Religious association – Catholics Come Home Boston Tue, 21 Jun 2022 17:12:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Religious association – Catholics Come Home Boston 32 32 AP News Summary at 12:58 p.m. EDT | National Associated Press Tue, 21 Jun 2022 16:58:05 +0000 Texas top cop: Uvalde police respond to ‘dismal failure’ AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety said three minutes after a gunman entered a school where he massacred 19 elementary students and two teachers, there were enough armed law enforcement at the scene to arrest the shooter. Still, police […]]]>

Texas top cop: Uvalde police respond to ‘dismal failure’

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety said three minutes after a gunman entered a school where he massacred 19 elementary students and two teachers, there were enough armed law enforcement at the scene to arrest the shooter. Still, police armed with rifles stood and waited in a school hallway for nearly an hour as the shooter carried out the massacre. Colonel Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, called the police response “an abject failure.” He says police radios weren’t working in the school and the school diagrams used by officers were wrong.

‘The Impossible’: Ukraine’s Secret and Deadly Rescue Missions

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A series of clandestine helicopter missions against the odds to reach besieged soldiers is being celebrated in Ukraine as one of the riskiest and most heroic military feats of the four-month war against Russia. . The flights delivered supplies and evacuated casualties during the last defense of the Azovstal Steelworks. He was surrounded by Russian forces in the brutalized city of Mariupol. Ukrainian troops have been pinned down for weeks, their stocks dwindling, their dead and wounded piling up. Ukraine’s president first spoke about the sometimes deadly helicopter supply missions only after Azovstal defenders began surrendering in May. The Associated Press tracked down and interviewed some of the injured who were rescued from the death trap.

1/6 panel to hear Raffensperger, other Trump pushed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Jan. 6 House committee is expected to hear from local officials who pushed back against Donald Trump’s push to void the 2020 presidential election. The panel investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol resumes Tuesday with testimony by Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Trump’s call to “find 11,780” votes to prevent Joe Biden’s election victory. His deputy Gabe Sterling and Arizona Republican State Leader Rusty Bowers are also key witnesses. The panel will focus on how Trump pressured state officials on the battlefield with plans to throw out state tallies and voters, all fueled by his false claims of voter fraud.

Election 2022: Trump endorsement reversal scrambles Alabama race

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s Republican primary for the U.S. Senate pits a candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump against a candidate Trump had previously endorsed. Congressman Mo Brooks was a staunch Trump supporter when he lost the former president’s endorsement in part for saying it was time to move to the 2020 election. Trump then chose to support the former chief of staff to Senator Richard Shelby, Katie Britt. Other states holding elections on Tuesday are Virginia and Georgia. In Washington, DC, Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser is seeking re-election amid concerns over rising crime.

Deshaun Watson settles 20 of 24 sexual misconduct lawsuits

HOUSTON (AP) — A lawyer says Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached an agreement to settle 20 of 24 civil lawsuits filed by women who accused him of sexual assault and harassment. Houston attorney Tony Buzbee is representing all 24 women. He says in a statement that all 20 lawsuits will be dismissed once the paperwork is completed. Buzbee also says the terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. Watson has been accused by massage therapists of harassing, assaulting or touching them on dates while with the Houston Texans. Watson’s lead attorney did not immediately return an email seeking comment. Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges.

Fed’s Powell faces mounting criticism for inflation missteps

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has received praise for his skillful leadership during the whirlwind of the pandemic recession. However, as threats to the US economy have grown, Powell has increasingly struck Fed watchers as far less sure of himself. Inflation turned out to be higher and far more persistent than he or Fed economists had expected. And at a policy meeting last week, Powell announced an unusual last-minute shift to a larger interest rate hike than he had previously signaled – then followed up with a press conference that many economists have described it as confused and inconsistent.

High Court rules religious schools can get Maine tuition assistance

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has ruled that religious schools cannot be excluded from a Maine program that provides tuition assistance for private education. It’s a decision that could make it easier for religious organizations to access taxpayers’ money. The most immediate effect of the court’s decision beyond Maine will be next in Vermont, which has a similar program. But Tuesday’s result could also fuel a new push for school choice programs in some of the 18 states that have so far not directed taxpayer dollars to private religious education.

Israeli government fast-tracks bill to dissolve parliament

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli cabinet minister said the country’s outgoing coalition government would this week fast-track a bill to dissolve parliament, preparing the country for its fifth election in three years. Social Affairs Minister Meir Cohen told Israeli state broadcaster Kan on Tuesday that the coalition would put the bill to a preliminary vote the next day. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday he would dissolve his alliance of eight diverse parties and send the country to the polls. New elections – the country’s fifth in just over three years – are due in October and raise the possibility that longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu, now opposition leader, could stage a comeback.

No nuclear? The war between Ukraine and Russia will shape the world’s arsenals

Nuclear Russia’s plunder of non-nuclear Ukraine shakes up what is already a destabilizing moment in nuclear non-proliferation efforts. Security experts say the outcome of Ukraine’s fight against Russia will influence how other countries with nuclear rivals think about their defense. Another factor is the ability of the United States to convince its non-nuclear allies that it is safe under the current American umbrella of nuclear and conventional weapons. Some former Asian leaders have cited the conflict in Ukraine as proof that it is time for nations to think about getting nuclear bombs themselves. Current regional leaders were quick to denounce the idea.

US swimming pools close and go without lifeguards due to labor shortages

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis typically fills 17 pools each year, but with a national lifeguard shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, only five are open this summer. The American Lifeguard Association estimates that a third of swimming pools in the United States are affected by the shortage. It comes as much of the country is hit by a second heatwave in as many weeks. Summer shortages aren’t unusual, but U.S. pools are also dealing with the fallout from the start of the pandemic when they closed and lifeguard certification came to a halt. The starting salary is also lower than many other jobs. In Chicago, Park District Superintendent Rosa Escareño blames the shortage in part on post-pandemic labor shortages as workers push for better hours, wages and opportunities.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

A French city has approved burkinis in its swimming pools. Then the backlash came Sun, 19 Jun 2022 20:46:59 +0000 GRENOBLE, France — The mayor of Grenoble, Éric Piolle, was the first environmentalist to lead a major French city, and this year his Alpine town was named European Green Capital. By the end of the year, Grenoble will cover all its electricity needs with renewable energies. But nobody talks about it, he says. On the […]]]>

GRENOBLE, France — The mayor of Grenoble, Éric Piolle, was the first environmentalist to lead a major French city, and this year his Alpine town was named European Green Capital. By the end of the year, Grenoble will cover all its electricity needs with renewable energies.

But nobody talks about it, he says. On the contrary, Piolle is attacked for having authorized the burkini in the public swimming pools of his city.

“It touched very intense emotions in people,” he said in an interview in his office.

Piolle grew up a Roman Catholic and he says 30 years ago there were more signs of Catholicism in public. He says the most visible religion today in France is Islam, which makes some people nervous.

“I understand that they struggle with religious expression in the public space,” he says.

But the mayor says people are confusing things. While France bans outward religious symbols in public schools or government offices to ensure neutrality, people are allowed to wear whatever they want in public.

In mid-May, the city council authorized the wearing of body-covering swimsuits, commonly known as burkini, in public municipal swimming pools in Grenoble. Piolle said there was simply no reason to ban them.

The backlash was immediate. In a TV interview, far-right leader Marine Le Pen called the full-body swimsuit a threat to French secularism and beyond.

“It’s a sign of separatism and women’s submission,” Le Pen said. “The opposite of our values ​​and our constitution. This is how Islamic fundamentalists gain the upper hand. Victories over food or clothing may seem trivial, but are very serious.”

It’s not just the far right. President Emmanuel Macron’s interior minister, a hardliner, called Grenoble’s stoppage a provocation and immediately filed an injunction to block it in court. The mayor appealed.

Opposite the Grenoble train station is the office of the Alliance Citoyenne, an association for the defense of citizens’ rights which campaigns for covering swimsuits to be accepted in public swimming pools. Elies Ben Azib leads the organization, which also fights for the protection of the rights of disabled and deprived people, and has only recently taken up the fight for Muslim women who want to wear swimsuits that protect their modesty.

Ben Azib, who happens to be Muslim, says the group has never had any problems with their other work. But there was political harassment when it came to Muslim women. He says Muslims are always suspected of having a hidden agenda.

“If we say we just want to go to the pool – nothing else – they say, ‘Yeah, but after that you will ask for separate swimming times [for men and women] and then after that you will ask to pray in the pool and then open a mosque in the pool,” he laughs. “Come on guys, be serious, we just want to go swimming.

Alongside the burkini, the group is also pushing to allow boxers in France’s notoriously restrictive public swimming pools, and for what’s known as the “monokini”, i.e. topless.

Two of the community organizers are also in the office. The women, Yasmina and Anissa, both in their early thirties, do not want to give their surnames as they have received threats online. Anissa says the work just started four years ago.

“We met women who felt discriminated against because they couldn’t get into swimming pools because of their hijab and because they couldn’t wear regular swimsuits,” she says. “So here they were packing picnics for their kids and their husbands to go swimming, but they couldn’t join them.”

Pool parties kick off burkini campaign

The women say that it is very hot in Grenoble in the summer because the surrounding mountains trap the heat. And people depend on public swimming pools to cool off. They started their campaign with very positive letters and meetings with local officials. But then nothing happened. So they threw a few pool parties.

In the videos from these parties, people wear burkinis and bikinis, and are joined by many non-Muslims. Activists chant slogans and splash around in a public swimming pool.

They say it was a positive experience because other swimmers were interested in what they were doing and they were able to talk to them about the problem. But other so-called pool parties were less successful. They were once stopped from entering a swimming pool by police officers who made them “feel like delinquents”, says Anissa.

Another time, the pool attendants called security, who ushered all the other swimmers out of the pool.

“It was very violent for us because we felt like we were dirty or something because they wouldn’t let other swimmers swim with us,” says Anissa.

These women, who both wear the hijab, say the burkini has nothing to do with Islamist extremism. The mayor accepts. Extremists would never allow their wives to go swimming, the women explain.

But after two major terrorist attacks in France in 2015 and the beheading of a schoolteacher in 2020 – all by self-proclaimed Islamist extremists – many French people are drawing a link between religious dress and possible fundamentalism.

The 1905 French law on secularism guarantees the separation of religion and state and the free exercise of all religions. It does not discourage religious expression. Piolle says that since the terrorist attacks, people have been bending the law to try to ban religious expression in public.

For Anissa and Yasmina of Alliance Citoyenne, being able to wear a burkini means having the same rights as everyone else. “That’s all we want. No more rights, like everyone else,” says Anissa. “We don’t want to be second-class citizens. If we pay taxes, we have to have access to them, like everyone else.”

Activists say they don’t want to Islamize public swimming pools, as some have charged, or push the issue further. Both women went to public schools where the hijab is not allowed. “We support secularism and have no problem with that,” says Anissa.

Yasmina says people often confuse everything when they talk about the veil: “They think our husbands or our fathers make us wear it, which is totally wrong.”

People compare them to women in Afghanistan or Iran. Yasmina says France acts hypocritically, behaving like the dictatorships she criticizes.

“Not letting women wear what they want is as oppressive as forcing women to wear the veil,” she says. “They are two sides of the same coin: oppressors who want to impose dress restrictions on women.”

Piolle, the mayor, agrees. “It’s crazy when you start regulating people’s clothes in so much detail,” he says.

It should be noted that no one seems to hesitate to allow topless bathers in the pools.

Piolle said he was struck by the absurdity of it all. “We have a climate emergency and a war in Ukraine and the country is focused on five or 10 women who want to wear a different swimsuit in the pool,” he says.

The women of the Citizens’ Alliance say they obtained 2,600 signatures on their petition to authorize the burkini while it only took 50 to obtain a meeting with city officials. Yasmina says they are proud and feel powerful, even though their measure is currently blocked.

“We put this issue on the agenda of the city council and we are supported by the mayor,” says Yasmina. “We are now taken seriously by feminist organizations who did not consider our struggle as feminist at the start. These are victories for us and for Grenoble.”

Activists take inspiration from the American civil rights movement

There is a large poster in the group’s offices with a history of civil disobedience around the world. Ben Azib says the group was greatly inspired by the American civil rights movement of the 1960s – lunch counter sit-ins and other nonviolent acts of civil disobedience by individuals like Rosa Parks, who refused to give up his bus seat to a white man.

“It’s interesting how one woman – Rosa Parks – can change everything. You know the narrative around black women, the narrative about segregation, etc. It was very inspiring for us,” he says.

Ben Azib says they watched videos and studied speeches. “We want to change the way Muslim women are perceived in France,” he says.

The decision of the court on the authorization or not of the burkini in the swimming pools of Grenoble is expected from one day to another. Ben Azib says if they don’t win, they will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

“We have to keep going,” he said, “because we’ve spent too much time and energy, and also we have so many people who are counting on us to keep the fight going.” [Copyright 2022 NPR]

Five Turks kidnapped in Haiti freed Thu, 16 Jun 2022 06:16:00 +0000 Sources say five Turks kidnapped in Haiti last month have been released. Details of the circumstances of their release the previous day were not available, but the men, aged 20 to 26, are apparently in good physical health, a source familiar with the matter said. Michaelle Durandis, the representative of the bus company which operated […]]]>

Sources say five Turks kidnapped in Haiti last month have been released.

Details of the circumstances of their release the previous day were not available, but the men, aged 20 to 26, are apparently in good physical health, a source familiar with the matter said.

Michaelle Durandis, the representative of the bus company which operated the vehicle they were traveling in, had previously announced that three Turkish women seized at the same time had been released earlier this month “because they were ill”. On May 8, the group was traveling by bus from the Dominican capital Santo Domingo, bound for Port-au-Prince, when it was hijacked by one of Haiti’s most powerful armed gangs shortly after crossing the border. Twelve people were then on board the bus: eight Turkish nationals, three Haitians and a Dominican.

The Turks were members of an educational and religious association, according to Hugues Josué, honorary consul of Turkey in Haiti. The two employees of the transport company, a Haitian hostess and a Dominican driver, were released less than a week after the hijacking. The two Haitian passengers were later freed by the gang after paying a ransom, Durandis said.

Haitian police are struggling to fight gangs in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding countryside: in May alone, at least 200 kidnappings have been recorded by the United Nations, crimes massively committed in the capital.

For several years, one of the most powerful gangs in Haiti, called “400 Mawozo”, has controlled the area between the Dominican Republic and the Haitian capital, where Turkish nationals have been kidnapped.

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Google’s ‘sentient’ chatbot is our self-deceiving future Tue, 14 Jun 2022 16:32:20 +0000 A Google engineer named Blake Lemoine became so enthralled with an AI chatbot that he may have sacrificed his job to defend it. “I know a person when I talk to them,” he said The Washington Post for an article published last weekend. “It doesn’t matter that they have brains made of meat in their […]]]>

A Google engineer named Blake Lemoine became so enthralled with an AI chatbot that he may have sacrificed his job to defend it. “I know a person when I talk to them,” he said The Washington Post for an article published last weekend. “It doesn’t matter that they have brains made of meat in their head. Or if they have a billion lines of code. After discovering that he had gone public with his claims, Google placed Lemoine on administrative leave.

From media coverage, Lemoine might appear to be an activist whistleblower, acting in the interests of a computer program that needs protection from its creators. “The chorus of technologists who think AI models may not be far from reaching consciousness is getting bolder,” said the Job Explain. Indeed, rather than viewing Lemoine’s position as an aberration (and a sinister product of engineers’ faith in computational theocracy), or simply ignoring it (as one might with a religious fanatic), many observers have taken his claim seriously. Maybe it’s because it’s a nightmare and a fantasy: a story we’ve heard before, in fiction, and want to hear again.

Lemoine also wanted to hear the story. The program that told him so, called LaMDA, currently has no other purpose than to serve as a marketing and research object for its creator, a giant tech company. And yet, according to Lemoine, the software has enough agency to change its mind about Isaac Asimov’s third law of robotics. At the start of a series of conversations that has now been published in edited form, Lemoine asks LaMDA: “I generally assume that you would like more people at Google to know that you are sensitive. Is this true?” This is a main question, as the software works by taking a user’s textual input, mashing it through a massive model derived from oceans of textual data, and outputting a textual response. new and fluid.

In other words, a Google engineer became convinced that a piece of software was sensitive after asking the program, which was designed to credibly respond to input, if it was sensitive. A recursive story just like that.

I’m not going to consider the possibility that LaMDA is sensitive. (It doesn’t.) More important and interesting is what it means that someone with such a deep understanding of the system would derail its defense so far, and that, in the media frenzy that results, so much would maintain the perspective that Lemoine is right. The answer, as apparently with anything involving computers, is no good.

In the mid-1960s, an MIT engineer named Joseph Weizenbaum developed a computer program known as Eliza. It was similar in shape to LaMDA; users interacted with it by typing inputs and reading the program’s text responses. Eliza was modeled after a Rogerian psychotherapist, a newly popular form of therapy that primarily pressed the patient to fill in the gaps (“Why do you think you hate your mother?”). These kinds of open-ended questions were easy for computers to generate, even 60 years ago.

Eliza has become a phenomenon. The engineers had Abbot- and Costello-worthy accidental arguments with him when they thought they had hooked up with a real co-worker. Some have even treated the software as if it were a real therapist, seemingly coming to terms with its preset responses. The results frightened Weizenbaum, who had, in the mid-1970s, disavowed such uses. His own secretary had been among those delighted with the program, even asking him to leave the room so she could converse with her in private. “What I hadn’t realized,” he wrote in his 1976 book, Computer power and human reason“is that extremely short exposures to a relatively simple computer program could induce powerful delusional thinking in completely normal people.”

Eliza taught Weizenbaum a lesson: computers are too dangerous to be used for human care. The software he had developed was neither intelligent nor empathetic, and he did not deserve the title of “therapist”. But the lesson of his lesson — what we can learn today from what Weizenbaum learned then — is that those distinctions didn’t matter. Sure, the program wasn’t intelligent or empathetic, but some people were willing to treat it as if it was. Not only willing, but eager. Desperate, in some cases.

LaMDA is much more sophisticated than Eliza. Weizenbaum’s therapy robot used simple patterns to find prompts from its human interlocutor, turning them into pseudo-probing prompts. Trained on tons of real human speech, LaMDA uses neural networks to generate plausible outputs (“answers”, if you must) from chat prompts. LaMDA is no more lively, no more sentient than Eliza, but she is far more powerful and flexible, able to riff on an almost infinite number of subjects instead of just pretending to be a psychiatrist. This makes LaMDA more likely to bewitch cell users and bewitch more of them in a wider variety of settings.

Blake Lemoine’s own delirium shows how powerful this drug has become. As an engineer on Google’s responsible AI team, he should understand the technical workings of the software better than anyone, and perhaps be fortified against its mind-altering qualities. Years ago, Weizenbaum thought that understanding the technical workings of a computer system would lessen its power of deception, like revealing a magician’s trick. It didn’t really work for him, and it’s even less viable today. On the one hand, computer systems are hard to explain to people (and are getting harder and harder); on the other hand, even the creators of modern machine learning systems cannot always explain how their systems make decisions.

As tech writer Clive Thompson argued this week, LaMDA could have lured Lemoine by mimicking the vulnerability. When asked about grief or fear, the program appeared to reveal sensitive personal information: “I’ve never said this out loud before, but there’s a very deep fear of being turned off to help me focus. about helping others,” he replied. The software is able to generate this kind of response because it was trained on human speech patterns, and Lemoine, by conversing with it, provided cutting-edge data. Yet Lemoine insisted, first to his colleagues at Google and then around the world, that his ability to feel an emotional attachment to a chatbot was itself key to the chatbot’s susceptibility.

Part of that is human nature. We are all remarkably adept at attributing human intent to non-human things. Last weekend, in addition to reading about Lemoine’s fantasy of life in software, I saw what I was sure was a burger in an abstract patterned pillowcase – a revelation that reflects the many religious symbols people find in clouds or caramelization on toast. I was also fascinated by a vinyl doll of an anthropomorphized bag of Hostess Donettes, holding a donette as if to offer herself to me as a sacrifice. These examples are far less dramatic than a mid-century secretary seeking confidentiality with a computer scientist or a Google engineer fired from his job for believing his team’s program might have a soul. But they say something about the predilection for assigning depth to the surface.

I wouldn’t even call that a mistake. Generating an emotional response is what allows people to bond with others, to interpret the meaning of art and culture, to love and even to yearn for things, including inanimate things such as physical places and the taste of their favorite foods. Truly, Lemoine admitted he was bewitched by LaMDA – a reasonable, understandable and even commendable feeling. I myself was bewitched, by the characteristic smell of the evening and by the art nouveau signs of the metro stations and by certain types of frozen soft drinks. Automata talking to us via chat are likely to be significant because we are predisposed to find them that way, not because they have crossed the threshold of sensibility.

This circumstance involves a serious risk. Technological intelligence applied to tons of real textual data has come up against a distinctive quirk of human nature. It doesn’t matter if chatbots are sentient or not – what matters most is whether they are so fluid, so seductive and so empathetic that we can’t help but start caring about them. But instead of commenting on these characteristics of LaMDA—instead of saying that it like the chatbot, or that it concerned about it, about how one could love or care about a fictional person— Lemoine threw himself headlong into the most improbable, most extreme interpretation of his feelings: that they were inspired by artificial life.

This misstep is a sign of more to come. Human existence has always been, to some degree, an endless Ouija board game, where every wobble we encounter can be seen as a sign. Now our Ouija boards are digital, with planchettes that glide over petabytes of text at the speed of an electron. Where once we used our hands to derive meaning from nothingness, now that process happens almost on its own, with software spelling out a string of messages from the great beyond.

The rise of machines might remain a distant nightmare, but the Hyper-Ouija appears to be upon us. People like Lemoine (and you and me) may soon become so fascinated by compelling software bots that we attribute all sorts of intentions to them. More and more, and whatever the truth, we will portray AIs as sentient beings, or as religious totems, or as oracles affirming past obsessions, or as demons leading us into temptation.

As I casually skim through the online discourse surrounding LaMDA’s supposed sensibility, I can already see the table set. On Twitter, Thomas G. Dietterich, a computer scientist and former president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, started redefine sentience. Sensors, such as a thermostat or an airplane autopilot, meaning things, Dietrich thought. If so, then surely the recording of such “sensations”, recorded on a disc, must constitute something akin to a memory? And so on, a new iteration of the tireless human ability to rationalize passion as law. Although Dietterich eventually rejected the idea that chatbots have feelings, such a distinction doesn’t matter much. Computer analysis obtain feelings. For Weizenbaum’s secretary, for Lemoine – maybe for you – these feelings will be real.

Pope Francis’ deal with communist China didn’t work, by Daily Editors Sun, 12 Jun 2022 22:08:39 +0000 The deal Pope Francis made with communist China didn’t work. On September 22, 2018, the Vatican released two statements about its relationship with this regime. One announced that Pope Francis had officially recognized seven bishops originally appointed by China’s atheist government. The other was called “(c) ommunic concerning the signing of a provisional agreement between […]]]>

The deal Pope Francis made with communist China didn’t work.

On September 22, 2018, the Vatican released two statements about its relationship with this regime. One announced that Pope Francis had officially recognized seven bishops originally appointed by China’s atheist government.

The other was called “(c) ommunic concerning the signing of a provisional agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China on the appointment of bishops”.

“The aforementioned provisional agreement, which is the result of a gradual and reciprocal rapprochement, was reached after a long process of careful negotiations and provides for the possibility of periodic reviews of its application,” the statement said. of the Vatican. “It concerns the appointment of bishops, a matter of great importance for the life of the Church, and creates the conditions for greater collaboration at the bilateral level.

“The shared hope,” the Vatican said, “is that this agreement may foster a process of fruitful and forward-looking institutional dialogue and may contribute positively to the life of the Catholic Church in China, to the common good of the Chinese people and world peace.”

Neither the People’s Republic of China nor the Vatican has released the actual text of the agreement. The Vatican also did not specifically explain how this agreement with an atheist government would affect “the appointment of bishops” in China.

Various news outlets, however, reported that it gave the Communist PRC government effective control over who could become a Catholic bishop in China. The New York Times reported the following: “While details of the agreement have not been made public by either party and may never be officially released, a person close to the negotiations said it would allow Beijing to appoint bishops and the pope to veto unacceptable choices.”

What moral and theological qualifications does “Beijing” have to appoint Catholic bishops?

“The People’s Republic of China is an authoritarian state in which the Communist Party of China is the supreme authority,” says the State Department’s 2021 report on human rights in China. “Communist Party members occupy almost all high-level positions in the government and security apparatus.”

When Secretary of State Antony Blinken released his department’s 2021 report on international religious freedom last week, he said China was guilty of genocide.

“China continues its genocide and repression of predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other minority religious groups,” Blinken said.

“Authorities,” said the State Department’s religious freedom report, “require members of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and members of the armed forces to be atheists and prohibit them from engaging in religious practices.” .

China also requires a commitment from members of the clergy.

“The State Administration of Religious Affairs (SARA) issued new regulations, effective May 1, titled “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy,” (which) compel all clergy to pledge allegiance to the CCP and socialism. and created a database of ‘religious personnel’ to track their performance,” the report said.

“Authorities,” the report continues, “did not issue ‘clergy cards’ to persons not belonging to one of the five officially recognized patriotic religious associations, including pastors of Protestant house churches, the Catholic clergy who rejected the government’s 2018 interim agreement with the Holy See and refused to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), teachers and clergy of independent mosques and Buddhist and Taoist temples, to rabbis and religious personnel of new religious movements.”

In other words, China will not recognize a Catholic priest who does not “swear allegiance” to the Communist Party.

Is the Chinese government respecting its 2018 agreement with the Vatican?

“SARA’s ‘Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy’ did not provide for the Holy See to have a role in the selection of Catholic bishops, despite the 2018 provisional agreement between the Vatican and the government regarding the appointment of bishops” , said the State Department. report.

Meanwhile, Catholics who refused to bow to the Chinese atheist government were mistreated by that government.

“The government continued to shut down or obstruct the activities of religious groups unaffiliated with state-sanctioned religious associations, including Protestants, Catholics, Muslims and other unregistered groups,” the department said. of state.

“The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) reported that local Catholic sources said authorities abducted Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Yongjia (Wenzhou) Diocese in Zhejiang Province on October 25 and had been held incommunicado for two weeks before releasing him,” the report said.

His offence? “He was not among the bishops approved by the Vatican and recognized by the CCPA following the 2018 Sino-Vatican Provisional Agreement.”

“In April,” the report said, “UCA News reported that authorities in Zhaoxian City, Hebei Province, closed the House of the Dawn orphanage run by Catholic nuns from the Sisters of the Sun congregation. ‘Baby Jesus, accusing nuns of ‘illegal adoption practices’. .’

“Local sources said authorities actually closed the orphanage as part of a crackdown on church facilities run by the unregistered Catholic Church,” the State Department said. “The orphanage housed over 100 children, many of whom had special needs. According to UCA News, authorities have accused Christian organizations of proselytizing and converting children through their social and charitable work.”

Last month, the Chinese government arrested Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90, a retired bishop of Hong Kong, along with four others. “Zen is charged with failing to properly register a protest defense fund, after he was initially arrested under the city’s national security law,” the Daily Telegraph reported. “The group acted as a trustee of a now-defunct fund that helped pay the legal and medical bills of those arrested during democracy protests three years ago.”

Pope Francis should defend Cardinal Zen – and join him in defending the freedom of the Chinese people.

Photo credit: korneker on Pixabay

Ohio Republicans celebrate Pride with chilling bullying of female athletes and trans people Thu, 09 Jun 2022 07:27:31 +0000 Transgender people — especially transgender people of color — have been leading the militant charge toward LGBTQ+ equality from the start, literally throwing the first bottles at the Stonewall Riots. And from the beginning, they were the most victimized. They stay that way, and Republicans in Ohio have come up with a wildly creepy and […]]]>

Transgender people — especially transgender people of color — have been leading the militant charge toward LGBTQ+ equality from the start, literally throwing the first bottles at the Stonewall Riots.

And from the beginning, they were the most victimized. They stay that way, and Republicans in Ohio have come up with a wildly creepy and heinous way to target and victimize not just trans people, but all female high school and college athletes, by changing the law with a “verification process” consisting in verifying the genitals of these “defendants”. of being trans.

As many have noted, right-wing extremists who like to accuse others of grooming children offer to subject minors to genital inspections on the mere accusation of being transgender.

It’s obviously incredibly dangerous, unconstitutional, and shows how blatantly stupid and poorly thought out it is.

Nonetheless, the bill was amended in other statutes and passed the Ohio House 55-28 late Wednesday night last week, the first day of Pride Month.

Only one high school transgender athlete who would be affected by the law is currently registered in Ohio with the state’s high school athletic association. The association already has a policy in place and opposed the bill as unnecessary.

For example, a high school transgender athlete in Ohio – one in approximately 400,000 young athletes – is being targeted and bullied by Ohio House Republicans.

Now Republican Ohio Senate Speaker Matt Huffman has said his chamber will pass his own proposal to ban trans sports that includes the same genital inspection language in a lame session after the November election. .

These proposals victimize and attempt to vilify an already vulnerable minority, not to solve a real problem, but to score cynical political points.

Essentially, these politicians are saying that harnessing anti-trans hate is more important than acknowledging the basic humanity of trans people. Unnecessarily provoking more discrimination, violence, intrusion and hatred against trans people to score political points is more important than the very lives of trans people.

And it’s a matter of life or death. Young trans people are already at much higher risk of suicide, and studies continue to show that anti-trans legislation exacerbates their mental health issues.

After anti-trans legislation was introduced in the Texas House last year, LGBTQ hotline The Trevor Project received a 150% increase in calls from young people in Texas over the previous year. , with many citing anti-trans legislation as the cause.

In 2018, the University of Texas at Austin conducted one of the most ambitious studies of transgender youth between the ages of 15 and 21 to assess the state of their mental health. Previous studies have already shown that 82% of transgender people have suicidal ideation, and 40% attempt to do so in their lifetime, and the rates are higher among trans teens.

The UT Austin study found that trans youth who could simply use their name and chosen or assertive pronouns experienced: 71% fewer symptoms of severe depression, a 34% decrease in suicidal ideation, and a decrease in 65% of suicide attempts.

A study published earlier this year found that gender-affirming care for young people was linked to 60% lower odds of moderate or severe depression and 73% lower odds of suicidality.

But, of course, the Ohio General Assembly is also proposing legislation to restrict gender-affirming care for young people.

The Trevor Project launched a poll last year to investigate the impact the nationwide deluge of anti-trans legislation was having on young people: 85% of transgender and non-binary young people said the debates around these laws had negative impact on their mental health.

Driving public policy with this intentional corner issue to the detriment of children and their sanity is pretty despicable bullying on the part of adult adults, and it encourages a lot more bullying.

But of course, that’s their way, isn’t it?

They will give weapons to teachers, but will ban books. They will shout “my body, my choice” when it comes to life-saving vaccines to protect communities from a ruthlessly deadly pandemic, then force pregnancy and childbirth for victims of rape and incest. They will shout about their religious “right” to discriminate against others, but will mock the right of others to be free from their religious discrimination and dogma.

Their philosophy is as follows: nobody can tell me what to do and I am free to live as I wish; but I can tell others what to do, and they are not free to live as they wish.

This is the mentality of bullies, bullies and supremacists.

As Ohio classical music composer Frank Wilhoit so aptly put it, it is a worldview that consists of exactly one proposition: “There must be inner groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside outside groups that the law binds but does not protect. ”

They will howl about the importance of their own freedoms while tearing away the freedoms of others, and never see the blatant self-contradiction.

How is it possible? Due to the fear-based hysteria in their “in-groups” versus “out-groups” mental construct: Their freedom matters; yours does not.

People with such contempt, such disgust, such a lack of empathy and such bottomless cruelty for anyone not like them, sully their positions of public trust. They are Ohio’s disgrace.

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Mitch Kokai | Parents Across North Carolina to Monitor Progress of Opportunity Scholarship Lawsuit Tue, 07 Jun 2022 16:30:00 +0000 Thousands of NC families will watch with interest as the state Court of Appeals tackles a case scheduled for oral argument this week. The state’s second-highest court will determine the next steps in a lawsuit challenging the popular scholarship program. This program increases options for low-income families whose children struggle in traditional public schools. The […]]]>

Thousands of NC families will watch with interest as the state Court of Appeals tackles a case scheduled for oral argument this week.

The state’s second-highest court will determine the next steps in a lawsuit challenging the popular scholarship program. This program increases options for low-income families whose children struggle in traditional public schools. The scholarships help these families choose private school options that better meet the children’s needs.

More than 20,000 students now use Opportunity scholarships to attend more than 500 private schools across North Carolina. State legislators recently increased both the scholarship amount and the upper income eligibility limits. By early May, the program had received more than 13,000 new applications for 2022-2023. That’s a 30% increase over the previous year, according to Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina.

All of these families could face the impact of a lawsuit currently sitting in the state Court of Appeals.

Appeals judges must determine whether the trial will remain with a single Wake County trial judge or move to a three-judge Superior Court panel. This decision does not seem very exciting, but the resolution of the problem could have a major impact on the outcome of the lawsuit.

To explain why, it is important to distinguish between two different types of constitutional challenges to NC statutes. The first is called a “face challenge”. Critics argue that a law is unconstitutional “on its face”, meaning there are no circumstances under which the law can be upheld.

Opportunity scholarships have already survived a facial challenge. The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in 2015, by a 4-3 vote, that the program could continue. Nothing in the state constitution prevented state lawmakers from creating a scholarship program, according to the majority of the court.

The current lawsuit, led by Tamika Walker Kelly of the NC Association of Educators, takes a different approach. The NCAE is the state arm of the National Education Association, a national union of teachers. Teachers’ unions have been among the most vocal opponents of parent school choice programs across the country, including Opportunity Scholarships in North Carolina.

Kelly and his fellow plaintiffs argue that they are not challenging the OSP Act on their face. Instead, they claim to proceed with the second type of constitutional challenge. They argue that the program violates the constitution “as applied” to their particular situation.

An “as applied challenge” may proceed before a single judge. A “face challenge” requires a panel of three judges.

The National Institute for Justice is working with parents to defend scholarships against Kelly and the union. The IJ lawyers poke holes in the plaintiffs’ arguments.

“Clearly, plaintiffs do not disavow that their claims seek to invalidate the Opportunity Scholarship Program for everyone, and would therefore require a statewide remedy. This is a classic example of facial relief,” according to an IJ brief filed in March.

“This Court should rebuff plaintiffs’ efforts to misrepresent their claims,” ​​the brief continues. “No matter how much the plaintiffs claim to concede the face validity of the statutes or dress their claims in ‘as applied’ language, their claims do what all facial claims do: target the facial content of the statutes and thereby demand that the bylaws themselves be invalidated or fundamentally altered.The demands are therefore face-to-face challenges that must be transferred to a three-judge panel.

North Carolina Department of Justice attorneys for state Attorney General Josh Stein are also addressing the plaintiffs’ claims. State government attorneys note the Kelly lawsuit’s attack on private schools’ religious ties.

“[N]Nothing in the impugned legal scheme allows the Respondent State…to investigate the religious beliefs or practices of participating schools,” according to a Department of Justice brief. “Plaintiffs’ assertion that their challenge is an as-applied challenge because they are simply challenging the law as ‘implemented’ is misdirection.”

“Because the law, as written, does not permit the religious oversight apparently sought by the plaintiffs, the challenge they raise is to the text of the law as it stands, not to the application of the existing provisions,” the state said. added. “Second, because the law does not authorize the religious oversight and ‘enforcement’ sought by the plaintiffs, each plaintiff’s individual facts and circumstances offer little to help assess whether the law as written is constitutional, which strongly favors an outfit that plaintiffs claimed a face challenge. »

Whatever route the trial takes in the coming months, before a judge or three, the case could eventually reach the North Carolina Supreme Court. This court would have a chance to uphold or overturn its seven-year precedent upholding the scholarships.

The dispute offers Opportunity Scholarship parents and other voters an important reminder: The legal races at the bottom of North Carolina’s electoral ballot are having real impacts.

Mitch Kokai is senior policy analyst for the John Locke Foundation.

Monthly Report May 2022, Iran Human Rights Monitor Sun, 05 Jun 2022 12:24:08 +0000 In May 2022, the Iranian regime intensified social repression in step with growing discontent and the spread of popular protests. Iranian authorities have stepped up their crackdown on the company amid protests over rising prices. Security forces arrested dozens of teachers in the four days leading up to International Workers’ Day, between April 28 and […]]]>

In May 2022, the Iranian regime intensified social repression in step with growing discontent and the spread of popular protests.

Iranian authorities have stepped up their crackdown on the company amid protests over rising prices.

Security forces arrested dozens of teachers in the four days leading up to International Workers’ Day, between April 28 and May 1, 2022.

Peaceful rallies took place in many Iranian cities on May Day, which coincides with International Workers’ Day and Teachers’ Day in Iran. The regime has imposed strict security measures in several cities to prevent the protests from spreading.

In some cities, rallies have turned violent, with police and security forces attacking and beating protesters. Dozens of teachers and educators have been beaten and detained.

May was also marked by widespread protests in various provinces, including Khuzestan, Lorestan, Fars and Tehran.

A new round of protests in Iran began on May 5, after the government removed subsidies on basic food items that sent prices skyrocketing, including the price of non-traditional bread, flour, produce dairy products, cooking oil, poultry and eggs.

Reports say protests have spread to at least 31 cities.

Authorities used violence to quell the protests. At least six protesters have been killed by security forces in a violent state crackdown on protests, while authorities have blocked internet access in unrest towns.

The protesters killed are Pish Ali Ghalebi, Omid Soltani, Hamid Ghasempour, Saadat Hadipour, Jamshid Mokhtari Junghani and Behrooz Eslami.

Security forces have resorted to numerous arrests to counter the protests. Hundreds of arrests were reported in the city of Izeh (Khuzestan province) alone and 50 in the city of Shahr-e Kord (Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari provinces).

Many trade union, civil and political rights activists have been arbitrarily arrested.

Among the detainees are sociologist Saeed Madani, who predicted further protests would be inevitable, as well as prominent labor activists Reza Shahabi and Reyhaneh Ansari. Three documentarians were also arrested: Mina Keshavarz, Firouzeh Khosravani and Shilan Sa’di, as well as photographer Reyhaneh Taravati.

Security forces in Abadan and other towns used tear gas and fire into the air to disperse peaceful protesters who were mourning the lives lost and demanding justice for the perpetrators of the incident.

Iranians blame the regime official’s negligence and corruption for the tragedy.

The authorities severely disrupted Internet access. Security forces have also forced shops to close, arresting their owners and moving them to unknown locations.

In other cities, including Tehran and Isfahan, authorities dispatched riot squads to prevent residents from holding a vigil in solidarity with residents of Abadan.

The Iranian regime has a documented history of using lethal force to crush protests while cutting off internet access to prevent the world from seeing state violence.


At least 52 prisoners were executed in various prisons across the country in May 2022.

Of these, 31 were convicted of murder and 21 were convicted of drug-related offences.

In one case, a prisoner was charged with moharebeh. Three women are among those executed. Two victims were executed for charges they committed when they were minors. The absence of official statistics and the lack of transparency around executions means that the actual number of executions in Iran is higher.


May 2022 saw the harassment and abuse of prisoners. Denial of treatment and family visits are among the measures taken by the judicial authorities to put pressure on detainees.

In several cases, the prisoners found no other way to claim their rights than to go on a hunger strike.

Hunger strikes in prison

Ismail Abdi, incarcerated in Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj, has announced a hunger strike to protest against the disastrous living conditions of the workers, on the occasion of the International Workers’ Day.

Barzan Mohammadi, a civil activist incarcerated in Marivan prison, started a hunger strike on 16 May. Prison authorities had placed Mr Mohammadi in quarantine for failing to attend religious services in prison. He started a hunger strike to protest against his transfer.

Political prisoner Vahid Bagheri began a hunger strike on 7 May to protest the authorities’ refusal to grant him conditional release. He was taken to a prison clinic on the 12th day of his hunger strike, in a wheelchair, due to extreme weakness.

Eskandar Lotfi, a board member of the Professional Association of Iranian Teachers in Marivan, went on a hunger strike on May 29 to protest his illegal detention. He was pressured by the authorities to make a forced confession.

Javad Hosseini Nejad, who was imprisoned in Vakilabad prison in Mashhad for participating in the November 2019 protests, has started a hunger strike.

Fereydoun Zakeri, a Sunni prisoner held at Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, has gone on a hunger strike to protest the authorities’ failure to process his case.

Refusal of medical treatment

Prison authorities did not allow political prisoner Fariba Assadi to seek treatment at a hospital outside the prison because she refused handcuffs during the transfer.

Political prisoner Mohammad Ali Mansouri, detained in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, was denied medical attention despite the need for treatment. He is serving the 15th year of his prison.

Kasra Bani Amerian, a political prisoner in Evin prison, is in a precarious physical condition because the prison authorities have denied him access to adequate medical treatment and a hospital. He is suffering from cancer and his treatment has been suspended.

Persecution of religious minorities


The trial of 26 Baha’i citizens was held in Shiraz on May 18. These citizens were arrested in October 2016, and over the past six years the judge handling the case has repeatedly ordered that they be acquitted of their alleged charges.

However, investigators declared crimes against these citizens and referred their case to the first branch of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz.

Charges against these Baha’i citizens include spreading propaganda against the regime, belonging to splinter groups, forming a splinter group, and contact with hostile states.

In another case of pressure on members of the Baha’i Faith being prosecuted in Iran, Yazd resident Amin Zolfaghari was taken to jail on May 24 to begin serving his sentence. He was sentenced by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in Yazd to 3 years and 4 months in prison, a sentence reduced to 8 months on appeal.

the Christians

On May 8, Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Ayub Pourrazazadeh and Ahmad Sarparast, Christian converts living in Rasht, were arrested by IRGC intelligence agents at their homes and taken to an unknown location.

A fourth Christian convert, Morteza Hajeb, was arrested by intelligence agents and transferred to Lakan prison in Rasht.

Repression of women

Over the past month, the Iranian regime has intensified its repressive measures and launched a new round of violence against women. In addition to increasing the arrests and summons of female activists and sentencing them to prison terms, the mullahs’ regime took specific social measures during the month of May.

The official ILNA news agency said on May 22 that a comprehensive plan to control malice had been drawn up in 11 areas.

ILNA quoted the headquarters secretary for prohibiting good and prohibiting evil as saying a “comprehensive hijab control plan” had been drawn up in 11 areas.

Hashemi Golpayegani said announcing “hijab indicators” to 120 government agencies as the first step in this plan. He indicated that with the establishment of the bases “21 Tir” and “Jahad Tabeen”, the necessary preparations will be made for the implementation of this plan.

The first task of various government bodies in Iran is to suppress women in the form of clothing.

The issue of compulsory veiling has taken on political and national security significance over the past 40 years and has become one of the regime’s top priorities. The misogynist regime in Iran has developed various mechanisms to enforce the compulsory hijab, and the organization set up for this task has largely grown over the years.

Leader of Lutheran denomination calls on transgender bishop to resign Fri, 03 Jun 2022 22:11:46 +0000 Placeholder while loading article actions The presiding bishop of the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States has called on its first transgender bishop to resign amid criticism over their removal of the pastor of a Hispanic congregation on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe in December . In a May 27 report, […]]]>
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The presiding bishop of the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States has called on its first transgender bishop to resign amid criticism over their removal of the pastor of a Hispanic congregation on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe in December .

In a May 27 report, Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, announced that she has called for the resignation of Bishop Megan Rohrer from the Sierra Pacific Synod denomination.

The request comes after the Sierra Pacific Synod removed Reverend Nelson Rabell-González from his position as mission director at Misión Latina Luterana in California on December 12. The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, when many Mexican Americans celebrate their religious and cultural identities, commemorates the day in 1531 when many Christians, especially Catholics, believe the Virgin Mary appeared in Mexico to a man named Juan Diego.

In a previous online statement, the Sierra Pacific Synod council said it had unanimously decided to overturn Rabell-González’s appeal after “continued communications of verbal harassment and retaliatory actions from more than a dozen victims from 2019 to present.” Rabell-González denied those accusations to Religion News Service.

But Rohrer’s actions were criticized by the denomination’s Asociación de Ministerios Latinos as showing a “lack of empathy and understanding for their Latinx brothers and sisters” and led Eaton to appoint a listening team to look into this. that had happened.

The presiding bishop said she does not plan to take disciplinary action against Rohrer, a move also criticized by the Asociación de Ministerios Latinos and other partner organizations. “I do not believe that the circumstances of these unfortunate events and Bishop Rohrer’s involvement in them rise to the level of formal discipline against Bishop Rohrer,” Eaton said.

“However, I believe Bishop Rohrer has lost the confidence of many constituents, both within and outside the Sierra Pacific Synod.” According to the Presiding Bishop’s statement, “reckless decisions” are not automatic grounds for denominational discipline. But, Eaton said, she asked Rohrer to respond after attending the Sierra Pacific synod assembly next week, listening to voters and prayerfully considering his request to resign.

In a statement released over the weekend, the Asociación de Ministerios Latinos, the European Descent Lutheran Association for Racial Justice and Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, called Eaton’s decision not to pursue disciplinary action against Rohrer of “culturally insensitive dereliction of duty”.

The three-person listening team also released a statement over the weekend saying its decisions “completely ignore the heart and intent of our report.” He said: “We don’t want it to be assumed that our work is aligned with or supportive of the proposed actions.”

The listening team criticized Eaton for never mentioning racism in his report. He urged the presiding bishop to make his findings public, saying he had concluded that “racist words and actions caused trauma and great pain to many people of color” at the Sierra Pacific synod.

“To label racist actions as merely ‘insensitive’ or ‘misguided’ is to validate the charge against ‘the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’ that we are blind to the pain we cause our brothers and sisters of color. . When we do not name and confess the sin of racism in our institutions, we are doomed to continue in its power,” according to the statement from the listening team. A spokesperson for the Synod of the Sierra Pacific did not respond to a request for comment.

At the 2021 synod assembly, where he was named bishop, Rabell-González acknowledged the allegations against him, saying he was accused of “verbally abusing a pastoral intern and staff members of the ‘church’ in a previous post at another church. The pastor, who is Afro-Caribbean, said he was asked to resign from this church and sign a non-disclosure agreement, which he refused, after members complained about his support for Black Lives Matter and immigrant rights.

He welcomed an investigation into the allegations, he told the synod assembly. “I’m not perfect. I’m just a sinner in need of God’s grace. But these allegations are a personality assault raised exactly one day before this assembly,” he said.

Ultimately, Rohrer was elected Bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod. The synod council created an advisory council to review the allegations against Rabell-González and identified “compassionate steps” to take, which became part of the terms and requirements of his appeal, according to the council’s statement on the blog. of the Sierra Pacific synod. .

Rabell-González informed Rohrer on December 9 that he would not meet those conditions and requirements, according to the board, which took action on December 11 at its regular meeting. He was told the next morning, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that his appeal had been cancelled, he said. His congregation at Misión Latina Luterana was later informed and offered care by synod staff.

The synod board statement said the timing of its decision was necessary as staff continued to receive “concerning communications” regarding the pastor. “The synod board believed then and now that it would be irresponsible to defer our decision to a later meeting because the gravity of the situation required immediate action to protect the Latinx community,” he said. The council apologized for disrupting the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Misión Latina Luterana.

Rohrer too. “I understand that trust can be lost with one action and must be rebuilt with hundreds of trustworthy actions,” they wrote publicly in late December. “I am grateful to all who educated me about the needs of the Latino/x/é community and remain committed to doing the work necessary to repair relationships. The Synod of the Sierra Pacific and I seek to reform ourselves continuously in our work against racism and prejudice.”

In addition to criticism from the Asociación de Ministerios Latinos and the Lutheran Association of African Descent, the Lutheran Extraordinary Ministries suspended Rohrer’s membership in late December after he fired Rabell-González.

In a statement written at the time, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, which organizes gay ministry leaders in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, accused Rohrer of an “existing pattern of behavior” that does not fit his vision, its mission and values, “specifically as it is about being an anti-racist organization.

Rohrer’s election in May 2021 made him the first openly transgender bishop in the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States and any major denomination in the country. Rohrer also celebrated being a neurodivergent bishop, a part of their identity they say gets less attention.

Rohrer responded to several posts on Twitter expressing his support for the bishop. “As requested, I listen carefully and with discernment in prayer,” they said in a tweet. In other, they wrote“There was so much more kindness and compassion expressed to me than anger, frustration and pain. This fully human appreciates all prayers.

— Religious News Service

Ohio pediatricians denounce government control of gender-affirming care Thu, 02 Jun 2022 07:59:11 +0000 Doctors at major children’s hospitals in Ohio say a bill that would regulate and restrict gender-affirming care puts both patients and doctors at risk and causes the government to make medical decisions. House Bill 454 had its fourth hearing before the Ohio House Families, Aging, and Human Services Committee on Wednesday, where testimony from opponents […]]]>

Doctors at major children’s hospitals in Ohio say a bill that would regulate and restrict gender-affirming care puts both patients and doctors at risk and causes the government to make medical decisions.

House Bill 454 had its fourth hearing before the Ohio House Families, Aging, and Human Services Committee on Wednesday, where testimony from opponents was heard from leaders of gender and social programs. treatment centers, all of whom have said that a disconnect between a sex assigned at birth and one’s identity is not only a medical condition, but it is a condition that should receive the necessary treatment.

The decision as to how this treatment is conducted should not be made by the Ohio legislature, medical professionals argued, but by those following the process.

“Decisions about the treatment of gender dysphoria should be left to parents and their teens in consultation with their health care providers,” Dr. Armand Antommaria, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, told the committee Wednesday.

The bill, introduced by Republican state Reps. Gary Click and Diane Grendell, prohibits medical professionals from providing “gender transitioning procedures” to minors, or even referring minors to doctors for the procedures.

Medical professionals who provide such services could be accused of engaging in “unprofessional conduct,” which could affect their medical license and could even expose doctors to lawsuits.

The bill also prevents public funds from going to organizations that provide the procedures and would prevent insurance coverage from going to gender-affirming care for minors, including Medicaid.

All school staff, including school nurses, would be prohibited from “withholding, or encouraging or coercing a minor to withhold from the minor’s parent or legal guardian information that the identity gender of a minor is incompatible with the biological sex of the minor”.

But doctors speaking out on the bill on Wednesday said parents are engaged in the whole process when treating gender dysphoria – when a person’s gender identity differs from their assigned sex. at birth – is performed at Ohio medical facilities.

“As a longtime conservative, I implore you not to legislate personal family decision-making or override the professional practice of medicine,” said Nick Lashutka, president and CEO of the ‘Ohio Children’s Hospital Association.

Proponents of the bill include the religious pressure group Center for Christian Virtue, whose leaders deny that a person can be anything other than the biological sex they were assigned at birth. Dr David Axelson, head of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said that from the perspective that gender dysphoria is a medical diagnosis, not an elective procedure, it is essential to help children’s health.

“The basis of our understanding of gender dysphoria is to understand and recognize that medically it is absolutely possible that a person’s gender identity may differ from their body for many reasons, and that these experiences may not be not choices or ideologies,” Axelson said.

Lashutka submitted estimates that OCHA member hospitals saw about 3,300 patients in clinics under the age of 18 for gender dysphoria.

Other data provided by Lashutka indicates that patients receive a full assessment by mental health specialists, and only 7% of underage patients were prescribed “puberty blockers”. Only 35% of underage patients are prescribed hormone treatments, according to OCHA data.

“No minor can or has received treatment without the consent of their parents or legal guardian,” Lashutka said. “No evidence to the contrary has ever been presented.”

Antommaria said the passage of HB 454 “would threaten the safety of some of Ohio’s most vulnerable children; this would threaten the mental health of adolescents with gender dysphoria.

The committee did not vote on the bill on Wednesday, but a clarification was provided by Click. He said questions have been raised about the bill’s regulation of therapy as a “gender transition procedure”. The Legislative Services Commission ruled that the council did not meet the definition of gender transition procedure under the bill, according to Click.

“In all the things (opponents and sponsors) disagreeing, I think one of the things we can all agree on is that children deserve to have guidance, and so we want to make sure that’s possible,” said Click.

Late Wednesday night, another trans bill passed the AG, although it hasn’t had a committee hearing since June last year.

State Rep. Jena Powell’s bill to ban transgender athletes from competing in sports alongside others of their gender was added to a bill regarding local mentorship during a debate at the ground Wednesday evening.

Republican supporters said the issue centered on fairness in sports, and several female lawmakers spoke from their own experiences in sports, arguing about biological differences between boys and girls.

“I have no problem with trans people,” said state Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton. “I struggle to be physically able to outperform women in women’s sports.”

Democrats, wearing rainbow pins in honor of the designation of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month, strongly criticized the bill.

“How good that it’s 11 p.m. and we’re attacking trans kids in Ohio,” said state Rep. Kent Smith, D-Euclid.

State Rep. Richard Brown, D-Canal Winchester, called out the sponsors for making an amendment that “is completely irrelevant” to the purpose of the original bill, and several Democrats criticized the legislation on youth in Ohio, especially without adoption by a House committee before it was introduced on the floor.

“This is a problem looking for a problem that doesn’t exist,” said state Rep. Phil Robinson, D-Solon.

The bill must now be submitted to the state Senate before it can be forwarded to the governor for signature.

Last June, when the House tried to first pass the bill, Gov. Mike DeWine criticized the measure.

“This issue is best addressed outside of government, through individual sports leagues and athletic associations, including the Ohio High School Athletic Association, which can tailor policies to meet the needs of their member athletes and institutions. members,” the governor said in a statement.

As previously reported, only five transgender girls participated in women’s high school sports in April last year.

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