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Weekly Briefing
Weekly briefing: Ruling against Obamacare mandate, ceasefire in Syria, US Christianity in decline

Weekly briefing: Ruling against Obamacare mandate, ceasefire in Syria, US Christianity in decline

Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo prepare for a joint press conference in Ankara, Turkey on October 17, 2019. | State Department/Ron Przysucha/Public Domain

We've compiled the top stories of the week. Here's what you need to know:

Federal judge: Doctors can’t be forced to perform sex change surgeries

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor vacated a 2016 Obamacare mandate that would have required doctors to perform gender-transition procedures and abortions even if it violates their religious beliefs.

The Obama-era rule incorporated a broadened interpretation of federal law that bars discrimination in healthcare on the basis of “gender identity and termination of pregnancy.” 

O’Connor said it violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Turkey agrees to 5-day ceasefire in Syria

After meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on Thursday to pause its invasion of Kurdish-held areas in Syria along the Turkish border for five days. 

This will allow Kurdish Syrian Defense Forces to withdraw from a nearly 20-mile-wide designated safe zone along Turkey’s southern border.

The agreement comes about a week after Turkish forces crossed into Syria in an attempt to expel Kurdish forces that were once backed by the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State.

Atatiana Jefferson shooting prompts cries for justice

Following the shooting of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in her Fort Worth, Texas, home by a white police officer, Christian leaders have expressed outrage and are making calls for change.

Beth Moore, Kay Warren and J.D. Greear were among those who reacted with grief.

“What continues to go on in this nation in regard to Black Americans is madness.” — Beth Moore

Local black faith leaders, including pastor William Timothy Glynn, have demanded change in the police department in order for healing to take place.

Christian population in decline in US, study shows

A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that only 65 percent of Americans now identify as Christian, a 12 percent decline from a decade ago.

Meanwhile, those who identify as religiously unaffiliated swelled to 26 percent.

Also compared to 2009, Americans are now more likely to say they attend religious services only occasionally than they are to say they attend regularly.

In case you missed it, here’s CP’s coverage of last weekend’s Values Voter Summit:

Edward Graham responds to Beto O’Rourke’s threat to churches

Artist who defeated ordinance forcing her to serve gay weddings urges Christians to take a stand

Trump talks religious freedom, Kavanaugh, impeachment

Conservatives consider impeachment ‘political theater,’ more concerned about Syria

Pray for:

Family of Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf, who was executed by a Turkish-backed group

Raymond Koh, a pastor who remains missing after abduction in Malaysia two years ago

New releases

Albums:

Love Is a Lion by Citizen Way (Oct. 18)

All the Lights by Donna King (Oct. 18)

Books:

Paul and the Giants of Philosophy edited by Joseph R. Dodson and David E. Briones (Oct. 15)

God's Hostage: A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment, and Perseverance by Andrew Brunson and Craig Borlase (Oct. 15)

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