I’m not the most devout Jew. Obviously, if I were, I’d be sitting in temple right now listening to the rabbi blow a shofar until I was half-deaf. But instead, I’m here reflecting on what I’ll need to ask forgiveness for. I figure, at least attempting to self-reflect, whether I do it in a house of worship or not, is enough to keep me cool with God. Or at least to keep me cool with myself, which I personally find more important.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is a supposed to be a day of judgement, where you stand before God and yourself and allow an honest assessment of how you’ve behaved in the previous year to take place. From now until Yom Kippur (which falls about 10 days after Rosh Hashanah), all Jews are meant to engage in a process of repentance for the sins of the previous year. That’s just a little light Judaism lesson for you. My thought is that you don’t need to be Jewish, or a religious Jew, or believe in the concept of sin (I don’t), to take some time to reflect on your year. After the jump, what I’m atoning for. Keep reading »
In light of this weekend’s tragic shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, we thought our readers would be interested to learn more about this religion. We reached out to the Sikh Feminist Research Institute for some thoughts on Sikhism.
Often I am asked of when I first became aware of being a feminist. This question takes me back to the deepest recesses of my memories of early childhood, since it was my mother who was my first feminist role model. She would frequently give me feminist pep talks: “You want to be a pilot? Yes, of course you can become a pilot!” or “Your favourite color is blue? Sure, blue is a great color.” Often defiant of male authority, a natural and equal partner in running the household, she was both bread-winner and the CEO of our home.
As I grew older I would often wonder about the origins of my mother’s feminist ideas. Not having had the opportunity of a formal education due to the poverty following forced migration at the time of Partition, it was apparent she had no access to the feminist theorists I would come to prize in later life. Instead her ideas emerged from the Sikh historical narratives she was raised on and the strong women in her own life. The re-telling of the lives of Sikh women would provide fodder for bed-time stories, both awe-inspiring but also re-assuring of a universe that made sense where women and men are equals. Keep reading »
Living in New York City means getting used to street harassment. In the past few years, my name has been Baby, Sexy, Bitch, and Hey You, Why Don’t You Smile? I’ve learned when to give the finger and when to hide. My friend Jen Dziura, a life coaching columnist, advises women that the best way to counter street harassment is to walk calmly up to the whistler or catcaller in question and politely let him know that he needs to learn how to speak to women in a respectful way.
It’s because of her that I finally said something to the Hasidic men who harass me in my neighborhood. Keep reading »
What would Jesus do? Not photograph himself making out with a teenage girl almost 40 years younger than him, that’s for sure.
Megachurch pastor Jack Schaap from First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, took cell phone photos of himself making out with a 17-year-old girl who is a member of his congregation. Last night, churchgoers learned that Schaap had had sex with the girl when she was 16. Keep reading »
Christian Grey is damn near God-like — at least according to guests’ bedside tables in The Damson Dene Hotel. Bibles have been booted and E L James’ BDSM erotica novel 50 Shades of Grey has taken their place in every room within the English inn. Damson Dene’s owner said providing a copy of the book to every guest within the 40-room hotel was “a hospitable thing to do.” Keep reading »
Laura Ann DeCrescenzo, a former Scientologist who left the church in 2004, has filed a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology for allegedly forcing her to have an abortion when she was a teen. According to Radar Online, DeCrescenzo was recruited to the religion in New Mexico at age nine and moved away from her family to work for the Church in Los Angeles as a member of the Sea Org at age 12 . Her education apparently did not progress past the 7th grade while working at the church, contrary to what Scientologists had promised her family when she moved away from them. She married at age 16 and then at age 17, she became pregnant; she claims the church did not want her to have a child because they wanted get get more labor out of her. DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit alleges the church threatened to fire her from her job, kick her out of her home, and break her apart from her husband if she didn’t terminate the pregnancy. Additionally, DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit accused the religion of false imprisonment, as the Church of Scientology reportedly restricted her access to TV, Internet, and the telephone, and opened and read all of her mail. Keep reading »
The suburbs of Minneapolis are a land of quiet cul-de-sacs, hot dish potlucks, and mostly conservative politics, but in light of a new amendment that seeks to add a gay marriage ban to the Minnesota constitution, these neighborhoods have become something a bit more unexpected: a sea of rainbow flags. And who’s leading the charge? Church ladies, of course!
As soon as the State Legislature voted to include this despicable amendment on the November ballot, Gwin Pratt, a senior pastor at St. Luke Presbyterian Church, sprang into action, brainstorming ways to fight it. One church member, Cindy Eyden, proposed a plan: what if they bought rainbow flags and handed them out to anyone who wanted one? Keep reading »
Much like the hair and costume folks for Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, the marketing folks for video games know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to getting attention for their product. And as we’ve seen all-too-often with video games, the go-to advertising strategy is sex, sex, more sex, followed by a healthy dollop of sexualized violence against women.
The lastest game raising hackles is “Hitman: Absolution” — specifically, its new trailer, “Attack of The Saints,” which features “sexy dominatrix nuns” getting punched, kicked and shot at by the game’s hitman hero, Agent 47. Keep reading »
The Vatican denounced an American nun, Sister Margaret A. Farley, on Monday for her theological teachings in support of same-sex relationships, remarriage after divorce and masturbation.
In her awarding-winning 2006 book, Just Love: A Framework For Christian Sexual Ethics, Sister Farley writes that “masturbation … usually does not raise any moral questions at all.” Sister Farley, a member of the Sisters of Mercy and a professor of Christian ethics at Yale University, also wrote:
“[S]ame-sex relationships and activities can be justified according to the same sexual ethic as heterosexual relationships and activities … therefore same-sex oriented persons as well as their activities can and should be respected whether or not they have a choice to be otherwise.” Keep reading »