Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Divine Distortion: We can't see God clearly without Jesus. O come, Emmanuel.

Carolyn Arends

I was raised to understand that sin's gravest consequence is the way it forces God to perceive me: God is holy, I'm not, and there's no way he can even look at me until I have the covering of Christ's blood. In my teens, I clipped a poem out of a youth magazine in which the poet asks—and answers—a pressing question: "How can a righteous God look at me, a sinner, and see a precious child? Simple: The Son gets in his eyes."

But what about how I look at God? I've often been oblivious to one of the most insidious byproducts of the Fall: Sin affects my perception of God. Or, to turn a phrase from that poem, the sin gets in my eyes.

Before Adam and Eve had fallen for the first lie, they basked in God's company. But after a few bites of forbidden fruit, they no longer looked forward to seeing their Maker. When he came calling, they hid.

Had God changed? No. Adam and Eve's brokenness altered their perception of God, not his character. Ever since, we humans have been letting our shame poison our understanding of God. He becomes an ogre, or a bookkeeper, or maybe just a disinterested, detached monarch. the rest

Robert P. George: The Conservative-Christian Big Thinker

December 16, 2009

On a September afternoon, about 60 prominent Christians assembled in the library of the Metropolitan Club on the east side of Central Park. It was a gathering of unusual diversity and power. Many in attendance were conservative evangelicals like the born-again Watergate felon Chuck Colson, who helped initiate the meeting. Metropolitan Jonah, the primate of the Orthodox Church in America, was there as well. And so were more than half a dozen of this country’s most influential Roman Catholic bishops, including Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, Archbishop John Myers of Newark and Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.

At the center of the event was Robert P. George, a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and a Roman Catholic who is this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker. Dressed in his usual uniform of three-piece suit, New College, Oxford cuff links and rimless glasses­, George convened the meeting with a note of thanks and a reminder of its purpose. Alarmed at the liberal takeover of Washington and an apparent leadership vacuum among the Christian right, the group had come together to warn the country’s secular powers that the culture wars had not ended. As a starting point, George had drafted a 4,700-word manifesto that promised resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same-sex marriage. the rest

Anglican Covenant Final Draft Released

December 18, 2009

The final text of the Anglican Communion covenant was released for formal consideration for adoption by the Communion’s provinces on Dec. 18. The Rev. Canon Dr. Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, made the announcement (in a letter [PDF] addressed to “Primates, Moderators and Provincial Secretaries of the Anglican Communion”), saying that the presentation of the covenant to the provinces “represents an invitation to deepening of relationships among those provinces.

“We have a long history of friendship, affinities and collaboration between provinces, dioceses, parishes and people across the globe, and we celebrate these manifold expressions of our oneness in Christ,” Canon Kearon wrote. “The covenant represents a further step in these relationships, building on and giving expression to the bonds of affection which shape our common life.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams offered a preview to the official release of the text via a video message on Dec. 18, saying he hopes that the covenant “will be adopted by as many provinces as possible. the rest

A.S. Haley: Final Text of Covenant Released; ECUSA Will Walk Apart

Nancy Pelosi: "Thank God" Senate Bill Funds Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 17, 2009

Washington, DC ( -- In yet another comment that will draw guffaws from pro-life advocates, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is thankful to God that the Senate bill include massive abortion funding. Pelosi also claims she has enough votes to pass a pro-abortion health care bill in the House, though that is disputed.

The Senate bill, unlike the House government-run health care measure, funds abortions though the public option and affordability credits.

In a press conference with reporters late Wednesday, Pelosi talked about the differences between the House and Senate bills, some of which she liked and some disliked. But she appealed to a higher power in complementing one aspect of the Senate measure.

The Senate bill "doesn't have a public option, doesn't expand Medicare for the (age) 55 to 64 group, and has abortion language that is completely different from the House -- thank God." the rest

A policy of “ethnic cleansing” against Christians under way in Mosul, Mgr Sako says


(AsiaNews) – A policy of “ethnic and religious cleansing” is underway in Mosul; in fact, it has worsened as Christmas approaches, Mgr Louis Sako told AsiaNews. For the archbishop of Kirkuk, this means that “security measures must be strengthened or the holiday season”. Meanwhile, tensions and fear are palpable in the city, made worse by a new attack against two places of worship, killing one person and wounding 40 more. A Christian source, anonymous for security reasons, said that the “community is destined to die”.

In the late morning, a car bomb exploded in front of the Church of the Annunciation in the al- Mohandiseen neighbourhood, damaging walls and windows. The attackers also threw grenades against the nearby Christian school, killing a baby girl and injuring 40 more people, including five high school kids. Saad Younes, father of the 8-day-old child, said that the blast occurred when his daughter and sister-in-law were leaving the nearby hospital. the rest

Islamic mosque built at NYC Ground Zero

Muslim business leader: 'This has hand of the divine written over it'
December 17, 2009
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Wreckage from plane that hit the twin towers fell on the same building that may serve as an Islamic cultural center.

A new Islamic mosque will open its doors just steps from Ground Zero where Muslim terrorists murdered 2,751 people in the name of Allah on Sept. 11, 2001 – and its leading imam, who conducts sensitivity training sessions for the FBI, has reportedly blamed Christians for starting mass attacks on civilians.

The five-story building at Park Place, just two blocks north of the former World Trade Center site, was the site of a Burlington Coat Factory. But a plane's landing-gear assembly crashed through the roof on the day 19 Muslim terrorists hijacked the airliners and flew them into the Twin Towers in 2001.

Now Muslim worshippers currently occupy the building, and they plan to turn it into a major Islamic cultural center. the rest

Energy-saving traffic lights caused crashes across the nation


Legal news for Wisconsin automobile accident attorneys. LED bulbs installed in traffic lights don’t burn hot enough to melt snow, causing crashes.

Automobile accident lawyers alerts- LED bulbs installed in traffic lights don’t burn hot enough to the melt snow-covered lights, which has led to car accidents.

Milwaukee, WI—Cities across the nation who thought they were solving an energy issue, actually created another problem. Many cities that have installed energy-efficient traffic lights discovered the heat emitted by the burning lights is not hot enough to melt the snow that accumulates on the lights. The traffic light can become crusted over in a storm, blocking the lights, which has led to at least a dozen car accidents and one fatality, as reported by MSNBC. the rest

Abortion Debate Shows the Catholic Bishops' Growing Influence

In recent weeks, the bishops' have shown impressive political clout
By Dan Gilgoff
December 17, 2009

Last month's passage of a sweeping ban on federal funding for abortion in the House healthcare bill caught most of Washington by surprise. The Democratic House leadership is closely aligned with the party's pro-abortion rights base, which alleged the ban would roll back abortion access for many women by keeping coverage for the procedure out of federally subsidized healthcare plans. And for abortion rights activists, the central role of the Roman Catholic bishops in pressing House leaders to allow a vote on the ban, known as the Stupak-Pitts amendment—and in helping prod 64 Democratic congressmen to support it—was as galling as the ban itself. "It is extremely unfortunate," Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said at the time, "that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and antichoice opponents were able to hijack the healthcare reform bill in their dedicated attempt to ban all legal abortion in the United States."

Antiabortion activists were just as surprised. "I did not think the bishops would have that degree of success with Stupak," says Bill Donohue, president of the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

It's hardly the only example of the bishops' impressive political influence on a hot-button issue in recent weeks. The Catholic archdiocese of Portland, Maine, played a lead role in passing a ballot initiative last month that overturned the state's legalization of gay marriage. Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat, recently disclosed that his bishop had asked him to forgo Communion because of Kennedy's support for abortion rights. And Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson revealed last week that he consulted with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in crafting an amendment to the healthcare bill that approximates the strict House ban on federal abortion funding. (Nelson's proposal was defeated.) the rest

D.C. mayor to sign same-sex marriage bill at church

By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer F
riday, December 18, 2009

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty will sign legislation Friday to legalize same-sex marriage in the District at a bill-signing ceremony so historic that his staff scrambled to find the perfect location Thursday.

Would it be All Souls Unitarian Church, a Northwest house of worship known for its diversity, liberalism and welcoming of same-sex couples? Would it be Covenant Baptist Church, a predominantly black church in Southwest where husband-and-wife team of Dennis and Christine Wiley serve as co-pastors and support gay marriage? Or would it be a secular site?

Late in the day, Katie Loughary, executive director at All Souls, said it appeared that Covenant was winning. "We're disappointed, yes," she said. "But we're excited that it's happening." the rest

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Scotland: Traditionalist Anglicans set up community in Catholic chapel

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Traditionalist Anglicans in Scotland are setting up a new community in a Catholic chapel in Edinburgh, Forward in Faith announced today.

The FiF statement said the move was being made possible "because of a generous offer from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh to provide a place of worship for their first service this Christmas Eve."

Canon Len Black, Regional Dean of Forward in Faith Scotland, the organisation which represents orthodox Anglicans world-wide, said: "This move has come about because of the rapid drift of the Scottish Episcopal Church away from the traditional faith, morals and practices of the universal Church. We are most grateful to Cardinal Keith O'Brien for the generosity he has shown us in making a place of worship available, not just for Christmas but in the months ahead, as we seek to serve those Episcopalians who look to us for spiritual and sacramental support."

"When the Scottish Episcopal Church first decided to ordain women as priests some 15 years ago we were assured of a 'valued and honoured place' within the church 'for all time to come'. That promise has not been honoured and today some of our people even find that they are being told they are no longer welcome in the churches in where they were baptised as infants. Now we find that the provision we were hoping for from our own Church is being offered to all disaffected Anglicans by the Catholic Church." the rest

Hancock, NY: 'Chilling' new video: How to slit throats

Jihad maneuvers taught at New York compound
December 15, 2009
By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A new video released by the Christian Action Network shows Muslim women at a compound in New York state practicing throat-slitting techniques and assault weapons attacks.

The video was distributed by the makers of the movie "Homegrown Jihad: The Terrorist Camps Around the U.S.," which documents how a jihadist group has developed dozens of training camps across the nation.

WND reported at the time how Jamaat ul-Fuqra has built 35 compounds – mostly in the northeastern corridor of the U.S.

Now the organization has posted on YouTube a "chilling" training video provided to CAN by an unnamed law enforcement source about the Muslims of America headquarters in Hancock, New York. the rest

Pre-massacre concerns about Hasan may have been off limits to FBI
"Hasan's colleagues and superiors repeatedly raised concerns about him during his psychiatric training. Issues included his fundamentalist Islamic leanings, religious proselytizing, work performance and mental stability.
"It doesn't appear that the military has updated its personnel policies to reflect the threat of Islamic extremism," Collins said. "There appears to be a real gap in the protocols in the personnel procedures."

Global Restrictions on Religion

December 2009

Executive Summary

For more than half a century, the United Nations and numerous international organizations have affirmed the principle of religious freedom.1 For just as many decades, journalists and human rights groups have reported on persecution of minority faiths, outbreaks of sectarian violence and other pressures on religious individuals and communities in many countries. But until now, there has been no quantitative study that reviews an extensive number of sources to measure how governments and private actors infringe on religious beliefs and practices around the world.

Global Restrictions on Religion, a new study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that 64 nations - about one-third of the countries in the world - have high or very high restrictions on religion. But because some of the most restrictive countries are very populous, nearly 70 percent of the world's 6.8 billion people live in countries with high restrictions on religion, the brunt of which often falls on religious minorities. the rest

Download the full report PDF (72 pages, 8MB)

Study: Religion repressed in third of all nations
The Associated Press

Christian Medical Association CEO quits AMA, advises colleagues to follow suit

Bristol, Tenn.,
Dec 16, 2009

(CNA).- On Tuesday, Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the Christian Medical Association (CMA), announced that he is canceling his membership to the American Medical Association as a public protest of the group's endorsement of the House health care bill and its promotion of liberal social policies.

“I can no longer associate with or support and organization that is unscientific, unprofessional and controlled by special interests,” said Dr. Stevens in a letter to the AMA earlier this week.
Dr. Stevens has also urged the 17,000 members of the CMA to “carefully consider if they should continue their memberships,” citing reasons such as the AMA's support of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, same-sex 'marriage' and medical marijuana, as well as the recent allegations that the AMA endorsed health care overhaul legislation after “behind-closed-doors” negotiations with lawmakers. the rest

China Secures Oil and Gas Resources; U.S. Prefers to Wait for Green Energy

By Institute for Energy Research
Monday, December 14, 2009

Around the world, China is investing in oil and gas resources to fuel its booming manufacturing industries and transportation sector to continue its sky-rocketing economic growth.

China is not endowed with very much oil and gas resources of its own. Thus, it needs to partner with countries around the world to ensure availability of future supplies of oil and natural gas that it will need to keep up its current pace of economic growth. The U.S., which does have oil and gas resources, is not following China’s lead in investing in these resources. the rest

As Democrats Dither – China Gobbles Up Oil & Gas Reserves In Canada & Gulf of Mexico

Half of MPs say doctors should be allowed to help a terminally-ill patient commit suicide

By Christopher Hope
Whitehall Editor
16 Dec 2009

A 10-week Crown Prosecution Service consultation on new rules to relax the rules on assisted suicide, which could make it easier for doctors to escape prosecution if they help patients kill themselves, ends today.

The changes have led critics to suggest that Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, is trying to change the law on assisted suicide by amending the rules governing when prosecutions should be taken forward.

The survey of 112 MPs found that 53 per cent thought there should be no prosection “if a doctor in England or Wales helps a terminally ill, mentally competent adult patient to die when directly requested to do so, by the patient”. the rest

The Truths Americans Used to Hold

by Michael Novak

Part I: Where’s the Yeast?
December 16, 2009
Yeast in dough. That is the image our American ancestors saw when they thought about planting the germs of beauty and nobility in their new culture. One only has to look at L’Enfant's original plan for the buildings and parks of Washington, D.C., to grasp how much attention our nation’s founders paid to splendor and simplicity, to virtue and nobility and beauty. . .

Part II: A Metaphysics of American Ideas
December 17, 2009
There’s a joke going around among American ninth graders: Want to scare your parents? Tell them the teacher put up a map of the Western Hemisphere and called on you to point to Mexico, and you couldn’t find it. Among young Americans, ignorance of basic facts about our nation’s geography, history, and principles has become legendary. . .

Turks Threaten to Kill Priest over Swiss Minaret Decision

Wed, Dec. 16 2009
By Will Morris
Compass Direct News

ISTANBUL (Compass Direct News) – In response to a Swiss vote banning the construction of new mosque minarets, a group of Muslims this month went into a church building in eastern Turkey and threatened to kill a priest unless he tore down its bell tower, according to an advocacy group.

Three Muslims on Dec. 4 entered the Meryem Ana Church, a Syriac Orthodox church in Diyarbakir, and confronted the Rev. Yusuf Akbulut. They told him that unless the bell tower was destroyed in one week, they would kill him.

“If Switzerland is demolishing our minarets, we will demolish your bell towers too,” one of the men told Akbulut. the rest

Albert Mohler: The Death of Oral Roberts

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The death of Oral Roberts marks a significant milestone in the history of American Christianity. His life, spanning from 1918 to 2009, represents 91 years and almost a century of American religious history.

Granville Oral Roberts was born into the home of a preacher and he married the daughter of a preacher. Soon after reaching adulthood he entered the ministry himself, holding tent meetings in the style of the evangelists of his day. Roberts began as a traditional holiness preacher, but he would later transform his ministry into a worldwide enterprise utilizing electronic media and extending a global reach through television and an institutional empire that would include the university named for him.

Writing in 1985, biographer David Edwin Harrell would describe Oral Roberts as "one of the most influential religious leaders in the world in the twentieth century." In Oral Roberts: An American Life, Harrell, a professor of history at Auburn University, would lament the fact that mainstream academia had given so little attention to Roberts and to the Pentecostal and charismatic movements of which he was so famously a part. Harrell suggested three roles that led to Roberts' preeminence. the rest

St. Luke's Petitions for Certiorari

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This announcement was just received from St. Luke's Anglican Church. What makes it significant is that unlike the earlier petition filed by St. James Newport Beach, this petition has been taken from a judgment that is final under California law. Thus there will not exist any reason to wait until there is a final judgment, as may have motivated some Justices not to vote to grant certiorari in the earlier case:


LA CRESCENTA, Calif. – December 16, 2009 – St. Luke’s Anglican Church today filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States asking the Court to decide whether California courts violated the United States Constitution by conferring on The Episcopal Church and its Diocese in Los Angeles a special power – not available to nonreligious persons or nondenominational churches – to seize its property and take over its corporation based on its religious affiliation. the rest at Anglican Curmudgeon

Semi-nude Mary and Joseph spark outrage in New Zealand

Anglican church defends Christmas billboard campaign showing couple in bed together
Toni O'Loughlin
Thursday 17 December 2009

A New Zealand church has sparked outrage by erecting a billboard depicting Mary and Joseph lying semi-nude beneath the sheets.

In an unorthodox take on the Christmas tale, the billboard depicts a forlorn Joseph and Mary looking to the sky with a caption which reads: "Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow."

The St Matthew-in-the-City church said it wanted to inspire people to talk about the Christmas story.

But within five hours of the billboard going up in downtown Auckland a man was standing on his car roof painting over the raunchy image. the rest

College prof: Christian crosses like swastikas

Student: 'I felt humiliated and that my spirituality was being demeaned'
December 17, 2009
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A student says a Dallas public community-college teacher compared crosses to swastikas while explaining a school ban on religious items made in ceramics classes.

Liberty Legal Institute sent a Dec. 15 demand letter on behalf of Joe Mitchell, a retired General Motors employee, Dallas resident and student, to Eastfield College in the Dallas County Community College District. The complaint accuses the school of an "unconstitutional attack on religious expression in the classroom."

Mitchell, 69, said the college has banned crosses, menorahs and other religious items from the ceramics classes. the rest

The Queen dropped from Victoria's legal system

The Australian state of Victoria is to dump the Queen from legal proceedings only days before Prince William arrives on a goodwill visit.
By Paul Chapman
17 Dec 2009

From Jan 1, all criminal court cases will be brought in the name of the director of public prosecutions instead of the monarch as traditionally.

Announcing the change, Rob Hulls, the state's attorney-general and acting Labour premier, said: "Having cases presented in the name of the Queen of England is an outdated colonial tradition that has really passed its use-by date.

Live shark dumped at Australian newspaper office"Substituting the director of public prosecutions for the Queen or Regina reflects the legal and political independence from the United Kingdom and its monarch that has been achieved by Australia." the rest

Christmas Light Hero

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Devotional: Rejoice, rejoice, believers...

Rejoice, rejoice, believers,
And let your lights appear!
The evening is advancing
And darker night is near.
The Bridegroom is arising
And soon he will draw nigh;
Up, watch in expectation!
At midnight comes the cry.

The watchers on the mountain
Proclaim the Bridegroom near;
Go forth as he approaches,
With alleluias clear.
The marriage feast is waiting;
The gates wide open stand.
Arise, O heirs of glory:
The Bridegroom is at hand!

Our hope and expectation,
O Jesus, now appear;
Arise, O Sun so longed for,
Above this darkened sphere.
With hearts and hands uplifted,
We plead, O Lord, to see
The day of earth's redemption
That sets your people free!
...Lau­ren­ti­us Lau­ren­ti
image by tamakisono

ELDERLY couples are buying each other suicide kits as Christmas presents

Jeremy Pierce
December 17, 2009

ELDERLY couples are buying each other suicide kits as Christmas presents, says controversial euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke.

Speaking at Tweed Heads yesterday on a new "peaceful pill" suicide method being developed overseas, Dr Nitschke's comments sent right-to-life campaigners and church groups into a frenzy.

Asked whether it was in the spirit of the season to be publicising ways of ending life just a week before Christmas, Dr Nitschke said he was always going to attract criticism.

"Our main opposition is from religious groups who would still be getting outraged at Easter, or any other time of year for that matter," he said. the rest image by PinkCakeBox

GOP Senator Coburn demands full reading of proposed health amendment

Dec 16, 2009

The Senate health care debate has run into a major delaying maneuver by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who demanded that a proposed amendment be read in full -- a move that could take hours.

The amendment, which is more than 700 pages long and has no chance of passing, would create a single-payer health system. It was offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent socialist from Vermont , who caucuses with the Democrats.

The reading of bills and amendments is allowed under Senate rules, but usually is waived.

The reading of the Sanders amendment began at noon ET.

YOU can read the amendment, silently or out loud, by clicking here.

Update at 2:45 p.m. ET: Sanders withdraws his amendment, ending the extended reading.

Update at 2:52 p.m. ET: Sanders move came only moments after the Senate's second-highest ranking Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, said the decision to require the reading of the amendment was part of a broader attempt by Republicans to "bring down health care reform." Durbin argued that the delay also jeopardizes last-minute legislation to fund the Department of Defense. "We have very little time," Durbin said.


The Road to Hitler Was Paved With Abortions

Book Review: Cultures of Abortion in Weimar Germany by Cornelie Usborne
December 2009
By Anne Barbeau Gardiner

Anne Barbeau Gardiner, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is Professor Emerita of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York. She has published on Dryden, Milton, and Swift, as well as on Catholics of the 17th century.

Cultures of Abortion in Weimar Germany. By Cornelie Usborne. Berghahn Books. 284 pages. $90.

In her research for Cultures of Abortion, Cornelie Usborne examined literary works, movies, trial documents, medical records, social workers' notes, police interviews, and newspapers from the years of the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. She consulted archives both in Protestant Prussia and Saxony and in Catholic Bavaria and the Prussian Rhineland. Although she is pro-abortion and thinks reality is "socially constructed," her research is valuable because it shows how the groundwork for Adolf Hitler's eugenic-abortion policies was laid.

But even before abortion was an issue, contraception was "big business" in Germany prior to World War I, due to "Neomalthusian propaganda." In 1913 Max Marcuse interviewed 100 women in Berlin and found that all but three used contraceptives — forty of them also admitted to having had "one or several abortions." In 1914 Oskar Polano interviewed 500 women in Würzburg and found that 81 percent of the wives of civil servants and 72 percent of the wives of workers used contraceptives. No surprise then that in 1927 the law was changed to allow contraceptives to be advertised, though some of these, like the uterine coil, were also abortifacient. the rest

Bishop Bena's Christmas Message 2009

Approaching Christmas is always a nostalgic time for me. How about you? There were six kids in my family and I was number five. We lived in a big farm house just ten miles from where Mary Ellen and I now live. One of my best Christmases was when I was eight or nine years old. My two older brothers were off in the Korean War but somehow were both able to get home for Christmas that year. What a glorious time of reunion it was! Such happiness as we all decorated the tree. Our family tradition was to put up the tree and decorate it on Christmas Eve after an early supper. A lot of families had that tradition back then. At eleven o'clock, we got in several cars and drove through the blizzard down to our village church for Midnight Mass. I remember nothing about the service except that one of my brothers kept falling asleep and my mother kept poking him. Mass over, we returned home and slept through the rest of the night. Morning found my brothers out milking cows and then all of us oohing and ahhing over our gifts before a hearty farm breakfast got our attention. Idyllic. Priceless. Old America. So what's missing?

What was missing for me was Jesus. I never quite put the importance of his birth into focus until I was an adult with a wife and child myself. Although my parents kept Christ in Christmas, I somehow missed it. I just enjoyed the glitter. I know better now.

You see, with all the tinsel and lights, we sometimes forget WHY Jesus was born on the earth. Was it just a sentimental act by a sentimental old god? I dont think so. Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians, Chapter 4, verses 4-5, sums it up quite well, "But in the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." The birth of Jesus was not just some sentimental act. It was an act of redemption for us. We were slaves to sin and needed redeeming from the slavery of sin. The archangel Gabriel said to Joseph, she (Mary) will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

Christmas - Its all about our sin and our need for freedom from the slavery of sin. Its all about a God who loves us so much that He will go to extreme lengths to win our freedom. He had to do that by assuming human flesh. And He did that, in His usual humble way, by sending His Son to be born to a young maiden and her espoused carpenter husband, in a lowly manger. And nothing has been the same since! That baby would grow to be first a carpenter, then a rabbi, then a savior-our savior. On the cross, he took our sins and paid the consequences for them.

Ah, but that comes later. For now, let us enjoy the moment. The Bambino. God Incarnate. And the understanding that He came to set us free! Freedom for you and for me. Merry Christmas.

Making Schools Safe for Exploitation

December 16, 2009
By Bob Weir

In another example of the so-called "major media" refusing to print anything negative about President Obama, they have given scant attention to the problems associated with Kevin Jennings, his Safe Schools Czar. Jennings is the guy who gave advice to a fifteen-year-old high school student about how to protect himself when he was having sex with an adult man. Mr. Jennings was told that the boy met the man in a bus-station restroom, and it seems that the best he could do was to tell the boy, "I hope you knew to use a condom."

This is the same guy who has expressed admiration for Harry Hay, a notorious and extremely prominent supporter of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). Jennings is quoted as saying, "One of the people that's always inspired me is Harry Hay." In case you aren't familiar with NAMBLA, they are a group of adult men who have developed an organization dedicated to seducing young boys to have sex with grown men. The stated goal on their website is "to end the extreme oppression of men and boys in mutually consensual relationships by building understanding and support for such relationships and educating the general public on the benevolent nature of man/boy love." The term they use for their disgusting behavior is "intergenerational sex." the rest

D.C. Circuit Takes Up Presidential Oath Case

December 15, 2009

Atheist lawyer Michael Newdow, who has unsuccessfully challenged religious trappings of presidential inaugurations past, took his latest dispute--this one involving Barack Obama's inauguration--to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today.

A little background: Last December, Newdow and his fellow plaintiffs sued the Presidential Inaugural Committee and Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., among others, in an effort to block Roberts from feeding then President-elect Obama the line “so help me God” at the end of the oath of office and Obama from repeating it. The plaintiffs say the phrase violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

The plaintiffs are also suing over other religious remarks by clergy during the larger inaugural ceremony. the rest

Oral Roberts Dies at Age 91

Tue, Dec. 15 2009
By Joshua A. Goldberg
Christian Post Reporter

After the fall on Saturday, Roberts was transported to a local hospital in Newport Beach, Calif., where he was treated for broken bones and a “slight case of pneumonia,” according to a report by the ministry on Monday.

Roberts’ PR agency, A. Larry Ross Communications, confirmed the next day that Roberts died Tuesday due to complications from pneumonia and that arrangements for a public memorial service in Tulsa, Okla., are pending and will be announced soon.

"There will be a private family internment," the agency added. the rest

Washington city votes to legalize gay marriage

By Karin Zeitvogel (AFP)
posted December 16, 2009

WASHINGTON — The US capital took a first step towards joining a handful of states that recognize same-sex unions as the city council voted to legalize gay marriage.

The bill to allow same-sex couples to wed was passed by 11 votes in favor and two against, said an official at the council, who asked not to be named.

Former Washington mayor Marion Barry and councilwoman Yvette Alexander voted against the bill.

Mayor Adrian Fenty has promised to endorse the law, but because the US Congress has jurisdiction over governance in Washington, same-sex marriage will not become legal in the US capital until it survives a 30-day congressional review period.

The half-million-strong National Organization for Women (NOW) hailed the vote in favor of gay marriage, saying it was a sign that "discrimination against same-sex couples is coming to an end in this country." the rest

Cal Thomas: Shameless

December 14, 2009
Tribune Media Services

Early in my column-writing career I took note of comments by the singer Madonna. A skin magazine had published nude photos of her, taken when she was a teenager. An interviewer asked if she was ashamed about having posed for them. She threw the question back, saying something like, “What have I got to be ashamed of?”

Today, shame seems to be something experienced after an action, if it is felt at all. Shame now follows what used to be considered shameful behavior before everything became relative and tolerable in a society that judges nothing, except those who judge certain behavior to be wrong.

Some commentators claim that Tiger Woods’ multiple extramarital affairs might be a “teachable moment.” If Woods, along with some celebrities and philandering politicians, ignore the ancient prophets and proverbs that warn of the consequences of infidelity, who among us moderns has the moral standing to teach them, and average men, how not to cause serious harm to themselves and their families? the rest

Have We Stopped Trying to Make Good People?
"That is why the most important question a society can ask is how to raise young people to be good adults. American society, under the influence of the left, asks other questions: How do we make young people environmentally aware? How do we teach them to fight allegedly rampant racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia in society? How do we fight AIDS and breast cancer?

It is, of course, good to be environmentally aware, to fight AIDS and breast cancer, and to oppose bigotry. But before training young people to be social activists, they must first learn character traits -- truth telling, financial honesty, humility, honoring parents and, above all, self-control. Before learning to fight society, people need to fight their own nature. The world is filled with activists of all varieties who are loathsome individuals. "

Saudi Arabia to flog 75-year-old for breaching sex segregation rules

Amnesty International has called on Saudi Arabia to cancel a sentence of 40 lashes handed down against a 75-year-old woman for breaching the kingdom's sex segregation rules.
15 Dec 2009

"The minister of interior (Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz) is reported to have ordered the immediate detention and flogging of a 75-year-old woman, Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, along with two Saudi Arabian men known only as Fahad and Hadyan," the London-based watchdog said.

"The Saudi Arabian authorities must not carry out the imminent flogging and imprisonment of an elderly woman and two younger men."

Amnesty said all avenues of appeal had now been exhausted in Saudi courts against the trio's March conviction for being in the company of members of the opposite sex who are not close relatives. the rest

Wounded soldier's diabetes is `cured' with cells

A 21-year-old service member who might have faced a lifetime of severe diabetes got a chance at better health after a collaboration between military surgeons and experts at the University of Miami.
Dec. 16. 2009

WASHINGTON -- In an apparent medical first, doctors removed a bullet-scarred pancreas from a wounded serviceman, flew the organ from Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the University of Miami, salvaged insulin-producing cells, then flew it back and transplanted the cells into the man's liver.

Tuesday, three weeks after the procedure, a jubilant surgical team announced that the transplanted cells are producing insulin. And Airman Tre F. Porfirio, 21, of St. Mary's, Ga., felt good enough to meet the University of Miami surgeon whose team spent six, pre-dawn hours on Thanksgiving Day isolating the cells from the ravaged pancreas. the rest

Presiding Bishop in Dallas at the “Who is Christ?” forum

ENS Story here

Some quotes:
"She told the audience that she wants “to follow the Jesus who descended into hell, the one who turned hell upside down looking for Judas. I want to follow the Jesus who went to the graveyard and invited Lazarus back into life … who was willing to be taught by a foreign woman that he was supposed to give her good news, too. And I want to follow the Jesus who hung out with the wrong people, and challenged ‘the right people’ to re-examine their categories,” she said...."

"She described Jesus’ ministry of “restoration at the personal and community level … about healing the soul and the soul of nations. It is a sacrament of God as trinity, God as relationship, God as community in God’s own self. It is also a mark of God’s yearning for more relationship … of the divinely abundant and more life-giving sort. That’s what I understand what grace is all about — it is the creative energy of God that makes more of itself.”..."

MCJ's take here

Obama speech in Cairo tops Religion Newswriters' list of top religion stories

President Obama's speech in Cairo, addressing U.S.-Muslim relations, tops the Religion Newswriters Association's list of the top religion stories for 2009.
Sam Hodges/Reporter

Here's a press release with details:

COLUMBIA, MO.--For the second year in a row, activities of Barack Obama topped the list of religion stories for 2009, according to a survey of more than 100 religion journalists.

The president's June speech--in which he pledged a new beginning in Muslim-U.S. relations during a visit to Cairo--was voted the No. 1 religion story of the year.

The speech at Cairo University last spring was widely viewed as a contrast to the approach of previous administrations. During his talk, Obama invoked the Qur'an, Talmud and the Bible while declaring that Amer ica was not at war with Islam.

The No. 2 religion story was health care reform and the role of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other faith groups played in shaping the debate. the rest

Ranked No. 12
The Anglican Church in North America elects Robert Duncan, deposed Episcopal bishop of Pittsburgh, as archbishop, signifying that the breakaway group is not going to go away.

Vatican offer unlikely to lead to Anglican schism

December 14, 2009
by Jeff Diamant
Religion News Service

(RNS) For five years, members of Saint Anthony of Padua Episcopal Church, a conservative parish in the largely liberal Diocese of Newark, have sought spiritual guidance from a bishop in a socially conservative diocese in South Carolina.

The reason? They oppose the liberal tendencies of the Newark diocese and their national church, which in 2003 seated an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire. The following year, St. Anthony's began periodically hosting Bishop William J. Skilton from Charleston, S.C.

The arrangement helps explain why parish members probably will not accept the Vatican's offer, made last month, to allow dissatisfied Episcopalians and Anglicans to convert to Catholicism, said the Rev.Brian Laffler, Saint Anthony's pastor.

The Episcopal Church, with about 2 million members, is the U.S. branch of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion.

"We have a satisfactory situation," Laffler said. "We have the pastoral care of an authorized bishop who is sympathetic to our situation." the rest

NY: Anglican church considers Catholic transition

West Seneca congregation interested in pope's overtures
By Jay Tokasz
News Staff Reporter
December 15, 2009

They worship in a former Catholic sanctuary, led by a former Catholic priest.

And if any congregation in Western New York were to take up Pope Benedict XVI's recent landmark overture to Anglicans, it most likely would be St. Nicholas Anglican Church in West Seneca.

The small, "Anglo-Catholic" congregation uses a liturgy that mirrors a traditional Catholic Mass, adheres to a male-only clergy and has parishioners open to the possibility of entering into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

"This would be very typically the type of congregation the pope is targeting," said the Rev. Gene Bagen, rector of St. Nicholas. the rest

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Anglican angst

The election of a lesbian bishop in L.A. may spark a formal schism in the church.
By Harold Meyerson
December 15, 2009

Those Angeleno Anglicans are at it again.

For decades, the Episcopal Church in Los Angeles has been home to some of the most liberal pulpits and congregations in town -- and in the worldwide Anglican Communion. A few years back, Pasadena's venerable All Saints Church was investigated by President George W. Bush's Internal Revenue Service after its former rector delivered a vehement antiwar sermon shortly before the 2004 election. Local Episcopal priests have marched for striking janitors and helped organize the poor.

So it should have come as no great surprise when the L.A. diocesan convention recently elected as its new assistant bishop the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool -- the senior assistant to the bishops of the Maryland diocese, the daughter of an Episcopal priest, and an open lesbian. Her ordination must now be confirmed by the U.S. bishops, who have already been told in no uncertain terms by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself to back off. the rest

Thousands flee volcano in Philippines

Tuesday, 15, Dec 2009
By Mike Trudeau

Over 9,000 Filipino families may spend Christmas in evacuation centres after fleeing the restless Mayon volcano.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised Mayon's alert level from two to three on Monday, after recording multiple volcanic earthquakes, explosions of ash and lava trickles from its summit.

According to Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay public safety and emergency management office, a total of 47,285 residents or 9,946 families from 56 villages around the volcano will have to evacuate their homes in case a more violent eruption follows.

All houses within an 8km radius of the volcano will be evacuated, and classes at all schools within the zone have been cancelled. Pupils will attend classes in evacuation schools, as the period of evacuation could last up to three months. the rest

Aceh five years after tsunami

Tue Dec 15, 2009

The stunning television pictures of a phenomenon almost nobody had ever seen, coming a day after Christmas, and killing thousands of Western tourists on sun-drenched beaches prompted an unprecedented outpouring of charity from across the world. Governments, aid agencies and individuals pledged $7.1 billion for Indonesia alone, and remarkably, $6.7 billion was disbursed -- and used effectively by all accounts -- in a country that ranks near the bottom of world corruption rankings.

The biggest task was building permanent homes for the 635,384 people displaced by the Dec. 26 disaster and another big earthquake that hit western Sumatra three months later.

Nearly a year afterward, hundreds of thousands were still living in tattered tent communities or temporary barracks. the rest

Monday, December 14, 2009

Devotional: I no longer want just to hear about you, beloved Lord...

I no longer want just to hear about you, beloved Lord, through messengers. I no longer want to hear doctrines about you, nor to have my emotions stirred by people speaking of you. I yearn for your presence.

These messengers simply frustrate and grieve me, because they remind me of how distant I am from you. They reopen wounds in my heart, and they seem to delay your coming to me. From this day onwards please send me no more messengers, no more doctrines, because they cannot satisfy my overwhelming desire

for you.

I want to give myself completely to you.

And I want you to give yourself completely to me.

The love which you show in glimpses, reveal to me fully. The love which you convey through messengers, speak it to me directly...

...Come to me with the priceless jewel of your love.”
...St. John of the Cross image


December 11, 2009

In the name of God, grateful for the gracious guidance of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of the Most Reverend Robert Duncan, Archbishop and Primate, the Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) held its first annual meeting in Toronto, Canada on 11 December 2009. The College of Bishops of ACNA met immediately prior to this meeting in Burlington, Ontario on 10 December 2009

The Provincial Council is the governing body of the Anglican Church in North America and consists of bishops, clergy and laity representing each of the twenty-eight constituent dioceses, clusters or networks.

The Provincial Council and the College of Bishops devoted these first meetings to putting in place the officers and structures necessary to fulfill the mandate to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ as faithful Anglicans and members by God's grace in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.

In faithful obedience to the Great Commission we enthusiastically embraced the 1000 Churches Proclamation as presented to the College of Bishops by the Rev. Canon David H. Roseberry of Christ Church, Plano, Texas, and committed ourselves to the multiplication of one thousand new congregations within the Anglican Church in North America in five years.

We also

-Welcomed the new Diocese of the Gulf Atlantic and consented to the election of the Reverend Neil G. Lebhar as its first diocesan bishop. The College of Bishops also welcomed the Right Reverends Todd Hunter, David M. Loomis and Silas Tak Yin Ng as missionary bishops serving in the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Right Reverend Harry S. Seamans as an Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Mid-America and the Right Reverend Richard W. Lipka as an assisting bishop in the Missionary Diocese of All Saints.

-Gave thanks for the growing number of Provinces of the Anglican Communion that have declared themselves to be in full communion with the Anglican Church in North America, and the enthusiastic expressions of support from a growing number of Ecumenical partners.

-Expressed profound appreciation for the recently released Manhattan Declaration that affirms core Christian values regarding Religious Liberty, the Sanctity of Life and Holy Matrimony and urged all clergy and people to sign it.

-And, mindful of the controversy surrounding a bill concerning homosexual behavior that is being considered by the Uganda parliament, restated our commitment to the sacredness of every human person as made in the image of God, from conception to natural death and without regard for religious convictions or manner of life. We also gave thanks for the faithful witness of the Anglican Church of Uganda and encouraged them to stand firm against all forms of sexual exploitation and in their publicly stated commitment that “the Church is a safe place” for all persons, especially “those struggling with sexual brokenness.”

The Provincial Council expressed its profound appreciation for the gracious hospitality shown it by the Anglican Network in Canada and in particular gave thanks for the servant leadership demonstrated by the moderator, the Right Reverend Donald Harvey.

Looking forward to the Christmas Season and the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ the Council was reminded that the angels announced it as Good News of Great Joy for all people. In light of this the Council urged all its congregations to make a special effort to reach out with the transforming love of Jesus Christ, especially to those in their surrounding communities who face economic hardship, or other challenges that lead to their marginalization.

This first meeting of the Provincial Council has been a rich expression of our common life. We leave encouraged in our mission to extend the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ. Amen


Canada: Bishop says his diocese is ‘all but dead’

Monday, 14th December 2009
By George Conger

The Diocese of Quebec is all but dead, its bishop told the Canadian House of Bishop at their autumn meeting in Niagara Falls, the Anglican Journal of Canada reports. The Rt Rev Dennis Drainville said his diocese was “teetering on the verge of extinction,” according to an account given by the church’s official newspaper.

Of the diocese’s 82 congregations, 50 were childless and 35 congregations had an average age of 75. These graying congregations often had no more than 10 people in church on Sundays, he said. “The critical mass isn’t there, there’s no money anymore,” he said.

Falling attendance is not solely confined to the Anglican Church, however. Until the 1960s Catholic Church attendance stood at more than 90 per cent. However, According to a 2008 Léger Marketing poll, the proportion of Quebec's nearly six million Catholics who attend mass weekly now stands at six per cent, the lowest of any Western society.

To combat the decline, Bishop Drainville, who told his colleagues it was very possible he would be the “last bishop of Quebec,” urged the House of Bishops to re-imagine how the church could engage society. the rest

U.S. Coptic Christians to Rally Against Persecution in Egypt

Sun, Dec. 13 2009
By Aaron J. Leichman
Christian Post Reporter

Coptic Christians are planning to hold rallies in at least four U.S. cities Monday to express their “resentment and rejection” of the persecution that fellow believers are facing in Egypt.

The rallies, organized by members of the The Free Copts, will be held in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington at a time when Christians in Egypt are reportedly facing killings, destruction and looting of their property, deportation from their homes and the forced Islamization of their minor daughters.

They also come as Coptic Christians increasingly accuse the Egyptian State Security and other security authorities of having a hand in all crimes taking place against the Copts in Egypt.

“The Egyptian government facilitates attacks against Coptic Christians directly by destroying church properties, unlawfully detaining, raping and torturing converts to Christianity and failing to prosecute the Islamic extremists who attack Coptic Christians,” claim organizers of the rally Monday in front the United Nations building in New York. the rest

Albert Mohler: The Travail of Tiger Woods — Lessons Not to Be Missed

Monday, December 14, 2009

The travail of Tiger Woods entered a new chapter over the weekend as Accenture, a global consulting firm, severed all ties with the world's most famous golfer. In doing so, Accenture became the first of Woods's major sponsors to end its relationship with him. It is not likely to be the last.

Tiger Woods's fall from public favor happened with breathtaking speed. In a matter of days, a minor vehicle accident in the middle of the night mushroomed into both private and public catastrophe. Even as Woods and his famously protective handlers sought to avoid or limit the controversy, the golfer's eventual admission of marital infidelity has forever changed the way the public looks to the world's most highly compensated athlete.

This story is far from over. Even as Tiger Woods has announced that he is taking an "indefinite" leave from professional golf in order to give priority to his wife and family, his future as both professional athlete and public figure is very much in question. Some believe that Woods will return to his exalted position after a necessary period of contrition and public withdrawal.

Others suggest that, given the mental demands of professional golf, Tiger Woods will have a very difficult time returning to top form. And, what about Tiger Woods the brand? On these questions time will have to tell. Nevertheless, the travail of Tiger Woods provides lessons that are already not to be missed. the rest image

Taliban can be admired for their faith and loyalty, says bishop

The Taliban can be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to one another, the new bishop for the Armed Forces has claimed.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Duncan Gardham
13 Dec 2009

The Rt Rev Stephen Venner called for a more sympathetic approach to the Islamic fundamentalists that recognises their humanity.

The Church of England’s Bishop to the Forces warned that it will be harder to reach a peaceful solution to the war if the Afghan insurgents are portrayed too negatively.

His comments came as the Prime Minister visited Afghanistan and warned that the Taliban was fighting a "guerilla war" aimed at causing "maximum damage". Gordon Brown said soldiers were discovering improvised explosive devices every two hours.

Mr Brown stayed overnight in the Allied base in the southern city of Kandahar, the first British Prime Minister to spend the night in a war zone since Winston Churchill. His visit came days after the death of Lance Corporal Adam Drane, the 100th member of the British forces to die in Afghanistan this year. His death brought the total number of British service personnel who have died since the start of operations in 2001 to 237.

Bishop Venner stressed his admiration for the sacrifices made by the British forces fighting in Afghanistan but also urged the need for a reassessment of how the Taliban are viewed. the rest

Update: Bishop apologises over Taliban comments

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Re-Birth of Population Control: Human Life Seen as a Carbon Problem

By Father John Flynn, LC
ROME, DEC. 13, 2009

( The Copenhagen climate summit has brought with it an outpouring of opinions on environmental issues. Among these is a disturbing return to the Malthusian position of seeing population control as the solution to the world's problems.

A planetary law imposing China's one-child policy on all nations is what is needed, according to an opinion article by Diane Francis, published Dec. 8 in the Canadian newspaper, the National Post.

Francis predicted this would reduce the current world population of 6.5 billion down to 3.43 billion by 2075. While more extreme than most, Francis is hardly alone in advocating population control.

Just prior to the Copenhagen summit, Britain's Optimum Population Trust launched a carbon offset scheme, reported the Guardian newspaper on Dec. 3.

As explained by John Vidal, the paper's environment editor, this allows rich consumers to offset their jet-set lifestyle by paying for contraception in poorer countries. the rest

Jimmy Carter: Abuse of Women? Blame the Catholics and Southern Baptists

Friday December 11, 2009
By John-Henry Westen

( - In an address to a gathering sponsored by the World Parliament of Religions (PWR) last Friday, former US President Jimmy Carter has once again blamed traditional religion, particularly Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics, for "creating an environment where violations against women are justified."

It is a theme that Carter has successfully used to garner media attention for several years.
Although in a July column in The Observer Carter admits to "not having training in religion or theology," in his address to the PWR Carter appeals to his authority as someone who has "taught Bible lessons for more than 65 years."

In opposition to the vast majority of authentic scholars and historians, Carter asserted: "It's clear that during the early Christian era women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets." He added: "It wasn't until the 4th century or the 3rd at the earliest that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant position within the religious hierarchy." the rest

Israel to Vatican: We won't return room of Last Supper

Roni Sofer
Israel News

Is the decade-long disagreement between Israel and the Vatican about to be resolved? A delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon will leave Wednesday for the Vatican in a bid to reach an agreement about the Catholic Church's demands that it be granted ownership of a number of Christian holy sites, including the room in which the Last Supper is believed to have taken place.

Discussions on the issue will start Thursday. The Israeli delegation includes experts from the Justice Ministry and the Finance Ministry, as well as other figures. The discussions will revolve around the Vatican's demand that it be granted propriety of various Christian sites, tax breaks, and the expropriation of Church properties in Israel.

Israel has already made it clear that it will remain firm in its stance to maintain ownership of the room in which the Last Supper is believed to be held, which is on Mount Zion next to King David's tomb. the rest

Germany Jails Eight Christian Fathers for Removing Children from Sex-Ed Class

Sunday, 13 December 2009

At least eight Russo-German families in Salzkotten, Germany, have suffered heavy fines and now their fathers have been sentenced to prison, because they have refused to send their elementary school-age children to mandatory sexual education classes.

The International Human Rights Group, a Christian legal defense organization that defends religious liberty and the right to homeschool in Europe, reports that in addition to refusing to allow their children to attend sex-ed classes, the families also resisted having their children enlisted in a theatre production of "Mein Körper gehört mir" or "My Body Belongs to Me," which informs young children in how to engage in sexual intercourse.

With fines having failed to force the families into compliance, government officials have now sentenced each of the families' respective fathers to spend a brief time in prison. One father has already spent seven days in jail and was released Friday. the rest