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Friday’s religion wrap

The Journey team selects stories that got us talking this week. Check back in every Friday to see the latest wrap up of religious news that made us think and reflect. 

Drinks off the menu for Christian hipsters 

Daily Mail Australia covers the wedding ceremony of a Christian couple (dubbed “hipsters” by the Mail) who chose to go alcohol-free for their festivities. With charity shop decorations and recycled timber archways featured in the event, the happy Port Macquarie couple decided they didn’t need alcohol to lubricate festivities and opted for games such as hookey to keep guests having fun.

Have you ever been to a “dry” wedding? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.

Atheist contem-plates existence of God 

Fox News reports on a looming showdown between an atheist and the Kentucky state government which prevented him from putting “IM GOD” on his personalised licence plates.

Non-believer Bennie Hart wants the plate lettering to show the impossibility of disproving anyone’s claim to being God and is suing the state’s transportation secretary on free speech grounds after they rejected his request due to its potential distraction to other motorists and for being in bad taste.

Swipe right for righteousness 

Time looks at a new smartphone and tablet app for Catholics which allows users to find their nearest Holy Mass, confessional or diocesanal statistics. Already media outlets have been quick to dub the app “Sindr”, but Archbishop Leo Cushley, who announced its launch, said the idea was “really inspired by the Holy Father himself”.

What kind of faith-related apps do you use on your smartphone or tablet? Recommendations are most welcome in the comments below. 

Chinese take away more Catholic autonomy?  

China’s most senior Catholic has heavily criticised the Pope for potentially reaching agreements with the Chinese government after decades of bitter relations between the Vatican and Beijing, according to Daily Mail Australia. Cardinal Joseph Zen says the church making agreements with the Chinese government would be “betraying Jesus Christ”.

Iranians for Jesus speak out

CBN News focuses on a group of Christian Iranians living in central Turkey who fled Islamic oppression in their home nation. Now able to freely praise God, they liken their escape from Iran to “coming out of the darkness”. With tales of Iran’s brutal repression, snooping intelligence services and Christian pastors being jailed, it is not too hard to understand why a Christian would flee towards the “light”.

Aussie backpacker in Jesus mixup 

Daily Mail Australia reports on a Perth backpacker who has been repeatedly mistaken for Jesus Christ as he travels around Kenya. Could it be his surname “Christos”? Or maybe the beard, long hair, robes and bare feet? Locals are convinced he’s the son of God and regularly stop the traveller for selfies as others welcome him back on earth.

For the record, Daniel Christos insists he’s not Jesus, never pretended to be and even went on television to prove his family lineage did not contain a Virgin Mary.

Sweden joins fight to free Canadian pastor

CBN News reports on the Swedish ambassador’s attempts to advocate for the release of Rev Lim Hyeon-soo who was sentenced to life in prison at a North Korean labour camp. His crime? He was visiting North Korea for humanitarian purposes yet state prosecutors claim he was using religion to overthrow the despotic Kim Jong-un.

Over 125,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the United Nations and the Canadian government to work to free Lim.

Church takes stock of flock after protestor in the dock 

The Courier-Mail reports on a protester at Parliament House in Canberra and the Uniting Church’s connection to her. Kelly Purnell appeared in court for protesting on the office roof of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and her lawyer was quoted as saying she worked with the Uniting Church.

In the interest of truth and accuracy, the Queensland Synod pointed out to the media that the protestor was not an employee or member of the Indooroopilly Uniting Church, but was instead a volunteer who occasionally assisted asylum seeker applying for visas at that church.

The Queensland Synod supports the good work of Indooroopilly’s visa form-filling clinic, which has assisted over 400 asylum seekers with around 100 volunteers involved, many of them not Uniting Church members, over the past two years.

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