Stunning photo via the thepoliticalnotebook:
From The Guardian's features picture editor's picks of photos that defined 2013… a portrait by Sebastian Tomado of Fadwa, a 20-year-old fighter, widow and mother of three in Aleppo, Syria.
Photo Credit: Sebastiano Tomado/Rex
Veterans Day Parade on Woodward Avenue
For Rachel Button, who hails from metro Detroit but now lives in the state of Washington’s North Cascade Mountains, images of a Veterans Day parade on Woodward Avenue in Detroit remind her of the march that often goes unacknowledged. Specifically, Eric Seals photographs for the Detroit Free Press inspired her to write this poem:
You wanted the poor and tired huddled masses—
the slack-jawed and stubbled—
but we march alone on Woodward
uniforms stiff on our still-broad shoulders,
The Free Press took pictures.
Photos of men,
marching a street edged by empty sidewalks,
black men and white men
some of us in leather and flannel
others in uniforms which trim our bodies
into silhouettes framed by brass buttons.
Imagine the hands at our sides:
wrinkled, smooth, freckled, gloved—
scarred by cuts and burns, scrapes and time—
hands that held babies,
hands that held our heads when loneliness
felt too heavy to hold on our necks.
We bend into cold with something like pride
not for the battles we fought,
but because we’re still standing, walking, moving,
together, slapping our shoes on Woodward,
standing straight, even if not one soul watches.
For an engaging and informative read, I highly recommend John Carlisle’s columnaccompanying Mr. Seals photos.
For as far back as Joy Ladin can remember, her body didn’t match her soul. Gender defines us from the moment we’re born. But, how is that related to the lifelong work of being at home in ourselves? You’ve got to check out our show this week, "Gender and the Syntax of Being." Krista’s interview with her explores this question through Joy’s story of transition from male to female — as a poet, as a parent, and as a the first openly transgender woman teaching in an Orthodox Jewish world.
"What we’re doing is praying with our feet, with our bodies."
Aztec dance instructor Centzi Millia wears chachayotl, the thick anklets of Aztec danzantes made of rattling seed pods during a class. She’s part of a new movement of Catholic Latinos in the U.S. who are turning to the spiritual practices of their indigenous ancestors, such as the Aztecs and other ancient traditions, and finding “a mestizo way of life.”
Read more of Shweta Saraswat’s article, “Aztlan, Anew,” which gives you a glimpse of what’s going on in your neighboring communities that you might not even be aware of.
The public’s trust in “organized religion” is on the decline. While wearying, Martin Marty says that these polls offer insights and lessons on how religious institutions must serve the public better.
Read Professor Marty’s full commentary and offer your thoughts. I’m curious: how you interpret this trend and the larger implications?
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor
"I hope the conclave will not go on too long. All I know is that I’m just taking in a small ‘carry-on’ piece of baggage. If we’re in there too long, and if they show photographs of St. Martha’s from outside Vatican City, my room will be the one with the laundry hanging in the window to dry!"
~Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, from his blog
Today, 115 Roman Catholic cardinals attended the Mass for the election of a new pope. The cardinals then entered into conclave while singing “Veni Creator Spiritus,” a Christian hymn invoking the blessing of the Holy Spirit.
Photo by George Martell, licensed under Creative Commons (BY-ND 2.0)
Bracketology at its best. Who’s going to start a pool on The Sweet Sistine? Much respect to David Gibson, Daniel Burke, and David Herrera at Religion News Service for this light-hearted take on the papal conclave:
More than 100 Roman Catholic cardinals will gather in the Sistine Chapel in March. One will emerge as pope. Who will it be? The “Sweet Sistine” is our guess at the top candidates from each continent.
You can vote below for who you think would move on to the next round in each matchup. First-round voting closes at midnight Eastern on Friday (March 1).
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor
I chose this photo of Pope Benedict XVI from 2008 to head Mary Jo McConohay’s insightful commentary and analysis, "La Sorpresa: The Papal Resignation, in the Latin American Eye."
Is Latin America the future of the Roman Catholic Church, or will the home to liberation theology be relegated to the sidelines when the next pope is chosen?
"Half of the cardinals who will vote are from Europe, but only a quarter of Catholics live there. Whoever is elected, dramatic church changes do not appear imminent."
On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision regarding Roe v. Wade. Forty years later, the decision remains a hot-button topic in the news but, as this Pew study points out, there has been remarkable consistency in public opinion over the last two decades:
“More than six-in-ten (63%) say they would not like to see the court completely overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Only about three-in-ten (29%) would like to see the ruling overturned. These opinions are little changed from surveys conducted 10 and 20 years ago.
White evangelical Protestants remain outliers in this respect:
[They] are the only major religious group in which a majority (54%) favors completely overturning the Roe v. Wade decision. Large percentages of white mainline Protestants (76%), black Protestants (65%) and white Catholics (63%) say the ruling should not be overturned. Fully 82% of the religiously unaffiliated oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.
However, the U.S. public continues to be divided over whether it is morally acceptable to have an abortion:
“Nearly half (47%) say it is morally wrong to have an abortion, while just 13% find this morally acceptable; 27% say this is not a moral issue and 9% volunteer that it depends on the situation. These opinions have changed little since 2006.”
For a more in-depth discussion about the nuances of this conversation, I recommend listening to this conversation I produced for On Being with David Gushee, a Christian ethicist who advocates a “consistent ethic of life,” and Frances Kissling, a long-time abortion-rights activist, who reveal what they admire in the other side and discuss what’s really at stake in this debate.