Saturday, July 10, 2010

Devotional: No prayer is lost...

No prayer is lost. Praying breath was never spent in vain. There is no such thing as prayer unanswered or unnoticed by God, and some things that we count refusals or denials are simply delays. ...H. Bonar image by babasteve

Anglican Congregations Ask Virginia Supreme Court to Reconsider a Portion of Its Church Property Ruling

Via email

FAIRFAX , Va. (July 10, 2010) – The nine Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) congregations that are parties to the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia today asked the Virginia Supreme Court to reconsider a narrow, but critical portion of its ruling. Specifically, the churches asked the Court to reconsider whether CANA and ADV are branches of The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Diocese of Virginia under the governing statute.

“Today we filed a motion asking the Virginia Supreme Court to rehear a portion of its June 10 ruling that addressed whether CANA and ADV are in fact branches that divided from The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia,” said ADV Chairman Jim Oakes. “We are not challenging the Court’s legal interpretation of the relevant statute, but we are pointing out that the Court overlooked critical evidence showing that, even under that interpretation, the congregations have satisfied the statute.”

“CANA and ADV came about as a direct result of the division within the Church. In fact, ADV in particular was established because of the desire of the orthodox Virginia churches to stick together. It has become a diverse group of churches all working together for the Gospel. Even when ADV was formed, it was not limited to churches that were affiliated with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America and also included congregations that had established a connection with the Church of Uganda,” Oakes said.

“We recognize that motions to rehear a case are not automatically granted, but we feel we have a strong case and that based on key evidence that the Court overlooked, CANA and ADV satisfy the ‘branch’ requirements of the Virginia Division Statute. We never sought these legal proceedings in the first place and look forward to the day when we can completely focus on our core mission of spreading the Good News of Christ. Ultimately, this court case is in the Lord’s hands and we will continue to welcome all who wish to worship with us regardless of the outcome,” Oakes concluded.

The Anglican District of Virginia

Anglican Body Hits Impasse on Women

By JOHN F. BURNS
July 10, 2010

LONDON — The Church of England moved another step closer to an unbridgeable schism between traditionalists and reformers on Saturday when its General Synod, or parliament, rejected a bid by the archbishop of Canterbury to strike a compromise over the ordination of women bishops aimed at preserving the increasingly fragile unity of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The rejection of proposals aimed at accommodating those who oppose women bishops appeared to strike a serious blow to the authority of the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, whose position as archbishop of Canterbury makes him the leader of the Communion. Although he has a long-established reputation as a liberal on theological issues, the archbishop, 60, has spent much of his seven years as the Anglican leader seeking to fashion compromises with traditionalists over the role of women and gays as priests and bishops.

The narrow rejection of his compromise proposals at the Synod meeting in the northern English city of York appeared to raise the threat of a new wave of defections by traditionalists among the church’s laity and clergy to the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI had responded to the internal divisions among Anglicans last year by offering special provisions for disaffected Anglicans wishing to convert to Catholicism — a move that has led to resentment among some Anglicans. the rest

Women bishops: now no one can deny that the Church of England is Protestant
By Damian Thompson
July 10th, 2010

Tonight the Church of England finally acknowledged something that has been obvious since 1992, when it decided to ordain women priests: that it remains, despite the Oxford Movement, and as John Henry Newman came to believe very firmly, a Protestant Church.

As such, it enjoys the freedom to follow the example of its Reformed counterparts in other countries and ordain women to the highest level of ministry, whatever it chooses to call it. (The fact that England’s established Church calls its senior presbyters “bishops” is a matter of historical accident: had circumstances been diffferent in 1558, it might have gone the way of Scotland.)

Now that this freedom is to be fully exercised, what will happen to Anglo-Catholic traditionalists? Many will quietly, without ever admitting the fact, come to terms with their Protestant identity and stay in the C of E. Others will leave for breakaway Anglican denominations or join the Orthodox. the rest

Women bishop row compromise plan fails in synod vote

A bid by two of the Church of England's most senior clerics to avert a split over women bishops has narrowly failed.
Saturday, 10 July 2010

A general synod vote went against compromise proposals, offering safeguards for objectors, put by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

They were backed by a majority of the houses of bishops and laity, but not of the House of Clergy, meaning they fell.

The Archbishop of York earlier urged an end to the "spin and propaganda" against the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The two clerics are trying to stop a split over the women bishops issue which divides liberals and traditionalists. the rest

Split looms for Church over women bishops
The embattled Archbishop of Canterbury has suffered a devastating blow to his hopes of averting a split in the Church of England over the introduction of women bishops.

CofE: Priests defeat Archbishops' proposals on women bishops
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have failed in their bid to see through a compromise amendment to legislation on women bishops that would have allowed a male and female bishop to have “co-ordinate” jurisdiction.

Sentamu urges end to 'spin' in Church of England

(AFP)
posted July 10, 2010

LONDON — As the Church of England prepared on Saturday to discuss the thorny topic of women bishops, the Archbishop of York called for an end to "spin and propaganda" targeted at the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr John Sentamu told the church's general synod there has been a "general disregard for the truth" in recent criticism of Dr Rowan Williams.

Sentamu's comments come after a selection committee including Williams this week blocked a bid by an openly gay cleric to become a Church of England bishop, amid fears the controversial ordination could have further strained the Anglican movement. the rest

Buffett Billions Padding “Charitable” Abortion Advocacy

Thursday July 8, 2010
By Peter J. Smith
OMAHA, Nebraska

(LifeSiteNews.com) – For the last number of years American billionaire Warren Buffett, 79, has gradually been giving away his estimated $47 billion fortune – and much of it is going to support the work of abortion activists worldwide.

The Bloomberg news agency reports that Buffett’s annual gift this year to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – which supports population control efforts around the globe – was figured at $1.6 billion in Class B stock of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett’s Omaha-based company. The amount is a 28% increase from last year, due to the fact that the value of Buffett’s Berkshire holdings have improved overall while the rest of the economy has tanked. Berkshire’s stock value rose 35% on the New York Stock Exchange over the past 12 months, and Berkshire profits rose 61% in 2009.

In 2006, Buffett endowed the Gates Foundation with 10 million Berkshire Class B shares, valued at approximately $37 billion dollars. Buffett’s 2010 donation constitutes part of the annual installment plan of 5% of pledged stocks to the foundation’s trust fund. The stock gives the Gates Foundation a steady source of income (the pay-out target over the coming decade is $3 billion a year) from which it can fund various other charities – which have included population control groups such as Planned Parenthood and others. the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury accused of second 'betrayal' of gay cleric

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been accused of “betraying” an openly homosexual cleric for the second time over his bid to become a bishop.
By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent
09 Jul 2010

Dr Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans Photo: PA Dr Rowan Williams was said by some in the Anglican Communion of abandoning his former liberal credentials by failing to vote for Dr Jeffrey John as the next Bishop of Southwark.

It comes exactly seven years after the Archbishop forced Dr John, an old friend of his, to refuse his appointment as Bishop of Reading following an outcry from conservatives. the rest

Friday, July 09, 2010

Devotional: All during the day...

All during the day, in the chinks of time between the things we find ourselves obliged to do, there are the moments when our minds ask: 'What next?' In these chinks of time, ask Him: 'Lord, think Thy thoughts in my mind. What is on Thy mind for me to do now?' When we ask Christ, 'What next?' we tune in and give Him a chance to pour His ideas through our enkindled imagination. If we persist, it becomes a habit. ...Frank Laubach image by Chris Willis

'Don't ask, don't tell' foes win legal victory

San Francisco Chronicle
July 9, 2010

The federal judge overseeing a challenge to the "don't ask, don't tell" law, scheduled for trial in Southern California next week, has ruled in favor of a gay rights group on a crucial issue - how much evidence the government needs to justify the ban on openly homosexual members of the armed forces.

Obama administration lawyers have argued that courts must let "don't ask, don't tell" stand if they find that Congress could have reasonably concluded that excluding gays and lesbians would make the military more effective - the standard most favorable to supporters of the 1993 law.

But U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips of Riverside, in her final pretrial ruling, said Wednesday that higher court rulings in recent years have raised the bar for the government to justify laws that single out gays and lesbians for harsher treatment. the rest

Ind. Lutheran Church Votes to Leave Over Gay Issues

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Jul 9, 2010

An Auburn, Indiana Lutheran church has decided to split from the mainstream faith rather than see committed gay and lesbian people of faith allowed to serve as clergy.

The church, St. Mark’s, took a vote on July 4 and the majority opted to break away from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), reported KPC News.com on July 9. The reason for the split is the August, 2009 decision by the ECLA’s leadership to allow openly gay and lesbian people who are in committed same-sex relationships to serve in a clerical capacity. The church’s previous stance on gays was that they could only serve as clerics if they were celibate.

Such splits and divisions have roiled other faiths. The global Anglican church faces breakaway parishes, the creation of a parallel, anti-gay Anglican church in North America, and the possibility of full-fledged schism over the issue of what gays, lesbians, and--to a lesser degree--straight women may play in the church. the rest

ELCA RELEASES NEW NUMBERS ON CONGREGATIONS VOTING TO LEAVE
"As of June 30, the Office of the Secretary has been advised that 462 congregations have taken first votes to terminate their relationship with the ELCA (some congregations have taken more than one first vote). Of these 462 congregations that have taken first votes, 312 passed and 150 failed. Synods also have informed the Office of the Secretary that 196 congregations have taken a second vote, 185 of which passed and 11 failed. (The numbers previously reported on June 3 for second votes contained an error; the correct number of failed second votes as of June 3 should have been 10, not 21. Thus, the number of second votes that passed as of June 3 should have been 151, not 140.)"

Do iPads Help You Pray?

July 9, 2010
by Greg Burke

While it’s true that Pope Benedict XVI – a seriously old-fashioned pen-and-paper type of professor – has encouraged Church officials to embrace the new media, how far can it go?

In other words, is there anything wrong with an iPad on the altar? Don Paolo Padrini doesn’t think so. He’s a parish priest in northern Italy who’s developed an iPad application for the Roman Missal, the main liturgical book used at Mass.

“The iPad can’t ever substitute paper books, even though no one should be surprised that an iPad can help the priest in some way during celebrations,” Don Paolo told Fox News on a visit to the parish of San Giorgio in Stazzano, in the Piedmont region of northern Italy.

Padrini, who also developed a successful app of the priest’s daily prayers, the iBreviary, for the iPhone, said his idea with the missal was not to do away with big books, but to be a help, especially when priests are traveling. the rest image

Americans Who’ll Never Work Again

Jul 8, 2010
David P. Goldman

How many Americans will never work again? Perhaps a lot. A close look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey raises some alarming questions about the prospects of significant parts of the American population.

Thirteen percent of Americans twenty-five years and over without a high school diploma were unemployed in June (down from a peak of 17.9 percent in February, but much of that decline was due to a fall in the labor force participation rate from 62.4 percent in February to 61.4 percent in June). Ten percent of workers with only a high school diploma, were unemployed in June. Workers with a Bachelor’s degree, by contrast, had an unemployment rate of only 4.5 percent that month.

For African Americans over twenty years of age, the official unemployment rate in June stood at 17 percent. Most striking, only 58 percent of African-American men over twenty are employed, compared to 67.7 percent in 2000. For white Americans over twenty, the employment-population ratio fell from 64.9 percent in 2002 to 60.2 percent in 2009, a far smaller decline. There is almost no decline for Hispanics; the employment-population ratio stayed around 68 percent between 2000 and 2009. the rest

Why is this significant? Unemployment for African Americans and those with less education has always been higher than for others, but most were eventually employed. The economic crisis has only magnified the
differences. That would be bad enough. As matters stand, many of these workers may never find a steady job again.

Vacation Bible schools try to be more than just cheap day care

Costing much less than park district programs and summer camps, vacation Bible schools give parents a break while giving kids fun with a message.
July 9, 2010

Amy Zabka, 9, and her sister Hannah, 4, have begun making the rounds of weeklong vacation Bible schools, their family's way of limiting the girls' TV and gadget time while keeping the peace at home over the summer.

One recent morning, when there was no Bible camp, their mother, Johnni Zabka, 41, lamented, "Already this morning, they are fighting over what to watch on TV. … I am done with the 'iCarly' and the 'Dora.' It's just enough."

Like many Chicago-area families, the Zabkas, of Batavia, turn to church-based summer schools as an alternative to high-priced child care or specialty sports, theater and music camps. the rest image by Joshua Blount

North Korea: Spreading Gospel a mission of death

Christian converts sent back to evangelize in North Korea
By Hyung-jin Kim
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Thursday, July 8, 2010
SEOUL

Like most North Koreans, Son Jong-nam knew next to nothing about Christianity when he fled to neighboring China in 1998. Nearly 11 years later, he died back in North Korea in prison, reportedly tortured to death for trying to spread the Gospel in his native land, armed with 20 Bibles and 10 cassette tapes of hymns. He was 50.

His story, pieced together by his younger brother, a defector who lives in South Korea, sheds light on a little-discussed practice: the return of North Korean converts to evangelize in their home country - a risky move, but one of the few ways to penetrate a country that bars most citizens from outside TV or radio and the Internet.

Little is known about the practice, thought to have started in the late 1990s. Missionaries won't say how many defectors they have sent back to North Korea, citing their safety and that of the defectors.

"It's their country, where people speak the same language. They know where to go and where to escape," said the Rev. Isaac Lee, a Korean-American missionary in Seoul who has dedicated his life to spreading Christianity in the North. "But I agonize a lot whenever I have to send defectors to the North, as I know what kind of punishment they would get if arrested." the rest

The Selective Modesty of Barack Obama

Obama’s modesty about America would be more understandable if he treated himself with the same reserve.
Charles Krauthammer
July 9, 2010

Remember NASA? It once represented to the world the apogee of American scientific and technological achievement. Here is President Obama’s vision of NASA’s mission, as explained by Administrator Charles Bolden:

One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and math and engineering.

Apart from the psychobabble — farcically turning a space-faring enterprise into a self-esteem enhancer — what’s the sentiment behind this charge? Sure, America has put a man on the moon, led the information revolution, and won far more Nobel Prizes than any other nation — but, on the other hand, a thousand years ago al-Khwarizmi gave us algebra. the rest

Obama Unhinged
President Obama’s behavior over the past year, and particularly the last month, borders on bizarre. The candidate who promised to bring people together and move beyond polarization has morphed into a divisive and defensive president.

His sinking approval numbers underscore the growing public disappointment in the gap between his campaign rhetoric and his governing style.

The President's One-Man Death Panel

07/08/2010

Health Care: The president recess-appoints a fan of rationing and Britain's National Health Service to direct one-third of American health care. Why does the administration want his views hidden from scrutiny?

'The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open." That's what Dr. Donald Berwick, President Obama's nominee to head the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, told a National Institutes of Health publication a year ago, when he was just president and CEO of the Institute for Health Care Improvement.

Such views were to be fodder for a stormy confirmation hearing — except none has been scheduled.

Instead, Obama opted to make a recess appointment of Berwick to head CMS, an agency that oversees a third of all health care spending in the U.S. and that will play a major role under ObamaCare in deciding what care is available and who gets it. the rest

'The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open."
Obama Science Czar Called for Carbon Tax to Redistribute Wealth from Global 'North' to 'South'

Islam on the rise, compliments of Obama
A conservative political activist says President Obama's pro-Islamic leanings are to blame for radical Islamic groups becoming so emboldened that they are openly holding conferences on U.S. soil calling for the establishment of a global Islamic empire.

Spain’s unrestricted abortion law takes effect

The Associated Press
Friday, July 9, 2010

A new Spanish law allowing abortion without restrictions in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy went into effect Monday but the Constitutional Court could yet intervene to suspend or change it.

The law, approved by Parliament in February, was the latest item on a liberal agenda undertaken by the Socialist government, which took power in 2004. The measure is seen as bringing this traditionally Roman Catholic country more in line with its secular neighbors in northern Europe.

Equality Minister Bibiana Aido told Cadena SER radio the government was unworried by an appeal by the conservative Popular Party to the Constitutional Court challenging the 14-week clause as unconstitutional. the rest

Church of England general synod debates women bishops

Friday, 9 July 2010

Archbishops say they will propose new amendments to draft legislation The Church of England's governing body is meeting in York to try to find a way to introduce women bishops without driving Anglicans apart.

The general synod will discuss plans aimed at giving traditionalists enough exemptions from serving under a woman.

But liberals in the synod have said they will not accept any measure that dilutes women bishops' authority.

There is also a growing row over a decision to block the appointment of a gay cleric as Bishop of Southwark. the rest

Archbishops face test of authority over women bishops at Synod
The two most senior clerics in the Church of England face a crucial test of their authority over the introduction of women bishops

Appellate court rules in favor of Episcopalians in property dispute

Christ Church has until July 18 to appeal panel's ruling in property dispute
July 9, 2010
By Dana Clark Felty

The state's Court of Appeals issued a ruling Thursday in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and the national church in their two-and-a-half year property dispute with a breakaway congregation.

A three-judge panel upheld Chatham County Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf's 2009 decision naming the Episcopal Church the rightful owners of Christ Church in Savannah.

Church members and leaders have continued occupying the historic Johnson Square house of worship since voting to leave the denomination in September 2007, when they accused the national church of straying from the Bible.

They now have until July 18 to notify the courts whether they will continue with the appeal. the rest

Georgia Court of Appeals Rubber-Stamps Christ Church Savannah Decision
A.S. Haley
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Let ECUSA add another notch to its belt: it has yet one more case to string-cite for the proposition that it is a "heirarchical" church. In a unanimous decision filed earlier this afternoon, three judges of the Georgia Court of Appeals (Second Division) have affirmed the decision by the Hon. Michael Karpf, which granted summary judgment to ECUSA and the Diocese of Georgia that the property and assets of Christ Church Savannah (Georgia's oldest church, which predates the founding of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America) reverted to them when its congregation voted to withdraw from the Diocese. The decision relies upon much of Judge Karpf's opinion for its analysis and conclusions; hence the "rubber stamp" of my title:

We find no error and affirm the trial court's order. In fact, Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf, in his twenty-one page order, thoroughly and correctly detailed the history of Christ Church and the National Episcopal Church, and he properly analyzed the relevant statutes and church documents. We have incorporated much of his order in our opinion.

Do not look, therefore for any independent testing or analysis of the arguments which swayed Judge Karpf; they are simply repeated here again. For that reason, I would refer the interested reader back to this earlier post for a more detailed refutation of those arguments. the rest

San Joaquin: Episcopal Dioceses sues to get church back
July 8, 2010

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is suing the former members of St. Paul’s, Visalia, seeking return of church property to the diocese.

Members of St. Paul’s are among those former Episcopalians who broke away from the national church and joined a more conservative arm of the Anglican church. The San Joaquin Valley churches were the first diocese to break away from the Episcopal Church in a schism over the church’s stand on various issues. Not all churches joined the revolt and the diocese has since been reconstituted...

Muslim Mob Kills Wife, Children of Christian in Pakistan

Thu, Jul. 08 2010
John Little

(Compass Direct News) – A Muslim mob in Jhelum, Pakistan murdered the wife and four children of a Christian last month, but local authorities are too afraid of the local Muslim leader to file charges, according to area Muslim and Christian sources.

Jamshed Masih, a police officer who was transferred 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Gujrat to Jhelum, Punjab Province, said a mob led by Muslim religious leader Maulana Mahfooz Khan killed his family on June 21 after Khan called him to the local mosque and told him to leave the predominantly Muslim colony. Jhelum is 85 kilometers (53 miles) south of Islamabad.

“You must leave with your family, no non-Muslim has ever been allowed to live in this colony – we want to keep our colony safe from scum,” Khan told Masih, the bereaved Christian told Compass. the rest

Turkey: Christians in Danger
For all the attention Turkey has gotten lately, very few Americans are aware that the Roman Catholic bishop serving as apostolic vicar of Anatolia was stabbed to death and decapitated last month by an assailant shouting, “Allahu Akbar! I have killed the great Satan!”

There are fewer than 60 Catholic priests in all of Turkey, and yet Bishop Luigi Padovese was the fifth of them to be shot or stabbed in the last four years, starting with the murder of Fr. Andrea Santoro in 2006, also by an assailant shouting, “Allahu Akbar!” (An Armenian journalist and three Protestants working at a Christian publishing house — one of them German, the other two Turkish converts — were also killed during this period.) the rest

Radical Islam in Macedonia worries Western observers

Somali Islamists execute Christian convert

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Devotional: I have an unquenchable desire...

I have an unquenchable desire to slow down and find my life going deeper in my walk with Christ. I want to meet him in the depths of my soul, away from the stress and press of everything on top. A relationship with Christ is the key to fulfilling our deepest longings. All of life is about filling the void that sin and separation from him have created within. Filling the emptiness with piles of things, earthly friendships, satisfying experiences, and sensual encounters ultimately proves to achieve less than what we had hoped for. Christ is the only one who fits.
...Joseph M. Stowell image by Kevin Collins

U.S. Judge Rules Federal Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

July 08, 2010
Associated Press

The federal law banning gay marriage is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define the institution and therefore denies married gay couples some federal benefits, a federal judge ruled Thursday in Boston.

U.S. District Judge Joseph ruled in favor of gay couples' rights in two separate challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, a 1996 law that the Obama administration has argued for repealing. The rulings apply to Massachusetts but could have broader implications if they're upheld on appeal. the rest

Presbyterian leaders approve gay clergy policy

By PATRICK CONDON (AP)
posted July 8, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS — Presbyterian leaders voted Thursday to allow non-celibate gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy, approving the first of two policy changes that could make their church one of the most gay-friendly major Christian denominations in the U.S.

But the vote isn't a final stamp of approval for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or its more than 2 million members.

Delegates voted during the church's general assembly in Minneapolis, with 53 percent approving the more liberal policy on gay clergy. A separate vote is expected later Thursday on whether to change the church's definition of marriage from between "a man and a woman" to between "two people."

Under current church policy, Presbyterians are only eligible to become clergy, deacons or elders if they are married or celibate. The new policy would strike references to sexuality altogether in favor of candidates committed to "joyful submission to worship of Christ." the rest

PCUSA General Assembly Votes To Drop Ban On Noncelibate Gay and Lesbian Ministers

The Ministries of Truth Weigh In

July 7, 2010
by Victor Davis Hanson

The Hope and Change Edicts

What are we to make of our current NASA chief, the distinguished retired Marine Corps major general and astronaut, Charles Bolden, who, in an interview with al Jazeera, listed a “foremost” NASA objective as finding “a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”?

All of this, Bolden adds, expands the Obama “Cairo initiative,” those lofty revisionisms that the president offered to the Muslim world last summer in Cairo.

Surely, there is some mistake? Did a right-wing satirist hijack the transcript and insert “to help them feel good”? the rest

“We are the moment we’ve been waiting for” means that federal officials no longer worry about their tasks within their job description, but, in varying degrees and according to their station, must chant along in a holistic revolutionary process, one that sees traditional American strength as weakness, and sympathizes with those abroad who feel wronged by America. At home, the government is now on occasion one with those who break federal law for revolutionary purposes, against those who have capital and have found success. The law becomes malleable while the rhetoric reflects the higher calling of social justice.
Excellent comment #9-below
Dr. Hanson:

As always, well done and thorough. Perhaps I can add just a bit around the margins.

Suppose a hostile power was determined (and many are)–short of outright, open warfare–to destroy the United States, to completely discredit capitalism and democracy and to turn Americans into simpering, helpless, state-dependent drones who care only about immediate pleasures and the all knowing state that provides them. How would they proceed differently than Barack Obama and his merrily marxist acolytes?

What we’re seeing is neophytes at work, not amateurs, but neophytes. Many don’t understand the distinction, but an important distinction it is. Neophytes are beginners, those without the experience, knowledge and specific skills necessary to accomplish the job. Amateurs do what they do because they love doing it. They may have few skills and little experience, or they may also be highly skilled, professional even, but because they do not derive their living from their efforts, they are not professionals. Neophytes are always beginners, beginners because they know little or nothing and can do little or nothing.

Those who have lived awhile, and who were willing to do a bit of research and/or pay attention during the campaign quickly learned that Barack Obama was neophyte at everything he ever did. He reached adulthood without achieving even amateur status in any endeavor. Oh yes, he was a community organizer, but even he admitted in one of his two (?!) autobiographies that he could not explain to his close friends what a community organizer was or did. He awoke each morning and went to work–where, exactly? He was paid by–whom, exactly? He produced–what, exactly? His turn as manager of the Chicago Annenberg challenge was an abject failure and wasted tens of millions of dollars, even according to the very, very liberal Annenberg foundation. Despite being trained as an attorney (and no one seems to know or be able to discover just how that came about or was funded–as I understand it, graduate credit at Harvard is a bit pricey), he apparently never practiced law, opting instead to be a community organizer, organizing who–or what–exactly? No one seems to know and Obama isn’t talking. Consider what your average white person (to use Obama’s own commentary about his grandmother) thinks, quite reasonably, of an adult who has obtained no useful knowledge or skills.

He was an Illinois state legislator with no legislative record apart from repeatedly voting the equivalent of “I’m not really voting.” On the strength of his non-performance as an Illinois Senator, he became a US Senator and compiled essentially the same legislative record, and on the the strength of his non-accomplishments in the US Senate, became POTUS. His arrival in the Oval Office was truly historic, for on the day he arrived, he became, to my knowledge (please correct me if I’m wrong, Dr. Hanson), the only man to hold that office who was a complete neophyte, in the denotative and connotative senses of the word. He was a man who had accomplished nothing in his life apart from being elected three times. He has at least some credentials, but has apparently never applied them. In winning the presidency, he’s like the wildly barking dog who finally caught the car, but has no idea what to do beyond continue barking.

So what’s the point? Barack Obama has “worked” only two jobs, both nebulous, both producing nothing, both requiring only one extremely narrow skill set. His entire life, only two things have been required of him, the charisma of the con man/hustler, and closely related, a certain way with rhetoric. Combine this with the fervor of the statist/socialist/communist true believer, and a debilitating, destructive narcissism of a kind seldom seen outside the lesser mental institutions, and people like Mr. Bolden are not at all surprising.

Obama knows only the hustle and rhetoric about hope and change, reaching out, building bridges and every other liberal cliche’ extant. With that skill set, he is fit to be a community organizer and to campaign for public office. He is fit because everything relating to those endeavors is temporary, here today, gone after the election. Promises made are forgotten, commitments misplaced, alliances dropped, and it doesn’t matter…unless you win. And he did and he knows only what he knew as a community organizer, so he surrounds himself with the kinds of people a hustler knows and needs, the kinds of fellow hustlers and con men with whom he feels comfortable. And most of them know only what he knows, despite having some superficially impressive qualifications. He is a man who is undisciplined (he’s never held a solid job, never discharged substantial responsibilities), focused entirely on himself (hustlers survive only on charisma and rhetoric), has never developed the habits and skills of patience and perseverance and has a very short temper and very short attention span. Combine this with no apparent knowledge of history, economics, management, government, human nature, theology, you name it, and we end up with the kinds of true believers and fools surrounding the neophyte in chief.

And so Obama, in those moments when he can focus his ever wandering and transitory attention, governs as a community organizer, a neophyte with no skills, no abilities and no experience (no, charisma and rhetoric don’t count–they don’t stop or clean up oil spills or face down despots determined to kill us). And because of his narcissism and towering arrogance, he hires only those who, if not smaller than himself, will at least never challenge him. Remember his aids, shortly after his inauguration, complaining that Obama didn’t understand how stressful the job would be? Indeed. This is not a man who is capable of recognizing what he doesn’t know, to say nothing about taking the steps necessary to educate himself, to grow, as they say, in office. And so, he continues to hustle and to organize, to do what he knows, and to use the stirring, uplifting, but ephemeral rhetoric of the hustler/organizer. And thus does NASA strive to make Muslims feel warm and fuzzy about the basic scientific accomplishments of ancestors of millennia past. Thus would NASA partner with peoples and nations whose are so bereft of scientific/technical knowledge and ability that they cannot so much as design and manufacture a toaster. But hey, it’s outreach. It’s building bridges. It’s embracing diversity and multiculturalism.

And in the meantime, the real world, the world of professionals, of responsible, capable adults, flows inexorably past America, taking with it our wealth, our security, our sovereignty, our national identity, our freedoms, and perhaps, our lives. But one day, we may succeed in putting a jihadist on Mars. Now that would be community organizing outreach, historic, even.

A question of jurisdiction

Anglican Mainstream
July 8th, 2010
Chris Sugden

In this debate we need to keep in mind that we are looking at providing for the Church of England in 50 years time, not just in five years time.

Many orthodox evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics are agreed that there must be transferred jurisdiction to alternative bishops, which includes ordination, appointment and licensing. It is not clear whether these are included in the Archbishops’ proposals.

The difficulty in the way of securing this without creating two classes of bishops, in that people could appeal against the jurisdiction of a woman bishop, is the tradition of mono-episcopacy.

This is the irreducible minimum to which the Revision Committee have hung on. Yet it gives rise to the oddity that an innovation (women bishops) is resulting in objectors being excluded because of appeal to a tradition (mono- episcopacy). This theologically threadbare understanding of sole jurisdiction has no biblical or theological warrant that I have seen deployed in these discussions. This tradition is an accretion to the church – arguably through exercise of male power. A male pattern of ministry was developed over centuries without asking what pattern of ministry women should exercise in different situations. the rest

Credit Card Hackers Visit Hotels All Too Often

Tuesday July 6, 2010

HERE’S something that the struggling hotel sector prefers not to spotlight: it is a favorite target of hackers.

A study released this year by SpiderLabs, a part of the data-security consulting company Trustwave, found that 38 percent of the credit card hacking cases last year involved the hotel industry. The sector was well ahead of the financial services industry (19 percent), retailing (14.2 percent), and restaurants and bars (13 percent).

Why hotels? Well, to paraphrase the bank robber Willie Sutton, hackers hit hotels because that is where the richest vein of personal credit card data is. At hotels with inadequate data security, “the greatest amount of credit card information can be obtained using the most simplified methods,” said Anthony C. Roman, a private security investigator with extensive experience in the hotel industry. the rest

Albert Mohler: Why Are Parents So Unhappy? And Who Would Settle for Happiness, Anyway?

Christians must see children as gifts from God, not as projects, understanding family life as a crucible for holiness, not an experiment in happiness.
Thursday, July 8, 2010

For those interested in the fate of our culture, New York Magazine is an indispensable barometer. This single magazine, perhaps more than any other periodical, offers feature articles that catch the cultural conversation. Granted, that cultural conversation is largely Manhattan-centric and geared to the highly educated and economically secure classes. But, since those are the very people who tend to direct the cultural conversation, what interests them will almost surely soon interest the rest of the nation.

This week, the issue is children and happiness. Not the happiness of children, but the debate over whether having children makes for parental happiness. Looking first to the sociological and psychological data, the picture looks bleak. According to the current scholarly consensus, parents are more likely to be depressed than non-parents, and parents report themselves as less happy as well. the rest image by Jonny Hunter

The Radical Religion of Abortion

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Elizabeth Scalia

We hear a lot, particularly from the “new” atheists and their supporters, about the danger of religion, which–we are told–too often encourages a murderous fundamentalism. Such “tolerant” great thinkers as Rosie O’ Donnell have suggested that “radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam.”

I am inclined to think that radical anything, by its very narrowness, must give one pause and that zealotry can too often stumble into something unthinking, and therefore open to carelessness and exploitation, so both deserve a measure of reserve–a raised eyebrow of alert distrust, if you will–from the non-radical rest of society. the rest

A.S. Haley: ECUSA Defies Texas Courts

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The arrogance and hubris that characterize ECUSA's legal strategy are nowhere on better view right now than in the courts of Texas, where there are two lawsuits pending in which it is involved -- one in Hood County, and one in Tarrant County. ECUSA has lost key battles in both of them, but is acting as though those losses never happened.

In the case in the District Court of Hood County, the dispute is over the proceeds from a trust established in 2002 by Cynthia Brants for the benefit of "St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, or its successor, of Fort Worth." In 2008, St. Andrew's was one of the parishes that voted with the majority of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to withdraw from its affiliation with ECUSA to align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. After ECUSA's Presiding Bishop pronounced that she had accepted the "voluntary renunciation of his orders" by Bishop Jack L. Iker, she called an illegal "special convention" to install Bishop Gulick as his replacement. Thus installed -- in open defiance of all applicable canons and constitutional provisions of both ECUSA and the Diocese -- Bishop Gulick proceeded to inhibit all the clergy who, he asserted, had "abandoned the communion of this Church" to realign with the Southern Cone.

As an aside, the canon lawyer in me cannot refrain from pointing out two essential contradictions at the heart of these inhibitions. First, the canon involved (Canon IV.10) expressly provides that "abandonment" consists in "a formal admission into any religious body not in communion with this Church . . .", and as far as General Convention is concerned, it is still in communion with the Province of the Southern Cone (at least, it has never enacted a resolution saying that it is no longer in communion with that Province). Hence, point one: by realigning with the Southern Cone, the language of the Canon ought to have protected the priests from being charged with abandonment of communion. the rest

U.S. Plans Cyber Shield for Utilities, Companies

JULY 6, 2010
By SIOBHAN GORMAN

The federal government is launching an expansive program dubbed "Perfect Citizen" to detect cyber assaults on private companies and government agencies running such critical infrastructure as the electricity grid and nuclear-power plants, according to people familiar with the program.

The surveillance by the National Security Agency, the government's chief eavesdropping agency, would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending cyber attack, though it wouldn't persistently monitor the whole system, these people said.
the rest image
Some industry and government officials familiar with the program see Perfect Citizen as an intrusion by the NSA into domestic affairs, while others say it is an important program to combat an emerging security threat that only the NSA is equipped to provide.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Sign Here

By MARY PILON
July 3, 2010

New Yorkers Laura Jackson and Gary Zaremba met on a dating website in 2005. Two years later, Mr. Zaremba, a 52-year-old real-estate developer, popped the question. Ms. Jackson accepted.

Then he popped another: "Will you sign a prenuptial agreement?"

He had been through a divorce, had a college-age son and several real-estate investments. She, a publicist and also 52, had never married.

"When he first mentioned it," Ms. Jackson, now Ms. Jackson-Zaremba, says, "I thought, 'Oh, my God.' It definitely took a little bit of the romance out."

Baby boomers looking to protect their assets are increasingly turning to prenuptial agreements—legal contracts drawn up before a marriage that dictate what happens to assets in the event a couple should part ways, either by divorce or death. the rest image

Poland’s New President Opposed by Pro-Life Leaders

Wednesday July 7, 2010
By Patrick B. Craine
WARSAW, Poland

(LifeSiteNews.com) - Pro-life leaders in Poland are dismayed over the outcome of the country’s presidential election on Sunday. The Polish people elected liberal Bronislaw Komorowski to fill the spot left open after the late president Lech Kaczynski perished April 10th in a mysterious plane crash on Russian soil

Komorowski, 58, defeated Jaroslaw Kaczynski, 61, the late president’s identical twin, garnering 53% of the vote to Kaczynski’s 47%. Pro-life candidate Marek Jurek got only 1% of the vote and did not proceed to the second round.

Komorowski’s win gives the Civic Platform party full control of the government with party ally Donald Tusk already serving as Prime Minister. Conservative commentators have warned that this situation could endanger the nation’s sovereignty, as the party is more favorable to foreign influence and cooperation with the European Union. the rest

Sweden: New Education Law Makes Homeschooling Illegal

July 7, 2010

The new 1,500-page Swedish education law passed as expected on June 22, 2010. Introduced into parliament last year, the law creates a sweeping reform of the Scandinavian country’s decades-old education system, last changed in 1985. The new, comprehensive law devotes two pages to home education.

The previous education law placed the following regulations on homeschoolers: instruction provided in the home must be a “fully satisfactory alternative” and officials are authorized to inspect homeschools. Over the past several years, Swedish homeschoolers have encountered enough trouble under these requirements, as officials often deny applications to homeschool and place punitive fines upon homeschool families. The new law keeps these regulations but also includes a third—and highly restrictive—requirement: In order to homeschool, there must be “exceptional circumstances.” The “exceptional circumstances” clause effectively means that families who apply to homeschool in Sweden will receive a definite “no,” no matter what the circumstances. the rest

N Korean Christian tortured to death for having Bibles at home

Son Jung-hun, a younger brother of the victim, tells the story of the victim, who fled to China and then went home after he converted to Christianity.
07/07/2010
NORTH KOREA

Seoul (AsiaNews) – A North Korean Evangelical Christian was tortured and then killed in a Pyongyang’s prison. The victim’s brother pieced the story together and made it public. In a long interview, he slams the North Korean regime, calling it “hypocritical”, trying to be above any law, be it man-made or divine. Son Jung-hun, who now lives in South Korea, became a devout Christian after his brother Son Jong-nam was sentenced to death by the world’s last Stalinist regime.

Son Jong-nam was 50 when he died. Born in Pyongyang on 11 March 1958, he spent ten years in the presidential security service, discharged as a master sergeant in 1983. As a soldier, he had dedicated his life to fighting the “American imperialists”, but in 1997, his eight-month pregnant wife was arrested for allegedly saying Kim Jong-il had ruined the economy and caused mass famine. Usually, this is enough to get someone executed. the rest

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Devotional: So sweet are the comforts of the Lord...

Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. Isaiah 49:13

So sweet are the comforts of the Lord, that not only the saints themselves may sing of them, but even the heavens and the earth may take up the song. It takes something to make a mountain sing; and yet the prophet summons quite a choir of them. Lebanon, and Sirion, and the high hills of Bashan and Moab, He would set them all singing because of Jehovah's grace to His own Zion. May we not also make mountains of difficulty, and trial, and mystery, and labor become occasions for praise unto our God? "Break forth into singing, O mountains!"

This word of promise, that our God will have mercy upon His afflicted, has a whole peal of bells connected with it. Hear their music—"Sing!" "Be joyful!" "Break forth into singing." The Lord would have His people happy because of His unfailing love. He would not have us sad and doubtful; He claims from us the worship of believing hearts. He cannot fail us: why should we sigh or sulk as if He would do so? Oh, for a well-tuned harp! Oh, for voices like those of the cherubim before the throne! ...CH Spurgeon

image by dino olivieri

Gallup: Obama approval among independents down to 38%

July 7, 2010
by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama won the Presidency by convincing independents to break away from the GOP and from John McCain, promising them a new, post-partisan, centrist direction and agenda. Even after passing Porkulus by locking Republicans out of the process and pushing ObamaCare last spring, Gallup’s survey a year ago showed Obama still holding 56% of independents. Now that number has sunk to 38%, while his rolling 3-day Gallup average job approval drops to 44% (via Andrew Malcolm):

Thirty-eight percent of independents approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president, the first time independent approval of Obama has dropped below 40% in a Gallup Daily tracking weekly aggregate. Meanwhile, Obama maintains the support of 81% of Democrats, and his job approval among Republicans remains low, at 12%. …

Over the past year, Obama has lost support among all party groups, though the decline has been steeper among independents than among Republicans or Democrats. Today’s 38% approval rating among independents is 18 percentage points lower than the 56% found July 6-12, 2009. During the same period, his support has fallen nine points among Democrats (from 90% to 81%) and eight points among Republicans (from 20% to 12%). the rest

Bobby Jindal Signs Landmark Abortion Reforms into Louisiana Law

Wednesday July 7, 2010
By Peter J. Smith
BATON ROUGE

(LifeSiteNews.com) – Gov. Bobby Jindal signed three landmark abortion bills on Tuesday that significantly tighten the state’s regulations on abortionists and their practices, and opt out the state from the national health care reform’s abortion mandates.

Jindal signed two bills that were introduced and shepherded through the legislature by the Louisiana Right to Life Federation (LARTL). The Ultrasound before Abortion Act (SB 528) adds strict ultrasound requirements to the state’s informed consent laws. The law requires abortionists to perform an ultrasound on a woman at least two hours before she undergoes the induced abortion of her child, and before she is put under any kind of anesthesia...

...The other bill, the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out (HB 1247), prohibits health insurers from providing abortion coverage within the state-run health insurance exchange that will go into operation in 2014, as mandated by the national health care reform. A provision of the national law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, gives states the explicit right to ban health insurance companies receiving public subsidies under the state health exchange from providing abortion coverage. the rest

A Sexual Education

Jul 7, 2010
Joe Carter

Unless the middle school in Shenandoah, Iowa, is training junior gynecologists, it is unclear why its eighth-graders need to be taught how to perform female exams and to put a condom on a 3-D, anatomically correct male sex organ.

The representative from Planned Parenthood, which provided the instruction, justified the curriculum by saying, “All information we use is medically accurate and science based.” For them, sexual education can be denuded of all moral content as long as research studies and reams of statistics back up their claims.

The advocates of “comprehensive sex education” want teenagers to “just wear a condom.” Planned Parenthood’s amoral appeal to “science” shows why that fails: medically accurate and science-based information doesn’t give children any idea how to use that information, while it makes them think they can do what they want if only they practice the “safe sex” techniques they’ve been taught. But I don’t think the abstinence advocates’ “Just say no” is always an improvement.

Both types of programs are equally flawed and flawed in the same way. Each indoctrinates the children in a particular viewpoint and tries to inoculate them against the negative results of sexual behavior. Neither school of sex educators is primarily concerned with providing an education. the rest
For a program to be truly educational, it must teach critical moral reasoning—an element curiously missing from both approaches. Before they learn the best techniques for conducing pap smears and putting on condoms, children must be taught teleology, values clarification, and information acquisition. A program must not impose views implicitly through slogans, no matter how good the advice the slogans provide.

Is the Christian Legal Society's Loss a Loss for Everyone?

What the Supreme Court's verdict means for campus ministries.
Alec Hill, president of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
7/07/2010

On June 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court—in a bitterly divided 5–4 vote—upheld a public university's right to enforce an "all-comers" antidiscrimination policy against a student group affiliated with the Christian Legal Society (CLS).

As president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA—and as a former professor of law—I have concerns about how this decision may impact our 860 chapters and other campus ministries.

1. Legal Impact
Narrowly construed, the court upheld Hastings Law School's right to require all recognized student organizations to abide by its "all-comers" antidiscrimination policy. This unusual policy mandates that all school-approved groups "allow any student to participate, become a member, or seek leadership positions in the organization, regardless of [her] status or beliefs."

To date, I am aware of only one other public university—a regional school in Maine—that has a similar policy. On its face, the policy seems logically inconsistent and impossible to enforce. Will Democratic student clubs really accept Republicans as leaders? Will Hillel, a national Jewish campus group, embrace Muslim students as voting members? Will Sierra Club chapters follow student leaders who deny global warming?

It is difficult to imagine a large university like Ohio State adopting an "all-comers" policy. Student groups representing affinity groups such as sororities, Latinos, atheists, or the LGBT community would be required to admit anyone and everyone into their inner circles. Sororities, for example, would have to admit male students. The result would be chaotic. the rest

Hawaii Gov. Rejects Same-Sex Civil Unions Bill

Wed, Jul. 07 2010
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have legalized same-sex civil unions.

"The subject of this legislation has touched the hearts and minds of our citizens as no other social issue of our day," she said as she announced her decision. "After months of listening to Hawaii citizens, ... their deeply held beliefs and heartfelt reasons ... I have made the decision to veto House Bill 444."

The bill would have granted same-sex couples the same rights and benefits that the state provides to married couples. Just as conservative family groups have argued, Lingle felt it was essentially same-sex marriage by another name.

During her nearly eight years in office, Lingle said there has never been an issue or piece of legislation that she has contemplated more on than the institution of marriage. the rest

Dean Jeffrey John, leading gay cleric, rejected as next Bishop of Southwark

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones
July 7th, 2010

I can reveal that Dr Jeffrey John, the openly gay but celibate Dean of St Albans, has been blocked from becoming a bishop once again. He has not been chosen as the next Bishop of Southwark. Liberals will be dismayed that the Church has lost its nerve – but there is no reason for evangelicals to celebrate, either. This is bad news whichever way you look at it:

1) The Church has missed an opportunity to show that it is inclusive of homosexuals.

2) Jeffrey John has gained a reputation as a gifted preacher and effective pastor at St Albans cathedral and would have been a popular bishop.

3) It indicates that the Crown Nominations Commission is afraid of appointing any bishops who might bring a bit of colour.

4) A dignified and talented cleric has been embarrassed again.

5) The row over homosexual clergy could have been brought to a head, but will now fester until a gay priest is finally made a bishop. the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

Comments at MCJ

India: Muslims sever hand of Christian accused of 'blasphemy'

The victim is a college professor who "insulted Muhammad" in an exam questionnaire. Islamic extremism is growing in Kerala: many schools face pressures on the use of the hijab.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
By Asia News

A group of unknown assailants severed the hand and the right arm of a university professor accused of defaming Mohammed months ago. The execution took place yesterday morning in Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam district (Kerala). Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians condemns this "barbaric act" and recalls that "Sharia is not the law of India."

According to the police, Prof. TJ Joseph, was returning with his family from Sunday service when a group of people in a Maruti Omni van drew up beside him stopping him close to home. After forcing Joseph to get out of his car, they attacked him with knives and swords, then cut off his hand and right arm throwing them away after about 200 meters. the rest

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Planned Parenthood Defrauded Taxpayers of Millions Claims Reinstated Lawsuit

Monday July 5, 2010
By James Tillman
SAN FRANCISCO, CA

(LifeSiteNews.com) -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is reinstating Gonzalez v. Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, a case alleging that Planned Parenthood defrauded taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars by overbilling government programs for birth-control pills and similar items.

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), whose attorneys are handling the case, said that although "this case is by no means over, winning this appeal means we have gotten the federal claim over the threshold hurdles and can now get down to the heart of this case: the alleged fraud.”

Victor Gonzalez, a former Chief Financial Officer for Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles (PPLA), had filed his suit on December 19, 2005, shortly after he was fired allegedly for voicing concerns about PP's illegal accounting practices. the rest

The General Synod of the Church of England: A brief introduction to the issues

By Tom Mendelsohn
Notebook
Monday, 5 July 2010

The latest – and, arguably, the most important – meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod will start this Friday in York.

I may be speaking too soon on this one, considering the Synod’s history of prevarication and issue-dodging, but it’s looking likely that fireworks are on the agenda – this is one of the more eagerly (or bitterly, depending on your point of view) awaited sessions of recent times.

There is plenty of meat on the agenda, but the biggest issue at stake surely has to be the consecration of women bishops, one of the most divisive subjects ever to face the Anglican Communion, and one that could ultimately end in schism.

The General Synod of the Church of England meets three times a year, and issues such as this are discussed without fail during each session, but the reason this particular meeting is quite so important is that draft legislation on women bishops – the actual words that will inform Church practice – is due to be debated in its final form for the first time. The hope is that the wording will be agreed by vote, and that the new legislation can then enter the revision stage – the final stage before it is formally referred to the dioceses. the rest

Meeting on appointment of gay bishop will determine future of the Church
It is exactly seven years since Dr Rowan Williams secretly called Jeffrey John to Lambeth Palace and forced the homosexual cleric to stand down from becoming Bishop of Reading.

Presbyterians to consider redefining marriage

Associated Press
7/6/2010

MINNEAPOLIS- This week's General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will consider redefining marriage to include same-sex couples and allowing ministers to perform same-sex weddings.

Carmen Fowler, president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, believes those sorts of initiatives are to blame for the denomination's declining membership.

Her group supports upholding the church's traditional definition of marriage.

The PCUSA's newly-elected moderator, Cynthia Bolbach, supports gay marriage but told the assembly on Saturday that the denomination has become paralyzed. the rest

Obama’s new mission for NASA: Reach out to Muslim world

By Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
07/05/10

In a far-reaching restatement of goals for the nation’s space agency, NASA administrator Charles Bolden says President Obama has ordered him to pursue three new objectives: to “re-inspire children” to study science and math, to “expand our international relationships,” and to “reach out to the Muslim world.” Of those three goals, Bolden said in a recent interview with al-Jazeera, the mission to reach out to Muslims is “perhaps foremost,” because it will help Islamic nations “feel good” about their scientific accomplishments.

In the same interview, Bolden also said the United States, which first sent men to the moon in 1969, is no longer capable of reaching beyond low earth orbit without help from other nations.

Bolden made the statements during a recent trip to the Middle East. He told al-Jazeera that in the wake of the president’s speech in Cairo last year, the American space agency is now pursuing “a new beginning of the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world.” the rest

Indonesian Muslims arm for religious war

Paramilitary groups formed to combat 'Christianization,' conversion
July 05, 2010
by Michael Carl

Muslim mobs in the Jakarta suburb of Bekasi are forming small militia bands to stop what they say is the Christianization of this town a few miles east of Jakarta, Indonesia's capital city.

The actions come in response to Christians privately baptizing about a half-dozen Muslim converts to Christianity.

International Christian Concern's Southeast Asian area specialist Logan Maurer reports the "call to arms" is the result of a recent convention. the rest

Musical Kludge Is Beautiful



From the "There, I Fixed It" Website

Stem cells from blood a 'huge' milestone

Advance may prove easier, cheaper and faster than other harvesting methods
By Laura Sanders
Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Blood drawn with a simple needle stick can be coaxed into producing stem cells that may have the ability to form any type of tissue in the body, three independent papers report in the July 2 Cell Stem Cell. The new technique will allow scientists to tap a large, readily available source of personalized stem cells.

Because taking blood is safe, fast and efficient compared to current stem cell harvesting methods, some of which include biopsies and pretreatments with drugs, researchers hope that blood-derived stem cells could one day be used to study and treat diseases — though major safety hurdles remain.

The findings “represent a huge and important progression in the field,” stem cell biologist Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan and the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco, Calif., writes in a commentary appearing in the same issue of the journal. the rest

Monday, July 05, 2010

Devotional: Sometimes when darkness falls...

Sometimes when darkness falls, and every light's gone out,
I wonder to what port my frail ship goes;
Although the night be long, and restless all my hours,
My distant goal, I'm sure, my Pilot knows.
...Thomas Curtis Clark
image by mark goble

Controversy Surrounds Construction of Mosques Across U.S.

By Lauren Green
July 02, 2010
FoxNews.com

They're separated by thousands of miles, but they share a common controversy: Mosques. Murfreesboro, Tenn., has joined a growing list of midsized towns in the U.S. that are embroiled in conflicts over proposed mosques being built or bought in their neighborhoods.

Including Murfreesboro, residents have risen up against mosques in two other Tennessee towns; in Staten Island, N.Y.; Sheboygan County, Wis.; and the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn, as well as the proposed mosque and Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero, which has garnered some of the most heated battles.

A new Quinnipiac Poll shows that well over half of New Yorkers – 52 percent oppose building a mosque near the 9/11 site. Only 31 percent support it. the rest

Britain seeks show of restraint during pope visit

By Avril Ormsby
Mon Jul 5, 2010

LONDON (Reuters) - Campaigners planning to stage demonstrations during Pope Benedict's visit to Britain should show restraint, the prime minister's special representative for the papal visit, Chris Patten, said on Monday.

Various protests are expected during the first papal state visit to the country in September, including by secularists, gay rights groups and those angry at the child-abuse scandal which has spread throughout the Roman Catholic church globally.

But Patten, a former Conservative minister and governor of Hong Kong, who was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron to help coordinate the four-day visit, said demonstrators should be free to express their opinions, but should not fall into the trap of intolerance.

"I hope that (the protests) will be done with restraint, and that it will be done with a show of tolerance," he told Reuters.

"It would be an extraordinary irony if those who polemicise past intolerance by churches are to become themselves the proponents of intolerance towards churches." the rest

Derided no more, suburban life is turning serious

Jul 5, 2010
By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER
Associated Press Writer

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) -- The numbingly similar tract homes, endless strip malls and multiple minivans filled with youth soccer players indelibly mark this former Indian mission territory as a Kansas City suburb.

Look deeper, and a more nuanced portrait of Johnson County, Kansas emerges: an economic powerhouse that has eclipsed its big-city neighbor in political influence. An educated community with a vibrant arts scene. And a cultural melting pot where Brazilian grocers and Vietnamese nail salons blend in with the Walmarts and Burger Kings.

Suburban America has been the butt of jokes and stereotypes for decades. The portrayal persists in Hollywood, which continues to zing the 'burbs with over-the-top tales of conniving, desperate housewives and wayward soccer moms in bed with Mexican drug lords.

Enough, say the Johnson County civic leaders planning a National Museum of Suburban History. Their contention: With more than 50 percent of the country living in places like Shawnee, it's past time to take the suburbs seriously. the rest Image by austrini

Christian Legal Society v. Martinez - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

June 30, 2010
Richard A. Epstein

On June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. The question in this case was whether a public university's law school may deny funding and other benefits to a religious student organization because the organization refuses to abide by a non-discrimination policy that would prevent it from requiring its officers and voting members to agree with its core beliefs, including beliefs concerning homosexual conduct.

In a 5-4 opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court held that the petitioner, the Hastings Christian Legal Society chapter, was bound by its stipulation that Hastings’ policy required student organizations to admit all comers in order to participate in the Registered Student Organization program. The Court further ruled that this policy was a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral condition on access to a limited public forum consistent with the First Amendment.

To discuss the case, we have University of Chicago and New York University Law School Professor Richard A. Epstein, who was Counsel of Record on a brief submitted by the Cato Institute in support of the petitioner. the rest

Audio

ACLU Presses Gov't to Ensure Faith-Based Hospitals Provide Emergency Abortions

Fri, Jul. 02 2010
By Lawrence D. Jones
Christian Post Reporter

The American Civil Liberties Union is pressing a federal health agency to ensure that religiously-affiliated hospitals provide emergency reproductive care as required by federal law.

"The lives and health of pregnant women seeking medical care should be of paramount importance," expressed Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, in a statement Thursday. "No woman should have to worry that she will not receive the care she needs based on the affiliation of the nearest hospital."

In a letter dated Thursday, the ACLU asked the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to investigate situations in which the lives and health of patients were jeopardized as a result of hospitals' adherence to religious doctrine, rather than medical ethics. the rest

Conservatives Are More Than Twice as Likely as Liberals to Be Strongly Patriotic, Says Gallup Poll

Sunday, July 04, 2010
By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief

(CNSNews.com) - Conservatives are more than twice as likely as liberals to express very strong patriotism, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll in which 48 percent of conservatives said they were “extremely patriotic,” but only 19 percent of liberals made that claim.

The poll asked respondents this question: “How patriotic are you? Would you say extremely patriotic, very patriotic, somewhat patriotic, or not especially patriotic?” The poll surveyed a random sample of 1,014 adults from June 11-13, and the margin of error was plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.

Overall, 72 percent of Americans said they were either extremely (32 percent) or very patriotic (42 percent), with another 19 percent saying they were somewhat patriotic. Only 6 percent said they were "not especially patriotic." the rest

Withholding Care from Vegetative Patients: Financial Savings and Social Costs

L. Syd M Johnson
07/02/2010

In a recent column in the Huffington Post, Jacob M. Appel argues for “rational rationing” of health care resources by withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment from patients in a permanent vegetative state. He considers the case of Ruben Betancourt, which will soon be decided by the New Jersey Superior Court in Betancourt v. Trinitas Regional Medical Hospital.

Mr. Betancourt was a patient at Trinitas Regional Medical Hospital in Elizabeth, N.J., where he had successful surgery for a malignant thymoma in January 2008. But Mr. Betancourt suffered oxygen deprivation, resulting in severe brain damage, after accidental extubation of his breathing tube following the surgery. He lapsed into unconsciousness and was subsequently moved to various health care facilities, including a nursing home, where he was sustained on a feeding tube and dialysis.

When Mr. Betancourt was readmitted to Trinitas in July 2008 with renal failure, doctors balked at providing dialysis, artificial nutrition and hydration, and artificial ventilation, claiming that the patient was in an irreversible vegetative state, was actively dying, and that further treatment was medically and ethically inappropriate and inhumane. The hospital sought to remove him from life support. Mr. Betancourt’s daughter objected, saying that she thought her father was aware and reacted to his family, and that he was responding to treatment. Although he left no advance directive, his family believed that he would have wanted treatment continued. A legal battle ensued between the family and the hospital.

Mr. Betancourt died in May 2009, but his legal case remains on appeal. The court’s decision could have important implications for legal debates about medical futility, patient autonomy, and questions about when and under what circumstances doctors and hospitals can refuse to provide life-sustaining care to patients. the rest
There are substantial social costs to declaring an entire class of patients “worthless.” Allowing health care providers, including institutions like acute care hospitals, to unilaterally decide, against the wishes of patients or their legal guardians, to withhold life-sustaining medical treatment invites abuse and diminishes transparency and due process.
The Euthanasia Drumbeat Gets Louder
Across the world, the inexorable push for accepting the new culture of death continues unabated

Planned Parenthood Uses Independence Day to Press for Military Base Abortions

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 5, 2010
Washington, DC

(LifeNews.com) -- Planned Parenthood used Independence Day as an occasion to press its agenda for the military: abortions at taxpayer-funded military base hospitals. In an action alert the abortion giant sent its members Planned Parenthood belittled the July 4th traditions to say they're not as important as abortions.

"This 4th of July, among the outdoor cookouts and fireworks displays, countless politicians and members of Congress will give speeches to honor the women and men serving in our nation's military. But speeches are one thing, and action is another," Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards wrote. the rest

Appointing gay bishop 'risks splitting Church'

Monday, 5 July 2010

A leading conservative Anglican has warned the Church of England could split if an openly gay man is appointed Bishop of Southwark.

Dr Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, is said to be among a number of clergy nominated for the post.

His supporters say Dr John is the right man for the job in a liberal diocese.

But traditionalist Canon Chris Sugden said his appointment would lose the allegiance of orthodox parishes and clergy. the rest

New row set to split Church of England as Cameron pledges support for openly gay cleric

My guess is that Jeffrey John will become the C of E's first openly gay bishop – with David Cameron's support -Damian Thompson

Urgent Call for Prayer from Anglican Mainstream
Reports in the press over the weekend indicate the urgent need for prayer with regard to the nomination of a new Bishop of Southwark. They follow earlier reports about the timing of the proposed changes to the Church of England’s discipline with regard to divorce being driven by the need to consider a particular candidate for Southwark. These reports are speculative but they remind us of the supreme importance of prayer over such appointments, and especially at the moment for the members of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) who choose the names to go forward to the Prime Minister and HM the Queen. It has been reported that the CNC is meeting today and tomorrow (5 and 6 July) to consider the Southwark nomination. Please pray, and encourage others to pray too, that the Holy Spirit will so control the meeting of the Commission that the person chosen is a godly person whose life and doctrine is fully in accord with the Church of England’s teaching and formularies, which means most of all in accord with the teaching of Holy Scripture. Pray also for the clergy and people of the Diocese of Southwark.

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry [2 Timothy 4:3-5, RSV]

And may the Lord have mercy on His church.