China Escalates Religious Repression, Stalin’s Attacks on Religion, Church Members Make Sleeping Mats from Plastic Bags, Baptist Joint Committee Tackles Threats to Religious Liberty, Ancient Vikings Sought to Avert Ragnarök, Finns: Bible is Hate Speech

China Escalates Religious Repression
China Restricting Religious Internet ActivityChina’s communist authorities have stepped up their crackdown on Christianity by removing Bible apps and Christian WeChat public accounts as new restrictions went into effect May 2nd. Bibles in hard copy are no longer available for sale online, according to the International Christian Concern and state-sanctioned churches have increasingly been selling books that promote President Xi Jinping’s thoughts and communist ideology.

Stalin’s Attacks on Religion
russia-1402112_640Joseph Stalin tried to enforce militant atheism. The new “socialist man,” Stalin argued, was an atheist one, free of the religious chains that had helped to bind him to class oppression. From 1928 until World War II, when some restrictions were relaxed, Stalin shuttered churches, synagogues and mosques and ordered the killing and imprisonment of thousands of religious leaders in an effort to eliminate even the concept of God.

Church Members Make Sleeping Mats from Plastic Bags
homelessMembers of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Nassau Bay, Texas, crochet plastic bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. The project helps the homeless, diverts plastic bags from landfills and provides service to the community. Each mat uses 750 crocheted plastic bags, measures three feet by six feet, and contains a verse from Proverbs 3:24 – “When you lie down you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet.”

Baptist Joint Committee Tackles Threats to Religious Liberty
The Baptist Joint Committee (BJP) is a faith-based religious freedom organization that brings people together to tackle today’s serious threats to religious liberty. Here’s a BJP update on state religious liberty measures: U.S. House passes NO BAN Act, Texas will allow spiritual/religious advisors in the execution chamber, and more.

Ancient Vikings Sought to Avert Ragnarök
What is the religion background to thor ragnarokThose acquainted with the Norse Gods Thor and Odin through the Marvel movies, may be fascinated to learn of a cave in Iceland where 1,000 years ago Vikings sacrificed animals to avoid Ragnarök, their version of the apocalypse.

Finns: Bible is Hate Speech
Baptist College Expels Trans Student Hours after SurgeryPäivi Maria Räsänen, a Christian member of the Finnish Parliament tweeted Christian messages on marriage and sexuality and as a result, the government has charged her with “hate speech.” “I do not consider myself guilty,” she said. “These are all based on the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexuality”. The politician will have to defend herself in courts for social media posts in which she quoted Roman 1:24-27 to criticize the participation of the Finnish Lutheran Church in LGBT Pride festivals.