Saturday, July 04, 2009

Devotional: He comes to us as One unknown...

He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside, He came to those who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: "Follow thou me!" and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands, and to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toil, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.
...Frederick Buechner image

UK: Gay row 'may cause Church split'

5 July 2009

A traditionalist Anglican group has warned the issue of homosexuality could split the Church of England the way the Episcopal Church has done in the US.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans will be launched in the UK on Monday.

The group has campaigned against active homosexuality in the Anglican Communion after being established last year. the rest

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali: Change and repent, bishop tells gays

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
04 Jul 2009

The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, has defended traditional biblical teachings on homosexuality and said the Church should not be "rolled over by culture".

Dr Nazir-Ali spoke as tens of thousands of people, including Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister’s wife, joined the annual Pride London march to celebrate homosexual culture. A war of words broke out between Labour and the Conservatives over the issue of homosexuality last week after a minister accused the Tories of having a "deep strain of homophobia" running through the party.

The bishop’s controversial comments will reignite the battle over homosexuality in the Church of England ahead of what promises to be a divisive week for Anglicanism. the rest

National Anthem

Story: Musician Plays Instrument Crafted From Baseball Bat

Johnny Cash: Song of the Patriot

The American Creed

'We Hold These Truths...'
Chuck Colson
7/3/2009

The great British intellectual G. K. Chesterton wrote that “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on [a] creed.”

Think about that for a moment. Other nations were founded on the basis of race, or by the power of kings or emperors who accumulated lands and the peasants who inhabited those lands.

But America was—and is to this day—different. It was founded on a shared belief. Or, as Chesterton said, on a creed.

And what is that creed that sets us apart? It is the eloquent, profound, and simple statement penned by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
the rest image

Pope Signs New Globalization Encyclical

Pope Signs New Globalization Encyclical; Tells New Archbishops To Protect Their Flocks
VATICAN CITY
July 4, 2009

(AP) Pope Benedict XVI signed his latest encyclical Monday, a text on ways to make globalization more attentive to meeting the needs of the poor amid the worldwide financial crisis.

The document, entitled "Charity in Truth," is expected to be published soon.

The pope has said his third encyclical will outline the goals and values that the faithful must defend to ensure solidarity among all peoples.

Benedict has frequently spoken out on the financial crisis, urging leaders to ensure the world's poor don't end up bearing the brunt of the downturn even though they are not responsible for it. He has said the downturn shows the need to rethink the whole global financial system. the rest

Making History

In appreciation of our country's founders and its greatest living historian
Peggy Noonan
July 3, 2009

Monday, July 1, was heavy and hot, and a full-scale summer storm passed through the city late in the morning. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania rose to speak. He knew he was endangering the respect in which he was broadly held, his "popularity," but he once again counseled caution: Slow down, separation from Britain is "premature," to declare independence now would be "to brave the storm in a skiff made of paper." When he sat down, "all was silent except for the rain that had begun spattering against the windows.

Then John Adams rose. He wished he had the power of the ancient orators of Greece and Rome, he said; surely they had never faced a question of greater human import.

He made, again, the case for independence. Now is the time, the facts are inescapable, the people are for it, we are not so much declaring as acknowledging reality. "Looking into the future [he] saw a new nation, a new time, all much in the spirit of lines he had written in a recent letter to a friend: '. . . We are in the very midst of revolution, the most complete, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the history of the world.' " Outside the wind picked up and the storm struck hard with thunder and lightning. Storms had in the past unnerved Adams, but he spoke steadily, logically and compellingly for two hours.

After nine hours of debate, the voting commenced. The yeses were in the majority, but there were more noes than expected. Someone moved a final vote be taken the next morning. Adams and the rest hastily agreed. the rest image-John Adams

Friday, July 03, 2009

Sarah Palin resigning as Alaska governor on July 26

Jul 3, 2009
By RACHEL D'ORO
Associated Press Writer

WASILLA, Alaska (AP) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made a surprise announcement Friday that she is resigning from office at the end of the month without explaining why she plans to step down, raising speculation that she would focus on a run for the White House in the 2012 race.

The former Republican vice presidential candidate hastily called a news conference Friday morning at her home in suburban Wasilla, giving such short notice that only a few reporters actually made it to the announcement. State troopers blocked late-arriving media outside her home, and her spokesman, Dave Murrow, finally emerged to confirm that Palin will step down July 26. He refused to give details about the governor's future plans. the rest

The Anchoress: Palin’s announcement w/ Updates!

Obama Promises Conscience Protection

by Tim Drake
Thursday, July 02, 2009

In a 47-minute meeting in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, eight members of the press, most of whom represented Catholic publications, met with President Obama this morning.

In addition to Father Owen Kearns, editor in chief and publisher of the Register, those attending were representatives from America, Avvenire/Vatican Radio, Catholic News Service, Catholic Digest, Commonweal, National Catholic Reporter and The Washington Post.

Obama began with brief remarks and then gave each representative the opportunity to ask one question.

In his remarks, the president said that he had a wonderful conversation with Pope Benedict XVI right after his election. He said that he sees his visit with the Holy See in some ways like any other government in that there will be areas of agreement and disagreement. He also said that he sees the Holy See as more than a government because of the Church’s influence on this country and the world. He said that it would be a great honor to meet the Pope and was looking forward to talking about the Middle East, climate change and immigration. the rest

Pedophilia in the Homosexual World

By Bob Ellis
June 30th, 2009

It’s slowly starting to make the news, now. To be sure, the “mainstream” media is doing as little as possible to cover this heinous crime, but the new media is starting to make it know despite their efforts to promote their “objective bias.”

I’m talking about Frank Lombard, Associate director of Duke University’s Center for Health Policy, and his despicable molestation of a 5-year old boy he adopted.

According to RPV Network, Lombard

was recently arrested by the FBI and charged with offering up his adopted 5-year-old African American son for sex to an undercover cop. Lombard admitted to molesting his own adopted son to the undercover officer in an online chat room under the user name “Perv Dad for Fun”. He invited the under cover officer to travel to North Carolina to rape his already-molested adopted son. Lombard faces 20 years in prison if convicted but is not eligible for the death penalty. the rest image

India: Citizens oppose legalising gay sex

3 Jul 2009 IST,
Suhas Vyas, TNN

AKOLA: Citizens from various walks of life have expressed opposition to Thursday's Delhi High Court order decriminalising homosexual sex, by holding

that section 377 of Indian Penal Code violates the Constitution. Various Central ministers have expressed differing opinions on the issue in the recent past. In Akola, BJP MP Sanjay Dhotre said he was staunchly against the decision as it would totally destroy Indian culture and put an end to social ethics and values. He said he would fight tooth and nail in Parliament and outside if the Union government moves to scrap section 377 of IPC.

Noted psychiatrist Dr Deepak Kelkar also condemned the move. He said killer diseases like HIV, AIDS and venereal diseases would spread like wild fire if such a move is made legal. the rest

Eric Holder: 'Gays' protected, ministers not

Attorney general's testimony on 'hate crimes'
July 03, 2009
By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says a homosexual activist who is attacked following a Christian minister's sermon about homosexuality would be protected by a proposed new federal law, but a minister attacked by a homosexual wouldn't be.

The revelations come from Holder's recent testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was taking comments on the so-called "hate crimes" proposal. It also was the subject of discussion on talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh's show today.

"This is the question," Limbaugh said. "[Sen.] Jeff Sessions [R-Ala.] presents a hypothetical where a minister gives a sermon, quotes the Bible about homosexuality and is thereafter attacked … by a gay activist because of what the minister said about his religious beliefs and what Scripture says about homosexuality. Is the minister protected?"

No, said Holder. the rest

Obama Administration Calls for Universal Access to Abortion at U.N. Meeting

Thursday, July 2, 2009
By Samantha Singson, C-Fam

At United Nations headquarters this week, the Obama administration continued its push for ever increasing access to legal abortion around the world. The Obama team has introduced language that has thrown a high level negotiation into a roil. The US proposal calls for “universal access” to “sexual and reproductive health services including universal access to family planning.” The document under consideration will culminate in the 2009 Annual Ministerial Review, which convenes next week in Geneva.

The sticking point for many delegations and what has driven apart the usual solid European bloc is the use of the word “services” in the context of “reproductive health.” Way back in 2001 during negotiations related to the ten year review of the Child Convention, a Canadian delegate blurted out “of course everyone knows ‘services’ means abortion.” Ever since, the word “services” has been a topic of hot debate.

So controversial is the topic of “services” in the context of “reproductive health” that the usually impenetrable negotiating bloc of the 27 member European Union has imploded with Malta, Poland and Ireland splitting from their allies and joining the Holy See in opposing the measure.
the rest

U.N. Population Agency Receives $50 Million in Taxpayer Money

Private schools in the recession: Staying On Board

In both America and Britain recession has so far done little to dent the demand for private education
Jul 2nd 2009
LONDON/NEW YORK
The Economist

Excerpt:
Past experience bears out the resilience of private schools in hard times. It has taken several years for previous recessions to affect demand. Eventually, some whose confidence has been bruised by recession decide not to buy in at all. Some, but not many. Britain’s most recent recession, in 1991-92, dented total enrolments in ISC schools by only 2.4%. The trough did not come until 1996, by which time the recession was a distant memory, and numbers recovered soon after. The most famous and expensive institutions rode out the bad times best. The 250 confusingly named “public” schools in the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference saw rolls fall only in one year, and by a mere 0.5%.

Palaces of learning
No one knows how many children are privately educated worldwide: many private schools are invisible to officialdom; some are in slums. James Tooley, a professor of education at Newcastle University, has found many children at fee-charging schools in Africa, China and Latin America. The elite institutions of popular imagination are far from representative of private education more generally.

Yet in a few places such schools exert an influence out of all proportion to their share of pupils. In Britain only 7% of children are educated privately at any one time. Yet according to the Sutton Trust, an education charity, two-thirds of leading judges and barristers, half of well-known journalists, the chief executives of half the companies in the FTSE 100 index and a third of MPs attended private schools. the rest image

Pope Benedict Recognizes Miracle: Cardinal Newman to be Beatified

The Pope’s decision means that the Beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman is now certain.
7/3/2009
Catholic Online

BIRMINGHAM (Catholic Online) - Pope Benedict XVI today recognised the healing of Deacon Jack Sullivan in 2001 as a miracle resulting from the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God John Henry Newman.

The miraculous healing from serious debility of the spine occurred in Boston in the United States of America following prayers for Cardinal Newman’s intercession.

Newman, a major theologian and convert to Catholicism, died in 1890. The Pope’s decision means that his Beatification is now certain.
the rest image

Puppy Cam


Watertown puppies star on their own Internet channel
by Matt Michael / The Post-Standard
Monday June 29, 2009

Chris and Katie Flannagan have found the perfect formula for a hit reality show: cute puppies ... and more cute puppies.

The Flannagans' "Puppy Cam," featuring five 3½-week-old Jack Russell Terrier puppies, is a big hit on ustream.tv, a live video community where anyone with a computer, Internet connection and a Web cam can set up their own channel and broadcast live. story

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Devotional: Have you been holding back...

Have you been holding back from a risky, costly course to which you know in your heart God has called you? Hold back no longer. Your God is faithful to you, and adequate for you. You will never need more than He can supply, and what He supplies, both materially and spiritually, will always be enough for the present. ...J.I. Packer photograph by D'Arcy Norman

Vietnam sees alarming rise in boy births vs girls

July 2, 2009

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- For every 100 girls born to Vietnamese families, there are 112 boys born, a disparity in the sex ratio that has been rapidly increasing in recent years, an official said Thursday.

Duong Quoc Trong, deputy director general of the General Office for Population and Family Planning, blamed the rising imbalance on a cultural preference for boys who can "continue the bloodline." He added that the belief that boys can better care for parents as they age has exacerbated the use of abortions to select for sex.

In an effort to stop the practice, Vietnamese law has prohibited doctors from revealing a fetus's sex since 2003. But doctors commonly ignore the law. the rest

Helen Thomas: Not Even Nixon Tried to Control the Media Like Obama

Wednesday, July 01, 2009
By Penny Starr and Fred Lucas

(CNSNews.com) - Following a testy exchange during Wednesday’s briefing with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas told CNSNews.com that not even Richard Nixon tried to control the press the way President Obama is trying to control the press.

“Nixon didn’t try to do that,” Thomas said. “They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try.

“What the hell do they think we are, puppets?” Thomas said. “They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.” the rest

Episcopal Leaders Prepare for Homosexuality Debates

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jul. 02 2009

Episcopal Church leaders are scheduled to meet in a private session next week with the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion.

Members of the Episcopal House of Deputies are expected to address homosexuality issues and how LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) members are involved in The Episcopal Church during the meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, according to the Episcopal News Service.

The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe of the Diocese of California told the denomination's news service that the meeting will be set in the context of the "Listening Process," in which Anglicans worldwide are encouraged to listen to gay and lesbian persons and all sides of the homosexuality debate.

The meeting is taking place the same week of the 76th General Convention, The Episcopal Church's triennial legislative meeting.
the rest

Special Discussions will Focus on B033

Documents Show Sonia Sotomayor's Group Opposed Pro-Life Judge Robert Bork

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 2, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is facing new criticism from pro-life advocates now that a group she served as a board member for has provided new documents to the Senate. A Hispanic organization that she set policy for took a strong stance against pro-life Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

The Senate went on to reject President Ronald Reagan's high court pick in 1987 after abortion advocates subjected him to intense criticism.

Sotomayor was on the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, now known as Latino Justice, at the time of the nomination. the rest

Bishop Schofield Interview



Of litigation, vision, and angels. The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, speaks candidly about what's happening in and around his diocese, as well as events leading up to the formation of the ACNA. Bishop Schofield makes it clear that the ACNA is not a fringe group, and he comments on the importance of Metropolitan Jonah's willingness to dialogue. AngicanTV

Not Very Stimulating: Payrolls Fall, Unemployment Rises

By Shobhana Chandra

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Employers in the U.S. cut 467,000 jobs in June, the unemployment rate rose and hourly earnings stagnated, offering little evidence the Obama administration’s stimulus package is shoring up the labor market.

The payroll decline was more than forecast and followed a 322,000 drop in May, according to Labor Department figures released today in Washington. The jobless rate jumped to 9.5 percent, the highest since August 1983, from 9.4 percent.

Unemployment is projected to keep rising for the rest of the year just as the income boost from the stimulus package fades, undermining prospects for a sustained rebound in household purchases, analysts said. As companies from General Motors Corp. to Kimberly-Clark Corp. cut costs, the lack of jobs will restrain growth. the rest

New Anglican group forms in Britain

Thursday, 2nd July 2009
By Bishop Wallace Benn

The title for the launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in Westminster Central Hall, London, at 10.30 on July 6 says it all: Be faithful. That is our calling as Anglican Christians today. The Scriptures exhort us to remain faithful to the faith ‘once for all delivered to the saints’, to the Lordship of Christ and hence to Apostolic teaching and practice.

Powerful cultural forces, exerted through social pressure, the media and legislation are forcing Christians to conform to the way of the world in matters of marriage and sexuality. The Episcopal Church in North America and the Anglican Church of Canada have embraced these forces and, often without due process and against natural justice, are forcing out those Anglicans who seek to remain faithful to Biblical teaching and practice. In the church in the West generally there is a gradual slide in the same dangerous direction.

The gathering on July 6 will express the unity of Anglican Christians in their loyalty to the teachings and commands of Jesus. A major step towards that unity was taken a year ago at the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem. Many within and without the church were unsure about what Anglicans stood for. Gafcon issued the Jerusalem Statement, which has been widely received by Anglicans around the world as expressing the heart of Anglican faith and practice. the rest

Washington Post sells access to Obama administration officials for $25,000+

For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post is offering lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, nonconfrontational access to "those powerful few" — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and the paper’s own reporters and editors.

The astonishing offer is detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he feels it’s a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff." the rest

Update:

Washington Post cancels lobbyist event amid uproar

NEA to consider full support of homosexual 'marriage'

Pete Chagnon
OneNewsNow
7/2/2009

The co-founder of the National Education Association (NEA) Conservative Educators Caucus says the NEA will consider adoption of a resolution supporting homosexual "marriage."

The NEA is currently holding its annual convention in San Diego, California. Educator and conservative activist Jeralee Smith called OneNewsNow from the convention to report that the executive council has approved language that will throw the full support of the NEA behind same-gender marriage, homosexual adoption, and other issues surrounding the homosexual agenda.

"They will help to overturn legislation that is discriminatory against same-sex couples," she notes. "And then there is one little bullet about [how] they will recognize that marriage has a religious connotation and it's not compatible with beliefs and values -- because of that they recognize that certain churches should not be forced to conduct same-sex marriage." the rest

Taliban buying children for suicide bombers

By Sara A. Carter
Thursday, July 2, 2009

BuzzPakistan's top Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, is buying children as young as 7 to serve as suicide bombers in the growing spate of attacks against Pakistani, Afghan and U.S. targets, U.S. Defense Department and Pakistani officials say.

A Pakistani official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because of the sensitive nature of the topic, said the going price for child bombers was $7,000 to $14,000 - huge sums in Pakistan, where per-capita income is about $2,600 a year. the rest

Somali-Americans Accused of Al Qaeda Ties Indicted on Terror Charges, Sources Say

UK: Muslim NHS dentist 'tried to force patients to wear traditional Islamic dress'

U.S. Nuns Facing Vatican Scrutiny

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
: July 1, 2009

The Vatican is quietly conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns, a development that has startled and dismayed nuns who fear they are the targets of a doctrinal inquisition.

Nuns were the often-unsung workers who helped build the Roman Catholic Church in this country, planting schools and hospitals and keeping parishes humming. But for the last three decades, their numbers have been declining — to 60,000 today from 180,000 in 1965.

While some nuns say they are grateful that the Vatican is finally paying attention to their dwindling communities, many fear that the real motivation is to reel in American nuns who have reinterpreted their calling for the modern world. the rest

Albert Mohler: A Governor, a King, and the Tragedy of Adultery

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The sad spectacle of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford continues to dominate the headlines as further revelations add one bizarre twist after another to the governor's tale of adultery, deceit, and the consequences of sin. With every passing day, pressure mounts for the governor to resign. As the revelations unfold, his leadership credibility is further destroyed. The people of South Carolina now look to their governor's mansion with a sense of dread and embarrassment.

Governor Sanford's admission of adultery came only after he was ambushed by the media after returning from a liaison in Argentina. In a rambling confession, the governor admitted to an ongoing relationship and an extramarital affair. While the media quickly turned to ask questions about money and the affairs of state, many others immediately thought of the governor's wife and four sons and the horrible pain and embarrassment they were now forced to bear. the rest

New Anglicans split on women

By Julia Duin
Thursday, July 2, 2009

Last week's birth of a new Anglican province in the dusty plains of north-central Texas left the question of women's ordination dangling in the air.

Of the 800 people attending the founding of the Anglican Church in North America, 368 were priests and deacons. Of that number, about 10 percent, or 36, of the clergy were female.

The new province is a mishmash of former Episcopalians, ranging from almost-crossing-the-Tiber Anglo-Catholics to low-church charismatics, and it's a mystery as to how they're all going to get along. Many are against ordaining women. Others are just as adamant that females be given access to the diaconate, priesthood and the episcopate. The Episcopal Church approved female priests in 1976 and elected its first female bishop in 1988. the rest

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bp. David Bena: Second Continental Congress 1776-First Provincial Assembly 2009

Some similarities
By Bishop Dave Bena

This weekend, we will all celebrate a magnificent event: the two hundred twenty-third anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. After struggling so long under an oppressive mother government, the Thirteen Colonies made a dramatic and risky decision. They would break with England and become an independent nation. It was risky for a number of reasons. They might lose the war; and even if they won the war, they might not be recognized by other nations. They might even win the war and then be thrust into such an economic depression that they would once again be enslaved by another nation. Declaring independence was risky, all right. But they had a taste for freedom…

As I participated in the First Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America last week in Texas, I realized that there were some profound similarities between what we were doing in Texas in 2009 and what our forebears did in Philadelphia in 1776. Profound similarities.

Let’s go back to Philadelphia, back to June 6, 1776. The Second Continental Congress had convened in the summer heat and humidity to debate the question of independence. On June 7, Robert Henry Lee of Virginia proposed “that these united Colonies, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they be absolved from all allegiance from the British Crown, and that all political connection between America and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved…” Called the Resolution of Independence, it caused such a stir among the members of Congress that John Hancock decided everyone needed to cool their heels for awhile. All were definitely not on the same page. They all agreed that the Colonies were being stifled by the oppressive measures of England. But they were not of one mind as to the way forward. While most of Congress was ready to declare independence (outside strategy), members from New York and Pennsylvania still hoped that some reconciliation with England might be possible (inside strategy). Members from South Carolina were watching closely lest the formation of this new nation bring them into an oppressive AMERICAN highly centralized government. Some members favored a centralized government; some a loose federation of States. Debate continued through June. A committee was formed to write a declaration that the Congress might sign on to, a declaration that would communicate to the world just why the Colonies were being forced to declare their independence. So the committee, made up of Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert Livingston of New York, went to work drafting the document.

Finally, on July 1, Lee’s Resolution of Independence was brought before the Congress for a vote. Nine colonies voted yes, two vote no (Pennsylvania and South Carolina), and two abstained (New York and Delaware). President Hancock, sensing it was time for private discussions in the tavern after business hours, called it a day. On July 2, the Resolution of Independence came up again. By this time, some who had opposed it the day before had talked it through in the tavern with other members of Congress and decided that compromise was needed so that all could be at one on the decision. The Resolution of Independence passed, although a few individuals did not favor separating from mother England. With the passage of the Resolution of Independence, Congress was then able to take up Jefferson’s committee draft, the Declaration of Independence. More debating; more compromise; more attempts to word proof the document to death.

Late on the afternoon of July 4, the vote was in on the Declaration of Independence. It passed 12 to 1, New York’s delegates stating that their mandate did not allow them to vote for independence (Five days later, the New York Assembly passed the Declaration, making the vote unanimous by all thirteen colonies). The deed was done. The United States of America was born. Interestingly, on August 2, when it was time to actually sign the Declaration of Independence, two members refused to sign it, including one of the drafters, Robert Livingston, who felt that reconciliation with England was still possible.

So that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! Now how is that similar to what we Anglicans did in Texas last week?

Well, the delegates who came to the First Provincial Assembly in 2009 had much in common with the members of the Second Continental Congress in 1776. We were a diverse lot – Anglo Catholics, Evangelicals, Charismatics – all watching each other and hoping we could forge a union which would allow everyone to breathe. Some jurisdictions wanted a church much like the one we had left; some wanted a church with a strong hierarchical government; some just wanted a loose federation of churches. And some still thought we could reconcile with an oppressive mother church. See the similarities? But we had tasted freedom in Christ, and we were willing to take some risks. It was possible that our Constitution and Canons would not be passed, that we would fragment into a number of independent colonies, er, I mean jurisdictions. There was also the risk that even if we put it together, no one would recognize us as being part of the Anglican Communion (as of now well over a majority of the membership of the Anglican Communion has recognized the Anglican Church in North America). But, as with the Continental Congress, we were bound together by a common objective – theirs was to be a free and independent nation; ours was freedom to be a “Great Commission Province.” We were bound together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We were bound together under the biblical principles of classical Anglicanism. And so after praying, debating, discussing, and sweating under the hot Texas sun, we passed the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in North America. And we were free! Praise the Lord. I think we must have felt the way those members of the Continental Congress felt on July 4, 1776. To quote another who worked for freedom, “Free at last; free at last. Lord God Almighty, we are free at last.”

Summed up by Archbishop Bob Duncan, “Working together, we have been able, by God’s grace, to reunite a significant portion of our Anglican Church family here in North America.”

Welcome to freedom in Christ, my dear brothers and sisters.

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Virtues are formed by prayer

Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven. ...Ephraem image

Bishop Iker: Memo to All Diocesan Clergy

June 30, 2009

In recent days I understand that all of you have received two threatening letters from representatives of the rump diocese. The first is a letter from The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick, Jr., the Bishop of Kentucky, in a capacity he claims as the “Provisional Bishop” of the rump diocese, threatening to inhibit and then depose you if you do not recognize his authority over you as your bishop. The second is a letter from Jonathan Nelson, legal counsel for the Gulick-led group, addressed to our vestries, treasurers, and finance committee members, as well as to all our vicars and rectors. It too is meant to intimidate and control us. It is the preliminary notification that will lead to additional lawsuits to be brought against us by The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (PECUSA). Both of these letters are now in the hands of our attorneys, and they will be responding on our behalf. There is nothing you need to do at this point in time. We are no longer members of PECUSA and are not subject to their discipline. It is indeed regrettable that they find it necessary to engage in such harsh, uncharitable tactics, rather than enter into negotiation. the rest

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Devotional: The Christian Scriptures...

The Christian Scriptures are the primary text for Christian spirituality. Christian spirituality is, in its entirety, rooted in and shaped by the scriptural text. We don't form our personal spiritual lives out of a random assemblage of favorite texts in combination with individual circumstances; we are formed by the Holy Spirit in accordance with the text of Holy Scripture. God does not put us in charge of forming our personal spiritualities. We grow in accor- dance with the revealed Word implanted in us by the Spirit.
...Eugene Peterson image

Multiple abortions may risk future kids' health

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Women having abortions could be seriously affecting the health of children they may have in the future, research has found.

Having one abortion may increase the risk of a later premature birth by 20 per cent. Two or more abortions may increase the chances by 90 per cent.

Mothers who have had more than one abortion also double their risk of having a very premature baby - earlier than 34 weeks - according to the research.

Extremely premature babies are more likely than full term babies to suffer from a learning difficulty, and some suffer from cerebral palsy, blindness, or deafness.

Dr Robbert van Oppenraaij headed the research team which published its findings in a report for the European Reproduction and Embryology Society. the rest

POTUS to LGBT: "Welcome to Your White House"

June 29, 2009

ABC News' Yunji de Nies reports: ABBA's "Dancing Queen" filled the East Room, as more than 200 prominent gays and lesbians gathered for the first ever celebration of Pride month at the White House. The President and First Lady entered to thunderous applause. President Obama told the group he is committed to equality for their community.

"This struggle continues today, for even as we face extraordinary challenges as a nation, we cannot and will not put aside issues of basic equality," he said, "We seek an America in which no one feels the pain of discrimination based on who you are or who you love."

Many gay and lesbians believe the President has been slow to act on major issues like the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, and the Defense of Marriage Act. The President asked the group to focus on what has been accomplished so far. the rest

Spain Deconstructs the Traditional Family

Soeren Kern
Tue, 2009-06-30

Spaniards are currently debating a controversial plan by Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to liberalize the country’s abortion law. The new measure would obligate the public healthcare system to provide free abortions without any restrictions for women 16 years and over up to the 14th week of pregnancy, and up to 22 weeks if there is a risk to the mother’s health or if the foetus is deformed. Women can also undergo the procedure after 22 weeks if doctors certify that the foetus has a serious deformity or incurable illness.

The new bill would reform the present law, passed in 1985, which legalizes abortion only for certain restricted cases: up to 12 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape, up to 22 weeks in the case of severe foetal malformation, and at any point if a doctor certifies that the pregnancy represents a threat to the physical or mental health of the mother.

The Zapatero government says the new law is groundbreaking in Spain because it regards abortion as a right, not a crime. Equality Minister Bibiana Aído says that with the new law, “no woman will go to jail for interrupting her pregnancy.” In actual practice, however, abortion is already essentially legal on demand in Spain because the existing law is not enforced. According to the Spanish Ministry of Health, the number of abortions has more than doubled in the past decade, reaching a record-high 112,138 abortions in 2007 (the latest year for which official data is available), or more than 300 every day. At the current rate, one out of every five pregnancies in Spain will end in abortion by 2010. By some estimates, that would rank Spain as having one of the highest abortion rates in Europe. the rest

In the steps of St. Tikhon

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
GetReligion

One of concepts that causes my journalism students the most grief is finding the line between making statements of personal opinion and making statements that draw logical conclusions from facts that have been stated on the record or verified in a document. It’s the line between editorial writing and news, when you get right down to it.

As I tell my students, there are times when journalists are allowed to take the publicly stated equation 2+2 and make it add up to 6 — as long as the reporter can show, in the story, where the additional information is coming from. Here is a perfect example of how this works, in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette lede written by the Godbeat veteran Ann Rodgers — who has enough experience to get away with this kind of thing. Brace yourselves for blunt language:

BEDFORD, Texas — The spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church in America offered to begin talks aimed at full communion with the new Anglican Church in North America, then named a series of obstacles whose removal could tear apart the hard-won unity among the 100,000 theological conservatives who broke from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

“What will it take for a true ecumenical reconciliation? Because that is what I am seeking by being here today,” Metropolitan Jonah said to a standing ovation from 900 people assembled in a tent on the grounds of St. Vincent Cathedral in Bedford, Texas.


the rest

Swedish parents keep 2-year-old's gender secret

23 Jun 09

A couple of Swedish parents have stirred up debate in the country by refusing to reveal whether their two-and-a-half-year-old child is a boy or a girl.

Pop’s parents [see footnote], both 24, made a decision when their baby was born to keep Pop’s sex a secret. Aside from a select few – those who have changed the child’s diaper – nobody knows Pop’s gender; if anyone enquires, Pop’s parents simply say they don’t disclose this information.

In an interview with newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in March, the parents were quoted saying their decision was rooted in the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construction.

“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.” the rest

Sonja Schmidt on Senator Barbara Boxer

Here at Pajamas TV

Rasmussen Presidential poll: approval index below zero

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 31% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-three percent (33%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -2. That matches the lowest level yet recorded.

Over the past two weeks, the Presidential Approval Index has stayed in a narrow range between +2 and -2. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Democrats Strongly Approve while 60% of Republicans Strongly Disapprove. the rest

Did We Just See Obama Squirm?

Jewish School Held "Racist" For Preferring Jews

Friday, June 26, 2009

A court in Great Britain has found that a religious Jewish school engaged in racial discrimination by applying the traditional definition of who is a Jew as part of its admissions policy.

Traditionally, whether one is Jewish is determined by maternal lineage. If one's mother is Jewish, one is Jewish. When the mother is a convert to Judaism, Orthodox Jews consider the child Jewish only if the conversion was in accordance with Orthodox conversion practices. Among non-Orthodox Jews, at least in the United States, the test is completely muddled, and among progressive Reform congregations, the standards for conversion are quite lenient.

In the case at issue, reported in The Independent, the Orthodox religious school gave preference in admissions to students who were Jewish using the Orthodox definition and standards for conversion. The school denied admission to a student whose mother had converted at a Progressive synagogue. The Court held that such preferences were discrimination on the basis of race: the rest

Analysis and commentary on the launch of the ACNA

June 30th, 2009
By Barbara Gauthier

Bishops:
Bp. Martyn Minns says that for right now, like AMiA and Rwanda, CANA churches will carry dual citizenship in both the ACNA and Nigeria. The goal is that eventually they will form into local dioceses:

CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns, a leader in founding the new province, attended the meeting along with a CANA delegation that included more than 20 lay and clergy members. He issued the following statement in response:

“The assembly meeting was a wonderful coming together of the various jurisdictions represented in the Anglican Church in North America. Everyone was determined to make it work and we kept our eyes on Jesus and the Gospel.

“Since day one, CANA has been and will continue to be a full participant in the life of the new province, and will continue to maintain our own identity. We will encourage groups of congregations, when they are ready, to establish themselves as free-standing dioceses. Our goal is to support the work, mission, and ministry of the Gospel on this continent and bring our own particular distinctive to that task.
the rest at Anglican Mainstream

Britain has 85 sharia courts

The astonishing spread of the Islamic justice behind closed doors
By Steve Doughty
29th June 2009

At least 85 Islamic sharia courts are operating in Britain, a study claimed yesterday.
The astonishing figure is 17 times higher than previously accepted.

The tribunals, working mainly from mosques, settle financial and family disputes according to religious principles. They lay down judgments which can be given full legal status if approved in national law courts.

However, they operate behind doors that are closed to independent observers and their decisions are likely to be unfair to women and backed by intimidation, a report by independent think-tank Civitas said. the rest

Indian women march against sex-selective abortion

06/29/2009

Thousands of women marched in Coimbatore, southern India this week to protest the practice of sex-selective abortion. Ten thousand students participated in the three kilometer long march carrying signs reading "Do not kill us" and shouting, "Adoption against abortion," and "No discrimination against girl child," reports Michael van der Mast and Hilary White, LifeSiteNews.com.

The march was organised by the All India Association for Abolition of Discrimination Against the Girl Child and the Michael Job Centre for Orphan Girls in Coimbatore. It was supported by local colleges and schools as well as local and international pro-life organisations from the United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Romania.
the rest

Homeschooling: Under Pressure all over Europe

by J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President
June 29, 2009

Excerpt:

While homeschooling freedom and flexibility continues to improve in the U.S., it appears to be going in the opposite direction in Europe. Germany leads the way as the most oppressive European state, because it routinely fines and threatens to imprison homeschoolers.

While other European countries have not embraced the German methods, there is a move in some countries to crack down on homeschoolers. For example, in Sweden, the government released a suggestion on June 15 that all schools, including homeschools, must provide an education that is acceptable to all pupils regardless of religious or philosophical beliefs, or the beliefs of the parents. The study concludes that there is no need for the new law to recognize the possibility of homeschooling because of religious or philosophical reasons in the family. We are confident the authors are aware that this effectively would end homeschooling in Sweden as most families are homeschooling for religious or philosophical reasons.

Equally shocking are the events in Britain. A June 11 report on home education in England by Graham Badman, former managing director of Children, Families and Education in the County of Kent, makes the case that homeschooling should be extensively regulated. More troubling, the report has been accepted in full by British Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Ed Balls. the rest

Albert Mohler: Richard Dawkins Jumps The Shark

June 30, 2009

News out of Great Britain indicates that Richard Dawkins, perhaps the world's most famous living atheist, is setting up a summer camp intended to help children and teenagers adopt atheism. As The Times [London] reports: "Give Richard Dawkins a child for a week's summer camp and he will try to give you an atheist for life."

The camp, based upon an American precursor, is to be financially subsidized by Dawkins. According to media reports, all 24 places at the camp have been taken. the rest

Pro-Life Group Challenges Federal Order to Sell Morning After Pill to Minor Girls

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 29, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- A pro-life legal group has filed the papers necessary for a pro-life organization to challenge a federal court order that required the Food and Drug Administration to allow the Plan B drug to be sold to minor girls. The Alliance Defense fund filed the papers to intervene in the case.

The group is acting on behalf of Concerned Women for America, the Christian Medical and Dental Association, and Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International.

The pro-life organizations contend that the order disregards parental rights and the safety of teenage girls. the rest

Tale of Two Churches

By Mark Tooley
6.30.09

Arguably the Episcopal and Methodist Churches have been America's historically most influential. Numerous American elites, including many of the Founders, were and are Episcopalian, making it often the de facto "established" church. And Methodism became America's largest church in the 19th century, creating the evangelical populist ethos that robustly survives today, if now mostly among other denominations.



Like other Mainline denominations, Episcopal and Methodist seminaries succumbed to theological liberalism early in the 20th century, reaching radical crescendos in the 1960s, when both churches began numerically to decline, a decline that continues until this day.

But the two denominations now seem set on different trajectories, as vividly illustrated by very recent events. Last week, the newly formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) convened its first provincial assembly, bringing into one denomination an estimated 100,000 regular worshipers and 700 congregations. Most of these Anglicans have left the Episcopal Church since 2003, when Gene Robinson became the first openly homosexual Episcopal bishop.

"There is a great Reformation if the Christian Church underway," ACNA's new Archbishop Robert Duncan told the ACNA audience last week in Bedford, Texas. "We North American Anglicans are very much in the midst of it. While much of mainline Protestantism is finding itself adrift from its moorings (submission to the Word of God), just like Western Anglicanism, there is an ever-growing stream of North American Protestantism that has re-embraced Scripture's authority (just as we have)."

 the rest

Most complete Earth map published

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The data, comprising 1.3 million images, come from a collaboration between the US space agency Nasa and the Japanese trade ministry.

The images were taken by Japan's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (Aster) aboard the Terra satellite.

The resulting Global Digital Elevation Map covers 99% of the Earth's surface, and will be free to download and use. the rest

Monday, June 29, 2009

Devotional: Give me an open ear, O God...

Give me an open ear, O God,
that I may hear Thy voice calling me to high endeavor.
Give me an open mind, O God,

a mind ready to receive and to welcome
such new light of knowledge as it is Thy will to reveal to me.
Give me open eyes, O God,

eyes quick to discover Thine indwelling in the world
which Thou hast made.
Give me open hands, O God,

hands ready to share with all who are in want
the blessings with which Thou hast enriched my life.
...John Baillie
image

LAPD names its first Islamic chaplain

Police leaders hope that the new chaplain, who has a history of building bridges between Muslims and law enforcement, can help officers understand his community better.
By Duke Helfand
June 29, 2009

American Muslims have never been much of a presence in the Los Angeles Police Department, accounting for less than 1% of its nearly 10,000 officers.

But now, with department leaders eager to improve relationships with local Muslims, top brass have named the force's first Islamic chaplain: a Pakistani-born spiritual leader who has spent much of the last decade trying to build bridges between law enforcement and Los Angeles County's diverse Muslim communities.

Sheik Qazi Asad, 47, will serve as a reserve chaplain at the LAPD's North Hollywood station. The volunteer post requires about eight hours of service each month. But to Asad and his LAPD patrons, it represents an opportunity to expose officers to a culture and faith that many may find unfamiliar, even foreign. the rest

Lithuania President Vetoes Law Banning Homosexual Propaganda in Schools

Monday June 29, 2009
By Alex Bush

VILNIUS, Lithuania, June 29, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus, has vetoed a law that would have prevented homosexual propaganda from entering into schools or other public places that could be seen by young people.

The veto came after the Siemas, the Lithuanian parliamentary body, voted 67-3 in favor of the legislation, with four abstentions.

The law would have prohibited the dissemination of public information that is recognized in general to have a negative effect on the mental, physical, intellectual, and moral development of youth. This includes the spreading of information that "agitates for homosexual, bisexual relations, or polygamy." the rest

New North American Anglican grouping won't last says gay bishop

Ecumenical News International
Chris Herlinger
Jun 29, 2009
New York

A new North American group claiming to embrace "traditional Anglican values" will not last long, the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop has predicted.

Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly homosexual man living openly with a partner, whose 2003 consecration as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire created a backlash among traditional believers within the U.S., church, told Ecumenical News International he does not believe the new Anglican grouping has long-term viability.

"A church that does not ordain women or openly gay people - I don't see a future for that," Robinson told ENI after delivering a sermon on 28 June at the First Presbyterian Church in New York City during the city's annual gay pride festivities. the rest

Anglicans meet to form rival province

UK: Religious leaders call for end to 'legal euthanasia' move

Three of Britain's most senior religious leaders have joined forces in a rare bid to stop a Lords amendment that they fear would pave the way to "legalising euthanasia"
By Stephen Adams and George Pitcher
28 Jun 2009

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury; Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, and Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, have come together for the first time to urge peers to reject proposals that would allow families to help loved ones to die abroad free from the threat of prosecution.

In a joint letter to The Daily Telegraph, they wrote that this legal change "would surely put vulnerable people at serious risk, especially sick people who are anxious about the burden their illness may be placing on others".

It is the first time since his installation last month that the new Archbishop of Westminster has publicly joined with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbi to intervene in a legislative matter. the rest

Toyota technology has brain waves move wheelchair

Toyota develops technology for brain waves to steer wheelchair
Monday June 29, 2009

TOKYO (AP) -- Toyota Motor Corp. says it has developed a way of steering a wheelchair by just detecting brain waves, without the person having to move a muscle or shout a command.

Toyota's system, developed in a collaboration with researchers in Japan, is among the fastest in the world in analyzing brain waves, it said in a release Monday.

Past systems required several seconds to read brain waves, but the new technology requires only 125 milliseconds -- or 125 thousandths of a second.

The person in the wheelchair wears a cap that can read brain signals, which are relayed to a brain scan electroencephalograph, or EEG, on the electrically powered wheelchair, and then analyzed in a computer program. the rest

The Advocate of the Episcopal Church

Monday, June 29, 2009
by Mike Adams

About two months ago, I heard from an old friend with whom I had lost touch. Most of what he had to say revolved around his relationship with a man with whom he is now living. It’s the man he started dating after he left the man he left his wife for. It’s all so confusing it has me ending my sentences with prepositions. And prepositions are a horrible thing to end sentences with.

After listening to an update on his love life, I asked my old friend whether he was going to church. He said he wasn’t going anymore. He had left his previous church because they refused to allow gay deacons. He said he and his boyfriend needed a church that is more tolerant. I’m going to recommend that he give The Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Carrboro, North Carolina a try.

Until a couple of days ago, the Advocate website (http://www.ouradvocate.org/) had a list of the members of its vestry, which included Frank Lombard. But after Lombard was arrested for allegedly trying to peddle his five year old adopted son on the internet – for virtually unlimited sexual abuse by a stranger – the Advocate updated its site. The church that says “We affirm, and welcome to our community and worship life, people of every kind of household and every stage of life and faith and doubt” is apparently excluding Frank Lombard. the rest-don't miss this!

Lombard Demonstrates Why Gays Should Not be Allowed to Adopt

Stand Firm: Attempt to ‘Disappear’ Frank Lombard Moves from Church to Commune

Court Rules for White Firefighters Over Promotions

By MARK SHERMAN
The Associated Press
Monday, June 29, 2009

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court ruled Monday that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said Monday in a 5-4 decision. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities.

The ruling could alter employment practices nationwide and make it harder to prove discrimination when there is no evidence it was intentional. the rest

Court Rules for White and Hispanic Firefighters, Reversing Sotomayor Decision

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Devotional: But ye are...a royal priesthood...

"But ye are . . . a royal priesthood." 1 Peter 2:9

By what right do we become "a royal priesthood"? By the right of the Atonement. Are we prepared to leave ourselves resolutely alone and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual grubbing on the inside to see whether we are what we ought to be generates a self-centred, morbid type of Christianity, not the robust, simple life of the child of God. Until we get into a right relationship to God, it is a case of hanging on by the skin of our teeth, and we say - What a wonderful victory I have got. There is nothing indicative of the miracle of Redemption in that. Launch out in reckless belief that the Redemption is complete, and then bother no more about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ said - pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints, pray for all men. Pray on the realization that you are only perfect in Christ Jesus, not on this plea - "O Lord, I have done my best, please hear me."

How long is it going to take God to free us from the morbid habit of thinking about ourselves? We must get sick unto death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God can tell us about ourselves. We cannot touch the depths of meanness in ourselves. There is only one place where we are right, and that is in Christ Jesus. When we are there, then we have to pour out for all we are worth in this ministry of the interior. ...Oswald Chambers image

'Oldest' image of St Paul discovered

Archaeologists have uncovered a 1,600 year old image of St Paul, the oldest one known of, in a Roman catacomb.
By Nick Pisa in Rome
28 Jun 2009

The fresco, which dates back to the 4th Century AD, was discovered during restoration work at the Catacomb of Saint Thekla but was kept secret for ten days.

During that time experts carefully removed centuries of grime from the fresco with a laser, before the news was officially announced through the Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

There are more than 40 known Catacombs or underground Christian burial places across Rome and because of their religious significance the Vatican's Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archeology has jurisdiction over them. the rest

Ireland gives legal recognition to same-sex 'civil unions'

By KENNETH HAYNES,
IrishCentral.com Staff Writer
June 27, 2009

Gay couples in Ireland now have the Irish Government's blessing -- though not the Church's in the heavily Catholic nation -- to be protected by new civil-partnership laws granting their unions legal recognition.

However, the new law does not give "civilly unioned" gay couples the same rights as married heterosexual couples.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said the laws provided "very significant rights to civil partners" in the Irish Republic.

"(The move) provides legal protection for cohabiting couples and is an important step, particularly for same-sex couples, whose relationships have not previously been given legal recognition by the state," Ahern said. the rest

Do Not Forget Burma

By Laura Bush
Sunday, June 28, 2009

For two weeks, the world has been transfixed by images of Iranians taking to the streets to demand the most basic human freedoms and rights. Watching these courageous men and women, I am reminded of a similar scene nearly two years ago in Burma, when tens of thousands of Buddhist monks peacefully marched through their nation's streets. They, too, sought to reclaim basic human dignity for all Burmese citizens, but they were beaten back by that nation's harsh regime.

Since those brutal days in September 2007, Burma's suffering has intensified. In the past 21 months, the number of political prisoners incarcerated by the junta has doubled. Within the past 10 days, two Burmese citizens were sentenced to 18 months in prison. Their offense: praying in a Buddhist pagoda for the release of the jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. That is only the tip of the regime's brutality. Inside Burma, more than 3,000 villages have been "forcibly displaced" -- a number exceeding the mass relocations in genocide-racked Darfur. The military junta has forced tens of thousands of child soldiers into its army and routinely uses civilians as mine-sweepers and slave laborers. It has closed churches and mosques; it has imprisoned comedians for joking about the government and bloggers for writing about it. Human trafficking, where women and children are snatched and sold, is pervasive. Summary executions pass for justice, while lawyers are arrested for the "crime" of defending the persecuted. the rest

Picture Perfect: Why Golden Books are golden

by Claudia Anderson
06/29/2009

It may not have been quite Periclean Athens or Florence under the Medicis, but the eruption of creativity that constituted the quarter-century ascendancy of the Little Golden Books was dazzling enough in its own right, a remarkable convergence of artistic and commercial genius. The exhibition now touring the country of 60 original paintings for this lavishly illustrated children's book line--astonishingly vibrant works of art in their own right--tells a multilayered story of American popular culture at its best.

It begins in 1942, when Simon and Schuster's Little Golden Books burst upon the publishing scene and into the nurseries of America. Printed on fairly good paper, with cardboard covers and the trademark golden element on the cover (later the spine), the books were priced at 25 cents, one-sixth to one-eighth of what the Babar books or Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel were then selling for. Drugstores, five-and-dimes, and train stations willing to sell them were given special display racks. Within five months, the first dozen titles, mostly folk tales and nursery rhymes and prayers in the public domain, had sold a million and a half copies, and The Poky Little Puppy, illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, was on its way to becoming the best-selling English-language children's picture book of all time.

That was only the beginning. In 1947, the Little Goldens appeared in supermarkets. Available and affordable in towns too small to have a bookstore, they democratized quality picture books for children. By 1959, more than 150 titles had sold over a million copies each.
the rest image

Dozens of under 14 yr. olds are regularly having abortions

By Fiona Macrae
28th June 2009

Dozens of girls as young as 12 or 13 are regularly having abortions, Government figures show.

More than 450 youngsters below the age of 14 ended unwanted pregnancies between 2005 and 2008 - including 23 girls aged just 12, the Department of Health statistics reveal.

Over the same period, 52 teenagers terminated four or more pregnancies before they reached their 18th birthday, helping the number of repeat abortions hit record levels. the rest

Same-sex 'marriage' loses support among Americans

Charlie Butts
OneNewsNow 6/28/2009

AMA recent poll indicates that Americans are not as supportive of homosexual "marriage" as they once were.

A CBS-New York Times survey shows that support for redefining marriage to include same-gender couples has declined. Jenny Tyree of Focus on the Family Action tells OneNewsNow that, according to The New York Times, the figure dropped slightly -- but she believes nine percentage points is more than slightly.

"I think that this really digs into what Americans really feel about marriage -- that they like that [marriage is] defined between a man and a woman," she contends. "And also it's a bit of a backlash against the five states whose legislative bodies have redefined marriage very recently within the last several months." the rest

Bishops back UK launch of orthodox Anglican fellowship

by Jennifer Gold
Sunday, June 28, 2009

Five English bishops are set to join the launch of a new fellowship for orthodox Anglicans who say they want to stay true to Scripture and get on with the Great Commission of sharing the Gospel with the world.

The Fellow of Confessing Anglicans will be launched in Westminster on July 6 in the presence of the Bishops of Fulham, Lewes, Chichester and Rochester. The Bishop of Chester has sent greetings.

The gathering will also hear video and personal greetings from international guests including Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh and Archbishop Henri Orombi from Uganda. the rest

Late-term abortion ban protects ‘weakest, most helpless beings,’ federal court rules

Richmond, Va.,
Jun 26, 2009

(CNA).- The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 6-5 decision on Wednesday upheld Virginia’s partial-birth abortion ban. In his concurring opinion, one judge wrote that the law protects the “weakest” and “most helpless” and condemned the use of the Constitution to justify “dismembering” a partly born child and “crushing” its skull.

In its ruling “Richmond Medical Center v. Herring,” the court said the 2003 Virginia law does not unduly burden a woman’s legal right to terminate a pregnancy by more conventional means. It also ruled the law is clear about the type of procedure banned and adequately protects women’s health. the rest

Britain is no longer a Christian nation, claims Church of England Bishop

Britain is no longer a Christian nation and the Church of England could die out within a generation, an Anglican bishop has warned.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
27 Jun 2009

The Rt Rev Paul Richardson said declining church attendance and the rise in multiculturalism meant that "Christian Britain is dead".

He criticised his fellow bishops for failing to appreciate the scale of the crisis and warned that their inaction could seal the Church's fate.

As one of the Church's longest-serving bishops, the comments by the assistant Bishop of Newcastle are set to fuel the debate over its future.

The General Synod, the Church's parliament, will next month consider proposals to cut the number of bishops and senior clergy amid fears over the Church's finances. the rest