Religious News From Around the Web October 25, 2021
Prayers Requested for Haiti Missionary Hostages; The Gulf Between “Free Exercise” and “Freedom of Worship”; LGBTQ Support of Utah Compromise; Afghan Sikhs Must Convert to Islam or Leave Country; Survey: Catholicism Growing Everywhere but Europe
Prayers Requested for Haiti Missionary Hostages
Sixteen Americans and one Canadian missionary from the Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) were kidnapped outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The ministry supplies Bibles, builds homes, and fights poverty around the globe. The kidnappers demanded $1 million in ransom for each missionary. CAM asked the public to pray for the seven women, five men, and five children who were kidnapped. The youngest is only 2-years-old. This year more than 360 people have been held for ransom in Haiti to fund criminal gang activities.
The Gulf Between “Free Exercise” and “Freedom of Worship”
Many on the political left have adopted the phrase “freedom of worship” while avoiding the phrase “free exercise of religion.” The “free exercise” wording comes from the opening line of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It may seem trivial, but there’s a big difference between freedom of worship and the free exercise of religion.
LGBTQ Support of Utah Compromise
Polling demonstrated that Utah, despite being a conservative state, has the second highest percentage of state population in support for non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. “In order to protect LGBTQ people, we don’t have to deny religious liberty, and in order to provide protections for religious liberties, we don’t have to deny LGBTQ people. The idea that we do is a fallacy that Utah has dismantled.”
Afghan Sikhs Must Convert to Islam or Leave Country
As the Taliban assume control in Afghanistan, Sikhs — a community that was already in a dire situation before the collapse of the government — practically have to make a choice between options of “converting to Sunni Islam or run away” from Afghanistan, said a report. The community, which once numbered in the tens of thousands, has been devastated by years of emigration and death, driven by both systemic discrimination and an uptick in religious violence in Afghanistan, said the International Forum For Rights and Security (IFFRAS).
Survey: Catholicism Growing Everywhere but Europe
The number of Catholics in the world grew by more than 15 million from 2018 to 2019, according to a census by the Vatican news agency Fides published on Oct. 21. “The increase applies to all continents, except Europe,” which saw the number of Catholic faithful decrease by almost 300,000, the survey found. According to the census, conducted annually among Catholic faithful, Catholics represented 17.7% of the global population in 2019.