Religious News From Around the Web January 31, 2022
Concern Over India’s Violations of Religious Freedom; Pope Denounces Misinformation on Vaccines; World Remembers Holocaust; Human Rights Concerns Persist as Winter Olympics Begin; Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Looms; Finnish Government Puts Christianity on Trial Calls Bible “Hate Speech”
Concern Over India’s Violations of Religious Freedom
A United States Senator and three members of Congress have condemned escalating violations of human rights, civil and political liberties, and religious freedom under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule. The widespread persecution of India’s religious minorities and human rights defenders and the rash of anti-democratic legislation in India threatens and undermines India’s pluralist Constitution, these officials said at a special congressional briefing called to commemorate India’s 73rd Republic Day on January 26. Saying he was “concerned” about the Modi government’s “efforts to peel back the rights of religious minorities in India,” U.S. Senator Ed Markey said that the “laws on religious conversion, citizenship and other restrictive measures fly in the face of India’s inclusive secular Constitution and core tenets of any democracy.”
Pope Denounces Misinformation on Vaccines
Pope Francis denounced on Friday the “distortion of reality based on fear” that has ripped across the world during the coronavirus pandemic, but he also called for compassion, urging journalists to help those misled by coronavirus-related misinformation and fake news to better understand the scientific facts.
World Remembers Holocaust
On Jan. 27th – the anniversary of the liberation by Soviet troops of Auschwitz-Birkena – the world remembered the millions of Jews, Poles, Roma and others murdered in the Nazi “Final Solution.” At the memorial site in Poland, a small number of survivors gathered in an auditorium, curtailed amid Europe’s coronavirus surge. Others joined online, and German teens visited Holocaust sites (See Video).
Human Rights Concerns Persist as Winter Olympics Begin
With the Winter Olympics opening in China on 4 February, controversies over human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims and Hong Kong democracy protesters, and a continuing crackdown on religious freedom are being highlighted. Communist authorities have created a strict “bubble” during the Olympics to ensure there is no contact between local residents and visitors. All arrivals will face severe movement restrictions, and will be required to do Covid tests daily, while none will be allowed to leave Olympic venues. China is also building permanent quarantine centers. Four massive complexes have gone up in southern China, each with thousands of rooms.
Finnish Government Puts Christianity on Trial Calls Bible “Hate Speech”
Two Christian leaders in Finland stood trial in Helsinki on Jan. 24 for publicly stating the Bible’s teachings on sex and marriage. Longtime Member of Parliament Paivi Rasanen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola defended in court their decision to write and publish, respectively, a pamphlet explaining Christian teachings about sex and marriage. In the trial’s opening arguments, which will resume on Feb. 14, Finnish prosecutors described quotations from the Bible as “hate speech.” Finland’s top prosecutor’s office essentially put the Bible on trial, an unprecedented move for a secular court, said Paul Coleman, a human rights lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom International who is assisting in the Finns’ legal defense and was present during Monday’s trial.
Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Looms
The Supreme Court is considering a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. If the law is upheld, anti-abortion activists said much of the attention would shift to Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Kansas, and are concerned that the Supreme Court may overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling that women have a constitutional right to an abortion.