1. LGBTQ advocates challenge religious foster care programs, By Alex Swoyer, The Washington Times, October 27, 2021, Pg. A8

LGBTQ advocates are issuing challenges to Christian foster care programs by targeting their government funding — and suing the federal government — in a gambit that could involve the Supreme Court, which sided with a Catholic foster program earlier this year.

The cases are looming in federal courts amid last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, in which the justices sided unanimously with Catholic Social Services when it challenged the city denying it a foster care contract for failing to place children with same-sex couples.

“They are trying to force the court to resolve the ambiguity or uncertainty left by Fulton,” said Robert Tuttle, a law professor at George Washington University. “It really has to turn on the question of whether the law is being generally applied.”


2. Jehovah’s Witnesses given lengthy prison sentences, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington TimesOctober 27, 2021, Pg. A10

Four Russian members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses received stiff prison terms Monday in what the Americanbased movement calls the “longest, harshest” sentences imposed on its believers since the 2017 designation of the group as “extremists.” The Trusovskiy District Court of Astrakhan sentenced Rustam Diarov, 48, Yevgeniy Ivanov, 44, and Sergey Klikunov, 46, each, to eight years in prison. Olga Ivanova, 38, Mr. Yevgeniy’s wife, received a sentence of 42 months, a Jehovah’s Witnesses statement said.

Natalia Prilutskaya, a researcher for the human rights group Amnesty International, called the verdicts “some of the harshest sentences issued so far against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia since the Supreme Court declared Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organization to be ‘extremist’ and banned it in 2017.” Commissioner James W. Carr of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said the lengthy sentences “are a clear indication of the difficult religious freedom landscape in Russia” since 2017. “The length of sentences given to Jehovah’s Witnesses has grown steadily since then, and for no apparent reason.”


3. Pope OKs Canada trip to help healing with Indigenous peoples, By Frances D’Emilio Smyth, Associated PressOctober 27, 2021, 8:27 AM

Pope Francis has agreed to visit Canada to help ongoing efforts at reconciliation with Indigenous peoples following shocking revelations of the Catholic church’s role in the abuse and deaths of thousands of native children, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

In a brief statement, the Holy See’s press office said that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited the pope to make an apostolic journey to Canada “also in the context of the long-standing pastoral process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.” The statement didn’t cite why the reconciliation process was needed.


4. Confirming Rashad Hussain would show that religious freedom is a cause that unites us, By Robert P. George and David Saperstein, Religion News Service, October 26, 2021, 4:23 PM, Opinion

In this hyperpartisan era of American politics, international religious freedom has consistently been one aspect of American public policy that still enjoys strong bipartisan support and cooperation.

Indeed, the two of us, from widely differing political perspectives, stand united on two issues: the foundational principle of religious freedom as vital to America’s strategic interests and the need for the Senate to prioritize crucial diplomatic posts and expeditiously move to confirmation.

These two issues are important to bear in mind as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds its hearing Wednesday (Oct. 27) on the nomination of Rashad Hussain to be the ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

Having worked with Hussain, an experienced diplomat who has long fought for religious freedom, we are confident that he will provide exactly that strong leadership.

His nomination has brought enthusiastic praise from groups ranging from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the Baptist World Alliance to the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and the Union for Reform Judaism, as well as widespread commendations from the Muslim community.

Hussain’s long record of commitment to protecting Christian rights (which often face particular challenges in Muslim countries) and his record on speaking up for Jewish rights in the face of instances of antisemitism, whether it emanates from secular or religious sources, or from the right or left wing, is exemplary.

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions  at  Princeton University.   David Saperstein is a rabbi, attorney and former U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom


5. Illinois Senate OKs repealing abortion parental notification, By John O’Connor, Associated Press, October 26, 2021, 10:48 AM

The Illinois Senate voted Tuesday to repeal a law requiring that parents or guardians be notified when girls younger than 18 are seeking an abortion.

Building on momentum among abortion-rights activists after September’s Texas “heartbeat” law banned most abortions, Democrats who control the General Assembly want to dump the 1995 law requiring notification, which both sides of the debate call the last restriction on abortions in Illinois.

Republicans repeatedly point out that notification has the support of nearly three-quarters of Illinoisans responding to a poll conducted last spring.


6. Orthodox leader discusses religious freedom, climate change with Biden, By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, October 26, 2021, 1:40 PM

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I discussed religious freedom and climate change with U.S. leaders on Monday in Washington, D.C., and announced an interfaith initiative to encourage vaccination against COVID-19.

After the Orthodox patriarch met with President Joe Biden on Monday, Oct. 25, the White House stated that the two leaders “discussed efforts to confront climate change, steps to end the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the importance of religious freedom as a human right.”

Bartholomew also met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday. A State Department spokesperson said afterward that the two “discussed the U.S. commitment to supporting religious freedom around the world.” Their discussion also included the situation of Christians and other religious minorities in Turkey.


TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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