Category : Health & Medicine

(PD) Matthew Franck–Pressing Pause on the “Transgender Moment”: Ryan T. Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally

The most affecting chapter in When Harry Became Sally is devoted to the personal stories of individuals who “detransitioned,” returning to identification with their biological sex after having previously identified with the opposite sex. The transgender movement’s response to such cases is either to pretend they don’t exist or to insist that these men and women were never really transgender in the first place. Of course, since doctors believed them when they said they were, and acted accordingly, these “not really” patients would have a pretty good case for accusing their former physicians of malpractice. And since declared feelings of being “born into the wrong body” are the only basis of a diagnosis that can lead from a change of wardrobe to the surgical excision of healthy sexual organs, no doctor can ever be sure that his patient will not one day wish to detransition. And what could he possibly do then to put things right?

These are truly awful tales of intense suffering. They are the personal stories of men and women, boys and girls, who went to medical professionals with terrible confusion and distress and received only harm where they sought relief. Now, in telling the truth about what happened to them, they attract the abuse and invective of the transgender movement’s ideologues. Some of them, understandably, prefer to tell their stories anonymously. All of them should be applauded for their courage and candor and thanked for their contribution to public understanding.

Anderson writes in his conclusion that these stories, more than anything else, led him to write When Harry Became Sally. “I couldn’t shake from my mind the stories of people who had detransitioned. They are heartbreaking. I had to do what I could to prevent more people from suffering the same way.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(CNN) Parents in Ohio in danger of losing custody of their 17 yr old daughter who now identifies as a boy

The medical team from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where the child had been in treatment, testified that the teen is improving mentally and emotionally through therapy and because his grandparents have created a supportive environment. However, they believe the teen should start treatment as soon as possible to decrease his suicide risk.
According to a transcript of closing arguments, the grandparents said they are prepared to make medical decisions with the child, which may include starting hormone therapy.
“We think the grandparents are the ones who have an open mind and will … make this sort of decision best for the child,” argued attorney Paul Hunt, who represents the guardian ad litem, or the child’s court-appointed guardian. “The parents have clearly indicated that they’re not open to it.”
The teen’s parents did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
But in her written closing argument, their attorney, Karen Brinkman, argued that the parents maintain that they love their child and said that the child’s mother said the child has “nothing to fear” from her and that she wants to have a relationship with her child. She also acknowledged that if the parents are granted custody, they want the child to continue to live with the maternal grandparents, “not in an effort to avoid parenting their child, but because they believe that the current living arrangement is in (the teen’s) best interest.”
Citing the teen’s mental state, Brinkman said, “it does not appear that this child is even close to being able to make such a life-altering decision at this time.”

Read it all–cited by yours truly in the morning sermon. also, you may find another article there.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Local paper Front Page) Firefighter suicides outnumber line-of-duty deaths. How South Carolina first responders are trying to save their own

Later that morning, Emily Avin called 911 from her home in Aiken to report a suicide.

She then picked up a gun, walked outside and pulled the trigger before anyone could reach her. She was 26.

Scrolling through her daughter’s phone in the following days, Sue Ann Avin found a prophetic cartoon. It depicted an EMS worker illustrated to resemble a ticking time bomb, saying, “Traumatic calls, burn out, compassion fatigue — that stuff never gets to me.” The paramedic wore a badge that said “denial.”

Suicides such as Emily Avin’s were once overlooked by firefighters and paramedics eager to maintain an image of bravery and invincibility. But that’s changing as the profession acknowledges a deadly scourge that claims more lives than the perils firefighters face in the line of duty.

Long a taboo topic in firehouses, suicide was recently labeled by the U.S. Fire Administration as a “critical” issue that’s being “faced more squarely by the fire service.”

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Psychology, Suicide

(NY Post) Salena Zito–Faith is no longer a virtue in America

Last week Joy Behar, co-host of the ABC show “The View,” did something that has become an escalating trend in our popular culture over the past 10 years — she mocked religiosity.

In a segment about Vice President Mike Pence and his belief that he hears the voice of God, Behar quipped: “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct . . . hearing voices.”

The audience of “The View” clapped and laughed along with her.

But outside the entertainment bubble, in places like Cumberland, people were horrified.

“I am not sure what shocked me the most, that Behar mocked one of the core beliefs of Christianity or the reaction of the studio audience,” said Tim McGregor, pastor at the Lighthouse of Hope, a non-denominational Christian church here in western Maryland.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Entertainment, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks–May we never forget the Real Power of Personal Interaction

This week, research was published showing that spending as little as ten minutes a day talking to someone with dementia can make a real difference to their quality of life, alleviating their anxiety and sense of isolation in a strange and fearful world.

Increased levels of dementia have been the price we pay for the rise in life expectancy in recent decades. And it’s tough: for the sufferers themselves, their carers, and for members of their family. It can be almost unbearable to find that your parent can’t recognise you, their child. And people can become fatalistic about it, thinking that there’s nothing you can do to make things better. But that’s beginning to change.

Three weeks ago, my wife Elaine and I visited, in his home in Philadelphia, Aaron Beck, co-founder of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy practised today. 96 years old and physically frail, he was still wonderfully young in mind and spirit. He told us that he’d always believed that his methods could help many people but not those with dementia, but now – though the research is still in its early days – people were beginning to find that it could help them too.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Judaism, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NYT) Meth, the Forgotten Killer, Is Back. And It’s Everywhere.

They huddled against the biting wind, pacing from one corner to another hoping to score heroin or pills. But a different drug was far more likely to be on offer outside the train station downtown, where homeless drug users live in tents pitched on the sidewalk.

“Everybody has meth around here — everybody,” said Sean, a 27-year-old heroin user who hangs out downtown and gave only his first name. “It’s the easiest to find.”

The scourge of crystal meth, with its exploding labs and ruinous effect on teeth and skin, has been all but forgotten amid national concern over the opioid crisis. But 12 years after Congress took aggressive action to curtail it, meth has returned with a vengeance. Here in Oregon, meth-related deaths vastly outnumber those from heroin. At the United States border, agents are seizing 10 to 20 times the amounts they did a decade ago. Methamphetamine, experts say, has never been purer, cheaper or more lethal.

Oregon took a hard line against meth in 2006, when it began requiring a doctor’s prescription to buy the nasal decongestant used to make it. “It was like someone turned off a switch,” said J.R. Ujifusa, a senior prosecutor in Multnomah County, which includes Portland.

“But where there is a void,” he added, “someone fills it.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

(Church Times) Safeguarding: we’re doing better, Synod tells sceptical survivors

Survivors of abuse and their allies are continuing to press the Church of England to set up an independent safeguarding body to handle the issue.

Before a debate at the General Synod on Saturday morning, survivors held a protest outside Church House, Westminster. They called on Synod members to join them in a period of silence to “affirm the intention of the Church to act justly towards victims of abuse both now and in the future”, in the words of Andrew Graystone, the activist who organised the event.

Several bishops, including the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, and the Bishop-elect of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, appeared at the protest.

The survivors also gave every Synod member a leaflet of their experiences in their own words: We Asked for Bread but You Gave Us Stones….

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(CNBC) The Economic cost of the opioid crisis: $1 trillion and growing faster.

The economic cost of the growing opioid epidemic topped an estimated $1 trillion from 2001 through 2017, according to an analysis released Tuesday.

And the opioid crisis is projected to cost the United States an extra $500 billion through 2020 unless sustained action is taken to stem the tide, the report from health research and consulting institute Altarum said.

That’s because in recent years the growth rate in the economic fallout from the epidemic has sharply accelerated, along with the number of overdose deaths related to prescription painkillers and heroin.

Altarum said “the greatest cost” identified in its analysis “comes from lost earnings and productivity from overdose deaths — estimated at $800,000 per person based on an average age of 41 among overdose victims.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Are people with Down’s syndrome truly valued?

On the second point, I had to ask myself why we are so timid in being clear about what we believe? Martyn Taylor’s proposed amendment was very modest, simply asking that the affirmation at point a. referring to people with Down’s Syndrome ‘before and after birth’. In doing this, Martyn was proposing that we simply use the language found in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of a Child:

Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth… (in the Preamble).

James Newcombe’s objection here was that saying this would make it harder for Government and GMC to listen to the request made in the motion. But the request came in point d, not in point a. And it is difficult to see why aligning with the UN Declaration would appear to be so unpalatable. But there is a wider point which this hints at: in our discussions with other bodies, and in our making reasonable requests, why are we so shy at being open for our reasons for doing so? If we did make the Church attitude to abortion clear, and if that is at odds with the views of professional bodies, why would that disqualify our request? Do we have to look like these bodies before we can speak to them? Are they so closed to reasonable requests from people with different views, values and outlooks? And does the Church of England have to, chameleon-like, changes its colours to match its surroundings before speaking into a particular context? (Before anyone points it out, I know that chameleons don’t in fact do this.) American theologian Stanley Hauerwas urges that our main priority for living in a post-Christendom world should be to ditch our obsessions with relevance, and simply be the Church we are called to be. And we are not called to be chameleon.

On this issue, it might not in the end make much practical difference. But I am saddened that, in rejecting these amendments, we held back from saying the thing that I think most disabled people want to hear: that we not only value them, but we are prepared to confront those who would see them eliminated. If we cannot do that, can we really say that we value them without qualification?

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

C of E General Synod backs motion to tackle food waste

The Church of England’s General Synod has called upon the Government to tackle food poverty and take steps to minimise waste throughout the supply chain.

Members backed a motion brought by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich outlining ways retailers and Church of England members can attempt to tackle food poverty in Britain.

The motion calls for the Government to consider steps to reduce waste in the food supply chain. It also urges parishes to help lobby retailers on food waste.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Christian Post) Why Does Christianity Exalt the Human Body and Secularism Seek to Destroy It?: Nancy Pearcey

Arguably no subject divides Americans more passionately than what it means to be a human being, especially when it comes to sexuality, identity, and the body.

What lies beneath the bitter cultural squabbles over physician assisted suicide, abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism is a secularist ideology that wages war against the human body, argues Nancy Pearcey, a former agnostic who teaches at Houston Baptist University in her book, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality, which was released last month.

“We live in a moral wasteland where human beings are desperately seeking answers to hard questions about life and sexuality, “Pearcey, who The Economist describes as “America’s pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual,” stresses in the book’s Introduction.

“But there is hope. In the wasteland we can cultivate a garden. We can discover a reality-based morality that expresses a positive, life-affirming view of the human person — one that is more inspiring, more appealing, and more liberating than the secular worldview.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology: Scripture

(NYT Op-ed) Kate Bowler–What to Say When You Meet the Angel of Death at a Party

A tragedy is like a fault line. A life is split into a before and an after, and most of the time, the before was better. Few people will let you admit that out loud. Sometimes those who love you best will skip that first horrible step of saying: “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry this is happening to you.” Hope may prevent them from acknowledging how much has already been lost. But acknowledgment is also a mercy. It can be a smile or a simple “Oh, hon, what a year you’ve had.” It does not ask anything from me but makes a little space for me to stand there in that moment. Without it, I often feel like I am starring in a reality program about a woman who gets cancer and is very cheerful about it.

After acknowledgment must come love. This part is tricky because when friends and acquaintances begin pouring out praise, it can sound a little too much like a eulogy. I’ve had more than one kindly letter written about me in the past tense, when I need to be told who I might yet become.

But the impulse to offer encouragement is a perfect one. There is tremendous power in touch, in gifts and in affirmations when everything you knew about yourself might not be true anymore. I am a professor, but will I ever teach again? I’m a mom, but for how long? A friend knits me socks and another drops off cookies, and still another writes a funny email or takes me to a concert. These seemingly small efforts are anchors that hold me to the present, that keep me from floating away on thoughts of an unknown future. They say to me, like my sister Maria did on one very bad day: “Yes, the world is changed, dear heart, but do not be afraid. You are loved, you are loved. You will not disappear. I am here.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theodicy, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Psephizo) Mary Cole–Valuing people with Down’s Syndrome: a parent’s response

Our eldest son Ben is ten years old. He plays football and cricket, cycles and swims. He enjoys cartoons, playing Minecraft and other computer games, likes music and reading. Ben has a well-developed sense of humour which tends towards the absurd. He is an expert at annoying his younger brother, is passionate about ice cream and for years has been fascinated by dinosaurs. He also happens to have an extra copy of his twenty first chromosome – he has Down’s Syndrome.

Ben was diagnosed postnatally and at the time it was a shock. This was due in part to the diagnosis being unexpected. Blood tests and a nuchal scan during the pregnancy revealed a low probability of Down’s Syndrome. More to the point, I had absolutely no idea what the diagnosis meant. I had never met anyone with Down’s Syndrome. I had seen an episode of Inspector Frost which featured a character with Down’s Syndrome. This, and the rather dated leaflets handed to us at the hospital were all I had to go on. Things have improved since then. People with Down’s Syndrome are more represented in the media, (although there is still a very long way to go). There are several blogs with the stated aim of raising awareness of the realities of Down’s Syndrome[1] and there are online parent forums which have grown with the rise of social media. None of these sources of information and help were available to me when Ben was born. We were wonderfully supported by friends and family but they were also unsure of what the diagnosis meant for us. Indeed, Ben was about eighteen months old before my first thought each morning ceased to be ‘my baby has Down’s Syndrome’.

Learning to adapt to Ben’s diagnosis has been the most profoundly enriching but also challenging experience of my life. I have had ten years of disrupted nights, do more laundry than would seem physically possible, have a filing cabinet of paperwork just for Ben and a great deal of my time is spent attending appointments. However, Ben touches people’s lives.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(Atlantic) The Center for Disease Control Is About to Fall Off a Funding Cliff

Last October, I wrote that a large pot of money, dedicated to protecting the world from infectious diseases, was about to run dry.

In December 2014, Congress appropriated $5.4 billion to fight the deal with the historic Ebola epidemic that was raging in West Africa. Most of that money went to quashing the epidemic directly, but around $1 billion was allocated to help developing countries improve their ability to detect and respond to infectious diseases. The logic is sound: It is far more efficient to invest money in helping countries contain diseases at the source, than to risk small outbreaks flaring up into large international disasters.

But the $1 billion pot, which was mostly divided between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID, runs out in 2019—a fiscal cliff with disaster at its foot….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Theology

(Times Picayune) Ted Jackson offers a stunning portrait of a former NFL star who played in 2 Super Bowls–The search for Jackie Wallace

One foot in front of the other, the hulking old man trudged up the ramp to the Pontchartrain Expressway. A cold wind stiffened his face, so he bundled tighter and kept walking. His decision was made. A life full of accolades and praise meant nothing to him now. A man who was once the pride of his New Orleans hometown, his St. Augustine alma mater and his 7th Ward family and friends was undone. He was on his way to die.

The man was tired. In his 63 years, he had run with the gods and slept with the devil. Living low and getting high had become as routine as taking a breath. A hideous disease was eating his insides. He was an alcoholic, and he also craved crack cocaine. He was tired of fighting. He was tired of playing the game.

He crossed the last exit ramp and continued walking the pavement toward the top of the bridge. He dodged cars as they took the ramp. No one seemed to notice the ragged man walking to his suicide. If they did notice, they didn’t stop to help.

Only a half-mile more and it would all be over. One hundred and 50 feet below, the powerful currents of the Mississippi River would swallow his soul and his wretched life. He dodged another car. But why did it matter? Getting hit by a car would serve his purposes just as well as jumping.

How did it come to this? This was long after Jackie had turned his life around, or so we both thought….

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Sports, Theology