Category : Teens / Youth

([London] Times) German girl Linda Wenzel with Isis snipers ‘must face justice in Iraq’

A German teenager found with Islamic State snipers in Mosul must be put on trial, according to a Yazidi MP who is the most prominent spokesperson for her beleaguered people.

Linda Wenzel, 16, must be properly investigated before being allowed to return to Germany, Vian Dakhil said. Ms Dakhil sits in the Iraqi parliament and came to prominence with a tearful appeal for help when Isis was massacring thousands of Yazidis in 2014.

“A sniper #isis was captured in #Mosul, she is ‘German girl’,” Ms Dakhil tweeted. “The mother of the #sniper girl was found in #Germany and she didn’t deny that she is her daughter.”

Ms Dakhil later said that Linda’s mother, Katharina, had confirmed that the girl pulled from a tunnel in the bomb-ravaged Old City area of Mosul was her daughter.

“She is now being investigated by the security forces,” Ms Dakhil told The Times. “We will demand that the government does not hand her over to her country. She came to Iraq and joined a terrorist group and she has to be punished according to Iraqi law here.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Children, Germany, Iraq, Marriage & Family, Teens / Youth, Terrorism

(PD) Nathan Smith–On sex Before Marriage: Our grandparents were right, and we are wrong

On the other side is the glory of marriage, and while there’s more to that glory than the selfish genes can explain, they shed an important light on it. For when two people marry, “leaving father and mother” as the Bible says and committing to lifelong monogamy, their genetic interests are united, at least approximately, creating a harmony of instincts. Ordinarily, our instincts put us in competition with our fellow human beings. In marriage, instinct is on the side of love.

Children are the large, obvious reason why marriage is good for society and why premarital sex isn’t. Sexual relationships always absorb a lot of people’s energy and attention, so they impoverish society unless they give something back. Marriage makes the next generation, under the most favorable conditions. Premarital sex is usually not intended for procreation, and if it does result in children, they enter life at a disadvantage because they lack stable parental commitments to raising them.

But even compared to childless marriage, premarital sex has an unwholesome character because, by failing to address genetic conflicts of interest through marriage, it allows competition, exploitation, and fear of betrayal to penetrate into the heart of the most intimate human relationships, not stealthily, but openly and as if by right. There is no way to make premarital sex promote the good of society or of the individuals involved. The world would be a better place if it never happened at all.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology: Scripture, Young Adults

(NPR) They Quit Their Office Jobs in Nigeria’s Parliament To Teach Kids In A Camp For Displaced People

Zachariah Ibrahim dreams of being a pilot. That’s not so unusual for a 13-year-old kid. But not that long ago, Zachariah didn’t have many dreams for the future.

Two young Nigerians helped give him hope again.

Awofeso Adebola, 23, and Ifeoluwa Ayomide, 22, had well-paying jobs in the Nigerian parliament. Then Adebola visited the displaced person camp in Durumi, outside the capital city of Abuja, to donate relief materials. That’s where Zachariah lives. The camp is home to some 2,000 people who’ve fled from the attacks of Boko Haram, which is fighting to carve out an Islamic state in the north of the country.

“They were shooting people and burning down homes,” the bristly-haired teenager says, tears welling up in his eyes. “My family trekked for four days with little food and water.” That was in June 2014.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Nigeria, Pastoral Theology, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Young Adults

(WSJ) Clare Ansberry–The Teenage Spiritual Crisis

Thomas [Ramey] hit another hard stretch when he was about age 16 and three people close to him died, including a friend of the family who had dementia. Thomas and his mother visited often, helping the man’s wife care for him. “For weeks I prayed for God to kill this man so his wife wouldn’t have to see him in pain anymore,” he says. “He suffered and died in a terrible way.”

“Thomas is very compassionate,” says Mrs. Ramey. He stops in twice a week to help an elderly neighbor empty her trash and works in a soup kitchen.

Sometime after that, he quit praying. “If something bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen,” he says. “Deal with it head on. I am not going to sit there and say to God ‘Don’t let this happen and don’t let that happen.’”

Thomas still believes in God. The earth and solar system are too complex and fragile not to have something influencing and connecting everything, he says. “Whether whatever created us, loves us, is a different matter,” he says. He doubts there is an afterlife and isn’t troubled by that.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth

NYT: How one Christian School Dealt with a Teenager who bravely chose to Keep her Baby

Ms. Runkles’s story sheds light on a delicate issue: how Christian schools, which advocate abstinence until marriage, treat pregnant teenagers.

“You have these two competing values,” said Brad Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia who directs the National Marriage Project, which conducts research on marriage and families. “On the one hand, the school is seeking to maintain some kind of commitment to what has classically been called chastity — or today might be called abstinence. At the same time, there’s an expectation in many Christian circles that we are doing all that we can to honor life.”

Navigating that balance is exceedingly difficult for Christian educators, and schools respond in various ways, said Rick Kempton, chairman of the board of the Association of Christian Schools International, which represents about 3,000 schools in the United States and many others overseas.

“There’s a biblical term that many Christian schools use, and it is the whole idea of grace: What would Jesus do?” Mr. Kempton said. Of Ms. Runkles, he added: “She’s making the right choice. But you don’t want to create a celebration that makes other young ladies feel like, ‘Well, that seems like a pretty good option.’”

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Uncategorized

(Chic Tribune) Student who tried hacking into grading system sues school board for expelling him

The lawsuit argues that state law and legal precedence require that school districts consider other measures of punishment before expulsion, and that failed to happen in this case.

According to the hearing officer’s report, an administrator at the Northbrook school did not specify whether other measures were considered but said a disciplinary committee that investigated “felt it was important to send a message.”

“If (the student) is allowed to return to school after serving a suspension, then other students could certainly decide that attempting to access a teacher’s account to change grades is worth the risk,” the report said.

The lawsuit contends that the student has not had disciplinary problems at school and that his actions caused no disruption to school operations, factors that the suit contends should have resulted in lesser punishment.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

(NPR) Wearing A Hijab, A Young Muslim Boxer Enters The Ring

In November, young boxer Amaiya Zafar traveled from Minnesota to Florida to fight her first competitive bout.

But before Zafar even had her gloves on, officials called off the fight – they told the 16-year-old she had to remove the hijab she wore or forfeit the match. A devout Muslim, Zafar refused, and her 15-year-old opponent was declared the victor.

USA Boxing, the sport’s national governing body, has dictated that athletes fight in sleeveless jerseys and shorts no longer than the knee. Zafar adds long sleeves, leggings, and a sporty hijab to the uniform.

The organization appears to be shifting its policy, and…[later] it granted Zafar a religious exemption to compete wearing the hijab so she…[could] fight…in Minneapolis.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Islam, Religion & Culture, Sports, Teens / Youth

A Veteran College Admissions officer on the one letter of recommendation she will never forget

Letters of recommendation are typically superfluous, written by people who the applicant thinks will impress a school. We regularly receive letters from former presidents, celebrities, trustee relatives and Olympic athletes. But they generally fail to provide us with another angle on who the student is, or could be as a member of our community.

This letter was different.

The custodian wrote that he was compelled to support this student’s candidacy because of his thoughtfulness. This young man was the only person in the school who knew the names of every member of the janitorial staff. He turned off lights in empty rooms, consistently thanked the hallway monitor each morning and tidied up after his peers even if nobody was watching. This student, the custodian wrote, had a refreshing respect for every person at the school, regardless of position, popularity or clout.

Over 15 years and 30,000 applications in my admissions career, I had never seen a recommendation from a school custodian. It gave us a window onto a student’s life in the moments when nothing “counted.” That student was admitted by unanimous vote of the admissions committee.

Read it all (shared by yours truly in the morning sermon).

Posted in Education, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

(Sky News) Boko Haram using drugged child suicide bombers – UNICEF

Islamist group Boko Haram is increasingly forcing children to carry out suicide bombings – often drugging them before missions, according to UNICEF.

At least 117 suicide attacks have been carried out by young people in the Lake Chad basin region since 2014, with nearly 80% of the bombs strapped to girls, a new report says.

UNICEF’s Marie-Pierre Poirier said the mere sight of children at checkpoints and markets was sparking fear – meaning almost 1,500 children were detained last year across Nigeria, Cameron, Niger and Chad.

Ms Poirier said: “These children are victims, not perpetrators. Forcing or deceiving them into committing such horrific acts is reprehensible.”

Read it all.

Posted in Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Violence

South Carolina lawmakers considering allowing teens to get protection orders tied to dating violence

Lawmakers are considering allowing teenagers as young as 16 to get court orders of protection — without parental consent — when they are victims of domestic violence.

A proposed bill would also require teen-dating violence education in public schools and would increase penalties for those convicted of associated crimes.

Students from Ridge View High School in Columbia recently testified before a Statehouse panel supporting legislation that better defines teen dating violence.

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sexuality, State Government, Teens / Youth, Violence

(Church Times) A Kenyan Pastor preaches against FGM, despite threats

A pastor in Kenya is making a stand against female genital mutilation (FGM) to protect his daughters from an “injustice that would rob them” of their human rights, education, and well-being, an anti-FGM campaigner in the country, Susan Krop, has reported.

The pastor, Emmanuel Longelech, and his three daughters, live in West Pokot, a region of Kenya where an estimated 72 per cent of girls undergo FGM ”” also known as female circumcision. There are no known health benefits of the procedure, which can cause severe long-term physical and mental damage.

Ms Krop campaigns against FGM in the region. She is chairwoman of the Kongelai Women’s Network, a group of about 100 members funded by ActionAid. The charity works with women and girls in the poorest parts of the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Kenya, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence, Women

(WWM) Photographer tells stories of ”˜Boko Haram girls’

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Photos/Photography, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

Comment by the Archbishop of Canterbury in response to the statement by the Bp of Guildford

From there:

“I applaud today’s moving, honest and courageous statement by Andrew Watson, the Bishop of Guildford, by making public his experience of abuse at the hands of John Smyth. The traumatic experience he and others went through is utterly appalling and punishment of this kind is wrong. In meetings with survivors of abuse, I have listened to them, prayed for them and wept with them, and am deeply conscious of their suffering. My continued prayers are with Andrew and all the victims of abuse.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

A Statement of the Bp of Guildford, Andrew Watson, regarding his own Iwerne Camp abuse

I am one of the survivors of John Smyth’s appalling activities in the late 1970s and early ’80s. I am also one of the Bishops in the Church of England. This has placed me in a unique and challenging position when it comes to the events of the past few days. My own story is certainly less traumatic than that of some others. I was drawn into the Smyth circle, as they were, and the beating I endured in the infamous garden shed was violent, excruciating and shocking; but it was thankfully a one-off experience never to be repeated. A while later one of my friends attempted suicide on the eve of another session in the shed (a story movingly told in the Channel 4 Report), and at that point I and a friend shared our story.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(ACNS) Anglican Church in Melbourne intervenes in debate about a surge in youth crime

Bishop Philip Huggins, the Vicar-General of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, has called for a fresh approach to the growing problem of youth crime in the state of Victoria. His comments come after a spate of riots and violent crimes by young offenders over many months and a mass breakout from a youth justice centre earlier this week. The authorities have announced plans for a new high security juvenile prison that will be built for the state’s worst youth criminals.

But Bishop Huggins has now called for a more strategic approach to replace what he called the current fragmented system: “Problems evident in Victoria’s youth justice system will not be solved simply with new prisons and tougher sentences, and certainly not by just blaming politicians or police”, he said. “There is a growing cohort of young people who are dysfunctional at many levels, whose backgrounds may involve domestic and family violence, unstable housing, problems of addiction, and perhaps an inability to find positive social identity through education and durable employment.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Theology