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Friday’s religion wrap

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

Parent not sub-scribing to Mohammad’s class 

The Christian Post reports on one West Virginian parent’s fury at his daughter being asked to practise writing the Islamic declaration of faith in Arabic calligraphy at school. The conservative Christian Rich Penkoski has made contact with his daughter’s school, Mountain Ridge Middle School, to express concern about the assignment which was part of social studies and world religions class.

“I saw the assignment of writing the Shahada in Arabic,” says Rich. “Their excuse was calligraphy. I was like, ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!’ First of all, calligraphy was invented in China 3000 years prior to Muhammad. The fact that they were trying to get my daughter to write that disturbed me.”

The school’s principal insists that there are “no repercussions for students who do not complete the activity”.

Got cash to splash? Don’t be rash

Does your congregation have some money to spend? Christian Post offers five suggestions of things to consider before you splurge on a coffee machine which they claim are the “essentials to lay a secure foundation upon which vibrant ministries can grow.”

Security cameras, defibrillators, insurance, safe vehicles and professional services are the must-have items according to author Gisele Kalonzo-Douglas who is an attorney and risk manager based in America. How many of these items does your congregation currently have?

Chicken chain’s Christianity: Nothing to cluck over

Bloomberg counters a New Yorker essay on famed Christian fast food outlet Chick-fil-A and the article’s apparent anti-Christian tone with statistics on Christianity’s place in contemporary America and the amount of minorities and women who belong to the faith. The original New Yorker piece declared, “The brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism.”

Bloomberg author Stephen Carter writes, “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the article shouldn’t have been published. I don’t think the New Yorker owes anybody an apology. I’m a free-speech guy, and I don’t believe any group should be placed beyond criticism or mockery. But if you plan to mock, it’s useful to know whom you’re actually mocking.”

Chinese take away God from online shopping

CBN News reports on the increasing number of Chinese online stores yanking the Bible from their digital shelves’ results in an apparent crackdown on citizens’ religious rights. It is being reported that major shopping sites like Taobao and JD.com are not delivering any shopping search results when people type “Holy Bible”.

Freedom House’s senior research analyst Sarah Cook says the ban “is an important example of how internet censorship intersects with restrictions on religious freedom”.

“Sensitive religious topics and groups are among the most censored in China,” says Sarah. “In our research we found the Chinese authorities increasingly using more high-tech methods to control religion and punish believers.”

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