By Christy Barritt
Developer Treats 50 Homeless to Elegant Dinner
An Ohio developer recently treated a group of 50 homeless people to a four-course meal.
Joel Testa did not want presents for his 42nd birthday. He only wanted his friends and family to donate money to help homeless citizens in his city. “Homelessness can happen to anyone,” he said.
Testa, a developer and co-owner of a four-star restaurant in Akron, then treated a large group of people without homes to spinach quiche salad, potato leek soup, braised beef short ribs, and chocolate mousse. They were able to get seconds and to take leftovers with them. Testa’s daughter and her Girl Scout troop knitted scarves for attendees.
Testa is in the process of battling the area’s homeless problem by developing a 60-unit apartment building for veterans, homeless, and disabled individuals. In Akron, there are nearly two times as many people without homes as there are shelter beds.
Missionary Arrested in North Korea
North Korea has arrested an Australian Christian missionary for handing out gospel tracts in the communist country.
John Short, 75, was arrested in February in the city of Pyongyang. In the past Short had been a missionary to Hong Kong, where he helped start a church and assisted Chinese refugees.
Short’s wife, Karen, said in an interview with an Australian news site that her husband knew the risks going into North Korea. He knew handing out religious materials would be considered illegal and that he could face consequences, but he believed God wanted him to go.
The Australian government is trying to help with the case, but Short could get up to 15 years in prison for violating North Korean laws.
Religion and Science Not at Odds?
According to Rice University sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund, religion and science only seem at odds because that’s the way the media portrays it.
Ecklund’s research results, which were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, revealed that evangelicals make up 17.1 percent of all scientists, while Christians overall make up 61 percent of the field.
Other information gathered from her research showed that 20 percent of the general public attends weekly religious services; 18 percent of scientists also said that they attend weekly religious services. Seventeen percent of the general public reads religious texts weekly, and 19 percent consider themselves religious. Of scientists, 13.5 percent were likely to dive into a religious text, and 15 percent called themselves religious.
However, 20 percent of the general population believes that religious people are hostile to science, and just over 20 percent also believes that scientists are hostile to religion.
U.S. Department of Defense Accommodates Religion
The U.S. Department of Defense approved a new policy that will accommodate “sincerely held religious beliefs” by allowing service members to grow beards, wear turbans, or seek prayer time as part of their religious expressions.
Waivers will be needed to engage in these activities and approval given on a case-by-case basis, defense officials said. Allowance will depend on where the service member is stationed and whether the change will affect military readiness or the mission.
This means that Jewish soldiers can seek waivers to wear yarmulkes or Sikhs could seek waivers for turbans and beards. Others can request to carry prayer beads or have specific hours of prayer.
According to Defense Department statistics, there are only three Sikh Americans in the military, 3,700 Muslims, 6,300 Buddhists, and 1,500 Wiccans.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.