Friday, October 08, 2010

Red dragonflies in the backyard...

This afternoon-a beautiful autumn day in Syracuse by the way-I noticed about a dozen or more red dragonflies flitting about the backyard. They were particularly interested in the little clouds of midges that dance in the bright shafts of afternoon sunlight. A tasty evening meal for them I presume. A few of them landed on the leaves of our small raised bed tomato/pepper garden. Raymond was able to capture a few pictures. Herschel was only mildly interested.-PD





(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Gallup Finds U.S. Unemployment at 10.1% in September

Underemployment, at 18.8%, is up from 18.6% at the end of August
October 7, 2010
by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist

PRINCETON, NJ -- Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, increased to 10.1% in September -- up sharply from 9.3% in August and 8.9% in July. Much of this increase came during the second half of the month -- the unemployment rate was 9.4% in mid-September -- and therefore is unlikely to be picked up in the government's unemployment report on Friday.

the rest

If Jefferts Schori is at meeting, I won’t come, says Primate

Church Times
by a staff reporter
8 October, 2010

PRIMATES from the Global South are contemplating a boycott of the next Primates’ Meeting because the US Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, will be present.

The Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, the Most Revd Ian Ernest, has confirmed that he will not attend the meeting, due to take place in Dublin, 25-31 January.

Archbishop Ernest said last week that he had written to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the summer to convey his distress at the election in the United States of the Rt Revd Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as Bishop of Los Angeles. He had urged Dr Williams to exclude Dr Jefferts Schori from future Primates’ Meet­ings.

“There were conditions attached in that letter,” he said last week, “and I can confirm I will not attend if those conditions are not fulfilled.”

Dr Jefferts Schori has already confirmed that she will attend the meeting. the rest

Church college teaches sex-in-dorm etiquette

'You want to put the hat on the door?' 'Not a bad idea'
October 06, 2010
By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., proclaims on its website that it is "a church-related, residential liberal arts college firmly rooted in its Swedish and Lutheran heritage" and its core values are excellence, community, justice, service and faith.

But one senior is wondering just where in those values he can fit a presentation to incoming freshmen that introduces them to the etiquette of having sex in dorm rooms without being interrupted by roommates and a "lesbian" who proclaims, "I like sex. No, I love sex" and tells students, "I am normal."

The issue has been raised by student Phil Cleary on his Gustavus.campusreform.org website, where he has posted several videos captured at the 2010 orientation for freshman in the class of 2014. the rest (picture by R. Dague)

What happens to the babies who survive “Ella”?



Story

Christianity is the most persecuted religion, say European bishops

By Mark Greaves
Thursday, 7 October 2010

Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, according to a European commission of Catholic bishops.

A report issued this week by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) said that at least three-quarters of all religious persecution was directed at Christians.

In the report the bishops urged the European Union to apply more pressure to countries around the world that failed to protect the religious freedom of their citizens. the rest

Islamic numbers, influence surging
'Situation really bad for Christians where Muslims are now in the majority in Europe'
October 07, 2010
By Michael Carl

Muslims are taking over parts of the world into which they move simply by outnumbering the previous residents, concludes a new study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Study coordinator Brian Grim says that of the estimated 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, most are South Asian, largely in India and Indonesia. The second largest Muslim group comes from the Middle East.

But in other parts of the world, such as Western Europe and America, they also are wielding increasing influence, and Grim says it's simply a flexing of their power through outnumbering other groups. the rest

Vatican synod mulls Middle East Christian exodus

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
Thu Oct 7, 2010

PARIS (Reuters) - With Christianity dwindling in its Middle Eastern birthplace, Pope Benedict has convened Catholic bishops from the region to debate how to save its minority communities and promote harmony with their Muslim neighbors.

For two weeks starting on Sunday, the bishops will discuss problems for the faithful ranging from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and strife in Iraq to radical Islamism, economic crisis and the divisions among the region's many Christian churches.

They come from local churches affiliated with the Vatican, but the relentless exodus of all Christians -- Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants -- has prompted them to take a broad look at the challenges facing all followers of Jesus there.

While conditions for Christians vary from country to country, the overall picture is dramatic. Christians made up around 20 percent of the region's population a century ago, but now account for about five percent and falling. the rest

Christians in Middle East much more than a numbers game

Pro-life Lobby Soundly Defeats EU Attack on Conscience in Dramatic Reversal

By Hilary White
ROME, October 7, 2010

(LifeSiteNews.com) – An attempt to erase the conscience rights of EU health care workers has been soundly defeated at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) this evening. In a vote of 56 to 51, the PACE rejected the proposal of Christine McCafferty, a British politician and abortion activist, to “regulate” conscientious objectors to abortion across Europe.

The McCafferty Report, titled “Women’s access to lawful medical care: the problem of unregulated use of conscientious objection,” had been identified by pro-life advocates as the latest in a string of EU and PACE efforts to establish abortion as a universal human right.

As of tonight, Resolution 1763, re-titled “The right to conscientious objection in lawful medical care,” instead of creating a requirement for doctors to participate in abortion, actually affirms their right to refuse. The provisional edition published tonight reads, “No person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion, the performance of a human miscarriage, or euthanasia or any act which could cause the death of a human foetus or embryo, for any reason.”

Irish senator Ronan Mullen and Luca Volonte of Italy, led the assembly in passing a series of amendments which totally reversed the thrust of the report. The changes forced McCafferty and other pro-abortion Assembly members to vote against their own proposal. the rest

Egypt Christians say intolerance grows, close ranks

By Sarah Mikhail
CAIRO
Thu Oct 7, 2010

CAIRO (Reuters) - Minarets and church towers mingle on Cairo's skyline, but tensions mar Egypt's record of religious coexistence and a perception of growing intolerance is leading some Christians to shun their Muslim compatriots.

Amira Helmy, from a middle-class area of the capital, was brought up by a Muslim neighbour after her mother died and attended a state school alongside Muslim children.

"Most of my friends were Muslims. We used to go on outings together and some would call to me from below my house so we could walk to school," recalls Helmy with a smile.

Now a housewife in her 40s, she sends her daughter Christine and son Kirollos to a private Christian school and forbids them from mingling with Muslim children to protect them from insults. the rest

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Devotional: Distinguish between the fact of God's presence...

Distinguish between the fact of God's presence, and the emotion of the fact. It is a happy thing when the soul seems desolate and deserted, if our faith can say, "I see Thee not. I feel Thee not, but Thou art certainly and graciously here, where I am as I am." Say it again and again: "thou art here: though the bush does not seem to burn with fire, it does burn. I will take the shoes from off my feet, for the place on which I stand is holy ground. ...Streams In The Desert image

Christ Church Plano Making Canonical Transfer to ACNA

October 6th, 2010
Fr. David Roseberry

Dear Friends,

Today I have an important announcement about our affiliation with the Anglican world. Since our departure from the Episcopal Church in 2006, the Vestry of Christ Church and our clergy have been careful to stay connected to the larger Anglican world through our bishops. We have been affiliated with the AMiA (Anglican Mission in the Americas) since January of 2007. It has been a very happy relationship. We have been well served and, by God’s Grace, we (our church and its clergy) have been able to make significant contributions to its mission and ministry. It has been a blessing to be there.

In the summer of 2009, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) was born. Representatives of all the Anglican bodies within U.S. and Canada attended a conference in Bedford and launched the beginnings of a new “proto-Province” within the Anglican Communion. Then, as many here would remember, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan was instituted as the new Archbishop of the ACNA at Christ Church. Those who attended would surely agree with me: It was one of the finest moments I can remember at Christ Church.

It was at this Investiture that Anglican1000 was born. At this Investiture, the world “saw” the fullness of this new fledgling movement. There were dozens of bishops, hundreds of clergy, and still hundreds more laity. Many of us were weeping for joy to be part of a new united work that God was doing in our North America. the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

Obama Adm. blocked scientists on spill estimate

By DINA CAPPIELLO
posted Oct. 7, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration blocked efforts by government scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could become and committed other missteps that raised questions about its competence and candor during the crisis, according to a commission appointed by the president to investigate the disaster.

In documents released Wednesday, the national oil spill commission's staff describes "not an incidental public relations problem" by the White House in the wake of the April 20 accident.

Among other things, the report says, the administration made erroneous early estimates of the spill's size, and President Barack Obama's senior energy adviser went on national TV and mischaracterized a government analysis by saying it showed most of the oil was "gone." The analysis actually said it could still be there. the rest image-NASA

The Puzzling Decline in Abortions

Researchers Debate: Is Contraception the Cause?
by STEVE WEATHERBE
REGISTER CORRESPONDENT
10/05/2010

MOSCOW — Abortion is declining in some countries around the world, and the statistics are startling in some places.

In Russia, whose population is apparently in a death spiral, for example, the abortion rate has fallen from 126.6 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 1988 to 38 in 2008 (1.2 million abortions).

With United Nations demographers predicting the nation’s population will shrink by 23 million in the next 40 years, after falling 11 million over the past 16 years, the government of Vladimir Putin has offered $11,000 grants to families who have two children. Some regions of the vast country made Sept. 12 “Family Contact Day,” urging couples to stay home and do their best to make children. the rest

Woman Injured While 'Resting in the Spirit'

Wednesday, October 06, 2010
By CHRIS COUGHLIN

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CN) - A woman says she suffered traumatic brain injuries and lost her sense of smell and taste after falling over backwards while "resting in the spirit" at a Catholic Charismatic Revival healing service. She sued the Hartford Diocese in Superior Court.

Dorothy Kubala says the accident happened while Fr. Robert Rousseau was "performing a healing service for members of the general public" at the St. Augustine Church in North Branford in January 2009.

Kubala says she "approached the altar, was prayed over, and 'Rested in the Spirit,' causing her to fall backwards and hit the floor with the back of her head." the rest

Hospitality Sweet

One of the forgotten keys to the dynamic worship of God.
Carolyn Arends
10/06/2010

On a recent family vacation, we stayed with two sets of friends. We spent the first night in a small prairie town, in the lovely but simple home of some fellow musicians who fed us hamburgers and offered us a hide-a-bed. The second night we spent visiting the gorgeous, new urban house of wealthier friends who fed us organic roast and outfitted the guest bed with 1,000-thread-count sheets. In both places, the hospitality was extraordinary. Both hosts thought of what we needed before we did—clean towels, snacks for the road. Although the resources were quite different, the spirit was wonderfully the same. We felt so at home both nights that we talked into the wee hours about things that mattered, including our jobs, our families, and our churches.

I've attended some 2,000 church services in my lifetime, both as a church member and as a guest musician at a wide variety of gatherings across North America. I've participated in many different approaches to "doing" church.

We've sung from hymnals, songbooks, and PowerPoint slides with slick video backgrounds. We've been accompanied by choirs, folk singers, and rock bands. We've heard preaching from ministers in robes, suits, and graphic tees. We've met in cathedrals, sanctuaries, gymnasiums, and living rooms. We've read formal liturgies and followed the unspoken liturgies of a particular church's service format. Almost always, we have taken an offering. the rest image

The common characteristic that I least expected? Hospitality.

Green Supremacists

An environmentalist fantasy of violent totalitarianism.
By JAMES TARANTO
OCTOBER 5, 2010

What kind of people blow up children?

White supremacists, for one example. On the morning of Sept. 15, 1963, members of a Ku Klux Klan "splinter group" set off dynamite under the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., killing four girls: Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley. Denise was 11; the other three were 14.

Islamic supremacists, for another example. Groups like Hamas and al Qaeda not only attack civilians indiscriminately but frequently employ Muslim children as suicide bombers. Our friend Brooke Goldstein made a whole movie about it.

There's a new kind of supremacist on the scene: green supremacists. They haven't blown up any children--not in real life. But they've been thinking about it.

A British outfit called the 10:10 Campaign hired Richard Curtis, a writer and producer of cinematic comedies, to produce a four-minute video promoting its effort to encourage people to cut "carbon emissions." The result, titled "No Pressure," struck James Delingpole, a global-warming skeptic who writes for London's Daily Telegraph, as "deliciously, unspeakably, magnificently bleeding awful." He's being too kind.
the rest

Couple Urged Surrogate Mother to Abort

‘There’s So Many Basic Things Wrong Here’
Wednesday October 6, 2010
By Patrick B. Craine
VANCOUVER, British Columbia

(LifeSiteNews.com) - More light has been shed on the web of legal and moral dilemmas surrounding artificial reproduction this week after a B.C. fertility doctor revealed a dispute between a couple and their surrogate over the couple’s desire to abort their baby. The National Post reports that the parents had discovered through a first trimester ultrasound that the child likely had Down syndrome.

The surrogate, a mother of two, initially disagreed with the parents and decided to give birth to the child; however, she eventually decided to abort, according to the Post. The parties had signed an agreement saying that the parents would not be responsible for their child should the woman carry the pregnancy to term against the parents’ wishes. the rest

“There’s so many basic things wrong here,” Shea told LifeSiteNews.com. He insisted that the conceived child has “the ultimate right from God Himself to be allowed to be born.” “Any of the shenanigans that go on between the would-be parents and this woman [the surrogate] is an irrelevancy,” he said. “The moral law is the moral law.”

Health vote haunts anti-abortion Democrats

By SARAH KLIFF
10/6/10

On a chilly January morning in Erie, Pa., members of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List stood outside Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper’s office to thank her for opposing a health care bill that didn’t include stringent abortion restrictions.

Ten months later, Dahlkemper and other anti-abortion Democrats are at risk of becoming an endangered species in the House. the rest

Working-class whites shun Dems

Homeschoolers Leave Sweden under Pressure and Protest

September 30, 2010

The Pettersson family (names changed to protect privacy) has been traveling across Europe for the last nine months, staying temporarily with relatives and living as visitors in foreign lands. Despite having submitted the appropriate paperwork to homeschool legally in Sweden, this family is one of many who have encountered persecution from the Scandinavian state heralded as a “social utopia.” Now one year since their local school began to fight them tooth and nail simply for choosing to teach their children at home, this HSLDA member family has made the difficult decision to leave their homeland for good.

Although homeschool families in Sweden have endured threats, stiff fines, continuous court battles, and the possibility of their children being removed from the home, the Pettersson family is among the first to flee the country. The family is working to sell their home and move their belongings from afar. Lynn Pettersson, mother to five, explains, “I am very concerned to go back to my home in Sweden because at the moment the Swedish authorities like to kidnap homeschooled kids,” referencing the state-sanctioned removal of 8-year-old Dominic Johansson from his parents more than a year ago.

It is distressing that Sweden has begun to mimic the repressive actions of Germany, its neighbor to the south. Many German families have been forced to flee intense persecution in recent years and have settled in European countries such as Austria, France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, where parents are free to choose the form of education that is best for their children. In a significant victory, the German Romeike family was granted political asylum in the United States in January 2010. The USA may well become a haven for Swedish families, too. the rest

Archbishop Chaput: : The Catholic Role in America after Virtue

posted October 7, 2010
by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Archbishop Chaput delivered the following remarks to the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars on Sunday, Sept. 26.

Excerpt:
Augustine believed that political action and public service could be worthy Christian paths, so long as they’re guided by the Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity, and a humble awareness of human limits. So it would be bracing to imagine his thoughts about America in 2010 – a nation where politics often seems dominated by market research, judicial activism, the ascendency of positive law, lobbying, the vast expense of campaigning, simplified messaging, the complexity of government structures, party tribalism, and a dumbing down of the electorate.

American democracy needs an intelligent, reasoning citizenry; persons with free will and the maturity to use it. Yet American students now often fail to compete in global comparisons because of failures in public education. As Daniel Boorstin warned almost 50 years ago, technological changes in our mass media – in the ways we deliver information – have had other, unintended consequences. Technology has modified the tools and the “language” of our public discourse, and therefore the way Americans think, feel and act. To put it another way, America was created and sustained by a print culture. It’s really not clear how well its institutions and traditions can survive in an electronic, image-oriented technologically transformed world. the rest

Obama’s Clever Use of Catholics
It seems that Obama is seen more and more frequently with Catholics and that an increasing number of Catholics are confused about their faith. Where is the leadership, and should they not be doing something about this?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Devotional: Jesus Christ, the eternal Son...

For those of us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ, the quest of the ages is over. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, came to dwell among us, being "the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being." For us, I say, the quest is over because God has now revealed Himself to us. What Jesus is, the Father is. Whoever looks on the Lord Jesus Christ looks upon all of God. ...AW Tozer image

Australia: Aborted babies 'being left to die'

Barney Zwartz
October 7, 2010

BABIES that are surviving late-term abortions at Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital might be being left on shelves to die, according to an Anglican minister.

Dr Mark Durie, minister of St Mary's Caulfield, said staff were finding it hard to cope with a reported six-fold increase in late-term abortions at the Women's since abortion was decriminalised in Victoria two years ago. He said because conscientious objection by medical staff was now illegal, the hospital could employ only people who endorsed late-term abortions.

Dr Durie is bringing a motion about late-term abortion to the annual Anglican synod, which opened in Melbourne last night. the rest

Does Stuxnet Mean Cyberwar?

If so, are we ready?
By Lee Smith
October 4, 2010

If it’s still unclear exactly what the Stuxnet worm was meant to target, it’s possible that we won’t entirely understand the consequences of this now notorious malware attack for many years to come. Maybe it will turn out that Stuxnet was little more than the over-hyped tech version of the recent hurricane that left a path of destruction everywhere it touched down over large parts of Asia – or maybe we’ll see that it ushered in a new era whose anxieties and terrors surpassed the most maudlin and morose predictions of futurists and Hollywood directors. the rest

The advantage in cyberwar goes not necessarily to those who have the most money and manpower, but to those who are most capable of surprise, improvisation and cunning, a few of the qualities that distinguish Israel’s elite combat units.


Euro-socialists want to shut down hospitals opposed to abortion and euthanasia.

It's time to stop them
By Cristina Odone
October 6th, 2010

Socialists at the Council of Europe (yes, the same entity that brought you the European Convention on Human Rights) have been very busy lately. A Ms Carina Hagg of the Swedish Socialist Group and Ms Christine McCafferty of the UK Socialist Group are scheming to name and shame conscientious objectors in the medical profession who refuse to carry out abortions, hand out birth control devices or engage in euthanasia. McCafferty even suggests that European governments should set up a register of those who will not cut their conscience to suit the fashion of secular socialists.

Conscience, once regarded as a positive asset, is seen by today’s Euro-socialists as a bigot’s charter to block abortion, birth control and euthanasia. Conscientious objection may be a universal human right under international law, but the right to medical intervention – even when it is to end life rather than sustain it – trumps faith every time.

This is dogma, and it is deadly. Conscientious objectors are not fanatics who want to force their religious views down others’ throats: their principled stands often protect the vulnerable, from the octagenarian to the unborn child. the rest

Can the Instruments of Unity Be Repaired?

Written by Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner
Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

When the turmoil surrounding Gene Robinson’s consent and consecration arose in 2003, everyone knew that the Anglican Communion was in for some rough times. But even more pessimistic observers believed that these times would be relatively limited, and that somehow the Communion would muddle towards some stabilizing resolution. Few could have imagined how quickly and how completely the organizations that held the Communion together would fragment and crumble. Yet this is where we have arrived: a seemingly single incident in one small corner of the global church’s reach has managed to unravel centuries of common bonds and shared witness to Christ.

At this point, all the so-called Instruments of the Unity for the Anglican Communion are broken, some, it seems to me, beyond any hope of repair. What can be done about this? The four Instruments – the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and the Primates’ Meeting (in order of their founding) – have each, in different ways and together, been key means by which Anglicans around the world, drawn from their various migrational and missionary origins, have grown into a vital communion of churches. And this Communion has been characterized by elements unique, admired, and even desired still by many non-Anglican Christians. With the demise of the Instruments of Unity, the question of the Anglican Communion’s survival and vocation is necessarily raised.

I will discuss the status of each Instrument today; then ask what we have learned from these Instruments’ collapse; finally, I will address the question of what we can do about any of this. the rest

Canada: Restructuring announced at General Synod offices

Cuts to infrastructure aimed at achieving balanced budget for 2011
By Leigh Anne Williams
October 06, 2010

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, met with General Synod staff today to discuss major infrastructure changes made to achieve a balanced budget for 2011.

Fourteen staff positions have been affected. Ten positions have been eliminated. Six people received lay-off notices, while others have been offered different or new jobs. Further details about how the cuts will affect each department will not be made public until the staff involved have had time to decide whether they want the new position they have been offered…or the severance. Every General Synod department has been affected to some degree.

The cuts are in keeping with a 2009 decision that deficit budgeting be eliminated by 2012. While cost-cutting measures over the past two years have included staff layoffs, the biggest reduction remained to be articulated in 2011, with an estimated $1.1 million to be cut from the General Synod operating budget. the rest

Canada: Is Polygamy the Next Challenge to Traditional Marriage?

October 5th, 2010
B.K. Bergman

Advocates for polygamy are closely watching the Supreme Court in British Columbia, Canada, as a case is set to challenge the legal obstruction of polygamy there. With the new TLC reality show, "Sister Wives" (about a family of polygamists) gaining attention here in the United States, how far off is the challenge to the laws in this country that make polygamy illegal? Advocates for it argue that what right does the law have to come between what consenting adults agree to?

You may be surprised at the history of the laws that made marriages to multiple women illegal in this country. There may be an opening to make a case for allowing it especially given the precedence being set state by state for same-sex marriages. As we look over what the driving forces were for making polygamy illegal, we have to ask ourselves if the founding fathers left the door open for the challenge. the rest

They might want to take this into account:
Kenyan Polygamist Dies, Leaving 100 Widows

Ella and Abortion

October 5, 2010
By Jeanne Monahan

This fall, Watson Pharmaceuticals will begin manufacturing a new drug called “ella.” Ella was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on August 13, and was categorized as an “emergency contraceptive.” That categorization is misleading: As the Family Research Council and several allied organizations have been explaining to pharmacists and the public at large, the drug has the potential to induce abortion.

Responding to this campaign, Watson Pharmaceuticals is claiming that ella is “not an abortifacient drug.” Yet the company did not address charges that the drug can abort an implanted baby. Nor did it dispute the FDA’s labeling information, which reads that “alterations to the endometrium [the inner membrane of the uterus] that may affect implantation may also contribute to the efficacy.”

Watson also failed to comment on the label statement that “pregnancy should be excluded before prescribing ella.” Why is ella “contraindicated” for pregnancy? Because, as the FDA notes, in studies of ella that were conducted on pregnant animals, all of the baby rats and half of the baby rabbits were aborted. the rest

Until now, no major pharmaceutical company in the U.S. has ever willingly linked itself to abortion.

Pro-Abortion Obama Sinks to New Low in Public Opinion Survey

Tuesday October 5, 2010
By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C.

(LifeSiteNews.com) – With November’s general election just a month away, a new survey shows public satisfaction with pro-abortion U.S. President Barack Obama at a new low. Many voters are upset with the direction his policies have taken the country, especially the new health care reform law and its backdoor abortion provisions.

Rasmussen reports that for the month of September, 44 percent of voters said they “strongly disapprove” of Obama’s performance – a record high for this president – while 54 percent said they disapprove overall. The overall low represents a one percent increase in public dissatisfaction in Obama from August.

Those who approved overall of the president were less passionate: only 27 percent said they “strongly approved.” For Rasmussen, this places Obama’s approval index at -17 (“strongly approve” minus “strongly disapprove”), where it has been hovering for the past 4 months. the rest

Black Christians Largely Absent from U.S. Missionary Force

Wed, Oct. 06 2010
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

Richard Coleman has a passion for missions. But he's concerned that many of his African-American brethren aren't on the same page with him.

Black churches overall have not been reinforcing the missionary force out of the United States. And Coleman is hoping they'll confront their longstanding lack of involvement and make their way overseas to the millions who have never heard of Jesus.

According to the 2007 African American Missions Mobilization Manifesto by Columbia International University, blacks make up less than one percent of the total number (118,600) of U.S. missionaries.

But Coleman, who serves as the director of candidacy and mobilization for The Mission Society, didn't have to look to statistics to realize that blacks were largely absent from the mission fields. the rest

Pope chooses Middle East Synod members

Vatican City
Oct 5, 2010

(CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See released the names of those chosen as members, experts and auditors in the Synod for the Middle East, which is set to start next week. The synod will involve two weeks of discussions on the history, reality and future of the Church and the faithful in the region.

Four cardinals lead the list of the 16 members that the Holy Father selected for the special assembly. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals; Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, major archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine; Cardinal Walter Kasper, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Cardinal John Patrick Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; were all chosen.

Some of the other 12 people named represent eastern Catholic Churches, such as the Syro-malankars, Syro-malabars, Greek Catholics of the Byzantine Rite and the Ukranian Greek Catholic Church. Among them are also two apostolic nuncios to the Middle East and representatives from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. the rest

Synod priorities: Christians must remain in the Middle East, with a mission

PENNSYLVANIA: Diocese could bring new charges against Bishop Charles Bennison

By David W. Virtue
October 4, 2010

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pennsylvania could bring new charges against Bishop Charles E. Bennison under changes to the Title IV Canons which go into effect next July 1.

At the upcoming Diocesan Convention in November, a resolution announcing that the See of Pennsylvania is vacant could also be initiated by any number of Pennsylvania Episcopalians in good standing. Once the see is declared vacant, they could declare that the Standing Committee is the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese.

The House of Bishops could also declare the See of Pennsylvania vacant and ask the Standing Committee to take over.

A canon lawyer familiar with the situation in the Diocese of Pennsylvania said Bennison can be cited for "conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation," -- he is currently maintaining that the witnesses against him at his trial all perjured themselves.

the rest at Virtueonline

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A.S. Haley: The Constitutional Crisis in ECUSA Part II

Unconstitutional Acts in High Places
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In this second post of a series examining the self-made constitutional crisis engulfing the Episcopal Church (USA), the focus will be on the complications created by the ongoing existence and treatment of four pseudo-dioceses (San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh and Quincy; another may soon be forced into existence in South Carolina).

These are all invited disasters; they need not have turned out as badly as they have. But for the twisted legal objectives which determined their treatment, they could have properly flourished and been recognized by General Convention in due course as legitimate dioceses....

...As things have turned out, however, the faithful Episcopalians in each of those four areas have willingly allowed themselves to be used to further the litigation objectives of the Presiding Bishop and her Chancellor. Because those two officials are acting on their own, without any oversight or supervision (as detailed in the series linked here), there is no one holding them accountable for having destroyed the will to follow the Constitution and the Canons in those areas. The result is fodder for the civil courts, millions wasted on attorneys and grindingly slow lawsuits, and a lack of all pretense of witnessing to Christian precepts. the rest

Church of England announces Code of Practice working group

by Jenna Lyle
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Church of England has announced the members of a working group tasked with advising bishops on the preparation of a draft statutory code of practice for opponents of women bishops.

The Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Rt Rev Nigel Stock, has been appointed Chair of the group.

The other six members are: the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Rev Dr Christopher Cocksworth; the Bishop of Whitby, the Rt Rev Dr Martin Warner; Dame Averil Cameron, retired Warden of Keble College, Oxford, and former chair of Cathedral Fabrics Commission; the Venerable Christine Hardman, Archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich; the Reverend Angus MacLeay, Vicar of St Nicholas Sevenoaks; the Venerable Jane Sinclair, Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey; and Mrs Caroline Spencer, Chair Canterbury Diocese House of Laity.

The group is to conclude its report for the House of Bishops by autumn 2011, before a draft of the code comes before Synod in February 2012. the rest

How to Raise Boys Who Read

Hint: Not with gross-out books and video-game bribes.
By THOMAS SPENCE
SEPTEMBER 24, 2010

When I was a young boy, America's elite schools and universities were almost entirely reserved for males. That seems incredible now, in an era when headlines suggest that boys are largely unfit for the classroom. In particular, they can't read.

According to a recent report from the Center on Education Policy, for example, substantially more boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test. This disparity goes back to 1992, and in some states the percentage of boys proficient in reading is now more than ten points below that of girls. The male-female reading gap is found in every socio-economic and ethnic category, including the children of white, college-educated parents.

The good news is that influential people have noticed this problem. The bad news is that many of them have perfectly awful ideas for solving it. the rest

The secret to raising boys who read, I submit, is pretty simple—keep electronic media, especially video games and recreational Internet, under control (that is to say, almost completely absent). Then fill your shelves with good books.

People who think that a book—even R.L. Stine's grossest masterpiece—can compete with the powerful stimulation of an electronic screen are kidding themselves. But on the level playing field of a quiet den or bedroom, a good book like "Treasure Island" will hold a boy's attention quite as well as "Zombie Butts from Uranus." Who knows—a boy deprived of electronic stimulation might even become desperate enough to read Jane Austen.

School Textbook Calls Founders 'Old Dead White Men'

posted October 5, 2010

Concern over a new hip-hop curriculum that refers to the founding fathers as "old dead white men" has delayed the program's rollout for at-risk students, Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Karl Springer said.

"We're making sure that whatever we do, first, we do no harm," Springer said. "The science behind the concept is wonderful. There may be some things, though, that are inappropriate that we need to be careful about."

Known as Flocabulary, the program is a music-based educational tool that uses raps, rhythms and rhymes to help students learn and memorize everything from vocabulary and English to math and social studies.

About 15 teachers have complained or expressed concern about the rap song lyrics, said Ed Allen, president of the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers. the rest

Oklahoma City district pushes pause on hip-hop curriculum
...Of President James Monroe's tenure, the rap says: "White men getting richer than Enron./ They stepping on Indians, women and blacks./ Era of Good Feeling doesn't come with the facts."...

Court rejects Satanist's discrimination appeal

Does religion have a place in the courtroom? For example, if a convicted murderer is a Satanist, is that relevant?
October 04, 2010

Last week, a Texas court ruled yes.

An appellate court in El Paso upheld its ruling for an inmate who argued that revealing his affiliation with the Church of Satan prejudiced the jury who sentenced him to death row, the blog Religion Clause reported.

Last week, the court issued an opinion saying the evidence of defendant Irving Davis' Satanism was relevant to the case and did not violate his Constitutional freedoms. In this situation, his religion was indicative of his character, and its value in the trial outweighed the risk of unfair prejudice.

Davis was convicted of raping and killing a 15-year-old. He began to identify as a Satanist/Vampirist while in prison. the rest

Nuclear plant worker Spoke of Jihad, Agency Says

By SCOTT SHANE
October 4, 2010

WASHINGTON — A New Jersey man accused of joining Al Qaeda in Yemen spoke openly of militant views while working at American nuclear plants, according to a report by the inspector general of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that proposes tightening personnel security rules.

The man, Sharif Mobley, who is charged by Yemeni authorities with murdering a hospital guard during an escape attempt in March, said he told others in his labor union: “We are brothers in the union, but if a holy war comes, look out,” said the report from the inspector general, Hubert T. Bell.

Fellow nuclear plant workers said Mr. Mobley had referred to non-Muslims as “infidels” and had visited “unusual” Web sites on his personal computer, including one showing a mushroom cloud, the report said. the rest

The inspector general found that Mr. Mobley did have unescorted access to the interior of the plants but did not have access to computers or high-security information.

Health, safety risks alleged at Capitol Visitors Center

Lice and body fluids on Capitol tour headsets
By ERIKA LOVLEY
10/5/10

People who visit the Capitol Visitor Center may be exposed to a number of health and safety risks, including lice and body fluids on Capitol tour headsets and a lack of rapid medical attention during weekends, according to congressional testimony and interviews.

Visitor Center employees say that some of the headsets used for audio tours — worn by as many as 12,000 tourists a day — recently had to be replaced after guides reported seeing lice crawling on the foam pads. Other tour guides have reported seeing guests with ear sores wearing the headsets, which, in one case, resulted in blood being smeared on the equipment.

“We have seen blood on the headphones,” said one Capitol tour guide, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the subject. “It’s really, really gross. We’ve brought this up to management countless times, and the same response is given: The headphones are cleaned to industry standards.” the rest-yuck!

Abortionist Pulls Gun on Pro-Life Witnesses

By Kathleen Gilbert
CHARLESTON, South Carolina
10/4/10

(LifeSiteNews.com) - A Tennessee abortionist was arrested, but released on $25,000 bail Saturday after brandishing a gun at pro-lifers peacefully witnessing outside a Charleston clinic.

Witnesses say Tennessee abortionist Gary Boyle, 62, pointed a loaded handgun from his vehicle at about 8:30am Saturday morning at three pro-life witnesses, including one 17-year-old young man, who were standing outside the Charleston Women's Medical Center in West Ashley. After Boyle entered the clinic, the pro-lifers called police.

"We were like, 'Well, that was a gun,'" John Karafa, one of the three, told the Charleston Post and Courier. "You can't do that." Karafa was a participant in the 40 Days for Life campaign, an international semiannual event of prayer, fasting, and pro-life witness outside abortion facilities. The abortionist was arrested and charged with pointing a firearm. the rest

Young people have 'faded memory of Christianity' says Church book

Religion is largely irrelevant to most young people, who rely instead on a “secular trinity” of themselves, their family and their friends to give meaning to their lives, a new book claims.
By Tim Ross and Martin Beckford
05 Oct 2010

The study published by the Church of England concludes that people born after 1982 - known as "Generation Y" - have only a “faded cultural memory” of Christianity.

For many young people, religious observance extends no further than praying in their bedrooms during moments of crisis, on a “need to believe basis”.

The findings are contained a new book, The Faith of Generation Y, whose authors include the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth. the rest

Monday, October 04, 2010

Devotional: When despondency seizes us...

When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather, fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: "What are you to us, you who are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has dominion over us and over all. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we trample on your head. ...Seraphim of Sarov image

FBI, Obama Admin Join Pro-Abort Groups to Host Training Seminar against Pro-Life Activity

Thursday September 30, 2010
By Kathleen Gilbert
PORTLAND, Oregon

(LifeSiteNews.com) - The Obama administration has teamed up with leading pro-abortion lobbyist groups to host a training seminar aimed at combating pro-life "violence" against the abortion industry, which is defined to include even free-speech activities such as pro-life picketing, boycotting, and signage.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice sponsored an August 29 seminar in the FBI's Portland headquarters. The names of Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation (NAF), and the Feminist Majority Foundation appear prominently on the front page of a document prepared for the event which compiled statistics, a list of pro-life websites, and case summaries, among other data. The 84-page document was handed out by FBI and DOJ officials to participants, according to a source in attendance.

Although one portion of the document - on page 67 - lists "pro-life counseling centers" as among providers of "reproductive health services," the document is generally organized as a guide to the "organized assault on women's health care" by "anti-abortion extremists" since Roe v. Wade, and targets such activities as pro-life picketing and boycotting. the rest

Canada: Married couples with kids in the minority for first time

Mon Oct. 04 2010
CTV.ca News Staff

For the first time there are more single Canadian adults than married Canadians, a new report says.

Canadians are also working longer hours, and spending less time with their families -- and the families they have are less likely to be the traditional nuclear family.

Those are just some of the findings in Families Count: Profiling Canada's Families IV, a new report released Monday by the Vanier Institute of the Family. the rest

'I would suffocate a child to end its suffering'

By Vanessa Allen
4th October 2010

Virginia Ironside prompted outrage yesterday after saying she would suffocate a child to end its suffering.

Shocked BBC viewers complained after the agony aunt said she would hold a pillow over the face of a child in pain.

Minutes earlier the controversial writer said 'a loving mother' would abort an unwanted or disabled baby, and praised abortion as 'a moral and unselfish act'. the rest
She added: 'If I were the mother of a suffering child - I mean a deeply suffering child - I would be the first to want to put a pillow over its face... If it was a child I really loved, who was in agony, I think any good mother would.'
Video/comments at Stand Firm

You are holy, Lord, the only God...

You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and Your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High.
You are Almighty.
You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good,
Lord God, living and true.
You are love. You are wisdom.
You are humility. You are endurance.
You are rest. You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches, and You suffice for us.
You are beauty.
You are gentleness.
You are our protector.
You are our guardian and defender.
You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope.
You are our faith, our great consolation.
You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord,
God Almighty, Merciful Saviour.

...St. Francis image by Randy OHC

A.S. Haley: An Important New Paper on Marriage

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Professor Robert George, of Princeton University, has co-authored with his colleague, Professor Sherif Girgis, and Professor Ryan T. Amderson, of Notre Dame, a very cogent paper on the topic: "What Is Marriage?" (The paper will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. It may be downloaded as a pdf from this page.)

In their paper, the authors take on -- and systematically demolish -- many of the standard "cases" for full-fledged recognition of same-sex marriage. (The article uses the word "marriage" in its traditional sense, as the civilly and religiously recognized union of one man with one woman, for life. The authors have no quarrel with state-sanctioned "civil unions" between people of the same gender -- except that they can find no logical bar to allow such unions between other willing people as well, which have until now been regarded as illegal: if they are all right for same-sex couples, why not allow "civil unions" for polygamous and polyandrous relationships, or for incestuous unions of same-sex siblings, which could not result in unhealthy offspring? The fact that there is no principled way to draw the line on just unions of same-sex couples is at the same time an additional reason not to abandon the traditional recognition given to heterosexual marriage.) the rest

Bp. Mark Lawrence: A Conservationist among Lumberjacks

October 1, 2010
By Mark J. Lawrence
(The Rt. Rev. Mark Joseph Lawrence is the 14th Bishop of South Carolina.)

They were like men coming up with axes to a grove of trees (Psalm 74:5)

It may well be true that “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Unfortunately, it has not always been mightier than the axe. As that eloquent environmentalist Aldo Leopold wrote: “A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke [of the axe] he is writing his signature on the face of his land.” Far too many of the leaders in our church have never learned this lesson.

There is much axe swinging these days in the Episcopal Church. I have grown sad from walking among the stumps of what was once a noble old-growth Episcopalian grove in the forest of Catholic Christianity. It may surprise some, but I write not to bemoan the theological or moral teaching that is in danger of falling to the logger’s axe. I have done that elsewhere. My concern here is that as the church’s polity is felled only a few bother to cry “timber.”

I have space to raise three concerns, and these briefly: the presiding bishop’s threat to our polity —litigious and constitutional; the revisions to the Title IV canons; and, finally, a passing word about inhibitions and depositions to solve our theological/spiritual crisis.

The rest at The Living Church

Zooming in on Italian Masterpieces

Monday, October 4, 2010
Joe Carter

As Open Culture notes, the Italian web site Haltadefinizione has a unique way to view six masterpieces from the famous Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Each painting can be viewed in super high resolution—close to 28 billion pixels, a resolution 3,000 times greater than your normal digital photo—providing the ability to examine the details with an unprecedented closeness. the rest

Website here

Druidry recognized as an official religion in Britain

Scott Maniquet
October 2, 2010

Druids may have been around since before the dawn of history, but their modern heirs have only now managed to achieve the status of a state-recognized religion.

London’s Telegraph reports that it took a group known as The Druid Network four years to win recognition from the Charity Commission for England and Wales. The group now has charity status and a separate listing in official surveys of religious believers. the rest

In its detailed report, the Charity Commission even addressed ancient Roman claims that Druids committed human sacrifices, but decided that there is “no evidence of any significant detriment or harm” arising from its modern incarnation.

...and hopefully will remain the case....

From human rights to pagan rites
...If the Druids qualify as a religion, can other cults such as the Scientologists be far behind? Can it be long, indeed, before the wise and learned theologians of the Charity Commission similarly grant charitable status to sorcery, witchcraft or even the Jedi — the fictional Star Wars ‘religion’ which the 2001 census recorded as having no fewer than 390,127 adherents in England and Wales...

Foreign Office warns of high terror threat in France and Germany

Britain followed the US in upgrading its travel advice for Europe today following a series of terror alerts.
03 Oct 2010

The Foreign Office warned that there was a ''high threat'' of attacks in countries including France and Germany, rather than the ''general threat'' previously identified.

The move came shortly after the State Department issued guidance urging Americans to be vigilant when visiting Europe, highlighting the ''potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure''.

The Foreign Office advice now states: "Like other large European countries, the French/German authorities continue to consider that there is a high threat of terrorism. the rest

Nation's top Episcopal bishop speaks in Shepherdstown

By RICHARD F. BELISLE
October 3, 2010

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. — Trinity Episcopal Church in Shepherdstown had what Pastor G.T. Schramm called one of its proudest moments Sunday when the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States led a service there.

The church at the corner of Church and German streets was nearly filled to capacity when the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori celebrated the 10 a.m. service. the rest image image

Jefferts Schori said faith “is not the result of whiz-bang encounters with the holy. It’s much more like the production of coal, through the long, slow accumulation of dead organisms, slowly covered with rock, and then the millennia of pressure. Faith comes through the accumulation of life’s challenges.”


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Jackie Evancho: PIE JESU