The late Austin O’Malley, an English professor from the University of Notre Dame, once suggested, “A child is an uncut diamond.”
If that’s true, shouldn’t we want to do everything we can to protect and preserve our most precious jewels?
- Protecting Our Kids: Should We Raise the Social Media Minimum Age to 18?
From the Daily Citizen:
Social media may be a great place to find a stirring sermon to challenge us, or a comedic presentation to lift our spirits. But for our kids, social media has become an angst-filled place of increasing social pressure and bullying, resulting in depression and suicidal thoughts. And if that’s not bad enough, the online world is fraught with predators of all types seeking to take advantage of our kids.
One scholar who has looked at the subject is Dr. Yuval Levin, the director of Social, Cultural and Constitution Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). In an opinion essay for The New York Times recently, Dr. Levin suggests a possible solution to the danger that social media poses for our children.
Raise the age requirement to obtain a social media account to 18, Levin suggests. “It was a mistake to let kids and teens onto the platforms in the first place. But we are not powerless to correct that mistake,” he added.
The current age requirement is 13. You may be surprised to learn there is any age requirement at all, but it was set by a federal law known as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), passed by Congress in 1998. That law prohibits American companies from collecting personal information from children under 13 without parental consent.
5 New Stats You Should Know About Teens and Social Media
From the Gospel Coalition:
How often does your teen use social media? What social media platforms are most popular among the students in your student ministry?
Probably a lot, and probably YouTube and TikTok, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.
1. 95 percent of teens use YouTube, and 19 percent use it ‘almost constantly.’
2. 67 percent of teens use TikTok, compared to 62 percent who use Instagram and 59 percent who use Snapchat.
3. 46 percent of teens say they use the internet ‘almost constantly.’
4. 36 percent of teens say they spend ‘too much’ time on social media.
5. 32 percent of teens use Facebook, compared to 71 percent of teens in 2014–15.
- A Just-the-Facts Glimpse into the American Family
A full one-third of American families with kids are made up of married couples making over six figures, which might surprise those who assume a more declinist framework. The fertility rate among unmarried women peaked in 2008, before falling steadily since then, a major factor driving the nation’s fertility rate to all-time lows. And while family incomes have undoubtedly grown since the late 1970s, the growth has been steadier and faster for families with both parents working full-time, suggesting that families that prefer a male-breadwinner model may indeed be finding it harder to keep up.
And some of the most interesting parts of the Almanac offer descriptive frameworks many people might have never considered. In one-third of families made up of married couples with kids at home, the husband brings home about $50,000 or more in income than the wife; but in almost 20% of those households, the wife out-earns the husband. Median personal earnings among married fathers are about twice as high as cohabiting fathers. And since 1960, family spending on housing, health care, and child care has grown, while families are spending less (adjusted for inflation) on clothing and food.
Perhaps the simplest way to understand the newfound energy around family policy is a chart that looks at children aged 0 to 17 as a percentage of the U.S. population (see chart below). Much of the decline is attributable to growing life expectancy; seniors can expect to live longer, healthier lives than they did in the first half of the 20th century. But the sheer fact remains—4 out of 10 Americans were under age 18 in the ambitious, tumultuous turn of the century. After World War II, the percentage of the population that was under 18 climbed again to over 35%, helping explain the cultural hegemony of Baby Boomers and their development of a distinctive youth culture. Now, the share of Americans under age 18 is dropping perilously close to 1 in 5, a sign of a greying—some might say decadent—population needing an injection of youthful enthusiasm.
As the Almanac illustrates, married fertility is still relatively resilient. So those concerned about falling fertility rates should first be concerned with declining marriage rates and how to reduce economic and cultural pressures that push marriage ever later. Beyond that, a family policy agenda will be strongest when it responds to real failures and pressure points on parents. The EPPC Family Almanac offers 83 little glimpses into what American families look like, and the circumstances they face. As more and more red-blooded populists and well-credentialed eggheads start developing ideas for family policy, these facts and figures are ready to help make sure the discussion is grounded in reality.
3. Americans Want Abortion on the Ballot: Are Republicans Up to the Task?
From National Review:
According to a new poll released on Wednesday by Ipsos/USA Today, 70 percent of Americans, regardless of party affiliation, would favor voting on an abortion ballot measure at the state level. A total of 1,018 adults were interviewed for the poll, 70 more Democrats than Republicans.
The poll asked, “If there was a ballot measure in your state to decide abortion rights, would you vote in favor or against making abortion legal?” Fifty-four percent of Americans would vote to keep abortion legal while only 28 percent would vote against abortion legality, according to the poll.
Seventy-six percent of Democrats said they support abortion legality as did 52 percent of independents and 34 percent of Republicans. Only 10 percent of Democrats are against abortion legality, 27 percent of independents, and 54 percent of Republicans.
This November, voters in four states — Kentucky, California, Vermont, and Montana — will be deciding policies regarding abortion.
Following their defeat in Kansas, pro-life Republicans may have something to worry about. The GOP and pro-life activist groups such as Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America and Live Action need to devote their resources to Kentucky and Montana, where they may have a chance of success.
This means there must be less time spent on the defensive, such as responding to Democrats’ ludicrous claims that pro-life laws will criminalize miscarriages and prevent women from getting treated for ectopic pregnancies, and more time devoted to exposing Americans to the gruesome and cruel realities of abortion.
- American Diplomacy Abandons Religious Freedom
From the Wall Street Journal:
According to the prevailing moral orthodoxy, religious practice not only isn’t celebrated; it’s increasingly intolerable. Those who affirm traditional beliefs about human life and nature—from abortion to marriage, to distinctions between the sexes—are cast as dangerous to democracy. Especially troubling is that such calls often come from the government, whose duty is to defend religious rights. Take the Equality Act—pending in Congress and supported by the Biden administration—which would vastly expand antidiscrimination laws and expressly bar religious exemptions. The effect would be to subject dissenters from secular orthodoxy to ruinous lawsuits.
Weakened protections for religious practice at home harm faithful citizens. They gravely affect those abroad, too. By pushing religion to the margins, we undermine our moral leadership and ability to aid the millions of people—Christians, Muslims, Jews, Yazidis, Bahá’ís and others—who are persecuted for their religious beliefs.
The Declaration of Independence sets forth a radical claim: that all human beings are endowed by our Creator with certain “unalienable Rights.” The beauty and effectiveness of that claim is unlike that of any other system known to mankind. It applies to everyone, and it coerces no one. We abandon it at our peril.
5. New York Times editor wanted Schumer to OK op-ed by GOP Sen. Tim Scott
From the New York Post:
A former New York Times opinion page editor alleges that her bosses refused to run an op-ed submitted by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) without first getting approval from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Bari Weiss, who resigned from the Gray Lady two years ago citing “bullying” as well as an “illiberal environment” for those with right-leaning views, made the allegation during an interview with Scott on her popular podcast “Honestly with Bari Weiss.”
Weiss recalled a discussion among senior Times editors surrounding an op-ed submitted by Scott in the aftermath of the May 2020 police-involved slaying of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man, in Minneapolis.
The proposed bill by Scott, who is the only black Republican in the US Senate, failed to pass due to Democratic opposition. Scott told Weiss that the “Democrats really wanted the issue more than the solution.”
- ‘Trans Gamer Girl’: The Suspect That Tried to Murder Brett Kavanaugh
The pro-abortion biological male accused of trying to assassinate conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh over the then-potential overturning of Roe v. Wade identifies as a “male-to-female” “trans gamer girl” named “Sophie,” according to numerous Reddit posts Townhall has found that were written by the suspect.
New federal court filings reveal troubling information hidden in plain sight about 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske, the defendant identified as a “California man” by the Justice Department and charged in the Kavanaugh assassination plot, leading to a cache of perverse Reddit and Discord activity that pieces together the suspect’s apparent motive, gender identity, and unstable mental state.
An FBI affidavit applying for search warrants asserts there is probable cause to believe that the Roske’s various Reddit, Google, and Discord accounts contain publicly available evidence of the federal crimes 18 U.S.C. § 115(a)(1)(b), threatening to murder a U.S. judge, and 18 U.S.C § 351(c), attempting to assassinate a U.S. justice.
Leaving a breadcrumb trail of almost-laughable clues, Roske’s suspicious online musings—the evident smoking gun in the investigation—reads like the comically doltish chronicles of the half-baked Home Alone “wet bandits” whose calling card was to leave water running in every house they’d ransacked.
- In The Name Of Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion, North Dakota School Board Will No Longer Recite Nation’s Pledge
From the Daily Wire:
A school board in North Dakota has stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance before meetings, claiming that the mention of the word “God” runs contrary to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
On Tuesday night, the Fargo, North Dakota, school board voted 7 – 2 to ditch the pledge after board members complained that capitalized “God” was “non-inclusionary.” The school board had previously begun reciting the pledge after it passed a motion on March 22 to start each meeting with it.
“Given that the word ‘God’ in the text of the Pledge of Allegiance is capitalized,” board member Seth Holden said. “The text is clearly referring to the Judeo-Christian god and therefore, it does not include any other face [sic] such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, all of which are practiced by our staff and students at FPS.”
Holden claimed that it violated the aforementioned DEI principles.
8. Whole Foods CEO’s Bold Warning: “The Socialists are Taking Over”
From the Daily Citizen:
Whole Foods may not be the market of choice for the vast majority of conservative American shoppers, but many of them will appreciate what its CEO and co-founder, John Mackey, said in a recent podcast interview.
The “socialists are taking over,” he warned. “They’re marching through the institutions. They’re taking everything over. They’re taking over education. It looks like they’ve taken over a lot of corporations. It looks like they’ve taken over the military, and it’s just continuing.”
“I feel like with the way freedom of speech is today, the movement on gun control, a lot of the liberties that I’ve taken for granted most of my life, I think are under threat,” Mackey said.
Mackey’s dire warning about socialism’s creep should be a wake-up call to those still dozing or deliberately ignoring this dangerous and destructive ideology.
If we should have learned anything since communism went from a theory to the foundation of a tyrannical government following the Russian Revolution in 1917, it is that communism and its cousin socialism did not create utopias. Instead, they brought nightmares to life.
By any objective standard, communism and socialism have destroyed economies, left people impoverished and sometimes starving, and brought about brutal dictatorships that deprived people of the precious freedoms guaranteed to Americans under our Bill of Rights – including freedom of speech, of the press and of religion.
9. Don’t Reject College. Pray About It. And Consider Trade Schools, Too.
From the Daily Citizen:
As families and students gear up for another school year, analysts are calling attention to an “alarming” drop in college attendance. Compared to ten years ago, four million fewer students will be stepping onto campuses this fall – fueled partly by ongoing fallout from Covid-19, as well as an unusually lucrative job market.
But common sense suggests the shift is also driven by frustration over woke universities dedicated to pummeling students with offensive and nonsensical propaganda.
After all, why should parents and students pay to be lectured by a bunch of radical, dangerous and depraved professors and administrators? Why should Christians supplement secular schools that are downright hostile to the faith?
Christians have long enjoyed a wide array of faith-based schools that stand in stark contrast to those secular institutions serving as a hotbed for misguided policies and programs. Yet, even once-solid programs rooted in the Christian tradition have been compromised – and some spectacularly so. Parents and students must carefully and diligently discern from hundreds of options. Just because “Christian” is in the name or mission statement doesn’t mean they’re holding to and heralding biblical truth.
In all the discussions about community and four-year colleges, trade schools don’t get enough attention. It’s unfortunate.
“We’ve heard the best path for most people is a four-year degree,” says Mike Rowe, the popular podcaster and former host of the television program, Dirty Jobs. “These things become platitudes and before long it’s inculcated in our minds that there is a path to success and this is what it looks like. We have to be mindful that these stereotypes and stigmas actually exist, and rather than pretend they don’t, it’s useful to talk about them head-on.”
God has uniquely gifted each and every person. He’s called some to write or practice medicine – and others He’s called to build skyscrapers or repair automobiles.
In the end, we need to remember that God has given us specific talents and gifts to accomplish His purposes – not ours. So, when it comes to whether we’re called to go to college, trade school or go exclusively to work, it’s the wise Christian who prays and asks the Lord for guidance and wisdom. One size doesn’t fit all.
10. What Do People Leave Behind in Library Books?
From the Smithsonian Magazine:
In her 20 years as a librarian, Sharon McKellar has found a tantalizing assortment of objects tucked into the pages of books: notes, lists, doodles, postcards, photographs. Rarely has a visitor returned to collect one of these items—but McKellar doesn’t throw them out. Instead, as SFGate’s Tessa McLean reports, she posts images of forgotten ephemera to the library’s website, forming an endearing collection called “Found in a Library Book.”
The project began in 2013, when the Oakland Public Library in California was updating its website. While brainstorming ways to enhance the library’s blog content, McKellar thought of a publication she enjoyed, Found Magazine, which is dedicated to everyday items discovered outside of their original context. Perhaps she could share her ever-growing collection of items that she had unearthed in library books.
Over nearly a decade, “Found in a Library Book” has swelled to include some 350 objects, offering poignant glimpses into the lives of strangers.
“Remember, I love U sweetheart,” reads one message, scrawled on a yellow Post-it note. “The past is the past, so let’s not take it home with us. I just want to love U, and be happy.”
An air of mystery infuses the collection. How did this heartfelt message—or family photo, or dentist’s retirement announcement, or ticket to a baseball game—end up sandwiched between the pages of a book? Were these items unimportant to their owners, who used them only as a bookmark? Or were they special to someone, once?
“You can look at an object, whether it’s a photo or a scrap of paper, and you can think of all the possible people who might have brought that into our space, and why and how it got here, and what their stories are,” McKellar tells the Washington Post’s Sydney Page. “You could really let your imagination dream up all kinds of scenarios, and you will be unlikely to ever guess the actual one. But that’s kind of the fun.”
Hope you have a great weekend!