12 million viewers recently watched "The Voice" contestant Jordan Smith perform one of the most popular hymns in the Christian faith, "Great is Thy Faithfulness," according to Nielsen ratings. The unforgettable performance garnered the singer the top spot on iTunes, beating out some of today's most popular artists.
The Kentucky native, now one of the final contestants on the 9th season of "The Voice," decided to showcase a song that hits close to home. Smith is a senior at the Pentecostal college, Church of God's Lee University, where he is part of the music ensemble Lee Singers.
He has publicly credited his musical accomplishment to the training he received at Lee University. In addition to the Lee Singers, Smith was also director of Second Edition, a six-voice ensemble with band, and an active member of the worship team that leads campus chapel services. more >>
The advertisement titled "Just Pray," which features Christians reciting the Lord's Prayer, was banned by top British cinemas because of its religious theme.
"Just Pray," which shows Christians from different backgrounds reciting the Lord's Prayer, was targeted to be shown next month before "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" plays. But the Digital Cinema Media (DCM) agency rejected the 60-second ad because it could offend viewers with other religion, according to The Blaze.
DCM is the body responsible for booking advertisements for 80 percent of the cinemas in the United Kingdom. In a statement cited by BBC, the agency explained that they block all politically and religiously themed ads and "Just Pray" is no exception, CNN reports. more >>
Atheist professor and author Richard Dawkins has spoken out against the U.K.'s leading cinema chains refusing to screen a Church of England ad about the Lord's Prayer.
Dawkins said that there is nothing offensive about the 60-second ad, which promote the popular Christian prayer, and said that the fear that some might be offended should not have stopped cinema chains from accepting the ad.
The Guardian reported that Dawkins deleted an initial tweet on the issue after realizing it was a matter of commercial judgment rather than freedom of speech, as the U.K. government is not involved in the debate, but also clarified: more >>
The Church of England has warned of a "chilling" effect on free speech, after leading U.K. cinemas refused to show an ad for the Lord's Prayer, citing it could offend people of other faiths or no faith.
"This advert is about as offensive as a carol service or church service on Christmas Day," The Most Rev. Justin Welby said, according to BBC News.
"Let the public judge for themselves rather than be censored or dictated to," he added. more >>
A former Cuban prisoner of conscience who was imprisoned for opposing the Communist regime of Fidel Castro and used his own blood to write poetry throughout his 22-year detention will be honored as the 2016 recipient of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty's highest honor.
Armando Valladares, a former Cuban government worker who was arrested in 1960 for refusing to put a sign at his desk stating "I'm with Fidel," kept his faith in the Lord despite suffering from years of atrocious and torturous conditions during his detention.
Valladares, 78, who was released in 1982 thanks to the intercession of French President Francois Mitterand, suffered from relentless beatings, survived a number of hunger strikes that left him wheelchair-bound for years, spent eight years naked in solitary confinement in a mosquito-infested cell where guards often threw buckets of human waste on him. more >>
NFL tight end Benjamin Watson has a problem with Americans who chastise individuals for praying publicly, but take to social media to encourage prayer amid international disasters — and he's speaking up about it.
After at least 129 Parisians were killed in terrorist attacks on the French capital on Nov. 13, countless Americans took to various social media platforms to express their condolences with hashtags like "#prayforparis." However Watson, the 34-year-old New Orleans Saints TE, saw irony in the well-meaning gestures.