American Family Association News
Homeschooling Growth Rate Increases; Victory for Life; Video Games and Violence
Homeschooling Growth Rate Increases
Safety concerns motivate homeschooling
September 2018 – Homeschool associations such as the Texas Home School Coalition are seeing increased interest in homeschooling. Many parents are concerned about school safety due to school shootings and bullying.
“Most parents homeschool for more than one reason,” said Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute. “But when we ask families why they homeschool, near the top nowadays is concern about the environment of schools, and that includes safety, pressure to get into drugs, and pressure to get into sexual activity.”
While states are not required to track homeschooling numbers, the U.S. Department of Education estimated 1.69 million homeschool students in the spring of 2016. Ray suggests the number is closer to 2.3 million.
“Homeschooling has been growing at an estimated 2% to 8% per year, and that’s compounded,” he said.
For example, there was a 25% increase in homeschooling between 2012 and 2016.
christianheadlines.com, 6/1/18; washingtontimes.com, 5/30/18
Victory for Life in Two States
September 2018 – The U.S.Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of California pregnancy resource centers affected by California’s FACT (Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency) Act. Since FACT passed in 2015, any pro-life center that failed to inform its clients of the state’s free or low-cost abortions was subject to fines of $500-1000. On June 26, the court ruled in NIFLA v. Becerra that the California FACT Act was a violation of free speech.
Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, said the case “centered on an inappropriate mandate of the state compelling pro-life clinics to promote abortion in violation of their consciences.”
On another front, Louisiana passed HB 449, The Adoption Option Act, authored by Rep. Rick Edmonds (R). It ensures Louisiana’s Department of Health website contains proactive information for birth parents about the benefits of adoption, and it guarantees that materials distributed to women in abortion facilities will also contain information on adoption.
“My bill is designed to reach couples facing the trauma and violence of abortion with empowering information on the simple first steps to consider the heroic option of adoption,” Edmonds said.
Passage of the legislation followed a red carpet premier at the Governor’s Mansion of the short film I Lived on Parker Avenue (See AFA Journal, March 2018.), that documents the journey of LSU law student David Scotton to meet his birth parents.
foxnews.com, 6/26/18; concernedwomen.org, 6/26/18
Trump DOJ Helping Protect Freedom of Worship
September 2018 – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken steps to support the religious freedom of churches by launching the “Place to Worship Initiative,” an education program for federal agencies and attorneys. This initiative is to help them understand how to carry out the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a federal law passed in 2000 mandating that the government refrain from placing unnecessary burdens on churches and prisoners in relation to their places and manner of worship.
“President Trump’s DOJ is doing a good job protecting religious freedom in this area,” said Travis Weber of Family Research Council. “And we really are advocating for it to be protected across the board.”
U.S. withdraws from UN council
Nikki Haley with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
September 2018 – “A cesspool of political bias.” That’s how Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, described the Human Rights Council just before she announced that the U.S. is withdrawing from the council.
One reason for withdrawal, Haley stated, is the council’s repeated acceptance and protection of countries with human rights problems, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela.
Haley added the council’s mistreatment of Israel as reason for the withdrawal, calling it a “chronic bias” against Israel.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated, “Since its creation, the council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than against the rest of the world combined.”
Video Games and Violence Affect Young Players
September 2018 – Do violent video games have an adverse effect on American teens? Does a graphic television show about suicide alter the mental state of its viewers?
Culture critic Robert Knight believes the answer to both is a resounding yes, labeling the current situation a “culture war on children.”
“The military uses violent videos to train people to kill,” Knight argues. “So it seems reasonable to assume that violence-laden video games may make some kids numb to real violence. …”
Knight referenced a game called “Active Shooter.” Players in this game can carry out school shootings from the comfort of their living rooms, with the game keeping tabs onscreen of how many people the player has killed.
Knight also cited the Netflix hit show 13 Reasons Why, a drama centered around the suicide of a teen named Hannah. Following season one, a 26% increase was seen in the Google searches for how to commit suicide. Season two aired in May with sex scenes, rapes, homosexuality, pornography, and gun violence.
Knight acknowledged one opposing statistic, which claims 80% of mass shooters reveal no interest in video games.
However, he raised this question: “If viewing has no effect on behavior, why do merchants invest billions of dollars on ads to influence people’s buying choices?”
Netflix airs ‘Salute to Abortion’
September 2018 – Netflix has recently come under fire as the network pursues its commitment to promoting the darkest aspects of human nature. For example, in early July, Netflix aired Michelle Wolf’s Salute to Abortion in which the alleged comedian declared, “God bless abortion!”
In another case, critics have accused Netflix of airing child porn in a recent foreign film.
AFA continues partnering with Parents Television Council and a broader coalition of groups to urge Netflix to end its sleazy suicide series 13 Reasons Why.
Join the efforts; sign a petition at afa.net/Netflix urging Netflix to pull both seasons one and two of 13 Reasons Why. (See related story here.)
Suicide: a leading cause of death in U.S.
September 2018 – Suicide has become the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., with an increase of nearly 30% over the past decade, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control. In 2016, nearly 45,000 suicides occurred in the U.S. – more than twice the number of homicides. And among ages 15-34, suicide is the second leading cause of death.
In 27 states, 54% of suicides were not linked to any diagnosed mental health problem. While the most common method of suicide involved firearms, suicides from opioid overdoses doubled between 1999 and 2014. In 2014, those with opioid addiction were 40-60% more likely to consider suicide. Other factors associated with suicide included strained relationships, financial stressors, and physical health conditions.
“Suicide is a public health crisis when you look at the numbers, and they keep going up,” said Nadine Kaslow, former president of the American Psychological Association. (See related story, here.)