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World News – December 2019

Christian Teacher Fired for Not Using Transgender Student’s Pronouns, Sues School Board

Christian French teacher Peter Vlaming is suing the Virginia school district that fired him in December 2018 for refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred masculine pronoun.

According to WTVR, the West Point school board unanimously decided to terminate Vlaming when a 9th-grade student transitioned to male and requested to be referred to as “he” or “him.” Vlaming refused to use the pronouns because he believed he would be lying, but he compromised initially and told the school that he would use the student’s full name instead of the pronouns. After an incident occured later in the schol year, he used unpreferred pronoun.

The student withdrew from Vlaming’s class after the incident and school officials suspended Vlaming for insubordination, later firing him.


Kentucky School Must Remove ‘Prayer Lockers’ after Group Says it’s Unconstitutional

The specific lockers in question at Pike Central High School had a sign emblazoned across them urging students to submit prayer requests. Facebook posts indicate that the Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsored the initiative.

“Do you have a prayer request?” reads the sign, which can be seen clearly in a photo posted to Facebook.

Shortly after hearing news of the initiative and seeing the Facebook post themselves, the anti-religion group “Americans United for Separation of Church and State” lodged a complaint, arguing that the locker was “likely a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”

A complaint was also made to the Kentucky Office of Education Accountability.

Kentucky’s education system has been the subject of many religious freedom controversies in recent times.

Starting this year, Kentucky’s schools have been required to display the motto, “In God We Trust” in a prominent place on campus -something American United’s attorney, Ian Smith, vehemently disagrees with. “School employees cannot be masterminding and putting up those messages on school walls.”

AG Barr Says America Was Founded on Christian Values, Progressive Group Calls Statement ‘Toxic Christian Nationalism’

U.S. Attorney General William Barr is receiving heat from a liberal Christian group for a recent speech at the Notre Dame University Law School in which he praised religion as a basis for the country’s moral system.

“The Founding generation were Christians. They believed that the Judeo-Christian moral system corresponds to the true nature of man,” Barr, a devout Catholic, said, according to Fox News. “Those moral precepts start with the two great commandments—to love God with your whole heart, soul and mind; and to love thy neighbor as thyself.”

The progressive group, called Faithful America, believe the speech did not accurately represent all of the county’s faiths.

“William Barr’s October speech was one of the worst examples of toxic Christian nationalism we’ve seen yet. The nation’s chief law enforcement officer declared that only religion provides sound values…then accused ‘militant secularists’ of gleefully attacking religion; going on to blame atheists and progressives for mental illness, the opioid epidemic, gun violence, and more,” a petition from Faithful America said. “Vengeful remarks like Barr’s twist Jesus’s values of love and inclusion beyond recognition and give Christianity a bad name. They also violate his Constitutional duty to guarantee justice to all Americans, not just Judeo-Christians.”

The petition, which has over 14,000 signatures, asks the Department of Justice to investigate Barr’s speech and remove it from the University of Notre Dame’s website.

Founder and national director for Priests for Life, The Rev. Frank Pavone, agrees: “They’re talking about the defense of religious liberty. And it seems to me they’re taking away some religious liberty from Attorney General Barr. I mean, religious liberty does not mean that everything that everybody says has to be somehow neutral or given equal time to every religion under the sun.”


Christian Print Shop Wins Case, Won’t Be Forced to Create Gay Pride Shirt

A Christian-owned print shop that was sued after declining to create T-shirts promoting a Lexington, Ky., gay pride festival won again in court Thursday.

Hands On Originals, whose owner, Blaine Adamson, is a devout Christians, was asked in 2012 by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) to create T-shirts for the Lexington (Ky.) Pride Festival with rainbow-colored circles.

When Adamson said he could not print the shirts due to his religious beliefs – he offered to connect the group with a different printer. Adamson won at the lower court and then at the appeals court.

On Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court handed Adamson another victory by ruling the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization lacked standing to bring the case. The ordinance in question protects individuals, but not groups, the justices ruled.

Tampa Ban on Counseling for Minors with Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction, Gender Confusion Struck Down

A Tampa city ordinance banning counseling for minors with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion has been overturned in federal court.

In a Friday ruling from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Judge William F. Jung issued an order granting summary judgment to Christian legal group Liberty Counsel in its lawsuit to invalidate an ordinance in the city of Tampa that prohibited voluntary talk therapy for minors experiencing unwanted sexual feelings and attractions and gender identity confusion.

With Jung’s ruling, the ordinance was struck down, arguing that the government does not have standing to try to interfere with confidential conversations in therapy sessions.

“… The Florida Constitution’s privacy amendment suggests that government should stay out of the therapy room. The Tampa Ordinance does not address this constitutional issue, and in doing so the City attempts to occupy a very private space, contrary to a strong statewide policy,” the ruling reads.


News in brief

  • Nearly 900 clinics that either perform abortions or promote them have lost federal funding under a new Trump administration rule that prevents family planning clinics receiving taxpayer money from promoting or referring for abortion, according to a new report.

Power to Decide, a pro-choice organization that works to prevent unplanned pregnancies, says in a new report that 876 clinics across the country have lost funding. Among them are clinics tied to Planned Parenthood, which announced in August it would forgo federal funding rather than abide by the rule.

The Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services this year began enforcing the new rule, which “prohibits the use of Title X funds to perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”

  • A pro-choice organization ignited a social media debate this week with a new campaign claiming abortion is an act of love and selflessness.

The “Abortion Actually” campaign by the National Women’s Law Center website states “Abortion – and the people who have them – have been called a lot of things. But what is abortion actually? An act of love. An act of compassion. An act of healing. An act of selflessness,” the website states.


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