Religious News From Around the Web July 26, 2021
- By WRN Editorial Staff --
- 26 Jul 2021 --
Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha; Muslims and Hindus celebrate Eid and Diwali together, Assessing Religious Freedoms via the Smith and Sherbert Tests; China’s Xi Visits Tibet; Qualified Immunity Won’t Protect College Administrators who Discriminate Against Religion; Chinese Authorities Raid Zoom Church Service
Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha
Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Adha religious holiday, which, in Arabic, means the “festival of the sacrifice” and marks the end of Hajj, the five-day pilgrimage Muslims undertake to cleanse the soul of sins and instill a sense of equality and brotherhood. Eid al-Adha commemorates the story of the Muslim Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith when he was commanded by God to sacrifice his son, Ismail. The belief holds that God stayed his hand, sparing the boy and placing a ram in his place.
Muslims and Hindus celebrate Eid and Diwali together
Hindus and Muslims celebrated Eid together in the Taj Mahal recently. Joint celebrations of Eid and Diwali are done to help “revive the idea of India and rebuild the broken bridges between both communities” through these small steps.
Assessing Religious Freedoms via the Smith and Sherbert Tests
When religious freedoms are at stake in court, which test is applied can mean the difference between winning and losing. The Smith test would allow restrictions on religious practice as long as it is applied equally to all. But San Francisco at one time proposed a law against circumcision which would prohibit the Jewish practice, and prohibition would have barred sacramental wine if not for a religious exception made at the time. The Sherbert Test sets a higher bar for restricting religious practice and says that the government must have a “compelling state interest” to restrict religious exercise and must pursue that interest by the “least restrictive means.” Which test will be applied to religious practice may be decided in the U.S. Supreme Court.
China’s Xi Visits Tibet
China has in recent years stepped up controls over Buddhist monasteries and expanded education in the Chinese rather than Tibetan language. Critics of such policies are routinely detained and can receive long prison terms, especially if they have been convicted of association with the 86-year-old Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since fleeing Tibet during an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. China doesn’t recognize the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile based in India, and accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to separate Tibet from China.
Qualified Immunity Won’t Protect College Administrators who Discriminate Against Religion
A federal court of appeals this month agreed with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, that University of Iowa officials “turned a blind eye to decades of First Amendment jurisprudence” by punishing Christian, Muslim, and Sikh groups for the crime of asking their leaders to agree with their faith.
Chinese Authorities Raid Zoom Church Service
Police officers and Chinese Communist Party officials raided a church in Guangdong Province, while its pastor and elder were leading an online worship service on Zoom, forcing the two to stop preaching. Open Doors USA estimates that there are about 97 million Christians in China, a large percentage of whom worship in what China considers to be “illegal” and unregistered underground house churches.