Worth Reading - 6/10

1. If there is anything that we should remember when perusing the internet, it is that the context is so often removed. There is often a backstory that we are completely unaware of, so when we rush to comment, we are often playing the role of the fool. Here is one example, where a picture went viral on social media of a proposal at a wedding. Critics slammed the couple for "upstaging" the bride on her big day. In reality, there's a lot more to her story. It wasn't the now-affianced couple that was the problem, it is the social media shamers: 

“The sharing of the photo is a psychological reflection of the person taking the picture, not the photographed,” the psychotherapist and cultural theorist Aaron Balick wrote of online shaming earlier this year. On one hand shame is a natural human practice: We do it to enforce cultural norms and to identify ourselves as part of some superior “in group.” But there’s something new, Balick argues — something “frightening” — about the addition of social media.

“[We’ve begun] seeing other people and other things as a representation of ourselves rather than as full subjects unto themselves,” he writes. And as smartphones and social networks become more prevalent, they’ll keep allowing us “to take and distribute photographs of others and share them with friends and strangers without pausing to think that that other person has feelings, and more importantly, without even bothering to ask them for consent.”

2. At the same time, just so you don't quit social media altogether, Joe Carter has published a post at The Gospel Coalition arguing social media might be helping to reduce the number of abortions:

The Associated Press obtained the most recent abortion numbers from the health departments of all 45 states that compile such data on a comprehensive basis. (States not compiling such data are California, Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Wyoming.) Although the U.S. population has increased by 9 million, the survey found a nationwide decrease in abortions of about 12 percent since 2010.

The biggest decrease in abortion, percentage-wise, was in Hawaii, where abortions fell from 3,064 in 2010 to 2,147 in 2014. In two states, Michigan and Louisiana, abortions actually increased by significant amounts, due largely to an influx of women from more neighboring states with more restrictive laws.

Since 2011, state have enacted a total of 267 abortion restrictions. Yet in five of the six states with the biggest declines — Hawaii (30 percent), New Mexico (24 percent), Nevada (22 percent), Rhode Island (22 percent), Connecticut (21 percent) — have passed no recent laws to restrict abortion clinics or providers.

3. Next Thursday the Pope will release a much anticipated statement on the environment. Here is Rev. Sirico discussing the potential content of the forthcoming encyclical: