1. Most of World Lacks Real Religious Freedom, UN Official Says.

By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press, October 25, 2017, 12:57 AM

Three-quarters of the world’s people live in countries that either restrict the right to religion or belief or have “a high level of social hostility involving religion or belief,” the U.N. special investigator on religious rights said Tuesday.

Ahmed Shaheed told the General Assembly’s human rights committee that religious intolerance is prevalent globally — and rising around the world.

He said over 70 countries currently have anti-blasphemy laws that can be used to suppress dissenting views, in violation of international human rights standards.

Shaheed urged countries to adopt and enforce “adequate criminal sanctions penalizing violent and particularly egregious discriminatory acts perpetrated by state or non-state actors against persons based on their religion or belief.”


2. Court Rules Trump Administration Must Allow Undocumented Teen to Seek Abortion: Appeals court voted 6-3 along ideological lines in favor of the 17-year-old.

By Brent Kendall, The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2017, Pg. A2

A divided federal appeals court ruled the Trump administration must allow an undocumented teenager to leave government custody so she may seek an abortion, a major swing in a case that touches on two highly divisive political issues.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, with nearly all active judges participating, voted 6-3 Tuesday along ideological lines in favor of the teen, with liberal-leaning judges in the majority and conservatives in dissent.

The appeals court’s action reinstates a federal trial judge’s court order last week that said the administration must permit a 17-year-old, known anonymously in court papers as Jane Doe, to leave the shelter where she is detained so she can visit an abortion clinic.

The ruling could allow the teen to seek the abortion as soon as Wednesday, unless the Trump administration makes an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court and persuades a majority of justices to intervene.


3. Callista Gingrich takes oath as U.S. ambassador to The Vatican.

By Dave Boyer, The Washington Times, October 25, 2017, Pg. A2

Callista Gingrich was sworn in Tuesday as the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican during a low-key ceremony at the White House.

Mrs. Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, took the oath in an Oval Office ceremony attended by President Trump and others, including her husband.


4. Carl Anderson: US Has ‘Unique Moral Obligation’ to Help Iraqi Christians: The head of the Knights of Columbus attended the government of Hungary’s recent conference in support of persecuted Christians.

By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, October 24, 2017

The Knights of Columbus fraternal organization has given millions of dollars, resources and political support to help persecuted Christians, especially in Iraq, enabling many families either to find refuge in temporary camps or to be resettled in towns liberated from Islamic extremists.

To find out what the Knights’ perspective is on the current situation, the Register’s Edward Pentin sat down with Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who was attending the first major government-funded conference in support of persecuted Christians, which took place in Hungary Oct. 11-13.

In this interview, Anderson explains why the Knights of Columbus feel so passionate about helping persecuted Christian minorities in the Middle East, their keen desire that Christians in the region don’t end up permanently displaced, and why personnel in the Trump administration need to change to enable the president to fulfill his campaign promises for persecuted Christians.

[Pentin:] Are you also putting any pressure on President Trump to fulfill his promise to help persecuted Christians?

[Anderson:] I wouldn’t characterize it as pressure. I think the big difficulty is that we have to deal with career government employees — government officials appointed by the previous administration. In part, that is an education challenge; in part, it’s a policy challenge. We’re asking for policies to change and practices to change to that which I believe are consistent with what President Trump has said, but it is different to the status quo in those departments.