Digital Divide

Kerby Anderson
For the last few decades, politicians and high-tech companies have been talking about the digital divide. They wanted to make sure that poor and underprivileged students had access to the same digital devices as wealthier ones.
I have always felt there was a bigger issue that fewer people were talking about. Fortunately, Naomi Schaefer Riley addresses this in her New York Times op-ed on “America’s Real Digital Divide.” She warns that, “If you think middle-class children are being harmed by too much screen time, just consider how much greater the damage is to minority and disadvantaged kids, who spend much more time in front of screens.”
One study, for example, found that minority children watch 50 percent more TV than their white peers. They use computers for up to one and a half hours longer each day. And the amount of time black and Hispanic children spend in front of any screen is substantially longer each day than for white children.
Another study found that every additional hour of TV increased a child’s odds of attention problems by about 10 percent. “Kids who watched three hours a day were 30 percent more likely to have attention trouble than those who watched none.”
The push from politicians and educators has been to bridge the digital divide and get computers and other technology into the classrooms. Apparently, minority students already have access to technology. One Pew Research report documented that African-American teenagers are more likely to own a smartphone than any other group of teenagers in America.
Put simply, the problem today is not a lack of technology in the schools, in the homes, and in the hands of young people. The problem is too much technology. They are spending a significant number of hours every day in front of a TV screen, a video game screen, a computer screen, and a smartphone screen.

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Trump at NRB

Penna Dexter
Last week thousands of Christians gathered in Nashville for the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. The NRB was formed in the early years of radio broadcasting, when evangelical broadcasters, who were faithfully proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, built radio audiences in the millions. This threatened liberal mainline denominations who wanted a ban on religious broadcasting that was not done by “responsible” religious broadcasters — like themselves.
On Thursday night of the conference, Donald Trump was the speaker. He hit every issue Christians and conservatives care about. He identified himself as a believer. But he focused on his audience — people involved in communicating the gospel and spreading God’s truth. He spent a lot of time on religious liberty, the freedom of Christians to practice our faith. He addressed the growing threats to religious liberty and promised to “protect God in the public square” if he is elected.
But, as I sat in that audience, what impacted me most was President Trump’s words about the good Christians do for the country and the world by using pulpits and the media to tell people about Christ and His principles and by loving people and caring for their needs. It was as if he was speaking, not so much to get our votes, as to encourage us to keep doing what we are doing and step it up.
This was encouraging. But I couldn’t help wondering if the church is doing enough. Is our message clear, or watered down?  Are we worthy of the compliments this former president was articulating.
In his four years in the White House, Donald Trump got a taste of how difficult it is to govern people hostile to faith and biblical principles.
On Friday morning at NRB, Bott Radio Network hosted a breakfast. Leesburg, Virginia pastor, Gary Hamrick told attendees, “The marriage between woke ideology and liberal theology has produced passive pastors.” Faithful pastors — and broadcasters — need their freedom protected. They also need courage.  

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Polyamory

Kerby Anderson
Sixteen years ago, I published my book, A Biblical Point of View on Homosexuality, and predicted that the legalization of same-sex marriage would open the door to all sorts of sexual experiments. Polyamory is the practice of having more than one sexual partner at the same time. We are now seeing a push for the normalization of this practice.
John Stonestreet, in a Breakpoint commentary, talks about a New York Times article that describes a “Polyamorous Mom Had ‘a Big Sexual Adventure’ and Found Herself.” A New York Magazine has the headline, “Polyamory: A Practical Guide for the Curious Couple.” And USA Today helps readers deal with the supposedly “misunderstood” polyamorous subculture known as “swingers.”
Jim Denison, in his Daily Article, talks about the latest “reality” show with the provocative title, Couple to Throuple. It tells the story of four couples who are curious about polyamory and head to a resort where they begin dating a group of singles.
Of course, the Bible doesn’t condone such behavior. Marriage is a covenant of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:22-33), and we are to flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18, Galatians 5:19). Many of us predicted that once you said that marriage could be with two men or two women, where would it stop? The Supreme Court decision nine years ago essentially opened the door to any sexual variation you could imagine.
I might mention that the article by Jim Denison has numerous links to research by secular counselors and other professionals that all conclude that polyamory doesn’t work. The lack of intimacy and the problems with jealousy and power plays are just a few reasons for its failure.
shouldn’t be surprised at these conclusions because God’s plan for marriage and family is the best. All other human ideas are destined for failure.

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Threat to Democracy?

Kerby Anderson
No doubt you have noticed that pundits and politicians seem to be constantly warning about a threat to democracy. This has intensified during this election season. Republicans and Democrats may not agree about much, but they both are sounding the alarm about a threat to democracy from their opponents.
It is worth mentioning that the idea that there is a threat to democracy isn’t just an American phenomenon. This year of 2024 will be the biggest voting year in history. Some 4.2 billion people (more than half of humanity) live in the 76 countries that are scheduled to hold elections or have already held elections.
Many of these elections will not be free or fair or secure. Fortunately, most people living in developed countries will be able to cast their vote in a way that will determine the political future of the country. And that brings us back to the United States.
First, this country isn’t a democracy, but is a constitutional republic. The framers were rightly fearful of a majority rule that could become a mobocracy. It’s also worth noting that before the founding of this country, representative government was hardly the norm. The framers gave us checks and balances and a structure of government to protect individual rights.
Second, consider which political group is trying to remove those checks and balances. Progressive groups want to abolish the electoral college, pack the court, and eliminate the allocation of two senators to each state. They also believe that most important decisions should be made by an elite group of unelected experts.
This election season, pay attention to the people shouting the loudest about a threat to democracy. In many cases, they are the same people who have been putting forward policies and proposals that would put an end to democracy.

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Abortion Pill Studies

Kerby Anderson
Next month, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on a case related to the abortion pill. That is why pro-life researchers question the decision by an academic publishing company to retract studies that suggest significant health risks after taking chemical abortion drugs.
Earlier this month, Sage Publishing announced it has retracted three studies related to the abortion pill. The justification was that there were undeclared conflicts of interests. The study authors, they contend, did not disclose their ties to a pro-life organization.
One of the authors spoke to the Christian Post and explained that she and her fellow researchers never concealed their connection. In fact, they fully disclosed who they were affiliated with and even reported that the studies were funded by a pro-life institute.
I don’t claim to know all the details of the dispute, but I must admit that the reaction seems like a classic case of the genetic fallacy, where data is dismissed based solely on the source or origin rather than its content.
Facts are facts. Data is data. If an argument for abortion comes from researchers working with a pro-abortion group like the Guttmacher Institute, it should be evaluated based on factual analysis. Likewise, an argument against abortion or the abortion pill that comes from researchers working for a pro-life group should be evaluated the same way.
The reason for these studies was to determine the safety or lack thereof of chemical abortion compared to surgical abortion. The only research group that would likely be interested in that question would be pro-life researchers. They would want to know what percentage of women end up in the emergency room after using the abortion pill. This should be relevant data in the Supreme Court decision.

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Home Ownership

Kerby Anderson
“Owning a home has long been considered the quintessential American dream, but the path to those white picket fences is far from smooth.” That’s how a recent survey by Lending Tree opened its article. The survey found that 84 percent of Americans said they’d like to own a home one day. A majority (51%) of those who don’t own today worry they’ll never get there.
Glen Beck, in his book Dark Future, confirms that “after decades of homeownership being an essential part of life in America, a trend has developed that’s transforming the United States into a nation of renters.” Part of the reason is increasing cost. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the average cost of buying a home at the end of 2022 was more than $152,000 higher than it was just two years earlier. The National Association of Home Builders found in their 2021 study that regulatory costs for new homes across all levels of government increased by $94,000.
A significant majority of Americans own their homes, but the future trend is not as promising. The number of first-time homebuyers declined to just 26 percent in 2022, which is the lowest level since the National Association of Realtors began tracking data. That figure also represents a significant drop from 34 percent one year earlier.
Owning a home is an important part of building wealth for most households. But being a homeowner also provides freedom. Landlords can impose all sorts of requirements and regulations if you are living under their roof. Renters face prohibitions against pets, parties, smoking, and alcohol. You may have the constitutional right to own a firearm, but a landlord can ban you from possessing a weapon while renting a dwelling.
We aren’t a nation of renters yet, but the trend is in that direction.

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Church Shooting

Kerby Anderson
A shooting earlier this month in the third largest church in America should have been a wake-up call for churches to evaluate church security. Unfortunately, many merely hit the snooze button. The secular media moved on, perhaps because the shooter (a 36-year-old Salvadoran woman) didn’t fit the media narrative. And many Christians merely took the news in stride without considering how to protect their congregation.
In the past, I have written about the need for church security. One of the people I interviewed is Jimmy Meeks, who works in the area of church security. In fact, he and his wife were married at a church (Wedgewood Baptist Church) that was the site of one of the first church shootings. He has documented hundreds of violent deaths in churches and other faith-based facilities.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council recently interviewed church security consultant Tim Miller on his radio program. Perkins talked about the increase in incidents in churches and said his organization documented more than 500 attacks on churches from 2018 through March 2023. Tim Miller added, “We’re seeing not only the frequency, but the severity of these attacks continue.”
Tim Miller explained, “Security is about being wise and prepared with a plan.” Proverbs 22:3 warns, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
He drew two principles for church security from Nehemiah 4:9, which says, “And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.” He says we need to first pray to God and then we post a guard.”
This is a wise admonition that I believe all churches should follow.

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Listen to Them

Penna Dexter
President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu are speaking by phone lately. A major topic of the calls is the clearing out of Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, a military necessity in order to dismantle Hamas. President Biden is making demands about hostages and civilian protections.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has publicly criticized “recent talk about forcing a Palestinian state on Israel.” He says this “would be a huge prize for terror, the likes of which we have never seen.”
Hamas must be removed. The Heritage Foundation’s David Harsanyi points out that “no Israeli Prime Minister would act any differently in Gaza. Israeli voters rightly demand it.”
Our dealings with Israel should always occur in light of the existential threat Hamas represents. These threats were fulfilled in the carnage that began October 7th, an event which should not have surprised us.
Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has been meticulously cataloguing Hamas’s threats of ‘total war’ for years. The organization publicized Hamas’s articles and videos advertising its drills preparing for an invasion of Israel.
The threats are incessant. But we must pay attention. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, MEMRI’s president and co-founder Yigal Carmon said “If they publish it many times, it suggests they mean it and you cannot ignore it. You must take it seriously.”
MEMRI documents the terrorists’ competing messages. Hamas politbureau chief Ismail Haniyeh tells the West he wants to end the war and signals that Israel and Hamas can live side by side, But, in a January 9th speech aired on Al Jazeera, he said: “We should hold onto the victory that took place on Oct. 7 and build upon it.” He says “the time has come for the jihad of the swords.”
MEMRI’s Executive Director, Steve Stalinski told the Journal, “We’ve monitored it since the beginning of the jihadis going online, and there have never been so many open threats to the U.S.—explicit threats.”
We must pay attention.

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Mired in Debt

Kerby Anderson
Reporter Leonardo Blair says that the youngest generations are “mired in debt” and that a “majority of young adults are financially dependent on parents.” He based these conclusions on a recent study by Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.
The study was a collection of two surveys taken in October and November. The researchers found that less than half (45%) of these young adults (18-34) reported being completely financially independent from their parents. As you might have expected, the older adults (in their early 30s) were much more likely to be completely financially independent from their parents.
On the other side, nearly half (44%) of young adults said they received financial help from their parents in the past year. The survey identified two major areas where they needed financial help from their parents. One was to pay for household expenses. The other was to pay for their cellphone bill or subscriptions to streaming services.
The survey also found that the debt load of young adults has skyrocketed. This includes not only student loan debt but mortgage debt. The article and the research study compared mortgage debt in previous decades as well as the price of a home. Both have increased due to inflation and due to rising interest rates on those mortgages.
This also has an impact on marriage and families. A much lower percentage of young adults (18-24) are likely to be married today compared to previous decades. And young adults are much less likely to have a child living in their household than in previous decades.
As I have mentioned in previous commentaries, many politicians have been trying to tell Americans that the economy is doing well. Many of these young people just don’t feel that way.

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Negative World

Kerby Anderson
Yesterday I talked about the book, Life in the Negative World: Confronting Challenges in an Anti-Christian Culture, by Aaron Renn. He explains that we live in a negative world. He also answers a question I frequently get from my audience: How did this change to a negative world happen?
He quotes from philosopher Charles Taylor and his book, A Secular Age. Here are a few reasons for the accelerating decline of the status of Christianity.
The sixties’ social revolution was a major upheaval with young adults rejecting the authority of their parents and other traditional authority figures. In its place was a counterculture that embraced drugs, protested the Vietnam War, and formed new communities.
The sexual revolution that took place at the same time called into question many beliefs and practices regarding sex and family that came from the Christian tradition. It also normalized many practices that would have been forbidden, including premarital sex, pornography, homosexual practices, and divorce.
Another factor was the end of the cold war. In my radio interview with Renn, he talked about how the fight against “godless communism” connected America with Christianity. The link was important until the fall of the Soviet Union.
One other factor is digitalization. As he pointed out, only two companies control the entire market for smartphone operating system software (Apple, Google). These businesses retain discretion over those with whom they will and will not do business. This gives them vast cultural power.
As I mentioned yesterday, this negative world poses new challenges for Christians as we try to navigate through an anti-Christian culture.

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Three Worlds

Kerby Anderson
Two years ago, Aaron Renn wrote about “The Three Worlds of Evangelicalism” in the journal, First Things. I did an interview with him about the article. He has now expanded that concept in his new book, Life in the Negative World: Confronting Challenges in an Anti-Christian Culture.
When he was on my radio program recently, he described the three worlds. The first world was the “positive world” that existed from 1964 to 1994. Society at large still had a mostly positive view of Christianity. He says that to be known as a good, churchgoing person was a positive attribute. Being a Christian enhanced your social status.
The second world was a “neutral world” that ran from 1994 to 2014. During this period, society took mostly a neutral stance towards Christianity. No longer did Christianity have a privileged status but neither was it disfavored. Christianity was merely one valid option among many within a pluralistic, multicultural public square.
The third world is the “negative world” we live in today. Society has an overall negative view of Christianity. Being known as a Christian can be a social negative, especially he says, in the higher status domains of society. Christian morality is repudiated. Expressing biblical ideas in public can have negative consequences.
Christians need to adapt to this negative world. Some of the actions and strategies that might have been successful in the other worlds, may not be effective in this negative world. Most of his book provides guidance in how to live personally and institutionally. We need wisdom in how to live effectively as Christians in this negative world.

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AI and Jobs

Kerby Anderson
Will artificial intelligence take your job? That is a question that John Stossel asks in a recent video. He says the media warns, “Artificial intelligence will replace millions of jobs.” He shows you Teamsters protesting the use of self-driving cars because they will replace taxi drivers.
In previous commentaries, I have talked about how technology can be disruptive to society. But the long-term impact isn’t as bad as fearmongers would suggest. Jay Richards is the author of the book The Human Advantage: The Future of American Work in an Age of Smart Machines. He writes about the impact of robots and acknowledges that the coming disruption could be as abrupt as the Industrial Revolution.
But he and John Stossel point to history to dismiss many of the concerns. For example, if it is true that technology leads to permanent unemployment of the masses, the history of the last few centuries would be a history of joblessness. That is not true.
Both point to the fact that more than 90 percent of America’s workers once worked on farms. Better farm equipment replaced many of those jobs and now one percent work on farms. John Stossel reminds us that “There were once half a million typists in America. Nearly all those jobs are gone.” Also, there were “thousands of phone and elevator operator jobs.”
Many “bank tellers were replaced by ATM machines and online banking. Video rental stores were killed by streaming services.” In nearly every industry, you can find examples of how technology resulted in lost jobs. But there was no major surge in unemployment decades later. People found other jobs in such fields as education, hospitality, and health care.
Technological change can be disruptive, but we need only look to history to see how society usually benefits from new technologies.

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Deception and Discernment

Kerby Anderson
We face significant challenges in this nation. Many of the challenges go back to the 3D’s: disinformation, deception, and discernment. Some of the false information is being spread by people who don’t know the truth. Much more is deliberately deceptive, and that’s why I encourage people to read the new book by Pastor Jack Hibbs.
Living in the Daze of Deception catalogs the deception taking place inside the church and in the society at large. Ten chapters help us recognize deception, and two concluding chapters talk about standing for truth. We need to be prepared. Jesus warned his disciples, “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24:4).
When he was on my radio program, we talked about the sources of deception. That includes both progressive education and social media. He writes about churches that are not preparing its members to discern truth from error. One section talks about “amusing the church to death.” That recalls the book by Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. Many pastors fail to teach God’s Word and promote a theology of “easy believeism.”
We also talked about how words have been redefined. Marriage has been redefined. Gender and sexuality have been redefined. His chapter on “The New Tolerance” reminds us that even the word tolerance has been redefined. I referred to that as the “Princess Bride Myth” – “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
He calls for us to scrutinize the teachings of religious leaders. And he warns us of the growing influence of deceivers in business, education, and the media. We will need biblical discernment in this changing world. That is why I recommend his book so you will not be deceived.

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Requiring “Affirming” Care

Penna Dexter
Washington state has some of the nation’s most progressive laws regarding teen gender transitions.
This became a problem for Puget Sound therapist Tamara Pietzke. She was employed for six years by MultiCare, one of Washington’s largest hospital systems. In a piece for The Free Press, she expresses her growing concern at being required to “approve all teen gender transitions.”

“I was getting the message from my supervisors that when a young person I was seeing expressed discomfort with their gender—the diagnostic term is gender dysphoria—I should throw out all my training. No matter the patient’s history or other mental health conditions that could be complicating the situation, I was simply to affirm that the patient was transgender, and even approve the start of a medical transition.”

This, she writes, “challenges the very fundamentals of what therapy is supposed to provide.”
Ms. Pietzke goes on to describe three cases that heightened her alarm at this protocol and ultimately resulted in her resignation—a risky move for a single mom of three children under six. Each case involved prior mental health diagnoses, often autism, family dysfunction, and even abuse. One teenaged female patient began identifying as a “wounded male dog.”
In each case, Ms. Pietzke was told she must refer the patient to a gender health clinic to begin hormone treatment which normally continues for life.
When she questioned this, she was accused of “spreading disinformation. She was removed from cases and eventually left her job so she could speak freely. She writes, “Nothing will change unless people like me—who know the risks of medicalizing troubled young people—blow the whistle.”
Last week the American College of Pediatricians released a statement based on its review of over 60 studies of adolescents with gender dysphoria. The authors conclude that these so-called “affirming” interventions destroy healthy bodies but provide no long-term benefit to psychological well-being.
A timely vindication.

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Assassin’s Veto

Kerby Anderson
A few months ago, I talked about how leftist groups were using a variation of the heckler’s veto. The heckler’s veto occurs when someone who disagrees with a speaker’s message triggers actions or protests to disrupt the event and get the speech cancelled. We have seen this tactic on university campuses primarily used against conservative speakers.
The latest version might be called the heckler’s veto fee. Universities fearing the actions of protesting groups, charge massive security fees to the sponsoring group. Since they cannot pay such outrageous sums, the speech is cancelled.
Now we have what some are calling an assassin’s veto that comes from radical Muslim groups. Perhaps the best know example is Salman Rushdie who was threatened decades ago for publishing The Satanic Verses. He had to go into hiding for decades but was nearly killed 34 years later at a literary festival in upstate New York.
Another would be Ayaan Hirsi Ali who criticized Islam and has faced death threats. Her colleague and filmmaker, Theo van Gogh, was murdered for collaborating on a movie about Islam with her.
More recently Douglas Murray was forced to cancel an event in a London theater. The theater refused to host a pro-Israel program of his because of violent threats against their staff.
Mike Freer has been a member of British parliament for 14 years and represents a part of London where many Jewish people live. He announced he will no longer seek reelection because of violent threats against him and his loved ones.
This is, unfortunately, the world we live in today. We will need courage to speak the truth because many will use harsh and dangerous tactics against those who speak the truth.

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Inflation Misinformation

Kerby Anderson
Is inflation decreasing? You have probably been hearing, as I have, that inflation is going down. But that is why you should be skeptical when you hear such claims. It would be accurate to say that the rate of inflation is going down, but inflation itself is increasing.
We can all probably remember when the inflation rate peaked at over 9 percent. Now the inflation rate is one-third of that percentage. But that still means that prices are going up based on the consumer price index, which, as I have explained in previous commentaries, isn’t the most accurate measure of inflation.
Here is another way to look at the inflation trend. The annual rate in 2021 was 7 percent, it was 6.5 percent in 2022, and last year it was 3.5 percent. If you run the numbers, that means that average prices have risen 17 percent over the three-year period.
Of course, you don’t need all these numbers to know that inflation is still a reality in your world. I have a friend who tracks rising prices and inflation by recording the cost of bananas. I know of a YouTube producer who often uses the rising price of a Big Mac to illustrate inflation.
There has also been misinformation about the impact of inflation. A few years ago, I began to collect articles telling all of us that inflation is good. I have one article with the title “Inflation is Good for You” and a CNN article with the title “Why Inflation Can Actually be Good for Everyday Americans and Bad for Rich People.” Their argument is that inflation favors debtors. While that is true, any small benefit is offset by rising prices at the gas pump and grocery store.
Once again, we should be skeptical when politicians and the media misinform us about the rate of inflation and its impact on our lives.

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School Choice

Kerby Anderson
The number of states that now provide school choice is increasing. According to a recent report, 32 states (plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico) are using school choice. That means that approximately 20 million students are now eligible for a private choice program.
Larry Sand is the president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network. While he is excited about the progress of school choice in this nation, he is also concerned about the attacks against school choice by teachers’ unions and the educational establishment. For example, one group maintains that “voucher programs are deeply rooted in segregation, racism, and discrimination.”
He says that on race, the critics have it exactly backward. “Almost 70 years after Brown v. Board of Education, public schools are still segregated.” Sixty percent of black and hispanic public school students attend schools where three-fourths are students of color. By contrast, virtually all the empirical studies on school choice programs found they reduced segregation.
There is still much segregation in the public schools because students are forced to attend schools according to their zip code. Since most residential areas are not integrated, the schools remain segregated. It’s no wonder the parents of all races are unhappy with zip-code-mandated schooling.
That is why school choice has become so popular in America. A recent poll found that two-thirds of Democrats (66%) and Independents (69%) favor school choice. An even larger percentage of Republicans (80%) favor it.
School choice is also taxpayer friendly. According to the latest figures, K-12 public schools spend an average of $14,347 per pupil. The nation’s private K-12 schools spend $12,350.
For these reasons, more states are likely to enact school choice.

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Immigration Devastation

Kerby Anderson
The number one issue for voters this year is immigration. To be precise, the real issue is the lack of border security.
This is not only perception but reality. Perhaps you have seen the chart that compares the illegal immigrant encounters for Presidents Obama, Trump, and Biden. The blue bar for the second term of Barack Obama lists 5 million encounters. The green bar for Donald Trump lists 4.7 million encounters. And the red bar for Joe Biden lists 8.4 million so far, with an estimate of 12 million by the end of his term.
If every person encountered at the border and let into the country was a law-abiding migrant, the sheer numbers pose a problem. Just ask the mayors of many of the large cities in America. Unfortunately, not every person crossing the border is someone we would want to live in this country.
Each year Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests nearly 2,000 illegal aliens who have murdered Americans. Last year, ICE caught 1,323 illegals with homicide convictions along with 390 with pending homicide convictions. That works out to nearly five murders a day.
Of course, these are the ones who were caught. Millions have crossed the border and ICE estimates that there were at least 1.7 million “gotaways” who escaped federal custody. We can assume some of them are involved in drugs and human trafficking. A few might even be terrorists, who deliberately avoided capture.
As I mentioned in a previous commentary, we also have nearly 75,000 “special interest aliens.” These are individuals who have traveled to countries known for terrorist activity and should be given further scrutiny.
Americans are convinced that border security is a problem. These numbers illustrate that the problem is even worse than you know.

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Social Media Solutions

Kerby Anderson
Perhaps the most poignant moment in a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing occurred when Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg stood up and apologized to families in the hearing. Senator Josh Hawley wanted to know if he had apologized to the victims and then asked, “Would you do so now?”
The Facebook founder joined other social media leaders from TikTok, Snap, X, and Discord. Senators on both the right and left wanted to know what these executives and their companies would do to protect child safety. Many of the parents wore blue ribbons reading, “STOP Online Harms! Pass KOS!” That was a reference to legislation aimed at strengthening protections for kids online.
There’s no denying the negative impact social media is having on young people in America. In previous commentaries, I’ve documented the many studies that demonstrate the harm to young people who follow social media.
The solutions, however, are more difficult to find. Some companies allow parents to control and observe what their children are seeing and doing. Unfortunately, too few parents avail themselves of that opportunity.
Another idea has been to require app stores (like Apple and Google) to let parents approve of app downloads. Parents would be notified that young people wanted to download apps. And such a link might also provide parents with the option of activating controls on daily time limits and even which accounts they might be following.
The biggest issue is whether Congress should repeal Section 230 which currently shields platforms from lawsuits because they are a common carrier. Although there is always talk of repealing that section of the Communications Decency Act, I think it is unlikely Congress will do so.
The solution once again falls in the hands of parents, who need to monitor what their children see and hear.

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Pushing “PAUSE”

Penna Dexter
Members of the medical and psychological communities who advocate gender transition as a treatment for disturbed young people start them on puberty blockers as the first medical step. This sounds drastic — and permanent. But the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) publicly claims the effects of these drugs are “fully reversible.” Some of those folks know better.
In a recent Breakpoint commentary, John Stonestreet and Jared Hayden point out that puberty blocking drugs are often presented as a way “for gender-confused teens to ‘push pause’ on puberty and buy more time to find out who they are.”
It’s naive to believe that taking drugs that stop the development of a young person’s sexual organs is “fully reversible.” Stopping the drugs after a few months or years will not bring back the time that God ordained for that child to grow physically and emotionally.
Heading up the list of physical consequences of puberty blockers is osteoporosis. The Breakpoint hosts point to a recently-leaked video from a 2022 WPATH certification seminar. Dr. Daniel Metzger, a WPATH-certified pediatric endocrinologist told his audience: “Normally puberty is the time of putting the calcium into your piggy bank.” Those bones won’t catch up.
As is often the case when one searches Google about anything medical, the Mayo Clinic shows up near the top. This happened when I searched for “Harms from Puberty Blockers.” But “possible side effects” don’t show up until page 4 and 5 of Mayo’s 6-page document, where it states: the drugs “also might have long-term effects on growth spurts, bone growth, [and] bone density.”
The Mayo document advises: “Yearly bone density and bone-age tests may be advised.” It suggests “calcium and vitamin D supplements.”
The Mayo piece lists one more long-term effect: “Fertility, depending on when the medicine is started.”
A heartbroken grandmother at my church told me she’s praying her grandson will decide not to take this step. These are serious drugs. We must start saying so.

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