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Axing Satan, Hobby Lobby's Latest Legal Battle and a Rapper's Conversion to Christianity: The Biggest Faith and Culture Stories of the Week


"I got saved … me and my wife."

We're back with this week's recap of the biggest stories in faith and culture. Here are the headlines and articles you won't want to miss:

Let's begin with the Church of England, which decided in an historic vote last week to allow women to serve as bishops. The decision “overturns centuries of tradition,” according to the BBC.

And that’s not the only controversy brewing, as the Church of England also voted to ax the devil from its baptismal rite — and some priests and critics aren’t too happy about it.

On the Catholic front, you might have heard about the pope’s alleged comments that celibacy for priests is a “problem” and that pedophilia is a “leprosy in our house.” Well, don’t be so quick to hold him to those quotes. Read why the report might not be entirely accurate.

Faithful reach out to touch Pope Francis' hand as he arrives to give a mass in Campobasso, Italy, Saturday, July 5, 2014. Pope Francis is on a one day trip to the southern Italian region of Molise. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

In the entertainment world, famed rapper Ja Rule did an interview with Power 105’s “The Breakfast Club,” a NYC radio broadcast, discussing his conversion to Christianity.

“I got saved … me and my wife,” Ja Rule said. “We went up on stage, we got saved and it just gave me a good feeling.”

And actress Emma Stone discussed her belief in the supernatural on the “Late Show with David Letterman” — claiming her deceased grandfather regularly leaves something behind for her family members.

On the First Amendment front, take a look at the way Massachusetts city officials responded to controversy surrounding a nearby Christian college’s stance against homosexuality. Could it pave the way toward towns and cities shunning other universities that embrace a biblical worldview?

When you’re done with that story, read about this odd legal battle involving a transgender student who lost most of her lawsuit against a Christian college that expelled her after her true biological identity was revealed on an MTV reality show.

And Hobby Lobby isn’t out of the spotlight yet. Read about the legal battle going on between the company and a longtime transgender employee who is claiming discrimination for something totally unrelated to the recent Supreme Court case.

Also, find out why the public school Bible curriculum spearheaded by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green won’t be launching as soon as it was supposed to.

Customers walk to a Hobby Lobby store in Oklahoma City, Monday, June 30, 2014. The Supreme Court ruled Monday that employers can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women. The Hobby Lobby chain of arts-and-crafts stores is by far the largest employer of any company that has gone to court to fight the birth control provision. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

And it was a big week for the First Amendment, with numerous clashes and debates over the separation of church and state. First, read about this North Carolina veteran’s battle to have religious symbols removed from a local war memorial.

“I am reluctantly bringing this case so that the courts will require the City of King to respect the religious freedoms that I fought for,” he has said of the legal battle.

Plus, if you followed the Greece vs. Galloway Supreme Court case that validated prayer at government meetings, you’ll want to check out this atheist’s public “prayer” — part of a larger response by some atheists to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow invocations at council meetings.

And Live Action, a pro-life group, has released the second video in a series that reveals Planned Parenthood staffers giving undercover investigators posing as teenagers advice about sex shops, pornography and BDSM.

“I think it would be helpful if you guys read the book [“Fifty Shades of Grey”], to be honest — or even did some Internet research on it and, um, kind of went through the different things that are in there,” a counselor says in the latest video.

Image source: Live Action Image source: Live Action

On the international front, as violence rages in the Israel-Hamas conflict, one Muslim man has generously chosen to open up his home as a place where Jews can find respite from the threat of Hamas rockets.

Before you go, take a look at this pastor's tough words about the negative effects of evangelical Christianity being too closely associated with politics.

And be sure to read about the phrase that some pastors think their fellow preachers must stop using at the pulpit.

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