Why Ohio? With literally thousands of bills introduced each year at the state level, we generally don’t pay attention to them until they’re close to becoming law. Otherwise, we would end up writing about a lot of inconsequential stuff, bills that never become law and in some cases never even have a chance of becoming law. However, occasionally a statehouse bill comes along worth noting. I would argue that a bill introduced in Ohio to ban counselors from helping patients overcome same-sex attraction is one such piece of legislation. Similar bills have recently become law in New Jersey and California. If this bill passes in Ohio, a “heartland” state, it’s likely other states will follow in quick succession. I should add that both houses of the Ohio legislature are controlled by Republicans, and Republican Gov. John Kasich is unlikely to sign the bill even if it passes. All that said, this is a bill worth watching, if only because it is one of the first times such a bill has been introduced in “fly-over country.”
Global cooling? This was supposed to be an above-average hurricane season, in part because of rising ocean temperatures. So far, though, it hasn’t turned out that way. Humberto, upgraded from tropical storm to hurricane this week, is the first Atlantic hurricane of the year, at one of the latest dates for a first hurricane on record. Oh, and about those rising temperatures: turns out they may not be rising after all. New research suggests global warming is taking a breather, and we may have actually been in a short era of global cooling during the past 10 to 20 years.
Excusing pedophilia. Richard Dawkins, the professional atheist, is under fire for saying that he was abused as a child but that the abuse did not do any “lasting harm.” His remarks appear to excuse what he called “mild pedophilia,” and they also indicate he sees no relationship between the abuse he experienced and his own radical skepticism and moral confusion.
Re-thinking priestly celibacy. Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s new secretary of state, made news this week by saying the Roman Catholic Church’s “tradition” of priestly celibacy was not dogma and could be changed. This is not the first time a high-ranking church official has said something similar. In 2006, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes said priestly celibacy was “part of Catholic history and culture,” but “the church could review this question, because celibacy is not a dogma but a disciplinary question.”