Those who accuse parents of somehow overreaching seem to be ignoring the reality that Anne Bradstreet, the Puritan poet of the 1600s, once articulated:
“There is no power or authority without responsibility, and he who accepts the one cannot evade the other. Those who enjoy responsibility usually get it; those who merely like exercising authority usually lose it. Authority without wisdom is like a heavy ax without an edge – fitter to bruise than polish.”
- Florida Legislature Boldly Stands Up to Bullies and Passes Parental Rights in Education Bill
From The Daily Citizen:
Lawmakers in Florida showed tremendous wisdom and bravery Tuesday in passing the “Parental Rights in Education” bill which will now go to Gov. Ron Desantis’ desk for signature.
For anyone paying attention to national media, this bill, dishonestly slimed as the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, sounds like its one of the most hateful, unjust and mean-spirited pieces of legislation to come down the pike in years. One gets the impression that anyone who supports such legislation would have to be the worst person ever. Even Kate McKinnon went all preachy about it on Saturday Night Live this week. But these critics of the bill have gotten it precisely wrong. And dramatically so.
This important and brave bill is simply a reaction by parents to protect their young children from being indoctrinated in gender and sexual ideology. These parents are merely reacting in a defensive response to very troubling things being forced upon their children.
According to a summary provided by the Florida House of Representatives, the bill:
- Requires that school districts adopt procedures for notifying parents if there is a change in their student’s services or monitoring related to a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.
- Ensures that all procedures adopted under the bill must reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children.
- Prohibits school districts from maintaining procedures that withhold information, or encourage students to withhold information, related to a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being from parents.
- Restricts discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity to only those that are age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate for students while prohibiting a school district from encouraging discussions of these topics with children in kindergarten thru 3rd grade.
- Creates a cause of action for parents that permits them to enforce their rights through declaratory and injunctive relief.
2. 14-Year-Old Teen Bullied for Christian Faith – Sues His High School for Discrimination
From The Daily Citizen:
Nicholas Ortiz, a 14-year-old freshman, brought his Bible to Mater Academy Bay High School to read during free time. Beginning in 2018, he was repeatedly bullied – by students and a teacher – and threatened with violence.
Both Ortiz and his parents complained to the school – over a four-year period – but the school repeatedly failed to document and investigate their complaints. And Nicholas was the one who was suspended, twice, not the bullies.
Now, the Dhillon Law Group has filed a lawsuit against Mater Academy on behalf of Nicholas and his parents. For bringing his Bible to school and reading it, “the complaint alleges that Ortiz has regularly been ostracized and targeted for his beliefs by fellow students, staff, and school administrators,” said the law firm.
Mater Academy is a charter management company based in Miami. The organization runs 34 charter schools and 1 private school on 26 campuses, with 97% minority students. Most of the schools are in South Florida, but the organization also runs a charter school in Las Vegas.
3. Franklin Graham discusses Ukraine aid response, defends urging Christians to pray for Putin
From The Christian Post:
Evangelist Franklin Graham, the head of the international humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, is urging Christians worldwide to pray for the leaders of both Ukraine and Russia as the charity will open a field hospital in western Ukraine this week.
In an interview with The Christian Post, televangelist Franklin Graham discussed Samaritan’s Purse’s efforts to minister to Ukrainians fleeing the regions of their country targeted by Russia for western Ukraine.
The group is setting up a field hospital in Lviv, which the 69-year-old son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham hopes will begin accepting patients as early as Wednesday.
“We went to Ukraine and asked if there was a need for that,” he said. “As soon as we told them we could bring a hospital, they were very eager for us to do so.”
Graham said that the people who’ve left behind their belongings to flee the war-torn regions of Ukraine have general “health needs” that need to be addressed as well as injuries sustained as a result of the war.
“You’ve got people that are diabetic, you’ve got people with heart conditions, high blood pressure, all of these kinds of things are just normal everyday problems of life,” Graham said. “On top of that, you have a lot of people that … have been wounded … due to the shelling. And so, you have to throw that into the mix.”
4. Latino evangelicals used to shun politics. Not Anymore.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Ever since Ronald Reagan gained the White House in 1980, much attention has focused on conservative white evangelical Protestants’ growing political clout. But there’s been far less attention paid to Latino evangelicals. Even as the number of U.S. white evangelical Protestants has declined since 2006, Latinos are increasingly abandoning their traditional affiliation with the Roman Catholic church and converting to evangelical Christianity.
Catholics no longer constitute a majority of the U.S. Latino population. In Pew Research Center RDD (random-digit-dial) surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 47% of Latinos described themselves as Catholic, down from 57% a decade ago. Meanwhile, the share of Latinos who identify as born-again/evangelical Protestants is 16%, and the share of Latinos who say they are religiously unaffiliated is now 23%, up from 15% in 2009.
Many Latinos are becoming politicized through evangelical churches led by pastors who insist they aren’t beholden to any party, but typically espouse conservative stances on core issues such as abortion, religious liberty and same-sex marriage, and are stepping up their activism ahead of national elections in 2022 and 2024. The Houses of Lights’ 2020 online voter guide gave former President Trump a four-star rating of “Very good,” while then-Presidential candidate Joe Biden garnered zero stars and a “Terrible. Don’t vote” rating.
“Our motto in 2022 is, ‘Don’t just pray,'” said Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, a Hispanic Christian organization with more than 40,000 member churches. “Register all the people in your church to vote life, religious liberty and biblical justice.”
5. New York City Keeps Masking Toddlers
From the Wall Street Journal:
New York City finally lifted its public-school mask mandate effective this week—with an exception that makes even less sense than the original requirement. “The indoor mask mandate is still active for children in LYFE, EarlyLearn (Infants & Toddlers), 3-K, Pre-K, and 4410 classrooms,” the city’s Department of Education tweeted March 4. Translation: The city will continue to force masks on the segment of the population at lowest risk for Covid, children 2 to 4.
The ostensible reason is that children under 5 aren’t eligible for vaccination. “People wanted to say, ‘Let’s lift it across the board,’ but that’s not what the science was showing us,” Mayor Eric Adams told reporters last week. “I know some people are concerned. I would rather people complain against me, than losing my babies in our city.”
The mayor is reduced to cheap emotional appeals because his position lacks logic.
These are the foundational years, when children learn so much by reading faces, watching mouths and mimicking sounds. We used to understand the importance of early childhood but, like so much else, we’ve discarded that knowledge to poorly combat the Covid-19 virus.
But what do I mean, “we”? Many of us wanted sanity for a long time. I left New York for Florida last year to find it. Children under 5 should never have been masked. To keep this up in March 2022 is doubling down on failure—and cruelty.
The Forced Isolation of Children in the Covid Era
From the Wall Street Journal:
If the Covid era doesn’t make one suspicious of government, it’s hard to imagine what would. Two years after state and local officials—egged on by federal disease doctors—started inflicting massive burdens on U.S. children, reports of the ineffectiveness of mandated public health measures and their destructive side effects continue to roll in.
We performed a retrospective population-based study among 599,314 children aged 3 to 11 years attending preschool (3-5 years, without FCM mandate) and primary education (6-11 years, with FCM mandate) with the aim of calculating the incidence of SARS-CoV-2, secondary attack rates (SAR) and the effective reproductive number (R*) for each grade during the first trimester of the 2021-2022 academic year, and analysing the differences between 5-year-old, without FCM, and 6 year-old children, with FCM.
And what did the researchers find? The authors state it plainly:
FCM mandates in schools were not associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 incidence or transmission, suggesting that this intervention was not effective.
6. Why are young adults struggling to marry, buy a home and save money?
From The Christian Post:
A new Pew Research Center report reveals that most Americans believe certain rights of passage are becoming much more difficult for young people today.
From finding a spouse to saving for the future, Americans see the circumstances surrounding these life goals as increasingly tough.
Why is this the case and what factors are potentially at play? Christian Post reporter Leonardo Blair breaks down the elements, stats and realities facing the young generation.
7. Beware the Images Culture is Placing on the Minds of Our Children
From The Daily Citizen:
If it’s true that in our childhood the most indelible images of our lives are impressed upon our minds, what does that say for children growing up in today’s chaotic and uneven times?
From mental snapshots culled from years of remote learning, along with going to schools full of masked teachers and classmates in buildings featuring gender-neutral bathrooms, to scenes of biological males wearing women’s swimsuits and claiming record female times, not to mention listening and watching increasingly confused themes and storylines in mainstream entertainment – what will our children remember and how will these memories impact them in the years to come?
It’s a wise person who cherishes and treasures happy memories. It was the Canadian writer Lucy Maude Montgomery, who once observed, “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” She was right. But memory is more than mere nostalgia. In fact, the Scriptures even encourage Christians to hold fast to and give thanks for specific moments that give testimony to God’s faithfulness.
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life,” we read in Deuteronomy. “Make them known to your children and your children’s children” (4:9).
There’s an old children’s song with a line that feels very new: “O be careful little eyes what you see.” As parents, we must continue to be vigilant in keeping disturbing content from our children – but we should also be deliberate in exposing them to moments that very well may become grand and glorious memories.
8. What we know now about screen time for kids
From the Deseret News:
Screen technology is everywhere. The average American child gets their own smartphone by age 10, and many get their own tablet before that. Even if you hold back from getting children their own devices, they will often be issued one by their school, or will constantly ask to borrow yours. As a result, according to a 2019 study by Common Sense Media, kids ages eight to 12 spent more than five hours a day total with screen media, and teens 13 to 18 spent seven and a half hours.
This is not a good situation: Study after study has found that kids and teens who spend a large number of hours a day with screens suffer from negative outcomes including more depression, self-harm and obesity.
Based on the latest research, here is my best advice for parents:
Don’t worry too much about TV
Surprisingly, teens who don’t watch TV at all are more likely to be unhappy than those who watch it excessively. TV watching between one and five hours a day is about the same in terms of happiness levels. As long as teens are getting their homework done, are hanging out with their friends sometimes and are getting enough exercise, TV time is not a big factor for happiness.
Allow teens to use screens to communicate with friends in real time, in moderation
A teen who has no access to texting, video chat or gaming has few opportunities to communicate with their friends when they’re not face to face. This generation (whom I call iGen in my book of the same name) rarely talks on the phone. Even before the pandemic, they saw each other in person less.
9. See Kids Through the Lens of God’s Big Story
From the Gospel Coalition:
The Bible’s storyline can be summarized as a fourfold movement: creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. What does this storyline teach us about kids?
1. God created children for himself: Kids are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). Their lives are imbued with the glory of a universe that reflects God’s beauty; they’ve been endowed with imagination and an ability to think and know.
2. Our children are fallen and sinful: They inhabit a world marred by sin, abuse, suffering, and death; they feel its pain.
3. Redemption comes for children through Jesus: Remember, Jesus himself said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are like these children” (Matt. 19:14, NLT).
4. In eternity, children will stand with us as sisters and brothers: When we get to glory, the most enduring relational reality will be our relationship to the Savior (Matt. 22:30).
If children are going to join us as brothers and sisters in glory, they must hear the gospel now. That’s why we not only need to remind ourselves of this gospel lens but also teach kids to see themselves in light of God’s big story.
10. ‘Your Baby Is Going to Die’: Doctors Told Congresswoman No Unborn Child Had Ever Survived Her Condition. But God Had Other Plans
“Your baby is going to die.” These words shattered Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s (R-Wa.) reality. The expectant mother had just publicly announced her pregnancy and, only days later, faced the unthinkable.
Beutler’s unborn daughter, Abigail, was diagnosed during an anatomy scan around the 22-week gestational period with Potter’s syndrome, a rare disease characterized by a lack of amniotic fluid and kidney deficiency.
But Beutler was resolute, as she sought God and prayer to determine her next steps. She knew abortion wasn’t an option, and neither was inducing so early.
“You are not getting that I do not want to be the one who ends this,” she remembered thinking. “I want this baby. I don’t want to end her life.”
Once Beutler’s plight made headlines, many individuals reached out with advice and personal stories. One person suggested something intriguing, encouraging Beutler to ask a doctor to inject saline around Abigail.
“I had asked the initial doctor, and he said, ‘No, we don’t do that. It doesn’t work.’”
But Beutler didn’t take no for an answer and finally found a doctor who, on diagnostic grounds, agreed to an injection — a process Beutler described as “a reverse amniocentesis.”
While Beutler watched her unborn baby on the screen, her heart began to fill with joy as she fervently believed the procedure would work — and it did. It even helped remedy some of the structural issues Abigail’s body was experiencing due to Potter’s syndrome.
“I did about five infusions over five weeks,” she said. “When we did that first one … her head was squished, feet clubbed. … By the time she was born, those things had all corrected.”