Saturday, February 27, 2010

Court Says School Can Insist Valedictorian Remove Religious References From Talk

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Montana trial court this week upheld the action of Butte High School officials in refusing to let one of the class' ten valedictorians speak at her 2008 graduation when she refused to remove religious references from her remarks. Yesterday's Billings Gazette reports that officials asked Renee Griffith to replace the words "Christ and his joy" with "my faith" and "from God with a passionate love for him" with the words "derived from my faith and based on a love of mankind." the rest

Chile Earthquake Generates Cross-Pacific Tsunami

By ERIC TALMADGE
Associated Press Writer
TOKYO February 27, 2010 (AP)

People in Hawaii were urgently told to protect lives and property from a tsunami crossing the Pacific as fast as a jetliner after a devastating earthquake in Chile.

Tsunami waves were likely to hit Asian, Australian and New Zealand shores within 24 hours of the earthquake, which struck early Saturday on Chile's coast. the rest

8.8 Huge earthquake batters Chile

The Jew, Jesus, Who Changed the Life of the Chief Rabbi of Rome

He changed it so much that he had himself baptized in the Catholic Church. His book "Il Nazareno" has been reprinted and reviewed in "L'Osservatore Romano" by a Jewish scholar. And meanwhile, the second volume of the pope's "Jesus of Nazareth" is going to the printer
by Sandro Magister

ROME, February 24, 2010 – The first person he told that he had finished writing his book about Jesus was a Jewish rabbi, on the day after his visit to the synagogue of Rome, last January 18.

The rabbi is the American Jacob Neusner, and the author of the book is Benedict XVI.

The first volume of "Jesus of Nazareth" by pope Joseph Ratzinger was released three years ago. And now the second and concluding volume of the work, dedicated to the passion and resurrection of Jesus and to the infancy narratives, is ready for translation and printing. the rest

Friday, February 26, 2010

Devotional: The work of love...

The work of love not only heals the roots of sin, but nurtures practical goodness. When it is authentic you will be sensitive to every need and respond with a generosity unspoiled by selfish intent. Anything you attempt to do without this love will certainly be imperfect, for it is sure to be marred by ulterior motives.

Genuine goodness is a matter of habitually acting and responding appropriately in each situation, as it arises, moved always by the desire to please God. He alone is the pure source of all goodness and if a person is motivated by something else besides God, even though God is first, then his virtue is imperfect. This is evident in the case of two virtues in particular, humility and brotherly love. Whoever acquires these habits of mind and manner needs no others, for he will possess everything. ...The Cloud of Unknowing image by gemsling

Turnaround churches: Can Baptists learn from Anglicans?

By Jim White, Religious Herald
February 26, 2010

If turning around a declining church were easy, more declining churches would be reversing course.

And if Christians in the United States think turning around a church is difficult, think of trying it in the Church of England, where tradition reaches back hundreds of years and hierarchical structure often hamstrings changes local congregations want to make.

But Bob and Mary Hopkins believe fresh expressions—a term they prefer over “revitalizing a congregation”—can come even to Anglican churches in the United Kingdom.

Although they began—and continue—as church planters in urban settings with Anglican Church Planting Initiatives, from 1998 to 2005, the Hopkins served on the leadership team of St. Thomas’ Church in Sheffield, which grew to 1,500 in attendance, primarily reaching young adults with emerging culture interests. the rest

The Last Ever Test Firing of the Space Shuttle Rocket Booster



Story

Why Won't Anyone Clean Me?

Most Americans Tidy Their Refrigerators Only Once or Twice a Year; Manufacturers Try New Ways to Combat the Mess
FEBRUARY 24, 2010
By ANJALI ATHAVALEY

For its new fridge, Whirlpool Corp. spent months inventing a shelf with microscopic etching so it can hold a can of spilled soda.

The technology is just one weapon against a dirty kitchen secret: Most Americans clean their fridges only once or twice a year...

... Manufacturers aiming to create a cleaner, tidier fridge are likely facing an uphill battle: Currently, most Americans don't clean their fridges until something triggers them to act, such as a spill or a pungent odor. They also don't devote much effort to the task, even when they come home with bags of new groceries. In Whirlpool's 2005 refrigerator habits survey of 2,571 consumers, 33% said they don't spend any time cleaning the refrigerator before grocery shopping. In order to make room for items just purchased, 27% reported shoving everything in and not worrying about organization. the rest
image by Collin Anderson

Currents Affecting the Church

Thu, Feb. 25 2010
By Chuck Colson
Christian Post Guest Columnist

Perhaps you’ve witnessed it in your own congregation. The past 10 to 15 years have brought dramatic change. Maybe you get regular email updates from a missionary you support. Perhaps the church missions committee uses an internet phone service like Skype to talk face-to-face with a sister church in a remote part of Africa. Or maybe you attend a church where a foreign missionary from overseas has come to help spread the Gospel here in the U.S.

And because of immigration, perhaps your church looks a little more like that picture painted in Revelation, with worshippers from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

We may take changes like this for granted, but they are rippling through the global Church, creating challenges and opportunities like never before. the rest

Love Among the Ruins

Caring for orphans, ransoming hostages, burying the dead—it’s all in a day’s work for Father Rick Frechette.
BY Matt Labash
March 1, 2010

Excerpt:
Though it’s taking me a while to reach the land of newly minted loss (in 40 seconds’ time, at least 230,000 Haitians were killed on January 12, one in every 50), I’ve come to Hartford to collect a man who, no matter where he goes, can’t seem to escape the dead. Father Rick, as most call him, has lived in Haiti for 22 years. He is founder and director of the Haitian branch of the international children’s organization Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (“Our Little Brothers and Sisters”).

In the Tabarre section of Port-au-Prince, Frechette runs St. Damien Hospital, Haiti’s only free pediatric hospital. He also oversees an orphanage and the sprawling St. Luke missions, a boots-on-the-ground enterprise responsible for everything from its 18 simple street-schools in a country where fewer than 75 percent of children attend school, to running water and food to the city’s most ferocious slums. the rest

This is a very long account of Fr. Rick and his work among the Haitians, but take time to read it-it is heartbreaking and awesome all at once. -PD

Slideshow can be viewed here.

Keeping the faith? Not in Vancouver

Fri, Feb. 26, 2010
By Frank Fitzpatrick
Inquirer Staff Writer

VANCOUVER - From Lion's Gate Bridge, the city's downtown skyline, spectacularly framed by water, sky, and mountain, is itself a natural wonder.

At night especially, beyond the great dark swath of Stanley Park on its western point, the glass-and-concrete skyscrapers, the residential-tower clusters, and Harbour Centre's circular top twinkle like a man-made constellation.

But visitors who soak in that view more deeply might see - or, rather, not see - something else. Vancouver, on closer inspection, lacks a common feature of most other North American cityscapes:

Church steeples. the rest

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Devotional: Be not troubled...

Be not troubled about those who are with you or against you, but take care that God be with you in everything you do. Keep your conscience clear and God will protect you, for the malice of humans cannot harm one whom God wishes to help. If you know how to suffer in silence, you will undoubtedly experience God's help. He knows when and how to deliver you; therefore, place yourself in His hands, for it is a divine prerogative to help men and free them from all distress. ...Thomas a Kempis image

Confession of a Nazarene

Thursday, February 25, 2010
By Julia Duin

I can't say I've run into too many Nazarenes in my life.

Nazarenes belong to an evangelical Protestant denomination that was founded in 1908 and affiliated with the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition from the 19th century. They are based in Lenexa, Kan., and have 1.9 million members worldwide, including 769,470 in the United States. People who are — or were raised — Nazarene include Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, politician Gary Hart and author Ann Kiemel Anderson.

But they are not known for focusing on the sacramental, which is why I was surprised to find a recent book by a Nazarene college journalism professor on some of the traditional seven sacraments of the Catholic Church: baptism, confirmation, confession, marriage, ordination, anointing of the sick and last rites. the rest

The Beginning of the Reformation's End?

By CHARLOTTE HAYS
FEBRUARY 25, 2010
Washington

On a recent evening, about 60 people—ex-Episcopalians, curious Catholics and a smattering of earnest Episcopal priests in clerical collars—gathered downtown for an unusual liturgy: It was Evensong and Benediction, sung according to the Book of Divine Worship, an Anglican Use liturgical book still being prepared in Rome.

Beautiful evensongs are a signature of Protestant Episcopal worship. Benediction, which consists of hymns, canticles or litanies before the consecrated host on the altar, is a Catholic devotion. We were getting a blend of both at St. Mary Mother of God Church, lent for the occasion.

One former Episcopalian present confessed to having to choke back tears as the first plainsong strains of "Humbly I Adore Thee," the Anglican version of a hymn by St. Thomas Aquinas, floated down from the organ in the balcony. A convert to Catholicism, she could not believe she was sitting in a Catholic Church, hearing the words of her Anglican girlhood—and as part of an authorized, Roman Catholic liturgy. the rest

At Ivor church, clothing is optional

by LaSalle Blanks
February 23, 2010

IVOR - In church, you come as you are. That's especially true inside the Whitetail Chapel in Ivor. Clothing is optional for everyone from the pastor to the congregation.

"I really don't think God cares what you wear when you worship," said Richard Foley, a member of the congregation. "The thing is worship."

Churchgoers like Foley have no problem getting the word of God from a pastor in his birthday suit. the rest-video
(The video has interesting camera angles, but is fairly discreet)

Although a few Christians weighed in, many of the comments are supportive of nude church going: being naked is normal, we can't be judgmental, this is my choice, be open-minded, these are nice people (nice trumps everything), it's how you interpret Scripture, etc. -PD

Ireland: New 'quickie' Mass draws large crowds

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A new fifteen-minute mass in a Galway parish is drawing people in droves and reversing the fall off in mass attendance. The guaranteed 15-minute mass without a sermon and with the help of a Eucharistic minister is allowing parishioners to attend mass before going to work.

Father Michael Kenny switched his morning mass from 9.a.m to 7.30 a.m. and attendance has soared. "The general view among parishioners is that the 9 a.m. Mass was totally unsuitable for people going to work," he told the Irish Independent.

"Now, more and more people are coming along to the Mass at 7.30 a.m. as they know they can be on their way to work or school 15 or 20 minutes later and it is far more suitable," said Fr Kenny. the rest

Child sex abuse allegations uncovered in Church of England files

Allegations that priests sexually abused children which were never properly investigated have been unearthed in a sweeping review of more than 40,000 Church of England files.
By Heidi Blake
25 Feb 2010

Four priests and two lay officers were referred to the police as the result of a review of child abuse allegations, while a further five church workers were reported to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) who may bar them from ever working with children again.

Two priests with previous convictions for child pornography and child sex abuse we among those referred to the ISA. the rest

Multi-Site Churches Spreading in Post-Christian Europe

Wed, Feb. 24 2010
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

Amid decreasing church attendance in Western Europe, multi-site churches have still managed to take root and spread, one group reports.

Leadership Network released a brief report providing snapshots of the various kinds of multi-site churches growing in Europe.

"While some people have questioned whether the multi-site model works in the more post-Christendom context of Europe, there are European churches, who organize themselves as multi-site churches," states the report by Joanne Appleton of the European Church Planting Network – a project of Dallas-based Leadership Network. the rest

Drunk-driving German woman bishop quits

By Simon Sturdee
Agence France-Presse
February 24, 2010

BERLIN - The colourful head of Germany's 25 million Protestants, dubbed by the media as a mixture of Mother Theresa and U.S. actress Demi Moore, resigned on Wednesday after being caught drunk-driving.

"Last Saturday, I made a big mistake," Margot Kaessmann, 51, told reporters. "My heart tells me quite clearly that I cannot stay in office with the necessary authority . . . I hereby resign from all my Church responsibilities." the rest

Studies: Belief in God relieves depression

Thursday, February 25, 2010
By Jennifer Harper

The "Big Man Upstairs" is getting accolades from mental health specialists who say they are finding that a belief in God plays a positive role in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

University of Toronto psychologists reported last year that "believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress," their research showcasing "distinct brain differences" between believers and nonbelievers. the rest

Bishop of Mosul: humanitarian emergency. Hundreds of Christian families fleeing violence

Mgr Nona speaks of an “unending Via Crucis”. The archdiocese helps the refugees with basic necessities, but "the situation is dramatic." The prelate will go to Baghdad to seek the intervention of the central government. Mgr Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, will launch a "demonstration and a fast" to remember "the massacre of Iraqi Christians."
02/25/2010
IRAQ

Mosul (AsiaNews) - Mosul is experiencing a veritable "humanitarian emergency" in just one day, yesterday, "hundreds of Christian families" left the city in search of shelter, leaving behind their homes, property, commercial activities: the situation "is dramatic". Bishop Emil Shimoun Nona, Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, confirmed to AsiaNews about the exodus of the faithful from the city. Meanwhile, Mgr. Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, will launch "a demonstration and a fast", to sensitize the international community to the "massacre of Iraqi Christians" and stop the violence in the country.

The archbishop of Mosul is concerned about the many families, "hundreds" in one day yesterday, leaving the city. Bishop Nona speaks of an " unending via Crucis” and denounces the "change in methods" operated by the armed gangs. "In the past we said to the Christians to remain closed in the house – he remembers - but now they are even attacked in their own homes”. The reference is to the murder took place last February 23: commandos entered the house of Aishwa Marosi, a Christian of 59, killing the man and two boys. His wife and daughter witnessed the murder but were spared by the criminals. the rest

Murders in Mosul

Report Finds Signs of Life in North American Denominations

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Two Pentecostal groups reported membership gains despite declines within several other North American denominations, according to an annual report from the National Council of Churches.

The Assemblies of God grew 1.27 percent from 2,863,265 members to 2,899,702, while the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) grew 1.76 percent from 1,053,642 members to 1,072,169, according to the 2010 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches. the rest

Woman Draws Pro-Life Shock by Live Blogging Abortion on Twitter, YouTube

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 24, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- A woman who calls herself Angie the Atheist is prompting shock from pro-life advocates for live-blogging her drug-induced abortion and putting update on Twitter as she goes through the process. Angie recounts the process in graphic terms and displays a hatred for pro-life detractors.

"I'm an atheist, children’s rights activist, and happy momma of a 4-year-old boy who makes my world go round. But this week, I've been getting called a 'killer' a whole lot," Angie writes.
the rest

Vintage Reagan Bemoans 'Socialized Medicine' in YouTube Sensation


FOXNews.com
February 24, 2010

On the eve of the Obama administration's most aggressive push yet to pass a national health care plan, a 50-year-old audio recording of former President Ronald Reagan speaking out against "socialized medicine" has become a huge YouTube sensation. Story

Obama Readies a Fallback Health-Care Proposal

Now Is Not The Time For Weakness
The health care plan put forth by Obama, based on the prior Senate bill, is so destructive on so many levels that it must be opposed without regard to political fallout.

The Obama plan contains fiscal gimmicks and gamesmanship which will lead to crushing deficits and debt; sanctions government intrusion into our lives unlike anything we have seen before; will lead to the destruction of a private insurance system which, while not perfect, delivers coverage to the overwhelming majority of Americans in a satisfactory manner; will result in the demoralization of our most honored profession, reducing medical care to the lowest common denominator in the cause of a false sense of fairness; and reflects the ultimate hubris of ideological, power drunk people who have proven themselves unworthy of our trust and who express, time and again, their disdain for the people they claim to serve.

Healthcare summit in a 'toxic' setting

CNN poll:
Twenty-five percent of people questioned in the poll say Congress should pass legislation similar to the bills passed by both chambers, with 48 percent saying lawmakers should work on an entirely new bill and a quarter saying Congress should stop all work on health care reform.

Poll shows concern about American influence waning as China's grows

By John Pomfret and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 25, 2010

Facing high unemployment and a difficult economy, most Americans think the United States will have a smaller role in the world economy in the coming years, and many believe that while the 20th century may have been the "American Century," the 21st century will belong to China.

These results come from a new Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted during a time of significant tension between Washington and Beijing.

"China's on the rise," said Wayne Nunnery, 56, a retired U.S. Air Force employee from Bexar, Tex., who was one of 1,004 randomly selected adults polled. "I don't worry about a Chinese century, but I do wonder how it's going to be for my three sons." the rest

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Devotional: Remain spiritually tenacious...

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered. The greatest fear a man has is not that he will be damned, but that Jesus Christ will be worsted, that the things He stood for - love and justice and forgiveness and kindness among men - will not win out in the end; the things He stands for look like will-o'-the-wisps. Then comes the call to spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted.

If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God. "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience."

Remain spiritually tenacious. ...Oswald Chambers
image by lrargerich

Feast of St. Matthias




Almighty God,
who in the place of Judas
chose your faithful servant Matthias
to be numbered among the Twelve:
Grant that your Church,
being delivered from false apostles,
may always be guided and governed
by faithful and true pastors;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
BCP
image

Oregon: terminating a pregnancy in the comfort and privacy of home

February 23, 2010

Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon plans to offer medication-induced abortions at its clinics in Ashland and Eugene beginning sometime in March.

Cynthia Pappas, Planned Parenthood's executive director, said the organization's board of directors decided to offer the service to provide women with an option for terminating a pregnancy in the comfort and privacy of home. Medication-induced abortions use drugs to expel a fetus. The federal Food and Drug Administration approved their use in 2000. the rest

Poll: Only 10% SAY CONGRESS DOING GOOD JOB

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Voter unhappiness with Congress has reached the highest level ever recorded by Rasmussen Reports as 71% now say the legislature is doing a poor job.

That’s up ten points from the previous high of 61% reached a month ago. the rest


What Do You Expect With Obama?

Matt Kennedy+: Leaving Home Part III

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our move had been so quick, both from church and home, that we really didn't have time to sort stuff. I was afraid, and later my fears proved founded, that people were not really understanding the implications of the court order. We'd lost our building, our rectory, and all of the assets, but it was the surrender, willing though it was, of the memorials that caused, I think, the most visceral outrage and sorrow in the congregation.

Story here

Protests against priest who refused communion to gay “prince”

02/23/2010

Excerpt:
But, because Vermeulen had been public about his active homosexuality leading up to the festivities, Fr. Buyens contacted him the week before the Carnival Mass to advise him that he would not be able to receive Communion. The priest offered to give him a blessing, and allowed him to address the congregation. Vermeulen attended the Mass, stating that he did not want to “spoil the party,” but did not go up for a blessing.

In response to this week's protest, Fr. Buyens decided not to distribute Communion at the Mass after consulting his bishop in Den Bosch.

The diocese issued a statement today noting that Mass is not an appropriate venue for protest. They pointed out, further, that homosexual tendencies do not bar a person from receiving Communion, but rather it is the active practice of homosexuality that presents the problem. The diocese asked for respect of the Catholic teaching that practicing homosexuals not receive. the rest

Missile Defense Agency Logo Looks Awfully Familiar

Take a look.

Archaeologist finds Jerusalem wall matching biblical story

23/02/2010
By Nir Hasson
Haaretz Correspondent

A team of Israeli archaeologists has announced the discovery of a massive wall they say dates to the 10th century BCE in Jerusalem's Ophel Park on the slope between the Temple Mount and the village of Silwan. The dig director, Dr. Eilat Mazar, dates the wall according to potsherds found nearby to the period of King Solomon and the major period of construction in Jerusalem in the First Temple period, as described in the Bible. the rest

Dig Supports Biblical Account of King Solomon's Construction

Army: ‘Serious concerns’ about lifting gay ban

Top general raises doubts about immediate overturn of 'don't ask don't tell'
Tues., Feb. 23, 2010

WASHINGTON - The Army's top uniformed officer said Tuesday that he has "serious concerns" about overturning a 17-year policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military and supports a yearlong study into the matter before any changes are made.

The carefully crafted comments by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey to the Senate Armed Services Committee indicate reluctance by some within the military's senior ranks to President Barack Obama's plan to repeal "don't ask, don't tell." the rest

U.K. Religious Schools Forced to Promote Abortion, Homosexuality under Sex-Ed Bill

Tuesday February 23, 2010
By Hilary White
LONDON

(LifeSiteNews.com) – Britain’s Labour government clarified this week that an amendment to the Children, Schools and Families bill, that says faith schools may teach the mandatory Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) program “in a way that reflects the school’s religious character,” does not, in fact, give the schools freedom to oppose abortion, contraception and homosexual activity on moral grounds.

The clarification has been hailed by a local pro-life and pro-family group as evidence that the spectre of "totalitarianism" has reappeared in Britain. the rest

Updated 3:28 pm:
UK Passes Sex-Ed Bill Forcing Schools to Promote Homosexuality, Abortion
Paul Tully remarked, “Many people will be especially appalled that both the National Society of the Church of England and the education service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference have endorsed the provisions of the bill. Mr. Balls made much of the support for the bill by Archbishop Nichols, and we have called upon the Archbishop, and other faith leaders to reconsider their support even at this late stage.”

NIH Redefines Embryonic Stem Cells

by David Prentice
February 23, 2010

Last Friday the National Institutes of Health announced that they were proposing a “technical change” in their Guidelines for destruction of human embryos, a.k.a. Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

The change would allow use of younger human embryos in experiments...

...This expands the unethical use of human embryos, and creates additional incentives to cannibalize more embryos. Stating that the guidelines are “ethical” simply puts a veneer on unethical practices; they are simply providing a recipe for human embryo destruction so that taxpayers funds can be used to reward the scientists. the rest

Pennsylvania: Frozen Fetuses Found During Doctor’s Office Raid

India: Churches attacked as trouble brews over Jesus picture row

by John Malhotra
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two churches have been burnt to the ground and Christians attacked after tension erupted on Saturday over the publication of an offensive poster of Jesus Christ in an in Batala, Punjab, in India.

Police said trouble began after some Christian youths protested against the picture of Jesus holding a beer can and a cigarette, which appeared in some newspapers. the rest

The new landscape of the religion blogosphere

posted February 24, 2009

This report surveys nearly 100 of the most influential blogs that contribute to an online discussion about religion in the public sphere and the academy. It places this religion blogosphere in the context of the blogosphere as a whole, maps out its contours, and presents the voices of some of the bloggers themselves. For those new to the world of blogs, there is an overview of what blogging is and represents...

...The purpose at hand is to foster a more self-reflective, collaborative, and mutually-aware religion blogosphere. Ideally, this report will spark discussion among religion bloggers that will take their work further, while also inviting new voices from outside existing networks to join in and take part.


Contents
1. Why bother with blogs?
2.
Blogging and academia
3.
The shape of the religion blogosphere
4.
Religion bloggers on blogging
Appendix I:
Bibliography
Appendix II:
Religion blogs

Link

Download this report as a PDF

The Civic Failure of American Higher Education

First Things
Feb 23, 2010
R. R. Reno

Excerpt:
The civic function of higher education is therefore obvious. A serious intellectual encounter with alternative views of morality, culture, and politics—an encounter given flesh and blood on a campus populated by faculty who carry forward these alternatives—prepares the mind for intelligent partisanship. If a liberal, for example, knows why a conservative opposes government run health care or abortion, he has the basis for discerning common ground on the margins of these disagreements, and perhaps on other issues as well. At an even more basic level, the liberal will find it difficult to simply pigeonhole conservatives as greedy, ignorant, and mean-spirited.

Unfortunately, this does not happen in higher education. As civic institutions, our colleges and universities have become closed communities of the like-minded. Conservative ideas are never engaged but only ignored and dismissed.

The raw numbers are shocking. As a 2007 study by Neil Gross at Harvard and Solon Simmons at George Mason shows, the professoriate has become ideologically homogeneous. the rest
image by sweeneytoad

College Professors Are More Likely to Believe 'Ten Commandments are Irrelevant Today'

Are There Secular Reasons?

February 22, 2010
By STANLEY FISH

In the always-ongoing debate about the role of religion in public life, the argument most often made on the liberal side (by which I mean the side of Classical Liberalism, not the side of left politics) is that policy decisions should be made on the basis of secular reasons, reasons that, because they do not reflect the commitments or agendas of any religion, morality or ideology, can be accepted as reasons by all citizens no matter what their individual beliefs and affiliations. So it’s O.K. to argue that a proposed piece of legislation will benefit the economy, or improve the nation’s health, or strengthen national security; but it’s not O.K. to argue that a proposed piece of legislation should be passed because it comports with a verse from the book of Genesis or corresponds to the will of God.

A somewhat less stringent version of the argument permits religious reasons to be voiced in contexts of public decision-making so long as they have a secular counterpart: thus, citing the prohibition against stealing in the Ten Commandments is all right because there is a secular version of the prohibition rooted in the law of property rights rather than in a biblical command. In a more severe version of the argument, on the other hand, you are not supposed even to have religious thoughts when reflecting on the wisdom or folly of a piece of policy. Not only should you act secularly when you enter the public sphere; you should also think secularly. the rest

Climategate: What We Should Be Doing About Natural Climate Change

Just because AGW is a fraud doesn't mean that we should ignore the natural and cyclical changes in the Earth's temperature.
February 24, 2010
by Harrison Schmitt

Excerpt:
Recent disclosures and admissions of scientific misconduct by the United Nations and advocates of the human-caused global warming hypothesis shows the fraudulent foundation of this much-ballyhooed but non-existent scientific consensus about climate.

Still, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other government agencies persist in over-stepping their regulatory authority to jam climate related regulations into our lives and economy at the expense of liberty, jobs, and incomes. Federal control of energy production and use, advocated by special “climate” interests, will have a vanishingly small effect on slowing three and a half centuries of very slow, erratic, but natural global warming. the rest

Al Gore's Nine Lies - Investor's Business Daily

ADV to Explore Anglicanism in New Speaker Series

ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan to Kick off Anglican Insights on March 13
FAIRFAX , Va.
February 23, 2010

The Anglican District of Virginia announces its new “Anglican Insights” speaker series that will explore the topic of Anglicanism. Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Archbishop Robert Duncan will kick off the first event on Saturday, March 13.

“We recognized a need within ADV to provide resources and insight from prominent Anglican Christians about what being an Anglican means,” said ADV Chairman Jim Oakes. “Plus, we want to do our part to equip the next generation of Anglicans with the tools they need to understand the foundation of our faith.”

The March 13 event, to be held at The Falls Church, 115 East Fairfax St. , Falls Church , Va. , will begin at 9:00 am with Morning Prayer, followed by Archbishop Duncan’s address and a time for the audience to ask him questions. The event is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.
Archbishop Duncan is the Bishop of Pittsburgh and primate of ACNA. Best known beyond Pittsburgh for his role as moderator of the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Partnership, Archbishop Duncan has proven to be an extraordinary leader at a critical moment in Church history. At the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop Duncan attended the 2007 Primates Meeting in Dar Es Salaam , Tanzania , to speak on behalf of orthodox Anglicans in the United States . In December 2007, he was elected moderator of the Common Cause Partnership. The Anglican Church in North America ’s constitution names the moderator as the province’s initial archbishop.

“I hope many will come and hear Archbishop Duncan’s perspective on Anglicanism and why this is an exciting time to be an Anglican Christian,” Oakes said. “What better way is there to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ than by having a solid foundation on who we are as a body of believers, and what we believe? Our ‘Anglican Insights’ series will help provide us all with that foundation, so that we can better impact our communities for Christ.”

The second installment in the “Anglican Insights” speaker series, to be held on Tuesday, June 8 at 7:30 pm at The Falls Church, will feature Os Guinness, author, social critic and senior fellow with the EastWest Institute in New York .
As part of “Anglican Insights,” ADV is featuring monthly essays by a variety of sources including ADV rectors and other leaders who will answer, “Why I’m Anglican,” in its newsletter, ADVance. More information and resources on Anglicanism can be found at here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anglicans Propel Vision to Plant 1,000 Churches

Tue, Feb. 23 2010
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

Conservative Anglicans, who began their own church less than a year ago, are moving with greater momentum to answer the call of planting 1,000 churches.

Hundreds gathered in Plano, Texas, on Monday for the Anglican Church in North America's summit where they were told that they could be the leading church planting denomination in America if they succeed.

They could even break the logjam in North American Anglicanism, said Fr. David Roseberry, rector of Christ Church in Plano, according to VirtueOnline.org.

The vision for Anglican 1000 was cast by ACNA's archbishop, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, last summer when some 700 parishes that cut ties with The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada constituted the ACNA. Though there were existing Anglican provinces in the United States and Canada, the breakaway parishes established their own North American province as they sought to establish a traditionally Anglican and biblically-centered body (that would still be tied to the worldwide Anglican Communion). the rest

Clerics call for gay ceremonies at religious venues

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Senior Anglican clergy have called for gay couples to be allowed to hold civil partnership ceremonies in churches, synagogues or other religious venues.

In a letter to the Times, clerics said the current law was "discriminatory" because it denied homosexual couples the same choices as heterosexual ones.

It urged members of the House of Lords to support an amendment to the Equality Bill being proposed on 2 March 2010. the rest

Monday, February 22, 2010

Devotional: He will bless them that fear the Lord...

He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great.
Psalm 115:13

This is a word of cheer to those who are of humble station and mean estate. Our God has a very gracious consideration for those of small property, small talent, small influence, small weight. God careth for the small things in creation and even regards sparrows in their lighting upon the ground. Nothing is small to God, for He makes use of insignificant agents for the accomplishment of His purposes. Let the least among men seek of God a blessing upon his littleness, and he shall find his contracted sphere to be a happy one.

Among those who fear the Lord there are little and great. Some are babes, and others are giants. But these are all blessed. Little faith is blessed faith. Trembling hope is blessed hope. Every grace of the Holy Spirit, even though it be only in the bud, bears a blessing within it. Moreover, the Lord Jesus bought both the small and the great with the same precious blood, and He has engaged to preserve the lambs as well as the full-grown sheep. No mother overlooks her child because it is little; nay, the smaller it is, the more tenderly does she nurse it. If there be any preference with the Lord, He does not arrange them as "great and small" but as "small and great." ...CH Spurgeon
image by otama

Anglican bishops back end to ban on gay civil partnerships in church

From The Times
February 23, 2010
Ruth Gledhill, Rosemary Bennett

Gay couples could soon be allowed to “marry” in church after a decision by Anglican bishops and other clergy to support a relaxation of the ban.

Senior bishops in the Lords have told The Times that they will support an amendment to the Equality Bill next month that will lift the ban on civil partnership ceremonies in religious premises. The amendment would remove the legislative prohibition on blessings of homosexual couples and open the door to the registration of civil partnerships in churches, synagogues, mosques and all other religious premises.

In a letter to The Times a group of Church of England clerics say today that religious denominations should be allowed to register civil partnerships on their premises if they wish.
the rest

Obama puts forward $1 trillion health care plan

Feb 22, 2010
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is putting forward a nearly $1 trillion, 10-year health care plan that would allow the government to deny or roll back egregious insurance premium increases that infuriated consumers.

Posted Monday morning on the White House Web site, the plan would provide coverage to more than 31 million Americans now uninsured without adding to the federal deficit.

It conspicuously omits a government insurance plan sought by liberals. the rest

WSJ: The Atonal President-ObamaCare is like a bad symphony.
So the modern compositions sound disorderly and give the listener no pleasure. Is this not the definition of a racket? Ball seems to be suggesting that while these pieces are aesthetically displeasing because they are defective in form, some sort of underlying substance makes them worthy. But this is bunk. The value of music consists only in its appeal to the human mind.

On this point, the analogy to politics and policy breaks down. It is possible for a good policy to be inartfully presented (or, for that matter, for a skilled politician to make a bad policy attractive). The claim that ObamaCare is a good idea but Obama presented it badly is not inherently absurd, as is the claim that a piece of music is good even though it sounds bad.

UK: Skirts at school 'unfair to transsexuals'

Mon Feb 22 2010

Schools that force girls to wear skirts as part of their official uniform are discriminating against transsexuals, a British watchdog claims.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission says schools may be breaking the law if they continue to make skirts compulsory, Britain's Daily Mail newspaper reports.

The commission has even threatened "costly legal action" if uniform rules are not changed. the rest

Albert Mohler: Tiger Woods’ Buddhist Confession

Monday, February 22, 2010

Excerpt:
Then, Tiger Woods added these words:

I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it. Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don't realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught.

With these words, Woods publicly reclaimed his Buddhist identity, having been raised in the philosophy of Thai Buddhism by his mother. The two key sentences are these: "Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint." the rest image

Pakistani Christian Beaten for Refusing to Convert to Islam

Brothers converted by Muslim cleric who raised them leave him for dead.
KALLUR KOT, Pakistan
February 22, 2010

(CDN) — The four older Muslim brothers of a 26-year-old Christian beat him unconscious here earlier this month because he refused their enticements to convert to Islam, the victim told Compass.

Riaz Masih, whose Christian parents died when he was a boy, said his continual refusal to convert infuriated his siblings and the Muslim cleric who raised them, Moulvi Peer Akram-Ullah. On Feb. 8, he said, his brothers ransacked his house in this Punjab Province town 233 kilometers (145 miles) southwest of Islamabad.

“They threatened that it was the breaking point now, and that I must convert right now or face death,” Masih said. “They said killing an infidel is not a sin, instead it’s righteousness in the sight of Allah almighty.” the rest

Study on religion finds young adults less affiliated but not less believing

The Pew Forum reports that fewer than 20% of people age 18 to 29 attend church services regularly, but about three-quarters of them believe in an afterlife -- about the same rate as older generations.
By Mitchell Landsberg
February 22, 2010

Is faith losing its grip on the young?

That would be one way to read a new report by the respected Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which found that more than one-quarter of Americans age 18 to 29 have no religious preference or affiliation, and fewer than one in five attend services regularly. That makes them easily the least religious generation among Americans alive today, perhaps the least religious ever.

Or does it?

The Pew study found that, although young adults -- the so-called Millennial generation born after 1981 -- are shunning traditional religious denominations and services in unprecedented numbers, their faith in God and the power of prayer appears nearly as strong as that of young people in earlier generations. the rest

Married Catholic priest will be Nashville diocese's first

Celibacy rule has exception
By Bob Smietana
THE TENNESSEAN
February 21, 2010

The former Episcopal priest and father of two will become the first married priest in the Nashville diocese.

He resigned from the Episcopal Church because he thought the denomination had moved away from traditional Christianity. He converted to Catholicism five years ago, and, after Monday, he'll be celebrating Mass, hearing confessions and handling all the responsibilities of a priest.

Since the 1980s, the Roman Catholic Church has allowed former Episcopal priests, like Dean, to be ordained under a special provision. Church leaders say the provision is an act of grace toward converts. But some wonder why that same grace isn't extended to former Catholic priests who left the ministry to marry. the rest

Declining membership hurts Episcopal churches in Northern California

By Jennifer Garza
Monday, Feb. 22, 2010

Excerpt:
Faced with declining membership and less money to pay salaries and maintain aging buildings, Beisner is calling on staff and laity to come up with new ways of keeping their church doors open.

The bishop said he has no plans to close any of the 72 churches in the diocese. "But everything is on the table," he said.

Many congregations can no longer afford full-time clergy. Some are having trouble paying their bills. In a letter to clergy this month, a diocesan leader said changes must be made soon.

"There are those who feel we are on the brink of a crisis," said Canon Britt Olson in the Aurora Clergy E-News. "This is because this is a crisis – not only for the congregation, but for all churches in the diocese."

This month, the bishop has been meeting with church leaders to discuss innovative ministries. He also established the Church Response Work Group to help churches deal with everything from financial to administrative issues. the rest

Executive Council discusses trends in Episcopal Church membership

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Devotional: Clear shining from God...

Clear shining from God must be at the bottom of deep labouring with God. What is the reason that so many in our days set their hands to the plough, and looked back again? —begin to serve Providence in great things, but cannot finish? —give over in the heat of the day? They never had any such revelation of the mind of God upon their spirits, such a discovery of His excellencies, as might serve for a bottom of such undertakings. ...John Owen image by nick russill

Wheaton College alumnus to lead school

By Bob Smith and Justin Kmitch
2/20/2010

Wheaton College has appointed Philip Ryken, senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, as its eighth president.

He will begin work July 1.

It will be something of a homecoming for Ryken, who grew up in Wheaton, graduated from the college and frequently wondered if he would return, according to one member of the college's board of trustees. the rest

Va. Episcopalians backpedal on gay unions

February 22, 2010
By Julia Duin

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has backed away from recognizing same-sex unions, instead voting over the weekend to form a panel of laity and clergy that will set standards for church-sanctioned blessings of such unions should they be approved by the entire 2-million-member Episcopal Church.

About 346 delegates to the diocese's annual council meeting at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria narrowly voted — by a show of hands — to form the panel, which will also include lawyers who specialize in church law. the rest

Replacing Springfield Episcopal bishop could be contentious process

By STEVEN SPEARIE
THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER
Feb 20, 2010

Springfield’s Episcopal Church diocese will be under national scrutiny as it seeks a successor for Bishop Peter Beckwith.

Beckwith has allied himself with the conservative wing of the broader Anglican umbrella, and the timing of his retirement, which took effect Feb. 1, caught many in the church off guard.

Diocesan officials believe they can adhere to a timeline that will result in consecration of a new bishop by March 2011. But knotty problems may lie ahead, particularly because whomever local Episcoplians choose as their new bishop must also be approved by a majority of U.S. bishops and standing committees — delegates from Episcopal dioceses around the country. the rest

Anglican Head Embarks on Middle East Tour

Sun, Feb. 21 2010
By Aaron J. Leichman
Christian Post Reporter

The head of the worldwide Anglican Communion expressed his "deep" concern over the declining number of believers in the Middle East as he marked the start a four-day visit to the region.

“We worry deeply about the dwindling of numbers here,” Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said not long after arriving in Jordan for the first leg of his Feb. 19-23 trip.

“I believe it’s the first importance that we keep that solidarity, friendship and presence,” he added, according to the UAE-based National news agency. the rest

DC citizens blocked again on marriage vote

Charlie Butts
OneNewsNow
2/20/2010

On Friday, another court hearing was held in the District of Columbia on whether citizens will have a chance to vote on the homosexual "marriage" issue.

Last year, the District Council approved homosexual marriage in an ordinance that goes into effect next month. But a citizens group petitioned for the chance to put the issue on the ballot. The DC Board of Elections and Ethics denied it, saying putting the matter before voters would violate its anti-discrimination law. the rest

Attorney asked by judge to remove Ash Wednesday observance

By Lynda Waddington
2/19/10

A Marshall County Attorney in the midst of prosecuting an attempted murder case was asked by the court Wednesday to remove a smudge of ash from his forehead, a Catholic custom done in conjunction with the beginning of Lent.

Conservative writer Ken Black of the Marshalltown Times-Republican reports that Paul Crawford, an assistant county attorney, returned to the courtroom following a lunch break with the ash on his forehead. Catholics place the mark, which is often done in the shape of a cross, on their foreheads as a sign of repentance. The ash itself is often a by-product of the burning of palm crosses from the previous year, mixed lightly with holy water and sacred oils. Many recipients of the mark will wear it until it naturally wears off. the rest

Another victim levels sex charges against former priest

BY STACI WILSON
February 19, 2010

Another man has come forward claiming a former Episcopal priest, already facing sex charges in Susquehanna County, also assaulted him in 2001.

Ralph Johnson, 82, Gibson Twp., faces new charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and corruption of minors...

...While ordained, Mr. Johnson reportedly served in parishes in Buckingham, part of the Pennsylvania (or Greater Philadelphia) diocese; as well as at the Central New York Diocese churches of St. Ann's, Afton, N.Y.; Zion Church, Windsor, N.Y.; and St. Paul's, Owego, N.Y. the rest