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Analysis and commentary on issues that concern the work of FaithTrust Institute.

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16 Days is Not Long Enough

16 Days is Not Long Enough

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This time last year I was on my way to Capetown, South Africa, to visit my friend, Elizabeth Petersen and the South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI). This was my first trip to this massive continent and, like so many people, I immediately fell in love with South Africa.

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The Church of College Football

The Church of College Football

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A former defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team, Jerry Sandusky (a priest in the Church of College Football), has been arrested and charged with sexual abuse of boys over a 15 year period.

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“A woman of faith, a formerly battered woman, a mother of six children . . .”

“A woman of faith, a formerly battered woman, a mother of six children . . .”

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Leymah Roberta Gbowee is now a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Gbowee, who shares the Peace Prize with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, was responsible for organizing a peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.

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“Corrective Rape”?  No, Hate Crime

“Corrective Rape”? No, Hate Crime

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“Corrective rape.” When I first heard this term, I stopped dead in my tracks. Having thought that I had heard it all when it came to violence against women, here was yet another perverse variation of rationale for sexual assault.

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"If there's one place that you should be safe . . .”

"If there's one place that you should be safe . . .”

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"If there's one place that you should be safe, it should be in your house of worship." This was the comment made by Sheriff Grady Judd in Polk County, Florida, as he began to unravel the murder of a wife by her husband who then went to their church and shot the pastor and assistant pastor in the middle of Sunday services.

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Dear Pope: Deep Trouble

Dear Pope: Deep Trouble

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I do wish you had called me. Now you are in deep trouble. I see that human rights lawyers have filed a complaint against you with the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

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“Nothing New Here”

“Nothing New Here”

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The only real news in the case of the charge of sexual assault against a powerful French politician is that the victim came forward and filed a complaint. The outcome is classic and predictable.

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Guest Blog: Ramadan Reflection

Guest Blog: Ramadan Reflection

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Ramadan is a time for Muslims to improve themselves and strengthen their relationships with God. Muslims are asked to abstain not only from food, drink and sexual relations from dawn to dusk, but more importantly, to refrain from any immoral or harmful behaviors.

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Guest Blog: Tragic Violence Awakens the Orthodox Community

Guest Blog: Tragic Violence Awakens the Orthodox Community

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The brutal murder and dismemberment just a few weeks ago of 9-year-old Leiby Kletzky, of blessed memory, a member of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish Hasidic sect in Brooklyn, NY, has shaken the Jewish community.

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"A Knight Templar, But No Madman"

"A Knight Templar, But No Madman"

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As Muslims begin the celebration of Ramadan, I can hardly imagine what my Muslim friends and colleagues might be reflecting upon in light of the bombing and massacre in Norway.

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How to Begin to Apologize

How to Begin to Apologize

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Early this year, the Archbishop of Dublin and the Archbishop of Boston, presided over “A Liturgy of Lament and Repentance.” The service was offered for the victims and survivors of sexual abuse by priests.

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Memo to: Clergy colleagues

Memo to: Clergy colleagues

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Re: The Weiner problem. In case there is any confusion about the cautionary tale presented to us by the bad behavior of Congressman Anthony Weiner recently revealed to the entire world, let me be clear.

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“Weary: having one’s patience exhausted . . .”

“Weary: having one’s patience exhausted . . .”

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These past few weeks of news of powerful men’s abuse of women culminating this week in the pathetic case of Anthony Weiner’s internet exploits just leaves me weary.

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"Do Not Make Any Statements . . ."

"Do Not Make Any Statements . . ."

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This is the advice given by many insurance companies to clients who are churches or religious organizations when faced with a disclosure of abuse by one of their leaders. Frankly, it is advice that will very likely lead to lawsuits brought by survivors of abuse and to significant settlements paid out by insurers.

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Who Needs to Confess? And What?

Who Needs to Confess? And What?

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Actress Ashley Judd recently disclosed that she was sexually abused as a child; American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi recently disclosed that she was sexually abused as a child; Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts recently disclosed that he was sexually abused as a child. When each made a public disclosure, the media described these disclosures as “confessions.”

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Time to Step Up to the Plate

Time to Step Up to the Plate

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This is the letter sent to the Seattle University community following the announcement in the press of a settlement of $166 million with over 500 survivors of sexual abuse by northwest Jesuits.

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 “‘A Day of Reckoning and Justice’ for Abuse Victims”

“‘A Day of Reckoning and Justice’ for Abuse Victims”

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This was the front page headline that greeted me Saturday morning in my local paper, The Seattle Times. The quote is from Clarita Vargas, 51, of Tacoma, WA, who was abused as a child at an Indian Boarding School run by the Jesuits on the Colville Reservation. She is referring to a settlement in which 500 adult survivors will receive $166.1 million from the Northwest Jesuit Order.

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Survival

Survival

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A poem by Marie Fortune

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35 Years Ago . . .

35 Years Ago . . .

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I was ordained to the Christian ministry 35 years ago today--February 28, 1976--in the chapel of Yale Divinity School, where I had just completed my Masters of Divinity degree. I became infamous as the woman who was ordained without a “call.” What this meant at the time was that I was ordained without a job. Some people equated the two. In 1976, wanting to work on violence against women within the faith community, I knew very well that there were no jobs.

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Dear Cardinal Mahony

Dear Cardinal Mahony

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I realize that you are soon to retire as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I can only assume that you are exhausted from dealing with sexual abuse by priests in your diocese for so many years and from all of the subsequent scandals. I hope that you will have time to reflect on your role in addressing this longstanding problem of betrayal by your priests.

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