Good Morning! 

Allie Beth Stuckey, the popular Christian writer and podcaster, recently wrote: 

“If you are married and can have kids, do it. Don’t wait until your life is perfect (it never will be). Don’t wait until you’ve reached some arbitrary career goal. Don’t be paralyzed by unknowns. The world needs kind, wise & strong people. Raise them!” 

We begin with a similar admonition from The Daily Citizen’s Nicole Hunt: 

  1. Be Countercultural, Embrace Parenthood 

From The Daily Citizen: 

Christians, listen up; if you are tired of the secular culture asserting a worldview that doesn’t align with God’s truth, then you must reject it and all of its lies that seek to steal, kill, and destroy your future and the future of your family. 

One of the most destructive and pervasive lies of our time is the lie that individual autonomy ought to be valued above all else. As it relates to having a family, this lie subtly whispers that having children will somehow stunt our personal growth, prevent us from attaining our career goals or rob us of a meaningful and fulfilling life. 

As a married millennial mother to four school-aged children, an attorney, a writer, and a spokesperson (accomplishing the three career goals after having children), I’m here to tell you – don’t believe the lie! Motherhood is a gift. Fatherhood is a gift. Don’t be fooled into walking away from one of the greatest blessings of your life – raising children.  

We don’t have to look very far to see what happens when the cultural lie that personal goals, careers goals, or even couple goals are incompatible with having children is accepted as truth. In 2020, Michelle Williams won Best Actress at the Golden Globes. During her acceptance speech, she boasted that she wouldn’t have achieved the award or her professional success if it wasn’t for her abortion. Sadly, her testimonial was received by the audience with thunderous applause. 

  1. Virginia Dems Fight Repeal Of Bill That Said Sex Crimes In Schools Needn’t Be Referred To Police 

From the Daily Wire: 

When Democrats regained control of the Virginia House of Delegates in November 2019, one of the first things they did was pass a law that says school officials do not have to report misdemeanor crimes – specifically singling out “sexual assaults” – to law enforcement. Two years later, with Republicans back in control of that chamber, Democrats do not support its repeal. 

Former Democratic Governor Ralph Northam signed off on the law in February 2020. Schools are currently not required to report to police misdemeanors related to instances of sexual battery, assault, violent threats, stalking, drug and alcohol violations, and more. 

Rapes would be a felony, so the law does not impact them, but lesser forms of unwanted, coercive sexual contact can be considered misdemeanor sexual battery. 

On February 1 of this year, the GOP majority-led House of Delegates passed a bill to repeal the law 59 to 40. Now the measure will head to the Senate – where Democrats have a slim majority. 

RELATED (Virginia) 

Virginia Senate Passes Bill Requiring Parents be Notified of ‘Sexually Explicit’ Content in Classrooms 

From The Daily Citizen: 

The Virginia state Senate has passed a bill requiring that parents be notified if a teacher uses instructional material that contains ‘sexually explicit’ content. 

The Virginia Senate approved the measure on Wednesday in a 20-18 vote. 

National Review notes that the bill passed the Virginia Senate, which has a small Democrat majority, in a bipartisan fashion when two Democrat members joined with the Republican members to support of the legislation. 

“The bill will now head to Virginia’s GOP-controlled House of Delegates, where it is expected to pass,” NR reports. 

Newly elected Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is likely to sign the bill into law, since the governor made improving the state’s schools, banning critical race theory and expanding school choice a cornerstone of his campaign. 

The bill, dubbed S.B. 656, requires the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to “develop and make available to each school board model policies for ensuring parental notification of any instructional material that includes sexually explicit content.” 

  1. Lafayette Citizens for Freedom Successfully Fight Ban on Therapy for Unwanted Homosexuality and Transgenderism 

From The Daily Citizen: 

Opponents of an ordinance to prohibit “conversion therapy” in West Lafayette, Indiana, were so successful in speaking out against the proposal that city council members withdrew their proposed ban. 

It’s a terrific example of a community – led by Christians – coming together to protect free speech, religious freedom and parental rights. Here is what the ordinance would have done and how Christians were successful fighting it. 

Ordinance No. 31-21 would have made it illegal for licensed professionals or “unlicensed persons” to help minors struggling with sexual identity confusion to accept and embrace their bodily reality. It would have forbidden any help for minors wrestling with unwanted homosexual identity, behaviors or attractions. 

Lafayette Citizens for Freedom, the group opposing the measure, said, “If enacted, it would criminalize faith-based counseling to minors on issues related to human sexuality with the threat of a fine from the police of $1000 per day.” 

4. Joe Rogan Will Be Fine, but Cancel Culture Is a Bigger Threat to Ordinary Americans 

From National Review: 

The bigger threat from cancel culture is not to famous people with massive audiences. It is to those whose lives can be turned upside down thanks to online mobs, who don’t have the resources or supporters to survive such an assault. 

There was the example, for instance, of the high schooler who had her offer to join a cheer team revoked and was forced to withdraw from her chosen university after a three-second video clip surfaced of her using the “N-word” in a private Snapchat to a friend when she was 15 years old. Or the woman who was fired after the Washington Post reported on her Halloween costume. 

The way the new rules work, apologies are never accepted, no matter how genuine. A social-media posting somebody made as a teenager can stick with them for the rest of their life, allowing no room for them to have grown. 

So while it is understandable for people to focus on the Rogan controversy for all of its symbolic importance, in reality, what’s more worrisome is that for every Rogan, there are many others living in obscurity, who face the risk of losing their livelihoods. And others who are afraid to speak freely on issues they care about for fear that they will be torn down without the resources to fall back on. 

  1. Air Force Grants Nine Religious Exemptions from COVID-19 Vaccines 

From The Daily Citizen: 

The United States Air Force has approved nine requests by airmen for exemptions from the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. These are the first requests the Air Force has approved since the mandate was issued at the end of August. 

While its good news that the Air Force seems to have started taking their service members’ religious convictions seriously, the nine approved exemptions are just a drop in the bucket compared to the number of requests that have been submitted. 

ABC News notes that in the Air Force alone, over 6,400 airmen have requested a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Nine approved requests out of 6,400 means that the Air Force has approved just 00.14% of them. 

And across all service branches, more than 14,000 military members have submitted such requests. 

  1. Planned Parenthood Will Get More Taxpayer Funds Thanks to a Federal Appeals Court Ruling 

From The Daily Citizen: 

A refusal by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio to block a lower court ruling will allow Planned Parenthood and other abortion sellers to receive federal taxpayer funds for providing “family planning” services which can include referring women for abortion. 

Planned Parenthood and other abortion sellers get their hands on taxpayer funds in a couple different ways. The lion’s share comes through Medicaid reimbursements. For Planned Parenthood, that brings in more than a half-billion dollars per year. 

The other funding avenue, until 2019, came from Title X family planning grants paid through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This year HHS will provide roughly $256 million in Title X grants to various recipients to help low-income and uninsured individuals. In past years, Planned Parenthood received approximately $60 million annually in such grant funding. 

The problem for pro-life taxpayers has always been that Planned Parenthood’s “family planning” services have always been an excuse to refer women for abortions – sometimes just down the hall at the same PP facility. And this despite the clear language in the 1970 federal law creating Title X: “The broad range of services does not include abortion as a method of family planning.” 

  1. Surprise: Teachers Union President Insists on Masking Kids…Forever 

From Townhall: 

During an interview with MSNBC Tuesday morning, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten insisted kids must continue to be masked in schools…pretty much indefinitely. 

“What are the measures so that everybody knows so it doesn’t feel like it’s based upon politics, it feels like it’s based upon making sure there is no transmission in schools,” Weingarten said, invoking an impossible standard of “no transmission.”   

Last year the Centers for Disease Control was caught red handed allowing union leaders like Weingarten to develop school reopening guidance.  

“Americans need to be able to trust the CDC to give them accurate, unbiased health information, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. That your agency would give teachers’ unions privileged access to the agency’s internal decision-making process on an issue as critical as school re-openings is a betrayal of that trust,” Republican Senators Richard Burr and Susan Collins wrote in a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in June 2021. “As a first step to rebuilding public confidence, the CDC needs be transparent about how the teachers’ unions came to have such extraordinary input in school re-opening guidance.” 

  1. People Over 80 Are Still Taking Care of Their Parents and Partners 

From the Wall Street Journal: 

The U.S. population is aging, and so are caregivers. 

Bob Tiller, an 80-year-old retired lobbyist for nonprofits, manages care for his 101-year-old mother. 

Both live in continuing care communities, he in Silver Spring, Md., and she in western Pennsylvania. If there is an emergency, Mr. Tiller gets the phone call and makes the five-hour drive. 

“I’m the one who is officially responsible, the one who has to make sure her income taxes are filed, and needs to be available in the middle of the night if there’s a health crisis,” says Mr. Tiller. 

The increasing number of caregivers 65 and older is adding a layer of fragility to the nation’s already strained family caregiving system, long the backbone of long-term care. Having a loved one around in old age is a blessing for many, and caring for a loved one provides a sense of purpose. But the duties are upending what many had expected from their retirement years. 

An estimated 19% of the nation’s 53 million unpaid family caregivers are 65 and older, up from 13% in 2004. Caregivers in advanced age—75 and older—now represent 7% of caregivers, according to the 2020 Caregiving in the U.S. report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. 

  1. 9 Things Families Can Do Instead of Watching the Super Bowl Halftime Show 

From The Daily Citizen: 

Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show is expected to feature Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J Blige and Eminem – an eclectic mix of rappers not known for their family-friendly lyrics or quiet melodies. 

My friend and colleague Adam Holz, who heads up our Plugged In team, observed: 

“It’s funny to me that these aging rap and hip-hop artists are somehow being promoted as family-friendly fare, when much of the content of their catalogs is anything but. I think we tend to attribute wisdom or maturity to musicians who are older, but I’m not sure that a response like that is really warranted here.” 

He continued: 

“In the case of Kendrick Lamar, he’s of a younger generation and has grappled with some tough issues—including God’s role in his life—in his music. But like much of rap, there’s a lot there that’s pretty problematic, too. With all of them, I suspect they’ll either be censoring their own music or being subjected to network bleeps, because there’s a lot of profanity mixed into many of these musician’s songs.” 

We’ve come a long way from the first Super Bowl halftime show in 1967 featuring marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State. During that inaugural outing, the collegians played, among other selections, the theme song from “The Sound of Music” and the patriotic classic, “This is My Country.” 

10. How the super-centenarians live 

From AFP: 

Most centenarians are found in the world’s so-called blue zones where people live longer than average: They are in Okinawa in Japan, on the Italian island of Sardinia, the Greek island of Ikaria, the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica and in the Californian city of Loma Linda. 

France, although no blue zone, was still home to the world’s oldest person with certified birth records, Jeanne Calment, who lived in Provence, dying in 1997 in Arles aged 122. 

Scientists haven’t uncovered all the secrets for a long life, but they have some idea of what it takes. 

“Longevity goes hand-in-hand with material wealth, and with democracy, specifically social democracy,” said Jean-Marie Robine, a demographer and gerontologist at Inserm, a biomedical research institute. 

Nutritional factors play a big role, he said, with the Japanese diet of fish and vegetables found to foster longevity, just like the vegetable-based Mediterranean diet. 

“We’re not certain whether these diets are truly beneficial, but we have no doubt that others, such as French fries, charcuterie and cabbage are not that good,” he said. 

While good genes play a part, healthy living seems to be fundamental for anybody hoping to grow this old. 

“We know that an optimistic outlook has a direct link to the mechanics of the immune system,” said Daniela S. Jopp, a professor for the psychology of aging at Lausanne university in Switzerland. 

In her research into German and American centenarians, she found that they were often extroverts, charismatic, at ease in social situations, passionate about something, goal-oriented and able to find adaptation strategies when dealing with problems.