Transgender Developments, Reporting from Iraq, Discovery in Mosul, and a Milestone for the Jesus Film

SIGNS AND WONDERS

Boys Will Be Boys. The U.S. Supreme Court announced this week it would not hear a Virginia case brought by transgender activists over allowing people to use the bathrooms of their choice. The announcement came after the Justice Department and Department of Education issued new guidance rescinding an Obama administration edict forcing schools to allow biological males to use girls’ showers, locker rooms, and restrooms. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said, “The Supreme Court has provided good news to parents and students concerned about privacy and safety in school showers, locker rooms and bathrooms.”

Seeking New Trails. The Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow transgender youth is causing some Christian families to find a new path for their children, and they’re finding it with Trail Life USA. Trail Life USA began in 2014 when the Boy Scouts started accepting homosexual boys and leaders. The new decision to accept transgender youth has boosted membership in Trail Life, which now has nearly 30,000 members. “We’ve seen tremendous response,” said Trail Life CEO Mark Hancock in reference to the surge of membership inquiries. “Where many people would say that they’re leaving Boy Scouts, we have many others that are saying that the Boy Scouts left them.” Trail Life now has about 700 troops in 49 states. To hear my conversation with Trail Life USA President Mark Hancock, click here.

From the Front Lines. For some first-rate reporting and writing about what is happening in Iraq, I commend to you Mindy Belz’s report on the liberation of Mosul. She says, “Explosives labs, buried IEDs, tunnels, and block upon block of destruction remain, but a few brave U.S.-led humanitarian relief organizations also are pressing into the front lines.”

Also in Mosul. . . . As ISIS retreats, archeologists and art historians are coming into the war zone in an attempt to salvage cultural artifacts. This week brought an important discovery: what Fox News called a “stunning find beneath the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah that was destroyed by Islamic State militants in 2014: the long-hidden palace of ancient Assyrian King Sennacherib.” According to the Fox report, “Experts were documenting the jihadists’ destruction of the tomb’s ruins when they located the palace, which dates back to 600 B.C. ISIS had dug tunnels into the site in a search for ancient artifacts to plunder.” The Telegraph reports that Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih “found a marble cuneiform inscription of Assyrian King Esarhaddon inside one of the tunnels. The inscription is believed to date to 672 B.C. when the palace was part of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.”

A Film Record. The Jesus film has now been translated into 1500 languages. The film’s producer, Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), announced the milestone at the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters, held last week in Orlando. The film also has another distinction: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the most watched film in history. Since the film’s release in 1979, it has been viewed more than 7.5 billion times in more than 230 countries. The Jesus Film Project claims more than 490 million people have indicated decisions for Christ following a film showing.

Image courtesy of Kanoke_46 at Thinkstock by Getty Images.

Warren Cole Smith is an investigative journalist and author as well as the Colson Center vice president for mission advancement.


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  • Loren & Christina Killgore

    I will forever remember this post as the reference that first directed me to Trail Life USA. Thank the LORD that there are still Christian organizations of this kind!