CP: Several leading evangelical organizations in America have urged U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to stand up to the destruction of churches and severe forms of persecution Christians and others face in Sudan. A letter, signed by Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse relief organization, and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, of which Russell Moore is president, among others, states, “Sudan’s discriminatory laws restrict the freedoms of minority groups and deprives them of their constitutional rights.” The letter, sent on Thursday, explains in detail the restrictions in freedom of worship that Christians face in Sudan, including the inability to rebuild churches destroyed by government officials.

CP: Austria has become one of the first countries in the world to not only formally recognize the genocide being committed against Christians in Iraq and Syria, but also to advance a seven-point plan aimed at helping victims. The American Center for Law and Justice reported on Tuesday that the Austrian National Council formally recognized earlier in June the “heinous atrocities” being committed by the Islamic State terror group against Christians and other religious minorities, and committed itself to carrying out at least three steps of a seven-point plan to help those who are displaced.

ICC: Authorities in Egypt reportedly raided a church-owned building that was being used by a local Coptic Christian community for worship and chained down the doors so that Christians could no longer enter the building. The three-story building situated in the village of Saft Al-Kharsa in the Beni Suef governorate was broken into by police officials last Friday. After police removed furniture, Christian iconography and other items from the building, they closed down the building using chains, an unnamed Christian villager told ICC.

ap: Pope Francis on Saturday pushed out the Vatican’s conservative doctrine chief, tapping a deputy instead to lead the powerful congregation that handles sex abuse cases and guarantees Catholic orthodoxy around the world.
Francis and German Cardinal Gerhard Mueller had clashed, most recently over the pope’s cautious opening to letting civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion. Mueller had insisted they cannot, given church teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. In a short statement, the Vatican said Francis had thanked Mueller for his service. Mueller’s five-year term ends this weekend and he turns 70 in December. The normal retirement age for bishops is 75. Francis could have kept him on, but declined to do so. The Jesuit pope instead tapped the No. 2 in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Jesuit Monsignor Luis Ladaria Ferrer, to succeed Mueller.

WaPo: Facebook has more adherents than any religion in the world, with the exception of Christianity – which it’s poised to overtake in just a few years. This week the world’s dominant social network reached the 2 billion user milestone. It took almost 2 years for Facebook to capture another billion users to make the Social network a 2 billion powerhouse.Facebook defines active users as people who visited the site or its messaging app through their desktop computer or mobile app in the past 30 days.

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