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Ethics

Feature

May 2016

Spare the rod, protect the child

By John Barber

With the Trudeau government on the verge of banning spanking, critics ask: why has it taken Canada so long?

Feature

May 2016

Are vegans right?

By David Macfarlane

The writer is in the midst of a radical six-month change of diet. He’s discovering that no cheeseburger tastes as good as being ethical feels.

Special Feature

May 2016

No wombs for rent

By Tony Fong

Feature

January 2016

Panhandler protocol

By Anne Bokma

Should you fish out a toonie or walk on by? The answer isn’t always obvious.

Feature

January 2016

There but for the grace of God

By Anne Bokma

Six stories my Facebook friends shared about their encounters with the homeless

Feature

January 2016

Advice from a homeless person

By Anne Bokma

Feature

January 2016

This baby’s life

By Sanjay Khanna

Climate chaos. Economic upheaval. Psychological stress. A futurist looks for hope amid the coming turmoil.

Feature

November 2015

Sidebar: 'The pornography filled a void'

By Trisha Elliott

A United Church minister describes how a pornography dependency hurt his first marriage and how he recovered a healthy sex life. The 50-something church leader spoke to The Observer on condition of anonymity.

Special Feature

November 2015

The topic churches won't touch

By Erica Lenti

Online erotica is booming, and so are porn addictions. But mainline churches seem all too content to look away.

Feature

November 2015

Art restoration

By Krystina Mierins

Paintings stolen by Nazis still hang in Canadian galleries. Paltry government funding is hampering efforts to identify and return them

Feature

November 2015

Life with robots

By Patricia Clarke

They can do our chores, drive our cars and fight our wars. Whether they can act ethically is another question.

Feature

November 2015

Too much information?

By Kylie Taggart

Genetic testing can warn you about serious illnesses lurking in your DNA. The downside is chronic worry — and snooping insurance companies.

Feature

July 2015

Final decisions

By Various Writers

Dying used to be so simple. New laws and changing customs make for a more complicated exit.

Feature

July 2015

Baby(sitting) boomers

By Pieta Woolley

How much parenting should today’s grandmas and grandpas do?

Feature

May 2015

The Cosby Showdown

By Anne Bokma

I wasn't amused when comedian Bill Cosby came to town amid fresh allegations of sexual assault. So I and 30 others planned our own stand-up moment.

Feature

May 2015

Forever young

By Larry Krotz

Researchers are using cutting-edge science in a quest to defy mortality. How far should they go?

Feature

March 2015

Extreme downsizing

By Anne Bokma

For tiny house enthusiasts, sometimes less is more

Feature

February 2015

Faux trade?

By Pieta Woolley

Buying fair trade coffee doesn’t hurt. But it doesn’t help as much as we might imagine.

Feature

February 2015

Little bundles of good

By Drew Halfnight

New research suggests that infants are ethical right from the cradle

Feature

January 2015

A family like any other

By Sonya Corbin Dwyer

Author Sonya Corbin Dwyer is as much a mother to her daughters as any biological parent. So why do people keep asking, ‘Where are they from?’

Feature

September 2014

Sore point

By Alison Shouldice

Despite doctors’ urgings, growing numbers of Canadian parents refuse to vaccinate their children. Who should be calling the shots?

Feature

June 2014

Playing God?

By John Barber

A little-known Ontario panel routinely makes live-or-die decisions for gravely ill patients. As the population ages, other jurisdictions would do well to study how the panel navigates end-of-life ethics.

Feature

April 2014

Destination: dilemma

By Tim Johnson

Travelling to countries that flout human rights is ethically precarious. But it doesn't mean we should simply stay home.

Feature

April 2014

Dwindling donors, deeper pockets

By Kevin Spurgaitis

Canadians do care. But fewer are putting their money where their hearts are.

Feature

March 2014

Communes for grown-ups

By Anne Bokma

A 1960s ideal gets a modern makeover in cohousing projects designed for living in close quarters

Feature

January 2014

Four years, 9 months

By Jocelyn Bell

A journey through infertility

Feature

September 2013

Government’s big gamble

By Orland French

When politicians debate casinos, money almost always trumps morals. By failing to raise ethical issues, they’re betting against our best interests.

Feature

April 2013

The ugly Internet

By Kasia Mychajlowycz

Online misogyny is running rampant. Critics say that hate is hate, whether it’s expressed on the street corner or in cyberspace.

Feature

March 2013

Making amends with Malawi

By Pieta Woolley

Backpacking in southern Africa 13 years ago, the writer vowed to raise money for AIDS orphans. She never did, but she also never forgot. Haunted by guilt, she returned last fall to pay her debt.

Feature

February 2013

Something about bears

By Therese DesCamp

They’re unpredictable. They’re nuisances. And they can be deadly. But our encounters with bears can also inspire the wildest kind of love.

Environment

Song leader, police and gate blockers in front of the Kinder Morgan gates. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff

A Kinder Morgan protest in photos and song

by Kimiko Karpoff

A faith leader reflects on protesting the pipeline with the Water Protectors from the Tsleil-Waututh nation.

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Editorials

The United Church Observer's editor and publisher, Jocelyn Bell. Photo: Lindsay Palmer

Observations: #MeToo

by Jocelyn Bell

Our hope is that by giving voice to these #MeToo stories, a new conversation about sexual misconduct can begin.

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Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

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Society

June 2018

Why some women of colour are hesitant to say #MeToo

by Jacky Habib

Three women share their stories in the hope of creating safe spaces they never had.

Environment

May 2018

A Kinder Morgan protest in photos and song

by Kimiko Karpoff

On April 28, 2018, faith leaders from many traditions, including the United Church, stood in solidarity with Water Protectors from the Tsleil-Waututh nation to protest the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion in Burnaby, B.C.. Kimiko Karpoff captured the day in pictures.

Faith

June 2018

After 93 years, this will be the United Church's last General Council meeting

by Mike Milne

When the United Church meets in July, top priorities will be a streamlined governance structure and Indigenous ministries.

Justice

June 2018

#MeToo in the United Church

by Trisha Elliott

9 women share their stories of harassment and sexual assault in the United Church.

Columns

May 2018

On grief and the healing power of gardening

by Paul Fraumeni

A writer reflects on how growing tomatoes is helping him find peace while dealing with the loss of loved ones, including his son.

Editorials

June 2018

Observations: #MeToo

by Jocelyn Bell

Our hope is that by giving voice to these #MeToo stories, a new conversation about sexual misconduct can begin.

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