Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D. – September 21, 2017
Pope Francis met with the secretary general of the Muslim World League (MWL) in the Vatican Wednesday, a group that has been tied to Saudi financing of jihadist terrorism and the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, who served for several years as Saudi minister of justice in Riyadh and is now secretary general of the MWL, expressed the appreciation of the Muslim world for the pope’s “fair positions” regarding “the false claims that link extremism and violence to Islam,” as well as for his insistence that extremism is not distinctive of Islam but is found among followers of all religions.
The Muslim World League is a Saudi Government-funded Islamic non-governmental organization, founded on May 18, 1962 in Mecca for the propagation of Islamic teachings. Despite the group’s official opposition to violence and terrorism and its pursuit of intercultural dialogue, it has been the subject of several ongoing counter-terrorism investigations in the U.S. related to Hamas, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
Stoyan Zaimov – September 11, 2017
A Christian couple in the U.K. has decided to pull their 6-year-old son from a Church of England primary school in protest against the school’s pro-transgender policies.
Nigel and Sally Rowe from the Isle of Wight explained in a press release shared by the Christian Legal Center that the “deeply painful and very reluctantly taken” decision they took came after they received a “cold and shockingly inappropriate” response to their concerns.
The Rowes are preparing for legal action and have contacted the Diocese of Portsmouth and the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer after the school allowed children to dress and identify as the opposite gender.
The parents explained that two years ago a boy in their eldest child’s class decided he wanted to become a girl, and the school treated him as such.
Billy Hallowell – September 6, 2017
Much has been said about the rise of the religiously unaffiliated here in America, but over in England it seems the situation is much more dire than it is here in the states.
In fact, more than half — 53 percent — of Brits now report that they are not at all religious, up five percentage points since 2015, the Independent reported.
And, perhaps more stunningly, this year’s proportion is up 19 percentage points when compared to 1983 when just 32 percent of the public said the same, according to statistics collected by the National Centre for Social Research, a social research group.
Overall, just over four-in-10 British citizens said that they are Christian, with the declines coming in hardest among Church of England members, with just 15 percent of the population claiming allegiance to the Anglican church.
Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D. – September 15, 2017
Saudi Arabia has come under fire for using schoolbooks for children that disparage Christians as “unbelievers” and promise that the day of resurrection will not come until Muslims have fought and killed the Jews.
An official textbook for fifth graders published by the Saudi Ministry of Education states that the approach of the Day of Resurrection will be recognizable by a series of signs. “The Hour will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews, and Muslims will kill the Jews,” it declares.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), a U.S.-based advocacy group, Saudi Arabia’s religious studies curriculum “contains hateful and incendiary language toward religions and Islamic traditions that do not adhere to its interpretation of Sunni Islam,” including the labeling of Jews and Christians as unbelievers “with whom Muslims should not associate.”
TruNews – September 14, 2017
A Catholic charity in Belgium declared Tuesday that they will continue to offer euthanasia to mentally ill patients, despite Pope approved orders to stop immediately.
The Belgian branch of the Brothers of Charity, also called the Brothers of Love, issued a statement Tuesday that they will continue offering euthanasia in each of their 15 psychiatric hospitals, despite receiving orders from the Vatican to reverse their euthanasia policy by the end of August, according to Crux Now. The Vatican issued an order, personally approved by Pope Francis, for the Belgian branch to not only reverse their policy, but also for each member of the charity’s board to sign a letter re-affirming their commitment to the church’s stance on the sanctity of life. The charity now faces expulsion from the Catholic Church, and the members of the board face dismissal from the their institute, despite maintaining that their euthanasia policy is fully in line with Catholic doctrine.
Belgian branch’s statement reads:
The organization Brothers of Love remains behind her vision statement about euthanasia in psychiatric suffering in a non-terminal situation.
As for the question of whether or not their stance is in line with Catholic doctrine, the brother’s statement reads, “We emphatically think so.”
Bill McMorris – September 13, 2017
Attacks on religious liberty have increased 133 percent since 2011, according to a new report.
Government agencies, businesses, and the military are cracking down on the devout through zoning laws, restrictive policies against expressing religious sentiments, and punishing employees or citizens who publicly live out their faith, according to First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit group that provides pro-bono legal aid to victims of religious discrimination.
The group recorded more than 1,400 acts of religious discrimination in 2016, up 15 percent from 2015 and 133 percent since 2011. Institute President and CEO Kelly Shackelford called the trend disturbing and a radical departure from First Amendment protections for the freedom of religion.
“We were shocked by how pervasive the hostility to religion was,” he said in a Tuesday press call. “Unfortunately, it’s not one particular area where it’s growing—it’s across the board.”
Fr. Mark Hodges – September 11, 2017
SACRAMENTO, California, September 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A federal judge told three Christian congregations in California that they have no case in wanting to opt out of the state’s requirement that they cover abortions through their health insurance plans.
U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller upheld a 2014 requirement of the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) that all employers throughout the state must pay for abortion insurance for their employees. She told the three churches that they failed to state an adequate claim.
The churches — Foothill Church in Glendora, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino, and The Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch — sued the state in 2014 after being informed that they could not prohibit or restrict coverage for elective abortions.
The churches “believe and teach that abortion destroys an innocent human life” and “participation in, facilitation of, or payment for an elective abortion is a grave sin,” according to court documents.
Bill McMorris – September 11, 2017
The president of the University of Notre Dame called criticism of appeals court nominee Amy Barrett’s Catholic faith “chilling” in an open letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.).
Rev. John I. Jenkins sent the letter after Feinstein, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, criticized Barrett’s nomination in light of her Catholic faith. Feinstein asked Barrett, a Notre Dame law school professor, if she could be trusted to impartially weigh in on cases involving abortion, given the Church’s opposition to the practice.
I would never impose my own personal convictions on the law,” Barrett said during a Wednesday confirmation hearing.
Feinstein remained unconvinced by such assurances, saying, “the dogma lives loudly within you and that’s of concern.”
Bob Unruh – September 9, 2017
China’s Communist Party-controlled government long has tried to stamp out faith.
It has banned churches unless they are affiliated with the government, imprisoned pastors and lay leaders, and discriminated against church goers.
Lately, government officials have removed crosses from church buildings.
Now, according to UCA News, at least four regional governments in China are banning children from church.
The governments have issued notices that “restrict children from joining Christian groups and attending religious activities,” the report said.
Children are being turned away from church, even if they show up with parents.
“Additionally, the ban includes promises that officials will launch investigations into both government approved churches and underground congregations who operate outside the tightly controlled official Beijing-run Catholic and Protestant churches,” the report said.
Anugrah Kumar – September 3, 2017
A Christian boy, who was doing well in his studies despite being from a poor home, was beaten to death by his Muslim classmates inside his school in Pakistan’s Punjab Province. The victim’s parents say he was targeted for being a Christian soon after he joined the school.
“You’re a Christian; don’t dare sit with us if you want to live,” a Muslim student had once told the victim, Sharoon Masih, who was studying at MC Model Boys Government High School in the Vehari area in Punjab, according to the British Pakistani Christian Association, which has reported on the killing.
Masih was beaten up by several students on Aug. 27, his fourth day at the school. He died on the spot, inside the classroom.
The attacking students were shouting insults at him while beating him, but no teacher or school staff came to his rescue.