Weekly Review

Marching for life, Islam in the Philippines, Demographic Blues, Christian Persecution on the Rise, and Remembering a Hero

Marching for Life. Crowd estimates are hard to come by, but it is safe to say that many thousands of people showed up in Washington for Friday’s March for Life. (Published crowd sizes ranged from 100,000 to 300,000.) The rally associated with the march featured band Sidewalk Prophets and conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, made a surprise visit. Pence told the crowd he was “proud of all these young people in this great pro-life generation.” The rally also featured a pre-recorded message of encouragement from President Donald Trump and speeches from pro-life lawmakers. Alveda King, a civil rights activist and the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., delivered the closing prayer.

Islam in the Philippines. The Philippines is a mainly Catholic country. More than 80 percent of the nation’s 100-million people are Catholic. Muslims make up about 6 percent of the country. However, the country is clearly segregated into ethic and religious areas. Muslim areas are voting on a referendum to decide whether there should be local government of these areas. According to Mindy Belz at WORLD, “The vote is the culmination of a peace process aimed at ending sectarian violence, including the rise of Abu Sayyaf, a militant group that has abducted Westerners and in 2016 pledged allegiance to ISIS.”

Demography is Destiny. The U.S. birth rate has reached its lowest level since the 1980s, and it continues to decline. In 2017, about 3.85 million babies were born in the United States. That translates to a fertility rate of about 1.77. A country needs a fertility rate of 2.1 to maintain its population. Only South Dakota and Utah have fertility rates above 2.1. At current levels, Americans are not having enough children to sustain the current population, though immigration and longer lives have so far sustained population growth in this country. However, if current trends continue, U.S. population should grow from its current level of 325-million at about 440-million by 2050. Most projections say population growth will stall and probably decline. According to a Pew Trust study, the vast majority of the growth in population will be the result of immigration. Of the 115-million in population growth expected over the next 30 years, about 70-million will be the result of immigration.

Christian Persecution Rises. The 2019 Open Doors World Watch List is an annual list of countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian. For the 16th year, North Korea tops that list. Countries moving up on the list are China and Nigeria. The Open Doors list reports that 1 in 9 Christians in 73 countries face severe persecution, compared to a year ago when 1 in 12 faced such challenges in 58 countries. Overall, more than 245-million Christians around the world face severe religious persecution.

Milestones. Lance Sijan died on this date in 1968. His name is not well known to most Americans, but Air Force Academy graduates must commit his story to memory, as he is the only USAFA graduate so far to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. In late 1967 his F-4 was shot down over Vietnam. Sijan was badly wounded but nonetheless evaded capture for 46 days before being taken prisoner. Following brutal torture, escape and recapture, and other remarkable acts of courage and heroism, Sijan died in captivity. He was 25 years old. At the Captain Lance P. Sijan Plaza in his hometown of Milwaukee is a monument with these words from the Christian apologist G.K. Chesterton: “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

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