Where can wisdom be found? Wisdom Wednesday this week found an amazing array of possibilities: How one Catholic nun keeps the faith while managing church businesses, how an American priest in Guatemala inspired a revolution of solidarity, what are the lessons to be learned “from the border,” what is missing from that trillion-dollar bipartisan bill, and what a mountain climber discovered about toilet paper.
Surveys and studies may not bring wisdom, but they help bring understanding: Why an Australian census question paints a false picture of religion as a part of life, how decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court show favoritism toward religion, and that there is an increasing awareness of transgender and non-binary individuals.
We also have a survey result you may not have expected. Catholics are more likely (67 percent) than Protestants (40 percent) to think that intelligent life probably exists on other planets.
In the United States and around the world, people are standing up for their rights. In some places, they are achieving good results. We look this week at voting rights, a religious right to wear a beard, and Jehovah’s Witnesses’ struggles in Russia. We also found an accommodation in Wales, where a rowing club has worked with local religious leaders to find a river site for the ashes of Hindus and Sikhs.
Finally, we found some advice given (we hope it is wise advice) to Pope Francis on end-of-life decisions, to Latter Day Saints about acknowledging polygamy, and to catechists and religious leaders to examine the significance (or lack of it) of toilet paper.
Insight from an Amazing Array of Possibilities
We begin with an article from Deutsche Welle (in English) on a German religious sister using modern management methods to stay relevant – and make a profit – for a church institution.
Another inspiring story: After his martyrdom in Guatemala, Father Stanley Rother’s ministry inspired the Tz’utujil people to lead a peaceful revolt.
Rother had deeply impressed and influenced the downtrodden Tz’utujil by immersing himself in their lives, respecting the beauty and spirit of their culture, and committing himself to their struggle for dignity.
Mary Kay Dobrovolny, writing for the Global Sisters Report, examines the human right to migrate, and the right to stay.
On a related topic, immigration advocates are disappointed with President Biden’s policies.
Humane immigration policies and comprehensive Immigration Reform is one of our priorities as an organization. Read more about the AUSCP immigration stance.
The Associated Press reports the bipartisan infrastructure bill leaves out key climate and clean energy steps.
You are also invited to join your voice with thousands of individuals signing this climate action petition across the U.S. Catholic community as a faith-filled appeal to President Biden and the U.S. Congress, to work beyond partisanship and create climate solutions to care for present and future generations and our common home.
Now, about those surveys and studies
Pew Research Center offers this in-depth examination on people who are transgender or go by a gender-neutral pronoun:
In recent years, several prominent Americans have come out as transgender or gender nonbinary (that is, identifying as neither exclusively a man nor a woman). Governments at both the federal and state levels also have moved toward putting more legal protections in place for transgender people and formally recognizing nonbinary identities. At the same time, a record number of state-level bills have sought to limit definitions of gender to the sex people are assigned at birth.
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that growing shares of U.S. adults say they know someone who is transgender or who goes by a gender-neutral pronoun. Yet Americans’ comfort levels with using gender-neutral pronouns to refer to someone – as well as their opinions on whether someone’s gender can differ from the sex they were assigned at birth – have remained static.
Read the full study from Pew Research Center here.
According to the official census, 60 percent of Australians indicated a religion; other research shows 62 percent don’t have a religion. Why is that? This article offers an answer.
In the United States, Reuters analysis shows the Supreme Court favors religion when asked for emergency reviews, with a win in every case.
Here’s more on religious matters to come before the court …
… and a report on the 228 GOP lawmakers who want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
And the last of the studies, religious Americans are less likely to believe there is intelligent life on other planets, according to Pew Research.
Stand up for your rights
First, arrests at the Capitol. According to Capitol police, as reported by RNS,
According to Capitol police, more than 200 faith-led demonstrators were arrested while praying, singing and protesting in the street, hoping to draw attention to voting rights and a slate of other issues participants argued impact the poor and low-wage workers.
The sprawling demonstration was organized by the Poor People’s Campaign, an advocacy group led by the Rev. William Barber II and the Rev. Liz Theoharis that tends to support left-leaning policies. Monday’s action on the Hill constituted one of the largest mass-arrest nonviolent protests at the Capitol in recent memory and attracted an array of prominent voices, including civil rights icon the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Luci Baines Johnson, the daughter of late President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Read the full article here.
In other news on religion and rights:
- Sikh American soldiers continue to campaign for their right to wear a beard and turban
- Three Jehovah’s Witnesses were sentenced to six or more years in a Russian prison for their faith
- A rowing club in Wales has worked with local religious leaders to find a river site for the ashes of Hindus and Sikhs.
Our advice column
Pope Francis needs to tell the world who will make his end-of-life decisions. So says Tom Reese, with the reasons why he says what he says.
Can the LDS talk honestly about polygamy? The unknowns about eternal polygamy are ‘answered with speculation and myths, creating undue fear and angst,’ says the author of a new book.
Finally, the thing about toilet paper. It is a video you are invited to watch. It was suggested by an active member of the AUSCP, Ray Cole, who sees this video clip as offering an insightful approach to some of the significant and challenging matters in church and society today. We all have mountains to climb, and this item comes from a real mountain climber. Enjoy!
Note, the above video is only available until August 8th, 2021.
We hope you have enjoyed this roundup of recent news about faith, politics, and culture. We will return next week with another edition of Wisdom Wednesday.
Until next week, please follow us on social media with the buttons below to make sure you don’t miss the latest news from the AUSCP!