National Catholic Reporter

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Freedom of religion

Whither the Middle East?

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Authors' note: This blog post is part two of a two-part series. Read part one: "A Middle Eastern House of Cards."

Great uncertainty hovers over discussions of the shape of the new order that will emerge from the violence and chaos sweeping through the Middle East today. The old order, unnaturally born from the Sykes-Picot Agreement 100 years ago, is coming to an end, dealt a death blow by the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and alternative visions for the region have proved misguided.

Bishops call for 'mutual respect' in 'necessary dialogue' on RFRA

Indiana's Catholic bishops on Wednesday urged people to show mutual respect for one another and allow "the necessary dialogue" to take place to make sure no one in the state will face discrimination, "whether it is for their sexual orientation or for living their religious beliefs."

Remarking on the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law March 26, they said it "appears to have divided the people of our state like few other issues in recent memory."

Rabbi David Saperstein confirmed as U.S. ambassador for religious freedom

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The Senate has confirmed Rabbi David Saperstein as the State Department's ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, making him the first non-Christian to hold the job.

Saperstein, who led the Reform Jewish movement's Washington office for 40 years, focusing on social justice and religious freedom issues, was nominated by President Barack Obama in July and confirmed by a 62-35 vote on Friday.

Saperstein takes a liberal bent on domestic issues, and all but one of the votes against him came from a Republican.

Growing secularization seen weakening place of religion in U.S. society

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Religious liberty is under aggressive assault on many fronts in a culture increasingly insensitive to rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to U.S. Constitution, according to speakers at a forum Monday in New York

The program, "In the Founding Tradition," was organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom and drew 100 people to the Union League Club in Manhattan.

The Yazidi and the Christians in Iraq

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My heart cries out for the Yazidi people and the Christian people in Iraq. Both are threatened with genocide by the Islamic State. Hundreds of Yazidi have been killed, some even buried alive. The rest have fled to the Sinjar Mountains without food or water, desperately trying to save their lives. Thus, the United States instituted humanitarian airdrops of food and water.

State Department report: Religious persecution makes migrants out of millions

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And then there were nine. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Monday that Turkmenistan has joined the State Department's list of worst religious freedom offenders.

The State Department's "Countries of Particular Concern" list had remained static since 2006, when eight countries -- Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan -- were designated as CPCs.

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In This Issue

August 28-September 10, 2015

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