Not every nation and not every culture grants women the rights that they enjoy in America or those nations we usually call “Western” nations. Consider Najalaa Harriri of Saudi Arabia. She and other Saudi women began a campaign to be allowed to drive cars in June. The religiously orthodox kingdom observes closely the precepts of Islam, and the interpretation given to the Moslem rulers of Saudi Arabia is that activities like driving cars is restricted by Islam to males.
Not only is it forbidden for Saudi women to drive cars, but other restrictions of Saudi-stye Islam (sometimes called Wahhabism) would make women driving cars actually dangerous. Women in public, according to the strict reading of Islam given by the Saudi government, must be fully clothed. That means dress that restricts vision and may inhibit the free movement of women’s arms and legs while driving.
The ban has become increasingly questioned among Saudi leaders. In March, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, suggested lifting the ban:
In what appears to be another incident in a troubling trend across Great Britain, police in the community of Blackpool in northwest England have threatened the owner of a Christian coffee shop with arrest for displaying Bible passages on a television screen in his shop.
As reported by the UK's Daily Mail newspaper, Jamie Murray, owner of the Salt and Light café, “was warned by two police officers to stop playing DVDs of the New Testament in his cafe following a complaint from a customer that it was inciting hatred against homosexuals.”
Murray said that the officers, who arrived during a busy time and questioned him for nearly an hour, said that the Scripture display violated Britain’s notorious Public Order Act, a 1986 law which prohibits the use of language that is “insulting” or may cause “harassment, alarm, or distress.”
Murray recalled to the Daily Mail: “I told them that all that appeared on the screen were the words of the New Testament. There is no sound, just the words on the screen and simple images in the background of sheep grazing or candles burning. I thought there might be some mix-up but they said they were here to explain the law to me and how I had broken it.”
A member of Britain’s Parliament has declared that Christian churches that do not perform homosexual “marriage” ceremonies should be denied the right for their pastors to contract a legally-binding marriage on behalf of the government. Mike Weatherly, who represents the constituencies of Hove and Portsdale, two areas of Brighton on the English Channel, says that Anglicans, Catholics, or those of any other religion that refuses to permit homosexual marriage are evil discriminators who must not be permitted to perform any marriages.
Weatherly, a public proponent of same-sex marriage, is is a member of the Conservative Party.
According to his website, “Mike has pushed boundaries by urging the Prime Minister to completely reconsider the laws surrounding unions for same-sex couples in Britain.”
He is taking up the parliamentary cudgels, apparently, for his constituents. His area has “the highest proportion of gay couples in the country.” Though “civil partnerships” are now permitted in Britain, churches can still refuse to bless same-sex nuptials, Weatherly complained.
A church I visited recently announced a seminar for “financial professionals” who lament their industry’s “fallen ethics.” In 2009, USA Today reported that “the top Roman Catholic bishop in the United States said … the global economic crisis was caused in part by people abandoning personal ethics, and he's calling for increased morality in business.” And earlier this year, Jewish Week lamented that “financial scandals have become a fixed component of our civilization” after opining, “If current trends [in cheating] continue, the Wall Street gang of 2020 will make the slithery coterie of 2008 look like a Cub Scout pack in comparison.”
I’m just a parishioner, not a cleric. Maybe that’s why I don’t see the inherent evil of business. In fact, when I pick up the phone to hear my father from 500 miles away tell me he loves me, or I send another article to an editor with a click of a mouse, or I feast on fresh spinach and blueberries while a blizzard howls outside, I thank God for the market. The comfort, abundance, convenience, and leisure it provides are enormous blessings.
Indeed, the market is nigh miraculous. Jesus Christ fed 5000 men with a few loaves and two small fish, but we mere mortals must depend on voluntary exchange. Yet that astounding commerce multiplies the earth’s scarce resources to feed, house, and clothe billions of people who would otherwise suffer short, nasty, brutish lives.
Joseph Maraachli, the baby whose parents fought doctors and a Canadian court in order to secure surgery to extend their son's life, has died. The 20-month-old infant, who suffered from a rare and deadly medical condition, passed away September 27th, nearly eight months after Canadian doctors decided to remove him from life support rather than perform a surgery that would extend his life, calling it medically unnecessary. His parents fought the doctors’ decision, as well as a Canadian court, eventually taking Joseph to the U.S. for the procedure that would give him several more months with his family.
Moe Maraachli, Joseph’s father, made the announcement of his son’s passing on the family’s Facebook page, writing that “Joseph pass away very comfortable and peace fully like what i ask for him.” He added: “I would like to thank all who contributed to the support of Joseph. I thank you very much.”
Confronting elements of President Obama’s healthcare legislation that are so restrictive of religious freedom that Jesus “would not qualify as ‘religious,’” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has taken a stand against the law's implementation in its current form.
The USCCB’s objections to the pervasive program of socialized healthcare commonly known as ObamaCare is based in the administration’s plan to coerce healthcare providers — including those operated by the Roman Catholic Church — into providing birth control, abortifacient drugs, and abortions. According to an article for the Catholic Review:
“The mandate directly conflicts with the religious beliefs of individuals and institutions who have a moral objection to such practices,” the bishops wrote, “and who do not believe that such ‘preventative services’ constitute legitimate health care.”
The bishops said the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had a “laudable goal” of “expanding access to genuine health care for all Americans, especially the poor.” They expressed concern, however, that the mandate “contradicts promises made to the American people that the new federal law would not include coverage for abortion.”
A pastor in Iran who has twice refused to renounce his Christian faith may be executed within days, reported Baptist Press News. It would be the first time in over 20 years that the Iranian government has executed someone for apostasy against Islam. The Baptist news site reported that “Yousef Nadarkhani, who leads a 400-person house church movement, refused in court on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26 to recant Christianity and was scheduled to get two more chances on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28, according to the British-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which monitors religious freedom.” The organization noted in a press release that without recanting, Nadarkhani would most likely be put to death. While the plight of two American hikers imprisoned in Iran garnered worldwide media attention, and their release came following the intense efforts of an American interfaith alliance, no such campaign has been pushed for the lone Iranian minister. “The American interfaith delegation ... who made headlines when they traveled to Tehran and secured the release of the two American hikers last week should pack their bags again,” wrote Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute’s Center on Religious Freedom on September 26th. “They need to make a return trip. And they better hurry.”
A new online movie released September 26 by Christian apologist Ray Comfort is poised to radically change the abortion debate in the United States and beyond. Entitled 180 because of the complete change of heart eight “pro-choice” individuals in the film have just moments after being confronted with the truth about abortion, the movie had nearly 30,000 views on YouTube within 24 hours of its release, prompting some observers to predict that the free online movie is destined to go viral — meaning millions will log on to view it over the next few months.
Shane Martin, who is managing the film’s social media sites, told the Christian Post that 180’s Facebook page had been receiving approximately 100 new “Likes” per hour shortly after the video’s online launch. “The response has actually been overwhelming,” he said. “We’ve had thousands of views on YouTube today and it’s just the first day that it’s live.”
Comfort said he can understand how skeptical some might be at the film’s power to change minds so quickly and completely because he was surprised himself. Nonetheless, he told OneNewsNow.com, “knowledge is very, very powerful, and when we have knowledge, it can send information; it can change our whole perspective. That’s exactly what happens. The reason why we called it ‘180’ is because people do a 180-degree turn….”
In what many say is political correctness run amok, British schools have banned black witch hats for children, claiming that they are "racist." So-called diversity and equality experts in the United Kingdom assert that because the wicked witch appears in a black hat, while fairies — typically associated with sweetness and light — are often clad in pale, glistening colors, children are being indoctrinated to believe that all things light or white in color are by nature “good,” while those that are black are inherently “bad.”
The Blaze reports,
Now, to combat that perceived threat, primary school teachers in Britain are allegedly being encouraged by equality advocates to censor fictional children’s characters, eliminating witches’ black pointed hats in favor of white ones, while dressing fairies in dark colors. Proponents of this technique can claim the method will eliminate "racism" in children as young as two.
Unsurprisingly, other innocuous items are also coming under fire. Take for example writing paper. The Telegraph reports:
The eighth annual "40 Days for Life" campaign to end abortion launches September 28 at an unprecedented 301 locations worldwide. Local volunteers are set to begin constant 24-hour prayer vigils outside abortion clinics in their respective cities from September 28 until November 6. Participants have also pledged to fast and pray privately during the crusade and to take part in community outreach programs as well.
The campaign website explains 40 Days for Life "takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families." Forty-eight new locations have been added to this year's international event, including cities in Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Germany.
Campaign organizers boast phenomenal success in the past, and they have high hopes for this year's substantially larger crusade. Campaign director Shawn Carney observed, "I often go back to those wonderful numbers — 4,313 lives saved from abortion, 53 clinic workers who've left the abortion industry, and 16 abortion centers that have gone out of business after 40 Days for Life's peaceful prayer vigils were held in the public right-of-way outside their doors." He anticipates tens of thousands will participate this year.