Saturday, December 04, 2010

Senate blocks Obama's tax plan


By Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times
Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Senate blocked President Obama's and Democratic leaders' tax cut plans Saturday in a foreordained symbolic vote that now sends both sides back to the negotiating table to work out a viable deal.

A bipartisan filibuster, led by unified Republicans and joined by four Democrats and one independent, proved there isn't enough support to back Mr. Obama's preferred option to extend income tax cuts for couples making less than $250,000 and tax increases for those making more than that.

With that vote out of the way, attention turns back to the high-level working group Mr. Obama and congressional leaders set up this week to try to work out a solution. That group met three times already, but Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican and one of the negotiators, said it was clear to him that Democrats weren't going to negotiate until they had gone through the votes to prove to their political base that raising taxes on the wealthy wasn't viable. the rest

NYT: Senate Rejects Obama’s Tax Plan, Setting Stage for Deal

TAC leader sees over 150 Anglican clerics entering ordinariates

December 03, 2010

The leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) has disclosed that over 150 clerics in his group, including 17 bishops, hope to enter ordinariates within the Catholic Church in the coming year.

Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth, in a message to members of the TAC, expressed high hopes for the success of the ordinariates—although he revealed that the past year’s negotiations have not always proceeded smoothly.

“There have been exquisite difficulties this year,” Archbishop Hepworth conceded. “We have discovered how little detailed knowledge we have of the way the Catholic Church does things, and Catholic officials have discovered, I believe, their need to acquire a better and more profound knowledge of contemporary Anglicanism.” the rest

E-mail spam: Will it abate with arrest of alleged master spammer?

Russian Oleg Nikolaenko is in US custody on charges of mail fraud and violating a law governing online marketing. His network is believed to account for one-third of global e-mail spam.
By Mark Guarino, Staff writer
 December 3, 2010

The arrest of alleged "spam king" Oleg Nikolaenko of Moscow does not necessarily mean all those unwanted solicitations for herbal remedies and pornography will stop clogging your e-mail inbox.

.Mr. Nikolaenko, who was arraigned in federal court in Milwaukee Friday, is alleged to have run one of the largest and most sophisticated spam networks in the world. His operation is responsible for sending about 10 billion spam messages a day at its peak, authorities say. His activities account for 32 percent of all global spam since 2007, the criminal complaint against him states. the rest

Frazzled Moms Push Back Against Volunteering

By HILARY STOUT
December 1, 2010

IT was last spring, somewhere between overseeing Teacher Appreciation Week and planning the fifth-grade graduation party, when Jamie Lentzner, mother of two in Foster City, Calif., reached her breaking point.
She had already designed the fifth-grade T-shirt, taught art twice monthly to three different classes, and organized movie night, restaurant night and beach night fund-raisers. She was overscheduled and exhausted. She had scant time to help her children with their school projects because — coincidentally — she was always working on projects for their school. “You’ve got to stop,” said her husband, Darin, who worried that the constant stress she seemed to feel was damaging to her health.

Ms. Lentzner realized that she had spiraled out of control. She vowed to put an end to all this volunteering — and to recapture some of the serenity in her family life that had vanished because of nothing more than a well-intentioned desire to pitch in.

Today, more than three months into the school year, Ms. Lentzner is a new woman. the rest

Albert Mohler: The Knowledge of the Self-Revealing God: Starting Point for the Christian Worldview


The Christian worldview is structured, first of all, by the revealed knowledge of God. There is no other starting point for an authentic Christian worldview—and there is no substitute.
Friday, December 3, 2010

One of the most important principles of Christian thinking is the recognition that there is no stance of intellectual neutrality. No human being is capable of achieving a process of thought that requires no presuppositions, assumptions, or inherited intellectual components. All human thinking requires some presupposed framework that defines reality and explains, in the first place, how it is possible that we can know anything at all.

The process of human cogitation and intellectual activity has been, in itself, the focus of intense intellectual concern. In philosophy, the field of study that is directed toward the possibility of human knowledge is epistemology. The ancient philosophers were concerned with the problem of knowledge, but this problem becomes all the more complex and acute in a world of intellectual diversity. In the aftermath of the Enlightenment, the problem of epistemology moved to the very center of philosophical thought. the rest image

In other words, the problem of knowledge is front and center as we think about the responsibility of forming a Christian worldview and loving God with our minds. The good news is this—just as we are saved by grace alone, we find that the starting point for all Christian thinking in the grace of God is demonstrated to us by means of his self-revelation.

Chaplains reveal strong but divergent views on gay ban

By Sandhya Somashekhar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 2, 2010

In the Pentagon's 300-plus-page report on the proposed repeal of its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, the authors singled out one group whose strong views merited special attention: the chaplains.

The report found that 70 percent of service members thought there would be little or no negative impact to military readiness and unit cohesion if the government were to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military. But no group had such strong - or sharply divergent - views as the military's 3,000 chaplains, who provide spiritual guidance to the men and women in uniform.

The debate highlights the delicate position of the chaplains, who must balance the demands of their faiths with the reality of a diverse military. Their concerns will weigh heavily this month as Congress considers a proposal to lift the 17-year-old policy, supported by some who say it has prevented strife in the ranks but criticized by others as discriminatory and outdated at a time when homosexuality has gained mainstream acceptance.  the rest
Many conservatives worry that lifting the policy would muzzle chaplains whose religions require them to preach against homosexuality. The Rev. Douglas E. Lee, a retired Presbyterian Army chaplain and brigadier general who now counsels and credentials chaplains, said chaplains generally point out their views on homosexuality before counseling a service member on that issue. He worried that military policies may prohibit even that level of conversation if "don't ask, don't tell" is repealed, even though Pentagon officials have not recommended any change to the policy governing chaplains' behavior.
"There's a strong possibility that a chaplain wouldn't be allowed to proclaim what their own faith believes, and not give people the information they need to be a good Christian or a good Muslim or what have you," he said. "If there's no protection for the chaplain to be able to speak according to his faith group, that might affect the number of chaplains we recruit or our ability to do our duty for the troops."

Petition launched to abolish Alberta's Roman Catholic, Protestant schools

By MICHELLE THOMPSON and FRANK LANDRY
Edmonton Sun
December 1, 2010

A petition was launched by Alberta's former education minister Wednesday that calls for the Roman Catholic and Protestant separate schools to be abolished.

Written by ex-minister David King, the petition asks Albertans to decide whether such schools should exist when many religions go unrepresented within Alberta education.

"The Government of Alberta is in the process of updating our education laws for the 21st century," King said.

"It's important for Albertans to ask each other whether separate-but-equal schools for only two of many religious denominations belong in 21st century Alberta." the rest
Separate schools don't just shut out students — they also deny learners of inclusion and diversity, said King.

Friday, December 03, 2010

UK: Lead thieves use Google Earth to target churches

Thu Dec 2, 2010
By Avril Ormsby

LONDON (Reuters) - Thieves in Britain are using Google Earth to target lead roofs on Church of England buildings to sell on the lucrative metals market, a Church spokesman said.

About 8,000 churches have made insurance claims for lead theft worth about 23 million pounds during the past three years, the Church's estate commissioner Tony Baldry said during a debate in Westminster Hall.

In many cases, churches have replaced their roofs only to be targeted again, in one case 14 times.

Many of the Church of England's 16,000 churches are "listed," which provides planning protection for buildings of historical value, and date back hundreds of years. the rest

Calgary: Anglican Church abandoned its parishioners

By Susan Martinuk
Calgary Herald
December 3, 2010

Clearly, all is not well within the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

In what could be termed a reverse protestant reformation, Calgary's St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church voted overwhelmingly (90 per cent) to leave the ACC and align itself with Pope Benedict and the Roman Catholic Church. As such, it becomes the first Anglican congregation in Canada to take the Pope up on his October 2009 offer to welcome disillusioned Anglican congregations into the Catholic Church.

But that's where the 'new' news ends because St. John the Evangelist is not, by far, the first church to leave the ACC. In fact, it's only the most recent departure in a decade-long struggle between conservative Anglican parishes and their increasingly liberal leaders. the rest
In the words of one longtime Anglican member, who has watched this developing story with great interest, "It seems to me to be such a mistake to water down our core principles so greatly that we are not actually required to believe anything."

UN Executive Invokes Mayan Goddess At Cancun Global Warming Summit

Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post
Friday, December 3, 2010

With United Nations climate negotiators facing an uphill battle to advance their goal of reducing emissions linked to global warming, it’s no surprise that the woman steering the talks appealed to a Mayan goddess Monday.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, invoked the ancient jaguar goddess Ixchel in her opening statement to delegates gathered in Cancun, Mexico, noting that Ixchel was not only goddess of the moon, but also “the goddess of reason, creativity and weaving. May she inspire you — because today, you are gathered in Cancun to weave together the elements of a solid response to climate change, using both reason and creativity as your tools.” the rest

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Welcome Advent into our Deepest Void

Thursday, December 2, 2010
Elizabeth Scalia

I shed tears of gratitude and joy that you have come round again, O Advent, to shake us from our torpor as early night comes, and the match is struck, and the message is brought home once more; that we are forever in the absence of light; it is beyond us and exterior until we make it welcome and bring it, like a lover, within.

Welcome into our deepest void; welcome into the parts of us touched by human frost, and stunted. More-just lovely! image

Latest Obama EPA Regulations Will Cost “Millions” of Lost Jobs



Latest Obama EPA Regulations Will Cost “Millions” of Lost Jobs
The latest regulations by the Obama Environmental Protection Agency will cost millions of lost jobs and another Trillion in costs for businesses each year. Not even Yellowstone National Park would be in compliance with the new standards...

The Third Lausanne Congress demonstrated that global evangelicalism has been transformed.

Teeming Diversity
Tim Stafford in Cape Town, South Africa
12/01/2010

It began with crisis, and it ended in worship.

The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, held October 17-25 in Cape Town, South Africa, was the first gathering of evangelical Christians to attempt to accurately represent the reality of today's church leadership. Though the West had a strong voice, its numbers were much smaller than the enthusiastic, unintimidated participants from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Consequently, the congress had an atmosphere of continual discovery, as participants looked around and saw the teeming diversity of global faith. Ugandan Anglican Archbishop Henry Orombi told a news conference, "It is a joy to see heaven begin here."

The Lausanne Movement used a highly decentralized process to select participants. A committee in each country chose delegates in numbers proportional to its nation's evangelical population, based on Operation World statistics. Out of a total of 4,000 delegates, the United States got to send 400, Canada 50, the UK 80, and China 230. Selection committees were to include the full spectrum of churches and ethnicities, to assure that at least 60 percent of their choices were under 50 years old, 10 percent under 30, and 10 percent from the "marketplace." Women were to compose at least 35 percent. the rest

Five Christians murdered in a week under Pakistan's blasphemy law

1 December, 2010

Pakistan (MNN) ― Muslim extremists are blamed for the murders of five Christians in Pakistan in less than a week.

Greg Musselman, spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs Canada, says 22-year-old Latif Masih was shot to death shortly after he was granted bail in a "blasphemy" case. He was accused in early November under Law 295c -- the infamous "Blasphemy Law" in which the two militants claimed he burnt pages of the Qur'an.

On November 18, Masih's accusers caught up with him and shot him to death near his home in Godhpur, village 111 kilometers (69 miles) northeast of Lahore. Days earlier, on November 12 in southern Punjab Province, police say Lashkar-e-Taiba militants killed four family members because of their Christian faith. the rest

The marked increase in these cases has created a renewed call by human rights watchdog groups for an end to the blasphemy law.
Iraq: Christian Mosul shopkeeper killed by gunmen

The marriage killer: One in five American divorces now involve Facebook

By David Gardner
2nd December 2010

It used to be the tell-tale lipstick on the collar. Then there were the give-away texts that spelled the death knell for many marriages.

But now one in five divorces involve the social networking site Facebook, according to a new survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

A staggering 80 per cent of divorce lawyers have also reported a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence of cheating. the rest
Facebook was by far the biggest offender, with 66 per cent of lawyers citing it as the primary source of evidence in a divorce case. MySpace followed with 15 per cent, Twitter at 5 per cent and other choices lumped together at 14 per cent.

Fed aid in financial crisis went beyond U.S. banks to industry, foreign firms

By Jia Lynn Yang, Neil Irwin and David S. Hilzenrath
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The financial crisis stretched even farther across the economy than many had realized, as new disclosures show the Federal Reserve rushed trillions of dollars in emergency aid not just to Wall Street but also to motorcycle makers, telecom firms and foreign-owned banks in 2008 and 2009.

The Fed's efforts to prop up the financial sector reached across a broad spectrum of the economy, benefiting stalwarts of American industry including General Electric and Caterpillar and household-name companies such as Verizon, Harley-Davidson and Toyota. The central bank's aid programs also supported U.S. subsidiaries of banks based in East Asia, Europe and Canada while rescuing money-market mutual funds held by millions of Americans.

The biggest users of the Fed lending programs were some of the world's largest banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Swiss-based UBS and Britain's Barclays, according to more than 21,000 loan records released Wednesday under new financial regulatory legislation. the rest

NY: No Last Push by Paterson to Legalize Gay Marriage

By THOMAS KAPLAN December 1, 2010

Gov. David A. Paterson, still unhappy about the defeat last year of a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage, reached out to lawmakers recently to see if they would approve it during the lame-duck session this year.

But even the most ardent supporters of the bill, which was resoundingly rejected by the State Senate last December, said the measure would meet the same fate if it were brought to the floor now, and the governor, apparently reaching the same conclusion, has abandoned the idea.  the rest

Former Church of England head: British Christians 'under attack'

December 1st, 2010
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Christianity is under attack in the United Kingdom, and Christians must fight efforts to "air-brush" their religion out of the picture, a former head of the Church of England warned Wednesday.

"In spite of having contributed so much to our civilization and providing its foundation, the Christian faith is in danger of being stealthily and subtly brushed aside," said George Carey, the former archbishop of Canterbury.

Carey is fronting a new campaign, "Not Ashamed," by the group Christian Concern. He launched it with appearances at the House of Lords, Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street, the prime minister's office. the rest

Incredible Pics from ISS by NASA astronaut Wheelock

Absolutely stunning-don't miss these!

Also:

Twinkling Stars May Reveal Human-Size Wormholes

image by Trey Ratcliff

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

BBC interview with Bishop Minns on Gafcon Primates’ Statement

November 29th, 2010
Anglican Mainstream

Transcript of Interview with Bishop Minns. A transcript of the following interview with Bishop Kings can be read here

Q: Bishop Martyn Minns is from the Anglican Church in North America and sits on the Secretariat of the GAFCON Primate’s Council. I asked him what did GAFCON leaders regard as the fatal flaw in the Anglican Covenant.

+Minns: The fundamental thing I think is that trust is gone. Decisions and documents that have been worked on in the past have not been honored. I think there’s simply a lack of trust in the process. I think also the introduction of this whole roll of the standing committee in terms of how the covenant is actually exercised has also caused great consternation. But I think, in fact I have a direct quote from one of the Primates who said, “ look, why do we keep going?. All the decisions have been made. The documents we signed have never been honored. There’s no point.” the rest

George W. Bush, Unplugged


Watch live streaming video from facebookguests at livestream.com
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Joe Carter

When I first heard that George W. Bush sat down with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for an an interview, I thought “Not for me.” An hour-long video of former president reminiscing about old times sounded deathly dull. But Carmel Lobello‘s comment intrigued me: “Bush is in fact so likable and funny in this interview that by the end, eight years of bitter resentment that most likely frosted your heart during his presidency will melt into a puddle.”

My own feelings toward the Bush presidency are more along the lines of lukewarm disappointment than bitter resentment, but after watching the video I’m be willing to give him a third term. Bush comes across as charming, confident, relaxed, smart, and funny. It really is worth watching the entire interview. the rest

When planet Earth looks like art

The Dasht-e Kevir, or valley of desert, is the largest desert in Iran. It is a primarily uninhabited wasteland, composed of mud and salt marshes covered with crusts of salt that protect the meager moisture from completely evaporating. 
By Matilda Battersby
Monday, 29 November 2010

NASA has a wonderful collection of photographs of planet Earth taken by satellites circling the atmosphere.

The beguiling pictures are not of the familiar watery globe which usually represents our world.

They are instead vast landscapes, deserts, oceans and mountain ranges snapped from so far away that they resemble artistic daubings and not familiar landmarks. the rest

Our Earth as Art gallery

The Littlest Victims of Obamacare

Michelle Malkin
posted December 1, 2010

It's time for America's youth to buckle up and take a rough ride on Reality Highway. For the past two years, President Obama has promised our children the moon, stars, rainbows, unicorns and universal health care for all. But the White House Santa's cradle-to-grave entitlement mandates are a spectacularly predictable bust.

Don't take it from me. Take it from Obamacare's own biggest cheerleaders.

Late last month, the Service Employees International Union informed dues-paying members of its behemoth 1199 affiliate in New York that it was dropping its health care coverage for children. That's right. A radical leftist union, not an evil Republican corporation, is abandoning the young 'uns to cut costs. the rest
Late last month, the Service Employees International Union informed dues-paying members of its behemoth 1199 affiliate in New York that it was dropping its health care coverage for children. That's right. A radical leftist union, not an evil Republican corporation, is abandoning the young 'uns to cut costs.

More than 30,000 low-wage families will be affected, according to The Wall Street Journal. Who's to blame? SEIU 1199 benefits manager Mitra Behroozi singled out oppressive new state and federal regulations, including the much-ballyhooed Obamacare rule forcing insurers to cover dependents well into their 20s...

The civil war among Muslims in Britain

By Michael Mumisa
Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The previous government’s controversial programme for preventing violent extremism is currently being reviewed by the Home Office. How did it happen that programmes which were introduced with the aim of promoting “community cohesion” and preventing the influence of violent extremists ended up achieving the opposite of what they set out to achieve? Since the introduction of such programmes British Muslim communities have been engaged in what is effectively a ‘civil war’ which has left young Muslims (the intended beneficiaries of the programmes) further marginalised and more vulnerable to extremist ideas.

On November 8 2006, in the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings, I shared a platform with the then Secretary of State for the Home Office, John Reid, and Ruth Kelly at a conference held at the British Academy. I warned that if the fragmented nature of the Muslim communities in Britain was overlooked the government’s strategy would end up funding a ‘civil war’ between Muslims, and that a secular government should not be drawn into the debate on how Islam is interpreted or which Islamic theological school should be promoted. Unfortunately, this appears to have been the unintended outcome of the previous strategy for preventing violent extremism. the rest

Church backs down over plan to sell historic paintings

The Church of England is to reconsider plans to sell a collection of historic paintings for £15 million after an outcry from local worshippers.
By Tim Ross
01 Dec 2010

The works by Spanish Old Master Francisco Zurbarán have been housed in Auckland Castle, the Bishop of Durham's official residence, for 250 years.

The Church Commissioners, who manage the Church of England’s assets, had intended to sell the paintings to raise money to pay for more priests and because the insurance cost was "a drain" on its funds.

But protests from local MPs and Anglicans in Durham have forced the commissioners to think again. the rest

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Devotional: Such heed to little things...

There is more effort, more steadfastness, involved in a diligent attention to little duties than appears at first sight, and that because of their continual recurrence. Such heed to little things implies a ceaseless listening to the whispers of grace, a strict watchfulness against every thought, wish, word or act which can offend God ever so little, a constant effort to do everything as perfectly as possible. All this, however, must be done with a free, childlike spirit, without restlessness and anxiety. He does not ask a fretted, shrinking service. Give yourself to Him, trust Him, fix your eye upon Him, listen to His voice, and then go on bravely and cheerfully, never doubting for an instant that His grace will lead you in small things as well as great, and will keep you from offending His law of love. ...Jean Nicolas Grou image by Stacy Bass

Report shows Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world



Story

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brockton (MA) marks final Sunday morning service

By Maria Papadopoulos
Enterprise Staff Writer
Posted Nov 29, 2010

Excerpt:
The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts told church members in September that St. Paul’s would close because its small congregation no longer could support the building’s maintenance costs.

Desrine Mignotte, the church treasurer, said the number of regular members dropped from about 200 in 2000 to about 30 this year.

“That’s not enough (to support the church),” said Mignotte, 54, of Brockton, who has attended services at St. Paul’s for 24 years.

The soup kitchen at St. Paul’s, called St. Paul’s Table, will remain open until those who operate it can find a new location. It serves hot meals to more than 100 people six days a week and is run by the nonprofit St. Paul’s Community.

The kitchen has operated for nearly 30 years. the rest

Calgary Anglican parish to become Catholic
An Anglican church in Calgary is set to become the first in Canada to accept an offer from the Vatican to become Catholic.

The congregation at St. John the Evangelist — the only high Anglican church in the diocese — has felt increasingly isolated as the parent church slowly liberalized, accepting women as priests and blessing gay and lesbian unions...

Review of the TSA X-ray backscatter body scanner safety report: hide your kids, hide your wife

Monday, November 22, 2010
Jason Bell

I am a biochemist working in the field of biophysics. Specifically, the lab I work in (as well as many others) has spent the better part of the last decade working on the molecular mechanism of how mutations in the breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA2, result in cancer. The result of that work is that we now better understand that people who have a deficient BRCA2 gene are hypersensitive to DNA damage, which can be caused by a number of factors including: UV exposure, oxidative stress, improper chromosomal replication and segregation, and radiation exposure...

...Its because of my interest in this aspect of cancer biology that I felt compelled to review the safety reports released on the TSA website here. However, my interest is not only professional, but also personal. My grandmother died of breast cancer in 2005 after being in remission for 20+ years. While she was never tested for either BRCA1 or BRCA2, her family history indicates that there is a strong probability of one of these mutations running in my family. Including my grandmother, at least four of her siblings developed cancer: two died of breast cancer, one developed a rare form of leukemia and another died of skin cancer. All of her female siblings had cancer, and its noteworthy that her mother died of a very young age (maybe 30's or early 40's) of an unknown (to me) cause. For these reasons, I fear that inadequate safety evaluation of these machines could unduly expose my family (and myself) to levels of radiation that might be harmful should this high familial cancer rate in fact be hereditary.
the rest-excellent discussion in the comments section

At the high end, if for example a TSO is standing at the entrance of the scanner when it is running at maximum capacity, then that officer could hit their radiation exposure limit in as few as 20 working days (assuming an 8 hour shift). While we may not be very happy with our TSOs at the moment as the face of these policies, we need to keep in mind that they really should be wearing radiation badges in order to know their specific exposure (especially for those officers who may also have to receive radiation exposure for medical reasons).

As far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out on whether these machines are safe or even could be made safe for this application. Until then, I suggest keeping your family out of these machines and as vile as it is, either submit to a physical search or just don't fly.

TSA Scanner

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus

Ohio pediatricians voice ‘disgust’ as partial birth abortion ‘inventor’ moves in next door

by Kathleen Gilbert
Mon Nov 29, 2010
Update:An Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman told LifeSiteNews.com Monday evening that the Sharonville clinic has in fact received an ambulatory surgical center license, correcting the Department’s earlier assertion.

SHARONVILLE, Ohio,  (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a notorious late-term abortionist moved in next-door, a group of Ohio pediatricians are giving vent to their outrage, calling the move “a slap in the face” to a group that has nurtured children in the area for decades.

Late-term abortionist Martin Haskell has closed his Cincinnati, Ohio, abortion clinic and reopened in the suburb of Sharonville – mere steps away from Liberty Sharonville Pediatrics. There, parents would have to enter a common driveway and pass by Haskell’s surgical abortion facility, Women’s Med Cincinnati, in order to get the pediatric office. The abortion mill even shares a sign with the pediatricians’ office next door.

Dr. Steve Brinn, M.D., was so upset that he wrote a letter to the editor that appeared in the Cincinnati Inquirer on Saturday, November 27, expressing his opposition to the abortion business. the rest
“Imagine our shock and disbelief, when we learned that an abortion clinic was opening in the building 50-feet from our front door. Why would a clinic performing abortions be so insensitive to a group practice treating children for 31 years?” wrote Dr. Brinn.

He continued, “To have a group of OB/GYN doctors terminating fetuses just outside our door, to force our mothers and their babies drive through a common driveway, driving by the front of an abortion clinic, in order to park in our lot to have their babies cared for is an atrocity.

Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibit Features Ant-Covered Jesus...

...Naked Brothers Kissing, Genitalia, and Ellen DeGeneres Grabbing Her Breasts
WARNING: This story contains graphic photographs of items on display in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.
Monday, November 29, 2010
By Penny Starr

(CNSNews.com) -- The federally funded National Portrait Gallery, one of the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, is currently showing an exhibition that features images of an ant-covered Jesus, male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, and a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalog as "homoerotic."

The exhibit, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” opened on Oct. 30 and will run throughout the Christmas Season, closing on Feb. 13. the rest

On Nov. 21, a "Hide/Seek Family and Friends Day" was held at the gallery in conjunction with the exhibit. The event was publicized on the Web site for the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution and other venues.

The promotion read, in part: "Gallery Talks & Tours, Kids & Families. EVENT LOCATION Throughout the museum COST Free RELATED EXHIBITION Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture ... NOTE This friends and family day includes music and hands-on arts activities inspired by the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. Guided tours of the Hide/Seek exhibition also available at special times."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Devotional: If you come to worship...


If you come to worship for any reason other that the joy and pleasure and satisfaction that are to be found in God, you dishonour Him. To put it in other words, worship is first and foremost a feasting on all that God is for us in Jesus. This is because God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him. Or again, you are His pleasure when He is your treasure. Which is to say that God's greatest delight is your delight in Him. ...Sam Storms image

Muslim orphans caught between Islamic, Western law

Nov 29, 2010 By RACHEL ZOLL
AP Religion Writer

Helene Lauffer knew Muslim children (AP) -- orphaned, displaced, neglected - needed homes in the United States. She knew American Muslim families wanted to take them in.

But Lauffer, associate executive director of Spence-Chapin, one of the oldest adoption agencies in the country, couldn't bring them together.

The problem was a gap between Western and Islamic law. Traditional, closed adoption violates Islamic jurisprudence, which stresses the importance of lineage. Instead, Islam has a guardianship system called kafalah that resembles foster care, yet has no exact counterpart in Western law. the rest

Apple has pulled the Manhattan Declaration app from its App Store

Opposition to SSM as hate speech
November 29, 2010

Apple has pulled the Manhattan Declaration app from its App Store, apparently in response to customer complaints that the declaration amounts to hate speech. Is this part of a broader trend? See, for example, the Southern Poverty Law Center's recent report, "18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda," in which the National Organization for Marriage is included as one of "a hard core of smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, [which] have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities." To be clear, I do consider some of the rhetoric employed in opposition to SSM to amount to hate speech (under virtually any imaginable definition of "hate speech"), but I fear that we're approaching the point where opposition to SSM itself is considered hate speech, regardless of the rhetoric employed.

 Here

Western economic aid to Muslim nations who hate non-Muslims

Lee Jay Walker
The Modern Tokyo Times
November 30, 2010

The Islamic onslaught in Pakistan continues to grow despite this nation being deemed an ally and receiving Western economic aid throughout this land. The recent floods saw mainly Western nations donating quickly but just like Afghanistan and Iraq it is clear that Muslims still hate religious minorities.

Political leaders in non-Muslim nations keep on telling us how peaceful the religion of Islam is and President Obama says very little about Islamic persecution of minorities. Instead, President Obama and other political leaders, and many parts of the mass media, desire to not only gloss over reality but they are prepared to lie openly and use quotes that suit their agenda.

In Afghanistan thousands of American troops and other allied forces have been killed for trying to develop and stabilize a nation which is divided by ethnicity, sectarianism, and clan based politics. However, if one Afghan national desires to openly convert to Christianity or Buddhism or any other non-Muslim faith then they face the death penalty. the rest
At the moment it is clear that Islam keeps on spreading in many non-Muslim nations because of immigration, mixed marriages, conversions to Islam because of liberal Muslims who are on a hard sell course involving major kitman, the Muslim “victim card” in many media outlets, and Islamic funding from nations like Saudi Arabia is spreading a dual message. This applies to literal Islam and kitman Islam in order to spread the faith.

Despite this the democratic world keeps on sending vast sums of money in order to help mainly Muslim nations and in return for this they still hate non-Muslims and Islamization continues.

It appears that the democratic world is sowing the seeds of its own demise...

Amazing first: leukemia patient completely cured with cord blood stem cells

by Matthew Hoffman Fri Nov 26, 2010
BERLIN

(LifeSiteNews.com) - Doctors associated with the German umbilical cord blood bank Vita 34 say that they have cured a child’s leukemia completely using an infusion of stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

The procedure was reportedly performed in 2005 on a four-year-old girl whose chemotherapy treatment had failed and who had a prognosis of only three months to live. The procedure was possible because the parents had decided to preserve their child’s umbilical cord blood at the time of birth.

After continuous monitoring of the child for five years now, with no sign of leukemia cells in her blood, doctors say that they have confirmed that the treatment worked. the rest

WikiLeaks target: American power

By BEN SMITH
11/29/10

The first victims of the leaked cables released Sunday are anyone who shared secrets with American diplomats, especially Arab leaders who saw their private security deals - and their insistence that those deals be kept from their people - published online with undiplomatic bluntness.

But the main effect of the many details of American diplomacy revealed in the thousands of documents obtained and released by WikiLeaks was to deepen the damage to their intended targets: U.S. foreign policy, prestige, and power.

"The impression is of the world's superpower roaming helpless in a world in which nobody behaves as bidden," wrote Sir Simon Jenkins in the left-leaning Guardian, one of the publications that were given the documents. the rest

Wikileaks documents show Saudi donors remain chief financiers of al-Qaida

Obamacare: No Severibility Clause Means Entire Law Could Fall!

Saturday, November 27, 2010
Wesley J. Smith

This story stunned me: It is SOP for legislators to put a “severability clause” into legislation, so that if part of a law is found unconstitutional, the rest of it can remain in effect. But Obamacare has no such clause. This could have the most profound consequences.

Lack of severability means the entire law could fall if the mandatory purchase requirement is found unconstitutional–as seems likely either in Virginia or Florida–and could remain enjoined pending the couple of years time it takes to make it to the Supreme Court. From the NY Times story:

Mr. Cuccinelli and the plaintiffs in the Florida case, who include attorneys general or governors from 20 states, have emphasized that Congressional bill writers did not include a “severability clause” that would explicitly protect other parts of the sprawling law if certain provisions were struck down. An earlier version of the legislation, which passed the House last November, included severability language. But that clause did not make it into the Senate version, which ultimately became law. A Democratic aide who helped write the bill characterized the omission as an oversight.

That’s one huge mistake! the rest

Growing churches blend the old and the new

River Valley Church is among the 100 fastest growing in the nation, tripling in size since 2007.
By HERÓN MÁRQUEZ ESTRADA, Star Tribune
November 27, 2010

Excerpt:
Ketterling, 45, credits the tripling in size of his Assemblies of God church to old values and new approaches to preaching the word of God. Among his innovations: remote sermons on high-definition TV screens, using Facebook and other social networks to reach new members, and turning services into joyful events instead of somber rituals.

Last month, River Valley Church was ranked 64th among the 100 fastest-growing churches in the country by Outreach magazine, which each year ranks the largest and fastest growing churches in the United States. the rest

Albert Mohler: Who Needs Marriage? TIME Asked the Question — Do You Have an Answer?

Who needs marriage? I do. You do. We all do — and for reasons far more fundamental than can be explained “in purely practical terms.”
Monday, November 29, 2010

“When an institution so central to human experience suddenly changes shape in the space of a generation or two, it’s worth trying to figure out why.” Belinda Luscombe of TIME magazine made that observation in the course of reporting on a major study of marriage undertaken by TIME and the Pew Research Center. In the cover story for the magazine’s November 29, 2010 edition, Luscombe summarizes their findings with a blunt statement: “What we found is that marriage, whatever its social, spiritual, or symbolic appeal, is in purely practical terms just not as necessary as it used to be.”

Without doubt, marriage has been utterly transformed in the modern world. In Western nations, the concept of marriage as a sacred covenant has given way to the idea that marriage is merely a legal contract. The limitation of sexual intercourse to marriage went the way of the Sexual Revolution, even as the ideal of permanence gave way to no-fault divorce and serial monogamy. And as for monogamy, that may be on shaky ground, too. These days, you can’t take anything for granted. the rest
Divorce is now an institutionalized part of American life, complete now with an industry putting out divorce announcements, greeting cards, and party plans. The American divorce rate, though now somewhat stable, is so disastrously high that even social scientists are shocked. As Professor Cherlin remarked: “One statistic I saw when writing my book that floored me was that a child living together with unmarried parents in Sweden has a lower chance that his family will disrupt than does a child living with married parents in the U.S.”

That statistic should floor all of us.

Algeria tries Christians for opening place of worship

Defendants are converts to Christianity
Saturday, 27 November 2010
ALGIERS (AFP)

Algeria will put on trial four converts to Christianity from Sunday for "illegally opening a place of worship", one of their lawyers told AFP.

"The defendants, who are between 35 and 45 years old, have been charged with setting up a Protestant church in the region without authorization by authorities," said lawyer Mohamed Ben Belkacem.

The trial will be held in Larbaa Nath Irathen, east of Algiers.

One of the accused has also been charged with illegally accommodating a French pastor who had travelled to Algeria to make a speech before members of the Christian community. the rest

Pakistan Gov't Barred from Pardoning Christian on Death Row
The Pakistani government was barred on Monday by the country's high court from pardoning a Christian woman sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy...

Iraq arrests 12 suspected in deadly church siege

Catholic Church’s Rightward Swing

How the pope is making the Catholic Church think more like he does.
November 29, 2010
From theTrumpet.com
By Richard Palmer

What effect will former Church of England members defecting to Rome have on the Catholic Church? Some may suppose an influx of fresh blood from the traditionally more liberal Anglican Church would push the Catholic Church in England to the left.

Actually, it is the Catholic liberals who hate the pope’s new plan to create a special “Ordinariate” for Anglicans to retain some of their heritage inside the Catholic Church.

By inviting Anglicans into the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict xvi is doing more than bringing in new members. He is killing another bird with the same stone: bringing the liberal Catholics in England back in step with his way of thinking. the rest

Pope heralds beginning of Advent with pro-life vigil

Pope’s homily for ‘historic’ pro-life vigil
...There are cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with misleading motivations. With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism. This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being. So was Jesus in Mary’s womb, so it was for all of us in our mother’s womb. With the ancient Christian writer Tertullian we can say: ” he who will be a man is already one” (Apologeticum IX, 8), there is no reason not to consider him a person from conception...

Australia: Ageing Anglicans see signs of growth

BY GRAHAM DOWNIE, RELIGION REPORTER
29 Nov, 2010

Significantly fewer baptisms, confirmations and weddings mark an ageing Anglican Church in the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

Figures provided recently by the Church indicate a continuing ageing of its membership. From 1997 to 2007, baptisms and weddings in the diocese declined by 35 per cent and, more significantly, confirmations by 57 per cent.

By comparison, church funerals, mainly involving older people, declined only 9 per cent.

Over those 10 years, the general population grew 8 per cent, and the Anglican population declined 3.8 per cent. During those years, the number of parishes ceasing to offer Sunday School for children almost doubled to 44 per cent and regular church attendance in the diocese declined by about 2.3 per cent. the rest