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Back to the Bible?

RELIGION | German youth show interest in Scripture and church

Guido Kirchner / Picture-Alliance / dpa / AP

Back to the Bible?
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The “nones” are on the rise in Germany, with up to 2 out of 5 Germans declaring no religious affiliation. But despite that bleak outlook, there’s evidence young Germans are heading back to the pews.

Gen Z Germans, defined as those aged 18-29, are something of an anomaly. According to a recent survey produced by Insa-Consulere, an Erfurt-based research firm, 11 percent of German adults under 30 read the Bible daily. By comparison, less than 2 percent of all Germans read the Bible that frequently. The University of Leipzig found that in 2022, only half of Germans even owned a Bible.

Another study from Insa-Consulere discovered that while about 48 percent of the general population believes in God, well over half of Gen Z Germans believe in God. Gen Z Germans are also more likely to attend church than their grandparents. But it’s unclear if their renewed zeal will be enough to reverse trends: The Evangelical Church in Germany feder­ation lost nearly 7 million members between 2003 and 2022. And in 2022 alone, over half a million Germans left the Roman Catholic Church. (Germany had 21 ­million Catholics at the time.)

If those declines continue, researchers estimate some 40,000 German rectories and places of worship will be abandoned by 2060.

Alive on appeal

Five healthcare workers suing their former employer over a vaccine mandate may still have grounds to plead religious discrimination thanks to an appeals court ruling.

The five employees had asked the Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic for a religious exemption to its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in 2021, but Mayo granted only two of the requests. It ultimately fired the workers, two for declining to undergo COVID-19 testing and the other three for refusing the vaccines. The employees sued, but a federal judge threw out their lawsuits in 2023, saying their vaccine refusal didn’t have a conclusive religious link.

On May 24, three judges for the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling, allowing the litigation to continue. “The district court erred by emphasizing that many Christians elect to receive the vaccine,” U.S. Circuit Judge Duane Benton wrote. “Beliefs do not have to be uniform across all members of a religion or acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others.” —B.M.

Statue of Baphomet

Statue of Baphomet State Representative Jon Dunwell

Idol smasher takes a plea deal

The Mississippi man who dismantled a Satanic Temple display in Iowa accepted a plea deal to avoid a hate crime charge on May 24. Last December, Michael Cassidy destroyed a statue of Baphomet set up by the Satanic Temple of Iowa inside the Iowa State Capitol. Ahead of the June 3 trial date, Cassidy’s attorney arranged for a plea deal in exchange for a third-degree criminal mischief count. Cassidy could face two years’ probation, almost $900 in penalties, and a possible victim-offender dialogue with members of the Satanic Temple. —B.M.

Bekah McCallum

Bekah is a reviewer, reporter, and editorial assistant at WORLD. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Anderson University.


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