Saturday, May 02, 2009

Swine flu may be less potent than first feared

May 1, 2009

The swine flu outbreak that has alarmed the world for a week now appears less ominous, with the virus showing little staying power in the hardest-hit cities and scientists suggesting it lacks the genetic fortitude of past killer bugs.

President Barack Obama even voiced hope Friday that it may turn out to be no more harmful than the average seasonal flu.

In New York City, which has the most confirmed swine flu cases in the U.S. with 49, swine flu has not spread far beyond cases linked to one Catholic school. In Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak, very few relatives of flu victims seem to have caught it. the rest

More than 400 schools closed, 140 US flu cases

Wave of Eucharistic desecrations offend Catholics

Apr 30, 2009
BY LAURA KILGUS, Staff Reporter

PROVIDENCE – Catholics are urged to be aware of acts of desecration toward the Blessed Sacrament and encouraged to defend the Eucharist, the true body and blood of Jesus Christ.
This desecration is considered to be sacrilegious in the Catholic Church.?It involves the destruction, maltreatment or malicious use of a consecrated or non-consecrated Host.

In August of 2008, several videos were posted on the popular YouTube Web site which showed various acts of eucharistic desecration. In one video, the Blessed Sacrament was flushed down a toilet. In other videos, Hosts were fed to animals, crushed in a blender, and pierced with a nail gun. the rest

P.B. in West Texas: ‘Media Doesn’t Cover Good Things We Do’

May 1, 2009

Excerpt: "When asked how she envisions growing The Episcopal Church, Bishop Jefferts Schori pointed out that [with the exception of the Diocese of South Carolina] none of the church’s 100 domestic dioceses have grown in the past 10 years.

“Even in Texas, we are beginning to live in a post-Christian society,” she said. “I think it is a challenge for us to minister to those who don’t speak English, who don’t look like ‘proper Episcopalians’.” She added that we are a “graying” church – 19,000 more Episcopalians die than are born and baptized every year. When asked how she would change that trajectory, she responded that “it has to do with context. We need to change how we do worship. Not many 20-somethings enjoy Baroque music. Martin Luther wrote hymns to bar tunes. We need to look at the fields that are ripe for harvest outside our doors.”

When there is disagreement, she said, “The church is called to model a different way. Since 2003, it has been who is on which side; love and care for our neighbors have been overshadowed.

“As Anglicans we are supposed to be able to live in tension,” she said, but added, “We’re not good at it. It’s a hard place to live, but it’s a life-giving place to live. Dealing with the conflict in the midst of it in a gracious way, I think, is the way to go through it.”

Are the core doctrines of the faith up for grabs, she was asked? “No,” she responded. “I am astounded at some of the things attributed to me. In places I go, I preach the message of Christ crucified and Christ with us. If we disagree about atonement, it’s an opportunity to have a conversation.”

“None of us has the fullness of the truth of God,” she added. “That’s why we have a body.” the rest

Nations with worst religious tolerance named

Fri May 1, 2009

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. government panel listed 13 countries Friday as "egregious" violators of religious freedom.

Homeless Pakistani Christians protest last month in Islamabad for protection of Christian minorities.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's annual report named Myanmar, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

It recommended that the Obama administration designate them as "countries of particular concern" or CPC.

The group has issued a watch list that includes Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Venezuela, countries that don't rise to the level of a CPC but need to be monitored. the rest

Obama: Euthanasia of the elderly may be necessary

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gee, socialized medicine sounds great -- don't you think so, grandma and grandpa?

THE PRESIDENT: ...I actually think that the tougher issue around medical care — it’s a related one — is what you do around things like end-of-life care —

Yes, where it’s $20,000 for an extra week of life.

THE PRESIDENT: Exactly. And I just recently went through this. I mean, I’ve told this story, maybe not publicly, but when my grandmother got very ill during the campaign, she got cancer; it was determined to be terminal. And about two or three weeks after her diagnosis she fell, broke her hip. It was determined that she might have had a mild stroke, which is what had precipitated the fall.

So now she’s in the hospital, and the doctor says, Look, you’ve got about — maybe you have three months, maybe you have six months, maybe you have nine months to live. Because of the weakness of your heart, if you have an operation on your hip there are certain risks that — you know, your heart can’t take it. On the other hand, if you just sit there with your hip like this, you’re just going to waste away and your quality of life will be terrible. the rest

Mark Steyn: The Intrusion of Reality
Excerpt: The theater of thoughtfulness is critical to the president’s success. He has the knack of appearing moderate while acting radical, which is a lethal skill. The thoughtful look suckered many of my more impressionable conservative comrades last fall, when David Brooks and Christopher Buckley were cranking out gushing paeans to Obama’s “first-class temperament” — temperament being to the Obamacons what Nick Jonas’s hair is to a Tiger Beat reporter. But the drab reality is that the man they hail — Brooks & Buckley, I mean; not the Tiger Beat crowd — is a fantasy projection.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Albert Mohler: Piracy, Islam, and the Modern Age

Friday, May 01, 2009

It wasn't supposed to turn out this way. The prophets of secularization were absolutely certain that religious belief would recede in the modern age. As they saw the new age coming, they were confident that religious belief -- or at least any strong form of belief - would burn away like the morning mist as modernity took shape.

As Peter L. Berger explained in "Secularization Falsified" [First Things, February 2008]: "Ever since the Enlightenment, intellectuals of every stripe have believed that the inevitable consequence of modernity is the decline of religion. The reason was supposed to be the progress of science and its concomitant rationality, replacing the irrationality and superstition of religion." the rest

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Curmudgeon's Analysis of the Recent Good Shepherd Court Decision

One Magic Word Does It All
A.S. Haley
Thursday, April 30, 2009

What is it about New York courts? They do not seem to like to hold trials---you know, those hearings in front of a judge and jury where two sides actually put on evidence with witnesses and documents, and out of the opposing versions some sort of truth emerges? But in New York, at least in cases involving its home-grown, common-law behemoth, the "Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America", the courts decide the matter without the bother of a trial, and even without burdening the record with any evidence. All they seem to need are allegations---and based on those (as long as they are made under oath), they make up their minds and issue judgments.

For the latest example of such a judicial shortcut, see this decision by Judge Ferris Lebous in the lawsuit brought by the Diocese of Central New York against the Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton. Earlier, Judge Lebous granted summary adjudication to the Diocese on its claim to own by forfeit the parish's real and personal property after the parish voted to leave the Diocese. (Never mind that there were not enough parishioners remaining to allow the building to stay open; it's the principle of the thing, don't you understand? "People may leave, but buildings stay put, even if they are empty. We can always sell them---but not to those who left, you understand---and put the cash to good use in suing other parishes for their property.")

By granting summary adjudication, Judge Lebous necessarily found that there were no facts in dispute that needed a trial to sort them out. No, all was clear from the respective affidavits submitted on either side. The Dennis Canon, after all, was not only part of the diocesan canons (Canon XXIII "reaffirms" its principles, even if the Diocese itself never bothered to accede to the ECUSA canons), but had even been enacted as a statute by that most considerate group of Christians, the New York Legislature, who of course wanted only to help their local parishioners in their desire to give everything they had to the national church, instead of to (God forbid!) their own parish. Given this state of affairs, it was not difficult for Judge Lebous to conclude as a matter of law that the parish did not really own its own property, but held it in trust for the Diocese and the national church. The rest-don't miss this!

Matt Kennedy's letter to his parishioners

I ask for intercessors to be in prayer for Good Shepherd Binghamton! Pray that they may be protected from futher actions of the CNY diocese and the national church who have come against them in such manner that could only be dictated by the enemy. Pray that all the hidden evil be brought out into the light, and that in the end, Christ is glorified and Good Shepherd can go about the business of spreading the Gospel and building up the Kingdom of God! -PD

Churches Respond to Flu Outbreak

April 30, 2009

The practice of intinction by communicants in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast will cease as part of a series of public-health precautions announced by the diocese’s bishop, the Rt. Rev. Philip M. Duncan II, in response to the influenza outbreak.

Under the guidelines proposed by Bishop Duncan, those who are ill are encouraged to stay home for the duration of the threat, as are those whose immune systems are already weakened. Clergy and Lay Eucharistic Ministers are encouraged to wash their hands often, “especially before and during the conduct of public worship.” As an alternative to having the communicant dip the host into the chalice, the chalice bearer may intinct the host and then place it on the tongue of the communicant.

“Receiving the host only is also a most appropriate way to receive the sacrament should this disease become a full public health risk,” Bishop Duncan said. the rest

PCUSA: Three high-profile gay ordination requests await final decisions

By John H. Adams, The Layman
Thursday, April 30, 2009

Although a majority of presbyteries in the Presbyterian Church (USA) have voted to keep the “fidelity/chastity” requirements for church officers in the Book of Order, there remain three high-profile cases involving candidates who are open about their past or current relations with same-gender partners.

The three candidates for ministry of Word and Sacrament are Lisa Larges, a lesbian, in San Francisco, Scott Anderson, a homosexual in Wisconsin, and Paul Capetz, who says he does not currently have a homosexual partner but doesn’t believe G-6.0106b forbids him from having one. the rest

Three Iraqi Christians murdered

Thursday, 30th April 2009
By Paolo Gallini

Three Iraqi Christians were murdered last Sunday and two others were injured in two separate incidents in the city of Kirkuk. These attacks take place in a context of intense hostility to Christians from militant Islamists.

The following has been posted on various websites: “The General Secretariat of the Adherent of Islam Brigade has decided to address the final warning to ... the infidel Christian Crusaders ... and order you to leave immediately, in masses and permanently from the Muslim countries. There is no place for you infidel Christians among the Muslim believers in Iraq from now on.

Otherwise, our swords will be legalized over your neck.”The letter is part of a determined Islamist campaign to drive out the Christian community from Iraq. Although the Christians, as ethnic Assyrians, are the indigenous people of Iraq, Muslim extremists are trying to cleanse the country of their supposedly defiling presence. In the face of threats such as these, which are often followed through in violence and even murder, the Christian population has dwindled from 1.5 million in 1990 and today may number no more than 400,000. the rest

UK: Swine flu may halt communion in Lancashire

by Anne Thomas
Thursday, April 30, 2009

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has announced plans to buy more antiviral drugs and face masks to combat swine flu in the UK. The UK currently has enough Tamiflu and Relenza to cover 33 million people.(PA)

Catholic priests in the Diocese of Lancashire have been advised that they may need to stop providing Holy Communion and giving Mass as the World Health Organisation warns of an "imminent" swine flu epidemic.

Priests have also been advised to wear surgical masks and gloves when visiting the sick and to take care when using service books and sacred oils to stop the spread the virus, reports the Lancashire Evening Post. the rest

Rival Anglican Body Approves Dioceses; Finalizes Plans

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Apr. 30 2009

A splinter group in Canada has been approved as a diocese in an emerging body of orthodox Anglicans in North America.

The Anglican Network in Canada – a group of Anglican parishes that broke from the Anglican Church of Canada over theological differences – is now one of 28 dioceses in a province that is still in formation.

Last week, Canadian and U.S. Anglican leaders who severed ties with The Episcopal Church – the U.S. arm of Anglicanism – and the Anglican Church of Canada announced the approval of applications for 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation as part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

"It is a great encouragement to see the fruit of many years’ work," said the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, who is expected to head the ACNA, on Saturday. "Today 23 dioceses and five dioceses-in-formation joined together to reconstitute an orthodox, Biblical, missionary and united Church in North America." the rest

Egyptian Christians riot after swine flu cull

From Times Online
April 29, 2009
Philippe Naughton

Egyptian leaders ordered the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of pigs today to help protect against swine flu, prompting angry protests from the poor Christian farmers who feed their animals with a country's food scraps. The decision was also criticised as a "real mistake" by a senior UN food expert.

The Arab world's most populous nation has been been badly hit by the H5N1 bird flu virus in recent years and the move to cull up to 400,000 pigs - seen by Muslims as unclean animals - was designed to calm fears of an impending pandemic.

But it left Egypt's large Coptic Christian minority up in arms, especially the slum-dwelling "Zebaleen" rubbish collectors who rely on the hogs for their livelihood. Scores of them blocked the streets and stoned the vehicles of Health Ministry workers as they arrived to carry out the government's order at pig farms on the outskirts of Cario this afternoon. the rest

Experts Warn Internet Is Running Out of Bandwidth

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Internet users face regular "brownouts" that will freeze their computers as capacity runs out in cyberspace, according to research to be published later this year.

Experts predict that consumer demand, already growing at 60 percent a year, will start to exceed supply as early as 2010 because of more people working online and the soaring popularity of bandwidth-hungry Web sites such as YouTube and services such as the BBC's iPlayer.

It will initially lead to computers being disrupted and going offline for several minutes at a time. Beginning in 2012, however, PCs and laptops are likely to operate at a much reduced speed, rendering the Internet an "unreliable toy." the rest

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Devotional: This is the unshakable secret of the Lord...

"Thy life will I give thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest." Jeremiah 45:5

This is the unshakable secret of the Lord to those who trust Him-"I will give thee thy life." What more does a man want than his life? It is the essential thing. "Thy life for a prey" means that wherever you may go, even if it is into hell, you will come out with your life, nothing can harm it. So many of us are caught up in the shows of things, not in the way of property and possessions, but of blessings. All these have to go; but there is something grander that never can go-the life that is "hid with Christ in God."

Are you prepared to let God take you into union with Himself, and pay no more attention to what you call the great things? Are you prepared to abandon entirely and let go? The test of abandonment is in refusing to say-"Well, what about this?" Beware of suppositions.

Immediately you allow-What about this?-it means you have not abandoned, you do not really trust God. Immediately you do abandon, you think no more about what God is going to do. Abandon means to refuse yourself the luxury of asking any questions. If you abandon entirely to God, He says at once, "Thy life will I give thee for a prey." The reason people are tired of life is because God has not given them anything, they have not got their life as a prey. The way to get out of that state is to abandon to God. When you do get through to abandonment to God, you will be the most surprised and delighted creature on earth; God has got you absolutely and has given you your life. If you are not there, it is either because of disobedience or a refusal to be simple enough. ...Oswald Chambers image

We’re in the fast lane to polygamy

Remember same-sex-marriage proponents rolling their eyes at talk of what might be next?
Mark Steyn
Thursday, April 9, 2009

What’s my line on legalized polygamy? Oh, I pretty much said it all back in 2004, in a column for Ezra Levant’s Western Standard. Headline: “It’s Closer Than They Think.”

Well, a mere half-decade down the slippery slope and here we are, with the marrying kind of Bountiful, B.C., headed for the Supreme Court of Canada. Five years ago, proponents of same-sex marriage went into full you-cannot-be-serious eye-rolling mode when naysayers warned that polygamy would be next. As I wrote in that Western Standard piece:

“Gay marriage, they assure us, is the merest amendment to traditional marriage, and once we’ve done that we’ll pull up the drawbridge.” the rest

A chronology: Obama’s first 100 days, not good for babies

Change You Can Bereave In - UPDATED
28 April, 2009 By Tom McClusky

President Obama backgrounder here. This whole document can be downloaded here

November 19th, 2008 President-elect Obama nominates pro-abortion former Senator Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) as his Health and Human Services Secretary.

November 25th, 2008 President-elect Obama appoints Melody Barnes, former board member for the pro-abortion EMILY’s List and executive vice president for policy at the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, as director of the domestic policy council.

December 1st, 2008 President-elect Obama nominates pro-abortion advocate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) as Secretary of State and pro-abortion advocate Susan Rice as Ambassador to the United Nations. the rest

Parental rights already being lost

State could take over decisions on health, schooling, abortion
April 28, 20098
By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Supporters of a plan to amend the U.S. Constitution to include parental rights are warning moms and dads across the United States they already are losing their rights to make decisions regarding their children's health, education, welfare, finances, sex education, access to abortion and even leisure time.

"The erosion is upon us," said Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, a college and a church and now a dedicated leader in the effort to change the U.S. Constitution through the amendment process to restore and protect parental rights.

the rest

CNY Episcopal Diocese Helps Nearby Church Grab Money Left in a Will to the Church of the Good Shepherd

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Contact: Raymond J. Dague 315-422-2052

Not content with taking the church buildings and bank accounts from Church of the Good Shepherd by court order, the Central New York Episcopal Diocese got the court to say that Christ Episcopal Church in Binghamton can take money which was left to Good Shepherd in the will of one of its deceased members. A decision issued last Friday denied Good Shepherd a trial on the issue, and awarded the money to the nearby Episcopal Church. The judge said that the deceased parishioner of Good Shepherd was a Episcopalian, and provided for his money to go the other Episcopal Church if Good Shepherd no longer existed. These facts, the judge claimed, could be used to infer the man’s intention to transfer his gift to the other Episcopal Church immediately upon Good Shepherd’s disaffiliation from the Episcopal diocese.

Judge Ferris Lebous of the state supreme court in Binghamton, New York is same judge who issued the first ruling which gave the buildings to the Episcopal Diocese in January of this year.

Syracuse attorney Raymond Dague defending Good Shepherd disagreed with the decision. “The will says that the parish gets the money in the trust unless the parish “ceases to exist,” said Dague. “This court decision morphs the words ‘ceases to exist’ into ‘leaves the Episcopal Church.’ With the greed of the numerous lawsuits she has filed against congregations everywhere in the country including this one, and her dramatic lurch away from classic Christian beliefs over the last few years, it is no wonder that the Episcopal Church is losing attendance faster than any other church in America. The way it is going, the Episcopal Church will be rich with dead people’s money, but with nobody left in the pews.”

The court also noted that there is “an obvious lack of income flowing into Good Shepherd after April 2008” when the Episcopal diocese sued, and the judge finds this “disturbing.” The court will allow the Diocese to conduct depositions to see if there was a diversion of income from the parish. That people would not donate to a church which is being sued by its diocese is not surprising. Apparently the Diocese will now take sworn statements from Good Shepherd officials to determine why individual parishioners decided not to give their money to a church in danger of having all of its assets seized by the Episcopal Church.

The church’s lawyer Raymond Dague flatly denied that the parish diverted any of its money. “Not a dime of parish money was improperly spent,” Dague said. “The way the Episcopal Church is treating this local church, it is a wonder that anyone gives money to anything that has the title ‘Episcopal’ on it in the Central New York Diocese. If the Diocese wants to inquire into why these people did not give to the Episcopal Church, they should get quite an earful.”

The court’s decision also mentions items belonging to Good Shepherd that were taken from the premises after the lawsuit was filed, although the court notes that removed items were later returned. The parishioners did not intentionally take items that belonged to the church. The congregation moved out of the old building quickly, only days after the adverse judgment. In the quick exit from the church building there was confusion on the part of people who were raised at Good Shepherd regarding what belonged to individual members and what belonged to the church. Any items mistakenly removed have been returned.

There was no immediate word from the parish on whether the court decision would be appealed. Bishop Gladstone “Skip” Adams of Syracuse sued the parish last spring after that parish disaffiliated from the Episcopal Church. Fr. Kennedy, the priest at the parish which was sued, is a commentator on the well known Anglican website Stand Firm. Good Shepherd recently moved to a new location in Binghamton just over a mile from its old building, and has been increasing its Sunday attendance since its move to the new location.

Church announces dates for 2010 exposition of Shroud of Turin

By Cindy Wooden

ROME (CNS) -- The Italian Archdiocese of Turin has announced that the Shroud of Turin, which many believe is the burial cloth of Christ, will be on public display April 10-May 23, 2010.

The public exposition in Turin's cathedral will offer members of the public their first opportunity to see the shroud since it underwent major cleaning and restoration in 2002. the rest

Senate Confirms Catholic Pro-Abort Sebelius as HHS Secretary

Senators Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts of Kansas both voted to confirm Sebelius
Tuesday April 28, 2009
By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28, 2009 ( - The U.S. Senate voted 65-31 late this afternoon to confirm pro-abortion Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, whom Planned Parenthood has called a "champion" of their cause, as Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Senators Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts of Kansas both voted in favor of the nomination, over the strenuous objections of pro-life and conservative groups who opposed Sebelius due to her extreme pro-abortion record and controversial abortion ties.

Most Senators who rose in opposition to Sebelius during the lengthy debate voiced concern for her connections to late-term abortionist George Tiller and her lack of candor over campaign contributions she received from him. the rest

Pro-Abort Sen. Specter Announces Switch to Democratic Party

NYC Artist Cancels Obama-as-Jesus Portrait

April 28, 2009
Katelyn Beaty

Artist Michael D'Antuono was planning to unveil "The Truth" — a portrait of President Obama wearing a crown of thorns and holding his hands in crucifix form — tomorrow in New York's Union Square to commemorate Obama's 100th day in office, but decided to cancel after receiving thousands of angry e-mails about the portrait's religious overtones.

The portrait, which shows Obama lifting a dark veil to reveal (or hide) the presidential seal, was not meant to offend Christians or make light of their beliefs, D'Antuono told Mark Hemingway of National Review Online.

the rest

Albert Mohler: Love in a Time of Swine Flu

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"A man's spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?" Proverbs 18:14

The public discussion about swine flu and the threat of a breakout pandemic should prompt Christians to think seriously and soberly about what all this means. Biblical Christianity has much to say about disease and sickness, and the Christian tradition is rich with thought about how Christians, churches, and pastors should think of sickness, disease, and death.

At the onset, we must remember that sickness and death are part of the curse. Every single disease and malady can be traced back to Genesis 3 and humanity's fall into sin. Adam and Eve were the first humans to taste life and, after their sin, they were also the first to taste sickness and death. While only a few sicknesses can be traced to specific sins (such as sexually transmitted diseases), in reality the whole enterprise of sickness and death is rightly traced to sin, both individual and corporate.

The New Creation that is coming will know no sickness and death, for the curse is reversed in Christ. Yet, even as we await the coming of the Day of the Lord, in this life will all know the pangs, pains, perplexities, and perniciousness of disease. We are headed for death.

Nevertheless, as should be thankful for modern medicine, and the invention of both antibiotics and antiseptics. The germ theory of disease is a relatively recent human achievement, and the widespread use of effective antibiotics dates back only to the midpoint of the last century. While thankful for these medical advances, we are reminded that humanity will never finally triumph over disease and death. The curse is beyond our power to reverse. the rest

Gagnon on Hate Crimes Bill

The following is an email sent out on Tuesday, April 28th, by Robert Gagnon, Seminary Professor and leading authority on what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. Please consider taking his call seriously:

Dear friends who live in the United States,

(Please feel free to circulate this correspondence widely and rapidly)

This is a matter of great urgency. Please take a moment to contact your representative in the U.S. House of Representatives and express your opposition to the homosexual “hate crimes” bill (H.R. 1913) that will likely be voted on sometime tomorrow (Wednesday). Call 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 or contact your representatives through

Support for a “hate” bill that enshrines “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” into federal law (note that it is not yet so enshrined) does not mean merely that you oppose hateful, violent acts against persons who self-identify as homosexuals, transsexuals, and cross-dressers. Laws are already in place protecting persons who identify as homosexual or transgendered. They are the same laws that protect all of us from violent physical or verbal attacks.

Support for such a bill means, in effect, that you are in favor of the federal government taking an official, legal stance that opposition to homosexual practice and transgenderism of any sort is hatred and bigotry akin to virulent racism and liable to state prosecution. Any statement against such homosexual practice or transgenderism could be prosecuted as an “incitement” or “inducement” of others to violence, no matter how loving and rational that expression of opposition may be. the rest

...and of course PRAY!

Paraguayans glued to presidential paternity scandal

Tue Apr 28, 2009
By Kevin Gray

ASUNCION (Reuters) - Paraguayans are transfixed over a real-life soap opera set in the presidential palace: paternity claims by three women against bishop-turned-president Fernando Lugo.

The president, once known as the "bishop of the poor" but now seen as something of a playboy, stunned Paraguayans two weeks ago by admitting he had fathered a child while he was a Roman Catholic bishop. The acknowledgment came after the mother filed a paternity suit.

Since then, two other women have come forward with similar claims and Lugo, instead of denying them, asked the nation to forgive him. the rest

How to Shrink a Church

It's not that easy, but hopefully it's the new evangelical trend.
Mark Galli

The "strict-church thesis" says that strict religions thrive while lenient religions decline. This has been a favorite among evangelicals since first articulated in Dean Kelly's 1972

Perhaps the best defense of the thesis has been Santa Clara University's Laurence R. Iannaccone's influential 1994 essay, "Why Strict Churches Are Strong."

Iannaccone argued that "strict churches proclaim an exclusive truth — a closed, comprehensive and eternal doctrine. They demand adherence to a distinctive faith, morality, and lifestyle. They condemn deviants, shun dissenters, and repudiate the outside world." He concluded that doctrinal and behavioral strictness "increases commitment, raises levels of participation, and enables a group to offer more benefits to current and potential members." Consequently, he says these groups "enjoy a competitive advantage over their opposites." the rest

The Truth Delusion of Richard Dawkins

April 29th, 2009
By Melanie Phillips

The most famous atheist in the world, biologist Professor Richard Dawkins, poses as the arch-apostle of reason, a scientist who stands for empirical truth in opposition to obscurantism and lies. What follows suggests that in fact he is sloppy and cavalier with both facts and reasoning to a disturbing degree. the rest

Mary Ann Glendon to Receive Pro-Life Award for Notre Dame Decision

Tuesday April 28, 2009

( - Bradley Mattes, Executive Director of Life Issues Institute, announced today that they will present the group's prestigious "Hero at Heart" award to Mary Ann Glendon, former Ambassador to the Vatican. The honor is given annually to individuals who demonstrate outstanding courage or compassion on behalf of innocent human life. Recipients have included Congressman Henry Hyde and former Kansas Attorney General, Phill Kline.

Ambassador Glendon recently declined the University of Notre Dame's most revered honor, the Laetare Medal, which was to be presented to her during the university's May commencement ceremony. the rest

Irish cardinal recommends Twitter for prayer

by Anne Thomas
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cardinal Sean Brady, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has suggested that believers embrace Twitter for prayer.

The Cardinal, speaking at Mass in Country Mayo on Sunday, said that it was a good way to send people prayers.

He said, "Make someone the gift of a prayer through text, twitter or e-mail every day," reports the BBC. the rest

New film tells tragic story of Belgium's Singing Nun

Biopic recalls life of Jeannine Deckers, who once beat the Beatles to top of US charts
Angelique Chrisafis
Tuesday 28 April 2009

She was the bespectacled nun who beat the Beatles to the top of the US charts, sparking a worldwide craze for singers in wimples before either the Sound of Music or TV's the Flying Nun.

Now the tragic story of Jeannine Deckers, known as the Singing Nun, has been reclaimed by her native Belgium. the rest

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Devotional: Revelation is the first step to holiness...

Revelation is the first step to holiness, and consecration is the second. A day comes in our lives as definite as the day of our conversion, when we give up all right to ourselves and submit to the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ. There may be a practical issue raised by God to test the reality of our consecration, but whether that be so or not, there must be a day when, without reservation, we surrender everything to Him-ourselves, our families, our possessions, our business, and our time. All we are and have becomes His, to be held henceforth entirely at His disposal. From that day we are no longer our own masters, but only stewards. Not until the Lordship of Christ in our hearts is a settled thing can the Spirit really operate effectively in us. He cannot direct our lives until all control of them is committed to Him. If we do not give Him absolute authority there, He can be present, but He cannot be powerful. The power of the Spirit is stayed. ...Watchman Nee image

Telescope Snaps Most Distant Object

ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2009) — NASA's Swift satellite and an international team of astronomers have found a gamma-ray burst from a star that died when the universe was only 630 million years old, or less than five percent of its present age. The event, dubbed GRB 090423, is the most distant cosmic explosion ever seen.

"Swift was designed to catch these very distant bursts," said Swift lead scientist Neil Gehrels at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "The incredible distance to this burst exceeded our greatest expectations -- it was a true blast from the past."

At 3:55 a.m. EDT on April 23, Swift detected a ten-second-long gamma-ray burst of modest brightness. It quickly pivoted to bring its ultraviolet/optical and X-ray telescopes to observe the burst location. Swift saw a fading X-ray afterglow but none in visible light. the rest

A. S. Haley: The Oxymoron of Church Politics

April 26, 2009

In short, GC 2009 is slated as the Convention where Episcopal LGBTs can and will finally take complete control over ECUSA's agenda---approving rites for same-sex blessings, adopting canons that would prohibit priests from solemnizing civil marriages, encouraging open communion for all without regard to baptism, pushing off consideration of that dreaded Anglican Covenant, and so on and so forth. The years of patience in mastering the complexities of diocesan elections, in seeing LGBTs and their supporters elected as deputies and then appointed to major committees, and in steering both the budget and the agenda in the directions desired, are about to pay off.

But what if the castle that has been the object of such effort does not actually command the territory? What if, like Dorothy, the Episcoleft finds that there is no omnipotent Wizard on the throne, but just a little man pulling levers and throwing switches behind a curtain? What if the LGBTs manage finally to take over the governing levers of ECUSA only to find out that ECUSA is not hierarchical after all? Ay, that would indeed be tragic, if such years of effort proved to be ultimately in vain.

Therein lies, I think, the source of the ferocity summoned to defend the proposition that the Episcopal Church (USA) is hierarchical. And therein lies also the explanation for the Presiding Bishop's campaign to become a metropolitan in deed, if not in word. For those on the left, authority is useless if it cannot be exercised to further the agenda, and to increase one's hold on power. (This is why their ultimate authority is the Holy Spirit---no one can say for certain what He does and does not approve, and so He can be cited as in support of anything. Power without accountability is to those on the left as catnip is to a cat.)
Full Commentary

Albert Mohler: Coming Out of the Closet -- Atheist Style

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times reports that American atheists are ready to go public with their message, reflecting an assertiveness resembling that of the so-called New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. They are ready to come out of the closet.

Her article focuses on Charleston, SC, where the group known as "Secular Humanists of the Low Country" represents this newly assertive atheism. The group once expected opposition to its very existence. Now, they are looking for a larger meeting place. the rest

Obama weakens protections for medical professionals opposed to abortion.

by Marilyn Musgrave & Marjorie Dannenfelser

More than a few press accounts have treated the Bush administration's set of conscience provisions as if it were one of those curve balls often thrown at the end of lame-duck administrations, unfairly handcuffing or putting a nakedly political burden of proof on a new president.

This narrative is very far from the reality. The conscience regulations are rooted in federal law and congressional intent. The administration, acting mainly through the Department of Health and Human Services, concluded that federal and state bureaucrats, as well as health-care and medical elites, were ignoring numerous conscience provisions that Congress had intended to be taken seriously.

Did Congress ever intend to force doctors to recommend procedures (if not actually perform them) that go against their consciences? Did Congress ever intend to condone the firing of a nurse who reported the starvation of babies born alive during induced labor abortions? Did Congress intend to force Catholic hospitals and personnel morally opposed to abortion to provide or refer for abortions without exception? The administration will find all these examples, and many more, as it reviews affidavits submitted during the recently concluded mandatory 30-day public comment period.

Even more ominously, how likely is it that an administration which fails to define these and similar outrages as unacceptable will fail to include abortion services in its upcoming proposal for national health care reform? If the administration follows through on its openly stated option of making health care reform part of a budget package requiring the vote of only 50 senators under "reconciliation," medical professionals with deeply held moral beliefs across the country will stand to suffer.

Many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers will confront the dilemma of choosing between their conscience and their call to serve fellow citizens in our nation's hospitals and clinics. They will be forced to either violate their conscience and keep their jobs, or respect their beliefs and pay the price by leaving their careers. the rest

So Far, So Good? Only 1,361 days to go.

Persecuting his predecessors, Obama would establish a poisonous precedent

UK: Pupils aged 11 to learn about gay sex

The Times
April 28, 2009
Alexandra Frean, Education Editor

Compulsory sex and relationships lessons for 11-year-old children are to include classroom discussions on gay unions and civil partnerships. Secondary pupils will learn about contraception and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), while primary school children will learn about their bodies and friendships, a review of sex education has concluded.

The review was ordered in October after ministers announced that sex and relationships education (SRE) lessons should be made compulsory to help primary and secondary pupils to “navigate the complexities of modern life” and to ensure that children learnt their sex education from the classroom, not the playground. the rest

Bishop Bennison Seeks Dismissal of Presentment

April 28, 2009

Prior to the start of the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison’s appeal before the Court of Review of the Trial of a Bishop, new evidence has come to light. The evidence, revealed on April 27, purportedly reveals that the teenage victim conspired with Bishop Bennison’s brother, John, in order to conceal their sexual relationship from Bishop Bennison, who was serving as rector at the California parish where his brother was the youth minister in the early 1970s.

John Bennison previously admitted initiating a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. Eventually he resigned from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church. Bishop Bennison maintains he was not aware of the relationship until many years later and did nothing wrong in trying to prevent a scandal once he became aware of the relationship.

Last June, the Court for the Trial of Bishop found Bishop Bennison guilty and recommended that he be deposed for conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy. He is currently on suspension while his appeal is under consideration. the rest

Bishop asks for new trial based on love letters

Pope Visits Devastated Earthquake Zone

April 28, 2009

L’AQUILA, Italy — Nearly three weeks after a devastating earthquake killed almost 300 people and left 65,000 homeless in this mountainous region of central Italy, Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday visited the area, delivering a message of hope to survivors.

His first stop was Onna, a farming village several miles outside l’Aquila where 40 of about 300 residents died. As a light rain fell, the pope stood inside a tent camp, greeting residents.

“I would like to hug you with affection, one by one,” he said.

The pope said he hoped that his visit would be “a tangible sign” that the lord “is not deaf to the worried cry of so many families who lost everything: houses, savings, work and often even human lives.” the rest

In pictures: Pope visits earthquake region

Group Looks To Form New Conservative Anglican Church

By JOHN P. CONNOLLY, The Bulletin
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A group of conservative Anglicans in Canada and the United States has finalized plans to begin forming an alternate church in North America.

Leaders of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a collection of 12 Anglican organizations that began to unify last November, approved applications for the creation of 28 new dioceses in the church. The new church’s leaders also finalized a draft constitution and church laws ahead of its provincial assembly.

“It is a great encouragement to see the fruit of many years’ work,” said the Right Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop-elect of the Anglican Church in North America and bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. “Today 23 dioceses and five dioceses-in-formation joined together to reconstitute an orthodox, Biblical, missionary and united Church in North America.”

According to the ACNA’s Web site, the jurisdictions that make up the 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation of the new church are: the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin; the Anglican Mission in the Americas; the Convocation of Anglicans in North America; the Anglican Network in Canada; the Anglican Coalition in Canada; the Reformed Episcopal Church; and the missionary initiatives of Kenya, Uganda and South America’s Southern Cone. The American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith North America are also founding organizations. the rest

New Kenyan archbishop will 'keep stand' against same-sex unions

Ecumenical News International
Fredrick Nzwili
Apr 27, 2009

Eliud Wabukala of Bungoma, who becomes the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya in July, will not likely reverse his predecessor’s opposition to same-sex unions.

This is the view of bishops and church leaders who spoke to Ecumenical News International after Wabukala was on April 24 elected to replace Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, who retires on June 30.

"We know there are challenges of building bridges among our communities, reconciling and healing the people. That's basically what I will do," said Wabukala, adding he would ensure that God's word is preached, taught and lived out. "I want to thank the electoral college for a very peaceful election and for maintaining the dignity of this church," he told journalists after his election. the rest

Kenya elects new Anglican Archbishop

Miss California Carrie Prejean Gets Heroine's Welcome In San Diego

April 26, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO — Miss California Carrie Prejean, who became the bombshell of the Miss USA pageant by saying gay couples should not be allowed to marry, said Sunday that her state sponsors urged her to apologize afterward but she rejected the advice.

Prejean, 21, said officials from the Miss California USA pageant were worried that her comments would cost their contest financial backing and tried to prepare her for a string of post-pageant media interviews by discouraging her from discussing her religious beliefs.

"`You need to apologize to the gay community. You need to not talk about your faith. This has everything to do with you representing California and saving the brand,'" Prejean recalled being told. "I was representing California. I was representing the majority of people in California." the rest

Miss California Is Braver Than Some Pastors

Monday, April 27, 2009

Devotional: The pursuit of holiness...

The pursuit of holiness is a joint venture between God and the Christian. No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but just as surely no one will attain it without effort on his own part. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But He has given to us the responsibility of doing the walking; He does not do that for us. ...Jerry Bridges image

UK: Teacher suspended for Christian beliefs

26th April 2009

A CHRISTIAN teacher has been suspended from a senior post for complaining that a staff training day was used to promote homosexual rights.

Kwabena Peat, 54, left a compulsory training session with several other Christian colleagues at the north London school after the speaker, Sue Sanders, invited by the School headteacher, openly questioned why people thought heterosexuality was natural.

Mr Peat says that Ms Sanders, who openly describes herself as a lesbian, told him and his colleagues that those who did not accept that being homosexual was "normal" had "issues" they must deal with. the rest

Saudis expand influence in America's public and private schools

Kathy Shaidle
April 26, 2009

Did you know that Muslims discovered America? Or that “ancient Jewish civilization contributed very little to the arts and sciences”?

According to a recent study by Institute for Jewish and Community Research, millions of American public school students in all 50 states use textbooks that contain such erroneous “facts.” Of the 500 historical errors uncovered by the study, hundreds of them tout a blatant agenda of Islamic superiority.

Even more shockingly, U.S. taxpayers are the ones footing the bill. It’s all part of a worrisome trend within the American educational system: the apparent spread of radical Muslim propaganda under the guise of “education. the rest

The Media Elite's Secret Dinners

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 27, 2009

Last Tuesday evening, Rahm Emanuel quietly slipped into an eighth-floor office at the Watergate.

As white-jacketed waiters poured red and white wine and served a three-course salmon and risotto dinner, the White House chief of staff spent two hours chatting with some of Washington's top journalists -- excusing himself to take a call from President Obama and another from Hillary Clinton.

As the journalists hurled questions and argued among themselves, Emanuel said: "This feels a lot like a Jewish family dinner." the rest

Obama has had an epoch-defining 100 days

But vultures are gathering. We have seen the scale and scope of his ambition. But every element in the president's agenda carries a clear possibility of failure
Gary Younge
Monday 27 April 2009

Towards the end of a press conference last month, ABC News reporter Ann Compton asked Barack Obama a question simultaneously obvious and oblique. "Yours is a rather historic presidency," she said. "And I'm just wondering whether in any of the policy debates that you've had within the White House the issue of race has come up, or whether it has in the way you feel you've been perceived by other leaders or by the American people? Or has the last 64 days been a relatively colourblind time?"

Obvious because the issue of Obama's race had, directly or indirectly, dominated the national conversation for the last two years at least. So much so that his election was not just a feat of politics but of imagination. Oblique, because after just a few months it seemed like a question from a bygone age. As the number of jobless edges towards double figures, Pakistan implodes, and the nation looks ready to foreclose on Detroit, the banal fact of skin pigmentation has momentarily found its rightful place in the order of things. the rest

Civil Religion's Sharper Teeth

All believers welcome, so long as they aren't religious.
Mollie Ziegler Hemingway

Shortly after he was asked to deliver a prayer at President Barack Obama's inaugural festivities, Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson proudly announced it wouldn't be a Christian one. He had been "horrified" at how "specifically and aggressively Christian" previous inaugural prayers were. Robinson, whose elevation as his church's first gay bishop has been a major factor in bringing the Anglican Communion to the brink of schism, ended up addressing his prayer to the "God of our many understandings."

The day after Obama became President, the Episcopal Church's National Cathedral hosted an interfaith worship service featuring Muslims, Jews, and Hindus. The service's liturgical framework was Christian while the content was strictly nonsectarian. The sermon cited Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Cherokee sources, avoided exclusive truth claims, and shied away from particular names for deities. Cathedral staff even rewrote the Book of Common Prayer's responsive prayers to avoid any overt Christian witness. The only way the service could have been more inclusive was if they had replaced the altar with a kitchen sink.

While many Christians might be alarmed by civil religion in the Obama era, the Bush era wasn't terribly different. In his second inaugural address, for instance, Bush praised the "truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran." And he told Arab news channel Al Arabiya, "I believe in an almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God." the rest

Pope to receive smallest present ever

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Mary Ann Glendon Declines ND Honor

Mary Ann Glendon has declined Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal over the plans to honor pro-abortion president Barack Obama
Monday, April 27, 2009
by Father Raymond J. de Souza

Father John Jenkins likely thought himself very clever. Professor Mary Ann Glendon just took him to school.

In declining to receive the Laetare Medal alongside President Barack Obama’s honorary doctorate of laws at next month’s commencement, Glendon has refused to participate in the shabby manipulation Father Jenkins attempted to engineer. It is a rare personage who could ennoble an award by refusing to receive it, but Professor Glendon has done just that. The Laetare Medal will now be known best for the year in which it was declined. Glendon chose, to use the apt words of Bishop John D’Arcy in this regard, truth over prestige.

The significance of Glendon’s refusal is enormous. The most accomplished Catholic laywoman in America — former ambassador of the United States to the Holy See and current president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences — has refused to accept Notre Dame’s highest honor. It is a signal moment for the Catholic Church in the United States. It is a signal moment for the Church’s public witness. It is may even be a signal moment for Notre Dame. What Glendon will not say at Notre Dame will finally be a fitting response to what Gov. Mario Cuomo said there some 25 years ago. the rest

No doubt Tony Blair would have saved Jesus

Mr Blair revived Labour, now he's bidding for the Papacy. But some things are bigger than even he can encompass
By Charles Moore
10 Apr 2009

Tony Blair, you will remember, saved the Labour Party. Then, through electoral victory, he ensured, as he put it, "one cross on the ballot-paper: a nation reborn". After saving his country, he left office, and became a Roman Catholic.

So it was only a matter of time before Mr Blair got to work on his adopted Church. BT (Before Tony), the Church has been pretty badly run for 2,000 years, but now, he promises, all that can change. the rest

Emerging Anglican Province Announces 28 Dioceses

April 25, 2009

Leaders representing Canadian and US orthodox Anglican jurisdictions approved applications for membership of 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation and finalized plans for launching the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Twelve Anglican organizations are uniting to form the ACNA.

The ACNA Leadership Council, in addition to accepting these dioceses as constituent members, finalized a draft constitution and a comprehensive set of canons (Church bylaws) for ratification by the provincial assembly. A list of the new dioceses, the constitution and the canons will soon be available at

“It is a great encouragement to see the fruit of many years’ work,” said the Right Reverend Robert Duncan, archbishop-elect of the Anglican Church in North America and Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. “Today 23 dioceses and five dioceses-in-formation joined together to reconstitute an orthodox, Biblical, missionary and united Church in North America.” the rest

Episcopal Church resembles 'Peace Corps in ecclesiastical drag'

Allie Martin

A veteran newspaper columnist and longtime member of the Episcopal Church USA says the denomination has cheerfully given up truth to placate a relativistic culture. William Murchison's new book is called Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity. He says the denomination, like other churches of the American mainline, seems to be in a mad dash to catch up with a secular culture that values self-expression and does not want to promote the holy and just God of the Bible.

ECUSA's Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, he says, has set the tone for the denomination.

"When our presiding bishop implies she's more concerned about hunger, primary education, and AIDS and issues like that, then it's clear that she doesn't have her mind on the primary objectives the church ought to be following -- which are the presentation of the gospel," says the author. "And that's what makes the church look like the Peace Corps in ecclesiastical drag." the rest

Americans changing their religious affiliations at unprecedented rates

by Michael Paulson
April 27, 2009

Americans are changing their religious affiliations at unprecedented rates, but Catholics are much more likely to cite concerns about their religion as a reason for leaving than are Protestants, who more often cite changing life circumstances.

The churn within American religion -- about half of American adults have changed their faith affiliation at some point -- was one of the key findings of a major study released last year by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life; today, the Pew Forum is releasing a new study that attempts to explore the reasons why Americans change denominations or religions, or, increasingly, drop out of institutional religion altogether.

Among the most striking findings are that most people who change their religious affiliation leave the denomination in which they were raised by age 24, and many change religious affiliation more than once. And the study found that the growing population of unaffiliated Americans are more disenchanted with institutionalized religion than with the idea of God. the rest

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Devotional: We may suffer the sins of our brother...

We may suffer the sins of our brother; we do not need to judge. This is a mercy for the Christian; for when does sin ever occur in the community that he must not examine and blame himself for his own unfaithfulness in prayer and intercession, his lack of brotherly service, of fraternal reproof and encouragement -- indeed, for his own personal sin and spiritual laxity, by which he has done injury to himself, the fellowship, and the brethren? Since every sin of a member burdens and indicts the whole community, the congregation rejoices, in the midst of all the pain and the burden that the brother's sin inflicts, that it has the privilege of bearing and forgiving. ...Dietrich Bonhoeffer image

Vicar's plan to overcome women bishops row

Sunday, 26th April 2009
By Michael Brown

A revolutionary five-point plan to prevent the Church of England splitting when women become bishops has been unveiled by a clergy member of the General Synod.

The blueprint comes from the Rev John Hartley, vicar of St Luke's, Eccleshill, Bradford, who has been an Anglican "MP" since 2004.

At the crux of the 52-year-old ecclesiastical legislator's "solution" to the fear of schism when females don mitres is abolition of the word "bishop". the rest

The Wreck of the Racial Spoils System

April 26, 2009
By George Will

WASHINGTON -- Wednesday morning, a lawyer defending in the Supreme Court what the city of New Haven, Conn., did to Frank Ricci and 17 other white firemen (including one Hispanic) was not 20 seconds into his argument when Chief Justice John Roberts interrupted to ask: Would it have been lawful if the city had decided to disregard the results of the exam to select firemen for promotion because it selected too many black and too few white candidates?

In 2003, the city gave promotion exams -- prepared by a firm specializing in employment tests, and approved, as federal law requires, by independent experts -- to 118 candidates, 27 of them black. None of the blacks did well enough to qualify for the 15 immediately available promotions. After a rabble-rousing minister with close ties to the mayor disrupted meetings and warned of dire political consequences if the city promoted persons from the list generated by the exams, the city said: No one will be promoted.

The city called this a "race-neutral" outcome because no group was disadvantaged more than any other. So, New Haven's idea of equal treatment is to equally deny promotions to those who did not earn them and those, including Ricci, who did. the rest

Presbyterians vote against gay clergy

By Eric Gorski
Sunday, April 26, 2009

Efforts to allow gays and lesbians to serve as clergy in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have been defeated again, sealed by votes Saturday.

But the margin of defeat -- the final tally has yet to be determined -- is already guaranteed to be much closer than in previous years. That is encouraging for gay clergy supporters and concerning to opponents, with both sides expecting the issue to be revisited in the future.

Last summer, the 2.3 million-member denomination's General Assembly voted to drop a constitutional requirement that would-be ministers, deacons and elders live in "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between and a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness." the rest

Rev Dr Peter Toon - Obituary

April 26th, 2009

Peter Toon, 1939 – 2009

Peter, son of Thomas Arthur and Hilda Toon, was born in Yorkshire, England, soon after the start of World War II. After him came Paul, David and Christine. He attended Hemsworth Grammar School, Cliff College, Sheffield; King’s College, London; The University of Liverpool and Christ Church, Oxford University. He held three Masters’ degrees and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford.

He was married to Vita for forty-seven years and they have one daughter, Deborah, who lives in California, and is married to Michael, a Naval Officer. Vita is a graduate of London and Oxford Universities, while Deborah is a graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville and the University of Texas at Austin. the rest

U.S. Slow to Learn of Mexico Flu

Canadian Officials Knew of Rare Strain Before Americans Did
By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 26, 2009

U.S. public health officials did not know about a growing outbreak of swine flu in Mexico until nearly a week after that country started invoking protective measures, and didn't learn that the deaths were caused by a rare strain of the influenza until after Canadian officials did.

The delayed communication occurred as epidemiologists in Southern California were investigating milder cases of the illness that turned out to be caused by the same strain of swine flu as the one in Mexico. the rest

Swine Flu: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency

New swine flu likely widespread, experts say