Feb. 1, 2020: Global Religious Freedom Alliance; Fox bans pro-life Super Bowl ad; Asia Bibi memoir

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020

Here are the latest headlines, brought to you by The Christian Post.

— US, 17 countries to launch first-ever International Religious Freedom Alliance

Government officials from the United States and 17 other countries will convene in Washington, D.C., next week on the eve of the National Prayer Breakfast for the inaugural meeting of the new International Religious Freedom Alliance.

Sam Brownback, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, said Wednesday that the alliance is essentially an "activist club" of countries that are serious about pushing religious freedom globally. The alliance was first announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last July and touted by President Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly in September. It is said to be the first-ever alliance of nations devoted to confronting religious persecution around the world.

— Fox won't show abortion survivors' Super Bowl ad but OKs drag queen commercial

Fox Sports is being accused of censoring a 30-second commercial for Super Bowl LIV that features survivors of abortion while at the same time planning to air a commercial featuring two drag queens. 

Over 46,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by the evangelical grassroots organization My Faith Votes calling on Fox to include the pro-life advertisement in its Super Bowl lineup on Sunday. 

The ad does not mention abortion but shows abortion survivors asking viewers if they can look them in the eye and tell them they shouldn’t be alive. The survivors declare in the video that they are the “faces of choice.”

— Most churches have plan for shooting attack, but divided on arming members

Nearly two out of every three Protestant congregations in the United States have a plan in place for an active shooter incident but remain divided on whether to have armed members, according to a new LifeWay Research report.

The LifeWay report found that 62 percent of Protestant pastors said their churches had “an intentional plan for an active shooter.” But only 45 percent reported having “armed church members” and 27 percent reported having “a no firearms policy for the building where you meet.”

The report comes a week after President Trump signed a bill authorizing $375 million in federal grants for the protection of houses of worship and other faith-based nonprofits to help pay for fencing, cameras the hiring of security professionals.

— Islamic extremists hack 36 to death with machetes, including Christian pastor 

Suspected Islamist militants hacked to death 36 people, including an Anglican pastor, in overnight attacks on villages in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Tuesday, four villages were raided by the Allied Democratic Forces, an Islamist rebel group that has its origins in Uganda but is now based in DR Congo's Beni region.

Launched in the mid-1990s by Ugandan Muslim rebels forced out of Uganda, the ADF has become the conflict-stricken DRC’s most active and violent rebel group over the past two years. 265 people have been killed by the ADF since November.

— Asia Bibi memoir 'Finally Free' is released, details prison torture

Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who was imprisoned on death row in Pakistan for over eight years on trumped up blasphemy charges, has released her memoir.

Bibi, 47, whose case garnered international attention, details her years in prison and the torture she suffered. The memoir is titled, Finally Free and was published in French this week and will be released in English later this year. Bibi is now living in an undisclosed location in Canada.

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