Friday, June 04, 2010

Devotional: Wait in all circumstances...

Wait in all circumstances...

You can be in no circumstances in which the Lord can not help you, in which he will not help you, if you look simply to him, rest on him, and wait for him. For every condition in which you may be placed, there is a promise; by that promise the Lord stands pledged to appear for you and help you; he is ever ready to deliverer you; only he will have you believe his word, exercise confidence in him, plead the promise at his throne, and wait for its fulfillment. Wait, then, on the Lord at all times. Times will change, creatures will vary, but the Lord remains always the same. In youth and health, in manhood and prosperity, in old age and its infirmities, we should wait on the Lord. He will adapt his mercies to us, make all his goodness pass before us, and cause all things to work together for our good. He will never leave us, change his views of us, or withhold his tender mercies from us. He is faithful to his word, true to his character, and full of love to his people.

Whatever change there may be in creatures, there is no change in him. Health may give way to sickness, plenty to poverty, strength to weakness, and life to death, but he is the same. With him there is no variableness, neither shadow of a turn. Therefore, "wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord." ...James Smith, of Cheltenham, New York, 1869
image by Zingaro

Smallpox in the Garage

Stewart Abercrombie Baker
June 3, 2010

I joined the Department of Homeland Security to create its Policy office in 2005, not long after the 9/11 commission ascribed those attacks to a failure of imagination on the part of counterterrorism officials. One of my jobs, as I saw it, was to head off future failures of imagination. We needed to spend some time thinking about how technology might enable other attacks -- as shocking and unexpected at 9/11 had been. We did indeed spend time thinking about other risks. Some of them were so likely and so devastating that they haunt me still.
the rest image

If current trends continue, anyone who can get his hands on a computer virus today will soon be able to get his hands on a custom built biological virus.

And who can get his hands on a computer virus today? In an age of drop-down-menu malware attacks, the answer is simple.

Anyone who wants to.

Chris Christie on Teacher’s Unions


Realizing the True Cost of Obamacare

The New York Times finally decides to spill the beans.
By Jeffrey H. Anderson
June 4, 2010

Much of the focus on Obamacare has rightly been on its fiscal recklessness. But in a New York Times story —the type of story the Times couldn’t seem to find space for prior to Obamacare’s passage — we see a clear glimpse of the kind of care that Obamacare would likely spawn.

With the nomination brewing of Dr. Donald Berwick — a gushing admirer of the British National Health Service — to head Medicare and Medicaid and with Americans already clamoring for repeal in ever-greater numbers, the story, although tardy, is an important one. It highlights the very real dangers of having millions of the decisions made by doctors and patients across America replaced by the decisions of government administrators in Washington — who rely on studies they don’t understand and pick studies to rely on that aren’t worth understanding.

In this case, the relied-upon study was completed by Dartmouth researchers, who were thrust into the national limelight by an administration searching to find an angle, any angle, to try to sell its unpopular overhaul. As the Times writes, “The debate about the Dartmouth work is important because a growing number of health policy researchers are finding that overhauling the nation’s health care system will be far harder and more painful than the Dartmouth work has long suggested. Cuts, if not made carefully, could cost lives.” the rest

In short, the president’s claims that Obamacare would lower costs have been widely debunked, even from the Medicare chief actuary in President Obama’s own administration. Now his inferences that by lowering costs (which Obamacare wouldn’t do), Obamacare would also increase the quality of care, have similarly been debunked — although one marvels at the insular environment in Washington that allowed them to take hold in the first place.

Baby hears his mother's voice for the very first time

Gurgling in a mix of wonder and joy, this is the incredible moment a child hears his mother's voice for the first time. Eight-month-old Jonathan was born deaf and had cochlear implants put into his ears so he could hear...


Obama’s Latest Disaster

Friday, June 4, 2010
David P. Goldman

It’s not often that a president’s economic policy blows up the same week that his foreign policy blows up and his energy policy blows up, but this morning’s miserable unemployment report gives Obama a trifecta. The BP oil spill just gets worse and Obama looks helpless and feckless. Obama’s main squeeze in the Muslim world, Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan, has turned into an ally of Iran and Hamas; and the much-vaunted economic recovery turned out not to be there.

This morning’s payroll report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 411,000 temporary jobs from the U.S. census, and only 20,000 new jobs in the private sector, that is, barely outside the margin of statistical error. The warning signs have been there for weeks: Consumer spending stopped growing in April, which is not surprising, because Americans should be saving roughly 10 fund of their income to fund the biggest retirement wave in history. With the bounce-back in stock prices last year, more affluent consumers decided to spend some of their gains—but the May stock market crash (which appears to be continuing this morning) should change their minds. the rest

White House is feeling weight of controversies surrounding oil spill, elections

Episcopal Head Rejects Disciplinary Actions

Thu, Jun. 03 2010
By Lillian Kwon, Christian Post Reporter

The head of The Episcopal Church is troubled by efforts within the Anglican Communion to discipline the U.S. body over its pro-gay actions.

In a recent letter to U.S. Episcopalians, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said the proposal to impose sanctions against dissident churches is a "push toward centralized authority" – the very thing Anglicans repudiated when they separated from the Roman Catholic Church.

"Unitary control does not characterize Anglicanism; rather, diversity in fellowship and communion does," she said in the pastoral letter, released Wednesday.

The letter comes days after the spiritual leader of the global Anglican Communion, Dr. Rowan Williams, proposed that dissident provinces, namely The Episcopal Church, should not participate in the ecumenical dialogues in which the communion is formally engaged. the rest

Albert Mohler: Homosexuality and the Military — What’s Really at Stake?

Unless something alters the political context, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is about to become history, and the U.S. military is about to be changed forever. The summer of 2010 may well turn out to be a watershed season in this nation’s life and history. Is anyone paying attention?
Friday, June 4, 2010

Get ready. Big changes are coming to the United States military. Congress seems poised to pass legislation that would call for the elimination of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy put in place in 1993. With the support of the Obama administration, and with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, it appears that the official normalization of homosexuality within the U.S. Armed Forces may take place sometime this summer, after the completion of a Pentagon review.

Last Thursday, the House of Representatives voted 234 to 194 to repeal the policy. That same day, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16 to 12 to change the policy. A full Senate vote is expected this month. the rest

Churches Scramble to Meet FCC Rules on Wireless Mics

The Federal Communications Commission recently mandated that anyone using wireless microphones on the 700 MHz band must stop.
Fernando Alfonso III, Religion News Service

American churches have less than two weeks to change their wireless microphone equipment or face more than $100,000 in fines.

In January, the Federal Communications Commission mandated that anyone using wireless microphones on the 700 MHz band must stop by June 12 in order to make room for use by police, fire and emergency services.

An unlicensed person or business—which includes churches—using microphones on frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz must stop or face action by the FCC. Violators could face up to $112,500 in fines or imprisonment for continued violation, according to the FCC. Violations will be handled on a case-by-case basis. the rest

Houston Abortion Center Called "Holy and Sacred Ground"

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 2, 2010
Houston, TX

( -- The gigantic abortion facility planned Parenthood now runs in Houston is a seven story, 78,000 square foot center that will eventually do abortions later in pregnancy. But, one Planned Parenthood official recently offered up a blasphemous prayer using religious terms for it.

As Jim Sedlak of STOPP International noticed in a news report, the pro-abortion official referred to the place built for the purpose of killing unborn children in abortion as “sacred and holy ground.”

“Planned Parenthood is so much more than people think, and it is all of our job to tell everyone that it is not just associated with a certain word," the official said, referring to abortion. the rest

Calling the largest abortion center in the nation “sacred and holy ground," the official referred to it as “The Planned Parenthood Prevention Park."

At least 1 million in evangelical march in Brazil

Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010
The Associated Press

SAO PAULO -- At least 1 million evangelical Christians rallied in Sao Paulo on Thursday for the annual "March for Jesus," an event that unites the faithful from hundreds of Protestant churches in the world's largest Roman Catholic country.

Now in its 18th year, the march is organized by the Reborn in Christ Church, whose leaders returned to Brazil last year after being imprisoned in the United States for not declaring $56,000 in cash they were carrying on a flight from Sao Paulo to Miami.

Marchers, musicians and sound trucks followed Estevam Hernandes Filho and his wife, Sonia Haddad Moraes Hernandes, along the 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) route to a square where a huge crowd was gathered. the rest

“Why I am an Anglican..."

Check out the essays on "Why I Am an Anglican" series at the Anglican District of the Northeast website. The latest is by
Fr. Tony Seel.

Also at the website posted a few weeks ago:
By Bishop Dave Bena

Well, it happened. Our youngest daughter, Sarah, was married this past Saturday to a fine young Christian gentleman, Matthew Unright. I was privileged to officiate at their wedding. And a beautiful wedding it was. Since Sarah is a graduate of Roberts Wesleyan College where MANY of her friends were music majors, and since Matt used to play lead guitar in a band, we had LOADS of special music at both the wedding and the reception. It was truly beautiful. On Saturday night when it was all over, Mary Ellen and I sat on the couch reflecting on what a great day it had been and what a nice married couple Matt and Sarah made. Almost offhandedly, I commented, "Well the wedding is over and now the marriage begins."

I've been thinking about that statement since Saturday night. This young and innocent couple will now begin to learn what it really means to be fully committed to a spouse. They'll learn that along with the pleasure and fun of being lovers and friends, they will also learn the meaning of sacrificing for another. It won't always be easy or fun. And sometimes it will be downright burdensome. But those two are in it for the long haul and have invited Jesus to be the center of their marriage. They'll make it fine.

Which leads me to think about our relationship with Christ and His Church. In a sense we were all wedded to Jesus when we received Him into our hearts. And now we are living out the marriage in the context of our parish families. The sense of excitement of being in a relationship with the Creator of all there is; the sense of acceptance by our brothers and sisters in the parish these will carry us a long way through our earthly pilgrimage. But there are so many bumps in the road, arent there? When I seriously received Jesus at the age of twenty-four, I walked around as if I was in a protective bubble with my friend Jesus (this in the middle of dropping bombs on trucks and having mortars dropping on me!). Nothing would separate us. I felt that same closeness with my parish brothers and sisters when I returned from the war. We were united in Christ.

It was only later that I realized that I was romanticizing the whole thing. Jesus was walking beside me alright. BUT HE WALKED AWFULLY FAST. And I had a hard time keeping in step with His way. Too many bad habits and selfish desires kept creeping in and suffocating the relationship. I also found that the parish was not all I had fantasized. Those people had feelings and they hurt each others feelings. And they argued about things like candles and turf and the lousy pastor. Every so often, a few would try a power play and end up leaving the parish, taking as many people with them as they could. I asked myself, Do I really want to be ordained with all this junk going on?

Eventually I learned that sin still exists, even in a parish community, even in me! And the life I lived, walking beside Jesus, caring for His people, was going to take sacrifice, sacrificing my own time and feelings. I learned that ministry with Jesus and for Jesus does not work when I see it as a ministry of convenience, as in I'll get to it when I have done everything else I want to do. I am learning about what it means to be married to Jesus, and to live out that marriage in the Christian community.

Which brings me to the Anglican District of the Northeast. We are ten parishes working together in mission and ministry, praying for one another, getting to know one another as extended family. As we move together along the Way with Jesus, lets enjoy the excitement of starting something new (the ADN), but lets recognize the sacrifice we will have to make as we move together introducing people to Jesus and our parishes and our District.

Sarah and Matt get home from their honeymoon Saturday. Sunday, they'll start the marriage, centered in Jesus. They'll do fine. So will the Anglican District of the Northeast, centered in Jesus. We'll do fine.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Dr. Robert Gagnon: Paul and Homosexual Practice

posted June 3, 2010

This is a 50-minute presentation, entitled “Paul and Homosexual Practice,” given at the Ruth Institute (a project of the National Organization for Marriage, located in San Marcos, Calif., near San Diego) on Aug. 9, 2009 that makes a case for why we know that Paul's indictment of homosexual practice in Romans 1:24-27 was absolute, inclusive of committed homosexual unions and orientation.

Video here

Parents Turn to Tech Toys for Their Tots

Change!… Bush Restored the Iraqi Marshes – Obama Destroyed the US Marshes

by Jim Hoft
Thursday, June 3, 2010

It could be argued that President George W. Bush was the greatest environmental president in the last 100 years. During the Bush years air pollution levels in every category fell from 2001 to 2007.

But, that’s not all…
One of the most significant environmental tragedies of the late 20th Century was the destruction of the Mesopotamian Marshes by Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi marshes were the largest wetland ecosystem of Western Eurasia. The genocidal dictator drained thousands of miles of southern Iraqi marshland after the 1991 War and slaughtered the Marsh Arabs who lived there. But after Iraq was liberated from their brutal tyrant the US restored the region. George W. Bush resurrected the marshes. In early 2003, less than 10% of the Mesopotamian Marshlands remained. By early 2004, 40% of the marshlands had been re-flooded. Since the liberation of Iraq the marshes have been restored to over 85% of their former glory.


Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori Writes to the Episcopal Church

Stand Firm
Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A pastoral letter to The Episcopal Church

Pentecost continues!

Pentecost is most fundamentally a continuing gift of the Spirit, rather than a limitation or quenching of that Spirit.

The recent statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the struggles within the Anglican Communion seems to equate Pentecost with a single understanding of gospel realities. Those who received the gift of the Spirit on that day all heard good news. The crowd reported, “in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power” (Acts 2:11).

The Spirit does seem to be saying to many within The Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons are God’s good creation, that an aspect of good creation is the possibility of lifelong, faithful partnership, and that such persons may indeed be good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the Church, as baptized leaders and ordained ones. The Spirit also seems to be saying the same thing in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and among some of our Christian partners, including Lutheran churches in North America and Europe, the Old Catholic churches of Europe, and a number of others.
the rest/comments

First Things: Is the Holy Spirit a Relativist or a Colonialist?
...I realize I may be expressing latent colonialist tendencies and committing spiritual violence by imposing a singular understanding of basic logic on Bishop Schori, but it appears that she is forcing us to choose between two alternatives:

#1. The Holy Spirit is telling some people that gays and lesbians can be ordained ministers while telling other people that such a move is contrary to God’s will. Ergo, the Spirit is a relativist who imposes moral requirements based on cultural norms rather than on a fixed, knowable standard.

#2. The Holy Spirit is consistent and has expressed his will on this issue to one group; the other group is mistaken in believing that the Spirit has spoken to them. The group that he has spoken to are therefore justified in attempting to apply this standard consistently throughout the communion.

Schori seems to be implying that #1 is true, but what I think she really believes is #2. Assuming that she really cares what God thinks about the matter, she likely believes that she and other advocates for homosexuality are hearing the true Word from the Spirit. They are part of the small vanguard that is being told by the Spirit that, despite what he may have told millions of other Christians throughout history, God considers engaging in act of homosexual sodomy to be good and healthy (in certain situations) and in no way disqualifies one from being a minister.

The problem for Schori is that the implications of this claim conflicts with other parts of the liberal orthodoxy. If the Spirit has truly made such a revelation and clearly expressed his will, then why would they not push for it to be applied consistently throughout the communion?...

MCJ: Mother Load

The Obama administration’s defense budget portends strategic decline.

The Big Squeeze
BY Gary Schmitt and Thomas Donnelly
June 7, 2010

On the 65th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe in early May, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke at the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas. His speech was not about America’s unprecedented, massive marshalling of resources, men, and materiel to defeat the forces of fascism that threatened to overwhelm the West. Instead, its underlying message was ultimately one of strategic retreat—signaling his and the Obama administration’s view that the richest country in the world can no longer afford to sustain the military’s current force structure and capabilities.

Channeling his inner President Eisenhower, Gates sought to make this message sound not only reasonable but morally justified by belittling Washington, the town where he has spent most of his career. Pandering to those on the left who always see defense spending as dangerous, he raised anew Eisenhower’s overwrought concern about the creation of a “garrison state” and a “military-industrial complex.” Pandering to those on the right who see the Pentagon as a gigantic sink hole for tax dollars, he dredged up the old saw about the Pentagon being a “Puzzle Palace” and stated that “the attacks of September 11, 2001, opened a gusher of defense spending.”

The secretary—along with the Obama administration—wants Americans to believe there is no choice but to cut the defense budget given economic and fiscal realities. Just as there is no crying in baseball, however, there are no inevitabilities in politics. The administration is indeed squeezing defense spending more and more tightly, but that is a product of decisions made and policies chosen. They can and should be revisited. the rest

The Rise of the Thug Left

June 03, 2010
By J.R. Dunn

Times are tough. Actually, they're getting tough in a lot of places. They proved very tough for Hamas operatives in the Eastern Mediterranean last weekend. They were tough in poor Balto as well, with seven people shot to death. (Baltimore should be one of the jewels of the East Coast, but of course, it's no such thing. I wonder who's been running the place the last century.) It was nearly as tough in Chicago, with twelve shot and three dead. But when has there ever been good news from the Windy City?

But none of these, however bad they may be, have the potential to shake up the political system the way Obama's more feisty allies have been doing over the past year or so. the rest

The left's civilized elite are still living a delusion, gliding through toga world, while the more unstable elements, the SEIU trash, the anarchists, the ACORN hirelings, are starting to lose it. It will get worse as the Obama dream continues to shred under the pressure of reality. The American left has begun to crack -- deterioration has set in, and it is beginning the long slide into goonhood.

White House political team stumbles, bumbles

Senate committee backs amendment to allow abortions at military hospitals

Washington D.C.,
Jun 3, 2010

(CNA).- Following the U.S. House of Representatives' vote in favor of an amendment to a bill that would lift a ban on abortions at military hospitals, the issue passed to a Senate committee on Tuesday who also backed the move.

Senator Roland Burris (D-Ill.) introduced an amendment to the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act that would repeal a ban on abortions being performed at military hospitals. Currently, the Department of Defense is forbidden from performing the procedure except in the cases of rape, incest, or for the health of the mother. Though the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the amendment in a 15 to 12 vote on Thursday, a full Senate vote on the issue has not been announced

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards praised the move on May 28, saying that the “vote repealing this discriminatory and dangerous ban is the first step to ensuring that servicewomen can use their own private money for abortion care when they are serving overseas.” the rest

Comedy Central cartoon script on Jesus is protested

By Matea Gold
Thursday, June 3, 2010

NEW YORK -- Conservative and religious groups that have long complained about the irreverent treatment of Christianity on Comedy Central have a new target: an animated series about Jesus Christ living in modern-day New York.

It's unclear whether the show -- one of 28 projects the network listed last month on its slate of potential programs for the coming season -- will ever make it out of script development. But that hasn't stopped a coalition of media watchdog groups from launching an effort to persuade advertisers to boycott the project, if it ever comes to fruition. the rest

Here's a description of the show from Comedy Central:

"A half-hour animated show about JC (Jesus Christ) wanting to escape his father's enormous shadow and to live life in NYC as a regular guy. A lot has changed in 2000 years and he is the ultimate fish out of water. Meanwhile his all-powerful yet apathetic father would rather be playing video games than listening to JC recount his life in the city. JC is a playful take on religion and society with a sprinkle of dumb." Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (CARB) plans to hold a conference call Thursday with reporters to denounce the show, which it decried as "an abomination purported to be entertainment."

President Obama Extends Additional Benefits to Same-Sex Partners of Federal Employees

June 02, 2010
Jake Tapper

Last year, you may recall, President Obama extended some benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees, including -- for partners of foreign service members – health care abroad, eligibility for employment at posts, cost-of-living adjustments abroad and medical evacuation; and – for civil service employees -- long-term care insurance and expanded sick leave for civil service employees.

But, as Yunji de Nies reported at the time “many gay and lesbians are upset about what is not included: health care, retirement and survivor benefits. The actual benefits are widely viewed as small potatoes…. The White House says the president cannot extend health care and other benefits because of legal challenges under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which the president has said he wants to repeal.”

Today President Obama signed a presidential memorandum extending more benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees: family assistance services, hardship transfers, relocation expenses. In addition the memorandum requires federal departments and agencies to extend to same sex partners any new benefits to employees’ opposite-sex spouses “to the extent permitted by law.” the rest

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Obama down to 46% in Gallup weekly poll

June 2, 2010
by Ed Morrissey

Gallup’s weekly presidential approval survey shows Barack Obama sliding to the lowest level of his presidency, 46%, while his disapproval ties its highest mark, also 46%, for the third time this year. The approval rating has reached 45% once on the daily tracking polls, but this has been the lowest full-week rating of Obama’s term. The survey doesn’t include any data on issues, but clearly the response to the Gulf oil spill is dragging down job-approval numbers in a manner similar to what happened to George W. Bush and Katrina. the rest

The "story line" of Obama's presidency is "passivity, detachment, acquiescence and compromise"

Latest Anglican peace bid meets with skepticism

(Reuters) - The Archbishop of Canterbury's latest proposal to mediate a gay rights dispute splitting the worldwide Anglican Communion seems to be falling on deaf ears in the opposing camps he is trying to discipline.
Wed. Jun 2, 2010

Archbishop Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the world's 80 million Anglicans, suggested last week that member churches approving gay bishops and same-sex unions and those actively opposing them be sidelined from official doctrinal committees.

The initiative was sparked by the consecration of an openly lesbian bishop in California last month. Williams also said conservative churches -- mostly in Africa -- that appoint bishops to serve in other countries would also be sidelined.

The proposal, if accepted in the Communion, would be the first time such sanctions would be imposed on dissident national churches. Unlike Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism is a federation of churches whose head has no direct power over all members. the rest

There Are too Many Bureaucrats and They Are Paid too Much

(via Instapundit)

Hong Kong's Protestant churches blooming

by Francis Wong
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Protestant churches in Hong Kong are blooming with an annual growth rate 6.2% over the last five years and the number of Protestants in the former British colony drawing close to 300,000.

The number of practising Protestants surpassed 290,000 in 2009, rising from just over 216,000 in 2004, according to the results of a new survey released by the Hong Kong Church Renewal Movement. the rest

9/11 mosque - the propaganda coup of all time

Chad Groening

An author and former terrorism prosecutor says it's an affront to common sense and decency that an Islamic mosque is going to be built near the site of the former World Trade Center towers and officially dedicated on September 11, 2011.

With ten abstentions and a vote of 29-1, Manhattan Community Board No. 1 decided to back a proposal to build a Muslim community center near the World Trade Center site. The vote was advisory because the board does not have the power to scrap plans for the center, but its approval is being seen as an important barometer of community sentiment. However, the group still needs the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which could decide as early as July if the building merits historic preservation. the rest

The Birds and the Bees (via the Fertility Clinic)

May 30, 2010

If you want to adopt a child in the United States, you’ll face an array of bureaucratic roadblocks and invasive interrogations. Adoption agencies will assess your finances, your relationships, and your fitness as a potential guardian. The interests of the child, not the desires of the would-be parent, will be treated as paramount throughout.

If you want to procure sperm or eggs, the process is completely different. You can shop for gametes the way you’d go shopping for a house or a car — buying ova from an Ivy League undergraduate, or sperm from a 6-foot-8, athletic, blue-eyed Dane. The person selling you the right to bear and rear their biological offspring can do so anonymously, with no future strings attached at all.

The result is a freewheeling fertility marketplace whose impact on American life keeps increasing. Sperm donations generate between 30,000 and 60,000 conceptions every year, and roughly 6,000 children are conceived through egg donation annually as well. About a million American adults, if not more, are the biological children of sperm donors. the rest

Americans conceived through sperm donation also are more likely to feel alienated from their immediate family than either biological or adopted children. They’re twice as likely as adoptees to report envying peers who knew their biological parents, twice as likely to worry that their parents “might have lied to me about important matters” and three times as likely to report feeling “confused about who is a member of my family and who is not.”

Assisted suicide: why now?

June 1, 2010
by Wesley J. Smith

Since 1988, when euthanasia advocates failed to qualify for a legalization initiative on the California ballot, the assisted suicide movement in the United States has gone from a barely noticed fringe movement to a well-funded political machine that threatens Hippocratic medical values and the sanctity/equality of human life.

Consider the disturbing history: In 1994, Oregon legalized assisted suicide (by a 51-49% vote), with the law going into effect in 1997. The movement had a setback in 1997 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in a rare unanimous decision, that there is no constitutional right to assisted suicide. But in 2008, Washington State legalized Oregon-style assisted suicide by a lopsided 58-42%. Then, last year, Montana’s Supreme Court ruled that assisted suicide was not against the state’s “public policy.”

The euthanasia movement is not resting on its recent laurels. Advocates have filed a lawsuit in Connecticut to legalize assisted suicide by redefinition — on the dubious theory that a doctor who lethally prescribes drugs for use by a terminally ill patient is merely performing “aid in dying,” rather than the legally proscribed assisted suicide. Meanwhile, legislative legalization efforts have been initiated in Hawaii, Arizona, Wisconsin, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut — all without success. the rest

Seven Theology Books for the Beach

Consider adding these recent releases to your summer reading list.
Collin Hansen

Summer affords many of us a few spare moments to sit down someplace warm and relaxing and read a good book. In case you're looking for something deeper than a celebrity magazine or cliffhanger novel, consider picking up these new releases that make theology accessible and practical while staying true to Scripture.


Can the Middle East’s Christian exodus be stopped?

Christians need to see their presence in the region as a vocation and not as their fate, says a Catholic bishop.
William Shomali
Wednesday, 2 June 2010

In the crossfire of guns and political rhetoric between Arab (increasingly, the Muslim Arab) and Jew that has made the Middle East a perpetual battlefield, the fact that this region is also the birthplace of Christianity seems to be forgotten. And what of the fate of the Christian minority that still lives there?

Later this year the Catholic bishops of the region will meet in Rome at a synod on the Middle East and, as part of the preparation, Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem recently outlined the geopolitical and pastoral context for those involved. the rest

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Republicans Jump Out To Historic Lead In Gallup Generic Ballot

June 1st, 2010
by Sean Trende

Gallup's generic polling shows the number of voters saying that they would vote for Republicans rising three points from last week, while the number saying they will vote for Democrats dropped four points. The 49%-43% lead for the Republicans is the largest that the pollster has ever recorded for the party. Moreover, Democratic enthusiasm for voting this fall fell a point, while enthusiasm among Republicans stayed about fifteen points higher. This indicates an even wider lead for Republicans once Gallup imposes a likely voter screen this fall. the rest

Update: Judge Orders School to Allow Boy Suspended from School for wearing rosary to return to class

Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Contact: Raymond J. Dague,
Syracuse, New York 315-422-2052

(Syracuse, NY) – Last week a 13 year old boy in Oneida Middle School was suspended from school for wearing a rosary to class. But hours after a lawsuit was filed today in court challenging the suspension, Albany based federal district court Judge Lawrence E. Kahn signed a court order which directed the school to let the boy attend class at the school until the court hears the case on June 11, 2010. Until that court date, the judge said he can wear the rosary which is the subject of this lawsuit.

Further details of the boy’s suspension and the lawsuit which was filed this morning are in the earlier press release. (see post below)

“The judge made a wise decision to let the boy back into the school while this case is pending,” said attorney Raymond Dague of Syracuse, one of the attorneys affiliated with the American Center for Law and Justice who filed the lawsuit on behalf of 13-year-old Raymond and his mother, Chantell Hosier. “I would predict that the judge will ultimately agree with us, and tell the school that they were wrong to suspend him. But you’ve just got to wonder what these public school officials were thinking!”

The lawsuit will not end on the day the judge hears the case for motions on June 11th, but all of the parties should get a good idea then as to where this lawsuit is headed.

American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.

Boy Suspended from School for Wearing Rosary to Class Sues to Get back in the Classroom

Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Contact: Raymond J. Dague,
Syracuse, New York 315-422-2052

(Syracuse, NY) – Attorneys for a 13-year-old boy have brought suit against the public school district in which the boy is attending middle school because the school officials suspended him indefinitely for wearing a Rosary to school. The federal lawsuit seeks to allow the boy to return to class, and to prevent the school for taking action against him for his religious expression which, according to school administrators’ interpretation of the school dress code policy, bans the boy from wearing a Rosary.

“The only rational explanation of the conduct of these school administrators is that they are hostile to the religious expression of this boy,” said attorney Raymond Dague of Syracuse, who is one of the attorneys affiliated with the American Center for Law and Justice who filed the lawsuit on behalf of 13-year-old Raymond and his mother, Chantell Hosier. “These administrators claim that the boy wearing the rosary violates the school’s ‘gang related’ clothing ban, but that is so ludicrous that nobody would believe such a silly pretext. And why throw the kid out of school for this? This is a school district which needs to take a hard look at where it is focusing its energies if they are chasing such seriously misguided causes as this.”

The lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of New York and is assigned to Albany based federal district court Judge Lawrence E. Kahn. Listed as defendants in the lawsuit is the Schenectady City School District and other school officials - including the principal of Oneida Middle School where the boy attends.

The suit requests a jury trial and asserts that the school's actions violated Raymond's constitutional rights of speech and expression, free exercise of religion, and due process under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

In suspending Raymond, school officials contended that wearing a Rosary that included religious beads violated the school district's dress code policy and asserted that the Rosary is considered a gang-related symbol.

The complaint contends that Raymond wears the Rosary to express his faith in God and honor the memory of a deceased uncle and a brother who died with that very same Rosary in his hand. The complaint also asserts that Raymond is not a member of any criminal gang and does not wear his Rosary to promote gang membership or violence. The complaint also notes that Raymond has been wearing the Rosary since September 2009 without causing "any disruption to the school environment."

The lawsuit, which requests a trial by jury, urges the court to declare the disciplinary actions taken by school officials against Raymond unconstitutional, to declare the school's dress code policy unconstitutional and to prevent it from being used to punish student like Raymond in the future.

American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.

Pelosi needs prayer

Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Elizabeth Scalia

It takes a special kind of cognitive dissonance to speak fervently of the Word Made Flesh, and to understand that by his Incarnation God has ennobled all mortal flesh with a sanctity and a holiness relative to his own, and yet to consistently vote–as Nancy Pelosi did in 2003–against legislation that would have banned the most savage of abortion procedures, the so-called “partial-birth abortion.”

The Anchoress has more...

President Barack Obama's Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 7, 2010

Washington, DC ( -- The following is a compilation of bill signings, speeches, appointments and other actions that President Barack Obama has engaged in that have promoted abortion before and during his presidency. While Obama has promised to reduce abortions and some of his supporters believe that will happen, this long list proves his only agenda is promoting more abortions.

Timeline here

Give your life to God while there's still time...

Tamara Lowe at Christ Fellowship
(H/T Jill Stanek)

Soaring costs force Canada to reassess health model

By Claire Sibonney
Mon May 31,2010

TORONTO (Reuters) – Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada's provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system.

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, kicked off a fierce battle with drug companies and pharmacies when it said earlier this year it would halve generic drug prices and eliminate "incentive fees" to generic drug manufacturers.

British Columbia is replacing block grants to hospitals with fee-for-procedure payments and Quebec has a new flat health tax and a proposal for payments on each medical visit -- an idea that critics say is an illegal user fee.

And a few provinces are also experimenting with private funding for procedures such as hip, knee and cataract surgery. the rest

H/T and comments at Stand Firm

Albert Mohler: Summer Reading — Books Fit for the Season

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Readers are a hopeful lot. Ask most serious readers what they intend to read over the next month, and you are likely to hear a considerable list. Books stack easily in more ways than one. The stack of books to be read beside the desk or reading chair is a statement of hope. No matter how busy we find ourselves to be, the books are there waiting.

the rest-book list

Three million babies hidden

Chinese parents subverted policy: researcher
By Malcolm Moore, The Daily Telegraph
May 31, 2010

As many as three million Chinese babies are hidden by their parents every year in order to get around the country's one-child policy, a researcher has discovered.

Since 1978, China's government has limited each couple to one child, carrying out forced abortions and sterilizations, and monitoring women's intra uterine devices to control the population.

For parents violating the policy, the penalties can be harsh. Large fines are levied, houses are often demolished and offenders are sometimes jailed. the rest

Australia Abortion Practitioner Has Infected 40 Women With Hepatitis C Virus

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 31, 2010
Melbourne, Australia

( -- An Australia abortion facility worker is facing more accusations that he infected dozens of women with hepatitis C during abortions. The heath chief of the Australian state of Victoria released the accusations against the abortion practitioner in April.

Since then, the number of potential victims has jumped form 12 to 44 as the outbreak at the Croydon Day Surgery abortion business appears worse than earlier reports as the probe continues.

The Herald Sun newspaper indicates the health department investigation into the abortion operation where James Latham Peters was the anesthesiologist will expand -- potentially to as many as 3,600 women who had abortions at his center since 2006. the rest

Tropical Storm Agatha blows a hole in Guatemala City

Hundreds dead as torrential rain sweeps Central America. Sinkhole in Guatemala swallows three-storey building
Peter Walker, The Guardian
Tuesday 1 June 2010

Tropical Storm Agatha swept across Central America yesterday, bringing torrential rain that killed more than 100 people and opened a 60m-deep sinkhole in Guatemala City which reportedly swallowed up a three-storey building.

The first named storm of the 2010 Pacific season dumped more than a metre of rain in parts of Guatemala, also hitting El Salvador and Honduras. At least 113 people were reported killed, with around 50 missing in Guatemala alone as rescue workers searched through the rubble.
The 30m-diameter sinkhole opened up in a northern district of Guatemala City, with residents blaming the rains and substandard drainage systems. Local reports said one man was killed when the building was swallowed. In 2007, three people died when a similar sinkhole appeared in the same area. the rest image

Nigeria: Amaechi Condemns Ordination of Gay Bishop in Anglican Church

Anayo Onukwugha
1 June 2010

Port Harcourt — Rivers State Governor, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, says the recent ordination of a gay Bishop in the Anglican Church in the United States of America is the height of moral decadence in the Church in particular and the world in general.

Governor Amaechi said this when the new Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, led a delegation to visit him in Government House, Port Harcourt.

Represented by his deputy, Engr. Tele Ikuru, Governor Amaechi condemned the act, regretting the continued trend of moral laxity of people of this generation in spite of the proliferation of churches in the world.

Commending the new Primate for his elevation, the state chief executive urged him to face the challenge of redeeming the battered image of the Church frontally, saying "Primate, you have a lot in your hands; the times are not good and challenges are daunting," urging him to restore the virtues that made the Church a sacred institution.

He said, "It takes the will and grace of God for anybody to be lifted," calling on the church to collaborate with government in building a virile society, describing the Church as "the soul of the people." the rest

Monday, May 31, 2010

Storm cancels Obama's Memorial Day speech

At the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois, the president tells spectators, 'We are … concerned about lightning. This may not be safe.' Later, he delivers the speech in Washington.
By Stacy St. Clair, Chicago Tribune
June 1, 2010

Reporting from Elwood, Ill. —A violent thunderstorm forced President Obama to cancel his Memorial Day address Monday at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois, where he took to a rain-soaked stage and urged the thousands of spectators to seek shelter.

"We are a little bit concerned about lightning," he told the crowd. "This may not be safe. I know that all of you are here to commemorate the fallen. ... What we'd like to do is, if possible, have people move back to their cars, and if this passes in the next 15 to 20 minutes, I'll stick around."

The White House said Obama made the decision to halt the event. the rest

Pope Names Team to Investigate Abuse in Ireland

May 31, 2010

LinkedinDiggFacebookMixxMySpaceYahoo! BuzzPermalink. ROME — In one of his most concrete actions since a sexual abuse scandal began sweeping the Catholic Church in Europe, Pope Benedict XVI on Monday appointed a high-profile team of prelates, including the archbishop of New York, to investigate Irish dioceses and seminaries.

The pope had announced that he would open the investigation in a strong letter to Irish Catholics in March, in which he expressed “shame and remorse” for “sinful and criminal” acts committed by members of the clergy, following two scathing Irish government reports documenting widespread abuse in church-run schools and other institutions.

On Monday the pope also accepted the resignation of Richard Burke, an Irish-born archbishop in Benin City, Nigeria, who had been suspended after he acknowledged having a 20-year relationship with a woman. In a statement, the bishop apologized and denied accusations of child abuse. He said the sexual relationship began when the woman was 21. The woman has said it began when she was 14. the rest

Cutié Delivers 1st Service As Episcopalian Priest

His Wife Ruhama Is Pregnant
May 30, 2010

Fr. Alberto Cutie held his first service after being ordained an Episcopalian priest.

A former priest who left the Roman Catholic Church because he fell in love with a woman is not only a priest again at a new church but will soon be a father.

On Sunday Alberto Cutié, 41, presided over his first service as an Episcopalian priest at the Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park. After the service he said things have been going great for him.

"It's been very good. I'm really trying to serve the same God that I have always served, obviously in a different church, and serving the community as a priest is a real blessing," said Cutié. the rest

Greater love has no one than this...

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this,
that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:12-13 image by ingridtaylar

Our garden on Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day

Our garden along the driveway

Antony Waterer spirea

Coral climbing rose

Close-up of Trumpeter rose

Bee in the rhododendron

-Pictures by Raymond Dague-