Fifteen Things that Caught My Eye: Afghan Orphan Has a Home, Down Syndrome Bigotry & More

(Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

1. BBC News: Amid violent reprisals, Afghans fear the Taliban’s ‘amnesty’ was empty

And a former Afghan special forces soldier still inside the country told the BBC that he and his family were in hiding after former colleagues were killed.

“Since the Taliban have come to power they haven’t stopped killing,” he said. “A few days ago, they killed twelve members of the special forces in Kandahar and three soldiers in Jalalabad as well. They were my close friends. I was in touch with them. The Taliban took them out of their homes and shot them.”

“The violence is overwhelming. It’s rampant and common and also very acceptable,” says Alishan Jafri, a freelance journalist who’s been documenting attacks on Indian Muslims for the past three years.


3. Vatican News: Violence against Christians increasing in India, despite lockdowns

The watchdog group recorded 293 incidents of anti-Christian persecution in the first six months of the year.

Six of those cases resulted in murder. Two women were raped and killed for their faith, and another two women and a 10-year-old girl were raped for refusing to renounce Christianity.


5. Ed Mechmann: Why We Support Unpopular Religious Objections

It’s the little guy that needs protection, not the powerful one.

6. Reuters: Number of people with dementia set to jump 40% to 78 mln by 2030— WHO

Only one in four countries has a national policy in place to support dementia patients and their families, it said, urging governments to step up to the public health challenge.

“Dementia robs millions of people of their memories, independence and dignity, but it also robs the rest of us of the people we know and love,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general.

7. National Catholic Register: Pro-Life Doctors Raise Concerns About Abortion-Pill Complications Amid Push for Permanent Removal of Restrictions

Dr. Donna Harrison, an OB-GYN and executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, was among the authors of a recent study looking at “Deaths and Severe Adverse Events After the Use of Mifepristone as an Abortifacient From September 2000 to February 2019.”

“In any other area of obstetrics, what is being proposed by the abortion industry is malpractice,” [Harrison] said. “You can’t start a treatment on a woman without giving her adequate informed consent. There is no way in creation you can adequately give a woman informed consent if you don’t know exactly how far along she is in pregnancy.”

She said that if the restrictions are removed, then, ultimately, “there is nothing legally to prevent the over-the-counter sale eventually of Mifeprex, and that is the endgame of the abortion industry: to make this over the counter. It is a horrible disservice to women.”

8. AP: Bill tells NC hospitals to let in clergy during emergency

The measure, which now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk, was named for Jeff Rieg of Washington, North Carolina, who died at a Greenville hospital in 2020. Rieg had been struck by a car, but COVID-19 visitation restrictions had prevented his family and pastors from seeing him. The hospital ultimately allowed the family and a pastor to visit Rieg before he died, the Washington Daily News reported. The bill surfaced after other families told a legislator about similar obstacles.

9. Father Roger Landry: Two Bold and True Responses to the Dangers of Gender Ideology

While emphatically encouraging Catholics and all people of good will to support, welcome, accompany and love all those whose gender identity does not match their biological sex, to affirm their human dignity and defend their fundamental human rights to be free of violence and unjust discrimination, Pope Francis has simultaneously been very clear about the dangers to those with gender dysphoria and to all of society from gender ideology. 

10. The Washington Times: China’s anti-cult czar arrested on corruption charges after expulsion from party

Mr. Peng “used his authority for his personal gain, sought benefits from internet companies, resisted investigations by the party, and engaged in superstitious activities,” the newspaper quoted the CCDI notice as stating.

The notice added, “He violated the eight-point requirements on frugal living, visited private clubs frequently and accepted invitations to extravagant banquets and dinners.”

11. Alan Cross: Church as Sanctuary and Shelter

The El Paso Shooter acted out of that hardness to the extreme, murdering almost two dozen people and trying to kill many more. He reaped the bitter harvest of death and destruction that he had been sowing with his fear and hatred. The vast majority of those who close their hearts and lives to migrants and refugees would never kill anyone, of course. But how we see people and whether or not we receive the migrant and refugee in our midst in their time of need says much about how we see God and ourselves. Are we recipients and givers of grace or mercy, or do we believe we have to fight to protect our way of life?

12. Matt Bruenig: Delay and Grandparenthood

As age of first birth rises, generations get spread out and parents get spread thin. The number of people in a family line who are in the workhorse age range declines and so they must carry more of the caregiving load.

I bring this up not because I think it is some kind of slam dunk in favor of having kids earlier rather than later, but because it seems like it should be considered in the delay discourse more than it is.

13. Nicole Garnett: What I Saw at the Daytona 500

[Justice Thomas’s] talk was more than a mere success.  It was a triumph.  The counter protest fell flat, he was warmly welcomed, and his speech received a standing ovation.  I believe the speech remains one of his finest hours.  The speech is packed with wisdom and courage, and I regularly share it with students who ask me about Justice Thomas.  But the most important lesson that I learned from that day came not from his words to the National Bar Association but his courage in the face of controversy and his response to the vitriol, a response captured in his email reply to me:  Reject anger, embrace joy.  Be principled and courageous.  But always be a happy warrior.

Another day, a man who appeared to be homeless walked up to say something like “Justice Thomas, I’m sending you another petition!”  The security detail accompanying us tried to turn the man away, but the Justice waved them off and talked to the man for a few minutes.  As we returned to the Court, he remarked, “You know, these are hard days for him.  It was recently the anniversary of his mother’s death.”  I was stunned:  In a city full of people who spend every conversation looking over each other’s shoulder to see if someone more important is in the room, Justice Thomas stopped to be kind to a homeless man who was mourning the loss of his mother.  Nobody was ever more important than the person in front of him.

14. South Florida family welcomes newly adopted son evacuated from Afghanistan

Noman waited at the international airport in Kabul for days, where he witnessed thousands of other people scrambling for any flight out.

“A lot of firing of bullets and machine guns basically being fired into the air,” recalled Noman.

“He said there was fighting, there was violence. There was pushing and shoving that was scary that was fearful,” said Bahaudin Mujtaba.

15. Charlotte Allen: The Appeal of Giant Jesus Statues

As magnets for tourists and other visitors, the monumental statues of Jesus enjoy a unique advantage. Their horizontal arms can give them a cruciform shape, but they are not actual representations of Christ on the cross—and so can appeal to evangelical Christians who don’t pray before crucifixes along with Catholics who do. And even the nonreligious can find solace in a benevolent figure who expresses protection and welcoming. Art historian Nora M. Heimann of the Catholic University of America points out that Christ the Redeemer, Rio’s top tourist attraction, was originally meant as a symbolic bulwark against the militant atheism and materialism of the 20th century. “Now, it’s associated with Rio itself,” Ms. Heimann says. A classic example of mixing the secular and the sacred: On Easter 2020, during the first wave of Covid-19, lights projected a physician’s white coat and stethoscope onto Christ the Redeemer.

The colossal statues may feel like crass appeals to the vanity of the wealthy or to the money that tourism can bring. But that neglects the complex motivations of religious people, who often view their trips to holy sites as pilgrimages as well as pleasurable excursions. The heart of Christ the Protector, for example, might resemble a small stylized heart visible on the chest of Christ the Redeemer in Rio.

“Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is huge in Latin America, especially in Argentina and Uruguay”—two countries that abut Rio Grande do Sul, says David Morgan, a professor of religious studies at Duke University. “Encantado clearly wants tourists, but it’s not a blue-chip tourist destination like Rio. It’s aiming for Latin American tourists. . . . There is a broadly shared Christian faith in Latin America and a distinct culture that is distinctly Catholic, and that is where this region is trying to position itself.”


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