by Benjamin Haas, Guardian:
Crackdown on unofficial churches comes as Vatican and Beijing sign controversial deal on appointment of bishops.
Pastor Jin Mingri has felt firsthand the pain of one of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s harshest crackdowns on religion in years.
Jin’s Zion Church in Beijing, one of the biggest unofficial congregations in the country, was abruptly demolished by authorities this month, who then sent him a bill for 1.2m yuan (£133,000) for the related costs. Jin had preached there every Sunday for decades.
“Before, as long as you didn’t meddle in politics the government left you alone,” he said. “But now if you don’t push the Communist party line, if you don’t display your love for the party, you are a target.
“Of course we’re scared, we’re in China, but we have Jesus.”
Zion belonged to a vast network of unofficial “house” churches that function outside of the government mandated system, and for decades were tolerated by authorities.
They have long been vulnerable, but have become more vulnerable as China’s leaders call for the “Sinicisation” of religious practice. New regulations that came in in February require tighter control of places of worship, with some forced to install CCTV cameras that fed live footage to local authorities. In the months that followed, officials across China have removed crosses from church buildings and demolished others perceived as too large in the hope of reducing the public visibility of religion.
by Andrew Tettenborn, Rebel Priest:
Rape is understandably a sensitive subject. Unfortunately, however, these days it’s difficult to say anything at all reasoned about it without creating a storm of protest by activists of some kind or other. A story last week arising from the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) attempt to improve its approach to rape cases is a case in point.
No one can say that the CPS’s handling of rape has shown it at its best in the last couple of years. Its conviction rate is down to 32% for young men aged 18-24 (though it does go up for older men). And as some readers may remember, last year it suffered a galling catalogue of failures.
These include the debacle with Ched Evans, finally acquitted at a retrial in 2016, after over two years in prison on the basis of new evidence the CPS had fought tooth and nail to keep out; a series of collapsed trials last year following high-profile failures to provide proper disclosure to defendants’ lawyers; and, of course, the laughable though serious suggestion by ex-Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders that the complex issue of lack of consent was just as simple as refusing a cup of tea.
Last week, no doubt with the approval of the new DPP Max Hill, an attempt was made to stop the rot. CPS rape prosecutors were given straightforward advice : look at the evidence carefully, use judgment, avoid prosecuting what seem to be weak or doubtful cases, and concentrate on those with a good chance of a conviction.
by Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack, The Conservative Woman:
In Skelleftea, a major industrial and mining town in northern Sweden, another church has been vandalised. Threats of jihad and death were spray-painted on its walls. This is by no means the first incident of Islamic Christophobia in Skelleftea.
Church of Sweden Communicator P-O Sjödin, however, brushed off the incident as ‘innocent’ vandalism. ‘I do not interpret the message in any way, but I hope and believe it’s a common doodle . . . We hope and believe that this is a prank.’
The police, according to local newspapers, are aware of the incident. They state that they are particularly concerned about continued hate attacks against Christian churches.
The mainstream media are less concerned. The continuing anti-Christian vandalism has been absent from almost all Swedish MSM. This is par for the course: in Sweden any mention of Muslim criminality, especially anti-Christian violence, is taboo.
After pressure from the people of Skelleftea, the Church of Sweden and Swedish radio eventually mentioned the vandalism. They did not, however, identify which church was targeted or spell out the explicit anti-Christian nature of the graffiti.
Communicator Sjödin claimed that the church had not commented on the attack in the hope that it would just blow over. According to him, the perpetrators were merely ‘rascals’. Instead of treating this as a case of religious hatred, as it would be if a mosque were attacked, Sjödin tried to dismiss it as youthful high jinks.
by David Robertson, theweeflea:
Although Theresa May’s recent visit to Africa was more noted for its dancing, there was something which largely went unreported and yet was of far more significance. The UK government pledged to give £200 million to help women in Africa/Asia who want contraception and want to be able to control the number of children they have. Marie Stopes International (MSI) estimated that it would help avert 2.6 million unwanted pregnancies, 16,420 maternal deaths and 1.7 million unsafe abortions. Apart from being sceptical about these figures it seems as though this programme (which includes providing further schooling and other maternal support) is something that would be worth supporting. But there is a darker and more disturbing side to this.
It may be that Mrs May, in wanting to again avoid the label of the ‘Nasty’ party, is unaware of what precisely she has committed our money to. The African activist Obianuju Ekeocha issued a disturbing video that showed Western abortion activists boasting about how they encouraged illegal abortions in Africa. Of course Western liberals assume that abortion is ‘progressive’ and a good thing. But it really does depend on your perspective. With the advance of modern science it is getting increasingly difficult to argue that the baby in the womb is just an ‘it’ and not a human being.
by James Risdon, LifeSite:
Pastors and other church leaders are fighting back against the British Columbia government’s SOGI 123 sex-ed curriculum with the launch of their West Coast Christian Accord.
“The church in British Columbia is waking up to the fact that there has been change and that it is not all positive,” said Cedar Grove Baptist Church pastor Kevin Cavanaugh in an interview Thursday.
The West Coast Christian Accord is a 14-point document outlining the Christian position on gender identity and human sexuality. Roughly 200 pastors and more than 1,100 church leaders had already signed this accord as of Thursday morning.
All of them intend to use the sword of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, in their fight to stop a sex-ed program they claim is harming children.
“It’s sowing doubts and confusion into the minds of very, very young children,” said Cavanaugh. “It’s an oversexualization of everything. … We see it as a sexual activist agenda.”
After live-streaming their announcement of this accord on Facebook Thursday, the pastors signed a letter to be sent to British Columbia Education Minister Rob Fleming. That letter asks the education minister to stop using SOGI 123 in the province’s schools.
“The likelihood of that being blown off is pretty good but it is our starting point,” said Cavanaugh. “We are concerned that what is being taught right now is not good for anyone and is detrimental.”
Read also: Christian, Muslim, Jewish Parents Unite Against Canada’s Public School Sex-Ed Curriculum by Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post
by Jules Gomes:
We will never know what happened to Christine Blasey Ford on the evening she claims she was sexually assaulted. What Dr Ford claims to know is that two boys, Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, sexually assaulted her in an unknown house on an unknown day at an unknown time.
An unknown person drove the 15-year-old Christine to the unknown house for the unknown party and an unknown person drove her home after the unknown party. Ford doesn’t know if it is the same person who drove her to the party, as this person is also unknown. Ford claims that four other people, including a female friend, know what happened. The four individuals, including the female friend, who are said to know say they don’t know what happened, if it happened.
I watched the entire Kafkaesque show trial. I was moved by Dr Ford’s tears and the trauma she has suffered. Undoubtedly, her legal team would have spent hours coaching her. This was high drama. Emotionally, she gave a virtuoso performance. I don’t think she was acting or lying most of the time.
It is possible Ford is a victim of RMT. That is why it is imperative for any future investigation to rigorously scrutinise her therapist(s), the form of therapy used on both occasions, how much of her story was reconstructed and how much was original.
What we do know is that RMT psychobabble blended with feminist ideology is a toxic witches brew that is potent enough to destroy women and their fathers, brothers, husband and sons for years to come. It is a Kafkaesque substitute for justice, the presumption of innocence and the requirement for facts, evidence and corroboration in a court of law.
from Transgender Trend:
Ed: Trangender Trend describe themselves thus: ‘We are a group of parents based in the UK, who are concerned about the current trend to diagnose ‘gender non-conforming’ children as transgender. We reject current conservative, reactionary, religious-fundamentalist views about sexuality and we have no political affiliation. We are also concerned about legislation which places transgender rights above the right to safety for girls and young women in public bathrooms and changing rooms.
We come from diverse backgrounds, some with expertise in child development and psychology, some who were themselves extreme gender non-conforming children and adolescents, some whose own children have self-diagnosed as ‘trans’ and some who know supportive trans adults who are also questioning recent theories of ‘transgenderism.’
Women’s Minister Victoria Atkins recently expressed concerns about the number of teenagers seeking life-changing medical interventions. Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Women & Equalities, has now ordered an investigation into the exponential rise in the number of teenage girls wanting to transition. The Telegraph report states: “Officials will look into the role of social media and the teaching of transgender issues in schools as part of their inquiries”. Although we believe there are many factors behind rates of rapid onset gender dysphoria in teenage girls (and some boys) we think that the issue of transgender teaching in schools is one area which needs particularly urgent review. We call for the withdrawal of all transgender schools guidance written by trans and LGBT groups pending the results of the investigation.
We have written before about the content of transgender inclusion schools toolkits. In this post we will examine the content and the message of the guidance from Stonewall, the most powerful and influential LGBT organisation in the UK. To become a Stonewall School Champion is one way a school can tick the important ‘LGBT inclusion’ box for Ofsted, but within the Stonewall training packages is advice which goes much further than simply supporting LGBT pupils.
The government consultation on the reform of the Gender Recognition Act proposes a sex self-ID system with no requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate. A recent YouGov poll showed that only 18% of the public agree with this proposal.
Yet Stonewall and transgender organisations have been quietly ensuring that a system of sex self-ID is already in place in schools across the UK.
by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mailonline:
Family policy does not have a good name in the United Kingdom. For many, it’s synonymous with John Major’s ill-fated ‘Back to Basics’ and a resentment about hypocritical ‘do as I say not as I do’ politicians.
In the past, governmental approach has been too judgemental and unsympathetic to personal circumstances.
Single parents, 90 per cent of whom are women, often battle against considerable difficulties and need both support and understanding.
It is not the role of the Government to tell people how to live their lives or to determine that one way is better than another, but it is reasonable to help people lead the lives they want to lead.
This highlights the divide between Socialism and Conservatism.
The Left wants to tell people, in the interests of the collective, how to behave and to direct their actions.
For its part, the Right understands that individual decision-making is preferable and wants to remove obstacles from people’s paths, allowing them to determine their own way, and this has crucial implications for family policy.
This is not about telling them how to live but helping them do what they want to do anyway. I fear that, currently, public policy discriminates against the family and encourages it both to break down or not to form in the first place.
Official statistics show that only two thirds of British children live with both parents until the age of 14, compared with the OECD average of 84 per cent.
Such a figure is one of the worst in the western world. Inevitably, there’s an effect on mental health, with more than half of the cases that arise being linked to family problems.