Friday, August 22, 2008

More CANA Council 2008 Pictures

Friday evening dinner

Church planting discussion panel with
CANA Bp. Amos Fagbamiye speaking.

Attorneys Hugo Blankingship and Raymond Dague
after their panel discussion of legal issues

Bp. David Anderson, Atty. Wicks Stephens and wife Pam,
Atty. Hugo Blankingship

Max Seymour of St. Andrew's Church, Lewis Center, Ohio
amid the liturgical banners of St. Luke's Akron

Bishop David Bena

Body May Reject Transplanted Human Embryonic Stem Cells

August 19, 2008
By Nikhil Swaminathan

The much-ballyhooed human embryonic stem cell apparently may share a problem with transplanted organs: a high probability of rejection.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine found that mice mounted an immune response after being injected with human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The result: all the transplanted stem cells—which hold the promise of maturing into several different types of tissue—were dead within a week.

Wu says that the fact that the hESCs could not survive in the mouse, coupled with previous work showing that the animals also reject mice ESCs, suggests that if human stem cells were transplanted to a patient, they would very likely provoke an immune response. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, has not approved the injection of hESCs into patients because the raw cells have the potential to become cancerous. the rest image

EU Agency Calls for a Re-definition of Marriage, Criminalization of "Homophobia"

By Maciej Golubiewski
BRUSSELS, August 21, 2008

(C-FAM) - A recent report from the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) of the European Union (EU) has called for binding EU regulations that would equalize the legal status of married heterosexual couples with that of same-sex and opposite-sex couples across Europe. It also recommends policies aimed at "promoting visibility of homosexuality and other gender identities" and criminalizing homophobia through "hate crime" legislation.

FRA contracted writing of the report to a group called FRALEX. FRALEX is roughly the same group as the now defunct EU "network of independent fundamental rights experts," a group that was widely criticized for trying to get the government of Slovakia to abrogate a treaty with the Vatican that provided conscience protection for doctors unwilling to carry out abortions.

The European Parliament requested FRA's opinion in drafting a new EU law, called a directive that would prohibit discrimination based on "sexual orientation" in employment, education, social security, health care, and access to goods and services. Current EU laws extend that kind of protection only in the area of employment, leaving other areas to be treated in national legislation. the rest

Proposed CANA Resolutions

RESOLUTION NO. 1-Establishment of the Great Lakes Region as a Region of CANA

RESOLVED, that the Convocation Council recognizes that the Great Lakes Region has been duly established as a region within the Convocation the Convocation of Anglicans in North America ("CANA"), in accordance with Section 5.3 of the Bylaws of CANA.

RESOLUTION NO. 2-Regarding the Global Anglican Future Conference

RESOLVED, that the Convocation Council hereby expresses its gratefulness to the majority-world Anglican leaders recently gathered at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem, who stood in solidarity with all Anglicans who struggle against revisionist forces in the Anglican Communion. We also hereby express our appreciation to the CANA bishops, the bishops' wives, and others for representing CANA at GAFCON. We echo their endorsement of the Statement on the Global Anglican Future and the confessional Jerusalem Declaration. We commit ourselves to pursue the GAFCON goal to "reform, heal and revitalize the Anglican Communion and expand its mission to the world." We endeavor to support the emerging GAFCON movement and its Primates Council.

RESOLUTION NO. 3-Regarding Recognition by the Primates Council of the Global Anglican Future Conference of a New Anglican North American Province

RESOLVED, that the Convocation Council hereby supports the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) desire to embrace the invitation by the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) leadership to recognize CCP as an emerging Anglican province in North America. As we set forth plans for the future of Anglicanism in North America, our prayer is that our Common Cause federation will continue to grow and mature as an Anglican province.

These resolutions will be put to vote Saturday morning at the legislative session-PD

Thursday, August 21, 2008

CANA Council 2008 in Akron, Ohio

CANA Bishop Nathan Kanu delivers a meditation to the assembled delegates.

St. Luke's Anglican Church in Akron, OH, site of the CANA 2008 Council

Opening Plenary session

Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Bendel Province delivers a teaching on the importance for Christians to follow Jesus' example of making disciples through one-on-one fellowship.

CANA missionary Bishop Martyn Minns

Morning prayer

Raymond and I are attending CANA Council 2008 as delegates from Westside Anglican Fellowship, one of 70 congregrations represented here. The council began today and continues through Saturday, August 23rd. -Pat Dague (pictures by Raymond Dague)

Bishop Michael Ingham: What Happened at the Lambeth Conference

Wednesday 20 Aug, 2008

Facts and Impressions from Bishop Michael Ingham

The Lambeth Conference is a once-a-decade gathering of the world's Anglican bishops. They've met fourteen times since the first conference in 1867. This year the conference took place at the University of Kent, near Canterbury Cathedral.

Bishop Michael Ingham was among about 670 bishops gathered. His spouse, Gwen Ingham, attended the parallel spouses conference. The bishop sent in periodic audio reports of the happenings and his reaction to them, which were posted on the diocesan website. What follows are excerpts of the bishop's Lambeth audio diary.

Here

Church of England gives £600,000 to bail out Lambeth Conference

August 20, 2008
George Conger

The Church of England has given the Lambeth Conference an emergency loan of £600,000 to cover the estimated £1.2 million shortfall for the July 16 to Aug 3 conference.

On Aug 11, the Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners met with the officers of the Lambeth Conference Company, a corporation set up by the Anglican Consultative Council and Lambeth Palace to manage the conference, to address the cash shortfall.

The Lambeth Conference Company’s officers, who include ACC Secretary General Kenneth Kearon and Lambeth Chief of Staff Chris Smith reported that they were unable to meet the conference’s financial obligations. The Board and the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, which met on Aug 7, agreed to extend a temporary interest free loan to the Lambeth Conference while it attempted to raise money to cover the shortfall. the rest

Albert Mohler: So . . . Why Did I Write This? The Delusion of Determinism

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The subversion of moral responsibility is one of the most significant developments of recent decades. Though this subversion was originally philosophical, more recent efforts have been based in biology and psychology. Various theorists have argued that our decisions and actions are determined by genetics, environmental factors, or other forces. Now, Scientific American is out with a report on a study linking determinism and moral responsibility.

The diverse theories of determinism propose that our choices and decisions are not an exercise of the will, but simply the inevitable outcome of factors outside our control. As Scientific American explains, determinists argue that "everything that happens is determined by what happened before -- our actions are inevitable consequences of the events leading up to the action." the rest

Anthony Esolen: The Age of Credulity

August 20,2008
Touchstone

Excerpt:
I was a boy once, and have watched children playing, all my life long. I was taught that boys and girls are different, in ways that I'd come to find sometimes frustrating but usually delightful, and that bit of folksy wisdom jived with what I saw of them. But now I am supposed to believe that in every culture known to man, at every stage of technological development, and often quite independent of one another, boys invent rough games, organize themselves into teams or gangs, and worship heroes, and that this is all a matter of cultural conditioning and could be completely otherwise; but when some grown man wants to dress up as a bride and saunter down the aisle with another grown man, and sow seed where seed don't go, now that is natural, nay, absolutely determined by the jeans, I mean genes. I can't believe that.

When I was a kid, people used to call it a "tragedy" if a child lost his mother or father, by death or divorce. That seemed about right to me; I knew a couple of those kids. But now one of my colleagues, a nominal Catholic, unmarried, has adopted a healthy little boy to raise as her own, without a father. I am supposed to believe that this is a wonderful thing, and throw a party. I can't believe it, as I cannot believe that our children of divorce and of shacking up are just fine, not hurt by it, no, not a bit. It would take a long and tedious post for me to recount what divorce and shacking up has done to just the families of our five or six closest friends in Canada; but I am supposed to ignore all of that, and believe, with a toss of the head, that marriage would have been worse. I have seen, closely, marriages that were terrible; and I have seen rotten husbands and wives grow even worse because of the possibility of divorce. I have seen them go on and make other people's lives miserable, like free radicals ranging through the system. I am supposed to ignore it, and believe, just believe. the rest

Now on the Hallmark aisle: Gay marriage cards

Aug 21, 2008
By SARAH SKIDMORE

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Most states don't recognize gay marriage - but now Hallmark does.
The nation's largest greeting card company is rolling out same-sex wedding cards - featuring two tuxedos, overlapping hearts or intertwined flowers, with best wishes inside. "Two hearts. One promise," one says.

Hallmark added the cards after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage. A handful of other states have recognized same-sex civil unions.

The language inside the cards is neutral, with no mention of wedding or marriage, making them also suitable for a commitment ceremony. Hallmark says the move is a response to consumer demand, not any political pressure. the rest/image

Judge rules in favor of breakaway groups

Effort to retain church property suffers third defeat in court
Julia Duin
Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fairfax County judge dealt the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia a third defeat in their efforts to retain millions of dollars of church property being held by 11 breakaway congregations.

On Tuesday, Circuit Judge Randy I. Bellows ruled on whether the U.S. Constitution's contracts clause applies to the case and whether the breakaway churches had the right to invoke what's been termed the "division statute," an 1867 law that allows a majority of a breakaway church to retain the property.

The judge said the contracts clause would apply to any church property before 1867; however, historically in Virginia, denominations could not own church property at the time; only trustees of each church could. the rest

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Devotional: I have a high priest in heaven...

When old companions, old lusts, and sins crowd in upon you, and when you feel that you are ready to sink, what can save you, sinking sinner? This alone - I have a high priest in heaven, and he can support in the hour of affliction. This alone can give you peace - I have a high priest in heaven. When you are dying - when friends can do you no good - when sins rise up like spectres around your bed - what can give you peace? This - "I have a high priest in heaven" ...Robert Murray M'Cheyne image

Do Social Networks Bring the End of Privacy?

Young people share the most intimate details of personal life on social-networking Web sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, portending a realignment of the public and the private
By Daniel J. Solove
August, 2008

  • Social-networking sites allow seemingly trivial gossip to be distributed to a worldwide audience, sometimes making people the butt of rumors shared by millions of users across the Internet.

  • Public sharing of private lives has led to a rethinking of our current conceptions of privacy.

  • Existing law should be extended to allow some privacy protection for things that people say and do in what would have previously been considered the public domain.

the rest

New Films Say Jesus Had Kids

Johnny Depp's Rex Mundi concerns "descendents of Jesus," while The Magdalena involves "holy female warriors" descended from Mary Magdalene.
by Josh Hurst
08/18/08

Hollywood has some experience with movies purporting Jesus Christ to have been involved with Mary Magdalene, even to have had children by her—anyone remember The Da Vinci Code?—but, apparently, it hasn't had enough. Not one but two new films will explore the concept—and both of them just happen to be based on comic books. the rest

Virginia Anglican Churches Praise Fairfax Judge Ruling on Contracts Clause

FAIRFAX, Va. (August 19, 2008) – The 11 Virginia Anglican congregations sued by The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Diocese of Virginia responded to the Fairfax County Circuit Court ruling issued today concerning the Contracts Clause and the assertion by TEC and the Diocese that the 11 Anglican congregations waived their right to invoke the Virginia Division Statute. Judge Randy Bellows ruled that TEC and the Diocese failed to timely assert their claim that the 11 Anglican congregations contracted around or waived their right to invoke the Division Statute. In addition, the judged ruled that the Division Statute does not violate the contracts clause provisions of the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions as applied to these properties.

The rulings can be found at www.anglicandistrictofvirginia.org. Today’s rulings mean that there are only a small number of issues remaining to be decided at the October trial, and the 11 Anglican congregations are hopeful that they can be resolved quickly.

“We are pleased that Judge Bellows ruled in our favor on these questions. He ruled very clearly that our congregations are able to rely on the Virginia Division Statute in order to keep our church property. We have maintained all along that our churches’ own trustees hold title for the benefit of their congregations. TEC and the Diocese have never owned any of the properties and their names do not appear on deeds to the property. The Virginia Supreme Court has consistently stated that Virginia does not recognize denominational trusts of the sort asserted by TEC and the Diocese,” said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia. All 11 churches are members of ADV.
the rest

Court Documents here

US charities giving big bucks to abortion lawyers

By Susan Yoshihara
Monday, August 18, 2008

The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), a prominent US-based public interest group litigating and lobbying for pro-abortion policies world-wide, has released its annual report for 2007. The reported CRR budget confirms that large US foundations continue their heavy financial support for radical social policies not only in the US, but all over the world.

The report shows that close to fifty percent of CRR’s $14 million budget is financed by more than forty American foundations. The Hewlett and Packard foundations lead the way. Other prominent donors include Ford and MacArthur foundations as well as George Soros’ Open Society Institute. CRR is also supported financially by the UN Population Fund, which claims to take a neutral position on abortion. the rest

Rick Warren impressive as McCain-Obama interviewer

Pastor Warren got them to dig deep and avoid canned answers, though he did miss some follow-up questions.
Dana Parsons
August 19, 2008

Let me suggest the creation of a new governmental position: Moderator General.

And it just so happens I have a nominee: Rick Warren.

Yes, he already has a job as pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, but based on his performance Saturday in interviewing John McCain and Barack Obama, the young man has another talent that needs to be tapped.

Forty-eight hours after the event, I'm still overly bubbly because I feared that Warren's back-to-back interviews with the presidential aspirants would fall flat. I admired his intentions in injecting questions of faith into the presidential mix. I had wondered whether either McCain or Obama would open up in front of an evangelical pastor and his congregants. Not to mention a national TV audience. Another concern was whether Warren had the chops to nudge the two men to say more and dig deeper into their souls than we're used to hearing. the rest image

Absolutes, Moral Clarity, and the Great Political Divide

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
by Michael Medved

Why do conservatives and liberals respond so differently to the current war in Georgia?

The answer to that question exposes the great political divide separating left and right, Democrats and Republicans, in today’s America. The stark contrast between Barack Obama and John McCain at this weekend’s televised Civil Forum at California’s Saddleback Church further underlined the vast gulf in worldviews when it comes to injecting moral standards or arguments into politics.

Conservatives approach every challenge with a determination to approach the question (as far as possible)as a choice between right and wrong, good and evil. Liberals, on the other hand, look for nuances, subtleties or extenuating circumstances. They feel reluctant to denounce any action or position as unequivocally wrong, or to endorse any alternative as quintessentially right. the rest

The IRS wants to tax non-profits



Ken Starr discusses a case involving a medical nonprofit from which the IRS seeks taxes.

RNC: McCain Won’t Choose Abortion-Supporting Running Mate

by FOXNews.com
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

As speculation grows around who John McCain will select as his vice presidential running mate next week, Republican National Committee officials said Tuesday that McCain is no longer considering former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

Several sources at the RNC told FOX News that in the last 36 hours, senior McCain advisers and aides have told RNC officials that McCain “got the message” last week that choosing a running mate who supports abortion rights would not be helpful. the rest image

Poll shows McCain in 5-point lead over Obama

Transgender Bias Suit Against Library of Congress Could Change Federal Policy

Marcia Coyle
The National Law Journal
August 18, 2008

A transgender job bias suit against the Library of Congress moves to trial Tuesday in federal court in Washington, D.C., with potentially major implications for federal anti-discrimination policy...

..."This is potentially very significant, partly because the case is against the federal government, which could impact federal employment policy and people all over the country," said employment discrimination scholar Arthur Leonard of New York Law School. "It also is addressing an emerging issue as to whether people whose gender identity differs from the norm would be protected by the law's provisions against sex discrimination."

Twelve states and the District of Columbia have laws specifically banning workplace discrimination based on gender identity. But courts have moved slowly to recognize protection under the major federal job bias law -- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Until recently, federal courts have held there is no protection. But a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court ruling has led some federal courts to begin to hold that, under some circumstances, Title VII may protect transgender people who are discriminated against because they do not conform to gender stereotypes. the rest

Gene Robinson: Bishop tells of support, resistance at Lambeth

By ERIN PLUMMER
Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Excerpt:
Robinson recently returned from the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England, an assembly of Anglican bishops that takes place once every 10 years.

"I think it accomplished what it set out to do, which was to build relationships." he said, listening to such talks as the "Bishop of Havarti tell about what it is like in Zimbabwe. Just the chance to hear what that's like is just amazing."

The presence of Robinson, the church's first openly gay bishop, at the conference was itself the result of struggle and determination. He was not formally invited to this year's conference by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Anglican Church, though he still attended. the rest

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Devotional: Stand up in the place where the dear Lord has put you...

Stand up in the place where the dear Lord has put you, and there do your best. God gives us trial tests. He puts life before us as an antagonist face to face. Out of the buffeting of a serious conflict we are expected to grow strong. The tree that grows where tempests toss its boughs and bend its trunk often almost to breaking, is often more firmly rooted than the tree which grows in the sequestered valley where no storm ever brings stress or strain. The same is true of life. The grandest character is grown in hardship. ...Streams in the Desert image

Bishop Wantland: Litigation, Confusion Ahead for Communion

August 19, 2008

Assisting Bishop William Wantland of Fort Worth offered a sobering assessment of a post-GAFCON, post-Lambeth Conference future for the Anglican Communion Aug. 15 in addressing members of the South East Wisconsin American Anglican Council at Nashotah House.

Bishop Wantland, who retired as Bishop of Eau Claire in 1998, minced no words.

“GAFCON (the Global Anglican Future Conference) didn’t need Lambeth,” Bishop Wantland said, “but Lambeth needs GAFCON.”

Bishop Wantland said he was confident that the GAFCON council of primates, which is currently comprised of the nine primates who attended the meeting in Jerusalem in June, would recognize a provisional overlapping Anglican province in North America within the next year. the rest

Archbishop Chaput: Vote for Real Hope and Change

By Charles J. Chaput
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

As we head toward November, Catholics might profit from recalling a few simple facts.

First, surrounding a bad social policy or party platform plank—for example, permissive abortion—with religious people doesn’t redeem the bad policy or plank. It merely compromises the religious people who try to excuse it. One of the more miraculous, or suspicious, side-effects of the 2004 election was the number of candidates in both political parties who suddenly began talking about their religious faith. There’s no doubt that many public officials, regardless of party, do take their religious beliefs very seriously and do try to live by them. That’s a good thing. So maybe this latest trend implies a new Great Awakening. Or maybe, as one of my skeptical friends says, “it’s just another charm offensive to get the shamans off their backs.” Time will tell. Words are important. Actions are more important. The religious choreography of a campaign doesn’t matter. The content of its ideas does. The religious vocabulary of a candidate doesn’t matter. The content of his record, plans, and promises does.

Second, there’s no way for Catholics to finesse their way around the abortion issue, and if we’re serious about being “Catholic,” we need to stop trying. No such thing as a “right” to kill an unborn child exists. And wriggling past that simple truth by redefining the unborn child as an unperson, a pre-human lump of cells, is the worst sort of Orwellian hypocrisy—especially for Christians. Abortion always involves the deliberate killing of an innocent human life, and it is always, inexcusably, grievously wrong. This fact in no way releases us from the duty to provide ample and compassionate support for unwed or abandoned mothers, women facing unwanted pregnancies, and women struggling with the aftermath of an abortion. But the inadequacy of that support demands that we work to improve it. It does not justify killing the child.

Obviously, we have other important issues facing us this fall: the economy, the war in Iraq, immigration justice. But we can’t build a healthy society while ignoring the routine and very profitable legalized homicide that goes on every day against America’s unborn children. The right to life is foundational. the rest

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is archbishop of Denver and author of Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (August 2008, Doubleday).

School boards are prodded to take a stance in gay marriage debate

Some trustees want their panels to take a public stand on Proposition 8, the initiative that would ban same-sex unions in California. Others say social issues don't belong in that forum.
By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 18, 2008

When it comes to political views, Jim Gibson of Vista and Mike Katz-Lacabe of San Leandro are at opposite ends of the spectrum.Gibson, 54, a father of four, is a conservative and an evangelical Christian; Katz-Lacabe, 40, describes his politics as "hippie-liberal-granola."

But the two men have a bond: Both are school board members in small California districts who have proposed that their boards wade into the debate on Proposition 8, the initiative that would amend the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage in California.

The initiative is the most hotly contested social issue on the ballot this fall, and although the boards' actions would have little effect in the classroom, both men said they thought it was important for their school boards to take a public position. the rest

Anglican-Roman dialogue ‘not at an end’

Tuesday, 19th August 2008
By George Conger

Dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church has not necessarily come to an end, a Vatican official has stated. But the form future talks take will depend on how the communion implements the suggestions offered by the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

In an Aug 7 interview with the Catholic News Service, the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity’s Anglican desk, Mgr Donald Bolen said the “dialogue will continue” between Rome and the Anglican Communion.

In three progressively harsher speeches to the bishops at Lambeth, Cardinal Ivan Dias, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Cardinal Walter Kasper chastised the Anglican Communion for its disorder and lack of theological seriousness. Cardinal Dias, prefect for the Congregation of the Evangelisation of Peoples, warned that the Anglican Communion was suffering from “spiritual Alzheimer’s”, and was in danger of forgetting its apostolic roots as it followed the spirit of the age in determining doctrine and discipline. the rest

Britain: Childhood’s End

Britain, land of bleak houses and low expectations
Theodore Dalrymple

Excerpt:
More than four out of ten British children are born out of wedlock; the unions of which they are the issue are notoriously unstable. Even marriage has lost much of its meaning. In a post-religious society, it is no longer a sacrament. The government has ensured that marriage brings no fiscal advantages and, indeed, for those at the lower end of the social scale, that it has only disadvantages. Easy divorce means that a quarter of all marriages break up within a decade.

The results of this social dysfunction are grim for children. Eighty percent of British children have televisions in their bedrooms, more than have their biological fathers at home. Fifty-eight percent of British children eat their evening meal in front of the television (a British child spends more than five hours per day watching a screen); 36 percent never eat any meals together with other family members; and 34 percent of households do not even own dining tables. In the prison where I once worked, I discovered that many inmates had never eaten at a table together with someone else. the rest image

Women-led Muslim wedding sparks debate in India

BISWAJEET BANERJEE
August 18, 2008

LUCKNOW, INDIA (AP) - A Muslim marriage in northern India officiated by women has sparked an angry debate, with one of the most influential Islamic seminaries in South Asia calling it an affront to the religion.

Naish Hasan, the 28-year-old bride and a women's rights activist, and Imran Ali, the 41-year-old groom, were married last week in a ceremony that is believed to be the first of its kind in India.

Muslim marriages are traditionally officiated by a man, often a local community leader. The signing of the wedding contract is also witnessed by four Muslim males, two each for the bride and groom. the rest

Albert Mohler: Backtrack to Saddleback -- Secularists Not Pleased

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Suffice it to say that I was not very hopeful about the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency held at the California megachurch last Saturday night. In the first place, I am not really comfortable with the idea of hosting such a politically charged event in a church. No matter how the event is planned and projected, once the event starts it can turn into something far more politically volatile than planned. That is a truth I have learned by hard experience.

Secondly, the advance publicity about the event touted it as a platform for a kind of "third way" movement that would avoid the serious worldview issues and would instead limit the conversation to vague generalities. A good many media reports suggested that Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain would be asked only "soft" questions that would demonstrate common ground and agreement between the candidates. That would be an exercise in wasted time and a squandered opportunity. the rest

Reinventing Man

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
by Chuck Colson

If you have been watching the Olympics, you cannot help but be awed by the strength, speed, and skill of Olympic athletes. Take Michael Phelps, the phenomenal American swimmer who took gold in event after event. Or Dara Torres, a 41-year-old American swimmer who bested much younger athletes, winning a silver medal.

These men and women have spent years training, strengthening, and perfecting their skills and their bodies. As much as we applaud their accomplishments, we marvel at their effort.

Now, imagine not long from now, watching an Olympic games featuring athletes who never had to train like Phelps and Torres have. Instead, their skills and physique were planned before their birth, enhanced through nanotechnology. The games would be called the “Bio-Olympics,” in which competitors have artificially enhanced features, like superhuman strength and speed. the rest

Monday, August 18, 2008

Devotional: Whatever awaits us is first encountered by Him...

Whatever awaits us is encountered first by Him-
each difficulty and complication, each wild beast or wilder robber, each yawning chasm or precipitous path. Faith's eye can always discern His majestic presence in front; and when that cannot be seen, it is dangerous to move forward. Bind this comfort to your heart: that the Saviour has tried for Himself all the experiences through which He asks you to pass; and He would not ask you to pass through them unless He was sure that they were not too difficult for your feet, or too trying for your strength...

This is the Blessed Life-not anxious to see far in front, not careful about the next step, not eager to choose the path, not weighted with the heavy responsibilities of the future; but quietly following behind the Shepherd, on step at a time. ...FB Meyer
image

Gay Anglican Posterboy Gene Robinson Complains of "Bigotry" from Fellow Bishops

Monday August 18, 2008
By Hilary White

Excerpt:
Robinson has made himself the leading spokesman of the homosexualist doctrine that homosexuality is a "God-given" condition that must be accepted by Christianity. In the lengthy interview, Robinson said he was unhappy about being "cast in the role of single issue person" and was angry that he had not been invited to Lambeth."

Gay people have been abused, really, by the church," he said, "and just mindlessly suggesting that they go back is like telling an abused spouse to go back to her husband."

"But what I say is that God and the church aren't the same thing. The church has gotten this and many other things wrong. God hasn't gotten it wrong," he said.

Despite Robinson's persistent claims of persecution, the homosexualist viewpoint is well represented in the Anglican Communion and was prominent at Lambeth. Robinson was in Canterbury during the three week Conference, giving interviews and lectures on his ideas for a new "gay" Christianity. He was the centre of the work of homosexual activists who had made Lambeth a showcase of homosexualist political and quasi-religious campaigning.

Other bishops, particularly those who had decided not to boycott, were outraged at the "in your face" nature of the homosexual lobbying at the Conference.

One bishop of the Global South group said, "They are intent to push their agenda on us. No other lobbying groups seem to enjoy similar access, or to be able to have their literature prominently displayed all over the campus and at the entrance to every residence. They are determined that their way is the only right way and that everyone else should follow." the rest image

"Life Lies: Barack Obama and Born-Alive"

August 17, 2008
By David Freddoso

In 2001, Senator Barack Obama was the only member of the Illinois senate to speak against a bill that would have recognized premature abortion survivors as “persons.” The bill was in response to a Chicago-area hospital that was leaving such babies to die. Obama voted “present” on the bill after denouncing it. It passed the state Senate but died in a state house committee.

In 2003, a similar bill came before Obama’s health committee. He voted against it. But this time, the legislation was slightly different. This latter version was identical to the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which by then had already passed the U.S. Senate unanimously (with a hearty endorsement even from abortion advocate Sen. Barbara Boxer) and had been signed into law by President Bush.

Sen. Obama is currently misleading people about what he voted against, specifically claiming that the bill he voted against in his committee lacked “neutrality” language on Roe v. Wade. The bill did contain this language. He even participated in the unanimous vote to put it in. the rest

Premature baby 'comes back to life'

Aug 18, 2008

A premature baby who was pronounced dead "came back to life" Sunday after five hours in Nahariya Hospital in northern Israel.

The baby girl, who was in a cooler at the hospital, suddenly showed signs of life and was being treated in the premature baby unit.

Doctors estimated that the cooler brought the fetus "back to life." the rest

California court says no religious exemption for doctors

Paul Elias
Associated Press Writer
8/18/2008

SAN FRANCISCO - California's high court on Monday barred doctors from withholding medical care to homosexual men and women based on religious beliefs, ruling that state law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination extends to the medical profession. The ruling was unanimous, a contrast to the state Supreme Court's 4-3 schism in May legalizing homosexual "marriage."

Justice Joyce Kennard wrote in the ruling that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free-speech right nor a religious exemption from the state's law, which "imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations." the rest

How McCain Won Saddleback

In an unusual setting, his experience overwhelmed Obama
By Byron York
August 17, 2008

Lake Forest, Calif. — It’s fair to say that in the hours before John McCain appeared with Barack Obama at the “Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency,” here at Pastor Rick Warren’s famed southern California mega-church, there were at least a few McCain insiders who were a bit nervous about their candidate’s prospects. Obama can be remarkably polished in this sort of situation. Unlike other Democrats, he’s not afraid to hang out with evangelicals. McCain, on the other hand, can at times be cranky and take pleasure in irritating his base. Could he come out ahead in this one?

Team McCain needn’t have worried. This was not your usual political TV show. Warren — Pastor Rick, around here — asked big questions, about big subjects; he wasn’t concerned about what appeared on the front page of that morning’s Washington Post. And his simple, direct, big questions brought out something we don’t usually see in a presidential face-off; in this forum, as opposed to a read-the-prompter speech, or even a debate focused on the issues of the moment, the candidates were forced to call on everything they had — the things they have done and learned throughout their lives. And the fact is, John McCain has lived a much bigger life than Barack Obama. That’s not a slam at Obama; McCain has lived a much bigger life than most people. But it still made Obama look small in comparison. McCain was the clear winner of the night. the rest-excellent!

Analysis: Will the Lambeth Conference bring peace to the Anglican world?

Monday, 18th August 2008
By Paul Richardson

Chou En Lai excited ridicule for saying it was still too soon to judge the results of the French Revolution but such caution is the wisest response to this year’s Lambeth Conference. This hasn’t stopped two bishops telling The Sunday Telegraph we need an ‘orderly separation’ of liberals and traditionalists or The Times declaring that Anglicans have ‘reaffirmed their mutual bonds’ or Theo Hobson moaning to readers of The Guardian that Rowan Williams has stamped his authority on the Anglican Communion and turned his back on liberalism, but the wide spectrum of comment being offered tells us the dust has still to settle.

Actually it is hard to see how there could be an ‘orderly separation’ between traditionalists and liberals because in many cases the fault-lines do not lie between provinces but within them. In America attempts are to be made in September to depose traditionalist bishops while court battles rage over church property. There is nothing orderly about this. the rest

Calls for Bennison to be defrocked

Monday, 18th August 2008
George Conger

Sentencing recommendations have been submitted in the trial of the Bishop of Pennsylvania, calling for the Rt Rev Charles E Bennison, Jr, to be defrocked.

On July 30, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pennsylvania --- the diocese’s governing board --- stated Bishop Bennison should be removed from the ordained ministry. US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, however, advocated a less severe penalty, urging the bishop never be permitted to hold episcopal office again.

On June 26 a trial court convicted Bishop Bennison on two counts of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy. The bishop was found guilty of having failed to respond appropriately in 1973 after having learned his brother, who he had engaged to be his youth minister was “engaged in a sexually abusive and sexually exploitive relationship" with a 14-year-old girl. Bishop Bennison was also found guilty of having conspired to cover up the incident. the rest

America Needs New ‘Great Awakening,’ Huckabee and Evangelicals Say

Sunday, August 17, 2008
By Kevin Mooney, Staff Writer

Washington (CNSNews.com) – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and a group of evangelical leaders called for a new “Great Awakening” spiritual revival of the American people Friday, at a press conference in Washington, D.C., to announce a Saturday rally on the National Mall.

Huckabee, a former Republican contender for the presidential nomination, said the “Great Awakening” is needed to help revitalize the nation’s founding principles and cultural standing so that innocent life can be spared. the rest image

Albert Mohler: Remodeling Hell -- Americans Redefine the Doctrine

Monday, August 18, 2008

Is belief in hell disappearing? "Absolutely," says Barnard College professor Alan Segal, author of Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion. Segal's remark is found within a news story released by Religion News Service. In "Belief in Hell Dips, But Some Say They've Already Been There," Charles Honey traces the transformation of hell in contemporary America.

The catalyst for Honey's article was the "U.S. Religious Landscape Survey" released this summer by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The data do indicate a shift in beliefs concerning hell. In the Pew study, just 59 percent of those surveyed indicated belief in a concept of hell "where people who have led bad lives, and die without being sorry, are eternally punished." the rest image

Pakistani President Musharraf Resigns

Monday, August 18, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation Monday, ending an eight-year tenure that opponents said was hampering the country's labored return to democracy.

An emotional Musharraf said he wanted to spare the nation from a perilous impeachment battle and that he was satisfied that all he had done "was for the people and for the country."
"I hope the nation and the people will forgive my mistakes," Musharraf said in a televised address, much of which was devoted to defending his record and refuting criticisms. the rest image

China halts shipment of Bibles from Vision Beyond Borders

The Americans are stopped at an airport in Kunming. They say the won't leave until they get their 300 copies back.
By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 18, 2008

BEIJING -- An American Christian group that was stopped at the airport when it tried to bring in more than 300 Bibles won't leave the customs zone until it gets the books back, its leader said today. The four Americans, led by Pat Klein of the Wyoming-based Vision Beyond Borders, said they were convinced officials wanted them to leave the Kunming airport in southern China without the Bibles, preventing their distribution.

"We paid a lot to come here and bring them," Klein said in a telephone interview from the customs area, where the four have been since Sunday. "We're not bringing in contraband, drugs, evil stuff. We're just bringing in Bibles." the rest

TIME: McCain and Obama on Abortion

Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008
By NANCY GIBBS

Watching Barack Obama and John McCain handle Pastor Rick Warren's questions about abortion, you could see the whole presidential race in miniature taking shape before our eyes. The clear answer beats the clever one any time ... unless you worry about the chaos that clarity can bring.

Before a friendly but still skeptical evangelical crowd at Warren's Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., on Saturday night, McCain won a roar of approval when Warren asked him at what point a human being gets human rights: "At the moment of conception," McCain replied. The answer was clear, unequivocal and a great relief to restless Republicans who had endured a week of indigestion on the issue. Murmurs that McCain was flirting with a pro-choice running mate like former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman had Rush Limbaugh and his army in full stampede. "The fur is going to fly on this one," Limbaugh warned, about the prospect of McCain taking social conservatives for granted. the rest

McCain's New Hope: The Candidate Shines at Saddleback Forum

Obama Facing Attacks From All Sides Over Abortion Record

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Devotional: May the cross of Christ be the glory of Christians!

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

Dam breaks near Grand Canyon; hundreds evacuate

By AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press Writer

PHOENIX - An earthen dam broke near the Grand Canyon early Sunday after heavy rains that forced officials to pluck hundreds of residents and campers from the gorge by helicopter. No injuries were immediately reported.

The failure of the Redlands Dam caused some flooding in the village of Supai, where about 400 members of the Havasupai tribe live, said Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge.

As much as 8 inches of rain since Friday caused trouble even before the dam burst. A private boating party of 16 people was stranded on a ledge at the confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado River on Saturday night after flood waters carried their rafts away, Oltrogge said. the rest

China confiscates Bibles from American Christians

By GILLIAN WONG, Associated Press Writer
Sun Aug 17, 2008

BEIJING - Chinese customs officials confiscated more than 300 Bibles on Sunday from four American Christians who arrived in a southwestern city with plans to distribute them, the group's leader said.

The Bibles were taken from the group's checked luggage after they landed at the airport in the city of Kunming, said Pat Klein, head of Vision Beyond Borders. The group, based in Sheridan, Wyoming, distributes Bibles and Christian teaching materials around the world to "strengthen the persecuted church," according to its Web site.

The group arrived in China on Sunday and had intended to distribute the Bibles to people in the city, Klein told the AP in a telephone interview while still at the airport.

"I heard that there's freedom of religion in China, so why is there a problem for us to bring Bibles?" Klein said. "We had over 300 copies and customs took all of them from us. the rest

Obama and McCain square off before church audience

US presidential contenders grilled separately on taxes, abortion and how to fight 'evil'
Dan Glaister in Lake Forest, California
guardian.co.uk
Sunday August 17 2008

Barack Obama and John McCain appeared on the same stage yesterday for the first time since becoming presumptive presidential nominees, answering questions from one of America's foremost pastors in front of an audience of evangelical Christians.

The candidates met briefly on stage at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, shaking hands and exchanging "good to see ya" remarks. They did not debate each other, but answered a near identical set of questions, giving a glimpse of two very different approaches and a hint of an intense campaign to come. the rest image

Evangelicals view Pastor Rick Warren as a leading light

Added:
Reuters:
Is McCain winning over evangelicals?

CNN:
Analysis: Same tough questions, different approaches

Boston Globe: Obama, McCain, and Rick Warren

FOXNews: A tale of two candidates: McCain vs. Obama on “evil”

LATimes: Barack Obama, John McCain discuss faith, issues at Saddleback ...

Christian Post: Church-Hosted Forum Reveals Hearts, Minds of White House Hopefuls

Shroud of Turin stirs new controversy

Colorado couple researching the shroud dispute radiocarbon dating of the alleged burial cloth of Jesus, and Oxford has agreed to help them reexamine the findings.
By DeeDee Correll, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 17, 2008

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- The tie that binds John and Rebecca Jackson is about 4 feet by 14 feet, woven of herringbone twill linen. It once led to their romance; years later, it still dominates their thoughts and fills their conversations.

It brought Rebecca, an Orthodox Jew, to the Catholic Church; it led John to suspend himself from an 8-foot-tall cross to study how blood might have stained the cloth. Together, the two have committed to memory every crease, scorch mark and unexplained stain in their years-long pursuit of the mystery:

Is the Shroud of Turin -- which allegedly bears the image of a crucifixion victim -- the burial cloth of Jesus? the rest image

An Exclusive Interview with the Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion the Most. Rev. John Hepworth

By David W. Virtue
8/12/2008

Virtueonline met with Archbishop John Hepworth near Philadelphia recently. He is on a world trip visiting his constituency. He agreed to be interviewed.

VOL: With negotiations as delicate as they are between the TAC and Rome, why are you prepared to talk to VirtueOnline at this time?

HEPWORTH: There is much inaccurate information about the TAC. I would like to state our position as clearly as I know how to the Anglican and Roman Catholic world. I also want to clear up some misconceptions and misperceptions about the TAC. I chose VOL because I wanted the widest possible circulation. This interview has been cleared with Rome.

Interview at Virtueonline