1. God returns to Eastern Europe: New surveys reveal a resurgence of religious faith where ‘official’ atheism prevailed. 

By The Washington Times, July 28, 2017, Pg. B2, Editorial

Only a quarter of a century after the Iron Curtain rang down on the repression and official atheism of the evil empire — “godless communism” some called it — there’s a resurgence of religious faith and identification in what was once the Soviet Union and its satraps in eastern Europe. 

A new poll by the Pew Research Center finds solid majorities of adults in those places profess a belief in God and in the Christian faith, as usually expressed in the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. Some smaller Protestant bodies, such as the Baptists in Russia, are prospering again much as they did a hundred years ago in the twilight of empire.

What the Communists learned is that faith and freedom are inseparably linked, and that tyrannies grow where atheism dominates. Despots of all stripes learn to their sorrow that true faith comes not as something collective, but to each man and woman as individuals. There’s something deep within the human heart that reaches out to find a spark of the divine. No government, no army, no bureaucracy can crush it


2. Planned Parenthood doctor shown talking around partial-birth law.

By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, July 28, 2017, Pg. A2

A new undercover video shows an abortionist at Planned Parenthood admitting to feigning compliance with the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.

At a Planned Parenthood conference evening reception, Dr. Suzie Prabhakaran, vice president of medical affairs for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, says she routinely documents her “intent” to perform dismemberment abortions, where the fetus is pulled apart by forceps rather than extracted from the womb alive, but leaves open the possibility of actually performing partial-birth abortions.

“To comply with the partial-birth abortion ban, you basically have to say, ‘I intend to utilize dismemberment techniques for this procedure,’ ” Ms. Prabhakaran tells undercover pro-life activists posing as fetal tissue buyers. “So every time you do a procedure, that’s how you document. So, like, there’s like a checkbox, so it would be before the procedure, you do your evaluation, you write, ‘I intend to utilize dismemberment techniques for this procedure.’ “

Ms. Prabhakaran explains that she never uses digoxin or other agents to kill the fetus prior to the abortion, and relies completely on the dismemberment “checkbox” to certify compliance with the partial-birth ban.


3. A much-needed measure to fight modern day slavery.

By Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, Policy Adviser for The Catholic Association, The Washington Examiner, July 28, 2017, 12:01 AM

It has been well over a century that slavery has been outlawed in the United States, but the evil institution still thrives worldwide. UNICEF estimates that over 45 million people are pawns in the multibillion-dollar transnational industry of modern day slavery.

The sheer scope and scale of the problem is daunting, but the United States is committed to its eradication. Legislation passed the House following last month’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report from the State Department. The three bills are based on the idea that human trafficking will only end when prevention and prosecution strategies are broad and comprehensive, combining and coordinating resources across state, federal, and even international lines.

The appropriately named Frederick Douglas Act (H.R. 2200), sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., includes new funding for training government personnel, local police, and even airport workers, as well as providing for victim support and reintegration. In order to put American might into the fight against international modern day slavery, the bill reauthorizes the Trafficking in Victims Protection Act of 2000.

Whether at home or abroad, modern day slavery is a crime that rightfully appalls men and women of good will, regardless of ideological or political persuasion. As the great English abolitionist William Wilberforce once said, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know.”


4. Charlie Gard’s parents say hospital denied their ‘final wish’ for dying son.

By Reuters, July 28, 2017, 2:33 AM

The parents of Charlie Gard, a terminally ill baby who a judge ordered should be sent to a hospice to die, said Britain’s top pediatric hospital had denied them their final wish to decide the arrangements for their son’s death.

After a harrowing legal battle that prompted a global debate over who has the moral right to decide the fate of a sick child, a judge on Thursday ordered that Charlie be moved to a hospice where the ventilator that keeps him alive will be turned off.

His parents had sought first to take him home but Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) said that was not possible due the ventilation Charlie needs, they then asked for several days in a hospice to bid farewell to their son.

But they were unable to find doctors to oversee such an extended period of time and so a judge ruled that Charlie be moved to a hospice to die.


5. Brownback picked for religion post.

By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Legal Advisor for The Catholic Association Foundation, The Hill, July 27, 2017, 7:00 PM

The nomination of Governor Sam Brownback for ambassador at-large for international religious freedom (IRF) provides a bright light of hope for those suffering religious persecution throughout the world.  

In Governor Brownback, President Trump has nominated a superbly qualified champion of international religious freedom possessing both the proven commitment and understanding of this crucial issue.

This is the highest ranking position in the American government focused specifically on promoting religious freedom as part of U.S. foreign policy, reporting on human rights abuses, and holding foreign actors accountable for how they treat religious minorities.

Brownback will have his work cut out for him. Religious persecution across the globe is vast and growing fast. Typical estimates indicate that almost 3 out of 4 people in the world live in countries with high or very high governmental restrictions or hostilities toward religion.  Many religious communities are threatened with extinction in certain regions.  

President Trump’s choice of Governor Brownback as IRF ambassador at-large is a welcome reminder of the importance this administration — and our country — places on religious freedom.

The Senate would do well to quickly confirm their former colleague.


6. Statement says feminist group behind Mexico bishops bombing.

By Associated Press, July 27, 2017

An internet statement claiming to be from an anti-authoritarian feminist movement says the group was behind Tuesday’s bombing at Mexico’s Roman Catholic Council of Bishops. The homemade device caused little damage.

A statement signed by the “Informal Feminist Command for Anti-Authoritarian Action” was posted Wednesday on Contra Info. The international website says it is maintained by “anarchists, anti-authoritarians and libertarians.”

The statement says Feminist Command was responsible for the bomb made of “dynamite, LP gas and butane.” It then says: “For every torture and murder in the name of your God! For every child defiled by pedophiles!”