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Attempt to Conceal Leaked Documents on Gates/USAID Contraception Fail

January 10th, 2014 Posted in AIDS |

By Lisa Correnti, C-Fam

Lawyers for US agencies have failed in an initial attempt to force a watchdog group to remove leaked documents from the group’s website. The documents describe studies showing complications of a long-lasting contraception heavily backed by the agencies and the Gates Foundation for use by African women.

The US agencies are accused of attempting to conceal their knowledge of studies showing women using the injectable contraceptive Depo Provera are at higher risk of acquiring HIV.

Allowing The Rebecca Project to publish the information means “this issue of Depo Provera’s harm now has to be decided in a court of law where a judge will review scientific and social research data,” Kwame Fosu, the group’s policy director, told the Friday Fax.

The US Agency of International Development (USAID) and the Gates Foundation have spent millions of dollars to increase injectable contraceptive use among women in high-HIV communities in sub-Sahara Africa.

Legal representatives for USAID and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) filed a copyright infringement complaint to force The Rebecca Project to remove classified documents from its website. The documents were used at a closed-door meeting in Geneva of the World Health Organization, USAID, CDC, and Gates officials.

The meeting convened shortly after the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal published a study by Dr. Renee Heffron. It indicated women using Depo Provera had an increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

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Estrela-Report: Socialist MEPs launch new attempt to push abortion

January 10th, 2014 Posted in pro-life/abortion |

By J C von Krempach, JD, Turtle Bay & Beyond

Only four weeks after the notorious Estrela-Report’s spectacular defeat in the European Parliament’s plenary session of 10 December, the EU’s abortionist-homosexualist lobby launches a new attempt to get at least some form of approval for its sinister agenda from the European Parliament. This time they seek to instrumentalize the European Commission to provide the occasion for a surprise attack.
 
On 16 January the plenary agenda of the EP includes a Commission statement on “Non-discrimination in the framework of sexual and reproductive health and rights”, i.e. a statement to be made by a representative of the European Commission. As it appears, the S&D group wants to use his opportunity to achieve a new resolution on sexual health (presumably with the same or similar content as the defeated Estrela-Report) by requesting the use of a procedure foreseen by Rule 110 of the EP Rules. Indeed, Rule 110 states that “Members of the Commission, the Council and the European Council may at any time ask the President of Parliament for permission to make a statement.” A resolution might be added at a later stage: “When placing a statement with debate on its agenda, Parliament shall decide whether or not to wind up the debate with a resolution.”
 
In other terms, the S&D group does not accept that citizens don’t want the Estrela-Agenda. For them he promotion of abortion, the undermining of freedom of conscience, and the imposition of compulsory sex education programs is the absolute top priority.
 
Read here
 
Read also:  Defending human dignity and democracy in Europe from MercatorNet
 
 
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Implications of the SOCE ban

January 10th, 2014 Posted in Healing, Homosexuality |

by Andrew Symes

Why the Bill to ban “gay conversion therapy” is pernicious and a threat to Christian mission.
 
According to the Bible, God is in the “conversion” business. Christian faith is not an emotional or intellectual construction, something we create or imagine, but a response to God who reaches out to rebels, calls them to turn around and enter into a restored relationship with him. God wants all of us to repent, to be transformed, to be born again. He has acted definitively in Jesus to change us from enemies into friends; he continues to act through his Holy Spirit to change us from within so our behaviour becomes more aligned with his agenda. This is conversion: not often instantaneous, but a process of change which follows the life-transforming realization that Jesus is Lord.
 
Jesus said “go into the world and make disciples”. Christian mission is acting as facilitators in this change-making interaction between God and people. God does not coerce anyone to change, but nor does he simply bless people and affirm them as they are. Christian mission includes giving people information: the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ, and then coming alongside the new disciples as they embark on a journey with Christ that will leave nothing in their lives unchanged. As a Christian pastor or counsellor or good neighbour, I am not trying to get people to think and act in conformity with a human programme, but to encourage people to follow God’s programme, and once they have made this decision, to help them on the path they have chosen. Sometimes God will not bring change where I want it, in order to remind us of his sustaining grace; at other times he converts an attitude or ends the craving of an addiction miraculously to remind us of his authority and compassion.
 
For centuries in this country it has been accepted that the promotion of the Christian faith so that people are converted to Christ is a good thing. It results in positive change, whereby people generally become more considerate and productive members of society. It has also been generally agreed that stable, loving, heterosexual marriage is a foundational cornerstone for a stable society, and that this necessarily involves encouraging people to overcome natural tendencies to promiscuity, adultery and homosexual practice. Only recently, in the last few years, have these axioms been challenged. Christian conversion has been attacked as “brainwashing”, or as disruptive to community cohesion especially in multi-faith contexts. And Christian teaching about the sinfulness of sex outside of covenant heterosexual marriage has now been accused of harming the integrity and self-esteem of gay people.
 
So this month there is a Bill before Parliament to ban “gay conversion therapy”.
 
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Robert Oscar Lopez: a voice crying in the wilderness of Western culture

January 10th, 2014 Posted in Culture, Gay Activism |

By Barbara Gauthier

Robert Oscar Lopez has become one of the most outspoken critics of the progressive juggernaut to redefine marriage and family through social engineering. Raised by two lesbians, Lopez is one of the first wave of adult children growing up in non-traditional families. He knows first hand the unfortunate consequences that social experimentation has on children. Over the past few months he has penned several articles addressing the rights of children that are being ignored by adults seeking self-actualization and those in government concerned about maintaining a politically correct public image.

The first article focuses on the right of every child to have a mom and a dad –their own biological mom and dad. A child's best interest does not lie in having plentiful material resources but in something that cannot be manufactured. Lopez notes that "the richest and most successful same-sex couple still cannot provide a child something that the poorest and most struggling spouses can provide: a mom and a dad." Moreover, the means of creating such children are antithetical to the type of love children need. It is "disturbingly classist and elitist for gay men to think they can love their children unreservedly after treating their surrogate mother like an incubator, or for lesbians to think they can love their children unconditionally after treating their sperm-donor father like a tube of toothpaste." And yet, Judge Kennedy seems to assume that the children of same-sex couples have "desires and concerns that are identical to and uncritical of their parents’ decisions." In reality, their views have been brushed aside, in all probability because minor children have no legal rights apart from their parents and they are not in a position to publicly express their own feelings and needs.

In the second article Lopez explores why gay/lesbian couples are so intent on adopting children. He has taken a lot of flack for daring to contradict the prevailing attitude that gay marriage and heterosexual marriage are identical and interchangeable as far as children are concerned. He recognizes that gays and lesbians live with a lot of emotional pain and that there is a temptation to resort to lies and obfuscations to minimize any differences between gay and straight relationships. Children cannot be raised in an atmosphere of emotional pain and misrepresentation of the truth without suffering dire consequences. So what should someone do who is involved in a gay relationship but yet also desperately wants to mentor a child? Lopez has several suggestions: 1) accept that sometimes you can't always get what you want; 2) if you want a child of your own, learn to get comfortable with the opposite sex; 3) if the first two options aren't workable, then think about volunteering and be a force for good and love for kids who need it.

Article three reveals the dangers inherent in creating children artificially to fulfill the needs of gay/lesbian couples who want children. The consumer market for "designer children" bereft of thier natural parents is nothing more than a modern version of human trafficking. Lopez outlines the oncoming human rights crisis caused by the LGBT movement, which treats human beings as little more than animals: anonymous sperm donors, anonymous surrogate mothers and children made to order. He concludes that "we are staring into the dawn of a new slave trade," turning people into chattel once again, but this time in the name of justice.

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How people in Muslim countries prefer women to dress in public

January 9th, 2014 Posted in Islam |

By Jacob Poushter, Pew Research Centre

An important issue in the Muslim world is how women should dress in public. A recent survey from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research conducted in seven Muslim-majority countries (Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey), finds that most people prefer that a woman completely cover her hair, but not necessarily her face. Only in Turkey and Lebanon do more than one-in-four think it is appropriate for a woman to not cover her head at all in public.
 
The survey treated the question of women’s dress as a visual preference. Each respondent was given a card depicting six styles of women’s headdress and asked to choose the woman most appropriately outfitted for a public place. Although no labels were included on the card, the styles ranged from a fully-hooded burqa (woman #1) and niqab (#2) to the less conservative hijab (women #4 and #5). There was also the option of a woman wearing no head covering of any type.
 
Overall, most respondents say woman #4, whose hair and ears are completely covered by a white hijab, is the most appropriately dressed for public. This includes 57% in Tunisia, 52% in Egypt, 46% in Turkey and 44% in Iraq. In Iraq and Egypt, woman #3, whose hair and ears are covered by a more conservative black hijab, is the second most popular choice.
 
Read here
 
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Reported Christian ‘martyr’ deaths double in 2013: report

January 9th, 2014 Posted in Persecuted church |

By Tom Heneghan, Reuters

Reported cases of Christians killed for their faith around the world doubled in 2013 from the year before, with Syria accounting for more than the whole global total in 2012, according to an annual survey.

Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, said on Wednesday it had documented 2,123 "martyr" killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. There were 1,213 such deaths in Syria alone last year, it said.

"This is a very minimal count based on what has been reported in the media and we can confirm," said Frans Veerman, head of research for Open Doors. Estimates by other Christian groups put the annual figure as high as 8,000.

The Open Doors report placed North Korea at the top of its list of 50 most dangerous countries for Christians, a position it has held since the annual survey began 12 years ago. Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were the next four in line.

The United States-based group reported increasing violence against Christians in Africa and said radical Muslims were the main source of persecution in 36 countries on its list.

"Islamist extremism is the worst persecutor of the worldwide church," it said.

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Street preacher arrested and held in custody for mentioning sexual sin

January 9th, 2014 Posted in News |

From Christian Concern

Police in Scotland have arrested a Christian street evangelist after a woman complained that he had spoken about sexual sin.

Tony Miano, a US preacher and a former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff, was arrested yesterday (08 JAN) and remanded in custody to appear before Dundee Sheriff Court at 10:00 today (09 JAN).

He was part of a street preaching team holding a week-long mission in Scotland.

He was the second of the street pastors to address lunchtime shoppers in Dundee High Street. He talked about the nature of sin; about the different sins that Jesus had come to save people from when a woman began to shout at him. He was preaching about sin in general and when he mentioned sexual sin including adultery, promiscuity and homosexual practice, the woman shouted that her son was gay.

Mr. Miano’s colleague, Pastor Josh Williamson of the Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth, who was present at the incident explains: “Tony wasn’t focussing just on homosexual practice – it was about all sin. A woman was yelling at him and her friend noticed we were filming the preaching, so she ran up to me and tried to smash my camera.”

He says the first woman then appeared to be calling the police on her mobile just as a council warden came along and said that while we were doing nothing wrong, and had the right to free speech, we should move on.

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Persecution is the price we pay for truth

January 9th, 2014 Posted in Persecuted church |

From Cranmer

Persecution is suffering. It can be inflicted by authorities, groups or individuals, usually for the silencing or subjugation of unacceptable opinions or beliefs. It has been endured by the Church since its inception within the Roman Empire, where Christianity was initially identified with Judaism, a religio licita, but in which a tiny and relatively insignificant 'sect' gradually established its own religious, social and political identity which was viewed as a threat to the political order. Early Christians therefore had to contend with persecution from three sources: the Jews, the Romans, and, as various groups grappled with ever-increasing theological differences, each other.

The worship of pagan gods and of the emperor was commonplace throughout the empire, and the Christians’ non-participation in pagan rituals and general separateness brought accusations of anti-social behaviour. Talk of eating the body and blood of Jesus, and the customary greeting with a kiss, brought charges of cannibalism and incest. Tacitus spoke of Christians as being a "notoriously depraved" people who held to a "deadly superstition", and they consequently became associated with the collegia – clubs or secret societies. Such groups were considered a threat to political stability because of the threat of sedition. To refuse to participate in the pagan emperor-cult was a political as well as a religious act, and could easily be construed as dangerous disaffection. In the opinion of the general populace, such a crowd of wretches were plainly worthy of extermination, and any repressive measures that were taken against them by authority could be sure of popular approval. Successive emperors were therefore able to inflict persecutions with varying degrees of vehemence.

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Protect trees – but not the family tree?

January 9th, 2014 Posted in Children/Family |

by Helena Adeloju, MercatorNet

[...]  What will the little girl with a sperm donor dad and two lesbian parents be able to make of her ancestry? Technological advances have made possible familial connections and disconnections that people would never have dreamed of in the not so distant past.

I remember being scandalised as I sat in a university computer lab during my undergraduate studies when a girl declared to a friend, “My Dad was a sperm donor before he got married and had us, so for all I know I could marry my brother and not know.” Call me old fashioned, but surely that would look a little awkward on the family tree, that’s if such a strange hybrid stays intact long enough for it to be documented.

Nearly two years ago there were already an estimated 60,000 children in Australia conceived through sperm donation. These children have no idea who their biological fathers are, and as a result have no hope of finding them. Surely this is another stolen generation?

For these children a family tree or even their biological surname is no stuffy source of pedigree, but their lifeline. One day they too may wish to seek and find their family ties armed with the clues that as little as a surname can provide.

Surely we should protect the family tree of future generations.

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US Supreme Court puts the chill on activist judge’s decision to overturn Utah’s marriage amendment

January 9th, 2014 Posted in Gay Marriage |

By Tony Perkins, LifeSite News

While the country shivered through frigid temperatures Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court put something else on ice: the same-sex "marriages" of Utah couples. After two weeks of chaos, America's most powerful court put the brakes on one rogue judge's decision to single-handedly overturn the state's marriage amendment.

The December 20th ruling took several people by surprise — including Governor Gary Herbert (R), who called out District Court Judge Robert Shelby as an "activist" who jeopardized the state's right "to define marriage through ordinary democratic channels." For Utah, it was the second major marriage headline in less than a month — thrusting the state back into the spotlight it left when Judge Clark Waddoups stunned everyone by decriminalizing polygamy.

Of course, marriage has always been a hot-button issue in Utah, dating back to the state's earliest days. And that isn't likely to change now, as Utah becomes the venue for the first challenge to a state marriage law since the Supreme Court struck down part of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) last June. When Governor Herbert gears up for an appeal to Judge Shelby's overreach, he'll have new state attorney general, Sean Reyes, to lead the charge. Picked to take over the post when his predecessor resigned, Reyes promised, "My intention … is to continue to defend the laws that have been passed by the people of Utah."

[...]  Unanimously, the nine justices agreed that one person shouldn't have the power to create same-sex "marriage" in a state that democratically outlawed it. The justices ordered Utah officials to stop issuing "marriage" licenses to homosexual couples — something they had done 1,300 times in the 17 days since Shelby's ruling. While Governor Herbert cheered the Supreme Court for intervening, he understands that it never should have come to this.

Read here

Read also: Utah won’t recognize 1000+ gay ‘marriages’ contracted after judge struck down marriage amendment

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A win! Peers vote to protect free speech

January 8th, 2014 Posted in Freedom Of Speech |

From The Christian Institute

I am delighted to say that the House of Lords has voted overwhelmingly for an amendment to the Anti-social Behaviour Bill to protect free speech.

Under clause 1 of the Bill government ministers were seeking to replace Anti-social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) with injunctions that would have been easier to obtain and required a much lower threshold of behaviour than ASBOs.

The Reform Clause 1 campaign called the proposed orders, known as Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAs), a "threat to free speech".

Former Chief Constable Lord Dear tabled an amendment to replace the "nuisance or annoyance" threshold with the test of causing "harassment, alarm or distress".

Senior lawyers across political parties agreed that IPNAs were a real risk to free speech allowing courts to issue injunctions against those – including street preachers and buskers – who breached political correctness.

The test of causing "harassment, alarm or distress" would protect free speech while still allowing the courts to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Crossbench and Labour Peers, together with Tory rebels, voted against the Government and Lord Dear’s amendment was passed by a resounding 306 votes to 178.

The Government will now have to decide how to respond.

We would like to thank you for writing to Peers and voicing your support. Thank you also for your prayers. We give thanks to God for this remarkable victory.

Yours in Christ,

Colin Hart
Director
The Christian Institute
 

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Call to Action: Let’s Make the Most of this Moment!

January 8th, 2014 Posted in Gay Marriage |

From Brian Brown, NOM

(For our US readers) 

I write today to announce an urgent call to action: Please join the National Organization for Marriage today in petitioning Congress to amend our nation's Constitution to define marriage once and for all as the union of one man and one woman.
Why are we issuing this call today?
Well, as I'm sure you're already aware, this week saw a monumental shift in momentum for the marriage debate in our country, with the Supreme Court making an extremely rare move to grant a stay against the enforcement of a decision by a federal judge in Utah overturning that state's marriage amendment.
The initial decision by Obama-appointed District Judge Robert Shelby was passed down just a few days before Christmas. Shelby ludicrously claimed that the U.S. Supreme Court's Windsor decision this past summer had set a clear and inevitable path toward a constitutional right to same-sex 'marriage' when in fact Windsor found specifically that states have the right to define marriage. To add insult to injury, Shelby refused to stay his flawed decision even though the State of Utah was certain to appeal, and a flurry of same-sex 'marriages' began taking place throughout Utah.
But now the Supreme Court has indicated that the State of Utah's case to uphold its marriage law, passed by decisive majorities of both the legislature and the citizenry, is meritorious and their order reinstates marriage in Utah. The state can now appeal Shelby's decision to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in an orderly fashion.
Legal scholars will debate the impact of the decision. Some gay marriage advocates are very troubled by the ruling, saying the Supreme Court has hit the "pause" button on the drive to redefine marriage. Others believe the Court hit a "stop" button. This much is clear to us: there is no inevitable path toward nationwide same-sex marriage; and the legal definition of marriage is still very much up for grabs.
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Jesus can make you a ‘better lover’, London commuters told

January 8th, 2014 Posted in Christianity |

by John Bingham, Telegraph

He fed the 5,000 and walked on water but now a new advertising campaign suggests that Jesus can work miracles in another area altogether.

Advertisements for a Christian dating agency are set to raise more than eyebrows with a claim that believers make “better lovers”.

The slogan, to appear in London Tube carriages from next week, appears to be based on spam emails promoting herbal anti-impotence drugs.

The use of the word “lover” also carries connotations of illicit relationships, despite the Bible’s prohibition on adultery.

But the adverts explain that the pun is reference to the command in the Gospel of John for Christians to “love one another”.

Christian Connection, the agency which specialises in helping religious people find their soul mate, hopes that the tongue-in-cheek reference to impotence will make exhausted commuters “sit up and take notice”.

The company, set up in 2000, promotes itself as the only specifically Christian dating agency and claims to have paved the way for thousands of marriages.

Read here

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Sex After Christianity

January 8th, 2014 Posted in Gay Activism, Gay Marriage |

By Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

Gay marriage is not just a social revolution but a cosmological one.

Twenty years ago, new president Bill Clinton stepped on a political landmine when he tried to fulfill a campaign promise to permit gay soldiers to serve openly. Same-sex marriage barely registered as a political cause; the country was then three years away from the Defense of Marriage Act and four years from comedian Ellen DeGeneres’s prime-time coming out.

Then came what historians will one day recall as a cultural revolution. Now we’re entering the endgame of the struggle over gay rights and the meaning of homosexuality. Conservatives have been routed, both in court and increasingly in the court of public opinion. It is commonly believed that the only reason to oppose same-sex marriage is rank bigotry or for religious reasons, neither of which—the argument goes—has any place in determining laws or public standards.

The magnitude of the defeat suffered by moral traditionalists will become ever clearer as older Americans pass from the scene. Poll after poll shows that for the young, homosexuality is normal and gay marriage is no big deal—except, of course, if one opposes it, in which case one has the approximate moral status of a segregationist in the late 1960s.

All this is, in fact, a much bigger deal than most people on both sides realize, and for a reason that eludes even ardent opponents of gay rights. Back in 1993, a cover story in The Nation identified the gay-rights cause as the summit and keystone of the culture war:

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Will Utah Eventually End America’s Same-Sex Marriage Debate?

January 8th, 2014 Posted in Gay Activism, Gay Marriage |

by Joshua Wood, Christianity Today

The final ruling on Kitchen v. Herbert could accomplish what DOMA and Prop. 8 cases failed to do.

Yesterday's emergency ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court not only ended a record run of nearly 1,000 marriages in Utah. The apparently unanimous decision to temporarily restore Utah's state law banning same-sex marriages suggests this case could be the legal battle both sides of the debate have been waiting for.

In June, the Supreme Court managed to rule on two separate cases involving same-sex marriage without ruling on the merits of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Now court watchers are assessing whether the unusually straightforward legal case in Utah likely makes it, as NPR suggests, "the case that forces the high court to wrestle [directly] with the big issue."
 
Past cases have involved multiple legal questions or technical issues that have allowed courts to issue rulings without addressing the merits of the core issue. Kitchen v. Herbert has no technical issues and no legal questions to answer besides the power of states to bar same-sex marriage within their borders.
 
However, SCOTUS blog cautions that Monday's emergency ruling "cannot be interpreted as a dependable indication of how the [Supreme Court] will rule."
 
Utah became the 18th state to allow same-sex marriages on Dec. 20 when U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby issued a 53-page ruling declaring that Utah's constitutional amendment, passed by voters in 2004, violates the rights of gay and lesbian couples to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
 
"The state's current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry," Shelby wrote, "and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason."
 
Utah governor Gary Herbert spoke out against Shelby's ruling, saying, "I am very disappointed an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah."
 
Read here
 
 
 
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How much aid did the UK government give to countries where Christians are persecuted in 2013?

January 8th, 2014 Posted in Persecuted church |

By Gillan Scott, God and Politics in the UK

Today the widely respected Open Doors 2014 World Watch List is published. It is the only annual global survey of Christian religious freedom and since its inception in 2002 it has ranked the 50 countries most hostile to Christian believers during the previous 12-month period. As you would probably expect, fragile or failed states where militant Islamic movements flourish are some of the hardest places for Christians to live.

Pressure on Christians intensified in a number of countries in 2013. The situation deteriorated most rapidly across northern Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf, in countries where sectarian violence has advanced unchecked by impotent central governments.
 
Among the top 10 on the list are six countries where the government has little or no control: Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.
Syria is number three, up from number 11 a year ago. The continuing civil war has afflicted all segments of society, but Christians have paid an especially high price, often at the hands of imported jihadists. In October, Islamist militias killed 46 Christians in Sadad.
 
At number eight, Pakistan has a huge number of extremists, because the national government does little to control local politicians who provide room for anti-Christian pressure to grow. In October two suicide bombers killed 96 Christians at a church in Peshawar, believed to be the worst single act of anti-Christian violence since Pakistan was created in 1947.
 
Read here
 
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Sex, Drugs, and Religious Liberty

January 8th, 2014 Posted in Culture, Religious Liberty, Sexualisation |

by Carissa Mulder, Public Discourse

Same-sex marriage may pose a grave threat to religious liberty, but the cultural conditions and assumptions that make that threat possible are rooted in heterosexual behavior and the idea that everyone has a right to consequence-free sexual intimacy.

Last November marked the twentieth anniversary of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. At an event hosted by the Newseum and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, RFRA’s champions shared stories of how the statute came into being and the long odds it had to overcome. Though no one was resting on his or her laurels, there was a general sense of a job well-done.
 
And then Douglas Laycock, one of the primary architects of RFRA, began to speak. He warned that millions of Americans view religious liberty as their enemy because they resent religion’s interference in their sex lives. Even though RFRA is a “super statute,” it will offer religious believers little protection if the nation turns against religious liberty. Statutes can be repealed. Courts can empty them of their meaning.
 
Laycock’s warning may seem overwrought, but consider just a few news items. In New Mexico, multiple organs of state government have said that a Christian photographer violated the law by refusing to photograph a same-sex wedding. In Colorado, a Christian baker was sued because he refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, and in Washington State a florist was sued for the same reason. Christian nurses in New Jersey were required to assist with abortions or risk losing their jobs. And of course, there is the nationwide HHS contraception mandate.
 
How did we get here? People commonly point to the gay rights movement. It is true that the clash between sexual license and religious liberty is most often seen in the context of gay rights. But step back for a moment. In a 2012 survey of 120,000 American adults, Gallup found that only 3.4 percent identified as LGBT. How could such a small minority so dramatically change prevailing opinion?
 
Read here
 
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Free speech vote in next few hours – please pray

January 8th, 2014 Posted in Civil Liberty, Freedom Of Speech |

From the Christian Institute

In the next few hours there will be a vital vote in the House of Lords on clause 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour Bill.

Under clause 1, Anti-social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) would be replaced with Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAs).
These injunctions will be easier to obtain and require a lower threshold of evidence.

You may remember our victory in seeking to remove the word "insulting" from Section 5 of the Public Order Act. The Government’s proposal in clause 1 would undermine the benefits of this reform.

Everyone is concerned about tackling genuine anti-social behaviour. But very senior lawyers from across the political parties agree that clause 1 is much too broad and is a real risk to free speech.

Former Chief Constable, Lord Dear, has tabled an amendment to replace the "nuisance and annoyance" threshold with the test of causing "harassment, alarm or distress". This would protect free speech while still allowing the courts to tackle anti-social behaviour.
The vote is expected to take place around 6pm today and we believe there is a lot of support within the House of Lords.

Please pray:

  • For Lord Dear as he leads on the amendment.
  • That Peers on the Government benches will be willing to vote against their whip.
  • That the vote today will be won.For the staff of The Christian Institute as we work alongside politicians and other organisations who agree with our concerns.

Yours in Christ,

Colin Hart
Director
The Christian Institute 

Read also:  Outlawing "annoyance" is Cameron's crassest law from Cranmer

Lord Dear: IPNAs – a threat to our freedom and a waste of police time from Conservative Home

 

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No such thing as a ‘good’ divorce when children involved, say divorcees

January 8th, 2014 Posted in Children/Family, Culture, Divorce |

By John Bingham, Telegraph

There is no such thing as a “good” divorce in the opinion of most parents who have been through a split, polling by the counselling charity Relate has found.

Six out of 10 parents who had been through a family break-up said that they did not believe in the idea of a good separation.

More than half of them admitted that, despite their efforts to minimise the pain, the experience had had a negative effect on their children.

The findings follow a separate study by the parenting website Netmums which suggested that the effects of break-up on children are more severe than the adults realise.

The Relate survey also illustrates how protracted most separations can be. Only 40 per cent of those polled said they had completed the process within a year and one in 10 said it had taken more than five years.

Read here

Read also:  Children facing 'epidemic of loneliness' – surge in self-harm

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Scottish sex ed guidance ignores traditional marriage

January 8th, 2014 Posted in Marriage, Sex education |

From The Christian Institute

Parents who believe in traditional marriage are being sidelined by draft sex education guidance, Scotland for Marriage has warned.
 
The pro-marriage group said under the proposals, teaching about marriage will be downgraded in sex education.
 
Scotland for Marriage also warned that teachers who have concerns about the issue will not be protected.
 
“The new draft sex education guidance is a real shocker, and shows where things are heading”, the group said.
 
The organisation also voiced concerns that the new guidance undermines parental rights. It said children could be taught certain aspects of sex education in other classes despite parents removing them from formal lessons on the topic.
 
The draft Government guidance on Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) education has been released following the Bill to redefine marriage in Scotland.
 
The guidance removes reference to children learning about “the value placed on marriage by religious groups and others in Scottish society”.
 
Read here
 
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