Religious News From Around the Web September 20, 2021

Religious Exemptions to Vaccine Mandates? Teaching Religion in Social Studies; India to Hold First Global Buddhist Conference in November; Five Lessons for Managing Congregations in a Virtual Age; Surprises in Pew Research Study on White Evangelicals

Religious Exemptions to Vaccine Mandates?
New York Ends Measles Religious Exemption VaccineYour freedoms may depend on a bureaucrat’s discretion to decide whether your religious beliefs are sincere. Someone may proclaim that beer is essential but Easter is not or that the Amish are not sincere in their beliefs. Ultimately, that does not bode well for Americans hoping to demonstrate a sincerely held religious objection to vaccination. So what are some of the legal issues on vaccine exemption?

Teaching Religion in Social Studies
School Pixabay ccDespite a 1963 Supreme Court ruling that argues, “[I]t might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religions or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization” the unique pedagogical and constitutional challenges of teaching about religion have left many educators, administrators, and district officials hesitant to include it in their curricula.

India to Hold First Global Buddhist Conference in November
buddha-pixabayThe Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) announced on Tuesday the first edition of the ‘Global Buddhist Conference’ and the first award in Buddhist Studies this November. The conference’s theme, is an effort to take forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision on India’s significance in giving the world Buddhism. In the run-up to the conference, four regional conferences will be held in India: as well as in Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Cambodia.

Five Lessons for Managing Congregations in a Virtual Age
Methodist Church will Meet to Decide on Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT OrdinationTurning toward a hybrid future, churches have focused much attention on digital worship. This author says it’s just as important to consider how to work with staff and volunteers. He names key issues for managing programs and ministries in an era when working from home and digital meetings are likely to remain part of congregational life.

Surprises in Pew Research Study on White Evangelicals

Majority of White Evangelicals View Racial Diversity and Immigration as a Threat to America
Will Keightley is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Contrary to what some may have expected, a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data finds that there has been no large-scale departure from evangelicalism among White Americans. In fact, there is solid evidence that White Americans who viewed Trump favorably and did not identify as evangelicals in 2016 were much more likely than White Trump skeptics to begin identifying as born-again or evangelical Protestants by 2020.