Since the reversal of Roe, the quest to protect the preborn puts the matter almost exclusively at a state level – bringing to mind the late Speaker of the House of Representative’s Tip O’Neill oft-quoted observation: “All politics is local.”
1. Ballot Initiative That Would Legalize Abortion Rights in Michigan Constitution Fails Certification
From the Daily Citizen:
This week the Michigan Board of State Canvassers voted against certifying a sweeping abortion rights ballot initiative. The four-member, bi-partisan panel is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats. Certification requires at least three votes to get the initiative on the November ballot.
The ballot initiative did not receive the necessary votes because of concerns raised by opponents that state-mandated laws for ballot initiatives were not correctly followed.
Abortion activists will likely appeal the election board’s decision to the Michigan supreme court.
But the deadline for ballot language is September 9th, so the state supreme court doesn’t have much time to act if it decides to take the case.
State abortion policy in Michigan has been hotly contested since Roe’s reversal. Current state law restricts abortion at the point of viability – the time in which a baby can live outside the mother’s womb.
But law prior to Roe would ban nearly all abortions, and that law has been blocked from going into effect by a state court at the request of the abortion-supporting governor. Planned Parenthood is also challenging the pro-life law, arguing that the ban already violates rights under the Michigan Constitution.
2. Pro-life OB/GYNs launch campaign refuting claims that abortion bans hurt women
From the Christian Post:
A group of pro-life doctors is launching a campaign in response to claims that abortion bans prevent doctors from providing emergency care to pregnant women, a claim that has seen increased fervor in the media after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), an organization that defends medical practices that preserve the lives of women and unborn children, launched a social media campaign and released a fact sheet titled “Myth vs. Fact: Correcting Misinformation on Maternal Medical Care.”
The group’s purpose in doing so is to disprove the suggestion that the court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which upheld Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, interferes with doctors’ ability to provide treatment for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages.
3. Biden ramps up attacks on ‘MAGA Republicans’ in fiery campaign speech
From the Washington Times:
In a prime-time event in Philadelphia, Mr. Biden struck a somber mood, framing the upcoming midterm elections as an eternal battle for “the soul of America.” He cast supporters of former President Donald Trump and the Make America Great Again movement as a threat to the nation’s rule of law, global standing and civil rights.
“Too much of what is happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundation of our republic,” Mr. Biden said.
Republicans say Mr. Biden and Democrats are the ones promoting a divisive ideology and called him out for not recognizing left-wing violence, including the firebombing and other attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and the plot to murder Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“Joe Biden‘s wretched attacks on millions of Americans have fueled attacks on pregnancy centers, Republican offices, and an assassination attempt on a Supreme Court Justice. His agenda has pitted neighbors against each other, rewarded the wealthy while punishing working families, and trampled on the rights and freedoms of Americans. Joe Biden is the divider-in-chief and epitomizes the current state of the Democrat Party: one of divisiveness, disgust, and hostility towards half the country,” said Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
4. Christian Teacher Wins $95,000 in Damages Against District That Punished Her for Refusing to Submit to Gender Ideology Policy
From the Daily Citizen:
In a successful conclusion to a story the Daily Citizen has been following for the last few months, Pamela Ricard, a middle school math teacher in Fort Riley, Kansas, will receive $95,000 in damages and attorney’s fees from the school district that punished her for refusing to use students’ “preferred pronouns” or deceive parents about their children’s sexual identity confusion.
Ms. Ricard, a Christian, was suspended earlier this year from her teaching position for refusing to violate her deeply held beliefs in order to comply with the gender ideology policies of her school district, USD 475 Geary County School District (District). Those policies would have forced her to deny the biological reality (and biblical teaching) concerning the reality of only two sexes, determined at birth. The policies also required her to conceal from parents the struggles their children might be having over their sexual identity, even if the parents directly inquired about it.
Ms. Ricard, assisted by attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Kriegshauser Ney Law Group, filed a federal lawsuit over the District’s actions and succeeded in obtaining a preliminary injunction in May prohibiting the District from enforcing its policies against Ricard.
Following the court’s ruling, the parties reached a settlement of Ricard’s claims, as announced in an ADF press release. Ricard, who retired in May, will receive $95,000 in damages and attorney’s fees, along with a statement in her personnel file that she retired in good standing with the District without any disciplinary actions pending against her.
- The Cancellation of Dr. Nassif
From First Things:
For anyone wondering how traditional Christianity is going to fare in the culture in future, even within many Christian institutions, the disturbing tale of Dr. Bradley Nassif, formerly of North Park University, an institution formally connected to the theologically conservative Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), offers an interesting case in point.
Dr. Nassif is a well-known Orthodox theologian, a respected scholar, and a gracious contributor to ecumenical dialogues between Protestantism and Orthodoxy. Such is his standing that the Washington Post consulted him for commentary on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its implications for religious liberty. As a Lebanese American, he is a member of an ethnic minority. And until recently, he was also the only tenured Orthodox faculty member in the Bible department of an American evangelical institution. None of this protected him from dismissal, however.
In May 2021, North Park University (NPU) discontinued its Christian Studies Department (CSD) due to low enrollment, and consequently dismissed four tenured faculty, including Dr. Nassif. However, an investigation by a neutral outside organization demonstrated that the CSD was in fact in a strong financial position. Three of the four professors were rehired, but Dr. Nassif was left out in the cold. Now, adjunct faculty teach his courses.
The reason is no mystery. Nassif maintains that all this occurred because he expressed his reasoned, orthodox views on marriage and human sexuality. He was the only faculty member in CSD who went on record in support of the ECC’s views of marriage and sexuality, and held that they should be included in the curriculum. Certain members of the faculty and administration responded to his perspective with hostility. And this stand on sexuality became a constitutive part of why he was dismissed.
- China Committed ‘Serious Human Rights Violations’ In Uyghur Concentration Camps: UN Report
From the Daily Wire:
The UN Commission on Human Rights released a stunning report on Wednesday alleging that human rights abuses China has committed against the Uyghur minority population may constitute “crimes against humanity.”
The 48-page report outlines allegations leveled against the Chinese Communist Party for years by numerous journalists, governments, and international organizations. The Uyghurs, an Islamic, Turkic-speaking minority in China’s remote northwestern frontier, have been reportedly subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence, and forced labor.
“Despite well-documented evidence of state-sponsored torture and the intended destruction of the entire Uyghur ethnic groups through massive concentration camps, physical and mental torture, slave labor, massive displacement, enforced sterilization to prevent population growth and separation of children from their parents, the U.N. report came short of calling the crime by name,” Mehmet Tohti, executive director of the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, told The New York Times.
The UN first began receiving reports of abuse at the end of 2017, and the report cites 40 interviews with witnesses of the atrocities, 26 of whom reportedly spent time in a Uyghur internment camp. China initially denied the existence of the camps, and when that became impossible, Beijing characterized them as “vocational training centers” meant to combat “extremism.”
7. Reports of sexual assaults in the military jump
From World Magazine:
The Army saw a 26 percent increase in reports of sexual assault, compared to 13 percent across the U.S. military. Every two years, the Pentagon also does an anonymous survey asking service members if they experienced unwanted sexual contact. Those numbers were up to 36,000 from 20,000 in 2018. That means about 1 in 5 service members reported an incident in the previous year. It is unclear whether those numbers represent more incidents or more people willing to speak about them.
Is the military changing its policies? Army officials said a training program that occurs when they first get on base has seen some results. They have also begun asking service members at random to evaluate unit leaders they know. Data collected from those evaluations and one other study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that a woman’s chance of being sexually assaulted in the military was the same as in the general population. Men’s risk was lower in the military.
- The Decline of Well-Being in Young Adults
From Psychology Today:
Relatively speaking, young people are not doing as well as they once were. They report being less happy and less healthy; having less meaning, greater struggles with character, and poorer relationships; and less financially stable compared to their older counterparts. The differences in well-being with age were, in fact, much larger than they were for gender or for race. There has been discussion of a national mental health crisis among youth. The present disconcerting data indicate that the crisis is much broader, embracing numerous aspects of flourishing, and with potentially dire implications for the future of our nation.
Some of the issue may also pertain to a crisis in meaning. While universities have supplied increasing knowledge, it is not clear that they have done as good a job at providing comprehensive systems of meaning and understanding. Religions and philosophies have traditionally often supplied these, but participation in religious communities has declined substantially, especially among youth, which may also alter numerous other aspects of well-being.
Crises in identity, including what seems to be a push in some places to have children wrestle with questions of their own gender identity even (as I have experienced in exploring educational options for my own children) as early as kindergarten, likely does not help.
Quiet quitting: Why Gen Z’s latest trend is setting it up for failure
From the NY Post:
The kids are not alright. At least not if the latest social-media trend is anything to go by.
Over the last few weeks, a “quiet quitting” movement has emerged from the bowels of TikTok. Like most things that trend on the leftist-dominated, Communist-owned app, it’s a rank combination of self-deprecation, defeatism and destructive ideology.
“You’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond,” explained one TikToker whose viral video helped kick off the fad. “You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle-culture mentality.”
Basically, you’re not actually quitting, you just start doing the bare minimum.
- California: Buy Electric Cars – But Don’t Charge Them During Heat Waves
From the Daily Citizen:
California is currently baking under a heat wave, with triple-digit temperatures and excessive heat warnings from Northern California all the way south to San Diego. The state is expected to stay overheated past Labor Day.
As a result, the California Independent System Operator (CISO), which oversees the state’s electrical grid, announced a heat warning “Flex Alert” asking users to limit energy consumption each evening, “when the grid is most stressed from higher demand and less solar energy.”
The alert suggests consumers “conserve power by setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, if health permits, avoiding use of major applicances [sic] and turning off unnecessary lights.”
It also asks consumers to not charge their electric cars in the evening.
10. Legendary Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz Shares His Game Plan for a Happy Marriage and Family Life
From the Daily Citizen:
After a few games to whet the appetite this past weekend, the college football season now begins in earnest, promising months of memorable and tradition-laden competition from tonight thru the beginning of 2023.
Few men are more intimately familiar with the game than Lou Holtz, the legendary coach whose career spanned five decades, most notably his eleven seasons at the helm of the University of Notre Dame, where he led the Fighting Irish to a national championship in 1988.
A man of strong Christian faith, Holtz’s folksy demeanor and warm wit has endeared him to legions of fans and audiences for years. His self-deprecating and entertaining take on things makes him easy to listen to.
When asked about his losing record at William & Mary College, where he got his start, he says it was a great school – but when it came to fielding a football team, they ran up against the reality of having too many Marys and not enough Williams.
Lou says his 59-year marriage to his late wife, Beth, got off to a rocky start. When she broke up with him during their dating years, his friend Nevitt Stockdale told him, “You and Beth have a love-hate relationship. You love her and she hates you.”
But things worked out – and Lou is always happy to pass along some of the wisdom he’s accrued over the years.
What advice does the old football coach-turned-television analyst have to offer regarding the pathway to a happy family life?
- Make faith your top priority.
- Appreciate each other.
- Make a daily connection.
- Enjoy the moment – but think long-term.
- Teach your children to do the right thing, do the best they can, and always show people they care.
- Stay committed until the end.
Lou Holtz may no longer walk the sidelines of the collegiate gridiron anymore, but he continues to motivate, inspire and encourage, urging people with ears to hear that it’s always better to be a participant than a spectator.