Friday, July 24, 2009

Devotional: Absolute abandonment to God...

If there be anything that is capable of setting the soul in a large place it is absolute abandonment to God. It diffuses in the soul a peace that flows like a river and the righteousness which is as the waves of the sea. ...Francois Fenelon image by David Sifry

Will Internet Free Speech Crackdowns Come to America?

As Canada and Australia seek broad surveillance powers over the web, an Obama advisor wants to eliminate "destructive falsehoods" online.
July 24, 2009
by Kathy Shaidle

We don’t hear much about “the Anglosphere” anymore. The term was coined after 9/11 to distinguish freedom-loving Western allies from those nations sympathetic or indifferent to Islamic jihad.

Sadly, the Anglosphere’s cheerleaders have since learned that the West isn’t always a reliable champion of liberty, either. Two “Anglospheric” nations in particular — Australia and Canada — have revealed a troubling urge to stifle free speech, especially on the Internet.

Recently, for example, Canada’s ruling Conservative government introduced the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C) Act.

The act, observes Dr. Michael Geist, “is pretty much exactly what law enforcement has been demanding and privacy groups have been fearing.” the rest

Bishops Discuss Paradoxical Votes on Consecrations, Blessings

Douglas LeBlanc
July 24, 2009

As General Convention debated its two most-examined resolutions in July, about ten bishops cast paradoxical votes.

Most of these bishops voted against Resolution D025, which reopens the possibility of consecration for openly gay or lesbian bishops. In contrast, most also voted for C056, which authorizes the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to “collect and develop theological and liturgical resources” for blessing same-gender couples, and allows a “generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church.”

Some bishops discussed their votes with The LivingChurch. Others spoke only through letters they wrote to the clergy and laity of their dioceses. Others did not elaborate on their votes.

The Rt. Rev. John Rabb, Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Maryland, said he was pleased by most of D025 but that its final resolve left him unsatisfied.

“My fear was that it will be read as prescriptive, and that made me uncomfortable,” he said. the rest

A.S. Haley: Brace Yourselves in San Joaquin - Sound and Fury Follows

July 23, 2009

Word has just been received that the Fresno County Superior Court has affirmed its earlier tentative ruling granting the plaintiff ECUSA's and Bishop Jerry Lamb's motion for summary adjudication of the first cause of action in their second amended complaint. The court issued its final ruling after having held the matter under submission for 77 days. The court heard extensive oral arguments on the motion on May 5, after having postponed the hearing six times since February 25 until it issued its tentative decision in the plaintiffs' favor. (As an informal indication of how impartial the decision is, note that the court sustained [upheld] every one of the plaintiffs' objections to the evidence offered by Bishop Schofield, while it overruled all twenty-one of Bishop Schofield's objections to the plaintiffs' evidence. It also reversed its tentative ruling made at the hearing to keep out the last-minute declarations filed by Bishops Lamb and Buchanan to cover gaps they had left in their original evidence. It allowed that evidence in, and said it did not need to hear the defendants' evidence, or give them any chance to respond.)

By law, the court was required to render its decision within 90 days of May 5, or by Monday, August 3. (Unlike the case with the State's legislators and their duty to enact a budget by July 1 of each year, if a judge cannot certify that all matters submitted to him within the last 90 days have been decided, he cannot draw his paycheck.) The lengthy period between hearing and final decision appears not to have been used to modify the court's earlier ruling to any great extent. (The ruling does not affect the case against Bishop Schofield's attorneys, who were added as defendants after the plaintiffs filed their motion.)

Surprisingly, the court's decision to grant the motion is no longer the bad piece of news it would have been had it happened on February 25, or shortly thereafter. I write this post immediately after receiving word of the court's ruling, in order to forestall the impact of the trumpet-blaring from Bishop Lamb, his supporters, and the Episcoleft blogworld that will now inevitably follow.

The reason why the ruling is not bad news for the defendants any longer is quite simple: the case itself has moved on. The parties are no longer concerned with the second amended complaint, which was the subject of the court's ruling. The plaintiffs have now filed, and the Schofield defendants have now answered, their fourth amended complaint in this case. That fourth amended complaint contains whole new theories about the alleged collusion between the various defendants (including the Bishop's law firm) to remove property from the Episcopal Church (USA) and its allegedly still-existing diocese. the rest

Italy Passes Resolution Condemning Abortion for Population Control

07/23/09
Elizabeth Lev

ROME -- Italy has long been an acknowledged world leader in fashion and food, but rarely in its tri-millennial history has it stood as a beacon of political acumen. Yet last week, the same soil that gave us Machiavelli seemed to take the lead in showing the world how to seriously commit to reducing abortions.

The Italian parliament, perhaps best known for plunking porn stars side-by-side with Mussolini's granddaughter and brawling like soccer hooligans, for once put differences aside earlier this month, and agreed on a resolution to be presented to the UN Assembly condemning abortion as a means of population control.

It was Rocco Buttiglione, a lifelong friend of the late Pope John Paul II, who presented the motion, which "committed the Government to promote, by seeking the necessary consensus, a United Nations resolution condemning the use of abortion as a means of population control and asserting the right of every woman not to be forced to have abortions, and promoting policies that help to remove the economic causes and social consequences of abortion." the rest

Senate denies Obama health plan by August

President shrugs, says just 'keep working'
By Jennifer Haberkorn
Friday, July 24, 2009

Senate Democrats defied President Obama on Thursday by scuttling plans to vote on health care reform by August, abandoning the president's timeline amid trouble coming to consensus with the White House on how to pay for it.

The inescapable delay was announced as frustrations emerged among Democratic lawmakers left out of ongoing negotiations by a bipartisan group charged with finding ways to pay for the reform bill. the rest

Noonan: Common Sense May Sink ObamaCare

Congressional Committee Accuses ACORN of Massive Fraud, Racketeering

President Obama steps on third rail of race

by Ben Smith and Nia Malika Henderson
July 23, 2009

President Barack Obama has strained through his career in national politics to embrace nuance in all things, and never more than when the subject is race. But an off-the-cuff remark at the end of a news conference designed to further his health care agenda put him at the center of a familiar public melodrama of white cop and black victim in which big-city mayors — never mind presidents — tread with the greatest of caution.

The White House spent Thursday trying to both defend Obama’s words and to soften his position from the night before, when the president departed from his talking points, aides said, to express authentic disgust at the arrest of a black Harvard professor in his own home.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs stood by Obama’s statement that a Cambridge police officer, James Crowley, had acted “stupidly” in arresting Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. but added some implicit criticism of Gates’s conduct, suggesting “both sides” bear blame for the incident. Obama, who said that he was “surprised by the controversy,” said he wished that “cooler heads” had prevailed and described Crowley as an “outstanding” officer. the rest

Obama remark on Gates’ arrest angers cops

Bill Cosby ’shocked’ at Obama’s statement on Harvard prof’s arrest

The Economist: The Obama cult

Massive N.J. corruption sting targets mayors, legislators, rabbis

by Ted Sherman and Joe Ryan
The Star-Ledger
Friday July 24, 2009

NEWARK -- The bribes went down in diners, living rooms and parking lots. New Jersey Assemblymen took them, mayors took them, and so did dozens of others.

Orthodox rabbis, acting more like crime bosses than religious leaders, laundered millions through synagogues and yeshivas in Deal, one of the state's wealthiest towns. And a Realtor tried to sell an informant a black market kidney for $160,000. the rest

Ruth Gledhill: Don’t give up on the Church!

July 24th, 2009

Just like the Church of my birth, I am inwardly divided. I’ve always believed in the adage, ‘bloom where you are planted’ and that has meant that I’ve resisted the temptation to move away from the Church of England when it has occurred. One of those occasions was many years ago when I was sent to interview a Sea of Faith clergyman who, until his stipend was threatened, didn’t seem to think it mattered that he didn’t believe in God. That sea seems pretty dead now, or at least its not floating any boats on my horizons these days. The diocese in question got rid of him before my own concerns cyrstallised into action, and things moved on. I got an insight back then into how many clerics had beliefs, or lack of beliefs, that even in today’s secularized society would shock.

Many of them have now retired and the Church, and along with it the General Synod, has shifted noticeably to the right. By ‘right’ in this context I mean in a conservative direction, whether to the ‘New Wine” style of evangelicalism of the charismatic movement, or the more hard-line, Calvinist-style approach of Reform.

And although church attendance is not exactly booming, the evangelicals are often not given enough credit for the fact that the decline that has been a feature of the post-war era is definitely showing signs of bottoming out. In some places, such as London, it is in reverse, and London is where many of the most thriving evangelical churches – HTB, St Helen’s – are based. the rest at Anglican Mainstream

Non-Muslims turning to Sharia courts to resolve civil disputes

From The Times
July 21, 2009
Fiona Hamilton, London Correspondent

Increasing numbers of non-Muslims are turning to Sharia courts to resolve commercial disputes and other civil matters, The Times has learnt.

The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) said that 5 per cent of its cases involved non-Muslims who were using the courts because they were less cumbersome and more informal than the English legal system.

Freed Chedie, a spokesman for Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siqqiqi, a barrister who set up the tribunal, said: “We put weight on oral agreements, whereas the British courts do not.” the rest

Live mice created from stem cells, and could also work for humans

Scientists have created live mice from stem cells and believe the same could be done for humans.
24 Jul 2009

Chinese researchers used cells, known as induced pluripotent skin cells (iPS), that have been reprogrammed to look and act like embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells, taken from days-old embryos, have the power to morph into any cell type and, in mice, can be implanted into a mother's womb to create living mouse pups.

Their experiment, published in Nature, means that it is theoretically possible to clone someone using ordinary connective tissue cells found on the person's skin, but the experts were quick to distance themselves from such controversy. the rest

Researchers produce cells they say are identical to embryonic stem cells
Scientists in China use cells from adult mice to breed new mice. The breakthrough results are hailed as an advance toward eliminating the need for fetal stem cells in a variety of applications.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Devotional: Our God may drench us with grief...

How can we have rain without clouds? Our troubles have always brought us blessings, and they always will. They are the dark chariots of bright grace. These clouds will empty themselves before long, and every tender herb will be gladder for the shower. Our God may drench us with grief, but He will refresh us with mercy. Our Lord's love-letters often come to us in black-edged envelopes. His wagons rumble, but they are loaded with benefits. His rod blossoms with sweet flowers and nourishing fruits. Let us not worry about the clouds, but sing because May flowers are brought to us through the April clouds and showers.

O Lord, the clouds are the dust of Thy feet! How near Thou art in the cloudy and dark day! Love beholds Thee, and is glad. Faith sees the clouds emptying themselves and making the little hills rejoice on every side. ...CH Spurgeon
image-Mister-E

Ban of human-animal hybrids sought

July 23, 2009
by Staff

WASHINGTON (BP)--Sen. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., has introduced legislation to prohibit the creation of human-animal hybrids.

If enacted, the Human-animal Hybrid Prohibition Act, S. 1435, would bar the creation of beings made from the genetic material of both people and animals. Without a ban, such hybrids could be created for research purposes in laboratories.

A British government agency has approved the creation of hybrids for research in that country.

“This legislation works to ensure that our society recognizes the dignity and sacredness of human life,” Brownback said in a written statement. “Creating human-animal hybrids, which permanently alter the genetic makeup of an organism, will challenge the very definition of what it means to be human and is a violation of human dignity and a grave injustice. the rest

Some See Polyamorous Marriage as the Next Civil Rights Movement

When One Lover Just Doesn't Cut It
By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES and EMILY FRIEDMAN
July 23, 2009

Terisa Greenan is madly in love with two different men. The catch is, the men don't even mind.
"You get something different from each of them," Greenan said of her partners Scott and Larry, whose last names have not been released, in an interview with ABC News' Seattle affiliate Komo News.

"I do love them, I love them both," she said.

As polyamorists, Greenan, Scott and Larry belong to a small group that believes people have the right to form their own complex relationships with multiple partners. the rest

Christ Church Fallbrook now part of Diocese of Western Anglicans

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

FALLBROOK- Christ Church Fallbrook has announced it will be an affiliate of the newly formed Diocese of Western Anglicans.

This new family of churches on the West Coast comes after several years of affiliation and partnership with the Anglican Church of Uganda while awaiting oversight from a more localized body.

An international gathering of Anglicans was held in Texas on June 22-25 where the Diocese of Western Anglicans was officially announced. Clergy from Christ Church Fallbrook were in attendance as well as many Anglicans from around the globe.

Father Don Kroeger said, “In my 24 years of ordained ministry, I have never attended a church gathering with such unity of purpose and total submission to the Word of God!”

For more information, visit http://www.christchurchfallbrook.org/.

Episcopal Head Offers Report Amid 'Misinterpreted, Exaggerated' Claims

By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jul. 23 2009

The presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church wrote a letter to members of the denomination Wednesday to summarize the results of their recently concluded triennial conference and to clarify the details behind two resolutions that have drawn notable, and mostly negative, attention from the media.

After eleven full days of worship, learning, and policy-making, those who gathered in Anaheim, Calif., for the 76th General Convention adopted a budget that will result in the loss of church staff and represents “a significant curtailment of church-wide ministry efforts, in recognition of the economic realities of many dioceses and church endowments,” reported Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Despite the reduced budget, the church body still decided to commit 0.7 percent of its budget to the Millennium Development Goals on top of the 15 percent already committed to international development work.

“As a Church, we have deepened our commitments to mission and ministry with ‘the least of these,’” Jefferts Schori stated, citing from Matthew 25. the rest

Children to be baptised as their parents are married

Church of England unveils a two-in-one wedding and baptism liturgy today as it seeks to make peace with families “living in sin”.
From The Times
July 22, 2009
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Church of England unveils a two-in-one wedding and baptism liturgy today as it seeks to make peace with families “living in sin”.

The “hatch-and-match” service allows couples to baptise their children after the wedding ceremony. Parents can even get baptised themselves.

The aim is to encourage cohabiting parents to marry as the Church tries to become more relevant to the way people live their lives, but critics said that it appeared to sanction having children out of wedlock. One bishop described the idea as “nutty”. The liturgy, costing £272, is being sent out to dioceses and parish clergy today.

The move comes after research commissioned by the archbishops of Canterbury and York found that increasing numbers of couples marrying in church already had children. The latest figures on births and marriages show that about 44 per cent of children are born to unmarried women. the rest

The Coming Physician Shortage and Health Care Reform

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Wesley J. Smith

Penn bioethicist Art Caplan and I have had our differences, although sometimes we agree–as with most organ transplant issues. Today, he has a piece out, what he calls “a reform reality check.” As do most bioethicists, he justifies rationing, and I think it is an inadequate defense. (The problem of uninsured children can be fixed without establishing an invidious program of medical discrimination that pushes certain categories of patients out of the lifeboat.)

But that isn’t why I am writing this post. Caplan addresses a truly alarming issue I have not seen brought up before–a coming acute shortage of physicians. From his column:

Claim: If millions of Americans become newly insured, there won’t be enough doctors and nurses to handle them.

Reality check: This truly is a problem but it’s coming anyway. If current trends continue, the shortage of primary care physicians will reach 40,000 in a little more than 10 years, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Medical schools are only graduating about half the needed number of primary care doctors.
the rest

What Truths We Hold

The president says: “We must find a way to live together.” All the while, the infant in the womb is answering: “But first I have to live.”

Jul 23, 2009
Bernard J. Coughlin

A short time ago, President Barack Obama was invited to address the 2009 graduating class of Notre Dame and to be honored by the university. President Obama is an effective speaker; and his speech at Notre Dame was eloquently delivered.

But Notre Dame is a Catholic University and the Catholic Church and hierarchy, and Catholics in large numbers, believe that abortion is killing an innocent fetus and a seriously sinful violation of the child’s right to life. President Obama, however, believes just as strongly that the mother has the right to kill the child in her womb. Notre Dame alumni accused their Alma Mater of playing politics. There was tension and considerable hostility and anger around the campus that graduation day, and the hostility is still spreading.

Seeking some road to harmony among the hostile parties, President Obama encouraged both sides—proabortion and antiabortion—to seek and find, notwithstanding their opposing views, a “common ground.” This is not the first time that he has made such an appeal. the rest

Orthodox Anglican Leader: Choice is Between Life and Death

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Jul. 22 2009

The head of the newly established Anglican Church in North America released an open letter to the entire Anglican Communion, contrasting the recent actions of his orthodox body to that of The Episcopal Church.

In the letter, dated Wednesday, ACNA Archbishop the Most Rev. Robert Duncan compared the two bodies to two cities – one of which is the City of God and the other of which is the City of the World.

"Both cities are in crisis, but one operates from received values and behaviors, while the other attempts to re-make the world to its own revolutionary tastes," he wrote. the rest

156 Leading Conservatives to Senate: Obama's Supreme Court Nominee Disqualified

MANASSAS, Va., July 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- 156 conservative and constitutional cause leaders and citizens have signed a letter to members of the U.S. Senate expressing opposition to the confirmation of President Obama's nominee to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

One of the letter's signers, Richard A. Viguerie, said, "The media and Republicans aren't defining President Obama as an extremist politically and constitutionally; therefore, it is up to us conservatives. It is also important that a message be sent that, while Republicans may not be unified in opposing Obama's dangerous and unconstitutional agenda, conservatives and other constitutionalists are united."

"President Obama has nominated a radical judicial activist who apparently feels the need to mask her outrageous statements, rulings and writings over the years with the soothing words of a constitutionalist," said Kay Daly, president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary. "Perhaps the Left has discovered that the American people most certainly do not want the Constitution to be radically altered on the whims of empathy. Sotomayor's extremist actions throughout the years speak far more loudly than the pretty words she spoke at her confirmation hearing. A 'no' vote for Sotomayor is a 'yes' vote for the Constitution," Daly said. the rest

Church of What's Happenin' Now

July 23, 2009
by Cal Thomas

In the early '70s, comedian Flip Wilson created a character for his NBC television program called "Reverend Leroy" of "The Church of What's Happenin' Now." Like some contemporary "reverends," Reverend Leroy was a con artist who, among other things, once took up an offering to go to Las Vegas, explaining he had to study sin in order to effectively preach against it.

Reverend Leroy would feel right at home in the modern Episcopal Church, which recently voted at its denominational meeting in Anaheim, Calif., to end the ban on the ordination of gay bishops and permit marriage "blessings" for same-sex couples.

Denominational leaders explained they are attempting to stem the exodus from their church by embracing a new doctrine they call "inclusivity," which they hope will attract young people.
Apparently church leaders think that if they can reach people before they have fully matured in their faith, they can sidetrack them into beliefs that have nothing to do with the God that Episcopalians once claimed to worship and that they can be shaped into practical secularists who are willing to seek the approval of men, rather than God.

Inclusivity has nothing to do with the foundational truths set forth in Scripture. The church, which belongs to no denomination, but to its Founding Father and His Son, is about exclusivity for those who deny the faith. The church is inclusive only for those who are adopted by faith into God's family. There are more biblical references to this than there is room to cite here, but for the Episcopal leadership, biblical references no longer have the power to persuade, much less compel them to conform. That's because Episcopal leadership has denied the teachings of Scripture in favor of, well, inclusivity, a word that appears nowhere in Scripture. Even if it did, Episcopal heretics -- for that is what they are -- would choose another word to make them feel more comfortable, since accommodation with the world seems to be a more important objective than the favor of God. the rest

ObamaCare in Trouble

JULY 22, 2009
By KARL ROVE

Polls are turning against President Barack Obama’s health-care plan. The political calendar is, too.

On Monday, the Washington Post/ABC poll reported that 49% of Americans approve of his handling of health care while 44% disapprove. What many people missed is that those who strongly disapprove of the president’s approach on health care now outnumber those who strongly approve by 33% to 25%. That presages further decline. Already, 49% of independents disapprove of the president’s approach, up from 30% in April, a staggering shift in 11 weeks.

Mr. Obama is also slipping on the economy. Those who strongly disapprove now outnumber those who strongly approve of his handling of the economy (35% to 29%), of deficits (38% to 19%), and of unemployment (31% to 26%). On Tuesday, Gallup showed Mr. Obama’s personal approval was 55%, down from more than 60% a few weeks ago and lower than the 56% George W. Bush had at this point in his first term. the rest

Obama Defends 'Rush' for Health Care Reform, Says 'Stars Are Aligned'

At big moment, President Obama goes small

Obama hold on records raises hypocrisy charge

Take the red pill, Mr. President

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Devotional: Spirit seeking light and beauty...

Spirit seeking light and beauty,
Heart that longest for thy rest,
Soul that asketh understanding,
Only thus can ye be blest.
Thro’ the vastness of creation
Tho’ your restless thought may roam,
God is all that you can long for,
God is all his creatures' home.

Taste and see him, feel and hear him,
Hope and grasp his unseen hand;
Tho’ the darkness seem to hide him,
Faith and love can understand.
God, who lovest all thy creatures,
All our hearts are known to thee;
Lead us thro’ the land of shadows
To thy blest eternity.
...Janet Erskine
image

Why Episcopalians get so much attention

07/22/2009
By TERRY MATTINGLY
Scripps Howard News Service

On a typical Sunday, 4,281 Episcopalians attend services in the world-famous Diocese of New Hampshire, according to official church reports.

This isn't a large number of worshippers in the pews of 47 parishes -- roughly the same number that would attend weekend Masses in two or three healthy Catholic parishes in a typical American city.

Episcopal attendance in New Hampshire fell sharply between 2003 and 2007, which is the most recent statistical year available. Meanwhile, this diocese had 15,621 members in 2003 and 14,160 in 2007 -- a loss of 9.4 percent. The entire Diocese of New Hampshire is about the same size as many individual Protestant mega churches.

However, the influential bishop of this little diocese recently told the New York Times that things have been fine since 2003, when he was consecrated in a rite that rocked the global Anglican Communion.
the rest

Religious Cleansing in Iran

Iran treats non-Muslims as harshly as political dissidents. Why doesn’t the West notice?
By J. K. Choksy & Nina Shea
July 22, 2009

‘Every aspect of a non-Muslim is unclean,” proclaimed Iran’s late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. He explained that non-Muslims rank between “feces” and “the sweat of a camel that has consumed impure food.” Other prominent ayatollahs, including Ahmad Jannati, the current chairman of the Guardian Council, have made similar utterances.

Thus Iran’s Zoroastrians, Jews, Mandeans, Christians, and Bahais are subordinated and indeed treated as a fifth column by the revolutionary Islamic Republic. No matter that most of these religious groups were established in Iran before Islam arrived there; none are accepted by Iran’s Shiite rulers as fully Iranian. With the recent controversial presidential election, the scapegoating of non-Muslims as agents of the United States, Israel, Britain, and the deposed monarchy reached new heights. Seven Bahai leaders and two Christian converts are in prison and will soon be put on trial for their lives, while other non-Muslims are suffering intensified government repression. the rest

NY nurse threatened, forced to assist in late-term abortion

ADF attorneys file lawsuit against hospital for violating Christian nurse’s rights of conscience
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

NEW YORK — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Mount Sinai Hospital on behalf of a Catholic nurse who was forced to participate in a late-term abortion under the threat of disciplinary action, including possible termination and loss of her license. The hospital has known of her religious objections to abortion since 2004.

Hospital administrators told the nurse that the scheduled abortion was an “emergency,” though evidence shows otherwise, and insisted moments before the procedure that she assist doctors despite her repeated objections to the procedure, which dismembered a preborn child in the 22nd week of gestation. By federal law, hospitals that receive federal funds cannot force employees to participate in abortion procedures under any circumstances.

“Pro-life nurses shouldn’t be forced to assist in abortions against their beliefs,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “Requiring a devout, Catholic nurse to participate in a late-term abortion in order to remain employed is illegal, unethical, and violates her rights of conscience. Federal law requires that employers who receive funding from tax dollars must not compel employees to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs, but this nurse’s objections fell on deaf ears.” the rest

Coerced Participation in Abortion: The Next Phase of Federal Health Policy?

Jordan Hylden: Brave New Church

Jul 21, 2009
Jordan Hylden
First Things

The seventy-sixth General Convention of the Episcopal Church made headlines last week for moving forward on same-sex blessings and officially opening its doors for partnered homosexuals to serve as priests and bishops. Stacy Sauls, the Episcopal bishop of Lexington and a close associate of the presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, argued that it was long past time to do it: Over thirty years ago, he said, the church had placed pastoral compassion over Scripture, tradition, and the teachings of Jesus to permit remarriage after divorce, and it would be nothing less than hypocritical for the church not to do likewise for gay and lesbian people.

There is a certain logic to this, of course. If we’re going to set aside the teaching of Jesus for ourselves, shouldn’t we do the same for others? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” as someone once said. According to Bishop Sauls, this was the most important point he made at the convention. Arguably, it was the most important point anyone in attendance made. The Episcopal Church has now, quite definitively, decided to step out on its own, away from Scripture, tradition, and the rest of the Anglican communion. It was a bold and brave step, for with it the church has decided that it is now a church that takes its own counsel, answerable only to God. No doubt it was a matter of prayerful discernment and conscience for many, and no doubt many will shy away from drawing out the full implications of their decision. But the implications are there nonetheless. It is a brave new thing for the Episcopal Church, a brave new church on its own in the world. the rest

Second child abuse uproar engulfs Catholic Church in Ireland

From The Times
July 22, 2009
David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent

A report detailing the alleged sexual abuse of 450 children by Roman Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin was handed to the Irish Government yesterday.

It is the second one this year to examine the extent of abuse perpetrated by members of the Catholic Church in Ireland and will undermine further its position in a country that only a few decades ago conformed rigidly to standards set by the Vatican.

The Report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was delivered to Dermot Ahern, the Justice Minister, who must decide if and when to make its findings public. the rest

US Church: we have not breached moratoria

Wednesday, 22nd July 2009
By George Conger

The US Episcopal Church’s General Convention did not breach its self-imposed moratoria on gay bishops and blessings, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the President of the House of Deputies, Mrs Bonnie Anderson have claimed.

In letters dated July 16 and 17 written to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, Bishop Jefferts Schori defended the actions of General Convention.

Resolution C056, which authorized dioceses to “collect and develop” same-sex blessings rites, and encouraged a “generous pastoral provision” of support for gays and lesbians, including offering gay blessings rites “does not authorize public liturgical rites for the blessing of same-gender unions," said Bishop Jefferts Schori and Mrs Anderson on July 17. the rest

Letter from the Communion Partners to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Rectors’ Declaration of Support for the Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church

104th Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace
London, England
SE1 7JU

Your Grace:

You will be sent a hard copy of this letter, statement and the list of signatories, but because of our desire to put this material in front of you soon, we are e-mailing this correspondence as well. We must share with you that this letter will also be made public via the trusted websites of the The Livng Church and The Anglican Communion Institute.

Enclosed, please find a statement of the Communion Partner Rectors who welcome and declare our appreciation for the witness of the over 30 Episcopal bishops who have signed the minority statement read in the House of Bishops at the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim, California on Thursday, July 16, 2009.

Though we have been in touch with you throughout the last year and a half, we simply reiterate our deep desire and commitment to remain constituent members of the greater Anglican Communion. We, as we believe it to be well documented now, concur with your leadership, and that of Lambeth Conference and the ACC that the road to stronger bonds of affection amongst the members of the Communion is our shared commitment to our Lord and His Church, the instruments of Communion and the parameters and councils set forth in the Windsor Process, the three (at present) requested moratoria, the most recent Lambeth Conference, Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and the unfolding Covenant Process, to which we are fully committed.

We do not concur with any action taken that would be interpreted by the larger Communion as divisive, dismissive of our larger Anglican Communion or schismatic. The outgrowth of the decisions of the General Convention has yet to be ultimately determined as to its impact on our common bonds of affection that we should all share, and honor, as part of the worldwide Anglican family. the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

Ephraim Radner: “It seems good to us and the Holy Spirit” - The “Us” of General Convention

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Let us leave aside the substantive theological aspects of the recent Episcopal Church General Convention. They are important, of course. But I am interested here in the dynamics of decision-making that underlay the way things turned out. I am interested because these “transactional” aspects, as some call them, may tell us a lot about the future. And we are hearing a lot about these aspects from the Convention: it was surprisingly “respectful”, many have reported; it was engaged without “acrimony” and “contention”, and despite the momentous topics addressed, people were calm and relatively relaxed. All very different from past conventions, with their hand-wringing, protests, weeping and gnashing of teeth. “Where are all the passionate arguments?” many wondered, breathing a slightly uncomfortable sigh of relief. The explanations for the relative peace breaking out varied: some said that the traditionalists of TEC’ had all been “purged” or disappeared or were simply too exhausted and defeated to raise a ruckus; others said that the church had finally moved to a real “consensus” about previously contested matters of sexuality. “This is who we are!”, the Convention could finally say with some coherence.

The “purging” and the “consensus” explanations are probably both right to some degree. But it is a complicated overlap that merits some reflection. This is what I want to offer now. I have been doing some reading of late on the matter of how church councils “decide” things. And inevitably I have had to delve into some of the social scientific literature on related topics. There are two writers in particular who, I think, have something to say about this particular council we call the General Convention that has just met. And applying some of their broad insights can indeed, I suggest, help us to map the future a little bit.
the rest

Reflections on the decisions of the Anaheim General Convention

July 22nd, 2009
by Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden

An analysis of the noes ( those who said no to DO25 and CO56) shows that those who did it out of a confessional doctrinal basis are only a small number – no more than 10 people. This is very clear when some of them who have said no are on record as saying that this is not the right time or the right strategy. Some of those who have voted yes to the motions (see Thinking Anglicans 21 July) have also signed the Anaheim statement. The motives of the people seem to be as broad as the The Episcopal Church (TEC) itself. The desire of the orthodox to witness leads them to work with fellow travellers, but being fellow travellers does not mean that they are fellow orthodox. The view that there are a substantial number of orthodox is seriously flawed.

The Anaheim statement also makes clear that they no longer define themselves as members of TEC. The first draft commited them to the canons and constitution of the TEC. That is now dropped. But what kind of a communion is this of which they want to be a part. Is the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) part of the communion of which they want to be a part? Is the communion to be defined by the Ridley Covenant? If that is so, then that has not been adopted yet and is unlikely to be for some time. What is in common is their fellowship with the Archbishop of Canterbury. That is a personal identity of an office of bishop which is constitutionally in communion with Canterbury, What about a local church? Can it be in communion with Canterbury? How low do you drive this – to dioceses or parishes? Will dioceses be able to sign up to the Ridley Covenant? These are questions which the whole thing leaves unsatisfactorily vague. the rest

Traditional Anglican Communion Still Seeking Full Communion with Rome

By Deacon Keith Fournier
7/22/2009
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'We do not seek unity with the Holy See because the local church is beautiful, not by our own experiences, but because it is right.'

COOMERA, Australia (Catholic Online) - The Most Reverend John Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion and Ordinary to the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, recently spoke to a gathering of the faithful at in the Queensland Synod (Australia).

We have followed the historic efforts of members of the Traditional Anglican Communion to seek full sacramental communion with the Roman Catholic Church. That is because we believe that to be Catholic is to be authentically ecumenical and to hunger for the full communion of the One Church of Jesus Christ, with legitimate diversity, in full communion with the Chair of Peter.

We present the following report from the Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth, which appeared on the website of the Traditional Anglican Communion. Clearly, the request continues and, given the horrid turn of events in the broader Anglican/Episcopal community, we invite prayers from all of our readers for a work of the Holy Spirit to open the proper doors: the rest

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Pastoral Word To Christians Within The Episcopal Church

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Mark S. Camp, Th.D.
July 17, 2009

I write with a sense of urgency to those of you who consider yourselves to be Christians and who are still attending The Episcopal Church. First off, I want you to know that this is not a ploy to get you to come to Church of the Trinity. This is written out of a true concern for your spiritual welfare. I am going to be very blunt and to the point in this because quite frankly, someone has to be. So here goes.

The Episcopal Church is no longer a Christian Church. In fact, it is now a laughingstock among Christian Churches around the world. Here's why. First, I am writing this on July 17, 2009. The General Convention of The Episcopal Church has just concluded its meeting in Anaheim, California. Just a few days ago, in her opening remarks to the Convention, Presiding Bishop Schori stated that to believe that an individual person could pray a prayer of repentance and be saved was heresy and idolatry. I am dead serious my brothers and sisters. The leader of your church denied that an individual could pray, ask for forgiveness from God, and be saved from his or her sins. This is exactly the opposite of what the Word of God teaches. You know this and I know this. For her to say what she said is rank heresy. It is to deny the teaching of the Holy Apostles and the Church Fathers. It is to deny the teaching of Christianity for over 2000 years.

Today, in spite of all the warnings from around the Anglican Communion not to do so, your church has decided that gays, lesbians, bi-sexual, and transgendered people can be ordained to the ministry, even as bishops. Now we know they are already doing this, but now it is officially the teaching of your church. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury asked them not to do this. Homosexuality is very clearly taught as a sin in the Bible. My brothers and sisters what is next? Can a man or woman who has sex with young children or animals be permitted to be clergy in your church? After all, who can now call sin a sin in your church? There is no limit whatsoever as to what constitutes a "loving sexual relationship." Nothing is off limits now within The Episcopal Church. Bishop Gene Robinson, the gay bishop of New Hampshire, has just recently announced in the media that the Episcopal Church is the gay church! the rest

Episcopalians, Lutherans Taking Action on Sexuality Topics

ELCA NEWS SERVICE
July 21, 2009

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church took a series of actions on the topic of human sexuality July 8-17 in Anaheim, Calif. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will also make decisions on matters concerning the topic at its 2009 Churchwide Assembly Aug. 17-23 in Minneapolis.

The ELCA and Episcopal Church have been "full communion" partners since 2000. The relationship is based on a common confessing of the Christian faith. The denominations collaborate on various ministry initiatives, may provide for the interchangeability of ordained clergy and engage in worship together.

On behalf of the ELCA, the Rev. Donald J. McCoid attended the convention. He said the actions of the Episcopal Church "do not parallel what will be before our churchwide assembly, although some of the concerns are similar." the rest

Episcopal Church erred on marriage definition

July 21, 2009

We believe the Episcopal Church, at its most recent General Convention concluded on July 17, has departed from the teachings of historic Christianity and the consistent teaching of Holy Scripture by redefining marriage as a covenant between two committed persons regardless of gender and by opening its ordained ministry to practicing homosexuals. These actions will "tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level" and distance Episcopal congregations from the larger body of Christ.

Though we deeply sympathize with those who may wrestle with issues of human sexuality, and though we sincerely believe we are all equally sinful before God, we must disavow the General Convention's actions. We remain convinced the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman as defined in Holy Scripture is the standard set forth by God. Likewise, we believe the ordained ministry is to be confined to those who submit and adhere to this standard.

As Christian ministers in Birmingham, we pledge to do our part in sharing the word of God and the Christian hope to the world around us. We promise to continually repent of our own sins and invite any and all, regardless of sexual orientation, to join us in the worship of God the Father, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit who lifts us from our human condition and sets us free.

We can be better people, in and through Christ. This is our mission, and we will not be distracted. link

Frank Limehouse III
Dean, The Cathedral
Church of the Advent

Richmond Webster
Rector, Saint Luke's
Episcopal Church
Birmingham

Northwestern Buys Seabury's Land, Buildings

July 21, 2009

Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., has agreed to sell its buildings and land to Northwestern University for an undisclosed sum. The agreement also includes a five-year lease which will allow the seminary to remain at its current location while a task force studies other, more permanent options.

“With this agreement we are doing several important things,” said the Very Rev. Gary Hall, the seminary’s president and dean. “This sale has allowed us to eliminate our debt, balance our 2010 budget, and double our endowment so that we will enter our new life with adequate resources to fund our ministries.”

As part of the agreement, Seabury will lease back the first floor of the main seminary building. This area includes the chapel, administrative offices, and the area which formerly contained the seminary library. The library has been combined with Northwestern’s theological library collection and the area that formerly contained the library will be used for classrooms, said Ronald Fox, executive assistant to the dean. the rest

Archbishop Duncan: Two Cities, One Choice: An Open Letter to the Anglican Communion

Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There are times in the history of God’s people when the prevailing values and behaviors of those then in control of rival cities symbolizes a choice to be made by all of God’s people. For Anglicans such a moment has certainly arrived. The cities symbolizing the present choice are Bedford, Texas, and Anaheim, California. In the last month, the contrasting behaviors and values of the religious leaders who met in these two small cities made each a symbol of Anglicanism’s inescapable choice.

Jerusalem and Babylon come to mind as the Scriptural cities which are enduring symbols of choices to be made by God’s people, and of what can happen when God’s people make a choice for something other than God’s Way, God’s Truth, God’s Life, as set out in God’s Covenant, whether Old or New.

Charles Dickens contrasts London and Paris in the last quarter of the 18th Century in his Tale of Two Cities. Both cities are in crisis, but one operates from received values and behaviors, while the other attempts to re-make the world to its own revolutionary tastes.

St. Augustine of Hippo in his De Civitate Dei contrasts the City of God and the City of the World, explaining the fate of Rome in terms of the favor that comes from conforming to the behaviors and values of the Heavenly City as over against the Earthly City.

The Anglican Church in North America, whose leaders met at Bedford, Texas, from June 20th to June 25th, embraced the values and behaviors familiar to Christians in every age: daily repenting of human sin in disobeying the one Lord, embracing the need (both personal and corporate) of a divine Savior, and recommitting to the proclamation in word and deed of the gospel of transforming love. The unity at Bedford, despite very real differences, was palpable.

The Episcopal Church, whose leaders met at Anaheim, California, from July 8th to 17th, blessed the values and behaviors of a re-defined Christianity: enabling a revisionist anthropology, budgeting litigation rather than evangelism, and confusing received understandings of Scriptural truth, not least concerning the necessity of individual salvation in Christ Jesus. At Anaheim, there were those who valiantly stood against the revolutionary majority, and their pain and grief at what was happening was heartbreaking for all who saw it, not least for their brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church in North America.

The North American poet, Robert Frost, once wrote: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by. That has made all the difference." For Anglican Christians, for the Instruments of Unity (Communion), for interdependent Provinces, for ordinary believers, there is a choice to be made. The choice is between two religions, two roads, two cities, two sets of conflicting values and behaviors. In Deuteronomy, chapter 30, Moses sets the choice as between blessing and curse, life and death. For contemporary Anglicanism the present choice is this stark.

I write this humbly and as a sinner. I also write it as one whose hope is in Christ alone, and with deepest love for all for whom He died and rose again.

Faithfully and Obediently,
The Most Reverend Robert William Duncan, D.D.
Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America
Anglican Bishop of Pittsburgh
Here-pdf

The Battle for The Episcopal Church is over...

July 21, 2009

Paraphrasing
The Battle for The Episcopal Church is over; I expect that the Battle for North American Anglicanism is about to begin. As with the aftermath of the fall of France in 1940, we are left with a messy situation for which there’s no tidy solution. The fall of France left not only Occupied France, but Vichy France and the Free French resistance. Not everyone who lived in Occupied or Vichy France was a collaborator, and not everyone serving General De Gaulle was a hero. The Western Powers and the Soviet Union both sponsored resistance cells in Occupied and Vichy France, and they sometimes worked together and sometimes were at odds. Nothing was simple then. Nothing is simple now.

The governance of The Episcopal Church is, for now, completely in the hands of heterodox modernists, but scattered throughout that body are dioceses, parishes, and individuals who remain faithful to the life giving Word. As this conflict moves into its next phase (and a conflict it is, of no trivial importance), no solution, no provision, which does not take these brothers and sisters into loving consideration can hope to prosper.

As we look ahead to the next stages in this conflict, it will be essential to not be too fine-grained in our plans. Often enough, God will show us the next step to take, but not the step after that. Whatever the Archbishop of Canterbury says, and whenever he chooses to say it, in response to the General Convention now ended, the tasks before us will remain the same: building new and healthier Anglican Christian communities, worshiping the Lord, witnessing to His saving actions. We can use the handy reference table in Galatians 5:16-26 as a guide for assessing our actions. the rest

Resolutions and the Windsor Moratoria

The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

At its recently concluded General Convention, The Episcopal Church passed resolutions that are widely regarded as repudiations of prior commitments to the Windsor moratoria that have been officially implemented by the Anglican Communion. Apparently reacting to the swift denunciation of these actions by many in the Communion, various constituencies in TEC are now scrambling to re-interpret General Convention’s actions. ENS withdrew and revised its story about a key vote and Convention participants have produced wildly inconsistent, if equally far-fetched, interpretations of what took place. Integrity continues to claim, however, that this Convention was a “virtual clean sweep” for their side.

Bishops
There are now multiple conflicting interpretations of the relationship of Resolution D025 to Resolution B033 and the Windsor moratorium on episcopal elections. During the debate on D025 in the House of Bishops, the Presiding Bishop stated (in response to a leading question from Bishop Gulick) that the moratorium would remain in effect until another gay bishop was consecrated. Bishop Gulick has since repeated this claim himself. In any sense in which this is true at all, it is merely a trivial tautology and therefore of no empirical significance or interest. The Windsor Report was not asking TEC to refrain from consecrating another gay bishop only until such time as they consecrate another gay bishop. It was asking TEC to commit not to do so. the rest

Apple Downplays Fiery iPod Incidents

Amy Clancy
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News

An exclusive KIRO 7 Investigation reveals an alarming number of Apple brand iPod MP3 players have suddenly burst into flames and smoke, injuring people and damaging property.

It’s an investigation that Apple has apparently been trying to keep out of the public eye.

It took more than 7-months for KIRO 7 Consumer Investigator Amy Clancy to get her hands on documents concerning Apple’s iPods from the Consumer Product Safety Commission because Apple’s lawyers filed exemption after exemption. In the end, the CPSC released more than 800 pages which reveal, for the very first time, a comprehensive look that shows, on a number of occasions, iPods have suddenly burst into flames, started to smoke, and even burned their owners. the rest image by bfishadow

Embryonic-like cells repair damaged mouse hearts

Mon Jul 20, 2009
By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Ordinary cells reprogrammed to act like embryonic stem cells can help repair damaged heart tissue in mice, researchers reported on Monday in a study that shows a potential practical use for the experimental cells.

When injected into mice whose hearts had been damaged by a heart attack, the new cells helped improve both the structure and function of the heart. Eventually the hope would be to patch up seriously ill heart patients using their own cells.

"It was obvious to the observer which animals had been treated and which ones hadn't," said Dr Timothy Nelson of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, whose study appears in the journal Circulation. the rest

Stem cells can rescue the memory from Alzheimer's disease, claim scientists

Immune therapy Alzheimer's hope

Liberal Suicide March

DAVID BROOKS
July 20, 2009

Excerpt:
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday confirms what other polls have found. Most Americans love Barack Obama personally, but support for Democratic policies is already sliding fast.

Approval of Obama’s handling of health care, for example, has slid from 57 percent to 49 percent since April. Disapproval has risen from 29 percent to 44 percent. As recently as June, voters earning more than $50,000 preferred Obama to the Republicans on health care by a 21-point margin. Now those voters are evenly split.

Most independents now disapprove of Obama’s health care strategy. In March, only 32 percent of Americans thought Obama was an old-style, tax-and-spend liberal. Now 43 percent do.
We’re only in the early stages of the liberal suicide march, but there already have been three phases. First, there was the stimulus package. You would have thought that a stimulus package would be designed to fight unemployment and stimulate the economy during a recession. But Congressional Democrats used it as a pretext to pay for $787 billion worth of pet programs with borrowed money. Only 11 percent of the money will be spent by the end of the fiscal year — a triumph of ideology over pragmatism.

Then there is the budget. Instead of allaying moderate anxieties about the deficits, the budget is expected to increase the government debt by $11 trillion between 2009 and 2019. the rest

Poll: Public Losing Trust in Obama

Obama Calls On Bloggers To Keep Health Care Pressure On Congress

July 20, 2009
Sam Stein

In a reflection of a legislative strategy that has left no stone unturned, President Barack Obama on Monday called on like-minded bloggers to help his administration keep the heat on lawmakers to pass health care reform.

"It is important just to keep the pressure on members of Congress because what happens is there is a default position of inertia here in Washington," the president said during an invitation-only conference call. "And pushing against that, making sure that people feel that the desperation that ordinary families are feeling all across the country, every single day, when they are worrying about whether they can pay their premiums or not... People have to feel that in a visceral way. And you guys can help deliver that better than just about anybody."

In a roughly 25-minute session with a handful of prominent progressive bloggers, the president also asked for help combating disinformation about his health care plan. the rest

Stopping Obamacare: What The President's Call To The Blogs of the Hard Left Tells Us
Hugh Hewitt: The president's decision to appeal for help to the hard-left edge of the blogosphere tells us his health care plans are faltering in the Senate where hopefully risky, radical and increasingly widely unpopular schemes go to die, even when one party has 60 votes...

Kill It, and Start Over

Obama Administration Won't Rule Out Abortion Funding in National Health Care Bill

Minors in R.I. can be strippers

Tuesday, July 21, 2009
By Amanda Milkovits
Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE –– Rhode Island teens under 18 can’t work with power saws or bang nails up on roofs.

But dance at strip clubs? Sure. Just as long as the teens submit work permits, and are off the stripper’s pole by 11:30 on school nights.

It’s enough to surprise even those in America’s mecca of striptease and sin –– Las Vegas.
“Everybody buzzes about ‘Nevada and Sin City, tsk, tsk,’ ” said Edie Cartwright, spokeswoman for the Nevada attorney general’s office. “But we regulate it.” the rest

The Gospel, Anyone?

By William Murchison
Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Not that the secular world walks the floor at night worrying over the Episcopal Church and its waning influence over the minds of all decent and honorable Americans. The secular world lost this decent and honorable habit years ago and likely won't get it back, especially with Episcopalians themselves acting more and more like members of a secular pressure group.

The Episcopal Church, at the legislative/executive level anyway, is into "social justice," and there isn't much anyone can do about it. Save, of course, pray -- a pastime at which the church used to excel (the Book of Common Prayer, you know) before it came to believe the real action lies in resolutions and programs aimed at . well, consider how things went at the recent Episcopal General Convention.

GC, a triennial occasion, met in mid-July in Anaheim, Calif. Just around the corner lay Fantasyland. Good choice of locations. The deputies and bishops engaged almost daily in the fantasy of editing Christian theology to suit their newfound aspirations. These center on accommodating demands from the gay lobby to 1) allow the blessing in churches of same-sex relationships and 2) renew the commitment, earlier put on hold at the request of overseas Anglicans, to remove homosexuality and lesbianism as barriers to church leadership.

No contemporary American is likely to confuse the Episcopal Church with the churches of the so-called religious right. This seems to suit the majority of top-level (as opposed to the majority of lower-down) Episcopalians just fine. In fact, the more intently the "tops" concentrate on questions of "justice" and "inclusion" of supposedly persecuted groups, the happier with themselves, and their achievements, they appear to feel. the rest

Canada: The Catholic Church vs. our rights commissions

By Michael Coren
Special To The National Post
July 16, 2009

It did, as it were, have to happen. A human rights body taking on the Roman Catholic Church. In this case the issues are still murky and confused, but it appears that an openly gay man who has been living with his partner for 19 years has been dismissed as an altar server in his Peterborough parish. Several long-standing parishioners complained, and local Bishop Nicola De Angelis, one of the gentlest and kindest priests you are likely to meet, decided that the situation was inappropriate.

The man in question, spa-owner Jim Corcoran, claims that while he is homosexual he is celibate and a devout Catholic who observes Church teaching. Not, it seems, so devout and so observant of Church teaching that he is prepared to accept with Catholic humility and self-control the decision of that very Church to terminate an entirely voluntary (if important) position. Instead, he has appealed to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, a secular body that has habitually ruled against individual Christians and, some would argue, is in direct conflict with Roman Catholic teaching and pursues a pugnaciously anti-Catholic agenda. These are hardly the actions of a faithful Catholic in good standing, which leads one to wonder if there is more to this story -- and to Mr. Corcoran.

Any serious Catholic knows of people who faithfully attend Mass but cannot receive Communion, let alone be an altar server, because they are waiting for an annulment or face some other obstacle. Nonetheless, they accept Church teaching; they love and follow the Church. For Mr. Corcoran to lash out at the Church because it refuses to bend to his will indicates, at best, a somewhat weak faith, and, perhaps, utter hypocrisy. the rest

Monday, July 20, 2009

ObamaCare Yay Or Nay? The Truth About Canada!

Anaheim Statement Attracts More Support

July 20, 2009

Five additional bishops have signed the Anaheim Statement, the letter of dissent to the actions of the 76th General Convention in which bishops pledge to continue moratoria on same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions, and the ordination of gay and lesbian persons to the episcopate.

The addition of the five bishops brings the total number to 34. The five additional names are: the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle, Bishop of Texas; the Rt. Rev. Dena Harrison, Bishop Suffragan of Texas; the Rt. Rev. Philip Duncan, Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast; the Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards, Bishop of Nevada; and the Rt. Rev. Julio Holguin, Bishop of the Dominican Republic.

The original statement was issued after the Rt. Rev. Gary W. Lillibridge of West Texas read a statement prepared by an ad hoc committee of concerned bishops during the House of Bishops’ afternoon session July 16. Here

The New Remnant: Evangelical Episcopalians

Pro-gay Episcopal church further alienates its conservative evangelical minority.
July 20, 2009
Timothy C. Morgan

Last Friday, The Episcopal Church (TEC) completed its General Convention in Anaheim, California. The bottom line for conservatives still inside TEC is that they are increasingly adopting the language of remnant theology to describe their commitment to remain within TEC.

The church's Left-learning majority exercised extraordinary dominance and pressed forward with two measures:

D025. Gay Clergy, Bishops. This measure strongly endorses opening the office of priest and bishop to all qualified persons and is widely viewed as legally opening the door to gay and lesbian ordination as clergy and consecration as bishop.

C056. Same-sex blessings. This measure authorizes church leaders to develop services for the blessing of same-sex unions and openly allows bishops to respond sort of on a case by case basis and grants an attitude of generosity toward LGBT couples seeking a church blessing of their relationship. the rest

AnglicanTV: GC 2009-A Conversation with Bishop Lawrence

Lost in the Cloud

By JONATHAN ZITTRAIN
July 19, 2009
Cambridge, Mass.

EARLIER this month Google announced a new operating system called Chrome. It’s meant to transform personal computers and handheld devices into single-purpose windows to the Web. This is part of a larger trend: Chrome moves us further away from running code and storing our information on our own PCs toward doing everything online — also known as in “the cloud” — using whatever device is at hand.

Many people consider this development to be as sensible and inevitable as the move from answering machines to voicemail. With your stuff in the cloud, it’s not a catastrophe to lose your laptop, any more than losing your glasses would permanently destroy your vision. In addition, as more and more of our information is gathered from and shared with others — through Facebook, MySpace or Twitter — having it all online can make a lot of sense.

The cloud, however, comes with real dangers. the rest

Lesbian 'Person of the Year' in Gay Press Goes Straight With Baby

By Tim Graham
July 19, 2009

In December 2005, Kerry Pacer, then 17, was featured on the cover of the national gay news magazine The Advocate as its "Person of the Year" — making her the youngest gay person to achieve that honor – for fighting for a "gay-straight alliance" at White County High School in Cleveland, Georgia. But there’s apparently no embarrassment for the gay press....when she takes on a boyfriend and they have a baby. In The Washington Blade, Dyana Bagby reported:

But today she lives with her boyfriend, a construction worker, and their baby daughter, Marley, who turns 1 year old on Saturday.

"Well, she’s the most beautiful blue-eyed girl in the world and everybody tells me that so I’m not just being biased, I swear," Pacer said with a laugh.
the rest

White House putting off release of budget update

Jul 20, 2009
By TOM RAUM

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is being forced to acknowledge the wide gap between its once-upbeat predictions about the economy and today's bleak landscape.

The administration's annual midsummer budget update is sure to show higher deficits and unemployment and slower growth than projected in President Barack Obama's budget in February and update in May, and that could complicate his efforts to get his signature health care and global-warming proposals through Congress.

The release of the update - usually scheduled for mid-July - has been put off until the middle of next month, giving rise to speculation the White House is delaying the bad news at least until Congress leaves town on its August 7 summer recess.

The administration is pressing for votes before then on its $1 trillion health care initiative, which lawmakers are arguing over how to finance. the rest

First Moon Landing 1969

40 years after moon landing, US at 'crossroads'

Senate Approves Amendment Adding "Hate Crimes" to Defense Spending Bill

Friday July 17, 2009
By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C.,
July 17, 2009

(LifeSiteNews.com) - The United States Senate approved an amendment yesterday adding "hate crimes" legislation to the annual Defense Authorization bill, which would add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the list of federally-protected classes.

The Senate voted 63 - 28 to attach S.909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (MSHCPA), to the $680 billion defense bill meant to support US troops fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada favored attaching the hotly-debated bill as an amendment, instead of putting it forward as a stand-alone bill, in hopes of easing its passage, but his tactic drew outcry from Senate Republicans.

"Those of us who oppose this legislation - and it is important legislation - will be faced with a dilemma of choosing between a bill which can harm, in my view, the United States of America and its judicial system and a bill defending the nation," protested Sen. John McCain, who denounced Reid's tactic as an "abuse of power." the rest

Poll Shows Obama Slipping on Key Issues

Approval Rating on Health Care Falls Below 50 Percent
By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, July 20, 2009

Heading into a critical period in the debate over health-care reform, public approval of President Obama's stewardship on the issue has dropped below the 50 percent threshold for the first time, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Obama's approval ratings on other front-burner issues, such as the economy and the federal budget deficit, have also slipped over the summer, as rising concern about spending and continuing worries about the economy combine to challenge his administration. Barely more than half approve of the way he is handling unemployment, which now tops 10 percent in 15 states and the District. the rest

Kennedy: Let's Ration Health Care
Sen. Kennedy may have helped doom Obamacare

No NHS, Please, We're American
The computerization of Britain's National Health Service has been an expensive fiasco. Why does Obama want to emulate it?

Reform Puts Hospitals at Risk

Governors worried by healthcare bill costs

Episcopal Church Struggles With New Acceptance of Gays

By William Wan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 20, 2009

They stayed as other churches left.

They stayed through the ordination of a gay bishop, and the lengthy arguments that tested long-standing beliefs and frayed friendships. All the while, the congregation of the tiny church in rural Loudoun County kept the word "Episcopal" on the Sunday bulletins because members believed it was God's will.

But last week, as their denomination inched closer to ordaining more gay bishops and blessing same-sex unions, parishioners at the Church of Our Redeemer were left to wonder: How much longer could they remain Episcopalians?

It is a dilemma facing theologically conservative churches across the country as the denomination grows increasingly accepting toward homosexuality, pushing some parishes away from the Episcopal faith and leaving others, such as Our Redeemer, on the fence. the rest

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Devotional: The basin in which he washes us is his love...

God loves his creature, man; he even loves him in his fall and does not leave him to himself. He loves him to the end. He is impelled with his love to the very end, to the extreme: he came down from his divine glory.

He came down to the extreme lowliness of our fall. He kneels before us and carries out for us the service of a slave: he washes our dirty feet so that we might be admitted to God's banquet and be made worthy to take our place at his.

God is not a remote God, too distant or too great to be bothered with our trifles. Since God is great, he can also be concerned with small things. Since he is great, the soul of man, the same man, created through eternal love, is not a small thing but great, and worthy of God's love.

God's holiness is not merely an incandescent power before which we are obliged to withdraw, terrified. It is a power of love and therefore a purifying and healing power.

God descends and becomes a slave. In this, the entire mystery of Jesus Christ is expressed. In this, what redemption means becomes visible. The basin in which he washes us is his love, ready to face death. Only love has that purifying power which washes the grime from us and elevates us to God's heights.

The basin that purifies us is God himself, who gives himself to us without reserve-to the very depths of his suffering and his death. He is continually on his knees at our feet and carries out for us the service of a slave, the service of purification, making us capable of God. His love is inexhaustible, it truly goes to the very end. ...Benedict XVI image

AnglicanTV: GC 2009: Conversation with Bishop Love

Orthodox Bishops Call Episcopal Church's Actions 'Cynical Double-Think'

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Sun, Jul. 19 2009

Conservative bishops believe that The Episcopal Church's recent decisions favoring gay ordination and the blessing of same-sex unions will only lead to disaster.

Although The Episcopal Church reaffirmed its commitment to the wider Anglican Communion, the denomination's actions this past week have few orthodox bishops convinced of the authenticity of that pledge.

"Once again, we are saying we want to be part of the Anglican Communion and that we value that partnership," said William Love, Episcopal Bishop of Albany, according to VirtueOnline. "Yet there is always that 'but' we want to do it on our terms and we expect you to approve that. The rest of the Anglican Communion says it won't."

Resolution D025, approved Tuesday by The Episcopal Church's House of Deputies, states that the denomination is still "deeply and genuinely" committed to their relationships in the Anglican Communion while at the same time stating that access to their ordination process is open to all baptized members, including practicing homosexuals. the rest

God Bless This Gadget

By Evgeny Morozov
NEWSWEEK
Published Jul 18, 2009

If you had to choose one weapon for fighting the next religious war, you could do worse than to pick an iPhone. In recent months, the foot soldiers of religion have come out with a bevy of new programs designed to win converts and make religious practices more accessible. For those of the Jewish faith, iBlessing helps in figuring out which blessings go with which food, ParveOMeter keeps track of the waiting times between eating meat and dairy, and Siddur gives prayer times based on one's GPS coordinates. Devout Roman Catholics will appreciate iBreviary, which pulls up and displays complete missal and principal prayers in Spanish, French, English, Latin, and Italian.

Ever since Galileo, the relationship between technology and organized religion has been uneasy. The printing press helped spread the Gospel and win new adherents to Christianity, but it also greatly undermined the Catholic Church's information monopoly. To avoid repeating this mistake, religious organizations are embracing cutting-edge communications technologies, hoping to stay on the right side of the next technology revolution.

Less than a year ago, the Vatican deplored "the age of the Internet and the mobile," in which, according to Cardinal Lombardi, the pope's spokesman, it's "more difficult than before to protect silence and to nourish the interior dimension of life." Since then, the pope has changed his tune. "Young people … have grasped the enormous capacity of the new media to foster connectedness, communication, and understanding between individuals and communities, and they are turning to them as means of … forming networks, of seeking information and news, and of sharing their ideas and opinions," he said in May. the rest image/website-wikicath

Philip Jenkins: Their Separate Ways

July 17, 2009

For a decade now, the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) has been bitterly divided over the issue of ordaining openly gay clergy. The matter reached a new intensity this past week when the church's triennial convention ended the ban on gay candidates serving in ordained ministry. After years of protesting ECUSA's liberal policies and doctrines, seceding conservatives have now organized a rival church -- the Anglican Church in North America, or ACNA -- which claims 100,000 believers, compared with two million in ECUSA. This week's dramatic decision is sure to widen the rift even further, causing what church historians might officially label a "schism."

The presiding bishop of the mainstream Episcopal grouping, Katherine Jefferts Schori, predictably condemns ACNA, protesting that "schism is not a Christian act." But it is not wholly clear who is seceding from whom. In approving gay bishops, ECUSA is defying the global Anglican Communion, which had begged Americans not to take a move that could provoke believers in other parts of the world. The Anglican Communion, though noticeably "progressive" in its American and British forms, is a world-wide church of 80 million. Indeed, the majority of Anglicans today live in African and Asian countries where progressive views are not so eagerly embraced. For American conservatives, it is Bishop Jefferts Schori's church that has seceded from global Anglicanism. the rest