Category : Women

([London] Times) Heterosexuals close to getting right to have civil partnerships

More than three million heterosexual couples could be allowed to form civil partnerships under proposals backed by the government.

A bill proposed by the Conservative MP Tim Loughton received an unopposed second reading yesterday. If passed, Mr Loughton said that the legislation would “correct an unintended but glaring inequality”.

Extending civil partnerships to heterosexual couples is one of the five planks of The Times’ Family Matters campaign for reform of family laws.

Mr Loughton said: “I am pleased that the government has accepted the wording of my bill and that it was passed unanimously and has passed through second reading….”

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Posted in History, Law & Legal Issues, Men, Women

The stunning Christian portion of Rachael Denhollander’s full victim impact statement about Larry Nassar

From there:

You have become a man ruled by selfish and perverted desires, a man defined by his daily choices repeatedly to feed that selfishness and perversion. You chose to pursue your wickedness no matter what it cost others and the opposite of what you have done is for me to choose to love sacrificially, no matter what it costs me.

In our early hearings. you brought your Bible into the courtroom and you have spoken of praying for forgiveness. And so it is on that basis that I appeal to you. If you have read the Bible you carry, you know the definition of sacrificial love portrayed is of God himself loving so sacrificially that he gave up everything to pay a penalty for the sin he did not commit. By his grace, I, too, choose to love this way.

You spoke of praying for forgiveness. But Larry, if you have read the Bible you carry, you know forgiveness does not come from doing good things, as if good deeds can erase what you have done. It comes from repentance which requires facing and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and horror without mitigation, without excuse, without acting as if good deeds can erase what you have seen this courtroom today.

If the Bible you carry says it is better for a stone to be thrown around your neck and you throw into a lake than for you to make even one child stumble. And you have damaged hundreds.
The Bible you speak carries a final judgment where all of God’s wrath and eternal terror is poured out on men like you. Should you ever reach the point of truly facing what you have done, the guilt will be crushing. And that is what makes the gospel of Christ so sweet. Because it extends grace and hope and mercy where none should be found. And it will be there for you.
I pray you experience the soul crushing weight of guilt so you may someday experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which you need far more than forgiveness from me — though I extend that to you as well.

Throughout this process I have clung to a quote by CS Lewis where he says,

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of unjust and just? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

Larry, I can call what you did evil and wicked because it was, and I know it was evil, and wicked, because the straight line exists. The straight line is not measured based on your perception or anyone else’s perception, and this means, I can speak the truth about my abuse without minimization or mitigation and I can call it evil because I know what goodness is.

And this is why I pity you, because when a person loses the ability to define good and evil, when they cannot define evil, they can no longer define and enjoy what is truly good. When a person can harm another human being, especially a child, without true guilt, they have lost the ability to truly love.

Larry, you have shut yourself off from every truly beautiful and good thing in this world, that could have, and should have brought you joy and fulfillment. And I pity you for it. You could have had everything you pretended to be. Every woman who stood up here truly loved you as an innocent child. Real genuine love for you and it did not satisfy.

I have experienced the soul satisfying joy of a marriage built on sacrificial love, and safety, and tenderness, and care. I have experienced true intimacy in its deepest joy’s and it is beautiful and sacred and glorious and that is a joy you have cut yourself off from ever experiencing and I pity you for it.

You really should read the whole statement in full. There is a reason Judge Aquilina praised Ms. Denhollander for opening the floodgates…[and said] “You are the bravest person I have ever had in my courtroom”–KSH.

Posted in Children, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Sports, Teens / Youth, Theology: Scripture, Violence, Women

([London] Times) Pornography no longer a dirty word for millions of women

It was inevitable in the brave new post-Fifty Shades world. Internet searches of “porn for women” grew by 359 per cent last year, according to one of the genre’s most popular websites….

Laurie Betito, a sex therapist and director of the Pornhub sexual wellness centre, said: “2017 seems to have been the year where women have come forward to express their desires.

“From the ‘Me too’ movement to prominent females the likes of Hillary Clinton and Nikki Haley on the world stage, women are feeling more empowered and they have found their voice. This is a sign of things to come.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pornography, Science & Technology, Women

(CBS MoneyWatch) Why American women are dying younger

American women may be making strides in shattering the glass ceiling of the executive office and making it clear that sexual harassment is not OK. But in one very significant — perhaps the most important — aspect of their lives, they’re falling short.

According to  a report by the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College, life expectancy for women in the U.S. has stalled, leaving American females at the bottom of the list of the wealthiest nations.

“While U.S. life expectancy is now the lowest among … high-income nations, the discrepancy is especially stark for women,” said the CRR. In 1960, American women were likely to be among the longest-living females in the world. But that trend reversed itself in the 1980s, and today their life expectancy lags two-and-a-half years behind women in other developed nations.

The CRR had another surprising finding. Even though women have had, and still do have, longer life spans than men, that gap is narrowing. It’s now is only four to five years, compared to the nine or 10 years for previous generations.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Women

(CT) Evangelicals and Domestic Violence: Are Christian Men More Abusive?

So, what does the science tell us? Are some forms of evangelical Protestantism bad for marriage and “good” at fostering domestic violence?

The answer is complicated, since some research suggests that gender traditionalism fuels domestic violence. For example, a study in the Lancet found that domestic abuse was higher in regions across the globe where “norms related to male authority over female behavior” are more common.

In general, however, the answer to these questions is “no.” In my previous book, Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands, I found that women married to churchgoing evangelical men—compared to women married to men in other major religious traditions or women married to unaffiliated men—report the highest levels of happiness. Their self-reports were based on two markers: “love and affection you get from your spouse” and “understanding you receive from your spouse.” This same demographic of women also report the highest levels of quality couple time.

My newer book Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos, co-written with sociologist Nicholas Wolfinger, reveals similar findings. Men and women who attend church together are almost 10 percentage points more likely to report that they are “happy” or “very happy” in their relationships, compared to their peers who attend separately or simply don’t attend religious services at all. On average, then, evangelicals (as well other religious believers in the United States) who attend church regularly enjoy higher quality marriages compared to their less religious or secular peers.

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Posted in Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence, Women

(Sunday [London] Times) New Bill could allow unmarried men and women to enter civil partnerships

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Women

Time Person of the Year–The Silence Breakers

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Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Psychology, Sexuality, Violence, Women

(CC) Ruth Everhart-18 ways churches can fight sexual assault in 2018

11. Invite a victims’ advocate to lead an adult education class or series…

14. Preach a sermon or series on biblical texts of terror, such as Tamar’s story…

16. Speak about sex from the pulpit in a frank and forthright manner without using code words or making inappropriate jokes.

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Posted in Men, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence, Women

(1st Things) Ramona Tausz–C S Lewis’ Love Story

Although Shadowlands glosses over some of the problematic implications of Lewis’s marriage, it nonetheless presents marriage as something holy, sacred, and desirable—something that can’t be attained through the mere sanction of the state. “Marriage isn’t just a legal contract,” Lewis instructs Joy. A civil marriage, the play tells us, is not enough; to be married “properly,” a couple must be wed “before God.” For this treatment of holy matrimony, Shadowlands is to be commended—as it is for its celebration of old-fashioned romance. Joy and Lewis’s attraction for each other is not based on sex alone, but on genuine friendship, good conversation, and intellectual compatibility. Their relationship is not the shallow fling of young lovers (Lewis and Joy are middle-aged when they meet, Lewis in his fifties and Joy nearing forty), but something deeper. Shadowlands offers a lovely picture of romance as it ought to be: love and trust between friends that develops into a genuine longing for union.

Today, when hookup culture has nearly destroyed romantic relationships, and the gravity of divorce is so often dismissed, Shadowlands at least requires us to ask questions about the goodness of marriage and the consequences of sundering it. If you are in Manhattan anytime between now and January 7, it is well worth journeying to Theater Row to ponder them yourself.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Church History, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Men, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays, Women

(CT) When It Comes to Sexuality, ‘We Can’t Simply Review the Verses Anymore’ Pastor Todd Wilson wants to recover the deeper theological and moral meaning of being made male and female

Sexuality is one of the touchiest subjects in the church today. From same-sex marriage to the transgender phenomenon, the issues can threaten to overwhelm our pastoral and theological resources. In the midst of this turbulence, Todd Wilson, pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois, wants to seek out the solid ground of the Christian tradition. His book Mere Sexuality: Rediscovering the Christian Vision of Sexuality invites evangelicals to see the theological and moral significance of humans being created male and female. Derek Rishmawy, a PhD student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and CT columnist, spoke with Wilson about this vision.

In a world that recognizes so many variations of sexuality, what does it mean to champion “mere sexuality”?

The “mere” is a play on C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. It’s not Baptist, Presbyterian, or Anglican Christianity, but the convictions most Christians at most times have believed. I’m trying to capture what most Christians at most times have believed.

In my time as a pastor, I’ve been confronted with the reality that your average, Bible-believing Christian lacks a deep understanding of the theological vision of sexuality given in Scripture. We don’t see male and female sexuality as theologically significant in their own right. And as a result, their moral significance in the context of marriage is not obvious. But there really is an aesthetic beauty and coherence to the logic of male and female in marriage. And while I’ve seen a number of books giving the “biblical response” or the “pastoral response” to our sexual controversies, it struck me that the theological response was missing. We can’t simply review the verses anymore; we need to see the logic of “mere sexuality” behind the verses and have it take hold of our imagination.

Why have evangelicals lost appreciation for the deep logic of “mere sexuality”?

First is the loss of functional biblical authority. It’s not that evangelicals don’t affirm the authority of Scripture. But sociologist Christian Smith talks about the problem of “pervasive interpretive pluralism”—the suspicion that the Bible doesn’t speak decisively on some important issues. That erodes people’s confidence in the Bible’s ability to shape Christian ethics.

Second, the younger generations of evangelicals have essentially had their basic moral intuitions radically refashioned. Ever since the sexual revolution, we’ve had those intuitions about sexual intimacy—and especially same-sex intimacy—rewired. What was instinctively wrong for our parents’ generation seems perfectly normal to someone in their teens or 20s.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Women

(Globe+Mail) Sheema Khan–Women need to play a role in ‘restoring’ Saudi Islam

In a wide-ranging interview with Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman (a.k.a. “MBS”) discussed, among other topics, the recent anti-corruption drive and liberalization of Saudi society. Call it a kinder, gentler form of authoritarianism – with a progressive touch. Notably, MBS refused to address his country’s interference in Lebanese politics or its unconscionable scorched-earth policy in Yemen.

Nonetheless, Mr. Friedman was effusive of MBS’s plans to veer Saudi Islam to a “moderate, balanced Islam that is open to the world and to all religions and all traditions and peoples.” The Prince calls it a “restoration” of the faith to its origins – namely the Prophetic period in the early 7th century. This has the potential to reverse the puritanical strain (Wahhabism) currently at the heart of Saudi society, where, for example, a woman is under male guardianship from cradle to grave.

The late Sunni scholar Abdul Halim Abu Shaqqa chronicled in his comprehensive study of the Koran and authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad, Muslim women were far more engaged in society during the Prophetic era. They had more rights and opportunities to build a vibrant society, in partnership with men, than many contemporary Muslim cultures (including Saudi Arabia).

Mr. Friedman believes this “restoration” project “would drive moderation across the Muslim world.” In fact, most of the Muslim world has soundly rejected Wahhabism. Yet, the deeply entrenched patriarchy of Saudi society finds parallels in many Muslim countries.

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Posted in Islam, Religion & Culture, Saudi Arabia, Women

Zambian Anglican Church denounces Gender Based Violence

The Anglican Church has encouraged its members to seriously speak against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), corruption and political oppression.

Zambia Anglican Bishop and Primate of the Council of Anglican Province in Africa (CAPA), Albert Chama said this at the just-ended two-day Anglican 2017 high-profile Provincial Synod held in Gaborone.

The Central Africa Province Synod consists of Anglican bishops from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe and convenes every three years. The main aim of the meeting is to deliberate on diocesan matters in the region.

“Our continent of Africa has been gripped with fear, deaths, ethnic divisions and many more evils one can think of.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Central Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Men, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women, Zambia

Bp Iker of Fort Worth’s Address to the 35th Convention of the Diocese of Fort Worth

The second event on the Provincial level is the completion of the five-year study of the Task Force on Holy Orders, concerning the ordination of women, and the meeting of the College of Bishops to discuss the report for the first time at a conclave in Victoria, British Columbia, in early September. At the end of the meeting, a Statement was released stating where we are in this continuing controversy that divides us. It was the first time that all the Bishops went on record by stating their position on this issue. It was evident that no Bishop had changed his mind as a result of the study and that a majority of the Bishops are opposed to the ordination of women priests on biblical and theological grounds.

It is interesting to note that when Archbishop Robert Duncan appointed the Task Force, he charged them with doing a study of the issue of women in holy orders, but instructed them not to come to a conclusion or to make any recommendation as to how to resolve the debate. The report simply summarizes the arguments for and against. This is in stark contrast to a similar study done by the Anglican Mission in America several years ago, known as the Rodgers Report, which concluded that women cannot be ordained bishops or priests, while leaving open the door to the possibility of women deacons. Those of us who agreed to the formation of the ACNA in 2009 did so with the clear understanding that a serious theological study would be done and that a decision would be made at that time.

So where are we? Most ACNA bishops and dioceses are opposed to women priests, but as it presently stands, the ACNA Constitution says each diocese can decide if it will ordain women priests or not. We now need to work with other dioceses to amend the Constitution to remove this provision. As you know, women bishops are not permitted in any diocese, and no bishop wants to change that prohibition.

I would underscore that the recent Bishops’ statement declares that the ordination of women “is a recent innovation to Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order” and that “there is insufficient warrant to accept women’s ordination to the priesthood as standard practice.” Needless to say, the women priests and their supporters are very unhappy about that.

We are in a state of impaired communion because of this issue. The Task Force concluded that “both sides cannot be right.” At the conclave, I informed the College of Bishops that I will no longer give consent to the election of any bishop who intends to ordain female priests, nor will I attend the consecration of any such bishop-elect in the future.

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Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Pastoral Theology, Women

(Telegraph) Church of England bids to put mothers’ names on marriage certificates

Mothers’ names could finally be included on marriage certificates after ministers said that legislation put forward by the Church of England “provides a solution to this problem”, the Telegraph can disclose.

A draft bill tabled by a senior bishop has been welcomed by the Home Office, following an impasse over plans to update the documents, which currently only include the names of couples’ fathers.

The development comes three years after David Cameron pledged to make the change, saying that the existing system, which dates back to the reign of Queen Victoria, “does not reflect modern Britain”.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Women

(NYT) Branding Ritual Scarred Women in Secret Circle

Last March, five women gathered in a home near here to enter a secret sisterhood they were told was created to empower women.

To gain admission, they were required to give their recruiter — or “master,” as she was called — naked photographs or other compromising material and were warned that such “collateral” might be publicly released if the group’s existence were disclosed.

The women, in their 30s and 40s, belonged to a self-help organization called Nxivm, which is based in Albany and has chapters across the country, Canada and Mexico.

Sarah Edmondson, one of the participants, said she had been told she would get a small tattoo as part of the initiation. But she was not prepared for what came next.

Read it all (and please note the headline above is from the NYT print edition).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Women