There have been complaints about the three Ottawa doctors who won't prescribe the birth control pill. They don't prescribe it partly out of religious conviction, but also because they believe it's bad medicine. Research shows plenty of evidence against the pill. If conscience is overturned and doctors who disagree are forced to prescribe it, this will ironically mean the provision of inferior care. Using hearts and minds together is what conscience protection allows for. Does anyone actually want anything less in their doctor?
Many Americans will point to the constitution and the sacred right to bear arms. It's a fundamental freedom -- an American tradition carried out for generations. But guess what? The constitution was written 250 years ago at a time there was no government agency to keep the peace and protect civilians. It therefore made perfect sense to allow people to form their own militias to defend themselves because nobody else was going to do it.
I declared that I would live only in the now for 30 days. This meant I could not think about the past or the future -- I would only focus on what was happening in the moment. Sounds easy, but what an awakening experience. If I started to think about how something went wrong in the past or worry about something in the future, I would stop myself and release the thought and get back to the present.
Three months ago I quit my PhD to become a stripper. Of course, I was afraid of what people would think, but my old life wasn't working for me, and so I decided to change it. I'm not taking my clothes off, but this stripping of mine makes me feel free and, yes, naked and vulnerable, too. Layer by layer, I'm stripping away thoughts and beliefs that were toxic.
Now that Black History Month is over (didn't take long) I feel more comfortable in saying that I very much dislike it. Black people are more than a month, and are more than several prominent black figures. Black history should be a regular part of educational curriculum and media programming, yet it is differentiated and set aside, just as black people were not so long ago. How is this good?
How did York University initially validate the request of a student who said for religious reasons, he couldn't interact with women? Unfortunately, perhaps it is because organizations are so afraid of being sued for failing to accommodate that they have lost the sense of what is a proper request for accommodation. Many would argue that what they have lost is their common sense.
I like to call us resolutionaries. We are the people who have the best intentions and make great plans for the year to come. We will quit our bad habits and develop new and healthy ones. Today, we are sending our children back to school for the first week of 2014. Let's make a resolution to help them develop healthy habits -- and stick to those new habits.
Let's look at our world in 2013 in a nutshell, where rape and the assumptions that women 'want it' are made constantly. And yes, women are showing their bodies... we know that. Assuming women are being looked at, and knowing full well that the fashion and entertainment, porn and social media industries are a big part of all our lives in developed nations, I think it follows that it is more effective to educate men about their privilege as 'watchers' than to shame women for revealing our bodies. Maybe women's bodies are also for swimming, being good people, playing, walking, being strong, being free?
Like most religious minorities in Quebec, I am only slightly shocked by the proposed charter of values. The people that at the short end of the proverbial legislation stick are kids. Because our kids will live the rest of their future in the shadow of the laws and governments we support, it is imperative to consult them. So I decided to put my ear to the ground, and asked my youth group girls and their friends what they thought of the Quebec charter of values. Here are some reactions by girls age 12-16, all from different backgrounds and religions.
If a Canadian incites hatred against an identifiable group in public and advocates murder or genocide, does that constitute a hate crime? If the incitement is against, for example, the gay, black or aboriginal community should criminal charges be laid? What if the incitement is against the Jewish community, is there a difference?
This week marked an important turning point in Ontario's awareness of determined and well-funded efforts to undermine the values and conceptual underpinnings of Canadian society by groups hoping to import a toxic and foreign ideology to our nation. Nowhere was this effort more evident than the staging of the "Al Quds Day" rally, held for the past two years on the grounds of Queen's Park. Supporters of a genocidal theocracy which aims to fundamentally reshape western democracies by exporting the values of Shariah law should not and do not have to receive the blessing of the state to exercise this right. The fundamental values cherished by all Canadians must not be discarded so cavalierly, with the acquiescence of our government and the permission of our laws.
So here we are -- witnessing the slow and painful death of freedom in Canada as the Harper administration relentlessly wages a war on critical thinking that has left us with drastic reductions to our anonymity, due process, freedom of assembly, and virtual privacy in exchange for some intangible conceptualization of security.
When was the last time you ran in an open field with your arms wide open? When did you last embrace the world like it was all yours? Is day dreaming something you are still guilty about? The question is, in this so called free world, are you really free? Free from your own shackles or have you managed to entangle yourself to such a great extent that you feel trapped within?
Conventional wisdom says that debt used to purchase something of lasting value, like an investment, or a house, or a car, is good debt, because you benefit from the purchase. An example of bad debt would be borrowing to go on vacation, because when the vacation is over you have nothing to show for it. In some cases both of these examples are true.
Since its inception in January 2013, Facebook page Calgary Compliments has taken our city by storm. So what exactly is the purpose to a page like this? Unlike similar "confessions" pages which have been popping all over the interwebs, this compliments page is a civic outreach initiative to help Calgarians bond.
Media around the world have devoted a great deal of coverage to the death of Hugo Chavez, who passed away last Tuesday after losing his fight against cancer. His legacy as the President of the "Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" needs to be seen in the light of a long tradition of populism in Latin American history.
This societal need to prosecute potty mouths and anything deemed offensive has become a popular trend in Canada. Most recently this has been transcended into anti-bullying laws introduced in legislatures all over the country.We have to be careful about legislating offensiveness. We cannot allow the government to decide what subjective comments are acceptable and which should land you in prison. Britain is taking steps to restore absolute freedom of speech, so should Canada.
As a Rabbi, I have always found it somewhat curious the way the general North American public looks upon the festival of Chanukah. While actually a relatively minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, it is given much significance in Western society. But what I also find fascinating is the way that North America had to simultaneously transform Chanukah into a festivity that relates to the North American consciousness. If people are going to be celebrating this holiday then it better have a meaning with which these individuals can connect.