Boycott gay weddings, even family, says Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler

RNS (Religion News Service), Christians should not attend a same-sex wedding — even of their own child — because it signals "moral approval" of the union, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said in a new book.
Boycotting weddings of gay friends and loved ones will be excruciatingly difficult, the Rev. Albert Mohler wrote in "We Cannot Be Silent," which goes on sale Oct. 27.
"At some point, attendance will involve congratulating the couple for their union," he wrote. "If you can't congratulate the couple, how can you attend?"
Even if scientists prove people are born gay, the "sinfulness of homosexuality" would not be eliminated because human sin taints the world, Mohler said in addressing other topics of sexual identity. He contended that transgender people who are "saved" should consult with their pastors about whether to have surgery to return to their original gender.

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Zambia President Edgar Lungu Calls for a day of Prayer
By: Leo Igwe - The Maravi Post 
Footballers in Zambia will not be slugging it out this Sunday because authorities have ordered Zambians to pray, not to play. Matches fixed for this weekend have been postponed because Zambians will be observing a national day of prayer.
In a typical Taliban style, entertainment has been banned. And bar owners have been asked to close their shops because the government thinks that their businesses would corrupt the supplications of Zambians on this 'sacred' day.
The country's President, Edgar Lungu, has made it clear that this Southern African nation needed a 'prayer-ful' day 'to ask forgiveness and reconciliation'. He thinks 'forgiveness and reconciliation' are the defining canons of the solutions to national problems particularly the economic challenges which Zambia is facing at the moment. But my question to President Edgar is this: What is the connection between economic difficulties and prayers? Which nation in the world has solved its problems by praying? Which economic challenge does prayer solve?

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Saudi Arabia summons Czech ambassador over 'Satanic Verses'

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia has summoned the Czech ambassador over a coming translation of Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses."
A Saudi Foreign Ministry official said the ambassador was asked Friday to censor the coming Czech translation because the book "distorts the true religion of Islam." The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to speak to journalists.
Many Muslims consider "The Satanic Verses" blasphemous. Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or religious edict, calling for Rushdie's death in 1989, and the book is widely banned across the Muslim world.
Iran has offered a $3 million reward for anyone who kills Rushdie. It also said it would boycott this year's Frankfurt Book Fair over a planned opening speech by the India-born British novelist.

Parents, church members charged in death of teen, beating of his brother

According to Utica OD, Two brothers were severely beaten — one of whom died — inside Word of Life Christian Church Monday afternoon, but the events that led up to 19-year-old Lucas Leonard's death and the assault of his younger brother Christopher, 17, still are unclear.
Both victims suffered injuries to their stomachs, genitals, backs and thighs, police said.
Police offered no motive for why the boys' parents, Bruce and Deborah Leonard of Clayville, would be involved in reportedly inflicting such injuries on their own children, however. The couple pleaded not guilty when they were arraigned on felony first-degree manslaughter charges Tuesday afternoon in New Hartford Town Court.
Four other church members were charged with felony second-degree assault for allegedly injuring Christopher Leonard. They are Joseph Irwin, 26, of Chadwicks; David Morey, 26, and Linda Morey, 54, both of Utica; and Sarah Ferguson, 33 of Clayville. All pleaded not guilty.

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Jewish state school ordered to stop selecting children based on details of parents’ sex life

British Humanist Association - Following an objection submitted by the Fair Admissions Campaign(FAC), a Jewish state school in north London has been ordered by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator to remove from its admission arrangements the requirement that parents comply with a strict set of rules relating to their sex life. Hasmonean High School in Barnet had been seeking assurances from prospective parents that they adhered to the 'laws of family purity', which state that a husband and wife may not engage in sexual relations during the period of her menstruation, and for seven days afterwards. The British Humanist Association (BHA), a founding member of the FAC, has welcomed the adjudicator's decision.
Assessing whether or not the requirement, which appears as part of the Questionnaire for Rabbis, represented a fair, clear and objective criterion, as is required by the School Admissions Code, the adjudicator stated that 'some parents applying for places at the school may find it embarrassing or intrusive'. He went on to conclude that it would not be possible for a Rabbi to objectively assess observance of the law, and therefore ordered the school to remove the requirement from its admission arrangements.

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Britain Urges Saudis to Free Grandfather Facing 350 Lashes

According to The NewYork Times, Karl Andree, 74, has been in a Saudi prison for over a year and faces 350 lashes because bottles of wine were found in his car.Mr. Andree's family has been pleading with the government to intervene.
For more than a year, an asthmatic 74-year-old grandfather and former oil executive has sat in a prison in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, accused of violating the country's strict prohibition on alcohol after the authorities found bottles of homemade wine in his car.
The case of the former executive, Karl Andree, a Briton who has lived inSaudi Arabia for 25 years and is a cancer survivor, has now become a matter of geopolitical controversy amid an outcry over the sentence he faces: 350 lashes, a punishment that his family says could kill him.
The British government said Tuesday that it was canceling a program to train prison officers in Saudi Arabia and that Prime Minister David Cameron would make a personal appeal for clemency, as Mr. Andree's case continued to draw attention on social media.

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'We Were Treated Like Animals': The Story Of Indonesia's LGBT Activists

A local politician said this year that homosexuality is "a social disease that should be eradicated."
By Dominique Mosbergen - Huffington Post
This is the first part of a 10-part series on LGBT rights in Southeast Asia, which uncovers the challenges facing the LGBT community in the region and highlights the courageous work of activists there.
Hartoyo remembers that fateful night in 2007 all too clearly. He had been home with his boyfriend in the Indonesian province of Aceh when a group of people broke down the door and began ransacking the place. The strangers "dragged me, beat me, verbally abused me," Hartoyo recalled in a 2013 interview with 429Magazine. They then called the police.
"I get so angry when I remember what happened," Hartoyo told the BBC. "The police urinated on my head and beat the two of us up."

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Iraqis claim to have hit ISIS chief Baghdadi's convoy in air raid

According to ABC News, Iraqi security forces claim to have struck the convoy of Islamic State (IS) group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an air strike near the country's border with Syria.
The military said in a statement that the air force bombed the convoy as Baghdadi travelled to a meeting with IS "commanders" in Karabla, barely five kilometres from the border with Syria.
"The location of the meeting was also bombed and many of the group's leaders were killed and wounded," the statement said.
"Fate of murderer al-Baghdadi is unknown and he was carried away by a vehicle.
"His health condition is still unclear."

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