Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, New York City allowed Islamic mosques to broadcast calls to prayer without permits. Several pro-life activists were convicted for blockading a clinic engaged in illegal abortions. Meanwhile, Christian pilgrims are facing harassment from ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel.
Islamic Call to Prayer Can Be Broadcast in New York City
“The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens” (Jeremiah 10:11).
New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams announced that Muslims can issue public calls to prayers at certain times on Fridays and during the month of Ramadan.
“For too long, there has been a feeling that our communities were not allowed to amplify their calls to prayer,” Adams said in a press release. “Today, we are cutting red tape and saying clearly that mosques and houses of worship are free to amplify their call to prayer on Fridays and during Ramadan without a permit necessary. We want our brothers and sisters of Muslim faith to know that they are free to live their faith in New York City because, under the law, we will all be treated equally. Our administration is proud to finally get this done.”
The prayers are permitted even in neighborhoods with sound restrictions, and Islamic clerics vowed to work with mosques such that broadcasting devices are set at appropriate decibel levels. The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, issued a similar move earlier this year.
Pro-Life Activists Convicted for Blockading Abortion Clinic
“Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 20:10).
Multiple pro-life activists were convicted of violating federal law by blockading an abortion clinic in the nation’s capital which has been conducting illegal late-term abortions.
Lauren Handy, John Hinshaw, William Goodman, Heather Idoni, and Herb Geraghty were found guilty of blocking access to the Washington Surgi-Clinic three years ago. The five activists, who are associated with the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which bans preventing physical access to an abortion clinic. Each could be sentenced to as many as eleven years in prison for their efforts.
Handy and other activists recovered five late-term preborn babies, as well as more than one hundred first-trimester preborn babies, in the clinic’s medical waste last year, providing them with a burial in a secret location to avoid vandalism of the gravesite. Authorities in the nation’s capital have not pressed charges on the clinic’s staff for conducting the abortions.
The Thomas More Society filed an emergency motion for the court to release Handy from jail ahead of her sentencing.
Harassment of Christian Pilgrims Rises in Israel
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Israeli tourism officials have convened in order to address rising violence from ultra-orthodox Jews toward Christians visiting the city of Jerusalem.
Jewish locals vandalized thirty graves at a Protestant cemetery on Mount Zion, while two Jewish men attacked Roman Catholics engaged in a service at the Church of Gethsemane, according to a report from The Jerusalem Post. Police in Israel are seeking to address the problem.
“Every tourist who comes to Israel becomes our ambassador, and therefore we are committed to providing a unique and high-quality experience,” Tourism Ministry Director-General Danny Shahar commented during a forum. “Only with the help of cooperation and combining forces will we be able to eradicate the illegal and ugly phenomena against tourists.”
Evangelical Christians are not recognized as an official religious group in Israel, according to a report from the United States Office of International Religious Freedom. Christian visitors to the nation reported harassment and spitting incidents from ultra-orthodox Jews, as well as hostility toward Jewish converts to Christianity.