The U.S. Department of Treasury announced yesterday that its Office of Foreign Assets Control has imposed sanctions on Turkey’s Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and its Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu. They are leaders of Turkish government organizations responsible for the arrest and detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. Brunson has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years. According to the Treasury Department:Pastor Andrew Brunson has reportedly been a victim of unfair and unjust detention by the Government of Turkey. He was arrested in Izmir, Turkey in October 2016, and with an absence of evidence to support the charges, he was accused of aiding armed terrorist organizations and obtaining confidential government information for political and military espionage. Vox, reporting on the Treasury Department’s action, says that Brunson’s case has become a personal issue for President Trump and Vice President Pence, and is important to many Christian evangelicals. Turkey, however, apparently sees Brunson’s case as tied to its attempt to get the U.S. to extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen to Turkey.
The Unification Church (Family Federation for World Peace and Unification USA) has filed a suit alleging unauthorized use of a registered trademark against The World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania (
According to an ADF press release, the U.S. Department of Justice will host a Religious Liberty Summit this morning. It will be live streamed at this link beginning at 9:30 AM. The Summit
In In re: Fortieth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, (PA Sup. Ct., July 27, 2018), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved the public release (with certain redactions) of a 900-page grand jury report on allegations of child sexual abuse, failure to report abuse, and other acts endangering children by persons associated with 6 Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses. The Grand Jury report, which lists over 300 clergy as predators, also covers possible obstruction of justice by Church officials, community leaders, and public officials. However the court ordered that there be temporary redactions in the report as released to safeguard the reputations of individuals who have filed challenges to the report. The court also called for oral argument on what due process mechanisms should be available to those individuals challenging the report’s conclusions about them. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:The order by the seven-member high court provided a temporary victory for about two dozen current and former clergy members who have waged a furious legal fight to prevent their names from being publicly disclosed. The high court’s decision will allow them to remain unidentified for weeks, if not months, while the justices weigh their arguments.
Crux reported today that at the Vatican, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals. The 88-year old cardinal’s resignation comes amid growing numbers of complaints about past sexual abuse and misconduct by the now-retired Archbishop of Washington. The Pope ordered McCarrick
AFP reports that on Tuesday a court on the Indonesian island of Sumatra sentenced a 21-year old Christian university student to 4 years in jail and a fine of $70,000 (US) for a Facebook post that compared the Prophet Muhammad to a pig and said that Muhammad approved bestiality. The student, Martinus Gulo, had been charged under Art. 28 of Indonesia’s Electronic Information and Transactions law (with unrelated 2016 amendments) that outlaws spreading hatred or dissension against individuals or groups based on their race, religion or ethnicity.