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Your weekly roundup of news concerning religious freedom and human rights:

Kenya: With deep mourning, International Justice Mission (IJM) today announced that two individuals associated with the organization, including staff member, Willie Kimani, and taxi driver, Joseph Muiruri, were killed following their abduction in Nairobi on June 23rd. IJM client Josephat Mwenda, also abducted, is still missing. Read more…

Russia: In the most repressive laws since Soviet era, evangelizing will be banned outside of churches. Read more…

Pakistan: An anti-terrorism court sentenced, on Tuesday, a Muslim and two Christians to death on charges of blasphemy. Two of them were also awarded 35-year imprisonment terms. Read more…

California: A bill wending its way through the California Legislature would limit religious colleges’ ability to claim an exemption from federal Title IX regulations that bar discrimination against LGBT students and faculty. Only schools that prepare students for pastoral ministry would be allowed the religious exemption under California Senate Bill 1146 — which passed the state Senate in May and was scheduled for a hearing in the state Assembly yesterday (June 30). In religious schools that receive Title IX money, students who believe they have faced discrimination on the basis of their sexual identity would have the right to sue the school. While Title IX does not expressly deal with sexual orientation, courts have upheld its use to protect LGBT students from harassment, bullying and discrimination in schools that receive Title IX money. Read more…

Seattle: The Supreme Court declined to hear a major religious-freedom case on Tuesday. At its conceptual core, the case asks whether religious business owners and employees who sell pharmaceuticals should be able to refuse to provide abortifacients to women, even when state regulations require them to do so. In other words, does the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment require the government to make exceptions for religious objectors? In his dissent to the Court, Alito said it was “ominous” that the Court did not “deem the case worthy of our time. If this is a sign of how religious-liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead,” Alito wrote, “those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.” Read more…

Ontario, Canada: Trinity Western University, an evangelical Christian private school in Langley, B.C., has been seeking accreditation across Canada for a new law program. All students, staff and faculty at TWU must sign a “community covenant” which forbids sex outside of heterosexual marriage. The school says that it does not discriminate and that anyone may enroll. The Law Society of Upper Canada, which regulates the legal profession in Ontario, had voted 28-21, with one abstention, to refuse to accredit the school, calling it discriminatory.

Read more..

July’s Library Feature:

Hostile Environment: Understanding and Responding to Anti-Christian Bias, by George Yancey

“Sometimes Christians are too quick to claim that they are being persecuted. But Christians aren’t just being paranoid or alarmist. Anti-Christian hostility is real. Yancey unpacks the underlying perspectives and root causes of what he terms ‘Christianophobia,’ and considers to what extent Christians have themselves contributed to anti-Christian hostility. In this truthful yet hope-filled treatise, Yancey shows how Christians can respond more constructively, defusing tensions and working toward the common good.”

 

We Persevere is curated by K.A. Ellis, pioneer of the Persevering Church campaign. She is Ambassador for International Christian Response, a Swiss organization providing support for church planters in hostile regions where Western missionaries cannot go.

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