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  • 4:14 am on October 31, 2003 Permalink | Reply  

    Inter-American System 

    The Inter-American System
    Jesse Uggla
    Saemi Ledermann
    October 31st, 2003

    I. Background and Institutions

    The Inter-American System of human rights consists principally of the General Assembly, the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Council, and the General Secretariat. It is guided by the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (adopted 1948) and the American Convention on Human Rights (adopted 1969). This section deals primarily with two of the system’s major institutions: The Inter-American Commission and Court. In terms of the rights recognized in the American Declaration and Charter, it is noteworthy that: (1) in addition to rights it outlines duties of the citizen; (2) 21 out of 26 of the rights outlined in the Convention are very similar to the ICCPR; (3) it contains a general provision [Article 26] to compensate for its lack of having separate treaties for economic, social, and cultural rights; (4) for the setting of standards it includes the Inter-American Council for Education, Science, and Culture, as well as an Economic and Social Council, and; (5) it obliges parties to adopt measures that reflect their ‘degree of development.’ Turning to the Commission and the Court, it is important to note that: (1) the Commission only ‘takes cognizance’ of individual cases due to its concern with the general condition of human rights in a country; (2) the Court may go beyond the Convention to issue rulings on any treaty pertaining to the protection of HR in the American states, and; (3) there are no legally binding means of enforcement for Court rulings, although it does rely on political pressure from member states of the OAS. It is also important to consider that two of the distinctive features of the Inter-American system are its frequent engagement of ‘gross’ violations of HR and the region’s lack of political cohesion. Finally, commenting the system’s present state of affairs, Tom Farer highlights its gradual shift from country reports to court cases (though positing the need for a continuance of reports) and the new challenges presented by a greater number of democratic states in OAS.

    (1) How does the Inter-American system’s method of enforcement impact its efficacy?

    II. The Court in Action

    The text proceeds to describe one of the Court’s most commonly cited cases-the Velásquez Rodríguez case. While the details of the case-involving the disappearance and alleged abduction/murder of a man from Honduras-are important, the precedents set by it are even more crucial to consider. Essentially, the ruling on this case established that it is acceptable that “circumstantial evidence, indicia, and presumptions may be considered” in the absence of direct evidence “so long as they lead to conclusions consistent with the facts” and that there is evidence that information regarding the case has been concealed or destroyed.(884) The editors also draw attention to: (1) the length of the proceedings (from 1981 to 1988); (2) the active involvement of the Commission arguing on behalf of the individual seeking relief, and; (3) the participants ranging from witnesses to NGOs.(887)

    (2) In its court decision, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights states the difference between international protection of human rights and criminal justice (see p.884). Considering the power provided to the Court by Article 63, do you agree with the Courts ruling? What would you have done differently?

    III. Background on the Human Rights of Political Participation

    The third section develops the fundamental theme of democracy within the field of human rights. Democracy is argued as having established itself as a global norm, however varying degrees of democracy exist, as signified in the distinction between the classical, more ‘minimal’ democracy and the more recent social, ‘positive’ democracies such as the modern welfare state. These different forms of democracy have become even more visible since the end of the Cold War and the entering into a supposedly ‘new’ era of globalization. Consequently, the relationship between democracy and human rights has intensified over the years, and one needs to ask the question whether HR necessarily require a democratic government and vice versa. Henry Steiner examines in 1988 the right to political participation, as stated in Article 25 of the ICCPR and Article 21 of the UDHR. He points out the lack of specificity in these articles, due to the by now well-known fact that a more detailed norm would have put “at risk the goal of achieving broad support for the human rights instruments as a whole.” (891) This vagueness can be found in the differentiation between the ‘elections’ and ‘take part’ clauses. While the ‘elections’ clause is fairly well defined and violations are ‘measurable’ (e.g. torture), the ‘take part’ clause is vague and thus leaves room for wide array of interpretations. Furthermore, he points out that electoral participation is seen by some as no longer sufficient in order to realize the democratic ideals; a more continual ‘taking part’ in politics is needed, as opposed to the periodic, one-time majority ‘elections.’ One form of greater political participation would be the decentralization of authority and greater involvement of citizens on a local level with the ultimate goal of ‘self-government’ and ‘self-realization.’ Consequently, he proposes that the right to political participation should be looked upon as a programmatic ‘positive’ right similar to the notion of social and economic rights. (p.899) He concludes by stressing the dormant potential towards a wider practice of political participation contained within the article, such as was we have seen through changing interpretations of the US Constitution and its Equal Protection Clause.

    (3) Considering Steiner’s notion of a decentralized state based on popular local participation, what do you think the effect of this increase in ‘taking part’ on a local scale would mean for the human rights movements on a national or global scale?

     
  • 12:30 pm on October 29, 2003 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: megachurches, religion   

    Field notes from JC’s place 

    Yongho Kim
    Anthropology (248) of Religion
    Wednesday Oct 29th, 2003.
    Field notes from JC’s place

    Foreword for Mary, Ben, and Prof. Patten: In the middle of this fieldnote, I realized that it would end up being quite long. Then I thought I should share this with the JCP staff and our group. So I decided I should explain why I would like to share this and why it is so long. One reason may be because this week I am finishing Jean Comaroff’s Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance: The Culture and History of a South African People [Tshidi] for the African Societies (258) class. It’s an amazing book and I’d like to bring up a theoretical framework she borrows from Zola and Foucault in analyzing the healing process as a resistance to industrial colonization, which I think provides another alternative in interpreting Kimbrough. If I overhaul this note with details, it’s her fault. The second reason is that I just started doing anthropology this semester and the main reason I liked it was for its emphasis in details. I can’t help the excitement of giving myself the space to write every single thing observed and analyzed. Hopefully these trivial details will have some use when writing our paper.

    Foreword for JCP staff: I would like to give you this field note with two purposes. One is transparency. You have opened the church and its practices to us without hiding anything, and I believe the treat should be mutual, if not morally imperative as a brother in Christ. There are some portions in this field note that may offend you, such as my remarks on race and class. I believe that a through study of a religious congregation is not possible without examining both the aspect of faith and the social/material components. What I wrote here is all I observed and thought while staying at JCP without censoring myself. Some of it is analysis, and some are judgments, but mostly it is observation. It may be academic bias, but for me school is school and church is church. I thought that it would be utterly unfair for you if our group analyzed the site and faith in your back without your knowledge, especially if it our notions may make you uncomfortable. We won’t share any of these thoughts with other believers in the congregation, since disturbing the faithful is not our work.
    Second is to let you understand the nature of the work we intend to do at JCP. Ben was offended that we were regarded as some college kids trying to finish their homework, and I share his feelings. I hope this field notes give some sense of the breadth and depth of observations we intend to do. While this is not a draft of our paper, it will serve as a reference when making arguments and observations. I hope this won’t sound elitist, but rather mutual understanding of our stance.

    I would like to let you know that my stance is a critical one, not a hostile one. I was grown up Presbyterian in South Corea, and received Christ at the age of 16. I am a practicing Presbyterian with a very conservative theology (I went to a Baptist high school).

    Our professor compelled us to proceed in the project always under the consent of the leaders. If you feel my attitudes and observations in this field note are not quite for God’s glory and may not be appropriate for the site, please let me know. I can be reached at ykim@macalester.edu and (651) 696-6938. I won’t be coming on November 5th because of other commitments, but hopefully I’ll see you the week following it.

    Preparations. Mary, Ben and me met conferred by email between Tuesday and Wednesday on details for our first field visit. I sent them the progress report written to be turned in to professor Patten. Ben said that maybe we could watch a TV recast at 4pm before going, and also contact the administrative assistant (Shannon) before going, “just so they know we are coming”. I argued that most likely all staff personnel would be busy preparing the worship at this time, especially because it seemed like a big congregation. We met at 4:40 but could not find the channel. We found other televised programs, in which an old person was preaching, and thought that if this was JC’s place, we should better look for other sites.

    My understanding of the place was that it was going to be a show-focused practice, mixing theological teachings emphasizing material wealth and individualism, the kind my father used to warn me against.

    We reexamined the project assignment sheet, lined up the general strategy for our work during the month of November, and set out two specific tasks for tonight’s visit: one, to participate and get a feeling of the site; two, to talk with leaders and obtain permission to continued participant observation and interview of practitioners. We had dinner and departed at 6:15 in Ben’s car.

    I fell asleep during the car trip and felt sorry later. When I woke up, we had left the highway, around 6:45pm. Ben was driving, Mary was sitting next to him and I was in the back. I think we didn’t talk much in the trip, except for helping with directions.

    1. Physical Features

    Urban Surrounding. In the dark, the surrounding area seemed quite desolate, and the parking lot was crowded mostly with SUV’s and vans. I suggested that because this is a suburban church, a lot of rich people may flock into it, and that the size of the cars could be one proof. Inside, we found a small children worship. The fact that there is no sidewalk that leads the way from the streets through the parking lot to the church building itself, may be another symbolic challenge to those who do not have cars. I asked at the info kiosk where the campus ministry was, but the people weren’t sure what that was. Ben asked where JC’s place was in the next kiosk, and then I realized that I had mistakenly been thinking of the site as a comprehensive church with a separate “campus ministry” program.

    Site of worship. We entered the lobby area through the corridor, and youth were standing at the entrance doors and handing out plastic necklaces. We approached them and each one got our necklace, which turned out to be an imitation of some hawaaian practice. The information kiosk girl told me that the worship lasts 20 to 30 minutes, while the whole program ends at 8:30pm. The site of worship was a large semicircular hall with an elevated stage. The hall was about 40 meters wide, 30 meters deep, and 20 meters high. [Note that these dimensions are eye guesses based on post facto impressions; they should be understood to give the relative ratio between each one of its dimensions, and not the actual size] Cushioned lecture-style seats were arranged in three groups and two tiers of about four rows each. There was a paper palm tree for each group of seats, in between the front and back tiers. Mary and Ben chose seats in the third row at the back tier of the central group, and I told them that we should move forward. We picked seats at first row, back tier in the right wing. Most of the central seats were occupied. The stage arose at two steps or levels, the net height being about 2 feet. I think the hallway was covered with red carpet, but I don’t remember well.

    The hall was darkly illuminated with dim lights on the roof and side colored lights hitting the stage diagonally. There were cameramen with tripod-mounted cameras at the two wings, in between the two tiers. Behind the back tier of the right wing, a huge mixer was installed along with video controlling apparatuses. I once read in an internet article that mixers of such size may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. There were two entrances located in between each group – basically surrouding the central group.

    Stage setup. The stage featured a paper volcano pictured to have a flowing lava, a screen in the middle, and curtains covering both ends of the stage. I could not find the projector that was shooting video images directly from the worship site itself to the screen. At first the stage was smoked, but it went away as worship started. Beneath the screen was a curtain wall, presumably to allow performers prepare their costume and materials. There were two mic poles, a drum set and a few paperholders on stage.

    Congregation. I assumed from the fact that the site was suburban, that most people would be white. In fact, they were. I noticed some people of color, mostly African-americans. Later, as we discussed the racial aspect of the congregation, Mary and Ben and me differed in our estimation of diversity. Mary and Ben counted at most 5 colored people, but I believe I saw close to 20 or more. (Of course the crowd was between 150 and 300 people). This having been a surface scanning based on skin color, I doubt any major analysis arising from this observation may be of value. The ages ranged from 5 to 25, but the sheer majority was a homogenous youth compact (15-18) Most practitioners sat in groups, chatting freely throughout the worship. Some greeted each other at their arrival. As worship started, I noticed that the most physically vocal group had gathered in the front tiers of the hall.

    2. Temporal Structure

    The ritual is divided into three main parts. The first twenty minutes is praise. Then it is followed by several entertainment performances for twenty or thirty minutes. The rest is preaching which ends up with an altar call and a prayer.

    2. a. Praise

    During praise, the congregation sings songs displayed in the screen, led by a trio of a male guitar player, female singer, and male drummer. All were dressed up in beach style costumes (shorts, skirts and t-shirts), with paper necklaces to spice it up with hawaaian culture. The lead singer went from song to song, without much comment or testimony in between. The congregation was all standing up during worship. Most clapped for tightly tempoed songs. A number of people raised hands while singing, with palms facing the front and the forearms and shoulders forming a line, just like the national-socialists did, but with both hands. The majority of hand-raisers were concentrated in the first tier (some went up very close to the stage) and hand raising occurred most during loosely tempoed songs. (Some would raise hands and later clap, and vice versa) Some were jumping up and down for tight tempo songs, and most of them were concentrated in the first tier. Some in the space between the stage and the first row of the first tier were jumping into different directions, an initiative allegedly possible only in the context of this open space. This core of hand-raisers and jumpers in the first tier of seats is what I mean by the “physically vocal group”. Some moved to the left and to the right while singing, but this was more prevalent throughout the congregation.

    Dichotomized practice groups. I come from a Presbyterian tradition, and also am currently an active, rather fundamentalist believer and practitioner. I have had some exposure to urban Baptist, rural Pentecostal and Lutheran churches in the VIII and IX regions of Chile, large orthodox Presbyterian churches in Pusan and Seoul, South Corea, three Corean immigrants’ Presbyterian churches in Chile (Concepción, Temuco and Santiago), and a Presbyterian Korean-american church in Los Angeles. I had some contact with inter-confessional groups in Chile, but have not delved into them because my father discouraged me saying that their theological foundations were not to be trusted. Based on my experience, I can say that the physically vocal groups often constitute the leaders, mostly of the small groups, and also of emotional practitioners, a group that can be relied upon to give testimony and prayer. I suspect that the formation of physically vocal and non-vocal groups in the congregation gives way to a certain formulation of social cliques, to such a degree that an interview with a practitioner from each group should give way to notorious differences, if not in faith and belief systems, in the form of expression and terms chosen to describe particular theological ideas.

    Immediate surroundings. The practitioner sitting to my left – Mary and Ben were to my right, in that order – was one of the jumpers, although he did it less consistently than the core “front tier” group. Often groups started jumping at the beginning of a song but abandoned the practice once realizing that the song had a loose tempo.
    I myself felt quite comfortable with the setting. Although I felt a charged repulsion to the supposedly “cultural” representation of Hawaai and the Hawaaian rhythm as intended in the final song, I was familiar with the lyrics and song styles presented.
    On a side note, I think that the melody of songs used in US congregations have a purposely blurred tonal configuration, so that any digressing pitch would fit harmoniously with the instruments; I thought of this because it was very hard to follow the singing itself (as opposed to talking). In contrast, the Chilean and Korean congregations I have been present at show clear distinction of tonal configuration in songs. I fear that this may relate to elements of difference in elementary education between the US and other countries. My hypothesis in brief would be that in the US education, having individualism emphasized, subjects not liked by students may be roundly rejected, whereas in most countries the elementary and secondary education curriculum is a fixed one, including music.

    My identification with the setting and the activities therein practices reminded me later of the awkwardness of having my other two colleagues who did not identify themselves with the congregation. While clapping and singing, I was in fact praising God. Having to identify elements of social structure and observe my own participation throughout the worship put me at odds with the fact that I was not a mere participant in it. Recognizing that I was not observing the worship from the same stance as my colleagues made me worry about them for a moment. But as I looked back, they seemed to be enjoying the atmosphere. Good.

    Overall the people were not too aware of each other, focusing mainly in the praise itself. Our companion to my left often talked with another girl in the back row, which made me wonder if our impassiveness towards worship made him overly self-conscious. These worries, too, were gone when he later told me that she was his girlfriend.

    I noticed some kids hitting each other in the last row of the front tier, right in front of us, but this seemed to be confined to the younger of the congregation.

    Elements of Trance. Three elements seem to corroborate towards induced trance status in the physically vocal group. The most evident one is the beat. Bass guitar and drum sounds were remarkedly loud, inducing rythmic vibration in toraccical bones (or at least it was most noticeable in these areas of the body for me); presumably controlling palpitation. The second element is jumping. Continued practice requires strenuous physical effort, with an increase in breathing and blood circulation. Because it is repetitive, it may be cause of light hypnosis as well.

    Thirdly, being in front of a large group (even when backing them) is socially tension producing for any individual. Indeed I myself sit in the first line to fight sleepiness with the aid of the tension that being watched by people behind creates. Hypothetically, if a practitioner were to fall into epileptic behavior, doing it at the very back row, within sight of only the two or four neighboring practitioners, is far less strenuous than doing so in the very front row, immediately attracting the attention of the cone expanding from the point of origin. This is based in sight range, but it is so only in square audiences. In semicircular settings as in JC’s place, A curved triangular area, with its area expanding logarithmically outwards, corresponds to the immediate visual reach of an overtly deviating behavior. However, because people are prone to look towards where others are looking, an overtly deviating behavior occurring in front lines in a semicircular congregations is spotted by every single person within seconds. This potentiality of attention should create an enormous social stress on those standing in the front lines.

    These three elements ought to create a favorable environment for trance. Even when the Holy Spirit may move people into this efervecent adoration, the aforementioned sociopsychological factors should not be ignored.

    Leadership. During worship, the guitarist took the leading role. He didn’t say much, however. At the start, he said “Can you see I am barefooted?”. Throughout praise, he was smilin’.

    2. b. Entertainment

    This portion I identified most strongly with the show proper. Among others, there was a teaching of “aloha”, a dance skit, taking apple cans out of a swimming pool, and celebrity jeopardy. And it ended with teaching “hallalloojah”. Between each entertainment, the pastor introduced the next one.

    Explanation of Aloha. The pastor explained that “aloha” was a hawaaian word that meant both hello and bye. He remarked, “it means both hello and bye with love. That makes me feel all warm.” He also read the story of Hawaai, in which the evil hawaaians invaded other good hawaaians. This connects with the following skit:

    Dance skit. A group of 4 male performers with ugly masks and torn suits showed up through the curtain walls. They started dancing on stage, emphasizing discordant movements between arms and legs. One of the dancers stuck out for his originality in bodily movements; particularly raising his left arm repetitively (from a purely landscape-based perspective, this raising hand singled him out). I could her many behind me ask aloud: “who’s that? Is it Mark?” The evidently social nature of this performance when everybody laughed heartily after finding out later that he was somebody else. The lighting was limited to red illumination only. After a while, a 4 female performers appeared from the left, wearing tight clothes and dancing a movement that was meant to be hawaaian. As they joined the male performers, they “converted” male dances to the female dances. At the end of the performance, The leading male performer took his mask off, bringing the aforementioned comments.

    Pumpkin prizes. The pastor then explained that hawaaians celebrated the hallaloojah by carving up pumpkins. Then the highlight was on the moderator, who showed three favorite pumpkin carvings (there were about twenty on stage) and said that everybody should yell out the names of pumpkin carvings they thought to be the best. The big screen hanging high in the stage was crucial to the implementation of this portion of the program, for the pumpkin carvings were way too small to be discernible at a distance. Most people yelled out names, but it was rather not intelligible. He then said he would choose the best pumpkin by hearing which yelling was loudest at the mention of each pumpkin. Upon the test, the moderator passed the baton to the pastor with an awkward smile.

    Costumes. The pastor then said that hawaaians also put on costumes in hallaloojah, and three costumes were presented. Each presenter entered the stage from left and left the stage before the next presenter entered. The first team was two girls with football shirts and blue jeans. Pastor asked them what they were representing. A girl said that she was representing [some college] football team. Then they set on confronting each other and imitated something that was meant to be a tackle. (But she took the shoulders of her opponent and not her thighs). Next was a girl dressed with a white one piece. When questioned by the pastor, she said awkwardly, “I am freshman at North Central. …. Do you see my future husband?”. She seemed to be willing to say more, but pastor said a few words instead. Last was a boy with a opal blue curtain around his waist and small bras on his chest. He claimed to be the mermaid. The pastor nominated him the best costume.

    Finding apple cans. The moderator (not the pastor) requested three volunteers. Several dozen raised hands, and the moderator called out three by their names. They were to take out 7 apple cans from the swimming pool. The moderator mumbled something about that it usually wasn’t cans, but that budget problems had them buy cans. It wasn’t explicitly laid that they should do it with their teeth, but that’s what the three males did. They kneeled down, stuck their heads in the small pool, and spit out cans upon taking their heads out. The camera shown through the big screen gave a good insight of what was going on in the small pool, which would not have been possible from afar. As they all finished, the moderator said that there was one more left. All dipped their heads in, somebody took the can out, and the game was over. Moderator returned the participants.

    Celebrity Jeopardy. Three people caricaturizing actors showed up for the jeopardy. Actors stood up behind paper stools with their names inscribed vertically on them. The moderator stood to the right behind a transparent plastic stool with a large ship handle on it, at chest level. One was a muscular and blunt man; let’s call him Arnold. The other was a pretty woman; I’ll call her Britney. The other was an old man with white hair and moustache; I’ll call him Oscar. The jeopardy moderator (not the same person as the entertainment moderator) initiated the game. Actors rang a beep and then responded. All three participants showed stereotyped stupidity driven to the utmost imaginable.
    Examples of questions and answers during jeopardy are as follows:

    Arnold: Ben, I’ll take the award question for $200.
    Moderator: It’s not an award question, it’s a a-word question. And my name is not Ben, it’s Alex Traibeque. Anyways, an a-word question is about words that start with A. The hint is this: it’s a fruit, red, and traditionally given to your teachers.
    Ben: Uh.. Matt, I didn’t have teachers.
    Moderator: My name is ALEX TRAIBEQUE. Wrong answer.
    Britney: Can I call my husband?
    Moderator: no, you can’t call because we don’t have any partners, such as Qwest or Comcast or AT&T
    Oscar: I’ll take the hallaloojah question for $100.
    Moderator: Hellaloojah questions are about the history of hallaloojah, and all answers are the word “hallaloojah”. I repeat: all answers are “hallaloojah”. (Congregation laughs) Question: this festivity was celebrated among the HAwaaians in the 18th century and was transmitted to us today.
    Britney: It’s cold here.
    Moderator: Wrong.
    Oscar: You were in it.
    Moderator: NO.
    Oscar: Your mom, then.
    Arnold: Uh, October.
    Moderator: the answer is Hallaloojah. I told you that all answers of this category are “hallaloojah”! Britney, choose yours.
    Britney: I’ll choose the tic-tac-toe for $300.
    Moderator: it’s not a tic-tac-toe, it’s a number. That’s an universal symbol for number. [notice the multivocality of geometrical pattern # blatantly being negated in this instance!] The question is: [and so they went]

    This was the pattern that jeopardy took, ranging for a dozen questions and answers. I think I often noticed offensive denials to creative solutions, even though I cannot remember the concrete examples, but only the fact that I thought they [answers] were creative at the moment. (None of the three examples featured above constitute a strong case of denial to creativity).

    Role of Entertainment for the overall ritual. One clear role is that of converting the otherwise sheer participatory nature of liturgy into a spectacle (Debord may prove useful in analyzing this) During praise, participants are expected to sing or clap, or at the very least follow the lyrics with their eyes. During preaching, the message is clearly intended to touch on each one of the individual practitioners congregated there. But the performances are no more than what the name says: performances. They invite the practitioner to take on the gaze of the detached observer, to partake on a jouissance of physical activity channeled as surplus value.

    The second role could potentially invalidate the first one. The performers were not outsourced, but they were all members of the congregation offering voluntarily (hopefully) to perform. Thus the performance conveyed a sense of social exchange. Recall the outbursting wishes of practitioners to identify the individual performers and match them up in the cognitive personal records system (Boyer) I think the leading “ugly hawaaian” from the dance skit was the campus ministry pastor, but I am not sure. Were it true, however, then the hierarchy portrayed at the performance level would mimic that prevalent at the religious-social level. (Possibly Durkheim here, even though Durkheim focuses on the religious performance establishing a parallel to societal structure. And the third role is precisely that of a secular overtone of the performances)

    The third role is the secular nature of the performance. I am adept at identifying Christian themes. These performances are definitely not intended at conveying any Christian message. The closest it got was when the pastor explained that “aloha” meant hello and bye at the same time so that we brothers and sisters in Christ should say aloha at each other (I find it a stretch, however). The pumpkin selection, costumes and finding apple cans are the kind of activities often seen in TV shows designed for a secular youth. Celebrity jeopardy may have been intended as social criticism and a call for consciousness, but the aim was kind of low. What’s the point of insulting somebody who cannot spell?

    A task left for the project paper will be integrating these roles into a coherent analytic unit. One quick hypothesis I could advance here goes like this: The performance was a transitional device intended to smoothen the distance between the participatory nature of praise and the sociohierarchical nature of preaching. Praise gave ample leeway to deviatory action, such as throwing balls around and yelling out jokes; these actions, if left to persist through the preaching portion, may illegitimize the message itself, for preaching was charismatic at its very core. Performance emphasized passivity in the congregation (role two). It is easier to lead a passive crowd into top-to-down transmission of religious notions than a rowdy one. During preaching, the pastor stands in the center of the stage and talks unilaterally to the congregation. The pastor may walk in between tiers and groups of seats to lessen his totalitarian presence, but talking to any one of the practitioners –and thus allowing the potential breach in the momentum of gospel preaching – is not permitted. Later at the car, Mary recalled that while the pastor asked practitioners to think of their relationship with God, she tried to but was constantly interrupted by the voice of the pastor interrupting her thoughts, by saying “I see you. Thanks”, “You at the left. Thanks Lord”. (He was letting those who raised their hands know that he had seen them. When the pastor acknowledged seeing their hands, those hands were immediately dropped. This is an issue of anonymity I’ll dip into in discussing preaching) I would suggest that these remarks by the pastor were precisely intended to interrupt anybody’s thoughts, for the intended effect was in uniting the whole congregation into the action of salvation of souls, letting everybody know that there were 2, 5, 16 people who had received Jesus as their personal saviors. The congregation was supposed to concentrated in the counting of hands, mediated through the pastor to ensure anonymity, and not in a inner reflection. Back to the argument, this level of popular unity and silence required a passive attitude from the practitioners which was facilitated by the performances. Additionally, the secular nature of this phase eased the transition by phasing out what would otherwise have been a tight dual sequence of sacred participation to sacred passivity. Because an important portion of the crowd (especially the younger generations) are “cool” with being Christian, as our initial contact person said, it is important to ensure a comfortable dynamics during the entire worship for the purpose of keeping up attendance. In our jargon, it’s giving every soul a chance. That’s my hypothesis. I am not sure as on how to incorporate the social role into the rest.

    2. c. Preaching

    • illumination and spatial displacement.
    • message. Love God and people. Salvation.

    2. d. Altar call

    • charismatic aspects
    • anonymity.
    • guilt at dual position of believer practitioner and observer.

    3. Extraritual aspects

    3. a. Postworship socializing
    Matt.
    Chelsea
    Youth ministers.

    3. b. Obtaining consent and proselytizing
    Ben
    Mary

    3. c. Debriefing
    Incompatibility of fundamentalist and pluralistic systems.

     
  • 12:29 pm on October 29, 2003 Permalink | Reply  

    JC's place – progress report 

    Mary Guerra
    Ben P. Johnson
    Yongho Kim

    Anthropology (248) of Religion
    October 29, 2003

    Progress Report on Class Project

    We have chosen the JC’s place as our field site. JC’s place is (apparently) an inter-confessional youth program developed by the Emmanuel Christian Center that holds worship services on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM, consisting of praise session, preaching and an altar call. Practitioners also hold local meetings (Cell Groups) at youth leaders’ houses. Sunday morning services are held under the name of “discipleship” at 8:30 AM.

    The Emmanuel Christian Center is located at Spring Lake Park, a suburb located close to Anoka County, to the north of Minneapolis, and the program reaches youth of ages ranging from 13 to 22. Some information is available on the program website (www.jcsplace.com) but a visit will be required to learn more about the place. The website also features a moderately used bulletin board (http://pub37.ezboard.com/bjcsplace23685)

    We will attend services for the first time on the October 29th (Wednesday) meeting and try to get a hold of the leadership, which will likely be Pastor Brandon Gregory (Campus Ministry) or Pastor JJ Slag (Youth Pastor)

    Site Briefs
    Emmanuel Christian Center.
    7777 University Ave NE Spring Lake Park, MN 55432

    Shannon Belz (Administrative Assistant)
    763-784-7777 ext 214
    shannonbelz@yahoo.com

     
  • 4:14 am on October 29, 2003 Permalink | Reply  

    European Court of Human Rights 

    Karmela Jones, Sasha Kostov
    Group 9
    October 29, 2003

    This section opens with a detailed account of the Lustig- Prean and Beckett case that came before the European Court of Human Rights.

    These two British nationals complained that investigations into their homosexuality their discharge from the Royal Navy on the sole ground that they are homosexual violated Article 8 of the European convention.
    Article 8 reads:

    1) Everyone has the right to respect for his private life…

    2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security…for the prevention of disorder.

    Lustig-Prean had been working in the Royal navy since 1982 and through various recommendations and evaluations were promoted to lieutenant commander. Early in 1994, the Royal Navy Special Investigation Branch had anonymously been given an allegation of his homosexuality. In December of the same year, Lustig-Prean was discharged on grounds of his sexual orientation.

    A homosexuality Policy Assessment Team( HPAT) was established by the Ministry of defense to make an internal assessment of the armed forces policy. It was considered that any problems would lie in the difficulties which integration of declared homosexuals would pose to the military system which was largely staffed by heterosexuals. The assessment centered around the notion “that it was considered well established that the presence of known or strongly suspected homosexuals in the armed forces would produce certain behavioral and emotional responses and problems which would affect the morale and in turn significantly and negatively affect the fighting power of the armed forces.”

    The matter was debated in the House of Commons and the majority rejected any change to the existing policy. ( 188 votes to 120)

    Taking into consideration article 8, the Court could consider the investigation into the private lives of these two officials in the Royal navy justified if the second paragraph’s inferences of “in accordance with the law” and “ necessary in a democratic society” could be disputed.

    The Government emphasized that this was indeed a special case as it was ultimately linked to the nation’s security. While not denying the member of the armed forces the right to the convention’s protection they claimed that stricter rules applied in this special case of national security. Furthermore, the government’s core argument in support of the policy was that the presence of open or suspected homosexuals in the armed forces would have a substantial or negative effect on morale and on the fighting power and effectiveness of the armed forces.
    The court of the other hand noted the lack of concrete evidence to substantiate the alleged damage to morale and fighting power that any change in policy would entail. The Court found that neither the investigation conducted into the applicants sexual orientation, nor their discharge on the grounds of their homosexuality were justified under article 8 section 2.

    Comment on blasphemy cases.

    This section evaluates the issues of conflicts between the rights of freedom of expression found in Article 10 and the rights freedom of religion found in Article 9. The cases of Otto-Preminger-Institut v. Austria and Wingrove v. United Kingdom are used to illustrate the problems that arise. In both cases films were made that were considered religiously offensive by the state portraying biblical characters malign and sultry. In the first case the film was seized and forfeited by the state under claims that it infringed upon the rights of others to freedom of religion by disrespecting other’s religious feelings. The creators of the film argued that their rights to freedom of expression had been violated by the state. Similarly, the director of the other film in the second case claimed that his rights to freedom of expression had also been violated by the United Kingdom when they would not grant him a distribution certificate for his video. In both cases the Court decided that there was no violation of article 10 due to the fact that the states actions were merited and “necessary in a democratic society”. (note that in the first case three judges dissented due to the efforts of the association that created the film to prevent offence to viewers)

    The margin of Appreciation:
    “One analysis of the European court asserts that this concept lies at the heart of virtually all major cases.” Definitions of this concept and its impact of court decision varies.

    The margin of appreciation as described by Paul Mahoney an interpretation tool that is needed to draw the line between what is properly a matter for each community to decide at a local level and what is so fundamental that it entails the same requirement for all countries whatever the variations in tradition and culture

    Another view, by Franz Matscher is that the theory of the margin or appreciation is the expression of a realistic judicial self-restraint.
    Questions:

    1)Taking into consideration the special context of living conditions of Royal Navy members, should there be an exception of this type of discrimination based on sexual orientation. ( note comments made by Judge Loucdaides) pg 831.

    2) If the Royal Navy was not allowed to discriminated based sexual orientation, and thus allowed homosexuals to be in the navy, is making special provisions as they do for women an option? How would implementing this plan of action be problematic?

    3) Is the margin of appreciation a confusing concept that does not necessarily add to the court’s decision? Would it be better if the European court handled issues based on whether state-imposed limitations on the right of freedom can be viewed as “necessary in a democratic society, or is there a needed space for this concept?

     
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  • 11:23 pm on October 27, 2003 Permalink | Reply  

    Anointment 

    Yongho Kim
    October 27, 2003
    Anthropology (248) of Religion

    Members of the Holiness Church (the Sign Followers) of Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, and elsewhere in the U.S., maintain that faith alone is not enough to prepare a believer to handle serpents, speak in tongues, heal through prayer, etc. Describe what is required of a believer before the person is fit to follow the mandate laid down in the New Testament Book of Mark, Chapter 16, Verses, 17-18. In our readings and discussions, have we encountered similar kinds of requirements in other cultural settings? What, where, and amongst whom?

    According to Park Saylor, “Faith isn’t enough. You have to be anointed to handle snakes.” (Kimbrough 114) Anointing is the state occurring when “God transfers spiritual power to an individual”. Believers are careful in pointing out that the initiative does not come from the individual, but that it is “The Spirit [who] moves on you”, and you “cannot pump up [through music] for anointment” (25). Thus anointment is believed to be a passive process, in which the believer merely receives it from God.

    (More …)

     
  • 4:12 am on October 27, 2003 Permalink | Reply  

    Response to the European Convention and the Case of Homosexuality 

    Monday, October 27. Group 8: Andra Tanase, Anava Wren, Yongho Kim
    Response to the European Convention and the Case of Homosexuality

    The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms System constitutes a model and a standard of its own in terms of effectiveness in enforcing Human Rights among its members. The Convention was signed in 1950 and entered into force in 1953. It gives the de facto unity between European members and the “common heritage of political traditions” as reasons for which a universal and effective enforcement of human rights is possible through the Convention. (1423)

    Adequacy of a Regional System

    The Convention is a place of convergence of several sources of tension in the international human rights movement. The UN was not fond of a competing organization, at least while the UN lacked a comparable treaty on Human Rights (ICCPR and ICESCR). Eastern European states are strongly opposed to the creation of regional systems on the basis that human rights cannot be “regionalized”, applied differently in distinct areas of the world, for it would betray the notion of universal human rights, and because the creation of an organization already being overseen by another – the UN Human Rights Commission – would create problems of consistency and inadequate use of financial resources (783). Western European states argue that a regional enterprise takes away energy from the two global covenants of higher importance.

    Claude reflects in the issue pointing out that each problem should be considered to determine if it belongs to a regional or a global realm, but also warns that no single regional human rights issue may escape global impact. He also shows the sensible issue of delineating states into definite regional categories, which has the potential to surpass its purely administrative purpose to hold economic nuances in the geopolitical configuration of the region. The most pressing warning, however, is that regional states may closely collaborate to systematically ignore some specific human rights issue. (782) He concludes indicating that a global organization is always in the best position to mediate international conflicts and that, according to the UN Charter, the “United Nations should be supreme.”

    Institutional Enforcement

    Three regional organizations hold relationships with the monitoring and enforcement of the Convention. (789) The Council of Europe is the creator of the Convention and upholds democracy, the rule of law and human rights; states wishing to enjoy trade benefits through the European Union normally join the Council of Europe first. The European Union, which can be historically traced back to another economic treaty in 1952, has developed into a comprehensive political and economic unit which encompasses the abiding of human rights as one of its side concerns. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is a political organization created in the midst of cold war (1975) as a result of negotiations between the Soviet Union and the NATO bloc; its highlight is the High Commissioner on National Minorities who works on “issues of ethnic tensions that threaten peace and stability”. (793)

    Section II of the Convention (Art. 19-51) establishes the European Court of Human Rights, which oversees and enforces cases of violations of human rights. ICCPR HRC and the Inter-American Court often refer to decisions of the European Court (808) and the Court itself recalls its own decisions in justifying rulings, indicating a high degree of authority enjoyed by the European Court.(810) The strongest support for the Convention comes from its binding force. Article 46, Paragraph 1 (not 53, as in p.809) states that “The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.” (1431). Additionally, the Convention fashions the highest authority in matters of human rights opinions, a highly developed judiciary, and the implicit benefit of economic and political integration as incentive.

    Questions:

    1. What are the overlapping (can they work hand in hand on a functional basis) and potentially conflicting (do they go against each other) areas between the national, regional and global legal systems?
    2. If many Eastern European countries sign onto the ECHR as a ‘homework’ for joining the EU, what other incentives can be utilized in other regions of the world where the economic/ political motives are not applicable?

    The issue of morals and homosexuality

    Two related rulings throw light into the judicial proceedings of the European Court. One is the case of Handyside, in which the Court supported the decision of the UK Magistrate’s Court in censoring “The Little Red Schoolbook”, a reference book for children with liberally permissive contents on matters of sexual behavior, contraception and prevention of venereal diseases. Handyside claimed a breach of the right to Freedom of Expression (Art.10), to which the UK replied that it would “corrupt and deprave” children, appealing the protection of morals stated in Paragraph 2 of the same article. The European Court stated that it was not possible to find “a uniform European conception of morals”, and that therefore it was up to the state to settle the issue, bringing up the notion of “margin of appreciation”, an judicial space in which the state was to exercise discretion. (812)

    The next case, Norris v. Ireland, has been presented along with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on another similar case (Bowers v. Hardwick), and deserves close inspection.

    Norris v. Ireland United States
    Antecedent Ireland is party to the European Convention. Hardwick was arrested immediately after engaging in oral sex act by a surveilling police.
    Relevant local legislation 1. Person Act (1861) sec.62: indecent assault upon a male person… subject to prison sentence not exceeding ten years
    2. Criminal Law Amendment Act (1885) sec.11: act of gross indecency with another male… imprisonment not exceeding two years.
    3. Constitution Art.29(6): no international agreement shall be part of the domestic law 1. Georgia statute: “any sex act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another” is a crime of sodomy.
    2. US Constitution, Amendment 14: sec.1. …No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Accusation The law against homosexuality leads to: 1. Depression because of likely criminal persecution upon overt expression of sexuality. 2. Fear of prosecution. 3. Laws are no in accordance to the European Convention 1. Statute condemning oral or anal sex act is unconstitutional based on Due Process clause of the 14th amendment. (Prior decisions related to procreation, family and abortion relied on an implicit right of privacy)
    Local ruling High Court: dismissed, although depression is possible. Accuser appealed directly to Supreme Court.

    Supreme court ruling & reasons 1. Argument for European Convention rejected: Laws do not need to be in accordance. (Const.29)

    2. Christian nature of Irish state is consistent with lack of privacy encompassing homosexuality, which is:

    a. is against Christian teachings and nature. (moral) b. can lead to depression, despair and suicide. (psycho-clinical) c. has resulted in venereal diseases. (public health) 1. Constitution should not confer rights to homosexuals when many States are already involved in illegalizing it: a. Family and homosexual activity are unrelated. b. When the 14th Amendment was ratified, 86% of U.S. states had criminal sodomy laws. (Thus 14th Amendment was not understood as upholding homosexuality.) c. Law is based in morality. d. Court does not have time to bother with new interpretations of existing laws. (Justice White)
    2. Traditions of western civilization, Christianity, and morals all have historically interfered with homosexuality. (Justice Burger)
    Other legal recourse 1. European Convention Art.8. (1) Everyone has the right to respect to his private and family life … (2) except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society with interests of national security, public safety or economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or …rights and freedoms of others.
    2. EHRC ruling on Dudgeon Case (1981) Apparently no other legal recourse.

    Reference – South African Constitution (1996) Art.9 (3): The State may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly … race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.

    Support for Accusation European Court: 1. interference is in accordance with [local] law, but is not enough of a basis since there has not been a public demand for enforcement of anti-homosexual law. (39,40,41,46) 2. A similar case previously ruled in favor of private sexual practice in Dudgeon. (44) 3. The issue deals with a highly intimate portion of private life, thus arguments for interfering should be serious; arguments based merely in morals are not sufficient. (46) 1. Dissenting opinions (Justice Blackmun, Brennan, Marshall and Stevens): 1. Philosophy underlying the U.S. constitution is not grounded in morals, but in the interest of the individual; and sexuality is a matter of individual bonds. 2. A legislation failing to justify itself on non-religious grounds is either illegitimate or non-secular. 3. The public realm is not affected when homosexuality is practiced in private space.
    2. The government should not have been able to know of Hardwick engaging in oral sex act in the first place. (Tribe)

    Questions:

    1. Is a “European (or other regional) moral system” impossible to define? If yes, is it conducive to giving the state ‘margin of appreciation’ ?

     
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