Here are the top stories we are following today:

  1. Illinois Governor Signs Bill Allowing Teenagers to Get Abortions Without Parents Knowledge

From The Daily Citizen:

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed into law a bill (HB 370) repealing the state’s parental notification law. Illinois had required parents be notified if their minor daughter was attempting to get an abortion 48 hours prior to the procedure. Minors were previously allowed to seek a judge’s permission to bypass the parental notification requirement.

Soon, young girls in Illinois will be able to abort their preborn babies in secret, and their parents won’t have to know – and won’t be able to counsel them about their decision.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki, the Catholic bishop of Springfield, Illinois, called the bill’s signing “a dark and disgraceful moment in the history of the State of Illinois.”

“It is striking how much this legislation does to provide cover, secrecy, and darkness over evil deeds,” Bishop Paprocki added. “This legislative action violates the most fundamental rights and duties entrusted by God to parents to ensure the health and safety of their children.”

  1. US population growth at lowest rate in pandemic’s 1st year

From the Associated Press:

U.S. population growth dipped to its lowest rate since the nation’s founding during the first year of the pandemic as the coronavirus curtailed immigration, delayed pregnancies and killed hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents, according to figures released Tuesday.

The United States grew by only 0.1%, with an additional 392,665 added to the U.S. population from July 2020 to July 2021, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The U.S. has been experiencing slow population growth for years but the pandemic exacerbated that trend. This past year was the first time since 1937 that the nation’s population grew by less than 1 million people.

“I was expecting low growth but nothing this low,” said William Frey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s metropolitan policy program, Brookings Metro. “It tells us that this pandemic has had a huge impact on us in all kinds of ways, and now demography.”

  1. How inflation is squeezing working American families at Christmas

From the NY Post:

Working Americans have had trouble this year affording basic needs amid the nation’s soaring inflation rate. A staggering 6.8 percent surge in consumer costs — the highest increase in four decades — has meant necessities like food and gas have become unaffordable for many, especially middle- and low-income households whose salaries haven’t kept up with inflation.

Want to buy your kid a bike for Christmas? That’s up over 9 percentage points. Want a used car to replace that old banger you’re driving? Good luck, because that’s gone up a mind-blowing 31 percentage points.

The suffering of America’s working families often goes unseen because they don’t fit into government data points on poverty. But make no mistake, you encounter them every day, toiling in industries like service, manufacturing, delivery and healthcare — jobs that make our lives better by making sure we get what we need.

  1. Freed Missionaries Tell How They Escaped Haitian Kidnappers

From the Epoch Times:

Escaping captors in the middle of the night, 12 Christian Aid Ministries missionaries hiked silently through the moonlit Haitian jungle, pausing at times to pray for the direction that led to freedom.

For roughly 10 miles, they pressed forward, through thick, thorny brush: a married couple, 10-month-old baby, 3-year-old, 14-year-old girl, 15-year-old boy, four single men, and two single women.

Until now, details of their Oct. 16 kidnapping by the 400 Mawozo gang and their Dec. 15 escape could not be told, for security reasons. Even now, Christian Aid Ministries, is not releasing their names. The missionaries are from Amish, Mennonite, and other Anabaptist communities in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Ontario, Canada.

Originally, 17 missionaries were abducted while on a trip visiting an orphanage. The 400 Mawozo gang demanded $17 million and threatened to kill the hostages unless they got $1 million per person. In time they released five hostages.

  1. Lutheran pastor dresses in drag to lead worship service with children

From the Post Millennial:

A Lutheran pastor in Chicago offered drag prayer time for children. Aaron Musser, who was ordained this summer, donned a blonde wig, white dress, and makeup to share in worship with the children in his parish.

“I have an awesome story to share with you today,” Musser told the children, flipping his long blonde hair off his shoulders. He asked the children if they’d ever seen a drag queen before, and they had not. He offered surprise at this fact. “I am also a boy most of the time when I’m here,” he told them, “but today,” he said, flipping his hair back and forth, “I’m a girl.” After reading, he led a prayer.

An announcement appeared on the Facebook page for St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square on Dec. 12, saying that the next day “Seminarian Aaron” would be “preaching in drag!” As such, the church invited everyone “to wear garments/accessories that make you feel 100%, like the best version of yourself.”

Musser wrote of the event: “The sixth Sunday of advent is rejoice Sunday. It’s a chance for us to rehearse what a life of joy could look like. It’s a dress rehearsal. Preaching in drag is a theological reflection on joy: Joy overflows so abundantly, it can’t help but make itself known. Weaving together the day’s theme,” he wrote, “queer theory, and lectionary texts, we will ‘dress rehearse’ for joy.”

  1. Claiming 20 Million, Leading Gay Group Proves “LGBTQ” is Meaningless Term

From The Daily Citizen:

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), one of the largest and most powerful gay advocacy groups in the world, is now breathlessly claiming “at least 20 million adults in the United States could be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people” and “millions more could be another identity that is more expansive than these four terms.” Multiple media outlets have unquestionably reported this dramatic claim as fact. But everyone must ask, “Is it true?”

It is not.

Anyone who reads the actual report will find plenty of reason to challenge this conclusion. It uses plenty of slippery weasel words like “could be LGBT” or “could identity with…” admitting it can’t land on a precise number because with so many people, “it’s still unknown exactly how they identify.” HRC concludes with this definitively imprecise statement, “the LGBTQ+ community is likely much larger than previously thought.” But they can’t really be sure. Why?

Think about it for just a second. We are constantly told that “being LGBTQ+” is a thing that everyone must recognize, respect, and bow the knee to. But even the Human Rights Campaign, in its own report, effectively admits that that phrase is so unwieldly, meaning different things to different people, that it is therefore simply impossible to count such people because that ever-growing alphabet soup train of letters really means nothing and actually applies to no one. This is a very important point that all must appreciate.

  1. What’s the Future of Abortion in America After ‘Roe’?

From The Daily Citizen:

Following the United States Supreme Court’s review of the Mississippi state law limiting abortion at 15 weeks gestation, most legal analysts agree that a change is coming to abortion policy in America.

For pro-life advocates, it will be a welcome change — a move towards promoting a culture of life and not death. But what exactly will the future of abortion policy be? The answer is complex and could look as different as the 50 states that make up this country.

In December, the Supreme Court reviewed Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and considered whether a state can limit abortion at 15 weeks gestation. Dobbs allowed the justices to revisit Roe v. Wade — the case that legalized abortion across the country.

Pro-life groups responded optimistically to the court’s review of the case and with good reason.

  1. Court orders Dubai ruler to pay ex-wife $728m — one of the UK’s largest ever divorce settlements

From the NBC News:

Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has been ordered by the High Court in London to provide a British record of more than 554 million pounds ($733 million) to settle a custody battle with his ex-wife over their two children.

The bulk of the massive award to Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, half-sister of Jordan’s King Abdullah, and the couple’s two children, is to ensure their lifetime security, not least to address the “grave risk” posed to them by the sheikh himself, the judge, Philip Moor, said.

The judge said: “She is not asking for an award for herself other than for security” and to compensate her for the possessions she lost as a result of the marital breakdown.

He directed Mohammed to make a one-off payment of 251.5 million pounds within three months to Haya for the upkeep of her British mansions, to cover the money she said she was owed for jewelry and racehorses, and for her future security costs.

  1. What Was News: 2021’s Biggest Stories

From the WSJ:


A pro-Trump riot forces the evacuation of the House and Senate and delays Congress’s certification of Joe Biden’s election win into the overnight hours.

Share prices soar for GameStop, AMC and BlackBerry —companies once left for dead—in a rally that pits day-trading amateurs against Wall Street shorts.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl, giving Tom Brady his seventh title in his first season after leaving New England.

Millions of Texans are left without electricity as a winter storm boosts demand and crimps supplies, the start of outages that would last for days.

More here

  1. George Bailey, I’ll love you til the day I die: Reflections on loving the hardest around us to love

From The Daily Citizen:

My cousin recently commented that “It’s a Wonderful Life” was about 15 minutes too long, but we never settled on which 15 minutes we thought should be cut.

Despite those who fall asleep on their couches by the time (spoiler alert) Clarence gets his wings, there are just too many crucial scenes that sum up George Bailey’s life and show the audience the events that lead him to the lowest point of his life.  If someone ever figures out which exact 15 minutes get the axe, my one request to them would be that any scene including Mary Hatch Bailey stay firmly in place.

After watching this classic movie no less than a million times, I’ve witnessed a type of selfless love and dedication to a person that is rarely seen anymore. I would even venture to say that Mary is the true heroine and miracle of the poor George Bailey and maybe not entirely Clarence’s gift of a new perspective. In many ways, while Clarence was showing George what life would be like without him, Mary was showing him how wonderful life was WITH him.  Rather than abandon George in his time of need, Mary and the rest of the community drew closer when George truly needed it.

What would this look like in real life?

  1. Chevy’s holiday ad about a dad and his late wife’s old car is leaving people weeping


A classic 1966 Chevy Impala and a daughter’s special gift to her grieving father will leave you wiping away tears from a new holiday commercial.

A four-minute Chevrolet ad titled “Holiday Ride” shows a man struggling with his emotions as he sits in a dilapidated old Chevy Impala in his barn, staring at an old photo of his wife as a young woman and remembering her excitement when she first got the car.

He breaks down in tears as he thinks of his late wife, and his daughter sees him overcome with emotion as he changes the holiday wreath on the front of the barn.

The daughter remembers her mother teaching her to drive in the Impala and decides to recruit some friends of her family to give her dad a gift he won’t forget.

They gather together to refurbish the car with new parts and a new coat of paint.

The man smiles in shock when they surprise him with the revitalized car, which now has the picture of his wife framed and hanging from the rearview mirror.

“It’s what Mom would’ve wanted,” his daughter says as she hops in for a ride with him. “You know that.”

“It’s the best Christmas gift I could ever have,” the man says.