Monday, April 19, 2010

So Much Stuff, So Little Time

Some weeks are like that. I have to cram lots of material into one post to cover it. Luckily, the topic for this one is religion so there's an underlying framework. Of sorts.

First, The National Prayer Day:

A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled Thursday that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

National Day of Prayer "goes beyond mere 'acknowledgment' of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context," U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb wrote. "In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience. . . .

And the floodgates open: You are leaving out God! Obama has canceled the National Prayer Day!

Nobody minds if goddesses are left out. Or atheists.

Second, the Catholic church is telling nuns who supported the health care reform bill that rebellion will be punished, at least in Greensburg:

Bishop Lawrence Brandt of the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg has declared that religious sisters from communities whose leaders endorsed the final version of the national health care reform bill can no longer promote their recruitment events in his parishes or in the diocesan newspaper.

"He has the right to disapprove a request from a religious community that wants to host a recruitment event when that community has taken a public stance in opposition to the Church's teaching on human life," said diocesan spokesman Jerry Zufelt.


The sisters are welcome to continue working in the diocese, and the bishop is in dialogue with them about resolving the recruitment problem, Mr. Zufelt said.

I like that very much, because it tells us how the church deals with the difficult Woman Question: They cannot recruit but they can still do the chores!

Third, there's the question of the head scarf:

College sophomore Hani Khan had worked for three months as a stockroom clerk at a Hollister Co. clothing store in San Francisco when she was told the head scarf she wears in observance of Islam violated the company's "look policy."

The policy instructs employees on clothing, hairstyles, makeup and accessories they may wear to work. When supervisors told Khan she had to remove the scarf, known as a hijab, to work at the store, she refused on religious grounds. A week later, she says, she was fired.

This is an example of religious discrimination. Sikh men face similar problems with the turbans their religion requires them to wear. The feminist questions go to a deeper levels and ask why religions assign women and men different rights and responsibilities:

Khan says there is a lot of misunderstanding about the hijab. She and others say they wear it for modesty.