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House church maintains Easter showdown

CHINA Beijing's largest unregistered church held outdoor Sunday services throughout May even as police arrested worshipers who showed up and kept hundreds others—including pastors and elders—under house arrest. The 1,000-member Shouwang Church launched the campaign weeks before Easter, after its landlord gave in to government pressure and terminated the church's lease. State authorities have denied Shouwang's registration attempts since 2005, insisting that the church join the state-approved Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Shouwang's refusal, and subsequent meeting troubles—the church made international news in 2009 for worshiping outside during a snowstorm after one of many evictions—have become emblematic of the growing strength of Chinese house churches as well as their Achilles' heel: state pressure on landlords.

Ambassador resigns over faith focus

MALTA The American ambassador to Malta resigned after an internal government audit rebuked him for spending too much time writing about abortion and his religious beliefs. Douglas Kmiec, a Catholic and former professor of law at Pepperdine University, said in his resignation letter that "the only true and lasting peace will be one that incorporates sensitivity to the world's faith traditions in diplomacy." A report from the State Department's inspector general said Kmiec spent "considerable time" writing articles rather than on meetings and other events typical for ambassadors; Kmiec argues that his faith-based writings were relevant to diplomacy in the Catholic archipelago.

RLUIPA loses its bite

Prisoners can no longer sue states for compensation when their religious rights are violated, according to the Supreme Court. ...

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June 2011

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