Below are links to five recent news stories relating to religion that are worth your time.
1. Cross Displayed on Public Land Violates the U.S. Constitution, Per Appeals Court
The federal appeals court that governs North Carolina and other Mid-Atlantic states ruled that a 40-foot, cross-shaped war memorial that has stood on public land for nearly a century is unconstitutional because it “excessively entangles” the government with religion.
2. Canadian Province Passes Law Aimed at Prohibiting Muslim Face Coverings
The Quebec government passed legislation forbidding anyone from receiving a public service with their face covered—even riding a bus. The law forbids giving a public service with a covered face, as well. Members of the Islamic community said it targets Muslim women and violates their fundamental right to express their religion as they see fit.
3. China Increases Its Restrictions on Religion
China has increased restrictions on religion, including enforcing laws against publicly sharing one’s faith, requiring registration of churches with the government, and confining most faith activities to the inside of registered church buildings. Pastors have been arrested for violations of the restrictions.
4. 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation Is This Month
This month marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, an event that tradition tells us began on Oct. 31, 1517, when Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
5. For First Time, Most Americas Say God is Not Necessary for Good
For the first time, a majority of Americans (56 percent) say it is possible to be a good person without religious belief, per polls of U.S. adults conducted this summer by the Pew Research Center. “God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality,” Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of research, said. “[T]he public’s increased rejection of the idea that belief in God is necessary for morality is due, in large part, to the spike in the share of Americans who are religious ‘nones.’”