Friday, May 16, 2014

Interplanetary Religious Competition

Usually when we conceptualize religious competition, we think of local markets.  Denominations export missionaries to foreign markets to proselytize, for example.  This leads to competition in a local market, but two denominations competing in one local market may also compete with each other in a market in a different location.  An example might be Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses competing for converts in a town in Brazil and in a town in Cote d'Ivoire.

But can you imagine competing in different planets?  Why not?  Pope Francis has just stated that he would be willing to baptise aliens - even Martians.  He said: "who are we to close the doors."   See article here.  Actually, this is not the first time that baptizing extra-terrestrial beings has been mentioned by a Pope.  Pope Benedict XVI apparently once said that he would baptize an alien if the alien asked to be baptized.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

USCIRF 2014 Annual Report

The USCIRF just released the 2014 Annual Report on religious freedom around the world.  See the press release here. This issue includes a special 15th anniversary retrospective.