Saturday, September 25, 2010

Canada: Trying to build up the congregation

Saturday September 25th, 2010

SAINT JOHN - Two decades ago, up to 600 parishioners would pack St. Luke's Anglican Church for Sunday service - today, there's about 100 to 120 between two Sunday services, says Rev. Eileen Irish, rector of the Parish of Portland, St. Luke's Anglican Church.

Irish has been encouraging Anglicans to come back to church this weekend as she and ministers across the country mark Back to Church Sunday this weekend.

"People are searching for spirituality, which we all are at some point in time, and I believe it's the church where you can find that spirituality of God," she said. the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury: Gay rows wounding church

The Associated Press
Saturday, September 25, 2010

LONDON -- Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was quoted Saturday as saying he is not opposed to the appointment of gay people as bishops, if they pledge to remain celibate.

Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, was quoted as telling the Times of London that he could in the future support the appointment of homosexual bishops - but not those in active sexual relationships.

"To put it very simply, there's no problem about a gay person who's a bishop. It's about the fact that there are traditionally, historically, standards that the clergy are expected to observe. So there's always a question about the personal life of the clergy," Williams was quoted as telling the newspaper.

The archbishop has been accused by equality campaigners of inconsistency because celibacy is not regarded as compulsory for heterosexual clergy. the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury: Anglican Church has 'no problem' with gay bishops
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the Anglican Church has "no problem" with homosexuals being bishops but he was not "positive" about them having relationships.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jane Alison Shaw: Grace Cathedral's first openly gay dean

Making History, Twice, at Grace Cathedral
September 23, 2010

The installation of Jane Alison Shaw as the eighth dean of Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill on Nov. 6 is a milestone — she will be the first woman to lead the cathedral, which was founded during the Gold Rush in 1849.

Dr. Shaw will also be the cathedral’s first openly gay dean.

“I’m glad I live in a moment in history when I can answer the call,” Dr. Shaw said in a telephone interview from England, where she is finishing work as the dean of divinity at Oxford University.

While one’s sexual orientation rarely raises an eyebrow in San Francisco these days, the Episcopal Church has been torn apart over the issue of full inclusion for gay men and lesbians. Dr. Shaw’s elevation to lead one of the denomination’s most prominent churches is “a signal moment,” said The Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of the Diocese of California. “We seek to be a house of prayer for all people.”

The bishop, whose diocese comprises churches in the Bay Area, said Grace Cathedral was one of the largest Episcopal churches in the United States and was “ scrutinized worldwide” by the greater Anglican Communion’s 80 million members. the rest

Germany Will Become Islamic State, Says Chancellor Merkel

September 22, 2010
Paul Williams, PhD

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germans have failed to grasp how Muslim immigration has transformed their country and will have to come to terms with more mosques than churches throughout the countryside, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily.

"Our country is going to carry on changing, and integration is also a task for the society taking up the task of dealing with immigrants,” Ms. Merkel told the daily newspaper. “For years we've been deceiving ourselves about this. Mosques, for example, are going to be a more prominent part of our cities than they were before.”

Germany, with a population of 4-5 million Muslims, has been divided in recent weeks by a debate over remarks by the Bundesbank's Thilo Sarrazin, who argued Turkish and Arab immigrants were failing to integrate and were swamping Germany with a higher birth rate. the rest

Anglicans are Coming: Archbishop Wuerl to Oversee Reception of Anglican Christians

Britain could have an Ordinariate by the end of the year
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Catholic Online

Britain could have an Ordinariate by the end of the year. The Rt Rev Keith Newton and the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham are pursuing the invitation which allows groups of Anglicans to come into full Communion with Rome without losing their Anglican identity. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith has named Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC to oversee the reception of Anglicans into the full communion of the Church.

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The Vicar of Christ and successor of the Apostle Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, just returned from an extraordinary pastoral visit to the United Kingdom. There, he beatified John Henry Cardinal Newman; the great Anglican turned Catholic Churchman, beloved by Catholic and Anglican Christians. The visit was extraordinary. This humble, diminutive Pope won the hearts of the faithful of the United Kingdom and opened the hearts of many others. The United Kingdom is till unpacking the historic implications of the visit. For the best treatment see the excellent reporting of Rocco Palmo.

One of the reasons the visit is of such significance is because it comes right at the time that the Anglican Community is fracturing, splintering and falling apart. Some within it are abandoning the ancient faith handed down to us from the apostles. To many Anglican Christians, this is a tragedy. So, the Vicar of Christ has offered a juridical structure which provides a place within the full communion of the Catholic Church where they could maintain their Anglican Ethos and be a part of a new missionary age in a restored Catholic Church, finding a safe harbor. the rest

Anglican Congregations Prayerful Following Virginia Supreme Court Response to Motion for Rehearing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 24, 2010

FAIRFAX, Va. – 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 remained in prayer following the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision not to rehear portions of its earlier ruling.

In July, the nine churches asked the Court to reconsider whether the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) – the local and national bodies of which they are members – are branches that have resulted from the divisions in The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Diocese of Virginia under the governing Division Statute, Virginia Code § 57-9.

“While we are disappointed by today’s decision, we are certainly not discouraged. We knew going in that motions for rehearing are only granted in a low percentage of cases. We did not initiate this lawsuit and are ready to put the litigation behind us so we can completely focus on the work of the Gospel. However, we felt the basis of our motion for rehearing was strong and that the Court overlooked critical evidence showing that our congregations satisfied the requirements of the Division Statute as recently interpreted by the Virginia Supreme Court,” said ADV Chairman Jim Oakes.

“Today’s decision is not the final one in this case. The Virginia Supreme Court had already decided to send the lawsuit back to the Fairfax County Circuit Court for further proceedings. We remain extremely confident in our legal footing, but above all, our hope is in the Lord regardless of the final outcome. Our focus is on sharing the Gospel and serving those in need. The doors of all ADV churches will remain open wide to all who wish to worship with us,” Oakes concluded.


A.S Haley: Virginia Case Goes Back to Trial Court; San Joaquin Case Set for Argument Oct. 20

Bishop Bennison declines request to resign; SNAP responds

Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director for SNAP
Thursday, September 23, 2010

(America’s Episcopal bishops have formally urged PA Bishop Charles Bennison to resign, because Bennison ignored and concealed his brother’s child sex crimes. Late yesterday, Bennison said he would NOT step down.)

Bishop Charles Bennison insists on rubbing even more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of clergy sex abuse victims by minimizing their suffering and selfishly clinging to his personal power and prestige.

Three time in his short, formal statement, Bennison refers to hurtful and illegal child sex crimes as a “relationship.” When an adult sexually violates a child, it is a devastating crime. Calling it “a relationship” is, at best, sorely misguided. At worst, it is insulting and degrading, implying that a child somehow consented in his or her own victimization. the rest

PENNSYLVANIA: Bishop declines request to resign

One in five sexually active gay and bisexual men has the AIDS virus

Sep 23, 2010

ATLANTA (AP) -- One in five sexually active gay and bisexual men has the AIDS virus, and nearly half of those don't know they are infected, a federal study of 21 U.S. cities shows.

Experts said the findings are similar to earlier research, but the study released Thursday is the largest to look at gay and bisexual U.S. men at high risk for HIV. More than 8,000 men were tested and interviewed, and 44 percent of those who had the virus didn't know they had it.

Overall, less than half of 1 percent of Americans have the AIDS virus, according to a calculation by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a research and policy organization in Washington, D.C.

But gay and bisexual men continue to be infected at much higher rates, said Jennifer Kates, Kaiser's director of global health and HIV policy. the rest

HIV rates ‘out of control’ among gay men in France

World's first pedal-powered ornithopter takes flight in Canada


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Devotional: Faith does the impossible...

Faith does the impossible because it brings God to undertake for us, and nothing is impossible with God. How great — without qualification or limitation — is the power of faith! If doubt be banished from the heart, and unbelief made stranger there, what we ask of God shall surely come to pass, and a believer hath vouchsafed to him “whatsoever he saith.”

Prayer projects faith on God,
and God on the world. Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God. In His cursing of the fig-tree our Lord demonstrated His power. Following that, He proceeded to declare, that large powers were committed to faith and prayer, not in order to kill but to make alive, not to blast but to bless. ...EM Bounds

The Tea Party: Brewing up a movement

Australian Muslim cleric calls for beheading -- who cares?

What happens when an Australian(!) Muslim cleric calls for the beheading of a Dutch politician?
Larry Elder

Not much.

What happens when an American pastor no one ever heard of threatens to burn a Quran?

It ignites an international outcry.

Terry Jones, pastor of a 50-member church in Gainesville, Florida, threatened to burn the Quran as a protest against the proposed construction of a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center. Democrats and Republicans denounced Jones. Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, warned that Jones' action would put American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at risk, and he personally telephoned the pastor to dissuade him.

Those who would desecrate the Quran or who would draw a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad or who would otherwise "disrespect" Islam run the risk of being murdered. This is quite a response from followers of what President George W. Bush called a "religion of peace," the "hijacking" of which motivated the 9/11 hijackers. Bush repeatedly distinguished between a war against Islamofascism and a war on Islam. But the distinction apparently collapses if one pastor doesn't get the memo.

How dare this pastor of some church-nobody-heard-of show insufficient respect for Islam, many of whose followers support a global jihad that demands replacement of all non-Islamic governments, as well as the conversion of all to Islam, by force if necessary?

Where is the international outcry from this recent story from Reuters?

"A well-known Australian Muslim cleric has called for the beheading of Dutch anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders....

"The Sydney-born (Feiz) Muhammad has gained notoriety for, among other things, calling on young children to be radicalized and blaming rape victims for their own attacks.
the rest

Albert Mohler: Man Up or Man Down? Newsweek Redefines Masculinity

A healthy masculinity should motivate men to find their way in this new world of changed economic realities and work opportunities, and to do this while remaining men.
Thursday, September 23, 2010

“We’ve arrived at another crossroads,” declares Newsweek — and this one represents a crisis for masculinity. As the magazine’s current cover story asserts, “The prevailing codes of manhood have yet to adjust to the changing demands on men.” With this cover story dedicated to “rethinking” masculinity, Newsweek launches itself into a very relevant cultural conversation.

“Man Up!” is the message the magazine conveys on its cover, though by the time a reader actually reads the article, he or she may be forgiven for having little idea of what this means. If, indeed, the traditional male is “an endangered species,” where does this leave men? the rest image by Bill Jacobus

Today’s men are likely to be more nurturing, but they are also statistically less faithful. They may be changing more diapers, but they are also more likely to change spouses. Men must be encouraged and expected to be both faithful fathers and faithful husbands. Otherwise, any society is in big trouble.

America’s One-Child Policy

What China imposed on its population, we’re adopting voluntarily.
BY Jonathan V. Last
September 27, 2010

...In 1973—the year of the Roe decision—there were 3.1 million babies born. Over the next 10 years that number rose only slightly, despite the fact that America’s total population was increasing quickly. Why weren’t there more babies born in the decade following Roe? Because during that time, 13.6 million were aborted—meaning that 28.5 percent of all pregnancies ended in abortion. Since Roe more than 49.5 million babies have been aborted in the United States, and the fertility rate has varied inversely to the abortion rate, generally declining when abortion is on the rise and rising when abortion is on the decline...

...But on this question there are two Americas today: a secular population that wants small families (or no family at all) and a religious population that wants larger families. Religious affiliation is part of the story, but the real difference comes with church attendance. Among people who seldom or never go to church, 66 percent say that zero, one, or two children is the ideal family size, and only 25 percent view three-or-more children as ideal. Among those who go to church monthly, the three-or-more number edges up to 29 percent. But among those who attend church every week, 41 percent say three or more children is ideal, while only 47 percent think that a smaller family is preferable. When you meet couples with more than three children today, chances are they’re making a cultural and theological statement...

The rest-long, but worth the read!
image by Mike Baird

Microbiologist: Hundreds of Studies Confirm Abortion-Breast Cancer Link

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 21, 2010
Washington, DC

( -- A microbiologist says there are so many published studies confirming the link between induced abortion and breast cancer that he plans to publish one every day on his blog until he's mentioned them all. It will take Dr. Gerard Nadal so many weeks to cover them all, the blogging will continue until early next year.

Nadal, who has a has a PhD in Molecular Microbiology from St John's University in New York, has spent 16 years teaching science, most recently at Manhattan College.

He will report on one abortion-breast cancer study daily until he has exhausted all of the abortion-breast cancer studies and he anticipates he may be reporting on these studies as late as January or February of 2011.

"Today begins the inexorable presentation of the scientific literature on the abortion/breast cancer link," Nadal writes. "Women’s lives depend on us getting the truth out to them. In short order we'll generate plenty of pros armed with the simple truth of science!" the rest

Ad banned in Ireland

Found here

New Jersey Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz Closes After Christie Cuts Funds

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 21, 2010
Trenton, NJ

( -- After the New Jersey state Senate defeated an attempt to override the decision of Gov. Chris Christie to cut off state taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood abortion businesses, the first facility run by the national abortion giant is closing.

The Cherry Hill Courier Post newspaper says a Planned Parenthood facility located on Haddonfield Road and operated by Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey will close down.

PP-SNJ stands to lose as much as $160,000 in taxpayer funds because of Christie's decision and the upholding of his veto. With the closing of the Cherry Hill center, Planned Parenthood customers seeking abortions or other "services" must go to PP centers in Camden, Bellmawr, and Edgewater Park. the rest

Andrew Cuomo and Fannie and Freddie

How the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history gave birth to the mortgage crisis
The Village Voice
By Wayne Barrett
Tuesday, Aug 5 2008

There are as many starting points for the mortgage meltdown as there are fears about how far it has yet to go, but one decisive point of departure is the final years of the Clinton administration, when a kid from Queens without any real banking or real-estate experience was the only man in Washington with the power to regulate the giants of home finance, the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), better known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

IndustriesMortgage Banking and ServicesCredit Services and IntermediationGovernment and PoliticsEconomic IssuesAndrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country's current crisis. He took actions that—in combination with many other factors—helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded "kickbacks" to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.

What he did is important—not just because of what it tells us about how we got in this hole, but because of what it says about New York's attorney general, who has been trying for months to don a white hat in the subprime scandal, pursuing cases against banks, appraisers, brokers, rating agencies, and multitrillion-dollar, quasi-public Fannie and Freddie. the rest

Hewitt: A New York State of Mind

"Those Voices Don't Speak for the Rest of Us"

NRO: New Pledge Is Bold -– We'll Take It

AP: GOP 'Pledge' makes closing argument to voters

WSJ: Assessing the ‘Pledge to America’

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Devotional: The most eloquent prayer...

The most eloquent prayer is the prayer through hands that heal and bless. The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless. ...Billy Graham image by Jenny Downing

Episcopal Church asks Pa. bishop to step down

posted September 22, 2010

PHILADELPHIA — Episcopal Church leaders have asked for the resignation of a Pennsylvania bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse by his brother more than 30 years ago.

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church said in a resolution late Tuesday, issued after a meeting in Arizona, that it was asking the Rev. Charles Bennison Jr. to step down as Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

"We have come to the conclusion that Bishop Bennison's capacity to exercise the ministry of pastoral oversight is irretrievably damaged," the statement said. "Therefore, we exhort Charles, our brother in Christ, in the strongest possible terms, to tender his immediate and unconditional resignation as the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania."

Spokeswoman Anne Rudig said the church had not gotten a response from Bennison, who released a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday. the rest

Archbishop Duncan on Cornerstone TV

Discusses E100, Formation of ACNA

Video here

Environmentalism as Religion

Joel Garreau
posted September 22, 2010

Traditional religion is having a tough time in parts of the world. Majorities in most European countries have told Gallup pollsters in the last few years that religion does not “occupy an important place” in their lives. Across Europe, Judeo-Christian church attendance is down, as is adherence to religious prohibitions such as those against out-of-wedlock births. And while Americans remain, on average, much more devout than Europeans, there are demographic and regional pockets in this country that resemble Europe in their religious beliefs and practices.

The rejection of traditional religion in these quarters has created a vacuum unlikely to go unfilled; human nature seems to demand a search for order and meaning, and nowadays there is no shortage of options on the menu of belief. Some searchers syncretize Judeo-Christian theology with Eastern or New Age spiritualism. Others seek through science the ultimate answers of our origins, or dream of high-tech transcendence by merging with machines — either approach depending not on rationalism alone but on a faith in the goodness of what rationalism can offer. the rest

Ecotheologies loosely based on concepts lifted from Hinduism or Buddhism have become popular in some Baby Boomer circles. Neo-pagans cheerfully accept the “tree-hugger” designation and say they were born “green.” And, most strikingly, Christianity has begun to accept environmentalism. Theologians now speak routinely of “stewardship” — a doctrine of human responsibility for the natural world that unites interpretations of Biblical passages with contemporary teachings about social justice.

The Africans are coming

September 22nd, 2010
Chris Sugden
Evangelicals Now October 2010

The second all-African Bishops Conference took place in Entebbe, Uganda from August 23-27. Over 310 Anglican Bishops attended, including 35 from Uganda. When the 150 from Nigeria stood in the opening meeting there were gasps of astonishment.

One theme throughout the conference was that the African Anglican Church was now going to move on to the front foot and actively promote orthodox Christian faith “from everywhere to anywhere”.

They perceive that the Anglican Church in the West has forgotten or abandoned many of the foundations of the Christian gospel that their own people brought to Africa. Out of gratitude the African Anglicans will now take responsibility for bringing that biblical gospel back to the missionary homelands. the rest at Anglican Mainstream

Christian Groups Hail Vote Blocking DADT Repeal

Wed, Sep. 22 2010
By Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter

Christian groups praised the Senate vote on Tuesday that came four votes short of repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

"This is a victory for the men and women who serve our nation in uniform," said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. "At least for now they will not be used to advance a radical social agenda."

Legislation to eliminate the Clinton-era policy barring openly gay individuals from serving in the military was tacked on to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011. Republicans filibustered debate on the bill.

Democrats have vowed to try to pass the legislation later this year, following the fall elections. the rest

House of Bishops Action on Charles Bennison

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs)

[September 21, 2010] The House of Bishop of The Episcopal Church, meeting in Phoenix, AZ, approved the following resolution:

Grace to you and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord. As the bishops of The Episcopal Church, bound by solemn vows to share in the governance of the whole church, guard its unity, and defend those who have no helper, we are committed to safeguarding the dignity of every person entrusted to our care. We are devoted especially to the care of the young, the weak, and those most vulnerable among us. Because of the depth of these commitments, long held among us, we are profoundly troubled by the outcome of the disciplinary action against the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, The Right Reverend Charles E. Bennison, Jr.

In a lengthy judicial process Bishop Bennison was found guilty on two counts of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy during a lengthy judicial process. Subsequently, the Court of Review reversed one count, upheld one count, but vacated the sentence because the statute of limitations had expired. We respect the decision of the Court of Review and we share their disappointment and find the ultimate resolution of this matter unsatisfactory and morally repugnant. The wholly inadequate response of our brother bishop to the sexual assault upon a minor is an inexcusable violation of his ordination vows. We note here two excerpts from the decisions of the ecclesiastical court:
the rest at Titusonenine

'Mourning in America' Recalls Ronald Reagan's Famous Ad

Chris Weber
posted September 22, 2010

In 1984, Ronald Reagan's re-election was helped along by his now-famous series of television ads, which proclaimed it "Morning in America" and struck a sunny, optimistic chord with the electorate.

Now a conservative grassroots lobbying group is invoking Reagan by offering a similar ad, but with a dour twist. Called "Mourning in America," the spot by Citizens for the Republic attacks President Barack Obama's "failed" policies, saying the country is "fading, and weaker, and worse off." the rest

Prince Charles 'talks to trees and plants'

posted September 22, 2010

The Prince of Wales has hit out at critics who refer to him as a "potty" royal but has admitted he talks to trees and plants as if they were his children.

In a remarkably candid interview for a BBC documentary, Prince Charles dismisses suggestions he is "loony" but confesses to lying on the floor at his Highgrove home to eavesdrop on visitors.

During the hour-long programme, he is seen wandering around the extensive grounds of the Gloucestershire estate with gardener Alan Titchmarsh.

According to the News of the World, he tells the presenter: "I got a lot of flak for a lot of things. I mean, bewildered, frankly, as though you were doing something positively evil. I mean potty this, and potty that, loony this and loony that."

But he admits: "I have eavesdropped on what the visitors have said."

He reportedly tells Titchmarsh: "When they're going round outside the windows sometimes you've got to lie on the floor."

And he describes speaking to shrubbery as something which keeps him "relatively sane". "I happily talk to the plants and the trees, and listen to them. I think it's absolutely crucial," he is reported to say.
the rest image

Cathedral bells toll for England’s lost species
...The Church of England is one of the official partners of the UN’s 2010 International Year of Biodiversity...

Animal Rights Fanatic Vlasak: Reduce Humans, Not Mosquitoes
...Once again, a leader of the animal rights movement-albeit on its most radical flank–demonstrates a profound anti humanism that opposes aid to hungry people in Africa as he supports forced abortion and infanticide in China. Amazing.

Big health insurers to stop selling new child-only policies

Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna Inc. and others say they will make the move as soon as Thursday when parts of the new healthcare law take effect. They cite potentially huge and unexpected costs for insuring children.
By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
September 21, 2010

Major health insurance companies in California and other states have decided to stop selling policies for children rather than comply with a new federal healthcare law that bars them from rejecting youngsters with preexisting medical conditions.

Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna Inc. and others will halt new child-only policies in California, Illinois, Florida, Connecticut and elsewhere as early as Thursday when provisions of the nation's new healthcare law take effect, including a requirement that insurers cover children under age 19 regardless of their health histories.

The action will apply only to new coverage sought for children and not to existing child-only plans, family policies or insurance provided to youngsters through their parents' employers. An estimated 80,000 California children currently without insurance — and as many as 500,000 nationwide — would be affected, according to experts. the rest

Bob Woodward book details Obama battles with advisers over exit plan for Afghan war

By Steve Luxenberg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

President Obama urgently looked for a way out of the war in Afghanistan last year, repeatedly pressing his top military advisers for an exit plan that they never gave him, according to secret meeting notes and documents cited in a new book by journalist Bob Woodward.

Frustrated with his military commanders for consistently offering only options that required significantly more troops, Obama finally crafted his own strategy, dictating a classified six-page "terms sheet" that sought to limit U.S. involvement, Woodward reports in "Obama's Wars," to be released on Monday.

According to Woodward's meeting-by-meeting, memo-by-memo account of the 2009 Afghan strategy review, the president avoided talk of victory as he described his objectives. the rest

Woodward's book portrays Obama and the White House as barraged by warnings about the threat of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and confronted with the difficulty in preventing them. During an interview with Woodward in July, the president said, "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger."

Australia: Anglicans reverse earlier call on non-Christian marriages

Anglicans reverse earlier call on non-Christian marriages
Barney Zwartz
September 22, 2010

A MOVE to make it easier for non-Christians to get married in an Anglican church failed yesterday when the clergy at the General Synod reversed their vote from Monday and rejected it.

The synod (national church parliament) voted down a proposal that the church abandon its requirement that at least one partner be already baptised.

Liberals and evangelicals agreed at the synod at Melbourne Grammar that a church wedding provided an opportunity of contact with people who now knew little of church. Opponents, mostly from the church's Catholic wing, argued Christian marriage is a sacrament of the church intended for its members. the rest

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Devotional: The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self...

The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self; the most difficult thing we have to manage is self. Our own daily living, our frames and feelings, our especial weaknesses and temptations, our peculiar temperaments, our inward affairs of every kind—these are the things that perplex and worry us more than anything else, and that brings us most frequently into bondage and darkness. In laying off your burdens therefore, the first one you must get rid of is yourself. You must hand yourself, with your temptations, your temperament, your frames and feeling, and all your inward and outward experiences, over into the care and keeping of your God, and leave it all there. He made you, and therefore He understands you, and knows how to manage you; and you must trust Him to do it. Say to Him, “Here, Lord, I abandon myself to thee. I have tried in every way I could think of to manage myself, and to make myself what I know I ought to be, but have always failed. Now I give it up to thee. Do thou take entire possession of me. Work in me all the good pleasure of thy will. Mold and fashion me into such a vessel as seemeth good to thee. I leave myself in thy hands, and I believe thou wilt, according to thy promise, make me into a vessel unto thy own honor, ‘sanctified and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.’” And here you must rest, trusting yourself thus to Him, continually and absolutely. ...Hannah Whitall Smith image

Algerian Christians under trial for breaking Ramzan fast

Sep 21, 2010

AIN EL HAMMAM: Two Algerian Christians were tried on Tuesday for breaking Ramadan fasting rules, with hundreds of people protesting outside the courtroom against judicial authorities.

Hocine Hocini and Salem Fellak were arrested on August 13 on the building site where they worked in the northern region of Kabylie after they were spotted eating lunch, which they admit to doing but insist happened in a discreet place.

Muslims are not allowed to eat during daylight hours during the Ramadan holy month, and in Algeria breaking the fast can be punished with three months in jail. the rest

A.S. Haley: On Serving Two Masters: Part VII of "The Runaway Train"

"No servant can serve two masters."
--Luke 16:13 (from Sunday's Gospel reading)

In the introduction to this series, I sketched the background of the question it would be addressing, by reviewing the rules of legal ethics which govern an attorney who represents dual clients. The rules require that both clients give their "informed consent" to such dual representation, or else the attorney is disbarred from representing either. Such informed consent entails that the clients understand the kind of conflicts that could arise from having the same attorney represent their individual, but varying, interests which are at stake. When the interests or goals of the individual clients clash with one another, or each demand priority, then once again, the ethical rules command that the attorney withdraw from the dual representation. And because of the confidentiality gained from representing both clients together, the attorney is thereafter precluded from representing either client further. An attorney may serve two masters, but only for as long as those two masters are in complete agreement, and have an identity of interests.

The current Presiding Bishop's Chancellor, Mr. David Booth Beers, began by representing the Presiding Bishop (originally, Bishop Griswold, and now Bishop Jefferts Schori). That original representation had to do exclusively with clergy disciplinary matters under Title IV of the Church Canons, and with the role of the Presiding Bishop in the House of Bishops and at General Convention.

Beginning in 2001 (and perhaps earlier -- but certainly in 2001, and continuously thereafter), however, the representation began to expand into litigation involving the whole Church. The unincorporated association of dioceses which constitutes the Episcopal Church (USA) was at first named as a defendant in the All Saints Waccamaw litigation in South Carolina, but soon thereafter it began appearing as a plaintiff, the instigator of a lawsuit. However, none of the lawsuits so instituted by "the Episcopal Church" was ever approved by all, or even a majority, of the Church's member dioceses -- they were simply filed at the direction of the Presiding Bishop.

This might not have become an issue if it had remained a matter of just one or two lawsuits. But as we have seen in the preceding posts in this series, the lawsuits have multiplied in number until the Church is now a plaintiff in more than two dozen of them across the country. Their total cost to the Church is in the tens of millions of dollars. the rest image

"I would submit that no organization can long continue in its mission once it has been so hijacked from its purpose, and bent toward satisfying the personal agenda of just one of its leaders. The failure to insist on accountability, unfortunately, is like a pernicious disease: the less accountability there is, the more the structure is weakened, and the less likely that any accountability will be exercised until it is far too late."

Twitter suffers attack by 'mouseover bug'

Washington, DC
Sep 21 2010

Twitter came under attack on Tuesday as hackers exploited a security flaw to wreak havoc on the micro-blogging service.

Computer security firms said thousands of users, or more, were affected by the bug, which appears to send out or "re-tweet" messages simply by rolling over an infected link with the computer mouse.

Those hit by the bug included Sarah Brown, the wife of the former British prime minister who has over one million followers on Twitter, and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. the rest

Rwanda: Anglicans Get New Archbishop

Eugene Mutara
21 September 2010

Kigali — THE House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Rwanda has elected the Bishop of Byumba Diocese, Onesphore Rwaje, as the replacement of the Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, who retires in January next year.

Archbishop-elect Rwaje will also relocate to Kigali where he will head a newly established Gasabo Diocese.

He was elected by 10 bishops during a retreat last weekend which was chaired by the Archbishop of Burundi, Bernard Ntahoturi. Also present was Bishop Charles H. Murphy from USA who oversees Rwandan Anglican missionary outreach in America.

Kolini, who will, on December 12, 2010, hand over the leadership of Kigali Diocese to Bishop Louis Muvunyi, has served as the Archbishop of Rwanda for the past 12 years. the rest image

Britain Gobsmacked by Pope Benedict

Monday September 20, 2010
By Hilary White

( – While anti-Catholic, secularist and homosexualist activists, with generous help from the media, have spent most of the last year attempting to derail the papal visit, the smart money was always on Benedict XVI taking every fight without breaking a sweat. And when the bell rang, and the eyes of the world were trained on the little island ring, it became clear from the first moment that Benedict’s opponents were hopelessly outclassed.

From the first moments of the trip, while his plane was in the air, it was clear that Benedict knew exactly what he was doing. He pre-empted much of the criticism over Vatican handling of the sex abuse scandals by issuing, again, a strong statement expressing his personal shame and sorrow, but indicated, at the same time, that he was well-prepared and unafraid. the rest

The Amazing College Debt Bubble

Teaching One Student Costs Only $1,456 A Year?
September 20, 2010
By Andrew Gillen

News that student loan debt, at $830 billion, exceeded credit card debt for the first time has sparked renewed interest in the financing of college and its implications for students. Largely ignored in the discussion, however, is the shadow debt, which consists of unorthodox methods of borrowing for college, including home equity loans and lines of credit, retirement account loans, credit card debt, and run-of-the-mill bank loans. Because these borrowing instruments often have many alternative uses, we have to rely on surveys to determine how much of the total amount borrowed in each category is devoted to paying for college. The most comprehensive such survey is conducted by Sallie Mae and Gallup. Their findings indicate that shadow debt adds just under $30 billion to the annual borrowing for higher education (see this link for more details on the calculation)...

...This heavy debt load is causing much suffering, and whenever there is suffering, it is tempting to blame it on some easily vilified scapegoat. The for-profits seem to be serving that function these days, and while they are by no means blameless, there is plenty of blame to spread around.

First up are students and parents. While earlier generations that paid only a few hundred dollars a semester can perhaps be forgiven for continuing to believe that college is a nearly risk-free decision financially, today's students do not have that luxury. Exploding tuition and the related horror stories about crushing debt loads appear regularly in the media. Yet students and parents largely ignore these warnings. The views that more (formal) education is almost always a good thing and that the loans needed to finance it are "good debt" since it is an investment are both widespread and contribute to the problem. While true to an extent, these views can be and are being carried too far by some, blinding some individuals to the dangers of debt. the rest image by Will Hart

Confession To Pastor Not Privileged After Warning That Authorities Would Be Told

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In a Montana trail court decision handed down in May and just now becoming available on LEXIS, the court refused to suppress evidence of a confession by defendant made to a pastor of Faith Chapel. Defendant Jeffrey Hardman came to the pastor before going to police to turn himself in, telling the pastor that he was fearful whether God could forgive him for the mistakes he made including his responsibility for the death of Michael Blattie when defendant's gun discharged in a fight with Blattie. In State v. Hardman, 2010 Mont. Dist. LEXIS 209 (MT Dist. Ct., May 21, 2010), the court concluded that the pastor's report to police of the confession was admissible because the pastor told defendant before he began to confess that if he was disclosing anything illegal the pastor was obligated to notify authorities. The court concluded that the confession's confidentiality was not protected by the church's "course of discipline" and that in any event Hardman's making of the confession after being warned that the pastor would go to authorities amounted to a waiver of the privilege under Montana law for confessions made to clergy "in the individual's professional character in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the individual belongs."

Religion Clause blog

Euthanasia: An Obsession of the Very Few

Monday, September 20, 2010
Wesley J. Smith

I have fought against assisted suicide/euthanasia since 1993 with as much energy and imagination as I possess. The issue matters a lot to me. I think stopping the death agenda is crucial to maintaining an equal and truly compassionate society.

It is also very important to people like Barbara Coombs Lee, the head of Compassion and Choices, and C & C’s funders, such as the subversive (in my view) George Soros. They believe that legalizing doctor prescribed suicide is a matter of liberty–and yes, compassion.

But other than the relatively few of us who struggle in the public policy arena on both sides of the issue, I have come to understand–and it shocked me when I came to this realization–that most people don’t really care one way or the other. In fact, it doesn’t even appear on the issues that concern most people. the rest

New initiative sheds light on pornography's impact on families

Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010
By Sarah Jane Weaver
Deseret News

Jill C. Manning, a marriage and family therapist in Colorado who testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on the harms of pornography in 2005, said when a North American woman — who views herself as her husband's equal — learns he has been viewing multiple images of other women, it is a sexual, emotional and spiritual betrayal.

"We have ceremonies called weddings that give witness to the exclusivity of that relationship," Manning said. "We are to cherish and honor one another. The sexual relationship is the one thing that makes that relationship different than any other relationship."

She said pornography use is not just a bad habit, but something that has systemic rippling effects.

"We know that pornography is intricately linked to organized crime, prostitution, sex trade, sex tourism and it forms an evil web of oppression and abuse and crime that too often we don't discuss because we're uncomfortable associating — linking — this pornography use to those wider spheres of effect," Manning said. the rest

A generation gap in understanding porn of today
This is the second article in a series on pornography and its impact on women.

Australia: Anglicans say "I don't" to marriage Canon changes

Tuesday, 21 Sep 2010
by Jane Still

Voting confusion dominated the final decision to oppose moves to change the requirements of marriage in the Anglican Church. Currently at least one member of a couple wishing ot marry in the Anglican church in Australia must be baptised. An amendment before the General Synod would have seen this requirement removed.

An unusual procedural move at the sitting of the church's national parliament saw the matter voted on twice, after a vote rejecting the amendment on Monday was thrown into doubt when some members of the House of Bishops were reportedly confused about voting procedure. Today the General Synod again rejected the amendment, this time in the House of Clergy.

The Provisional Canon to amend the Solemnization of Matrimony Canon 1981 was sent to all the Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia after the 2007 sitting of General Synod. The majority of dioceses around the country have since assented to the canon, a fact that Bishop Glenn Davies (Sydney) brought to the floor when urging the General Synod to give its final approval to the Canon. the rest

Monday, September 20, 2010

Devotional: Many say they have no peace nor rest...

Many say they have no peace nor rest, but so many crosses and trials, afflictions and sorrows, that they know not how they shall ever get through them. Now he who in truth will perceive and take note, perceiveth clearly that true peace and rest lie not in outward things. There liveth no man on earth who may always have rest and peace without troubles and crosses. Wherefore yield thyself willingly to them, and seek only that true peace of the heart, which none can take away from thee, that thou mayest overcome all assaults. ...Theologia Germanica
image by Horia Varlan

Freemasons Dedicate Trinity Episcopal Church Cornerstone

Chapel will reopen Dec. 5.
By Michelle Walbaum
posted September 20, 2010

Cranford, NJ-When renovations started at Trinity Episcopal Church, parishioners carried hymnals and several copies of the Book of Common Prayer out of the main chapel into an adjacent hall to make way for construction crews.

And when the newly renovated sanctuary reopens on Dec. 5, the congregation will do the opposite, said the Rev. Gina Walsh-Minor. To celebrate the new chapel, the congregation will walk to the sanctuary in a procession, carrying these books and returning them to their original positions.

Yesterday around 100 members of the congregation watched a cornerstone-laying ceremony at the newly renovated sanctuary, performed by state freemasons. the rest

The Electronic Pearl Harbor

by Ryan Mauro
Sep 20th, 2010

Presages about the defeat or even the destruction of the U.S. by terrorists and rogue leaders are usually dismissed as bombastic rhetoric or self-induced illusions. The West’s enemies, however, are working towards the means to make their prophecies come true. Electro-Magnetic Pulse attacks with nuclear weapons detonated at high altitude and cyber warfare can enable ostensibly weak adversaries to deliver a crippling blow far greater than 9/11.

The discussion about nuclear terrorism generally focuses on the potential for a bomb to be set off on the ground or at low-altitude with a ballistic missile. Such an event would kill hundreds of thousands of people and cause trillions in damage, but would not paralyze the country. However, detonating a nuclear weapon at high-altitude can do much greater damage. The explosion at a high-altitude sets off what is called an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) that can fry all electronic devices for hundreds or thousands of miles depending upon where it happens.

The Congressional EMP Threat Commission, chaired by Dr. William Graham, the former science advisor to President Reagan, concluded that the threat is not fantasy. “I’d have to say that 70 to 90 percent of the population would not be sustainable after this kind of attack,” Graham said. He describes post-EMP life as “something you might imagine life to be like around the late 1800s but with several times the population we had in those days, and without the ability of the country to support and sustain all those people.” the rest image

Papal Message to Bishops

"It Has Become Clear to Me How Deep a Thirst There Is" for the Good News
SEPT 19, 2010

( Here is the address that Benedict XVI gave today to the bishops of England, Scotland and Wales, gathered at St. Mary's Seminary.

Following this meeting, the Holy Father left for Birmingham International Airport, drawing to a close his four-day trip to the United Kingdom. the rest

The other matter I touched upon in February with the Bishops of England and Wales, when I asked you to be generous in implementing the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. This should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all. Let us continue to pray and work unceasingly in order to hasten the joyful day when that goal can be accomplished.

Women, Abortion, and the Brain

Women are hard-wired for relationships—and a woman’s relationship to her baby is one of the most powerful of all, whether she realizes it or not. The hard-wiring of the brain may explain many women’s disturbing post-abortion feelings.
by Evelyn Birge Vitz and
Paul C. Vitz
September 20, 2010

This past semester, in a course taught by one of us at New York University, the class spent considerable time reading women’s stories about their abortions, focusing particularly on a website called This website was founded by a pro-choice woman and on it no mention of politics, religion, or morality is allowed. The website contains thousands of women’s stories about their abortions—and about their post-abortion feelings. And many of these women are in acute pain; some are almost totally incapacitated. One writes in a post: “I am not coping at all; I feel as though the top of my head is going to fly off.” Another says: “I am just grieving like crazy!” A third: “I don’t understand why I am not getting better, but worse all the time! I am so depressed!” (Stories on this website are protected by copyright, and it is not permitted to quote directly from them. Quotations provided here are therefore faithful rewordings.)

Many of these women cannot go outside for fear of “triggers”—the sight or sound of things that will bring back the abortion experience and cause panic attacks. Triggers include the sound of a vacuum cleaner (many abortions are done by the vacuuming out of the fetus from the uterus) or the music that was playing at the abortion clinic while the abortion was being performed. The sight of pregnant women, or maternity clothes, or babies, or toddlers, or school-children, or of the place (even the neighborhood or town) where the abortion took place can all serve as triggers. Other triggers are anniversaries of all kinds, especially of the abortion and of the EBD (expected birth date), and, in particular, Mother’s Day. the rest image

What is particularly striking is that most of the women who have these powerful emotional reactions to their abortion are stunned by them. They were not opposed to abortion; many were actively pro-choice. They were blind-sided by their own reaction. One woman lamented—and thousands of others echo her mystified anguish—“If this was the right decision, why do I feel so terrible?”

Bishop's return puts church in a quandary

Sun, Sep. 19, 2010
By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

The pews were filling at Boothwyn's Trinity Episcopal Church last Sunday when the rector and vicar found themselves in a quandary.

Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. was making his first parish visit in the Diocese of Pennsylvania since 2007, when he was suspended for ignoring his brother's sex abuse of a teen girl decades ago. Acquitted by a church appeals court over the summer, he was back in charge. the rest


New bishop picked for Episcopal diocese

Sep 18, 2010

The Rev. Daniel H. Martins was chosen as the 11th bishop-elect of the Springfield Episcopal Diocese after the third ballot Saturday.

Martins received 38 clergy and 42 laity ballots in the third round of voting, needing 25 and 38 in each respective category to be bishop-elect. However, the process is far from finalized.

“There is a process, which is in our constitution and canon, that he now goes through the consent process,” said the Rev. Christopher Ashmore, rector of Trinity Church in Jacksonville.

The process calls for a majority of U.S. bishops and Standing Committees to consent to the vote during a 120-day period following Martins’ election, Ashmore said.

Martins may have difficulty getting consent if he sticks with his conservative views on same-sex unions and gay clergy. the rest

Virtueonline: Daniel Martins Elected XI Bishop of Springfield on 3rd ballot

ENS: Diocese of Springfield elects Daniel Hayden Martins as 11th bishop

Priest from Colorado Springs pleads no contest to theft

By Electa Draper
The Denver Post

Pueblo special prosecutor Stephen Jones announced Friday that former Episcopal priest Donald Armstrong, ex-pastor of Grace Church in Colorado Springs, has entered a "no-contest" plea to felony theft in exchange for a deferred judgment and sentence.

Armstrong, 61, indicted by a 4th Judicial District grand jury in 2009 on 20 counts of felony theft, was accused of embezzling almost $300,000 from church and trust funds over eight years to pay for his two children's college. the rest

Titusonenine: Parish Response to Father Don Armstrong’s Plea Agreement
...In preparation for the now canceled trial we have become convinced even more strongly that controversies within the larger denominational church were the catalyst for the Diocese's investigation and complaint, for the purpose of silencing our bold and successful defense of orthodoxy through our parish's life, discipline, and teaching ministry.

We believe that the courts are not the place to deal with theological differences, and that to have allowed this dispute to continue to be played out in the news by going to trial would have served only to diminish all Christian witness. With this plea offer now in place such further harm to the entire church in this already difficult age for Christianity will be prevented...

Obamas Join Worship Service at Episcopal Church

Mon, Sep. 20 2010
By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter

President Barack Obama and his family made a rare appearance at church on Sunday. The first family attended Sunday morning service at St. John's Church.

With daughters Malia and Sasha, Obama and his wife, Michelle, strolled across Lafayette Square to join an hourlong service at the nearby Episcopal church.

It was the first time in months that the president worshipped in public. the rest