Christians are being encouraged to pray for the Muslim world as the Islamic holy month of Ramadan gets underway. Open Doors is highlighting how the period of prayer and fasting presents "multiple challenges" for believers in areas such as the Arab Peninsula. The organisation, which serves persecuted Christians across the globe, is urging believers to use their 30 Days of Prayer resource.  One Open Doors worker in Egypt said: "As much excitement as the Islamic holy month brings to Muslims, it does carry a great deal of burdens and concerns to the Christian community in Egypt. "It is a very long 30 days during which Christians in schools, work or public spaces will receive harsh looks and verbal harassments from fanatic Muslims because of their faith.

The Church of Scotland's General Assembly will be presented with a proposal to allow ministers to conduct gay marriages later. The Church's Theological Forum will argue in its report that it "does not believe there are sufficient theological grounds to deny nominated individual ministers and deacons the authority to preside at same-sex marriages". It will also recommend that the annual Edinburgh assembly, which started last weekend, authorise a further study on the legal implications of conducting same-sex marriages and report back in 2018. Scott Rennie, a minister from Aberdeen, told Premier it's an important day for the Church. He said: "The Church of Scotland has been on a journey for the last ten years but I think this will be in one sense another step on the road but also quite a big step."

Pastors in Texas are free to speak out on moral issues after a Bill protecting their rights was signed into law. The Sermon Protection Act (SB24) states that the Government may not compel pastors to create or provide copies of their sermons, or to testify regarding the sermon. SB24 was put forward in response to a 2014 controversy when the then mayor of Houston subpoenaed the sermons of five pastors. The Bill was signed by Governor Abbott last Friday after it was passed unanimously in the State Senate, and came into effect immediately. The ‘Houston Five’ were pastors who opposed legislation to allow men identifying as women to use female toilets and vice versa. Steve Riggle, one of the Houston Five, said that nobody thought a sermon law would ever have been necessary, and remarked that it was “a crazy day”.