April 15, 2020: Terrorists release proof of life video, homeschooling ban, Bible's influence on US laws

Wednesday, April 15, 2020:

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

Missionary abducted in Niger shown alive in proof of life video

A proof-of-life video sent to a newspaper in Niger shows that a Catholic missionary priest who was abducted in 2018 is still alive.

The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need says Father Pierluigi Maccalli, 59, was seen in a 24-second video that also shows Italian tourist Nicola Ciacco. The priest was kidnapped from the Bomoanga parish near Niger’s border with Burkina Faso while he was serving with the Society of African Missions.

The rise of Islamic radical extremist groups in the Sahel region of West Africa has led to a sharp increase in violent attacks and abductions in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. The two men are being held by Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin, a Salafist extremist group founded in Mali in 2017.

— Nearly half of Americans believe the Bible should influence US laws

A new report released by the Pew Research Center says nearly half of adults in the United States say the Bible should influence the nation’s laws.

Among the Americans who say the Bible should have “a great deal” or “some” influence on laws, 28 percent said they believe the Bible should overrule the will of the people if they conflict.

— Canada to use gender neutral pronouns in military 

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces will soon be ordered to use gender neutral pronouns for all service members in official military documents, according to an unclassified document.

The document says members of the military will no longer be able to use the sex-specific pronouns "he" and "she" and must instead use "they" and "them." 

Derek Sloan, a member of the Canadian Parliament, said the new requirement is "absolute madness!"

— New wave of locusts threatens millions in Africa with food insecurity

The historic spread of desert locusts that has left tens of millions in danger of food insecurity in East Africa is expected to get 20 times worse as the United Nations predicts a dramatic increase in swarms throughout Africa and the Middle East in the coming months.

The desert locusts consume most green vegetation and will eat anything from trees to crops as well as grass that is used to feed livestock.  

Swarms consist of millions of locusts and can travel up to 90 miles per day.

— Mich. Gov. clarifies school closing order after homeschooling complaints

Michigan Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer says an executive order issued earlier this month suspending all in-person schooling for the remainder of the school year does not ban homeschooling.

Following backlash from the Great Lakes Justice Center, Whitmer’s office published guidance on her April 2 order banning all face-to-face instruction at K-12 schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

The nonprofit legal organization warned that the language in Whitmer’s order could be interpreted as a ban on homeschooling because the order also applied to all “nonpublic” schools in the state. The Home School Legal Defense Association agreed with the Great Lakes Justice Center’s interpretation that Whitmer’s order could have been interpreted as applying to families homeschooling as a nonpublic school. 

On Monday, the new guidance from the governor’s office declared that homeschooling can continue in Michigan under her order.

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