Love! Love! Love! With massive mainstream media coverage of Thursday’s East Coast snowstorm, you’d think the official retail-approved Valentine’s Day was cancelled east of the Mississippi. But no, we carry on! We are devoted to you, oh readers.
So, love news first:
— A federal judge in Virginia struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage but put a stay on the ruling to allow for the inevitable appeals. If you read this online at the Washington Post, there’s a targeted ad right below the lead from the conservative web magazine Townhall.com inviting people to choose between supporting “traditional marriage” (bride and groom photo) and agreeing “it’s time to redefine marriage.” (rainbow flag photo).
— Why did crackerjack journalism students at University of Missouri not scoop the world with news that their football star, Michael Sam, was gay? Carl W. Kenney II, an adjunct instructor in the J-school has a theory: It wasn’t news. For today’s young adults, “Love is love,” no matter which genders are involved, says Kenney
– Facebook Data Science did a whole week of blog posts analyzing amore through the global social site. Posts include one where it turns out most folks marry others of the same religion -– particularly in societies where, surprise, one religion dominates overwhelmingly.
— Young Pakistanis increasingly use Valentine’s Day shows of affection as secret rebellion in a strict society.
– Evangelical leaders are showing their love for the latest Jesus movie – Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s “Son of God.” The megachurch pastor Rick Warren and others are renting out entire multiplex theaters for the 10-city premiere Feb. 27.– J-Date (where the slogan is “Get Chosen”) hopes your beloved is one who “shares your love of gefilte fish.” Borscht Belt humor abounds in their ads. Nu? (look it up in your “Joys of Yiddish.”)
— There’s a push in Spain to give citizenship to anyone who can prove they are Sephardi (Jews of Spanish ancestry). Nice, since Spain expelled its Jews in 1492.
Now, for news in the no love lost category:
— The Belgian Parliament has overwhelming approved lifting age restrictions on euthanasia. Once the king signs the law, terminally ill children old enough to grasp the meaning of this, may, with the approval of doctors and their parents, choose to die. Joni Eareckson Tada posted her strong objections at RNS Faith & Reason blog: “Society’s unwritten moral law has always led us to save our children, not destroy them – and certainly not to allow them to destroy themselves.”
— In the Central African Republic, where Christian mobs are killing Muslims and driving them into exile, a Catholic archbishop pleads on Vatican Radio: “You cannot say you are a Christian and kill, burn, destroy your brother.”
— “Zionism Unsettled” has unsettled supporters of Israel. Critics tell Lauren Markoe this study guide on Israel/Palestine, produced by a group under the wing of the Presbyterian Church (USA), throws Jews under the bus.
— David Gibson examines the sharp divide among Catholic bishops around the globe over anti-gay laws that criminalize homosexuality.
— A Hindu nationalist group in india, claiming that U.S. scholar Wendy Doniger’s 2009 book, “The Hindus: An Alternative History,” hurts their religious feelings, convinced Penguin India to cease publication and destroy existing copies.
– A North Carolina high school faces legal challenge for repeatedly blocking a secular club, which administrators said would not “fit in.”
— Leslie Leyland Fields tells RNS columnist Jonathan Merritt why it’s so hard to forgive our parents and why we must anyway. “We’re all sinners raising sinners… We need to stop passing judgment…”
In the blogs:
— Rachel Marie Stone is inspired by a 90-year-old Nobel nominee who still performs critical surgeries for poor women in Africa.
— Omid Safi muses, if Muhammad had been born in a snowy climate, “would we have spiritual metaphors describing God’s mercy as covering all, sinner and saint alike, the way snowfall covers us all?”
— Brian Pellot visits the LDS church’s online chat where “A missionary will be with you shortly.”
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