Since the Obama administration’s late January decision to mandate that Catholic hospitals offer birth control coverage, that long standing and perhaps original American political issue is back under the national spotlight—religious freedom. Fierce debates have emerged at the nation’s oldest Catholic university, where a group of law professors expressed support of the mandate and law student Sandra Fluke was infamously derided by talk-show host Rush Limbaugh for speaking out in favor of the policy. The form of religious freedom championed by the Right, it would seem, is incompatible with women’s health. This latest showdown over contraception, however, is only a small chapter in the tenuous—and, as many argue, outright discriminatory—relationship between the Catholic Church and women. Nowhere is the tension more visible than in the Church’s gender restriction on entering the priesthood, the institution that constitutes the most direct connection between the Church and the communities it serves. Through conversations with priests, activists and historians, Counterpoint set out to uncover the roots of this seemingly outdated and sexist practice, and if the official policy shows any signs of being reversed.
Trudging through Burma’s troubled Karen state, Cho Ma faced malarial jungles, landmine-laden fields, and the realities of the world’s longest-running civil war in search of a safe place to deliver her child. After four days, she arrived at the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand.
Sitting on a bench near the Outpatient Department, Cho Ma said, “I was scared to come here because of the gunfire and fighting. I hid in a friend’s basement for two days to avoid soldiers. But [my] pregnancy was not going well. I knew I had to keep going to get help at the clinic.” (more…)
There are three natural states in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a promotional video made in 2007 for Georgetown’s Global Competitiveness Leadership Program.
The first of them is the mythical “El Dorado,” a female voice says in Spanish, as the video shows stunning images of forests, lakes, and beaches. Next comes a second state, characterized by the “vendors of dreams,” who use the “populist” promise of El Dorado to sustain their power. (more…)