Saturday, January 08, 2011

Sarkozy: Mideast Christians victims of 'cleansing'

French President makes damning comments following church attacks in Egypt, Iraq.

PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday that Christian minorities in the Middle East are victims of "religious cleansing", following deadly attacks on churches in the region.

"We cannot accept and thereby facilitate what looks more and more like a particularly wicked programme of cleansing in the Middle East, religious cleansing," he said in an annual New Year's address to religious leaders.

An attack on a Coptic church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on January 1 killed 21 people. the rest

Albert Mohler: The Christian Worldview as Master Narrative: Sin and its Consequences

As Christians, we know that the world as we see it contains vestiges of the glory of God that shine through the corruption of the universe blighted by sin. Nevertheless, we are constantly reminded that the entire universe is groaning under the burden of human sinfulness.
Friday, January 7, 2011

Our understanding of the Fall and of the sinfulness of humanity is absolutely necessary for any adequate understanding of the human condition. We cannot possibly understand human existence without reference to sin. The Bible steadfastly refuses to allow us to find the cause and substance of the human problem outside of ourselves. Instead, the Bible points directly to our individual culpability, even as it affirms that every single human being inherits Adam’s sin and guilt. The complex of human sinfulness is so vast that it encompasses every individual human sin and the totality of human depravity as demonstrated in the rise and fall of nations and the course of human history. the rest  image

Anglicans begin search for new bishop

Friday, Jan. 07, 2011
By Ron Orozco
The Fresno Bee Share

The area's Anglican community is taking steps to find a new bishop for the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. The current bishop, John-David Schofield, announced in 2009 that he plans to retire in October this year

Schofield, who was elected bishop in 1988, helped lead a secession movement out of the U.S. Episcopal Church in 2007 amid debate over same-sex blessings; the consecration of a partnered gay priest, the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, as a bishop; and how to interpret the Bible over such issues. Schofield led the former Episcopal diocese into the new Anglican Church in North America in 2009. the rest

Prominent N.Va. Anglican church says priest fired after surfing porn sites

By Michelle Boorstein and William Wan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, January 8, 2011

A longtime priest at one of the country's largest and most prominent conservative Anglican churches has been fired for repeatedly using a church computer to surf for pornography, an official at the Fairfax City church said.

The Rev. Marshall Brown was associate rector at Truro Church, whose clergy members helped lead 14 Virginia parishes to break away from the Episcopal Church after the 2003 election of the denomination's first openly gay bishop.

With more than 1,200 members, Truro was one of the biggest parishes in the Episcopal Church, the American province of Anglicanism.  the rest

Interview: Cecil Murphey, Best-Selling Author and Esteemed Pastor

When a Man You Love Was Abused: A Woman's Guide to Helping Him Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation by Cecil Murphey
Friday, January 7, 2011

Cecil Murphey is the best-selling and award-winning author of more than 100 books and 700 articles. Although best-known for his collaborative projects with notable individuals, like Franklin Graham (Rebel With a Cause) and Ben Carson (Gifted Hands), Murphey also spends a considerable amount of time ministering to the public as a full-time pastor and public speaker. His topics of interest include: faith, spiritual balance and strategies to cope with tragedy, trauma and abuse.

Since October 2006, Cecil Murphey has been a permanent fixture on the New York Times bestseller list, due to the massive success of 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life, which has sold more than 5 million copies and been printed in 40 languages. His most personal project, however, would come four years later. Bearing his heart and soul in an honest, therapeutic text, Murphey offers guidance and solace with the Kregel publication of  When a Man You Love Was Abused: A Woman's Guide to Helping Him Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation.

In the midst of a promotional campaign for this forthright book, Cecil Murphey squeezed some time out of his busy schedule and settled down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on the challenges he faced with Christian publishers, the barriers to productive conversations about male sexual abuse, and the steps that must be taken to create a national dialogue both inside and outside of the church.


Friday, January 07, 2011

Devotional: "How vast are the possibilities of prayer!

"How vast are the possibilities of prayer! How wide is its reach! What great things are accomplished by this divinely appointed means of grace! It lays its hand on Almighty God and moves Him to do what He would not otherwise do if prayer was not offered. It brings things to pass which would never otherwise occur. The story of prayer is the story of great achievements. Prayer is a wonderful power placed by Almighty God in the hands of His saints, which may be used to accomplish great purposes and to achieve unusual results. Prayer reaches to everything, takes in all things great and small which are promised by God to the children of men. The only limits to prayer are the promises of God and His ability to fulfill those promises. 'Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.'" ...EM Bounds image by Jim Trodel


Julian Mann
Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The news that the number of converts to Islam in the UK has hit 100,000 must be met with the following the reaction: you ain’t seen nothing yet.

All the cultural ingredients are there for an upsurge in conversion to Islam in the decadent, post-Christian West in the second decade of the 21st century.

It is not surprising that Islam is proving attractive to white women in their twenties. What woman in her right mind wants to bring children into the self-destructive values vacuum of the permissive society, particularly if she has had first-hand experience of it?

What sort of Islam are these women going to instil in the boys they bring along to the local mosque? The nice, liberal variety happy to take part in an urbane inter-faith dialogue in a Cathedral conference room?

Memo to the Very Revd Wooley-Convenor: In your dreams. the rest

Ousted patriarch behind locked doors in Jerusalem


Six years ago he was the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Holy Land. Today, Irineos I claims he is a prisoner in the church's Old City compound in Jerusalem, trapped by the successor who ousted him in a dispute over the sale of church property to Israeli settlers.

Reporters who tried to gain access to the onetime leader of the Holy Land's 100,000 Orthodox followers through the compound's massive metal door were denied entry by church guards peering out through a crack.

Irineos spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday through a wireless microphone hoisted at the end of a rope to his roof — in the same black shopping bag supporters use nightly to deliver him groceries.

"They allow nobody out and nobody in to visit me," said Irineos. "They are afraid of the people because I'm loved by the people, and I love the people," he said into the microphone, peering over the edge of his roof. the rest

Thumbs down for Obama faith, again

January 7, 2011
Terry Mattingly, On Religion

For those keeping score, let it be noted that the White House transcript from the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony says that President Barack Obama shouted "Merry Christmas" before adding "Happy holidays."

In fact, Obama said "Christmas" eight times, twice as often as he mentioned "holidays." With his family at his side, the president also used an even more controversial word -- "Christian."

"Each year we've come together to celebrate a story that has endured for two millennia," he said. "It's a story that's dear to Michelle and me as Christians, but it's a message that's universal: A child was born far from home to spread a simple message of love and redemption to every human being around the world." the rest
Nevertheless, Obama supporters were stunned by last year's much-publicized Pew Research Center poll that said 18 percent of Americans continue to believe that Obama is a Muslim, while only 34 percent identify him as a Christian. Another 43 percent did not know his religious faith.

UK: YWCA loses Christianity from title

The Young Women's Christian Association, which is one of Britain's oldest charities, has dropped the word "Christian" from its name to better reflect its role in society.
07 Jan 2011

The YWCA, which was set up in 1855 to help young women going to London for the first time, has now become "Platform 51".

The name was chosen because 51 per cent of people are female and "women use us as a platform for having their say and for helping them into the next stage of their lives".

The rebranding is likely to raise questions among the charity's donors, many of whom give to it because of the organisation's Christian links. the rest

39 Percent Of NYC Pregnancies Result In Abortion

January 7, 2011

(CBSNewYork/AP) – Archbishop Timothy Dolan is calling for efforts to make abortions in New York City “rare.”

Dolan gathered with other religious leaders on Thursday to draw attention to the city’s high abortion rate. The city health department last month released statistics that showed 39 percent of pregnancies ended with induced termination in 2009. the rest


'Mother,' 'Father' Changing to 'Parent One,' 'Parent Two' on Passport Applications

By Todd Starnes
January 07, 2011

The words “mother” and “father” will be removed from U.S. passport applications and replaced with gender neutral terminology, the State Department says.

“The words in the old form were ‘mother’ and ‘father,’” said Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant Secretary of State
for Passport Services. "They are now ‘parent one’ and ‘parent two.’"

A statement on the State Department website noted: “These improvements are being made to provide a gender neutral description of a child’s parents and in recognition of different types of families.” The statement didn't note if it was for child applications only. the rest

Anglican Perspective: New Year's Resolutions

The Rise of the New Global Elite

F. Scott Fitzgerald was right when he declared the rich different from you and me. But today’s super-rich are also different from yesterday’s: more hardworking and meritocratic, but less connected to the nations that granted them opportunity—and the countrymen they are leaving ever further behind.
By Chrystia Freeland
posted January 7, 2011

If you happened to be watching NBC on the first Sunday morning in August last summer, you would have seen something curious. There, on the set of Meet the Press, the host, David Gregory, was interviewing a guest who made a forceful case that the U.S. economy had become “very distorted.” In the wake of the recession, this guest explained, high-income individuals, large banks, and major corporations had experienced a “significant recovery”; the rest of the economy, by contrast—including small businesses and “a very significant amount of the labor force”—was stuck and still struggling. What we were seeing, he argued, was not a single economy at all, but rather “fundamentally two separate types of economy,” increasingly distinct and divergent.

This diagnosis, though alarming, was hardly unique: drawing attention to the divide between the wealthy and everyone else has long been standard fare on the left. (The idea of “two Americas” was a central theme of John Edwards’s 2004 and 2008 presidential runs.) What made the argument striking in this instance was that it was being offered by none other than the former five-term Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan: iconic libertarian, preeminent defender of the free market, and (at least until recently) the nation’s foremost devotee of Ayn Rand. When the high priest of capitalism himself is declaring the growth in economic inequality a national crisis, something has gone very, very wrong. the rest
Before the recession, it was relatively easy to ignore this concentration of wealth among an elite few. The wondrous inventions of the modern economy—Google, Amazon, the iPhone—broadly improved the lives of middle-class consumers, even as they made a tiny subset of entrepreneurs hugely wealthy. And the less-wondrous inventions—particularly the explosion of subprime credit—helped mask the rise of income inequality for many of those whose earnings were stagnant.

But the financial crisis and its long, dismal aftermath have changed all that. A multibillion-dollar bailout and Wall Street’s swift, subsequent reinstatement of gargantuan bonuses have inspired a narrative of parasitic bankers and other elites rigging the game for their own benefit. And this, in turn, has led to wider—and not unreasonable—fears that we are living in not merely a plutonomy, but a plutocracy, in which the rich display outsize political influence, narrowly self-interested motives, and a casual indifference to anyone outside their own rarefied economic bubble.

Faith in courts

As the season of goodwill fades, an old problem returns: religious disputes that draw in secular courts
Jan 6th 2011
The Economist

PULSES rarely race in Shaughnessy, a genteel, old-money district of Vancouver where mature cedars shield mansions with giant drawing-rooms. But the splendid Anglican church there, which draws worshippers from across the city, is the centre of a dispute that arises in many countries: how should judges rule in religious rows? Usually such quarrels involve worldly goods and rival claims to be the true believers. They quickly raise theological issues normally settled in church councils, not the courtroom.

St John’s Shaughnessy is the largest of four conservative parishes in British Columbia that have quit Canada’s mainstream Anglican (Episcopalian) church in protest against the blessing of same-sex unions. They want to take their churches and their other property with them; their bishop is resisting.

In the latest twist in a long battle, in November, British Columbia’s court of appeal ruled in favour of the bishop. Parish conservatives want to appeal. The issue is who runs the church—something that has riven Christianity since its founding. Liberals say the decision on same-sex blessing was taken according to the rules. Conservatives (many of them Chinese-Canadians) see it as an aberration: they argue that most of the 80m adherents to worldwide Anglicanism belong to churches that eschew gay unions.

The court’s ruling will add to the billowing secular jurisprudence on the handling of disputes over religious assets. A similar row may be looming in the Church of England, where a bunch of Anglo-Catholics are turning to Rome in protest against women becoming bishops. Their leaders will be ordained as Roman Catholic priests on January 15th. the rest

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Thousands demand Spanish minister respect right to conscientious objection

Madrid, Spain
 Jan 6, 2011

 (CNA).- The association Professionals for Ethics in Spain announced that 3,000 Spaniards have written to the country's Minister of Health, Leire Pajin, demanding that she respect the right of health care workers to object to abortion and euthanasia.

Leonor Tamayo, a spokesman for Professional for Ethics, stated on Jan. 4 that the 3,000 emails were the result of a campaign asking Pajin to support Resolution 1763. The resolution was approved in October 2010 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, recognizing the “right to conscientious objection in medical care.”
 the rest

Why Our Best Officers Are Leaving

Why are so many of the most talented officers now abandoning military life for the private sector? An exclusive survey of West Point graduates shows that it’s not just money. Increasingly, the military is creating a command structure that rewards conformism and ignores merit. As a result, it’s losing its vaunted ability to cultivate entrepreneurs in uniform.
By Tim Kane
posted January 6, 2011

Why does the American military produce the most innovative and entrepreneurial leaders in the country, then waste that talent in a risk-averse bureaucracy? Military leaders know they face a paradox. A widely circulated 2010 report from the Strategic Studies Institute of the Army War College said: “Since the late 1980s … prospects for the Officer Corps’ future have been darkened by … plummeting company-grade officer retention rates. Significantly, this leakage includes a large share of high-performing officers.” Similar alarms have been sounded for decades, starting long before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan made the exit rate of good officers an acute crisis. When General Peter Schoomaker served as Army chief of staff from 2003 to 2007, he emphasized a “culture of innovation” up and down the ranks to shift the Army away from its Cold War focus on big, conventional battles and toward new threats. In many respects (weapons, tactics, logistics, training), the Army did transform. But the talent crisis persisted for a simple reason: the problem isn’t cultural. The military’s problem is a deeply anti-entrepreneurial personnel structure. From officer evaluations to promotions to job assignments, all branches of the military operate more like a government bureaucracy with a unionized workforce than like a cutting-edge meritocracy.

After interviewing veterans who work at some of the most dynamic and innovative companies in the country, I’m convinced that the military has failed to learn the most fundamental lessons of the knowledge economy. And that to hold on to its best officers, to retain future leaders like John Nagl, it will need to undergo some truly radical reforms—not just in its policies and culture, but in the way it thinks about its officers. the rest image

War in the Mideast – On Christians

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Our national media elite reviewed 2010 with great sorrow for how America has besmirched itself in the eyes of the world with its “seething hatred” of Muslims.

CBS anchor Katie Couric announced on her Internet show that there wasn't enough evaluation of “this bigotry toward 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide” which was “so misdirected, and so wrong -- and so disappointing.” Couric even embarrassed herself by suggesting "Maybe we need a Muslim version of The Cosby Show." A ridiculous idea – unless it were to run every night instead of Couric’s lame half-hour “news” report...

...This is a pattern. On Halloween, 58 were killed at a Catholic church in Baghdad, as Islamic radicals took church members hostage during Mass and executed the priests. ABC, CBS, and NBC aired little anchor briefs, yet managed to put the weight of scrutiny on Iraqi government forces for attempting to storm the church and defeat the radicals.
the rest
In the first minutes of the new year in Alexandria, Egypt, an explosion ripped  through a throng of worshipers shortly after services ended outside of a Coptic Christian church, slaughtering at least 21 people and wounding another 96. An eyewitness described the debris on the street: ''Hands, legs, stomachs. Girls, women and men.''   
Network coverage? ABC aired nothing. CBS and NBC each aired one brief anchor read.
Anti-Christian drumbeat loud before Egypt attack

Egypt and the Destruction of Churches: Strategic Implications

Killing Christians in the name of the prophet

By Michael Coren
January 6, 2011

The bomb that killed at least 21 Egyptian Christians on New Year’s morning was packed with sharpened metal, iron balls and razor wire. Many of those that the device didn’t rip to death will never see, walk or function properly ever again. With terrorist bombs, euphemisms such as “wounded” and “traumatized” are hideously misplaced. These are not, however, the only banalities being tossed around when this latest attack is discussed. Words like “rare,” “surprise,” and “extremist” seem similarly absurd to those who know anything about the plight of Christians in large chunks of the Muslim world. Remember, more than 50 Iraqi Catholics were murdered in November; on Christmas Day in the southern Philippines on a Muslim-dominated island a church was bombed and parishioners hurt; and in Pakistan just weeks ago a 45-year-old Christian mother of five, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death for “defaming the Prophet.” Not bad for a little over a month!

It has all become so painfully routine as to appear almost predictable. In Pakistan, churches have been destroyed, Christians lynched, children forcibly converted. Catholics and Anglicans have been denied jobs, government support, housing and the most basic human rights. In Egypt, many of the eight million Christians face daily harassment in a country of 70 million Muslims, with periodic violence — often deadly — and police indifference, and even support, for mob attacks. One particularly sinister aspect to the Egyptian mass persecution is the difficulty Christians now face in obtaining exit visas, conjuring up dark echoes of previous campaign against German and Soviet Jews.
the rest

In Saudi Arabia, it is effectively illegal to be a follower of Christ. In Iran, Christians face obvious discrimination. In the Gaza strip, they have been attacked, a Christian bookstore bombed and Christian women threatened with acid thrown in their faces unless they cover their heads. In Indonesia in 2005, three Christian schoolgirls were beheaded by an Islamic gang and, while that nation’s government does often attempt to enforce the law, there is a long history of anti-Christian hostility. Even in traditionally tolerant Syria, Jordan and the West Bank, an increasing tendency toward Islamic fundamentalism has made life difficult for the Christian minority. In relatively moderate Turkey, seminaries have been closed down and priests and nuns murdered; and in Cyprus, the occupying Turks have destroyed numerous Christian sites and holy places.
Liberals are completely deluded about Islam in Britain and the existence of sectarianism

Cardinal: pope stunned by anti-Christian violence

The Associated Press
Thursday, January 6, 2011

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI is stunned by the wave of violence and intolerance toward Christians around the world, Italy's top churchman said Thursday at Epiphany services.

"Together with the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, we are stunned in the face of religious intolerance and so much violence, and we are asking ourselves, in sorrow: why?" said Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of Italy's bishops conference in an Epiphany homily in Genoa. Bagnasco, in his role at the influential Italian bishops body, works closely with the pontiff and other Vatican officials.

Christian Copts in Egypt, where a bomb outside a church on Jan. 1 killed 21 people, mark Christmas on Jan. 7, will flock to Christmas vigil services on Thursday evening. Other Orthodox Christians also celebrate Jesus' birth on Jan. 7. the rest

70 Christians arrested over Christmas in Iran

Dio. of Huron: Second Anglican church to close

posted January 6, 2011

Dwindling attendance will result in the closure of a second Anglican church in Sarnia in less than a year.

The century-old St. John's Church on Devine Street will close it doors Feb. 1, following hard on the decision to shutter St. James The Apostle Church on Lansdowne Avenue last year.

Archdeacon Richard Salts said it was a tough call, but in the end the members of each congregation voted in favour of amalgamation with other area Anglican churches.
"As with most mainline churches there has been a certain amount of decrease in numbers," he said. "The critical mass is not always there." the rest

Boston Gay Marriage – TEC have Completed the Circle

Jan 5, 2011  by Peter Ould

My thanks to Charlene Smith of the Episcopal Divinity School in the US who has supplied me with a copy of the liturgy used last Saturday for the marriage service in Boston Cathedral.

You can download the service yourself here and the 1979 TEC Prayer Book marriage service is here.

Examining the two liturgies side by side, it is very clear that the Boston liturgy is to all intents and purposes identical to the 1979 marriage liturgy, with small textual changes to reflect the fact that there are two women being married rather that two people of the opposite sex. Rather than publish all of the liturgies side by side like I did with the service at Great St Barts, instead what I’m going to do is highlight some key sections where decisions have been made that advise of us the theological understanding of those who shaped the service. the rest

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

DADT: The Aftermath

Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Tom Neven

As expected, Congress voted to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy concerning homosexuals serving openly in the military and President Obama signed the repeal into law. Despite a lot of misgivings and reasons for leaving the policy in place, some of which I made here here, Congress has commanded the entire Department of Defense to implement a new personnel policy—even as our military fights two wars.

This change will not be without repercussions. I have no special crystal ball, but having spent as much time as I have in and around the military, I’m fairly certain in my predictions. Most will take time to become apparent. The “slippery” in slippery slope need not imply suddenness, but as with most such slopes, you find yourself at the bottom without having been aware of the slow, downward movement, wondering how you got there. the rest
We see already in the civilian arena that would-be counselors are being silenced and de-credentialed for sticking by their Christian belief that homosexuality is inherently wrong. It is part of an increasing trend of censorship by self-appointed credentialers and professional-ethics cops who receive great deference from the courts.

Along with the muffling of chaplains, others who oppose open homosexuality will be the next to be silenced. There is already an aggressive campaign to prevent conservative Christians, mostly evangelicals, from being able to openly practice their faith while in the military.

Converting Muslims to Christianity: handy tips for modern evangelists

By Damian Thompson
January 5th, 2011

Here’s a new book, Reaching Muslims by Nick Chatrath, that will “help you building open-hearted friendships with Muslims”. It doesn’t add AND CONVERT THEM TO CHRISTIANITY because modern evangelicals know just how sensitive this issue can be. None the less, that’s what this “one-stop guide for Christians” is geared towards – introducing Muslims to the real Jesus, as Christians understand him, thus enabling them, if they wish, to abandon Islam.

What fascinates me about this book – endorsed by R T Kendall, one of the world’s leading evangelical theologians, and Canon Andrew White, the so-called “Vicar of Baghdad” – is how expertly it treads through a minefield regarded as far too dangerous by most mainstream church leaders.

There’s lots of cheerful affirmation of Muslim culture and Muslims – “culturally rich and often wonderfully passionate about life and faith”. Christians are encouraged to get to know Muslims, wish them a happy Eid, “take cake, get invited in”. Also, they should beware “stoking fear and mistrust” by, for example, getting into arguments about Sharia that may be based on misguided media reports. the rest

Obama Admin Removes Death Panels After Pro-Life Backlash

by Steven Ertelt
 Washington, DC 

After massive pro-life backlash following the publication of new rules instituting “death panels,” the Obama administration has agreed to remove them from ObamaCare.

The “death panels” caused considerable concern for pro-life groups, which believe they would have given financial incentives to doctors to hold end-of-life discussions with patients that will lead to the rationing of their medical care.

Under the regulations the Obama administration put in place in December, which was the first to cover, doctors would instruct patients in the annual “voluntary” exams to write “advance directives listing the kind of treatment they wish to receive or not receive if they are unable to make their own medical decisions.

Although the advanced directives apparently can’t be used to facilitate an assisted suicide, there was concern physicians will pressure or persuade patients to make decisions that would ration care or withdraw lifesaving medical treatment. the rest

NYT: U.S. Alters Rule on Paying for End-of-Life Planning

ELCA proposes tougher rules for departing congregations

The Layman
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

According to the Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) leaders are proposing new rules that will make it harder for congregations to leave the denomination.

At its Nov. 12-14 meeting, the ELCA Church Council proposed amendments to the denomination’s constitution for consideration at the 2011 Churchwide Assembly.

The changes are proposed as nearly 300 congregations have completed current departure requirements, and another 140 congregations have begun the process. These congregations represent a loss of 200,000 ELCA members, according to the newsletter. As has been the case in the PCUSA, many congregations are departing due to the denomination’s theological drift away from the Bible – including new policies on same-sex marriage, gay ordination and teachings that contradict Scripture. the rest
“How ironic that ELCA leadership is so committed to disregarding the Law of God on sexual ethics but so determined to use the law of humans to coerce congregations to remain in the ELCA,” said the Rev. Mark Chavez, director of Lutheran CORE.

AT&T offers Internet connection for your pill bottle

January 4, 2011

AT&T and Vitality Inc. announced Tuesday at CES that they have teamed up on a new technology that helps patients take their medications regularly by sending reminder calls, weekly e-mail reports and monthly updates to patients and caregivers.

The technology, dubbed Vitality GlowCaps, makes everyday pill bottles "smart." It fits on standard prescription bottles and uses light and sound reminders to alert people when they should take their medication.

If patients still don’t notice, the warning can be followed by a phone call or text message so they don't miss a dose. story/image

Canadian girl 'youngest to discover supernova'

4 January 2011

Kathryn Gray says she is 'really excited' by her interstellar discovery A 10-year-old girl in Canada has become the youngest person to discover a supernova - an exploding star which can briefly outshine a whole galaxy.

Kathryn Gray was studying images taken at an amateur observatory which had been sent to her father.

She spotted the magnitude 17 supernova on Sunday.  the rest

How 100,000 Britons have chosen to become Muslim...

...and average convert is 27-year-old white woman
By Jack Doyle
 5th January 2011

The number of Muslim converts in Britain has passed 100,000, fuelled by a surge in young white women adopting the Islamic faith.

The figure has almost doubled in ten years – with the average convert now a 27-year-old white woman fed up with British consumerism and immorality.

The numbers, revealed in a study by multi-faith group Faith Matters, have led to claims that the country is undergoing a process of ‘Islamification’. the rest

More churchgoers ditch their denominations

January 2, 2011
By Gannett

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Pete Wilson likes Baptists.  In fact, he used to be one.

But when he launched interdenominational Crosspoint Church 10 years ago, Wilson dropped his Baptist ties. He believes what Baptists believe, and he appreciates the mission work they do. He just doesn't see the personal benefit to being part of any denomination.

"It just seemed like a lot of meetings and a lot of talk," Wilson said.

At the same time mainstream denominations lose thousands of members per year, churches such as Crosspoint are growing rapidly — 15 percent of all U.S. churches identified themselves as nondenominational this year, up from 5 percent a decade ago. A third dropped out of major denominations at some point.

Their members are attracted by worship style, particular church missions or friends in the congregation. the rest
"They no longer see the denomination as anything that has relevance to them," said Scott Thumma, a religion sociology professor at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. He's compiling a list of nondenominational churches for the 2010 Religious Congregations and Membership Study. "The whole complexion of organized religion is in flux."

Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner: How Shall we Hope for the Anglican Communion?

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

As we move into a new year, there is a special spur to pose the question, “what hope is there for the future of the Anglican Communion?”. To which I would answer: “from God, there is much hope indeed; but not from women and men”. With mortals, it is impossible, but with God all things are possible (cf. Mark 10: 27). “Put not your trust in any child of earth, for there is no help in them When they breathe their last, they return to earth, and in that day their thoughts perish. Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help!” (Ps. 146:2-4).

November of 2010 was an illuminating moment, a convergence of false human hopes. A raucous and highly touted effort was inaugurated, filled with misinformation, to derail the ongoing process to consider positively the Anglican Covenant in the Church of England; for all that the Church of England Synod voted overwhelmingly to move the Covenant along to its dioceses; yet in doing so, no serious discussion took place as to the Covenant’s internal and external challenges; and within moments almost of the Synod vote, a statement by key Global South Anglican primates denounced the Covenant altogether, even as the Archbishop of Canterbury let it be known that all was well with the Communion’s leadership and they would be meeting in January despite promised absences by many leaders fed up with the inability of their councils to follow through with decisions. The confluence of messages in these few days was almost surreal in its display of unrepentant contradiction by the shepherds of the Anglican flock, a Babel of non-communicating and self-affirming declarations. the rest

Albany Bishop Hubbard: pro-abortion governor will evangelize the state

January 03, 2011

New York’s new governor and lieutenant governor, Andrew Cuomo and Bob Duffy, attended Sunday Mass at Albany’s cathedral, where Bishop Howard Hubbard preached that the work of government was an aspect of evangelization. Cuomo and Sandra Lee, described by the New York Daily News as his “live-in girlfriend,” sat in the front pew.

“We know they, over the next four years, will be deeply immersed in the work of evangelization by bringing about the transformation of our state and our society, and we assure them of our prayers, of our support and of our best wishes for challenges they will face,” Bishop Hubbard said.

Both Cuomo and Duffy are Catholics who support legalized abortion; Cuomo received Holy Communion at the Mass. link

On second day in office, Cuomo attends church with daughters and Sandra Lee
...The divorced son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who was once chastised by Catholic leaders for his support of abortion rights, calmly received Holy Communion. Lee walked in line for Communion with him...

Sharia judge Cuts Off Leg, Hand of Young Man in Baidoa Town

4 January 2011

Baidoa — The Islamic administration of Al-shabab in Baidoa town of Bay region has cut off the hand and leg of young boy after accusing him of committing banditry action in the town, witnesses said on Tuesday.

Locals said that Al-shabab fighters had gathered more people to a square in Baidoa town and said they had sentenced 19 years old boy to cut his leg and arm condemning him he involved stealing activities in the town for past recent months.

Sheik Abu Feysal, the judge of the court of Al-shabab fighters said before more people they had forces to watch the sentence that the man admitted of doing the crime adding that they carried out the right step of the Sharia law. the rest

Pakistani governor who opposed blasphemy law slain

Marriage of lesbian priests is another act of TEC 'defiance', says conservative Anglican

by Lillian Kwon, Christian Post
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Two lesbian Episcopal priests kicked off the New Year by marrying in Massachusetts.

The Very Rev Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, dean and president of Episcopal Divinity School, and Mally Lloyd, canon to the Ordinary, married on Saturday at St Paul's Cathedral in Boston in front of nearly 400 guests. The Rt Rev M Thomas Shaw, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, solemnised the marriage.

For orthodox Anglicans, the lesbian union was another act of defiance.

"This is another action of reckless disregard for the life of the Anglican Communion and the authority of the Bible by The Episcopal Church," the Rt Rev David C Anderson, president and CEO of the American Anglican Council, told The Christian Post. "They continue to ignore the Communion’s pleas for restraint and continue to go their own way."
 the rest

Robert H Lundy, spokesman for the American Anglican Council, noted that The Episcopal Church has long blessed same-sex unions. But the latest union between Ragsdale, 52, and Lloyd, 57, is being touted as a marriage, and the first lesbian marriage of two senior Episcopalian clergy at that.

Over two million children homeschooled in U.S.

Tue Jan 04, 2011

( - In a new study released today the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) estimates there are over 2 million children being homeschooled in the U.S. in 2010.

“The growth of the modern homeschool movement has been remarkable,” said Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defence Association. “Just 30 years ago there were only an estimated 20,000 homeschooled children.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2008) there were an estimated 54 million K-12 children in the U.S. in spring 2010, which means homeschoolers account for nearly 4% of the school aged population, or 1 in 25 children. the rest
It also found “that students who are homeschooled earn higher first-year and fourth-year GPAs when controlling for demographic, pre-college, engagement, and first-term academic factors.”

Scalia: Abortion not in the Constitution

by John Jalsevac
Tue Jan 04, 2011
 ( – In a recent interview with California Lawyer, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated that abortion is not included in the U.S. Constitution.

Scalia, who is opposed to the notion of an “evolving” or “living” Constitution, told interviewer Calvin Massey that by giving some of the “necessarily broad” provisions of the Constitution an “evolving meaning,” these provisions fail to do their job, which is to put in place limitations on what society can or cannot do.

Even if “the current society has come to different views [than the original framers],” he said, “you do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society.” the rest

The ordinariate is happening, at an unprecedented pace

The speed of the operation is possible because of the Pope’s personal knowledge of those involved
By William Oddie
Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The English ordinariate, it seems, will be well on its way by the middle of this month. Three former Anglican bishops were received into full communion with the Catholic Church during a Mass at Westminster Cathedral on January 1. One of the comments following the Herald online report, noting that they were received in secular clothing, opines that “For Bishops to wear ties is simply saintly and to lose all that prestige they once held is stunning to the mind of a Catholic Bishop”.

Well, indeed. But I think that their former prestige is the least important aspect of what they are giving up: they are abandoning certainty and recognition within an established institution, for uncertainty within an institution – the ordinariate – that doesn’t even exist yet. What this shows is an absolute faith in the Catholic Church of which it will be a part, especially as it is embodied by the present Holy Father.

I last saw the most senior of the three, John Broadhurst, formerly Bishop of Fulham, splendidly caparisoned in full episcopal fig (I have known him, on and off, for over 30 years, and have never seen him except in clericals: I can hardly imagine him in a secular collar and tie) at the 150th anniversary of that great Anglo-Catholic institution, Pusey House, Oxford, just after the publication of Anglicanorum coetibus. I asked him for his reaction to the document (it was pretty clear that most of those present were elated by it): his reply had to do, not with the visionary excitements of the proposed ordinariate, but with its practicability: “it’s doable”, he simply replied. the rest

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Devotional: We Christians must simplify our lives...

sunday solitude
We Christians must simplify our lives or lose untold treasures on earth and in eternity. Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today. ...AW Tozer image

Designer Genes

One scientist’s flawed argument for flawless humans.
by Justin D. Barnard
January 4, 2011

In a 1958 editorial, C.S. Lewis commented on the questions: “Is man progressing today?” and “Is progress even possible?” Lewis feared the prospect of a “planned state”—a “technocracy” in which the government “must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists, till in the end the politicians proper become merely the scientists’ puppets.” With his characteristic frankness and common sense, Lewis articulated the grounds of his fear thus:

I dread specialists in power because they are specialists speaking outside their special subjects. Let scientists tell us about sciences. But . . . questions about the good for man, about justice, and what things are worth having at what price . . . on these a scientific training gives a man’s opinion no added value. Let the doctor tell me I shall die unless I do so-and-so; but whether life is worth having on those terms is no more a question for him than for any other man.

Whether western liberal democracies have “progressed” in the direction of the “welfare state” that Lewis envisioned in his 1958 essay is a matter of on-going political debate. What is, perhaps, undisputed is that in addition to telling us about science, a new scientific priesthood speaks ex cathedra on the whole range of “questions about the good for man, about justice, and what things are worth having at what price.”

As a recent example of this trend, consider Designer Genes: A New Era in the Evolution of Man, a new book by Dr. Steven Potter, professor of pediatrics in the Division of Developmental Biology at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. In his book, Potter not only provides a highly accessible, winsome tour of current genetic biology, he also (as one endorsement puts it) “ventures into morality and religious issues and does this with great capability and sensitivity.” Potter’s credentials in genetic research and developmental biology are noteworthy. In addition to his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Potter has published in such journals as Nature, Cell, and Science. However, a careful reading of Designer Genes suggests a healthy measure of skepticism is in order about the credibility of Potter’s priestly pronouncements on how we ought to harness the potential of genetic science.the rest
Designer Genes is a panegyric for eugenics.

UK: Ex-top judge warns against penalising Christian beliefs

Tue, 4 Jan 2011
The legal system may have gone “too far” in restricting the right of Christians to live out their faith, Britain’s former top judge has cautioned.

Lord Woolf’s comments came after the Bishop of Winchester warned that the demise of “religious literacy” had created an imbalance in the way Christians are treated by the courts.

And Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has urged the Prime Minister to review legislation which has been used to penalise Christians. the rest

An epidemic has wiped out millions of bats across the U.S. and Canada

To save this species, scientists must quickly find the disease's weakness.
By Logan Ward
January 3, 2011

Tucked into the woods near the top of Rattlesnake Hill, in eastern Pennsylvania, is a 19th-century iron-ore mine. Heavy steel slats bar the mine's gaping black mouth. Beyond a hinged gate, down a rubble slope, where the entry tunnel opens into a dark chamber, Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist Greg Turner aims the beam of his headlamp upward, illuminating hundreds of bats clinging to the ceiling. Moisture beading on their brown fur glistens as Turner inspects each one, searching for signs of a killer.

During a normal year, an estimated 10,000 bats winter in Durham Mine, one of the state's largest hibernacula. The bars have kept humans out for 16 years, but they are useless against a new and far more sinister threat, a condition known as white-nose syndrome, or WNS. In a mere season or two, WNS can wipe out nearly every bat in a ­colony. Internet forums used by cavers and wildlife conservationists bristle with doomsday proclamations such as this: "Whatever is going on, it is evil, like the black plague. Birds are now ripping the bats apart… like something from the Book of Revelation." the rest image

Bizarre blackbird, fish deaths spread: 500 birds dead in Louisana; 100 tons of fish die in Brazil

UK converts to Islam up by 40,000 in a decade, report says

David Sapsted
Jan 5, 2011

Unprecedented numbers of Britons have converted to Islam over the past decade, according to a study.

Ten years ago, it was estimated that more than 60,000 Britons were converts. The report published yesterday puts the current figure at about 100,000, with an estimated 5,200 converts turning to Islam each year.

According to the report compiled by researchers at Swansea University for Faith Matters - a Muslim group dedicated to interfaith dialogue -more than half the converts were white, indigenous Britons. Two-thirds of them were women. The average age was just under 28.

The findings were, perhaps, surprising at a time when Islamophobia in the UK is high and when media portrayal of Muslims - converts in particular - is often in connection with extremism or terrorist activity. the rest

Stand With Us: Christ Church, Savannah


Obamacare Ends Construction of Doctor-Owned Hospitals

Jan 3, 2011

Under the headline, "Construction Stops at Physician Hospitals," Politico reports today that "Physician Hospitals of America says that construction had to stop at 45 hospitals nationwide or they would not be able to bill Medicare for treatments." Stopping construction at doctor-owned hospitals might not seem like the best way to boost the economy or to promote greater access and choice in health care, but that exactly what Obamacare is doing.

Kenneth Artz of the Heartland Institute explains, "Section 6001 of the health care law effectively bans new physician-owned hospitals (POHs) from starting up, and it keeps existing ones from expanding." Politico adds, "Friday [New Year's Eve] marked the last day physician-owned hospitals could get Medicare certification covering their new or expanded hospitals, one of the latest provisions of the reform law to go into effect." the rest
This little-noticed but particularly egregious aspect of Obamacare is, by all accounts, a concession to the powerful American Hospital Association (AHA), a supporter of Obamacare, which prefers to have its member hospitals operate without competition from hospitals owned by doctors.

Incline Your Heart...

Dear readers,

Back in September 2010, I started a new blog called Incline Your Heart mostly dedicated to compiling my devotional posts, but also adding other essays, videos and teachings that pertain to the building up of the spiritual life. The name "Incline Your Heart" is based on Proverbs 2:2 "...making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding."

So take the time to check it out-I hope you will be blessed!

-Pat Dague

Pictures of the year 2010: cute animal photos


More here

Group: Anti-Christian Events of 2010 Point to Christophobia

Tue, Jan. 04 2011
By Stephanie Samuel
Christian Post Reporter

A Christian website says their top ten list of attacks on Christian beliefs creates the case for a growing Christophobia problem in the United States.

The number one event on the list is the use of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to force faith-based institutions to hire non-believers. Also near the top of the list is the expulsion of two Christian students from their Master's program in counseling for their biblical beliefs about homosexuality. These are examples of a growing phobia toward Christians, said Dr. Gary L. Cass, president and CEO of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. the rest

Global church body condemns 'vicious attack' in Egypt

by Ethan Cole, Christian Post
Monday, January 3, 2011

The World Council of Churches, which represents more than 560 million Christians, has condemned the New Year’s Day bombing of a Coptic church that killed at least 21 people and wounded 97.

It described the incident as a “vicious attack on innocent worshippers” attending the New Year’s midnight mass at Saints Church in Alexandria, Egypt. WCC general secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, sent general condolences and prayers on behalf of the ecumenical body to the families of the victims. the rest

Egypt is on high alert over Coptic holiday

Coptic pope asks Egypt to act
THE head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church appealed to the government yesterday to address Christians' complaints about discrimination amid riots in Cairo.

Study: Contraception use up, abortions double; researchers can’t figure out why

Jill Stanek
Jan.03, 2011

The January issue of the journal Contraception contains results of a 10-yr study “to acquire information about the use of contraceptive methods in order to reduce the number of elective abortions,” reads the abstract.

The results were unsurprising, “yet another example of the counter-intuitive effect of more contraception,” wrote Christina at Real Choice. What was laughable was the researchers’ conclusion. Read on….

STUDY DESIGN: Since 1997, representative samples of Spanish women of childbearing potential (15-49 years) have been surveyed by the Daphne Team every 2 years to gather data of contraceptive methods used.

RESULTS: During the study period, 1997 to 2007, the overall use of contraceptive methods increased from 49.1% to 79.9%. The most commonly used method was the condom (an increase from 21% to 38.8%), followed by the pill (an increase from 14.2% to 20.3%). Female sterilization and IUDs decreased slightly and were used by less than 5% of women in 2007. The elective abortion rate increased from 5.52 to 11.49 per 1000 women.

CONCLUSIONS: The factors responsible for the increased rate of elective abortion need further investigation. the rest

Any person with common sense could cue the researchers that the more casual sex one has, the greater likelihood there will be of pregnancy, contraception use notwithstanding.

Mascot Politics

Thomas Sowell
posted January 4, 201212

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson's quietly chilling article, "Two Californias," in National Review Online, ought to be read by every American who is concerned about where this country is headed. California is leading the way, but what is happening in California is happening elsewhere-- and is a slow poison that is being largely ignored.

Professor Hanson grew up on a farm in California's predominantly agricultural Central Valley. Now, as he tours that area, many years later, he finds a world as foreign to the world he knew as it is from the rest of California today-- and very different from the rest of America, either past or present.

In Hanson's own words: "Many of the rural trailer-house compounds I saw appear to the naked eye no different from what I have seen in the Third World. There is a Caribbean look to the junked cars, electric wires crossing between various outbuildings, plastic tarps substituting for replacement shingles, lean-tos cobbled together as auxiliary housing, pit bulls unleashed, and geese, goats, and chickens roaming around the yards."

This is a Third World culture, transplanted from Mexico, and living largely outside the scope of American law, state or federal. the rest

St. Luke's Bottle Band: Dance of the Reed Flutes


Monday, January 03, 2011

Devotional: I have resolved to pray more and pray always...

I have resolved to pray more and pray always,
to pray in all places where quietness inviteth, in the house, on the highway, and on the street; and to know no street or passage in this city that may not witness that I have not forgotten God.
 ...Sir Thomas Browne image by Jason Rogers

European nations begin seizing private pensions

Hungary, Poland, and three other nations take over citizens' pension money to make up government budget shortfalls.
By Jan Iwanik
January 2, 2011

People’s retirement savings are a convenient source of revenue for governments that don’t want to reduce spending or make privatizations. As most pension schemes in Europe are organised by the state, European ministers of finance have a facilitated access to the savings accumulated there, and it is only logical that they try to get a hold of this money for their own ends. In recent weeks I have noted five such attempts: Three situations concern private personal savings; two others refer to national funds.

The most striking example is Hungary, where last month the government made the citizens an offer they could not refuse. They could either remit their individual retirement savings to the state, or lose the right to the basic state pension (but still have an obligation to pay contributions for it). In this extortionate way, the government wants to gain control over $14bn of individual retirement savings. the rest

An Abortion Exception to the First Amendment?

Evaluating Recent Efforts to Regulate Speech About Pregnancy Options
By Mark L. Rienzi
December 23, 2010

Abortion is a highly-charged and intensely-debated issue. Partisans on both sides believe abortion implicates fundamental human rights, with abortion supporters comparing abortion prohibitions to slavery, and abortion opponents comparing a permissive abortion regime to the holocaust. Some people believe so strongly that abortion should be available that they endure protests, threats, and physical violence to provide a service they deem critically important. Others refuse to refer or provide for abortions under any circumstances.

This intense debate extends to virtually every aspect of the abortion controversy. For example, the two sides strongly dispute the history of abortion, and particularly whether it was a crime at common law. They disagree about the scientific facts concerning abortion, such as at what stage a fetus suffers pain during an abortion, or whether abortion can result in adverse health consequences such as breast cancer, future difficulty having children, and psychological trauma. They cannot even agree on issues of language related to abortion.  Not surprisingly, speakers on both sides of this intense abortion debate frequently cite to the information that supports their view. The Court in Roe, for example, cited to the work of historians working for NARAL in order to claim that abortion may not have been recognized as a common law crime.  Roe’s
critics, of course, tell a very different story.  Those seeking to persuade women to have abortions cite the studies that say it does not cause breast cancer and minimize those that suggest that it does. Those seeking to dissuade women from having abortions emphasize those studies that do show an increased risk of health problems, including breast cancer.

 What does the Constitution say about this state of affairs? the rest

The Unborn Paradox

January 2, 2011

The American entertainment industry has never been comfortable with the act of abortion. Film or television characters might consider the procedure, but even on the most libertine programs (a “Mad Men,” a “Sex and the City”), they’re more likely to have a change of heart than actually go through with it. Reality TV thrives on shocking scenes and subjects — extreme pregnancies and surgeries, suburban polygamists and the gay housewives of New York — but abortion remains a little too controversial, and a little bit too real.

This omission is often cited as a victory for the pro-life movement, and in some cases that’s plainly true. (Recent unplanned-pregnancy movies like “Juno” and “Knocked Up” made abortion seem not only unnecessary but repellent.) But it can also be a form of cultural denial: a way of reassuring the public that abortion in America is — in Bill Clinton’s famous phrase — safe and legal, but also rare.

Rare it isn’t: not when one in five pregnancies ends at the abortion clinic. So it was a victory for realism, at least, when MTV decided to supplement its hit reality shows “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” with last week’s special, “No Easy Decision,” which followed Markai Durham, a teen mother who got pregnant a second time and chose abortion. the rest image
Sitting with her boyfriend afterward, she begins to cry when he calls the embryo a “thing.” Gesturing to their infant daughter, she says, “A ‘thing’ can turn out like that. That’s what I remember ... ‘Nothing but a bunch of cells’ can be her.”

Albert Mohler: Where Did I Come From? – It’s No Longer a Simple Question

It is as if we are now living on a new planet — one in which all the natural boundaries of sex and reproduction have been left behind. The technologies of reproduction are redefining sex, marriage, relationships, family, and the human story.
Monday, January 3, 2011

At some point, anticipated and even feared by some parents, every child asks the inevitable question: “Where did I come from?” That question is endemic to humanity. The question of our own biological origins is eventually inescapable. Our existence requires an explanation, and the question takes bold form. The answer used to be easy.

That is, the answer was easy in terms of biology. In some form, the answer took the shape of a story about two people, one male and one female, who came together and made a baby. Mommy and Daddy made a baby. That story was both true and universal. For most of human history, there was no alternative account. The answer given by parents in 1960 was the same as that given in 1060 or in any previous year.

All that changed with the biological revolution and the emergence of new reproductive technologies. The development of In Vitro Fertilization technologies [IVF] came only after human beings grew accustomed to reproductive control through The Pill. If medical technologies could be harnessed to avoid pregnancy, surely new technologies could allow couples to have long-wanted children who had not come by natural means. the rest

ObamaCare Repeal Vote, Bill to De-Fund Abortion, Coming Soon

by Steven Ertelt
 Washington, DC
The new Republican chairman of the panel responsible for starting action on repealing the abortion-funding ObamaCare law says a vote will take place soon.

Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said yesterday that a vote on the repeal legislation and a companion bill to ensure there is no abortion funding under ObamaCare, will take place before President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address later this month.

“As part of our pledge, we said that we would bring up a vote to repeal healthcare early,” Upton told “Fox News Sunday,” adding, “That will happen before the president’s State of the Union address.” the rest

American power is diminished by a weak president

EDITORIAL: Obama & U.S. global decline: Year Two

The Washington Times
Sunday, January 2, 2011

The second year of President Obama's foreign-policy and national-security management continued the pattern of decline established in his first year. The unbridled and naive optimism that ill-served the country in Mr. Obama's failed freshman outing gave way to a sense of policy drift in 2010. Even the president began to question whether the United States should maintain its primary global leadership role.

Mr. Obama's first-week-in-office pledge to close the U.S. detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year remained unfulfilled, the upside of which is that it has reduced the number of terrorists being released to continue their deadly vocation against American interests. The administration's related centerpiece policy of trying international terrorists in American domestic courts also hit rough water in the person of Ahmed Ghailani, who was charged with 285 counts related to al Qaeda's 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania but found guilty of only one single crime. Now the White House is on the verge of declaring defeat and issuing an executive order affirming the unlimited detention of terror suspects. Mr. Obama is learning the price a president pays when lofty rhetoric meets hard reality. the rest

The Real Death Panel

By Robert Romano
 January 3rd, 2011

“Death panels” received renewed interest over the Christmas season in a New York Times piece by Robert Pear, “Obama Returns to End-of-Life Plan That Caused Stir.” The story outlines a new 691-page regulation that to puts into place end-of-life counseling, called “advanced care planning,” via the Medicare program.

The regulation is provided for “in the case where an injury or illness causes the individual to be unable to make health care decisions”. This is essentially a living will where the patient and the doctor would come to a determination about what to do if a patient became incapacitated. This provision was originally removed in the Senate version of the bill after public outcry emerged, spearheaded by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

That it has reappeared in regulation after being rejected by Congress is troubling, and has renewed worries that such “counseling” could be utilized to coerce seniors into foregoing life-sustaining treatments. That is certainly cause for concern, but may only be the tip of the iceberg for “death panels”.

Enacted into Section 3403 of ObamaCare was the Independent Payments Advisory Board, an entity whose express responsibility is to “reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending”.

The whole purpose of this panel is to diminish the amount of money spent on a per beneficiary basis. To hide that, the bill states that “The proposal shall not include any recommendation to ration health care…or otherwise restricts benefits” or restrict eligibility of citizens to access Medicare. This is slightly misleading. The panel is authorized to make near-binding recommendations on Congress to restrict the growth of Medicare spending per individual. the rest

"Historic" Lesbian Marriage in Boston Cathedral Unites Top Clergy of Episcopal Church

The historic marriage of Episcopal Divinity School, dean and president, the Very Reverend Katherine Hancock Ragsdale and Mally Lloyd, Canon to the Ordinary, took place today at the Cathedral Church of St Paul in Boston.
Cambridge, Mass.
January 02, 2011

The Episcopalian bishop of Massachusetts began 2011 by solemnizing the first lesbian marriage - of two senior Episcopalian clergy - at Boston's St Paul's Cathedral Saturday (January 1).

The marriage of Episcopal Divinity School, dean and president, the Very Reverend Katherine Hancock  "abortion is a blessing"  Ragsdale and Mally Lloyd, Canon to the Ordinary, was the first lesbian marriage solemnized by the Right Reverend M Thomas Shaw SSJE, Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.   the rest

Right Reverend M Thomas Shaw SSJE, Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts...commented: “God always rejoices when two people who love each other make a life long commitment in marriage to go deeper into the heart of God through each other. It's a profound pleasure for me to celebrate with God and my friends, the marriage of Katherine and Mally.”
MCJ's take

Father Alberto Cutié on the Catholic Church: 'There are so many homosexuals, both active and celibate, at all levels of clergy'

From Jaweed Kaleem's Miami Herald story today about Father Alberto Cutié's new book:

Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love (Celebra, $25.95) partly elaborates on tales of secret romance that Cutié, 41, had already shared in interviews since his May 2009 reception into Episcopal church. But more revealing are Cutié's words about his former church, one which he strongly defended for years as the archdiocese's most popular representative. He once headed Miami's Catholic radio station, penned an El Nuevo Herald advice column and hosted a popular Telemundo talk show.
Secretly, Cutié writes in the book, he had come to doubt much of the church's teachings as early as 2003, after several run-ins with church hierarchy and after a growing disillusion with ``bishops too concerned with their own images'' during child sex-abuse crises. the rest

Dead fish cover 20-miles of Arkansas River

Katherina- Marie Yancy 1/3/2011

Arkansas Game & Fish is trying to figure out why 100,000 fish in Northwest Arkansas turned up dead. They were found along a 20-mile stretch between the Ozark Dam and Highway 109 Bridge in Franklin County.

The 20-mile stretch along the Arkansas River where an estimated 100,000 drum fish were found washed ashore and floating looks much different now.

Keith Stephens with Game and Fish explains, "We got a call last week from a tug boat operator that found the fish out on the river along the bank, in the river channel and we immediately dispatched somebody to the area to take a look."

Investigators from local and state agencies took samples from the affected area. Stephens says fish kills occur every year, but the magnitude of this one is unusual, and disease could be the cause. the rest

Blackbirds falling in the dead of night: Investigation under way after 1,000 tumble from Arkansas sky

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Devotional: O burning Mountain...

O burning Mountain,
O chosen Sun,
O perfect Moon,
O fathomless Well,
O unattainable Height,
O Clearness beyond measure,
O Wisdom without end,
O Mercy without limit;
O Strength beyond resistance,
O Crown beyond all majesty:
The humblest thing you created sings your praise.
...Mechtild of Magdeburg
 image by Carl Osbourne

Maternity care in UK on verge of breakdown, says top midwife

Cathy Warwick claims staff shortages 'threaten safety' and accuses PM of backtracking on pledge to hire extra midwives
Denis Campbell
Saturday 1 January 2011

Maternity services are close to breaking point and care for mothers is worsening, the UK's leading midwife warns in a dramatic plea over the declining state of childbirth on the NHS.

Labour wards are struggling to give women the proper quality of care under the "relentless" pressure of a record birth rate, staff shortages and increasingly complex births, says Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives.

Writing in the Observer, Warwick warns that the situation in maternity units is so grave that the safety of women giving birth is under threat. Midwives, she says, "are deeply anxious about the care being delivered. They believe that the service they are giving to women and babies is deteriorating and that safety is too often being compromised. The service is teetering on the brink; the cracks are beginning to appear." the rest
Staff shortages are so acute that midwives who should be assisting home births and working in the community are instead being forced to help out in hard-pressed hospital units, and post-natal care is also being hit, says Warwick. "Maternity services are not coping and are under assault," she adds.

Egyptian Security Guards Withdrew One Hour Before Church Blast, Say Eyewitnesses

Alexandria: January 2, 2011. (By Mary Abdelmassih AINA) The car explosion that went off in front of Saints Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria killed 21 and injured 96 parishioners who were attending a New Year's Eve Mass. According to church officials and eyewitnesses, there are many more victims that are still unidentified and whose body parts were strewn all over the street outside the church. The body parts were covered with newspapers until they were brought inside the church after some Muslims started stepping on them and chanting Jihadi chants (video showing dead bodies and limbs covered with newspapers in the street).

According to eyewitnesses, a green Skoda car pull up outside the church shortly after midnight. Two men got out , one of them talked shortly on his mobile phone, and the explosion occurred almost immediately after they left the scene. On the back of the Skoda was a sticker with the words "the rest is coming" (video of car explosion and Muslims shouting "Allah Akbar"). the rest

El-Gezeiry asks why this Skoda vehicle was allowed to park in front of the church in an area cordoned off by security, when it was known that Al-Qaeda had already announced its intention of carrying out criminal acts against churches.

Eyewitnesses confirmed that security forces guarding the church withdrew nearly one hour before the blast, leaving only four policemen and an officer to guard such a big church and nearly 2000 people attending the midnight mass. "Normally they would have waited until the mass was over," said el-Gezeiry. He also commented on the Muslim's schadenfreude at the massacre at the church, who were heard chanting "Allah Akbar."

"Is this a victory?" He asks. "Whoever saw this fire and people dying and body parts all over the place and could still chant 'Allah Akbar' is a terrorist."
Photos: Egypt's Christians face the day after

Pope calls on world leaders to defend Christians after church bloodbath
A car bomb killed 21 people and wounded 79 in Alexandria early on Saturday. The New Year’s Day attack hit the Al-Qiddissin (The Saints) church shortly after midnight. Pope Benedict XVI has urged world leaders to protect Christians against “discrimination, abuse and religious intolerance”...