84,272 people have signed an online petition protesting against DC's decision to include Jesus as a character in a 'blasphemous' new comic. The comic, called the 'Second Coming', is written by Mark Russell who recently described the set-up in an interview: "The concept is that God was so upset with Jesus’s performance the first time he came to Earth, since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked-up since then. "God then sees this superhero on Earth a few thousand years later and says 'that’s what I wanted for you!' He sends Jesus down to learn from this superhero and they end up learning from each other. They learn the limitations of each other’s approach to the world and its problems."

 

 
 

Israeli officials are reportedly set to revoke permits for schools in East Jerusalem run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The move would come as the latest strike against the UN Relief and Works Agency, which has seen its budget slashed by the US and its activities in East Jerusalem increasingly curtailed by Israel. Israel’s National Security Council decided to revoke permits allowing UNRWA schools in the city’s Palestinian neighborhood to operate, starting next school year, Israel’s Hadashot TV news reported Saturday. According to the report, the UNRWA schools will be replaced by schools run by the Jerusalem municipality and under the aegis of the Israeli Education Ministry.

 

 
 

NEW YORK (JTA) — With the Women’s March coming up Saturday, local chapters and major progressive groups are continuing to distance themselves from the national leadership, which is scrambling to hold on to its big tent. Though the national organization was once seen as a beacon of hope for progressives following Donald Trump’s election, it is now mired in allegations that its leaders have not only been too soft on but in some cases fostered anti-Semitism in the movement. The fact that the march was created as a protest not only against sexism but other forms of bigotry makes the allegations even more disturbing.The accusations date back to organizer Tamika Mallory’s ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has a long history of making anti-Semitic comments. More recently, an article in Tablet alleged that Mallory and fellow organizer Carmen Perez made anti-Jewish comments at planning meetings. Throughout it, the Women’s March organizers — along with Mallory and Perez they include Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour and fashion designer and activist Bob Bland — have released various statements on the controversy. Some have been conciliatory, others have only inflamed the tension.

 

 
 

The wife of the US vice-president has defended her decision to return to a teaching job at a school that prohibits employees from engaging in an LGBT lifestyle. Second Lady Karen Pence previously taught art at Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia for more than a decade while her husband Mike Pence was a member of Congress. The school requires job applicants to agree that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Applications for employment state: "I understand that the term 'marriage' has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive covenant union as delineated in scripture and that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other and that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity is engaged in outside of marriage between a man and a woman."

 

 
 

Planned Parenthood’s CEO, Leana Wen, announced on social media that abortion is the “core mission” of the organisation. Her statement came following a news headline that she wanted to “focus on nonabortion health care”. Wen objected, saying the headlines “completely misconstrue” her vision for the US abortion giant. Despite Planned Parenthood’s annual reports from 2013 to 2017 claiming that abortion makes up only three per cent of its work, The Washington Post de-bunked this figure, calling it, “misleading, comparing abortion services to every other service that it provides”. Responding to a Buzzfeed article earlier this month, Wen stated, “our core mission is providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care”. “We will never back down from that fight – it’s a fundamental human right”. “The last thing I would want is people to get the impression that we are backing off of our core services. What we will always be here to do is provide abortion access”, adding, “It’s who we are.”