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Christian groups in Northern Ireland have welcomed newly published guidelines on abortion which offer no change in laws regulating terminations there. Despite some concerns over the affording of a more liberal approach to interpreting the new guidelines, issued in the wake of a legal challenge, both the Christian public policy charity CARE and the Evangelical Alliance have expressed support for them.
Pope Francis has urged the Pakistani authorities to step up security for the nation’s Christian community in the wake of the Easter bombing in Lahore which claimed 70 lives. The Pontiff appealed to “the civil authorities and all community leaders in that nation to do everything possible to ensure the security and serenity of the population, particularly the most vulnerable religious minorities.” The extremist Jamaat-ul-Ahrar grouping claimed the attack and stated it specifically targeted Christians.
The US state of Georgia has vetoed a bill aimed at protecting the religious freedom of groups unwilling to facilitate same-sex weddings. The ‘Pastor Protection Act’ fell after major corporations such as Disney, and leading Hollywood figures said they would boycott the state if the bill was passed. The failure of the bill now opens the door to legal actions against individuals and groups opposed to same-sex unions on the grounds of faith.
A student union in Australia has threatened to de-register a Christian grouping for students because it believes the group’s requirement that members accept the divinity of Jesus Christ amounts to discrimination. The University of Sydney’s student union has demanded that the on-campus Evangelical Union drop this requirement by the end of March or be barred from the campus.