church and state

Carly's World: Insight Into Autism

If I could tell people
one thing about autism
it would be that I don't
want to be this way but
I am. So don't be mad;
be understanding.

Those are the words that appear on the computer screen of a 13 year old autistic girl named Carly. The computer uses text-to-speech functionality to talk for Carly. I came across a video about Carly's use of technology on CNN tonight. It was heartwarming.

In a world where the news is nonstop war, death, controversy, corruption and disaster, this was an excellent change of pace. A little more research turned up a few more variants of the story and some interesting sites.

Love's Labor Lost: When Religion Takes Precedence Over Law

The debate of Church and State takes many forms, spanning centuries and cultures with ease. Perhaps the clearest examples we've seen of religious extremism -- outside of our very own American Taliban1 -- have been embodied within regimes like the Taliban of Afghanistan, or within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Examples abound, but one case that recently made headlines2 in some areas illustrates just how the dominance of religious belief over secular law can interfere with love, marriage and a woman's right to choose. A right which, btw, refers not only to her right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term but also her right to choose who to marry, where to live and how to raise her children.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Two years ago, a knock on Fatima and Mansour al-Timani's door shattered the life they had built together.

It was the police, delivering news that a judge had annulled their marriage in absentia after some of Fatima's relatives sought the divorce on grounds she had married beneath her.

That was just the beginning of an ordeal for a couple who _ under Saudi Arabia's strict segregation rules _ can no longer live together. They sued to reverse the ruling, publicized their story and sought help from a Saudi human rights group.

But the two remain apart and Fatima said she is considering suicide if her recent appeal to King Abdullah does not reunite her with her husband.

How would you like such a nightmare in your life?