Even though I brought out Owl and Green Dog as a political blog--like everybody else and her aunt momma looking ahead to 2008--I will be writing first from the International Women's Forum Cornerstone Conference in Jordan. "Under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, Founder of IWF Jordan, women leaders from around the world are invited to join IWF in this ancient and biblical land for a conversation unlike any other. In unity, with stewardship and trust, come to Amman, May 14-16 and help expand the circle of understanding that lifts prospects for a more sustainable future." So states the program. A born sceptic, I will see.
I should also mention that I am a born (again) Christian who, having worked my way through the conference's reading list on Islam, realizes for the first time the depth of her ignorance about Muslims. So probably I shouldn't be nitpicking, yet--but, after all, this is a blog. Should the conference prospectus begin its description of Jordan with the moniker "biblical land?" Jordan is an Islamic state where, technically, the penalty for apostasy is death. Promulgating the Bible is against the law. Of course, Jordan has a Christian Orthodox community that predates the creation of Jordan itself by a thousand years. And Muslims recognize Christians and Jews as fellow "peoples of the book"--dhimmi, in Arabic. However, our book, the Bible, is not the equal of the Q'ran. Therefore, I wonder if a biblical Jordan is a bit outside the circle of understanding.