The third exam

The third (and final) exam of the semester should now be available in your Google Documents accounts. If you have any trouble accessing it, please let me know.

Have a good week!

Announcments, Assignments

Review sheet for Exam 3

Here’s the review sheet for our third exam.



Here is my article:

We talked about this issue earlier in the semester, but I wanted to look up the details, and considering that we have learned so much and have a new perspective on religion in the public sphere I wanted to see what you guys think about this issue. This is a bus which segregates men and women based on religious grounds. Women have to sit in the back and men have to sit in the front. The bus is run by a private company, but the route was awarded through a public and competitive bidding process. I guess my question is should this be allowed? This bus is owned by a private company and if it is part of their religion then should other people who ride the bus comply with these rules? Is it unfair to people who ride the bus and are not part of this religious community? I think that since this bus does seem to be mainly for the Jewish community (I believe they said Orthodox Jews) and until recently, most people in the community did not seem to mind this, then I think that they should be allowed. The article says that if a woman does sit on front then they don’t force her to go to the back, but the woman does kind of feel pressured to do so by the passengers. I think that it would be more of a problem if it was a bus run by the city or government in which case I don’t think that it would be acceptable. However, I do realize that there could be some potential problems that might come up with something like this. For example, if the Jewish community is allowed to do this, then can other religious groups buy a bus and enforce their own religious code. If so, then how far can they go with this? What is acceptable and what isn’t? I think that’s where it becomes more complex and difficult yeah this is ok or no this should not be allowed.



Religious Freedom or Nondiscriminatory?

I believe this article is the perfect example of how religion plays a role in society today.  Is it fair for an organization at Vanderbilt to deny participation to a student because they do not fit the mission of the group? In this specific case, I do think it is fair for them to be selective in who they allow into their organization. If someone does not have the same religious values of the organization, it would not make sense for them to be a member.

I think this goes back to our discussion about discrimination in everyday life. People are constantly being discriminated against. Saint Mary’s discriminates against boys. In the article they discussed how boys are not allowed to join sororities while girls are not allowed to join fraternities. It makes sense for this exclusion because these traits are what make up the mission of these organizations. What is the point of having a Christian fraternity when the leader is an atheist and therefore will not support the organization’s mission of Christian values? It doesn’t make sense. However, I think we have to be careful because these sorts of examples can lead to harmful discrimination and unlawful discrimination. Who makes the decision on these kinds of issues? Do you guys think these organizations should be open to everyone? Do you think this new policy is infringing on religious freedom?


Protecting Religious Freedom

Here is my article:

This article touches on a lot of the issues that we have been talking about throughout the semester. I think that this article is interesting because we talked about a similar case with the Mormon church in which they mobilized their followers to vote for Proposition 8 in California. In this case the Catholic church’s bishops are calling on Catholics to mobilize against the threats to religious freedoms. I guess my question for this part, is if this is right? Should church hierarchy use its members this way? We can see that 67 million people in this country fighting for a political goal is quite a large group and can probably accomplish their goals. But, should the church hierarchy be involved in politics this way? Or do you see this as necessary in order to protect religious freedom rights? Furthermore, i think that this goes further than just the contraception issue, it seems to also be a movement that  criticizes an overbearing central government. When they said this, I couldn’t help but think about our current book and how they say that being neutral in the U.S. or supporting secularism disadvantages religion. I think in part this movement is due to the government’s preference on secularism. Does anyone else see a correlation between secularism and what this movement deems as overbearing central government? This is an issue that has become more apparent to me as we read through our current book. It is interesting to see it play out this way in our country and I will be interested to see how we resolve it.


Religion and Children

I chose to blog about this topic this week because I always find it fascinating how religion is passed down to children. The woman in the article touched on how religion is usually passed on: “You’re Jewish because I’m Jewish.” I think many families force their faith on their children. It seems reasonable, right? While, I do see significance and importance in passing your religious denomination down to your children, I think it is more important to help them build a relationship with God.

As I have gone through college I feel the people around me are becoming less religious. People are not making time for God, in my opinion. College is an environment where it is often easy to not go to mass or spend time in reflection on God. Therefore, I think it is crucial to instill in your children at an early age what it means to be faithful and in prayer with God.

I found it empowering how the woman talked about what her children have done to her in terms of religion. She wants to be a more faithful person because of her children. I think since kids are so innocent and want to ask questions about everything, they are able to put faith in a new perspective for their parents. She wants to make sure her children know about the Jewish background and tradition, but she doesn’t necessarily want them to strictly abide by the Jewish rituals.


Man spends 12 months practicing 12 different religions, and finds peace at year’s end

While perusing through various articles I found myself intrigued by this one which can be found on Religion News.

I found this to be one of the most interesting articles because it talks about how the loss of a child stemmed a man’s anger in God, which in turn led to this desire to find inner peace and toleration through the practice of multiple faiths. Andrew Bowen and his wife had to abort their child because the wife’s life was at risk due to the position of the child in the womb. As the article states, both Heather and Andrew Bowen dealt with the loss of their child in different ways. She grew in her faith by becoming baptized into the Baptist Church whereas Andrew found himself engaged with ‘Project Conversion’ in which he studied one different faith a month for an entire year. Although Andrew did not find himself adopting one faith over another, he did learn a great deal about what characterized each and found that inner peace that he sought after. Although it is important that each and every one of us seek knowledge of differing faiths from our own, is the manner in which he went about it healthy not only on an individual level but also on a family level? For example, through this project, Andrew found himself engaged in a number of arguments with his wife because there was not one solitary agreement. Another question I have, is he states, “I don’t think about God now and finding faith in God is not my aim” but rather seek the good in humanity. How can a person seek and find the good in humanity without finding faith in God?


Romney on birth control

Hey guys!

Someone posted this article on Facebook. I’ve never heard of this site, but I found the article interesting!! I thought I would share it with you all!


The New School Choice

The article that I have chosen for today can be found at and is titled The New School Choice. Although a long article regarding the involvement of community oriented individuals, it is thorough and quite insightful. The major premise of this article focuses on the desire of families to send their children to public schools not necessarily for the education; rather, their desire to make the public school a better place for communities. Many families believe that by sending their funds and efforts to these public schools, the children and parents that need the most help will get it. With the help of various Christian families, the hopes of bettering Chimborazo Elementary School, were achieved.

Another point brought up in this article is the fact that because these families are sending their children to public schools, they want to live in the same area as those less fortunate. As stated in the article,

What would it communicate to our neighbors if we said, ‘We’re moving into your neighborhood, but we don’t consider your schools and public institutions good enough for our families’?”

Although families are seeking more community cohesion, is it okay to forgo the best education for their children. The article states, ”

Ultimately, “we decided that our kids would receive a wonderful life and cultural education, even if the academic experience wasn’t as enriched,” says Strand.

This article is a great one because it shows the need for individuals to come together and promote a public school. Because many public schools are full of children from poor families, they need all the help that they can get from those who are more fortunate than themselves.

Once again I will leave you with the question: Is a cultural education superior to an education received in the classroom or is it crucial that children be brought up with both?


Mormons take on homosexuality

I found the article about homosexuals and Mormons very intriguing. First, I think it is right that BYU said the honor code is based on actions and not feeling and therefore this group did not break the honor code of the college. I believe the Catholic Church would take a similar stance to this concept. However, throughout the article I still got the feeling that homosexuals, as a whole, were not accepted at the college and in the Mormon religion in general. I got the vibe that there is still a stigma towards gay people, and it trickles down to college students as well. It is scary how many people have thoughts of suicide because their peers and faith community do not accept them.

Although, it does seem that the view towards homosexuality is slowly changing with the Mormon community. In the article, the students discussed how they are now feeling more accepted from their community. This is also seen in the fact that they changed the honor code just recently in 2007 to state feeling does not break the code. I believe that is a big step for BYU. I also found it interesting that one of the gay students at BYU was understanding of why the Mormon Church was so against Proposition 8. I though that was a strong testimony to his faith that he was able to move past his own feeling and beliefs towards homosexuality and understand why the church would take the stance on Prop 8.