ICYDK: Lent is the six-week period between Ash Wednesday (the day after Mardi Gras, which is of course the last day of debauchery and excess before the start of Lent) and Easter in many wings of Christianity. It’s supposed to be a time of prayer and repentance in preparation for the Big E, and many Christians commit to fasting and/or the sacrifice of certain luxuries to better appreciate the temptation and the suffering of Jesus and his sacrifice (or something. Stories vary). This can come in the form of giving up alcohol or a favorite snack food, kicking a bad habit, praying more, doing volunteer work, or, for one woman, wearing a hijab for 40 days....read more
I’ve been trying to find a good link for this story on and off all morning, but I can’t. I’m pulling together what I’m reading off my Twitter feed. If anybody has a good link, please leave it in comments and I’ll add it to the post. Update: here’s a link, with thanks to Pseudonym. […]...read more
Courtesy of Heroic Media, three Christian men feel they owe you an apology. In this four-minute video — aptly titled “The Apology” — each man confesses to having had an abortion. Okay, it’s not quite that interesting — what they mean is that they went halfsies on a fetus with a woman who then got an abortion. But what they have to say is actually kind of sweet, apologizing to women for the way they’ve been treated by people in the church, the condemnation that has been piled on them, and the shame and guilt they might feel for the choice they made and/or felt they had to make because of such judgement. They apologize, as men, for not being supportive of women during a difficult time.
(I even typed that with a straight face.)...read more
Tampa Family Health Centers is a Title X health care facility in Florida that found itself in need of certified nurse-midwives. Up-and-comer Sara Hellwege graduated from nursing school in June, took her boards in July, and is all about certified nurse-midwifery, except for the part where she would have to provide health care because that would violate her religiously held but not scientifically supported beliefs that hormonal contraceptives “have the potential to act in a manner potentially threatening the lives of embryos after their conception/fertilization.” With that in mind, she applied for a nurse-midwife position at Tampa Family Health Centers, and when they declined to interview her for a job she had religious objections to performing, she decided to sue....read more
Following the Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which established that companies are free to enforce bullshit restrictions on women’s health care on their employees if said bullshit corresponds with their religious beliefs, another religious group has stepped forward to claim their religious exemption: the Satanic Temple....read more
For all of the misogyny inherent to the Catholic church (and evangelical and conservative Christianity in general), newbie Pope Francis has gotten a lot of attention for his (relatively) more progressive views and policies in his year of service. And yet. On Monday, Il Papa celebrated Mass with a group of 15 lengthily married couples to celebrate their marital milestones and deride those selfish, fruitless couples who would rather have pets and vacation homes than kids....read more
Currently circling the social media globe with the force of impassioned clicktivism is the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Sometimes it’s accompanied by photos of African girls (not always Nigerian), sometimes by photos of Nigerian mothers gathered in protest, sometimes by links to news stories, sometimes by nothing at all. It offers solidarity and raises awareness — but it isn’t without issue. We need to show solidarity, raise awareness, and hold those in positions of power accountable. We also need to understand what we are and aren’t accomplishing when we retweet....read more
Fred Phelps, Sr., despicable human being and founder of the notorious hate group Westboro Baptist Church, has died.
Family members have said that Phelps, who one estranged son says has been excommunicated from the church, will have no funeral to picket....read more
My latest at Al Jazeera America is about how Catholic health care services put women’s health at risk:...read more
Hot on the heels of Arizona news that one Christian woman was assaulted by another Christian woman in Phoenix because she said “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” (!) comes a New Jersey report that two men attempted to burn down a “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia” billboard put up by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (to counter a “Keep Christ in Christmas” banner hanging over Pitman’s main thoroughfare). It’s not the first attempt to deface/destroy the FFRF billboard since it was unveiled last week....read more
An anti-abortion siege is under way in Albuquerque, and activists there are using tactics and rhetoric we’ve heard before — tactics and rhetoric that have a marked history of getting abortion providers killed. I’m detailing the pro-life strategy of violence in Salon:...read more
Caperton covered the Elizabeth Smart speech about abstinence already, and my Guardian column this week is on a similar topic: How an emphasis on purity is bad for women, bad for men and bad for rape survivors:...read more