Saturday, September 19, 2009

Opposition to Health Care Plan Hits New High of 56%

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters nationwide now oppose the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s the highest level of opposition yet measured and includes 44% who are Strongly Opposed.

Just 43% now favor the proposal, including 24% who Strongly Favor it.

But the overall picture remains one of stability. While the numbers have bounced a bit following nationally televised appearances by the president to promote the plan, opposition has generally stayed above 50% since early July. Support has been in the low to mid 40s. the rest

Pope Benedict XVI blesses new headquarters of Vatican Observatory

Rome, Italy
September 18, 2009

(CNA).- On Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI visited and blessed the new headquarters of the Vatican Observatory, which moved from the Pontifical Palace in June. The observatory had been housed since in the palace since 1935, and is now located in an old monastery on the grounds of the Pontifical Villas.

During his hour-long visit to the building, the Holy Father viewed the large collection of meteorites housed by the Observatory and held a rock from Mars in his hands.

The Pope also peered through a microscope at a meteorite that was found near Bavaria and also browsed through some works by Copernicus, Kepler and Newton. the rest image

Friday, September 18, 2009

Devotional: When darkness long has veil'd my mind...

When darkness long has veil'd my mind,
And smiling day once more appears;
Then, my Redeemer, then I find
The folly of my doubts and fears.

Oh! let me then at length be taught
What I am still so slow to learn;
That God is love, and changes not,
Nor knows the shadow of a turn.

Sweet truth, and easy to repeat!
But when my faith is sharply try'd,
I find myself a learner yet,
Unskilful, weak, and apt to slide.

But, O my Lord, one look from thee
Subdues the disobedient will;
Drives doubt and discontent away,
And thy rebellious worm is still.
...William Cowper
image by jimw

Florida Prayer Case Reveals ACLU Agenda to Criminalize Christianity

SANTA ROSA COUNTY, FL, Sept. 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- Yesterday after an all-day hearing, Santa Rosa County, Florida, Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman were cleared of criminal contempt charges that arose from the simple blessing of a meal. When they heard the decision, tears of joy and cheers swept through the throngs of people who had waited outside in the rain for over ten hours. the rest

Florida principal, athletic director not guilty of contempt of court

Under fire, Democrats abandon ACORN in droves

By Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
September 18, 2009

Back in February, during the Democrats' frenzied rush to pass the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, Republican Sen. David Vitter offered a simple, 28-word amendment: "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used directly or indirectly to fund the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." Vitter's amendment was shot down, 51-45, with all the votes coming from the Democratic majority.

At about the same time, GOP lawmakers introduced similar measures in the House. Those, too, were defeated by Democratic majorities.

Fast-forward to Monday, Sept. 14. A Housing Department appropriations bill was moving through the Senate, and Republican Sen. Mike Johanns offered an amendment that was nearly word-for-word identical to the one Vitter introduced back in February, barring all federal housing funds for ACORN. This time, the ACORN-defunding amendment passed, 83-7. The winning total included 50 -- yes, 50 -- Democrats. Liberals like Chris Dodd, Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin, Charles Schumer and others who supported ACORN back in February all changed their votes to approve the cutoff of funds. the rest

Second Abortion Increases Risk of Premature Babies 93%: Canadian Study

Thursday September 17, 2009
By Hilary White
September 17, 2009

(LifeSiteNews.com) - A new Canadian study has shown that abortion increases the risk of future premature pregnancies and low birth-weight babies; however, the author has refused to say that abortion should be avoided, instead calling for improved abortion techniques.

Published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the Canadian researchers found that women who had undergone a first or second trimester of pregnancy, when most are conducted, increased the risk of low birth-weight babies and premature babies 35 and 36 per cent respectively.

Those women who had undergone more than one abortion had a 72 per cent increased risk for low birth weight and 93 per cent risk of prematurity.

The figures come from an analysis of 37 studies around the world, carried out between 1965 and 2001, to discover reasons why babies are born underweight and premature. the rest

Rasmussen: 48% want abortion coverage banned in healthcare plan; only 13% want it mandated

Albert Mohler: Will Babies with Down Syndrome Just Disappear?

September 18, 2009

The development of prenatal diagnostic technologies presents a constellation of moral issues -- with the diagnosis of Down syndrome front and center. Over the past several years, a marked decrease in the number of babies born with Down syndrome has been both observed and widely reported. This decrease can be traced directly to the decision to abort after prenatal diagnosis.

As Science Daily reports, a new leading article to be published in Archives of Disease in Childhood points to developments in the near future that will likely increase the diagnosis of Down syndrome [DS] during pregnancy. "New tests expected to be introduced next year will offer a simple blood test that poses no risk to the fetus and delivers a definitive diagnosis of one of more of the genetic variants of Down syndrome -- trisomy 21, translocation, or mosaicism," the journal reported.

The development of these new tests will almost surely make the practice of prenatal screening for Down syndrome more widespread. At present, the available tests pose some risk to the fetus and are invasive. The new tests expected next year are based on simple blood tests. the rest

Kill Grandma or Terrorists Win

The latest argument for ObamaCare
SEPTEMBER 17, 2009

Excerpt:
ObamaCare is a "war of choice"--though this analogy goes only so far, since it is a domestic "war" in which the "enemy" consists of fellow Americans. Rubin argues that Americans must surrender to Obama's risky scheme for nationalizing health care in order to create an appearance that he is strong so that he can deal with foreign-policy crises when he gets around to it. This is so perverse in so many different ways, it hurts our brain to think about it.

There isn't even any good reason to think that a domestically weakened Obama would in turn weaken the country's international standing. This did not happen after Bill Clinton's health-care fiasco. He, like Obama, started his presidency with a blasé approach to foreign policy (albeit at a time when the dangers of doing so were less frighteningly clear than they are today). But he eventually got his act together at least somewhat.

What would happen if Obama won a health-care "victory"? Consider this Reuters headline: "Cap-and-Trade Depends on Obama's Health Care Success." This seems right to us: If Congress accepts some variation of ObamaCare, there's little doubt the president will push for Cap'n Trade and other atrocious policies. There is a great deal of doubt that he'll give national security the attention it needs.

On the other hand, it's at least plausible to hope that ObamaCare's decisive defeat would teach the president a lesson about the dangers of overreach and give him an incentive to focus on his real responsibilities. And at the very least, a defeat for ObamaCare would save us from ObamaCare. the rest

Does Obama Lie? - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post

Litigation against Disaffiliating Dioceses: Is it Authorized and What does Fiduciary Duty Require?

by: Mike Watson
Thursday, September 17th, 2009

full footnoted text available for download here (.pdf)

This paper examines whether the Presiding Bishop is authorized to initiate and conduct recent property litigation and finds no source for such authority in the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. Arguments based on a presumed equivalence of the roles of the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council to those of a corporate CEO and board of directors are found not to be valid. The paper also examines claims that pursuit of litigation is necessitated by fiduciary duty. It concludes that no convincing case has been made that this is so. First, no person is under a fiduciary duty to undertake something that has not been authorized. Putting aside the issue of authorization, several factors relevant to a proper fiduciary duty analysis suggest refraining from litigation such as has been commenced against disaffiliating dioceses. In this connection, relevant fiduciary duties are not limited to those that may be owed to TEC as an organization, but also include duties owed to its member dioceses. Claims that a member diocese cannot disaffiliate and retain ownership of its property implicate the latter set of duties. The paper presents a case that the duties to dioceses include duties to those that have withdrawn because the claims against them are based on alleged consequences of their having been dioceses of TEC rather than the actions of an unaffiliated third party.

Paper here

Some 750,000 pedophiles prowling Internet: UN

Sep 16, 2009

Some 750,000 sexual predators are constantly prowling the Internet in a bid to gain contact with children, a United Nations report warned on Wednesday.

"The number of sites devoted to child pornography worldwide is growing. The number of predators connected to the Internet at any one time is estimated to be 750,000," said Najat Maala, Special Rapporteur on the child prostitution and child pornography issue.

Unicef also estimates there are more than four million websites featuring minors, including those of children aged under two years.

More than 200 new images are also circulated daily, according to Maala, who pointed out the production and distribution of child pornographic images rakes in between 3 and 20 billion dollars (2.04 and 13.62 billion euros) a year. the rest

European Parliament Raps Lithuania for Curbing Homosexual Advocacy

September 17, 2009
Piero A. Tozzi, J.D.

(NEW YORK – C-FAM) The European Parliament voted 349 to 218 today to condemn Lithuania for its "law on the protection of minors" which prohibits promotion of "homosexual, bisexual or polygamous relations" among children under 18 in the Baltic nation. Conservative critics contend that the measure, crafted in reaction to the domestic legislation of a sovereign member state pertaining to the family, oversteps the Parliament's authority.

The resolution directs the Agency for Fundamental Rights to opine on whether the law contravenes European anti-discrimination standards. Any such opinion would be non-binding, though activists would likely use it to press for greater recognition of rights based on "sexual orientation."

An earlier proposal by the Alliance of Liberal and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the "liberal" parliamentary faction, would have initiated proceedings to suspend Lithuania pursuant to article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, the 1992 pact that created the European Union (EU). Parliamentarians principally affiliated with the Christian Democratic grouping, the European People's Party (EPP), worked behind the scenes to soften the resolution and remove the Article 7 reference.
the rest

Fla. Bishop to Authorize Blessing of Same-Sex Unions

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Sep. 17 2009

The authorization will only apply to gay and lesbian couples who have been legally married, he says.

Frade made his announcement Wednesday on his blog months after The Episcopal Church passed a resolution permitting bishops to "provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church" and calling for the development of liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex couples.

"For a long time in the life of the Episcopal Church we have been dealing with the realities of human sexuality," he wrote. "We have wrestled with who's in and who's out, who can be ordained and who can't, which relationships are to be blessed and which are not."

During the denomination's triennial convention in July, Episcopal leaders "opened the door a little bit," as Frade put it, to allow clergy to respond pastorally to legally married same-sex couples. They also opened the ordination process to all baptized members, including gays and lesbians in "lifelong committed relationships." the rest

Washington Teachers Leave National Education Association

9-17-09

Some teachers in the St. John School District have disaffiliated with the Washington Education Association (WEA) and the National Education Association (NEA) because they no longer wanted to give money to causes they didn't believe in.

"Many of the teachers in St. John were just fed up with funneling huge amounts of their paycheck to advocate for immoral causes that the WEA and the NEA advance," said Cindy Omlin, executive director of Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE). "They thought those causes were hurting children, and they were tired of it."

The NWPE helped St. John teachers with negotiation options, legal and liability insurance, and benefits such as medical insurance.

Omlin wants teachers to know they have the right to oppose causes that conflict with their beliefs. the rest

Link Between 1918 El Niño And Flu

Monday, September 14, 2009

Research conducted at Texas A&M University casts doubts on the notion that El Niño has been getting stronger because of global warming and raises interesting questions about the relationship between El Niño and a severe flu pandemic 91 years ago. The findings are based on analysis of the 1918 El Niño, which the new research shows to be one of the strongest of the 20th century.

El Niño occurs when unusually warm surface waters form over vast stretches of the eastern Pacific Ocean and can affect weather systems worldwide. Using advanced computer models, Benjamin Giese, a professor of oceanography who specializes in ocean modeling, and his co-authors conducted a simulation of the global oceans for the first half of the 20th century and they find that, in contrast with prior descriptions, the 1918-19 El Niño was one of the strongest of the century.

Giese’s work will be published in the current "Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society," and the research project was funded by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the National Science Foundation. the rest

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Devotional: What God requires of us...

What God requires of us, is a will which is no longer divided between Him and any creature; a simple, pliable state of will which desires what He desires, rejects nothing but what He rejects, and wills without reserve what He wills, and under no pretext wills what He does not. In this state of mind, all things are proper for us; our amusements, even, are acceptable in his sight.

Blessed is he who thus gives himself to God! He is delivered from his passions, from the opinions of men, from their malice, from the tyranny of their maxims, from their cold and miserable raillery, from the misfortunes which the world attributes to chance, from the infidelity and fickleness of friends, from the artifices and snares of enemies, from the wretchedness and shortness of life, from the horrors of an ungodly death, from the cruel remorse that follows sinful pleasures, and finally from the everlasting condemnation of God!

The true Christian is delivered from this innumerable multitude of evils, because, putting his will into the hands of God, he wills only what He wills, and thus finds comfort in the midst of all his suffering in the way of faith, and its attendant hope.

...Francois Fénélon image by Esparta

US Churches are free to secede, rules judge

Thursday, 17th September 2009
By George Conger

There is nothing in the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church that prevents a diocese from seceding from the national church, a Texas judge declared on Sept 16.

On Wednesday Judge John Chupp of Texas’ 141st District Court handed the Episcopal Church a major setback in its campaign to seize the assets of breakaway dioceses, stating that of the two entities holding themselves out as the “Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth”---Bishop Jack Iker and his diocese affiliated with the Province of the Southern Cone and Bishop Edwin Gulick and his Episcopal Church-affiliated diocese---Bishop Iker’s diocese was the lawful holder of that name, corporate seal and property.

The court’s actions were not a total victory for Bishop Iker, as it did not dismiss as illegitimate the loyalist’s Feb 2009 convention called by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, nor quash their property suit. However, in his comments to the parties Judge Chupp rejected the Episcopal Church’s central legal premise that while people may leave the Episcopal Church, dioceses may not.

The 80 per cent of the delegates who voted to at the 2008 diocesan convention to quit the Episcopal Church for the Province of the Southern Cone “took the diocese with them,” Judge Chupp said. the rest

Republicans Denounce Pelosi for Warning Against 'Incitement'

By Paul Kane
September 17, 2009

The House Republicans' top campaign chief strongly denounced Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comments that appeared to question whether today's angry conservative protests were similar to anti-gay rallies in the late 1970s that preceded the assassination of two San Francisco political leaders.

Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Pelosi crossed the line when she related the rhetoric of anti-gay protesters in San Francisco in 1978 -- the year Harvey Milk, the first openly gay member of the city's board of supervisors, and his political ally, Mayor George Moscone, were killed by former supervisor Dan White -- to that of contemporary conservatives while answering a question about the protests against President Obama's health-care proposals.

"The Speaker is now likening genuine opposition to assassination. Such insulting rhetoric not only undermines the credibility of her office, but it underscores the desperate attempt by her party to divert attention away from a failing agenda," Sessions said in a statement. "During one of the most important policy debates of our time, the American people have been completely abandoned by those elected representatives under her control. Voters are justifiably frustrated with Washington, and the Speaker's verbal assault on voters accomplishes nothing other than furthering her reputation for being wildly out of touch with the American people." the rest

Shameless Pelosi Historical Revisionism About Moscone/Milk Assassinations as She Seeks to Demonize Opponents

House votes to defund ACORN

posted September 17, 2009

WASHINGTON – The House has voted to deny all federal funding for ACORN, the community organizing group that has been caught up in several scandals.

The House action came several days after the Senate took a similar vote to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN.

Republicans, long critics of the liberal-leaning group that advocates for the poor, led the effort to cut off all federal funds.

California Republican Darrell Issa, who sponsored the measure in the House, says the "scandal surrounding the criminal activities of ACORN have called into question their role in all aspects of government."

The vote, on a provision attached to a student aid bill, was 345-75. All 75 no votes were Democrats. the rest

Lost in a World Without Courtship

By Michael Gerson
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

There is a segment of society for whom traditional family values are increasingly irrelevant, and for whom spring-break sexual liberationism is increasingly costly: men and women in their 20s.

This is the period of life in which society's most important social commitments take shape -- commitments that produce stability, happiness and children. But the facts of life for 20-somethings are challenging. Puberty -- mainly because of improved health -- comes steadily sooner. Sexual activity kicks off earlier. But the average age at which people marry has grown later; it is now about 26 for women, 28 for men.

This opens a hormone-filled gap -- a decade and more of likely sexual activity before marriage. And for those in that gap, there is little helpful guidance from the broader culture. Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, argues that the "courtship narrative" in the past was clear: dating, engagement, marriage, children. This narrative has been disrupted without being replaced, leaving many 20-somethings in a "relational wasteland." the rest image by dragunsk

Obama Admin: Cap And Trade Could Cost Families $1,761 A Year

September 15, 2009
by Declan McCullagh

(AP) The Obama administration has privately concluded that a cap and trade law would cost American taxpayers up to $200 billion a year, the equivalent of hiking personal income taxes by about 15 percent. A previously unreleased analysis prepared by the U.S. Department of Treasury says the total in new taxes would be between $100 billion to $200 billion a year.

At the upper end of the administration's estimate, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year. the rest

Charles Dickens's unhappy marriage among 18 million parish records put online

Charles Dickens' unhappy marriage to Catherine Hogarth, who he blamed for burdening him with 10 children, is included among 18 million parish records published online for the first time today.
By Matthew Moore
16 Sep 2009

Britain's most esteemed novelist married the attractive young Catherine in St Luke's Church in Chelsea, west London on April 2, 1836, while he was forging a career as a journalist.

But he became frustrated with her listless nature as his own reputation grew, and they separated in 1858.

Dickens is just one of the historical figures including the playwright Oscar Wide and the diarist Samuel Pepys whose defining moments are now easily accessible to the public.

The births, deaths and marriages of millions of Londoners spanning nearly half a millennium have been posted on the internet by Ancestry.co.uk, the genealogy website. the rest image

Dio. of Fort Worth Wins Partial Early Victory in Property Battle

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Stand Firm

In a hearing today in the141st District Court, Judge John Chupp granted the Diocese partial relief under Rule 12 of the Texas code Rules of Civil Procedure. He ruled that attorneys Jonathan Nelson and Kathleen Wells do not represent the diocese or the corporation which have realigned under the Province of the Southern Cone. He denied a second aspect of Rule 12 relief which would have removed the plaintiffs’ diocese and corporation from the lawsuit filed April 14, 2009.

The judge also ruled that neither the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church nor the Constitution and Canons of this diocese prohibit withdrawal from TEC and realignment under another province. Further, he found that the Diocese had done so at its November 2008 annual convention, saying that “they [the members] took the diocese with them.” The action of the November convention was not, he said, ultra vires and void, as the suit’s plaintiffs have argued. He declared, too, that the Diocese had taken its property with it in realignment. He said he did not consider any court ruling concerning a realigning parish to be applicable in the present case, and he said that he considered it “self-serving on [the part of TEC] to say that [Bishop Iker] abandoned his job.” the rest

Ruling-pdf here

Both Sides Debate Significance of Fort Worth Ruling

Analysis by A.S. Haley: High Noon in Fort Worth
"Thus while somewhat confusing for Bishop Iker and his group, the Order cannot be good news for the plaintiffs. It sounds as though the Court has already, in effect, ruled that they cannot prevail on their motion for summary adjudication to obtain title to the diocesan assets, since he ruled that nothing prevented Bishop Iker's Diocese from leaving the Church with its property.

Let's wait for the dust in Fort Worth to settle a bit, and then I will have more. I am told that Bishop Iker's office will issue a statement shortly -- the statement is now out, and may be read here. It adds even more detail to what the Judge said at the hearing, and reinforces my conclusions above."

Massive Public Opposition to U.K. TV Abortion Ads Delays Implementation

Wednesday September 16, 2009
By Hilary White
LONDON

(LifeSiteNews.com) - When the British television advertising regulatory agency announced in March this year that it would consider allowing abortionists to advertise on television, doctors and religious leaders united against the scheme saying it would do nothing but increase Britain's already sky-high abortion rate. But officials were not prepared for the overwhelming opposition of Britain's public to the idea. With over 4000 submissions having been made to the consultation, the review of the advertising codes will be delayed a year.

The public consultation closed on June 19 and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had expected that the changes would be implemented as early as next year; but now the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), the body responsible for the advertising codes, has said they will not be able to complete the consultation process until the first quarter of next year due to the unprecedented number of submissions, many of which expressed opposition to abortion. the rest

Cash for kids in Japan

A new government addresses a low birth rate problem with cold, hard cash.
By David Nakamura
September 16, 2009

TOKYO, Japan — In the country with the lowest birth rate in the world, the newly empowered Democratic Party of Japan has proposed a solution: pay to procreate.

As part of the manifesto that helped the DPJ rout the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party in last month’s election, families will receive 26,000 yen (about $280) per month for each child through junior high school.

“We could use the money; it would help us manage,” said Jun Otake, a human resources manager at Japan Airlines who stands to receive $840 per month for his three young daughters. “People need help regardless of the number of children, but obviously more children mean more mouths to feed.” the rest

The Racism Card

Thursday, September 17, 2009
by Cal Thomas

When Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, some suggested that race played a factor in his success. People "wanted" to elect a black man president because of our history of slavery and the denial of civil rights for so many years to African-Americans. It is never "racism" to vote for someone because he is black. It is only racism to oppose the policies of a black Democrat.

As the president's approval ratings fall and rise and fall again, some of his supporters in journalism and politics are returning to days of old when the label "racist" could end any discussion and force the accused either into stunned silence, or groveling repentance. I suspect the tactic won't work this time because Obama supporters will have difficulty explaining how a mostly white country could elect a black man president last November and ten months later become a racist majority. the rest

Radical Abortion Advocate Nominated by Obama

Thursday, September 17, 2009
by Jillian Bandes

Dawn Johnson, on the docket for the position of Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Council, is another Obama nominee with the potential to change the shape of American politics.

Johnson is currently a professor at the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and has a long history in the Washington legal scene. She served as former President Clinton’s acting assistant attorney general and as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. Her installation in Obama’s Office of Legal Counsel puts her in a decision making capacity for the Executive Branch – working directly with the President on Executive branch and national security legal affairs.

Johnson has earned the notice of conservatives based on her adamant pro-abortion views, expressed in the following statements:

• We “should oppose inaccurate and incomplete abstinence-only sex education and other treatments of sexuality issues that instill negative attitudes about sexuality itself.”

• Abortion restrictions “reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers.”

• “There is no ‘father’ and no ‘child’ – just a fetus.” the rest

Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary Dead at 72

Thursday, September 17, 2009
By Jay Lindsay, Associated Press
Boston

(AP) - Mary Travers, one-third of the popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary who were perhaps best known for their hit "Puff (The Magic Dragon)," died in a Connecticut hospital after battling leukemia for several years. She was 72.

The band's publicist, Heather Lylis, said Travers died Wednesday at Danbury Hospital.

Bandmate Peter Yarrow said that in her final months, Travers handled her declining health with bravery and generosity, showing her love to friends and family "with great dignity and without restraint."
the rest image

Biggest U.S. churches 'contemporary, evangelical'

By Cathy Lynn Grossman
USA TODAY
posted September 17, 2009

Two new reports on the size and strength of American congregations present contrasting pictures of church life today.

The October issue of Outreach magazine is all about growth. It lists the 100 largest U.S. churches, based on attendance statistics gathered by LifeWay Research, Nashville.

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC:
See how U.S. religions have changed in 20 years

Leading the list, as in 2008, is Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church, Houston; 43,500 attend weekend worship.

Lakewood could almost swallow the second and third place megachurches in one gulp.
But the newest trend in church growth is exemplified by the No. 2 ranked church's cross-country reach. Lifechurch.tv transmits pastor Craig Groeschel's worship services from the church's studio home in Edmond, Okla., to 13 locations, reaching 26,776 people in average weekend worship attendance. the rest

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

White House collects Web users' data without notice

Social-media messages go into archives
By Audrey Hudson
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The White House is collecting and storing comments and videos placed on its social-networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube without notifying or asking the consent of the site users, a failure that appears to run counter to President Obama's promise of a transparent government and his pledge to protect privacy on the Internet.

Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the White House signaled that it would insist on open dealings with Internet users and, in fact, should feel obliged to disclose that it is collecting such information.

"The White House has not been adequately transparent, particularly on how it makes use of new social media techniques, such as this example," he said. the rest

White House Mapping Internet Users’ Data For Mass Archives

Sorry, But I am Not Buying Into Chrislam

Bill Muehlenberg
Sept. 16, 2009

Chrislam, as the name suggests, is a growing movement wherein some Christians are seeking to find common ground with Muslims. Indeed, it actually seeks to combine Christianity with Islam. It is a syncretistic movement that speaks about “spirituality without boundaries”. Whenever you hear that sort of talk, you should start heading for the hills.

Yet that is what we find in some leftist evangelical Christian circles today. Incredibly, it took place last year at the National Prayer Breakfast in Canberra. I wrote that episode up in several articles at the time:

http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2008/11/10/islam-and-fifth-columns/
http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2008/11/04/truth-and-tolerance-christianity-and-islam/

But a number of leading American religious leftists are also pushing this cause in varying degrees. For example, Tony Campolo has argued that “interfaith prayers and even mystical unions are critical for all true peacemakers”. And given that a leftist vision of “social justice” seems to be the most important agenda item for Campolo, it is not surprising that he can praise Islam in these terms: “When it comes to what is ultimately important, the Muslim community’s sense of commitment to the poor is exactly in tune with where Jesus is in the 25th chapter of Matthew.” the rest (h/t Anglican Mainstream)

The return of the debutantes

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Tonight, 150 young girls will be going along to Durbar Court in London's Whitehall, for a rather traditional event - but one which has fallen out of favour in recent years.

Queen Charlotte's Ball is the first debutante ball to take place for 12 years. The "coming out" ceremony used to mark the start of the society season and was a chance for prominent families to parade their daughters in front of eligible young men.

The BBC went along to meet some of the people behind the ball, and the girls taking part, as they rehearsed for their big night. Story-Video image by 'El Photo

Hospital chaplain's free-speech rights restored

Charlie Butts
OneNewsNow
9/15/2009

A chaplain at a Michigan veterans' hospital has been invited to return and minister to patients.

Martin Colburn, a Christian chaplain of two veterans' organizations, had been meeting patients who gave him permission to do so, counseling them and praying with them. Daniel Blomberg is an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF).

"One day back in February he was just summarily thrown out of the hospital because he had a Bible in his hand and he had been meeting with a patient," Blomberg explains. "And on February 13, he received a letter saying he wasn't welcome to come back except to receive his own veteran's benefits because he was a wounded warrior himself." the rest

Obamacare: Ending the Elderly

The Toxic Card of Racism Trumps Hearts

Sep 16, 2009
Elizabeth Scalia

A few months ago, during the Obama-at-Notre Dame controversy, I had a conversation with a journalist, during which I opined that the whole issue of life versus death was—and has been since the time of Moses—a contest between light and dark, and would continue to be so. The journalist said, “you just said ‘black and white,’” and teased me for being a racist.

But I’d said “light and dark,” and he admitted, when he stopped laughing, that he had heard “light and dark,” but had immediately extrapolated it to “black and white” and then thought of Obama, hence the tease.

This fellow is no one’s idea of a racist (including mine), and he was a vocal supporter of President Obama. But it was his mind, not mine, that went there. The New York Times’ columnist Maureen Dowd recently wrote that when Representative Joe Wilson shouted out “You lie” during the president’s address to Congress, she heard it as “You lie, boy”—the racism clear, even though Wilson hadn’t actually said it. The blogger and law professor Ann Althouse invited her readers to speculate on whether the fact that there are white people shouting “You lie, boy” in Dowd’s mind means Dowd is a racist, projecting her own racism on to Wilson and, presumably, the tea-partiers who recently marched on Washington and, basically, anyone who disagrees with Obama on policy.

Because Barack Obama—being a Democrat president—cannot be anything but brilliant and correct. Therefore dissent, which last year was the highest form of patriotism, is now only “racist.” And as the conservative blogger Ace O’ Spades notes, “Conservatives cannot oppose anything on legitimate grounds. We only can oppose out of fear, anger, hatred and ignorance/confusion.” So, you see, there can be nothing credible in people protesting a president for spending more in his first six months than every president before him, combined, ever spent. There can be nothing credible in people protesting the government for sticking by a failed “stimulus” plan that is creating zero jobs in the private sector, as the unemployment number crests ten percent. the rest-don't miss this!

On the lighter side: Steven Crowder: Keep Racism Alive!

Handy Racist Flow Chart

From Instapundit:
GREG POLLOWITZ: Dissent is the greatest form of racism.
And just a few short months ago, it was the
highest form of patriotism.

Okoh takes over from Akinola as Anglican Church Primate

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
From Lawrence Njoku (Umuahia) and Nike Sotade (Lagos)

At exactly 4.15 p.m. yesterday, 57-year-old Archbishop of Bendel and Bishop of Asaba Diocese, Rt. Revd Nicholas Okoh, was pronounced the Primate-elect of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

Okoh, whose emergence was received with standing ovation from the House of Bishops, will assume office on March 25 next year as the 4th Primate of the Church of Nigeria.

He takes over from Most Revd. Peter Jasper Akinola, whose six-year tenure expires by March next year. He assumed office in 2000.

Before Akinola were Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye (1988-2000) and Archbishop Timothy O. Olufosoye (1979-1988).

Announcing the election of the new Primate after over six hours congress held behind closed doors at the St. Stephens Cathedral Church, Umuahia, the Dean, Church of Nigeria, His Grace, Maxwell Anikwenwa, said that it followed the constitution and cannons guiding the election of a Primate, stressing that the 146 bishops that participated in the exercise were satisfied with the outcome. the rest

New Archbishop for Nigeria
Religious Intelligence

The campaign for Catholic women priests: 'stealth priestesses' break cover

By Damian Thompson
September 16th, 2009

Chris Gillibrand of Cathcon has this picture of the “pastoral team” of a parish in Linz, Austria, a diocese where crypto-Protestant liberal priests disguise their women friends as ordained clergy. The woman on the right is dressed in a garment clearly indicating that she is a deacon. In fact – no offence – she is no more a Catholic deacon than the MacBook on which I’m writing this post.

“Stealth priestesses” is the way these ladies are described by their opponents (ie, orthodox Catholics). The use of the word “priestess” might seem rude – but, remember, the Roman Catholic Church is irrevocably committed to an all-male priesthood, so the prospect of Catholic women priests or deacons will always be Tabletista fantasy.

What may well happen, however, is that parishes and even dioceses will secede from the Church: this is highly unlikely in Britain – but in parts of Germany and Austria most parishes offer a liturgy which is already barely recognisable as Catholicism, inspired by liberal theology considerably to the Left of mainstream Anglicanism.

My guess is that, 15 or 20 years down the line, these churches (along with a certain magazine) will have found a new home in an Episcopal communion modelled on the American Episcopal Church (TEC) rather than the Church of England. And you have to wonder: might the Catholic Church actually be healthier as a result? Story

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Devotional: Wheresoever we be...

Wheresoever we be, whatsoever we are doing, in all our work, in our busy daily life, in all schemes and undertakings, in public trusts, and in private retreats, He is with us, and all we do is spread before Him. Do it, then, as to the Lord. Let the thought of His eye unseen be the motive of your acts and words. Do nothing you would not have Him see. Say nothing which you would have not said before His visible presence. This is to do all in His name. ...H.E. Manning image by karpov

A.S. Haley: ECUSA and the Anglican Covenant - Who Decides?

Monday, September 14, 2009

It does not seem that anyone else in the Anglican/Episcopalian blogosphere is saying it, so I might as well be the one to point out a few inconvenient facts.

Much cyberink is being spilt on whether the Episcopal Church (USA) should "sign on" to the proposed Anglican Covenant. An equal, if not greater, amount is devoted to whether any Episcopal Dioceses in the Church could sign on to the Covenant separately.

First of all, let us be plain-spoken here. The Episcopal Church (USA) is a voluntary association of dioceses. The dioceses come together every three years through their elected bishops, clergy and lay deputies in a representative legislature called General Convention. It is the business of General Convention to (a) approve editions and amendments to the Book of Common Prayer; (b) adopt Canons and Constitutional amendments for the Church as a whole; and (c) adopt non-binding statements of intent, called "Resolutions". The latter are not binding on anyone, because General Convention passes out of existence as soon as it has adopted them. There is no one to "enforce" the Resolutions even if they were to be worded with enforcement language (which they are not). the rest

Saving Witches in Kolwezi

Accused of witchcraft by parents and churches, children in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being rescued by Christian activists.
Isaac Phiri
9/15/2009

Ignace Maloba, a Wesleyan pastor in rural Congo, has had an unexpected new ministry as of late: hunting child witches. Four years ago, local informants led him to the dusty back streets of Kolwezi, a copper-mining town 160 miles from Lubumbashi, a major city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, formerly Zaire).

After traversing the area several times, Maloba finally found the "witches"—two girls and four boys incarcerated in a forlorn church compound. "I was extremely surprised," the pastor told Christianity Today.

At the request of local church leaders, CT visited this area of Congo to report on how churches are handling—and mishandling—abandoned children who face accusations of sorcery and witchcraft due to parental neglect, birth defects, and disability. Tragically, some pastors attempt exorcisms in which they place children's hands in near-boiling water to purge "spirits," resulting in severe burns. the rest

SE Florida Bishop Authorizes Same-Sex Blessings

September 15, 2009

Only a few months after General Convention approved Resolution C056, public blessings for same-sex couples have begun emerging in dioceses of the Episcopal Church.

On Aug. 30, E. Denise Simmons, the mayor of Cambridge, Mass., exchanged marital vows with her partner, Mattie Hayes, at St. Bartholomew Church, Cambridge. The Rev. Irene Monroe wrote for the online magazine Religion Dispatches about presiding at the service with the Rev. Leslie K. Sterling, the priest in charge of St. Bartholomew's, and Jada D. Simmons, a justice of the peace and the mayor’s eldest daughter.

“I was elated to be a part of this liturgical assembly line, helping to make a historic event [happen] within the ecclesial strictures of the church,” Ms. Monroe wrote. “Sterling did the invocation, declaration of consent to marry, and blessing of the marriage; Simmons pronounced the marriage, and I did the homily, blessing of rings and vows.”

Further south, the Rt. Rev. Leo Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida, has authorized his clergy to provide pastoral blessings—but not to preside over same-sex weddings—within about a month. the rest

CANA Congratulates Archbishop Okoh as Primate-Elect of Church of Nigeria

HERNDON, Va.
September 15, 2009

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) congratulates Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, who was elected to become the primate-elect of the Church of Nigeria .

“Archbishop Okoh is a Godly leader and CANA is delighted that he will be leading the Church of Nigeria . He is strong supporter of CANA and the Anglican Church in North America , and has been instrumental in helping to advance the orthodox Anglican GAFCON movement. Archbishop Okoh is committed to spreading the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is a personal friend, and I’m pleased that he is stepping into this leadership role during this crucial time in the life of the worldwide Anglican Communion,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns. Here

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh elected Primate of Nigeria

(picture by Raymond Dague-CANA Council 2008)

via email
September 15, 2009

Bishop Minns and Canon Dobbs are reporting from Nigeria that Archbishop Nicholas Okoh has been duly elected as the new Primate-elect of All Nigeria. More information to follow. Please be in prayer for Archbishop Okoh as he begins to work alongside our beloved Primate Peter Akinola during the coming months of transition.


Nicholas Okoh Elected Primate of Anglican Church
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, 57, of Bendel Province, was on Tuesday elected the Primate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) at the conference of the House of Bishops in Umuahia.

He will succeed Archbishop Peter Akinola who is retiring in March after attaining the retirement age of 70.

In an acceptance speech, Okoh thanked God and the church for the confidence reposed in him.
“I am grateful to God and to the Church of Nigeria, particularly our laymen, clergy and House of Bishops for thinking that I can do it.

“It is a lot of confidence reposed in me and I pray to God not to allow me to fail”.

Okoh, a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the Nigerian Army, was until his election the Bishop of Asaba.

He was ordained a priest in 1979 and became a bishop in 2001 and rose to become the Archbishop of Bendel in 2005 following the death of Archbishop Albert Agbaje.

Okoh is the current chairman of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission.

Indian Abortion Proponents "Stumped" By Growing Dearth of Girls Due to Sex-Selection

Monday September 14, 2009
By Patrick B. Craine
September 14, 2009

(LifeSiteNews.com) - India's feminists and population control-pushing government are "stumped" by the dramatic drop of female births among the wealthier classes due to sex-selective abortions, reports the Globe and Mail's Indian correspondent Stephanie Nolen.

Due to a 'son preference' in Indian culture, the use of new technologies to detect and abort baby girls has become widespread.

Technically it has been illegal in India to tell couples the sex of their unborn child or to abort based on sex since 1994. This law, however, is rarely enforced. Consequently, sex-selective abortion practices are rampant and the ratio of girls to boys is continuing to fall. India's 2001 census revealed that there were only 927 girls aged 0-6 per 1,000 boys, a marked drop from the 1991 census, which found 945 per 1000. This means that in that decade there were 35 million fewer females registered in the country than males, according to Canada's International Development Research Centre.

The statistics in certain areas are shocking. The IDRC revealed last year that the wealthier urban families of the Indian Punjab have merely 300 girls for every 1,000 boys. In South Delhi, the ratio is 832:1000, and in the state of Haryana it's 822:1000. the rest

H1N1 patients may be infectious 10-plus days

By Steve Sternberg,
USA TODAY
posted 9/15/09

SAN FRANCISCO — Some people who are infected with the pandemic flu appear to shed infectious virus for 10 or more days after they're infected, researchers reported Monday.

Two studies reported separately by researchers in Canada and Singapore found that roughly one in five patients continue shedding the new H1N1 virus, or swine flu, with one study suggesting that patients may still shed virus despite treatment with Tamiflu. the rest

Saint Dunstan’s in Florida Realigns with Anglican Diocese of Quincy

posted Sept. 15 ,2009

Largo, Florida – By a vote of 174 to 13, the membership of St. Dunstan’s Church today voted to sever its ties with The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as a parish within the Anglican Diocese of Quincy, Ill. The vote took place during a special meeting convened following regularly scheduled church services this past weekend.

the rest at Titusonenine

Nigeria: Anglicans Set to Elect New Primate

15 September 2009

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) will today in Umuahia elect a new Primate, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) authoritatively learnt.

The incumbent, Archbishop Peter Akinola is due to retire in March 2010 and according to the Church Canons, a successor should emerge at least three months before the retirement of his predecessor.

An official of the Church, who pleaded anonymity, said the Primate would be elected during the Standing Committee meeting of the church scheduled to hold from September 15 to 19.

The Standing Committee is a biannual meeting that brings together all the bishops, delegates from the clergy and laity of the church from all the dioceses under the Nigeria province. the rest

Texas: Curriculum plan would remove mention of Christmas

Conservatives decry proposal for 6th-grade lesson
By APRIL CASTRO
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sept. 11, 2009

AUSTIN — A proposal for new social studies curriculum in Texas public schools removes a mention of Christmas in a sixth-grade lesson, replacing it with a Hindu religious festival, a change that's riled conservatives who say it's another battle in the "war" against the Christian holiday.

"It's outrageous that the war on Christmas continues in our state and in our nation," said Jonathan Saenz, a lobbyist for the conservative Free Market Foundation. "This effort to mislead students about current society is shameful and must be stopped."

The draft proposal being considered by the State Board of Education won't be formally adopted until next May for the 2011-2012 school year. The standards will remain in place for the next decade, dictating what is taught in government, history and other social studies classes in elementary and secondary schools. The standards also will be used to develop state tests and by textbook publishers who develop material for the nation based on their largest market, Texas.
the rest

Monday, September 14, 2009

Devotional: It is only because we follow Jesus...

It is only because we follow Jesus that we can be genuinely truthful, for then He reveals to us our sin upon the cross. The cross is God’s truth about us, and therefore it is the only power that can make us truthful. When we know the cross we are no longer afraid of the truth…There is no truth towards Jesus without truth towards man. Untruthfulness destroys fellowship, but truth cuts false fellowship to pieces and establishes genuine brotherhood. We cannot follow Christ unless we live in revealed truth before God and man. ...Dietrich Bonheoffer image by dcfdelacruz

ADV’s Forty Day Season of Prayer and Fasting

September 13-October 22, 2009

Why an ADV Forty Day Season of Prayer and Fasting?

Our purpose is to share together as a community in a season of focused prayer, asking our Lord to work in hearts and through circumstances to bring an end to the litigation over church properties that is sweeping across our nation. As this season of litigation lengthens, it is time for us to pray for a cessation of court actions. In the process, we will ask God (1) to use us to bring many people to a relationship with Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:16-20); (2) to guide us in growing our parishes spiritually, numerically, and financially; (3) to give us a hunger for missions; (4) to bring about circumstances whereby those litigating over church properties will decide to stop doing so, so that monies can be used for mission and ministry rather than court proceedings; (5) to bring comfort and strength to all parishes, districts, and dioceses being sued.

What is the hoped-for outcome of ADV’s Forty Day Season of Prayer and Fasting?
A closer walk with the Lord;
A stronger commitment to bible reading;
A new desire to share the Good News of Jesus Christ;
An enhanced sense of call to mission and ministry;
An end to the litigation over church properties which is sweeping
our nation.

Daily prayers and collects

Communion Partner Rectors Endorse Bishops In Meeting With Archbishop of Canterbury

September 11th, 2009

The undersigned Communion Partner Rectors associate Clergy commend and support the initiative taken by the Communion Partner bishops in meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury on September 1, 2009 in order to discuss and clarify the present circumstances of The Episcopal Church, as well as his understanding of what entities might be eligible to sign and adopt the Anglican Communion Covenant.

We echo the commitment of the bishops “to remain constituent members of both the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church.” Our desire is also to use the present situation as an opportunity to make manifest our commitment to becoming “a part of a ‘Covenanted’ global Anglican body in communion with the See of Canterbury.”

In support of the bishops, we commit ourselves to the five non-episcopal requests listed in their report of September 7, 2009. the rest

Communion Partner Rectors Endorse Bishops’ Statement

WISCONSIN: American Anglican Council Announces Formation of Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans-NA

By David W. Virtue
and Mary Ann Mueller in Wisconsin
Sept 14, 2009

NASHOTAH, WISCONSIN---In a stunning pronouncement, the American Anglican Council (AAC) announced the launching of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans-North America (FCA-NA) this week bringing together individual Anglicans in the great Diaspora who are unable to find an ACNA church near them. Orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans can join to become ministry partners.

"I am pleased to announce the formation of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans - North America as a ministry partner of AC-NA to which you can apply immediately," said the Rev. Phillip Ashey AAC's travelling chaplain. He urged Anglicans to go on line and join the FCA -NA apply at: www.fca.net

FCA-NA joins with FCA in England and South Africa.

This much-awaited announcement was made at the Nashotah House refectory in front of more than 50 members the Southeastern Wisconsin American Anglican Council (SEWAAC) chapter monthly meeting.

GAFCON secretariat and FCA director Anglican Archbishop Sydney Jensen charged the ACC to organize the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in North America. Since then Fr. Ashey and others, including Nashotah House Dean Robert Munday and Fr. William Beasley - who were both present at this month's SEWAAC meeting - have been working towards seeing FCA-NA become a reality. As AAC's Chief Operating Officer, Fr. Ashey has been kept busy with back-to-back meetings while in the Upper Midwest. He will address delegates at a major FCA-NA planning summit in Plano, Texas, this week, along with Dean Munday, Fr. Beasley and others, to hammer out detailed plans for the FCA-NA's eventual roll out.

the rest at Virtueonline

Is Catholic-Orthodox Unity in Sight?

by Edward Pentin
Monday, September 14, 2009

The Catholic Archbishop of Moscow has given a remarkably upbeat assessment of relations with the Orthodox Church, saying unity between Catholics and Orthodox could be achieved “within a few months.”

In an interview today in Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, Archbishop Paolo Pezzi said the miracle of reunification “is possible, indeed it has never been so close.” The archbishop added that Catholic-Orthodox reunification, the end of the historic schism that has divided them for a millennium, and spiritual communion between the two churches “could happen soon, within a few months.”

“Basically we were united for a thousand years,” Archbishop Pezzi said. “Then for another thousand we were divided. Now the path to rapprochement is at its peak, and the third millennium of the Church could begin as a sign of unity.” He said there were “no formal obstacles” but that “everything depends on a real desire for communion.”

On the part of the Catholic Church, he added, “the desire is very much alive.” the rest

Creating a Culture of Marriage

September 14, 2009
S. Michael Craven

There is much consternation over the state of marriage today. The institution itself has suffered serious social diminution—so much so that same-sex marriage appears inevitable. But the blame for this lies less with the culture at large than with the church in America. How so, you ask?

We seem to have forgotten an essential truth about the world and the nature of man. The world is fallen: all that was once good has been bent or broken, and something has gone seriously wrong. The nature of man is unremittingly inclined toward selfishness and sin and away from obedience to God. There are some who have, by God’s grace, been saved from this condition, their old nature replaced with a new inclination to obedience and righteousness. Thus a war is raging in the world between the darkness and those who walk in the light of Christ.

Given these facts, the world will always drift in the direction of degradation and self-destruction. However, God in his mercy has come into the world to bring about the restoration of all things, calling men and women to repentance and the church serves as an instrument by which this redemptive work occurs. Where the church is faithful—to love the Lord their God and love their neighbors—there follows a power greater than that, which is in the world. The kingdom is made manifest and light pierces the darkness. Hope replaces despair, peace replaces turmoil, and freedom displaces oppression. Conversely, where the church is lackluster in its pursuit of the kingdom—indifferent to God and his purposes—the wicked rule and darkness will, for a time, subdue the light. Hope appears to vanish and disorder and oppression seem to reign everywhere. the rest

September 12th Taxpaper March Washington, DC

Intensive Care Week

Thoughts while sitting beside my brother as his brain and body failed.
Philip Yancey
9/14/2009

You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends," Joan Didion writes in a memoir of her husband's death from a heart attack. Everyone who has suffered sudden loss knows that freefall feeling.

My brother's life did not end this summer, but in one terrifying week of progressive strokes, his brain shut down much of his body. On a Friday, he began experiencing vision problems. The following Monday, he drove himself to the doctor, who sent him in an ambulance to a local hospital. On Tuesday he spoke sometimes clearly and sometimes in gibberish. Wednesday he could walk but lost control over his right hand and arm. By Thursday he could not stand and failed to follow simple commands. An MRI showed significant brain damage.

When I arrived the following day, my brother could barely open his eyes and had lost movement on his right side. Sometimes he squeezed my hand appropriately when I talked and he cried often, so I knew he had some understanding. After the brain had stabilized, a surgeon cut a window through his skull and in a six-hour procedure redirected an artery from the scalp to the inner brain. the rest image by frenkieb

Number of female senior pastors in Protestant churches doubles in past decade

CHURCH EXECUTIVE NEWS
Monday, September 14, 2009

After decades of no growth in the ranks of female senior pastors serving in Protestant churches, a new Barna study that has tracked the ratio of male-to-female pastors indicates that women have made substantial gains in the past ten years.

From the early 1990s through 1999 just 5% of the Senior Pastors of Protestant churches were female. Since that time the proportion has slowly but steadily risen, doubling to 10% in 2009.

Not surprisingly, a large share of the woman in the pastorate – 58% – are affiliated with a “mainline” church – i.e., a congregation that is aligned with denominations such as American Baptist Churches (ABCUSA), United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), United Methodist or Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA). Among male pastors, less than half that percentage (23%) is affiliated with a mainline ministry. the rest

The health care "reformers" go after medical technology

Sunday, September 13, 2009
By TigerHawk

As we have long predicted on this blog, the health care "reformers" propose to finance at least part of the "savings" or new benefits -- it is impossible to know which -- by decreasing the rate of return on medical technology. There are many ways in which this might be done, but the Senate Democrats are proposing to do so directly, by levying a "value added tax" on medical device companies according to their proportion of U.S. sales. This tax would be without regard to profitability, so it would amount to a capital tax on start-ups and a massive income tax surcharge on profitable companies, varying as net margins do. In the case of my own mid-sized company, the tax would be the equivalent of a roughly 20% surcharge on our net income (in all likelihood raising our economic tax rate well above 50%) or 50% of our research and development budget, depending on how you want to look at it.

Any way you look at it, the proposed tax is a calculated effort to divert capital from the medical technology industry to other uses in the economy, because new medical technology drives costs that are now going to be assumed by the government (or at least will be if the Senate leadership gets its way). Of course, innovative medtech also extends and saves lives, and makes them more comfortable and more productive. Which is, after all, the point of medicine. the rest

Concerns rise as new Pakistan church attacked

posted Sept.14, 2009

ISLAMABAD — A rights group raised concern Monday that vigilante attacks were increasing against religious minorities in Pakistan when another church was damaged, weeks after an angry mob killed seven Christians.

About 100 people, mostly youths, attacked a Catholic church in the Sambrial district near the Indian border on Friday after accusing a young Christian man of desecrating the Koran, police said.

"They set fire to prayer mats and some religious books but the timely arrival of police prevented the situation from taking an ugly turn," local police official Rafaqat Ali told AFP by telephone. the rest

Teachers unions have contributed over $1.3 million to ACORN

By Kevin Mooney
Commentary Staff Writer
09/13/09

Teachers unions have contributed over $1.3 million to ACORN and its affiliates, since 2005, according to U.S. Labor Department financial disclosure forms.

But there is no guarantee that the $1,333,112 million in donations from the National Education Association (NEA) and Teachers AFL-CIO unions are actually being used for their stated purposes, according to present and former Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) officials.

Some of the larger donations include $100,000 from the NEA in 2008 and $200,000 in 2007 for political activities. The Teachers AFL-CIO Local Union 2 contributed $406,730 in 2008, $457,778 in 2007, and $346,300 in 2006 for representational activities. the rest

MRSA 'superbug' found in ocean, public beaches

By Steve Sternberg, USA TODAY
posted Sept. 14, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO — Public beaches may be one source of the surging prevalence of the superbug known as multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, researchers here said Saturday.

A study by researchers at the University of Washington has for the first time identified methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) in marine water and beach sand from seven public beaches on the Puget Sound.

The researchers identified Staph bacteria on nine of 10 public beaches that they tested. Seven of 13 Staph aureus samples, found on five beaches, were multidrug resistant, says lead investigator Marilyn Roberts.

"Our results suggest that public beaches may be a reservoir for possible transmission of MRSA," she told the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy here, the leading international conference on new and resurgent diseases. the rest

Democrats see racism for Barack Obama foes

By JONATHAN MARTIN
9/14/09

AUSTIN – Eight months into Barack Obama’s presidency, as criticism of his administration seems to reach new levels of volume and intensity each week, the whispers among some of his allies are growing louder: That those who loathe the nation’s first African–American president, and especially those who would deny his citizenship, are driven at least in part by racism.

It’s a feeling that’s acutely felt among those supporters of Obama who are themselves minorities. Conversations with Democrats at an otherwise upbeat Democratic National Committee fall gathering here, an event largely devoted to party housekeeping, reflected a growing anger at what many see as a troubling effort to delegitimize Obama’s hold on the office.

“As far as African-Americans are concerned, we think most of it is,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), when asked in an interview in between sessions how much of the more extreme anger at Obama is based upon his race. “And we think it’s very unfortunate. We as African-American people of course are very sensitive to it.” the rest

Czarist Washington

Obamateurism of the Day
This weekend, Barack Obama offered once again an argument he first made in the speech to Congress last Wednesday night, which is that he could realize four trillion dollars in savings “over the long term” from the health care industry by merely reducing the cost growth by one-tenth of one percent each year.

An Unnecessary Operation: Obamacare threatens what's right with American health care.

During Ramadan, Egypt arrests 155 Christians and other non-Muslims

Sep 11, 2009
Baptist Press

CAIRO (BP)--Authorities in southern Egypt have arrested 155 Christians and other non-Muslims for publicly eating and drinking during Islam's holy month of Ramadan. A Christian organization in the country warned the enforcement of Islamic law on non-Muslims would "create another Taliban in Egypt."

The arrests, which occurred in the states of Aswan and Dakahlia and the resort city of Hurghada, were made to maintain order and decrease crime during the holy month, an unnamed government official told the Los Angeles Times.

Human rights organizations were quick to react, calling the arrests both illegal and unconstitutional.

"They violated personal freedom and will end up creating another Taliban in Egypt," Samuel al-Ashay of the human rights movement Copts for Egypt told the Al Arabiya news network. Copts for Egypt launched a campaign called "Save the Homeland" in response to the arrests, which were first reported Sept. 7. "We issued a statement to the Minister of Interior calling upon him to investigate the arrests and put those in charge on trial," Ashay said. the rest

Episcopal 'path' spurs nuns' break

By Julia Duin
September 13, 2009

It's been at least 10 years since I visited the All Saints Sisters of the Poor convent in Catonsville, Md., for a personal retreat. Located on 88 acres near Patapsco State Park, it offered plenty of walks for those of us inclined to pray better while traipsing about nature. I stayed in a guest wing, as retreatants were not allowed to mix with the nuns who lived there.

The sisters are well known for their artsy, handmade cards. All Saints was the first place I knew of that had sympathy cards for people who had lost a pet.

Even more unusual was their calling as Episcopal nuns in a denomination that had very few religious communities. Their habits were nearly exact replicas of the long, black robes and white wimples of 1960s-era Roman Catholic nuns.

So I was not totally surprised to learn they were leaving the Episcopal Church. On Sept. 3, Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O'Brien received 10 of the 12 nuns into the Roman Catholic Church. the rest

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lord Carey’s tribute to Bishop Michael Nazir Ali

September 12th, 2009

At the end of a moving service in a packed cathedral at Rochester, Bishop Michael Nazir Ali, surrounded by his wife and two sons laid the Episcopal Staff of Rochester Diocese on the high altar and prayed: "Trusting in the loving promises of God the Father, the grace of Jesus Christ and the power and fellowship of the Holy Spirit, I lay down my episcopal staff, sign of the Bishop’s oversight and care of his diocese. Into your hands O Lord I commend my future in faith and hope and the love of Jesus Christ".

It was an exemplary display of the voluntary laying down of power, ten years before the required age for the retirement of bishops, to enter on a new phase of ministry. the rest at Anglican Mainstream