Posts from January 2016

These Ladies Are Throwing Candy in Celebration. The Reason Why May Disgust You.

Last week they stabbed to death a 23-year-old Israeli woman.

Now, the two Palestinian assailants are being hailed as “martyrs” in their hometown and celebrated by their mother and sister who handed out candy in celebration of their deadly attack.

Israel Radio’s Arab affairs correspondent Gal Berger on Saturday tweeted a photo of the woman and girl — wearing a green Hamas headband — tossing the sweets in celebration. The mother, whose hair was covered with an Islamic headscarf, bore a wide grin.

אמו של 1 המחבלים מהפיגוע בבית חורון ואחותו של ה-2 מחלקות דברי מתיקה עם קבלת גופות בניהןhttps://t.co/p8jQPyCS2Q pic.twitter.com/09llIa1pjs

— Gal Berger גל ברגר (@galberger) January 30, 2016

Berger noted that they tossed the candy upon receiving the bodies of the assailants.

A Palestinian news agency posted another photo of the two holding plastic grocery bags filled with candy, again showing the smiling mother with a black and white Palestinian keffiyeh scarf around her neck.

والدة الشهيد حسين ابو غوش من مخيم قلنديا وشقيقة الشهيد إبراهيم علان – منفذا عملية طعن مشتركة – توزعان الحلوى أثناء تشييع الشهيد علان في قرية بيت عور التحتا ظهر اليوم

Posted by ‎المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام‎ on Saturday, January 30, 2016

The assailants were identified as 22-year-old Ibrahim Allan and 17-year-old Hussein Abu Ghosh who were buried near Ramallah in the West Bank. The Palestinian agency reported that the woman candy-tosser was the mother of Abu Ghosh, and the teenager was the sister of Allan.

The two assailants were shot dead after stabbing to death an Israeli woman at a minimarket last Monday.

Israel’s Channel 2 last week aired security camera footage showing the attackers trying to force their way into a minimarket in Beit Horon, a Jewish community in the West Bank; however, an Israeli man flung his grocery cart at them, blocking their entrance.

“They screamed at me ‘Allahu akbar.’ I screamed back at them, ‘Get out of here, you dogs,’” Mordechai Shalem told Channel 2.

“You see two people facing you with their knives raised. I saw the hatred in their eyes, the anger. I knew I had to stop them from getting in,” he said.

After fleeing the store, they hunted for other victims.

Both Palestinian attackers were shot and killed by an armed security guard, police said.

Israeli police said that the two had placed pipe bombs in the area, indicating they had hoped to kill more victims beyond Shlomit Krigman, 23, who was stabbed to death just days before her birthday when she went out to buy groceries for her grandparents.

Phoenix City Council to Allow Local Satanists to Deliver Meeting’s Opening Prayer

Photo credit: Shutterstock

A satanic group will deliver the opening prayer at a Feb. 12 meeting of the Phoenix City Council in a controversial move that has sparked debates about religious freedom.

Michelle Shortt and Stu de Haan, members of the local Satanic Temple in Phoenix, have been tasked to administer the invocation at the upcoming meeting following their group’s request that it be allowed to take part in the City Council meetings, according to Arizona Republic. The council’s decision to allow them to publicly pray before the proceedings generated immediate backlash from several council members.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

“Well, it’s definitely going to be making a mockery of everything; they want to mock the City of Phoenix, the taxpayers, and the people who want to take this stuff seriously,” Councilman Sal DiCiccio said, according to Fox News.

DiCiccio make his thoughts clear on Twitter, calling it a “dumb idea.”

https://twitter.com/Sal_DiCiccio/status/692847210753499136?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Councilman Jim Waring stated that he thought the Phoenix City Council should have given the Satanic Temple a firm “no” and let them take the issue up in court, adding that he believed the group’s members merely want to make a mockery of the council’s prayer and offend the city’s residents.

“Frankly, I don’t know that we should be capitulating so readily to this,” Waring said, Fox News reported. “I do think standing on principle has merit. I’ll probably just leave.”

De Haan rebutted Waring’s claims, insisting that his group does not intend on “doing anything offensive,” adding that the local Satanic Temple does “not believe in a literal Satan,” but instead views the biblical Satan as “a metaphor for rebellion against tyranny.”

“We’re citizens of this government, and we would like our voices to be heard,” de Haan said, according to the Republic. “If they don’t want to accept, constitutionally what must happen is that all voices must be taken down from the public forum. It’s basically all voices must be heard or none at all.”

Phoenix City Attorney Brad Holm defended the city’s decision to allow the satanists to deliver the invocation, saying that the council both includes and welcomes members from different faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism.

“Consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s direction, the city cannot dictate religious viewpoints or the content of a prayer,” Holm said, according to the Republic. “In addition, government may not exclude a denomination or a religion from praying under these circumstances.”

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Check Out Ben Carson’s Response When Atheist Asks What Role Faith Will Play in a Carson Presidency

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson fields a question from atheist Iowa voter about his faith Friday, Jan. 29. (Image source: C-SPAN/Twitter)

During a town hall meeting in Iowa Friday, Republican presidential contender Ben Carson was asked what role his faith would play in his administration. What made the moment unique might not have been the question itself, but the voter who asked it — an atheist.

“I’m an atheist voter; I’m not planted here,” the questioner declared. “I am born and raised in Iowa. I have a question about how your faith will play a role in your presidency.”

“OK,” the retired neurosurgeon cautiously replied.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson fields a question from an atheist Iowa voter about his faith Friday. (Image via Twitter @cspan)

The atheist voter then went on to tell Carson that he’s seen “some candidates” proclaim that biblical law trumps constitutional law and asked, “Do you agree with that?”

In addition, the questioner invoked GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz’s claim that he is a Christian first and an American second, asking if that holds true for Carson as well.

“Well, first of all, everybody, including atheists, live according to their faith — it’s just what they decide to put their faith in,” Carson told the voter. “Everybody’s actions are ruled by their faith and by their beliefs.”

Carson said he has “strong faith,” adding that he lives “by godly principles,” which he says will “dictate” how he treats people if elected president.

Then, without mentioning Cruz’s name, Carson offered a slightly different perspective from his rival candidate’s statement, saying that “there is no conflict” between the Constitution and biblical principles.

“Our Constitution, which is the supreme law of our land, was designed by men of faith, and it has a Judeo-Christian foundation. Therefore, there is no conflict there, so it is not a problem,” Carson said, later adding that Cruz can “speak for himself.”

But that answer didn’t wholly satisfy the voter. “My question was can you give me a situation where God’s law trumps any law within our country,” he told Carson.

“If we create laws that are contrary to the Judeo-Christian values that we have, then I think we should fight against those kinds of laws,” Carson said. “I personally believe that we still have an obligation to obey the laws whether we agree with them or not. Otherwise, we would be a lawless nation.”

“But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight against anything we see as unjust,” Carson added. “And we have the mechanism built into our to allow those protests to take place.”

WATCH: An atheist voter asks @RealBenCarson how faith will a play role in his presidency. #IAcaucushttps://t.co/Yz3I6zo6M9

— CSPAN (@cspan) January 29, 2016

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Texas Supreme Court Sides With Cheerleaders in Bible Banner Feud — Here’s What Happens Next

FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2012 file photo, Kountze High School cheerleaders and other children work on a large banner in Kountze, Texas. A judge on Wednesday, May 9, 2013 ruled that cheerleaders at the high school can display banners emblazoned with Bible verses at football games. The dispute began during the last football season when the district barred cheerleaders from using run-through banners that displayed religious messages, such as "If God is for us, who can be against us." Credit: AP

The Texas Supreme court has ruled in favor of a group of middle and high school cheerleaders who displayed banners with religious messages on them at football games.

With the court’s decision, the case will be sent back to a lower appeals court where it was initially dropped as Kountze Independent School District decided to allow Bible verses and religious messages on the banners, according to the Statesman.

“The District no longer prohibits the cheerleaders from displaying religious signs or messages on banners at school-sponsored events. But that change hardly makes ‘absolutely clear’ that the District will not reverse itself after this litigation is concluded,” the high court said in the 8-0 ruling.

In this Sept. 19, 2012 file photo, Kountze High School cheerleaders and other children work on a large banner in Kountze, Texas. Credit: AP

“Throughout this litigation, the district has continually defended not only the constitutionality of that prohibition, but also its unfettered authority to restrict the content of the cheerleaders’ banners — including the apparent authority to do so based solely on their religious content,” Justice John Devine wrote in the opinion.

The incidents that provoked the case began in 2012 as cheerleaders at Kountze High School decided to decorate banners for the school’s football players to run through that included Bible verses and religious messages using their own money and resources. The signs attracted the attention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the school district banned the banners.

A district court judged initially ruled that the cheerleaders had the right to display the banners at sporting events as they were “constitutionally permissible.” However, the school district appealed the ruling with the backing of the ACLU. The school district had decided to allow the banners but had the ability to censor them at will. The case was declared moot by the court of appeals as the cheerleaders were allowed to display the banners.

“This is an 8-0 victory for the free speech and religious liberty rights of all Texas students,” Kelly Shackelford, president of Liberty Institute, which helped represent the cheerleaders, told the Statesman. “In light of today’s Supreme Court ruling, we hope the (9th) Court of Appeals will resolve this case permanently in the cheerleaders’ favor.”

The case attracted the attention of conservatives nationwide, including Republican lawmakers in the state of Texas. Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn teamed up together to file an amicus brief with the high court.

“Under the United States Supreme Court’s government-speech jurisprudence the answer is straightforward: messages created solely by student cheerleaders do not become government speech simply because aspects of cheerleaders’ activities are regulated by the school,” the brief stated. “Because the messages on the banners are the cheerleaders’ messages, the content of which is not dictated by the school, the speech is not the school’s, and it does not qualify as ‘government speech.’ The speech belongs to the cheerleaders, and it is entitled to First Amendment Protection.”

Obama to Meet with Muslims on His First Presidential Visit to a U.S. Mosque

President Barack Obama speaks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, to mark the 7th anniversary of the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — In a public show of support, President Barack Obama will meet with Muslim community members Wednesday in Baltimore on his first presidential visit to an American mosque.

President Barack Obama speaks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Obama plans to hold talks with Muslim leaders at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, the White House announced Saturday. The visit will amount to a public embrace of Muslims by Obama at a time when public sentiment against them seems to be growing, largely fueled by fears of terrorist acts carried out by extremist groups.

The White House said he will go to the Baltimore mosque to “celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life.”

In remarks to be delivered at the mosque, Obama “will reiterate the importance of staying true to our core values: welcoming our fellow Americans, speaking out against bigotry, rejecting indifference and protecting our nation’s tradition of religious freedom,” the White House said.

Islamic Society of Baltimore/Al-Rahmah School (Image source: Facebook)

Obama has been outspoken in pushing back against calls by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and others to block Muslims from being admitted to the U.S. over fears of domestic terrorism linked to radical extremist groups.

Others have cited potential security risks in pushing legislation in Congress to limit the resettlement of refugees from Iraq and Syria, where the Islamic State group is active and from which it has exported its brand of terrorism to other regions of the world.

Obama has argued that such efforts are wrong and serve only to incite extremist groups, weaken America’s leadership around the world and put U.S. security at risk.

“We’re not going to build progress with a bunch of phony tough talk, and bluster, and over-the-top claims that just play into ISIL’s hands,” the president said, using an acronym for the Islamic State. He spoke to House Democrats on Thursday as they strategized at a meeting in Baltimore. “We’re not going to strengthen our leadership around the world by allowing politicians to insult Muslims or pit groups of Americans against each other. That’s not who we are. That’s not keeping America safe.”

It was not immediately clear why the White House chose the Islamic Society of Baltimore for the visit.

‘We Don’t Really Like Bullies’: Defiant Sheriff’s Absolutely Excoriating Letter to Atheists

An Illinois sheriff is locked in a heated “war of words” with atheists following his decision to add two nativities to the grounds of a local courthouse last month, with the sheriff penning an excoriating letter to activists proclaiming that he won’t bow to “bullies.”

The battle unfolded after the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group, sent a letter to the Jefferson County Board complaining about Sheriff Travis Allen’s decision to put the Christian scenes on display along with other holiday elements.

The letter said that the nativities are unconstitutional — a charge that the sheriff rejects.

“We’re not putting crosses at the courthouse. We’re not putting Bible verses up. This is a Christmas display,” Allen told WPSD-TV. “What has our country become when we can’t put a nativity scene out in celebration of Christmas because we’re worried about offending somebody That’s embarrassing!”

WPSD Local 6: Your news, weather, and sports authorityHe said that he added the nativities to help celebrate the Christmas spirit, noting that there used to be a “big Christmas celebration” in the past and that many citizens had requested that a new display be put out; thus, he complied.

But Ryan Jayne, a lawyer with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, disagreed with the placement of the nativities.

“The county courthouse lawn is not the right spot to be having religious debates,” Jayne told WPSD-TV, alleging in a Jan. 22 letter to local officials that Allen “promotes and endorses the Christian religious aspects of Christmas” — something the attorney said is unconstitutional.

In a Jan. 27 response letter, though, Allen accused the Freedom From Religion Foundation of including “half-truths” in its letter and claimed that the organization did not include photo evidence of the other non-Christian elements that were part of the holiday display.

“Your letter was full of half truths and I think we both know the court of law does not make decisions in half truths,” Allen wrote. “You did not even take a picture of the inflatable penguin, which I am sure you are also offended by.”

And he wasn’t done there. Here’s another excoriating portion of the letter:

In your letter you stated that you had 700 members in Illinois. I would like to know how many reside in Jefferson County. I am not sure I would be bragging about 700 members in a state that has almost 13 million residents. We have almost 10 times as many people on our Facebook page.

I am sure you sent this letter to the County Board because you thought you could bully them into complying with your demands. The thing is, in Jefferson County we don’t really like bullies and we are not very good at bowing down to organizations. I actually only bow to one man, but you don’t believe in him anyway.

Allen and the Freedom From Religion Foundation had previously clashed over the presence of “In God We Trust” on squad cars.

(H/T: WPSD-TV)

‘Bizarre’: Pastors’ Absolutely ‘Surprising’ Response When Asked Who They Would Choose for President

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Dordt College, on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Sioux Center, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has successfully attracted attention and support among many Christian voters, but it appears that there’s a deep divide when comparing the views of the majority of clergy who identify as Republicans.

When asked for whom they would vote if the election were held today, only five percent of Republican-affiliated pastors selected Trump, compared to 29 percent who chose Ted Cruz, according to a new LifeWay Research poll.

Cruz garnered the highest proportion of support among any GOP presidential candidate, with 10 percent selecting Ben Carson, 8 percent choosing Marco Rubio and an additional 8 percent opting for “others.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Dordt College, on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Sioux Center, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“One of the most surprising findings of our survey was the poor showing of Donald Trump,” Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, said in a statement. “When it comes to Mr. Trump, there seems to be a huge gap between the pulpit and the pew.”

He added, “Simply put, it’s a bizarre election season.”

In addition to the extremely low pastoral support for Trump, another important finding is that 39 percent of Republican pastors surveyed said that they are still undecided, distinguishing a solid portion of Protestant faith leaders as a prospective pool for the candidates to court.

As for Democratic-leaning pastors, 38 percent said that they would support Hillary Clinton, 23 percent opted for Bernie Sanders and 31 percent were undecided.

When it comes to the collective 1,000 Protestant pastors on both sides of the political aisle who were surveyed, 48 percent said that they do not know whom they would choose if the election were held today.

LifeWay Research LifeWay Research

Overall, 54 percent of the pastors surveyed said that they are Republicans, 14 percent are Democrats and 23 percent are Independents.

This comes amid other polls that show that high support for Trump among many Christian congregants.

As TheBlaze previously reported, a new report from the Pew Research Center found that Trump is tied with Carson as being either a “great” or “good” presidential option among white evangelical Protestants, with Cruz coming in third at 49 percent.

This comes after a recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that Trump by far has the largest share of evangelical supporters — 42 percent — out of any other candidate, with Ted Cruz coming in second with 25 percent.

Read more about the LifeWay Research poll here.

(H/T: Christianity Today)

Front page image via Shutterstock.com.

Here Are Five Things I Learned While Adopting My Two Children

The author's two adopted children, Moses and Haven. Photo courtesy of author.

This week my family and I gathered in a court room to finalize the adoption of my second adopted child, Haven Miles. We finalized the adoption of my son, Moses Miles, in October. The courtroom was warm with smiles as the judge presiding welcomed us.

I stood in a trance-like state, wanting to say and do exactly as the law dictates, in an effort not to jeopardize the end of the exhaustively long adoption process. I stood with my husband, our other children in tow, answering the questions asked by our attorney. Together, we made an oath to care for Haven as if she were born to us. The mood in the courtroom was full of tension, as we waited for the court to grant the adoption.

The author’s two adopted children, Moses and Haven. Photo courtesy of author.

Then it happened! The judge looked at us with a smile and said, “The court has determined with convincing evidence that adoption is in the best interest of the child, and that she, Haven Miles, should be placed with you. Therefore, the court grants the adoption.” With that, cheers erupted from our family and friends as the process started more than three years ago finally concluded.

I am full of joy holding my daughter, who is officially mine forever, but I haven’t forgotten how difficult the years leading up to this moment were. I want to offer hope to those that may be in the midst of that long and grueling process. You may have fears or insecurities that are hard to voice to others who aren’t in the same situation. Odds are, I’ve been there, and hope is just around the corner.

1. How Will We Pay For This?

Adoption is extremely expensive. Many couples have the desire to adopt, but they let finances stand in the way of their adoption. However, there are organizations that offer financial assistance for adoption, such as ShowHope. Although applying for a grant is tedious and time consuming, this is money people have offered to help you accomplish your adoption.

Another option is starting a GoFundMe campaign. Some families choose to offer a t-shirt or coffee mug to gain financial support for their adoption, but most people just want to help and do not care about the trinket you are offering. Selling goods costs money that could be used to fund the adoption. Most of those around you, especially those who have walked with you through your desire to adopt, are waiting for an opportunity to help out. Making this available to them will allow them to participate in the adoption and contribute to your child’s life. Get over the fear of asking people for money, especially if you don’t have it!

2. Will I Love The Child As My Own?

When we first began our adoption journey in 2012 we already had two biological children. As any parent knows, the love for a biological child is deep with intensity – it’s a love that is hard to describe. Knowing the love I have for my children, I processed the probability of loving an adopted child as much as a biological child.

I felt I couldn’t voice this fear to anyone, but I know many adopted mothers who have all felt the same way. I processed this fear until the moment I laid my eyes on Moses. As he rolled by in his translucent hospital bassinet, my fear disintegrated.

It was an irrational fear, though I didn’t know it at the time. If God places adoption on your heart, I believe that whatever child you adopt was created for you, just like a biological child. God just uses a different vessel to bring you together.

When Haven was born, I felt the same way I did with Moses. As soon as I met her, she was mine. The fear may be there as you wait for your child, but don’t give it too much air time in your mind, for you will find you were worried for nothing. Moses and Haven are loved with the full intensity that my biological children are, and it is as if they were born to me.

3. Is The Process Worth The Wait?

When my husband and I started the adoption process, we were hopeful that we would be scooped up in no time by a birth mother who saw us as the perfect parents for her child. Two years later, after experiencing a heartbreaking adoption fraud, we were still waiting.

I remember days when I would cry simply because the desire was so strong to have the long-awaited child in our home. I would daydream about feeding the child. I would walk into a baby store and get teary eyed, not knowing when the wait was going to end. I would have adopted anyone! But God in His wisdom knew the exact children He wanted for our family.

Because the desire was so strong in our hearts to adopt, I knew the perfect baby/babies were at the end of our wait. I can say with 100 percent certainty that I would have waited longer, if need be, for Moses and Haven. Incredibly, their personality traits fit in perfectly with my family. We often laugh at how Moses is so much like my older daughter Grace, and Haven is much like my older son, Jude. Yes, the long process will lead to an end that will be life changing, and you will be glad you waited.

4. Will My Biological Children Transition Well?

I know this is a strong fear for those who have biological children. My advice is to bring your biological children in on the entire adoption journey. We included my biological children in just about every decision, including whether we adopt at all. We knew that this would change their lives just as much as it would change ours. We didn’t want there to be any jealousy or ill will if we could help it.

With our family in agreement we would move forward from one step to another. This made the transition with the adopted two completely seamless. Include and empower the children your have to feel a part of the process, and when it comes time to welcome a baby into your home, they will be your biggest supporters.

5. What If I Am Adopting a Different Race?

My husband and I adopted Moses and Haven, who both are of African-American descent. We have been overwhelmed with support from those of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, who see the love in our bi-racial family. Of course, there will be those who disagree with your decision; however, no amount of bullying from anyone would change how we feel about our perfectly designed family. We are confident that having a bi-racial family is exactly what God designed for us. And you should be too, as you consider the calling of adoption.

This week, the state of Texas caught up to our hearts and we are beyond grateful for the blessing of all four of our children. Every trial we have experienced in our adoption has led to an incredibly beautiful story, one which I pray encouraged you.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

Fed-Up Parents Hit Public School System With Lawsuit Over Controversial Islam Assignment That Led to Failing Grades for Daughter

(Photo: Shutterstock)

A former Marine and his wife filed a federal lawsuit against a Maryland school district Wednesday for forcing their daughter to complete homework assignments that allegedly endorsed Islam over all other religions.

The couple, Melissa and John Kevin Wood, worked with the Thomas More Law Center to file the civil rights complaint alleging that Charles County public schools violated their constitutional rights, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The trouble began when the Woods discovered that their daughter’s world history class at La Plata High School was instructing students to complete homework assignments that reportedly promoted Islam in ways that the parents deemed to be unacceptable. The students were required to write out the “Shahada,” an Islamic creed that amounts to a conversion to Islam when recited by non-Muslims, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The creed states, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” Other assignments included reciting by memory the five pillars of Islam.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

“Defendants forced Wood’s daughter to disparage her Christian faith by reciting the Shahada, and acknowledging Mohammed as her spiritual leader,” Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, said, according to Southern Maryland Online. “Her World History class spent one day on Christianity and two weeks immersed in Islam. Such discriminatory treatment of Christianity is an unconstitutional promotion of one religion over another.”

When the Woods demanded that the school allow their daughter to complete alternative assignments, the school refused, stating that if their daughter would not complete the required homework assignments, she would receive failing grades, the Washington Free Beacon reported. The Woods’ daughter ultimately refused to do the homework.

The Thomas More Law Center stated that the Woods, as devout Christians, “believe that it is a sin to profess commitment in word or writing to any god other than the Christian God. Thus, they object to their daughter being forced to deny the Christian God and to her high school promoting Islam over other religions,” according to Southern Maryland Online.

The law center also warned other schools against promoting “Islamic indoctrination” in the complaint.

“Parents must be ever vigilant to the Islamic indoctrination of their children under the guise of teaching history and multiculturalism. This is happening in public schools across the country. And they must take action to stop it,” Thompson said, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

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Question 13 on This Government Survey Asks Kids About Their Gender. See for Yourself Why Outrage Followed.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

A Christian organization in the U.K. has joined frustrated parents in lambasting a government-created survey that asked schoolchildren to choose their self-identified gender from a list of more than 20 potential options, including “tri-gender” and “intersex.”

Teens between the ages of 13 and 18 were recently encouraged to take the online survey, which was created by the Children’s Commissioner for England, a government-run office that supports the rights of youths, according to the Christian Institute, a faith-based advocacy group.

Question 13 on the survey read, “How do you define your gender? The young people we talked with used the following terms. Which one of these best describes how you define your gender? Choose as many as you want.”

Some of the other options included: “trans-boy,” “genderqueer,” “gender non-conforming” and “in the middle of boy and girl.”

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Christian Institute joined others in speaking out against the survey, calling it “totally misleading,” and questioning whether it was asking kids to improperly question their identities, according to a statement from the organization.

“We must not intrude on childhood by deliberately confusing schoolchildren about what makes a boy a boy or a girl a girl just to satisfy adult political agendas,” Christian Institute spokesman Simon Calvert told the Press Association. “We must protect children from being made to feel that passing phases of confused feeling about themselves, which many go through, must be turned into life-changing moral and political decisions.

The survey, which was originally slated to be available through Feb. 9, was later taken offline amid controversy, though a post advertising it is still available on the Facebook page of Anne Longfield, the current Children’s Commissioner for England.

“We want to know how gender matters to young people: what does gender mean to them; how does it affect their lives; what do they want to change?” her post reads. “To explore these important questions, we have constructed an online survey, and hope to hear from as many young people (13-18 years old) as possible.”

Screen shot from the survey website Screen shot from the survey website

The question about gender will reportedly not be included in future versions of the survey, according to the Christian Institute.

The survey was reportedly also sent to every school in Brighton and Hove, England, with students at Blatchington Mill School being sent home with the questionnaire to complete as a homework assignment, the Argus reported.

While some parents protested, trans rights groups defended the question as offering kids questioning their sexuality and gender an opportunity to explore the available options.

We want to know how gender matters to young people: what does gender mean to them; how does it affect their lives; what…

Posted by Children’s Commissioner for England on Monday, January 25, 2016

Stonewall, a LGBT charity, defended the survey question in a statement to Huffington Post U.K., saying that the group welcomes “all efforts to support young people on trans and gender identity issues and ensure that they feel happy, welcome and accepted at school.”

“Young people may describe and express their gender identity in many different ways and clearly that is what this survey aims to capture,” the statement continued. “We believe that exercises like this are best delivered as part of a school’s wider work on gender and trans issues, to ensure that young people understand the questions they are being asked, feel comfortable answering them and know staff will be there to support them.”

(H/T: Huffington Post UK)

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