Paul Diamond at Christian Institute: Over the past twenty years I have witnessed firsthand the steady assault on the rights of citizens in Britain to speak and act according to their conscience. During that time different parts of the British state, including our Parliament, publicly funded organizations, and the judiciary, have opposed and punished the expression of belief and conscience.
LifeSiteNews: The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has reported that a healthy 16-year-old Australian girl lost all ovarian function and went into menopause after being injected with the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil.
LifeNews: A member of the board of the Mater Hospital in Dublin says it will not comply with the new law the Irish Parliament approved allowing abortions in rare cases. Fr Kevin Doran told The Irish Times performing abortions would violate the “ethos” of the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital . . .
AP: The International Olympic Committee is waiting for the Russian government to clarify the anti-gay law that is overshadowing preparations for the Sochi Games.
AP: A court in the northeastern state of Pernambuco has ordered Brazil’s Army for the first time to recognize a same-sex civil union between a sergeant and his companion .
Forum 18: In Uzbekistan, Forum 18 News Service’s religious freedom survey notes that freedom of religion or belief and related human rights such as the freedoms of expression and of assembly remain highly restricted.
AP: Two of Germany’s biggest Internet service providers say they will encrypt customers’ emails by default following reports that the U.S. National Security Agency monitors international electronic communications.
Economist: But Mr Wang’s objections are not to the coercion; he opposes abortion itself. His stance would be familiar to Americans, but it is rare in China. Many Chinese oppose the family-planning policy, he says, but as to whether abortion is ethical or not, “most Chinese do not give it a thought”.
China Post: In what was hailed as a “benchmark” ruling, Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior on Wednesday decided that the marriage status of Abbygail Wu, 27, and her 29-year-old partner Jiyi Wu remained legal.
S. Michael Craven at Battle for Truth: While these latter measures are no doubt draconian, they nonetheless represent a growing realization within Russian society, namely: sexual anarchy has proven devastating to the future of their civilization. Following the collapse of communism, Russia’s fertility rate had fallen to a catastrophic low of 1.17 births to every woman of child-bearing age by 1999, far below the minimum replacement rate of 2.1 required to maintain population stability.
C-FAM: A researcher dedicated to bringing risky medical abortion to developing countries has set her sights on Bangladesh. Her new study demonstrates a plan to expand access to abortion pills by using misleading language and an unusual set of laws. The study proposes redefining “menstrual regulation” to include medical as well as surgical methods.
C-FAM: A USAID employee shut down a workshop on abortion complications just hours before doctors were to present at a medical conference in South Korea. Her associate then physically blocked TV cameras from interviewing the physicians.
Townhall: Arizona Senator John McCain is in Egypt with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham just weeks after the new government, run by the Muslim Brotherhood, was overthrown by the military.
Sam Nunberg at Washington Times: The Turkish criminal courts have increasingly been used to further Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist agenda through hate-speech prosecutions. The May 22 sentencing of Turkish-Armenian Sevan Nisanyan continues this disturbing trend of strangling political and social discourse.
AP: Assailants on the East African island of Zanzibar threw acid on two British women volunteering at a primary school on the Tanzanian island, police said Thursday.
LifeNews: Officials in India found straw dogs gnawking on the body of an abandoned newborn baby girl who was abandoned on the campus of a medical college.
Raymond Ibrahim at Middle East Forum: Days ago, al-Qaeda’s Egyptian leader, Ayman Zawahiri, portrayed the overthrow of Muhammad Morsi and the Brotherhood as a “Crusader” campaign led by Coptic Pope Tawadros II who, according to Zawahiri and other terrorists, is trying to create a Coptic state in Egypt. Since then, not only are Egypt’s Christians and churches now being attacked in ways unprecedented in the modern era . . .
Catholic Register: Despite the attacks on Christians by allies of Al-Qaida, the U.S. State Department has not taken strong measures in Nigeria.
The Christian Institute: Plans to appoint a state guardian for every child in Scotland have been branded “sinister” and may even be unlawful.
Asia Times: Throughout history there has not been one successful union between Islam and the Arab ruling classes – successful in the sense that it contributed to progress, rights, and prosperity for all. Islamists were either co-opted or conflict reigned. The atrociousness of the results of these conflicts varied depending on how clever Arab rulers were in their management.
Education News: More than a quarter (28%) of 1,000 UK parents questioned feared being judged by neighbours if they let their children play unsupervised outdoors. Almost a third (32%) believed allowing their children to play ball games or make noise outdoors would cause problems with other residents.
Breitbart: Two forensic surgeons in the Russian republic of Tatarstan have been questioned in connection with accusations they traded in human body parts, officials say.
Catholic Culture: Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has signed legislation that allows for the distribution of the “morning-after” pill through the national health system for use by rape victims.
Zenit: Francis commented on an obstacle to evangelization that comes from the idea that “proclaiming the truth of the Gospel means an assault on freedom.” Quoting Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi, he said: “It would be … an error to impose something on the consciences of our brethren. But to propose to their consciences the truth of the Gospel and salvation in Jesus Christ, with complete clarity and with total respect for free options which it presents … is a tribute to this freedom.”
Washington Post: But some girls who grow up in Egypt’s poor rural communities face an even scarier sort of child marriage: the temporary kind. Sex tourism to Egypt tends to spike in the summer, when wealthy men from Gulf countries flood into Egypt and thousands of underage girls are sold by their parents into temporary “marriages,” according to a story by Inter Press Service.
Ken Blackwell at Christian Post: Still, the Royal Family’s crest gives us a hint of deeper meaning: Dieu et Mon Droit-God and My Right-is often translated as a justification for the Divine Right of Kings. Whether we accept monarchy or not, and I don’t, it is nonetheless clear that the British Monarchy rests on family and family is defined by blood, marriage, and adoption.
Inter Press Service: Therapeutic abortion refers to the termination of a pregnancy when the mother’s life is at risk, the foetus is deformed or dead, or the pregnancy is the result of incest or rape.
CNSNews: “The Chinese Communist Party periodically modifies the one-child policy, but the coercion at its core remains,” she said. “Reports of these tweaks – especially when mischaracterized by western media – throw the human rights world into confusion and blunt genuine efforts to end forced abortion in China.”
Middle East Forum: Categorized by theme, the rest of May’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity . . .
AP: Egyptian authorities and the media say that nearly a dozen bodies have been discovered close to Cairo’s two mass sit-ins for Morsi, and that all were victims of pro-Morsi protesters who took them for government spies.
The Atlantic: So why are Europe’s abortion laws not as libertine and laissez-faire as our stereotypes about those countries might suggest? Here’s one way of looking at the difference between abortion laws in Europe and those in the U.S.: in America, abortion laws are about morality, while in Europe, they reflect national ideas of what constitutes the common good.
Rai’s Mundo: A Catholic Archbishop is savaged in Belgium; protestors at a Catholic Church in Spain block exits and doors; in Chile demonstrators interrupt Mass, demolish confessionals, rip out pews and paint profane sacrilegious graffiti throughout the church. Pro-abortion feminists under the guise of promoting “choice” carried out these and other attacks in the last few months. Their actions make it seem that they have declared war on the Catholic Church with no regard for parishioners, common decency or law. Welcome to the pro-choice Jihad.
AP: Anti-government Muslims in Ethiopia are calling for mass demonstrations to be held on the religious day of Eid al-Fitr later this week to protest the arrests of 28 people on terror charges.
Christian Institute: In a letter to the Daily Mail, Professor Jack Scarisbrick referred to the latest Department of Health statistics which show that 97 per cent of abortions were performed on mental health grounds.
France24.com: A court in France’s western city of Nantes has granted the biological father of a lesbian couple’s child visiting rights, raising uneasy questions about how to share parental rights between gay partners and biological parents.
Religion Clause Blog: According to the Frontier Post, the ruling against Jamaat-i-Islami came after a petition was filed arguing that the party’s charter conflicts with the country’s secular constitution.
Stephanie Saldana at WSJ: On Wednesday, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass for the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order to which he belongs. The pope paused to remember those Jesuit priests who had given their lives in service of their faith. “I’m thinking of Padre Paolo,” he said. At the moment, no one in the room knew if Father Paolo Dall’Oglio was still alive.
AP: A Christian leader says he carried three bodies from this week’s multiple blasts in the northern Nigerian city of Kano to a military hospital, raising the toll to at least 27 dead.
Forum 18: Police in Uzbekistan have violently physically assaulted Sardorbek Nurmetov, a local Protestant, and charged him with committing an offence after he insisted on making a formal complaint about police brutality. The hospital he went for treatment to colluded with his assailants, local Protestants complained. There are also strict restrictions on Ramadan, including bans on iftar meals and closer than normal state surveillance of everyone attending mosques to pray.
AP: The United States is deeply concerned about what it sees as a deteriorating human rights situation in China, with relatives of activists increasingly being harassed and policies in ethnic areas becoming more repressive, a senior U.S. diplomat said Friday.
The Atlantic: Bartering girls in marriage to pay off loans — and not just drug debts — has been practiced in the region for centuries. But it has increased exponentially due to poverty brought on by 30 years of war. Parand said no opium brides have reached out to her group for help. These young girls mostly live on the borders of the country, where trafficking is rampant and access to foreign aid and NGOs limited. That leaves many of these girls having to submit or resist on their own. Some of them commit suicide.
Zenit: “It remains my hope and prayer that in time, by Gods grace and by our gentle love and witness, we will recall society to the path of authentic humanism”
Catholic Culture: An estimated 17 churches in five cities in Guinea have been burned down or looted since July 14, according to Worldwatch Monitor, a news site that reports on the persecution of Christians.
Reuters: Al Qaeda-linked fighters in the rebel-held eastern Syrian city of Raqqa on Monday abducted a prominent Italian Jesuit priest who championed the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, activists said.
USCIRF: The only thing Mr. Badawi appears to be guilty of is creating a platform on the Internet for religious debate in Saudi Arabia, a right he is guaranteed to under international law. All charges should be dropped and Mr. Badawi should be released immediately and unconditionally,” said USCIRF Chairman Robert George.
JTA: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Egyptian journalists that no Israelis, civilians or soldiers, will remain in a future Palestinian state.
Christian Institute: Irish President Michael D Higgins has this week signed the country’s controversial abortion Bill into law, but a legal challenge is expected.
CNSNews: The sentencing of a Saudi blogger to seven years’ imprisonment and 600 lashes for blasphemy spotlights again the fact that the U.S. administration has for years waived the one legislative tool available for putting pressure on the kingdom over religious freedom violations.
C-FAM: The UN human rights office has launched a media campaign promoting homosexual and transgender rights. The yearlong initiative, funded by outside sources, raises questions over the use of UN offices for what some governments will consider propaganda.
Baptist Press: He is difficult to find and even then is barely visible, but he’s there. Green Man, a symbol of ancient pagan religion, stares down from the nave of Norwich Cathedral. In a way, his presence is symbolic of how it has always been, and still is, in this medieval city.
The Times of India: An international rights group condemned the sentencing of a Saudi Arabian website founder to be whipped 600 times and jailed for seven years for violating Islamic values, saying it undermined the kingdom’s stated support for religious debate.
Morning Star News: Suspected terrorists from the Islamic extremist Boko Haram group set off four bombs that hit two churches in Kano city on Monday night (July 29), killing at least 45 people, sources said.
Christian Institute: Local Labour leaders in Plymouth have removed prayers from the beginning of council meetings, as “part of the process of modernisation”.
Huffington Post (includes video): The findings of a Parliamentary Inquiry released last Friday hold exciting news for same-sex couples in Australia: New South Wales (NSW) could become the first state in the country with the political power to legalize gay marriage. The report itself found that NSW has the power to introduce its own law, given that the bill can sustain the political process within both the Upper and Lower Houses of state-level parliament.
Irish Times: President Michael D Higgins has signed into law the Government’s Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. Áras an Uachtaráin confirmed the move in a short statement this afternoon.
Wall Street Journal: Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York echoed the pope on Monday, saying a priest’s homosexuality “wouldn’t matter to me as long as one is leading a virtuous and chaste life.” But, he added, “My worry is that we’re buying into the vocabulary that one’s person is one’s sexual identity and I don’t buy that and neither does the church.”
CNSNews: Stepped-up efforts by the U.S. and British governments to promote homosexual rights abroad are risking a backlash in conservative countries, where critics say the West is trying to impose norms that clash with local tradition, religion and culture.
Pravda: State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina intends to make further amendments to the Law “On the Protection of Children.” The chairwoman of the Committee on Family, Women and Children put forward a suggestion to punish people for using dirty language in social networks.
Ambrus, Monika, The European Court of Human Rights and Standards of Proof in Religion Cases (July 16, 2013). 8 Religion and Human Rights 2 (2013), pp. 107-137, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2294499
Morningstar News: Few people realize that we are today living through the largest persecution of Christians in history, worse even than the famous attacks under ancient Roman emperors like Diocletian and Nero. Estimates of the numbers of Christians under assault range from 100 million to 200 million. According to one estimate, a Christian is martyred every five minutes.
Christian challenge policy chief: tell officers not to arrest preachers who say homosexuality is sinful
Christian Legal Centre (CLC) has written to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, asking for guidance to be issued immediately to all officers concerning public expressions that homosexuality is sinful. The letter also asks for the officers who wrongly arrested a street preacher to be disciplined.
CNSNews: Princeton University Jurisprudence Professor Robert George, the newly-elected chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, is a leading Catholic thinker and ethicist, but homosexuality advocacy groups are unhappy about the position going to an opponent of same-sex marriage.
Wall Street Journal: The Obama administration increasingly fears that Egypt’s military, ignoring American appeals, is deepening a crackdown that could spark a sustained period of instability and lead members of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood to take up arms.
Morningstar News: Eritrean authorities are punishing 39 high school students for their Christian faith, excluding them from a graduation ceremony and subjecting them to beatings and hard labor, according to Christian support organization Open Doors.
AP: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked. “We shouldn’t marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society.”
The Hill: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) plans to use next week’s vote on transportation spending to end aid to Egypt following the ouster of the country’s freely elected president.
AP on MyWay: Egyptian police detained two leaders of a Muslim Brotherhood-allied party in the latest in a wave of arrests of prominent Islamists, while the European Union’s top diplomat held talks Monday with officials in Cairo in an attempt to mediate an end to the country’s crisis, officials said.
BBC: He was responding to questions about whether there was a “gay lobby” in the Vatican. “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?”
Interfax-religion: News about tortures and murders are coming from Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. In Kosovo, religious shrines are being defiled, many churches have been destroyed, and many people are deprived of the opportunity to visit the graves of their relatives and to pray to God in the land of their ancestors. The situation in the Middle East causes deep concern. Many countries of this region are swept with a wave of violence and terror, with Christians falling victims to it. Libya, where there are almost no Christians left, is breaking into warring tribes. Terrorist acts go on in Iraq, where one tenth of the former one and a half million Christians has left. The situation in Egypt is getting more and more alarming as the conflict there has entered into another bloody phase and the Christian population flees the country in a mass exodus
Christian Science Monitor: Proponents of deposed President Morsi say the coup has deprived them of their vote. But the coup’s backers say there is more to democracy than majority support.