Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 22, 2009

Was Carter’s departure political positioning?

Just days after Jimmy Carter announced he was severing ties with the Southern Baptist Convention because of their treatment of women, the church has accused the former president of seeking headlines for “political advantage” and said it’s not the first time he’s left the church.

Roger Oldham, a spokesman for the convention, told a Toronto newspaper earlier this week that Carter has left the church about four times and that his claims that the church subjugated women are a “far cry” than actual practices.

“Believing that women and men have different roles in the home is a far cry from wishing the subjugation of women,” Oldham said.

Carter has been a member of the Southern Baptist Convention for at least 60 years but announced he was leaving because of the church’s requirement that women be subservient to their husbands. Carter wrote in an essay in The Age that the practice created a loss of control for girls and women over their own bodies and decisions.

Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 20, 2009

Jimmy Carter stands up for women, leaves church

Jimmy CarterFormer President Jimmy Carter has apparently left the Southern Baptist Church after more than 60 years as a member, citing a difference in opinion over the treatment of women.

In an essay in The Age, Carter said that forcing women to be subservient to men “costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.”

Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 17, 2009

Episcopal Church lifts ban on gay, lesbian bishops

A “large majority” of Episcopal bishops, priests and lay delegates, gathered in California this week for the church’s triennial General Convention, voted to lift a three-year-old moratorium on consecrating gay and lesbian bishops.

The move was surprising as many had warned that the ban was necessary to preserve unity in the wider Anglican Communion.

More than 70 percent of delegates at the convention voted to lift the ban, asserting that “God has called and may call” gays and lesbians in lifelong committed relationships “to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.”

Read More…

Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 16, 2009

Work or religion?

The Oregon Legislature sent a bill to the governor this week that claims to broaden religious freedom in the state but would bar teachers — and only teachers — from wearing religiously mandated attire such as an Islamic head scarf, of hijab.

According to the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, a section of the Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act states:

“No teacher in any public school shall wear any religious dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher. A school district, education service district or public charter school does not commit an unlawful employment practice under ORS chapter 659A by reason of prohibiting a teacher from wearing religious dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher.”

Read More…

Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 14, 2009

Dalai Lama comes to Iowa

The Dalai Lama of Tibet is scheduled to make an historic stop at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls next year to share his views on the importance of education in an increasingly global society.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak at the university on May 18, 2010. Ticket information will be available from the school later this year.

“UNI is honored to host the Dalai Lama, who has received awards from around the world that recognize his messages of peace, non-violence, inter-religious understanding, and universal responsibility and compassion,” said UNI President Benjamin Allen in a press release issued from the school. “At UNI, we take great pride in providing quality education and preparing future educators.”

“The Dalai Lama imparts a message to the world that stresses the importance of learning, and the role education plays in developing socially responsible citizens. This is a great opportunity to provide inspiration and cultivate new thoughts and ideas at UNI,” he said.

The day of his visit will be an opportunity to celebrate education and discuss its importance while encouraging the exchange of ideas and views. A committee has been established to coordinate academic initiatives, campus and community programs and K-12 activities to take place during the fall and spring semesters leading up to the Dalai Lama’s visit.

More information about the day of the Dalai Lama’s visit and associated events will follow in the fall.

For more information about the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, visit

Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 10, 2009

Interesting week in religion

It can safely be said that opponents and proponets of  religion in public have each gotten their say this week.

In Tracy, Calif., the city council received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation asking it to stop saying prayers before meetings and invoking the name of God.

A little farther west — and closer to home here — the school board in Spencer, Iowa have proposed a policy that would offer students elective classes on the Bible and on arguments against the theory of evolution.

Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 10, 2009

The Pope and the President get Personal

President Obama ended a 30-minute meeting with Pope Benedict today by giving him a letter from Sen. Ted Kennedy and asking the pontiff to pray for the senator, who has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

It was a personal ending to what was likely a tense discussion as the pope pressed Obama on stem cell research and abortion.

Obama called Kennedy from Air Force One before it lifted off to tell him he had delivered the letter, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. He said no one knows what was in the letter except Sen. Kennedy.

Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 10, 2009

Swimming pool threat? Probably not.

My first reaction to this story was, I admit, a small chuckle.

Then I thought it was a little sad. As parents we all like to think when something bad happens that it “wasn’t my kid.” But if your daughter suddenly turns up pregnant my guess is it wasn’t really from the swimming pool, no matter how much you want to argue that it was.

Does this woman really believe her daughter got pregnant by swimming in an Egyptian swimming pool, or is she just trying to grab attention? One never knows, but I can think of other things she could have done than make herself look silly.

Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 8, 2009

Praying or reading the Bible in school?

The Spencer school district in northwest Iowa is considering a policy that would allow students to read the Bible or pray at school or school ceremonies.

What do you think?

Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 2, 2009

New rabbi looking forward to move

Rabbi Todd Thalblum is a 41-year-old husband and father of two pre-teens (son is 12, daughter is 10) who is looking forward to returning to the Midwest and to the opportunities awaiting him in Cedar Rapids.

That’s what he told me when I caught up with him briefly this afternoon on a phone conversation from his Texas home.

“We live in the suburbs of Houston and Cedar Rapids reminds us of where we are now,” he said.  He said the city is also “similar to the places we grew up” — he in Kansas City, his wife in Boulder, Colo.

Thalblum has been named rabbi of Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, replacing the outgoing Rabbi Aaron Sherman.

“We’re looking forward to the move,” he said.

Read More…

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