So I didn’t catch the State of the Union address last night because I’ve come a long way in the past year or so and I don’t hate myself nearly as much as I used to. But apparently the president said something about ending HIV and AIDS by 2030, and according to the experts Julia Belluz talked to, yeah, we can probably do that.
Trump also asserted that we must “reaffirm a fundamental truth — all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God,” which, of course, is absolutely not a truth, fundamental or otherwise, but this is Trump we’re talking about so that word doesn’t really have the umph it once did.
Pope Francis admits that Catholic clergy have been sexually abusing nuns. “It’s not that everyone does this,” he said, “but there have been priests and bishops who have.” Put another way, #NotAllClergy.
Elizabeth Evans at RNS reports on how Pennsylvania Catholics have just freaking had it with their church following the conscience-shocking grand jury report on child sexual abuse:
The grand jury’s report has left some lay Catholics wondering whether church leaders can be trusted to safeguard their children or even to tell the truth.
“I am outraged, I am embarrassed, I am mad. It has nothing to do with faith, and everything to do with the people running the church,” said 45-year-old Michael Garasic, who grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, one of the dioceses in the report. … “[The report] made me question every dollar I or my parents had given, everything I’d ever done for the church,” he said.
CFI legal guru Nick Little explains that an overturning of Roe v. Wade would not only be awful for reproductive rights, but for our basic concepts of personal privacy:
If Roe goes, privacy as a protected right goes. The first victims will, of course, be those groups who raise the ire of the religious right. But it won’t stop there.
NYT looks at “religious trauma syndrome” and the attempts to address it by Harlem pastor Michael Walrond Jr.:
Some churches “weaponize scripture and religion to do very deep damage on the psyche,” he said. Gay, lesbian and trans people are told that God condemns them, unwed mothers that they are living in sin, and many natural human desires are deemed evil. …
… Many suffer for decades from post-traumatic stress disorder-type symptoms, including anxiety, self doubt and feelings of social inadequacy.
We threw some shade at three GOP House Members who are introducing a bill to repeal the Johnson Amendment. We also offered them snacks!
New Hampshire State Rep. Amanda Bouldin would like to repeal a very old and unenforceable law on the books that authorizes the recitation of the Lord’s prayer in public elementary schools. So of course this is ANTI-CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION.
Netflix is going to give Gwyneth Paltrow a Goop show. NO. BAD NETFLIX! BAD! YOU STOP THAT!
At the CFI blog, Joe Nickell reflects, ominously, on Ukraine’s split from the Russian Orthodox Church and Putin’s non-veiled threats.
At Skeptical Inquirer online, Rob Palmer interviews mass psychogenic illness expert Robert Bartholomew to get to the bottom of the claims of “sonic attacks” on American diplomats overseas.
Here’s something you might not have thought of before: Trying oil company executives for crimes against humanity. Kate Aronoff at Jacobin makes the case:
Just one hundred fossil fuel producers — including privately held and state-owned companies — have been responsible for 71 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions released since 1988, emissions that have already killed at least tens of thousands of people through climate-fueled disasters worldwide. …
… The climate fight has clear villains. It’s long past time to name and shame them.
Left unchecked, the death toll of climate change could easily creep up into the hundreds of millions, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in turn unleashing chaos and suffering that’s simply impossible to project. An independent report commissioned by twenty governments in 2012 found that climate impacts are already causing an estimated four hundred thousand deaths per year. …
… the fossil industry’s behavior constitutes a Crime Against Humanity in the classical sense: “a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack,” including murder and extermination.
On the other side of crimes against humanity and anthropogenic climate change, the New York Times reports on new research showing that the genocide of the Americas’ indigenous peoples in the 15th and 16th centuries resulted in a “global cooling.”
Carolyn Kormann at The New Yorker explores how economists think about decoupling greenhouse gas emissions from economic growth.
NASA and the European Space Agency are going to test a system that would deflect an incoming asteroid.
At STAT, Matthew Herper laments the media’s credulousness about alleged cancer cures, writing, “In medicine, this kind of virality means false hopes, dashed dreams, and a whole lot of hype.”
The Duck Dynasty guy (who is apparently still around and being put on TV for some reason) says you don’t actually need health care because God already gives it to you. What he doesn’t tell you is that God’s deductibles are just astronomical.
But seriously, yes, our civilization is screwed.
Quote of the Day
Gov. Andrew Cuomo op-eds (ops-ed?) in the Times to push back against Trump’s attacks on abortion rights and make the case for secular policy:
Thanks to the nation’s founders, no elected official is empowered to make personal religious beliefs the law of the land. My oath of office is to the Constitutions of the United States and of the State of New York — not to the Catholic Church. My religion cannot demand favoritism as I execute my public duties. …
Only by separating constitutional duties from religious beliefs can we have a country that allows all people the ability to pursue their own theological and moral principles in a nation true to its founding premise of religious freedom.
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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.