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All articles in category International

News

May 2019
News > International

LETTER FROM AMERICA: Southern Baptist Convention abuse scandal

In May 2018, the former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige Patterson, came under the spotlight for mishandling cases of sexual assault at the seminary. The Southern Baptist Convention summarily terminated him from his position after investigating his role (Christianity Today, ‘Paige Patterson Fired by Southwestern’, June 2018). While this action won much acclaim (and shock) from its members, this was only the tip of the iceberg for the world’s largest Baptist denomination in its relation to the #MeToo movement. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), while having origins in the southern US, has nearly fifty thousand congregations all over the country and currently boasts...

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April 2019
News > International

Letter from America: The life and faith of President George H.W. Bush

George Herbert Walker (H.W.) Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away in his Houston home on November 30, aged 94. During his presidency, Bush Sr. led the United States to prosperity after the fall of the Soviet Union but had been involved in diplomacy and politics long before that. At his funeral, the watching world mourned this quiet, humble man from Massachusetts who, to his dying day, lived out Proverbs 27:2: ‘Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips’. While many remember his political career, or even the fact that he became a millionaire...

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April 2019
News > International

India: More Christians targeted for their faith

Targeted violence and hate crimes against the Christian community in India continued unabated in 2018, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI). The Religious Liberty Commission of the EFI has recorded 325 incidents where Christians have been targeted using violence, intimidation or harassment. According to a report published by the group, ‘More than the numbers, what is disturbing is the sudden spurt of violence in a few districts of Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous province, and in Tamil Nadu in the extreme south of the subcontinent’. The report added, ‘Most cases go unreported either because the victim and witnesses are terrified, or the...

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April 2019
News > International

UN: Eighty per cent of people live in a ‘religiously restricted atmosphere’

Most of the world’s population do not enjoy religious freedom even though most people are religious, the US religious freedom ambassador Sam Brownback told the UN. Brownback was addressing the UN for the first time since becoming ambassador, speaking at a panel discussion on global religious freedom strategies. He said, ‘Eighty per cent of the world’s population lives in a religiously restricted atmosphere. Eighty per cent of the world is religious. How can we tolerate this continuing situation? ‘We need a global movement of religious freedom. The good news: one has started, and it’s starting here today. We can’t just keep talking. We have to...

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April 2019
News > International

Cuba: Evangelicals campaign against redefining marriage

Evangelicals and others have campaigned against plans to redefine marriage in Cuba’s proposed new constitution. The draft wording defined marriage as ‘between two people’ rather than between a man and woman — opening the way for gay marriage. But last October, the Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal churches organised a petition against the draft constitution. They delivered 178,000 signatures to the National Assembly, an unparalleled event in Cuba, according to The Observer newspaper. It seems to have been successful in gaining attention. In December, the National Assembly replaced the ‘between two people’ definition with more ambiguous language, saying it would legislate on the issue in the...

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April 2019
News > International

Canada: court overrules father and allows child, 14, to change gender

The Supreme Court of British Columbia, in Canada, has allowed a 14-year-old girl to be injected with hormones to change her gender — against her father’s wishes. And the court has ruled, if the father does not refer to his daughter’s new chosen male name or her preferred pronouns, it ‘shall be considered to be family violence’ under the Family Law Act. ‘The government has taken over my parental rights,’ the girl’s father said, ‘They’re using [her] like she’s a guinea pig in an experiment’. The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was encouraged by her school counsellor to identify as a boy...

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March 2019
News > International

China: Government bans first commandment in church

The Chinese government has ordered one church to remove the first commandment, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’, from its wall. Chinese officials claim that displaying the first commandment contradicts the policy of China’s president, Xi Jinping. It is yet another example of increasingly intense persecution of Christians and churches by the Chinese state. Meeting places are being closed down, and pastors and church members are being imprisoned. The Chinese authorities are issuing a new state translation of the Bible to establish the ‘correct understanding’ of Scripture. The current approach has been deemed the worst religious persecution since Chairman Mao’s attempts to eradicate...

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March 2019
News > International

US: New York State legalises abortion up to birth

The American state of New York has passed ‘horrific’ legislation which allows abortions up to the point of birth in many cases. Democratic state governor, Andrew Cuomo, directed the One World Trade Center and other landmarks to be lit in pink to celebrate the passage of the ‘Reproductive Health Act (RHA)’. Under the new law, non-doctors are now allowed to conduct abortions and the procedure could be done until the mother’s due date if the woman’s health is endangered or if the foetus is not viable. The previous law only allowed abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s life was at risk. The...

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News

February 2019
News > Ethics > International

Netherlands: Dementia patient euthanised despite saying she ‘didn’t want to die’

A doctor has been charged with unlawfully ending a patient’s life in the first case of its kind since euthanasia was legalised in the Netherlands in 2002. The nursing home doctor, who remains anonymous, administered a lethal injection to a 74-year-old dementia patient despite the fact that her will was ‘unclear and contradictory’. Prosecutors have said that the doctor had ‘not acted carefully’ and ‘overstepped a line’. Though the dementia-sufferer had earlier expressed a desire for euthanasia when ‘the time was right’, in the days before she was killed, she had said she did not want to die.

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February 2019
News > International

Germany: Court upholds removal of children from home-school family

The German state acted within Convention law in removing children from a home-schooling family, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled. The Wunderlich family are considering a potential appeal to the Grand Chamber of the court. In August 2013, more than 30 police officers and social workers stormed the home of the Wunderlich family. The authorities forcibly removed the children from their parents and their home, leaving the family traumatised.       The children were ultimately returned to their parents but their legal status remained unclear as Germany is one of the few European countries that penalises families who want to home school. After domestic courts...

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February 2019
News > International

Greece: Court rules against the forced application of Sharia law

The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Greece in a case involving the forced application of Islamic Sharia law in an inheritance dispute. The case centred on a Muslim Greek man’s will in which he bequeathed all he owned to his wife. But it was deemed invalid after it was challenged by his sisters. However, the man’s widow appealed to the European court in 2014, having lost three quarters of her inheritance. She argued she had been discriminated against on religious grounds as, had her husband not been Muslim, she would have inherited his entire estate under Greek law. The European court agreed. In...

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News

February 2019
News > International > Persecution

China: Police given quotas for arrests of Christians

The religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter is reporting that police stations in the major port city of Dalian (a population of 6.6 million) in northeast China are being evaluated based on the number of Christians they arrest. A police officer from Dalian, the second-largest city in Liaoning Province, near the North Korean border, told the magazine that his station had received a notice from the National Security Bureau which, as part of a performance-assessment plan, set out how many Christians they would have to arrest. The officer said that all stations in the city had received a similar plan, assessing the station’s performance with a...

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