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.

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Read more at Deseret News

More about: American Religion, Feminism, Women

 

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin