Archive - Feb 2006
According to a Reuters article on MSNBC.com, it looks like Jamaica is going to get its first female prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller. From the "Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership," a summary of the current female heads of state and government:
There are 191 members of the United Nations and a few independent states outside. 17 have got female leaders.
Of the monarchies, there are reigning Queens in Denmark, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom - and the latter is represented by female Governor Generals in Canada, New Zealand and Saint Lucia, who function as their countries' de-facto Heads of State.
The 5 female Presidents are in Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Liberia and The Philippines. And a President-Elect in Chile who takes office in march
There are also 5 woman Prime Ministers; in Bangladesh, Germany, New Zealand, Mozambique and SÃ£o TomÃ© e PrincÃpe and women are designated to take over as chiefs of government in both Jamaica and The Netherlands Antilles.
Today I finished watching Sunset Boulevard (1950,NR). From Wikipedia:
It stars William Holden as down-on-his-luck screenwriter Joe Gillis, and Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, a faded movie star who entraps the unsuspecting Gillis into her fantasy world in which she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen.
I was enjoying it quite a bit as the plot thickened but then felt like it lost all of its steam at the end, so I give it 3 out of 5.
Several months back I saw a couple posts (Dvorak Uncensored referring to an essay by Rick Steves) describing how Rick Steves' TV shows have trouble airing on PBS in some parts of the US because they sometimes include footage of classic museum artwork that contains depictions of the nude human form (you know, Michelangelo's David for example, the kind of artwork that high school students study. I remember doing a unit...no pun intended...on such classic artwork in my 10th grade World History class taught by Mr. Barlow).
That reminded of the story from a few years back about how the Dept. of Justice spent $8000 to put up blue drapes so that then attorney general John Ashcroft wouldn't have to be photographed in front the "Spirit of Justice" statue with her right breast exposed in the Dept. of Justice's Great Hall. According to wikipedia, Ashcroft's successor (Alberto Gonzales) removed the curtains in June 2005.
The above examples would seem to imply that Christians view nudity to be intrinsically evil and sinful.
On the other hand, I saw an article titled "Christians strip to build a new Eden" in Britain's The Sunday Times about America's first Christian nudist camp:
Despite howls of complaint from fundamentalists who have likened Martin to the Antichrist - and described his nudist plans as "graphic evidence of America's moral collapse" - Natura intends to build 50 houses around a non-denominational church where clothing for services will be optional.
American Christians have long been intrigued by the biblical implications of nudity and Ilsley Boone, a Baptist pastor, was the founder in 1931 of the American Sunbathing Association, an early naturist group.
Martin and his supporters argue that nudism is unhealthy, especially for children, unless it occurs in a proper Christian context.
Much of his group's philosophy appears in a book, Nakedness and the Bible, self- published on the internet by Paul Bowman, a Canadian author. The book cites several biblical references suggesting that God does not disapprove of nudity and that Jesus may have been naked at several key moments of his life â€” notably when he washed the feet of his disciples.
Martin's supporters also claim that nude worship is much more in keeping with modest Christian values than are the ostentatious displays of wealth on show at the suburban "megachurche", where women attend services in "designer clothes and $90 haircuts", says one internet posting.
Gives a new meaning to turning the other cheek.
In my experience, there are at least a few contexts in which nudity is commonly not frowned upon. For example, Christians are often unashamedly nude in front of medical professionals, regardless of the sex of the medical professional. Presumably that's because the context is clearly one that is asexual. The same is true for going nude in front of the same sex in a locker room. However, since somewhere between 1 and 10 % of the population is homosexual, that assumption is probably a bit risky.
So what am I to make of all this? What's the proper Biblical view on nudity? This is the first of (perhaps) a few posts where we'll consider that question. Feel free to add comments of your own, but M. Sullivan please don't try to post any pictures of yourself...
Muslims and Christians are killing each other in Nigeria. The abcnews.com article describing what's going on in Nigeria called it "sectarian violence," but it's not. It's religious violence because it's between followers of two differnet religions. The sectarian violence is, for example, in Iraq whre Muslims and Muslims are killing each other.
Anyway, from the article about Nigeria:
ONITSHA, Nigeria Feb 23, 2006 (AP)â€” Christians in this southern Nigerian city burned Muslim corpses and defaced wrecked mosques Thursday, showing little repentance after days of sectarian violence that has killed more than 120 people across the country.
Onitsha has borne the brunt, with at least 80 of the deaths. The violence followed weekend protests over the publication of cartoons of Muhammad, the Islamic prophet.
"We don't want these mosques here anymore. These people are causing all the problems all over the world because they don't fear God," said 34-year Ifeanyi Ese, standing amid the concrete rubble of an Onitsha mosque.
Thousands of Nigerians have died in sectarian strife since 2000, when mostly Muslim northern states began implementing Islamic Shariah law in late 1999. Nigeria's 130 million people are split between the two faiths, with Christians a majority in the south.
The latest violence was touched off Saturday in the northern city of Maiduguri, when Muslim protests against cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoons, which first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September, have set off sometimes violent protests around the world.
The Maiduguri protests turned violent, and 18 people, most of them Christian, were killed.
Twenty-five more died in similar violence in the northern city of Bauchi, sparking reprisals in Onitsha.
and from an AP article in the Toronto Star about Iraq:
Gunmen killed dozens of civilians today and dumped their bodies in a ditch, as the government ordered a tough daytime curfew of Baghdad and three provinces to stem the sectarian violence that has left at least 114 dead since the bombing of a Shiite shrine.
Seven U.S. soldiers died in a pair of roadside bombings north of the capital, and American military units in the Baghdad area were told to halt all but essential travel to avoid getting caught up in demonstrations or roadblocks.
As the country careened to the brink of civil war, Iraqi state television announced an unusual daytime curfew, ordering people off the streets Friday in Baghdad and the nearby flashpoint provinces of Diyala, Babil and Salaheddin, where the shrine bombing took place.
Such a sweeping daytime curfew indicated the depth of fear within the government that the crisis could touch off a Sunni-Shiite civil war. "This is the first time that I have heard politicians say they are worried about the outbreak of civil war,â€™â€™ Kurdish elder statesman Mahmoud Othman told The Associated Press.
The other night The Colbert Report had a joke at the current administration's expense with the following twist on a common phrase:
Makes facts based on decisions.