Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Mississippi River Floods America’s Heartland

13 May 2011
VOA

The Mississippi River flows down the middle of the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Right now, melted snow and heavy rains from the north are moving south. The result has been what some people are calling the worst flooding in eighty years in states along the Mississippi.

In Louisiana, engineers are working to keep floodwaters away from two big cities -- New Orleans and Baton Rouge. New Orleans is still recovering from the failure of its flood controls during Hurricane Katrina in two thousand five.

A plan to direct some of the water into the Morganza spillway means flooding rich farmlands in another part of the state. As many as twenty-five thousand people may have to leave areas that would be flooded. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been urging them to prepare to leave. the rest image by Tabitha Hawk

Rio Grande: St. Francis on the Hill seeks God's will

Controversial climb nears apex
By María Cortés González \ El Paso Times
Posted: 05/13/2011
A theological disagreement between a local church and its former diocese has become a drawn-out, draining legal quarrel over a church building.

In November 2008, leaders of the now St. Francis on the Hill Anglican Church broke away from the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande over a theological dispute over foundational doctrines as salvation through Christ alone and the authority of the Bible. Also highly controversial was the 2003 ordination in New Hampshire of the first openly gay bishop, the Rev. V. Gene Robinson.

It was the second church in El Paso to break away from the diocese over the same issues. the rest

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rethinking Single-Sex Dorms

May 12, 2011
Christopher Kaczor

Many universities, especially religiously affiliated ones, state that they seek to foster both the intellectual growth and the ethical development of their students. Such universities set for themselves a rich goal: to educate the whole person, to develop students inside as well as outside the classroom, to enlarge the mind and the heart.

Two problems face such universities, and indeed virtually all universities: binge drinking and a hookup culture. Binge drinking hampers academic excellence insofar as heavy drinkers are more likely to skip class, fall behind in classwork, and have alcohol-related health problems that hamper academic success. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, college binge drinking is the leading cause of death in young adults.

In addition to hampering academic excellence, binge drinking also inhibits ethical development by focusing heavy drinkers inwards, on private self-indulgence, rather than outwards to service of others. Binge drinkers are more likely to commit illegal and unjust behaviors, including sexual assault and vandalism. Binge drinking also negatively effects sober or light drinking students who find themselves sexually harassed, insulted, and woken up in the middle of the night.
the rest image

Research indicates that students in single-sex residences are significantly less likely to engage in binge drinking and the hookup culture than students living in co-ed student residences.

Church of England challenged on cost of weddings

 The Church of England was under pressure yesterday to explain the steps it is taking to increase the number of weddings taking place in its churches.
by Karen Peake
Friday, May 13, 2011

In questions to Church Commissioners in Parliament yesterday, the DUP’s Jim Shannon asked whether the Church would be willing to consider cutting the cost of conducting wedding ceremonies on its premises to make them a more attractive option.

“As we all know, the price for marriages is becoming exorbitant,” he said.  the rest

Euthanasia group to launch assisted suicide info hotline

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Thu May 12, 2011

(LifeSiteNews.com) – A euthanasia advocacy group has announced it will open a suicide hotline – but one unlike any other suicide hotline that currently exists, which typically offer a sympathetic ear and seek to convince those brought to the brink of despair not to take their own lives.

Compassion in Dying, an offshoot of the campaign group Dignity in Dying, said that it will instead be setting up the telephone line that will dispense information for those wishing to commit suicide on their legal rights. It will be “dedicated to supporting patients, loved ones and carers through the dying process, promoting greater patient choice and control where possible,” the group said. the rest

Kansas OKs Bill De-Funding Planned Parenthood, Hits Abortion

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com
5/13/11

Kansas lawmakers have put the finishing touches on a bill that would shift funding away from the Planned Parenthood abortion business and stops abortion funding in health insurance programs.

The legislation, which pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign soon, follows a new law in Indiana that made the state the first to yank millions from Planned Parenthood by cutting off its revenue stream from Medicaid. The Senate passed the measure Thursday night on a 28-10 vote and the state House followed suit with an 86-30 vote Friday morning.

The insurance portion of the legislation prohibits private health insurance companies from forcing enrollees to pay for abortions and it makes those who want to potentially have abortion coverage pay for an insurance rider. On Planned Parenthood, the measure has the state budget directing over $300,000 in Title 10 money to local full-service health clinics instead of Planed Parenthood and it places $300,000 into the Stan Clark grant-matched fund for pregnancy support and adoption counseling. the rest

Ireland: Fury as church withholds abuse complaints from own watchdog

By John Cooney, Religion Correspondent
Thursday May 12 2011

THE Government is under intense pressure from outraged victims of clerical child abuse to order an immediate national probe of all 26 Catholic Church dioceses as well as religious and missionary orders.

The renewed calls for the State to subject the entire Catholic Church to a statutory investigation followed revelations yesterday that church authorities withheld a staggering 219 abuse complaints from its own independent watchdog. the rest
In a further development, it was also revealed that the bishops and religious leaders later placed legal obstacles to impede the board from conducting its audit, which was widely expected to reveal the actual horrendous scale of clerical paedophilia in Ireland.

Philadelphia: The Fog of Scandal

The chair of the Philadelphia review board speaks
May 12, 2011
Ana Maria Catanzaro

Eight years ago, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua asked me to join the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s sexual-abuse review board, which he was putting together to help him determine the credibility of allegations against priests. His invitation provided an opportunity and a challenge. If I wanted to be a part of the solution, here was my chance. And so, after much praying—and hand-wringing—I accepted.

Given the nature of the cases we’d have to review, I never imagined the work would be easy. Board members have worked hard to help the church address the crisis—and keep children safe. We thought we were making a difference. So, when a 2005 grand jury strongly criticized [PDF] the archdiocese for its handling of abusive priests, the board was as surprised and dismayed as anyone. But none of us was prepared for the news that broke this past February, when a second grand-jury report [PDF] resulted in the indictment of four priests and claimed that it had found “substantial evidence” another thirty-seven, all still in active ministry, had abused. (Subsequently, twenty-seven priests have been suspended, pending further investigation.)

The February 2011 grand jury criticized the review board for not recommending the suspension of several priests. “In cases where the archdiocese’s review board has made a determination,” the grand-jury report states, “the results have often been even worse than no decision at all.” That sweeping judgment stunned review-board members. The grand jury had never asked us to testify about how we arrived at recommendations. In fact, the board had reviewed just ten cases involving the thirty-seven priests. None of the evidence we saw concerning the ten led us to conclude they had sexually abused minors. But until the grand-jury report came out, the board was under the impression that we were reviewing every abuse allegation received by the archdiocese. Instead, we had been advised only about allegations previously determined by archdiocesan officials to have involved the sexual abuse of a minor—a determination we had been under the impression was ours to make. The board still doesn’t know who made those decisions. the rest

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Anglican Perspective: Godly Leadership


May 12, 2011

Canon Ashey discusses the recent statement from the Global Anglican Future Conference Archbishops in this week's Anglican Perspective.

Pennsylvania House Cracks Down on Abortion Centers Like Gosnell’s

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com
5/11/11

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Wednesday passed HB 574, a bill that responds to the horrifying discoveries at the abortion business ran by Kermit Gosnell that had numerous violations and where babies were killed in abortion-infanticides.

The bill, sponsored by State Representative Matt Baker, is a response to the grand jury report in the Kermit Gosnell abortion center case in West Philadelphia. Gosnell and members of his unlicensed staff are charged with the murders of seven newborn babies and one female patient as a result of what has been described as an abortion center “house of horrors.”

“Nail salons receive greater oversight than abortion centers in Pennsylvania,” said Maria Vitale, Education Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. “The women of Pennsylvania deserve better, and that’s why the Pennsylvania House had to act.” the rest
But Gosnell went beyond performing abortions, allowing late-term babies to be delivered live, then severing their spinal cords with scissors.

Fears of 'Grave Future' for Egypt's Christians

Thu, May. 12 2011
By Alison Matheson
Christian Post Correspondent

After violent clashes in Cairo that left at least four Christians dead and churches ablaze, a human rights organization is warning of a “grave future” for Egypt’s Christians unless the government takes immediate action.

International Christian Concern’s regional manager for the Middle East, Aidan Clay, warned that Islamic militants are becoming bolder “because the law is not being applied and criminals are not being brought to justice.”

“While the majority of Egyptian Christians participated in the revolution, they were uncertain what the future held,” he said.

“That uncertainty has turned to fear as Islamic militants have taken advantage of newfound freedoms by imposing a radical agenda and attacking anything they view contrary to their Islamic doctrine.” the rest

Scrabble expands its vocabulary: "thang" "grrl" "innit"

by Chris Morris
posted May 12, 2011

Scrabble, one of the last bastions of grammatical purism in a world overrun by cell phone text abbreviations, is capitulating to the times.

The board game plans to add 3,000 new words to its official dictionary, including several slang terms like "thang" (9 points) and "grrl" (5 points) as well as pop culture touchstones, like Facebook and MySpace.

Turning the most heads is the inclusion of "innit," a condensation of "isn't it" that will earn you 5 points - and the undying hatred of any English majors who are playing along. the rest image by Tim Parkinson

Evangelist Billy Graham hospitalized for pneumonia

By Paul Clark
posted May 12, 2011

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Evangelist Billy Graham was admitted today to Mission Hospital in Asheville, a short distance from his home in Montreat, for observation and pulmonary treatment.

The 92-year-old evangelist arrived at Mission Hospital this morning for medical assessment, following a health episode overnight. Initial testing suggested pneumonia, and further diagnostic studies showed his heart was normal.

"Appropriate antibiotics are being administered, and he is clinically stable at this time," pulmonologist Shaw C. Henderson said early Wednesday afternoon. the rest

Albert Mohler: Following Jesus While Rejecting the Bible?

This is yet another tragedy in the sad history of mainline Protestantism’s race toward total theological disaster.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yet another denomination has voted to ordain openly homosexual candidates to its ministry. Yesterday, the Presbyterian Church (USA) presbytery of the Twin Cities in Minnesota voted to approve a change to the church’s constitution that will allow the denomination’s 173 presbyteries to ordain persons without regard to sexual orientation.

The Twin Cities presbytery cast the deciding vote in what is now a 33-year effort to remove all restrictions on homosexuals serving in the church’s ordained ministry. It became the 87th presbytery to affirm the action of the church’s 219th assembly last summer authorizing the constitutional change. The action not only concludes over three decades of controversy over the ordination standards; it also reverses actions taken in 1997, 2001, and 2008, when similar efforts failed.

In 1996, the denomination restated its ordination requirements to include “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.” That policy had also required that candidates “refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.”
 the rest image by Serge Melki

That is a fundamental error that leaves this denomination now in the implausible position of claiming to affirm the Lordship of Christ while subverting the authority of Scripture. The removal of the constitutional language about marriage and chastity, coupled with the removal of the language about repentance from what Scripture identifies as sin, effectively means that candidates and presbyteries may defy Scripture while claiming to follow Christ.

Psychologists: internet porn ‘encourages sex offenders’

Wed, 11 May 2011

Extreme sexual fantasies are being normalised because of the rise in deviant pornography on the internet, psychologists have warned.

Researchers have identified a ‘causal link’ between the rise in explicit images available online and an increase in extreme illegal behaviour in real life.

According to experts, the internet is allowing like-minded people to share explicit and violent sexual fantasies, thereby making them appear more acceptable. the rest

Study: 6-Year-Olds Targeted With Sexualizing Clothes

Swedish parliament votes to campaign against conscientious objection to abortion

London, 11 May 2011

 The Swedish Parliament voted this afternoon to campaign against a European resolution upholding the right to conscientious objection to abortion.

Swedish parliamentarians voted 271 to 20 to instruct the Swedish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Coucil of Europe (PACE) to work to change a resolution passed in October, which said (in part): "No person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion".

The text of today's motion in the Swedish parliament said (inter alia): "Sweden should support efforts which makes abortions free, safe and legal for all women. Sweden is one of few countries who are central in the international work focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights." the rest

Appeal For “Kidnapped” Swedish Homeschooler Draws Supporters

Prayer Censorship Case Hits Appellate Court

Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Jennifer LeClaire

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit is busy these days. After hearing arguments for and against Obamacare on Tuesday, the appellate court will decide whether the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) can force censorship of prayer before public bodies on Thursday.

The case dates back to March 2007. That’s when ACLU and AU attorneys sued the Forsyth County board in federal court on behalf of three individuals because it “does not have a policy which discourages or prohibits those whom [the board] has invited to deliver prayers from including references to Jesus Christ, or any other sectarian deity, as part of their prayers.”

“In other words, the ACLU and AU are advocating censorship,” says Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) Senior Legal Counsel Brett Harvey. “They do not wish to allow private citizens invited by the board to express themselves consistent with the dictates of their own conscience.”  the rest

Pope Benedict: God Calls Humanity to the Mysterious Encounter of Prayer


By F. K. Bartels
5/12/2011

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) -- During Wednesday's general audience celebrated in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI continued his reflection on prayer, highlighting the manner in which it is an integral aspect of the human person.

"There has never been a great civilization, from time immemorial to our age, that has not been religious," stated the Pope. "The human being is religious by nature. . . . The image of the Creator is engraved on human beings, who feel the need to find a light to answer the questions regarding the profound meaning of reality; an answer that we cannot find in ourselves, in progress, or in empirical science.

"We know that we cannot respond alone to our basic need to understand. For however much we think we are self-sufficient, we experience that we do not suffice. We need to open ourselves to something else, something or someone, that can give us what is missing. We must go out of ourselves and go toward the One who is capable of satisfying the width and breadth of our desire." the rest-lovely!
Pope Benedict affirmed that "even though human beings are forgetful of their Creator, the true and living God never stops calling humanity first to the mysterious encounter of prayer.


"We must learn to spend more time in front of God, before the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ; we must learn to recognize in silence, within our very selves, his voice that calls us and leads us to the depth of our existence, to the fount of life and the source of salvation, so that we might overcome the limit of our lives and open ourselves to the measure of God, the relationship with He who is Infinite Love."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Devotional: Let us shake off the intoxication of compromise...

File:John Martin - Sodom and Gomorrah.jpg
Dear friends, let us shake off the intoxication of compromise. Too many of us are entertained by things we should weep over. God destroyed the world during Noah's day because of violence, yet we sit before televisions and in theaters amused by violence. The Lord ultimately destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their twisted morality, yet we do nothing to protest similar perversity entering our lands. ...Francis Frangipane image

Scientology in Illinois' public schools?

May 10, 2011
by Manya Brachear

Should the teachings of the Church of Scientology shape the integrity and moral rectitude of children in Illinois’ public schools? A resolution before the state’s House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee this week poses that very question.

House Resolution 254 would endorse three options for character education in the state’s public school system, including Good Choices, a curriculum based on a code of conduct created by Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard. the rest image
The person campaigning for the curriculum also raises eyebrows, he said. Actress Nancy Cartwright, the voice of the mischieveous and ribald Bart Simpson and a Scientologist, will lobby the panel on Wednesday.

Navy halts move to allow gay unions by chaplains

May 11, 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) - Under pressure from more than five dozen House lawmakers, the Navy late Tuesday abruptly reversed its decision that would have allowed chaplains to perform same-sex unions if the Pentagon decides to recognize openly gay military service later this year.

In a one-sentence memo obtained by The Associated Press, Rear Adm. Mark Tidd, chief of Navy chaplains, said his earlier decision has been "suspended until further notice pending additional legal and policy review and interdepartmental coordination."

The Navy said its lawyers wanted to do a more thorough review of the legal decision that allowed Navy chaplains to receive training to perform civil unions on military bases, but only in states where same-sex unions are legal. the rest

Abortion pills found more dangerous than surgical procedures

May 10, 2011

Chemical abortions using the drug RU-486 are more dangerous to mothers than surgical abortions, an Australian study has found.

Researchers who examined almost 7,000 cases found that 3.3% of the women who used the "abortion pill" for first-trimester abortions had complications sufficient to put them in hospital emergency rooms. The comparable figure for surgical abortions was 2.2%. The differences were even more pronounced among women whose post-abortion complications required a hospital stay.

The study shows that the use of RU-486 involves significant medical risks. It also serves as a reminder that surgical abortion is not a risk-free procedure for a pregnant woman. The figures from the Australian study, applied to US abortion statistics, would indicate that more than 25,000 women appear in emergency rooms each year as a result of "safe, clean, legal" abortions. the rest image

Abortion pill 'less safe than surgery'
...The findings will undermine a selling point of medical abortion - that the risk of complication is less than or equivalent to an operation - and play into the hands of opponents of the rollout of mifepristone, or RU486...

Gafcon throws down gauntlet to Dr. Williams

May 11, 2011
by George Conger

The formation of the Anglican Ordinariate was a natural consequence of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s mismanagement of the crisis facing the Anglican Communion, the leaders of the Gafcon movement said in a statement released on May 10.

In a strongly worded communiqué summarizing the work of their April 25-28 meeting in Nairobi, the archbishops of the Gafcon movement, representing a majority of the church’s members, voiced their displeasure with the usurpation of authority by Dr. Williams and the staff of the Anglican Consultative Council and laid upon their door responsibility for the de facto schism within the communion.

While the 13-point communiqué touched on administrative issues for the Anglican reform movement, including the creation of a Nairobi and London offices, the appointment of Bishop Martyn Minns as Deputy Secretary, and the calling of a second Jerusalem conference in 2013, the heart of the letter came in a sustained attack on the actions taken by London-based instruments of the Anglican Communion.

While Pope Benedict XVI’s offer of an Anglican Ordinariate was “a gracious gift” to those Anglican clergy and congregations “alienated by recent actions in the Communion,” it should not have been necessary, the archbishops said. the rest
The ecclesiological principle of concentrating authority into the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury and an unaccountable bureaucracy were un-Anglican. The basic unit of the church in Anglicanism was not a London-based curia, but the local church. “We were mindful of the importance of letting scripture speak directly to the nature of the church and not simply let our current experience delimit our doctrine,” they said.

GAFCON Communique: May 2011

Plans announced for GAFCON 2 and London and Africa offices
May 11, 2011
GAFCON primates meeting in Africa have announced plans for another international conference as well as opening offices in London and Nairobi.

The council of Anglican leaders was established by the Global Anglican Future Conference in 2008, representing more than 35 million Anglicans.

Now, the Primates are planning for a second GAFCON in 2013 preceded by a leadership conference in New York in 2012. the rest

Nairobi Statement from the GAFCON/FCA Primates Council:
Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

1. We met in Nairobi from April 25th through April 28th, 2011. We gathered as the elected leaders of provinces and national churches of the Anglican Communion and as leaders of GAFCON/FCA. We rejoice in the Easter proclamation that Jesus Christ is alive and we joyfully acknowledge his love for all humanity, his Lordship over all the earth and his promise to return with power and great glory.

2. We are profoundly saddened by the many disasters that have afflicted our world in recent months and offer our prayers for those whose lives have been devastated. We take to heart the warning from our Lord that in our age there would be “wars and rumors of wars” and a season when, “nations will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom and famines and earthquakes in various places.”

We also remember His solemn warning that no-one can know the time for the end of this age and so we acknowledge all these events as reminders of the urgent need for repentance and reconciliation with our heavenly Father.

3. We are distressed that, in the face of these enormous challenges, we are still divided as a Communion. The fabric of our common life has been torn at its deepest level and until the presenting issues are addressed we will remain weakened at a time when the needs before us are so great. We were disappointed that those who organized the Primates meeting in Dublin not only failed to address these core concerns but decided instead to unilaterally reduce the status of the Primates’ Meeting. This action was taken with complete disregard for the resolutions of both Lambeth 1978 and 1998 that called for an enhanced role in “doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters”. We believe that they were seriously misled and their actions unacceptable.

4. We note the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to offer support for those Anglican clergy and congregations who find themselves alienated by recent actions in the Communion. We believe that the provision of an Anglican Ordinariate is intended to be a gracious gift but sadly one that also points out that our own Communion has failed to make adequate provision for those who hold to a traditional view of the faith. We remain convinced that from within the Provinces that we represent there are creative ways by which we can support those who have been alienated so that they can remain within the Anglican family.

5. We devoted a considerable portion of our time together exploring some of the presenting issues regarding Anglican ecclesiology. We were mindful of the importance of letting scripture speak directly to the nature of the church and not simply let our current experience delimit our doctrine. While we are grateful for our history and our particular Anglican tradition we believe that there is and can only ever be one church of Jesus Christ which he has purchased with his own blood and over which he is the Head. The local church is the fundamental expression of the one true church here on earth and is bound together with other local churches by ties of love, fellowship and truth. From such networks have come denominations, national churches and global communions.

6. As members of the global Anglican Communion we delight in the particular history with which we have been blessed. We are grateful for the missionary heritage that gave birth to our global communion with its distinctive balance of reformed catholicity. Meeting in Nairobi we are especially thankful for the influence of the East African Revival with its emphasis on the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, a call to Holy living and unquestionable desire for evangelism.

7. We believe, however, that we are fully the church in our various settings, created and sustained by Word and Sacrament, and marked by obedience that results in faith, hope and love. We also recognize the Lord’s call to discipline demands from us a commitment to unity, holiness, apostolicity and catholicity. All of these are aspects of what it means to be church and we are committed to resourcing our bishops and other leaders so that we can more fully become the church that God has established.

8. We continue to be troubled by the promotion of a shadow gospel that appears to replace a traditional reading of Holy Scriptures and a robust theology of the church with an uncertain faith and a never ending listening process. This faith masquerades as a religion of tolerance and generosity and yet it is decidedly intolerant to those who hold to the “faith once and for all delivered to the saints”. We believe that the theological principles outlined in the Jerusalem Declaration offers the only way forward that holds true to our past and also gives a sure foundation for the future.

9. Confident of the power of God’s Word to renew His church we are creating a network for theologians and theological educators who embrace the Jerusalem Declaration to give further support for our seminaries and Bible Colleges. We have also reviewed and approved plans for the leadership conference now scheduled for April 2012 and the beginning preparations for an international gathering of Primates, Bishops, Clergy and Lay Leaders now scheduled for the first half of 2013 and provisionally designated “GAFCON 2”

10. We are delighted in the election of the Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala, Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya to serve as Chairman of the Primates’ Council and also the Most Rev’d Nicholas D. Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to serve as Vice-Chairman. We were pleased to appoint Bishop Greg Venables and Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini as trustees. We also welcomed the Most Rev’d Hector Zavala, Province of the Southern Cone and the Most Rev’d Onesphore Rwaje, Anglican Church of Rwanda as new members of the Council.

11. We also recognized that if we are offer adequate support to our member provinces, sustain our various initiatives, and strengthen our communications capabilities we must add capacity to our current secretariat. Consequently it was agreed that a GAFCON/FCA Chairman’s office would be established in Nairobi, Kenya and a Global Coordination office would be established in London under the direction of the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of the Church of Nigeria, serving as Deputy Secretary and Executive Director.

12. Finally we know that it is only be God’s grace that we can accomplish anything and we call on all those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord to join us in prayer for our world and especially for those who are suffering because of natural disasters as well as those who struggle to live under violent and oppressive governments. We know that our only hope is in the redeeming and transforming love of God and we pray that we will all be faithful to our call to be an instrument of God’s grace.

13. To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

The Primates Council
The Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya, Chair
The Most Rev’d Justice Akrofi, Archbishop, Anglican Province of West Africa
The Most Rev’d Robert Duncan, Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
The Most Rev ‘d Onesphore Rwaje, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Rwanda
The Most Rev’d Valentino Mokiwa, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Tanzania
The Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
The Most Rev’d Henry Orombi, Archbishop, Church of Uganda
The Most Rev’d Hector Zavala, Province of the Southern Cone
The Most Rev’d Peter Jensen, Archbishop, Diocese of Sydney, Secretary

PCUSA Votes to Allow Openly Gay Clergy

Wed, May. 11 2011 By Alison Matheson
Christian Post Correspondent

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has become the fourth Protestant denomination in the U.S. to allow the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.

It follows a majority vote by the 173 presbyteries (district governing bodies) on Tuesday to change the body’s constitution in order to allow openly gay people in same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers, elders and deacons.

The move does away with the constitutional requirement for clergy to live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.”

It also ends 33 years of wrangling between supporters and opponents of the move and reverses the outcome of a key vote two years ago, when the majority of presbyteries blocked the proposal. the rest

Presbyterians clear way for gay clergy

Presbyterian Lay Committee statement: Undermining the foundations

Egyptian Christians say they are 'under organised attack'

A priest whose church was at the centre of sectarian riots at the weekend has said Egyptian Christians were "under organised attack" as religious authorities warned the country was at risk of civil war.
By Richard Spencer
 10 May 2011

Cairo-Armed troops and riot police guarded the streets around St Mena's church and nearby burned-out shops and apartment blocks in the impoverished, crumbling Cairo suburb of Imbaba.

Inside, Father Cherubim Awad said a conspiracy was the only possible explanation for the violence that had engulfed relations between Christians and Muslims in recent weeks. the rest

"Five churches were attacked on the same night," he said. "From the beginning of this year we have had all these attacks in a short space of time.

"There is some hidden hand behind this, whether from inside the country or outside it."

Christian Weatherman Fired After Opposing Strip Club Story

A Christian weatherman in Bakersfield, Calif., says he was recently fired from his job days after he objected to an ABC-affiliate airing a story on successful local strip clubs.
Tue, May. 10 2011
By Katherine T. Phan
Christian Post Reporter
KERO-TV's chief meteorologist, Jack Church, who delivers the weeknight weather forecast at 5, 6, and 11 p.m. for the station, told The Christian Post he was standing up for his Christian values when he asked executives at the station not to air a story about strip clubs doing well amid an economic recession.

"I said, 'I am a Christian,' and told them I just led a class at my church on faith sharing. I said this is totally inappropriate material for the 5 o'clock newscast and I asked them not to air the story," said Church.

When he learned that the story was going to be broadcast at the start of sweeps, Church asked for the day off. But when his request for leave was denied, the veteran meteorologist said he would not show up for work the day the story was set to air because he felt his presence was an implied endorsement of the racy material. the rest

Indiana to Defund Planned Parenthood

Mitch Daniels has bill on his desk that cuts $3 million of taxpayer funding that goes to the well-known abortion provider.
by STEVE WEATHERBE
05/10/2011

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s Gov. Mitch Daniels is reportedly about to a sign a bill providing restrictions on abortion and denying public funds to Planned Parenthood or any other organization doing abortions.

“The principle involved commands the support of an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers,” said Daniels as he announced his intention to sign H.B. 1210 April 29.

A reported $3 million is at stake for Planned Parenthood Indiana (PPIN) in both state money and federal funds administered by the state. the rest

US indicts man for death threats against pro-life leaders
A United States attorney has indicted a man who described himself as a “pro-choice terrorist” with six counts of making interstate threats against pro-life advocates such as Priests for Life director Father Frank Pavone and Princeton University law professor Robert P. George...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mexican drug smugglers tunnel 250 feet through SOLID ROCK beneath U.S. border

By Daily Mail Reporter
10th May 2011

A tunnel running 250 feet beneath the U.S.-Mexican border has been discovered fully kitted out with electricity, water pumps and ventilation.

Authorities in Arizona said although they've found dozens of tunnels in Nogales, a city in Santa Cruz County since the 1990s, this one is by far the most sophisticated.

Chief border patrol agent Randy Hill said those who were building it had chiselled through solid rock and installed lighting and other equipment. the rest

Dennis Bennett’s Legacy Lives On in Seattle

05-06-11
by Bishop Dave Bena

When CANA Bishop Roger Ames ordained Dan Rice to the priesthood in Seattle on March 6, 2011, the legacy of the Rev’d Dennis Bennett was ensured of living on. Dan Rice is the new rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church in Seattle. All of the founding members of Emmanuel are former members of St. Luke’s Ballard, the congregation Bennett rescued in the late 1960s and which served as an enthusiastic base of operations to spread renewal in the Holy Spirit to literally millions of people across the globe and across denominations. Bishop Ames had been a recipient of Bennett’s ministry and was thrilled to have the privilege of playing a part in continuing the legacy.

Last autumn when St. Luke’s beloved rector, the Rev’d John Roddam, retired, the congregation gathered to deliberate on their future. The vast majority of the leadership and members prayerfully determined that they could no longer remain in The Episcopal Church (TEC) and asked that they might be received by the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). Those who decided to join CANA (76% of the congregation) and those who decided to remain in the building and TEC (24%) separated on peaceful terms. A church not far from St. Luke’s invited the CANA group, now called Emmanuel Anglican, to worship in their building. “Since Emmanuel was born, there is a tangible feeling of joy and vision — hopefulness,” Rev’d Rice observed.

He added, “We are definitely Anglicans, embracing CANA’s three-stream philosophy — sacramental, evangelical, and charismatic.” Rice is a former Assembly of God minister and a professional artist who earned a master’s degree from Regent College in Canada and has studied at Oxford. Constance, his wife, teaches English at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. the rest

Gafcon elects Archbishop of Kenya as its new chairman

May 9, 2011
by George Conger

The Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, has been elected chairman of the Gafcon primates’ council at a meeting of archbishops in Nairobi.

In a statement released on 28 April, the new leader of the global Anglican reform movement said he was honoured by the trust given him by his colleagues. “I recognise that we have set ourselves a truly monumental task but we serve God for whom nothing, not even overcoming death itself, is impossible,” the Archbishop said.

The Rt Rev Bill Atwood, Suffragan Bishop of All Saints Diocese in Kenya and a leader of the Anglican Church in North America, told The Church of England Newspaper the “meeting was like the new chairman: resolute, clear and gracious.”

Dr Wabukala succeeds the Bishop Gregory Venables as chairman of the primates’ council. Two new archbishops also joined the primates’ council in Nairobi: Bishop Tito Zavala of Chile, the Primate of the Southern Cone, and Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje of Rwanda. the rest

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali fears radical Islam will affect shape of Middle East’s future

Bishop expresses concerns over radical Islamist element running through protests in the Arab and Islamic world
by Brian Hutt
Monday, May 9, 2011

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has expressed concern over the future shape of the political landscape in the Arab world and Middle East after deadly clashes between Muslims and Christians in Egypt.

Thousands of Christians have been camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest against sectarian violence which left 12 dead at the weekend.

Violent skirmishes spread through the rundown district of Imbaba in the western section of the city after conservative Salafi Muslims set fire to the Coptic church of Saint Mena on Saturday night. Another church nearby was also set ablaze. the rest

Sweden: A warning against overzealous state family policies

by Rebecca Millette
Mon May 09, 2011

(LifeSiteNews.com) – To those who believe that Sweden’s family policy is the model for a social utopia, well-known Swedish mentor, researcher and business consultant Jonas Himmelstrand says he is ready to “bust the myths.” Far from a utopia, Sweden is overwhelmed with parent-child alienation, a consequence of overly-obtrusive family policies that heavily favor state subsidized day care over home care, he says.

Despite the material wealth, low child poverty, subsidized day care, free healthcare, and high life expectancy, according to Himmelstrand Sweden is riddled with stress-related health problems in adults, declining psychological health and school results in youth, a high number of people on sick leave, and an inability for parents to connect with their children, which “all point downwards.”

“The total picture is very difficult to explain away,” Himmelstrand told LSN, but “the picture becomes clear when one realizes we have made a policy that separates children from families.” the rest

California Balks at Public Display of American Flag

It’s an impermissible “public expression.”
May 9, 2011
By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON

In the small town of Orcutt, California, a private association has raised donations to erect a flagpole and monument between a highway exit and a park-and-ride lot, at the entrance to the community’s Old Town section. The pole would hang the American flag, encircled by five pillars, one each for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), however, has stymied the effort, calling it an impermissible act of “public expression.”

The Orcutt Pioneer reports that, although the Old Town Orcutt Revitalization Association (OTORA) “intends its flag as a tribute and symbol of freedom” — which would seem to be how most Americans would view their nation’s flag — “CalTrans sees it as a form of speech or expression, something more personal than patriotic.”

OTORA, a typical Tocquevillean-style private civil association, has been fundraising for over a year to collect the necessary $60,000 to build the flagpole and monument, above which would wave a 12-by-18-foot iteration Stars and Stripes. But CalTrans has declared that its policy forbids such efforts. In a letter to OTORA, CalTrans explains that it developed its policy in response to a ruling released by a 3-judge panel of the notorious Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, a ruling that was issued in response to impromptu flag-hanging in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. the rest image

Happy (belated) Mother's Day

China arrests more Christians

 May 9, 2011
by Michael Foust

BEIJING (BP)--At least 13 members of a Beijing church were arrested Sunday, May 8, in the fifth straight week of its defiance of the Chinese government, which continued to force people out of their homes in an effort to pressure the congregation.

One family learned they were being kicked out of their home at 6:40 Sunday morning, before the service even began.

The high-profile clash between the government and Shouwang Church -- one of the largest unregistered illegal churches in Beijing -- has led to hundreds of house arrests or detentions. More than 500 church members were placed under arrest on Easter weekend alone, prevented from leaving their houses or apartments.

ChinaAid, a U.S.-based organization that monitors religious freedom in the country, said the government, as in previous weeks, continued "rendering church members homeless by pressuring their landlords to evict them." the rest

Mentally Ill Christian Charged with 'Blasphemy' in Pakistan

The 'Education' Mantra

Thomas Sowell
posted May 10, 2011

One of the sad and dangerous signs of our times is how many people are enthralled by words, without bothering to look at the realities behind those words.

One of those words that many people seldom look behind is "education." But education can cover anything from courses on nuclear physics to courses on baton twirling.

Unfortunately, an increasing proportion of American education, whether in the schools or in the colleges and universities, is closer to the baton twirling end of the spectrum than toward the nuclear physics end. Even reputable colleges are increasingly teaching things that students should have learned in high school.

We don't have a backlog of serious students trying to take serious courses. If you look at the fields in which American students specialize in colleges and universities, those fields are heavily weighted toward the soft end of the spectrum.

When it comes to postgraduate study in tough fields like math and science, you often find foreign students at American universities receiving more of such degrees than do Americans. the rest

Added:
Closing the Door on Education Innovation
You haven’t heard about it, but for over a year the U.S. Department of Education has been quietly working behind the scenes to establish national control of K-12 education curriculum. Their plans are coming close to fruition as Congress prepares to debate the renewal of the main federal education law, which the administration plans to use as a lever to force states to “voluntarily” adopt a national curriculum and even a national test that all students would have to take multiple times per year.

Historically, national control of education has come up as an issue about once every ten to fifteen years. In the past, it has usually produced a lot of fireworks but burned out pretty quickly. This year is very different. The nationalizers have learned from their past mistakes; they understand now that the American people don’t want the federal government to control schools. So they’ve adopted clever tactics to disguise what they’re doing and misdirect public attention, and as a result, they are already dangerously close to getting everything they want...

Faith, like water, is life-giving, pope says in Venice


May-9-2011

VENICE, Italy (CNS) -- Visiting Venice, the city of gondolas and canals, Pope Benedict XVI said Christians must make sure their lives as individuals and communities reflect the life-giving qualities of water and not the chaos and destruction it can bring.

"Water is an ambivalent symbol: of life, but also death; the populations struck by flooding and tsunamis know this," the pope said May 8 at the end of a two-day visit to Aquileia and Venice in northern Italy.

Seated in a white gondola amid a colorful flotilla of all kinds of boats, Pope Benedict rode to a meeting with Venetian cultural, artistic, political and economic leaders. the rest

Monday, May 09, 2011

Devotional: Wonder is a deep, profound experience...

Wonder is a deep, profound experience. The typical secular education of our day makes us suspicious or callous to wonder. It seems so unscientific, so unsophisticated, and ultimately, so seemingly unnecessary. So they say. But to lose the sense of wonder is to lose one of the great beauties of life. Worship, on the other hand, exercises our sense of wonder. It helps us see things and hear things and feel things, that not everyone recognizes. Worship, in essence, is wonderful.
 ...Hughes Oliphant Old image by Renee Youngblood

Quebec judge orders three-year-old into daycare for ‘socialization’

by Patrick B. Craine
 QUEBEC
May 6, 2011

(LifeSiteNews.com) – A Quebec judge has ordered a three-year-old and a five-year-old to attend state-funded day care following claims that the children lacked proper “socialization.”

The parents of the Notre-Dame-des-Bois family were also ordered to place their two elder homeschooled children in public schools, and accused of failing to act quickly to correct learning disabilities, despite their doctor’s testimony to the contrary.

“This is a shocking decision,” said Paul Faris of the Canadian branch of the Home School Legal Defense Association, who have backed the family’s case. He told LifeSiteNews this is the latest in the Quebec government’s ongoing effort to “clamp down on choice in education.” the rest
Michael Donnelly, Director of International Relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association, said Quebec appears to be joining countries like Germany and Sweden in its repressive opposition to homeschooling.

Christian Colleges Are Latest Target of Homosexual Activists

 by Dave Bohon Monday, 09 May 2011

Homosexual activists fighting for the acceptance of their lifestyle in every corner of society have found a prime target: Christian colleges and universities. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune reported on the formation of a support group for homosexual students at Wheaton College, one of the nation’s most prestigious evangelical universities. The organization, called OneWheaton, was launched as an effort to provide “a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning” (LGBTQ) students, according to Wheaton alumni Kristin Winn, the group’s spokesperson.

According to the Tribune, Winn, a 2007 graduate, “said the idea for the group began last year as media coverage focused on the rise in teen suicide in the gay community. As someone who struggled with her own sexual orientation at Wheaton, she often feared losing her support system if she came out.” the rest

Gay donors fuel President Obama's 2012 campaign

By BEN SMITH & MAGGIE HABERMAN
5/9/11

President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign is banking on gay donors to make up the cash it’s losing from other groups of wealthy supporters who have been alienated and disappointed by elements of Obama’s first term.

Pleased by an all-out White House push to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” gay donors have surprised campaign officials with the extent of their support. And the campaign’s new fundraising apparatus appears designed to capitalize on their enthusiasm: Obama’s finance committee included one gay man in 2008; there are 15 this year, a source said. the rest

Christ Church Savannah: Georgia’s top court wades into church fight

By Walter Jones
Monday, May 9, 2011

ATLANTA -- Georgia’s top court is trying to sort out who gets to own Christ Church, the state’s oldest church, in a contest that grew out of conservatives’ disagreement with the national Episcopal denomination’s decision to have an openly gay bishop.

Monday morning, the pews were packed with bishops, clergy and parishioners as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments. The court’s justices peppered lawyers for both sides about which documents to rely on in sorting out ownership of the building...

...During Monday’s arguments in an appeal of that lawsuit, James Painter, an attorney for the congregation, tried to put the case into perspective.

“It’s fitting that this argument is held on the day after Mother’s Day as Christ Church in Savannah is widely known throughout our state as the Mother Church of Georgia,” he said.

Painter argued that the congregation should be able to keep the $3 million building and property because the grant from Oglethorpe, as King George’s agent makes it unique from other cases of Georgia churches that broke from their own national organizations. State laws on church property were drafted for smaller, rural churches, he said.
the rest  (picture by Raymond Dague)

A divided, historic Savannah church lands in court
...On Monday the divided church membership battled in Georgia's Supreme Court over who owns the $3 million property and the building. Many legal observers believe the case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Several hundred of the breakaway congregation's members still meet at the stately building, designed to look like a Greek temple, which looms over Bull Street. A smaller group of church adherents who side with the national group have made their temporary spiritual home at another nearby church....

Navy Authorizes Chaplains to Perform Same-Sex ‘Marriages’ in Naval Chapels

Monday, May 09, 2011
By Pete Winn

(CNSNews.com) – Anticipating the elimination of the military ban on homosexuality, the Office of the Chief of Navy Chaplains has decided that same-sex couples in the Navy will be able to get married in Navy chapels, and that Navy chaplains will be allowed to perform the ceremonies -- if homosexual marriage is legal in the state where the unions are to be performed.

The advisory came in the form of an April 13 memo issued to all chaplains, in which the Chief of Navy Chaplains, Admiral Michael Tidd, said the Chaplain Corps was revising its Tier I training manuals, which had previously indicated that same-sex marriages are not authorized on federal property. the rest
The admiral’s memo also gives chaplains permission to "marry" homosexual couples – but would not force them to perform ceremines.

Tensions high in Egypt after deadly clashes between Muslims and Christians

Protests over church burnings continuing in central Cairo after weekend of deadly clashes
by Brian Hutt
Monday, May 9, 2011

Coptic Christians are picking up the pieces after violent clashes over the weekend in which two churches were set ablaze and 12 people were killed.

More than 180 people have been injured since violence broke out on Saturday over rumours that a church was holding a Christian woman against her will because she wanted to convert to Islam and marry a Muslim man.

Hundreds of Salafist Muslims surrounded the Coptic Saint Mena Church in the rundown district of Imbaba to demonstrate, setting the front of the building alight with Christians still inside. the rest

Egypt: Churches Burned, 12 Killed in Sectarian Clashes

Calls for Intervention After Killing of 17 Christians in Nigeria

Air Force dedicates chapel to Wiccans and Druids

May 7, 2011
by Deacon Greg Kandra

Add Wiccans and Druids to the list of faiths that have their own chapel at the Air Force Academy.

A circle of stones around an altar was dedicated on a hilltop above the campus Tuesday with earth-centered prayer and speeches about religious liberty at the academy, a school that has long faced criticism as a bastion for evangelical Christianity.

“This outdoor worship space is something we have created to help people of all religions,” Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, the academy’s superintendent, said before a ribbon cutting on the site.

The academy is home to about 10 cadets who regularly attend “earth centered” worship groups. Earth-centered is a catch-all phrase for groups including New Age religion, paganism, Wicca, Druids and ancient Norse beliefs. the rest

Antiabortion measures flooding state legislatures

After Republican gains in the fall election, a reliably antiabortion bloc has been reenergized. The bills seek to end federal funding for abortion providers and to shorten the window during which a woman may have the procedure.
By Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times
May 8, 2011

Energized by Republican gains in the last election and still stinging from the passage of President Obama's healthcare overhaul, conservative lawmakers in statehouses around the country have put forward a torrent of measures aimed at restricting abortion.

The measures now under consideration in dozens of states reflect advances in technology and a political cycle that has reempowered a reliably antiabortion bloc — conservative Republicans — on the state and federal levels. the rest

Albert Mohler: Killing Off Marriage? Dr. Ablow Reports — You Decide

Marriage is so essential to human happiness and to the organization of human society that it simply cannot be ignored or denied.
Monday, May 9, 2011

Dr. Keith Ablow thinks that marriage is “a source of real suffering for the vast majority of married people.” As a matter of fact, that is only one of the accusations Ablow hurls against marriage before eventually calling for its demise. Marriage, he insists, is a dying institution — and he celebrates its death.

Few might know or care of Ablow’s thoughts on the matter but for the fact that he is a psychiatrist and a member of the “Fox News Medical A-Team.” FoxNews.com recently published his assault on marriage, and the essay is sure to gain attention.

Ablow begins by quoting actress Cameron Diaz, who recently asserted that marriage is a “dying institution.” She added this comment: “I don’t think we should live our lives in relationships based off old traditions that don’t suit our world any longer.” Well, maybe that says a lot about her own world of experience and influence, but it is a breathtakingly audacious statement. It also reflects a view held by many among the intellectual and cultural elites, among whom marriage has been seen as a retrograde institution for some time. the rest
Third, and most inanely, Ablow argues that marriage “inherently deprives men and women of the joy of being ‘chosen’ on a daily basis.” No kidding. He argues that the vows of marriage deprive us of the experience of being chosen by our spouse every single day. Most married people “have to wonder whether their spouses really want to stay, or simply don’t want to go through the hassle of leaving.”

Bin Laden’s Death Discomfits Religious Left

by Mark D. Tooley
May 9th, 2011

From the safety of his London palace, the Church of England’s Archbishop of Canterbury is questioning whether the U.S. Navy Seals’ killing of Osama Bin Laden exemplified “justice.”

“The killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling because it doesn’t look as if justice is seen to be done,” Rowan Williams told a press conference at Lambeth Palace. “I don’t know full details any more than anyone else does. But I do believe that in such circumstances when we are faced with someone who was manifestly a war criminal, in terms of the atrocities inflicted, it is important that justice is seen to be observed.”

Presumably, the Archbishop discerns “justice” in a decades-long captivity for Bin Laden, which may or may not have involved a billion dollar show trial, and endless controversy over the trial’s and the incarceration’s location, not to mention reams of endless global publicity for Bin Laden’s genocidal version of Islamism.
the rest
In some contrast to the British bishops, U.S., religious leftists, so far, mostly have demurred from directly criticizing the U.S. strike against the terrorist mastermind. Instead, they have fretted over the supposedly frightful crowds of young celebrants who rejoiced over bin Laden’s demise outside the White House, in New York’s Times Square, and in Harvard Yard.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Muslim prayer, edgy talk at the Cathedral

May 7, 2011

In a scene you don’t see every day at an Episcopal church, 30 Muslims knelt in prayer behind the altar at St. Mark’s Cathedral on Saturday, with a Christian cross as backdrop.

It was a break in “Confronting Islamophobia,” a conference that dissected false images of and prejudice against Muslims, but also heard their critics stereotyped and labeled.

The Yin and Yang were represented in two keynote speakers at the conference, sponsored by about 40 Muslim, Christian and pro-Palestinian groups, even by Jewish Voice for Peace.  the rest