God's Double Agent
Bob Fu seemingly was born to right wrongs. The same determination that led the young activist to Tiananmen Square in 1989 to protest Chinese government policies led him to become one of the leaders of the house church movement after his conversion to Christianity. Fu, who with his wife was imprisoned for proselytizing and fled China after she became pregnant in violation of the country's one-child policy, today oversees the operation of China Aid from his office in Midland, Texas. In God's Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian's Fight for Freedom (Baker Books, 2013), Fu tells the fascinating personal story that informs and motivates his passionate defense of religious liberty for all, especially the people of China.
The Hypocrisy of Abortion
Psychologist Susan Berry recounts a chilling conversation from "women's website" The Hairpin between an interviewer (Jia Tolentino) and an abortionist (Susan Robinson) regarding the documentary After Tiller. Tolentino tells Robinson, one of only four American abortionists who openly perform third-trimester abortions, that she was "moved" and "amazed" by a scene in which Robinson acts as if the baby she just aborted was born naturally and died. "If [the mother] refers to it as her baby, I'll refer to it as her baby," Robinson replies. "If she's named the baby, I'll use the baby's name too. I would say that most of these patients do decide to see and hold their baby, although many of them have a hard time dealing with the idea at first." The abortionist goes on to explain that because she doesn't want the family to "go home from the procedure with absolutely nothing to remember and honor the baby, and its birth," she provides photographs, a teddy bear, and the baby's footprints. Robinson also says that if the mother refers to the procedure as a "birth" she will as well, and if asked she has "some little non-denominational prayers" she says with the mother after she aborts the baby.
What's In A Name?
A Tennessee judge faces possible reprimand after ordering that a baby's name be changed from Messiah to Martin because "'Messiah' is a title that is held only by Jesus Christ." In fact, Messiah is an increasingly popular baby name that simply reflects a narcissistic naming trend, psychologist Jean Twenge told ABC News. Twenge, who researched baby names for her book Narcissism Epidemic, said, "At one time there was the idea that you raise the child with the lesson that the world does not revolve around them and now we raise them that it does." She also noted the rise in popularity of "Prince," "Princess," and "King."
Social Media and Medical Privacy
Should physicians use social media to check on the lifestyle choices of patients? Arthur Caplan at nbcnews.com advises that people should be aware their restaurant reviews, dating site profiles, Facebook photos, and Tweets on Twitter reveal much about their habits in a public setting. Caplan, a prominent bioethicist, described a case of a young man seeking a liver transplant who claimed his drinking days were behind him, then Tweeted a photo of himself sitting in a bar consuming alcohol. One of his "followers" emailed it to the psychiatrist responsible for evaluating his suitability as a transplant candidate. Caplan said that the photo probably was enough to deny the man a spot on the transplant list. While there are not yet ethical guidelines for medical professionals and social media, a generation of physicians who grew up in the age of Facebook will be tempted to use it to inform their decisions.
What You Should Know About Casinos
Joe Carter with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has summarized a report from The Council on Casinos on "Why Casinos Matter."
- Twenty-three states have commercial casinos.
- Regional casinos target local gamblers who play modern slot machines on a recurring basis.
- Modern slot machines, programmed for fast and continuous betting, can also be programmed to collect a player's credit card information, preferences, and speed of play. Casinos then have the capacity to program these machines to a player's style, giving enough small wins to encourage prolonged gambling.
- Problem gamblers account for 40 to 60 percent of slot machine revenues.
- People living within ten miles of a casino have twice the rate of pathological and problem gambling as those who do not.
- A study of Gamblers Anonymous members found that one-quarter have gambling-related separations or divorces.
- Reduced rates of voluntarism, civic participation, and family stability have been documented among families within fifteen miles of a casino.
- Casino patrons are disproportionately comprised of low-income workers, retirees, minorities, and the disabled.
- Casino gambling, typically legalized by states, is often regulated in ways that discriminate against other legal businesses.