Volume > Issue > The News You May Have Missed: April 2023

The News You May Have Missed: April 2023

Contrarian Credo

A Florida megachurch is requiring members to sign a statement defending traditional marriage, and those who don’t sign it will be kicked out (The Christian Post, Jan. 27). The statement reads, “I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government, is between one man and one woman, and is the only context for sexual desire and expression.” Senior Pastor Heath Lambert said leadership of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville had “been considering such a statement for a while,” and the decision was “made by our entire congregation.” The new requirement for membership comes at a time of intense debate and schism among Protestant denominations over matters of marriage and sexuality. Last year over 1,800 congregations split from the United Methodist Church amid disagreements over homosexuality, while earlier this year the Church of England announced plans to bless same-sex unions. “This is a statement for the members of our church, who are free to sign it or not,” Lambert said. “If people don’t like our statement, they can ignore us. They [can] go to any other church or to no church.”

 

A Bit o’ the Ol’ Blarney

A North Carolina man developed an “uncontrollable” Irish accent after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, despite never having visited Ireland, researchers say (BBC News, Feb. 17). The subject, who was in his 50s at the time of diagnosis, also had no immediate family from Ireland, yet his “brogue” remained until his death. The case was studied by Duke University in North Carolina and the Carolina Urologic Research Center in South Carolina and published in the British Medical Journal. The man’s accent was “present in all settings and gradually became persistent,” the researchers wrote. They suspect the change was caused by paraneoplastic neurological disorder, which occurs when cancer patients’ immune systems attack parts of their brain, muscles, nerves, and spinal cord. Though rare, other cases have been reported. In 2006 a British woman suffered a stroke, and her Geordie accent was replaced by a Jamaican-sounding one. An early case involved a Norwegian woman who developed a German accent after being hit by bomb shrapnel during an air raid in 1941. She was shunned by locals who thought she was a Nazi spy.

 

“Fire” Fight

The word firemen is “sexist” and “exclusionary” and should be “erased from our vocabulary,” Fire Chief Dave Russel of Greater Manchester, England, told his charges, and the singular and plural forms of the word will “not be tolerated” because they are “a form of micro-aggression that is damaging to our culture” (Telegraph, Feb. 23). He’d prefer people call Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service crews firefighters. “We employ firefighters, not ‘firemen,’ and haven’t for decades,” he said, lamenting that the term “regularly slips into people’s everyday vocabulary” and “often goes unnoticed and unchallenged.” Andy Morgan, a Conservative councilor, called Russel’s rule “ridiculous.” For several years Morgan served on Greater Manchester’s Fire Authority, and he said he “never witnessed any discrimination of any kind, and no one raised any concerns.” To “outlaw” the word firemen and to “suggest disciplinary action for anyone that says it out of habit, without any malice,” he said, “is completely inappropriate.”

 

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