Religious News from Around the Web, Feb 9th 2020

Coronavirus, Church and State, Romney and White Horse, 200 Years of Christianity, Baxter Black, Blessing of the Nukes, Chinese Ban Funerals

Christians Help in Coronavirus Hot Zone

Wuhan China University Photo By Howchou CC
Wuhan China University
Photo By Howchou CC
Christians in Wuhan, China, epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak, are passing out breathing masks and sharing their Christian beliefs to some of the city’s 11 million residents. Christians have had a tough time in China, as the Chinese Communist Party cracks down on religion. Chinese authorities are calling the virus Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia, or NCP.

Catholic Videos Help Navigate Church and State
What are the political responsibilities of Catholics? The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have released a series of videos on public participation, voting, and community involvement while working with Christ and protecting human life and dignity.

Mitt Romney and the White Horse Prophecy
U.S. Senator Mitt RomneyU.S. Senator Mitt Romney, the only Republican to vote to convict the President during the impeachment trial, has predictably been the subject of much controversy. Romney is a long-time Latter-day Saint and 2012 presidential candidate, and one theory is that his vote was part of the “white horse prophecy” in which a Latter-day Saint would save the Constitution. The executive director of the Mormon History Association, told BuzzFeed that she thinks he voted the way he did “based on principles … He said he took an oath before God as a senator, and Mormons also take an oath before God to be honest.”

Trump Administration Announces Global Religious Liberty Alliance
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Feb. 5, the launch of the International Religious Freedom Alliance, saying “… protecting religious freedom is certainly not exclusively an American priority … but is grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every human being has the right to believe in whatever it is they wish, to change their faith, or to hold no faith at all.”

Hawaiian Church to Celebrate 200 Years of Christianity
Heneri ʻŌpūkahaʻia Hawai'i's first ChristianKauaha‘ao Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, on the Big Island of Hawai’i, will commemorate 200 years of Christianity in Hawai‘i this week. Hawaiians lived isolated from much of the world until 1778 when English Captain James Cook sailed past Oahu. Christianity arrived in 1820 at the request of the first Hawaiian Christian, Heneri ʻŌpūkahaʻia. Westerners changed the culture, overthrew the Monarchy, and imprisoned the Queen, despite numerous treaties and guarantees. Hawaii was annexed as a territory and became a state in 1959. Native Hawaiians have continued efforts up to the present day to regain Hawaii’s sovereignty, and have protested the building of telescopes on Mauna Kea, a sacred site.

Baxter Black’s “Mormon Boys”
Baxter Black, humorist, radio personality, author and large animal veterinarian, published an article about Latter-day Saint boys on their two-year church mission. “… put yourself in their place,” he wrote. “You are 18 years old, often from a rural background, no car, in a strange place, wearing a dark suit and tie, riding a bicycle and knocking on a stranger’s door. As you know, many who open that door and find out you are ‘peddling religion’ are not friendly.” But Black chronicles an elderly Southern Baptist woman who always invited them in and made them feel right at home.

Should Priests Bless Nuclear Weapons?
Soviet-R-12-nuclear-ballistic_missile (1)Sprinkling holy water on nuclear weapons may soon go the way of the Cold War, as Russian Orthodox Church officials put out new rules frowning on the practice of blessing submarines, missiles and weapons of mass destruction. The Orthodox Church and the Russian Ministry of Defense have had close ties in the past and one of the largest churches in the country is located on a military theme park near Moscow.

Chinese Communists Ban Christian Funerals
In some portions of China, Christian funerals are now banned, and restrictions have been imposed such as priests being prohibited from attending funerals in homes or non-dedicated Christian facilities. Penalties include revoking church or priest authorization.