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The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health & Ethics



Religious Consultation Report

News & Views from
The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics

October, 1997

 

Table of Contents

Article 1: Consultation's International Projects & Publications Spread Progressive Religious Views
Article 2: "Population, Consumption, Ecology" Project Enters Dissemination Phase
Article 3: Consultation Sponsors UNFPA Project on "Muslim Women's Empowerment"
Article 4: Editorial: Scapegoating Immigrants
Article 5: "What Men Owe to Women" Project Explores Religious Resources
Article 6: Feminist Scholars Launch Project on "Women's Religious Wisdom on Sexuality"
Article 7: Movers and Shakers: Activities of Participating Scholars

 

Article 1

Religious Consultation's International Projects and Publications Aim to Spread Progressive Religious Views

By Daniel C. Maguire

Welcome to the premiere issue of the newsletter of The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics. We plan to keep you informed of the organization's many activities and hope to stimulate your thinking and activism around the topics of population/consumption/ecology, reproductive health and the empowerment of women. Your comments are always welcome.

The Religious Consultation came into being three years ago with help from the Ford, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, and General Services Foundations. Our basic premise is this: two thirds of the world's population affiliates with the major religions, and the influence of these religions goes beyond the faithful, affecting public attitudes and public policy. For good or for ill religion is a player in population and reproductive health matters and in all human rights issues. The Consultation's work is to make that influence positive. To achieve this we have assembled an international collegium of scholars of religion who are at the progressive, feminist cutting edge of their religious traditions. We know well the problems the religions present in areas of population and reproductive ethics. All our scholars have struggled with those tensions.

However, these rich religious traditions are not all negative on issues of sexual and reproductive ethics. There is strong, positive content in all of them that can be mined and applied in helpful ways to these issues and to the empowerment of women. The Consultation's purpose is to research the positive and renewable moral energies of these religions and get that information to policy and opinion makers (government officials, journalists, writers, artists, et al) and to groups active in population work who often only know the negative and unhelpful aspects of faith traditions. We also seek to inform the faithful of the various world religions of the moral freedom they have, based upon the very tenets of their religions. One of our scholars, Riffat Hassan, summed up our philosophy in this statement delivered at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994:

"If I go into a village of my native Pakistan with the Program of Action in my hand, no one will listen. But if I have the Program of Action in one hand and the Qur'an in the other, I will be heard."

Scholars from the Religious Consultation have participated in international conferences sponsored by the United Nations (in Cairo, Copenhagen, Beijing and Istanbul), conducted briefings and presentations with national and international policymakers, and published articles and "op-ed" pieces on relevant issues. In January 1998, the State University of New York Press is publishing our first book-length publication, Ethics For a Small Planet, authored by Larry L. Rasmussen and myself, with an introduction by Rosemary Radford Ruether. In addition, the Consultation has produced three other publications: Religious and Ethical Perspectives on Population Issues, Human Rights in China and Islam, and The Liberation of Women: Religious Sources.

We have launched four projects and are planning others. The Consultation projects already launched are: 1) Population, Consumption and Ecology: Positive Resources from the World's Religions; 2) What Men Owe to Women: Resources for Reproductive Ethics in the World's Religions (first meeting held in June 1997); 3) Good Sex: Women's Religious Wisdom on Sexuality (first meeting scheduled for October 1997); 4) Muslim Women's Empowerment and Self-Actualization: Moving From ICPD into the 21st Century (Ongoing project in India and Pakistan funded by the United Nations Population Fund).

Projects in the planning stage are: 1) The Right to Family Planning, Contraception and Abortion in Ten World Religions; 2) The Role of Government in Population and Reproductive Health Policy: An International Dialogue Involving Religious, Political, and Ethics Leaders; 3) Attitudes Among Muslim, Christian and Jewish Women: Prospects for Dialogue and Shared Planning; 4) The Influence of Religion on Attitudes Toward the Body; 5) Comparative Birthing Experiences: Religious and Cultural Variances.

This newsletter contains more details on our various projects and activities. For more information or to offer feedback, you may reach us via:

Phone: 414/962-3166

Fax: 414/962-9248

Web: www.religiousconsultation.org

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Article 2

"Population, Consumption, and Ecology" Project Enters Publication and Dissemination Phase

By Harold Coward

"New Theology on Population, Consumption and Ecology," the first project initiated by the Religious Consultation, is nearing completion. The following article by project leader Harold Coward of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria in British Columbia provides some background and an update.

The debate over "How Many is Too Many" has ranged across the disciplines of biology, economics, ecology, anthropology, philosophy, and demography. The brilliant summary of this long, complex, and crucial debate in The Atlantic Monthly (Feb. 1993) is particularly significant in that the role of religion is never mentioned. Yet it is clear that religions can and do strongly shape people's attitudes to the environment, to practices surrounding fertility and reproductive health, and to the just sharing of the earth's resources.

This was very evident at the 1994 Cairo UN Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). There the views of the religions, especially Islam and Christianity (via the Vatican) had a strong influence on the drafting of preliminary documents, on the Conference discussions, and on the resulting "Programme of Action" (see Grist and Greenfield).

Unlike earlier UN summit conferences, the Cairo meetings opened the doors to input from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including religious groups. This was the case at the three preparatory meetings at which the agenda, themes, and drafts for the Cairo Conference were prepared. It was also true at Cairo itself and at the subsequent UN meetings in Copenhagen and Beijing. The views of the religions, along with those of the scientists, social scientists, and secular thinkers are now very much front and center as the world attempts to solve its most pressing problems.

Although the Cairo Conference was originally focused on the population problem and the development (especially in the education, social status, and employment of women) needed to deal with it, the analysis quickly made clear that the issue of environmental degradation could not be left out. Thus, the three-pronged problematic of population pressure, excessive consumption, and environmental degradation has emerged as perhaps the major challenge facing us today. Current trends in reproduction and consumption appear to threaten the well-being of both future generations and the ecology of the earth.

To respond to this challenge, the knowledge of the natural and human sciences are being called upon together with the wisdom and teachings of the religions, which -- as Cairo demonstrated -- still exert a major influence in our struggle toward world solutions. The Religious Consultation project examining the wisdom of the religions on the global challenge of population pressure, excess consumption, and ecological degradation, "New Theology on Population, Consumption and Ecology," is in its final stages.

The project was co-sponsored by the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria, with funding provided by the Ford Foundation. Team members include Nawal Ammar (Kent State) -- Islam; Rita Gross (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) and David Loy (Bunkyo University, Japan) -- Buddhism; Catherine Keller (Drew) and Alberto Munera (Brazil) -- Christianity; Vasudha Narayanan (University of Florida-Gainesville) -- Hinduism; Chun-fang Yu (Rutgers) -- Chinese Religions; Laurie Zoloth-Dorfman (UCLA) -- Judaism; and Inez Talamantez (University of California-Santa Barbara) -- North American Aboriginal Religions.

These scholars gathered at two meetings: the first in Victoria in 1995, the second in Maine in 1996. The resulting scholarly book, Visions of a New Earth: Population, Consumption, and Ecology, edited by Harold Coward and Daniel C. Maguire, is in press at the State University of New York Press and is expected to appear in 1998. Meanwhile, Maguire is currently writing the popular volume to be published by Fortress Press. The results of the project have also been published in part as a thematic issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Summer 1997. Further plans call for the translation of several chapters into non-English languages and the dissemination of the projects findings through international presentations by the scholars themselves.

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Article 3

Muslim Women's Empowerment and Self-Actualization: From I.C.P.D. into 21st Century

By Riffat Hassan

The International Conference on Population and Development (1994) was an historic landmark in focusing global attention on a number of reproductive health issues which are central to women's lives. One of the fundamental issues underlying the discussions at Cairo was that of the "ownership" of the woman's body, for though women have traditionally been identified with body rather than with mind and spirit, they have not been regarded as "owners" of their own bodies in patriarchal culture. The traditional viewpoint was successfully challenged by Muslim women even though the I.C.P.D. took place in Cairo, regarded by many as one of the foremost bulwarks of Muslim "conservatism."

The breakthrough which took place at the I.C.P.D. gave rise to the hope that at the Beijing conference (1995), women in general, and Muslim women in particular, would be able to shift from the reactive mindset of those who feel disempowered, to the proactive mindset of those who have a strong sense of efficacy as makers of their own lives. But the promise that was seen and felt at Cairo did not come to fruition at Huairou which witnessed a sharp polarization between "conservative" Muslim women and other Muslim women. The former, who were more unified and better organized than the latter, considered the defense of "Islam" as traditionally practiced as their major objective and denied that women faced any serious problems in Muslim culture. The "liberal" Muslim women, who lacked a unified agenda or plan of action, generally failed to make a compelling response to the "conservative" backlash at Huairou.

The conferences at Cairo and Huairou are over but the larger historical process of which they were a part continues to pose a challenge, particularly to women. The Muslim Women's Empowerment and Self-Actualization Project addresses that challenge.

The larger objective of this Project is the empowerment of women in all spheres of life. Recognizing the dominant role played by patriarchal religion historically in the disempowerment of women, this Project is subjecting to rigorous scholarly scrutiny the fundamental theological assumptions regarding women in the Islamic, as well as the Jewish and Christian, tradition. Further, keeping in view the wide discrepancy between normative Islam and Muslim practice, the Project plans to construct an ethical framework based on Qur'anic teachings within which all important issues confronting Muslim women, including issues relating to their reproductive health, can be considered. Since the Qur'an strongly affirms human rights and is particularly solicitous about the well-being of women, the Project is developing a methodology for interpreting Islam from a non-patriarchal, justice-oriented, Qur'anic perspective.

Taking account of the fact that constraints to the empowerment of Muslim women are not only external but also internal, the Project aims to examine factors which contribute to the poor self-image and low self-esteem from which a large number of Muslim women suffer. A correct analysis of what causes a problem is necessary for finding a solution. By identifying and clarifying the underlying causes of women's disempowerment, the Project expects to clear the ground for women's empowerment both internally and externally.

The Project outcome -- appropriate course materials, training materials and country-specific reports -- will assist in addressing the critical issues related to Muslim women in the context of the Muslim culture of South Asia. Dissemination will be achieved with the collaboration of selected educational institutions, community-based NGO'S, and media agencies. What is obtained through this pilot Project -- in terms of educational materials, analytic reports, psychological insights and practical experience -- will be utilizable in similar Projects focusing on Muslim women in other regions/ countries/communities, particularly in Asia and Africa.

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Article 4

EDITORIAL:
Scapegoating Immigrants

By Daniel C. Maguire

"The greening of hate"... "Environmental racism"...

These unhappy oxymorons accurately describe a virus that is infecting discourse and policy in the realms of population and ecology in the United States. Groups such as Negative Population Growth, Carrying Capacity Network, and Federation for American Immigration Reform see immigration as cancer. Panic graphs show sixty to seventy percent of our U.S. population growth coming from legal and illegal immigrants. Not only do "they" come; "they" reproduce like rodents and, in the out years, will be responsible for over 90 percent of our bulging population growth. There goes America the Beautiful and those amber waves of grain.

Not all immigrants are seen as quite so malignant. There is a wink and a nod for jolly and white Irish immigrants who overstay their temporary visas while Haitians are turned back at sea and sent home to die. And there is the nub of it.The vast majority of immigrants are people of color. Hence the desire for a Berlin Wall along the U.S./Mexican border. The metaphor that drives this ecologically concerned xenophobia is Garrett Hardin's refitted "lifeboat" with such as Virginia Abernethy playing coxswain. Abernethy worries out loud about "the ongoing reconquest of the Southwest" by Hispanics challenging "the Gadsden Purchase," turning this land acquired by us white folks in our own little way into a "bronze continent," reclaiming it "in due course by sheer weight of numbers." (Population Politics, Insight Books, p.303) For her the enemy are "globalists...raised on the idea of a shared planet." (p. 228) The flag that flies over the Hardin/Abernethy lifeboat is green, and is sewed with legitimate threads of concern about lost topsoil, and the pollution of water, land, and air. Many good folks who are sensitive to these threats are cozened by these appropriate ecological worries and miss the color coding.

And they miss more than that.

Blaming the immigrants is as dumb as it is gross for a lot of reasons.

Hardin is right. We are in a lifeboat. But the lifeboat is the earth, not the U.S.A. The immigrants are not "them," they and their children are us. They are also refugees from economic and political evils that we and our corporations have caused or fomented. We are complicit in their plight. Slamming the door in their faces while ignoring the horrors they are fleeing -- horrors that undergird our affluence and permit us to remain on gorge mode here in the U.S. -- is not our finest moral hour. Or our smartest one.

Sealing the borders won't do it. Poisoning the immigrants who have gotten in and stripping them of their human rights won't do it, though immigrant apartheid is a new fact of American life and welfare policy.

The problems are global. Poverty and its effects are more globalized than capital. Poverty, like corporate greed, ultimately eats our ecology. The desperate are forced to join the greedy in terracide. Forests and life forms perish. Displaced viruses seek new and often human hosts. Microbes are the tigers of the 21st century. And not even all of our bloated and redundant military forces are a match for the destruction of the biological matrix of all that lives. You cannot seal the biological borders. Life is a delicate, interconnected film upon this earth and no part of it can now be nationalized and declared off-limits to the rest. The ecological nativism of the immigrant-bashers is a relic of the nineteenth century.

The immigrants and their children are not the U.S. cancer. The military budget is. We are spending 30 million dollars an hour, nine thousand dollars a second, on military nonsense to fight imaginary wars. Ninety percent of that money should be going into education, alternate energy development, sex education, family planning, the promotion of environmental literacy, and overseas human aid -- "foreign" no longer describes it, given our new biological and economic intimacy with the rest of the world. .

The corporations, once conceived as public trusts, and now functioning as ecological rogues, have to be recalled to their responsibilities to the service of life. As Tim Wirth says: "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment." It is not the other way around.

The "immigrant problem" is a field of nightmares. Don't build a just international system, and they will come! International financial controllers that crush people and call it "structural adjustment" are a force that drive people from their homes. Numbers-heavy and justice-light analysts are no help at all. Punishing immigrants, the prime "endangered species" on our planet, solves nothing. It is time to stop chasing symptoms and strike at the causes. It is late in the day.

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Article 5

"What Men Owe to Women" Project Explores Resources from the World's Religions

By John Raines and Daniel Maguire

The Religious Consultation project "What Men Owe to Women: Resources in Reproductive Ethics in the World's Religions" got off to a great start last June with an initial meeting of 12 distinguished religious scholars at the Sugarloaf Conference facility of Temple University in Philadelphia. The project is funded through a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Project leaders are Dr. John Raines, Chair of the Department of Religion at Temple, an expert on ethics and world religions who has done extensive work in Indonesia, and Dr. Daniel C. Maguire, a professor of moral ethics at Marquette University.

Participating scholars include: Rabbi Zeev Falk of Hebrew University in Jerusalem; Farid Esack, the Commissioner for Gender Equality in South Africa; Asghar Ali Engineer of the Institute for Islamic Studies in Bombay; Antanand Rambachan, a Hindu scholar at St. Olaf College in Minnesota; Mutombo Nkulu-N'Sengha, a scholar of African religions at Montclair State University; Christopher Jocks of the Native American Studies program at Dartmouth; Tavivat Puntarigvivat, a Thai Buddhist scholar at Mahidol University in Bangkok; Marvin Ellison, a Protestant theologian at Bangor Theological Seminary; Gerard Sloyan, Professor Emeritus at Catholic University; and Liu Xiaogan, a Taoist scholar at the National University of Singapore.

The "What Men Owe" project tackles the sacralization of sexism. These scholars are looking at the causes of the fear that underlies much sexism and are studying the distortion of religious symbols that support sexism and mask men's obligations, especially in the areas of sexual and reproductive ethics. The influential religions of the world always contain elements of a powerful justice theory. However, this justice theory was rarely applied to the obligations men have to women. These conceptualizations of justice also apply to the monopolization of economic and educational opportunity by men. The purpose is to call men before the bar of their own professed religious ideals and press the application of those ideals to women and men's obligations to women.

There is a special motivational power that attaches to reformist ideas that can be traced back to the very heart of the religious tradition. As John Henry Newman said: "People will die for a dogma who will not stir for a conclusion." Nothing moves the will like the sense of the sacred. Men will not share power unless that which they hold sacred is brought to bear on this obligation. Any analysis of what it will take to get men to enter into gender mutuality that ignores the motivational power of religion is psychologically naive.

At this point, all project participants are men. But at a meeting to be held in 1998, feminist women scholars will be brought in to critique the work done by the male scholars. The resulting papers will be published in scholarly and popular volumes, and several chapters will be translated into non-English languages for distribution outside North America. Ideas generated by the project will be disseminated widely through feature articles and "op-ed" pieces in the mainstream media. Project scholars will also present their findings to policymakers and representatives of groups doing on-the-ground work in population, reproductive health and women's rights.

"What Men Owe to Women" represents an ongoing theme of the Religious Consultation. The first Consultation contribution to this theme is the volume Ethics for a Small Planet: New Horizons on Population, Consumption, and Ecology, co-authored by Drs. Larry Rasmussen and Daniel C. Maguire with an introduction by Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether, to be published by SUNY Press in January 1998.

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Article 6

Feminist Scholars Launch Project on "Good Sex: Women's Religious Wisdom on Sexuality"

By Mary E. Hunt

"Good Sex" is more than a common desire. Through the Religious Consultation, an international group of women scholars is exploring and articulating "Women's Religious Wisdom on Sexuality" in an effort to discover the positive contributions that the world's religions might make on questions of sexuality. Participants include Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Muslim scholars.

This project emerges from our shared concern that, when linked, the words "religion" and "sexuality" convey mostly negative images for women. Taboos, prohibitions, teachings that have negative consequences for women are prevalent. Our hope is to unearth and share those dimensions of our various traditions which are or can be woman-affirming. This is part of a larger feminist/womanist/mujerista effort to reform our respective faith traditions, and of a larger social movement to bring about justice and equality for women.

The project is led by Dr. Patricia Beattie Jung, a Catholic theologian from Loyola University in Chicago; Dr. Radhika Balakrishnan, a political economist from Marymount Manhattan College; and Dr. Mary E. Hunt, a Catholic theologian from the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, based in Silver Spring, Maryland.

These team leaders have consulted with dozens of colleagues who are working around the world on issues of religion and women's sexuality. Bibliography is growing as scholars suggest a range of books, articles and occasional papers on the topic. The networking conducted so far has produced an impressive pool of more than 80 women religious scholars and activists representing diverse traditions worldwide.

A team of a dozen women scholars will meet in October at the Sugarloaf Conference Center in Philadelphia (a facility of Temple University) to discuss preliminary insights from various traditions. Then they will write chapters for an edited volume on the topic. At a second gathering in the summer of 1998, these scholars will critique one another's contributions and sketch out next steps for sharing their findings with public policy makers.

Among the scholars involved in the "Good Sex" project are Pinar Ilkkaracan of Women for Women's Human Rights, based in Istanbul; Grace M. Jantzen of the Centre for Religion, Culture and Gender at the University of Manchester; Suwanna Satha-Anand of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok; Judith Plaskow of Manhattan College and Smith College; Dorothy Ko of the Department of History at Rutgers; Rebecca T. Alpert of Temple University; Wanda Deifelt of Escola Superior de Teologia in Brazil; Madhu Kishwar, General Editor of Manushi in New Delhi; Giti Thadani, also of India; and Ayesha Imam of Lagos, Nigeria, Coordinator of the African and Middle East sections of the International Solidarity Network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws.

It is premature to speculate on findings, but several issues have come into focus through the preliminary work. First, many moral goods, including women's sexual pleasure and safety, remain to be taken seriously as part of any global ethic. To the contrary, trafficking of women and other forms of violence are well established. Likewise, good sex as a human right is far from being universally accepted. Second, women's religious experiences have been notably absent from the official teaching of most of the world's traditions, though it has been a vivid and helpful aspect of the informal religiosity of women. Third, how children learn about sexuality and what informs their views is largely dependent on what women teach them. Hence, women's religious wisdom has more impact than previously acknowledged. These and many other issues will be discussed at the October meeting. An update will appear after the first gathering. Stay tuned if you are interested in "Good Sex."

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Article 7

Movers and Shakers:
Tracking the Activities of Our Participating Scholars

Larry Rasmussen, Reinhold Neibuhr Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, recently received the Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his book Earth Community, Earth Ethics, published by Orbis Press in 1996. ...

Tensions Between Traditional and Modern Approaches to the Environment, edited by Harold Coward, Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, will be published in late 1997 by SUNY Press. Coward has been awarded $120,000 by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for a new project: "An Ethical Analysis of Policyfor Fish Stocks and Fishing Communities on Canada's east and West Coasts." ...

The London-based journal Reproductive Health Matters published "Good Sex: Women's Religious Wisdom on Sexuality," an article by Mary E. Hunt, in its November, 1996 issue. Hunt is co-director of the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), based in Silver Spring, Maryland, and co-chair of the Religious Consultation project on "Good Sex" (see p. 9). ...

Jacob K. Olupona of the Department of African American and African Studies at the University of California-Davis has received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship to write a book on Yoruba Thought and Culture: Insights from Ifa Divination Poetry. ...

Rita M. Gross of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, won the Frederick J. Streng Book of the Year Award in 1996 for Buddhism After Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis and Reconstruction of Buddhism. Feminism and Religion: An Introduction was recently published by Beacon Press. Gross is currently working on "Goddesses in Historical, Comparative and Theological Perspectives." ... Ronald M. Green of the Ethics Institute at Dartmouth College was elected Vice-President of the Society of Christian Ethics. He has served as Director of the Office of Genome Ethics for the Division of Intramural Research at the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he assisted researchers in identifying and addressing ethical issues raised by new genetic discoveries. ...

Roddy O'Neil Cleary has been appointed Affiliate Minister at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Burlington, Vermont. ... William Cleary has recently authored two books from Crossroad: Prayers for Lovers (1997) and Prayers to She Who Is (1996). ...

Maria Cristina Liamzon, is a Fellow with the People-Centered Development Forum. She is also the permanent representative of the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. ...Julia Ching of Victoria College at the University of Toronto has received an honorary Doctorate in Divinity from Queen's University. Cambridge University Press is publishing her new book, Mysticism and Kingship in China. ...

Alice Shalvi, Chair of the Israel Women's Network, presented an overview of the Israeli scene at an international conference on Feminism and Jewish Orthodoxy in New York earlier this year. Shalvi's essays, "Repentance, Responsibility and Regeneration: Reflections on Isaiah" and ""My Body, My Self: Waning and Waxing," appear in the anthologies Beginning Anew (ed. by Kates and Twersky, Simon and Schuster, 1997) and A Heart of Wisdom: The Jewish Journey from Mid-Life Through the Aging Years (ed. by S. Berrin, Jewish Lights, 1997), respectively. ...

The World Council of Churches' Office of Publications has issued Population Perils and Ecumenical Response by James Martin-Schramm of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. The Preface is by Aruna Gnanadason of the WCC's Justice, Peace and Creation Programme. Martin-Schramm recently revised the entry on "Population" for The Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement and is working on a new book, A growing Problem: Christian Ethics and Population Policy. ...

John A. Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, both of Bucknell University's Department of Religion, have been helping coordinate a series of conferences on "Religions of the World and Ecology" at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard. The October conference focuses on "Hinduism and Ecology," the November conference on "Indigenous Traditions and Ecology." Each conference will produce a volume published by Harvard University Press. ...

Carol S. Robb was installed as Margaret S. Dollar Chair of Christian Social Ethics at San Francisco Theological Seminary in late 1996. Her current research is to Biblically ground Christian concern and advocacy on ecological concerns: population, global warming, land use. Beacon has published her book Equal Value: An Ethical Approach to Economics and Sex, which argues that economic policies have gender repercussions and that sexual ethics have economic implications. ...

Christine E. Gudorf of the Department of Religious Studies at Florida International University will have her articles, "The Social Construction of Sexuality: Implications for the Churches" and "The Catechism, Conscience and Its Formation" published in Religion and Sex in U.S. Public Life (ed. By K. Sands, Oxford University Press) and Christian Ethics and the catechism (Ed. By M. Allsopp, Scranton University Press), respectively. She is currently writing 12 of 18 cases and 9 of 36 commentaries in Religious Ethics: A Casebook on Ethics in World Religions, with Regina Wolfe, to be published by Orbis Press in 1998.

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