Religious liberty summit, pro-life victory in NYC, Dennis Quaid, Chance the Rapper, and remembering John Newton

Weekly Review

International Religious Liberty Summit. This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will host what the Washington Post is callingthe largest, highest-level gathering to date on the issue of international religious freedom.” The Family Research Council’s Travis Weber said, “The very fact that the Ministerial is being held sends a signal that the United States is taking religious freedom seriously. Let us not underestimate the power of this message.” The State Department will host government officials, representatives of international organizations, religious leaders, rights advocates, and members of civil society organizations from around the world, the significance of the moment isn’t lost on anyone. Ambassador Sam Brownback said of the event, “This has not happened ever in the world.”

Pro-Life Victory. A federal judge on Friday said pro-life sidewalk counselors may continue praying, preaching, and handing out literature in front of a Queens, N.Y., abortion center. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed the suit against the pro-lifers, saying they harassed women seeking abortions at the Choices Medical Clinic. Schneiderman had to resign in the wake of sexual assault accusations, but his office continued the lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon, in a 103-page opinion, said the pro-life “defendants have endeavored to toe the line between lawful and unlawful conduct.” She refused to grant a preliminary injunction against the 13 counselors. The Thomas More Society represented the sidewalk counselors in court.

Overcoming Addiction. Dennis Quaid, the star of the box-office hit “I Can Only Imagine,” is now talking openly about his cocaine addiction, which nearly derailed his career. “I was basically doing cocaine pretty much on a daily basis during the ’80s,” Quaid told Fox News. “I spent many, many a night screaming at God to ‘Please take this away from me, I’ll never do it again because I’ve only got an hour before I have to be at work.’” He eventually did shake his addiction and has become outspoken about his Christian faith. “I Can Only Imagine” has topped $80-million at the box-office, to become one of the top Christian movies of all time. Quaid, who has also starred in such faith-friendly fare as “The Rookie” and “Soul Surfer,” recently signed on to portray Ronald Reagan in an upcoming biopic, scheduled for release next year.

Taking A Chance. Chance the Rapper professes to be a Christian, and some of his songs do deal with tough and important spiritual issues. But they are also often full of the kind of profanity that make them difficult to recommend. But Chance is nothing if not entrepreneurial. He announced last week that he’s getting into the news business by buying Chicagoist, a local news site covering his hometown. “I look forward to relaunching it and bringing the people of Chicago an independent media outlet focused on amplifying diverse voices and content,” the rapper said in a statement.

Milestones. John Newton was born on this date in 1725. He had a career as a captain of slave ships until a conversion to Christianity turned him into an abolitionist, an Anglican clergyman, and the author of the hymn “Amazing Grace.”

 

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