Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- US Says Religious Defamation Motion Goes 'Too Far'
- Teen Convert Caught in Custody Dispute Returned to Ohio
- S.C. Diocese Distances Itself from Episcopal Church
- PC(USA) Loses Three More Churches to EPC
US Says Religious Defamation Motion Goes 'Too Far'
The Associated Press reports that the United States defined its stance towards the UN "Defamation of Religions" resolution on Monday, strongly criticizing the non-binding resolution. "Some claim that the best way to protect the freedom of religion is to implement so-called anti-defamation policies that would restrict freedom of expression and the freedom of religion," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters. "I strongly disagree." The resolution names only Islam as a victim of defamation and is sponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a 56-nation bloc of Islamic countries. "The protection of speech about religion is particularly important since persons of different faith will inevitably hold divergent views on religious questions," Clinton said. "These differences should be met with tolerance, not with the suppression of discourse."
Teen Convert Caught in Custody Dispute Returned to Ohio
Religion News Service reports that an Ohio teen who ran away to Florida because she feared her Muslim father after her Christian conversion was ordered by a judge to return to Ohio. Rifqa Bary, 17, was ordered back to the state on Friday (Oct. 23) by Judge Daniel P. Dawson of the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. The Florida Department of Children and Families did not release details of the transfer to protect Bary's safety. She will be placed with a foster family. Bary's father has denied her claims that he threatened to kill her after learning of her conversion. During the summer, the teen traveled to Orlando, Fla. after meeting the wife of a pastor on Facebook. The couple took her in initially, but she was placed with another foster family after they contacted authorities.
S.C. Diocese Distances Itself from Episcopal Church
Religion News Service reports that the Diocese of South Carolina voted on Saturday (Oct. 24) to begin withdrawing from some governing bodies in the Episcopal Church. The move is in protest over the denomination's approval of same-sex blessings and gay bishops. While the diocese did not secede from the Episcopal Church, as four other dioceses have done in recent years, it did take similar steps, including declaring certain churchwide policies "null and void" and reducing participation in church governance. Bishop Mark Lawrence, whose diocese includes an estimated 30,000 Episcopalians in the southeastern part of South Carolina, said the moves were necessary to fight the "false gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity."
PC(USA) Loses Three More Churches to EPC
The Christian Post reports that three more PC(USA) churches have amicably left the denomination for a more conservative branch of the Presbyterian church. One of three northern California churches, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clovis, officially joined the Evangelical Presbyterian Church Sunday. "We're growing up," said the Rev. Chuck Shillito of Trinity. First Presbyterian Church of Fresno, Calif., and Fowler Presbyterian Church also joined the denomination this month. "You are coming to a denomination that is unwavering ... in our commitment to Jesus Christ, ... the Bible, ...[and] orthodox biblical Christianity," Dr. Jeffrey J. Jeremiah, stated clerk of the EPC, told the Fresno church earlier this month. "You can be confident that in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church we will encourage you and support you."