Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
World Evangelical Alliance: The Christian community in India is concerned at the intensity of the targeted and communal violence directed against it almost on a pan India basis. Violence against Christians picked up in independent India in the early 1990s reaching its peak in 2008 – 2009 with more than 1000 incidents of violence and hate crimes reported against the Christian community. This continues today as vicious hate campaign, physical violence, police complicity, and State impunity contribute to the persecution of the Christian community in many states of India.
The Christian Science Monitor: The Korean pastor from Toronto who has disappeared in North Korea is an “outdoorsy guy” who likes to ice fish and whose last trip abroad was to help villagers in the Amazon, according to clergy of his Light Korean Presbyterian Church.
Christian Today: Four more Assyrian Christian hostages being held by Islamic State have been released, a week after being abducted in the Khabour region of Syria.
Christian Legal Centre: An Employment Tribunal in the case of Sarah Mbuyi, a Christian nursery worker who expressed her opinion on marriage, has heard that Christian views on the topic should not be expressed in the workplace.
Juicy Ecumenism: A Christian pastor in South Korea is getting a surge of publicity after filmmakers took notice of his controversial effort to rescue abandoned infants. Pastor Lee Jong-rak of Seoul’s Jusarang Church, responding to an increasing number of infants turning up on city streets, opened a “baby box” for parents to deposit babies that they could not care for.
CNN: A Canadian pastor, who went to North Korea on a humanitarian trip in late January, is being held in the reclusive Communist state, his family said early Thursday.
Forum 18: Communities who exercise freedom of religion or belief in public without Russian state permission may find their members facing five-figure Rouble fines if they do not inform the local authorities in advance, Forum 18 News Service notes.
Interfax – Religion: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed concern about the persecution of Christians not only in the Middle East, but in Ukraine, as well.
Reuters: Islamic State released 19 Assyrian Christian captives in Syria on Sunday after processing them through a sharia court, a monitoring group which tracks the conflict said.
Reuters: Thousands of Iraqi soldiers and Shi’ite militiamen sought to seal off Islamic State fighters in Tikrit and nearby towns on Tuesday, the second day of Iraq’s biggest offensive yet against a stronghold of the Sunni militants.
Ecumenical News: Christian leaders recorded at least three incidents of violence against their community a week after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke out against religious intolerance in the country and pledged to act on the issue.
Pew Research: Levels of religious restrictions and hostilities among the world’s 25 most populous countries — where more than 5 billion people live — vary tremendously, from some of the lowest in the world (South Africa) to among the very highest (Indonesia).
Law and Religion Australia: For many people in Australia the “battle” over recognition of same sex marriage seems, in popular opinion at least, completely over. Tim Dick in the Sydney Morning Herald on 1 March tells us that the “public argument is won” and we are now just up to the stage of deciding whether or not to allow “latecomers” to join the party. We are often told that those who do not support extending the legal status of “marriage” to unions involving same sex couples are on the “wrong side of history”. Their stance is often characterised as “homophobia”, a word which has in common parlance (despite its etymology) nothing to do with “fear” and everything to do with an irrational hatred of, and desire to harm, homosexual persons.
CBC News: The B.C. woman who made a living will to avoid a slow death will continue to be fed at the care facility where she lives after the Court of Appeal dismissed a bid from petitioners to let her die.
The Telegraph: Discrimination against Christians is being “ignored” by governments and courts, MPs from across Europe have warned in the wake of a string of cases involving the rights of British workers to wear crosses or discuss their beliefs.
Religion News Service: Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd and former leaders of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination on Monday (March 2) called on President Obama to defend “the least of these” against the Islamic State, the militant Islamist group that’s also known as ISIS or ISIL.
National Right to Life: Laws protecting the unborn, and therefore less permissive in regard to abortion, are controversial because they allegedly lead to hidden, illegal abortions and an increase maternal deaths.
Public Discourse: Most Americans are probably not aware that the push to create a right to assisted suicide is an international effort. The Canadian Supreme Court has just ruled that parliament must enact laws allowing assisted suicide.
ISIS’ apocalyptic endgame: They want to defeat Christian crusaders — Americans — in a massive battle in a town in northern Syria
NY Daily News: This week, Americans were bombarded with unnerving images of ISIS at home and abroad. In Brooklyn, three men were arrested for allegedly plotting to help the radical Islamist terrorists. In England, newspapers at long last identified”Jihadi John,” the masked figure seen on numerous decapitation videos, and published photos of him.
Pew Research: While Europe is not the region with the highest level of religious hostilities – that remains the Middle East-North Africa region – harassment and attacks against religious minorities continue in many European countries. Indeed, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center, hostilities against Jews in particular have been spreading.
Law and Religion UK: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at Strasbourg has agreed Resolution 2036 on Tackling intolerance and discrimination in Europe with a special focus on Christians, based on a Report by the Assembly’s Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.
The Guardian: Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger who was sentenced to a decade in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam, now faces being beheaded for renouncing the religion, his family have said.
Pew Research: Pew Research Center has been tracking data on religious restrictions in nearly 200 countries and territories since 2007, producing a series of reports that analyze religion-related social hostilities and government restrictions on religion.
Reuters: A head pastor of large Canadian church has failed to return from a humanitarian mission to North Korea, and the Canadian government has reached out to try to locate him, his Toronto-based church said on Monday.
National Review: During Eun-man’s lengthy hospital stay, his father, Jung-rak Lee, a pastor in South Korea, wound up ministering to other children, many of them with disabilities, many of them abandoned. He adopted some of them. And then they kept coming to him and his family.
Juicy Ecumenism: ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State, Daesh…whatever you call them and for whatever reason you call them that, their actions are still the same. It’s good to be aware of their ultimate goal. Unless, of course, you believe that the earnest young lads (and lasses) of ISIS are just in search of gainful employment.
Law and Religion UK: The draft Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations 2015 are now part of UK law.
The Washington Post: More than three-quarters of the world’s population lived in countries with “high” or “very high” levels of restriction on religion in 2013, according to a new Pew Research Center report titled “Latest Trends in Religious Restrictions and Hostilities.”
Religion Clause: By a vote of 7-2 yesterday, South Korea’s Constitutional Court struck down the country’s 1953 law criminalizing adultery.
WorldWatch Monitor: After spending more than one year in prison, for ‘collusion against the [Iranian] government’ and ‘evangelism,’ Iranian pastor Rasoul Abdollahi has been released from prison.
Breitbart: In a new report by the Pew Research Center, China leads the pack of the world’s 25 most populous nations in government restrictions on religion.
Persecuted Church: The continuing presence of courageous men and women religious in Iraq is an important sign of hope amid the suffering of the Christian population there, according to a report by two Dominican leaders who recently visited the country, reports Vatican Radio.
The Christian Institute: A Peer who has worked with families of severely disabled children, and has a disabled daughter herself, raised serious concerns about the effects on children who could be born through controversial GM baby techniques.
The Christian Institute: The Presbyterian Church in Ireland is backing the idea of a Bill to introduce a conscience clause in Northern Ireland.
The Christian Institute: Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld do not want to get married and are calling for civil partnerships – which currently are for homosexual couples only – to be extended.
Breakpoint: In Seoul, the capital of South Korea, hundreds of infants are abandoned on the streets every year. The problem became so severe that one Korean pastor decided to take unprecedented action.
Time Magazine: More formidable than its al-Qaeda precursors in the view of many experts, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is more than a network of terrorist cells or even a militia: it’s almost a nation.
Crux: The number of Christians abducted by the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria has risen to 220 in the past three days, as militants round up more hostages from a chain of villages along a strategic river, activists said Thursday.
Pew Forum: Worldwide, social hostilities involving religion declined somewhat in 2013 after reaching a six-year peak the previous year, but roughly a quarter of the world’s countries are still grappling with high levels of religious hostilities within their borders, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest annual study on global restrictions on religion.
Pew Research: Recently, the Pew Research Center released its sixth annual report examining global restrictions on religion. The report is a huge undertaking, detailing both government restrictions on religion and social hostilities toward religious groups in nearly 200 countries and territories.
Christian News Network: Photos of three Thailand men who recently ‘married’ each other have gone viral, garnering societal support for the concept of same-sex “throuples” worldwide, but also generating remarks from Christians about the confirmation of the slippery slope that has long been predicted.
Christian News Network: The United Kingdom has become the first country in the world to approve the creation of what has been called “three parent babies”—a move that has has generated applause as an important health advancement while others have expressed concern about the ethical aspects of the practice.
WorldWatch Monitor: Sources from Syria’s embattled Hassaka province confirmed at midnight on Tuesday, Feb. 24, that at least 72 Assyrian Christian families – thought to be around 200 people – from three villages have been captured by the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Reportedly taken to the Arab Sunni village of Um Al-Masamier, the exact number of Christian hostages from the Tel Gouran, Tel Jazira and Tel Hormizd villages remains unknown.
Reuters: Kurdish militia pressed an offensive against Islamic State in northeast Syria on Wednesday, cutting one of its supply lines from Iraq, as fears mounted for dozens of Christians abducted by the hardline group.
One News Now: Attorneys from the Home School Legal Defense Association and the Alliance Defending Freedom are representing Ellinor and Daniel Petersen in the lawsuit filed with the ECHR. Acknowledging the European court’s track record on homeschooling, both Christian nonprofit organizations are prepared for an uphill battle, noting that its judges have been, for the most part, aggressively opposed to homeschoolers over the years.
Reuters: A U.S.-led alliance launched air strikes against Islamic State on Thursday in an area of northeast Syria where the militants are now estimated to have abducted at least 220 Assyrian Christians this week, a group monitoring the war reported.
Aleteia: Christian aid groups were expecting to hear about the fate of some 150 Syrian Christian hostages today, but a promised ISIS announcement about the captives was not forthcoming.
Public Discourse: The UK has passed a bill that allows for genetic engineering of children through nuclear transfer technology and germ-line modification. Young women will be needed to supply their eggs. But egg donation—or more accurately, egg selling—is risky business.
Patheos: I do not wish a single person’s death but IS must be destroyed and sadly there are men and women who have freely chosen to link themselves to this evil organization. They have committed crimes in their person for which payment must be made. In the light of eternity they need grace, but in the temporal realm they must receive justice. The church and churchmen can forgive and what we forgive on earth is forgiven in Heaven.
The Tablet: One of Britain’s leading universities is considering removing a window dedicated to Lord Carey, a former archbishop of Canterbury, from its façade because of his opposition to same-sex marriage.
The Christian Institute: The Roman Catholic Church in Northern Ireland has lent its support to the principle behind a Bill to introduce a conscience clause in the Province.
The Christian Institute: A woman who chose to have her baby after she was brutally raped at the age of twelve has said that she has no regrets, and that her daughter helped ‘bring healing to her life’.
The Christian Institute: Controversial techniques to create three and four-parent babies have been backed by Peers in the House of Lords.
The Christian Institute: MPs have rejected the opportunity to make sex-selective abortion explicitly illegal as they defeated an amendment from Fiona Bruce.
First Things: Of the 7.3 billion human beings on Planet Earth today, 89 percent are religious believers, while 1.8 percent are professed atheists and another 9 percent are agnostics: which suggests that Chief Poobah of the New Atheists Richard Dawkins and his friends are not exactly winning the day, although their “market share” is up from 1900.
Crux (RNS): The Italian government is on high alert after threats from the Islamic State called Italy “the nation signed with the blood of the cross.”
China US Focus: Christianity is thriving in China. Reports that there may be more religious believers than Communist Party members has made Beijing unsure how to respond. Beijing’s sensitivities to religion are well known. Government secular ideology sees religion as offering a competitive worldview to the hegemony of the Party, with legitimate fears that many Christians, especially Catholics, have loyalties beyond China’s borders. Religion brings people together in ways that might eventually influence politics.
Ghana Web: Dr. Sheihk Amin Bonsu, National Chairman of the Ghana Muslim Mission has called on all heads of institutions to abide by the articles of the constitution which talks about freedom of worship. He said the constitution has clearly emphasized the need for all Ghanaians to freely worship or practice any religion of their choice and infringing on this right is a complete violation of the rights of individuals.
Al Jazeera: The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has abducted at least 90 people from Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria, a monitoring group that tracks violence in Syria said Tuesday. The alleged kidnappings appeared to be in direct response to recent gains made by Kurdish forces. Few details about the fate of the hostages were available.
Ministry of Defence, Sri Lanka: President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday assured that as pledged during the Presidential Elections, an environment will be created where all communities can live in peace and harmony.
The Guardian: Almost one in five Dutch doctors would consider helping someone die even if they had no physical problems but were “tired of living”, according to one of the most comprehensive academic studies of such attitudes.
Christian Today: Evangelical Christians are far more politically engaged than the rest of the population, but share the general lack of trust in politicians, according to a new study by the Evangelical Alliance (EA).
Christian Concern: A Christian ethos school in Durham has asked Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to step aside from making any decision regarding its future because she is “tainted with bias”.
The Christian Institute: The former Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he supports controversial techniques to create three and four-parent babies, dismissing the wide array of ethical and scientific concerns.
The Christian Institute: British Christian schools could face a European Commission investigation, following complaints from a humanist campaign group.
The Christian Institute: A letter from senior Labour MPs urging a vote against banning sex-selective abortion is “scaremongering nonsense”, a backbench Labour MP has said.
Bas News: A member of Mosul Provincial council says that Islamic State militants have pulled out of the strategic town of Tel Afar, east of Mosul in northern Iraq – but locals say the IS action is suspicious.
Financial Review: A woman has lost a bid for compensation after she was sacked by a Catholic Church social services organisation for having too many sexual partners.
Religion Clause: In Bunning v Centacare, (FCCA, Feb. 11, 2015), an Australian Federal Circuit Court judge dismissed a sexual orientation discrimination complaint filed against a Catholic social service agency by former employee Susan Bunning.
The Times of India: India has secured the release of Jesuit priest Father Alexis Prem Kumar who had been in Taliban captivity in Afghanistan since June last year.
Relevant: The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that ISIS militants have abducted at least 90 people after raiding an Assyrian Christian village.