Good Morning! 

Bernard Barton, a Quaker poet who lived during the latter part of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th, once observed: 

“Obstinacy and vehemency in opinion are the surest proofs of stupidity.” 

When it comes to Virginia school boards, as Ronald Reagan used to say, “There they go again.” 

1.   Mom Banned from School Library after Confronting School Board Over Pornographic Books 

From The Daily Citizen: 

The recent election may have brought out the “mama bears” in droves in places like Virginia over controversial school board policies, but recent evidence suggests that the problems haven’t gone away. 

In Fairfax, Virginia, for example, Stacy Langton, a mother of six, made news in September by reading aloud portions of books available in the high school library, at a school board meeting. The books, including Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison and Gender Queer: A Memoir, by Maia Kobabe include explicit illustrations of oral sex and masturbation, as well as graphic descriptions of sex between men and children. 

The Fairfax school board was apparently so embarrassed at the meeting by the books’ contents that they ordered Langton to stop reading the books aloud and promised that the two books would be suspended immediately pending a review. 

If the story stopped there, you might be tempted to conclude that Langton was successful in acting as a watchdog for her children, and perhaps deserving of the school board’s gratitude. After all, the school board did remove the objectionable books, at least temporarily. 

However, fast forward to November, and Langton recently learned that as thanks for the research she did on the school library’s contents, she has now been banned from entering the library at all. 

Langton told the Washington Examiner that when she inquired of Principal Maureen Keck of Fairfax High School as to why she was being forbidden to enter the library, she was told that it was a school policy that applied to all parents, not just her. 

 2.   Forced Covid Vaccination for Kids Is Unlawful 

From the Wall Street Journal: 

Now that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer -BioNTech vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds, expect a wave of Covid-19 vaccine mandates for children. San Francisco announced last week that the city will require children in that age group to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, sporting events, swimming pools and more. New York’s School of American Ballet informed parents via email on Nov. 4 that all students—the school enrolls children as young as 6—must receive a Covid vaccine by January. 

While parents may choose to vaccinate their own children, these mandates are unethical and unlawful. Advocates of mandating Covid vaccines equate them with standard childhood shots against polio, chickenpox, TDaP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella). But those decades-old vaccines have gone through the full FDA testing regime. The Covid vaccine has received only emergency-use authorization for this age group, meaning its safety and efficacy have not yet been established to the FDA’s satisfaction. 

The Covid-19 vaccines are too new to have been studied for long-term effects. There are no studies of whether it is safe to vaccinate children who have recovered from Covid-19. Many states don’t require vaccinating children against diseases they have already had, like measles or chickenpox, because they acquire natural immunity.  

Why should Covid be any different? 

3.   An Abysmal Child-Care Proposal 

From National Review: 

Biden’s plan is a one-size-fits-all policy that would push kids into for-profit child care and push up costs even more. 

The child-care proposal that House Democrats have written into Biden’s Build Back Better “human infrastructure” bill may be the worst feature of the nearly $2 trillion legislation, and that’s saying something. 

It is high-handed and prescriptive, constitutes a new front in the culture war via an expanding welfare state, will likely increase the costs for middle-class and upper-middle-class parents, and may have an unconstitutional provision to boot. 

  1. McDonald’s CEO Apologizes for Telling a Simple Truth 

From the Wall Street Journal: 

That was the headline of a Chicago Tribune column by Dahleen Glanton in May, after 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams was shot dead while sitting in a car with her father at a McDonald’s drive-thru. “Gang-banging and parenting don’t mix,” Ms. Glanton wrote. “A man who puts his child in danger, even for love, is not a good father no matter how much he claims to be. When a bullet meant for him kills a child, he becomes an unwitting accomplice in the murder.” 

Following Jaslyn’s death—and that of another Chicago youth, 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot by police a split-second after tossing his gun—McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski sent a text message to Mayor Lori Lightfoot about the “tragic shootings”: “With both, the parents failed those kids, which I know is something you can’t say. Even harder to fix.” The text became public recently, calls for Mr. Kempczinski’s resignation followed, and the CEO has embarked on an apology tour. 

The reality is that there’s nothing to apologize for. Jaslyn’s father, who was injured but survived, has a long criminal record and acknowledged on social media that he knew he was a target for gang retaliation. Adam Toledo’s encounter with police occurred at 2:30 a.m. He and a 21-year-old accomplice—a repeat gun offender—were captured on video shooting at random moving cars when someone called the cops on them. Gunpowder residue was found on the boy’s hand. When an armed seventh-grader dies while roaming the streets in the middle of the night with a felon, are we not allowed to discuss parental supervision? 

The learning gap in education is no less a concern than the gun violence in our inner cities. There’s a strong case to be made that the two are closely connected, given that our jails and prisons aren’t teeming with college graduates. We ought to be having serious discussions about how best to move forward on both fronts. But that’s less likely to happen if well-intentioned people can’t state simple truths in public without having their character assassinated and their livelihood threatened.  

5.   Why the Supreme Court’s conservatives may rule against a Christian inmate on death row 

From the Deseret News: 

The Supreme Court’s conservative wing bucked its religion friendly reputation Tuesday while considering what role pastors should play in the execution chamber. 

Republican-appointed justices repeatedly questioned the wisdom of ruling in favor of John Henry Ramirez, a death row inmate in Texas who wants a spiritual adviser to touch him and pray audibly as he dies. They worried that such a decision would lead to a deluge of death penalty cases and force courts across the country to micromanage every aspect of executions. 

“What’s going to happen when the next prisoner says, ‘I have a religious belief that (my pastor) should touch my knee. He should hold my hand’? … We’re going to have to go through the whole human anatomy,” Justice Samuel Alito said. 

The court’s more liberal justices, on the other hand, were clearly sympathetic to the Texas inmate’s claims. Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued that religious freedom law has always required the kind of careful, individualized analysis that her conservative colleagues seemed uncomfortable with in this case. 

“Whether we like it or not, (the law) requires the state to address each individual person’s need,” she said. 

  1. In Defense of Cultural Christianity 

From the American Conservative: 

Amid liberalism’s intensifying aggressions against Christianity, critics on the left and right insist that the faith must not be dragged into the political arena. They would sooner have the faithful retreat into the catacombs than “politicize” Church teachings. 

The critics’ charges are false, their claims utterly alien to the great commission of historic Christianity. Intending to safeguard the purity of sincere faith, they in fact propose an unpardonable abdication of responsibility that owes more to an individualized, privatized and modernized account of the faith than to anything in the tradition. Cultural Christianity has dominated the Western world for the better part of two millennia, and we believe it is very much worth defending once more. 

Historic Christianity, especially Catholic Christianity, is a mass, public religion, and it has ever sought to encompass civilization. From the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus of Nazareth was drawn to the company of the masses, to weddings and funerals and other scenes expressing the ordinary joys, aspirations, and sorrows of ordinary people. We must not forget that even as the crowds turned against him when his teaching got hard, and even as they voted to crucify him, it was precisely the masses he sought, and seeks, to save. 

It is time for American conservatives to grasp what their European counterparts already know. The deep wellsprings of Christian culture offer a permanent source upon which good government can draw, so that, as the psalmist sings, “we may know thy way upon earth: thy salvation in all nations.” 

7.   3 Surprises from New Research on ‘Progressive’ and ‘Conservative’ Christians 

From the Gospel Coalition: 

George Yancey and Ashlee Quosigk’s new book, One Faith No Longer: the Transformation of Christianity in Red and Blue America, published by NYU Press earlier this year, has a provocative thesis. Based on new research and extensive interviews, the authors claim current progressive-conservative divisions among Christians in the U.S. (descending from the modernist-fundamentalist battles a century ago) are manifestations of fundamentally different belief systems. 

Here are three surprises from Yancey and Quosigk’s research. 

1.    Progressive Christians are more likely to establish their identity through politics, while conservative Christians find their identity in theology. 

Put simply, progressive Christians see the world through a political lens; conservative Christians, through a religious lens. 

2. Conservative Christians are more likely than progressive Christians to defy political orthodoxy. 

Just look at the last five years to see this point proven. There was a virtual Civil War among conservative evangelicals when Republican Party orthodoxy became synonymous with Donald Trump and a host of positions on immigration, poverty, racial justice, and environmentalism. 

Many conservative evangelical leaders pushed back, hard, at great personal cost, against “conservative political ideology” when they saw it in conflict with biblical teaching and values. Even now, you will find theologically conservative evangelicals with major disagreements on political policy. 

3. Progressive Christians are more likely to seek converts among conservative Christians than among non-Christians. 

The common perception is that theologically conservative Christians remain in a bubble of like-mindedness, but Yancey and Quosigk’s research showed the opposite. It’s theologically progressive Christians who surround themselves with homogeneously thinking peers, and part of that homogeneity is an “overwhelmingly negative” view of conservative Christians (94). 

  1. Americans Have Never Been in Such Debt 

From CNN: 

American households are carrying record amounts of debt as home and auto prices surge, Covid infections continue to fall and people get out their credit cards again. 

Between July and September, US household debt climbed to a new record of $15.24 trillion, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Tuesday. 

It was an increase of 1.9%, or $286 billion, from the second quarter of the year. 

“As pandemic relief efforts wind down, we are beginning to see the reversal of some of the credit card balance trends seen during the pandemic,” such as lower spending in favor of paying down debt balances, said Donghoon Lee, research officer at the New York Fed. 

Now that the stimulus sugar rush has worn off, consumers are going back to their old ways of spending with their credit cards. Credit card balances rose by $17 billion, just as they had during the second quarter. But they’re still $123 billion lower than at the end of 2019 before the pandemic hit. 

  1. The 300 Plus Gifts for Everyone on Your List 

From Inside Hook: 

You may have a lot of people on your list. Here are gift ideas for lots of people. 

10.  Family of 13 Lives in Tent for 3 Months Before Utah Realtor Buys Them Home: ‘A Huge Blessing’ 

From the Epoch Times: 

A family of 13 given 30 days’ notice to leave a rented house in Utah suddenly found themselves with nowhere to live. With scant options for a family of their size, they moved into a tent. However, their fortune took a turn when a local real estate agent heard of their plight and offered to buy their dream property. 

Brittny and Danny Shelton, aged 39 and 40, are raising their kids in Tremonton, Utah. Both in helping professions, they work full time in registration for a hospital emergency room and as a city firefighter and EMT, respectively. 

They were working on buying their rented house—their treasured home of seven years—until the housing market changed, and their landlord decided to sell up; he told them on June 29 that they had 30 days to find somewhere to live. 

“Living in a tent with 13 people was crazy,” Brittny reflected. “[We] had no running water or bathrooms. There was dirt everywhere all the time. We were cooking on a barbecue grill and had no fridge. The kids couldn’t play as normal because there were snakes and coyotes, and we even saw a mountain lion.” 

As summer ended and the mountains grew cold, Brittny and Danny worried, but comforted themselves with a family motto: “As long as we are together, and healthy, that’s what matters.” 

Their guardian angel came along in the nick of time. Realtor Russell Faucett of Salt Lake City heard the Sheltons’ story from a local radio station through which he advertises, and called them with a proposition: he wanted to buy a house to rent to them, but he wanted them to choose it.