A number of Protestant churches in Austria have slammed a right-wing politician for using God's name in a campaign slogan, arguing that God shouldn't be used as a means to attack other people and cultures.
"God cannot be manipulated for personal intentions or political purposes," declared the joint statement of Protestant leaders as read by Bishop Michael Buenker.
"We consider that mentioning God for one's own political interests and using Him along with reference to the Christian West to indirectly attack other religions and cultures amounts to an abuse of His name and of religion in general," the statement continued, according to BBC News. more >>
The Christian owners of an Irish bakery who were found guilty of discrimination and fined £500 last year over their refusal to bake a pro-gay marriage cake because it would have violated their religious beliefs lost their appeal on Monday.
A three-judge appeals court in Belfast upheld a lower court's ruling that Daniel and Amy McArthur, the owners of Ashers Bakery in Belfast, were guilty of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and asserted that despite the family's religious beliefs, businesses are not allowed to refuse services that they willingly offer to the public when certain messages contradict with their deeply-held convictions.
"Thus the supplier may provide the particular service to all or to none but not to a selection of customers based on prohibited grounds. In the present case the appellants might elect not to provide a service that involves any religious or political message," the court wrote in its ruling. "What they may not do is provide a service that only reflects their own political or religious message in relation to sexual orientation." more >>
A county administration in south Sweden is considering giving state-financed driving licenses and housing grants to those Swedish Islamic State fighters who have returned to the country after fighting for the terror group in Iraq and Syria, saying it would help them reintegrate into society.
Around 140 Swedish nationals have been identified as having returned to their home country after fighting for Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, according to the U.K.'s Daily Express newspaper.
The returnees are from various counties and many of these counties have debated giving incentives to them for their reintegration, but Lund County wants to implement the idea. more >>
Sweden, sometimes referred to as the "least religious nation in the western world," is opening up its first ever atheist cemetery, which is devoid of any and all religious symbols.
The Local reported on Wednesday that the graveyard is opening in Borlänge in central Sweden, and was prompted by the idea of local teacher Josef Erdem.
"There's a place on this earth for everybody and we shouldn't be limited in how we choose to live or how we choose to be buried," Erdem said. more >>
Persecution watchdog group Open Doors has found that at least 743 Christian refugees living in camps in Germany were attacked by Muslim refugees in 2016, pointing to big failures on the part of German authorities when it comes to understanding the role of religion in the lives of refugees.
"The documented cases confirm that the situation of Christian refugees in German refugee shelters is still unbearable. As a minority they are discriminated against, beaten up by and receive death threats from Muslim refugees and partly by the Muslim staff (securities, interpreters, volunteers) on grounds of their religion," found a major survey published by Open Doors Germany earlier in October, representing a number of organizations, such as Persecuted Christians and the Needy, European Mission Society Fellowship, and the Central Council of Oriental Christians in Germany.
"Taking these new cases into consideration there are now 743 Christian refugees who have reported religiously motivated attacks. With more staff at hand, a significantly higher number of cases could have been included in the survey," it added. more >>
A senior Roman Catholic exorcist has said the ritual of ridding people of demonic possession is sometimes too scary for young priests, and remarked that the atrocities carried out by the Islamic State terror group serve as proof that the devil is real.
Father Vincenzo Taraborelli, a 79-year-old priest from Rome who has been performing exorcisms for the past 27 years, told BBC News that he knows there are those who do not believe in evil spirits, but one only needs to look at the state of the world today to become a believer.
"Well, someone who isn't a believer doesn't believe in the devil either," Taraborelli said. "But someone who believes knows that the devil exists, you can read it in the Gospel. Then you only need to see how the world is nowadays. It has never been this bad. These violent acts are not human. So terrible, like IS." more >>