Call me a humorless feminist, but I’ve always thought certain subjects were beyond the realm of comedy: Helen Keller, rape, the Holocaust. But then last week I caught a clip of Joan Rivers’ E! show “Fashion Police.” While critiquing a photo of Heidi Klum wearing this dress, Rivers quipped, “The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.” And then something odd happened. I laughed.
I’m Jewish. So is Joan Rivers. Does being in “the club” mean that it’s okay to laugh at jokes about our own people? One of the reasons I don’t think Holocaust jokes are funny is that they poke fun at people who are victims, and it’s much funnier to laugh at the bullies. Did I laugh because Rivers was making fun of a German person in relation to the Holocaust, instead of a Jewish one? Keep reading »
Sometimes I do not have anything deeper to say other than “Shut up.”
And those are my choice words for the California parents who are suing their children’s school district over yoga classes being taught in a class. That’s not very Zen, is it? Keep reading »
Look, I’m not the world’s most observant Christian. But even I attended enough Sunday school to know that God would totally have said “Thou shalt not rape” had there been room on those tablets for an 11th commandment.
Which is why I feel confident saying that Sean Patrick Banks, 37, of Del Mar, California, who is accused of raping a woman he met on the Christian dating site Christian Mingle, is crappy Christian. Keep reading »
With no apparent sense of irony at all, the faith site Beliefnet allegedly hired a guest blogger who writes about feminist issues … and then told her she couldn’t use the word “feminist” anywhere in any of her blog posts.
Why? Because “feminist” is such an offputting word. Keep reading »
This week, two women who escaped from extreme religious sects told their stories. One escaped from Scientology, the other from the Westboro Baptist Church. Although a small number of people grow up inside groups like these in America, it’s as important as it is startling to hear from these women and hear how, even in this modern world, there are still people who want to oppress women, control their bodies, and prevent them from getting educated. Keep reading »
Friday, February 1 wasn’t just two days before the Super Bowl — it was also World Hijab Day, when non-Muslim women and Muslim women who don’t ordinarily cover themselves are encouraged to wear a head-covering hijab veil.
With slogans like “Before you judge, cover up … for a day” and “better awareness, greater understanding, peaceful world,” the event implores women to learn more about what it is like to be hijabi by experience. Keep reading »
The Obama administration released new details this morning about which religious employers will be exempt from covering the cost of birth control under health care reform — which the Associated Press describes as a “broader opt-out.”
The Health and Human Services Department announced this morning that businesses which object must “self-certify that they are non-profits with religion as a core part of their mission,” according to The Huffington Post. For example, you can’t just object to covering women’s preventative care if you are, for example, a religious Catholic who objects to birth control and also happens to employ people working at a nonprofit animal shelter. Additionally, if a religious nonprofit refuses to provide coverage of contraception, a third-party health insurer must handle the coverage for women who want it. Keep reading »
These days, Scientology is everywhere – three books are out this month alone, including Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear, which has been featured everywhere from CNN to the New York Times Book Review. Yesterday, several ex-members filed a lawsuit against the Church, saying that Scientology kept asking them for more and more money for shadowy projects which were never completed, then had them blacklisted for asking questions about where the money went.
I believe in freedom of religion. But as a longtime religion reporter, I know enough about Scientology to think that the Church is dangerous and harmful. In particular, it’s terrible for the women who join it. It may be funny to watch the Xenu clip from South Park, but many of the labor violations and harsh punishments against women in the Church should give you a sense of why this religion isn’t amusing – it’s scary. Keep reading »