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700 group formed to oppose abortion in Mexico

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The new umbrella group Suma de Actores Sociales (SUMAS) is calling citizens to stand up against efforts by president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador to legalize abortion, euthanasia and marijuana.

SUMAS was launched November 6 in Mexico City and unites 700 organizations from throughout the country.

Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister agency, Juan Dabdoub Giacoman, president of the Mexican Council for the Family and a founding member of SUMAS, said the new group seeks “to join together the greatest number of associations possible who are willing to fight to defend life, the family and the freedom of Mexicans.”

Dabdoub Giacoman denounced an “ideological onslaught” by the López Obrador’s transition team and their members in Congress.

Lopez Obrador won the Mexican presidential elections July 1 with 53 percent of the valid votes and will take office December 1.

The Morena party, of which the president is a member, gained the majority in both houses of the federal Congress. The new lawmakers took office September 1. Party members have introduced initiatives to legalize abortion throughout the country. Currently, abortion is illegal on the federal level except in case of rape.

Olga Sánchez Cordero, a Morena senator whom the president has appointed as the next Secretary of the Interior, assured that in the coming months she would promote the legalization of abortion, marijuana, and euthanasia measures.

Dabdoub Giacoman said SUMAS is urging López Obrador “to make his position clear because until now all these statements have been made by his collaborators or by Morena party members in the legislature, but he has remained silent.”

Members of SUMAS come from all religious backgrounds, he said. “Everyone is welcome as long as they have the same convictions regarding life, the family and the defense of freedom.”

Arturo Segovia Flores, president of the More Life and More Family Council of Veracruz, told ACI Prensa that the organizations that make up the new group are not just advocacy groups, but “the vast majority of them are businesses and industrial corporations, (as well as) NGOs.”

Mexican society “is at war” against the president’s agenda, Segovia Flores said. “We have therefore called for resistance from this moment on, we’re not going to let them succeed.”

Pedro Novo, of the Governing Citizen platform, said that although López Obrador got a majority of votes to secure the presidency, “it is not a blank check.”

Mexico’s laws must be reformed, he said, to “empower the citizen so he can govern his public employees. Otherwise, the public employee is a dictator and we will continue to be subjugated servants.”

“As there are no laws that oblige candidates to fulfill their campaign promises, they get in office and become dictators,” he said.

Abortion has been legal on-demand for up to 12 weeks in Mexico City since 2007. Now is the time to act to prevent a similar fate for the entire country, Novo said.

“If we don’t have the right to life guaranteed, we cannot aspire to any other right.”

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Irish Bishop Against Practicing Yoga in Christian Schools

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An Irish bishop has written to Catholic schools urging them to ban yoga as it is ‘not of Christian origin’ and the children should spend their time ‘in adoration of Jesus’ instead.

Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, wrote to principals, teachers and school staff members in Waterford City and County, Ireland, on October 10.

In his letter, he said: ‘Yoga is not of Christian origin and is not suitable for our parish school setting and especially not during religious education time.

‘I have been asked by several people to say a word on yoga and mindfulness. My question is, ‘Will they bring us closer to God or replace him?’

The bishop claimed that Christian Mindfulness is ‘meditation on Christ’ which empties the mind of ‘everything unnecessary’ in order to become ‘aware of the presence and love of Christ’.

While he also quoted Pope Francis that practices like yoga are ‘not capable of opening our hearts up to God’.

The bishop added how people can ‘take a million courses in spirituality’ but this activity ‘will never be able to give you freedom’, echoing Pope Francis’s speech in 2015.

He said Pope Francis’s philosophy was in keeping with Ireland’s Grow In Love programme. This touches on Christian doctrine, Scripture, morality and prayer.

Teacher’s were reminded that October is the ‘month of the Rosary’ and they should each pray in a bid to get closer to Jesus, in the letter.

But the primary school curriculum allows a degree of flexibility about how its implemented, according to the Irish National Teachers Organisation, who hit-back at his view.

John Stokes, a yoga instructor in Waterford, said the practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness should be ’embraced’ in ‘an age where children are really suffering from anxiety and stress’.

‘There is no dogma taught in our classes and Yoga in it’s truest sense is a movement and breath awareness practice for health and wellbeing.

They said ‘here’s to tolerance, love and unity’ and invited him to a one-to-one yoga session or class of his choice’ at their Wellness Centre in Youghal, Ireland.

The Irish National Teachers Organisation said the primary school curriculum allows schools a certain amount of flexibility and autonomy with regard to its implementation.

They said the schools ‘are best placed’ to make the decisions about how the subjects are taught, taking into consideration the ‘school culture, ethos and needs of the pupils’.

This is not the first time Bishop Cullinan has received backlash for his views as he said he was to establish a ‘delivery ministry’ group to rid people of the devil through exorcism, last year.

He also claimed the cervical cancer vaccine could lead to promiscuity in 2017.

The bishop said the vaccine ‘lulls girls into false sense of security’ and encourages sexual activity, adding: ‘Prevention, the number one and most effective protection, is abstinence. A good old traditional value.’

He later apologised and admitted he was not fully informed about the vaccination programme. Cullinan’s ‘intention was solely motivated to protect people from HPV’.

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China Demolishes 3,000-Seat Megachurch during Worship Service

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The People’s Republic of China destroyed a church that reportedly could seat 3,000 people and detained its pastors, according to a human rights organization.

An international nonprofit Christian human rights group based in Texas, reported the incident in a statement released Saturday. According to the group, Chinese authorities provided no legal papers to justify the demolition.

The church was located in Funan, Anhui province. Its pastors, Geng Yimin and Sun Yongyao, were detained under suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.”

China Aid President Bob Fu said in a statement that the incident was “yet another clear example showing the escalation of religious persecution today by the Chinese Communist regime.”

“The total disregard of religious freedom’s protection as enshrined in the Communist Party’s own Constitution tells the whole world President Xi is determined to continue his war against the peaceful Christian faithful. This campaign will surely fail in the end.”

While China’s persecution of religious groups has existed for many years, recently under President Xi Jinping a wave of crackdowns on religious practices in China has taken place.

The Communist government has destroyed or damaged several churches, reflecting concerns about the increasing Christian population of the country.

In the summer, True Jesus Church in Henan province was razed to the ground, according to persecution watchdog Bitter Winter. Police officers reportedly dragged out all believers from the church before they demolished the property.

Bitter Winter also reported last month that the Ten Commandments have been removed from nearly every Three-Self church and meeting venue in a county of Luoyang city and replaced with the President Xi Jinping’s quotes as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to “sinicize” Christianity.

In addition to cracking down on its Christian minority, China has engaged in violent persecution of its Uighur Muslim and Falun Gong communities.

The China Tribunal, a human rights group, told the United Nations Human Rights Council last month that the Chinese government is harvesting organs from religious minorities, with possibly hundreds of thousands of victims.

“Forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including the religious minorities of Falun Gong and Uighurs, has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale, and that it continues today. This involves hundreds of thousands of victims.”

“Victim for victim and death for death, cutting out the hearts and other organs from living, blameless, harmless, peaceable people constitutes one of the worst mass atrocities of this century.”

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