News Roundup

Nigerian Christians suffering ‘genocidal’ attacks

A Catholic Bishop in Nigeria has described the forced displacement of 1.3 million Christians as “genocidal in character”. Speaking before the United Nations in New York, Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of Kafanchan detailed the suffering of Christians at the hands of Fulani herdsmen who have killed 11,500 Christians in pursuit of their land. “The Fulani herdsmen have incessantly terrorised many communities, wiping out some from existence, and in…these attacks assumed a genocidal character,” the Bishop asserted as he called for international pressure on Nigeria to deal with the crisis and to protect freedom of religion.
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Last Archbishop in Mosul describes plight of Christians

The last remaining Christian Archbishop in Mosul, Iraq, has spoken of the extent of destruction wrought by Islamic State (ISIS) against Christians there and in Syria. In an interview with the European Centre for Law & Justice, Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf said: “They take our churches, they take our monasteries, they take our houses, our land, our money, our life, our dignity, our history…Christians are cheap people, you can kill them, they count for nothing.” Archbishop Sharaf insisted that “powerful countries may stop ISIS if they want to. The creation of a safe area for Christians to come back is achievable if the international community supports and protects such an area.”
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Plans to regulate church youth work criticised

The British government has been criticised by MPs over proposals to allow the schools’ regulator Ofsted to investigate church youth work. Joining a raft of interest groups which have already called the Ofsted plan an attack on religious freedom, MPs Gavin Robinson (DUP) and Sir Gerald Howarth (Con) lamented the government’s failure to set the proposal aside and said the measure breached the ruling Conservative Party’s manifesto against “sweeping authoritarian measures”. The Ofsted plan would see the body inspect any out-of-school setting in England which provides instruction to children for more than 6 to 8 hours in any week. This could include church youth work and even holiday Bible clubs.
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Christians in Middle East face ‘humanitarian disaster’

A US hearing on the plight of Christians in the Middle East has been told that the community faces “the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II” unless America intervenes. Addressing a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives, Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said that for those Christians who had escaped Islamic State for the Kurdish-controlled region around Erbril in Iraq, a new crisis is brewing as US and UN aid does not reach them. “If assistance from outside Church affiliated agencies ends in Erbil, Christians there will face a catastrophic humanitarian tragedy within 30 days,” Anderson warned.
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Action demanded after Ray D’Arcy pro-abortion broadcast

The Pro-Life Campaign (PLC) has called on RTÉ to “rein in” radio host Ray D’Arcy after a second broadcasting complaint for his on-air comments on abortion. In the wake of the latest complaint, upheld by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), the PLC said: “The time has come for RTÉ to rein in Ray. It’s not acceptable for Ireland’s taxpayer-funded broadcasting station to continue to provide a platform for people to promote their own personal agendas. RTÉ has been keeping its head firmly in the sand over the problem of bias on abortion at the station.”
The BAI ruled of Ray D’Arcy’s show that an interview was “set out so as to encourage support for the Amnesty International campaign” on making abortion more widely available.
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Diocese removes cathedral reader over abortion stance

The Diocese of Cloyne has upheld a decision to remove a parishioner from the reading rota due to his pro-abortion views. Ken Curtin was removed from his role at Cobh Cathedral following his criticism of the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion during his electoral campaign as a member of the Social Democrats. Mr Curtin appealed the decision to Bishop of Cloyne William Crean, but was unsuccessful in lobbying to return as a reader.
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States challenge transgender push in US

Eleven US states have launched legal action against the Obama administration’s attempt to force schools to open toilets and changing facilities to transgender students. Following the mandate, which threatens federal funding for schools, the states accused the administration of overstepping its powers. States involved are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Texas Governor Gregg Abbott said that “the Obama administration is trampling the United States Constitution”.
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Three million sign defence of natural marriage petition

Three million people in Romania have signed a petition calling on the government there to enshrine marriage between one man and one woman in the nation’s constitution. Organised by Christian churches and family groups, the petition states: “A family is established through the free-willed marriage between one man and one woman, and is based upon their equality and their right and their duty to provide for the raising, the education and the training of the children.” The three million signatures are six times the required number to compel legislators to debate the petition’s call.
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Transgender teacher wins damages in ‘she’ harassment case

A transgender schoolteacher in the US has been awarded $60,000 in damages for harassment after co-workers failed to use a preferred pronoun in social interactions. Oregon teacher Leo Soell, born a woman but who now self-identifies as neither male nor female alleged that staff’s continued use of “she”, “lady” and “Miss Soell” amounted to a campaign of harassment. Despite a district investigation which ruled out such a campaign against the teacher, Soell went on to sue the district and secured damages. As part of the settlement, district leaders agreed to build gender-neutral restrooms at all district schools within three years.
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Abortion activists stage ‘arrest protest’ in Northern Ireland

Three Derry women voluntarily handed themselves over to police after they imported abortion pills as part of an arranged protest against Northern Ireland’s abortion laws. The three, all members of the Alliance for Choice were cheered by supporters after they walked into a police station and admitted importing the pills for supply to women across the North. The trio have subsequently stated that they would supply to the Republic of Ireland too. The Police Service of Northern Ireland has confirmed it is investigating the matter.  
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