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Cultural Commentary

Is it true that 'America's future belongs to Islam'?

American Muslim girl with US flag painted on her face (Credit: Mangagirl3535 via DeviantArt)Are you surprised to learn that Hinduism is the second-largest religion in Arizona?  Or that Islam is the second-largest religion in Mississippi?  Or that Baha'i is the second-largest religion in South Carolina?

However, these stats can be misleading.  While Arizona is home to 32,887 Hindus, they are vastly outnumbered by the state's 2,291,026 Christians.  Muslims comprise 0.17 percent of the population in Mississippi, while Christians make up 57 percent.  Baha'i comprise 0.49 percent of South Carolina's population, while Christians make up 56 percent.

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Does social media cause infidelity?

Adultery concept - a young man with his arm around one woman while holding hands with another woman, all walking down a brick path (Credit: Michael Jung via Fotolia) Technologists predict that we'll soon be wearing cell phones as bracelets.  We'll exercise on treadmills that power our washing machines.  Drones will deliver packages to our doors.  Invisible keyboards will allow us to type anywhere.  And personal helicopters will let us commute to work through the air and land on the office roof.  

Much of the technology of today and tomorrow is good news.  But some is not.  Consider the growing epidemic of infidelity related to social media, especially Facebook.  If you check Facebook once an hour, a University of Missouri researcher says you're likely to experience "negative relationship outcomes such as cheating, breakup and divorce."  The problem is not that Facebook makes people cheat.  Rather, it expands the range of options for them to do what they already wanted to do.

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Will China be world's largest Christian nation by 2025?

Church members pray in a private room in Jiu'en Tang, a Christian church, in the Shuitou township in Wenzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province, July 16, 2014 (Credit: AP/Didi Tang) Fenggang Yang is a sociology professor at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival Under Communist Rule.  He believes that "China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon."  By his calculations, the number of believers in the People's Republic of China will rise to 160 million by 2025 and 247 million by 2030.  If so, the country would be home to more Christians than any nation on earth.

When I visited Beijing a few years ago, I was told that the rate of Christian growth is even higher than Professor Yang documents.  By some measures, as many as 100,000 Chinese people come to Christ every day.  Growth there is hard to document, given the large underground Christian movement in the country.  Some observers believe that there are more followers of Jesus in China than members of the Chinese Communist party.

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The amendment that changed the world

A year after women won full voting rights, these women joined in the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Fifth Avenue on March 27, 1921 (Credit: New York Times/Paul Thompson via commons.wikimedia.org) On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment took effect in the United States.  The amendment was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, and submitted to the states for ratification.  On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, creating the two-thirds majority needed.  Eight days later it went into effect.

Its text is simple: "The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.  Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."  However, the process that led to its adoption was both complex and inspiring.

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Topless dancers picket a church: 3 thoughts

Jesus Said Love volunteers pose for a photo with care packages for dancers outside a San Antonio night club (Credit: Jesus Said Love via Instagram) In the 14 years I've been writing the Cultural Commentary, I've never seen a story like this one: strippers and church members are picketing each other.

New Beginnings Ministries in Warsaw, Ohio has been campaigning against the Foxhole North gentleman's club for nearly a decade, picketing on weekends and taking photos of guests' license plates.  According to the pastor, "I take very seriously the responsibility as a pastor to see to it that the gospel of Christ is lifted up, that Christ himself is lifted up, and that evil is confronted."

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