WEEK IN RELIGION
A selfless pastor in the west African country of Sierra Leone decided to help his country when he decided to give a rare diamond to the government in hopes of helping to ease the country’s economic challenges. Pastor Emmanuel Momoh found the 706-carat diamond, estimated to be worth as much as $62 million, in a neighboring village. Momoh said he hoped the gift to the government would help improve the lives of all the citizens of Sierra Leone. “I believe the government can do more, especially at a time when the country is undergoing some economic challenges,” Momoh said. Along with economic challenges, Sierra Leone suffered from an Ebola outbreak in 2014 and citizens have been face with the problem of unsafe drinking water. Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma said the gift was extraordinary. “A gift from God, and it will be a terrible thing if anyone tries to do something criminal with it.”
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SURVEY SAYS
Transgenders more likely to attend church regularly
According to a new study, those who identify themselves as transgender are more likely to attend church regularly compared to homosexuals or heterosexuals. The study was conducted by Denison University’s Paul A. Djupe and was entitled “Cooperative Congressional Election Study.” Using the responses of 65,000 people with different sexual identities, Djupe found that almost half of transgender people who identify themselves as “evangelical” or “born again” are the most likely to attend religious services regularly. Djupe said that heterosexuals and homosexuals average attending church a few times a year, while transgenders attend once or twice a month.
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GOOD BOOK?
“The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us” by Bruce Feiler
In this fresh retelling of the story of Adam and Eve, New York Times columnist and PBS host Bruce Feiler travels from the Garden of Eden in Iraq to the Sistine Chapel in Rome, from John Milton’s London to Mae West’s Hollywood, discovering how Adam and Eve should be hailed as exemplars of a long-term, healthy, resilient relationship. At a time of discord and fear over the strength of our social fabric, Feiler shows how history’s first couple can again be role models for unity, forgiveness, and love. Containing all the humor, insight, and wisdom that have endeared Bruce Feiler to readers around the world, “The First Love Story” is an unforgettable journey that restores Adam and Eve to their rightful place as central figures in our culture’s imagination and reminds us that even our most familiar stories still have the ability to surprise, inspire, and guide us today.
— Penguin Press

THE WORD
ijtihad: Pronounced “IJ-tee-haad.” The process of reasoning and interpreting the Quran, hadith and other sacred texts to uncover God’s rulings.
— ReligionStylebook.com

RELIGION AROUND THE WORLD
According to the CIA World Factbook, the religious makeup of Vietnam is:
— Buddhist: 7.9 percent
— Catholic: 6.6 percent
— Hoa Hoa: 1.7 percent
— Cao Dai: 0.9 percent
— Protestant: 0.9 percent
— Muslim: 0.1 percent
— None: 81.8 percent
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