Twenty-Two Things That Caught My Eye Today: COVID Care & the Elderly & More | National Review

Twenty-Two Things That Caught My Eye Today: COVID Care & the Elderly & More | National Review

1. Roger Severino: Elderly And Disabled People Should Not Be Put At The Back Of The Line For COVID Care

One state, using archaic language to refer to persons with intellectual disabilities, would have flatly excluded people with “profound mental retardation” from being given ventilators. Other states placed persons with disabilities or older adults at the end of the line for treatment based on uncertain judgments about long-term life expectancy or the number of resources a person might consume in the process of saving their lives.

. . .

. . . my office has been extremely clear that judgments regarding quality of life should never be used to decide who receives access to care. For too long, people with disabilities and older persons have worried about being devalued by the medical system. Imposed judgments regarding which lives are worth living, and thus worthy of saving, corrupt the practice of medicine and erode our nation’s dearest held values.

Only patients or their authorized representatives should decide whether they wish to decline or consent to the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. Pressure from providers to change their minds based on their disability and age is not only unethical, it may also be illegal.


3. Pakistan attempts to prosecute Ahmadi US citizens for digital blasphemy

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said in a legal notice issued on Dec. 24 to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA’s spokesmen, Amjad Mahmood Khan and Harris Zafar, that failure to remove the website would result in fines of up to $3.14 million or criminal sanctions, including possible 10-year-prison sentences.

“This is a new frontier in persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in the digital space,” said Khan, a lawyer in Los Angeles who has testified before Congress about blasphemy and religious freedom. “Pakistan wants to impose its abominable blasphemy laws on the whole world by targeting U.S. citizens and U.S. websites.”

. . .

“This is a malicious attempt to chill free speech and expression by a Muslim American website,” attorney Brett Williamson of O’Melveny & Myers, which is representing pro bono, wrote in a letter to PTA [Pakistan Telecommunication Authority] on Monday (Jan. 11).

. . .

PTA said it was responding to complaints regarding an “unauthentic” Ahmadi translation of the Quran on the Google Play Store; “misleading” search results that returned the Ahmadi leader Mirza Masroor Ahmad’s name when the term “Khalifa (caliph) of Islam” was searched; and “deceitful” Wikipedia articles that suggested that the Ahmadi caliph is Muslim.

4. Forbes: One In Eight Christians Live In Countries Where They May Face Persecution

Open Doors’ research identified that during the reporting period, 4,761 Christians were killed for their faith, 4,488 Churches or Christian buildings were attacked, 4,277 Christians were unjustly arrested, detained or imprisoned, 1,710 Christians were abducted for faith-related reasons. On average, every day, 13 Christians are killed for their faith, 12 churches or Christians buildings are attacked, 12 Christians are unjustly arrested, detained or imprisoned, and 5 Christians are abducted for faith-related reasons. In the 21st century, it is still not possible to practice religion or belief safely. 

. . .

In China, “the policy of ‘Sinicizing’ the church has been implemented nationwide, as the Communist Party limits whatever it perceives as a threat to its rule and ideology. Thousands of churches have been damaged or closed. In some parts of China, children under the age of 18 aren’t allowed to attend church—part of the country’s efforts to stunt future growth.” While China is ranked 17th as a place where Christians are subjected to high levels of persecution, the situation of all religious groups in China is dire and has been deteriorating over the recent years. Considering the current trends of persecution in China, it is expected that China will soon be topping the Open Doors charts and competing with North Korea as the worst place to live as a Christian. 

5. Crux: COVID-19 pandemic increasing persecution of Christians, report claims

In Sri Lanka, COVID-19 was a pretext for the police to investigate several churches.

In India, more than 100,000 Christians received relief aid from Open Doors partners, and 80 percent of them reported being dismissed from food distribution centers for being Christians. They had to walk for miles and hide their faith to get food elsewhere.

In Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Central Asia, Malaysia, North Africa, Yemen and Sudan, cases were reported of Christians in rural areas being denied aid.

“Sometimes, this denial was at the hands of government officials, but more often, it was from village heads, committees or other local leaders,” investigators found. “Some Christians even reported that their food ration cards were torn up or waved away.


7. Lisa Blunt Rochester: I Asked My Colleagues to Wear Masks. They Laughed. 

The only thing I could think to do was pray. I believe in the power of prayer. [Florida Representative] Val Demings is one of my great, great friends, and she and I grabbed each other’s arms. She looked at me and said something like, “We know God is bigger than this.” It was almost like a call to prayer. I started praying in a normal voice. Then I got louder and louder and bolder and bolder. And I just felt the presence of God, and I didn’t feel fear. I felt like even if I died in that moment, I would be talking to my best friend.

8. Ramesh Ponnuru: The Wrong Way to Fight the Death Penalty

9. The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Bans Cotton, Tomato Imports From China’s Xinjiang Region

The Trump administration has pressured U.S. companies with businesses linked to Xinjiang over the past year, pushing them to closely monitor their supply chains for potential exposure to forced labor.

Customs officials who suspect a product was made with forced labor can issue withhold-release orders for agents to stop that cargo from certain suppliers at a U.S. port. Stopped shipments would trigger an investigation into how the goods were made and potentially steep fines.

Companies whose shipments have been seized will have to provide proof showing the absence of forced labor, or that forced labor conditions have been mitigated, through documentation such as payroll records and third-party audits, said Ms. Smith.

9. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan: Why We Catholics Are So ‘Hung Up’ on Abortion

Don’t worry, the pro-abortionists reassured us forty-eight years ago. You’ll learn to accept this. We dread taking the life of the little infant in the womb, too. Abortion will be kept safe, legal, and rare! It would be limited to the earliest weeks of pregnancy, and only resorted to in extreme cases like the endangerment of the mother’s life. And we’d never force people whose conscience disagrees with us to perform or pay for one.

. . .

Now, the pro-abortionists no longer call abortion regrettable, but celebrate it and brag about it! No longer do they argue that the question about the viability of the “fetus” is one impossible to answer. Readily do they admit it’s a baby. It’s just that, for them, the desire of another trumps the baby’s right to life.

Rare? Forget about it! Now it’s an unfettered right, at any time during the pregnancy, up to and including the very birth, with demands that sincere health care professionals whose consciences rebel at the grizzly procedure be forced to perform them, that tax money pay for them, that our foreign policy insists other countries promote them, and that the freedom of employers who abhor them still offer insurance to cover them.


10. David G Bonagura, Jr.: Lockdowns: An Abortion Argument

The severity and swiftness with which these governors have imposed COVID restrictions expose just how specious the abortion argument is. Its legality hinges entirely on an act of raw government power. We knew this in the past, but now, thanks to COVID, we feel it on our faces and up our noses. The government cannot with a straight face say that women can control their bodies when it comes to abortion, but not when it comes to going to school.

Abortion has never been about privacy or liberty. Unlike COVID prescriptions, outlawing abortion requires no intrusion into women’s lives or bodies, despite all the rhetoric to the contrary. In fact, abortion prevents the normal and healthy process of pregnancy from continuing – an odd choice when we are told that health is the government’s top priority. In fact, abortion is about ensuring that the sexual revolution has no consequences, and for this the government has declared it a compelling state interest.

11. James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley: Xavier Becerra’s Nonprofit Problem

Mr. Becerra is part of a growing chorus on the far left trying to use the tax code to redirect charitable giving toward causes it finds worthwhile. In 2008 he supported the ideas behind California legislation that would have required foundations to report the racial composition of their boards, staff and, most important, grantees. The intent was to shame donors into shifting their contributions. A similar dynamic is at work in the policies of the California attorney general’s office (first under Kamala Harris in 2011-17 and then under Mr. Becerra, who was appointed her successor when she moved to the Senate) of systematically failing to maintain the confidentiality of donors to nonprofit advocacy groups. The Supreme Court agreed last week to hear two cases challenging these actions on First Amendment grounds.

. . .

Mr. Becerra has also set his sights on religious nonprofits. In 2019 Mr. Becerra led a group of states in trying to stop the Trump administration from exempting religious organizations from rules barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity. These included religious foster-care agencies that find homes for some of the most vulnerable children but say that certifying a home with a gay couple violates their religious principles.


13. New York Times: Jobless, Selling Nudes Online and Still Struggling

“A lot of people are migrating to OnlyFans out of desperation,” said Angela Jones, an associate professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Farmingdale. “These are people who are worried about eating, they’re worried about keeping the lights on, they’re worried about not being evicted.”

But for every person like Ms. Benavidez, who is able to use OnlyFans as her primary source of income, there are dozens more, like Ms. Eixenberger, who hope for a windfall and end up with little more than a few hundred dollars and worries that the photos will hinder their ability to get a job in the future.

14. The Wall Street Journal: Arizona GOP to Consider Censuring Cindy McCain, Governor, Former Senator

Arizona Republicans have been racked by infighting since Election Day, when voters in the state narrowly chose Mr. Biden over President Trump and sent Mark Kelly to the U.S. Senate, meaning both of the state’s seats have flipped to Democrats in two years.

Republicans there have been at odds over whether to side with Mr. Trump on his claims that the election was stolen. There has been no evidence of widespread fraud. Audits in Arizona’s four most populous counties found no proof of widespread discrepancies, according to reports released by the Arizona secretary of state’s office. Some in the party have also said that Mr. Ducey’s response to the pandemic has been too restrictive.

15. Thomas S. Hibbs: Can we pull colleges away from politics and back to wisdom?

The word the Cornerstone proposal uses, “Languishing,” to describe the humanities is too mild. Humanities programs are, in many places, in full scale retreat. The decline is a result of the reduction of the value of education to its direct contribution to career advancement and to the politicization of humanities programs that has been ongoing for several decades.

In this way, higher education abdicates its role in forming citizens, exactly the role that the Humanities, well taught, are meant to play. This is something a STEM curriculum, for all its strengths, cannot accomplish alone. At a time when our public discourse is in a putrid state — with political candidates incapable of articulating even memorable soundbites — the arts of conversation, communication and vigorous, civil debate are essential to the revival of civic life.


17. Ed Mechmann: The Purification of the Pro-Life Movement

MAGA ideology has nothing to do with the pro-life movement. Our values are centered on unconditional love for every human being, regardless of race, class, nationality or political views. Our agenda is to promote a radical attitude of welcoming and accompaniment, particularly of those who are most in need or who are outcasts. This is why we defend the unborn child, the elderly or sick patient, and the prisoner on death row. We stand up for the refugee seeking asylum and for the migrant who yearns to be free.

We cannot have anything to do with a movement that stigmatizes and excludes, and that deliberately fosters anger and resentment as its political tool of choice. The pro-life movement is all about peace – within the family and within society.

. . .

It’s time to marginalize extremists again. Violence cannot be justified by pointing fingers at others – the illogical nonsense of “whataboutism”. Anyone who advocates, supports, excuses, or minimizes violence has no place in our movement. Period.

18. Matthew McConaughey talks cancel culture with Jordan Peterson: People deserve a second chance

“If flawed people were incapable of creativity we wouldn’t have any creativity,” Peterson said. He then brought up C.K., who Peterson said was ‘pilloried terribly,’ suggesting he didn’t deserve the treatment he had received from fans and the media. “Well there’s plenty of people that do unseemly things but very few of them are as masterful a comedian as Louis C.K.” 


20. Tom Hoopes: St. Joseph’s ‘Atomic Habits’

We all need to make little “fiats” continually, says Pope Francis. “How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday ways, how to accept and deal with a crisis by adjusting their routines, looking ahead and encouraging the practice of prayer.”


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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.