Public Prayer in Canada Restricted by Supreme Court
(WNS)–The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against a city in Quebec whose council members began their meetings with a prayer. The court said the prayer was discriminatory and violated the state’s duty of neutrality. But the court’s ruling doesn’t end the practice of public prayer entirely. Canada’s Parliament may still begin its sessions with prayer, as it has always done. But in Saguenay, the presence of religious symbols, including a cross, violated one atheist resident’s freedom of conscience and religion, or lack thereof, the court found. Christian leaders warn the ruling raises more questions than it answers. “For example, the court said that it is discriminatory for state officials in the performance of their functions to profess, adopt, or favor one belief to the exclusion of all others,”said Bruce Clemenger, President of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. “And yet they did not say how this might extend to matters of religious observance such as wearing religious symbols.”
Will Drop in International Adoptions Lead to More In-Country Placements?
(WNS)–International adoptions plummeted to a 30-year low for U.S. citizens last year, with further declines expected. But some see the trend as an opportunity to help children remain in their home countries. The U.S. State Department released its Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions in March. Between October 2013 and September 2014, officials granted 6,441 immigrant visas to children adopted abroad, the lowest level since 1984. A tidal wave of international adoptions started in the late 1990s and reached its peak in 2004, with almost 23,000 children adopted internationally that year. After a slow decline, adoptions began plummeting in 2009 and are expected to continue to fall due to other countries’ fluctuating policies toward intercountry adoption. Political and social change can halt adoptions—sometimes overnight—that have been in process for years. China, Russia, and Ethiopia are the top three countries Americans have adopted from during the last six years.
Wenzhou Pastor Sentenced to a Year in Prison
(WNS)–Hundreds of believers milled around outside a small Pingyang County courthouse Tuesday afternoon awaiting the verdict in the case of Wenzhou Pastor Huang Yizi, detained since last August for his opposition to the cross demolitions across Zhejiang province in eastern China. At 8 p.m., Huang’s lawyer, Zhang Kai, emerged to share the news with Christians who had traveled from all over region: The 40-year-old pastor of Fengwo Church was guilty of “gathering crowds to disturb social order” and sentenced to one year in prison. Zhang decried the entire trial process as “unlawful” and promised to appeal the decision.