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The faith of Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou speaks on race relations at Congregation B'nai Israel and Ebenezer Baptist Church in Boca Raton, Florida, January 16, 2014 (Credit: AP/Invision/Jeff Daly) Maya Angelou stood six feet tall, but her literary and cultural stature were immeasurable.  The novelist, actress and educator died yesterday at the age of 86, leaving an indelible impression that will be felt and debated for generations.

Her story was truly remarkable.  Born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, she was raped by her mother's boyfriend when she was seven years old.  She testified against the man, who was later beaten to death by a mob.  She says, "My 7-and-a-half-year-old logic deduced that my voice had killed him, so I stopped speaking for almost six years."

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Woman stoned to death for marrying man she loved

Syrian women living in Jordan take part in a demonstration against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy in Amman February 2, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed) Farzana Iqbal's family arranged for her to be married to her cousin.  She chose instead to marry a man she loved.  Yesterday she was attacked with bricks by her father, two brothers, and her former fiancé.  She suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead at a hospital.  Around a thousand Pakistani women are murdered every year by their Muslim families in so-called "honor" killings.

Meanwhile, an article on the Daily Beast website predicts that gay marriage will escalate the transition in America away from marital monogamy.  The writer foresees a "sex-positive, body-affirming compact between two adults that allows for a wide range of intimate and emotional experience," including "open marriage" and "polyamory" (being married to more than one person).  He cites a report that half of gay marriages are not monogamous (he believes the actual number is "more like three-quarters"), and believes this approach to fidelity will influence other marriages in our country.

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The Catholic Church's drone strategy

This is an example of a camera-equipped radio controlled quadcopter. This is a product of the Chinese company Walkera and it was introduced in 2013. It is battery operated and includes a HD video recorder, December 14, 2013 (CreditL Doodybutch via recently delivered the wedding rings at a marriage ceremony in San Francisco.  Drones are being used to help farmers map their crops and firefighters monitor wildfires in remote areas.  One father uses a drone to record his son's athletic prowess, apparently to make recruiting videos.  A pastor used a drone to get aerial footage of his church's parking lot, so he can determine more-efficient parking strategies.

Now the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has gotten in on the act.  Last Mother's Day, it employed its new drone to videotape crowds celebrating the canonization of John the 23rd and John Paul II.  The Church paid less than a thousand dollars for the drone, and intends to use it in efforts to increase evangelism through social media.

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What's happened to Memorial Day Weekend?

American flags flying from front porches (Credit: Cynthia Lindow via iStockphoto)So asks The San Francisco Chronicle.  The writer states: "In many major recreation settings, parties, beer and fights have taken over the summer's three-day holidays."  He describes a series of fights at one local site, with 23 arrests.  Another local resort has seen so many fights and illegal activities that the federal government now makes it off-limits on holiday weekends.

Last Memorial Day weekend, Texas troopers arrested 460 people for driving while intoxicated and issued 5,036 speeding citations.  Other states have similar problems on their roads over the holiday.  Over one recent Memorial Day weekend, 397 people were killed in automobile crashes; 40 percent were alcohol related.

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Muslim enrolled at Baptist seminary: why is this national news?

The BH Carroll Memorial Building Rotunda at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX (Credit: Michael-David Bradford via A Palestinian Muslim made national headlines this week when it was discovered that he is a doctoral student in archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas.  The student worked at a dig in Israel alongside Southwestern students and faculty.  He developed a relationship with them, and chose to complete his doctorate at their school.  The seminary president explains that his admission "provides a chance for us to have an influence on his life."

Why is this news?

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