National Shorts - NewsBriefs

How the transgender directive could affect Christian education

(WNS)–In the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s transgender directive to schools, Christian K-12 schools are preparing for how the ruling could affect them. In response to the president’s order that public schools allow students to use the restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to their gender identities, Christian Schools International (CSI) and Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) issued gender policy guidelines to their Christian school members. Tom Cathey, ACSI’s director for legal/legislative issues, and Jeff Blamer, CSI’s vice president of member affairs, do not expect the policies to cause families to leave public schools for Christian schools in large numbers. Both organizations encouraged schools to review and clarify their mission statements and policies to include the definition of marriage, the roles of men and women, and biological identity.

Oklahoma adopts law designed to create ‘an abortion-free society’

(WNS)–This November, Oklahoma residents will start seeing state-sponsored, pro-life messages. Gov. Mary Fallin signed The Humanity of the Unborn Child Act on June 6, with the goal of moving the state toward “an abortion-free society,” according to the bill. The new law requires the State Department of Health to develop and distribute educational material about babies developing in the womb and maintain on its website “a comprehensive list” of agencies and services that help women through pregnancy and childbirth. The material must be geared toward helping women through pregnancy and promoting adoption instead of abortion.

States sue Obama administration over rules redefining gender

(WNS)–Eleven states filed suit against the Obama administration May 25 over its demand that public schools allow students to use the restroom and locker room facilities of their choice, rather than their biological gender. Earlier this month, the federal departments of justice and education issued the directive, saying Title IX of the Civil Rights Act applies to gender identity as well as sex. Attorneys general in Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Arizona, Louisiana, Utah, and Georgia disagree. State officials say the Obama administration has “conspired to turn workplace and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights,” according to the lawsuit.

Few Syrian Christians get asylum in U.S., despite genocide declaration

(WNS)–Two months after the Obama administration called out militant terror group Islamic State (ISIS) for committing genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria, refugee data show those finding a safe haven in the United States are not the ones suffering the most persecution. Last year, President Barack Obama set the goal of bringing 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States in fiscal year 2016. So far, the State Department is on track to fall well short of that number, with only about 2,700 successfully resettled. State Department figures show 499 Syrian refugees have resettled in America this month, but not a single one was a Christian or member of another religious minority group targeted for genocide, according to CNSNews reports. “For me, that has got to change,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on May 26. “I mean that is unconscionable.” Of the 2,705 Syrian refugees who came to the United States this fiscal year, 97 percent are Sunni Muslims. Only 12 identified with a form of Christianity, either Catholic, Greek Orthodox, or Protestant, along with 10 Yazidi refugees.

Student protesters force out another university leader

(WNS)–Buckling under student demands for more diverse faculty and a “non-Eurocentric curriculum,” the interim provost at Seattle University on June 1 placed the dean of its Matteo Ricci College on administrative leave. On day 22 of a sit-in by protesting students, interim provost Bob Dullea announced Jodi Kelly would be placed on leave as dean of the Jesuit university’s humanities college. Despite Kelly’s promise to conduct “a comprehensive review of the curricula, assess the college’s culture, and provide racial and cultural literacy training,” more than 200 students, faculty and staff gathered last Wednesday in the school’s Casey Building and cheered or snapped their fingers in agreement with the leave announcement, according to The Washington Times. But some alumni criticized the students’ actions and administrators’ willingness to let them have so much control. 

Legal pot is sowing seeds of illegal growing operations in Colorado

(WNS)–Four years after Colorado legalized the use and sale of marijuana, at least one critic is saying, we told you so. In Colorado, anyone over the age of 21 can grow up to six marijuana plants in an “enclosed, locked space.” But pot growers with bigger ambitions beyond individual recreational and medicinal use are flocking to the state. Not all of them abide by the law. What started as illegal growers working seasonally in secret inside abandoned warehouses and on federal land has turned into a phenomenon called “grow houses.” Growers rent or buy homes where they cultivate anywhere from hundreds to thousands of marijuana plants in year-round operations. Many grow houses are found in Pueblo County and Colorado Springs, but the Denver Post reported the houses are popping up throughout the state.

Televangelist Jan Crouch dies

(WNS)–Janice Crouch, known for billowy, pink-tinged wigs, ample eye makeup, and prosperity gospel televangelism, died May 31 after suffering a stroke the previous week. She was 78. In a post on their website, her son Matt and his wife Laurie wrote that they saw “her step into the presence of Jesus and into her heavenly reward. Jan Crouch, known around the world as Momma Jan, has gone home.” Crouch and her late husband Paul co-founded Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) in the 1970s, growing it into the largest Christian cable network in the nation. Its 24-hour, commercial-free programming featured Praise the Lord, a nightly talk show hosted by the Crouch duo.

Lawmakers urge HHS to investigate StemExpress, Planned Parenthood

(WNS)–The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to investigate StemExpress and Planned Parenthood affiliates for potentially illegal activity that generated profit from selling baby body parts. In April, the congressional panel found evidence linking StemExpress to illegal profits from the sale of aborted baby body parts. Panel investigators uncovered StemExpress documentation of fetal tissue technicians stationed inside abortion centers to round up tiny livers, kidneys, hearts, and lungs for buyers—profiting up to 400 percent per item. On June 1, the panel delivered two letters to HHS asking it to take a closer look at the relationship between StemExpress and the abortion centers it once worked with. After being exposed by undercover pro-life journalists investigating the fetal tissue trade, StemExpress cut ties with Planned Parenthood in August.

Missouri appeals court considers the rights of frozen human embryos

(WNS)–Another divorced couple went to court in early June to fight over the remains of their shattered marriage, but their disagreement involves more than the typical tug-of-war over furniture and houses. The Missouri Court of Appeals must determine whether the couple’s frozen embryos are property or human beings with rights. A lower court declared the embryos the couple’s joint property, and ruled both the mother and father must agree to any action involving them. But the appeal, filed by the mother who wants to implant the embryos against the father’s will, has rallied support from pro-life organizations that argue the embryos are human beings with rights. They contend any decision relating to the embryos, like all decisions relating to children in divorce proceedings, should be based on what is in their best interest. The Missouri Court of Appeals is not expected to issue its ruling for several months.

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