01: The appointment of Jim Daly as president of Focus on the Family, succeeding founder James Dobson, suggests a transition in the organization from its more political stance to a more irenic posture stressing its original family concerns.
Since his appointment in 2009, Daly has eschewed the often-heated political rhetoric employed by Dobson and has more often sought to gain a high profile for the organization through work with celebrities and athletes to promote family values rather than engaging in political activism. Without the personality of Dobson and his attention to politics and culture war issues, observers have speculated that Focus on the Family could lose support and the high profile it has cultivated in recent years.
Daly has also engaged in more networking with other evangelical organizations, such as the National Association of Evangelicals, as well as retailored the ministry’s programs to appeal to younger generations.
(Source: Christianity Today, July)
02: The Obedient Wives Club preaches a mix of sexual fulfillment and strict Islam and is growing in the Muslim world.
Based on the belief that a fulfilling sex life is the cure for “Western-style” social problems such as divorce and abuse, the club has spread from Jordan, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore to Indonesia. Founded by the Malaysian firm Global Ikwahn to help the company’s female staff to become good wives and productive employees, the club is officially open to women of all faiths, although its teachings are based on an Islamic perspective of wives’ submission to husbands to meet their needs.
The divorce rate is high among Muslims in Southeast Asia and the club argues that sexually fulfilled husbands are less likely to stray. Observers say the growth of such groups as the Obedient Wives Club may signal radicalization among the generally moderate Muslims of Southeast Asia; Global Ikwahn has been associated with Islamist groups and has encouraged polygamy among its employees. Malaysian Muslims have shown more support for such measures as women wearing headscarves, although a recent poll showed that a majority of youths in Malaysia and Indonesia reject polygamy.
(Source: Reuters, June 24)