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Twenty-Five Things that Caught My Eye Today: New York Nursing Homes, Hagia Sophia & More (July 13, 2020)

1. From a Hasidic friend in Brooklyn: 

2. The New York Post: 1-year-old boy dead after being shot at NYC cookout

The baby, in addition to three men, was shot around 11:35 p.m. Sunday in front of Raymond Bush Playground at Madison Street and Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, police sources said.

3. Cuomo Administration Ducks Important Questions on Nursing Homes

The central thesis of the 33-page report, issued Monday, is that COVID-19 was widespread in homes long before the department’s controversial March 25 order compelling them to accept infected patients for admission. 

Between March 25 and May 8, the department reveals, 6,326 coronavirus-positive hospital patients were discharged to nursing homes, about 20 percent of which had no previously known infections. At a minimum, it seems likely that those admissions made a bad situation worse. The report does not acknowledge the possibility, let alone quantify the impact.

4. Hammond: We Need to Learn What Happened In Nursing Homes

The report released by Health Commissioner Howard Zucker determined asymptomatic visitors and staff brought the virus into nursing homes and largely absolved the effect of a March 25 guidance that required nursing homes to accept COVID positive patients.

“I think the basic conclusion that visitors and staff contributed to the virus — I think that’s valid,” Hammond said. “Where they went wrong was when they concluded the infamous March 25 order was not a factor.”

5. Joel Zinberg: Death By Policy

As we consider how to deal with resurgent numbers of Covid cases, we must acknowledge that mitigation measures like shelter-in-place and lockdowns appear to have contributed to the death toll. The orders were issued by states and localities in late March; excess deaths peaked in the week ending April 11. Reopening began in mid-April, and by May 20 all states that had imposed orders started to lift restrictions. In June, as the economy continued reopening, excess deaths waned.

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7. Charles C. Camosy: Yes, Catholic Church got billions in federal coronavirus aid— and thank goodness

8.The New York Times: ‘It Will Consume Your Life’: 4 Families Take On Rare Diseases

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10. From Ireland: ‘He’s devastated that he hasn’t seen his child’: The stories of children taken into care during Covid-19

The Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP) regularly publishes reports from courts which make orders under the Child Care Act, which mainly relates to children taken into care. 

One of the main issues it identified during the pandemic was that of access, where face-to-face access between children in care and their parents was discontinued.

“This was particularly distressing for parents and children where the child was in a psychiatric unit with other children who suffered from diseases like anorexia nervosa, and were therefore especially at risk from Covid-19,” the CCLRP said.

11. Pat Nolan: Keeping families together must be a priority for the criminal justice system

It is important that we rethink the assumption that prison should be the default sanction for every crime. Up until the 1970s prison beds were reserved for truly dangerous offenders, with low risk offenders punished in the community with strict supervision. That way they could remain with their families, and work to support them.

In the last 30 years, we have seen dramatic drops in crime rates, yet over two million Americans remain behind bars. We maintain our prison system at an enormous fiscal expense. This cost to taxpayers might be worth it if these institutions actually reformed the hearts as well as the habits of offenders. But they cannot. Too many leave prisons without the skills they need to survive on the outside as law-abiding citizens. In fact, the experience of incarceration leaves many with more anti-social attitudes than they had held when they went into prison.

A prison sentence should never be the automatic punishment in felony cases. A judge should be mindful of the consequences — short-term on the family, even longer-term on the community. Liberals and conservatives alike need to look at the larger social toll of our current practices and turn toward more effective, humane alternative options that allow a parent to remain with — and nurture – their children, while improving their parenting skills, and maintain gainful employment.

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13. Ryan T. Anderson: Religious Liberty Is Important, But It’s Not Enough

As important as protecting equal access to government funding for religious schools is, it does nothing to address what is going on at the government-run schools we call “public.” If the public schools are indoctrinating students with the Gender Unicorn, allowing access to single-sex facilities based on “gender identity,” and forcing girls to compete athletically against boys who identify as girls, equal access to government funding (when it exists) isn’t enough. It’s not enough for the vast majority of American children—including the majority of religious children—who are trapped in our public school system.

14. Mitch Albom: Anti-Semitic posts— and tepid reactions— should engrage us

Anti-Semitism doesn’t cause the same fury as other prejudices. There is rarely as loud or sustained an outcry when a synagogue is attacked or a Jewish person is killed for his faith. Or the entire Jewish population is slandered.

This was reflected in the tepid reaction to DeSean Jackson, and in Jenkins’ statements that “Jewish people aren’t our problem” and “Let’s not lose focus on what the problem truly is … ”

No, Malcolm, this is what the problem “truly is.” Intolerance. Stereotyping. Repeating others’ hate-filled rhetoric. It’s all wrapped together, and if you go ballistic on one, you should go ballistic on the other, especially when it’s within your own industry.

15. Kevin Johnson and Yuval Levin: There are two easy steps to avoiding chaos this election. We haven’t taken them yet.

Elected officials and candidates — as well as journalists, commentators, scholars and others — should talk frankly about the challenges of running an election during a public health crisis, prepare the public for the possibility that we will not have results on election night, and that this does not mean that the results will be tainted when we do get them. Election officials must be given the time they need to count every vote.

16. Michael Hanby: Politics Cannot Save Us

Here we come to the dirty little secret of this and every form of nihilism. It is essentially parasitic. It lives out of what it opposes, just as the anti-racism of the trust-fund revolutionary lives off the destruction of black property, or suburban progressivism lives off the moral authority of Black Christianity and the civil rights movement. Our new progressive civil religion needs racism, patriarchy, “homophobia,” and all the rest of it as fuel for its interminable conflagration, just as fire needs oxygen and technological progress needs present limits as an obstacle to overcome. It secretly celebrates the evil it claims to oppose as the occasion for the exercise of its own virtue. 

16. Thomas Spoehr: DOD’s Transgender Entrace Policy Exists for a Reason

What if there was a medical condition proven to cause those who suffer from it extraordinary stress, to the point that these individuals attempt suicide at nine times the general U.S. population? Similarly, individuals with this condition report experiencing serious psychological distress at eight times the rate of the U.S. population.

For the reasons described above, you would assume that someone with this condition—like those with severe depression or bipolar disorder—would be ineligible to join the military.

But what if the condition is gender dysphoria, the medically recognized condition where individuals experience severe discomfort with their biological sex, resulting in significant distress or difficulty functioning. 

17. Ines A. Murzaku: Museum To Mosque: Why Hagia Sophia Matters

Patriarch Kirill of Russia considers the conversion of the Hagia Sophia museum to a mosque to be a threat to Christianity. In a recent interview with Interfax, Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate,  expressed disappointment with Erdogan’s cancel-history attitude, saying: “Hagia Sophia is a world heritage site. It is not without reason that the talks about changing its status have shaken the whole world, and especially the Christian world. The church is devoted to Christ, Sophia the Wisdom of God is one of the names of Christ.”

Just this weekend, Pope Francis, who has gone out of his way to cultivate relations with Muslims, spoke out with uncharacteristic frankness: “My thoughts go to Istanbul. I’m thinking about Hagia Sophia. I am very distressed.”

18. Christianity Today: Sudan Drops Death Penalty for Apostasy, Alcohol Ban for Christians

“I am very pleased, God has answered our prayers,” said Noha Kassa, a deaconess at Khartoum’s Bahry Presbyterian Church involved in the discipleship program.

“But this is a lot to take for the Sudanese.”

Kassa is concerned that a conservative Muslim society may see these reforms as an affront to their faith. It may spark counterdemonstrations, with some talk that a transitional government should not make such major changes.

19. How foster care, adoption changed path of Tide’s top basketball recruiter

“It’s kind of molded me, man. Because I think, even in recruiting and coaching our guys, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been through a lot,” [Bryan Hodgson] told AL.com last week. “I’ve been in poverty. I’ve never met my father. I’ve been in the foster care system. I’ve seen a few things and I think it helps me relate to some of the guys who have experienced similar stuff.”

20. Catholic News Service: Hard-hit Italian hospital has no more COVID-19 patients in intensive care

Maria Beatrice Stasi, director general of the hospital, told reporters they had discharged the last patient to recover from COVID-19, marking “a moment of great emotion” and relief as the intensive care unit can now accommodate other patients and staff can return to their regular uniforms.

21. Daniel Darling: 4 ways we can apply Scripture to online engagement

There should be a distinctly Christian way of standing up for what we believe. But what does that look like in a digital age, when the means of publishing our opinions are so quick and easy, with a few taps of the thumb? Some advocate leaving social media platforms all together, and perhaps that’s wise for some. But the Internet is here to stay. We are not going back to 1950.

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