1. Separation of Church And Sand on Sunday? Court Weighs Closure, By Sarah Pulliam Bailey, The New York Times, April 15, 2024, Pg. A11
Along the Atlantic coast, about 60 miles south of Manhattan, is a beach town that defies the rowdy image of the Jersey Shore.
In Ocean Grove, where the beach has been controlled by a conservative Christian nonprofit for more than 150 years, no alcohol is sold. The Christian flag, a white banner with a red cross, flies beneath an American flag near the beach. Two wooden crosses stand in the sand. A massive pier in the shape of a cross was unveiled last year.
And perhaps most notably, in Ocean Grove, where the welcome sign calls the community “God’s Square Mile,” the beach is closed before noon on Sundays.
Next week, a New Jersey court will wrestle with the beach closure and whether the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, which owns the property, has the right to impose religiously motivated restrictions on the public.

State officials decided last year that by blocking the beach on Sundays, the association violated the Coastal Area Facilities Review Act, a law based on the “public-trust doctrine,” which gives the government rights to natural resources for the public good.
In its request for a hearing, an attorney for the association argued that the state’s order is an unconstitutional infringement on the association’s religious beliefs and practices. The association’s Sunday beach closure is part of its mission to build and maintain a beautiful seaside community to serve as a place for meditation, reflection and renewal, the attorney, Michael J. Connelly, wrote.

2. Kari Lake’s Baby Bonus Bust, New entitlements won’t work as political cover for an abortion ban., By The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2024, Pg. A16,  Editorial
Donald Trump last week said he won’t support a federal limit on abortion, no doubt noticing that Republicans are losing elections on the issue. Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake is now rebooting her own abortion position while endorsing European-style entitlements for children. This isn’t a winning political safe harbor.
Ms. Lake released a five-minute video on Thursday after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld an 1864 state law banning abortion except to save the mother’s life. A state court suspended the law after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which the U.S. High Court reversed in 2022. Ms. Lake now says the ruling “is out of line with where the people of this state are,” which may be true. Ms. Lake now also accepts a woman’s right to choose: “I chose life. But I’m not every woman.”
She adds by way of changing the subject that she “had a real eye-opening experience this last summer,” and her revelation is worth examining. “I had the opportunity to visit Hungary, and it completely changed my view of how we should deal with this complicated, difficult issue. In Hungary, what they did I thought was so amazing.” When “you get married, they give you a cut in your tax rate.”
And “by the time a mother has four children, she never pays taxes again. That’s called a baby bonus. I think we should do that here in America. We bail out banks and multinational corporations all the time. When’s the last time we’ve given an assist to a struggling mother and a family?”
Ms. Lake is in part playing to a portion of the Trumpian right that is preoccupied with its Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Budapest offers a bevy of subsidies to families, plus the income-tax advantage.

Progressives have long pilloried Republicans as caring about children only until birth. As political cover, some Republicans line up for new programs such as paid family leave, which Ms. Lake also supports.
Progressives will bank the progress on expanding the entitlement state and then refuse to compromise on abortion, which Democrats increasingly view as a fundamental right. Ms. Lake also supports “extending the child tax credit,” currently $2,000 a year and partially paid in a check to those who owe no income tax—a fact that belies her pander that government does nothing for families. But voters who dig that idea will sign up with her Democratic opponent, Rep. Ruben Gallego, who is offering a bigger family payout.
The U.S. is sorting out its views on abortion for the first time in decades, and we’ve counseled Republicans to develop a more cogent policy that meets most voters where they are. But if Republicans start running on converting the U.S. into a European welfare state to dodge difficult questions on abortion, they will keep losing and deserve it.
3. Why I’m Leaving Clark University, As a Jew and as a scholar, I feel a warmer welcome at Assumption, a Catholic institution., By Mary Jane Rein, The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2024, Pg. A17, Opinion
Among the many ills plaguing higher education is a lack of civility, friendship and intellectual humility. I observed this firsthand on March 13, when an unruly and hate-filled audience shut down a lecture I helped organize at Worcester State University. Because of the response of my own institution, Clark University, I am resigning my position as executive director of Clark’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
The lecture at Worcester State was sponsored by a history professor there in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts. I helped organize it in my private capacity and in keeping with my lifelong commitments to Jewish advocacy and Zionism. The speaker, an Israeli reservist, was to describe what he witnessed on Oct. 7 as an early responder to Hamas’s attack. The intent was to bring an Israeli perspective to a campus that had hosted anti-Israel events.
Some 100 people attended, but a good number of them were determined to silence the speaker. In response, he calmly announced his willingness to answer any question and invited the audience to fact-check him after he had delivered his remarks. That wasn’t enough to assuage the crowd. Hecklers repeatedly interrupted him, stood to make statements, rang cell phones and pulled a fire alarm, causing the auditorium to be evacuated, interrupting the event for 20 minutes or so.
There was also a specific attack against me by a trio of Clark University Ph.D. students from the Strassler Center, students I know well.

I am ready to sign on to a different cause, one rooted in respect, honest inquiry and the free exchange of ideas in the context of civic friendship. I will be joining Assumption University, where I will help launch the new Center for Civic Friendship.
To my surprise as both a scholar and a Jew, I feel a warmer welcome and more commonality of purpose at a Catholic institution than at Clark, a secular one. I find common cause with Assumption and have chosen to align myself with its mission to pursue truth in the company of friends. Its commitment to a style of learning that acknowledges and respects different opinions gives me hope that universities can lead us toward a better future.
Ms. Rein is founding director of the Center for Civic Friendship at Assumption University.
4. Horrified worshipers watch online and in person as a bishop is stabbed at a church in Sydney, By Mark Baker and Rod Mcguirk, Associated Press, April 15, 2024, 10:11 AM
Horrified worshipers watched online and in person as a bishop was stabbed at the altar during a church service in Sydney on Sunday evening, and three others were stabbed as people rushed to help. Police said there were no life-threatening wounds, and a man was arrested.
Hundreds of angry people hurried to the Orthodox Assyrian church and some clashed with riot police, with vehicles damaged. The church and local leaders pleaded for calm. “A large police response is underway and the public is urged to avoid the area,” police said.
The Christ the Good Shepherd in suburban Wakely streams sermons online, and a video on social media shows a man dressed in black approaching a cleric identified as the bishop and appearing to stab him repeatedly in the head and upper body.
Members of the congregation are seen screaming and rushing to stop it. The church identified the bishop as Mar Mari Emmanuel.

5. Experts group says abortion in Germany should be decriminalized during pregnancy’s first 12 weeks, By Kirsten Grieshaber, Associated Press, April 15, 2024, 8:18 AM
An independent experts commission recommended Monday that abortion in Germany should no longer fall under the country’s penal code and be made legal during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Currently, abortion is considered illegal in Germany but not punishable if a woman undergoes mandatory counseling and a three-day wait period before she has the procedure.
Germany’s progressive government coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ Social Democrats, the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats, had tasked the experts commission a year ago to look into the issue of abortion, which has been a hotly debated topic over decades.

6. African cardinal, papal critic says Western prelates have lost their nerve, By Ngala Killian Chimtom, Crux, April 15, 2024
An African cardinal widely seen as a conservative critic of Pope Francis, and styled by some as possible candidate for the papacy himself, has warned of what he described as a “practical atheism” taking hold within the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea also repeated his criticism of Fiducia Supplicans, the recent Vatican document authorizing blessings of couples involved in same-sex unions, insisting that it’s not just traditional African culture but Catholic teaching itself which makes the document unacceptable.
Speaking to the episcopal conference of Cameroon, Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican’s former top official for liturgy, criticized Western bishops for their reluctance to oppose secular worldly values, accusing them of a failure of nerve.
“Many Western prelates are tetanized by the idea of opposing the world. They dream of being loved by the world; they’ve lost the desire to be a sign of contradiction,” said the 78-year-old Sarah.
Sarah told the Cameroonian bishops he believes “the Church of our time is experiencing the temptation of atheism. Not intellectual atheism, but that subtle and dangerous state of mind [of] fluid and practical atheism.”
“The latter is a dangerous disease, even if its initial symptoms seem benign,” he said.
According to Sarah, practical atheism is more insidious than its intellectual counterpart, as it does not declare itself openly but seeps into every aspect of contemporary culture, including ecclesiastical discourse.

He criticized the notion that African bishops’ resistance to Fiducia Supplicans is rooted in traditional African culture, dismissing such claims as a form of intellectual neo-colonialism.
Instead, Sarah pointed to the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM)’s statement, which outlined theological and doctrinal reasons for not adopting such blessings in Africa, including previous declarations on homosexuality, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sacred Scriptures, and concerns about the language used in the Vatican document.

7. It’s Time to Remove Father Rupnik’s Art, The former Jesuit priest is entitled to due process. His art is not., By National Catholic Register, April 15, 2024, Editorial
While it is far short of the sort of justice that this case demands, we have reached beyond the point in the Father Marko Rupnik scandal when concrete steps must be taken to remove the disgraced artist’s ubiquitous mosaics from public display.
Certainly, this is easier said than done. But that is a logistical discussion, involving the mechanics of disassembling his works, replacing them with something better, and raising the funds needed to make that happen.
It might take years. It might prove costly. It will be a burden, to be sure. But the sooner the process begins, the better.
This is not an expedient surrender to iconoclasm or “cancel culture,” even though the court of public opinion already has judged him guilty of sexually, spiritually and psychologically manipulating and abusing multiple religious sisters under his authority.
Neither is it an anticipation of an eventual verdict in a court of law. Earlier this month there was a report that five more complaints have been forwarded to Vatican investigators. We still don’t know all the facts, and we don’t know what legal fate awaits the former Jesuit. The point is this: Father Rupnik is entitled to due process. His artwork is not.

8. Pro-life group unhappy with seven-year sentence for abortion arsonist, Conservatives feel term is too lenient, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, April 15, 2024, Pg. A6
An Obama-appointed judge’s decision to give a relatively lenient sentence to an abortion-rights activist who firebombed a Wisconsin pro-life group’s office isn’t sitting well with conservatives.
U.S. District Judge William Conley sentenced Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, of Madison to 7 1/2 years in prison Wednesday for using a Molotov cocktail to burn the Wisconsin Family Action’s headquarters in May 2022, six days after the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.
The building was empty during the 6 a.m. firebombing.

Roychowdhury faced a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison for the attack. Federal prosecutors sought at least 12 years, while the Wisconsin Family Action recommended a 15-year sentence.

The 90-month sentence means Roychowdhury could serve less time than the six pro-life activists found guilty in January of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act with their 2021 hymn-singing protest outside a Nashville, Tennessee-area abortion clinic.

Roychowdhury, who earned a doctorate degree in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin, filed a letter of apology Monday with the judge, saying that “using tactics of fear and violence such as I have was totally unacceptable.”

9. Abortion bans can doom autocrats. Look at Poland., By Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post, April 14, 2024, 7:45 AM, Opinion
The United States is not alone in confronting a right-wing authoritarian movement that, in addition to undermining democratic institutions and lashing out at the news media (“enemy of the people”), makes curtailing women’s reproductive freedom central to its agenda. The experience of Poland, in which a right-wing government virtually eliminated access to abortion and later paid for it at the ballot box, is instructive as Republicans try to flee from the harsh implications of their antiabortion ideology.
Polish voters last year threw out the right-wing government after eight years of authoritarian rule. Women disproportionately carried pro-democracy forces to victory. “Almost 75% of eligible women voted — a 12% increase over 2019,” wrote political scientist Patrice McMahon for the Conversation. “The election also saw a record number of female candidates (44%) and the largest percentage of women (30%) voted into Poland’s Sejm.”
Their activism largely centered on abortion. 

Republicans’ panicked reaction to the Florida and Arizona decisions (“Trump, GOP scramble to contain abortion ‘earthquake,’” Politico’s headline blasted) suggests they too understand that the third rail in politics might no longer be Social Security but abortion. Trump’s recent announcement that he supported leaving abortion law to the states, and not a federal law, was widely portrayed as a change from his previously antiabortion position. But with both Florida and Arizona implementing draconian bans, it’s clear that, in many states, leaving it to them amounts to a thumbs up for forced-birth laws.
Unable to shed responsibility for abortion bans they sought, Republicans now are in a frenzy to avoid the sort of political disaster the authoritarian movement in Poland experienced. And if the Biden-Harris team is successful in tying Republicans’ war on women to the larger war on democracy, Americans, like the Poles last year, might rebel against the heavy hand of an authoritarian movement.
10. Unfazed by danger and power, Guatemalan cardinal keeps up fight for migrants and the poor, By Giovanna Dell’Orto, Associated Press, April 14, 2024, 8:04 AM
As more than 100 men carrying an elaborate float of Jesus halted before him, Cardinal Álvaro Ramazzini lost no time in calling for social justice — the hallmark of the Catholic bishop’s decades-long frontline ministry.
“Let’s hope that this procession may revive in the heart the willingness to discover Jesus Christ present in the person who suffers,” Ramazzini said in an impromptu speech, pointing to the dozens of elderly and disabled lining a street in Guatemala City’s oldest neighborhood. “If we don’t have that ability, don’t tell me you’re Christian — I won’t believe that.”
Elevated by Pope Francis to the top hierarchy of the Catholic Church, Ramazzini has continued his unflinching focus on the poor, the Indigenous and the migrant. That has garnered him great affection from the marginalized and many threats of violence, including rumors of an arrest warrant, as his native Guatemala struggles through political turmoil and remains a hotspot of migration to the United States.

11. Why making your problem child an ambassador might merit a second thought, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, April 14, 2024
Rumors set in motion this week by a journalist close to Pope Francis, Elisabetta Piqué of Argentina’s La Nacion, suggest the pontiff may be on the verge of naming his erstwhile bête noire, German Archbishop Georg Gänswein, as his apostolic nuncio, meaning ambassador, to an unspecified foreign country.
Yesterday, veteran Vatican writer Gian Guido Vecchi of Corriere della Sera speculated that the assignment might be to the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, a post vacant since March 11 when Archbishop Petar Rajič, the previous occupant, was named the new papal envoy to Italy and San Marino.
The reports come in the wake of well-documented tensions between Francis and Gänswein, in the latter’s role as the top aide to the late Pope Benedict XVI – “well-documented,” in large part, because both men have spoken remarkably openly of their rifts in tell-all books written in collaboration with reporters. Ganswein did so in Nient’altro che le verità (“Nothing but the Truth”) with Italian journalist Saverio Gaeta, and Francis replied in El sucesor (“The Successor”) with Spanish journalist Javier Martínez-Brocal.
Among admirers of Pope Francis, the possibility of giving Gänswein a new gig, after exiling him back to Germany after Benedict’s death with nothing to do, is being spun as a laudable choice to let bygones be bygones. As Piqué phrased it in her April 10 piece, it would be “an unexpected decision, but totally in line with that mercy, openness of heart and lack of rigidity that the first Jesuit pope has preached since the beginning of his pontificate.”
Those less inclined to see Francis in such glowing terms may be tempted to style it instead as a hollow PR move, intended to take the edge off the pontiff’s rather intemperate criticism of Gänswein in the new book, saying he lacked “nobility and humanity,” without actually affording him much real influence or authority, and notably placing him far away from the action in Rome.

The real objections to such a nomination have to do with what it says about the country to which Gänswein might be assigned, and also about the role of an apostolic nuncio itself.
To begin with the country, the most important thing any nation cares about when one of its diplomatic partners is picking a new ambassador is whether the choice indicates they’re being taken seriously. Assign someone perceived to have real heft with the administration he or she represents, and the receiving country will feel positive about the pick; select someone perceived as an outsider – or, worse, someone seen as being in disfavor with his or her boss – and the appointment could come across almost as an insult.
It’s almost tantamount to saying, “I care so little about our relationship with you that I’m sending you somebody I don’t really trust, just to get him out of the way.”
As a corollary, such perceptions would also likely limit Gänswein’s effectiveness. The most important asset any ambassador has is the perception that he or she can speak authoritatively on behalf of their boss. Under these circumstances, however, it seems reasonable that a host nation to might have their doubts about how seriously to take whatever Gänswein says as a statement of papal intentions.
In addition, there’s also the matter of the impact of such an appointment on the morale of the Vatican diplomatic corps.

None of this, of course, is to suggest that Pope Francis doesn’t genuinely want to bury the hatchet, or that he doesn’t believe Gänswein could acquit himself well as an ambassador. It does suggest, however, that if the idea moves forward, the pontiff may want to find some way to make clear that this is more than what the Italians derisively call a parcheggio, meaning a parking spot, just to give Gänswein something to do.
Otherwise, for the sake of solving a temporary headache, the pope may end up with longer-term problems, both with another country and within his own diplomatic corps.
12. The Mental-Health Benefits Linked to Going to Church, Places of worship can provide community and belonging, which are big drivers in mental well-being, By Clare Ansberry, The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2024, 9:00 AM
Active religious practice, such as going to churches, synagogues and mosques, is linked to mental well-being, according to a growing body of research.
One possible explanation for the link, researchers and clergy say, is that places of worship can provide community and belonging, which are big drivers in mental well-being, and help counter isolation and loneliness
The findings come at a time of declining regular attendance at services across nearly all faith denominations and rising rates of depression and anxiety. Young people in particular have low rates of church attendance and report often feeling lonely and anxious.
“There is a mounting body of empirical evidence suggesting that people who are active in their faith tend to be the recipients of a number of important physical and mental-health benefits,” says Byron Johnson, professor of social sciences at Baylor University. 

Baylor’s Johnson co-directs a study on what makes people flourish. He and researchers at Harvard University, in conjunction with Gallup, found that among 200,000 people surveyed worldwide, those attending religious services weekly had higher “flourishing” scores than those who never attended. 

A study by Sapien Labs, which conducts a global online survey of  240,000 people in 65 countries, found that countries with the lowest mental well-being scores have lower levels of active religious practice, such as attending services, practicing rituals or prayers, and reading scriptures. Sapien defines mental well-being as the ability to handle adversity and function productively.
13. Clock ticking, an Arizona abortion clinic copes with confusion and fear, By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, The Washington Post, April 13, 2024, 6:00 AM
The staff at the Camelback Family Planning abortion clinic has been through this before, legislative measures and court decisions threatening to block the care they provide to women ending a pregnancy. So they opened their doors as usual on Thursday morning, doctors and nurses steeled for the latest battle, the first appointments already in line and half a dozen protesters clustered just beyond the parking lot entrance of the tan stucco office building.
In a state that has suddenly become a key front in the national fight for reproductive rights, physician Gabrielle Goodrick declared herself ready: “We’re not closing.”
The clinic lobby began to fill with patients in their 20s, 30s and even 40s. Black, White, Latina and Native American. Some were accompanied by husbands and boyfriends. A few cried as they entered, escorted in by volunteers whose umbrellas sought to shield the women from the shouts and signs — “Babies lives matter” — of those abortion opponents.

The clinic expanded shortly before the demise of Roe — when the patient queue at times stretched around the building, some women arriving hours before dawn, from as far as Dallas. The number of patients has only continued to increase, and the seven doctors on staff now do about 4,000 abortions a year. That’s roughly a third of the state’s total.
At one point, to skirt new restrictions, Goodrick arranged for patients to have an ultrasound in Arizona, get a prescription for medication abortion through a California telehealth appointment with Zipkin, who is licensed there, then have the pills mailed to post office boxes where patients could pick them up just over the state line.
The Arizona Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday again ratcheted up emotions; the justices signaled the ban could take effect before the end of the month. The only exception would be an abortion to save the life of the pregnant woman.

14. Vatican complains after French court rules in favor of nun dismissed from religious order, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, April 13, 2024, 4:14 PM
The Holy See said Saturday it formally protested to France after a court there ruled that a former high-ranking Vatican official was liable for what the court determined to be the wrongful dismissal of a nun from a religious order.
The Lorient tribunal on April 3 ruled in favor of the nun, Sabine de la Valette, known at the time as Mother Marie Ferréol. The court issued a scathing denunciation of the secretive process the Vatican used to kick her out of the order, the Dominicans of the Holy Spirit, after an internal investigation.
The case is highly unusual, because it represented a secular civilian court essentially determining that the Vatican’s in-house canonical procedures grossly violated the nun’s fundamental rights.
In a statement Saturday, the Vatican said it had formally protested to the French embassy that it had received no notification of any such verdict, but that the ruling nevertheless represented a “grave violation” of the right to religious freedom.
The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis had tasked Cardinal Marc Ouellet, at the time the head of the Vatican’s bishops’ office, with conducting an investigation that ended with the Holy See taking a series of canonical measures against Valette, including her 2020 expulsion after 34 years as a nun in the order.
The statement also cited potential diplomatic issues about the civil verdict against Ouellet, given his immunity as a cardinal and official of a foreign government. The Holy See is recognized internationally as a sovereign state.

15. Pope Francis sides with Peruvian villagers who accused Catholic group of trying to steal their land, By Gabriela Molina, Associated Press, April 13, 2024, 5:59 PM
Pope Francis on Saturday sided with a group of Peruvian villagers who have complained that companies linked to a powerful South American church group have tried to evict them from their land using lawsuits and obscure land titling schemes.
In a video recorded at his residence in the Vatican, the Pope sent a message of support to members of the San Juan Bautista de Catacaos farmers community in northern Peru, who have been fending off lawsuits from companies associated with the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae since 2014.
“I know what happened to you,” the Pope said in Spanish. “Defend your land and don’t let them steal it.”
The Sodalitium is a lay group that runs schools and spiritual retirement centers in several South American countries, but is also involved in real estate, agriculture and construction companies.

16. Pro-life leader: State-by-state approach to abortion will lead movement to ‘ash heap of history’, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, April 13, 2024, 7:00 AM
As pro-life politicians try to figure out the most effective way to defend unborn life, a top leader in the movement argues that leaving abortion policies up to the states — rather than pursuing national pro-life policies — will push the movement into the “ash heap of history.”
“Where is the appropriate battleground for this most important human rights battle of our time?” Marjorie Dannenfelser, a Catholic and CEO of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, rhetorically asked during an interview with “EWTN News In-Depth.”
“Only in the states, or is it a matter for our nation?” Dannenfelser continued. “If this movement cedes the territory to the states only and says that your geography is predictive of whether you live or die in our country, then this movement is headed for the ash heap of history, in my opinion.”

17. Polish bishops launch ‘day of prayer’ for unborn after lawmakers advance pro-abortion bills, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, April 12, 2024, 3:00 PM
Catholic bishops in Poland are asking the faithful to make Sunday a “day of prayer” for unborn children after the country’s lawmakers advanced four pro-abortion bills in the heavily Catholic country on Friday.
“I warmly encourage you to make the coming Sunday a day of special prayer in defense of the unborn,” Archbishop Tadeusz Wojda, the chair of the Polish Episcopal Conference, said in a statement.
“I ask that in all churches in Poland, at every holy Mass, we pray for this intention,” Wojda said.
Lawmakers on Friday advanced four pro-abortion bills to be considered by a special committee in the Sejm, which is Poland’s lower legislative body. This was the first major action on abortion taken by the new coalition government led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk after voters ousted the Law and Justice party from leadership of the country. 

18. Keeping Florida parents ‘in the loop’ on kids’ education, By Grazie Pozo Christie, Florida Politics, April 12, 2024, Opinion
At a golf outing over the weekend, one of my husband’s friends complained bitterly to him about “parents in Florida interfering in kids’ education.” He was afraid his granddaughter was going to miss out on reading, writing and arithmetic because of meddling moms and dads.
“In fact,” my husband explained accurately, “Florida law protects little children from inappropriate discussions of gender ideology and sexual orientation, and makes sure parents are told about any changes in their kids’ emotional or mental health.”
Of course, the discussion went on for some time, but, in the end, my husband was able to convince his friend that, like so many moves by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the enshrining of the rights of parents in law has been falsely represented in the media.
A left-leaning media with perfect confidence in teachers’ unions and in the fitness to instill liberal sexual mores in elementary school children has entirely mischaracterized the Governor’s initiatives. Happily, our Florida courts know better.
A lawsuit against the Parental Rights in Education Act has just been dismissed, and despite media reports to the contrary, Florida kids in kindergarten through eighth grade will be concentrating on getting an education, not indoctrination.
The dismissal is a big win for the DeSantis administration and a big loss for extremists who seek to hijack our public school system.
Unsatisfied with the normalization of gender ideology in children’s entertainment (see, for example, Disney’s many offerings) — unsatisfied with TikTok’s and other social media’s blanketing of social media platforms with posts cheering children’s sexual confusion — these sexual “liberators” want to conscript educators on their project during school hours.
Not only that, they think parents should be kept in the dark when their children evince the social, emotional, and psychological distress of gender dysphoria at school. Leftists call sharing such information with parents “outing” a child.
Parents call it “giving us vital information about our children.”
The application and promotion of gender ideology to children starts with opening their little minds to impossibilities like “a boy can grow up to become a woman.”
In the many states where this kind of classroom instruction is now mandated, teachers have plenty of options for reading hours. For pre-Kindergarteners, there’s “Red, A Crayon’s Story.” Here, a blue crayon has been mislabeled red with tragic consequences. A kindergarten teacher can move on to “In My Daddy’s Belly.” It’s a story that not only causes gender confusion but also destroys any chance of understanding basic reproductive biology.
At the middle school level, a teacher may offer the “Gender Identity Workbook,” which contains exercises to help students explore countless varieties of gender expression.
In Florida, keeping the curricula and classroom time for actual learning — reading, writing, arithmetic, history — is something that the vast majority of parents support. In our competitive technological society, there is no room for frittering away school hours and educational opportunities. School should not be for social engineering and promoting all kinds of “lifestyles.” Education ought to prepare our kids for a life of sober industry, civic engagement and successful, long-term relationships. What’s more, there is a growing worldwide realization that gender dysphoria in children is akin to a social contagion and that medical interventions (puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries) are unethical experiments on children who cannot give proper consent.
Keeping Florida parents in the dark about all this is no longer possible, thanks to the lawsuit’s dismissal. I can hardly think of anything more vital than school officials’ transparency with parents when it comes to their children.
I’m pretty sure that within the first five minutes of becoming a parent, it becomes clear to every mother and father that they are their child’s prime protector and champion.
In today’s scary landscape of worsening youth mental health (18.8% of adolescents seriously considered suicide in 2019), for a school to hide a student’s experience of gender dysphoria from parents is almost criminal. Especially when studies show a strong correlation between gender dysphoria and suicidal ideation.
In Florida, we have the kind of weather that allows nine holes of golf on a Saturday morning all year long. We also have sanity in education, where students will continue to benefit from curricula focused on educational progress and not be harmed by a left-wing political agenda.
Perhaps best of all, we have schools where parents can count on being “in the loop” when it comes to their beloved children.
Grazie Pozo Christie, M.D., is a Senior Fellow for The Catholic Association and host of the nationally syndicated radio show Conversations with Consequences. She is a member of the Florida Board of Education.
TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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