Some Good News from 2022

President Joe Biden’s administration has been a disaster, a dumpster fire of epic proportions. Inflation through the roof. Unrestrained government spending. A nonsensical energy policy. A humanitarian and national security crisis at the southern border. Attacks on free speech. Attacks on religious liberty. The perception among our enemies and our allies that America is weak. Crime escalating in nearly every major city. The exploitation of children in schools and libraries by LGBTQ+ and race-baiting activists. The weaponization of the FBI and DOJ against political adversaries, while genuine crimes committed by political allies are ignored. The list goes on. One might think, and perhaps would be justified in thinking, that 2022 was a most horrible year. What the next two years of a Biden administration will look like we can only imagine, but it doesn’t look pretty.

Even still, there were some wins in 2022, and those need to be celebrated. Without discounting the difficulties endured this year or the challenges we likely face in the near future, here are some reasons to celebrate 2022:

Roe v. Wade was overturned. No matter how bad 2022 was on other matters, the fact that the year saw the overturning of Roe v. Wade marks it as a historic year for the nation. According to stats published by the pro-abortion WeCount coalition, 10,000 lives were saved in just the first two months after the Dobbs Supreme Court decision. Abortion is illegal in 13 states, including Tennessee (Yay!) and five other states have passed partial bans on abortion. Roe was bad law. It denied the humanity of those in the womb on no other grounds than their location in their mothers’ wombs. Roe was the worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott, and resulted in the deaths of more than two generations of Americans, effecting minority communities and the disabled most harshly. It’s overturning is cause for rejoicing, even in the midst of an otherwise overwhelmingly bad year.

Courts protect religious liberty. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Sisters of Mercy v. Becerra that the Biden administration cannot force Catholic hospitals and doctors to perform abortions and sex re-assignment surgeries. The Department of Health and Human Services had interpreted the Affordable Care Act in such a way that required even Catholic hospitals and Catholic doctors to perform procedures contrary to their firmly held religious beliefs and their consciences, and even contrary to their professional medical judgments. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that this was an infringement on the religious freedom of Catholic hospitals and doctors, and the Eighth Circuit agreed when HHS appealed. Luke Goodrich, vice-president and senior counsel of Becket Law, which represented the Catholic hospitals, said, “Today’s victory sets an important precedent that religious healthcare professionals are free to practice medicine in accordance with their consciences and experienced professional judgment. The government’s attempt to force doctors to go against their consciences was bad for patients, bad for doctors, and bad for religious liberty.” As well, several other religious liberty cases were argued before courts, with the courts ruling in favor of the First Amendment, including allowing a coach to pray privately after football games, giving access to government assistance funds for private schools, including religious schools, and preventing the seizure by eminent domain of the property of a Jewish congregation.

States and parents take up cause to defend children from sexual exploitation. For some bizarre reason, libraries and schools have decided that hosting drag queen story hours is a good thing. Many of these events are targeted and advertised as family-friendly events and appropriate for children. However, there are photos of a man dressed as a woman allowing children to lie on top of him at one such event, and photos of a man flashing a group of children during another. Other drag queen story hours have had convicted sex offenders reading to children. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have been invited to these events, though they are a famously anti-Catholic organization. Can anyone imagine an openly anti-Semitic or anti-Islamic group being invited to read stories to children at a library supported by taxpayer dollars? Even worse is the movement demanding that minors be allowed to receive hormone-blocking therapy and even surgeries removing their breasts and reproductive organs. Schools are notoriously gaslighting parents, refusing to inform them of their child’s gender confusion or even assisting them in transitioning without informing parents. So, what’s the good news here? Parents are starting to fight back! They are demanding that libraries and schools cancel these events, informing libraries and schools of the criminal records of some of these performers and sexually charged materials found on their websites. States are starting to fight back, as well. Some have passed legislation outlawing sex re-assignment surgeries on children, requiring children to use facilities consistent with their biological sex, and requiring that schools get permission from parents before addressing students by pronouns other than those consistent with their biological sex. In Virginia, a grand jury found that the Loudon County School Board worked to cover up the sexual assault of two female students by a boy who said he was a girl and was allowed to use the girl’s restroom, and the superintendent was fired for his role in the cover up and for making false statements. Even some teachers are fighting back against the current, refusing to play along with their school’s gender-affirming policies and requirements to keep parents in the dark. De-transitioning teens and adults are also warning against the ease with which children are allowed to transition and the irreversible harm it can do. Kirk Cameron, actor and devout Christian, who was initially refused a platform to read his new children’s book by libraries that had hosted drag queen story hours, was invited to do so after communities rose up in protest over the double standard, and in one library drew an audience of more than 2500! For too long, schools have assumed that they know what’s best for the children in their classrooms, even over and against their parents. Parents are starting to speak out and take action, and some states are helping them do so.

Another bit of good news is that the debate over free speech is vigorous and, I think, moving in the right direction. While it’s true that many colleges and universities continue to be battlegrounds over free speech, and too many of them regard free speech as a privilege rather than a right, there is some reason to be hopeful. Recently, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which less than two years ago barred Dorian Abbot from speaking because he criticized diversity programs, has adopted a “Free Expression Statement” that ought to serve as a model for others, as “the Chicago statement” has. More schools are adopting “the Chicago statement” for themselves, and that’s a good thing. Somehow, young people have embraced the notion that hate speech is not protected by the U.S. Constitution, and that suppressing the speech of other is itself an exercise in free speech. Doubtless Elon Musk’s purchasing of Twitter and promising to make it a paragon of free speech has raised the volume of the free speech debate. I won’t get into how well Musk is succeeding, but there’s no question that Twitter is freer today than it was months ago when people were being banned right and left for tweeting the “wrong” opinion. While the debate continues, I think it’s heartening that many, frankly, are over the presumptuousness of those who demand to control speech, to determine what is acceptable and what is not, and who claim the privilege to shut down whoever they regard as holding and speaking ideas contrary to their own.

I know that a lot of the news these days is bad, even horrible. But I wanted to end the year with a glimmer of hope. It hasn’t all been bad. Remember, too, that no matter how bad it gets, Jesus is still Lord of history, and our faith, once again, is not that Christ will be victorious. Our faith is that He already is.

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

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