California Senate passes bill that bans requiring schools from notifying parents of their children’s pronoun change

California Legislature Gender Identity

Important Takeaways:

  • The California Senate has approved a bill that would ban school districts from requiring teachers to notify parents if their child asks to go by a new pronoun at school
  • Lawmakers approved the legislation along party lines after more than an hour of an emotional debate in which Democratic LGBTQ+ senators recounted stories about how they delayed coming out to their parents or were outed by someone else. They argued gender-noncomforming students should be able to come out to their families on their own terms. But Republican lawmakers said the state shouldn’t dictate whether school districts can enforce so-called parental notification policies and that schools have an obligation to be transparent with parents.
  • It is part of a nationwide debate over local school districts and the rights of parents and LGBTQ+ students. States across the country have sought to impose bans on gender-affirming care, bar trans athletes from girls and women’s sports, and require schools to “out” trans and nonbinary students to their parents. Some lawmakers in other states have introduced bills in their legislatures with broad language requiring that parents be notified of any changes to their child’s emotional health or well-being.

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Despite bans Abortions have hit the highest level in 10 years

States-Highest-Abortion-rates

Important Takeaways:

  • Abortions have reached their highest level in 10 years, despite bans on the procedure in more than a dozen states.
  • A report released Tuesday by reproductive health firm Guttmacher Institute showed that there were 1 million abortions in the US in 2023, the equivalent of 16 per every 1,000 women.
  • That was up 10 percent from the 14.4 per 1,000 in 2020 and the highest since 2014, when the rate was 14.6 per 1,000.
  • The rise is largely being driven by medical abortions, which can be ordered from pharmacies online and soon-to-be in person, though they are illegal in over a dozen states that have banned abortion.
  • The findings come after Vice President Kamala Harris made history as the first vice president or president to visit an abortion clinic last week – which was hailed by pro-abortion campaigners but slammed by critics as a sign that she has ‘spent her whole career in the pocket of Big Abortion.’
  • The report also found that 63 percent of abortions performed in 2023 were from medications, such as the two-pill regimen of mifepristone and misoprotol. In 2000, no abortions were done with this method.

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Global Supply Chains about to get worse; EU moves to support FARM shutdowns, forced buyouts

No Farmers No Food

Revelations 13:16-18 “Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”

Important Takeaways:

  • EU Backs Dutch Scheme to Forcibly Shut Down Thousands of Farms, Ban Farmers From Returning to Agriculture Forever
  • On Tuesday, the governing arm of the European Union officially threw its support behind plans by the Dutch government to buy out thousands of farmers from their lands in order to meet the EU’s Natura 2000 scheme to protect certain environments. The plan, which would offer farmers 120 per cent of the value of their farm, could see some 3,000 so-called “peak” emitters of nitrogen shut down.
  • In addition to the plan to buyout — or eventually force out if they refuse — the “peak” emitting farms, the government is also planning a separate scheme that would give dairy, pig, and poultry farmers a deal for 100 per cent of the value of their farm if they wished to shut down. In total, some 1.4 billion euros is expected to be set aside for both farm shutdown schemes.
  • Could potentially impact other nations as well, given that part of the condition of the buyout scheme is that the Dutch farmers would be prohibited from moving to other countries and starting up farms abroad, meaning that their knowledge and expertise would be squandered.

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As Illinois pushes for assault weapons ban Federal Judge says it would likely infringe on the Second Amendment

Mathew 24:12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

Important Takeaways:

  • Federal Judge Halts State’s New ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban, Cites Likely Second Amendment Violation
  • A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction barring the state of Illinois from enforcing an “assault weapon” ban.
  • Judge Stephen McGlynn of the Southern District of Illinois, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, said the Protect Illinois Communities Act cannot be enforced until a final decision on the constitutionality of the law is made, according to WGN-TV. He said the law will likely be found unconstitutional.
  • In his ruling, McGlynn noted that the impetus of PICA was the Highland Park shooting, in which seven people were killed and 48 wounded during a Fourth of July event last year.
  • “Can the senseless crimes of a relative few be so despicable [as] to justify the infringement of the constitutional rights of law-abiding individuals in hopes that such crimes will then abate or, at least, not be as horrific?” he wrote.

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Ontario Bill seeks to ban protests outside Drag Queen Story Hours

Luke 21:12 “But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake

Important Takeaways:

  • Bill 94, known as the “Keeping 2SLGBTQI+ Communities Safe Act,” would ban what they refer to as an “act of intimidation,” which includes “causing a disturbance,” “distributing hate propaganda,” “making offensive remarks,” and “engaging in a protest or demonstration for the purpose of furthering the objectives of homophobia and transphobia.”
  • While “peaceful protests” would not be banned under this law, a protest could be deemed unpeaceful by simply engaging in what they interpret as “homophobia and transphobia,” which, under Canada’s conversion therapy ban, has been applied to discussions surrounding Biblical sexuality.
  • The Bill comes after Alberta pastor Derek Reimer made headlines for being jailed three times while protesting outside of a drag queen story hour, which is against the city of Calgary’s bylaws.
  • “I’ve warned Canadians for a very long time—and I’m warning Americans as well—that you will be ruled by what you tolerate,” Reimer warned. “If you tolerate corruption, you will be ruled by corruption. If you tolerate perversion, you will eventually be ruled by perversion.”
  • Throughout the Western world, children have been increasingly indoctrinated to reject both science and Biblical truth regarding gender. Ken Ham, Founder and CEO of Kentucky-based Answers In Genesis, noted the tragedy of the confusion that has resulted from promoting this transgender lifestyle to children.
  • “How many children will be sacrificed on the altar of the LGBTQ religion before parents wake up and stand against the madness that’s preached fervently in so many schools around our nation and through the media?” Ham questioned. “It seems the answer is many thousands of children. You see, the push to teach gender ideology to young children and teens isn’t without consequences—it’s scarring (quite literally) thousands of children, leading them to do irreversible damage to their bodies.”
  • “The gender madness sweeping through our Western cultures is nothing short of horrific child abuse,” Ham asserted.

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U.S. Goes it Alone to Ban Oil Imports from Russia

Rev 6:6 NAS And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Biden to ban Russian oil imports over Ukraine war
  • President Joe Biden has decided to ban Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter.
  • The move follows pleas by Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskyy to U.S. and Western officials to cut off the imports, which had been a glaring omission the massive sanctions put in place on Russia over the invasion. Energy exports have kept a steady influx of cash flowing to Russia despite otherwise severe restrictions on its financial sector.
  • The U.S. will be acting alone, but in close consultation with European allies, who are more dependent on Russian energy supplies. Natural gas from Russia accounts for one-third of Europe’s consumption of the fossil fuel. The U.S. does not import Russian natural gas

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Texas House votes to ban transgender girls from sports

By Daniel Trotta

(Reuters) – The Texas House of Representatives passed a bill that bans transgender women and girls from participating in school sports after three previous attempts failed, all but assuring Republican Governor Greg Abbott will sign it into law.

Texas is now poised to join seven other states that passed similar laws this year, part of a national campaign in which Republican legislators introduced such bills in 32 states. The bills are aimed at preventing transgender women and girls from competing on female sports teams.

Conservatives say they are protecting fair competition, but equal rights activists have criticized the campaign as a discriminatory attack on transgender people, saying there is no evidence that trans women and girls are dominating sports.

Political analysts say the campaign is meant to animate hard-core Republican supporters.

“There’s no evidence that there’s a problem. This is red meat for the base,” said Robert Stein, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.

While the Texas Senate passed a companion bill, three previous House versions of the legislation stalled in the public education committee, which has a Democratic chairman. Republicans then created a new version of the bill and sent it through a select committee they control, enabling it to pass the full House late Thursday.

The bill has gone back to the Senate for procedural approval and is expected to reach Abbott’s desk.

Texas Republicans have passed a very conservative agenda this year, including new laws that make it more difficult to vote, all but ban abortion, and do away with the need for a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

“Like a lot of other things in Texas politics right now, this is selling mainly to very ideologically driven voters in the Republican Party. These are the voters that show up for Republican primaries,” said James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas.

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee and West Virginia have passed similar transgender sports legislation, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has signed an executive order supporting a transgender sports ban. Some of these face legal challenges.

Idaho passed a similar law last year that has been blocked by a federal court, and a federal court in July ruled that an 11-year-old West Virginia trans girl must be allowed to try out for the girls’ track and cross-country teams at her school in defiance of a similar law passed in April.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Unvaccinated children face public space ban in New York measles outbreak

FILE PHOTO: A vial of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is pictured at the International Community Health Services clinic in Seattle, Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

(Reuters) – A New York suburb has banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces, such as schools and shopping malls, as it fights the state’s worst outbreak in decades of the potentially deadly disease.

Rockland County declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and said the ban would remain in place for 30 days or until unvaccinated children get the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot.

The Rockland announcement follows measles outbreaks in California, Illinois, Texas and Washington and is part of a global resurgence of the viral infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We will not sit idly by while children in our community are at risk,” County Executive Ed Day said in a statement. “This is a public health crisis, and it is time to sound the alarm.”

There have been 153 confirmed cases of measles in Rockland County, about 11 miles (18 km) north of Manhattan, mostly among children who have not been vaccinated.

The ban begins at midnight after which unvaccinated children will not be permitted in locations such as places of worship, schools and shopping malls. Outdoor spaces like playgrounds are excluded from the ban. People medically unable to get vaccinated are exempt.

The outbreak began when a traveler visited Israel and returned to a predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Rockland County. There have also been at least 181 confirmed cases of measles in the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens since October, mostly among Orthodox Jews, according to the city’s health department.

The New York and Washington outbreaks began after U.S. travelers picked up measles in foreign countries, where the disease was running rampant and brought it back to places where vaccination rates were too low by U.S. public health standards.

The disease has spread mostly among school-age children whose parents declined to get them vaccinated, citing reasons such as philosophical or religious beliefs, or concerns the MMR vaccine could cause autism, authorities said.

Large scientific studies have demonstrated that there is no link between vaccines and autism.

Officials say the measles outbreaks offer a lesson about the importance of maintaining a minimum 95 percent “herd” level of immunization against dangerous, preventable diseases such as measles. Rates as low as 60 percent were found in parts of New York where measles spread, State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in February.

(Reporting by Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Bill Berkrot)

United Methodist Church strengthens ban on same-sex marriage, LGBT clergy

eople wave rainbow flags during the 2018 New York City Pride Parade in Manhattan, New York, U.S., June 24, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

By Katharine Jackson

(Reuters) – The United Methodist Church voted on Tuesday to uphold and strengthen its ban on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy in a move likely to alienate large numbers of followers who had pushed for reform.

By a vote of 438-384, delegates from around the world attending the church’s General Conference in St. Louis reinforced a United Methodist Church policy established in 1972 stating that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Known as the Traditional Plan, the new policy includes penalties for breaking its rules and asks those who will not obey it to find another church.

The Traditional Plan is designed to serve as a coherent United Methodist Church policy on LGBT clergy and their marriage practices after years of inconsistency among individual United Methodist churches, with some churches denouncing homosexuality as a sin and others embracing gay and lesbian clergy members.

Before opting for the Traditional Plan, delegates rejected an alternative known as the One Church Plan, which would have allowed individual churches to decide whether to perform same-sex marriages and welcome gay and lesbian clergy members. Under that plan, the statement that homosexuality is at odds with Christianity would have been eliminated.

The vote roiled many in America’s second-largest Protestant denomination. Tom Berlin, a delegate, told Reuters that some supporters of the One Church Plan held small protest demonstrations afterward.

LOSE CREDENTIALS

“This is devastating,” Lucy Berrier said on Twitter. “Above all, the United Methodist Church is supposed to be a place of grace and service, not this bigotry and hate. My heart is broken into a thousand pieces.”

Berlin, who is a pastor in the Washington suburb of Herndon, Virginia, said with the new plan in place, some church members would risk losing their credentials to practice their belief in LGBT rights.

“Some churches will begin to do what they desire. They will test this new legislation by performing marriages and some conferences will ordain gay clergy,” he said in an interview after the final vote.

At least 12 million people, including 7 million in the United States, belong to the United Methodist Church. A 2014 Pew survey found that 60 percent of U.S. Methodists said homosexuality should be accepted by society. About half of U.S. Methodists said they supported same-sex marriage.

The rift in opinion over gay marriage and clergy members’ sexual orientation is along geographic as well as ideological lines.

Supporters of the Traditional Plan include many African and Philippine members as well as evangelical members from Europe and the United States. The One Church Plan derived most of its support from members in the United States who have witnessed a wave of social change regarding LGBT rights and awareness.

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states in 2015. But the law does not apply to religious institutions.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, remains strongly opposed to same-sex marriage. But a growing number of U.S. Protestant denominations allow gay marriage and clergy, including the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

(Reporting by Katharine Jackson in Washington; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney)

Third woman breaches ban at Indian Hindu temple amid protests

Protesters scuffle with police during a protest against state government for allowing two women to defy an ancient ban and enter the Sabarimala temple, in New Delhi, India, January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

KOCHI, India (Reuters) – A woman aged 46 has become the third to enter the Sabarimala Hindu temple in south India in defiance of an ancient ban on females of menstruating age, the office of the chief minister of Kerala state said on Friday.

It was not immediately clear how the woman, a Sri Lankan, had got in, and the temple management denied that she had in fact entered.

The hill temple, which pays homage to the celibate god Ayyappan and draws millions of worshippers a year, is one of a few in India that bar entry to girls and women between the ages of 10 and 50, saying that menstruating women are impure.

Conservative Hindu groups shut businesses and halted transport across Kerala on Thursday with a protest strike against the communist state government, which backs a Supreme Court ruling in September that ordered the lifting of the ban.

The first two women to breach the ban arrived in an ambulance with a plainclothes police escort on Wednesday and went in through a side gate without any devotees noticing.

VISITS BLOCKED

The chief minister’s office said the third had gone to the temple with her husband, and had been offered police protection.

Media identified her as Sasikala and reported that she had had her womb removed, which would mean she cannot menstruate. They said she had gone in at about 10:55 p.m. on Thursday.

The temple has refused to abide by the court ruling and subsequent attempts by women to visit had been blocked by thousands of devotees. It says the ban is necessary because menstruating women are impure, and denied that another woman had visited.

“The chief minister’s office is lying,” said Ayyappa Dharma Sena leader of the temple and grandson of former chief priest Rahul Easwar. “The pictures of the Sri Lankan woman Sasikala being shown in the media are fake.”

The protests against Kerala’s communist coalition, led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, were backed by both of the main national parties – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress party. A general election is due by May.

On Friday, only small protests were reported from across the state. Fewer than 100 members of the Congress youth wing marched and shouted slogans against the chief minister in the city of Kochi.

In some parts of South Asia, menstruating women are commonly forbidden to enter houses or temples or take part in festivals and community events.

(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan and Jose Devasia in KOCHI; Editing by Martin Howell and Kevin Liffey)