Apple founder Steve Jobs once lamented, “There are unintended consequences to everything.” As an example, he called television “at its best – magnificent” and yet also “the most corrosive piece of technology that I’ve ever seen.”
The introduction of unfavorable tax laws to married couples is a reflection of a corrosive attitude regarding what happens when you devalue the institution of marriage. Those inclined to do so appear either ignorant or indifferent to the fact that when marriages collapse, culture collapses along with it.
We begin with a look at the ongoing debate regarding the unintended consequences of new tax legislation concerning marriage:
1. GOP senators call out ‘harmful’ tax penalties for married couples in spending bill
From Fox News:
Thirty-three Republican senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., calling out the “harmful” tax penalties for married couples in the House Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending bill.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, led a letter with 32 of his Senate Republican colleagues blasting a provision of the House Democrats’ multitrillion-dollar budget reconciliation bill that would impose harsh marriage tax penalties.
Highlighting the financial imposition the bill places on married couples, the senators argued that federal policy “should be designed to foster strong marriages” and warned that the “harmful penalties for marriage” sends “the wrong message” to American families.
“Unfortunately, despite its original rollout as part of the ‘American Families Plan,’ the current draft of the reconciliation bill takes an existing marriage penalty in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and makes it significantly worse,” the senators wrote.
The senators pointed out that while the EITC is “an important policy tool” that incentivizes work, the measure contains “small, but damaging, marriage penalties.”
2. Back on the Bench, the Supreme Court Faces a Blockbuster Term
From The New York Times:
A transformed Supreme Court returns to the bench on Monday to start a momentous term in which it will consider eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, vastly expanding gun rights and further chipping away at the wall separating church and state.
The abortion case, a challenge to a Mississippi law that bars most abortions after 15 weeks, has attracted the most attention. The court, now dominated by six Republican appointees, seems poised to use it to undermine and perhaps overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion and barred states from banning the procedure before fetal viability.
The highly charged docket will test the leadership of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who lost his position at the court’s ideological center with the arrival last fall of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. He is now outflanked by five justices to his right, limiting his ability to guide the court toward the consensus and incrementalism he has said he prefers.
3. ‘No Way to Treat a Child’: New Book Examines Failures and Reforms of Foster Care System
From The Daily Citizen:
Currently, there are more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. Usually, the mainstream media only chooses to tell the most dramatic, heartbreaking stories of abuse and neglect.
While these stories are important, Naomi Schaefer Riley, a graduate of Harvard University and former editor at The Wall Street Journal, has a different idea.
She has written an upcoming book providing a comprehensive examination of the foster care system in the United States titled, No Way to Treat a Child: How the Foster Care System, Family Courts, and Racial Activists are Wrecking Young Lives. It will be released on October 12, 2021.
A description of her book notes that frequently in the foster care system, “Kids in danger are treated instrumentally to promote the rehabilitation of their parents, the welfare of their communities, and the social justice of their race and tribe.”
The Daily Citizen spoke to Riley about her new book and asked her about this.
“The foster care system is built around parents and trying to give parents as many chances as possible before placing children with foster families,” Riley said.
In an advance copy of the book provided to The Daily Citizen, Riley writes that there are “countless … ways in which the system seems to prioritize other concerns over the best interests of the child.”
4. The ACLU Decides ‘Woman’ Is a Bad Word
From the Wall Street Journal:
The American Civil Liberties Union has apologized for excluding the word “woman” from a Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotation in a tweet posted Sept. 18: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity,” as the organization rendered the statement. ACLU executive director Anthony Romero told the New York Times that in the future the group “won’t be altering people’s quotes.”
But it will surely find more palatable ways to hedge the word, because doing so has become a progressive point of order. House Democrats qualified the word “woman” in a September bill by saying the term reflects “the identity of the majority of people” who might seek an abortion: “This Act is intended to protect all people with the capacity for pregnancy—cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals, those who identify with a different gender, and others.”
The new gender ideology aims to liberate humanity from biology but ends up defining us by it (“birthing people”) and binding us to an endless concern with the gender we feel. The feminist movement, with its intense focus on gender and embrace of the sexual revolution, helped pave the way for this. The sex obsession at the center of feminism is also driving the gender-identity movement. It’s exhausting and dehumanizing.
A meaningful feminism would promote the dignity of women and recognize that the word “woman” connotes a reality that transcends—but isn’t separate from—a female reproductive system. The word should remain part of our language, and hold its original meaning.
These progressive word games are intended to acknowledge that people who don’t identify as women can get pregnant. But it is no disrespect or lack of compassion to acknowledge reality: Biological sex is real.
Another reality: Language and the law are inseparable. If we erase sex-specific words from our language, we erase, too, what it means to be a man or a woman. Where does it stop? There are people—you can look it up—who identify as not human. Is person an insensitive term?
5. New Research Demonstrates Therapy Can Be Helpful in Changing Same-Sex Attractions
From The Daily Citizen:
A new, two-year study affirms what numerous reports and research have already demonstrated: Sexual attractions and identity can be fluid, and some people are helped by therapy for unwanted homosexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
The research, from Carolyn Pela, Ph.D. and Philip Sutton, Ph.D., analyzed the same-sex attraction experiences, opposite-sex attraction experiences, sexual attraction identity and well-being of 75 men engaged in “sexual attraction fluidity exploration in therapy” (SAFE-T). The men were evaluated at 6-month intervals over a two-year period.
Pela, the principal investigator for the study, is a professor and Assistant Dean at Arizona Christian University, while Sutton is a licensed psychologist.
Their report, “Sexual Attraction Fluidity and Well-Being in Men: A Therapeutic Outcome Study,” showed men in the study had strong religious convictions, as is true of many who experience same-sex attractions and seek counseling, with 30% motivated by their faith. Traditional marriage was a motivation for 37% of the participants.
- Into the battle of ideas
Dr. Al Mohler writes in World Magazine:
We are living in one of the great epochs of human transition, and most of us are aware that the civilization our grandchildren will inherit may bear little resemblance to the civilization we now know, or at least once knew. Christians, increasingly aware of what is now at stake, must also realize that the dominant ideas of any age will eventually determine the shape of civilization. In our moment, this is not a comforting thought.
Christians are called to the battle of ideas, and faithful discipleship requires careful thinking. The Bible honors the life of the mind, and Christians in our time have learned the necessity of thinking through the lens of a Christian view of the world and our place in it.
The Apostle Paul exhorted believers to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). What an incredible calling—and it comes to every believer. This generation of believers arrives at this responsibility with a particular urgency.
- There is no greater threat to young people’s intellectual development and personal integrity than the progressive ideology dominating schools
From the Claremont Review of Books:
Parenting is hard. Writing well about parenting is even harder. Americans have transformed what was once a natural function, guided by age-old conventions and instincts, into an elaborate, minutely analyzed project beset by conflicting recommendations and expectations. A steady stream of works on childrearing, family life, and parent-child relations pours from our presses—tomes of ethnography, psychology, and sociology with scholarly pretensions, memoirs fond and gruesome, and volumes filled with advice from the homely to the expert. We can’t seem to get enough. Yet what do all these tracts amount to? As a parent myself, an aficionado of such works, and with an academic interest in how children become contributing citizens, my answer is: not much, and little of use to the average American parent.
Feeney’s chief complaint is neither original nor unfamiliar: modern families—at least the ones he knows best—find themselves running an anxious, taxing, frenetic race. Their grim gauntlet includes “parenting in public” (engaging in displays of “good parenting” for the benefit of other parents and helping professionals), dealing with the absurdities of preschool admissions, keeping up with the non-stop frenzy of competitive youth sports, managing a hypnotically mesmerizing online world, and, most importantly, navigating the treacherous, high-stakes college admissions process. What’s the purpose of this ordeal? To secure for their children a place in the university-to-elite pipeline, the only sure path to life at the top of society. That means getting them into a prestigious, selective college.
8. Pat Robertson steps down from ‘The 700 Club’ to focus on teaching at Regent University
From the Christian Post:
One of America’s longest-standing television hosts, televangelist Pat Robertson is stepping down as the host of the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “The 700 Club.”
In an announcement Friday, the 60th anniversary of the first live CBN broadcast, the 91-year-old founder of the network said he will focus his efforts teaching students at Regent University, the evangelical university he founded in 1977.
Robertson is widely known as a political commentator, former Republican presidential candidate and former Southern Baptist minister.
Robertson announced that his son, Gordon Robertson, who has served as co-host of “The 700 Club”for the past 24 years, will become the full-time host of the news-based program that has been around since 1966.
- Lessons in Artful Argument from C. S. Lewis
From the Gospel Coalition:
C. S. Lewis modeled disagreement in a variety of helpful ways. Sometimes, he declared that particular ideas were wrong. Early in Mere Christianityhe anticipated the objection against universal morality: “I know some people say . . . different civilizations and different ages have had quite different moralities.” He simply followed with “But this is not true.” Only after drawing this hard line in the sand did he offer support for his strong claim.
Sometimes, he softened his words when others might have sharpened theirs. This works especially well when countering common misconceptions about the gospel. For example, when Lewis addressed the claim that Christianity is just a bunch of rules to follow, he gently responded, “I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before.”
C. S. Lewis understood his times well and responded brilliantly. One of his most substantive rebukes—and one that’s particularly relevant today—was his condemnation of chronological snobbery. This view asserts that what we believe today must be true because it’s most recent. It assumes that we’ve evolved intellectually so our beliefs must be better than those of less enlightened people of the past.
Sometimes we need to question the question before we answer it. This takes some practice, but I’m convinced it’s a skill we can all develop.
For example, if someone asks, “Are you saying atheists don’t go to heaven just because they don’t believe in God?” you might reply, “Why would an atheist want to go to heaven?” They might look confused by your response, but don’t let confusion on their part prompt discouragement on your part. Sometimes people must feel perplexed before they will consider another perspective.
10. 112-year-old great-grandfather certified as world’s oldest living man
A great-grandfather in Spain was confirmed by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living man at 112 years, 211 days old.
Saturnino de la Fuente Garcia, who was born Feb. 11, 1909, in Leon, Spain, was certified by Guinness as the oldest person living (male) Sept. 10.
Garcia, who has 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren, lives with his daughter, Angeles, and son-in-law, Bernardo.
The supercentenarian told Guinness the secret to his longevity is to live “a quiet life” and “do not hurt anyone.”