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The secretary-general of the Russian bishops' conference said new legal regulations will give state officials extra powers to intervene in church life and revive communist-era restrictions.

Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem again passed on signing a bill to bar biological males from competing as transgender females in women’s sports, instead issuing executive orders in the bill’s place.

The State Legislature voted to reject Noem’s “style and form” veto on Monday, but the House could not muster the two-thirds majority necessary to enact the bill without the governor’s signature. Noem declined to sign the legislation without her proposed changes, instead issuing two executive orders to block biological males from participating in women’s sports.

“Only girls should play girls’ sports. Given the legislature’s failure to accept my proposed revisions to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics, and another to do so in college athletics,” Noem tweeted after the legislature sent H.B. 1217, dubbed the Fairness in Women’s Sports act, back to her desk.

“Additionally, I will be working with legislative leaders to schedule a special legislative session in late May or early June,” Noem added. “The special session will address this important issue, as well others (medicinal marijuana and the latest federal spending package.)” 

Noem’s first order states that “only females, based on their biological sex … shall participate in any girls’ or women’s athletic event sanctioned by a public school” or school district. It says the South Dakota Department of Education “shall establish a policy consistent” with the order.

The policy of the second order is similar to the first but for college athletes. It differs in its directive, however, stating that the Board of Regents “should take any and all steps necessary within the law of the state to legally implement policies consistent” with the order.

Noem insists that her refusal to sign the bill does not amount to a veto. State lawmakers argue otherwise and assert she unconstitutionally used the “style and form” veto to remand the bill back to the legislature with significant changes that changed the meaning of the legislation, according to the Argus Leader.

“Her letter back to the House said ‘I have not vetoed the bill’ but her actions said otherwise,” GOP House Speaker Spencer Gosch said on Monday.

Noem’s refusal to sign the Fairness in Women’s Sports act has undermined her reputation as a stalwart conservative governor earned during the coronavirus pandemic. The governor has defended herself against heavy criticism from the right by claiming that the bill would have invited legal challenges that South Dakota would have lost, and Noem claimed that the NCAA and other interest groups would have taken revenge on her state by pulling engagement and opportunities.

On Wednesday, Noem spokesman Ian Fury hit back at critics asserting that the governor was a victim of “cancel culture” from conservatives.

“Governor Noem is very used to fighting off criticism from the left,” Noem spokesman Ian Fury said in an email. “After all, in the past year, she was the only governor in the entire nation to never order a single business or church in her state to close. The left bullied her incessantly, but she didn’t cave.”

“But if any number of conservative pundits are to be believed, that same governor who refused to cave is now caving to the NCAA and Amazon on the issue of fairness in women’s sports,” Fury continued. “What? Apparently, uninformed cancel culture is fine when the right is eating their own.” 

 

From the Daily Wire here.

The Texas Senate voted Tuesday afternoon to pass legislation that would protect unborn babies from abortions once a heartbeat is detectable.

The heartbeat bill, state Senate Bill 8, passed on third reading and now heads to the state House. Sponsored by state Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, the bill would require abortionists to check for an unborn baby’s heartbeat and prohibit abortion if it is detected. It would create criminal penalties for abortionists who violate the measure.

The persecution of Christians in China is as severe now as during Mao’s Cultural Revolution and is expected to worsen in the coming year, owing to growing intolerance in Hong Kong and increasing digital surveillance in churches, a charity has warned.

The European Union has declared itself an “LGBT freedom zone,” prompting objections from the Polish government, which says it has a right to maintain traditional views on marriage and family.

Back in 2019, I noted that the LGBT movement would methodically begin going after clergy for sermons. Most sermons and homilies are posted online; with laws that increasingly expand the definition of hate speech and sustained campaigns to portray Christian organizations at hate groups, it was only a matter of time before activists set to work trawling the hours of content hunting for any expression of heresy against LGBT orthodoxy. Any expression of the biblical view of sexuality and gender makes clergy a target.

On 25 March, the Chilean Supreme Court unanimously ruled that COVID-19 restrictions have been applied in a discriminatory manner against believers. The landmark ruling comes on the eve of Holy Week and recognizes that freedom of religion cannot simply be suspended. The Court is expected to order the government to change its discriminatory regulations.

According to The Morning Star News, Fulani herdsmen shot and killed 65-year-old Mati Sani, a lay-leader of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) and abducted three Christians while hospitalizing another. The attack occurred in Kankara County, Katsina state, in the early morning hours of February 16th.

Recent mass kidnappings and a spate of smaller attacks around Nigeria are serving to raise the profile of the often-forgotten trend of increased violence in Africa’s most populous country. Many factors contribute to the violence, including religious tension.

Thirty-nine students were abducted on Thursday during an overnight raid at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, in Afaka, the Igabi local government area of Kaduna State.

A video was released on Saturday showing the 39 students abducted from the College of Forestry Mechanization in Kaduna State last Thursday pleading to be rescued from their captors. According to Reuters, the footage circling on social media shows the students laying on the forest floor while armed men in military uniform beat them with sticks.   

27 students, 3 teachers and 12 staff-family members were kidnapped from Government Science College in Niger State by suspected Islamic extremists. The attack took place during the early morning hours of Wednesday, February 17th, when men dressed in military uniform overpowered security guards at the school.

The Federal Government has faulted claims by the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, that it has failed to deliver on the timelines on offers made to the union.

It insisted that the timelines had been complied with and “faithfully implemented”.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, revealed that ASUU agreed at their last meeting with the government team on November 27 to call off their nine-month-old strike before December 9.

The Ignatius Ajuru University of Education has suspended three of its students for alleged involvement in the gang-rape of a female undergraduate of the institution.

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The Chairman of National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) is a fan of Kwasi Kwarteng, a Negro historian of Ghanaian descent and member of British Parliament who in his book titled Ghost of the Empire selected two countries in Africa. He concluded in his Introduction that: “It is a mistake to think that administrators were motivated by liberal ideals of democracy.  In many cases they chose careers in the empire precisely because they were not democrats.

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