I know that as a conservative-Christian-libertarian-leaning-Republican I’m supposed to pick a side in this Kim Davis controversy. These days, if you’re not 110% in one camp or the other, you’re a traitor and a sell-out. Nuance is for losers. Nevertheless, I’m deeply conflicted about the issue of the county clerk who was hauled off to jail for refusing to sign same sex marriage certificates, and I know I’m not the only one. Although I’ve heard from plenty of people about why one side or the other is wrong, I’m still not sure.
On the one hand, I agree with Davis on principle. As a Christian, I wouldn’t want my name on a form declaring the legitimacy of a union that is outside the bounds of the biblical definition of marriage. On the other hand, the Bible teaches that Christians are to obey the governing authorities unless they are commanded to do something that violates God’s commands. In between those two points is a gray area where there is room for Christians to come to different conclusions about whether putting one’s name on a marriage license would constitute an endorsement of the marriage. Even among individuals of other faith traditions (or no faith at all) there is disagreement on this issue; Americans from all walks of life are conflicted about it. And that is why everything about this ongoing conflict is terrible. Every. Last. Thing.
I went on to list 3 Reasons Everyone Should Hate the Kentucky Marriage Debacle. I’d like to build on that by adding three thing that Christians, in particular, should hate about the spectacle in Kentucky and explain my concerns about how this is playing out in the larger culture.
We’re once again confusing Christianity with the GOP.
Not too many years ago, the voice of the Moral Majority dominated Republican politics and it wasn’t a good moment for American Christianity. People began to think that being a Christian meant being a card-carrying Republican. Or that being a Republican was the same thing as being a Christian. These beliefs are in error and they do harm to both Christianity and the GOP. Political parties and elected officials more often than not fail miserably when they weigh in on theological issues because they’re trying to serve two (maybe more) masters: God, government, voters, and special interests. The GOP doesn’t speak for Christianity — and in fact, Republicans often do and say things contrary to the Bible’s teachings. But during the Moral Majority years a lot of people truly believed that if only the right people were in office — the right Christian Republicans — the country could be saved from the impending moral decline.* Somewhere along the way the GOP developed an unhealthy codependent relationship with the American Christian church and the lines between those two distinct realms of authority (church and government) were blurred. Christians sometimes forget that revival begins in hearts, in families, and in churches — not in government bureaucracies or partisan campaign offices.
*This is not to say that Christians shouldn’t hold elected office. In fact, it’s a good thing when godly people are in positions of authority. Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” While we shouldn’t depend on political parties or government officials to provide spiritual leadership, individual Christians living out their convictions as elected officials can be a tremendous influence for good in the world. But we must always remember that men are fallible; if we’re putting our faith in them, we will surely be disappointed. As David said in the Psalms, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
I know that as a conservative-Christian-libertarian-leaning-Republican I’m supposed to pick a side in this Kim Davis controversy. These days, if you’re not 110% in one camp or the other, you’re a traitor and a sell-out. Nuance is for losers. Nevertheless, I’m deeply conflicted about the issue of the county clerk who was hauled off to jail for refusing to sign same sex marriage certificates, and I know I’m not the only one. Although I’ve heard from plenty of people about why one side or the other is wrong, I’m still not sure.
On the one hand, I agree with Davis on principle. As a Christian, I wouldn’t want my name on a form declaring the legitimacy of a union that is outside the bounds of the biblical definition of marriage. On the other hand, the Bible teaches that Christians are to obey the governing authorities unless they are commanded to do something that violates God’s commands. In between those two points is a gray area where there is room for Christians to come to different conclusions about whether putting one’s name on a marriage license would constitute an endorsement of the marriage. Even among individuals of other faith traditions (or no faith at all) there is disagreement on this issue; Americans from all walks of life are conflicted about it. And that is why everything about this ongoing conflict is terrible. Every. Last. Thing. Here are some of the top contenders for the things I hate the most about it:
Someone in the United States of America actually went to jail because she refused to put her name on a same sex marriage certificate.
I cannot wrap my mind around this. Weren’t we told just a few short years ago that same sex marriage wouldn’t affect those who didn’t agree with it? That it was all about more freedom for everyone and no one’s rights would be trampled in the process? Somehow, seemingly overnight, those benign-sounding overtures morphed into “Shut up, bigots, no one cares what you think anymore.” While it’s true that Kim Davis, a recent convert to Christianity, is not the standard-bearer anyone would have chosen to lead the battle for religious liberty, nevertheless, she was the first government official to run headlong into the new marriage laws. For better or worse, she’s the face of the conscientious objectors right now. Whatever you think of her personal story, the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion did not come with a morality clause, nor is there a non-hypocrisy requirement. And lest there is some confusion here, we don’t crowdsource religious beliefs (which are by nature deeply personal) to determine whether or not they are worthy of First Amendment protections.
This is making the rounds on social media right now:
The source is a website called Activist Post, which bills itself as “Alternative News for Enlightened Minds.”
Here’s how this bizarre conspiracy theory goes:
The latest reporter shooting hoax in Virginia is getting so easily torn apart by the conspiracy research community that the media’s emotional staging of actors is becoming absurd.
The latest discovery is that Alison Parker’s alleged fiancé Chris Hurst, who has only eight social media photos of him with Alison, is probably just her “TV” boyfriend. A guy named Daniel Wulz has been outed by facial recognition as her real-world boyfriend.
Try to keep up because it get’s a little tricky after this: A guy named Daniel Wulk (who in reality is likely an ex-boyfriend) has a bunch of pictures of himself with Alison Parker on his Facebook page. Chris Hurst, the “alleged” bereaved fiancé, has only a pathetic little scrapbook to show for his life with Parker. Also, and perhaps most damning in the eyes of the “conspiracy research community,” Hurst has some — gasp! — film-making experience. Therefore — everyone take a deep breath — it must logically follow that the shooting was a government-sponsored false flag operation involving professional actors who agreed to be complicit in a giant, secret gun-grabbing operation by participating in a staged shooting on live TV. Got that? (I might have missed a link somewhere along the way in this fantastical yarn, but you get the idea.)
Left unanswered? Where are the alleged actors who were involved in this elaborate ruse now? Is there some secret witness protection program for undercover government hoax actors? Or maybe there’s a remote exile island in the Pacific where they’re kept in seclusion for the rest of their lives!?!? Also unanswered: how did the government gun-grabbers get the families of the victims to believe their loved ones were in those caskets they buried? Oh, wait…sorry. Apparently they are in on the whole thing. They’re awaiting an airlift to Conspiracy Theory Island as I write this.
Seriously, what is wrong with these people? Do their readers actually believe this nonsense? I’m really wondering because the articles have been shared tens of thousands of times on social media (by some individuals I actually know in real life, I might add). I’d like to think that people are sharing them with messages like “This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.” And you know what? I’m going to just go with that version because it’s preferable to believing that tens of thousands of people actually buy into these stupid hoaxes.
“Woke up this morning with my heart stayed on
This is truly one of the creepiest things I’ve seen in a while:
A women’s choir called “Voices of the Heart” that brands itself as a “women’s alternative chorus” replaced the name of Jesus in a traditional hymn called “Woke Up This Morning With My Mind on Jesus” with the name of their feminist idol–Hillary Clinton.
Well, woke up this mornin’
With my mind, stayin’ on
Woke up this mornin’
With my mind, stayin’ on
The Bible takes idolatry very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that the first three of the 10 Commandments are dedicated to warning against it. In Romans Chapter 1 in the New Testament, Paul also discusses the subject:
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:21-23 ESV)
As King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Men (and women) have been trying to bring God down to their level since the beginning of human history. Today’s idolaters don’t bow down to a golden calf like the Israelites did, and you won’t find a lot of Americans openly making sacrifices to pagan idols these days. But the spirit of idolatry is alive and well in human hearts–and we’re all susceptible–whether it’s singing a worship song to Hillary or something more subtle, like making something (or someone) more important in our lives than the God who made us and who, by the power of his will, keeps the earth spinning and our hearts beating day in and day out. He alone is worthy of our worship.
Professor: “Close your eyes and imagine you are in a world free from triggers. Imagine that that mean, white, cisgendered syllabus can’t hurt a young, gay man like you, Eric.”
Student #1: “Wait, what? I’m not gay…”
Student #2: “Uh…is this Literature 101?”
That’s what a lot of people are asking these days. Unlike college students of past generations, who learned to improve their lives and to understand and interpret the world around them by studying the Western canon, today’s students are being force fed a progressive ideology that tells them they are weak, vulnerable, and in need of protection. Paradoxically, the social justice warriors want these students to believe that the government they say got nearly everything wrong for 200 years is capable of enforcing “fairness” in the present and future.
This video nails it. Watch the whole thing:
The Satanic Temple of Detroit staged a pair of bizarre, God-mocking rituals outside Planned Parenthood clinics in Detroit and Ferndale, Michigan, on Saturday in support of abortion on demand. The group was there to “interrupt” the anti-Planned Parenthood protests in those two cities, which were part of a movement of hundreds of organized protests across the country on Saturday in the wake of recent revelations about Planned Parenthood’s horrific brutality against unborn babies as well as the sale of their body parts for profit .
Two women, hands bound and kneeling in front of fake clergymen, gasped while they were fake waterboarded with fake breast milk (because nothing says “stop the patriarchy” like pouring cow’s milk all over yourself or something).
The Satanists recited the Lord’s Prayer and the Catholic Hail Mary prayer while holding up an American flag emblazoned with the Satanic Temple’s logo and a sign that read, “AMERICA IS NOT A THEOCRACY. END FORCED MOTHERHOOD.”
Part of me wants to laugh at the silliness of this stunt. Seriously, they’re pouring gallons of perfectly good milk over the heads of women to simulate waterboarding (which I assume they believe is torture) in order to encourage people to support Planned Parenthood, an organization that has no qualms about torturing unborn children who feel incredible pain when they’re torn, limb from limb, and their skulls are crushed by forceps. It’s a stunt only someone who majored in women’s studies at Liberal U. can comprehend, I think.
But the truth is, I can’t laugh. After watching this video, some Bible verses keep running through my head and I’m profoundly sad and frightened for these really lost and confused individuals.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. (Psalm 14:1 ESV)
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (Galatians 6:7 ESV)
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10-12 ESV)
The Bible teaches that individuals can only get away with mocking and being disobedient to God for so long. Someday all of the people who participated in this protest will have to stand before a just and holy God – as we all will — and explain their actions to Him. If their answer isn’t, “My sin has been covered by the righteousness of Jesus,” it’s going to be a long, torturous eternity.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10 ESV)
If I had the opportunity to sit down with members of the Satanic Temple of Detroit, that’s the conversation I’d want to have with them. I’d tell them that God loved them enough to send his son to die for them and that he offers forgiveness and everlasting life to all who repent and put their trust in Him. Even Satanists who repent and put their trust in Him. Because the truth is, their hatred for God is at the root of their worship of abortion. Until that is confronted and dealt with, there is no hope of moralizing them into having compassion for unborn babies.
The same bullies who booed Martin O’Malley off the stage at the Netroots convention a few weeks ago for saying “all lives matter” and the mob that shoved the elderly socialist Bernie Sanders off the stage for basically being too white (I guess?) are now spreading their hateful tentacles into my family. Last week my 21-year-old son was called a racist, a terrorist, and was compared to a Jew who was defending the German Gestapo, simply because of some comments he made on Facebook in response to this tweet:
— Gregory A.K. (@gregory_a_k) August 10, 2015
My son said a bunch of (apparently) hateful, racist things like:
I ran into this tweet the other day and it frightened me. The fact that people are even willing to say this makes me sick to my stomach. The police are human…they make mistakes. Yes, their mistakes have typically worse consequences, but do you think an officer is proud or happy when he has to shoot a suspect? He has to live with that for the rest of his/her life.
(How could I have raised such a monster?)
He also made this (allegedly) terror-inducing comment:
How is this bringing peace and awareness to your cause? Shutting down speeches, cities, and highways all in the name of “justice”? Striking fear into the hearts of our police and getting whatever you want because the police are afraid to make arrests? How is this fair to the country, having people running around abolishing anything orderly and screaming for their cause? This movement, if it keeps going the way it is, will make for a downward spiral for the country. Cities will be shut down, the police will have no authority over criminals. I mean, do you realize what you’re fighting for? Essentially the only way to stop police killings is to destroy the police.
He added, “This may not always be a fair country, but it’s the one I love.”
Horrifying, isn’t it? (You can blame either the eleven years he was homeschooled or the two years he went to public school, depending upon whether or not you agree with him.)
Some guy my son doesn’t even know — a Ferguson protester who lives in Indianapolis…and teaches public school — responded to my son’s Facebook comment and basically told him that he’d better learn his place (his place is to sit down and shut up).
I especially like the “racists who look like YOU” part. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be so proud that the movement he led to ensure people would be judged by the content of their character is now dominated by activists who believe only “black lives matter” and that people should be judged solely by the color of their skin.
Of course, this bothers me as a mother because I know my son is not a racist (nor is he a terrorist or a Gestapo sympathizer in case anyone is keeping track). But it also bothers me as an American. My son wasn’t being rude or disrespectful. He wasn’t using foul language or calling anyone names. He was calling for dialogue and understanding. Instead of a dialogue, this Facebook stranger (who has a picture on his Facebook page of that roasted pig wearing a cop hat) hurled epithets at my son and told him to shut up. That kind of rhetoric (if it can even be called that) does nothing to promote understanding or build bridges between people who disagree. It only brings about division and anger and ensures that these wounds will continue to fester. In a democratic society — as in a healthy adult relationship — “be quiet and listen” only works when both sides willingly agree to those terms and they take turns listening to one another. When one side forcefully imposes that standard on the other — and especially if the reason for doing so is because of something immutable like skin color — the result is a very unbalanced relationship — and, as we’re seeing, an egregiously unhealthy country.
According to a survey released by MasterCard last week, 55 percent of Americans would rather have naked pictures of themselves leaked online than have their financial information stolen.
My husband and I were riding in the car together when we heard this news blurb and our conversation went something like this:
Me: I don’t even have to ask what your answer would be.
Husband: I know what your answer is, too. So I guess I should just change mine, because all our financial information is going to be out there anyway.
(After 26 years of marriage, the blanks in the conversations basically just autocomplete.)
What about you? If given the choice, would you rather have naked pics of you all over the internet or have your financial information out there for all the world to see? Do you and your spouse agree?
A 13-year-old boy named Christian attended last week’s Orange County Board of Education meeting and elegantly smacked down the federal takeover of local education standards, telling the board, “You are not educating my generation.”
Instead Christian said, “There needs to be more of us being taught rich, content based curriculum. Being taught how to think, not what to think.”
During the three minutes allotted to him at the board meeting the articulate young man accused the board of “selling us via our information to big data businesses, keeping track of our every mistake.” He also said said the board looks the other way when students and parents are bullied by teachers and administrators. “You are not protecting us.”
David Whitley, a parent who has been at the forefront of the battle against Common Core in Orange County, told PJ Media this week, “Students that opted out [of Common Core tests] in some districts have been treated very badly.” He said some have had senior privileges, like parking, revoked when they’ve opted out, while students who take the tests are rewarded with raffle tickets. “Why are principles punishing or rewarding kids based on the tests?” he asked.
Christian went on to say in the video, “If the Orange County Board of Education — a supposedly conservative board — is not willing to protect the next generation, then who will?”
“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next,” he said, quoting Abraham Lincoln. “The architects of Common Core know exactly what they’re doing. America is not just another country on the globe. She is and should be proud of being the greatest and the brightest, so people have hope when looking at her.”
“I implore you to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. How about some real social justice? You are supposed to leave us a country better than you received it. This is not what you are doing,” Christian said. “Stand up for us and our country. Too many leaders in this country aren’t leading and are throwing away our future.”
Christian ended with a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Aaron Dickson, who created “The Best First Date” — a video that’s been viewed over 12 million times — is back with a new creative effort. The name says it all and there’s nothing I can add except, “Grab some tissues — you’re going to need them!”
Be sure to watch all the way to the end. Enjoy!
Just like Rachel Dolezal and
Bruce Caitlyn Jenner, right?
In this case, it wouldn’t be difficult to disabuse Stephen of his distorted self-image. Simply drop him off in the African savannah and allow him to attend a short re-education camp with some real leopards, which can run 30 mph and have been observed taking down elands weighing 2000 lbs. He’ll be quickly reminded of his human frailties.
Of course, I jest.
But I do think this bizarre video demonstrates that our society has not had anything close to a rational discussion about where the lines between self-identification and reality should be drawn.
While we should acknowledge that some individuals do struggle with things like gender confusions and we should show them compassion, does that mean we should all be forced to accept and celebrate any and every self-identity presented to us, contra physical reality? Should it be based purely on physical characteristics like chromosomes or genitalia (or the presence of a leopard tail)? Or should it be merely based on self-perception? How do transracial, transabled, transweight, or transspecies individuals fit into those definitions? And who should be forced to accept which reality? Should the government be the enforcer of these self-perceptions?
The slippery slope of the sexual and moral revolution has turned our once great nation into a parody of tabloid headlines — and we’ve just begun to see the tip of the iceberg. A civil society cannot be organized around a series of blurred lines. At some point it just declines into an amalgamous milieu of postmodern chaos.
After the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, Warriors star Andre Iguodala was awarded the MVP trophy. During the postgame interview he was asked about his approach to the game.
“First of all, God is great. God is great,” Iguodala said.
Then he thanked some people who don’t often get recognition around the league. “I want to thank all the chaplains across the NBA for helping us out every single night,” he said. “This is awesome. We talked about about staying strong — stay with it. We modeled the whole playoffs, stay with it. They kept fighting. This is unreal. Unreal.”
In another post game interview Iguodala was asked, “In what way did your sacrifice of coming off the bench embody the sacrifice of this entire group?”
“We got a team full of believers. We all go to chapel before every game. We all believe and we all say God has a way for you — a purpose for you. This is my purpose.”
Also see Warriors star Stephen Curry talking about his Christian faith:
Graduation ceremonies might still be going on if Dublin schools had asked all of its valedictorians to speak.
There were 222 of them.
That means two out of every 10 graduates at Dublin’s three high schools received top honors this year. Dublin Scioto had 44 valedictorians, Dublin Jerome had 82, and Dublin Coffman had 96.
“I can’t say I’ve heard of that many,” said David Hawkins, executive director for educational content and policy with the National Association of College Admissions Counseling. He’s aware of high schools with 20-some valedictorians in a class but not as many as Coffman’s.
In the Dublin school district, valedictorian honors are awarded to all seniors with at least a 4.1 grade-point average, which means that 222 students in the district achieved perfect grades though all four years of high school — plus an extra tenth of a point, likely for an honors class.
It used to be that the valedictorian was the top-performing student in the school. These days — largely because of grade inflation, where a “C” is not average and an “A” does not represent a mark of exceptional effort and achievement — the top of the class is becoming an increasingly crowded field and it’s impossible for a truly excellent student to distinguish himself from the pack.
Fox News contributor Bernard Goldberg told Bill O’Reilly last week that Republicans live in fear of “the organized Christian right.”
Goldberg and O’Reilly were discussing presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who recently asked a local reporter in Texas if the left — including the media — is obsessed with sex, after reporters repeatedly badgered him with questions about gay marriage and homosexuality. Both said that Cruz handled the question well, even though Goldberg admitted, “I’m not a fan of Ted Cruz.” But Goldberg had more to say.
“Ted Cruz could have said, of course, I have no animosity against gay Americans. Next question,” Goldberg said. “But you know why he didn’t? Because every Republican lives in fear of the organized Christian right. There may not be a lot of people in the organized Christian right, but they have a very big megaphone, and [Republicans] live in daily and deathly fear of what they would do…if you even say, ‘Oh, I have no animosity against gays,’ that’s what they’re afraid of.”
He added, “There are more than a few conservative Christians — I’m not saying a majority or anything like that — more than a few who not only are against gay marriage, Bill, but detest gays, period.”
Goldberg offered the hate mail he receives as proof of the Scary Christian Right Wing Monster.
“I know this because when I come on this program and say I’m for gay marriage, I don’t only get e-mails from people who are against it — fair enough. Reasonable people can disagree on that,” he said. “I get e-mails from people who write the most vile things about gays, and they proclaim their Christianity. And I know for a fact that you get the same kind of e-mails.”
Goldberg didn’t say how many of these hateful emails he’s received — five…ten…fifty? But he paints an evocative tale of a breathtakingly powerful Christian group — one that threatens to bring down the entire GOP — fueled by shadowy figures who refuse to evolve on marriage. And they’re all sitting in their parents’ basements in their underpants sending Goldberg emails or something.
Bill O’Reilly, who has 3.3 million viewers on an average night, countered, “I have to say, I don’t get many of those. And the fringe is different. ”
“Wait, wait. Hold on. I’m not willing to accept that it’s a fringe — you don’t know what percent — percentage it is, and I don’t know what percentage it is. I know it’s too many,” and animated Goldberg shot back.
So according to Bernie, it’s not a fringe and it’s “more than a few conservative Christians,” but not “a majority or anything.” So, somewhere between a fringe and the majority, I guess.
Which means he’s willing to entertain the possibility that these “vile” emails are representative of Christianity in the main.
Goldberg didn’t say what criteria he uses to judge these “vile” emails. If a Christian emails him and says she believes the traditional Christian teaching that unrepentant homosexuals (and thieves and liars, et al) are in danger of eternal punishment, does that go onto the “vile” pile on Goldberg’s desk?
What do you remember about the time you spent in kindergarten? For me, it was a magical time of singing, learning to skip, and playing make-believe in the post office our teacher had set up in our classroom (we used those little silver scissors to cut stamps out of construction paper, gluing them onto handmade envelopes with that sweet-smelling white paste). We played with blocks, painted masterpieces with tempera paint — one boy named Tony got paddled for smearing it on the walls — and played foursquare with bouncy red playground balls. And even though it was only half-day kindergarten, Mrs. Liptak made all thirty of us squirmy kids lie down for a short nap time. We were rewarded with a snack afterward and then piled onto the buses to go home. We learned our ABCs and numbers in kindergarten, but were not taught to read or add until first grade. Everything about it was fun and happy and it set the stage for more formal academics in the years to come.
If you have children in school now, you know that things have changed drastically. David Kohn writes at the New York Times:
But increasingly, these activities are being abandoned for the teacher-led, didactic instruction typically used in higher grades. In many schools, formal education now starts at age 4 or 5. Without this early start, the thinking goes, kids risk falling behind in crucial subjects such as reading and math, and may never catch up…
In the United States, more academic early education has spread rapidly in the past decade. Programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have contributed to more testing and more teacher-directed instruction.
Another reason: the Common Core State Standards, a detailed set of educational guidelines meant to ensure that students reach certain benchmarks between kindergarten and 12th grade. Currently, 43 states and the District of Columbia have adopted both the math and language standards.
But does it work? Do tiny children need serious academic work at a young age in order to succeed later in life? Experts are increasingly saying no. Kohn cites several studies showing that children do worse when structured play is replaced with early didactic teaching. One study of 400,000 15-year-olds in more than 50 counties found that early school entry provided no advantage to students. Another study found that those who started school at age five had lower reading comprehension than those who start school later. A study of children who had attended “academically oriented” preschool classes vs. those who went to schools that encouraged “child initiated learning” discovered that by the end of fourth grade, the student who had received more formalized instruction earned significantly lower grades than children who were encouraged to learn through play, suggesting that the didactic instruction may have slowed their academic progress.
What do you think? Should preschool and kindergarten children be focused more on academics or should children be encouraged to play more and explore the world around them without the structure of formalized education?
Just for fun, I’ve copied and pasted the Common Core English Language Arts Standards below so you can get an idea of what children are now required to learn in kindergarten. You can see why there’s not much time for painting and playtime anymore — and why teachers are insisting they need full-day kindergarten to accomplish all of this in one year.
Conventions of Standard English:
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Print many upper- and lowercase letters.
Use frequently occurring nouns and verbs.
Form regular plural nouns orally by adding /s/ or /es/ (e.g., dog, dogs; wish, wishes).
Understand and use question words (interrogatives) (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).
Use the most frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with).
Produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I
Recognize and name end punctuation.
Write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds (phonemes).
Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.
Knowledge of Language:
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content.
Identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately (e.g., knowingduck is a bird and learning the verb to duck).
Use the most frequently occurring inflections and affixes (e.g., -ed, -s, re-, un-, pre-, -ful, -less) as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word.
With guidance and support from adults, explore word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
Sort common objects into categories (e.g., shapes, foods) to gain a sense of the concepts the categories represent.
Demonstrate understanding of frequently occurring verbs and adjectives by relating them to their opposites (antonyms).
Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., note places at school that are colorful).
Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs describing the same general action (e.g.,walk, march, strut, prance) by acting out the meanings.
Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.
What started out as a discussion of the (so-called) gender wage gap evolved into the verbal equivalent of a cage match on Hannity on Thursday when Gavin McInnes, author of The Death of Cool, told Fox News contributor Tamara Holder that part of the reason for the wage gap is that women are less ambitious than men.
“Women do earn less in America because they choose to,” McInnes said. “They would rather go to their daughter’s piano recital than stay all night at work working on a proposal. So they end up — they’re less ambitious. This is God’s way of saying women should be at home with the kids. They’re happier there.”
Holder looked like she had never been exposed to such a radial idea — a view that’s anathema to modern feminists. When McInnes doubled down and said that women often choose to prioritize their families over work, Holder spat, “Having a choice does not mean you’re less ambitious! Your comments are deplorable!”
McInnes’ words should have come with a trigger warning because at that point, Holder lapsed into incoherent mumbling, appealing to host Sean Hannity to stop McInnes’ vile words. “Sean…boy…like…you to — you’re a father with a daughter…”
“If you’re a real feminist, you would support housewives and see those as the heros — and women who work wasting their time,” McInnes continued.
As he often does, McInnes crossed that fine line. He went from provocative opining — making a perfectly valid point — to unhelpful hyperbole.
Seeing that he had activated Holder’s launch sequence — or trigger sequence — McInnes kept going, enjoying her inability to do much more than cover her ears and say, “Stop it!”
“You’d be happier at home with a husband and children.”
“Oh, boy…oh, boy…I’m literally…” the apoplectic Holder said.
“You don’t have a boyfriend,” McInnes said to her. “Look, you’re miserable. You would be so much happier with kids around you tonight. Imagine coming home. Mommy’s home!”
Too much, Gavin, too much.
But he did make an important point — which was probably lost in the drama about Holder’s lack of a husband — about women making different life choices than men. They work fewer hours, choose to stay home with their kids much more often than men, and choose professions that give them more flexibility because their hearts are drawn naturally — biologically and instinctively — to their homes and their families. Of course, there are exceptions, like Holder — women who choose to prioritize their careers over their families. But wouldn’t it be nice if, as McInnes suggested, stay-at-home mothers enjoyed the same respect and support (and tax benefits) in our culture that career women like Holder receive?
For more on this subject, check out the new PJTV series, The War on Men: The Gender Wage Gap Myth and Anti-Male Sexism At Work, where I weigh in on the wage gap myth and the so-called ‘War on Women.’
Andy Murray has continued his incredible run of form since marrying Kim Sears in Dunblane last month, taking his unbeaten streak to nine matches while beating Rafael Nadal to win the Madrid Open in spectacular fashion.
Murray has now secured two consecutive titles on the red dirt since the wedding, having never previously won on the surface, and his comprehensive 6-3 6-2 win over Nadal was as unexpected as it was stunning.
Murray, who punched the air in delight after beating the ‘King of Clay’, proceeded to mark his improbable triumph in Madrid by signing the on-court TV camera, accompanied by the message ‘marriage works’.
“It (marriage) has been nice and a lot of people have spoken about the honeymoon period,” Murray told Sky Sports after the match.
“But we’ve been together a very long time and getting married was the next step,” he said. “I’ve always said if the personal stuff is happy and under control that helps your performance on the court.”
Murray’s fans on Twitter agreed:
Muzza writes "Marriage works" on cam. 9-0 after wedding. TWO clay titles in a week. We can't disagree!! pic.twitter.com/ejMtibt40m
— Troll Tennis (@TrollTennis) May 10, 2015
— Indy Sport (@IndySport) May 11, 2015
"Marriage works!" Andy Murray's form since he tied the knot: WWWWWWWWW pic.twitter.com/waPaYWUeV5
— bet365 (@bet365) May 10, 2015
Absolutely brilliant from Dunblane's Andy Murray winning Madrid Open (on clay). 2nd title in succession. Marriage obviously agrees with Andy
— Keith Brown MSP (@KeithBrownMSP) May 10, 2015
Massive congratulations @andy_murray !!!! Great performance and so much more to come. Best advertisement for marriage
— philip wright (@philwrig) May 10, 2015
— Raluca Matei (@Raluca_Murray) May 10, 2015
Seeing what Andy Murray's doing made me think: Anybody up for marriage around here? (maybe after I'm over my food poisoning though)
— Andrea Petkovic (@andreapetkovic) May 10, 2015
— Sky Sports Tennis (@SkySportsTennis) May 11, 2015
In the remote cane fields of South Florida lies the City of Refuge, which provides a home for 120 registered sex offenders in a compound consisting of sixty concrete buildings. There’s a need for such communities, the leaders of Matthew 25 Ministries say, because registered sex offenders are not free to live wherever they choose. By law, they cannot live near children and those who are subject to a lifetime registration requirement are banned from federally subsidised public housing. As a result, many convicted sex offenders end up living on the streets, without the benefit of community support or accountability.
Jay Kirk visited the unusual community and interviewed many of its residents. He writes at GQ:
As everybody now knows, sex offenders have a rough time of it after they get out of prison. Because of the registry. Because the state says they can’t live within a thousand feet of a school or a playground or a bus stop. Because they can’t live anywhere children assemble, etc. So they end up living out of their cars, under highway overpasses, or in the woods, like fearful animals, like homeless lepers. You could say they’re lucky to be here, even if it is four miles from anything resembling a town, not much of a resemblance at that, and the “city” (really more of a village) being just a lonely former barracks built by U.S. Sugar for migrant workers in the ’60s. Sixty-one concrete bungalows on twenty-four acres, with 120 resident offenders at any given time, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of sweet, sugary nothing. A couple of dozen older Jamaicans still live here, too, but the sex offenders arrived six and a half years ago when Pat Powers, an offender himself, came and claimed the place in the name of Jesus Christ. They live in this exile, of course, because there is nothing lower than their kind.
Considering how welcoming they are, however, I’m inclined to resist the urge to assume the worst—and anyway, I don’t particularly want to know the specifics of any of their crimes. Society has already exacted its debt, is my thinking.
But despite Kirk’s best efforts to shed a positive light on this community — painting its residents as mostly victims of an over-zealous criminal justice system — he quickly realizes it’s not all sunshine and roses in the land of convicted sex offenders. He talks to one man, Andy, who lives there with his wife and two small children. Andy tells Kirk that he doesn’t associate with the other residents much because “there’s a good number here who got convicted, went to prison, got out, recommitted, got convicted again, often for multiple victims” and he doesn’t want them around his children.
He also interviews Richard, who served time for molesting his twin step granddaughters:
He says he takes responsibility for what happened, he was the “grown-up,” but after eight years in prison, what really rips him is how offenders get stigmatized when there’s so much worse in the world. Seriously, he says, which was worse? Killing kids or just molesting them? Had he killed any children? No. And which was worse for a parent? To have their kids molested but at least alive and still be able to go to therapy afterward, or to have them be dead?…He thinks this bias comes from the skewed way “society” looks at things. It’s irrational. People are irrational. “Having your child molested becomes a personal thing.”
As if any parent of a victimized child ever gets to make that choice.
Kirk said the conversation with Richard left him “addled.” He admires the experiment that has given “an undeniably over-punished group a voice.” Still, he doesn’t know if stigmatizing sex offenders is “fair.”
“What does nag me, however, is the way they advocate for themselves as if the discrimination they suffer is really no different than that of an oppressed minority group,” Kirk writes. “I’ve heard Pat start in twice now about how he really gets the plight of the Jews in Nazi Germany because he says he’s seen the sheriff’s office show up in the middle of the night and enter people’s homes without much ceremony.”
During Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, a controversy arose about the president allegedly funnelling money through his wife’s law firm for state business. When asked about it by a reporter, Hillary Clinton responded in her trademark caustic style:
I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.
This was before her handlers realized that Hillary needed to be kept in a protective media-free zone for her own good, because when she speaks her mind, venom often flows out. Hillary likely thought it was virtuous to derisively dismiss stay-at-home mothers — housewives — who were putzing their lives away wiping snotty noses and baking cookies all day instead of participating in some meaningful paid labor.
The day Hillary made that comment I was at home with a 6-month-old baby. I remember thinking that she was a judgmental elitist who had no idea what I did all day and I was angry that she devalued stay-at-home moms without batting an eye.
When my husband and I got married, we made the decisions that if we were blessed with children, I would stay home with them. We started planning for it from Day One of our marriage — doing our best to live within our means and not become dependent on my income, which we anticipated would disappear once we had children.
It wasn’t easy — there are sacrifices when you choose to live on one income. We drove high-mileage cars (which my husband maintained and repaired), lived in a small, one-bathroom house with a “one butt kitchen,” and shopped for our clothing at yard sales and thrift stores. Things eventually improved as my husband advanced in his career, but there were a lot of Hamburger Helper years in the interim (ground beef was 89 cents a pound back then). I am blessed to have a hardworking husband who joyfully provided for all of our family’s needs over the years and who also made sacrifices so I could be home with our children (the ’68 Mercury Cougar comes to mind).
Of course, this also meant that I gave up having a career of my own. In fact, I was out of the workforce providing unpaid labor as the caretaker of our home and children for 17 years. My husband reminded me recently of a comment I made to him a few years ago as our kids were getting ready to leave home. I told him I was pretty sure I was unemployable after being out of the workforce for so long, but thought perhaps I could get a job as a Walmart greeter. (God is sure full of delicious surprises.)
I’m not here to judge mothers who work outside the home. I am in the “trust parents to make the best decisions for their own families” camp. But I am here to say that I have not — even for one minute — regretted my decision to stay home with my kids. I had the privilege of wiping their snotty noses 24-7 and teaching them to read — spending hours reading to them each day. I taught them to bake cookies, to throw a baseball, and to clean toilets. I homeschooled them and taught them to love learning and be curious about the world around them and to be suspicious of people who sound like they’re selling something. I was blessed to be able to do all of these things at a leisurely pace without having to rush back and forth to daycare or to school while trying to squeeze in all the mothering between dinner and bedtime and on weekends. I had dinner on the table
every most nights when my husband arrived home from work and our family enjoyed leisurely meals together.
Tatiana Guerra, who lost her sight at age 17, was able to “see” her 20-week unborn baby through the miracle of 3D printing. The 30-year-old mother asked, “What does his face look like, doctor?” during a 3D ultrasound and she listened carefully as the doctor described her baby’s features. But then he surprised her by “printing” a 3D image of her baby and handing it to her, wrapped in a tiny blanket.
The video (actually an ad for Huggies diapers) captures her precious, emotional reaction to “seeing” her unborn baby for the first time — with her hands.
Years ago a friend described to me her daughter-in-law’s “noble” decision to abort a child with Down syndrome. “That baby was a monster,” my friend told me in a grave voice, as if a living human child could ever be a “monster.” The words have stuck with me all these years and I am reminded of them every time someone talks about protecting the most vulnerable among us — unborn babies with disabilities.
A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information and featured in the New York Times found that approximately 92% of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are terminated. We worry that children are in danger from guns on the streets, drugs, biking accidents, vaccinations, too much sugar and any number of things that can be harmful. But nothing comes close to this. No child is more at risk in our society than those tiny babies with Down syndrome.
Ohio could be the second state in the nation to pass a law banning abortions on babies diagnosed with Down syndrome if the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act becomes law. Sponsored by state Representatives Dave Hall and Sarah LaTourette (daughter of former congressman Steve LaTourette), the bill would prohibit a person from “performing, inducing, or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman who is seeking the abortion because of a test result indicating Down Syndrome in an unborn child or a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome in an unborn child.” The bill received its first legislative hearing this week before the Ohio House Committee on Community and Family Advancement.
It’s rare to see a child with Down syndrome these days. Compared to their prevalence in our society before abortion on demand became legal, they’ve practically been eradicated as a population. We’ve so devalued the lives of these children that we call them “monsters” and end their lives before they begin — for their own good — and it’s heralded as a noble decision. If the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act becomes law, Ohio will become a leader in the fight to protect them, saying that unborn children cannot be denied life simply because they have a disability.
A company in Dubai has created an innovative type of flooring that they say “fundamentally changes” the way we will think about what’s beneath our feet. The eye-catching floors, created by Imperial Interiors, are composed of a self-leveling screed which is covered by the 3-D image, followed by a transparent polymer and then finished with a protective lacquer.
Though they were originally used in large spaces like hotels and office buildings, the company says they are ideal for any room size, and in fact, can visually enlarge small spaces.
Here are some examples from the company’s Facebook page and from Talenthouse:
Imagine walking into a room in your home and feeling like you’ve crossed the threshold into some exotic locale — like you’re taking a homecation every time you use the bathroom. (Considering all the time you spend in there, it might not be a bad investment!)
But I’m not so sure about this next one. There’s no way I’d want these guys peering up at me every time I’m having my “quiet time” (as we euphemistically refer to it at our house). It’s just a bridge too far for me.
Same with this one:
It’s a shame we have to go all the way to Dubai for these. Hopefully we’ll see them in the U.S. soon.
The head of a British exam board has said that students should be allowed Internet access – including the ability to carry out Google searches – during exams. The head of the OCR school examinations board Mark Dawe told the BBC’s Today program that this would accurately reflect the way they would work after leaving school.
“It is more about understanding what results you’re seeing rather than keeping all of that knowledge in your head, because that’s not how the modern world works,” said Dawe.
He compared the idea to the debate about whether to have books available during a test, saying: “In reality you didn’t have too much time [to consult the book] and you had to learn it anyway.”
The Oxford, Cambridge & RSA board’s chief said that while permitting Internet access during exams would not happen in the next weeks or months, it was “inevitable” at some stage
So, what exactly would they be testing? The ability to effectively conduct Google searches? We’ve come a long way from those blue paper essay books, haven’t we? While there’s nothing wrong with teaching kids to find information on the internet — in fact it’s an essential skill in this day and age — shouldn’t we be teaching kids some actual content and expecting students to retain some knowledge of the subjects they’ve been taught? What’s the point of having teachers if Google has all the answers? Or are we heading into some brave new world where we’ll wipe our mental hard drives clean and rely on the cloud to do all of our thinking for us?
What do you think? Should students be allowed to conduct Google searches during exams? And how about those open-book tests that have become so popular in recent years?
Lawmakers in a dozen states have drafted legislation that would require students to pass the same test new citizens take when going through the naturalization process. Arizona and North Dakota have already made the test a requirement for high school graduation. Students must answer 100 factual questions about our government and our nation’s history, including these:
- What is the supreme law of the land?
- The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
- What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
- What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?
- Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
- During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?
If you graduated from high school before the 1990s you can probably recite the answers to these questions without much effort because they were drilled into your head in your history and government classes (or by Schoolhouse Rock! videos). Everyone back then agreed that students should know — and memorize — facts like these as a way to promote good citizenship.
But some education experts believe this is a terrible idea. Forcing students to “regurgitate facts” is an antiquated education method, they say, one that will stunt students’ learning and inhibit their ability to solve community problems when they’re out in the real world.
Joseph Kahne, a professor of education at Mills College in Oakland, California, recently wrote in Education Week:
We need young citizens who are committed to helping make their communities better and who can assess policy proposals, not merely youths who know how many voting members of the U.S. House of Representatives there are. Google provides the answer to any question on the naturalization test in seconds.
He said students learn more when they discuss current events and “are asked to form and justify their own opinions on controversial issues.” He also thinks that when young people have opportunities to volunteer in their communities and “reflect on the experience,” they are more likely to volunteer in their communities in the future.
This is typical of the Progressive educational philosophy: short on historical facts and propositional truths, long on discussion, finding meaning in experience, and validating everyone’s opinions — whether or not they’re right.
While it’s great to sit around in rap sessions discussing the Founders’ motives for including “We the people” in the Preamble of the Constitution (and I enthusiastically encourage everyone to do so), the words are such a foundational concept upon which our entire form of government is built that if you have to google the answer to such a simple question, I would suggest you haven’t been intellectually equipped for the hard work of self-government. Check out the video above, where only one of fifteen “born and bred” Americans who were interviewed on the streets of Miami were able to pass the citizenship tests, with most unable to answer simple questions about the name of the vice president and who wrote the Constitution.
Kahne goes on to say that “democracy thrives when citizens think critically and deeply about civic and political issues, when they consider the needs and priorities of others, and when they engage in informed action—not when they memorize a few facts.”
Students don’t need to be community organized and made to participate in “informed action” (whatever that means) in order to be prepared to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens. Instead, they need to be imbued with knowledge, facts, and truth. If more students could answer the 100 questions on the citizenship test, we’d at least know we’re sending the electorate to the polls with a basic knowledge of our history and the way our government functions (or at least how it was designed to function).