Major Publishers and Religious Charities Share Concern Over Possible Bible Shortage in the US

According to a report from The Associated Press, US President Donald Trump’s trade war with China could result in a “Bible tax” and a shortage of Bibles, the US’ biggest Christian publisher and Bible charities are warning. They say that most of the US’ Bibles are made in China, where specific technology is in place, and Trump going ahead with new tariffs on Chinese goods could drive up the price for consumers, potentially slowing production. Although Trump struck a temporary truce with China at the G20 summit in June so that negotiations on the countries’ trade can continue, Bible publishers and organizations are concerned that if Trump ends the truce and goes ahead with new tariffs, it could harm their Bible production and drive up costs for consumers.

Geof Morin, President and CEO of Bible publishing charity Biblica, told the Associated Press he had warned the US Trade Representative that a tariff on Bibles would “dramatically affect the number of Bibles we are able to print and give away.” This in turn, Morin said, would “impact the religious freedom of individuals in countries where Bible access is limited and often nonexistent.”

Read the full article in Business Insider HERE.

10 Persecuted Christians Chosen by the State Department to Share Their Stories with the World

At this week’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, billed as the largest human rights event the US State Department has ever held, 23 people were invited to share their or their loved ones’ stories of religious persecution. 10 of the testimonies were from Christians from regions as far-flung and diverse as Turkey, North Korea, Malaysia, and Eritrea.

Here their stories as well as 13 other accounts from non-Christian survivors in Christianity Today HERE.

Michael W. Smith, Kevin Jonas Launch Liberty University Music Label

Grammy Award-winning artist Michael W. Smith hopes to share the secrets of his success with students at Liberty University this coming fall. He’ll be joined by Kevin Jonas, the father and original manager of the Jonas Brothers, the megapopular sibling rock trio. Both will play key roles at the new Michael W. Smith Center for Commercial Music, which opens August 1 at Liberty, in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Smith will direct the center. Jonas’ role is still being defined but will involve working with Liberty students to record and promote their work and connecting with mainstream artists interested in signing with the new music label it plans to launch alongside the center.

“Our mission for the university is training and equipping champions for Christ,” Vernon M. Whaley, dean of the School of Music, told Religion News Service. “What I tell my students is it doesn’t matter what kind of music you’re going to go into, God’s called you to take worship to the nations.” Liberty’s School of Music was founded in 2005 as the influential evangelical college’s worship music education wing, but Whaley explained that this new venture will focus more on mainstream music.

Read the full story in Christianity Today HERE.

ICE Enforcing Executive Order to Fine Immigrants Taking Refuge in Sanctuary Churches

For decades, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has had the authority to fine undocumented persons in the United States, but has generally avoided using this power until last December, on the heels of an executive order from President Trump that called for fining individuals who do not abide by deportation orders, as well as those who “facilitate their presence.”

The language of the executive order is intended to call out sanctuary churches, or houses of worship that provide refuge to undocumented immigrants. Although there is no explicit law forbidding ICE from arresting immigrants in these churches, the tradition of respecting asylum claimed in houses of worship goes back several millennia. Though many ICE agents are still abiding by this unwritten rule, now there are reports of fines being issued – up to $799/day in some cases – to immigrants who refuse to leave the country.

Although it is difficult to determine how many immigrants are currently seeking refuge in sanctuary churches, Church World Services, an organization that works to connect people in need of sanctuary with the churches offering it, claims to be aware of at least 44 people currently living in these facilities, and that number is expected to grow.

Read the full story in Relevant Magazine HERE.

Baylor University Celebrates Successful Year of Giving, Including $100 Million Gift

During its regular July retreat and summer meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents celebrated the largest annual fundraising year in the University’s 174-year history, as members of the Baylor Family made $243 million in gifts and pledges during the 2018-19 fiscal year.

This marks the eighth consecutive year the University has surpassed the $100 million benchmark in fundraising, with this year’s total including the largest current gift in Baylor history – an anonymous $100 million gift that supports growth of endowed chairs and professorships through an Academic Challenge and provides the lead gift for a new Baylor Basketball Pavilion.

“We are profoundly grateful to the many members of the Baylor Family who have come alongside the University as part of our fundraising efforts. This is an important moment in Baylor’s history as we make strategic investments throughout our academic enterprise and across the campus, and everyone is serving an important role as we shape our future,” said President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Every gift moves us forward in our progress toward growth as a preeminent Christian research university.”

Read the full article HERE.

5 Faith Facts About the Moon Landing

Where humans go, faith seems to follow. It’s no less true of NASA’s first manned mission to land on the moon, when astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins made their way farther into the heavens than anyone had gone before.

But did you know that Aldrin took Communion aboard the Eagle lunar lander? Religion News Service offers this and 4 other “faith facts” about the historic Apollo 11 mission to the moon, which half a century later still inspires awe and wonder in people of all faiths.

Read details about each faith fact HERE.

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