The Associated Press (AP) reported today that China's national law allowing only one child per family has caused millions of Chinese couples to abort or even practice infanticide of their female children to ensure that their surviving child is a boy. In Chinese culture, boys are far more highly prized than are girls. The AP reported, "Researchers say China has millions fewer girls than it normally should, suggesting that many were aborted or killed after birth."
Consequently, the Chinese government today announced that it would ban the popular use of abortion for sex selection and offer financial incentives to couples with no boy children. Government figures show 117 boys born in China for every 100 girls. In normal human populations, the ratio is nearly one to one, or 100 boys for 100 girls, or the girls might even have a slight edge on the boys.
The AP continued, "The gap has led to warnings that millions of men won't find wives in coming years, fueling social tensions and a black market in baby girls and abducted women."
Speaking for the Chinese National Population and Family Planning Commission, Zhao Baige, vice minister, announced, "Illegal sex determination and sex-selective abortion must be strictly banned. China has set the goal of lowering the sex ratio to a normal level by 2010."
This is a long standing problem that China has attempted to remedy by similar measures in the past, but has been unable to control.
Friday, July 16 2004 @ 11:02 AM EDT Contributed by: AIA
British Home Secretary David Blunkett today unveiled sweeping proposals to change the law on prostitution, including the controversial proposal to decriminalize brothels. Blunkett said the proposal would keep brothels from operating disguised as "legitimate" businesses such as massage parlors or escort services.
Calling current laws "outdated, confusing, and ineffective," Blunkett added that he would ask ministers of Parliament to also consider "tolerance zones" for street prostitution.
The changes also call for toughening the laws against pimps, brothel keepers, and clients. It would also set out guidelines for offering treatment, housing, and education to prostitutes hooked on drugs.
Christian Solidarity International (CSI) reported today that 86 black Sudanese boys were purchased from their owners last month through neogiations by the Arab-Dinka Peace Committee at Warawar, Southern Sudan. The freed slaves were documented last week by researchers sponsored by CSI.
Tens of thousands of black women and children have been enslaved by Sudanese government-sponsored militias during the last 20 years of civil war in the small African country.
Over 80% of the boys reported that they had been forced to practice Islam by their owners, even though the boys came from Christian or tribal religion backgrounds. More than 65% of the slaves reported that they had seen the execution of other black Africans during slave raids or while they were working as slaves.
The Islamist government of Sudan has allowed slave trading in Southern Sudan as a way of decimating the black, non-Muslim communities who have resisted forced Muslim conversion by the Arabs who have taken over the region. Although the US sponsored cease-fire in Southern Sudan has nearly eliminated the slave trade there, it is still rampant in the Darfur region of Western Sudan.
Since the outbreak of civil war in 1983, more than 2 million civilians have been killed, 5 million displaced from their ancestral lands, and tens of thousands of womean and children have been enslaved.
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Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Carol Ball Tuesday heard a case brought by an attorney for 8 same-sex couples from other states who wanted to take advantage of Massachusetts' unique same-sex marriage provisions. The attorney, Michele Granda, asked the judge to issue an injunction blocking the state from enforcing the law which prohibits marriages in Massachusetts that would be considered illegal in a couple's home state. Granda argued that the 1913 law violates both the US Constitution and state law.
Arguing for the state of Massachusetss, Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks protested that the law protected other states' rights to define marriage as they want to, unemcumbered by other state's definitions. This principle was repeatedly cited by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in its original November ruling that legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts.
Of the 8 out-of-state couples represented by Granda, 5 were married in Massachusetts by clerks who ignored the 1913 law while 3 were denied marriage licenses when they applied.
Judge Ball gave the state until August 2 to file its response, but has not announced when she will make her ruling. She noted, however, "From what I've read so far, it appears the state is applying the law in a procedurally non-discriminatory manner."
When Palm Beach, Florida residents Maureen Donnel and Fern Tailer Denarvaez saw the Jewish Menorahs displayed on city property, they decided to donate a Christmas nativity scene to be erected next to the menorahs. But they found that the city repeatedly ignored them and through inaction essentially refused to display a Christian symbol alongside a Jewish symbol.
Not only wasn't it fair, Donnel and Tailer thought it was inexcusably rude, too. Now a federal district court judge has agreed with them after hearing their suit, filed on their behalf by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC). The judge ruled that the city must pay them $50,000 in attorney fees and apologize for ignoring them.
Edward White, TMLC associate counsel, remarked, "The bottom line message is that towns should not ignore their citizens' requests, that towns can allow religious displays to be put up on public property, and that they should do that." He continued, "And that if they don't, lawsuits will be filed, and they'll have to pay money when they didn't have to pay money."
The 15th Annual Harvest Crusade evangelistic outreach will take place Saturday, July 10 at Anaheim's Angel Stadium in Orange County, California. The Southern California summer evangelism crusade is hosted by Riverside, California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie.
The crusade includes a daytime Summerfest youth festival and an evening "Night Worship" program.
Summerfest will include extreme sports such as BMX and Vert Skate, a SportsZone and KidsZone, youth-oriented music celebreties, and many professional athlete celebrity appearances.
A Night of Worship will include the main message by Greg Laurie, music by UK-based Matt Redman, and performers Fernando Ortega and Tommy Walker. A 1,000 voice community choir will perform. Translators will be translating in Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language (ASL).
Lilly Endowment Inc., a private philanthropic foundation, has awarded a University of Northern Iowa (UNI) professor, Betty DeBerg, a $700,000 grant to conduct a 3 year study on campus ministries throughout the US. DeBerg, previously funded by Lilly on a separate project, "Religion on Campus," is the head of the philosophy and religion department at UNI.
"I want to understand young adulthood in terms of religious faith and practice," explained DeBerg. "And I want to help religious denominations to decide where campus ministries should be on their priorities." The study will examine 4 kinds of campus ministries: chaplaincy programs at church-related private colleges, denominational campus ministries at state-funded schools, nondenominational organizations, and congregation-based ministry programs.
The Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) Wednesday voted unanimously to forbid the blessing and performances of "weddings" of same sex couples in the church or by AME clergy. The mostly African-American constituency of the AME is overwhelmingly against such church blessings or ceremonies. The vote was made without any prior official discussion from the floor of the conference.
Despite the unanimous, binding vote, some AME pastors say they will continue to support homosexuals in their ministry. The AME has not adopted a policy of discipline for ministers who defy the terms of the vote.
Andy Sidden, a pastor from the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) association of congregations says MCC churches will continue to attract same sex couples from denominations like the AME as long as those churches refuse to recognize the validity of their unions: "Maybe 10 years from now [the AME] will decide differently, but African-American couples that need recognition of their love can't wait 10 years. They'll just come to churches like ours which offer that recognition." The MCC, founded in Los Angeles in 1968, now numbers 300 churches in its fellowship in 18 different countries with more than 40,000 members (as of 2000). The MCC describes itself as "a worldwide fellowship of Christian
churches with a special outreach to the world's gay, lesbian, bisexual and
The Rev. Arthur Allen, Jr. (72), pastor of the Atlanta area House of Prayer church, is seeking a new trial, his attorney argued Thursday in Fulton County Superior Court. Allen was convicted in October 2002 and sentenced in August 2003 for aggravated assault and child cruelty for his part in teaching his congregation to use belts and whips in punishing their children, punishment that sometimes took place in front of the entire congregation during services. He has steadfastly maintained that the punishment he advocated and supervised was not excessive and was an application of the biblical mandate that to "spare the rod" was to "spoil the child."
At the time the case began, dozens of the children of the House of Prayer congregation were removed from their parents' custody and many observers said that the wholesale removal of children from their families by local children's services staff was excessive and cruel in and of itself. Since then all of the children have either been returned to their families or are now of legal adult age and no longer in the social services system as abused children.
Thursday, attorney Deborah Poole of the Georgia Justice Project argued that Judge T. Jackson Bedford, who presided at Allen's trial and also heard Thursday's argument from Poole, erred in not appointing a defense attorney to represent Allen during his trial, even though Allen repeatedly insisted that he represent himself without any other legal assistance.
Poole argued that Allen "didn't realize until he was in the depths of the trial that he was sinking, and sinking fast." She argued that Bedford should have "appointed standby counsel even over the defendant's objections." Allen didn't have an understanding of the "legal nuances and complexities" necessary to recognize questionable evidence introduced against him that any experienced lawyer would have recognized and objected to.
Bedford responded that he had repeatedly urged Allen to get proper legal representation, and that he had appointed 11 lawyers to standby status to give advice to Allen -- advice Allen refused to receive. Bedford took Poole's request under advisement but has not said when he expects to rule on the request.
Meanwhile, Allen remains in prison on a 2 year, no parole sentence imposed after Allen violated his initial probation sentence by refusing to report to his probation officer, pay court fines levied against him, or attend anger management counseling.
Controversial abortion provider George Tiller runs a nationally known abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas, and currently he's having some serious staffing problems. The clinic, which specializes in late-term abortions, has gone through two clinic managers in the four months while volunteers for Operation Rescue West (ORW), a pro-life activist organization, were using publicity about her job to inform their communities of their association with the abortion industry. Although no one knows for sure whether the pro-life pressure was a significant factor in the two resignations, ORW spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger commended the most recent ex-manager's decision to leave: "For whatever reasons, Rhoda Lipscomb decided to leave her job at Tiller's abortion mill. We rejoice and thank God that she no longer participates in the brutal killing of innocent baby boys and girls. We wish her the best and pray God's blessings on her for her decision to stop participating in the abortion trade."
ORW's "Year of Rebuke" included picketing and information distribution regarding the abortion clinic, Dr. Tiller, and the management of the clinic. The previous manager quit after ORW informed the woman's neighbors of her occupation and held prayer vigils in her neighborhood on her behalf. That woman now manages a local candle shop.
Rhoda Lipscomb was hired by Tiller after a nationwide search for a new clinic manager. Lipscomb worked previously as the manager for a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. Lipscomb lasted 3 months at her new job in Witchita.
OPW's Sullenger explained the group's strategy in terms of ethical consistency, saying that Lipscomb "thought she could go into the abortion clinic, she can do her little work and then she can leave and go home and she's a normal person, and nobody has to know what she really does. We don't let them have that anonymity. We believe if they are going to be a participant in the abortion industry, that's everybody's business."
Denying that ORW went too far in exposing Lipscomb's occupation to her neighbors, Sullenger said, "There is nothing wrong with pointing out someone's sin, exposing it. It is like it says in the scriptures to do, 'Expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness.' We are giving them an opportunity to repent."
ORW's "Year of the Rebuke" counts on massive publicity and presence at targeted abortion clinics and the neighborhoods of their doctors and managers to raise public awareness of what is happening in their neighborhoods and what their neighbors are involved in propagating through their employment choices. ORW hopes that the public sentiment will be so negative to their targets that clinics will close and the leaders will no longer work in the abortion industry.
Abortion rights advocates say ORW and other pro-life organizations with a visible presence in their communities are practicing harrassment and intimidation and should be prevented from expressing their views openly. Some abortion rights advocates link these kinds of information campaigns to the isolated violence against abortion clinics and clinic doctors and workers. Elizabeth Toledo, spokeswoman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, commented that the situation in Witchita is replicated elsewhere, too, and that abortion clinic workers "go to work every single day knowing there has been intimidation and violence repeatedly every single year."
The Lord's Servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will give them a change of heart leading to a knowledge of the truth
II Timothy 2:24-26