SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH REFUTES LGBT CLAIM THEY ARE BORN THAT WAY
A new report by two Johns Hopkins University researchers reveals that scientific evidence does not support the claim that homosexuals are “born that way.” One of the most important details of the report is that a majority of adolescents no longer identify as transgender by adulthood. As many as 80% of teenage men who report same-sex attraction no longer do so as adults. The study also shows a very small portion of the total population, less than 1%, identify as transgender. It concludes there is no evidence to suggest that children should be encouraged to become transgender if they exhibit opposite gender behaviour. It especially warns against any treatments or surgeries on young people who identify with the opposite gender.
Policy researchers in Washington are saying the findings can help debunk many of the recent theories on gender identity. The report raises questions of what happens if you actually lock a child in by encouraging the child to transition? Some school policies could actually prolong the time someone identifies as transgender when otherwise they would have just naturally grown out of this stage. Ryan Anderson, a senior researcher at the Heritage Foundation said the study dispels the recent mandate to health insurers to cover sex-reassignment treatment and physicians must perform them. “The report highlights that it does not look like sex reassignment is the best medicine for many people,” he said. “In many cases this treatment does not provide the outcomes that both the patients and the doctors are hoping for.”
Researchers recognized the heated nature of the discussion about whether homosexuality is a choice, but still wanted to report the science. The evidence cited in their report indicates that environmental factors may be involved in the formation of sexual identity. Written by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh, and published in The New Atlantis, the report evaluates data from over 200 peer-reviewed studies. Those studies come from a broad array of scientific fields such as epidemiology, genetics, endocrinology, psychiatry, neuroscience, embryology and paediatrics. “This report is about science and medicine, nothing more and nothing less,” Dr. Mayer wrote in the report’s preface. Nevertheless, Mayer acknowledged the explosive nature of the report, and expressed concern about the ramifications of releasing it.
“In the course of writing the report, I consulted a number of individuals who asked that I not thank them by name. Some feared an angry response from elements within the LGBT community; others feared an angry response from elements of religiously conservative communities,” Dr. Mayer writes. “Most bothersome, however, is that some feared reprisals from their own universities for engaging such controversial topics, regardless of the report’s content – a sad statement about academic freedom,” he said. The report contends there is no biological explanation for sexual orientation. “Sexual orientation and gender identity resist explanation by simple theories. There is a large gap between the certainty with which beliefs are held about these matters and what a sober assessment of the science reveals,” it states.
“I think it’s a measured tone as I read the report,” Dr. Mark Yarhouse of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity at Regent University told CBN News. “They really tried to just challenge the narrative and say more research should be conducted in this area.” “In other words, we shouldn’t just land on the narrative and say that it’s a settled issue in science,” he continued. “Science has done some good work in this area, but there’s limitations to the research, and maybe the narrative is ahead of the science, and good research should still be done, asking a range of questions from environment as well as of course from biology.” The report concedes there are some minor differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals in the brain structures and brain activity.
However, it is unclear whether those differences are innate or the result of a person’s environment or psychological factors. It also states that homosexuals are two to three times as likely to have been victims of childhood sexual abuse. Regarding mental health, the report says non-heterosexuals experience more anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide than heterosexuals. Alarmingly, suicide attempts by transgender individuals are estimated at 41 percent compared to less than 5 percent in the overall population. The report cites a limited amount of evidence that discrimination could contribute to the higher incidence of mental health problems.
COLUMBIAN PRESIDENT CANCELS TRANSGENDER EDUCATION AFTER MASSIVE PROTESTS
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has cancelled all plans to impose “transgender education” on the nation’s schools after massive protests were carried out throughout the country. “We just met with Cardinal Ruben Salazar, the Apostolic Nuncio, Ettore Balestrero, and Monsignor Fabio Suescun, the bishop of Colombia’s armed forces,” Santos said in a press conference held the day after the protests. “We clearly reiterated to these prelates of the Catholic Church – and we must make it clear to all religious confessions – that neither the Ministry of Education nor the national government has implemented, has promoted, or will promote so-called gender ideology.”
Santos claimed that a Ministry of Education booklet on teaching students to accept transsexualism and homosexuality wasn’t actually official, despite bearing the name of Colombia’s lesbian education minister, Gina Parody, and the logo of the Ministry of Education. The booklet, produced in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund and UNICEF, had sparked outrage throughout the country and was condemned by the Catholic bishops’ conference as well as Colombia’s attorney general. It led to the Wednesday protests that drew tens of thousands of outraged parents to the streets of several major cities, demanding an end to the program and the removal of Parody.
“We reiterate what the Minister has been saying in recent days: The document of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on school environments was published on the webpages of the United Nations Organization for their discussion without authorization of the Ministry, as said organization has recognized in a public communique,” Santos said. He added that the booklet, titled “Non-Hegemonic Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities in Schools,” “will not be authorized” for use by the Ministry of Education. Colombia’s attorney general, Alejandro Ordonez, expressed scepticism about the claims and told the press that “we parents will be vigilant” regarding what he sees as an attempt by the government to “indoctrinate” children with gender ideology.
Ordonez said “It’s been demonstrated that this booklet exists. It’s been demonstrated that there was an inter-administrative agreement,” Ordonez said. “It’s been demonstrated that they’ve been giving workshops to school principals for this purpose. An education policy can’t be used to threaten and seek to take away the rights of parents to decide the education of their children,” he added, and warned that “the government must correct this because we parents are not going to permit them to continue developing education policy in this area.
The first half of 2016 has seen church demolitions in Cuba gather pace as the government crackdown on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) on the island continues. The authorities have also begun to confiscate 1,400 Assemblies of God (AOG) churches that were earmarked for seizure in 2015. There have been 1606 separate violations between January and July 2016. Cases include the demolition of church buildings, the destruction of church property, arbitrary detention and harassment, in particular seizure of religious leaders’ personal belongings. The government has continued to follow through with the confiscation of 1,400 AOG churches. AOG leaders and leaders from other denominations expressed concern that the government’s repression of religious groups has worsened significantly over the past year.
There has been an unprecedented spate of church demolitions. Four large churches linked to the unregistered Apostolic Movement were destroyed by the government in central and eastern Cuba. In each of these cases, the pastors and their families were dragged out of their homes in the very early hours of the morning. They were also detained and held in separate police stations for the duration of the demolition. In some of these cases, large numbers of members of the churches were detained, apparently to stop them from protesting. There has also been nine cases in 2016 of arbitrary detention and harassment of many church leaders. A particularly serious case involved the arrest of Rev. Mario Barroso on 20 March 2016, hours before the US President Barack Obama arrived in Cuba on an official visit.
The government has also continued to detain dozens of women affiliated with the Ladies in White movement on their way to Mass. They are often dragged away by security agents as they leave their homes or upon arriving at church services. Despite these challenges, there are a growing number of accounts of religious groups standing up to government pressure. Church leaders have continued to worship on the sites of their demolished churches and Ladies in White have persisted in their efforts to attend Mass, despite government repression and violence. CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “CSW is alarmed by the escalation of FoRB violations throughout Cuba, but humbled and inspired by the courage of the many religious communities who continue to peacefully resist government pressure.
Thomas said “We remain disappointed by the broken promises for reform on the part of the Cuban government and urge it to change course. We call on the international community and in particular the United Kingdom, European Union and the United States governments to stand in solidarity with Cuban citizens by pressing the Cuban government to halt these repressive actions and ensuring that human rights, and in particular FoRB, remains a core component of any upcoming dialogues with the Cuban government.” Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.
TEXAS REAFFIRMS PRAYER AND SCRIPTURE READING IN COURT
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has issued a six-page legal opinion defending the practice of praying and reading Scripture in court. The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) challenged the practice after filing a complaint with the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct about Texas Judge Wayne Mack who is known to open each court session with prayer and he has a volunteer chaplain read Scriptures from the Bible. The group claimed that court room proceedings were “blatantly unconstitutional” and forced religious ceremony in court. Paxton contended that it does not violate the Establishment Clause to open a court session with the statement “God save the State of Texas and this Honourable Court” or to open court with a prayer, or have a volunteer chaplain read from the Bible.
“Both the United States Supreme Court and the Texas Supreme Court have longstanding practices of opening their sessions with the invocation “God save the United States (or the ‘State of Texas) and this Honourable Court,” the Attorney General wrote. “The Court has explained that the recitation of this type of phrase at the opening of court sessions is like legislative prayer in that it is ‘part of our heritage and tradition, and part of our expressive idiom,'” the opinion states. According to the Office of Attorney General website, although the AG’s opinion is a non-binding legal opinion it is a “written interpretation of existing law.” Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick considers this opinion a major step forward.
“This is a victory for religious liberty in Texas,” Patrick said. “It goes a long way in providing the clarity to Judge Mack, and judges throughout Texas, of constitutionally appropriate court room prayer and volunteer-led chaplaincy programs. As Lt. Governor, I will continue to fight for religious liberty across the state.” Chelsey Youman, Counsel for First Liberty, said Paxton’s opinion confirms that Texas judges can open courtroom session with prayer. She explained that it stands as a strong indication that the FFRF will not be able to remove the practice from court proceedings. “All three branches of government have a long history of recognizing the role religion plays in society. The Attorney General’s opinion reaffirms the constitutionality of Judge Mack’s courtroom invocation and volunteer chaplaincy program,” she said.
ESCALATING CRIME WAVE OF KIDNAPPING CHILDREN IN LAHORE PAKISTAN
Parents are frantic. Regular shopping trips end in tragedy with children mysteriously abducted. It is not unusual when an occasional child goes missing in a crowded market, but when over 300 are kidnapped in one city in a two-week period, it is a serious crime wave! There have been a rash of child kidnappings in Lahore in recent months, escalating to alarming numbers. The police have been ineffective in recovery efforts, resulting in the formation of vigilante forces. Vigilantes recently stopped an ambulance carrying 12 children. The driver was tortured, and accused of kidnapping when his trip was a legitimate one. Futile efforts on the part of the police result in excuses that most of the children are run-aways from abuse. This is not the case. The frustrated public is asking why this is happening.
The answers are diverse and very disturbing, and the criminals operating with impunity are growing even more daring. Some of these children are forced into prostitution and begging. But, even more disturbing are those found with major body parts removed, including kidneys, hearts, and eyes, obviously feeding a lucrative illegal black market for body transplants. Equally disturbing are those being trained to be suicide bombers. A recent Lahore Christian Believer writes that numbers have risen to over 900 kidnapped children. Local Christians are fasting and praying for divine intervention in this atrocity perpetrated against young and helpless children. Will you entreat our Heavenly Father on behalf of these innocent ones?
Please pray for:
* legitimate, intense efforts on the part of the police to apprehend these criminals.
* swift justice to be meted out to kidnappers that will discourage others in this vicious crime wave.
* supernatural intervention by our Heavenly Father and the host of heaven to protect these innocent children and return them unharmed to their families
CHINA CLOSES CHURCHES BECAUSE THEY ARE A SECURITY THREAT TO THE G20 MEETING
Chinese authorities are clamping down on house churches in Zhejiang in the lead up to the G20 summit being held there this week. Some churches have been ordered to stop meeting altogether. All are under close surveillance.
The authorities argue that some churches’ ‘folk beliefs’ pose a security risk. Already, officials have closed down one prominent house church in Hangzhou for good – for organising ‘Christian activities without permission’. This church, which asked for anonymity for fear of reprisals, has met for more than 40 years. Several other house churches in the area have been told to close, and even churches outside Hangzhou have been warned they must comply with state requirements for religious groups.
* for our brothers and sisters in Zhejiang: pray that they will be able to have fellowship with one another and trust God wholeheartedly.
* especially for the churches that face the threat of closure or have been closed. Pray that their members’ faith will be refined through persecution.
* asking God to touch the hearts of the officials who are monitoring churches: pray that they will be moved by the witness of the Christians involved.