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The Siasat Daily: Besides the President’s statements, the US Commission for International Religious Freedom has highlighted the rapidly constricted landscape for religious freedom in India in a press release earlier this week.
Juicy Ecumenism: Canada’s top court has effectively overturned its nation’s laws against assisted suicide, overriding longstanding legislation of Canada’s elected representatives and a thousand years of Common Law, not to mention even more ancient understandings about human life rooted in millennia of Jewish and Christian teaching, which is no little thing. But fully self-actualized philosopher kings and queens in judicial robes may do so cavalierly, because they are the vanguard of the ever progressing radically autonomous individual, who is subject to no normative reality and may endlessly reimagine truth contingent only on need.
The Christian Institute: Abortion is safer than giving birth and is a “normal part of life”, according to Britain’s largest single abortion provider BPAS.
The Christian Institute: MSPs should be ensuring that elderly, ill and disabled people have the best quality of life for as long as possible rather than looking to legalise assisted suicide, according to the head of a disability rights consortium.
The Globe and Mail: Canadian adults in grievous, unending pain have a right to end their life with a doctor’s help, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday.
Religion News Service: Nigeria’s election commission has postponed national elections for six weeks saying it would not be able to provide security for voters in the northeast region of the country most affected by the Islamist group Boko Haram.
The Washington Times: Religious freedom? Or misuse of church funds? Those are the questions surrounding the ongoing corruption trial of a megachurch founder in Singapore who has won support from international religious leaders such as Pastor A.R. Bernard.
The Daily Signal: In a decision with serious international ramifications, Canada’s highest court has overturned an absolute ban on assisted suicide/euthanasia and has given Parliament one year to create a “stringently limited, carefully monitored system of exceptions.”
ABC News (AP): Greece’s new left-wing government has promised to grant same-sex couples legal status, in response to a 2013 international court decision condemning the country for discrimination.
National Right to Life: Last week NRL News Todayreported that the Indian Supreme Court had directed major search engines such as Yahoo, Google, and Bing to no longer carry ads for pre-natal sex selection services. The justices’ lamented selective abortion.
The Daily Signal: For Lee, a drop box is a way to save hundreds of unwanted infants from being abandoned on the crowded streets of Seoul each year.
One News Now: Trinity Western University in British Columbia Bar has sued associations in three Canadian provinces because they have voted to not recognize attorneys who graduate from the Christian university’s future law school. This week, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled that that province’s bar association is out of line and is discriminating on the basis of religion.
The Christian Post: Hundreds of Christians have reportedly been arrested in New Delhi, India, for protesting against a series of vandalism attacks against churches.
Scottish Express: Dr Peter Saunders, of the Care Not Killing campaign, warned MSPs that the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill was open to abuse by rogue doctors.
Telegraph: Equality and Human Rights Commission upholds right to publish Mohammed cartoons but not to teach that gay people will ‘burn in Hell’
Christian Concern: Controversial Ofsted guidance which explains how inspectors should question children about same-sex families, transgenderism and how the word “gay” is used has been exposed.
Reason: “Limitations are necessary in a democratic society for the protection of others. We in our legal system make use of such limitations, as compared to the United States,” said Brandstetter. “For us, hate speech is misusing freedom of speech, and therefore shouldn’t be permitted.”
Yahoo News: Nigerian Boko Haram fighters went on the rampage in the Cameroonian border town of Fotokol Wednesday, massacring dozens of civilians and torching a mosque before being repelled by regional forces.
Christian Today: Nigeria and its Lake Chad Basin allies pushed Boko Haram out of four more towns in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno after a joint allied offensive conducted over the weekend.
Catholic News Agency: Despite the recent death of a long-imprisoned Chinese bishop, there are mixed signals suggesting the People’s Republic of China wills an improved relationship with the Holy See.
Notre Dame Australia: The importance of the right to religious liberty and the level of protection provided to the right in the United Kingdom and European Union was the focus of a recent public lecture by London based barrister Professor Mark Hill QC at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney Campus on Thursday 15 January 2015.
Life News: The Canadian Supreme Court has struck down Canada’s ban on assisted suicide, saying it violates the right to life of terminally ill people.
Fox News: President Obama is expected to formally ask Congress to authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State terror group in the coming days, even as lawmakers said crafting and passing such a measure would be a challenge.
Christian Today: The husband of Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy, has given a rare interview in which he urged the international community to speak up for his wife.
Christian Today: As it escalates its insurgency within Nigeria and in some parts of neighbouring countries, the Islamist group Boko Haram is reportedly preparing to use children and livestock to carry out attacks targeting civilians.
Ecumenical News: Despite rising incidences involving religious minorities in India, an official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India has underpinned the need for the church’s deeper involvement in advocating for tolerance.
Christian Today: Following multiple stories of religious discrimination, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a report into injustice against Christians.
Over 60 churches hit by fighting in Ukraine, Russian Patriarch Kirill demands end of Christian persecution
The Christian Post: Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill revealed that over 60 churches were recently damaged by heavy fighting in the Donetsk and Horlivka dioceses in Ukraine. The patriarch called for an end to the bloodshed between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels, which he said has led to suffering and persecution of Christians.
The Washington Post: The story of how Christianity arrived in Iceland, according to Nordic lore, reads like a scene ripped from “Game of Thrones.” A millennium ago, Christianity had just taken over Norway. So the Norwegian king dispatched a mighty warrior missionary named Thangbrand to Iceland to spread the good news. Thangbrand did, along the way spearing dead a great many heathens. Then came a test that would decide whether the icy island would accept Christianity or stay faithful to Thor and the other Norse gods.
Catholic News Agency: Despite warnings from religious leaders and scientists, British lawmakers have voted to allow a version of in-vitro fertilization that uses the DNA of three different people to conceive a baby.
Reporters Without Borders: As part a campaign called “Freedom of expression has no religion,” Reporters Without Borders is calling on leaders of all religions in France to sign its Declaration on Freedom of Expression.
Aleteia: The same sort of technology that the UK’s House of Commons approved of this week, ushering in so-called “three-parent babies,” is under serious consideration by the US government.
Canadian disability rights activist implores Supreme Court not to strike down Canada’s laws prohibiting assisted suicide
National Right to Life: Canada’s Supreme Court is considering the case of Kay Carter and physician assisted suicide. As a Canadian who has been incurably ill and disabled for more than 30 years with degenerative multiple sclerosis (MS), I implore the Supreme Court not to strike down Canada’s laws prohibiting assisted suicide. The laws are there to protect vulnerable people when they are at their lowest point of life and overwhelmed by their circumstances.
The New York Times (Reuters): Islamic State militants are selling abducted Iraqi children at markets as sex slaves, and killing other youth, including by crucifixion or burying them alive, a United Nations watchdog said on Wednesday.
The Telegraph: Scientists, naturally, like to make advances in science and the fact of mitochondrial disease being passed on by parents to their children is clearly one which science should investigate. But are three-parent embryos or three-person IVF really the way forward?
Institute for Religious Freedom: From the very beginning to year of 2014 the Ukrainian society faced extraordinary trials that also affected religious freedom. Previously, the international observers mentioned Ukraine mostly as a state with a high level of religious freedom among the other Eastern European countries. But now there are news from the occupied Crimea and Donbas torn by war, dismaying by brutality of religious persecution and complex issues of survival believers of different faiths.
Breitbart: The proposal from the DUP’s Paul Givan MLA, is currently out for consultation and has already been attacked by the left-wing comedian Stephen Fry. There was also a major rally in Belfast against the proposal over the weekend, with many more planned before the “conscience clause” goes before the Stormont Assembly.
Christian minister claims she was told her Jesus car bumper stickers could invalidate her insurance policy
Christian Today: A minister in Neath Port Talbot claimed that her insurance company threatened to void her insurance policy because she put religious stickers on her car’s chassis.
The Guardian: MPs have voted in favour of making Britain the first country in the world to permit IVF babies to be created using biological material from three different people to help prevent serious genetic diseases.
The Washington Post: President Barack Obama on Tuesday expressed determination to see the Islamic State group’s “banished to the recesses of history” after the death of a Jordanian pilot held captive by the militant group. In a show of solidarity, he hosted Jordan’s King Abdullah II for a hastily arranged meeting in the Oval Office.
Catholic News Agency: The Holy See’s delegation to the United Nations has warned that Christians face “extinction” in some regions of armed conflict, with Christian women and girls particularly vulnerable.
The New York Times: A series of episodes at churches over the last two months has prompted Roman Catholics here to worry about a deliberate campaign of violence, and to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out against religious intimidation.
Associated Press: “It was totally different from what they said jihad would be like,” said the man, Ghaith, who asked to be identified by his first name only for fear of being killed.
Huffington Post: Karl Marx long ago disparaged religion as “the opiate of the people,” and now the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wants to ban all addicts. The Communist leadership of coastal Zhejiang province has declared it will double down on a long-standing but little-enforced rule that bars religious believers from joining the Party.
AL Monitor: On Jan. 22, the Lebanese army opened a new chapter in the war against terrorism, thwarting an Islamic State (IS) attack against a guard post for the army’s second land border regiment in Tallet al-Hamra, in the lands beyond Ras Baalbek, in the east of Lebanon. This attack, the second in the same place in three months, ended with the army regaining control over the site after dozens of militants and eight soldiers were killed.
Associated Press: British lawmakers in the House of Commons voted Tuesday to allow scientists to create babies from the DNA of three people — a move that could prevent some children from inheriting potentially fatal diseases from their mothers.
The Christian Institute: Daniel McArthur, manager of Ashers, said that fulfilling the order would have involved promoting a cause which goes against their conscientious view that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The Christian Institute: The guidance behind schools’ regulator Ofsted’s ‘inappropriate’ questioning of ten-year-olds about lesbians has been revealed.
The Christian Institute: MPs have voted in favour of legalising controversial techniques to create three and four-parent babies, despite serious safety and ethical concerns.
The Telegraph: Last week the Church of England said it could not support a change to legislation, arguing that scientists had not proved that the child would not inherit characteristics from the donor mother.
BBC: Next week, MPs are expected to vote on whether to allow the practice. The first attempt is expected this year, if there is a Yes vote.
MercatorNet: In Britain, for example, the selective aborting of female foetuses is largely hidden and both government officials and many health professionals dispute that it is even occurring. That’s partly because “gender abortions” are illegal, although some groups deny even that.
Space enough for all: Nova Scotia Supreme Court makes decision on Trinity Western University Law School
Canadian Council of Christian Charities: People disagree about many things in a pluralistic and multicultural society such as Canada. But perhaps the most passionate debate in recent years is found among those caught in a controversy involving religion and sexuality.
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom: Reports of pre-election violence, combined with rising societal and political tensions, increase the likelihood of religiously-motivated violence around Nigeria’s February 14 presidential elections, warns the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
The Wall Street Journal (Access via Google): Islamic State’s affiliate in Libya has capitalized on the battlefield failures and disillusionment among better-established, more moderate Islamist groups in the country, following the same formula that brought the radical movement success in Syria and Iraq, Western counterterrorism officials said.
MercatorNet: The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons is consulting on whether patients’ right of access to certain procedures, such as abortion, should trump the rights of those physicians who refuse, for reasons of conscience, to provide them. Dr. Marc Gabel, a College official, chairs the working group looking at this issue, which is drafting a new policy on “Professional Obligations and Human Rights.”
The Telegraph: Hundreds of thousands of German Christians are formally renouncing their faith and leaving the church in order to escape a controversial change in the tax laws.
Aleteia: A female suicide bomber killed herself Monday when she exploded a vehicle packed with explosives near a stadium where Nigeria’s president had just held an election rally in the northeastern city of Gombe, police said. They said there were no other casualties.
The Tablet: Reports are emerging that Islamic State (IS) fighters have opened a market for selling household goods and materials confiscated from Christian homes and churches.
Religion News Service: Icelanders will soon be able to publicly worship at a shrine to Thor, Odin and Frigg with construction starting this month on the island’s first major temple to the Norse gods since the Viking age.
NPR: Britain is on track to become the first country in the world to legalize a controversial procedure that uses DNA from three people to produce an embryo, as a way to cut out inherited DNA that can cause serious health problems in children.
Fox News (AP): President Michelle Bachelet sent legislation to Congress on Saturday proposing to allow some abortions in Chile, a socially conservative South American nation that is among the few countries in the world that ban abortion in all circumstances.
Reuters: An Egyptian court on Saturday banned the armed wing of Palestinian group Hamas and listed it as a terrorist organization, a ruling in keeping with a systematic crackdown on Islamists by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
CNN: A neglected, weed-strewn field in a small Cuban town where there are more horses than cars seems an unlikely setting for a major shift in government policy.
Christian Today: Egyptian Christians are enjoying greater freedoms under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a spokesman for the country’s Catholic Church, has said.
World Watch Monitor: Mixed emotions were evident as members of the Christian community in Niger gathered for their services on Sunday, Jan 25, 2015. Some were full of joy to get back to church; others could barely hide their sorrow.
BBC News: Blasphemy laws are being challenged in a new global campaign launched by a coalition of humanist organisations. The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) says that, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France, the time is right for countries to abolish laws that protect religious sensibilities. But blasphemy laws nevertheless remain popular in many parts of the world.
VOA News: The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. Activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office.
Pan AM Post: After nearly four years of legislative battling, the approved bill would give homosexual couples many of the legal rights afforded to married couples.
The Guardian: The chief inspector of schools has been forced to deny that Ofsted had a political agenda against Christian schools after he came under fire from MPs following damning reports by inspectors for two free schools.
Huffington Post UK: Following interventions by a few high profile Christians, some people are suggesting that the Church of England’s position on the ‘Assisted Dying Bill’ lacks clarity. For once, nothing could be further from the truth.
BBC News: Senior church figures have called on the UK government to block the creation of babies from three people.
The Telegraph: Tom Mortier never paid much attention to the discussion about voluntary death in his country. “I was like just about anyone else here in Belgium: I didn’t care at all,” he said. “If people want to die, it’s probably their choice. It didn’t concern me.”