Welcome to Transfigurations! This blog is intended to serve the orthodox Anglican community and the wider Christian community. We pray that all that is posted here will be faithful to the Scriptures as the inspired word of God, speak the truth in love, edify, bless and transform this local body of Christ, and be an impetus for revival, repentance, prayer and intercession!
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Friday, May 06, 2011
Broken marriages draining tax coffers
Programs offer to fix couples before they see problems
Saturday, April 30, 2011
By Lois M. Collins, Deseret News
The cost of divorce and out-of-wedlock births to taxpayers nationally exceeds $112 billion a year, including the cost of federal, state and local government programs and forgone tax revenues, according to "The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing: First-ever Estimates for the Nation and All 50 States," a report by a coalition of organizations that includes the Institute for American Values, the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, the Georgia Family Council and Families Northwest.
The group said children are particularly impacted by marriage failure, with "potential risks" that include poverty, mental illness, physical illness, infant mortality, lower educational attainment, juvenile delinquency, behavior problems, criminal activity as adults and early unwed parenthood. Reese notes that research shows children who live with both biological parents do better socially than peers in other family structures.
"The idea that family fragmentation contributes to child poverty has been studied extensively and is widely accepted," the coalition said, noting that marriage "can help to reduce poverty" because there are two potential wage earners in a home, economies of scale and "possibly also because of changes in habits, values and mores that occur" when people marry. the rest
Bullying the Boy Scouts
Chuck Colson, BreakPoint
Monday, April 25, 2011
The Scouts prohibit open homosexuals from serving as leaders. That’s because the organization believes that “homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed.”
How’s that for straight talking, friends?
But now, in the St. Louis area, parent associations working with the public schools are severing ties with local Scouting groups rather than face the risk of lawsuits alleging -- you guessed it -- discrimination based on sexual orientation.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in March, the Missouri PTA advised all of its 420 member units to stop hosting charters with the Boy Scouts because the agreements put them in legal jeopardy.
An official with the state PTA said the advice to local associations is not a criticism of the Scouts but rather flows from the liability issue. The official said, “We’re not telling them, you absolutely can’t. “We’re saying, it’s not in your best interest to do that.” A Scouting spokesman, however, says insurance provided by the Boy Scouts would preclude any financial or legal jeopardy to sponsors.
But for cash-strapped schools and PTAs, just the threat of a lawsuit is enough to get them to abandon the Boy Scouts. And the gay-rights groups know it. the rest
A.S. Haley: California Supreme Court Gives St. James Its Day in Court
Thursday, May 5. 2011
The monumental struggle of St. James Newport Beach to have its day in court just received a definitive boost from the California Supreme Court. In a near-unanimous decision, the Court reversed the opinion by two justices of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, who had decided that the case against St. James was over, and that the Diocese of Los Angeles had won, based solely on the Supreme Court's previous decision in the case. One Justice -- Justice Kennard, who earlier had signaled she favored the antiquated "deferential" approach of Watson v. Jones (see links below), dissented, and said she would affirm the ruling below.
For background on the unusual history of this case, please consult the four most recent posts listed at this page, of which this one gives perhaps the best overview. (The press release issued by St. James on the latest decision may be found at this link.) Suffice it to say that justice has finally prevailed against the plaintiffs' maneuverings, and St. James will receive its day in court. (Of course, watch ECUSA and the Diocese now spend thousands and thousands of dollars to file motions for summary judgment in an attempt to head off that eventuality. Nevertheless, given that their entire case turns on a huge question of fact -- was Canon (now Bishop) McPherson authorized, on behalf of the then Bishop of Los Angeles, to issue a waiver of the Dennis Canon as to the new property being added on to St. James? -- the trial court should most likely deny any such motions, and hold that the case will have to go to trial.)
Ruling kicks St. James property case back to trial court
Legal fight over ownership of Newport Beach parish can continue, court rules
The Sacrificial Presidency of George W. Bush
May 05, 2011
By Paul Kengor
"Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," former President George W. Bush told an audience in Grand Rapids, Michigan in June 2010. "I'd do it again to save lives."
When Bush said this a year ago, the howls from the left weren't as loud as usual. And why would they be? The "angry left," as Bush called it -- and felt it more acutely than anyone bestriding the planet -- didn't care much anymore. Waterb oarding had been a tool for the left's purposes: to demonize and defeat Bush. It had usefulness just as Iraq once had. It had gotten the Democrats not only a gigantic Congressional majority but also the presidency, ensuring $800-billion "stimulus" packages, ObamaCare, nationalization of GM, and decades more of Roe v. Wade. In the ultimate progressive coronation, waterboarding, like Iraq, like Gitmo, like Abu Ghraib, like so much more, enabled the election of the most anti-war, anti-Bush, and generally most left-wing of all Democratic presidential candidates, Barack Obama.
And so, when Bush made no apologies for waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed last June, the normal hysteria was a mere din. the rest
Thursday, May 05, 2011
Kevin Burke, NRO
May 4, 2011
Long before he won accolades as an American Idol judge, Steven Tyler was a bona-fide rock star, with all that that implied. In 1975, when he was in his late 20s and the lead singer for the band Aerosmith, Tyler persuaded the parents of his 14-year-old girlfriend, Julia Holcomb, to make him her legal guardian so that they could live together in Boston.
When Miss Holcomb and Tyler conceived a child, his longtime friend Ray Tabano convinced Tyler that abortion was the only solution. In the Aerosmith “autobiography,” Walk This Way (in which recollections by all the band members, and their friends and lovers, were assembled by the author Stephen Davis), Tabano says: “So they had the abortion, and it really messed Steven up because it was a boy. He . . . saw the whole thing and it [messed] him up big time.” the rest
At Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, we often see men and women many years after their abortion, when they are ready to take a look at this secret and shadowy corner of their souls. Most people cannot make sense of the fragmented, disjointed pieces of their post-abortive lives until they attend a healing program. Tragically, the spin doctors of our pro-abortion culture work overtime to make sure that these connections are never made.
Archbishop of Canterbury appoints flying bishops
Jonathan Baker and Norman Banks will provide pastoral care for Anglicans opposed to female clergy
Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
Thursday 5 May 2011
The Church of England is experiencing "much upheaval and uncertainty", the archbishop of Canterbury has said as he announced the appointment of two bishops who will provide spiritual and pastoral care for Anglicans opposed to female clergy.
Dr Rowan Williams said that the Rev Jonathan Baker, 44, and the Rev Norman Banks, 57, were taking up a "very demanding pastoral ministry" and would need prayers and friendship.
Provincial episcopal visitors – also known as flying bishops – care for parishes and priests who do not accept female clergy. The previous flying bishops, Keith Newton and Andrew Burnham, left the Church of England. They were among the 900 who joined the ordinariate, a Vatican initiative that allows Anglicans to convert while keeping elements of their liturgical heritage. the rest
High-schoolers' civics knowledge waning
Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Three out of 4 U.S. students lack a basic understanding of democracy, of how the U.S. political system works and what it means to be a citizen of this country, according to national test scores released Wednesday.
That equals a failing grade in civics.
Fewer than half the country's eighth-graders were able to identify the purpose of the Bill of Rights on the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Most high school seniors couldn't identify a power granted to Congress by the Constitution or define the term "melting pot." Relatively few fourth-graders understood the concept of majority rule, as expected for their grade level.
The findings came from the national test, given every four years to thousands of the nation's fourth-, eighth- and 12th-graders. the rest
Controversial Australian bishop sacked by Pope Benedict XVI
- Pope Benedict XVI has sacked a controversial Australian bishop who has called for protestant ministers to celebrate Mass as well as the ordination of women.
“The Holy Father Benedict XVI has removed from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Toowoomba (Australia) Most Rev. William M. Morris,” the Vatican confirmed in a one line statement May 2. The move brings to an end Bishop Morris’s 18 years in charge of diocese that is situated to the west of Brisbane, Queensland.
The first hint that Bishop Morris was on his way out came yesterday in an open letter to parishes in his diocese.
“It has been determined by Pope Benedict that the diocese would be better served by the leadership of a new bishop” he said, adding that the Holy Father had told him personally that Church law made it clear that “the successor of Peter nominates and may remove from office” any bishop he finds unfit for the job. “This makes my position as Bishop of Toowoomba untenable,” he concluded. the rest
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
House Passes Complete Ban on Taxpayer Funding of Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
The House of Representatives today approved a complete ban on taxpayer funding of abortions that ensures abortions are not directly funded in any federal governmental program or department.
The legislation combines several policies that must be enacted every year in Congressional battles and puts them into law where they will not be in jeopardy of being overturned every time Congress changes hands from pro-life lawmakers to those who support abortions.
The House passed HR 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, on a 251-175 vote with Republicans voting 235-0 for the bill and Democrats voting 175-16 against it.
Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who is the lead sponsor of the bill, informed the House that a study by the Guttmacher Institute, the pro-abortion former research apparatus of Planned Parenthood, released a study noting that one-quarter of women who otherwise would have had abortions chose to give birth when taxpayer dollars were not available to pay for abortions of their children. the rest
The Case for Cursive
April 27, 2011
For centuries, cursive handwriting has been an art. To a growing number of young people, it is a mystery.
The sinuous letters of the cursive alphabet, swirled on countless love letters, credit card slips and banners above elementary school chalk boards are going the way of the quill and inkwell. With computer keyboards and smartphones increasingly occupying young fingers, the gradual death of the fancier ABC’s is revealing some unforeseen challenges.
Might people who write only by printing — in block letters, or perhaps with a sloppy, squiggly signature — be more at risk for forgery? Is the development of a fine motor skill thwarted by an aversion to cursive handwriting? And what happens when young people who are not familiar with cursive have to read historical documents like the Constitution? the rest image by Catherine
While teaching last year, Mr. Bryant, on a whim, asked students to raise their hands if they wrote in cursive as a way to communicate. None did.
man accused of killing stepdaughter in Michigan for leaving home, not following Islam
WARREN, Mich. — A Twin Cities man is accused of killing his 20-year-old stepdaughter in Michigan because she left home and wasn't following Islam, police said Tuesday.
Rahim Alfetlawi, 45, of Coon Rapids, was being held without bond Tuesday in the Macomb County Jail after being charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jessica Mokdad on Saturday at her grandmother's home in the Detroit suburb of Warren. the rest
Honor killing in Michigan
Muslim kills stepdaughter for leaving home, not following Islam...
Why Society Is Running Out of Vital Medications
By Edward Tenner
May 3 2011
Just as Japanese officials predict that disruptions from the earthquake and tsunami may last all year, The Washington Post reveals a crisis that may take more lives than the Fukushima nuclear tragedy—shortages of essential pharmaceuticals:
A record 211 medications became scarce in 2010 — triple the number in 2006 — and at least 89 new shortages have been recorded through the end of March, putting the nation on track for far more scarcities.Three factors are contributing to the emergency: major companies abandoning production of drugs that have lost patent protection, tougher regulation of production by the FDA (according to the industry; the agency denies this), and especially the globalization of manufacturing... the rest image by Casey Fleser
The paucities are forcing some medical centers to ration drugs — including one urgently needed by leukemia patients — postpone surgeries and other care, and scramble for substitutes, often resorting to alternatives that may be less effective, have more side effects and boost the risk for overdoses and other sometimes-fatal errors.
Canadian ‘no’ to communion without baptism
May 4, 2011
by George Conger
The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada has rejected calls to permit those not baptized to be allowed to receive the “sacrament of the holy Eucharist.”
At the close of their April 11-15 meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario the bishops reaffirmed the church’s canons and traditional practice stating only those baptized would be permitted to receive. “We do not see this as changing for the foreseeable future,” the bishops said.
The bishops’ debate follows a March 7 “Guest Reflection” published in Canada’s Anglican Journal by Dr. Gary Nicolosi who argued for a relaxation in the church’s Eucharistic discipline as a way of attracting more people to church. the rest
The bishops were not convinced by this argument, however, but acknowledged that an “open table” or “open communion” was practised in some parts of the Canadian church. This deviation from canons and customs “arises out of a deep concern to express Christian hospitality,” they noted...In the Episcopal Church the practise of open communion is more widespread, though it is also forbidden by canon law. A study conducted released in 2005 by the Diocese of Northern California, which had advocated allowing open communion, estimated that a majority of dioceses had congregations that permitted open communion.
Albert Mohler: When the Lights Go Out: The Death of a Denomination
When a church forfeits its doctrinal convictions and then embraces ambiguity and tolerates heresy, it undermines its own credibility and embraces its own destruction.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Adrian Hamilton is concerned that the Church of England “will not survive my children’s lifetime and quite possibly not even my own.” Writing in The Independent [London], Hamilton writes of a Church of England that remains established as the national church, but is no longer established in the hearts of the nation.
Interestingly, Hamilton argues that the very fact that the Church of England is an established state church is among the chief causes of its predicament. For most Britons, he argues, the role of the nation’s state church means very little — “some exotic clothes and ritual prayers on state occasions.”
And yet, what Hamilton notes most of all is this: “What is really worrying for the future of the Church, however, is that its leaders themselves seem to have ceased to believe in it.” the rest
image by Magnus D.
The formality of state occasions may provide drama and a sense of vitality, but these are masks. How many in the congregation gathered for last week’s royal wedding knew any of the words to the great hymns that were sung? Only three percent of the nation’s population attends Church of England services even once a month. Given current trends, few Anglican parishes will have ministers in just a few decades. Like many other historic churches and denominations, the Church of England is passing through decline, and it faces nothing short of demise unless these trends are somehow reversed.
Canada: Conservatives won a long-sought majority in Canada's Parliament
TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday he won't shift to the hard right after his Conservatives won a long-sought majority in Canada's Parliament.
Monday's election marks a change in the country's political landscape with opposition Liberals and Quebec separatists suffering a punishing defeat.
Harper said the Conservatives won their mandate because of the way they've governed so far and sought to allay fears he would implement a hidden right wing agenda. the rest image by Ted Buracas
Health Reform Will Exacerbate Physician Shortfall
The United States already faces a growing physician shortage. At the same time, enrollment in medical schools has been essentially flat, meaning we are not producing new physicians at anywhere near the rate we need to. In fact, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, we face a shortfall of more than 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years, says Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
Existing government programs already reimburse physicians at rates that are often less than the actual cost of treating a patient.
-Estimates suggest that on average physicians are reimbursed at roughly 78 percent of costs under Medicare, and just 70 percent of costs under Medicaid.
-Physicians must either make up for this shortfall by shifting costs to those patients with insurance -- meaning those of us with insurance pay more -- or treat patients at a loss.
As a result, more and more physicians are choosing to opt-out of the system altogether.
-Roughly 13 percent of physicians will not accept Medicare patients today.
-Another 17 percent limit the number of Medicare patients they will see, a figure that rises to 31 percent among primary care physicians.
The story is even worse in Medicaid, where as many as a third of doctors will not participate in the program.
the rest image by Taber Andrew Bain
WSJ Writer Cites Evidence In Support of School Choice
Tuesday May 03, 2011
Jason T. Riley
'Private school vouchers are not an effective way to improve student achievement," said the White House in a statement on March 29. "The Administration strongly opposes expanding the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and opening it to new students." But less than three weeks later, President Obama signed a budget deal with Republicans that includes a renewal and expansion of the popular D.C. program, which finances tuition vouchers for low-income kids to attend private schools.
School reformers cheered the administration's about-face though fully aware that it was motivated by political expediency rather than any acknowledgment that vouchers work.
When Mr. Obama first moved to phase out the D.C. voucher program in 2009, his Education Department was in possession of a federal study showing that voucher recipients, who number more than 3,300, made gains in reading scores and didn't decline in math. The administration claims that the reading gains were not large enough to be significant. Yet even smaller positive effects were championed by the administration as justification for expanding Head Start. the rest
In a study published last year, Patrick Wolf of the University of Arkansas found that voucher recipients had graduation rates of 91%. That's significantly higher than the D.C. public school average (56%) and the graduation rate for students who applied for a D.C. voucher but didn't win the lottery (70%).
Catholic Colleges Drop Abortion, Planned Parenthood Links
by Steven Ertelt
After a report from the Cardinal Newman Society confirmed numerous Catholic colleges and universities engaging in promotion of the Planned Parenthood abortion business and pro-abortion groups, 29 of the original 150 cases of abortion promotion have been corrected.
The initial Internet search, conducted by CNS and issued as a report on April 11, found more than 150 current and past connections at various Catholic colleges to Planned Parenthood. But the report generated outrage from pro-life Catholics and prompted students, alumni and concerned Catholics to contact the colleges and ask them to remove links on web sites or other connections to the abortion business. the rest
Pakistan: 500 attack Christian neighborhood
May 03, 2011
Following the discovery of a burnt copy of the Qur’an in a Christian cemetery, 500 extremists attacked a Christian neighborhood in Gujranwala, a city in Punjab province in northeastern Pakistan. Fearing for their lives, numerous Christians fled their homes.
The attack occurred on April 30, one day before President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden. Three Christians and more than 20 extremists were arrested following the attacks. the rest
Hundreds of Christians slain in Nigeria; thousands flee
President Declares May 5 National Day of Prayer
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Last week President Obama issued a Proclamation (full text) declaring Thursday, May 5 as a National Day of Prayer. The Proclamation was issued just two weeks after the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed for lack of standing a constitutional challenge to both 36 USC Sec. 119 which directs the President to issue a National Day of Prayer proclamation each year, and to Presidential proclamations issued under it. (See prior posting.) This year's Proclamation calls for citizens to join the President "in giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy. " It asks "all people of faith" to join the president "in asking God for guidance, mercy, and protection for our Nation." It also asks for prayers on behalf of members of the armed forces, first responders, victims of natural disasters and "men and women everywhere who seek peace, human dignity, and the same rights we treasure here in America."
The non-governmental National Day of Prayer Task Force has declared its theme for this year to be "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God". Its 3-hour Washington, D.C. ceremony will be webcast live on Thursday beginning at 9:00 a.m. Shirley Dobson continues to chair the Task Force. This year's honorary chairman is Joni Eareckson Tada, an international advocate for people with disabilities. The only current elected federal official among the numerous speakers scheduled at the Washington, D.C. ceremony is Florida Congressman Allen West. the rest
National Day of Prayer Marks 60th Year Thursday
Royal wedding: Archbishop backs William and Kate's decision to live together before marriage
The Archbishop of York has given his backing to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s decision to live together before marriage.
By Tim Ross, Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Gordon Rayner
The Archbishop of York backed Prince William and Kate Middleton’s decision to live together before marriage, saying that many modern couples want to “test the milk before they buy the cow”.
Dr John Sentamu argued that the royal couple’s public commitment to live their lives together today would be more important than their past.
But Anglican traditionalists criticised the Archbishop, the second most senior cleric in the Church of England, for failing to reinforce Christian teaching which prohibits sex outside marriage. the rest
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Devotional: To look back upon the progress of the divine kingdom upon earth...
...EM Bounds image by Rennett Stowe
CIA Chief Breaks Silence: Pakistan Would Have Jeopardized bin Laden Raid, ‘Impressive’ Intel Captured
By Massimo Calabresi
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
In his first interview since commanding the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, CIA chief Leon Panetta tells TIME that U.S. officials feared that Pakistan could have undermined the operation by leaking word to its targets. Long before Panetta ordered Vice Admiral William McRaven, head of the Joint Special Forces Command, to undertake the mission at 1:22 p.m. on Friday, the CIA had been gaming out how to structure the raid. Months prior, the U.S. had considered expanding the assault to include coordination with other countries, notably Pakistan. But the CIA ruled out participating with its nominal South Asian ally early on because “it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the targets,” Panetta says.
The U.S. also considered running a high-altitude bombing raid from B-2 bombers or launching a “direct shot” with cruise missiles but ruled out those options because of the possibility of “too much collateral,” Panetta says. The direct-shot option was still on the table as late as last Thursday as the CIA and then the White House grappled with how much risk to take on the mission. Waiting for more intelligence also remained a possibility. (See photos of Obama monitoring the bin Laden mission.)
On Tuesday, Panetta assembled a group of 15 aides to assess the credibility of the intelligence they had collected on the compound in Abbottabad where they believed bin Laden was hiding. They had significant “circumstantial evidence” that bin Laden was living there, Panetta says — the residents burned their trash and had extraordinary security measures — but American satellites had not been able to photograph bin Laden or any members of his family. The Tuesday meeting included team leaders from the CIA’s counterterrorism center, the special-activities division (which runs covert operations for the agency) and officials from the office of South Asian analysis. the rest
Fabled SEAL Team 6 ends hunt for bin Laden
Study: gay teens five times more likely to attempt suicide
Fri Apr 29, 2011
(LifeSiteNews.com) - Teens who self-identify as homosexual are five times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to attempt suicide, according to a study released last week.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics online on April 18, was conducted in order to determine whether living in a gay friendly social environment affected the risk of a teen identifying as homosexual committing suicide. It found that teens in “unsupportive” social environments were 20 percent more at risk of attempting suicide than those in “supportive” environments.
“This study documents an association between an objective measure of the social environment and suicide attempts among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth,” concludes the study abstract, adding that the results “have important implications for the development of policies and interventions to reduce sexual orientation–related disparities in suicide attempts.” the rest image by Siddy Lam
But Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council pointed out that the takeaway finding from the study is not that gay teens are marginally less likely to commit suicide in a “supportive” environment, but that overall gay teens are so many times more likely to commit suicide than their non-gay peers – “a difference that far overwhelms any difference caused by the ‘social environment.’”
Ownership of TV Sets Falls in U.S.
May 3, 2011
For the first time in 20 years, the number of homes in the United States with television sets has dropped.
The Nielsen Company, which takes TV set ownership into account when it produces ratings, will tell television networks and advertisers on Tuesday that 96.7 percent of American households now own sets, down from 98.9 percent previously.
There are two reasons for the decline, according to Nielsen. One is poverty: some low-income households no longer own TV sets, most likely because they cannot afford new digital sets and antennas.
The other is technological wizardry: young people who have grown up with laptops in their hands instead of remote controls are opting not to buy TV sets when they graduate from college or enter the work force, at least not at first. Instead, they are subsisting on a diet of television shows and movies from the Internet. the rest image by Mandy Goldberg
Osama bin Laden raid yields trove of computer data
By MIKE ALLEN
The assault force of Navy SEALs snatched a trove of computer drives and disks during their weekend raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, yielding what a U.S. official called “the mother lode of intelligence.”
The special operations forces grabbed personal computers, thumb drives and electronic equipment during the lightning raid that killed bin Laden, officials told POLITICO.
“They cleaned it out,” one official said. “Can you imagine what’s on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive?”
U.S. officials are about to find out. The material is being examined at a secret location in Afghanistan.
“Hundreds of people are going through it now,” an official said, adding that intelligence operatives back in Washington are very excited to find out what they have. the rest
Albert Mohler: The Trial that Still Must Come — The Death of Osama bin Laden and the Limits of Human Justice
Monday, May 2, 2011
Osama bin Laden is dead. President Obama spoke with clarity and resolution when he addressed the American people last night: “Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”
That single sentence, delivered in a nearly unprecedented late-night Sunday address by an American president, encapsulates the moral context of the action. First, the President took responsibility for the act that ended bin Laden’s life. Osama bin Laden did not die an accidental death, nor a death by natural causes. The United States “conducted an operation” that resulted in his death. Second, the operation ended the life of one who was “a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.” the rest
image by Kevin Bowman
And yet, there are two troubling aspects that linger. The first is the open celebration in the streets. While we should all be glad that this significant threat is now removed, death in itself is never to be celebrated. Such celebration points to the danger of revenge as a powerful human emotion. Revenge has no place among those who honor justice. Retributive justice is sober justice. The reason for this is simple — God is capable of vengeance, which is perfectly true to his own righteousness and perfection — but human beings are not. We tend toward the mismeasure of justice when it comes to settling our own claims. All people of good will should be pleased that bin Laden is no longer a personal threat, and that his death may further weaken terrorist plans and aspirations. But revenge is not a worthy motivation for justice, and celebration in the streets is not a worthy response.'Do Not Gloat' vs. 'Joy to the Righteous'
The verses most quoted on Twitter and Facebook after the news of the death of Osama bin Laden.
Monday, May 02, 2011
The Abolition of Marriage
by Christopher Wolfe
May 2, 2011
People generally take it for granted that marriage will be “available,” but despite the powerful forces inclining people to marry, the availability of marriage as an institution they can choose to enter cannot be taken for granted. This is not unlike another major social institution: property. There are powerful forces inclining human beings to accumulate property, and there is a strong natural basis for properly qualified property rights, but in a given society, such property rights may not be available. Property is both natural and pre-political, on one hand, and also a social institution essentially dependent on various legal arrangements, on the other. So, too, with marriage.
One of the ways in which marriage can become unavailable to people is for the political community to offer people an institution called “marriage” that is not really marriage. By inculcating in its citizens—through social practices and laws—a notion of marriage that lacks some of its essential ingredients, a political society could, effectively, make “real marriage” impossible for many of its citizens. (Note that, today, those who believe that marriage has certain essential features that cannot be legislated away are reduced to using the term “traditional marriage,” in an effort to distinguish their beliefs from the very different reality that today’s “marriage” has become.)
One way to make real marriage unavailable to people is to make “marriage” a contract that is temporary and terminable at the will of either party. Whatever the impact of the allowance of divorce in a certain limited number of cases had been, the shift to no-fault divorce has profoundly changed the very notion of marriage among Americans, and has deeply damaged it. the rest image by Anthony Kelly
Moreover, the existence of de facto homosexual couples with children provides no more justification for legalizing same-sex marriage than the existence of de facto polygamous families provides justification for legalizing polygamy.
China arrests 30 church members
May 2, 2011
by Michael Foust
(BP)--For the fourth week in a row, a Chinese "illegal" church refused Sunday to follow government orders not to meet, and this time at least 31 of its members were arrested.
Once again, reporters were blocked from the site.
The arrests of the members of Beijing's Shouwang Church in a public square came after church leaders made clear in the preceding days that they would not buckle to pressure from the Communist Party. More than 160 were arrested the first week they tried to meet outdoors, about 50 were arrested the second week and approximately 40 on the third week, Easter Sunday. The declining number of arrests likely is due to the government placing so many other members under house arrest, which prevents them from even leaving their homes. On Easter Sunday, more than 500 church members -- including every church staff member, lay leader and choir member -- were under house arrest.
The church is attempting to meet outdoors because the government has blocked all attempts by the church to rent or purchase a building. Members say failing to come together and worship would be an abandonment of biblical commands.
The May 1 Shouwang Church order of worship -- given to church members and printed online at ChinaAid.org -- was intended to include congregational singing of "Amazing Grace," "Because He Lives" and "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus." But the members were arrested before the services started. It is possible that smaller groups -- particularly families -- followed the order in worshipping in their homes. the rest
Fears in China as another human rights lawyer disappears
"In every case involving a believer of Islam are we going to ignore state law?"
TAMPA -- Power struggles can erupt in any organization; from homeowners associations to the Junior League. Typically, the dustups barely register outside the group.
Instead of a disagreement over Robert's Rules of Order, this quarrel involves a mosque, $2.4 million and what role, if any, Islamic law should play in resolving the court case.
The dispute was ignited in 2002 when members of the Islamic Education Center of Tampa ousted four founding trustees of the mosque, 6450 Rockpointe Drive....
..."If it is a simple contract issue, it is very straightforward," said Choudhury, who has taught on international and commercial law and law in Islamic societies. "But if the court has to determine what Islamic law is, there are some problems." the rest
Church steeples, aging out of fashion, meet their maker
posted May 2, 2011
Atop the tiny, white-columned 1842 church where Glen Likens was baptized, where he married his wife, where their children were baptized, where they still worship on Sundays, the steeple is rotting.
St. Mark's Episcopal in Wadsworth, Ohio, hasn't dared sound the 2,000-pound bell, which has a broken carriage and patched hammer, for a year. It may not sound again — unless a congregation numbering 58 souls in a good week can come up with $30,000.
"It's no easy amount to raise. We absolutely considered taking it off and capping the roof, but voices within the congregation want their bell, their tower. It's symbolic. It's part of our church. We want it to be there for our children's future," says Likens, who volunteers as St. Mark's junior warden in charge of maintenance.
Nationwide, church steeples are taking a beating and the bell tolls for bell towers, too, as these landmarks of faith on the landscape are hard hit by economic, social and religious change. the rest
image by Shawn Allen
Steeples may have outlived their times as signposts. People hunting for a church don't scan the horizon, they search the Internet. Google reports searches for "churches" soar before Easter each year.
US kills Osama bin Laden decade after 9/11 attacks
May 2, 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Osama bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was killed in a firefight with elite American forces Monday, then quickly buried at sea in a stunning finale to a furtive decade on the run.
Long believed to be hiding in caves, bin Laden was tracked down in a costly, custom-built hideout not far from a Pakistani military academy. The stunning news of his death prompted relief and euphoria outside the White House and around the globe, yet also fears of terrorist reprisals against the United States and its allies. the rest image
Osama bin Laden Dead; Christians Debate Response
The Economist: The leader of al-Qaeda is dead
WSJ: U.S. Forces Kill Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden's death: watch out for revenge attacks on Christians
How the U.S. Got bin Laden
Passion of the Christ actor said Hollywood has shunned him
By Paul Thompson
2nd May 2011
Actor Jim Caviezel has claimed his Hollywood career was wrecked by playing Jesus.
He said he was ‘rejected in my own industry’ after taking on the lead role in Mel Gibson's controversial movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’.
Since playing the son of God in the 2004 film he said offers had dried up and he is shunned by many within the industry. the rest
Sunday, May 01, 2011
John Paul II Beatified at Vatican Mass
By RACHEL DONADIO and ELISABETTA POVOLEDO
May 1, 2011
VATICAN CITY — Lauding John Paul II as a giant of 20th century history as well as a hero of the church, Pope Benedict XVI moved his towering predecessor one step closer to sainthood on Sunday in a celebratory Mass that drew more than a million people to Rome.
“He was witness to the tragic age of big ideologies, totalitarian regimes, and from their passing John Paul II embraced the harsh suffering, marked by tension and contradictions, of the transition of the modern age toward a new phase of history, showing constant concern that the human person be its protagonist,” Benedict said, speaking before the largest crowds to swell Saint Peter’s Square since John Paul’s funeral in 2005.
Benedict declared John Paul “blessed,” meaning that he is able to be publicly venerated. He also greeted Sister Marie Simone-Pierre, a French nun who said that she recovered from Parkinson’s disease after praying to John Paul, a cure that Benedict had declared miraculous. An additional miracle is required for canonization. the rest
Pope Benedict XVI beatifies John Paul II putting him on path to sainthood
Royal wedding verger cartwheels in Westminster Abbey
A Westminster Abbey official is clearly head-over-heels with the success of the royal wedding service.
Faux Diocese Of San Joaquin Releases Authorization For The Blessing Of Same Sex Union
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Rt. Rev. Chester L. Talton
This Friday Reflection contains the Authorization for the Blessing of Sacred Union. I commend this to the Diocese of San Joaquin.
AUTHORIZATION FOR THE BLESSING OF SACRED UNIONS
Since its reorganization in March 2008, the Diocese of San Joaquin has made incredible progress in recognizing a basic truth expressed in 1976 in Resolution A069 of the 65th General Convention, which stated in part, "That it is the sense of this General Convention that homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church."
Since that time the Church has continued to examine what that full and equal claim means. In 2009, the 76th General Convention passed Resolution C056, which directed the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to "collect and develop theological and liturgical resources" as they relate to the blessing of same gender relationships. That task is in progress and the results are to be reported to the 77th General Convention in 2012. In the interim, Resolution C056 stated that, "bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church." With respect to the nature of the relationships being considered, they are described in Resolution D025, a related resolution as, "lifelong committed relationships 'characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God' (2000-D039)."
the rest at Stand Firm
Effective on Pentecost, June 12, 2011, clergy in the Diocese of San Joaquin may perform blessings of same gender civil marriages, domestic partnerships, and relationships which are lifelong committed relationships characterized by "fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God." Said relationships shall be called "Sacred Unions" for purposes of the blessing and recognition of these relationships. A liturgy authorized for use within the Diocese will be published separately.
Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes inducts bishop
By Colette M. Jenkins
Beacon Journal staff writer
Apr 30, 2011
The official installation of Bishop Roger C. Ames as the first bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes signals the continuing development of the theologically conservative parish network created for Anglicans who broke away from the Episcopal Church.
''This sends a very clear message of our commitment to a life together as Anglicans,'' said Ames, 68. ''Church planting and growth are at the heart of the new diocese. We expect to be 50 percent larger next year.''
On Saturday, representatives from the global community of the Anglican Communion gathered at St. Luke's Anglican Church in Fairlawn for a formal service to celebrate Ames' induction. The local church was instrumental in launching the national movement to defy liberal bishops in the Episcopal Church.
The service, filled with pomp and circumstance, included a procession by the priests of the Great Lakes diocese and bishops from Nigeria and across the nation. It was led by Archbishop Robert Duncan, head of the Anglican Church in North America. the rest