Saturday, May 05, 2007

Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favour that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God's grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. ...Martin Luther photo

Democrats find religion on campaign trail
GOP seems to be avoiding talk of faith
By Mike Dorning
Washington Bureau
Published May 6, 2007

WASHINGTON -- This time it may be the Democrats who are getting religion.

Former Sen. John Edwards invoked "My Lord" in the first Democratic presidential debate when asked about moral influences on his life. At a campaign event on the day of the Virginia Tech massacre, he offered a prayer and—in a pointed break from Democratic candidates' usual wariness of offending religious minorities—closed with the words "in Christ's name."

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) comfortably works in references to his faith at public appearances. Even before his presidential candidacy, he gave a well-received speech arguing for a greater role for religion in politics and cultivated relationships with influential church leaders, including mega-church pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) included a paragraph about faith in the official biography on her campaign Web site. And in her Senate re-election campaign last year, she drew notice in the New York press for wearing a cross at some public events.
the rest

Canada’s policy on abortion is not to have a policy
By StatGuy
5 May 2007

Ever since the Supreme Court overturned the then-existing abortion law in the
1988 Morgentaler decision, Canada has had no statutory restrictions on abortion. Canada is unique among Western democracies (if not the entire world) in having no legal constraints whatever on the procedure, beyond those applicable to any surgical operation. As has been said before, when it comes to abortion, it is impossible for Canada to adopt a more extreme position.

Polls have shown that a majority of Canadians favour some restrictions on performance of the procedure. Nonetheless, our politicians have for many years refused even to raise the question, much less launch a national debate. Likewise, Canadian mainstream media turn a blind eye to this issue of great importance to many citizens.
What’s wrong with this picture?

the rest

Activists Want Chimp Declared a 'Person'
May 4
Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - In some ways, Hiasl is like any other Viennese: He indulges a weakness for pastry, likes to paint and enjoys chilling out watching TV.

But he doesn't care for coffee, and he isn't actually a person—at least not yet.

In a case that could set a global legal precedent for granting basic rights to apes, animal rights advocates are seeking to get the 26- year-old male chimpanzee legally declared a "person."

Hiasl's supporters argue he needs that status to become a legal entity that can receive donations and get a guardian to look out for his interests.

"Our main argument is that Hiasl is a person and has basic legal rights," said Eberhart Theuer, a lawyer leading the challenge on behalf of the Association Against Animal Factories, a Vienna animal rights group.
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Indian 'witchcraft' couple burned alive

An elderly couple in southern India were burned to death on a pyre by a local mob who believed the two were witches, police said today.Sayilu Pandla, 70, and his wife Pochamma, 65, were dragged out of their hut in the village of Upputimmayapalli, beaten and then set on fire by the crowd that included some of their relatives, said district superintendent of police RB Naik.

Upputimmayapalli is 90 miles north of Hyderabad, the capital of India’s Andhra Pradesh state.

Naik said witnesses reported that the mob comprising a few dozen people was led by a relative of the two, Rajaiah Pandla, who accused them of casting spells to make his daughter ill.
the rest

World Bank again promoting abortion
The Unites States caved in to the pressure and abstained from presenting objections to the policies before the Bank’s self-imposed deadline, leaving the institution free to continue promoting abortion
Saturday, May 05, 2007

The World Bank has approved a new health policy that promotes abortion worldwide after the United States caved to pressure from the European Union.

Despite that most of the funds for the World Bank come from the United States and not from Europe, delegates from the Bush administration decided to lift the veto against a pro-abortion policy at the Bank in order to curry favor with delegates from Europe.

The Bush administration tried to include language in the overhaul of the Bank’s health policy that would have prevented the use of the ambiguous and pro-abortion phrase “promotion of reproductive health services.”
the rest

Nigerian Anglican installs U.S. bishop
May 5, 2007, 5:54PM

Va. — A powerful Anglican leader from Nigeria installed a bishop Saturday to lead the conservative U.S. parish network he created, despite a last-minute plea from the head of the Anglican Communion that he cancel his visit.

Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria was already in the United States when a spokesman for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams revealed Friday that Williams had tried to intercede. The installation ceremony, held at a nondenominational chapel, went ahead as planned.

Bishop Martyn Minns, a former Episcopal clergyman, was given full leadership of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, which Akinola started last December as an alternative to the liberal-leaning Episcopal Church.

Episcopalians form the U.S. wing of the 77 million-member global Anglican Communion, a fellowship of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England.

The communion is on the verge of splitting up because of differences over Scripture, including whether the Bible bars gay relationships. The theological rift broke wide open in 2003 when Episcopalians consecrated their first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
the rest

Oklahoma Chooses Former Police Officer for Bishop

The Rev. Edward J. Konieczny, rector, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Grand Junction, Colo., was elected Bishop of Oklahoma on the first ballot from a field of six earlier today at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City.

Needing 61 clergy votes and 100 lay delegates, Fr. Konieczny
received 68 clergy votes and 112 in the lay order.

The Very Rev. James Mark Goodman, rector, Trinity Church, Myrtle Beach, S.C., received 20 clergy votes and 28 lay. The Rev. J. Wesley Smith, rector, Christ Church, Macon, Ga., received 19 clergy votes and 26 lay delegate endorsements. The other candidates were: the Rev. Beverly Bradley, vicar, Church of the Holy Apostles, Moore/Oklahoma City, Okla.; the Rev. James C. Nelson, rector, Good Shepherd Church, Friendswood, Texas; and the Rev. Ronald D. Pogue, rector, Trinity Church, Galveston, Texas.
the rest

Twister kills 9, wipes out Kansas town
4:47 p.m. EDT, May 5, 2007

CNN) -- A massive tornado killed at least nine people in southwestern Kansas on Friday night and destroyed nearly everything in its path.

"My town is gone," Greensburg, Kansas, City Administrator Steve Hewitt said after surveying the wreckage.

"I believe 95 percent of the homes are gone," Hewitt said. "Downtown buildings are gone, my home is gone, and we've got to find a way to make this work and get this town back on its feet."

By Saturday morning, the town was empty and structural engineers and the National Weather Service were assessing damage. Hundreds of residents were taken to shelters in schools and other facilities in nearby towns, the Red Cross said.

"We will not reopen the town until we know it's safe for the residents to come back," Hewitt said.
the rest photo

Titusonenine: Liveblogging the Martyn Minns Installation Service

Also Babybluecafe:
Live from CANA Installation Celebration
You should check here for new posts

Students at Pro-Gay High School Swarm Parents Protesting Homosexuality
“screaming, swearing and throwing food” while several teachers and administrators stood by

By Gudrun Schultz

BROOKLINE, Massachusetts, May 4, 2007 ( - A small group of parents demonstrating against homosexuality were assaulted by a crowd of nearly 200 hostile students outside Brookline High School during the pro-homosexual “Day of Silence,” MassResistance reported April 25.

Described as “screaming, swearing and throwing food,” the students surrounded the half-dozen parents while several school faculty members and administrators stood by.

One parent, identified as Bruce C., told Mass Resistance, “At least one hundred kids were surrounding me like buzzing bees debating these arguments, some yelling degrading comments like "moron", "idiot", cursing, occasionally throwing food and wads of paper at me, burning my flyer, doing simulated homosexual sex acts, telling me they were going to sodomize me, boys were kissing and making out with other boys and girls were making out and fondling other girls to loud ecstatic cheering.” the rest

Piercing the skull
Will Justice Anthony Kennedy’s honest abortion language pierce the veil?

Marvin Olasky

Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me? Wrong. Sharp instruments break the bones of unborn children, but words can also hurt—or help. As our story ("
Speaking our language," May 12, 2007) shows, Anthony Kennedy of the Supremes belted out hard-hitting words: "pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain." And, in describing the soft target of abortionist terror, he used the Two Words That Must Not Be Uttered: "unborn child."

As I wrote in Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America, the crucial change in American thinking about abortion came not with Roe v. Wade in 1973 but with the pregnancy of Sherri Finkbine in 1962. Up to then newspapers had referred to abortion's prime victims as babies or children— but when the pretty star of the Phoenix version of Romper Room, a nationally syndicated program for children, decided to abort a child who might have been born with severe birth defects, journalists were sympathetic. The word fetus soon took over.
the rest

Junk the junk mail
And do something really significant with what's left over

Joel Belz
May 12, 2007

"I'm calling," the plaintive voice on the other end of the phone explained, "because I simply don't know what to do anymore with all the junk mail I'm getting. I love the organizations I hear from, and I know they're doing the Lord's work. But I don't even have time to read their long reports. I certainly can't give to them all."

When my new friend said he was getting "about a bushel" of such mail every week, I guessed he had to be a farmer. So I asked him about the devastating freeze that had blanketed the whole southeastern United States a few days earlier, and he said that yes, his own losses had totaled something over a quarter of a million dollars. "There won't be any crop this year," he reported ruefully.
the rest

Anglican Church Intercedes as an Episcopal Rift Widens
Published: May 5, 2007

WASHINGTON, May 4 — The archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, has waded into a gathering dispute over efforts by conservative congregations in this country to break away from the
Episcopal Church.

On Saturday, the archbishop of
Nigeria, Peter J. Akinola, is scheduled to preside over a ceremony in Virginia to install a bishop to lead congregations around the country that want to leave the Episcopal Church, in large part because of its liberal stance on homosexuality.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has asked Archbishop Akinola to cancel his visit, a spokesman said.

That echoes the request of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the American branch of Anglicanism. She contends that by attending the ceremony, Archbishop Akinola would heighten tensions between the Episcopal Church and many in the 77-million-member Anglican Communion.

the rest

Also: Archbishop Angry About Minister Becoming Bishop

Friday, May 04, 2007

"I will give myself unto prayer" (Ps. 109:4)

We are often in a religious hurry in our devotions. How much time do we spend in them daily? Can it not be easily reckoned in minutes? Who ever knew an eminently holy man who did not spend much of his time in prayer? Did ever a man exhibit much of the spirit of prayer, who did not devote much time in his closet?

Whitefield says, "Whole days and weeks have I spent prostrate on the ground, in silent or vocal prayer." "Fall upon your knees and grow there," is the language of another, who knew whereof he affirmed.

It has been said that no great work in literature or science was ever wrought by a man who did not love solitude. We may lay it down as an elemental principle of religion, that no large growth in holiness was ever gained by one who did not take time to be often, and long, alone with God. --The Still Hour

"'Come, come,' He saith, 'O soul oppressed and weary,
Come to the shadows of my desert rest;
Come walk with Me far from life's babbling discords,
And peace shall breathe like music in thy breast.'"
Streams in the Desert photo

By David W. Virtue

The Rev. Martyn Minns became an Episcopal priest in the late 1970s. As the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, priest-in-charge at Truro Church, his is one of several large, historic Episcopal congregations in Northern Virginia that have split from the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church.

A Brit by birth he has spent most of his adult life in North America. He is a former Mobil Oil executive. His alliance with the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of the fast growing Anglican Province of Nigeria has made him an international power player in the Anglican Communion. This weekend he will be installed by his Primate, Archbishop Akinola in an elaborate service that is expected to draw more than 3,000 Anglicans from across the country.

His supporters view Minns as a faithful, hold-the-line orthodox priest who will not waver on sexuality issues. He is a charismatic figure, more in sync with African Anglican Christians that hold 'the faith once delivered to the saints' than with post-modern liberal Episcopalians for whom he has little use and who have abandoned historic Christianity.

the rest at Virtueonline

Classwork on gay marriage riles parents
By JANESE HEAVIN of the Tribune’s staff
Published Friday, May 4, 2007

Parents gave local educators an earful after fifth-grade students at Derby Ridge Elementary School were asked to read a newspaper column supporting same-sex marriage.

Columbia Public Schools administrators say the assignment wasn’t appropriate for 10- and 11-year-olds. "The purpose was to become familiar with editorial writing and respond in an editorial back," said Jack Jensen, assistant superintendent of elementary education. "But it was not an appropriate topic to use at this age level."

The students had brought up the topic of gay marriage before the assignment during a classroom discussion on current events, Jensen said. The newspaper article used in Wednesday’s assignment was a nationally syndicated column written by Richard Cohen titled "Gay marriage ban no benefit to society." It appeared in the July 17, 2006, edition of the Tribune.
the rest

Stand Firm: Bishop Duncan to Attend Minns Installation
May 4, 2007

At the ACN's
web site:

Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, will join Anglican leaders from around the world in Woodbridge, VA on May 5 to celebrate the installation of the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns as the Missionary Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).Bishop Duncan said he was happy to be a part of this historic moment for CANA. “Martyn and CANA are partners with the Network. Most, if not all, CANA congregations also maintain their affiliation with us. We are fellow bishops of the worldwide Anglican Communion. I am looking forward to being part of this celebration of Martyn’s new ministry.”

comments at Stand Firm

In His Grip: Ministry uses golf to share Gospel with players
Associated Press Writer
Fri, May. 04, 2007

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --It wasn't a big tent revival, TV evangelist or personal crisis that led Russ Sevedge back to church. It was big drives and fast greens.

Sevedge and other serious golfers like him are finding Jesus on the fairways because of the In His Grip Golf Association, a ministry that teaches churches how to use golf as a way to share the Gospel.

Founder Scott Lehman said he got the idea for In His Grip from driving by golf courses on Sunday mornings and seeing men teeing off instead of going to church.

"A lot of Sundays, you go by the golf course and they're really packed," Lehman said. "We felt like there was an opportunity to take our faith to the fairways and just meet them (golfers) where they're at and introduce them to the church and ultimately to Jesus Christ."
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Blasphemy Law Undre Fire amid Religious Violence in Pakistan
Two Christians in Pakistan have been taken into protective custody yesterday to protect them from militants who believe they are guilty of blasphemy and want to kill them.

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2007

Two Christians in Pakistan have been taken into protective custody yesterday to protect them from militants who believe they are guilty of blasphemy and want to kill them, Release International has said.

Five Christians have been charged with blasphemy and others are linked with a case that has already led to a mob attack on a Christian colony in Punjab. There are growing concerns that Christians in Toba Tak Singh could face further attacks from Islamist hardliners.

“The case graphically illustrates once again the need to repeal Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws which are wide open to abuse,” says Andy Dipper, the CEO of Release International, which serves the persecuted church. “Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are divisive and dangerous. They must be repealed. Please pray for the Christians of Toba Tak Singh.”
the rest

House passes 'thought crimes' bill 237 to 180
Jeff Johnson
May 3, 2007

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would punish offenders more severely if a criminal assault or murder could be proven to have been motivated by the attackers alleged hatred for the victim because of the victim's "sexual orientation," though that term is not defined in the legislation.

A news release from the Family Research Council (FRC) called the legislation "a direct violation of the 14th Amendment which affords equal protection under the law."

Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, top Republican on the Judiciary Committee agreed.

"Our criminal justice system has been built on the ideal of equal justice for all," Smith said. "Under this bill justice will no longer be equal, but [will] depend on the race, sex, sexual orientation, disability or status of the victim."

FRC says the "Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007," H.R. 1592, which passed by a vote of 237 to 180, would, "grant certain victims of crimes allegedly motivated by bias greater protection than other victims of violence.
the rest

House passes expanded hate crime bill

Chuck Colson: The Thought Police-What the Hate Crimes Law Would Do

Giuliani says repeal of abortion law would be "OK"

Friday, May 4, 2007

SIMI VALLEY, California (Reuters) - To
Sam Brownback, it would be "a glorious day," and to Tom Tancredo the "greatest day in this country's history." For Rudolph Giuliani, repeal of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion "would be OK."

Republican presidential hopefuls, at their first debate on Thursday, were asked if repeal of the Roe v. Wade decision would be a good day for America.
the rest

Episcopal bishop to lead Cedar Rapids conference
It's her first visit to Iowa since being elected last year to head the church.

May 4, 2007

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori had a difficult time getting to Iowa from New York on Thursday.

With one flight canceled and a second delayed by mechanical difficulties, Jefferts Schori, the pilot of the Episcopal Church and an aviatrix in her own right, spent the day working in airports and during flights.

Her visit to participate in a diocesan leadership conference in Cedar Rapids is her first to Iowa since being elected in 2006 to be the 26th primate of the denomination.
the rest

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Faith is required of thee, and a sincere life, not loftiness of intellect, nor deepness in the mysteries of God. If thou understandest not... the things which are beneath thee, how shalt thou comprehend those which are above thee? Submit thyself unto God, and humble thy sense to faith, and the light of knowledge shall be given thee, as shall be profitable and necessary unto thee. ... Thomas à Kempis image

An Upside-Down World
Distinguishing between home and mission field no longer makes sense
By Christopher J. H. Wright

This year, the Christian Vision Project asked a select group of church leaders, What must we learn, and unlearn, to be agents of God's mission in the world? Here is Christopher Wright's answer—an urge for believers to rethink the meaning of mission, whether your mission field is across the ocean or across the street.

The map of global Christianity that our grandparents knew has been turned upside-down. At the start of the 20th century, only ten percent of the world's Christians lived in the continents of the south and east. Ninety percent lived in North America and Europe, along with Australia and New Zealand. But at the start of the 21st century, at least 70 percent of the world's Christians live in the non-Western world—more appropriately called the majority world.

More Christians worship in Anglican churches in Nigeria each week than in all the Episcopal and Anglican churches of Britain, Europe, and North America combined. There are more Baptists in Congo than in Britain. More people in church every Sunday in communist China than in all of Western Europe. Ten times more Assemblies of God members in Latin America than in the U.S.
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Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Sri Lanka
May 3, 2007

COLOMBO: The Most Revd Dr. Rowan Douglas Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and the spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Church comprising more than 70 million members, will be in Sri Lanka from May 7 to 11.

This will be Archbishop Williams' first visit to the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka since his accession to the See of Canterbury. Archbishop Williams was elected Bishop of Monmouth, Wales in 1992 and as Archbishop of Wales in 2000. In 2003, he was enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.

During his visit to Sri Lanka, he will preach and preside at Services of the Holy Eucharist at the Kurunegala and Colombo Cathedrals.
the rest

Hillsong Music - The Potter's Hand

South Dakota Bishop Will Call for Election

The Rt. Rev. Creighton L. Robertson, Bishop of South Dakota, recently announced his intention to call for the election of a bishop coadjutor in October during diocesan convention.Following the House of Bishops’ meeting in March, Bishop Robertson announced his plan to diocesan council.

Under the tentative schedule currently under consideration, the election would occur in January 2009 with the consecration to be held in early fall during the diocesan convention. By canon, a diocesan bishop must retire within three years of the consecration of a coadjutor.
the rest

Here With Me by MercyMe

Christians meet atheists in televised God debate
Best-selling author to prove case without mentioning Bible or faith
Posted: May 3, 20071:00 a.m. Eastern
By Bob Unruh© 2007
Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron

Two Christians are meeting two atheists in a televised debate with the subject the existence of God, and
Ray Comfort, a best-selling author and expert on Christian evangelism, says he can prove the existence of the Almighty in his allotted 13 minutes – without mentioning the Bible or faith.

"The network originally offered me only four minutes to present my case," Comfort said. "After speaking with
Kirk [Cameron, former Growing Pains and Left Behind series movie star] and conferring with the atheists, they settled on 13 minutes. I'm ecstatic. I can prove the existence of God in that amount of time."

The debate will be Saturday in New York, and ABC had originally planned a live webcast of the 90-minute event, but changed plans to capture a larger audience, officials said.

ABC instead will broadcast the entire debate on on May 9, at 1 p.m. EST. the rest

Local Episcopal pastor unsure how to feel about changes
By Jaclyn Youhana

As Jason approaches the pearly gates, St. Peter stops him.

"You can't go in there," he tells Jason. "You're gay."

Jason is confused. "But Father Warthan told me it was OK."

St. Peter narrows his eyes. "Oh, did he?"

The Rev. Frank Warthan is worried that he might be wrong when he tells parishioners that God loves everyone, even people who are gay. He simply doesn't know; plenty of biblical passages indicate homosexuality is wrong, but plenty of other passages indicate loving is more important than judging. The pastor at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Kankakee, Warthan is torn on the issue of how the church should feel about gays and lesbians.

"I'm praying like crazy," Warthan said. "I want God to make that clear to us."
the rest

Day of Prayer Observed Nationwide
May 3, 2007

WASHINGTON - President Bush says, "On this National Day of Prayer, we acknowledge God's grace and ask for His continued guidance in the life of our Nation."

A presidential proclamation -- and similar ones from the governors of all 50 states -- invites Americans to celebrate this 56th annual National Day of Prayer, by giving thanks for God's blessings and appealing for divine guidance.

Bush hosts a prayer gathering at the White House this morning. Other events are being held at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and at thousands of public venues and houses of worship nationwide.This year's theme is "America, Unite in Prayer." the rest image

Mobiles lose their magic as calls fall for the first time
2nd May 2007

The number of calls made on mobile phones has fallen for the first time, according to new research.

The figures suggest that the novelty of constantly being in touch is finally starting to fade.
It will also be good news for those tired of having train journeys, visits to the cinema and restaurant meals disrupted by idle chat.

The research shows the average number of calls made by pre-pay customers each week has fallen from 14 in 2006 to ten this year - a drop of 28.5 per cent.
the rest

Virulent New Strain of TB Raising Fears of Pandemic
Bug Is Resistant to Most Available Drugs
By Peter Finn
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, May 3, 2007

MOSCOW -- A virulent strain of tuberculosis resistant to most available drugs is surfacing around the globe, raising fears of a pandemic that could devastate efforts to contain TB and prove deadly to people with immune-deficiency diseases such as HIV-AIDS.

Known formally as extensively drug-resistant TB, or XDR-TB, the strain has been detected in 37 countries. It arises when the bacterium that causes TB mutates because antibiotics used to combat it are carelessly administered by poorly trained doctors or patients don't take their full course of medication. Rather than being killed by the drugs, the microbe builds up resistance to them.

At least 50 percent of those who contract this strain of TB will die of it, according to medical experts. In trying to stop the spread of the disease, which can be transmitted through coughing, spitting or even speaking, health officials have imposed sometimes extreme controls on infected people.
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Beijing's plan to keep skies rain-free for Olympics
By Tom Ramstack
May 3, 2007

China's plan to keep the skies sunny and clear during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing shows how far weather modification has come, climatologists say.

If a storm approaches the city, the Chinese said they would seed the clouds with silver iodide to force rainfall, cleansing the air and ensuring spectators and athletes stay dry.

Weather patterns over Beijing in recent decades indicate a 50 percent chance of rain, Chinese meteorologists say. Air pollution from industry and automobiles also is a problem.

The Chinese are as likely as anyone to have scientists skilled enough to stop the rain, said Joseph Golden, senior research scientist for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences in Boulder, Colo.
the rest

Prepping for the Queen Tests the Commoners
Many Are Dizzy With Protocol Anxiety

By Darragh Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 3, 2007

Jacqueline Bowens knows how to decipher the intricacies of life or death trauma, but the directives from
Buckingham Palace have her flummoxed.

" 'Day Dress' for the women," frets the Children's National Medical Center vice president. "We're thinking that's Business Attire."

"Or are we supposed to wear dresses?" worries Terry Orzechowski, the Washington hospital's director of volunteer services. " Can women wear pants to meet the queen?"
the rest

Queen Elizabeth II to visit Virginia to celebrate 400th anniversary of Jamestown

Conn. Lawmakers Pass Plan B Pill
Associated Press Writer
May 02, 2007

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The state House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill to require all hospitals to offer rape victims emergency contraception, over objections from Catholic leaders who say it infringes on their religious rights.

The legislation, which passed the Democrat-controlled Senate last week, now moves to Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell. The governor said she was inclined to support it but would not decide until she saw the bill.

The 113-36 vote in the Democrat-controlled House came after a three-hour debate and over protests from Catholic hospitals and church leaders in the state who say the measure forces them to violate their beliefs. The Catholic Church teaches that life begins at conception.
the rest

Ancient Vatican library to close
By David Willey BBC News, Rome
Thursday, 3 May 2007

The Vatican is home to many valuable historic textsOne of the world's oldest libraries, at the Vatican, is to close for three years for rebuilding, in an unexpected blow to scholars around the world.

The decision to shut the library was made without warning.

After the library closes for its summer break in mid-July, it will not reopen until September 2010, the Vatican says.

The reason is that some buildings constructed only a quarter of a century ago are now considered unsuitable for the safe storage of ancient books.
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Oregon's gay couples win marriage-style benefits
Domestic-partners bill clears Senate, goes to governor

STEVE LAW Statesman Journal
May 3, 2007

Oregon will become the seventh state to grant same-sex couples full marriage-style benefits allowed by state law, after the Oregon Senate approved a landmark "domestic partnerships" bill Wednesday.

Senators voted 21-9 to approve House Bill 2007-A, with two Republicans joining all of the chamber's Democrats and one independent in support. Gov. Ted Kulongoski vows to sign the bill into law.

Passage of HB 2007-A, coupled with earlier approval of a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, marks a dramatic turnaround for gay rights in Oregon. It comes 2 1/2 years after Oregonians banned gay marriage at the ballot box when they passed Measure 36.
the rest

IRD: Presiding Bishop's Letter against CANA Installation Adds Insult to Injury

“A battle currently is raging for the soul of the Anglican Communion.” —IRD Director of Anglican Action Ralph Webb

Washington, DC—On Saturday, May 5, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns is scheduled to be installed as missionary bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). CANA is a missionary arm of the Church of Nigeria for Nigerian Anglicans in the United States and other orthodox Anglicans who cannot in good conscience remain in the Episcopal Church. In a letter dated April 30, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori asked Church of Nigeria Archbishop Peter Akinola not to proceed with the installation of Bishop Minns.

IRD Director of Anglican Action Ralph Webb commented,

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori’s letter, coming as it does just a few days before Bishop Minns’ installation, cannot be a serious attempt to stop the installation. Instead, it just restates what has already been known—that the Episcopal Church objects to the installation and, indeed, the very presence of CANA in the United States. She insultingly charges that the installation will jettison Anglican tradition, set back reconciliation efforts, and only contribute to division—actions that the Episcopal Church is guilty of many times over in its stances taken toward the Anglican Communion.
the rest

The Archbishop of Canterbury on Dostoevsky, "personalism" and how the story of Christ reminds him of Russian ideals
Lesley Chamberlain
May 2007

LC Fifty years ago, it was hard to have a decent western education without coming away with a notion of the great Russian soul. One read Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, steeped oneself in Kazimir Malevich and the Russian experiment in art, listened to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and tried to link that whole explosion of modern creativity over 50 years, from around 1870, to the hopes raised by the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. Archbishop, both you and I went through that kind of initiation—in the same home town, Swansea, as it happens—and your deep interest in Russia is well known. Tell me about how that interest first converged with the development of your faith.

Interview here

Vatican hits out at criticism of pope
May 03 2007

Vatican City - The Vatican has reacted with outrage to criticism of Pope Benedict XVI's stance on euthanasia during a traditional May Day rock concert in Rome that was carried live on Italian television.

"Attacking the Church is terrorism. Fuelling blind and irrational fury against he who always speaks in the name of love is terrorism," the Vatican mouthpiece L'Osservatore Romano said in its edition to appear on Thursday.

"It is vile and terrorist to throw stones at the pope, this time directly, while feeling protected by shouts of approval from an easily excitable crowd," the daily said.

The remarks came after singer Andrea Rivera, a presenter at the concert, spoke out strongly against a decision by the Italian Catholic Church to deny a religious funeral to Piergiorgio Welby, a muscular dystrophy sufferer who ended his life in December by having a doctor remove him from his artificial respirator.
the rest

Benedict XVI visits Brazil to strengthen regional predominance

Canada’s Anglican Bishops Allow Everything But Nuptial Blessing for Gays
By Hilary White
May 2, 2007

( – Although the bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) have rejected the idea of formally “blessing” same sex partnerings, they have allowed homosexual partners to seek formal “recognition” from their bishops and parishes.

In a draft pastoral statement, the House of Bishops, who met April 16-20, say they have “committed” themselves to what they called the “most generous pastoral response possible within the current teaching of the church.”

Two people of the same sex who have received a civil ceremony may “ask their parish’s recognition” and may have a celebration of the eucharist including “appropriate intercessory prayers, but not including a nuptial blessing.”
the rest

Ex-N.J. guv converting, going to seminary

Thu, May. 03, 2007

ACHURCH IN turmoil faces a new controversy with word that James McGreevey, who made headlines as the nation's first openly gay governor, may become an Episcopal priest.

Sharp divisions already have arisen within the Episcopal Church amid its worldwide parent body, the Anglican Communion, after its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, was elected four years ago to preside in New Hampshire.

McGreevey, 49, who resigned as governor of New Jersey in 2004, after announcing he was a "gay American," couldn't be reached yesterday to respond to news reports that he had converted to the Episcopal religion and will begin seminary study in the fall.
the rest

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

But for the searching of the Scriptures and true knowledge of them, an honourable life is needed, and a pure soul, and that virtue which is according to Christ; so that the intellect guiding its path by it, may be able to attain what it desires, and to comprehend it, in so far as it is accessible to human nature to learn concerning the Word of God. For without a pure mind and a modelling of the life after the saints, a man could not possibly comprehend the words of the saints. ...St.Athanasius photo

Why the Left is Attacking Abstinence Programs
By Janice Shaw Crouse
Tuesday, May 1, 2007

It happens all the time –– when Congress begins drafting appropriations bills dealing with the funding of sex education, the left starts undermining abstinence programs. The federal government disproportionately supports those sex education programs prominently featuring condom distribution from Planned Parenthood and other organizations that argue: "Teens are going to have sex anyway, so the best response is to teach teens to protect themselves and encourage them to practice ‘safe' sex." In fact, for every $12 spent on condom-based programs, only $1 is spent funding abstinence programs. Yet when appropriations hearings are held, you can count on well-timed research being released to "prove" that the few and relatively new abstinence programs don't work. The left vehemently argues that the government is throwing money away to support abstinence programs. Translation: All the federal money should go to the groups promoting "safe sex" through the use of condoms.
the rest

The battle over church property is an ecumenical attack on the orthodox
By David Anderson
Special to The Layman Online
Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Within the Episcopal Church, there is an ongoing story of litigation, most of which is filed by revisionist diocesan bishops and directed against churches wishing to leave the Episcopal Church.

Stacy Sauls, bishop of the Diocese of Lexington, chairs a committee concerned with how to deal with property issues in the Episcopal Church, and how to fight against the "horrible" American Anglican Council and Anglican Communion Network.

It turns out that the Episcopal Church, in the spirit of ecumenism, is secretly working with the Presbyterians, who have been at this a little longer than the Episcopal Church has. In fact, a small group of Presbyterian leaders and attorneys worked out a detailed strategy on how to defeat any local Presbyterian church that tried to leave with its property. The secret Presbyterian plan made the leaked Via Media USA "Day After" plan, penned by Joan Gundersen in 2005, sound like child's play.
the rest

Stand Firm: The Bishop of Virginia Writes his Diocese
May 2, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury did indicate that CANA is not a "provincial" branch of the Communion. But he did not say that CANA was not a "part" of the Anglican Communion. In fact, he recognized that CANA exists as a "missionary diocese within the province of Nigeria" which is a part of the Anglican Communion. In other words, CANA is just as much a part of the Anglican Communion as the missionary diocese of the Navajoland. The primates, along with the ABC, also recognized the legitimacy of both CANA and the AMiA at Tanzania.

the rest at Stand Firm

China: New regulations banning trade of human organs go into effect
May 02, 2007

China's first set of regulations on human organ transplant, which prohibits organizations and individuals from trading human organs in any form, went into effect on Tuesday.

Any doctor found to be involved in human organ trade will have their practitioner license revoked, according to the regulations issued by the State Council, China's cabinet.

Clinics will be suspended from doing organ transplant operations for at least three years. Fines are set at between eight to ten times the value of the outlawed trade, the regulations say.

Officials convicted of trading in human organs will be sacked and kicked out of the government.
the rest

USA Today: How the Internet took over

Twenty-five years ago the Internet as we now know it was in the process of being birthed by the National Science Foundation. Since then it's been an information explosion. From e-mail to eBay, communication and shopping have forever changed.

1) World Wide Web
Tim Berners-Lee created user-friendly “Web pages” that could travel over the Internet, a network built to shuttle research between universities. The world logged on: 747 million adults in January.

2) E-mail
Tech’s answer to the Pony Express . Programs such as 1988’s Eudora made it easy to use. In-boxes have been filling up ever since. Nearly 97 billion e-mails are sent each day.

3) Graphical user interface (GUI)
Most computer displays were blinking lines of text until Apple featured clickable icons and other graphic tools in its 1984 Mac. Microsoft’s Windows took GUI — pronounced “gooey” — to the masses.
the rest

Let the “Sexual Orientation Hate” Bill Pass and Invite Your Own Oppression
by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
May 2, 2007

The U.S. House of Representatives will be voting this week, possibly Thursday, on the passage of a “Hate Crimes” bill that seeks to make “sexual orientation” (i.e. homosexuality, bisexuality) and “gender identity” (i.e. cross-dressing, transsexuality) specially protected legal categories (HR 1592: the so-called “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act”).

At first glance one might ask, “Who could be against criminalizing group-hate?” The problem comes in the interpretation of “hate.” As regards the volatile issues of homosexuality and transgenderism, one person’s definition of love is defined by another as hate. If you believe that true love means loving homosexual and transsexual persons but not their error—as Augustine once said, “Love not in the person his error, but the person; for the person God made, the error the person himself made”—then it is important for you to know that this ‘Hate’ Crimes bill will legally treat your love as hate. This is not pluralism, tolerance, and diversity. It is oppression.
the rest

Bush Proclaims 56th Annual National Day of Prayer - May 3
American Humanist Association will observe a National Day of Reason instead

By Hilary White
WASHINGTON, May 1, 2007

( – “A prayerful spirit” has always been an important part of the American national character, says President George W. Bush. With this assertion, he has proclaimed May 3rd as the 56th annual National Day of Prayer.

The National Day of Prayer was established in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman and is normally observed on the first Thursday of May.

This year's theme is "America Unite in Prayer," and will begin at 1:16pm EST in Washington, D.C. with music, celebrations and remembrances throughout the country.
the rest

Muslims ask questions following Christian killings
Posted: 2 May, 2007

Turkey (MNN) -- It was a grisly murder. It was well-planned. Turkish men gained the trust of three Christian men, telling them they were interested in the Christian faith and wanted to learn more. They gained the trust of 3 Christians: Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske. The attackers spent a considerable amount of time with the three martyrs. Then they struck, tying the men up and stabbing them dozens of times before slitting their throats.

In the face of these horrible events, Christians are recognizing opportunities to talk about their faith in ways they haven't been able to previously, says Johan Candelin who heads the Religious Liberty Commission of the
World Evangelical Alliance.

Candelin says there's a deep national sense of confusion in Turkey today. "Muslims are saying that Islam is a religion of peace and harmony. And then they see on television these three Christians who have been killed by a group of young people, and the young people say they have done it in the name of religion."
the rest

"In the Womb" -- One Look and Your Eyes Are Opened
Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Albert Mohler

The public discussion about the power of ultrasound and modern imaging technologies has revealed something fascinating -- the pro-abortion movement does not want us peering into the womb. The view inside the womb transforms the moral debate over abortion. Once that image is seen, the vocabulary necessarily changes.

This gestating creature is a baby, a child, a person -- and a wonder to behold. That wonder is beautifully depicted in a book released just recently by the National Geographic Society,
In the Womb. Put simply -- the book is one of the most amazing volumes my eyes have ever seen.

The book's author is Peter Tallack, a geneticist and science writer who, along with scientific modeler David Barlow and ultrasound expert Professor Stuart Campbell, brings together absolutely incredible "four-dimensional" images and photographs of the developing baby.
the rest

Colleges: Bible verses contaminate textbooks
Lawsuit to settle dispute over religious references
Posted: May 2, 2007

By Bob Unruh

Officials at the highest levels of the University of California system are stomping on constitutional religious rights by banning Christian perspectives from educational materials high school students may use to prepare for college entrance, according to a case scheduled for trial later this year.

The case was triggered by the university system's decision that basic physics, American literature and biology textbooks by major Christian book publishers such as Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book wouldn't qualify for core requirements in the state because of the inclusion of Christian perspectives. the rest

Episcopal bishop hits Anglican installation
By Julia Duin
May 2, 2007

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is confronting Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola head-on with a new demand that he not install Truro Church rector Martyn Minns as head of a parallel denomination this coming weekend.

At the ceremony, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Hylton Memorial Chapel in Woodbridge, Archbishop Akinola and four other Nigerian bishops will make Bishop Minns, 64, the head of the Fairfax-based Convocation of Anglicans in North America. He has headed CANA, in addition to pastoring the 2,300-member Truro, since he was consecrated as a bishop Aug. 20 in Abuja, Nigeria.

"Such action would violate the ancient customs of the church" in terms of the sacrosanct boundaries of individual bishops, the presiding bishop wrote in a letter released yesterday.
the rest

Matters of Faith Find a New Prominence on Campus
Published: May 2, 2007

Peter J. Gomes has been at
Harvard University for 37 years, and says he remembers when religious people on campus felt under siege. To be seen as religious often meant being dismissed as not very bright, he said.

No longer. At Harvard these days, said Professor Gomes, the university preacher, “There is probably more active religious life now than there has been in 100 years.”

Across the country, on secular campuses as varied as
Colgate University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Berkeley, chaplains, professors and administrators say students are drawn to religion and spirituality with more fervor than at any time they can remember.
More students are enrolling in religion courses, even majoring in religion; more are living in dormitories or houses where matters of faith and spirituality are a part of daily conversation; and discussion groups are being created for students to grapple with questions like what happens after death, dozens of university officials said in interviews.
the rest

ENS: Presiding Bishop urges Nigerian Primate to reconsider plans to install bishop
Actions would violate ancient customs, display division and disunity, Jefferts Schori says
May 01, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to Nigerian Primate Peter J. Akinola asking him to reconsider plans to install Martyn Minns as a bishop in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), an action she says "would violate the ancient customs of the church" and would "not help the efforts of reconciliation."

Such action, Jefferts Schori added, "would display to the world division and disunity that are not part of the mind of Christ, which we must strive to display to all."

The installation service, set for May 5 at the Hylton Memorial Chapel, a nondenominational Christian event center in Woodbridge, Virginia, is intended to install Minns as bishop of CANA, which describes itself as "an Anglican missionary effort in the US sponsored by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)."
the rest

Lawsuit Aims to Halt Mosque Construction
Associated Press Writer

MIAMI (AP) - A man fighting the opening of a mosque in his suburban neighborhood filed a lawsuit Tuesday to try and halt construction, a move derided by Arab leaders as anti-Muslim.

Rodney Wright, who is Christian, claims the relocation of the Islamic Center of South Florida to a new, larger building in his Pompano Beach neighborhood "presents a substantial harm to the well-being, safety and health" of the community.

The lawsuit claims the leader of the mosque, Imam Hassan Sabri, has repeatedly been associated with others who are tied to terrorist groups including Hamas, al-Qaida and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The connections outlined in the filing appear loose and there is no accusation of direct wrongdoing.
the rest

Pope Benedict due in Brazil
Wed, 02 May 2007

The Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi says Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Brazil to open a strategizing session with Latin American bishops.

The May 9-13 visit begins with a string of pastoral events in Sao Paulo, where the pope is going to meet young people and canonize the first Brazilian-born saint.

He will inaugurate the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, celebrating Mass and delivering a major speech to participants.
the rest

Visiting Pope steps into abortion battle in Brazil

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

As out of Jesus' affliction came a new sense of God's love and a new basis for love between men, so out of our affliction we may grasp the splendor of God's love and how to love one another. Thus the consummation of the two commandments was on Golgotha; and the Cross is, at once, their image and their fulfillment. ...Malcolm Muggeridge art

South Carolina Court Ruling in the All Saints Pawleys Lawsuit Against the Diocese of South Carolina Finally Occurs
May 1st, 2007

A South Carolina state judge has ruled that the minority of the members of the parish of All Saints, Waccamaw in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina who remained loyal to the Episcopal Church do, in fact, constitute All Saints’ Episcopal congregation.

The ruling arose from two different lawsuits, the earliest filed in 2000, over the issue of who owns the 50-acre campus that is also home to the breakaway Anglican Mission in America (AMiA). One of the cases arose in 2000 when the Diocese of South Carolina filed a public notice that All Saints, subject to applicable canon law, holds its property in trust for the diocese and the Episcopal Church as a whole. Attorneys for the diocese said that the notice was filed “out of concern that All Saints might attempt to convey its property” to the AMiA.

The parish then sued to have the diocesan notice removed from public records, claiming that legal title belonged entirely to the parish. The parish said they simply complied with diocesan canons as a “matter of courtesy.”

A majority of the All Saints’ congregation voted in late 2003 to amend the parish’s certificate of incorporation to omit references to the Episcopal Church and then to separate from the Episcopal Church.

the rest plus comments at titusonenine

Pennsylvania Court Finds Three Adults Can Have Parental Rights
May 1, 2007

A unanimous panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, an intermediate appellate court, ruled on April 30 in Jacob v. Shultz-Jacob, 2007 Westlaw 1240885, 2007 PA Super 118, that a child may have three parents, in this case a former lesbian couple and the man who donated sperm so they could have some children. The unusual ruling is not based on Pennsylvania family law statutes, but instead on judge-made doctrine of "equitable estoppel," which has occasionally been used to in the past to enforce child support obligations against persons who are not legal parents.

According to the opinion for the court by Senior Judge John T. Kelly, Jr., Jodilynn Jacob and Jennifer Schultz lived together in York County, Pennsylvania, for about six years beginning in 1996. During that time, they had a commitment ceremony in Pittsburgh, and formed a civil union in Vermont, Jennifer taking the last name Schultz-Jacob. Jodilynn had two young nephews whom she had adopted, and she was the birth mother of two other children, conceived through donor insemination. The sperm donor was Carl Frampton, a long-time friend of Jennifer.
the rest

N.Y. Governor Last to Back National Day of Prayer
By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, May. 01 2007

NEW YORK – The governor of New York has joined the other 49 governors in issuing a proclamation supporting this year’s observance of the National Day of Prayer.

On Monday, less than a week before Americans across the fifty states were scheduled to pray for the nation, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s issued proclamation appeared on the Democratic governor’s website declaring May 3, 2007, as a Day of Prayer and Reflection in the Empire State.

Although the proclamation is dated Apr. 25, there was no indication from the governor’s office prior to Monday that a proclamation was forthcoming and the only official proclamation listed last week for the month of May was for Cinco De Mayo.

Governors in 49 states and the President of the United States have signed proclamations designating a day of prayer,” noted Dr. James C. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, in a statement released Monday. “Gov. Spitzer was asked in January to issue such a declaration by April 1st if possible. No response was received as of Friday, April 27. Phone calls from the governor’s office were not returned, and pastors and volunteers who inquired were treated rudely and given no indication that a proclamation was forthcoming.” the rest

Why the Church Is Important
The institutional church is for every believer.
Tony Campolo.
Excerpted from Letters to a Young Evangelical.

Dear Timothy and Junia,

Right now I want you to do some careful thinking about the role that the institutional church will play in your lives. Many young Evangelicals are a bit leery of getting too involved in the life of a local congregation. Some can tell painful stories of bad experiences with institutionalized Christianity.

In America, Evangelical churches have often been bastions of conservatism, providing support for the status quo. For example, many of our leaders were reluctant to lend their support to the civil-rights movement when their help was desperately needed. More recently, some of our leaders have allowed male chauvinism to continue unchallenged. Unfortunately, these kinds of lapses have earned Evangelical churches a reputation for being reactionary and even contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. When secularists are asked about Evangelical churches, they often say that they consider our churches and other Evangelical institutions to be anti-gay and sexist. the rest

Canada: Bishops' pastoral statement to go to General Synod

May 1, 2007 -- At its meeting last month, the House of Bishops considered a draft pastoral statement on same-sex blessings that could be sent to all delegates to General Synod as part of the Convening Circular.

The bishops did not have the time to complete their work on this statement, but a revised draft was sent to them for a vote by email shortly after the conclusion of the meeting. With the email vote now completed, the following pastoral statement will be sent to delegates of General Synod.

Statement from the House of Bishops to the Members of General Synod
Brad Drell

Canadian Anglican bishops vote for status quo, reject same-sex marriage blessings

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

TORONTO (CP) - Canadian Anglican bishops issued a pastoral statement Tuesday that essentially rejects the blessing of same-sex unions but acknowledges there will be further votes on the matter when the church's governing body meets next month. the rest