Higher Ground: Love but not acceptance

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The Southern Baptist Convention this week passed a resolution extending “love and compassion” to transgender people, but stopped short of supporting any efforts to claim a transgender identity.

The more than 5,000 registrants who attended the SBC’s annual meeting in Baltimore voted to “regard [their] transgender neighbors as image-bearers of the Almighty God,” condemning any form of bullying or abuse against them.


SEE ALSO: Vatican makes history: Pope allows Islamic prayers, Koran readings


Within the same resolution, however, the SBC determined that because every person is created in the image of God, identifying as transgender is “contrary to God’s design” and any effort to physically change oneself is not condoned.

“These cultural currents run counter to the biblical teaching that ‘Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation,’” the resolution states. “Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God are part of the created order and should find expression in every heart.”

A 2011 study from the Williams Institute at UCLA showed that there are about 700,000 transgender people living in the United States. The SBC reported its membership at nearly 16 million people.

FRANCIS AND FOOTBALL

The World Cup is upon us, but we all get too swept up in the mania, Pope Francis has some words of wisdom — namely, don’t let the World Cup be only about soccer.

Speaking in Portuguese via a video message broadcasted to fans, players and organizers in host-nation Brazil, Pope Francis urged his audience to look at the Cup not only as a “form of entertainment, but also a tool to communicate the values that promote the good of the human person and to help build a more peaceful and fraternal coexistence,” Vatican Radio reported.


SEE ALSO: Americans’ literal interpretation of the Bible is on the wane: poll


The pontiff, a native of neighboring Argentina, said the monthlong tournament should be turned into a “festival of solidarity,” a teaching moment on good sportsmanship, and an opportunity for a “culture of encounter,” Vatican Radio reported.

The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil has also shared its thoughts on the global spectacle. Earlier this week, the conference chided the country’s World Cup organizers for choosing to spend billions on preparations for the games while widespread poverty remain in Brazil.

Reuters reported that the conference passed out “red card-shaped” brochures, similar to the cards referees use to expel players during soccer games, asking the government to allow protests against the spending.

VIRTUAL MECCA

You can tour the Grand Canyon, Grand Central Station, and even the Great Wall of China from your phone or computer. And now, thanks to the creative mind of one digital designer, you can visit Mecca.

The “Mecca 3D” app developed by Bilal Chbib gives an insider’s view of the holiest city in Islam, which is forbidden to non-Muslims.

“I’m hoping that Muslims and non-Muslims alike will get a chance to experience Islamic locations by using this app,” Mr. Chbib told the Huffington Post.

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