Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Thou Shalt Not Kill. Unless…

The End of Death Row

A thoughtful, well-written article, by a man who earned the right to his opinion by confronting Texas “morality” at close range.  How many of us have thought this carefully about the homicides committed in our names?

via Thou Shalt Not Kill. Unless – Features – Utne Reader.


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Humanoid Rights

‘…being a civil libertarian requires a sprinkle of paranoia — it means anticipating threats to freedom rather than waiting for them to mobilize, because often, that means it’s too late. “It’s striking how rapidly things move from being science fiction to being true threats to privacy, from face recognition to body scanners,” Stanley says. “It’s important to be ahead of the curve and frame the debate so they know what the civil-liberties issues are.”‘

Humanoid Rights | The American Prospect.


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Vatican set to issue changes in sex abuse rules

In the latest chapter of the Vatican’s attempt to come to grips with the sexual abuse crisis, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is expected to release a set of changes to the church’s rules for meting out ecclesiastical discipline against abuser priests sometime in the next few days.

Vatican sources caution, however, that the revisions are largely a matter of consolidating existing practice, rather than a dramatic new approach to how sex abuse cases are handled.

Sources also stress that the revisions affect only the internal ecclesiastical status of an accused priest. In a separate set of guidelines published in April, the Vatican said that civil law regarding reporting crimes of sexual abuse of a minor to the police and other authorities should always be followed.

Vatican
set to issue changes in sex abuse rules | National Catholic Reporter


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Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn’t about security

McClatchey, via Al-Jazeera English, reports that documents obtained as the result of a lawsuit on behalf of the people living in Gaza contain an Isreali admission that the embargo is about economics, not weapons smuggling.

“A country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using ‘economic warfare,'” the government said.

McClatchy obtained the government’s written statement from Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, which sued the government for information about the blockade. The Israeli high court upheld the suit, and the government delivered its statement earlier this year

Al-Jaz also makes an excellent argument for Israel being in violation of the Geneva Convention (not that anyone pays much attention to them any more, including US).

Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn’t about security | McClatchy


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Southern Baptist leader Richard Land backs citizenship for illegal immigrants

Baptist leader Richard Land backs citizenship for illegal immigrants | tennessean.com | The Tennessean

Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, admits it’s a message that will test some of the church’s mainstream membership, but it’s one that needs to be said.


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A Conversation With Tariq Ramadan

A Conversation With Tariq Ramadan: Islam, the West and the Challenges of Modernity – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Ramadan is a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Oxford’s St Antony’s College. He is also the president of a Brussels-based think tank, European Muslim Network, and the author of more than 20 books, including What I Believe, published in November 2009. Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2009.

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Liberia’s Model for Better Mental Health

Liberia’s Model for Better Mental Health

…In late 2009, Liberia developed a comprehensive, community-based national mental health policy—the first of its kind in a post-conflict country. It’s an ambitious approach designed to address a substantial need: A recent survey of 1,600 households indicates that 44 percent of Liberians meet diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder; up to 40 percent meet the criteria for major depressive illnesses….

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China lifts travel ban for people living with HIV

China lifts travel ban for people living with HIV

UNAIDS applauds the decision by the Government of China to lift its national travel ban for people living with HIV. The news comes ahead of the opening of Shanghai Expo 2010, an international fair that is expected to attract millions of visitors over the next six months.

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The U.N.’s Death Squad Watchdog

The U.N.’s Death Squad Watchdog | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. | Miller-McCune Online Magazine

With few resources but the force of his title — U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions — Philip Alston holds governments accountable for the politically motivated killings they commit, or ignore.

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Make Birth Control, Not War

Make Birth Control, Not War | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. | Miller-McCune Online Magazine

Humans — human males, really — are not peaceful animals. They are in fact a spectacularly violent species, and very nearly uniquely so. Despite high-minded modern wishes and the received wisdom of three generations of anthropologists and sociologists, warfare is not an aberration in human development, nor is it a learned, culturally determined behavior. War and its ancillary behaviors — including racism, slavery, mass rape and the subjugation of women — are not cultural problems and thus do not have neat, sociological solutions. Along with terrorism, these most destructive of human behaviors derive clearly and directly from our biology, bequeathed to us by an evolutionary pathway that we share with just one other extant species, the chimpanzees.

War, simply put, is in our genes.

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Without a Face

A former fashion photographer now doing documentary work, Izabella Demavlys writes in her artist’s statement that “to illustrate a deeper definition of female beauty, I photograph women whose pictorial beauty radiates from their accomplishment, character and personal struggles.”

Her latest series, “Without a Face,” offers a direct and profoundly affecting kind of beauty: portraits of Pakistani women healing after attacks by men wielding kerosene oil or battery acid…

Eyeteeth:
A journal of incisive ideas: Without a Face: Izabella Demavlys on
photographing Pakistan’s survivors of acid attacks

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Defectors Say Church of Scientology Hides Abuse

Defectors Say Church of Scientology Hides Abuse – NYTimes.com

Fifty-six years after its founding by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986, the church is fighting off calls by former members for a Reformation. The defectors say Sea Org members were repeatedly beaten by the church’s chairman, David Miscavige, often during planning meetings; pressured to have abortions; forced to work without sleep on little pay; and held incommunicado if they wanted to leave. The church says the defectors are lying.