Evangelical school strikes deal with Chick-fil-A franchises
An evangelical school in Georgia has seen a dramatic increase in online enrollment thanks to a cooperative agreement with Chick-fil-A franchises. Quick chicken restaurant owners pay a set fee that allows all of their employees to attend online classes for college credit at Point University. Chick-fil-A then uses this as an incentive to recruit and retain workers. Chick-fil-A CEO Andrew Cathy is on Point’s board of directors, but the arrangement is not reached with the company. The program is also extended to other companies. When the program launched this fall, Point’s online enrollment grew from about 500 to more than 1,200. Sixty-five percent of evangelical colleges have seen enrollment numbers drop since 2014.
US: religious objectors to COVID-19 vaccine get $10 million
An Illinois health system is settling a lawsuit with employees who were denied religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccines. More than 500 employees requested religious exemptions, but were told that NorthShore University HealthSystem had not granted them, according to a university policy. Nearly 300 resigned or were fired. If the terms of the $10.3 million settlement are approved by a federal court, those who complied with the vaccination requirement to keep their jobs will receive about $3,000 each, while those who lost their job will receive approximately $25,000. This is the first class action settlement for healthcare workers alleging discrimination in COVID-19 warrants.
Image: Infographic by CT
Chile: Issues raised with draft constitution
A group of evangelical leaders and pastors have opposed the proposal for a new constitution in Chile. They say it includes “extreme ideology” and increases division by recognizing 11 different groups without recognizing evangelicals. The new constitution would guarantee seats in parliament to LGBT people, secure land for indigenous peoples and grant rights to sentient animals. It would also restrict religious freedom and eliminate parental rights over child rearing. If ratified, the constitution will replace the charter established by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
European Union: Catholics defend religious freedom
The European Union (EU) has a new special envoy on freedom of religion or belief. Mario Mauro, a Roman Catholic, previously worked as a history teacher and representative in the European Parliament, where he made a name for himself defending religious freedom. Human rights groups and the European Evangelical Alliance have argued that the EU does not pay enough attention to religious freedom.
United Kingdom: a statue in honor of Baptist who resisted colonial racism
A statue of Malawian anti-colonial leader and Baptist minister John Chilembwe will stand in Trafalgar Square, London, for two years. The artwork recreates a photo from 1914 where Chilembwe did not remove his hat in front of a white missionary, breaking British law. Chilembwe died the following year leading the first pan-African uprising that united people across tribal lines. Chilembwe was educated at a Baptist seminary in the United States and was inspired by egalitarian Baptist theology.
Sudan: Repeal of Apostasy Law Implemented in Darfur
Four Christians have been arrested for apostasy in the Darfur region, even though the law criminalizing apostasy was repealed in 2020. All four men converted from Islam and held religious services. The police seized their Bibles and speakers and, after releasing them from jail, ordered the believers to leave the area. The Islamist dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir ended in 2019 and the transitional government has implemented some religious reforms, including the end of the death penalty for conversion. But Christians fear that some officials are trying to reinstate oppressive religious laws. Christians represent about 4.5% of the Sudanese population.
India: a stolen Bible found in London
Police have traced the first Tamil-language Bible, stolen by foreign visitors in 2005, to the King George III Museum in London. They have reported the theft of cultural heritage to the UN and hope that the scripture will soon be returned to them. The Bible was translated and printed by Danish missionary Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg in the 1710s and then given to Tulaji Rajah Serfoji, ruler of Tanjavur. The state police’s “Idol Wing” took over the investigation in 2020 and located the 250-year-old scriptures by searching the internet for museums with Ziegenbalg’s name in their holdings.
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