By Grace Ostuni
On January 20, students from the Our Lady of the Rosary School in Greenville, South Carolina, were asked to leave the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. because of their pro-life hats.
The group was visiting the museum before attending the annual March for Life. The students and chaperones wore matching pro-life beanies to identify each other and stay together in the museum and at the March. The security guards told the group to remove their hats or leave the premises.
“The museum staff mocked the students, called them expletives and made comments that the museum was a ‘neutral zone’ where they could not express such statements,” said attorney Jordan Sekulow.
Sekulow noted that the museum receives about 70% of its funding from the federal government and that such actions in violation of the First Amendment are especially egregious for a government institution.
The Smithsonian Museum has released a statement assuring the public that such an incident will not happen again.
“Asking visitosr to remove hats and clothing is not in keeping with our policies or protocols. We provided immediate training to prevent a re-occurrence of this kind of incident,” said Alison Wood, the museum’s deputy director of communications. The student group has said they will be taking legal action.
Mark Houck, a pro-life advocate, has been acquitted of all charges against him following his arrest at his home in September 2022.
In October of 2021, Houck was praying outside an abortion clinic in Philadelphia with his son. Houck was accused of pushing a 72-year-old abortion clinic escort twice, knocking him over and causing an injury that required medical attention. The escort said this altercation was the result of an argument over reproductive rights, but Houck maintained that he was attempting to protect his 12-year-old son from the escort’s increasing harassments.
Houck was charged with two counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, accompanied by a potential 11-year prison sentence.
Houck claims that a SWAT team of about 25 came to his house in September 2022 to arrest him. According to Houck, the SWAT team threatened to break down the door and then pointed guns at his wife and children. The FBI later released a statement denying the involvement of any SWAT teams in the arrest. On January 30 2023, Philadelphia jurors determined Houck not guilty.
Tom Brady, NFL quarterback and winner of seven Super Bowls, announced his retirement for the second time over social media on Friday, February 1.
In February of 2022, Brady retired for the first time but quickly changed his mind and came back to play in the 2022 season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, the team Brady played 18 seasons for, has offered Brady a one-day contract, which would allow him to retire with the Patriots.
Although Brady left the Patriots in 2019, he “wouldn’t change a thing” about his career. Over 23 seasons, Brady has won seven Super Bowls: six with the Patriots and one with the Buccaneers. For five of these Super Bowls, Brady was named MVP, the only player ever to achieve such a feat.
The Football Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees has stated that as soon as Brady is eligible, he will be inducted. Brady will continue to be a part of the sport he has dedicated so much of his life to. He recently signed up for a 10-year contract as an analyst for Fox Sports.
Additionally, he is starring in and producing a film about his career called “80 For Brady,” which was released to theaters on February 3.
Pope Francis visited the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan on a mission of peace beginning on Jan. 31, 2023.
It has been almost 40 years since a pope has visited these nations. To share his message, he was joined by two other religious leaders: Iain Greenshield, the moderator of the Church of Scotland, and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
From 2013-2018, South Sudan underwent a bloody civil war. Although fighting has ceased for almost five years, official peace efforts have been unsuccessful due to mistrust between the two nations’ leaders.
Pope Francis preached that hearts need to rid themselves of “anger and remorse, of every trace of resentment and hostility.” He stated that the opponents need to grant each other a “great amnesty of the heart.”
While some parts of the country received this message with open hearts, not all were ready to lay down their arms. His visit to the eastern city of Goma was cancelled because of escalating violence and security reasons.
Not all of the pontiff’s visit saw such hostility, however. Kinshasa, the Congo’s capital, became the sight of one of Pope Francis’ largest Masses. The country called a public holiday in order to let as many people attend as wanted. As a result, reports are stating that there were about a million attendees.
A mosque bombing in northwest Pakistan on Monday, January 30 left over 100 people dead and over 200 injured, the deadliest attack in the country in years.
A suicide bomber dressed as a policeman entered a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan with 26.5 pounds of explosives. There were more than 300 people in attendance at the mosque that day. This attack is being called a “national security crisis.”
There are conflicting claims over who is responsible for the terrorist attack. Peshawar is the sight of frequent attacks by the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). At first, the group claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it revenge for the death of a TTP militant the year prior.
However, TTP later retracted this statement and vehemently denied having any part in the bombing. “According to our laws and general constitution, any action in mosques, madrasa, funeral ground, and other sacred places is an offense,” said TTP spokesperson Muhammad Khorasani. Shehbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, stated that the attack had nothing to do with Islam.
“The brutal killing of Muslims prostrating before Allah is against the teachings of the Quran,” Sharif said.
Some consider the attack to be a sign of the deteriorating security situation in Peshawar.
A Chinese balloon was sighted flying above the northwestern United States on Thursday, February 2.
The balloon was first sighted over a high security military site in Montana. The following day, the Chinese government confirmed it as belonging to them.
“The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes. Affected by the westerlies [prevailing winds traveling west to east] and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course,” said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
Many U.S. weather experts say that the wind patterns cited would not result in the balloon going so far off course and taking the direction that it did.
Following the balloon’s sighting, Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled his trip to Beijing, which was aimed at easing U.S.-China tensions. Blinken said that the trip will be rescheduled.
Though President Joe Biden was initially advised not to have the balloon shot down due to risk of property damage or civilian casualty, on Feb. 4 Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed that the balloon was shot down by a U.S. military fighter jet off the Eastern Seaboard.
Authorities believe that the balloon did not pose a threat and there was little risk of it recording any high security information.