In today’s News:
Christians mourn for Hagia Sophia
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said yesterday that July 24 “is a day of mourning” for Hagia Sophia. The former church and museum in Istanbul will that day be inaugurated as a mosque. In a July 21 tweet, the Conference said that it joins the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America “in offering our prayers for the restoration of Hagia Sophia as a place of prayer and reflection for all peoples.” Turkish President Erdoğan signed a decree July 10 converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque. The decree followed closely on a ruling by the Council Of State, Turkey’s highest administrative court, which declared unlawful an 80-year old government decree which converted the building from a mosque into a museum.
Hope for faith-based adoption agencies
The U.S. Court Of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit issued a resounding victory yesterday for New Hope Family Services, a faith-based adoption provider. The court reversed a district court’s dismissal of New Hope’s lawsuit against New York officials seeking to shut down the provider simply for its religious beliefs about marriage. In November, at the request of Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing New Hope, the 2nd Circuit temporarily halted state officials from interrupting current adoption placements or mandating the closure of New Hope’s adoption program until the court had a chance to consider whether to reverse the federal district court’s decision. The case now goes back to district court for further proceedings. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services singled out the religious nonprofit for its policy prioritizing the placement of children it serves in homes with a married mother and father. In its decision in favor of New Hope, the 2nd Circuit concluded that the district court should not have dismissed the lawsuit because the adoption provider’s arguments demonstrate that the government’s regulation may not have been neutral and may instead have been “informed by hostility toward certain religious beliefs.” In the past, the state agency praised New Hope for the quality of its services, but the state agency later changed course and singled out the nonprofit’s policy regarding child placements. The state agency described the policy as “discriminatory and impermissible” despite the fact that New Hope respectfully refers couples to other providers and has faced no formal complaints from prospective parents due to the policy. The state agency issued an ultimatum that New Hope revise its policy or submit a close-out plan for its adoption program.
Another city declares itself a ‘sanctuary for the unborn’
East Mountain became the 14th Texas city to declare itself a “sanctuary for the unborn” on Monday, joining a growing effort to protect unborn babies from abortions across the state. KETK reports the city council voted to approve the pro-life ordinance Monday for its city, population 797. The vote was three in favor, two abstentions.