A Christian legal group has contacted two public universities, encouraging them to replace the Gideon Bibles in their university hotel rooms after they removed them at the request of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal nonprofit group, sent letters to the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University, advising that they place the Bibles back in their university hotel rooms. The universities removed the Bibles last month after receiving complaints from FFRF, a national atheist group, which alleged that the Bibles were a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause because they served as religious endorsement at a public university. FFRF called the Bible placement "unwelcome religious propaganda in the bedside table."
The recent letter sent by Alliance Defending Freedom argues, however, that FFRF's argument is flawed and the schools could actually be at liability for religious discrimination for removing the Bibles. "In reality, the First Amendment does not require you to remove these Bibles, and by removing them, you may have demonstrated the very viewpoint discrimination and hostility towards religion that the First Amendment prohibits," the letter from ADF reads. more >>
The North Korean government has arrested an Australian Christian missionary for handing out Gospel tracts, with the family of the 75-year-old man fearing he could face up to 15 years in prison.
"My husband does what he believes is what God wants him to do," Karen Short said of her husband, John, who was arrested at his Pyongyang hotel on Sunday, according to Australian news site ABC.
"Without sounding strange, that's him, he's a man of faith. We're faith missionaries and he believed that we should care and not just talk but do something." more >>
With reports of extreme persecution and human rights abuses in North Korea, including a recent 400 page report by the U.N. exposing "unspeakable atrocities," Christians are wondering whether God has abandoned the country.
"Is God at work in North Korea? Because we don't see it," some have told Open Doors, a persecution watchdog group. The organization has listed North Korea as the most oppressive country in the world for Christians on its World Watch List for the past 12 years in a row now, and despite constant prayers for change, the situation only seems to be getting worse.
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK said in its extensive report on Monday, which is to be formally presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 17, that "the gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world." more >>
China Aid Association revealed in its annual Persecution report that persecution of Christians in China continues to rise, with house and urban churches being some of the main targets.
According to the statistics, government persecution in the world's most populous country, where Christians make up only 3-4 percent, "worsened significantly" in 2013. Persecution rose by 38.82 percent since 2012.
"House churches in China had a difficult year in 2013, but we won't lose heart. Oppositely, only in such circumstances can churches be constantly purified, free of blemishes, mature and strong, and prepared for even greater mission," said Bob Fu, founder and president of China Aid. more >>
The Thomas More Society announced on Wednesday that it has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Tennessee pharmacist who was fired in 2013 by Walgreens for refusing to dispense the "Plan B" morning-after pill due to religious reasons.
"Dr. Hall's right to live according to his religious beliefs, including in his workplace, is protected both under the Federal Civil Rights Act and the Tennessee State Constitution," said Larry Crain, co-counsel with the law group. "Americans have the right to live according to their sincerely held religious beliefs and not be forced to participate in actions that they deeply and sincerely believe are morally wrong."
The lawsuit, filed alongside attorney Larry Crain, of Crain, Schuette & Associates, states that Pharmacist Dr. Philip Hall had been employed for six years at a Walgreens store in Jamestown, Tenn., and followed a protocol that allowed him to ask another pharmacist to dispense abortion-inducing drugs like Plan B to customers. Following the implementations of new FDA rules in August 2013, which required Plan B to be sold over-the-counter, Hall, a Baptist, asked his superiors to respect his religious objections to dispensing abortifacients. more >>
The U.S. State Department says it approves of the Rev. Jesse Jackson's offer to visit North Korea and hopefully secure the release of imprisoned American missionary Kenneth Bae, who is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence in the Asian country.
Marie Harf, deputy spokeswoman for the State Department, told reporters Sunday at a press briefing that the U.S. "certainly" supports Jackson's effort to visit North Korea and free Bae. Jackson was reportedly summoned at the request of Bae's family, who resides in Washington State, to help free their imprisoned relative.
"At the request of the Bae family, I think people are aware that Reverend Jesse Jackson had offered to travel to Pyongyang on a humanitarian mission focused on Bae's release," Harf said Sunday. "We support the efforts, of course, of the family, but also of Reverend Jackson to bring Kenneth Bae home. So again we want him to come home, the North Koreans should release him, and we stand ready to send our folks in certainly, Ambassador King, if they reissue an offer." more >>