Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, members of Congress asked the federal government to oppose violations of religious freedom in Britain. An increase in homeschooling levels throughout the United States continued for two years after government lockdowns. Meanwhile, a missionary pilot imprisoned for several months in Mozambique was released to his family.
American Lawmakers Raise Alarm Bells over Persecution in Britain
“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed” (Psalm 2:2).
Members of Congress asked Rashad Hussain, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, to examine religious persecution in the United Kingdom.
Representative Chip Roy of Texas, Representative Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, and other Republican lawmakers noted in a letter to Hussain that at least five municipalities in Britain have established “Public Spaces Protection Orders” roughly the size of a football stadium around abortion clinics, effectively prohibiting individuals from praying, offering support, or otherwise expressing disapproval of abortion.
Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a Roman Catholic who lives near Birmingham, was arrested twice for praying silently in her mind outside of a closed abortion clinic, as depicted in a video shared by the Alliance Defending Freedom. A Roman Catholic priest named Sean Gough was likewise arrested for praying near a clinic and for the “unborn lives matter” bumper sticker on his vehicle.
“A free people do not face legal persecution for exercising a natural right,” the lawmakers told Hussain, noting that Parliament is considering legislation that would expand the buffer zones to abortion clinics across the nation. “To fulfill America’s commitment to advancing religious freedom around the world, we believe it is crucial for you to speak out on this issue.”
Homeschooling Continued to Grow Well After Lockdowns Ended
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
A recent study confirmed that homeschooling rates have continued to increase two years beyond nationwide lockdown mandates.
Homeschool enrollment expanded by 30% between the 2019-2020 and 2021-2022 school years, according to a study published by the Urban Institute, indicating that parents are selecting home education even after government schools ended virtual instruction.
“The magnitudes of the percentage increases in homeschooling enrollment varied considerably across states,” commented Thomas Dee, the author of the study and an economist at Stanford University. “Every state with available data saw increased homeschool enrollment.”
The increase in homeschooling accounts for 26% of the decline in government school enrollment over the past two years, while an adjacent increase in private school enrollment accounts for 14% of the decline. The smallest rise in homeschooling occurred in North Carolina, where 8% more students are receiving home education, while the largest growth occurred in states such as New York and Pennsylvania, which saw 65% and 53% respective increases.
The rise in home education has renewed calls from progressives for government regulation. Elizabeth Bartholet, a law professor at Harvard University and the director of the school’s Child Advocacy Program, renewed her earlier contention that most homeschooling parents are “descendants of the original conservative Christian wing” that “rejected many of the views and values reflected in public education and the larger society as inconsistent with religious beliefs.”
Missionary Pilot Released from Prison in Mozambique
“All who desire to live a godly life in Jesus Christ will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Ryan Koher, a missionary pilot serving in Mozambique, was freed from a high security prison after more than four months of detainment.
Government officials in the African nation believed that Koher and two South African men, WJ du Plessis and Eric Dry, were assisting jihadist insurgents in the northern portion of the country while they were flying supplies to an orphanage. Koher’s wife, Annabel, and their two sons were able to speak with their father on a handful of occasions while he was imprisoned.
Koher and the two South Africans are “required to remain in Mozambique” while the case unfolds, according to a press release from Mission Aviation Fellowship.
Koher said that he had the opportunity to read The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer during his detainment. He won the favor of prison guards and made a “positive impact for Christ” throughout the ordeal.