If Proposal Stands: UK Schools No Longer May Teach Truth About Homosexuality
After this April's implementation of the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs), British religious schools may no longer be allowed to teach school children that the Christian viewpoint on sexual morality is "objectively true," a government report says. The Joint Committee on Human Rights, made up of members from Parliament and the House of Lords, has issued a report on the implementation of the Regulations recommending that religious schools be required to modify their religious instruction to comply with the government-approved doctrine of "non-discrimination."

The report says the Regulations will not "prevent pupils from being taught as part of their religious education the fact that certain religions view homosexuality as sinful," but they may not teach "a particular religion's doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true." Instruction must be modified "so that homosexual pupils are not subjected to teaching, as part of the religious education or other curriculum, that their sexual orientation is sinful or morally wrong."

Catholic priest Tim Finigan, founder of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life and pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Parish in Blackfen, warned that "this proposal will make it illegal for Catholic schools to teach that the Catholic faith is true"-despite the churchs teaching that it is homosexual acts that are sinful, not necessarily homosexual orientation. He pointed out, however, that the distinction is moot in government circles. "The people who framed this guidance will not accept our teaching that homosexuality is a disorder nor that homosexual acts are sinful."

"It is difficult to see how Catholic schools could continue in Britain," Finigan wrote on his Weblog

The new regulations were scheduled to come into effect in England, Wales, and Scotland in April this year after a ratifying vote in Parliament. They came into effect in Northern Ireland Jan. 1.

Second Preemie Jars Abortion Assumptions
A second very-prematurely-born baby to overcome long odds and survive has made the news in Manchester, England, and her survival is sparking a debate over whether or not to limit late-term abortions. Tiny Millie McDonagh has stunned the medical world by beating doctors' expectations and going home after being born four months premature. McDonagh was given just a 1% chance of surviving after she was born at 22 weeks into the pregnancy. At birth, the little girl weighed just 20 ounces (570g) and was only 11 inches (28 cm) long. Millie is one day older than Amillia Taylor, the premature baby born in Miami who has received national and international attention. The newspaper reports that Millie's parents, Tommy McDonagh and Natalie Matthews, were finally able in early March to take their daughter home-four months after she was delivered. Millie received medical attention in the intensive care unit of St. Marys Hospital in Manchester following her October birth and she weighed five pounds before leaving the hospital. She will need oxygen for a while to help her breathe but her physicians now say she will suffer no long-term health problems from the premature birth.

Mission Works to Aid Waterlogged Bolivia
The South American country of Bolivia continues to suffer from heavy rains, flooding, disease outbreaks, and food shortage-all associated with the extreme weather that began two months ago attributed to the climate phenomenon called El Nio. More than 42 people have died, and an estimated 400,000 Bolivians had been affected by flooding as of Mar. 19. As World Vision assists more than 20,000 Bolivian families in the hardest-hit central region, they also have assessed damage to their sponsorship projects in the country. Twenty projects have been affected and World Vision is providing medicines, medical supplies, clothing, temporary shelters, water purification, hygiene products and school supplies to children and families. The effects of the flooding will likely be ongoing, as tropical diseases have been reported in waterlogged communities such as dengue, malaria, yellow fever, scabies, respiratory ailments and acute diarrhea. Dead animals lying in standing water created the threat of severe health epidemics.

Mission Network News

Billy Graham's Grandson Is Wounded in Iraq
The grandson of evangelist Billy Graham has been injured during his tour of duty in Iraq. Army Capt. Edward Graham, the youngest son of Franklin Graham, is recovering at an undisclosed hospital from shrapnel wounds to his back, legs and arms. The 27-year-old Army ranger and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point is serving his second tour in Iraq. Though military regulations restrict dissemination of many details, numerous media outlets say the Graham family has expressed confidence that their grandson is not in a life-threatening situation. According to Baptist Press, Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham revealed news of his son's injuries during a message March 3 at MissionFest in Toronto. via MissionNet

Persecution in China Building Up Toward 2008 Olympic Games
Todd Nettleton from Voice of the Martyrs reports that persecution in China is ramping up as the 2008 Olympic Games approach. Nettleton expects the Chinese government to crack down on outspoken Christians as the Summer Olympics approach in August 2008.

Nettleton said the Chinese government will try and put a stop to all public protests by Christians leading up to the event. Some sources claim that the Beijing municipal authority has announced its intention to enact more than 70 local laws and decrees before the start of the Games, including a ban on protests and the institution of penalties for any dissemination of materials deemed "not beneficial to the state."

HCJB Global via MissionNet

Immigrants Hoped in Vain They Would Find Religious Freedom in America
Administrators at Heritage High School in Vancouver, Wash., have denied a request from Christian students to start a prayer club. The students, who were not allowed to meet for prayer in a private room, instead gathered before school in the cafeteria to pray. A student claiming to be a Satanist reported the group, resulting in the school's vice principal insisting that the students go outside. The Christian students refused and were suspended-some for three days and others for 10. Mathew Staver of the pro-family legal group says the students' constitutional rights were violated. "It's absolutely outrageous that the school allowed one Satanist student to exercise a heckler's veto over the other students' speech," he said. Staver noted that most of the suspended students were Russian immigrants who "came to America assuming that America was the land of the free and the home of the brave-assuming that they would have religious liberty." Instead they were greeted with "religious persecution and discrimination." Liberty Counsel is providing legal assistance to the suspended students. A lawsuit was to be filed if school officials do not reverse their decision. via MissionNet

Imam Receives Christ Via TV, Escapes Iran
One of the top Islamic leaders in Iran accepted Christ and left the country after facing death threats and imprisonment, according to an Iranian pastor living in the U.S. "This man has been watching Christian TV programs for the past two years," said Pastor Elnathan Baghestani, founder of Iran for Christ Ministries. Pastor Baghestani and his wife provide Christian programming to the Mohabat Network satellite, which broadcasts 24/7 into Iran and other Middle Eastern countries.

The imam called one of the phone counselors connected to Iran for Christ Ministries and prayed to receive Christ in early February. "He said he has believed since he began watching the programs but his salvation was sealed through his confession."

"This man knows all the verses of the Qur'an by heart," he added. "After he began watching, doubt began in his heart about the Islamic faith." The man spent nine months in prison after he questioned the violence of radical Islam. Following his release from prison, he faced numerous death threats and escaped the country.

ASSIST News Service via

New ID Law Drives Mennonites from MO
A new state law in Missouri that requires photos for driver's licenses is having the unintended effect of causing some Mennonites to move away. Certain Mennonite groups believe the Bible forbids them from posing for photographs, so the new state requirement has led them to pull up stakes. Fifteen families in Missouri's Randolf County have moved to Arkansas where state law offers Mennonites an exemption from having a photograph on their driver's license. Six other Mennonite communities in Missouri are considering a similar move. "We aren't down on the government," said 40-year-old Leo Kempf. "We believe the government is ordained by God, and we believe we should follow what they say as long as it is not against the word of God. God comes first." Neighbor Matt Thornburg is outraged and thinks an exemption should be made for the Mennonites. "These people aren't a security risk." Thornburg said. "I want people to know there is an injustice going on here. We don't want these folks moving out they're good citizens!" Maura Browning of the Missouri Department of Revenue said the law tightened driver's license security standards. Previously, a religious exemption allowed Mennonites to forego the photograph. Now they have the option of not having a photograph on their personal license, but a picture must be on file with the state.

WorldWide Religious News via MissionNet

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