Friday, January 21, 2011

AAC: A Precedent for Negotiated Settlements

By The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey, J.D.
Chief Operating and Development Officer
 American Anglican Council

Dear Friends in Christ,

This week I am simply going to introduce a story which is astounding in its possible ramifications for those who are seeking to leave TEC, those bishops and dioceses in TEC which have chosen to sue departing congregations and individuals, and those on both sides who are currently weighing the options.

I have known Raymond Dague for almost ten years. He is not only an articulate and accomplished litigator, but he is an attorney who seeks to practice law as a vocation, a way of offering his work to Christ and for Christ. I have been privileged to work with him in the Christian Legal Society (before I came to the AAC), and appreciate him as a friend and brother in Christ. Raymond represented St. George's Anglican Church, their clergy and leadership in the negotiations with TEC Bishop Councell and the Diocese of New Jersey. I hope you will read this story carefully - because it does demolish the assertion by TEC Bishops that they must depose departing clergy, that they must sue individual vestrypersons and trustees of departing congregations, and that they must observe a "scorched earth" no-holds barred, winner-take-all legal strategy in suing departing congregations.

In fact, this story puts the lie to the oft-heard assertion that bishops are bound by Mrs. Schori, Mr. Beers, 815 and "fiduciary duty" to eschew any negotiated settlements. As you will see, Mrs. Schori and Mr. Beers were fully informed along the way as this negotiation proceeded.

Is this a precedent for negotiated settlements and a forbearance of arms? Is it an isolated case, or does it herald a new day? Raymond Dague himself draws the best conclusion:

"[This case] goes to prove that when the parties both desire to find an amicable way to sell a formerly Episcopal Church to an Anglican Church which has disaffiliated from TEC, that a way can be found. There is no legal bar to such a sale, nor is such a sale, even at a fraction of the assessed value of the property, in violation of the fiduciary duty of the diocese or TEC. Where there is the will to be gracious and settle without lawsuits, there is a way that it can be done, because it was done here. Perhaps the Helmetta experience might be repeated. It need not be an isolated incident if both parties in other cases have the good will to try it."

Read Raymond Dague's full memorandum here.

Yours in Christ, and in prayer,

Found here at the AAC website

Report: First two years of college show small gains

By Mary Beth Marklein,
posted January 21, 2011

Nearly half of the nation's undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college, in large part because colleges don't make academics a priority, a new report shows.

Instructors tend to be more focused on their own faculty research than teaching younger students, who in turn are more tuned in to their social lives, according to the report, based on a book titled Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Findings are based on transcripts and surveys of more than 3,000 full-time traditional-age students on 29 campuses nationwide, along with their results on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test that gauges students' critical thinking, analytic reasoning and writing skills.

After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change. the rest image

The World is sinking: Dubai islands 'falling into the sea'

By Richard Spencer
20 Jan 2011

But the World, the ambitiously-constructed archipelago of islands shaped like the countries of the globe, is sinking back into the sea, according to evidence cited before a property tribunal.

The islands were intended to be developed with tailor-made hotel complexes and luxury villas, and sold to millionaires. They are off the coast of Dubai and accessible by yacht or motor boat.

Now their sands are eroding and the navigational channels between them are silting up, the British lawyer for a company bringing a case against the state-run developer, Nakheel, has told judges.

"The islands are gradually falling back into the sea," Richard Wilmot-Smith QC, for Penguin Marine, said. The evidence showed "erosion and deterioration of The World islands", he added. the rest image

Global South Anglican Editorial: On the Dublin Meeting

21st January 2011

There have been various interests and concerns expressed about the absence of some Global South Primates at the forthcoming Dublin Primates’ Meeting.

Where these Primates are concerned, arriving at such decision was not a sudden or knee-jerk reaction. Both before, and more so after, The Episcopal Church has once again proceeded, against widespread appeals and warnings across the Anglican Communion, not least from the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, to consecrate an openly lesbian Mary Glasspool as bishop. The concerned group of Global South Primates had communicated very clearly with the Archbishop of Canterbury, especially those who were present at the All African Bishops’ Conference (Entebbe, Uganda Aug 2010), in a private conversation with him. They have indicated that it would be extremely difficult - and in fact, quite pointless - for them to be present at the planned Primates’ Meeting 2011.

Unless and until there is unequivocal commitment to honour the agreed basis of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and implement the decisions of previous Primates’ Meetings (2005, 2007, 2009) expressed in the respective Communiqués, especially that of Dar es Salem 2007, it will only lead to further erosion of the credibility of the Primates’ Meeting and accentuate our failure to honour the work already done by them. the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

A broad church acts differently

January 21st, 2011
Anglican Mainstream
By Andrew Carey, CEN

The Church of England’s apparent pride in its comprehensiveness in contrast to the ecclesiological narrowness of Roman Catholicism is now emerging as fantasy.

The Ordinariate is showing the Roman Catholic Church offering compromises, fudges and political fixes to Anglican traditionalists. Whereas the Church which has always taken pride in the image of itself as a via media and a place where everyone could fit in had nothing to offer the same traditionalists. As a result a number of bishops, clergy and laity have joined the Ordinariate or are still considering Pope Benedict’s offer.

And while the Roman Catholic Church’s secrecy, which bordered on contempt for Anglicanism, is to be criticised, it is the Church of England time and again which is showing itself to have no vision for the possibility of ecclesiological change. Bishops have even harshly ruled out the use of Church of England buildings for Ordinariate congregations, even under sharing arrangements. This looks more like a political strategy to dissuade laypeople from joining the Ordinariate than a decision about ecumenical principles.

Where is the harm in allowing congregations which are now at odds with the Anglican settlement to maintain access with the buildings which they themselves have maintained and cherished? The Church of England has too many buildings for its now weakened ambitions and in many areas we can barely maintain a presence. In other areas we have a preponderance of failing churches. the rest

Study: Churches Increasingly Fans of Facebook, Social Media

Fri, Jan. 21 2011
By LifeWay Research

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Churches are turning increasingly to social networking tools as ministry aids and Facebook is by far the most popular tool, according to a new study by LifeWay Research.

The survey of 1,003 Protestant congregations was conducted in September and sponsored by LifeWay’s Digital Church partner, Fellowship Technologies. It found that 47 percent of churches actively use Facebook.

The second most popular way of networking is through the tools included in church management software packages, actively used by 20 percent of congregations. Three percent use MySpace, 2 percent a church-specific package like Cobblestone, Unifyer, or The City, and 1 percent use Ning.

However, a full 40 percent of churches do not use any social networking tools. the rest

Group's study of housing allowance, love offerings could impact churches

Jan 19, 2011
 by Michael Foust

WASHINGTON (BP)--In a move that could have a major impact on the tax status of churches and pastors nationwide, an independent national commission of religious and financial experts will review several church-related tax issues -- such as the limitations of the pastoral housing allowance and the IRS' power to investigate churches -- and issue its recommendations to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The commission, formed by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) at the request of Grassley, will examine church-related tax issues in the wake of a mostly unsuccessful Grassley investigation into the financial records of six television ministries, most of whom have ties to what is known as the "health and wealth gospel." At least some of them have been accused of using donor money to live luxurious lifestyles. the rest

Albert Mohler: “Now it is the Other Way Around” — The Moral Revolution in Full View

This decision serves as yet another sign of how swiftly the moral revolution is happening all around us.
Friday, January 21, 2011

The breathtaking pace of the moral revolution now transforming Western cultures staggers belief. In the course of a single generation, the sexual morality that has survived for thousands of years is giving way to a radically different moral understanding. Just consider the couple in the United Kingdom who were recently found guilty of discrimination because they allowed only married couples to share a bed at their small hotel.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull own a bed and breakfast hotel in Cornwall. In September of 2008, a homosexual couple requested a single bed and was denied that accommodation by the Bulls. The couple sued, and this week a judge found the Bulls guilty of discrimination under Britain’s Equality Act of 2007.

What makes this case particularly troubling is the nature of the judge’s decision.

Judge Andrew Rutherford ruled that the Bulls would have to sacrifice their Christian convictions if they intend to own and manage their hotel. Mrs. Bull told the court, “We accept that the Bible is the holy living word of God and we endeavor to follow it as far as we are able.” In this specific case, it meant that the Bulls would restrict rooms with a double bed to married couples. They enforced this policy regardless of sexual orientation — a point acknowledged by the judge. the rest

Ordinary time begins for ex-Anglicans at Westminster Cathedral

by Ed Beavan
Church Times
21 January, 2011

WHEN the wives of three former Church of England bishops pre­sented them with chasubles after they were ordained priests in the Roman Catholic Church in West­minster Cathedral on Saturday, it was clear that this was no ordinary service.

It heralded the beginning of the Ordinariate and the appointment of its first Ordinary, Fr Keith Newton. The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, des­cribed it during his homily as “a unique occasion marking a new step in the life and history of the Catho­lic Church”.

Fr John Broadhurst, former Bishop of Fulham; Fr Keith Newton, former Bishop of Richborough; and Fr Andrew Burnham, former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, became the first clerics to be received into the Ordinariate, which was set up for former Anglicans. They expect to be followed by more clergy and lay people. the rest

A wing and a prayer: outsourcing at Boeing

Thu, Jan 20, 2011

On a blustery and drizzly December afternoon in the Pacific Northwest, about 20 airplanes sat engineless and inert near the runway at a Boeing manufacturing plant. Huge, yellow blocks hung from the wings of some planes to substitute for the weight of absent engines.

Every few minutes, the heavy clouds parted to give a glimpse of blue skies over Everett, Washington, just north of Seattle. Then new clouds rolled in.

The parked planes are 787-8 Dreamliners, the world's first commercial aircraft with a body and wings made largely of lightweight carbon-composite materials instead of aluminum. Someday these sleek, fuel-efficient machines -- already painted in the liveries of their airline customers -- may change the face of air travel and plane-making.

But not today.

The program that produced these unfinished 787s is nearly three years behind schedule and, by some estimates, at least several billion dollars over budget. Dreamliner flight tests were halted in November after an electrical fire aboard a test plane. The tests resumed in December, and the company later announced yet another delay for the delivery schedule. The new ETA is sometime this summer. the rest image
Instead of drawing primarily from its traditional pool of aircraft engineers, mechanics and laborers that runs generations deep in the Puget Sound region around Seattle, Boeing leads an international team of suppliers and engineers from the United States, Japan, Italy, Australia, France and elsewhere, who make components that Boeing workers in the United States put together.

"Do you see the stupidity in that?" said James Williams, an imposing 43-year-old who has been employed by Boeing for 15 years, mostly working in factory safety.

35,000 forced abortions per day in China as Chinese president visits U.S.

by John Jalsevac
Wed Jan 19, 2011

 ( – Victims who have lived through imprisonment and harassment by the Chinese government, including the government’s vicious one-child policy, gathered together with human rights leaders on Capitol Hill yesterday to speak out on the arrival of Chinese President Hu Jintao in the United States.

Hu is receiving a high profile welcome from the Obama Administration - including a formal state dinner – prompting House members and human rights groups to criticize China’s abysmal human rights record.

One activist, former Tiananmen Square student leader Chai Ling, pointed out, “As we gather here in Washington, over 35,000 forced and coerced abortions are taking place today in China.” the rest

Thou Shalt Not Offend Islam

A firsthand account of the Dutch trial of Geert Wilders
19 January 2011
Thierry Baudet

Last year, I attended the Dutch trial of the century: that of Geert Wilders, leader of the third-largest party in the Dutch parliament. Sparking the charges against Wilders were about 50 statements that he had made about Islam. Three of the most widely circulated, from newspaper columns that Wilders wrote, will give an idea of the rest: “The heart of the problem is the fascist nature of Islam, the sick ideology of Allah and Mohammed as laid down in the Islamic Mein Kampf: the Koran”; “We have a huge problem with Muslims which crosses boundaries in every field, and we come up with solutions that wouldn’t make a mouse go back into its cage”; and “Islam is a violent religion. If Mohammed were living here today, Parliament would instantly agree to chase him out of the country in disgrace.”...

...The trial dominated public debate in the Netherlands for months and captivated Europe as well. It will probably continue to do so for at least another year, because Wilders’s lawyers successfully appealed for a declaration that the judges in the Amsterdam District Court had appeared biased. The trial will now have to start all over again. What follows is an account based on my firsthand observations of this tawdry episode.

Wilders’s prosecution came about in a most unusual way. The public prosecutor, Paul Velleman, initially refused to prosecute him because, in his view, Wilders’s statements did not break the law. In refusing to press charges, Velleman acknowledged that Wilders’s statements “may have been insulting for Muslims,” but concluded that Wilders was not guilty of lawbreaking, since the statements were made “in the context of public debate.” Velleman added that Wilders didn’t incite hatred or call for discrimination, as his comments “concerned Islam the religion and not Muslims as human beings.” The relevant laws did not forbid merely criticizing a religion, he maintained. the rest

A New Face of Evil

by David Fischler
January 20, 2011

I’m going to go out on a limb and say this guy’s name will never, ever be mentioned on the web site of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice:

A doctor whose abortion clinic was described as a filthy, foul-smelling “house of horrors” that was overlooked by regulators for years was charged Wednesday with murder, accused of delivering seven babies alive and then using scissors to kill them.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell was also charged with murder in the death of a woman who suffered an overdose of painkillers while awaiting an abortion.

In a nearly 300-page grand jury report filled with ghastly, stomach-turning detail, prosecutors said Pennsylvania regulators ignored complaints of barbaric conditions at Gosnell’s clinic, which catered to poor, immigrant and minority women in the city’s impoverished West Philadelphia section.

Prosecutors called the case a “complete regulatory collapse.”

“Pennsylvania is not a Third World country,” the district attorney’s office declared in the report. “There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago.”
the rest

Leave aside the horror movie absurdity of the doctor’s cosmetologist wife doing abortions. This guy was not certified in obstetrics or gynecology, but the state let him do abortions anyway? Even if his facility had been spotless, he’d done them pro bono, and had done nothing other than what abortionists all over the country do on a daily basis–do they really let family practitioners do abortions in Pennsylvania?

Abortionist brutally murdered ‘hundreds’ of living newborns: clinic worker
...The report provided detailed testimony from clinic staff who said that “killing large, late-term babies who had been observed breathing and moving was a regular occurrence” at the filthy clinic: one staffer said such events happened “hundreds” of times...

Malkin: The Philadelphia Horror: How mass murder gets a pass
...Deadly indifference to protecting life isn’t tangential to the abortion industry’s existence – it’s at the core of it. The Philadelphia Horror is no anomaly. It’s the logical, blood-curdling consequence of an evil, eugenics-rooted enterprise wrapped in feminist clothing...

Elizabeth Scalia: Gosnell; Baby Feet Kick the Nation
...Well, the story of Kermit Gosnell is about abortion; it’s about abortion in America. And abortion in America is about a mindset, — even (or especially) among regulation-happy folk who will make a big noise about public safety on issues large and small — a mindset that will protect a Gosnell, and purposely turn a blind eye to abortion centers and practitioners and all of their lapses and illegalities, as long as the abortions keep on coming...

Franklin Graham: Spirit of Anti-Christ Is Everywhere

Thursday, 20 Jan 2011
By David A. Patten

The Rev. Franklin Graham says just mentioning the name Jesus Christ in the public square is increasingly frowned upon and warns: "The spirit of anti-Christ is everywhere."

The Samaritan’s Purse founder and son of beloved evangelist Dr. Billy Graham voiced his dismay at the rapid secularization of society during a Tuesday chapel service at John Brown University, a private Christian university based in Siloam Springs, Ark.

Graham, who was banned from a Pentagon national day of Prayer event last year for expressing his opinions about Islam, told students: “Even in our government today, you can't pray to Jesus in many public meetings. You can pray to God or a god. You can mention Buddha or the name of Muhammad -- but you can't pray to Jesus Christ.”

The president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association criticized the recent memorial service for the Tucson shooting victims.

Unlike the memorials held after the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11, he said, the Tucson program did not include an official prayer or mention of God. Graham noted gratefully, however, that President Barack Obama did quote scripture from the biblical book of Job.
the rest

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Over a million immigrants land U.S. jobs in 2008-10

By Ed Stoddard
Thu Jan 20, 2011

 (Reuters) - Over the past two years, as U.S. unemployment remained near double-digit levels and the economy shed jobs in the wake of the financial crisis, over a million foreign-born arrivals to America found work, many illegally.

Those are among the findings of a review of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau data conducted exclusively for Reuters by researchers at the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

Often young and unskilled or semi-skilled, immigrants have taken jobs Americans could do in areas like construction, willing to work for less wages. Others land jobs that unemployed Americans turn up their noses at or lack the skills to do. the rest

New year sees no let up in Episcopal Church lawsuits

January 20, 2011
by George Conger

A new year has brought new twists and turns to the Episcopal Church’s legal wars. The national church beat back the secession of a West Texas congregation from the Diocese of the Rio Grande, saw reasons for optimism and gloom from Presbyterian property cases in Georgia, Indiana and Missouri, found its lawyer in the Fort Worth cases accused of professional misconduct, and witnessed the amicable settlement of a church property split in New Jersey.

On Dec 16 the 210 District Court of Texas issued judgment in favor of the Diocese of the Rio Grande against St Francis on-the-Hill Anglican Church in El Paso.

The congregation of St. Francis on-the-Hill Episcopal Church on Oct 21, 2008, voted to secede. Litigation commenced and on Feb 10, 2010 Judge Gonzalo Garcia granted summary judgment in favor of the diocese...

...The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the Diocese of New Jersey have come to an amicable resolution of the status of a former Episcopal congregation that quit the diocese for the Convocation of Anglicans in North American (CANA).

On Nov 23 the diocese agreed to sell the property of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Helmetta, NJ to St. Georges Anglican Church. In Feb 2008, the congregation and its rector voted to secede from the Episcopal Church. Negotiations began over the fate of the congregations building in 2009 and a settlement satisfactory to both sides was reached late last year. the rest
The decision to sell the church buildings to the breakaway group by the diocese places it at odds with the wishes of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who has called for a ban on sales of parish properties to breakaway groups. Testifying in the Virginia cases in 2007, Bishop Jefferts Schori stated that had the buildings of breakaway congregations been offered to sale to Methodist or Baptist groups, she would not object, but “the Episcopal Church, for matters of its own integrity, cannot encourage other parts of the Anglican Communion to set up shop within its jurisdiction.”

Anglican Church in North America Celebrates Chaplains Ordinations

Three chaplains were ordained as priests and one as a transitional deacon at The Falls Church in Falls Church, Va. on Jan. 15.
January 19, 2011

The Anglican Church in North America is excited to report on the chaplains’ ordination service that took place on Saturday, January 15 at The Falls Church in Falls Church, Va. During the spirit-filled service, three chaplains were ordained as priests, and one was ordained as a transitional deacon. The Rt. Reverend Martyn Minns, Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in North America, presided over the ordinations.

“This is a joyous occasion for the Anglican Church in North America. We are blessed to bear witness to the Chaplaincies’ continued growth, and we look forward to the way in which Christ will work through our newly ordained chaplains,” said the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church in North America.
 the rest

BBC marks anniversary of King James Bible by claiming King David was gay

by Hilary White
Wed Jan 19, 2011

 ( – BBC Radio 4 has marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible by claiming that King David, the Jewish king of the Old Testament who slew the giant Philistine Goliath, was in the Bible’s “only gay relationship.”

On a literary program, one of a series on the historic Bible translation, aired on Sunday, January 9th, playwright Howard Brenton claimed that David had been in love with Jonathan, the son of King Saul.

Brenton said, “To a secular reader the story of David and Jonathan’s love is obviously homosexual, the only gay relationship in the Bible.” Brenton acknowledged that the idea is “controversial.” the rest

Albert Mohler: What About the Twins? The Deadly Logic of Abortion

Once we buy into the logic of abortion, there is no end to the trail of tears.
Thursday, January 20, 2011

Saturday will mark the 38th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision that opened the floodgates for abortion in America. On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the decision, declaring that women have a constitutional right to an abortion. Hard as it is to imagine, the justices in the majority really believed that their decision would end the national debate over abortion. Not by a long shot.

Nearly four decades later, the argument rages on — and so does the carnage. The national abortion rate is over twenty percent. Just last week it was reported that the abortion rate in New York City is over forty percent, and among African-Americans in that city, nearly sixty percent. In other words, an abortion industrial complex now claims over a million unborn lives each year. The carnage just continues. the rest

The abortion of the twin boys precipitated an international outcry, with headlines carrying the news around the world. But, even as millions were morally troubled by the account, many were unable to muster a moral argument against the abortions. Why? Because the logic of abortion has been so widely accepted in the larger society.

Report: California Church-Goers Want Marriage Help

Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Jennifer LeClaire

Although traditional marriage is under attack in California, there is still plenty of room for the faith community to offer a helping hand to engaged and married couples looking for answers. So says a report from the California Healthy Marriages Coalition (CHMC).

The report reveals that a majority of church-goers—whether frequently, regular, occasional or rare—believe that religious organizations should offer pre-marital counseling, marriage enrichment programs, and help to couples with marriage problems.

But the good news was followed by bad news.

The report also discovered that 32 percent of "regular" church-goers agree that "marriage is too risky" due to the high chances of divorce, and 20 percent of married "frequent" church-goes have "discussed the idea of divorce" with their spouse. the rest

Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Faith and the ‘gestational carrier’

by John-Henry Westen
Tue Jan 18, 2011

  ( – Actress Nicole Kidman and country music star Keith Urban announced yesterday the December 28th birth of their biological child born by a paid surrogate mother. While the pro-life movement is all for life, the circumstances of the birth of Faith Margaret and her conception are of serious concern.

Children have the right to be conceived in the loving union of a husband and wife and carried in the womb by their mother - rights which were intentionally denied to Faith.

Moreover, in most circumstances in vitro fertilization (the means by which the celebrity couple’s child would have been conceived) causes the death of numerous embryonic children. Therefore in all likelihood, several of Faith’s biological siblings were killed in the process. Besides that, numerous studies have shown that IVF is dangerous for the child conceived. the rest

Rising Above Roe v. Wade

Maybe politics isn't the place to start
JANUARY 18, 2011

Are babies better than abortions?

That's not a question we are accustomed to hearing. For the most part, abortion—America's most divisive issue—plays out as a question of competing rights. So it will be this weekend as pro-life and pro-choice legions each mark the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion.

Yet a simple figure released earlier this month by the Chiaroscuro Foundation, a private nonprofit organization, provokes a different question. After crunching the latest statistics from New York City's Health Department, the foundation reported that 41% of pregnancies (excluding miscarriage) in New York ended in abortion. That's double the national rate.

So again the question: As a society, does this figure say anything about the choice between a baby and abortion? Even for those who believe the choice for an abortion belongs to a woman alone and ought to be unfettered by city, state or federal law, is there any ratio such a person would say is too high? the rest

On the moral claims and counterclaims on abortion, we have a vast chasm. Yet the moral divide can blind us to the possibilities that exist in all human communities. Might that start with recognizing that a 41% abortion rate means that many pregnant women are not getting the social help and encouragement they need to have their babies?
NYC's bill targeting pregnancy centers: DOA
...Bill No. 371, which mimics ordinances passed in Baltimore and Austin, would force PCCs in New York City to post signage that they do not commit abortions or distribute contraceptives. It would also force them to notify clients if there were no doctor in the house...

Saudi Arabia Now Forcing News Bloggers to Obtain Licenses, Promote Islam

BY Neal Ungerleider
Wed Jan 12, 2011

The Middle Eastern kingdom has just enacted one of the world's most stringent sets of blogging regulations: Non-citizens can't write about news, chat room users are encouraged to register with the government, and everyone needs to be very careful about religion.

Saudi Arabia has enacted stringent new regulations forcing some bloggers to obtain government licenses and to strongarm others into registering. In addition, all Saudi news blogs and electronic news sites will now be strictly licensed, required to “include the call to the religion of Islam” and to strictly abide by Islamic sharia law. The registration and religion requirements are also being coupled with strict restrictions on what topics Saudi bloggers can write on--a development which will essentially give Saudi authorities the right to shut down blogs at their discretion.

The new regulations went into effect on January 1, 2011. Fast Company previously reported on the law's announcement this past autumn, but the actual reforms enacted were far more punitive than we were earlier led to believe. The exact specifics of the new regulations were not previously announced by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. the rest

Egypt Islamic authority halts dialogue with Vatican
- Egypt's highest Islamic authority, al-Azhar, said Thursday it was freezing all dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church over what it called Pope Benedict's repeated insults toward Islam.

Benedict this month condemned attacks on churches that killed dozens of people in Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria, saying they showed the need to adopt effective measures to protect religious minorities...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Devotional: It is not the distance...

It is not the distance of the earth from the sun, nor the sun’s withdrawing itself, that makes a dark and gloomy day; but the interposition of clouds and vaporous exhalations. Neither is thy soul beyond the reach of the promise, nor does God withdraw Himself; but the vapours of thy carnal, unbelieving heart do cloud thee. ...John Owen image

House repeals healthcare law

By Russell Berman

The House voted on Wednesday to repeal the sweeping healthcare law enacted last year, as Republicans made good on a central campaign pledge and laid down the first major policy marker of their new majority.

The party-line vote was 245-189, as three Democrats joined all 242 Republicans in supporting repeal.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the healthcare law on the books would increase spending, raise taxes and eliminate jobs.

“Repeal means paving the way for better solutions that will lower the costs without destroying jobs or bankrupting our government," Boehner said in remarks on the floor before the vote. the rest

Pa. abortion doctor killed 7 babies with scissors

By Patrick Walters and Maryclaire Dale,
Associated Press Writers

PHILADELPHIA - A doctor who gave abortions to minorities, immigrants and poor women in a "house of horrors" clinic was charged with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 69, made millions of dollars over 30 years, performing as many illegal, late-term abortions as he could, prosecutors said. State regulators ignored complaints about him and failed to inspect his clinic since 1993, but no charges were warranted against them given time limits and existing law, District Attorney Seth Williams said. Nine of Gosnell's employees also were charged.

Gosnell "induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord," Williams said.

Patients were subjected to squalid and barbaric conditions at Gosnell's Women's Medical Society, where Gosnell performed dozens of abortions a day, prosecutors said. He mostly worked overnight hours after his untrained staff administered drugs to induce labor during the day, they said. the rest
Bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses "were scattered throughout the building," Williams said. "There were jars, lining shelves, with severed feet that he kept for no medical purpose."

Dr. Michael Youssef: Episcopal Church-Christian?


Based on everything I am currently reading and what I experienced firsthand in that Church in the past, my answer to this question is a forceful, "No!"

Perhaps the last nail in the coffin of that once-vibrant Christian church came as no surprise to many of us when M. Thomas Shaw, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, kicked off the new year of 2011 by performing a lesbian marriage ceremony at St. Paul's cathedral in Boston. Two "priestesses" of the church -- Katherine Hancock Ragsdale (dean and president of Episcopal Divinity School, no less) and Mally Lloyd (canon to the Ordinary at St. Paul's) -- were united in homosexual bliss in the presence of 400 guests. The whole debate of homosexuality has deteriorated into an emotional argument on equality with total disregard to God's created order that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

But how can one be surprised at this defiance of church cannons when the Episcopal leadership has defied God? Once the fear of God and obedience to His Word are trampled underfoot, then any sort of church resolution is not worth the paper it's written on. the rest

Canada: Archbishop Hiltz reflects on upcoming meeting of Anglican primates

By Marites N. Sison
staff writer
January 19, 2011

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, hopes the upcoming Dublin meeting of his fellow primates across the Anglican Communion will provide a greater understanding of challenges facing 70 million Anglicans worldwide.

In an interview prior to his departure for the Jan. 25-30 meeting, Archbishop Hiltz explained that the meeting will discuss the nature of the Anglican Communion and the role of its primates, both as a body as well as in their individual provinces. And for the first time since this meeting was established in 1978, discussions will be guided by a facilitator.

“I think [the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams] is doing his utmost to hold the Communion together,” Archbishop Hiltz told the Anglican Journal.

The 38 primates, representing Anglicans in 164 countries, will be asked to share their thoughts on two questions: What do you think is the most pressing challenge or issue facing the Anglican Communion at this time? What do you think is the most pressing challenge or issue facing your own province? the rest

Neutering God

By Mark Tooley

But strains of feminist theology persist, though often more subtle. It is not uncommon in some Protestant circles for sometimes otherwise orthodox preachers to persistently avoid all personal pronouns for the deity. Since "he" and "him" are deemed potentially offensive, "God" instead is cited repeatedly like rapid, repetitious fire from a Gatling gun. This semantic ploy, if it must be used, might be somewhat less grating if some traditional alternative names were also used, like the "Almighty," or simply "Lord." Some preachers say "God-God-God" without personal pronouns based on conviction, or imagined potential offense for a feminist in the congregation, or because a seminary demanded this practice. Some Mainline Protestant seminaries require "inclusive" language for all references to the deity. Ardent liberals will even avoid traditional Trinitarian language, substituting "Creator-Redeemer-Sustainer" for "Father-Son-Holy Ghost."

Christians and Jews worship a Spirit who is not a man or woman, though Christians of course believe that God did become man in Jesus Christ. Jewish and Christian Scriptures always refer to God in masculine terms, while sometimes metaphorically likening God's love to a hen protecting her chicks or a woman searching for a lost coin. God in neither Old or New Testament is ever referred to as "she" or "her." Some theologians speculate that, among other reasons, the transcendent God of the Jews was entirely distinct from the very gendered and sexualized pagan deities, some of which literally gave birth to creation. The Jewish God created by fiat, not birthing. Jesus called God "Father," and there is no scriptural reference of a Heavenly Mother. An unauthorized United Methodist hymnal supplement of 10 years ago included hymns titled: "I Am Your Mother," "Mothering God You Gave Me Birth," and "Womb of Life," benignly intertwined with more traditional anthems like "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," the Navy's traditional hymn. There's no evidence that any of these "Mother" hymns has gained a wide following.

the rest-excellent!

Hit Send, Take a Bow

In theater terms, we are 'on' all the time, expected to give a performance by responding to every text, every IM, every scribble on the Facebook wall.
JANUARY 18, 2011

Teens may embrace the peculiar sociability that the wireless computer makes possible, Ms. Turkle says, but they do so with unease and ambivalence. To put it in theater terms, they are "on" all the time, expected to respond immediately to every text, every IM, every scribble on their Facebook walls. There is no escape from the pestering, nudging, hectoring, chattering demands of being connected. Many high-schoolers are more exhausted than exhilarated by their virtual lives. "I can't imagine doing this when I get older," says one student about the hours he devotes to meeting the demands of his online social life. "How long do I have to continue doing this?"

Students are also aware that the virtual life on the Web leaves a more thorough, durable and potentially problematic record than their meat-world existence. Conversations on the playground are of the moment, but chat with a pal via instant-messaging and he just might be archiving the exchange. Ms. Turkle talks with teens who realize, painfully, that they will never escape the indiscretions photographically memorialized on Facebook but who still can't imagine opting out of the social network.

Oddly, though students carry their cellphones everywhere, they aren't fond of talking on the phone. Text is the medium of choice, and it isn't just about convenience. It is a way of being guarded, of putting up a barrier so that honest reaction isn't revealed. the rest

Pope Appoints Protestant as Chief Science Adviser

by Edwin Cartlidge
18 January 2011

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Swiss microbiologist Werner Arber as the new president of the Vatican's scientific advisory body, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Arber, a Protestant, becomes the first non-Catholic to head the organization, which has roots dating back to the early 17th century. He succeeds Italian physicist Nicola Cabibbo, who died in August last year.

The academy is designed to keep the church up to date with the latest scientific advances and so help it avoid making the kind of errors that brought it into conflict with science in the past. Set up in its present form by Pope Pius XI in 1936, it consists of 80 distinguished scientists, both men and women, who have a variety of religious affiliations or are nonreligious and who include a significant number of Nobel Prize winners. the rest

Six states join health care reform challenge

Six more states are joining Florida’s federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of health care reform.. . Story

'Chilling Verdict': Churches re-assess risk management policies.

Ken Walker

A $4.75 million judgment against a Tampa congregation in connection with a teen's injuries on a church-sponsored skiing trip is raising awareness of the risks facing churches in a litigious society.

"It's a chilling verdict for everyone concerned," said Simeon May, CEO of the National Association of Church Business Administration, which spotlighted risk management in a recent series of seminars nationwide.

"It's very sad that a boy was hurt and that the relationship between his family and church is broken," said Laura Kubenez, director of the child protection ministry at Woodside Bible Church in Troy, Michigan. "I hope the impact is to alert churches that they have to have a [safety] plan and procedures in place." the rest photo by Whit Andrews

Since verdicts like Idlewild's are rare, GuideOne Insurance executive Eric Spacek said churches should be more concerned with injuries related to inadequate property maintenance or the removal of snow and ice hazards.

Car thieves can easily hack remote keyless systems

Jan 17, 2011

Those remote key fobs nearly all automakers offer -- turns out they're fairly easy to hack so the bad guys can unlock your car and high-tail it before you even finish your shopping, Swiss researchers discovered.

Cars with keyless entry and push-button start, such as the system from a 2009 Lincoln MKS shown here, are vulnerable to hacking by car thieves, Swiss researchers say.CAPTIONFord Motor via WieckYour only advantage: If your car has a remote that still requires a key, the bad guys can't start it easily, even though they can open the doors and trunk and get inside.

Cars that have keyless entry and the push-button ignition switches becoming more common are in the most jeopardy. The thieves can, in fact, start those vehicles because the same purloined signal that opens the doors also tells the push-button system it's OK to start the car when somebody pushes the button. the rest image by Caitlin Regan

Funeral homes find new life by hosting other events

By Melanie D. Hayes,
The Indianapolis Star
posted jauary 18, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS — Paulita and Tony Flores took their wedding vows in December in an elegant rotunda with marble floors amid glimmering chandeliers and a bubbling fountain.

It didn't bother them that a room down the hall showcased caskets and urns. Or that the building was surrounded by a large cemetery with 100,000 gravestones on 60 acres. Or that on other days, the facility hosts something a lot more somber — funerals.

The Flores' wedding at the Community Life Center at Washington Park East Cemetery here illustrates a growing trend. the rest
Across the USA, funeral homes are building and marketing such centers as not just a place to mourn the dead but as sites for events celebrating the living, including weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, holiday parties and proms.

UK: Hotel owners fined for refusing gay couple a room

Jan 18, 2011

LONDON (AP) -- A Christian couple were fined Tuesday for refusing to allow a gay couple the use of a double room at their hotel in southern England, capping a case that has drawn national attention and which the judge himself described as very difficult.

There was a media uproar after Martyn Hall and his partner Steven Preddy were turned away from Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion, in southwestern England, in 2008. Husband and wife Peter and Hazelmary Bull - both devout Christians - had refused on religious grounds to let the two men share a room. the rest

Canada: Anglican group happy with new setup

Parishioners broke away from Anglican church in Nanoose Bay two years ago
By Dustin Walker, Daily News
January 18, 2011

Parishioners who broke away from an Anglican church in Nanoose Bay two years ago have little desire to reclaim the building they once worshiped in, says the reverend at Christ's Church Oceanside.

Saint Mary's Anglican Church was reduced to just 14 people when the majority of parishioners, led by Rev. Guy Bellerby, split from the diocese and formed Christ's Church Oceanside. The breakaway group is among several across Canada that have left the Anglican diocese and joined the Anglican Network in Canada, which opposes same-sex marriage. Issues of same-sex blessings and how to interpret the Bible have led to a decades-long division in the worldwide Anglican communion.

Members of the breakaway Anglican Network in Canada filed an appeal Friday to the Supreme Court of Canada, after two lower courts ruled their churches -- St. John's, Church of the Good Shepherd, and St. Matthias and St. Luke's in Vancouver, as well as St. Matthews in Abbotsford -- belonged to the Anglican Church in Canada. the rest

NY court begins trial of Pak-American TV executive accused of beheading wife


A New York court has started hearing the case of a Pakistani-origin television executive charged with beheading his wife after she filed for diverse [sic].

Opening statements in the second-degree murder trial of Muzzammil Hassan began yesterday in Erie County Court in Buffalo, New York.

The Pakistani-born couple had reportedly set up a pro-Muslim television channel, Bridges TV, in the United States to counter the negative impression about Islam following 9/11 terror attacks.

Forty-six-year-old Hassan is accused of stabbing and beheading Aasiya Hassan, 37, inside the channel's studio in 2009. the rest

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Anglican Perspective: Sure Foundation

EU Calendar Omits Christian Holidays, While Noting Jewish, Muslim Celebrations

January 17, 2011

The European Union has published a school calendar that omits Christian holidays, like Christmas and Easter, while noting significant Jewish and Muslim celebrations.

Three million copies have reportedly been printed of the calendar, which will be given out freely to students who request it from the union's 27 member countries.

The Catholic News Agency reports that former French politician and government minister Christine Boutin noted the omission of Christian holidays in a Jan. 11 blog post, saying the calendar slights "the religion practiced or recognized as forming the cultural assembly of our 'old' continent." the rest
The EU says the Christian holidays will be put back on the calendar for future printings.

Kentucky Court Decision Allows Secret Abortions in Teen Girls

by Steven Ertelt
Frankfort, KY

A teenager from another state may get permission to travel out of state for an abortion without their parents ever knowing. That’s the decision recently released by the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

In a 2-1 ruling last week that was sealed, the majority on the appeals court said they felt obligated to make the decision despite “significant reservations” about allowing Kentucky judges to essentially keep parents from 49 other states in the dark about whether or not their teenage daughter can travel to the Bluegrass State for a secret abortion without their knowledge or consent. the rest
This means if a young girl in Indiana wants to avoid getting her parents permission, which is required by law in that state, they can go judge shopping in Kentucky for a judge who will allow her to abort her unborn child and her parents need never know,” he said.

IRAQ: Christian doctor assaulted in Mosul

The victim is one of the most famous cardiologists in the region. An armed group shot him at point-blank range, the man is seriously injured. West accused: you can not do anything for Christians because you no longer have Christian roots and are indifferent to religion.
by Layla Yousif Rahema

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - Another targeted attack against Christians in Iraq. On the afternoon of 15 January a group of unidentified criminals entered the Rabi'a hospital, a private clinic in the Sukar district in Mosul and shot a Christian doctor who worked there at point blank rabge. The gun had a silencer, and the doctor was fortunately only seriously wounded.

Nuyia Youssif Nuyia is a specialist cardiologist, very well known in the region. He was the private physician of the late Msgr. Faraj Rahho and many priests and religious. Formerly a military doctor and professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Mosul, Nuyia is married with four children. Those who know him said that Nyuia is a Chaldean Catholic, very attached to his faith and his Church. the rest
Those responsible for the incident remain unknown for now. Meanwhile, the Christian community in Iraq has again denounced Western indifference to their plight, despite the Dec. 31 massacre of Copts in Alexandria and the cathedral in Baghdad: "The West can not do anything for Christian, because the West denies its Christian roots and is indifferent to all religions. And another thing that the West does not understand is that in these Muslim countries 'democracy' means 'chaos'. "
Somali Mother of Four Slaughtered for her Faith
 A mother of four was killed for her Christian faith on Jan. 7 on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia by Islamic extremists from al Shabaab militia...

Muslim Villager in Pakistan Allegedly Rapes Sixth Christian Girl
A Muslim who allegedly confessed to sexually assaulting five Christian girls raped a 10-year-old Catholic girl in Punjab Province last month, according to her family...

Teachers log 'racist' and 'homophobic' jibes in playground squabbles, even at nursery

By Sarah Harris
17th January 2011

More than 10,000 primary school pupils in a single year have been labelled racist or homophobic over minor squabbles.

Even toddlers in nursery classes are being penalised for so-called hate crimes such as using the words ‘white trash’ or ‘gaylord’.

Schools are forced to report their language to education authorities, which keep a register of incidents.  the rest
This leads to at least 30,000 primary and secondary pupils per year being effectively classed as bigots because of anti-bullying rules.

The school can also keep the pupil’s name and ‘offence’ on file. The record can be passed from primaries to secondaries or when a pupil moves between schools at the request of the new head.

Former Anglicans could share old churches, says head of Ordinariate

Former Anglicans could continue to worship in their old churches, according to the leader of a new grouping within the Roman Catholic Church.
18 Jan 2011

Fr Keith Newton, a bishop in the Church of England until just a few weeks ago who is now an ordained Catholic priest and the head of the Personal Ordinariate of England and Wales, said he hoped churches could be shared between the different congregations.

But he insisted he did not want any “rancour or bad feeling” between Anglicans and those who go over to Rome under the unprecedented scheme.

The Ordinariate was proposed late in 2009 by the Vatican as a refuge for disaffected Anglicans worldwide who oppose developments such as women’s ordination. the rest

UK: Anglican church offers 'baptism lite' to attract non-worshippers

By Steve Doughty
 18th January 2011

 Church of England baptism services may be re-written to remove some references to Christianity.

The plan for a new ‘baptism lite’ service designed to make christenings more interesting to non-churchgoers will be considered next month by the Church’s parliament, the General Synod.

Supporters say the baptism service should be ‘expressed in culturally appropriate and accessible language’ that is readily understood by ‘non-theologically versed Britons’. But traditionalist clergy said the idea amounted to ‘dumbing down’.

The new service would be used at 150,000 christenings each year. If the plan is accepted, it will be the third full re-write of the baptism ceremony in around 30 years – the version in the Church’s Book of Common Prayer went virtually unaltered for more than 400 years until 1980.  the rest
Bishops indicated yesterday that if the Synod accepts the argument a committee will be instructed to begin writing a new baptism service, but they warned that such re-writing would raise arguments over faith and doctrine.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Devotional: Certainly I will be with thee...

And he said, Certainly I will be with thee. Exodus 3:12

Of course, if the Lord sent Moses on an errand, He would not let him go alone. The tremendous risk which it would involve and the great power it would require would render it ridiculous for God to send a poor lone Hebrew to confront the mightiest king in all the world and then leave him to himself. It could not be imagined that a wise God would match poor Moses with Pharaoh and the enormous forces of Egypt. Hence He says, "Certainly I will be with thee," as if it were out of the question that He would send him alone.

In my case, also, the same rule will hold good. If I go upon the Lord's errand with a simple reliance upon His power and a single eye to His glory, it is certain that He will be with me. His sending me binds Him to back me up. Is not this enough? What more can I want? If all the angels and arch-angels were with me. I might fail; but if He is with me, I must succeed. Only let me take care that I act worthily toward this promise. Let me not go timidly, halfheartedly, carelessly, presumptuously. What manner of person ought he to be who has God with him! In such company it behoveth me to play the man and, like Moses, go in unto Pharaoh without fear. ...CH Spurgeon image

Killings of newborn babies on the rise in Pakistan

by Hasan Mansoor
Mon Jan 17, 2011

KARACHI (AFP) – The lifeless bodies of two tiny babies are being given their final bath before burial in Karachi, after they were left to die in the southern Pakistani city's garbage dumps.

"They can only have been one or two days old," says volunteer worker Mohammad Saleem, pointing at the two small corpses being gently washed by his colleagues at a charity's morgue.

In the conservative Muslim nation, where the birth of children outside of marriage is condemned and adultery is a crime punishable by death under strict interpretations of Islamic law, infanticide is a crime on the rise. the rest

The Lazy Slander of the Pro-Life Cause

by Helen Alvaré, Greg Pfundstein, Matthew Schmitz
and Ryan T. Anderson
January 17, 2011

Do pro-lifers care about life after birth?

One of the most frequently repeated canards of the abortion debate is that pro-lifers really don’t care about life. As much as they talk about protecting the unborn, we are told, pro-lifers do nothing to support mothers and infants who are already in the world. Liberal writers such as Matthew Yglesias are given to observing that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” At Commonweal, David Gibson, a journalist who frequently covers the abortion debate, asks how much pro-lifers do for mothers: “I just want to know what realistic steps they are proposing or backing. I’m not sure I’d expect to hear anything from pro-life groups now since there’s really been nothing for years.”

This lazy slander is as common as it is untrue. Of course, there is much more that needs to be done, but in the decades since Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers have taken the lead in offering vital services to mothers and infants in need. Operating with little support—and often actual opposition—from agencies, foundations, and local governments, pro-lifers have relied upon a network of committed donors and volunteers to make great strides in supporting mothers and their infants. It’s time the media takes notice. the rest

No major pro-abortion group or institution has taken on a comparable commitment to vulnerable Americans. Pregnancy resource centers devote significant resources to supporting women who have already decided to have an abortion, but abortion advocates offer no similar support to women who wish to continue their pregnancies. Indeed, they often devote their resources to shutting down the services provided by pro-lifers. NARAL Pro-Choice America reports spending twenty thousand dollars on “crisis pregnancy centers” in Maryland in order to “investigate” and publicly smear such centers for demonstrating a bias for life. (One might point out that the same bias once motivated the entire medical profession.)

Abortion Has Caused 300K Breast Cancer Deaths Since Roe

by Steven Ertelt
Washington, DC

A leading breast cancer researcher says abortion has caused at least 300,000 cases of breast cancer causing a woman’s death since the Supreme Court allowed virtually unlimited abortion in its 1973 case.

With tens of millions of abortions since the high court’s decision and research confirming abortion increases the risk of contracting breast cancer, undoubtedly a large number of breast cancer cases, caused by abortion, have occurred over the last 38 years.

Professor Joel Brind, an endocrinologist at Baruch College in New York, worked with several scientists on a 1996 paper published in the Journal of Epidemiol Community Health showing a “30% greater chance of developing breast cancer” for women who have induced abortions. He recently commented on how many women have become victims. the rest
“During the last 21 months, four epidemiological studies and one review reported an abortion-breast cancer link,” she noted. “One study included National Cancer Institute branch chief Louise Brinton as co-author. We count nearly 50 published epidemiological studies since 1957 reporting a link. Biological and experimental studies also support it.”

John Piper - The Sin of Abortion

Study: One in four California pregnancies ends in abortion

Abortion - an issue of the unborn's civil rights

UK: Meltdown on our maternity wards

With Britain’s midwife shortage now becoming critical, a ‘Sunday Telegraph’ investigation reveals the depths of desperation felt by hospital staff at their inability to offer even basic care to expectant mothers.

 16 Jan 2011

Twenty midwives working in NHS hospitals across the country agreed to be interviewed by this newspaper. All spoke out on condition that their real names were not used, because they believe that the service which employs them is failing to meet the most basic requirements of expectant mothers.

For eight years, Anna MacDonald has worked at one of the largest maternity units in the country. During this period, the number of births in England and Wales has risen by 17 per cent. Mrs MacDonald says pressures are such that her unit is now "on a knife edge", often unable to meet even basic standards of safety.

The maternity service is regularly filled to capacity; three or four times a week it closes, refusing all admissions, sending women in labour around the country to other units as far as 60 miles away.

Shortages of anaesthetists and midwives mean women are left to beg for epidural pain relief in vain, says the experienced midwife. Despite national standards to check foetal heart rates every 15 minutes, when pressures mount, a gamble is taken, and checks are delayed.

Mrs MacDonald, 36, says: "Often we will leave a woman on her own for far longer than we want to. When you go back, sometimes you find yourself just praying there is still a foetal heartbeat. We are leaving terrified women alone and in pain." the rest

Albert Mohler: Intellectual Discipleship — Following Christ with Our Minds

A failure of Christian thinking is a failure of discipleship, for we are called to love God with our minds.
Friday, January 14, 2011

The biblical master narrative serves as a framework for the cognitive principles that allow the formation of an authentically Christian worldview. Many Christians rush to develop what they will call a “Christian worldview” by arranging isolated Christian truths, doctrines, and convictions in order to create formulas for Christian thinking. No doubt, this is a better approach than is found among so many believers who have very little concern for Christian thinking at all, but it is not enough.

A robust and rich model of Christian thinking—the quality of thinking that culminates in a God-centered worldview—requires that we see all truth as interconnected. Ultimately, the systematic wholeness of truth can be traced to the fact that God is himself the author of all truth. Christianity is not a set of doctrines in the sense that a mechanic operates with a set of tools. Instead, Christianity is a comprehensive worldview and way of life that grows out of Christian reflection on the Bible and the unfolding plan of God revealed in the unity of the Scriptures. the rest image
A failure of Christian thinking is a failure of discipleship, for we are called to love God with our minds. We cannot follow Christ faithfully without first thinking as Christians. Furthermore, believers are not to be isolated thinkers who bear this responsibility alone. We are called to be faithful together, as we learn intellectual discipleship within the believing community, the church.

Anglican bishops make history as first ordained Catholic priests

The Irish Times
 Religious Affairs Correspondent

Monday, January 17, 2011

THREE FORMER Anglican bishops made history at the weekend by becoming the first to be ordained Catholic priest members of a new “ordinariate’’ set up by the Vatican.

Former Church of England bishops, Keith Newton, John Broadhurst and Andrew Burnham, were ordained by Catholic Archbishop Vincent Nichols at Westminster Cathedral in London on Saturday.

The Archbishop told them “many ordinations have take place in this cathedral during the 100 years of its history. But none quite like this. Today is a unique occasion marking a new step in the life and history of the Catholic Church.’’ He continued that “this morning the establishment of the first personal ordinariate under the provision of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus has been announced in our hearing.’’

Archbishop Nichols thanked members of the Church of England for offering their prayers and good wishes to the newly ordained Catholic priests. He said “first among these is Rowan, Archbishop of Canterbury, with his characteristic insight, and generosity of heart and spirit”. the rest

Surfers in Alaska ride waves for an astonishing five miles


George VI, or ‘Bertie’, upheld a tradition of Christian kingship that may die out with Prince Charles

Our future king thinks Christianity is just one of many faiths
By Francis Phillips
Friday, 14 January 2011

I have just been to see the film, The King’s Speech. Leaving aside the historical inaccuracies which have been pointed out by others, it was a moving spectacle. Two things stood out: the warm relationship between the Duke of York, later King George VI, and Lionel Logue, his Australian speech therapist; and the King’s unflinching acceptance of his destiny.

“Bertie”, as he was known to his family (but not, incidentally, to Logue), was shy, unconfident, ill-educated, in delicate health and with a severe speech impediment. But he was also honourable, dutiful and courageous – qualities that more than compensated for his defects. With his very stable and happy family life, and his insistence on sharing in the country’s hardships (he had a line drawn around the inside of the baths at Buckingham Palace as an indication of the small amount of hot water to be used) he set exactly the example of kingship needed during the war. the rest

One of the best movies Raymond and I have ever seen!  
 Don't miss it! -PD

Roman rise and fall 'recorded in trees'

14 January 2011
By Mark Kinver
Science and environment reporter,
BBC News

An extensive study of tree growth rings says there could be a link between the rise and fall of past civilisations and sudden shifts in Europe's climate.

A team of researchers based their findings on data from 9,000 wooden artifacts from the past 2,500 years.

They found that periods of warm, wet summers coincided with prosperity, while political turmoil occurred during times of climate instability.

The findings have been published online by the journal Science.

"Looking back on 2,500 years, there are examples where climate change impacted human history," co-author Ulf Buntgen, a paleoclimatologist at the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape, told the Science website. the rest image

St. Matthew Passion NY City Premiere Set for February 2011

January 13, 2011
by James M. Kushiner

 The English-language U.S. premiere of the St. Matthew Passion, by renowned Russian Orthodox composer and churchman Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, will debut in New York City on February 7, 2011. St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary will host the concert—which has received standing ovations from huge audiences in Moscow, Rome, Melbourne, and Toronto—at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, 405 West 59th Street, at 7:30 p.m.

“Just as J.S. Bach drew church congregations into the drama of Christ’s Passion in his day, so now, Metropolitan Hilarion is offering our post-modern world a corresponding experience with his fresh and original St. Matthew Passion, a profound piece of music that combines Gospel narrative with liturgical texts of the Orthodox Church,” said seminary Chancellor Archpriest Chad Hatfield. “We invite lovers of sacred music to hear this magnificent, inspired work, which not only is beautifully stirring but also is a testament to the Orthodox Christian faith.” the rest

Catholic school board found guilty of religious discrimination against UFO cult

by Patrick B. Craine
Mon Jan 03, 2011
TORONTO, Ontario

 ( - The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ordered a Catholic school board to compensate three members of a prominent UFO cult after finding the board guilty of religious discrimination.

Daniel, Michel, and Sylvie Chabot, members of the Raelian cult, were hired in November 2006 by the Conseil Scolaire Catholique Franco-Nord to offer ‘emotional pedagogy’ training sessions for teachers. They delivered such sessions through what they call the Academy of Pleasurology and Emotional Intelligence (APEI).

The Catholic board chose to end the contract in January 2007 after discovering their membership in the cult, which claims that humans were planted on Earth by benevolent extraterrestrials.

On December 15th, Tribunal vice president Michelle Flaherty ruled that the board had discriminated against the three siblings on the basis of their beliefs. The parties had agreed to mediation, but asked the Tribunal to determine if the human rights code was violated. The decision does not reveal how much the board must pay in penalty. the rest