Saturday, January 24, 2009

Devotional: The highest service...

The highest service may be prepared for
and done in the humblest surroundings.
In silence, in waiting, in obscure, unnoticed offices,
in years of uneventful, unrecorded duties,
the Son of God grew and waxed strong.
...Inscription in the Stanford University Chapel image

Diocese of Virginia endorses resolution that "affirms the inherent integrity and blessedness" of same-gender partnerships

January 24, 2009

RESOLVED, that the Diocese of Virginia recognizes our responsibility to respond to the pastoral needs of our faithful gay and lesbian members in a spirit of love, compassion and respect, and in doing so seek to fulfill our baptismal commitment to respect the dignity of every human being; and be it further

RESOLVED, that accordingly the 214th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia affirms the inherent integrity of and blessededness of committed Christian relationships between two adult persons, when those relationships are "characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God." (Resolution 2000-D039 of the 73rd General Convention of the Episcopal Church). Here

Stand Firm: Virginia Goes Over the Brink

A Not-So-Simple Life

In a cramped Washington rowhouse, six women share one shower and a quest to serve God
By Darragh Johnson
Sunday, January 25, 2009

Now for the peekaboo pumps: Do they stay? Or go?

The missionary spins a shoe in her hand, admiring its red sole, slinky heel and winking peep of open toe. She's worn the pair just once, when she dressed as Tina Turner for Halloween. They were so uncomfortable. And totally impractical: In her ministry work in Southeast Washington, when she's climbing the stairwells of public housing projects and praying with families in their living rooms, she opts for T-shirts and jeans.

But the shoes are so glam and unlike anything else she owns. She can't bear to throw them out; yet she cannot keep them -- there's no room. So Laura Cartagena leaves them on her bedroom floor and turns to the other possessions strewn across her bunk bed -- the Japanese paper lanterns, the Twister board game, the sleeping bag -- nearly all of which she will store at her parents' house in Maryland. the rest

A.S. Haley: The Bandit Bishop Strikes Again

Saturday, January 24, 2009

In a display of now unparalleled and unprecedented lawlessness for an ordained bishop, the Primate of All the Episcopal Church (USA) has thrown down the gauntlet to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion as a whole. She has declared that on the basis of a letter written to her by the Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, the former Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh, on October 16, 2008, she has "accepted [his] renunciation of the Ordained Ministry of this Church . . . [and that he] is, therefore, removed from the Ordained Ministry of this Church and released from the obligations of all Ministerial offices, and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God's Word and Sacraments conferred on him in Ordinations."

What makes this move on the Primate's part so outlandish is that Bishop Scriven has not been canonically resident in the Diocese of Pittsburgh in the Episcopal Church (USA) since October 4, 2008, when the Diocese voted by a sizeable majority to withdraw from ECUSA and affiliate temporarily with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Details are not clear at this writing, but if events happened as they should have, Bishop Scriven would have received at that point a license from the Most Reverend Gregory Venables. (It is not known whether Bishop Duncan gave Letters Dimissory to Bishop Scriven before the former's "deposition" by the ECUSA House of Bishops on September 18, 2008.) At any rate, Bishop Scriven became for the time being a member of the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone, and in that capacity continued to assist in the Diocese of Pittsburgh through December 2008. He conducted, for example, an ordination of the Rev. Aaron Carpenter at St. Philip's Church in Moon Township, Pittsburgh, on December 9.

the rest

Is American Evangelicalism Dying?

Trevin Wax
January 20, 2009

“We are not as strong… as we think we are…”

That powerful line from an old Rich Mullins song comes to mind as I think about evangelicalism in America today, especially after having read a new book by Christine Wicker: The Fall of the Evangelical Nation: The Surprising Crisis Inside the Church (2008, Harper One).

Is evangelicalism dying? Christine Wicker thinks so, and she says she has the statistics to prove it. Wicker starts off her book with a grim prognosis:

“Evangelical Christianity in America is dying. The great evangelical movements of today are not a vanguard. They are a remnant, unraveling at every edge. Look at it any way you like: Conversions. Baptisms. Membership. Retention. Participation. Giving. Attendance. Religious literacy. Effect on the culture. All are down and dropping. It’s no secret.” the rest

Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina: Making Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age

Posted by Kendall Harmon
January 23, 2009

This Monday, January 26th will mark the anniversary of my consecration. I have been here for a year and have now visited every parish at least once and all but a few of the missions of the diocese. It has been, for Allison and me, a year of total immersion. Or to mix the metaphor, when people have asked if it has been a steep learning curve I've answered, "No, not really-it has been a vertical ascent." It would have been challenging in a normal year of diocesan and church life.

But when one considers we hosted the Presiding Bishop and several of her staff less than a month after my consecration, engaging in a challenging but, I believe, hospitable dialogue; I attended two gatherings of the House of Bishops where former bishops under whom I've served were deposed, and at each I spoke and wrote against their deposition; I attended the GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem, as well as participated at the once in-a-decade Lambeth Conference with its related events this summer; three diocesan conventions voted to join a fourth diocese in leaving The Episcopal Church and two of these departing dioceses I have served for 27 years of my ordained ministry, and many of the priests and deacons I've worked beside have subsequently been deposed; an aspiring new province in North America known as the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has emerged; and the dissolving of the Anglican Communion Network (with whom many in this diocese have been substantially linked) is charted for the mid-point of this present year. This brings the picture of a constantly changing landscape to mind as a descriptive and understated metaphor. These are indeed hinge times and this for me has been a baptism of fire. Yet as I write this I am not discouraged-rather I believe I have seen more clearly in recent days the path we are called to take.

the rest at TitusOneNine

TEC: A Word of Encouragement to those being sued

January 24th, 2009
By J Philip Ashey

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…" (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)

In the past two weeks, the courts of California and New York have not been kind to those who have left TEC with their churches which were built and paid for by the generous, sacrificial giving, sweat, tears and prayers of generations of Christ followers - all of whom would be scandalized by the heresy-racked leadership of TEC now asserting by fiat a trust interest in their churches.

Without going into the merits of the cases, I’d like to share a word of encouragement to those who are facing difficult choices right now: whether to fight on in the courts or to walk away and build again.
the rest-Anglican Mainstream

White House promoting 'anti-Christian' policies?

Jim Brown

A leading conservative activist says President Obama has already signaled, during his first days in office, that his administration will be the most "extreme, left-wing, and discriminatory" in American history.

President Obama's plans to cater to the priorities of homosexual activists are laid out under a section called "Civil Rights" on the website (See earlier story)

The website makes clear Obama's intention to expand federal hate crimes statutes to include extra punishment for crimes that are deemed to be motivated by bias against one's sexual orientation or gender identity. The site also stresses Obama's support for homosexual civil unions and expanded adoption rights for homosexuals, as well as his desire to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (a.k.a., DOMA).

Matt Barber, director of cultural affairs with Liberty Counsel, believes many Americans will be shocked to find out just how radical some of Obama's positions are on social issues. the rest

Catholic bishops disappointed with Obama

Colson: The Post-Neuhaus Future of Evangelicals and Catholics Together

Charles Colson says the convert to Catholicism helped break down the most important barrier.
Interview by Susan Wunderink

When Richard John Neuhaus died January 8, Prison Fellowship's Charles Colson didn't just lose a friend of 25 years. He also lost his partner in convening Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Since its first publication in 1994, "The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium," the group has issued other consensus statements on salvation, the relationship between Scripture and tradition, the communion of saints, and other issues. It is next set to issue a document on Mary, the Mother of Jesus. But can the movement continue without its chief Roman Catholic architect? Christianity Today international editor Susan Wunderink asked Colson, a Christianity Today columnist, what lies ahead.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Devotional: "I will lead on softly..."

"I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure" Gen. 33:14

What a beautiful picture of Jacob's thoughtfulness for the cattle and the children! He would not allow them to be overdriven even for one day. He would not lead on according to what a strong man like Esau could do and expected them to do, but only according to what they were able to endure. He knew exactly how far they could go in a day; and he made that his only consideration in arranging the marches. He had gone the same wilderness journey years before, and knew all about its roughness and heat and length, by personal experience. And so he said, "I will lead on softly." "For ye have not passed this way heretofore" (Josh.3:4).

We have not passed this way heretofore, but the Lord Jesus has. It is all untrodden and unknown ground to us, but He knows it all by personal experience. The steep bits that take away our breath, the stony bits that make our feet ache so, the hot shadeless stretches that make us feel so exhausted, the rushing rivers that we have to pass through--Jesus has gone through it all before us. "He was wearied with his journey." Not some, but all the many waters went over Him, and yet did not quench His love. He was made a perfect Leader by the things which He suffered. "He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." Think of that when you are tempted to question the gentleness of His leading. He is remembering all the time; and not one step will He make you take beyond what your foot is able to endure. Never mind if you think it will not be able for the step that seems to come next; either He will so strengthen it that it shall be able, or He will call a sudden halt, and you shall not have to take it at all.

...Frances Ridley Havergal image

Bishop Lamb Again Writes Disaffiliated Clergy

January 23, 2009

The recent California Supreme Court decision in favor of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Los Angeles is “extremely helpful to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin’s position in its own litigation, according to Michael Glass, chancellor for the reorganized diocese.

“The court’s decision in this case is extremely helpful to the Diocese of San Joaquin’s position in the present litigation with respect to [Bishop John-David Schofield],” Mr. Glass said. “It also clarifies beyond a doubt the rights of the diocese regarding parish and mission properties occupied by groups that have disaffiliated from The Episcopal Church.”

The diocese voted in December 2007 to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church and realign with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone. Bishop Schofield was subsequently deposed from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church for abandonment of communion. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori withdrew her recognition of the majority of members elected to the diocesan standing committee and in March 2008 convened a reorganizing convention at which the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb was received as provisional Bishop of the diocese. the rest

Two More Bishops ‘Released’ From Ordained Ministry

January 23, 2009

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has announced that she had “released” two more bishops from the ordained ministry.

The Rt. Rev. William Wantland, former Bishop of Eau Claire, was serving as an assisting bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth when its annual convention voted in November to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church and realign with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone. The Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven resigned as Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh effective Dec. 31, 2008, in order to return to the Church of England.

The use of Title III, Canon 12, Section 7 “Renunciation of the Ordained Ministry by a Bishop” has been a contentious issue in recent years. Upon learning of his release, Bishop Wantland wrote Bishop Jefferts Schori reminding her that he had not resigned his ordained orders and accusing her of bad faith. He and a number of other traditionalist bishops say the canon is being used punitively. the rest

ENS: Presiding Bishop accepts two bishops' voluntary renunciations of orders

Brazilian diocese links with the Americans

by George Conger
January 23, 2009

The synod of the Diocese of Recife has voted to leave the shelter of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone and affiliate with the third province movement in North America.

At its Dec 4-6 meeting in Jaboatão dos Guararapes the ex-Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) diocese voted to join with the ex-Episcopal Church dioceses of Pittsburgh, Quincy, Fort Worth and San Joaquin, along with a number of continuing American and Canadian Anglican and African-led jurisdictions, to form the new province.

The move from the Southern Cone to the third province will take place in June at the Anglican Church in North America’s founding convocation in Fort Worth. the rest

Episcopal Bishop of Virginia to Step Down

By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 23, 2009

The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, who has been bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia for 24 years, announced today that he will step down Oct. 1 to make way for a successor who was named in 2007.

The diocese, which covers northern and eastern Virginia and includes 80,000 members, is one of the largest in the Episcopal Church, the U.S.-based branch of the global Anglican Communion.

Starting this fall the diocese will be overseen by the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, 50, an Alabama native who has worked in dioceses in the South and is known for his work in prison, music and HIV/AIDS ministries. the rest

Vatican launches Pope YouTube channel

Jan 23, 2009
Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI joined U.S. President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II on Friday by launching his own YouTube channel, the latest Vatican effort to reach out to the digital generation.

The Vatican said it was launching the channel to broaden Benedict's audience while also giving the Holy See better control over the papal image online.

In his inaugural foray, Benedict welcomed viewers to this "great family that knows no borders" and said he hoped they would "feel involved in this great dialogue of truth."

The site,, was launched the same day the pontiff praised as a "gift to humanity" the benefits of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace in forging friendships and understanding. the rest

Vatican Youtube Website

Benedict XVI: internet a new way to speak of God

Silencing Islam's Critics

Dutch court imports Saudi blasphemy norms to Europe.
JANUARY 22, 2009

The latest twist in the clash between Western values and the Muslim world took place yesterday in the Netherlands, where a court ordered the prosecution of lawmaker and provocateur Geert Wilders for inciting violence. The Dutch MP and leader of the Freedom Party, which opposes Muslim immigration into Holland, will stand trial soon for his harsh criticism of Islam.

Mr. Wilders made world news last year with the short film "Fitna." In the 15-minute video, he juxtaposes Koranic verses calling for jihad with clips of Islamic hate preachers and terror attacks. He has compared the Koran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and urged Muslims to tear out "hate-filled" verses from their scripture. This is a frontal assault on Islam -- but, as Mr. Wilders points out, he's targeting the religion, not its followers. "Fitna," in fact, sparked a refreshing debate between moderate Muslims and non-Muslims in the Netherlands, and beyond. the rest

No choice: Doctors forced to perform abortions or else?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

HARTFORD, Conn. — Attorneys with the Christian Legal Society and the Alliance Defense Fund filed motions to intervene Wednesday in three lawsuits that seek to invalidate a federal law protecting medical professionals from discrimination because they refuse to participate in abortions. Three pro-life medical associations are seeking to defend the law against challenges by some state officials, Planned Parenthood, and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Medical professionals should not be forced to perform abortions against their conscience. Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and their pro-abortion allies are seeking to punish pro-life medical professionals for their beliefs,” said Litigation Counsel Casey Mattox with CLS’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom. “Far from arguing for ‘choice,’ these lawsuits seek to compel health care workers to perform abortions or face dire consequences.” the rest

Obama's economic advisor: no "White Male Construction Workers"

Church of England clerics want Easter date fixed for every year

By Steve Doughty
19th January 2009

Church of England clerics have launched a campaign for Easter to be celebrated on the same weekend every year.

They believe the move would make life easier for schools and end the disruption and confusion over the timing of bank holidays.

A motion to fix Easter has been submitted to the General Synod, the Church's parliament, by Canon Andrew Dow, area dean of Cheltenham. He is supported by 44 fellow Synod members.
Over the past decade, pressure has grown from education chiefs for a set spring holiday. the rest

Albert Mohler: What Makes Abortion Plausible? What Makes Abortion Unthinkable?, Part One

Friday, January 23, 2009

The following is an edited transcript of a message preached by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. for “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday” on January 18, 2009. Today’s installment is the first of a six-part series.

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – Giver of Life.

I invite you to turn to the first chapter of the book of Jeremiah, and to look with me at these introductory words to Jeremiah’s prophecy.

We need to turn to Scripture even before we turn to the issue of abortion. We must not attempt to think about urgent moral issues of our day without first turning to Scripture. We want to think clearly so that we are prepared to convince, to speak, to intervene, and to articulate - for we are responsible to have an answer. But there is a grave danger if we begin without first going into the world of the Bible to get our bearings. When we turn to the Scripture we come to understand that every single issue we confront is connected to every other issue and every truth is connected to every other truth. Therefore, we actually do injury and harm to our argument if we just take one thread of the garment and try to talk about it without understanding the whole. the rest

Paterson Picks Gillibrand for Senate Seat

January 23, 2009

ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson has selected Representative Kirsten Gillibrand, a 42-year-old congresswoman from upstate who is known for bold political moves and centrist policy positions, to fill the United States Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton according to a person who spoke to the governor early Friday.

The governor will announce his selection at noon in Albany. An aide to Ms. Gillibrand confirmed that she had accepted the appointment.

Ms. Gillibrand is largely unknown to New Yorkers statewide, but is considered an up-and-coming and forceful lawmaker in her district and has gained considerable attention from Democratic leaders in Washington. the rest

Pope Benedict, Obama Talk: Disagree on Abortion, Agree on Marriage

Thursday, January 22, 2009
By Jim Meyers

Pope Benedict XVI has communicated with Barack Obama twice since the Democrat won the White House — but the first message almost never got through.

The Pope telephoned Obama shortly after Election Day to congratulate him on his electoral success, but the Obama staffer receiving the call didn’t believe it was actually the Pontiff on the line and wouldn’t put the call through.

Benedict was eventually able to get through, however, and he and the president-elect had a “cordial” conversation mainly about cultural issues, according to a Bush administration source with close ties to the Vatican. the rest

Obama flashes irritation in press room
President Obama made a surprise visit to the White House press corps Thursday night, but got agitated when he was faced with a substantive question...

Obama keeps his Blackberry

Republicans Ask Obama to Back Down on Pro-Abortion Freedom of Choice Act

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 22, 2009

Washington, DC ( -- A group of more than 80 pro-life Congressional Republicans have issued a letter calling on President Barack Obama to back down from his pledge to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. Obama made the pledge in July 2007 at a Planned Parenthood event.
At the time, Obama said he would make the radical bill the first piece of legislation he would sign as president.

"The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," Obama said at the time. "On this fundamental issue, I will not yield. And Planned Parenthood will not yield."

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio sent Obama the letter signed by his colleagues asking him to reverse his pledge to sign the FOCA bill that would make unlimited abortions the national law. the rest

Robinson is Also Not Wright for America

by Rachel Alexander
Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First it was Barack Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright. Now it’s Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson. Obama’s association with radical fringe religious leaders has provoked major controversy even before taking office. Bishop Robinson, the nation’s first openly practicing gay Episcopalian bishop, who has a partner by civil union, gave the invocation for Obama’s “We Are One” pre-inaugural concert Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial. The divisive bishop was added to inaugural events in response to criticism of Pastor Rick Warren giving Tuesday’s inaugural prayer. Warren supported Proposition 8 last year, California’s Protect Marriage amendment, which enraged some gay activists. Robinson opposed the amendment, and has said about Pastor Warren, “It's just that on the issue of gay and lesbian relations, the stuff he has said is appalling."

Robinson assured inauguration organizers that he would not use explicit Christian terminology in the invocation. Instead of trying to bring people together in his message, he used the opportunity to push his own agenda. His invocation was a broad endorsement of progressive Democrat priorities, going so far as saying, “Bless this nation with anger – anger at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people….Help him [Obama] remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.”
the rest

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Devotional: "Look unto Me..."

"Look unto Me, and be ye saved." Isaiah 45:22

Do we expect God to come to us with His blessings and save us? He says - Look unto Me, and be saved. The great difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and it is His blessings that make it difficult. Troubles nearly always make us look to God; His blessings are apt to make us look elsewhere. The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is, in effect - Narrow all your interests until the attitude of mind and heart and body is concentration on Jesus Christ. "Look unto Me."

Many of us have a mental conception of what a Christian should be, and the lives of the saints become a hindrance to our concentration on God. There is no salvation in this way, it is not simple enough. "Look unto Me" and - not "you will be saved," but "you are saved." The very thing we look for, we shall find if we will concentrate on Him. We get preoccupied and sulky with God, while all the time He is saying - "Look up and be saved." The difficulties and trials - the casting about in our minds as to what we shall do this summer, or to-morrow, all vanish when we look to God.

Rouse yourself up and look to God. Build your hope on Him. No matter if there are a hundred and one things that press, resolutely exclude them all and look to Him. "Look unto Me," and salvation is, the moment you look. ...Oswald Chambers

Episcopal diocese funds frozen

Thursday, January 22, 2009
By Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Financial services firm Morgan Stanley has frozen the accounts of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh because it is unsure who should be allowed to access them.

In a letter Jan. 13, the firm's legal and compliance division said the company would not allow any further distributions until it received a court order listing those authorized to use the accounts.

The dispute stems from a split in the church. In October, a group that represents about 60 percent of the local parishes voted to join the more theologically conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. the rest

Financial crisis and ARCIC report feature on Synod agenda

23 January, 2009

IT WILL be a “bottom-up” General Synod meeting in February, William Fittall, the secretary general, said at Monday’s briefing for the press.

The agenda contains an unpre­cedented eight motions from the grass roots of the Church: five from the dioceses (two of which are jointly from two dioceses), and three from private members. They are varied, and some are likely to be contentious. The meeting is to start on the after­noon of Monday 9 February, and last until the Friday lunchtime.

Other debates will include whether to take moves towards the ordination of women as bishops a step further and put draft legislation to the detailed consideration of a revision committee; two considera­tions of the present financial crisis; and a further consideration of the draft Anglican Covenant. the rest

Pope to lift excommunications of four 'Lefebvre' bishops

Friday, January 23, 2009

IN WHAT appears to be an attempt to heal a 20-year schism in the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI is about to lift the excommunications of four traditionalist “Lefebvre” bishops, according to Italian media reports yesterday.

Whilst the Holy See would neither confirm nor deny the reports, many Vatican commentators believe the pope has already signed the pontifical decree cancelling the 1988 excommunications of four bishops from the Society of Saint Pius X, the society founded in 1970 by the controversial, traditionalist French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who died in 1991.

Having served as a Vatican diplomat and then as superior general of the Holy Ghost Fathers, Archbishop Lefebvre made international headlines in the 1970s and 1980s through his virulent opposition to many of the changes embodied in the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council. the rest

Nazi angel of death Josef Mengele 'created twin town in Brazil'

The Nazi doctor Josef Mengele is responsible for the astonishing number of twins in a small Brazilian town, an Argentine historian has claimed.
By Nick Evans in Buenos Aires
21 Jan 2009

The steely hearted "Angel of Death", whose mission was to create a master race fit for the Third Reich, was the resident medic at Auschwitz from May 1943 until his flight in the face of the Red Army advance in January 1945.

His task was to carry out experiments to discover by what method of genetic quirk twins were produced – and then to artificially increase the Aryan birthrate for his master, Adolf Hitler.

Now, a historian claims, Mengele's notorious experiments may have borne fruit.

For years scientists have failed to discover why as many as one in five pregnancies in a small Brazilian town have resulted in twins – most of them blond haired and blue eyed. the rest

We Shall Not Weary, We Shall Not Rest

By Richard John Neuhaus
Thursday, January 22, 2009

As a tradition here at First Things, we will be running this speech by Richard John Neuhaus every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. —The Editors

Once again this year, the National Right to Life convention is partly a reunion of veterans from battles past and partly a youth rally of those recruited for the battles to come. And that is just what it should be. The pro-life movement that began in the twentieth century laid the foundation for the pro-life movement of the twenty-first century. We have been at this a long time, and we are just getting started. All that has been and all that will be is prelude to, and anticipation of, an indomitable hope. All that has been and all that will be is premised upon the promise of Our Lord’s return in glory when, as we read in the Book of Revelation, “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be sorrow nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” And all things will be new.

That is the horizon of hope that, from generation to generation, sustains the great human rights cause of our time and all times—the cause of life. We contend, and we contend relentlessly, for the dignity of the human person, of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, destined from eternity for eternity—every human person, no matter how weak or how strong, no matter how young or how old, no matter how productive or how burdensome, no matter how welcome or how inconvenient. Nobody is a nobody; nobody is unwanted. All are wanted by God, and therefore to be respected, protected, and cherished by us. the rest

Robert P. George: Our Struggle for the Soul of our Nation

Pro-Lifers Converge in D.C. for Massive Rally

By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jan. 22 2009

WASHINGTON – Thousands gathered on Thursday in the nation’s capital for the annual March for Life rally that seeks to turn attention back to the abortion issue following the media lovefest that was President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

“I do not believe the pro-life movement has failed overall, in the sense that what we have been doing is wrong, or that what we have been aiming for is hopeless,” said Maria McFadden Maffucci, editor of the Human Life Review, in response to critics who say the pro-life movement had made little progress under staunch pro-life President George W. Bush.

“I believe that pro-life individuals have failed to make the protection of the unborn an actual priority,” Maffucci contended in the statement issued by the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person. “The current election was not ‘about’ abortion; many who voted for Obama voted for him in spite of, not because of, his position on abortion.” the rest

Abortion Film '22 Weeks' Disturbs, Exposes

Online-Porn Law Is Allowed to Die

High Court Won't Hear Bush Appeal
By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Supreme Court yesterday ended Congress's most recent attempt to protect children from sexually explicit and other objectionable material on the Internet.

The court without comment refused to hear the Bush administration's attempt to save the Child Online Protection Act, which has been challenged as unconstitutional since its passage in 1998 and which has never taken effect. the rest

Scotland: Scouts adopt Islamic pledge

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Boy Scouts in Dundee will be able to pledge allegiance to ‘Allah’ and drop the traditional oath to God and Queen, says the Scout Association in Scotland.

The Association has given its backing to starting Dundee’s 45th troop which will specifically target Muslim boys.

In the oath Muslim recruits will be able to replace the name ‘God’ with “Allah, the Most Beneficent and the Most Merciful”, and pledge to honour “the country in which I am now living” instead of the Queen. the rest

Pakistani Muslims attack church, torture Christians

Kot Lakha Singh

(AsiaNews) - Muslim groups have attacked a church and Christian homes in the village of Kot Lakha Singh, in the district of Narowal, province of Punjab. The incident goes back to January 14, and the news was released by Pakistan's National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), after verifying the event with a fact-finding mission carried out on January 19.

Irfan Barkat, legal-aid advisor of the NCJP, tells AsiaNews that the violence began with an attack on the home of William Masih, a Catholic of the village. An unspecified number of people tortured those present, including women and children, and then stole money and gold objects from the home. The crowd then attacked the homes of three other Christian families in the village, broke into the church, which is used by both the Catholic and Protestant community, and damaged the furniture and tore the liturgical books and bibles. the rest

What Will Obama Mean to Christian Radio?

by Craig Johnston

When the National Religious Broadcasters holds the Opening General Session of its 2009 convention in Nashville on Feb. 7, the new U.S. president, Barack Obama, will have been in office for just 18 days. After eight years of a Republican administration and, for the most part, Republican Congress, NRB officials say they don't know quite what to expect.

"We're trying to be cautiously observant right now," said Craig Parshall, NRB senior vice president and general counsel, "and take in as much information as we can about the direction of the new White House administration as well as the new configuration of the Congress." the rest

Same-Sex Marriage Used to Defend Polygamy in Canada

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
By Jeremy Hainsworth, Associated Press
Vancouver, British Columbia

(AP) - Canada's decision to legalize gay marriage has paved the way for polygamy to be legal as well, a defense lawyer said Wednesday as the two leaders of rival polygamous communities made their first court appearance.

The case is the first to test Canada's polygamy laws.

Winston Blackmore, 52, and James Oler, 44, are each accused of being married to more than one woman at a time. The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, British Columbia Attorney General Wally Oppal said. the rest

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Devotional: Accustom yourself....

Accustom yourself gradually to carry Prayer into all your daily occupation -- speak, act, work in peace, as if you were in prayer, as indeed you ought to be. ...François Fénelon image

Caroline Kennedy drops out as contender for Senate

It had been speculated that New York Gov. David Paterson was about to name her as Hillary Clinton's replacement.
January 21, 2009

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of a Democratic dynasty who was widely viewed as the front-runner for an open U.S. Senate seat in New York, abruptly took herself out of contention, according to reports published Wednesday night.

Kennedy informed New York Gov. David Paterson that she was withdrawing her name from consideration for the position, which came open when Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped down to become secretary of State in the Obama administration. the rest

Episcopal Priest Claims 'Being Gay is Gift from God'

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Jan. 21 2009

The Rev. Canon J. Edwin Bacon Jr. from Southern California has made it no secret that he supports gays and lesbians and same-sex marriage. But his recent pro-gay comments on the Oprah Winfrey show have stunned even the popular talk show host herself.

"Being gay is a gift from God," Bacon declared in an episode that aired Jan. 7.

Appearing shocked, Winfrey responded, "Well, you are the first minister I’ve ever heard say, 'Being gay is a gift from God,' I can tell you that."

Bacon's controversial statement sparked a fiery debate on Winfrey's website, leading the talk show host to invite the Episcopal priest back to elaborate on what he meant. the rest

Obama Begins Day With National Prayer Service

By Michelle Boorstein, Debbi Wilgoren
and Jacqueline L. Salmon
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On his first full day in office, President Obama spent part of the morning at the Washington National Cathedral, placing his own stamp on the traditional National Prayer Service with a larger-than-usual group of interfaith religious leaders participating and newly written prayers meant to emphasize liberty and diversity.

The invitation-only service, which has followed presidential inaugurals in the United States on and off since George Washington's swearing-in, started just after 10 a.m. and continued for nearly an hour and a half.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, who wore a bold black-and-silver patterned dress, walked into the stately church with Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill Biden. They took seats in the front row alongside Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Obama's nominee for secretary of state, and her husband, former president Bill Clinton. the rest

Disconnecting Gene Robinson

Charles Raven
20th January 2009

The dilemma any false prophet has to handle is that there comes a point where you really have to start acting like a wolf, otherwise all that dressing up as a sheep would have been rather pointless. You can do it gradually and hope people will get acclimatised to the change, but there are nonetheless some risky moments.

This is a problem which Gene Robinson, the controversial Bishop of New Hampshire, has handled with some skill. He clearly sees himself as a prophetic figure for liberal Anglicanism and its enactment in the consecration of homosexual relationships. His elevation to the episcopate in 2003 was a risk and some have claimed that this was a strategic mistake; in so far as that led to the emergence of the GAFCON movement, they may be right, but within the United States it was not. Now Barack Obama has endorsed the mainstream status of this most controversial Anglican with an invitation to open with prayer at the pre-inaugural celebration at the Lincoln memorial, albeit as a counter balance to the evangelical Rick Warren, the new ‘America’s Pastor’, invited to deliver the invocation at the inauguration itself.

The inauguration of a United States president is a world event, especially this one so laden with historic significance for America’s identity as a racially integrated society, and the Bishop of New Hampshire has taken another risk by stepping on to the world stage – even though as it happened the assembled thousands could not hear him because of sudden fault with the sound system! the rest

Church of England welcomes Obama inauguration

Wednesday, 21st January 2009
By Matt Cresswell

The Inauguration of Barack Obama this week has been hailed by Church leaders in the UK.

The Church of England’s Committee for Minority Anglican Concerns hailed his election as a ‘truly redemptive moment’ for the USA.

The group’s chair, the Rev Rose Hudson Wilkin, said: “The election last November of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the USA, culminating in his inauguration this week, is a most momentous occasion.

“His election was a truly redemptive moment and one of pride and aspiration for many people. It was a particularly redemptive moment in terms of the legacy that African Americans have endured for over two centuries -- and this was not lost on the President elect, Barack Hussein Obama.”

Addressing the current tensions in the Anglican Communion she said that the election of Obama was a prophetic pointer to “the possibilities which open up if hearts and minds have the confidence to change by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

She added: “The Archbishop of Canterbury has used the term ‘Kairos Time’. This is truly a ‘Kairos Time’ when we urge the Church to begin to nurture a leadership that can engage and function at all levels within it – across all ethnicities – but this must be done intentionally.” the rest

New pro-life ad depicting Obama as unborn child

Chicago, Jan 20, 2009

(CNA).- A new pro-life ad that depicts an unborn child who grows up to become President-elect Barack Obama will air repeatedly in Chicago during Black Entertainment Television’s coverage of the president-elect’s inauguration.

The 30-second spot is the first in a planned series of an education advertisement campaign titled “Life: Imagine the Potential.”

The ad displays an ultrasound of a baby and says “This child’s future is a broken home.” The ad says the unborn boy will be abandoned by his father and his single mother will struggle to raise him. the rest

Enthusiastic crowds welcome Bush back to Texas

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

After an enthusiastic welcome from thousands of cheering Texans in two cities, George W. Bush spent his first night out of office at his Crawford ranch.

Before flying in a helicopter to his 1,600-acre ranch, the former president told about 3,000 well-wishers gathered at a Waco airfield Tuesday night that he was glad to be back in Texas.

"It is a great day because we got to come home once and for all," Bush, with former first lady Laura Bush at his side, said as the crowd cheered.

The supporters, bundled up against 40-degree temperatures, had waited on the tarmac for more than an hour. Many waved red, white and blue cardboard "W"s and small American flags. Dozens of children sat on their parents' shoulders to get a glimpse of Bush, who shook some hands and chatted with some in the crowd after he spoke. the rest

Alone among networks, Fox News gives Bush homecoming cheer

White House Web Site Becomes Pro-Abortion After Obama Takeover

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 20, 2009

Washington, DC ( -- In less than five minutes after Barack Obama took over as the next president, the White House web site changed from pro-life to pro-abortion. The previous site, which touted the pro-life proclamation President Bush signed late last week, now includes Obama's agenda for women, which calls for promoting abortion.

Gone is any mention of the Sanctity of Human Life Day or the speeches or actions of President Bush's that promoted human life. Now, in the same color scheme and format as the Bush site, there is a celebration of Obama's agenda.

According to a web site search of, the only page on the official governmental site to mention abortion is a page detailing what Obama will do to promote the interests of women.

Though abortions cause women a myriad of medical and mental health problems, Obama states his clear intent, in a section entitled "reproductive choice," to make abortions even more available. the rest

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Devotional: Spirituality without a prayer life...

Spirituality without a prayer life is no spirituality at all, and it will not last beyond the first defeats. Prayer is an opening of the self so that the Word of God can break in and make us new. Prayer unmasks. Prayer converts. Prayer impels. Prayer sustains us on the way. Pray for the grace it will take to continue what you would like to quit. ...Joan Chittister image

Gender-bending chemicals in our rivers grow more potent

By David Derbyshire
19th January 2009

The cocktail of gender-bending chemicals entering rivers and streams is more potent and harmful than anyone realised, it has been revealed.

Scientists have found an entirely new class of chemicals that is changing male fish into females – and which could be contributing to the soaring rate of infertility and defects in men.

They have yet to find the source of the chemicals, known as anti-androgens, but believe they could come from pesticides, industrial pollution or pharmaceutical drugs. the rest

Biden Receives Standing Ovation at Catholic Mass after Receiving Communion

Tuesday January 20, 2009
By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 20, 2009 ( – Two days before he became the next American Vice President, Sen. Joe Biden attended John F. Kennedy's own Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church for Mass, where parishioners gave the pro-abortion politician a standing ovation minutes after he received communion.

Biden has reportedly worshipped at Holy Trinity several times while serving as a senator.

The event sparked criticism because, according to Church teaching, public figures who support abortion legislation are automatically excommunicated for violating the Church's pro-life teaching, and therefore should not be given communion.

"This episode perfectly illustrates the contrast between 'identity Catholicism' and 'conviction Catholicism,'" said Thomas Peters of the American Papist blog. The former, he said, "reduces the term Catholic to a merely technical description: in this way Joe Biden is a Catholic. He was baptized, attends Mass, puts 'Catholic' on his questionnaire. the rest

Obama Officials Confirm He Will Fund Foreign Abortions Starting Wednesday

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 19, 2009

Washington, DC ( -- Officials with the incoming administration of Barack Obama have confirmed that he will indeed overturn a pro-life policy of President Bush on his first day in office. Despite campaigning on the rhetoric of wanting to reduce abortions, Obama will make one of his first actions promoting them globally.

Meanwhile, some 77 members of Congress have signed onto a letter asking Obama to back down from doing so.

President Bush used an executive order on his first day in office to reinstitute a pro-life policy that prevents forcing taxpayers to fund international groups that perform or promote abortions in other countries. the rest

Web grief: Funeral webcasts gain in popularity

Associated Press Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service has taken the business of grief high-tech: It's one of a growing number of funeral service providers to embrace the Web.

Schoedinger in central Ohio is offering live Web streaming and archived online video for use by military personnel overseas and others who can't be present for a loved one's funeral.

It's a way for mourners to take part in the experience without the time and expense of a long-distance trip, especially one arranged on short notice. the rest

Inauguration News

Bush Mocked As He Arrives on Inauguration Dais

Michelle Malkin: About that race-based benediction: “When white will embrace what is right”

ENS: ENGLAND: For Obama's inauguration, Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns issues statement

Touchstone: Mere Tolerance
I found several very interesting lines in the prayer given yesterday for the Inaugural "prequel" by Episcopal bishop Vicky Gene Robinson....

Inaugural Poem

U.S. Stocks Slide in Dow Average’s Worst Inauguration Day Drop

Pope blesses Obama on historic day

posted January 20,2009

Pope Benedict XVI has given new US President Barack Obama his blessing and prayers as a host of world religious and political leaders welcomed him to office.

The Vatican released the text of a telegram Benedict sent Mr Obama a few hours before the presidential swearing-in ceremony.

In the telegram, the Pope told Mr Obama he was praying that God would grant him "unfailing wisdom and strength" in carrying out his responsibilities. Benedict also urged Mr Obama to stick to his resolve in promoting understanding and peace among peoples.

The pontiff also expressed hope Obama's leadership would help Americans use ethical principles and spiritual values in building a just society. Benedict said attention must be paid to the poor, the outcast, the hungry and "those who have no voice". the rest

Albert Mohler: A Prayer for President Obama

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Father, Lord of all creation, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: We pray today with a sense of special urgency and responsibility. We come before you to pray for our new President, Barack Obama, and for all those in this new administration who now assume roles of such high responsibility.

We know that you and you alone are sovereign; that you rule over all, and that you alone are able to keep and defend us. We know that our times are in your hands, and that "the king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord" [Proverbs 21:1]. Our confidence is in you and in you alone. We come before you as a people who acknowledge our constant need for your provision, wisdom, and protection.

Father, we pray today for Barack Obama as he takes office as President of the United States. We pray that you will show the glory of your name in our times and in these days, confounding the wisdom of the wise, thwarting the plans of the arrogant, and vindicating those who do justice and practice righteousness.

Father, we pray with thanksgiving for the gift of government and the grace of civic order. Thank you for giving us rulers and for knowing our need for laws and ordered life together. Thank you for this nation and the blessings we know as its citizens. Thank you for freedoms unprecedented in human history. We understand that these freedoms come with unprecedented opportunities. the rest

Rick Warren's Inaugural Invocation

Let us pray.

Almighty God, our Father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you. It all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory.

History is your story. The Scripture tells us, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is One.” And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now, today, we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hingepoint of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States. We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new President, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race, or religion, or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all. May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you. We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus, who taught us to pray:

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."


President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Washington, D.C.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.
the rest

Obama Anointing Prayer for Walkway to Inaugural Stage

Today, remember to be at prayer for the new president and our country.

The Curmudgeon: Presiding Bishop Accepts Renunciation by Gay Bishop

(ENS, New York---January 19) In a surprising development on the eve of the presidential inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C., the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, announced that after consultation with her Advisory Council, she had decided to accept the renunciation recently made of his religion by the Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson, formerly a bishop of the Episcopal Church. In accordance with the provisions of Section 7 of Canon 12, Title III of the Canons of the Episcopal Church, she signed a certificate attesting that Bishop Robinson "is released from the obligations of all Ministerial offices, and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God's Word and Sacraments conferred in Ordinations."

When asked how Bishop Robinson had communicated his renunciation to her, Bishop Jefferts Schori cited a statement he had given to the New York Times on January 12, in which he was reported as saying that he was "horrified" at how "specifically and aggressively Christian" the prayers used by Episcopalians at past inaugurals were, and that he was determined that the nation should not be led in "Christian prayer". "Ever since the recent case of Bishop Iker," said the Presiding Bishop, "we have agreed that statements to the press are the same as statements to this Office."

the rest-this is a hoot, but I wish it were true!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Devotional: Faith does the impossible...

Faith does the impossible because it brings God to undertake for us, and nothing is impossible with God. How great -- without qualification or limitation -- is the power of faith! If doubt be banished from the heart, and unbelief made stranger there, what we ask of God shall surely come to pass, and a believer hath vouchsafed to him 'whatsoever he saith.' E. M. Bounds image

The 'toxic' Web generation: Children spend six hours a day in front of screens

By Laura Clark
19th January 2009

Youngsters are shunning books and outdoor games to spend up to six hours a day in front of a screen, a survey has revealed.

Children as young as five are turning their bedrooms into multi-media 'hubs' with TVs, computers, games consoles, MP3 players and mobile phones all within easy reach.

The trend triggered warnings that the next generation will struggle to compete in the adult world because they lack reading and writing skills.

At the same time their mastery of technology is not widely appreciated by their parents. the rest image

Diocese of Nebraska: Church is focus of court fight

January 20, 2009

When a parish breaks up with its church authority, who gets the house of worship?

That's a fight taking place in courthouses coast to coast and now in Nebraska as part of the Episcopal Church's schism over issues of scriptural interpretation and homosexuality.

The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska is suing the rector and lay leaders of a breakaway parish, St. Barnabas. Diocesan officials want the Rev. Robert Scheiblhofer and company to leave the historic church at 129 N. 40th St. and the rectory next door, now that the parish has rejected the authority of the Episcopal Church. The diocese contends it is the rightful owner of the property under church rules and state law.

Scheiblhofer and other parish leaders say they aren't going anywhere. They contend that the property has always belonged to the parish, that it still does and that the diocese has no claim to it.

The diocese has asked the Douglas County District Court to resolve the dispute. An attorney for Scheiblhofer and St. Barnabas' vestry, or governing body, is seeking to have the suit thrown out. The first hearing in the case is set for Wednesday. the rest

Griffith Meets Schori: Doing My Part for the Listening Process

Stand Firm
January 19, 2009

"You have been, both personally and in your office, very supportive of homosexuality in the church, especially the blessings of same-sex marriage. There are parents in this church right now, and all over the country, who are very uneasy with the prospect of explaining to their children that while the Bible condemns homosexual behavior as sinful, the Episcopal Church wants to confer its blessings on it. If you were asked, for example, to lead the youth group class here tonight, what are the precise words you would use to explain to teenagers how it is that the Bible says homosexual behavior is a sin, but our church should confer its blessings on it?"

the rest-great story!

The Quest for a Spiritual Home (...or another story about a gay Episcopal priest)

By Eleanor Clift
Jan 17, 2009

Like most of his congregants at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown, Father Albert wasn't born an Episcopalian. In fact, he first walked into St. John's almost 20 years ago as a Jewish physician. He had done a lot of searching to find a spiritual home since his high-school days, when he attended Hebrew classes. "I wasn't very religious, but I always read everything I could get my hands on about religion, regardless of tradition," he says. Peering through round, owlish glasses, he is subdued when discussing his decision to enter the priesthood. The choice is still "very painful" to some members of his family, he says, but to him it was a change of profession more than of faith.

However he frames it, Father Albert is not alone. A surprising number of Americans are switching from one religion to another. A 2007 survey done by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 44 percent of Americans profess a different religious affiliation from the one they were raised in. Excluding shifts between Protestant denominations, the number—28 percent—is still remarkably high. (Never having asked the question before, the Pew researchers had nothing to compare it with and are back in the field to ask, among other things, how many converts eventually return to their childhood faith.) the rest

ACI: Common Cause and a New Province

Monday, January 19th, 2009

On behalf of the Advisory Committee of the Communion Partner Rectors, and on behalf of our Bishops and Primatial colleagues, we wish to acknowledge the remarks recently published from Bishop Iker and Bishop Duncan at the Charleston conference hosted by ‘Mere Anglicanism.’ They speak of wanting the Communion Partners and Common Cause to support one another.

For our part we will continue to pray for solid progress at the level of Covenant Design Committee work and for the Instruments of Communion, especially the Primates Meeting shortly to commence. We cannot know how the efforts associated with Common Cause will turn out, including the idea of building a ‘new province,’ but we note with interest that recent news indicates the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested ways for this endeavor to move forward in relationship to the Instruments of Communion. Together with ACI, we have been concerned that failure to attend to the integrity of Dioceses which see women’s ordination a matter still in reception, is creating unnecessary stress and strain. We ask that the wider Anglican Communion offer guidance here, as a variegated polity elsewhere appears to be both possible and charitably negotiated. the rest

Bush Had Best Pro-Life Record of Any President, Say Pro-Life Groups

Monday, January 19, 2009
By Josiah Ryan, Staff Writer

( - Outgoing Republican President George W. Bush has had the most pro-life record of any U.S. president in history, representatives of pro-life groups told on Friday.

On Thursday, in one of his last acts as president, Bush declared Jan. 18 “National Sanctity of Human Life Day,” stating that the "the most basic duty of government is to protect the life of the innocent."

Bush’s declaration was the culmination of eight years of pro-life policies that included sustained opposition to embryonic stem cell research; the appointment of two pro-life Supreme Court Justices; an executive order barring federal funds to be used for abortion- related projects abroad; and a rule protecting federally funded health employees from taking part in abortion-related activities or other practices that conflicted with their religious views. the rest

The White House has released three publications setting out the accomplishments of George W. Bush's presidency:

A Charge Kept: The Record of the Bush Presidency 2001-2009

Highlights of Accomplishments and Results of the Administration of George W. Bush

100 Things American May Not Know About the Bush Administration Record.

Inauguration concert cuts Bishop’s comments

Monday, 19th January 2009
By George Conger

The Bishop of New Hampshire disappeared from America’s television screens on Sunday as the live broadcast of President-elect Barack Obama’s inaugural festivities omitted the opening prayers of Bishop Gene Robinson.

A long-time supporter and active campaigner of President-elect Obama, Bishop Robinson had been invited by the Presidential Inaugural Committee to give a prayer at the inaugural concert. The invitation came after activists protested Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation at the president’s swearing-in ceremony.

The slight of Bishop Robinson --- whether accidental or deliberate --- will likely enrage those on the left unhappy with the Obama team’s move to the political centre. Gay activists had charged the Obama campaign with treachery for having solicited their support during the election, but dumping them once victory was in hand. The selection of Rick Warren was especially galling as the California Baptist had been a vocal supporter of Proposition 8 --- the state initiative that overturned the California Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage. the rest

San Francisco Set to Tax Catholic Church Millions in Suspected Prop 8 Retaliation

Friday January 16, 2009
By Kathleen Gilbert

SAN FRANCISCO, January 16, 2009 ( - A San Francisco assessor has called for the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco to hand over $15 million in taxes because of an internal restructuring of the archdiocese, a move that some are describing as "retaliation" for the Church's opposition to Proposition 8.

Assessor Phil Ting concluded that the Catholic Church owed the city taxes after the archdiocese was restructured and its property, which is almost all used by parish facilities, was consolidated seven months ago.

"Because we knew the accusations (of unfair treatment) could be out there, we worked to look at every single document so we could totally and completely understand their argument," Ting said. "We looked at all the various exemptions that could have been applied, and we felt that none of them were applicable in this case. That meant it was our determination that this was a taxable event." the rest

Marriage Ban Donors Feel Exposed by List

Wisconsin High School Features In-Depth Homosexual Indoctrination Regimen

Friday January 16, 2009
By Kathleen Gilbert

ELKHORN, Wisconsin, January 16, 2009 ( - In an effort to combat "homophobia," a Wisconsin public school teacher implemented a 38-day regimen explicitly designed to change the minds of students who did not view homosexuality as equal to heterosexuality.

11-th grade English teacher Sarah Arnold says she was inspired to create the curriculum, entitled "Exposing Hidden Homophobia," when she heard an "anti-gay undertone" in students' conversations, which included making fun of "anything that defied gender stereotype," according to an article printed in the pro-homosexual publication by the Southern Poverty Law Center "Teaching Tolerance." the rest

What Recession? The $170 Million Inauguration

Obama's Inauguration Has Been Financed Partially by Bailed-Out Wall Street Executives
ABC NEWS Business Unit
Jan. 19, 2009

The country is in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, which isn't stopping rich donors and the government from spending $170 million, or more, on the inauguration of Barack Obama.

The actual swearing-in ceremony will cost $1.24 million, according to Carole Florman, spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. the rest

Christians are becoming social pariahs in Britain, claims Jeremy Vine

Jeremy Vine, the BBC presenter, has claimed that it is becoming "socially unacceptable" to be a Christian in Britain.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
18 Jan 2009

The Radio 2 host said that he feels unable to talk about his faith on his show because he fears how people would react.

He argues that society has become increasingly intolerant of the freedom to express religious views.

"You can't express views that were common currency 30 or 40 years ago," he said.

"Arguably, the parameters of what you might call 'right thinking' are probably closing.

"Sadly, along with that has come the fact that it's almost socially unacceptable to say you believe in God." the rest

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Devotional: There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet...

There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual walk with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive. ...Brother Lawrence image

'Bless us with anger,' Robinson prays

Michael Paulson
January 18, 2009

In the invocation offered by Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire at today's inaugural welcoming ceremony, the openly gay bishop called on God to "bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people." Robinson was tapped to give the invocation today after an uproar over President-elect Barack Obama's invitation to evangelical pastor Rick Warren, an opponent of same-sex marriage, to give the invocation during the inauguration Tuesday.

Here is the full text of the prayer, from Robinson's diocesan web site:

A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama
By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

Prayer here

BabyBlueOnline: Apparently, the mike was off for most of it!

Google takes a stand on gay marriage

Written by Iain Thomson in San Francisco
17 Jan 2009

Google has filed an amicus brief in several legal challenges to Proposition 8, which make gay marriage illegal in California.

The company argues that it has many gay, lesbian and bi-sexual employees and many come to work for the company because they can get married in California. If those marriages are annulled then the company says it would lose key talent and be placed at a competitive disadvantage.

“In the wake of the election many were concerned with the impact Proposition 8 could have on the personal lives of people they work with every day, and on California's ability to attract and retain a diverse mix of employees from around the world,” said the company on its blog.
“That's why we've signed an amicus brief in support of several cases currently challenging Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court. Denying employees basic rights isn't right, and it isn't good for businesses. We are committed to preserving fundamental rights for every one of the people who work hard to make Google a success.” the rest

Obama prayer leader from group US linked to Hamas

Obama prayer leader from group US linked to Hamas

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Muslim scholar chosen to speak at President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural prayer service Wednesday is the leader of a group that federal prosecutors say has ties to terrorists.

Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, is one of many religious leaders scheduled to speak at the prayer service at Washington's National Cathedral.

Mattson has been the guest of honor at State Department dinners and has met with senior Pentagon officials during the Bush administration. She also spoke at a prayer service at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Mattson, who was elected president of the society in 2006, is a professor of Islamic studies at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. the rest

Bible Giveaway Banned at School on Religious Freedom Day

By Lawrence Jones
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Jan. 17 2009

A Southwest Florida man who in past years has been allowed to distribute free Bibles to high school students on Religious Freedom Day was turned down this year by the district's superintendent.

Jerry Rutherford, president of World Changers, appeared before the Collier County School Board on Thursday to ask for a reversal of the decision but received the same response.

"This rejection is a slap in the face," said Rutherford, according to Naples News. "The decision to deny access to community groups that are religious in nature is censorship and bias." the rest

A Christian Clergyman ‘Horrified’ by ‘Aggressively Christian’ Prayers?

January 18th, 2009
By Lauren Green
FOX News Religion Correspondent

The inauguration invocation is the high profile event for a member of the clergy. It’s only been around since 1937, but it’s grounded in a rich, religious history that’s helped shaped this country. At President-elect Barak Obama’s inauguration, Pastor Rick Warren will have the honors.

Pastor Warren is the senior minister of Saddleback Church in Southern California and the uber-bestselling author of “The Purpose Driven Life.” Liberals objected to Warren because of his conservative views, specifically his support of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that banned gay marriage in California.

What some see as a move to placate the gay and Lesbian community was the selection of the openly-gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson to say the prayer for the star-studded, kick-off of the inaugural week. The Inaugural Committee says it wasn’t about “righting” a perceived “wrong.” They said Bishop Robinson had been on their list for a while and they chose him for his message of inclusive civil rights.

But the reality is that selecting Gene Robinson for any inaugural event would make headlines. Bishop Robinson is the openly gay bishop whose elevation has caused a riff, or even schism, in the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion. Court battles over property are ongoing as conservative Episcopal congregations and dioceses leave over the issue of homosexuality and authority of the Bible. the rest