Thomas Paine once observed, “He who dares not offend cannot be honest.”
We begin this morning with several stories that might offend some – but not those who value God’s truth:
1. UPenn female swimmer blasts university over nomination of Lia Thomas for Woman of the Year award
From the Washington Examiner:
As an Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania has a reputation for being one of the most intelligent institutions in the world. But given the school’s inability to differentiate between men and women, perhaps that reputation should be reconsidered.
The school’s decision to nominate transgender swimmer Lia Thomas as Woman of the Year is just plain dumb. Furthermore, it’s insulting to actual women, especially those who competed on the women’s swimming team. One of those swimmers spoke to me on the condition of anonymity and blasted the school’s decision to nominate Thomas.
“It’s a shame that Penn is still refusing to recognize the intrinsic biological difference that makes women a distinct sex from men,” the female UPenn swimmer said.
Lia Thomas is a man. He has male reproductive organs and genitalia. With some of the brightest minds on the planet, one would think Penn would not have any difficulty making this decision. But this is how toxic things have become on campus, in the country, and worldwide. Women are relegated to third-class citizens as radical left-wing ideologues diligently work to reshape human civilization and state men can be women.
Since women are no longer valued in society, it raises the question: Why differ between men and women in competitions? Just lump everyone together and may the best “person” win. It’s a question the UPenn swimmer wondered herself.
- The Myth of the Modern-Self
From First Things:
What is true in the groves of academe is even more powerfully true in our modern, technologized world. Western society is built on the myth that individuals are in charge of their identities. And when we are reminded that that is not the case, we tend to become rather angry.
Rage is evident in other areas of our progressive culture for much the same reason. Recent years have seen the excesses of this disembodied, libertarian anthropology become more extreme with the advent of technologically enabled developments such as transgenderism and transhumanism. This has been accompanied by an increasingly angry response to any who dare to use language implying any kind of realism. To “misgender” or “deadname” a transgender person can be a career-ending mistake. The disproportionate nature of this reaction indicates the same phenomenon now greeting the Dobbs decision: Those who imply that we are accountable to bodily reality are pointing out the mythical nature of the modern self.
This raises a further interesting question: When does a myth become a lie? Myths grip the imagination of a culture and are internalized by it. Therefore, they typically require no direct and powerful imposition by force. Once force and intimidation are necessary, the myth is surely becoming a lie, something that is known to be untrue but to which loyalty is demanded by our cultural powerbrokers anyway.
That would seem to sum up the position we in the West now find ourselves in. We are furious that our bodies place limits upon us, pointing out that we have natural obligations to others and cannot be whatever and whoever we wish. It is why anyone who argues this—and any court decision that moves society toward acknowledging this fact—is greeted with irrational fury and vindictiveness. Ours is an age in which the myth is becoming an intentional lie.
3. Is ‘Gay Christian’ a Proper Term?
From the Daily Citizen:
There is no small amount of Christians who have taken to referring to themselves and others as “gay Christians.” They use this to refer to people who believe there is no moral conflict at all between same-sex attraction and Christianity. Basically God’s greenlight to being “gay.” It can also include those who hold the orthodox, biblical view that Christianity does not embrace or permit same-sex sexuality, but still choose to retain their same-sex sexual attraction as an identity. Obedience to what God teaches, but “this is who I am.”
But is this a proper way to identify one’s self? There are a number of important reasons to conclude that it is not. We offer two of the most important here.
First, never hyphenate Christian.
To hyphenate something as an identity places the two things on par with one another. The hyphen is an equalizer.
It is why some couples hyphenate their last names. They do not want one last name to be overtaken by another. But our Christianity should never be equalized with any other part of our identity. It is an identity that stands alone, above all others. Christianity is that which we will sacrifice any and everything else for, even our very life and our freedom.
Scripture is actually quite clear about this.
Second, we certainly do not link Christ to anything He clearly opposes.
Every person is desperately fallen and in great need of grace, kindness and redemption. Every. One. It is the collective human condition and a fundamental truth of Christianity. So under Christianity, no one is better or worse than anyone else. No. One.
Some say Jesus never spoke about sexuality, homosexuality, heterosexuality, etc. But that is actually incorrect. Jesus was quite clear on the matter and two of the gospels capture it: Mark 10:6-9 and Matthew 19:4-6.
We certainly do not link the name of Christ in “Christian” with things that are clearly outside of God’s good design. It may make us feel good about ourselves, but it is not honoring to Him.
And that is the central fact of Christianity, to honor Christ in all and above all.
So no, the term “gay Christian” is not an option for describing or referring to individual believers.
4. Birth-Control and Abortifacient Access Bill Passed by House
From the Wall Street Journal:
The legislation protects access to any contraceptive device, including all contraceptive products approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including intrauterine devices known as IUDs and emergency contraception such as Plan B.
GOP lawmakers who opposed the contraceptives bill said it could open the door to broader abortion access or potentially force medical workers to provide contraception even if it goes against their religious beliefs.
- Georgia Heartbeat Abortion Ban, Personhood Statute Can Go into Effect, Federal Appeals Court Rules
From the Daily Citizen:
Chalk up another pro-life victory for the states, this time in Georgia, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade.
A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta this week reversed a lower court that had struck down Georgia’s 2019 law known as the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act (Act). The Act accomplishes two things:
1) it prohibits abortions (with certain exceptions) once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which usually occurs at about six weeks gestation; and
2) it declares that for legal purposes in Georgia the definition of “natural person” includes “any human being including an unborn child.”
6. YouTube to remove certain abortion-related content
YouTube will begin removing and labeling certain abortion-related content on the video-sharing platform, the company said Thursday.
As states pass new laws and rhetoric continues to heat up, tech platforms are grappling with how to treat online information about abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Starting Thursday, YouTube will globally remove content that “promotes or provides instructions” for unsafe or alternative abortion methods not supported by science or approved by medical professionals.
7. Building stronger families
From World Magazine:
The Center sits on one of the main thoroughfares in Niles, a quiet town of about 11,600. The closest airport is 30 minutes away in South Bend, Ind. Four countries—Britain, Spain, France, and the United States—have all laid claim over the centuries to the city that now has the nickname the City of Four Flags. From 1820 to 1865, slaves traveling the Underground Railroad stopped in Niles on their way to Canada. Now, the house on East Main is a station for women and their families escaping what seem like impossible situations.
LifePlan is one of nearly 3,000 pregnancy centers around the United States. But many crisis pregnancy centers focus their efforts on “you + baby” and unintentionally sideline a key component of effective compassion: strengthening the most fundamental community—the family. LifePlan offers traditional pregnancy center services, but staff and volunteers aim to provide women with long-term support by grounding the whole family on a foundation of Biblical sexuality.
In 1984, an abortion center opened in Niles. A group of churches responded by opening the Pregnancy Care Center of Niles in 1985. It offered basic pregnancy services. Finances were shaky, and the center had six directors in the span of 10 years. The abortion center closed in 2012, and now the closest one is in South Bend. In 2017, the organization changed its name to LifePlan to help change the assumption that a pregnancy center is only for women.
8. A Wake-up Call for the Education Establishment
The 2021-2022 school year was a wake-up call for the educational establishment. Between their failure to cope with pandemic learning losses, doubling down on divisive policies, political and legislative defeats, and having lost almost two million students, government schools have all but surrendered whatever trust and confidence they once enjoyed from the American public.
In a healthy institution, such blows would inspire serious efforts at self-reflection and reform. But the American educational regime is not healthy. It will take strong medicine to restore the education system to something resembling sanity.
Any participant in a twelve-step program will tell you that the first step towards recovery is to admit that you have a problem. Yet despite the experience of the past few years, the educational establishment prefers to deflect and distract the public while doggedly pursuing its ideological agenda.
A recent opinion piece by Zeph Capo, the president of the Texas American Federation of Teachers, provides an example of this tendency at the classroom level. Confronted with the fact that nearly two-thirds of teachers and staff surveyed by his organization were considering leaving the profession, Capo did what the heads of teachers’ unions do best: demand more money from taxpayers while ignoring their legitimate concerns. In particular, he called for “stopping the heinous political attacks like the witch hunt for supposed Critical Race Theory instruction,” even as evidence of such instruction increases daily.
Capo went on to state that “surveys of parents nationwide show widespread and significant support for schools and teachers, but the headlines read differently.” He provided no specific data to back up this claim, trusting his readers to simply accept that what might once have been true is true now. The latest Gallup poll on Americans’ confidence in major institutions, however, tells a very different tale: only 28 percent of those surveyed claimed to have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools, a four-point drop from 2021.
9. Study says depression not caused by chemical imbalance, raising questions about antidepressants
From the Deseret News:
Millions of Americans take antidepressants, but a new study suggests the theory underpinning their use may be entirely wrong. Research from the University College London raises doubt that chemical imbalance in the brain is responsible for depression.
A major review of previous studies on serotonin’s role in depression, just published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, concluded that serotonin level — the target of antidepressants — is not responsible for depression.
The researchers found “no support for the hypothesis that depression is caused by lowered serotonin activity or concentrations.”
They found stronger evidence that stressful life events can lead to depression.
The question is, do antidepressants help, and if so, how? If not, could they be doing harm?
Experts are divided and the study has drawn some pushback.
10. Rams’ Cooper Kupp at ESPY Awards: “God is Good. My wife; I adore you.”
From the Daily Citizen:
The ESPYs – short for the “Excellence in Sports Yearly Awards,” – is a show dating back to 1993, when ESPN aired its inaugural telecast of the event. Viewers may remember that program for basketball coach Jim Valvano’s tearjerker speech. Dying from cancer, “Jimmy V,” who would be dead less than two months later, said:
Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.
Before woke politics and agenda-driven ideological campaigns infiltrated the word of college and professional sports, athletics long united Americans.
Think Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid in 1980. The World Series. The Super Bowl. So many iconic moments. We’re interested partly because many of us played versions of the games growing up, partly because the competitions are fun to watch, and partly because for the most part, the outcomes really don’t impact us. It’s stressless in a stressful world.
In the 29 years since that first event, the ESPYs have recognized a wide range of talents and personalities. This year’s recipients included Cooper Kupp (Best Championship Performance), Shohei Ohtani and Katie Ledecky (Best Men’s and Women’s Athletes) and Klay Thompson (Best Comeback Player).
These are the best of the best – magnificently gifted individuals who are in the physical prime of their lives. They wow us with their strengths and prowess. We see them leap, jump, throw and catch – and sometimes wonder if we’re seeing an optical illusion.
But the ESPYs do more than highlight pure athletic accomplishment, however impressive it might be. They provide a platform for telling the story behind the story – and the very best athletes and individuals use the forum not to take credit for success, but spread the credit around.
Upon receiving one of his two awards, Cooper Kupp, the Super Bowl winning star wide-receiver of the Los Angeles Rams, declared “God is good.” He then proceeded to say he adores his wife and boys – and thanked them for supporting him.
It was Mariano Rivera, the Baseball Hall of Fame relief pitcher, who once nicely summed up the connection between his faith and his career on the diamond:
Everything I have and everything I became is because of the strength of the Lord, and through Him I have accomplished everything. Not because of my strength. Only by His love, His mercy, and His strength.
11.This woman gave her wedding dress to a stranger for free, and inspired a movement
After wearing the dress down the aisle, she decided it deserved a better fate than sitting in her closet collecting dust.
“I couldn’t figure out quite how I was going to do it. I ended up putting something on Facebook,” she said.
Stulgis was bombarded. She received more than 70 messages, with each future bride describing what receiving the dress would mean to them.
She eventually settled on a woman who lived nearby — but a movement was born. Stulgis got messages from other women who also wanted to donate their dresses, as well as those looking for a dress for their own wedding.
Stulgis created a Facebook group called “Dream Dresses.” She estimates that since June, more than 200 dresses have been exchanged, and the impact of the group continues to grow.
Diana Bowman was one of the women who donated her dress through the Facebook group, and said that it gave her an opportunity to help someone else with the stress she had experienced during her dress search.
Hope you have a great weekend!