The late Jane D. Hull, who served as governor of Arizona between 1997 and 2003, once said: 

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.”  

It would appear some deep within the United States government disagree: 

  1. Sorry, Mr. Secretary – Parents Are Not Domestic Terrorists

Focus on the Family president Jim Daly writes: 

If some liberals wonder why parents of public school-age children are aggrieved and frustrated, they need look no further than yesterday’s story confirming that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and his staff likened protesting moms and dads at school board meetings to domestic terrorists. 

You might remember the news last fall that the National School Boards Association (NSBA) suggested parents around the country who were objecting to the teaching of Critical Race Theory, along with mask wearing and other classroom-related concerns, were engaging in “a form of domestic terrorism.”

I’m sorry, Mr. Secretary – but mothers and fathers who take an active and concerned role in their children’s education aren’t radical, violent rebels – they’re loving, responsible men and women who are deeply involved in the shaping and nurturing of the next generation. 

In fact, they’re doing what grown-ups do – they’re standing up for what they believe in an orderly and candid manner. 

Government hostility towards parents and families is rising, and it should alarm everyone, not just those with children in the home. It reflects a disdain for freedom and is an insult to the autonomy and authority every mom and dad possesses under the United States Constitution. 

In many cases, it also reflects a violation of religious freedom since many of these objections are rooted in the belief that government cannot usurp our first principles. 

So, what’s at the heart of this antagonism? 

There is an arrogance, of course – a haughty belief that “Big Brother” knows better and anyone who dares to intervene, or question governmental authority, is somehow an enemy of the state. Sit down, shut up – and obey. 

Last November’s election should have put on notice any politician who tries to usurp moms’ and dads’ authority. Love and care of our children are not partisan issues. Parents are the ones who are ultimately responsible for their child’s education. Enrolling a child in a public school does not constitute an abdication of parental authority.  

Transparency is critical and we should all be relieved this egregious and insulting behavior has been exposed. We must remain vigilant and engaged – holding our elected and appointed representatives accountable.  

Keep up the pressure, moms and dads. Our team at Focus on the Family stands with you and readily and regularly wades into the public square to protect, preserve and defend our God-given and constitutionally protected rights. 

  1. Changing the Filibuster is a Bad Idea. Here’s Why. 

From The Daily Citizen: 

There has been a growing push by Senate Democrats to do away with the filibuster, a decades-old rule that requires 60 senators to vote to move forward with pieces of legislation. Currently, the Senate is deadlocked with 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats, making it nearly impossible for various pieces of legislation to advance. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has announced that the Senate will vote on a change to the filibuster rule by Monday, January 17. The vote will require the support of 50 senators to change the rule. 

It’s highly unlikely than any of the 50 Republican senators will vote for the rule change. 

In addition, Democrat Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have expressed support for keeping the filibuster in place, making it extremely unlikely the 60-vote threshold rule will be done away with. 

  1. Newborn Baby Found in Dumpster in New Mexico; Mother Charged 

From The Daily Citizen: 

An 18-year-old woman from Hobbs, New Mexico, has been arrested and charged with attempted murder and felony child abuse after giving birth and then tossing her child into a dumpster behind a local business last Friday. The baby was found alive by three people going through the trash six hours later. Police were called and the baby was taken to a hospital. The mother was located by police after viewing surveillance tapes from the business where the dumpster was located. 

The child, a boy, is listed in stable condition at a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, and the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department has taken lawful custody of him. 

When arrested, Alexis Avila confessed to leaving her newborn in the dumpster, and said she “panicked” when she gave birth, alleging she was unaware she was even pregnant until a doctor appointment the week before she gave birth. 

While there is cause to celebrate the miracle that the baby boy was found and saved, this story is also filled with sad irony. 

4. Kirk Cameron, ‘Duck Dynasty’ star among speakers to headline this year’s March for Life 

From the Christian Post: 

The March for Life has announced that a prominent actor, a reality TV personality and several members of Congress are among the speakers who will address thousands expected to gather at the annual pro-life rally, the first to be open to a large gathering since the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 49th Annual March for Life will take place on Jan. 21, with “Equality Begins in the Womb” as the theme. On Tuesday, the March for Life, the pro-life organization that spearheads the annual event, announced the list of speakers that will address the crowd of pro-life activists gathered in Washington, D.C. 

Notable speakers include Reps. Julia Letlow, R-La., and Chris Smith, R-N.J., actor Kirk Cameron and Lisa Robertson of the reality show “Duck Dynasty.” Other speakers include Kristen Waggoner of the religious liberty law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, pro-life activist Toni McFadden, “Bible in a Year” podcast host Father Mike Schmitz, Down syndrome advocate Katie Shaw, Christendom College student George Schuberg and registered nurse Rachel Young. 

  1. Christian Convert, Ex-Drug User Goes Viral For Thanking Her Church For Staying Open Through COVID-19, Leading To Her Salvation 

From the Daily Wire: 

In a viral video, a Christian convert and former drug user said that she “would be dead” if her church had remained closed due to COVID-19. 

Jennifer Scott — who attends Trinity Bible Chapel in Ontario, Canada — testified before her baptism that personal interactions with other believers led to her salvation. Last year, Trinity Bible Chapel incurred over $100,000 in fines for refusing to shut its doors in defiance of the Reopening Ontario Act, as well as the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. 

“Before Christ, I was a very angry person, and filled with fear, doubt, and self-pity. I was constantly seeking avenues of filling the hole in me that only Jesus could fill,” Scott began, explaining that she started drinking and using drugs at the age of 14. “It began with marijuana and ended with smoking crack cocaine, and intravenous drug use. I was a slave to darkness.” 

“The gospel is the good news that we have salvation through Jesus Christ,” she said. “God came down in the form of a sinless man, Jesus, and poured out His wrath onto Him, that He might spare us eternity in hell, if only we believe that He is the Son of God — the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the Truth, the Way, and the Life.” 

Scott testified that “Jesus never stopped His pursuit of me” despite various backslidings into drug use. However, it was an in-person prayer meeting at Trinity Bible Chapel that began the end of substance abuse in her life. 

6. Should Conservative Christians Be Relocating from Liberal Cities and States? 

From The Daily Citizen: 

According to the latest United States Census, the top five states losing a combined four million in population included New York, California, New Jersey, Illinois and Michigan – all liberal bastions.   

The ideological exodus hasn’t been limited to just the citizenry, as businesses and organizations flee for more friendly state governments. Over the past few years, thousands of companies have fled California and New York. The Daily Wire, the conservative news juggernaut, has relocated its headquarters from Los Angeles to Nashville. In early December, Tesla announced its move from California to Texas. The NRA did likewise, joining scores of others finding sanctuary in the Lone Star State. 

Every Christian individual and family are called to similarly discern God’s plan for their lives, especially where they will live, worship, work and play. 

It should be noted that Christians who live in more conservative states should refrain from demonizing other more liberal areas, and sometimes vice versa for more reasons than one. First, political allegiances can be fickle and cyclical. Red states regularly turn blue. Second – and perhaps most importantly, Bible believing Christians and solid, evangelical churches exist everywhere – even in the middle of the most liberal, urban city. 

Expect the great conservative migration to continue, and perhaps God is calling you to be part of it. But as we pray and discern God’s will in our lives, keep in mind that no city or state is a panacea. Struggle and frustration exist everywhere. Wherever you are, do what you can – and then do the best that you can do.  

  1. Schools See Big Drop in Attendance as Students Stay Away, Citing Covid-19 

From the Wall Street Journal

Public-school attendance across the U.S. has dropped to unusually low levels, complicating efforts to keep schools open, as districts also contend with major staff shortages. 

Many students in kindergarten through 12th grade are out sick because of Covid-19 or are being kept home by anxious parents, as the Omicron variant surges, officials say. Remote learning often isn’t being offered anymore for students who are home. Empty desks create a quandary for teachers, who must decide whether to push ahead with lesson plans knowing a large number of their students will need to catch up. 

New York City, the nation’s largest school district, saw its overall attendance rate fall below 70% when classes resumed after the winter holidays, far beneath the district’s pre-pandemic average of over 91% students at school each day. Many students missed class because of fears of contracting the virus or because they or a family member had tested positive, teachers said. 

“There’s never been anything like this,” said Arthur Goldstein, a teacher at Francis Lewis High School in Queens, N.Y., referring to the sustained low attendance. He has taught in New York City for 37 years and held classes in the aftermath of disasters, including the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and superstorm Sandy in 2012. 

  1. White House vows to provide 10 million Covid tests for schools each month 

From NBC News: 

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it would provide schools with 10 million Covid-19 tests every month as it urges districts to keep classrooms open amid a widespread shortage of testing kits. 

The White House said it would distribute 5 million rapid tests to schools every month as well as make an additional 5 million PCR tests available through a Department of Health and Human Services program that collects samples and sends them to labs. 

“The president is clear: The nation’s schools can and should be open. And we have given state and local leaders the resources to ensure they can be open,” White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients said at the administration Covid briefing. 

Students are returning from winter break and case numbers are surging across the country, fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus. The spike in cases has created disruptions in many school systems. Some started 2022 by switching to remote learning or delaying openings. 

  1. U.S. consumer prices post biggest rise in nearly 40 years; inflation close to peaking 

From Reuters: 

U.S. consumer prices increased solidly in December as rental accommodation and used cars maintained their strong gains, culminating in the largest annual rise in inflation in nearly four decades, which bolstered expectations that the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates as early as March. 

The report from the Labor Department on Wednesday followed on the heels of data last Friday showing that the labor market was at or near maximum employment. 

Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday said the U.S. central bank stood ready to do what was necessary to keep high inflation from becoming “entrenched,” in testimony during his nomination hearing before the Senate Banking Committee for a second four-year term as head of the bank. read more 

The high cost of living, the result of snarled supply chains because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a political nightmare for President Joe Biden, whose approval rating has taken a hit. 

  1. Five Inventions to Help Us Live Better, Longer 

From the Wall Street Journal: 

A headset to boost vision 

IrisVision, a California-based startup, worked with Samsung Electronics Co. to design a $3,995 virtual-reality headset that it says can help restore vision for patients suffering from conditions such as macular degeneration. The headset includes a Samsung Galaxy smartphone that uses software to beam images captured by its camera onto still-functioning areas of the retina. This allows the brain to compose a full picture, IrisVision says. Users have the option to zoom in and out using a button or voice commands. 

A spoon that recreates saltiness 

Nimesha Ranasinghe, an assistant professor of spatial computing at the University of Maine, received a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, an independent government agency, to develop a spoon that artificially juices up the perception of saltiness.  

A hearing aid for health 

Companies such as Whisper and Starkey are outfitting devices with artificial-intelligence-powered software that they say makes them better at turning down background noise and amping up speech in busy environments, which scientists say are challenging for people with hearing impairment. 

A brain implant to smell again 

The electronic nose could be installed in the arm of a pair of glasses, he says. It would send signals wirelessly to an implant surgically placed under the scalp, which would, in turn, transmit this information to the brain.  

A brooch to fight solitude 

Researchers at RMIT University and Bolton Clarke, which provides residential care for older people, both based in Australia, designed a wearable listening device that detects how many words the wearer is speaking. When the count drops below a certain threshold, indicating the wearer may be having only minimal interactions with others and experiencing loneliness, the Conversation-as-Therapy Pin uses Bluetooth to send a text message to a relative or initiates a phone call with a healthcare worker.