Archive for Catholic Church

what happens when you mix religious beliefs and reproductive rights

Posted in Books, Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2022 by xi'an

“Certain practices associated with the manifestation of a religion or belief, or perceived as such,may constitute violations of international human rights standards. The right to freedom of religion or belief is sometimes invoked to justify such violations. The EU firmly opposes such justification, whilst remaining fully committed to the robust protection and promotion of freedom of religion or belief in all parts of the world. Violations often affect women, members of religious minorities, as well as persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief, 2013

On 5 and 6 July 2022 the UK Government hosted a human rights conference to urge increased global action on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) for all. (Countries involved in this International Freedom of Religion or Belief Alliance do not include Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, or Switzerland, in the signatories. I am also unclear about the final purpose of this conference, beyond good-will statements.) Among several such statements, one brings a connection between FoRB and gender equality.

 The statement in its original format is quite mush-y-mash-y, as methinks promoting (one’s) religion rarely walks hand in hand with supporting (all) gender equality and even less reproductive rights. Witness the Catholic Church’s unremitting activism against abortion, up to this day, from Poland to the US.

“As such, FoRB serves not only to protect people from discrimination, inequality, and violence; it can also serve as a source of empowerment for those who find inspiration and strength in their convictions to fight for gender equality and justice.” Statement on freedom of religion or belief and gender equality, 7 July 2022

But the main issue here is that the final statement published by the UK Government eliminated reproductive rights that were present in the original version, as of below, which was signed by many of the participating countries. Without said countries being informed of the cancellation and some now refusing to sign the new version…

“…support and build capacities of local religious and belief leaders to advocate for gender equality, denounce sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices and ensure access to sexual and reproductive health and rights”. Statement on freedom of religion or belief and gender equality, 7 July 2022

This is sadly connected with the unceasing attacks of religions on abortion rights. For instance, Malta suddenly appeared as a signatory of the final version, while missing from the earlier one. Which may have a correlation with Malta being a country where abortion is completely prohibited. (Nor Poland neither the USA have signed either.) And the (former) prime minister’s special envoy is co-chairing the MP “pro-life” group (funded by the anti-abortion “Right to Life UK” “charity”).

¡cuida tu vestido y no hables tanto, Jorge!

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2022 by xi'an

“I have no way of telling whether [Putin’s] rage has been provoked»” Bergoglio wonders, «but I suspect it was maybe facilitated by the West’s attitude” [“Un’ira che non so dire se sia stata provocata — si interroga —, ma facilitata forse sì”]

“I don’t know if it is the right thing to supply the Ukrainian fighters” [” all’interrogativo se sia giusto rifornire gli ucraini”]

“What seems indisputable is that in that country both sides are trying out new weapons. [” La cosa chiara è che in quella terra si stanno provando le armi.” Corriere Della Sera, 22 Maggio 2022]

“This is a historic day in the life of our country, one that stirs our thoughts, emotions and prayers. For nearly fifty years, America has enforced an unjust law that has permitted some to decide whether others can live or die; this policy has resulted in the deaths [sic] of tens of millions of preborn children, generations that were denied the right to even be born (…) We thank God today that the Court has now overturned this decision.U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 24 June 2022

L’Église s’y X…

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2021 by xi'an

the mechanical [book review]

Posted in Books, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2021 by xi'an

Read this 2015 book by Ian Tregillis with growing excitement as I was first unsure why I had ordered it. It is a mix of the Baroque Cycle and of the Difference engine, with Huygens playing the central role (rather than Newton). The postulate of the story is that he found [in the 1600’s] a way to create robots (or mechanicals, or yet Clakkers) with autonomy, prodigious strength, and unlimited “life” time. Endowing the Netherlands with such an advantage as to become the unique European power. Except for a small population of French people, living in exile in Montréal, renamed as Marseille-in-the-West, where the descendants of Louis XIV were desperately fighting the Dutch robots with their barely sufficient chemical skills… In addition to this appealing alternate history, where the French are arguing about the free will of the machines, and building underground railways to convey rogue mechanicals outside the Dutch empire, partly for being Catholics and hence following the Pope’s doctrine [and partly to try to produce their own robots], where the Pope is also a refugee in Québec, and where New Amsterdam has not turned into New York, but is a thriving colonial city in America, linked to the mother country by mechanical boats and Zeppelin-like airships, the machines are constrained to obey the humans, with the Queen’s wishes at the top of a hierarchy of constraints. And no Asimov’s law to prevent them from being used as weapons, to the French’s sorrow! But their degree of autonomous thought is such that a mere loosening of a component may remove the compulsion and turn them into rogues, i.e, free willed robots. On the converse side, a nefarious guild in charge of a Calvinist faith and of the maintenance of the robots is attempting to extend this control of the Dutch State over some humans. Which makes for a great setting discussing the blurry border between humans and AIs, with both humans and Clakkers bringing their arguments to the game… I am now eagely waiting for the second and third volumes in the series of The Alchemy Wars to arrive in the mail to continue the story!

it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2021 by xi'an

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