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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "fox-news/world/religion/christianity"

Catholic Church to debate married men becoming priests

Pope Francis on Sunday convened a meeting of bishops to discuss a list of topics — including whether the Catholic Church should ease its policy of celibacy for priests, a 1,000-year-old precedent that is expected to spark a heated debate between adherents of the tradition and proponents who’ve said ordaining married men would help solve the church’s clergy shortage.

The Vatican meeting, known as a synod, was to focus on the church’s activity in South America’s Amazon region, a sparsely populated region where Catholic parishes could go for months without seeing a priest.

Westlake Legal Group AP19279340024454 Catholic Church to debate married men becoming priests fox-news/world/world-regions/italy fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/religion/vatican fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/roman-catholic fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Bradford Betz b93aaf92-72ba-5733-9d84-d8932a83afc1 article

Pope Francis delivering a blessing as he celebrated an opening Mass for the Amazon synod, in St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican, on Sunday. (AP)

Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, a former archbishop of São Paulo, told reporters last Thursday that the priest shortage has meant Catholics in the Amazon frequently have lacked access to the sacraments, a bleak sign for the church’s ministry.

NEW YORK ARCHDIOCESE COMPLYING WITH SEX ABUSE CLAIMS, YEAR-LONG REVIEW SHOWS

To reverse this trend, the church has considered the ordination of indigenous elders, “even if they have an existing and stable family, in order to ensure availability of the sacraments that accompany and sustain the Christian life,” according to the synod’s official working document which The Wall Street Journal cited.

But, some analysts have doubted whether ordaining married indigenous leaders in the Amazon would solve the priest shortage there. Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the head of the Congregation for Bishops, argued in a book published last week that a clergy’s celibacy was precisely why local communities revered them.

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Others have argued that loosening the celibacy rule in remote places such as the Amazon or the Pacific Islands – which the church has considered in the past – would open the door to other controversial issues including homosexuality and women’s ordination.

Still, any decision would require the final approval of the pope who has said he would pray and reflect on the decision further.

Westlake Legal Group AP19279340024454 Catholic Church to debate married men becoming priests fox-news/world/world-regions/italy fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/religion/vatican fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/roman-catholic fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Bradford Betz b93aaf92-72ba-5733-9d84-d8932a83afc1 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19279340024454 Catholic Church to debate married men becoming priests fox-news/world/world-regions/italy fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/religion/vatican fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/roman-catholic fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Bradford Betz b93aaf92-72ba-5733-9d84-d8932a83afc1 article

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Dominican Republic doctor helps impoverished community he grew up in: ‘God answered my prayers’

Today, Dr. Jose Frank Piña, 30, has a wife and a daughter in his native Dominican Republic. He is a medical missionary who shares medical advice every Saturday on television.

But when he was growing up in an impoverished community, none of this seemed possible.

Piña grew up in the city of San Juan, in a home that had just two rooms, sharing a bed with two siblings, in an area ravaged by gang violence and frequent flooding.

At 4 years old, he was registered in a local church’s Compassion International, a Christian sponsor program center where he received medical care, nutrition and vocational courses like English and computers.

MORE GOOD NEWS: FIVE FEEL-GOOD STORIES FROM THIS WEEK YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

“When I was a child living in a dangerous environment where gangs used to fight with machetes and guns, the letters from my sponsors helped me see a different reality of the world,” Piña told Fox News. “We saw hope.”

Westlake Legal Group Doctor-Pina-in-uniform Dominican Republic doctor helps impoverished community he grew up in: 'God answered my prayers' fox-news/world/world-regions/dominican-republic fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world fox-news/good-news fox-news/faith-values/family fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke b41cf1f6-dda4-55bd-b940-116f6b2962d3 article

Dr. Jose Frank Piña Montero grew up in extreme poverty, but today he is an outstanding doctor and role model in the same community he grew up in. (Compassion International)

He added: “I thank God for Compassion because being a kid in poverty, you can’t have dreams or sometimes you have dreams but you can’t make them come true because of the needs you have. They gave me the opportunity to dream and make those dreams come true.”

Speaking to Fox News from the hospital where he works now, Piña shared how he is helping others in his community break the cycle of poverty.

INDONESIA GIRL BULLIED FOR RARE CONDITION FINDS JOY IN JESUS: ‘I AM BEAUTIFUL’

“I am trying to help others, not only to restore their physical health but to restore their spiritual health and help restore their relationship with God,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group Doctor-Pina-with-ambulance Dominican Republic doctor helps impoverished community he grew up in: 'God answered my prayers' fox-news/world/world-regions/dominican-republic fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world fox-news/good-news fox-news/faith-values/family fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke b41cf1f6-dda4-55bd-b940-116f6b2962d3 article

Doctor Piña received an award for delivering the first baby in an ambulance. They were called the “angels of the roads.” (Compassion International)

It was through Compassion that he met his wife, Yaneli, also a doctor. The two met in high school and they got to know each other better during a Compassion trip.

Today they work as medical missionaries helping different communities in the area through their church, called “Jehova Fuerte y Valiente.”

THAI BOY RESCUED FROM CAVE RECOUNTS HARROWING ORDEAL ONE YEAR LATER: ‘GOD ANSWERED ME’

But his favorite role of all, in helping change his community for the better, is that of a father.

Westlake Legal Group Doctor-Pina-Family Dominican Republic doctor helps impoverished community he grew up in: 'God answered my prayers' fox-news/world/world-regions/dominican-republic fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world fox-news/good-news fox-news/faith-values/family fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke b41cf1f6-dda4-55bd-b940-116f6b2962d3 article

Jose Frank Piña with his wife, Yaneli, and their 10-month-old daughter, Sofia Arlette. (Compassion International)

“Compassion gave me the best things I’ve ever had. They gave me love, hope and the opportunity to dream and overcome,” he told the organization. “Because of Compassion, I met the most beautiful woman on the planet, my wife, and now I am enjoying the fruit of our love: our daughter, Sofia Arlette.”

CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATION MAKES ONE CHANGE TO CHILD SPONSORSHIP ‘NEVER DONE BEFORE’ TO EMPOWER KIDS

Holding his 10-month-old reminds him of the incredible changes he’s experienced in his life.

“For me, for my family, for my little daughter, it’s something I can’t describe because I know it’s not something my daughter has to live,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group Doctor-Pina-holding-photo Dominican Republic doctor helps impoverished community he grew up in: 'God answered my prayers' fox-news/world/world-regions/dominican-republic fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world fox-news/good-news fox-news/faith-values/family fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke b41cf1f6-dda4-55bd-b940-116f6b2962d3 article

Jose Frank holds one of his sponsorship photos from childhood. (Compassion International)

And it’s all coming full circle now, as the family is preparing to sponsor their first child through Compassion, the program that helped lift him out of poverty and connect wirh his now-wife.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

“God is going to impact more lives through Compassion,” he said. “Me and my wife are planning to sponsor a girl in Haiti … We are close to her so we can go and meet with her many times and show her love, so we are trying to do that.”

Westlake Legal Group Doctor-Pina-with-ambulance Dominican Republic doctor helps impoverished community he grew up in: 'God answered my prayers' fox-news/world/world-regions/dominican-republic fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world fox-news/good-news fox-news/faith-values/family fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke b41cf1f6-dda4-55bd-b940-116f6b2962d3 article   Westlake Legal Group Doctor-Pina-with-ambulance Dominican Republic doctor helps impoverished community he grew up in: 'God answered my prayers' fox-news/world/world-regions/dominican-republic fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world fox-news/good-news fox-news/faith-values/family fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke b41cf1f6-dda4-55bd-b940-116f6b2962d3 article

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Billy Hallowell: Amber Guyger’s murder trial ended with an amazing act of forgiveness

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091844070001_6091847643001-vs Billy Hallowell: Amber Guyger’s murder trial ended with an amazing act of forgiveness fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc Billy Hallowell article 96363140-a0d6-5b2c-b399-7df126e7bf22

Americans are captivated by the amazing forgiveness story out of Texas – a young man’s bold decision to not only forgive, but to openly embrace the ex-cop who killed his brother.

Video of the courtroom moment Wednesday when Brandt Jean – the 18-year-old brother of victim Botham Jean – chose to forgive and then embrace convicted killer Amber Guyger left many viewers in tears as the power of true faith and restoration was on full display.

But there was another element of the story that sparked some intense controversy: the presiding judge’s decision to also embrace and give her Bible to the convicted killer.

AMBER GUYGER SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN SHOOTING THAT KILLED BOTHAM JEAN IN DALLAS; VICTIM’S BROTHER HUGS HER IN COURT

Judge Tammy Kemp brought a Bible into the courtroom after Jean’s stunning act of forgiveness and handed it to Guyger before delivering a powerful message about hope, redemption and life change.

More from Opinion

“You can have mine. I have three or four at home,” Kemp told the convicted killer when the judge handed her the Bible. “You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith. You start with this.”

And Kemp wasn’t done there. She referenced John 3:16, embraced Guyger and offered an essential truth that can benefit all of our lives: “You haven’t done so much that you can’t be forgiven. You did something bad in one moment in time. What you do now matters.”

This was a moment that further touched many hearts, but some critics like writer Jemele Hill took a starkly different view on the matter, calling Kemp’s handling of the matter “unacceptable.”

“How Botham Jean’s brother chooses to grieve is his business. He’s entitled to that,” she tweeted. “But this judge choosing to hug this woman is unacceptable. Keep in mind this convicted murderer is the same one who laughed about Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, and killing ppl on sight.”

Hill is entitled to her opinion, but she and others miss the mark on the true depths of the remarkable moment that unfolded before the eyes of a weary and divided nation – a country so culturally splintered and desperate for hope, forgiveness and compassion that the bold audacity displayed by both Jean and Kemp stopped nearly everyone in his or her tracks.

Their extraordinary display placed grace, humanity, love and forgiveness in front of hate, anger and condemnation. As for Kemp – an official charged with upholding the law – she could have simply left the courtroom; she could have chosen to ignore Guyger and move on with her day.

But, instead, the judge looked beyond herself and outside of the terrible and horrific mistakes that Guyger made, and she saw a human being – an individual in need of truth, restoration and the saving grace that can only be found in the gospel narrative.

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Regardless of what one believes about faith and God, the judge’s kind act is not only commendable, but it’s essential. It doesn’t wipe away Guyger’s crime; instead, it offers her a pathway to the only spiritual antidote available.

Perhaps people don’t realize the true call Christians have to “love God” and “love others.” These aren’t mere words. They are a true and oft-times difficult calling for believers to live like Jesus. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus implores his followers to love their enemies and “pray for those who persecute you.” In Romans, Paul tells Christians to feed and help their enemies.

On the cross, Jesus himself asks God to forgive those crucifying him, saying, “they do not know what they are doing.” I could go on and on, as this is the central message of the Bible.

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Kemp both saw Guyger as more than a convicted killer. She saw her as a human being in need of God’s love, and that’s a powerful reminder of the level of kindness and compassion that we are called to as Christians and human beings.

No matter what you believe about faith, it shouldn’t be difficult to understand this judge’s pure motive to help this woman seek true heart change.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY BILLY HALLOWELL

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091844070001_6091847643001-vs Billy Hallowell: Amber Guyger’s murder trial ended with an amazing act of forgiveness fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc Billy Hallowell article 96363140-a0d6-5b2c-b399-7df126e7bf22   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091844070001_6091847643001-vs Billy Hallowell: Amber Guyger’s murder trial ended with an amazing act of forgiveness fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc Billy Hallowell article 96363140-a0d6-5b2c-b399-7df126e7bf22

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Christian doctor of 30 years loses job for refusing to use transgender pronoun

A seasoned British doctor lost his government job as a medical assessor after more than three decades because he refused to renounce his Christian belief that gender is determined at birth.

Dr. David Mackereth, 56, a National Health Service employee, was fired from his post at the Department for Work and Pensions in July because he would not use a transgender pronoun, saying he believes “gender is defined by biology and genetics” and the “Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female.”

This week he lost his case before an Employment Tribunal in England, where the judge ruled his beliefs were “incompatible with human dignity.”

‘COLOR PURPLE’ ACTRESS SUES AFTER BEING FIRED FOR VIEWS EXPRESSED ON SOCIAL MEDIA: ‘THEY KNEW THAT I WAS CHRISTIAN’

Mackereth, who now works as an NHS emergency doctor in another city, said his supervisor pressured him to refer to a “man six foot tall with a beard” as “she” and “Mrs.,” but the doctor refused.

Westlake Legal Group DrMackereth Christian doctor of 30 years loses job for refusing to use transgender pronoun fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/religion fox-news/faith-values fox-news/entertainment/events/in-court fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke article 3e009e5d-85c6-57a6-9d0a-798c5de6ffb6

Dr. David Mackereth, 56, a doctor of 26 years in the NHS, lost his job for refusing to refer to clients by a transgender pronoun, citing his religious views and science. (Christian Concern)

“No doctor, or researcher, or philosopher, can demonstrate or prove that a person can change sex,” Mackereth told Fox News. “Without intellectual and moral integrity, medicine cannot function and my 30 years as a doctor are now considered irrelevant compared to the risk that someone else might be offended.”

Andrea Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, which represents Mackereth, said the judge put transgender rights ahead of all others, ruling a belief in the Bible is on par with Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazi ideologies.

IS IT LEGAL TO BRING YOUR BIBLE TO SCHOOL? LAWYERS WEIGH IN

“It is deeply disturbing that this is the first time in the history of English law that a judge has ruled that free citizens must engage in compelled speech,” Williams said, adding the judge “ruled that Christianity is not protected by the Equality Act or the ECHR, unless it is a version of Christianity which recognizes transgenderism and rejects a belief in Genesis 1:27.”

The court specifically cited the Bible verse the doctor referred to: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

The tribunal wrote in its decision: “[B]elief in Genesis 1:27, lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism in our judgment are incompatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others, specifically here, transgender individuals.”

Mackereth plans to put up a fight.

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“I believe that I have to appeal in order to fight for the freedom of Christians – and any other NHS member of staff – to speak the truth,” he said. “If they cannot, then freedom of speech has died in this country, with serious ramifications for the practice of medicine in the U.K.”

Westlake Legal Group DrMackereth Christian doctor of 30 years loses job for refusing to use transgender pronoun fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/religion fox-news/faith-values fox-news/entertainment/events/in-court fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke article 3e009e5d-85c6-57a6-9d0a-798c5de6ffb6   Westlake Legal Group DrMackereth Christian doctor of 30 years loses job for refusing to use transgender pronoun fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/religion fox-news/faith-values fox-news/entertainment/events/in-court fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke article 3e009e5d-85c6-57a6-9d0a-798c5de6ffb6

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Demi Lovato apologizes for ‘offending anyone’ following ‘magical’ trip to Israel

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5998238116001_5998234551001-vs Demi Lovato apologizes for 'offending anyone' following 'magical' trip to Israel Nicole Darrah fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/religion/judaism fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/religion/judaism fox-news/us/religion fox-news/tech/companies/instagram fox-news/person/demi-lovato fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/political fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fc74d303-df64-57b9-bb96-d900c859ce31 article

Demi Lovato is apologizing after some characterized her recent trip to Israel, during which she was baptized in the Jordan River, as a political statement.

Lovato, 27, traveled to the Middle East after she “accepted a free trip to Israel in exchange for a few [social media] posts.” But her trip apparently sparked backlash, as the singer saw the need to explain the reasoning for her experience in a follow-up Instagram Story.

DEMI LOVATO CELEBRATES ISRAEL TRIP, BAPTIZED IN SAME RIVER AS JESUS: ‘I’VE NEVER FELT MORE RENEWED’

“I’m extremely frustrated,” she wrote. “No one told me there would be anything wrong with going or that I could possibly be offending anyone. With that being said, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt or offended anyone, that was not my intention.”

The former Disney star said: “Sometimes people present you with opportunities and no one tells you the potential backlash you could face in return. This was meant to be a spiritual experience for me, NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT and now I realize it hurt people and for that I’m sorry.”

DEMI LOVATO RETURNS TO ACTING WITH ‘WILL & GRACE’ ROLE

Lovato went on to apologize for not being “more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience.”

“Going against all advice right now and apologizing because it feels right to me and I’d rather get in trouble for being authentic to myself, than staying quiet to please other people.”

It’s unclear what backlash Lovato has experienced, as it appears the comments on the three Instagram posts from her trip — of her at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism; at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial; and at the Shalva National Center, which provides care for children with special needs — are turned off.

However, according to Entertainment Tonight, many criticized her experience as taking a side in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

‘CHRISTIAN BIRTHRIGHT’ TRIP TO ISRAEL FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS IS TO ‘WALK IN FOOTSTEPS OF’ JESUS

Lovato detailed her travels to Israel in recent days in a series of Instagram posts, explaining that she’s “an American singer” who was raised Christian but has Jewish ancestors, and said, “There is something absolutely magical about Israel.”

She said she had “never felt such a sense of spirituality or connection to God…something I’ve been missing for a few years now.”

CLICK TO VISIT THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

The “Confident” singer said the experience “fill[ed] the God-sized hole in my heart.”

Fox News’ Caleb Parke contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5998238116001_5998234551001-vs Demi Lovato apologizes for 'offending anyone' following 'magical' trip to Israel Nicole Darrah fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/religion/judaism fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/religion/judaism fox-news/us/religion fox-news/tech/companies/instagram fox-news/person/demi-lovato fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/political fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fc74d303-df64-57b9-bb96-d900c859ce31 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5998238116001_5998234551001-vs Demi Lovato apologizes for 'offending anyone' following 'magical' trip to Israel Nicole Darrah fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/religion/judaism fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/religion/judaism fox-news/us/religion fox-news/tech/companies/instagram fox-news/person/demi-lovato fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/political fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fc74d303-df64-57b9-bb96-d900c859ce31 article

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Virgin Mary painting shows ‘tears’ at Chicago church facing foreclosure: reports

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-8cf284ad39aa4536b2e88c6e2c2eb764 Virgin Mary painting shows 'tears' at Chicago church facing foreclosure: reports fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/religion fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/us fnc f060cfc1-9b71-5a2b-81d3-02a46eb69e0a Danielle Wallace article

Chicago worshippers on Monday flocked to a century-old Greek Orthodox church that is facing foreclosure to see what some say is a sign from God after a caretaker witnessed what appeared to be tears streaming from the eyes of a painting of the Virgin Mary over the weekend.

Rev. Fr. Nicholas Jonas told the Chicago Tribune he was in his office at Chicago’s Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church early Sunday morning when a caretaker told him about the painting.

Jonas said he investigated and placed cotton balls at the bottom of the painting to absorb an oil-like substance pouring from the eyes of the Virgin Mary. He posted a picture of the painting Sunday night that shows streaks of liquid residue coming from the Blessed Mother’s eyes, which give the appearance that she’s crying.

HOW A NEARLY BRAIN DEAD ‘MIRACLE MAN’ SURVIVED AFTER BEING TAKEN OFF LIFE SUPPORT

“I can’t explain why she is tearing, but I do know as human beings we are usually crying for two reasons: either joy or sorrow,” Jonas told Chicago’s WLS.

The church is scheduled for a bankruptcy hearing Tuesday. Following Jonas’ social media post, many people visited the church to see the painting. More than a hundred candles were lit, according to the Tribune. Some worshippers viewed the phenomena as a sign of a coming miracle indicating the church would be saved from foreclosure.

“Mary weeping is a sign, and the miracle is actually in our hearts,” Laura Tovar, whose sister was married at the church, told the Tribune.

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Jonas, however, said he’s not sure the tears are a sign the church would be saved and he “would just rather say that the Virgin Mary is talking to us. I would just let her finish her conversation. And, let’s see what happens.”

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-8cf284ad39aa4536b2e88c6e2c2eb764 Virgin Mary painting shows 'tears' at Chicago church facing foreclosure: reports fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/religion fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/us fnc f060cfc1-9b71-5a2b-81d3-02a46eb69e0a Danielle Wallace article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-8cf284ad39aa4536b2e88c6e2c2eb764 Virgin Mary painting shows 'tears' at Chicago church facing foreclosure: reports fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/religion fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/us fnc f060cfc1-9b71-5a2b-81d3-02a46eb69e0a Danielle Wallace article

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Finnish politician under ‘hate crime investigation’ for sharing Bible verse on Facebook

Police are investigating a Christian politician in Finland for an alleged “hate crime” when she shared a Bible verse on Facebook after she criticized a national church for participating in LGBT Pride events.

In the post, ex-Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen, a Christian Democrat MP, criticized the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) for participating in the Helsinki LGBT Pride events in June. Her criticism was alongside a picture of Romans 1:24-27 that describes same-sex relationships as “shameful.”

FOUNDER OF CONVERSION THERAPY ORGANIZATION COMES OUT AGAINST IT: ‘I WAS WRONG!’

Her post made Räsänen the subject of a pretrial investigation by the Finnish Police for a suspected incitement against sexual and gender minorities.

“The pre-trial investigations have not yet been completed. Police will provide more details once the investigations have been completed or presented to a prosecutor for consideration of charges,” the Helsinki Police Department officer in charge of the investigation told the Helsinki Times.

Westlake Legal Group Paivi-Rasanen-FB Finnish politician under ‘hate crime investigation’ for sharing Bible verse on Facebook fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/world fnc Caleb Parke article 2153f535-c446-5889-8c6a-74be5e9d680a

Finnish Christian Democratic MP and former Minister of the Interior, Päivi Räsänen. (Facebook: Päivi Räsänen)

Räsänen, who is a member of — and married to a pastor in– the ELCF, came under fire for her June Facebook post: “How can the church’s doctrinal foundation, the Bible, be compatible with the lifting up of shame and sin as a subject of pride? #LGBT #HelsinkiPride2019.”

The vast majority, 69 percent, of Finns are members of the ELCF, which has had a steady decline over the last few years, according to Evangelical Focus.

AN UNLIKELY JOURNEY FROM AGNOSTIC GAY MAN IN PRISON TO EVANGELICAL BIBLE PROFESSOR

In mid-August, the Finnish politician tweeted: “I am not concerned on my part, as I trust this will not move on to the prosecutor. However, I am concerned if quoting the Bible is considered even ‘slightly’ illegal. I hope this won’t lead to self-censorship among Christians. Rom. 1:24–27.”

Räsänen’s minority party, the Christian Democrats, hold five seats in the 200-seat Finnish Parliament. She is known for her defense of traditional Christian views on abortion and marriage, but after being called “homophobic,” the politician tweeted: “It is not right to label Christian conviction as phobia.”

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She is one of three politicians in the nation under pretrial investigation right now, joining Social Democrat Hussein Al-Taee and Finns Party Juha Mäenpää, who are suspected of incitement due to racist comments.

A rugby chief in Australia suggested quoting certain parts of the Bible was tantamount to “hate speech” in the case involving sacked rugby star Israel Folau.

Westlake Legal Group Paivi-Rasanen-FB Finnish politician under ‘hate crime investigation’ for sharing Bible verse on Facebook fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/world fnc Caleb Parke article 2153f535-c446-5889-8c6a-74be5e9d680a   Westlake Legal Group Paivi-Rasanen-FB Finnish politician under ‘hate crime investigation’ for sharing Bible verse on Facebook fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/world fnc Caleb Parke article 2153f535-c446-5889-8c6a-74be5e9d680a

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Syrian civil war has damaged more than 120 churches, report finds

As many as 124 churches have been damaged or targeted by military forces on all sides of Syria’s civil war, which has stretched on for more than eight years, according to a new report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).

The report’s timeline of incidents involving Syrian government forces, opposition forces and extremist militants, including the Islamic State (ISIS), extended from March 2011 to September 2019.

The researchers found 75 reported attacks involved forces supporting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, 33 involved armed opposition forces, 12 involved ISIS or other Islamic extremist groups and four incidents involved other fighting groups.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-Church-photo Syrian civil war has damaged more than 120 churches, report finds Trey Yingst fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/world fnc article 5094ae0f-d93c-5124-89b6-7c0e1d9d7977

Damage from Syrian government warplanes to a church east of Damascus, in February 2018. (Ammar Al Bushy, SNHR)

“Assad has made Syria unsafe for all Syrians, including Christians, and he must be held accountable for his actions,” said Erica Hanichak, a government relations director at Americans for a Free Syria.

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The evidence indicated some churches were the intended targets, while others were collateral damage.

The report found some churches were damaged or destroyed in bombings with no military installations or equipment nearby. Other reported incidents included houses of worship being turned into military headquarters and churches that were subject to more than one attack.

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“Syria will not become calm without transition to democracy and respect for human rights,” SNHR Chairman Fadel Abdul Ghany said.

The group added that its new report clearly showed international law was violated, as global conventions prohibit any hostile acts against places of worship.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-Church-photo Syrian civil war has damaged more than 120 churches, report finds Trey Yingst fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/world fnc article 5094ae0f-d93c-5124-89b6-7c0e1d9d7977   Westlake Legal Group Syria-Church-photo Syrian civil war has damaged more than 120 churches, report finds Trey Yingst fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/world fnc article 5094ae0f-d93c-5124-89b6-7c0e1d9d7977

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China censors ‘Bible, ‘God’ from children’s books: report

Westlake Legal Group ChinaChurchcrackdown1 China censors 'Bible, 'God' from children's books: report fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/faith-values fnc d650cd5d-b6c2-5044-8e84-fb9970a9fffd Caleb Parke article

China is removing religious references from children’s books, according to a watchdog group.

The Ministry of Education is censoring words like “Bible,” “God,” and “Christ” from classic children’s stories designed to help middle schoolers “understand other cultures,” Asia News reported.

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The Communist Party government swapped out “Bible” in “Robinson Crusoe” written by Daniel Defoe for “book.”

Chinese officials changed “when a star falls, a soul goes to be with God” in “The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Anderson to read: “when a star falls, a person leaves this world.”

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Asia News also notes censorship is happening at the university level, where professors have banned classics with religious references such as “The Count of Monte Cristo” by A. Dumas, “Resurrection” by Leo Tolstoy, and “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” by Victor Hugo.

Bob Fu, Chinese-American pastor and founder of ChinaAid, a nonprofit pushing for religious freedom and rule of law in China, wrote about such practices in a Fox News op-ed last year about China’s crackdown on organized religion.

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“The government’s repression against the churches is being done in the name of President Xi Jinping’s “sinicization” campaign, ostensibly to strengthen Chinese culture,” Fu said. “However, it increasingly appears aimed at removing the Bible and its teachings from Chinese Christianity.”

Westlake Legal Group ChinaChurchcrackdown1 China censors 'Bible, 'God' from children's books: report fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/faith-values fnc d650cd5d-b6c2-5044-8e84-fb9970a9fffd Caleb Parke article   Westlake Legal Group ChinaChurchcrackdown1 China censors 'Bible, 'God' from children's books: report fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/faith-values fnc d650cd5d-b6c2-5044-8e84-fb9970a9fffd Caleb Parke article

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Fired Australian rugby player Israel Folau sues federation, claims contract unlawfully ended over Christian beliefs

The Australian rugby player who was fired earlier this year for writing on social media that “hell awaits” gay people has sued Australia Rugby and his former team, claiming that his contract was unlawfully ended over his Christian beliefs.

Israel Folau launched a court action against the federation and the NSW Waratahs this week after mediation attempts in the country’s main workplace relations tribunal broke down in June.

“Unfortunately, our conciliation before the Fair Work Commission did not resolve the matters between us and I have been left with no choice but to commence court action,” Folau said in a statement, according to the Guardian.

Westlake Legal Group Israel-Folau-Getty Fired Australian rugby player Israel Folau sues federation, claims contract unlawfully ended over Christian beliefs Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world fox-news/sports/rugby fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/sports fnc article 3e06c3e7-4cc9-5edd-b38e-eba529e4c4ca

Israel Folau speaks to media following his conciliation meeting with Rugby Australia at Fair Work Commission on June 28, 2019 in Sydney, Australia.  (Getty)

The 30-year-old rugby player’s career ended in May after he posted an image on social media saying “Hell awaits you!” with a list of sinners, including “homosexuals, adulterers, liars.” He said these “sinners” must repent to Jesus to be saved.

The Tongan-Australian athlete was a key player for the Australian national side at the time. He has been capped 62 times for his country, scoring 32 tries.

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Rugby Australia terminated his four-year contact – 10 days after an independent panel found Folau guilty of a high-level breach of the players’ code of conduct for his contentious post in mid-April.

In his lawsuit, Folau is seeking $6.8 million in compensation and a return to the national side, BBC reported.

“I confirm I have commenced court proceedings against Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Thank you to those who have supported me over this journey – it has meant so much to Maria and me. God bless.”

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His firing sparked a debate in Australia about freedom of speech and the right of players to express their beliefs.

“I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God’s word,” Folau said at the time. “Upholding my religious beliefs should not prevent my ability to work or play for my club and country.”

Folau has drawn support from vocal Christian lobby groups. In June, he raised more than $1.3 million in a crowd-funding campaign by the Australian Christian Lobby.

An earlier fundraiser had been shut down by GoFundMe after the platform said Folau’s cause promoted discrimination.

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“I have been blessed to have received the support of tens of thousands of Australians throughout my journey, and I want to say thank you to everyone who has offered their prayers and support. It has meant so much to [wife] Maria and me over the last few months and gives us strength for the road ahead,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Israel-Folau-Getty Fired Australian rugby player Israel Folau sues federation, claims contract unlawfully ended over Christian beliefs Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world fox-news/sports/rugby fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/sports fnc article 3e06c3e7-4cc9-5edd-b38e-eba529e4c4ca   Westlake Legal Group Israel-Folau-Getty Fired Australian rugby player Israel Folau sues federation, claims contract unlawfully ended over Christian beliefs Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world fox-news/sports/rugby fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/sports fnc article 3e06c3e7-4cc9-5edd-b38e-eba529e4c4ca

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