Southern Religion

Rifqa Bary: Family torn apart

Newsweek’s Arian Campo-Flores writes well about Rifqa Bary, the seventeen-year-old who fled from Ohio to Florida, saying she feared her Muslim father would put her to death for converting to Christianity.

Amid the warring accounts on this, one must wonder, why did the Bary family leave their home country for the U.S.?

Newsweek reports in the Sept. 9 story:

Mohamed and Aysha Bary left Sri Lanka in 2000 with their two kids, Rifqa and an older brother, and moved to New York (their third child, a boy, was born in the United States). The reason: concern about Rifqa’s well-being. As a child, she’d fallen on a toy airplane that pierced her right eye. Doctors in Sri Lanka wanted to remove the eye, prompting Mohamed to relocate the whole family so Rifqa could obtain better medical treatment. In the end, her eye was spared, though she can’t see out of it.

There are warring accounts. Does it matter that she’s being represented by John Stemberger, a conservative Christian attorney who was involved in the Terri Schiavo battle and wrote The Terri Schiavo Controversy – Facts, Myths and Christian Perspectives?

Note also that Newsweek goes on to say that the family moved again seeking the same things a great many of us have sought when we moved:

Then, in 2004, Mohamed moved the family again, this time to seek a better public education for the kids. He settled on the Columbus [Ohio] area, which had highly ranked schools. At New Albany High School, Rifqa excelled. She maintained a 3.5 grade-point average and became a member of the cheerleading squad. Mohamed “is so proud of his children,” says Gary Abbott, his closest friend in the U.S. (and a Christian). “He values them more than his own life.”

One need neither trust Right Wing Watch nor disdain The Jawa Report to see here a family torn apart.

By what?

Time in an Aug. 24 article saw A Florida Culture War Circus.

Perhaps. We feel we have, much more to learn, and will return to this.


September 10, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Cultural, Law, Religion | , | 1 Comment

Obama settled the health-care/abortion issue (you may have missed it)

An unfazed President Barack Obama laid down the law on the role of abortion in health-care reform, immediately after S.C. Rep. Joe Wilson’s factually wrong and possibly censurable “lie” outburst.

There will be no federal funding of abortions or abolition of conscience laws.

From the transcript of Obama’s presentation:

THE PRESIDENT: … There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You lie! (Boos.)

THE PRESIDENT: It’s not true. And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up — under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.

Convoluted struggle over the issue will continue, as pro-life blogger Jill Stanek demonstrated today with her argument that Obama is merely attempting to create a myth. That view isn’t taking hold. Two big Catholic health care organizations were persuaded by Obama’s speech, as was the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Judging from the CNN poll and the Democracy Corps dial testing, so were Americans in general.


It is rare indeed for GetReligion to err, but they drifted away from the dock when suggesting President Obama said or implied that pro-life/anti-abortion advocates were spreading lies. Obama’s entire statement on that subject is excerpted above. He spoke of “misunderstanding.”

September 10, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Churches, Health, Law, Obama, Politics | , , , | 4 Comments