Contrary to Stereotype, Highly Religious American Women Pursue Both Career and Family with Zeal

When Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the Supreme Court, there was much conversation about her legal opinions, her past and prospective stance on abortion, and even her personal religious beliefs. But another subject came up as well: in addition to pursuing an impressive legal career, she is the mother of seven children—two of whom are adopted and one of whom suffers from Down syndrome. Some, notes Naomi Schaefer Riley, “concluded she was simply superhuman.” Riley suggests a less supernatural explanation:

Barrett’s experience reminded me of things I heard while I was working on a book about religious colleges in America in the early to mid-2000s. I spent time on about two dozen campuses from Brigham Young University and Baylor to Notre Dame and Yeshiva University. Even some fifteen years ago, I was surprised that despite the stereotypes of religious communities and female subservience, these young women had similar aspirations to their peers at secular schools.

What I was finding aligned with the American Freshman Survey, conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA since 1973. According to its 2019 data, roughly the same percentage of students at secular and religious schools want to be business executives, lawyers, or “authorities in their field.” One of the biggest differences, however, is among students who consider having a family “essential” or “very important”— 79.5 percent of students at four-year Catholic colleges said family was very important or essential to them, compared to 66.5 percent of students at public universities.

I found through my interviews that the female religious students often exuded a kind of “calm pragmatism” regarding their futures and families. I noted at the time that their personal goals were more directed by God “than their husbands or fathers.”

Additionally, religious women are more likely to find themselves embedded in communities that expose them to the realities of navigating work and family life before they have children of their own. It also provides them with a robust support network when they need help. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, a shared spiritual life often provides the foundation for mutual respect, affection and burden sharing in marriage.

Read more at Deseret News

More about: American Religion, Feminism, Women


An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security