Category : * Culture-Watch

(Bloomberg) Why More Couples Are Signing Postnuptial Agreements

He cheats. She wants a divorce. He pleads for forgiveness. She’ll stay, for a price: If they ever do divorce, she wants the house, the car, and a hefty slice of their other assets.

That kind of deal is possible with a postnuptial agreement, a legal contract between spouses who intend to stay together on what happens if their marriage ends. Also known as a postmarital agreement, it’s an increasingly popular variant of the prenuptial agreements that engaged couples have been signing for decades.

Couples often have very different reasons for signing postnups than prenups. And because postnups are newer and less common, it’s harder to predict whether courts will enforce one.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family

(60 Minutes) A profile of Chobani Yogurt Founder Hamdi Ulukaya–Creating Jobs in America

Sensing an opportunity Hamdi set off to the small village of New Berlin, New York, to have a look. There he found the last employees of the last plant in the area closing it down.

Hamdi Ulukaya: I remember like yesterday. It’s like this sadness in this whole place. Like as if somebody died, like, somebody important died.

Steve Kroft: Two hundred jobs?

Hamdi Ulukaya: Two hundred jobs was gone.

Former employees Frank Price, Maria Wilcox and Rich Lake were among the mourners that day.

Rich Lake: Your whole livelihood’s gone. You don’t really know what you’re gonna do or where you’re gonna go….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Immigration, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Turkey

(Wa Post) Ed Stetzer–If it doesn’t stem its decline, mainline Protestantism has just 23 Easters left

Recently released data from the General Social Survey, sorted by what is called the RelTrad, shows that mainline Protestants are in the midst of a decades-long decline, and it has intensified in its most recent survey.

The top line shows mainline Protestant identification, and fewer say they go to churches affiliated with mainline denominations. The bottom line shows attendance, and now less than one of 33 people you meet on the street regularly attends a mainline Protestant church.

Both markers, self-identification and regular attendance, are imperfect, as are the GSS and the RelTrad, but these are among the most widely cited and trusted tool researchers use to measure religious trends. Those trend lines into the future gives us a glimpse of what could happen if patterns don’t change.

If the data continues along the same pattern, mainline Protestants have an expiration date when both trend lines cross zero in 2039.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

(Vancouver Sun) British Columbia Polygamy trial now to include a constitutional challenge of the law involving questions of religious freedom

That reference case concluded in 2012 with the B.C. Supreme Court upholding the law on the basis that polygamy’s harms were sufficient to warrant a limit on religious freedom as well a freedom of association and expression.

Referring the law to the court was initially recommended a decade ago by the first special prosecutor, Richard Peck. He said a reference was preferable to a trial, which could be “a cumbersome and time-consuming process”.

Peck said “an authoritative statement from the courts” was needed because since the 1990s, the B.C. attorney general’s ministry had refused to press charges based on legal opinions suggesting that the law was invalid.

Peck disagreed and wrote that the harms of polygamy were extensive enough that they would likely be considered a reasonable limit on Charter-protected freedoms.

“Religious freedom in Canada is not absolute,” he said. “Rather it is subject to reasonable limits.”

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Posted in Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Mormons, Religion & Culture

(NPR) Why Religion Is More Durable Than Commonly Thought In Modern Society

A study released this week by the Pew Research Center on the relation in the United States between religiosity and educational attainment (one component of modernization, along with technological change and others) at first glance appears to support the secularization thesis: The more education people have, the less religious they are.

“College graduates are less likely to say they believe in God with absolute certainty,” noted the lead Pew researcher, Gregory Smith. “They are less likely to say that religion is very important in their lives. They are less likely to say they pray regularly, and college graduates are more likely than others to identify themselves as atheists and agnostics.”

A closer look at the data, however, offers a more nuanced picture. While highly educated Jews tend to be less observant than less educated Jews, the relation between education and religiosity is weaker among those Americans with a strong Christian identity.

“Highly educated [Christian] adherents are just as religious, in some cases more religious, than their fellow members who have might have less education,” Smith said. Among mainline Protestants, for example, college graduates were actually found to be more likely than noncollege graduates to report weekly church attendance. Regardless of their educational attainment, these Christians find meaning in their church experience.

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Posted in Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Meir Soloveichik–The Jews Who Saved Monticello

Thomas Jefferson is buried at Monticello, his estate in Charlottesville, Va. The exact spot is marked by an obelisk bearing the date of his death: July 4, 1826—50 years to the day after the Second Continental Congress declared independence. Also close to the home lies a grave belonging to Rachel Phillips Levy. According to the inscription, she died on the 7 of Iyar, 5591, following a calendar used by traditional Jews.

How did a Jewish grave end up in Monticello? The answer lies in the history of a family whose own story is every bit as American as that of Jefferson himself.

In 1776 a Jewish patriot named Jonas Phillips fled to Philadelphia from New York with the arrival of the British fleet. A decade later, he was well-regarded in his new city, and his daughter Rachel was set to marry a Jewish gentleman named Levy….

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Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Judaism, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Bloomberg) Champions League Final Police to Scan Soccer Fans’ Faces

Security at this year’s Champions League final will be aided by facial recognition technology.

Police will be able to match soccer fans’ faces against a database of known offenders in real-time, according to a contract worth 170,000 pounds ($210,000) posted on the U.K. government’s website.

“The UEFA Champions League finals in Cardiff give us a unique opportunity to test and prove the concept of this technology in a live operational environment,” South Wales Police Chief Superintendent Jon Edwards said in an emailed statement, adding that it should provide a basis for further use of the technology by police.

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Posted in --Wales, Police/Fire, Sports, Terrorism

(Church Times) Death of cathedrals: reports ‘have been exaggerated’

Suggestions that as many as half the 42 Church of England cathedrals are in danger of closing as a result of continuing financial mismanagement have been dismissed by the Bishop of Stepney, the Rt Revd Adrian Newman.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, called the stories “grossly erroneous”.

Dean Dorber was speaking during the three-day annual conference of deans, in London this week. “There are financial stresses but these are not new,” he said. “I am optimistic, but there is panic in high places, and we need calm rational discussion rather than public hand-wringing.”

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Posted in Architecture, Art, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(BBC) Egyptian Christians living in fear for the future

At the ancient Monastery of St Mina in the desert sands of Egypt, a low concrete tomb holds the remains of Christians slaughtered for their faith – not in Roman times, but earlier this month.
They were among almost 50 people killed in co-ordinated attacks at two churches. The bombings – on Palm Sunday – were claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS).
Priests at the monastery say persecution is as old as the faith.

“The history of the Christians is like this,” said Father Elijah Ava Mina, his flowing white beard contrasting with his black robes. “Jesus told us ‘narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way’.”

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Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Lifeway F+T) America’s Complicated Religious Landscape

Not long after the presidential election, Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, admitted his paper has had a blind spot when it comes to faith. “We don’t get religion,” he told NPR’s Terri Gross. “We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives.”

One reason it’s difficult to get religion in America: The religious landscape changes dramatically, depending on where you live, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.

In New York, members of non-Christian faiths—including Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists—outnumber white evangelicals by a 6-to-1 margin. And Protestants of color outnumber white Protestants 3-to-1. Catholics are the largest religious group by far.

By contrast, in Nashville, white evangelicals are the largest faith group….

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

(CNN) Mel Robbins on the increasing use of Foul Language in Public Life

We’ve reached a major tipping point in politics and there’s no turning back.

Welcome to the Swear Zone.

Remember the good old days, when decorum was still intact? The days where without a hot mic we never would have heard George W. Bush call a reporter a “major-league *****” or Joe Biden’s aside to Barack Obama that passing health care reform was “a big ***** deal.”

Those days are over. Politics are not only wildly unpredictable, they’re NSFWAF. Blame Donald Trump for taking us to new lows, but here’s something new: the Democrats are jumping deep in the mud with him.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Language, Politics in General

Helena Bonham Carter reads Christina Rossetti’s Song poem for the poet’s Feast Day

Listen to it all there .

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

Christina Rossetti (1830–1894)

Posted in History, Poetry & Literature

(Globe+Mail) Sheema Kahn–Cultural sensitivities must never override gender equality

While Canada has legislation against the practice of FGM, there are no laws that prosecute parents who send their daughters abroad to have the procedure done. In contrast, France and the United States have outlawed “FGM tourism.” It is time for Canada to follow their lead.

And while Ottawa has moved to address FGM, our governments have failed to address female feticide. They ignored the call by Dr. Rajendra Kale, in 2012, to ban disclosure of the sex of a fetus until 30 weeks (after which point an abortion is difficult). South Korea banned such disclosures in 1988, helping to reverse gender imbalance.

Finally, there can be no change unless there is opposition within communities. There will be pressure to circle the wagons in wake of negative media coverage. I still remember an Ottawa community leader telling a local congregation, following the “honour killing” of Aqsa Parvez, that the media were trying to make the Muslim community look “bad.” Outrage was not directed at family violence, but at the media for covering that violence.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Violence, Women

(CT) Whatever Is Pure: Cedarville Requires Professors to Apply Philippians 4:8

This spring, Cedarville University enacted new curriculum guidelines inspired by Philippians 4:8 and aimed at purifying coursework of erotic and graphic content.

Cedarville, a buttoned-up Baptist school with a 130-year Christian history, is not the kind of place where professors assign Fifty Shades of Grey or anything close. But administrators want to err on the side of caution. This means, for example, that now an R-rated movie like Schindler’s List cannot be shown in its entirety, nor can students put on plays that include swear words.

In its Biblically Consistent Curriculum policy, nicknamed for the Apostle Paul’s admonishment to Christians in Philippi, Cedarville has spelled out new guidelines officially barring any materials that “may be considered ‘adult’ in nature, that represent immorality, or that may be a stumbling block to students.”

The move comes as the Ohio school, located between Columbus and Dayton, unfolds a broader, campus-wide campaign to double-down on its biblical identity. At a time when fellow Christian colleges are looking to defy narrow evangelical stereotypes and compete with secular schools, Cedarville is instead deepening its conservative Christian distinctions.

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Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(Wash Post) The age of flying cars is here, Silicon Valley promises

The ride-sharing company Uber set ambitious goals Tuesday to create a network of flying taxis in Dubai and the Dallas area by the year 2020.

At a summit in Dallas Tuesday, company executives outlined plans to develop their own electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft, or VTOLs, that would use small landing pads called “vertiports.”

“It’s possible because we’re radically changing the type of aircraft,” Jeff Holden, chief product officer at Uber Technologies, said at the summit. “This is why we’re so bullish. … We just want to usher it in as fast as possible because we all want to live in this world.”

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Posted in Science & Technology