Must Reads Roundup

Haven’t cleared the tabbar in a while – here are some things you should try not to miss:

dotcommonweal: Beautiful Bodies; Rotted Hearts, a remarkable piece of writing, and a look at the underbelly of free market capitalism that makes so many of the churches uneasy, even as they oppose the alternatives. Don’t miss it.

OSV: Their Catholic Internet Readers Guide. Yours truly gives a few of her own suggestions, although no one surveyed mentioned this blog! Whaa.

Speaking of Surveys: First Things is going to put out its first-ever own college rankings and guide, and it needs input from students at Catholic colleges. If you know kids attending Catholic colleges, please send it their way! They might win an iPad!

Theology of the Body, 101: It’s not a long read, but it’s informative.

Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Worship are not the same things.

Ban the Burqu?: Not so fast. Freedom of religion is freedom of religion. Orthodox Jewish women, some Protestant women and many Catholic and Orthdox women and nuns have a stake in this debate on covering.

Eyeopening: and depressing

2017: Dissolution?

Ray Bradbury: On Grace, Monsters and Angels

Prayer: Part I

Catch-22 and trickle down

The Scourge of Trenton: Chris Christie, aka, the grown-up.

See how you’re sitting: you’re a hater, or something!

Cubachi: Broken Window Fallacy

What? Wait, what?

BlogHer: Hey, look at this site! Look who is there!

White Gloves? Something cute and cool

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • dry valleys

    I don’t think there’s any need for me to repeat my secular credentials & impatience with the pro-faith “left”, I’ve done it often enough to be almost a one-trick commentor, but I don’t share Claire Belinski’s views, & most likely if you want to win me over it’s best not to do it by linking to an article by someone who praises Thatcher :)

    This is just many of the discussions I’ve engaged in (it is a big issue on the Britosphere because there are some burqa-clad women, probably more than in France). I had this to say.

    “That’s the reason why I oppose a ban, just because I don’t think it will work. I don’t think the burqa is anything other than vile, or accept the ‘freedom of choice’ when it isn’t a free choice half the time. I just think it won’t liberate a single woman.

    I also don’t think the Philip Hollobones of this world [care], they’re just trying to get support from right-wing voters.

    It is slightly disconcerting that so many liberals & secularists in France disagree with my views, but I just can’t see how the ban is going to help matters. That is the crucial bit.”

    Philip Hollobone is a right-wing member of Parliament who advocates a ban & says he refuses to see burqa-clad women if they come to him for advice/help, even though there apparently aren’t any (I mean literally, not one of the 300 and something Muslims) in his constituency, which has very few Asians living in it.

    Alex Massie on Ground Zero mosque

    Alex Massie is a “libertarian” whom I fault, not only for being a “libertarian”, but also for not being critical enough of Islam. Yet I share his essential view that using the bludgeon of the law won’t work.

    You can forgive a man if he shows suspicion of why Gingrich, Palin & the rest of them have suddenly started an auction over who is most opposed to this. Is it really unconnected to the thought of what will win Fox “News” over, help with their ambitions, sell more? I am so curious!

  • dry valleys

    About that Commonweal article. I am put in mind of an experience Engels once had, when he spoke to a right-wing businessman (in, if you please, the city that was the birthplace of “classical liberalism”*).

    After speaking at great length about the appalling conditions in which my forefathers lived, Engels was answered with one line. “And yet there is a great deal of money made here; good morning, sir”.

    *Which is about 30 miles from where I live & is quite a nice place if you stick to the city centre & avoid the more unpleasant residential areas. I am going there this weekend.

  • DWiss

    Anchoress, I love these roundups…always so much fun to read! Today, the Catholic Internet Readers Guide from OSV is fantastic. I had no idea that allnof these resources were available! Thanks for posting it!

  • Elizabeth Anne

    Anchoress, I found it interesting in the Burqua article that her argument for banning it was the same as the argument *for* it: men will harass women without them, she argues, if they’re allowed at all.

    [It's the most amazing thing, isn't it? -admin]

  • Miriam

    Anchoress, this video amazes me. I am a convert (Easter vigil 2008) but I never would have converted if this was the whole church.


    Watch and weep.

    [It's a generational thing. These are dying -admin]

  • Miriam

    Scroll down for video.

  • Lisa

    The comments left on BlogHer were really interesting. Though it would most likely be wasted on the commentators themselves, I’d love to read your answers to the anti-Catholic comments.

  • Bender

    the underbelly of free market capitalism that makes so many of the churches uneasy

    To be clear, what is described in that piece is not “free market” capitalism. It is part quasi-fascism (government-business partnership) and part unfree market capitalism (various forms of deceit and exploitation).

    A true “free market” — freedom being by definition something that must be consistent with truth in order to be “freedom” (only truth will set you free), and the truth of the human person is that we are social beings made to respect (love) one another, such that freedom must also be consistent with love to be “freedom” (freedom consists of being able to do what you ought to do, not necessarily what you want to do) — is necessarily wholly in line with Catholic teaching, caritas in veritate. Exploitive robber-barron capitalism, by definition, can never truly be called a “free market.”


    To be further clear, notwithstanding the implication of the article, theology of the body is not limited to human sexuality and sex-related topics. Rather, TOB covers the spectrum of the faith, inasmuch as the foundation of TOB is an examination of the nature of the human person. Thus, it can and should inform us in any number of non-sexual areas, such that that foundational TOB is perfectly appropriate for children. For example, TOB is applicable to the above discussion on free market capitalism. Soon, we will be celebrating the Assumption of Mary in heaven and, here to, TOB informs our understanding.

    JP2 merely used made his first and most explicit application of TOB to human sexuality. But one should not be confused in thinking that TOB begins and ends with sex (much less with JP2′s Wednesday audiences), it does not.

  • Ellen

    My brother goes to that church, Miriam. The pastor there is a bit of a crank. He makes up his own liturgies and pretty well does his own thing. The bishop of the diocese (who is wonderful and very orthodox) lets him be – why I don’t know. But priests like him are the past, and young, orthodox holy priests are the future.
    Maybe that’s why this priest is so cranky.

  • pst314

    “To be clear, what is described in that piece is not ‘free market’ capitalism. It is part quasi-fascism (government-business partnership) and part unfree market capitalism (various forms of deceit and exploitation).”

    I suspect that you are making a distinction that the folks at Commonweal would have difficulty understanding, as I believe they have a long-standing dislike for the free market.

    It would be just as unfair for somebody to describe a church child-abuse scandal as an event “where the Christian character shines most intensely.”

  • Western Chauvinist

    I’m quite surprised at your response to the Claire Berlinski article. Did we read the same piece?

    We face a terrible dilemma in this country, and the West generally, with our Judeo-Christian based western ideals of religious freedom, tolerance and equal dignity of all humans (including the 50% who are women) clashing with Islam’s ideals expressed in Sharia Law and the practice of wearing the burqa.

    I thought her piece expressed her sympathy and was well-reasoned and brutally honest. That is, we are going to have to practice hypocrisy on this lest we turn our constitution into a suicide pact. She has already conceded that head-scarves are beyond our grasp to control (because we can’t pretend it is a security issue) and therefore the “right” of orthodox religious women of all faiths to cover their heads (not faces) is not endangered by her proposal.

    In western cultures, we expect men to control themselves (and we prosecute them if they don’t), whereas in Muslim cultures, the women must protect men from their uncontrollable libidinous natures by appearing in public only after donning a full-body sack. This is an irreconcilable cultural conflict, to which Muslims must adapt when they live in the West. There are other options for them, but they should not include a transformation of western civilization to something which resembles Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

    Westerners had better start gaining some cultural confidence and drawing some lines in the sand. I would start with the mosque at the WTC first and move from there into legal protections against Sharia, like the burqa ban. Most problems in the West can be solved by more freedom, but we need to be discerning enough to know when they won’t. This is one of those cases.

  • Western Chauvinist

    Bender and pst314,

    I couldn’t agree more. The Cambodian slaves he describes were a product of misbegotten government compassion policy – not free market capitalism. The article is well-written and a near-perfect illumination of the Left’s world-view of all problems emanating from “the system” rather than the crappy behavior of broken individuals. Their struggle is almost always exterior rather than interior. Would the author suggest a conversion to Christ to his partners in crime? I doubt it.

  • F

    How sad. Kagan was just confirmed. First Prop 8 disaster and loss of our vote and now this. Well, America was a good experiment while it lasted I suppose.

  • expat

    Western Chauvinist,

    I agree completely. I don’t think most people realize that radicals use the veil and face covering to gain control of the Muslim communities. A few young guys, probably encouraged by imams or radical websites, start harrassing or assaulting unveiled girls on the way from school. Then they get on the brothers about how their family honor is being destroyed because their sister is a whore. The brothers take this home to the father, who may beginning to hear rumblings in his little business. Next thing you know the women in the family are veiled, and the thugs celebrate the successful control of another family. This is exactly why the French said no veils in school.

    We are a society that communicates partly through facial expression. Berlinski errs when she says there is no security issue. Recognizing the face of people is one aspect of security. It’s not just about smuggling bombs under a burqua. Anyone who can’t adjust to showing her face here, probably should leave. We should not apologize or make excuses for our culture.

  • Bridey

    Lefty: “I support free speech. But free speech doesn’t include hate speech.”

    Rightwinger: “I support free religious expression. But free religious expression doesn’t include face-covering veils on Muslim women.”

    I think the Anchoress’ point is well taken. Many liberal politicians and academics, particularly feminists, have little regard for women’s intelligence and autonomy to begin with. People with power and influence seriously compare the Catholic church to the Taliban.

    From banning the burqa to banning a nun’s habit is an easy step, particularly if you are already engaging in mindreading sufficient to know that women who wear burqas would not do so voluntarily (I do recognize that this is often the case). But the argument is so easily extended: Surely no woman would wear either a burqa or a habit by choice, right? And if she says it is her decision, she is either terrified or brainwashed.

    And there is, as Berlinski acknowledges, no real burqa-specific security threat.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Apparently the subtext of all this is the meaning of “freedom”, a slippery word, almost as slippery as the word “security”, or “capitalism”. The second paragraph of Bender’s comment is a classic example of how much of a butter slide, leading to a pratfall, any of those three words can be.

    Since the 112th Supreme Court justice was confirmed today, I would note that in our Constitution there is little to no mention of any of them. And, when there is, it is always tied to something specific and concrete: “free excercise of religion…freedom of speech…of the press”.

    Unspecified and unconcretized abstractions simply do not exist in the exterior world, any more than punctuation marks exist in oral speech. “Commerce” is something concrete and intelligible, “capitalism” is not. “Common defence” is concrete and intelligible, “security” is not.

    Half of the conflict and controversy in this post simply disappears when you abandon the abstract for the concrete. The other half disappears when you genuinely believe in the rule of law as a means of protecting “freedoms of” rather than “freedom”, unspecified and floating somewhere in the middle distance.

  • Joe

    I loved that Beautiful Bodies/Rotten Hearts article. Great writing. Really well done. Thank you for finding it.

  • cathyf

    Joseph Marshall! How are you?

  • Pingback: On Public Veiling | Little Miss Attila

  • Joe

    Zeus Obama is unpleased the mortals are no longer loving him…


  • Charlene

    Hello Anchoress: I too was very surprised at your reaction to the Burqa article. “Freedom of religion” is not the issue here. (That presupposes that Islam is actually a religion and not a cult, a political movement, a fascist totalitarian system attempting to impose it’s values on the entire world – I would say at this point the jury is out on the question.) The issue is the survival of the West, including the survival of a legal system that grants to women equal rights with men. The burqa is a symbol of the repression of women, shari’a law codifies that repression and the Moslem culture glorifies it. It’s a sick, repressive, primitive and barbaric culture and needs to be fought at every turn. With every weapon we have – the Courts, the legislature, the court of public opinion, mockery, simply telling everyone you know what Islam actually stands for and does, and, if necessary, violent self-defense. What’s happening in this country and in Europe is not a game, the proponents of a Muslim caliphate are deadly serious and they are using everything in their power, including the burqa, to advance their goal of a total take-over of the entire world. As someone more humorous than I am once said, “it’s not paranoia if they’re really trying to kill you.”

    [I don't know why anyone is surprised; I've been very consistent on this point, any time it comes up. As we have already seen, sometimes the laws meant to protect end up affecting the rights of the the "protectee" and if the wrong sorts come to power, it gets even worse. Ban the Burqa and all that ultimately will happen is that other women who cover, either due to modesty, humility or because they are consecrated, will all be ordered out of their veils. Religious freedom is what it is. I say lets stop screwing with it -admin]

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  • dry valleys

    That is one approach to take, Western Chauvinist, & is one in which you & I differ because of that, you know, that difference between our worldviews ;)

    There have, throughout the centuries & in contexts having nothing to do with Islam, been cases of the law enforcing outward conformity. Sometimes that was all they wanted. At the time of the Test Acts in England, for example, it was fairly common for people to attend Church of England services (as people were obliged to if they wanted to hold any significant rank) whilst being dissenters at heart. Likewise Protestants living in countries when the Catholic Church really was the Catholic Church & persecuted those who weren’t would sometimes attend mass.

    As I say, this was sometimes enough. The law naturally cannot & should not reach into everyone’s head. But I am aware of things happening such as “honour” killings, forced “marriage” (there are repeated scandals about Muslim girls being taken out of schools & being taken, generally to Pakistan, to marry some brute (often a close relative too)). They have, in the past, not been vigorously punished enough out of some misguided belief that that’s what brown people do & should be accepted. (A situation which many leftists always opposed, & may not survive the age of David Camoron).

    It is easy to imagine such things going on if the burqa is banned but minds are not changed. There are women & children who need the protection of a secular, liberal state if they are to have any freedom from the sort of brutality & invasion of their personal autonomy that often takes place.

    If I said “we” should have confidence in “our” values I dare say I wouldn’t mean the same thing as you, but similar policies would emerge in terms of supporting prosecutions of abusive men (which as I say don’t always happen- see this (not easy reading), women’s refuges, etc.

    As I said before. In France, people of similar views to mine are pro-ban. But I don’t think enforcing outward conformity is the right way of making women better off, especially since few Muslims actually wear the full body covering. (I dislike the headscarf too- partly for shallow reasons because so many Asian women have got really beautiful hair- have you noticed?- but also because it isn’t much better than the burqa as a state of intent).

    I also distrust many of the politicians’ motives such as this Philip Hollobone I named, often it just seems like a way of getting support from certain sections of society rather than wanting to improve women’s lot. (Sarko is also quite unpopular among the French of late, which may be why he has suddenly decided to unveil populist measures- perhaps it will be Silvio Berlusconi next).

    A ban will be seen as something imposed, & will make many have a defensive reaction, perhaps even extending to not letting their wives out of doors. Whereas the ways in which a secular state can promote women’s rights will be more useful.

    I also appreciated this (wouldn’t say I “liked” it, because such unpleasant subject matter was never going to be likeable).

  • dry valleys

    That was long. The easily bored will rue the day this subject was mentioned, eh?

  • expat

    dry valleys,

    You may want to read this from a Muslim in GB:


    She is opposed to appeasement.

  • dry valleys
  • dry valleys

    That link worked none too well. You can still see the meaning though.

  • AvantiBev

    The socio-political, supremacist ideology known as Islam (translation: submission) gets a pass as a “religion” from the Anchoress and far too many Catholics. That term “religion” serves as a Trojan Horse to disguise this misogynistic, death cult and its totalitarian control it seeks to exert over all aspects of of its adherents lives and the lives of those “infidels” who dwell as dhimmis within Muslim majority countries.

    Nine years this September 11th but every day there is a 9/11 somewhere in the world war called jihad. Catholics such as Bishop Gassis of Sudan speak openly of the jihad which has claimed 2 million Christian and animist lives within his country. But Western media outlets report these murders as “ethnic tensions” or “restive insurgencies”.

    Berlinski is very clear in citing some of the differences in how woman is viewed within the Muslim ummah (community). No one who admires JPII’s Theology of the Body would confuse true respect for one’s body with the total obliteration of personhood that that the burqa entails.

    I agree that the ban of the burqa may not work but for Europe and America it is way past time to ban immigration from all parts of the not-so-wonderful world of dar al Islam.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    One problem is that many Moslem women have no real choice as to whether or not to wear a burkha, or the head scarf. They must do it, or risk bringing “shame” to their families—even risking honor killing. One could say that they “choose” to wear the burkha, but how free is that choice, and is it really about their faith, or about protecting themselves?

    And are we willing to support those Moslem women who really don’t want to wear traditional clothing, but who are being pressured to do so by their families? A nun who leaves her order (or who adopts a modern, less concealing habit), or an Orthodox Jewish woman who leaves her faith are not in danger of religiously sanctioned abuse, or even being killed, if they don’t dress in a certain way. Many Moslem women are.

    There’s also the dismal example of many non-Moslem women, in Scandanavia or French areas near Moslem areas, having to adopt Islamic dress in order not to be harassed, or attacked, by radical Islamist gangs. Again, how free are these women, and how much choice do they actually have?

    Also, unveiling in order to get passports, drivers licenses, and all other lawful documents, or for security reasons, is reasonable, for obvious reasons, and shouldn’t be considered as violating anyone’s religious rights. This is actually a pretty complex question here, and simplistic answers won’t help.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    AvantiBev, yes, that’s a very good point; banning Islamic immigration might be a good idea at this point.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And the sad story about the veiled woman ejected from the swimming pool. . . I have to say, I’m on the swimming pool’s side in this, and not because of any religious prejudice, but because of hygiene! You can not, and should not, wear a veil, or a burkha, into a public swimming pool, because such clothes can carry germs, and, furthermore, hamper the swimmer! You aren’t allowed to wear any outside clothes in the water at all! Wraps, hats and sandals have to be left at the side of the pool

    At the public pool we go to, you have to shower before getting in the water, and you can’t wear t-shirts, not even sunhat—and these rules apply to everybody. How clean can you really get showering with your headscarf on? (Not to mention a full body-covering burkha, or niquab?)

    It’s also inadvisable from a safety point of view. Yesterday, we were at the beach. I remember seeing a hapless Moslem woman floundering through the surf, in headscarf and full clothing. The poor lifeguard must have been on pins and needles!

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    True, this was an ocean beach, and not a pool—but the same principal applies: in the water, too much clothing pulls you down, makes it hard to swim, creates a danger to yourself and others and makes life harder for your lifeguard.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Also, Orthodox Jewish women, and pious Christian women, don’t veil themselves in the way Moslems do: the Orthodox Jewish headcovering is quite different in style from the Islamic one, and Orthodox women always show their hands and faces (and often dress quite stylishly, if modestly.) Jewish women who aren’t Orthodox dress like everybody else, and have no problem with having their pictures taken for driver’s licenses, following the rules at a public pool and the like.

    Even Christian nuns who wear traditional habits that cover their heads don’t veil their faces (how could they see? Yes, I know, Sister’s supposed to have eyes in the back of her head, but that’s really not the case!) Many modern habits don’t require veils at all.

    [Nevertheless, if you ban covering of any kind for one religion, you are going to create an unpleasant precedent. Again: Freedom of religion is FREEDOM of religion. -admin]

  • Adrienne

    I try not to comment, and I feel outta place putting this comment here, but I’m doing just that…I must say, I’ve been a big fan of yours after finding your site during GWB’s presidency, and I’ve remained, because you do so inspire me…I started out just digging your thoughts on politics, but my true love is the religion aspect of the site…That said, I had never notice the picture of you…

    Over the years, my image of how you looked has fluctuated from fragile but with deep piercing eyes that study everything carefully and sing with love (when i read of your health’s not doing so good) to Julia child type when you talk about food…(Julia always made me feel so happy and joyous cause she was so joyous – I could taste her dishes throught the TV). What a suprise, a very pleasant one, to finally have noticed the photo of you…Oh my Lord, nothing like I had imaged, but simply beautiful none the same…I have no idea why I’m telling you this, but I feel the urge and it’s done now…

    Strange how that would be important to me…Not your looks so much as knowing how you actually look as opposed to how I imaged you in mind…And I never saw you as beautiful as you are…Boy what a numbskull I’ve been…Please forgive me…Keep up the good work and may the good Lord continue to bless and comfort you and yours mightily…Amen!

  • dry valleys

    Burqa-clad women are often excluded from some places but not others. They may, for instance, be forbidden from wearing the veil on a drivers’ licence, university campus (as in Turkey), or when dealing with the police or other public servants, but allowed to walk the streets or go to shops in their garments.

    Speaking of swimsuits they (so I’m told) have made Islamic swimwear that preserves modesty. There’s actually quite a bit of money to be made from selling Islam-themed goods, they even have their own banking system.

    On immigration I have never supported open borders. It would be a waste of time trying to deny that in immigrant communities (this includes a lot of Hindus, Sikhs & black Christians as well) attitudes I consider reactionary are more likely to be found. It isn’t just Islam, though any study would show that is the worst. The original immigrants from Pakistan & Bangladesh were from the less developed parts of the country, which are looked down upon by urbanites in the same way that many Tehran dwellers scorn rural values.

    As opposed to this I do take a more benign view towards asylum for people fleeing religious persecution, or being discriminated against for their sexuality. Recently there was a case of two men, one Iranian & the other Cameroonian, who fell in love having met in Britain, which they fled to after being persecuted where they came from.

  • AvantiBev

    dry valleys writes: “Speaking of swimsuits they (so I’m told) have made Islamic swimwear that preserves modesty.”

    No, no, no. It is not MODESTY that the men of Islam are trying to preserve. Veiling keeps a woman who BELONGS to a family from shaming them and losing honor/ face. It is a view of women which regards them as property, temptresses, and as the Lebanese Maronite Catholic writer Brigitte Gabriel has said, a view that an Islamic man’s honor lies between his women’s legs.

    Go back and read Berlinski’s article. She articulates this difference between modesty and possession quite succinctly.

    Suggested reading:
    Anything and everything by Robert Spencer
    Walid Shoebat: Why We Want to Kill You
    Wafa Sultan: A God Who Hates
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Infidel and Nomad
    Nonie Darwish: Now They Call Me ‘Infidel’
    Serge Trifkovic: The Sword of the Prophet
    Anything and everything by Bat Yeor
    Andrew C. McCarthy: Wilfull Blindness and his recent book, The Grand Jihad

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    That’s sounds about right, AvantiBev. With Islam, the issue does seem to be more control of women, rather than modesty per se. Moslem women have been killed for talking to strange men, or for simply being suspected of talking to strange men; for having been raped, for “Acting too Western”—it’s a long and sad list, and it’s all about masculine honor.

    And it should be remembered that, by fundamentalist Islamic standards, even a nun in a traditional habit, or a soberly dressed Orthodox Jewish woman aren’t modest, because they show their hands and faces. The Islamic ideal of modesty if far different from that of the West’s.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Whether or not swimwear exists that is considered modest by Islamic standards really isn’t the point. If a Moslem woman wants to wear a burkhini to public pool that’s okay—if it’s made out of the proper material, if she changes into it from her outerwear in a locker room, if it doesn’t have drapes and folds to entangle her, and others—okay!

    (She can also choose to swim at all all-female club, or a private Islamic club, or make other arrangements—just as Christian or Jewish women do, who might not be comfortable at a public pool. But she shouldn’t expect the rules to change just for her.)

    The woman in the story linked to was supposedly rejected from a pool because she was veiled (no mention of her wearing a special modest swimsuit); it was one of those “Oh dear, how dreadful!” stories, that get trotted out all too often, to make you feel sorry for the alleged victim, and angry at the dastards who made him/her feel bad! In short, our sympathy is demanded, at the price of our reason. There are good reasons for banning veils, and street clothing, from public pools.

  • Bridey

    Banning burqas is not going to change one thing about the condition of women in Islamist communities in the U.S.

    Except, of course, by adding the state to the long list of things those girls and women need to be afraid of, to go along with their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons, their neighbors and fellow mosque members, and any man who happens to see them on the street and is unhappy with what he sees.

    Banning burqas seems so obvious and easy and grandly symbolic. But it puts another burden on those who are least equipped to bear it. Hell of a price for a gesture.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    on the other hand, if we’re too supportive of burkha-headscarf wearing, Moslem women might feel there’s no place to go, and it’s simply useless trying to resist their menfolk, even if they don’t feel their religion demands they veil themselves—or feel they need religion at all.

    As other posters have pointed out, the headscarf/modesty issue has been used by radical Moslems, both to Western society’s envelopes, and to keep control of “their” women. As I said earlier, it’s a complex issue, and there shouldn’t be a simple answer here.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    on the other hand, if we’re too supportive of burkha-headscarf wearing, Moslem women who want to break away from abusive families, or adopt a more Western style of life and living, might not fee free to resist pressure from their families and community, and conform—not because of religion, but because they believe there’s no place for them to go for help.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Sorry for the double posting! The computer is acting wonky! I blame our local winds, and thunderstorms.

  • dry valleys

    “Banning burqas seems so obvious and easy and grandly symbolic. But it puts another burden on those who are least equipped to bear it. Hell of a price for a gesture.”

    You see, this commentor understands. This is what I was expressing as well.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    On the other hand, not looking more deeply into the whole burqa/head scarf issue, and simply dismissing it all as, “Ah, well, it’s just their religion,” tells Moslem women who might want to live a freer life, and even adopt Western clothing, that no one’s going to help them if they want to do this, and if their families abuse them for “acting too Western”—well, it’s just religion, after all, etc., etc., etc.

    Whether one supports banning the burga or not, the whole question of Islamic dress for Moslem women is one that runs far more deeply than a mere gesture, or modesty. It’s a complex issue, and simply saying it’s all about freedom of choice is side skirting the real problems here (because many Moslem women have neither freedom, nor choice.)

  • Mary

    Ban the Burkha: sorry Elizabeth but your argument is not sufficient and, for instance, could be used for legalizing polygamy too. First, we CAN have laws that preclude covering the face (whether it’s covered for religious, political or any other reason). But the deeper issue of the banning is to protect women. I’m sure you’ve read the literature from freed muslim women of how horrible it is and how most are forced into it (even out of the middle east). For the minority who do want to wear it: just because slaves want to remain slaves doesn’t mean we let them (same argument against prostitution). Laws about polygamy are only in place to protect women and children and you could also say it goes against people’s freedom to whatever. On both issues comfortable, upper and middle class women can’t imagine that a MAN can force them to do anything. Just go to a trailer park or an inner city ghetto or talk to any woman trapped in an abusive situation…everyone’s world isn’t as nice and free as ours. It can be but not if they’re threatened with death, or locked in their rooms for years if they disobey. Subtle ‘issues’ on a supposed liberty to wear burkhas doesn’t help them.

    [This is nonsense, and so is the argument that "Islam is not really a religion." Whether someone likes it or not, it's a religion. Some of these arguments you guys are so quick to make are arguments you will abhor when they are made against you by precisely the people you're against, right now.-admin]

  • Query


    Regarding this line from the Anne Rice column:

    “the church teaches that . . . homosexual inclinations are not sinful in themselves, but that all are called to chastity, whether gay or straight.”

    Perhaps I’m oversimplifying, but if the act itself is a sin, isn’t it also a sin to want to commit it?

    [Is temptation a sin? Entertaining temptations may be sinful, but is a temptation a sin, or a temptation? Jesus was tempted, but he did not entertain those temptations. -admin]

  • Bender

    Entertaining temptations may be sinful . . .

    And even beyond entertaining temptation, taking ownership of it by converting the temptation to fantasizing, then there is the sin of failing to ask for the grace to overcome temptation and, eventually, to not even notice temptation.

    Not too many people, except when they pray the Our Father, tend to pray for that grace — instead they adopt the attitude of the pre-converted Augustine, grant me chastity . . . but not yet. They still cling to sinful desire, even if only a tiny little bit, which is enough for temptation to come along and turn that little ember into a roaring fire.

    [Good comment! -admin]

  • Manny

    That Catholic Internet Readers Guide is a definite keeper. Straight to my favorites. Thanks a bunch.