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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Sarah Curlee

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
A 23-year-old woman from the UK who has been outspoken about her life with Down syndrome is taking a stand against disability screening. 
 
Coventry native Heidi Crowter stated that her parents “are being told lies” about Down syndrome. The 23-year-old is hopeful that she can lead by example, and that her life and strong faith will defy the misconceptions held by many. 
 
Heidi is actively involved with Don’t Screen Us Out, a campaign group focused on bringing awareness to Non-Invasive-Prenatal Testing (NIPT), a practice that will likely result in a high number of abortions in the U.K.  
 
Recent figures for Great Britain report that around 92% of pregnancies in which Down syndrome is identified result in abortion. 
 
In Iceland, where NIPT screening has already been introduced, the abortion rate for babies with Down syndrome stands at nearly 100%. 
 
In an interview with The Christian Institute, Heidi’s mother, Liz, stated that in Great Britain: “As abortion is legal up to birth for severe handicap, the pressure to abort is immense”.
 
“As a parent of a child with Down’s syndrome I see a decline in their numbers being a direct result of discrimination”.
 
Heidi added: “I think my concern is that more and more babies will be screened out. I’m trying to get them to actually meet the person first, and also to get them to understand the person with Down’s syndrome has a lot to give to life”.
 
“My life is just as important and just as joyful as everybody else’s” she asserted. 
 
As the new screening rapidly approaches, Heidi’s mother noted “We are moving quickly into a society where only perfect babies and children are wanted. We must stop and consider what we want our society to look like.”
 
Photo courtesy: Olivia Snow/Unsplash
Christian singer Lauren Daigle recently visited numerous young patients staying at the Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando. 
 
The recording artist took to Instragram to share her experience, writing: "We started off at Florida Hospital for Children learning about music therapy and it's importance in healing those facing health challenges.  I have always had some interest in how music affects not only the emotional part of a human but also the physical makeup."
 
"It was amazing to see how these children came alive at the sounds coming from bells and wooden instruments," Daigle mentioned. "All the struggle melted away.  I saw eyes light up and smiles sneak in.  I learned so many things this day, but one thing I hold dear: inclusion of people always wins."
 
A particularly memorable part of Daigle’s visit was when she met a young patient named Gabriel. 
 
"I met Gabriel today.  He lit up the entire hospital," the singer wrote. "He would sing at the top of his lungs and laugh with joy that would shake your bones."
 
Daigle was moved by the young boy’s zeal for life. 
 
"I've never seen a human more passionate about people," Daigle expressed. "If he was happy, he made sure you felt it too! Wanna know something wild?  He had half of his brain removed when he was 6 months old.  Love is a choice!  This sweet boy changed my life.  I prayed tonight, "Lord, make me more like Gabriel." 
 
Many of Daigle's followers shared their reactions. One Instagram user known as kiyana_ma wrote: "I need the Christian world to see the sincerity of Lauren's Christ-like heart when she's with these sick babies and their families. She is doing something with clean hands and a pure heart that most of us wouldn't have the innocence to do correctly."
 
Monniewrites, another follower of the singer, responded: "Wow! Lauren, this is so beautiful.  I know we shouldn't just watch things like this on our Instagram's feed, but we should actually be doing the same.  This literally made me cry and I'm not exaggerating.  I cry because you go to places where not so many would dare to go (prisons, hospitals) and I see the genuine heart you have for people."  
 
"Gabriel was this happy because he could see your genuine heart for him," the user added. "Love your heart, Lauren.  This is the real heart of Jesus and I crave to have it too!"
 
Photo courtesy: Getty Images 
There have been some 15 cases where Christian wedding businesses have been taken to court for refusing to serve same-sex couples.
 
According to WND.com, since the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage, at least 15 cases have come to the courts, including the Colorado case where Christian baker Jack Phillips refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple. His case eventually won at the Supreme Court.
 
The cases were mentioned in Family Research Council’s new report, “Religious Liberty and the ‘Wedding Vendor’ Cases.”
 
“People of faith increasingly find themselves facing lawsuits (along with censure and hostility) when they refuse to renounce their religious beliefs on marriage and sexuality in living out their faith,” says Alexandra McPhee, director of Religious Freedom Advocacy at Family Research Council.
 
“One need look no further than the wedding industry, where small business owners are being forced to make the choice between violating their faith and freely running their businesses.”
 
In many of the cases, the court has awarded damages to complainants.
 
” … Business owners across the country have had to face the unacceptable choice of violating their religious beliefs or losing their livelihoods—all because they will not use their skills to affirm or facilitate the celebration of a same-sex wedding.”
 
Photo courtesy: Unsplash

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