Gang Blamed for Kidnapping 17 American Missionaries in Haiti

Missionaries of Charity in Haiti

A gang known for previous abductions has been blamed for the kidnapping of 17 American missionaries in Haiti on Saturday, NBC News reported.

The Christian Aid Ministries missionaries were kidnapped on their way from the construction of an orphanage, according to a message from Ohio-based ministry, NBC reported.

“This is a special prayer alert,” the ministry’s one-minute message said. “Pray that the gang members would come to repentance.”

The U.S. Embassy is working with the field director of the mission, whose family stayed at the ministry’s base with an unidentified man while the abduction took place, the message said.

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Report Finds Members of the French Catholic Church Abused 330,000 Children

People sitting in church pews at a church

Members of France’s Catholic Church sexually abused 330,000 children over the past 70 years, according to a new report on abuses in the country’s Catholic Church.

The 2,500-page report is France’s first real documentation of the abuse, the Associated Press reported, and is based on research by France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research.

“The Catholic Church is the place where the prevalence of sexual violence is at its highest, other than in family and friend circles,” the report said, according to CNN.

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Commentary: Guided by Faith, Divinity Student Fought His ‘Anti-Racist’ Princeton Seminary — and Won

Timothy Keiderling’s decision to enroll in the Princeton Theological Seminary reflected his commitment “to give my life to work for justice and to live out the values of the Kingdom of God.” In a letter to the seminary’s president, Craig Barnes, he wrote that he “would sacrifice anything to make sure that my brothers and sisters see relief from their oppression.”

But the seminary’s concept of justice clashed with Keiderling’s conscience when PTS required him to attend “anti-racism” training sessions that he considered a form of indoctrination. He refused to participate in the sessions even after being reminded that they were mandatory. And then – early this year, with the potent support of the newly founded Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) – he convinced the seminary to exempt him from the training.

It was “a real victory which can advance the academic freedom cause substantially,” says Princeton Professor Robert George, a leader of the AFA who acted as an adviser to Keiderling, and whom the latter credits with making his victory possible. “Instead of a victim, we have a victor — one who stuck to his guns and persuaded his institution not only to respect his right of conscience, but to acknowledge the difference between education and indoctrination.”

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Web Designer Forced to Publish Messages Countering Her Religious Faith Asks Supreme Court to Hear Case

Person coding a website

A Colorado web designer asked the Supreme Court to take up her case challenging a state law forcing her to publish websites with messages counter to her religious beliefs.

Lorie Smith filed the petition with the Supreme Court on Friday, arguing a lower court ruling that upheld the Colorado law was wrongly decided, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the firm representing her, announced. The law compelled Smith’s speech in violation of her First Amendment rights by forcing her business 303 Creative to produce content against her beliefs, she said.

“The government shouldn’t weaponize the law to force a web designer to speak messages that violate her belief,” ADF General Counsel Kristen Waggoner said during a press call before filing the petition. “This case involves quintessential free speech and artistic freedom, which the 10th circuit astonishingly and dangerously cast aside here.”

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Alaska Airlines Fired Flight Attendants for Saying Democrat Transgender Bill Harms Women

N615AS Alaska Airlines 2000 Boeing

Alaska Airlines fired flight attendants for questioning its support of a proposed federal law that would open women’s spaces to biological males, according to complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Their union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, allegedly refused to defend their Title VII employment rights against religious discrimination during the proceeding and “disparaged” the employees’ Christian beliefs.

The Seattle-based air carrier, which once decorated a plane with the logo of Nirvana’s first music label Sub Pop, did not respond to queries from Just the News about the allegations and why employees shouldn’t fear official retaliation for expressing their views.

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Catholic Charities Official Invites Biden to Witness Border Crisis in Person

Sister Pimentel

Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas invited President Joe Biden to witness the migrant crisis for what would be his first trip to the southern border as president.

Thousands of migrants resorted to staying in dangerous tent cities in Mexican border towns after the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) were implemented in 2019 and the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s efforts to repeal the policy, Catholic Charities Executive Director Norma Pimentel said in an op-ed Monday for The Washington Post.

Pimentel asked Biden to visit the Rio Grande Valley and negotiate with Mexican officials to secure more humane conditions for the migrants. She appealed to the president’s Catholic faith to provide humanitarian assistance to the migrants.

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Brushing off Supreme Court Rulings, California County Fines Church as Commercial Enterprise

Hands praying on top of a Bible

While the state of California and multiple counties continue to settle with churches after imposing unconstitutional restrictions against them, one county is expanding its efforts to pursue damages against a church, claiming their worship services are a public nuisance.

In its latest request, filed Aug. 31, Calvary Chapel has asked the court to dismiss the public nuisance claim along with the $2.8 million in fines levied against it, arguing the county has not provided any evidence to support the accusation that the church has caused any harm to the public.

The battle between the county and the church began in late spring 2020 after the state and county encouraged residents to protest the death of George Floyd without numerical limitations or public health restrictions, even as the same authorities imposed severe constraints on houses of worship.

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Commentary: Christian Schools Vastly Outperforming Public Schools During COVID-19, According to New Survey of Parents

Among last year’s other lessons, none may be more important than this: Our taxpayer-funded education establishment cares more about adults than children.

Consider the evidence: public school union bosses pressured officials to close schools and keep them shuttered beyond what medical authorities recommended. In spite of the obvious harm to children of school closures, unions throughout the country lobbed threats and issued demands. In Chicago, the union went so far as to sue the Mayor to keep schools closed; in San Francisco, the city had to sue its school board.

A public education system that failed to do right by our children has kept union bosses empowered and politicians cowed. Thankfully, our country offers an alternative—one that proved its mettle this past year. In a recent survey of public school and Christian school parents, the Herzog Foundation found that parents of children who attended a Christian school were vastly more satisfied with their school experience.

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Facebook Courts Religious Groups, Religious Leaders Remain Skeptical

Facebook has been courting partnerships with religious groups in hopes of becoming their virtual home, the New York Times reported in late July. Experts and religious leaders told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the social media platform’s interest in shaping the future of religious experience should be closely monitored to protect religious freedom.

Though it is unlikely that a virtual religious experience will replace in-person religious services, the Times acknowledged, Facebook’s partnerships with religious groups expose Facebook’s plans to shape the future of the religious experience — as it has done with both political and social life.

“I just want people to know that Facebook is a place where, when they do feel discouraged or depressed or isolated, that they could go to Facebook and they could immediately connect with a group of people that care about them,” Nona Jones, a nondenominational minister and Facebook’s director for global faith partnerships, told the Times.

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Commentary: Leading the Charge Against Critical Race Theory

Young boy reading a book

Critical Race Theory continues to permeate our classrooms and infect our children’s minds with outrageous ideas about their nation’s history. But a growing number of Americans are standing up to fight back against its false tenets and demand its removal from K-12 education. At the forefront of this patriotic effort is 1776 Action, an advocacy group committed to the vital work of restoring honest and unifying education in public schools throughout the nation.

The group’s Candidate Pledge has garnered national attention in recent weeks for its emphasis on America’s values and its vow to eradicate divisive race- and gender-based ideologies such as CRT from America’s schools. Political candidates who sign the pledge commit to restoring “honest, patriotic education that cultivates in our children a profound love for our country” and to promoting a curriculum that “teaches that all children are created equal, have equal moral value under God, our Constitution, and the law, and are members of a national community united by our founding principles.” The pledge also seeks to prohibit any curriculum that divides students by race and sex – or sets out to infuse harmful ideologies into course material.

In May, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) became the first candidate to sign the pledge, declaring that CRT and similarly divisive theories are “shameful [and] must be stopped.” Other high-profile conservatives running for office, such as Republican nominee for Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin, also vowed to replace CRT with “a high-quality civics curriculum.” The two Republican candidates for Governor of Kansas, former Gov. Dr. Jeff Colyer and Kansas Atty. Gen. Derek Schmidt, have also signed the pledge. As more candidates sign this pledge, it will put pressure on teachers, principals, and school boards to declare their stances on CRT and other key educational matters. It will also hold them accountable for the materials they teach and ensure our children are not indoctrinated with malicious theories that seek to denigrate our country and reduce students to their sex or skin color.

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Commentary: Don’t Force My Church to Pay for Abortions

Baby hand in adult hand

Imagine, 75 years ago, some British officer lining up a group of young Indian children against a wall in Bombay, handing some bullets to Mahatma Gandhi, and ordering him to load soldiers’ rifles so that they could execute the youngsters.

Would you expect Gandhi to go along with that? Why would an officer even give such an order – except to humiliate Gandhi and mock what he stood for?

Perhaps that gives you some idea of how it feels for the people of my congregation, Cedar Park Church, to be ordered by Washington state officials to provide an insurance plan that covers abortions. Directly paying for abortion coverage is as unimaginable to us as putting bullets in a gun we know would be used to end a child’s life. It is antithetical to everything we preach, teach, and believe. That’s why we had to file a lawsuit through our Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys that is now on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which will hear arguments today.

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Commentary: Dissenting from Woke Superstition

Person sitting down. Praying hands on a Bible

A few weeks ago, I offered commentary on wokeism as a new iteration of Karl Marx’s notion of religion as the opiate of the people. Specifically, I made the case that wokeism is not so much Marxism but a heretical Christian construct that oligarchs exploit for the sake of their own preservation and dominance. Wokeism hoodwinks labor—those we often call the forgotten middle class—into serving the interests of monopolistic Big Tech and Wall Street capital, and its handsomely compensated technocrats (those Marx called the petty bourgeoisie).

Other recent pieces, including “The Art of Spiritual War,” by Michael Anton (which discusses wokeism as a parallel to the corrupted Christianity of Machiavelli’s day) suggest a growing consensus that wokeism, rather than something new under the Sun, has characteristics of something old, namely religion. Understanding wokeism as a religion, cult, or spiritual phenomenon may help us challenge and defeat it.

They Believe In Something Else 

Permit me to borrow for a moment a thought from a friend. Deion Kathawa wrote recently that our modern, technology-driven immorality may represent “a worldview that is closed off to the supernatural.” But this is only a superficial closing off. It is a fundamental feature of human psychology that it is never truly closed off to the supernatural.

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Commentary: Catholics Are Getting Smart About Responding to Gender Ideology

People sitting in pews at a Catholic church

Catholic parishes, schools, and dioceses have for years responded to transgenderism by simply ignoring the issue altogether. But that’s starting to change, largely because the problem is getting too big for churches to ignore. 

“My sense is that nearly every parish includes families with loved ones grappling with identity issues or gender dysphoria,” Mary Rice Hasson told The American Spectator. 

Hasson, who directs the Catholic Women’s Forum at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, recently founded an initiative called the Person and Identity Project, which aims to equip Catholic parishes and schools with resources to combat gender ideology. 

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United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Denies Media Reports That Vatican Told Bishops to ‘Hit The Brakes’ on Biden, Eucharist Discussions

Vatican Saint Peter's Basilica at dusk

The Vatican did not tell bishops not to move forward drafting a document on the Eucharist, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops clarified this week.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vox and multiple other outlets have claimed that the bishops were flouting a Vatican warning when they approved a measure June 18 to draft a statement on the Eucharist.

In a document issued June 21, the USCCB explicitly said that the Vatican did not tell the bishops not to move forward with the document.

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60 Catholic Democrats Accuse Bishops of Weaponizing Eucharist Against Biden

Catholic church worship

Catholic congressional Democrats are accusing U.S. Catholic bishops of weaponizing the Eucharist against President Joe Biden.

Sixty Catholic Democrats issued a “Statement of Principles” Friday warning U.S. bishops against “the weaponization of the Eucharist.” Signers included Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro and New York Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez.

Most of the Democrats who signed the statement appear to publicly support abortion in direct conflict with Catholic Church teaching.

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Commentary: What Greek Epics and Their Teachings on the Special Relationship Between Fathers and Sons

Greek statue of man's face

Father’s Day inspires mixed emotions for many of us. Looking at advertisements of happy families could recall difficult memories and broken relationships for some. But for others, the day could invite unbidden nostalgic thoughts of parents who have long since died.

As a scholar of ancient Greek poetry, I find myself reflecting on two of the most powerful paternal moments in Greek literature. At the end of Homer’s classic poem, “The Iliad,” Priam, the king of Troy, begs his son’s killer, Achilles, to return the body of Hektor, the city’s greatest warrior, for burial. Once Achilles puts aside his famous rage and agrees, the two weep together before sharing a meal, Priam lamenting the loss of his son while Achilles contemplates that he will never see his own father again.

The final book of another Greek classic, “The Odyssey,” brings together a father and son as well. After 10 years of war and as many traveling at sea, Odysseus returns home and goes through a series of reunions, ending with his father, Laertes. When Odysseus meets his father, however, he doesn’t greet him right away. Instead, he pretends to be someone who met Odysseus and lies about his location.

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Commentary: Remembering D-Day

D day

This Sunday marks the 77th anniversary of the greatest gamble in World War II.

On June 6, 1941, more than 156,0000 allied forces launched from the sea onto the beaches of Normandy.  Nearly 7,000 allied ships commanded the French coastline, and more than 3,200 aircraft dominated the skies.  A few miles inland, 23,000 paratroopers landed to block German reinforcements from the shore.

After years of preparation, practice, and training, the Allies had come to break German power in Europe.

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California Ordered to Pay $2 Million in Legal Fees to Church that Violated Coronavirus Restrictions

People holding hands in air at church worship service

After a lengthy court battle, the government of the state of California backed down in its efforts to enforce coronavirus restrictions on a church that continued hosting in-person worship services, and has now agreed in a settlement to pay the church’s $2 million worth of legal fees, Breitbart reports.

When the state repeatedly attempted to enforce strict capacity limits, mask mandates, and other “social distancing” requirements on the San Diego-based Pentecostal church, the church’s lawyers filed suit with the United States Supreme Court, winning all three suits. This ultimately led to lawyers on behalf of the state of California agreeing to the settlement, which was approved by a federal judge.

Responding to the settlement, an attorney with the Thomas More Society, a legal group that represents churches facing suppression of their First Amendment rights, pointed out that while businesses such as Costco were limited to 50 percent capacity, while churches were forced to stay as low as 25 percent, and sometimes even lower.

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Commentary: Mask Mandates Promote Servitude, Not Safety

Man on escalator with mask on

The other day, for the first time since March 2020, I embarked on a journey outside of the slave state of California. My wife and I drove to Montana. While I had heard tales of the existence of freedom in other states, I had yet to experience the thing firsthand.

My experience in Montana confirmed what I have long suspected and known, but not witnessed or experienced for myself—that there are two Americas and two very different types of Americans. There are free states and slave states. There are fearful, obedient slaves, and fearless, free Americans.

I didn’t wear a mask for an entire weekend in Montana—not entering my hotel, not walking down the street, not entering a grocery store or gas station convenience store, not getting a coffee, and not entering numerous restaurants and bars. At no point did I put on that filthy face diaper. Nor did anyone else.

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Conservative Hispanic Leaders Explain Why Texas Voters Are Shifting Republican

The Republican party in Texas is drawing Hispanic voters disillusioned by the Democratic party’s extreme values, two female Hispanic Republican leaders with Democratic backgrounds told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

South Texas saw both a liberal decline and a conservative surge during the 2020 election, the New York Times reported, a surge that has emboldened Republicans hoping to win in Latino communities throughout the United States. Hispanic female Republicans are stepping up to the plate, the publication reported.

“I am starting to see this need to connect with the Hispanic community and let them know nationwide that it’s the Republican party that offers opportunities,” Adrienne Pena-Garza, chair of the Hidalgo County Republican Party, told the DCNF.

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Commentary: Democrats’ False Middle East Mythology

The Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

What a disaster! And it’s only just begun — if we cannot do something to stop it.

Iran is up off the floor, regaining confidence in the strength of its bargaining position, restored to it as a free gift by the Biden team. Rockets from Gaza are again falling by their scores on Israeli civilians. The northern border of Israel is on highest alert. The last remaining Jews in Yemen have left as Iran’s proxies, the Houthis, consolidate their control over large areas of the country. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is appealing to the Democrats in control to take it off the U.S. terror list even as its leadership publicly encourages the wave of violence against Jewish civilians sweeping through Jerusalem.

It was only a few months ago that we were marveling at how peace was swiftly gaining momentum, and Iran, choked by powerful and effective sanctions, was being held to account for its actions and as a consequence had ever fewer resources to support its terrorist proxies. Most amazing, many Arab states began at last to see that Israel is no threat to them or their people and that they had common cause with Israel against Iranian imperialism. As if in a dream, we saw this trend begin as rumors, then peek into the light with a few gestures, and then finally, incredibly, burst into the limelight with the Abraham Accords. One Muslim state after another stepped forward to sign a real peace treaty with Israel and immediately open doors closed ever since Israel’s founding.

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Commentary: The Vatican Museums and Persevering Through a Pandemic

Vatican Saint Peter's Basilica at dusk

On Monday, May 3, the Vatican Museums will reopen to the public.  The Vatican Museums were founded in 1506, when Pope Julius II discovered and acquired the sculpture, Laocoön and His Sons.  Today, the Vatican Museums house one of the oldest and most important art collections in the world.

The Vatican’s impressive collection consists of over 200,000 works spanning five millennia.  The collection includes remarkable 15th and 16th century frescoes by Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, and Raphael, as well as stunning masterpieces by Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci.  Reflecting upon her work, Vatican Museums Director Dr. Barbara Jatta said, “It’s a cultural duty undertaken with a conviction that beauty can lead to faith.” 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vatican Museums were the 3rd most visited museum in the world, hosting an average of 6 million visitors per year and generating essential funding for the Vatican. 

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Commentary: The Rise of the New State Church

Saint Marys Cathedral, Natchez, United States

The United States is historically a Christian country, that is, it was founded by Christians and its population remains largely Christian to this day. The speeches and statements of our presidents, our official holidays, the prayers that are said before the opening of Congress and the Supreme Court, the imagery we see on official buildings all attest to the religious, indeed Christian, foundation of our nation. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court in an 1892 decision declared explicitly that “we are a Christian nation.”

Nevertheless, at least until recent days, Americans have understood that we live in a pluralistic society where Protestants, Catholics, Jews, even atheists, were equal before each other and equal before the law. There was no official church at the federal level that would require belief, assent, or obedience. This is not to say that there have not been dark times in our history when we failed to live up to our ideals. Catholics may recall times when our churches were burned and there were riots against us. But the highest American aspiration has always been that all should be treated equally, that a Jew should get the same treatment in a court of law as a Methodist or a Muslim.

Our twin understanding of our country’s deep religious roots coupled with an ideal of religious freedom grew out of the English tradition of religious toleration. The English had an official state church, but the English also recognized the importance of providing dissenters with some measure of freedom. The Act of Toleration of 1689 provided this freedom.

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‘God Loves Me’: 10-Year-Old Trans Child Quotes Bible to Tell TX Legislators Why They Shouldn’t Ban Trans Surgeries, Procedures for Minors

Kai Shappley

A 10-year-old transgender child quoted the Bible testifying before Texas lawmakers on bills banning transgender procedures and surgeries for minors.

Kai Shappley spoke to lawmakers Monday regarding Texas Senate Bill 1646, legislation that classifies it as child abuse for anyone to administer puberty suppression drugs, hormone replacement therapy, transgender surgeries or medical procedures to minors.

Video footage posted by the American Civil Liberties Union shows the 10-year-old child reading remarks from an iPhone, criticizing legislators for “attacking me since pre-K” and explaining, “I’ve been having to explain myself since I was three or four years old.”

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Supreme Court Sides with Student Whose Christian Beliefs Were Suppressed by Georgia College Campus

In a rare nearly-unanimous decision, the Supreme Court sided with a Christian college student whose right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion were initially silenced by his college campus in Georgia, as reported by ABC News.

The 8-1 decision was led by Justice Clarence Thomas, with Chief Justice John Roberts being the sole dissenting vote. Writing for the majority, Justice Thomas said that Chike Uzuegbunam, an African-American Evangelical Christian, can seek nominal damages from Georgia Gwinnett College, after officials at the school told him he was not allowed to hand out Christian literature on the campus’s “free speech zone.” This comes even after the school reversed course from its initial restrictions, and after Uzuegbunam ultimately graduated.

“It is undisputed that he experienced a complete violation of his constitutional rights when respondents enforced their speech policies against him,” Thomas wrote. “Because ‘every violation [of a right] imports damage,’ nominal damages can redress Uzuegbunam’s injury even if he cannot or chooses not to qualify that harm in economic terms.”

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U.S. House Passes ‘Equality Act’ Which Religious Conservatives Say Is ‘Conscience-Crushing’

The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Equality Act” — a piece of legislation that critics say poses a threat to Christian universities.

The Equality Act seeks to “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation” by providing the “full range of remedies available under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

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Federal Court Blocks California Church’s Bid for in-Person Worship On Christmas

A federal appeals court has denied a California church’s bid to hold in-person services for Christmas.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit declined to lift California’s coronavirus restrictions for the Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California in the Wednesday ruling. Under the restrictions issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, churches in the state are not allowed to hold in-person services amid the pandemic.

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