California church draws backlash for sign: ‘Bruce Jenner is still a man’

FILE: Caitlyn Jenner attending the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
(Getty Images)

A Northern California church sparked outrage over a sign that read: “Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not."

Caitlyn Jenner is formerly known as Bruce and revealed in 2015 that she is transgender and has become a woman.

The church, Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church, is located in Lake Shastina, Calif., which is about an hours’ drive from the Oregon border.

Protesters gathered in front of the church on Sunday to denounce what they called “hate and slander” and to “show our love and support for the LGBT community,” according to a Facebook page that organized the event.

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Justin Hoke, the church’s pastor, wrote on Facebook Wednesday that the sign’s Plexiglass had been destroyed and the letters had been stolen.

The protesters denied having destroyed the sign, The Sacramento Bee reported. Hoke posted a picture on his Facebook Thursday of the sign back up with plaster covering the letters, writing: “It’s not pretty, but it’s back up.”

Hoke later wrote on Facebook: “If a conservative mountain farming community is no longer a safe place to call sin, sin, then is anywhere in this country still safe for real Christians?” according to The Siskiyou Daily News.

Another protest against the church’s sign is planned for this Sunday, according to the organizer’s Facebook page.

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Activists urge Pope to sack some Polish bishops for not reporting sex abuse cases

WARSAW (Reuters) – Some Polish bishops should lose their jobs after Pope Francis receives a report next month that will accuse them of failing in their duty to report pedophile cases inside the country’s powerful Catholic Church, activists said on Monday.

The Roman Catholic Church worldwide is reeling from crises involving sexual abuse of minors in a number of countries including Chile, the United States, Australia and Ireland.

In devoutly Catholic Poland, debate on the issue has barely begun, but the anti-pedophilia foundation “Have no fear” is compiling a report on abuse and said it would soon inform Polish prosecutors of 20 previously unreported sexual crimes.

“By the end of January we will have a report documenting Polish bishops’ negligence which will be presented in February at the Vatican,” Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, an activist and lawmaker from the small opposition party “Now”, told a news conference.

“When it turned out that bishops in Chile had concealed pedophile crimes, they lost their jobs. Plenty of bishops in Poland should bear the same consequences,” she said.

Senior bishops from around the world are due to meet Pope Francis at a conference in the Vatican in February to discuss protection of minors. Organizers say the Church must show full accountability or risk losing further credibility worldwide.

In its campaign to expose pedophile priests in Poland, “Have no fear” in October posted an interactive pedophilia map on the internet which has seen some five million clicks and prompted about 300 allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy.

Now the foundation is encouraging victims to report their cases and offers lawyers’ help to those who previously stayed silent for fear they would be doubted or shunned.

Asked about the report, a spokesman for the Polish Episcopate Conference, Pawel Rytel-Andrianik said:

“The protection of children and young people is of the utmost importance, which is why the bishops remind (people) that there is an obligation to report cases of abuse to the prosecutor’s office.”

He declined to comment directly on the report as it had not yet been made available.

In a November statement, Poland’s bishops asked victims of clerical abuse for forgiveness and said the Church had begun collecting data to assess the scale of crimes.

About 12 million people, or almost a third of Poland’s population, regularly attend mass, according to a survey by the Institute for Catholic Church Statistics, a Warsaw-based research center.

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Salvadoran mother facing deportation finds sanctuary in Maryland church

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A tearful Rosa Ines Gutierrez Lopez recalled the moment when she had to break the news to her three young children, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome, that authorities were deporting her to El Salvador after living in the United States for more than a decade.

“I was sitting on the couch with them and I told them I had to go, they were making me go to my country,” Gutierrez Lopez told Reuters, her eyes tearing up as she recounted how she broke the news to her daughter, 11, and two sons, 9 and 6, who were all born in the United States.

But Gutierrez Lopez, a single mother, has yet to leave the country after getting her deportation order in December. Instead, she took refuge on the grounds of a Maryland church that offered her sanctuary and a chance to remain in her adopted homeland with her children.

The Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, located in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, offered Gutierrez Lopez an apartment to live in while a pastor from her local church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, cares for her children. She moved in on Dec. 10, the same day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had ordered her to leave the country.

Like Gutierrez Lopez, dozens of migrants are now believed to be sheltering in U.S. places of worship, according to migrant advocacy groups.

U.S. immigration authorities are not prohibited from detaining people in houses of worship. But ICE has a written policy of not arresting anyone at “sensitive locations,” including schools, hospitals, rallies and churches, except in cases involving national security or when there is imminent risk of violence.

Gutierrez Lopez was detained at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2005 after fleeing El Salvador because she said she feared for her life. Authorities released her and ordered her to appear in immigration court, but she chose not to show up on the day her case was scheduled.

Instead, she began a new life as an undocumented immigrant in Virginia, she said in an interview on Wednesday, finding work in a restaurant and starting a family.

U.S. President Donald Trump has tried to crack down on immigrants living illegally in the United States and has spoken out against those who do not appear at court hearings.   

Eventually, Gutierrez Lopez turned herself in to immigration authorities in 2014 and was regularly issued deportation stays and work permits until last month, when she was ordered to self-deport. She said everything changed when Trump took office.

“Under the Obama administration, I only went to report in every year,” she said. “Under Donald Trump’s administration, I received an ankle bracelet … It hurts my soul because I’m not a criminal.”

During his candidacy and in the White House, Trump has pointed to crimes committed by illegal immigrants as evidence of the need for tough enforcement of immigration laws.

But despite the reality of deportations, which increased to record numbers under former President Barack Obama, desperate people fleeing Central America’s endemic violence and poverty continued to push toward the southern U.S. border in 2018.

Trump is demanding that $5 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border be included in any legislation funding government agencies, something Democrats in Congress oppose. The dispute has triggered a partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22.

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Church of England’s first female bishop to become Bishop of Derby

Church of England’s first ever female bishop The Right Reverend Libby Lane is to become new Bishop of Derby

  • The Right Reverend Libby Lane is the Church of England’s first female bishop 
  • She has been Bishop of Stockport since 2015 and will become Bishop of Derby  
  • Bishop Lane reportedly said her priorities would include mental health  
  • Church allowed female bishops in 2014 after a vote by the General Synod 

Pictured: The Right Reverend Libby Lane

The first female bishop in the Church of England is to become the new Bishop of Derby, Downing Street has announced.

The Right Reverend Libby Lane has been Bishop of Stockport since 2015, after the General Synod of the Church of England voted to allow female bishops in 2014.

Bishop Lane, from Glossop in Derbyshire, was one of the first females ordained in 1994 after the Church reduced barriers to entry for women. 

Last month, during a service commemorating the centenary of women’s suffrage, she described how she had ‘very publicly had [her] life transformed by freedoms newly open to women not available previously’, the Church Times reported. 

She affirmed her commitment ‘to continue the struggle for women, and all who are disenfranchised, excluded, oppressed, or discriminated against, in our own communities and nation, and across the world’.

Bishop Lane is also a member of the ‘Bishops’ reflection group on sexuality’, which is to guide the Church of England’s debate on same-sex relations.     

She said today: ‘I am thrilled to have been appointed as the next Bishop of Derby.

‘I am excited about starting my ministry there and for getting to know all the people, places and parishes that will be a part of it.

Bishop Lane, from Glossop in Derbyshire, was one of the first females ordained in 1994 after the Church reduced barriers to entry for women (pictured at Chester Cathedral)


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‘I have had a wonderful time in the Diocese of Chester and I will miss it greatly. I won’t be leaving right away and hope to have time to properly say farewell before I take up my new post.’ 

The theologian, who is vice-chair of trustees at the Children’s Society, said her priorities when she joined the Bishops’ Bench next year would include mental health and the welfare of children and young people. 

The Church of England formally adopted legislation allowing female bishops in 2014, (pictured: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby)

She will be taking over the Derby post from The Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, who had served as Bishop of Derby since 2005 as is a Lord Spiritual Member of the House of Lords since 2010.

He retired in August having given notice in 2017, writing: ‘It is an enormous privilege to be working with you in the Diocese and I hope that this early notice will give time for prayerful discernment of God’s call into the future.’

The Church of England formally adopted legislation allowing female bishops in 2014, 20 years after women priests were first ordained.  

An additional sentence was added to Canon 33, stating: ‘A man or a woman may be consecrated to the office of bishop.’ 

In August this year the Church of England’s statistics page tweeted: ‘30% of those in ordained ministry in 2017 were female, but 50.5% of those beginning training in 2017 were female.’

Last week Bishop Lane said she wanted to ‘lead a Church in Derbyshire where people find hope because they know they are loved by God in Christ; and I pray that hope sets us free to live our lives in ways that bring change for good.’ 

Bishop Lane, who earned her first degree in theology from Oxford, will be installed at Derby Cathedral after Easter. 

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