“The worst of all deceptions is self-deception,” wrote Plato.
Writing in The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky observes, “The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
Deception and illusion sit at the center of the dangerous pornography industry. Focus’ president Jim Daly offers a word for those who are struggling to escape its wicked grasp:
- A Two Word Solution to an Age-Old Problem: Stop It!
Focus on the Family president Jim Daly writes:
Readers above a certain age will remember the comedian Bob Newhart. Now 92 years-old, the actor known for his deadpan delivery once played a psychologist dispensing advice to a cast of eclectic characters. Encountering a woman who feared and thought continuously about being buried in a box, the doctor famously relayed a two-word solution:
Naturally, breaking a bad and destructive habit is easier said than done. But the first step is realizing the harm that is done by consuming pornography.
Though many in the world minimize or even consider pornography just another harmless form of sexual expression, the truth is otherwise.
While it is a raging modern-day epidemic, historians date the existence of pornography back thousands of years – adding validity to the old adage that “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”
Of course, the proliferation and access of this perversion of God’s good design for sexuality has changed over the years. What once had to be sought out with some effort is now available with the mere click of a button on a phone or computer.
Justice Potter Stewart of the Supreme Court famously defined pornography as “I know it when I see it” – but few would disagree too many see too much of it today – even Christian believers.
As someone who has worked diligently to both protect and educate on this issue, I feel strongly that much of the sexual dysfunction present in the culture today stems from this scourge and distortion of human sexuality.
While nearly 75% of parents believe their children have never seen pornography, one recent survey found that nearly 85% of boys and 57% of girls between the ages of 14 and 18 have – a startling and frightening trend.
Sadly, though, pornography is not just an epidemic of hormonally charged youth. At Focus we hear from people every day whose spouse is addicted – or they, themselves are struggling. While both men and women consume it, males are disproportionately represented.
The ravages of sexual addictions were on the mind of the apostle Paul when he warned Christian believers to “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18) and “control your body” (1 Thes. 4:4).
Pornography exploits its subjects and destroys healthy marital sex. It cheapens intimacy and devastates marriages.
If you’re a man who is dabbling with it – or a woman going along with it – Bob Newhart’s two-word solution is my best advice to you:
But I might add two more words, especially for those for whom it’s not so simple:
Pornography is a dangerous snare that is not easy to escape.
For that reason our ministry has created a number of resources to help those who want to overcome this temptation. You can start by checking out https://www.focusonthefamily.com/pornography
- Portland Now Offers Bereavement Leave to City Employees Who Undergo an Abortion
From The Daily Citizen:
Sometimes inadvertently truthful admissions about abortion slip out from the very institutions that unhesitatingly support it. Such is the case with the recent announcement from the City Council of Portland, Oregon, that city employees will now be entitled to three days of bereavement leave after undergoing an abortion, as reported by news station KEPR.
“Bereavement,” as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the state of being sad because a family member or friend has recently died.
Most rational people understand that abortion takes a human life. In one sense, grieving the death of a human being at the hands of an abortionist makes complete sense.
For decades, however, the abortion industry and those who support abortion have argued that a preborn baby is merely a “blob of tissue” or a “clump of cells.” If so, why would undergoing an abortion create a state of sadness over the death of a family member, therefore justifying bereavement leave?
3. Psaki Bristles When Asked If Pro-Abortion Biden Will Discuss ‘Human Dignity of the Unborn’ with Pope
From National Review:
White House press secretary Jen Psaki bristled on Wednesday when a reporter asked if President Biden, who is Catholic and pro-abortion, will discuss “the human dignity of the unborn” when he meets with Pope Francis later this week.
Owen Jensen of EWTN, a Catholic news network, asked Psaki during a press briefing if President Biden plans to discuss abortion with the pope when the pair meets on Friday in Vatican City.
“The White House has said they will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity,” Jensen said. “Will that include the human dignity of the unborn?”
Psaki responded: “Well, Owen, as you know, although you ask me most often if not every time about abortion, but I will say there was a great deal of agreement—”
“Is there a problem with my question?” Jensen asked.
“Let me finish my answer,” Psaki said. “There’s not. You can ask anything you want. But what I wanted to note, since you follow this closely, is that there’s a great deal of agreement and overlap with the president and Pope Francis on a range of issues — poverty, combating the climate crisis, ending the COVID-19 pandemic — these are all hugely important, impactful issues that will be the centerpiece of what their discussion is when they meet.”
“This will be their fourth meeting,” Psaki said. “We expect a warm and constructive dialogue. You are familiar with where the president’s stands. He’s somebody who stands up for and believes that a woman’s right to choose is important. The pope has spoken differently.”
Psaki then tried to take a question from another reporter but Jensen pressed Psaki again: “The pope has said abortion is murder and it’s like hiring a hitman. Does the president agree or disagree with that?”
“You know that the president believes in a woman’s right to choose,” Psaki said. “You’re very familiar with this issue. We’ve spoken about it many times.”
- Texas GOP lawmaker launches investigation of books on race and sexuality used in school districts
From the Washington Post:
A Texas Republican lawmaker has launched an investigation into some of the state’s school districts’ libraries, demanding in a letter that educators say whether their schools own books named in a list of 850 titles, many of which cover issues of race and sexuality.
State Rep. Matt Krause, who is running for Texas attorney general, sent the inquiry to the Texas Education Agency and some school superintendents as part of his role as chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating. In the letter, Krause said that some school districts around the state have recently “removed books from libraries and/or classrooms after receiving objections from students, parents, and taxpayers.”
Krause also wants superintendents to identify “any other books or content” in their districts that may “address or contain” topics of human sexuality, STDs, AIDS, HIV or material that might make students “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex or convey that a student, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive.”
Books that touch on these subjects violate the state’s H.B. 3979, a law that went into effect last month that limits how race-related subjects are taught in the state’s schools. It is known as the “critical race theory law.” In December, this law will be superseded by S.B. 3, which establishes that teachers can’t be forced to discuss current controversial topics in their classrooms.
- Christian Student Club Sues University of Houston over Leadership Requirements
From The Daily Citizen:
Ratio Christi is a Christian student organization with chapters on college campuses across the United States. It exists to equip students to defend the faith using historical, philosophical and scientific reasons for following Jesus Christ. When it was denied official status on the campus of the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) recently because it requires its leaders to agree with the organization’s values and mission, the group initiated legal steps to protect its constitutional rights.
With the help of attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Ratio Christi filed a federal lawsuit alleging that UHCL violated its First Amendment rights of religious freedom and free speech. It did so, according to the complaint filed in federal district court, by treating the club differently than other student clubs.
The university states that its nondiscrimination policy prohibits “registered student organizations” (RSO) from discriminating based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, veteran status, gender, gender identity and gender expression.
However, as the complaint notes, UHCL in practice allows all kinds of clubs to require membership or leadership to adhere to specific mission statements and values and other qualifications.
6. Eric Metaxas on why atheism is ‘incompatible’ with science, why the Church must ‘wake up’ and ‘fight’
From the Christian Post:
Eric Metaxas believes that culture is at a “paradigm-shifting moment,” with science and archeology increasingly pointing to the existence of God — and those opposed to Christianity aren’t “going to like it.”
“We’ve all lived at a time when not only is the trend that science is pointing us away from God, but we’ve been living for over 100 years with the narrative that says, science is fundamentally at odds with faith, that reason is at odds with religion,” the Christian author, speaker and conservative radio host told The Christian Post.
“The one thing everybody kept saying — science is leading us away from religion. Ironically, in the last 50 years, precisely the opposite has happened. Science is leading us to God. It’s big news.”
In his latest book, Is Atheism Dead? Metaxas uncovers new evidence and arguments against the idea of a Creatorless universe. He draws on the insights of top scientists and five scientific discoveries to prove that atheism is untenable.
- Another In-N-Out Burger Location Closed For Bucking Vax Mandate, Other Locations Targeted
From the Daily Wire:
Standing by the company’s stance to reject “discrimination” against their patrons, another California In-N-Out Burger was closed down for refusing to check customers’ vaccination status before serving them food.
“The Pleasant Hill In-N-Out location received four citations in recent weeks and fines totaling $1,750, all for the same health order violation, before today’s action,” Contra Costa Environmental Health said in a statement, according to The Hill.
The restaurants are now only allowed to open for outdoor dining and takeout, while inside dining remains closed.
Following the San Francisco closure, In-N-Out Burger’s Chief Legal and Business Officer Arnie Wensinger slammed such health orders as discriminatory, underscoring that the company, headed by 39-year-old Lynsi Snyder, refuses to become “the vaccination police for any government.”
- TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat say Their Sites are Safe But Senators Disagree
From CBN News:
Lawmakers are trying to decide if Big Tech and the World Wide Web should be regulated to protect children, as they investigate social media giants and whether key safeguards exist.
TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat entered the Capitol Hill crossfire Tuesday, defending their platforms before the Senate subcommittee to protect children online while hoping to avoid any Facebook comparisons.
Senators demanded specifics on areas such as data collection, algorithms putting ads and sexual content in front of kids, plus content ranging from glorifying eating disorders to self-harm to violence.
Lawmakers are now working to stop lucrative practices, especially those that prey on kids and keep them in front of the screen.
In the meantime, experts say parents assume the burden of being the first line of defense.
“We really have to look at ourselves and say, ‘What are my habits? What am I modeling for my kids?'” said Adam Holz, director of Pluggedin.com, a ministry of Focus on the Family.
- How to Get Real Answers About Your Kid’s Day at School
From the Wall Street Journal:
Sometimes, kids are happy to chat. But other times, they demur or respond with a single word.
It doesn’t have to be so tough, say child psychologists and educators. With the right prompt and some strategizing, even the most reticent child will open up.
Here’s how to get them to tell you about their day.
Don’t ask “How was your day?”
This question often leads to one-word answers or a shrug, experts say. For many children, the query is too general and they don’t want to think about how to answer it with specifics.
Focus on emotions: Asking your child how they felt at different points of the day is one good technique.
Don’t solicit only positive experiences
Share your own experiences
Ask them to teach you something
Know when to ease up.
10.Official with Down syndrome helps France see disability differently
From the Christian Science Monitor:
A few winding streets down, encircled by colorful flower beds, is the Arras City Hall. Inside, city council member Éléonore Laloux barely fills out her desk chair but her persona and vision outsize any of the Arras giants.
“I’m a very committed and dynamic person, and I like to be out working with people,” says Ms. Laloux. She’s become a household name in Arras and regularly receives congratulations from locals for her dedication to her work. “I want to fulfill my mandate, be happy, and make other people happy. … I love what I do.”
Ms. Laloux is the first and so far only person with Down syndrome to be elected to public office in France. Ms. Laloux has utilized her lived experience and innovative ideas to make sure inclusion and accessibility are a part of every city initiative – from education to transportation to tourism.
I want to put a little color into life,” says Ms. Laloux. “It feels really nice to have a bit of color.”