A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘religion

[LINK] “Porter passenger says she was asked to move for another passenger’s religious accommodation”

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The extent of the misogyny described by the Toronto Star‘s Holly Honderich, developed to the point that the man in question refused to talk to the woman whose existence offended him, staggers me. If these people have such problems with being near women, should they perhaps not book their tickets accordingly?

A passenger aboard a Porter flight on Monday said that she was asked to change seats to accommodate another passenger who she says would not sit beside a woman for religious reasons.

Christine Flynn, executive chef for iQ Food Co. in Toronto’s financial district, said that she was buckled in her seat, awaiting takeoff on a flight from Newark back home to Toronto, when a man wearing traditional Orthodox Jewish garb walked down the aisle to his assigned seat beside her.

Looking “bewildered,” Flynn said that the man “swivelled around to the gentleman across the aisle . . . and just said ‘change,’ ” without acknowledging her.

Porter spokesperson Brad Cicero confirmed that Flynn was asked by an airline attendant if she would be willing to move but would not say the reason the request was made. Cicero also maintained “she was not ever put in the position of being told to move.”

[. . .]

“If this man had made eye contact with me, if he said ‘I’m very sorry but because of my religion I’m forbidden’ . . . I would have absolutely moved, I would have had no problem with that, but to not be included in the conversation, to take away my words and my right to choose . . . this is the 21st century,” she said.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 31, 2015 at 10:39 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Anger grows at NY archdiocese for closing dozens of churches”

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Debora Fougere writes for Al Jazeera America in describing the conflict in New York City in the Roman Catholic Church, as parishoners–often of immigrant background and belonging to tight-knit communities–are trying to keep their parishes intact.

On a warm and sultry summer night, a couple dozen worshippers gathered recently at the Church of the Nativity in New York City’s East Village for a mass celebrating the life of Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement dedicated to helping the poor.

The church, housed in a simple, cinder block and brick building, has none of the usual gleaming gold and majesty one would often expect from a Catholic house of worship.

But the celebration was bittersweet. On Aug. 1, Nativity will be “merged” with another parish, Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, effectively shutting it down for good, leaving the immigrants, working families, young professionals, poor and homeless who pray there without their spiritual home.

Mildred Guy has lived in the neighborhood for 45 years, and worshipped at Nativity for 35. Her son was an altar server there, and graduated from the now closed Nativity Mission School. She lost her home in March when a deadly gas explosion levelled four East Village buildings, and now she’s losing her church. “It’s not the prettiest church. But it’s very comforting, it’s very homely”, she said. “When you come here you feel like you’re in a second home, at least for me. So to lose this church, it’s a big hurt.”

The church has built a reputation for embracing everyone. Claudia Marte, one of the parishioners fighting to keep the parish open, said the neighborhood needs Nativity. “We have a very diverse community,” she said. “We have a lot of homeless in the community, and we get together after mass sometimes and we invite them to join us. Some of them actually sleep in front of the church and we have become friends with some of them and we ask them to join us. They’re part of our community.”

Nor is Nativity alone. A reorganization plan dubbed “Making All Things New” is being rolled out that will merge 112 parishes in the Archdiocese of New York, the second largest in the country, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island in New York City, as well as seven upstate counties. Around 55 of those churches will effectively close.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 29, 2015 at 10:24 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that ferry tickets for the Toronto Islands can now be bought online.
  • Discover‘s Crux considers SETI.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper considering habitable exoplanets around nearby red dwarf stars, defends the potential existence of exoplanets at Kapteyn’s Star, and looks at the Epsilon Eridani system.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that a second Scottish referendum on independence is possible, according to Alex Salmond.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Mormons are unhappy with the Scouts’ gay-friendly shift.
  • Language Hat considers the history of family name usage in Russia.
  • Languages of the World examines in two posts the argument that primitive peoples have simple languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the strategies of Spanish populist group Podemos.
  • Peter Watts considers the peculiar thing of people lacking large chunks of the brain who nonetheless seem normal.
  • Diane Duane, at Out of Ambit, is quite unhappy with an impending forced upgrade to Windows 10.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes how labour-saving technologies improved the lives of women.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers proposals to explore small solar system bodies.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers what would happen if Bernie Sanders won the nomination of the Democratic Party.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to statistics on the population of Abu Dhabi.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the depopulation of South Ossetia and looks at the Russian Orthodox Church’s hostility to Ukraine’s Uniate Catholics.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes that although Labour apparently did a good job of convincing potential voters it was right, it did a worse job of getting them to vote.

[LINK] Maddy Crowell of Slate on the problems of Auroville

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In Slate, Maddy Crowell travels to India to visit a famed utopian community that actually is no such thing.

We drove in silence for 20 minutes down East Coast Road, a highway jammed with motorbikes, passing brightly colored tea and samosa stalls. In a sharp, 90-degree turn, the taxi lurched off the highway onto an unmarked dirt road where a wall of leafy trees brought the chaos and the color to a jolting stop. And suddenly, we weren’t in India anymore.

Auroville was built by hand by the flower-power generation of the 1960s. It was a “psychological revolution,” as W.M. Sullivan noted in his book The Dawning of Auroville—a venture in which Marxist-flavored socialism met anarchy. There is no money, no government, no religion, no skyscrapers or expressways, no newspapers with headlines of war, poverty, and genocide. Built for 50,000 people, Auroville today has only about 2,500 permanent residents and roughly 5,000 visitors—self-selected exiles from more than 100 countries. Auroville wasn’t just some hippie haven; it was designed to be a poster child for India itself. According to a 1982 Indian Supreme Court ruling, Auroville is in “conformity with India’s highest ideals and aspirations.” The Indian government donates more than $200,000 to Auroville every year, and UNESCO has protected the township since its birth in 1968.

But for a professed utopia, Auroville has a laundry list of problems; high up on the list are robbery and sexual harassment cases in the non-gated community surrounded by local villages, but there have been more drastic cases of rape, suicide, and even murder.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 27, 2015 at 7:38 pm

[LINK] “Increasing tension over some Amish beliefs as communities grow”

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Al Jazeera America’s Kevin Williams notes growing conflicts between Amish and their non-Amish neighbours in the United States.

In this rural outpost near the border with Tennessee, Amish women park their horse-drawn buggies at the edge of town and walk in dragging wooden wagons behind them, returning with goods stacked high. Some avoid town altogether. They fear ending up like Amos Mast and Dan Mast, an Amish father and son who face the possibility of jail for refusing to pay fines for not attaching a bag behind their horse to catch manure. The Masts say the bags spook the horses and that paying the town’s fines would set an unwelcome precedent.

“I used to have a lot of Amish customers, but I haven’t had an Amish customer in the past three to four months. They used to come in every day. I don’t know how many dollars’ worth of belts I bought just for them that are now just sitting there. They power everything with gasoline engines, and they need belts for them to run,” said Glen Sears, the owner of Glen’s Hardware. He said many Amish now go to the town of Franklin, 13 miles away, for supplies.

Soon they may not even be going there. Most of the Amish around Auburn, according to Margie Reed, a friend and neighbor to many of the local Amish, are preparing to pack up and move to Pennsylvania, which has historically been very accommodating to the Amish.

Auburn, Kentucky is one of many towns where locals appear to be increasingly clashing with the Amish over traditional practices. Diane Umble, the dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, has studied Amish culture extensively. She attributes many of these conflicts to the combination of a growing Amish population and a small group of Amish who are resistant to compromising on their traditions and balk at government rules.

[. . .]

With a historically high birthrate for the Amish and less and less available farmland, these issues will continue to grow, Umble said, as they keep moving to new areas. Most estimates say the Amish population in the USA doubles every generation. So with currently about 200,000 church members, more and more rural space is needed to accommodate the groups.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 24, 2015 at 9:44 pm

[LINK] “Egg War: Why India’s Vegetarian Elite Are Accused Of Keeping Kids Hungry”

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If Rhitu Chatterjee’s NPR report about the role of high-caste Hindus enforcing religious food taboos on lower caste children is correct, I wouldn’t be surprised. Sacrificing the weak and vulnerable in the name of high-sounding religious ideals is common worldwide.

India is in the midst of a war of sorts — a war over eggs. To eat them, or not to eat them. Actually, it’s more about whether the government should give free eggs to poor, malnourished children.

It all began in late May, when Shivraj Chouhan, the chief minister of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, shot down a proposal to serve eggs in government-run day care centers (anganwadis) in some tribal areas.

These communities have high rates of malnutrition, says Sachin Jain, a local food-rights activist in the state. “The idea behind the proposal was to address the gap in protein deficiency through … eggs,” he says.

But Chouhan wasn’t convinced. As Indian newspapers reported, he publicly vowed not to allow eggs to be served as long as he was minister.

Why this vehement opposition to eggs? Well, the local community of Jains, which is strictly vegetarian and also powerful in the state, has previously thwarted efforts to introduce eggs in day care centers and schools. Chouhan is an upper caste Hindu man who recently became a vegetarian.

And the state of Madhya Pradesh is mostly vegetarian, as are some other states, like Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat. For years, the more politically vocal vegetarians in these states have kept eggs out of school lunches and anganwadis.

But here’s the thing: While these states as a whole may be mostly vegetarian, the poorest — and most malnourished — Indians generally are not. They would eat eggs, if only they could afford them, says Dipa Sinha, an economist at the Center for Equity Studies in New Delhi and an expert on India’s preschool and school feeding programs.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 23, 2015 at 10:26 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO suggests that the Pan Am Games are not turning out to be a disaster.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at innovative designs for fast small space probes.
  • City of Brass celebrates the end of Ramadan.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the discovery of Jupiter analogue HIP 11915, and links to a paper arguing that hot Jupiters could evolve into hot Neptunes.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that there are no more large impact craters expected to be found on Earth.
  • A Fistful of Euros notes the latest on surveillance in Germany.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the gay hints in late 1970s Wonder Woman.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that the Yemeni capital of Sanaa is running out of water, looks at the hard time of immigrants on the Canadian job market, and notes Singapore’s public campaigns for manners.
  • Russell Darnely of Maximos62 makes the case for a return of the Elgin Marbles to the Parthenon.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell notes a new book on the historical Adam.
  • Torontoist reviews the Stratford Festival.
  • Towleroad notes how Scott Walker tried, pathetically, to backtrack from his anti-gay comments on Scouts.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Dagestani discontent with pollution allegedly produced by the Russian navy in the Caspian, looks at the awkward approach of the Russian Orthodox Church to Orthodox churches in South Ossetia, and argues Kazakhstan is a role model for Russia.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the political economy of the BBC.
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