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Jul 24 2014

I refuse to do the job, so you have to hire me

At Slate Amanda Marcotte considers the expanding definitions of “religious freedom.”

Is “religious freedom” about being free to practice your faith, or just a generic cover story for any and all attempts to try to foist your beliefs on others? In this era of Hobby Lobby vs. Burwell, it’s understandable that many on the right have decided it’s the latter and are eager to start testing the limits of how much leverage the expansive new definition of “religious freedom” gives them to meddle with the private contraception choices of others. Next on the docket: Attempting to force family planning centers to hire nurse-midwives who refuse to let patients plan their families, all in the name of “religious freedom.”

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Jul 24 2014

Universal FGM

Warning – bad stuff.

The BBC reports:

A top UN official in Iraq has said the Sunni Islamist group Isis controlling the city of Mosul is seeking to impose female genital mutilation.

All females aged 11 and 46 in the northern city must undergo the procedure, according to an Isis edict, UN official Jacqueline Badcock said.

That second sentence must be a typo – it has to mean aged from 11 to 46, not 11 and 46.

At any rate, if it’s true, and they mean it – well. That’s quite something.

Yo, George Bush? Feeling proud of your accomplishments this morning?

Update: links to denials in comments.

 

Jul 23 2014

Guest post: Feel free to reach out to me privately

Originally a comment by leni on You said it yourself, you’re a writer, not a diplomat.

One of my pet peeves is a lack of direct communication, if you’re a friend or a friend of a friend I wish that they would try to actually talk to me before making things a public issue

The most charitable reading of this is that Glenn means to say that the respectful response would be to don a wig and record a YouTube meta-parody of her position using questionable analogies. It’s pretty clear if you read far enough into the subtext and make some unfounded assumptions about her motivations. We don’t have to assume the worst, here.

This could be a real learning moment for you, Ophelia. Maybe it’s time you reconsidered your lack of ill-conceived parody videos.

If you ever change your mind about that and need some help with half-assed analogies involving animals and possibly submarines, feel free to reach out to me privately via Facebook or Twitter. Since you don’t actually know who I am, just send your message to Kevin Bacon. I’ll get the request eventually.

Jul 23 2014

The universities were breaking the Equalities Act of 2010

Nick Cohen talks about the confusion of people who think equality and diversity come in one package like fish and chips.

If you need me to rehearse the argument again after all these years, here it is, one more time. In a free society you are or should be free to believe what you want. But your freedom to ‘celebrate your diversity’ does not extend to the freedom to force your beliefs on others, unless you can secure a democratic change in the law compatible with the rights of minorities. For instance, you may be a doctor with ethical or religious objections to abortion. No one should force you to abort a fetus. You also have every right to denounce abortion at public meetings or refuse to vote for candidates who support abortion. But you do not have the right to bomb abortion clinics.  Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 23 2014

The 17 women currently incarcerated

Salvadoran feminists are pushing back against their country’s nightmare abortion laws.

Salvadoran feminist and women’s organizations are waging an international campaign demanding a pardon for the 17 women currently incarcerated in El Salvador for abortion, in hopes of challenging the country’s harsh anti-abortion laws and beginning to change the anti-choice views held by the vast majority of Salvadoran society.

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Jul 23 2014

Congratulations Michael

I think you already know this news, but this is an official announcement of it, which is all the better.

CFI’s Michael De Dora Elected President of UN Religious Freedom Committee

We’re proud to announce that Michael De Dora, CFI’s director of public policy and main representative to the United Nations, has been elected to a two-year term as president of the UN’s NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Michael De Dora

The Committee, working from within UN headquarters in New York City, is dedicated to defending and promoting the international agreements that protect the rights to freedom of religion or belief. As president, Michael will be responsible for organizing high-level meetings and public events with UN officials and foreign diplomats for the Committee and its members, imparting to those in positions of power the importance of the rights to freedom or religion or belief, as well as their relation to other areas of human rights, such as gender equality and LGBT rights.

“I feel extraordinarily honored to be elected to this position,” says Michael, who previously served as Committee secretary. “The rights to freedom of religion and belief are not only central to CFI’s mission, they are foundational for a flourishing global civilization. Around the world individuals are regularly persecuted for holding dissenting religious beliefs, or for having none at all. This must change, and civil society is a key to shifting the landscape. I look forward to working with officials at the United Nations and the Committee’s member organizations to advance the rights to freedom of religion and belief for all persons.”

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Jul 23 2014

The right to hire people who will uphold the ethos of the organisation

The Iona Institute is having a think about what is “discrimination” and what is “a religious exemption.” 

There are currently calls to repeal Section 37 (1) of Ireland’s Employment Equality Act: the law’s opponents argue that it allows schools, hospitals and other organisations with a religious ethos to discriminate in their hiring against those whose lifestyles run counter to that ethos. The law’s defenders (the Iona Institute among them) usually respond that protecting the religious freedom of such organisations is essential. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 23 2014

It’s not personal

Sigh. I have someone badgering me via private messaging on Facebook trying to push me to agree that Jaclyn Glenn is a feminist, it’s just that she’s “a liberal feminist who doesn’t agree with radical feminism.”

I don’t know, that may be the way she sees herself, but it’s not what she’s said in any of the videos I’ve criticized recently (which are the only videos of hers I’ve seen). I’ve been criticizing what she says in the videos. That’s it. She says what she says, and I criticize that. If her meaning is something other than what she has said in those videos, it’s up to her to make that clear. It’s not up to friends of hers to do that, and it’s not up to me to take their word for what she really thinks. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 22 2014

Let girls be girls

Photo

Jul 22 2014

Many girls remain at risk

The BBC reports on the Girl Summit, which is addressing FGM and child marriage.

Hosted by the UK government and children’s charity Unicef, the summit is being attended by international politicians, campaigners including the Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, and women who have undergone FGM.

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