants—explores the issue and features 130 interviews and a survey data to illustrate the scale of the impact pornography is having on conservative Protestants. The book’s author Samuel L. Perry says, “I think conservative Christians are really at a difficult place. In the book, I’d like to say I end on a more positive note. I try to be optimistic. I try to give some counsel on what I feel like would be some helpful steps to take for the subculture generally and yet, I got to acknowledge that I think conservative Protestants really face a pickle.

“Leaders in congregations should just come out and say, ‘Let’s talk about this. Let’s have a meeting every year where we come out and talk about the importance of accountability. I don’t think that’s happening in the vast majority of congregations and so I feel like that’s going to be required to move forward.”

One free to go but another on death row

Christianity Today covers news of Asia Bibi’s departure from Pakistan (where she was previously facing execution over blasphemy charges) and the disturbing update that yet another Christian woman is facing death over blasphemy. While Christians may be Pakistan’s largest religious minority they also face the highest number of blasphemy charges against them apparently because of their poor status and association with the west.

While Bibi fled to Canada it now emerges a 45-year-old mother of four and her husband are facing execution after being accused by a Muslim of sending blasphemous text messages. The couple’s lawyer Saif-ul Malook commented, “The couple is innocent and there is no legal substantial evidence available that proves they actually texted those messages.

“Every legal case requires a different strategy and I have decided a different strategy for this case as per the facts and relevant laws.”

Satan at play if you want your pay?

The Israel Folau saga makes international news headlines with Japan Today reporting on Folau’s recent comments that it would be “Satan’s work” to back down over his controversial social media posts. Speaking about the conflict which will potentially see the highly-paid Rugby player kicked out of the code, Folau stated he was given chances to ease tensions with Rugby Australia but he resisted because “it would be doing ‘Satan’s work’”.

“There have been many opportunities to potentially make the situation a little bit easier,” said Folau. “I could go back and play the game, get everything back to the way it used to be. The way Satan works is he offers you stuff that could look good to the eye and makes you feel comfortable, and if you go down that path all the worries and troubles will go away. It is always the will of God that comes first.”

Folau can still appeal Rugby Australia’s judgement that he committed a “high level” breach of their code of conduct.


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