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Friday’s religion wrap

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

Couple courts Jesus for legal aid

CBC reports on a custody case involving a Canadian couple who cited Jesus Christ as their lawyer and spoke in tongues to a toy lion, claiming it was giving them “direct counsel from God”. Their baby, who the mother wanted to rename “Jesus JoyoftheLord”, was removed from the couple out of concerns for the child’s wellbeing, with director of child, family and community services arguing that there were concerns over mental health, violence and medical care issues.

The couple meanwhile maintained that there were no child protection issues and were instead being persecuted for their Christian faith. Now their latest appeal citing religious persecution has been tossed out of a British Columbia Provincial Court with the judge ruling that there was no discrimination in the earlier custody ruling and that the decision made was in the best interests of the child.  

Legal decision is no piece of cake

Christianity Today has news of the latest ruling in the ongoing saga involving a conservative Christian baker and his decision to decline service to a same-sex wedding.

The US Supreme Court sided 7-2 in favour of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, and ruled that state penalties against him violated his First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion. But this wasn’t exactly a sign that similar cases would be decided this way despite the celebration from religious-freedom activists.

“This is a narrow, fact-based ruling, resting on two sorts of indicators that the Colorado state decision-makers were hostile to Phillips’ traditionalist religious beliefs about marriage,” said Thomas Berg, law professor at the University of St Thomas.

Killer croc causes baptism shock

BBC News reports on a Protestant pastor who was killed in Ethiopia after a mass baptism he conducted had an uninvited guest, namely a killer crocodile. Docho Eshete was conducting a baptism for 80 people at Laka Abaya when a crocodile appeared and bit him on his legs, back and hands.

One local commented, “He baptised the first person and he passed on to another one. All of a sudden, a crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed the pastor.” Despite efforts to catch the murderous croc it escaped but locals were able to prevent it from taking the pastor’s body back into the water.

Ministry has a big gol-gol-gol-gol-gooooooaaaallll for Russia World Cup

CBN News covers news of a US ministry hoping to use the impending FIFA World Cup in Russia to spread the gospel. Mission Eurasia is working with Russian churches to distribute 100,000 copies of the New Testament scriptures in Russian.

Additionally Russian churches will be hosting live, big-screen broadcasts of the games in the hope of attracting people who might not usually attend church.

Mission Eurasia President Sergey Rakhuba said, “Mission Eurasia is capitalising on mobilising and training, equipping the next generation of leaders in all the countries of the former Soviet Union … especially focusing on this unprecedented opportunity that this World Cup games represent.”

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