Court: Silence golden in Illinois schools

A dormant 2007 Illinois law mandating "a brief period of silence" at the beginning of every school day was upheld by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The court said the law was not religious in nature but aimed instead "to calm school children before the start of their day." Permitting students to pray during that moment, it said, did not violate the First Amendment.

Doctors allowed to opt out of abortions

EUROPE The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) resolved in October that European doctors have a right to conscientious objection when it comes to abortion. PACE adopted the resolution instead of an earlier draft from its Social, Health, and Family Affairs Committee that objected to "unregulated use" of the right to conscientious objection. The finished resolution prohibits anyone from "being coerced, held liable, or discriminated" into involvement with an abortion "for any reason."

Christians acquitted for breaking Muslim fast

ALGERIA A judge in the North African nation's Kabylie region tossed out a case against two recent Muslim converts to Christianity who had been charged with eating during daylight hours in the holy month of Ramadan. The defense argued that the converts had been eating in a discreet place and fell under the protection of international religious freedom law. The judge found that Muslims must fast under Algerian law but that non-Muslims are exempt.

Evangelicals influence presidential election

BRAZIL Evangelical voters took center stage in this year's presidential election after concerns over abortion forced Brazil's two leading candidates into a runoff. In the general election, many evangelicals propelled dark-horse Green Party candidate ...

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