Saturday, May 30, 2009

Devotional: The gift of God is the Holy Spirit...

The gift of God is the Holy Spirit. The gift of God is love-God shares himself as love in the Holy Spirit... The presence of the Holy Spirit makes itself known in the manner of love. Love is the criterion of the Holy Spirit as against unholy spirits; indeed, it is the presence of the Holy Spirit himself and, in that sense, the presence of God. The essential and central concept summing up what the Holy Spirit is and what he effects is, in the end, not "knowledge" but love... The basic criterion of love, its "proper work," so to speak-and, thereby, the "proper work" of the Holy Spirit-is this, that it achieved abiding. Love shows itself by being enduring. It can by no means be recognized at a given moment and in the moment alone; but in abiding, it does away with uncertainty and carries eternity within it. And thus in my view the relationship between love and truth is also thereby given: love, in the full sense, can be present only where something is enduring, where something abides. Because it has to do with abiding, it can occur, not just anywhere, but only there where eternity is. ...Benedict XVI image

Anglicans damage relations with Catholics by snapping up scandal-hit Fr Cutié

By Damian Thompson
May 30, 2009

Fr Alberto Cutié, the Catholic media priest caught cuddling his girlfriend on a Florida beach, has jumped ship and become an Anglican - to the delight of Ruth Gledhill of The Times.

Archbishop John Favalora of Miami is understandably offended. The priest has not been released from his vows or laicised; it is impossible to imagine the Catholic Church snapping up an Anglican clergyman who had left because he was caught breaking his vows. The Archbishop says: "Father Cutié’s actions have caused grave scandal within the Catholic Church, harmed the Archdiocese of Miami − especially our priests – and led to division within the ecumenical community and the community at large. Today’s announcement only deepens those wounds." the rest

Statement from Archbishop of Miami about Father Cutié's separation from the Roman Catholic Church.

Flying with the fastest birds on the planet: Peregrine Falcon & Gos Hawk

Pixar's "Up" Soars with Emotional Depth

Christa Banister
Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
May 29, 2009

While I’m a big fan of movie trailers that manage to save a few of the really good scenes for the actual movie, I couldn’t help but feel a bit hoodwinked when watching the first 15 minutes of Up.

Much like the trailer for Marley & Me, which was all golden retriever cuteness sprinkled in with doggie hijinks without any indication of the sadness waiting in the wings, (guess I should’ve read the book first, after all), there’s so much more to Up than the brightly colored balloons and sassy barbs traded between an over-eager boy scout and a really grumpy old man. the rest

Kmiec Debates Obama Abortion Policy with Catholic Lawyer Robert George at CUA

Friday May 29, 2009
By Patrick Craine and John Jalsevac

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 29, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic University of America (CUA) Law School held a discussion Thursday night at the National Press Club between Catholic law professors Douglas W. Kmiec and Robert P. George. The topic was “The Obama Administration and the Sanctity of Human Life: Is there a common ground on life issues? What is the right response by 'Pro-Life' Citizens?”

The discussion was moderated by former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon, who made headlines recently after refusing a prestigious award from the University of Notre Dame due to the university’s honoring of Barack Obama.

Dr. Kmiec, the former dean of the CUA law school, became mildly famous in Catholic circles during the 2008 U.S. election for his staunch and highly public advocacy for Barack Obama, and his insistence that Catholics can vote for a pro-abortion candidate in good conscience. He maintained his stance in the discussion Thursday. the rest

Texas Diocese facing multi-million lawsuit

Friday, 29th May 2009
By George Conger

The Diocese of Texas is a defendant in a lawsuit seeking £28 million in damages for allegedly covering up the molestation of school boys by an Episcopal priest. In extracts of a transcript from a 2008 pre-trial hearing printed in the Houston Press, the former chaplain of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, the Rev James Tucker is accused of having molested students at the boarding school that caters to Texas’s upper classes.

After allegations of abuse were made against Mr Tucker, who served as chaplain to the boy’s school from 1958 to 1968, the Diocese of Texas transferred him to another school in the diocese, and then assigned him to St James’ Episcopal Church and School in Austin, which served the diocese’s black community. Mr Tucker retired in 1994 but was deposed by the diocese in 2008.

Robert Haslanger, who brought the class action lawsuit against the diocese, and who spoke to the Houston Press about the case said he first reported having been abused by Mr Tucker in 1966. In 1968 a second student, David Evert, complained of the abuse to the school’s headmaster, allegedly prompting the diocese to remove him from his post. In the lawsuit, Mr. Evert stated the headmaster forbade him from telling anyone, including his parents, about the abuse. the rest

'Gay' activist to oversee public classroom 'safety'

Homosexual group founder handed federal Education Department post
May 29, 2009
By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

The founder of the homosexual activist group GLSEN, which promotes homosexual clubs in high schools, middle schools and grade schools and is the driving force behind the annual "Day of Silence" celebration of homosexuality in many districts, has been handed a federal appointment where he will be responsible for overseeing "safety" in the nation's public schools.

Linda Harvey of Mission America, which educates people on anti-Christian trends in the nation, said it is nothing more than a "tragedy" for an open homosexual who has "had an enormously detrimental impact on the climate in our schools" to be in such a position.

The appointment of Kevin Jennings was posted – with little fanfare – on a government list of federal jobs recently. He was named by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to be the Assistant Deputy Secretary in the Office of Safe Schools. the rest

Boys Town founder Fr. Flanagan warned Irish Church about abuse

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Father Edward Flanagan, founder of the famous “Boys Town” made famous by the Spencer Tracy movie, was a lone voice in condemning Ireland’s industrial schools back in the 1940s –and he was viciously castigated by church and government for doing so.

Fr. Flanagan, from Co. Roscommon, left Ireland in 1904 and was ordained a priest eight years later.

In 1917 he was living and working in Omaha, Nebraska, when he hit upon the idea of a "boys town," which offered education and a home for the poor and wayward boys of Omaha.

However, demand for the service was so great that he soon had to find bigger premises. the rest

Friday, May 29, 2009

Devotional: Such was the life which our Lord chose...

Christ was born in a stable; He was obliged to fly into Egypt; thirty years of His life were spent in a workshop; He suffered hunger, thirst, and weariness; He was poor, despised, and miserable; He taught the doctrines of heaven, and no one would listen. The great and the wise persecuted and took Him, subjected Him to frightful torments, treated Him as a slave, and put Him to death between two malefactors, having preferred to give liberty to a robber, rather than to suffer Him to escape. Such was the life which our Lord chose; while we are horrified at any kind of humiliation, and cannot bear the slightest appearance of contempt. ...Francois Fenelon image

Church Attorney to Bishop Bennison: Don't Release Letters

May 29, 2009

The ecclesiastical Court for the Trial of a Bishop has issued a temporary gag order prohibiting the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., Bishop of Pennsylvania, from making public more than 200 letters that Bishop Bennison claims would exonerate him of charges that he failed to report sexual misconduct committed by his brother, John.

The misconduct occurred while John Bennison was serving on the staff of a California church where Bishop Bennison was rector in the 1970s. John Bennison previously admitted to sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl who was a member of the church youth group. He was deposed from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church in 2006.

Bishop Bennison maintains that he did not know about his brother’s misconduct until many years later, but in 2008, the court found Bishop Bennison guilty of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy and recommended that he be deposed. He remains under inhibition pending appeal. the rest

Central Florida Bishop John W. Howe takes Issue Over Leaked Correspondence

Howe blasts Louie Crew over "schismatic" charge
(via email)
May 28, 2009

The following letter was sent to the Bishops' and Deputies' list in response to a post by Louie Crew regarding the purloined emails of the ACI:

Dear Louie,

I am saddened by this rant. It was clearly private correspondence between a number of bishops, the ACI lawyer, and the theologians who are part of the Anglican Communion Institute, and in some cases some of the clergy who are part of the Communion Partners Association.

We had been working for some time on the "Bishops' Statement on Church Polity." It had been written prior to the release of the third draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

We were attempting to determine whether it needed to be modified in any way - or even if we wanted to release it - in the light of the Ridley draft.

I am offended by your calling us schismatics. We have never sided with those who have chosen to leave The Episcopal Church. We have repeatedly stated our commitment to remain within and loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of TEC.

Our "plot" was to publish a paper, which we were nearly ready to publish, and which we did publish very promptly after all of this was made public.

The paper argues, we think with inarguable facts and numerous citations, that the polity and structure of TEC is hierarchical up to the level of the diocese, but that the sense in which the Presiding Bishop, the General Convention, or the Executive Council are "over" the bishops and dioceses of TEC is extremely limited.

You may disagree with this. Let's argue it out. The Presiding Bishop may inhibit me and issue a presentment to me if she determines that I have violated the constitution and/or canons of TEC (or for several other reasons), and that is a significant sense in which she has authority over me.

But in absolutely no other sense is she "over" the diocese of Central Florida. She may not even visit here in an official capacity, or do sacramental ministry here, without my invitation and permission.

The paper (have you read it?) argues that our constitution, canons, and history are very clearly those of a voluntary association of bishops and dioceses.

Our charge that the clergy involved in publishing what they knew to be private correspondence was not that the content of what they published harmed us; we were about to publish it ourselves. But it is that clergy publishing private correspondence between bishops and others was unethical, to an extent illegal, and a matter of conduct unbecoming to the clergy of this church.

We are not bringing formal legal charges, either ecclesiastically or in secular courts - at least not at this time - but we are registering complaints with the bishops of the clergy involved. They have not behaved in a gentlemanly/gentlewomanly or Christian manner.

It may well have been the careless mistake of one of us that this material was initially sent to an unintended third party. We do not know this, and only a very expensive diagnosis of all of our computers would give proof positive whether this was the case or whether the emails were apprehended in some more nefarious way. We are not prepared to take this additional step at this time.

To have some on this list accuse that we are attempting to "bring down" TEC is appalling. We are committed to precisely the opposite.

Warmest regards in our Lord,

The Right Rev. John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida
1017 East Robinson Street
Orlando, Florida 32801
407-423-3567

Comments at Stand Firm

Ga. set to become 1st state with embryo adoption law

May 28, 2009
by Michael Foust

ATLANTA (BP)--The nation's first law governing the adoption of embryos is set to take effect in Georgia after being passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.

The "Option of Adoption Act," which will go into effect July 1, will provide safeguards for both parties involved in an embryo adoption, which is a unique form of adoption in which a couple -- often an infertile one -- adopts one or more surplus embryos from a couple who has undergone in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Embryo adoption allows the adopting mother to experience pregnancy and has been promoted by pro-lifers for years but, until now, has not been governed by the laws of any state. Significantly, the Georgia bill amends Georgia's adoption laws to make clear that embryo adoption in fact is a form of adoption. The law also allows adoptive parents to file in court for a final order of adoption (for the child who is born as the result of the embryo adoption), which supporters of the new law say clarifies that the adopting parents are eligible for claiming some but not all of their expenses for the federal adoption tax credit, which this year is more than $11,000. the rest

CANA Welcomes New Clergy Members

Ordination Ceremony Underscores Continued Growth

HERNDON, Va. (May 29, 2009) – This weekend, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) will ordain several new clergy members at The Falls Church in Falls Church, Va. The service will take place at 1:00 pm on Saturday, May 30. The candidates for ordination to both the priesthood and diaconate will be ordained by the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, CANA Missionary Bishop. All of the ordinands have ties to Northern Virginia churches that are also members of the Anglican District of Virginia.

“We are extremely grateful for these faithful servants who have followed God’s call to join the priesthood. It is a great honor to welcome them into the ranks of church leadership. This ordination ceremony is more evidence of CANA’s continued growth and commitment to spreading the Gospel while remaining steadfast to our orthodox Anglican tradition. CANA will continue to focus on starting new churches and raising up new leaders who will take an unwavering stand for biblical truth,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.

The ordinands include Jonathan R. Minns, son of Bishop Martyn Minns, who recently graduated from Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pa., and will be ordained to the Transitional Diaconate. His sponsoring parish is Truro Church in Fairfax, Va.

In addition, the Rev’d G. Keith Almond of South Riding Anglican Church in South Riding, Va., and the Rev’d Jerry A. Brown of Shepherd’s Heart Anglican Church in Fairfax, Va., will be ordained to the Sacred Priesthood and will continue serving at their respective parishes.

The Rev’d James A. Swynford and the Rev’d Wright N. Wall will also be ordained to the Sacred Priesthood. As part of The Falls Church’s Timothy Program, they will join the staff of the church with the goal of starting new congregations in the Washington, D.C., area.

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America currently consists of more than 75 congregations and 160 clergy in 21 states. CANA was established in 2005 to provide a means by which Anglicans living in the USA who were alienated by the actions and decisions of The Episcopal Church could continue to live out their faith without compromising their core convictions. Created as a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria, about a dozen of the congregations are primarily expatriate Nigerians. CANA is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America, an emerging Anglican province that includes about 700 congregations. link

New killer virus found in Africa

May 29 2009
By Mike Stobbe

Atlanta - Scientists have identified a lethal new virus in Africa that causes bleeding like the dreaded Ebola virus.

The so-called "Lujo" virus infected five people in Zambia and South Africa last fall. Four of them died, but a fifth survived, perhaps helped by a medicine recommended by the scientists.

It's not clear how the first person became infected, but the bug comes from a family of viruses found in rodents, said Dr. Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University epidemiologist involved in the discovery.

"This one is really, really aggressive" he said of the virus. the rest

Full research article here

Day 4 – Trial of ANiC Parishes v Diocese of New Westminster

May 29th, 2009

Today was a short day in court, ending just after noon, which although surprising, was a great relief. The Rev David Short, rector of St John’s Shaughnessy since 1993, was on the stand for only a couple of hours when many of us were expecting more than a full day.

David was born in Africa, where his father was serving as an Anglican priest and where his grandfather had also served as an Anglican priest. His father later became a bishop in the Diocese of Sydney so David was raised in Africa and Australia. He grew up knowing that he belonged to a global group of churches that no matter where you were in the world, you believed the same faith.

He described the difference between “communion” - the spiritual and personal reality that exists when we put our faith in Christ and are united with God and with all those who believe the same faith - and “Communion” - which relates to the structures that have evolved to promote and protect our faith. He discussed how the Solemn Declaration of 1893 and the Windsor Report reflect that understanding.

the rest in Anglican Mainstream

[Adult] Stem cells used to help cure sight loss

By Danny Rose
AAP
May 28, 2009

COATING a common contact lens with stem cells could help restore a person's sight, Australian scientists have found.University of New South Wales medical researchers used the technique to treat the damaged corneas of three patients, all of whose vision improved within weeks of the groundbreaking procedure.

The results are published in the journal Transplant, indicating a further unique element of the world-first trial. the rest

'Bible Illuminated': Not So Illuminating

By Chuck Colson
5/29/2009

At first glance, it looks like just another glossy, high-end magazine. The front cover features a heavily-mascarad eye. Inside are provocative images—a woman giving birth, a child pointing a gun—and celebrity photos: Bono, Angelina Jolie, the Dali Lama, Al Gore, and Che Guevara.

But this “magazine” is actually a New Testament. It’s called the Bible Illuminated, and it’s the brainchild of a Swedish advertising executive. The Bible Illuminated is hugely popular in secular Sweden, where young people love the magazine concept and the edgy pictures. The question is: Do the pictures help readers understand the Gospel message—or do they distract from it?

The question is irrelevant to the publishers; they openly acknowledge that they don’t “support a specific faith.” But take a good look at this Bible—you’ll see just how much somebody’s beliefs come into play. For example, the verses the editors chose to highlight, and set off with images, overwhelmingly deal with the “social gospel” messages—helping the poor, feeding the hungry, promoting justice. This is why we find so many images of celebrities known for doing good (or at least, celebrities the editors think are doing good). the rest image

Albert Mohler: Stop Texting and Read This -- The Thumb You Save May Be Your Own

Friday, May 29, 2009

Statistics can be used to inform or to mislead, and sometimes they can shock. See if this statistic isn't shocking: In the fourth quarter of 2008 American teenagers sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages per month. That, dear friends, is nothing to LOL about.

That statistic comes from The New York Times. In "Texting May Be Taking a Toll," reporter Katie Hafner offers a view into the lives of American teens. They are fanatical texters. As Hafner reports, "They do it late at night when their parents are asleep. They do it in restaurants and while crossing busy streets. They do it in the classroom with their hands behind their back. They do it so much their thumbs hurt."

Authorities now blame excessive texting for sleep deprivation, distraction in school, poor grades, and even repetitive stress injuries. These teens are texting while they should be sleeping, and they are sleeping with the cell phone set to vibrate so that they can respond to texts from friends without waking parents. the rest image

Sotomayor finds favor in coverage

Media are focused on life story
By Jennifer Harper
Friday, May 29, 2009

Old speeches showcasing her virtue as a "Latina woman" and suggesting judges could make policy gave instant, visceral fodder to Judge Sonia Sotomayor's critics in Republican circles this week.

But for much of the mainstream press, she was incredible, amazing and remarkable - three of the many adjectives used in news coverage to describe the Supreme Court nominee during the past 48 hours. Judge Sotomayor was often framed as a historic figure with street smarts, character and warmth. the rest

A Disturbing Judicial Philosophy

Sotomayor's Most Controversial Decision

Rebut, Then Confirm Her

Mandatory 'gay' day for K-5 students

School board imposes homosexual curriculum on classes
May 28, 2009
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A California school district has approved a mandatory homosexual curriculum for children as young as 5 – and parents will not be allowed to remove their children from the lessons.

The mandatory program, officially titled "LGBT Lesson #9," was approved May 26 by the Alameda County Board of Education by a vote of 3-2. Students from kindergarten through fifth grade will learn about "tolerance" for the homosexual lifestyle beginning next year.

The curriculum is in addition to the school's current anti-bullying program and is estimated to cost $8,000 for curriculum and training. the rest

Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary have been told that they cannot invite friends to their San Diego, Calif. home for a Bible study — unless they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego County.

"On Good Friday we had an employee from San Diego County come to our house, and inform us that the Bible study that we were having was a religious assembly, and in violation of the code in the county." David Jones told FOX News.

"We told them this is not really a religious assembly — this is just a Bible study with friends. We have a meal, we pray, that was all," Jones said.

A few days later, the couple received a written warning that cited "unlawful use of land," ordering them to either "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit," the couple's attorney Dean Broyles told San Diego news station 10News. the rest

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More mosquitos this summer?

Cute but contagious, And coming, sadly, to a cave somewhere near you
May 21st 2009
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
From The Economist print edition

SWINE flu may get the headlines; but white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that shows as a powdery pattern on the face, wings and legs of bats, is moving far more swiftly across America. Bat colonies have been decimated in at least seven states: New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. At least half a million bats have died, depriving the country—particularly in the spring and summer months—of a natural pesticide. Bats consume huge quantities of insects: as much as their own body weight during a night aloft. The Forest Service estimates that the die-off from white-nose syndrome means that at least 2.4m pounds of bugs (1.1m kg) will go uneaten.

The effects of the disease, though, go beyond an itchy evening in the garden. Without bats, farmers may have to use more insecticide, raising environmental worries and pushing up grocery prices. And white-nose syndrome could threaten already endangered species, such as Indiana bats, tiny creatures with pink noses that flutter from the north-east to the mid-Atlantic, and the big-eared bat, the official state bat of Virginia. the rest image

Miami Beach's Father Alberto to become Episcopalian, marry girlfriend

South Florida Sun Sentinel
May 28, 2009

MIAMI - The Rev. Alberto Cutié, a popular Miami Beach priest removed from his parish after photos surfaced showing him kissing a woman, will leave the Catholic Church to become an Episcopalian and marry his girlfriend, The Miami Herald reports today.

A small, private ceremony was scheduled for early this afternoon at Trinity Cathedral, the Episcopal Church's South Florida headquarters in downtown Miami.

Cutié is expected to announce that he will marry his girlfriend, whom media reports have identified as 35-year-old Ruhama Buni Canellis, a divorced mother living in Miami Beach. the rest

Fla.'s 'Father Oprah' joins Episcopal Church

Added: NYT-Priest Opts to Be an Episcopalian, and a Fiancé

Dealergate: Furor grows over partisan car dealer closings

By: Mark Tapscott
Editorial Page Editor
05/27/09

Evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted for closing Chrysler dealers who contributed to Repubicans. What started earlier this week as mainly a rumbling on the Right side of the Blogosphere has gathered some steam today with revelations that among the dealers being shut down are a GOP congressman and closing of competitors to a dealership chain partly owned by former Clinton White House chief of staff Mack McLarty.

The basic issue raised here is this: How do we account for the fact millions of dollars were contributed to GOP candidates by Chrysler who are being closed by the government, but only one has been found so far that is being closed that contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008? the rest

Michelle Malkin: Dealergate and the MSM

Why a “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity” “Hate Crimes” Law Is Bad for You

Part 1: Promoting hatred of people opposed to homosexual practice and transgenderism
by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
May 28, 2009

The so-called “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act” (H.R. 1913), passed by the U.S. House of Representatives along party lines on Apr. 29 and introduced into the U.S. Senate shortly thereafter by Ted Kennedy (S. 909), is improperly named. The bill is really a hate-promotion bill as regards the inclusion of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” among the groupings slated to receive special protection.

Supporters of this bill who rightly believe homosexual practice to be unnatural and sinful have been duped into thinking that this bill is primarily about protecting homosexual and transgendered persons from violence. They hear the rubric “hate crimes” and think: Who can be for violence toward homosexual and transgendered persons? the rest

A Common Date for Easter is Possible

May 28, 2009

MEDIA ADVISORY, May 28 /Standard Newswire/ -- The hope that all Christians will be able to celebrate Easter on the same day in the future was reaffirmed by an international ecumenical seminar organized by the Institute of Ecumenical Studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, 15 May.

The problem is just about as old as the church itself: As Christianity started to spread around the world, Christians came to differing results on when to commemorate Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, due to the different reports in the four gospels on these events.

Attempts to establish a common date for Easter began with the Council of Nicaea in the year 325. It established that the date of Easter would be the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. However, it did not fix the methods to be used to calculate the timing of the full moon or the vernal equinox. the rest

Day 3 – Trial of ANiC Parishes v Diocese of New Westminster

May 28th, 2009

Today, Bishop Ron Ferris continued his cross-examination in the morning. Mr Macintosh began sparring once again on whether or not certain canons could have been used in a certain way to challenge Bishop Ingham’s “decision” to implement the blessing of same sex unions. Mr Justice Kelleher objected to Mr Macintosh’s approach of asking Bishop Ferris to agree with his statement or opinion, and when Bishop Ferris disagreed, then saying “Well, you’re not a canon lawyer”. That ended that line of questioning and Mr Macintosh then went on to see if Bishop Ron was aware of any “strategy” of ANiC to “take other parishes out of the Anglican Church of Canada”. Bishop Ron advised he is not aware of any such strategy and that ANiC has always made clear in public statements and on their website that we only assist parishes that approach us or invite us to come and speak.

the rest at Anglican Mainstream

3 Bishops, ACI Call for Email Investigation

May 27, 2009

Allegations of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy will be lodged by three bishops against a member of the national Executive Council and the president of Integrity in response to the misappropriation and publication of private correspondence.

Bishops John Howe of Central Florida, Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, and D. Bruce MacPherson of Western Louisiana, along with other leaders of the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI), are concerned about a possible “dirty tricks” campaign waged against the ACI by the Rev. Canon Mark Harris, the Rev. Susan Russell, and an unidentified member on the staff at the Diocese of Washington.

Priests “publishing the private emails of bishops is a matter of grave pastoral disorder,” said the Very Rev. Philip Turner, former dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and a member of the ACI. The publication of the correspondence also may violate laws concerning attorney-client privilege, Bishop MacPherson said. the rest

ACNS: Anglican Covenant Working Group - Names announced

May 28, 2009

The text of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Covenant received strong support at the recent ACC meeting in Jamaica. However concern was expressed that Section 4 had not received the same degree of Provincial consideration that Sections 1-3 had. ACC-14 proposed that Provinces be given time to consider Section 4, that a small Working Group be set up to consider adjustment to Section 4 of the text in the light of Provincial responses, and to ask that Group to report to the Standing Committee before the end of the year.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General have now announced the names of the Working Group. They are:

•The Most Revd Dr John Neill, Archbishop of Dublin (Chair);
•The Most Revd Dr John Chew, Primate of South East Asia;
•Dr Eileen Scully, Anglican Church of Canada;
•The Rt Revd Dr Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph in the Church in Wales and former Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

All have been involved in the Covenant Process to date. Staff support will be provided by Neil Vigers (Anglican Communion Office) and the Revd Canon Joanna Udal (Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Anglican Communion Affairs).

Meanwhile the Ridley Cambridge Draft text of the Covenant has been sent to Provinces seeking their comments on Section 4 of the Covenant. Responses are requested by 13th November this year. The Working Group will meet on 20 - 21 November in London and report to the Standing Committee meeting of 15 - 18 December. link

More Evidence of Radical Scope of Assisted Suicide Death Agenda

May 2009
Wesley J. Smith

One of the myths about the assisted suicide movement is that it "only" wants "terminally ill people for whom nothing else can be done to alleviate suffering" to have a "right to die with dignity." That is a false premise, but beside that point, it is a blatant bait and switch sales pitch.

In reality, the assisted suicide-euthanasia movement believes that it is the "ultimate civil liberty" to choose one's own "time, manner, and place of death," and one should add for accuracy; reason.The other day I pointed out how broadly Canada's new assisted suicide/euthanasia proposal is written, to the point that people in mental pain would be just as qualified to be made dead as a cancer patient. And now Tasmania's new assisted suicide proposal further illustrates the point. While not as wide open as Canada's, its definition of "terminal illness" is so broad you could drive a hearse through it. From the definitions section of the 2009 Dying with Dignity Act (no link):

Terminal illness: in relation to a sufferer means an illness which, in reasonable medical judgment, will in the normal course, without the application of extraordinary measures or of treatment unacceptable to the sufferer, result in the death of the sufferer. the rest

On Sotomayor, Some Abortion Rights Backers Are Uneasy

By CHARLIE SAVAGE
May 27, 2009

WASHINGTON — In nearly 11 years as a federal appeals court judge, President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, has never directly ruled on whether the Constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion. But when she has written opinions that touched tangentially on abortion disputes, she has reached outcomes in some cases that were favorable to abortion opponents. the rest

Sotomayor Has Sparse Record on Social Issues

Sotomayor and Condescending Identity Politics

Princeton's Robert George sets up a conservative activist group with intellectual heft

by Fred Barnes
05/28/2009

Enter Robert George. A professor of politics (and a lot more) at Princeton--he holds an endowed chair once held by Woodrow Wilson--George wants to bring intellectual vigor to the Republican party and the conservative movement, especially on social issues like pornography and marriage. "We need to connect our intellectuals with our activists," he says.

George, 48, has founded the American Principles Project (APP) with an ambitious agenda that would change the face of conservative politics. And Frank Cannon and Jeffrey Bell, leading conservative strategists who run a public affairs firm in Washington, have joined him.

George, who created the popular James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton, is no stranger to politics. He's a pro-life, pro-family conservative who was appointed by the first President Bush to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and by the second to the Council on Bioethics. But his new venture will make him a major political player.

The idea behind George's leap in politics is twofold. First, he would publicize scholarship by academic intellectuals that buttresses the conservative case on issues from family breakdown to the "the sexualizing of children" and bring it to the attention of conservative politicians and activists. He calls this the "mobilization of scholarship." The aim is to change the view of Republican elites that social issues in particular are lowbrow, emotional, and to be avoided. the rest

President Obama Names Vatican Ambassador Who Backed Pro-Abortion Pols

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 28, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- President Barack Obama has nominated an ambassador to the Vatican, but the potential diplomat has supported pro-abortion politicians, including Obama himself. Obama has nominated Catholic college professor Miguel Diaz, who reportedly is pro-life but has compromised his views by backing Obama and others.

Diaz is a theology professor at St. John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict in Collegeville, Minnesota.

The nomination will likely cause heartburn for pro-life advocates because Diaz served as a member of Obama’s Catholic advisory board during his presidential campaign. the rest

Obama picks Cuban Liberation theologian as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See

Episcopal Diocese drops 61 priests in theological rift

Wednesday, May. 27, 2009
By Sue Nowicki

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on Wednesday deposed 61 clergy from Lodi to Bakersfield because they have left the national Episcopal Church and aligned themselves with the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb, who called the action “heartbreaking,” said from his Stockton headquarters that such clergy will have their retirement assets frozen and no longer can participate as Episcopal priests. But, he added, “this action is not taken for any ethical or moral concerns.”

The news didn’t seem to matter to the priests, who are now under Anglican oversight. the rest

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Devotional: Give God your all...

Give God your all. He doesn't ask us to give Him only what we would consider perfect. Give Him everything, every scrap, every part of us, everything you've kept hidden on the back shelf of your heart. Give him those things that you judge as not good enough. Hand over those areas of your life that appear to be too broken to be used. God can and will transform the good, the bad, what you deem the ugly. Let Him sift and sort things through. You'll be amazed at what the Master Creator can make out of what you might consider the shambles of your heart. ...Katherine Walden image

One-handed basketball star signs with Manhattan

By RACHEL COHEN, AP Sports Writer
May 26, 2009

NEW YORK (AP)—Kevin Laue knows what would happen if a college basketball team took a chance on him and he didn’t pan out. Fans would wonder what the coach was thinking in using a scholarship on a center missing his left hand.

“It’s a business,” the 6-foot-10 Laue said. “Their jobs are all on the line. It’s much safer to take a two-handed guy my size that got beat by me.”

But Manhattan College’s Barry Rohrssen figures coaches take chances all the time. He’d rather take one on Laue, whose left arm ends just past the elbow. So last week, the Division I school signed the center, and Rohrssen is confident his work ethic will rub off on other players. the rest

Vatican Raises Retirement Age to Make Ends Meet

Tuesday May 26, 2009

Vatican City - In a sign the credit crunch is sparing no one, the Vatican is set to raise its staff retirement age by two years to help make ends meet.

From January 1, 2010, newly hired lay staff will retire at 67 instead of 65, while newly hired members of religious orders and priests (below the rank of bishop) will retire at 72 instead of 70.

"Even the Vatican is feeling the crisis and we need to be careful about spending like everyone these days," said the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, deputy director of the Vatican press office. "Austerity budgets are required to survive," he added. the rest

Allegations fly in e-mail row

Wednesday, 27th May 2009
By George Conger

A "dirty tricks" campaign has blown up in the faces of liberal activists in the Episcopal Church, as the publication of purloined e-mails has led to allegations of "conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy" being lodged against the leader of the gay-pressure group Integrity and a member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council.

Bishops associated with the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI) have asked the bishops of Los Angeles and Delaware to look in to the conduct of the Rev Susan Russell and the Rev Canon Mark Harris for having surreptitiously obtained and then posting on their blogs the text of private correspondence exchanged among the ACI and its attorney.

A request has also been made to Bishop John Chane of Washington to review the actions of one of his staffers in the anti-ACI campaign. The dispute centres around e-mails published by Canon Harris and Ms Russell though written and exchanged by the ACI leadership on the crafting of a position paper entitled the "Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church", released last month by the ACI and subsequently endorsed by 14 bishops. the rest

Sotomayor: "Empathy" in Action

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
by Thomas Sowell

It is one of the signs of our times that so many in the media are focusing on the life story of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States.

You might think that this was some kind of popularity contest, instead of a weighty decision about someone whose impact on the fundamental law of the nation will extend for decades after Barack Obama has come and gone. the rest

Sotomayor Is High Court Pick; Here Are Her Religion Decisions

Sotomayor would be court’s sixth Catholic

Giant Blob Found Deep Beneath Nevada

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
By Jeanna Bryner

Hidden beneath the U.S. West's Great Basin, scientists have spied a giant blob of rocky material dripping like honey.

The Great Basin consists of small mountain ranges separated by valleys and includes most of Nevada, the western half of Utah and portions of other nearby states.

While studying the area, John West of Arizona State University (ASU) and his colleagues found evidence of a large cylindrical blob of cold material far below the surface of central Nevada. the rest

Legal Experts Say Calif. Prop. 8 Decision is Mostly ‘Sunny’ With One ‘Little Dark Cloud’

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
By Pete Winn, Senior Writer/Editor

CNSNews.com) - Some of the nation’s top constitutional law experts – including top conservative law professors – praised a California Supreme Court decision issued Tuesday upholding last year's marriage initiative, Proposition 8.

Grassroots activists on both sides of the marriage question, however, were angered by the decision.

“It was fundamentally a good message,” Princeton Law School professor of jurisprudence Robert George told CNSNews.com. the rest

Pope Benedict the Sixteenth Joins Facebook


Pope to get iPhone app

Vatican Radio to air advertising

Day 2 – Trial of ANiC Parishes v Diocese of New Westminster

May 27th, 2009

Bishop Don Harvey was under cross-examination for the first half of the morning session. Mr George Macintosh, counsel for the diocese, asked questions focused on the “legitimacy” of Archbishop Venables’ intervention in Canada, the response of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) and the Archbishop of Canterbury to this intervention, and whether Bishop Harvey had been invited to the 2008 Lambeth Conference - to which Bishop Don replied, “no, but nor was Bishop Gene Robinson”. Another line of questioning revolved around how Bishop Don has changed his mind on the issue of women’s ordination over the last 30 years; previously against it, he is now for it. There were also extensive questions about the conscience clause in respect of women’s ordination and the one offered by Bishop Ingham to the parishes in New Westminster as well as discussion of Shared Episcopal Ministry.

Bishop Ron Ferris then took the stand for the rest of the day, although his cross-examination will continue tomorrow morning. He is another cradle Anglican who was baptized, confirmed, married, ordained and consecrated in the church. He was Bishop of the Yukon from 1981-1994 and Bishop of Algoma from 1995 until he retired in 2008 and moved to Langley, BC for family reasons. He joined ANiC in 2009 and is currently planting a church in the Langley area. the rest at Anglican Mainstream

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 1 - Trial of ANiC Parishes v Diocese of New Westminster

May 25, 2009

Today the trial began in a courtroom too small for the number of people who came to observe. Some sat on the floor while others stood along the walls at the back. Although a large courtroom had been requested, Mr. Justice Stephen Kelleher advised that the largest courtrooms were all in use. One possible alternative was proposed – moving to a smaller courtroom and possibly teleconferencing the proceedings to a larger venue in Robson Square. A number of people chose to leave the proceedings and go somewhere to pray. We are grateful for the amount of prayer that was going on across the country and around the world.

Counsel for the parishes, Geoff Cowper, QC, gave his opening statement for most of the morning session. He described at length, the content and purpose of the Solemn Declaration of 1893, as a foundational declaration of faith and interdependence with the Communion – and the limits it placed upon the ability of the Anglican Church of Canada to amend its doctrine.

There was also extensive discussion on the principles of trust law in relation to religious purpose trusts, as well as the court’s traditional inherent jurisdiction and its duty in respect of such trusts. the rest

California Supreme Court outlaws gay marriage sparking outrage among liberals

By Mail Foreign Service
26th May 2009

California's Supreme Court today upheld the ban on gay marriage - but ruled that existing same-sex unions would stand.

Legislation to outlaw weddings between homosexual couples was first introduced in November.
But it was up to the Supreme Court to ratify the legislation in a move which has sparked fury among liberals and human rights groups. the rest

California Upholds Proposition 8, Preserves Existing Gay Marriages

05/26/09
Tommy Christopher

The California Supreme Court has rendered it's decision on Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage that passed on November's ballot. The court upheld the ban on same-sex marriages, while also ruling to continue to recognize the 18,000 existing California same-sex marriages that occurred before the ban. here

Chinese underground churches expose rift

May 25, 2009

Unregistered churches are attracting millions of worshippers in China, exposing an enduring rift between the government and the Vatican.

China broke off relations with the Vatican under Chairman Mao but over the past couple of years ties seemed to be warming up. the rest-photos

Canadian Anglicans ponder same-sex protocols

May 26, 2009
Mirko Petricevic
RECORD STAFF

Anglican Church of Canada parishes in Waterloo Region should soon be able to hold services to celebrate the relationships of gay parishioners, but they won't be blessing same-sex marriages for at least another year -- if ever.

During his opening statement to more than 500 delegates at the annual synod (governance meeting) for the Diocese of Huron, Rt. Rev. Robert Bennett, diocesan bishop, said he is taking a cautious but pastoral approach.

"I'm asking the Doctrine and Worship Committee to develop appropriate protocols, guidelines and evaluative tools to enable us to move forward with appropriate liturgies to celebrate the love, mutual fidelity and support that gay and lesbian Anglicans model every day for the church and wider community," Bennett is quoted in a press release issued Sunday.

Bennett envisions the services would include approved intercessory prayers and communion, but not "nuptial blessings." the rest

Church of Scotland agrees moratorium on gay debate

William Crawley
Monday, 25 May 2009

The Church of Scotland's supreme court has agreed to end public debate about homosexuality for a period of two years, while a special commission investigates the theological and legal issues surrounding the appointment of gay ministers within the church. The General Assembly has instructed all authoritative bodies within Scotland's national church to avoid any public comment on the matter -- including press releases, briefings to the media, and blogging -- and to avoid taking any decisions in relation to 'contentious matters of human sexuality, with respect to Ordination and Induction to the Ministry of the Church of Scotland, until 31 May 2011'. The Assembly also made it clear that the moratorium is not retrospective, and emphasized that its earlier decision to uphold the installation of a gay minister in Aberdeen stands. the rest

Muslims vandalize Christian graves

Crosses smashed: 'We don't feel safe anymore'
May 25, 2009
By Aaron Klein
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – Palestinian Christians in a normally quiet village are reeling from a series of grave desecrations this week that they say are indicative of intimidation tactics from the town's growing Muslim population.

"Christians don't feel free anymore. Our way of life is changing while the Muslim population grows," a local Christian told WND. The Christian would only give his first name, Anis, for fear of Muslim retaliation if he speaks out. He pointed out there are several other Anis's in his village, Jisna, which is located near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

This week, 70 Christian grave sites in Jisna were vandalized, with the crosses on top of the graves found smashed off, local Christians told WND. the rest

Attitudes to sexuality and power made for a disastrous cocktail

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
FR TONY FLANNERY

Excerpt:
The American writer Phyllis Tickle, in her latest book, How Christianity is changing and Why, takes an interesting angle on the trauma in the Christian churches. Her thesis is that a major upheaval has occurred in Christianity every 500 years, and that this period is the fourth such event in the history of the church. The institution becomes so encrusted that it needs some big event to blow it open again, and make room for a fresh impetus.

She lists the previous upheavals: around AD 500 with the decline of the Roman Empire and the social and religious collapse that came with it; the 11th century split between the East and the West; and the Protestant Reformation.

Each of these big occurrences, according to Tickle, brought a cleaning out of the old, and the birth of a new dynamism in the proclamation of Christ’s message. She identifies what is happening today as the next great upheaval.

The key question underlying all these changes is authority. Who wields authority, and in what way? Her thesis is that we will emerge changed and revitalised. But Donald Cozzens, in his review of her book, does not share her optimism. Rather than seeing a new emerging church he feels that a lot more of the present church has to be done away with. the rest

Bishop offers consecrated wafers by mail

By Damian Thompson
May 25, 2009

Archbishop Jonathan Blake, a former Anglican priest who is now a bishop of the Open Episcopal Church, has hit on a neat solution to the problem of worshippers who cannot get to his Eucharists. He consecrates the host, then pops it in the post to allow members of the public to say their own "Masses" (minus consecration).

Blake, who blessed Jade Goody's marriage to Jack Tweed, has posted a series of videos to YouTube showing the different ways you can celebrate the service once the host has dropped on to the doormat. (Hat tip: Max from Ship of Fools.) The liturgy shown above is his "Street Mass". the rest

Diocese tightens pensions for clergy

Finances force cuts in stipends, benefits .
By Michael Paulson
Globe Staff / May 26, 2009

The Archdiocese of Boston, facing a clergy pension system that will run out of money in 2011 without a financial rescue, is now taking its first concrete steps to limit benefits and raise revenue to shore up the fund.

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley has mailed to all priests a legalistic 17-page "decree of promulgation" that is raising concerns among some sick priests because it says that they will receive only 60 percent of their stipend, in addition to their healthcare coverage, if they are on health leave. Also in some cases it will require them to submit medical and tax documents to the archdiocese in order to "demonstrate need."

The policy also requires priests on health leave for more than six months to seek state and federal government assistance, such as Social Security Disability Insurance, which is a break from past practice. the rest

Obama Chooses Sotomayor for Supreme Court Nominee

May 26, 2009
By Jeff Zeleny

President Obama will nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as his first appointment to the court, officials said Tuesday, and has scheduled an announcement for 10:15 a.m. at the White House.

If confirmed by the Democratic-controlled Senate, Judge Sotomayor, 54, would replace Justice David H. Souter to become the second woman on the court and only the third female justice in the history of the Supreme Court. She also would be the first Hispanic justice to serve on the Supreme Court.

Conservative groups reacted with sharp criticism on Tuesday morning. “Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written,” said Wendy E. Long, counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network. “She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.” the rest

Gay issues may splinter churches

National conventions of several Protestant denominations could intensify the long-running debate this summer.
By Duke Helfand
May 25, 2009

Excerpt:
U.S. Christians remain stubbornly split over homosexuality. One recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 56% of all mainline Protestants believe it should be accepted by society. Just 26% of Evangelical Protestants felt that way.

Few denominations have been as torn by the issue as the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, a 77-million-member fellowship. Theological conservatives are a minority in the Episcopal Church but a large majority among Anglicans worldwide. The conflict between church liberals and conservatives escalated in 2003 with the consecration of an openly gay priest, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire. Amid pressure from traditionalists within the U.S. church and Anglican officials elsewhere, Episcopal leaders agreed at their last General Convention in 2006 to urge local church authorities not to consecrate any bishop "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church." Still, 700 conservative parishes in the United States and Canada defected last year and formed a new church affiliated with overseas Anglicans.

Now, as Episcopalians approach their July convention, dioceses around the country are submitting resolutions to ease restrictions on gay bishops and to authorize same-sex marriage blessings. The issue of blessings is now left up to local Episcopal authorities.The convention's host, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, has tried to send a message by approving a policy at its December convention that gives local priests permission to officiate at rites of blessing for same-sex couples.

"I think it's about time we get about the business of having marriage equality in the church," said the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Los Angeles Diocese. "I am waiting with bated breath to see what happens" at the Anaheim meeting. the rest

Gene links heart and gum disease

Monday, 25 May 2009

A genetic link between dental disease and heart attacks has been found by German researchers.
Gum disease - periodontitis - is known to be associated with heart disease but how exactly they are linked is unknown.

Now the University of Kiel team has found a common gene mutation in people with periodontitis and heart attack patients, a conference heard.

Study leader Dr Arne Schaefer said gum disease should be taken very seriously and treated as early as possible. the rest

Monday, May 25, 2009

Devotional: He who has learned to pray...

He who has learned to pray has learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life. ...William Law image

Dr. Mark Thompson: This is not authentic Christianity

May 25, 2009

Last night the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (operating as its Supreme Court) voted 326 to 267 to confirm the call of a practicing and openly gay man to be the minister of the congregation of Queen’s Cross in Aberdeen.

The decision comes at a time when the same issue has critically divided the Anglican Communion. A non-celibate gay man is Bishop of New Hampshire in the United States, his appointment confirmed by all but a small minority in The Episcopal Church. His presence at the inauguration of President Obama was nothing less than a presidential imprimatur. The Canadian churches are pushing ahead with the liturgical blessing of same-sex unions. Powerful gay lobbies are operating in many Anglican provinces around the world, including here in Australia. Meanwhile the Archbishop of Canterbury, caught between his published private opinions and the official position of his church, keeps trying to hold everyone together.

Other denominations both in Australia and beyond have also been dealing with various levels of gay activism within their membership. the rest

Poll: Majority of Americans Believe Abortion Hurts Women Physically, Mentally

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 25, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- In a new national survey conducted by the Polling Company for the pro-life organization Americans United for Life, a majority of Americans say they know someone who has had an abortion. A majority of those surveyed also believe that abortion hurts women.

The Polling Company, a nationally known firm, asked the questions about abortion's effects during a May 17-18 survey with 800 adults across the country.

Asked if they personally knew someone who has had an abortion, some 68 percent said they know a woman who had one while 30 percent said they did not. the rest

A new archaeological dating method

By Spero News
Friday, May 22, 2009

Scientists at The University of Manchester have developed a new way of dating archaeological objects &' using fire and water to unlock their 'internal clocks'.

The simple method promises to be as significant a technique for dating ceramic materials as radiocarbon dating has become for organic materials such as bone or wood.

A team from The University of Manchester and The University of Edinburgh has discovered a new technique which they call 'rehydroxylation dating' that can be used on fired clay ceramics like bricks, tile and pottery. the rest

Evangelicals vow to hold back cash after Scott Rennie defeat

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Traditionalists opposed to the appointment of gay ministers are planning a campaign of non-co-operation with the Kirk establishment, to deny the Church of Scotland hundreds of thousands of pounds in revenue.

The move is in retaliation against Saturday night’s vote at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to uphold the decision of Aberdeen Presbytery to appoint the Rev Scott Rennie to Queen’s Cross parish church, by 326 vote to 267.

There were more than 250 abstentions, leaving Mr Rennie, a divorced father who lives with his male partner, admitting that the issue still had to be discussed further by the Church.
Mr Rennie, 37, who served on the Church of Scotland human sexuality taskforce two years ago, said that there were tens of gay ministers already working in the Church, who were afraid of coming out. the rest

Lord of the Ringtones

Are mobile devices liberating or enslaving us?
By Thomas J. Van Gilder and Michael M. Rosen
Friday, May 22, 2009

He shut his eyes and struggled for a while; but resistance became unbearable, and at last he slowly drew out the chain, and slipped the Ring on the forefinger of his left hand.

Immediately, though everything else remained as before, dim and dark, the shapes became terribly clear. —J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


That scene from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy flashes to mind during any tedious work meeting: the hand moves inexorably toward the iPhone; the urge to check email, texts, Facebook, even favorite blogs begins to overwhelm; one enters the shadowy, virtual world of online friends and welcome strangers, ever oblivious to the surrounding real world.

Such scenes are repeated daily in boardrooms, around dinner tables, on trains, and even (gasp!) on our freeways. The ineluctable pull of mobile devices and the ubiquitous cloud of connectivity tempts us away from the task at hand, rendering us invisible—or at least unavailable—to the physical world around us.

So, what’s the problem? Well, as it was for Frodo, the temptations of the virtual world can lead us into various dangers—driving worse than if intoxicated, being rude in public (and in private), breaking the law, or opening ourselves to security risks. the rest image

North Korea tests nuclear weapon 'as powerful as Hiroshima bomb'

Country risks further international isolation as underground nuclear explosion triggers earthquake
Justin McCurry in Tokyo and Tania Branigan in Beijing
Monday 25 May 2009

North Korea today risked further international isolation after it claimed to have successfully tested a nuclear weapon as powerful as the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

The test comes less than two months after the North enraged the US and its allies by test firing a long-range ballistic missile.

The KNCA news agency, the regime's official mouthpiece, said: "We have successfully conducted another nuclear test on 25 May as part of the republic's measures to strengthen its nuclear deterrent." the rest

Film on infanticide stokes Brazil debate on indigenous rights

AFP, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Sunday, May 24, 2009,

A shocking video depicting infanticide among Amazon tribes has revived a debate in Brazil about whether the practice should be criminalized, or respected as a traditional belief.

The debate was given new vigor by the emergence of the video, which was posted online by the Hakani Campaign, an organization opposed to the practice.

The live burial depicted in the Hakani video is one of several ways infanticide is practiced among indigenous tribes, who also differ in their reasons for the tradition. the rest

New light on Down's cancer link

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Scientists may have solved the mystery of why people with Down's syndrome seem to have a lower risk of some cancers.

The extra copy of chromosome 21 which causes Down's appears to contain a gene that protects from solid cancerous tumours, tests on mice suggest.

The gene seems to interfere with signals a tumour relies on to grow. The finding raises hope of new ways to prevent and treat cancer.

The study by the Children's Hospital of Boston appears in the journal Nature. the rest image

The sexualisation of heresy

Monday, 25th May 2009
Melanie Phillips

The Equality Bill currently going through Parliament is the latest and potentially most oppressive attempt to impose politically acceptable attitudes and drive out any that fall foul of these criteria. Since the attitudes being imposed constitute an ideological agenda to destroy Britain’s foundational ethical principles and replace them by a nihilistic values and lifestyle free-for-all, they represent a direct onslaught on the Judeo-Christian morality underpinning British society.

The most neuralgic of these issues is gay rights. This is because the tolerance of homosexuality that a liberal society should properly show has long been hijacked by an agenda which aims at destroying the very idea of normative sexuality altogether – and does so by smearing it as prejudice. The true liberal position, that it is right and just to tolerate behaviour that deviates from the norm as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, is deemed to be rank prejudice on the grounds that homosexuality is not ‘deviancy’ but normal. ‘Normality’ is thus rendered incoherent and absurd and accordingly destroyed altogether. The agenda is therefore not liberal tolerance but illiberal coercion against mainstream moral values, on the basis that the very idea of having normative moral principles at all is an expression of bigotry. So anyone who speaks out against gay rights is immediately vilified as a ‘homophobe’ and treated as a social and professional pariah. the rest

Church of England bishops on a collision course with the government

Cross-party peers cite free speech defence to block changes to bill
Sunday 24 May 2009

Church of England bishops are on a collision course with the government over its plans to amend the incitement to hatred laws, claiming they will stifle what they believe is legitimate criticism of homosexual lifestyles.

In what is being portrayed in some parliamentary quarters as a battle for free speech, a coalition of Anglican bishops, Conservative peers, Labour malcontents and leading crossbenchers have united to block the proposals.

"No reasonable person supports the stirring up of hatred of any kind," said Andrea Williams, director of Christian Concern For Our Nation, which is helping co-ordinate opposition to the plan. "However, in 21st-century Britain we must find a way of being able to live peaceably alongside one another allowing for free and robust debate around every aspect of life, including reasonable criticism and discussion of all forms of sexual behaviour." the rest