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Thirty Things That Caught My Eye Today: Forced Uyghur Abortions in China, Dolly Parton & Faith & More (September 3, 2020)

1. Still no news of nuns “disappeared” since Mozambique jihadist attack

At the time of the attack there were “around 60 people” in the convent, mostly elderly people and a few children. Exactly what happened, no one knows. “If the sisters have returned to the convent, we have no way of knowing it, because there is no place there where they can buy a new mobile phone… Without any news of these (60) people we have no idea whether they have disappeared, died or been abducted. We don’t know anything . . .”

2. Uighur doctor tells ITV News of disturbing testimonies of ‘forced abortions and removal of wombs’ in China

At her request we are not naming the woman, a Uighur doctor, but we are broadcasting her disturbing testimony.

She says that for much of her career she worked for the Chinese government as part of what she describes as its population control plan to curtail the growth of the Uighur population.

She speaks of participating in at least 500 to 600 operations on Uighur women including forced contraception, forced abortion, forced sterilisation and forced removal of wombs.

She told me that on at least one occasion a baby was still moving when it was discarded into the rubbish.

3.

4. Assisted suicide, euthanasia more than 10 times higher than predicted in Australian state

Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board reported 124 deaths by assisted suicide and euthanasia since June 19, 2019, when the legalization of the precedure took effect, The Catholic Weekly reported. There were a total of 231 permits issued for the procedure that year.

. . .

“That number blows apart Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew’s much-publicised prediction of ‘a dozen’ deaths in the first 12 months,” Marilyn Rodrigues wrote in The Catholic Weekly, an Australian publication.

5. Eviction Threats, Lockdown And Loneliness In Nursing Homes Amid COVID-19

6. A food crisis in China?

In recent months, heavy flooding has inundated large areas of southern China and caused the 3,900-mile-long Yangtze River and its tributaries to rise to dangerous levels. While heavy rains are typical in the summer, this year’s rainfall has far exceeded the norm, causing the worst flooding at the Yangtze in four decades. So far, the deluge has destroyed 13 million acres of farmland, affected 63 million people, and caused nearly $26 billion in economic damage.

. . .

In another sign that Beijing is combating a shortage, it has released 62.5 million tons of rice, 50 million tons of corn, and more than 760,000 tons of soybeans from its strategic reserves, which is more than the amount released in all of 2019. China has also turned to importing large amounts of crops: In the first six months of 2020, it imported 74 million tons of grain, up 22 percent from a year ago.

7. Will European Nationalists Ever Stop LGBT and Pro-Abortion EU Diplomacy?

Recognizing the right to life of the unborn in their constitutions will not mean much if abortion is declared a human right. Similarly, all the talk of helping families will be of little help if EU policy redefines the family. Boosting fertility is not going to stop EU-backed governments from putting parents against obscene sex education in prison. Social allowances for families won’t stop governments from taking children away from parents who won’t let their kids “change sex.”

. . .

The secularist forces promoting the deconstruction of the family through EU and UN policy are tyrannical and want to quash religious dissent. The people of Poland and Hungary, who experienced the tyranny of communism, should know better. Appeasement should not be an option.

8. Ed Condon: The art of China’s Vatican deal

9.

10. Kamala Harris quizzed judicial nominees over Christian adoption and faith values

In her written questions on May 2, 2018, for the nomination of Peter Phipps as a district court judge, Harris noted his membership in the Knights since 2011 and said the group was “limited only to men.”

“The Knights of Columbus state that they ‘[defend] the right to life of every human being, from the moment of conception to natural death,’” Harris noted, before asking Phipps if, as a member, he “carried out” this mission and would do so on the bench.

“Must you swear an oath in order to join this organization? If so, what is that oath?” Harris asked. “When your group’s organizational values conflict with litigants’ constitutional rights, how can litigants in your court expect a fair hearing?”

11. Timothy P. Carney: Don’t take your guns to town, son

No decent person would say it’s good that Rosenbaum and Huber are dead. Huber, at least, seems to have been motivated by justice, trying to disarm and detain a killer. Rittenhouse, again, was plausibly acting from self-defense in the moment, twice.

So the truly grievous mistake was getting into the situation in which he felt he had to shoot in order to defend himself.

12. Providence Magazine: Chinese Aid Threatens Pluralism in Lebanon

Ultimately, as Malik highlighted in The Philos Project’s briefing, should China step in and become Lebanon’s “savior,” the country would inevitably shift away from Western principles and toward the axis of Syria, Iran, and China. If the Chinese regime forces Lebanese Christians to live under oppressive and impoverished conditions, a mass exodus would likely take place. Therefore, if the West remains interested in promoting pluralism in the Middle East and preserving one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, it must turn its eyes to Lebanon and provide suitable alternatives to Chinese intervention. Failure to do so could be a crucial and catastrophic mistake.

13. Crux: Christianity has to be more than ‘an identity category’ in Lebanon, priest says

There is a general sense that Christianity is central to the identity to the country, [Father Daniel Corrou, head of the Jesuit Refugee Service for the Middle East and North Africa] said: “We see the impact of Christian leaders in politically influencing roles, and this is very important. And in recent history, we can see, for instance in Iraq, the history of American intervention there has been the worst thing to happen to Christians in Iraq.”

. . .

“What I hear from them is a caution about this: By some accounts, Christians must continue to exist in the Middle East at all costs. However, there’s a sense among Jesuits that if Christians continue to stay here as an ‘identity category,’ like people with red hair, there’s no reason for that. But if Christians indeed lived the Gospel, lived up to the highest of ideals that God set for us, if we can be the example of the Gospel well lived, then there’s every reason for Christians to remain here, thrive here, and be a great influence in Lebanon and the Middle East.”

14. Father Dave Pivonka and Maureen (Malloy) Ferguson: Hey HBO, abortion isn’t a joke

When we first saw the trailer for “Unpregnant,” we both were shocked. Even those who support abortion have generally not treated it as a laughing matter. Most people have had the moral decency to recognize the seriousness of the decision for the woman, if not for the unborn child. “Safe, legal, and rare” was the pro-abortion rallying cry. Not “safe, legal, and hilarious.”

…the makers of this film want us to forget about the human tragedy at the heart of abortion. They want to mask it with laughter and wacky hijinks, so we don’t see the heartbreak, tears, grief and guilt that plague so many post-abortive women, not to mention the loss of innocent life that accompanies every abortion.

15. Cathy Young: Guillotine Chic

The guillotine has been a popular symbol on left-wing Twitter for a while (see hashtag #Guillotine2020). But now it has migrated into physical space. The left-wing magazine Jacobin — named, of course, after the faction that wielded the guillotine during the French Revolution — has been selling a guillotine poster with the words “some assembly required,” based on one of its 2012 covers. And back in June, Seattle’s “CHAZ” (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) changed its name to “CHOP” (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone) as a nod to the guillotine.

. . .

Dehumanizing opponents and justifying political violence are signposts on the road to hell. This mindset is repulsive whether it’s people on the right using Second Amendment innuendo to hint at shooting liberals, or it’s people on the left adopting the guillotine as a symbol.

16. New York Times: ‘Remote Learning’ is Also an Oxymoron

17. Rachel Martin: A Stranger Helped My Family at Our Darkest Moment

It was about 12 feet from the top of the waterfall to the pool below, which was studded with huge rocks. Wyatt had fallen on his back, straight onto the rocks. That’s what Lisa told us.

We didn’t know her name was Lisa at that point. All we knew was that while everyone else looked on from a distance, too afraid or unbothered to help, this petite brunette woman with a mask didn’t hesitate. In fact, by the time I had climbed down the rocks and my husband had pulled Wyatt out of the water, she had already called 911. She told me that she was a nurse. She gave Wyatt a red, white, and blue striped towel to put under his head. She implored us to keep him still and on his back in case he had injured his spinal cord. I finally had the wherewithal to ask her name. “Lisa,” she said. “My name is Lisa and I’m not leaving you.”

. . . . the pandemic has made me realize how much I need even the most casual interactions with strangers. I need those people to feel less strange. I need to feel like we aren’t all floating around in our own bubbles, concerned only with the health, pocketbooks, and survival of ourselves and the ones we love. Because if we stop being able to connect with those we don’t know, if we stop being able to see ourselves in them, our empathy starts to atrophy. And then where are we as people? As a society? What are we left with?

18. Joseph Loconte: The Mayor, the Monument, and the Mayhem

The District of Columbia Facilities and Commemorative Expressions committee is recommending that the federal government “remove, relocate, or contextualize” about 1,300 “assets,” including statues, public schools, libraries, parks, and roads.

. . .

The dropout rate for the city’s high school students increases every year, topping 30% in 2019. As neighborhood leaders working with at-risk families will quietly explain, these problems have nothing to do with racism and everything to do with failed government programs and the breakdown of the family.

Instead of facing these present realities, the mayor and her minions have focused their energies on reimagining the past. Like the French Jacobins who renamed city streets to purge them of any Christian references, their purification campaign targets no fewer than 78 streets named after “persons of concern.” 

19. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: There Is No Way To Escape The Truth

The publication of The Gulag Archipelago in the West on December 28, 1973 was responsible for Solzhenitsyn’s forced exile to the West less than two months later. There he and his family waited, first for two years in Zurich, Switzerland, and then for 18 years in Cavendish, Vermont. The Russian writer worked in conditions of unprecedented freedom on his other masterwork, The Red Wheel, and had, seemingly against all evidence, an almost preternatural intuition that he would soon return to a Russia freed from the scourge of Bolshevik tyranny.

20. Urban Hannon: How To Be A Radical

For us Catholics to be radical, in the Dionysian sense that I am after, is for us transcendently to oppose oppositions themselves. Specifically, we must oppose the oppositions that constitute our culture’s own in-house disagreements today. We Catholics do not share enough in common with our fellows’ worldview to take their resolutions for granted, so we cannot simply adopt a pro or con position. Instead, under the patronage of the Pseudo-Denys, we must rise above the conflicts we see all around us, in order that we may see over them to the truth that they obscure.

21. Josh Wester: What does cognitive dissonance have to do with abortion and social justice?

…lest one claim that “a fetus is not a person,” it is crucial to remember that such beliefs are contradicted not only by theology but science. It’s true that infants in their mothers’ wombs are wholly dependent beings, not unlike newborn children or adults in the most advanced stage of human development. But dependence in no way negates a person’s worth. Even more persuasive is the fact that modern technologies such as 4D ultrasounds not only allow us to see the heartbeat of a child in utero, but literally bring us face to face with an unborn person. Through 4D imaging we can behold a child’s facial features and witness the movement of human hands and feet. Ultimately, as Nancy Pearcey argues, because of “advances in genetics and DNA, virtually all professional bioethicists agree that life begins at conception.” Children in the womb are vulnerable and most deserving of protection. How a person could champion the value of life while callously turning away from the suffering of the unborn is utterly beyond comprehension.

22. Nicole Russell: In Foreboding Ruling, Appeals Court Says Transgender Students May Use Restroom of Choice

Throughout his opinion, Floyd argued that being transgender is just like being black in America, and thus deserving of the same constitutional protections, free of discrimination.

“The proudest moments of the federal judiciary have been when we affirm the burgeoning values of our bright youth, rather than preserve the prejudices of the past,” the judge wrote, citing both Dred Scott v. Sandford and Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, landmark Supreme Court cases about racial segregation.

23. Tyler J. VanderWeele: Volunteering and Human Flourishing

During the study period, participants who volunteered at least two hours per week (compared with not at all) subsequently had higher levels of happiness, optimism, and purpose in life, and more contact with friends; they also had lower levels of depressive symptoms, hopelessness, and loneliness, fewer perceived physical discomforts and disabilities, and more physical activity. They were also notably less likely to die in the four years of follow-up – about 40% less so! This final result is in fact similar to, and helps to yet further confirm, an earlier meta-analysis (combining results over many studies) of the potential effects of volunteering on mortality.

24. Samuel Gregg: How a Market Liberal Engaged Conservative Thought

Röpke was an outspoken opponent of postwar welfare states. In a 1950 report authored at the West German government’s request, Röpke told government ministers that, despite the economic fruits of the 1948 reforms, Germany was already spending too much on welfare. The economic consequences, Röpke reasoned, would include higher taxation, ever-extending wealth redistributions, and society’s growing bureaucratization. Over time, he maintained, these trends would corrode many prerequisites for economic freedom and sustained economic growth.

Economics, however, was only part of the basis of A Humane Economy’s critique of welfare states. Their more significant problems, to Röpke’s mind, were political and social. Political leaders of all stripes, he stressed, now viewed welfare as a means for building dependable and dependent voting constituencies. Even more critically, welfare states would crowd out those forms of associational life that were generally better at addressing social dysfunctionality and the non-economic features of poverty than state officials.

25. Catholic News Agency: Catholic students offer support after arson at University of Delaware Jewish center

The Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Newark, Delaware was damaged by arson in the late evening hours of Aug. 25. The building, which serves Jewish students of the University of Delaware, was unoccupied at the time, and no one was hurt.

26. The Heritage Foundation: Legal Fellow Application

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has ruled the blaze to be arson, adding that the motive of the fire remains under investigation. The assistant state fire marshal initially estimated the damage at some $200,000.

27.

28. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: New Research Shows Promise of Telehealth in Treating Opioid Use Disorder

29. Dolly Parton: ‘The whole magic about me is that I look artificial, but I’m totally real’

“I just always felt like I knew who I was, and I just try to stay anchored within myself and my beliefs.”

And that’s the secret, [Parton] says. Staying anchored, authentic. 

30.

Plus: A conversation on faith and the pandemic and politics with Sheila Liaugminas on her new podcast. 

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