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INTERNATIONAL NEWS – 10 December 2018

CANADIAN HOSPITAL RELEASES ASSISTED SUICIDE PLAN FOR KIDS

A group of medics from a Toronto children’s hospital have released a shocking paper which outlines its controversial position on child euthanasia. In the paper, published at the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children revealed that in some cases, the young person’s parents will not be notified of the intention to end their own lives until after the death is confirmed. “Usually, the family is intimately involved in this end-of-life decision-making process,” the paediatric doctors, administrators and ethicists noted in a paper published in the BMJ.

“If a capable patient explicitly indicates that they do not want their family members involved in their decision-making, although health care providers may encourage the patient to reconsider and involve their family, ultimately the wishes of capable patients with respect to confidentiality must be respected.” In the east-central Canadian province of Ontario, parents are not required to be involved in any “capable” child’s decision to end their own life. It is a terrifying prospect that a child could choose to engage in physician-assisted suicide without the involvement of their own parents. Obviously, this has caused grave concern among certain ethicists and pro-life researchers.

“It is not difficult to imagine how such a protocol could wreak havoc on society,” commented Monica Burke, a research assistant in the DeVos Centre for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation. “When a culture differentiates between lives worth living and lives worth ending, the consequences to vulnerable populations, the young, the old, the sick, and disabled, are disastrous.” Burke added that, as a result of the twisted and dark progression of euthanasia legislation, “those who most require our compassion and protection become the most likely to be pressured to prematurely end their lives.”

A heinous cultural moment has arrived when children are offered “suicide assistance” instead of “suicide prevention.” The scholar noted that this Canadian hospital’s ethically bankrupt policy is a clear signal that there is now “no natural, logical limit to who qualifies for physician-assisted suicide.” Assisted suicide is set to becoming utterly indiscriminate, with little legal constraint and a subsequent whittling away of the sanctity of life. Despite Canada’s penchant for liberalizing euthanasia laws, a Canadian Institute for Health Information study reveals that a mere 15% of dying Canadians have access to quality palliative during the last year of their life.

It is clear that the legislative emphasis has been placed on the ending of life, rather than the sustaining of it. “We all know that in Canada, an ER visit for a frail elderly person (the main clientele for palliative care) means lying on a gurney in a hallway for hours,” wrote journalist Andre Picard. “That is the last place a dying person, often confused, incontinent and in pain, should be. This kind of humiliation is untenable and we should be ashamed at how commonplace it is.” Earlier this year, a leading American bioethicist backed a Dutch law that effectively eradicates all age limits for euthanasia, meaning children can be medically, and legally, executed.

Presently, euthanasia in The Netherlands is legal starting at age 12. You would expect that American experts would be appalled by this law, but that’s not the case. U.S. Ethics Professor Margaret P. Battin actively supported it, and essentially advocated for the 2004 infant euthanasia policy called the “Groningen Protocol.” The Protocol contains directives with criteria under which physicians can perform “active ending of life on infants” without fear of prosecution.  “I generally support the change in Dutch law governing eligibility for euthanasia.‍”

“Given that euthanasia is currently legal for infants under 1 year of age and children and adults over 12 years of age, I believe that opponents would have to show evidence that at least one of the following propositions are true if they are to persuade the Dutch health minister not to support the change in the law,” Prof. Battin said in a roundtable discussion on the issue in the Paediatrics journal. Battin then listed a few shocking propositions that must be proved wrong, one of which being, “parents aren’t harmed by seeing their children suffer.” So, if a parent feels that they are suffering from the sight of their child going through pain, it is OK to “put them down.”

Source: Faithwire

BRITISH BAKERY WINS LANDMARK GAY CAKE CASE

A bakery run by a Christian family in Northern Ireland has won a landmark case in Britain’s highest court over its refusal to make a cake decorated with the words “Support Gay Marriage”. The Supreme Court upheld the owners’ appeal against a decision that found them guilty of discriminating against gay rights activist Gareth Lee. The bakery called the ruling a momentous day for religious freedom in Britain while Mr Lee condemned it as a profound blow for civil rights.  “I paid my money, my money was taken and then a few days later it was refused. That made me feel like a second-class citizen,” he told reporters after listening to the verdict.

“I’m concerned not just for the implications for myself and other gay people, but for every single one of us.” The case pitted Northern Ireland’s strong Protestant and Catholic communities against LGBT groups testing the breadth of the UK province’s anti-discrimination laws. The ruling explained that the bakery’s “objection was to the message on the cake, not any personal characteristics of the messenger, or anyone with whom he was associated.” Ashers Baking Company, a business with 80 employees across Britain that takes its name from an Old Testament figure, took the order but declined to make the cake in 2014.

The case came as marriage between same-sex couples becomes increasingly accepted across Europe and the West as a whole. Fifteen countries, including Britain, have allowed gay and lesbian partners to marry since the Netherlands became the first in 2001. British-ruled Northern Ireland is not covered by the same-sex marriage law. The chief judge on Britain’s Supreme Court said the ruling should not be read as condoning discrimination. “It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief,” judge Brenda Hale said.

“But that is not what happened in this case.” The owners of Ashers bakery argued that they opposed Mr Lee’s political message, not his sexual orientation. Mr Lee ordered the cake for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia. The bakery accepted both the order and payment. Then two days later it explained that it could not top the cake with the icing featuring the marriage slogan. The bakery argued that it opposed the political message requested by Mr Lee rather than his sexual orientation. Judge Hale said the law supported this logic.

“The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a homosexual man or supported gay marriage,” she said. “But that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed.” Ms Hale explained that the law could not “compel” the bakers to violate their religious beliefs and endorse gay marriage. Ashers general manager Daniel McArthur said “We knew we hadn’t done anything wrong. This ruling protects freedom of speech and conscience for everyone.”

Source: Compiled by APN from various media reports

MYANMAR: CHRISTIANS FORCED TO SIGN PAPERS VOWING NOT TO PRAY IN CHURCH

Hundreds of minority Christians in Myanmar are being forced to sign papers vowing to not pray in churches, pastors have warned. A church leader identified as the Rev. Lazarus, general secretary of the Lahu Baptist Convention in Kyaing Tong, said that close to 100 Wa Christians were released by the United Wa State Army after they agreed to the orders. Christians who signed the pledges are now mandated to only pray privately in their homes and not in churches. Lazarus added that 92 ethnic-Lahu Christians remain in captivity, however, while dozens of churches have been shut down. He warned that the believers are faced with no choice but to sign the papers.

“Christians will face more restrictions and be closely monitored by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), so the situation is worrisome,” he said. The Rev. Thang Cin Lian, general secretary of the Myanmar Baptist Convention, said that meetings are being held discussing the faith of the 92 captive believers. “We are praying for the Christians in the Wa Hills,” Lian said.  The UWSA, which grew out of the Communist Party of Burma, expelled five Catholic nuns and six lay teachers in September, and has been destroying what it claims are unauthorized churches in the region.

“We want stability and rule of law in our area, so extremists may be arrested. Such measures are necessary, as we are preparing to celebrate the 30th Peace Festival on April 17 next year and no extremism is allowed,” said U Nyi Rang, the militia’s spokesperson. The April 2019 date in question refers to the 30th anniversary of the USWA cease-fire with the Myanmar government. The military group has accused Christians of causing instability in the area, Myanmar Times reported. It has been targeting churches built after 1992, arguing that they were built without permission.

Aaron Maung Tun, director of the publication’s department of the Lahu Baptist Convention, said that the army is looking to use closed Christian schools for its own purposes. “The Lahu Bible school will be used as a Wa police station” Tun said. The UWSA has been arresting Christians claiming that religious leaders are violating laws that prevent foreigners from serving in churches. It has also accused believers of forced conversions.  The Lahu Baptist Convention, also claims that the UWSA has forcibly recruited 41 male and female students who were participating in Bible study classes in various churches.”

Source: The Christian Post

BIOLOGICAL MALE WINS WOMEN’S CYCLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

A biological man who identifies as a transgender woman won a women’s world championship cycling event recently, prompting a mixed response of congratulations and criticism. Rachel McKinnon, was victorious in the women’s sprint for ages 35-39 at the 2018 Masters Track Cycling World Championships held in Los Angeles. McKinnon, who was born a male, took to Twitter to celebrate her  victory. McKinnon, who calls herself “an internationally recognized expert on the science and ethics of transgender inclusion in sport,” said that American society should not “have a woman legally recognized as a trans woman in society, and not recognized that way in sports.”

“Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn’t be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics,” she added. “We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead. This is bigger than sports, and it’s about human rights.”  The transgender woman went further, comparing the crisis of categorizing those of various different gender identities to when those in power were figuring out how to resolve racial segregation. “By catering to cisgender people’s views, that furthers transgender people’s oppression,” McKinnon noted.

“When it comes to extending rights to a minority population, why would we ask the majority? I bet a lot of white people were pissed off when we desegregated sports racially and allowed black people. But they had to deal with it.” But many disagreed with McKinnon, arguing that her biological make-up puts her in a superior position going into the competition. “Unfair advantage is not to be celebrated,” one Twitter user wrote. “Look at the difference in size and muscle mass. Of course you were going to win.” “It’s time for all sports to define gender categories as biological birth gender,” another person added.

Source: Faithwire

CALL FOR WITHDRAWAL OF ANTI CHRISTIAN POSTERS IN SCOTLAND

Barnabas Fund has called on the Scottish police to withdraw billboard posters launched by One Scotland targeting posters that incite religious prejudice. The Sunday Times reported Barnabas Fund’s criticism of the poster campaign as a form of “state-sponsored hatred” that unfairly accuses people of religious faith. A One Scotland poster reads: “Dear Bigots, you can’t spread your religious hatred here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland.” Using the word “sermon” seems to target religious groups including Christians, Jews and Muslims. Even the lettering used in one poster reinforces this association, being very similar to typefaces used in some historic Bible imprints.

Barnabas’ CEO, Hendrik Storm, said he was “shocked” by the posters and had received complaints from Christians that they “single out  believers as ‘bigots’ without any real qualification”. The typeface used in the posters is very similar to historic fonts, such as Baskerville, strongly linked with early printings of Christian Scripture. Barnabas Fund has supported Christians who face prejudice since 1993, but has never before had to make a formal complaint of this kind in the UK. This form of state-sponsored prejudice is something that Barnabas is more used to encountering in countries where Christians are marginalised and persecuted.

Source: Barnabas Fund

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE SAYS PRAYERS ARE THE PATHWAY TO HEAL AMERICA

American Vice President Mike Pence says that prayer is the “pathway to heal our country.” “I believe, as every president from George Washington forward believed, in the role of providence in the life of this nation,” the vice president said. “I really do believe the prayers of the American people have made a difference. And even in these divided times, I do believe those prayers are a pathway to heal our country and continue to move our nation forward.”

Source:  CBN News