Religion

Pope To Catholics: Try Giving Up Trolling For Lent

Reuters reports: During Lent, Catholics are called on to give up something, like sweets. On Wednesday, Pope Francis added a modern twist to the list of things to quit during the season and beyond: insulting people on social media. The pope made his appeal to tone things down while speaking to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square …

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Pope Rejects Trump’s Middle East Peace Proposal

Reuters reports: Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal. It was believed to be the first time the pope, who has often defended both Palestinian rights and Israel’s need for security, has …

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Preachers Win Right To Harass At Chicago’s Bean

Courthouse News reports: A Chicago-area Christian outreach ministry resumed evangelizing in Millennium Park on Friday night after a federal judge ruled the city violated the ministry’s constitutional rights by trying to prevent it from preaching in the public space. Jeremy Chong, a sophomore at Wheaton College and member of the Wheaton-sponsored Chicago Evangelism Team, said in a phone interview Friday …

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PA Diocese Declares Bankruptcy Amid Abuse Lawsuits

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, becoming the first of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses to seek protection from financial claims in the aftermath of a scathing 2018 grand jury report that revealed decades of sexual abuse and cover-up by the church’s top leaders. In its petition with the bankruptcy court, the diocese reported …

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Papal Envoy To Abuse Victim: Recant And We’ll Pay You

The Associated Press reports: The cardinal’s response was not what Yolanda Martínez had expected — or could abide. Her son had been sexually abused by a priest of the Legion of Christ, a disgraced religious order. And now she was calling Cardinal Valasio De Paolis — the Vatican official appointed by the pope to lead the Legion and to clean …

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Atheist Wins $150K In Legal Fees Over “IM GOD” Plate

The Christian Post reports: A federal judge ruled last week that the state of Kentucky violated the First Amendment by denying an atheist a license plate saying “IM GOD,” and has ordered the state to pay more than $150,000 in legal fees to the attorneys who represented the lawsuit. Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union-Kentucky attorneys represented …

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Oklahoma Lawmakers Advance Ban On Ex-Gay Torture

CNN reports: Oklahoma’s state House of Representatives has advanced a bill that would ban so-called “conversion therapy,” a widely rejected practice that seeks to change the sexuality of LGBTQ individuals, for minors. The “Youth Mental Health Protection Act” moved past committee with bipartisan support and will soon move to the full legislature for a vote. Efforts to ban conversion therapy …

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Ohio Lawmakers Get Bill To Ban Ex-Gay Torture

Cleveland.com reports: A new bill in the Ohio House would ban conversion therapy — programs intended to end same-sex attraction and make a gay person straight. The conversion therapy bill is sponsored by Rep. Mary Lightbody, a Columbus-area Democrat. “Human beings are complex, and each individual is unique,” Lightbody said in a statement. “As children grow, we all learn about …

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Vatican Sends 600,000+ Face Masks To China

The Catholic News Service reports: In an email to Catholic News Service Feb. 3, the Vatican press office confirmed a report that appeared in the Chinese newspaper The Global Times, which said that since Jan. 27, the Vatican has sent 600,000-700,000 protective masks to China. “The masks are destined to the provinces of Hubei, Zhejiang and Fujian,” the press office …

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German Bishops Declare Homosexuality Is “Normal”

The Catholic News Service reports: Following consultations in Berlin last week, the chairman of the Marriage and Family Commission of the German bishops’ conference declared that the bishops agreed that homosexuality is a “normal form” of human sexual identity. “The sexual preference of man expresses itself in puberty and assumes a hetero or homosexual orientation,” Berlin’s Archbishop Heiner Koch [photo] …

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MAURITANIA: 10 Men Jailed Over “Gay Wedding” Video

ABC News reports: Authorities in Mauritania have arrested 10 men after a video appeared on social media of a gay couple appearing to take part in a traditional wedding ceremony, human rights groups said. Police later determined the gathering was a birthday party but the men remain in custody with no trial date set yet. Mauritania practices strict Islamic law …

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Kentucky GOP Rep With Gay Son Backs Ex-Gay Torture Ban: Being Gay “Can’t Be Fixed And Shouldn’t Be Fixed”

Louisville’s ABC News affiliate reports: 12th District Republican Senator, Alice Forgy Kerr, is a member of the conservative majority, not necessarily someone you’d expect to be behind a movement like Senate Bill 85. SB 85 would ban conversion therapy in Kentucky. “I think it’s religion gone bad”, said Senator Kerr. That coming from a Sunday school teacher and mother of …

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Priest Jailed For Binding Teen Boy In Plastic Wrap And Locking Him In Closet, Must Register As Sex Offender

Grand Rapids’ NBC News affiliate reports: A priest who admitted to holding a teen captive in a church janitor’s closet is headed to jail. In an Allegan courtroom Monday morning, Brian Stanley was sentenced to 60 days in jail with credit for two days served. He will also serve five years probation and must register as a sex offender for …

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Church Of England: Sex Is For Married Straights Only

The Guardian reports: The Church of England has stated that sex belongs only within heterosexual marriage, and that Christians in gay or straight civil partnerships should be sexually abstinent. Bishops have issued pastoral guidance in response to the recent introduction to mixed-sex civil partnerships, which says: “For Christians, marriage – that is, the lifelong union between a man and a …

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Trump To Address Anti-Abortion Rally In Person

The Washington Post reports: President Trump announced Wednesday that he will attend Friday’s March for Life, the annual gathering of antiabortion protesters to commemorate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s landmark abortion decision. While other presidents have addressed the annual rally by phone or sent video greetings, Trump would be the first to speak to the crowd …

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Pope Replaces Right Wing Anti-Gay Philly Archbishop

The New York Times reports: Pope Francis sought to shift the ideological balance of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States on Thursday, replacing one of his most prominent conservative critics as the archbishop of Philadelphia. Pope Francis announced in a statement that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia was retiring, and that Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland, …

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NC Pastor Arrested On 115 Felony Child Sex Charges

Winston-Salem’s NBC News affiliate reports: A Wilkes County pastor was arrested Thursday on more than 100 counts of felony sex offenses that span 15 years, detectives said. Rodney Dean Luffman, 58, of Pleasant Ridge Road, was arrested by Detective Amanda Boyd of the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office. Luffman is charged with 115 felony sex charges — 80 counts of indecent …

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Utah Becomes 19th State To Ban Ex-Gay Torture

Ben Winslow reports at Salt Lake City’s Fox affiliate: A rule banning conversion therapy on LGBTQ children has gone into effect, making Utah the 19th state to ban the practice. Governor Gary Herbert’s office confirmed to FOX 13 that the administrative rule went into effect on Tuesday night. The governor’s office declined to comment any further on it. Last year, …

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ISRAEL: Jerusalem Greenlights Homophobic Billboards

Haaretz reports: The Jerusalem municipality has announced that it is embracing the position of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and will now allow signs sporting homophobic messages, which it had previously removed. The municipality stated its position at a hearing in the Jerusalem District Court over a petition filed by a religious Zionist group called Hazon (“vision” in Hebrew), which is …

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PENNSYLVANIA: Two Injured After Woman Deliberately Drives Into Traffic Because God Will Take Care Of Her

Philadelphia’s CBS affiliate reports: A Luzerne County woman drove into the path of an oncoming vehicle as a way to test her faith, then exhibited no concern about the people who were injured in the crash, state police said. Bail was revoked this week for Nadejda Reilly, 31, of Drums, who is charged with aggravated assault and other offenses over …

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