Friday, February 7, 2014

All Around the Web - February 7, 2014



HT: Tim Challies


Russell Moore - No Time for Identity Politics | Dr. Moore answers the question does race matter in adoption? in the New York Times.
The same arguments against transracial adoption have been made before, against interracial marriage. In both cases, the hard social adjustments of living in a racist society are used to suggest that it’s better, for the children, if families are racially segregated, separate but equal. I reject that wrong-headed logic, in both cases.

I hold this view not because I believe we live in a post-racial, “color-blind” society. We don’t. The legacy of racial hatred and bigotry is real, and continues. But the families I’ve known who have parents of one ethnicity and children of another — including many of my fellow evangelical Christians — are among the most aware of this situation, and among the most motivated to work for racial justice and reconciliation.

Minority parents of white children teach their kids that the world outside often, sadly, isn’t as loving and diverse as the one they’ve come to know. White parents of minority children are often diligent to teach their children to take pride in their ethnic heritage, and try to prepare them to combat the evils of the bigotry they will face on the outside. These families learn what really every family ought to learn — how to celebrate differences while also celebrating a common belonging, in love.

Washington Post - Study: Abortion rate at lowest point since 1973 
The abortion rate in the United States dropped to its lowest point since the Supreme Court legalized the procedure in all 50 states, according to a study suggesting that new, long-acting contraceptive methods are having a significant impact in reducing unwanted pregnancies.
There were fewer than 17 abortions for every 1,000 women in 2011, the latest year for which figures were available, according a paper published Monday from the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion-rights think tank. That is down 13 percent from 2008 and a little higher than the rate in 1973, when the Supreme Court handed down its landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

The study did not examine the reasons for the drop. But the authors suggested that one factor was greater reliance on new kinds of birth control, including intra-uterine devices such as Mirena, which can last for years and are not susceptible to user error like daily pills or condoms.

They also noted the economy as a contributing factor, because people tend to adhere more strictly to their birth control during tough economic times. But they did not credit the recent wave of state laws restricting access to abortion, because most of those took effect in 2011 or later.



Kevin EzellTracking the class of 2010

So according to ACP, how is the class of 2010 doing? We think pretty well so far. Here are some key indicators from the 2012 ACP, the last full year of reporting that is available:
  • Survival rate — Of the 943 churches Southern Baptists planted in 2010, 91 percent—856—are still in operation.
  • Membership — 2010 church plants saw a membership gain of 20 percent in 2012 over 2011. This is while membership across all SBC churches declined .66 percent.
  • Attendance — Worship attendance is also growing among church plants. There was an 11 percent increase in 2012 compared to 2011. At the same time, across all SBC churches, worship attendance fell 3 percent.
  • Baptisms — Planting evangelistic churches is the best way to reach people for Christ. The Class of 2010 reported 3,394 baptisms. Among all SBC churches there is a ratio of one baptism for every 50 members. For the class of 2010 it’s 1:12.
  • Giving — We are also encouraged that the Class of 2010 continues to give more—including to the Cooperative Program, Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong—each year. Total missions giving for those churches that reported was $2.9 million.

Christian News - Florida Man Who Tricked Girlfriend Into Taking Abortion Drug Sentenced to Nearly 14 Years in Prison
A Florida man was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison on Monday for tricking his girlfriend into ingesting an abortion-inducing drug last year.

As previously reported, John Andrew Welden, 29, accepted a plea deal in September after admitting to giving his girlfriend, 27-year-old Remee Jo Lee, the pill Cytotec (misoprostol) to induce an abortion. The two had met at a strip club in early 2013 and began a relationship, although Weldon was already in a long-term relationship with another woman.

When Lee discovered that she was pregnant, she told Welden that she wanted to continue the pregnancy, but Welden suggested that she abort.

“I wanted this baby more than anything,” she told ABC News. “Not because it was Andrew’s, but it was my baby as well.”

CNN - Stem cell breakthrough may be simple, fast, cheap
We run too hard, we fall down, we're sick -- all of this puts stress on the cells in our bodies. But in what's being called a breakthrough in regenerative medicine, researchers have found a way to make stem cells by purposely putting mature cells under stress.

Two new studies published Wednesday in the journal Nature describe a method of taking mature cells from mice and turning them into embryonic-like stem cells, which can be coaxed into becoming any other kind of cell possible. One method effectively boils down to this: Put the cells in an acidic environment.

"I think the process we've described mimics Mother Nature," said Dr. Charles Vacanti, director of the laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston and senior author on one of the studies. "It's a natural process that cells normally respond to."
Both studies represent a new step in the thriving science of stem cell research, which seeks to develop therapies to repair bodily damage and cure disease by being able to insert cells that can grow into whatever tissues or organs are needed. If you take an organ that's functioning at 10% of normal and bring it up to 25% functionality, that could greatly reduce the likelihood of fatality in that particular disease, Vacanti said.

This method by Vacanti and his colleagues "is truly the simplest, cheapest, fastest method ever achieved for reprogramming [cells]," said Jeff Karp, associate professor of medicine at the Brigham & Women's Hospital and principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. He was not involved in the study.

The Hill - Wyoming most conservative, D.C. most liberal in 2013
Wyoming was the most conservative state last year while Washington, D.C. was the most liberal part of the country, according to a new poll.

More than half of Wyoming residents, 51.4 percent, were conservative in 2013, according to Gallup’s poll released Friday.

In D.C., 38.1 percent of residents were found to be liberal.

Overall, more people were more likely to self-identify as conservatives than as liberals last year, Gallup says.



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