Town ignores atheists’ warnings, keeps Christian cross in Christmas lights display

(Worthy News) – To the delight of many Christians, a town in Christian County, Missouri, has reversed its decision to take down an illuminated cross from its Holiday display.

Many residents voiced their outrage when, under pressure from the Wisconsin-based atheist legal group the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the city of Ozark announced on Tuesday that it would no longer include the giant blue-lit steel cross in its Christmas light display at Finley River Park even though it has been included in the display for years.

The decision was made after Ozark administrator Stephen Childers received a letter on Nov. 30 from FFRF legal director Rebecca Markert arguing that the cross display violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on the grounds that it amounts to a government endorsement of a religion. [ Source: Christian Post (Read More…) ]

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6 Christian organizations win legal battle against Obamacare birth control mandate

(Worthy News) – Six Christian organizations have won their years-long legal battles against an Obama-era federal mandate ordering the provision of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health care plans.

U.S. District Court Judge Phillip Brimmer in Colorado issued an order granting the organizations an injunction against the Department of Health and Human Services Affordable Care Act contraception mandate that they felt required them to violate their organizations’ deeply-held religious beliefs about the sanctity of human life or be forced to pay millions in crippling fines.

Those organizations include three Christian higher-education institutions — Taylor University in Indiana, Indiana Wesleyan University and Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky — and the Colorado Springs-based Association of Christian Schools International, an accreditation agency for evangelical primary and secondary schools worldwide. [ Source: Christian Post (Read More…) ]

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IDF official: Hezbollah unable to produce ‎precision weapons

(Worthy News) – Hezbollah’s missile arsenal has been static for ‎years and the organization lacks the industrial ‎ability to convert, upgrade or produce precision ‎weapons, Director of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. ‎Tamir Heyman said Tuesday.‎

Briefing the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense ‎Committee on the tensions in the northern sector, ‎Heyman said Operation Northern Shield to neutralize ‎Hezbollah tunnels snaking under the Israel-Lebanon ‎border, as well as other measures exercised by the ‎IDF, were part of “an era of disruption and shaping ‎new reality on the ground” the Israeli military is ‎pursuing as part of the “campaign between the wars.” ‎

He was referring to a strategic concept that ‎encompasses a host of covert and low-intensity ‎military and intelligence efforts to prevent enemy ‎states and terrorist organizations from becoming ‎stronger and thwart their offensive activity.‎ [ Source: Israel Hayom (Read More…) ]

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GOP leaders still lack funding plan as shutdown looms

(Worthy News) – Top House Republicans are at a standstill on exactly how to keep the government open next week amid mounting fears of a Christmastime shutdown on Capitol Hill.

House GOP leaders couldn’t agree on a funding strategy — which involves billions of dollars for President Donald Trump’s border wall — in multiple rounds of talks Wednesday.

The House is now poised to leave town Thursday for five days without offering a clue to how it would avoid a crippling funding lapse for roughly a dozen agencies. [ Source: Politco (Read More…) ]

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Church of England to offer baptism-style services to transgender people to celebrate their new identity for first time

(Worthy News) – The Church of England has encouraged its clergy to create baptism-style ceremonies for transgender people to welcome them into the Anglican faith.

New pastoral guidance, published on Tuesday, advises clergy to refer to transgender people by their new name, though it stops short of being a baptism.

The guidance, which was approved by the House of Bishops on Monday night, also details how elements including water and oil can be incorporated into the service. [ Source: UK Telegraph (Read More…) ]

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EU ‘ready to examine’ more Brexit assurances to Britain

(Worthy News) – The European Union “stands ready to examine whether any further assurance can be provided” to Britain over the Irish backstop and their tentative divorce agreement, a draft seen by Reuters showed on Thursday.

The draft, a six-point document the EU is preparing for British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday to help convince the divided UK parliament to approve their Brexit deal, said any such assurances would not “change or contradict” the agreement. [ Source: Reuters (Read More…) ]

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Defying Trump, U.S. Senate advances measure to end support for Saudis in Yemen

(Worthy News) – In a rare break with President Donald Trump, the Senate voted on Wednesday to move ahead with a resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in the war in Yemen and lawmakers vowed to push for sanctions against the kingdom in the new year.

Eleven of Trump’s fellow Republicans joined Democrats to provide the 60 votes needed to advance the war powers resolution in the Republican-led chamber. The vote paved the way for debate and a vote on U.S. involvement in a conflict that has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, many of them young children and left millions more at risk of starvation and death by disease. [ Source: Reuters (Read More…) ]

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EU rules out Brexit renegotiation, again

(Worthy News) – The EU is not preparing a legal document on the backstop, as requested by British prime minister Theresa May, for the EU summit starting on Thursday (13 December) – as EU officials are calling the political crisis unfolding in London a mess.

EU diplomats on Wednesday said that there has been not enough time, and it was unnecessary, to come up with a legally-binding text that could clarify positions on the so-called backstop on the Irish border that irks Brexiteers who have mounted a confidence vote against May in London. [ Source: EU Observer (Read More…) ]

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House joins Senate to pass farm bill

(Worthy News) – The House passed a new farm bill Wednesday sending the legislation, which passed the Senate earlier in the week, to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature.

The lower chamber passed the bill by a 369-47 vote after agreement on a procedural element that would prevent the House from voting on U.S. involvement on the war in Yemen for the rest of the year.

The Senate voted in favor of the $867 billion bill 87-13 on Tuesday after lawmakers reached a compromise on the language of the legislation. [ Source: UPI (Read More…) ]

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Pentagon’s new strategy means balancing act in Africa for U.S. special ops

(Worthy News) – The Pentagon’s decision to draw down 10 percent of its counterterrorism operations in Africa comes as Russia and China are aggressively ramping up efforts to expand their influence on the continent.

The decision has left the sizable contingent of American troops, a majority consisting of U.S. special operations forces, stationed in Africa with the unenviable task of balancing the traditional fight against regional terrorist and jihadist group and fitting into the a rapidly reorienting overall U.S. strategy.

“China and Russia are in Djibouti in a big way … defying the sovereign powers there [and] they are competing pretty aggressively on the continent,” he said, referring to the east African country that is home to Camp Lemonnier, the U.S. military’s largest outpost in the region. [ Source: Washington Times (Read More…) ]

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