Freedom of Religion on Trial in Finland

William Kilpatrick is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.  His books include Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West (Ignatius Press), What Catholics Need to Know About Islam (Sophia Press), and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad.

Päivi Räsänen is a member of the Finnish Parliament, a former minister of the interior, a public speaker and the mother of five grown children.

She faces a heavy fine and two years in prison for quoting the Bible.  In response to the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s affiliation with the Helsinki LGBT Pride event, she posted the Bible passage from Romans 1: 24-27 which condemns homosexual behavior.

Finnish prosecutors stated that the use of the word “sin” could be harmful, and alleged that Ms. Räsänen’s comments were made to cause intolerance, contempt, and hatred toward homosexuals.

But couldn’t the prosecutor’s remarks cause intolerance, contempt and hatred toward Ms. Räsänen?  If criticizing another person’s beliefs or behavior is a hate crime, then isn’t she the victim of a hate crime?

The court prosecutors worried that the word “sin” could be harmful.  One supposes they mean harmful to one’s self-esteem.  And, indeed, the list of sins in Romans 1: 24-32 is meant to make you feel bad about yourself.  From a Biblical perspective, acknowledgment of sin, followed by repentance, leads on to salvation.  In other words, feeling bad about your behavior is, in some cases, a good thing.  It’s not only homosexual behavior that is condemned in Romans I.  The extended passage condemns all manner of sins including idolatry, deceitfulness, envy, gossip, slander, and disobedience to parents.

From one point of view this is highly offensive and insulting to those disposed to deceitfulness and slander.  From another point of view, it can be looked upon as highly therapeutic—a moment of self-recognition that leads on to change.

Prosecutors should have no difficulty understanding the concept.  After all, they apply painful therapeutics as a matter of course.  They hope that a heavy fine or a dose of prison will force the criminal to recognize his crimes and put himself on the road to rehabilitation.

Increasingly, however, prosecutors are prosecuting “thought crimes” rather than real crimes, and courts are using hurt feelings as a criterion for making decisions.  Take the case of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, an Austrian woman who was found guilty of “inciting hatred” by an Austrian Court because of her assertion that the prophet Muhammad was a pedophile.  In 2018, the ruling was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights which held that her right to freedom of expression was outweighed by “the right of others to have their religious feelings protected.” In short, feelings trumped facts, and the alleged pain caused to Muslims by the “slander” of their prophet became the deciding factor.

 Interestingly, the case of Päivi Räsänen also involves “religious feelings”—her feeling or, rather, her conviction that Lutherans should be guided by the words of St. Paul rather than by the fashions of the day.

But although the feelings of Muslims still count for quite a bit in Europe, it seems likely that the Christian “feelings” of Ms. Räsänen will count for very little against the supposedly great pain homosexuals feel when they read the words of St. Paul in Romans.  The Finns will probably be hearing a great deal in the near future about the harm that Christianity causes to homosexuals, transgenders and other favored sexual minorities.

So, just as Muslims must be protected from Islamophobia, homosexuals must be protected from homophobia.  Whether or not the free speech rights of Christians get trampled in the process doesn’t seem to matter much to European elites.

But if the rights of homosexuals clash with the rights of Muslims, what happens then?

Well, if you understand how the hierarchy of feelings is structured, you’ll quickly realize that—all things being equal—Muslim feelings will prevail.  For example, a Birmingham, England primary school stopped lessons normalizing same-sex relationships when hundreds of Muslim parents protested.

This is in contrast to the attitude of schools in the UK toward non-Muslim parents.  Such parents can expect to be ignored completely when they complain about sex-ed.  It’s not that the Muslim protests were threatening:  they weren’t.  It’s just that the Muslim population of Birmingham is thirty percent and rising.  And if you’re given the choice of offending the city’s gay population or its Muslim population, you’ll probably choose to do the former.

Meanwhile, in Helsinki the top priority is criminalizing Saint Paul’s “offensive” letter to the Romans.  But if the Finns had looked over their border to the rest of the Continent, they might have noticed that homosexuals in Europe worry very little about St. Paul and very much about the growing number of Muslim gangs in cities and suburbs.

In Brussels according to Bianca Debaets, the former Belgian Secretary of State, “there are too many areas where it is difficult for women and homosexuals to walk.”  That may be because the Muslim percentage of the population of Brussels is now between 25-30 %.  Perhaps, you may think, homosexuals in Brussels should consider moving to close-by Amsterdam which has traditionally been a haven for gays.  But the Muslim population of Amsterdam has also been growing, and as Amsterdam becomes more like the real Mecca, it is no longer the Mecca for gays that it once was. As a result, many gays have moved out.

In short, while European elites claim to be fighting homophobia, they are doing little to resist the gradual takeover of Europe by the most homophobic culture on the planet.  A similar contradiction can be found in the attitude of European officials toward anti-Semitism. On the one hand, they tell us it’s a very bad thing. On the other hand, they welcome waves of immigrants from cultures that are steeped in anti-Semitism.

These schizoid policies suggest that European leaders are seriously confused. Indeed, many of the Western experts and authorities that we once relied on for guidance are now in the grip of deep delusions about obvious realities. I refer to politicians, teachers, health professionals, and media commentators who insist that men can become pregnant, that women can become men, and that a union between two men is no different than a marriage between a man and a woman.

It’s ironic that some of these gullible types in Helsinki are now in a position to criminalize a passage in the Bible. It’s ironic because the chapter from Romans that most offends them not only criticizes idolatry and homosexuality, it also criticizes the foolish thinking of the time which passed for wisdom among the elites.

But what Paul said about the supposed wise men of his day applies even more fittingly to the supposed wise men of our own age. Here’s a sample:

So they are without excuse, for although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools…(Rom 1:20-22).

You can see why the authorities want to cancel Paul. The fashionable ideas they want people to bow down before are just as foolish as the once-fashionable idea of worshipping birds and reptiles. Yet, for opposing the present foolishness, Päivi Räsänen now faces prison time.

Expose: Iran’s anti-US operations in Africa

In 1979, US policy toward Iran crashed against the rocks of reality, when Ayatollah Khomeini assumed power with the help of the US, but – contrary to US expectations – transformed Iran, “The American policeman of the Gulf” into the world’s leading epicenter of anti-US subversion, terrorism and drug-trafficking.

In 2015, US policy toward Iran crashed, again, against the rocks of reality, when – contrary to US expectations – Iran’s Ayatollahs did not harness the mega-billion-dollar bonanza, yielded by the nuclear accord (JCPOA), to upgrade domestic standards of living. Instead – as expected – this bonanza bolstered Iran’s preoccupation with anti-US subversion, terrorism and the development, manufacturing and proliferation of non-conventional military systems.

In 2022, once again, US policy-makers seem to stick to the 1979 and 2015 practice of basing their Iran policy on assessments of the future behavior of Iran’s Ayatollahs, rather than on the Ayatollahs’ rogue, systematic track record since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

US policy-makers base their policy on the hope that a mega-generous Western gesture could induce Iran’s Ayatollahs to depart from their 1979-2022 systematic and rogue anti-US policy, which is driven by a 1,400-year-old religious, cultural, historical and imperialistic vision.

The hope (rather than reality)-driven policy toward Iran has led to a display of eagerness to conclude an agreement with Iran’s Ayatollahs, downplaying the Ayatollahs’ non-good-faith conduct, and waving the military option and the regime-change option.

However, on February 1, 2022, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, the powerful Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered a strident warning to President Biden on the Senate floor: “Hope is not a national security strategy!”

Africa’s geo-strategic significance

According to General Thomas Waldhauser, a former Commander of the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM), during his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee: “instability in North Africa may be the most significant near-term threat to U.S. and allies….”

General Waldhauser’s testimony has been vindicated by the accelerated transformation of Africa – the second largest continent with over 1.2 billion people – into a major global epicenter of anti-US Islamic terrorism.

Iran’s Ayatollahs consider North Africa as the soft underbelly of the “infidel” Europe, and the whole of Africa as an extension of Iran’s strategic depth.

One of the examples of Africa’s geo-strategic significance is The Horn of Africa (150mn people, about 40% Moslems), which is one of the more militarily volatile, unstable, unpredictable and critical regions in the world. It stretches along the southern part of the Red Sea, across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, controlling the geo-strategically vital strait of Bab al-Mandeb, which facilitates trade between Asia and Europe, including Persian Gulf oil shipments. It is a significant platform, militarily and economically, for regional and global powers.

The Washington-based Foreign Policy contends that “Europe’s future will be decided in North Africa. Morocco and Spain are separated by a mere 9 miles. There are only 146 miles separating the Tunisian coast and the Italian coast, and 286 miles from Libya to Greece. Algeria’s beaches are 469 miles from those of France — about the distance from Washington, DC to Charleston, South Carolina….

“Algeria (920,000 sqm), Libya (680,000 sqm), and Tunisia (63,000 sqm) all have terrorism problems that have affected Europe in frightening ways…. Algeria and Libya border Chad, Mali, and Niger, which are themselves confronting [Islamic terrorism]….

“Africa is the foundation of the global supply chain – a strategic source of almost 40% of the raw materials, agriculture, fresh water and energy essential for global growth…. Africa has become the fastest-growing oil producing region worldwide. Not only does it produce oil that is easily refined, but many experts also believe that there are still large undiscovered oil fields with immense potential. Africa possesses 60% of the world’s diamonds, 40% of its phosphate, and 30% of its cobalt [and 18% of its uranium] resources….

“11% of Europe’s natural gas is imported from Algeria… Spain, for example, gets 52% of its natural gas from Algeria. The North African giant is also Italy’s second-largest gas supplier. If Algeria descended into violence — which is not out of the realm of possibility — and its gas supplies were somehow disrupted, Europe would have a significant problem…. Libya has a lot of gas, but it is in the midst of a civil war….

The Washington-based Atlantic Council reports that “In 2015, the number of people killed in terrorist attacks in Africa was the same or higher as the number of fatalities caused by ISIS in the Middle East…. African-based groups such as Boko Haram—the second most lethal terrorist group in the world — and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) espouse dangerous anti-US and/or anti-Western ideologies…. Africa is a growing transit hub for illegal drugs…. 12% of the cocaine trafficked through Africa is destined for the US…. Drug trafficking in West Africa has been likened to drug-related violence in Latin America and the Caribbean…. [West Africa’s] Guinea-Bissau has been labeled a narco-state….”

Africa as a springboard to export Iran’s Islamic Revolution

Iran’s Ayatollahs have been active in Africa since the early 1980s, leveraging Africa’s inherent instability, failed-states, tribal, ethnic and religious military conflicts:

*Recruiting and training anti-US terrorists;
*Fueling local and regional conflicts (e.g., assisting the anti-US Polisario Front’s war to end the pro-US and pro-Saudi Morocco’s sovereignty in Western Sahara; and cooperating with the Algerian opposition, Islamic Salvation Front, during the 2002-1991 civil war);
*Challenging all Sunni regimes through subversion and terrorism;
*Establishing Shiite seminaries and converting Sunni Muslims to Shiism; *Forging a West Africa – Latin America drug trafficking and money laundering coordination;
*Supporting anti-US African governments (e.g., assisting Ethiopia in its war against Tigray rebels);
*Expanding access to uranium resources.

According to King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies: “Iran sought Africa’s support for its nuclear program, promoting the concept of Third World’s “nuclear unity”. The initiative was designed to assist Iran’s access to Africa’s uranium markets [in Algeria, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, and the Democratic Republic of Congo], and derail international sanctions…. Iran invested in the uranium mines of Namibia and Malawi [and possibly in Gabon and Zimbabwe].

Iran’s Ayatollahs have realized that adding fuel to tribal and regional wars, unstable and failed-states – which have plagued Africa – feeds violence and global terrorism, serving the Islamic Revolution. Thus, North Africa (Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Egypt), has produced a substantial percentage of the foreigners who have joined ISIS’ terrorism in Iraq and Syria in defiance of their own home-countries.

Iran’s African network consists of religious, cultural, drug-trafficking, money laundering and terror operations, in collaboration with its Hezbollah proxy, and in coordination with their joint initiatives with Latin American drug cartels, terrorist groups and anti-US governments.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez’ warning (ibid)

The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee stated on February 1, 2022: “…. We are not dealing with a good faith actor here…. We can’t live in a counterfactual world where all parties remained in full compliance, but we do know that even for the first couple years of the JCPOA, Iran’s leaders… fought vigorously to keep their highly advanced nuclear infrastructure in place…. Iran’s consistent obfuscation, continual stalling, and outlandish demands have left us flying blind….”

The Chairman indicated that there are no grounds for the hope:

*that Iran’s Ayatollahs will sign and comply with an accord which will undermine the hegemonic vision of the Islamic Revolution;
*that democracy will take hold in Iran;
*that Iran will desist from its nuclear ambitions;
*that the Ayatollahs will stop exporting and supporting terrorism;
*and, that they will stop their “Death to America” policy.

Will the US Executive heed this vital advice from a senior member of the Legislature?

Palestinian Terrorist Authority issues stamp honoring jihad suicide bombers and other jihad terrorists

The Palestinian Authority has issued a new stamp in honor of “the Martyrs of the numbered cemeteries” because “their names remain as torches illuminating the path.”

But who are these “Martyrs” and what are “the numbered cemeteries”?

The “Martyrs” are in fact suicide bombers and other terrorist murderers who were killed during their attacks.

The Cemeteries for Enemy Casualties (“the numbered cemeteries”) are two burial sites maintained by the Israeli army for burying the bodies of enemy soldiers during wartime as well as terrorists. Graves have markers instead of gravestones. The bodies are buried in numbered caskets after their identities are documented, and no burial ceremony is held. Burial is temporary, as the bodies are eventually returned to their countries of origin.

The PA’s new stamp exemplifies PA policy, glorifying Palestinian terrorists who attacked, wounded, and murdered Israelis. Reporting on the new PA stamp, the official PA daily described these terrorists as “pure souls” whose “struggle” is “appreciated” – qualities that prompted the PA Ministry of Communications and IT and the Palestinian Postal Administration to issue the stamp.

Palestinian Media Watch has previously documented stamps issued by Hamas in the name of the Palestinian Authority. For example the stamps below featuring rockets aimed at Israel from the Gaza Strip (2012) and a hand raising the Palestinian flag over all of Israel, implying political sovereignty over the entire area (2010):

Colorado State University under federal investigation for female-only leadership program

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently opened a Title IX investigation into Colorado State University for its promotion and support of an upcoming female-only leadership program.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education if those institutions or programs receive federal funds.

The OCR informed Professor Mark Perry on January 31 that it had opened an investigation following a federal complaint he sent the Education Department. Perry, a professor at the University of Michigan Flint, filed the complaint in December after learning about an email from CSU’s Office of Inclusive Evidence.

The public university promoted the HERS Institute, a leadership training opportunity only open to women. The email, reviewed by The College Fix, said CSU has been in support of the program since 1985– this year the event will be held at the University of Denver in June.

Men’s Feminist Identification and Reported Use of Prescription Erectile Dysfunction Medication

We analyzed data from the 2018 Sex in Canada survey (n = 1,015 cisgender men) to examine the association between feminist identification and reported use of prescription ED medication (EDM) during men’s last sexual encounter. Feminist-identified men were substantially more likely to report EDM use than non-feminist men, even after controlling for alcohol use before sex, erection difficulties, sexual arousal, sexual health, mental health, and physical health. One explanation is that feminist men may use EDM to bolster their masculinity when it is otherwise threatened by their identification as feminist. Another is that non-feminist men may be less likely to use prescription EDM because they view accessing healthcare services as a threat to their masculinity. It is also possible that feminist men are more likely to use EDM because they wish to maintain an erection to better please their partner. Lastly, feminist men may be more honest about EDM use than non-feminist men, even though rates are similar. Regardless of the exact reason, therapists can use these results to tailor sexual health messages to clients based on feminist identification. Future work could employ qualitative methods to understand why feminist men report higher rates of EDM use than non-feminist men.

Disgusted Parents Say They Heard About Elementary School Science Camp’s Progressive Sleeping Arrangements Three Nights Too Late

A group of parents from a California elementary school are outraged after discovering that a school science camp allowed male counselors to sleep in the same room with 10-year-old girls.

The parents of students from Weaver Elementary School in Los Alamitos are blasting the Los Alamitos Unified School District because they were not told that their little girls would be sleeping in the same room with counselors who claim to be “non-binary” or transgender during the science camp at Camp Pali in San Bernardino County, according to KTLA.

“No parent should feel the way I feel after knowing what could have happened to my daughter,” parent Suzy Johnson said.

Johnson and other parents said that they didn’t know until the camp was over that biological males who have demanded to be addressed as “they/them” spent three nights sleeping with the 10 and 11-year-old girls.

“I contacted the school and asked them if they were able to confirm that there was not a man actually sleeping in the same cabin as the girls. They were not able to confirm that,” parent Rachel Sandoval added.

Celebs Backed BLM Fund That Bailed Out a BLM Assassin

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

Quintez Brown, a Black Lives Matter activist, walked into the campaign office of a Louisville political candidate and opened fire. Bullets grazed the clothing of Craig Greenberg, a local businessman running in the mayoral election, as people ran for cover from the shooter.

Brown’s bag carried extra magazines suggesting that he had come prepared for a massacre or an extended firefight. However the people in the office barricaded the door and the Black Lives Matter activist ran for it.

The police caught him anyway.

After years of campaigning against the police with BLM, the arrest came as poetic justice, but it was followed by BLM’s Louisville Community Bail Fund bailing out the assassin.

“It is nearly impossible to believe that someone can attempt murder on Monday and walk out of jail on Wednesday,” Mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg said.

And yet that’s always been the goal of BLM and the pro-crime police defunding movement.

“There is simply no defense for a would-be assassin to be released on bail, 60 hours after firing on his intended target,” Adam Edelen, the former Chief of Staff for Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, tweeted.

Brown had led a charmed life long before the shooting. After a free ride scholarship to the University of Louisville, he met with Obama as a fellow at the Youth Violence Prevention Research Center, along with John Legend and Michael B. Jordan, got a column at the Courier Journal and was planning to launch his own political career.

After a very privileged life, it’s not surprising that Quintez Brown retains his political privilege.

Black Lives Matter is a racist and antisemitic hate group, and Brown’s increasingly hateful and antisemitic views were not out of line with his fellow black nationalist bigots. BLM’s decision to bail him out of jail is evidence that the hate group continues its support even after the shooting.

And who was behind Louisville Community Bail Fund?

The bail fund is a project of BLM Louisville, but its fiscal sponsor is the Alliance for Global Justice. AFGJ had been created to support Marxist Sandinista terrorists in Nicaragua and its backers include George Soros, Tides, the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, and other wealthy leftists.

The Louisville Community Bail Fund was originally set up to bail out BLM rioters during the violent mob scenes over the death of Breonna Taylor who was killed when her boyfriend opened fire on police officers during a drug raid. Celebrities who rallied on social media to celebrate the drug dealer’s girlfriend also promoted donations to the bail fund in order to help the rioters.

“If you are heartsick over racism & injustice, let it manifest action, work towards justice, however you can manage,” Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted, along with a link to the Louisville Community Bail Fund. “If you cannot donate, amplify/volunteer.”

Some of these tweets were organized by celebrity, music, and women’s magazines like  Billboard, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Marie Claire who cheered support for the racist rioters devastating cities and provided convenient links enabling readers to donate to free them.

Rapper Janelle Monae tweeted, “I’m getting heroes out of jail in Louisville. Join me if you can (especially those who seek to be allies). Let’s donate.”

Monae, despite no discernible talent, has multiple Grammy Award nominations, is a Cover Girl spokeswoman, and Boston even created Janelle Monae Day to honor her. She appeared in the revisionist history movie Hidden Figures and has faced no consequences for her activism.

Scandal star Kerry Washington convened an Instagram online yoga class and offered donations to the Louisville Community Bail Fund for everyone who joined her collective breathing class.

Former teen actress Gabrielle Union also tweeted about her bail fund donation.

Front Page Magazine reached out to some of the celebrities who donated to the bail fund for a racist hate group in light of its role in bailing out a political assassin, but received no reply.

The cast, crew, and producers of FOX’s sitcom Call Me Kat, also made a collective donation.

“I set our upcoming Fox series in Louisville to honor my hometown,” executive producer Darlene Hunt said. “But in light of current events, supporting the Louisville Community Bail Fund seemed like an important way to not only honor my hometown but to also hopefully promote positive change.”

How releasing rioters to destroy more of the city would promote positive change was unclear.

Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy tweeted, “Disgusted. Enraged. Heartbroken. Please contribute if you can. Justice should not be a luxury” along with a link to the Louisville Community Bail Fund.

Now it’s Louisville residents watching a racist assassin being set free who are disgusted and enraged at this betrayal of justice aided and abetted by millionaire celebrities from California.

None of the actors whom I contacted about their support for a fund that bailed out a political assassin were interested in replying and addressing the issue. Much like the celebrities who supported Black Lives Matter were unwilling to discuss the devastating riots, destruction of family businesses, and deaths caused by the racist hate groups they were supporting.

The violence that Quintez Brown unleashed in a campaign office did not come out of nowhere.

Black Lives Matter lives by violence and hate. The hate that Brown spewed on social media did not get any attention until he opened fire. And even then his apologists are claiming that his actions are the result of mental illness rather than his association with a racist hate group.

Leftists want to support Black Lives Matter, yet they refuse to accept responsibility for its violence. Celebrities eagerly organized donations to free race rioters and criminals, but are unwilling to accept responsibility when the BLM fund they backed releases an assassin.

The reckoning over years of Black Lives Matter violence, backed by corporations and celebrities, has yet to arrive. But as violence by the extremists drawn to the racist movement continues, those who funded violence and terrorism will have to answer for the consequences.

School district sued after Evangelical revival assembly prompts walkout

Parents and students have filed a federal lawsuit after a West Virginia public school district admitted last week that two teachers mistakenly took their high school classes to a voluntary Christian revival assembly hosted by the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Nearly a dozen parents and students represented by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation filed the lawsuit Thursday. They claim the students’ First Amendment rights were violated because they were forced to attend an assembly led by a local evangelist on Feb. 2 during the school’s equivalent of homeroom period. 

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Cabell County Board of Education, Superintendent Ryan Saxe and Huntington High Principal Daniel Gleason.

Students allege that the assembly sponsored by the school’s FCA club and led by evangelist Nik Walker sought to convert students to evangelical Christianity. Students were reportedly asked to assemble in prayer and if they wanted to give their lives to Jesus Christ or risk going to Hell. 

Jedd Flowers, Cabell County Schools director of communications, had previously told The Christian Post that the assembly was voluntary. However, two teachers had mistakenly taken their entire classes to the event even though there was a sign-up process in place.

“Those teachers have been corrected and the district does not anticipate a similar issue in the future,” Flowers said a statement. 

FFRF, which advocates for a strict separation of church and state, argues that teachers’ actions violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The law group contends that the school board and administrators “have not taken sufficient action to stop adults from preaching to students at school and at school-sponsored activities.”

The lawsuit hopes for “significant policy changes, training of employees, and supervision of employees in order to protect the constitutional rights of students.” Further, the complaint calls for the court to bar the school from sponsoring religious assemblies and other religious worship services during the school day.

This is not the first time FFRF has voiced concerns about religious student clubs at Cabell County Schools. 

According to the lawsuit, FFRF wrote to Superintendent Saxe on Jan. 10, 2019, about religious clubs called Generation NXT.

Another letter was sent from FFRF to Saxe on March 14, 2019, requesting a written response about what actions had been taken to alleviate its concerns. 

But Thursday’s complaint states that Cabell County Schools never responded to FFRF’s letters.

The lawsuit is one of many actions Huntington High School students have taken in response to the Feb. 2 assembly.

Catholic school board asks young kids to select gender identity in survey hidden from parents

A Catholic school board in Canada will ask students to self-certify their gender identity and provide other private information in a school-wide survey kept hidden from parents.

The Waterloo (Ontario) Catholic District School Board (WCDSB), which made headlines for flying an LGBTQ pride flag outside its headquarters last year, announced the launch of its “School Climate Survey” for children in grades 4 through 12 on its website.

Students will have from February 22 to March 11 to complete the voluntary survey, which the board says will be anonymous.

The survey adopted by the school district is called the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) and was developed by a research team at Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) led by Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl at the University of British Columbia.

According to the school board, whose motto is “Quality, Inclusive, Faith Based Education,” the 77-question survey “asks students about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in school and in the community.”

The WCDSB, which states that it is committed to “dismantling racism” and working “intentionally to disrupt oppressive systems for the benefit of future generations,” said the goal of the research is to “help prevent bullying and promote safe and inclusive schools, determine the effectiveness of programs on an ongoing basis, and build and sustain a positive school climate.”

The school board has stated that only staff within the district’s Research & Data Services Department “will have access to your child’s anonymous survey responses,” which will otherwise be kept hidden from parents, teachers, and principals.

Some of the questions included in the lengthy survey have raised alarm bells, especially those having to do with gender identity.

According to a copy of the survey obtained by LifeSiteNews, students are asked to identify which adults they “live with most of the time,” including options for selecting “two mothers,” “two fathers,” or “other adults.”

Children are also asked to answer “how do you describe your gender?”

The survey respondents, children age nine through 18, can select “boy,” “girl” or indicate that they identify “in another way.”

Evangelical revival assembly prompts high school student walkout in West Virginia

Over 100 students walked out of a West Virginia high school this week calling for “separation of church and state” after two teachers took their classes to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes assembly during an in-school, non-instructional period that was supposed to be voluntary. 

Students at Huntington High School in Cabell County left classrooms Wednesday during a non-instructional period called COMPAS to protest an Evangelical Christian revival assembly held on Feb. 2.

Jedd Flowers, Cabell County Schools director of communications, told The Christian Post that the assembly organized by students affiliated with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes club.

Although student attendance was voluntary and there was a sign-up process so teachers would know which students would attend, Flowers said two teachers “mistakenly took their entire class to the assembly.”

“Those teachers have been corrected and the district does not anticipate a similar issue in the future,” Flowers said.  

However, some students claim they had no choice but to attend the revival event, saying that they were asked to pray and if they wanted to give their lives to Jesus Christ. The event drew pushback from secular legal organizations like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which sent a demand letter last Friday claiming that students were told if they didn’t accept Jesus, they could go to Hell. 

The letter stated that evangelist Nik Walker, 25, was invited to preach during the event. Students were encouraged to attend Walker’s church, Christ Temple Church. 

The FFRF says that many teachers and the principal attended the event. 

The 67-year-old Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a national evangelistic ministry found on high schools and college campuses nationwide. 

CP asked FCA for comments but didn’t receive any details on the organization’s relationship with students at Huntington High School. The organization assured that their events are voluntary. 

“All are welcome to participate in Fellowship of Christian Athletes activities and events. One way that FCA shows all individuals respect is by welcoming all people to FCA events on a voluntary basis,” a statement reads. “Coaches, athletes and students are free to choose or deny participation in any FCA event.”

On Feb. 2, the 25-year-old Walker posted on his Facebook page that around 50 students had given their lives to Christ at voluntary club meetings at Boyd County High School and Huntington High School. Walker of Nik Walker Ministries has spearheaded revivals in the Huntington area. 

FFRF, which advocates for a strict separation of church and state, contends the event violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Austria: Woman charged with ‘bodily harm’ for stabbing Syrian migrant who tried to rape her in Vienna

The Vienna police are being accused of hiding a rape case involving a Syrian migrant after only making the case public three days after it occurred, and only after a request for information from the Austrian press. The police have also controversially charged the female victim for “bodily harm” for stabbing her attacker, despite the man being accused by the police for trying to rape her.

Shortly before midnight on Tuesday last week, the 22-year-old woman attempted to enter the front door of her apartment building on Schönbrunner Strasse in the district of Meidling when she was attacked out of nowhere. Police say a Syrian migrant pushed the woman into the courtyard, immediately grabbed intimate parts of her body and pushed his victim to the ground, according to Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung.

But then the rape attempt took a dramatic turn: the woman, with presence of mind, managed to pull a knife out of her purse. She stabbed her attacker several times with it until he let go of his victim. He then grabbed her purse and ran away badly injured. The perpetrator was discovered by the police a short time later with cuts and stab wounds at a nearby subway station and taken to a hospital.

After being provided with medical aid, the 24-year-old man was arrested. He is a Syrian asylum seeker who, when arrested, had alcohol in his blood and a small amount of marijuana in his pocket. The Syrian initially denied the crime.

The Vienna police made the case public only Friday afternoon, after a three-day delay, in a press release, but only at the request of Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung, which was informed of the case by attentive readers. Some Austrians are accusing the police of hiding the information, which the police department denies.

In addition, the public prosecutor’s office has charged the woman for bodily harm.

“An absolutely insensitive approach,” said her lawyer Michael Dohr, who said the charges are absurd and that the victim is still traumatized.

Ex-Tehran police chief linked to rights abuses spotted working out at Toronto-area gym

Iranian ex-patriates and human-rights groups are voicing outrage after evidence emerged that Canada had issued a visitor visa to a former Tehran police chief linked to various human-rights abuses.

Morteza Talaei also headed the capital city’s police force when Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was arrested and tortured to death in a Tehran prison.

The ex-chief was photographed at a gym in Richmond Hill, Ont., near Toronto, and later told a European-based Iranian journalist the visit to see his daughter was a private matter and no one else’s business.

Talaei is best known for launching a special unit to crack down on women wearing supposedly un-Islamic dress, aggressively quelling protests and spearheading an operation to seize TV satellite dishes used to bring in Western programming.

Before becoming police chief, he was an officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the politicized military force that shot down an airliner packed with Canadians in 2020 – accidentally according to Iran.

Canada should not be offering a safe haven and “impunity abroad” to individuals like Talaei, said a coalition of Iranian rights groups in an open letter to the federal government last week. The organizations urged Ottawa instead to impose sanctions on such officials under its “Magnitsky” law for punishing foreign rights violators.

“Allowing Morteza Talaei to freely enter Canada sends a dangerous message, a message that is an affront to Iranians who have themselves sought refuge in Canada,” the letter said. “Human rights violators must not be included in the Prime Minister’s ‘everyone is welcome’ campaign.”

Swiss-based Iranian journalist Abdollah Abdi, who broke the story after a viewer sent him video from the gym about two months ago, said he was baffled by this country’s decision.

Iranian cell caught in plot to assassinate Israeli in Istanbul, media and target say

Turkish intelligence thwarted an Iranian plan to assassinate an Israeli businessman in the country, according to reports in Turkish media Friday. The intended target, Yair Geller, confirmed the reports. “I know for certain they want to kill me,” Geller said.

Authorities led an operation in recent days to arrest eight suspects in the case, according to the Sabah newspaper and many other media outlets.

The reports say an Iranian spy cell comprised of nine operatives, some Iranian and some Turkish, who were sent to kill Yair Geller, an Israeli-Turkish businessman who lives in Istanbul and owns an engineering company specializing in aerospace technology.

Yair Geller speaks with Channel 13 news in an interview on February 11, 2022. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Turkish intelligence thwarted an Iranian plan to assassinate an Israeli businessman in the country, according to reports in Turkish media Friday. The intended target, Yair Geller, confirmed the reports. “I know for certain they want to kill me,” Geller said.

Authorities led an operation in recent days to arrest eight suspects in the case, according to the Sabah newspaper and many other media outlets.

The reports say an Iranian spy cell comprised of nine operatives, some Iranian and some Turkish, who were sent to kill Yair Geller, an Israeli-Turkish businessman who lives in Istanbul and owns an engineering company specializing in aerospace technology.

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The planned hit was to be a retaliation for the killing of Iranian nuclear chief Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in 2020, widely attributed to Israel’s Mossad, the reports said, as well as a means to hinder warming relations between Ankara and Jerusalem.

The reports say the hit squad followed Geller to his home and workplace and was planning to use Turkish citizens to carry out the assassination.