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Hear daily news updates, breaking news from across the LCMS, web only specials, and other items from the KFUO News Desk, brought to you by staff journalist Kip Allen.
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In today's News: Local abortion facility injures two women  An abortion facility near the Illinois-Missouri border injured two women within just days of each other, the latest in a disturbing string of seemingly botched abortions and dangerous behavior. According to Operation Rescue, the first emergency took place on Oct. 15th at the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, Ill. Instead of being transported to The Gateway Regional Medical Center Hospital Emergency Room across the street, the injured woman was loaded into an ambulance, which took her to an unknown location. The second emergency took place just two days later on Oct. 17th, but this time, no ambulance was called. Instead, abortion facility staffers pushed the patient across a busy street in a wheelchair to the Gateway Emergency Room. The Hope Clinic for Women has previously been cited for numerous health violations, including failure to prevent potential cross-contamination and infection, as well as a lack of properly working equipment. Abortionist surrenders license  A California abortionist who was responsible for hospitalizing six women with life-threatening complications within a nine-month period of time in 2017, has entered an agreement to surrender his medical license, effective today. Donald Clyde Willis was employed at the FPA Women’s Health abortion facility in Bakersfield, Calif., at the time of the abortion-related emergencies. Operation Rescue filed a formal complaint with the California Medical Board against Willis on Oct. 3, 2017 — the same day that the sixth medical emergency took place. An Operation Rescue staff member was interviewed by a medical board investigator regarding the case, which led to a formal accusation against Willis related to three of the injured women. Willis agreed to surrender his California medical license to avoid expensive disciplinary action. New Jersey faces religious liberty suit  Attorneys from the Thomas More Society have filed an emergency application for an injunction pending appellate review from the United States Supreme Court in a federal religious liberty lawsuit against New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy. On Nov. 19, the not-for-profit national public interest law firm filed the application with Justice Samuel Alito on behalf of The Rev. Kevin Robinson, a Catholic parish priest, and Rabbi Yisrael Knopfler, leader of an orthodox Jewish synagogue, who are suing Murphy and his administration for discriminatory abuses of religious freedom in their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The application alleges that New Jersey’s COVID-19 restrictions limiting houses of worship to 25 percent of capacity or a numerical cap, whichever is less, while imposing less restrictive limits on secular activities that evidently pose the same or greater risk of viral transmission, violates Robinson and Knopfler’s rights to the free exercise of religion and free speech and assembly.
In today's News: Planned Parenthood removed from Texas Medicaid  The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Texas can remove Planned Parenthood facilities from the state’s Medicaid program. Texas moved forward with cutting Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in 2016 after the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood staff appearing to participate in the illegal trafficking of aborted fetal body parts. After a years-long court battle, the 5th Circuit has overruled a lower court ruling and has sided with the state of Texas. The case may be headed to the Supreme Court.  Protection for female athletes  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit received friend-of-the-court briefs this week from female athletes, medical professionals, feminist groups, the United States and 14 states that all support Idaho’s “Fairness In Women’s Sports Act” and are asking the court to reverse a district court order that temporarily halted enforcement of the law. The district court’s hold on the law means female athletes must compete against males who identify as female while the lawsuit proceeds. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, representing two collegiate athletes who run track and cross-country at Idaho State University in Pocatello, are defending the law alongside the state of Idaho on appeal to the 9th circuit and filed their opening brief on Nov. 12.  Move to reopen religious schools  A religious liberty law firm and the Kentucky Attorney General have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Andy Breshear asking a court to block the implementation of his executive order banning religious schools from holding in-person learning. First Liberty Institute filed the lawsuit on behalf of Danville Christian Academy in the Eastern District of Kentucky Friday. Attorney general Daniel Cameron joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff. Citing a “potentially catastrophic surge in covid-19 cases,” Breshear issued an executive order Wednesday, which mandated all public and private elementary, middle and high schools to “cease in-person instruction and transition to remote or virtual instruction” beginning yesterday.  Governor urged to veto abortion amendment  Massachusetts pro-life leaders are urging people to call Gov. Charlie Baker and ask him to veto legislation that would legalize the killing of unborn babies up to birth. The pro-abortion amendment to the state budget passed the Massachusetts House and the Senate earlier this month. Among other things, it would expand late-term abortions, weaken protections from infanticide and allow young girls to abort their unborn babies without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Michael king of the Massachusetts family institute told One News Now that Baker can line-item veto the amendment and stop the radical pro-abortion expansion in their state.
In today's News: Concordia Wisconsin ranked among top tier of national universities U.S. News and World Report’s 2021 “America’s Best Colleges Guide” has ranked Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW), Mequon, Wis., among the top tier of national universities. CUW rose 23 places this year, even after moving into the more competitive “national universities” category due to a growing portfolio of doctoral programs. The ranking considers a total of 17 indicators, including test scores, retention rates, mission allegiance and alumni engagement.  Concordia Ann Arbor has a new program  In a related story, the Academic Resource Center of Concordia University, Ann Arbor (CUAA), Mich., has launched Destination Cardinal, a summer “bridge” program geared primarily toward first-generation or low-income students. Students will begin the program the summer before they officially start at CUAA in order to ease the transition from high school to college. The program is also open to students who are already enrolled at CUAA and has proven useful for many this year as they navigate academics during COVID-19.  LGBT advocacy group lobbying against Christian schools The nation's largest LGBT advocacy group is urging the future Biden administration to help pull the accreditation of Christian colleges and schools if they don't have a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Human Rights Campaign posted its goals for the Biden administration in a Nov. 11 document, “Blueprint for Positive Change.” The 22-page brief includes dozens of objectives for the Biden White House, but its targeting of Christian institutions would have a major impact on religious schools. Under a current law known as the Higher Education Opportunity Act, accrediting agencies are told to ensure their standards "respect the stated mission of the institution of higher education," including a school's "religious" mission.  Forcing abortion coverage again goes to court  Attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom go to court today in San Francisco representing three California churches seeking exemption from a Golden State rule mandating they pay for abortions. The case originated in a suit filed by the Foothill Church in Glendora, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino and Shepherd of The Hills Church In Porter Ranch. The three congregations are challenging the department’s mandate on appeal in Foothill Church v. Rouillard.  Pro-life activists are arrested  Pro-life activists were arrested Tuesday outside of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where first and second-trimester abortions are committed, and the bodies of aborted children are used for research at the University of California San Francisco. Terrisa Bukovinac, executive director of Pro-Life San Francisco, Lauren Handy of Red Rose Rescue, and other pro-lifers including Cheryl Conrad of Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, were protesting outside of the hospital when they were arrested. The activists were charged with trespassing, but claim they were on public property. Pro-Life San Francisco announced it will be pursuing legal action regarding the arrest and are confident it will win in court.
In today's News: Concordia St. Paul sets record Concordia University, St. Paul (CSP), St. Paul, Minn., set a new fall enrollment record with 5,567 students — 428 more than its previous high of 5,139 a year ago. Traditional undergraduate programs gained 56 students, adult undergraduate programs 361 students, and graduate programs 11 students. Enrollment for students learning on campus now stands at an all-time high of 1,756, while graduate programs saw their total enrollment surpass 2,000 students for the second consecutive year. Adult undergraduate program enrollment, which includes the bulk of online students, stands at 1,788. Suit filed against the city of Washington, D.C, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing two pro-life organizations filed suit in federal court Wednesday after the city of Washington, D.C., refused to grant permission for the groups to paint a pro-life message on a city street shortly after the city commissioned or allowed the painting of other messages on a different street. In June, a mural reading “BLACK LIVES MATTER” was created using permanent yellow paint, the length of an entire city block, extending the width of the street. Shortly after the mural was painted, another mural reading “DEFUND THE POLICE” was also painted on the street. The Frederick Douglass Foundation and Students for Life of America then sought to paint a similar mural outside of the Planned Parenthood Carole Whitehill Moses Center with the message “BLACK PRE-BORN LIVES MATTER,” but the city refused to grant a permit to the two groups. Students for Life of America applied for a permit and received permission to hold a rally, but neither group received a formal response from the city regarding the painted mural. Pro-abortion follower appointed to Biden’s staff Former Vice President Joe Biden has chosen an outspoken pro-abortion activist to serve as his White House chief of staff should he end up assuming the presidency in 2021. Last week, the 77-year-old Biden announced that he would tap Ron Klain, who had previously worked as chief of staff to Al Gore and Biden during their respective vice presidencies, to serve as his chief of staff. Over the years, Klain has repeatedly heaped praise on the pro-abortion movement and questioned the legitimacy of both the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections. In a series of tweets he sent out in 2018 and 2019, Klain voiced his admiration for pro-abortion activists and organizations. City lifts ban on sidewalk counseling In a victory for life Tuesday, the city council In Jackson, Missi. voted to repeal an ordinance that restricted pro-life free speech outside the only abortion facility in the state. The AP reports the Jackson City Council voted unanimously to repeal the 2019 buffer zone ordinance after pro-life sidewalk counselors sued the city. The ordinance prohibited people from “oral protest, education or counseling” within 15 feet of the entrance to a health care facility and prohibited amplified sound within 100 feet of the property line. It also banned anyone from coming within eight feet of another person without their permission. Those who violated the ordinance could face a $1,000 fine or jail time. The ordinance technically applied to all health care facilities in Jackson, but it really targeted pro-lifers. As a result, peaceful pro-life advocates could have been punished for praying outside the abortion facility or handing a woman information about pregnancy resources in the city. The victory Tuesday may be temporary. According to the AP, City Council President Aaron Banks promised to take new action to “guarantee safety and that individuals aren’t harassed.”
In today's News: Concordia Chicago sets enrollment record  This fall, Concordia University Chicago (CUC), River Forest, Ill., celebrated its largest-ever enrollment with a total of 6,490 students, a growth of 5 percent more than last year. This also marks the third consecutive year of combined undergraduate and graduate enrollment exceeding 6,000 students. CUC’s 2020 enrollment includes 4,953 graduate students — its largest number ever. In addition, the university’s accelerated degree program, a pathway for non-traditional undergraduates to earn their degrees, grew to a record 287 students.  Colorado’s anti-discrimination law challenged  A Colorado web designer should not have to create wedding websites for same-sex couples under the state’s anti-discrimination law because it would amount to forced speech that violates her religious beliefs, a lawyer told an appeals court Monday. Kristen Waggoner, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, told a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver that the issue for designer Lorie Smith, who is a Christian, is the message and not the customer. She is trying to revive a lawsuit challenging the state’s law, which her group also targeted on behalf of Colorado baker Jack Phillips in a case decided in 2018 by the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court decided the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had acted with anti-religious bias against Phillips after he refused to bake a cake for two men who were getting married. But it did not rule on the larger issue of whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to LGBT people.  New York to add ‘X’ for sex on licenses  New York intends to offer driver’s licenses with a nonbinary gender identity marker of “X,” but it could take more than a year before Department of Motor Vehicles computers will be able to automatically handle the option, state officials said in court filings. Officials made the disclosure in papers filed in a federal lawsuit brought against them by Sander Saba, who is challenging the state policy of limiting gender identity on licenses to either “male” or “female.” Saba, who claims to be a nonbinary transgender New York City resident, said in the lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal this summer that the policy is discriminatory.  Astronaut takes God with him in orbit  Astronaut Victor Glover wasn’t trying to get away from God as he blasted to the International Space Station (ISS) in the SpaceX crew Dragon’s capsule “Resilience” on Sunday. As the first African-American astronaut to go on a long-term mission, Glover took on board communion cups and the Word of God. He plans to utilize the strong internet connection aboard the craft to access faith-based programs, too. Glover arrived at the ISS with the three other crew members onboard the first commercially developed space vehicle certified by NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration to ferry astronauts up to low-earth orbit and back again. The crew will stay at the space station until the spring. Glover’s making his first space journey after serving as a Navy F/A-18 carrier pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq. He also previously served as a legislative aide to the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, himself a naval aviator.
In today's News: A Kansas school cancels Christmas  A Kansas school has canceled its participation in Operation Christmas Child after an atheist group wrote to the school district alleging that the program “violates basic constitutional principles.” The annual project is sponsored by the Christian nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse, through which shoeboxes filled with gifts are sent to children in more than 160 nations. Liberty Middle School must “cease participation in Operation Christmas Child or taking any other actions promoting Christianity like including religious references over morning announcements,” the atheist legal group, Freedom From Religion Foundation, wrote to Tony Helfrich, the superintendent of Pratt School District, claiming “many egregious Constitutional violations [are] occurring” at the school.  The Rev. Dr. Pittelko called to glory  The Rev. Dr. Roger Dean Pittelko, who served as president of the LCMS English District from 1986 to 1997, died on Nov. 11. He was 88. In addition, he was a professor and supervisor of the D.Min. Program at Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, fourth vice-president of the LCMS (1998–2001) and chairman of the LCMS Commission on Worship (1983–1990 and 1992–1998). He also served as chairman of the Agenda Committee during the production of Lutheran Service Book. Pittelko sat on a variety of District and Synod committees and boards, authored numerous articles, and was a frequent presenter on topics related to liturgy and worship. Pittelko is survived by his wife, Beverly; his son, The Rev. Dr. Dean (Kay) Pittelko; daughter Susan (Howard) Gorecki; and grandchildren Hillary Pittelko and Jon, Jessica and Sarah Gorecki. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no public service is planned at this time.  Biden administration to roll back abortion protections  Americans can expect to be forced to send hundreds of millions of tax dollars to pro-abortion groups if Joe Biden is confirmed to be the winner of the white house. Biden, a pro-abortion Democrat, promised to reverse President Donald Trump’s progress for life when he takes office, including ending the Mexico City Policy and restoring Title X funds to Planned Parenthood. These two executive orders alone defunded Planned Parenthood and the British-based abortion chain Marie Stopes International of more than $200 million U.S. tax dollars. Among other priorities, Christianity Daily reports Biden also is expected to repeal a Trump executive order that granted relief to charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor. Biden would once again force them to follow the Affordable Care Act contraception mandate, which includes drugs that may cause abortions.  Supreme Court Justice sounds a warning  Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito gave a strong and impassioned speech to the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention on Thursday, where he condemned efforts by the left to take away religious freedom — in particular efforts to force Christians like the Little Sisters of the Poor to fund abortions. Addressing the theme of religious liberty, Alito criticized the Obama administration for what he called a “protracted campaign” and “unrelenting attack” on the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns that Democrats have repeatedly tried to force to fund abortions.
In today's News: Strip Clubs, yes; churches, no  A California judge ordered San Diego to reopen strip clubs even as local officials crack down on churches. San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil ordered the state to end any actions that prevent the clubs from "being allowed to provide live adult entertainment," according to the decision. The owners of two strip clubs argued that their business is legally protected speech guaranteed by the first amendment — the same argument that churches have been making about their own services. The judge's decision is not final as that in a full hearing, which will occur at the end of the month, but it temporarily allows the strip clubs to reopen for indoor services, as other institutions close. In their legal complaint, strip-club owners argued they have complied with social distancing requirements. They also warned that another shutdown would mean financial ruin. The judge temporarily sided with them.  Arguments heard yesterday on nativity scene  Liberty Counsel presented oral argument yesterday before a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals refuting the opinion by an Indiana federal judge who ruled against the nativity scene display at the Jackson County Courthouse. Liberty Counsel represents Jackson County and also filed a motion to stay asking the court to allow the nativity scene to be displayed during the holiday season this year while the judges make a decision. In addition to the nativity scene, the annual holiday display also includes a large lighted Santa Claus, sleigh with reindeer, and a group of Christmas carolers. The courthouse grounds are also decorated with many kinds of lights and other non-religious symbols of the holiday season. Judge Tanya Pratt previously ruled in favor of a plaintiff who does not live or work in the county and does not transact any business in the Jackson County Courthouse. This building no longer hosts court proceedings as they are now conducted in the new courthouse.  The Rev. Dr. David G. Schmiel called home  The Rev. Dr. David G. Schmiel, who served as the 15th president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., (CTSFW) from 1993 to 1996, died on Nov. 3. He was 88. In addition to serving as president of CTSFW, Schmiel was pastor of congregations In Gresham, Neb., and Onalaska, Wis.; professor at St. Paul’s College in Concordia, Mo.; professor and dean of faculty at Concordia College, St. Paul, Minn.; director of instruction at CSL; president at Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Mich.; and director of theological education for the LCMS Board for Higher Education. He authored numerous papers and served for several years on the LCMS Standing Committee on Pastoral Ministry. A funeral was held on yesterday at Crossview Lutheran Church, Edina, Minn., with burial at Lakeside Cemetery in Minneapolis. In addition to the Lcms Office of Pastoral Education, memorials may be made to CSL or a recipient of the donor’s choice.
In today's News: Seminary to digitize rare books In the coming decade, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis will make some 10,000 books and manuscripts, including more than 6,000 volumes in its rare book collection, available to scholars worldwide thanks to the mobilization of a monumental digitization effort. The Seminary’s Kristine Kay Hasse Memorial Library, the largest Lutheran library in North America, will begin using state-of-the-art technology in the coming months to photograph, scan and convert its most fragile and unique manuscripts and books into electronic files. It will take about a decade to complete the process of digitizing all the materials. Massachusetts tries to expand abortion As companion bills aimed at allowing abortion up until the moment of birth continue to be stalled, Massachusetts lawmakers are now working to insert an amendment into the state budget that would accomplish the same goal. State Representative Claire Cronin, the co-chair of the Joint Committee on The Judiciary, filed Amendment 759, which would be added to the annual budget bill. The leadership of both houses of the Massachusetts General Court have spoken out in favor of the amendment, similar to the Roe Act that failed. New Jersey to make abortion a right Last month, New Jersey lawmakers introduced a bill that would permanently enshrine abortion as a right in the state. Created as a response to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the so-called “Reproductive Freedom Act” would not only protect abortion within the state but would also do away with virtually all restrictions. Gov. Phil Murphy announced the legislation, which he crafted with Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, as a move to “expand health care” on his website. In addition to making abortion a state right, it mandates that insurance covers both birth control and abortion, with no out-of-pocket cost. Finally, it removes what it labels “medically-unnecessary restrictions” on abortion, which it considers a “fundamental right.” Michigan’s Supreme Court to rule on school funding Michigan’s highest court heard oral arguments in a case over whether the state can provide funds to private and religious schools to maintain state-mandated health and safety regulations, despite a state constitutional amendment barring public funding of nonpublic schools. The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in the case of Council of Organizations and others for education about Parochiaid v. State of Michigan. At issue was a law passed in 2016 that allocated $2.5 million to reimburse private schools for the cost of complying with state-mandated health, safety, and welfare regulations. The lawsuit against reimbursing private schools filed by a coalition of groups, including the ACLU of Michigan, Michigan Parents for Schools, Middle Cities Education Association and Kalamazoo Public Schools. The oral arguments before the Michigan Supreme Court come months after the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that religious schools in Montana can qualify for a state tax credit program even though their state constitution bans public aid to religious entities.
In today's News: Supreme Court again delays on abortion law  Pro-life advocates are hopeful the Supreme Court will review an abortion law in Mississippi, even though the court once again delayed its decision on whether to hear the case. Lynn Fitch, the state’s attorney general, has asked the court to review its law, which bans abortion after 15 weeks of gestation and has been challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The state’s only abortion clinic offers abortions until the 16th week of a pregnancy. Mississippi’s previous governor, Phil Bryant, signed the ban into law in 2018, but it was subject to immediate legal appeal and blocked by a District Court. In 2019, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the law to be unconstitutional. Fifteen weeks is considered prior to fetal viability outside the womb. The Supreme Court had been expected to announce whether it would heat the case on Friday. The Court was due to conference regarding the law on Nov. 13, but instead announced on Monday that it had again delayed a decision. This is the fifth time since Sept. 22 that the conference has been rescheduled. No reason for the delay, or new date, was given.  Abortion security guard removed  According to pro-life organization Abortion on Trial, a security guard has been removed from his position at a New Mexico abortion facility owned by Franz Theard, an abortionist currently under investigation for abandoning a patient who suffered two concurrent botched abortions under his care. Bertram Wiles, employed by Securitas Security Services USA Inc. as a security guard, was placed at Hilltop Women’s Reproductive Clinic in New Mexico. In video which Wiles posted himself, which has since been removed, he was seen harassing pro-life women across from the abortion business. Though portions of the video used voiceovers, other portions showed him directly sexually harassing women. He is also accused of following one woman to her job and leaving his card on her car. Wiles has since scrubbed his social media accounts, which included multiple similar videos that included sexual remarks directed toward young women, racial slurs towards Latina women, and vulgar language directed at pro-lifers.  Forty percent of the world’s believers subject to persecution  Dictators are the worst persecutors of believers. This uncontroversial finding was verified for the first time in The Pew Research Center’s 11th Annual Study surveying restrictions on freedom of religion in 198 nations. He median level of government violations reached an all-time high in 2018, as 56 nations suffer “high” or “very high” levels of official restriction. The number of nations suffering “high” or “very high” levels of social hostilities toward religion dropped slightly to 53. However, the prior year the median level recorded an all-time high. Considered together, 40 percent of the world faces significant hindrance in worshiping God freely.
In today's News: Supreme Court to settle Title X dispute  Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing two pro-life medical associations filed a Friend-of-the-Court brief yesterday, encouraging The U.S. Supreme Court to take a case concerning a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule that prevents federal family-planning funding under the Title X program from being used for abortions. The brief explains that the HHS final rule essentially revives one that the Supreme Court already found Constitutional in a previous case and should therefore be upheld. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit blocked the HHS regulations in Maryland while a 9th Circuit decision in a separate case upheld them. The rulings create a split between the circuits that only the Supreme Court can resolve.  Biden promises funding for Planned Parenthood  Should Joe Biden become president after recounts and court cases involving allegations of massive election fraud, he says he will sign an executive order on week one of any potential presidency to force American taxpayers to fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Even though Biden may not be certified as the new president, he has already formed a presidential transition team and that team has released a set of priorities of the first things he would do in office. On the list is a promise to reverse President Donald Trump’s Protect Life Rule that make sure taxpayers aren’t forced to fund groups such as Planned Parenthood that perform and promote abortions in other countries. During a Town Hall in South Carolina Biden confirmed that one of his first acts as president would be using taxpayer dollars behind the global abortion agenda.  Global abortion giants praise Biden  Abortion giants around the world have celebrated Biden’s reported presidential victory by releasing a series of statements praising his pro-abortion position and policies. Biden was announced as the winner of the 2020 presidential election by media outlets during the weekend. Some remaining us states continue to count their votes. Following the announcement, global abortion giants took to social media to congratulate Biden and Vice President-apparent Kamala Harris for their commitment to expand abortion.  South African rector retires  The Rev. Dr. Carlos Walter Winterle has announced his retirement as rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS) in Tshwane, Pretoria in South Africa. Winterle, who turned 70 earlier this year, said, “It is time to retire and give way to the younger generation.” Succeeding Winterle as rector of the LTS is the Rev. Dr. Heinz Hiestermann. Winterle served as president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil from 1998-2006. He has spent the next 14 years serving throughout Africa: four years in Kenya; seven in Cape Town, South Africa; and the past three as the rector of LTS in Pretoria. He has also been heavily involved with missions and theological education in Mozambique.
In today's News: Planned Parenthood drops suit  Planned Parenthood of Arizona has dropped its lawsuit against Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, which sought to have several state regulations on abortion overturned. The suit challenged laws which mandated only physicians commit abortions, banned abortion pills dispensed via telemedicine, and required women to have an ultrasound at least 24 hours before an abortion. Despite dropping the suit, the abortion business is still pressing judges to overturn the laws. In addition, the organization announced on Oct. 24 the resignation of Bryan Howard, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Arizona. Howard spent 36 years working for the abortion chain, 23 of which were with Planned Parenthood of Arizona. Howard had previously complained about ultrasound legislation, noting that it has led to fewer abortions being committed, meaning women have “had their life substantially disrupted.” He also falsely claimed to provide prenatal care, and opposed legislation banning discriminatory abortions committed based on the race or sex of the child.  Black pro-life leaders tell Planned Parenthood to leave  Black pro-life leaders are telling the Planned Parenthood abortion chain to get out of their neighborhoods and stop targeting black women and unborn babies. The National Black Pro-Life Coalition recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, accusing the abortion chain of decades of racial discrimination, One News Now reports. Planned Parenthood itself recently admitted that its founder, Margaret Sanger, held eugenics beliefs “rooted in racism, ableism and classism” and removed her name from its New York City facility. Hundreds of Planned Parenthood employees also accused its leaders of racism earlier this year. Lori Hoye of the Issues4Life Foundation said the abortion chain needs to do more than just disavow its founder. Though abortions hurt families of every race and culture, statistics indicate that abortions disproportionately hurt the African-American community. Census data indicates that African Americans make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, but they have about 40 percent of all abortions. Malagasy Lutherans choose a new leader On Nov. 5, the Malagasy Lutheran Church elected the Rev. Dr. Denis Rakotozafy to serve as its new president. The vote came during the church’s 23rd synodical conference held Nov. 4-8, which gathered under the theme: “and increase the harvest of your righteousness…” (2 Corinthians 9:10).  Same-sex marriage ban overturned  Nevada voters overturned a ban on same-sex marriage, making it the first state to recognize gay couples' right to marry in its constitution. The right to same-sex marriage was one four new amendments to the state constitution, which also included a voters' bill of rights and a renewable energy mandate.
In today's News: Nevada church seeks equal treatment  Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a church filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme court yesterday that asks it to declare Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s coronavirus restrictions on churches unconstitutional. For months, Sisolak allowed casinos to operate at 50 percent capacity while capping churches at 50 people. That meant a casino with capacity for 2,000 could host 1,000 gamblers, while a church with the same capacity could welcome only 50 worshipers. Although the governor’s newest order increased the cap, it continues the unequal treatment by allowing casinos and other secular establishments to operate at 50 percent capacity with no cap. A procedural rule allows Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley in rural Lyon County to ask the high court to weigh in even while its lawsuit moves forward at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; the ordinary process could result in the church being subject to unconstitutional gathering restrictions for many additional months. Number of Christian voters declines  The share of registered voters in the United States who say they are Christian has declined by about 15 percent since 2008 while the number of religiously unaffiliated voters has nearly doubled, Pew Research Center data suggests. Pew drew the data from a balanced survey of more than 360,000 registered voters surveyed over a 25-year span that include over 12,000 voters questioned in 2018 and 2019. The data indicate that 64 percent of all registered voters surveyed in 2019 self-identified as Christian. That figure is down from 79 percent of registered voters surveyed in 2008 who identified themselves as followers of Christ. The study shows that the decline in registered Christian voters is most stark in the Democratic Party. In 2008, 73 percent of registered democrats identified as Christian. But by 2019, only 52 percent of Democrat voters said the same. Registered Republican voters have seemingly moved away from God at a slower rate, dropping from 87 percent Christian in 2008 to 79 percent Christian in 2019. In comparison, the number of religiously unaffiliated voters has almost doubled from 15 percent to 28 percent in the same years.  'Jesus' no, 'Black Lives Matter' yes  A Mississippi elementary school that allowed students to wear “Black Lives Matter” masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic ordered a third-grade girl to remove her “Jesus Loves Me” mask. On Monday, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit defending her First Amendment rights. The third-grade pupil, Lydia Booth, aimed to peacefully share her Christian faith by wearing the “Jesus Loves Me” mask. She wore the mask without disruption or incident on Oct. 13, but the principal at her school demanded she remove and replace it. Two days later, Simpson County School District administrators announced a policy prohibiting masks that are “political, religious, sexual or inappropriate symbols, gestures or statements that may be offensive, disruptive or deemed distractive to the school environment.” According to the lawsuit, the school has allowed students to wear masks with the logos of local sports teams or even the political slogan “Black Lives Matter.”
In today's News: Pro-life increases in House of Representatives The number of pro-life Republican women in the House of Representatives will more than double in 2021, in another likely disappointment for Speaker Nancy Pelosi who has yet to see her prediction of an increased Democratic majority materialize. At least 14 pro-life women have won Houses races, and in seven cases they flipped Democrat-held seats. Aborted babies memorialized in sculpture A new sculpture installed at Resurrection Cemetery in The Diocese of Madison, Wisc., is dedicated to the memory of children lost to abortion. The powerful sculpture depicts a grief-stricken mother and father and their aborted daughter shown as a young child. The sculpture, called “The Memorial of Unborn Children II,” was created by Slovakian sculptor Martin Hudáček, whose “Memorial for Unborn Children” of a mother and her aborted child touched hearts in 2010. His new sculpture portrays the pain both mothers and fathers can experience after an abortion. Hudáček told Catholic World Report that people in Poland came to him with the idea of showing it isn’t only women who regret abortion and weep for their children. Fathers, too, can suffer the effects of abortion trauma. Supreme Court heard religious freedom argument The Supreme Court of The United States yesterday heard oral argument in Philadelphia v. Fulton, a case in which the justices will decide whether religious organizations can be disqualified from serving children and families. First Liberty filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case on behalf of Galen Black, a plaintiff from the landmark 1990 Supreme Court Case Employment Division v. Smith. First Liberty Institute Counsel Keisha Russell said the Constitution prohibits government from punishing religious organizations for acting consistently with their sincerely held religious beliefs. The court should ensure that religious adoption providers can continue their centuries-old work serving families and children without suffering government discrimination because they believe that the best home for a child includes a mother and father. Planned Parenthood drops a suit Planned Parenthood’s filed a notice to a federal district court Tuesday that the abortion giant wishes to drop its lawsuit against Arizona laws that protect women considering an abortion by ensuring they have at least 24 hours to reflect and investigate after receiving critical information — in person — about abortion and available alternatives and ensuring that abortions are performed only by licensed physicians. In March, The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona allowed Choices Pregnancy Centers of Greater Phoenix, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, to intervene in the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood Arizona v. Brnovich, specifically to defend the 24-hour waiting period provision in Arizona law.
In today's News: Louisiana voters support pro-life amendment  Louisiana voters passed an amendment to the state constitution yesterday evening establishing that there is no constitutional right to an abortion. The New York Timesreported that 62 percent of Louisiana voters supported Amendment 1, “Love Life Amendment,” an amendment stating that nothing in the Louisiana state constitution protects the right to abortion or abortion funding. Louisiana also has a trigger law automatically banning all abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to NBC News. Abortion advocates argued that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the amendment unfairly impacts access to abortion. Michelle Erenberg, executive director of the abortion-rights group Lift Louisiana, said the amendment is part of a long strategy to strip the right to an abortion. Colorado voters reject pro-life legislation  Voters in Colorado have rejected a pro-life ballot measure that would have banned abortion after 22 weeks, according to the Associated Press. The measure was defeated, with approximately 60 percent of the vote opposing the measure. Proposition 115 would have prohibited abortion once a preborn child reached 22 weeks gestation. Any doctor who committed or attempted to commit an abortion after 22 weeks would have been charged with a misdemeanor and faced fines. There was an exception for when the mother’s physical health was in danger. Babies born as young as 21 weeks have survived with medical assistance. Facebook censors a pregnancy crisis center  An Illinois pro-life organization trying to raise money to help pregnant women and babies is being censored on Facebook. The Federalist reports the social media giant rejected the fundraising ad From Illinois Right to Life this fall, claiming it violates its advertising policy. The ad highlights Project Love, an initiative of Illinois Right yo Life to “Support pregnant women and new mothers in a financial crisis by providing grants for rent, utility bills or other necessities.” The pro-life organization hoped to raise money through the ad to help mothers and babies in need, but Facebook refused to run it. Meanwhile, the abortion Giant Planned Parenthood is still running ads on Facebook. School bans ‘Jesus Loves Me’ mask  Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Monday on behalf of an elementary school pupil and her parents against the Simpson County School District in Mississippi after school officials prohibited her from wearing a face mask with the message “Jesus Loves Me” on it. The third-grade pupil, Lydia Booth, wished to peacefully share her Christian views with her schoolmates but, even though she wore the mask without disruption or incident on Oct. 13, the principal at her school in Pinola required her to remove and replace it. Two days later, administrators announced a policy that prohibits messages on masks that are “political, religious, sexual or inappropriate symbols, gestures or statements that may be offensive, disruptive or deemed distractive to the school environment.”
Vote your faith

Vote your faith

2020-11-0303:00

In today's News: Vote your faith  Today is Election Day in the United States. The sanctity of life, family and religious liberty are major concerns for Lutherans and other Christians. The two main parties hold vastly differing views on those three topics among others. Citizens should educate themselves on where the candidates stand and then vote accordingly.  California’s restrictions challenged in court  A California church on Monday went to court over $350,000 in fines it received for violating the state's coronavirus worship restrictions. The church, Calvary Chapel in San Jose, argued that Gov. Gavin Newsom's orders, as well as local restrictions, place an undue burden on the free exercise of faith. The church has been meeting in-person since May and received a fine every time it violated orders limiting congregations to 100 people. The church's pastor, Mike McClure, said that no members of the church have tested positive for the coronavirus. Santa Clara County, where the church is located, was granted a temporary restraining order against Calvary Chapel while the lawsuit is underway. The order requires the church to follow coronavirus restrictions until its case is decided. The case arose last week when the county claimed that the church, which typically attracts 600 people, poses an "imminent risk of a super-spreader" event. California has faced some of the fiercest battles between churches and governments over how worship should be conducted during the pandemic. The state has both weathered and prosecuted multiple lawsuits related to restrictions on services and gathering size.  Supreme Court will hear religious liberty arguments  The U.S. Supreme Court with newly appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett is set to hear a case tomorrow regarding Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services (CSS) and whether the city of Philadelphia has a right to block the organization’s status as a state-approved foster care provider because of the organization’s Catholic beliefs. The city cut off CSS foster parents from having children placed in their homes in 2018 and refused to renew their contract with CSS due to the catholic organization’s practice of not placing children in same-sex homes. The district courts and appellate courts both ruled in favor of Philadelphia, claiming that CSS was discriminating against homosexuals and therefore in violation of the nondiscrimination clause of its contract. CSS argues that the government has it backwards — that it is Philadelphia that is discriminating against CSS for being Catholic and violating the organization’s Constitutional rights. In fact, there were no same-sex couples who had brought the complaint against CSS. It was the city who canceled them without provocation.
In today's News: Colorado votes on abortion  The Colorado Sun reports pro-abortion groups and activists across the country have poured $8.7 million into defeating Proposition 115, a state ballot measure that would prohibit abortions on viable unborn babies. Colorado is one of the few states with no limits on abortions, and abortionists there openly advertise abortions in the third trimester. The ballot measure would protect viable, pain-capable unborn babies by banning late-term abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk. Father loses case for unborn child  An Alabama father lost a lawsuit on behalf of his unborn baby Friday at the Alabama Supreme Court. WAAY 31 reports the state high court upheld a ruling dismissing Ryan Magers’ case against the Alabama Women’s Center, an abortion facility in Huntsville that aborted his unborn baby in 2017. Magers sued the abortion facility after his girlfriend aborted their unborn baby there against his will. Initially, a Madison County judge granted his petition to represent the estate of his child, “Baby Roe,” and sue the abortion facility in a wrongful death lawsuit. However, in 2019, Madison County Circuit Judge Chris Comer dismissed the lawsuit, saying the abortion facility did not do anything unlawful. On Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court agreed with comer’s ruling. Right now, in the U.S. fathers do not have any legal rights to protect their unborn children from abortions. Laws requiring that a father be notified or given a say in an abortion have been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Magers’ case was unique because a court recognized his aborted baby as the plaintiff and him as the representative of his baby’s estate. Magers said his girlfriend was six weeks pregnant when she had the abortion in 2017. By six weeks, an unborn baby’s heart is already beating. At conception, an unborn baby also has his/her own unique DNA that determines hair and eye color, gender and other traits.  U.S takes U.N. to account  The acting administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, John Barsa, has sent a scathing letter to the U.N. secretary general for allowing U.N. experts to promote abortion. He also told him to make “A course-correction for the greater good of the U.N.” this is the second letter Barsa has sent to the Secretary General Antonio Guterres of Portugal complaining of un abortion activism during the covid-19 pandemic. The first was sent in May. But even as Guterres was responding to Barsa, on May 22 a group of U.N. human rights officials and experts issued a letter to the United States government criticizing U.S. states that had not designated abortion as essential during the covid-19 pandemic, among them Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.
In today's News: Planned Parenthood lied  The Center for Medical Progress released a fourth video yesterday featuring unsealed video clips from Planned Parenthood leaders’ sworn deposition testimony about the abortion provider’s fetal tissue research programs — Including details about the programs that directly contradict What Planned Parenthood told multiple Congressional investigations in 2015 and 2016. While under investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Select Investigative Panel, Planned Parenthood told congress that its Houston affiliate, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, never had a “fetal” tissue research program — only a “placental” tissue program — with researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch. Based on this representation, Planned Parenthood produced less documentation of Planned Parenthood’s practices than other regional offices in California. But when questioned under oath about the transactions with University of Texas, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s Vice President for Research, Melissa Farrell, testifies that her Planned Parenthood office in fact transferred the entire aborted fetus to the university, not just the placenta. Farrell testifies that in previous fetal tissue transactions, Planned Parenthood transferred the “products of conception” from the abortion — the fetus, placenta, and everything removed in the abortion — “in its entirety.”  Fundraising effort halted  GoFundMe has shut down the efforts of parents attempting to raise money to display billboards that say, "Puberty is not a medical condition" for violating its user rules. The fundraising effort, which was inspired by A Los Angeles-area father of a gender-confused teenaged daughter who put up one such billboard near West Hollywood, was taken down Wednesday on the widely used crowdfunding site. The father has received no specific response from GoFundMe as to why his page was removed. The billboard that was erected last week in California and will be there for one month states: "Your child is learning about gender identity in school. Puberty is not a medical condition. Get the facts. Read this book." the message was positioned next to the cover of the recent book “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters” by Wall Street Journal contributor Abigail Shrier.  California restricts family Thanksgiving gatherings  California Department of Public Health officials are cracking down on family Thanksgiving celebrations with a host of restrictions. All gatherings must include no more than three households, including hosts and guests, and must be held outdoors, lasting for two hours of less. The department further states that gatherings that occur outdoors are significantly safer than indoor gatherings. All gatherings must be held outside. Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized,” the statement added. The department adds that citizens can remove their masks while they’re eating or drinking, or for health reasons, such as if the individual is feeling light-headed or needs to use their asthma inhaler.
In today's News: Lutherans prepare for the March For Life As they have for decades, members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) will march for life in 2021. One such event is the Chicago March For Life, which recently announced plans to take this year’s March On The Road. The “moving the movement tour” is designed to “build unity, community and the pro-life future” by connecting participants in 10 states in a series of car parades, outdoor rallies and supportive events across the Midwest, culminating in Chicago on Jan. 23. In doing so, march for life Chicago — planned by the organization WEDIGNIFY — says they hope to encourage their tour partners, whom they are calling the “Midwest overs,” to “witness, inspire and serve” the cause of life in their respective communities. One such “Midwest Mover” event will be in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Jan. 16, 2021. Details are still being finalized, but LCMS President The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison will be a featured speaker at the event. As in previous years, the Synod will have a presence at the National March For Life in Washington, D.C., set for Friday, Jan. 29. Also, as in previous years, there will be a divine service for lcms participants held before the march at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Va., at 9 a.m. Senator calls for unrestricted abortion Sen. Elizabeth Warren joined Massachusetts abortion activists Tuesday in urging the state to pass a radical bill that would legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions through all nine months of pregnancy. The pro-abortion Democrat senator stoked up fear during the online pro-abortion rally, warning that the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett could lead to more abortion restrictions, The Boston Globe reports. She urged the state legislature to pass the Roe Act, which would eliminate basically all restrictions on abortion in Massachusetts. It would allow abortions through all nine months of pregnancy, even if there is no physical threat to the mother and eliminate the state parental consent requirement for underage girls. It also would allow “passive infanticide” by eliminating a requirement to provide medical care to a baby who is born alive after an abortion. Planned Parenthood confronted on its racism A group of black pro-life activists have filed a racial discrimination claim against Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States. The National Black Pro-Life Coalition, an organization that hopes to “end abortion by restoring a culture of life and the foundation of family in the black community,” announced that it filed a claim against Planned Parenthood with The Office Of Civil Rights in The U.S. Department of Health And Human Services. The suit comes nearly two months after more than 120 African Americans signed a letter to Planned Parenthood, urging the organization to “confront its racist founding, mission and practices.” Planned Parenthood was founded more than a century ago by Margaret Sanger, a eugenicist who wanted to control the black population. Sanger was among the women honored in The Smithsonian Museum of American History’s temporary “girlhood” exhibit created in honor of the 100th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote. Sanger’s presence in the exhibit reflects her reputation as a feminist icon seen as a pioneer of women’s rights and liberation.
In today's News: Fire rages near Concordia University — Irvine  The Silverado Fire in Southern California is burning near Concordia University — Irvine, which houses the headquarters of the Pacific Southwest District of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod. However, District President the Rev. Dr. Michael Gibson says so far, the campus is safe. Although the fire is some distance away, heavy smoke blankets the area. There are about 600 students still in residence. Gibson asks Lutherans to continue praying, especially for the winds to calm, which are fanning the flames. So far, no structures have been lost, but two firefighters were critically burned.  Interference in Christian worship worsens in China  Pastors in China report that they've been forced to integrate President Xi Jinping’s words into the Biblical account of Jesus feeding the five thousand as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) increasingly pressures church leaders to infuse their sermons with political ideology. According to the Italian-based magazine Bitter Winter, the CCP has continued to use the novel coronavirus pandemic to further control and politicize religions. In September, the two Chinese Christian Councils of Quanzhou, a prefecture-level city in Fujian's southeastern province, demanded all three-self churches integrate Xi’s ideas on curbing food waste into their sermons, so that “the policy reaches everyone in society.” To implement the order, some pastors integrated the leader's words into the Biblical story about Jesus feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. In the spring, officials also ordered the pastor of a church in Zhengzhou, a county-level city in the eastern province of Zhejiang, to preach to the congregation that Americans brought covid-19 to China.  An abortion case goes before the Supreme Court  The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to consider a major abortion case out of Mississippi on Friday, just days after the Senate confirmed pro-life Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, challenges a state law that prohibits abortions on unborn babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy. A federal judge struck down the Mississippi law in 2018, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling in 2019; but the state appealed to the Supreme Court. On Friday, the justices’ schedule includes time to debate whether they will hear the state’s appeal, CNN reports. The case is significant, not only because of Barrett, but also because “it is widely considered to be a direct challenge to the precedent outlined in the supreme Court’s landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.”
In today's News: Today is International Religious Freedom Day  The U.S. Commission On International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today commemorates International Religious Freedom Day today, marking the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA). IRFA sought to make religious freedom a priority in U.S. foreign policy in a variety of ways, including by creating governmental institutions including USCIRF and the State Department’s IRF office, requiring monitoring and reporting on religious freedom violations, and establishing consequences for the worst violators.  Religious freedom wins on campus  Florida State University’s student supreme court has reinstated Jack Denton as president of the student senate. Denton was removed from his post in June over comments in a private chat group for Catholic students that were subsequently circulated to a member of the senate. In the group chat, Denton had expressed concerns that policy positions of certain groups, such as the ACLU and blacklivesmatter.com, contradicted church teaching on abortion, marriage, sexuality, and policing and cautioned students to be aware of those positions before they donated to the groups. He was subsequently accused of transphobia and racism by fellow students and, after a first vote of no-confidence in him failed, he was removed in another vote of the student senate June 5. Denton filed suit against the student senate’s decision in both the university court and in federal court.  Pro-life group recognized on Iowa campus  The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is reversing the student government's controversial decision to bar recognition of an anti-abortion group that student senators said was hateful. UNI's President Mark A. Nook said the ban would violate the First Amendment if it was allowed to proceed. Students for Life of America (SFLA) sent its appeal to Nook last week after the student supreme court upheld the ban and argued that the group's UNI chapter would "violate a university policy guaranteeing the "right to be treated with dignity and respect by all persons involved in the student conduct process." The issue emerged after Young America's Foundation, a conservative nonprofit, posted footage from a Zoom meeting in which student senators likened SFLA to white supremacists and argued they were a hate group whose rhetoric was "infringing on basic human rights."  Judge Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in  The United States Senate voted 52 to 48 yesterday to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the next associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, marking a conservative shift in the federal judiciary’s balance of power.  Huge Christian rally in Washington, D.C.  Tens of thousands of mostly young Christians gathered at the national mall on Sunday to proclaim “Let Us Worship,” amid the draconian restrictions still being enforced in many jurisdictions across the land against church assemblies. They came from all across the country to pray for the nation at a critical moment in history. Sunday’s event in Washington, D.C. brought an estimated 30,000 believers together to join their voices in prayer.
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