How Far Have We Come?

01/12/2012 Comments (38)

North Carolina is likely to become the first state to compensate victims of forced sterilization programs.  According to National Public Radio:

From 1929 to 1974, more than 7,600 people in North Carolina were surgically rendered unable to reproduce under state laws and practices that singled out epileptics and others considered mentally defective. Many were poor, black women deemed unfit to be parents.

Other victims of the program were sterilized for reasons that are unthinkable today:

People as young as 10 were sterilized, in some cases for not getting along with schoolmates or for being promiscuous. Although officials obtained consent from patients or their guardians, many did not...READ MORE

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Eights Things to Cheer You Up On This Terrible, Terrible Day

01/10/2012 Comments (20)

I voted today.  It felt kind of like giving blood, except without the sensation that I just helped somebody.  The wooziness and that dejected sensation that comes from lying down and letting someone take some of your blood away from you—that part was familiar.  They really ought to give out oatmeal cookies at the polls.  In an election like this, no matter who wins, an oatmeal cookie is as good as it’s going to get.

In lieu of cookies, here are eight things to be happy about, despite the election:

Target and Nordstrom have begun using a cute kid named Ryan in their ads.  Oh, and he has Down Syndrome.  But, says Time, “there were no self-congratulatory press releases or pats on the back,...READ MORE

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What Is This Thing Called Love?

01/06/2012 Comments (41)

My teenage daughter is very interested in the question, “What is love?”

Well, aren’t we all?  She’s heard that love isn’t just a feeling, but then what is it—what kind of thing?  I first floundered around with some disastrously hippie-dippie-sounding definitions:  love is a force, an energy, a power.  Then I overcompensated for that vagueness by making it sound like all love is tough love:  love is a decision, love is doing the right thing even when it feels bad.  True, but woefully incomplete.

Finally I gave up trying to tell her what kind of thing love is.  Instead, I said, let’s focus on what love does.

Love moves outward.  Love overflows.  Love refreshes.  And love is creative—it...READ MORE

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Here Comes Fr. Everyone

01/05/2012 Comments (39)

When I say “Mormon Elder,” an image pops into your head, right?  Or if I say “Lutheran pastor” or “Orthodox rabbi” or “womynpriest of a Unitarian faith community fellowship co-op”—you know who we’re talking about.  Fair or not, you can picture the type right away, down to the tone of their voice and the cut and color of their hair.  There may be some exceptions, but there is definitely a type. 

But what about when I say “Catholic priest?”

I recently had the opportunity to edit the short autobiographies of twenty seminarians.  It was a strange job, and I felt a little monstrous as I cut the stories down drastically to fit the required word count:  “Hm, best friend in a coma?  Sorry, no...READ MORE

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The Streets Are Pre-Paved With Regret

01/03/2012 Comments (35)

When my oldest daughter was learning how to spell, she would sit in the grocery cart as we shopped, diligently making a list. Every time I put something in the cart, she’d write it down.  And when we got to the check-out line, she’d look at what she’d written, look in the cart, and marvel, “Mama, we got everything on the list!

Who wouldn’t like to feel a sense of accomplishment like that?  On the other hand, who wants to go to all the fuss and trouble of actually accomplishing stuff?  Smart people take a good, hard look at who they already are, and, rather than trying to improve on that, they concentrate on making the right kind of goals—the kind which, after years of repetition, you...READ MORE

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Pro-Life Teens Give Women a Voice

12/30/2011 Comments (21)

Teenagers make great bellwethers:  when you hear one of them, you know there must be a whole crowd behind them.  There is safety in numbers, and vocally pro-life teens are making it “safer” to be pro-life. 

Everyone has seen true birth stories on TV; everyone knows a pregnant teenager.  Ultrasound images are everywhere.  For better or worse, the topic of pregnancy and abortion is unavoidable.  It’s no longer a taboo subject, and it’s no longer possible for the typical socially conscious teenager to have no opinion about it.

While pro-choicers are laboring to “normalize” abortion, young pro-lifers are reaching out to their peers, in person and online—working to normalize having babies! ...READ MORE

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You Say You Want a Resolution?

12/29/2011 Comments (95)

You know why January 1 is a holiday, right?  It was instituted to commemorate the deification of Julius Caesar.

Now, far be it from me to suggest that this year’s presidential candidates should honor the memory of our ancient Roman forebears by thinking of the good of the Republic and then, I don’t know, stabbing each other to death. 

I do have some advice for them, though.  I’m offering ready-made New Year’s resolutions for the folks who— oh, I can hardly bear to make my sad, disbelieving fingers type these words—might be our next president:

NEWT GINGRICH: First, so as not to appear biased, I want to put to rest once and for all the dastardly rumor that Mr. Gingrich divorced his...READ MORE

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What To Do Over Christmas Vacation?

12/27/2011 Comments (20)

Keeping the kiddies occupied over summer vacation isn’t that hard.  Normally, Christmas vacation isn’t much of a dilemma, either:  you put on a lot of layers, you wallow around in the snow for a while, and then you come in and demand something hot to spill on yourself (or so I’ve gathered.  I haven’t actually left the house since 2004).

But we have no snow.  None at all, and so far, no one has conceived a burning desire to spend long afternoons walking back and forth in the frozen mud of the driveway, even though sometimes this activity is punctuated by the thrill of a pigeon flying by and looking at you for a minute.

We do have over a week off school, though.  What to do?  Here’s my...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs at I Have to Sit Down. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and nine children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.