What is the purpose of government?
According to Thomas Jefferson, “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”
We begin with good news out of Florida:
- Florida Bill Provides $44 Million to Promote Adoption and Foster Care
From The Daily Citizen:
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law providing $44 million to promote foster care and adoption in the Sunshine State.
The bill (SB 7034), according to a press release from the governor’s office, does several things to support foster families.
It “raises monthly payments for relative and nonrelative care givers” and “increases the monthly subsidy for child care and expands postsecondary education waivers for foster children.”
The legislation increases the monthly payment to relative and nonrelative caregivers of foster children by between $250 and $300 per month to equal the room and board rate for licensed foster homes.
2. Biden to scrap rule allowing hospitals, employers, staff to opt-out of abortions, trans services
From the Washington Times:
The Biden administration plans to remove a Trump-era conscience clause that protected medical workers from participating in services like abortions and transgender sex-change treatments.
A Health and Human Services spokesperson confirmed to Politico on Tuesday that the agency “has made clear through the unified regulatory agenda that we are in the rulemaking process” to implement the new regulations as early as later this month.
That confirms the expectations of Catholic religious liberty advocates and progressive sexual-rights advocates who have battled over the issue of religious conscience ever since Obamacare mandated a decade ago that Catholic schools, hospitals and religious orders pay for contraceptive services in their employee health care plans.
The Trump administration introduced the conscience clause in 2018 to reverse an earlier 2016 HHS ruling that required health care providers to perform gender-transition services and providers, insurers and employers to cover those services in their health plans.
- Assistant Principal Forced Out for Objecting to CRT Training Sues School Board
From The Daily Citizen:
Emily Mais was an Assistant Principal at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and loved her job. That is, until the Albemarle County Public Schools insisted on eliminating racism in its schools by creating its own form of racism, which it called “anti-racism,” based on principles of Critical Race Theory (CRT), an ideology that views everyone and everything through the lens of race.
The atmosphere the school district created was so antithetical to Ms. Mais’ Christian beliefs that every person is made in the image of God and entitled to equal treatment that she pushed back with her objections to the training materials. The district reacted with such harassment and hostility that she felt compelled to resign in September 2021.
Mais, who taught art for seven years at the school before joining its administration in 2012, has now filed a lawsuit against the school district with the help of attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
“She was forced out of that job in September 2021, however, because she questioned Defendant’s implementation in the school district of a radical program that scapegoats, stereotypes, labels, and ultimately divides people based on race,” the lawsuit alleges.
- DeSantis calls on legislature to target Disney’s self governing special status: ‘Termination’
From Fox News:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday that he is calling on the state legislature to consider legislation in a special session to dismantle special protections for Disney operating in Florida following the company’s opposition to a controversial parental rights bill.
“I am announcing today that we are expanding the call of what they are going to be considering,” DeSantis said during a press conference at The Villages in Florida. “Yes, they will be considering the congressional map but they also will be considering termination of all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968 and that includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District.”
DeSantis, whose comment drew applause from the crowd, has previously hinted at his support for repealing a 55-year-old state law that allows Disney to effectively govern itself on the grounds of Walt Disney World.
“What I would say as a matter of first principle is I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power,” DeSantis said during a press conference last month.
- ‘Toxic And Obsessive’: Young People Bailing On Social Media
From the Daily Wire:
There was a time when Facebook was for old people, Instagram and TikTok were for young people, and Twitter was for, well, boring people.
But more and more young people are deciding that all of social media is a huge time suck, pointless — perhaps even detrimental — and bailing altogether.
“Zoomers are known for being glued to their phones, but some twenty-somethings are taking a stand against all-consuming apps such as TikTok and Instagram,” the New York Post reported. “Calling them ‘toxic’ and ‘obsessive,’ these young people say they’re regaining control of their time by stepping away from the scroll.”
The Post piece cites a recent survey of 10,000 teens commissioned by investment bank Piper Sandler that found “only 22% of respondents between the ages of 7 and 22 named Meta’s popular photo-sharing platform as their favorite app, down from 31% in spring 2020.”
6. Using hope to steer away from danger
From the Deseret News:
Words matter. And experts trying to help families flourish say that’s especially clear when it comes to addressing societal challenges like suicide, child abuse, substance use disorders and mental illness.
So they’re changing how they talk about those issues with the goal of infusing hope into what has at times felt like a language of despair.
For many years, child abuse prevention awareness efforts have been highlighted nationwide during April. Now some states, including Utah, have rebranded April as Strengthening Families Month. Child abuse and neglect are less likely when families are strong and have the resources, knowledge and support to deal with challenges, experts said. All families benefit from that.
Campaigns to stop suicide may bear titles like “Live On” or “A Life Worth Living.” Postpartum depression is now increasingly referred to as maternal mental health. “Help Me Grow” focuses on child development and setting kids up to flourish from the earliest ages.
- Biden Aims to Expand Access to Student-Loan Debt Forgiveness for Millions of People
From the Wall Street Journal:
The Biden administration said it plans to make it easier for lower-income student-loan borrowers to get debt forgiveness through an existing program that has enrolled millions of people, but provided few with relief.
The move, announced by the Education Department on Tuesday, is part of a politically sensitive debate on the forgiveness of student-loan debt and attempts to more broadly overhaul how the student-loan repayment system works. President Biden earlier this month extended to Aug. 31 a pandemic-related pause on payments of federal student loans and faces pressure from progressive members of his own party to forgive debt on a larger scale.
The changes would apply to an income-based program for repaying student loans, allowing around 3.6 million people—nearly 10% of all student-loan borrowers—to receive at least three years of credit toward eventual debt forgiveness.
The program, referred to as income-driven repayment plans, permits borrowers to pay a certain percentage of their income on loans for 20 to 25 years and have the rest of their balances forgiven. Loan servicers play a key role in how borrowers navigate their repayment options.
- U.S. single-family starts tumble; construction backlog at record high
U.S. single-family homebuilding and permits tumbled in March as soaring mortgage rates increased costs, but residential construction remains underpinned by a severe shortage of houses.
The report from the Commerce Department on Tuesday also showed a record backlog of homes approved for construction, but yet to be started. It followed on the heels of news on Monday that sentiment among single-family homebuilders dropped to a seven-month low in April.
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has risen to 5% for the first time in over a decade as the Federal Reserve hikes borrowing costs to quell sky-high inflation. The housing market is the sector of the economy most sensitive to interest rates.
“A lack of existing inventories should be positive for building activity,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in White Plains, New York.
9. Nurturing the Creatives in Your Life
From the Gospel Coalition:
Take a moment to think of one creative person in your life. Flip the pages of your mind’s photo album where you hold pictures of your family, your coworkers, your classmates, your fellow church members. Select someone you know who makes, fashions, or builds. And consider: could she benefit from being built up herself?
While each of us has creative sparks within us, there are some who intentionally use paintbrushes, flutes, yarn, and tap shoes to make art and others whose primary tool is their imagination. Wherever the creative person you have in mind lands on this spectrum, he could probably use some nurturing.
Artists are often aching. Many wrestle with self-doubt. Some feel isolated and lonely in their craft. Others can’t shake feeling unseen, unheard, misunderstood, and underappreciated. Beyond a simple pat on the back, creatives yearn for connection, confirmation of their calling, and growth. You may be someone who can meet them where they are, affirm what you see in them, and help them develop and thrive.
Here are three ways we can nurture and give to the creatives in our churches and communities.
1. Show wonder.
Showing wonder involves drawing near to an artist like a child in awe, being sincerely curious about her work and attentive to her as a person. You could ask what media she uses, which artists influence her, and what inspires her. And you can share how her art impacts you. Most artists value hearing how you experience their art and what you appreciate about it when they share their art with you.
2. Affirm God’s care for artists and their art.
Does God care about creatives and their creativity? Immensely. The very first verse in the Bible says, “God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). He fashioned heaven, earth, animals, insects, and much more.
3. Show that you’ll champion them.
Another way to nurture an artist in your life is to show that you’ll champion him. Ask what his artistic goals are and how he’d like you to support them. Support might include coming to his events or buying artwork, which demonstrates you see the monetary value in his work. Support could be capturing photos and videos for an artist so he can display his work on social media pages.
- The Last of the Afternoon Newspapers
From the Wall Street Journal:
Tucked in the southwest corner of Montana, the city of Livingston claims modest fame as the part-time home of veteran journalist Tom Brokaw and as a setting for the TV Western “Yellowstone.” It also has an unintended distinction in the newspaper business.
The Livingston Enterprise and its sister paper, the Miles City Star, appear to be the last remaining U.S. dailies printed after lunch and delivered before dinner. Afternoon production, once dominant in newspaper publishing, is near extinction.
As recently as 40 years ago afternoon papers outnumbered morning publications by almost 4 to 1 in the U.S.
By 2000 the number of morning papers had surpassed the afternoon total, though there were still more than 600 of the latter. These have since disappeared so quickly it’s almost as if a comet struck the industry—sometime in the afternoon.
A recent article in the Enterprise began, “Students from the Sleeping Giant Middle School in Livingston spent Thursday at area businesses learning about potential careers.”
As news, the story wasn’t much, but the fact that it reached doorsteps by Thursday evening was notable.
Regrettably, there was nothing in the report about potential careers at an afternoon newspaper.