Sunday, October 30, 2016

The 3 - October 30, 2016

In this week's edition of The 3, highlighting three stories of relevance to the Christian community, a major Christian retailer has pulled resources by a famous author due to her stated beliefs on so-called "same-sex marriage."  Also, the U.S. Supreme Court will be getting involved in a case involving transgender rights.  And, a lay minister in Georgia who lost his job in the state health department is refusing to give up sermons that have been requested in connection to his lawsuit after his firing.

3 - Major Christian retailer pulls author's books due to her stance on gay marriage

One would think just a short time ago that author Jen Hatmaker was on her way to quite the elevated status among Christian Bible teachers.  Her book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, was a bestseller, and her family has been featured HGTV reality series, My Big Family Renovation. She was one of the featured speakers on the national tour called, Belong.

But, her view of tolerating those in the LGBT lifestyle has now resulted in her resources being pulled from LifeWay stores.  According to Baptist Press, LifeWay spokesperson Marty King said, "In a recent interview, [Hatmaker] voiced significant changes in her theology of human sexuality and the meaning and definition of marriage -- changes which contradict LifeWay's doctrinal guidelines," adding, "As a result, LifeWay has discontinued selling her resources."  The 7 book was published by B&H, which is a publishing arm of LifeWay.

This removal apparently stems from an interview with Hatmaker published at Religion News Service, which was conducted by Jonathan Merritt. The Baptist Press article reports:
In an Oct. 25 Religion News Service (RNS) article, Hatmaker said she affirms gay marriage from both civil and spiritual perspectives, and advised the church to embrace members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who profess Christianity.

"Not only are these our neighbors and friends, but they are brothers and sisters in Christ," Hatmaker said in the RNS question and answer column. "They are adopted into the same family as the rest of us, and the church hasn't treated the LGBT community like family. We have to do better."
When asked whether an LGBT relationship can be "holy," she replied:
"I do (believe an LGBT relationship can be holy). And my views here are tender. This is a very nuanced conversation, and it's hard to nail down in one sitting," she said. "I've seen too much pain and rejection at the intersection of the gay community and the church. Every believer that witnesses that much overwhelming sorrow should be tender enough to do some hard work here."
2 - High court agrees to hear case of school district's restroom policy

The transgender bathroom issue has become quite a visible one, and the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that it will enter the fray.  The high court announced this week, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, that it would hear a case out of Virginia, involving a "school district’s policy of maintaining separate restrooms for members of each sex while providing individual, private facilities for students uncomfortable with using a facility that corresponds to their sex."

According to a report by Emily Belz at WORLD Magazine...
...the case began when Gavin Grimm (“G.G.” in court documents), who was born female but now identifies as male, sued the school board after requesting access to the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms. Fielding parental complaints, the board declined Grimm’s request, but offered to build unisex restrooms instead. Grimm considered that response discrimination.
A Federal District Court and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the school board, but the Supreme Court issued a stay on those rulings, allowing the school's restroom and locker room policy to continue until resolved by the Supreme Court.

And, according to WORLD, the Federal directive to schools throughout America concerning transgender bathroom usage will come into play. The story says, "In January 2015, a Department of Education official sent a letter telling the Gloucester County School Board that under Title IX the board must treat transgender students 'consistent with their gender identity' in locker rooms and restrooms. The agency sent a directive similar to the Gloucester County letter to all federally funded schools in May."

1 - Former GA health official and lay minister, who had filed suit because of religious discrimination, refuses to release sermons

The case of a public health director in Georgia who was a lay minister has raised concerns over the government's authority over church-related matters.  According to the website of First Liberty Institute, Dr. Eric Walsh was hired in 2014 by the State of Georgia. The website says, "...when the state found out that Walsh was also a lay minister and preached sermons on the weekends, they obtained copies of his some of his sermons, divided them among state officials, reviewed the sermons, and then fired Walsh­—informing him of the termination via voicemail."

First Liberty says that even though the state claims its abrupt termination of Walsh was not related to his religious beliefs, "evidence would suggest otherwise."

In April of this year, First Liberty filed a lawsuit on behalf of Walsh. In September, the Georgia state government issued a Request for Production of Documents. As First Liberty points out: "Fulfilling the request would force Walsh to produce all his previous sermons, sermon notes and transcripts for government review and investigation."

Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel for First Liberty stated, "The government wants a pastor to hand over copies of all of his sermons, including notes and transcripts, with absolutely zero limitations,” adding, "This is an excessive display of government overreaching its authority.”

A press conference, including Dr. Walsh, was held in Atlanta Wednesday. Pastor Dave Welch from Houston was there - he was one of the "Houston Five" whose communication had been subpoenaed in the lawsuit there involving an ordinance involving sexual orientation and gender identity, said:
"This is worse than the Houston Five for multiple reasons. This is coming from a whole state—the Georgia attorney general—not one city. And they are demanding more material: sermons, sermon notes, all documents. It could even include margin notes in this pastor’s preaching Bible. It’s almost as if they are ransacking the pastor’s study. This sweeping demand is unacceptable in America, and is a warning to every pastor, every church, every denomination, and every American."
First Liberty also pointed out that last year, Governor Nathan Deal, under intense pressure from corporate interests, vetoed a mild religious protection bill that would have protected pastors.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The 3 - October 23, 2016

In this week's edition of The 3, there is a look at the plight of Christian refugees in certain areas of the world.  Also, a Federal judge has taken his order concerning the Administration's directive on transgender bathrooms to a national level.  And, a group of evangelical leaders has signed on to a letter urging bishops to not depart from Biblical teaching on marriage.

3 - Christian refugees in danger

The plight of Christians who are fleeing countries in the Middle East continues to be a significant development.  For instance, there was a story on the Christian Headlines website recently that cited a report from the organization Open Doors, saying that Muslim refugees had attacked some 743 Christian refugees while they were living in camps in Germany, according to a report on the Christian Post website.  Officials of Open Doors say there could be even more cases that have not been reported.

A major survey published by Open Doors Germany in October, which represented a number of organizations, is quoted as saying, "The documented cases confirm that the situation of Christian refugees in German refugee shelters is still unbearable. As a minority they are discriminated against, beaten up by and receive death threats from Muslim refugees and partly by the Muslim staff (securities, interpreters, volunteers) on grounds of their religion..."
There refugees have fled from Syria and other countries, and even encountered violence in the supposed safety of refugee camps, according to the story.

Also, thousands of Christians who have fled Iraq are finding adverse conditions in Turkey, according to another Christian Headlines story, quoting from a Christian Today piece, that says that about 45,000 of those refugees fleeing Iraq are living in poverty in Turkish refugee camps and are being discriminated against by their Muslim neighbors.

Juliana Taimoorazy, president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and a senior fellow with the Philos Project, shared that those Christians cannot reveal their faith because of fear of their Muslim neighbors. She added that these refugees want to come to the U.S. or another country where they would be free to fearlessly practice their faith, but the U.S. State Department is slow to take any action to help them.

2 - Federal judge expands ruling against Administration's directive on transgender bathrooms

There is a new development surrounding the Obama Administration's directive that school districts allow students to use the restroom or locker room facility corresponding to their so-called "gender identity," rather than their biological gender.  Aimed at creating rights for transgendered students, the directive, according to the Liberty Counsel website, "allowed males to use restrooms, dressing rooms, showers and locker rooms assigned for females. In the public school context, these directives would also allow boys to demand they sleep with girls during overnight off-campus trips."  School districts face a possible loss of funding for non-compliance.

A Federal district judge had initially issued an order in response to a lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General, who was joined by over 20 other states in opposing that directive.  This past week, he expanded that order.  As Liberty Counsel reported:
Judge Reed O’Connor again affirmed that his order bars the Obama administration from enforcing its unlawful LGBT agenda on public schools, federal agencies, municipalities and private employers. The ruling applies nationwide and specifically states that federal agencies must stop enforcing illegal guidelines which interpret the word “sex” as “gender” in federal statutes such as Title VII and Title IX.
Liberty Counsel also notes that the Government Services Administration (GSA) had issued a regulation declaring that transgender employees and visitors must be allowed to use the bathrooms that match their so-called “gender identity.”

Also, a recent article posted at said that as the result of a 5th-grade student identifying as “transgender” being denied access to the girls’ restroom at a school on a U.S. Air Force base in Germany, the American Military Partner Association, which is largest group of LGBT U.S.military families, said the Department of Defense Education Activity is discriminating against a male-to-female transgender student.  The student is at the Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, according to an NBC News report.  The article says that apparently, a Department of Defense official intervened and reversed the decision of the school’s principal, allowing the child to use the female restroom.

1 - Anglican leaders cautioned to follow the Bible's teaching on same-sex "marriage"

The Church of England's General Synod is scheduled for next February, and in advance of this gathering, which is expected to address the issue of so-called "same-sex marriage," a letter has been issued, according to the Christian Headlines website, signed by 88 evangelical leaders, which cautions bishops of the Church of England not to depart from the Bible’s teaching regarding same-sex marriage.

The article quotes from a piece at The Christian Institute website, and says that the letter states that “the Bible is clear” about marriage being defined as between one man and one woman and that this should not be regarded as being of “secondary importance.”  The letter also warns that embracing gay marriage would be “a significant departure from our apostolic inheritance and the authority of the Bible in matters of faith and doctrine.”

The Christian Headlines article states:
Western Anglican churches, along with the Anglican Church of South Africa, tend to be more lenient regarding same-sex marriage, but Anglican churches in other areas of the world--which make up the majority of Anglicans--tend to take a more conservative view.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The 3 - October 16, 2016

This week in my feature, The 3, with three stories of relevance to the Christian community, major studios are squaring off against a streaming service that filter movies.  Also, a new California law forcing pro-life centers to promote abortion has been upheld by a Federal appeals court.  And, under one-tenth of the girls kidnapped from Chibok, in Nigeria, have been released.

3 - Family-friendly movie filtering service facing opposition; one studio taken to task for allowing trademark characters in porn

Have you heard of a streaming service called VidAngel?  Well, according to the Christian Examiner website, VidAngel "allows families to watch mainstream movies without the coarse language, sexuality or violence."

But, apparently, there are large studios that don't care for this service. The article says:
Four studios -- Disney, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox, and Lucasfilm – sued the young company to try and shut it down. That could happen on Oct. 31, when a U.S. district court in California will hear arguments from the studios, who are requesting a preliminary injunction to prevent VidAngel from operating. The studios argue that VidAngel is operating without a streaming license, but VidAngel says current law – specifically, the Family Movie Act – allows it to operate legally without one. A DVD hard copy exists in VidAngel's library for each movie it streams.
More than two dozen leaders, including a number of Christian leaders, submitted declarations to the court in September, supporting VidAngel.  Those include: Tim Winter of the Parents Television Council, Bob Waliszewski of Focus on the Family's Plugged In, Gary Bauer of American Values, and Ted Baehr of Movieguide.

In his declaration, Winter wrote that, "...Hollywood's effort to impede in VidAngel's lawful business is consistent with their efforts to similarly impede in every other business or regulatory effort that would allow a viewer's ability to filter out harmful or explicit content."

According to another Christian Examiner story, another leader who submitted a declaration against attempts to shut down VidAngel, Donna Rice Hughes of Enough is Enough, indicated that Disney had a double standard, allowing pornographers to use their licensed characters without any action taken against them.  According to the story, Hughes said that "she has tried unsuccessfully for more than a decade to get Disney to shut down websites that use its famous characters in pornographic videos. Her organization fights to make the Internet safer for families and children."

It was reported that she wrote in a Washington Examiner column that she went public about her communication with Disney only after the company filed a lawsuit to try and shut down VidAngel.

2 - Federal circuit court upholds law forcing California pregnancy resource centers to promote abortion

A new bill in California signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, forcing pro-life pregnancy centers with ultrasound machines to make women aware of abortion, was upheld this week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  According to Pregnancy Help News:
...the act went into effect Jan. 1, 2016, but has been largely unenforced while municipalities waited out a series of lawsuits challenging the law’s alleged infringement on free speech rights guaranteed by the Constitution’s First Amendment. This is the fifth time a challenge has been turned away by the courts, starting last December.

The law specifies that 75 pro-life pregnancy centers offering ultrasounds—all of which are state-licensed entities that operate completely free of taxpayer funds—post or disseminate a state-mandated disclaimer notifying women in unexpected pregnancies of state-covered abortions and contraception offered through Medi-Cal.
The article goes on to say that: "Most urgently, the clinics are required to violate their deeply held religious beliefs by giving their patients the phone number of a county social services agency where they can obtain an abortion—a requirement the centers say amounts to an abortion referral. Matt Bowman, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, is quoted on that organization's website as saying:
“It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say, but a law that tells you what you must say—under threat of severe punishment—is even more unjust and dangerous. In this case, political allies of abortionists are seeking to punish pro-life pregnancy centers, which offer real hope and help to women. Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred views is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms. That’s why other courts around the country have halted these kinds of measures and why we will be discussing the possibility of appeal with our clients.”
1 - Some of the girls kidnapped in Nigeria released

Around two-and-a-half years ago, 275 Nigerian girls were kidnapped from the Chibok area by the terrorist organization Boko Haram, and now, according to a report posted on the website, 21 of the girls were released earlier this week. The story, which was from World Watch Monitor, says, "They were freed before dawn on 13 Oct. in the north-eastern town of Banki, near the border with Cameroon. They were then transported to the capital, Abuja, where they met the Vice President."

The article said that an aide to the president of Nigeria noted that the release of the girls was the "outcome of negotiations between the administration and the Boko Haram brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government."  There had been an initial report from AFP, quoting a local source saying that four Boko Haram prisoners had been exchanged for the girls, but the information minister of the country denied that.

According to the Nigerian government, talks with the radical Islamic group will continue.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The 3 - October 9, 2016

This week's edition of The 3, offering three stories of relevance to the Christian community, explores some new regulations for a consortium of Christian institutions of higher learning, stemming from controversy in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's ruling on so-called "same-sex marriage."  Also, a large Christian ministry that is oriented toward college student has been in the news recently regarding its affirmation of a Biblical view of marriage as one man for one woman.  And, a large group of United Methodists have met to affirm a Biblical view of sexuality.

3 - Body representing Christian colleges and universities revises membership policies

In attempting to resolve a controversy that was set in motion following the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell decision, the Council on Christian Colleges and Universities, which was formed, according to an article on the Baptist Press website, "four decades ago in common commitment to Christ-centered education and to preserve their right to hire only professing Christians," has issued new guidelines for membership.

The policy, proposed by a membership task force, includes six criteria that will be used by the Council to place schools in one of three categories: governing membership, associate membership, or collaborative partnership.  Those in the governing membership category, which are the only ones who can vote, are those who hold to six tenets, according to the article: "Christian mission, institutional type and accreditation, cooperation and participation (dues), institutional integrity (financial ethics), employment policies, and Christian distinctives and advocacy."  In that final area, there are four sub-points: "a required belief in God as Earth's creator (and a sustainability mandate), marriage as between a man and a woman, the worth of every human being, and the need for racial reconciliation."

The story states that, "Associate members must meet all requirements except for the second one -- meaning the category is for seminaries, Bible colleges, non-accredited schools, and undergraduate institutions without a full curriculum in the arts or sciences."  Finally, collaborative partnerships must meet the first four criteria, but not the last two, so that type of schools will be allowed to change hiring practices to include people in same-sex marriages.
Board chairman Charles Pollard, president of John Brown University, wrote to CCCU presidents: "We believe that this document rightly articulates both the core and the breadth of the CCCU in a way that will make us the most effective witness and advocate for Christian higher education."

2 - Large Christian ministry affirms its support for Biblical views on sexuality

There have been some confusing developments over the criteria for employment of those who work for a large Christian organization, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, USA.  A story on the WORLD Magazine website attempts to clear up the confusion, which was exacerbated by a TIME Magazine report that said that employees of InterVarsity were being fired for not adhering to Biblical beliefs on traditional marriage.

The ministry had released a document that affirmed its beliefs on a variety of areas concerning sexuality.  According to the article, a policy paper was developed four years ago from students’ questions on the biblical perspective on homosexuality. The story says, "...InterVarsity leadership recognized that first step was insufficient and began work on the current document, which, Jao said, encompasses the whole of God’s design for human sexuality. In addition to the issue of same-sex attraction, the policy paper addresses premarital sex, divorce, sexual abuse, and more." "Jao" refers to Greg Jao, vice president and director of campus engagement for IVCF.

This policy statement is essentially a reaffirmation of beliefs on sexuality, according to Jao:
“We have always expected employees to reflect the ministry’s theological beliefs,” Jao said in a press release. “We recognize employees who disagree, or whose beliefs have changed over time, will leave employment because we have reiterated our beliefs.”
He also pointed out that the TIME story was incorrect, since it had reported that employees were being fired for holding beliefs contrary to the policy.

Ed Stetzer, who holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, and who is co-host of Breakpoint This Week, is quoted as saying, "But why is it news that evangelicals think their ministry staff should hold mainstream evangelical beliefs?” He added, “It’s because there is a new orthodoxy, and the old one just won’t do for many. The new orthodoxy says that you have to bend your beliefs to fit it. But InterVarsity has a different view—the mainstream evangelical view. And, such views do cost you today.”

1 - Well over 1,000 United Methodists meet and address sexuality issues

More than 1,700 United Methodists gathered in Chicago this past Friday in the inaugural meeting of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, which, according to, is a new evangelical group of United Methodists, which "urged bishops and other church leaders to find a way to hold clergy accountable on matters of sexuality or prepare for a denominational split."

The article said that the "Association affirmed a statement by saying 'Amen' en masse."  Some came to observe and did not vote.

The story states:
The association’s statement is addressed to the Commission on the Way Forward, which the Council of Bishops is still forming to review church polices on homosexuality and work toward church unity.
“We believe it is imperative for the commission to propose a plan that calls for accountability and integrity to our covenant, and restores the good order of our church’s polity,” the association’s statement said.
If the commission decides such a plan is impossible, the association says the group “should prepare a plan of separation that honors the consciences of all the people of the church and allows them to go forward in peace and good will.”
The UMC's Book of Discipline continues to state that "homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching."  However, when you look at the timeline, you can see that there are some in the denomination who do not respect that standard.  The article outlined several flashpoints just this year:

Multiple conferences and two jurisdictions in the United States, which this summer passed non-binding resolutions urging United Methodists to ignore the Book of Discipline’s bans on same-sex unions and “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy.

Also, in June, the New York Conference commissioned and ordained four openly gay clergy.

And, bishops in the U.S. Southeastern Jurisdiction described such of acts of noncompliance as “divisive and disruptive.”

Plus, the Western Jurisdiction elected an openly gay bishop who is "married" to a deaconess.

The identity of who will serve on the Commission on the Way Forward, which was announced at this year's General Conference, in lieu of a vote to continue to affirm the Book of Discipline's statement on homosexuality, could be known soon, according to the article, which said, "The Council of Bishops executive committee announced Oct. 5 that it is notifying eight bishops, 13 other clergy and eight laity of their nomination to serve on the commission."

Sunday, October 02, 2016

The 3 - October 2, 2016

This week's edition of The 3, featuring three stories of relevance to the Christian community, focuses on the suspension of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore for the remainder of his term.  Also, a bill has been introduced into Congress that would give pastors more leeway in their political content from the pulpit.  And, China seems intent to enact greater restrictions on religion.

3 - Alabama Chief Justice suspended for remainder of term

This past Wednesday, a trial was held in Alabama in the Court of the Judiciary concerning charges brought against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, dealing with an administrative order that he had written in January of 2016.  In that order, he had reminded probate judges in the state that the Alabama Supreme Court had not ruled in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell, about so-called "same-sex marriage."

A ruling was handed down on Friday, the 30th, and the Chief Justice was suspended without pay for the remainder of his term, which ends in January 2019, according to the website of Liberty Counsel, the legal advocacy group defending the Chief Justice.  The website states:
Today the Court of the Judiciary (COJ) issued a decision on the charges against Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. The Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) requested that he be removed from the bench. Under the COJ rules, removal requires a unanimous 9-0 vote by the members of the COJ, which is made up of judges, a lawyer and laypeople. Absent a 9-0 unanimous vote, the COJ cannot remove a judge from the bench. But today, in an unbelievable violation of the law, the COJ suspended without pay Chief Justice Moore for the remainder of his term, which runs through January 2019. When his term expires, he will be ineligible to run for election as judge again because of his age. So the suspension until the end of his term is a de facto removal from the bench.
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, is quoted as saying, “To suspend Chief Justice Moore for the rest of his term is the same as removal. The COJ lacked the unanimous votes to remove the Chief, so the majority instead chose to ignore the law and the rules."

A Liberty Counsel press release indicates that it "is filing an appeal of the decision with the Alabama Supreme Court. A new panel of judges will need to convene to hear the case and all the sitting Justices should be recused."

2 - Bill to free pastors to make political endorsements introduced

The Free Speech Fairness Act has been introduced into Congress, sponsored by sponsored by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Republican from Louisiana, and Rep. Jody Hice, Republican from Georgia.  According to a Family Research Council press release, FRC President Tony Perkins has endorsed the newly introduced bill.

That release states:
The Free Speech Fairness Act would address the shortcomings of the Johnson Amendment which in 1954 was inserted into the tax code by Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, (D-Texas) without floor or Committee debate. The Johnson amendment prohibits churches and non-profits from engaging in any activity that might be interpreted as participating in, or intervening in a campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office, including a simple oral or written statement. The legislation reflects the newly adopted Republican Party platform language which criticizes the Johnson Amendment for restricting the “First Amendment freedoms of all nonprofit organizations by prohibiting political speech.”
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Erik Stanley stated, according to the ADF website:
“The IRS has no business acting as the speech police of any non-profit organization, as its many scandals over recent years have made clear. This bill corrects an unconstitutional restriction put in place in 1954 that was never intended to affect churches and other non-profit groups but has been used to intimidate them ever since. By removing the threat of an IRS investigation and potential penalties based simply, for example, on what a pastor says from the pulpit, this bill brings the law into conformity with the First Amendment...
Alliance Defending Freedom has been involved in promoting Pulpit Freedom Sunday," commemorated on Sunday, October 2 this year.

1 - Chinese officials express desire for stiffer religious regulations

Recently, government officials in China released a number of amendments to its regulations on religious affairs.  According to World Watch Monitor, these amendments were released in early September for a "consultation period" of a month, and "includes guidelines on religious education, the types of religious organisations that can exist, where they can exist and the activities they can organise."
The report says that Yu Zhengsheng, Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, "emphasised the need for provincial officials to have a better overall understanding of religion, so that they are better able to resist 'foreign' religions."

Thomas Muller, analyst at Open Doors’ World Watch Research unit, is quoted as saying, “This all fits into the current government’s efforts to ‘Sinicize’ every aspect of Chinese life – be it culture, news or religion”, and comes after China's broadcasting regulator announced " it is planning to curb all social and entertainment news that promotes Western lifestyles."

The World Watch Monitor article pointed out that over the past three years...
...over 1,500 crosses have been removed from churches in the south-eastern province of Zhejiang – known as the “Jerusalem of the East” because of its strong Christian presence. Meanwhile, some churches were labelled “illegal structures” and demolished. Those who have resisted have faced physical abuse, detention and criminal charges.
The report also states:
David Saperstein, US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, said he “remained concerned” about the situation. “We really encourage them to ease the restrictions all across the country and allow religious freedom and religious institutions to flourish and function without the kind of constraints that they face – that are so pervasive,” he said.
China remained a “Country of Particular Concern” in the US State Department’s latest annual report.