Unplanned Testimony. The director of the surprise hit movie Unplanned testified before Congress last week. Chuck Konzelman, co-writer and co-director of the pro-life movie, told a Senate panel Wednesday that social media giants Twitter and Google unfairly restricted promotion of the film. Konzelman spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution. Konzelman said Google Ads blocked pre-release banner ads. He said Twitter suspended the movie’s official account on opening weekend. Despite these troubles, the movie has so far grossed more than $16-million at the box office, against a production budget of just $6-million.
Notre Dame Cathedral Already Rising. You’ve no doubt heard of the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral. A full investigation into the cause of the fire is already underway. Early concerns that it was a terrorist attack have been replaced by the explanation that the fire’s likely cause was activity related to the landmark’s restoration. The cathedral was one of the world’s most recognized buildings, and it attracted 12-million visitors a year. The building’s iconic spire collapsed in the fire, but enough of the original stone structure remains so that talk of re-building has already begun. Restoration costs will likely run into the billions, but a group of French philanthropists and corporations have already pledged $450-million to the effort. Still, some of the thousands of artifacts and objets d’art were one-of-a-kind. Among the acts of heroism: firefighters and cathedral employees pulling rare artifacts from the building as it burned around them.
The Bible and A Little History. Marion Montgomery was not a household name, but the novelist prompted one of Southern literature’s most enduring sound bites. When Flannery O’Connor read his 1962 novel The Wandering of Desire, she wrote him a letter that became famous: “I think your book is wonderful. … The Southern writer can outwrite anybody in the country because he has the Bible and a little history, but you’ve got more of both than most and a splendid gift besides.” Montgomery was born on this date in 1925, the same year as O’Connor. O’Connor died in 1964, but Montgomery continued to write excellent fiction and poetry for another decade or more, then turned to social and literary criticism, writing nearly 40 books on O’Connor, Walker Percy, T.S. Eliot, Eudora Welty, and others who cared about what Montgomery called “the permanent things.” Montgomery, who died at age 86 in 2011, also played a significant role in the development of conservative and Christian intellectual thought, championing the work of Russell Kirk, among many others.
Adoptions Down. The number of foreign children adopted by U.S. families is down dramatically, according to data the U.S. State Department released last month. From 2017 to 2018, “intercountry adoptions” declined by 14 percent. The 2018 number is down 82 percent from a 2004 high of more than 22,000 adoptions. Only India and Colombia saw modest increases in the number of adoptions. Almost all other countries saw declines. The State Department blamed other countries and mismanagement by adoption agencies for the decline, but those who follow international adoptions say much of the blame lies with the U.S. State Department itself. Chuck Johnson, the president and CEO of the National Council for Adoption (NCFA), told WORLD, “This is what happens when you only impose overbearing regulations that make it increasingly difficult to facilitate intercountry adoption.” The NCFA released a statement responding to the State Department report. It said the Office of Children’s Issues at State took responsibility for adoption in 2008. Since then, it has focused almost all of its attention on regulating intercountry adoption, not advocating for it. The Office of Children’s Issues took over international adoption to root out corruption in the process, but the most significant impact of the work of legitimate and law-abiding agencies much more difficult, while “bad actors” just go underground.
Warren Cole Smith is the Vice-President of Mission Advancement for the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
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