In today’s News:
Fire rages near Concordia University — Irvine
The Silverado Fire in Southern California is burning near Concordia University — Irvine, which houses the headqurters of the Pacific Southwest District of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod. However, District President the Rev. Dr. Michael Gibson says so far, the campus is safe. Although the fire is some distance away, heavy smoke blankets the area. There are about 600 students still in residence. Gibson asks Lutherans to continue praying, especially for the winds to calm, which are fanning the flames. So far, no structures have been lost, but two firefighters were critically burned.
Interference in Christian worship worsens in China
Pastors in China report that they’ve been forced to integrate President Xi Jinping’s words into the Biblical account of Jesus feeding the five thousand as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) increasingly pressures church leaders to infuse their sermons with political ideology. According to the Italian-based magazine Bitter Winter, the CCP has continued to use the novel coronavirus pandemic to further control and politicize religions. In September, the two Chinese Christian Councils of Quanzhou, a prefecture-level city in Fujian’s southeastern province, demanded all three-self churches integrate Xi’s ideas on curbing food waste into their sermons, so that “the policy reaches everyone in society.” To implement the order, some pastors integrated the leader’s words into the Biblical story about Jesus feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. In the spring, officials also ordered the pastor of a church in Zhengzhou, a county-level city in the eastern province of Zhejiang, to preach to the congregation that Americans brought covid-19 to china.
An abortion case goes before the Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to consider a major abortion case out of Mississippi on Friday, just days after the Senate confirmed pro-life Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, challenges a state law that prohibits abortions on unborn babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy. A federal judge struck down the Mississippi law in 2018, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling in 2019; but the state appealed to the Supreme Court. On Friday, the justices’ schedule includes time to debate whether they will hear the state’s appeal, CNN reports. The case is significant, not only because of Barrett, but also because “it is widely considered to be a direct challenge to the precedent outlined in the supreme Court’s landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.”