30 August 2012

Marriage vows problematical

Marriage vows problematical, by Dorothy Lee (Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, 30 August 2012)

To replace ‘obey’ with ‘submit to’ in a proposed change to the wedding vows by a Sydney diocesan panel is to misunderstand the context of submission in the ancient world of the Bible, argues New Testament scholar Dorothy Lee. In a recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald (‘To love and to submit: a marriage made in 2012,’ 25/8), the liturgical panel of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney is reported as proposing a new form of the marriage vows that would ask brides to “honour and submit to” their husbands, “as the Church submits to Christ”.

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27 August 2012

Bishop's Extravagant Behavior Triggers Uproar

Bishop's Extravagant Behavior Triggers Uproar, by Martin U. Müller and Peter Wensierski (Spiegel Online, 23 August 2012)

He extols the virtues of poverty and humility, but the German bishop of Limburg enjoys first-class flights and a luxurious new living complex. As the truth comes out about their secretive shepherd, local Catholics are threatening to abandon the fold en masse.

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24 August 2012

Growing number of Latinos have no religious affiliation

Growing number of Latinos have no religious affiliation, by Jacqueline Mejia (NBC Latino, 23 August 2012)

It’s been three years since Alicia Martinez, a Los Angeles college graduate, left the Catholic Church and still is on the search for a church that will “complete her”. “I have been going to Catholic churches my entire life but it never clicked with me. Time is too short to just go through the motions and not feel connected to the religion you’re attached to. Now that I’m older, I choose not to be associated with a religion until I know it’s right in my heart,” says Martinez. Martinez is one of the growing thousands of Latinos not choosing to identify with a specific religion.

A Pew Hispanic Center’s National Survey in April 2012 shows Latinos have become increasingly less religious with newer generations.  The survey explains while only about one in ten foreign-born Latinos are religiously unaffiliated (9 percent), twice as many native-born Latinos are unaffiliated (20 percent). The  trend continues to increase in third-generation Latinos, with 24 percent saying they are unaffiliated.

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Hindus in Malaysia

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Hindus in Jamaica

Part 1:

Part 2:

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16 August 2012

The Catholic church in America: Earthly concerns

The Catholic church in America: Earthly concerns (The Economist, 18 August 2012)

Of All the organisations that serve America’s poor, few do more good work than the Catholic church: its schools and hospitals provide a lifeline for millions. Yet even taking these virtues into account, the finances of the Catholic church in America are an unholy mess. The sins involved in its book-keeping are not as vivid or grotesque as those on display in the various sexual-abuse cases that have cost the American church more than $3 billion so far; but the financial mismanagement and questionable business practices would have seen widespread resignations at the top of any other public institution.
The sexual-abuse scandals of the past 20 years have brought shame to the church around the world. In America they have also brought financial strains. By studying court documents in bankruptcy cases, examining public records, requesting documents from local, state and federal governments, as well as talking to priests and bishops confidentially, The Economist has sought to quantify the damage.

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15 August 2012

Why the Reaction Is Different When the Terrorist Is White

Why the Reaction Is Different When the Terrorist Is White, by Conor Friedersdorf (The Atlantic, 8 August 2012)

Hold the victims constant and give the perpetrator the last name Mohammed. Does anyone think for a moment that such an attack wouldn't still be the most discussed story at Fox News and National Review? And at various network news shows and unaffiliated newspapers for that matter? Instead Wade Michael Page was the gunman. Attacks like his are disconcerting to some white Americans for a seldom acknowledged reason. Since 9/11, many Americans have conflated terrorism with Muslims; and having done so, they've tolerated or supported counterterrorism policies safe in the presumption that people unlike them would bear their brunt. (If Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD sent officers beyond the boundaries of New York City to secretly spy on evangelical Christian students or Israeli students or students who own handguns the national backlash would be swift, brutal, and decisive. The revelation of secret spying on Muslim American students was mostly defended or ignored.) 

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09 August 2012

Profile Me: The Confederate Flag, Shame, and White Male Terror

Profile Me: The Confederate Flag, Shame, and White Male Terror, by Donovan Schaefer (Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 7 August 2012) 

In spring of 2011, Asra Nomani suggested that ethnic profiling of Muslim Americans was a legal and moral imperative given her community’s failure to adequately police itself. A year later, she stepped forward and called for expanded surveillance inside her own community. In the same spirit of enlightened self-critique, let me make a similar call: it is time for racial profiling of white men.

This call is half flippant–a sardonic parody of the kneejerk self-righteousness of Islamophobic discourse–and half serious critique of the disturbed crossing point between whiteness and masculinity in the US.White men, such as myself, have proven ourselves to be one of the most dangerous groups in the country. We are the most likely demographic to be responsible for killing sprees, leading dangerous cults, or plotting acts of violent treason–what we might call White Male Terror. At the same time, white men show a sneering disregard for other groups that are not us, insisting on lax gun laws that lead to spillover violence in Latin America, rejecting the “redistribution of wealth” after generations of benefiting from a rigged economic system, and jealously preserving the legal institution of male privilege by obstructing a constitutional amendment that would make women equal in the eyes of the law. White men have proven themselves unwilling to integrate into American society–even after 500 years of residency. White men cultivate insular subcultures, breeding grounds for the white male’s predominant currency: a sense of invincibility. And it is when this armor of invulnerability is winched apart–as it always will be–that WMT seeps out into the open.

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Martha Nussbaum and the new religious intolerance

Martha Nussbaum's latest book, The New Religious Intolerance, is a vigorous defence of the religious freedom of minorities in the face of post-9/11 Islamophobia. And by minorities she mostly means Muslims. "We see unreasoning fear driving a certain amount of public policy, perhaps more in Europe than in the US," she explains. And Europe has historical form on all this. "The laws that made it illegal to speak Latin in a church but left it legal to speak Latin in universities were covert forms of persecution – and not very covert at all. And you get that all over Europe. You get that in the Swiss minaret case, where a building that expresses the wish of a religious minority is suddenly illegal; you get it in Germany in those cases where nuns can teach in full habit but a teacher can't wear a headscarf."

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The World's Muslims: Unity and Diversity

The World's Muslims: Unity and Diversity (Pew Forum, 9 August 2012)

The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are united in their belief in God and the Prophet Muhammad and are bound together by such religious practices as fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and almsgiving to assist people in need. But they have widely differing views about many other aspects of their faith, including how important religion is to their lives, who counts as a Muslim and what practices are acceptable in Islam, according to a worldwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.
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