Saturday, June 14, 2008

Devotional: Prayer is the human response to the perpetual outpouring of love...

Prayer is the human response to the perpetual outpouring of love by which God lays siege to every soul. When our reply to God is most direct of all, it is called adoration. Adoration is the spontaneous yearning of the heart to worship, honour, magnify, and bless God. We ask nothing but to cherish him. We seek nothing but his exaltation. We focus on nothing but his goodness. ...Richard J. Foster image


Some churches open their doors to same-sex weddings

By AMANDA FEHD Associated Press Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Dozens of churches throughout the state have endorsed a November ballot initiative to ban gay marriage. But when same-sex couples begin leaving municipal offices next week with marriage licenses in hand, some clergy will be meeting them at the altar.

Episcopalians, Unitarian Universalists, rabbis, a Methodist and even a Catholic priest are planning to bless some same-sex marriages when they are set to become legal in California on Monday.

"I believe the family is a cornerstone for a strong society, and I'm all in favor of everything we can do to build up the values that make strong families," said the Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, which has been blessing same-sex unions for 16 years.

"I think the values matter more than the gender of the people making up the heads of those families," Russell said. the rest

UK: Male priests marry in Anglican church's first gay 'wedding'

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent

An Anglican church has held a homosexual "wedding" for the first time in a move that will deepen the rift between liberals and traditionalists, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

Two male priests exchanged vows and rings in a ceremony that was conducted using one of the church's most traditional wedding rites – a decision seen as blasphemous by conservatives.

The ceremony broke Church of England guidelines and was carried out last month in defiance of the Bishop of London, in whose diocese it took place. News of the "wedding" emerged days before a crucial summit of the Anglican Church's conservative bishops and archbishops, who are threatening to split the worldwide Church over the issue of homosexual clergy.

Although some liberal clergy have carried out "blessing ceremonies" for homosexual couples in the past, this is the first time a vicar has performed a "wedding ceremony", using a traditional marriage liturgy, with readings, hymns and a ­Eucharist. the rest

Added: Anglican Church says wedding-like ceremony between male priests ...

Daily Mail: Row as rector holds Britain's first gay 'wedding' in an Anglican ...

First gay 'wedding': Only the bride was missing.

Doctors Who Almost Dissected Living Patient Confess Ignorance about Actual Moment of Death

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
PARIS, France
June 12, 2008

( - A Parisian whose organs were about to be removed by doctors after he had "died" of a heart attack, revived on the operating table only minutes before doctors began to harvest his organs.

The 45 year-old man, whose name has been withheld by the French media, was given heart massage by paramedics after collapsing on a street in Paris earlier this year. He was then transferred to a nearby hospital for further emergency procedures, but doctors were not able to restore a consistent heartbeat.

After deciding that they would be unable to dilate the coronary artery (which supplies the heart with blood and is blocked or constricted during a heart attack), the doctors decided to extract the patient's organs for transplant. Transplant doctors were not available at the time, and heart massage was applied for an hour and thirty minutes until the doctors arrived. Le Monde newspaper says that during this period doctors were still unable to revive the heart. the rest

Intelligent people 'less likely to believe in God'

By Graeme Paton, Education Editor

People with higher IQs are less likely to believe in God, according to a new study.

Professor Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at Ulster University, said many more members of the "intellectual elite" considered themselves atheists than the national average.

A decline in religious observance over the last century was directly linked to a rise in average intelligence, he claimed.

But the conclusions - in a paper for the academic journal Intelligence - have been branded "simplistic" by critics. the rest

Astrotheologians Prepare for Extraterrestrial Life

By Brandon Keim

Little green men might shock the secular public. But the Catholic Church would welcome them as brothers.

That's what Vatican chief astronomer and papal science adviser Gabriel Funes explained in a recent article in L'Osservatore Romano, the newsletter of the Vatican Observatory (translated here). His conclusion might surprise nonbelievers. After all, isn't this the same church that imprisoned Galileo for saying that the Earth revolves around the sun? Doesn't the Bible say that God created man -- not little green men -- in his image?

Indeed, many observers assert that aliens would be bad for believers. Jill Tarter, director of the Center for SETI Research, once wrote that finding intelligent other-worldly life "will be inconsistent with the existence of God or at least organized religions." But such predictions tend to come from outside Christianity. From within, theologians have debated the implications of alien contact for centuries. And if one already believes in angels, no great leap of faith is required to accept the possibility of other extraterrestrial intelligences. the rest image

GAFCON: Our Journey into the Future

Saturday, June 14, 2008

This was passed to Episcopal Cafe and has thus entered the public domain or I would not be posting it here.

Our journey into the futureOver the past ten years the journey that we, as orthodox Anglicans, have taken together, has confirmed what we feared: some Churches in the Anglican Communion are radically redefining the received faith, and abandoning fundamental parts of it. We recognize that many in these Churches believe that the challenges they are making are Spirit-led, and necessary in order to respond to the challenges that the Church faces today.

Our own experience has been different. We have upheld the received biblical faith. We have found it to be relevant and powerful in addressing contemporary challenges. And we bear testimony to the gospel's transforming power, in our own lives and in our churches. We have not claimed to possess the complete truth, but nor have we considered truth to be so provisional and partial, that one cannot possibly arrive at a clear judgment on theological error or unbiblical behaviour.
the rest at Stand Firm

Background on GAFCON – Global Anglican Future Conference
A press release from the Church of Uganda.

Fresh start: Anglican church starts in home’s basement

By Dave Thompson
June 13, 2008

It’s 10 a.m. on Sunday as Father James Hutchison prepares for his usual Sunday service — only his third as an ordained priest — at St. Barnabas Anglican Church.

As he repositions his vestments and looks over his lessons, his wife Christine eyeballs his stole. She makes adjustments so the garment lies straight around the back of his neck and the ends are even in front.

Since January, the Lynchburg church has been meeting in the basement chapel in the Leewood Drive home of Phillip Weeks, retired bishop.

Mounted pictures of each of the Stations of the Cross line the walls of the 10-foot by 20-foot chapel, which seats about 25 people.

“The church originally met in homes,” Weeks muses about ancient church history.

“Sometimes they met in catacombs,” he adds. the rest

ENS: Executive Council opens three-day meeting in Albuquerque

Members continue work on 2010-2012 budget, get update on Church Center reorganizationBy Mary Frances Schjonberg
June 13, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] During the opening sessions June 13 of the Executive Council's three-day meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the seat of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, members began looking at priorities for the next triennium's budget and heard about the status of the reorganization of staff at the Church Center.

The meeting began at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Albuquerque on the morning of June 13 with simultaneous meetings of the Council's four standing committees (Administration and Finance, known as A&F; Congregations in Ministry, known as CIM; International Concerns, known as INC; and National Concerns, known as NAC). Council then met in a plenary session in the afternoon. the rest

TLC: Deputies’ President Briefs Council on Regional Initiative

Obama's Faith: Many paths to God, salvation by works

Obama is no Joshua
By Cal Thomas
June 12, 2008

"I'm rooted in the Christian tradition," said Obama. He then adds something most Christians will see as universalism: "I believe there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people."

Falsani correctly brings up John 14:6 (and how many journalists would know such a verse, much less ask a question based on it?) in which Jesus says of Himself, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." That sounds exclusive, but Obama says it depends on how this verse is heard. According to Falsani, Obama thinks that "all people of faith — Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, everyone — know the same G0d." (Her words.)
Evangelicals and serious Catholics might ask if this is so, why did Jesus waste His time coming to Earth, suffering pain, rejection and crucifixion? If there are many ways to G0d, He might have sent down a spiritual version of table manners and avoided the rest.

Here's Obama telling Falsani, "The difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and proselytize. There's the belief, certainly in some quarters, that if people haven't embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior, they're going to hell." Falsani adds, "Obama doesn't believe he, or anyone else, will go to hell. But he's not sure he'll be going to heaven, either." Again, that is contrary to what Evangelicals and most Catholics believe.

Here's Obama again: "I don't presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I've been a good father to them, and I see that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they're kind people and that they're honest people, and they're curious people, that's a little piece of heaven." Full Story

Friday, June 13, 2008

Devotional: I do not ask, O Lord...

I do not ask, O Lord, that life may be
A pleasant road;
I do not ask that Thou wouldst take from me
Aught of its load.

For one thing, only Lord, dear Lord, I plead:
Lead me aright,
Though strength should falter and though heart should bleed,
Through peace to light.

I do not ask my cross to understand,
My way to see;
Better in darkness just to feel Thy hand,
And follow Thee.

Joy is like restless day; but peace divine
Like quiet night:
Lead me, O Lord, till perfect day shall shine,
Through peace to light.
...AA Procter

Mobile phone addiction: Clinic treats children

By Graham Tibbetts

Two children are learning to live without their mobile phones after becoming so badly addicted to the technology they were admitted to a mental health clinic.

They were brought in after spending an average of six hours a day on their phones, talking, texting or playing games.

Their parents became concerned that the children, aged 12 and 13, were unable to carry out normal activities without their handsets. They were failing at school and deceiving relatives in an attempt to obtain more money for phone cards. the rest

Bishop’s Attorney: Trial Not About Brother’s Conduct

June 13, 2008

The Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison Jr.’s lawyer repeatedly pressed a theme of maintaining the confidentiality of the young woman who was sexually abused by the bishop’s younger brother, during the final day of his ecclesiastical trial in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The Bishop of Pennsylvania is charged with responding inadequately to the sexual abuse of Martha Alexis in the 1970s, and with suppressing information about his brother’s behavior in the years since then.
the rest

Citing Deposition Threat, Pittsburgh Moves Up Diocesan Convention

June 13, 2008

Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh announced in a letter to all clergy and lay deputies that the diocese’s annual convention has been moved to Oct. 4, about one month earlier than in previous years.

“The date and place of the annual convention having been previously set, I am announcing this change under the provisions of Article II, Section 2, of the constitution of the diocese,” Bishop Duncan wrote. “The expressed threat of deposition of the diocesan bishop at a September meeting of the House of Bishops is the ‘sufficient cause’.” the rest

Russian-Bar Acrobatics

World Congress of Families Decries Brazilian President's Call to Criminalize Opposition to Homosexuality

13 June 2008
Rockford, Illinois

Responding to Brazilian President Luiz Lula’s description of opposition to homosexuality as “perhaps the most perverse disease impregnated in the human head,” World Congress of Families Global Coordinator Larry Jacobs said the comment is “so inane as to leave one breathless.”

“Lula has gone further than any other head of state to align himself with the most radical elements of the international homosexual movement,” Jacobs observed. “Now he’s saying that opposition to perversion is worse than racism, anti-Semitism or the totalitarian impulse.”

Lula’s comments came at the First National Conference of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals” in Brasilia, on June 5. the rest image

Vatican will reject Medjugorje, says bishop

By Simon Caldwell
6 June 2008

An Italian bishop has predicted that the Vatican will soon declare as false the claims that the Virgin Mary has been appearing to a group of visionaries in Medjugorje, Bosnia, for nearly 30 years.

Emeritus Bishop Andrea Gemma of Isernia-Venafro said that he believed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has been studying the claims since 2006, would not rule in favour of the six seers at the end of a review of the alleged apparitions.

"You'll see that soon the Vatican will intervene with something explosive to unmask once and for all who is behind this deceit," the 77-year-old bishop told Petrus, an online Italian Catholic journal.

Bishop Gemma, the most senior exorcist in the Catholic Church until his retirement two years ago, said he personally believed the phenomenon to be a "scandal" and a "diabolical deceit".
the rest image

Honoring Thy Fathers

June 13, 2008

For millions of children across the U.S., this Sunday will not be a cause for celebration. Because of dramatic increases in divorce and nonmarital childbearing, about 28% of our nation's children -- more than 20 million kids -- now live in a household without their father, up from 10 million kids (14%) in 1970, according to a recent Census Bureau report. Moreover, because most of these boys and girls see their dads infrequently (once a month or less), Father's Day will offer cold comfort to many of these children.

Our nation's epidemic of fatherlessness is just the most salient indicator of what University of Chicago theologian Don Browning has called the "male problematic" -- the tendency of men to live apart from their children and to invest less emotionally and practically in their families than women do. the rest

Cohabitation Becomes Mainstream Around the World


An analysis of cohabitation, marriage and divorce data from 13 countries, including the United States, shows living together has become mainstream, USA Today reported.

The National Marriage Project study of a sampling of Western European and Scandinavian nations, Australia, Canada and New Zealand found 15 percent to 30 percent of couples live together, compared with about 10 percent in the United States.

A previous study by the same group showed that since 1970, the number of Americans living together has increased from about 500,000 heterosexual couples to more than 5 million. In the United States from 1995 to 2005, the marriage rate declined almost 20 percent. the rest image

Library shuts out Christians -- and everybody else

Jeff Johnson

An Ohio county public library has closed its meeting rooms to the public rather than allow them to be used by a Christian group.

George and Cathy Vandergriff wanted to host a Crown Financial Ministries "Financial Freedom" workshop in a public meeting room at the Clermont County, Ohio, public library. Tim Chandler, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), says the couple was told that, because the class would be quoting from the Bible, they could not hold it at the library.

"The Supreme Court said, more than 25 years ago, that once you've opened up meeting space, you can't exclude anyone just because they're engaging in religious speech. And, here we are, we're still fighting this battle," Chandler contends. the rest


June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, NBC journalist and political heavyweight host of "Meet the Press," has died after collapsing at NBC's Washington news bureau, a source said. He was 58 years old.

Russert, who rose from the inside world of politics where he was former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo's press secretary and one-time chief of staff to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was able to successfully cross over to political journalism and rise to become one of its leading lights.

In his role as host of the seminal Sunday morning political program "Meet the Press" - which he took over in 1991 - he became renowned for his hard-nosed interviews where he frequently cornered some of Washington's cagiest political figures with tough questions. the rest image

McCain Meets Privately with Fr. Pavone - Says Constitutional Right to Life Applies to Unborn

By Deal Hudson
Friday June 13, 2008

June 12, 2008 (LifeSiteNews) - Sen. John McCain reached out to Catholic voters yesterday in Philadelphia at a gathering of Catholic lay leaders and clergy. The meeting, held at the venerable Union League on South Broad St., is one in an ongoing series being held nationwide by McCain and his Catholic surrogates - Sen. Sam Brownback, Gov. Frank Keating, and former Vatican ambassador Jim Nicholson.

Before his remarks, McCain met privately with Rev. Frank Pavone, president of Priests for Life. Father Pavone's organization promotes voter education and registration throughout the nation, and his pro-life advocacy has been crucial in bringing the non-negotiable life issues to the attention of Catholic voters.

In his prayer before McCain spoke, Father Pavone prayed that the "Lord would let all Christians know they are still His sons and daughters when they are in the voting booth."

The first issue addressed by McCain was abortion. He said that the "noblest words ever written" were "the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." McCain believes that those words "apply to the unborn." He reminded the Philadelphia Catholics of his pro-life voting record, adding that he would "maintain that commitment" if elected president. the rest

Christian service 'sends email from the dead'

By Tom Leonard in New York

A new internet service allows Christian subscribers to send emails to non-believing friends and relatives after they have died. offers users a facility to store emails and documents that are sent to up to 63 email addresses six days after the sender and fellow believers have been transported to Heaven.

Some of the messages can be encrypted information such as bank account details and electronic passwords. The rest can be spiritual encouragement such as Biblical passages intended to bring loved ones "to Christ and snatch them from the flames".

The service is rooted in the belief held by some evangelicals in the Rapture, a sudden visit from God in which Christians are taken away to Heaven leaving the rest to spend a further seven years on Earth under the dominion of the Anti-Christ. the rest

Diocese in plea for gay bishop

Friday, 13th June 2008
By George Conger

THE DIOCESE of New Hampshire has urged the Archbishop of Canterbury to reconsider his ban on Bishop Gene Robinson attending the Lambeth Conference, saying his inclusion would be a sign that Anglicanism welcomes all people.

In a May 29 letter, the diocesan standing committee and council said they “vehemently protest” Dr Rowan Williams’ decision to exclude Bishop Robinson from Lambeth and his ban on the New Hampshire bishop’s preaching or officiating while in England.

"Not including our bishop means that you also exclude our representation and participation," the letter said. "Your decisions are an insult to the people of the Diocese of New Hampshire, who have duly and canonically elected him bishop." the rest

Israeli scientists revive extinct native date palm

Jun 12, 2008

Tel Aviv - Israeli scientists have succeeded in getting a 2,000-year-old date seed to sprout and grow into a palm of a native type that had been extinct for hundreds of years.

That, they say, makes it the oldest known seed ever germinated.

The seed - nicknamed Methusaleh after the oldest person in the Bible - was found in the ancient fortress of Masada, on a hilltop in the Judean desert by the Dead Sea where Jewish zealots committed mass suicide to avoid surrender to the Romans in the first century CE.

Project manager Sarah Sallon hopes the palm will prove to be a fruit-bearing female, but that she will know only in a few years time, when the now more than 1.20-metre-tall sprout grows into a palm tree.
the rest image

Bad-tomato outbreak spreads to more states

June 13, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- While U.S. food-safety and health inspectors haven't identified the source of salmonella-tainted tomatoes, the outbreak is spreading.

Government officials said Thursday the number of reported illnesses has risen to 228 people in 23 states, compared with 167 illnesses in 17 states at the start of the week. States where new cases have been reported are Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New York, Tennessee and Vermont.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday, Dr. Ian Williams of the Center for Disease Control characterized the bad-tomato outbreak as "ongoing."

The FDA has been urging consumers to avoid eating or handling raw red plum, raw red Roma, and raw red round tomatoes unless they come from a U.S. state or country deemed safe by government food inspectors. The list includes 28 states and 7 countries. See list.

the rest image

Fulcrum: Reading and Reshaping the Anglican Communion

Address to the 'Fulcrum in the North' Conference
St John's Church, Great Horton, Bradford
Sunday 1 June 2008
By Graham Kings


Albert Mohler: Fatherhood and the Future of Civilization

Friday, June 13, 2008

Will the world soon experience a return of patriarchy? That is the question raised by Phillip Longman in the March/April 2006 issue of Foreign Policy.

The magazine's cover features a rather stunning headline: "Why Men Rule--and Conservatives Will Inherit the Earth." That headline would be surprising in almost any contemporary periodical, but it is especially significant that this article should appear in the pages of Foreign Policy, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The publication of this article set a good many heads to spinning....

... The publication of this article within the pages of Foreign Policy should send a very clear cultural signal. Something serious is afoot when one of the nation's most influential journals directed at questions of foreign policy takes up the return of patriarchy, especially among conservative Christians, as an issue of major consideration. Throughout his article, Longman is careful to argue for what he observes, rather than what he may or may not advocate. His verdict is clear--societies that follow a patriarchal pattern tend to reproduce at a higher rate and advance, while those who devalue the role and responsibilities of men as fathers find themselves in decline.

Colorado: Biblical message now criminalized

Penalties created for those who criticize homosexuality outside church walls
June 12, 2008
By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

A new Colorado law is helping homosexual activists achieve their goal of forcing Christians to teach biblical condemnation of homosexuality only behind the closed doors of their sanctuaries.

The as-yet untested state law promotes sexual identity "perception" to the level of skin color under state discrimination laws. story

Joni Eareckson Tada: Television Show Will Focus on Terri Schiavo

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 12, 2008

Washington, DC ( -- Americans will have an opportunity to review the life and death of Terri Schiavo tonight and next week as the television program a disabled woman produces will focus on how Terri was subjected to a painful euthanasia death. Joni Eareckson Tada, whose ministry produces "Joni and Friends," is behind the show.

Like Schiavo, Tada is a disabled woman herself -- having become paralyzed at a younger age in a diving accident.

Tada has put together two 30 minutes programs airing tonight and July 19 that will explore the debate surrounding Terri and be broadcast globally via Trinity Broadcasting Network.

“For the first time in the U.S., society has been given the ability to put to death a profoundly disabled person,” Eareckson Tada told in a statement. the rest image

Huckaboom Hits TV

By Howard Kurtz
Jun 12, 2008

Mike Huckabee may have flamed out as a presidential candidate, but his glibness and humor did not go unnoticed.

The former Arkansas governor has signed a one-year deal as a political commentator for Fox News, where he will sound off on a variety of programs. A knowledgeable source says an announcement is expected soon.

Other cable channels had been pursuing Huckabee, who provided commentary on MSNBC during one of its primary-night broadcasts. Fox has given a platform to such former Republican politicos as Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove. the rest image

Bush treated to warm greeting at Vatican

posted June 13, 2008

ROME (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI took President Bush on a rare stroll through the lush grounds of the Vatican Gardens on Friday, stopping at a grotto where the pontiff prays daily.

"Your eminence, you're looking good," Bush told the pope shortly after arriving at the Vatican, launching the leaders' third visit together.

Normally, VIPS are received in the pope's library in the Apostolic Palace. That's where Bush had his first meeting with Benedict in June 2007.

But in a gesture of appreciation for the hearty welcome Bush gave him in Washington in April, Benedict welcomed the president and first lady Laura Bush near St. John's Tower in the lush Vatican Gardens. story/image

Congregations try to heal after trauma of breakup

Political disagreement drove most of the members of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Westerville to follow their pastor out of the church they had known for decades.
Friday, June 13, 2008
By Meredith Heagney

Judy Carlos donated the cross that sits at the altar of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in memory of her mother.

Jan Zacharias, a 21-year member, had her son baptized at the Westerville church. It's also where she watched her daughter walk down the aisle on her wedding day. And on March 30, her mother-in-law's funeral was held there.

The church was important to Carlos and Zacharias. It wasn't easy to admit they no longer belonged there.

Late last year, more than two-thirds of the church's 500-plus members followed their pastor, the Rev. Ron Baird, and seceded from the Episcopal Church. the rest

Bennison says 1970s were different

By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer
Fri, Jun. 13, 2008

On the last day of a very unusual trial, Episcopal Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. continued to defend himself against charges that he concealed his brother's sexual abuse of a minor decades ago, saying yesterday that he acted within the standards of the times.

"As poorly as I handled it," he said, "if I had applied today's protocols then, things might have turned out worse."

In October, the Episcopal Church USA suspended him as head of the five-county Diocese of Pennsylvania on the ground that he engaged in "conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy" by failing to protect the girl or report his brother's misbehavior. The church alleges that Bennison did so in order to advance his career.

The trial that resulted was just the third Court for the Trial of a Bishop in the 232-year history of the Episcopal Church USA. the rest

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Devotional: Taking God at His word...

Every year, I might almost say every day, that I live, I seem to see more clearly how all the rest and gladness and power of our Christian life hinges on one thing; and that is, taking God at His word, believing that He really means exactly what He says, and accepting the very words in which He reveals His goodness and grace, without substituting others or altering the precise modes and tenses which He has seen fit to use.
...Frances Ridley Havergal image

Bishop Bennison Testifies on Trial's Third Day

June 12, 2008

The lawyer for the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison Jr. did not ask to treat two witnesses as hostile in the Court for the Trial of a Bishop on Wednesday, but neither witness proved eager to build a case that the Bishop of Pennsylvania is not guilty of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.

Bishop Bennison stands accused on two ecclesiastical charges: One is that he “reacted passively and self-protectively after he learned of his brother’s sexual misconduct with a young girl,” according to charges alleged in the presentment document; the other charge is that for more than 30 years he “deliberately and systematically” did not disclose what he knew about his brother’s misconduct in order “to contain the possibility of scandal.”

Bishop Bennison’s lawyer, James Pabarue, called the Rt. Rev. Harold Hopkins, former director of the Presiding Bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development, in an effort to establish how much several other bishops knew about the sexual misconduct scandal. He also called on Mr. Bennison’s ex-wife, Maggie Thompson, in an effort to establish that she was an important link in an information chain leading both to Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and to the Rt. Rev. Clay Matthews, the current director of the Office of Pastoral Development. the rest

Update: Episcopal Bishop Verdict Due In July

Calif. Bishop Drives Gay 'Marriage' Momentum to Church

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jun. 12 2008

In a push to strengthen support for gay and lesbian persons, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California has initiated a process to move toward equality of marriage rites for same-sex couples.

The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus released a pastoral letter on Monday urging clergy to encourage all couples, including homosexual ones, to first be married in a secular service and then seek the blessing of The Episcopal Church as the California diocese works for the "full inclusion" of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people.

"The Diocese of California seeks to provide, by advocacy and example, a way forward for The Episcopal Church so that the marriage of same-sex couples will be a part of our official marriage rites, without distinction," Andrus wrote. the rest

CANA Members to Journey to the Holy Land for Global Anglican Conference

June 12, 2008

This month, several members of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) will embark on a journey to the Holy Land, where they will come together with a diverse group of over 1,000 Christian leaders representing 17 provinces in the Anglican Communion. They will gather for the first Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), being held from June 22-29, 2008, in Jerusalem .

“Attendees of GAFCON represent the present and future of the Anglican Communion. GAFCON is an unprecedented development in the life of the Anglican Church. It will allow orthodox Anglican Christians from across the world a time for fellowship and to proclaim the transforming love of Christ. We need to start reclaiming Biblical roots and our heritage for global missions, and this conference is the catalyst for our renewed focus,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns .

The conference will feature a variety of programs to address poverty, HIV/AIDS, secularism and other moral and theological issues. Worship services will be held, and attendees will visit Biblical sites such as the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane while in Jerusalem . They will also travel to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds' Field and then on to Galilee .

Over 300 bishops from Anglican Communion will attend the conference, along with their wives, other clergy and lay leaders. The attendees represent 35 million church-going Anglicans. Some of those attending from CANA include Missionary Bishop Minns, Suffragan Bishops David Bena, Roger Ames, David Anderson, Amos Fagbamiye, and Nathan Kanu. Some members of the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV), a part of CANA, are also attending, including ADV Vice-chairman Jim Oakes, The Rev. Dr. John Yates , rector of The Falls Church, The Rev. Richard Crocker of Truro Church, The Rev. Patrick Ware of The Falls Church, Bishop John Guernsey, rector of All Saints' Church, and CANA Trustee and member of The Falls Church Sam Thomsen. ADV is an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia . They will all join other U.S. bishops within the Common Cause Partnership.

The GAFCON Communiqué, issued in March 2008, 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, and 3) Prepare for an Anglican future in which the Gospel is uncompromised and Christ-centered mission a top priority.

CANA and ADV members are encouraged to pray for all the attendees of GAFCON. “We are preparing for the future of Anglicanism throughout the world,” Bishop Minns continued, “and that takes prayers of faithful Christians. We are living in a critical time in the Communion. We want our future to be secure in the uncompromised truth of Christ's death and resurrection, so that generations to come will have heard this Good News from faithful Anglican Christians.”
(via email)

Success of Pope’s U.S. visit echoing through the Church


Archbishop Pietro Sambi, representative of the Pope to the United States, has explained in an interview that Benedict XVI’s successful visit is bearing fruit in the local Church and in has opened the eyes of the secular world, reports Catholic News Agency.

In an interview with Gianluca Biccini, that will be published in Wednesday's edition of L'Osservatore Romano, Archbishop Sambi said that during the April 15-20 papal trip, the theme of the visit, “Christ Our Hope,” permeated all the addresses of Pope Benedict XVI.

Hope filled more than the Pope’s speeches, the archbishop said as he recalled a brief message that Benedict gave to New York Catholic Radio. Speaking to the radio audience the Holy Father said “he had come ‘to confirm you in the faith, but in truth it has also been you who have confirmed me, with your response, your enthusiasm and affection’.” the rest

The Coming of the Obamessiah

by Mark P. Shea

And it came to pass that Obama called his delegates to himself. And going up on an exceeding high mountain, he opened his mouth and spake, saying:

I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.

In the beginning was Obama. Before him, they that needed the physician were as sheep without a shepherd, nor was there labor for any in the regions of North America, from New York even to California. Day by day, the sick lay dying in the streets with none to help them. But Obama lifted up his eyes of compassion upon them. He spoke, and it was. He uttered the Word, and health care began. Beggars who stood idle verily found work through the power of his Holy Name. At the sound of his mighty voice, the rising oceans were rebuked and flowed back to their place. By the power of the Zeitgeist, the planet was healed. the rest image

9th Circuit’s chief judge posted sexually explicit matter on his website

The 9th Circuit chief judge admits he posted some of the explicit content. He says he didn't think the public could see the site, which is now blocked.
By Scott Glover, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 12, 2008

A closely watched obscenity trial in Los Angeles federal court was suspended Wednesday after the judge acknowledged maintaining his own publicly accessible website featuring sexually explicit photos and videos.

Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, granted a 48-hour stay in the obscenity trial of a Hollywood adult filmmaker after the prosecutor requested time to explore "a potential conflict of interest concerning the court having a . . . sexually explicit website with similar material to what is on trial here." the rest

Episcopal Bishop Bennison Takes The Stand

By Bradley Vasoli, The Bulletin

Philadelphia - Episcopal Bishop Charles Bennison, of Pennsylvania, took the witness stand yesterday in his ecclesiastical trial and asserted he did not initially know that his brother, a priest, had sex with a minor.

Bp. Bennison's trial will determine whether he can remain as the presiding clergyman in the five-county region. It concerns whether he violated the canons of the church by failing to report alleged knowledge of his brother John's adulterous affair with an underage female parishioner at St. Mark's Church in Upland, Calif., in the early 1970s. the rest

U.S. Congressmen Accuse China of Hacking Their Computers

DG News Service\Beijing Bureau
June 12, 2008

Two U.S. Congressmen on Wednesday accused China of hacking their office computers, possibly compromising information on Chinese dissidents, the Congressmen and news reports said.

Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf said from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, "in August 2006, four of the computers in my personal office were compromised by an outside source. This source first hacked into the computer of my foreign policy and human rights staff person, then the computers of my chief of staff, my legislative director, and my judiciary staff person. On these computers was information about all of the casework I have done on behalf of political dissidents and human rights activists around the world."

"In subsequent meetings with House Information Resources and FBI officials, it was revealed that the outside sources responsible for this attack came from within the People's Republic of China. These cyber attacks permitted the source to probe our computers to evaluate our system's defenses, and to view and copy information. My suspicion is that I was targeted by Chinese sources because of my long history of speaking out about China's abysmal human rights record," he continued, according to a transcript on Wolf's Web site. the rest

The Power of Truth: Ken Boa on 'Mere Christianity'

By Chuck Colson

Thirty-five years ago, I sat in a car and wept after my friend Tom Phillips read me a chapter from C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. If you have read my book Born Again, you know the story. Lewis’s incisive words about the “spiritual cancer” of pride forced me to evaluate my own life in a way that left me shaken and humbled. That night—alone in my car and sobbing—I prayed the first real prayer of my life.

Since my conversion, I have discovered that I am not the only one so deeply affected by the words of the unassuming don from Oxford, C. S. Lewis—one of the best-known, best-loved, and most respected of Christian writers, and for good reason. If you have not yet explored Lewis’s works for yourself, now is a great time to start. That is because this month’s “Great Books Audio CD” from Dr. Ken Boa is all about the book that led to the change of my life.

Lewis’s carefully reasoned, logical style lends itself well to Ken’s teaching style. Ken concisely, but comprehensively, takes us through the major arguments of the book: our fallenness and need for someone to do something we could not do for ourselves; the “invasion” of our world by the God-man who could do just that; the new kind of life He provides for us; and, especially, the way this new life changes us from the inside out, giving us new purpose and new hope and making us into whole new persons.

Standard stuff for Christians—or it should be. But, as I have pointed out here time and again, it seems these days that even many Christians will go after any new idea—no matter how unbiblical—if it seems to promise them self-esteem and happiness. The new rule seems to be that if Oprah is promoting it, Christians (among others) are buying it. Some of them justify this by saying that they do not really believe the unbiblical parts—they just want something that makes them feel better about themselves, or helps them improve their lives. the rest

Gays are "Deeply Unhappy": Russian Orthodox Priest Warns of Dangers of Homosexual "LifeStyle"

By Hilary White

MOSCOW, June 10, 2008 ( - After illegal Gay Pride marches went ahead in Moscow earlier this month, homosexualist activists are condemning the Russian Orthodox Church for asserting Christian teaching on sexuality and suggesting that homosexual people do not have to live the "gay lifestyle".

One member of the Orthodox Church, Father Vsevolod Chaplin, recently said of homosexuals, in an interview with newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, "Such people are deeply unhappy".

"I know it from confessions and numerous life stories. It's not by chance that they die earlier and there're more suicides, drug addicts and alcoholics among them," he said. the rest

Law enforcement from several states meet to discuss polygamy

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

LAS VEGAS — Top law enforcement from Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Texas have gathered here for a closed-door summit on polygamy-related crimes.

The meeting is taking place at the U.S. Attorney's Office for Nevada. Among those in attendance: Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith, Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith and federal prosecutors.

The group is meeting to map out a plan to go after crimes connected with polygamy. It is the first time they have met since the U.S. Justice Department appointed a senior level prosecutor to assist. The meeting came out of a very public spat between Shurtleff, Goddard and U.S. Senator Harry Reid, who accused Utah and Arizona of "doing nothing" about polygamy. the rest

First Things: Same-Sex Marriage, the Courts, and the People

By Robert T. Miller
Thursday, June 12, 2008

Twenty-seven states in the United States have amended their state constitutions to limit marriage to unions of one man and one woman. Even before the recent decision of the California Supreme Court mandating that California allow same-sex couples to marry, many other states were considering similar amendments. Pennsylvania is among them. On April 29 of this year, I testified before the Appropriations Committee of the Pennsylvania Senate concerning S.B. 1250, a bill to begin the process to amend the Pennsylvania constitution to provide that “No union other than a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage or the functional equivalent of marriage by the Commonwealth.” Below is an abridged version of that testimony. the rest

McCain meets Greek Orthodox head

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain had his own share of faith-based courting on Tuesday when he met with the country’s highest ranking Greek Orthodox leader.

On the same day that Democratic rival Barack Obama met with about 30 Christian leaders, McCain held a private meeting with Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Church in America at his offices in New York City.

The two talked about religious freedom, human rights, and social issues, according to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOAA). the rest

UK: Seven in ten marriages 'forced'

Ruth Gledhill's blog
June 12, 2008

More than seven in ten marriages involving an English citizen and a spouse born in Asia could have an element of 'force or coercion' about them, according to document published today that contains some of the strongest language used by community leaders to date. The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal claims that forced marriages reflect a 'crisis that has loomed within the Muslim community without being noticed or dealt with for the past two decades.' The tribunal, founded last year and based in Nuneaton near Coventry, says the official figures of 300 forced marriages a yar represent the tip of the iceberg. Muslim lawyers on the tribunal council based their figures on decades of experience within the community, and from observing their own friends and families.

They believe that the number of marriages involving an element of coercion is in fact far higher than 300 a year and could represent as many as 70 per cent of those involving one foreign spouse. The tribunal is chaired by Shaykh Faiz Siddiqi and includes on its council about 75 Muslim lawyers, barristers and judges from around the country.
the rest

Deafening Silence: the Death of Free Speech in Canada

June 12, 2008
By David Warren

The pen is reputed to be mightier than the sword -- and probably is, over the longer stretches of history. Over the shorter stretches, the sword is definitive; or, as that great Leftist sage, Mao Tse-Tung, expressed it: "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." With its monopoly on power, the State is equipped to suppress the truth. And yet the truth will not die, no matter how many people are punished for expressing it. They may die -- or be imprisoned, fined, compelled to publicly recant, or otherwise silenced and humiliated -- but the truth will survive.

Yes, this is a statement of my Catholic faith. But it is also a candid reflection on all of the history I have read: that political power passes away, that truths about God and man resurface, that human freedom is never fully extinguished. Much of the history we know may itself be false, owing to the disappearance of evidence over time; and justice in this world may not be availing. Yet in broad outline, a time always comes when we may review the past, freed from the shackles of the past. The chains of history always rust away.

This is a point worth recalling, as we head into a period in Canada when, owing to malice from an ideological camp, to cowardice on the part of our elected representatives, and to indifference on the part of the people, free speech and freedom of the press will disappear in Canada. Those who deviate from the officially-sanctioned lies of "political correctness" will emigrate, perhaps mostly to USA, or experience that peculiar form of internal exile -- of enforced silence -- that good men have shared in many times and places. the rest image

Hate speech or free speech? What much of West bans is protected in U.S.

Abortion Center Owners in California to Face Trial for Unlicensed Medicine

by Steven Ertelt EditorJ
une 11, 2008

Los Angeles, CA ( -- Two owners of a chain of abortion businesses in southern California will face a trial on charges of practicing medicine without a license. Bertha Bugarin and her sister Raquel pleaded not guilty to putting women's health in jeopardy after they did abortions despite not holding a medical license.

On June 6, California Superior Court Judge Samuel Mayerson ruled after a three-day hearing that there is sufficient evidence to try the Bugarins for practicing medicine without a license.

The pair are now scheduled to be arraigned on June 19.Los Angeles police began the case when a special unit of the LA Police Department called the Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force raided a handful of area abortion centers last August. the rest

Nigeria: Anglican Church Hails Nass On Constitution Amendment

10 June 2008
Simon Ebegbulem

THE Benin diocese of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, has hailed the move by the National Assembly to amend the constitution of Nigeria, and urged the Justice Mohammed Uwais- led Constitutional Amendment Committee, to come up with recommendations that would guarantee free and fair elections in the country.

In a communiqué signed by the Bishop of the Diocese of Benin, Rt. Reverend Peter Imasuen and Justice S.O.Uwaifo, after the second session of the 15th Synod of the Diocese of Benin, weekend, the Synod also urged the Edo State Government to set up a committee to identify the resources in the state so as to change the current civil service status of the state to an industrial one.

The synod noted that there is always tension in the country during elections because the country lacked strict electoral laws, therefore stressed the need to amend the constitution so as to put in place a sound electoral system that would enable Nigerians elect their representatives in a free and fair manner. the rest

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Devotional: We love Him because He first loved us...

"We love Him because He first loved us."—1 John 4:19

There is no light in the planet but that which proceedeth from the sun; and there is no true love to Jesus in the heart but that which cometh from the Lord Jesus himself. From this overflowing fountain of the infinite love of God, all our love to God must spring. This must ever be a great and certain truth, that we love Him for no other reason than because He first loved us...

... How great the wonder that such as we should ever have been brought to love Jesus at all! How marvellous that when we had rebelled against Him, He should, by a display of such amazing love, seek to draw us back. No! never should we have had a grain of love towards God unless it had been sown in us by the sweet seed of His love to us.

"I love thee, Lord, but with no love of mine,
For I have none to give;
I love thee, Lord; but all the love is thine,
For by thy love I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied, and lost, and swallowed up in thee."
...CH Spurgeon

Norway adopts gay marriage law

Posted June 11, 2008

OSLO (AFP) — Norway's parliament on Wednesday adopted a new marriage law that allows homosexuals to marry and adopt children and permits lesbians to be artificially inseminated.
After a heated debate, the members of parliament adopted the text by a vote of 84 to 41.

The three centre-left coalition parties in power and two opposition parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals, voted largely in favour of the law, while the Christian Democrats and the far-right Progress Party voted against it.

Norway thus became the sixth country in the world to grant homosexuals the right to marry on an equal footing with heterosexuals, according to Norwegian television TV2.

"This decision is of an importance comparable to universal suffrage and our law on parity," Labour Party rapporteur Gunn Karin Gjul said during the debate. the rest

Bishop testifies in Bennison trial

By David O’Reilly
Wed, Jun. 11, 2008

The church trial of Episcopal Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. - charged with concealing his brother's sexual abuse of a minor many years ago - resumed at the Downtown Marriott Hotel today with the testimony of another bishop, who acknowledged that church leaders have known about the abuse and coverup for decades.

Testifying for the defense, Bishop Harold Hopkins, former head of the Episcopal Church's Office of Pastoral Development, acknowledged receiving several letters from the victim's mother in 1992 and 1993. Hopkins said he discussed the charges with the then-presiding bishop of the church, Edmund Browning.

He said that, in 1993, he also participated in a special intervention that included Bennison's younger brother, John, who began abusing the girl in the early 1970s, when she was about 15 and he was the parish youth minister.

Charles Bennison had been rector of the parish, St. Mark's in Upland, Calif., when the abuse occurred. He is now charged by the Episcopal Church U.S.A. with "conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy," for failing to protect the young victim or notifying his church superiors. the rest

TLC: Abuse Victim Concludes Testimony in Pa. Bishop's Trial

Arctic synod says recent same-sex blessing votes hurt church unity

Marites N. Sison
staff writer
Jun 11, 2008

The synod of the diocese of the Arctic, meeting in Iqaluit, Nunavut from May 27 to June 3, passed a motion criticizing decisions by four dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada that support blessing same-sex unions.

“Synod expressed great disappointment as some diocesan synods have decided to move forward with approving the blessing of same-sex civil marriages, after General Synod 2007 (made) it clear that this would not be allowed until the Lambeth Conference had time to discuss the issues this summer,” said a press release issued by the diocese of the Arctic synod. “This then indicates that Canadians are not serious about unity elements that hold the church together.”

It also passed a motion expressing “strong support … for those in the Southern cone dioceses, recognizing them as members of the Anglican Communion.” the rest

Bishop Love's Address at the Albany Diocesan Convention 2008

In the next few moments, I am going to try to share with you my understanding of some of these issues and why I made some of the decisions that I have. I realize not everyone shares my understanding of the issues confronting us.

In the Episcopal Church, every man or women ordained as a deacon, priest or bishop publicly states: "I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation." (BCP) As your bishop, I take this declaration as part of the ordination vows very seriously. I believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are not only the Word of God, but the living Word of God that continues to speak to us to this day and for all time.

In so saying, I am very much aware that the Bible as we know it today is a compilation of works, representing various literary styles, written by human authors over hundreds of years. While parts are intended to be interpreted literally, other parts are figurative, and some are poetic or history. Underlying all of it, however, is God’s inspired truth, as referenced by Paul in II Timothy.

To argue as some have tried, that whatever prohibitions God may have had toward homosexual behavior, as revealed in Leviticus 18 or Romans 1, only applied to the people to which the original text was written, and therefore does not apply to today’s culture, and modern societies’ enlightened understanding of sexuality, would seem to suggest that somehow God was limited in His understanding of human sexuality. I might remind us of the faith we proclaim every time we say the Nicene Creed: "We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen." If God is Almighty and if He created all that is, as we proclaim, and as Holy Scripture attests to, how can we say that we are more enlightened in this generation that God was when he first inspired Moses and Paul to write the words He gave them?

It is argued by some, that people, who identify themselves as homosexual in orientation, were created that way by God and therefore it is in accordance with His will that they live out their gift of sexuality in a same sex relationship. Others state that science has proven that people, who are homosexual, were born that way. To the best of my knowledge, there is no scientific study that proves that people are born homosexual. There is no genetic link that has been discovered. In regard to God creating people homosexual in orientation, Matthew 19 makes a strong case against such an argument. Jesus said, "Haven’t you read, ‘that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two but one." Full Address

Comments at Stand Firm

Brazilian President: Opposition to Homosexuality is a "Perverse Disease"

By Julio Severo
BRASILIA, Brazil, June 9, 2008

( - June 5 was a landmark day for the international homosexual movement. For the first time in history, the president of a nation officially launched a conference with the sole purpose of promoting and defending the homosexual agenda.

Brazilian President Luiz Lula had the First National Conference of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals (GLBT), inaugurated by presidential decree, and called for "a time of reparation" in Brazil. the rest

Government to pastor: Renounce your faith!

Transvestite nuns, public nudity: Most Holy Redeemer parish will participate again in “Gay Pride Weekend”

June 10, 2008

San Francisco’s Pride Weekend will once again include the participation of the AIDS Support Group at Most Holy Redeemer parish in San Francisco’s Castro District.

An announcement in the parish’s June 1 bulletin sought volunteers to help the support group staff a “major Beverage Booth in Civic Center (next to the main stage)” on Saturday, June 28, the first day of the homosexual “Pride Weekend.”

This is not the first year either Most Holy Redeemer or its AIDS Support Group has participated in “Pride Weekend.” In previous years, members of Most Holy Redeemer, carrying a parish banner, have marched in the Pride Parade – an event that features floats and marchers celebrating everything from homosexual marriage to bisexuality to polyamory. Footage of the 2005 and 2006 parades show, among parade participants, examples of public nudity (women with bared breasts, men with buttocks showing), a person dressed as a phallus, and a contingent of the transvestite group the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The footage also shows contingents from both Most Holy Redeemer and St. Agnes parish (a San Francisco church which, on its web site, calls itself: “Inclusive – Diverse – Jesuit.”). the rest

US Court Stands by Military's Decision to Curb Homosexuality within Ranks

BOSTON, June 10, 2008

( - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit ruled Monday that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on homosexual behavior does not violate the U.S. Constitution. The policy prevents people with homosexual inclinations from serving in the U.S. military, and was deemed constitutional because it is based upon important considerations of military life.

A friend-of-the-court brief was filed by the National Legal Foundation and funded by the Alliance Defense Fund, and members of both organizations argued in court to protect the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. the rest

West risks obsession with Islam, warns Vatican

June 10, 2008
Richard Owen in Rome

Read the full interview with Cardinal Tauran

The Vatican has given warning that the West's efforts at inter-faith dialogue must not be “held hostage" by Islam and are in danger of becoming "obsessed" with it at the expense of other religions.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, said that the Church “has to have regard for all religions". He said that the council had this week discussed new guidelines for inter-faith dialogue.

“What was interesting about our discussions was that we did not concentrate on Islam because in a way we are being held hostage by Islam a little bit," he told the Catholic website "Islam is very important, but there are also other great Asiatic religious traditions. Islam is one religion." the rest

Conservative 'peacemaker' to lead Southern Baptists

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Within an hour of being elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Rev. Johnny Hunt was talking about "turning the tide," acknowledging the reality that a denomination that cares so much about winning souls is losing too many.

By choosing the 55-year-old megachurch pastor from Woodstock, Ga., Southern Baptists picked the best-known name in an unusually large field of six candidates.

Hunt is described as a theological conservative more concerned about revival than fighting about doctrine. His goals likely will be welcomed as a growing number of Baptists acknowledge that steps must be taken to halt disturbing trends in membership and baptisms. the rest

Albert Mohler: A Tale of Two Bishops

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reducing a question to scale can sometimes be a helpful intellectual step toward understanding. Just how wide is the divide between liberal and conservative Christianity? Just look at the current issue of TIME magazine.

Reporter David van Biema profiles two bishops of the Anglican Communion in "Gay Bishop vs. Straight Bishop," published June 7, 2008. Van Biema looks at the divide in the Anglican Communion through these two bishops. The first, the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, is the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire. An openly homosexual man, his election as bishop set the stage for a world-wide controversy that threatens to tear the world-wide Anglican Communion asunder.

This past weekend, Bishop Robinson and his partner Mark Andrew were united in a civil ceremony Saturday in the narthex of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Concord, New Hampshire [see Religion News Service coverage]. The ceremony came exactly five years after his election as bishop. When he announced the date for the ceremony, Bishop Robinson said that he had always wished to be a "June bride."

Van Biema also profiles the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, who was recently elected a bishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. He, along with several other ministers, eventually decided that the Episcopal Church U.S. was beyond repair or recovery after, among other things, the election of Bishop Robinson. They along with their churches, have sought oversight from more conservative Anglican churches in what is now called the "Global South" -- a great swatch of the world's map ranging from South America to Africa. the rest

Obama's message to LGBT Americans

June 10, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama on Saturday released this statement regarding the 2008 Pride season:

"I am proud to join with our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered brothers and sisters in celebrating the accomplishments, the lives and the families of all LGBT people during this Pride season. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core this issue is about who we are as Americans."

"It's time to live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect. Let's enact federal civil rights legislation to outlaw hate crimes and protect workers against discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Let's repeal 'don't ask, don't tell' and demonstrate that the most effective and professional military in the world is open to all Americans who are ready and willing to serve our country. Let's treat the relationships and the families of LGBT Americans with full equality under the law. the rest image

Christian leaders meet privately with Obama

A Vote for McBama

Obama's Choice of Insider Draws Fire

The Charisma Machine: What the media mistakes about itself and Obama

Obama's Abortion Bombshell: Unrestricted Abortion Over Wishes of Individual States a Priority for Presidency

California: 2 counties to halt all weddings, gay or not

Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

County officials in at least two California counties say they'll stop performing all wedding ceremonies by next week, arguing that they don't have enough resources to marry both gay and straight couples.

Officials in Kern and Butte counties cited budget and staffing constraints as the rationale for halting the ceremonies. But clerks in other counties say that claim is specious. Some activists went further, arguing that the decision to stop the ceremonies amounts to poorly disguised discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. the rest

NASA Plans to Visit the Sun

June 10, 2008

For more than 400 years, astronomers have studied the sun from afar. Now NASA has decided to go there.

"We are going to visit a living, breathing star for the first time," says program scientist Lika Guhathakurta of NASA Headquarters. "This is an unexplored region of the solar system and the possibilities for discovery are off the charts."

The name of the mission is Solar Probe+ (pronounced "Solar Probe plus"). It's a heat-resistant spacecraft designed to plunge deep into the sun's atmosphere where it can sample solar wind and magnetism first hand. Launch could happen as early as 2015. By the time the mission ends 7 years later, planners believe Solar Probe+ will solve two great mysteries of astrophysics and make many new discoveries along the way. the rest/image

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Devotional: A Prayer of Glory to Christ

Glory to Thee, Lord.

What shall I give Thee, Lord, in return for all Thy kindness?
Glory to Thee for Thy love.
Glory to Thee for Thy mercy.
Glory to Thee for Thy patience.
Glory to Thee for forgiving us all our sins.
Glory to Thee for coming to save our souls.
Glory to Thee for Thine incarnation in the Virgin's womb.
Glory to Thee for Thy bonds.
Glory to Thee for receiving the cut of the lash.
Glory to Thee for accepting mockery.
Glory to Thee for Thy crucifixion.
Glory to Thee for Thy burial.
Glory to Thee for Thy resurrection.
Glory to Thee who were preached to men and women.
Glory to Thee in whom they believed.
Glory to Thee who were taken up into Heaven.
Glory to Thee who sit in great glory at the Father's right hand.
Glory to Thee whose will it is that the sinner should be saved
through Thy great mercy and compassion.
...St. Ephrem 0f Edessa

ENS: Albany Convention passes canons banning same-gender marriages, blessings

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
June 10, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Diocese Albany, meeting June 6 in its 140th annual convention, passed new canons prohibiting same-gender blessings and ordaining and licensing only those clergy who are married to a member of the opposite sex or "celibate and abstinent."

In his address to the convention meeting at Camp of the Woods in Speculator, New York, Albany Bishop William Love said the canons "are consistent with past and current diocesan policy and are not in violation or contradiction" with the Episcopal Church's canons.

The new canons "are not intended to be divisive, although some have come to see them that way," he said. "But rather, they are intended to provide clarity, in a time where there is great confusion within the Episcopal Church as well as the Anglican Communion concerning marriage and sexual relations outside of the confines of marriage between a man and women."

He noted that the canons "apply to everyone, regardless of one’s sexual orientation. There is one standard concerning sexual relations by which we are all called to live. While recognizing that many heterosexual couples have chosen to engage in sexual relations outside of marriage, the Church will not bless such unions."

Love also placed the need to pass the canons in the light of recent executive order issued by the governor of New York state, ordering state agencies to recognize the legality of same-gender marriages of couples coming from other states and Canada where such marriages are legal. the rest