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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. 

Jesus fit and ready for 33 kit

The Manchester Evening News reports on rising football star striker Gabriel Jesus and his jersey number’s religious significance. Jesus has joined Manchester City and is set to take on the 33 jersey after previous holder Matija Nastasic left the club in 2015.

The deeply Christian striker wore the number for his previous club Palmeiras and it holds significance for Christians as the age when Jesus Christ was crucified.

No protection for Knights of Malta leader over free condoms fight

According to The Guardian, the head of the Catholic order of the Knights of Malta, Grand Master Matthew Festing, has resigned after a dispute with the Vatican over free condom distribution to the poor.

This follows the sacking of Grand Chancellor Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager in December over the incident. Pope Francis assembled a commission to look into the controversy but Festing deemed the commission illegitimate and set up his own internal commission.

Don’t be a chump, pray for Trump!

Fox News features an opinion piece on three things every Christian owes Donald Trump to coincide with the reality television star and real-estate mogul taking office as President of the United States of America.

Citing Romans 13:1-7, the author insists Christians should give Trump the benefit of the doubt and give him the respect that is due to his office. For many anti-Trumpers the article’s second point—to provide honest criticism—shouldn’t be too difficult, but the last call to provide Trump prayers might be a tougher ask.  

Football team’s Christ homage gets red carded 

RT reports on Real Madrid’s decision to remove the Christian cross from their logo after the mega-popular Spanish football club struck a deal with clothing company Marka to distribute t-shirts, swimwear and polo-shirts to several Middle-Eastern countries.

Marka vice-chairman Khaled al-Mheiri says, “We have to be sensitive to parts of the Gulf that are sensitive to products that hold the cross.”

Guardian predicts boom and bust for American Christianity 

The Guardian runs an opinion piece on American Christianity and the prediction is “change is coming”. While acknowledging that America is still very Christian in comparison to Europe, the author sees the election of President Donald Trump as a key moment: white, evangelical voters may have overwhelmingly supported Trump but they could not deliver him the popular vote. Together with statistics demonstrating that more than a third of Americans under 50 say they have no religion, Christianity may not have the kind of influence it once commanded moving forward.

Only time will tell but in June The Guardian’s opinion pages ran a piece with the prediction headline, “Trump won’t win. In fact, the US could be on the brink of a liberal renaissance.” How did that one work out?

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