They’ll Let Women Drive !

A woman behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia in 2013. . CreditFaisal Al Nasser/Reuters

By Abdullah Al-Shihri and Aya Batrawy Associated Press Chicago Tribune 9.27.17

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia —

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced that women will be allowed to drive for the first time in the ultra-conservative kingdom next summer, fulfilling a key demand of women’s rights activists who faced detention for defying the ban.
The kingdom was the only the country in the world to bar women from driving and for years had garnered negative publicity internationally for detaining women who defied the ban.
The move, which has been welcomed by the United States, represents a significant opening for women in Saudi Arabia, where women’s rights have slowly gained ground over the years. Saudi women remain largely under the whim of male relatives due to guardianship laws.
King Salman and his young son and heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have tested the waters though, allowing women into the country’s main stadium in the capital, Riyadh, for national day celebrations this month. The stadium had previously been reserved for all-male crowds to watch sporting events. The king and his son have also opened the country to more entertainment and fun.
Women’s rights activists since the 1990s have been pushing for the right to drive, saying it represents their larger struggle for equal rights under the law.
Some ultraconservative clerics in Saudi Arabia, who wield power and influence in the judiciary and education sectors, had warned against allowing women to drive. They argued it would corrupt society and lead to sin.
Women will not be allowed to obtain licenses immediately. A committee will be formed to look into how to implement the order, which is scheduled to begin in June 2018.

Sex and the Constitution

 

I heard the author of this book on the radio.  He said that at the time the Constitution was written most Americans were not religious, certainly not the writers.   RJN

 SEX AND THE CONSTITUTION by Geoffrey R. Stone

SEX AND THE CONSTITUTION

Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century

KIRKUS REVIEW                     

Sexual expression, obscenity, contraception, and abortion are the focus of this wide-ranging legal, political, and social history.

Stone (Law/Univ. of Chicago; Speaking Out!: Reflections on Law, Liberty and Justice, 2010, etc.), a constitutional scholar whose previous books include an award-winning history of free speech, offers a broad, fascinating overview of the nation’s shifting, often incendiary, attitudes toward sexuality and the impact of those attitudes on politics and law. Colonists “clearly and emphatically rejected” Puritans’ repressive views about sex, and the country’s founders, Stone asserts, had no interest in regulating sexuality nor in promoting Christianity. Most were “broad-minded skeptics who viewed religious passion as divisive and irrational, and who consistently challenged, both publicly and privately, traditional Christian dogma.” The claim that America is a “Christian nation” originated in the Second Great Awakening, which swept the country from the 1790s to the 1840s. At a time of unsettling social change, “charismatic preachers” excited religious passions that infused “politics, culture, education, relations between the sexes, attitudes about sex,” and, most significantly, views on the relationship between religion and government. Believing sex to be sinful, evangelicals mounted a campaign against masturbation and contraception; without fear of pregnancy, they claimed, women’s inherent lasciviousness would be uncontrollable. After the Civil War, those ideas were taken up by Anthony Comstock, who policed sexuality with unabated vigor, specifically the dissemination of obscene material through the postal service; obscenity laws persisted even after his death in 1915. In the 1970s, Protestant fundamentalists incited a third awakening, embraced by the Republican Party that coveted the voting power of the Moral Majority. Stone enlivens his narrative with deft portraits of the many judges involved in cases on obscenity, contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage. Some Supreme Court justices, appointed to uphold the views of the Christian right, disappointed their constituencies. The author applauds decisions that reflect the “protection of human dignity and equality” and believes, maybe too optimistically, that religious groups are now “on the defensive.”

A compelling history of a nation grappling with the moral and legal freedoms that the founders strived to ensure.

so

Easter Morning

 

Easter morning,

Bright and cool.

The church is warm, filled

To receive the good news.

Pastor ascends her pulpit,

Over looks the congregation,

Raises her arms and calls

He is risen !

I am thrilled and

wish just then I could believe.

 

I think of those followers,

Before the Rising,

Cowering together,

Despairing in their loss

Of leader, the defeated

message, meaning

Of their lives.

Descended then the Ghost.

Said the noted bishop:

We cannot know what happened.

We do know something wonderful,

Some incredible,

Wonderful thing had happened.

To us.

rjn

Easter Poem

 

 

Easter morning,

Bright and cool

The church is warm, filled

To receive the good news.

Pastor ascends her pulpit,

Over looks the congregation,

Raises her arms and calls

He is risen !

I am thrilled and

wish just then I could believe.

 

I think of those followers,

Before the Rising,

Cowering together,

Despairing in their loss

Of leader, the defeated

message, meaning

Of their lives.

 

Descended then the Ghost.

 

Said the noted bishop,

We cannot know what happened.

We do know something wonderful,

Some incredible,

wonderful thing had happened

to us.

 

rjn

___________________________________________

 

New Testament, Acts of the Apostles, 2:3

. . . suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit . . .  The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1991.

Birds and Horse and Buggy

 

On our recent trip to Pennsylvania and Maryland, Susan and I saw:

 

Great Blue HeronGreat blue stand about 4.5 feet high.

 

A great blue heron standing  near the road beside a water-filled ditch in the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, Maryland,  as we passed through to visit an old cemetery.  We’ve visited Blackwater before with my brother Patrick.  That’s where there are live-cams on an osprey nest and an eagle nest. Click on blue to  see and read about events at the nests.  Just now the osprey pair are on their nest without young.  There are two eaglets in their nest.

 

 

A pair of wild turkeys crossing in front of us on the road from Patrick and Jenny’s  house through a stretch of forest.  They looked fat.  Susan said they looked bigger that the turkeys she sees near her house in McHenry County.

 

An Amish buggy pulled by a steadily trotting horse on a road in western Pennsylvania which we encountered near the crest of a hill so that we had to stay behind until I could see what might be coming toward us.  The driver behind us was patient.

The Amish are a large religious group who live simply as farmers without using  motors, electricity, and other modern developments.

The Amish from Europe  settled mostly in Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada, but are now in Indiana and some other states as well.  They have large families and only the oldest son can inherit the family farm so the others must move on.

rjn

 

 

 

Homeless Jesus

Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community                             by   Source:     National Public Radio  Weekend Edition Sunday

Rev. David Buck sits next to the Jesus the Homeless statue that was installed in front of his church, St. Alban's Episcopal, in Davidscon, N.C.

Rev. David Buck sits next to the Jesus the Homeless statue that was installed in front of his church, St. Alban’s Episcopal, in Davidscon, N.C.

A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t.

“One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by,” says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. “She thought it was an actual homeless person.”

That’s right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus.

“Another neighbor, who lives a couple of doors down from the church, wrote us a letter to the editor saying it creeps him out,” Boraks added.

Some neighbors felt it was an insulting depiction of the Son of God, and what appears to be a hobo curled up on a bench demeans the neighborhood.

The bronze statue was purchased for $22,000 as a memorial for a parishioner, Kate McIntyre, who had loved public art. The rector of this liberal, inclusive church is Rev. David Buck, a 65-year-old Baptist-turned-Episcopalian who seems not at all averse to the controversy, the double-takes and the discussion the statue has provoked.

“It gives authenticity to our church,” he says. “This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society.”

The sculpture is intended as a visual translation of the passage in the Book of Matthew, in which Jesus tells his disciples, “as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me.” Moreover, Buck says, it’s a good Bible lesson for those used to seeing Jesus depicted in traditional religious art as the Christ of glory, enthroned in finery.

“We believe that that’s the kind of life Jesus had,” Buck says. “He was, in essence, a homeless person.”

This lakeside college town north of Charlotte has the first Jesus the Homelessstatue on display in the United States. Catholic Charities of Chicago plans to install its statue when the weather warms up. The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., is said to be interested in one, too.

The creator is a Canadian sculptor and devout Catholic named Timothy Schmalz. From his studio in Ontario, Schmalz says he understands that hisJesus the Homeless is provocative.

“That’s essentially what the sculpture is there to do,” he says. “It’s meant to challenge people.”

He says he offered the first casts to St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Both declined.

A spokesman at St. Michael’s says appreciation of the statue “was not unanimous,” and the church was being restored so a new work of art was out of the question. That statue found a home in front of the Jesuit School of Theology at the University of Toronto.

A spokesperson at St. Patrick’s in New York says they liked the homeless Jesus, but their cathedral is also being renovated and they had to turn it down.

The most high-profile installation of the bronze Jesus on a park bench will be on the Via della Conziliazione, the avenue leading to St. Peter’s Basilica — if the City of Rome approves it. Schmalz traveled to the Vatican last November to present a miniature to the pope himself.

“He walked over to the sculpture, and it was just chilling because he touched the knee of the Jesus the Homeless sculpture, and closed his eyes and prayed,” Schmalz says. “It was like, that’s what he’s doing throughout the whole world: Pope Francis is reaching out to the marginalized.”

Back at St. Alban’s in Davidson, the rector reports that the Jesus the Homelessstatue has earned more followers than detractors. It is now common, he says, to see people come, sit on the bench, rest their hand on the bronze feet and pray.