Friday, October 07, 2011

Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet

By Noah Shachtman
October 7, 2011

A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.

The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system.

“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told Danger Room about the virus. “We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.” the rest

Lily's Disneyland Surprise!

Just awfully cute!

A.S Haley: Clearing up Misconceptions about South Carolina

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reading articles and comments about what is going on between ECUSA and its Diocese of South Carolina, I find a level of misunderstanding which is preventing clear communication. Let me try to clear up at least a few points by using a Q and A format.

Q Exactly who sent to Bishop Lawrence the documents published on South Carolina's website which accuse him of "abandonment of Communion"?
A The cover letter for the documents has not been published. However, we know from Bishop Lawrence's letter to his Diocese that the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, President of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, sent the documents to him, to inform him that charges considered "serious" had been lodged against him under the newly adopted Title IV disciplinary canons.

Q And who sent the charges to the Disciplinary Board?
A No one is admitting to having done so, but from their nature, two things appear: 1) they come from disaffected Episcopalians in the Diocese itself, and 2) many of the charges are identical to the ones about which a group calling itself "The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina" (for more information, see this earlier post) complained in a letter they sent last September to the Church's Executive Council and its House of Bishops.

Much more here...

Fr. Dale Matson: Rowan Williams And The Possible Deposition Of Bishop Lawrence

Title IV In Action

The Anglican Communion Institute
Thursday, October 6th, 2011

The Reverend Canon Professor Christopher Seitz
The Reverend Dr. Philip Turner
The Reverend Dr. Ephraim Radner
Mark McCall, Esq.

ACI has long been concerned about the provisions of the new Title IV. We first raised our concerns about the constitutionality of the new canons in a memorandum circulated privately two years ago. This eventually made its way to those responsible for drafting and implementing the new canon, who later replied—unsatisfactorily from our perspective. Later, in September 2010 we began publishing a series of articles by Alan Runyan and Mark McCall addressing Title IV issues more comprehensively. The first of these “Title IV Revisions Unmasked” outlined the scope of the due process and constitutional problems presented by the new disciplinary canon. The second, “Title IV Unmasked: Reply to Our Critics,” focused primarily on the constitutional issues related to the unprecedented expansion of the authority of the Presiding Bishop. The third, “Title IV and the Constitution: Dioceses’ Exclusive Authority for Clergy Discipline,” demonstrated conclusively that clergy discipline is a matter committed exclusively to the dioceses. Messrs. Runyan and McCall also summarized these concerns when they were interviewed by a group of bishops and members of the Presiding Bishop’s staff as part of an investigation conducted by the House of Bishops.

The new title became effective on July 1, 2011, and already has been invoked in two proceedings against bishops of the Church. Given our past concerns, it is appropriate to take initial stock of the new canons as applied. Our succinct summary: it is even worse than we expected. We address three issues below: (1) what procedures are followed in initiating proceedings against bishops; (2) what standards are applied when restricting the ministry of bishops before trial; (3) what standards are applied in evaluating allegations before deciding to proceed with an investigation. the rest

Muslims in Spain Declare Jihad on Dogs

by Soeren Kern
October 6, 2011

Spanish authorities are investigating the recent deaths by poisoning of more than a dozen dogs in Lérida, a city in the northeastern region of Catalonia that has become ground zero in an intensifying debate over the role of Islam in Spain.

All of the dogs were poisoned in September (local media reports here, here, here, here and here) in Lérida's working class neighbourhoods of Cappont and La Bordeta, districts that are heavily populated by Muslim immigrants and where many dogs have been killed in recent years.

Local residents say Muslim immigrants killed the dogs because according to Islamic teaching dogs are "unclean" animals.

Over the past several months, residents taking their dogs for walks have been harassed by Muslim immigrants opposed to seeing the animals in public. Muslims have also launched a number of anti-dog campaigns on Islamic websites and blogs based in Spain. the rest

Warning over France's Islamic suburbs which are becoming 'separate communities in a divided nation'

Nearly Half of U.S. Lives in Household Receiving Government Benefit

October 5, 2011
By Sara Murray

Families were more dependent on government programs than ever last year.

Nearly half, 48.5%, of the population lived in a household that received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to Census data. Those numbers have risen since the middle of the recession when 44.4% lived households receiving benefits in the third quarter of 2008.

The share of people relying on government benefits has reached a historic high, in large part from the deep recession and meager recovery, but also because of the expansion of government programs over the years. (See a timeline on the history of government benefits programs here.) the rest

The end of tolerance

The illusion that moral diversity is a viable social strategy is at its last gasp.
Zac Alstin
Friday, 7 October 2011

Same-sex marriage advocates are seeking not merely the legal and financial rights that go with the institution of marriage, but the social affirmation that marriage promises. To put it another way, some same-sex marriage advocates have argued that the existing marriage laws are inherently discriminatory and promote homophobia within the broader community.

Either way, we are well beyond the point of “tolerance”. The examples from Britain show that our society is beginning to embrace the ethical implications of its official stance on issues such as sexual orientation. The High Court rejection of the Christian foster-carer’s appeal, the anti-discrimination laws’ interference in the operation of Catholic adoption agencies, and now the first hints of similar action with regard to same-sex marriage, show a growing appetite for public ethical engagement in hitherto private matters. If religious organisations are forced to choose between their moral teachings on same-sex marriage and their legal right to perform marriage at all, then we will for the first time in many years face a genuine public confrontation between competing ethical theories, without the soothing refrains of tolerance and individual freedom.

In short, some of those who once called for tolerance and individual freedom have adjusted to the success of their programme and decided to shift the boundaries. But their new goal cannot be achieved by appealing to tolerance, freedom, or even diversity because they now seek to impose their own implicit moral system upon the whole of society.

Attacks on the legitimacy of religious institutions in areas of marriage and adoption correspond to increasing pressure to override the right to conscientious objection for doctors and other healthcare professionals. This new appetite for moral coercion signals the end of tolerance, the end of a pretence that we could “live and let live” without reaching binding moral conclusions.

What was once illicit became tolerable; now the merely tolerable has been normalised. But, as tolerance comes to an end, so will the illusion that moral diversity is truly a viable long-term strategy for a society. We might begin again to ask in earnest what is good and evil in human life.
the rest

If you have an iPhone or an iPad or an can thank Joanne Schieble

October 1, 2011
by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you have an iPhone or an iPad or an iPod, or anything remotely resembling them, you can thank Steve Jobs.

If your world has been transformed by the ability to hear a symphony, send a letter, pay a bill, deposit a check, read a book and then buy theater tickets on something roughly the size of a credit card…you can thank Steve Jobs.

And: you can thank Joanne Schiebel.

If you want to know how much one life can matter, there is just one example.

But: imagine if that life had never happened.

Imagine if an unmarried pregnant college student 56 years ago had made a different choice.

Now, imagine all the unmarried pregnant college students who make that different choice today.

By one measure, more than half of all abortions in the United States – 53% — occur in young women under the age of 25. That is hundreds of thousands of lives every year, snuffed out. Millions over the last quarter century.

The horrifying truth is this: we live now in a culture that not only does not respect life, but discards it like trash — not only at the beginning of life, but also at the end, and every place in between.

What has happened to us?   the rest-Excellent-do not miss this!

10 ways Steve Jobs changed the world

Twenty-First Century Excommunication

Formerly Good Shepherd in Binghamton

You're not Anglican, says the Episcopal Church to congregations that split over its liberal doctrinal and political stances.
OCTOBER 7, 2011

 When the Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, N.Y., left the Episcopal Church over disagreements about what the Bible says about sexuality, the congregation offered to pay for the building in which it worshiped. In return the Episcopal Church sued to seize the building, then sold it for a fraction of the price to someone who turned it into a mosque.

The congregation is one of hundreds that split or altogether left the Episcopal Church—a member of the Anglican Communion found mostly in the United States—after a decades-long dispute over adherence to scripture erupted with the consecration of a partnered gay bishop in 2003. But negotiating who gets church buildings hasn't been easy. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she'd rather have these properties become Baptist churches or even saloons than continue as sanctuaries for fellow Anglicans.

The Episcopalian congregations that want to break away are part of a larger movement of Anglicans world-wide who are concerned by the liberalism of the official New York-based Episcopal Church on sexuality and certain basic tenets such as Jesus' resurrection. Of the 38 provinces in the global Anglican Communion, 22 have declared themselves in "broken" or "impaired" fellowship with the more liberal American church.

In 2009, breakaway Episcopalians in the U.S. and Canada formed the Anglican Church in North America, which now reports 100,000 members in nearly 1,000 congregations. This group has been formally recognized by some Anglican primates outside of the United States.

Bishop Jefferts Schori says this new Anglican group is encroaching on her church's jurisdiction, and she has authorized dozens of lawsuits "to protect the assets of the Episcopal Church for the mission of the Episcopal Church." The Episcopal Church has dedicated $22 million to legal actions against departing clergy, congregations and dioceses, according to Allan Haley, a canon lawyer who has represented a diocese in one such case.

Now the Episcopal Church has upped the ante: It has declared that if congregations break away and buy their sanctuaries, they must disaffiliate from any group that professes to be Anglican. the rest

"It's unconscionable for a Christian to impose such a condition on a fellow Christian, telling them who they can and can't worship with and who they can and can't affiliate with. That violates every Christian precept I know of," said Mr. Haley, citing St. Paul's admonition against Christians suing each other in secular courts.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Remembering my Father-in-law: Raymond E. Dague 1919-2011

Today, my husband's father, also named Raymond, died at 92 years of age.   Raymond has been in Milwaukee since Tuesday when he heard his father was near death, but will be coming home today.  The funeral will be sometime next week. -PD image

October 6, 2011

When I first met my future husband’s dad, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I had heard about him from my then boyfriend, his son, but coming from a lower middle class working family and knowing that he was a big corporate executive (an international vice-president of Allis Chalmers) I had some trepidation. Raymond would talk of his dad’s travels to many countries in the world and his meetings with high government officials. I had thought I was somewhat cosmopolitan in the fact that I had traveled to the Daytona and Virginia beaches and even to York, Maine, but that concept was dashed when I realized how my travels paled in comparison to his experiences.

Raymond Sr. was kind and gentle to this shy young woman who would be his future daughter-in-law, but I could see that he was a strong, dynamic personality and the type to be in charge of things. He was a self-made man, and he had pride in the fact that despite coming from an extremely poor upbringing in Port Kent on Lake Champlain, he had worked hard, eventually putting himself through Cornell Ag School. He married his wife Ruth on Thanksgiving Day 1951 and started a family that grew to four children, Raymond being the firstborn, then Ron, Larry and Sue. You could say he loved his work, but he loved his family even more. His concern for them was paramount above all things. I personally have never heard a disrespectful comment about his wife or his children and as no family is without problems, this was a remarkable thing to me.

In his spare time, he was an avid fisherman and took great pleasure in this activity and in taking care of his boat. He also loved his garden and yard work. These were his escapes from the pressures of life. When the time came, he eased fairly well into retirement, and except for the last few years when the feebleness of extreme old age and no little measure of infirmity had overtaken him, I would say he did go into that good night with a goodly measure of grace.

He was a great storyteller and loved to tell of his life experiences. (As his son Raymond would say-I’ve heard that one many times before.) One story-actually more of a commentary-which I remember most was this: he would say life is like a park bench. You start at one end of the bench when you are born and as you grow older you move toward the other end of the bench and eventually fall off giving way to the next generation. It was his pragmatic way of reminding us of the mortality that comes to us all.

I cannot speak with certainty of anyone’s faith journey, but it was important to him to be at Mass every Sunday and he was always reverential about the things of God. While I know that we do not earn our salvation by doing what is right, but by trusting in what Jesus has done for us, many in his generation did not so much talk of their faith, but demonstrated their belief by walking in integrity as much as possible in this mortal life. He did just that. In his later years, he and my husband would have many a conversation about God, which told me of his interest in these things. What I am certain of is that we can entrust him to the mercy of a loving Father Who created him and Who alone knows his heart.

Dad D.-I am honored to have known you and to have had you as my father-in-law.

Love, Pat

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Apple's Steve Jobs Is Dead

OCTOBER 5, 2011

Steven P. Jobs, the Apple Inc. chairman and co-founder who pioneered the personal computer industry and changed the way people think about technology, died Wednesday.

"Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives," Apple said in a statement. "The world is immeasurably better because of Steve."

His family, in a separate statement, said Mr. Jobs "died peacefully today surrounded by his family...We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief."

During his more than three decade-long career, Mr. Jobs transformed Silicon Valley as he helped turn the once sleepy expanse of fruit orchards into the technology industry's innovation center. In addition to laying the groundwork for the modern high-tech industry alongside other pioneers like Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison, Mr. Jobs proved the appeal of well-designed intuitive products over the sheer power of technology itself and shifted the way consumers interact with technology in an increasingly digital world. the rest image

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

A.S. Haley: Episcopal Church Foments Strife and Civil War

October 5, 2011
This unwelcome (but not unexpected) news was received early this morning, as we were on our way to a well-earned vacation. As a result, I shall have only limited opportunity to comment about it until my return next week.

However, regular readers of this blog should be well prepared to assess the significance of the news, in light of all the background posts about the events leading to the current situation in South Carolina, about the Constitutional crisis provoked by the arrogation of unprecedented and unconstitutional disciplinary powers by the Presiding Bishop, and about the progressive trend to abuse the Abandonment Canons for political and personal endsthe rest

A Response to the reported Title IV disciplinary process begun against Bishop Mark Lawrence

Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner
October 5th, 2011

The recently announced disciplinary process against Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina is deeply disturbing on at least two fronts. First, it sullies the Gospel and the Lord of the Gospel; second, it promises to do serious damage to The Episcopal Church (TEC).

In the first place, the allegations against Bishop Lawrence, and the claim that they may amount to “abandonment” of TEC are so absurd as to cross the line into deceit and malice. The fact that these allegations are being made and taken seriously by the leadership of TEC in itself constitutes an affront to the commitments for which a Christian church stands – honesty, charity, care for the witness of the Church’s unity.

The main charge stems from Bishop Lawrence’s insistence on asserting the “sovereign” character of a diocese – any diocese, but obviously including his own – in relationship to the teaching and discipline of the church. Since Bishop Lawrence has repeatedly stated that the Diocese of South Carolina is remaining a member of TEC and is committed to doing so, this insistence as enacted through various diocesan resolutions, represents an interpretation of TEC’s polity, and of his own diocese’s in relation to it. This interpretation, it needs to be said, is one that is grounded in well-known, traditional, and publicly argued historical and legal claims, that have yet to be adjudicated in any final way by any court. And the interpretation of diocesan sovereignty is in fact held by many faithful members of TEC (the present writer included). Historians, theologians, and canon lawyers disagree about these matters and these disagreements are serious and bound to substantive documentary, not to mention theological, matters. It is morally repugnant to imagine Bishop Lawrence being disciplined, let alone deposed, because he has vigorously upheld one side of an unresolved internal historical argument among Episcopalians. The disciplinary procedure on this front not only smacks of, but is clearly reflective of coercive intolerance, once associated with the worst of America’s McCarthy era.

Attached to this major issue, the allegations also include a collection of smaller accusations – who Bishop Lawrence talked to, who he has associated with, who has mentioned him in their newsletters, criticisms he has made about TEC’s more general policies and doctrinal drift, the fact that he has not engaged in legal battles with a departing congregation, etc.. All of these are meant to show that Bishop Lawrence is in fact a crypto-schismatic, because he has had friendly, or at least non-adversarial relationships with members of ACNA and AMiA. Many of these small accusations are in fact reports or quotations taken out of context, and therefore deliberately distorted in their implications from the start. But more important: why would a Christian leader not have friendly and non-adversarial relations with other Christians especially those who have once been Episcopalians? Would that all of us engaged in relationships of charity and welcome! To put in motion a process of deposition over this kind of behavior is, by implication, to put on trial the very commandments of Jesus Christ. God forbid! the rest
I personally stand beside Bishop Lawrence and the people of South Carolina. If he has abandoned TEC, then it must mean that I have as well. Will you drive all of us out, Bishop Jefferts Schori?

Cut U.S. Funding to UN’s Population Fund

By Richard Land
Oct 3, 2011

The SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is on the record with strong support for H.R. 2059, legislation to prohibit funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

This bill would ensure that taxpayers are no longer forced to fund this agency, which known for its involvement with China’s one-child policy and forced sterilization. I have personally encouraged Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, to support this bill as it stands, without any weakening amendments during the committee markup scheduled for Wednesday, October 5.

Since 1985, a policy known as the Kemp-Kasten Amendment has been included in every foreign aid appropriations bill, specifying that funds may not be “made available to any organization or program which, as determined by the President of the United States, supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.” Citing Kemp-Kasten, previous presidential administrations withheld U.S. funding to the UNFPA for Fiscal Years 1986-1993, 1999, and 2002-2008, due to the agency’s involvement with China’s coercive population control program. the rest
Regrettably, the Obama administration restarted U.S. contributions to the UNFPA in 2009, appropriating $145 million to the agency during Fiscal Years 2009-11, even as the UNFPA continues to support China’s coercive family planning policy. Such funding must not continue.

No Same-Sex Weddings at West Point's Catholic Chapel, Says Military Archdiocese

By Pete Winn
October 3, 2011

( – Will same-sex marriage ceremonies be allowed at the Catholic Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point?

“The answer is ‘no,’” said Taylor Henry, director of public affairs and media relations for the Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and spokesman for Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who certifies all Catholic chaplains for the armed services. the rest

South Carolina Bishop and Standing Committee Respond to Actions of Executive Council

October 3, 2011

On August 26, the Diocese received correspondence from the Secretary of Executive Council of The Episcopal Church that copied us, belatedly, on their correspondence with a third party. The correspondence informed us of actions taken by a Committee of the Executive Council regarding resolutions taken by the Diocese of South Carolina. The assertion was made there that those resolutions of our Convention “have no force or effect.”

The response of the Bishop and Standing Committee to those actions, along with the original correspondence from Executive Council, can be found here.
(I just can't help using this illustration. We know who ultimately wins, but there is the battle! Much prayer needed!-PD)

Posted October 5th:
 Urgent Message from the Diocese of South Carolina Bishop and Standing Committee

Comments at Stand Firm

Bp. Mark Lawrence: “Who are these birds that can sing in the dark?”  You will be blessed by this!

National Cathedral will open doors -- and ask for $25 million

October 4, 2011

Nov. 12 will be a big day for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The cathedral will not only open its doors for the first time since an earthquake damaged the landmark, it will be kicking a $25-million donation campaign into high gear.

Felt from North Carolina to Boston, the 5.8 earthquake on Aug. 23 knocked down parts of the English Gothic cathedral's four pinnacles, gargoyles and other ornamental fixtures around the perimeter. Additional damage followed on Sept. 7, when a crane working on the south side of the cathedral to stabilize debris fell against another facility, the Herb Cottage.

“We’re going to need the support of people across the country,” said Richard Weinberg, a spokesman for the cathedral. “We’ll be appealing to the National Cathedral Assn. [the Cathedral’s nonprofit fundraising foundation], who were responsible for building the cathedral in the first place, but we also want to reach new people who have heard about the earthquake coverage. The cathedral does serve as the spiritual home of the nation.” the rest

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Devotional: May the fiery and sweet strength of Thy love...

May the fiery and sweet strength of Thy love,
 I pray Thee, O my Lord, absorb my soul, and make all things under heaven as nothing unto me, that for the love of Thy love I may die, as Thou didst deign to die for love of mine. Amen.
...St. Francis of Assisi image

Legislating the Constitution Down

Oct 4, 2011
Elizabeth Scalia

This is how America will fade away, not with bursting bombs or tidal waves, but with legislators and courts reshaping the notion of rights and entitlements until they become difficult to tell apart, and then deciding who gets to be who they are, and who must change or be ostracized. “Live and let live” which is a dandy and peaceable philosophy acknowledging differences of opinion and perspective, is being supplanted by “think one way, or else.”

Look, if the government desires to provide women with free contraception and sterilization, it is quite free to codify that dubious benefit under existing medical programs, without mandating participation by any entity at all. Likewise, any legislation concerning any “entitlement” can be written with built-in protections and exemptions for religious service-providers. That so many politicians choose not to include such stated protections—or to write them so narrowly that they are easily unraveled—says a great deal about their commitment to the Bill of Rights, and it portends poorly for our constitutional future.

It seems that believers—particularly Catholics, Evangelical Christians and the Eastern Orthodox—are entitled to enjoy their freedom of religion, but only so far as advancing policies will allow. Thus is a precedent set that may chip away at one right after another—the right to freely assemble; the right to arm oneself; the right to speak one’s mind. the rest image

Sellouts help 'Courageous' shock Hollywood

Oct 3, 2011
by Michael Foust

 (BP) -- Thanks to sold-out theaters from coast to coast, Sherwood Baptist Church once again shocked Hollywood over the weekend when its latest film "Courageous" finished No. 4 in total gross, No. 1 among new movies and No. 1 in per-theater average, nearly doubling most of the competition in that category.

Its $9,063,147 ended up fourth behind "Dolphin Tale," Moneyball" and "The Lion King 3D." But all three of those other films -- and every other film in the Top 10 -- played in at least 2,300 theaters, significantly more than Courageous, which opened in only 1,161 theaters and still beat three new films with much bigger budgets and far more screens -- "50/50," "Dream House" and "What's Your Number?" While Courageous' production budget was $1 million, the average budget of the other films in the Top 10 was $41 million.

Courageous' per-theater average of $7,806 blew out the competition, with The Lion King 3D's $4,537 coming in second. Courageous follows the story of five men -- four of them police officers -- as they seek to become better fathers. the rest

More than 1 million people saw it on opening weekend.

Report on Medicare Cites Prescription Drug Abuse

October 3, 2011

WASHINGTON — Medicare is subsidizing drug abuse by thousands of beneficiaries who shop around for doctors and fill prescriptions for huge quantities of painkillers and other narcotics far exceeding what any patient could safely use, Congressional investigators say in a new report.

The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said Medicare officials had been slow to recognize and act on the evidence of abuse, which is to be presented at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

“Our analysis found that about 170,000 Medicare beneficiaries received prescriptions from five or more medical practitioners” for 14 types of drugs that are frequently abused, said Gregory D. Kutz, director of forensic audits and special investigations at the accounting office. the rest

UK: New passports to appease homosexual lobby

October 3rd, 2011

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has announced that it will make changes to its passport application form in response to pressure from homosexual activists.

The new form, to be introduced by December this year, will carry the option of ‘parent 1’ and ‘parent 2’ in addition to ‘mother’ and ‘father’ after claims were made that the current format is “discriminatory” and fails to include homosexual couples who look after a child.

The IPS acknowledged that the changes were made after intervention from the homosexual rights group Stonewall. A Home Office ‘Diversity Strategy’ document states: “IPS is working with Stonewall in response to an issue about having to name a ‘mother’ and ‘father’ on the passport application form.” the rest

India ‘two-child policy’ state bill to target large families, religious leaders

by Peter Baklinski
Sat Oct 01, 2011

 ( – Religious leaders in the Indian state of Kerala are fighting a bill proposed by the government that would crack down on families with more than two offspring, as well as ban religious leaders from encouraging families to have more children.

The draft bill includes fines of up to 10,000 rupees ($203 USD) or three months’ jail time for parents that have more than two children. A third child will not be be eligible for services from the government.

Kerala Women’s Code Bill, which purports to support the welfare of mothers and children, encourages access to “free and healthy” abortion at government facilities, in the words of local reports, and access to “free and medically safe” contraceptives.

In addition, the Times of India reports that the bill would also bar religious leaders from encouraging parents to welcome more children. the rest

Infanticide: The Deadly Logic of Abortion in Court

Sun, Oct. 02 2011
By Chuck Colson

In April 2005, Katrina Effert, age nineteen, secretly gave birth to a baby boy in the downstairs bathroom. She then strangled the child, wrapped him in towels, and dropped him over the backyard fence behind a neighbor’s shed.

After repeatedly lying to police and trying to pin the crime on a man she hooked up with nine months earlier, Effert finally confessed to killing the child, whom she named Rodney.

In 2006 and again in 2009 juries convicted her of second-degree murder with a minimum of ten years in prison. In September, the same judge who presided over Effert’s trial in 2009 changed the conviction to infanticide and sentenced her to a three-year suspended sentence with probation.  the rest
Commentator Mark Steyn correctly states that the judge is, in essence, justifying “fourth-trimester abortion.” He goes on: “So a superior court judge in a relatively civilized jurisdiction is happy to extend the principles underlying legalized abortion in order to mitigate the killing of a legal person - that’s to say, someone who has managed to make it to the post-fetal stage.”

Growing Numbers of Britons Claim 'No Religion'

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A survey of more than 400,000 people by the Office for National Statistics found the proportion who said they were not religious rose from 20.5% in 2010 to 23.2% this year.

In particular, the study found that there had been a significant fall in the numbers describing themselves as Christian, from 71.3% last year to 68.5% by March 2011, when asked the question, "What is your religion, even if you are not currently practising?"

Across the country, the figures would suggest that an estimated 14 million people in Great Britain, out of a population of more than 60 million, have no religious beliefs at all. the rest

Hard-line Muslims in Egypt Attack Coptic Church, Homes

Throng of 3,000, including Salafists, burn Christian-owned houses, businesses.
CAIRO, Egypt
September 30, 2011

(CDN) — A group of hard-line Muslims attacked a church building in Upper Egypt this afternoon, torching the structure and then looting and burning nearby Christian-owned homes and businesses.

The 3,000-strong mob of hard-line and Salafi Muslims gutted the Mar Gerges Church in the Elmarenab village of Aswan, then demolished much of its remains, multiple witnesses at the scene said. The mob also razed four homes near the church and two businesses, all Christian-owned. Looting was also reported. the rest

Islam’s History of Forced Conversions

Australia: Church will cancel registration to celebrate legal marriages

Friday, 30 September 2011

The Catholic Church will cancel registration to conduct legal marriages if hand forced on same-sex unions, says Perth's Archbishop Hickey. If the state forced the Perth archdiocese to officiate at same-sex unions, the archdiocese would cancel its registration to celebrate legal marriages, Archbishop Barry Hickey said last Sunday.

His comments were made to members of the Traditional Anglican Church parish of St Ninian and St Chad in Maylands.

However, whether the Church would bury dead Catholics who had entered into same-sex unions was something of which he was less certain, he said.

Answering a question from a member of the congregation, the archbishop said he had “very, very serious concerns” about recent moves to amend the Marriage Act. the rest

Court to Consider Constitutionality of Third-Party Consent for Abortions

October 03, 2011

A group of mentally disabled women and their representatives were given the green light on Friday to file new claims of constitutional violations against the District of Columbia over abortions and other medical procedures performed on the women without the consent of legal representatives or a court order.

According to an opinion (PDF) published Friday by U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy Jr., constitutional objections to third-party consent to abortions "appears to raise a question of first impression in the federal courts."

The case, filed in 2001 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, centers on the experiences of three anonymous Jane Does, mentally disabled women who received care from the city starting in the 1960s and 1970s.

Two of the women claimed that city officials authorized abortions after they became pregnant in the late 1970s and early 1980s, without consulting their legal representatives or getting a court order. The amended complaint alleges that city health officials "illegally consented to abortions and/or sterilizations" for at least 75 other individuals. the rest

Lawsuit: Schullers flourished as church suffered

A complaint filed by creditors in bankruptcy court alleges that insiders benefited from their contracts while contractors went unpaid for services they provided.
Oct. 3, 2011

SANTA ANA – A lawsuit filed by creditors against several members of Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller's family alleges that the older Schuller and his family members used their power and position to give themselves generous salaries, housing allowances and other benefits while the church struggled financially over the last nine years.

In addition, the complaint filed Friday states that Crystal Cathedral Ministries borrowed more than $10 million between 2002 and 2009 from endowment funds, which were meant to pay for specific items such as maintenance of the Walk of Faith memorial stones on the campus. The money was then used for regular church expenses and salaries, the lawsuit alleges. the rest

North Carolina public to get marriage vote

Tue, 4 Oct 2011

People in the US state of North Carolina will vote on the definition of marriage next year after politicians approved a referendum on the issue.
But voters in Britain will not get the same chance as the issue will be decided at the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments.

Phil Berger, a Senator in the North Carolina state legislature, said: “It is time for us to let the people of this state decide what they want in their constitution as far as marriage is concerned”. the rest

Monday, October 03, 2011

Musical bikers in Russia...

Court Upholds Regulation of Fortune Tellers

October 3, 20112

In Moore-King v. County of Chesterfield Virginia, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112205 (ED VA, Sept. 30, 2011), a Virginia federal district court rejected constitutional challenges to Chesterfield County, Virginia's regulation of the business of fortune telling. Patricia Moore-King, a "spiritual counselor" who operated under the name of "Psychic Sophie" claimed that the county's zoning, business license tax and fortune teller permit ordinances violate her free exercise of religion, free speech and equal protection rights. The court held that plaintiff's predictions and counseling services are inherently deceptive commercial speech, and that the regulation of them is reasonably drawn. The court rejected plaintiff's free exercise and RLUIPA claims, finding that she is not engaged in religious practices. It also rejected her equal protection claims.  Religion Clause

The Challenge of Art

Oct 3, 2011
Christopher T. Haley

Recently, I was fortunate to have an engaging conversation with a young, talented, and sincere Christian playwright. We were having a splendid discussion about her new project, when I revealed my lack of sophistication by asking the utterly un-artistic question: “What’s the point?” A graduate of a prestigious art school, she was, of course, ready with an answer: to challenge x, y, and z. But when I asked her why on earth I should pay good money to go and have my views challenged by a playwright—well, she hadn’t thought of that. And people wonder why the arts are suffering.

Art schools teach students to challenge the audience, but they do not teach them why they should—and no one, certainly, has taught the audience to appreciate it. Many critics even decry this fact, blaming the poor state of the arts in our country on an audience that just doesn’t “get it.”

The notion that the artist’s role is to challenge the audience is offensive to the audience. It is arrogant and condescending. Learning how to paint, sculpt, write, or compose, does not make one a moral authority on art or anything else. There is no moral value in being transgressive for the sake of transgressiveness. And there is no merit in challenging people just for the sake of a challenge. The old “devil’s argument” is, after all, a very poor argument. the rest
What we find in truly great art, however, is not the challenge of hell, but a glimpse of heaven. The artist does not come with demands and accusations, but comes offering praise, delight, beauty, hope, truth. The artist’s vocation, like all vocations, must be understood as a call to love and humility. This should be at the forefront of the artist’s mind: love your audience as yourself.

This is especially true for the Christian artist. When I talk with Christian artists, I always ask: “Where are the beatitudes in your art?” Now that is a challenge. Christ is always the real challenge. We, artists and audience, are called to serve, to be last, to carry a cross for our neighbor. We are not called to challenge or accuse, to point out the splinter in the audience’s eye, but we are called to love - that is the challenge! And art will only regain its proper and necessary place in our culture when artists begin to meet that challenge, when they no longer see themselves as judges, but as servants.

(I find it so striking how near the end of this video the more "modern" paintings seem so cartoon-like and some are just downright unattractive to me, but I'm sure the experts in this area can better comment. -PD)

Women bishops would humanise priesthood, says Archbishop of Canterbury

Women should be allowed to become bishops in the Church of England to “humanise” the priesthood, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said
By Tim Ross, Religious Affairs Editor
03 Oct 2011

Dr Rowan Williams warned the Church hierarchy to prepare for the “culture change” that would come with the “full inclusion” of women.

Removing the bar to women’s ordination as bishops would help reverse the “creeping bureaucratisation” and “box ticking” that too often undermines the work of the Church, Dr Williams suggested.

His comments came as reforms allowing women to become bishops came a step closer to passing into Church law.

The 44 individual dioceses have until mid-November to hold ballots among members of their local synods, or assemblies, on whether to support plan.

The reforms have already proven highly divisive, contributing to hundreds of worshippers and clerics, including five bishops, leaving the Church of England to become Roman Catholics this year. the rest

Pentagon telling chaplains to break the law

Charlie Butts

A Pentagon edict for same-sex union ceremonies in the military continues to receive reaction, including from a national defense analyst.

Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis (USA-Ret.), who now serves as senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council (FRC), tells OneNewsNow that the Pentagon's decision on Friday to allow military chaplains to perform same-sex "wedding" ceremonies -- whether on or off military installations -- tells those officials to violate the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

He stresses that such officials are paid by the federal government, and he believes that even if the ceremonies are conducted by chaplains as private citizens, they will still be violating the law, "because a chaplain is on duty 7/24; they're never off duty -- just like every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine in the armed forces today. So that's important to understand when you put this particular issue in context," he says. the rest

Just 60 babies a year adopted in England

Calls for reform as thousands of children are left stuck in care
By Richard Hall
Thursday, 29 September 2011

Only 60 babies were adopted in England last year – startling evidence of how Britain's system for adopting children is grinding to a halt despite record numbers being taken into care.

Thousands of children are being held in limbo in care homes, secure units and temporary fostering because so few adoptions are being signed off by social workers. Their guidance has been to try to keep families together, which has also led to some children being left with negligent or abusive birth parents for too long.

The number of adoptions of babies under the age of one has fallen from 150 in 2007 – and around 4,000 in 1976. Prospects for adopted babies are considered strong, as they have fewer difficulties bonding with new parents. the rest

Google, Twitter and Facebook are increasingly co-opted for surveillance work

By Georgina Prodhan
Fri Sep 30, 2011

(Reuters) - Internet companies such as Google, Twitter and Facebook are increasingly co-opted for surveillance work as the information they gather proves irresistible to law enforcement agencies, Web experts said this week.

Although such companies try to keep their users' information private, their business models depend on exploiting it to sell targeted advertising, and when governments demand they hand it over, they have little choice but to comply.

Suggestions that BlackBerry maker RIM might give user data to British police after its messenger service was used to coordinate riots this summer caused outrage -- as has the spying on social media users by more oppressive governments. the rest

But the vast amount of personal information that companies like Google collect to run their businesses has become simply too valuable for police and governments to ignore, delegates to the Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi said.

Anglican Unscripted Ep 12 October 1, 2011

Has OE and KE become a disease of BC and AD? No it is not algebra, it is the new era and Kevin and George explain it and use it. Also in this week’s episode our hosts discuss Pastor Youcef bound in Iran and South Carolina and whether it is bound by title IV. Our legal segment with Allan Haley is on Bishop Seabury’s recent court loss. Please forgive the technical difficulties with our legal segment. It was too late to re shoot before our Sunday PM deadline.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Devotional: Eternal God! O thou that only art...

Eternal God! O thou that only art
The sacred fountain of eternal light,
And blessed loadstone of my better part,
O thou, my heart’s desire, my soul’s delight!
Reflect upon my soul, and touch my heart,
And then my heart shall prize no good above thee;
And then my soul shall know thee; knowing, love thee;
And then my trembling thoughts shall never start
From thy commands, or swerve the least degree,
Or once presume to move, but as they move in thee.
...Francis Quarles image

Microsoft Anti-Malware Tool Mistakenly Snuffs Google Chrome

By Cade Metz
September 30, 2011

Microsoft’s Security Essentials anti-malware tool has mistakenly identified Google Chrome as a password-pilfering trojan — and actually removed the browser from many users’ machines — but a fix for this rather amusing false positive is now available.

In an email sent to Wired, a Microsoft spokesperson said that on Friday, Chrome was inadvertently identified as a member of the Zeus malware family (aka “PWS:Win32:Zbot”). As a result, Security Essentials is blocking the Google browser and, in some cases, removing it. But earlier today, Microsoft released an updated signature that fixes the snafu. The company urges those using Microsoft Security Essentials to update the tool with the latest signatures, and it apologies for any inconvenience.

Google declined to comment on the matter Friday morning, but a company spokesperson has since pointed us to a blog post where the company says that over the next 24 hours, it will release an update that will automatically repair Chrome for those affected by Microsoft’s false positive.

Washington exhibition traces history of the Bible in China

By Jim White
Thursday, September 29, 2011

WASHINGTON (ABP) -- Ask most Americans where the largest Bible printing facility in the world is and they might imagine Nashville, Dallas or London to hold that honor. Few would guess the correct answer: China.

On Sept. 28, opening ceremonies were held in Washington for the first of a four-city tour of “Thy Word is Truth: The Bible Ministry Exhibition of the Protestant Church in China.” Chinese dignitaries and invited guests assembled at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church to celebrate the exhibition’s opening...

...Referring to the diverse denominations present, Upton told the group, “It is ironic, that it has taken the church in a distant part of the world to bring us all together [in support of this exhibition].” Upton – a former missionary who served in Taiwan -- concluded his remarks in Mandarin to the delighted murmurings and applause of the crowd. the rest

BBC faces outcry as shows drop BC and AD

Wed, 28 Sep 2011

The BBC has been roundly criticised after some programmes dropped the terms BC and AD and replaced them with the “religiously-neutral” BCE and CE.

The Plain English campaign, Christian leaders, people of other faiths – and people within the broadcaster itself – have all hit out at the move.

The furore surrounds the dropping of the terms BC, Before Christ, and AD – which translates from Latin to ‘the year of our Lord’. 
the rest
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali commented: “I think this amounts to the dumbing down of the Christian basis of our culture, language and history.”

The Revd Peter Mullen commented that the move was an example of the BBC “trying to undermine Christianity by pushing an aggressive secularism”.

He added: “I would be very surprised if any other faith had complained about the use of Anno Domini and Before Christ.”

GEORGE CAREY: Why are we letting the BBC abandon the Year of our Lord?

Medical committee behind HHS birth control mandate tied to NARAL, Planned Parenthood

by Kathleen Gilbert
Wed Sep 28, 2011

( - The medical committee behind the federal government’s impending mandate that insurers cover birth control without co-pay is populated by board members of NARAL and Planned Parenthood, as well as major donors to politicians favoring legal abortion.

The pro-life organization HLI America says public records show the ideological roots of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee, which recommended virtually all private health insurers pay for FDA-approved contraception as essential “preventive care” under the new health care law, including drugs that can cause early abortions. the rest

“What is surprising, however, is the audacity with which the committee circumvented professional research practices in order to arrive at the conclusions they held at the outset.”

Will Obama Destroy Franciscan University Of Steubenville?

Ken Blackwell

The Dartmouth College case became one of the pillars of American jurisprudence. And Webster's powerful appeal propelled him to a brilliant career in the U.S. Senate.

The Supreme Court that year ruled in favor of Dartmouth College. It recognized not only the supremacy of the Constitution, but it showed that it valued the signal role played by colleges and universities in American life.

The Obama administration is showing it values that role not at all. It is attempting to crush The Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. Mr. Obama's HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, is trying to force Steubenville to dispense abortion-producing drugs and pay for sterilizations. This is a Roman Catholic institution. Such things are strictly prohibited by the Catholic faith.

Sec. Sebelius may be aware that Catholic institutions are required by faith and fidelity to their mission to uphold these principles. It is an indispensable part of their mission and their reason for being. To force a Catholic institution to violate the consciences of its faculty, students and alumni in this fashion is like forcing a Yeshiva to serve pork to Orthodox Jewish students.

This attempt to crush The Franciscan University of Steubenville is, tragically, not an isolated example. From the first days of the Obama administration, there has been a kulturkampf (culture clash) against Catholic institutions not seen since the days of the Iron Chancellor of Germany, Otto von Bismarck. It was Bismarck who attempted to put all churches and universities in Prussia under his hobnailed boot. the rest image

Archbishop Warns Obama: You’ll Cause 'Conflict Between Church and State of Enormous Proportions’

September 30, 2011
By Terence P. Jeffrey

( - Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has written a letter to President Barack Obama warning him that his administration will “precipitate a national conflict between church and state of enormous proportions” if it does not “end its campaign against DOMA, the institution of marriage it protects, and religious freedom.” the rest
On August 31, the USCCB submitted comments on the proposed sterilization-and-contraception mandate to HHS. In these comments, the bishops flatly declared that the administration was launching an “unprecedented attack on religious liberty.”

"Indeed, such nationwide government coercion of religious people and groups to sell, broker, or purchase 'services' to which they have a moral or religious objection represents an unprecedented attack on religious liberty," said the comments.

The bishops’ comments also said that even Jesus would not qualify for the “religious” exemption the administration proposed for its sterilization-and-contraceptives mandate.