Do you consider yourself a good conversationalist?
William Hazlitt, an English essayist whose life bridged the 18th and 19th centuries, once wrote, “The art of conversation is the art of hearing as well as of being heard.”
Focus’ president would agree, especially when conversing about controversial things:
- How to Talk About Abortion to Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime
Focus on the Family president Jim Daly writes:
According to a Department of Homeland Security memo leaked to the press on Wednesday, the United States government is bracing for a surge of violence following the anticipated release of the Dobbs’ abortion ruling. They’re predicting a “summer of rage.” While a decision could come down any day, most expect its release toward the end of June.
I can guarantee you any attacks will not come from those who support life. They will come from anarchists and abortion activists committed to preserving a culture of death. The 8-foot metal fence surrounding the Supreme Court certainly wasn’t constructed to keep out the Sisters of Life.
Assuming the majority holds from the leaked draft of the decision from February, Roe will be overturned, and the issue of abortion will be returned to the states. We are praying fervently for this outcome.
But how might we engage on the topic with reasonable people who hold to a different point of view, including our own adult children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends? It’s actually not as difficult as you may think.
Given that Roe has been the law of the land for a half-century, beliefs about abortion are deeply entrenched. Yet, that doesn’t mean people have thought long and critically about the issue. In many cases, the majority of abortion supporters have just accepted it. So, asking questions of people who see things differently than we do is a good place to start a dialogue.
In fact, asking sincere questions rather than making statements is almost always a good way to engage a hot topic. It allows the other person to feel valued and communicates your sincere desire to understand where they might be coming from.
For example, I might start out by asking:
“Can you help me understand why you feel that abortion on demand, and up to the point of birth, should be the law of the land?”
At this point, some will pull back and tell you they don’t favor late-term abortion. That will provide you with an opening to share that many states actually allow it. When my own state of Colorado passed the most radical abortion law in the country, many citizens reported being shocked by it – despite months of news, debate and commentary. The reality is most people just don’t pay attention. In fact, a recent poll suggested the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial is of more interest to Americans than abortion.
This apathy/ignorance is regrettable – but it also provides an opportunity. Since many people only think they know why they believe what they believe, pro-life supporters may have more of an opening than we might otherwise think.
Another provocative but engaging question to ask is, “When do you think life begins?” Or, “Would you agree that every abortion involves two people – the mother and the child?”
It’s important to listen carefully to their answers. “Know this, my beloved brothers,” wrote James. “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (1:19). By listening, we’re showing respect – and gleaning information that will allow us to respond intelligently, correcting any of the many falsehoods attached to the abortion debate.
Given the number of abortions (over 60 million) since 1973, there’s a good chance you may encounter someone who has had one or has someone in their family who made that tragic choice. It is not our place or role to cast judgment. You might say, “This must be an extremely emotional and deeply personal issue. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for you.”
Another good question to ask is: “Do you realize there are nearly a million abortions a year and over one million couples waiting to adopt here in the United States? Would you agree that adoption is a better option that abortion?”
You might then share that some of the most successful people in American history were adopted, including Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, President Gerald Ford, First Lady Nancy Reagan, Booker T. Washington and Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Scott Hamilton. They didn’t succeed in spite of being adopted – but in many because they were adopted.
When we engage on difficult and controversial topics, it’s important to remember that we’re probably not going to change a person’s mind in a single conversation. We’re simply planting seeds and hopefully giving them something to think about. It was Abraham Lincoln who aptly observed, “If you wish to win a man over to your ideas, first make him your friend.”
When discussing controversial topics, sincerity and integrity are far more important than polished talking points. And most importantly of all, pray before you open your mouth and ask the Holy Spirit to help you.
Abortion witness tells Congress men can get pregnant and have abortions
From the Washington Examiner:
A witness who supports abortion rights during the House Judiciary Committee’s abortion hearing Wednesday said she believes a person can choose what gender they identify as and that, therefore, men can get pregnant and have abortions.
Aimee Arrambide, the executive director of the abortion advocacy group Avow Texas, was asked by Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) what she believes the definition of a woman is.
“I believe that everyone can identify for themselves,” Arrambide said.
When asked if she then believed that men could therefore get pregnant and have abortions, her response was a simple “yes.” Bishop did not push the topic any further.
- South Carolina Latest State to Enact ‘Save Women’s Sports’ Law
From The Daily Citizen:
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill into law on May 16 guaranteeing that women’s sports from elementary school to college level will be reserved for women only. The “Save Women’s Sports Act,” also known by bill numbers R218 and H4608 passed the state House by a vote of 70-33 and the Senate by a vote of 30-10.
The law restricts males’ and females’ participation in interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural or club athletic teams in keeping with their biological sex. The law does contain exceptions for coed teams and an allowance for girls to participate on boys teams where a school does not offer a women’s team.
Approximately 16 states have passed such laws, including, most recently, Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah and Kentucky, the latter two by veto overrides. Additionally, Indiana’s legislature recently passed a similar bill which was vetoed by that state’s governor. That legislature will meet soon to consider voting on a veto override.
Courts have blocked such laws passed in Idaho and West Virginia.
3. Homeland Security puts its “Disinformation Governance Board” on ice
From CBS News:
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is pausing the work of the recently created and heavily criticized Disinformation Governance Board and launching a review, according to senior DHS officials. The board’s executive director, Nina Jankowicz, announced her resignation, Wednesday, following a barrage of personal and professional attacks.
DHS officials expressed disappointment and outrage at the firestorm of fault-finding prompted by the establishment of the board, which was tasked with standardizing the handling of disinformation by agencies under DHS.
- Biden Invokes Defense Production Act, ‘Operation Fly Formula’ to Address Shortage
From Fox News:
The announcement comes as the supply of infant formula across the country has decreased 40% since April, leaving parents of newborns frantic to find food to feed their babies. In addition, Abbott Laboratories announced a Similac recall exacerbating formula shortages in recent months.
The White House has said it is working “24/7” to address the issue.
Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to ensure that manufacturers have the necessary ingredients to make “safe, healthy infant formula here at home.”
“The President is requiring suppliers to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good,” the White House said. “Directing firms to prioritize and allocate the production of key infant formula inputs will help increase production and speed up in supply chains.”
- Disney Again Targets Kids with New ‘LGBT’ Clothing Line
From The Daily Citizen:
Once again, Disney is targeting children with an “LGBT” agenda. As if opposing Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill wasn’t enough, the company is now releasing an “LGBT-themed” clothing and merchandise line for kids in advance of June’s Pride Month.
Some of the items include the rainbow Pride flag printed on T-shirts, mugs, tumblers, hats, Mickey Mouse pins and a Mickey Mouse backpack – obviously targeted at children.
Several items also feature the iconic logos of Star Wars and Marvel in rainbow colors.
“The Disney Pride Collection was created by LGBTQIA+ employees and allies at The Walt Disney Company and is a reflection of their incredible contributions and place at the heart of the company. We stand in solidarity with our LGBTQIA+ community everywhere,” the company said in a statement releasing the products.
The company added, “The Walt Disney Company will be donating all of our profits from the Disney Pride Collection sales now through June 30, 2022, to organizations that support LGBTQIA+ youth and families. This includes sales of Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars Pride Collection merchandise.”
- American Academy of Pediatrics Promotes Sexual Confusion in Puberty Guide for Youth
From The Daily Citizen:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its first book for young readers: You-ology: A Puberty Guide For EVERY Body. While the group has had plenty of books for parents, this is the first targeted toward children.
The AAP is a highly politicized organization that doesn’t believe children need and deserve a mother and a father. The group supports harmful drugs, opposite-sex hormones and surgeries for youth with sexual identity confusion.
As you might expect, You-ology’s advice is often ideological, rather than based in science. Rather than “doing no harm,” the book promotes damaging and confusing beliefs and practices.
A review from NPR said, “The guide to growing up, for pre-teens 9 to 13, is written for all kids – girls, boys, nonbinary youth. It’s inclusive of the gender spectrum and the trans experience.”
- Flight Attendants Fired for Questioning Alaska Airlines’ Support for LGBT Bill Sue for Religious Discrimination
From The Daily Citizen:
In February 2021, two female flight attendants for Alaska Airlines, both Christians, read a company statement on an internal forum supporting the problematic Equality Act in Congress, as well as the company’s invitation to its employees to comment on that statement.
When the pair responded with questions about the wisdom of the company’s support, such as “As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?” and “Does Alaska [Airlines] support endangering the Church, encouraging suppression of religious freedom, obliterating women’s rights and parental rights?” they were fired.
The company claimed that the women’s comments were “discriminatory,” “hateful” and “offensive.” Just for asking questions.
The two women, Marli Brown and Lacey Smith, are now suing the airline and the employees’ union, with the assistance of attorneys from First Liberty Institute.
“Alaska Airlines ‘canceled’ Lacey and Marli because of their religious beliefs, flagrantly disregarding federal civil rights laws that protect people of faith from discrimination,” said Stephanie Taub, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute, in a press release.
- Electricity Shortage Warnings Grow Across U.S.
From The Wall Street Journal:
From California to Texas to Indiana, electric-grid operators are warning that power-generating capacity is struggling to keep up with demand, a gap that could lead to rolling blackouts during heat waves or other peak periods as soon as this year.
The risk of electricity shortages is rising throughout the U.S. as traditional power plants are being retired more quickly than they can be replaced by renewable energy and battery storage. Power grids are feeling the strain as the U.S. makes a historic transition from conventional power plants fueled by coal and natural gas to cleaner forms of energy such as wind and solar power, and aging nuclear plants are slated for retirement in many parts of the country.
The cost of groceries in America rockets
From The Economist:
On may 11th the us Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls) released its latest estimate of American retail prices. The Consumer Price Index, which tracks the cost of all goods and services weighted by their share of households’ expenditure, increased by 0.3% in April after rising by 1.2% in March. That was a welcome slowdown, but still means prices were 8.3% higher than a year ago. Petrol prices are up by 43.6% year-on-year and energy by 13.7%. Food, including restaurant meals, is 9.4% more expensive and groceries are 10.8% dearer.
- Teenagers Should Be Working this Summer
From The Daily Citizen:
If you’re a teenager in search of a job, few summers have had so many opportunities.
And if you have a teenager who’s not interested in working – the big question is: Why?
Back in the summer of 1978, over 60% of teens were either looking for work or working. Today, just over 30% are expected to be employed this year.
It would be easy to suggest today’s teens have grown lazy and even entitled, and there would be some evidence to back up such a claim. There are parents who say they want their kids to enjoy their childhood. They feel a job cramps their children’s style and prematurely thrusts them into adulthood.
To be fair, it’s not as easy for young people to work as in days’ past. Once upon a time, paper routes were something of a rite of passage for youngsters growing up in suburbia. All you needed was to be reliable and own a bicycle. Nevertheless, entrepreneurial teens can still find work mowing grass, shoveling snow and babysitting. Fast food and retail companies are begging for workers. If you want something enough, you can find a way. If you don’t want it, you will find an excuse.
When a teenager takes a job scooping ice cream or working the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A, they’re learning how to serve and get along with other people. They’re often forced to deal with difficult personalities and moody customers – and do it all with a smile. Jobs compel kids to get up early, show up on time, sometimes work late and then come back the next day with their clothes washed and pressed. They learn to express authority. Work often brings out something good in a teen a parent may not see in the home.
Teenagers who work experience the realities of paying taxes, tithing and saving and budgeting their earnings. It’s an important step towards independence and learning how to be self-sufficient, rather than always depending on mom or dad.
The Bible repeatedly highlights the value of work. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23). “The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor,” we read in Proverbs (12:24). Or how is this for bluntness: “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (Proverbs 13:4).
10.Texas toddler orders 31 McDonald’s cheeseburgers from DoorDash
From My San Antonio:
A Texas woman was shocked when she found out her 2-year-old son sneakily ordered 31 cheeseburgers from McDonald’s using the DoorDash app on Monday, May 16. Kelsey Burkhalter Golden told MySA the total ended up being $91.75 as her son left a 25% tip.
Golden, who’s from Kingsville, said her son, Barrett, was playing with her phone, swinging it around and pretending to do things that she does by clicking on everything. However, Barrett accidentally pressed the DoorDash app (an online food ordering company), the quantity selection, and “pay now” button, Golden said.
When the order arrived, Golden said she stared at the DoorDash delivery person for an awkward 15 seconds and then took the cheeseburgers inside. She said the original total was $63, but the tip bumped it up to over $90.
Barrett only ate half of one burger, but they didn’t go to waste. Golden said her town has a community help page, where she posted on there if anyone was interested in free cheeseburgers. She said a couple of people came and got them. Golden added she offered some of the burgers to neighbors as well.
On Facebook, Golden posted about the funny incident writing, “I have 31 cheeseburgers from McDonald’s if anyone is interested. Apparently my 2 yr old knows how to order doordash.”
Photo from Shutterstock.