Daily Headlines | Thursday August 18, 2022

Good Morning!

Speaking back in 1977, the late Senator Hubert Humphrey remarked:

“The moral test of government is how the government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life – the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

Focus’ Jim Daly zeroes in on those altogether indifferent or disinterested concerning the next generation:


Children are a Blessing – Not a Burden

Focus on the Family president Jim Daly writes:

The columnist Don Feder recently highlighted a Michigan State University poll that concluded, “1 in 5 adults in the Wolverine State do not want children and therefore are child free.”

Feder pointed out that even using the term “child free” connotates something akin to a disease.

Findings from the Pew Research Center paint an even darker picture when it comes to couples’ desire for children. Over 44% of people between the ages of 18 and 49 who don’t have children said it was “not too or not at all likely” they would ever have children – an increase of 7% since 2018.

What’s going on?

I’ve previously written about the ongoing war on children. We’re inundated with propaganda from the anti-natalist crowd claiming children damage the environment and place a dangerous burden on people everywhere. It’s total nonsense.

Kids are under attack at every stage of life these days. From the anti-natalists who think children are harmful, to the abortionists who want to terminate them after conception, to those who want to brainwash and indoctrinate them at as early an age as possible – it’s an uphill cultural battle.

Willing accomplices in the press seem eager to help discourage having children.

According to recent media reports, the latest surge in inflation will supposedly add over $50,000 to the cost of raising a child, bringing the total projected outlay over eighteen years to just under $300,000.

Now, there’s no question America’s parents are feeling the financial pinch – but it’s clear to me the decision to have or not have children is not largely an economic one for most people. Instead, it comes down to priorities and values.

There’s no question that children, at times, can be inconvenient. They’re also time consuming.

But is there anything better in the world to spend our time and money on than the next generation?

For those grappling with this decision, there are three things worth contemplating.

Scriptural principles

The Bible is silent on any direct mandate on when to start a family, but it does provide principles that help shape our thinking on the topic. We see again and again in Scripture that children are a blessing and, barring situations where a couple is unable to have children or other extenuating circumstances, procreation is a natural result of marriage.

Biological reality

Changing family trends and financial concerns do little to modify human biology. Despite medical advancements, the fact remains that it’s harder for women over age 35 to get pregnant. It’s a myth that women can put off motherhood without incurring the risk of the window closing on their fertility. Medicine and science may not be able to save the day.

God’s specific leading

Our Heavenly Father loves us and cares deeply about our lives. No prayer request is too big or too small to bring to Him. As such, “let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,” like it says in Hebrews 4:16, and ask God to guide us and give us wisdom in our everyday lives and decisions.

Ultimately, when to start our families is largely a matter of Christian freedom – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask the Lord to guide our paths in such an important endeavor.

As we state in our foundational principles, we affirm Scripture that children are a heritage from God and a blessing from His hand. As Christians, we’re doing a great disservice to young people if we don’t encourage them to prayerfully consider having children. At every opportunity, we should be talking up the blessings of family. Do we really want them to miss out on one of life’s greatest joys? Absolutely not!


The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Dubious Transgender Science

From the Wall Street Journal:

A spate of headlines this month declared that America’s surge in transgender identification wasn’t being caused by a social contagion. These articles were prompted by a new study by Jack Turban and colleagues in Pediatrics, flagship journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The study claimed that social influence isn’t the reason that as many as 9% of America’s youth now call themselves transgender. Thus, Dr. Turban argues, efforts in conservative states to regulate on-demand puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery must be resisted.

Yet Dr. Turban’s study is deeply flawed and likely couldn’t have survived a reasonable peer-review process. The swift response from the scientific community made both points clear—with even those who support hormones and surgery for gender-dysphoric youth noting that Dr. Turban’s shoddy science undermined their cause.

Nevertheless, the media have promoted his work as a refutation of the claim that the wildfire spread of transgender identity is an example of social contagion—a phenomenon in which members of a group (mostly young and female) mutually influence one another’s emotions and behavior.

The Turban study rejects the social-contagion theory on the grounds that more biological boys than girls identified as trans in 2017 and 2019, according to data collected from 19 states by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey. But the researchers who helped design the CDC questionnaire explicitly warned that youths who identify as transgender may list their sex as their gender identity, making it impossible to discern who is male-to-female or female-to-male (a limitation Dr. Turban has acknowledged in the past).

The AAP has stifled debate on how best to treat youth in distress over their bodies, shut down efforts by critics to present better scientific approaches at conferences, used technicalities to suppress resolutions to bring it into line with better-informed European countries, and put its thumb on the scale at Pediatrics in favor of a shoddy but politically correct research agenda. Its preference for fashionable political positions over evidence-based medicine is a disservice to member physicians, parents and children.


3.   Abortion and liberal Protestant decline 

From World Magazine:

Sixty years ago, one of six Americans belonged to seven historically liberal mainline Protestant denominations. Today it’s less than one of every 20 Americans. Their demographic collapse aligned with their emerging support for abortion rights in the 1960s, years before the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade made the claim of a constitutional right to abortion.

In some ways, mainline Protestantism, which was then the predominant religious force in America, prepared the moral and cultural way for Roe. Justice Harry Blackmun, an active United Methodist, authored the Roe decision. So, it’s no surprise that mainline Protestantism has reacted angrily to Roe’s recent overthrow.

“I’m deeply grieved by it,” wrote Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry about the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v Jackson ruling last month, returning abortion law to the states. “We as a church have tried carefully to be responsive both to the moral value of women having the right to determine their healthcare choices as well as the moral value of all life.”

Mainline Protestant denominations started backing abortion rights in the 1960s amid increasing concerns about global overpopulation and the need for “responsible parenthood.” These denominations had long before liberalized theologically and, at least at the seminary and governance level, separated from historic Christian orthodoxy. Their ethical liberalization, separating from historic Christian orthopraxy, accelerated in the 1960s and 1970s especially on sexuality issues and abortion.

These denominations assumed they were America’s ethical vanguard. They did not realize their turn against historic Christian abortion teaching would accompany their own membership implosion and growing cultural marginalization. Churches lacking theological orthodoxy inevitably decline. The absence of babies in liberal denominations that affirm abortion rights is ironic, unsurprising, and instructive for others tempted by their path.


University Professor Explains Surprising Ties Between Abortion and ‘LGBT’ Identity 

From the Daily Citizen:

Professor Mark Regnerus, a leading sociologist of human sexuality at the University of Texas – Austin, delivered an important lecture at Focus on the Family this week addressing the state of sexual politics in a post-Roe culture. In his presentation, Dr. Regnerus explored a remarkable and seemingly counter-intuitive angle to this topic: Why are gay and trans activists such a presence in abortion protests following the Dobbs decision?

Regnerus asked, “What’s up with that? What does abortion have to do with inherently infertile relationships?” Why indeed are we seeing so many rainbow flags linked to abortion protest? It is a very good question.

Professor Regnerus explained it’s because people who identify as “LGBT” actually make great use of abortion it turns out. And this is because that alphabet soup is increasingly made up of people who have plenty of potentially baby-making heterosexual sex. And this is true by remarkable margins.

Regnerus cited research showing “that today LGBT identification is running twice as high as sexual behavior” among those who claim to be so-called “LGBT.” That means fewer and fewer people who say they march under the rainbow flag are actually same-sex attracted or trans. He adds, “In other words, there has been a leap in LGBT self-identity among young adults whose behavior remains heterosexual.”


Planned Parenthood to spend record $50M in midterm elections 

From the Associated Press:

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider and abortion rights advocacy organization, plans to spend a record $50 million ahead of November’s midterm elections, pouring money into contests where access to abortion will be on the ballot.

The effort, which breaks the group’s previous $45 million spending record set in 2020, comes about two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that created a constitutional right to have an abortion. It will be waged by the organization’s political and advocacy arms and will focus on governor’s offices, U.S. Senate seats and legislative races in nine states where abortion rights could be restricted or expanded depending on the outcome at the ballot.

The historic proportions of the midterm campaign, when less money is usually spent, were made possible by a torrent of money raised after the decision by the high court’s new conservative majority, touching off a tectonic shift in the politics of abortion. Now, for the first time, Republicans who have long campaigned against abortion and Roe v. Wade will face voters on an issue that is no longer hypothetical and carries real life consequences.

Planned Parenthood says its spending will help remind voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin what’s at stake in a bid to drive turnout by Democratic and independent voters.


‘I Don’t Think Murder Fixes A Rape’: Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon Debates Joe Rogan On Abortion Stance 

From Fox News:

Podcast star Joe Rogan and Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon sparred over abortion on Tuesday’s edition of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” with the satirical conservative Christian news honcho defending life at all costs.

“You don’t have the right to tell my 14-year-old daughter she has to carry her rapist’s baby,” Rogan, who is pro-choice, told Dillon.

Dillon fired back, “I don’t think two wrongs make a right. I don’t think murder is the answer… I don’t think murder fixes a rape.”

“Once life has begun, I don’t think you can draw lines,” Dillon said. “I would lay it out like this – It is wrong to intentionally kill a human life, abortion intentionally kills an innocent human life, therefore abortion is wrong.”


US students start academic year with ‘massive gains’ in school choice 

From the Washington Examiner:

Millions of schoolchildren across the United States are starting the academic year off with more access to school choice than ever before following hard-fought wins in courtrooms , state legislatures , and at the ballot box .

Arizona, which has a long legacy of education freedom, is leading the way. The state has pioneered policies that expand school choice, including education savings accounts, state-backed private school scholarships, a growing charter school sector, and a thriving open enrollment policy.

Last month, Arizona scored another landmark victory for school choice when Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a massive expansion of the state’s private voucher system despite threats from public school advocates to block the bill and press voters to nix it during November’s general election.

The expansion lets every parent in Arizona take the money the state sends to the K-12 public school system and use it for their children’s school tuition or other educational costs. All 1.1 million Arizonan students who attend traditional public schools qualify to leave their public school and get money to go to a private one. An estimated 60,000 private school students and about 38,000 homeschooled children are immediately eligible to take up to $7,000 per year.


Betsy DeVos Says Under Proposed Legal Definitions, Biden Allegedly Sexually Harassed Her In A Wheelchair 

From the Daily Wire:

Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos says President Joe Biden’s uncomfortable physical treatment of her several years ago when she was in a wheelchair amounted to the proposed legal definition of sexual harassment.

DeVos discussed Biden’s new Title IX changes during an interview with Megyn Kelly, sharing the “one encounter” she allegedly had with Biden that took place before he decided to run for president.

“I was in a wheelchair,” she said. “I was back stage after speaking, he came up to me, I had never met him before in my life, he came up to me, put his hands on my shoulders, and his forehead on my forehead for several seconds, and had conversation with me.”

The former secretary of education said that if Biden had behaved in that manner as a student on a college campus, “under his proposed rule, I would have a Title IX sexual harassment allegation to levy against him because of his conduct.”


CDC Director Walensky to reorganize agency after admitting Covid pandemic response fell short 

From CNBC:

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is reorganizing the agency, saying it didn’t react quickly enough during the Covid pandemic, according an internal review of the agency’s operations released on Wednesday.

Walensky laid out several organizational changes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will take over the coming months to correct missteps and failures that occurred during the last 2.5 years of the pandemic, according to a fact sheet.

“For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19, and in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations,” Walensky said in a statement.  “My goal is a new, public health action-oriented culture at CDC that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communication, and timeliness.”

The central objectives of the reorganization are focused on sharing scientific data faster and making it easier for the public to understand health guidance, according to the briefing document. Walensky launched the review in April after the massive winter surge of infections from the omicron variant upended the nation’s public health response.



California Church Fined $200K for Defying COVID-19 Restrictions Gets Charges Dropped 

From the Daily Citizen:

In a great victory for the freedom of religion, a California church that was fined $200K for violating county health orders during the COVID-19 pandemic has had the charges against it dropped.

In 2020, Calvary Chapel San Jose was ordered by officials in Santa Clara County to restrict in-person worship services and enforce mask mandates and social distancing dictates, Fox News recounts.

After the church refused to follow those requirements, the county obtained a temporary restraining order and injunction against the church, and its two pastors, Mike McClure and Carson Atherly.

Then, the county convinced the Santa Clara County Superior Court in November 2020 to hold the church and its pastors in contempt of court – and impose fines.


10.   Norman Rockwell Painted America’s Dreams. We Should Do the Same. 

From the Daily Citizen: 

Over the years, critics of the legendary Norman Rockwell have labeled the artist “a cornball and a square” and his paintings an “unending cliche” that are nothing more than “bourgeois bromides” – sentimental snapshots of a time that never was and a season that will never be.

While the tide of such antagonism has been changing of late, fueled largely by fans like Star Wars’ George Lucas, such cynics have long missed the point behind the famous painter’s works.

“The view of life I communicate in my pictures excludes the sordid and the ugly,” Rockwell once observed. “I paint life as I would like it to be.”

In some ways, the artist was emulating the words of the apostle Paul, who encouraged believers in Philippi, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8).

Rockwell’s colorful depictions of marital fidelity, childhood, family life and deep seated faith resonated with America and Americans – because they were all good things. His scenes captured the journey and the pursuit. It gave people something to reach for, even if the reach was often just beyond the grasp.

It was the Reverend William Jewett Tucker, the ninth president of Dartmouth, who once observed, “No great cause ever moved far until it had taken possession of the imagination of men.”

Norman Rockwell was successful because he painted America’s dreams.

Rockwell had a rare gift for painting life as it might be. Few of us are able to replicate that type of storytelling with that same talented touch. Yet as Christians, we can all strive to live lives that reflect God’s gracious and generous nature. We can and should reach for God’s best. In a world that mocks the traditional family, we’re called to live counterculturally, rejecting the cynic who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.

So, go ahead and take the paint and the brushes God has given you and only you. Today and the days to come are your canvas. What dream has He placed on your heart? What is He calling you to do? Paint the picture you see by making the most of the limited time He has given you to do it.

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