In his book Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, pastor Tim Keller wrote, “Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.” He added, “While other worldviews lead us to sit in the midst of life’s joys, foreseeing the coming sorrows, Christianity empowers its people to sit in the midst of this world’s sorrows, tasting the coming joy.”
We begin today’s headlines with tragic, heartbreaking news out of Texas.
- Texas Shooter Kills at Least 19 Children and Two Adults in Elementary School
From The Wall Street Journal:
An 18-year old man opened fire in a Texas elementary school Tuesday, killing at least 18 students and one teacher before he was killed by police, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Police identified the gunman as Salvador Ramos, a resident of Uvalde, where the school is located. Uvalde is about 80 miles west of San Antonio.
Ramos, a former student at Uvalde High School, shot his grandmother before going to Robb Elementary School, police said. He left his vehicle outside the elementary school in Uvalde and carried a handgun inside, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.
Two police officers who responded to the scene were shot, but are expected to survive, the governor said.
“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” said Mr. Abbott, a Republican.
A Response From Focus President Jim Daly:
Our hearts break hearing the tragic news of yet another school massacre, this one claiming the lives of 18 children and a teacher in Texas.
As a citizen, I am sickened and saddened. As a father, I am enraged. Lord, bring comfort to the grieving families. Please have mercy and bring peace to the chaos of our spiraling culture.
- Redemption After Roe
Focus President Jim Daly and Archbishop Emeritus Charles Chaput Write in First Things:
As we head toward June and a Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs abortion case, we should pause to consider a few simple questions.
For example: Why aren’t attacks on, and threats against, churches, worshippers, and religious services acts of domestic terrorism? If they’re not domestic terrorism, then why not, and what are they? At what point do public acts and threats of violence motivated by hatred of another’s beliefs fall below the threshold of Department of Justice interest? If ethnic- and race-related hate crimes warrant federal action, why wouldn’t abortion-related hate crimes directed against religious sites, like the desecration of altars and the painting of hate-graffiti on church walls and doors? Why is a president who publicly wears his Catholic ashes at the beginning of Lent and quotes Augustine in his talks so remarkably restrained when it comes to denouncing such acts?
Why would permissive abortion qualify as “settled law” when nearly 50 years of vigorous resistance proves that it isn’t? Why is the White House so slow in enforcing federal law against the intimidation of Supreme Court justices? And what, one wonders, would happen if intimidating mobs of abortion opponents turned up outside the homes of abortion-friendly justices? Why is arguing for the right to an abortion treated as sacred, while arguing for the rights of a child in the womb treated as blasphemous?
We’re long past the days when access to abortion was advanced as “safe, legal, and rare.” More than 50 million abortions later, it’s hard to see such reasoning as anything less than delusional. At best, this reasoning indicates a naive lack of foresight about the consequences of one’s actions. We’re now at a point where Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen is arguing that overturning Roe v. Wade “would have very damaging effects on the economy and set women back decades.” This, despite the fact that women, not men, have led the resistance to abortion for the past half century, and despite the ugly and astonishing utility that informs Yellen’s own words: In effect, unwanted children might gum up a profitable machine.
We both come from a generation that knows how widespread access to abortion changed American culture. We saw it happen. The family, key to a healthy society, is the place where children learn how to accept, respect, and contribute to life, protected by a loving environment. Real families, of course, are complicated and often wounded creatures. No family is perfect, especially in a turbulent time like our own. But even in homes with weak or broken love, children sense that love should surround them. The family, more than any other place, is where love—the gift of oneself to another, the glue of a humane civilization—should abound.
- Two Years After Lockdown Orders, California County Still Seeking Millions in Fines from Worshipping Church
From The Daily Citizen:
During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local governments issued lockdown and other mandates that heavily impacted churches and their ability to meet to worship, while leaving similarly situated businesses free of such crowd restrictions. That is, until the U.S. Supreme Court intervened and started ruling that such disparate treatment violated the First Amendment rights of religious entities.
In response, churches that had refused to close down or keep worshippers away started winning huge settlements against those government entities, especially in California.
Which is why it’s perplexing to report the continued attempt by Santa Clara County to impose and collect over $2.8 million in fines from Calvary Chapel, a church in San Jose, California, long after every other church dispute has been settled.
Calvary never closed its doors, earning it the ire of county health officials and millions of dollars in fines. But not a single case of COVID-19 has ever been traced to one of its worship services.
The county’s pursuit of its legal claims against Calvary Chapel is not going well.
“This is not a hill you want to die on,” U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman warned Santa Clara attorney Robin Wall at a hearing in March. “The U.S. Supreme Court has clarified the law over the past two years and I intend to abide by the law as described.”
- Indiana Overrides Veto; One-Third of States #SaveGirlsSport
From Family Policy Alliance:
Indiana became the seventeenth state to protect girls’ sports on Tuesday. The Indiana House and Senate voted 67-28 and 32-15 respectively to override Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of HB 1041—the commonsense bill to reserve girls’ sports for females. Now one-third of all states have laws on the books to ensure fairness in female athletics.
As our friends at Indiana Family Institute can tell you, this legislation took on more than one surprising twist on its way to becoming law. The removal of collegiate athletes from the bill was supposed to guarantee its success, but after the House and the Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass it, Gov. Holcomb astonished many by vetoing the bill while claiming efforts to preserve women’s sports was “a worthy cause for sure.”
At a time when biological men are increasingly taking the place of women in female competitions, on female podiums, and for female scholarships, it’s bewildering that a Republican governor from a conservative Midwest state would veto legislation that is widely supported and passed by two-thirds margin in both Indiana chambers. While governors in three other states have done the same this year, two legislatures (Utah and Kentucky) overrode those vetoes just as the Indiana General Assembly did on Tuesday.
- Ohio School District’s ‘Transgender Guidelines’ Instruct Teachers to Socially Transition Students without Parental Consent
From National Review:
In recently developed K-12 “transgender guidelines” circulated among principals and school counselors, the Olentangy Local School District in Ohio instructs teachers to begin the social transitioning of non-gender conforming students without parental consent.
The guidelines, obtained by non-profit Parents Defending Education, would advise teachers and staff on how to treat students who identify as a member of the opposite sex, though it’s not clear whether they’ve yet been issued to teachers. The guidelines have implications for record-keeping, addressing students, and communicating with parents, and touch on bathrooms/locker room access and overnight school trips.
“A student’s transgender status or gender assigned at birth is not considered directory information and therefore cannot be released without prior consent,” the document reads. It demands that school staff “not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others, including parents and other staff, unless legally required to do so,” according to a copy of the document released.
Related from The Daily Signal:
Arizona Sends Kids as Young as 10 to Gender and Sexuality Chatrooms
- Brian Kemp, Herschel Walker Win Georgia GOP Primary Races; Will Face Democrats Stacey Abrams, Raphael Warnock In General
From The Daily Wire:
Georgia GOP candidates Brian Kemp, running for governor, and Herschel Walker, running for the U.S. Senate, have each won their GOP primary races while Democratic candidates Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock locked up their party’s gubernatorial and senate nominations, respectively, on Tuesday night during the Peach State’s primary, Decision Desk HQ has announced.
The incumbent governor Kemp, who was endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence, defeated several other candidates, including former Senator David Perdue (R-GA) who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Abrams ran unopposed. On Monday, The Daily Wire reported that Pence appeared at a campaign rally for Kemp on Monday night. Trump also joined a tele-rally for Perdue on Monday, despite reports that he had backed away from his endorsement.
Related From The Daily Signal:
Record Voter Turnout in Georgia Primary Elections Debunks ‘Jim Crow 2.0’ Nonsense
What the left calls “voter suppression” apparently leads to record-high voter turnout.
According to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, as of May 20, 857,401 Georgians had voted during the state’s three-week early voting period for the Georgia primary elections. This number is up substantially from just a few years ago.
It’s the first election under Georgia’s new voting law, which, among other things, required voter ID, prevented electioneering when Georgians are waiting in line to vote, and added additional days to vote early.
“Short lines, smooth easy ballot access, and confidence in ballot security brought out more than 850,000 to cast a ballot in person or return an absentee ballot,” the secretary of state’s office said in a statement. “Compared to early-voting turnout in recent primaries, this represented a 168 percent increase over the 2018, the last gubernatorial primary, and a 212 percent jump above 2020, the last presidential primary year.”
But wait, weren’t we told that Georgia’s new law was basically the end of democracy?
- Update: State Farm Ends Donations of ‘Transgender’ Books to Classrooms and Libraries – But Still Supports LGBT Activism
From The Daily Citizen:
Following a day of backlash from customers, State Farm Insurance has dropped its support for a project that placed “transgender, inclusive and non-binary” children’s books in classrooms, libraries and community centers.
The company partnered with The GenderCool Project, a “transgender and non-binary” youth activist organization to donate books, for children ages five and up, written by GenderCool spokespeople.
LGBT activists are now angry with the company, even though State Farm still supports a variety of LGBT activist groups, including those that target children and teens.
Will Hild, executive director of Consumers First, who first broke the story, said dropping support for the project is not enough.
In an email statement to the Daily Citizen, the insurance giant said:
State Farm’s support of a philanthropic program, GenderCool, has been the subject of news and customer inquiries. This program that included books about gender identity was intended to promote inclusivity.
We support organizations that provide resources for parents to have conversations about gender and identity with their children at home. We do not support required curriculum in schools on this topic.
As a result, we have made the decision we will no longer be affiliated with the organization. We will continue to explore how we can support our associates, as well as organizations that align with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, including the LGBTQ+ community.
- U.S. Birth Rate Increases for First Time Since 2014, Still Well Below ‘Replacement Rate’
From The Daily Citizen:
The U.S. birth rate increased in 2021 for the first time since 2014, the federal government reported on Tuesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported preliminary data showing that the U.S. birth rate increased 1% in 2021 compared to 2020, the first increase in seven years.
The provisional data showed that there were 3,659,289 births in the U.S. in 2021 – leading the total fertility rate to rise to 1.66 births per woman in 2021, up from 1.64 in 2020.
The “replacement rate,” at which a population replaces itself from one generation to the next without immigration, is 2.1 children per woman in most developed countries.
This means that despite the small increase in the fertility rate last year, the U.S. is still well below the level needed for our population to sustain itself without migration.
- FBI foiled terror plot to kill George W Bush
An Islamic State sympathiser planned to murder former US President George W Bush but the plot was discovered by the FBI, US authorities have revealed.
The suspect, a resident of Ohio, allegedly sought to have Iraqi operatives smuggled into the US from Mexico for the operation.
He is now in custody and appeared at a federal court in Ohio on Tuesday.
The FBI used informants and electronic surveillance to foil his plan.
According to court documents, the suspect – identified as Shihab Ahmed Shihab, 52 – is an Iraqi national who has been in the US since 2020 and had a pending asylum application.
The FBI claims that Mr Shihab told a confidential source, a purported people smuggler, that he belonged to a group known as Al-Raed – Arabic for thunder – which is based in Qatar.
- US Army gives Italian woman, 90, a birthday cake 77 years after WWII soldiers ate hers
A birthday cake always makes for a sweet treat, even when it’s a bit belated. But Meri Mion had to wait a lot longer than most kids to get her 13th birthday cake — 77 years to be exact.
On Thursday, the U.S. Army Garrison Italy marked the woman’s 90th birthday by serving up justice in the form of a meringue and fruit festooned cake, after soldiers helped themselves to a cake her mother made for her back in 1945.
As explained on the U.S. Army’s website, during World War II, hungry U.S. soldiers fighting near Vicenza, Italy, passed by Mion’s village of San Pietro in Gù.
Mion, who was 13 at the time, had spent the previous evening hiding in her family’s attic as retreating German soldiers fired shots near her home.
When she woke up after that frightening night, she expected a celebration. However, as the commander of U.S. Army Garrison Italy, Col. Matthew Gomlak said during the special ceremony for Mion held at Giardini Salvi on Thursday, “Her happiness turned into disappointment later, when the resourceful American soldiers made off with her birthday cake.”
But any hard feelings appeared to have been forgiven when she was presented with a stunning cake on the eve of her 90th birthday. It was a gesture that brought tears to her eyes.
“Tomorrow, we will eat that dessert with all my family remembering this wonderful day that I will never forget” Mion said.