Sunday Roundup: Mark Sanford

Happy mothers day! I was just thinking it could be cool to do a feature about the role of mothers in religion upbringing cross-culturally – but hey, that’s what next year is for. So, to the news!

Formerly-disgraced-South-Carolina-governor/ now-congressman Mark Sanford told Yahoo news about how he’s really into meditation, and subscribes to the Buddhist practice of mindfulness. What a strange world we live in when a conservative Christian can claim openly to follow another faith. I guess it says somethinga bout how Americans view Buddhism specifically: I really doubt old Marky Mark would claim to follow any Islamic belief or custom.

The American Family Association’s Brian Fischer refused to talk about whether or not he ever had “gay impulses”. Proving that even though the fourth amendment exists, everybody knows what it means when you say you refuse to confirm or deny if you did/said/felt something. I mainly just feel sad for the guy, though.

A Catholic Priest in Uganda was suspended after decrying pedophilia in the church. I suppose that’s one way of solving the problem.

The majority of self-identified religious people in the UK support doctor-assisted suicide. I love it when religion makes societal changes for the better!

But sometimes it also has a negative impact. Belief in Jesus’ second coming could be causing Christians to stand against climate change legislation. What part of “none shall know the hour” do you all not get?

The Huffington Post has an article about a woman who converted to Mormonism after seeing the satirical play The Book of Mormon. My guess is she’s not the only one.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev finally got buried at a Muslim cemetery in Virginia. And thus a mini-controversy was resolved without a fuss. Maybe somebody will got pee on his grave or something. I don’t know. But as I mentioned before, it’s really hard to imagine it becoming some sort of fundamentalist shrine given Tsarnaev’s lack of belonging to any radical group.

Oh my god it turns out psychics are wrong about stuff sometimes! Specifically, Sylvia Browne was wrong about Amanda Berry, who turned up alive this week. But Jon Ronson was already on this story six years ago. Anyway, Browne’s defense was “Only God is right all the time.” Hmm.

Speaking of kidnappings, kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart came forward this week to say that Mormon teachings on sexual purity made it harder for her to escape her captor. Religion Dispatches resident Mormon Joanna Brooks recalls things like dead flowers, chewed gum and mangled cupcakes being passed around to children to represent what the loss of virginity meant. A HuffPo blogger also covered this.

Israel: not my favorite place.Women in Israel have long been forced to move to the back of public transit, a la African-Americans pre-1950s. Finally, this might become illegal. Maybe. If anybody can enforce it. Our closest ally, folks. And “The Middle East’s Only Democracy” (except for Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, and Palestine – to name a few).

Anyway! Gawker had an interesting article about the Israeli birthright trip, including the creepy part where you’re kind of supposed to hook up with someone. And the drinking. So much drinking. The fact that this is all sanctioned by Israel’s right wing shows a good bit of willing hypocrisy.

German Muslims are leaving Turkey in droves due to discrimination and the fact that Turkey is actually a pretty cool place.

Meanwhile, Muslims in France will begin to rely on astronomical calculations for the beginning of Ramadan. Traditionally, Ramadan begins when the new moon is sighted. Ah, modern life!

On the plus side, the Boston Marathon bombing doesn’t appear to have had any impact on American’s perceptions of Muslims. I do worry about a sort of delayed effect, though. It took a couple years after 9/11 for Islamophobic rhetoric to really ramp up.

Time for the “insightful articles” portion of the week. This week, we’ve got a couple pieces on:

Finally, Pat Robertson said something and I don’t care.

See y’all next week!

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