Religion in the news
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In Ontario, Canada a former Greek Orthodox nun is suing the Sisters of St Kosmas Greek Orthodox Monastery for "wrongful constructive dismissal." She is seeking damages and back pay. The order is fighting the lawsuit on the grounds that a nun is not an employee, but a volunteer. In earlier Canadian case law, a Catholic order fought a lawsuit for abuse on the ground it was not responsible for the acts of the sisters who committed the abuse because there was not an employer-employee relationship. As that defence did not work in that case, there is a good chance it will fail in this case. There was a similar case in about 150 years ago in England where a young woman joined a Catholic order which required her to give them all her possessions. She was then systematically abused until she felt compelled to leave the order, which then refused to give anything back to her, leaving her penniless. She sued. They paid. Perhaps that case will be used as a precedent.
In England this week, a judge ordered a baby adopted against the wishes of the father who was prepared to assume responsibility. The reason was that the child was conceived and was born out of wedlock to a Muslim mother. It was clearly established that if the baby's maternal grandfather discovered the existence of the child (and there was a good chance he would if the natural father took custody) the grandfather would kill the child, the child's mother, and his own wife as an act of honour.
While we are talking of Islamic honour killings, the trial in Kingston, Ontario Canada of the a man, his second wife, and son accused of killing his first wife and three daughters has been recessed for the holiday season. Guilt was fairly fairly well established based on published reports especially as they have the man on tape saying to his son
"Even if they hoist me up onto the gallows . . . nothing is more dear to me than my honour. Let's leave our destiny to God and may God never make me, you or your mother honourless. I don't accept this dishonour so don't think about it anymore."
Of course, this is not honour. There is no honour in killing for honour.
Speaking of honour, serial adulterer Newt Gingrich in his bid for the Republican nomination for President has promised to establish on the first day of his Presidency a White House commission to examine and document threats or impediments to religious freedom in the United States. Superficially, it looks like a good promise - at least to those of us who think the major threat to religious freedom is those who wish to impose their narrow religious views on everyone else. But of course Newt's intention is absolutely the opposite of what the words say. His intention is to protect the right of the religious authoritarians to impose their views on everyone. Dishonest as well as dishonourable.