- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Iron Lady blues
"In 1979, Margaret Thatcher was appointed British Prime Minister, the first and only woman to ever lead a major western democracy. Mrs. Thatcher served as prime minister for more than 11 years (1979-90), a record unmatched in the 20th century. …
"The world of women's studies, to put it simply, does not like Margaret Thatcher. At all. You don't have to look any farther than their textbooks to see that.
"In a report on women's-studies introductory textbooks, Christine Stolba … found that three of the five most popular texts don't even bother to mention Margaret Thatcher.
"At the same time, the texts are more than happy to educate students on liberal leaders such as Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, [Rep.] Barbara Jordan or Democratic First Ladies Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton.
"But Mrs. Thatcher? Nada. Zip. Zero.
"Now how can this be? After all, women's studies exists supposedly because the traditional curriculum has ignored women and women's achievements. …
"So why leave out Thatcher?
"Answer: She's not the right kind of role model.
"You see, women's studies is not about women. It's about women who are feminists."
Heather Koerner, writing on "Defining Women," Thursday in Boundless at www.boundless.org

German decline
"There are fewer and fewer young people [in Germany]. … As in Western Europe generally and in Italy most particularly, people are not having babies.
"These countries would be on a trajectory of decreasing population were it not for immigrants from Muslim countries. There are no doubt many reasons why the original German population is not reproducing, including the secular individualism nurtured by affluent societies and the attitudes and practices associated with what John Paul II calls 'the culture of death.'
"Having children is no longer considered a duty owed the future, but is viewed as one of many possibilities to be taken into account in calculating personal satisfaction and securing one's preferred way of life. …
"The decrease in population, some contend, could be compensated for by increased immigration. This assumes that immigrants will be fully integrated into German and European culture, which assumes, in turn, that we have a clear and confident sense of cultural identity. It is no secret, however, that over recent decades a large number of immigrants came not in order to be part of German society, nor even to find work, but to benefit from our social security and health services."
Wolfhart Pannenberg, writing on "Letter from Germany," in the March issue of First Things

'Crazy' project
"On the outskirts of Rome, past the ancient ruins of the baths of Caracalla and the tourist trodden Catacombs, the greatest story ever told is being recreated on the backlot of the legendary Cinecitta studio. Directly across from the decaying wooden sidewalks and fake storefront sets from Martin Scorsese's 'Gangs of New York' sits the city of Jerusalem or at least Mel Gibson's 2.5-acre scaled-down replica of it. …
"The director of 'The Man Without a Face' (1993) and Oscar-winning 'Braveheart' (1995) has chosen to direct a story centered on the last 12 hours of Christ's life, primarily focusing on the betrayal, trial and death of Jesus, culminating with his graphic crucifixion and resurrection in the tomb. 'The Passion' is Gibson's 'labor of love.' …
"'My partners and I went searching for a studio to attach to the project, but no one would touch it,' he says with a smile. 'They all said, "Are you crazy? Why are you doing a Jesus movie in Aramaic?" Obviously, nobody wants to touch something filmed in two dead languages, but I understand, because I would have rejected me, too, if I heard my pitch.'"
Holly McClure, writing on "Mel Gibson's 'Passion' for Jesus," Monday in Baptist Press News at www.bpnews.net

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