(WACO TRIBUNE-HERALD) – Two years after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, they still can’t get a courthouse wedding in Waco.

Only one Waco-based justice of the peace has been doing any civil weddings since the high court decided Obergefell vs. Hodges on July 26, 2015, and she said she will only do a wedding between a man and a woman.

Precinct 1 Place 1 Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley said she initially chose not to do weddings at all after the Supreme Court decision, as did some other JPs in the county, including her colleague, Precinct 1 Place 2 Judge Pete Peterson.

But Hensley changed her mind in September, and has done about 70 opposite-sex weddings since then, mostly at the courthouse during business hours.

“My conscience was bothering me because so many people were calling and wanting a wedding,” she said.

She said that as a “Bible-believing” Christian, her conscience also prohibits her from doing same-sex weddings, and she thinks she is entitled to a “religious exemption.” She said that on a couple of occasions, her office has told same-sex couples that the judge was not available and gave them a list of locals who would officiate a same-sex wedding, including ministers and Precinct 3 JP David Pareya, who is based in West.

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(JTA) — A parade in Chicago celebrating the lesbian community banned three Jewish women carrying Jewish Pride flags.

Organizers of the 21st annual Chicago Dyke March told the women that the rainbow flags with a white Star of David in the center would be a trigger to people they found offensive.

A Dyke March collective member told the Windy City Times that the women were told to leave because the flags “made people feel unsafe,” and that the march was “anti-Zionist” and “pro-Palestinian.”

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(DAILY CALLER) – The St. Louis Cardinals resolved to host Lance Berkman as their “Christian Day” speaker, despite outcry from the LGBTQ community.

St. Louis Pride, an LGBTQ organization, protested the Cardinals’ decision to host Berkman and demanded that the Cardinals cancel his appearance at their annual Christian Day, a post-game event where a public figure, usually a former player as in Berkman’s case, speaks about how Christianity has affected their life.

Berkman drew criticism from the LGBTQ community in 2015 and has been lambasted as a homophobe over his opposition to a Houston city ordinance that would allow transgender people access to bathrooms opposite their biological gender.

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June 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott yesterday signed into law a bill that protects Christian adoption agencies from being forced to place children in homosexual-led households that intentionally deny the child a mother or a father.

HB 3859, the Freedom to Serve Children Act, allows faith-based adoption and foster care organizations to receive state funding without fear of legal retribution for declining to place children in homosexual-led households. Other conscience objections such as placing children with single or divorced adults are also covered.

“We are very grateful to Governor Abbott for signing HB 3859, and for all of the hard work of Rep. James Frank and Senator Charles Perry to pass this bill that will allow faith-based foster care and adoption agencies in Texas to serve the children of Texas while maintaining our faith teachings,” said Jennifer Carr Allmon, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops. “Our ministries throughout the state are actively seeking new ways to be of service to the children of Texas and welcome all people of good will to join us in these endeavors.”

The Lone Star State joins South Dakota, which enacted a similar law in March, Alabama, Michigan, North Dakota, and Virginia in passing laws protecting faith-based adoption agencies, U.S. News reported.

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In Malaysia, Islamists seek to restrict the movement of Christian evangelicals.

THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE reports:

Federal laws to curb Christian evangelicalism are needed because state laws have failed to restrict the movement among Malay Muslims here, PAS Youth alleged today. The Islamist party’s department of law and human rights director Wan Rohimi Wan Daud said in a statement that statistics by the Shariah courts showed there were 863 requests to “change the status of Islam” between 2000 and 2010. He said that this situation is unacceptable, considering that the Federal Constitution and state enactments have laws restricting the propagation of faiths other than Islam to Muslims.

In the U.S., LGBT groups seek to limit Christians from political involvement.

THE CHRISTIAN POST reports:

LGBT activist groups are outraged that the Trump administration’s Department of Education invited speakers from two prominent conservative Christian family organizations to participate in a panel discussion on fatherhood held in advance of Father’s Day last week. Politico reports that experts from the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family were invited to speak at a day-long conference hosted by the Education Department that addressed how fathers can be engaged in their children’s lives.  Both FRC, headed by Tony Perkins, and Focus on the Family, led by Jim Daly and founded by James Dobson, are known for advocating in accordance with biblical beliefs on sexuality and the belief that marriage is only a union between one man and one woman. However, the pro-LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign believes that the organization’s’ beliefs in traditional marriage and opposition to same-sex marriage should make their employees disqualified from being given a government-funded platform to voice their views on marriage and family.

 

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(THE NEW AMERICAN) – A publicly funded Christian school in Alberta, Canada, has been ordered by the school board with which it is affiliated to refrain from teaching “any scripture that could be considered offensive to particular individuals,” especially homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons.

Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) is a K-12 institution in the tiny town of Kingman (population: 103), 38 miles southeast of the provincial capital of Edmonton. According to the National Post, “Alberta funnels public funding into ‘alternative schools’ like CCA, which emphasize a particular language, culture, religion or subject. Each alternative school is offered through an Alberta school board. In CCA’s case, this involves a Master Agreement between the school and the BRSD [Battle River School Division], under which the board agreed not to meddle in the ‘essential nature’ of the school’s programming.”

But meddle it did. Earlier this year, BRSD chairwoman Laurie Skori e-mailed CCA chairwoman Deanna Margel, asking Margel to remove two things from the school’s handbook and statement of faith. First, she requested the deletion of I Corinthians 6:9, 10, which reads, in part: “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (Did some greedy, drunken swindler complain about it?) Then, just to make her opinion of CCA perfectly clear, she asked Margel to strike the word quality from the statement “CCA offers quality educational programming.”

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(NBC NEWS) – Oregon became the first state in U.S. history on Thursday to offer more than two gender options on identity documents, including driver’s licenses, making it the first to legally recognize non-binary, intersex and agender people on ID cards.

When the history-making rule — which the state Transportation Commission passed late Thursday afternoon — goes into effect on July 3, Oregon residents will have the option to choose among three gender categories when applying for driver’s licenses or state ID cards: male, female and “X” for non-binary or unspecified.

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(CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK) – Several American cities recently approved the creation of rainbow crosswalks to celebrate “LGBTQ pride,” and homosexual advocacy groups are circulating petitions to request that more cities paint their crosswalks with the “diversity” stripes.

Houston, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C. created rainbow crosswalks to coincide with their June homosexual pride events. In Atlanta, the display will be permanent.

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(NBC Miami) The Lighthouse Christian Academy promises to provide an exemplary education, a caring atmosphere and service to God — but not for everyone. The school says in its admissions brochure that it reserves the right to deny admission to LGBT students because their lifestyle is prohibited by the Bible.

As the Trump administration seeks to expand school choice nationwide, the academy was thrust into the national spotlight last month as part of a heated debate over whether schools that receive money from taxpayer-funded vouchers can discriminate against certain groups of students, such as LGBT children or students with disabilities.

Lighthouse officials say they’ve never turned anyone away based on sexual orientation. But at a congressional hearing, Senate Democrats cited it as an example of a school that discriminates against LGBT students. A Lighthouse brochure says the Bible does not allow homosexual, bisexual or “any form of sexual immorality” and if a student’s “home life” violates biblical rules, the school can deny them admission or expel them.

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SAN LUIS OBISPO, California, June 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A California teacher resigned after a letter he wrote for the school newspaper condemning homosexuality caused backlash.
Michael Stack, a special education teacher at San Luis Obispo High School, submitted the letter to editor of the online Expressions responding to its May issue covering LGBT issues that contained a cover photo of two women kissing.

He resigned May 11, the same day someone called in a death threat for him to the school.

Stack had faced criticism after citing the Bible on the sinfulness of homosexuality in the letter.

The passage he referenced (Romans 1:16-32) states that individuals who take part in homosexual acts “suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved” “as a result of this sin.”

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London, England, Jun 17, 2017 / 06:26 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After facing backlash for his Christian faith, the head of the UK’s Liberal Democratic Party announced his resignation on Wednesday, claiming that leading the party was becoming incompatible with living his faith.

“To be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me,” said Tim Farron, noting he would hold his position until the parliamentary recess begins next month.

Farron’s announcement follows significant media attention surrounding his answers to press questions on abortion and homosexuality.

During the recent election, Farron had been asked repeatedly by reporters about his views on the morality of homosexual acts.

Earlier this week, the party’s home affairs spokesman Brian Paddick – a prominent gay politician – resigned abruptly, citing concerns over opinions held by the party’s leadership.

Despite the Liberal Democrats gaining several parliamentary seats under Farron, he faced opposition from within his own party.

According to the Telegraph, one senior Liberal Democrat said Farron was “unhelpful during the campaign.”

He also said Farron’s “views [were] not compatible with being the leader of the Liberal Democrats.”

Simon Hughes, formerly the party’s deputy leader, said “it became unfairly difficult that Tim was put in the firing line and felt that he couldn’t adequately do justice to his faith while upholding the liberal values that he has argued for all his life.”

“It would be the same for people of other faiths who have strong faith views, where there are issues that are very controversial within that faith community,” he told the BBC.

Farron noted the “scrutiny” he faced when “asked about matters to do with my faith,” claiming he felt unable to remain Christian in the current environment and could not benefit the party in its mission of upholding everyone’s rights.

He said journalist had the right to question him as they saw fit, but that the scrutiny of his faith in the public eye drew away attention from the message of the Liberal Democratic Party.

“I felt guilty that this focus was distracting attention from our campaign, obscuring our message,” he said, identifying a major aspect of that mission as “defending the rights and liberties of people who believe different things to me.”

“In which case we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society,” he said.

He clarified that he disagrees with “Christians in politics who take the view that they should impose the tenets of faith on society,” saying that this is “counterproductive when it comes to advancing the gospel.”

Farron ended his address stating that he loved his party – a party he joined when he was 16 – and encouraged his successor to “fight for a Britain that is confident, generous and compassionate.”

“My successor will inherit a party that is needed now more than ever before. Our future as an open, tolerant and united country is at stake.”

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SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 16, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — Hope. Freedom. Redemption. Restored Hope Network has been on the frontlines of helping people overcome homosexuality. They now comprise 59 affiliated ministries dedicated to helping people find freedom from same sex attraction.

The Restored Hope Network conference is under way at City View Church in San Diego. As many as 1,000 protesters are mobilizing, handing out posters and signs at gay bars, pride marches, and have pledged to protest outside the Hilton (one of the hotels used by the 400 attendees) on Thursday and Friday night.

Anne Paulk, executive director for Restored Hope, says “This is a spiritual battle and evidence of the cultural beliefs that people cannot leave homosexuality or align with God’s will.” Paulk is evidence that God’s redemptive power, as are thousands of others who have left the lifestyle. “Restored Hope Network counselors and pastors across the country are there for those who want to align their lives with biblical values,” says Paulk.

“We are prepared for the protest and intend to be kind,” explains Paulk. “We realize they [protesters] are operating out of misunderstanding and misconceptions about who we are and what we do. Tolerance is a two-way street. We expect the respect and freedom to leave homosexuality as much as respecting their right to remain homosexual or transgender.”

The division between people who want freedom from same-sex attractions and those who want acceptance and celebration for their behavior continues to grow. The leaders within Restored Hope believe Jesus Christ still transforms the lives of those who turn to Him from sexual and relational sin. Those who do not want freedom find this message repugnant and want acceptance. “They [Restored Hope] are not welcome in this city,” said one gay rights activist. And they plan to do everything within their power to prove that. For Paulk, “We are dedicated to restoring hope to those impacted by homosexuality.”