Gay conversion therapy. You wouldn’t think “gay conversion therapy for children,” as The Philadelphia Inquirer called it, would become an issue in the New Jersey governor’s race, but that’s exactly what’s happened in the past few days. The issue came up because Gov. Chris Christie would not commit to signing a bill co-sponsored by state Sen. Barbara Buono, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. That bill would forbid licensed counselors from helping minors resist unwanted same-sex attractions. Buono called Christie a “right-wing reactionary” for his indecision on the bill. Christie then said, through a spokesman, he opposed gay conversion therapy. “You know, I’m of two minds on this stuff in general,” Christie said Wednesday. “One, I think there should be lots of deference given to parents on raising their children. … I’m generally a skeptic on those things. Now there can always be exceptions to those rules, and this bill may be one of them.”
Honduran experiment. A group of investors plan to build a small town in Honduras that will give small government and free-market capitalism a real chance to thrive. According to Fox News, the investors plan to build a town “with no taxes on income, capital gains or sales. Proponents say the tiny, as-yet-unnamed town will become a Central American beacon of job creation and investment by combining secure property rights with minimal government interference.” Michael Strong, CEP of the MKG Group, which is putting the first $15 million into the project, said, “Once we provide a sound legal system within which to do business, the whole job creation machine—the miracle of capitalism—will get going.” Honduran leaders hope the city will lead to an economic boom for the poverty-stricken country south of Mexico. The average income in Honduras is $4,400 a year. The plan for the city says it will create 5,000 jobs in the first year and ultimately more than 200,000 jobs.
Dating in middle school? Ever since Josh Harris published “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” in 1997, lots of Christians, especially in the homeschooling community, have said the modern convention of dating is a destructive practice. Now, new data supports that idea. Pamela Orpinas, head of the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior at the University of Georgia, monitored 624 students as they progressed from sixth grade to 12th grade in six different school districts in Georgia. Every year, the students completed a questionnaire about their personal lives. Teachers evaluated each student’s academic performance. Twenty-two percent of teens in the study began dating someone in the sixth grade. According to Orpinas: “At all points in time, teachers rated the students who reported the lowest frequency of dating as having the best study skills and the students with the highest dating as having the worst study skills.” Middle-school kids who date are four times more likely to drop out of school and twice as likely to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. The article appeared last week in the Journal of Research on Adolescence.
Asteroids? Pray. NASA chief Charles Bolden said if a large asteroid approaches Earth, the best strategy for dealing with it is “to pray.” In fact, at this point, that’s about the only strategy the United States and other world leaders have. Bolden made his comments at a U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee hearing on Tuesday. An asteroid estimated to have been about 55 feet in diameter exploded on Feb. 15 over Chelyabinsk, Russia, generating shock waves that shattered windows and damaged buildings. More than 1,500 people were injured. On the same day, a much larger asteroid discovered last year passed about 17,200 miles from Earth, closer than the network of television and weather satellites that ring the planet. The events “serve as evidence that we live in an active solar system with potentially hazardous objects passing through our neighborhood with surprising frequency,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas. Bolden said NASA has found and is tracking what it believes to be about 95 percent of the largest objects flying near Earth, those a kilometer or more in diameter. “An asteroid of that size could plausibly end civilization,” White House science advisor John Holdren told legislators at the same hearing. T.S. Eliot said the world would end not with a bang, but with a whimper. Turns out, it could be both, and prayer is looking like a pretty good idea after all.