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Church of England votes to affirm transgender members

(WNS)–Despite claims this week’s Church of England General Synod resulted in no doctrinal changes on the issue of sexuality, conservative Anglicans are lamenting the three-day meeting, saying the Church stepped away from Biblical Christianity and mocked God’s Word. In February, the General Synod rejected a report reaffirming traditional church cannon on marriage, a decision seen as a victory for LGBT advocates within the Church. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said afterwards “a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church” was needed to deal with disagreements and find ways forward.  Reporting to the General Synod on Saturday, Welby said two working groups would provide pastoral guidance and produce new teaching on human sexuality.


Forced euthanasia in the Netherlands

(WNS)–Doctors in the Netherlands euthanized 431 people in 2015 who never requested to die, according to data from the country’s latest report. The report, published once every five years, shows a continued upward trend in the total number of doctor-assisted deaths over the course of a decade. In 2015, doctors helped 7,254 people die, and nearly 6 percent did not request it. Euthanasia Prevention Coalition’s Alex Schadenberg noted that even after legalization, “covert euthanasia continues to occur.” The 2010 report showed 4,050 doctor-assisted deaths, 310 of which were not requested. The 2005 report showed 2,425 assisted deaths, with 550 deaths not requested.


Archaeologists discover Solomon-era linens

(WNS)–Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University have unearthed 3,000-year-old dyed wool fabric samples from the time of Kings David and Solomon. The archaeologists discovered the samples at a large, ancient Edomite copper smelting site and nearby temple in the Timna Valley, a desert region in southern Israel. They date the cloth from the 13th to 10th centuries B.C. The fabric was so well dyed that even now the original colors are visible. The discovery, reported in Plos One, highlights several aspects of cultural life in the Timna Valley at that time. It shows highly skilled weavers made the fabric and that it could not have been produced in the Timna region, an area too arid to grow the plants needed for dyeing or to provide a water source needed for the process. The people of the Timna Valley would have needed a long-distance trade route to obtain the fabric. And the cloth would have been costly, indicating the presence of a socially stratified society led by an elite group.


World leaders urge China to release Liu Xiaobo’s widow

(WNS)–The United States, the UN, and other world leaders are urging China to release Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel laureate and activist Liu Xiaobo, who died July 13. Liu Xia, 56, has been held in isolation and house arrest without charge since 2010. The poet and artist has reportedly suffered from depression and heart attacks. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a statement mourning the death of Liu Xiaobo, adding “I call on the Chinese government to release Liu Xia from house arrest and allow her to depart China, according to her wishes.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, urged Chinese authorities to guarantee Liu Xia’s freedom of movement. France, Germany, Taiwan, and the U.K. also expressed support. Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia married in a labor camp in 1996.


No more ‘ladies and gentlemen’

(WNS)–Riders on London’s underground will no longer hear the long-standing phrase “ladies and gentlemen” after a recent decision to switch to gender-neutral greetings. Transport for London (TfL) announced it would change its prerecorded greeting and instructed all employees to stop using gender-binary phrases. The move comes after months of lobbying by LGBT activists. “We want everyone to feel welcome on our transport network,” said Mark Evers, director of customer strategy at TfL.


Malta legalizes same-sex marriage

(WNS)–The Mediterranean island of Malta legalized same-sex marriage on July 12. Only one lawmaker out of 67 voted against the measure. Malta joined 24 other countries, mostly in Europe and the Americas, that legally recognize same-sex marriage.


Kidnapped missionaries, others still held in Mali

(WNS)–An al-Qaeda-linked group in Mali has released a proof-of-life video of six foreign hostages, one of them held since 2011. SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist groups, said the recently formed al-Qaeda affiliate, Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, released the video on July 1, a day before French President Emmanuel Macron visited the country. The undated video includes Stephen McGown from South Africa, Kenneth Elliott from Australia, Iulian Ghergut from Romania, Beatrice Stockly from Switzerland, Colombian nun Cecilia Narvaez Agorti, and Sophie Petronin from France. “No genuine negotiations have begun to rescue your children,” a narrator said in the video.


The First Freedom

(WNS)–In an interview with a Swedish Catholic magazine, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said his party, the Social Democrats, believes all clergy, as representatives of an “open democratic church,” should have to consecrate same-sex marriages or find other work. Until 2000, the Lutheran Church served as the state-sponsored church of Sweden. Löfven compared the requirement to that of Swedish midwives’ duty to perform abortions. Fellow countrywoman and pro-life midwife Ellinor Grimmark has filed suit in the European Court on Human Rights for the right to work without defying her Christian convictions.

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