Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Looking" on the Old Testament serpent is identical with "believing" on the New Testament Christ. That is, the looking and believing are the same thing...While Israel looked with their external eyes, believing is done with the heart...Faith is the gaze of the soul upon a saving God...Believing, then, is directing the heart's attention to Jesus. It is lifting the mind to "behold the Lamb of God," and never ceasing that beholding for the rest of our lives. ...AW Tozer image

Schori's Easter Message
By Canon Gary L'Hommedieu

"When atmospheric warming, due in part to the methane output of the millions of cows we raise each year to produce hamburger, begins to slowly drown the island homes of our neighbors in the South Pacific, are we truly sharing good news?"

(The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Message for Easter 2008)

Well, there you have it, the "resurrection" proclamation of the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. According to her message, the only thing "rising" is methane gas from cow patties (in their "pre-hamburger" state, if you catch my drift). At least we can be thankful that it's not the same old "bull" from the National Church office. The Lady Primate is unearthing still another treasure from the era of gender equality.

The Schori Easter message has a pretty good point. She makes a fair and intelligent link between the so-called Baptismal Covenant of the 1979 Prayer Book and the call for Christians to exercise biblical stewardship over creation. As she put it, "We are beginning to be aware of the ways in which our lack of concern for the rest of creation results in death and destruction for our neighbors." Ouch! That smarts a bit, as indeed it should. Furthermore, she makes her case on a sound theological basis. "We cannot love our neighbors unless we care for the creation that supports all our earthly lives."

Good point. Now for the application:
the rest at Virtueonline image

BBC to exonerate Judas in Jesus Christ drama
By Nicole Martin Digital and Media Correspondent

The BBC is to screen a new drama about the final week in the life of Jesus Christ which appears to exonerate Judas and Pontius Pilate.

Producers of The Passion have portrayed the men in a sympathetic light because they believe they have been"very harshly judged" by history.

Judas is portrayed as torn between his loyalties to Jesus and Caiaphas, who organised the plot to kill Jesus.
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Roman Catholic Womenpriests declared excommunicated by Burke
By Tim Townsend

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has declared two Roman Catholic women who live in the archdiocese, and another who lives in Germany, excommunicated.

The area women, Rose Marie Hudson and Elsie Hainz McGrath, were ordained as priests in an organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests in November. Their ordinations were not recognized by the church, which does not ordain women as priests.

In a "Declaration of Excommunication" letter delivered by messenger to the two area women Wednesday night, Burke accused them of schism, defined by the catechism of the Catholic Church as "the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."
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Obama and Clinton Join Senate Against Helping Pregnant Women, McCain Disagrees
by Steven Ertelt Editor

March 14, 2008
Washington, DC ( -- Pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton joined a majority of the Senate Thursday night in rejecting an amendment that would offer financial support to poor pregnant women and their unborn children. Their votes contrasted with likely GOP presidential nominee John McCain.

The two candidates voted against a measure by Sen. Wayne Allard of Colorado that would have included pregnant women and their unborn children in the SCHIP program.

Pro-life groups strongly supported the amendment because it would help women who may otherwise have an abortion because of financial worries about affording a baby.
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Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton Join Senate Against Parental Involvement on Abortion

Added: Obama's Wife - an Abortion Advocate - Speaks at Catholic Villanova University

Added: Obama's Chicago Pastor No Longer Serving on Campaign

Rowan Williams: Society can't handle science
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent

Society is ill-prepared to handle scientific breakthroughs because it lacks understanding of human life, the Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed.

Dr Rowan Williams issued his warning as MPs prepare to vote on proposed laws which will allow scientists to create hybrid human-animan embryos for research.

The archbishop claimed that the planned reforms threaten to open the door to practice that conflicts with religious belief, and said that society does not have the "moral perspective" to cope with such momentous advances. In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, he also criticised evolution theory as "limited", urged politicians to be open about their faith, and attacked religious conspiracy theories such as the Da Vinci Code.
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Irreconcilable differences: Episcopal split remains bitter
March 15, 2008

It's said that time heals all wounds. But one year after a nasty divorce between two factions of Grace Church in Colorado Springs, the wounds remain tender.And questions that cropped up around the split remain unanswered:

• Who has legal rights to the towering Gothic building at 601 N. Tejon St.? Is it the parish that stayed with the U.S. Episcopal Church and is now meeting at another worship center downtown? Or is it the breakaway group that joined the Anglican Church of Nigeria and remains in the building?

• Did the Rev. Donald Armstrong, the leader of the breakaway group, misapply church funds, as the state Episcopal Diocese alleges? Or is he - as he claims - a victim of a "witch hunt" launched by the diocese because of his outspoken opposition against the national church's decisions?
the rest

Britons still believe in Christ's resurrection
Saturday, 15th March 2008
By: Nick Mackenzie

Over half of Britons believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, according to new research published today by Theos, a British theological think tank.

The publication of the research coincides with the launch of The Passion (pictured), the major new drama for Easter on the main BBC channel which begins this Sunday. Theos says the series will inevitably raise questions as to whether he really did rise from the dead. They say that their survey suggests that, for the majority of the population, this question has already been answered.
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Christians in Iraq mourn leader
Cardinal urges followers of the archbishop to stay calm after he was kidnapped, killed
Los Angeles Times
March 15, 2008

BAGHDAD, IRAQ — The Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho, was buried Friday, two weeks after he was kidnapped in the troubled northern city of Mosul.

Hundreds gathered at the church in Kramleis, north of Mosul, to memorialize the highest-ranking Christian cleric to be targeted by armed groups since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq five years ago.

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As downtown revives, so do congregations
A growing, diverse population in the L.A. neighborhood results in new parishes and bigger old ones.
By K. Connie Kang, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 15, 2008

The congregation at New City Church of Los Angeles -- downtown's newest house of worship -- is a microcosm of the burgeoning downtown itself.

The parishioners, who gathered for a recent service improvised in an Italian restaurant near Walt Disney Concert Hall, included some local loft dwellers.

About two dozen adults -- some with squirming toddlers in tow -- spent half an hour visiting with one another over yogurt and fresh fruit before the Sunday morning worship. They were white and black, Asian and Latino, well-to-do and down and out.
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I do, I do, I do, I do
On the heels of gay marriage, polygamy knocks on Canada's door


Okay, help me here. There has been an angry, even hysterical reaction to the revelation that there are a number of polygamous families in Canada where Muslim men are married to up to four wives. Immigration law is fluid on the issue, with some experts arguing that immigrants already in such relationships may continue them in Canada.

Columnists and editorialists ran amok the past few weeks in condemning this alien arrangement and letters to newspapers screamed that the world was about to end if such immorality was allowed to continue.

But hold on just one little Canadian moment. Not so very long ago those of us who believed that marriage was the union of one man and one woman argued that to redefine the institution to include people of the same gender would inevitably lead to polygamy. If any of you doubt me, read one of my columns of three years ago.
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NYT: Why Shariah?
March 16, 2008

Last month,
Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, gave a nuanced, scholarly lecture in London about whether the British legal system should allow non-Christian courts to decide certain matters of family law. Britain has no constitutional separation of church and state. The archbishop noted that “the law of the Church of England is the law of the land” there; indeed, ecclesiastical courts that once handled marriage and divorce are still integrated into the British legal system, deciding matters of church property and doctrine. His tentative suggestion was that, subject to the agreement of all parties and the strict requirement of protecting equal rights for women, it might be a good idea to consider allowing Islamic and Orthodox Jewish courts to handle marriage and divorce.

Then all hell broke loose. From politicians across the spectrum to senior church figures and the ubiquitous British tabloids came calls for the leader of the world’s second largest Christian denomination to issue a retraction or even resign. Williams has spent the last couple of years trying to hold together the global Anglican Communion in the face of continuing controversies about ordaining gay priests and recognizing same-sex marriages. Yet little in that contentious battle subjected him to the kind of outcry that his reference to religious courts unleashed. Needless to say, the outrage was not occasioned by Williams’s mention of Orthodox Jewish law. For the purposes of public discussion, it was the word “Shariah” that was radioactive.
the rest

Friday, March 14, 2008

Wonder not then that all the true followers of Christ, the saints of every age, have so gloried in the cross of Christ, have imputed such great things to it, have desired nothing so much as to be partakers of it, to live in constant union with it. It is because His sufferings, His death and cross, were the fulness of His victory over all the works of the devil. Not an evil in flesh and blood, not a misery of life, not a chain of death, not a power of hell and darkness, but were all baffled, broken, and overcome by the process of a suffering and dying Christ. Well, therefore, may the cross of Christ be the glory of Christians! ... William Law image

New Poll Finds 70% Canadians Back Unborn Victims of Crime Bill
Only 19% Opposed

Friday March 14, 2008

VANCOUVER, March 14, 2008 ( - Most Canadians are in favour of proposed legislation that would make it a separate crime if a fetus dies when a mother is attacked, a new Angus Reid Strategies poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 70 per cent of respondents support the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, while 19 per cent express opposition.

Critics of the bill have stated that it could become a way to restore limits on abortion in Canada because it legally recognizes the existence of the fetus as a victim. However, the survey found that most Canadians disagree with this view. More than half of respondents (53%) think the Unborn Victims of Crime Act simply intends to punish offenders who knowingly harm a fetus in an attack against the mother. One-in-four (24%) see the bill as a veiled attempt to recriminalize abortion.
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Breaking: Deposition Votes Failed to Achieve Canonically Required Majority (+Cox and +Schofield)
March 14, 2008

Slightly more than one-third of all bishops eligible voted to
depose bishops John-David Schofield and William J. Cox during the House of Bishops’ spring retreat, far fewer than the 51 percent required by the canons.

The exact number is impossible to know, because both resolutions were approved by voice vote. Only 131 bishops registered for the meeting March 7-12 at Camp Allen, and at least 15 of them left before the business session began on Wednesday. There were 294 members of the House of Bishops entitled to vote on March 12.

When questioned about canonical inconsistencies during a telephone press conference at the conclusion of the meeting, Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina said the bishops had relied on advice provided to them by canonical experts, and did not examine canonical procedure during plenary debate prior to the votes to depose bishops Schofield and Cox.
the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

Comments at TitusOneNine

Russian Imperial Faberge Eggs

Florida: Republican-backed bill declares life begins at conception
By Josh Hafenbrack
March 12, 2008

TALLAHASSEE - A bill that defines life at conception for the purpose of prosecuting violent acts against pregnant women today cleared a House panel along sharply divided party lines.

Republican legislators on the committee pushed through the effort to define an "unborn child" as a fetus at any stage of development in the womb. Under current law, an unborn child is defined as a "viable fetus" that is "capable of meaningful life outside the womb through standard medical measures."
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Is +Stacy Sauls On His Way Out At DioLex?
March 14, 2008

A report issued by a Special Commission to the Diocese of Lexington in October 2007 was not, by any reasonable interpretation, a rousing endorsement of the tenure of +Stacy Sauls as Bishop of the Diocese of Lexington (KY). The report, which should be read between the lines as much as in the words and sentences themselves, declares “the Diocese of Lexington is systemically unwell.” While certainly not laying this situation entirely at +Sauls’ feet, by meting out blame to certain dissenting factions who have disagreed with mission decisions of the Diocese, it appears to also raise many questions about +Sauls’ ongoing tenure that may be answered in the coming months. If Bishop Sauls was looking for a ringing endorsement or a hearty vote of confidence when he appointed this Commission, it does not appear that he has received either of those results. the rest (h/t TitusOneNine)

Count Your Surprises
The high spots of my life have been anything but expected.

J.I. Packer

It has been a full quarter-century since the long-haired clergyman with the ukulele drilled the church's children in singing, "God is a surprise, right before your eyes, God is a surprise." But the words stayed with me because, now as then, they match my own vivid experience.

The high spots of my life present themselves in retrospect as a series of surprises —happy surprises, from the hand of a very gracious God. Is that unusual? I doubt it. But I also doubt that we dwell on the happy surprises as often and as thoughtfully as we should. There is great wisdom in the elderly children's chorus, "Count your blessings—name them one by one—and it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

Recently, at only a few minutes' notice, I realized that I was expected to reply to some kind things being said about me by saying something personal and also devotional. Off the cuff I listed some of the happiest of the happy surprises that have come my way, and the story came out more or less as follows.
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Legal Cloud Lingers Over Spitzer

U.S. Is Examining Spitzer’s Funds

Was Spitzer's Resignation An Answer To Prayer? - Houston Chronicle

Stand Firm: Pittsburgh’s Coalition for Realignment Sends Letter to Clergy and Parishioners

Chiara Lubich, Founder of the Worldwide Foccolare Movement, Has Died
14 Mar 08 2008

Chiara Lubich, founder of the worldwide Foccolare movement has died.She died last night at the movement’s headquarters in Rocca di Papa, south of Rome after a long illness, she was 88 years old.

Born in Trent, she was deeply marked by the destruction and violence of World War II. It was during this period that together with a small group of friends, she realized God is the only ideal worth living for.

On December 7, 1943 Chiara solemnly pronounced her yes to God forever in the church of the Capuchin Friars in Trent. She was alone. She was 23 years old. The beginnings of the Movement are traditionally marked by this date.In little more than 60 years, from the experience of living the Gospel on a daily basis, a current of spirituality has come to life, which has given rise to a movement of spiritual and social renewal of worldwide dimensions, with the words of John’s Gospel as it’s guiding principal “That all may be one”. link

Archbishop's death could 'force Iraqi church underground'
By staff writers
14 Mar 2008

The news that Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho in Iraq has been killed could force the Church underground, say Iraqi Christians in Need (ICIN).

The Chaldean Catholic archbishop was kidnapped on February 29 soon after he left Mass in Mosul. Three people who had been with him were killed by the kidnappers.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope were amongst those who made public pleas for his safety, but his body was found yesterday.

Bishop Crispian Hollis, the Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth said yesterday: "I join with all those in Iraq and elsewhere who mourn for the Archbishop. Archbishop Rahho’s abduction and death represents the latest blow against a Christian community that is undergoing an ordeal by persecution and my prayers and thoughts are with Iraq’s Christians, particularly in Mosul, as they struggle to live in faith."
the rest

Death Comes for an Iraqi Archbishop

The blood tribute of the diocese of Mosul


Stand Firm: Presiding Bishop Plans to Try Bishop Duncan before the Lambeth Conference

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church plans to poll the House of Bishops in April 2008 for approval of a plan to move the possible deposition of Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh forward from September 2008 to May 2008.

This was announced at the post-meeting press conference yesterday. Bishops Ed Little, Roskam, Curry, and Alvarez were among those present at the conference.

The reasons for this move have not been made public, however, the effect of such a move is clear. The Lambeth Conference begins in July. Were Bishop Duncan to be deposed prior to the Lambeth Conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury would be forced to decide whether to honor the Episcopal Church’s deposition and disinvite Bishop Duncan or to disregard it, a decision similar to the one he faces with regard to Bishop Schofield of San Joaquin.
Stand Firm

Lambeth invitations reviewed
March 13, 2008
George Conger

The question of Lambeth Conference invitations will be reviewed by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Windsor Continuation Group (WCG), sources familiar with its deliberations tell The Church of England Newspaper.

Chartered last month by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, the WCG will take a second look at the decision not to extend invitations to the African consecrated American bishops of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria, and may also discuss the question of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire’s non-invitation.Were Dr. Williams to accept advice to broaden the Lambeth Conference invitation list, “that would change everything,” one global south leader told CEN, and prevent Lambeth from being a “bust.”

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TLC: No Decision on Bishop Schofield’s Lambeth Invitation
March 13, 2008

The Episcopal Church’s
deposition of Bishop John-David Schofield of San Joaquin has had no immediate effect on his invitation to attend this summer’s Lambeth Conference of bishops.

A Lambeth Conference spokesperson said the House of Bishops’ March 12 actions will have an impact throughout the Anglican Communion, but “it will take some time for these [implications] to be considered properly.” The source is not authorized to speak on the subject and therefore declined to be named.
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Lambeth ban on Robinson upheld
by Pat Ashworth
14 March, 2008

THE Bishop of New Hampshire, in the United States, the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, has said that he is “dismayed and sick-hearted” after learning on Monday that all possibilities for inviting him to the Lambeth Conference had been ruled out. He has confirmed that he intends to be in Canterbury for the duration of the Conference.

“Don’t let them cut me off from you,” he urged the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the US at its spring meeting in Texas on Monday. It emerged that three US bishops — the Bishop of Northern Indiana, the Rt Revd Ed Little; the Bishop of Wyoming, the Rt Revd Bruce Caldwell; and the Bishop of Vermont, the Rt Revd Tom Ely — have been negotiating for months with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chief of staff, Christopher Smith, and Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, in the hope of arriving at “a substantial invitation”.
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Scottish Government consults on legalising sex between 13-year-olds
Wednesday, 12 March 2008

A consultation on whether teenagers as young as 13 should be allowed to have sex is being run by the Scottish Government.

The consultation into sexual offences asks whether the law should be changed so that it would be legal for a teenager to have sex with another teenager, providing there is a two-year age gap or less.

The consultation, which ends on Friday, 14 March, is a response to a Scottish Law Commission report published in December 2007.
the rest

Girls gone mild: Teenage girls sneak a peek at dressing modestly

CARY, N.C. — Imagine a home with a teenage girl where the most contentious argument over clothes involves whether it's OK for the lace on a camisole to peek through the top or bottom of a shirt.

That seems to be the case with 15-year-old Morgan Morrissette, whose mother, Shelley, is the founder and organizer of a local Pure Fashion group, a Catholic-based organization that promotes modesty and purity among teenage girls.

"I think it's modest because it's a camisole with lace on it," Morgan says. "And my dad's like, 'You know what the guys think. They think it's underwear with lace on it."'

It's a small quibble in these days where fashion seems to find a new body part to expose each season - from bare midriffs to cleavage to the cheeks not on the face.
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Pure Fashion Website

Sex and the married governor
By Cal Thomas
March 12, 2008

Excerpt: "Many commentators are indicting Spitzer mostly for hypocrisy, but aren't we the real hypocrites? We watch and tolerate the most salacious television programs; we produce soft pornography to sell in grocery stores, displaying it on checkout line shelves, we post hardcore porn on the Internet; we feature on magazine covers women who have had babies with sperm donors they call boyfriends, but do not marry them; girls are sexualized at ever-younger ages; we equate shacking up with marriage as equal moral choices and then express shock when members of both political parties behave in ways that emulate what they see the rest of us tacitly approving."

Full Commentary

Catholic College Leaders Expect Pope to Deliver Stern Message
By Jacqueline L. Salmon and Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, March 14, 2008

After years of Vatican frustration over what it views as the failure of many U.S. Catholic colleges to adhere to church teachings, school leaders are intently watching for a rebuke from Pope Benedict XVI during his Washington visit next month.

The pope requested the meeting with more than 200 top Catholic school officials from across the country. The gathering will come amid debate over teachings and campus activities that bishops have slammed as violating Catholic doctrine: a rally by pro-abortion rights Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton at St. Mary's University in San Antonio; a Georgetown University theologian's questioning whether Jesus offers the only road to salvation; and a performance of "The Vagina Monologues" at the University of Notre Dame.
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HLI Calls for Ouster of Notre Dame President

Archbishop Tutu on Gene Robinson's book:
In The Eye of the Storm

From the Preface

by Desmond Tutu

I have been puzzled by a strange fact – that a largely conservative, rural small-town diocese such as New Hampshire should have elected a man in an open, monogamous relationship with another man. It just did not make sense that they would want to run the gauntlet of controversy, opprobrium and turmoil for the sheer heck of it. Having read Bishop Gene Robinson’s manuscript of this book I now know why. They had as one of the candidates at the Diocesan Convention to elect their bishop, a man many had come to know quite well and they had been impressed with what they had seen and experienced of him.

He was, he still is, a man with an all consuming passion and that is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, to assure as many as will hear him of their infinite worth in the sight of God who loved them and still loves them with a love that is unconditional and that will not let them go. Gene Robinson has the heart of a pastor, compassionate and deeply caring for each person whatever their condition. He tells so movingly of the Christmas present he gives himself every year since becoming bishop. On Christmas Eve he goes to the State Women’s Prison and he has endeared himself so much to these inmates that they embroidered a set of vestments on the inside of which they stitched their names. This Advent vestment set is his favourite among his ecclesiastical garb. He has given the women prisoners hope (Advent is the liturgical season of hope, of expectancy, of longing for the coming of the Christ as Judge as he came as an infant, a coming we commemorate each Christmas). Poignantly for these women it is a time of expectancy, of hope – hope of parole, of release, of a visit from a loved one. Their Bishop, who came dressed to the ecclesiastical nines in all his consecration regalia when he first visited them – to affirm their significance for him and hopefully for themselves, reflects the character of Christ the Good Shepherd who gave up, who gives up on no one.
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Obama keeps pastor at a distance
By Brian DeBose
March 14, 2008

Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama's ties to racially divisive minister Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. have drawn much attention in the media and on the Web.

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., a mentor and friend to Sen. Barack Obama for 20 years, in a recent sermon shouted: "God damn America" for its history of slavery, racism and oppression against its black citizens.

Mr. Wright — who baptized Mr. Obama at the Trinity United Church of Christ, presided over his wedding there and inspired him in his career as a community activist and a politician — has been a lightning rod for the campaign from the very beginning.
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Wall Street Journal: Obama and the Minister -Don't miss this!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"The neglected heart will soon be a heart overrun with worldly thoughts; the neglected life will soon become a moral chaos; the church that is not jealously protected by mighty intercession and sacrificial labors will before long become the abode of every evil bird and the hiding place for unsuspected corruption. The creeping wilderness will soon take over that church that trusts in its own strength and forgets to watch and pray." ...A.W. Tozer image

NOAA: Coolest Winter Since 2001 for U.S., Globe
March 13, 2008

The average temperature across both the contiguous U.S. and the globe during climatological winter (December 2007-February 2008) was the coolest since 2001, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. In terms of winter precipitation, Pacific storms, bringing heavy precipitation to large parts of the West, produced high snowpack that will provide welcome runoff this spring.

A complete analysis is available online. the rest

Minnesota Pro-Life Group Supports House, Senate Bills to Ban Saline Abortions
by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 12, 2008

Editor's Note: This story contains an account of the saline abrotion process and a picture of a victim of such an abortion.

St. Paul, MN ( -- A Minnesota pro-life group is supporting a new bill to ban saline abortions in what could become the next targeted method of abortion now that partial-birth abortions have been banned nationwide. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life says the abortion procedure kills unborn children but is also dangerous for women.

Lawmakers introduced House and Senate versions of the bill, S.F. 3575 and H.F. 3947, this week.

“Saline abortions are one of the most brutal and inhumane medical procedures performed today,” MCCL legislative associate Jordan Bauer told
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In Answer to CA Ruling against Homeschool, Assemblyman Joel Anderson Introduces New Resolution in Legislature
by Karen England
Mar 12, 2008

Shockwaves continue to reverberate throughout the country after last week's unbelievable Court of Appeals for the Second Appellate District ruling that attacked parents' rights to homeschool in California. In response to the ruling, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger firmly declared his belief that homeschooling should remain legal by stating, "Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children's education. This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts, and if the courts don't protect parents' rights then, as elected officials, we will."

the rest including resolution... image

Scotland's Sex Trade Fight Looks To Success Of Swedish Model
Mar 13 2008
By Annie Brown

GROUNDBREAKING laws that have almost wiped out prostitution in Sweden could be introduced in Scotland.

The Swedes stopped punishing the prostitutes - and instead criminalised the men who buy sex.
Before the legislation came in nine years ago, 2500 women worked Stockholm's streets. Now there are 100.
the rest

Better Together?
Only in holy matrimony, not in cohabitation.

Mike McManus

Decades of high divorce rates have given rise to a generation of young adults who fear marriage. In response, the statistics show that many now live together to test their compatibility. Since 1960, America has witnessed a 12-fold increase in cohabitation from 430,000 couples to 5.4 million couples. At the same time, there's been a 50 percent plunge in the marriage rate, along with rising numbers of out-of-wedlock births.

Many of those 5.4 million couples, along with their friends and neighbors, still believe the enduing myth that cohabitation works as a sort of trial marriage. In reality, cohabitation often becomes a trial divorce. The only question is whether couples will split before or after their wedding. About 45 percent of cohabitating couples undergo what we call a "premarital divorce," which can be as painful as the real thing. The half who make it to the altar are about 50 percent more likely to divorce than those who lived apart prior to marrying. In the end, as few as 15 of every 100 couples who cohabit go on to create a lasting marriage.

By contrast, a woman who lives with a man is three times more likely to be physically abused than a married woman. If a cohabitating couple breaks up, the woman is then 18 times more likely to be harmed than a married woman. In addition, infidelity for cohabiting men is four times that of married men; for cohabiting women, infidelity is eight times more likely.
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"Scriptures not relevant to Gay Debate" Brazilian Church Says
Church of England Newspaper
March 13, 2008

THOSE PORTIONS of Scripture that condemn homosexual behaviour as sinful are not relevant to the mission and ministry of the Church today, the Brazilian House of Bishops said in a Pastoral Letter on Human Sexuality.

Divine revelation is an unfolding process that makes itself known to the community of believers as it is played out across time, the bishops said following their December meeting in Porto Alegre. There is no single truth, they argued, but a process of culturally conditioned truths that reveals itself through a collaborative" process of the church "using its 'sense of reality' and 'good common sense' formed by faith and by life experience."

"This principle defines that 'God was in Christ reconciling the world in himself.' Anything the Bible says that is not related to the essence of such Revelation is secondary, which means it is part of the culture and customs of those who were instruments of God for writing Scriptural texts," the Brazilian bishops wrote.
the rest at Virtueonline

OIC Wants 'Binding Legal Instrument' to Fight Islamophobia
By Patrick Goodenough International Editor
March 13, 2008

( - An international humanist organization has warned that Islamic governments are trying to use the United Nations to shut down free speech. The warning comes as a bloc of Islamic states is holding a summit with "Islamophobia" high on the agenda.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on Thursday began a meeting in Senegal, with the shadow of Danish cartoons satirizing Mohammed and a Dutch lawmaker's film criticizing the Koran hanging heavily over the gathering.
the rest

Lutheran Group Addresses Marriage Issue
By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer
Thursday, March 13, 2008

New York (AP) -- A task force drafting a statement on sexuality for the nation's largest Lutheran group said Thursday that the church should continue defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

However, the panel did not condemn same-gender relationships. The committee expressed regret that historic Lutheran teachings have been used to hurt gays and lesbians, and acknowledged that some congregations already accept same-sex couples.

The report released by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is part of the denomination's yearslong effort to bridge internal differences over the Bible and homosexuality.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a separate, smaller group, is theologically conservative, and teaches that same-gender relationships violate Scripture.
the rest

NYT: Episcopal Church Votes to Oust Bishop Who Seceded
March 13, 2008

The Episcopal Church moved to remove the bishop of the San Joaquin Diocese in California on Wednesday, in reaction to the diocese’s unprecedented decision late last year to secede from the church over theological issues.

The bishop, John-David Schofield, is the first bishop to face such action as a result of the disputes over the church’s stance on homosexuality.

At its semiannual meeting, in Texas, the church’s House of Bishops voted “to consent to the deposition from the ordained ministry” of Bishop Schofield. the rest

Funny Animal Pictures

815 Ends Missionary Stipends, Travel Reimbursement
March 12, 2008

Overseas missionaries serving under the sponsorship of the Anglican and Global Relations Office at the Episcopal Church Center will no longer receive stipends or reimbursement of most expenses under a new compensation package. Under the new plan, all missionaries both lay and ordained will receive the same benefits.

“As we transition into this new phase in the missionary program we have to acknowledge the increase in costs,” said the Rev. David Copley, mission personnel officer in a letter published on the Anglican and Global Relations section of The Episcopal Church

“The provision of lay pension will increase our budget by approximately $130,000 annually, and our health insurance premium increased this year by 13 percent equating to a budget increase of approximately $50,000. We have also had a general reduction in our overall budget of 5 percent in 2008 due to budget constraints within DFMS. Facing these realities we have decided to modify the compensation package offered to missionaries. In addition to looking closely at the budget, we have taken into account the costs of the February discernment retreats and June orientation programs, projected the cost of the proposed regional retreats, and focused on the essential support that we feel must be offered to all missionaries.”
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Walking Away from Christ: Labyrinths in the Episcopal Church
Greg Griffith of Stand Firm

March 13, 2008

For years we have chronicled the promotion of paganism by some on the Episcopal left. Among the more notable episodes were the
Michigan seminar featuring transgendered pagan priest Raven Kaldera; the ongoing saga of Pennsylavanian Druid/Episcopal priest Bill Melnyk; the selling of a book of "love spells" in the Episcopal Church's flagship bookstore; and the revelation that Maury Johnston, a prominent Episcopal gay activist and author, led a double life as "Shadwynn" the Wiccan priest.

For years we have also watched the progress of the "labyrinth movement" with no small degree of skepticism, and we also keep a wary eye on "interfaith seminars," anything having to do with the "divine feminine," most any event hosted by Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and anything where one might expect to see sufis, shamans or anyone whose official title includes the word "facilitator."
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Bishop sent on leave over friendship with colleague
Ruth Gledhill
March 13, 2008

A bishop at the centre of speculation over his relationship with a married vicar has been sent on “gardening leave”.

The Right Rev Carl Cooper, Bishop of St David’s in the Anglican Church in Wales, has been ordered out of the pulpit by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, while Church leaders investigate his relationship with the Rev Mandy Williams-Potter, his press officer.

The marriages of the Bishop and of Mrs Williams-Potter have broken down, but both clerics insist that no one else is involved in either break-up.
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Catholic archbishop kidnapped in Iraq found dead
By staff writers
13 Mar 2008

A Chaldean Catholic archbishop kidnapped in Iraq has been found dead, the news agency of Italian bishops' conference has reported.

The SIR news agency says Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was found dead near the Iraqi city of Mosul, where he had been abducted.

"Monsignor Rahho is dead. We have found him lifeless near Mosul," the agency quoted the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad, Monsignor Shlemon Warduni, as saying. "The kidnappers had buried him."
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Timesonline: Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho found murdered in Iraq

Albert Mohler: Overt Hostility toward Homeschoolers
Thursday, March 13, 2008

The controversy over a California appeals court ruling on homeschooling continues to expand, even as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger pledge to defend the rights of homeschooling parents and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell on Tuesday affirmed families' right to homeschool their children. As
The Los Angeles Times reported March 12, the superintendent told parents, "There's no cause for alarm." He continued: "I want to assure parents that chose to home school that California Department of Education policy will not change in any way as a result of this ruling," he said in a written statement. "Parents still have the right to home school in our state." the rest

Priest-Cosmologist Wins $1.6 Million Templeton Prize
March 13, 2008

The $1.6 million Templeton Prize, the richest award made to an individual by a philanthropic organization, was given Wednesday to Michael Heller, 72, a Roman Catholic priest, cosmologist and philosopher who has spent his life asking, and perhaps more impressively answering, questions like “Does the universe need to have a cause?”

The John Templeton Foundation, which awards grants to encourage scientific discovery on the “big questions” in science and philosophy, commended Professor Heller, who is from Poland, for his extensive writings that have “evoked new and important consideration of some of humankind’s most profound concepts.”

Much of Professor Heller’s career has been dedicated to reconciling the known scientific world with the unknowable dimensions of God.
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Muslim Elementary School Welcomed in Minnesota
by Robert Spencer

Can you imagine a public school founded by two Christian ministers, and housed in the same building as a church? Add to that -- in the same building -- a prominent chapel. And let’s say the students are required to fast during Lent, and attend Bible studies right after school. All with your tax dollars.

Inconceivable? Sure. If such a place existed, the ACLU lawyers would descend on it like locusts. It would be shut down before you could say “separation of church and state,” to the accompaniment of New York Times and Washington Post editorials full of indignant foreboding, warning darkly about the growing influence of the Religious Right in America.
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Catholic bishop hits out at 'gay conspiracy' to destroy Christianity
13 March 2008

ONE of Scotland's most senior Catholics has launched an attack on the "gay lobby" in Scotland, claiming there is a "huge and well-orchestrated conspiracy" against Christian values.

The Rt Rev Joseph Devine, Bishop of Motherwell and president of the Catholic Education Commission, said gay rights organisations aligned themselves with minority groups, such as Holocaust survivors, to project an "image of a group of people under persecution".
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Fewer dirty words equals bigger box office for PG films
Associated Press
March 13, 2008

LAS VEGAS — A new study by The Nielsen Co. found that the PG-rated movies with the least profanity made the most money at the U.S. box office.

Sexuality or violence in those films had less to do with success than the language, the Nielsen PreView group said in a study being released today.

"The reality is that profanity, within PG, is the big demarcation between box office winner and box office loser," research and marketing director Dan O'Toole said at ShoWest, a conference where studios unveil upcoming movie lineups.
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Church of England Newspaper front page: Lambeth invitations reviewed
Posted by Kendall Harmon
March 13, 2008

The question of Lambeth Conference invitations will be reviewed by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Windsor Continuation Group (WCG), sources familiar with its deliberations tell The Church of England Newspaper. Chartered last month by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, the WCG will take a second look at the decision not to extend invitations to the African-consecrated American bishops of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria, and may also discuss the question of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire’s non-invitation.

Were Dr Williams to accept advice to broaden the Lambeth Conference invitation list, “that would change everything,” one global south leader told CEN, and prevent Lambeth from being a “bust.”

Dr Williams’ decision not to invite Bishop Martyn Minns of Cana and Bishop Chuck Murphy of the AMiA and their suffragans contributed to the decision by the Churches of Nigeria and Rwanda to decline the invitation to attend Lambeth. The Archbishop of Kenya has announced that he will not attend the July 16-Aug 3 conference after his two suffragans, Bishops Bill Atwood and Bill Murdoch, were overlooked by Lambeth. The Kenyan House of Bishops meets later this spring and will review its position at that time, sources in the Kenyan church tell CEN.
the rest at TitusOneNine

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why does the Church stay indoors? They have a theology that has dwindled into a philosophy, in which there is no thrill of faith, no terror of doom and no concern for souls. Unbelief has put out the fires of passion, and worldliness garlands the altar of sacrifice with the tawdry glitter of unreality. The Holy Spirit cannot conquer the world with unbelief, nor can He save the world with a worldly Church. He calls for a crusade, a campaign, and an adventure of saving passion. For this enterprise He wants a separated, sanctified and sacrificial people.
...Samuel Chadwick image

Communiqué from GAFCON leadership meeting
12 March 2008

We met in England as the leadership team of the Global Anglican Future Conference and Jerusalem Pilgrimage from March 10-12, 2008 and were encouraged by the support and enthusiasm of bishops, clergy and lay leaders around the Anglican Communion who have welcomed GAFCON and expressed their desire to attend.

We affirmed that the goals of GAFCON are to:

1. Provide an opportunity for fellowship to continue to experience and proclaim the transforming love of Christ.
2. Develop a renewed understanding of our identity as Anglican Christians within our current context.
3. Prepare for an Anglican future in which the Gospel is uncompromised and Christ-centered mission a top priority.

We received reports from our various task forces involved in logistics support and program development and are grateful for the remarkable progress already made. We are confident that our time together in the Holy Land will be one of great blessing for the wider Christian community, a positive witness of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and anticipation of our future as Anglican Christians.

Archbishop Peter J. Akinola
On behalf of the Leadership Team.
12th March, 2008

House of Bishops statement on the Lambeth Conference
March 12, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] The House of Bishops, during its business session on Wednesday afternoon, March 12, approved a statement concerning the upcoming Lambeth Conference.

The full statement follows.


Jack Kevorkian Plans Run for Congress in Michigan Against Pro-Life Advocate
by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 12, 2008
Detroit, MI

( -- Convicted murderer and assisted suicide crusader Jack Kevorkian plans to run for Congress from his hometown in the Detroit area. The former pathologist has admitted to killing more than 130 people, including the televised death of Thomas Youk netted him a 25-year prison sentence.

Kevorkian told the Oakland Press on Wednesday he plans to run as an independent for Michigan's 9th Congressional district.

"We need some honesty and sincerity instead of corrupt government in Washington," Kevorkian said.
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ENS: House of Bishops consents to deposition of John-David Schofield, William Cox
By staff, March 12, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] The House of Bishops voted March 12 to consent to the deposition from the ordained ministry of the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, and the Rt. Rev. William Jackson Cox, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Maryland, resigned.

Members of the House of Bishops are preparing a statement regarding these actions and for release after a March 12 afternoon session.

The process used to work through these resolutions took into account the importance of prayer and careful reflection before each vote was taken. Specifically, in both cases the House was first led in prayer by a chaplain, followed by small-group discussion, and then plenary discussion. After this, voting commenced. Each vote was cast clearly in the majority, with some nay votes, and some abstentions.
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Bishop Schofield Responds to House of Bishops’ Consent to Depose Him
Via email:

Released by the Diocese of San Joaquin: March 12, 2008

The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, a member diocese of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America, was disappointed by today’s decision of the Episcopal House of Bishops but he was not surprised by it.

“It is a shame that the disciplinary process of The Episcopal Church has been misused in this way,” Bishop Schofield said in responding to the news that the Episcopal House of Bishops voted to depose him. “The disciplinary procedures used by the House of Bishops, in my case, were intended for those who have abandoned the Faith and are leading others away from orthodox Christianity, as held in trust by bishops in the Anglican Communion – and which The Episcopal Church had previously upheld also.”
the rest at Stand Firm

ACN Response

Archbishop Venables

Reuters: US Episcopal church deposes two dissident bishops

Spitzer Quits as New York Governor; Paterson Elevated
By Henry Goldman and Karen Freifeld

March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Eliot Spitzer resigned as governor of New York, brought down by allegations that he patronized a ring of high-priced prostitutes.

Spitzer, who apologized to all New Yorkers, said his resignation is effective March 17. Lieutenant Governor David Paterson, 53, will become the state's 55th governor, serving out the rest of Spitzer's term, which expires Dec. 31, 2010. Paterson, a Democrat like Spitzer, will be the state's first black governor.

"People regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself,'' Spitzer, 48, said today at a Manhattan press conference, accompanied by his wife Silda. ``For this reason, I am resigning.''
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Added: Pro-Abortion, Pro-Homosexual Spitzer Resigns After Being Caught in Sex Scandal

Bishop Jack Iker: What it truly means to ‘remain Episcopal’

In bold caps the headline of the e-mail message that I received some weeks ago cried out to me:

“REMAIN EPISCOPAL.” Eagerly I began to read on, hoping it might be from someone who, like our own diocese, wants to remain faithful to the historic faith and order of The Episcopal Church as she originally received it, faithful to the beliefs and practices of The Episcopal Church as we once knew it, deeply rooted in the teachings of the Holy Scriptures and the Book of Common Prayer. I hoped that it would follow upon the declaration of our own diocese that we will continue to be what we have always been, believe what we have always believed, and do what we have always done.

But my hopes were dashed when I discovered that this was not at all what the sender of the e-mail had in mind. Instead, the author and those he represents were quite clear that they want The Episcopal Church to change into something it has never been. They support all the changes that the revisionists have been making in our Church over the past 30 years and are eager for more. In reality, they favor updating The Episcopal Church to make it more acceptable to popular norms and contemporary times, rather than having it remain faithful to the historic faith and practice of the ancient catholic church. Instead of wanting to remain Episcopal, what they really want is to “remain under the authority of the General Convention church,” no matter what – even when it violates the teachings of the Bible and happily changes the Biblical teaching on sexual morality. In our liturgy they want to get rid of those masculine images for God – like Father and Lord and King – and replace them with inclusive language images that revise the biblical revelation. Far from wanting to “Remain Episcopal” and to be loyal to the church we have known and loved and served over the ages, what they are striving for is a new, improved, and up-to-date version of The Episcopal Church.

The revisionists, like those represented by the e-mail I received, are clearly in control of this new Episcopal Church, and there seems little hope of reform. Not to be deterred nor turned back from their agenda, they are perfectly willing to sacrifice the church’s unity in order to achieve their goals. If we should continue a formal relationship with the New Episcopal Church, our diocese will ultimately be destroyed, and we will be no different than the rest of this new church. We must resist the changes being thrust upon us in order to remain truly Episcopal. We must separate – we must realign, in order to remain orthodox.

We shall continue to stand for the truth and fight the good fight with all the saints of old. As Hymn 287, “For All the Saints,” puts it so well:

And when the strife is fierce, the war-fare long,

steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.

Let us remain brave and strong in the Lord!

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth

Matt Kennedy+: Living into your true authentic self and being true to who you really are…
March 12, 2008

For...Bishop Robinson and many on that side of the theological spectrum Christianity is about being authentically human and that means being true to your true self. Salvation then is grasped by being "who you are" which I suppose means spending a good deal of time thinking about yourself and exploring yourself and uncovering hidden aspects of yourself, going on long journeys of self-discovery culminating in the final embrace of yourself. And, like Jesus, when you truly live into your true self-hood you can expect to be humiliated and crucified. That's exactly what is happening to Bishop Robinson. He is living with Christian "integrity" because he is being his authentic self and, like Jesus, he has been despised and rejected.

Full Commentary

First Things: The Demographic Winter and the Barren Left
By Steven W. Mosher
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Excerpt: "The unprecedented fall in fertility rates that began in postwar Europe has, in the decades since, spread to every corner of the globe.

Take Latin America, for example. The image of the loving Mexican mamacita surrounded by a passel of barefoot children remains scratched on the minds of Americans, even when it has largely vanished in the dusty pueblos of Mexico itself. Government-enforced sterilization campaigns, along with simple modernity, have dramatically shrunk family size south of the border in recent years. When I speak to American audiences, they are invariably surprised to learn that the average young Mexican family now numbers no more children than its American counterpart.

But Central and South American countries, too, are seeing their birthrates fall. Most Latin American countries are now rapidly approaching replacement rate fertility, if they are not already there, according to the United Nations Population Division (UNPD). Women in Brazil, the largest South American country, currently average only 2.3 children. The inhabitants of Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile are even less fertile.

Across the Pacific, China has become a byword for forced-pace population control. Since the early eighties, Chinese women have been allowed an average of only 1.7 children, a birthrate so low that by 2020 China’s median age will be older than that of the United States.

India’s de facto two-child policy is neither as well known nor as brutal as China’s. But this policy, in conjunction with simple modernity, has effectively brought the fertility rate down to about 2.8 or so. India is projected to reach replacement rate fertility in a decade or so.

The voluntary childlessness of the Japanese exceeds even the forced-pace population reduction of China’s one-child policy. With a total fertility rate of only 1.25, Japan is on the brink of a major demographic meltdown. Its population of 127 million has stopped growing and—if the birthrate continues at this low level—will soon begin to shrink at an alarming pace. A population bust, like an explosion, proceeds in geometric progression."
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