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Friday’s religion wrap

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

A foreign third loving the Word

ABC News reports that more than a third of Australian churchgoers were born overseas and that first and second generation migrants are making up “an increasingly significant segment of the churchgoing population”.

The Uniting Church is featured prominently in the article: Rev Fie Marino is interviewed and pictured standing behind our large church logo.

Many still on the slate with fused religion and state

The Guardian reports on the latest findings of the Pew Research Center which indicate more than 20 per cent of countries have official state religions. Most of the countries where religion and state are fused are located in the Middle East and North Africa where Islam dominates 27 countries but 13 countries (mostly in Europe) are officially Christian.

The Pew report stated, “In a few cases, a country’s official religion is primarily a legacy of its history and now involves few, if any, privileges conferred by the state.”

Rude church breach covered by free speech

The Christian Post has news of the latest ruling in a case involving a man who raised his middle finger at a pastor inside church and shouted about Satan. Initially charged and sentenced for disorderly conduct, the man’s case went to the Georgia Supreme Court in North America where judge Justice Harold Melton found his behaviour was protected under the First Amendment guaranteeing citizens free speech.

Melton commented that the man “raised his middle finger as a form of protest” and there was no evidence that he “engaged in additional threatening conduct that would have elevated his raised middle finger to the level of conveying ‘fighting words’ or a ‘true threat’”.

Showcasing religious thread? Carefully tread

The Independent writes about the Met Gala’s upcoming fashion and religion themed event with apprehension about “cultural appropriation” and the “privileging” of Christianity in the “cultural hierarchy”.

Listing prior examples where pop culture icons have co-opted Christian iconography (Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Madonna), the author asserts that the event “will be yet another reminder that the West gives itself first place in the cultural league table”.

If that wasn’t bad enough, there is worry that many celebrities may use the event to culturally appropriate Islamic clothing which could “erase complexity and nuance”.

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