Friday, August 13, 2010

Episcopal Church Dominates Communion's Standing Committee

posted August 13, 2010

The Anglican Communion's Standing Committee met in London from July 23-27 for what proved to be a telling event. As the meeting progressed and information from sources inside and outside the meeting emerged, the dominance of biblical revisionists and Episcopal Church allies within the committee was made clearer and clearer.

Before the meeting began, the orthodox voice and witness on the committee had already been diminished by the resignations of the Bishop of Iran, Azad Marshall, and the Archbishop of West Africa, Justice Akrofi. These two resignations from the 14-member group only compounded the effect of the earlier resignations of Archbishops Henry Orombi (Uganda) in December, 2009 and Mouneer Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East) in February of this year. These resignations were not the only concerns going into this meeting.

At its last meeting in December of 2009, the Standing Committee violated its own constitution in electing a priest, the Rev. Canon Janet Trisk (South Africa), as a replacement for a lay representative to the committee.

The Anglican Communion Institute (ACI) and others openly asked whether or not the Standing Committee would rectify this violation of their canons by re-selecting a suitable lay representative. Also, it was not lost on the ACI that Canon Trisk at the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Jamaica in 2009 supported, along with TEC, leaving out the enforcement section of the proposed Anglican Covenant. the rest

The Anglican Ordinariate will happen; and it will be a blessing for the English Church

But don’t hold your breath: it will take years
By William Oddie
Friday, 13 August 2010

This is probably as good a time as any to assess progress towards the setting up, under the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, of an Anglican ordinariate here in England. Things seem to be moving faster elsewhere in the English-speaking world: The American Branch of the Traditional Anglican Communion has already formally requested the setting up of an ordinariate in the US: this will now proceed. But the TAC is already independent of Canterbury: they have already made the psychological break. Anglican Catholics within the Anglican Communion are still agonising. It seems sometimes, to those on the outside, that they have been agonising forever. Why don’t they just get on with it?

Well, it’s simple for us who are safe on the rock of Peter. I became a Catholic in 1991 (before women’s ordination; I used to joke that I came early to avoid the rush). Looking back, I often wonder what took me so long: like nearly every other ex-Anglican Roman Catholic I know, I have never once regretted “crossing the Tiber”. the rest

Truth stranger than fiction: Christian author can’t discuss book at Tenn. library

ADF attorneys file suit against Putnam County Library over meeting room policy forbidding use for ‘religious purposes’
Thursday, August 12, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Putnam County Library on behalf of an author whom officials denied access to a public meeting room for a discussion about a Christian book she wrote. Library officials told Ilene Vick that the meeting rooms could not be used for anything religious because library policy forbids it.

“Christians shouldn’t be excluded from reserving and using public meeting facilities because of their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum. “It’s incredibly ironic that discussing a book would be prohibited in a library. The government cannot discriminate against Christians just because of their religious viewpoint.”

Last September, Vick attempted to reserve a public meeting room at Putnam County Library to discuss her book, Personality-based Evangelism. Library officials rejected her request, citing their 2009 meeting room policy, which stated, “Rooms are not available for meetings of social, political, partisan, or religious purposes....” the rest

Somalia Expels World Vision & Other Christian Relief Agencies

August 11, 2010
by James M. Kushiner

According to a report I received yesterday, Somalia's "Office for Supervising the Affairs of Foreign Agencies (OSAFA) has reached this decision" to expel World Vision, Diakonia, and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency:

· The aforementioned organizations have been found to be actively propagating Christianity in this Muslim country.

· The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) was started by the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a way to follow Christ’s example.

· Diakonia is an organization founded in 1966 by five Swedish churches and the members of these congregations form Diakonia's support base. The primary goal of this organization is to spread the Christian faith.

· World Vision is a Christian organization motivated by what they call ‘their faith in Jesus Christ’ and dedicated to spreading the message of Christianity to the children, families, and the communities they work with. the rest

Tribunal disagrees with diaconal administration

AMS Staff
August 12th, 2010

An Anglican judicial panel has disagreed with Sydney’s Synod on the introduction of diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper.

The Diocese of Sydney Synod in 2008 overwhelmingly agreed there was no impediment to persons other than a presbyter administering Holy Communion.

The national church’s Appellate Tribunal - consisting of three bishops and four senior lawyers - has given an advisory opinion both on lay administration, which is not sanctioned in the Diocese of Sydney and on administration by deacons, which is practised.

Since the 2008 Synod resolution, some Sydney parishes have allowed deacons to administer the Lord Supper where a presbyter is not able to do so. the rest

No break in pace of Episcopal Church lawsuits

The Church of England Newspaper
August 9, 2010
George Conger

The summer months have seen no break in the Episcopal Church’s legal wars, with new lawsuits, appeals and victories for both sides in the litigation over parish and diocesan property.

On July 6, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin filed suit against the rector, vestry and parish of St Paul’s Anglican Church in Visalia, California. A congregation of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, St. Paul’s along with a majority of the diocese withdrew from the Episcopal Church in 2007 and affiliated with the Province of the Southern Cone.

The St Paul’s litigation joins a growing list of parish lawsuits funded by the national Episcopal Church and initiated by loyalist faction in San Joaquin. Suits against lay leaders and parish corporations are pending against St Francis Anglican Church in Turlock; St Michael’s Anglican Church in Ridgecrest; St John’s Anglican Church in Porterville, James Anglican Church in Sonora; Holy Redeemer Anglican Church in Delano; and St Columba’s Anglican Church in Fresno.

Canon lawyer Alan Halley noted the diocese appeared to have adopted a legal strategy of financial attrition. By adding the parish vestry and clergy as defendants in the lawsuits, the diocese was engaged in a “particularly nefarious attempt to force the defendants to waste money on the litigation.”

In California, each named defendant must pay an “appearance fee” of $355 to the court when a response is filed to a complaint, he noted. In the case of St Francis in Turlock, for the rector and ten members of the vestry to respond fully “will cost the parish of St. Francis a cool $3,905 in court filing fees, to say nothing of the legal fees that will be incurred.” the rest

A.S. Haley: The Via Media Movement: No Orthodoxy -- We're Episcopalian!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In February, after Bishop Mark Lawrence published the correspondence between his Chancellor and Mr. Thomas Tisdale, who called himself "South Carolina counsel for the Episcopal Church", I put up a post entitled "What in the World Is Going on in South Carolina?" I asked how it could be that the Presiding Bishop and her Chancellor had hired their own attorney to investigate Bishop Lawrence's actions, unless there were some kind of a move afoot to lay charges of "abandonment of Communion" against the good Bishop. Such a move, if taken before there was any action by the diocesan convention toward leaving the Church, would have eerie parallels to what the Presiding Bishop and her Chancellor had done in the case of then-Bishop Robert Duncan, of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Let it never be said that Episcopalians are ones to let a good title go to waste. For the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina, a group first organized in 2003 as a counterweight to reaction in the Diocese to the confirmation of the election of the Bishop of New Hampshire, soon announced a series of forums across the State in April and May of this year, entitled "What in the World Is Going on in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina"?

I began doing some delving into the pages at the Forum's website, and what I found sheds a little more light on what is really going on in the Diocese of South Carolina. Mark Lawrence may not have realized just what he walked into when he was elected a second time by the Diocese to succeed Bishop Edward L. Salmon, Jr. -- a second time, because the Presiding Bishop ruled that the consents by a few of the standing committees had not been "in order" following the first election. He was the only candidate on the second go-around, so it is obvious that a strong majority of the clergy and the laity in the Diocese were determined that he should be their bishop. However, the members of the Episcopal Forum were not as convinced as the majority. the rest

ACNA: Executive Committee Calls for Task Force on ‘Islam and Interfaith Engagement’

August 10-11, the Executive Committee called for the formation of a task force on “Islam and interfaith engagement” and approved introduction of a yearly congregational report.
August 12, 2010

Members of the Anglican Church in North America’s Executive Committee wrapped up two days of business sessions with a holy communion service in Ambridge, PA, on August 11.

During the meeting, the elected committee of 12 members (six clergy and six laity) that functions as a board of directors for the Anglican Church in North America, heard reports on the church’s mission, finances and organizational work, called for the formation of a task force on “Islam and interfaith engagement” and approved introduction of a yearly congregational report.

In calling for the creation of a task force on Islam and interfaith engagement, the Ven. Julian Dobbs, a member of the Executive Committee and archdeacon for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, said “we need to undertake a prayerful, sensitive and honest approach to the issues involved.” Bishop John Guernsey agreed. “The Archbishop didn’t get the applause for his call to engage Islam that he got for the call he gave to plant 1,000 churches, but I know God was in it as well,” he explained, referring to Archbishop Robert Duncan’s address at his service of institution in June, 2009. The Executive Committee unanimously endorsed the naming of the task force by Archbishop Duncan. The task force will report to the Executive Committee at future meetings. the rest

Poll: 7 in 10 Americans Oppose Ground Zero Mosque

Thu, Aug. 12 2010
By Lawrence D. Jones
Christian Post Reporter

A proposed “mega mosque” to be built near New York City’s Ground Zero has little support nationwide, suggests a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll.

According to the new survey, which came out Wednesday, nearly 70 percent of all Americans oppose the controversial plan to build the 15-story Cordoba House just two blocks from the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Just 29 percent, meanwhile, favor construction of the Muslim facility.

Broken down by party affiliation, 54 percent of Democrats said they oppose the plans for the Muslim-led project while 82 percent of Republicans said they disapprove. Meanwhile, 70 percent of independents said they are against the proposal. the rest

Court blocks Washington state from releasing traditional marriage supporters' names

Tacoma, Wash.
Aug 13, 2010

A court order on Wednesday blocked Washington state from releasing the names and addresses of individuals who signed a referendum petition to repeal a domestic partnership law. Supporters of the referendum praised the move, saying it would reduce the risk of threats and harassment targeting those who support traditional marriage.

Several groups opposed to the 2009 referendum had threatened to post the names of petition signers on the Internet in an effort to encourage “uncomfortable conversations” with petition signers, the law firm Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom reported.

Firm member James Bopp Jr. served as lead counsel for referendum backer Protect Marriage Washington. the rest

“Supporters of traditional marriage have received death threats and have had their personal property destroyed after standing up to protect the institution of marriage,” Bopp commented. “No one should have to endure the harassment that these individuals have endured in their personal and professional lives for standing up for what they believe in. I am confident that when the judge considers all of the evidence, copies of the petitions will not be released to the public.”

Dutch Arrest Woman for Committing Infanticide without Doctor Approval

Thursday August 12, 2010
By Peter J. Smith
NIJ BEETS, Netherlands

( – A woman has been arrested for killing her four newborn children and packing their remains away in suitcases in the Netherlands - a country where infanticide is legal as long a doctor administers the dose.

According to Radio Netherlands Worldwide, the unnamed 25-year-old woman was a well-known and liked dentist’s assistant in the rural town of Nij Beets, in the Dutch province of Friesland. She managed to keep the infanticides secret for years until her Wednesday arrest, and remains now in police custody.

Police were tipped off by a suspicious neighbor who noted that the woman kept getting visibly pregnant, but never had any children. After authorities found her story of putting up the children for adoption did not pan out, the woman confessed to the murders and showed them where the infants’ corpses lay: packed away in suitcases in her parents’ attic. the rest

Katharine Jefferts Schori, Embattled Episcopal Bishop, Seeks Allies Overseas

By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

(RNS) Contrary to what they say about Las Vegas, what happens in one branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion rarely stays there.

And no one knows this more than the former Episcopal bishop of Sin City, Katharine Jefferts Schori, who is now presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Jefferts Schori recently wrapped up a whirlwind tour of six Anglican provinces--all of them English-speaking--where she defended her church's acceptance of gay bishops and same-sex unions, and its commitment to maintaining ties with other provinces.

In June and July, Jefferts Schori traveled to Canada, Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand and Wales, addressing synods, preaching at cathedrals, sitting on panels, talking with parishioners, and meeting with powerful archbishops. the rest
At almost every stop, the presiding bishop's message was subtle but clear: her church's embrace of gays and lesbians is grounded in the gospel, and the Anglican Communion has always allowed local autonomy in its provinces.

Over 23 million Christians in China, official survey shows

by Francis Wong
Thursday, August 12, 2010

HONG KONG - Christians in China now number just over 23 million, according to the results of the communist country’s first official faith survey.

Although that figure amounts to only 1.8% of the total population, it represents 73 per cent of China’s religious population.

The figures were contained in the newly published Blue Book on China Religions, compiled by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, an academic unit under the control of the Chinese government, according to China Daily. the rest

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Devotional: God is going to test me with delays...

...but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

God is going to test me with delays; and with the delays will come suffering, but through it all stands God's pledge: His new covenant with me in Christ, and His inviolable promise of every lesser blessing that I need. The delay and the suffering are part of the promised blessing; let me praise Him for them today; and let me wait on the Lord and be of good courage and He will strengthen my heart. ...CG Trumbull image

Prop 8 stay ends next week, setting stage for California gay marriage

The Prop 8 stay imposed by US District Judge Vaughn Walker, who ruled last week that the California gay-marriage ban was unconstitutional, is set to expire Aug. 18, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California.
by Andrew Heining, Staff writer
August 12, 2010
Los Angeles

US District Judge Vaughn Walker refused Thursday to extend a stay – placed on his ruling that declared California’s gay-marriage ban unconstitutional – beyond next week.

The decision clears the way for same-sex marriages to begin again in California on Aug. 18, barring intervention from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Judge Walker did not immediately end the stay to give the appeals court time to weigh in on the matter.

While the judge’s decision was greeted with much enthusiasm by opponents of Proposition 8, the voter-approved gay-marriage ban, there was certainly some disappointment among the many unmarried same-sex couples who were lining up at court houses and clerks’ offices in anticipation of the stay being lifted Thursday afternoon. the rest

'Ground Zero' mosque faces another hurdle

Chad Groening

A Christian law firm is elated about a bombshell report revealing that the developers of the controversial "Ground Zero" mosque only own half of the site where the structure is supposed to be built.

The New York Post broke the story on Sunday that the proposed mosque site on Park Place actually comprises two buildings that were connected years ago when the common walls taken down in order to house a Burlington Coat Factory Store.

According to the report, one of the two buildings is actually owned by Con Edison and has been leased to the owner of the other building where the mosque is going to be housed. The Post reports that the public utility company is in the process of having their building appraised in order to sell it to Soho properties in order to move forward with the $100-million project.

Jordan Sekulow is director of international operations with the American Center for Law & Justice, a firm that opposes the mosque. He says thanks to the Post's exposé, the developers should have to go before the New York Public Services Commission before they can buy the property. the rest

Church of England: Women Bishops - What happens next?


The General Synod of the Church of England completed its revision stage of the legislation for Women Bishops in York on Monday, July 12th. The synod agreed to the following draft legislation:

There will be women bishops.

1. Current arrangements set up in 1993 for providing bishops for those who cannot accept the ministry of ordained women will be cancelled.

2. The House of Bishops will begin work on a Code of Practice on how to provide bishops for those who cannot accept women bishops.

3. The draft legislation will be sent to the 43 dioceses for their response.

4. Based on those responses, the legislation will be presented to the Synod in two years time for final approval when it will have to secure two-thirds majority in all three houses of bishops, clergy and laity.

Are there any problems? Yes.

The synod actually voted by a numerical majority, and by a majority in the House of Bishops and the House of Laity for a different arrangement-namely that proposed by the Archbishops that there would be statutory provision for "co-ordinate" bishops to look after those who cannot accept women bishops. This provision would have provided greater assurance by legal means to Anglo-Catholics and conservative evangelicals that they would have a secure place in the Church of England. the rest

Obama July Deficit of $167 Billion Tops Bush Deficit For Entire Year of 2007

by Jim Hoft
Wednesday, August 11

Worst. President. Ever.

The Obama Administration announced today that the July deficit totaled $165 billion…

That’s more than the Bush deficit for the entire year of 2007. Stats

Watchdog panel cites global impact of US bailout
The $700 billion U.S. bailout program launched in response to the global economic meltdown had a far greater impact overseas than other countries' financial rescue plans did on the U.S., according to a new report from a congressional watchdog.

Barack Obama to Host Ramadan Dinner at the White House

The stunning decline of Barack Obama: 10 key reasons why the Obama presidency is in meltdown
The last few weeks have been a nightmare for President Obama, in a summer of discontent in the United States which has deeply unsettled the ruling liberal elites, so much so that even the Left has begun to turn against the White House. While the anti-establishment Tea Party movement has gained significant ground and is now a rising and powerful political force to be reckoned with, many of the president’s own supporters as well as independents are rapidly losing faith in Barack Obama, with open warfare breaking out between the White House and the left-wing of the Democratic Party. While conservatism in America grows stronger by the day, the forces of liberalism are growing increasingly weaker and divided...

Newly Identified Corporate Supporters of Planned Parenthood Named

Wednesday August 11, 2010

( - Life Decisions International (LDI) has released a revised edition of The Boycott List identifying corporations that support of Planned Parenthood, the world's primary abortion-advocacy group.

"As a direct result of the commitment, action and prayers of pro-family people, at least 256 corporations have stopped funding Planned Parenthood," said Kenneth C. Garvey, LDI's Director of Communications. It is estimated that the boycott has cost Planned Parenthood more than $40 million since the Corporate Funding Project (CFP) began nearly 18 years ago.

"This should serve as a testament to those who thought it impossible to change corporate philanthropic behavior," he added.

New boycott targets include AOL, Darden Restaurants (Bahama Breeze, The Capital Grille, LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Season 52), Franchise Services (PIP, Signal Graphics, Sir Speedy), Hilton Worldwide (Conrad Hotels, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inns/Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Hotels, Homewood Suites), Ignite Restaurants (Brickhouse Tavern+Tap, Joe's Crab Shack), ING (financial services), Kohl's (department stores), Mrs. Fields (cookies), Staples (office/school supplies), Toys "R" Us, and Trader Joe's (markets/supermarkets). More...

Jackie Evancho, 10, amazes on 'America's Got Talent'


Why No One Under 30 Answers Your Voicemail

By Sam Ali
Aug 9, 2010

To understand the generational divide that exists between older and younger workers in today's workplace, consider the simple case of voicemail. Try leaving a Gen Y employee or colleague a voicemail message, and see what happens. They're not going to hear it. Gen Y members tune out practically any communication effort they perceive as unsolicited or spam.

"If you send a message on voicemail or send an e-mail, they are likely to ignore it," says Jeff Schwartz, U.S. and global talent leader at Deloitte, No. 25 in The 2010 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity®. "It's very frustrating to our leaders, most of whom are boomers [and] some of whom are Gen X'ers. When they broadcast voicemail messages, big swaths of their organization are not hearing it. They're not even listening to it and they're not even sure it's directed to them because they don't think about being communicated with in that way. CEOs or HR leaders or business leaders think they're sending a direct message, but that is not the most effective way to communicate across the generations." the rest

This is the first time in American history that four different generations are working side-by-side in the workplace, bringing their own values, goals and communication approaches to the workplace.

Choosing to deceive one's self about abortion

August 11, 2010
By Judie Brown

There is a growing body of evidence that, clinically, abortion has serious consequences. It is further becoming obvious that abortion has ingrained in the culture an attitude toward others that invites all manner of violence. Perhaps part of the reason for this is society's denial that abortion kills people.

The current issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a fascinating study regarding the various causes of premature birth. (link) Among those causes, Professor Jay D. Iams of Ohio State reports that "elective terminations [abortions] in the first and second trimesters are associated with a very small but apparently real increase in the risk of subsequent spontaneous preterm birt9link)h (PTB)."

The latest report is but one in a very long series of clinical studies that has shown that abortion can be the forerunner to premature birth as well as various types of disabilities (link) in children born subsequent to an abortion. This is critical information that should be available to all expectant mothers. It is factual evidence that should be provided without prejudice since every expectant mother has a right to know the truth. If at least some of those contemplating abortion were given all of the facts regarding the deleterious effects of abortion — not only on their bodies but on the bodies of the future preborn children they might wish to carry to term — they might change their minds and choose to carry their babies to term instead of abort. the rest

The Bible and birth control
...Likewise, Botkin points out that people were never told that birth-control pills work the same as abortion...

Catholic parish to host Episcopal Church ordination of gay rights proponent

August 12, 2010

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will ordain an Episcopal cleric from New York State as the Episcopal bishop of Alaska on September 4. The ceremony will take place at a Catholic parish in Anchorage.

Until recently, Lattime was a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester’s Committee for Gay and Lesbian Ministry, which “seeks to further the cause of recognition and legitimization of lesbian and gay relationships within the church and in civil society.” Lattime is married and has three children. the rest

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

PENNSYLVANIA: Rector calls on bishop to 'sacrifice' for diocese

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
August 11, 2010

[Episcopal News Service] The rector of historic Christ Church in Philadelphia is urging Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison to "prayerfully consider making the sacrifice of not returning" to the diocese as bishop.

In a posting on the church's website, the Rev. Timothy Safford wrote that he does not expect Bennison to follow the advice he gave him in an Aug. 8 letter.

"Notwithstanding, he is my bishop, our bishop, and the bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania," Safford wrote.

The Episcopal Church's Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop announced Aug. 5 that it had overturned a lower court's finding that Bennison had committed serious disciplinary offenses warranting his removal ("deposition") from the ordained ministry. The court of review concluded that Bennison had engaged in conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy; but found that the charge was barred by the church's statute of limitations. the rest

UK: Zeusv3 trojan banking virus has emptied thousands of online accounts

-Trojan is still at large and may strike again, experts warn
-Bank affected has still not been named

By Daily Mail Reporter
11th August 2010

Thousands of British online banking customers have fallen victim to a sophisticated attack by cyber criminals who have stolen thousands of pounds from their accounts.

About 3,000 online banking customers have been victims of a computer virus attack that empties their accounts while showing them fake statements so the scam goes undetected.

Experts have described the attack using a 'trojan' virus as the most sophisticated and dangerous malware program ever created.

The cyber criminals stole an estimated £675,000 between July 5 and August 4 and the attack is still progressing, experts warn. the rest

'This is an extremely sophisticated version of the virus and it cannot be detected by traditional security software.'
M86 Security Reveals How Zeus Trojan Targets U.K. Bankers

American Bar Association adopts policy on same sex marriage

August 10, 2010

The ABA House of Delegates met again Tuesday morning to wrap up its deliberation for the 2010 Annual Meeting. The policies adopted concerned same-sex marriage, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and firearm microstamping technology.

What follows is a summary of what was discussed.

Recommendation 111, sponsored by the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities (IRI) and 26 cosponsors, “urges state, territorial, and tribal governments to eliminate all of their legal barriers to civil marriage between two persons of the same sex who are otherwise eligible to marry.” No salmon slips were held in opposition, and the rules of limited debate applied.

Past ABA Chairman Robert Grey introduced the resolution. According to Grey, “[T]he denial of civil marriage to same-sex couples harms them and their families, excluding them from critical legal protections that married persons take for granted. Let us be clear: this is a legal issue. It is also important to recognize that our colleagues of same-sex relationships deserve the same protections that we all have enjoyed under the founding documents of this country.” He compared the rights of same-sex couples to women, the disabled, and members of different races. “Same-sex relationships are clear, they exist, and they are here to stay,” stated Grey. He concluded, “We can choose to stand on the sidelines, or we can be on the field. There were times when this Association was on the sidelines. Today we should be on the field.”

Zack queried: “Why would anyone in this country not want two people who love each not to enjoy the blessings of marriage and full protection of law? Would any one of us want our marriages that we hold so sacred be called civil unions? Aren’t all Americans entitled to the same right? Our fundamental purpose of being is to reject and deny discrimination anywhere and anytime.

The Obsolescence of Barack Obama

The magic of 2008 can't be recreated, and good riddance to it
AUGUST 11, 2010

Not long ago Barack Obama, for those who were spellbound by him, had the stylishness of JFK and the historic mission of FDR riding to the nation's rescue. Now it is to Lyndon B. Johnson's unhappy presidency that Democratic strategist Robert Shrum compares the stewardship of Mr. Obama. Johnson, wrote Mr. Shrum in the Week magazine last month, never "sustained an emotional link with the American people" and chose to escalate a war that "forced his abdication as president."

A broken link with the public, and a war in Afghanistan he neither embraces and sells to his party nor abandons—this is a time of puzzlement for President Obama. His fall from political grace has been as swift as his rise a handful of years ago. He had been hot political property in 2006 and, of course, in 2008. But now he will campaign for his party's 2010 candidates from afar, holding fund raisers but not hitting the campaign trail in most of the contested races. Those mass rallies of Obama frenzy are surely of the past.

The vaunted Obama economic stimulus, at $862 billion, has failed. The "progressives" want to double down, and were they to have their way, would have pushed for a bigger stimulus still. But the American people are in open rebellion against an economic strategy of public debt, higher taxes and unending deficits. We're not all Keynesians, it turns out. The panic that propelled Mr. Obama to the presidency has waned. There is deep concern, to be sure. But the Obama strategy has lost the consent of the governed. the rest-Excellent!

The magic of 2008 can't be recreated, and good riddance to it. Slowly, the nation has recovered its poise. There is a widespread sense of unstated embarrassment that a political majority, if only for a moment, fell for the promise of an untested redeemer—a belief alien to the temperament of this so practical and sober a nation.

Homosexual 'Marriage' Advocates Seek to Destroy Matrimony and Society Itself: Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City

'Church cannot cease to call evil, evil,' prelate says
Tuesday August 10, 2010
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

( - In the face of the "aberrant" Supreme Court decision declaring constitutional the "immoral legal reform that permits unions between people of the same sex," the Church "cannot cease to call evil, evil," declared Mexico City's Cardinal Archbishop Norberto Rivera during Sunday mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral.

What proponents of the law "abusively" call "marriages" are in reality nothing more than evil, de facto unions, according to Rivera.

"Such immoral activity can never be the equivalent of the sexual expression of conjugal love, because it endangers the dignity and the rights of the family that constitute the common good of the society," Rivera said.

Following the declaration, which was read by a married couple during the mass, the Cardinal's Sunday message was issued, denouncing homosexual "marriage" legislation as an attack on the family that trivializes it "as if it were the perverse intention of obscure interests to destroy it and with it to take the country, injured by violence and social decomposition, to its ruin." the rest

One judge negates the will of 7 million voters

Aug 10, 2010
By Cal Thomas

SAN DIEGO — A nation that does not see in law a right to life for its unborn children and a court that allows more than 50 million of them to be killed claiming a nonexistent ‘‘penumbra’’ in the Constitution is not about to acquire a moral — much less a constitutional — backbone when it comes to same-sex ‘‘marriage.’’

The decision by a single, openly gay federal judge to strike down the will of 7 million Californians, tradition dating back millennia (not to mention biblical commands, which the judge decided, in his capacity as a false god, to also invalidate) is judicial vigilantism equal to Roe vs. Wade.

As this case proceeds through appeals courts, to think another federal judge, one Justice Anthony Kennedy, could be the deciding vote on a divided Supreme Court, recalls the power Julius Caesar had over gladiators in the Roman Coliseum. Their fate was ultimately determined when the emperor turned his thumb up or down. At least Caesar, on occasion, was responsive to public opinion. Today, too many federal judges act more like dictators when it comes to the law.
the rest

There is more than one way to experience bankruptcy. America under the Obama administration is on the verge of economic insolvency, and now Judge Vaughn Walker has joined a conga line of similarly activist judges who are accelerating us down the path to destruction.
Giving Judges the Boot

Hundreds Attack Church Members in Indonesia

Tue, Aug. 10 2010
Sarah Page

(Compass Direct News) – Leaders of a church in West Java, Indonesia, demanded justice from police after a fifth attack from Muslim protesters left at least a dozen people injured Sunday.

As some 20 members of the Batak Christian Protestant Filadelfia Church (HKBP Filadelfia) in Bekasi gathered for Sunday worship on a church-owned plot of land in Ciketing, at least 300 members of the Islamic People’s Forum (FUI) and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) broke through a police barricade and ordered them to leave, Theophilus Bela, president of the Jakarta Christian Communication Forum, told Compass. When the church members refused, the protesters assaulted the group with sticks, stones or their bare hands.

A report in The Jakarta Post reported that as many as 700 protesters took part in the attack on the congregation, which numbers 1,500 in total. A video clip of the attack shown on local broadcasting network Metro Treve confirmed only that a large and physically aggressive mob was present at the site. the rest

The College Where “Islam Meets America”

August 10, 2010
Paul Williams, PhD

Classes commence at America’s first Islamic college on August 24.

Zaytuna College, which has attracted applications from Muslims throughout the world and substantial financial support from Saudi Arabia, is located in Berkley, California.

With the motto “Where Islam Meets America,” Zaytuna upholds the goal of cultivating Islamic scholars.

What kind of Islamic scholars?

The examples have been set by the three Islamic radicals, who serve as founders of the college. the rest

Plans to Build Massive Islamic Centers Raise Concerns in Tennessee

Obama’s Imperial Presidency

On immigration, the White House is trampling constitutional principles.
August 11, 2010
Bill McCollum

In the words of our second president: We are a government of laws, not of men. This key principle, which places our Constitution above our leaders, set young America apart from the governments of monarchical Europe. Regrettably, President Obama is endangering this venerable tradition by deliberately and systematically seeking to expand executive power well beyond its proper boundaries. In the process, he is trampling both the constitutional authority of Congress and the sovereign rights of the states.

This bold power grab is directed at immigration, which is predominantly a domestic-policy matter, where unilateral presidential authority is inherently weak. Obama’s efforts appear to be driven by crass political considerations, making them all the more unprecedented and unfortunate. the rest image

This president seems committed to running a government of men that rules without regard for the law. A government of laws is what the Constitution requires, and what the American people demand.
The Liberal Uniter's Lost Role

ELCA Reports Biggest-Ever Drop in Membership

Tue, Aug. 10 2010
By Joshua A. Goldberg
Christian Post Reporter

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America witnessed its biggest-ever drop in membership last year, according to a recently released analysis.

By the end of 2009, ELCA membership stood at 4.5 million – 90 thousand less than the year before, reported the ELCA Office of the Secretary and ELCA Research and Evaluation. Before the latest drop, the biggest loss was 79 thousand – a drop witnessed in 2005.

The ELCA congregation count, meanwhile, was recorded as 10,348 – 48 less than the year before. The largest-ever drop in the congregation count was recorded in 2004 – a drop of 72. the rest

Pickets at Episcopal offices: Bishop's reinstatement brings demonstration

Democrats, Advocacy Groups Blast Cuts to Food Stamps to Fund $26B Aid Bill

August 10, 2010

Some House Democrats and advocacy groups are getting squeamish about the move to fund the $26 billion state aid bill by making cuts to food stamps, a federal assistance program currently depended on by nearly 41 million Americans.

House members convened Tuesday to pass the multibillion-dollar bailout bill for cash-strapped states that provides $10 billion to school districts to rehire laid-off teachers or ensure that more teachers won't be let go before the new school year begins, keeping more than 160,000 teachers on the job, the Obama administration says.

But the bill also requires that $12 billion be stripped from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, to help fund the new bill, prompting some Democrats to cringe at the notion of cutting back on one necessity to pay for another. the rest image

Episcopal Church reinstates bishop who concealed abuse

August 11, 2010

An Episcopal Church bishop who was suspended for concealing sexual abuse committed by his brother will be reinstated in his office on August 12.

Bishop Charles E. Bennison, Jr. failed to report the sexual abuse of a girl by his brother, who at the time was a married priest of the Episcopal Church. In 2007, a church court suspended Bishop Bennison from his ministry in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, where he clashed with conservative Anglicans. Last month, a church appeals court reinstated him, ruling that the canonical statute of limitations had expired. the rest

Uganda: All African Bishops Conference to be Held

August 10, 2010

A one-week All African Bishops' Conference (AABC) will take place in Uganda from August 23 to 29.

This year's theme is "Securing Our Future: Unlocking our Potential," (Hebrews 12:1-2).

According to Edward Gaamuwa, the chairman of the organising committee, the council of Anglican provinces of Africa meeting in Pretoria, South Africa in 2001 resolved to hold an African Anglican Bishop Conference to focus on African needs. the rest

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Devotional: We live fascinating lives...

We live fascinating lives if we are living in the center of God's will. All the attacks that Satan hurls at us through the sins of others are not only powerless to harm us but are transformed into blessings along the way. ...Hannah Whitall Smith image by Darcy McCarty

Episcopal Church Pokes Itself In The Eye Again

August 10, 2010
Pennsylvania Litigation Blog

Like Lord Voldemort, the embodiment of pure evil from the Harry Potter stories, Charles Bennison, the once defrocked Episcopal Bishop of Pennsylvania, is back. The Episcopal Church’s top appelate tribunal, the Court of Review of the Trial of a Bishop, last week issued an opinion that in effect exonerated Bennison of charges that he covered up the sexual misconduct of his own brother.

What is most remarkable to me about this story is that Bennison, during the time he served as Pennsylvania’s bishop, made a series of statements questioning fundamental tenets of Anglican faith, as embodied in the Nicene Creed, sufficiently frequently that one would be justified in questioning whether Bennison was fit to be called a Christian, let alone to serve as a bishop. But he was never called to answer for his apparent apostasy. And when he was finally brought up on charges that he had, years before being elected to lead the Diocese of Pennsylvania, concealed his own brother’s sexual improprieties – a prosecution that seems akin to charging Al Capone with tax evasion – he dodged the ultimate eccesiastical penalty on a legal technicality. The Court ruled that the statute of limitations had run out on the conduct forming the basis for the concealment charges.

The Bennison case tells us much of what we, I suppose, already knew about the Episcopal “Church”. That Bishop Bennison can repeatedly and publicly question foundational principles of the faith without fear of reprisal is bad enough. That the church hierarchy cares more about technical legal niceties than it does about whether its own bishops are in fact believers confirms that the Episcopalians have forfeited their right to claim to be any kind of church. here image

SNAP Blasts Episcopalians On Reinstated Bishop
Tuesday August 10, 2010

(RNS) Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse have blasted the Episcopal Church for reinstating the bishop of Philadelphia who had been charged with not investigating sex abuse allegations about his brother.

A church appeals court ruled July 28 that Bishop Charles Bennison committed conduct inappropriate for a member of the clergy, but said charges against him had to be dismissed because the statute of limitations had run out. the rest

Should I Stay or Should I go?

by Rob Munro
poated Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The Prevailing Culture

In recent years, Christians have increasingly wrestled with a prevailing culture that is no longer amenable to some foundational Christian moral values. The sexual revolution from the 1960’s onwards, which fuelled a systemic anti-authoritarianism, has left older received ‘norms’ in tatters. No longer is the Christian community just battling a modernism that challenges its truth claims and a relativism that challenges its moral absolutes, but now it faces a post-modernism that challenges even the concept of truth, a new atheism that portrays Christianity as immoral, a confusion of multi-faith options on offer and a new media consensus that regards religion as unbroadcastable, unintelligible and irrelevant, except to mock. The result of this multi-pronged attack has been a great decline of professed Christian faith and a crisis of confidence in its message.

The pressure of this new world on the Church of England has come to a head in one key principle. The key principle is the concept of inclusion. The current secular liberal orthodoxy has made ‘inclusion’ or ‘equality’ the new absolute for morality. ‘Inclusion’ is the dogma that every person should have equal affirmation and access to anything in society regardless of their race, disability, social class, gender or sexual orientation. ‘Discrimination’ is the only sin under this doctrine, by which is meant any limitation being put on people’s freedom to do what they want, where they want, when they want, as long as they don’t violate the full inclusion of others. Alongside the dogma comes its hermeneutics: the validity of a belief or practice has to be justified by a twin appeal, first to personal freedom – you can do what you want to do, and second by an appeal to the justification of love – if it’s loving, it’s OK. The irony of the dogma, is that its propagation requires that anyone not fully accepting ‘inclusion’ needs to be excluded, or at least prevented from enacting their objections. However such philosophical inconsistency is no problem for a postmodern way of thinking which revels in such things. the rest

Radioactive risk warning as Russian fires out of control


Firefighters in Russia had yet to make headway against the worst wildfires in the country's history Tuesday despite international help, with more than 550 fires still burning, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.

The wildfires led experts to warn Tuesday that remnants of radioactive material could be stirred up and spread, although local authorities and nuclear plant operators insisted there was 'no danger'.

The blazes covered an area encompassing more than 1,700 square km. Just under 70 are major fires, according to the Civil Defence Ministry, which said that the situation remained tense. the rest

Russia's fires cause "brown cloud," may hit Arctic
The clouds -- a haze of pollution from cars or coal-fired power plants, forest fires and wood and other materials burned for cooking and heating -- are near-permanent and blamed for causing chronic respiratory and heart diseases.

Dutch Culture of Death: Now, Proposed All Comers Sucide Clinics

Monday, August 9, 2010
Wesley J. Smith

There is no denying the evidence that euthanasia consciousness leads to a broader culture of death that eventually accepts all comers. Latest examples from the Netherlands, which probably has the most liberal legalized euthanasia law in the world:

• Dutch doctors creating a how-to-commit-suicide informational for their patients who don’t legally qualify for euthanasia in order to enable them to commit ” autoeuthanasia:”

• The filing of a petition signed by 100,000 people to persuad the Dutch parliament to open up euthanasia to the healthy elderly who are tired of life, and now;

• A proposal to create Dutch suicide clinics that would help kill all comers. the rest

Sex, Church, and Civilization

The Sexual Revolution and post-Christian civilization
Rod Dreher
Monday, August 9, 2010

It's important to understand the point I'm making here. I'm not mounting (in this post) an argument against gay marriage. I'm saying that it's inevitable, given that the deep culture-shaping power of Christianity has been shattered, and the only religion people are coming to understand is one that has no real power to bind, only to be therapeutically useful. (There's a reason that Rick Warren's model of church is doing so well -- it offers the simulacrum of traditional Evangelicalism, while focusing heavily on practical therapy). In large numbers, we are seeing those 30 and under walking away from the churches -- both liberal and conservative churches -- and not into atheism, but into an unaffiliated, "spiritual but not religious" category. They want to feel some nominal sense of spiritual connectedness, but only insofar as it ratifies their feelings. They could have formal religion that embraced their views on sexuality by becoming Episcopalian, or joining one of the other liberal Protestant churches -- but they're not. Though they still profess a preference for God, they don't want religious institution, or authority. Rieff saw this coming, and ,indeed said consumerist religion was the logical fallout from the eclipse of Christianity and its teachings as authoritative in the psychological life of Western man. the rest

ROSS DOUTHAT: The Marriage Ideal

Same-Sex Marriage Judge Finds That a Child Has Neither a Need Nor a Right to a Mother

Monday, August 09, 2010
By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief

U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled last week in federal court in San Francisco that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. (AP Photo/Todd Rogers)( - U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who ruled last week that a voter-approved amendment to California’s constitution that limited marriage to the union of one man and one woman violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, based that ruling in part on his finding that a child does not need and has no right to a mother.

Nor, he found, does a child have a need or a right to a father.

“Children do not need to be raised by a male parent and a female parent to be well-adjusted, and having both a male and a female parent does not increase the likelihood that a child will be well-adjusted,” the judge wrote in finding of fact No. 71 in his opinion. the rest

“The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment,” the judge stated in finding of fact No. 70. “The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether that individual can be a good parent. Children raised by gay or lesbian parents are as likely as children raised by heterosexual parents to be healthy, successful and well-adjusted. The research supporting this conclusion is accepted beyond serious debate in the field of developmental psychology.”

Across Texas, 60,000 babies of noncitizens get U.S. birthright

Sunday, August 8, 2010
The Dallas Morning News

As Republican members of Congress press for changes to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, preventing automatic citizenship for babies born to illegal immigrants, opponents insist the debate is not really about babies.

Instead, they say it is about politics and votes – not fixing the immigration system.

Still, the debate could resonate in Texas, where not only 1.5 million illegal immigrants are estimated to reside but at least 60,000 babies are added to their households annually. the rest

Between 2001 and 2009, births to illegal immigrant women totaled 542,152 in Texas alone.

Gay college presidents form group

By Daniel de Vise
August 9, 2010

Nine openly gay college presidents gathered in Chicago last weekend and resolved to form an organization to provide professional support to "out" presidents and faculty.

An account in the online journal Inside Higher Ed says 25 openly gay presidents were invited.

Gay and lesbian presidents were considerably less usual as recently as the mid-1990s, attendees said. "Skittish governing boards" often resist hiring or promoting gay presidents for fear of alienating donors or lawmakers, the Chronicle reports. Gay provosts and deans might never offer themselves as candidates for a presidency simply to avoid the scrutiny that comes with a candidacy.

The Chronicle of Higher Education compiled a list of 11 openly gay or lesbian presidents in 2007. Several more have been hired more recently, including the presidents of Grinnell and Montgomery colleges. the rest


by Todd Starnes
posted August 10, 2010

A group of high school students attending a conservative leadership conference in Washington, D.C. said they were ordered by a security guard to stop singing the national anthem during a June 25 visit to the Lincoln Memorial.

“They told them to stop singing,” said Evan Gassman, a spokesman for the Young America’s Foundation. “I was taken aback. You wouldn’t expect a display of national patriotism to be censored.”

U.S. Park Police confirmed that the students were in violation of federal law and their impromptu performance constituted a demonstration in an area that must remain “completely content neutral.” the rest image

Lambs to the Slaughter

by William Kilpatrick
Aug 9th, 2010

I used to scoff at writers such as Sam Harris, Kevin Phillips, and Chris Hedges when they warned that Christians were a major threat to American freedoms. Now, I’m not so sure. Of course, all their talk about Christians imposing a theocracy on America has about as much credibility as the “truther” theory that 9/11 was a U.S. government/Mossad conspiracy. But I wonder now if Christians, in their naivite and in their desire to be thought tolerant, aren’t inadvertently paving the way for an eventual Islamic theocracy.

It seems that quite a number of Christian churches are now involved in “outreach” programs with local mosques. The typical outreach is for a church to invite an Islamic leader to come in and explain Islam to the congregation. Naturally, the imams present Islam as a religion of peace and love. And naturally in their desire to appear loving and accepting, the Christians lap it up. The imams know how to press all the “tolerance,” “outreach,” and “respect” buttons, and the result is that the Christians end up thinking Islam is just another nice, brotherly religion like their own. As a result, they can probably be counted on not to oppose the building of a local mosque, or for that matter not to oppose any Muslim agenda or initiative. Islamic leaders have done a good job of framing their grievances as civil rights issues, and this, of course, has great appeal to the many Christians who see the pursuit of social justice as their main mission. Mentally, many Christians still live in the days of “We Shall Overcome” and lunch counter sit-ins. They think that in supporting and defending Islam they are like the Christians in the sixties who linked arms with civil rights marchers, and sang hymns together.

Lately, Muslim leaders have been taking advantage of the Christian disposition for outreach by offering outreach programs of their own. 20,000 Dialogues is a nationwide interfaith initiative that helps local level imams set up outreach programs, and provides films and speakers to facilitate the dialogue. The current offering is a film titled “Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Think.” The film is based on a study of Muslim attitudes conducted by John Esposito of Georgetown University’s Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, and Dalia Mogahed, Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. Like the study, the film massages the polling data to make it appear that Islam is a predominately peaceful religion. the rest

Evangelicals and Their ‘Made-up Ideas’
I was going to waste an inordinate amount of time today responding to an essay in Inside Higher Ed that purports to lecture evangelicals on their “siege mentality” and their “paranoid and frankly made-up ideas” regarding the academy. Then I realized it was so devoid of factual content as to be nothing more than a rant — one whose over-generalizations ironically end up confirming that there is at least one academic at Kalamazoo College (where the writer teaches) who may be incapable of offering objective judgments about his more religiously devout students.

No Right to Remain Silent
So we have no right to remain silent, because we’re not merely offering another opinion. We have something that society desperately needs: the truth about God, sex and homosexuality. If we can’t talk about why homosexual sex is bad for people and violates God’s law, how can we show that Catholics are the ones who really want what’s best for those with homosexual tendencies?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Devotional: Our prayers may be very beautiful...

Our prayers may be very beautiful in appearance and might appear to be the very paragon of devotion, but unless there is a secret spiritual force in them, they are vain things.
...CH Spurgeon image by David Merrett

U.S. electricity blackouts skyrocketing

Should Americans view these kinds of scenarios as extraordinary circumstances -- or a warning sign of a darker future?
By Thom Patterson, CNN
August 9, 2010

...Experts on the nation's electricity system point to a frighteningly steep increase in non-disaster-related outages affecting at least 50,000 consumers.

During the past two decades, such blackouts have increased 124 percent -- up from 41 blackouts between 1991 and 1995, to 92 between 2001 and 2005, according to research at the University of Minnesota.

In the most recently analyzed data available, utilities reported 36 such outages in 2006 alone.

"It's hard to imagine how anyone could believe that -- in the United States -- we should learn to cope with blackouts," said University of Minnesota Professor Massoud Amin, a leading expert on the U.S. electricity grid... the rest image

Ten Medical Aid Workers Killed in Taliban Ambush

Medical Team Wasn't Talking About Religion
Members of a medical team gunned down in Afghanistan brought some of the first toothbrushes and eyeglasses villagers had ever seen and spent no time talking about religion as they provided medical care, friends and aid organizations said Sunday.

Somali militant group bans 3 aid agencies
A Somali militant group with links to al-Qaida on Monday announced it had banned three Christian aid agencies from its territory, and one aid group said militants had occupied their offices in southern Somalia.

American teachers should revolt

Peter Heck

A little over a year ago, I wrote a column suggesting that due to the blatant hostility the National Education Association was expressing towards Christians, it was time for Christian teachers to withdraw their membership from the NEA. As it turns out, the focus of my call to abandon this radically left lobby group was a bit too narrow. As evidenced by its own website, the NEA is not merely anti-Christian, they are anti-American as well.

How else can you explain the plan that appeared on the NEA's "Diversity Calendar" instructing teachers to make October 1st a special recognition of the Communist revolution in China? The NEA recommended teachers celebrate how the world's most notorious butcher, Chairman Mao Zedong, proclaimed the "Chinese people have stood up," as he established the regime that would slaughter more innocent human beings than any other in world history. [Editor's note: The NEA has since removed the October 1 event from their website, following a rapid spread of the news about it.] the rest

As incredible as it may seem, such a proposal is completely consistent with other actions of the NEA. On their page highlighting recommended reading for teachers, the group touts the work of self-proclaimed Satanist (and Obama motivator) Saul Alinsky.

Pope Benedict XVI's 30-year campaign to reassert conservative Catholicism

By Robert Marquand,
Staff writer
August 6, 2010

In the past 30 years, the Vatican has moved strongly to reassert the authority of a traditional, even orthodox Roman Catholicism – to bring the notion of a "one true church" to Europe and then the larger world. The intent was to reverse the "open" or liberalizing trend of the church represented by Vatican II.

In the past three decades, the Vatican has cracked down on liberation theology, affirmed traditional sexual morality, and is now quietly supporting ultradevout Catholic groups such as Opus Dei and the Legions of Christ – while curbing ecumenical outreach and describing Protestant churches as not authentic.

The most constant, diligent, and serious champion of these moves is a shy but brilliant German theologian, Josef Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI.

Princeton University Renaissance scholar Anthony Grafton, not a Catholic, says Pope Benedict is "probably the greatest scholar to rule the church since [Pope] Innocent III," in the 13th century. the rest image

Abandon Earth or Face Extinction, Stephen Hawking Warns

August 09, 2010

It's time to abandon Earth, warned the world's most famous theoretical physicist.

In an interview with website Big Think, Stephen Hawking warned that the long-term future of the planet is in outer space.

"It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet," he said.

"I see great dangers for the human race," Hawking said. "There have been a number of times in the past when its survival has been a question of touch and go. The Cuban missile crisis in 1963 was one of these. The frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future."

"But I'm an optimist. If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe, as we spread into space," he said. the rest

Are Evangelicals the New Mainline?

Monday, August 9, 2010
Joe Carter

Patheos has an excellent interview with sociologist and historian of religion Rodney Stark. As with anything from Stark, it’s difficult to choose just one section to quote. But here’s the core of his claim:

When I was very young, there was a Protestant mainline and they were the Congregationalists, the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, American Baptists, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and more recently the media would include the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Once in a while they would even stretch things far enough to include the Unitarians and Quakers. These were the high prestige denominations, and when people became prominent and successful they would shed their old denomination and join one of these.

Now, the belief that these are the mainline denominations simply won’t go away. Everyone keeps pretending that these are the folks that count. But the fact is: that’s ancient history.

. . . Yet one keeps hearing about the “mainline” denominations and this “periphery” called evangelicalism. Well, the periphery is now the mainline, and the mainline is the sideline.

I also decided to write [How Denominations Die: The Continuing Self-Destruction of the Protestant "Mainline] partly because of the misperception that this transformation began in the 1960s. The 1760s may be more accurate, and certainly the 1860s, but it didn’t start in the 1960s. The 1960s is just when it began to be noticed.
the rest
image by Elliott Brown

UK: Foster parents rejected over Christian beliefs

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Christian couple from Blackburn, Lancashire, have had their application to be foster parents terminated by the Council because of their orthodox Christian beliefs on marriage and their belief that the best environment in which to raise a child is with a mother and a father.

Rev John Yallop and his wife Colette had told Lancashire Council that they were Christians but had been assured that they were still welcome to apply to be foster parents.

However, during the process problems arose for the Yallops when the Council asked them whether they would have any objections to prospective homosexual adoptive parents coming into their home for the ‘hand over’ process which normally involves a number of visits.

The Yallops proposed that any meetings with prospective homosexual adoptive parents should take place at a children’s centre rather than in their own home, as they were concerned that it may cause confusion to their two young children aged 5 and 7. the rest

"We Muslims know the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation"

Mischief in Manhattan
By Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah
Citizen Special
August 9, 2010

Last week, a journalist who writes for the North Country Times, a small newspaper in Southern California, sent us an e-mail titled "Help." He couldn't understand why an Islamic Centre in an area where Adam Gadahn, Osama bin Laden's American spokesman came from, and that was home to three of the 911 terrorists, was looking to expand.

The man has a very valid point, which leads to the ongoing debate about building a Mosque at Ground Zero in New York. When we try to understand the reasoning behind building a mosque at the epicentre of the worst-ever attack on the U.S., we wonder why its proponents don't build a monument to those who died in the attack? the rest

New York currently boasts at least 30 mosques so it's not as if there is pressing need to find space for worshippers. The fact we Muslims know the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation to thumb our noses at the infidel.
Hewitt: Protecting America's sacred spaces
But not now in New York City. Opponents of the "Ground Zero Mosque," or GZM, have been branded as bigots, and their concerns about the project have been dismissed as unconstitutional assaults on the guarantee of the free exercise of religion.

Shut Up, He Explained: Mayor Michael Bloomberg to New Yorkers.
Contemporary liberalism means building a mosque rather than a memorial at Ground Zero—and telling your fellow citizens to shut up about it.

Doctors against Obamacare say no to a government takeover

August 8, 2010
Kimberly Dvorak

A sea of white coats filled Spanish Landing in downtown San Diego to present a united front against government-controlled health care. A group of physicians formed the National Doctors Tea Party and have begun their cross country trek; however these doctors are on a mission to educate Americans about the perils of Obamacare.

A bevy of speakers spoke about the dangers patients will face if the government is successful in monopolizing treatment options. Sharon Angle, a Tea Party candidate running against Senate leader Harry Reid, assured the fresh faces that attending a tea party may be uncomfortable at first, but the American cause is “well worth the extra work.” the rest

Typical complaints speakers addressed was the need for choices, choices in doctors, choices in insurance and choices in politicians. Approximately 1,000 attendees cheered when Angle boasted about ousting incumbents, expanding liberty and limiting government’s reach into every aspect of daily life.

The Obama presidency increasingly resembles a modern-day Ancien Régime: extravagant and out of touch with the American people
...There is however a political revolution fast approaching Washington that is driven not by mob rule but by the power of ideas and principles, based upon the ideals of the Founding Fathers and the US Constitution. It is a distinctly conservative revolution that is sweeping America and is reflected in almost every poll ahead of this November’s mid-terms. It is based on a belief in individual liberty, limited government, and above all, political accountability from the ruling elites. The Obama administration’s mantra may well be “let them eat cake”, as it continues to gorge itself on taxpayers’ money, but it will be looking nervously over its shoulder as public unease mounts...

Europe's irreligious

In which European countries are people least likely to attend religious services?
The Economist
Aug 9th 2010

THE proportion of people who regularly attend religious services has declined steadily throughout Europe in recent years. But habits vary widely across countries. According to the latest European Social Survey conducted in 2008 and 2009, over 60% of Czechs say they never attend religious services, with the exception of “special occasions” such as marriages and christenings. France, Britain and Belgium are also secular nations, with over half of respondents never going to services. The most regular attenders among the 28 countries polled are in Cyprus and Greece, where only 2.4% and 4.9% respectively say they do not go to church. the rest/chart

7 months after quake, squalor unabated

By Maria Sacchetti
Globe Staff / August 9, 2010

PETIONVILLE, Haiti — In the St. Therese Park tent camp, two reeking latrines serve thousands of people still homeless almost seven months after the earthquake. Babies without diapers cuddle on their mothers’ laps. Hungry rats prowl through the tents at night, biting people as they sleep.

A few days ago, the water ran out.

In scorching heat, a group of angry parents, caked in grime and sweat, marched to the winding street above the camp armed with empty containers, a sawed-off garden hose, and pans. They busted open an exposed pipe and collected the water that gushed from it.

“You are pieces of garbage,’’ a man in a passing car shouted at the group of mostly women, who said they wanted to bathe their children. As they worked, several aid trucks and two police cars passed within inches of them, but did not stop. A passenger in an SUV marked “United Nations Development Program’’ tapped a message on his phone as they glided by. the rest

First-ever Social Security shortfall as more retire early

More filed in 2009 than in any other year in history
August 9, 2010

MIAMI -- Paul Skidmore's office is shuttered, his job gone, his 18-month job search fruitless and his unemployment benefits exhausted. So at 63, he plans to file this week for Social Security benefits, three years earlier than planned.

"All I want to do is work," said Skidmore, of Finksburg, Md., who was an insurance claims adjuster for 37 years before his company closed his office last year. "And nobody will hire me."

It is one of the most striking fallouts from the bad economy: Social Security is facing its first-ever shortfall this year as a wave of people like Skidmore opt to collect payments before their full retirement age. Adding to the strain on the trust are reduced tax collections sapped by the country's historic unemployment -- still at 9.5 percent.

More people filed for Social Security in 2009 -- 2.74 million -- than in any other year in history, and there was a marked increase in the number receiving reduced benefits because they filed ahead of their full retirement age. The increase came as the full Social Security retirement age rose last year from 65 to 66. the rest

The Second Coming of Charles E. Bennison Bishop of Pennsylvania

By David W. Virtue
August 7, 2010

When a thoughtful Texas Anglican heard the news that Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison had won a reprieve from an ecclesiastical Court of Appeal over charges that he covered up his brother's sexual abuse of a minor, his response was sharp and to the point, "There's no surprise here - corpses generally do float to the surface to stink the place up [again]."

On August 16, Bennison will regain his Episcopal throne and continue the downward spiral of the diocese. Despite prayers to a God who might or might not be listening to liberal clergy and laity from the Diocese of Pennsylvania, the sociopathic Bennison will take charge and resume his pogrom against the Faith and the faithful in the diocese.

There will however, be one small difference. This time both the remnant orthodox and the majority of liberals hate Bennison enough to want him gone, or, failing that, thwart his desire to deliver death blows to the dwindling orthodox parishes. They might just gang up on him, even with their limited powers, to control the self-destructive desire of Bennison to kill off the remainder of the diocese. the rest