Long before Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” the Lord said to Moses:
“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).
Even in a post-Christian world, this command still seems to resonate:
1. How the Golden Rule Brings Americans Together
From the Deseret News:
In a country rife with divisions, here’s one thing Americans agree on, whether young or old, Christian or secular, Democrat or Republican: the value of the golden rule.
A new survey from Deseret News and The Marist Poll showed that 92% of U.S. adults say the call to “do unto others as they would do unto you” is a “very necessary” or “necessary” part of their personal lives. Strong levels of support for the golden rule can be found in every major faith group, at every education level and in every generation.
2. Senator Joe Manchin Announces He Supports Judge Jackson for the Supreme Court
From The Daily Citizen:
Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., whose somewhat conservative views on judges make him a key vote in the confirmation battle over Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, has all but sealed the deal for the judge’s confirmation by declaring his support for her.
In the evenly split U.S. Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris breaks all tie votes, Manchin’s views are closely watched, as he was thought to be the only Democrat who could potentially vote against Jackson. With Manchin’s support, plus the possibility of one or more votes from Republicans, Jackson’s nomination is all but assured.
Manchin tweeted his support for Judge Jackson:
“After meeting with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, considering her record, and closely monitoring her testimony and questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, I have determined I intend to vote for her nomination to serve on the Supreme Court.”
- A Case of Charter School Sabotage
From the Wall Street Journal:
The Biden Administration is deep in the tank for the teachers unions, and it is proving it again by imposing new rules to sabotage a modest $440 million grant program for charter schools.
The 28-year-old federal Charter Schools Program helps pay for charter start-up expenses such as technology and staff. The funds go chiefly to state agencies, which award the money to charters, and to nonprofit charter management organizations. The federal Department of Education recently proposed new rules that would discourage charters from even applying for grants—which may be the goal.
Applicants will now have to describe “unmet demand for the charter school.” Having hundreds or thousands of children on charter waiting lists won’t suffice. The Administration wants evidence of “over-enrollment of existing public schools,” as well as proof that the new charter “does not exceed the number of public schools needed to accommodate the demand in the community.”
This means that charter applicants in school districts with shrinking enrollment, which includes many big cities, would almost certainly be rejected. “Demand for charter schools isn’t just about demand for the availability of any seat but the demand for a high-quality seat,” says Karega Rausch, president and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. That’s why charters have waiting lists in cities with empty public-school buildings.
- Over Half of Ukraine’s Children Displaced by One Month of War
From The Daily Citizen:
Over the past month, humanity worldwide has witnessed the devastation and destruction brought about by the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The invasion began the largest conventional war in Europe since World War II and has sparked Europe’s largest refugee crisis since that war.
According to data provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a shocking 3,725,806 refugees have fled Ukraine in one month, from February 24 to March 24, 2022.
Refugees have fled into Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova and the Russian Federation.
Additionally, over half of Ukraine’s children have been displaced after just one month of war, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported on Thursday.
The war “has led to the displacement of 4.3 million children – more than half of the country’s estimated 7.5 million child population.”
- Dear Christian parents: You’re failing miserably
From Washington Times:
Dear Christian parents: you’re failing … miserably. The pervasive guilt I feel typing these words is insurmountable, yet we cannot keep denying our agonizing reality: Culture is engulfing us.
Survey after survey reveals the absolute moral insanity bubbling underneath the surfaces of our churches, Christian communities and, most disturbingly, our hearts.
Recent research conducted by George Barna and the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University yielded horrifying results, specifically for anyone claiming the Christian mantle.
Mr. Barna found 67% of parents of preteens today claim to be Christians, yet just 4% of these individuals hold what would be considered a “biblical worldview.” This means only a tiny fraction of those claiming to embrace biblical sentiments actually live out and authentically believe in what they claim to hold dear.
This crisis has two significant implications. The first is spiritual, and the second is societal. While the spiritual concerns might appeal only to Christians and peers who see the innumerable benefits of faith, the second should be of grave concern to anyone seeking a healthier populace.
- Parents Say Mandatory Masking at School Harmed Their Kids, Poll Finds
From The Daily Citizen:
Many parents believe that mandatory mask policies at school have harmed their kids, a new poll has found.
Forty percent of parents “believe that mask-wearing harmed their children’s overall scholastic experience,” the new poll from Politico-Harvard discovered. Only 11% say that it helped their schooling, while “nearly half of parents said masks made no difference.”
Additionally, 46% of parents said they believe that “mask-wearing hurt their child’s social learning and interactions,” while another 39% said that mandatory masking “affected their child’s mental and emotional health.”
The poll was conducted from March 1 to March 7 and surveyed 478 parents whose children attend in-person school.
How to Help Teens Get Enough Sleep
From the Wall Street Journal:
Teen sleep is now a scarce resource. A study of middle and high schoolers in the 1990s found their average sleep time was 7.53 hours, which is less than optimal but near adequate levels. By 2006, that number had dwindled by half an hour. An analysis of 270,000 middle and high schoolers found that between 1996 and 2012 there was a significant rise in the percentage of teens who slept less than seven hours per night, with the greatest drop-off in sleep time occurring among 15-year-olds. By age 15, most kids go to bed later than their parents and share a pillow with their phones. Many parents of teenagers have no idea what time their child goes to bed or how much they actually sleep.
Part of the reason for this night owl tendency is a natural delay in the body’s sleep clock. During adolescence, our circadian rhythms—governed by a collection of neurons in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), or the “master clock”—undergo a timing shift. Teens are biologically programmed to go to bed later and wake up later than younger children and adults. If teens could set their own ideal sleep schedules, most would sleep around nine hours, beginning at roughly 10 or 11 p.m.
For most people this preference for later sleep begins around age 12, and reaches its peak at age 19.5 for girls and 21 for boys. In our 20s, we tip back toward a morning preference again. This is a phenomenon that has been observed across cultures and even across species. Mammals including rhesus monkeys, marmosets and mice experience a delay in their internal clock around the time of puberty.
Getting enough sunlight is more challenging on short days in the wintertime when teens wake up in darkness, especially if school starts too early. When kids go straight from home into a building with no sunlight, their internal clocks remain out of sync. Schools can help by moving start times to 8:30 a.m. or later, making sure classrooms have as much sunlight as possible and changing schedules to allow students to have first period outside, in physical education or otherwise.
Teens should eat outside and have class discussions or writing exercises outside whenever possible, especially in the first half of the day. This will help them be alert in class and also fall asleep easier at night. With a full night, all the dynamic work of sleep is complete and young people start the day with a full tank, ready to learn, take on challenges, and see the world through capable and positive eyes.
- Supreme Court backs pastor prayer, touch in death chamber
From ABC News:
A near unanimous Supreme Court said a death-row inmate’s spiritual adviser should be able to pray aloud and lay hands on an inmate at the moment of his execution, siding with a Texas man who had challenged a state ban on the practice.
Chief Justice John Roberts, in an opinion joined by seven other justices, wrote that there was not a compelling government interest in denying the religious exercises, noting their extensive history in American death chambers and the availability of less-restrictive steps to ensure security and decorum in that space.
The decision was a victory for John Henry Ramirez, a 37-year-old sentenced to death by lethal injection for the 2004 murder of a convenience store clerk and father of nine, Pablo Castro.
Ramirez, who does not contest his guilt or the sentence, wants his Baptist minister to be present inside the death chamber to pray out loud and lay a hand on his body at the moment he receives a lethal injection of phenobarbital.
- Elon Musk asks ‘is a new platform needed?’ after Twitter free speech criticism
From Fox Business:
Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk wondered aloud on Twitter whether another platform is needed, causing his millions of followers to call for him to buy the social media giant.
“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk tweeted Saturday. “What should be done?”
In a follow-up post, Musk asked, “Is a new platform needed?”
Musk’s 79.1 million followers immediately called on him to either buy Twitter himself or build a new platform.
- Bizarre Moment at Oscars as Will Smith Storms Stage and Hits Chris Rock for Crack About Wife
From Fox News:
During the award show, Chris Rock was presenting an award when he made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
It was reported that after the joke was made about a sequel to “G.I Jane” and Pinkett Smith’s bald head, Smith was deeply offended and walked toward Rock, slapping him in the face before returning to his seat.
- Give Thanks for the Local Church
From the Gospel Coalition:
The local church is often overlooked—much like the shorter letters of the New Testament. While we may turn up to a local gathering week after week, it’s rare the church is the primary topic of conversation online. Instead, our focus is on the latest podcast, the upcoming conference, or the newest book. Sadly, the local church is more often treated like a bridesmaid than as the bride.
When it comes to expressing gratitude, Christians can fall into the danger of either saying too much or too little. We’re prone to either flattery or remaining silent. Some gush with superlatives when giving thanks for the local church. Others allow no words of thanksgiving to escape their mouths. Neither of these options is helpful.
Not everyone occupies the pulpit and has an opportunity to express their gratitude for a local church in this way. But there are other ways you can follow Paul’s example.
1. Share your gratitude in after-church conversations.
Resist the temptation to wax eloquent about the latest podcast and instead share about someone or something in your local church for which you’re grateful.
2. Avoid complaining about your church.
It doesn’t matter whether your family, neighbors, and work colleagues are believers or not. Resist the temptation to grumble or “get things off your chest.”
3. Seek out fellow believers for whom you can give thanks.
Tell them they’re sources of gratitude for you.
4. Write a letter to another church.
Is there a church in your town or city that is evidencing the faith and character qualities Paul lists in 2 Thessalonians 1? Why not follow Paul’s example and reach out to them with an encouraging letter or email?
The local church is Jesus Christ’s bride. Let’s stop acting like the local church is secondary, and gratefully boast in what Christ is doing within her.