The QuiverFull Movement: Family Non-Planning

You would have to be on a desert island to not know about the Duggar family who have been showcased on The Learning Channel (TLC). Jim Bob and Michelle have more than replaced themselves in this crowded world by adding 19 children to it. Of course, in some parts of the world, 19 isn’t unheard of. (And get this, the record number of children born to one woman is 69!*) But it’s rarity for the U.S.

What makes the Duggars particularly noteworthy is the reason they have so many children: They belong to the QuiverFull movement, which believes that it is God’s will for a woman to have as many children as she is able to. Contraception, even natural family planning, is a sin. (There’s also a group called Blessed Arrows which is for those who have been sterilized where they can “make amends for their sin” by getting reversals.)

Devotees of the QuiverFull movement teach that children are a blessing from God and that attempting to avoid a pregnancy is a subversion of God’s will. Everything is in God’s hands: the health of the mother or baby, the emotional and financial resources necessary to support another child, and the “so-called” problems of over-population and over-consumption. Obviously, they are against abortion, which puts them at odds with  most feminists. That’s not the only thing that alarms feminists, however. They also preach that the man is the head of the household and the wife is to be submissive to him in all things. They blame all the ills of society on women wanting their own way, especially over their own bodies, which are meant to be a “living sacrifice” to God.

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Muslim Women: Ambassadors For Islam (For Better or Worse)

I was asked yesterday what subject really needs to be addressed when it comes to Muslim women in North America. I’d like to say that the most important issue is how to communicate our faith. Or inspire respect. Or dispel negative stereotypes. What I did say was something that ties into all three: the way that a Muslim woman dresses.

That seems superficial in the broad scheme of things. But the reality is, it’s a huge problem for Muslims. Not that all Muslim women dress “Islamically.”  But for women who do “cover,” even walking down the street can be a challenge.

First I should explain what I mean by dressing Islamically and covering. There are a lot of opinions about what exactly a Muslim woman should wear but the general consensus is that she should be modest. That means no midriff-baring tops and jeans, no miniskirts, low necklines or skin-tight clothes. The most traditional Muslim believes that everything should be covered but the hands and feet. Some even interpret that to mean that the entire face should be covered as well, but they are definitely in the minority.

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Headlines You Will Only See On April 1st

  • Stay-at-home moms and homemakers to earn Social Security credit.
  • Stay-at-home moms and homemakers paid for their work.
  • All American children guaranteed health insurance.
  • All Americans guaranteed health insurance.
  • Health insurance premiums dip to new low.
  • Health care costs decrease.
  • California upholds legality of same-sex marriages.
  • All states legalize same-sex marriage.
  • Federal mandate makes it illegal to discriminate against mothers.
  • Women’s political participation surpasses 50%  mark.
  • Women make up majority in House and Senate.
  • Vatican rules that women can be priests.
  • Vatican rules that priests can be married.
  • Equal Rights Amendment added to Constitution.
  • Transgender declared a “third sex.”

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Conversation With Muslim Women About “Covering” (Hijab, Niqab, or Nothing)

I put this video on Facebook, but then decided that I wanted to comment on it more than I could in that venue. Watch it first and see what you think.

Before I watched this video, I was uncomfortable with the idea of the face veil (the niqab). But the woman who wears the niqab in this video is extremely articulate and persuaded me that there can be good reasons for covering the face, even if that is not a choice I would make.

I was also persuaded by the uncovered woman’s explanation for why she doesn’t cover. And that sums up my dilemma. I am a Muslim woman who has not made up her mind about covering. I have worn the headscarf  (the hijab) on many occasions, but haven’t made a total commitment to it. I’ve worn it to run errands, to visit my Muslim friends and go to Muslim celebrations, when I pray and to go to the masjid (mosque). But I don’t wear it to work or whenever I answer the door. And I don’t know if I would have enough courage to wear it on an airplane!

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I Could Have Used Feminism…(Part One)

I could have used feminism…

Photo by tibchris on Flickr
Photo by tibchris on Flickr
  • when I got chubby in the third grade and bought into the idea that I was fat and disgusting.
  • when my smarts got me labeled as stuck-up and unfeminine.
  • when my mother told me I could do anything, but I didn’t believe her.
  • when I matured early and started to get the attention of boys.
  • when I didn’t know who my real friends were.
  • when I began to feel that I was nothing if a boy didn’t love (want) me.
  • when I got in over my head sexually (when I didn’t know how to say no).
  • when the first guy I had sex with played with my head and told me that I could never leave him.
  • when that same boyfriend threatened to kill my family, or me, or both of us.
  • when I met my first soul mate and didn’t know what to do about it but have sex with him and I scared him off. (Imagine!)
  • when my grandfather died and I felt like I lost my best-friend.
  • when I settled for the second-best guy because I couldn’t have the one I really wanted.
  • when I had my abortion.
  • when I had my own apartment and a free ride to college and I threw it all over to get married at the age of 20.
  • when my marriage was in trouble and I became a Christian to save it.
  • when I started working in a shit job to help put my husband through school.
  • when I felt so bored and unfulfilled I talked my husband into having a baby.
  • when I continued to have kids because I didn’t know what else to do with my life.