Why China's moral minority is good news
When the Pew Research Center asked people worldwide whether it is necessary to believe in God in order to be a moral person, China ranked the lowest of 40 nations: only 14 percent agreed. Stark, but not surprising at first glance, given 65 years of atheist Communist Party rule. But Beijing-based, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Ian Johnson noted that the survey question "used a term for 'God' [shangdi] that is applicable in modern China almost only to Protestant Christianity." In other words, the number of Chinese in agreement was "actually astonishingly high"—another sign that China, currently estimated to have 60 to 100 million Christians (4 to 7 percent of its population) may soon become the country with the largest number of Christians.
Days after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 that the New York City School Board can ban churches from worshiping in public schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would change the city's policy. "I believe a faith-based organization has a right like anyone else . . . to use that space," he told The Wall Street Journal. The court weighed whether the city could bar churches from renting school space on Sundays under the First Amendment's free exercise clause, not whether it had to do so under the establishment clause. But it warned that worship services give the "appearance of endorsement" and expose the school board to "substantial risk of liability." About 30 churches still meet in the schools, down from about 100 in previous years.
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