The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Quick Trip Around the World

Pakistani Women Celebrating Their Freedom
Pakistan: Death to Dancers. The next time you attend a wedding reception and join the other guests as they "Ooh" and "Aah" when the bride and groom take to the dance floor, just be thankful you don't live in Pakistan. In that country, our on-again-off-again ally in the war on terror, an Islamic court recently sentenced six people (four men and two women) to death for the crime of dancing at a wedding. I trust this will be an eye-opener for those of you who think the imposition of sharia law is really no big thing. It seems the four men managed to escape and are now in hiding, while the fate of the two women is unknown. According to the court, "Dancing is against Islam." I suppose they've never heard of their mystic Sufi co-religionists, the Whirling Dervishes.

Holy Family Church
India: Fear Among Catholics in Kashmir. Holy Family Church in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir was set afire a few weeks ago by unknown perpetrators. Jammu and Kashmir is the only Indian state with a Muslim majority population and the local authorities seem uninterested in finding and arresting those responsible. Indeed, one local man, a Hindu convert to Catholicism, stated that this attitude on the part of the authorities shows how Christians have been abandoned by the state. "Catholics feel less secure," he added, and "in Kashmir, they have been reduced to zero." 

Vivian Salameh
Jordan: Creeping Islamization. Jordan, a majority Muslim nation which in the past has been very tolerant and respectful of its Christian population, is changing...and it's not for the better. For example, a Christian woman was just fired by her employer, the Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank, for not complying with its new rules requiring women to cover their heads while at work. Vivian Salameh has worked for the bank for 25 years, and has, therefore, filed a complaint against the bank. The director of the Catholic Media Center in Jordan, Fr. Rif'at Bader, is particularly concerned about Ms. Salameh's case. In his words, "Gulf States are using Islamic banking to introduce Sharia precepts in the population. No one was ever been discriminated for being Christian. The government should not allow such practices in our country. Our constitution protects freedom of worship."

United Kingdom: Pro-life Literature Is Offensive. Margaret Forrester received a pink slip from the UK's National Health Service because she engaged in "gross professional misconduct." It seems the mental health worker committed the horrible "sin" of giving a colleague (not a client) a booklet that discussed the problems, both physical and psychological, that some women experience after undergoing an abortion. Her supervisors at the NHS were particularly upset because, horror of horrors, the booklet was "religious in tone." She is challenging her dismissal in court.

USA: President Obama Losing the Religious Vote. The president, who did fairly well among Catholics and evangelicals in the 2008 elections, is apparently losing much ground among these constituencies. It seems the president's campaign staff and the DNC have taken the moderate religious vote for granted and are focusing their efforts elsewhere. Click here to read an excellent article on the subject: Obama Losing Religious Vote.

And yet, despite all the strangeness in our world, God remains in charge. Thank Him for that.

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