Saturday, September 03, 2011

Devotional: We must rediscover and reclaim our spiritual heritage...

We must rediscover and reclaim our spiritual heritage. The emerging new world of the twenty-first century may be new to us, but it is not new to our spiritual ancestors - the developed Christian community in the midst of a very similar culture. If by God's grace they could do it, so can we. Christians are commissioned to witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The church of Jesus Christ is called out of the world for the purpose of sharing new life.... The purpose of the minister is to equip people to build up the Body of Christ. The purpose of laity is to pass on to others the new life God has given them. The goal is never simply to "run to the church," no matter what size the church may be. ...Bill Easum image

Book Review: Reckless Endangerment

Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized…Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon
by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner
Book review by Raymond Dague
posted September 3, 2011

For anyone puzzling over where blame lies for the financial meltdown of the late summer of 2008, this is a book to read. The answer might be surprising. Gretchen Morgenson, the principal author, is a business and financial editor and a columnist for The New York Times. The book is a detailed account of what, who, how, and why behind the financial meltdown which nearly plunged the country into a second great depression in the waning days of the George W. Bush presidency.

The general assumption of many, especially partisans with no love for President Bush, is that because it happened toward the end of his eight year presidency his policies must have been at fault. President Obama rarely lets a week go by without blaming the current economic problems on President Bush, or only slightly more subtly, “the situation which we inherited.” Yet the problem runs far deeper than blame of the Republican administration during which it occurred.

The 2008 financial crisis can be traced directly to the early years of the presidency of Bill Clinton. President Clinton in 1994 proclaimed the need for more Americans to be homeowners. He set the goal of 70% of the populace living in homes they own. He relentlessly pursued that policy by causing his young secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Cuomo, to have his bureaucracy issue regulations which encouraged banks and other lending institutions to drop the standards for home mortgages. That included a virtual elimination of the 20% down payment which homeowners needed to qualify for a mortgage, and the age old wisdom enshrined in the banking industry that the homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 25% of his take home pay. With a few regulation changes, and accusations that banks were engaging in “redlining” discrimination against inner city neighborhoods, the nation’s traditional banks were quickly persuaded to make mortgage loans which a few years earlier would have resulted in a quick mortgage rejection letter.

New lenders came to prominence such as Countrywide Financial, United Companies Financial, NovaStar, and Fremont Investment and Loan. They made billions of dollars on these newly minted mortgages to borrowers who traditionally could not have gotten a mortgage to buy a house. Bankers called the good mortgage prospects, prime candidates. This new class of borrowers became known as sub-prime. These sub-prime mortgages were issued by the lenders and then sold in huge blocks to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two private corporations are “government-sponsored enterprises,” meaning that they were in 1994 private corporations, but ones which the public largely perceived to be guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

During the Clinton years Fannie Mae, the larger of the two, was run by James A. Johnson. Johnson successfully lobbied congress to see that his agency was never effectively regulated. Johnson and the executives of his organization and the lenders made millions each year in salaries and bonuses. But Fannie Mae and the many lenders which sold their mortgages to Fannie Mae were undercapitalized. They made risky loans to people who could not afford them. When these sub-prime homeowners started defaulting in large numbers, the whole house of cards came down, and voila, the financial crisis of 2008. Most of those lenders are now in bankruptcy and Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are now under government control and bailout. Johnson and his fellow executives got off while the American taxpayers pay the bills.

While all of this was unfolding the congress, mostly run by the Democrats, was asleep at the switch. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut, and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, Democrat from Massachusetts are mentioned prominently in this book as being cosy with Johnson and Fannie Mae. Perhaps the ultimate insult added to injury is when these two powerful Democrats devised the congressional response to the crisis. Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 to supposedly insure that such a financial crisis could never happed again. But the new law, despite its massive size and scope, utterly failed to address the to-big-to fail institutions such as Fannie Mae. The law did nothing to increase accountability of those running these huge financial institution, nor did it even address the issues of how to resolve the insolvent Fannie and Freddy situation. When such behemoth unmanageable financial institutions get in trouble in the future, the government (meaning the taxpayers) will have no alternative but to again bail them out, or alternatively to let them fail and then face national financial collapse as we did in the summer of 2008.

If one expects partisan reasons given from the left side of the political spectrum from this New York Times reporter, they will be greatly disappointed by this book. As for many of the cast of characters who were responsible for allowing all of this to happen on their watch, many are in the Obama Administration or with close ties to the current president. So much for the penchant of the current administration to blame today’s financial problems on “the situation which we inherited.” To a great degree, the people who allowed the current mess to happen on their watch are now serving in the current administration.

Cleric confirms gay partnership

3 September 2011

A SENIOR Church of Ireland minister has entered a same-sex civil partnership.

In what is believed to be the first gay union involving a serving Church of Ireland cleric, the Very Rev Tom Gordon, who is originally from Portadown, yesterday confirmed that he had formalised the relationship under new laws introduced in the Republic earlier this year.

The Rev Gordon, who is Dean of Leighlin Cathedral in Co Carlow, said that the ceremony had taken place at a registry office on July 29.

A spokesman for the Church of Ireland declined to comment in detail, saying that it was a “civil matter”. the rest

Rep. Keith Ellison, from Catholic to Muslim

September 1st, 2011
By Chris Welch, CNN

Prior to 2006, few people even knew that then-Minnesota state legislator Keith Ellison was a Muslim. Because of his English name, he said, no one thought to ask.

But five years ago, when he ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives - a race he would go on to win - word of his religious affiliation began to spread.

“When I started running for Congress it actually took me by surprise that so many people were fascinated with me being the first Muslim in Congress,” said Ellison, a Democrat now serving his third term in the House. the rest

Space junk reaching "tipping point," report warns

By Irene Klotz
 Thu Sep 1, 2011

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla,. (Reuters) - The amount of debris orbiting the Earth has reached "a tipping point" for collisions, which would in turn generate more of the debris that threatens astronauts and satellites, according to a U.S. study released on Thursday.

NASA needs a new strategic plan for mitigating the hazards posed by spent rocket bodies, discarded satellites and thousands of other pieces of junk flying around the planet at speeds of 17,500 miles per hour, the National Research Council said in the study.

The council is one of the private, nonprofit U.S. national academies that provide expert advice on scientific problems.

Orbital debris poses a threat to the approximately 1,000 operational commercial, military and civilian satellites orbiting the Earth -- part of a global industry that generated $168 billion in revenues last year, Satellite Industry Association figures show. the rest image

Some computer models show the amount of orbital debris "has reached a tipping point, with enough currently in orbit to continually collide and create even more debris, raising the risk of spacecraft failures," the research council said in a statement released Thursday as part its 182-page report.

'But if the Christians Make Problems for the Muslims, I Will Exterminate Them'

Senior Official in Egyptian Islamic Jihad: If We Come to Power, We will Launch a Campaign of Islamic Conquests to Instate Shari'a Worldwide: 'The Christian is Free to Worship His God in His Church, but if the Christians Make Problems for the Muslims, I Will Exterminate Them'
August 29, 2011
On August 13, 2011, the Egyptian daily Roz Al-Yousef published an interview[1] with Sheikh 'Adel Shehato, a senior official in Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), who, on March 23, 2011, was freed from prison in the wake of the Egyptian revolution. He was imprisoned in 1991 upon returning from a three-year sojourn in Afghanistan.

In the interview, Shehato expressed complete opposition to democracy "because it is not the faith of the Muslims, but the faith of the Jews and Christians." He said that although the youth of the Arab revolutions have not declared the implementation of shari'a as one of their goals, the mujahideen nonetheless identify with their aspiration to overthrow the Arab rulers, whom they had always considered "infidels who must be killed because they do not rule according to the shari'a." He added, however, that "once Allah's law is applied, the role of the people will end and Allah will reign supreme." He went on to say that although he supports Al-Qaeda's ideology, shari'a law would not be enforced by violence but by da'wa (preaching), whereas violence would be used only against the infidel Arab rulers.

Shehato said that if the mujahideen came to power in Egypt, they would launch a campaign of Islamic conquests aimed at subjecting the entire world to Islamic rule. Muslim ambassadors would be appointed to each country, charged with calling upon them to join Islam willingly, but if the countries refused, war would be waged against them. He also described the nature of the Islamic state to be established in Egypt: there would be no trade or cultural ties with non-Muslims; tourist sites at the pyramids, the Sphinx, and Sharm Al-Sheikh would be shut down "because the tourists come [there] to drink alcohol and fornicate," and all tourists wishing to visit Egypt would be required to comply with the conditions and laws of Islam; all art, painting, singing, dancing, and sculpture would be forbidden, and all culture would be purely Islamic. the rest

Canada: Women who abort after 19 weeks eligible maternity leave

by Patrick B. Craine
Fri Sep 02, 2011

 ( - Pro-life Canadians have complained for years that they are forced to pay for the direct killing of unborn children through the country’s health system. It turns out they are also paying for abortive mothers to get full maternity benefits.

Canada’s employment insurance guidelines reveal that a woman who aborts her child after 19 weeks gestation is eligible to receive 17 weeks of maternity leave, the same as a mother who gives birth. For an abortion occurring before 19 weeks gestation, the woman can collect sick leave for the same length of time.

“The whole situation is pretty ludicrous,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition. “Why should you pay for somebody killing their child, and then expect to pay for benefits if the child is no longer there?” the rest
“How is it fair that I am being asked, along with other taxpayers of good will, to not only pay for the assassination of a ‘less than perfect’ child, but that I am also paying for several months’ ‘maternity leave’?” asked Georges Buscemi, CQV’s president.

Alabama’s new bishop looks to future of Episcopal Church

A ‘trying decade’
by Brett Buckner

Known across the Episcopal landscape simply as “Kee,” Rev. John McKee Sloan is the new Alabama bishop-elect of the Episcopal Church, overseeing some 91 parish churches in the state.

Sloan was elected on July 16 in Birmingham from a field of four nominees to replace the Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley, who will be retiring in January after 15 years of serving as bishop. the rest

Q: What are your thoughts on gay clergy and same-sex marriages, as the issue continues to rage within other denominations?

A: That’s one of the real challenges of our time. The church is not … we don’t know. We have not made a decision about that. It’s something we’re still praying about, and that’s frustrating for some people. There are people who are frustrated that we are talking about this at all; they wish it would go away. There are others who wish we would get moving, that it’s something we shouldn’t be dragging our feet about. It’s a difficult, thorny issue.

We do have a diversity of theological positions in the church, which is the nature of our faith – that people have different ideas that are not lightly held. When they disagree … what do you do?

The inclination of this culture is to declare a winner and a loser, which is pretty good as long as you’re the winner, but that means leaving someone out.

This is something we need to work through together and we can’t do it in a hurry.

What I want most of all is for us to remember who we are and to love each other even if we disagree, be faithful and believe that the Holy Spirit is still part of the church. God has not abandoned us. We have not abandoned God. God is still working through us.

Anglican Unscripted

posted September 3, 2011

Kevin and George discuss some very recent history and the Church in China. Allan Haley discuses some of the unconstitutional legal tactics of TEC and Peter Ould talks about new challenges to the Church of Scotland.

Friday, September 02, 2011


posted September 2, 2011
Todd Starnes

Christians in Australia are accusing national education officials of “Christian cleansing” in response to pending changes in school books that would remove references to the birth of Jesus Christ.

The government would replace the terms BC, Before Christ, and AD, Anno Domini, with non-religious language. The new terms will be BCE (Before Common Era), BP (Before Present) and CE (Common Era).

A spokesman for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority told The Herald Sun that the new terms were an increasingly common standard for the representation of dates. the rest image
Peter Jensen, the Archbishop of Sydney, told The Daily Telegraph that taking references to the birth of Jesus Christ out of school books was an “intellectually absurd attempt to write Christ out of human history.”

A Breakdown of Gay Marriage Support by Religion


Major Study Links Suicide and Other Mental Health Problems to Abortion

September 1, 2011
Mary L. Davenport, MD

An important meta-analysis published today in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry demonstrates that nearly 10% of mental health problems in women are directly attributable to abortion. "Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009," by Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green University, shows that women with an abortion history have an 81% increased risk of mental health problems and 155% increased risk of suicide. This meta-analysis combines 22 studies of 877,181 women, 163, 831 of whom have had abortions. A meta-analysis is an especially powerful type of study because it includes a large number of subjects, and by combining studies is much more reliable than a single study.

This review, which is larger than any study to date, contradicts the recent and biased and less systematic review by the American Psychological Association, which fails to find a relationship between mental health problems and abortion. The new meta-analysis also contradicts the stance of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which has been silent on the mental health impact of abortion in its official publications despite overwhelming evidence over the last two decades of abortion's adverse effects.

The egregious cover-up of abortion complications is an aspect of "the abortion distortion." Elites in charge of professional organizations actively suppress legitimate research on the harms of induced abortion because of political bias or worse. One of the most notorious examples of "the abortion distortion" was the revelation that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan actually wrote part of ACOG's position statement on partial birth abortion while working as deputy assistant for domestic policy for Bill Clinton.  the rest

Largest ever study finds abortion increases risk of severe mental health problems by 81%
...The research revealed that abortion was associated with a 34% increased risk for anxiety disorders; 37% greater risk of depression; 110% greater risk of alcohol abuse and 220% greater risk of marijuana use/abuse.
Abortion was also linked with a 155% greater risk of attempting to commit suicide...

The Islamist Threat Inside Our Military

by M. Zuhdi Jasser
The Wall Street Journal
August 19, 2011

There is an irreconcilable conflict between allegiance to the United States, with its secular Constitution, and fealty to the consciousness of an Islamist state that centers on the Quran as its constitution and the ummah (Muslim nation) as its global citizenry. The crucial question a Muslim soldier needs to be asked is this: "Do you have any sense of loyalty to the ummah and its Islamic state?" Those who answer in the affirmative pose a problem.

The Pentagon's 2010 after-action report, "Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood," revealed a blind spot by failing to address the warning signs of Islamist radicalism that were abundantly clear prior to the massacre. Pvt. Abdo's history has shown again that our military leadership is not equipped to deal with the challenges political Islam presents to national security and the protection of our armed forces...

...Muslims have fought many wars against other Muslims. Certainly, for the vast majority our allegiance is first and only to the U.S. and never to any Islamist constructs of the Islamic state, the ummah, or jihad.

Faisal Shahzad, the confessed Times Square bomber, stated to the judge at his arraignment, "We Muslims are one community. We are not divided." He proclaimed that he was a "mujahid" or a "Muslim soldier." Nidal Hasan similarly called himself a "Soldier of Allah." This self-identification is central to the Islamist threat.

Yet the theological underpinnings of Islamist radicalization remain ignored by military officials, who fear appearing to discriminate against Muslim soldiers. That fear has been bolstered by leading Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups in America. Their platform of political Islam teaches Islamic revivalism and an aversion to the separation of mosque and state. the rest

PA: Judge Tosses out Anglo-Catholic Priest and Two Vestry in Parish Shake-Up

Defamed Attorney Files Lawsuit against Priest and Former Friend
Friends of Good Shepherd Issue Healing Statement
Special Report
By David W. Virtue
August 30, 2011

After more than a decade of ecclesiastical infighting and lawsuits, Montgomery County Court Judge Stanley Ott delivered the final blow to the Anglo-Catholic rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, on Monday by saying Fr. David L. Moyer must leave the parish. He also ordered two men to step down from the Vestry. Real and personal property issues were not on the table.

It is the end of a long and bitter battle waged between the Diocese of Pennsylvania, its Bishop Charles E. Bennison, the Standing Committee and Fr. David L. Moyer (AKA Bishop Moyer of the Traditional Anglican Communion). The latter initially fought the bishop charging him with heresy and his failure to uphold a flying bishop arrangement for Anglo-Catholics made under his predecessor Bishop Alan Bartlett.

Moyer has instigated and been dogged by multiple lawsuits for nearly a decade.

The Anglo-Catholic priest first challenged Bennison in 2002 over doctrinal issues and the bishop's betrayal over a flying bishop arrangement agreement he and six other traditionalist priests had with the previous diocesan bishop Allan Bartlett. the rest

A.S. Haley: Judge Orders Removal of Good Shepherd's Rector, Two Vestry Members

FEMA'S use of term 'federal family' for government expands under Obama

By George Bennett
Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011

Don’t think of it as the federal government but as your “federal family.”

In a Category 4 torrent of official communications during the approach and aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has repeatedly used the phrase “federal family” when describing the Obama administration’s response to the storm.

The Obama administration didn’t invent the phrase but has taken it to new heights.

“Under the direction of President Obama and Secretary Janet Napolitano, the entire federal family is leaning forward to support our state, tribal and territorial partners along the East Coast,” a FEMA news release declared Friday as Irene churned toward landfall.

The G-word — “government” — has been nearly banished, with FEMA instead referring to federal, state and local “partners” as well as “offices” and “personnel." the rest

An orthodox speech on an elevator

August 22, 2011
Terry Mattingly

There is nothing unusual about a priest who is dressed in clerical garb having a stranger ask him a religious question during a long airline flight.

"You ask a guy where he's from and what he does and then he asks you the same thing. Many people just want to talk," explained Father John David Finley, a missionary priest in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

The man in the next seat recently asked the priest a question he has heard many times: "What is Orthodox Christianity, anyway?"

Ironically, Finley was -- at that moment -- writing some comments about a contest in which participants prepared a 30-second "elevator speech" response to strangers who asked that very question. The contest was organized by the archdiocesan Department of Missions and Evangelism, Finley's home base. the rest

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Devotional: If you observe events in our day

If you observe events in our day that you consider to be God's judgement, don't doubt or lose hope. Look up and see God Almighty. His work of chastisement is to prepare us for the power. Like the early church we are to gather in unity, humility and repentance, waiting for the Spirit to be poured out-and continuing to believe for revival. ...John Dawson image

Bishop Wantland appointed chief justice of the Seminole Indian Nation

August 26, 2011
By George Conger

The Diocese of Forth Worth reports that its assisting bishop, the Rt Rev William Wantland, has been named the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Seminole Nation.

On 8 August, 2011, Bishop Wantland and two other justices took the oath of office for the American Indian tribal court which was formerly reinstated last year.

The Seminoles of Oklahoma are descendents of the Indian tribes expelled from Florida in the 1830s. The Seminole were recognized as an independent Indian Nation in 1856 by the US government after their resettlement West of the Mississippi.

In 1907 the US Congress removed all restrictions on white settlement in Indian Territory. During the reorganization Congress reduced the autonomy of the Five Civilized Tribes: the Cherokee, Chikasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole (so-called due to their successful integration into American society and adoption of Western culture). Indian tribal courts were abolished and the chief of each tribe was henceforth appointed by the Federal Government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs.

A member of the Tusekia Harjo Band of the Seminole Nation, Bishop Wantland trained as a lawyer and as an Episcopal priest, and was a member of the committee that drafted the tribe’s constitution of 1969, which restored its right to elect its own chief. “However, there was no provision for a court system,” under the new constitution the bishop said, “because the Bureau of Indian Affairs said we could not have courts.” the rest

Few U.S. ob-gyns provide abortions: study

Thu Sep 1, 2011
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Nearly all obstetrician-gynecologists in the U.S. have patients who want abortions, but only a small percentage of the doctors provide them, suggests a new study that finds access to abortion remains limited, especially in certain areas of the country.

In a survey of 1,144 ob-gyns, researchers found that while 97 percent said they'd had patients who sought abortions, only 14 percent ever provided them. Doctors refusing to perform the procedure were especially concentrated in rural areas, the South and Midwest.

The 14 percent figure is lower than was found in a 2008 survey, where 22 percent of ob-gyns said they performed abortions. However, that study focused on younger doctors who had all been certified after a 1996 rule that made abortion training a required part of ob-gyn residency programs. the rest

End Child Pornography: Enforce Adult Pornography Laws

by Patrick A. Trueman
September 1, 2011

Ending child pornography is as much a matter of vigorously prosecuting those who distribute adult pornography as it is a matter of prosecuting child pornographers. Presidential candidates should pledge to initiate adult pornography criminal cases and fund research into the adult-child pornography link.

Since President Obama took office, the Department of Justice has not initiated one adult pornography criminal case. The reason, we are told, is that investigators are overwhelmed with child pornography cases. Problematically, a growing number of law enforcement officers and investigators report that consumption of adult pornography leads to consumption of child pornography.

The link between adult and child porn is observed globally, and it is nothing new. Fifteen years ago, at the 1996 World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Margaret Healy stated in a paper titled “Child Pornography: An International Perspective” that “with the emergence of the use of computers to traffic in child pornography, a new and growing segment of producers and consumers is being identified. They are individuals who may not have a sexual preference for children, but who have seen the gamut of adult pornography and who are searching for more bizarre material.” (Emphasis added) the rest

Warning: Your Romance May Be Dangerous to Your Kids

by Maggie Gallagher

For most of that time policymakers have focused on the problem of "father absence," and it is a real problem. Very few boys and girls have involved, loving, supportive fathers if the man that made them is not married to their mama.

But a new crop of research is challenging the idea that the main or only problem with the decline of marriage is the absence of fathers. An equally big or even bigger problem may be the churning romantic lives of unmarried and divorced mothers.

A new study in the July 2011 issue of Sociology of Education by Arizona State University professor Carey E. Cooper and colleagues (including Princeton's esteemed family scholar Sara S. McLanahan) looked at how "partnership instability" affected children's well-being at age 5, using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a national survey that follows approximately 5,000 parents and their children from birth to age 5.

What sociologists call "externalizing" problems are behavior problems associated with aggression and rule-breaking. As Cooper and colleagues put it, the checklist asks mothers how often the child "attacks others, screams, sulks, is suspicious, teases, argues, bullies, is disobedient at school, is disobedient at home, destroys others' things, destroys own things, fights, threatens, and is unusually loud."

The rule-breaking subscale assesses whether a child, "prefers being with older children, runs away from home, sets fires, steals at home, steals outside of home, swears, hangs around with others who get in trouble, lies or cheats, and vandalizes."

In assessing "internalizing" problems, mothers are asked whether their child is "overly guilty, self-conscious, worried that no one loves them, worried they might think or do something bad, worried that they have to be perfect, and worried in general."

Attention problems include whether children "stare blankly, are confused, daydream, and act without thinking," while social problems include asking whether children "are not liked by other children, prefer being with younger children, get jealous easily, get teased a lot, and feel others are out to get them."

The results are striking. the rest


Parahawking is coming to the USA. These are a few shots of training a Harris's Hawk to fly with a paraglider.

Penn Hills church in Pittsburgh Anglican Diocese abandons its building

Thursday, September 01, 2011
Ann Rodgers
 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Another congregation in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh has decided to abandon its building, saying that it couldn't meet the financial or ecclesiastical demands that the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh made during negotiations for the property.

On Oct. 2 the 104 members of All Saints Church in Penn Hills will begin holding services in nearby Rosedale United Methodist Church.

"We are a poor church. We made the best offer we could possibly make, given our financial resources. Our offer was rejected out of hand," said the Rev. David Rucker, the rector of All Saints, in a statement released by the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

In addition to asking for more money than the parish could offer, he said, the Episcopal diocese wanted All Saints to disaffiliate from the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. the rest

As hurricane Katia picks up steam, potential tropical storm forming in Gulf

Hurricane forecasters now have two storms to watch: Hurricane Katia could be on its way to becoming a category 3 storm, while a storm system in the Gulf could organize into tropical storm Lee within 48 hours.
By Pete Spotts
September 1, 2011

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are moving into juggle mode as they track hurricane Katia in the Atlantic and a mass of storm clouds in the Gulf of Mexico that stands a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours.

This new system in the Gulf should encounter conditions Thursday that would strengthen it, forecasters say.

If that happens, the system could become a tropical depression within the next 24 hours, with the name Lee awaiting it if continues to strengthen to topical-storm status within the next two days. the rest

Taxpayers will foot big share of post-Irene flooding costs

US bishops’ lawyers accuse Obama Administration of ‘an unprecedented attack on religious liberty’

Wed Aug 31, 2011

( — The general counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to rescind its mandate forcing private insurance plans to cover contraception—including abortifacients—and sterilization, calling the mandate “unprecedented in federal law and more radical than any state contraceptive mandate.”

The USCCB also criticized the narrow “religious employer” exception to the mandate, explaining that it provides “no protection at all for individuals or insurers with a moral or religious objection to contraceptives or sterilization,” instead covering only “a very small subset of religious employers.”

In their August 31 comment to the HHS, Anthony Picarello, USCCB general counsel, and Michael Moses, associate general counsel, noted that the mandate to cover “all FDA-approved contraceptives” and “emergency contraceptives,” including at least one drug called Ella that can cause abortions, entails “nationwide government coercion of religious people and groups to sell, broker or purchases ‘services’ to which they have a moral or religious objection.” This represents “an unprecedented attack on religious liberty,” they wrote. the rest

New Christchurch cathedral to be built out of cardboard

A Japanese architect is to build a new cathedral in the city of Christchurch out of cardboard.
By Julian Ryall, Tokyo
22 Aug 2011

The original 1864 cathedral was badly damaged in a major earthquake on February 22, with the bell tower completely destroyed.

A second quake, in June, caused further damage, shattering stained glass panels.

The city has yet to decide on a long-term replacement for the landmark and has commissioned architect Shigeru Ban to create a structure that will be ready by the one-year anniversary of the earthquake and last until the Anglican cathedral can be restored to its original condition.
Tokyo-based Mr Ban has earned a reputation for his use of cardboard – because it is recyclable and surprisingly strong – for large buildings.  the rest

Defrocked Episcopal priest loses bid to retain Montco parish

Thu, Sep. 1, 2011
By David O'Reilly

A Episcopal priest defrocked by the local diocese must step down as rector of his Rosemont parish and vacate the premises after 21 years there, a Montgomery County Court judge has ruled.

The Rev. David Moyer, 60, said Wednesday that he was saddened by Judge Stanley Ott's decision but would abide by his order to leave the Church of the Good Shepherd. He said he hoped to become a Roman Catholic priest.

An outspoken critic of liberal trends in the Episcopal Church, Moyer was defrocked in 2002 by the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania after he agreed to become a bishop in a small, conservative Anglican denomination. the rest

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dutch probe uncovers hidden child porn sites in US

Aug 31, 2011

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- Dutch police have uncovered huge caches of child pornography on "hidden" websites, including four based in the United States, prosecutors announced Wednesday...

...There, they found some 220,000 child pornography photos and videos.

Four of the websites were housed on two servers based in the United States. Investigators managed to break into them and access the images as well as online chats that included identifying details of users of the sites. The details are being turned over to the FBI, prosecutors said. the rest

UK: More children being treated for sexually transmitted infections

Patrick A. Trueman, September 01, 2011
Ending child pornography is as much a matter of vigorously prosecuting those who distribute adult pornography as it is a matter of prosecuting child pornographers. Presidential candidates should pledge to initiate adult pornography criminal cases and fund research into the adult-child pornography link. 

Anglican Perspective: Clergy Leadership Training Institute

September 1, 2011

Clergy Leadership Training Institute

Top Pro-Abortion Activists to Headline Obama Fundraiser

by Steven Ertelt

Next month, some of the top pro-abortion activists will headline a fundraiser for the re-election campaign of pro-abortion President Barack Obama. The fundraiser is no surprise given the close relationships the president has maintained with them.

The fundraising will include First Lady Michelle Obama and, in her first appearance for Obama, pro-abortion activist Gloria Steinem. They will be joined at the fundraiser in New York City held at a Park Avenue location on September 20th along with Emily’s List president Stephanie Schriock and Cecile Richards (see left), the president of the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the pro-abortion congresswoman Obama recently installed as the chair of the national Democratic Party, will also be on hand for the event, which the Huntington Post reports will have tickets starting at $500 and going on up to $38,500. Wasserman Schultz and Steinem, along with the Emily’s List pro-abortion political action committee, supported Hillary Clinton over Obama during the 2008 Democratic primaries, but all three switched to Obama after Clinton lost to the former Illinois senator. the rest
The focus on women comes at a time when women are trending pro-life on the issue of abortion.

A Clergy Rebellion in Austria's Catholic Church

by Michael Frank
Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011

VIENNA — There is open rebellion among the clergy of Austria's Catholic Church. One highly placed man of the cloth has even warned about the risk of a coming schism as significant numbers of priests are refusing obedience to the Pope and bishops for the first time in memory.

The 300-plus supporters of the so-called Priests' Initiative have had enough of what they call the church's "delaying" tactics, and they are advocating pushing ahead with policies that openly defy current practices. These include letting nonordained people lead religious services and deliver sermons; making communion available to divorced people who have remarried; allowing women to become priests and to take on important positions in the hierarchy; and letting priests carry out pastoral functions even if, in defiance of church rules, they have a wife and family. the rest

Father slit throats of three daughters in 'honour killing'

...after they were raped by Gaddafi's troops
By Liz Hazelton
31st August 2011

A father slit the throat of his three teenage daughters in an ‘honour killing’ after they were raped by Gaddafi loyalists during the siege of the port city of Misrata.

Allegations of the shocking executions are contained in a report by the respected Physicians for Human Rights group into war crimes and atrocities in the embattled city, which faced two months of being cut off from the rest of Libya.

The father is said to have carried out the ‘honour killings’ because of his humiliation and shame at the rape of the sisters – aged 15, 17 and 18 – in Tomina, on the outskirts of Misrata. The victims were not named. the rest


By Julian Mann
Special to Virtueonline
August 30, 2100

Dr Muriel Porter's attack on Sydney Diocese is fundamentally anti-Anglican. That is manifest from her complaint about the Ministry Training Strategy which the Very Reverend Phillip Jensen, now Dean of St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney, set up in the late 1970s when he was a parochial incumbent.

In her book about the threat Sydney Diocese allegedly poses to world Anglicanism, an extract from which has just been published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Dr Porter complains that 'MTS has been the primary recruiting ground for all Sydney clergy, a pathway strengthened by Phillip Jensen's 2003 appointment as director of Ministry, Training and Development, the diocese's department for the training of clergy'.

In essence, Dr Porter is complaining that God has blessed a ministry training programme within an Anglican diocese that has sought to identify men and women with Bible teaching gifts, to support and nurture those individuals in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then to encourage them into full-time Christian service. the rest

...So Sydney performs weird ceremonies and dresses funny. I seem to recall things like that happening in another Anglican church but I can’t remember which one....

Judge strikes down most of Texas abortion law

Kris Alingod
August 31, 2011

A federal judge has struck down key portions of a law that was to take effect on Thursday in Texas. The measure, which opponents say interferes with the doctor-patient relationship, required mothers to view a sonogram and listen to the heartbeat of their unborn baby before an abortion.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks granted a preliminary injunction late Tuesday, deciding in favor of the Center for Reproductive Rights. The ruling means the law cannot take effect until the case is resolved.

Sparks ruled that doctors cannot be criminally charged if they do not comply with provisions requiring them to perform an ultrasound at least 24 hours before an abortion. If the woman lives more than 100 miles from the abortion clinic, she is allowed to have the sonogram at least two hours before the procedure. the rest

Kansas Ordered to Continue Making Quarterly Payments to Planned Parenthood

Hurricane Irene: Vermont horseback rider delivers medicine

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ROCKINGHAM, Vermont -- The Williams River flooded Route 103 in Rockingham, closing the road. This horseback rider rode through the flood water to deliver a bag of medicine, and then went back across. Here

NYT: Hurricane Cost Seen as Ranking Among Top Ten

New Flood Dangers as East Coast Reels From Irene

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Devotional: It is no small honour...

It is no small honour that God for our sake has so magnificently adorned the world, in order that we may not only be spectators of this beauteous theatre, but also enjoy the multiplied abundance and variety of good things which are presented to us in it. Our gratitude in yielding to God the praise which is his due, is regarded by him as a singular recompense. ...John Calvin image by Rennett Stowe

Singing a New Song or Rehashing Old Heresies?

Barton Gingerich
August 30, 2011

This past weekend, United Methodist advocates for liberalizing sexual ethics met at Sawmill Creek Resort in Ohio to discuss the furtherance of LGBTQ agendas within their denomination. The event claimed the moniker “Sing a New Song.” This phrase acted as the leitmotif of the entire conference schedule. Speakers prophesied not only new customs and policies; the conference hosts also envisaged a completely new way of theology and approach to life.

For doctrinal and Scriptural guidance, SANS participants looked to retired Bishop C. Joseph Sprague. What they actually received was a worn-out lesson in theological liberalism and even ancient heresies. A decade ago, Sprague publicly denied the eternal deity of Jesus Christ, asserting that Jesus became divine only gradually through his good works. His direct denial of Christian orthodoxy made him no stranger to IRD’s attentions. And it also provoked other bishops, especially Timothy Whitaker of Florida, publicly to dispute Sprague’s theology, a rarity among United Methodist prelates who prioritize collegiality. Sprague published his heterodox beliefs in a 2002 book, Affirmations of a Dissenter. He retired from his Chicago post in 2004, earlier than required, and expected to become a chaplain at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill. The resulting controversy effectively spiked his plans, and the once high profile bishop has been surprisingly quiet over the last seven years.

Now resurfaced, Sprague spoke in both a SANS workshop and evening plenary. He presented two main concerns: activism and theology. The former was nothing less than a radical Big Government program touching on nearly every hot-button political issue. Besides glorifying the LGBT cause, he praised pacifism and the Keynesian top-down approach to economics. Sprague exclaimed, “Make jobs, not war anymore!” Not only did he condemn “immoral preemptive strikes and attacks” and ancient just war theory that “contaminated the soul of this nation” but also “demeaning jobs” without benefits. Putting a hardened union boss to shame, Sprague derided difficult and menial jobs and called for “honorable work and decent wages.” This is all to give “the opportunity to catch up.” He continued to point out the means for this economic transformation, declaring “It is the responsibility of the government to provide such jobs…The private sector has proven…that it will not put the unemployed and underemployed to work.” For Sprague, the nation must solve a moral crisis, namely “the theological rupture of the American dream.” America’s economic woes can be mitigated by reenacting the 1930’s New Deal, with the bishop urging America to “establish a new WPA.” the rest

Father Schall on the Fragility of Islam

August 26, 2011
by David P. Goldman

Fr. James V. Schall S.J. remains at the age of 83 an indispensable voice in foreign policy, combining theological depth and strategic acuity. “The Fragility of Islam” is the subject of his latest pronouncement at the Catholic Thing blog. Western analysts tend to accept the narrative of Muslim triumphalism, the assertion that the strong faith of the Islamic world will overwhelm the temporizing and vacillating West. Not so, Fr. Schall argues: Islam itself is “as fragile as communism.” He writes:
The major change Islam looks to is not modernization or objective truth but, in a stable world, the submission to Allah of all men under a caliphate wherein no non-believers are found.

We still look back at communism, at least the non-oriental variety, with some astonishment in this regard. Almost no one thought it could “fall” without a major military encounter. That it disintegrated so quickly and so completely seems incomprehensible to anyone but a John Paul II. He understood its frailty, its failure to understand the human soul and its origins….

Religion or faith, even in Islam through Averroes, has been conceived as a myth designed to keep the people quiet. The scholars could quietly let the caliphs and the imams rule if the intelligentsia were left free to pursue philosophy, which was conceived to be anti-Koranic in the sense that the Koran did not hold up under scrutiny about its claims.
The fragility of Islam, as I see it, lies in a sudden realization of the ambiguity of the text of the Koran. Is it what it claims to be? Islam is weak militarily. It is strong in social cohesion, often using severe moral and physical sanctions. But the grounding and unity of its basic document are highly suspect. Once this becomes clear, Islam may be as fragile as communism.
the rest

Lesbian Priest Nominee on List to be Next Bishop of New York

By David W. Virtue
August 29, 2011

Tracey Lind, an avowed lesbian who serves as Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, is on the short list as a nominee to be the next Bishop of New York, replacing retiring Bishop Mark Sisk.

She was previously rector of St. Paul's, Paterson, New Jersey; the Associate Rector at Christ Church, Ridgewood, New Jersey; and the Director of Community Ministry, Bronx Youth Ministry, in the Diocese of New York. She is 57 years old and married to Emily Ingalls.

If nominated, she will be the third openly pansexual priest to become a bishop in The Episcopal Church. The other two are V. Gene Robinson, 64, Bishop of New Hampshire, and Mary Glasspool, 56, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles. the rest

Ottawa school board joins homosexual ‘pride’ parade

by Thaddeus Baklinski
Mon Aug 29, 2011

( - Over 100 teachers, principals and trustees from the Ottawa public school board joined about 1,600 homosexual marchers in this year’s “pride” parade held in the nation’s capital on Sunday.

The public school board also provided a yellow school bus decked out in rainbow flags that led the parade.

Ottawa-Carleton District school board (OCDSB) trustee Donna Blackburn, who represents the Barrhaven-Knoxdale-Merivale area and is openly lesbian, told the media she encouraged the board to publicly support the parade.

“After I was sworn in, I approached the director and the board of education about the idea of doing this, and they were very supportive, and for me it was just a natural progression of what the board’s been doing for many, many years, supporting gay, lesbian, transgendered and bisexual youth,” Blackburn told CTV News earlier this month.
 the rest
The school’s inclusion the parade appears to have touched a nerve with local parents. In the comments section under one CTV news report on the school’s participation, an overwhelming number of commenters decried what they said was the misuse of tax dollars, and the school board’s misguided promotion of the homosexual agenda.

Episcopal Church: Declining Numbers and the Anglican Ordinariate

As Episcopalians continue to leave a denomination sliding ever deeper into heresy, some are joining new Anglican jurisdictions. The Anglican Ordinariate in the Catholic Church may make the difference for many who are fleeing seeking safe refuge.
By Randy Sly
Catholic Online

WASHINGTON, DC - David Virtue of Virtue Online has been crunching numbers, trying to confirm claims of The Episcopal Church to having 2.3 million members. Virtue believes that many on the rolls are dead, have left the church or attend only a couple of times a year.

While membership is a valid statistic, the real question focuses upon how many people are actually attending services. What is the "average Sunday attendance (ASA)?"

The Episcopal Church (TEC) claims to have 6,825 parishes active in the United States. Of that number, Virtue's staff discovered that over 2, 000 of those parishes have a demographic with the majority at age 60 plus. In addition, more than 2,200 parishes (around one third) have an average Sunday attendance (ASA) of 40 people of less. Another 2,300 parishes are between 41 and 100 people.

Virtueonline Online reported the following:
- Churches with an ASA of 20 or less totaled 903.
- Churches with an ASA of 20 - 30 totaled 612.
- Churches with an ASA of 31 - 40 ASA totaled 704
- Churches with an ASA of 41 - 50 ASA totaled 552
- Churches with an ASA of 51 - 100 ASA totaled 1,826
- Churches with an ASA of 101- 200 ASA totaled 1,454
- Churches with an ASA of 201 - 500 ASA totaled 677

Such attendance figures beg the question of how long can these parishes survive? the rest

Hurricane Irene’s Birth, Death Seen From Space

Irene Flooding: Death Toll Rises to 40

Monday, August 29, 2011

Devotional: Lord, give me faith to live from day to day...

Lord, give me faith to live from day to day,
With tranquil heart to do my simple part,
And with my hand in Thine, just go Thy way.

Lord, give me faith to trust, if not to know;
With quiet mind in all things Thee to find,
And, child-like, go where Thou wouldst have me go.

Lord, give me faith to leave it all to Thee,
The future is Thy gift, I would not lift
The veil Thy Love has hung 'twixt it and me.
...John Oxenham image


(Mmmm, which one should I keep?)

Why do "reductions" of twin pregnancies trouble pro-choicers?
By William Saletan
Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011

What's worse than an abortion? Half an abortion.

It sounds like a bad joke. But it's real. According to Sunday's New York Times Magazine, demand is rising for "reduction" procedures in which a woman carrying twins keeps one and has the other aborted. Since twin pregnancies are generally safe, these abortions are largely elective.

Across the pro-choice blogosphere, including Slate, the article has provoked discomfort. RH Reality Check, a website dedicated to abortion rights, ran an item voicing qualms with one woman's reduction decision. Jezebel, another pro-choice site, acknowledged the "complicated ethics" of reduction. Frances Kissling, a longtime reproductive rights leader, wrote a Washington Post essay asking whether women should forgo fertility treatment rather than risk a twin pregnancy they'd end up half-aborting.  the rest
This bifurcated mindset permeates pro-choice thinking. Embryos fertilized for procreation are embryos; embryos cloned for research are "activated eggs." A fetus you want is a baby; a fetus you don't want is a pregnancy. Under federal law, anyone who injures or kills a "child in utero" during a violent crime gets the same punishment as if he had injured or killed "the unborn child's mother," but no such penalty applies to "an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman … has been obtained."

The Transhumanism Trap: Using Technology to Perfect the Human Race

by Rebecca Taylor
The Transhumanism Trap is out there. I am seeing it more and more often.

If you do not know what transhumanism is let alone know that it has a logical trap into which the average person is likely to fall, don’t worry. Most people don’t. Transhumanism is a movement that wants to use technology to go beyond curing or preventing disease or disability.

Transhumanists hunger for technology that will take an otherwise healthy individual and enhance him or her beyond normal human ability. Transhumanism seeks not just to cure disease but to change the very nature of man. To make him more than human, even immortal, with whatever means are available, whether it is with nanotechnology, artificial limbs, artificial intelligence, or genetic enhancement. Transhumanism is a insidious philosophy because it rejects the nature of humanity and our natural limitations. Rejecting the nature of man, it also rejects the inherent dignity of every human person in the process.

In their imagined technological utopia, transhumanists often turn a blind eye to the medical realities of enhancement, genetic, pharmaceutical or otherwise and the possibility that without proper ethical guidance we may no longer control technology. Instead it may control us. You may think that transhumanism is just a fringe ideology but they have journals, societies and even conferencesthe rest image

Norway: Christian Convert Attacked With Boiling Water By Muslim Asylum Seekers

29 August 2011

..who later attacked him with acid, for non-compliance with Ramadan. Five Christians vs. 150 Muslims – Just the kind of odds RoP adherents like: A an ex-Muslim Convert to Christianity was attacked with boiling water and acid by Muslims at an ‘asylum reception centre’ in Norway on Friday.

"Ali” (Not his real name), an Asylum seeker in an immigration centre in Jaeren, Norway, had boiling water poured over him after he converted to Christianity and would not comply with Ramadan fasting rules. He and the other converts at the centre now fear for their lives.  the rest

The Slow Disappearance of the American Working Man

by Mike Dorning
Thursday, August 25, 2011

A smaller share of men have jobs today than at any time since World War II

As President Barack Obama puts together a new jobs plan to be revealed shortly after Labor Day, he is up against a powerful force, long in the making, that has gone virtually unnoticed in the debate over how to put people back to work: Employers are increasingly giving up on the American man.

If that sounds bleak, it's because it is. The portion of men who work and their median wages have been eroding since the early 1970s. For decades the impact of this fact was softened in many families by the increasing number of women who went to work and took up the slack. More recently, the housing bubble helped to mask it by boosting the male-dominated construction trades, which employed millions. When real estate ultimately crashed, so did the prospects for many men. The portion of men holding a job—any job, full- or part-time—fell to 63.5 percent in July—hovering stubbornly near the low point of 63.3 percent it reached in December 2009. These are the lowest numbers in statistics going back to 1948. Among the critical category of prime working-age men between 25 and 54, only 81.2 percent held jobs, a barely noticeable improvement from its low point last year—and still well below the depths of the 1982-83 recession, when employment among prime-age men never dropped below 85 percent. To put those numbers in perspective, consider that in 1969, 95 percent of men in their prime working years had a job. the rest image
Men who do have jobs are getting paid less. After accounting for inflation, median wages for men between 30 and 50 dropped 27 percent—to $33,000 a year— from 1969 to 2009, according to an analysis by Michael Greenstone, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor who was chief economist for Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. "That takes men and puts them back at their earnings capacity of the 1950s," Greenstone says. "That has staggering implications."

Hundreds of viewers complain to BBC over 'pointless' gay scenes in Torchwood

29th August 2011

The BBC has been inundated with complaints about explicit homosexual love scenes in its blockbuster sci-fi drama Torchwood.

More than 500 viewers complained directly to the broadcaster about ‘soft porn’ scenes in Thursday’s episode, which they said were ‘pointless’, irrelevant to the plot and out of place in a sci-fi show.

Dozens of fans vented their fury online and several have vowed to boycott the BBC1 show. the rest

President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation

by Steven Ertelt
Washington, DC
August 28, 2011

 ( — The following is a compilation of bill signings, speeches, appointments and other actions that President Barack Obama has engaged in that have promoted abortion before and during his presidency.

While Obama has promised to reduce abortions and some of his supporters believe that will happen, this long list proves his only agenda is promoting more abortions.

During the presidential election, Obama selected pro-abortion Sen. Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate. Here-timeline

How to keep the internet from driving you crazy

 Tips for Keeping Your Sanity with an Internet Connection

I know you want to know-great reminders!

(Eg: Remember that 99.9999999% of the world doesn’t care)

Air Swimmers-Cool, I want one!

Hurricane Irene Leaves Trail of Damage Far Inland

Mammoth, Slow-Moving Storm Leaves a Sprawling Trail of Destruction
AUGUST 29, 2011

Residents along the Eastern seaboard faced a massive clean-up effort Monday after Hurricane Irene pounded tens of millions of Americans with wind, rain and floods.

The huge size and slow journey of the storm along 1,100 miles of U.S. coastline left an extraordinarily broad impact. At least 24 deaths were attributed to Irene as devastation ranged from North Carolina to Vermont. Toppled trees, fallen debris and flooding caused hundreds of roads to be closed over the weekend. Up and down the coast, some 2.4 million people evacuated.

In New Jersey, the ocean surge and rainfall caused severe inland flooding. Gov. Chris Christie said damages there would total at least $1 billion and could reach "tens of billions of dollars." Virginia's governor called the blackout in his state its second-largest ever and warned that electricity might not be restored for a week. the rest
image by Daniel Berg

Irene Crosses Into Canada; Cleanup to Take Weeks

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Devotional: If I have the eyes of faith...

If I have the eyes of faith, I will look for the action of the Holy Spirit in every event which stirs a positive or negative reaction in me. I will ask how God is trying to move my life through this event. Perhaps the event will stir me to gratitude, perhaps even to yearn for a fuller union with God in heaven. Or perhaps it will show me my own impatience, my own willingness to judge others, my cowardice, my own twisted love of material things. Here I will find a call to repent and to detach myself from the idolatry which gives rise to such behavior. Or perhaps, I will be surprised by my own generosity in a situation when I am often not so generous. Then, I may have some consolation in knowing that not all is lost, that the Spirit does move through me.
...Glen Argan image by Nishanth Jois

Bloomberg Tells Ramadan Audience: "We Are All… Muslims"

August 25th, 2010  

Bloomberg ended his talk by quoting some words from the embattled Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf:
At an interfaith memorial service for the martyred journalist Daniel Pearl, Imam Rauf said, ‘If to be a Jew means to say with all one's heart, mind, and soul: Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ehad; Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one. If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I have always been one.'

“In that spirit," Bloomberg concluded, in words that echoed John F. Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, "let me declare that we in New York are Jews and Christians and Muslims, and we always have been. And above all of that, we are Americans, each with an equal right to worship and pray where we choose. There is nowhere in the five boroughs that is off limits to any religion."  the rest

No One Dies Alone

Saturday, August 27, 2011
Wesley J. Smith

How refreshing. The media so often focus on doctor-prescribed death advocates and social outlaws like Kevorkian, that people who do really good, compassionate, and important work with people who are dying rarely receive their due. That is why I am very happy to see a front page SF Chronicle story today on hospice volunteers, particularly those who give their time and love to the “No One Dies Alone” program. From “A Friend Until the End (pay wall up until Monday):
The No One Dies Alone program started in Eugene, Ore., more than a decade ago, and has slowly spread to other hospitals around the country. The Kaiser Santa Clara program started in March 2010 after Donnelly and Becker heard about a similar program at Stanford Hospital. In each place, the impetus is the same: someone in the hospital — a nurse, a volunteer, a clergyperson — notices a patient on his deathbed, with no friends or family, alone in the chaos of hospital life. “If someone is dying, and they want someone to be with them, to hold their hand, that just seems like a good thing to do,” said Susan Scott, coordinator of the Stanford program, which began three years ago.

The programs are volunteer- based, although at both Kaiser and Stanford, hospital employees make up a good portion of the volunteers. While there is definitely a spiritual element to the programs, they aren’t religion based. Volunteers undergo hours of training before they’re allowed to be with a patient. They’re told what to expect when a person is dying — how his breathing might change, how his hands and feet might grow cold. And they’re taught how to sit quietly and just be a supportive presence. Volunteers aren’t there to just sit in a chair and occupy space — they’re not supposed to knit or send text messages or read to themselves to pass the time, Becker said. They’re focused on the patient.
What a grand thing. People matter until the end–and past the end. Kudos to the volunteers and administrators of No One Dies Alone. And applause to the San Francisco Chronicle for focusing on those who give their love so selflessly to people they don’t even know.  Here image