The principled and collaborative conservative response to the assault on women’s sports brings to mind the words of President Theodore Roosevelt:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
We begin with news of state legislatures tackling one of the most pressing and fundamental issues of the day:
1. ‘Save Women’s Sports’ – On Your State’s Legislative Agenda?
From The Daily Citizen:
Women’s teams want – and deserve – privacy in locker rooms, showers and restrooms. They don’t need those formerly safe spaces invaded by men who claim to be women.
This is just one reason states are moving to protect women’s and girls athletics, passing legislation to “Save Girls Sports.” Also called “Fairness In Women’s Sports Acts,” more than 37 states introduced legislation in 2021 to protect girls and women’s sports in public schools, colleges and universities.
So far, nine states have passed and signed into law such legislation, reports Save Women’s Sports, “a coalition that seeks to preserve biology-based eligibility standards for participation in female sports.” Idaho was the first, passing its law in 2020. The other states that followed last year are Montana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Florida.
This year, at least 18 states have legislation introduced to protect girls and women’s sports, including Indiana, Arizona, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
- What’s Next for Conservative Christian Policymakers?
From the Deseret News:
This year’s state legislative activity will likely follow trends that were present last year, according to policy experts. Major debates from 2021, including over the rights of transgender athletes and abortion restrictions, won’t be resolved anytime soon.
Sharp said that, this year, the Alliance Defending Freedom will continue to push for the protection of free speech on college campuses, as well as the preservation “of fairness in women’s sports.”
Other conservatives highlighted the need to pass heartbeat bills similar to SB8 in Texas, which makes most abortions illegal after the sixth week of pregnancy.
“We want our state conventions and congregations to be well-equipped to safeguard life,” said Chelsea Sobolik, the policy director of the Southern Baptist Committee’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, highlighting the possibility that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade this year.
That safeguarding process includes considering policies that will help nongovernmental organizations cope with an expected surge in foster children in the wake of abortion bans, Sobolik added.
Sen. Jason Rapert, who is a state senator in Arkansas and the president and founder of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, said state legislators in his organization are also prioritizing National Motto bills in order to get the words “In God We Trust” into classrooms across the nation.
- School sued over social media ban on religion, restriction on religious expression at school
From the Washington Times:
A Michigan high school junior and his parents are suing educators for banning the student from expressing religious views on his private social media accounts, or in school without a teacher present to “monitor and guide” the conversation.
The restrictions appear to run contrary to at least two Supreme Court decisions protecting students’ free speech rights on- and off-campus. A 1969 ruling, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, held students cannot be punished for on-campus speech unless it “materially and substantially” disrupted the school day or infringed on the rights of others.
Last September, in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., the high court upheld a high school cheerleader’s right to off-campus online speech even if the message — in this case, a vulgar Snapchat selfie — was critical of their high school and its cheer program.
4. Cop Suspended for Praying at Abortion Clinic While Off-Duty Wins Cash Settlement
From The Daily Citizen:
A 13-year veteran of the Louisville, Kentucky, police department has received a $75,000 settlement from the city for its wrongful suspension of the officer for praying in front of an abortion clinic while off-duty.
Officer Matthew Schrenger was walking up and down a sidewalk in the pre-dawn hours of February 20, 2021, in front of an abortion clinic – the EMW Women’s Surgical Center – as part of the annual 40 Days for Life event. Accompanied by his father, the pair prayed quietly for the victims of abortion. They would alternate wearing a small “40 Days for Life” sign.
The “investigation” and suspension dragged on for four months before the department absolved Schrenger of any wrongdoing.
5. Covid Restrictions and Other Overreach Bring America Toward a Libertarian Moment
From the Wall Street Journal:
The rising fear among American conservatives since the early days of the Covid pandemic has been that the nation would emerge from the crisis significantly less free.
It’s an unease rooted in the historic reality of one of the most powerful laws of human governance: the ratchet effect. Once introduced, rules almost always get more expansive, seldom more limited. Taxes levied for a temporary exigency become perpetual obligations. Government agencies built to administer some specific function are absorbed into the permanent bureaucracy.
When a crisis is over, authorities may relinquish some of the powers they assumed during the emergency, but you can be sure that the government’s writ will run permanently larger than before. Wars, depressions, public-health emergencies lead to bigger government, more rules, more-onerous regulations.
You can see the pattern again as we approach the second anniversary of the pandemic: officials musing publicly about permanent mask mandates, blue-state leaders who evidently have no intention of lifting restrictions, public-health professionals seeking to extend their ambit even as the crisis wanes. Leading Democratic politicians continue to insist on their “Build Back Better” proposition—that what we have learned these past two years has been the essential role of new trillion-dollar government programs to cushion society from its ills.
6. ‘This is creating more loneliness’: The metaverse could be a serious problem for kids, experts say
Recent research has shown myriad negative effects of social media on the psyches of children and adolescents, from the prevalence of bullying and harassment to self-esteem and body image issues. Those same pitfalls could be just as prevalent — if not worse — in the wide-open metaverse, with its series of vast virtual worlds intended for both work and play.
But if tech companies take those concerns seriously from the beginning, and build solutions into their metaverse products, they could actually benefit children’s mental health, some experts say.
“All of these new tools, and all of these new possibilities, could be used for good or for evil,” Mitch Prinstein, a clinical psychologist who serves as chief science officer for the American Psychological Association, tells CNBC Make It.
Today’s social media platforms are already dangerous for some kids and teens. Virtual reality’s level of immersion could make those problems even worse, says Albert “Skip” Rizzo, a psychologist who serves as the director for medical virtual reality at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies.
“There’s a potency about being immersed in a world that is different than observing and interacting…through a flat screen monitor,” Rizzo says. “Once you’re actually embodied in a space, even though you can’t be physically touched, we can be exposed to things that take on a level of realism that could be psychologically assaulting.”
7. This Chicago Man Helps Young Dads in Underserved Communities Become the Fathers Their Kids Need
From People Magazine:
“My idea of fatherhood and manhood changed,” dad Jamal Warren said of The Dovetail Project‘s impact on his role as a parent.
As the nation’s leading fatherhood initiative, The Dovetail Project teaches young dads between the ages of 17 and 24 how to thrive as parents. Its founder, Sheldon Smith, grew up in poverty without a present father — and hopes the org helps break the heartbreaking cycle for other families.
“Him and my mother had me at the age of 18,” Smith tells PEOPLE (The TV Show!) in Monday’s episode. “With them both being teen parents, my father struggled, and he was in and out of my life.”
8. As backroom betting goes digital, states that make it legal may find the stakes are high
From World Magazine:
At Southeastern Louisiana University, the pitcher’s mound belonging to Alumni Field lies in the shadow of the press box belonging to Strawberry Stadium. Both arenas, like most of the school, are closed off, cold. The only hint of an approaching spring semester is hurried workers, on all fours, hand-floating concrete in a new section of sidewalk along North General Pershing Street.
As students return to the state’s third-largest public university, academic fresh starts won’t be the only opportunity coming their way. Lawmakers last summer voted to bring betting to the bayous, and mobile sports betting apps are expected to launch in Louisiana any day. Or at least in time for the Super Bowl.
David Cranford pastors First Baptist Church in nearby Ponchatoula, and he was president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention when that group went up against powerful political operatives backing the gambling legislation. “We live in a state that is itself addicted to gambling,” he said, “and what I mean by that is the state of Louisiana is addicted to gambling revenue, and they will do anything to see gambling expand.”
So will gambling companies like FanDuel and DraftKings. They spent $1 million trying to get a foothold in Louisiana. They also hired 16 of the state’s top lobbyists to eliminate opposition. They succeeded—mostly—but the rollout has been lengthy because nine parishes opted to keep gambling out. That means online sportsbooks will have to geofence their operations to exclude those areas.
9. The Funny Business of Parenting- Serious Parental Advice: Don’t forget to laugh!
From the Asheville Citizen-Times:
Humor in the household is important for bonding and to reduce stress and worry. It is best to realize this ahead of time because at some point, all children are struck by the need to wander off in search of something large and valuable to flush down the toilet. If you have not shared a joke or two and bonded with your inquisitive demons by then, this may feel like a serious affront.
Yukking it up also helps get kids to do what you want, like getting bath toys out of the tub, “quick before they turn into exploding firecrackers.” When this activity results in an object being hurled into your left eye, laughing at yourself teaches another invaluable life lesson: don’t take things too seriously. When the ambulance arrives, at least the kids are clean.
Joking around can address hijinks of a more dire nature too, such as children fighting over a toy and disturbing the peace. For example, you can confiscate said toy and say, “Where did you find that? I need it for the meatloaf tonight.”
10.Health Experts Warn Of Thousands Of Joe Rogan-Style Uncensored Conversations Increasingly Happening Between Everyday People
From the Babylon Bee (Satire):
Health experts are sounding the alarm over thousands and thousands of uncensored Joe Rogan-style conversations happening between millions of private citizens across the nation. Public health officials warn that if these conversations are not stopped, they may be powerless to halt the spread of opinions they don’t agree with.
“Joe Rogan is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Fredricka Boogflarp, an expert on misinformation from Harvard. “Every day around the country and around the world, people are having private conversations that contain dangerous misinformation, and there is no one there to correct it or put a stop to it. This is an existential threat to democracy and public health!”
Studies estimate that there are approximately 300-500 million conversations containing misinformation conducted every day in the U.S. alone.
Photo from Twitter.