Religious News From Around the Web July 27, 2020

Biden Would Revoke Muslim Ban, Virtual Chaplains Help Oncology Patients, Dangerous Shinto Celebrations, Jewish History in Europe, Latest Supreme Court Ruling Goes Against Church, Religious moderates shrinking, Churches might offer remote learning Resources

If Elected, Biden Would Revoke Muslim Ban

Bishop Says It’s Wrong to Award Vice President Biden Because He’s Pro-Choice
Marc Nozell is licensed under CC BY 2.0
President Trump’s Executive Order banning travel from predominantly Muslim countries was sustained by the U.S. Supreme Court in June of 2018, after more than a year of legal battles, challenges and lawsuits. Today the ban restricts visitors from 13 countries and was instituted to stop terrorists from entering the country, according to the Trump Administration. The ban has been highly controversial, and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would revoke the ban “on day one” if he were elected.

Virtual Chaplains Prove Effective, Spiritual
A Great New Year for YouVersion -1 Million New Bible Reading Plan Subscribers on New Year’s DayA study of oncology patients served by online or telephone chaplains concluded that: “Telephone-based chaplaincy is feasible and acceptable within an outpatient oncology setting, supporting the promise of this interventional strategy.” This may provide hope for those who have been forced by the pandemic to provide religious services via the Internet. Almost 100 percent of cancer patients said they felt the telephone chaplaincy services were very satisfactory in providing help and comfort.

Dangerous Japanese Shinto Celebrations
JAPAN-CULTURE-PURIFICATION ShintoThree lesser-known Shinto festivals – the Log-Riding Festival, the Stick-Beating Festival, and the Dosojin Fire Festival – are intense and somewhat dangerous. The log-riding festival occurs every seven years, and men ride logs as they are pulled through the streets. The Stick-Beating Festival occurs every February and the outcome predicts the rice harvest. It looks like a battle with 20 foot long bamboo poles. These festivals are sacred rituals and have been going on for many hundreds of years.

Jews in Europe Before and After WWII
The Jewish Holidays Shemini Atzeret and Simchat TorahThe Jewish people have lived in Europe for about 2,000 years, and an estimated 9.5 million Jews lived in Europe before WWII. Today, there are only 1.3 million, the result of Nazi extermination camps and forced migration. But what is the future of Europe’s Jews? Under continued anti-antisemitism, many more Jews move to Israel, and if continued, many of Europe’s Jewish communities will not survive.

Supreme Court Rules Against Church
U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant an injunction pending appeal to a Nevada church that is challenging Gov. Steve Sisolak’s order limiting worship services to no more than 50 people with social distancing. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, and was joined by Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh, citing violations of free speech and free exercise.

People Increasingly Hot or Cold on Religion
Thailand’s Religions United In Prayer To Rescue Boys Trapped In Flooded CaveHow important are God and prayer in people’s lives? Pew Research Center posed these questions to 38,426 people in 34 countries in 2019 and discovered that religion, like politics are becoming more polarized. A median of 45 percent say it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values, and those who say God and prayer is “very important” or “not important” are growing, moderate positions are shrinking.

Churches Might Offer Remote Learning Education Resources
While educators decide between virtual learning and in-class schooling this fall, churches might be stepping into the arena, offering space for virtual classes. St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church is one of several churches in Winston-Salem, N.C., hoping to host remote-learning sites for small groups of kids. As many as 30 students could gather daily and church volunteers would enforce health protocols, tutor and lead prayers.