Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

Turkey frees Brunson but closes door to his ministry

International | The American pastor faithfully served in the country for more than 20 years
by Mindy Belz
Posted 10/12/18, 11:45 am

TURKEY: American Pastor Andrew Brunson gained his freedom Friday, with a Turkish judge sentencing him to three years in prison, but since he has already served time, he walks free, but as a convicted felon. The verdict likely paves the way for his return to the United States, but as many predicted, it will bring to a close more than two decades’ work in Turkey.

Brunson’s fourth trial appearance got underway outside Izmir at about 2 a.m. EDT, with four witnesses for the prosecution reversing their earlier testimony against him. The Turkish prosecutor then asked that a travel ban on Brunson be removed and for his release from house arrest, where he has been since late July. All of this followed reports that senior White House officials reached an agreement with the Turkish government to drop charges against Brunson.

INDIA: With his October visit to India, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received a letter from 250 rights activists urging him to speak up for India’s religious minorities, saying documented hate crimes against Christians have more than doubled. According to the letter, “2017 has been one of the most traumatic years for Indian Christians in a decade.”

BELGIUM: Evangelical Christians are mounting a dedicated campaign to stop a pornographic theater production staged in Ghent by controversial director Milo Rau. The celebrated Rau’s latest work, Lams God, is a takeoff on the 15th century Ghent Altarpiece, which depicts a host of Biblical figures worshipping the Lamb of God. Rau’s adaptation depicts a naked Adam and Eve copulating onstage with a girls choir of real child actors watching nearby. News and reviews of the production focus on objections from Belgium’s Muslim community, as the director also tried to recruit returning ISIS fighters to portray Christian crusaders. The pushback from local evangelicals is new, notes one resident: “In Belgium it needs courage to stick out your head about a subject like this.”

AFGHANISTAN: The civilian death toll in nine months of 2018 has reached its highest since 2014, with nearly 3,000 people killed.

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, over his role in clergy sex abuse scandals while bishop in Pittsburgh. Once regarded as one of the most influential churchmen in American Catholicism over the last 50 years, and “the glue holding a divided bishops’ conference in America together,” Wuerl’s stepping down isn’t likely to end his influence in Rome, argues Catholic expert John L. Allen Jr.

SYRIA: Billed as the last battle, the Idlib offensive is on hold, but the temporary truce can’t hide devastation to the country’s historic Christian community, or a likely widened war to come—my take in the latest issue of WORLD Magazine.

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Mindy Belz

Mindy is senior editor of WORLD Magazine and the author of They Say We Are Infidels. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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