Church & State / Religious Freedom
Putin wants monasteries, church rebuilt inside Kremlin
Putin has cultivated strong ties with Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, adopting more conservative policies and prompting some critics to suggest the line separating state and church has become blurred. (Reuters)
CRIMEA: Old and new place of worship problems, Greek Catholic clergy restrictions - 27 June 2014
Crimean officials deny that a decree which will lead to a substantial rise in the rent the Kiev Patriarchate Ukrainian Orthodox Church pays on its nearly 20-year-old cathedral in the Crimean capital Simferopol is a targeted move. Sevastopol's Roman Catholic community is less optimistic since March about being able to regain its historic church. It lodged a European Court of Human Rights case over earlier denials in 2001. Greek Catholic priests from elsewhere in Ukraine can serve in Crimea only for three months in any four. All 1,546 religious communities with Ukrainian registration will have to re-register under Russian law.
Mayor Allows Religious Services in Public-School Buildings
"Grace Fellowship Church, which meets at Public School 150 in the Sunnyside section of Queens, was one of about 30 churches facing eviction after a U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision earlier this month upheld the city's right to bar them from worshiping in public schools on weekends." (Wall Street Journal)
China: Christians scramble to save churches, crosses - CNN.com
The local authorities are mostly targeting state-sanctioned churches, long tolerated by the ruling Communist Party and often touted as a sign of religious freedom in the officially atheist country. Scores have been injured in the crackdown, as congregations throughout the region try to stop the government teams.
Some Christians arm as Mideast perils mount
Now, for the first time since the Lebanese civil war ended in 1990, Lebanese Christians are rearming and setting up self-defense units to protect themselves, an indication of the growing anxiety over the expanding reach of radical Islamic groups.
Quiet fade-out for Obama’s faith council
Three years into his presidency, Obama’s marquee council of faith advisers has gone dark — a little-noticed postscript for a panel that he rolled out with fanfare and high expectations during his first weeks in office but ended up playing only a limited role in West Wing deliberations. (Politico)
Opinion: Faith-based farce
It seems George W. Bush’s “armies of compassion” have become Barack Obama’s armies of contraception. (Jim Towey, The Hill)
A More Secular Europe, Divided by the Cross
A commemorative euro coin with Christian imagery became the latest source of discord between the profoundly religious and those who prize a more rigid church-state divide. (The New York Times)
Texas a battleground for church and state issues
National advocacy groups have focused much of their efforts in Texas, most recently over Hays County commissioners opening their meetings with prayer, the Cedar Park Police Department putting a cross on its chaplain’s seal and Kountze High School cheerleaders carrying Christian signs at football games (Austin American-Statesman)
Christians Claim Workplace Discrimination in Landmark Case
Four Christians went to the European Human Rights Court this week to complain that their faith was under fire in the workplace. Do believers have an absolute right to religious expression at work, or do the requirements of employers and the rights of other members of society come first? (International Herald Tribune)