2. "Oberammergau bends 10-year vow, will stage religious plays annually"
3. "No renting houses to Arabs: 55% of Israelis agree with the Rabbis"
See also this Herald article:
Despite Rabbi Eliyahu's edict sending shockwaves through Israel's secular political establishment - with many commentators likening it to Nazi Germany's anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws of 1935 - it received the immediate backing of 75 rabbis across Israel.
At last count more than 300 rabbis - most of them in positions funded by the state - have added their names to the edict.
[...] Israeli Jews offended by the actions of the state rabbis have been further angered by their apparent immunity from the law.
[...] Yet, after two months in which a host of discriminatory laws were passed by the Israeli parliament, including a loyalty oath demanded of all new immigrants to Israel, a ban on Arab tour guides in the city of Jerusalem, and a ban on all organisations that question the Jewish character of the state of Israel, others argue that it is a natural extension of the current status quo. ''Fascism has raised its head in Israeli society,'' said the Arab Israeli MP Ahmed Tibi.
Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Rodney Croome said the gay marriage movement respected the church's right not to marry same-sex couples, ...I wonder how long that'll last?
5. Mrs. Peterson on why women can't be priests
6. Two articles by Mr. Muehlenberg regarding abortion
7. The rising popularity of civil unions and the declining popularity of marriage in France
... French couples are increasingly shunning traditional marriages and opting instead for civil unions, to the point that there are now two civil unions for every three marriages.
When France created its system of civil unions in 1999, it was heralded as a revolution in gay rights, a relationship almost like marriage, but not quite. No one, though, anticipated how many couples would make use of the new law. Nor was it predicted that by 2009, the overwhelming majority of civil unions would be between straight couples.
It remains unclear whether the idea of a civil union, called a pacte civil de solidarite, has responded to a shift in social attitudes or caused one. But it has proved remarkably well suited to France and its particularities about marriage, divorce, religion and taxes - and it can be dissolved with just a registered letter.
[...] France recognises only ''citizens'', and the country's legal principles hold that special rights should not be accorded to particular groups or ethnicities. So civil unions were made available to everyone. But their appeal to heterosexual couples was evident from the start. In 2000, just one year after the passage of the law, more than 75 per cent of civil unions were signed between heterosexual couples. That trend has only strengthened: of the 173,045 civil unions signed in 2009, 95 per cent were between heterosexual couples.
As with traditional marriages, civil unions allow couples to file joint tax returns, exempt spouses from inheritance taxes, permit partners to share insurance policies, ease access to residency permits for foreigners and make partners responsible for each other's debts. Concluding a civil union requires little more than a single appearance before a judicial official.
Even the Catholic Church, which initially condemned the partnerships, has relented. The French National Confederation of Catholic Family Associations says civil unions do not pose ''a real threat''.
While partnerships have exploded in popularity, marriage numbers have continued a long decline in France, as across Europe. Just 250,000 French couples married last year, with fewer than four marriages for each 1000 residents. In 1970, almost 400,000 French couples wed.
8. Dr. Brown on the purpose of the major post-Vatican-II liturgical changes
(the exchange between Dr. Brown and another commenter later in that thread is also interesting)