G.K. Chesterton once wrote:
“If I am to answer the question, ‘How would Christ solve modern problems if He were on earth today?’ I must answer it plainly; and for those of my faith there is only one answer. Christ is on earth today; alive on a thousand altars; and He does solve people’s problems exactly as He did when He was on earth in the more ordinary sense. That is, He solves the problems of the limited number of people who choose of their own free will to listen to Him.”
1. Trump tells Dallas megachurch: America ‘needs a Savior right now’ and ‘it’s not me’
From the Christian Post:
Former President Donald Trump told thousands of parishioners and supporters during a Christmas message at the Pastor Robert Jeffress-led First Baptist Dallas in Texas that America “needs a Savior right now” but that Savior isn’t him.
“More than 2,000 years ago, an angel of the Lord appeared … to humble shepherds and proclaimed the reason for our Christmas joy. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord,” Trump told a crowd of some 4,000 people packed inside the church.
“When I was listening to Robert, perhaps unknowingly, you used the word Savior a lot. And our country needs a Savior right now. And our country has a Savior, and it’s not me,” the 75-year-old Trump continued.
“That’s somebody else much higher up than me. Much higher.”
The former president took time to wish the church a “Merry Christmas” as he remembered the reason for the season. He called it his “favorite time of the year.”
“The life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ forever changed the world,” Trump declared. “And it’s impossible to think of the life of our own country without the influence of His example and of His teachings. Our miraculous founding, overcoming civil war, abolishing slavery, defeating communism and fascism, reaching boundless heights of science and discovery, so many incredible things,” Trump said.
“None of this could have ever happened without Jesus Christ and his followers and his Church. None of it,” he said to applause. “And we have to remember that Jesus Christ is the ultimate source of our strength and of our hope and here and everywhere and for all time.”
- Religious and Secular Employers Ask Supreme Court to Block OSHA Vaccine Mandate
From The Daily Citizen:
The legal battles over the Biden administration’s attempt to impose vaccination requirements on various segments of the nation’s workers has landed at the U.S. Supreme Court. After a ruling from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday that allows an emergency order from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to go into effect in the new year, numerous trade organizations, state governments and private employers, including religious organizations, have asked the nation’s high court to step in and reverse the 6th Circuit, at least temporarily.
The OSHA vaccination mandate, also known as an Emergency Temporary Standard (Mandate or ETS), was issued on November 4 after a request to do so from President Biden. The ETS forces large employers with 100 or more employees to require COVID-19 vaccinations, or in the alternative, for mandatory masking and weekly testing of the unvaccinated. Employees who refuse both options will lose their jobs.
The ETS covers over 80 million American workers. Violations can cost employers nearly $14,000 in fines for each infraction.
Lawsuits challenging the ETS were quickly initiated in multiple federal circuit courts. On November 11, the 5th Circuit issued a “stay” blocking the Mandate from going into effect, calling it “fatally flawed.” However, because of the rules governing multiple circuit litigation, OSHA asked for the lawsuits to be consolidated in one circuit selected by lottery, and the 6th Circuit was chosen. That’s what led to the highly unusual situation last Friday of one federal circuit overruling another.
Biden to unveil website to order free COVID-19 tests, will deploy 1K troops to help hospitals
From the Washington Times:
President Biden on Tuesday will announce the deployment of 1,000 troops to help hospitals reeling from COVID-19 and unveil a website where Americans can order free at-home virus tests in January, senior administration officials said.
He will also underscore the need for widespread vaccination and booster shots to avoid severe disease from increasingly common infections.
The administration said it is purchasing 500 million rapid tests that Americans can order for free delivery to their homes on a forthcoming website.
Also, Mr. Biden will order military doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical personnel to deploy, as needed, to bolster the COVID-19 response in January and February.
The federal government will also stand up new testing sites, starting with New York City, as Mayor Bill de Blasio requests help to deal with the winter surge.
- An Honest Review of the Policy Blockbusters and Bombs of 2021
From the Heritage Foundation:
The pundits promised that 2021 would mark “a return to normal.” What we got was a year filled with agonizing disappointments and stunning victories.
If I were a movie critic and the year’s events were major Hollywood releases, here are the six getting the biggest thumbs-down and thumbs-up.
Here are the three worthy of enthusiastic thumbs-up.
Parents: At the start of the year, schools were still shut down, and critical race theory was spreading like wildfire. Then something unexpected happened. Parents rebelled. They rebelled against education bureaucrats who were indifferent to their children’s needs. They became furious when they learned about the race-baiting, Marxist-inspired claptrap schools had been shoving down their kids’ throats. Millions of families got up and left. Public schools across the nation saw enrollment drop. Private schools saw sharp gains, and the number of home-schoolers nearly doubled.
- Is a new kind of religion forming on the internet?
“It just doesn’t sit right with me,” begins a TikTok by a user named Evelyn Juarez. It’s a breakdown of the tragedy at Astroworld, the Travis Scott concert in early November where eight people died and more than 300 were injured. But the video isn’t about what actually happened there. It’s about the supposed satanic symbolism of the set: “They tryna tell us something, we just keep ignoring all the signs,” reads its caption, followed by the hashtags #wakeup, #witchcraft, and #illuminati.
Juarez, a 25-year-old in Dallas, is a typical TikToker, albeit a quite popular one, with 1.4 million followers. Many of her videos reveal an interest in true crime and conspiracy theories — the Gabby Petito case, for instance, or Lil Nas X’s “devil shoes,” or the theory that multiple world governments are hiding information about Antarctica. One of her videos from November suggests that a survey sent to Texas residents about the use of electricity for critical health care could signify that “something is coming and [the state government] knows it.”
Her beliefs are reminiscent of many others on the internet, people who speak of “bad vibes,” demonic spirits, or a cosmic calamity looming just over the horizon, one that the government may be trying to keep secret. Juarez tells me she was raised Christian, although at age 19 she began to have a more personal relationship with God outside of organized religion.
I asked Joseph Russo, a professor of anthropology at Wesleyan University, if this loosely related web of beliefs could ever come together to form into its own kind of religion. “I think it already has,” he says.
- Salvation Army hosts two-day racial justice forum after racism guide controversy
From Fox Business:
The Salvation Army is hosting a two-day racial justice forum in Illinois in an effort to “help alleviate the pain of suffering humanity within our communities and institutions” after the organization sparked controversy last month with a racism guide that it has since retracted.
The Young Adult Racial Justice Forum, hosted by the Salvation Army Metropolitan Division, will take place in Hoffman Estates near Chicago on Jan. 8-Jan. 9 and will feature theologian and activist Esau McCaulley as a guest speaker.
“We believe racial justice is an urgent issue close to the heart of God,” the event description states, “and therefore are eager to create opportunities to disciple our soldiers and stakeholders in ways that will encourage deeper holiness and to provide those in our ranks with the resources to help alleviate the pain of suffering humanity within our communities and institutions.”
The forum comes after the Salvation Army faced a backlash in November for publishing a guide called “Let’s Talk About Racism” that contained racially charged language instructing White people and Christians to “evaluate” racist attitudes and practices. The organization later removed the guide from its website for further review.
- Michigan mother jailed after encouraging 3-year-old son’s ‘gender exploration’
From the Post Millennial:
Katee Churchill, a Michigan mother of three children from small, rural Clare County, was accused of child abuse for encouraging her young son’s “gender exploration,” and lost custody of the kids after facing multiple legal battles.
Her middle son, called “Finn,” whose name had been changed to maintain anonymity, reportedly “began showing an interest in wearing dresses and experimenting with more feminine names,” over several months when he wanted to explore his gender identity in 2014 at just three-years-old.
According to Pink News, Finn’s mother took him to a therapist “specializing in gender variance and dysphoria.” While there was no report on what the therapist’s precise diagnosis or advice was at the time of the visit, Churchill “vowed to follow Finn’s lead and support his gender exploration and expression.”
Michigan’s Child Protective Services (CPS) were called by an anonymous report that had accused Churchill of abuse and neglect. A case began against Churchill, alleging that she had forced Finn to identify as trans, and CPS recommended that all three of her children be placed with their respective fathers.
- Actor Tom Holland Wants To Take Break From Acting To ‘Focus On Starting A Family’
From the Daily Wire:
Twenty-five-year-old “Spider-Man: No Way Home” actor Tom Holland revealed last week that he’d like to “take a break” from acting “and focus on starting a family.”
“I’ve spent the last six years being so focused on my career,” Holland told People magazine. “I want to take a break and focus on starting a family and figuring out what I want to do outside of this world.”
“I love kids,” he told the magazine. “I can’t wait to be a dad — I can wait and I will, but I can’t wait! If I’m at a wedding or a party, I’m always at the kids’ table hanging out. My dad’s been such a great role model for me. I think I’ve got that from him. So I think I’d be a primary school teacher or something like that.”
Holland is rumored to be dating his costar, actress Zendaya, who plays M.J. in the latest Spider-Man flick.
- We’re Cursing More. Blame the Pandemic.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Pandemic stress, the melding of personal and professional spheres, and an exhausted slide toward casualness are making many of us swear more. It is “a perfect swearing storm,” says Michael Adams, a linguist at Indiana University Bloomington.
Mentions of [curse words] or related variations rose 41% from full-year 2019 to 2021 through the end of November on Facebook and 27% on Twitter, according to Storyful, a news and intelligence agency.
Denver-based Inversoft Inc.’s CleanSpeak profanity-filtering software, which is used by companies that host online communities and other discussion forums, says the volume of filtered words has more than tripled in the past 18 months.
“People are becoming more aggressive in their use of profane and sexually explicit terms,” says Inversoft’s Chief Executive Don Bergal.
- Festivus for the Rest of Us? My Biggest Grievance is ME.
From The Daily Citizen:
“Seinfeld” fans may remember that “Festivus” – the original holiday brainchild of Frank Costanza – falls on December 23rd – positioned on the calendar to contrast and combat the increasing commercialization of Christmas.
According to the fictional 1997 storyline, a key component of the “Festivus” celebration is the “Airing of Grievances” – a tradition centered around telling fellow family members how they’ve disappointed you over the past year.
Many of us inadvertently celebrate “Festivus” all year – bemoaning and blaming our daily woes on our families and friends or politicians and even people we’ve never actually met.
Grievances come in all shapes and sizes, from the trivial to the substantive. I’ve complained about the wind and the weather – and then why my wife and I haven’t been able to conceive biological children.
I’ve griped and groused about ungrateful bosses, rude drivers, incompetent government workers and even the deer that rub their antlers on our trees each fall.
But this Festivus, I think it’s time to realize and recognize my biggest grievance is actually me. Always has been, actually.
Instead of looking outward, I need to look inward.
10.A baby was taken from her mother’s arms in the Holocaust. The family just reunited.
From the Washington Post:
The sisters knew they had an older sister, but they had never met her, and it was a mystery whether she was even alive.
Dena Morris and Jean Gearhart had been told the shocking family story: As a baby, their sister Eva was pulled from her mother’s arms during World War II. Their mother, Dora Rapaport, gave birth to Eva in a concentration camp, according to documents. The Nazis separated them months later.
Over the years, Rapaport took multiple trips to orphanages in Germany, on a quest for information about her beloved Eva. Despite her persistence, her lifelong search yielded no information.
She had a single photograph of her firstborn child that she sometimes slept with, her daughters recalled. She would cradle the black-and-white framed image tightly in her arms, like a baby. In it, both mother and baby look healthy and cared for, so it is possible it was taken before Rapaport was shipped to a concentration camp, or perhaps mother and daughter were both released from the camp, at least for a time.
Morris, Gearhart and Reay were elated to be connected.
“I never thought we would have the ability to find my mother’s family,” Gearhart said.
“I can’t even tell you what it means to us, just the fact that we actually got to find her,” her sister added.
The women spent two weeks together, during which they shared a Thanksgiving meal, went sightseeing, met other family members and shared stories.
“It was everything I expected and more,” Reay remarked.
Her only complaint, she said, is that “it just went by far too fast.”
That and, of course, the fact that her mother wasn’t alive to witness the entirely unexpected — though long dreamed of — family reunion.
“It’s incredibly bittersweet,” Reay said between tears. “She should be here for this.”
Still, more than 75 years after a mother and daughter were tragically torn apart, their lineage is, at long last, inextricably linked again.
“The only thing I wish for is that they’re together in heaven,” Morris said. “And that they know we finally found each other.”