Friday, August 21, 2015

Good Friday Denied to Cranston Teachers

For the first time this year, the Cranston Rhode Island school committee eliminated Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Good Friday as school holidays. Instead, it negotiated a collective bargaining agreement that allows teachers to take up to two days off each school year if they are required to attend religious services during the school day.

AP reports that on Monday the union filed suit because the school system has denied requests from some 200 teachers to take Good Friday off, even though they allowed teachers who requested it to take Rosh Hashanah off last fall. School Superintendent Judith Lundsten says that the Good Friday requests are not covered by the collective bargaining agreement because Good Friday does not require attendance at religious services during school hours. According to the Cranston Patch, the suit claims that the discriminatory denial of religious leave here is a breach of the collective bargaining agreement and a violation of the state Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

The reasoning of the school committee is flawed. Good Friday is properly a full day of fasting and prayer. It may or may not involve a church service, but it does involve fasting, prayer and quiet contemplation of the Lord's Sacrifice. These activities cannot be done in the context of a routine work day.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Population Increases and Hunger Decreases

Contrary to the fear mongering of population alarmists, the world isn’t heading for a demographic catastrophe. The latest data on world population from the UN Population Division reveal a number of trends that indicate otherwise. The following is PRI’s brief overview of some of the findings from the recently released 2015 Revision of the World Population Prospects.

According to the UN Population Division’s medium variant projection, world population is estimated to be 7.3 billion today. That number is expected to rise to 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. In the past two and a half decades, world population has increased by 2 billion people. Yet despite the rapid rise in world population, the percentage of people living with hunger in developing countries has actually dropped from 24% to 14% over the same time period. Welcoming another 4 billion to the human family, if that in fact actually happens, does not necessitate a demographic catastrophe.

Read it all here.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Lord Weidenfeld Repays a Debt

A Jewish peer who fled occupied Austria as a child is funding the rescue of up to 2,000 Christians from Syria and Iraq as a way of showing his gratitude to the religion whose members saved him from the Nazis.

Lord Weidenfeld says he has “a debt to repay” to Christians fleeing Isis, because the Quakers and the Plymouth Brethren fed and clothed him and helped him to reach Britain in 1938.

The publisher is spearheading Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund, which last week supported the flight of 150 Syrian Christians to Poland on a privately chartered plane to allow them to seek refuge, making them the first beneficiaries of the resettlement project.

Read it all here.