Fans of Shakespeare will recall the shipwrecked character Trinculo in “The Tempest” having no choice but to seek shelter beside a monster.
“Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows,” he remarks. It’s from that classic phrase we get the oft-quoted observation: “Politics makes strange bedfellows.”
It does, indeed – and we begin today with just such a situation:
1. Christian Flag Case at Supreme Court Brings Together Uncommon Allies
From The Daily Citizen:
When Christians, the federal government and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) all agree on the same issue, it’s worth making note of, especially when the issue is free speech involving religious symbolism. That’s what happened on January 18 in the nation’s capital when the case of Shurtleff v. Boston was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case involves whether a city government can deny a civic group – Camp Constitution – the right to raise a Christian flag at a Constitution Day commemoration after approving 284 previous requests for other flag-raising events from various groups, including flags representing Communist China, Cuba and gay pride. The city decided that the Christian nature of the flag required it to decline Camp Constitution’s request, as the city did not want to be seen as endorsing any particular religion.
Of course, Focus on the Family supports the plaintiff in the case, Camp Constitution, and its right to be free from discrimination because of the religious nature of the flag. At a rally in front of the Supreme Court in support of Camp Constitution on the day of the hearing, Focus Vice President Timothy S. Goeglein spoke in favor of the right to display the flag.
“We both strongly support Camp Constitution’s constitutional right to fly their flag over Boston City Hall. We believe that great city acted unconstitutionally when it singled out a Christian group from flying its flag merely because of its religious symbolism rooted in faith. Unfortunately, that is what happened in this Boston case. Cancel culture and religious freedom do not mix well in America.”
- Is This the Last March Under Roe?
From the Washington Post:
The march begins at noon Friday with a rally on the National Mall. At 1 p.m., marchers will move along Constitution Avenue toward the steps of the Supreme Court.
Though the event has long been the country’s largest antiabortion rally, organizers expect a reduced attendance this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. In their permit application, organizers estimated 50,000 people will attend. A small number of abortion rights activists protest the rally each year, but March for Life organizers don’t expect a large crowd of counterprotesters this week.
Dozens of abortion opponents have noted on the March for Life Facebook page that they will not attend because of a new D.C. mandate that requires anyone over the age of 12 to show proof of at least one coronavirus vaccine shot before going inside restaurants, conference rooms and other public spaces. The march happens outside, but the program includes several indoor events. March organizers held most events virtually last year because of the pandemic.
The Big Money Behind Abortion Activism
There’s no shortage of cash for the war on the unborn. That its biggest bankroller is the Wizard of Omaha—famed investor Warren Buffett—may surprise you.
Buffett is almost certainly the largest funder of abortion in human history. In the two decades since 2000 he has funneled an incredible $4.7 billion to abortion providers as well as the vast array of activist, lobbying, and research groups insulating them in Washington.
That’s enough to pay for close to 4 million 20-week abortions, according to estimates from the Guttmacher Institute, the leading pro-abortion think tank.
These billions are moved through the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, a little-known channel to left-wing causes funded almost exclusively by Warren and named for his late ex-wife, herself an advocate of population control who left $2.5 billion to the foundation upon her death.
Sadly, the foundation is a mainstay of the billionaire’s twisted definition of “philanthropy,” a term that has its roots in the Christian commandment to “love thy fellow man” (phil-anthropos).
3. Why I’m Not Afraid to Bring More Children into a Broken World
From Public Discourse:
“Will you have more kids?”
I’m a mother of two, and this is a question I often field from friends and strangers alike. But my answer isn’t relevant. What matters is what the question implies.
Among my millennial peer group, particularly in secular circles, there’s reluctance to bring children into “this world”—a world that, to millennials who until recently have lived generally free from significant sociopolitical upheaval as adults, now feels exceptionally tumultuous. We are approaching year three of a lingering global pandemic, facing unmatched levels of animus across the political divide, and grappling with renewed fears about the long-term dangers of climate change. At the core of this hesitation to procreate is a reigning sense of moral responsibility—a responsibility not to have more kids. To whom, exactly, we are responsible is unclear. To the children themselves? To society? To the earth? To all the above?
I reject this.
The Dying and Rising Art of Motherhood
Motherhood and any kind of public service or career are seen as a binary choice for many women. Many women have now agreed that “you can’t have it all” and have decided that the thing to sacrifice is the motherhood. But is the choice true? And insofar as there are choices to be made, should motherhood be the thing to throw out?
As Dr. Kathryn Rombs recounts in her new book, Motherhood: An Extraordinary Vocation, this was and is the dilemma that has been presented to young women since the age of the second-wave feminist movement, something she knows intimately. Growing up in a wealthy family, she lived downstairs from Robert Redford and in the building next to Paul Newman. Materially well-appointed and academically successful, she nevertheless had little direction. Her mother was a well-known feminist philanthropist and liberal Christian who was pals with Gloria Steinem and would have the famed feminist give pep talks to young women in her apartment. The message? That women needed to make a difference in the world. Young Kathryn, however, had little sense from those talks of the importance of intangibles such as friendship, love, and especially motherhood—something that seemed an extra at best to most Manhattanites.
The second chapter, “Making Your Life a Masterpiece,” looks through the artistic lens, asking women to think about how they can act to “design your own life.” While this might sound a bit too consumeristic in the abstract, the chapter is about the use of freedom in the Christian sense and not the secular sense. The former means using one’s intelligence to make choices that allow a woman to fulfill her nature and follow a path back to God, while the latter emphasizes total self-creation—you doing an amorphous you defined only by desires that do not connect to a human nature or a divine plan. This discrepancy means that freedom is only really free when one’s actions are part of a plan of discernment, of figuring out whence the feelings and thoughts one is having about a decision are coming and whither they lead.
Too often women are paralyzed and do not work on completing the masterpieces that are their own lives because they cannot see clearly the nature of that masterpiece. The third chapter lays out the goal of that masterpiece: love. The metaphysical questions of the ends and purposes of life are answered with the many-splendored monosyllable: love. To figure out how a woman is to live out that call requires self-knowledge and the discernment of which she has given a thumbnail sketch already in the previous chapter. Only then can a woman really build and start to ask the tough questions of what is required in her life and family at any given moment.
- The Miseducation of America
From Fox News:
How can parents and patriots reassert control over curriculums and classrooms full of poisonous indoctrination?
The key to answering these questions is getting to the bottom of how progressives—and now cultural Marxists—targeted and then transformed our schools over the past 100 years. What we see today in our classrooms is not an aberration born of the 1960s; but instead, the end state of a progressive project to control what every American student learns.
Before our current pledge of allegiance, which proudly states “under God,” there was another pledge of allegiance – written by an avowed Socialist – that was created to remove God from school and create a different allegiance that progressives could exploit (and later, discard).
Before there were “social studies” and “political science” – all inventions of the progressives – American students learned Latin, read the Bible, studied the Great Books, and received a real liberal arts education – “liberating” their minds to be free thinkers.
The public school system (better known as “government schools”) we have in America – in nearly every way – has been crafted over 100 years ago to be fully progressive. I got a progressive education, and so did you. We didn’t know better, and most Americans still don’t. Today’s cultural Marxists like it that way—and are using this control to push theories like anti-racism, gender fluidity, and climate obsession on our youngest kids.
5. Cancel Culture Targets Charity
From the Wall Street Journal:
Americans have always been free to give to nonprofit causes they believe in, but left-wing political activists are determined to limit that freedom. Considering these activists’ record of successfully convincing corporations to do their bidding on a host of issues, everyone who supports the American traditions of free speech, free association and privacy should be concerned.
Unmasking Fidelity, a loose coalition of fringe groups, recently delivered a list of demands to Fidelity Charitable, which manages a donor-advised fund through which account holders can direct contributions to their favorite nonprofits. According to its website, Fidelity Charitable distributed $9.1 billion in 2020, making it the nation’s largest grant maker.
On the list of Unmasking Fidelity’s demands was a call for Fidelity Charitable to disclose five years’ worth of its contributions to 10 targeted organizations, including the Family Research Council, Turning Point USA and my employer, the Alliance Defending Freedom. These are organizations with which the activists disagree on a variety of hot-button issues. Unmasking Fidelity is also demanding that Fidelity Charitable impose viewpoint-based litmus tests on the charities and causes its account holders can support. Those litmus tests would handicap conservative groups and advocacy.
No matter what you think about the issues of the day, everyone should oppose this name-and-shame censorship. A politicized philanthropic culture, in which an outside activist’s demands trump a donor’s intent—and even expose donors to harassment—is dangerous for people of every political stripe.
6. Republicans Underestimate the Power of the Transgender Issue at Their Peril
From National Review:
Two years ago, Kristi Noem was one of the GOP’s most promising rising stars. Conservative media hailed the new governor as a hero. “She is one of the few politicians, even among Republicans, who is unapologetically conservative,” Evita Duffy beamed in the Federalist.
Less than three months later, the same publication was running articles blasting Noem as “a worthless GOP leader who has no business calling herself a conservative.” In a matter of days, Noem’s goodwill with conservatives had evaporated. The governor’s March 2021 misstep on transgender athletes will go down as one of the most damaging unforced errors by a rising political star in recent memory: Days after tweeting that she was “excited to sign” a bill barring biological men from competing in women’s sports, she reneged, issuing a “style-and-form” veto that gutted the bill’s enforcement mechanisms. When Republicans in the state legislature refused to accept the revisions, the legislation died. In the eyes of many social conservatives, the mistake was unforgivable.
- World Health Organization: ‘No Evidence At All’ That Healthy Children, Adolescents Need Boosters
From the Daily Wire:
The World Health Organization’s top scientist said during a media briefing on Tuesday that there is no evidence that healthy children and adolescents need booster shots and that the goal needs to be protecting specific vulnerable populations.
“The aim is to protect the most vulnerable, to protect those at highest risk of severe disease and dying,” the W.H.O.’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said. “Those are our elderly populations, the immunocompromised, people with underlying conditions, but also health care workers because if a lot of health care workers get infected as we see now, they can be out sick and we don’t want them getting severely ill.”
“There’s no evidence right now that healthy children or healthy adolescents need boosters,” she added. “No evidence at all.”
- US colleges set to impose new N95 masking requirements, increased pandemic restrictions as classes reopen
From the Post Millennial:
Restrictions may not be doing much to lower the number of infections in cities, but colleges and universities are going ahead with adding new COVID-19 protocols as classes are set to resume.
Colleges around the United States are setting up new safety protocols amid the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, installing restrictions that have already interrupted campus life as some classes move online and in-person activities remain limited.
According to Fox News, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore plans to require N95 or KN95 masks or a combination of a cloth mask and a surgical mask for every student and faculty member returning to campus, the school announced on Friday. Masks will also be distributed throughout the campus.
In addition to the mask requirement, the school is imposing a Feb. 1 deadline for booster shots and students on campus will be tested twice a week. Those returning to live on campus will be required to quarantine. Likewise, dining facilities will shift to a takeaway service, with no in-house dining. Any non-academic indoor events of more than 50 people will require special permission through Feb. 6.
9. Which Is Harder: Parenting Toddlers or Parenting Teenagers?
From Psychology Today:
First, research consistently finds no significant differences in stress levels between parents of toddlers and parents of teenagers. However, “role overload” (aka, feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do as a parent) is higher in parents of toddlers than parents of teenagers. Not surprisingly, parenting babies and toddlers is also associated with greater time demands on parents, increased marital/partner conflict, difficulty with work-family balance, and less personal time. Research finds that the quality of the marital/partner relationship declines from infancy and then improves when the child starts elementary school.
Yet, at the same time, parents with children under five show increased satisfaction with the relationship with their children, higher self-esteem, greater confidence as a parent, and fewer symptoms of depression than parents of teenage children or school-age children. Parents of toddlers also show greater happiness when interacting with their toddler-age children than parents of teenagers.
Parenting a teenager is also hard in its own way. Research finds that, while young children have more demands and needs, their needs are usually met in the same way. On the other hand, teenagers require that their parents meet their needs in different, more individualized ways. In other words, younger children may need you more often but their needs may be easier to meet.
In summary, parenting toddlers and parenting teenagers are both stressful in their own ways. Interestingly, parenting young children seems to be the “best of times” and the “worst of times.” That is, it may be the most rewarding but also the most overwhelming and demanding stage of parenting.
10.Good Samaritan nurse jumps into action to save wounded police officer following shooting attack: ‘I was meant to be there’
Traveling nurse Lindsey Adams told WTMJ-TV that she arrived at a Milwaukee-area Shake Shack to pick up her food when she saw two people struggling inside the restaurant.
Suddenly, the nurse said, she heard a gunshot, which set off panic both inside and outside the store.
“I hear a gunshot, everybody is screaming, jumping over the counters in Shake Shack, I duck down behind the car,” Adams recalled.
“As he’s running, just firing a whole bunch of shots in the air, out into the public, didn’t really care where they are going,” she said.
Adams said she knew she had to rush in to help the officer — who witnesses say tried to stop the suspect from mugging a woman inside the restaurant — and that it was God’s plan that put her in that very moment to save his life.
Adams, along with the restaurant’s manager, applied pressure to the officer’s wounds while employees called 911 to report an officer down.
The nurse said that the though the officer was grievously injured, he was only concerned about getting the dangerous suspect off of the streets.
“He knew I had to hold pressure on the wounds, he wanted me to pull my phone out so I could put all this in my notes,” she recalled. “It’s a sign for me that God’s telling me that [there] was a purpose for me, that it was something I was meant to do, that I was meant to be there.”