Saturday, May 23, 2009

Devotional: Take no thought for your life...

"Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body what ye shall put on." Matthew 6:25

Jesus sums up common-sense carefulness in a disciple as infidelity. If we have received the Spirit of God, He will press through and say - Now where does God come in in this relationship, in this mapped out holiday, in these new books? He always presses the point until we learn to make Him our first consideration. Whenever we put other things first, there is confusion.

"Take no thought . . ." don't take the pressure of forethought upon yourself. It is not only wrong to worry, it is infidelity, because worrying means that we do not think that God can look after the practical details of our lives, and it is never any thing else that worries us. Have you ever noticed what Jesus said would choke the word He puts in? The devil? No, the cares of this world. It is the little worries always. I will not trust where I cannot see, that is where infidelity begins. The only cure for infidelity is obedience to the Spirit.

The great word of Jesus to His disciples is abandon.

...Oswald Chambers image

Obama Aide: Our Goal Is Not To Reduce Amount of Abortions

May 23rd, 2009
By Michael van der Galien

An aide to President Barack Obama recently told abortion activists (of both sides of the aisle) recently that it was not the White House’s goals to reduce the total amount of abortions carried out in the United States every year. Instead, they want to tackle / reduce “the need” for such procedures.

That’ll amount to the same thing, one would think, no? Well, yes, normally, that is. You see, in the new Big Brother-like America words have new meanings:

The Los Angeles Times reported in 2004 that Democrats, after losing the presidential election, began rethinking their harsh, no compromise stance on abortion. Their solution?
Change their language but not their position.
the rest

Relations Warms Between Russian Orthodox Church and Vatican

By SOPHIA KISHKOVSKY
May 22, 2009

MOSCOW — Festivities in Rome this weekend for the dedication of an Orthodox church on the grounds of the Russian Embassy near the Vatican attest to a surprising but marked warming of relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican in recent months, according to church officials and analysts.

If trends hold true, they add, a meeting of the pope and the patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Russia may be close. Whether even that could begin to overcome the centuries-old hatred surrounding the two churches’ conflicting authority over Christians is another question. the rest

President Obama to Americans: "We are out of money."

Sat May 23 2009

In a sobering holiday interview with C-SPAN, President Obama boldly told Americans: "We are out of money."

C-SPAN host Steve Scully broke from a meek Washington press corps with probing questions for the new president.

SCULLY: You know the numbers, $1.7 trillion debt, a national deficit of $11 trillion. At what point do we run out of money?

OBAMA: Well, we are out of money now. We are operating in deep deficits, not caused by any decisions we've made on health care so far. This is a consequence of the crisis that we've seen and in fact our failure to make some good decisions on health care over the last several decades. the rest

Obama takes swipe at Bush in Memorial Day message

Americans vote with wallets to see Obama birth certificate

12-Year-Old Pro-Life Prodigy Gives Moving Speech at Canadian March for Life



Friday May 22, 2009
By Alex Bush

OTTAWA, May 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Lia, the twelve-year-old girl who made headlines for presenting a pro-life speech in a school speech competition against tremendous opposition from her teachers earlier this year, gave her exceptional oration to the 12,000 strong crowd at the National March For Life in Ottawa, Canada last week.

Lia, who is from Ontario, adapted her speech for the March for Life slightly, adding, “Every day, 115,000 are being put to death through abortion. 115,000. Look around at this great sea of people. This is only about 10,000 people. Every two hours, this amount of children are killed because of abortion.”

Lia became a household name in the pro-life world when she was disqualified from a public speaking contest last February. She gave her speech anyway, while still being disqualified, causing one of the judges to leave the panel before her speech even began. Controversy among the judges caused them to reverse their earlier decision to disqualify Lia and she ended up winning the contest. the rest

PRAVDA: "THE AMERICAN DESCENT INTO MARXISM IS HAPPENING WITH BREATH TAKING SPEED"

22/05/09

Here is an excellent article on the decline of America into Marxism by none other than a Russian --who better to recognize Marxism pure and simple?...

"It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters. the rest

AnglicanTV: Archbishop Orombi: Q&A - Only one Instrument of Unity works

Friday, May 22, 2009

Book Review: Church and State in 21st Century Britain: the future of Church Establishment

22 May 2009
Review by Theo Hobson

Church and State in 21st Century Britain: the future of Church Establishment
R.M. Morris
Palgrave Macmillan

Imagine a line-up of 100 English people, of all ages and types. Only two or three of them are active members of the Church of England, which is England's official religion (establishment has a separate Scottish edition). What does establishment consist of? It's hard to say: what we now have is the vestige of a very intimate intertwining of Church and State, a vestige which, in practical political terms, seems negligible. But in terms of national symbolism it is very considerable: the fact that our head of state must pledge to defend this Church is of no small relevance to "national identity".

So is this still what we want? It's hard to say: Christians seem in favour, and the rest of the people in that line-up seem indifferent. Progressive opinion occasionally picks up the issue, as if it were some weird exhibit in a museum, and then shrugs and returns to something more pressing.

But events are forcing the issue on to the table: the House of Lords is being reformed, although at a speed that would bore a tortoise; and the heir to the throne is occasionally to be heard tinkering with his future religious role. And recently Gordon Brown renounced his right to appoint bishops, one of the last expressions of Parliament's theoretical supervision of the Church. the rest

Rowan Williams: Enough humiliation. We must move on

Politics is not about what you can get away with - it's about being prepared to make sacrifices
From The Times
May 23, 2009

The issues raised by the huge controversy over MPs' expenses are as grave as could be for our parliamentary democracy, and urgent action is needed to restore trust. It is good that all parties are recognising this. But many will now be wondering whether the point has not been adequately made; the continuing systematic humiliation of politicians itself threatens to carry a heavy price in terms of our ability to salvage some confidence in our democracy.

It is important to connect some of the underlying attitudes with a wider problem. In recent months, we've had a number of examples (bankers' pensions, the suspension of two peers from the Lords) of people saying when challenged that “no rules were broken”. Some of the initial responses to public anger about MPs' expenses have amounted to much the same thing. And this suggests a basic problem in our moral thinking.

The question “What can I get away with without technically breaching the regulations?” is not a good basis for any professional behaviour that has real integrity. the rest

Rev. Phil Ashey: Tale of Two Communions

May 22nd, 2009

As many of you may know, I have just returned from Jamaica where I observed first-hand the confusion, lack of procedural rules, lack of prayer, arbitrary chairmanship, delay, and priority for property and non-revelatory religion that prevailed in the institutional politics of the 14th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

I have reached the same conclusion (again) that many here and in the Global South have reached: namely, that there are now in fact two communions which call themselves Anglican.

In the one communion, a numerical and theological minority holds hostage the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Communion Covenant on the grounds that the language of section 4 is "not mature enough" and needs more work. As usual, such work is subject to the timetables of an office that has set no firm date for the conclusion of that work before the whole Covenant can be released to every Province in the Anglican Communion. The rest at Anglican Mainstream

Pope on Facebook in attempt to woo young believers

By Philip Pullella
Reuters
Friday, May 22, 2009

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - You won't get an email saying Pope Benedict added you as a friend and you can't "poke" him or write on his wall, but the Vatican is still keen to use the networking site Facebook to woo young people back to church.

A new Vatican website, www.pope2you.net, has gone live, offering an application called "The pope meets you on Facebook," and another allowing the faithful to see the Pope's speeches and messages on their iPhones or iPods.

The Vatican's World Communications Day this Sunday is devoted to communicating the gospel with new technologies. the rest

Toddler buys earthmover in online auction

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Zealand mom made some online bids on toys before napping. Then her 3-year-old daughter took over and bought a bigger plaything than expected _ a huge earth-moving digger for a cool $12,300.

Pipi Quinlan made the winning 20,000 New Zealand dollar ($12,300) bid on the Kobelco digger with a few mouse clicks at the auction site TradeMe while her parents slept, the Rodney Times newspaper reported in northern New Zealand.

"The first I knew about it was when I came down and opened up the computer," said Pipi's mother, Sarah Quinlan. the rest

Who Controls the Internet?

The United States, for now, and a good thing, too.
by Ariel Rabkin
05/25/2009

In order to please our European allies and our Third World critics, the Obama administration may be tempted to surrender one particular manifestation of American "dominance": central management of key aspects of the Internet by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Other countries are pushing for more control. Early this year, British cabinet member Andy Burnham told the Daily Telegraph that he was "planning to negotiate with Barack Obama's incoming American administration to draw up new international rules for English language websites." It would be a mistake for the administration to go along. America's special role in managing the Internet is good for America and good for the world.
the rest

The first climate-change bill with a chance of passing is weaker and worse than expected

Cap and trade, with handouts and loopholes
The Economist
May 21st 2009 WASHINGTON, DC

AL GORE calls it “one of the most important pieces of legislation ever introduced in Congress”. Joe Barton, a Republican congressman and global-warming sceptic, says it will put the American economy in a straitjacket. For something that practically no one has read, the American Clean Energy and Security Act provokes heated debate. It would establish a cap-and-trade system for curbing carbon-dioxide emissions, thus transforming the way Americans use energy.

President Barack Obama has long argued that America should join Europe in regulating planet-cooking carbon. But he has left the details to Congress. And the negotiations to craft a bill that might actually pass have not been pretty. The most straightforward and efficient approach to reducing carbon emissions—a carbon tax—was never seriously considered. Voters do not like to hear the word “tax” unless it is followed by the word “cut”. the rest

Stocks, dollar, treasuries fall on concerns over U.S. creditworthiness

Voters strongly oppose federal bailout for California

Albert Mohler: Waving God Goodbye -- The Tale of the Unbelieving Bishop

Friday, May 22, 2009

Richard Holloway is a Bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church. There seems to be on obvious problem -- he doesn't believe in God. In the Scottish Episcopal Church, that must not be a problem.

Bishop Holloway served for years as Bishop of Edinburgh and primate of the Scottish church. The Scottish Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion -- the Scottish sister church of the Church of England. During his years as Bishop of Edinburgh Holloway regularly offended the faithful, promoting one heresy or scandalous teaching after another.

In 2000 he took early retirement, but did not resign his ordination or consecration. He remains a bishop, even as he has become an agnostic. the rest

ACC-14: Moratorium on property disputes fails to win support

May 22, 2009
by George Conger

ACC-14 has reaffirmed the Anglican Communion’s moratoria on gay bishops and blessings, and the integrity of diocesan boundaries, but has turned aside a plea to back a ban on further property litigation in the US and Canada.

Meeting at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica delegates to the 14th triennial meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council voted to maintain the status quo, rejecting pleas from the Episcopal Church to relax the ban on gay bishops and blessings, while also turning aside a request to condemn the Episcopal Church’s litigation campaign against breakaway dioceses and congregations.

By affirming the recommendations of the WCG, ACC 14 have asked the Primates, the ACC, Dr. Williams and the Lambeth Conference to “commit themselves to the renewal of the Listening Process, and a real seeking of a common mind upon the issues which threaten to divide us.” the rest

Diocese of Texas Faces $45-Million Lawsuit

May 21, 2009

The Diocese of Texas is a defendant in a $45-million class-action lawsuit which alleges that for more than 40 years, diocesan officials have tried to hide the fact that one of the priests on staff at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin sexually abused students at the residential school.

According to the transcript from a pre-trial hearing in 2008, James Lydell Tucker served as chaplain at St. Stephen’s from 1958 to1968. The diocese transferred him to another school in 1968 after receiving misconduct complaints about him. He retired from active ministry in 1994. He was deposed from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church in 2008. the rest

Northern California Diocese, Church Reach Settlement

May 21, 2009

The Diocese of Northern California announced May 20 that a settlement agreement has been reached with a group of former Episcopalians who left the church to form St. John’s Anglican Church, Petaluma, Calif.

The Anglican congregation has been worshiping at the church building where Episcopal services were held prior to a parish vote in December 2006. Those members who wanted to remain Episcopalian began meeting on Sunday evening as the guests of Elim Lutheran Church in Petaluma. The agreement calls for the Episcopal congregation to take possession of the church property on July 1, according to the diocesan announcement. the rest

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Feast of the Ascension

The LORD said to my Lord,
"Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool."

The LORD will send the scepter of your power out of Zion,
saying, "Rule over your enemies round about you.

Princely state has been yours from the day of your birth;
in the beauty of holiness have I begotten you,
like dew from the womb of the morning."

The LORD has sworn and he will not recant:
"You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."

The Lord who is at your right hand
will smite kings in the day of his wrath;
he will rule over the nations.
Psalm 110:1-5
image

Newt Gingrich Opens Up on Catholic Conversion and Embracing 'Overt Christianity'

May 20, 2009
Dan Gilgoff

Former House speaker and Republican überstrategist Newt Gingrich is off to Europe next week to shoot a documentary on Pope John Paul II's 1979 trip to Poland and how it helped to lay the groundwork for bringing down the Soviet Union. The film, Nine Days That Changed the World, is slated for release this fall.

The trip will take Gingrich and his wife, Callista, to Poland and to Rome for the first time since he converted to Roman Catholicism in March.

I caught up with Gingrich this morning and asked if he expected this trip to be different from previous visits to Rome. He gave a long answer that had him opening up about the reasons for his conversion to an extent he hasn't done publicly before: the rest

Is This the End of Christianity in England?

Bill Muehlenberg
21.5.09

One way or another, the lights seem to be going out for Christianity in England. If the secularists do not destroy the church there, the Islamists are happy to have a go at it. Just last week it was announced that the BBC has appointed a Muslim to be “the Head of Religion and Ethics”. This is simply the latest in a long list of Islamist initiatives which may well turn England into a Muslim nation.

the rest

The Curmudgeon: The Issue Is Finally Joined in Pittsburgh (I)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
A. S. Haley

Excerpt:
Yesterday, with the filing of an "Answer and New Matter to Complaint in Intervention", the issue of ECUSA's "hierarchical polity" has finally been joined in Pittsburgh. Please remember that this is an issue that has been left for a later day, and that the upcoming hearing on May 27 will be focused solely on the proper interpretation of paragraph 1 of the parties' October 2005 stipulation to settle the case, as I have explained in this post. If the court decides, as a result of the evidence offered at that hearing, that the language added by Calvary's attorney was merely descriptive in effect (even though in his heart he may have intended it to be prescriptive), then the Court will have to address the issues presented by ECUSA's complaint in intervention.

the rest

38% Say Country Heading in Right Direction

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thirty-eight percent (38%) of U.S. likely voters believe the nation is now moving in the right direction, down slightly from a week ago and the first drop since March. It's too early, however, to say if it's a trend in the making.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% believe America is still headed down the wrong track.

The number who responded right direction is down from 40% last week, representing the first drop since March. The latest results match those found two weeks ago. the rest

Why Homosexual Behavior Is More like Consensual Incest and Polyamory than Race or Gender

A Reasoned and Reasonable Case for Secular Society
Part 3: The Illogic of Homosexual Unions
by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
May 20, 2009

In Part 2 I dealt with how the disproportionately high rates of measurable harms attending homosexual activity point to the structural discordance of homoerotic unions.

Can the problem of structural discordance be alleviated if one of the same-sex partners tries to play the role of the other sex through gender nonconforming behavior? Not likely. A man cannot fake being a true sexual complement to another man and a woman cannot fake being a true sexual complement to another woman. The symptoms of higher incidences of sex partners over life, of sexually transmitted infections, of sexual unions of shorter duration, and of mental health complications are just that: symptoms of a root problem. The root problem is too much embodied identity between the participants, similar to the root problem for incest of even an adult-committed sort. the rest

Part I

Church of Scotland's "Gene Robinson" moment

David Ould
Stand Firm
Thursday, May 21, 2009

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland opened today in Edinburgh and will, this weekend, face what some members consider its greatest ever crisis.

On Saturday the Assembly will vote on the question of confirming the appointment and ministry of Scott Rennie to Queens Cross Parish Church in the Presbytery of Aberdeen. This appointment has caused serious protest in some quarters. Full details can be read in the published "Dissent and Complaint against a decision of the Presbytery of Aberdeen" [pdf] the key paragraphs of which are as follows:

Scott Rennie was presented by the Nominating Committee of Queen’s Cross Parish Church as sole nominee and was elected by a majority vote, after which the call was left to lie for the prescribed period. At the service at which Mr Rennie preached as Sole Nominee a document giving some of his biographical details was circulated with Mr Rennie’s consent which read, “he now shares a committed relationship with his Christian partner David”....

In the act of Ordination and Induction the Church of Scotland declares that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the supreme rule of faith and life in the Church of Scotland....

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, when they take up the subject of same-sex activity, present it as a wrong choice....

This is the historic and orthodox position of the Church from which it has not departed.


the rest at Stand Firm

Law 'will force churches to employ gay staff'

Churches will be banned from turning down gay job applicants on the grounds of their sexuality under new anti-discrimination laws, a Government minister said.
By Matthew Moore
20 May 2009

Religious groups are to be forced to accept homosexual youth workers, secretaries and other staff, even if their faith holds same-sex relationships to be sinful.

Christian organisations fear that the tightened legislation, which is due to come into force next year, will undermine the integrity of churches and dilute their moral message.

It comes amid growing concern that Christians are being unfairly targeted by discrimination laws, following a number of high-profile cases of courts finding against believers who stand up for their faith.

Religious leaders had hoped to lobby for exemptions to the Equality Bill but Maria Eagle, the deputy equalities minister, has now indicated that it will cover almost all church employees. the rest

Dan Brown’s America

By ROSS DOUTHAT
May 18, 2009

The movie treatment of his novel, “Angels and Demons,” is cleaning up at the box office this week. The sequel to “The DaVinci Code,” due out in November, might buoy the publishing industry through the recession. And if you want to understand the state of American religion, you need to understand why so many people love Dan Brown.

It isn’t just that he knows how to keep the pages turning. That’s what it takes to sell a million novels. But if you want to sell a 100 million, you need to preach as well as entertain — to present a fiction that can be read as fact, and that promises to unlock the secrets of history, the universe and God along the way.

Brown is explicit about this mission. He isn’t a serious novelist, but he’s a deadly serious writer: His thrilling plots, he’s said, are there to make the books’ didacticism go down easy, so that readers don’t realize till the end “how much they are learning along the way.” He’s working in the same genre as Harlan Coben and James Patterson, but his real competitors are ideologues like Ayn Rand, and spiritual gurus like Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra. He’s writing thrillers, but he’s selling a theology.

Brown’s message has been called anti-Catholic, but that’s only part of the story. True, his depiction of the Roman Church’s past constitutes a greatest hits of anti-Catholicism, with slurs invented by 19th-century Protestants jostling for space alongside libels fabricated by 20th-century Wiccans. (If he targeted Judaism or Islam this way, one suspects that no publisher would touch him.)...

...For millions of readers, Brown’s novels have helped smooth over the tension between ancient Christianity and modern American faith. But the tension endures. You can have Jesus or Dan Brown. But you can’t have both. the rest

California Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage ban nears

By Howard Mintz
Mercury News
05/20/2009

The clock is ticking down on the California Supreme Court's imminent decision on whether to uphold Proposition 8, the voter-approved ballot measure restoring the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Based on regulations that require the justices to rule within 90 days of oral arguments in a case, the Supreme Court's decision in the legal challenge to Proposition 8 now will fall on one of three remaining days: Tuesday or next Thursday, or June 1. The high court normally only rules on Mondays and Thursdays, but will issue rulings next Tuesday because of the Memorial Day holiday Monday. the rest

Irish report finds abuse at Catholic schools

by Michael Paulson
May 20, 2009

A much awaited report on abuse at Catholic institutions in Ireland was released today by the government-sponsored Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

The conclusions are shocking, even given how much has been revealed in recent years about sexual abuse of minors:

"Physical and emotional abuse and neglect were features of the institutions. Sexual abuse occurred in many of them, particularly boys’ institutions. Schools were run in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even on staff."

The report, according to the Associated Press, concerns conditions at "Ireland's austere network of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s until the last church-run facilities shut in the 1990s." The schools, according to the AP, housed "more than 30,000 children deemed to be petty thieves, truants or from dysfunctional families -- a category that often included unmarried mothers.'' the rest

Poor Richard's Almanac

by William Murchison
May 20, 2009

Here's what people love about us Anglicans: We're anything we say we are. And it's fine with God -- if we say it is. Or as Bishop Richard Holloway might add - if there's a God to hear what we say.

Ah, Holloway! I remember him well. Interviewed him as a matter of fact in the mid-'80s. He was then, or seemed so anyway, a perfectly orthodox bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church, functioning as rector of the grand old American Episcopal parish, Church of the Advent, Boston. He was lean, learned, literate: a wonderfully fluent speaker, as well as author of the terse little books that busy clergymen write in their spare time. He questioned in our interview the validity of the Christian understanding that men alone should function as priests. Growing numbers of Anglicans, especially on ths side of the water, questioned it as well. I didn't agree, but the topic wasn't my precise business. I was the interviewer, he the interviewee.

A decade or so later, Holloway was Bishop of Edinburgh. He seemed to delight in sticking a thumb in the eye of orthodox, or anyway morally conservative Christans, especially those who couldn't see, as he apparently could, the necessity of upgrading the old, censorious view of same-sex relationships. He got louder and louder about it. In due course, he made known that critics of homosexual practice were "the meanest old sods you ever saw." An odd way to put things, I thought. Didn't "sod" derive from "sodomite":-- precisely the class of citizen he was defending? the rest

Louisiana Nurse Wins State Supreme Court Battle in Plan B Conscience Case

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 20, 2009

Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) -- A Louisiana nurse won her battle at the state Supreme Court last Friday when it refused to hear a hospital's appeal of a lower court decision siding with her. The nurse, Toni Lemly, sued St. Tammany Parish Hospital in 2005 after it refused to grant a reasonable accommodation for her religious beliefs.

Lemly informed hospital staff that she objected to administering the morning after pill because of her religious beliefs.

In response, St. Tammany Parish Hospital fired Lemly from her full-time position and reduced her to part-time status, working only three days a week. Her demotion resulted in a significant reduction in pay and the loss of employee benefits.

The hospital declined several reasonable suggestions made by Lemly, a nurse for 23 years, that would have enabled the facility to continue administering the pill while allowing her to abstain from dispensing it herself. The hospital chose not to act on any of her suggestions. the rest

Ancient handle with Hebrew text found in Jerusalem

By JOSEPH MARKS, Associated Press Writer
Wed May 20, 2009

JERUSALEM – Archaeologists digging on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives have discovered a nearly 3,000-year-old jar handle bearing ancient Hebrew script, a find significantly older than most inscribed artifacts unearthed in the ancient city, an archaeologist said. The Iron Age handle is inscribed with the Hebrew name Menachem, which was the name of an Israelite king and is still common among Jews.

The inscription also includes a partly intact letter, the Hebrew character "lamed," meaning "to." That suggests the jar was a gift to someone named Menachem, said Ron Beeri, who directed the excavation for the Israel Antiquities Authority. There is no indication the inscription refers to the king himself. the rest

FBI arrest four in alleged plot to bomb Bronx synagogues, shoot down plane

By Michael Daly, Alison Gendar and Helen Kennedy
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Thursday, May 21st 2009

The FBI and NYPD busted a four-man homegrown terror cell Wednesday night that was plotting to blow up two Bronx synagogues while simultaneously shooting a plane out of the sky, sources told the Daily News.

The idea was to create a "fireball that would make the country gasp," one law enforcement said.

Little did they know the plastic explosives packed into their car bombs and the plane-downing Stinger missile in their backseat were all phony - supplied by undercover agents posing as Pakistani militants linked to Al Qaeda. the rest

“Now the baby is very clear, very distinct”

Improved ultrasound technology credited for pro-life shift Washington, D.C.,
May 20, 2009

(CNA) -- Some doctors and pro-life leaders now say modern ultrasound technology is partly responsible for Americans’ gradual shift to identifying themselves as pro-life.

Nebraskan legislators are now considering joining other states that require that a woman considering an abortion be provided an ultrasound of her baby.

A recent Gallup poll showed 51 percent of Americans now self-identify as pro-life, composing a majority for the first time. The change has led to speculation that improved ultrasound technology has helped change minds.

"Ultrasound used to be less available, very grainy,” Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life told Fox News. “Now the baby is very clear, very distinct." the rest image

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Devotional: The Lord can clear the darkest skies...

The Lord can clear the darkest skies
Can give us day for night.
Make drops of sacred sorrow rise
To rivers of delight.
...Isaac Watts image

Concern in Britain over new legal restrictions

Wednesday, 20th May 2009
By Judy West

Christians in Britain are mobilizing support after the Government moved to restrict freedom of speech provisions that could affect churches.

The Coroners and Justice Bill saw its Second Reading Debate in the House of Lords on Monday, May 18. At the centre of concerns are protections for religious workers who might oppose homosexuality. The Government has moved to restrict those who would be protected, and church groups, including the Church of England, have expressed concern at the lack of consultation.

Critics say that the Government is attempting to use the Coroners and Justice Bill to remove the free speech provision from the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. If the provision is removed, they say, doubt would be cast upon the legality of discussing or criticising homosexual practice.

Lord Bach, (Labour) Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice, introducing the Bill on behalf of the Government, contended that the Government had made it clear at the time the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act was passed that they would return to the issue of free speech. This is because they had not been content with the insertion of the free speech clause, but had allowed it to be included so that the Act as a whole could be passed. the rest

Believe it or not, the bishop's an agnostic

Andrew West
May 20, 2009

Richard Holloway says the worldwide Anglican Church has made room for "happy clapping" evangelicals, bells-and-smells Catholics, women priests and, in the United States, openly gay clergy and even practitioners of other faiths. So surely, he argues, it can find room for people like him - Christians who don't believe in God.

Holloway, contrary to popular belief, has not left the Episcopal Church, as Scottish Anglicanism is known. He may have taken early retirement as Bishop of Edinburgh but the writer remains an ordained priest and consecrated bishop, who still preaches from the pulpit, performs baptisms and weddings and even presides at communion.

"I had a crisis in 1998 and I was in a kind of internal exile for a bit," he told the Herald yesterday, while en route to Sydney, where he is a speaker at the Sydney Writers' Festival. the rest

New Hampshire lawmakers reject gay-marriage bill

Wed May 20, 2009

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (Reuters) - New Hampshire lawmakers unexpectedly rejected a bill on Wednesday that would have made the state the sixth in the United States to authorize gay marriage.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted down the bill in a 188-186 vote, hours after its Senate approved the legislation 14-10 along party lines. An earlier version of the bill passed the state's House of Representatives on March 26. the rest

Survey: Protestant clergy back gay rights, not marriage

By Cathy Lynn Grossman
USA TODAY
posted May 20, 2009

Most mainline Protestant clergy do not support legalizing gay marriage, even if they're not required to officiate at same-sex ceremonies.

It was the only point on which the majority did not support gay rights, according to a survey of clergy from the seven historic mainline Protestant denominations to which 18% of Americans belong.

The Clergy Voices Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research, is based on 2,658 responses from clergy from the United Methodist Church; Evangelical Lutheran Church of America; Episcopal Church; United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church USA; American Baptist Church; and the Disciples of Christ.

It asked 60 questions on sexuality and the "the role of (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people in the church and broader society" as well as theological questions on views on Bible. the rest

FAITH & REASON: Historian: Expect 'two centuries' to settle church-gay issues
NEW ENGLAND:
Same-sex proposals up in less religious states
U.S. RELIGIOUS IDENTITY:
How it's changed over 2 decades

UK Minister: We will stand firm against faith groups on equality legislation

Wednesday, 20th May 2009
By Judy West

The British Government Equalities Minister, Maria Eagle...pledged that she and other Ministers would stand firm against any attempts by faith groups to get out of the demands of LGBT legislation and the forthcoming Equality Bill.

Addressing a cutting-edge UK conference, Faith, Homophobia. Transphobia, & Human Rights - building positive alliances for equality and sexual diversity, Ms. Eagle pointed out: “Values of equality and social justice are held by many within as well as outside faith communities.

“The circumstances in which religious institutions can practice anything less than full equality are few and far between. While the state would not intervene in narrowly ritual or doctrinal matters within faith groups, these communities cannot claim that everything they run is outside the scope of anti-discrimination law. Members of faith groups have a role in making the argument in their own communities for greater LGBT acceptance, but in the meantime the state has a duty to protect people from unfair treatment.” the rest

Defining Discourse Down

By Kevin DeYoung
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

No one has mistaken our day as an age of powerful, rational discourse. The McLaughlin Group doesn’t usually evoke memories of Lincoln-Douglas, and Twittering about your favorite bagel from Panera isn’t exactly correspondence on the level of John and Abigail Adams.

But perhaps I’m being unfair. When has any debate in the last 150 years evoked memories of Lincoln-Douglas? And how is Twitter versus America’s most remarkable letter-writing first family a fair fight? But even if these comparisons are stacked, who would argue against the notion that we have defined discourse down? The discourse of the average educated adult conversing in the realm of ideas with another average educated adult is not, on average, very educated, let alone interesting.

So what’s the problem? It’s not that we are all suddenly morons. This is not going to be some elitist rant on “if only everyone could be smart like me and my friends.” Likewise, the problem is not the banality of the world around us. There is plenty to discuss, dissect, and disagree on. The problem is not even that television has robbed us of the ability to communicate in complete sentences (though it certainly hasn’t helped). The problem with our discourse—are you ready for this brilliant insight?—is that some people are jerks and some people are too nice. the rest-First Things

Bacteria in Air So Numerous They Form Clouds

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
By Andrea Thompson

Germs really are everywhere: Bacteria, fungal spores and other biological detritus have been found in clouds and likely help to form the cores of cloud droplets, scientists have found.

The study of the role that these biological particles play in cloud formation could help refine one of the biggest uncertainties left in climate change predictions — how clouds influence climate.

Scientists have long known that microorganisms, or parts of them, can become airborne and travel great distances. the rest image

'This Should Not Happen in America'

Punished for Free Speech
By Chuck Colson
5/20/2009

Last week I spent two days talking about how Christian doctors, businesses, schools, and ministries have been persecuted for refusing to embrace same-sex “marriage.” Some were sued, some lost their jobs, some went out of business.

Much of this takes place, of course, under the radar screen. Christians know about the harassment, but many other Americans do not.

That changed last week with the very public persecution of a 21-year-old beauty queen—one who, like most Americans, supports natural marriage between one man and one woman.
First, Carrie Prejean, Miss California, lost the Miss USA crown—one she might have won if she’d given a politically correct answer about same-sex “marriage.”

Then, she was viciously attacked on a pageant judge’s blog site. Other bloggers joined in. Soon previously unpublished—and let me say unfortunate—topless photos of Prejean began to appear on the Web. Others accused her of lying about the photos.

A few days ago, Prejean finally responded. And what she said is so important I want to share it with you. the rest

Albert Mohler: America's Unsettled Conscience on Abortion

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Here is an amazing fact -- over 35 years after the legalization of abortion this nation is still deeply divided over the issue. America has an unsettled conscience on abortion, and this most contentious of moral issues may be further from resolution than at any moment since the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down in 1973.

A new Gallup poll tells the story. The headline of the report from Gallup should encourage pro-life Americans: "More Americans 'Pro-Life' Than 'Pro-Choice' for First Time." Indeed, 51% of those polled indicated that they are "pro-life" on the issue of abortion. Prior to this poll, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, and that was in August 2001 and May 2002. the rest

Three Strikes Against ObamaCare

Government-run health care would force millions of Americans off of their insurance plans, ruin the private insurance industry, and eventually lead to rationed care.
by Jeffrey H. Anderson
05/20/2009

In a recent op-ed, Tom Daschle repeatedly invokes a baseball metaphor when discussing government-run health care. His apparent aim is to make it seem as American as baseball or apple pie. But government-run health care is really about as American as government-owned Chevrolet--and would prove even less beneficial to America's future.

Ronald Reagan said that "outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector." He believed the American people knew this as well. But that knowledge is exactly what Daschle, President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Reid hope we no longer have--or will soon unlearn.

Sticking with Daschle's baseball metaphor, here are the three strikes against President Obama's health-care plan: One, it would force millions of Americans off of employer-provided insurance. Two, it would run private insurers out of business. Three, it would eventually lead to a government monopoly and rationed care. the rest

Bishop Mouneer's Reflection on the ACC-14 Meeting in Jamaica, May 2009

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of the Anglican/Episcopal Diocese of Egypt

With hope and anticipation we went to Jamaica to participate in the ACC 14 meeting. The Anglican Covenant was the most important item in our agenda. Its importance arises from fact that it is the only hope left to keep the unity of the Anglican Communion. It was very encouraging seeing the Archbishop of Canterbury, many other participants, and our ecumenical partners supporting the Covenant wholeheartedly. All that was required from the ACC was to agree to send the whole text of the Covenant to the Provinces for discussion and adoption.

In his first presidential address Archbishop Rowan Williams appealed to the ACC members by these words: "Before we say goodbye to each other we owe it to the Lord of the church to make that effort to have those conversations and take each other seriously in the gospel. My hope is that this report[1] will help us to do this." It is worth mentioning that the report of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) has affirmed the importance of the Covenant, recommended the continuation of the moratoria, and the establishing of the pastoral form. the rest

A grubby little incident

Why Homosexual Behavior Is More like Consensual Incest and Polyamory than Race or Gender

Part 2: What Disproportionately High Rates of Harm Mean
by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
May 19, 2009

At the very end of Part 1 I noted that homosexual intercourse, like incest, is problematic because of the excessive embodied (formal, structural) sameness of the participants; moreover, that problems with procreation for both incest and homosexual behavior are merely symptoms of this root problem of excessive structural identity.

We need to go further; for problems with homosexual activity are not limited to a structural inability to procreate. Homosexual relationships also exhibit a disproportionately high rate of scientifically measurable harms. These measurable harms cannot be explained away as merely a product of societal “homophobia” but are instead largely attributable to the lack of true sexual compatibility (or complementary symmetry) between persons of the same sex. the rest

Part I here

Pope seeks to connect world’s Roman Catholics on internet

From The Times
May 20, 2009

The Vatican is seeking ways to embrace full online “interactivity” with all one billion members of the global Roman Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church wants to emulate and globalise President Obama’s use of the internet both during his election campaign and with more recent events, such as an online question-and-answer session at the end of March that attracted 100,000 questions and 3.6 million votes.

The new strategy was outlined by the Jesuit priest Father Frederico Lombardi, long-standing head of Vatican Radio, who also took over as head of the Holy See press office on the election of Pope Benedict XVI. the rest

Religion of hatred: Why we should no longer be cowed by the chattering classes ruling Britain who sneer at Christianity

By A N Wilson
11th April 2009

Excerpt:
For ten or 15 of my middle years, I, too, was one of the mockers. But, as time passed, I found myself going back to church, although at first only as a fellow traveller with the believers, not as one who shared the faith that Jesus had truly risen from the grave. Some time over the past five or six years - I could not tell you exactly when - I found that I had changed.

When I took part in the procession last Sunday and heard the Gospel being chanted, I assented to it with complete simplicity.

My own return to faith has surprised no one more than myself. Why did I return to it? Partially, perhaps it is no more than the confidence I have gained with age.

Rather than being cowed by them, I relish the notion that, by asserting a belief in the risen Christ, I am defying all the liberal clever-clogs on the block: cutting-edge novelists such as Martin Amis; foul-mouthed, self-satisfied TV presenters such as Jonathan Ross and Jo Brand; and the smug, tieless architects of so much television output.

But there is more to it than that. My belief has come about in large measure because of the lives and examples of people I have known - not the famous, not saints, but friends and relations who have lived, and faced death, in the light of the Resurrection story, or in the quiet acceptance that they have a future after they die. the rest-Excellent!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Devotional: God will not permit any troubles to come upon us...

God will not permit any troubles to come upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty. ...Peter Marshall image

"Mainstreamed Pornography": A new sexual revolution

Marcia Segelstein
5/19/2009

We are awash in sex. We, and our children, can't escape it. The teen clothier Hollister prominently displays Maxim, a "soft core" pornographic magazine on a shelf next to publications devoted to skiing and skateboarding. Urban Outfitters, another retailer targeting teens, has naked models in its catalog. Victoria's Secret TV commercials, which run during supposedly family-friendly fare like American Idol, show high-heeled models strutting down runways in suggestive barely-there underwear. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, available annually at your local drugstore chain, has become an American icon. Sexual references and innuendoes abound in television shows and movies. "Women's" magazine cover headlines regularly promise to reveal secrets to better sex. Hotel chains make huge profits from their in-room X-rated movie offerings. Hugh Hefner -- who almost single-handedly brought pornography out of the shadows and into the light of day (making himself a fortune along the way) -- is just another celebrity.

We have "mainstreamed pornography," as author Michael Leahy puts it. Our hypersexualized, pornographic culture has all but obliterated a vision of what healthy sexuality is. the rest

Archbishop Chaput on Notre Dame and the issues that remain

May 18, 2009

"I have found that even among those who did not go to Notre Dame, even among those who do not share the Catholic faith, there is a special expectation, a special hope, for what Notre Dame can accomplish in the world."~ Reverend John Jenkins, C.S.C., May 17, 2009

Most graduation speeches are a mix of piety and optimism designed to ease students smoothly into real life. The best have humor. Some genuinely inspire. But only a rare few manage to be pious, optimistic, evasive, sad and damaging all at the same time. Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president, is a man of substantial intellect and ability. This makes his introductory comments to President Obama’s Notre Dame commencement speech on May 17 all the more embarrassing.

Let’s remember that the debate over President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame was never about whether he is a good or bad man. The president is clearly a sincere and able man. By his own words, religion has had a major influence in his life. We owe him the respect Scripture calls us to show all public officials. We have a duty to pray for his wisdom and for the success of his service to the common good -- insofar as it is guided by right moral reasoning.

We also have the duty to oppose him when he’s wrong on foundational issues like abortion, embryonic stem cell research and similar matters. And we also have the duty to avoid prostituting our Catholic identity by appeals to phony dialogue that mask an abdication of our moral witness. Notre Dame did not merely invite the president to speak at its commencement. It also conferred an unnecessary and unearned honorary law degree on a man committed to upholding one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in our nation’s history: Roe v. Wade. the rest

Crying Baby Interrupted Obama as He Justified His Abortion Position at Notre Dame


Monday, May 18, 2009
By Edwin Mora

(CNSNews.com) - The distinct sound of a baby crying broke out in the capacious basketball arena where the Notre Dame commencement exercise was being held on Sunday when President Obama--who was giving the commencement address--began talking about abortion.

Obama not only gave the commencement address at Notre Dame’s May 17 graduation ceremony but also received an honorary doctorate in law from the university. the rest

Eurabia Has A Capital: Rotterdam

Here entire neighborhoods look like the Middle East, women walk around veiled, the mayor is a Muslim, sharia law is applied in the courts and the theaters. An extensive report from the most Islamized city in Europe
by Sandro Magister

ROME, May 19, 2009 – One of the most indisputable results of Benedict XVI's trip to the Holy Land was the improvement in relations with Islam. The three days he spent in Jordan, and then, in Jerusalem, the visit to the Dome of the Mosque, spread an image among the Muslim general public – to an extent never before seen – of a pope as a friend, surrounded by Islamic leaders happy to welcome him and work together with him for the good of the human family.

But just as indisputable is the distance between this image and the harsh reality of the facts. Not only in countries under Muslim regimes, but also where the followers of Mohammed are in the minority, for example in Europe.

In 2002, the scholar Bat Ye'or, a British citizen born in Egypt and a specialist in the history of the Christian and Jewish minorities in Muslim countries – called the "dhimmi" – coined the term "Eurabia" to describe the fate toward which Europe is moving. It is a fate of submission to Islam, of "dhimmitude." the rest

U.S. health officials troubled by new flu pattern

Mon May 18, 2009
By Maggie Fox

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The new influenza strain circulating around most of the United States is putting a worrying number of young adults and children into the hospital and hitting more schools than usual, U.S. health officials said on Monday.

The H1N1 swine flu virus killed a vice principal at a New York City school over the weekend and has spread to 48 states. While it appears to be mild, it is affecting a disproportionate number of children, teenagers and young adults.

This includes people needing hospitalization -- now up to 200, said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"That's very unusual, to have so many people under 20 to require hospitalization, and some of them in (intensive care units)," Schuchat told reporters in a telephone briefing. the rest

NYC probes death of toddler with flu symptoms

Taliban Strikes Christians with a Vengeance

By John Malhotra
Christian Today Reporter
Mon, May. 18 2009

The Taliban has turned on Christians with a vengeance for the ongoing army offensive against the Islamic militants in Pakistan.

Furious over the U.S. and Pakistan's military operations in Swat Valley, the Taliban attacked a Christian colony, causing fear and panic among its members and forcing them to join 200,000 others fleeing the town.

In Karachi city, a growing foothold of the Taliban, there were reports of an attack on a Christian slum by extremists.

Pastor Salim Sadiq of Holy Spirit Church in Karachi told Christian Today that Christian homes were pounded by Islamic extremists who have vowed to avenge for "the suffering of their brotherhood in NWFP area." the rest

The Myth of the Moderate Taliban
Why is the West trying to partner with an radical group that must be defeated?
by Stephen Schwartz
05/19/2009

The moral failures of the Obama economy

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Have you ever lost control of your car on a slippery road? Terrifying, isnt’t it? If you have the presence of mind to remember that the proper response to regain control is to steer in the direction of the skid, the car recovers. If not, you crash.

To torture the analogy for just a moment more, we are in an economic skid and we’re depending on the powers that be in Washington to steer us out of it. They don’t see the problem.

John Mauldin’s “Outside the Boxhas an unusually good article by Horace Brock called The End Game Draws Nigh - The Future Evolution of the Debt-to-GDP Ratio.

Brock makes a compelling case that deficits the government creates are less important than the growth policies that that same government promotes. In other words, it’s possible to grow an economy out of the debt hole if the proper policies are followed.

Unfortunately, while the Obama policies are creating deficits that are larger than any seen before, the policies regarding economic growth are nowhere to be seen. the rest

Inheriting $4.8 Trillion Will Leave You Broke
by Kevin Hassett
May 18, 2009

Excerpt:
Given how huge the Democratic spending binge has been, these numbers have an astonishing impact on the budget outlook. If the Democrats had simply kept spending on the same long-run course they inherited, the budget would show a surplus of $70 billion for 2019, assuming that revenue would be the same as currently forecast.

In Washington, it is unacceptable socially to assert that anyone is telling a lie -- unless, of course, he is named Bush. So let’s say it is a pure, flat-out, bald-faced and shameless misstatement to claim that the budget outlook is an inherited problem. The mess is largely attributable to the Democrats’ own policies.

That’s why they keep saying “inherited” over and over.

Notre Dame Will Become Symbol of Pro-Life Catholic Dissent After Obama Scandal

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 18, 2009

South Bend, IN (LifeNews.com) -- Now that the University of Notre Dame has chosen to honor pro-abortion President Barack Obama, the fallout appears likely to begin. One key Catholic writer says Notre Dame will become the symbol of pro-life Catholic dissent following the Obama scandal.

Notre Dame was deluged with opposition as soon as the announcement reached the public that it would not only invite Obama to give its commencement speech but bestow upon him an honorary degree.

Its president, Father John Jenkins, as Deal Hudson notes in a new editorial, "defended the choice with arguments that should make a freshman blush." the rest


Obama Scored Big at Notre Dame
At least the president is forthright about his principles.
By WILLIAM MCGURN

Seldom does dawn rise on an America where the morning's New York Times displays a more intuitive grasp of a story than the New York Post. The coverage of Barack Obama's commencement address at Notre Dame, however, was such a day. Where the Post headlined an inside spread with "Obama In the Lions' Den," the Times front page was dominated by a color photograph of a beaming president, resplendent in his blue-and-gold Notre Dame academic gown, reaching out to graduates eager to shake his hand or just touch his robe.

It was precisely the message President Obama wanted to send: How bad can he be on abortion if Notre Dame is willing to honor him? the rest

Albert Mohler: Talking About Abortion

Duped at Notre Dame

Vatican newspaper praises and criticizes Obama in two separate news stories

Monday, May 18, 2009

Devotional: The most miserable prison in the world...

The most miserable prison in the world is the prison we make for ourselves when we refuse to show mercy. Our thoughts become shackled, our emotions are chained, the will is almost paralyzed. But when we show mercy, all of these bonds are broken, and we enter into a joyful liberty that frees us to share God's love with others. ...Warren W. Wiersbe image

Seek and ye shall find: An interactive web database of Anglican clerics

Lucy Ward
The Guardian
Tuesday 19 May 2009

Ecclesiastical history is not, at first glance, a topic naturally associated with the web. Yet a pioneering web database is taking shape that whizzes church history smartly into the 21st century. The Clergy of the Church of England database (CCEd) aims to provide a constantly updated digital record of the identity and career of every Anglican clergy man in England and Wales over three centuries, from the Reformation to the start of the Victorian age.

The database, so far featuring over 105,000 "clerical CVs" and counting, is intended to establish the first clear picture of one of the most important professions, filling gaps in church history and providing a resource for academics, amateur historians and genealogists. Along the way, it is shining a light on a host of extraordinary individuals: characters to emerge include James Mayne, campaigning 19th-century curate of Bethnal Green and unlikely ancestor of the actor Patsy Kensit, and the less dutiful Richard Thursfield, vicar of Pattingham, who was reportedly "frequently seen lying in the roads in a state of intoxication".

The project, conceived 12 years ago, might seem an unlikely marriage of the latest technology and a somewhat stuffy subject, acknowledges Arthur Burns, history professor at King's College London and one of three historians collaborating on the scheme. "We have always been seen as the most traditional types of scholars, very archive-heavy historians," Burns admits cheerfully. "Ecclesiastical history is often seen as a musty, old-fashioned discipline. But this has helped bring out our non-tweediness." the rest

Robert Gagnon: Why Homosexual Behavior Is More like Consensual Incest and Polyamory than Race or Gender

A Reasoned and Reasonable Case for Secular Society
Part 1: The Initial Case

by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
May 18, 2009

On Apr. 29 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the so-called “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act” which places “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” “real or perceived,” alongside of “race,” “national origin,” “gender,” and “disability” as benign conditions for which society should provide special protections in federal law. Those who oppose homosexual practice are, by analogy, implicitly identified in law as discriminatory bigots, akin to racists and misogynists.

The problem is that the analogy to race and gender doesn’t work well. Race and gender are 100% heritable, absolutely immutable, and primarily non-behavioral conditions of life, and therefore, intrinsically benign. Homosexuality and transsexuality are none of these things. While there probably are some biological risk factors for some homosexual development and even transgenderism, science has failed to establish that homosexuality and transsexuality develop deterministically like race and gender. Even the Kinsey Institute has acknowledged that at least one shift in the Kinsey spectrum of 0 to 6 is the norm over the course of life for those who identity as homosexual (75%). Most importantly, unlike race and gender, homosexuality and transsexuality are in the first instance impulses to engage in behavior that is structurally discordant with embodied existence (as male and female). They are therefore not intrinsically benign conditions.

I contend that a better analogy (i.e., with more points of substantive correspondence) can be made between homosexuality and transsexuality on the one hand and polysexuality (an orientation toward multiple sexual partners) and incest (here I am thinking of an adult-committed sort) on the other hand. The latter are, after all, two other sexual behaviors that are incongruent with embodied existence that, despite such incongruence, can still be conducted as committed, caring relationships between adults. If incest and polyamory are indeed better analogues to homosexuality and transgenderism, then it is clear that placing the latter alongside race and gender as conditions worthy of special protections and benefits becomes, well, misplaced. the rest

Thousands of NY Christians Protest Gay Marriage

By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, May. 18 2009

Tens of thousands of Christians filled several blocks in Manhattan Sunday during a protest against the legalization of gay marriage in New York.

The mostly Latino crowd, which included Democratic State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. of the Bronx, who is an evangelical minister, stretched from 35th to 40th Street on 3rd Avenue in New York City.

Protesters rallied outside the NYC office of Gov. David A. Paterson, who has been pushing passage of the Marriage Equality Act. As they sang and waved Bibles in the air, demonstrators spoke about the need to retain the traditional definition of marriage, according to WNYC New York Public Radio. the rest

Transcript: Fathers McBrien and Pavone

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Excerpt:
WALLACE: Let's talk about the president's policy since he's come into office, though, Father Pavone. He said in his last news conference that he's trying to, quote, "tamp down the anger over abortion."

Now, while he supports choice, he has brought pro-life advocates into the White House to talk about trying to decrease unwanted pregnancies and to increase adoptions.

While he has lifted the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, he has also limited that just to embryos that would have been discarded anyway from fertility clinics.

Do you see him in any way tamping down, trying to reach some kind of accommodation here?

PAVONE: Chris, can you imagine somebody saying about the clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church that we should reduce the numbers of those instances but that it shouldn't be illegal?

We have to protect children. He's refusing to recognize that these children have rights. Now, I've held aborted children. I've buried them. I've picked up the broken fragments of their skulls. I don't know if Father McBrien has done that.

But the people around this country are tired of trivializing abortion. They're tired of mixed messages coming from Catholic institutions that are supposed to have a pro-life mission. We're tired of looking at abortion as just on an equal level with other issues. It's not.

And we're calling on the president to recognize that he doesn't have the authority to do anything except to strive to protect these children's rights, and he's denying that they even have them. Full transcript

Obama Legitimizes Killing of Unborn Babies in Speech at Notre Dame's Graduation

Duped at Notre Dame: Barack Obama says he wants abortion to be safe, legal, and rare, while doing everything in his power to advance it

Keep working 'to avoid dementia'

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Keeping the brain active by working later in life may be an effective way to ward off Alzheimer's disease, research suggests.

Researchers analysed data from 1,320 dementia patients, including 382 men.

They found that for the men, continuing to work late in life helped keep the brain sharp enough to delay dementia taking hold.

The study was carried out by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London. the rest

1st Islamic college in the works in U.S.

May 17, 2009
FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS

PLAINSBORO, N.J. — A group of American Muslims, led by two prominent scholars, is moving closer to fulfilling a vision of founding the first four-year accredited Islamic college in the United States, what some are calling a “Muslim Georgetown.”

Advisers to the project have scheduled a June vote to decide whether the proposed Zaytuna College can open in the fall of next year, a major step toward developing the faith in America.
Imam Zaid Shakir and Sheik Hamza Yusuf of California have spent years planning the school, which will offer a liberal arts education and training in Islamic scholarship. Shakir, a California native, sees the school in the tradition of other religious groups that formed universities to educate leaders and carve a space in the mainstream of American life. the rest

Motions Precede May 27 Pittsburgh Hearing

May 17, 2009

With a May 27 court hearing drawing closer, lawyers for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in The Episcopal Church filed a motion on May 8, arguing that a 2005 stipulation order between the diocese and the rector and wardens of Calvary Church, Pittsburgh, makes clear “that only a diocese that is part of The Episcopal Church may continue to hold and administer property.”

In a related development, lawyers representing The Episcopal Church filed a separate motion on May 12 arguing that all property is subject to the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church and may only be used by it for mission.

The Episcopal Church was permitted to file its motion after it sought permission to be added to the case through complaint-in-intervention at a hearing April 17. At that same hearing the two sides agreed that the hearing on May 27 would proceed “assuming arguendo for the purposes of such hearing that the withdrawal of the Diocese was valid.” That issue will be considered later, if necessary. the rest

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Devotional: Salt...

Salt seasons, purifies, preserves. But somebody ought to remind us that salt also irritates. Real living Christianity rubs this world the wrong way. ...Vance Havner image

Thomas Becket paintings unveiled in Spain

Friday, 15 May 2009
By Danny Wood
BBC News, Madrid

For the first time in 30 years, wooden protective boards and a glass panel have been taken away to fully reveal a rare medieval artwork.

The paintings in the ruined church of St Nicolas in the Spanish town of Soria tell the story of the murder of the English Archbishop Thomas Becket.

The story of Becket is told in most British classrooms as part of medieval history lessons. He is remembered as the Archbishop of Canterbury who stood up to a king and for his trouble was murdered by the king's knights while he was praying. the rest

Hopes and Habits Persevere at Churches Gone, but Not Destroyed

By PAUL VITELLO and CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY
May 16, 2009

During the peak of the real estate boom, one of New York’s largest landowners unloaded more than $100 million worth of property — and might have sold more if not for the parishioners who clung to their churches and blocked the bulldozers.

The seller was the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, which closed more than two dozen houses of worship and schools between 2003 and 2008. It sold development rights to a handful of properties, leased others and padlocked the rest in an effort to narrow a local budget gap, while confronting nationwide trends like low attendance, a priest shortage, the rising cost of maintaining century-old buildings, and a new demand for churches in the far exurbs.

Some people watched as their old churches were demolished.

Many more enlisted help from lawyers, politicians and historic preservationists, and in many cases wrestled the archdiocese to a Pyrrhic standstill. Today, their churches — a half-dozen in Manhattan and one in the Bronx — still stand, but are locked tight, unused, while the altars, pews, statuary and stained-glass windows of some have been removed piece by piece for use in other churches. the rest

Fort Worth moves to dismiss Church lawsuit

Sunday, 17th May 2009
By George Conger

The Diocese of Fort Worth has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the Episcopal Church and its allies seeking control of church property in North Central Texas. On May 8 lawyers for Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker said the April 14 suit brought against the conservative bishop and diocesan officers should be dismissed as the court lacked “subject-matter” jurisdiction to hear the dispute.

Lawyers for Bishop Iker ... asked the court to take “judicial notice” that the Episcopal Church was a voluntary association of dioceses and not a hierarchical church organization with dioceses and bishops subordinate to a metropolitan or national church. The court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear the dispute, the motion said, as the underlying petition brought by the national church was seeking to resolve an ecclesial dispute by resorting to secular law --- a course of action forbidden under the American principle of separation of church and state. the rest