Category: Religious Freedom

Church Head in Unprecedented Meeting with Turkish MPs

Turkey In an unprecedented meeting, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Turkey last week expressed his concerns and hopes for the country’s Christian minority to members of the Turkish Parliament.

The Feb. 20 meeting is a sign that progress is being made, but more progress is needed, said the patriarch, who as “archbishop of Constantinople” is “first among equals” in the Eastern Orthodox Communion.

California slaps down attempts to ban circumcision

cicumcision California has banned local authorities from outlawing male circumcision, striking a final blow to a San Francisco group that had hoped to put the matter to a popular vote.

The activists believe that male circumcision, a cornerstone ritual of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, is essentially culturally accepted genital mutilation, and should be a matter of individual, not parental, choice.

US Couple Threatened With $500-Per-Meeting Fines For Home Bible Study

San Juan Capistrano A San Juan Capistrano, California, has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a “church” and not as a private gathering.

The Pacific Justice Institute says it is “committed to defending this family’s home Bible study all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.”

Turkey Overturns Historic Religious Property Seizures

Turkey The Turkish government made a historic U-turn in state policy this past weekend, issuing an official decree inviting Turkey’s Christian and Jewish communities to reclaim their long-confiscated religious properties.

The return of these extensive properties to their rightful owners has been a key demand of the European Union (EU), to which Turkey is applying for full membership.

Nepal Plans New Criminal Code Forbidding Evangelism

Nepal Five years after it abolished Hinduism as the state religion, Nepal is working on a new criminal code forbidding a person from one faith to “convert a person or abet him to change his religion.”

Article 160 of the proposed code also says no one will be allowed to do anything or behave in any way that could cause a person from a caste, community or creed to lose faith in his/her traditional religion or convert to a different religion. The proposal would also prohibit conversion “by offering inducements or without inducement,” and preaching “a different religion or faith with any other intent.”

Prospects Dim for Religious Freedom in Nepal

Nepal A new constitution that Nepal’s parliament is scheduled to put into effect before May 28 may not include the right to propagate one’s faith.

The draft constitution, aimed at completing the country’s transition from a Hindu monarchy to a secular democracy, contains provisions in its “religious freedom” section that prohibit anyone from converting others from one religion to another.

US €˜Christian roommate’ complaint thrown out

An American woman who placed an advert in her church for a Christian roommate has had a complaint against her dismissed.

The unnamed single woman from Michigan had been landed with a civil rights complaint for the advert and was facing a big fine.

But following intervention from a leading US religious liberty group, which had labelled the case “absurd”, the complaint against the 31-year-old woman was thrown out.

Joel Oster, from the Alliance Defense Fund legal group, welcomed the decision, saying it was right that the “frivolous complaint” had been dismissed.

US University tells Christian to change beliefs

A Christian student in the US has been told she will not be permitted to graduate unless she changes her beliefs.

Jennifer Keeton, 24, is studying for a degree in counselling at Augusta State University in Georgia. But University chiefs say her beliefs about sexual ethics do not conform to the prevailing views of the counselling profession, and she much change or get out.

She has been ordered to undergo a re-education plan involving “remediation” assignments and “diversity sensitivity training”.

She must report back on how the re-education has influenced her beliefs. If she refuses, she has been told she faces being thrown off her degree course.

She has also been urged to attend a homosexual parade in Augusta.

American pro-freedom group, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), has come to the student’s aid.

Supported by the ADF, she is suing the University for interfering with her religious liberty.