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Burqa Banning in Jacksonville?

6 Jan

A friend witnessed an unusual exchange the other day in Jacksonville between a woman wearing a burqa and a male Muslim convenience store worker.

When the woman tried to enter the store, the worker denied her entry saying that he had to see the face of anyone entering the store. My friend said the woman was covered head to toe and all you could see were her eyes.

The woman claimed religious freedom to wear the burqa and said she be allowed in the store. It was then that Muslim worker let loose with a diatribe shouting that this was the United States of America and she did not need to resort to wearing a burqa. That America was a great place to live, the land of opportunity, and she should live in the ways of the culture of the country if she wanted to succeed here.

The two then exchanged heated words in their native tongue and the woman left.

My friend said what was so fascinating was how passionate the Muslim convenience store worker was about what America stood for and what it had done for him. And how other Muslims should embrace it.

Then of course we have the Muslim woman living in a country founded on religious freedom being condemned for her choice to wear a burqa.

Or is it really her choice? If she’s wearing a burqa, my guess is that she’s relatively new to the country and totally dependent on her husband for financial support. I cannot imagine anyone hiring her to work for them in this southern city if she has to wear a burqa. So what’s a Muslim woman in the United States to do?

Absent a heavily concentrated community of burqa wearing Muslims, similar to the Hasidic Jewish communities, it is just plain difficult for Muslim women in the U.S. to exist. Much less assimilate.

Only Saudi Arabia and Iran have strict laws enforcing burqa wearing.  This summer France actually outlawed them.

We all know the burqa is a symbol of a severely patriarchal society where women are considered property and evil sexual temptresses to men. (Having men merely control themselves I suppose is out of the question.)

I feel for the woman, but at the same time am proud of the man.

What would you have felt witnessing this exchange?

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Project Rachel Helps Women Find Peace After Abortions

17 Nov

The woman on the car radio confessed that she had seven abortions, and some women she knew had abortions numbering into the teens. It literally took my breath away. I have never had such a physical reaction to something I heard on the radio.

As I drove and listened,  few tears rolled down my cheek as I heard the woman explain the spiritual well she had been in with what she had done to human life.

Like many people, I detest abortion but have trouble making that decision for other women. Once is traumatic. Seven times, thirteen times, is a travesty of unbelievable proportions.

I have luckily never been pregnant when I didn’t mean to be. One very early pregnancy miscarriage was devastating to me. I cannot imagine having an abortion.

What I heard on the radio today, however, was hope for those who have had abortions and are spiritually wounded. There is a program called Project Rachel sponsored by the Catholic Church. Evidently many women who are helped by this program are not even Catholic.

The woman on the radio said the program’s weekend retreat called Rachel’s Vineyard takes women through the healing process including writing letters to their unborn children, naming them and holding funeral ceremonies for them. She said it was the only thing that has helped her move forward after more than 20 years. At the weekend retreats you are among peers without judgement.

I would encourage any woman who has unresolved conflicts and spiritual wounds as a result of an abortion to contact a local Project Rachel. For a list of contacts throughout the country click here. 

The last thing the radio program host said to the woman who called in was that by sharing her story that she had surely touched someone listening. Yes, she did.

Three Tips For Brides (Or, All They’ll Remember Is How Long They Had to Wait to Get a Drink)

20 Oct

A couple I know recently got married, each for the second time.  They had their own private marriage in the Keys, just the two of them, with wedding dress, photographer and even a little wedding cake. When they returned, friends were invited to a big party and they didn’t make us dress up.  The invitation even stated “Beach Flip-Flop Casual.” Now that’s my kind of wedding reception. 

The goal of any party is to make your guests comfortable and give them a good time. Brides tend to get caught up in the hoopla and forget what’s most important.

So here are a few Cracker Jax tips for brides-to-be to remember:

1.  No one wants to hear all the details of your wedding planning.
Please don’t make us go through all of that with you. It’s really torture, but we’re scared to tell you. We don’t care what bridal magazines you’re reading, your indecision over traditional or red velvet cake, or your angst over whose church to be married in.  Please don’t do endless Facebook and Twitter updates about your wedding world. We just really want to show up and be surprised. 

2.   Make your wedding a ceremony of holy matrimony and not a Broadway production.
Princess Diana didn’t even have eighteen bridesmaids. The fewer attendants, the more intimate the ceremony. Video cameras on the altar and such is so 1980s. That’s a lot of effort and expense for a video that I guarantee you nobody but you wants to watch. Ditto for the photos after the ceremony. Do not under any circumstances make your guests wait an hour while you get more photos than anyone needs at the altar. But if your must, please dear God at least give them booze while they wait. Have the bar open and ready for them whether you’re there or not.

3.  The devil IS in the details.
Don’t lose sleep over details that don’t matter  such as what shade of pink the ribbon on the pews will be.  Honestly, no one will remember it. The only thing people really remember are the bridal gown, if any of the attendants passed out and how long they had to wait to get a drink. 

When asked what he thought about a friend’s wedding that obviously spared no expense, the only thing my ex-husband said is, “All the bridesmaids were flat.” Somethings just can’t be planned.

Looking For Mr. Good Speller

14 Sep

I don’t think I’ve ever dated a man who couldn’t spell well.  Except for maybe that boyfriend in high school who wrote in my yearbook about going off to “collage.” He works as a teacher now in Duval County. But he’s actually kind of smart now. Collage paid off.

Being a bad speller is just plain unsexy. We women are turned on by intelligence as much as we are good  dancing.  And  we never purposely go for the guy who dances like a frog.

When a guy is a bad speller it leads me to believe he’s clueless and unconscious.  Such as when he writes about “likeing”  something, or how “your” going somewhere, or that he’s a “proffesional.”  I can’t help it. A man who can’t spell might as well be telling me “he seen it coming.” Come to think of it, I did nix a guy from Tennessee who was crazy about me because he “seen” things when we “was” together. And I never had the heart to tell him why.

There was, however, the hot-shot lawyer I dated who spoke a special French dialect he learned from his nanny growing up that even surprised the French. He cringed big time and bellowed at me once that the word croissant was not pronounced “crow-saunt” but rather something like “quo-sau.”  I took Latin. It is a written language.

When I was younger, if there was a guy around with a toupee, Corvette and wearing gold chains, he was drawn to me like a fly to fly paper. And I’m not the trashy bleached blonde type. I’ve always been fairly conservative. Pilots liked me too,  but I don’t know why.

 Now, however, I’m pretty much invisible  to men.  It’s rather comical the way they look right past you like you don’t exist.  I’ve resisted getting all those things done to myself that women my age often do. Except of course for the “light golden brown” locks of mine.  Had a guy tell me not too long ago that I would be “movie star gorgeous” if I lost weight.  Thanks for sharing. Not that a few hours in the gym every day wouldn’t fix a lot.

So okay, maybe I wouldn’t give Mr. Right a spelling test if he came along. We do tend to be more forgiving as we get older. If he thought I was movie star gorgeous without the gym, to heck with the spelling.