Jerome of Stridon, who lived in the latter part of the third century and the early part of the fourth, once described people who say or suggest they believe one thing – but do the exact opposite:
“The heretic is both a murderer and a practitioner of deceit. How is he deceitful? His words deliberately misrepresent the words of the Lord.”
1. Putin Sees Ukraine as Part of Russia’s ‘Spiritual Space’, and Some Say He Thinks He’s a ‘Messianic Figure’
What does Putin believe about God? Again, it’s unclear.
Despite speaking about faith and spiritual issues — and taking part in religious rituals — the Russian leader has been remiss at moments to say what he believes specifically. In fact, he was infamously ambiguous on the matter in a 2007 Time Magazine interview.
The outlet told Putin many Americans view Russia as a “godless country.” Highlighting how Putin has often discussed faith, Time then asked, “What role does faith play in your own leadership, and what role should faith play in government and in the public sphere?” The Russian leader’s response was measured.
“First and foremost, we should be governed by common sense, but common sense should be based on moral principles first,” he said. “And it is not possible today to have morality separated from religious values. I will not expand, as I don’t want to impose my views on people who have different viewpoints.”
In a follow-up question, Putin was asked if he believes in a “Supreme God,” and he shot back, “Do you?” He then declined to share his specific beliefs on the matter.
“There are things I believe, which should not, in my position, at least, be shared with the public at large for everybody’s consumption, because that would look like self-advertising or a political striptease,” he said.
The mysteries around Putin persist as his brutal invasion of Ukraine marches on. While the motives and internal beliefs might not be obvious, understanding the Orthodox divide gives a lens into a sliver of the overarching battle.
Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky vows to hold fast as 2,000 civilian deaths blamed on Russia’s invasion
From CBS News:
Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelensky vowed Wednesday that Russia would not topple his government by pummeling Ukraine’s cities and civilians with missiles, but with pressure from unprecedented international sanctions against Moscow swelling by the day, that increasingly appeared to be Vladimir Putin’s strategy.
Zelensky said almost 6,000 members of Russia’s invading force had been killed since Putin launched his unprovoked war against Ukraine a week ago. Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said, meanwhile, that more than 2,000 civilians had been killed since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, and a government official said there were at least 21 children among the dead.
Putin’s forces continue pushing slowly into Ukrainian territory, but after seven days of war, Russia has yet to take full control of any major Ukrainian city. Russian officials claimed “full control” of Kherson, on the southern coast, but both Ukrainian and U.S. officials denied the assertion, with an advisor to Zelensky saying “the city has not fallen, our side continues to defend.”
- On Ash Wednesday, Catholic President Joe Biden Defends Supporting Abortion
From the Daily Wire:
On Ash Wednesday, President Joe Biden — a supposedly devout Catholic — defended his support for abortion despite Roman Catholic Church teaching prohibiting the faithful from supporting the murder of the unborn after a reporter asked him to explain his stance on the matter.
An unnamed reporter asked the president in front of the White House why he supports abortion and Roe v. Wade as a Catholic.
“Well I tell you what,” Biden said with a pause, “I don’t want to get in a debate with you on theology, but you know …”
Biden, clearly annoyed by the question, was stopped short from going into what appeared to be a longer answer after the first lady Jill Biden pulled him away from the press.
“I’m not going to make a judgement for other people,” Biden concluded after a tug on his arm from his wife.
- U.S. Senate Schedules Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings for Judge Jackson
From The Daily Citizen:
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled confirmation hearings to begin March 21 for President Joe Biden’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Judge Jackson, nominated on February 25 to replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, will spend the time between now and March 21 making the rounds of Senate chambers, speaking with senators about her judicial philosophy and other matters. She has also filled out a comprehensive questionnaire from the Judiciary Committee that delves into her background, interests, significant legal work and judicial opinions, and many other areas.
We learned at the White House ceremony announcing her nomination that she is married to a surgeon and together they have two daughters. We also heard the basics of her education and job experience.
In the time since February 25, various groups have started examining her record, and information is starting to come in which gives us a better-informed picture of Judge Jackson.
- New Study: Even Failed Efforts to Leave Homosexuality Are Not Harmful
From The Daily Citizen:
A new study has demonstrated that even failed “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE) are not associated with causing behavioral harms.
The study, from Rev. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., a research associate professor of sociology with the Catholic University of America, found, “The SOCE group was statistically indistinguishable from the non-SOCE group on any measure of harm.”
LGBT activists and their allies have trumpeted for years the belief that homosexuality is a normal variation of human sexuality and that attempting to follow a biblical sexual ethic – and leave homosexuality – is “damaging” and “does not work.”
This study directly contradicts the idea that efforts to leave homosexuality are harmful.
5. Glorifying Single Parenting Doesn’t Empower Moms, It Hurts Them And Their Kids
Focus on the Family’s Tim Goeglein writes in The Federalist:
A few weeks back, I read the obituary for Sara McLanahan, a Princeton University sociologist who produced numerous landmark studies on this topic. Her most famous work, the “Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study,” documented how children born to single mothers – instead of intact families – experienced poorer outcomes in life, with the accompanying social problems that result from such consequences.
McLanahan set out to prove academically what she already knew from personal experience, having been a single mother to three children. Her eventual husband and fellow researcher Irwin Garfinkel said, “Her research showed that growing up in [a] single-parent family, even as you control for as much of the observables that you could possibly do with data, was damaging. And children did less well, and that was not very welcome news.”
As Garfinkel noted, her views found her in sharp conflict with those who affirmed single parenting as just another “option” for women. “We reject the argument that people should not talk about the negative consequences of single motherhood for fear of stigmatizing single mothers and their children,” she wrote in 1994. “While we appreciate the compassion that lies behind this position, we disagree with the bottom line. Indeed, we believe that not talking about these problems does more harm than good.”
Her research resulted in other academics coming to the same conclusion. “The family is the essential core of any society, and the steady decline of two-parent households is probably the single most consequential social trend of the half-century,” wrote Dr. Peter H. Schuck in 2017. “Indeed, the single best predictor of low upward mobility in a given geographic area is the fraction of children with a single parent.”
6. ‘I’m a Divorce Lawyer. Here are the 5 Most Common Marriage Problems I See’
The advice I always give people about divorce is this: don’t get one. The best divorce is the one you never have, if you can avoid it.
Infidelity almost always demonstrates that the marriages were already failing. In the case of my client, he and his spouse weren’t spending time and energy on each other. As a result, one of them sought what they were missing elsewhere.
I hear signs of this a lot in consultations with clients: “There’s no romance,” or “She doesn’t care about me anymore.” Couples grow apart and fall out of love. The specific reasons for this vary from couple to couple, but I have noticed that the underlying problem remains the same. The couple didn’t spend enough time on each other.
Being married is work. There are houses to buy and remodel, there may be children to raise, careers to build and it is easy to take each other for granted. But when couples don’t put effort into maintaining their relationship, it can suffer.
Many divorces are a collective result of years of actions and inaction and were set in motion years earlier by the decisions that the couples made, both about their relationship and about their own problems.
In the end, that’s my advice in a nutshell. If you want to avoid ending up in my office down the road, it may be worth taking advantage of the many resources available for couples. For example, marriage counseling is a way to put in effort to resolve differences early and can help prevent resentments building up. It can really help to start working on your marriage sooner rather than later. Spend time on each other and have adventures together.
- Rural populations decline in America for the first time in recorded history
For the first time in history, America’s rural population has declined.
A recently concluded study from the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy found that the population of rural America dropped by nearly 300,000 between 2010 and 2020. This marks a 0.06% population decline and the first decline in America’s rural population in recorded history.
The study’s head researcher and author, Kenneth Johnson, told The Hill that “actual size of the loss isn’t particularly a big deal” but “the fact that it actually happened, that rural America, as a whole lost population, reflects a significant change.”
Johnson emphasized that it is important to try to analyze what this decrease means when assessing long-term demographic change.
8. Kelsey Grammer to Star in ‘Jesus Revolution’ Film Based on Spiritual Revival That Changed America
Actor Kelsey Grammer will star in the true story of a national spiritual awakening that took place in Southern California during the 1960s and 1970s.
The film is titled Jesus Revolution and it revolves around Pastor Greg Laurie who set out to redefine truth. He ended up meeting a hippie street preacher named Lonnie Frisbee, who will be portrayed by The Chosen’s Jonathan Roumie.
Laurie and Frisbee connect with Grammer’s character, Pastor Chuck Smith, who opens up his church to other hippies and seekers. A great spiritual revival occurs at the church, leading to the Jesus Revolution.
- Nerve damage may explain some cases of long COVID -U.S. study
A small study of patients suffering from persistent symptoms long after a bout of COVID-19 found that nearly 60% had nerve damage possibly caused by a defective immune response, a finding that could point to new treatments, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.
“I think what’s going on here is that the nerves that control things like our breathing, blood vessels and our digestion in some cases are damaged in these long COVID patients,” said Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a lead author on the study published in Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation.
As many as 30% of people who have COVID-19 are believed to develop long COVID, a condition with symptoms ranging from fatigue, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, cognitive difficulties, chronic pain, sensory abnormalities and muscle weakness.
“We looked with every single major objective diagnostic test,” Oaklander said. The vast majority had small fiber neuropathy – damage to small nerve fibers that detect sensations and regulate involuntary bodily functions such as the cardiovascular system and breathing.
- The Teenager Who Tracks Elon Musk’s Plane Has a New Obsession: Monitoring Russian Oligarchs, Vladimir Putin
From the Wall Street Journal:
Jack Sweeney, the Florida teenager who garnered attention for tracking the private jet of Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk, is now publicizing the movements of planes owned by Russian oligarchs and aircraft associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Even before this war started, people were saying to me, ‘Oh, you should track Putin,’” he said in an interview Tuesday.
Once the Russian attacks began, he got messages from online followers urging him to focus on the country’s oligarchs and began researching the names and plane tail numbers of the Russian elite, too.
The teen, a freshman at the University of Central Florida, has made a hobby out of following the private aircraft of billionaire entrepreneurs and even some celebrities. His new Twitter bots focused on Russia use the same technology as the one that tracks the jet Mr. Sweeney believes is owned by Mr. Musk, he said.