Saturday, January 06, 2007

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.

Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from afar,
and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.
Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and exult,
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.
Isaiah 60: 1-6
art

Please pray for Dr. Mohler
Friday, January 05, 2007

Dr. Mohler's health has sustained a setback. Over the past 36 hours Dr. Mohler has suffered from unrelenting pain. This unusual degree of pain signaled concern for the attending physicians and prompted additional tests this afternoon. In the past hour these tests have revealed that Dr. Mohler is suffering from pulmonary emboli in both lungs. His condition is quite serious and he has been moved to the intensive care unit of Baptist East Hospital in Louisville, KY for immediate treatment.

Please make this a matter of urgent prayer. Thank you once again for your concern and support during these days.
albertmohler.com

Found at Lent and Beyond: UPDATE: As of 9 p.m. eastern, Friday evening, Dr. Mohler was making encouraging progress. Praise God for that but keep praying for him and his family. You can read the details (including names of his family) here.

Odd Winter Weather Strikes Across U.S.
Saturday, January 06, 2007

DENVER — January got off to a strange start in the U.S. as temperatures crept toward 70 degrees in the northeast, Colorado dug out of its third snowstorm in as many weeks, and four died in weather-related incidents in Louisiana and California.

The Denver area was blanketed with up to 8 inches of snow Friday in yet another major snowstorm, while nearly a foot fell in the foothills west of the city before the storm moved into New Mexico.

The mid-Atlantic, however, was expected to experience temperatures rivaling or surpassing Southern California.

High temperatures were expected to reach 70 in parts of New Jersey today, while on the other side of the country, highs in the upper 60s were expected for Los Angeles and San Diego.

Warm weather in New England and a complete lack of snow are causing problems for winter-related businesses. Private snowplow operators have nothing to plow and even towing firms that help out after accidents are seeing less business.
the rest

Christianity Today Weblog
Finding and Missing Jesus at Ford's Funeral
Compiled by Ted Olsen
1/04/2007

Lots of Jesus, but not all of Jesus' words, at National CathedralThe state funeral for Gerald Ford at the
National Cathedral was "a resounding repudiation" to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens's "radically secularist misreading of the establishment clause," Ed Whelan wrote at National Review Online. Explicitly Christian language permeated the ceremony, "from its opening words — 'With faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the body of our brother Gerald for burial' — through the many prayers, readings from Scripture, and homily, to the dismissal 'in the name of Christ,' " And that's not all, Whelan noted:

The United States Marine Orchestra and the Armed Forces Chorus not only performed; they sang explicitly Christian hymns. During the prelude, for example, the Marines sang "When Jesus Wept." During the service itself, the Marine Orchestra provided the musical accompaniment for Denyce Graves's singing of the Lord's Prayer, and the Armed Forces Chorus sang "Eternal Father, strong to save" — a prayer to the trinitarian God. The closing hymn, "For All the Saints," was sung by all and included lyrics like "thy Name, O Jesus, be for ever blessed."

However, complaints about the religious content in the Ford funeral is coming not from secularists, but from evangelicals. Kendall Harmon, one of the country's most prominent evangelical Episcopalians, noted that
Robert Certain, the presiding Episcopalian priest truncated the gospel reading, John 14:1-6. In Certain's reading, verse six ended: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life.'" But verse six continues: "No one comes to the Father, but by me." "This seems to be another gesture of a church that cannot deal with Holy Scripture on its own terms," Harmon complained.

Other conservative Anglicans are frustrated that Certain's homily dragged Ford into the denomination's current fights. "Early this past summer, as I prepared to leave for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, President Ford's concern was for the church he loved," Certain said. "He asked me if we would face schism. After we discussed the various issues we would consider, particularly concerns about human sexuality and the leadership of women, he said he did not think they should be divisive for anyone who lived by the Great Commandments to love God and neighbor."

Wonderful. By all means, let's start having our governmental leaders weigh in by proxy on denominational disputes. Why aren't Clinton and Carter leading the debate on whether Southern Baptists should speak in tongues? If memory serves, Certain's church divided from its parent body in 1789 over whether a head of state gets to decide church disputes.

Conservative Anglican scandal? Or politics?
Evangelical Episcopal priest Don Armstrong, executive director of the Anglican Communion Institute and a Colorado Springs pastor, has been put on paid leave from the Colorado Episcopal Diocese during an investigation into an accusation that he misused church funds. That's about all the news so far. No one is talking about the details of the allegation except to say that police have not been contacted. The Colorado Springs Gazette frames the story as similar to the resignations of New Life Church ministers Ted Haggard and Christopher Beard, but the connection is problematic. If the allegation against Armstrong had been about sexual immorality, the Episcopal diocese probably would not have put him on leave. More likely, they would have made him a bishop. Speaking of which: Armstrong is one of the chief internal critics of the Episcopal Church's recent leadership and direction, and he encouraged a protest of withholding funds from the diocese and the national Episcopal Church. Some bishops in the Episcopal Church have made comments suggesting they think such a protest would be a form of misuse of church funds. But if that's the basis of the allegations here, the Colorado Diocese is going to look awfully petty. link

The Next Christianity
PHILIP JENKINS
October 2002

Excerpt: "The experience of the world's Anglicans and Episcopalians may foretell the direction of conflicts within the Roman Catholic Church. In the Anglican Communion, which is also torn by a global cultural conflict over issues of gender and sexuality, orthodox Southerners seek to re-evangelize a Euro-American world that they view as coming close to open heresy. This uncannily recalls the situation in sixteenth-century Europe, in which Counter-Reformation Catholics sent Jesuits and missionary priests to reconvert those regions that had fallen into Protestantism.

Anglicans in the North tend to be very liberal on homosexuality and the ordination of women. In recent years, however, liberal clerics have been appalled to find themselves outnumbered and regularly outvoted. In these votes the bishops of Africa and Asia have emerged as a rock-solid conservative bloc. The most ferocious battle to date occurred at the Lambeth World Conference in 1998, which adopted, over the objections of the liberal bishops, a forthright traditional statement proclaiming the impossibility of reconciling homosexual conduct with Christian ministry. As in the Roman Catholic Church, the predominance of Southerners at future events of this kind will only increase. Nigeria already has more practicing Anglicans than any other country, far more than Britain itself, and Uganda is not far behind. By mid-century the global total of Anglicans could approach 150 million, of whom only a small minority will be white Europeans or North Americans. The shifting balance with-in the church could become a critical issue very shortly, since the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is notably gay-friendly and has already ordained a practicing homosexual as a priest. The Lambeth debate also initiated a series of events that Catholic reformers should study carefully. Briefly, American conservatives who were disenchanted with the liberal establishment in the U.S. Episcopal Church realized that they had powerful friends overseas, and transferred their religious allegiance to more-conservative authorities in the global South. Since 2000 some conservative American Episcopalians have traveled to Moses Tay's cathedral in Singapore, where they were consecrated as bishops by Asian and African Anglican prelates, including the Rwandan archbishop Emmanuel Kolini. By tradition an Anglican archbishop is free to ordain whomever he pleases within his province, so although the Americans live and work in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and other states, they are now technically bishops within the province of Rwanda.


They have become missionary bishops, charged with ministering to conservative congregations in the United States, where they support a dissident "virtual province" within the church. They and their conservative colleagues are now part of the Anglican Mission in America, which is intended officially to "lead the Episcopal Church back to its biblical foundations." The mission aims to restore traditional teachings and combat what it sees as the "manifest heresy" and even open apostasy of the U.S. Church leadership. Just this past summer Archbishop Kolini offered his protection to dissident Anglicans in the Vancouver area, who were rebelling against liberal proposals to allow same-sex couples to receive a formal Church blessing. "


worth reading again-the rest

Budget trouble in Episcopal diocese
A special session of the Pa. convention will be asked to approve cuts. Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. is under fire.
By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

Faced with a revenue shortfall driven in part by dissatisfaction with Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr., the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania today is expected to cut 19 percent from its 2007 operating budget.

Meeting in a special session of the annual diocesan convention, delegates will be asked to slash the budget from $3.45 million to $2.82 million.

If approved, the cut will force major reductions in the diocese's contribution to the national Episcopal church and to aided parishes within the diocese. Funding for a new assistant to the bishop would also be eliminated.

Delegates had approved the $3.45 million program budget at their regular convention in November, based on anticipated parish pledges of $1.6 million. To date, however, the parishes have pledged only $1.2 million, prompting the diocesan program budget committee to recommend a new budget.
the rest

Anglican Head Fears Church Schism
By Anne Thomas
Christian Post Correspondent
Sat, Jan. 06 2007

LONDON – The Anglican Church is on the brink of separation over homosexuality, and the head of the worldwide denomination has admitted that he fears losing control of the situation.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams says that he feared anything that set Christians more deeply at odds with each other.

"And because I am an ordinary, sinful human being, I fear the situation slipping out of my control, such as it is," he says in a documentary on Canterbury Cathedral to be broadcast on ITV - the most popular commercial television channel in Britain.

"I fear schism – not because I think it's the worst thing in the world but because, at this particular juncture, it's going to be bad for us. It's going to drive people into recrimination and bitterness."
the rest

Friday, January 05, 2007

Christianity is a religion which concerns us as we are here and now, creatures of body and soul. We do not follow the footsteps of His most holy life by the exercise of a trained religious imagination, but by treading the firm, rough earth, up hill and down dale. ...Evelyn Underhill photo

The will of God for your life is simply that you submit yourself to Him each day and say, "Father, Your will for today is mine. Your pleasure for today is mine. Your work for today is mine. I trust You to be God. You lead me today and I will follow." ...Kay Arthur

ADF earns victory for nurse demoted for not distributing ‘morning after’ abortion pill
Judge denies hospital’s motion for summary judgment
Friday, January 05, 2007

COVINGTON, La. — A lawsuit filed by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys on behalf of a nurse demoted for refusing to distribute the morning-after pill will be permitted to go forward. A Louisiana court today informed an ADF-allied attorney that the denial of the hospital’s motion for summary judgment is official.

ADF attorneys filed suit on behalf of Toni Lemly in 2005 after St. Tammany Parish Hospital refused to grant a reasonable accommodation for her religious beliefs.

“This case is about protecting a person’s freedom of conscience, particularly when it is guided by religious beliefs,” said ADF-allied attorney Brian Arabie of Lake Charles. “The hospital acted unlawfully when it refused to make a reasonable accommodation for Ms. Lemly and instead terminated her full-time position.”

Lemly informed hospital staff that she objected to administering the “morning after” abortion pill because of her religious beliefs.In response, St. Tammany Parish Hospital fired Lemly from her full-time position and reduced her to part-time status, working only three days a week. Her demotion resulted in a significant reduction in pay and the loss of employee benefits. The hospital declined several reasonable suggestions made by Lemly, a nurse for 23 years, that would have enabled the facility to continue administering the pill while allowing her to abstain from dispensing it herself. The hospital chose not to act on any of her suggestions.
the rest

New method kills cancer and harvests stem cells
Device filters blood for cancer cells to kill and stem cells to harvest -- a non-controversial way of obtaining stem cells that can be differentiated into other, useful cells
Friday, January 05, 2007

Associate Professor Michael King of the University of Rochester Biomedical Engineering Department has invented a device that filters the blood for cancer and stem cells. When he captures cancer cells, he kills them. When he captures stem cells, he harvests them for later use in tissue engineering, bone marrow transplants, and other applications that treat human disease and improve health.

With Nichola Charles, Jared Kanofsky, and Jane L. Liesveld of the University of Rochester, King wrote about his discoveries in a paper titled "Using Protein-Functionalized Microchannels for Stem Cell Separation."

King’s team includes scientists at StemCapture, Inc., a Rochester company that bought the University patent for King’s technique in November 2005 to build the cancer-killing and stem cell-harvesting devices. The technique can be used in vivo, meaning a device is inserted in the body, or in vitro, in which case the device resides outside of the body – either way, the device kills cancer cells and captures stem cells, which grow into blood cells, bone, cartilage, and fat.
the rest

Sex-Ed Plan Could Revive Heated Debate From 2005
By
Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 5, 2007

Montgomery County school officials previewed new middle and high school lesson plans yesterday on sexual orientation and condom use, topics that could refuel the debate on how much the county's teenagers need to know about homosexuality and premarital sex.

The lessons -- which have come under more dispute than any other piece of the county schools curriculum -- represent an attempt at compromise among the school system and polarized community groups that have fought bitterly about the merits of taking lessons on sexuality beyond heterosexuality.

In spring 2005, a federal judge halted the school system's sex education lessons, noting that they seemed to offer only one perspective on homosexuality and to dismiss religions that consider it a sin.
the rest

Mere Mission
N.T. Wright talks about how to present the gospel in a postmodern world.
Interview by Tim Stafford
posted 1/05/2007

N.T. Wright is a world-renowned New Testament scholar—author of Jesus and the Victory of God, The Resurrection of the Son of God—and bishop of Durham in the Church of England. He is also a keen observer of culture. ct senior writer Tim Stafford caught up with Wright as he drove from meetings at Windsor Castle to his diocese in Durham. They talked about communicating the gospel in a post-Christian society.

Your book Simply Christian speaks to people outside the faith, in what must be a conscious imitation of C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. What made you want to write to that audience?


I suppose I've always wanted to say to my contemporaries in the wider world, "This stuff matters; it's life transforming; it's world transforming." Much of my academic life has been spent exploring underlying issues, particularly about the central events in the gospel. But now it really is time to say, "So what does it mean?" the rest

Spanish bishops fear rebirth of Islamic kingdom
By Elizabeth Nash in Madrid
Published: 05 January 2007

Spain's bishops are alarmed by ambitious plans to recreate the city of Cordoba - once the heart of the ancient Islamic kingdom of al-Andalus - as a pilgrimage site for Muslims throughout Europe.

Plans include the construction of a half-size replica of Cordoba's eighth century great mosque, according to the head of Cordoba's Muslim Association. Funds for the project are being sought from the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, and Muslim organisations in Morocco and Egypt.Other big mosques are reportedly planned for Medina Azahara near Cordoba, Seville and Granada.

The bishops of those cities are alarmed at the construction of ostentatious mosques, fearing that the church's waning influence may be further eclipsed by resurgent Islam financed from abroad. Up to one million Muslims are estimated to live in Spain. Many are drawn by a romantic nostalgia for the lost paradise of Al-Andalus, the caliphate that ruled Spain for more than five centuries.

Last month, Spanish Muslims reasserted their right to pray in Cordoba's great mosque. The mosque houses within its arches a cathedral built to consolidate Catholic rule after Muslims were expelled from Spain in 1492. Muslims are forbidden to pray in the building.
the rest

UK:Church group in anti-gay storm
Jan 5 2007
EXCLUSIVE by Deborah James,
Liverpool Daily Post Staff

Excerpt: "He said: "Years ago, the Church was quite a sanctuary for gay people. Everyone knows a lot of gay men became ordained.

"But now they are continuing this `don't ask, don't tell' attitude, and they're stuck in the Middle Ages."

In December, hundreds of gay couples up and down the country celebrated the first anniversary of their civil partnerships, popularly known as gay weddings, which became legal on December 21, 2005.

A Church of England spokesman for the Liverpool Diocese said: "The Diocese of Liverpool deplores homophobia in all its forms."
full article

Court weighs parental rights of sperm donors
Definition of parent issue in Kan. case
By Joan Biskupic
USA TODAY

A case before the Kansas Supreme Court has become a key test of the rights of sperm donors who want to be involved with their offspring over the objection of the children's mothers.

The dispute, which has drawn national attention, involves a single woman, identified in court papers only as S.H., who gave birth to twins in May 2005 after being inseminated with the sperm of a friend, identified as D.H.

After the mother made it clear that she did not intend to share parenting, D.H. sued to establish paternity. He lost in a trial court because of a Kansas law that says the donor of sperm provided for artificial insemination is not the legal father of the child unless the donor and mother agree to it in writing.
the rest

Hybrid embryo work 'under threat'

UK scientists planning to mix human and animal cells in order to research cures for degenerative diseases fear their work will be halted.

They accuse the body that grants licences for embryo research, the HFEA, of bowing to government pressure if it fails to consider their applications.

Ministers proposed outlawing such work after unfavourable public opinion.

PM Tony Blair said any new law would have "flexibility" to support scientific research that helped people.

He said there were "difficult" issues surrounding creating the embryos, which are more than 99% human but have a small animal component.
the rest BBC

ACN to Highlight Ministry and Mission Initiatives in the New Year

During 2007, the five ministry and mission initiatives of the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) will take the spotlight as the ACN endeavors to “keep the main thing, the main thing,” said Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Network. The five initiatives are church planting, children and youth, missions, relief and development in the Global South, and evangelism.

The Network’s primary communications tool, the e-newsletter, will feature the ongoing work of a different initiative in each issue. The e-newsletter format will be shorter and will be published weekly, offering subscribers a quick and easy way to stay up-to-date on Anglican news and upcoming events. In addition, newsletter archives will be available on the Network’s website www.acn-us.org so that people can easily find all information related to a particular topic of interest.
the rest at ACN

Dr Williams invites Dr Jefferts Schori to Primates’ Meeting
5 January, 2007
by Pat Ashworth

THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury has written to all the Primates of the Anglican Communion, in advance of their February meeting in Tanzania, confirming that he has invited the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA), Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, to attend.

Dr Williams acknowledges that the meeting will be “an important and difficult encounter, with several moments of discernment and decision to be faced, and a good deal of work to be done on our hopes for the Lambeth Conference, and on the nature and shape of the Covenant that we hope will assist in strengthening our unity as a Communion”.

While questions remain about ECUSA’s relations with other provinces — “though some provinces have already made their positions clear” — the Archbishop says that he does not think it wise or just to take “any action that will appear to bring that consideration, and the whole process of our shared discernment, to a premature end”.

Dr Williams believes that it is important that Dr Jefferts Schori “be given a chance both to hear and to speak, and to discuss face to face the problems we are confronting together. We are far too prone to talk about these matters from a distance, without ever having to face the human reality of those from whom we differ.”
the rest at the AAC blog

This is My Church. This is My Church Slimed By the WaPo.
Posted by:
Mary Katharine Ham

I mentioned some time back that my church-- The Falls Church in Falls Church, Va.-- was
breaking away from other Episcopal Churches in what amounts to a pretty big shake-up for the Anglican Church.

I'm not a member, but I attend regularly, along with about 2,500 other worshippers, including Alberto Gonzales, Fred Barnes, and Porter Goss. It's a conservative, Bible-based church that thinks Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life," and doesn't cotton to the "evolving" teachings of the Episcopal Church that aren't so sure about that whole Jesus thing, which is the entire basis of our faith.

It is a lovely church that welcomes people of all denominations, or no denomination in my case. It is a church that sends folks to
build houses in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, that recently broke ground on a community building in urban, Southeast D.C. for ministry there, that brings children from other countries to America for complex cardiac surgeries they can't get at home, that sends missionaries beyond its walls, and that serves thousands of people within them. In short, it's a regular American church.

But how does the Washington Post characterize it?
First paragraph:

Parishioners say it happens quietly, unobtrusively: As the sick make their way to the altar, some worshipers begin speaking in tongues. Occasionally, one is "arrested in the spirit," falling unconscious into the arms of a fellow congregant.

Now, I have seen people speak in tongues. I've seen it in Pentecostal services, and in non-denominational services in Georgia, when I was in school there. It happens. No problem with it. I was raised in the South. People love the Lord in many different ways. But I have been going to The Falls Church regularly for over a year, and I have NEVER, EVER, ONCE seen anything even remotely close to anyone speaking in tongues in that congregation.


the rest-Townhall blog

Some see politics behind probe of Episcopal cleric
The investigation of the Rev. Don Armstrong could stir discord on the right and the left in the diocese.
By Eric Gorski Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Launched: 01/05/2007

While conflict and dissension have defined the Episcopal Church in recent months, all has been quiet in Colorado.

No breakaway parishes. Zero fights over gay clergy. Bishop Rob O'Neill's vision of calm seemed to be taking hold.

Now, the question is whether that will change amid an investigation into whether the state's most prominent conservative cleric misused church funds.

The Rev. Don Armstrong, longtime rector of Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs, has been put on the equivalent of administrative leave while the Colorado diocese investigates the claims, which Armstrong's lawyer said were brought by one person.

Armstrong has denied wrongdoing, and diocesan officials have declined to detail the allegations, citing confidentiality.

But already, conservative Episcopalians on the national level have suggested politics are at work, pointing out that O'Neill takes liberal stances on sexuality issues and has been the target of Armstrong barbs in the past.
the rest

Episcopal Church honors woman who served here
January 5, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A Buffalo, N.Y., native will be recognized by the Episcopal Church USA for her saintly missionary work among indigenous peoples in Alaska, Florida and Oklahoma. Harriet Bedell's life will be commemorated annually on Jan. 8, the anniversary of her death in 1969 at age 93.

Bedell and six others were nominated and added to the calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts at the 75th annual convention this summer. Bedell's inclusion on the calendar will be on a trial basis until 2010, when it becomes permanent unless objections arise.

While Bedell's name has faded into obscurity in her hometown, she was respected during her lifetime as a dynamic and heroic woman who crossed cultural lines and improved the quality of life of thousands of Indians.

Inclusion in the Lesser Feasts and Fasts is rare and significant, and the church typically waits at least two generations after a person has died before considering him or her for the calendar.
the rest

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I prayed for faith, and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, "Now faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". I had closed my Bible, and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.
...Dwight L Moody photo

Covenant Design Team Plans Inaugural Meeting
01/04/2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Covenant Design Group is to convene its first meeting Jan. 15-19 in Nassau, Bahamas. A spokesman for the Anglican Consultative Council told The Living Church the names of the 10-member team will be released on Jan. 8, when their participation in the meeting has been confirmed.

However, TLC has learned that in addition to the Design Group’s chairman, Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies, a second primate, Archbishop John Chew of Southeast Asia, will be part of the team comprised of scholars, bishops and church leaders drawn from the United States, Africa, Britain and Singapore.

The creation of a pan-Anglican Covenant to “give explicit articulation and recognition to the principles of co-operation and interdependence” within the Anglican Communion was among the suggestions of the Windsor Report, published in 2004. A covenant would be “one vital way in which trust and cooperation could be rebuilt between the churches of the Anglican Communion in the wake of recent tensions” the ACC’s joint standing committee stated in April 2006.
the rest

Denver: Possible meteor or space junk seen all over the region
written by: Sara Gandy , Web Producer
1/4/2007

KUSA - Beginning at 6:15 Thursday morning 9NEWS was flooded with calls from viewers, many of whom said, “I have just seen the most incredible thing ever in my life.”

That incredible thing appears to have been either space junk or a large meteor falling from north to south in the western part of the city. At this time, 9NEWS has not received any reports of personal injury or property damage.
story

Video...

More Video...

ONTARIO COURT'S PERILOUS DECISION RECOGNIZES THREE PARENTS
January 3, 2007

In a unanimous judgment written by Justice Marc Rosenberg on behalf of Chief Justice RoyMcMurtry and Justice JeanMarc Labrosse, the Ontario Court of Appeal chose to exercise it's parens patriae jurisdiction to "fill a legislative gap" and extend a child's parentage to three individuals the biological mother and father as well as the mother's lesbian partner. This court has now recognized a "threeparent family" and opened the way to introduce many legal variations of the family unit.

Ruth Ross, Executive Director of Christian Legal Fellowship, a member of the intervenor Alliance for Family & Marriage, states, "There remain outstanding questions as to whether a family comprised of three legal parents is in the best interests of the child. The full implications of thismajor, precedent setting change have not been thoroughly examined. Historically, policy decisions have been left to legislators who are charged with this responsibility."

This decision has international significance as it takes the lead into unstable territory most other countries have not ventured into redefining the family as we know it to include three parents.
the rest (pdf)

Alaska Bishop to Resign; Will Serve New Canadian Jurisdiction
01/04/2007

The Bishop of Alaska, the Rt. Rev. Mark L. MacDonald, will become the Anglican Church of Canada’s first National Indigenous Bishop with oversight over Canada’s first nation people, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison announced at a Jan. 4 news conference in Toronto.

Bishop MacDonald’s jurisdiction will cross Canada’s existing diocesan boundaries as well as the U.S.-Canadian border. While he has resigned as Bishop of Alaska to take up the Toronto-based post, he will continue in his role as assisting bishop of Navajoland Area Mission in The Episcopal Church.
the rest

Bishop Warns Against Creeping Anti-Christianism
The Catholic Bishop of Leeds has warned against creeping anti-Christianism after revealing he was "appalled" by anti-Christian TV programmes over Christmas.
by Maria Mackay
Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Catholic Bishop of Leeds has warned against creeping anti-Christianism after revealing he was "appalled" by anti-Christian TV programmes over Christmas.

Bishop Arthur Roche warned Catholics not to become complacent to the anti-Christianism infecting the nation’s everyday life, reports Catholic newspaper The Universe.

In his New Year pastoral letter, the bishop said that he had been “appalled” at the abuse of Jesus’ name on television over Christmas.

“It was as if my television set had been infested with anti-Christian and deeply disrespectful and derogatory sentiments,” he said

Yet, as St Paul reminds us: God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. He added: “There is an ease and a carelessness today in which it is possible, without any resistance, to ridicule Jesus, his Church and his followers.
the rest

Episcopal Churches' Breakaway in Va. Evolved Over 30 Years
By Alan Cooperman and Jacqueline L. Salmon
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 4, 2007

Parishioners say it happens quietly, unobtrusively: As the sick make their way to the altar, some worshipers begin speaking in tongues. Occasionally, one is "arrested in the spirit," falling unconscious into the arms of a fellow congregant.

The special faith-healing services, held one Sunday night a month at The Falls Church in Fairfax, are a rarity in the Episcopal Church. But members of The Falls Church have long felt at odds with fellow Episcopalians, who they believe have been drifting theologically in an ever more liberal direction.
the rest

Church on the Way founder Jack Hayford is a quiet force among nation's evangelicals
BY BRAD A. GREENBERG, Staff Writer
01/03/2007

VAN NUYS - Jack Hayford has heard the Lord's voice many times.

The seminal moment in a 50-year Christian ministry - which includes founding one of the country's largest churches, authoring some 50 books, composing 500 songs and rising to the presidency of his 5 million-member Pentecostal denomination - occurred in March 1969 at a Sherman Way stoplight.

Six weeks earlier, Hayford had become pastor of the 18-member First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys. As he sat at the Kester Street light, he refused to look to his left at First Baptist Van Nuys, then one of the nation's biggest churches.

Suddenly, his left cheek began to sear as if someone were holding a blow-dryer to it.

"Lord, I know there is something I don't feel that is right about this place," Hayford said. "What should I do?"

"I want you to pray for what I am doing in that church," God responded.
the rest

Queer nuns” get the boot in San Francisco
Archdiocese cancels lease of parish hall to a group of homosexual men who dress as Catholic nuns and sponsor monthly bingo games to raise funds for HIV/AIDs programs

The “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” who describe themselves as “the leading-edge order of queer nuns,” and whose official slogan is “go forth and sin some more” are looking for a new location for their monthly bingo games.

Until late October, the group had leased Most Holy Redeemer church’s Ellard Hall in San Francisco for a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS programs. The Sisters held their Sept. 7 bingo fundraiser at Ellard Hall, and another was scheduled for Nov. 2. But the San Francisco archdiocese abruptly cancelled the group’s lease just two days before the November event was to take place. Nick Andrade, Parish Council president, informed the group of the archdiocese’s decision on Oct. 31.

“This came as both a shock and a surprise as we have worked very closely with Most Holy Redeemer Church to provide fundraising services for both the Church and other beneficiaries,” said the “Sisters” in a Nov. 3 press release. The group estimates it lost $3000 - $4000 as a consequence of the cancellation, and the same amount in December because they had nowhere to hold their bingo event. They say they hope to locate a new site this month or next.
the rest

The tiniest survivor of Katrina
Baby being born this month once was frozen embryo rescued by officers
By JANET MCCONNAUGHEY
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — The baby album for Rebekah Markham's soon-to-be-born child could include something extra special: photos of officers using flat-bottomed boats to rescue the youngster's frozen embryo from a sweltering hospital in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Markham is about to give birth via Caesarean section, nine months after being implanted with an embryo that nearly thawed when the flooded hospital lost electricity.

"It's going to be exciting for the little baby, once he gets old enough to realize what it went through," said Markham, a 32-year-old physical therapist whose husband, Glen, 42, is a New Orleans police officer. "Katrina's history. A big part of history."
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Pro-Life Democrats?
By Robert D. Novak
CNSNews.com Commentary
January 04, 2007

Near the top of the new Democratic congressional majority's agenda is passage of federal embryonic stem cell research legislation vetoed last year by President Bush, a measure that will answer a major question. There is no doubt the new bill will pass both houses of Congress. What remains in doubt are the votes to be cast by newly elected Democrats who campaigned as pro-life advocates, particularly Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

Outside the boundaries of his state of Pennsylvania, Casey is best known as the son of the Democrat most revered in the pro-life movement: the late Gov. Robert Casey. Denied the podium at the 1992 Democratic national convention because of anti-abortion views, the elder Casey planned a serious independent campaign for president before being stopped by poor health.

But will the son, less ardent a pro-lifer than the father, vote against the stem cell research bill as he once promised during the campaign? Will seven self-described pro-life Democrats newly elected to the House do the same?
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When Multiculturalism is Conservative and Christian
by Marvin Olasky
Posted Jan 04, 2007

My fellow professors talk the talk of multiculturalism but don't walk the walk when it leads them in directions they don't want to go -- toward what the left calls sexism, homophobia and Christian fundamentalism.

For example, the religious left often claims that U.S. and European Christians twisted Christ into a god made in their own image. The Huffington Post Web site ran a claim by liberal minister Jim Rigby that "many Christians seek a white male king" and (Europeans) "could not see Christ in non-male, non-European, and non-Christian people because they were limited by their theology."

Rigby concluded with a call to teach our children to abandon "the dictator Christ of this culture." But is the idea of God with authority the product of our culture? Last summer I worshipped at a house church in Beijing, and the previous summer relished a service in a Zambian megahut. Crucially, those Asians and Africans see Jesus as Lord, not just a pal. Secondarily, they have conservative positions on homosexuality, gender and other issues that are dividing the American church.
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Episcopal cleric in funds probe
The Rev. Don Armstrong, an outspoken foe of gay ordination and nuptials, is on paid leave. His lawyer denies the claims that church money was misused.
By Eric Gorski Denver Post Staff Writer
01/04/2007

A Colorado Springs Episcopal priest - an outspoken leader in the church's conservative wing - has been put on leave while the Colorado Episcopal Diocese investigates allegations that he misused church funds, diocese officials said Wednesday.

Citing church law confidentiality requirements, diocese officials would not provide details of the allegations against the Rev. Don Armstrong, rector of the 2,400-member Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.

But Armstrong's lawyer, Daniel Sears of Denver, said Armstrong denies the allegations and looks forward to "a fair and speedy resolution." Sears said a "single complainant" triggered the inquiry, which a parish official said began at least nine months ago.

Reached on his cellphone at a meeting of conservative Anglicans in Houston, Armstrong said he is forbidden to speak about the case as part of his "temporary inhibition" from ministry. The inhibition is the equivalent of administrative leave.
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Ugandan men getting circumcised

Growing numbers of Ugandan men are being circumcised, after medical research showed it could halve the HIV infection rate among heterosexual men.

A Ugandan paper reports that last year of 2,500 people circumcised at various clinics, half of them were male adults, compared to less than 400 in 2005.

A hospital official said they were increasing their provision to cope.

Uganda is often held up as a model of how to fight HIV/Aids, with infection rates falling from 15 to 5%.

Studies conducted by the US National Institutes of Health last year, found new HIV infections among circumcised heterosexual men in Uganda and Kenya had dropped by approximately 50%.
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Hell the musical comes to Vatican

A Vatican composer is to stage an opera based on Dante's Divine Comedy, with visions of heaven, hell and purgatory.

The lavish production is reported to include 200 performers and musicians, six projectors and a huge stage.

The composer, Monsignor Marco Frisina, has said it will contain a variety of musical styles, with hell illustrated with rock, punk and rave.

The Divine Comedy is an epic medieval poem describing the journey through three parts of the afterlife.
the rest

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Rest on a Promise
The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it. (Genesis 28:13)

No promise is of private interpretation: it belongs not to one saint but to all believers. If, my brother, thou canst in faith lie down upon a promise and take thy rest thereon, it is thine. Where Jacob "lighted" and tarried and rested, there he took possession. Stretching his weary length upon the ground, with the stones of that place for his pillows, he little fancied that he was thus entering into ownership of the land; yet so it was. He saw in his dream that wondrous ladder which for all true believers unites earth and heaven, and surely where the foot of the ladder stood he must have a right to the soil, for other wise he could not reach the divine stair-way. All the promises of God are "Yea" and "Amen" in Christ Jesus, and as He is ours, every promise is ours if we will but lie down upon it in restful faith.

Come, weary one, use thy Lord's words as thy pillows, Lie down in peace. Dream only of Him. Jesus is thy ladder of light. See the angels coming and going upon Him between thy soul and thy God, and be sure that the promise is thine own God-given portion and that it will not be robbery for thee to take it to thyself, as spoken specially to thee. ...CH Spurgeon
photo

Herpes Might Cause Alzheimer's
By Robin Lloyd
Senior Editor
03 January 2007

New research supports growing concerns that herpes plays a role in the development of
Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

The latest work, announced today, shows a link between a gene and herpes simplex 1, or HSV. The form of the ApoE gene called ApoE-4 is the leading known risk factor for Alzheimer’s. And HSV is the form of herpes that causes cold sores around the mouth. More than 80 percent of Americans are infected with HSV.

The researchers, at the University of Rochester Medical Center, found that ApoE-4 effectively puts out a welcome mat for the herpes
virus, allowing it to be more active in the brain.

“The data suggest that ApoE-4 may support the ability of HSV to be a more virulent pathogen,” said Howard Federoff, lead author of the research published online in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.
the rest

ENS: Second meeting of self-styled 'Windsor Bishops' begins
West Indian and Tanzanian primates join discussion

By Mary Frances Schjonberg Wednesday, January 03, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] A group of Episcopal Church bishops gathered beginning January 3 at Camp Allen Conference and Retreat Center, northwest of Houston, Texas, for a three-day meeting to continue discussing the church's relationship with the rest of the Anglican Communion's provinces.

According to a story in the January edition of the diocese's newspaper, Texas Bishop Don Wimberly sent a letter to the clergy of the diocese saying that his correspondence with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, following the first meeting of self-styled "Windsor Bishops" in September, "encouraged" him to hold the second gathering.

The "Windsor Bishops" are a group of bishops who have said they agree that the terms of the
Windsor Report provide a roadmap for a way forward in the midst of disagreements among the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion. They say they have come together in conversation about the church's future. the rest

Institute Deeply Disappointed by Promulgation of Contentious Romanian Religion Law
Romania Now Identified with Worst Religion Law in Europe
Matthew Mullock

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 /
Christian Newswire/ -- The Institute on Religion and Public Policy has learned that on December 27, 2006, Romanian President Traian Basescu approved a notorious new Law on Religion. Forum 18 News indicates that "challenges are planned in the Constitutional Court and, potentially, the European Court of Human Rights."

"The promulgation of this law by President Basescu is a blatant attack on religious freedom and fundamental rights and demonstrates little if any move away from the previous Communist regimes which he had promised to move Romania during his campaign," stated Institute President Joseph K. Grieboski. "President Basescu and the Romanian parliament have now gained for Romania the moniker of worst religion law in Europe."
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Hong Kong Anglican leader urges dialogue not division on sexuality
04/01/07

The outgoing leader of the Anglican Church in Hong Kong has used the opportunity provided by a retirement address to urge dialogue rather than division on issues of sexuality currently raging across the 77 million strong worldwide Anglican Communion.

"Anglicanism is inclusive”, 70-year-old Chinese Primate Peter Kwong, who retired on 1 January 2007, stressed, emphasizing the deep historic ad theological roots to its unity-in-diversity.

He continued: “There is high church and there is a low church. Anglicans can co-exist and even hold different interpretations of faith… So why shouldn't we find a common ground on homosexuality?"

Kwong has long tried to maintain a central position in the disputes which have followed the election and consecration of an openly gay man, Gene Robinson, to be Bishop of New Hampshire in the USA, and moves towards the blessing of same-sex unions.
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Happy 21st Birthday Kevin!
With love,
Mom and Dad
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. 1 Thess. 5: 23-24

Al Qaeda TV
A new 24-hour insurgent station reveals al Qaeda's increasing sophistication, and our continuing confusion.
by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross & Nick Grace
01/03/2007

AM AL QAEDA AND its allies now have their own 24-hour television station. Based at a secret studio in Syria, its signal is broadcast to the entire Arab world from a satellite owned by the Egyptian government. This development highlights al Qaeda's increasingly sophisticated propaganda efforts.

Al Qaeda placed great emphasis on communicating its message effectively throughout 2006. Osama bin Laden and deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri issued more tapes in 2006 than in any year since the 9/11 attacks. In the past, al Qaeda tapes were generally released to Al Jazeera, but 2006 saw more Internet releases: the terrorist group's message was thus more quickly disseminated.
Al-Zawraa TV, the 24-hour insurgent station, is an extension of this trend. the rest

2,000-year-old toilet may solve an ancient mystery
The Associated Press
Tucson, Arizona
Published: 01.03.2007

QUMRAN, West Bank — The discovery of a 2,000-year-old toilet at one of the world's most important archaeological sites is focusing renewed interest on a question that has preoccupied scholars for more than half a century: Who lived at Qumran?

In a new study, three researchers say they have discovered the outdoor latrine used by the ancient residents of Qumran, on the barren banks of the Dead Sea. They say the find proves the people living here two millennia ago were Essenes, an ascetic Jewish sect that left Jerusalem to seek proximity to God in the desert.

Qumran and its environs have already yielded many treasures: the remains of a settlement with an aqueduct and ritual baths, ancient sandals and pottery, and perhaps the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century: the Dead Sea Scrolls.
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Good Times 101
College Students Make a Study of Having Fun
By Laura Sessions Stepp
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Excerpt: "First of all, the students made a distinction between fun with no purpose and fun with a purpose. Fun with no purpose, said one student, was "kicking a soccer ball around with a friend for the first time and not paying attention to rules." It was, according to Wambeam, "mirthful diversion." Fun could have a purpose, the students said, as long as the purpose wasn't serious. So a game of intramural soccer with little at stake could be fun, but playing varsity soccer with the school's reputation on the line might not be. "
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Same-sex marriage ban advances
Lawmakers OK item for ballot, but hurdle remains
By Frank Phillips and Lisa Wangsness, Globe Staff
January 3, 2007

A week after the state's highest court declared lawmakers had a duty to cast a vote, the Massachusetts Legislature yesterday advanced a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, pushing it over a critical hurdle to get onto the 2008 state ballot.

In a tense afternoon of nose-counting and backroom negotiations, the proposal received 62 votes, a dozen more than required, from the joint session of the House and Senate. The vote was gaveled through by Senate President Robert E. Travaglini, chairman of the constitutional convention, who ignored efforts by the House leadership for time to debate the issue and gain votes to defeat the measure.
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Millions bathe at Hindu festival
Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Several million Hindus have taken part in day one of the Ardh Kumbh festival in northern India, officials say.

Devotees braved the cold to bathe at Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna holy rivers near Allahabad.

Rituals began at daybreak - Hindus believe the holy dip washes away sins. The festival, held every 12 years, is one of the world's largest gatherings.

A city of tents will house an expected 60 million pilgrims over the next six weeks and security is tight.
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Christianity and the Triumph of the West
The Victory of Reason

By
Chuck Colson
Christian Post Guest Columnist
Tue, Jan. 02 2007

When you hear the word “globalization,” you probably think of Chinese factories or customer service centers in India. What you probably don’t think about is Christianity. Yet globalization and Christianity are linked in ways you may never have imagined.

Globalization is about more than markets and technology. It’s also about the spread across national boundaries of ideas and values—in other words, culture. While the spread and exchange of culture flow in many different directions, the ideas and values most associated with globalization are those of the West.

And this is where Christianity comes in. In his marvelous book, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success, Rodney Stark writes that “Christianity created Western Civilization.” Without Christianity’s commitment to “reason, progress, and moral equality, today the entire world would be about where non-European societies were in, say, 1800.”

This would be a world “with many astrologers and alchemists but no scientists. A world of despots, lacking universities, banks, factories, eyeglasses, chimneys, and pianos.” The “modern world,” to which globalization aspires, “arose only in Christian societies. Not in Islam. Not in Asia. Not in a ‘secular’ society—there having been none.”
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‘Windsor-Compliant’ Bishops Reconvene at Camp Allen
01/03/2007

Diocesan bishops will again be discussing the relationship of The Episcopal Church to the Archbishop of Canterbury and other primates within the Anglican Communion at a consultation that begins today at Camp Allen in Texas. The consultation is scheduled to be held through Jan. 5 and was organized by the Rt. Rev. Don Wimberly, Bishop of Texas. Bishop Wimberly organized a similar consultation in September.

According to an online report, Bishop Wimberly characterized the meeting as including “a growing number of bishops from across the United States” when he wrote to diocesan clergy about the meeting last month. He also stated that Archbishop Drexel Gomez, Primate of the Church of the West Indies, and Archbishop Donald Mtetemela, Primate of the Church of Tanzania, will be attending as guests.

The Sept. 19-22 meeting of 22 diocesan bishops at Camp Allen concluded with the release of a letter to the House of Bishops in which the 21 signatories reaffirmed their continued commitment to the Windsor Report as the way to “heal the breaches within our own Communion and in our ecumenical relationships,” and supported the Archbishop of Canterbury in his proposal for the development of an Anglican Covenant.
The Living Church

Former Bishop of Tuam tipped as next Anglican Primate
The former Bishop of Tuam, John Neill, is strongly tipped to replace Robin Eames as the next Anglican Primate.

Dr John Neill (61), who is currently Archbishop of Dublin, was also a former Bishop of Cashel & Ossory. An Anglican conclave will be convened on Sunday, a week after Dr Eames stepped down from the post he has held for two decades. The decision will be made by the 11 members of the Church of Ireland House of Bishops.

A towering intellectual figure in the Church of Ireland, Dr John Neill, was a close collaborator with Robin Eames in the day to day running of the national affairs of the Church of Ireland.
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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

God is our true Friend, who always gives us the counsel and comfort we need. Our danger lies in resisting Him; so it is essential that we acquire the habit of hearkening to His voice, or keeping silence within, and listening so as to lose nothing of what He says to us. We know well enough how to keep outward silence, and to hush our spoken words, but we know little of interior silence. It consists in hushing our idle, restless, wandering imagination, in quieting the promptings of our worldly minds, and in suppressing the crowd of unprofitable thoughts which excite and disturb the soul. ... François Fénelon photo

First Things: Sacramone: Robo-Jesus
January 2, 2007

Excerpt:
Here is a quick review of the startling authentic facts other “authorities” have unearthed about Jesus, which St. Paul, the early Church, the Vatican, and Fox News have kept hidden in a vault somewhere:


Jesus was a woman.
Jesus was a space alien and is buried in Japan.
Jesus survived the crucifixion and is buried in Kashmir.
Jesus was a Buddhist.
Jesus was a Muslim.
Jesus was a Mormon.
Jesus was a magician.
Jesus was a Gnostic.
Jesus was the son of Mary and a Roman solider.
Jesus never existed.
Jesus was never executed.
Jesus was married and had children.
Jesus was a social revolutionary when he was not a mere Mediterranean peasant.
Jesus was an itinerant visionary whose real teachings exist only in distorted, fragmented form.
Jesus was insane.

What’s remarkable is that there’s no reason to believe this fevered Jesus industry will go out of business anytime soon, despite the authoritative scholarly thwacking delivered it by N.T. Wright in his masterful “Christian Origins and the Question of God” trilogy. Books, movies, websites, and religion classes will continue to argue that Jesus, who is the central figure of the largest religion in the world, was so uninteresting that no one could be bothered to record his words and deeds accurately, or was so insignificant that his followers felt compelled to invent pious lies to thicken his story. And so his early mythographers opted for the deification plotline (guaranteed to offend the fiercely monotheistic Jews), with a resurrection twist (guaranteed to send Gentiles into giggle fits). In fact, these Palestinian Clifford Irvings were so successful in selling their new edgy messiah that they were all either executed or exiled. Good plan. Nicely done.
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Prestigious MIT Professor Who Opposes Embryo Research Faces Ousting by University
Threatens Hunger Strike

By John Jalsevac

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, January 2, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – James L. Sherley, the controversial researcher and recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including a $2.5 million grant for “highly innovative research”, is threatening to go on a hunger strike after having lost his appeal to obtain tenure at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has been a professor since 1998.

The move on the part of MIT to deny the researcher and professor tenure for good has ignited a heated dispute in which many of Sherley’s supporters are charging that the professor was denied tenure because of his stance on embryonic stem cell research.

Sherley is well known as a proponent of adult stem cell research, and as a staunch opponent of embryonic stem cell research. Earlier this year, in an interview with MercatorNet, Sherley stated that there is scant evidence that embryonic stem cells will ever be used to cure any diseases, and hypothesized that adult stem cells are the much more promising source of cures.
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Pro-Abortion Pelosi Insults Catholic Faith
by Judie Brown
Posted Jan 02, 2007

The new speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, is showing what I consider extreme arrogance, even for a pro-abortion figure in public life who claims to be a faithful Catholic. Her handlers are making it abundantly clear that anything goes in their effort to showcase Pelosi and her life story, including the use of a Catholic Mass to cement her public image as a Catholic mother and grandmother.

That, my friend, is a disgrace that I cannot ignore.

As a practicing Catholic mother and grandmother, I am highly offended that this woman would use the influence of her new office to flaunt her Catholic label while advocating the brutal murder of preborn children without apology. This “mother and grandmother” from California’s 8th District in San Francisco has been one of the most outspoken advocates for unrestricted abortion in Congress.
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So Much in a Few Words
12/31/2006
By James B. Simons

Q. How many members of The Episcopal Church are there in this country?

A. About 2.2 million. It used to be larger percentagewise (sic), but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations.New York Times Magazine. Sunday Nov. 19, 2006

The New York Times was lobbing soft balls to the new Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, when this exchange took place. The more I have thought about her answer to this simple question, the more I am convinced that in a single sentence the Presiding Bishop illustrates rather dramatically the crisis that faces The Episcopal Church. She does so in three ways.

First, she confirms our sense of cultural elitism. In an essay reflecting on his short sojourn into The Episcopal Church, Garrison Keillor described us as the “church in wing-tips, the church of the scotch and soda, worshipping God in extremely good taste.”

Apparently in this case, caricature is reality. We see ourselves as better than other Christians, more privileged, more enlightened. What’s even more amazing is that we are apparently willing to announce this publicly. “We’re better educated than other denominations” would seem to me to be in the class of statements such as “You look pregnant.” Even if it were true, why would you say it out loud, let alone to The New York Times? I think the answer has to do with mistaking hubris for honesty.
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Lawmakers Keep Gay-Marriage Ban Proposal Alive
Supporters, Opponents Rally At Statehouse
January 2, 2007

BOSTON -- Massachusetts lawmakers voted Tuesday to advance a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, a critical step toward putting the measure the 2008 ballot.

The Legislature has twice put off voting on the controversial issue by adjourning without taking a vote after state residents collected petitions asking that the question be put to the voters as a ballot question. The supporters of the gay marriage ban amendment collected signatures from 170,000 people in an effort to get the question on the 2008 ballot.

The proposed amendment would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, effectively outlawing gay marriage in Massachusetts.
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Queen petitioned by Church
Jan 2, 2007

A group of Christian lawyers plan to ask Britain's Queen Elizabeth to intervene in the introduction of new gay rights laws.

The Christian Concern for Our Nation are to petition the queen, as head of the Church of England, asking her to state their case that the proposed Sexual Orientation Regulations discriminate against Christians to Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The laws, which are scheduled to come into force in April, are being introduced to attempt to prevent discrimination against homosexual people.

However, the Church of England has indicated that priests could be sued for refusing to bless same-sex civil partnerships under the new regulations.
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Revealing new layers of dark history
Bill Curry
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

OTTAWA — The painful, personal stories of Canada's residential schools will soon include the perspective of the alleged abusers, as teachers' private journals and thousands of other documents held by churches are gathered and released for the first time.

The massive exercise is part of a five-year project to document one of the darkest chapters in Canadian history.

Called a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the $60-million project is a key, but mostly overlooked, aspect of Ottawa's residential-schools agreement. The $1.9-billion settlement was officially approved by the courts last month.

The project bears the same name as the six-year commission led by former Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa, where people of all races shared searing personal stories of violence and racism during the country's apartheid past.
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MUSLIM PARENTS GROW 'FUTURE SUICIDE' CHILDREN
By J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Dec 29, 2006

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

The American child answers with "fireman" or "teacher" or "swimming coach" or whatever.
The Muslim child answers with "future suicide."

According to Ryan R. Jones of AHN, "Hezbollah has begun replenishing its ranks after more than a month of war with Israel by recruiting the children of its fallen fighters, according to the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yusuf."

The newspaper reported that in recent weeks Hezbollah has organized more than 2,000 children aged 10-15 into armed militias. The Mahdi Boy Scouts, a Hezbollah-affiliated youth movement, has been tasked with training the youngsters to sacrifice their lives attacking Israel.

"Today these children are referred to as ‘future suicides,’ the report said, adding that they can now be seen wearing ‘camouflage army uniforms, [painting] their faces black,’ and that they have been made to ‘take the Jihad and Holy War oath.’
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Spain cathedral shuns Muslim plea

The Roman Catholic bishop of Cordoba in southern Spain has rejected an appeal from Muslims for the right to pray in the city's cathedral, a former mosque.

Juan Jose Asenjo rejected the request made by Spain's Islamic Board in a letter to the Pope.
It had asked that the cathedral become an ecumenical temple where believers from all faiths could worship.

The bishop said such a move would not contribute to the peaceful co-existence between people of different religions.
the rest

‘Anti-Christian’ Law Introduced in India, Fears of Persecution Rise
An “anti-Christian” law has recently been legalised in Himachal Pradesh, a mountainous state in the north of India. Missionaries, church leaders and devoted Christians now fear imminent persecution under the law.
by Jaime Sim, Christian Today Asia Correspondent
Tuesday, January 2, 2007

An “anti-Christian” law has recently been legalised in Himachal Pradesh, a mountainous state in the north of India. Missionaries, church leaders and devoted Christians now fear imminent persecution under the law.

Lawmakers in Himachal Pradesh had introduced the law, which bans “forced” religious conversions. Under the legislation, any person or persons found to “force” or “induce” someone to change his or her religion could be liable for punishment.
the rest