1. This week, State Department official Scott Busby told senators that China has detained at least 800,000 Muslim minorities in internment camps. Since April 2017 the Chinese authorities have indefinitely detained at least 800,000 and possibly more than 2 million ethnic Khazakhs, and other members of Muslim minorities. Reports suggest that most are not being charged with crimes and their families have little to no information about their whereabouts.
Praying and other religious behavior is against the rules inside the camps. Detainees are told to become obedient members of the Chinese communist party and swear off Islam. Outside the camp, thousands of mosques have been destroyed and some have even been converted into communist propaganda centers. Other religious and spiritual groups are also under siege in China.
2. Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang stole $500,000 from a Catholic school where they worked so they could gamble in casinos. The nuns have been telling parents that the school was having budget concerns. The auditors have been able to trace in six year's of bank records and the nuns were involved in the personal use of a substantial amount of school funds. Both nuns had retired earlier this year and had expressed remorse. The church and the archdiocese are not pursuing criminal charges.
3. The latest version of "Smart Pakem", an app that allows Muslims in Jakarta, the capital of the largest Muslim country on earth, to report violations of Sharia law such as blasphemy and even heresy has been approved by the google Play Store. Using this app, the users can report people who practice unrecognized religions or unorthodox interpretations of Indonesia's six officially recognized faiths: Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Protestant Christianity, and Roman Catholic Christianity. The original version of the app came out on November 25. It was created by the Jakarta prosecutor's office which would help educate the public and modernize the reporting process. The app has a 1.2 out of 5 star rating.
4. A French teacher, Peter Vlaming, was fired because he refused to call a transgender freshman with the pronouns "he" and "him." He said that his Christian faith prohibited him from treating the student with respect and dignity. Vlaming was told by the superintendent to call the student by the right pronouns but he refused. The board of the school later released a statement in defense of their action saying that they do not tolerate discrimination in any form.
5. The star of the Golden State Warriors and a two-time MVP, Steph Curry, said on the "Winging It" podcast that he did not believe we ever landed on the moon. He asked, "We ever been to the moon?" The others, in unison, agreed that the answer was no. A NASA spokesman politely invited Curry to check out the Johnson Space Center the next time he is in Houston.
6. A fire early Friday destroyed a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Lacey, a suburb of Olympia. No one was injured in the blaze and no arrests have been made. Three other Kingdom Halls in Thurston were torched, and a fourth Kingdom Hall was hit by gunfire. The sheriff said local Jehovah's Witnesses are "terrified."
7. Florida Bishop Donald J. Sanborn wrote on his blog In Veritate that women who are sexually abused probably did much to cause the assault. He continues:
“The effect of all of this revolution in sexual mores, as well as the role of women, is that men and women have been thrown together into situations which are very dangerous. Women are daily interacting with men in the workplace. In many cases they are dressed in such a way as to be immodestly attractive to men. The inevitable result is that, unless the men in the office are very vigilant about the virtue of chastity and fidelity to their wives, some very bad things take place.”
8. Canadian Senate has voted to repeal the country's "blasphemous libel", as part of a bill intended to remove outdated legislation. Dating back to 1892 the crime of "blasphemous libel" was in principle punishable by a prison term up to two years under Section 296 of the Canadian Criminal Code. The law had historically been used to prosecute satire and criticism. Freethinking groups and humanist from across Canada ran a Parliamentary petition calling for the repeal of section 296 which gained 7400 signatures. It was confirmed that the blasphemy law was being considered as part of a broader effort of justice reform. The government then included the repeal of section 296 in a bill to modernize the criminal code. The act consolidates and repeals many provisions now considered archaic or unconstitutional which is known as Bill C-51. The bill reached the Senate in December 2017 and passed third reading with amendments on October 30, 2018. The House of Commons considered and rejected them until the Senate agreed it "does not insist on its Amendments". It now awaits Royal Assent by Governor General Julie Payette, at which point Canada's blasphemy law will be officially repealed.
9. A Satanic group in Michigan will erect a haloed goat head statue on the state capitol grounds just four days before Christians celebrate Christmas. Commissioned by the West Michigan Friends of the Satanic Temple, the "Star of Reconciliation" display will replace the "snaketivity" that has gone up in the past. The new statue is filled with rich Satanic symbolism. The display is set to rival a Christian one by State Sen. Rick Jones who promised he would erect a Nativity scene outside the Capitol.
10. John Dowling, a 66 years old English language teacher was stabbed 13 times outside Pôle Universitaire Léonard de Vinci in northwest Paris as he left for lunch. The Pakistani man who brutally stabbed him is a former student, Alli R. He confessed that he held a personal grudge against the Dublin-born lecturer after being kicked out for failing exams last year. CCTV footage shows Mr. Dowling chatting with Ali outside the institution at around noon before the attacker took out a steak knife and plunged it into his throat and chest. Ali claimed to the French police that the lecturer had made fun of Islam during English classes at the university. His claims are questionable at best and "nobody remembers such an incident" from the class. The Nanterre prosecutor, Catherine Denis said that they do not have proof of radicalisation but rather a feeling that they are dealing with someone who is very religious, very pious, very practicing.