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Tattoo removal * Atheist Scripture * Hillsong’s Flourishing: Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup

A chaplain has started to remove some tattoos. Atheists are beginning to use the Bible app YouVersion. Hillsong, one of the world's most influential churches, marks 30 years.

A worship service at Hillsong Church noted its 30-year anniversary on Sunday (Oct. 27) at their main campus just outside of Sydney. RNS photo by Sarah Pulliam Bailey
A worship service at Hillsong Church noted its 30-year anniversary on Sunday (Oct. 27) at their main campus just outside of Sydney. RNS photo by Sarah Pulliam Bailey

A worship service at Hillsong Church noted its 30-year anniversary on Sunday (Oct. 27) at the main campus just outside of Sydney. RNS photo by Sarah Pulliam Bailey

The Illinois House has approved a bill to allow gay marriage, setting up the state to become the largest in the heartland to allow same-sex marriage.

Yesterday we saw Republican Chris Christie re-elected governor of New Jersey, Democrat Terry McAuliffe elected governor of Virginia, and Democrat Bill de Blasio elected mayor of New York City, among other races in the election.

An Iranian-American pastor being held in Iran has reportedly been transferred to a more dangerous prison where he faces life-threatening conditions. President Obama expressed his concern to the Iranian president over Saeed Abedini’s imprisonment in September.

I recently returned from Australia where I visited Hillsong, one of the most globally influential churches, which celebrated its 30-year anniversary on Sunday.

Meanwhile, atheists are using the popular YouVersion Bible app to evangelize about unbelief.

A sheriff’s chaplain in Texas has started to remove tattoos for ex-offenders to help give them a fresh start.

More politicians are fighting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as a bad economic move, not as a break with the Bible.

In February, Marvel Comics will begin a series whose lead character is a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City.

Planned Parenthood in Iowa may continue using its online system for dispensing abortion pills while the practice is debated in court, a judge ruled Tuesday.

James E. Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, is the nominee for General Secretary/President of the National Council of Churches. The NCC Governing Board meets on Nov. 18.

More than 5,000 people from the devout Chabad-Lubavitch movement — the vast majority of them rabbis — gathered in New York City for their annual conference, which ended on Nov. 3.

Cathy Grossman notes that Christian charities should get a boost from Christmas. Jews are stepping up for Hanukkah tzedakah. The Jewish Daily Forward has a special giving section.

A New Jersey school district has reversed course and retracted its ban on religious holiday songs at winter concerts.

TV personality Paula Abdul has moved a Bat Mitzvah ceremony that she planned to hold at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

Finally, congrats to our friend Peter Smith, leaving the Louisville Courier-Journal to cover religion for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.