The University of Vermont now officially recognizes "neutral" as a "third gender" option for its students who'll also be allowed to be referred to with "gender neutral" pronouns, The New York Times reports.
The university, a public institution of some 12,700 students, allows students to select their own identity, which includes a new first name even if they have not legally changed it, as well as a chosen pronoun, the Times reports.
The school records such details concerning students' preferences in its information system to enable professors to use the "right" terminology. more >>
A number of members from the Vatican commission against sex abuse have reportedly spoken out against Pope Francis' recent comments saying that it's OK to spank children for discipline, and called on the pontiff to revise his comments.
"It might start off as a light tap, but actually the whole idea about hitting children is about inflicting pain," commission member Peter Saunders said at a press conference, The Independent reported on Sunday.
"That's what it's about and there is no place in this day and age for having physical punishment, for inflicting pain, in terms of how you discipline your children." more >>
As Americans ready to observe Saint Valentine's Day, nationwide multiple organizations will be celebrating National Marriage Week, which will be held Feb. 7-14.
The annual observance, which is in its fifth year, is overseen by a variety of groups and churches involved in the movement to strengthen marriages, including National Marriage Week USA and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"While marriages are challenged by numerous trials, both old and modern (divorce, abuse, pornography, economic difficulties, etc.), the witness of married couples to the beauty of lifelong married love remains a sign of hope and joy in our culture," Bethany Meola, assistant director of the USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, told The Christian Post. more >>
An all-female police force of the Islamic State terror group has released a manifesto which is laced with references to the Islamic scriptures, encouraging girls as young as 9, to marry Jihadis and asking women to remain "hidden and veiled" and serve their "masters."
The all-female Al-Khanssaa Brigade's media wing uploaded the manifesto, "Women in the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study," onto a jihadist forum used by ISIS to be distributed among its Arabic-speaking supporters, according to Quilliam, a U.K-based counter-extremism think tank.
The treatise is the first such document of its kind, and fundamentally misogynist claiming that the role of women is "divinely" limited, says Quilliam, which translated the text into English. more >>
Louisiana Governor and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal is continuing to voice his growing outrage over the Common Core state education standards, which the federal government played an influential role in encouraging most states to adopt.
Speaking at a Thursday luncheon at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. hosted by the American Principles Project, a conservative organization rallying opposition to Common Core, Jindal argued that the Common Core standards stand against American values and causes local communities to lose control over how they educate their own children.
Although Jindal initially supported the Common Core standards when they were first introduced in 2010, in the last year he has flipped sides and now strongly opposes it. Many pundits claim that Jindal's recent switch on Common Core is due to the fact that he is trying to jockey for support in the upcoming 2016 elections by appealing to many Tea Party and social conservative voters who also oppose the standards. more >>
In issuing its first report on the plight of Iraqi children for the first time since 1998, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child painted a horrifying glimpse into how the Islamic State terrorist organizations is beheading, crucifying, and even burying alive religious minority children.
The report, which was released Wednesday and was written by a committee of 18 independent experts, finds that not only are ISIS militants killing religious minority boys in scores, but they've also found a way to take advantage of the mentally weak Iraqi children, by using their harmless bodies in jihad attacks.
Committee expert Renate Winter said at the press conference introducing the report that the militant group is using mentally-challenged children as suicide bombers, and he thinks many of them go into their fatal suicide plots without even knowing that they will die as a consequence. more >>