Coronavirus Isolation, Mideast Peace, Protestant Family Ethics & More: Twenty Things That Caught My Eye Today — September 16, 2020

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1. CNN: Outrage as Nigeria sentences 13-year-old boy to 10 years in prison for blasphemy

Overlooked amid America’s war against the coronavirus is this reality: People with dementia are dying not just from the virus but from the very strategy of isolation that’s supposed to protect them. In recent months, doctors have reported increased falls, pulmonary infections, depression and sudden frailty in patients who had been stable for years.

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Social and mental stimulation are among the few tools that can slow the march of dementia. Yet even as U.S. leaders have rushed to reopen universities, bowling alleys and malls, nursing homes say they continue begging in vain for sufficient testing, protective equipment and help.

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4. The Guardian: Nearly two-thirds of US young adults unaware 6m Jews killed in the Holocaust

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Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or they weren’t sure. One in eight (12%) said they had definitely not heard, or didn’t think they had heard, about the Holocaust.

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6. Axios: $1 billion-plus riot damage is most expensive in insurance history

“All previous catastrophes — as classified by the insurance industry — happened in a particular city. This was the first that happened not just in multiple cities, but in 20 states.”

7. ‘China Has Bought Our Silence:’ Director Judd Apatow Criticizes Film Industry for Ignoring Uyghur ‘Genocide’

“A lot of these giant corporate entities have business with countries around the world, Saudi Arabia, China, and they’re just not going to criticize them and they’re not going to let their shows criticize them or they’re not going to air documentaries that go deep into truthful areas because they just make so much money,” Apatow told MSNBC. “So, while we’re all going, ‘can we say this joke or not say that joke?’ on a much bigger level, they’ve just completely shut down critical content about human rights abuses in China.”

8. Catholic World Report: Vatican laments inclusion of ‘reproductive rights in UN resolution on coronavirus

Archbishop Gabriele Caccia: “In particular, the Holy See rejects the interpretation that considers abortion or access to abortion, sex-selective abortion, abortion of fetuses diagnosed with health challenges, maternal surrogacy, and sterilization as dimensions of ‘reproductive health,’ or as part of universal health coverage.”

9. The EU needs to admit that Trump has it right on Mideast peace

 The transfer of the U.S. embassy did not set alight the supposedly perpetually inflammable Arab street. More than anything it indicated a willingness to recognize the reality that had already taken shape decades earlier.

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12. James B. Meigs: Wildfire, Hype, and Hope

For many climate activists—and a preponderance of mainstream journalists—disasters like wildfires and hurricanes are often seen as teachable moments. Activists hope that if the public can be convinced to see climate change as a here-and-now disaster—rather than as some distant threat—perhaps voters will be more willing to support pro-climate policies. That’s an understandable motive but a questionable strategy. Scientists who put advocacy ahead of objectivity risk undermining both the quality of their research and their own credibility. Journalists who take this route tend to oversimplify complex causes, and lapse into an “End Times” narrative that leaves readers feeling powerless.

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Even if we assume climate models are accurate—and we also assume global carbon emissions can be cut fast enough to reach the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s current target—it would still take decades for today’s gradual temperature increases to halt. In the meantime, a range of factors—aside from climate—are making wildfires more deadly and more expensive.

13. Kay S. Hymowitz: Preteen Bada Bing

Netflix called Cuties a “social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” while Doucouré describes it as a “deeply feminist film with an activist message.” I could almost believe them, except that the camera zooms in on pre-pubescent arching and lingers on twerking buttocks with all the subtlety of a Pornhub video.

14. Terry Teachout: Too great a (social) distance

Could it be that social distancing will lead to the end of the arts as we know them?

15. Pastoral Letter of Most Rev. Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington: In Tongues All Can Hear — on Christian communication

16. American Enterprise Institute: The Protestant family ethic

The results detailed in this report suggest that boys and girls who attend private schools are more likely to avoid a nonmarital birth and to get and stay married. This pattern is especially pronounced among Protestant-school attendees, which suggests that these schools are more likely to foster a kind of “Protestant Family Ethic” among their students. 

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18. UNC Program for Public Discourse: Robert P. George & Cornel West in Conversation

19. John Cavadini: The Blessed Virgin Mary, Quarantined

Mary’s role as “Mother of God” cannot be reduced simply to a physical event, leaving her uniquely, though only, a model for the rest of us because of the Spirit filled way in which she accomplished the role which the unique physical event gave rise to.

In Mary’s motherhood, the physical and the spiritual completely coincide. Her “burning charity,” in assenting to the angel’s request, is the human love in which we were all born as members of her Son; it makes her a “mother to us in the order of grace” (CCC §968, citing LG §61). It is in this sense that Mary is “Mother of Mercy,” mother of the mercy that God has on all of us as members of Christ.

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