Really, who the hell are you?
We hear the above term a lot, and some suspect that it is derives from the Hadith of the Prophet of Islam (Peace Be Upon Him). However, most are confused as to its origins, given that it appears in a broad mixture of Islamic and Christian teachings. For those of you who cannot read the Arabic الدين معاملة, it roughly means “religion is in the treatment of others”.
At the end of the day, it is simply impossible to argue that this is a struggle between secularism and faith. Rather, it’s a struggle about what kind of faith we North Carolinians want to live.
Next Tuesday, May 8, the citizens of North Carolina will go to the ballot to participate in the state’s 2012 primary elections. But they’ll also have the opportunity to vote for or against a proposed state constitutional amendment that begins, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.” Though gay marriage is already illegal in North Carolina, proponents suggest that the measure will prevent its future legalization.
Last night made it clear that, even if Romney remains the frontrunner, we will need to start thinking about the possibility that Santorum could secure the nomination.
When I heard yesterday that Sarah Palin was already talking about a potential presidential bid in 2016, I saw the writing on the wall: The Republican establishment isn’t even pretending to care about 2012 anymore. That an Obama win seems certain despite Obama’s middling approval ratings is an embarrassment to the Republican Party, to be sure. The people in the trenches care, certainly, but the Party bigwigs? Not so much.
Parents were not informed. Consent was not given. Informed consent was non-existent.
After the heartbreaking revelations about the treatment of children in Irish industrial schools, documented in the Ryan Report, it is difficult to imagine how any action by the state or the Catholic Church could continue to shock. Children in industrial schools, run by the Church on behalf of the state, were routinely enslaved, raped, beaten, tortured and starved. Now, it has come to light, that some of these children were also used as test subjects in experimental medical trials. (more…)
They have left the Garden of Eden and stepped into Chigwell.
Steven Berkoff goes all, “Old Testament on our ass” with his contemporary reworking of Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, Samson and Delilah and Moses and Pharaoh. Using the Bible, as social commentary is nothing new, priests try and do it every Sunday but to paraphrase Frank Carson, “It’s the way he tells ‘em.”
A single tortured branch extends over the stark white set like the wizened hand of god. This is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, its blackened twigs promising so much direction. But what real opportunity can its dead claws point the way to? (more…)
Even though they’re miserable hookers we need to not judge them or say anything else they won’t like
“I used to be a Bible-banging homophobe. I’m sorry.” Thus read a sign carried by Andrew Marin of the eponymous Marin Foundation at the Chicago gay pride parade on Sunday. But despite his somewhat unfortunate imagery, Marin’s still out there banging … his Bible. He’s just keeping it on the down low.
And the Foundation’s display of “I’m sorry” merchandise (t-shirts available for $20!) went over swimmingly – just look at the tender moment captured on the sidebar. However, many, including noted columnist Dan Savage started to question the Foundation’s motives. As Savage put it, “I don’t want … to discover that these guys came to pride to deliver the same old love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin message …” (more…)
A fervently Catholic gynecologist might put his beliefs into practice on the delivery table.
About thirty years ago, there was an informal secret society in the city of Cork. Perhaps a loose net of those with a shared interest might be more accurate. This group passed the names of certain professionals around – who could be trusted, previous experiences, and religious beliefs. The information was gathered from many sources. It was shared among women of childbearing age because none wanted a fervently Catholic gynecologist.
A fervently Catholic gynecologist might put his beliefs into practice on the delivery table. He might choose to save the life of the child over the mother, or regardless of consequences make sure the woman would conceive again, or choose to mutilate a woman’s body rather than allow the idea that the woman might choose contraception in the future.
In the grand tradition of submission to the catholic church, Irish doctors used the surgical technique of symphysiotomy, long after the rest of the developed world had discredited its practice. Symphysiotomy was developed in 1597 and was routinely used to widen the pelvis during childbirth. By dividing the cartilage of the symphysis pubis, the pelvis can be widened by up to two centimetres.
Known complications include haemorrhage, injury to the urethra or bladder, vesicovaginal or urethrovaginal fistula, stress incontinence, sepsis, and pelvic osteoarthropathy. In some cases women experienced difficulty in walking and an unstable pelvis.
The technique was largely abandoned in the late nineteenth century after improvements in the hygiene and clinical practice of Caesarean section. It is still practiced in developing countries when Caesarean section is too risky and it can save the life of the mother and/or that of the child. (more…)
What will it take to find and name the children that never grew up?
Thursday was the first anniversary of the publication of the Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse. Commonly called the Ryan Report, its publication cumulated in the realisation of the extent of the violence, rape and sexual assault that children suffered in the care of the Catholic Church. I have written more here. Eight organisations (Barnardos, CARI, Children’s Rights Alliance, Irish Association of Young People in Care, ISPCC, One in Four, Rape Crisis Network of Ireland and Dublin Rape Crisis Centre) met to discuss progress on the implementation of the Ryan Report.
To this day not a single additional penny has been paid by the eighteen religious congregations that committed crimes against children. I say additional because the Irish Government struck a shameful deal with the religious orders in 2002. The then Minister for Education Michael Woods and Attorney General Michael McDowell struck a secret deal. It was never put before parliament and there was no vote. In short, religious orders were awarded indemnity against all legal claims provided they supplied €128m in cash and property. The idea was that if there was a shortfall, the taxpayer would provide. Woods expected around 2000 claimants and a total cost of around €300m.
Fast forward to 2010, and 14 000 claimants have come forward. The bill is expected to be around €1.3bn. And the religious orders have not contributed a single additional penny. The congregations claim that the Irish Government had not yet provided the details of what further contributions are required. (more…)
It appears that some forms of Christianity are more important than others.
For a number of years now, the so-called “War on Christmas” has been a favorite meme of the Christian Right in the United States. As the title of Fox commentator John Gibson’s book goes,we should all be vigilant against The War Against Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought. Liberals, you see, are plotting to ban Christmas. Down here in Louisiana, there’s not a few people who hold this belief.
But as the eyes of the world are once again on Louisiana with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, other important, if less calamitous, noxious political spills are running through the Pelican State. As the state House sits, a number of bills have recently been proposed with religious motivations and implications that bring out the inconsistencies in the conservative worldview dominant in Louisiana politics, most notably that of the notoriously evangelical Republican Governor Bobby Jindal.
Faced with a budget deficit of $238 million this year, Governor Jindal is cutting programs across the board, a not uncommon necessity these days. Health, education and the arts are feeling the pinch hardest, but it is a bill currently in the House that is most suggestive of the dubious priorities of the Republican administration. House Bill 1478 a bill that would, as the Advocate reports, “allow Gov. Bobby Jindal to force state workers to celebrate Christmas or other holidays without pay.”
That’s right, in Louisiana, the Governor wants to have the power to take away Christmas for state workers—or at least, make them celebrate the holiday without pay. For those at the top end of the public service, missing thirteen days of pay annually may not mean much. But for those at the lowest rungs, rather than being a time for family and rest, each public holiday is a potential nightmare. The bill as stands gives workers no options to work the day and thus retain that day’s crucial pay. For many state workers, each unpaid “holiday” will represent an electricity bill not paid, a rent check missed. In December, which has three public holidays, many families will struggle to pay bills, let alone purchase presents.
After some cautious rewrites by state Rep John Schroder (R-Covington), the bill has been curtailed to only being a possibility when the state is in an officially declared downturn. Clearly after the recession of 2008, we are in a downturn now. But as anyone who has ever spent time in Louisiana will tell you, the state, one of the poorest in the nation, is almost always in a downturn.
But if this sounds downright unChristian, compare this to several of the other bills under review in Louisiana. Recently, a State Senate committee has endorsed a bill that requires women to receive an obstretics ultrasound before having an abortion. Unbelievably, this bill was watered down significantly. The Advocate reports:
“Senate Bill 528 originally required the ultrasound screen to be in plain sight of the woman and would have required a detailed explanation that included whether arms, legs or internal organs were visible. The woman also would have been required to receive a photograph of the ultrasound.”
The idea of this bill is, of course, to deter women from having abortions. By looking at the ultrasound and having the fetus’s development narrated by the doctor, the fetus will be perceived as a person, and thus the woman’s mind will be changed. The original requirements of 528 bear a striking similarity to the infamous bill passed recently in Oklahoma (which has been temporarily blocked by an injunction order and will inevitably undergo legal challenges as to its constitutionality). Another bill is currently in the House in Florida, where women will be not only required to undergo an ultrasound but to pay for it, while in Nebraska a bill has been passed banning abortions after 20 weeks. Blogger Melissa MacEwan calls this the “chip, chip, chip” strategy of anti-abortion activists, a slow, steady movement across the country to make access to abortion infinitely more restricted, more expensive, and more inhumane and distressing for the woman involved.
Yet, rather than a lack of attention to the humanity of the fetus, research shows that most abortions are motivated by financial need. As a 2005 report from the Guttmacher Institute [PDF] found, the most common reasons for having an abortion are that a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%) or that the woman could not afford a baby now (73%). This is the kind of financial hardship produced by, among other things, the free-market absolutism of the neo-conservative era that Republicans like Jindal still cling to even after bringing the country to the brink of financial ruin.
In Louisiana, Christianity is an ever-present reality, from the Baptists in the north of the state to the Catholics in the south, and never more so than in the politics. The pro-life position is very close to state sponsored—for instance, you can purchase pro-life number plates for your car, but not pro-choice. The religious roots of the pro-life movement have been extensively documented, and here it almost goes without saying that a politician is pro-life.
Yet it appears that some forms of Christianity are more important than others. The ability to celebrate Christmas, to spend holidays with your family, these are evaporated by the Christian Right’s free-market absolutism. While the Right on the one hand seeks to push a particularly restrictive conservative Christian interpretation onto women’s bodies, with the other it takes away the ability of families to celebrate the very foundation of Christianity—Jesus’s birth. And there is very little that is less Christian than that.
Priests have greater access to boys.
It is commonly said that the best defence is a good offence, but just because it works in football does not mean that it should be a universal strategy. Someone should mention this to Tarcisio Bertone. If you have not heard, he is a big cheese at the Vatican (technically the Vatican’s secretary of state). In a determined effort to once more abdicate responsibility for clerical sexual abuse and the ensuring cover up, Bertone stated last week that:
“Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true… That is the problem.”
Truth it is not. (more…)
Global Comment © 2012 | Design & Developed by : Slate