Saturday, January 30, 2010

Devotional: And, behold, I am with thee...

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest. Genesis 28:15

Do we need journeying mercies? Here are choice ones—God's presence and preservation, In all places we need both of these, and in all places we shall have them if we go at the call of duty, and not merely according to our own fancy. Why should we look upon removal to another country as a sorrowful necessity when it is laid upon us by the divine will? In all lands the believer is equally a pilgrim and a stranger; and yet in every region the Lord is His dwelling place, even as He has been to His saints in all generations. We may miss the protection of an earthly monarch, but when God says, "I will keep thee," we are in no real danger. This is a blessed passport for a traveler and a heavenly escort for an emigrant. ...CH Spurgeon
image by Arbron

Crystal Cathedral is laying off 50 workers, selling surplus property

By Margot Roosevelt
January 30, 2010

The Crystal Cathedral, the Garden Grove megachurch, is laying off 50 workers, selling surplus property and may pull its "Hour of Power" television show in up to eight markets because of a precipitous drop in contributions.

The 7,000-member church also has canceled its "Glory of Easter" pageant, a popular reenactment of the life and death of Jesus Christ, which sold tens of thousands of tickets each year. "This cuts to the heart of our ministry," said spokesman John Charles. "It is sad news."

Charles said the church's revenue sank 27% from roughly $30 million in 2008 to $22 million in 2009. Anticipating a drop in 2010 revenue, he added, "If it maintains, that would be fine, but we don't have a crystal ball, so we are cutting." the rest image

Calif. Quietly Shifts Fruitless Embryo Research Funds to Adult Stem Cells

Investors knock waste on useless research
Friday January 29, 2010
By Kathleen Gilbert
LOS ANGELES

(LifeSiteNews.com) - California's Institute for Regenerative Medicine came into being five years ago, fueled by a conviction that the Bush administration's restriction on embryo-destructive research in the National Institutes of Health was stifling the progress of science.

But after years of fruitless work, the Institute has now quietly diverted funds from embryonic stem cell research (ESCr) to adult stem cell research - which has already produced dozens of treatments and all-out cures for maladies ranging from spinal cord injury, to Alzheimer's, to type I diabetes. the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury Challenges Wall Street on Its Home Turf

By PAUL VITELLO
January 29, 2010

For three days this week, the 104th archbishop of Canterbury told economists, theologians and others attending a Wall Street conference that the “fat cats” of the world were not necessarily bad people, just victims of a terrible misunderstanding.

The misunderstanding — shared by people with lots of money, people with aspirations of having lots of money and those with neither — is that money is equated with wealth, he said.

And wealth, said the archbishop, the Most Rev. Rowan D. Williams, leader of world’s 80 million Anglicans — including members of the Episcopal Church in the United States — is the sum of one’s loving relationships with people. It is not, he said, “the number of naughts on the end of a balance sheet.” the rest

D.C.'s Episcopal bishop, known for liberal causes, to retire

By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 31, 2010

John Bryson Chane, the Episcopal bishop of Washington and one of the mainline denomination's most prominent advocates of marriage equality for gay men and lesbians, announced Saturday that he will retire next year after leading the 42,000-person diocese since 2002.

Chane, 65, made the announcement at the diocese's annual convention at Washington National Cathedral, where he received a standing ovation. He told the delegates he is not "burned out or bored," but believes it's time for someone younger to take over.

"I love what I do and I deeply love this diocese," Chane said in the annual bishop's address. "When the time actually comes to turn over the crosier to another, it will be a very emotional time for me." the rest

Bishop Chane Plans to Retire
The Living Church

Hawaii won't vote on same-sex civil unions bill

Jan 29 2010
By MARK NIESSE
Associated Press Writer

HONOLULU (AP) - Lawmakers in Hawaii have decided not to vote on a bill that would have allowed same-sex civil unions in the state, a move that effectively kills the measure.

The state's House of Representatives indefinitely postponed a vote on the bill to grant gay couples the same rights and benefits the state provides to married couples.

Civil union supporters in the House gallery on Friday shouted, "Shame on you!" while opponents cheered. the rest

Ordination of Fr. Michael Baumann (CANA)

Fr. Baumann (center) with Fr. Jeff Altmann (l) and Fr. Tony Seel (r)
Back row: Bp Derek Jones (l) and Bp. David Bena (r)

Celebration of the Eucharist

Examination of the candidate

Litany for the Ordination

Bp. David Bena

Bp. Derek Jones preaches as the candidate and his wife listen.


Ordination of Mike Baumann begins at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Syracuse, New York.


Church of the Holy Trinity in Syracuse hosted an ordination on Sunday afternoon January 24, 2010 when army chaplain Michael Baumann from Ft. Drum in Watertown, New York was ordained a priest. Bp. David Bena, the CANA bishop with oversight of the parish and oversight of the ADN, was the ordaining bishop. Bp. Derek Jones, the CANA bishop in charge of military chaplains, preached at the service. Church of the Holy Trinity is one of the parishes of the Anglican District of the Northeast which is a part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

(Photos-Raymond Dague)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Archbishop Chaput: The Prince of This World and the Evangelization of Culture

First Things
Jan 29, 2010
Charles J. Chaput

Excerpt:
We live in an age that imagines itself as post-modern and post-Christian. It is a time defined by noise, urgency, action, utility and a hunger for practical results. But there is nothing really new about any of this. I think St. Paul would find our age rather familiar. For all of the rhetoric about “hope and change” in our politics, our urgencies hide a deep unease about the future; a kind of well-manicured selfishness and despair. The world around us has a hole in its heart, and the emptiness hurts. Only God can fill it. In our baptism, God called each of us in this room today to be his agents in that work. Like St. Paul, we need to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (Jas 1:22). We prove what we really believe by our willingness, or our refusal, to act on what we claim to believe.

Essay

New movie in theaters is literally saving lives

'Teens see this film, they walk out and throw their razor blades away'
January 27, 2010
By Drew Zahn
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

A youth pastor in California has made a feature film, released in theaters around the country this past weekend, that is literally saving lives. the rest

Engineer: "This was not an earthquake disaster"

by Katie Baker
January 28, 2010

The audience at last Tuesday’s UC Berkeley lecture given by Eduardo Fierro, one of the first U.S. earthquake engineers to visit post-quake Haiti, collectively cringed as Fierro showed slide after slide of haphazard columns, brittle frames, and slipshod rods and joints. “This was not an earthquake disaster,” Fierro said. “[This] was caused by people that didn’t know how to use codes, that built things in bad shape. These were the people that caused the tragedy.”

Fierro, a Peruvian native who has worked around the Pacific rim, arrived in Haiti within two days of the earthquake to investigate the destruction caused to the country’s built environment. From Port Au Prince to smaller cities like Leogane, from cathedrals to schools to power plants, Fierro found that the same architectural mistakes were made over and over again: the rest-photos

Iranian cleric: More opposition should be executed

The Associated Press
January 29, 2010
TEHRAN, Iran

A powerful hard-line Iranian cleric on Friday called for the execution of more opposition activists to silence anti-government protests, praising the hanging a day earlier of two men caught up in the leadership's postelection crackdown.

Speaking in a Friday prayer sermon, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said the wave of street demonstrations sparked by the disputed June presidential election would not have lasted until now if protesters had been executed early on. the rest

'Grieving process' expected with Anglican church closures

10 Anglican churches in Victoria area might be shut
By Richard Watts, Times Colonist
January 28, 2010

For Anglican clergy and parishioners, losing their churches will be like suffering a death in the family and require an appropriate mourning process, clergy and parishioners said yesterday.

"You have people in denial -- they'll fight and some people have just come to accept," said Rev. Chris Parsons, who splits his ministry between two parishes, St. Martin's in the Fields and St. Columba's, both recently recommended for closure. "The analogy of a grieving process is right on." the rest

Here Come the Anglicans: Opening Chapter in the Coming Reunion of the Church.

By Deacon Keith Fournier
1/29/2010
CHESAPEAKE, VA.

(Catholic Online) – In a beautifully written, theologically astute, historically significant and warmly pastoral letter written to the faithful of the Traditional Anglican Communion, Archbishop John Hepworth invites them to enter into full communion by following the Apostolic Constitution and Norms offered by the Holy See. He concludes his letter (which we reprint in its entirety as a related story below) with this stirring summons:

“I believe with all my heart that this is a work of God and an act of great generosity by Pope Benedict. The Anglican tradition that we treasure will only survive, I believe, across the generations yet to come if it discovers the protection of apostolic authority. It is my cherished wish that each of us can stand at the altar with our fellow Christians and receive the same Eucharistic Christ. That is the ultimate test of unity. In the centuries since the church in the West became fractured there has been no offer such as the one that is now before us.” the rest

Church Times: Ordinariate: the sceptics ‘are eating humble pie’
A MEETING of bishops who have petitioned the Pope to be received into full communion while retaining an “Anglican” identity is to take place in Rome in Low Week.

It would be the culmination of the response to Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution (Anglicanorum Coeti­bus) to establish personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans, Archbishop John Hepworth of the Traditional Angli­can Communion (TAC), a Con­tinuing Church, said on Wednesday.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

'Catcher in the Rye' author J.D. Salinger dies

Jan 28, 2010
By HILLEL ITALIE
AP

NEW YORK (AP) - "Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger has died at age 91 in New Hampshire.

The author's son, in a statement from the author's literary representative, says Salinger died of natural causes at his home. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in the small, remote house in Cornish, N.H.

"The Catcher in the Rye" with its immortal teenage protagonist—the twisted, rebellious Holden Caulfield—came out in 1951 during the time of anxious, Cold War conformity. the rest image

Segregated in a Whole New Way

A church family from the same generation isn't much of a family.
Mollie Ziegler Hemingway
1/28/2010

"Cool! Your church has funerals," a friend recently said after I told him about attending one for a fellow parishioner at my church.

My friend attends one of those churches that meet in a Cineplex. Ever since he first told me about his theater church, I had wondered about the logistics of baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

It turns out that the entire membership of his congregation ranges in age from late teens to late 20s. Baptisms are rare and handled at other venues. As far as he knows, they've never had a funeral. And when people get married, they rent out traditional churches for the occasion. the rest

Anglicans Confront Decline; Plot New Course

Thu, Jan. 28 2010
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

After more than thirty years of membership decline, Anglicans in Canada have decided to face the crisis and no longer have any "head-in-the-sand" denial, as one priest put it.

"Flood warnings have been issued, the waters are rising, and as a Diocese, we are beginning to act," said the Rev. Peter Parker, who is part of a team that was commissioned to make recommendations on how to reverse decline.

"We are leading the Canadian Church in facing the crisis that all Dioceses are facing," he added, according to the Diocesan Post. the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury warns of ‘casual attitude to human life’ in Holocaust message

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned of the dangers of taking a “casual attitude” to human life in a message for National Holocaust Memorial Day.
By Martin Beckford
28 Jan 2010

Dr Rowan Williams said mankind must remain alert to a repeat of the Nazis’ division of people into “us and them”, which led to the death of millions in concentration camps during the Second World War.

He said the same “dehumanising rhetoric” could be seen in modern-day terrorism or the neglect of disabled people and refugees, and suggested it is also at work in areas such as abortion and assisted suicide. the rest

Bill Proposed In California To Protect Clergy From Perfoming Same-Sex Marriages

Thursday, January 28, 2010

As the federal court trial challenging the constitutionality of California's gay marriage ban continues (New York Times 1/27), proponents of same-sex marriage yesterday introduced a bill in the California legislature to make the prospect more appealing to opponents. The Civil Marriage Religious Freedom Act (SB 906) emphasizes the distinction between religious and civil marriage by changing language in state statutes relating to marriage to refer to "civil marriage."
the rest

eHarmony Agrees to be More 'Welcoming' to Same-Sex Seekers

Wed, Jan. 27 2010
By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter

Matchmaking website eHarmony.com settled a class-action lawsuit Tuesday, agreeing to pay half a million dollars to gay, lesbian and bisexual Californians who were harmed by its decision not to offer same-sex matching services.

eHarmony also agreed to make its website more “welcoming” to those looking for same-sex matches as part of the settlement, though its attorneys had pointed out in court filings that the company “does not stand alone among companies that provide their relationship-matching services to a single sexual orientation.” the rest

State of the Union

Obama's State of the Union: Full Text

GOP response: full text

Instapundit
“POLITICO’s Kasie Hunt, who’s in the House chamber, reports that Justice Samuel Alito mouthed the words ‘not true’ when President Barack Obama criticized the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision.” Drudge is calling Obama’s criticism “intimidation,” but apparently, they weren’t so intimidated. As I said before, Obama’s behavior wasn’t very Presidential, and it wasn’t very wise.

Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion
I'll leave it to others to do the fact check. Here's my first impression of the State of the Union speech tonight:
This was a small speech. A lot of petty pot shots, including at the Supreme Court. Very Nixonian, in that regard.
The verbiage was anything but soaring. The joke about root canal must have been off-teleprompter.
I really don't think he gets what is happening in Massachusetts and across this country. He is living in a bubble...


AP: Fact Check
A look at some of Obama's claims and how they compare with the facts...



Obama blasts Supreme Court

Obama: The People Do Not Understand
Put another way, Obama’s sentiment might read, “I know it’s hard for you folks to comprehend, but I’m trying to take care of you.” Such an attitude is unbecoming a public servant. The burden is not on President Obama to explain his plan, and on We the People to listen, but on him to listen to us.

Could Nancy Pelosi Lose Control of the House?
This is something to watch for as we enter an election year with continued high unemployment, a marginally unpopular President, and an economy experiencing only a tepid recovery. It could be a challenge for Speaker Pelosi to keep 218 of her partisans together, and retain effective control over the legislative process in the House of Representatives.

Mugged by Ultrasound

Why so many abortion workers have turned pro-life.
BY David Daleiden and Jon A. Shields
January 25, 2010

Abortion rights activists have long preferred to hold themselves at some remove from the practice they promote; rather than naming it, they speak of “choice” and “reproductive freedom.” But those who perform abortions have no such luxury. Instead, advances in ultrasound imaging and abortion procedures have forced providers ever closer to the nub of their work. Especially in abortions performed far enough along in gestation that the fetus is recognizably a tiny baby, this intimacy exacts an emotional toll, stirring sentiments for which doctors, nurses, and aides are sometimes unprepared. Most apparently have managed to reconcile their belief in the right to abortion with their revulsion at dying and dead fetuses, but a noteworthy number have found the conflict unbearable and have defected to the pro-life cause.
the rest image

Albert Mohler commentary
From a Christian perspective, the recognition of the baby's humanity must be traced to common grace and general revelation. The womb is revealed to be inhabited by a human being who deserves nothing less than our full protection and respect. The heart and mind cannot deny what the eyes have seen.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Quebec government declares "war" against homophobia

Jan 27, 2010
by Douglas Farrow

The Québec policy against homophobia was released in December with introductory fanfare from Premier Jean Charest and Justice Minister Kathleen Weil, who is officially “the minister responsible for the fight against homophobia.” It diagrams a full-scale assault, to be coordinated by an inter-departmental committee, against “homophobic attitudes and behaviour patterns” and “sets out the government’s goal of removing all the obstacles” to full recognition of LGBT interests and modes of life. What is thus promulgated is no ordinary policy document, for it aims at the conversion, not merely of this or that piece of public infrastructure, but of the psychological and moral and sexual infrastructure of a generation. It is not directed at creating a situation of legal equality – that, it proudly proclaims, has already been accomplished – but at creating “a society free of prejudice with regard to sexual diversity.” the rest

Church of England defends stipends

Wednesday, 27th January 2010
By George Conger

The current level of parish clergy stipends are adequate to provide for their financial needs, the Church Commissioners have claimed.

In a Jan 6 statement given to Parliament, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Stuart Bell, responded to a written question submitted by the member for the Vale of York, Anne McIntosh (Cons.) asking what “steps are being taken to ensure that the stipend for parish priests is sufficient for them to perform their duties?”

Sir Stuart stated the Central Stipends Authority (CSA) believed the “current stipend levels are adequate” for parish clergy. He noted that in addition to a cash stipend, the clergy remuneration package “includes the provision of housing, payment of council tax, water charges and maintenance costs, a non-contributory pension, removal grants and, in high risk areas, subsidised insurance.” the rest

Separation of Pro–Life and State

Jan 27, 2010
Meghan Duke

While visiting the National Gallery of Art this past Saturday, I ran into a pair of errant security guards who have taken to interpreting the Constitution in their spare time.

I decided to visit the Gallery after attending the March for Life the day before. There was an exhibit on processes of photography before the digital age that I hoped would confirm me in my refusal to give up on film. After searching my bag, the two guards at the Gallery told me, “You’re good to go in, but first you need to remove that pro-life pin.” He was indicating the small lime green pin with the message “impact73.org” and the silhouette of a small hand inside that of a larger hand that I had attached to the lapel of my coat. The pin, they informed me, was a “religious symbol” and a symbol of a particular political cause and it could not be worn inside a federal building. Why, I asked, can I not wear a religious or political symbol inside a federal building? Bringing to bear the full weight of the supreme law of the land, the guards informed that it was a violation of the First Amendment of the United States’ Constitution: The combination of me, wearing a pro-life pin, in a federal building was a violation of the separation of church and state.

Skeptical that the National Gallery of Art conducts its daily operations under a deviant reading of the U.S. Constitution, I asked where I might find the Gallery’s written policy on this matter. The guards told me that I was not allowed to see the Gallery’s rules. There is no mention in the museum policies found on the Galleries website of any restriction on attire when visiting the Gallery. Nor is there any mention of the prohibition of the expression of free speech by wearing religious or political symbols in title 40 section 6303 of the U.S. code which gives a list of illegal activities at the National Gallery of Art as well as the Smithsonian Institution and the J.F.K. Center for the Performing Arts. the rest

IRS makes Haiti donations tax deductible for 2009

Money given for Haiti earthquake disaster relief through March 1 can be written off on taxes for 2009, the IRS says.
By David Grant, Correspondent
January 26, 2010

If you've made a donation to Haiti relief, the IRS will let you claim a deduction on your 2009 tax bill.

"Americans have opened their hearts to help those affected by the Haiti earthquake," says IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman in a news release." This new law provides an immediate tax benefit for the many taxpayers who have made generous donations." the rest

Canada: Climate agency going up in flames

Exit of Canada's expert a sure sign IPCC in trouble
Terence Corcoran, National Post
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A catastrophic heat wave appears to be closing in on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. How hot is it getting in the scientific kitchen where they've been cooking the books and spicing up the stew pots? So hot, apparently, that Andrew Weaver, probably Canada's leading climate scientist, is calling for replacement of IPCC leadership and institutional reform.

If Andrew Weaver is heading for the exits, it's a pretty sure sign that the United Nations agency is under monumental stress. Mr. Weaver, after all, has been a major IPCC science insider for years. He is Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria, mastermind of one of the most sophisticated climate modelling systems on the planet, and lead author on two recent landmark IPCC reports. the rest

Queens abortion clinic probed after woman dies during abortion

BY Michael J. Feeney, Barry Paddock and Jonathan Lemire
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Wednesday, January 27th 2010

Detectives are investigating a Queens clinic where a 37-year-old woman was fatally injured while undergoing an abortion, officials said Tuesday.

Alexandra Nuñez began bleeding heavily during the procedure at A1 Medicine in Jackson Heights on Monday, officials said.

One of Nuñez's arteries was inadvertently severed and she went into cardiac arrest, according to police sources. the rest

Matt Kennedy+: Leaving Home, Part I

Monday, January 25, 2010

As many of you know, 2009 was a tumultuous year for my family and our congregation. Exactly a year ago this month we lost our home and the congregation we serve lost its church building. Anne and I hope over the next few weeks to publish a series of articles detailing the events of the past year, God's abounding mercy and grace in providing for us and for the church, and the overwhelming generosity of Stand Firm readers and members of our local community.

Story-don't miss this testimony of God's grace and provision!

German home schoolers granted U.S. political asylum

Associated Press
1/27/2010

AMPURCELLVILLE, VA- A German couple who fled to Tennessee so they could home school their children has been granted political asylum by an immigration judge in Memphis...

The decision clears the way for Uwe Romeike his wife and five children to stay in Morristown, Tennessee, where they have been living since 2008.

German law requires children to attend public or private schools, and parents can face fines or prison time if they don't comply. Romeike, an evangelical Christian, said he believes Germany's curriculum is "against Christian values." the rest

UK Christians Celebrate Victory Over Equality Bill

Tue, Jan. 26 2010
By Jenna Lyle
Christian Today Reporter

LONDON – Some Christians say their prayers have been answered after the House of Lords on Monday defeated changes to a law that would have required church groups to hire homosexuals or others whose manner of life is inconsistent with their teaching.

Peers voted 216 to 178 in favor of Lady O’Cathain’s amendment to retain an exemption for religious groups to equality employment laws.

Reacting to the result, Lady O’Cathain said Tuesday: “I know that very many Christians were praying that justice would prevail as the House of Lords voted on this important issue. Many also wrote wise, sensitive letters to peers, seeking to persuade them of our case. the rest

Tea Partiers shaking up races across country

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
By BETH FOUHY

A once-dismissed loose confederation of Tea Party activists opposed to big government, bailouts and higher taxes is causing heartburn for establishment candidates across the country.

They swept into Massachusetts with lightning speed when polls began to show that the eventual winner of last week's special election, Republican Scott Brown, had a shot at upsetting Democrat Martha Coakley for the Senate seat that liberal lion Edward M. Kennedy had held almost 47 years.

Relying on Internet tools like Facebook and Twitter for communications, tea partiers have organized meetings, marches and protests almost overnight, often catching establishment politicians off guard. They've put together a Capitol Hill rally hours before President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech Wednesday to protest his health care plan. the rest image-streetprotest tv

Witness Says Same-Sex Marriage Could Destroy Marriage Altogether

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
By MARIA DINZEO

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Legalizing gay marriage would have drastic consequences for children and society, according to "marriage and family values expert" David Blankenhorn, the final witness in the trial challenging California's same-sex marriage ban. Gay marriage might even result in the downfall of the institution of marriage altogether, Blankenhorn warned.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker allowed Blankenhorn's testimony Tuesday despite objections from plaintiffs' lawyer David Boies, who said Blankenhorn's lack of relevant credentials made him an unsuitable expert witness.

Blankenhorn, who presides over the Institute for American Values and is the author of two books, "Fatherless America" and "The Future of Marriage," said marriage is "a socially approved sexual relationship between a man and a woman," whose primary aim is the conception and rearing of children. the rest

Why the Anglicans are Coming?

Full Text of the TAC Petition to the Holy See Released
by Tim Drake
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

After years of petitioning Rome, in October 2007, the bishops and vicars general of the Traditional Anglican Communion drafted the Portsmouth Letter to the Holy See. While excerpts of that letter have been previously released to the media, the full text remained confidential until the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith formally responded. The CDF’s response came late last year in the form of the Apostolic Constitution.

As a result, Archbishop John Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, has made the full text of the Portsmouth Letter available, exclusively at The Anglo-Catholic. Here’s the full text.

Do yourself a favor and take the time to read it. It’s a fascinating read, and sheds light on the history of the breakdown among the Anglican Communion, what led to their petitions to Rome, and the agreement in doctrine between the TAC and the Catholic Church. Note that the letter speaks of the breakdown in sacramental life and the ordination of women as two of the reasons for the petition. the rest

Christian in Egypt: ‘They Try to Kill Us’


January 26, 2010
by Dana Lewis

Egyptian Maher El-Gowhary and his 15 year old daughter Dina never pray twice at the same church, never stay longer than a month in any one apartment. They are constantly under threat, always on the run because they converted to Christianity in a largely Muslim country.

Maher and Dina nervously agreed to meet us at a Church in Cairo. The priest at the Church said he feared problems from the Egyptian authorities and while he agreed to have us watch his Sunday mass, the Priest declined to speak to us about what is happening in Egypt and to the El-Gowhary's. the rest

Kentucky Bishop on Denying Pelosi Communion: “We’ve Been Patient Enough”

Tuesday January 26, 2010
By John-Henry Westen
WASHINGTON

(LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking with LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) after the Vigil for Life Mass last week, Lexington Bishop Ronald Gainer said that the Church has been “patient enough” with outspokenly pro-abortion Catholic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

LSN questioned Bishop Gainer on whether Pelosi should be denied communion due to her public stance as a ‘pro-choice’ Catholic. While acknowledging that it was up to her local bishop, the Lexington prelate did say that “something should be done.”

Pelosi’s latest salvo claiming to support abortion and yet be a faithful Catholic came in a December Newsweek interview. "I am a practicing Catholic,” she said, while suggesting that this made the U.S. bishops uncomfortable. "I practically mourn this difference of opinion,” she said regarding her conflict with the Church over abortion, “because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions.” She added: “And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will." the rest

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Devotional: When I am weak, and distressed, and alone...

When I am weak, and distressed, and alone, and none to receive my tale of sorrow, none to express a word of fellow-feeling or care for me, in the living oracles of the gospel I see divine wisdom and lovingkindness looking at me tenderly, compassionately, through the openings of my prison, and I feel that He who dresses the lily of the field, and numbers the sparrows, is near me, numbering the hairs of my head, listening to my cries, in all the treasures of His grace and power. He is the same gracious Redeemer and Preserver to every one that believes in His name. ...BA Ramsbottom image by Alan Vernon

Va. man arrested with arsenal, map of Fort Drum

Jan 26, 2010
By GEOFF MULVIHILL
Associated Press Writer

SOMERVILLE, N.J. (AP) -- A call from a convenience store clerk about a suspicious person led to an arrest and a frightening discovery: The man was wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a loaded assault rifle and four magazines of ammunition.

Back in the man's motel room, authorities found a grenade launcher, more rifles, a night-vision scope and, ominously, a map of the Fort Drum Army base in upstate New York. the rest

Canada: 14 Anglican churches in B.C. may close

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
CBC News

Anglican Bishop James Cowan says the church is trying to avoid a crisis by closing 14 churches on Vancouver Island. (Anglican Diocese of B.C.)The Anglican Church of Canada may close 14 of its 59 churches on Vancouver Island and the southern Gulf Islands because of falling attendance.

Five other churches would be renamed and become so-called "hub churches," which would provide services in the areas affected by closures, Bishop James Cowan said in a report released Tuesday.

"We have the choice at this time to be able to make the choice for a transformational change, focused on mission and where we're going, rather than dwindling," Cowan – the top Anglican bishop in the province – said at a news conference in Victoria. the rest

Archbishop Nichols praises papal decree for encouraging Catholic-Anglican dialogue

Rome, Italy
Jan 26, 2010

(CNA)- The president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said this week that the publication of the apostolic constitution allowing Anglicans the option of entering into full communion with the Catholic Church “will have important consequences” in England.

The apostolic constitution, “Anglicanorum coetibus,” was issued by Pope Benedict last November. the rest

A Deadly Quake in a Seismic Hot Zone

By HENRY FOUNTAIN
January 25, 2010

To scientists who study seismic hazards in the Caribbean, there was no surprise in the magnitude 7 earthquake that devastated the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, two weeks ago.

Except, perhaps, in where on the island of Hispaniola it occurred.

“If I had had to make a bet, I would have bet that the first earthquake would have taken place in the northern Dominican Republic, not Haiti,” said Eric Calais, a geophysicist at Purdue University who has conducted research in the area for years.

The fault that ruptured violently on Jan. 12 had been building up strain since the last major earthquake in Port-au-Prince, 240 years ago. Dr. Calais and others had warned in 2008 that a quake could occur along that segment, part of what is called the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone, although they could not predict when. the rest

Church of England loses £40m in US property investment

New Statesman
26 January 2010

The Church of England has lost £40m after a New York apartment complex deal it had invested in turned sour.

In June 2007, when the property market was at its peak and the credit crunch was yet to arrive, the Church made investments in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, two Manhattan housing estates situated along the New York's East River. But the projects incurred huge debts and collapsed when the US property bubble burst next year. the rest

The Anchoress: Updates on Haiti

Monday, January 25, 2010

I hate to start off a Haiti round-up with an “I told you so,” so I will wait to say it and urge, you instead to go watch this very affecting video -watch the sigh of sadness this beautiful and resilient child breathes as she talks about the death around her; marvel at her composure, even as her eyes tell you the whole story- and then read the accompanying piece , and then come back, because the article touches on two things I’ve either been yammering about or praying about.

the rest

Status of Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill Uncertain as Senate, House Democrats Meet

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 25, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The status of the pro-abortion health care bill in Congress is uncertain as House and Senate Democrats spent the weekend planning their next step in the wake of a key election loss in Massachusetts that leaves them without a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Meanwhile, advisors for pro-abortion President Barack Obama spent the weekend on television shows saying they vowed to push ahead with a bill, though they gave few details on what kind of bill or how they would get it passed in Congress. the rest

Ban on Burqa Debated In France, Britain

Monday, January 25, 2010
Religion Clause

In France, a Parliamentary commission is scheduled to publish its recommendations tomorrow on whether the Muslim women should be banned from wearing the full-face veil in public places. According to Islam Online yesterday, France's Conference of French Imams supports a ban, saying that a majority of Muslim scholars agree that women are not required to cover their full face. They say that the issue is being used to "tarnish" the image of Muslims in France and elsewhere in the West. However other Muslim leaders in France oppose any ban. The leader of the French Council for the Muslim Religion says that a ban would infringe Muslim's religious freedom. The president of the French Union of Islamic Organizations says he believes that a ban would encourage Islamophobia, though he supports requiring women to identify themselves in public transportation when necessary for security purposes. the rest

Ruining Kids in Order to Save Them

The boneheaded logic behind treating "sexting" teens as child pornographers
Radley Balko
January 25, 2010

That the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would even need to hear oral arguments in the case of Miller, et al. v. Skumanick last week is a pretty good indication that law enforcement officials in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania have lost their collective minds.

At issue in the case: Whether the U.S. Constitution permits prosecutors to charge minors who pose for nude or risque photos with child pornography. You read that correctly. In order to protect children from predators and child pornographers, the local district attorney is threatening to prosecute minors who pose for racy photos as if they were child pornographers. the rest

UK: 3% of unmarried couples stay together until their child is 16

By James Chapman
21st January 2010

Excerpt:
While official statisticians collect data on marriage and separation, there is no such analysis of unmarried couples. But the study used census information to show that one in three unmarried couples with children separate before their child's fifth birthday, four times the rate of married parents.

Though their backgrounds appeared to account for some of the gap, unmarried cohabiting parents remain at least twice as likely to split up, across every category of income and education. the rest

UK more liberal on homosexuality, says survey

Tuesday, 26 January 2010
BBC

Public attitudes towards gay relationships have changed
Public attitudes to homosexuality are becoming more liberal, according to a government-backed survey.

Some 36% thought homosexual acts were "always" or "mostly" wrong, down from 62% when the British Social Attitudes survey was first carried out, in 1983. the rest

Pope to priests: Go forth and blog

YouTube-era pontiff urges priests to send their message through 'modern' digital media
By Sharon Gaudin
January 25, 2010

Computerworld - A year after the Vatican launched its own channel on YouTube, the pope is asking priests worldwide to adopt social media to spread the word of God.

In advance of May's 44th World Communications Day, Pope Benedict XVI released a message at a press conference over the weekend, urging priests to use digital media to reach out and take their ministry online. He encouraged priests to use blogs, Web sites, video and images, along with their traditional communication methods.

"Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: As new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word," the Pope wrote in his message. "The spread of multimedia communications and its rich 'menu of options' might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web, or to see it only as a space to be filled. ... Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis."

The pope also cautioned his followers to be careful in their use of new media, adding that "new technologies demand greater responsibility." the rest

Christian Apologists: Be Careful of Oprah's Spiritual Teachings

Mon, Jan. 25 2010
By Michelle A. Vu
Christian Post Reporter

Vienna, VA. – She is persuasive, influential and does a lot of good, but Christians should be careful when Oprah speaks about spirituality, warned two apologists who recently co-authored a book on the subject.

To a crowd of more than 1,500 people at McLean Bible Church outside of Washington, D.C,. on Friday evening, renowned apologist Josh McDowell and up-and-coming apologist Dave Sterrett explained the danger of adopting Oprah’s spiritual teachings from a Christian perspective.

They pointed out that the talk show queen and the spiritual teachers she promotes teach pantheism – God is all and all is God – and that there are multiple paths to reach God. She also emphasizes that people should carry out their inner longings instead of restraining themselves if the act is said to be a sin by the Bible. the rest

Everyone Matters, No Matter What

Jan 26, 2010
Wesley J. Smith

In 1992, Jack Kevorkian proposed establishing a pilot program of euthanasia clinics, which, he argued in the Journal of Forensic Pathology, would be staffed by physician-killers, permitted legally to painlessly terminate patients who request it. At the time, euthanasia clinics were considered either a far kook fringe idea, or perhaps, a splendid fictional image reserved for dystopian science fiction. No longer. Today, suicide clinics operate legally in Switzerland, to which an international clientele make one-way trips—a practice known as “suicide tourism.” Moreover, the meme that killing is a legitimate answer to the problem of human suffering has become de rigueur among the intellectual class as a way of removing the undesired unproductive from our ranks, or even, to “save the planet.” the rest

Albert Mohler: Air Conditioning Hell: How Liberalism Happens

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Excerpt:
In recent years, a new pattern of evangelical evasion has surfaced. The Protestant liberals and modernists of the twentieth century simply dismissed the doctrine of hell, having already rejected the truthfulness of Scripture. Thus, they did not enter into elaborate attempts to argue that the Bible did not teach the doctrine—they simply dismissed it.

Though this pattern is found among some who would claim to be evangelicals, this is not the most common evangelical pattern of compromise. A new apologetic move is now evident among some theologians and preachers who do affirm the inerrancy of the Bible and the essential truthfulness of the New Testament doctrine of hell. This new move is more subtle, to be sure. In this move the preacher simply says something like this:

"I regret to tell you that the doctrine of hell is taught in the Bible. I believe it. I believe it because it is revealed in the Bible. It is not up for renegotiation. We just have to receive it and believe it. I do believe it. I wish it could be otherwise but it is not."

Statements like this reveal a very great deal. The authority of the Bible is clearly affirmed. The speaker affirms what the Bible reveals and rejects accommodation. So far, so good. The problem is in how the affirmation is introduced and explained. In an apologetic gesture, the doctrine is essentially lamented. the rest image by vaticanus

Obama's Dawn Johnsen Appointment

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
by Ken Blackwell

Dawn Johnsen is President Obama’s nominee to head the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). It’s arguably the most important office at DoJ. OLC sets policy for the entire federal government.

When not serving in government, Dawn Johnsen has spent her career promoting abortion-on-demand. She denies there is even such a thing as Partial-Birth Abortion. Even the term, she maintains, is “intentionally provocative.” She does not think that “progressives”—that’s PC-speak for liberal—should suggest that abortion is ever a tragedy. the rest

Rape victim receives 101 lashes for becoming pregnant

A 16-year-old girl who was raped in Bangladesh has been given 101 lashes for conceiving during the assault.
25 Jan 2010

The girl's father was also fined and warned the family would be branded outcasts from their village if he did not pay.

According to human rights activists, the girl, who was quickly married after the attack, was divorced weeks later after medical tests revealed she was pregnant. the rest

Retired teacher earns divine degree

By DAN TUOHY
New Hampshire Union Leader

Harriet Richardson Ames recently celebrated her 100th birthday, but family and friends say the former teacher and principal would truly savor the bachelor's degree in education she earned but never received.

The diploma arrived Friday.

The newly minted graduate died the next day. the rest

Tebow's pro-life ad set for Super Bowl

QB, mom to share 'inspiring' story
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
By Casey Curlin THE WASHINGTON TIMES

He's not even in the NFL yet, but former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is making a starring appearance at the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami.

While the Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning and the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees will be the quarterbacks on the field, the Heisman Trophy-winning college star will appear with his mother, Pam, on TV in an ad for the pro-life Christian group Focus on the Family that will air during the game. the rest

Monday, January 25, 2010

Devotional: Keep your life so constant...

Keep your life so constant in its contact with God that His surprising power may break out on the right hand and on the left. Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes. ...Oswald Chambers image by Johnny

Justice Roberts Hints He Could Overturn Roe

Sunday, 24 Jan 2010
By Theodore Kettle

Chief Justice John Roberts last week made it clear that the Supreme Court over which he presides will not hesitate to sweep away its own major constitutional rulings when doing so is necessary to defend America’s bedrock governing document.

The announcement of that guiding core principle means two very big things. First, Roberts and his fellow strict constructionists on the court are now armed and ready with a powerful rationale for overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling if Justice Anthony Kennedy or a future justice becomes the fifth vote against Roe.

Secondly, successfully placing Roberts atop the high court is beginning to look like former President George W. Bush’s most important legacy – a gift that will keep on giving for conservatives for decades. the rest

Christianity Lite

First Things
February 2010
Mary Eberstadt

Once in a while comes an historical event so momentous, so packed with unexpected force, that it acts like a large wave under still water, propelling us momentarily up from the surface of our times onto a crest, where the wider movements of history may be glimpsed better than before.

Such an event was Benedict XVI’s landmark announcement in October 2009 offering members of the Anglican Communion a fast track into the Catholic Church. Although commentators quickly dubbed this unexpected overture a “gambit,” what it truly exhibits are the characteristics of a move known in chess as a “brilliancy,” an unforeseen bold stroke that stunningly transforms the game. In the short run, knowledgeable people agree, this brilliancy of Benedict’s may not seem to amount to much. Some 1000 Church of England priests may convert and some 300 parishes turn over to Rome—figures that, while significant when measured against the dwindling numbers of practicing Anglicans there, are nonetheless mere drops in the Vatican’s bucket.

But in the longer run—say, over the coming decades—Rome’s move looks consequential in another way. It is the latest and most dramatic example of how orthodoxy, rather than dissent, seems once again to have taken the driver’s seat of Christianity. Every traditionalist who joins the long and already illustrious history of reconversion to the Catholic Church just tips the religious balance more toward Rome. This further weakens a religious communion battered from within by decades of intra-Anglican culture wars. Meanwhile, the progressives left behind may well find the exodus of their adversaries a Pyrrhic victory. How will they possibly make peace with the real majority of Anglicans today—the churches in Africa, whose leaders have repeatedly denounced the Communion’s abandonment of traditional teachings? Questions like these are why a few commentators now speak seriously about something that only recently seemed unthinkable: whether the end of the Anglican Communion itself might now be in sight. the rest

Public's Priorities for 2010: Economy, Jobs, Terrorism

Energy Concerns Fall, Deficit Concerns Rise
January 25, 2010

As Barack Obama begins his second year in office, the public’s priorities for the president and Congress remain much as they were one year ago. Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation continue to top the list. And, in the wake of the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, defending the country from future terrorist attacks also remains a top priority.

At the same time, the public has shifted the emphasis it assigns to two major policy issues: dealing with the nation’s energy problem and reducing the budget deficit. About half (49%) say that dealing with the nation’s energy problem should be a top priority, down from 60% a year ago. At the same time, there has been a modest rise in the percentage saying that reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority, from 53% to 60%. the rest

(Global warming is last)

The coming U.S. population boom will bring new economic vitality

The Kids Will Be Alright
JANUARY 23, 2010
By JOEL KOTKIN

America's population growth makes it a notable outlier among the advanced industrialized countries. The country boasts a fertility rate 50% higher than that of Russia, Germany or Japan and well above that of China, Italy, Singapore, North Korea and virtually all of eastern Europe. Add to that the even greater impact of continued large-scale immigration to America from around the world. By the year 2050, the U.S. population will swell by roughly 100 million, and the country's demographic vitality will drive its economic resilience in the coming decades.

This places the U.S. in a radically different position from that of its historic competitors, particularly Europe and Japan, whose populations are stagnant. The contrast between the U.S. and Russia, America's onetime primary rival for world power, is particularly dramatic. Some 30 years ago, Russia constituted the core of a vast Soviet empire that was considerably more populous than the U.S. Today, even with its energy riches, Russia's low birth and high mortality rates suggest that its population will drop to less than one-third that of the U.S. by 2050. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has spoken of "the serious threat of turning into a decaying nation." the rest

Pro-life group struggles to find place on liberal campus

By Baobao Zhang
Staff Reporter
Monday, January 25, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Outside the U.S. Supreme Court, speakers blared with the frantic strums of guitars and the voices of four young men singing gospel songs — rock and roll style. Donning shaggy beards and seated on a makeshift stage, the four were among thousands of pro-life Christian activists protesting the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.

Out on the streets, a small band of Yale students led a different chant.

“Glory, glory, hallelujah! In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,” the Yalies’ voices sang in harmony, drowned out by the yells of other protesters who arrived here at the Capitol. the rest

Anti-abortion forces flex muscles at S.F. rally

Choosing life, despite the fear

Jewish World Review
January 25, 2010
By Kathryn Lopez

Run a Web search on "anencephaly" and you'll get all varieties of cold, clinical Web sites. "Anencephaly is the absence of a large part of the brain and the skull." It "is a cephalic disorder that results from a neural tube defect that occurs when the cephalic (head) end of the neural tube fails to close."

Add "choices" to your search and you will come upon an unwelcoming site, "The Heartbreaking Choice," "for parents who have made the decision to end a pregnancy due to severe or lethal birth defects." It's not a Web site for "support" if you haven't yet decided to end your pregnancy. It makes that clear. It's for "grieving."

As a counterpoint, Monica Rafie established the Web site Benotafraid.net. the rest

Officials fear toxic ingredient in Botox could become terrorist tool

By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 25, 2010

In early 2006, a mysterious cosmetics trader named Rakhman began showing up at salons in St. Petersburg, Russia, hawking a popular anti-aging drug at suspiciously low prices. He flashed a briefcase filled with vials and promised he could deliver more -- "as many as you want," he told buyers -- from a supplier somewhere in Chechnya.

Rakhman's "Botox" was found to be a potent clone of the real thing, but investigators soon turned to a far bigger worry: the prospect of an illegal factory in Chechnya churning out raw botulinum toxin, the key ingredient in the beauty drug and one of world's deadliest poisons. A speck of toxin smaller than a grain of sand can kill a 150-pound adult. the rest

Pope must answer people without any reservations

The voices of the survivors of abuse need to be heard in Rome, writes Colum Kenny
Sunday January 24 2010

THIS is a crucial moment for the Irish hierarchy and Pope Benedict. They must not meet in Rome next month without lay involvement, including representative survivors of abuse. They must not meet if bishops attend who have been compromised by the Murphy report, or who would be likely to be so compromised by similar official reports into other dioceses outside Dublin. And they must not meet without first assuring us that no "mental reservation" or other forms of deception will pollute their public statements. the rest