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Domestic Violence

Fifty Shades of Depressing

Fifty Shades of Depressing

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First, a confession: I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey nor do I intend to. When I choose a novel to read, I pay attention to reviews or suggestions of my friends. The thought of spending time reading second rate prose about dominant-submissive heterosexual sex just doesn't seem very appealing. Life is too short.

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How Does a Congregation Respond to a Battered Woman?

How Does a Congregation Respond to a Battered Woman?

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“. . . then the congregation’s leaders should help her reach an accommodation with her ex.” No, the congregation’s leaders should help provide for her safety.

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"Pray for the Dead; Fight Like Hell for the Living."

"Pray for the Dead; Fight Like Hell for the Living."

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“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” These words from Mother Jones come to mind as we celebrate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States.

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Hanukkah Reflection by Rabbi Lisa Gelber

Hanukkah Reflection by Rabbi Lisa Gelber

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A disagreement emerged between the houses of Shammai and Hillel regarding how to light the Hanukkah Menorah. Beit Shammai maintained that one should light eight lights on the first night of the holiday and progressively reduce them throughout the week. Beit Hillel (whose custom Jews follow today) required the kindling of one light on the first night of the holiday and the augmentation of the overall light by adding an additional flame on each successive evening.

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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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“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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What Will It Take to Pass VAWA?

What Will It Take to Pass VAWA?

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The Violence Against Women Act [VAWA] was originally passed in 1994 with strong bipartisan support. It was renewed in 2000 and 2005 also with bipartisan support. In those votes, legislators seemed to basically agree that violence against women was a bad thing and that all of us, including our federal government, had a role to play in addressing it.

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Politics, Religion and Rape

Politics, Religion and Rape

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As presidential politics play out, Republican candidate Mike Huckabee has been challenged to answer questions about his involvement in the release of convicted rapist Wayne DuMond after DuMond’s religious “conversion.”

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Evangelicals Rethink Divorce?

Evangelicals Rethink Divorce?

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A recent article in TIME Magazine highlighted an article in Christianity Today describing a shift among some evangelicals to more openness about divorce. This would be welcome news to many evangelical Christian battered women who often feel that they are forced to choose between their church and their safety when it comes to divorce.

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Rick Warren’s Teaching

Rick Warren’s Teaching

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Since Rick Warren was invited to give the Invocation at the Presidential Inauguration next week, he has been attracting some attention and scrutiny. Warren is the Senior Pastor at Saddleback Church in California.

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Confusion Reigns for Southern Baptist Professor

Confusion Reigns for Southern Baptist Professor

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Bruce Ware, professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., actually does know why husbands abuse their wives.

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GUEST BLOG: Just My Mother's Daughter

GUEST BLOG: Just My Mother's Daughter

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“For crying out loud!” I yelled for three long months, starting in early June. “My whole life’s being hijacked!” “Why NOW?” I asked, as if there’s ever a good time for a case of abuse threatening to destroy a ninety-year-old—who just happens to be my mother, living hundreds of miles away.

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Living in Parched Places

Living in Parched Places

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I live in a parched place. In east Tennessee, it has only rained 3 times in the last 4 months. This relentless heat and drought are palpable every day. So also on this political landscape: the heat of hateful rhetoric and the drought of substantive discussion of the serious issues. Facing the weeks ahead, I turn to Jeremiah 17.

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Super Bowl Sunday...Again

Super Bowl Sunday...Again

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In a spirit of full disclosure, it’s true: I am a fan of the game of football. In my hometown, that means the Seattle Seahawks. And that means the Super Bowl on February 1. Having said that, of course I have to comment on the intersection between the NFL and domestic violence. Particularly in light of events this past season, which involved high profile cases of NFL players assaulting family members. As we approach the Super Bowl, the urban myth regarding the increase in domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday will once again make an appearance. It is a myth, by the way, that there is more domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday. We don’t know where it started; probably it was someone’s hunch way back when. But the numbers don’t support it.

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Where is a Samaritan When You Need One? Let's Review

Where is a Samaritan When You Need One? Let's Review

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Carie Charlesworth taught school at Holy Trinity Catholic school in San Diego for the past 14 years. Because she is a battered woman with four children, she has been fired. Clearly the problem here is Mr. Charlesworth who has a history of violence, restraining orders and is currently incarcerated. But the consequences of his violence have now been exacerbated for his victim by her employer, a faith-based school.

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You or Someone You Know . . .

You or Someone You Know . . .

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The latest study on sexual assault was released in December and for some suggested a new awareness of how widespread sexual violence against women really is. In fact, the new figures by and large merely confirm what we know from earlier studies: violence against women is an all-too-common experience. The bottom line: 1 in 3 women report being victims of rape, beating and/or stalking.

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Where is a Samaritan When You Need One? Continued

Where is a Samaritan When You Need One? Continued

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It turns out that being fired for being a battered woman is not all that unusual. In fact it is legal in 44 states. Carie Charlesworth, a teacher at a Catholic school, was fired after her abusive husband came looking for her at her work. Her case has brought this circumstance to the fore. Here is an update from one online resource, Ultraviolet, which includes a way for you to get involved.

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Standing Our Ground for Justice

Standing Our Ground for Justice

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The tragedy of the killing of Trayvon Martin could have been averted if George Zimmerman had walked away after alerting the police to someone he thought was “suspicious.” But he chose to pursue Martin, got into a fight, had a gun and used it. Martin is dead and now Zimmerman walks away with impunity. I cannot see how an unarmed teenager was a threat to Zimmerman’s life; scary, maybe but not life-threatening. In the aftermath of the Martin killing and Zimmerman acquittal, the media and activists have focused on the Florida case of Marissa Alexander.

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Happy Father's Day Revisited

Happy Father's Day Revisited

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This year as we approach Father’s Day, I remember my father. He passed away on May 12 after a short illness. He was 97 years old. He was a small business owner and church lay leader. He loved his garden and had been nurturing geranium starts in his greenhouse to be ready for the summer flower season. Family and friends were his priorities with college basketball a close second. I remember that he was a decent and generous man who generally spoke his mind but usually with the grace and charm of a Southern gentleman. Fortunately his mind grew more open with age. Although his strong will and mine did clash from time to time, we always circled back to what was most important. I am grateful that he was always present in my life.

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“Marriage Is Sacred”

“Marriage Is Sacred”

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A few years back there was a news article in California about the prosecution of a husband for marital rape of his wife. The wife had locked herself in the bedroom to protect herself from the abusive husband. He broke down the door and assaulted her. His defense at trial was that he was Roman Catholic and the church had taught him that once he married, he could have sex with his wife any time he chose; therefore his arrest for marital rape was a violation of his First Amendment right to exercise religion.

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