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I originally wrote this post for Idealist in NYC, but thought Ecumenical Women readers might like it as well. Enjoy!

In a country where the larger part of our population is religious, and where our current president believes that social change should come about through religious organizations, Former NYU Professor James Carse’s message might be hard for some to swallow: religion, he argues, has very little to do with belief.

from Mrs. Maze, on Flickr

To Carse, religion is all about longevity rather than belief; it’s what unites people over millennia. Additionally, Carse dismisses attempts to find some underlying unity to all religions. This idea, I would say, is fairly unpopular among many religious people, either because they want to avoid being exclusionary or because they want to find a common thread in humanity’s search for meaning. As a current student at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan, I find Carse’s arguments in this Salon.com article incredibly interesting and compelling.

But I bet a lot of folks would wonder: If we remove the idea of belief from the religion, would we lose our ethics as well? And with them, our propensity to act? Read the rest of this entry »

For some of our Ecumenical Women superstars, they’ll remember that the theme of CSW 51 was “The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child.” Well, when we came across this video at Britt Bravo’s blog Have Fun Do Good, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the topic of the girl child.

The video isn’t perfect: it is a project of the Girl Effect, and aside from being partially funded by the Nike Foundation — whose track record isn’t glowing — we wonder if it isn’t a little too simplistic (what? a cow is really the answer?).  But in a world where pregnancy is the leading cause of death for girls aged 15 through 19, and where educated girls and women fosters the education of children… well, we’re willing to get on board.

Just some food for thought.  What do you think?

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  • Understanding customs and people's lives: Gender and land in the Western Balkans
    This FAO-World Bank film addresses the challenges to increasing female land ownership in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia). Although sound legal frameworks protecting women's rights to own property are in place throughout the region, longstanding customs and traditions continue to favor male […]
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    The first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples will be held on 22-23 September 2014. The meeting will be an opportunity to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples, including pursuing the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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