The Swedish government has told the Church of Sweden that ministers cannot refuse to marry same-sex couples.
A European court has ruled the parents of a critically ill baby cannot privately pay for him to go to the U.S. for “experimental treatment”.
Facebook has rejected an ad for a video created by a Christian group for the Fourth of July holiday that included an animated recreation of the “Creation of Adam” mural due to it violating the social media site’s policy on nudity.
(WNS)–In the 158 years since Charles Darwin developed the idea that all living organisms evolved from one common ancestor, scientists have attempted to prop up the so-called “tree of life” theory against the prevailing winds of reason. Since 1859, little empirical evidence has supported the concept, but a team of researchers from Rutgers University thinks reshaping the tree could help prove its existence.
The researchers say the tree doesn’t give the full picture of evolution because it depicts various families of organisms as independent branches. A better picture would show how forms of life such as microbes and their hosts are linked physically and evolve together. “The goal is to transform a two-dimensional tree into one that is multidimensional and includes biological interactions among species,” researcher Debashish Bhattacharya said in a statement.
Even though the researchers want to reshape Darwin’s tree, they were quick to defend their champion. “What we wish to clearly stress is that we are not engaged in Darwin-bashing. We consider Darwin a hero of science,” Bhattacharya said.
But failure to give microbes their due credit is not the only problem that has eaten away the roots of Darwin’s tree, said Jonathan Wells, a biologist and author. Even in 2000 when he wrote Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution, there were many scientific problems with the tree of life concept. “And now, 17 years later, the problems have grown worse,” Wells said in a video posted on the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News and Science blog.
It seems no reshaping of the tree can overcome its difficulties. Recently, the discovery of orphan genes, genes that do not show descent from a common ancestor because they have no similarity to genes in other species, has begun chopping away at the tree. The only way scientists can keep believing the illusion is to simply ignore the existence of orphan genes, Wells said: “The reason we get a tree, in the first place is only because we assume at the outset that it’s there.”
Two years after the Supreme Court decision that required states to recognize same-sex marriages nationwide, support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally is at its highest point in over 20 years of Pew Research Center polling on the issue.
By a margin of nearly two-to-one (62% to 32%), more Americans now say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry than say they are opposed.
Views on same-sex marriage have shifted dramatically in recent years. As recently as 2010, more Americans opposed (48%) than favored (42%) allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. In the past year alone, support has increased seven percentage points: In March 2016, 55% favored same-sex marriage, while 37% were opposed.
The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults finds striking increases in support for same-sex marriage among some demographic and partisan groups that, until recently, had broadly opposed it, including:
Baby Boomers. For the first time, a majority of Baby Boomers favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Currently, 56% of Boomers favor same-sex marriage, while 39% are opposed. Last year, opinion among Boomers was divided (46% favored/48% opposed).
African Americans. Blacks have long been less supportive of same-sex marriage when compared with whites, but the share of African Americans who favor same-sex marriage has risen 12 percentage points since 2015, from 39% to 51%.
Republicans. For the first time, a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents do not oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Today, 48% of Republicans and Republican leaners oppose same-sex marriage, while 47% favor this. As recently as 2013, Republicans opposed gay marriage by nearly two-to-one (61% to 33%).
Younger white evangelicals. Overall, white evangelical Protestants continue to stand out for their opposition to same-sex-marriage: 35% of white evangelical Protestants favor same-sex marriage, compared with a 59% majority who are opposed. But younger white evangelicals have grown more supportive: 47% of white evangelical Millennials and Gen Xers – age cohorts born after 1964 – favor same-sex marriage, up from 29% in March 2016. Views among older white evangelicals (Boomers and Silents) have shown virtually no change over the past year (26% now, 25% then).
WHY ARE THEY SO ANGRY AT SOMETHING THEY DON”T BELIEVE IN?
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ new Ten Commandments monument was smashed to pieces early Wednesday by someone driving a vehicle into it less than 24 hours after the 6-foot (1.8 meter) granite statue was placed on state Capitol grounds.
Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Chris Powell said capitol police arrested the male suspect early Wednesday.
Pulaski County jail records show that Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren, Arkansas, was booked into the jail shortly after 7:30 a.m. Wednesday on preliminary charges of defacing objects of public interest, criminal trespass and first-degree criminal mischief, with Capitol Police listed as the arrest agency.
A Facebook Live video shot early Wednesday and posted on an account belonging to a Michael Reed appears to show the destruction of the monument.
Arkansas’ monument fell from its plinth and broke into multiple pieces as it hit the ground.
“As far as what happens to the monument, it’s unclear at this time,” Powell said. “The first thing will be to clean up the debris.”
Nearly three years ago, a Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma’s Capitol met a similar fate, when a driver crashed his car into the statue, shattering it. That driver was identified as Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren, Arkansas. He was admitted the next day to a hospital for mental treatment and formal charges were never filed. It is not yet clear if he is the same person who attacked the Arkansas monument.
At the Capitol on Tuesday, Gov. Matt Bevin gave his public “Amen” to a bill allowing Bible courses in public schools.
Normally, a bill signing does not open with prayer, but in this case, it may have been appropriate. At a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, Bevin signed House Bill 128, which allows public schools to teach courses on the Bible.
The bill’s sponsor says students need to understand the role the Bible played in American history.
“It really did set the foundation that our founding fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights,” said Rep. D.J. Johnson (R-Owensboro). “All of those came from principles from the Bible.”
The bill, which easily passed the House and Senate, gives local school boards the option of developing a Bible literacy class as part of their social studies curriculum. The course would be elective, not required.
“The idea that we would not want this to be an option for people in school, that would be crazy. I don’t know why every state would not embrace this, why we as a nation would not embrace this,” Bevin told the crowd.
The ACLU of Kentucky said it’s concerned about how the law might be used in schools.
“A Bible literacy bill that, on its face, may not appear to be unconstitutional, could in fact become unconstitutional in its implementation,” said Advocacy Director Kate Miller.
Miller told WDRB News the ACLU will monitor the law closely.
“We want to make sure that teachers can teach and make sure that they don’t go in to preach,” Miller said.
Supporters point out that the state Department of Education will help schools develop the course.
“As long as we’re careful with the curriculum itself, there won’t be any constitutional issues,” Johnson said. “And we’ll do that.”
“Of these were the isles of the nations divided in their lands, every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.” Genesis 10:5 (The Israel Bible™)
In a scientific first, DNA taken from Egyptian mummies has been decoded, producing unexpected results about the true origins of the Egyptian people. These results confirm a controversial theory that traces the First Egyptian Dynasty back to Biblical Ham, as described in the Book of Genesis.
Scientists have long been baffled by the origins of the Egyptian people. Until now, there was no empirical data to clarify the issue. The study of Egypt’s population history could only draw on literary and indirect archaeological references, and inferences made from genetic studies of present-day Egyptians. Based on these sources, most researchers believed that ancient Egyptians came from nearby northern Africa. Egyptians today exhibit a significant sub-Saharan genetic influence.
This scientific belief long contradicted the Biblical account, which designates the forefather of Egypt as being Mizrayim, a son of Ham.
Of these were the isles of the nations divided in their lands, every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. And the sons of Ham: Cush, and Mizraim, and Put, and Canaan. Genesis 10:5-6
According to the Bible, Mizrayim settled in Egypt whereas Cush settled in Africa, establishing two distinct and separate nations that did not share a common heritage. The scientific theory implies the origins of Africa and Egypt were the same.
A recent study of the DNA of mummies, led by Johannes Krause of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, has shed some light on the subject, and his findings support the Biblical narrative.
Previous attempts to study the DNA of mummified remains were inconclusive. The hot climate of Egypt combined with the embalming process practiced by ancient Egyptians destroyed most DNA. For this study, researchers sampled 151 mummies from Abusir el-Meleq, about 60 miles south of Cairo. Their samples spanned 1,300 years of ancient Egyptian history, from about 1388 BCE to 426 CE.
The researchers were able to collect 90 samples of mitochondrial DNA and three samples of genomes, the total of an organism’s DNA. The surprising results showed that ancient Egyptians were more closely related to populations from the Near East and southwest Asia, and not from northern Africa as previously thought.
“In the ancient Egyptians, we don’t find much at all sub-Saharan African ancestry,” Krause told CBC News. “They look very Near Eastern and have almost zero sub-Saharan African ancestry.” This, Krause said, illustrates that ancient Egyptians were more closely related to Europeans than they are to modern-day Egyptians. The study revealed that the African influence on Egyptians is relatively recent, entering into the gene pool after Roman times.
Administration officials have eliminated 2016 plans to fund Islamic groups allied to former President Barack Obama, and declined to schedule a 2017 Islamic ‘Iftar’ dinner where those groups were able to show their political influence to the ambassadors of wealthy Islamic countries.
The turnaround was made public on Friday when the Department of Homeland Security announced a revised list of the organizations which are getting DHS funds to help revent young Muslims from becoming jihadis. The new list replaced an Obama list announced January 13, 2017, and it dropped a $800,000 grant for an Islamic seminary in Los Angeles, and a $393,000 grant for a linked organization, the Muslim Public Affairs Council Foundation.
The foundation is a spin-off of the D.C.-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, whose leaders were frequent advisors to Obama and his deputies, where they lobbied for a national strategy of letting semi-segregated Islamic political communities and groups — but not the FBI — play the leading role in combating Islamic terrorism.
Kelly explained his new pro-integration strategy in a June 22 event held in Congress, where he acknowledged that Islamic terrorists are acting for sincere religious reasons, saying:
They are out there doing what they think is their religion and think [it is] what they are supposed to be doing … What I’ve elected to do is take what little money I have in this regard and give it to what I consider to be the time-proven things — law enforcement from an outreach point of view and communities developing relationships … so that there’s an open line of communication so they know if they see this [advocacy or preparation for violence] happening in the home or they see it happening — that is to say, the move towards radicalism — or they see it happening in the churches or mosques, they know to call someone before that person typically crosses the line.
The departments June 23 statement emphasized that funding will be given to groups that cooperate with law enforcement:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will award 26 grants — totaling $10 million for two years of programming — to organizations that will work to improve the security of our communities and prevent terrorism. Grantees were selected in part because of their potential to support law enforcement and other frontline defenders, to demonstrate programmatic effectiveness, and to use taxpayer resources efficiently to create independently sustainable programs. Grants were approved for local law enforcement agencies, state and local government agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations.
MUNCIE, Ind. — A former Ball State University student accused of threatening shoppers at a Muncie Goodwill store unless they converted to Islam has been deported.The Muncie Star Press reports Wednesday that Khalid Sulaiman Bilal, 24, was sent back to his native country, Saudi Arabia.Delaware County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Eric Hoffman filed a court motion this week to dismiss battery, resisting law enforcement and other charges against Bilal because he was deported.