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Feb. 17, 2020: Navy chaplain, mainline Protestant pastors, Hong Kong chief persecutor of Christians

Feb. 17, 2020: Navy chaplain, mainline Protestant pastors, Hong Kong chief persecutor of Christians

Monday, Feb. 17, 2020:

Here are the latest headlines, brought to you by The Christian Post.

— Navy chaplain accused of violating Constitution for encouraging soldiers to 'lead like Jesus'

A U.S. Navy chaplain has been accused of violating the U.S. Constitution for teaching an optional 12-week seminar called "Lead Like Jesus" at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island. 

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation — a group that argues for a strictly secularist interpretation of the Constitution — sent an email demanding that Captain Ian Johnson, commander of the Naval base, investigate Commander Richard Smothers for promoting the seminar at the base.

In response, Commander Elizabeth Baker, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman, said no one was being coerced to attend the seminar, that it was strictly voluntary.

— Mainline Protestant pastors driving support for same-sex marriage

A majority of Protestant pastors in the United States still disapprove of same-sex relationships, but the overall approval has grown largely due to mainline pastors, a new study by LifeWay Research reveals.

Support among self-identified mainline Protestant pastors for same-sex marriage has jumped from 32 percent in 2010 to almost half at 47 percent in 2020. The study also indicates that white pastors are more likely to see nothing wrong with same-sex marriage than African American pastors.

Last week, the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan consecrated its first openly lesbian bishop, the Rev. Bonnie A. Perry.

— Police catch fugitive fake nun hiding in convents to evade prison

A 47-year-old Italian woman who disguised herself as a Catholic nun and had been hiding out in convents to evade arrest for two years was finally arrested by police in northern Italy two weeks ago.

The woman, who has not been named, fled Sicily in 2017 after being convicted of fraud by a court and sentenced to two years in prison

The nuns at one of the convents where the fugitive stayed said she presented herself as the niece of one of their sisters. In another convent, she claimed to be a mother superior. The nun who reported her to the police got suspicious because the woman’s stories “were full of contradictions.”

— Pakistani Christian girl reunited with family after kidnapping

A 14-year-old Christian girl who had been kidnapped, gang-raped and forcibly converted to Islam and married off to a Muslim man was rescued and brought back to her home in the city of Lahore, Pakistan, after the family reported her disappearance to police.

A Muslim man had proposed to the young teen but she refused. Days later, while she was walking home from school, he pushed her into a vehicle and kidnapped her. He and six other men beat, raped and tortured her, and forced her to sign her name on a paper that was used for a marriage document. Although the police rescued the girl five days later, her kidnappers still remain at large.

— China appoints new Hong Kong chief known for persecuting Christians

China has appointed a hardliner, who is known for removing hundreds of crosses from churches in the eastern province of Zhejiang, to take charge of its office overseeing matters in Hong Kong.

When Xia Baolong became the Communist Party chief of Zhejiang, he oversaw a campaign to destroy crosses from churches in the province. He was appointed provincial party head after Xi Jinping became the country’s supreme leader.

Xia Baolong personally led the campaign against religious freedom in Zhejiang in 2015, when more than 1,000 crosses were removed from church roofs and entire church buildings were destroyed across the province.

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