In The News 4/8/21

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Crisis at southern border continues. The crisis at the U. S.-Mexico border continues, as record numbers of migrants attempt to find refuge in the United States. Border resources are overwhelmed as politicians in Washington, DC seem more interested in arguing over the cause of the surge rather than addressing the immediacy of the situation. Clearly, President Biden’s claim that this surge represents a seasonal increase in migration related to the cooler winter months lacks an appreciation that even his own Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, said that the U. S. is “on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.” Sr. Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, lays the problem at the feet of historical neglect by politicians. The claim that “this is a crisis and it’s caused by this administration,” is wrong. Sr. Norma says, “It’s caused by the fact that nobody has ever done something to address it before and that’s why we still have the situation.” Her complaint is echoed by McAllen, TX mayor Jim Darling. McAllen is a city on the Texas-Mexico border and Darling laments that “This crisis is in Washington because it’s the third administration that can’t solve it. The only thing that could stop families is legislation and actually doing the work to help Central America – and that’s not happening.” Along that vein, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) calls for the U. S. to rebuild the Central American countries he says we spent a century destroying. “The best we can do,” Bowman says, “is implement a 21st century Marshall Plan to help rebuild Central America in the same ways that we have destroyed it. We wanted their land and their natural resources, and we were engaged in coup d’etats and other behaviors in those areas in order to do so. Now we have to right our wrongs.” Republicans in Congress disagree, placing the blame for the current crisis squarely on Biden’s decision to reverse Trump’s border policies, including his stopping the building of the border wall, and charge him with employing rhetoric that has encouraged people in Central America to migrate to the U. S. in hopes of exploiting a U. S. president more sympathetic than Trump was. According to Reuters, Senate Republicans “sought unanimous consent for initiatives that would increase protections for children, tighten rules for asylum seekers, subject migrants accused of violent crimes to detention and require DNA tests for undocumented adults claiming to be related to migrant children.” All of these initiatives were blocked by Democrats. Biden has come under criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for the way children crossing the border have been detained in untenably overcrowded conditions, many accusing Biden of returning to a “kids in cages” practice. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) visited the border, described kids as “crammed like sardines” in the holding facilities, and claimed he was told by Biden administration officials to delete the photos he took of the facilities. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas held a press conference just yesterday where he reported that child welfare officials raised concerns that children were suffering sexual abuse and neglect at a San Antonio coliseum being used by the federal government to house over 1300 migrant children. In the meanwhile, neither Biden nor his VP Kamala Harris, Biden’s supposed point-person on the border situation, have visited the border. Perhaps all is not lost, however, as Politico reports that a group of Democrat and Republican senators have met to discuss the border. The group was prepped and called together by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and attended both by leading senators from both parties and senators from border states. There’s a long road ahead to finding a solution. But, Sen. Tom Tillis (R-NC) said of the meeting, “It was a good first discussion. Nobody’s taken themselves out. I thought they were all genuinely interested.”

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Arkansas legislature overrides governor’s veto on transgender bill. The Arkansas legislature voted to override Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act, a bill that prohibits minors from receiving hormone therapy, puberty blockers and sex-transition surgeries, even if they have their parent’s consent. Hutchinson’s rationale for vetoing the bill is that it went too far, in his mind, in allowing the state to interfere with medical decisions made between a minor child, his or her parents, and their doctor, and that it did not include a grandfather clause that would allow minors who are already receiving transitioning therapy to continue doing so. Legislatures’ justification for the bill is that transgender therapy for minor’s is too experimental and not enough is known about the potential negative consequences of minors receiving such therapy. An article by Walt Heyer, who transitioned from male to female, then de-transitioned back to male after eight years of living as a female, speaks to the dangers of allowing children to transition. In my own mind, children are not in a position to make such a life-altering decision, regardless of how they feel at any given time, and regardless of how much support they receive from their parents or doctors. Sadly, having a trans child has come to represent a level of “woke cache” in our increasingly confused culture, empowering parents of these children to flaunt their progressive and tolerant attitude. Even medical professionals can be and too often are influenced by a culture that says whatever one feels at any particular point in one’s life deserves unwavering affirmation. There is a great deal of disagreement among those who study the question of sex-transitioning in children. Dr. James Cantor has compiled a list of twelve studies researching the question of whether or not transgender children continue to identify as transgender in adulthood. All of the studies Cantor lists came to the same conclusion: that the majority of children who identified as transgender ceased doing so by the time they reached adulthood. Others are not convinced, insisting that the methodologies of these studies are flawed. It makes me wonder if the critics’ claim that the studies are flawed is based on the assumption that they came to the “wrong” conclusion. Regardless of the validity of these types of studies, the very fact that those who have been researching the question for several years now still cannot say with confidence what possibly serious consequences await children who are allowed to progress in gender transitioning therapy is itself a red flag that such transitioning therapy may not be all that therapeutic. That recommends caution.

Missouri nuns under attack. Benedictine nuns at Mary, Queen of Apostle Abbey in Gower, MO have endured three separate episodes of someone shooting at them over the weeks of Lent. The most recent episode, on March 24, resulted in two bullets passing into the bedroom of Mother Abbess Cecilia. Sadly, this has not been the first attack on the abbey. In 2019, someone drove onto the grounds and spent 45 minutes shooting at the abbey, even shooting directly at two nuns who, happily, were not harmed. Before the sisters moved into their abbey they set up a shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes, only to have the statue of Our Lady shot and damaged. As well, Mother Cecilia reports they have suffered episodes of people stopping their cars on the road that runs beside the abbey, watching the sisters work, or shouting obscenities at them, or shining their headlights into the abbey windows at night. The town of Gower, with a population just over 1500, is nearby, but so far no suspects have been identified as being behind the attacks. The sisters are seeking donations to build an eight-foot wall around the abbey that will cost s$200,000. It is a steep price to pay, but one that just may bring some peace of mind to these Benedictine sisters who have dedicated their lives to prayer and work for the sake of the kingdom. Let us pray that the attacks stop, that the authorities are able to find out who is behind the attacks, and that whatever motive is inspiring their debased behavior is able to be discerned and that their apparent psychological and spiritual demons can be exorcised. If you would like to contribute toward the building of the wall to protect the sisters, you can do so here.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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