Weekly Review

Prosperity Gospel Scrutinized, Millennials and Birthrates, Euthanasia in Belgium, Traveling for abortions, Transgender fight, and Remembering Medal of Honor awardee Ross McGinnis

Prosperity Gospel Pitfall. The belief that God wants people to gain wealth can lead to risky financial behavior. That’s the finding of a newly released study from the University of Toronto. The study used Joel Osteen, of Houston’s Lakewood Church as an example of “prosperity preachers” who put “financial prosperity and material blessing at the center of their message.” The study’s lead author, Nick Hobson, said in a release announcing the study that the prosperity gospel was becoming a widespread social phenomenon. He concluded, “Its success as a religious movement might be less about feeling God, and more about feeling good.”

Millennial Anxiety. The Denver Post says that Colorado’s millennials are having fewer children, and one reason is anxiety over climate change. Colorado has experienced a significant dip in fertility rates in recent years, prompting researchers to ask why young adults were putting off child-bearing. Nearly half (48 percent) cited financial reasons. Other reasons included the desire for independence and the “state of the world.” Climate change was cited by 17 percent of those surveyed.

Death for Autism? Doctor-assisted suicide is legal in Belgium, but three Belgium doctors now face criminal charges for approving the 2010 killing of a 38-year-old autistic woman. The doctors said Tine Nys’ mild form of autism, called Asperger’s syndrome, was “unbearable and untreatable suffering” under Belgium’s euthanasia law. Recently, though, Nys’ two sisters have filed a complaint, saying they acted irresponsibly in prescribing and administering the medication that caused her death. Last month, officials opened a criminal investigation to determine if autism is a legitimate reason for death by euthanasia. The Belgium Chamber of Indictment referred the case to the Court of Assize, which handles felonies. The result: the doctors will face a criminal trial in Ghent.

State Laws Matter. Oregon’s lenient abortion laws appears to be attracting out-of-state women, who come to the state for abortions they can’t get in nearby states. According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month, of the 8,610 abortions performed in the state in 2015, 11.2 percent were procured by out-of-state residents. By contrast, only 4.6 percent of neighboring Idaho’s abortions were for out-of-state residents.

Paternal Rights. A Texas father was accused of child abuse in divorce proceedings because he refused to say his six-year-old son was transgender. The boy’s mother is now trying to terminate the father’s paternal rights. Bill Lovell, the senior pastor of Christ Church Carrollton, the father’s church, wrote: “Based on the three occasions I’ve spent time with him, I’d say he acts and looks unmistakably like a healthy six-year-old boy. … I am praying for James, an average six-year-old boy, a sweet-natured, intelligent, lovable and at this point particularly vulnerable young man, caught up in a titanic clash of worldviews.”

Milestones. Writer and Holocaust chronicler Hannah Arendt died this week in 1975. She coined the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe Nazi bureaucrat Adolf Eichmann’s role in the extermination of 7 million men, women, and children during the Holocaust…. Ross A. McGinnis died on Dec. 4, 2006, 12 years ago this week. He was 19. McGinnis died by throwing himself on a hand grenade in Iraq, saving the lives of four of his brothers-in-arms. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for his heroism. When asked in kindergarten what he wanted to be when he grew up, McGinnis replied, “An Army man.”


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