US announces new religious freedom initiatives

President Donald Trump called on the world to work harder to end religious persecution. Speaking to the United Nations in September, he promised $25 million additional US aid to protect international religious sites and announced plans for a first-of-its-kind coalition of US businesses to take a proactive role in defending religious freedom. According to Pew Research, 83 percent of the world’s population live in places with “high” or “very high” restrictions on religious liberty. Some of the world’s most populous countries, including China, India, Indonesia, and Russia are among the worst offenders. Trump specifically called out violations in China, Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela.

Switzerland: Evangelicals pray for election

Evangelicals in Switzerland held a nationwide prayer campaign leading up to the country’s late-October parliamentary elections, inspired by a similar effort in Austria earlier this year. In both countries, evangelicals have been concerned about the Syrian refugee crisis, laws that may limit their messages addressing homosexuality, and the rise of right-wing populism. The Swiss Evangelical Alliance asked people to pray the political discussion would focus on the common good. The country has multiple Christian parties, but the campaign did not endorse any specific candidates. Participants were encouraged to choose a minister and member state—called a canton—to pray for during the election season.

Iraq: Christian library reopens after ISIS

A Christian library destroyed by ISIS in 2014 has been restored and reopened with the support of Open Doors and the Syriac Catholic Church. The small public library, with only about ...

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