Saturday, April 10, 2010

Devotional: Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God...

Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God-
to be the son, the spouse, the love, the delight of the King of glory? Christian, believe this, and think about it: you will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting - of the love which brought the Son of God's love from heaven to earth, from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory - that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffeted, spat upon, crucified, pierced - which fasted, prayed, taught, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died. That love will eternally embrace you. ...Richard Baxter image

The Millennial Generation: Do They Know What They Believe?

Chuck Colson
BreakPoint
April 6, 2010

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life just released a survey called "Religion Among the Millennials." It offers some good news and some bad news about young people ages 18 to 29.

First, the bad news. According to Pew, these Millennials "are considerably less religious than older Americans." Fewer belong to any particular faith than older people do. No surprise.

But a real cause of concern is that young people today are "significantly more unaffiliated" than young people were 10 or 20 years ago. Millennials attend religious services less often than oldsters like me; they pray less, and are less likely to say that "religion is very important in their lives."

And their worldviews are skewed. More than half of young adults—including evangelicals—believe that evolution is the best explanation for the development of human life. And they are far more likely than older people to say that homosexuality is a way of life that ought to be accepted by society rather than discouraged. the rest

Utah's next bishop could be gay priest

By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune
04/09/2010

Utah could become only the third Episcopal diocese with an openly gay bishop.

The Rev. Michael L. Barlowe -- who married his partner, the Rev. Paul Burrows, in San Francisco in 2008, just before the fractious Proposition 8 vote banning gay marriage -- is one of four finalists to replace retiring Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish.

Reflecting the Utah diocese's diversity, the other three candidates are: the Rev. Juan A. Quevedo-Bosch, a Cuban-born rector in New York; the Rev. Mary C. Sulerud, who helps train new priests in Washington, D.C.; and the Rev. Scott B. Hayashi, who once pastored a church in Ogden but now ministers in Chicago.

"What is unique about all four of these candidates is that they have worked within diocesan offices as well as in parish ministry," said Ric Tanner, president of the Utah church's Standing Committee, which advises the bishop. "It is a little unusual but marvelous." the rest

NJ teacher’s union prays for Chris Christie’s death

Teachers take off the gloves
Saturday April 10, 2010
BY PATRICIA ALEX

Bergen County representatives of the state teachers union have ratcheted up the campaign against Governor Christie's agenda in a fiery memo that encourages members to "get some dirt" and "go public," and adds the education commissioner to the "attack list."

But it's the memo's closing "prayer" that is sure to ignite controversy:

"Dear Lord … this year you have taken away my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite singer, Michael Jackson, and my favorite salesman, Billy Mays. … I just wanted to let you know that Chris Christie is my favorite governor."

The memo, sent to locals in the county earlier this week and obtained by The Record on Thursday, is signed by New Jersey Education Association field representatives, including Joe Coppola, president of the Bergen County Education Association.

Coppola said the "prayer" was a joke and was never meant to be made public.

"Obviously, it's inappropriate," he said. "I would never wish anybody dead." the rest

COMMUNIQUÉ FROM THE PRIMATES¹ COUNCIL OF GAFCON/FCA

April 10, 2010

Grateful for the gracious guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the leadership of the Most Reverend Peter J. Akinola, the Primates Council of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON/FCA) met in Bermuda from April 5 through 9, 2010.

The Primates Council consists of Primates (Senior Archbishops) of Anglican Provinces who met together in Jerusalem in June 2008 as part of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). Their determination to give witness to the life transforming gospel of Jesus Christ and the trustworthiness of the Bible led to the establishment of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA).

FCA is a movement defined by theology that delivers spiritual and practical outcomes to faithful Anglican Christians around the world. Together the Primates Council represents over thirty four million Anglicans more than half of the active membership of the Anglican Communion

In faithful obedience to the Great Commission the Primates Council devoted much of their meeting ensuring that those provinces presently members of the FCA would be strengthened in their witness to the whole Gospel through engagement in various development projects, the production of critical theological resources and participation in multi-national mission initiatives.

We gave thanks for the visionary and sacrificial leadership of our founding chairman, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola, retired Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). We are also grateful for his courageous stand for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints and his leadership both of the Church of Nigeria and also within the wider Anglican Communion.

We elected the Most Rev’d Gregory Venables, Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, as the Chairman and the Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini, Church of Rwanda, and the Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala, Anglican Church of Kenya as the Vice-Chairmen. The Most Rev’d Peter Jensen,Diocese of Sydney, Anglican Church of Australia, continues as General Secretary.

We acknowledged that the issues that divide our beloved Communion are far from settled and that the election of the Reverend Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as a Bishop in Los Angeles in The Episcopal Church (TEC), makes clear to all that the American Episcopal Church leadership has formally committed itself to a pattern of life which is contrary to Scripture.

This action also makes clear that any pretence that there has been a season of gracious restraint in the Communion has come to an end. Now is the time for all orthodox biblical Anglicans, both in the USA and around the world, to demonstrate a clear and unambiguous stand for the historic faith and their refusal to participate in the direction and unbiblical practice and agenda of TEC.

We recognise that the current strategy in the Anglican Communion to strengthen structures by committee and commission has proved ineffective. Indeed we believe that the current structures have lost integrity and relevance. We believe that it is only by a theologically grounded, biblically shaped reformation such as the one called for by the Jerusalem Declaration that God¹s Kingdom will advance. The Anglican Communion will only be able to fulfill its gospel mandate if it understands itself to be a community gathered around a confession of faith rather than an organisation that has its primary focus on institutional loyalty.

We committed ourselves once more to the Mission of Christ working collaboratively both with our friends in the Global South and throughout the Communion and look forward with anticipation to the FOURTH GLOBAL SOUTH TO SOUTH ENCOUNTER to be held later this month at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore.

We are also aware of the challenges that many of our sisters and brothers face in different parts of the world. In particular we are mindful of those who live with the threat of violence because of their Christian faith, such as Nigeria, Iraq and Sudan and those who live in places of deprivation and disaster such as Haiti and Chile. We also observe that there are a growing number of nations, such as Kenya, Uganda and now the United Kingdom where Christian views are marginalized or ignored. We stand with all those in such circumstances and assure them of our continued prayers.

Finally:

The Primates Council expressed its profound appreciation for the gracious hospitality shown it by the people of Bermuda and the faithful witness of Christians in this land for almost four hundred years. We are aware of some of their current concerns and tensions and are praying for God’s guidance and wisdom for the leaders of both the churches and the government.

To God be the glory!

Present in Bermuda were:

The Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
The Most Rev’d Justice Akrofi, Archbishop, Anglican Province of West Africa
The Most Rev’d Robert Duncan, Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
The Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Rwanda
The Most Rev’d Valentino Mokiwa, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Tanzania
The Most Rev’d Gregory Venables, Presiding Bishop, Province of the Southern Cone
The Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya
The Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
The Most Rev’d Henry L. Orombi, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Uganda, represented by Bishop Nathan Kyamanywa
The Most Rev’d Peter Jensen, Archbishop, Diocese of Sydney
link

Polish leader, 95 others dead in Russia jet crash

By JIM HEINTZ (AP)
April 10, 2010

MOSCOW — Polish President Lech Kaczynski and some of the country's highest military and civilian leaders died on Saturday when the presidential plane crashed as it came in for a landing in thick fog in western Russia, killing 96, officials said.

Russian and Polish officials said there were no survivors on the 26-year-old Tupolev, which was taking the president, his wife and staff to events marking the 70th anniversary of the massacre of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police.

The crash devastated the upper echelons of Poland's political and military establishments. On board were the army chief of staff, national bank president, deputy foreign minister, army chaplain, head of the National Security Office, deputy parliament speaker, civil rights commissioner and at least two presidential aides and three lawmakers, the Polish foreign ministry said. the rest

Foreign leaders pay tribute to Polish president

Friday, April 09, 2010

Justice John Paul Stevens announces his retirement

The timing of the news is a surprise: Stevens, 89, was expected to wait until after the Supreme Court's oral arguments conclude this month. He will leave when the court's term ends in June or July.
By James Oliphant
April 9, 2010

Justice John Paul Stevens, a Republican-appointed justice who emerged as a leader of the Supreme Court's liberal wing over his 34-year tenure, announced his retirement Friday.

Stevens sent a letter to President Obama on Friday, which read: "Having concluded that it would be in the best interests of the Court to have my successor appointed and confirmed well in advance of the commencement of the Court's next term, I shall retire from active service." the rest image

2.1 Kids: A Stable Population



(h/t Anglican Mainstream)

African Lutherans threaten schism over gay row

afrol News
9 April 2010

As the Catholics struggle with paedophilia scandals, and the Anglicans have an open north-south conflict over homosexuality, African Lutheran churches now threaten divorce with their European partners if the latter continue to perform same-sex weddings.

African member churches of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) met in Abuja, Nigeria, this week to discuss theological and policy issues. While they neared their northern liberal sister churches on gender issues - now defining "gender equity" as an "urgent priority" for Africa - the African Lutherans spoke up against liberal tendencies in Europe and North America concerning homosexuality.

On gender justice, African Lutherans expressed concern that some member churches in Africa "still do not heed the voices of women in the region crying for inclusivity within the church structures, leadership and in the ordained ministry." They urged churches to fulfil their commitment to gender justice by putting in place concrete steps to address these issues. the rest

A Letter from Archbishop Orombi to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Stand Firm
Friday, April 9, 2010

The Most Rev. Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace
London

Your Grace,

Easter greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

In February I read with great interest Bishop Mouneer Anis’ letter of resignation from the Joint Standing Committee. I am grateful for his clarity and honesty. He has verbalized very well what many of us have thought and felt, and inspired me to write, as well.

As you know from our private conversations, I have absented myself for principled reasons from all meetings of the Joint Standing Committee since our Primates meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2007.

The first meeting of the Joint Standing Committee was later that year in New Orleans. At our Primates meeting in February 2007, we made certain requests of the Episcopal Church. In our Dar es Salaam communiqué we did not envision interference in the American House of Bishops while they were considering our requests. For me to participate in a meeting in New Orleans before the 30th September deadline would have violated our hard-won agreement in Dar es Salaam and would have been another case of undermining our instruments of communion. My desire to uphold our Dar es Salaam communiqué was intended to strengthen our instruments of communion so we would be able to mature into an even more effective global communion of the Church of Jesus Christ than in the past.

Subsequent meetings of the Joint Standing Committee have included the Primate of the Episcopal Church (TEC) and other members of TEC, who are the very ones who have pushed the Anglican Communion into this sustained crisis. How can we expect the gross violators of Biblical Truth to sanction their own discipline when they believe they have done nothing wrong and further insist that their revisionist theology is actually the substance of Anglicanism?

We have only to note the recent election and confirmation of an active Lesbian as a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles to realize that TEC has no interest in “gracious restraint,” let alone a moratorium on the things that have brought us to this point of collapse. It is now impossible to regard their earlier words of “regret” as a serious gesture of reconciliation with the rest of the Communion.

Together with Bishop Mouneer, I am equally concerned, as you know, about the shift in the balance of powers among the Instruments of Communion. It was the Primates in 2003 who requested the Lambeth Commission on Communion that ultimately produced the Windsor Report. It was the Primates who received the Windsor Report at our meeting in Dromantine in 2005. It was the Primates, through our Dromantine Communique, who presented the appropriate “hermeneutic” through which to read the Windsor Report. That “hermeneutic,” however, has been obscured by the leadership at St. Andrew’s House who somehow created something we never envisioned called the “Windsor Process.”

The Windsor Report was not a “process.” It was a Report, commissioned by the Primates and received by the Primates. The Primates made specific and clear requests of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. When TEC, particularly, did not clearly answer our questions, we gave them more time in 2007 to clarify their position.

Suddenly, though, after the 2007 Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam, the Primates no longer had a role to play in the very process they had begun. The process was mysteriously transferred to the Anglican Consultative Council and, more particularly, to the Joint Standing Committee. The Joint Standing Committee has now evolved into the “Standing Committee.” Some suggest that it is the Standing Committee “of the Anglican Communion.”

There is, however, no “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” The Standing Committee has never been approved in its present form by the Primates Meeting or the Lambeth Conference. Rather, it was adopted by itself, with your approval and the approval of the ACC. The fact that five Primates are included in no way represents our Anglican understanding of the role of Primates as metropolitan bishops of their provinces.

Anglicanism is a church of Bishops and, at its best, is conciliar in its governance. The grave crisis before us as a Communion is both a matter of faith as well as order. Matters of faith and order are the domain of Bishops. In a Communion the size of the Anglican Communion, it is unwieldy to think of gathering all the Bishops of the Communion together more frequently than the current pattern of every ten years. That is why the Lambeth Conference in 1998 resolved that the Primates Meeting should be able to “exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters.” (Resolution III.6).

What has emerged, however, is the Standing Committee being given “enhanced responsibility” and the Primates being given “diminished responsibility,” even in regard to a process begun by them. Indeed, this Standing Committee has granted itself supreme authority over Covenant discipline in the latest draft. Under these circumstances, it has not been possible for me to participate in meetings of the Joint Standing Committee that has taken upon itself authority it has not been given.

Accordingly, I stand with my brother Primate, Bishop Mouneer Anis, in his courageous decision to resign from the Standing Committee. Many of us are in a state of resignation as we see how the Communion is moving away further and further into darkness, especially since the Primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam.

Your Grace, I have urged you in the past, and I will urge you again. There is an urgent need for a meeting of the Primates to continue sorting out the crisis that is before us, especially given the upcoming consecration of a Lesbian as Bishop in America. The Primates Meeting is the only Instrument that has been given authority to act, and it can act if you will call us together.

The agenda for that meeting should be set by the Primates themselves at the meeting, and not by any other staff in advance of the meeting. I reiterate this point because you will recall our cordial December 2008 meeting with you, Chris Smith, and the other GAFCON Primates in Canterbury where we discussed the agenda for the Primates meeting to take place in Alexandria the following month. None of our submissions were included in the agenda. Likewise, at the beginning of the January 2009 Primates meeting I was asked to present a position paper on the effect of the crisis in the Communion from our perspective, but I was not informed in advance, so I did not come prepared. Yet, other presenters, including TEC and Canada, were given prior information and came very prepared. I have never received a formal written apology about that incident, and it has caused me to wonder if there are two standards at work in how a Primate is treated.

Finally, the meeting should not include the Primates of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada who are proceeding with unbiblical practices that contradict the faith of Anglicanism. We cannot carry on with business as usual until order is brought out of this chaos.

Yours, in Christ,
The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
ARCHBISHOP OF CHURCH OF UGANDA.

Stand Firm/comments

Half of America 'effectively on welfare'

Jim Brown
OneNewsNow
4/9/2010

A leading free-market economist says it's not a stable situation for a republican democracy when half of the citizens aren't contributing to the cost of the government they're benefiting from.

The Washington-based Tax Policy Center estimates that about 47 percent of Americans will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions, and exemptions to eliminate their liability. (See related report [PDF])

J.D. Foster, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, says it is pretty noteworthy when a center-left organization like the Tax Policy Center is pointing out that an enormous portion of Americans are not paying any income tax. the rest

China: College Students Arrested and Detained for Worshipping

April 8, 2010

INNER MONGOLIA- Persecution of grassroots house church Christians in Inner Mongolia has intensified since last June. Eight Chinese college students from Neimenggu, Wuhai were captured and put into administrative detention when officials from the bureau of public safety crashed a worship service on February 1. The students crime: being part of a Christian ministry. Three students, Liu Changfu, Shi Mengen and Han Wendian, are still being held captive due to their "crimes." The officers interrogated the students one by one and; after being held and overnight, several students were released and able to return to the school the following day. One student, Shi Yonghong, was held until early March due to weak health conditions. the rest

UK: Prince Charles and Gordon Brown funnelled nearly $850,000 to Hamas and other jihad groups

By Andrew Gilligan
April 7th, 2010

A CHARITY praised last week by Gordon Brown and the Prince of Wales has channelled hundreds of thousands of pounds to groups linked to Hamas, the banned terrorist organisation, according to security sources.The Prime Minister and the heir to the throne personally praised Muslim Aid, whose own accounts show it has paid at least £325,000 to the Islamic University of Gaza, where leading Hamas figures teach, and £13,998 to the al-Ihsan Charitable Society, designated by the US government as a “sponsor of terrorism” and a front for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group.

Security sources also claim that Muslim Aid has helped channel a further £210,600 to six other organisations in the Gaza Strip since July 2009, all of which they say are linked to Hamas. the rest

Poll: Fewer than half of Americans would reelect their member of Congress

By ANDY BARR
4/8/10

Fewer than half of Americans would reelect their member of Congress, according to a new Gallup Poll.

Forty-nine percent of the 968 registered voters surveyed would vote to reelect the incumbent from their district. Forty percent said their member does not deserve reelection.

Asked if most members deserve reelection, only 28 percent said yes. Sixty-five percent did not believe most members of Congress deserve to return to Washington.

The poll, released late Wednesday, shows a strong anti-incumbent swing just in the past year, with the percentage of those who said most members do not deserve reelection spiking from the low 50s up to 65 percent. the rest

National Democrats growing increasingly worried about Hawaii special election

Rep. Bart Stupak to retire, putting seat in play

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who had a central role in the health reform fight as the leader of anti-abortion Democrats, plans to announce Friday that he will not run for reelection, a Democratic official said. Without Stupak on the ballot, the seat becomes an immediate pickup opportunity for Republicans.

Democratic Party Image Drops to Record Low

Census Bureau Tells Same-Sex Couples to Check 'Married'

4-7-10
by Nima Reza

The U.S. Census Bureau has produced a controversial video telling same-sex couples they can be counted as "married" even without a marriage license.

An announcer says "same-sex couples who are married – or who consider themselves to be spouses – can identify one person as a husband or wife. Other same-sex couples may instead use the term 'unmarried partner.'" the rest

Cops: Wiccan listed victim as 'sacrifice' in phone

Apr 8, 2010
By SUE MAJOR HOLMES
Associated Press Writer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- A self-described Wiccan had a man's phone number programmed in her cell phone under the word "sacrifice" before she stabbed him to death, then claimed he had tried to rape her, authorities said Thursday.

Angela Sanford, 30, is accused of killing 52-year-old Joel Leyba last month with a dagger after inviting him to join her in a Wiccan celebration of spring near a popular hiking trail east of Albuquerque. the rest

Canada: McGill Forces Pro-Life Club to Accept Special Restrictions

Thursday April 8, 2010
By Patrick B. Craine
MONTREAL, Quebec

(LifeSiteNews.com) – The Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) has reinstated the club status of Choose Life, the campus pro-life club, but only after forcing them to submit to special requirements that restrict the club's ability to share the pro-life message.

The SSMU Council voted April 1st to reinstate the club, but also required them to attach an appendix to their constitution in order to “facilitate their compliance” with SSMU's equity policy.
Natalie Fohl, Choose Life's president, said that she was pleased with the return of their status, but denounced the special restrictions on their pro-life voice. “I think it's a double standard, and it's very disappointing that they think that this is justified, and I hope that at some point it will be rectified,” she told LifeSiteNews (LSN). the rest

Texas, Minn. Govs Declare April 2010 as Abortion Recovery Month

Wed, Apr. 07 2010
By Lawrence D. Jones
Christian Post Reporter

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty have officially proclaimed April 2010 as Abortion Recovery Awareness Month in their respective states to raise awareness of traumatic effects and lasting ramifications of abortion.

“An abortion is a tragic ending, not only because of the loss of a life, but also because of the physical and psychological trauma caused by the procedure itself," stated Perry in his proclamation.

“Abortion Recovery Month encourages and promotes healing opportunities and raises awareness of the aftermath of abortion experienced by individuals and families,” added Pawlenty. the rest

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Devotional: If our hearts need to be broken...

Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness. If a man is not uncalculating toward the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherit in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armor. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it. ...CS Lewis image by katybate

Rev. Barbie, the plastic priest, is dressed to bless

Apr 07, 2010
USA Today

Barbie, the plastic princess of girlhood dreams has moved on to higher powers. Meet Rev. Barbie, a fully outfitted little blonde priest ready to bless you -- and maybe marry your Bratz dolls.

Leanne Larmondin for Religion News Service, interviews the creator of the stylish little priest, Rev. Jule Blake Fisher, a priest in Kent Ohio, who outfitted "Episcopal Church Barbie -- High Church Edition,"as a gift for a friend, Rev. Dena Cleaver-Bartholomew, rector of Christ (Episcopal) Church, in Manlius, N.Y., near Syracuse.

Story here-with a reference to MCJ's take.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sounds a warning on growing deficit

By Neil Irwin and Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 8, 2010

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned Wednesday that Americans may have to accept higher taxes or changes in cherished entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security if the nation is to avoid staggering budget deficits that threaten to choke off economic growth.

"These choices are difficult, and it always seems easier to put them off -- until the day they cannot be put off anymore," Bernanke said in a speech. "But unless we as a nation demonstrate a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility, in the longer run we will have neither financial stability nor healthy economic growth." the rest image

IRS Launches New Global Program to Target ‘High Wealth Individuals'

Initial jobless claims increase unexpectedly

Oklahoma governor signs 3 anti-abortion bills into law

Tuesday, April 06, 2010
David Manes

[JURIST] Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry [official website] signed three anti-abortion bills into law Monday. The first bill [SB 1890 text, RTF] prohibits abortions performed because of the gender of the fetus. The second bill [SB 1891 text, RTF] creates the Freedom of Conscience Act and protects medical employees who refuse to participate in procedures such as abortion based on religious beliefs. The third bill [SB 1902 text, RTF] regulates the use of RU-486, or mifepristone, a chemical used in abortion procedures. State Senator Todd Lamb (R), a sponsor of one of the bills, explained the purpose [press release] of the new measures: the rest

Census Bureau concerned about head count problems

By HOPE YEN (AP)
posted April 8, 2010

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. census nears its final stages, the government is preparing for possible debacles that could derail its $15 billion head count, from mass identity theft and lawsuits to homeowners who refuse to answer their doors.

Census Bureau documents, obtained by The Associated Press, underscore the highly fragile nature of the high-stakes population count before the government dispatches some 700,000 temporary workers to visit homes, beginning in May.

The preparedness efforts are not entirely new. Previous censuses had contingency plans in place, at least conceptually, and the Census Bureau has never failed to meet its constitutional mandate of delivering population counts by Dec. 31 each decennial year. the rest

Contraceptive-Making Pharmaceutical Company Sued for Pressuring Employee to Abort Baby

Wednesday April 7, 2010
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
NEW YORK

(LifeSiteNews.com) - The Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Novartis is the subject of a class action lawsuit in the U.S. due to begin today.

The lawsuit claims that the company has sexist practices that discriminate against women in areas of pay, promotions, and pregnancy-related matters. Among the allegations is that at least one employee was pressured to abort her baby.

The 17 plaintiffs, women who worked for the drug giant in the United States, claim they are representing 5,600 of their colleagues and are seeking total damages of $200 million. the rest

Pastor calls Christian atheists to shed hypocrisy

by Lillian Kwon
Christian Post
Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pastor Craig Groeschel is a recovering Christian atheist. He may have called himself a Christian all his life, but he didn't always live as if God existed.

It's a struggle he's had both as a layman and as a pastor, of one of the fastest growing and largest churches in the country. And it's a struggle he wants to help millions of so-called Christians to overcome.

Christian atheists are everywhere, Groeschel, who leads LifeChurch.tv, writes in his newly released book, The Christian Atheist. the rest

States suing over ObamaCare now reaches 18

April 7, 2010
by Ed Morrissey

Even with Minnesota and Wisconsin’s Democratic Attorneys General opting to side with the feds rather than defend state sovereignty, the decision to fight ObamaCare in the courts over federal encroachment has become popular. With the addition of five states today, the count has now reached 18 states that will demand action in court to stop the enforcement of the individual mandate, among other matters:

The joint lawsuit led by Florida and now grouping 18 states was filed on March 23. It claims the sweeping reform of the $2.5 trillion healthcare system violates state-government rights in the U.S. Constitution and will force massive new spending on hard-pressed state governments.

South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, and South Dakota had previously joined Florida’s lawsuit.

“We welcome the partnership of Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona as we continue fighting to protect the constitutional rights of American citizens and the sovereignty of our states,” Bill McCollum said.
the rest

Vulnerable Democrats are tiptoeing on health care

Hugh Hewitt: OIIOHH

Morocco clamps down on alleged missionaries

John Thorne, Foreign Correspondent
April 7. 2010

AIN LEUH, MOROCCO- On the hill the police cars were assembled, the Christians were packing their suitcases and the children were screaming. In a field below, a Muslim farmer called Hassan Kasim was blinking through tears at the scene.

“The government says they were missionaries,” he said, recalling the day last month when Moroccan authorities expelled Christian foster families from the Village of Hope, a children’s home next to his farm. “Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t. But I know they were my friends.” the rest

Yemeni child bride dies of bleeding after intercourse

Pediatricians Set the Facts Straight about Sexual Orientation and Gender Confusion

April 7, 2010

Washington, DC – A new website has been launched by the American College of Pediatricians that cautions educators about the management of students experiencing same-sex attraction or exhibiting symptoms of gender confusion. The site http://www.factsaboutyouth.com/ was created by a coalition of health professionals to provide accurate factual information to educators, parents, and students about sexual development. In addition, these concerns are outlined in a letter and fact sheet sent by College president Thomas Benton, MD, to all 14,800 school district superintendents in the United States.

The letter reminds school superintendents that it is not uncommon for adolescents to experience transient confusion about their sexual orientation and that most students will ultimately adopt a heterosexual orientation if not otherwise encouraged. For this reason, schools should avoid developing policies that encourage nonheterosexual attractions among students who may merely be experimenting or experiencing temporary sexual confusion. Such premature labeling can lead some adolescents to engage in homosexual behaviors that carry serious physical and mental health risks.

There is no scientific evidence that anyone is born homosexual. Therefore, the College further advises that schools should not teach or imply to students that homosexual attraction is innate, always life-long, and unchangeable. To the contrary, research has shown that therapy to restore heterosexual attraction can be effective for many people.
the rest

Houston Clergy at Arms Over Lesbian Mayor's Orders

Tue, Apr. 06 2010
By Lawrence D. Jones
Christian Post Reporter

An interdenominational coalition of clergy in Houston is pressing its mayor to rescind the executive orders she issued recently that added sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as protected classes in Houston.

Nearly two weeks ago, openly gay mayor Annise Parker signed an order “[t]o provide a fair and equitable work environment for all employees” and another to prohibit discrimination and/or retaliation on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity “at every level of the municipal government.”

The latter order, as it specifically states, covers hiring, contracting and/or access to City facilities and programs/activities.

And this, Houston clergymen say, will open women’s restrooms to men, among other results. the rest

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Devotional: Just as worship begins in holy expectancy...

Just as worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship. To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change. Resentments cannot be held with the same tenacity when we enter his gracious light. As Jesus says, we need to leave our gift at the altar and go set the matter straight (Matthew 5:23, 24). In worship an increased power steals its way into the heart sanctuary, an increased compassion grows in the soul. To worship is to change. ...Richard J. Foster image by evoo73

CRS: Health Law May Allow Viagra Coverage for Sex Offenders

By John Stanton
Roll Call Staff
April 7, 2010

The Congressional Research Service confirmed in a memo Wednesday that rapists and sex offenders may get federally subsidized Viagra and other sexual performance enhancing drugs under the recently passed health care reform law — information that Republicans charge will haunt Democrats in upcoming elections.

“Providing child molesters with taxpayer-funded Viagra shows the folly of government-run health care. Senators who allowed this to happen will be haunted by this vote for years to come,” said John Hart, a spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). Coburn, who requested the CRS review of the health care reforms, sought to add last-minute changes to the health care reconciliation bill that would prohibit sex offenders from receiving drugs such as Viagra under the health care law. However, that amendment was defeated during the Senate’s vote-a-rama.

According to the CRS, under existing rules there are no prohibitions against providing erectile dysfunction drugs to rapists, pedophiles or other types of sex offenders. the rest

A.S. Haley: Arguing the Virginia Cases

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Virginia Supreme Court has set oral arguments in the appeals brought by ECUSA and the Diocese of Virginia in the cases involving eleven ACNA parishes in the Anglican District of Virginia. I have previously discussed what took place at the hearings below in this post, and in this one; they may serve as background to understanding the issues involved. In this post, I would like to sketch out the issues as ECUSA and the Diocese have presented them in their briefs. In a subsequent post, I will go over the arguments of the ACNA parishes in opposition.

There is no way, of course, to predict what the Virginia Supreme Court will find significant in the briefs and arguments presented to it. Moreover, I am not licensed to practice in Virginia; someone who is may pick up on points of Virginia law and procedure that I have missed. Thus do not use these posts as a basis to expect any particular outcome. Instead, to the extent they assist you in making your way through the forest of contentions and counter-contentions, and in evaluating their relative strengths and weaknesses, they will have served their purpose. the rest

Irish Primate: ‘Gracious Restraint’ Is Over

The Living Church
April 6, 2010

By electing and approving a second bishop in a same-sex relationship, the Episcopal Church is no longer showing gracious restraint toward other Anglican provinces, the Archbishop of Ireland has said.

“This is a development which I deeply regret,” said the Most Rev. Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, in a statement issued to The Church of Ireland Gazette.

The archbishop began his statement by quoting from a letter written to the primates of the Anglican Communion by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

The Presiding Bishop described the approval of the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool, suffragan bishop-elect for the Diocese of Los Angeles, as representing “the mind of a majority of elected leaders in the Episcopal Church, lay, clergy, and bishops, who have carefully considered the opinions and feelings of other members of the Anglican Communion as well as the decades-long conversations within this Church.” the rest

Health care overhaul spawns mass confusion for public

By Margaret Talev
McClatchy Newspapers
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

WASHINGTON — Two weeks after President Barack Obama signed the big health care overhaul into law, Americans are struggling to understand how — and when — the sweeping measure will affect them.

Questions reflecting confusion have flooded insurance companies, doctors' offices, human resources departments and business groups.

"They're saying, 'Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?' " said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for eHealthInsurance.com. The California-based company sells coverage from 185 health insurance carriers in 50 states. the rest

Oregon Doctor Warns Canadians to Reject Assisted Suicide Legislation

By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
PORTLAND, Oregon
April 6, 2010

(LifeSiteNews.com) - A doctor practicing in one of the two U.S. states where physician-assisted suicide is legal has written an open letter to Canadians advising them to beware of the "misguided legislation" of Bill C-384, the bill that would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

"A message to my Canadian neighbors" was written by Dr. William Toffler, the national director of Physicians for Compassionate Care in Portland Oregon, a national organization of physicians who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide in the U.S.

Dr. Toffler writes that, "Since assisted suicide has become an option in my state of Oregon, I have had at least a dozen patients discuss this choice with me in my practice. Most of the patients who have broached this issue weren’t even terminal." the rest

Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury, regrets Catholic attack

The Sunday Times
April 4, 2010

THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury has apologised for saying that the Catholic church in Ireland had lost “all credibility” because of its role in the child abuse scandal.

Rowan Williams expressed “deep sorrow and regret” after a furious reaction from Irish Catholic leaders to his earlier claim that some priests in Ireland found it “quite difficult” to walk down a street wearing a clerical collar. the rest

Christian chapel assaulted by armed group in Pakistan

By Martin Barillas
Saturday, April 03, 2010

On the evening of April 2, following Good Friday services, a group of armed men and women assaulted the Gordon College Chapel in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. According to sources, the group was armed with automatic weapons and broke into the church compound, entering the chapel and adjoining residence. Having broken the locks at the main entrance, they installed new locks, while also destroying the sign advertising the chapel.

The group of assailants threw bibles to the ground and terrorized the women and children present, robbing them at gunpoint and then taking cash and jewellery. One of the captives managed to make a telephone call and informed a family member, Shaban Gill. Gill and Imran Nasir, whose 4 year-old and 18-month old daughters were captives at the chapel, informed the police and then themselves confronted the assailants. the rest

Obama Bans Islam, Jihad From National Security Strategy Document

The change is a significant shift in the National Security Strategy, a document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventative war.
April 07, 2010

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's advisers will remove religious terms such as "Islamic extremism" from the central document outlining the U.S. national security strategy and will use the rewritten document to emphasize that the United States does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terror, counterterrorism officials said.

The change is a significant shift in the National Security Strategy, a document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventative war and currently states: "The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century." the rest

What Can the Catholic Church Learn From Married Priests?

Apr 7, 2010
Leonard Klein

I might well have been one of the most available priests in the diocese that Saturday afternoon. After four hours of shoveling, my driveway was clear before the rectory garage was plowed out. Because of a disability, our youngest lives at home. Because she needs a wheel chair, we own vans. They have four-wheel drive.

So I got to the church to celebrate mass for the small group that assembled that evening. On Sunday I said one mass at the parish to which I am assigned and one at a neighboring parish. I prepared an RCIA lesson. I shoveled some more snow. Before bed I switched on the hospital pager, since hospital chaplaincy is another part of my assignment. The four-wheel drive would have made the thirteen miles, had I been called.

Whatever the difference is between celibate clergy and us exceptions, it is, I am convinced, not availability. the rest

On sexual abuse scandal, the pope gets a bad rap

By Michael Gerson
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

By any human standard, Pope Benedict XVI and the American Catholic Church are getting a bad rap in the current outbreak of outrage over clerical sexual abuse.

Far from being indifferent or complicit, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was among the first in Rome to take the scandal seriously. During much of his service as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the future pope had no responsibility for investigating most cases of sexual abuse. Local bishops were in charge -- and some failed spectacularly in their moral duties. It was not until 2001 that Pope John Paul II charged Ratzinger with reviewing every credible case of sexual abuse. While poring through these documents, Ratzinger's eyes were opened. The church became more active in removing abusive priests -- whom Ratzinger described rightly as "filth" -- both through canonical trials and administrative action.

"Benedict," says the Rev. Thomas Reese of Georgetown University, "grew in his understanding of the crisis. Like many other bishops at the beginning, he didn't understand it. . . . But he grew in his understanding because he listened to what the U.S. bishops had to say. He in fact got it quicker than other people in the Vatican." the rest

Lutheran Pastor Defends Pope Against Abuse Crisis Attacks

The Pope and the New York Times
Cardinal Ratzinger did more than anyone to hold abusers accountable

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Christ Jesus, Victor

April 03, 2010
Anthony Esolen

The greatest conqueror the world has known, and shall ever know, did not wield the sword or swing the battle-axe; did not lead men in marches upon famous cities, reducing them to famine or rubble; did not parry and thrust his way to the leadership of an empire, commanding the men he reduced to wards of the state to call him their benefactor and to pray for his continued success; did not file his wit to become the chief of a school; did not write a word that we know of, except perhaps the sins he traced in the sand, sins of the men who wanted to trap him.

I meditate upon his terrible beauty, as he hangs upon the cross. He was mocked, scourged, crowned with thorns, and led away to the death of a criminal, of one who was to sink below the dignity of a human being; the death of a no-one, of the ultimate victim. He was innocent, and because he was innocent, men could not abide him for long. They found a way to hate him; hate can always find its reasons. Yet he gave up his life for his persecutors, praying that they might be forgiven, for they did not know what they were doing. Nor do we, sinners as we are.

His body was broken open, but he had always been broken open -- his very being was only for the Father, and, therefore, only for us his brothers and sisters. In his sacrifice we see the mystery of being itself, which is also the mystery of love. For God who created a world that was good redeems man who falls away from the good. It is his extravagant love for us that we see emblazoned upon Jesus, on the cross, giving himself away, giving himself forever in the sacraments that flowed from his pierced side. Here is the secret of greatness that the world had always overlooked; the greatness of Jesus who became as nothing, so that we might become something, even sons and daughters, sons in the Son.

The world is old, and stupid. It wears the sniggering leer of the demagogue, the avid glance of the privateer of finance, the smug half-smile of the professor in the know. It does not want to understand the Cross, and Jesus who suffered upon it, because it is afraid of the new life that springs from Him; because that new life can take you where you do not know you want to go. But Jesus, who died for us, conquers by dying, conquers by giving of himself utterly. If we would be conquerors, if we would be as God himself, we must make ourselves one with Jesus, and give utterly. That cross, we feel, is too heavy for us to bear. It is too heavy; we cannot carry it. Then we must confess our nothingness, our weakness, and, as Therese of Lisieux says, let the cross carry us. We would be soldiers alongside our captain; first let us be as nothing, acknowledging that without Him who emptied Himself for us, we too are empty, like wooden idols, or like the waste and void before God said, "Let there be light."

I look upon Jesus, crucified, and see that once the Lord has come, there is no choice but either to grasp after the delusions of power, or the sillier delusions of pleasure, or to be carried forth with him on the adventure of being, the adventure of love. link image

Doctors sue to overturn ObamaCare

Bill Bumpas
OneNewsNow
4/6/2010

Another complaint was filed Friday by a group of nearly 5,000 American physicians as the lawsuits continue to pile up in an effort to overturn the new healthcare reform legislation.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is the first medical society to sue to overturn the newly enacted healthcare bill. Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of AAPS, says several issues are of concern.

"It's an issue of freedom, it's an issue of saving the country from bankruptcy, it's an issue of access to medical care -- all of these things," she says. "This bill is a monstrous threat to Americans; and the more they find out about it, the more they dislike it [and] the more they fear it."

Dr. Orient further explains that the legislation is unconstitutional on several grounds. "There are no enumerated powers anywhere in the Constitution for the government to force people to buy insurance or to allow the government to intervene in the relationships between patients and physicians," she argues. the rest

Obamacare: President Obama is Still Clueless About Delivery of Medical Care

Obama Removes Jesus from Easter Message

Vince Haley
posted April 6, 2010

President Obama literally edited Christ out of his “holiday greeting” today when he excerpted a sermon given by a military chaplain on Iwo Jima on Easter Sunday 1945.

Here

Monday, April 05, 2010

X-rated Internet explosion wreaks havoc with troops’ careers, lives

By Jon R. Anderson - Staff writer
posted 4/5/10

Excerpt:
Civilian pornography use is high: The most recent studies suggest as many as one in 10 people in the general population suffer from pornography and others sexual addictions fueled by the Web.

But military use, given the largely young and male population, is believed to be much higher.

“Twenty percent would not shock me. That would be a conservative estimate,” says Navy Lt. Michael Howard, a licensed therapist and chaplain who specializes in treating sexual addiction. He has helped dozens of troops and their spouses overcome sexual addiction issues, he says.

Porn can destroy marriages as easily as the infamous “other woman.” According to a 2002 survey of 1,600 top divorce lawyers, more than half of all divorces involved a spouse hooked on porn sites. That same year, Army Lt. Col. David Bartlett Jr. strangled his wife with a computer cable after an argument about his online porn habit.

But the online videos available then are nothing compared with what porn users can find today, thanks to the same Web 2.0 technologies that have fueled revolutionary social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube. Porn 2.0 is as much user-created and traded as it is industry-generated and sold. Online do-it-yourself porn is creeping out from sites such as RedTube and Adult FriendFinder onto mainstream social media sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. the rest

Hank Johnson: US Congressman claims Guam 'will capsize from military influx'


A United States Congressman, Hank Johnson, has become an unlikely internet hit, after he claimed the Asia Pacific island of Guam would “tip over and capsize” from a planned influx of American troops.
By Andrew Hough
02 Apr 2010

The 55 year-old Democratic member of the US House of Representatives claimed he was "obviously" joking when he made the remarks during evidence with a senior Naval officer about the US Military's build-up on the American territory.

While questioning Admiral Robert Willard, the head of the US Pacific fleet, the two-term Congressman from Georgia expressed concerns about the plans to post up to 5000 extra marines, and their families, to the island.

“My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize," the former judge told the House Armed Services Committee hearing. the rest

Episcopal Bp. Greg Rickel, other local Protestant leaders get creative about revitalizing their churches

Bishop Greg Rickel, head of the Episcopal Church in Western Washington, is preaching on this Easter Sunday at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle. Rickel is one of several recently arrived heads of mainline Protestant denominations who are trying new ways of operating in a swiftly changing culture.
By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times staff reporter
April 4, 2010

Excerpt:
Rickel gets that, nowadays, it's not enough for churches to say what they're against; they must convey a positive message of what they're for. He tries to guide church members into a clear understanding of who they are and what they have to offer so they can communicate that passionately, especially since so much of how churches grow these days is by word-of-mouth.

He tells an anecdote about a local professor who sent his students to St. Mark's. The students reported back, saying parishioners there "really believe in what they're doing. We just don't know what it is (they believe in)."

Rickel himself is liberal on many issues — in support of expanded domestic-partnership rights for gays and lesbians, and of immigration overhaul, for instance. He has ordained, and says he will continue to ordain, gay and lesbian clergy. He cherishes his denomination's embrace of a wide variety of viewpoints, and he decries the actions of conservatives who've left the church over disagreements about homosexuality and interpretation of Scripture. the rest

In the Olympia Diocese, which covers Western Washington, the number of Episcopalians declined from about 38,000 to 31,000 between 1985 and 2006 — even as the state's total population grew. Rickel's had to close one parish, and his predecessor two, because of dwindling numbers.

EASTER MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER AND ‘URBI ET ORBI’ BLESSING

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Excerpt:
The Christian people, having emerged from the waters of baptism, is sent out to the whole world to bear witness to this salvation, to bring to all people the fruit of Easter, which consists in a new life, freed from sin and restored to its original beauty, to its goodness and truth. Continually, in the course of two thousand years, Christians – especially saints – have made history fruitful with their lived experience of Easter. The Church is the people of the Exodus, because she constantly lives the Paschal Mystery and disseminates its renewing power in every time and place. In our days too, humanity needs an “exodus”, not just superficial adjustment, but a spiritual and moral conversion. It needs the salvation of the Gospel, so as to emerge from a profound crisis, one which requires deep change, beginning with consciences.

the rest

ACI: Statement On South Carolina

The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.
Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Excerpt:
We conclude with these observations about the fundamental facts of our polity:

1.The Presiding Bishop’s office is regulated by the constitution and canons and exists historically for the good order of the church. It is not a metropolitical office. The title ‘presiding Bishop’ was chosen with care and inheres with the notion of good order when the wider church gathers. It is not an office with independent political authority.

2.The existence of diocesan canons in The Episcopal Church is a departure from the model typically followed in the polity of other provinces of the Anglican Communion. The existence of these canons goes hand in hand with the history and sovereignty of the diocese in The Episcopal Church as the basic ecclesial unit of catholic Anglicanism.

3.That no mandate exists that can be enforced by canon law for dioceses to pay assessments beyond the good operating of their own affairs is likewise evidence of the catholic and missionary integrity of the dioceses of this church.

4.Diocesan Chancellors exist to assist the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese in maintaining the legal good operating of the Diocese and the undertaking of its internal affairs.
5.General Convention resolutions as such have no canonical force. They represent the mind of those gathered and are not legislative in character.

6.As a province, The Episcopal Church has no single authoritative voice, but exists with a dispersed character at the provincial level, involving individual diocesan Bishops, diocesan conventions, a triennial General Convention, House of Bishops meetings, and the office of Presiding Bishop.

We fully support Bishop Lawrence and the diocese of South Carolina in their defense of these principles.

Full Statement

My Easters With Robert Duvall

Apr 4, 2010
Dimitri Cavalli

Excerpt:
So on Easter Sunday in 2000, still tired from my last job but filled with hope that I would be starting my new writing job the next day, I watched Tender Mercies. My choice to watch it wasn’t preplanned. It just happened to be conveniently on when I had some free time. I enjoyed the film and found, in some ways, that it deeply resonated with what was going on my own life back then. Since 2000, I made watching Tender Mercies on Easter Sunday a personal tradition.

Tender Mercies is not explicitly about Easter. Its themes of redemption, forgiveness, hope, and personal transformation through religious faith, however, reflect what Easter represents. It seemed so appropriate that it happened to be broadcast on Easter Sunday. the rest image

Albert Mohler: Render Unto Caesar? On Paying Taxes After Obamacare

We do not “render unto Caesar” because of our confidence in Caesar. We render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, because we are committed with our lives and confidence and consciences to render unto God that which is God’s.
Monday, April 5, 2010

A significant number of Christians are now wondering about the moral implications of the Obama health care overhaul. While any number of moral questions will demand attention, the question of abortion stands at the center of concern. And with the question of abortion comes the question of taxes.

Without the legislative remedy of the Hyde Amendment or similar protections, it is almost certain that the new health care legislation will lead to tax-supported abortions. At the very least, the legislation will lead to either direct or indirect taxpayer supported subsidies for some abortions. At the extreme, it could mean outright coverage of abortion services.

Though President Obama’s Executive Order offers some limitations on taxpayer support for abortion, both sides in the abortion debate recognize that his order cannot take precedence over statute, can easily be removed by a court, and does not cover all arenas in which abortions will be provided or subsidized. the rest image

What Obamacare will cost doctors

April 05, 2010
Chris Link, MD

One of the most interesting, if unanticipated, effects of posting YouTube videos is managing the "comments" section. I have a series of politically oriented song parodies that I have posted over the past eight months. The first, "One Single Payer System", has more than one million views (thanks to links posted in blogs such as The American Thinker). However, I did not realize I would be taking up the job of de facto moderator for a running debate with more than 1,200 entries in the case of "Single Payer".

One post asked a very good question: "Why can't we just put everyone in the country on Medicare?" Aside from the problem of a huge expansion in the unfunded obligations for the Medicare program, currently estimated to be $89 trillion, my immediate thought was that you can't stay in business as a physician at Medicare reimbursement rates.

I used my specialty, anesthesiology, to illustrate the problem. Using the best information I could find and the example of my own solo practice, I came up with some sobering figures. the rest

Hugh Hewitt: The president's popularity plunge
The president's popularity is plummeting -- down to a 44 percent approval rating in the most recent, post-Obamacare CBS poll -- and his rhetoric is getting angrier as he tours the country demanding that critics of Obamacare shut up.

A FORREST GUMP LOOK AT HEALTHCARE REFORM
Quote from Dr. Watson: “Dr. Leo Alexander wrote, “Science under dictatorship becomes subordinated to the guiding philosophy of the dictatorship.” No statement better describes Obamacare, and every doctor who will defend his/her patients should read “Medical Science Under Dictatorship” to understand just how close we are to dictatorship. Then each doctor can OPT OUT of Medicare and fight as a free man, or wait and struggle against his/her chains of captivity.”

Ritual sacrifice of children on rise in Uganda

By JASON STRAZIUSO
The Associated Press
Monday, April 5, 2010

JINJA, Uganda -- Caroline Aya was playing in front of her house in January when a neighbor put a cloth over her mouth and fled with her.

A couple of days later, the 8-year-old's body was found a short walk away - with her tongue cut out. Police believe she was offered up as a human sacrifice in a ritual killing, thought to bring wealth or health.

"If it is a sickness you try to treat it, and if they die that is one thing," said Caroline's father, Balluonzima Christ. "But when you slaughter a person like a goat, that is not easy."

The practice of human sacrifice is on the rise in Uganda, as measured by ritual killings where body parts, often facial features or genitals, are cut off for use in ceremonies. The number of people killed in ritual murders last year rose to a new high of at least 15 children and 14 adults, up from just three cases in 2007, according to police. The informal count is much higher - 154 suspects were arrested last year and 50 taken to court over ritual killings. the rest

Interfaith movement gains new strength

Breaking barriers, creating bonds with other religions
Monday, April 5, 2010
By Julia Duin

This is the first in a series of reports that will look at new efforts — driven largely by American faith leaders — to bridge old divisions among the nation's and the world's believers.

NEW YORK When FaithHouse Manhattan has its twice-monthly interfaith gatherings, the guest list is a carnival of religious belief and creed.

An Islamic Sufi dervish greets you at the door, but the program director, an Episcopalian, makes the announcements. A rabbi, a female Muslim and a Seventh-day Adventist share leadership of the meeting.

The night's program at FaithHouse, in a posh office just off Fifth Avenue, was the Jewish holiday of Purim. Oranges, nuts, apricots and hamentaschen, a Jewish holiday pastry, were offered as snacks. Participants put on costumes to act out the biblical story of Esther.

"People who have a hunger for religious experience can have a taste of it here," said Samir Selmanovic, the Adventist co-leader. Born in Croatia to a Muslim father and a Catholic mother, he helped found FaithHouse 18 months ago. Then he wrote a book, "It's All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian," on the plethora of religions that Americans are increasingly sampling. the rest

Planned Parenthood's Advice to Girl Scouts

Unhealthy and Unhappy
Wed, Mar. 31 2010
By Chuck Colson
Christian Post Guest Columnist

I almost fell out of my chair when I read the news. The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts hosted a panel in New York, part of the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. According to the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, the Girl Scouts allowed Planned Parenthood “to distribute brochures containing sexually explicit material to the young girls.”

The booklet is titled “Healthy, Happy, and Hot.” Much of the content is so pornographic, I wouldn’t dare talk about it over the air or post it online. But you need to know that the sex guide advocates every imaginable kind of sex. As the guide blithely puts it, “There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!”

It also tells girls that “some people have sex when they have been drinking alcohol or using drugs. This is your choice.” Clearly, nothing is off limits-even for children below the age of consent. the rest

New bend in the road: Reflections at the end of life

Dame Maria Boulding had been a biblical scholar, a writer, a novice mistress and a hermit before being diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 80. Urged by others, she set down her thoughts as she approached death. She found that her last days were a time that bore the marks of Easter
Maria Boulding
5 April 2010

I was on a journey, a joyful journey full of interest, beauty, friendships and happiness. I knew I must be getting near the end, and was filled with gratitude for all that had been given to me on this journey that had been my life. At every stage along the road, I had been convinced that my ­experience made sense only in the light of Christ’s Cross and Resurrection. I had been born in Eastertide. Later I received the monastic habit in Easter week, made my first vows in Easter week the following year, and took solemn vows for life in my community three years later, again at Easter.

Another certainty emerged in the years that followed; it was to do with my name. I had been baptised as a baby with the name Mary. Nothing else was added, though suggestions about a second name had been pressed upon my parents. For some reason, my father insisted that his first daughter (he had two sons already) was to be called simply Mary. As I came to love the Scriptures and find inspiration in them, I identified first with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and then with other Marys in the gospels. There was already someone called Mary in the monastic community, so eventually I edged as close as possible with Maria. I came to glimpse something of the function of these Marys as symbolic figures as well as flesh-and-blood people. In their several ways, they represented something of the reality of the Church in relation to Christ. My prayer and my life became centred on the Scriptures, an endless source of inspiration and joy along the way. I could understand my vocation only as somehow “being the Church”. the rest image by Memotions

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Bp. Martyn Minns Easter message: Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

It is the greatest cry of triumph that the world has ever known! It needs to be shouted loud and often because the resurrection of Jesus changes everything for everyone.

It changes how we look at life. Most people live as if this life is all that there is. “You only live once, so why not go out in style?” is the way actor Jack Nicholson puts it in the recent movie, “The Bucket List.” The premise of the movie is that his goal, along with actor Morgan Freeman’s, is to discover the joy in their lives before it’s too late. Lots of people live with this as their unspoken assumption. All this changes once we hear the resurrection cry. This life is not all that there is; in truth, this life is just the beginning of life eternal and the next life is more exciting and satisfying than this life will ever be.

It changes how we look at death. According to Benjamin Franklin, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Both are bad news! Death is so often seen as the end of all that we love and is to be avoided at all cost; but sadly, in the end, it is something to which we must all submit. Not so fast, says the apostle Paul who writes, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Once we profess the truth of the resurrection then death is no longer to be feared. It loses its power over us. We know that death is not the end of everything but the beginning of a new life in the presence of the One who is the Lord of life.

It changes how we look at Jesus. “I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history,” wrote H.G. Wells. There have been lots of other people who have claimed to be the Messiah but none of them have ever been raised from the dead! The resurrection makes him unique. Jesus beat death! He is the only man ever to do so. But what is even more astonishing is that Jesus promises that all those who put their trust in Him will beat death also.

It changes how we look at ourselves. “Got any rivers you think are uncrossable? Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through? God specializes in things thought impossible and does the things that others cannot do,” according to that old Gospel chorus. Once we hear the resurrection cry we know that nothing is impossible for God. When we look at the challenges in our own lives and in the world around us we do so with confidence. We know that Jesus overcame the very worst that the world could throw at him and in his Name we can do the same. That is the glorious promise of Easter Day. It is a promise to be proclaimed to the whole world because it changes everything.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

The Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns
Missionary Bishop of CANA
link

Prayer for Rev. George Woodliff III

A personal Good Friday
Lent and Beyond

2 Corinthians 12:9a
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

My husband, Rev. George Woodliff III, has been diagnosed with a colon tumor and will undergo surgery on Monday. Jill Woodliff

Lord, Your grace is indeed sufficient. We pray for Your perfect strength and healing. Amen.

Easter Sunday: For Judah's Lion burst his chains...

Ye choirs of New Jerusalem,
Your sweetest notes employ,
The Paschal victory to hymn
In songs of holy joy!

For Judah’s Lion burst his chains
And crushed the serpent’s head;
Christ cries aloud through death’s domains
To wake the imprisoned dead.

Triumphant in his glory now,
To him all power is given;
To him in one communion bow
All saints in earth and heaven.

All glory to the Father be,
All glory to the Son,
All glory to the Spirit be
While endless ages run.
...Fulbert of Chartres
image by clairity