Religion and Human Rights

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For over a year now I’ve added to this file labeled “drones.” Yes, I’m distraught at the thought that the White House with the advice of intelligence agencies systematically kills people deemed “terrorists” with missiles fired by drones. Our president just made a policy speech on the issue this week and despite the good news that there will be better…
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In Iraq and Afghanistan, women in the US military have often been in combat roles, a little-known fact until this past week when gender equality in the line of fire became official Pentagon policy. Staff Sgt. Keesha Dentino, an explosives-dog handler for the famous Old Guard infantry regiment at Fort Myers, in an interview with the Washington Post said she…
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In my first installment on this theme, I argued that there is a problematic relation between religion and the status of women. But as we looked at this nexus in Egypt and Israel in particular, plainly what’s involved is a traditionalist and textualist (taking texts literally and applying them to the letter) kind of religion, hard to distinguish from the…
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I hope you’re breathing a sigh of relief: no picture of a woman in hijab! Seriously, while I have written on “the many meanings of hijab,” and the question of religion and gender equality, I come back to the issue from a different angle: the secular-religious clash in Israel is symptomatic of social dynamics all over the world (though perhaps…
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Thanks to an email this morning from Chris Seiple, president of the Institute for Global Engagement, I read what he was calling a landmark speech on religious freedom by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (see video version). Her speech was marking the State Department’s release of the 2011 International Freedom of Religion Report, which opens with the words of…
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  The Hebrew Bible – or the Christian Old Testament – begins with God creating the world in six days. On the sixth, after bringing forth all the animals, God created human beings in his image, both male and female. Then in verse 28 of Genesis 1 we read:   “Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.…
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