Saturday, August 27, 2011



This Week's Episode is brought to you by Anglican Prospective www.americananglican.org/ap Kevin and George discuss this day in History, the East Coast Quake, and Steve Jobs. In their final story this week they also show off their Economic Genius. Alan Haley delves into the history of the National Cathedral and reveals to Anglican Unscripted who really owns the property and if it is covered by the Dennis Canon.

New Catholic U. students move into same-sex dorms

8/26/2011
Michelle Basch

WASHINGTON - Catholic University spent Thursday's "Moving Day" moving back to a policy the school held decades ago.

The university is largely ditching co-ed dorms and transitioning back to same-sex residence halls, starting with this fall's freshman class. Seven of the school's eight freshman dorms are now single-sex. The lone holdout dorm is an honors housing building that is co-ed by floor and also houses faculty members.

University President John Garvey says the policy sends a message to students about the respect they should show toward one another. the rest

Hurricane Irene makes landfall in NC



Friday, August 26, 2011

Albert Mohler: A Laboratory for Christianity’s Destruction

A church that lacks the doctrinal conviction and courage necessary to prosecute an atheist pastor for heresy is a church that lost its Christian identity — a long time ago.
Friday, August 26, 2011

As the BBC reports, some church leaders in the Netherlands want to transform their small nation into a laboratory for rethinking Christianity — “experimenting with radical new ways of understanding the faith.”

Religious Affairs Correspondent Robert Pigott tells of Rev. Klaas Hendrikse, a minister of the PKN, the mainstream Protestant denomination in the Netherlands. Pastor Hendrikse doesn’t believe in life after death, nor even in God as a supernatural being. He told the BBC that he has “no talent” for believing historic and orthodox doctrines. “God is not a being at all,” he says, but just an experience.

Furthermore, as Pigott reports, “Mr. Hendrikse describes the Bible’s account of Jesus’s life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life.” the rest

Washington’s National Cathedral, other churches damaged in East Coast quake

by Rob Kerby
Thursday August 25, 2011

Churches seemed to bear the brunt of Tuesday’s 5.8 earthquake on the East Coast.

Significant damage was reported to Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral and St. Peter’s Catholic Church, historic St. Patrick’s Church near Baltimore, and two churches in Culpepper, Va., close to the epicenter — St. Stephen Episcopal Church and Culpepper Christian Assembly.

“The damage is severe and we have three buildings condemned,” said Culpeper County building inspector Bob Orr said. “St. Stephen’s has structural damage inside.” Also closed to the public, he said, were the Christian Assembly and an Italian restaurant. the rest

Numbers of New Catholics Continue to Fall

8/24/11
In a previous post, we noted that infant baptisms have been declining year-to-year (as reported in The Official Catholic Directory; where the publication year represents totals for the year prior, e.g., the 2011 edition includes totals for 2010). We've also noted these are generally moving in step with the overall fertility rate, which has also been falling (more so since the recession in 2008). In each of the past three years the number of people entering the faith (of any age) has dropped below 1 million. Since 1947, during only one other period, from 1973 to 1979, did the annual number of new U.S. Catholics number less than 1 million.  the rest

Anglican Perspective: Taking the Time


August 24, 2011

Obamanonics vs. Reaganomics

One program for recovery worked, and the other hasn't.
By STEPHEN MOORE
AUGUST 26, 2011

If you really want to light the fuse of a liberal Democrat, compare Barack Obama's economic performance after 30 months in office with that of Ronald Reagan. It's not at all flattering for Mr. Obama.

The two presidents have a lot in common. Both inherited an American economy in collapse. And both applied daring, expensive remedies. Mr. Reagan passed the biggest tax cut ever, combined with an agenda of deregulation, monetary restraint and spending controls. Mr. Obama, of course, has given us a $1 trillion spending stimulus.

By the end of the summer of Reagan's third year in office, the economy was soaring. The GDP growth rate was 5% and racing toward 7%, even 8% growth. In 1983 and '84 output was growing so fast the biggest worry was that the economy would "overheat." In the summer of 2011 we have an economy limping along at barely 1% growth and by some indications headed toward a "double-dip" recession. By the end of Reagan's first term, it was Morning in America. Today there is gloomy talk of America in its twilight.

My purpose here is not more Reagan idolatry, but to point out an incontrovertible truth: One program for recovery worked, and the other hasn't. the rest

The Reagan stimulus vs. the Obama one

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Devotional: From every pulpit in the land...

From every pulpit in the land it needs to be thundered forth that God still lives, that God still observes, that God still reigns. Faith is now in the crucible, it is being tested by fire, and there is no fixed and sufficient resting-place for the heart and mind but in the Throne of God. What is needed now, as never before, is a full, positive, constructive setting forth of the Godhood of God. ...AW Pink image

Another Planned Parenthood manager quits and converts to pro-life

by Thaddeus BaklinskiThu Aug 25, 2011

 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a story with clear echoes of the now famous conversion of former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, four months ago a manager at a Planned Parenthood facility in Sherman, Texas resigned from her position with the abortion giant and is now speaking out about her pro-life conversion.

In a press release from 40 Days for Life-Dallas, Ramona Trevino explains that although the particular Planned Parenthood where she worked did not perform surgical abortions, she was struggling “with [her] conscience . . . on contraception, abortion and [her] role in it all.”

Just like Abby Johnson, Trevino credits a 40 Days for Life campaign outside her Planned Parenthood facility with helping her movement towards a pro-life way of thinking.

After the 40 Days campaign came to Sherman, she says she went from believing she was providing a service to women in need, to realizing that Planned Parenthood “treated women like cattle and how they only cared about making money” – a realization she says was “long overdue.” the rest

Obama Creates Office Of Diversity, Inclusion

Wed, 08/24/2011

The economy remains in shambles yet President Obama keeps wasting taxpayer dollars expanding an already bloated U.S. government, this month launching a new office to help build a “diverse and inclusive workforce” at all federal agencies.

The new Office of Diversity and Inclusion will ensure that the entire U.S. government develops comprehensive strategies to drive and integrate diversity and inclusion practices. It will assist the different agencies in building a workforce that “respects individual and organizational cultures” by examining policy options, data trends and employee survey findings.

The goal is to eliminate demographic group imbalances in targeted occupations and improve workforce diversity. To attain this, special initiatives have been created targeting specific groups, including Hispanics, African Americans, American Indians, women and gays and lesbians. The idea is to create a workforce that truly reflects America’s diversity, according to the Obama Administration. the rest

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Hurricane Irene on collision course with US east coast



Washington cathedral faces millions in repairs after quake, plus hurricane Irene

Unnatural: Washington D.C. Hit by Quake and Hurricane in Same Week?

Mugabe meeting for Archbishop Williams

Aug 26, 2011
By George Conger

The Archbishop of Canterbury will travel to Harare in October and will seek a meeting with Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe to plead the case for the country’s persecuted Anglicans.

Dr Williams will also visit Malawi and Zambia during his tour of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, and is expected to offer moral encouragement to the Church. President Mugabe’s office has not decided whether the country’s leader since independence will meet with Dr Williams — who has been a harsh critic of the regime.

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace confirmed “the Archbishop is visiting Zimbabwe as part of a wider trip, which will also see him visit Malawi and Zambia,” but noted the itinerary had yet to be finalised. the rest

Report: Military to chaplains -- resign or conform

Chad Groening
OneNewsNow
 8/24/2011

A coalition of chaplains and other service members is urging members of Congress to stand up for religious freedom in the wake of the appeal of the ban on homosexual military service.

The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty comprises mostly retired chaplains who on behalf of their faith groups represent thousands of currently active military chaplains who believe what the Bible says about the homosexual lifestyle. The bill repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy was passed by the lame-duck Congress in December and subsequently signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Col. Ron Crews (USA-Ret.) served as a chaplain for 28 years, including stints with the storied 82nd and 101st Divisions. He now serves as a chaplain endorser for Grace Churches International. Crews says one of his chaplains attended a briefing by Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen. the rest

Campaigners sue US schools over porn web filters

Thu, 25 Aug 2011

Schools in Missouri, America, are being sued for using internet pornography filters – because the filters may also block some homosexual websites.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which launched the legal action, wants the internet filtering software turned off until the matter is resolved.

But Tim Hadfield, Superintendent of the Camdenton School District, has said: “We do not specifically filter sites promoting alternative lifestyles. We do specifically block sites that are inappropriate and will continue to do so.” the rest

Bloomberg: No Clergy, No FDNY

August 25, 2011
by Elizabeth Scalia

When two hijacked, terrorist-piloted passenger jets were deliberately flown into the Twin Towers, in an act of war against our nation, the first recorded casualty was a Roman Catholic priest and NYFD chaplain — Fr. Mychal Judge — who had ridden to the burning towers, and blessed doomed firefighters, hearing last confessions on the way.

And while Judge’s body was being carried away from the catastrophe by the firefighters who loved him, and whom he loved, First Responders from all ranks, all units, all departments were heading toward that disaster area, not running away, intent on saving as many human lives as possible, even as they weighed the terrible odds. They went up the stairs, while office workers went down. Some of them were kissed by a blind man’s guide-dog, as they passed.  the rest
And the clergy were not represented only by Catholic priests; there were Rabbis and Protestant ministers; Orthodox priests and Muslim clergy. And nuns, too, and everyday people of great faith, or no faith at all, who understood that something greater than opinions or ideology or theology or social theory or doubt was before them.

But now — understanding all of that — we read that New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not inviting First Responders to observe the tenth anniversary of this day of death and sacrifice, at Ground Zero.

And we read, also that Mayor Bloomberg’s guest list is empty of any clergy, as well.

There will be no prayers at his little shindig. Heaven, forbid.

Bloomberg Bans Clergy From 9/11 Ceremony but Ground Zero Mosque OK

Brainwashing U: Colleges’ sick ‘orientation’ game

By ROBERT SHIBLEY
August 25, 2011

Parents sending children off to college for the first time, beware: Their “freshman orientation” is all too likely to include being herded through a “tunnel of oppression” to learn about the evils of “white privilege,” being lectured about how they’re part of a “rape culture” or being forced to discuss their sexual identities with complete strangers -- before they even meet their first professor.

That’s right: For all we hear about faculty ideological or political bias, campus administrators are often worse when it comes to brainwashing students.

Consider the shocking account from a student trained to be a dorm supervisor -- a resident adviser, or RA -- at DePauw University in Indiana. One of her first duties last fall was to lead her new students through a house decorated as a “Tunnel of Oppression,” where supposedly “realistic” demonstrations in each room taught lessons such as how religious parents hate their gay children, Muslims would find no friends on a predominantly non-Muslim campus and overweight women suffer from eating disorders.

Indeed, in her training to become an RA, “We were told that ‘human’ was not a suitable identity, but that instead we were first ‘black,’ ‘white,’ or ‘Asian’; ‘male’ or ‘female’; ... ‘heterosexual’ or ‘queer.’ We were forced to act like bigots and spout off stereotypes while being told that that was what we were really thinking deep down.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. must be spinning in his grave. the rest
Perhaps the most infamous re-education program was the University of Delaware’s: Every single student in the dorms endured an Orwellian “treatment” (the school’s word) program to expunge supposedly incorrect beliefs. Delaware demanded that its RAs ask intrusive questions about students’ sexual identity and write reports about their responses while lecturing students on environmentalism and telling them that “citizenship” required them to recognize that “systemic oppression exists in our society.”

Teacher Who Made Anti-Gay FB Post To Return To Classroom

Superintendent Says Teacher Did Not Violate RulesWednesday, August 24, 2011

MOUNT DORA, Fla. -- The Lake County School superintendent has decided to allow a teacher back into his classroom who was reassigned due to an anti-gay marriage Facebook post.

Superintendent Susan Moxley decided that Jerry Buell did not violate the board's code of conduct. He will return to the classroom on Thursday. the rest
Buell said the decision is a victory for First Amendment rights, but the school district still maintains there are limits on what a teacher can say in their private lives if it impacts the classroom.

USGS boosts Marcellus gas estimates

August 24, 2011

A new assessment of the Marcellus Shale says the Northeastern U.S. formation may contain 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, recoverable natural gas, far more than believed less than a decade ago.

The new assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey updates a 2002 study of the gas-rich formation that stretches though New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, which concluded the region had about 2 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.

The growth in the USGS estimate takes into account advances in how drilling and completion techniques – namely horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing – that have made more formations accessible.

The agency also estimates there are about 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, recoverable natural gas liquids in the Marcellus, products that currently fetch higher prices than natural gas. the rest

Virginia Episcopal churches face uninsured quake losses

Cathedral repairs will run into the millionsBy Mary Frances Schjonberg
August 24, 2011

[Episcopal News Service] East Coast Episcopal churches great and small spent Aug. 24 assessing damage caused by the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck the day before outside of Richmond, Virginia, and finding that their insurance may not cover needed repairs.
Washington National Cathedral, sixth-largest cathedral in the world and the second-largest such church in the United States, sustained significant damage. The repairs will cost millions, in part because of the building's handcrafted stonework, the cathedral said in a press release.

"This cathedral was built by Americans all over the nation and its restoration will require the full support of the country," the Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, cathedral dean, said via Twitter.

None of the costs associated with the anticipated repairs will be covered by the cathedral's insurance, according to a tweet on the cathedral's Twitter page. the rest

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Brazil: Child sings Agnus Dei by Michael W. Smith


Missional Church Mergers

New report: More congregational combinations driven by mission, not survival.Ken Walker
8/23/2011

East Valley Bible Church was already a megachurch. Praxis Church was headed in the same direction. But last year, pastors Tyler Johnson and Justin Anderson agreed to merge their thriving congregations in order to better reach the Phoenix area.

Today attendance at four campuses of Redemption Church—which accepted a third partner in January—is nearly 4,800, a 14 percent increase over pre-merger days for all three churches combined.

"This was born out of the idea of having a city church, like the church at Ephesus or the church at Philippi," said Anderson, Redemption's lead pastor. "We asked, 'What would be the advantage of 100 churches in Phoenix partnering together for church planting, sharing staff … and [providing] lay training?' "

A new report from Leadership Network verifies that such mission-driven church mergers are a growing trend. Two percent of churches have merged in the last two years and five percent are likely to by 2013.  the rest

Albert Mohler: Is God a Problem? Modern Theology Faces its Alternatives

Their obituaries may have been published side by side, but — in the truest sense — Gordon Kaufman and John Stott were never on the same page.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Christian Century, the venerable voice of liberal Protestantism, juxtaposed two significant obituaries in its August 23, 2011 edition — and both on the same page. The magazine published a respectful obituary of evangelical titan John R. W. Stott, identifying him as “a renowned and prolific author credited with shaping 20th-century evangelical Christianity.” After reviewing his 90 years of life and ministry, the magazine quoted S. Douglas Birdsall of the Lausanne Movement, who described Stott in this way: “The church was his great love. World evangelism was his passion. Scripture was his authority. Heaven was his hope. Now it is his home.”

The magazine’s other obituary marked the death of Gordon Kaufman, a professor of theology at the Harvard Divinity School for more than three decades, who died at age 86. Kaufman, the magazine reported, “had a profound influence on rethinking theology in naturalistic terms, arguing for a vision of God as the ‘profound mystery of creativity.’” Kaufman influenced generations of liberal theologians through his writings and teaching, serving as president of both the American Theological Society and the American Academy of Religion.

As a seminary student, I was assigned to read Kaufman’s 1972 work, God the Problem, a book that set forth Kaufman’s effort to bring Christian theology in line with modern thought. A frustrated seminary student in my class posted a sarcastic cartoon on the classroom wall, with the cover of Kaufman’s book changed from God the Problem by Gordon Kaufman to Gordon Kaufman the Problem by God. the rest
In their own ways, Gordon Kaufman and John Stott represent the stark alternatives that face the Christian theologian today. We will either embrace a theology established upon the knowledge of the self-revealing God of the Bible, or we will see theology as a project to be developed by the human imagination. We will choose between the affirmation of the triune God of the Bible or the claim that God is merely a symbol.

Fewer Doctors Willing to Do Abortions, New Study Shows

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com
8/23/11

A new study provides more good news for pro-life advocates, as it shows fewer doctors are willing to perform abortions than before — creating a situation where the lower availability of abortion may be helping to reduce abortions.

The new report, published today in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, finds 97 percent of physicians surveyed say they have encountered patients wanting an abortion while only 14 percent of doctors are willing to do an abortion. That’s lower than the 22 percent of doctors who said they would do an abortion in the last poll, from 2008.

The researchers conducted a national probability sample mail survey of 1,800 practicing OBGYNs asking about “whether respondents ever encountered patients seeking abortions in their practice and whether they provided abortion services.” The results showed that demographics and religion play a big role in whether an OBGYN is willing to do abortions.  the rest

What Really Happened to the National Cathedral in the Quake


Connor Simpson
 Aug 23, 2011

Not all of the buildings in D.C. got away unscathed following the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the east coast Tuesday afternoon. Conflicting reports emerged over whether the Washington Monument was leaning, or not, or if it was leaning to the left, or to the right. In our original earthquake post, we linked to a photo that showed a missing spire from the National Cathedral in Washington. The original reports of the damage were fairly dismissive. Talking Points Memo did a slide show of damage to buildings in the D.C. area, and led with three pictures of tiny pieces of rubble on the front steps. The sarcastic captions read, "See it?" and "Look closely; it's there," and have large red arrows, just in case you miss it. Admittedly, the pictures they have don't show very much. The National Cathedral, which provided these images, has started soliciting donations to help repair the structure of the building. TPM's pictures don't tell the whole story, the real damage is inside: Story/Pictures

National Cathedral sustained 'mind boggling' damage in earthquake

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake: Stones fall off Washington National Cathedral


By MARY CLARE JALONICK
Associated Press Writer
08/23/2011

A spokesman for Washington National Cathedral says at least three of the four pinnacles on the central tower have fallen off and the central tower appears to be leaning.

The pinnacles are the top stones on the cathedral's towers.

Richard Weinberg, director of communications for the cathedral, said the cathedral has been evacuated and stone masons are assessing the damage.

The Washington National Cathedral is an Episcopal Church landmark in the capital. Located in the northwest quadrant of the city near foreign embassies and the vice president's residence, the gothic-like structure is among the tallest in the city. It's historically been the site of funerals and memorials for presidents and statesmen. Story 
(I can't help feeling the biblical implications)

5.9 earthquake hits Virginia, jolts N.Y. and Carolinas

August 23, 2011

A magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck Virginia at about 1:50 p.m. (EDT), the U.S. Geological Survey reported Tuesday. Tremors were felt in New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

In New York City, some buildings were evacuated, and residents poured out of apartment buildings. "What happened?!" one young woman, clutching her large black cat, asked as she rushed onto the street. The woman had been in her seventh-floor apartment in Brooklyn when the brick building began shaking and swaying.

The Associated Press said the Pentagon was being evacuated. The quake also interrupted a news conference that was about to be held by the New York district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., about the dropping of charges against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Vance was about to begin speaking to a room full of reporters, on the eighth floor of a building, when the shaking began. the rest

Two Nuclear Reactors Taken Offline Following 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Virginia

East Coasters Turn to Twitter During Virginia Earthquake

Stocks rise broadly, dip briefly on earthquake

Added:
Tweets from D.C. reached NYC nearly 30 sec. before the Earthquake was felt there.

Politics Really is Downstream from Culture

by Lawrence Meyers
posted August 23, 2011

The first time I heard the phrase, “Politics is downstream from culture”, I had no idea what it meant. After figuring it out, and explaining it to a few Conservatives, they dismissed the concept. The truth, however, is that it may be one of the most important phrases of the New Media Age, and it’s vital that people understand it...

Excerpt:
Thus we come to politics. Given the influence that story has on our everyday lives, and that popular culture is barraging us with story on a regular basis, we must remain ever vigilant as to the messaging in those stories.

Regardless of one’s ideological, moral, ethical, or religious leanings, every person should be aware of the messaging of every piece of popular culture. The thesis here at BH is that the vast majority of those with the power of content creation are Liberals. If you accept that thesis, then realize that Liberals control story. Given the breadth and depth of popular culture in our daily lives, it follows that Liberal messaging is what is primarily being imparted on the masses.

What is some of that messaging? Think about movies and TV. Corporations are evil — using unwitting poor Africans for pharmaceutical testing (Constant Gardener) or dumping toxic chemicals into nature (Erin Brockovich, A Civil Action) or responsible for the end of mankind (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). American soldiers are bloodthirsty lawbreaking maniacs (Any military film). The CIA conducts illegal, secret operations that have nothing to do with protecting America. Radical Muslim terrorists are never villains. Trial lawyers are crusading do-gooders. David Letterman and Saturday Night Live ridicule the Right 95% of the time. Jon Stewart pretends to be centrist, but in fact jumps all over the Right far more often than the Left.

This messaging reinforces Liberal narratives — that is, Liberal stories. These are the same narratives you see in Liberal politics. The popular culture backs up Liberal policies, morals, ethics, values, and standards. Liberal political candidates are the embodiments of those Liberal tenets. The goal is to associate them in voter minds via the vehicle of popular culture.

Finally, what are voters meant to take away from a candidate’s speech, platform, or appearance? The candidate’s story, of course. That’s why it is imperative to understand messaging. Not only will a politician tell his own story, he will also attempt to define the opposing party or candidate’s narrative for him. He who controls that narrative wins.
the rest

The Look of Salvation

AUGUST 11, 2011
By JONATHAN LOPEZ
Philadelphia

Rembrandt van Rijn was among art history's most gifted interpreters of the Bible, bringing a blend of sobriety, tenderness and insight to the sacred narratives he portrayed. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in his numerous depictions of Jesus Christ, the focus of "Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus," an exhibition now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Presenting about 50 paintings, drawings and prints—several borrowed from European collections and rarely seen in the U.S.—the exhibition offers a fascinating narrative of artistic innovation and spiritual growth. In the middle of his long career, we learn, Rembrandt began to portray Jesus with features subtly resembling those of contemporary Amsterdam Jews, a move starkly at odds with artistic tradition, yet in no way contrary to the text of the Bible.

A similar sense of anticipatory quiet pervades "The Supper at Emmaus" (1648), in which the risen Christ pauses before revealing his identity to two disciples over a meal at a humble inn. This was the first major work in which Rembrandt portrayed Christ with olive skin, dark hair and facial features like those of Jewish men he knew from Amsterdam, and it is a true landmark in the artist's career. As Seymour Slive, the renowned Harvard scholar of Dutch art, has written, "To Rembrandt the Jews were the people of the Bible, and with his deepening realism he wanted to become more authentic in his biblical representations." So seriously did Rembrandt take the question of authenticity that "The Supper at Emmaus" depicts Christ about to break a loaf of traditional Jewish challah bread, clearly identifiable by its braided twists. the rest


Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus
Philadelphia Museum of Art
August 3, 2011 - October 30, 2011

Seven Hundred Clergy Can Be Wrong

By: Alan Sears
August 22, 2011

An enterprising chiropractor ought to be able to make a good living in New York these days, going church to church and offering his services. So many clergy in the Empire State have been vigorously patting themselves on the back over their recent success, lobbying for the same-sex “marriage” law, that many must be giving themselves a pain in the neck, for a change.

Some 734 clergy and lay leaders combined forces as part of New York’s “Pride in the Pulpit” initiative -- a conformist conglomeration of priests, rabbis, and mainline Protestants that many political analysts credit with bringing home the necessary swing votes to squeak out a 33-29 win in the legislature.

“They provided a kind of political and theological cover to the moderate and conservative state senators,” as The New York Times explains it. In the words of Princeton history professor Julian E. Zelizer, “Politicians draw on clergy to give themselves moral authority when taking on these kinds of social and cultural issues.”

What he means is, if a wolf is looking for sheep’s clothing, there’s no better place to get it than from a shepherd. As moral authorities go, clergy -- even in this jaded age -- rank pretty high. Higher, it turns out, than the God they’re jockeying to speak for.  the rest

Hospital-related infections drop under California initiative

The goal: Cut costs and save lives by preventing hospital-related infections from taking root. 'We're definitely making progress,' says a doctor in Newport Beach.
Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
August 23, 2011

Scores of California hospitals, under pressure to reduce infections that kill an estimated 12,000 patients every year, say they have managed to cut costs and save lives through an initiative that has nurses and doctors redoubling efforts to prevent deadly germs from taking root...

...Since its launch 19 months ago, the initiative is credited with cutting ventilator-associated pneumonia 41%. Urinary tract infections related to catheters fell 24% last year, and cases of blood poisoning dropped 11%. The lower rates have saved an estimated $11 million in healthcare costs.
the rest
"We know we can prevent many of these infections by doing some very simple things," said Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, who oversees efforts to combat the problem for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

...Then doctors picked up a valuable tip from other hospitals to improve oral care: Enlist respiratory therapists to help keep deadly bacteria from building up in patients' mouths, potentially leading to pneumonia.

The therapists began swabbing patients' mouths with hydrogen peroxide four times a day, supplementing the work of nurses who already were brushing patients' teeth with an antibacterial solution twice a day.

The hospital said the extra effort has paid off: It has not recorded a single case of ventilator-associated pneumonia since December, down from 18 in the one-year period before that.

Joe Biden "Fully Understands" China’s Mandatory Abortions

No, he doesn’t.
by John Hayward
08/22/2011

Excerpt:
Of course, it’s Biden’s reference to China’s forced abortion policy that will generate the big headlines, and deservedly so. Even by his standards, it’s an epic outburst of moral blindness and pure stupidity.

For starters, Biden is nominally Catholic, although if the Church has gotten wind of his comments in China, they might already be taking steps to remedy that situation. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Biden was asked what he would say if his running mate asked him when life begins. This was his answer:

I’d say, ‘Look, I know when it begins for me.’ It’s a personal and private issue. For me, as a Roman Catholic, I am prepared to accept the teachings in my Church… For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I, seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.

How do you get from that mushy non-judgmental pluralism to expressing “full understanding” of forced abortions, and declaring your refusal to “second guess” a State-mandated one-child-per-family policy? the rest

Homophobia and the Church

August 22nd, 2011
Kevin Theriot

Anyone opposed to the acceptance of homosexual behavior as a healthy, normal, moral equivalent to heterosexuality is often accused of homophobia – an irrational fear of those engaged in homosexual behavior. This same label is applied to any church that teaches biblical morality on the issue. Recently, Bill Hybels, Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, had to defend his church’s loving and biblical morality teachings against an attack from a homosexual activist who persuaded the head of Starbucks to breach his contract to speak at the church’s leadership summit. Some churches, like Mt. Hope Church in East Lansing, Michigan, are sometimes even physically attacked by radical groups who support the homosexual agenda like BashBack! (an indication of irrational fear on their part).

But most pastors and churches I’m familiar with are like Willow Creek and love those caught up in homosexual behavior, wanting them to experience the freedom that Christ can give. They don’t fear them, but they fear for them. As Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently put it in his piece on the topic, “Our greatest fear is not that homosexuality will be normalized and accepted, but that homosexuals will not come to know of their own need for Christ and the forgiveness of their sins.” Well said. If churches truly love those who are engaged in sin that separates them from a right relationship with God, they cannot say sin is OK. That truly would be hateful, not loving. the rest

The state should keep its nose out of the Catholic Church’s confession boxes

By Brendan O'Neill
August 23rd, 2011

News of the World journalists who invaded celebrities’ privacy by hacking into their idle phone chatter have got nothing on Irish politicians. The Irish state is hell bent on hacking into the most intimate conversation of all: that between a man and his God. A new law could force priests in Ireland to break the confessional seal if their penitent mentions anything to do with child sex abuse. In such circumstances, if Irish prime minister Enda Kenny gets his way, it will be a criminal offence for the priest to keep schtum about what he has heard. This would rip apart the Vatican’s Canon Law, which stipulates: “The sacramental seal is inviolable; thus it is absolutely illegitimate for the confessor to the make the penitent known, even only in part, using words or any other means, and for any reason.”

Now, as it happens, I am not the confessing type. As a severely lapsed Catholic and now immoveable atheist, I haven’t been inside a confessional since I was 17 years old. And I don’t miss telling some bloke behind a grille about the time I nicked a Kit-Kat or got matey with Onan. But there are millions upon millions of people for whom confession is a central part of their faith, and for whom absolute privacy is a central part of confession. They believe, and should have every right to believe, that the confessional facilitates communication with God, providing a tiny, darkened space, utterly cut off from the world, where they can offload their various horrors and heartbreaks in private. For the state to invade this space, to colonise it on the basis that it is a sinister place where lurid stories about paedophilia might be swapped between a pervert and his priest, is an attack on freedom of religion.

Some will point out that the new Irish law will only require priests to blab on their penitents if they confess to having committed, or knowing something about, child sexual abuse. But the problem is that in chipping away at the very idea of the inviolable sacramental seal, politicians are potentially flinging the whole world of confessing open to all sorts of state interference. What about other criminal offences? GBH? Robbery? Flashing? Should priests also have a duty to dob in their penitents if they confess to partaking in those immoral and illegal acts? As the Irish Times joked, how about getting ordained coppers to hear people’s sins, so that they can “judge at once if they merit a decade of the rosary or a decade in Portlaoise [Prison]”
 the rest

Monday, August 22, 2011

Air Force Reviewing All Ethics Courses for Christian Themes

Written by Dave Bohon
Monday, 22 August 2011

The Air Force appears to be on an intense crusade to sanitize religious content from its training courses. As reported by The New American, in late July the Air Force suspended a course entitled “Christian Just War Theory” after a group of missile launch officers complained to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation that the ethics course included the Bible and other Christian-themed material. Barely three weeks after the original incident, another Air Force instructor forwarded Power Point slides from a second class to the secularist watchdog group, complaining about that course’s Christian content.

CNN reported that in a lesson “designed to teach the Air Force’s core values to ROTC cadets, Christian beliefs such as the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Golden Rule are used as examples of ethical values....” According to CNN, an ROTC instructor brought his complaint to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation after seeing a report on the original complaint brought by the missile officers. “I felt extremely uncomfortable briefing some of these slides, deleted them, and added what I felt were more relevant examples,” the anonymous ROTC instructor wrote in an e-mail to the secularist group.

Like the “Just War Theory” material, the ROTC course was produced by the Air Force's Air Education and Training Command. AETC spokesman David Smith said that the group is now reviewing all “training materials that address morals, ethics, core values, and related character development issues to ensure appropriate and balanced use of all religious and secular source material.” He emphasized that the Air Force is committed to teaching ethics to its officers and personnel “in a religiously neutral way that assures we comply with the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.” the rest

Reversing the Decay of London Undone

Britain's chief rabbi on the moral disintegration since the 1960s and how to rebuildBy JONATHAN SACKS
AUGUST 20, 2011

Excerpt:
Britain is the latest country to pay the price for what happened half a century ago in one of the most radical transformations in the history of the West. In virtually every Western society in the 1960s there was a moral revolution, an abandonment of its entire traditional ethic of self-restraint. All you need, sang the Beatles, is love. The Judeo-Christian moral code was jettisoned. In its place came: whatever works for you. The Ten Commandments were rewritten as the Ten Creative Suggestions. Or as Allan Bloom put it in "The Closing of the American Mind": "I am the Lord Your God: Relax!"

You do not have to be a Victorian sentimentalist to realize that something has gone badly wrong since. In Britain today, more than 40% of children are born outside marriage. This has led to new forms of child poverty that serious government spending has failed to cure. In 2007, a Unicef report found that Britain's children are the unhappiest in the world. The 2011 riots are one result. But there are others.

Whole communities are growing up without fathers or male role models. Bringing up a family in the best of circumstances is not easy. To try to do it by placing the entire burden on women—91% of single-parent families in Britain are headed by the mother, according to census data—is practically absurd and morally indefensible. By the time boys are in their early teens they are physically stronger than their mothers. Having no fathers, they are socialized in gangs. No one can control them: not parents, teachers or even the local police. There are areas in Britain's major cities that have been no-go areas for years. Crime is rampant. So are drugs. It is a recipe for violence and despair.

That is the problem. At first it seemed as if the riots were almost random with no basis in class or race. As the perpetrators have come to court, a different picture has emerged. Of those charged, 60% had a previous criminal record, and 25% belonged to gangs.

This was the bursting of a dam of potential trouble that has been building for years. the rest

Call for prayer as Gaddafi regime crumbles

As the final curtain looks set to fall on the Gaddafi regime, Christians are being asked to pray that the church will be strong.
Monday, August 22, 2011

Excerpt:
David Innes, of Arab World Ministries, said that the events in Libya and across the Arab world reflected the desire of the young people to have more say in the governing of their country.

He appealed to Christians to pray for a quick end to the conflict in Libya and for believers to be strong during the period of uncertainty.

Regardless of what transpires from the revolution, Mr Innes said the coming months would be challenging for Libya and require substantial rebuilding as a result of the devastation left by the fighting.

As Libyans wake up to a different country, he said prayer was the most important thing.

“We are watching with interest to see what will develop in the nation,” he said.

“Some Christians in North Africa see this as a God event and a chance to boldly declare their faith. Libya has very few known believers but we have seen Libyans coming to faith recently.

“One Christian there told us ‘Please remember me’. They are small in number but we are praying that Arab believers will have authority in the Lord and disciple their nations to see the church grow there.
the rest

1,300 dead in attack on Tripoli: govt spokesman

Conservative Presbyterians Mulling Split Over Gay Ordination?

Mon, Aug. 22 2011
By Anugrah Kumar
Christian Post Contributor

Three months after allowing the ordination of openly gay clergy, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seems headed for a split as nearly 2,000 conservative Presbyterians are gathering in Minneapolis on Thursday and Friday with creation of a “new Reformed body” as an agenda.

Making preparations for the conference is the Rev. Paul Detterman, executive director of Presbyterians for Renewal, an independent organization based in Louisville, Ky., where the denomination’s headquarters are.

Detterman, administrative consultant for the new Fellowship of Presbyterians, the organizer, recently wrote in a communication to fellow conservatives that initially only a few hundred people were interested in new ways of “being church,” but the change in the ordination standards increased the number of registrations to over 1,900.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which has a membership of over 2 million, became the fourth Protestant denomination in the U.S. to give the ordination rights to openly gay and lesbian clergy by ratifying a constitutional amendment on May 10.

The conference, to be attended by 70 national and regional church officials, is for “people who are deeply troubled and whose integrity is deeply threatened by the move the denomination has made,” Detterman, a longtime pastor and church musician, told The Courier-Journal on the weekend. But, he added, he was urging the group to consider alternatives short of splitting, and that there would be no formal voting or “silver bullet” solutions. the rest

Feeding The Masses On Unicorn Ribs

August 19, 2011
Walter Russell Mead

Besides healing the planet and returning the rising seas to their natural beds, then-Senator Obama promised that his administration would create beautiful green jobs: well paid, stable, abundant jobs, unionized, with full benefits and making the earth healthier and the American people richer. As President, he stayed on message: even after the truther-enabling “green jobs czar” Van Jones left the administration, green jobs have been one of the President’s signature policies for putting the American people back to work.

Obama promised to create 5 million green jobs within ten years. Investors’ Business Daily has a list of that plan’s successes so far.

- On his recent jobs tour Obama stopped at a Johnson Controls plant in southern Michigan, which received $300 million in green grants and plans to create a whopping total of 150 jobs, at a cost of $2 million per position.

- Evergreen Solar Inc., which received unknown amounts of green stimulus funds on the hope that it would create “between 90 and 100 jobs” two years ago, filed for bankruptcy this week, $485.6 million in debt. Their Massachusetts plant once employed 800 people; in March it was replaced with a factory in Wuhan, China.

- Green Vehicles, an electric car “maker” in Salinas, California, took $500,000 from the city and almost $200,000 from the state but has failed to produce even one car. the rest image

Large Zone Near Japanese Reactors to Be Off Limits

By MARTIN FACKLERAugust 21, 2011

TOKYO — Broad areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels, several major media outlets said Monday.

The formal announcement, expected from the government in coming days, would be the first official recognition that the March accident could force the long-term depopulation of communities near the plant, an eventuality that scientists and some officials have been warning about for months. Lawmakers said over the weekend — and major newspapers reported Monday — that Prime Minister Naoto Kan was planning to visit Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is, as early as Saturday to break the news directly to residents. The affected communities are all within 12 miles of the plant, an area that was evacuated immediately after the accident.

The government is expected to tell many of these residents that they will not be permitted to return to their homes for an indefinite period. It will also begin drawing up plans for compensating them by, among other things, renting their now uninhabitable land. While it is unclear if the government would specify how long these living restrictions would remain in place, news reports indicated it could be decades. That has been the case for areas around the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine after its 1986 accident. the rest

The Abortion of the Wanted Child

August 21, 2011

Everyone is discussing this piece, by Ruth Padawer, that ran in the New York Times, and, since it is infuriating, I figured I would too. Ms. Padawer has written a hard-hitting piece. I think it presents all views as fairly as can be expected and it does not mince words. Full disclosure, it took me three attempts to read it through. I then sent a very annoyed letter to the author because I felt she was justifying something that is wrong. While I still feel that this is an attempt at justification, perhaps I did not give the writer enough credit for revealing what has been, and continues to be, a somewhat hidden aspect of both abortion practice and artificial fertility treatments. Please, if this topic is of interest to you, read it all.

The article discusses women who have had fertility treatment(s) and who found themselves carrying twins (in one case triplets) as a result and who chose to “reduce their pregnancies” to only one fetus...

...This article reveals that abortion has truly become an “on demand” procedure to be used as part of a range of on demand reproductive services. It is clear that to these folks it is no longer about “the children” it is about fulfilling their own, highly particularized needs.the rest
The women in this article may feel, may actually be, overwhelmed. But they are absolutely not the poor, alone, desperate “in trouble” women for whose needs we have always been told abortion must be kept safe and legal and (we hope) rare, to borrow President Clinton’s oft quoted phrase.

These are all abortions of wanted children and it is extremely disturbing.

Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Secret Fed Loans

By Bradley Keoun and Phil Kuntz
Aug 22, 2011

Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits.

By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress.

“These are all whopping numbers,” said Robert Litan, a former Justice Department official who in the 1990s served on a commission probing the causes of the savings and loan crisis. “You’re talking about the aristocracy of American finance going down the tubes without the federal money.” the rest

Wall Street execs turn back on Obama, donate to Romney