EVOLUTION: BELIEF AT WHAT COST?
BaptistPress.com, 1/3/14, “Evolution: Plenty of people believe, but at what cost?” [Excerpts]: Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe in human evolution and one-third reject the idea, according to a Pew Research Center study...
Whether a person embraces evolution or creation has implications for all of life, [Ken] Ham [of Answers in Genesis] said, because an atheistic evolutionist rejects God as the absolute authority and determiner of right and wrong, good and bad. Morality then is relative.
Rob Phillips, an apologetics leader for the Missouri Baptist Convention, said the beliefs expressed in the Pew study have implications for daily life because if evolution is true, life ultimately is meaningless.
SISTER WIVES STAR CHEERS UTAH POLYGAMY RULING
ABClocal.go.com, 12/15/13, “Sister Wives star Kody Brown cheers Utah polygamy ruling” [Excerpts]: A landmark ruling from a federal judge in Utah striking down key parts of the state’s polygamy laws handed a legal victory to polygamist families across the state—but the battle might not be over.
The ruling was cheered by Kody Brown and his four wives, who star in the hit TLC cable TV reality show “Sister Wives,” and other fundamentalist Mormons who believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. The Brown family filed their lawsuit in July 2011 and fled Utah for Las Vegas last year under the threat of prosecution.
The ruling decriminalizes polygamy, but bigamy—holding marriage licenses with multiple partners—is still illegal, said Jonathan Turley, the Browns’ Washington, D.C.-based attorney....The Utah Attorney General’s Office could appeal the ruling. Spokesman Paul Murphy said the office plans to thoroughly review it before making a decision...“The new attorney general would want to weigh in on this decision,” Murphy said. Gov. Gary Herbert says he’s “always a little concerned” when the courts make public policy changes, and said his legal counsel would determine the ramifications of the decision.
How do polygamists feel about the ruling? Most of them are thrilled, saying polygamous families in Utah have lived under the threat of arrest for decades and can now come out from the shadows. “Now that we’re no longer felons, that’s a huge relief,” said Anne Wilde of Salt Lake City, co-founder of the polygamy advocacy group Principle Voices. “This decision will hopefully take away the stigma of living a principle that’s a strongly held religious belief.” In a statement, the Browns said they hope the decision will help others “come to respect our own choices as part of this wonderful country of different faiths and beliefs.”
The Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out after the ruling to reiterate that it abandoned polygamy in 1890 and that it strictly prohibits the practice today for its 15 million members worldwide. Polygamy is a legacy of the early teachings of the Mormon church but has no place in modern Mormonism, church officials said.
GLOBAL PERSECUTION OUTLOOK FOR 2014
ChristianToday.com, 1/1/14, “Global persecution outlook for 2014” [Excerpts]: Islamist persecution is set to rise in 2014 ahead of elections in Nigeria and Afghanistan. Communism remains a potent oppressor of Christians, with North Korea maintaining its reputation as the worst persecutor of Christianity in the world.
“2014 looks set to be a turbulent year for Christians—especially ahead of elections in Nigeria and Afghanistan,” says Colin King, the UK director of Release International, which serves the persecuted Church worldwide.
“2014 is the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, yet today communist and former communist countries remain active in oppressing Christians. The worst persecutor of Christians in the world today continues to be North Korea.”
[A contact] in North Korea, who cannot be named for his protection, says: “Any activity related to Christianity, whether bowing one’s head to pray, possessing a Bible or making contact with a missionary while abroad, is punished harshly.
“Sentences to concentration camps without trial are not unusual. These offences are never recorded as religious violations, but rather described as sedition, contact with foreign spies, or conduct detrimental to the state.”
TOO MANY KIDS TAKING ANTIPSYCHOTIC DRUGS?
ConsumerReports.org, 12/16/13, “Are too many kids taking antipsychotic drugs?” [Excerpts]: The number of children taking powerful antipsychotic drugs has nearly tripled over the last 10 to 15 years, according to recent research. The increase comes not because of an epidemic of schizophrenia or other forms of serious mental illness in children, but because doctors are increasingly prescribing the drugs to treat behavior problems, a use not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Doctors are prescribing antipsychotics even though there’s minimal evidence that the drugs help kids for approved uses, much less the unapproved ones, such as behavioral problems. And to make matters worse, the little research there is suggests the drugs can cause troubling side effects, including weight gain, high cholesterol, and an increased risk of type-2 diabetes.
But overuse of antipsychotic drugs has become worrisome enough that the American Psychiatric Association recently announced that doctors should not routinely prescribe the drugs as first-line treatment to children and adolescents for any reason other than psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia or severe tic disorders. “What’s not known about the long-term effects is very troubling,” Christopher Bellonci, M.D., assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, said. “The younger you go, the more you can affect the developing brain.”
So, what’s behind the antipsychotic boom? Our investigation, based on an analysis by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, uncovered several factors, including overly aggressive drug marketing and a lack of access to quality mental health care. Caught in the middle are families who often have insufficient resources to deal with complex emotional, psychological, and behavioral problems.
“There’s a societal trend to look for the quick fix, the magic bullet that will correct disruptive behaviors,” David Rubin, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, said. “But for those looking for a quick solution to escalating behaviors at home, the hard truth is there is unlikely to be a quick fix.”