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Weekly briefing: $25M religious freedom fund, 35M youths to leave faith, ruling for adoption agency

Weekly briefing: $25M religious freedom fund, 35M youths to leave faith, ruling for adoption agency

Thousands of teens attend a Dare 2 Share conference in 2013. | (Photo: Dare 2 Share)

We've compiled the top stories of the week. Here's what you need to know:

Trump announces $25M fund to protect religious freedom

President Donald Trump announced this week that the United States will dedicate $25 million to protect religious sites and houses of worship across the world. He also announced the creation of a coalition of top business leaders to help protect religious freedom in the workplace. 

Trump was the first U.S. president to convene a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York focusing solely on religious freedom.

He said protecting religious freedom is one of his highest priorities.

Also this week, the Trump administration released a proposal to lower the refugee resettlement cap to 18,000 for fiscal year 2020, the lowest it has been since the program was created in 1980.

Christian groups expressed outrage, arguing that it denies safety to people fleeing persecution and war.

Impeachment inquiry

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced this week a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump over a July phone conversation in which he allegedly pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Here’s how some conservatives responded.

35 million youths could leave Christianity by 2050

A report by Pinetops Foundation and The Veritas Forum projects that 35 million youths who are raised in Christian homes could leave the faith by 2050.

The Christian population in the United States would then decrease to 54 percent.

“It is the largest and fastest numerical shift in religious affiliation in the history of this country,” the report states.

That calls for a re-engineering of youth ministry, said Greg Stier, who leads Dare 2 Share, to not just slow the bleeding but flip the stats.

“What if it was a student youth movement that would bring us back to our roots and unite this nation and transform it from the inside out?” — Stier

Memorial service held for Pastor Jarrid Wilson

Pastor Jarrid Wilson, who took his own life this month, was remembered at a memorial service this week for his genuine love for people and his commitment to help people struggling with mental illness.

His wife, Juli, vowed to continue the work of giving people hope with the Good News of Jesus.

“In honor of Jarrid, I’m going to ask all of you guys to join me in making our church home, our lives, everywhere we go, a little bit safer for people. Let them know it’s OK for them to tell you what they’re going through.” — Juli Wilson

Judge rules in favor of religious adoption agencies

A federal judge in Michigan ruled on Thursday that faith-based adoption organizations that contract with the state can refuse to place children with same-sex couples until their lawsuit against the state is fully litigated. 

The ACLU had sued the state in 2017 over a law that protects agencies from having to violate their religious convictions. The lawsuit alleged that same-sex couples were turned away by Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services.

“Our nation is facing a foster care crisis, and we are so glad that Michigan’s foster children will continue having all hands on deck to help them find loving forever homes.” — Becket Senior Counsel Lori Windham

Christian apologists answer common questions at Reboot

Christian apologists convened in London over the weekend for a youth gathering called Reboot. There they answered questions on sexuality, creation, climate change and the reliability of the Bible.

Pray for

Christians in India, where over 1,400 incidents of persecution have been reported since 2014

New releases

Album:

When It Comes to You by RNW Music (Sept. 27)

Books:

How Happiness Happens by Max Lucado (Sept. 17)

The Victory of the Cross: Salvation in Eastern Orthodoxy by James R. Payton Jr. (Sept. 24)

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