Saturday, August 15, 2009

Author calls for end of 'academic embargo' on G.K. Chesterton

August 11, 2009
Grand Rapids Church & State Examiner
Paul Nowak

Despite having a profound influence on the 20th century, English author G.K. Chesterton has remained virtually unknown to modern readers. This discrepancy may be due to an unwillingness for universities and colleges to include him in literary and history curriculum.

“The academic embargo against recognition of Chesterton’s stature remains in place, for reasons which remain a matter of speculation,” states William Oddie in the introduction to his biography published earlier this year, Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC.

Perhaps it is the effect Chesterton has on college students. In 1909, Mohandas Gandhi read one of Chesterton’s regular columns for the Illustrated London News, and was, according to his biographers, “thunderstruck” by the idea of truly Indian independence. He translated the article, and it became the basis for his book Hind Swaraj.

C.S. Lewis, who read Chesterton while serving in the army, has said that it was Chesterton who first showed him that the Christian world view made sense. J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as other Inklings, were also greatly influenced by Chesterton. the rest

Newt's Conversion

By Amy Sullivan
Monday, Aug. 24, 2009

Visitors to the Basilica of the National Shrine in northeast Washington often do a double take when they see Newt Gingrich and his familiar shock of white hair slip into a pew for the noon Mass on Sundays. The former Speaker of the House is known for many things, but religious zeal is not one of them. In fact, the social conservatives who fueled his Republican revolution in 1994 often complained about Gingrich's lack of interest in issues like abortion or school prayer.

This past spring, however, after several decades as a nominal Southern Baptist, Gingrich converted to Catholicism. With the fervor of a convert, he has embraced the role of defending both his new faith and religious liberty. In his 2006 book Rediscovering God in America, Gingrich lambasted what he calls the "secular effort to reject any sense of a spiritual life as mattering." And days before he officially joined the Catholic Communion on March 29, he was among the first to criticize the University of Notre Dame for inviting Barack Obama to speak, Twittering (of course): "It is sad to see notre dame invite president obama to give the commencement address since his policies are so anti catholic." the rest

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rev. Phil Ashey: Update on court proceedings today for Christ Church Savannah

By The Rev. Phil Ashey, J.D.
AAC email update
posted August 14, 2009

In Prayer and in Court

I am writing from Savannah, Georgia, where I arrived last night to join with 200 people in a prayer vigil at the "Mother Church of Georgia," Christ Church Savannah, in preparation for the hearing today in Chatham County Superior Court.

The sanctuary is holy ground, sanctified by the prayers of the saints and the pulpit of George Whitfield and John Wesley. Last night I saw among the crowd the Vicar-General of the new Anglican Diocese of the Southeast, the Rev. Neil Lebhar, and clergy representing different churches in Savannah-including Episcopal churches-who are standing in solidarity with the people of Christ Church. There were visitors who had driven from as far away as Monroe, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida just to pray in solidarity with the parishioners of Christ Church. It was a tremendous encouragement to receive personal greetings and words of biblical encouragement from Vicar-General Neil Lebhar and the pastors of churches in Savannah, who expressed great affection for the Rector of Christ Church, the Rev. Marc Robertson, and for the people of Christ Church as they stand for Biblical truth and "the faith once delivered to the saints." Even more encouraging was the list that Senior Warden Mrs. Carol Rogers-Smith shared with the gathering-a list of all the people who were praying at that very hour with Christ Church. Brothers and sisters in Christ from all over the world-Korea, Uganda, the U.K., Malaysia, California, Michigan, Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and more-were praying for Christ Church Savannah.

The vigil itself was beautifully planned by the Rector and his staff, with a combination of greetings, meditations, hymns classical and contemporary, collects from a variety of Anglican prayer books, and silence for personal prayer. It was an honor and a privilege to have been invited to offer the four meditations: on overcoming anxiety, peace in the storm, overcoming bitterness, and winning and losing in the Kingdom of God.

During the vigil, a number of us also had the privilege of pulling aside into the chapel to pray for members of Christ Church's legal defense team, including their Chancellor, Neil Creasy, and co-counsel, Steffen Johnson. Steffen Johnson is among the lead counsel for the legal defense team in the Anglican District Virginia (ADV) cases which are currently on appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court. Steffen is not only a brilliant advocate but he is above all a fully-devoted follower of Jesus Christ who is a passionate prayer warrior. Many in the ADV will know that Steffen and co-counsel have prayer-walked the churches they are defending, and encouraged prayer meetings like the kind we experienced last night.

It is a remarkable thing to be among people who are facing the loss of their church home, and the historic buildings from which the gospel of Jesus Christ has been proclaimed uninterrupted for 300 years. As I looked into people's faces I did not see fear or grief. Instead, I saw faith, hope, a desire to move beyond bitterness, an eagerness to hear God's word and confidence in his promises. As we prayed together in the chapel, voices were raised in loud praise of God and his goodness and faithfulness, in passionate prayer against spiritual strongholds-and not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:13). When we sang, we sang with joy and lifted our voices to the Lord in praise and worship. One had the tangible sense that, even if these hallowed halls are lost to The Episcopal Church (TEC), a deeper victory will have been won for the people of Christ Church as they press on with the work of the Kingdom.

The hearing today in Courtroom F of the Chatham County Superior Court was packed-literally standing room only. Members from Christ Church were in abundance, and there were also members from the "shadow" congregation and the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, including Bishop Loutit. The audience was subdued, quiet and polite throughout the entire proceedings.

We began at 1:30pm and final rebuttal concluded at 3:45pm.

The Honorable Michael Karpf presided and informed counsel and the audience that the issues were too numerous and complicated for him to issue a ruling today and that they should be patient. He will take the arguments under submission and issue a ruling as soon as his calendar permits. He then invited counsel for the plaintiffs, the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and TEC, to make their statements.

Without going into every detail, today's hearing was on a motion for summary judgment by plaintiffs (TEC and the Diocese) asking for immediate possession of all real and personal property of Christ Church and an accounting. The arguments centered on the disposition of church property cases by "neutral principles of law" as decided by the United States Supreme Court in Jones v. Wolf. TEC and the Diocese interpret Jones v. Wolf to read that in such a "neutral principles" case, where the governing documents of a hierarchical church are clear, they are decisive. Hence the 1979 Dennis Canon-which unilaterally imposed a trust interest in favor of TEC in the property of each local church-trumps all other principles and the property belongs to the Diocese and/or TEC.

Not so fast, said the Judge. Is this Dennis Canon "severable" from the rest of the TEC canons-including matters of doctrine into which the courts cannot inquire? Does the Dennis Canon trump Diocesan canons that cut in favor of Christ Church? In response to TEC's argument that the Dennis Canon is merely a codification of a "common understanding and practice" that the property of the local church is held in trust for the denomination, Judge Karpf asked if a "mere understanding" not expressly within the governing documents is a neutral principle? What if the rules of procedure governing the passage of a canon by General Convention were violated? What about the unilateral nature of the Dennis Canon and the lack of notice to the local congregation?

Now it was Christ Church's turn to argue against plaintiffs motion for summary judgment and in support of their cross motion for summary judgment against TEC and the Diocese. Counsel for Christ Church argued that the plaintiff's interpretation of "neutral principles" in Jones v Wolf was seriously flawed, and that their arguments ignored both Georgia law and the unique nature of the 1789 Georgia legislature's grant of property to Christ Church prior to the very existence of the Diocese of Georgia.

However, the Judge questioned the efficacy of the 1789 grant after Christ Church's subsequent accession in 1918 to the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Georgia. Counsel responded that the accession was limited to the Constitution and Canons at that time, and not in perpetuity to every subsequent amendment (including by incorporation the 1979 Dennis Canon). Counsel also argued that Christ Church amended its charter in 2006 to remove that accession language, and was not required by either Georgia law or the canons of the Diocese to give notice.

Christ Church also took the offensive in challenging the authority of the Dennis Canon. Judge Karpf was troubled by Christ Church's failure to make any objection to the Dennis Canon for almost 25 years, until doctrinal differences with TEC led to their withdrawal in 2007. In response to questions along this line, counsel responded that TEC is a New York corporation. Under New York law, a membership association that asserts a property interest must give its members advance notice of such a claim, and an opportunity to contest or accede to that claim. Obviously, this never happened in the last minute passage of the Dennis canon at GC 1979: it was made effective immediately upon passage, and notice was given (if at all) only after the fact.

Moreover, under principles of Georgia law, TEC and the Diocese would be "estopped" or prevented from taking advantage of Christ Church's failure to object to the Dennis Canon and their subsequent engagement with the Diocese on other matters regarding the property, for lack of adequate and advance notice. Counsel also argued that the Dennis Canon was not merely a codification of an already existing "understood and implied" trust interest, but was rather a massive and unprecedented taking of church property by the creation of a unilateral and implied trust. Counsel cited Bishop White and his commentary on the Constitution and Canons of TEC where he stated unequivocally that the Dennis Canon was a response to Jones v Wolf and not merely a codification of existing practice. When the judge asked if Christ Church had been given adequate notice in advance, could it have objected and left with the property, counsel responded in the affirmative.

It seems that the judge could rule in either one of three ways: (1) Grant TEC and the Diocese's motion for Summary Judgment; or (2) grant Christ Church's motion for Summary Judgment, or (3) deny both motions and set the case for trial. Either way, this case will go on by appeal or trial.

During the prayer vigil, the Rev. Marc Robertson shared a vision he had in his early years as rector of Christ Church. The Lord showed him a "Sherwin-Williams" picture of God's anointing pouring out and flowing over and through Christ Church to the community. This anointing is for the healing of many. Please pray that God will continue to fulfill this great Kingdom vision for Christ Church as they await the next steps.

Yours in Christ,
Phil+
(photo by Raymond Dague)

Lutherans prepare for big decision on gay clergy

Lutherans prepare for big decision on gay clergy
By PATRICK CONDON (AP)
posted August 14, 2009

FRIDLEY, Minn. — The Rev. Dave Glesne stood before the members of Redeemer Lutheran Church a few weeks ago and told them there might be some painful decisions in the near future.

Glesne is against letting people in same-sex relationships serve as pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and he says his congregation is behind him. They're worried this suburban Minneapolis church could find itself on the losing side as leaders of the nation's largest Lutheran denomination vote on whether to take that step at their biennial national convention, which starts Monday in Minneapolis.

"Of course the question was asked: What will we do, Pastor Dave, if this goes?" Glesne said. "The conversation we had left me no doubt that we will definitely have a discussion about leaving the ELCA." the rest

Herod Slaughters Where the Cross Does Not Come

China, with its compulsory one child policy, is not the only country where unborn children and babies are killed. Infanticide was and is a common practice in many civilizations of yesterday and today. Christianity has always been its most radical antithesis. A book and an article document it
by Sandro Magister

ROME, August 14, 2009 – "Better ten graves than one extra birth," preaches a slogan of the one-child campaign in China. And this is also the title of the book in which Harry Wu has described and analyzed the Chinese anti-childbearing policy, made up of sterilization, forced abortion, infanticide.

The book was released in the United States, where Wu lives – in exile from China – and heads the Laogai Research Foundation. And now it has also been released in Italy, just as the parliament approved, on July 15, a motion that requires the Italian government to present to the general assembly of the United Nations a resolution against abortion as a means of population control, and for the affirmation of the right of every woman not to be forced to abort.

In China, the obligatory one-child policy was introduced in 1979. Wu's assessment of these thirty years is expressed well in the title of his book in its Italian version: "Slaughter of innocents."
the rest image by procsilas

Episcopal Church convinces few that it is not breaking moratoria

Friday, 14th August 2009
By George Conger

The Episcopal Church’s protestation that it has not ended the ban on gay bishops or blessings has not found support outside its borders.

After strong international reaction against the decisions of the recent General Convention, US Church leaders moved quickly to claim that the Church had not changed its position.

But critics said that this was the inevitable outcome when the Episcopal Church opened the discernment process for new bishops to gay clergy and permitted dioceses to compile and develop rites for the blessings of same-sex unions None of the American church’s allies among the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion have publicly spoken up in support of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s claims that nothing has changed, while several sharp statements have been released by overseas provinces and dioceses charging that the Episcopal Church had walked away from the Anglican Communion.

On July 18 Bishop Jefferts Schori stated that “in 2009” there are “more and deeper relationships with parts of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion than five or 10 years ago.”

The votes taken at General Convention were a “truthful attempt to deepen relationships,” she said. the rest

Noonan: Obama turns out to be brilliant at becoming, not being, president

From 'Yes, We Can,' to 'No! Don't!'
AUGUST 13, 2009
Paeggy Noonan

Excerpt:
The president seemed like a man long celebrated as being very good at politics—the swift rise, the astute reading of a varied electorate—who is finding out day by day that he isn't actually all that good at it. In this sense he does seem reminiscent of Jimmy Carter, who was brilliant at becoming president but not being president. (Actually a lot of them are like that these days.)

Also, something odd. When Mr. Obama stays above the fray, above the nitty-gritty of specifics, when he confines his comments on health care to broad terms, he more and more seems . . . pretty slippery. In the town hall he seemed aware of this, and he tried to be very specific about the need for this aspect of a plan, and the history behind that proposal. And yet he seemed even more slippery. When he took refuge in the small pieces of his argument, he lost the major threads; when he addressed the major threads, he seemed almost to be conceding that the specifics don't hold.

When you seem slippery both in the abstract and the particular, you are in trouble. the rest

Obama's Senior Moment
Why the elderly are right to worry when the government rations medical care.

Obamacare: The More POTUS Says, The Less He Seems to Know

An American Mom Writes President Obama

By Jennifer Hartline
8/14/2009

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - I have in front of me a letter I received from you in response to a letter I wrote to you regarding abortion in the U.S. You thanked me politely for taking the time to share my views on abortion and said, “This is a heart-wrenching issue.” I just haven’t been able to get one little question out of my mind since reading your letter. Why?

Why is it heart-wrenching? Why would my heart be rent by making a perfectly legal and morally acceptable choice to have an abortion? Why should anyone’s heart be torn by this choice? The highest law of our land says that there is nothing wrong with choosing abortion. If no law is being broken, why should my heart or anyone’s heart be troubled?

In the short time you’ve been President, you have strategically worked to expand abortion access around the country. In fact, you promised in your campaign that your first task upon taking office would be to sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate virtually every existing restriction on abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, and even lift the ban on partial-birth abortion. (You said you considered that one a legitimate medical procedure.) the rest

CDC Figures Show Teen Abortions Lower in States Accepting Abstinence Funds

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 13, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- A new report relying on data from the Centers for Disease Control finds the states that accepted abstinence education funding saw greater reductions in teen abortions compared to states that didn't. The information provides another argument in favor of funding abstinence education programs.

The Texas-based pro-life group San Antonio Coalition for Life has put out the new report and it compared CDC abortion figures to the list of states accepting or rejecting the funds. the rest

Planned Parenthood wants state of SD restrained

By CARSON WALKER , Associated Press
August 13, 2009

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Planned Parenthood has asked a judge to prevent South Dakota from suspending or revoking its license to perform abortions because of state claims that it violated a law requiring doctors to tell women that abortion ends a human life.

Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota requested a temporary restraining order in response to a letter it received Monday from the state Department of Health.

The letter, included in the court file, lists numerous deficiencies reportedly found in May during an inspection of the state's only abortion clinic, in Sioux Falls. The agency gave Planned Parenthood, which operates the clinic, until Aug. 22 to submit a correction plan. the rest

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Les Paul 1915 - 2009


by Hugo Munday
August 13, 2009

Instrumentalist, entertainer, and inventor of the guitar model that bears his name, Les Paul passed away today in White Plains, New York, at the age of 94.

Born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on June 9, 1915, Paul began performing in public as a "honky-tonk" guitarist at the age of 13. In the 1930s and '40s, he played with bandleader Fred Waring and many popular singers, including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and The Andrews Sisters. It was Crosby that gave Paul an early tape recorder that he began to modify, allowing him to pioneer the art of multi-track recording.

An electronics enthusiast since his youth, Les Paul began experimenting with new guitar designs in the ‘30s. As ensemble sound levels were growing with amplification, his goal was to improve tone and sustain, while minimizing feedback, so he designed an instrument with a solid body, reducing vibration in the frame and concentrating it in the string. the rest

Les Paul: Original Guitar Hero

E-mails from public overload House Web site

Aug 13, 2009
By ANNE FLAHERTY

WASHINGTON (AP) - Amid a boisterous debate on health care reform, people flooded members of Congress on Thursday with so many e-mails that they overloaded the House's primary Web site.

Technical support issued a warning to congressional staff that the site - - may be slow or unresponsive because of the large volume of e-mail being sent to http://www.house.gov/.

Jeff Ventura, a spokesman for the House's chief administrative officer, which maintains the Web site, said traffic data was not available and could not be released without the lawmakers' consent.

But anecdotally, he said, the spike in e-mail volume was widely believed to be a result of the health care debate. the rest

S.C. Bishop Proposes Diocese Withdraw from TEC Governing Bodies

August 13, 2009

The Diocese of South Carolina needs to distance itself from the governing bodies of The Episcopal Church, its bishop said Thursday in an address to clergy meeting at St. James’ Church, James Island, Charleston, S.C.

The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, bishop since January 2008, did not urge the diocese to break all ties with The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Lawrence and the standing committee have called for a special convention on Oct. 24 to vote on proposals that Bishop Lawrence presented during the meeting. He and the standing committee discussed these proposals during a marathon meeting on July 28. the rest

A.S. Haley: A Brave Start

India hit for rising religious violence

Criticized by U.S. agency
By Betsy Pisik
Thursday, August 13, 2009

An independent U.S. agency on Wednesday criticized the Indian government's "inadequate" response to growing religious hatred, saying attacks and violent riots are on the rise.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a harsh assessment of India's ability and interest in protecting Christian and Muslim minorities from organized attacks.

Plenty of laws are in place, the 14-page report noted, but police and government officials often do little to enforce them. the rest

Bp. Lawrence—Address to the Clergy of The Diocese of SC

August 13, 2009

Excerpt:
"It is perfectly understandable to me that many among us may look at the developments during the last several decades and believe it is The Episcopal Church (TEC) that is our problem. Those of us who refer to ourselves as reasserters, conservatives, Anglo-Catholics or Evangelicals, or sometimes under the sweeping moniker of “orthodox” have often felt ourselves driven, if not out, then to the margins of this Church. We refer sometimes with derision to the Presiding Bishop (whether Bps Browning, Griswold or Jefferts Schori). We speak of 815, the “National” Church, the General Convention, as problems we have to react to, and believe we know what it is we are fighting, or are in conflict with. Sometimes it all comes under the title of TEC. Never realizing perhaps that here at least in South Carolina we are the Church: The Episcopal Church. It is only as I’ve allowed my Lord to remove the anger toward these “institutions” of the Church that I can recognize with greater clarity what it is I need to engage—and even fight against.

When the apostle Paul heard that the churches of Galatia (Gal 1:2) were being misled by a “new” gospel, turning away from Christ and his grace it was not the churches themselves he attacked. Certainly he spoke firmly when he penned or dictated the words “O foolish Galatians! who has bewitched you…..” Or stated in those opening verses of the letter “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” His sharp words addressed the false teaching and those who preached it. (Galatians 1:6—9). So too in our present context it is not The Episcopal Church that is the problem, it is those who have cloaked it with so many strands of false doctrine that we can well wonder if indeed it can be salvaged. Like an invading vine unnatural to the habitat that has covered a once elegant, old growth forest with what to some looks like a gracious vine it is in fact decorative destruction. What may look like a flower may be bramble.

We face a multitude of false teachings, which like an intrusive vine, is threatening The Episcopal Church as we have inherited and received it from our ancestors. I have called this the false Gospel of Indiscriminate Inclusivity because I see a common pattern in how the core doctrines of our faith are being systematically deconstructed. I must by necessity be brief and cannot give any of these concerns the attention they deserve."

the rest and comments at T19

Comments at Stand Firm

The diocese of South Carolina has their clergy meeting today

Please pray!
From: Lent & Beyond

Dear Father,

As intercessors, we come boldly into Your throne room covered in the Blood of Jesus. We come up under the authority of the Blood Covenant, the authority of Your Word and the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Clothe the clergy of South Carolina with the armor of light.
–May they bind themselves to the Truth, who is Jesus.
–May they bind themselves to Your Righteousness in Christ Jesus.
–May they bind themselves to the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
–May they bind themselves to the Faith of the Son of God.
–May they bind themselves to the Salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Help them to bind their mind, will, and emotions to the Will, Word, and Way of God. May their corporate mind be so bound to the mind of Christ, that the very thoughts, feelings and purposes of His heart would be within their thoughts. Endow them with mighty weapons for the pulling down of strongholds, the casting down of imagination and every high thing that would exalt itself against the knowledge of You in their corporate life. We pray that their thoughts would be captive to the obedience of Christ.

Baptize them and fill them afresh with the Holy Spirit and Fire.

We pray that their corporate mind will be aligned with Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and the kingdom of God. As intercessors we speak to the heavens and command them to be opened over this meeting place. Let Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven this day. Release the ministry of angels into their gathering.

Stir them to resist the devil and renounce any agreement that they have knowingly or unknowingly made with the kingdom of darkness. As intercessors, we agree with the word of God and the completed work of the cross–It is finished! The prince of this world now stands condemned. Jesus has disarmed the powers and authoritites, triumphing over them by the cross. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. We claim the completed work of the cross over this meeting, this diocese, and the land.

Father, as intercessors, we are fallen creatures. We see through a glass darkly and don’t always know how to pray. We stand in agreement with the intercession of Jesus Christ that is proceeding from the right hand of the Father. Amen.
Here image by Glen's Pics

More prayer specifics here

What Are You Waiting For, Doc?

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Duane R. Patterson

You may have been too busy seeing patients to realize Barack Obama and the Democrats have been making you doctors the latest in a long line of new American villains, joining bankers, stock traders, CEOs, children's product manufacturers, oil company executives, airlines, farmers and health insurance companies,just to name a few.

Many of you docs have started to get off the sidelines and join the fight against the Democrats' radical plan to destroy forever the way you are able to practice medicine. Many more of you, however, haven't. Let's recap just the last couple of months you may have missed. the rest

Caution: Obama’s weird scientists at work
Nature reports that all the president’s science experts met last week “mull priorities.” Heading the meeting? Eugenics-embracer and science czar John Holdren...

All the President's eugenics advisors

Judge orders Microsoft to stop selling Word

By Byron Acohido
USA TODAY
posted August 13, 2009

SEATTLE — A federal district court judge has ordered Microsoft (MSFT) to stop selling Word in the U.S. — and the tiny company behind the lawsuit is digging in for a David vs. Goliath showdown.

Toronto-based i4i, which has 30 employees, claims that Microsoft violated an obscure patent related to Extensible Markup Language or XML. It's a key software component of many websites and computer programs, including Word.

Judge Leonard Davis agreed Tuesday, ordering Microsoft to pay $290 million in fines and stop selling Word in the U.S. in 60 days. That could derail a core business for the world's largest software maker. the rest

A presidential medal based on a sex life

August 12, 2009
By Peter Sprigg

When President Obama today awards a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk, it may mark the first time in history that the nation's highest civilian award has been granted primarily on the basis of someone's sex life.

As the White House announcement explained, "Harvey Milk became the first openly gay elected official from a major city in the United States when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977." Yet Milk served in that office for less than a year, so that hardly qualifies him for the Medal of Freedom. Milk was also assassinated in November of 1978. But that cannot qualify him for this award, either – San Francisco Mayor George Moscone was killed by the same assassin the same day, but he will receive no Medal of Freedom. At least lesbian Billie Jean King, who will also be honored by Obama, was a genuine tennis star. the rest

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Devotional: Nobody seriously believes...

Nobody seriously believes the universe was made by God without being persuaded that He takes care of His works.
..John Calvin image

Gay bishops may further divide Episcopal Church

Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Roughly six years after the consecration of a gay bishop triggered divisions in the Episcopal Church, clergy and lay leaders have recently voted to accept other gay or lesbian bishops and also to develop rites for same-sex marriages.

The landmark decisions have, in part, led to Oakland's Rev. John Kirkley - a gay, married priest who leads a Mission District parish - being named a finalist to be a bishop in Los Angeles.

"We're in a state of jubilation over this," said Thomas Jackson, an Alameda resident who is president of Oasis California, an LGBT ministry sponsored by the Bay Area-based Episcopal Diocese of California. "This madness of having a time of restraining and sacrificing gay and lesbian people has passed."

Yet the moves also threaten to further cleave a denomination at the center of global debates about sexuality and religion. Conservatives, who have a growing dominance in the global church, say they are increasingly alienated in the U.S. church and that biblical sanctity is at stake. Read more: the rest

Islamic Extremists Behead Four Christian Orphanage Workers in Somalia

Written by ICC
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Washington, D.C.

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Somali Islamic extremists beheaded four Christians after kidnapping them on July 27 in the coastal town of Merca, 56 miles from Mogadishu.

Fatima Sultan, Ali Ma'ow, Sheik Mohammed Abdi, and Maaddey Diil were killed by members of Al-Shabab, an Islamic extremist organization. The Islamists kidnapped and eventually beheaded the Christians after they refused to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.

On August 4, a junior Al-Shabab militant notified all the families of the victims that the four Christians had been beheaded for apostasy. He described the Christians as promoters of "fitna," a Muslim term for religious discord. The militant, who called himself "Seiful Islam" ("the Sword of Islam"), told the families that the bodies will not be given to them "as Somalia does not have cemeteries for infidels." the rest

Paris Burning Again

Iranian Christian women refuse to recant faith

Are we on the brink of creating a computer with a human brain?

By Michael Hanlon
11th August 2009

There are only a handful of scientific revolutions that would really change the world. An immortality pill would be one. A time machine would be another.

Faster-than-light travel, allowing the stars to be explored in a human lifetime, would be on the shortlist, too.

To my mind, however, the creation of an artificial mind would probably trump all of these - a development that would throw up an array of bewildering and complex moral and philosophical quandaries. Amazingly, it might also be within reach.

For while time machines, eternal life potions and Star Trek-style warp drives are as far away as ever, a team of scientists in Switzerland is claiming that a fully-functioning replica of a human brain could be built by 2020.

This isn't just pie-in-the-sky. The Blue Brain project, led by computer genius Henry Markram - who is also the director of the Centre for Neuroscience & Technology and the Brain Mind Institute - has for the past five years been engineering the mammalian brain, the most complex object known in the Universe, using some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. the rest

Teen Fears For Her Life After Converting From Islam

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Reported by Kelli Cook

ORLANDO - An Ohio runaway teenager, Christianity and the Muslim religion met head-on Monday during a custody dispute in an Orlando courtroom.

The girl, 17-year-old Rifqa Bary, recently converted from her family's faith to Christianity and she is worried about her family's reaction to her change in faith.

"She says her life is in danger and she could be killed in an honor killing," Rosa Gonzalez, the teen's lawyer, said after the hearing. "Unfortunately it happens every day in the U.S." the rest

Obamacare: Beware the Bureaucrats

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Wesley J. Smith

The caustic writer Camille Paglia is a strong supporter of President Obama. But she is appalled at the health care reform bill and the president’ performance in its pursuit. She brings up another problem with the bill that has received too little attention.

From her Salon column:
The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy. the rest

Obama’s Tone-Deaf Health Campaign
The president shouldn’t worry about the protestors disrupting town hall meetings. He should worry about the Americans who have been sitting at home listening to him.

Archbishop Chaput: ‘Common ground’ claim will be tested by details of health care reform

Denver, Colo.,

Aug 11, 2009

(CNA) Whether or not the White House and Congress are really seeking to find common ground on health care reform legislation will be discovered in the details of the plan put forth, Archbishop Charles Chaput said today, warning against any attempts to place an abortion mandate in the reform bills.

The "common ground" message, Archbishop Chaput wrote, is "a very welcome theme" and along with the concept of the "common good" comprises a central message of Catholic social teaching. the rest

Media ignoring atrocities against Christians

12 August, 2009

Nigeria (MNN) ― With 12 Christians, including three pastors, killed in rioting in Nigeria, a ministry focused on persecution against Christians is speaking out. Late last month, riots were instigated by an Islamic extremist sect in the state of Borno because they were opposed to Western education practices.

20 churches were burned to the ground before police captured and killed the leader.

This is just one more example of persecution against Christians all over the world.

President of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller is mystified why the media isn't talking about this story and others like it. "Why do stories of Christians being killed, Christians being imprisoned unjustly, Christians being tortured for their faith not cause outcry on behalf of these peaceful Christians who simply desire to live out their faith?"

Moeller says there is a double standard in the world. "If this were a case of Muslims being killed by Christians in various places around the world, we would not cease to hear the outcry and hand-wringing from Muslim communities around this country [and others]." the rest

Pro-Life Women's Group Mourns Today's Passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 11, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Although other members of the Kennedy family abandoned their pro-life beliefs as their political stock rose, Eunice Kennedy Shriver never did. And for that, pro-life advocates are mourning the passing of the woman who founded Special Olympics.

Shriver died this morning at the age of 88 surrounded by her family and she is survived by her husband Sargent Shriver, a former Vice Presidential nominee.

Together the Shrivers had five children and twenty-one grandchildren.

Shriver, a lifelong pro-life Democrat, was the sister of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy, and Senator Edward Kennedy.

But she was honored by Feminists for Life of America in 1998 as a "Remarkable Pro-Life Woman." the rest

Eulogizing pro-life Eunice Kennedy Shriver

The Joyful Revolution

Press Largely Ignored Incendiary Rhetoric at Bush Protest

News outlets that are focusing on the incendiary rhetoric of conservatives outside President Obama's town hall meeting Tuesday ignored the incendiary rhetoric -- and even violence -- of liberals outside an appearance by former President George W. Bush in 2002.
By Bill Sammon
FOXNews.com
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

News outlets that are focusing on the incendiary rhetoric of conservatives outside President Obama's town hall meeting Tuesday ignored the incendiary rhetoric -- and even violence -- of liberals outside an appearance by former President George W. Bush in 2002.

When Bush visited Portland, Ore., for a fundraiser, protesters stalked his motorcade, assailed his limousine and stoned a car containing his advisers. Chanting "Bush is a terrorist!", the demonstrators bullied passers-by, including gay softball players and a wheelchair-bound grandfather with multiple sclerosis.

One protester even brandished a sign that seemed to advocate Bush's assassination. The man held a large photo of Bush that had been doctored to show a gun barrel pressed against his temple.

"BUSH: WANTED, DEAD OR ALIVE," read the placard, which had an X over the word "ALIVE." the rest

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Devotional: Hard it is, very hard...

Hard it is, very hard,
To travel up the slow and stony road
To Calvary, to redeem mankind; far better
To make but one resplendent miracle,
Lean through the cloud, lift the right hand of power
And with a sudden lightning smite the world perfect.
Yet this was not God’s way, Who had the power,
But set it by, choosing the cross, the thorn,
The sorrowful wounds. Something there is, perhaps,
That power destroys in passing, something supreme,
To whose great value in the eyes of God
That cross, that thorn, and those five wounds bear witness.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers
image-Beesnest Mclain

Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight!

By Boston.com staff
August 11, 2009

If you want to wish upon a "falling star," tonight's your night. That is, if you're willing to stay up past midnight.

The annual Perseid meteor shower, which began around July 14, will reach its peak activity early Wednesday morning. At its peak, the shower typically has anywhere from 60 to 80 visible meteors an hour, according to NASA.

NASA recommends viewers get away from city lights and lie flat on a blanket. When scouring the sky for meteors, avoid looking at the moon, since that will cut down one's night vision and make it harder to spot the small streaks of light. Stargazers will have to contend with a gibbous moon that's only a few days past being full.

The meteors can appear in any part of the sky, but the tails of the meteors will point back to the constellation Perseus -- the shower's namesake -- in the northeast corner of the sky. the rest
image by Frederic Hore

Socialist Sweden Moves to Ban Homeschooling for Religious or Philosophical Reasons

Government accused of "showing off its worst totalitarian socialist roots".
By Hilary White

STOCKHOLM, August 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Swedish Association for Home Education (ROHUS) is asking for support from the international community to stop an attempt by the Swedish government to outlaw homeschooling. The new legislation argues that because a child's education should be "comprehensive and objective" it must be "designed so that all pupils can participate, regardless of what religious or philosophical" views of parents or children.

The government's explanation of the draft law says, "there is no need for the law to offer the possibility of homeschooling because of religious or philosophical reasons in the family."

On June 15 the Swedish government unveiled the draft legislation which, if passed, would impose severe restrictions on parents wishing to homeschool their children. Citing the European Convention on Human Rights, the law only allows parents to homeschool if "extraordinary circumstances" exist. The programme being used must pass muster with state officials and authorities will inspect and monitor home schooling families. Permission to homeschool must be renewed each year. the rest

Germans wary as mosque rises in Cologne

By Isabelle de Pommereau
Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
August 9, 2009

Cologne, Germany - In the Middle Ages, Cologne, in the heartland of German Catholicism, set out to build the biggest cathedral in the world. In 2010, the city's Gothic masterpiece will have a new rival on the skyline: The soaring minarets of Germany's largest mosque.

The mosque has been a controversial topic in the country since it was first discussed in 2001 and only won construction approval last year. Cloaked within complaints about noise, parking, and its possible impact on property values was the unease of a Germany that is coming to grips with a fundamental demographic change – the rise of its Muslim minority – and worried that it might pose a threat to Europe's Christian culture.

Cologne's 120,000 Muslims are the most in any German city. By 2020, two-thirds of Cologne's residents are expected to have foreign – mostly Turkish – roots. Designed for 2,000 worshipers, the mosque's completion will be something of a coming-out party for a booming minority that has long lived in society's shadows.

And it's not just here. A handful of mosques 10 years ago have swollen to 164, and close to 200 more are under construction across Germany, says Claus Legge. the rest

Catholic college’s ‘no contraceptives’ healthcare policy is discriminatory, EEOC charges

Belmont, N.C.,
Aug 11, 2009

(CNA) Revisiting a case that had been thought closed, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that Belmont Abbey College’s decision to remove contraception from its faculty health care policy, in accordance with Catholic teaching, discriminated against women.

After a faculty member discovered that contraception, abortion and voluntary sterilization were covered by the North Carolina college’s health care policy, the drugs and procedures were removed from the plan in December 2007. Though the state of North Carolina requires this coverage, it offers an exemption for religious institutions. the rest

Ex-gay ministry has 53 percent success rate

Aug 10, 2009
by Michael Foust

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--In findings that directly contradict mainstream academic thought, 53 percent of subjects in a new seven-year study reported successfully leaving homosexuality and living happily as heterosexual or celibate persons.

The study by psychologists Stanton L. Jones of Wheaton College and Mark A. Yarhouse of Regent University is a follow-up to one released two years ago in the form of a book, "Ex-Gays?" That study was called groundbreaking, and the latest set of data is no less significant, the researchers say. the rest

Assaulted by sex-ed

By Rebecca Hagelin
Monday, August 10, 2009

Much of what is being taught to our young girls and boys in sex-education classes is too graphic and vulgar to be quoted in the newspaper.

For that, you can blame Planned Parenthood, Advocates for Youth, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). The content of sex-education programs is dominated by these groups, which instruct our children on how to perform sexual acts, including homosexuality and sadomasochism. Their materials promote a radical political agenda, are highly pornographic, encourage our children to be sexually active and are largely devoid of biological and medical information.

To fully grasp the problem, read Dr. Miriam Grossman's new book, "You're Teaching My Child What?" It is a shocking and maddening expose of how our children are being brainwashed by perverted and immoral sex propagandists. the rest

New Nuns and Priests Seen Opting for Tradition

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
August 10, 2009

A new study of Roman Catholic nuns and priests in the United States shows that an aging, predominantly white generation is being succeeded by a smaller group of more racially and ethnically diverse recruits who are attracted to the religious orders that practice traditional prayer rituals and wear habits.

The study found that the graying of American nuns and priests was even more pronounced than many Catholics had realized. Ninety-one percent of nuns and 75 percent of priests are 60 or older, and most of the rest are at least 50.

They are the generation defined by the Second Vatican Council, of the 1960s, which modernized the church and many of its religious orders. Many nuns gave up their habits, moved out of convents, earned higher educational degrees and went to work in the professions and in community service. The study confirms what has long been suspected: that these more modern religious orders are attracting the fewest new members. the rest

New Anglican row looming as gays and lesbians shortlisted in bishop elections

Tuesday, 11th August 2009
By George Conger

The Episcopal Church’s split with the Anglican Communion widened this week as two dioceses announced slates of candidates for the episcopate that include three gay and lesbian clergy.

The news comes less than a week after the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams held that gay clergy were out of bounds for Anglican Churches. It was improper for any member of the clergy to be “living in a sexual relationship outside the marriage bond,” Dr Williams said, adding that the homosexual or unchaste heterosexual “chosen lifestyle is not one that the Church's teaching sanctions, and thus it is hard to see how they can act in the necessarily representative role that the ordained ministry, especially the episcopate, requires.” the rest

Lutherans prepare to debate gay clergy

By Tiffany Stanley, Religion News Service
posted August 11, 2009

The nation's largest Lutheran denomination will consider lifting its ban on gay and lesbian clergy who are in lifelong, monogamous relationships as it gathers this month for a churchwide meeting.

More than 1,000 delegates will debate church policy Aug. 17-23 at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) biennial General Assembly in Minneapolis.

As at previous assemblies, the role of gays and lesbians in the 4.6 million-member church is expected to be among the most contentious issues on the agenda.

The question is not whether openly gay and lesbian clergy can be ordained. They already are — as long as they remain celibate. The question is whether they can have committed relationships and still be called to ELCA pulpits. Partnered gay clergy are technically prohibited, though some congregations break the rule without punishment. the rest

U.S. Web-Tracking Plan Stirs Privacy Fears

By Spencer S. Hsu and Cecilia Kang
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Obama administration is proposing to scale back a long-standing ban on tracking how people use government Internet sites with "cookies" and other technologies, raising alarms among privacy groups.

A two-week public comment period ended Monday on a proposal by the White House Office of Management and Budget to end a ban on federal Internet sites using such technologies and replace it with other privacy safeguards. The current prohibition, in place since 2000, can be waived if an agency head cites a "compelling need." ...

Some privacy groups say the proposal amounts to a "massive" and unexplained shift in government policy. In a statement Monday, American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Michael Macleod-Ball said the move could "allow the mass collection of personal information of every user of a federal government website." the rest

Falling Out of Love with Barack Obama

ObamaCare and me

August 06, 2009
By Zane F Pollard, MD

I have been sitting quietly on the sidelines watching all of this national debate on healthcare. It is time for me to bring some clarity to the table by explaining many of the problems from the perspective of a doctor.

First off, the government has involved very few of us physicians in the healthcare debate. While the American Medical Association has come out in favor of the plan, it is vital to remember that the AMA only represents 17% of the American physician workforce.

I have taken care of Medicaid patients for 35 years while representing the only pediatric ophthalmology group left in Atlanta, Georgia that accepts Medicaid. For example, in the past 6 months I have cared for three young children on Medicaid who had corneal ulcers. This is a potentially blinding situation because if the cornea perforates from the infection, almost surely blindness will occur. In all three cases the antibiotic needed for the eradication of the infection was not on the approved Medicaid list. the rest-don't miss this!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Devotional: The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich...

Thy Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. 1 Samuel 2:7

All my changes come from Him who never changes. If I had grown rich, I should have seen His hand in it, and I should have praised Him; let me equally see His hand if I am made poor, and let me as heartily praise Him. When we go down in the world, it is of the Lord, and so we may take it patiently: when we rise in the world, it is of the Lord, and we may accept it thankfully. In any case, the Lord hath done it, and it is well.

It seems that Jehovah's way is to lower those whom He means to raise and to strip those whom He intends to clothe. If it is His way, it is the wisest and best way. If I am now enduring the bringing low, I may well rejoice, because I see in it the preface to the lifting up. The more we are humbled by grace, the more we shall be exalted in glory. That impoverishment which will be overruled for our enrichment is to be welcomed.

O Lord, Thou has taken me down of late and made me feel my insignificance and sin. It is not a pleasant experience, but I pray Thee make it a profitable one to me. Oh, that Thou wouldst thus fit me to bear a greater weight of delight and of usefulness; and when I am ready for it, then grant it to me, for Christ's sake! Amen. ...CH Spurgeon
image by Rich B-S

Albert Mohler: Polyamory -- The Perfectly Plural Postmodern Condition

Monday, August 10, 2009

Once a sexual revolution is set loose, it inevitably runs its course through the culture. While the current flashpoints of cultural conflict are focused on same-sex marriage and gender issues, others are biding their time. As Newsweek magazine makes clear, some new flashpoints are getting restless.

Polyamory, reports Newsweek, is having a "coming-out-party." Polyamory is the current "term of art" applied to "families" or "clusters" comprised of multiple sexual partners. As Newsweek explains, this is not exactly polygamy, because marriage is not the issue. Advocates of polyamory argue that their lifestyle is not "open marriage." Indeed, they define their movement in terms of the moral principle of "ethical nonmonogamy," defined as "engaging in loving, intimate relationships with more than one person -- based upon the knowledge and consent of everyone involved."

Legal theorists and opponents of same-sex marriage routinely (and rightly) make the argument that the legalization of homosexual marriage will, inevitably, lead to the legalization of polygamy. Once marriage is redefined to allow for same-sex unions, any determination to maintain legal prohibitions against polygamy will be seen as merely arbitrary. At the same time, once strictures against adultery were eliminated in the culture and in the law, something essentially like polygamy was inevitable. the rest

The chilling truth about the city where they pay people to die

By Tom Rawstorne
10th August 2009

If all had gone to plan, David would have quickly and peacefully passed away, his breathing becoming more laboured until it eventually stopped altogether.

But it did not happen like that. Instead, after three days in a deep coma, David suddenly woke up. 'Honey?' he said to his wife. 'What the hell happened? Why am I not dead?'

For another 13 days, coherent but racked with pain, David survived before finally succumbing to the disease and dying naturally in his home near Portland, Oregon's most populous city.

In that time he would be transformed from just another death to be recorded under Oregon's policy of assisted suicide into a figurehead for opponents of the U.S. state's deeply controversial Death With Dignity Act.

'He took five times the amount of barbiturates that should kill somebody and he still didn't die,' his older brother Steve told the Daily Mail this week.

'If anything, he should have been brain-dead. But he told us that, while unconscious, he had found himself before God and been told: "Not this way, David." God chose David as his spokesman, absolutely.' the rest

North American breakaway declares itself ‘winner’

Monday, 10th August 2009
By George Conger

The Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America (CANA) has surfaced as a winner in the wake of the 76th General Convention in the US, Bishop Martyn Minns said last week, with a rise in inquires from American Anglicans seeking to pull out of the Episcopal Church since the July 8-17 gathering in Anaheim, Calif.

Speaking to the press before the start of CANA’s annual convention on July 30, Bishop Minns stated the breakaway group had grown to 85 congregations with an estimated average Sunday attendance of 10,000 served by 179 clergy --- including military and healthcare chaplains.

CANA’s growth has come in three segments --- among Nigerian emigrants to the US, in the Washington metropolitan area, and among suburban families with young children, Bishop Minns said. Its appeal to young people, he believed, was due to the “younger generation looking for authenticity in a church where there is a genuine engagement and interest in truth.”

The breakaway group was “part of God’s redemptive plan” for Anglicanism in North America, he said, noting CANA was an “answer” to Dr Rowan Williams’ prayers for a healthy church. the rest

Episcopal Diocese Sues Church Of The Good Shepherd For Property

By JOHN P. CONNOLLY, The Bulletin
Monday, August 10, 2009

A local Episcopal parish that is defending its property against a claim from the Episcopal Church is filing a brief in a similar California case.

The Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont filed an amicus brief in a case against St. James Anglican Church Newport Beach, where the local Episcopal diocese is claiming St. James' property because the church withdrew from communion with the Episcopal Church. The amicus, or friend of the court filing, outlines Good Shepherd's side of the Montgomery County dispute for the court's benefit. St. James has appealed a previous ruling of the California Supreme Court to the Supreme Court of the U.S.

"We see our amicus brief for St. James, Newport Beach as an act of witness to our parish motto – non ministrari, sed ministrare – not to be ministered unto, but to minister," said Bishop David Moyer, the rector at Good Shepherd. Bishop Moyer added that the brief was filed out of "thanksgiving for the many blessings we have received from near and far in our struggles for the Gospel and the Catholic religion." the rest

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent

The EU is facing an era of vast social change, reports Adrian Michaels, and few politicians are taking notice
By Adrian Michaels
08 Aug 2009

Britain and the rest of the European Union are ignoring a demographic time bomb: a recent rush into the EU by migrants, including millions of Muslims, will change the continent beyond recognition over the next two decades, and almost no policy-makers are talking about it.

The numbers are startling. Only 3.2 per cent of Spain's population was foreign-born in 1998. In 2007 it was 13.4 per cent. Europe's Muslim population has more than doubled in the past 30 years and will have doubled again by 2015. In Brussels, the top seven baby boys' names recently were Mohamed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza.

Europe's low white birth rate, coupled with faster multiplying migrants, will change fundamentally what we take to mean by European culture and society. The altered population mix has far-reaching implications for education, housing, welfare, labour, the arts and everything in between. It could have a critical impact on foreign policy: a study was submitted to the US Air Force on how America's relationship with Europe might evolve. Yet EU officials admit that these issues are not receiving the attention they deserve. the rest

Nasa telescope passes planet test

7 August 2009

A Nasa space observatory launched in March this year has observed a planet circling another star.

In a test of its capability, the orbiting Kepler telescope detected the planet's atmosphere.

Kepler will survey our region of the Milky Way for Earth-sized planets which might be capable of supporting life.

The telescopes first findings are based on 10 days of data collected before the start of official science operations.

The results have been published in the journal Science. the rest