United Way, Brexit, Media Bias, and Childhood Obesity

Signs and Wonders

ThinkstockPhotos-526564090A "Repulsive" Way. United Way affiliates provide almost $3 million a year to Planned Parenthood, according to the conservative watchdog group 2nd Vote and The Daily Signal. “Last year, 2nd Vote compiled an exhaustive list of United Way affiliates that helped fund the world’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood,” 2nd Vote spokesman Robert Kuykendall said in a statement. “The latest available financial documentation for each of these affiliates indicates that United Way funnels almost $3 million to Planned Parenthood every year.” A total of 76 United Way affiliates donated to Planned Parenthood, according to 2nd Vote’s analysis. 2nd Vote conducted its analysis by reviewing Form 990 filings for United Way affiliates in tax years 2013 and 2014. “Financial support for Planned Parenthood from nonprofits like United Way helps fund an organization that engages in repulsive practices and is an advocate for policies that allow the destruction of innocent lives,” Kuykendall said. The only good news in the analysis: the amount donated in 2014, the last year for which Form 990s are available, was slightly less than in 2013.

Brexit Serial. Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU) has roiled markets. The Dow dropped nearly a thousand points in the first few days after the vote last week. But it’s important to note that the retreat was orderly, not panicked, and there are already signs of market stabilization. The question that concerns me is not economic but moral: Is this a positive or negative development for those who care about Christian ideals? It’s probably too early to tell, but the EU’s central government in Brussels has been responsible for a lot of moral mischief in the past few years, including pressure to end restrictions on abortion in countries that still have them. (At least 20 European nations already have what is essentially abortion-on-demand. But several countries still have protections for the unborn in place.) All in all, most (though certainly not all) conservative commentators believe that Britain’s departure from the EU will force the EU central government to provide more autonomy to other member nations—lest they depart, too. In the words of Sen. Ted Cruz: "The British people have indicated that they will no longer outsource their future to the E.U., and prefer to chart their own path forward.”

Pro-Abortion Coverage. I commend to you today’s BreakPoint commentary for an excellent worldview analysis of Monday’s Supreme Court decision overturning a Texas abortion law. But the mainstream media’s coverage has been less commendable. USA Today, for example, put a big picture of jubilant pro-choicers on Tuesday’s front page. The word “pro-life” was nowhere in the story. Pro-lifers were consistently called “abortion rights opponents.” The story rightly says the ruling will have ripple effects on what it calls the “250 restrictions” placed on abortion in the past five years by state legislatures. Another way to say this would have been: “250 laws that protect women and the unborn.” The USA Today article said the Texas law “left the state unable to handle 65,000 to 70,000 abortions a year.” Why not say the Texas law “saved 65,000 to 70,000 lives”? The not-so-subtle ways the mainstream media report such stories highlight why we need to  understand how media work if we are to be discerning consumers and faithful stewards of our citizenship.

Ending Childhood Obesity. As the world becomes more prosperous, even historically poor countries are facing the problem of childhood obesity. New research suggests the solution to the problem might be as simple as having the family eat more meals together. According to a recent Scottish study, “The number of family meals eaten per week was inversely associated with overweight in the children up to age 7 years.” The Family in America, reporting on a spate of new research into childhood obesity, said, “The training table most likely to keep children at a healthy weight is the table where the entire family gathers at mealtime.” One barrier to family mealtimes: women taking more employment outside the home. The Scottish study found “children of mothers who worked more hours per week were more likely to be overweight.” The Scottish researchers suggested more regulations that would result in “reducing promotion of high-fat, high-sugar foods, making smaller portion sizes available and providing alternatives to sugar-sweetened soft drinks.” But The Family in America says academic researchers have missed the point: “In the current academic environment, it would take rare intellectual courage to challenge the cultural patterns that have taken mothers out of the home, sharply reducing the likelihood of healthy family meals.” Healthy, no doubt, in more ways than one.

Image courtesy of altamira83 at Thinkstock by Getty Images.

Warren Cole Smith is an investigative journalist and author as well as the Colson Center vice president for mission advancement.

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