Freedom to use contraceptives:
Yet again the never ending battle between human rights and religious freedom is rearing its ugly head during the 2012 American Presidential elections. Obama’s administration has stated in their health care initiative that contraceptives and in some cases abortion inducing medication must be available to workers. Now, many politicians along with angered religious groups want this option taken away. In many religions, such as Roman Catholic, any use of contraception is against their faith. For example there is presently an owner of a mining company who has started a lawsuit stating that religious freedom is being breached. The owner of the company states that the use of contraceptives is against his personal beliefs so he does not want it offered in his employee insurance plan. In this “obamacare” insurance debate, it is noted that churches, mosques or other entirely religious entities do not have to abide by the employee insurance act or offer contraceptives, elevating the church vs state mentality. Taking a basic human right away from a women gives the United States a third world country mentality. Oppressing women’s rights is totally dumfounding. A country that prides itself in being modern, accepting and free wants to put women in the dark ages of contraception? It is understandable that many want their rights of religious freedom noted but what about freedom from religion? People should not be punished for what they do or do not believe. This is the 21st century in a modern era where people and yes women, deserve all basic human rights. Taking away insurance for contraceptives but allowing it to be put towards your monthly supply of viagra seems to be a little gender biased to me. Women, religious or not, deserve to make their own choices when it comes to pregnancy. Take away from this what you will but freedom is freedom and we all deserve it.
Re: New York Times article Contraception and Religious Liberty (October 3. 2012)
“There can be a million excuses why the Taliban can still operate with impunity in Pakistan, a lot of them legitimate. But if you are the ruling party, then you must accept responsibility for you failures, and the Pakistan Peoples Party has resoundingly failed.” Columnist Sami Shah said this statement. She addresses the issue that the government is not protecting its communities properly from the Pakistan Taliban. The Taliban is an example of how it can be potentially harmful to a society, when religious extremists enter into powerful position within the political realm. The Pakistani Government has failed to take a stern stance against these Islamic fundamentalists, and has allowed them to police its citizens based on rules derived from their own Islamic Interpretation. Malala Yousufzai was yet another victim of the Taliban violently enforcing their extremist Islamic religious views onto civilians. Malala was shot because her beliefs conflicted with those of the Taliban. This tragedy brings up another issue of how certain religions ideologies may conflict with what many people, especially westerners may see as fundamental rights and freedoms. This brings up questions about how the traditional view of the separation of church and state would be applied to countries that have strong religious ties. The Taliban’s perspective follows a Calvinistic guideline. Which believes that every aspect of an individuals private and private spheres of life that do not owe their existence to the state therefore do not fall under the authority of the state, but fall under a higher divine authority.
The article I will be discussing talks about the involvement of women in Islam. Muslim women being Imams, teachers, and having their own mosques. Before we get into this topic, we must have an understanding of what religion is. According to Max Weber, “… the essence of religion is not even our concern, as we make it our task to study the conditions and effects of a particular type of social behavior.” This is a sociologist’s definition. People have different ideas of what religion is.
In the article, “A Model of Inclusion for Muslim Women,” Tatlow discusses the rituals taking place in China. There are 10 million Hui muslims scattered across China. The female population of Hui muslims includes Imams. There are also mosques for women. This represents the older traditions and form of islam. A time when women had right and were included just as males were. Over time, rituals and traditions changed. In most cases they modernized, but in this case they did not modernize for the better. With the rise of wealth due to petrol in Saudi Arabia came the rise of extremism.
The Hui muslims are simply trying to shed light on the origin and roots of Islam. As Mr. Abou El Fadel, a professor of the Islamic law at the University of California, said, “The Chinese tradition of women’s mosques is rooted in Islamic history.” The Hui must attempt to provide resistance to puritanical Islam. The importance of the woman’s role in Islam dates back centuries. They provided men with information as most of them were illiterate. Since Hui islam was not influenced by petrol money, their traditions adhered to the roots of islam. With the determination and commitment, muslim women will hopefully be included and have their voice heard throughout the middle east. They have a perfect example to follow, even though they may be on the opposite side of the continent.
“A Model of Inclusion for Muslim Women” Didi Kirsten Tatlow. New York Times. Published: Oct 9, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/10/world/asia/10iht-letter10.html?ref=religionandbelief&_r=0
Canada prides itself on accepting people of all religions and cultural backgrounds. However, government has planned to cut numerous non-Christian chaplains from providing their services within federal penitentiaries, in hopes of saving tax payers money. Presently there is a staff of eighty full time chaplains, one of which is non-Christian and one hundred part time chaplains, twenty of which are non-Christian. According to recent facts, the federal government plans to cut all part time chaplains. Candice Bergen, Parliamentary Secretary of Public Health and Safety, said the remaining chaplains will be able to guide any religion, despite being of the Christian faith themselves. Harkirat Singh, Sikh chaplain, believes this to be a poor decision, as he does not believe that full time Christian chaplains will be able to provide adequate assistance to those in a non-Christian faith. He believes the government is discriminating against non-Christian religions with these cuts. With these decisions, the Canadian government is ultimately choosing which religions are able to have a place in public facilities. By allowing Protestants and Catholics better access to chaplains of their own religion they are disregarding the minority faiths such as Iman, Judaism, Sikh and Muslim. In the past, other countries have marginalized religions or not acknowledged them this results in those religions/ groups developing a distrust with their government. An example of this in the past is the Zulu’s and the British. Is it more important for the minority religions to receive funding and recognition, or to cater only to the majority religions of the people?
In late 2008 Dr. Eben Alexander contracted a rare bacterial meningitis that forced him into a coma for 7 days. During his time in a coma, in a supposed vegetative state with a completely inactive neo cortex, Dr. Alexander lived what he calls an experience of the afterlife. He talks about super real phenomena such as big fluffy clouds, angels singing, and hitching a ride on one butterfly among millions streaming across the sky. In this article and his upcoming book titled “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” Dr Alexander attempts to redefine our current understanding of the brain and the resulting consciousness through a more abstract or surreal lens. He argues that although his neural cortex was completely shutdown, he was able to experience events that were so crystal clear that they can’t be currently explained by medical science. Although the article doesn’t provide much in terms of corroborating evidence, perhaps his book will shed some more light.
Dr. Alexander describes himself as a “faithful Christian… more in name than in actual belief” which begs the question what he believes a faithful Christian actually is. He goes on to describe himself as a scientist and knew better than to believe in an actual God, again seeming to contradict his “faithful Christian” remarks. Additionally, his assertions and jumps to conclusions about his experience without providing a hint of doubt, reason or evidence seem to contradict his teachings as a scientist.
Is this truly an experience of the afterlife by a man who was once an armchair Christian, or the result of medically induced drugs on that of a man suffering a brain injury?