Posts Tagged ‘fear’
Pope Francis has backed the Vatican’s doctrinal crackdown on a major group of American nuns, reasserting the Roman Catholic Church’s conservative approach to various social issues in a move that could cool the warm reception he has received from some liberal Catholics since taking office last month.
The Vatican said in a statement Monday that Francis had reaffirmed the doctrinal evaluation and criticism of U.S. nuns made last year by the Holy See under his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. The assessment accused the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization that represents most U.S. female Catholic orders, of promoting “radical feminist themes” and ignoring the Vatican’s hard line on same-sex marriage and abortion…
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious represents about 57,000 sisters, or 80% of U.S. nuns.
On Monday, officials from the conference met with Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith…Mueller reminded conference officials that organizations such as theirs “are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See,” the Vatican’s statement said, and that Francis had “reaffirmed the findings of the assessment and the program of reform” prescribed for the nuns.
Kenneth Briggs, the author of a book about the Vatican’s clash with U.S. nuns, said Francis’ backing of the Holy See’s unyielding line was “a major blow” to prospects for more dialogue.
“It seems like the Vatican has put a more appealing salesman in charge of the same old product,” Briggs said.
You got it. The “new” pope seems perfectly happy in charge of a ideology in decline – at least as long as the coffers continue to keep him and his brethren living according to whatever style of royalty they choose.
Being out-of-date and irrelevant is, after all, perfectly acceptable behavior to many religious old geezers who fear women, equal opportunity, democracy and progress.
The House on Thursday gave final approval to a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, sending a bipartisan Senate measure to President Obama after a House plan endorsed by conservatives was defeated…It amounted to a significant victory for the president and Congressional Democrats, who have assailed Republicans for months for stalling the legislation.
The successful measure passed the Senate last month with 78 votes — including those of every woman, all Democrats and just over half of Republicans.
The alternative unveiled by the House last Friday immediately came under sharp criticism from Democrats and women’s and human rights groups for failing to include protections in the Senate bill for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse. The House bill also eliminated “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from a list of “populations” that face barriers to receiving victim services — and stripped certain provisions regarding American Indian women on reservations.
With House Republicans divided, the leadership agreed that it would allow a vote on the Senate bill if the House version could not attract sufficient votes, and it failed on a vote of 257 to 166. Sixty Republicans joined 197 Democrats in opposition; 164 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted for it.
The newly passed legislation creates and expands federal programs to assist local communities with law enforcement and aiding victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Most notably, the bill goes further by offering protections for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse, as well as allowing American Indian women who are assaulted on reservations by non-Indians to take their case to tribal courts, which otherwise would not have jurisdiction over assailants who do not live on tribal land…
The legislation’s approval underscored the divide in the Republican party as it struggles to regain its footing with women after its 2012 electoral drubbing among female voters. House Republicans — even split at the leadership level — ultimately bowed to what they saw as the best interests of their party nationally, even if that meant overriding the will of the majority of rank-and-file Republicans.
“Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “Today’s vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the L.G.B.T. community.”
“Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk,” Mr. Obama said…
Various flavors of House Republicans will now spend the next few weeks fabricating the next generation of lies about why they voted against the Senate bill, why they tried to pass a bill riddled with loopholes.
This has been a bill generating automatic bi-partisan support for decades. It has grown in breadth and concern as have the same qualities among American voters. But, now, the nutballs in charge of the Republican Party not only reject growing and learning, they reject bipartisan discussion and negotiation – and most of all – they reject any bill which appears to reflect the leadership of President Obama.
They have the stature that tiny minds deserve. An STD infecting Congress!
Women’s clothing stores warned not to use mannequins – faceless heads are OK
The Brooklyn shopkeeper was already home for the night when her phone rang: a man who said he was from a neighborhood “modesty committee” was concerned that the mannequins in her store’s window, used to display women’s clothing, might inadvertently arouse passing men and boys.
“The man said, ‘Do the neighborhood a favor and take it out of the window,’ ” the store’s manager recalled. “ ‘We’re trying to safeguard our community.’ ”
In many neighborhoods, a store owner might shrug off such a call. But on Lee Avenue, the commercial spine of Hasidic Williamsburg, the warning carried an implied threat — comply with community standards or be shunned. It is a potent threat in a neighborhood where shadowy, sometimes self-appointed modesty squads use social and economic leverage to enforce conformity.
The owner wrestled with the request for a day or two, but decided to follow it. “We can sell it without mannequins, so we might as well do what the public wants,” the owner told the manager, who asked not to be identified because of fear of reprisals for talking.
In the close-knit world of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, community members know the modesty rules…Women wear long skirts and long-sleeved, high-necked blouses on the street; men do not wear Bermuda shorts in summer. Schools prescribe the color and thickness of girls’ stockings.
The rules are spoken and unspoken, enforced by social pressure but also, in ways that some find increasingly disturbing, by the modesty committees…
A 15-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of two adults and three children, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office said.
Last night, police found five people dead at a South Valley home in the 2800 block of Long Lane SW. A man, a woman, two girls and a boy were found in the home with several gunshot wounds. Friends identified the man as Greg Griego, a pastor at Calvary Church in Albuquerque.
Shortly after 1:00 p.m. police identified the 15-year-old as Nehemiah Griego.
Police believe the teenager used an AR-15 semi automatic rifle in the shooting. Multiple weapons were retrieved from the house.
Various nutballs from around the state turned out at the beginning of the weekend to voice their hatred and fear, their mindless rote about the 2nd Amendment somehow being threatened. There were fewer than 100 people at the state capitol.
They were the same people who showed up for the so-called Tea Party rallies.
They were the same people who threatened violence and death for Black children who dared enter previously all-white schools.
They were the same people who volunteered to join the army, see the world, visit foreign lands and kill everyone.
This week millions of “Chreasters” — Americans who attend church only on Christmas and Easter — will crowd into pews to sing carols and renew their vague relationship with the Christian God. This year, there may be fewer Chreasters than ever. A growing number of “nones” live in our midst: those who say they have no religious affiliation at all. An October Pew Research Center poll revealed that they now account for 20 percent of the population, up from 16 percent in 2008.
Avoiding church does not excuse Americans from marking the birth of Jesus, however. Most of us have no choice but to stay home from work or school — and if you complain about this glaring exception to the separation between church and state, you must be a scrooge with no heart for tradition. Christmas has been a federal holiday for 142 years.
Yet Christianity’s preferential place in our culture and civil law came under fire this year, and not simply because more Americans reject institutional religion. The Obama administration subtly worked to expand the scope of protected civil rights to include access to legal marriage and birth control. Catholic bishops and evangelical activists declared that Washington was running roughshod over religious liberty and abandoning the country’s founding values, while their opponents accused them of imposing one set of religious prejudices on an increasingly pluralistic population. The Christian consensus that long governed our public square is disintegrating. American secularism is at a crossroads.
The narrative on the right is this: Once upon a time, Americans honored the Lord, and he commissioned their nation to welcome all faiths while commanding them to uphold Christian values. But in recent decades, the Supreme Court ruled against prayer in public schools, and legalized abortion, while politicians declared “war on Christmas” and kowtowed to the “homosexual lobby.” Conservative activists insist that they protest these developments not to defend special privileges for Christianity, but to respect the founders’ desire for universal religious liberty — rooted, they say, in the Christian tradition…
How accurate is this story of decline into godlessness? Is America, supposedly God’s last bastion in the Western world, rejecting faith and endangering religious liberty?
One of the world’s most prominent Catholic theologians has called for a revolution from below to unseat the pope and force radical reform at the Vatican.
Hans Küng is appealing to priests and churchgoers to confront the Catholic hierarchy, which he says is corrupt, lacking credibility and apathetic to the real concerns of the church’s members.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Küng, who had close contact with the pope when the two worked together as young theologians, described the church as an “authoritarian system” with parallels to Germany’s Nazi dictatorship…
The Vatican made a point of crushing any form of clerical dissent, he added. “The rules for choosing bishops are so rigid that as soon as candidates emerge who say, stand up for the pill, or for the ordination of women, they are struck off the list.” The result was a church of “yes men”, almost all of whom unquestioningly toed the line.
“The only way for reform is from the bottom up,” said Küng, 84, who is a priest. “The priests and others in positions of responsibility need to stop being so subservient, to organise themselves and say that there are certain things that they simply will not put up with anymore,” he added.
Küng…said that inspiration for global change was to be found in his native Switzerland and in Austria, where hundreds of Catholic priests have formed movements advocating policies that openly defy current Vatican practices. The revolts have been described as unprecedented by Vatican observers, who say they are likely to cause deep schisms in the church.
“I’ve always said that if one priest in a diocese is roused, that counts for nothing. Five will create a stir. Fifty are pretty much invincible. In Austria, the figure is well over 300, possibly up to 400 priests; in Switzerland it’s about 150 who have stood up and it will increase.”
Good luck to Kung and those brave souls who dare question some of the most backwards and reactionary theology in the world.
The Catholic Church has advantages in maintaining its ideology from a centralized governance. As long as it rejects advances in knowledge, ethics and understanding, that centralization will provide nothing of value to the church’s membership – or to humanity in the much larger world.
Give extra credit to Michelle Bachmann
Despite the successes of childhood immunizations, wrote Penn Nursing researcher Alison M. Buttenheim…controversy over their safety has resulted in an increasing number of parents refusing to have their children vaccinated and obtaining legally binding personal belief exemptions against vaccinations for their children.
People who cannot get immunizations because of allergies or compromised immune systems rely on “herd immunity,” the protection they get from a disease when the rest of the population is immunized or immune, explained Dr. Buttenheim. If a high number of children go intentionally unvaccinated because of personal belief exemptions, herd immunity is compromised, she said, giving a disease the chance to spread rapidly…
“Vaccines are one of the great public health achievements of the last couple of centuries,” Dr. Buttenheim said. “They protect us from diseases that used to routinely kill hundreds of thousands of children in the United States and still kill hundreds of thousands globally. It’s not just important for a child to be vaccinated, it’s important at a population level to have high rates of coverage.”
In 2008, a measles outbreak spread in California. It was traced to a child whose parents had decided not to vaccinate him. He brought the disease back from Europe, infecting other children at his doctor’s office and his classmates. The boy’s parents had signed a personal belief exemption affidavit stating that some or all of the immunizations were against their beliefs, thereby allowing their son to go unvaccinated before entering kindergarten. California is one of 20 states that allow such exemptions.
Dr. Buttenheim plans to test several interventions at the school level, including new incentive structures for schools to increase adherence rates. She believes the school nurse can play a key role in encouraging parents to get children immunized. “We know everyone is heavily influenced by social norms and pressure,” she explained, and school nurses can set the expectation that children get fully vaccinated. “I think the school nurse can really act as a gatekeeper here, and reset the norm in favor of immunization.”
One of the reason we have government – as opposed to libertarian anarchy – is to protect the overwhelming majority of the population from the ignorance and foolishness of a small number of citizens. We have traffic lights and rules for 4-way stops at intersections. We don’t leave the decision-making up to who has the biggest SUV on the street.
If Dr. Buttenheim’s well-intentioned plan is as ineffectusl as I think it will be – we need to have the Feds step in and provide oversight to the sillyass states that let parents decide it’s OK to place the children of others in danger. There is no shortage of stupid regulations like this around the nation. This is one of the dumbest.
A federal judge has boosted the campaign for gay marriage by overturning a law which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples.
Claudia Wilken, a district court judge for the northern district of California, ruled on Thursday that congress acted unconstitutionally in discriminating against gay couples in the 1996 Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA)…
Gay rights campaigners welcomed the ruling. “This adds to the momentum for overturning this radical and discriminatory law,” said Evan Wolfson, of Freedom to Marry, an advocacy group.
Wilken, a Clinton-era appointee based in Oakland, a liberal bastion, was the third federal judge to find Doma unconstitutional following a ruling by judge Joseph Tauro in Massachusetts in 2010 and one by judge Jeffrey White in California earlier this year…
DOMA, which was championed by opponents of gay marriage, defines marriage as “a legal union of a one man and one woman as husband and wife”. It withholds multiple federal benefits, including joint tax filing and immigration sponsorship, from gay couples legally married under state law.
Wilken said gays and lesbians were constitutionally protected from “burdensome legislation that is the product of sheer antigay animus and devoid of any legitimate governmental purpose“…
Wilken also overturned another 1996 law withholding federal tax benefits to long-term health insurance plans for state employees if they included domestic partners.
That, like Doma, was based on “moral condemnation and social disapprobation of same-sex couples,” she said. The judge cited congressional debate transcripts that same-sex domestic partnership was “an attack on the family” and would “undermine the traditional moral values that are the bedrock of this nation”.
Overdue. Of course.
The sort of bigots stuck into denying civil rights to Americans couldn’t care less about the history or value of our Constitution. All that is important to their narrow minds is retaining the sense of privilege their superstition values. Whether they feel “chosen” or “forgiven” is unimportant. All that counts in their petty lives is feeling somehow superior to some other American.
Their peers may choose color or religion or ethnic background as their target. This particular crowd relies on homophobia to justify their fear and hatred. They are all equally invalid and unconstitutional.
You wouldn’t expect much interest beyond the United States, or even beyond his own state, when an 80-year-old conservative legislator, who has already served six terms, loses his party’s endorsement to run yet again. But the crushing defeat of Senator Richard Lugar in the recent Indiana Republican primary, in a Tea Party-supported campaign of shocking mindlessness, has reverberated in capitals around the world, including my own.
Gareth Evans, Australia’s foreign minister for eight years and President and Chief Executive of the International Crisis Group from 2000-2009, is currently Chancellor of the Australian National University…
On most issues, Lugar is and always has been a natural conservative…The problem for Lugar was two-fold. First, he was of the old school that instinctively embraced compromise across party lines in the Senate on crucial issues, in order to avoid the kind of gridlock that is always potentially endemic in a presidential system (unlike a parliamentary one), where the elected executive has no guaranteed majority in the legislature. If party lines are strictly maintained, US presidents may be unable to pass any legislation at all, or to make any judicial or other senior appointments…
At a personal level, I am also afraid that Lugar’s defeat may be the end of an era of enormously attractive and distinctive civility in the way that America’s most senior legislators conducted themselves. As Australia’s foreign minister, and a global NGO head, I met Lugar many times, and, whether or not we agreed on issues, he was always a model of gentle courtesy.
I can’t help but compare that to the occasion, not so long ago, when I accompanied my then co-chair of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, former Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, in a call on Jon Kyl, the most ideologically fierce Senate opponent of Obama-style arms control. On my arrival in his office, a senior Kyl staffer, after consulting the senator, said brusquely: “We only agreed to talk to the Japanese, not you. Would you please leave?”
There was nothing like a perfectly understandable, “Sorry, we misunderstood, and are only prepared now for a bilateral session. Can we see if we can possibly reschedule a joint meeting later?” I suppose that I should be grateful that he said “please.” But it’s the kind of experience that I had never had before in Washington, and I fear that it’s not unique.
In the past, anguish at home and abroad about the quality of US governance – its apparent arrogance, mindless parochialism, and incapacity to deliver coherent, credible, and decent policy outcomes – has for the most part proved short-lived.
If American voters are bright enough, capable of sufficient perception of how we’ve been hustled by rather an old-fashioned populist barrage of lies and slogans – perhaps the United States might only become a grown-up partner of other nations with a civilized interest in progress. Perhaps we might begin to deal intelligently and in an informed manner with our own problems. There’s a grocery list that extends from civil rights to election reform long overdue to sort our political larder.
RTFA for the details of Gareth Evans feelings and analysis. Examine the perception of the United States from the other side of the social fences being rapidly erected around our borders. Reflect upon a new isolationism founded in imperial arrogance, greed, hatred and fear. Not what a nation in economic trouble needs. Not what any modern nation deserves.