FATHER LOSES APPEAL TO SHIELD KIDS FROM LGBT AGENDA IN PUBLIC SCHOOL
A Canadian Christian father has lost his appeal in a parental rights case that pitted him against his public school board, the province of Ontario, and the teachers’ union for his attempts to protect his children from possible LGBTQ indoctrination at school. The Ontario Court of Appeal threw out Steve Tourloukis’s case, citing lack of evidence that the school board actually interfered with his ability to bring up his son and daughter in his Greek Orthodox faith. Tourloukis sued the District School Board 5 years ago after it refused his request for advance notice of how and when his children would be taught about sensitive topics, notably homosexuality, abortion, and gender identity, so he could pull them from class if necessary.
The Hamilton dentist made the request in 2010 when his six-year-old son was in Grade 1, his 4-year-old daughter in junior kindergarten, and the board implemented its equity and inclusivity policy. Tourloukis’s lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos argued in June 2016 the board violated his client’s Charter rights by preventing him from being able to shield his children if need be from what his faith considers “false teachings.” The board, the Liberal government and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario argued, among other things, that it would be too difficult to let Tourloukis know when LGBTQ or gender identity questions come up in class because inclusivity and diversity are embedded across the curriculum.
The Ontario Superior Court ruled against Tourloukis. It ruled the board violated Tourloukis’ Charter rights, but the violation was “reasonable” given the competing Charter “values” of “inclusivity, equality and multiculturalism,” and public school boards’ statutory obligations to support equity and create an inclusive school environment. Tourloukis appealed, and argued his case in a three-day hearing in June before the Ontario Court of Appeal. The Christian Legal Fellowship intervened on Tourloukis’s behalf, and the Liberal government and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario intervened on the school board’s behalf.
In their decision, the justices dismissed Tourloukis’s appeal for “lacking any concrete evidence of interference with his right to religious freedom.” Tourloukis insisted throughout his challenge he didn’t object to the school teaching facts about homosexuality and gender identity, but that he did object to teachers giving “value judgements” to his children. “Public education has never been morally neutral,” the Court said. Tourloukis’s fear that “his children will be persuaded to abandon the insights of their religion if the moral positions taken in the policy materials receive the active endorsement of their teacher” is “legitimate,” it wrote. But the Hamilton father provided no evidence this had happened.
In dismissing the appeal Ontario’s equity legislation did not get a clean bill of health. One Judge wrote “In my view the Charter imposes limits on a province’s power to use publicly funded education to inculcate children in beliefs determined by educational authorities.” he observed. The “right of parents to make decisions for their children’s well-being is primary, and the state’s authority is secondary to that right.” Campaign Life Coalition’s political strategist Jack Fonseca saw the ruling as “a loss for parental rights, but the majority opinion seems to leave open a legal challenge to the Education Act, from which the state derives its justification to weave homosexuality and transgender ideology into every grade level and subject.”
“Perhaps now is the time for new parents to step forward and join the legal challenge in some capacity or to launch separate challenges, with documented evidence of indoctrination and the purposeful undermining of a family’s religious beliefs by teachers,” Fonseca said. Lou Iacobelli, president of the Parental Rights In Education Defence Fund, which bankrolled the legal challenge, echoed this. He slammed the ruling in his Everyday for Life Canada blog, describing the lack of evidence position as a “red herring.” “A reasonable person would say that forcing ‘diversity education’ on all public students is a direct infringement on a parent’s ability to teach the Christian faith and family values,” Iacobelli wrote.
“The three justices know about the radical sexual indoctrination that children are being exposed today in schools. As specified in ministerial guidelines produced in court, students are being brainwashed across the curriculum, that is in every subject. This is clearly a contravention of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Education Act.” But the appeal decision affirmed parental rights and “laid out a path for a future legal challenge against the section 169 of the Education Act which is a sort of linchpin being used by the educrats to justify imposing their radical sexual agenda on other people’s children,” he added.
“While Steve takes the appropriate time to decide whether to appeal the disappointing ruling, Campaign Life Coalition would like to thank him for all that he has done so far. He is a true hero and a martyr in our eyes,” Fonseca said. “I encourage everyone who cares about parental rights to donate to his legal defence fund and help ensure his legal expenses get covered. We also encourage people to pray for Steve, and post a note of thanks to him on the Facebook page of his defence fund.” “Our thoughts and good wishes go out to Steve Tourloukis and his family,” wrote Iacobelli. “This must be another very difficult day. Our prayers and support are with them. And parents take note.”
The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimated 45.8 million people are in some form of modern-day slavery in 167 countries. It is reported that 58% of those living in slavery are in 5 countries: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan. These numbers are trending upwards every year. Slavery is not a sin of the past. It is a present-day problem and a growing worldwide epidemic! Migrants are at the greatest risk. Coastal cities of Libya have open slave markets where an average worker is sold for $400 USD. A skilled worker will bring even more money. Ironically, Libya has been the destination of choice for Sub-Saharan migrants fleeing to safety in Europe, only to end up on the slave block.
Too often those trying to cross the Mediterranean fail and end up as victims. The Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar often find themselves enslaved by the fishing industry or in sex trafficking. Desperate Filipinos are hired by Chinese who confiscate their passports and withhold pay. Many people are enslaved in their own countries. North Korea has huge forced labour camps of men, often kidnapped. Women are sold off as wives to Chinese men. Women and children captured by ISIS have found themselves as sex slaves to fighters. Nigerian girls captured by Boko Haram are either sold into slavery or kept as unwilling wives. Most notorious is Mauritania, whose existing slave class has accepted its status due to ignorance.
What is the answer? Education and coordinated global action are key. Teaching people, especially undocumented migrants, about the potential risks and dangers of enslavement from criminal gangs is one part of the solution. Another is encouraging governments to live up to their commitments to end this scourge. Several governments are trying to do something about slavery. Of the 161 countries responding to Global Slavery Index Survey: 124 have criminalized human trafficking in line with the UN Trafficking Protocol. Pray these laws are enforced. 96 nations have National Action Plans (NAPs) to coordinate their government’s response. 150 governments provide some form of service for victims of modern slavery.
Please pray for:
* Countries that tolerate the practice of slavery to be exposed and shamed into re-examining their acceptance of this horrible sin against humanity (The Bible, Psalm 9:19).
* The global news community to be a herald and prolific mouthpiece publicizing the abuse of slavery wherever it resides, and to shed light on this crime which devastates human lives daily (The Bible, 1 Corinthians 4:5).
* Countries and communities to work together to coordinate their efforts and shut down slavery and illegal trading routes (The Bible, 1 Corinthians 1:10) and for the victims of slavery to hear the Gospel message and accept Jesus Christ. Pray they find hope, physical and emotional healing, and the freedom that Christ brings to the broken and abused (The Bible, John 8:36).
The proportion of people who say they trust clergy in Britain has slumped to its lowest level since records began, a new survey has found. Of nearly 1,000 people (aged 15 or older) asked by Ipsos MORI, 65 per cent said they did trust senior priests and vicars to tell the truth. The figure marks a two per cent year-on-year decline since 2016, and is significantly lower than the 85 per cent recorded in 1983 when the annual poll was first conducted. Head of political polling at Ipsos MORI, Gideon Skinner said: “Groups such as professors, scientists, the police, trade union officials and civil servants have become more trusted, but the clergy are the most notable losers.
“But not everything changes, doctors, nurses and teachers have consistently been near the top, and politicians and journalists down the bottom.” The statistics suggest clergy are trusted more than nurses, doctors and police officers, but less than estate agents, journalists and politicians. Reacting to the figures, Baptist minister Jonathan Edwards said recent scandals within the church may be to blame, explaining: “Clearly, there are many clergy who have slipped up and done things they ought not to have done, and that tends to blacken the reputation of others. “Statistics like this should always be received by the Church with humility; we’re all failed people and we should be deeply disappointed by these things.”
Similarly, public faith in scientists has never been higher, 83 per cent, compared to 63 per cent in 1997. In contrast, the trust enjoyed by police officers among the public has risen to its highest recorded level of 74 per cent – up from 61 per cent in 1983. Mr Skinner added: “Trust in journalists does show signs of improvement, but even the recent harassment scandals at Westminster seemed to make little difference to low ratings in politicians as a class, either because it has already hit a floor, or because the public felt it reflected other aspects of trust such as moral behaviour more than their ability to tell the truth.”
Teaching at Sunday schools should be monitored, the chief education officer of Birmingham City Council Colin Diamond has said. Diamond claimed church lessons and other places of informal places of learning should be regulated in a similar way to formal schools, to manage children’s exposure to “non-mainstream societal values”. He said of Sunday schools and sessions run for children at mosques: “These are classrooms by any other name. They are large groups of children. “I do wish the government would grasp this stingy old nettle.” Mr Diamond was appointment head of education at Birmingham Council in the wake of claims a small number of the city’s schools were being influenced by extreme Islamist ideology.
Mr Diamond said there should be a change in the law to ensure Sunday schools and madrassas are regulated, adding that he understands the Department for Education is considering the idea. Mr Diamond added: “Thousands of kids in this city will go to education spaces this evening and will be there for a few hours and will be taught about Koranic values or Christian values. We feel they should be regulated.” In April 2016, Christian groups including the Evangelical Alliance said plans for Sunday schools to be forced to register with Ofsted and undergo inspections amounted to an “unjustified restriction of religious liberty”.
A British missionary kidnapped in Nigeria was shot dead after performing ‘Amazing Grace’ on his guitar, one of his fellow hostages said. Dr David Donovan said Ian Squire from Shepparton in Surrey was trying to cheer up his fellow captives before a gang member opened fire. The former GP from Cambridgeshire told the Daily Telegraph: “We didn’t see who did it, but it was obvious that someone in the gang had shot him. It was terrifying to see.” Mr Squire, Dr Donovan and his wife Shirley, and Alanna Carson were kidnapped in Nigeria’s southern Delta area in the middle of the night on 13th October. The group were dragged from their beds, taken away on a speedboat and kept in a shack built on stilts above a remote swamp.
Dr Donovan said he and the two other remaining missionaries were left with Mr Squire’s body for the rest of the day after he was killed. He speculated that a member of the gang may have murdered Mr Squire after panicking that sounds from his music may alert people to their presence. Amazing Grace, which was written by slave trader-turned preacher John Newton, was the only song Mr Squire knew by heart. Dr Donovan said those who were being held captive by the Egbesu gang, were released following payment of a ransom by the Nigerian government. Paying tribute to Mr Squire, Dr Donovan said: “Ian was hungry to know more of God and lived his life with that purpose.”
CHURCH OF SWEDEN RECOMMENDS GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUNS FOR GOD
The Church of Sweden has urged its clergy to use gender-neutral language when referring to God, refraining from using terms like “Lord” and “He” in favour of the less specific “God”. The move was taken by the national Evangelical Lutheran church in updating a 31-year-old handbook setting out how services should be conducted in terms of language, liturgy, hymns and other aspects. The decision which was taken by church’s 251-member decision-making body, takes effect from May 20 on the Christian holiday of Pentecost. The church has 6.1 million baptised members in a country of 10 million. It is headed by a woman, Archbishop Antje Jackelen.
Ms Jackelen told Sweden’s TT news agency a more inclusive language had already been discussed at the 1986 conference. “Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human,” Ms Jackelen was quoted as saying by TT. The change was met with criticism, however. Christer Pahlmblad, an associate theology professor with Sweden’s Lund University, told Denmark’s Kristeligt Dagblad that the move was “undermining the doctrine of the Trinity and the community with the other Christian churches”. “It really isn’t smart if the Church of Sweden becomes known as a church that does not respect the common theology heritage,” he said.