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20 Things Caught My Eye Today: Schoolgirls Killed in Afghanistan, Family Policy, & More

Relatives attend a mass funeral ceremony for victims of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 9, 2021. (Stringer/Reuters)

1. Reuters: At least 68 killed in Afghan school blast; families bury victims

An eyewitness told Reuters all but seven or eight of the victims were schoolgirls going home after finishing their studies. On Sunday, civilians and policemen collected books and school bags strewn across a blood-stained road now busy with shoppers ahead of celebrations for Eid al-Fitr next week.

2. Associated Press: More than 300 Palestinians hurt in Jerusalem holy site clash

More than a dozen tear gas canisters and stun grenades landed in the Al-Aqsa mosque, located in a compound sacred to both Jews and Muslims, said an Associated Press photographer at the scene. Smoke rose in front of the mosque and the iconic golden-domed shrine on the site, and rocks littered the surrounding plaza. Inside one area of the compound, shoes and debris lay scattered over ornate carpets.

More than 305 Palestinians were hurt, including 228 who went to hospitals and clinics for treatment, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. Seven of the injured were in serious condition. Police said 21 officers were hurt, including three who were hospitalized.

Monday’s confrontation was the latest after weeks of mounting tensions between Palestinians and Israeli troops in the Old City of Jerusalem, the emotional center of their conflict. The clashes have come during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, already a time of heightened religious sensitivities.

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4. Iraqi journalist in critical condition after assassination attempt in Diwaniyah

An Iraqi journalist is in hospital fighting for his life after he was shot in the head in Diwaniyah, southern Iraq, early Monday morning, just 24 hours after a prominent activist was assassinated. 

Ahmed Hassan, a reporter for al-Forat TV channel, was shot in front of his home in Diwaniyah.

There have been 81 attempted assassinations of activists since the anti-government protest movement began in October 2019, according to Ali al-Bayati, a member of the Iraqi High Commission of Human Rights. Thirty-four activists have been killed.

5. John Stonestreet, Roberto Rivera: Organ shopping is big business

The number of people worldwide seeking organs for transplant significantly outpaces the amount of organs available. This has created, in a morbid lesson about “supply and demand,” the reality of “organ tourism,” where affluent Westerners travel overseas to obtain what they can’t get at home.

As a result, there’s now a thriving black market for transplantable organs, in which poverty-stricken people sell kidneys or parts of their liver. This practice, which Wesley J. Smith has called “biological colonialism,” needs to be banned.

Some poorer nations have banned this exploitative commerce, but China is increasing supply, forcibly harvesting organs from prisoners alive and dead, especially from the Muslim Uyghur population.

6. Helen Alvare and Brad Wilcox: Biden’s elitist work-family policy won’t work for most families

Vance’s point is that the Biden administration’s plan to spend an extra $225 billion to expand child care, after already boosting child care spending by $40 billion in the American Rescue Plan, ends up supporting just one model of family life. That model is one in which both parents of young children work full-time and delegate the care of those children to institutional daycare. This is the most popular model for the American upper-class, according to a recent YouGov survey by American Compass. 

This is also the model the White House is clearly the most enamored with. “We want parents to be in the work force, especially mothers,” Susan Rice, head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, told The New York Times. The only problem with the White House’s view is that it is not shared by a majority of the middle class, working class or the poor. Their favorite model when it comes to caring for young children? Having one parent work and one parent at home.

7. Ross Douthat: Is Capitalism Killing Conservatism?

…social conservatism can be undermined by economic dynamism, but also respond dynamically in its turn — through a constant “reinvention of tradition,” you might say, manifested in religious revival, new forms of association, new models of courtship, even as older forms pass away.

It’s only after the 1960s that this conservative reinvention seems to fail, with churches dividing, families failing, associational life dissolving. And capitalist values, the economic and sexual individualism of the neoliberal age, clearly play some role in this change.

But strikingly, after the 1960s economic dynamism also diminishes, as productivity growth drops and economic growth decelerates. So it can’t just be capitalist churn undoing conservatism, exactly, if economic stagnation and social decay go hand in hand.

8. Josh Kraushaar: School daze: Why Democrats are vulnerable on education

One of the few polls to examine the level of support for these hot-button educational issues, provided exclusively to National Journal, suggests the backlash to this type of educational activism is bipartisan. Commissioned by a newly launched group called Parents Defending Education, formed to “fight indoctrination in the classroom,” the survey found there is deep and widespread opposition to equity programs that call on students to check their “white privilege,” teach them that America is a systemically racist country, and promote social-justice causes.

The survey, conducted last month by the Republican polling firm Competitive Edge Research, found broad support for generic calls for diversity and inclusion. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said it was at least somewhat important to “promote social equity” in school. But when drilling in on details, the political tide turned. A sizable 55 percent of respondents said placing a “greater emphasis on race and gender” was not important to them, including about one-third of Democrats. A whopping 70 percent majority rejected the notion that schools should “teach their students that their race was the most important thing about them.”

9. David G. Bonagura Jr.: Catholic Schools and the Woke Revolution

Now the 2020 cultural upheavals threaten to make Catholic education indistinguishable from public education. The changes that the Woke Revolution seeks would not upset the structure of Catholic schools as happened fifty years ago. Rather, the Woke Revolution demands changes within existing curricula that would replace whatever is left of Catholic identity and of Catholic social thought with noxious secular ideologies that seek not the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of Men and Women at War with their Creator.

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13. Antisemitic Attacks Spike in NYC as COVID-19 Fades

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15. Just ‘do the next thing’: How one Colorado couple is raising four children with Down syndrome

In their research, the McGarritys learned about how many children were being aborted with a prenatal diagnosis.

“I contacted the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network to ask if it was crazy to be a parent of a child with Down syndrome who also wants to adopt a child with Down syndrome,” McGarrity said. “The woman on the other end of the line said, ‘I have four children with Down syndrome,’ and I was like, ‘Ok, I guess I’m not crazy.’”

16. Mike Kerrigan: My Mom’s Christian Lesson: ‘Offer It Up’

You didn’t make the starting lineup on varsity, despite training hard all summer? Offer it up. SAT scores came back lower than you’d expected? Offer it up. Teenage heartbreak going into senior prom? That’s right, offer it up.

It was an expression of love in a catechetical and not saccharine sense. Donna Kerrigan was inviting her eldest son to participate in redemptive suffering, uniting life’s daily setbacks to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to serve his purposes in the world. Hers was a practical mysticism designed to ensure nary a drop of suffering—never in short supply in our broken world—go to waste.

17. Kim Baile: Motherly Wisdom

I think this is a real power of motherhood: to communicate — first as a feeling, and then as an idea and deep conviction — that we are each irreplaceable and loved in a way that does not count the cost. It is this love of a mother that points us to the gratuitous love of God.

18. Amanda Evinger: It’s Time for a Nobel Prize for Mothers

Ultimately, as with all things, the marvel of motherhood must be seen in light of eternity. To weigh something in finite terms is entirely misleading. Because our culture is one that is particularly talented at viewing things as if earthly life were infinite in itself, the divine vocation of motherhood is often belittled. Because a mother is a person created in the image of her Heavenly Father, her soul thirsts for Him, and this thirst can only be satisfied by fulfilling her vocation to the full. Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty once wrote, “At the very core of woman’s soul is motherhood. All her thoughts center about this. In it she sees her greatest happiness. The more mankind withdraws from God, the more difficult becomes man’s task of comprehending and justly evaluating the proper worth of woman.”

This being said, just how can we go about “re-throning” motherhood and giving it its rightful place in the mentality of Catholic culture. It’s no easy task. I believe it begins with showing our children the beauty of motherhood from the start. To be the house of an immortal soul crafted so intricately by the Master of the Universe – what more could a creature ask for? Are our girls hearing these things, or are they just being asked what “real” jobs they are going to study for to make a name for themselves? 

19. John A. Cuddleback: In Defense of Housework

Good work, Berry writes, is “the enactment of connections. It is living, and a way of living; it is not support for a family in the sense of a brace or a prop, but is one of the forms and acts of love.” To rediscover work in the home is to rediscover the flesh and bones of this primordial human community. 

But how can we rediscover that for which most of us now lack the time, the taste, and the talent? If Berry is right—and I am convinced he is—our being intentional about bringing back housework is central to our bringing back the household itself.

20. Why We Still Need Saint Damien of Molokai

 

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