Saturday, December 17, 2005

Irondequoit Episcopal Church Aligns With Church Of Uganda

(Irondequoit, NY) 12/16/05
- An Episcopal church in Irondequoit that split from the Rochester Diocese is apparently now aligning itself with the Church of Uganda.
All Saints Episcopal Church withheld money from its diocese to protest the ordination of gay priests.
According to a Rochester Diocesan spokesperson, the Church of Uganda is separate from the Episcopal Church but does have roots in the Church of England. Link Video


Letter sent to the Bishop of Rochester from the Attorney for All Saints

November 25, 2005

The Rt. Rev. Jack M. McKelvey
Episcopal Bishop of Rochester
935 East Avenue
Rochester, New York 14607

Re: All Saints Church in Rochester

Dear Bp. McKelvey:

I am writing to respond to your letter of November 21, 2005 wherein you repeat the demands which you made when you and I met in the parking lot of All Saints in Rochester. At that time your chancellor on your behalf asked for the keys to the parish. On behalf of the parish, I refused. Again, on behalf of All Saints, I refuse to give you possession of the buildings of the parish.

You and your convention have declared All Saints to be “extinct”, but it is alive and well in Christ. It did not deserve to be declared “extinct.” For you the parish is a building which you desire to take. But for the rector, wardens, vestry, and those who continue to worship there (as you saw when you attended, but did not participate in last Sunday’s worship service) it is not at all an “extinct” church. What is now extinct, however, is your authority over this parish and these people. They did not ask to be removed from the jurisdiction of the diocese of Rochester, but you have done this, and with that irrevocable step you extinguished any authority you had over that part of the body of Christ.

That which you declared extinct in the diocese of Rochester has been resurrected in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the province of the Church of Uganda. We have received formal notification from The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop and Primate of the Church of Uganda, that All Saints has been accepted in the province of Uganda and is now under their authority and protection.

You have chosen to walk apart from the rest of the Anglican Communion by your wholehearted support of the actions of the 2003 General Convention as it embraced a new gospel ignoring the authority of the Bible, and instead chose to rewrite the 2000 year tradition of Christian sexual morality. In this country of religious freedom that is your prerogative, but this parish cannot follow you. They will remain aligned with the vast majority of Christians around the world through their new bishop in Uganda. They have chosen the historic Christian faith of Paul, Augustine of Canterbury, Cranmer, and countless other saints in the Anglican Communion worldwide, rather than the new gospel of bishops such as Pike, Spong, and yourself. Time will tell whether the Church in the Province of the United States will embrace the Gospel as written, or as you proclaim it. However we will continue to proclaim the Gospel as it has been defined by the historic formularies of the faith.

Since you still have 52 congregations left in your jurisdiction, please leave All Saints alone and let us go our separate ways.


Very Truly Yours,

Raymond J. Dague

Attorney at Law
620 Empire Building
472 South Salina Street
Syracuse, New York 13202

(315) 422-2052
www.DagueLaw.com


Jerusalem, lift up thy voice!
Daughter of Zion, now rejoice!
Thy King is come, Whose mighty hand
Henceforth shall reign o’er every land.

He comes to every tribe and race,
A Messenger of truth and grace:
With peace He comes from Heaven above
On earth to found His realm of love.

In God’s eternal covenant,
He comes for our salvation sent.
The star of hope moves on before,
And hosts assemble to adore.

Let all the world with one accord
Now hail the coming of the Lord:
Praise to the Prince of heavenly birth
Who bringeth peace to all the earth.

Hymn Art

Discretion Recommended for British Civil Partnerships
12/17/2005

With Great Britain’s first same-sex civil unions set to be recognized under law on Dec. 21, an informal poll conducted by the advocacy group Changing Attitude suggests uneven enforcement of disciplinary procedures spelled out in a July 25 pastoral letter by the House of Bishops.

The new law on civil unions will allow same-sex couples to register their partnership with the state. Registration entitles the couple to most of the same civil benefits as heterosexual married couples. In the July 25 pastoral letter, the Church of England’s House of Bishops said the new law does not change doctrine or discipline.

“Sexual intercourse, as an expression of faithful intimacy, properly belongs within marriage exclusively,” the
bishops said. Clergy may enter into a civil partnership, they added, provided they “give assurances to his or her bishop that the relationship is chaste. The letter further states that clergy should not provide services of blessing for other clergy or members of the laity who register a civil union. The rest

9th grade: Crucial year can be precipice or springboard
Jay Mathews / The Washington Post

By 2001, Margee Walsh had dealt with every variety of that anxious species known as the ninth-grader. So when she met Ishmael Salandy, who had gotten into some minor trouble at school, she thought she knew right away what he needed.

Salandy lived in a low-income part of Alexandria, Va. Only one parent was at home. But there was a spark in Salandy, a yearning for something better that Walsh could recognize in his tone of voice, his choice of friends, his promising grades. Walsh was principal of the Minnie Howard School, one of the few schools in the country that has only ninth-graders, and she had made it a rule that her students would all get personal attention.

Much later, Salandy told Walsh he saw she had written these words on a form with his name on it: "Need to get him a mentor. He's a real leader."
The rest

Gay-straight clubs under fire
Lawmaker pushes ban on school alliances, vows: 'I will prevail'
By Glen Warchol
The Salt Lake Tribune

Sara Hardcastle, the president of Hillcrest High School's Gay Straight Alliance club, says people like Utah Sen. Chris Buttars scare her.
Buttars, a West Jordan Republican, is vowing to push a bill through the upcoming Legislature to outlaw gay-straight clubs in Utah high schools. "I will prevail," he says.
"We are being targeted again," says Hardcastle, a senior who has been in the Midvale high school club - known as GSA - for more than two years.
"We are always having a finger pointed at us for doing something wrong - and it's just the opposite. We're doing something right."
By the way, the "we" to which Hardcastle refers is GSA's majority of straight members that includes her.
After five years of controversy and lawsuits over gay-straight clubs at East High School, the Salt Lake School Board settled further legal entanglements in 2000 by allowing students to form extracurricular clubs focused on homosexual issues.
But Buttars says the clubs, which exist in 40 Utah high schools, violate state law and promote a sexuality that most Utahns find "perverted." The schools are in effect sponsoring the clubs to avoid costly lawsuits.
Story

'Twas the fight before Christmas
By Suzanne Bowdey
December 17, 2005

If you're wondering what tops Santa's list this year, try job security. Despite the "clause" in his contract, St. Nick could fall victim to Corporate America's newest Ebenezer: holiday pluralism. And what's worse, with Christ on the outs and "X-Mas" on thin ice, charities may suffer their worse yuletide to date. This year, the war for goodwill has enlisted new troops: the Salvation Army and Religious Right.

In the bulls-eye of this holiday controversy (which is as old as the season itself) is Target Corporation, one of the country's largest retailers. Religious activists are up in arms about the company's decision to ban the Salvation Army from soliciting on its premises. The charity was ordered to stop ringing its bells at collection kettles, citing, "an increasing number of inquiries from nonprofit organizations . . . to open its doors to other groups that wish to solicit."
The rest

Saudi gift to promote faith relations 'hypocrisy'
Group points to zero-tolerance policy at home where Christians persecuted
Posted: December 17, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern

A group that monitors persecution of Christians says Saudi Arabian Prince al-Walid bin Talal's $20 million donation to Harvard and Georgetown for Islamic studies and to promote Islamic-Christian understanding is an "act of supreme hypocrisy and duplicity."

"Perhaps the only thing more shameful than the prince offering these gifts with a straight face is Harvard and Georgetown's gracious acceptance of them," said a statement by Washington, D.C.-based
International Christian Concern. Story

The C.S. Lewis Institute– Caution: Christmas Ahead

The danger is well-known to us all: being swept up in the materialistic feeding frenzy that increasingly is turning Christmas in America into a pagan holiday. Fifty years ago, this same secularizing drift was afoot in English society. We see evidence of it in Lewis’s correspondence. Writing to a friend in 1953, Lewis said, “I feel exactly as you do about the horrid commercial racket they have made out of Christmas.”1 Two years later, he said, “I’m afraid I hate the weeks just before Christmas, and so much of the (very commercialized and vulgarized) fuss has nothing to do with the Nativity at all.”2 In 1958, Lewis wrote, “Just a hurried line…to tell a story which puts the contrast between our feast of the Nativity and all this ghastly ‘Xmas’ racket at its lowest. My brother heard a woman on a bus say, as the bus passed a church with a crib outside it, ‘Oh Lor’! They bring religion into everything. Look—they’re dragging it even into Christmas now!’”3 Lewis described the commercialism of Christmas as one of his “pet abominations.”

The rest at titusonenine Art

Friday, December 16, 2005


In his first coming he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger. In his second coming he is clothed with light as with a garment. In his first coming he bore the cross, despising its shame; he will come a second time in glory accompanied by the hosts of angels.

It is not enough for us, then, to be content with his first coming; we must wait in hope of his second coming. What we said at his first coming, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”, we shall repeat at his last coming. Running out with the angels to meet the Master we shall cry out in adoration, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’.
Cyril of Jerusalem, 315-386 A.D.

Meditation continues at Lent and Beyond
Art

Psychiatry Ponders Whether Extreme Bias Can Be an Illness
By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 10, 2005

The 48-year-old man turned down a job because he feared that a co-worker would be gay. He was upset that gay culture was becoming mainstream and blamed most of his personal, professional and emotional problems on the gay and lesbian movement.

These fixations preoccupied him every day. Articles in magazines about gays made him agitated. He confessed that his fears had left him socially isolated and unemployed for years: A recovering alcoholic, the man even avoided 12-step meetings out of fear he might encounter a gay person.
story

Resignation of priest 1st sign of rift in S.D.
By Sandi Dolbee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
December 16, 2005

An Episcopal priest has resigned from his church and taken much of his congregation with him in the first significant sign that the divisions between the U.S. Episcopal Church and its Anglican counterpart have arrived in San Diego.

The Rev. Keith Acker, rector of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Alpine, resigned Monday and turned over the church keys to the diocese, San Diego Bishop James Mathes said yesterday. Most of the parish's leaders also have resigned.
the rest at ORTHONY



A Letter from the Bishop of San Diego concering Christ the King, Alpine
December 14, 2005

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to brief you on developments at Christ the King, Alpine. When I came to the Diocese, I was informed that the congregation of Christ the King had been greatly disturbed by the actions of the 2003 General Convention.For that reason, I met with the Rev. Keith Acker, rector, in the early weeks of my Episcopate and arranged to go to Christ the King for an Evensong the first Sunday in June. While the service seemed grace-filled and the meal following convivial, the presence of Canon Vervynck as my chaplain was not well received by some members of the congregation.

In preparation for my official visitation on the Feast of Christ the King, I met with the rector. We had a candid conversation about my first visit and mutually committed to work together to share directly our differences so as to build up the body of Christ. In the course of that visit, I clarified the role of Frank Pannitti, a priest in the Anglican Province of America, who had been functioning sacerdotally at Christ the King. I addressed the need for appropriate licensing and indicated that we needed to do this for Fr. Pannitti. This aspect of the conversation became a source of additional animus and resulted in an alternate service being held on the day of my visitation.
The rest at Connecticut Six

Cable Family Packages: Not Good Enough
Amelia Wigton
December 16, 2005

The same cable companies that provide the public with pervasively despicable programming
announced this week that they will deal with cable indecency problems by creating “family-friendly tiers, or channel packages, where they decide what is appropriate programming for families.

Cable companies that air some of the most graphically immoral material in television history cannot be trusted to turn around and successfully create a family-friendly tier, said Lanier Swann, Director of Government Relations at Concerned Women for America. Parents must ask themselves if they really want the same cable millionaires who produced trash like Nip/Tuck, Party at the Palms and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to define family-friendly.
The rest

Millions Still Shelterless in Pakistan; Winter Temperatures Plummet
Friday, Dec. 16, 2005 Posted: 11:42:13AM EST

World Vision is urgently pushing to get shelters to the millions in Pakistan still left living in the open air as temperatures drop.

Tents, tarpaulins, and blankets are urgently needed as relief organizations fear a second wave of deaths will occur if October quake survivors are left defenseless against the harsh winter. It is estimated that three million people are still without shelters and 150,000 people in remote mountain villages have not yet been reached.

Steve Matthews, World Vision (WV) communications manager said temperatures can drop to 14 degrees Fahrenheit in mountainous regions.

“Children are especially vulnerable, and acute respiratory infections, leading to pneumonia, are becoming more common in quake-affected areas," he said.
Story

Planned Parenthood Caught Concealing Rape of 11-year-old
By Hilary White

SAN FRANCISCO, December 16, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Planned Parenthood’s San Francisco office has removed a letter from its website that purported to be from a girl thanking the organization for not telling her parents that she has been raped when she was eleven by her then-17 year-old “boyfriend.” “Planned Parenthood helped me deal with the aftermath of the rape allowing me to deal and cope as best as I could in my own way,” the letter said.

American Life League’s affiliate, STOPP International said that Planned Parenthood removed the letter from their website after it caught the attention of their own and other pro-life groups.

Jim Sedlak, executive director of STOPP International said, “Planned Parenthood acts as if it is exempt from the law. The organization knows it is mandated to report suspected cases of sexual abuse involving minors, yet it seemingly fails to do so.”
Story

Michael Schiavo Turning Terri into Poster Child for Euthanasia
Special to LifeSiteNews.com
by Judie Brown

It is frequently said that truth is stranger than fiction. In the case of Michael Schiavo, husband of the now deceased Terri Schiavo, this is precisely correct.

You may recall that during the years that Terri Schiavo suffered from a debilitating condition, Michael worked very hard to acquire legal permission to kill his wife by denying her the basic human right of receiving food and water. He argued that she would not want to be fed through a tube. His view was that she actually died 12 years earlier, and that the person in the hospital bed was not truly alive. Once he succeeded in achieving his goal, and his wife died, it became clear that Schiavo had designs on attaining as much public support and sympathy as possible. In fact, one might say that in the wake of Terri's death, Michael Schiavo was starving - for attention.

He received notoriety due to various awards that pro-death groups chose to give him. He made headlines when a woman in San Francisco was convicted of a crime for posting an internet death threat leveled at Schiavo. The threat read, "If she [Terri] dies, I will kill Michael Schiavo and the judge."

A reporter in Florida claimed that Michael Schiavo, who is a licensed health care provider, was being investigated by medical malpractice authorities due to some alleged misrepresentation on an employment application.
The rest

First Homosexual Civil Union in U.S. Ends after Five Years
By Terry Vanderheyden

BRATTLEBORO, Vermont, December 16, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The first same-sex couple to enter into a civil-union “marriage” in the US is getting a divorce.

Kathleen Peterson and Carolyn Conrad were in court in October to dissolve their civil union and to decide on a division of home and property.

“All I want to say is that the civil union was a big source of pride for me and now it's not,” Peterson said Wednesday, as reported by the AP. The pair was the first to enter into a civil union after former Vermont governor Howard Dean signed the legislation into law in 2000.

The AP report highlighted that although 7,459 same-sex couples have entered into civil unions in Vermont, only 1,137 – 15 percent – were state residents. So far 78 dissolutions have been registered in Vermont.
Story

3 Christians face execution
Claim they were falsely convicted during Muslim clash
Posted: December 15, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern

Three Christian men in Indonesia who claim they were falsely accused of murder during attacks by radical Muslims face execution after being denied clemency by the Asian nation's president.

Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus Dasilva and Marinus Riwu were sentenced to death during the conflict in Poso, Central Sulewesi, in 2000.

With denial of clemency by
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, their execution by firing squad could take place as early as the end of this month, according to the British-based Christian charity Jubilee Campaign. The rest

Success of Christian films lends clout to religious media
Bill Muller
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 9, 2005 12:00 AM

Promoting the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line in Hollywood, the stars were asked some questions that fell outside the norm.


One writer spied a gold cross hanging around the neck of Reese Witherspoon (who plays June Carter) and inquired about her religious faith. Another compared a scene in which Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) drives a tractor into a lake with a baptism.

The questions were posed by Christian entertainment writers enjoying growing clout in Hollywood as studios market movies to churchgoers. The rest

A Christmas without Christians
By
Abraham H. Miller
FrontPageMagazine.com
December 16, 2005

Since the Palestinian Authority’s takeover of Bethlehem in 1995, under the Oslo Accords with Israel, Bethlehem has been transformed from a Christian city into a Muslim city. Bethlehem’s remaining Christians now live in a condition of dhimmitude (a reference to the second-class citizenship Islam imposes on Christians) in the city of Jesus’ birth.

The Palestinians brought with them a political system based on primitive tribal relations, where the power of one’s clan became a substitute for the law. As a consequence, Christians have suffered civil outrage and criminal violence without recourse to justice.

Christians have been refusing to live under these conditions and have been leaving Bethlehem in large numbers.
The rest

For those who like statistics:
Approval ratings for all US senators

here

Thursday, December 15, 2005


God became man, took upon him a birth from the fallen nature. But why was this done? Or wherein lies the adorable depth of this mystery? How does all this manifest the infinity of the divine love towards man? It is because nothing less than this mysterious Incarnation (which astonishes angels) could open a way, or begin a possibility, for fallen man to be born again from above, and made again a partaker of the divine nature.

William Law art

A different take on Europe Part 1
Date: Dec 16

With this week’s meeting of the EU Council of Ministers on December 15-16, Richard Tiplady of European Christian Mission provides an analysis of the state of the evangelical church and Christian mission in Europe.

Europe raises conflicting emotions and views in terms of both politics and mission. Most of us have a view of whether “ever closer union” with other European countries is a good thing or not (most British people believe ‘not’). When we talk or write about mission in Europe, some view this as unnecessary or as proselytism (converting Christians from one tradition to another), others see Europe as an apostate continent that is just too tough for most of us to consider working there as missionaries. But how can we generalise about a continent with 3,000 years of recorded history, almost 2,000 years of exposure to different forms of Christian tradition, hundreds of years of warfare and conflicts between (currently) 45 different countries comprising 650 million people, almost 20 million of whom are recent migrants from former colonies and other parts of the (non-European) world?
The rest

A different take on Europe Part 2
here

Vatican re-opens talks with Anglican Communion
Date: Dec 16

After a year-long break sparked by the election of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, talks have resumed between the Vatican and the Anglican Communion. In a Communiqué released on December 12, the Anglican members of the Consultation stated that tensions between the two Churches “following developments in two of the Anglican Provinces relating to ministry by and to persons of a homosexual orientation and practise” had led to a postponement of the 2004 meeting. Assurances by the Anglican Communion led to a resumption of talks and a fourth meeting of IARCCUM, the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission, were held “to review work on the project to produce a Common Statement” that would “identify a sufficient degree of agreement in faith to enable the development of a deepened common life and mission” between the two Churches, the statement read. The Commission also completed work on a summary of theological agreements reached between the two ecclesial communities. The report will “harvest the theological fruits” of 40 years of the ARCIC agreements, “taking the thinking and turning it into mission” the Rt Rev Edwin Gulick, Bishop of Kentucky said, citing prayer services where Roman Catholics and Anglicans renew their baptismal vows.

The rest

DURHAM: Bishop says he cannot support same-sex blessings
The Rt Revd Dr NT Wright
12.xii.05

Dear Friends
Warm greetings to you all on a chilly December day. I have been sparing with the Ad Clerum genre over the last two years, but I think it's time to start making amends. And there is a pressing matter about which you need to know how things are shaping up.

Last week the Civil Partnerships Act came into force, and couples of the same sex are now able to apply to register as Partners, with various tax and inheritance benefits very similar to those applying to married couples. After a short waiting period, registrations will take place, beginning on December 21.

The government has insisted that this is not 'gay marriage'. It is open to people who intend a long-term friendship and sharing of life with no romantic or sexual element.

The church has always valued and celebrated friendship and personal commitment and loyalty, and it would be wrong to collude with the over-sexualisation of our society by supposing that all such friendships are 'really' sexual. That is why the House of Bishops, in the Guidelines issued last summer, agreed that it might well be acceptable for clergy to enter such partnerships.
The rest

'Silent Night' gets reprieve
School agrees to perform beloved carol after 1st secularizing traditional lyrics
Posted: December 14, 20053:00 p.m. Eastern

A Wisconsin school that had secularized the lyrics of the beloved Christmas carol "Silent Night" has now agreed to change the words back to the original after receiving countless phone calls and e-mails about the issue.
The rest


Housing officials 'cancel' Christmas
Federally funded facilities tell residents not to sing carols, decorate
Posted: December 15, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern

Managers in charge of two federally subsidized housing facilities have told residents in one case they cannot sing Christmas carols, and in another they can't decorate their own entry doors with religious symbols, according to a religious-liberty law firm.
Story

Bishop Frederick Henry on the Church in Canada
"We Are Not Nearly Countercultural Enough or Prophetic Enough"
CALGARY, Alberta,

DEC. 11, 2005

(ZENIT.org).- A culture with a morality gone awry needs countercultural Catholics to proclaim Christ while working alongside dissenting groups, says a Canadian bishop.

In an interview with ZENIT, Bishop Frederick Henry, 62, of the Diocese of Calgary, shared his pastoral views and strategies of how Catholics can live in an increasingly secular culture and take an active role in influencing it for the good.

Interview-excellent analysis

The power of prayer: 10,000 Foot Freefall, Face-First Landing After Parachute Fails – Prays – Survives
Divers unborn baby also survives

By Hilary White JOPLIN, December 14, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - First the main chute failed – that was at 10,000 feet – then the reserve chute wouldn’t open. At that moment, Shayna Richardson, 21, started praying.

“As soon as I looked up and saw I had a bad reserve canopy, I said, 'God, I'm ready to go home if you're ready for me, but please don't make it hurt,’” she said.

“I heard a snap and I started spinning and I didn't know why. I didn't know what to do to fix it. I didn't know how to make it stop,” Richardson said.
the rest

Ford to advertise Jaguar, Land Rover in gay publications
Wed Dec 14, 5:32 PM ET

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday said it will run advertisements in gay publications, reversing a decision last week to pull all advertising of its Jaguar and Land Rover luxury brands from that sector.

In a letter to some gay, lesbian and human rights groups, Ford said it has decided to run corporate ads for all its eight brands, including its Jaguar and Land Rover luxury brands, in the targeted publications.

"It is my hope that this will remove any ambiguity about Ford's desire to advertise to all important audiences and put this particular issue behind us," Joe Laymon, Ford's group vice president for corporate human resources, wrote in the letter, which was posted on Ford's web site.
Story

Chaput says anti-Christian sentiment growing
By Mike Soraghan
Denver Post Staff Writer

Washington - Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput said the October murder of three Christian girls in Indonesia was an example of growing violence against Christians by Muslims across the world.

"Anti-Christian discrimination and violence seem to be growing throughout the Islamic world," Chaput said. "I would call on all persons of good will - not just American Christians but American Muslims - to demand from our government and our ally Indonesia an immediate effort to end the violence against Christians in Indonesia."

Chaput spoke at the U.S. Capitol at a forum put on by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., entitled "Christmas Under Siege Around the World." Santorum, a conservative Roman Catholic, introduced Chaput as "a friend and someone I work with on a variety of issues."
The rest


Indonesian Church Seriously Damaged by Fire

Unknown attackers set fire to the Beth Eden Protestant Church in Manado, Indonesia on the night of December 8. There were no injuries, even though the pastor and his family were living in the building. However, the building received extensive damage. Stephen Liow, the church's pastor, told Asia News that he had been receiving anonymous calls for the past few months from people threatening to burn down the church building.

The Christmas season in Indonesia has often been a time of suffering for Christians who are targeted by Islamic militants. Due to the heightened threat of terrorism, thousands of police officers have been put on alert. A police spokesman said, "Churches and other worship buildings have become our top priority to secure along with entertainment centres, shopping compounds."
link


Muslims to guard churches

JAKARTA, DECEMBER 9: Volunteers from Indonesia's largest Islamic organisation will guard churches across the world's most populous Muslim nation on Christmas amid fears of terrorist attacks on those places, the group said on Friday.

Jakarta police have said they would boost security in the capital ahead of Christmas to avoid a repeat of 2000 Christmas Eve bombings on churches in several Indonesian cities, including in the country's capital.
Story

Australia: Now churches are targeted

FOUR churches in Sydney's southwest have been attacked in 24 hours as the city's riots spread from race to religion.

A community hall linked to a Uniting church was burned to the ground early yesterday, carol-singers were spat on and church buildings peppered with gunfire.

In response, members of the Arab Christian and Arab Muslim communities have called for a curfew for all Lebanese youths over the weekend.

Police believe the attack on the hall, in the suburb of Auburn, was intended to destroy the Uniting church next door, while nearby St.
Thomas's Anglican Church, which has a primarily Chinese congregation, had all its front windows smashed. Three of the attacks were on churches within minutes of each other. The night before, Molotov cocktails were used in an attack on an Anglican church in Macquarie Fields in the city's far southwest.

Arab Christians have suggested the attacks on churches may have been meant as a violent attempt to "shame" the city's Lebanese Christian community into supporting Lebanese Muslims in the race-hate war, which began as a battle against young white males over use of suburban beaches.
the rest


the Aussie Riots
By
Sharon Lapkin
FrontPageMagazine.com
December 15, 2005

In Australia this week amidst anger over an Islamic man’s rape conviction and the bashing of two Aussie life savers, working-class locals erupted in a rampage of anger and brawling in some of the worst racial riots in decades. But there is more to the story than is being repeated in the American mainstream media....

Four days after he set foot in Australia, the rape spree began. And during his sexual assault trial in a New South Wales courtroom, the Pakistani man began to berate one of his tearful 14-year-old victims because she had the temerity to shake her head at his testimony.

But she had every reason to express her disgust. After taking an oath on the Qur’an, the man – known only as MSK – told the court he had committed four attacks on girls as young as 13 because they had no right to say “no.” They were not covering their face or wearing a headscarf, and therefore, the rapist proclaimed: “I’m not doing anything wrong.”

MSK is already serving a 22-year jail term for leading his three younger brothers in a gang rape of two other young Sydney girls in 2002. In his own defence, he argued that his cultural background, was responsible for his crimes.

And he is right.
The rest

Gay Clergy Issue Letter on Vatican Policy
Wed Dec 14,10:55 PM ET

VATICAN CITY - A group of gay Italian clergy said Wednesday that their homosexuality has not stopped them from being good priests,a direct response to a recent
Vatican policy statement banning priestly candidates with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies.

The message, an open letter in which the priests said they felt like the church's "unloved and unwanted children," was posted on the Web site of the Italian Catholic news agency Adista. The agency last month leaked the Vatican instruction on gay priests a week before its scheduled release by the Holy See.

Adista said 39 priests, 26 diocesans and 13 more members of various religious orders had signed the letter. However, the text reproduced on the Web site did not include the signatures or list their names.
Story

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Whenever you obey God, His seal is always that of peace, the witness of an unfathomable peace, which is not natural, but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, tarry till it does or find out the reason why it does not. If you are acting on an impulse, or from a sense of the heroic, the peace of Jesus will not witness; there is no simplicity or confidence in God, because the spirit of simplicity is born of the Holy Ghost, not of your decisions. Every decision brings a reaction of simplicity.
Oswald Chambers

NORTH FLORIDA: Five Parishes Announce they will leave ECUSA in January From the Anglican Alliance of North Florida
JACKSONVILLE, FL.

(December 14, 2005)--On December 12, 2005 a letter (below) was delivered to Bishop Howard which stated that during the first week of January, five congregations will transfer from the Episcopal Diocese of Florida to other provinces within the worldwide Anglican Communion. These congregations seek to remain faithful to Christ and be in full communion with the majority of the members in the larger Communion.

The congregations are Grace Church in Orange Park, St. Luke's Community of Life in Tallahassee, St. Michael's in Gainesville, and Redeemer and All Souls both in Jacksonville. St. Michael's will be renamed Servants of Christ.

They are realigning variously with the different overseas Anglican provinces. Other congregations in the Diocese of Florida are planning to take similar actions in the next few months.
The rest at Vitueonline

Also, news update and commentary by David Virtue here

Archbishop of Canterbury Sets Dates for 2008 Lambeth Conference
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams, has officially announced the dates for the 2008 Lambeth Conference as the 16th July to 3rd August 2008.
Posted: Wednesday, December 14 , 2005, 9:19 (UK)

The dates for the 2008 Lambeth Conference were officially announced by the Archbishop of Canterbury in an Advent Letter to the 38 primates around the world.

The Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams said the Conference, which meets every ten years, would take place at the University of Kent in Canterbury from 16 July to 3 August 2008.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said the Conference would be an opportunity for “individual Christian pastors to meet Jesus afresh, for our Church to be renewed in mission, for the world to hear good news”.

He stressed in the letter that a key aspect of the Conference would be the enabling for ministry: “The main focus I long to see at this Conference is the better equipping of bishops to fulfil their task as agents and enablers of mission, as co-workers with God’s mission in Jesus Christ.”
Story

Tighter abortion rules sought
Some task force members disagree with report, walk out of meeting in Pierre
By Chet Brokaw
Associated Press Writer

PIERRE - After a contentious final meeting, a state task force has recommended that the Legislature take further steps to restrict abortions in South Dakota.

The majority of the task force supported a report that says the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion was flawed because scientific and other advances have since demonstrated that life begins at conception.

The 72-page draft report calls for a ban on abortion by overturning the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized the practice. In the meantime, it recommends that South Dakota should put further restrictions on abortion, such as requiring that women get additional information and counseling before having abortions.
the rest

Polygamy Next "Right" on Judicial Chopping Block Warn Pro-Family Advocates
By Terry Vanderheyden
WASHINGTON,
December 13, 2005

(LifeSiteNews.com) - Pro-family analysts are warning that, since the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in Canada and Massachusetts, polygamy is likely the next frontier in the advancing disintegration of the Judeo-Christian edifice.

South Dakota State Rep. Elizabeth Kraus, who proposed a constitutional amendment that would explicitly ban not only same-sex "marriage" but also polygamy, warned: "Once you open the marriage door to anyone other than one man or one woman, you haven't begun to slide down the slippery slope. You've already hit rock bottom."

Kraus's proposed amendment reads, "Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in South Dakota. The uniting of two or more persons in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other quasi-marital relationship shall not be valid or recognized in South Dakota." The proposed amendment will appear on a ballot in South Dakota's general election in November of 2006, as the proposition was already confirmed by both the House and Senate there earlier this year.
The rest

"If Jesus Returns, Kill Him Again" says NDP Supporting Atheist Campaigner
By Hilary White

BURNABY, December 13, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A British Columbia man, David Bedford, has undertaken a personal campaign against the presence Christianity in public life in general and the Conservative Party of Canada in particular, claiming that a vote for Stephen Harper's Conservatives is a vote for "religious extremism."


Claiming to be an NDP supporter, Bedford irritated police across Canada last week by setting up websites with names similar to those of local police units that automatically redirect visitors to the NDP campaign website.

the rest

When Will They Ever Learn? Mainline Decline in Perspective
Posted: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 2:07 am ET

The
Episcopal Diocese of Newark, New Jersey has the distinction of once having been led by none other than Bishop John Shelby Spong, who has managed to push heresy into the twilight zone by suggesting that the church must move even beyond theism. Not satisfied with denying the virgin birth, the resurrection of Christ, and other major doctrines, Bishop Spong was determined to deny a personal God as well. Now, the diocese is seeking a new bishop once again. There's a story here.

The Record and the Herald News, newspapers serving northern New Jersey, report: The Episcopal Diocese of Newark, for years the epitome of liberal Protestant Christianity in America, acknowledged Thursday in an unusually candid report that it has suffered a steep slide in membership and needs a bishop who can revitalize its struggling parishes. The diocese, which covers seven northern New Jersey counties including Bergen, Passaic, Hudson and Morris, has lost nearly 24,000 congregants, or 46 percent of its membership, since 1972. That's nearly three times the average decline in the Episcopal Church nationwide, the report said.
Under liberal church leadership, the diocese has lost over 40-percent of its membership -- almost 24,000 members. Anyone concerned?

Albert Mohler-don't miss this Anglican Christians!

University Clears Worker Punished for Stating Objections to Homosexuality
By Jim Brown and Jenni Parker
December 13, 2005

(AgapePress) - A student employee at William Patterson University (WPU) in New Jersey has been cleared of sexual harassment charges. The exoneration of 63-year-old part-time student and campus technician Jihad Daniel comes some time after the university's initial reprimand of him for raising objections to homosexuality in his reply to an e-mail promoting a movie and discussion about lesbian relationships.

Initially, WPU found Daniel guilty of violating the school's discrimination policy for privately referring to homosexuality and lesbianism as "perversions" and requesting that he receive no further e-mail "about 'Connie and Sally' and 'Adam and Steve.'" His comments were written in response to an unsolicited e-mail from Arlene Holpp Scala, a Women's Studies professor at the school, who sent out a mass e-mail plugging a planned screening and discussion of a film about lesbian relationships.
The rest

The Pentagon Breaks the Islam Taboo
By
Paul Sperry
FrontPageMagazine.com
December 14, 2005

Washington's policy-makers have been careful in the war on terror to distinguish between Islam and the terrorists. The distinction has rankled conservatives who see scarce difference.

A little-noticed speech by President Bush in October gave them some hope. In a major rhetorical shift, he described the enemy as "Islamic radicals" and not just "terrorists," although he still denies that radicalism has anything to do with their religion

.Now for the first time, a key Pentagon intelligence agency involved in homeland security is delving into Islam's holy texts to answer whether Islam is being radicalized by the terrorists or is already radical. Military brass want a better understanding of what's motivating the insurgents in Iraq and the terrorists around the globe, including those inside America who may be preparing to strike domestic military bases. The enemy appears indefatigable, even more active now than before 9/11.

Are the terrorists really driven by self-serving politics and personal demons? Or are they driven by religion? And if it's religion, are they following a manual of war contained in their scripture?
The rest

'Soldiers' gear up to defend Christmas
By Julia Duin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
December 14, 2005

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- 'Tis the season to fight folly. Troops are massed on the ground floor of a nondescript, green-glassed building that's become ground zero for an annual campaign to defend Christmas.
The "soldiers" lined up for the fight are 832 lawyers ready to charge any municipality or public school that dares excise the mention or observance of the world's most widely celebrated holiday
. A framed poster near the entrance asks: "Have you ever experienced discrimination because you are a Christian?" It hints at the philosophical bent of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Christian legal group based here.
The rest

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Come Love, come Lord,
and that long day
For which I languish, come away.
When this dry soul those eyes

shall see
And drink the unseal'd source of Thee,
When glory's sun faith's shades

shall chase,
Then for Thy veil give me Thy face.

Richard Crashaw Art

Embryonic Stem Cell Therapies to Cure Disease is “Pure Folly”, Says MIT Prof
Reveals Some Scientists Don’t Oppose Embryonic Research Out of Fear of Reprisals
By Terry Vanderheyden

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, December 12, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Massachusetts Institute of Technology associate professor has revealed in an interview that many scientists are afraid to criticize embryonic stem-cell research out of fear of reprisals.

“Many scientists who do not support human embryo research are afraid to speak out because of possible reprisals from powerful scientists who can affect grant success, publication acceptances, tenure promotion, and employment,” said Dr. James Sherley, an associate professor of biological engineering at MIT, in an exclusive interview with the web magazine, MercatorNet.

A researcher and proponent of adult stem cells, Professor Sherley said placing hope in embryonic stem cell research for disease cure is “pure folly.” “Embryonic stem cells cannot be used directly [because] they form tumours when transplanted into mature tissues,” he explained.
The rest

29 Chinese Christians arrested
Church leaders apprehended for holding 'illegal religious gathering'
Posted: December 13, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern

Just two weeks before Christmas, the Chinese government yesterday arrested 29 Christians for holding an "illegal religious gathering."

According to the China Aid Association, citing eyewitness reports, 40 law enforcement officers with eight police vehicles raided a house church leadership meeting at Xiapigang Village in China's Henan Province. Some 100 major church leaders from Henan and Anhui were gathered at a believer's house, discussing how the house churches could help a large group of peasants who had contracted AIDS. That area is widely known as "the AIDS Disaster Area" because many peasants became infected when they sold their blood to local blood centers contaminated with the AIDS virus.
Story


Islamists call for elimination of Christians
Pakistani Muslims also want to see man charged with blasphemy hanged
Posted: December 13, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Jeremy Reynalds

Militant Islamists in Pakistan have called for the elimination of Christians and the public hanging of a Christian accused of blasphemy.

According to a news release from human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide, or CSW, about 3,000 Muslims gathered for Friday prayers at the Jamia Mosque in Sangla Hill on Dec. 2. It was at that location three weeks earlier that three churches, a school, a convent and Christian homes were attacked in Pakistan's worst outbreak of anti-Christian violence since 2002.
The rest

The Truth About Women and Abortion -- Lasting Trauma
Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 2:17 am ET

Guilt, distress, and mental distress among women who have experienced an abortion are far more common and long-lasting than abortion rights proponents have claimed. Researchers with the Norwegian Council for Mental Health and the University of Oslo evaluated 40 women who had experienced miscarriage and 80 women who had experienced an abortion. The women were then followed by the researchers for five years.

According to a report in
The Washington Times: Out of the entire group of women, only a dozen -- one who had miscarried, the rest who had aborted -- did not describe the experience of losing a baby as difficult. The researchers also reported that seven women who had abortions dropped out of the study all together "because it was too difficult for them to answer questions about the pregnancy termination." Although the women who had miscarried experienced more immediate grief, those feelings abated and began to resolve over time -- a pattern "expected after a traumatic and sad life event," the study stated. the rest-Albert Mohler


The Rule of Law and the Role of Judges—Why the Nomination of Samuel Alito Matters
Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Albert Mohler
"One of the indispensable matters of Western Civilization is the rule of law. That rule is central to democratic government, a vigorous economy, and individual liberty." With those words, Judge Robert H. Bork affirms the rule of law--and points to the important role played by judges. The rule of law, he argues, "requires that the law be understood to have force and moral weight of its own, independent of the political and cultural struggles of the moment." That is another way of saying that the rule of law, when it is observed, guarantees the supremacy of process in political affairs; self-government, stability, and safety depend on that supremacy.
The rest

No Hope for the Episcopal Church of America, Says Seminary Dean
11 Dec. 2005
Ralph Davis
Posted on 12/11/2005 7:31:02 PM PST
by
AnalogReigns

The Very Rev. Dr.theol. Paul F. M. Zahl, Dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, a small evangelical Episcopal (yes...one of the few) seminary in Pennsylvania, spoke today St. John's Church, one of the largest Episcopal churches in Charlotte, NC.

Dean Zahl said he had no hope in ecclesiology rather full hope in soteriology...meaning he has no hope in the organized Episcopal Church of the USA, rather lays his hope only in Jesus Christ.
Interesting, Zahl sees the main problem not one of authority of scripture, rather that of "bishops gone wild" in a power-play of control of the ECUSA. The liberal bishops, while in complete denominational control, will allow no provision at all for those with a biblical/evangelical conscience.

As an example of this his seminary,
Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry which is fully accredited, with very well qualified professors, and a 30 year history, has been 100% blackballed by American Episcopal bishops. This means that any graduate of this officially Episcopal school will not be ordained in the ECUSA....let alone supported while they go there. This in an era where something over 20% of ECUSA pulpits are empty.... The rest


Sexuality row may be irresolvable, says ex-Archbishop
-11/12/05

A much-admired former Archbishop of York, whose own sexual orientation he once described as “a grey area”, has said that he cannot see any resolution to well-worn arguments within the Anglican Communion about homosexuality and women priests – certainly in his lifetime.

Father David Hope, who took the unusual step of resigning early from the second highest post in the Church of England in order to go back to parochial ministry in Yorkshire, was speaking on the famous BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Desert Island Discs’ – where guests intersperse an interview with choosing eight pieces of music or speech which mean most to them.
The rest

Judge sides with two SoCal Episcopal parishes in property dispute
Associated Press
Posted on Tue, Dec. 13, 2005

SANTA ANA, Calif. - A judge ruled that two conservative parishes that broke away from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles were the rightful owners of their church buildings and other property.

The diocese had argued that it held the property in trust for All Saints Church in Long Beach and St. David's Church in North Hollywood.

Those parishes, along with St. James Church in Newport Beach, pulled out of the six-county Los Angeles Diocese and the 2.3-million member national Episcopal Church in August 2004 following the ordination of a gay bishop in the Diocese of New Hampshire. They announced they were placing themselves under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in Uganda.
Story

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Quiet Heart
In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)


It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mis-trusting. What can we do if we wear ourselves to skin and bone? Can we gain anything by fearing and fuming? Do we not unfit ourselves for action and unhinge our minds for wise decision? We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith.

Oh, for grace to be quiet! Why run from house to house to repeat the weary story which makes us more and more heart-sick as we tell it? Why even stay at home to cry out in agony because of wretched forebodings which may never be fulfilled? It would be well to keep a quiet tongue, but it would be far better if we had a quiet heart. Oh, to be still and know that Jehovah is God!

Oh, for grace to be confident in God! The holy One of Israel must defend and deliver His own. He cannot run back from His solemn declarations. We may make sure that every word of His will stand though the mountains should depart. He deserves to be confided in; and if we would display confidence and consequent quietness, we might be as happy as the spirits before the throne.

Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus.

CH Spurgeon

Web site takes a happy approach to news
By DAVID KOENIG AP Business Writer

DALLAS (AP) -- Carrie Rodgers is so engrossed by cable-television news shows that her husband calls her a news addict, but lately she has found another source to balance the onslaught of stories about war, crime and natural disasters.

Two or three times a day, the 28-year-old insurance agent in Columbia, S.C., turns to a Web site called HappyNews.com.

She often clicks first to a section called "Heroes," which recently featured stories about U.S. troops rescuing two cheetah cubs in Ethiopia and the induction of 12 people into the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans.

"There's so much going on in the world that is so sad," Rodgers said. "You can go anywhere and find depressing news. I'm glad somebody has stepped up and shown there are still good people in the world."
Article link to Happynews

Rock of offense
By blackballing Christian prayer, a federal judge creates a state religion
by Gene Edward Veith

A federal court has ruled that the Indiana House of Representatives may not open with any kind of prayer that mentions "Christ's name or title." This ruling is far more significant than banning the Ten Commandments in courthouses or taking "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. What the Indiana decision does is to outlaw Christian prayer in the civic arena. And, if it stands, it will mean that no Christian clergyman or layperson can in good conscience pray at public events.

The word invocation does not just mean a prayer that opens a meeting. It means "calling upon" a deity. Virtually every prayer begins by calling upon the name of the person to whom the prayer is addressed.

Islamic prayers—as were also offered in the Indiana House and noted with approval in Judge David Hamilton's ruling—begin "In the name of Allah, the merciful." Is it legal to invoke Allah's name, and not that of Jesus Christ?
The rest

Welcome to the culture of rudeness
Dec 12, 2005
by
Suzanne Fields

Not for a long, long time have parents enforced the notion that children should be seen and not heard. All us fogies, even young ones, flinch when the kids talk at loud length on their cell phones at school, at play and in their living rooms. They turn the music up as high as it can go no matter where they are.

Let's hear it for one old fogey who has invented a little payback. An engineer in Wales, noticing that teenagers hear sound at higher pitches than older grown-ups, and weary of having to listen to loud music where teenagers congregate, has developed a tiny machine he calls the "Mosquito." The Mosquito blasts a piercing high frequency wail that sends teenagers scurrying. Adults are merely amused because the pitch is too high for their ears to pick up. At last, a weapon for civil(ity) defense.

But the fundamental issue isn't noise, but rudeness and a dearth of manners. We've all bemoaned the culture dominated by images that exploit the ever-shrinking attention span, but we neglect to confront the sources of noise that assault the ear everywhere.
commentary

Pope: Christmas Polluted by Consumerism
The Associated Press
Sunday, December 11, 2005; 10:17 AM

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that Christmas festivities have been polluted by consumerism and suggested that assembling the Nativity scene in the home is an effective way of teaching the faith to children.

Nativity scenes are a common sight in Italian homes around Christmas time, and in an annual tradition children came to St. Peter's Square bearing Nativity figures of baby Jesus for the pontiff to bless.

"In today's consumer society, this time (of the year) is unfortunately subjected to a sort of commercial 'pollution' that is in danger of altering its true spirit, which is characterized by meditation, sobriety and by a joy that is not exterior but intimate," the pope said in his traditional Sunday blessing.
Story

Planned Parenthood hijacks Christ from Christmas as their abortion business grows
December 11, 2005 12:07 AM EST
by Jim Sedlak

- It’s the Christmas season, and those who would corrupt the Christian message are in high gear. At the same time, though, Christians are being more vigilant this year than ever about defending their rights to publicly celebrate Christ’s birth.

Daily, it seems, we receive word that one store or another has banned its employees from wishing customers a Merry Christmas – opting instead for the politically correct Happy Holidays. Some of the stores, however, are sensitive to the outrage of their Christian customers and have changed their policies after protests erupted.

As a viewer of NBC’s Tonight Show, it has been of particular delight to watch host Jay Leno defy all this anti-Christian activity and insist on referring to the Christmas Season. I wish that all entertainers and organizations would remember to keep Christ in this joyous season.

As gratifying as Mr. Leno’s stand has been, we have been saddened by the recent pronouncements of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Over the last few weeks, Planned Parenthood has posted two items on its web site that are a direct affront to every Christian in this nation.
The rest

Sunday, December 11, 2005


The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee,
the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together,
to beautify the place of my sanctuary;
and I will make the place of my feet glorious.

The sons also of them that afflicted thee

shall come bending unto thee;
and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down
at the soles of thy feet;
and they shall call thee the city of the LORD,
the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 60:13-14

The marriage of many
By Cheryl Wetzstein
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
December 11, 2005

"Polygamy rights is the next civil rights battle." So goes the motto of a Christian pro-polygamy organization that has been watching the battle over homosexual "marriage" rights with keen interest.


"We're coming. We are next. There's no doubt about it, we are next," says Mark Henkel, founder of
www.TruthBearer.org.

Traditional values groups often argue that legalizing same-sex "marriage" is a "slippery slope" -- that if marriage is redefined to allow homosexuals to "wed," it will be further redefined to allow other unions, including polygamous ones.

Homosexual rights leaders and their allies insist that the "slippery slope" argument is a rhetorical dodge. It's a "scare tactic," says Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson.

"What homosexuals are asking for is the right to marry, not anybody they love, but somebody they love, which is not at all the same thing," Brookings Institution scholar Jonathan Rauch has written.
the rest

Bishops Pressure Government on Asylum Seekers
Nineteen Anglican bishops, as well as numerous other religious leaders, have pressured the Government to change its policy on asylum seekers in an open letter.
Posted: Saturday, December 10 , 2005, 11:09 (UK)

The Government has come under pressure from nineteen Anglican bishops, including the Archbishop of York, to change its policies which “victimise” asylum seekers, reports The Church of England Newspaper.

Just one week after his enthronement, Dr John Sentamu led the bishops and other religious leaders across the UK in the condemnation against the Government policies, which they described as “inhuman” for leaving asylum seekers homeless and without financial support.

The criticism was voiced in an open letter to The Times, with a total of 36 signatories, including the Bishops of Worcester, Chester, Sheffield and Ripon and Leeds, as well as leaders from the Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Scottish Episcopal and United Reformed Churches.
story

Church of the Nativity needs a miracle
By Tim Butcher in Bethlehem
(Filed: 10/12/2005)

If pilgrims worshipping in the Church of the Nativity look up at the roof, they will see a battlefield threatening the future of one of Christendom's most holy sites.

Squabbling over crucial roof repairs between the three Christian communities who share custodianship of Jesus's birthplace is endangering the 1,500-year-old basilica.

Large holes in the 500-year-old lead roof have let rainwater flood inside for years. It streams down the walls and threatens to wash away Crusader-era murals and destroy Byzantine mosaics.

A botched repair by the Greeks, in which the roof was given a waterproof lining, has created new problems as condensation now eats into the plaster and rots wooden beams.
The rest

ADF: Worldwide Outcry Influenced Swedish Pastor's Hate Speech Trial
By Allie Martin
December 9, 2005

(AgapePress) - An attorney with the
Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) says international exposure and pressure played a major role in a recent decision by Sweden's Supreme Court not to convict a pastor of committing a "hate speech" crime after he preached a sermon offering a biblical perspective on homosexual sin.

Last week Sweden's highest court unanimously decided to acquit Pastor Ake Green, who had been charged with hate speech in connection with a July 2003 sermon he preached at his church and later had published in a local newspaper. Arrested, charged, and initially convicted, Green was given one month in jail, a sentence he appealed.

An appellate court overturned Green's conviction on February 11 of this year. However, on March 9, the Swedish Prosecutor appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, which acquitted the pastor on November 29.
The rest


Police warn author over gay comments
By Sally Pook
(Filed: 10/12/2005)

An author and broadcaster condemned as "sinister" yesterday an inquiry conducted by police over comments she made about homosexuals on a live radio programme.

Lynette Burrows, an author on children's rights and a family campaigner, took part in a discussion on the Victoria Derbyshire show on Radio Five Live about the new civil partnerships act.
Story