Saturday, November 29, 2008

Be careful not to offend gay worshippers, Catholic priests warned

By Simon Caldwell
29th November 2008

Roman Catholic priests have been banned from using 'heterosexist' language in their churches in case they offend gay worshippers.

They have been told by their bishops not to assume that every churchgoer is a heterosexual and to reflect this 'in language and conversation'.

'Remember that homophobic jokes and asides can be cruel and hurtful - a careless word can mean another experience of rejection and pain,' say the bishops in a leaflet advising priests and worshippers how to be more welcoming to gay people. the rest

Friday, November 28, 2008

Devotional: If we obey the Lord our God...

The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto. Deuteronomy 28:8

If we obey the Lord our God He will bless that which He gives us. Riches are no curse when blessed of the Lord. When men have more than they require for their immediate need and begin to lay up in storehouses, the dry rot of covetousness or the blight of hard-heartedness is apt to follow the accumulation; but with God's blessing it is not so. Prudence arranges the saving, liberality directs the spending, gratitude maintains consecration, and praise sweetens enjoyment. It is a great mercy to have God's blessing in one's iron safe and on one's banking account.

What a favor is made ours by the last clause! "The Lord shall bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand unto." We would not put our hand to anything upon which we dare not ask God's blessing, neither would we go about it without prayer and faith. But what a privilege to be able to look for the Lord's help in every enterprise! Some talk of a lucky man: the blessing of the Lord is better than luck. The patronage of the great is nothing to the favor of God. Self-reliance is all very well; but the Lord's blessing is infinitely more than all the fruit of talent, genius, or tact.

...CH Spurgeon image

Analysis: Recognition of Third Province Likely to Take Years

November 26, 2008

The members of the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and the college of primates are meeting in London this week in preparation for ACC-14, the triennial meeting of the ACC’s delegates scheduled for May in Jamaica.

Organizers of the gathering told a reporter that the “agenda is largely preparing for ACC-14 next year, and trying to build on the lessons learned from Lambeth.” The JSC is reviewing the ACC’s finances, communications and staffing needs; receiving an update on the work of the Faith and Order Commission proposed by the Windsor Continuation Group at the Lambeth Conference; and learning details of the meeting of the Anglican Covenant Design Group in Singapore in September.

The JSC meeting comes shortly after Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh announced that leaders of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) will meet Dec. 3 in Wheaton, Ill., to endorse a draft constitution to govern the loose coalition of breakaway dioceses, congregations, and Anglican jurisdictions in the United States. the rest

A.S. Haley: "Know the Enemy": As the Church Formed, So It May Dissolve

[Introductory Note: This is the third in an ongoing series of posts covering the institutions that now make up The Episcopal Church. In the spirit of Sun-Tzu's maxim to "know the enemy", the series explores why and how the Church has evolved from an early branch of Anglicanism, concerned exclusively with ministering the Word and having but one bishop, into a lumbering, litigious and topheavy bureaucratic nightmare that allocates millions and millions to lawsuits and "peace and justice" causes. The first post in the series gave an historical overview of the Church's beginnings, and the second post focused on the transformation that has lately occurred in the office of the Presiding Bishop. Because of all the recent discussion about dioceses leaving the Church, I have decided in this next post to demonstrate once and for all the entirely voluntary manner in which the Church was originally formed, and in which it has (until the recent usurpations of power at the national level) been maintained over the years. This post in turn will lay the foundation for my next in-depth study of General Convention itself.]


The End of Advent

By Joseph Bottum
Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas has devoured Advent, gobbled it up with the turkey giblets and the goblets of seasonal ale. Every secularized holiday, of course, tends to lose the context it had in the liturgical year. Across the nation, even in many churches, Easter has hopped across Lent, Halloween has frightened away All Saints, and New Year’s has drunk up Epiphany.

Still, the disappearance of Advent seems especially disturbing—for it’s injured even the secular Christmas season: opening a hole, from Thanksgiving on, that can be filled only with fiercer, madder, and wilder attempts to anticipate Christmas.

More Christmas trees. More Christmas lights. More tinsel, more tassels, more glitter, more glee—until the glut of candies and carols, ornaments and trimmings, has left almost nothing for Christmas Day. For much of America, Christmas itself arrives nearly as an afterthought: not the fulfillment, but only the end, of the long Yule season that has burned without stop since the stores began their Christmas sales.
The rest-Excellent! image

New Study Shows Direct Link Between Abortion and Mental Health Problems

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 28, 2008

Washington, DC ( -- A new research study featuring numerous controls and a national data set finds a link between abortion and psychiatric disorders. The study refutes the report the American Psychiatric Association released in August claiming abortion causes no mental health issues for women.

The research team found induced abortions result in increased risks for a myriad of mental health problems ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse disorders.

The number of cases of mental health issues rose by as much as 17 percent in women having abortions compared to those who didn't have one and the risks of each particular mental health problem rose as much as 145% for post-abortive women...

... "Abortion was found to be related to an increased risk for a variety of mental health problems (panic attacks, panic disorder, agoraphobia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, major depression with and without hierarchy), and substance abuse disorders after statistical controls were instituted for a wide range of personal, situational, and demographic variables," they wrote. the rest

Just In Time for Christmas - Gift Cards for Abortions from Planned Parenthood: here

YWCA Supports Freedom of Choice Act

Pope to make rare visit to Israel in May

By Anshel Pfeffer

Pope Benedict XVI is set to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories in May 2009 after accepting an invitation by President Shimon Peres. The Vatican and Israel are said, thus, to hopefully end the high tension of recent months between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people over the initiative of canonizing Pope Pius XII.

This visit, which would be the third visit of a pope to Israel since the establishment of the state, has not yet been officially confirmed. the rest

Church leaders condemn Mumbai attacks

by Dibin Samuel
Friday, November 28, 2008

Church leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury have condemned the deadly terrorist attacks on India's financial capital, Mumbai.

Dr Rowan Williams wrote on Thursday to the High Commissioner of India, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, expressing his shock and outrage at the atrocities and offering on behalf of the whole Anglican Communion prayers for those who have lost loved ones, for the injured and for all those caring for them or dealing with the ongoing siege.

“People everywhere stand in solidarity with the innocent and in condemnation of those who would destroy innocent lives out of evil and misguided motives," he wrote. the rest

Iowa's gay marriage ban goes before high court

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments next month about whether the Defense of Marriage Act - briefly struck down last year - is unconstitutional.
By P.J. Huffstutter
November 27, 2008

Reporting from Fort Wayne, Ind. -- The national fight over same-sex marriage is coming to a peak in Iowa, where the state's highest court will hear arguments next month over whether the state's ban on gay unions is unconstitutional.

The debate over the future of Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act, a decade-old law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, comes after a ruling by a lower court judge last year. the rest

Summary of a Presentation by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali at NEAC November 2008

November 27th, 2008

Over the last twenty years I have been able to get to know a large part of the Anglican Communion. As study secretary and co-ordinator for the 1988 Lambeth Conference I visited many provinces of the Communion. I continued this process as General Secretary of CMS and I still continue such visits as a diocesan bishop.

As I have visited I have continually asked myself: "why are these people, as diverse as they are, in fellowship together?" It is not because of Anglophilia. They are Anglican because the Anglican tradition has made it possible for them to respond to what God has revealed of himself in Jesus Christ.; to respond to the work of Jesus; to how he has stood in our place; to how he has done what we could not and were not willing to do; and to how he has turned away God’s wrath from our sinfulness. That is the heart of the Gospel.

Anglicanism, in different ways has made this possible: for them to find themselves friends again with God. Our fellowship is based on this friendship with God. That fellowship is shared among us. That is the miracle of being Christian. the rest

Canada: Conservative Anglicans determined to stay within church

Keith Knight
Interim editor
Nov 28, 2008

About 50 conservative Anglican leaders, including eight young theological students, gathered in Toronto for a one-day consultation on Nov. 25 and emerged with a determination to remain within the Anglican Church of Canada. They came from 16 dioceses across the country.

Rev. Brett Cane of St. Aidan’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg is chair of Anglican Essentials Federation who was quick to point out that the organization is going through a name change. He said that the “Essentials” label has negative connotations in some parts of the country. He said that the federation is loosening its connection to the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). “We will still maintain links of fellowship with the network but we will not be organizationally tied together.”

ANiC includes 23 congregations, 14 of which are churches that left the Anglican Church of Canada, and the rest are new church plants. They are under the episcopal oversight of Bishop Donald Harvey, formerly of the Anglican Church of Canada, and under the primatial authority of Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. the rest

Humanist attack on religions chickens out of criticising Islam

Damian Thompson
Nov 27, 2008

The New Humanist website carries a set of "God Trumps" cards mocking all the major world religions. Except one. Can you guess which it is? Yup, the religion of peace. A religion so peaceful, in fact, that the humanists make a nervous joke out of their decision not to criticise it.

The cards themselves, illustrated by Martin Rowson, are mildly funny by humanist standards: remember, this is a movement effectively led by Polly Toynbee, who despite her deep compassion for the working classes probably shouldn't risk playing Saturday night at the Glasgow Empire.

The card for Jehovah's Witnesses describes their "weapon of choice" as "foot in the door". Each religion has a "daffiest doctrine". That of Hunduism is the existence of a god who lives in a cow's anus ("Lucky him!"). Catholicism: "Virgin birth, resurrection, transubstantiation... shall we go on?" the rest

Province plan to be unveiled

28 November, 2008
by Pat Ashworth

THE Common Cause Partnership (CCP), a coalition of conservative Anglican groups in the United States and Canada, which have broken away from their national Churches, is to announce plans next week for a separate province.

The group will meet in the Evangelical Free Church in Wheaton, Illinois, next Wednesday to “release to the public” its draft constitution. Its moderator, the Rt Revd Bob Duncan, the deposed Bishop of Pitts­burgh, described it as “an im­portant concrete step towards the goal of a biblical, missionary and united Anglican Church in North America”.

The CCP represents about 100,000 Anglicans, 3000 of them in Canada. It comprises diverse groups that have left the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada: four US dioceses (San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy, and Fort Worth); associations such as the Nigerian-led Convocation of An­glicans in North America (CANA); and seceded congrega­tions and de­nom­ina­tions, such as the Reformed Episcopal Church. the rest

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Devotional: Gratitude...

Gratitude... goes beyond the "mine" and "thine" and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. ...Henri J. M. Nouwen image

My prayers for a blessed Thanksgiving to all who visit here!
...Pat Dague

Church members sue Episcopal Diocese over reservation land

By Mary Garrigan, Journal staff
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Members of 11 Episcopal churches on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have filed lawsuits in Oglala Sioux tribal court asking that the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota be prevented from closing their churches and from deconsecrating buildings and cemeteries in the process.

On Monday, the executive committee of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council also unanimously approved a resolution stating that the diocese should return those properties to the tribe in compliance with federal laws that govern the use of reservation lands for missionary or educational works.

The rite of deconsecrating a church allows that building to be used for secular purposes, but it would not necessarily prevent it from being used as a church again at some point. the rest

Saskatchewan: Official sues over gay marriage

Wed, November 26, 2008

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. -- A marriage commissioner is suing the Saskatchewan government after being fined $2,500 for refusing to marry a gay couple.

A Saskatchewan human rights tribunal cited Orville Nichols for discrimination in May for refusing to perform the same-sex marriage. Nichols told the tribunal last year that he refused to marry the couple in 2005 because it went against his Baptist faith. the rest

Colorado Springs: Police raid Grace Church & St. Stephen's

November 26, 2008

Colorado Springs police detectives raided Grace Church and St. Stephen's Wednesday morning to seize paper financial records and computers as part of a theft investigation launched more than a year ago.

More than 20 officers cordoned off the block-long church complex at 601 N. Tejon St., evicting its controversial pastor, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, who wandered the sidewalk in clerical garb, a copy of the warrant clutched in his right hand.

The raid focused on records tied to allegations from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado that Armstrong embezzled $400,000 from Grace & St. Stephens Episcopal Church, the congregation he headed before he and his followers broke away in early 2007 to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North American.

Colorado Springs Police Lt. David Whitlock said officers were searching for evidence of theft and fraud. the rest

Vatican wins award for creating rooftop solar-power generator

by Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican won the 2008 Euro Solar Prize for turning the football field-sized roof of its Paul VI audience hall into a giant solar-power generator.

A European association promoting renewable energy presented the award to Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the commission governing Vatican territory, during the inauguration of the new roof Nov. 26.

Cardinal Lajolo said he would make sure the award, a small silver and glass globe, would go to Pope Benedict XVI, who repeatedly has called on humanity to show greater care for creation. the rest

Vatican wins award for creating rooftop solar-power generator

Pope moves towards a greener Vatican

Florida Gay Adoption Ban Is Ruled Unconstitutional

November 25, 2008

MIAMI — A Florida law that has banned adoptions by gay men and lesbians for over three decades is unconstitutional, a judge here ruled on Tuesday.

“The best interests of children are not preserved by prohibiting homosexual adoption,” the judge, Cindy S. Lederman of Miami-Dade Circuit Court, said in a 53-page decision. She said the law violated equal protection rights for children and their prospective parents.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said the state would appeal, and the case is likely to end up before the State Supreme Court. the rest

The founder of Italian Communism had deathbed conversion

According to the Vatican Antonio Gramsci reverted to the Catholic faith
Times Online
November 25, 2008
Richard Owen in Rome

The Vatican has revealed that Antonio Gramsci, the founder of Italian Communism and an icon of the Left, reverted to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed.

Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, former head of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, which deals with confessions, indulgences and the forgiveness of sins, said Gramsci had "died taking the Sacraments". He had asked the nuns attending him in hospital to let him kiss an image of the infant Jesus, Monsignor De Magistris said.

He said rumours that Gramsci had reverted had never until now been confirmed, and the Italian Left had also remained silent on the issue. "But that is how it was" he told Vatican Radio. "Gramsci returned to the faith of his infancy". the rest

Volition - A Film that Demands a Radical Choice

By John Jalsevac

November 25, 2008 ( - Tim and Matthew Morgan have somehow produced a first-class short film that masterfully deals with the taboo issue of abortion despite working with a budget that would pay for approximately thirty seconds of a Hollywood blockbuster. "Volition," first created for a short film competition, is as yet unknown, but will soon, I predict, become very well known indeed, as it very well should.

Volition is an astonishing achievement. The film itself is not made any greater by the fact that Tim Morgan, who directed it, is only 23-years-old, and that his brother, who composed all of the music, is only 20-years-old, but the ages of the brothers does help put the scope of their accomplishment into even greater relief.

Volition places its central character, who goes unnamed, in the historical contexts of what the filmmakers clearly believe to be three of the greatest human rights violations in history: the holocaust, slavery, and abortion. In each of these situations the protagonist is placed in a position of some authority, with the promise of more to come: in the first, he is a Nazi who is being considered for a promotion; in the second, he is a respected American physician who has travelled to Africa and studied the blacks; and in the third, he is a promising medical student on scholarship whose girlfriend is pregnant. the rest

To watch Volition, go Here

Obama's debt of gratitude to George W. Bush

A Time for Thanksgiving
by Jules Crittenden

As the transition progresses and Barack Obama's inauguration draws closer, it's a good moment to mull the gifts George W. Bush has left for the incoming president. Bush has made the world a better place, and if Obama wants to do the same, he will take the good things Bush has done and move forward with them. the rest image

Scientists urge caution on global warming

By Erika Lovley
November 25, 2008

Climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill are quietly watching a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation.

While the new Obama administration promises aggressive, forward-thinking environmental policies, Weather Channel co-founder Joseph D’Aleo and other scientists are organizing lobbying efforts to take aim at the cap-and-trade bill that Democrats plan to unveil in January.

So far, members of Congress have not been keen to publicly back the global cooling theory. But both senators from Oklahoma, Republicans Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe, have often expressed doubts about how much of a role man-made emissions play. the rest

Brrr... Global Warming Predictions Overestimated

Young evangelist attacked by angry homosexual

The case of an assault against a young Christian by a homosexual in San Francisco is garnering national headlines.
Allie Martin

On November 14, Promised Land Fellowship church sent 13 members to the Castro District of San Francisco, a neighborhood known for its large homosexual population. The young people gathered at a street corner, joined hands, and began singing "Amazing Grace." During an interview on Fox network's The O'Reilly Factor, Christine Cloud described the group's intentions.

"We are not trying to convert gay people into straight people, but we are down there telling them about Jesus Christ in hopes that they would have that revelation," she explains. Cloud says an angry homosexual grabbed her Bible. She then describes what happened when she asked the man to return it. "And he turned around, and he said no, and he hit me upside the head with the Bible, knocking me to the ground, and began to kick my legs," she recounts. the rest

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Devotional: O people of God...

O people of God, be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your souls. ...CH Spurgeon image

Frying Turkey, Tasty but Dangerous

November 25, 2008
By Jennifer 8. Lee


U.S. Court Allows Abuse Case vs. Vatican

NOVEMBER 25, 2008

A federal appeals court has permitted a lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse to proceed against the Vatican, creating potential liability for the seat of the Roman Catholic faith for the activities of Catholic clergy in the U.S.

Monday's ruling, issued by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, marks the first time a court at so high a level has recognized that the Vatican could be liable for the negligence in sexual-abuse cases brought in the U.S.

The ruling is seen as a breakthrough by those allegedly abused by priests. Investigators and grand juries have found several instances where the church failed to report alleged abusers and covered up alleged misdeeds to protect them. the rest

Canada: Seven positions terminated as part of national office cuts

Marites N. Sison
staff writer
Nov 25, 2008

Faced with declining revenue and recurring budget deficits in recent years, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada announced on Nov. 25 the termination of seven positions at its national office in Toronto. The terminations were part of a plan to cut the 2009 budget by $1.3 million and reduce the deficit to $800,000.

“I want to emphasize that all these decisions were due to structural changes we are forced to make as a result of financial constraints we are facing. None were due to performance issues,” said an internal memo sent to staff by Archdeacon Michael Pollesel, the national church’s general secretary. “Each of these seven individuals contributed to the ongoing life of church house and we thank them for their time with us." the rest

Russian City Prepares for Week Without Abortions to Combat Underpopulation

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 24, 2008

Novorossiysk, Russia ( -- A Russian city located in the southern part of the nation near the Black Sea is starting a campaign called a "Week Without Abortions." The idea is to temporarily prohibit abortions in the city and encourage couples to have children in an effort to combat the growing underpopulation problem.

Russia, like many of its neighbors in Eastern Europe, is experiencing severe underpopulation thanks to abortion being used as a method of birth control for decades.

Most demographers generally believe that Russia's current population of 144 million will fall to 115 million by 2050. But Murray Feshbach, with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, thinks Russia's population will drop to 101 million and could go as low as 77 million by mid-point in this century. the rest

“Zero Tolerance for Dissent” from Radical Anti-Life, Anti-Family EU Documents

Legislating Immorality

November 24, 2008
By the Editors
National Review Online

Last week in a Denver suburb, someone lit a Book of Mormon on fire and dropped it on the doorstep of a Mormon temple, presumably as a statement about the church’s support of Proposition 8 in California, an initiative that amended the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In a move that may make gay-rights supporters’ heads spin, the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

The outbreak of attacks on the Mormon church since the passage of Proposition 8 has been chilling: envelopes full of suspicious white powder were sent to church headquarters in Salt Lake City; protesters showed up en masse to intimidate Mormon small-business owners who supported the measure; a website was created to identify and shame members of the church who backed it; activists are targeting the relatives of prominent Mormons who gave money to pass it, as well as other Mormons who are only tangentially associated with the cause; some have even called for a boycott of the entire state of Utah.

The wisdom of hate-crimes legislation aside, there is no doubt that a lot of hate is being directed at Mormons as a group. But why single out Mormons? And why now?

Dozens of church bodies — including the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian bishops of California, and a wide variety of evangelicals — supported the proposition. It’s also worth considering that, while gay-rights advocates cannot discuss same-sex marriage for more than 30 seconds without making faulty analogies to Jim Crow-era anti-miscegenation laws, some 70 percent of blacks voted for Proposition 8. While there have been a few ugly racist statements by gay-rights supporters, such vile sentiment has been restricted. Not so the hatred directed at Mormons, who are convenient targets. the rest

Conservative Anglicans face "punishment" for helping US rebels

Senior bishops are now considering suspending the Latin American Province
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
November 25, 2008

A conservative province in the Anglican church faces “punishment” this week for offering a safe haven to conservatives.

Senior bishops and laity meeting in London are to consider suspending the Anglican church in South America for taking rebel US dioceses under its wing.

The move will bring the Anglican Communion closer to a formal split. Early next month, rebel conservatives are expected to finalise plans for a new Anglican province in the US, to sit as a parallel jurisdiction alongside the existing Episcopal Church.

Unless this new province is recognised as part of the Anglican family by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and the other 38 primates, it will in effect become a new Anglican church. the rest

Monday, November 24, 2008

Devotional: Happy are they...

Happy are they...who shall learn...not to despair, but shall remember, that though the day is past, and their strength is wasted, there yet remains one effort to be made; that reformation is never hopeless, nor sincere endeavours ever unassisted; that the wanderer may at length return after all his errors, and that he who implores strength and courage from above shall find danger and difficulty give way before him. ...Samuel Johnson image

We Need Roots

By R.R. Reno
Monday, November 24, 2008

The major premise of “Roots” is simple: “Without our stories or our songs / How will we know where we come from?” The minor premise is implied: England now encourages cultural forgetfulness rather than memory. The conclusion: an urgent imperative of cultural renewal that gives this song extraordinary emotional power.

We hear the voice of anger—ready to strike back against the cultural elites who look down on love of place and love of country, assuming that it amounts to a primitive nativism, a reactionary racism, or a weepy nostalgia unwilling to face up to the realities of a global economy. Political correctness be damned: “I’ve lost St. George and the Union Jack / That’s my flag too and I want it back.”

“Roots” ends hauntingly, powerfully. A live audience echoes again and again the band’s refrain: “Haul away boys, let them go / Out of the wind and the rain and snow. / We’ve lost more than we’ll ever know / ‘Round the rocky shores of England.” It’s not great poetry, but as music it galvanizes and calls to action. We will not let our post-national minders seduce us into forgetting that we have forgotten. We will not reduce ourselves to utility-maximizing economic actors or deracinated global citizens. We will love our culture and our country. the rest

Bishop Iker Describes Inhibition by PB as ‘Irrelevant’

November 24, 2008

A letter inhibiting the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, and documents supporting her reasons were issued by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on Nov. 21. Bishop Iker, whose diocesan convention voted overwhelmingly to leave The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone on Nov. 15, issued the following response to the Presiding Bishop’s announcement:

“Katharine Jefferts Schori has no authority over me or my ministry as a Bishop in the Church of God. She never has and she never will,” he said. “Since Nov. 15, both the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and I as the diocesan Bishop have been members of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. As a result, canonical declarations of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church pertaining to us are irrelevant and of no consequence.”

The inhibition, which required the consent of the Title IV [disciplinary] Review Committee, is actually the third submission that Bishop Jefferts Schori made to inhibit Bishop Iker. On two separate occasions the Presiding Bishop’s chancellor, David Booth Beers, wrote the committee on behalf of the Presiding Bishop, seeking to have him removed along with Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh during the fall House of Bishops’ meeting. the rest

A Response to Ephraim Radner's piece on "A New 'Province'"

Dean Robert Munday
Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner has written a piece entitled, A New "Province" in North America: Neither the Only Nor the Right Answer for the Communion, in which, as the title suggests, he gives six reasons why he does not believe an alternative, orthodox province of Anglicans in North America is a good idea.

Let me be clear about my own position at the outset: I am still a priest in TEC, but I have many friends who are now in one of the entities that will comprise a new Anglican Province. And, as I read Dr. Radner's remarks, I could not help but put myself in the position of my Common Cause friends, who I believe will regard his comments as both unfair and unhelpful.

So I would like to make a few comments (in bold, below) on Dr. Radner's six points, as I imagine someone who is a part of Common Cause might respond to them. the rest

Comments at TitusOneNine

Albert Mohler: A Sign of Things to Come?

Monday, November 24, 2008

The passage of Proposition 8 in California has reset the table with respect to the issue of same-sex marriage. Clearly, those pushing for legalized same-sex marriage thought that the decision of the California Supreme Court last May was the final word, and same-sex marriage would be an established legal reality in California. The fact that Proposition 8 passed on November 4 threw that assumption aside, and an ugly new chapter is opening.

The Los Angeles Times provides an eye-opening report into the response of Hollywood's cultural liberals to the passage of Proposition 8. Reporters Rachel Abramowitz and Tina Daunt open their article with this question: "Should there be boycotts, blacklists, firings or de facto shunning of those who supported Proposition 8?"....

...Now, as these developments in California unfold, it is clear that where efforts to legalize same-sex marriage fail, proponents will hunt down opponents of gay marriage for sanction and opposition. Note carefully the fact that Hollywood insiders and gay rights activists are scrutinizing the list of those who contributed to Proposition 8 support, looking for individuals, organizations, and corporations to isolate and punish. At least some are out to get people fired.

The opposition and outrage are also directed at churches and religious organizations. Take a careful look at this development. In all probability, it's the shape of things to come. the rest

Obama's rush to support abortion may end up closing Catholic hospitals

Kansas Catholic Conference: 'If it ever got to the point where Catholic hospitals were ordered to do procedures they think are morally unacceptable then they will shut down.'
21 November 2008

President Bush is trying to get one last proposal passed before leaving office, but it’s a proposal that’s in direct contradiction to legislation President-elect Barack Obama is planning on advocating once in office.

Bush’s broad initiative would prohibit establishments which receive federal funding from discriminating against any health care worker that does not want to assist, or perform abortions or sterilizations because of religious beliefs or moral objections.

The proposed rule would also prevent a range of health-care facilities, including pharmacies, from requiring their workers to “assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity” funded by the Department of Health and Human Services if the activity violated religious convictions. the rest

America's ignorance of Obama 'disturbing'

How Obama intends to use corporations to effect social change

Barack Obama Consulted Repeatedly with Homosexual Anglican Bishop

Why "Yahweh" Isn't Used in Catholic Liturgy

Biblical Expert Says It Reflects Jewish Tradition
NOV. 21, 2008

( To understand the Vatican directive reiterating that the name of God revealed in the tetragrammaton YHWH is not to be pronounced in Catholic liturgy, it helps to know the history behind the Jewish tradition, says a biblical expert.

Father Michel Remaud, director of the Albert Decourtray Institute, a Christian institute of Jewish studies and Hebrew literature, explained to ZENIT that the message published in June by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments reflects current Jewish practice.

The Vatican note explained: "The venerable biblical tradition of sacred Scripture, known as the Old Testament, displays a series of divine appellations, among which is the sacred name of God revealed in a tetragrammaton YHWH -- hwhw.

"As an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, it was held to be unpronounceable and hence was replaced during the reading of sacred Scripture by means of the use of an alternate name: 'Adonai,' which means 'Lord.'" the rest

Numbers of German Protestants falling faster than Catholics

19 November 2008
Anli Serfontein
Trier, Germany (ENI)

The membership of Germany's two largest churches is shrinking, but the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the country's biggest Protestant grouping, has dropped below 25 million members for the first time since the unification of Germany in 1990.

At the end of 2007, EKD members accounted for 24.83 million of Germany's 82-million people, the German Protestant news agency epd reported on 17 November. The EKD now has more than a million fewer adherents than it did five years ago. the rest

Michael Jackson 'converts to Islam and changes name to Mikaeel'

Michael Jackson has reportedly become a Muslim and changed his name to Mikaeel.
By Graham Tibbetts
21 Nov 2008

The singer, who was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, converted to Islam in a ceremony at a friend's house in Los Angeles.

He is said to have sat on the floor and worn a small hat while an imam officiated.

According to The Sun, the ceremony took place while Jackson, 50, was recording an album at the home of Steve Porcaro, a keyboard player who composed music on his Thriller album. the rest

UK: Ministers to hold summit on church closure crisis

The Government will hold a top-level summit next month to tackle the crisis facing Britain's churches.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
22 Nov 2008

Ministers are to examine how extra funding can be given to churches, with one in five of them under threat of being closed.

Andy Burnham, the culture secretary, said there would be a new drive to make them central to community regeneration, backed up with financial support.

His comments follow The Sunday Telegraph's Save our Churches campaign, which has called on the Government to increase grants to churches and allow them greater freedom to make the buildings suitable for community use. The campaign has been backed by politicians, celebrities and leading church figures, including Joanna Lumley, Jools Holland, David Cameron and Archbishop Rowan Williams. the rest

Emergent church leader says 'gay' can be biblical lifestyle

Cutting-edge Christianity debates: Should we accept homosexuality?
November 23, 2008
By Drew Zahn

One of the key leaders of today's most cutting-edge church movement has opened an Internet discussion on the issue of same-sex marriage with the bold proclamation that he believes "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer" individuals can and should live out their sexuality in – and blessed by – the Christian church.

"I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (as least as much as any of us can!)," writes author and church leader Tony Jones, "and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state."

Jones is an author and former youth pastor who holds a doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is also the national coordinator of Emergent Village, a loosely-formed friendship of churches that derive their descriptive name from having "emerged" from postmodernism to take the gospel of Jesus Christ into a post-Christian culture. the rest