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Twenty-Five Things That Caught My Eye Today: Help for Foster Kids, SCOTUSBlog Misunderstandings, Celebrating Ramesh & More (July 9, 2020)

1. Mother Loraine Marie Maguire: The Supreme Court just saved our nuns’ religious freedom and work for the poor

2. Naomi Schaefer Riley: For Foster Kids, a Step in the Right Direction

Child-welfare agencies are looking for safe, stable, and loving homes for tens of thousands of kids, yet they don’t have basic information about the kinds of families willing to do this vital work. Somewhere between 30 percent and 50 percent of foster parents quit within the first year, but states don’t seem interested in finding out why. A 2019 Boston Globe investigation found that 2,000 Massachusetts foster families had “stopped accepting foster children in the past five years—almost as many as the total number of foster families currently in the system.” These families’ only “exit interview” was with the Globe.

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4. The Washington Post: Major U.S. cities, gripped with crisis, now face spike in deadly shootings, including of children

Over the Fourth of July weekend, children were the most prominent victims of gun violence, as had been the case during the two prior weekends. They ranged in age from as young as 20 months to 14 years old. None were intended targets, but all were in what wound up being the wrong place at the wrong time, said David Brown, Chicago’s police superintendent.

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6. Assyrians caught in crossfire between Turkey, PKK fighting

Since June’s airstrikes, nine of the 11 Christian villages in the Zakho district have been evacuated, according to the International Christian Concern.

7. Toufic Baaklini: Turkish Islamist tyrant’s obscene bid to turn the Hagia Sophia into a mosque

Trump has made religious pluralism a centerpiece of his foreign policy. The seriousness of that commitment stands or falls in Turkey, a country that has ­become increasingly hostile to religious liberty. It’s why Trump should press Turkey to honor the status quo of the Hagia Sophia. This would follow his successful application of pressure on Ankara to secure the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson, a former prisoner of conscience in Turkey.

8. Instead of Freeing Elderly Prisoners in Response to Coronavirus, Cuomo Created a Prison Nursing Home Way Upstate

9. U.S. sanctions Chinese officials over Uighur human rights abuses

The sanctions designations, pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Act passed by Congress in 2016, mark a significant escalation in the Trump administration’s response to the Chinese government’s detainment of over 1 million Uighurs in internment camps.

10. Timothy Sandefur: What Will the Oklahoma Decision Mean for Indian Children?

ICWA creates a series of race-based restrictions on foster care and adoption for “Indian children”—a term defined as children who are either members of a tribe or who are “eligible” for membership and have a biological parent who’s a tribal member. While different tribes have different rules for eligibility, all of them are based on biological ancestry only. That means a child is an “Indian child” even if he or she is not and never becomes, a member of a tribe—simply because they qualify on biological grounds alone, for membership. ICWA then requires that “Indian children” be placed in foster care with, or adopted by, “other Indian families” (regardless of tribe!) and not with adults of other races. In short, ICWA literally creates a rule of “separate-but-equal” for Indian children.

11. A Mom on Being Accused of Kidnapping Her Adopted Son: “We Can Stop the Pre-Judgment”

I had to show proof that [we were North Carolina] citizens on top of [providing] them with the foster care paperwork,” Keia said. “The officers apologized. Looking quite stupid and embarrassed, her half-apology was not accepted. The manager was very apologetic, sent her home. I explained that I didn’t want her to lose her job but rather get cultural awareness and diversity training. The manager agreed. Then he hands me this photo and said it was ‘free for the hassle.’

12. Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble: How partisanship is ‘weakening the Gospel witness’ in America

Sadly, I can honestly say that I learned more about racism in my time as a punk rock atheist than I ever did as a Catholic. And while my personal story is unique to me, unfortunately, my experience’s broad brush strokes are far from rare among Christians in this country. In many congregations, parishes and homes around the United States, a partisan presentation of the faith is ever-present. Either the issues on the “right” are emphasized while those on the “left” are barely mentioned or vice versa.

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14. Greg Erlandson: The challenge of seeing the past clearly

Today we are in the midst of a wave of statue topplings. As in centuries past, this destruction is often the result of years, even centuries, of frustration. But in a country poorly educated in both history and civics, such actions can be more symbol than substance, and even an ignorant symbol at that.

. . .

History is complicated. It is more than a movie, which is how many of us get our history now. That it is complicated is not an excuse, but it demands of us the willingness to fully understand the context and to look beyond the slogans and simplifications of an age that considers itself enlightened.

15. Karen Swallow Prior: The Most Complicated Election of Our Generation

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17. Rachel Anderson: Families Keep Going, In Pandemic and Health

In reality, God designed and entrusted families with the care of their members, in sickness and in health. Families honor the sacredness of life in all of its vulnerability and precarity (Ps. 68:6). Yes, there is brokenness in family life. But God also equips many families with resilience, adaptability, and love for just such a time as this.

18. Joseph Kurtz: Supporting all educational options serves the common good

Over 100 Catholic schools have announced that they are closing next year, and COVID-19 has contributed to the closing of many of these schools. Many more are experiencing a decline in enrollment due to the uncertainty about what the fall will bring. Some schools are facing reported enrollments down as much as 80%. These closures mean thousands of children will be displaced from their schools.

Those disproportionately affected by these closures will be the children of the working poor, including thousands of black and Hispanic students whose parents have chosen Catholic schools because of the education they provide and the opportunities that create a better life. According to the Cato Institute, about 40% of the students affected by nongovernment school closures are nonwhite. The vast majority of closures are Catholic schools.

19. Vincent Phillip Muñoz: No “Wall of Separation”

“You have got to be kidding,” remarked a senior philosophy professor. “He doesn’t even speak at oral arguments.” “He just votes how Scalia tells him,” another professor proclaimed. The remarks were as outrageous as they were ignorant. “When Thomas retires,” I said, “he will be known as the justice most faithful to the Constitution, he will have transformed originalism, and when he dies will be a great American hero.” My dinner companions’ good opinion of me instantly evaporated.

20. Muddling Through: A Depression Memoir Like No Other

What makes Scialabba’s How To Be Depressed such a brilliant and unusual contribution to the literature of depression is the elegant solution he found to this predicament. He doesn’t write about himself—other people do. Rather than produce another “memoir,” he reproduces the notes his therapists and doctors took over the years. “They’re a very distinct form of writing,” Scialabba observes. “They’re almost a form of anti-writing.” This allows readers to encounter his depression from the outside; he relinquishes control of his story, sapping it of all dramatic pacing. There is only depression’s pathetic waste, observed in pitiless detail over the decades.

21.  Aided by CT DCF staff, infant, mom reunite during pandemic

After several months of hard work on both ends, the mother, who lives in New York, now has custody of her baby, according to the state agency. It was a team effort, complicated by interstate travel and other restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

22. Charlotte nonprofit raising funds to help foster kids impacted by COVID-19

Congregations For Kids has helped hundreds of foster families and children throughout the pandemic and now the organization is pushing a 30 in 30 campaign. The money raised would go right back into current programming and a new online portal that can help foster families and children get tangible items they need exponentially faster than if they go through DSS. The care now portal will also allow community members to donate whatever items are urgently needed.

23. The Babylon Bee: In Ultimate Act of Sacrificial Love, Man Plugs in Wife’s Phone Instead Of His

Larson performed this supreme act of agape love despite the fact that his phone only had 11% remaining. “The Bible commands me to lay my life down for my wife, as Christ loved the Church,” Larson said as he tearfully watched his phone deplete its little remaining charge, his wife sleeping peacefully beside him. She then stole the covers from him, leaving him in the chilly, air-conditioned expanse. “It’s OK,” he said. “It’s what Jesus wants.”

24. Wow. That’s all I can say. And language warning. You can imagine what people might say to Supreme Court justices in this anxious and angry environment if they thought they had the chance.

25. Cause for celebration:

 

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