Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saudi king shakes up religious establishment

By DONNA ABU-NASR
posted February 14, 2009

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The Saudi king on Saturday dismissed the chief of the religious police and a cleric who condoned killing the owners of TV networks that broadcast "immoral" content, signaling an effort to weaken the country's hard-line Sunni establishment.

The shake-up — King Abdullah's first since coming to power in August 2005 — included the appointment of a female deputy minister, the highest government position a Saudi woman has attained.

The king also changed the makeup of an influential body of religious scholars, for the first time giving more moderate Sunnis representation to the group whose duties include issuing the religious edicts known as fatwas. the rest

Without expectation, do something for love itself...

Without expectation,
do something for love itself, not for what you may receive. Love in action is what gives us grace. We have been created for greater things - - to love and to be loved. Love is love - - to love a person without any conditions, without any expectations.

Small things, done in great love, bring joy and peace. To love, it is necessary to give. To give, it is necessary to be free from selfishness.
...Mother Theresa image

Episcopal Church Joins Pittsburgh Lawsuit

February 13, 2009

The Episcopal Church has asked to join a lawsuit initially filed in 2003 against the leadership of the Diocese of Pittsburgh by the rector and senior warden of Calvary Church, Pittsburgh. Papers were filed in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas earlier today on behalf of the Rt. Rev. John C. Buchanan, retired Bishop of West Missouri and parliamentarian of the House of Bishops, according to Lionel Deimel, an Anglican blogger based in Pittsburgh.

“The Episcopal Church has an interest in ensuring that any determination by this court regarding the ability of a diocese to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church or the identity of the persons now comprising the leadership of the diocese...does not contravene The Episcopal Church’s constitution, canons or polity,” the petition states in part, “including the requirement that all church property may only be used for the mission of the church subject to the constitution and canons of the church.” the rest

The Rhetorical President

February 14, 2009
by Janice Shaw Crouse

The use of language to persuade is a skill much admired since ancient times. Few people become leaders without the ability to move others to agree with their arguments. Rightly understood, rhetoric is only one of the tools of persuasion; the other two, logic and dialectic, are required to truly change peoples' minds. During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama awed the media and voters alike with his rhetorical skills. He continues to awe as he uses rhetorical manipulation to sell the stimulus package to the American public.

Legitimate rhetoric balances the skills of public speaking with sound logic and appeals to commonality with the audience on the issue at hand. It is an understatement to say that Barack Obama is skilled at using the language of his opponents to sell his ideas. During the 2009 campaign, he convinced a significant number of evangelicals that he was one of them. He convinced people of polar opposite points of view that he was on their side. Now, as the nation's top snake oil salesman, he is working the room to sell his stimulus package -- a package that experts agree will stimulate the Democratic constituency groups more than the economy. the rest

Homosexual Activists Using Google Maps to Intimidate

By Bob Ellis
February 12th, 2009

Homosexual activists are taking their famed “tolerance” to a whole new level and are using Google Maps to identify and target donors to California’s successful defense of marriage, Proposition 8.

According to WorldNetDaily, a website called Prop 8 Maps combines Google Maps technology with a list of the names, donation amount and location of anyone who donated $100 or more to Prop 8.

The article quotes homosexual activist Ruth Schneider as claiming the website ”should be an invitation to have an open conversation,” but it is clear that by providing the names and locations of these donors, this is an attempt to invite harassment of the donors and intimidate them from future efforts to defend marriage. the rest

Anti-Religion Signs Will Go Up In Madison WI Buses

Friday, February 13, 2009

In Madison, Wisconsin starting today riders on six buses are will see provocative advertising signs from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Each sign carries a quotation from a different famous atheist or free thinker. Included are quotes from: Mark Twain, Clarence Darrow, Emily Dickinson, Butterfly McQueen and Richard Dawkins. For example, the sign featuring a portrait of Darrow reads: "I don't believe in God because I don't believe in Mother Goose." The Examiner yesterday reported at length on the quotes and featured photos of most of the signs that will be displayed inside the buses. FFRF already has a national billboard campaign in operation. (See prior related posting.) image

Religion Clause blog

The intolerance towards Christians in the public sector is an affront

By John Sentamu
13th February 2009

Excerpt:
Sometimes our prayer is silence, perhaps awed by the majestic and mystical nature of God, or perhaps because we have been silenced by the incomprehensible suffering of the innocent and we no longer know how or what to say.

In recent days, prayer has found its way into the headlines for other reasons altogether. Last week, community nurse Caroline Petrie was suspended as a result of offering to pray for a patient's recovery.

Yesterday, Jennie Cain, a primary school receptionist, was facing disciplinary action as a consequence of sending out an email asking friends to pray for her daughter.

The facts of the cases differ in their contexts and circumstances, but at their heart is a seeming intolerance and illiberality about faith in God which is being reflected in the higher echelons of our public services. the rest

How Britain, the cradle of liberty, is sleepwalking towards cultural suicide

Christian students face 'increasing hostility'

A New York school district faces a federal lawsuit over banning a student-led Bible club.
Charlie Butts
OneNewsNow
2/13/2009

The Lindenhurst Union Free School District has barred the club and continues to do so in spite of legal information provided by Alliance Defense Fund senior counsel David Cortman.

"It gets more and more difficult to believe, but after over two decades of the law being settled, a school district has decided it will not allow a Bible club to meet because of -- yes, you guessed it -- the so-called separation of church and state," he explains. "What's even more surprising, of course, is that they allow all other clubs to meet, including a Gay-Straight Alliance, a Key Club, a chess club, and your normal clubs."

The school is not allowing the Bible club to use classrooms for meetings on the same basis as other clubs. Cortman tells OneNewsNow it is odd having to file suit to educate educators on the First Amendment when they should be teaching it. the rest

Spiritual advisor to Mother Teresa gets 25-year sentence for sex crimes

February 13, 2009
by Jim Kouri,

A defrocked Catholic priest who once served as a spiritual advisor to Mother Teresa was sentenced in Chicago on Wednesday to 25 years in federal prison for sexually molesting a boy on several interstate and international religious retreats.

This sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

Donald J. McGuire, 78, from Chicago, was sentenced Feb 11 by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer to 325 years in prison. Judge Pallmeyer stated in court that she exceeded the federal sentencing guidelines to send a message to those who think they can abuse their positions of power in the community. the rest

MIxed reaction to Anglican Primates' Meeting

Saturday, 14th February 2009
By:George Conger

LIBERALS and conservatives have voiced mixed reactions to the Alexandria letter to the church from the 2009 Primates’ Meeting. Pressure groups on the left and right have reacted with dismay to the centrist approach taken by the document, while primates on both sides of the political spectrum have endorsed the document.

On Feb 5 US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told a reporter from the Episcopal News Service that she was encouraged by the tone of the communiqué. However, the call for continued “gracious restraint” made by the primates would have to be addressed by the General Convention in July.

“We are going to have to have honest conversations about who we are as a church and the value we place on our relationships and mission opportunities with other parts of the Communion and how we can be faithful with many spheres of relationship at the same time," she said. the rest

Friday, February 13, 2009

Devotional: It is not only temptation that tries the generous Christian...

It is not only temptation that tries the generous Christian, but at times sin also; he may have a heavy fall, one that he had thought impossible, so deep and strong had seemed his love for the Lord. And having fallen, he is likely to become discouraged. Never before has he understood to such an extent the ugliness of sin-because he has now a greater understanding of the love of God.

All is grace. This fall will make him realize that he cannot rely on himself at all. It will put him in his place-at the bottom. But with this mistrust of himself must go a greater confidence in God, the Father. ...Michael Quoist image

Report on Diana Butler Bass talk in Fort Worth

Fri, Feb 13, 2009
Sam Hodges

Bass has written extensively, and with some optimism, about the mainline Protestant churches. She was recently in Fort Worth for a talk sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (the area churches loyal to the Episcopal Church, as opposed to the churches that have left TEC but continue to call themselves the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth) and Brite Divinity School. Here's a report from the Episcopal group:

Dr. Diana Butler Bass Urges Adoption of Spiritual Practices

Speaking at an event sponsored by The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and Brite Divinity School, Dr. Diana Butler Bass debunked the myth that only evangelical and Pentecostal churches are growing. Nationally recognized scholar, speaker and author of Christianity for the Rest of Us, Dr. Butler spoke to an enthusiastic audience of over 125 people, including newly elected Provisional Bishop Ted Gulick.

The common denominator of thriving mainline congregations, she said, is their decision to adopt spiritual practices. Vital congregations generally embrace three or four several spiritual practices that reflect the needs and gifts of the congregation. Typically, those practices include theological reflection, hospitality, contemplation, and embracing diversity. the rest

GOP Leader Boehner Floor Speech Opposing Democrats' Trillion-Dollar Spending Bill

Massive German Study Confirms Abortion Significantly Increases Premature Birth Risk

Wednesday February 11, 2009
By Kathleen Gilbert

February 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A huge German study has further substantiated the link between abortion history and an increased risk of future premature births.

Dr. Manfred Voigt and his German colleagues evaluated over two million pregnancies between 1995 and 2000, making the 2008 study the most massive AVP (Abortion Very Preterm Birth) study in the last 30 years.

The control group of women in the study had no history of induced abortion, miscarriage or stillbirths. The rate of premature births in the control group was compared to that of three separate groups: women with abortions in their medical history (but no miscarriages or stillbirths), women with only miscarriages in their history, and women with only stillbirths in their history. the rest

The Elephant in the Room: Intimidating critics of Islam

Politicians and citizens who raise questions about the religion are targeted.
Thu, Feb. 12, 2009
By Rick Santorum

We lost more than a million jobs in the past few months, the headlines remind us. So last month's story about a Dutch court's ruling that Geert Wilders was "inciting hatred and discrimination" - and that "it is in the public interest to prosecute" him - understandably didn't make the American news.

Did Wilders rip off a minority in a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme? No, he's a member of the Dutch parliament, and his precise villainy was releasing a 15-minute film. Entitled Fitna, it suggests a direct link between certain verses of the Koran and acts of terrorism.

Not to be outdone, the United Kingdom this week banned Wilders from entering the country. Its reasoning: His "presence in the U.K. would pose a genuine, present, and sufficiently serious threat to one of the fundamental interests of society." A letter from the home secretary went on to tell Wilders that "your statements about Muslims and their beliefs, as expressed in your film Fitna and elsewhere, would threaten community harmony and therefore public security." the rest

Deputies’ President: Windsor Group’s Report ‘A Step Backward’

February 12, 2009

In a statement published on her website, Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies of General Convention, commended the recent communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting of Anglican primates Feb. 1-5 in Alexandria, Egypt. She was critical of a companion report issued at the same time by the Windsor Continuation Group.

“In their communiqué, the primates, who once issued deadlines, made veiled threats, and attempted unwelcome incursions into the affairs of the Anglican Consultative Council and member churches, have adopted both a new tone and a broader set of theological concerns,” Mrs. Anderson wrote. “In both the communiqué and in their meeting processes, the primates seem to be yearning for a deeper sense of communion in God’s mission through prayer, conversation, shared vulnerability and mutual understanding.”

Mrs. Anderson described the primates’ renewed focus on mission as an encouraging development. She said efforts to coordinate and enhance Anglican relief and development work are particularly promising. She also commended the primates for their willingness to “be in partnership to heal the world, even though there are theological differences in the broken body of Christ.” the rest

A Baby, Please. Blond, Freckles -- Hold the Colic

FEBRUARY 12, 2009
By GAUTAM NAIK

Want a daughter with blond hair, green eyes and pale skin?

A Los Angeles clinic says it will soon help couples select both gender and physical traits in a baby when they undergo a form of fertility treatment. The clinic, Fertility Institutes, says it has received "half a dozen" requests for the service, which is based on a procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.

While PGD has long been used for the medical purpose of averting life-threatening diseases in children, the science behind it has quietly progressed to the point that it could potentially be used to create designer babies. It isn't clear that Fertility Institutes can yet deliver on its claims of trait selection. But the growth of PGD, unfettered by any state or federal regulations in the U.S., has accelerated genetic knowledge swiftly enough that pre-selecting cosmetic traits in a baby is no longer the stuff of science fiction.

"It's technically feasible and it can be done," says Mark Hughes, a pioneer of the PGD process and director of Genesis Genetics Institute, a large fertility laboratory in Detroit. However, he adds that "no legitimate lab would get into it and, if they did, they'd be ostracized." the rest

Albert Mohler: Pornography, Public Culture, and the New Administration

Friday, February 13, 2009

In contemporary America, pornography is both a public reality and big business. Ambient pornography -- sexually explicit advertising, entertainment, and merchandising -- is all around us. But pornography is also big business, producing sexually explicit materials in printed, video, and digital formats and making billions of dollars in the process.

The pornography industry has a big stake in defending itself against legal challenges and restrictive laws, and it has been stunningly successful in doing so. One of the leading legal defenders of pornography has been David Ogden, a lawyer who can only be described as a First Amendment extremist, who has even argued against laws against child pornography.

President Barack Obama has nominated David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General of the United States. This nomination is both ominous and dangerous. Given David Ogden's high visibility in defense of pornography, this nomination sends a clear and unmistakable message. The pornography business will have a friend in high office in the Department of Justice. the rest

Young woman booted from team for being straight

Pete Chagnon and Jody Brown
OneNewsNow
2/13/2009

Central Michigan University is being sued after one of their women's basketball players said she was kicked off the team due to her heterosexuality.

Brooke Heike was a high school basketball star who was aggressively sought after by several colleges that wanted the league MVP from Washington Township, Michigan, to continue her record-breaking rebounding and shot-blocking skills on their campus. After leading her team to its first conference title in 18 years as a high school senior, the 6-foot-2 forward decided to attend Central Michigan University, which offered her a full scholarship.

But Heike says she fell out of favor in 2007 with CMU's new women's basketball head coach, Sue Guevara, and was eventually kicked off the team. She claims the coach, who is allegedly lesbian, took issue with her heterosexuality. Cindy Rhodes Victor of the Victor Firm, PLLC is representing Heike. the rest

Secretary threatened after daughter mentions Jesus

I don't know what I am supposed to have done wrong'
February 12, 2009
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A school secretary whose daughter mentioned Jesus to a classmate now is facing discipline, including the possibility of dismissal from her position, for having sent an e-mail to friends from her home computer asking for prayer about the issue.

The case is developing, according to a report in the London Daily Mail, for Jennie Cain, a receptionist at Landscore Primary School in Crediton, Devon.

Her daughter, Jasmine, age 5, attends the school and recently was scolded by a teacher for talking about God and her faith, the report said. She was in tears after the discipline, the paper said. the rest

Brazilian Government Says 99% of Citizens Are "Homophobic" and Must Be Reeducated

Friday February 13, 2009
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
BRASILIA, February 13, 2009

(LifeSiteNews.com) - The Brazilian government has determined that 99% of its citizens are "homophobic," and therefore must be reeducated, according to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo.

The results are taken from a study that tested for "homophobia" by asking people to comment on such statements as "God made men and women with different sexes so that they could fulfill their role and have children." The 92% of Brazilians who agreed partially or completely with the statement were labeled "homophobic."

Another test question for "homophobia" was, "Homosexuality is a sin against the laws of God." Fifty-eight percent of Brazilians agreed.
the rest

Spanish Families Defy Mandatory Homosexual Indoctrination in New Video

House passes Obama's economic stimulus bill

Feb 13 2009
By ANDREW TAYLOR
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Handing the new administration a big win, the House Friday passed President Barack Obama's $787 billion plan to resuscitate the economy.

The bill was passed 246-183 with no Republican help. It now goes to the Senate where a vote was possible late Friday to meet a deadline of passing the plan before a recess begins next week.

All but seven Democrats voted for the bill—a 1,071 page, 8-inch-thick measure that combines $281 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses with more than a half-trillion dollars in government spending. The money would go for infrastructure, health care and help for cash-starved state governments, among scores of programs. Seniors would get a $250 bonus Social Security check. the rest

Democratic Senator Predicts None of His Colleagues 'Will Have the Chance' to Read Final Stimulus Bill Before Vote

Virginia: New Episcopal bishop to face tough challenges

By Steven G. Vegh
The Virginian-Pilot
February 13, 2009

Some might say the Rev. Herman "Holly" Hollerith IV will land between a rock and a hard place when he's consecrated today as the new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia.

In the national sphere, the Episcopal Church is facing a lasting rash of breakaway parishes that call it out of step with religious traditions on homosexuality - an accusation repeated by many of the denomination's peers overseas.

Meanwhile, the diocese is still mending after a corrosive in-house feud centering on the last permanent bishop, who was pushed into retirement by 2006. the rest

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Devotional: That is where the spiritual life starts...

But what I would like to say is that the spiritual life is a life in which you gradually learn to listen to a voice that says something else, that says, "You are the beloved and on you my favour rests."... I want you to hear that voice. It is not a very loud voice because it is an intimate voice. It comes from a very deep place. It is soft and gentle. I want you to gradually hear that voice. We both have to hear that voice and to claim for ourselves that that voice speaks the truth, our truth. It tells us who we are. That is where the spiritual life starts - by claiming the voice that calls us the beloved. ...Henri Nouwen image

Church throws open female bishops dispute

-Synod agrees to send draft law for amendments
-First women bishops not until 2014 at earliest

Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
Thursday 12 February 2009

The Church of England yesterday reopened the debate on female bishops when after two hours of argument and division its national assembly, the General Synod, agreed to send a draft law allowing women to be ordained as bishops for amendments.

The decision means the church will not see its first female bishop until 2014 at the earliest as revisions to the legislation are bounced back and forth between Synod and committees. There also remains a possibility that the legislation will be rejected in its final form, an outcome that would seriously undermine the prospect of women ever becoming bishops. the rest

Synod avoids cataclysm over women bishops

Ruth Gledhill: Interview with Bishop Don Harvey

February 12, 2009
General Synod Feb 09 Day Four

1.10pm. Just caught up with Canada's Bishop Don Harvey, now of ACNA and one of the bishops under the care of Greg Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone. He was at a fringe meeting hosted by Anglican Mainstream.

Long experience of synod meetings has taught me that evangelicals do the best lunches. The more conservative, the better the food. Enjoyed robust plate of tomato pasta and salad, washed down with pure clean water and followed by tea and strawberry-filled chocolates. Yummee in my tummee! Better than the soggy, limp sandwiches at liberal fringe meetings. The sacramentally strong red wine and cheese at Catholic fringe meetings is of course legendary, but not something I personally am at liberty to partake of.

The rest-video

Red Envelope Project Tells President Obama of Outrage over Abortion Promotion

Wednesday February 11, 2009
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

February 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A grassroots initiative has sprung up which hopes to send a message to US president Barack Obama that there is moral outrage in the country over his administration's promotion of abortion.

The Red Envelope Project has been spreading for some time by e-mail, and now a website has been set up to further promote the project. (http://www.redenvelopeproject.org/)

The email that has been circulating reads in part: "I have been involved in the pro-life movement for nearly 20 years, and it pained my heart to see a man (Obama) and a political party committed to the shedding of innocent blood. This man, and this party lead our country, but they do not represent me or the 54% of Americans who believe that abortion is wrong and should no longer be legal.

"As I was praying, I believe that God gave me an interesting idea. Out in the garage I have a box of red envelopes. Like the powerful image of the red LIFE tape, an empty red envelope will send a message to Barack Obama that there is moral outrage in this country over this issue. It will be quiet, but clear."

LifeSiteNews.com was informed of the initiative today, which involves sending an empty red envelope to President Obama with the words, "This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception," written on the back. LifeSiteNews

The envelope should be addressed to:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington , D.C. 20500

Albert Mohler: Charles Darwin and the Modern Mind

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. Both men shaped history, but it is Charles Darwin who presents us with the most significant intellectual challenge. The Darwinist account of the cosmos and the living organisms found within represents a straightforward rejection of the role of the Creator as revealed in the Bible.

Therefore, as a means of taking note of the continuing influence of Darwin, I offer here a list of annotated links from my past writings and radio programs -- all related to Darwin or Darwinian evolution.
the rest image

Chuck Colson: Shaping the Modern World-Mendelssohn, Lincoln, and Darwin

Christian TV special being stifled

Charlie Butts and Jody Brown
OneNewsNow
2/12/2009

The American Family Association (AFA), a pro-family group based in Mississippi, has encountered resistance in its attempts to air a television special called Speechless: Silencing the Christians.

According to the website SilencingChristians.com, the majority of Americans get their information about the homosexual movement from Hollywood and the secular news media -- outlets that deliver what AFA says is a message "tainted by pro-homosexual propaganda." That is why the pro-family group produced the 14-episode Speechless series that initially aired on the INSP Network, and then put together a one-hour special based on the series. the rest

Anti-conversion law may draw more to faith

12 February, 2009

Sri Lanka (MNN) ― Throughout the world, it remains that wherever persecution increases, growth in the church increases as well. This truth brings hope to believers in Sri Lanka as it seems a proposed anti-conversion law will inevitably be passed.

Vice President of Gospel for Asia Danny Yohannan says that, if passed, the new law will keep people from "coercion," essentially implying that Christians cannot give food to the starving or shelter for the homeless with the intent of ever sharing the Gospel.

Yohannan notes that proposed laws have been kept vague on purpose. "They try to keep it as general as possible so they can really catch anyone doing anything to put them in prison." the rest

Christian broadcasters fear Fairness Doctrine return

Feb 11, 2009
by Michael Foust

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Conservative attorney Jay Sekulow hosted a television program during the 1980s under the watchful eye of the now-extinct Fairness Doctrine, and he doesn't want to go back.Every program had to be divided equally when discussing controversial issues.

"I had representatives from [People for the] American Way, the ACLU, National Organization for Women on the broadcast -- which, if you're doing a Hannity & Colmes type of [program], it would be one thing, but we really weren't trying to do that," said Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. "We were trying to do more of an educational [program]." the rest

Staring down Facebook: Students 'fast' from steady diet of high-technology

Zoe Sandvig
SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Thursday, February 12, 2009

Last semester, Will Ross, 21, did the unthinkable. He deactivated his Facebook account. His friends began asking what happened to him.

"It was as if I'd disappeared or something," he said.

But Mr. Ross, a senior at Grove City College, in Grove City, Pa., would rather send hand-written letters or escape to a cabin in the woods than keep up with his friends' profile pictures. He joins a growing fragment of college students and professors across the country who are challenging technology trends.

At Grove City, a Christian college with a student body of about 2,500, it's not unusual to see students texting each other en route to class, taking class notes on their school-issued laptops or sending Facebook messages instead of walking across the dorm to talk to each other.
the rest image

Gov. Palin: Planned Parenthood Donations Statement

Governor Issues Statement on Planned Parenthood Donations

February 11, 2009,

Juneau, Alaska - Governor Sarah Palin today issued the following statement in response to reports that contributions are being made to Planned Parenthood in her name:

“The abortion issue has been with us for decades and has pitted well-meaning people of differing ideologies against each other. Where we can find common ground is in the belief that no one wants a single abortion.

“But when there is a clash of values, I always will come down on the side of life. Making donations to Planned Parenthood in my name might be interesting theater in these politically charged times, but it is not going to change my views or the views of many other Alaskans who believe every life is precious.

“Anti-hunting groups are employing the same tactic of using my name to promote their cause right now. Again, interesting theater.” link

67 computers missing from nuclear weapons lab

By JOAN LOWY
The Associated Press
Thursday, February 12, 2009

WASHINGTON -- The Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory in New Mexico is missing 67 computers, including 13 that were lost or stolen in the past year. Officials say no classified information has been lost.

The watchdog group Project on Government Oversight on Wednesday released a memo dated Feb. 3 from the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration outlining the loss of the computers. the rest

Satellites Destroyed in Orbital Collision

FEBRUARY 12, 2009
By ANDY PASZTOR

A commercial satellite owned by a U.S. company was destroyed in a collision with a defunct Russian military satellite in what NASA said was the first such accident in orbit, raising new concerns about the dangers of space debris.

The crash, which happened Tuesday in low-earth orbit, involved one of the satellites owned by closely held Iridium Satellite LLC and a crippled Russian military satellite that apparently stopped functioning years ago, according to U.S. government and satellite-industry officials.

The collision created two large clouds of debris floating roughly 480 miles above Siberia, and prompted space scientists and engineers to assess the likelihood of further collisions. the rest

In Kosovo, whole families return to Catholic faith

Feb-9-2009
By Victor Gaetan
Catholic News Service

PRISTINA, Kosovo (CNS) -- Although armed conflict in Kosovo ended nearly a decade ago, the capital city still feels like a place hit recently by war or natural disaster. Electricity goes out often, water is strictly rationed, U.N. jeeps are ubiquitous and people look harried.

Along the main road leading to Pristina, every other lot is full of old cars, stolen from other European countries and picked clean or abandoned by families who fled the war.

But during Sunday Masses at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua, an active Catholic community packs the pews. There are families and old people, a full-voiced choir, eight young altar servers and long lines to receive the Eucharist. the rest

Left Wing of the Catholic Church Destroying the Faith Says Orthodox Rabbi

Wednesday February 11, 2009
By Hilary White, Rome correspondent
ROME, February 11, 2009

(LifeSiteNews.com) - The dissident, leftist movement in the Catholic Church over the last forty years has severely undermined the teaching of the Catholic Church on the moral teachings on life and family, a prominent US Orthodox rabbi told LifeSiteNews.com. Rabbi Yehuda Levin, the head of a group of 800 Orthodox rabbis in the US and Canada, also dismissed the accusations that the Holy See had not sufficiently distanced itself from the comments made by Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) on the Holocaust.

"I support this move" to reconcile the traditionalist faction in the Church, he said, "because I understand the big picture, which is that the Catholic Church has a problem. There is a strong left wing of the Church that is doing immeasurable harm to the faith." the rest

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Devotional: If your every human plan...

If your every human plan and calculation has miscarried, if, one by one, human props have been knocked out, and doors have shut in your face, take heart. God is trying to get a message through to you, and the message is: "Stop depending on inadequate human resources. Let me handle the matter."
...Catherine Marshall
image

General Synod vote sees women bishops take a step closer

Wednesday, 11th February 2009
By Toby Cohen

The Church of England’s General Synod voted to a continue its work towards consecrating women bishops with an accompanying Code of Practice, as it voted on Wednesday to take the relevant Measure to revision in committee.

Despite being an unpopular middle ground at last July’s Synod, the Code of Practice Measure received 281 votes of support, against 114 with 13 registered abstentions. The Draft Amending Canon then received 309 votes of support against 79, with 14 registered abstentions.

This was after the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, the chair of the Steering Committee for the draft legislation, had assured many of the options remained open. He also made clear the alternative, which would likely see the rescinding of the Act of Synod, would leave opponents of women in the episcopate even more vulnerable. the rest

Jordan Hylden: The Anglicans in Egypt: A Deeper Communion

First Things
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

“Are we a global church, or are we a federation of local bodies?” At the close of last week’s meeting of the Anglican primates in Egypt, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams thus set forth the great looming question that Anglicanism has been asking itself for the last several tumultuous years. And the response of the assembled archbishops was, in essence: “A global church, but there’s a lot of work to do before we get there.”

From all reports, the Egypt meeting was a civil and gracious affair, in welcome contrast to the tension and acrimony of their last gathering two years ago in Tanzania. Much of the difference lay in a newly frank recognition of just how bad things have become. “This is a broken communion,” said one primate, and nearly everyone around the table concurred. But defying the expectations of many, they were not satisfied to agree to disagree and go their separate ways.

Just as at last summer’s Lambeth conference (the decennial meeting of the world’s Anglican bishops), there was a strongly expressed desire to grow closer together as a global communion, to become a genuine church marked by common confession and discernment, rather than a mere federation of autonomous local bodies. “God is calling us and our churches,” said the primates in their communiqué, “to deeper communion and gracious restraint.” the rest

Orthodox Anglicans Don't Expect Unity for Long

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Feb. 10 2009

Days after Anglican leaders came out of a global meeting pleased with the respect and graciousness that were exchanged despite ongoing internal conflicts, one prominent conservative bishop demanded that the "bitter truth" be acknowledged – that their differences are irreconcilable.

In an open letter addressed to Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, who is considered the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, Nigerian Archbishop Peter J. Akinola expressed his discontentment with the churches in North America and their continued pro-gay actions.

"It now seems increasingly clear that without a radical change of behavior on the part of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada the only possible outcome of such a process is acknowledgment of a bitter truth that the differences in the words of Archbishop Idris Jones are 'irreconcilable,'" Akinola wrote in the letter, released Tuesday. the rest

More states consider mandating ultrasounds before abortions

posted February 11,2009

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Abortion foes have a new tactic: The hope that women can't look away.
Lawmakers in 11 states are considering bills that would offer or require ultrasounds before a woman gets an abortion. The most stringent are proposed laws in Nebraska, Indiana and Texas, which would require a doctor show the ultrasound image of the fetus to the woman, despite legal challenges to a similar measure in Oklahoma.

A similar bill was proposed in Wyoming but it was defeated in a state House committee before reaching the floor. the rest

Obama's Pro-Abortion Program Wrapped in Prevention' Propaganda

Study: Teens spend 87 hours per year looking at online porn

BY Catey Hill
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Tuesday, February 10th 2009

Sure, your teen checks his/her Facebook account, probably does some online shopping and plays a few games while on the computer.

But did you know that he or she is probably also looking at porn?! And not just a cursory glance.

A new study finds that the average teen spends one hour and 40 minutes each week surfing the Web for pornography, according to the Daily Mail.

That's 87 hours a year! the rest

Reaganomics vs. Obamanomics

FEBRUARY 10, 2009
By PETER FERRARA

In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama said, "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified." Or as administration spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said in January, the touchstone is, "What will have the biggest and most immediate impact on creating private sector jobs and strengthening the middle class? We're guided by what works, not by any ideology or special interests."

Unfortunately, this rhetoric is not true. Mr. Obama's economic policy is following not what has been proven to work but liberal ideology. the rest image

Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed?

Mushy Christianity

Tuesday, 10 February 2009
By Michael Novak

One of the greatest of recent seductions by that wily devil Screwtape – perfectly fitted to the times – is to puff a tiny sugar crystal of Christianity into sweetish airy cotton candy. “IN-clusiveness!” he will insist. “Christianity is about nothing if not IN-clusiveness.”

That is how Screwtape sweet-talks you into affirming that some abomination (divorce, abortion, euthanasia, adultery, gay marriage) is, actually, included within the broad reach of Christian love. It would be positively un-Christian to think ill of that “abomination.” You should be ashamed you ever thought it was wrong. Are you a bigot or something?

“Strange!” I would have thought, “Christianity is about EX-clusion.” On the last day the Judge shall divide the world into sheep and goats, you over on the left, you over on the right. A few of you will be chosen to enter with me into Paradise. The rest will descend, as you have chosen, into everlasting punishment. I have come not to bring peace, but the sword. He who is not with me is against me. God sent His light into the darkness, and the darkness received it not. The gate is narrow, and the way is strait. Only a tiny remnant will be saved. There was much weeping, and tears, and gnashing of teeth.

You can look it up. the rest image

Mysterious Scientology Project Raises Questions in Wyoming

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

SWEENEY CANYON, Wyo. — The construction began last summer, stirring up dust that wafted down this desert valley and into a small community of off-the-grid homes.

As many as 20 heavy trucks a day hauling construction materials and equipment rumbled down the valley's main gravel road, passing into a gate marked with a "No Trespassing" sign.

Helicopters flew in sling loads of cargo. Powerful work lights lit up the valley at night.

Public planners in southwest Wyoming's Sweetwater County — a sagebrush expanse roughly the size of Massachusetts — say the contractor hired for the project has told them it intends to build a 22,000-square-foot underground storage vault to store documents.

Whose documents exactly? Apparently, the writings of the late L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology's founder, and other church records. the rest

Bishop Jack Iker reflects on statement from Primates of Anglican Communion

Feb 10, 2009
Sam Hodges

Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth has written the following about the latest Communiqué from the Primates of the Anglican Communion

Fort Worth Reflections on the Alexandria Communiqué
February 10, 2009

So what are we to make of the latest Communiqué from the Primates of the Anglican Communion? By "we" I mean those of us who have separated from the General Convention of TEC, while remaining full members of the Communion by realignment with another Province. Is it good news, bad news, or no news at all, for those of us who are working towards the establishment of an orthodox province for Anglicans in North America?

My first reading of the Communiqué left me rather disappointed. I wanted to ask, "Is that all there is?" After hearing some of the comments made about the Alexandria meeting by GAFCON Primates, I have come to the conclusion that reading the Communiqué is not sufficient for understanding what actually transpired during the course of the meeting itself. Evidently the document released by the Primates does not tell the whole story. If Archbishops Greg Venables and Henry Orombi are encouraged and hopeful about what will come of all this, then so am I. Time will tell. the rest

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Devotional: He went up into a mountain apart to pray...

"He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when evening was come, he was there alone" Matt. 14:23

The man Christ Jesus felt the need of perfect solitude--Himself alone, entirely by Himself, alone with Himself. We know how much intercourse with men draws us away from ourselves and exhausts our powers. The man Christ Jesus knew this, too, and felt the need of being by Himself again, of gathering all His powers, of realizing fully His high destiny, His human weakness, His entire dependence on the Father.

How much more does the child of God need this--himself alone with spiritual realities, himself alone with God the Father. If ever there were one who could dispense with special seasons for solitude and fellowship, it was our Lord. But He could not do His work or maintain His fellowship in full power, without His quiet time.

Would God that every servant of His understood and practiced this blessed art, and that the Church knew how to train its children into some sense of this high and holy privilege, that every believer may and must have his time when he is indeed himself alone with God. Oh, the thought to have God all alone to myself, and to know that God has me all alone to Himself! ...Andrew Murray
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Schumer: The American People Don't Care About Pork Projects In Stimulus

A Jefferts Schori homily, delivered in Fort Worth

Feb 10, 2009
Sam Hodges

While in Fort Worth this weekend for the reorganization of the Episcopal Church diocese based there, the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, gave two homilies. Below you'll find the one she gave on Saturday at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Organizing Convention
February 7, 2009

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

I was out running in Stockton last Friday, along the river early in the morning. The bike path I was on was up above the river on a levee, along an old railroad grade, that let you see the road down below and the yards and parking lots across the way. I passed a school where there were 5 or 6 boys skateboarding in the dark. I didn't think much about it, but when I passed by again on my way back, I could hear yelling. Most of these 10 or 12 year old boys were still doing skateboard tricks, but one of them was standing in the middle of the court screaming obscenities, as loud as he could in his not-yet-a-man's voice. My initial reaction was irritation at his language, then puzzlement and curiosity. Why were these young boys out by themselves in a dark playground hours before school would start? I began to wonder what I could do. I wondered if I went down there and just stood or sat down in their midst, what would happen

Where did this boy's rage come from? What had his few years brought him, that all he could do was have a tantrum? Why had no one helped him to learn how to manage his frustration? And where were the adults in this early darkness?

I kept going, and it struck me that there's a parallel in the Church. We have quite a bit of experience dealing with people whose anger is out of control, for the church is one place that will receive you, usually, whatever emotional or spiritual state you're in. the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

Video of service

An Open Letter from Archbishop Akinola to Archbishop Williams

Source: Anglican Church of Nigeria - Via Email

Monday, February 9th, 2009
The Archbishop of Canterbury Lambeth Palace, London

Dear Rowan:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am writing in regard to the recently concluded Primates Meeting in Alexandria, Egypt. Thank you for all of your contributions. I admire how you bear graciously the divergent views and enormous pain they impose. As I indicated at the time I was grateful that we were able to discuss core theological convictions and achieve considerable clarity about our differences. That we were able to do so in an atmosphere of respect and without rancour is not only an answered prayer but it is also a testimony and credit to your role in this outcome and something for which I am most appreciative.

In preparation for the meeting I asked The American Anglican Council to prepare the attached report on the continuing situation of The Episcopal Church to enable people in the wider Communion to have a fuller perspective of the circumstances in North America. I shared it with my colleagues in the Global South but did not release it more widely in the hope that we would receive assurances from the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada that they were willing to exercise genuine restraint towards those Anglicans in North America unwilling to embrace their several innovations. the rest

A Message from Bishop David Anderson

A PDF copy of the letter above is available here.

The American Anglican Council's report on The Episcopal Church that was prepared for the Primates is available here.

An additional report prepared by the Anglican Network in Canada on the Anglican Church of Canada is available here.

US Church calls for six-year delay on Anglican Covenant vote

Tuesday, 10th February 2009
By George Conger

The Executive Council of the US Episcopal Church has recommended a six-year delay before voting on the Anglican Covenant.

At the close of its three-day winter meeting on Jan 31 in Stockton, California, the Executive Council endorsed a report from a task force that recommended the delay on adopting the Covenant, and voiced strong criticism of the most recent draft of the document.

The Anglican Covenant will be presented to the Communion at the May meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Kingston, Jamaica. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori last year urged the church not to take up the Covenant at the July meeting of General Convention saying more time was needed.

However conservative critics said the delay was politically motivated, noting that when the issue of affirming the election of a partnered gay priest was brought before Convention in 2003, a similar timeframe was not found to be objectionable by the church’s liberal hierarchy. the rest

Church of England’s treatment of women “shameful”, General Synod is told

Tuesday, 10th February 2009
By Judy West

A Durham University expert today said it was “shameful that the Church of England still treats women as a problem to be solved”.

The Rev Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, Chaplain and Solway Fellow at University College, Durham, was speaking ahead of the debate on the issue at the General Synod meeting in London tomorrow.

The decision to ordain women bishops was taken in principle last year but Synod will meet tomorrow (Wednesday, February 11) to discuss draft legislation, including plans for male “complementary” bishops where parishes are unwilling to accept women.

However, it was revealed at the weekend that traditionalists are vehemently opposed to the arrangements proposed to cater for their constituency. A number of Anglo-Catholic bishops told the Sunday Telegraph that none of their number would serve as a ‘complementary’ bishop as it would mean they had to serve under a diocesan. At present the ‘flying bishops’ are under no such constraints. the rest

Pornography and the Courts

by Roger Scruton
February 09, 2009

The nomination of David Ogden reminds us of the problems caused by pornography, both at home and abroad.

President Obama’s choice of David Ogden for Deputy Attorney General is not of concern to Americans only. The world-wide explosion of pornographic material, and its exploitation through the internet, is to a great extent the result of legal activism in the United States. Legal activism is a threat at the best of times—a way in which elites and special interests can circumvent the democratic process and impose themselves on the majority. In the case of pornography it also opens the way to a temptation against which ordinary people are inadequately protected. the rest

The President and the Innocent

No God Condones What?
By Chuck Colson
2/10/2009

At the national prayer breakfast last week, President Obama seemed to signal that he has seen the light and is abandoning his radically pro-abortion agenda.

At least, that’s the only reasonable conclusion one could make after hearing the President, who says he's a Christian, also say: “There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know.”

So I could only surmise that the President now concludes that “no God” would condone the 1.6 million abortions performed each year in America: 1.6 million innocent lives destroyed.

But I’ve checked the White House website, and it’s very clear that God’s disapproval hasn't changed the administration’s agenda one bit. the rest image

Albert Mohler: Interview with Hugh Hewitt: The Future of Evangelicalism

Monday, February 09, 2009

I was pleased to talk to my Salem Radio colleague Hugh Hewitt on his radio program on February 2, 2009. Hugh is a great conversationalist and interviewer, whose radio show is always truly interesting. He is an attorney, law professor, commentator, and national radio host. Here is a transcript of that conversation, courtesy of the Hugh Hewitt Show and Townhall.com.

Interview

Congress Turns Toy Story into Nightmare for Small Business

February 10, 2009
By Jim DeMint

In a mad rush to "do something" last fall about the lead paint scare involving children's toys, Congress hastily passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Today that law goes into effect, and its unintended - but entirely foreseeable - consequences have begun to threaten our already fragile economy.CPSIA was meant to protect children from careless or unscrupulous Chinese toy manufacturers, but its ultimate function may be to stifle competition in the domestic market for children's goods. The legislation requires expensive tests - for lead and other toxins - be conducted on all products marketed to children under the age of 12, and imposes cumbersome rules to be followed. Big companies with large legal teams and regulatory compliance staffs - foreign and domestic - can afford such tests and follow these rules without much difficulty.

But the CPSIA makes no distinction between such businesses and consignment shops, thrift stores, and small manufacturing companies. Under the new law, even stay-at-home moms selling baby blankets and headbands online would be vulnerable to fines and lawsuits for not conducting the expensive tests or filling out "Form XYZ" in triplicate. the rest image

Concord merchants launch common-cents revolution

By Jennifer Fenn Lefferts
Globe Correspondent
February 10, 2009

Following in the footsteps of the town's historic Minutemen, the owner of a Concord bakery is leading her own revolution of sorts - against pennies.

Not only are the copper-coated zinc coins heavy and time consuming to work with, they are also nearly worthless, says Judy Fersch, owner of Concord Teacakes. According to the US Mint, it costs 1.4 cents to make and distribute each penny.

"They cost more to make than they are worth," Fersch said of the coins depicting Abraham Lincoln. "It's just wasteful. If I as a small business owner continued to make something I lost money on, people would think I was out of my mind. the rest image

Lobbying War Ensues Over Digital Health Data

Congress Weighs Impact On Industry, Patients
By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Senate and House appear headed for a clash over competing visions of how to protect the privacy of patients' electronic medical records, with the House favoring strict protections advocated by consumer groups while the Senate is poised to endorse more limited safeguards urged by business interests.

President Obama has called creation of a nationwide system of electronic medical records fundamental to health-care reform, and both chambers of Congress have included about $20 billion to jump-start the initiative as part of their stimulus bills. But as with much in the stimulus package, it is not just the money but the accompanying provisions that groups are trying to influence. the rest

Calif. Judges Order Massive Prisoner Release

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A special panel of federal judges tentatively ruled Monday that California must release tens of thousands of inmates to relieve overcrowding.

The judges said no other solution will improve conditions so poor that inmates die regularly of suicides or lack of proper care.

The panel said it wanted the state to present a plan to trim the population in two to three years.

"There are simply too many prisoners for the existing capacity," they wrote. "Evidence offered at trial was overwhelmingly to the effect that overcrowding is the primary cause of the unconstitutional conditions that have been found to exist in the California prisons." the rest

Monday, February 09, 2009

Devotional: Whoever has Christ in his heart...

Whoever has Christ in his heart, so that no earthly or temporal things -- not even those that are legitimate and allowed -- are preferred to Him, has Christ as a foundation. But if these things be preferred, then even though a man seem to have faith in Christ, yet Christ is not the foundation to that man.
...Augustine image

Woman struck off list of foster carers after Muslim girl converts

by Daniel Blake
Monday, February 9, 2009

A Christian woman has been struck off a list of foster carers by her local council because she did not stop a teenage Muslim girl from being baptised.

The foster carer, a regular churchgoer in her 50s, has fostered over 80 children and has now been forced out of her home and the farm house she rented to take care of vulnerable teenagers, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has challenged the council’s decision. the rest

Archbishop Peter Akinola: A Wake Up Call to the People of God

9th February, 2009

Leaders of the Anglican Communion have gathered in a place that is rich with history and a powerful reminder of the glorious heritage that we all share. Egypt is the place that provided respite for the Holy Family when they faced persecution. Egypt is the place from which God led his people through the Red Sea to the land of promise. Egypt is the place where God took his people out of slavery into freedom. Egypt is a reminder that time after time God met His people at the point of their need. Here in this historic city of Alexandria, we are reminded of the great Church fathers, Origen (c.185 - c.254) and Athanasius (298–May 2, 373) and several others who risked their lives to give us the creeds and many foundational doctrines of the Church.

Egypt is also a reminder that God’s people often have very short memories. It was only a brief time after their deliverance that they began to complain about the lack of variety of their provisions in the wilderness “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost — also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic,”[1] they grumbled. Once they were safely established in the Land of Promise they also quickly forgot the bondage under which they had suffered in Egypt and began to embrace the very same pattern of life that they had escaped. The lure of attractive pagan religious ceremonies and the endless cycle of fertility cults, ensnared the people of God. They failed to recall the words declared to Moses on Mount Sinai, "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.” the rest

Comments at TitusOneNine

Comments at Stand Firm

Bishop Nazir-Ali: Hospitals betray their history by banishing prayer

It is ironic that the country which fostered the Christian tradition of nursing chose to suspend a nurse who wished to pray for her patient, says Bishop Nazir-Ali.
07 Feb 2009

Hospitals began in the Eastern part of the Christian Church, inspired by Christ’s example of serving and caring for the poor, the sick and the needy. They spread rapidly to the west and were closely associated with religious orders and their duty to offer hospitality to any in need. The oldest hospital in the land, I believe, is in Rochester and it is called St Bartholomew’s, like its more famous name-sake in London. The names — St Thomas’s, St Richard’s, St Mary’s — betray their origins and quite often these foundations continue to have connections with the Church. How is it, then, that the Christian faith is becoming more and more marginal in the very places that owe their origin to it? Why are chapels being replaced by “multi-faith rooms” and how can it be that a nurse, Caroline Petrie, can be suspended for offering to pray for a patient who could have and did say “no, thank you”. Why did the matter not end there? the rest

Synod to discuss women bishops

Monday, 9 February 2009

The governing body of the Church of England is to open a meeting which will consider how to introduce women bishops to the Church.

The decision to ordain women as bishops has already been made in principle, but the Synod will consider specific plans.

This will include a system of male alternatives for parishes which reject oversight from a woman. the rest

Italian coma battle woman dies

Monday, 9 February 2009

Eluana Englaro, the Italian woman at the centre of a right-to-die debate, has died, the health minister has said.

Maurizio Sacconi made the announcement in Italy's Senate as politicians were debating a law that would have forced doctors to continue feeding her.

Ms Englaro, 38, had been in a persistent vegetative state since being injured in a car crash in 1992.

Doctors at a private clinic in the northern city of Udine had been withholding her food since Friday. the rest

Analysis: Primates Offer Support, Warnings to Both Sides

The Living Church
February 9, 2009

In addition to a six-page communiqué and closing press conference by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primates of 35 of the Anglican Communion’s 38 autonomous provinces made available a wealth of reports and other written communication at the conclusion of their meeting Feb. 1-5 in Alexandria, Egypt.

As was anticipated in recent weeks, the meeting produced no decisive resolution, but it would be inaccurate to state that the primates have given up trying to bring about reconciliation. The reasoned and well-documented statements they produced provide significant insight into the additional incremental steps toward a global understanding of what constitutes an appropriate level of mutual accountability among an autonomous Communion of churches.

In perhaps the most thorough and impartial communication from the primates in recent years, a report by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Windsor Continuation Group described the increasing number of “fractured relationships” that have occurred since the consecration of the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson as Bishop Coadjutor of New Hampshire in 2003. the rest

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor: All churches "impoverished" by Anglican divisions

The search for unity must continue, Murphy-O'Connor tells the General Synod
From Times Online
February 9, 2009
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor today spoke of his regret at the divisions in the Anglican Communion that have taken it to the brink of schism.

Addressing the General Synod in Church House, Westminster he said the Anglican Church's struggles affected all churches or "ecclesial communities", as the Pope has instructed Catholic bishops to refer to non-Catholic and non-Orthodox churches.

"Divisions within any church or eccclesial community impoverish the communion of the whole Church," he said. "We Roman Catholics cannot be indifferent to what is happening to our friends in the Anglican Communion and, in particular, in the Church of England. the rest

President Obama May Name Pro-Abortion Kathleen Sebelius as Health Secretary

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 8, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Kathleen Sebelius, the pro-abortion governor of Kansas who has been criticized for supporting late-term abortions, is now seen as the most likely pick for Health Secretary. Should President Barack Obama select her, it would add to his growing pro-abortion record as president.

Obama must find a new Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department because his previous selection, pro-abortion former Sen. Tom Daschle, removed his name from consideration after a scandal over his not paying taxes properly.

Pro-life groups complained about the Daschle nomination because the senator backed abortion and could craft a federal health care plan for Obama promoting abortions. the rest

Italy faces constitutional crisis over coma woman

Michael Day in Rome
The Observer
Sunday 8 February 2009

The Italian government has been plunged into a constitutional crisis over the fate of a 38-year-old woman who has been in a coma for the past 17 years. Eluana Englaro was left in a vegetative state after a car crash in 1992. After a decade-long court battle, doctors reduced her nutrition on Friday in preparation for removing her feeding tubes, which her father claims would be in accordance with her wishes.

But in an extraordinary turn of events, the country's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, after consultation with the Vatican, has issued an emergency decree stating that food and water cannot be suspended for any patient depending upon them, reversing the earlier court ruling. On issuing the emergency decree, Berlusconi declared: "This is murder. I would be failing to rescue her. I'm not a Pontius Pilate." the rest

Cannabis linked to testicular cancer

Scientists find heavy use of marijuana can double risk of tumours among men
By Jeremy Laurance, Health editor
Monday, 9 February 2009

The soaring rate of testicular cancer in the UK and other Western countries is linked today to the increased popularity of cannabis. Testicular cancer has more than doubled over the past 30 years and its rise parallels that of the use of cannabis, Britain's most popular illegal drug.

Researchers in the US have found that men who regularly smoke cannabis have a 70 per cent increased risk of testicular cancer. The risk was highest – twice that of those who never used the drug – in those who smoked it at least once a week or had a long history of use, beginning in adolescence. the rest

Australian fire zone a crime scene; 135 killed

By TANALEE SMITH
posted February 9, 2009

WHITTLESEA, Australia (AP) — Police declared incinerated towns crime scenes Monday, and Australia's prime minister spoke of mass murder after investigators said arsonists may have set some of the country's worst wildfires in history. The death toll rose to 135.

The scale of the carnage, growing daily, has shocked a nation that endures deadly firestorms every few years. There were no quick answers, but officials said panic and the freight-train speed of the firefront probably accounted for the unusually high toll.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, visibly upset during a television interview, reflected the country's disgust at the idea that arsonists may have set some of the 400 fires that devastated Victoria state, or helped them jump containment lines.

"What do you say about anyone like that?" Rudd said. "There's no words to describe it, other than it's mass murder." the rest

Australian PM: deliberate lighting of fires "mass murder"

Australian church leaders express horror over fire devastation

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Devotional: Not until we have become humble and teachable...

Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God's holiness and sovereignty... acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours. ...JI Packer image

Pope Benedict XVI joins fight over right to die of coma victim Eluana Englaro

Times Online
February 8, 2009
Richard Owen, Rome

Pope Benedict XVI intervened today in a right-to-die row which has sparked a constitutional crisis in Italy, asking the faithful to pray for "those who depend totally on the care of others" and stressing their "right to dignity".

On Friday, medical staff at a clinic in Udine began reducing water and nutrients through feeding tubes to Eluana Englaro, 38, who has been in a vegetative coma for 17 years. The case has sparked a passionate national debate and a power struggle between Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister, who sided with the Vatican by issuing an emergency decree against euthanasia, and President Napolitano, who has refused to sign the decree on the grounds that such a "sensitive" issue can only be discussed and decided by Parliament. the rest

Converting Adult Stem Cells into Embryonic-like Stem Cells just got simpler

ScienceDaily

(Feb. 6, 2009) — The simple recipe scientists earlier discovered for making adult stem cells behave like embryonic-like stem cells just got even simpler. A new report in the February 6th issue of the journal Cell shows for the first time that neural stem cells taken from adult mice can take on the characteristics of embryonic stem cells with the addition of a single transcription factor. Transcription factors are genes that control the activity of other genes.

The discovery follows a 2006 report also in the journal Cell that showed that the introduction of four ingredients could transform differentiated cells taken from adult mice into "induced pluripotent stem cells" (iPS) with the physical, growth, and genetic characteristics typical of embryonic stem cells. Pluripotent refers to the ability to differentiate into most other cell types. The same recipe was later shown to work with human skin cells as well.

Subsequent studies found that the four-ingredient recipe could in some cases be pared down to just two or three essential ingredients, said Hans Schöler of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Germany. "Now we've come down to just one that is sufficient. In terms of the biology, it's really quite amazing." the rest