1. Zika Virus Spread Renews Focus on Abortion Debate, Some Southern states, most vulnerable to spread of the virus, tighten restrictions, By Arian Campo-Flores and Dan Frosch. The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2016, Pg. A3.

For the dozen or so pregnant women infected with the Zika virus in the care of Christine Curry, an obstetrician and gynecologist here, the joy of pregnancy has become a wrenching exercise in risk evaluation.

“Some women will say, ‘This is nature. Whatever the world or God brings me, I will deal with,’ ” said Dr. Curry, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami. “Other people have less tolerance of risk … They will choose to end this pregnancy because the unknowns are too severe.”

The continued increase in the number of pregnant women possibly infected with Zika—which reached 529 in the states and the District of Columbia as of Aug. 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—is focusing renewed attention on the controversial issue of late-term abortions.


2. Will Pope Francis create a new American cardinal this time?, By John L. Allen Jr., EditorCrux, August 21, 2016.

We’ve entered a new period in Catholic life that always fills Church affairs junkies with delight, which is a fresh round of speculation about the creation of new cardinals.

Trying to anticipate who the next Princes of the Church may be is all the more interesting under Pope Francis, since he doesn’t follow the traditional script, so his choices are far more difficult to handicap and thus more entertaining to contemplate. 

By consensus, the most likely window for Pope Francis to stage his next consistory, which will be his third, is late November, to coincide with the close of his Holy Year of Mercy on Nov. 20. Probably, the pontiff would find attractive the idea of having all his cardinals on hand to ring out what he considers the spiritual cornerstone of his papacy.


3. Hillary Clinton Could Make a New Abortion Move, By Kathryn Jean Lopez. National Review, August 20, 2016, 3:43 PM.

If ever was there a time for leadership on abortion in the Democratic party, it is now. Every day I talk with Americans still looking for a presidential candidate. Many find themselves unable in good conscience to vote for either of the two major parties’ official candidates. And some change in commitments on abortion could make a difference.

Perhaps that’s why Hillary Clinton made reference to an “unborn person” on Meet the Press this spring. This showed some awareness that there are people she and her party completely alienate because of radicalism on abortion. However, even if the change of language was intentional, the policy and politics haven’t changed. Hillary hasn’t actually given an inch. You see this in her refusal to make a move to invite people for whom abortion is a matter of life and death to consider what a priority it is to her and her party.

Although Bill Clinton twice vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion, the “safe, legal, and rare” language of the Clintons’ White House years acknowledged the fact that sonograms make it harder to deny that there may be something that looks a lot like human life going on in a mother’s womb way before delivery.


4. What’s it like to be a persecuted Christian? This exhibit shows you, By Andrea Gagliarducci. Catholic News Agency, August 19, 2016, 3:46 PM.

A teddy bear, a diploma, a menu – items owned, achieved and touched by Christians who were brutally killed in attacks this year – are on display in an exhibit aimed at drawing people into a visceral experience of the persecuted faithful.

The display was created by the Italian branch of Aid to the Church in Need at the ecclesiastical movement Communion and Liberation’s annual meeting in Rimini from Aug. 19-25.

A swing and a small carousel for children, six university desks, and a restaurant table set represent the three most recent scenarios where the anti-Christian persecution reached a peak: the suicide attack on Easter Sunday in a park in Lahore, that resulted in 72 deaths and 280 injured; the April 2 Garissa University massacre in Kenya, with a toll of 149 Christian students assassinated; the July 1st attack in a cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


5. Christian Identity in the Workplace, By Elliot Milco. First Things, August 19, 2016.

On Monday, Yahoo Finance published an article examining the role of religious practice in the modern workplace. The article begins by considering a case of apparent anti-religious discrimination at the Manhattan office of JPMorgan Chase. Beginning in the early 2000s, a number of JPMorgan employees organized a Christian prayer group and bible study that met in company spaces. The group was fairly successful and well-attended for several years, but was ordered to cease meeting on company property in 2014, because corporate resources “can only be used for business purposes.”

What counts as “business purposes” becomes somewhat confusing when we look at the measures currently being taken by JPMorgan to promote corporate diversity. The bank makes company resources available to hundreds of “employee networking chapters” devoted to connecting and supporting members of various identity groups (LGBT, disabled, Latino, black, etc.). Not having been to meetings of these groups myself, I suppose it’s possible that they exist solely for “business purposes,” but I doubt it. In all probability, “business purposes” are merely the excuse for a more natural and robust goal: building communities among people who share common viewpoints and experiences.

Christians may look at this list of diversity organizations and feel aggrieved at the double standard. What distinguishes a Christian group from any of these others? Why would JPMorgan go out of its way to bus Muslim employees in the UK to prayers during the day, but ban a Christian prayer group from its offices? Surely those of Christian identity deserve just as much support as those who identify as LGBT, disabled, Asian, black, etc.