Saturday, December 17, 2011

Planned Parenthood Hiring 14-Year-Old Kids to Push Sex Ed

by Steven Ertelt
12/15/11

The Planned Parenthood abortion business in Wisconsin is going beyond the pale in its efforts to push its pro-abortion agenda on kids and teenagers — by hiring them to push its sex education agenda on their peers.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin recently posted a job listing indicating it is looking for children as young as 14 to work as sex educators.

“Planned Parenthood of WI (PPWI) is hiring Youth Health Educators at PPWI (there are 7 positions available),” the new listing reads. “Youth must be between the ages of 14-24, hold a current leadership position in a youth-serving Community Based Organization (CBO) or at their school/college, and be able to work at least 10-12 hours/week.” the rest

Even Christians taking Christ out of Christmas

Dec. 17, 2011
Mark Steyn

Excerpt:
When an explicitly Catholic institution thinks that the meaning of Christmas is "tenderness for the past, vapid generalities for the present, evasive abstractions for the future," it's pretty much over. Suffering no such urge to self-abasement, Muslim students at the Catholic University of America in Washington recently filed a complaint over the lack of Islamic prayer rooms on the campus. They find it offensive to have to pray surrounded by Christian symbols such as crucifixes and paintings of distinguished theologians. True, this thought might have occurred to them before they applied to an institution called "Catholic University." On the other hand, it's surely not unreasonable for them to have expected Catholic University to muster no more than the nominal rump Christianity of that Catholic college in New England. Why wouldn't you demand Muslim prayer rooms? As much as belligerent atheists, belligerent Muslims reckon that a decade or so hence "Catholic colleges" will be Catholic mainly in the sense that Istanbul's Hagia Sophia is still a cathedral: that's to say, it's a museum, a heritage site for where once was a believing church. And who could object to the embalming of our inheritance? Christmas is all about "tenderness for the past," right? When Christian college administrators are sending out cards saying "We believe in nothing," why wouldn't you take them at their word? the rest

Mayor Bloomberg defends city’s ban of Christmas decorations at Staten Island ferry terminals

Congressmen can't say 'Merry Christmas' in mail

by Mark Tapscott
December 16, 2011

Looks like the PC police have threatened members of the House of Representatives against wishing constituents a "Merry Christmas," if they want to do so in a mailing paid for with tax dollars.

Members who submit official mailings for review by the congressional franking commission that reviews all congressional mail to determine if it can be "franked," or paid for with tax dollars, are being told that no holiday greetings, including "Merry Christmas," can be sent in official mail.

"I called the commission to ask for clarification and was told no 'Merry Christmas.' Also told cannot say 'Happy New Year' but can say 'have a happy new year' – referencing the time period of a new year, but not the holiday," said a Hill staffer who requested anonymity. the rest

Dutch bishops: “shame and sorrow” at abuse

16 December 2011

An independent report on sexual abuse at Dutch Catholic institutions has drawn widespread media coverage, both at home and abroad. The Dutch justice minister has expressed shock and the Dutch Catholic authorities have offered apologies.

Between 10,000 and 20,000 children suffered abuse at Catholic schools, seminaries and orphanages, the Deetman inquiry found. The report identifies 800 offenders.

The bishops and the Congregation of Dutch Religious have voiced shock and have offered their apologies. A bishops’ statement said: “We express our apologies for the abuse. It fills us with shame and sorrow. Not only the offenders deserve blame but so do the clerical authorities who failed to act accurately and failed to put the interest of and care for the victims first.”

The Congregation of Dutch Religious is the organisation of religious orders, congregations, abbeys and monasteries. In a statement, the bishops say they intend to make a personal effort to improve support for the victims and want to involve the victims themselves in that process. They also say they wish to take measures to make sexual abuse a topic that can be discussed openly. the rest

Friday, December 16, 2011

Devotional: What gives peace to the conscience...


painting of Jesus healing a leper
What gives peace to the conscience is, that by faith our sins are no more ours but Christ’s, on whom God hath laid them all; and that, on the other hand, all Christ’s righteousness is ours, to whom God hath given it. Christ lays his hand upon us, and we are healed; he casts his mantle on us, and we are clothed; he is the glorious Saviour, blessed for ever. ...Martin Luther image

A.S. Haley: Texas Supreme Court to Hear San Angelo Case

December 16, 2011

In an announcement released this morning, the Supreme Court of Texas has granted the petition for review filed by the Church of the Good Shepherd, San Angelo, as a result of its loss in the Court of Appeal to the Diocese of Northwest Texas. (I discussed that opinion in this earlier post; the page summarizing the litigation is here.) Oral argument is set for February 29, 2012 at Texas A & M University, in Laredo, beginning at 9 A.M.
 
 
This is an important milestone for the law of church property in Texas. The last time the Supreme Court decided such a case was in 1909; the San Angelo case will provide an ideal vehicle with which to hold that Texas courts must follow and apply "neutral principles of law" in such cases. (One reason for granting review was that the Court of Appeal had left it up to the lower courts whether to apply neutral principles or not, and remain with the old "deference" standard of Watson v. Jones. For more explanation of the background here, read this post, and then this one.)  the rest

AAC News Updates


Posted December 16, 2011

Message from Bishop David Anderson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our Lord taught us to avoid going to court, because he knew that real justice is hard to come by. Justice is supposed to be blind, but sometimes it appears that judges who try ecclesiastical cases have well-set opinions before the court convenes.

Today I want to tell you what the Episcopal Church and Judge J. Mac Davis are apparently up to in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. A trial concerning ownership of St. Edmund's Anglican Church property in Elm Grove, Wisconsin is underway, and in the middle of hearing motions, Judge Davis on Thursday suddenly issued an injunction ordering the parish and clergy out of their property and rectory within 24 hours. Yes, 24 hours!

How does any clergy family pack up their rectory and move out within 24 hours? How does a church family cease operations and move to a new, unknown location in 24 hours? How does a day school that operates in the basement of the church, with little children coloring pictures of the baby Jesus, move out in 24 hours? And how do they do this a week before Christmas?

Strangely, as Judge Davis issued the injunction that appeared to have been previously written, he kept referring to St. Edmund's as St. Matthias, which is an Episcopal Church in the diocese of Milwaukee. Even more strange, we are told, is that St. Matthias' Senior Warden, Judge Lee Dreyfus, is a fellow judge and friend of Judge Davis, and that both of them are active Episcopalians in the Diocese of Milwaukee.

Just as we were going to press on this Friday afternoon, we were told that the Court of Appeals in Madison has granted St. Edmund's Church a three week stay while the issues of judicial handling of the case are looked at.

How can the Episcopal Church and Bishop Miller of Milwaukee behave in this manner, to even think of eviction in 24 hours? Please pray for the rector and parish of St. Edmund's who are under such biased assault, as we try to turn our minds to things more spiritually grounded - the gift of God in Jesus Christ, and his nativity in Bethlehem.

Have a blessed Advent IV.

+David

The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, Sr.
President and CEO, American Anglican Council

Christianity Today: Christopher Hitchens Has Died, Doug Wilson Reflects

How to think about the death of the outspoken atheist.
Douglas Wilson
12/16/2011

Editor's Note: Christopher Hitchens has died at the age of 62. A statement from Vanity Fair said that he died Thursday night at cancer center in Houston of pneumonia, a complication of his esophageal cancer. CT asked Douglas Wilson to weigh in on the life and death of the prominent atheist.

Christopher Hitchens was a celebrity intellectual, and, as such, the basic outlines of his life are generally well known. But for those just joining us, Christopher Hitchens was the older of two sons, born to Eric and Yvonne in April 1949. He discovered as a schoolboy that probing questions about the veracity of the Christian faith were part of a discussion that he "liked having." His younger brother, Peter, followed him in unbelief. But unlike Christopher, Peter publicly returned to the Church of England, the communion where they had both been baptized.

Christopher spent some time in the 1960s as a radical leftist, but of course that was what everybody was doing back then. Somehow Christopher managed to do this and march to a different drummer, doing his radical stint as part of a post–Trotskyite Luxemburgist sect. He graduated from Balliol at Oxford, and soon became established as a writer, the vocation of his life, one in which he excelled. As a writer and thinker, he was greatly influenced by (and wrote about) men like George Orwell and Thomas Jefferson, while as the same time reserving the right to attack any sacred cow of his choosing—and the more sacred, the better. He is widely known for his scathing attack on Mother Teresa, and when Jerry Falwell passed away, he spent a good deal of time on television chortling about it.

But this was all part of Christopher's very public rhetorical strategy, not a function of an inability to domesticate a surly temperament. He was actually an affable and pleasant dinner companion, and fully capable of being the perfect gentleman. He was fully aware of the authority an enfant terrible could have, provided he played his cards right, and this was a strategy that Hitchens employed very well indeed. One man who delivers a terrible insult is banned from television for life, and another man, who does the same thing, has people lining up with invitations and microphones. In case anyone is wondering, Christopher was that second man. the rest

Dutch Catholic 'abuse' uncovered

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tens of thousands of children have been victims of sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands since 1945, an independent commission said today, criticising what it called the church's cover-up and culture of silence.

Church leaders said the findings filled them with shame and sorrow and offered a "heartfelt apology", saying not only the perpetrators were to blame, but church authorities too.

The commission estimated that 10,000 to 20,000 minors were sexually abused in Catholic orphanages, boarding schools and seminaries between 1945 and 1981, with offences ranging from very mild to serious, including rape. the rest

Congress overturns incandescent light bulb ban

By Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times
Friday, December 16, 2011

Congressional negotiators struck a deal Thursday that overturns the new rules that were to have banned sales of traditional incandescent light bulbs beginning next year.

That agreement is tucked inside the massive 1,200-page spending bill that funds the government through the rest of this fiscal year, and which both houses of Congress will vote on Friday. Mr. Obama is expected to sign the bill, which heads off a looming government shutdown.

Congressional Republicans dropped almost all of the policy restrictions they tried to attach to the bill, but won inclusion of the light bulb provision, which prevents the Obama administration from carrying through a 2007 law that would have set energy efficiency standards that effectively made the traditional light bulb obsolete. the rest

Occupying [Episcopal] Churches

By Mark Tooley
12.16.11

Anything to boost attendance, cynics would say.

With fewer and fewer people attending the spiraling Episcopal Church, some prelates seem to see opening the doors to Wall Street Occupiers as a potential solution.

Since Occupiers lost their protest encampment at Boston's Dewey Square, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts has hospitably opened the doors of its Cathedral Church of St. Paul to the Occupiers to perpetuate the "conversation" about social justice.

"The issues raised by the Occupy movement are important to be discussing in society, and so I'm happy to offer our cathedral to provide hospitality and a venue so those conversations can continue," enthusiastically chimed cathedral dean the Very Reverend Jep Streit. According the diocesan website, Occupation "general assemblies" would begin at the cathedral on December 13 and would continue three times a week.

At such a rate, perhaps Occupation rallies will become more frequent at the cathedral than worship services. Or perhaps for leftist "social justice" churches, demonstrations for governmentally orchestrated massive income redistribution are themselves a form of worship.

The Episcopal cathedral in Boston seems to resemble what comedian Flip Wilson once spoofed in the early 1970s as the "Church of What's Happening Now." Rev. Strait boasts on his cathedral website that this church named for the Apostle Paul resembles a "United Nations gathering" and holds weekly Muslim prayer meetings. One canon priest, he notes, is quite "disciplined" in yoga practice. And "ancient church traditions" mix with "urban grooves" at the cathedral's "emerging church worship community." No doubt. the rest
The prelates and theologians who eagerly invest Occupy Wall Street with transcendent authority almost all share a common spiritual ennui. No longer enlivened by the drama of their own faith's teachings about divine redemption, they instead look for excitement in the bedraggled camps of unemployed twenty-somethings a fraction of their own age. The Occupiers will eventually get bored with their own tedium and move on. But will their ecclesial admirers?

Anglican Fever: Youth Flock to New Denomination


Friday, December 16, 2011

Excerpt:

While the congregants are casually dressed, the service has a more formal, liturgical feel and the students that CBN News spoke with say that's exactly what they like.

"I love the emphasis on Scripture. I love that we read four long passages every Sunday so you really ingest a lot of scripture each Sunday," said Andie Roeder, who studies at Moody Bible Institute.

"And I love the way it's interactive so there's a call and a response and you get to pray back and forth," she said.

Deacon Mike Niebauer, who oversees both the Albany Park congregation and one at Northwestern University in Evanston, said the liturgy builds community and helps students who often long to be connected.

"I think it's easy for so many people, especially young people, to feel like they're not anchored anywhere, not rooted in anything, particularly people who are very mobile" he said.

"So the idea that the church traces its roots back and its worship back 2,000 years to this very day is I think something that's very attractive," he said.

Archbishop Robert Duncan dubbed the movement "Anglican fever" in an address to the Lausanne Congress last year. the rest-awesome!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Christmas Story


posted December 15, 2011

This Christmas story was made with children actors less than eight years old, has managed to receive hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube in just a few hours. The creators say it reflects the spirit of Christmas by reflecting what took place on 'the first December 25,' as well as showing beautiful landscapes of New Zealand.

Do You Know if Your Food or Vaccines Contain Aborted Cells?

by Susan Tyrrell
12/13/11

Little upsets pro-life people more than learning that things they consider innocent are actually tainted with the shedding of innocent blood. This long list of guilt-ridden products includes childhood vaccines, wrinkle creams and even your favorite soft drinks and chewing gum.

The problem is, it’s hard to keep it all straight even if you are trying to avoid putting products in you that are obtained through the death of a baby. Fortunately, Children of God for Life has produced an easy reference guide—a one page list of fetal call products.

CLICK HERE FOR A PDF DOWNLOAD OF FETAL CELL PRODUCTS.

It’s also important to note that financial support of any company using fetal cells for its products keeps them afloat. In the case of Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Nestle, Kraft, Cadbury, et. al., many have chosen to abstain from all of the company’s products (myself included) until they find better ways to test flavor receptors than the cells of an aborted baby. Many people have accused those reporting on this to be spreading rumors, but they are substantiated facts. Even PepsiCo’s shareholders, who are not a religious or pro-life group, filed a resolution with the government office, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to demand they stop using fetal cell derived products because it was unnecessary and hurting business. the rest

Tipping the scales towards euthanasia

A widely publicized report published by the Royal Society of Canada presents a thoroughly one-sided view.
Margaret Somerville
Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on End-of-Life Decision Making recently released its Report to much media attention. The parts of that report we can all agree on, for instance, the need for much better access to palliative care and pain management for terminally ill patients, was not the media’s focus. The panel’s recommendation that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) should be legalized was.

It has generated many calls for a national debate in Canada on these latter issues – mainly, I would guess, if not entirely, from people advocating the legalization of euthanasia. In entering such a debate and deciding whether they agree with this recommendation, it’s important for Canadians to understand the weaknesses of the Report. the rest
The Panel’s mandate included the following direction: “The public would… benefit greatly from having a careful, balanced review of various pros and cons of decriminalization of physician-assisted death from well-reasoned ethical and legal standpoints.” The Report comes nowhere near fulfilling this mandate. It’s a pro-euthanasia manifesto – to paraphrase an advocate for disabled people speaking in another context, it’s “thinly veiled euthanasia and assisted suicide propaganda disguised as an expert report”.

This is not surprising in view of who the authors are. Many are well-known pro-euthanasia advocates and, as the Report is unanimous, one can assume all agree with this stance. The people I know whom the Panel lists as consulting to them are, likewise, pro-euthanasia -- three of them world-leading advocates.

Menlo Park church discusses exit options

By Parker T. Williamson
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Menlo Park, a 4,000-plus member Presbyterian congregation in California’s Bay Area is hosting three “informational meetings” regarding denominational affiliation for its congregation during the final quarter of 2011. During these meetings, Menlo Park leaders are assessing the state of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and reporting on their explorations into various alternatives to their continued affiliation with the denomination.

Menlo Park is far from alone. The Layman has learned that leaders of more than 800 churches -- ranging in membership from as few as 27 to as many as 9,000 members -- are engaged in similar discussions, and virtually all of the denomination’s 173 presbyteries either have adopted or are considering policies for dealing with churches that are inclined toward denominational departure.

A Confessing Church

Menlo Park’s November/December gatherings are not the first time that its leaders have addressed denominational issues. In 2001, after the PCUSA General Assembly declined to affirm “the singular saving lordship of Jesus Christ” and demonstrated denominational leaders’ determination to remove all sexual behavior standards from the constitution, Menlo Park’s session declared its congregation “a Confessing Church.”

“We reaffirm,” said the session, “That Jesus Christ alone is Lord of all and the only way of salvation; that Holy Scripture is the triune God’s revealed Word, the Church’s only infallible rule of faith and life; and that while Christ’s grace and participation in his Church are open to all, and we invite all to taste and see that the Lord is good, we also affirm that Jesus, out of love for us and for our own good, calls us to holiness in all facets of life. This call is comprehensive in scope, touching all aspects of the ways we love God, ourselves, and others. It also includes honoring the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, the only appropriate sexual relationship.” the rest

The Kingdom in Columbus

Why the world's largest Vineyard church is drawing people from 104 nations in central Ohio.
Katelyn Beaty
12/14/2011

The day they arrived at the church's doorstep on a sweltering July morning in 2010, Venant and Nshimira were weary travelers losing faith in God's provison. Refugees from the volatile eastern Congo, the couple had been resettled the previous September in Columbus, Ohio. Among their few possessions was a box stuffed with legal documents, leftovers from their case recently abandoned by a resettlement agent. When they arrived in Columbus, they had joined a French-speaking group for African expats, whose leader, Emmanuel Sotondji, invited them to accompany him to his church of a decade, Vineyard Columbus (VC), in suburban Westerville.

"The first time I saw Venant, his face showed so much fear," remembers Chris Childers, a social worker at VC since 2009. "He wasn't sure where he was in his faith."

And for good reason. Venant had been tortured by soldiers of a Rwandan terrorist group and suffered severe back and neck pain. He and Nshimira spoke zero English. Their furniture was a mattress and chairs with no backs; their six children slept atop blankets strewn across the linoleum kitchen floor of a two-bedroom apartment.

Childers immediately brought her 25 years of social service work to bear. She discovered they were eligible for food stamps and health benefits and could reduce their electric bill, which was burning through 10 percent of their income. She recruited another VC minister to gather layette supplies and furnishings for the couple's seventh child, arriving any day, and e-mailed VC's staff members, who brought a truckload of furniture in two days. She located an esl class within walking distance of the apartment (learning English is required for continued federal benefits). And, in a gesture unseen at their resettlement agency, Childers, Sotondji, and associate pastor Bill Christensen prayed for complete healing of Venant's scars. the rest

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Margaret Sanger: “Abortion is Dangerous and Vicious”

By George J. Marlin
Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Excerpt:
Yet despite her harangues against the Church and her insistence that “for the welfare of children, for the happiness of husbands and wives, and for the full realization of Women’s rights, birth control by scientific methods of contraception [should] properly and wisely be exercised,” she did make one exception to an otherwise thorough pro-choice agenda: abortion.

That’s right. Margaret Sanger actually stated that: “Birth control does not mean abortion.” Here are her exact words:

“The real alternative to birth control is abortion,” wrote Dean Inge, [Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London]. It is an alternative that I cannot too strongly condemn. Although abortion may be resorted to in order to save the life of the mother, the practice of it merely for limitation of offspring is dangerous and vicious. [Emphasis added] I bring up the subject here only because some ill-informed persons have the notion that when we speak of birth control we include abortion as a method. We certainly do not. Abortion destroys the already fertilized ovum or the embryo; contraception, as I have carefully explained, prevents the fertilizing of the ovum by keeping the male cells away. Thus it prevents the beginning of life.

I bet you never heard that Sanger considered abortion “dangerous and vicious.” You can take it to the bank that there are no posters hanging on the walls of Planned Parenthood clinics quoting those particular words of the founder.

Margaret Sanger actually believed that abortion destroys an innocent life because she was honest enough to recognize that life begins at the moment of conception. Hence, she would have disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s conclusion in Roe v. Wade. the rest

My Time at Walmart: Why We Need Serious Welfare Reform

December 13, 2011
by Christine Rousselle

During the 2010 and 2011 summers, I was a cashier at Wal-Mart #1788 in Scarborough, Maine. I spent hours upon hours toiling away at a register, scanning, bagging, and dealing with questionable clientele. These were all expected parts of the job, and I was okay with it. What I didn’t expect to be part of my job at Wal-Mart was to witness massive amounts of welfare fraud and abuse.

I understand that sometimes, people are destitute. They need help, and they accept help from the state in order to feed their families. This is fine. It happens. I’m not against temporary aid helping those who truly need it. What I saw at Wal-Mart, however, was not temporary aid. I witnessed generations of families all relying on the state to buy food and other items. I literally witnessed small children asking their mothers if they could borrow their EBT cards. I once had a man show me his welfare card for an ID to buy alcohol. The man was from Massachusetts. Governor Michael Dukakis’ signature was on his welfare card. Dukakis’ last gubernatorial term ended in January of 1991. I was born in June of 1991. The man had been on welfare my entire life. That’s not how welfare was intended, but sadly, it is what it has become.

Other things witnessed while working as a cashier included:

a) People ignoring me on their iPhones while the state paid for their food. (For those of you keeping score at home, an iPhone is at least $200, and requires a data package of at least $25 a month. If a person can spend $25+ a month so they can watch YouTube 24/7, I don’t see why they can’t spend that money on food.) the rest

Albert Mohler: Must We Believe in the Virgin Birth?

Baby Jesus sleeping drawing picture and mother Mary caring him free Christian religious background
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In one of his columns for The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof once pointed to belief in the Virgin Birth as evidence that conservative Christians are “less intellectual.” Are we saddled with an untenable doctrine? Is belief in the Virgin Birth really necessary?

Kristof is absolutely aghast that so many Americans believe in the Virgin Birth. “The faith in the Virgin Birth reflects the way American Christianity is becoming less intellectual and more mystical over time,” he explains, and the percentage of Americans who believe in the Virgin Birth “actually rose five points in the latest poll.” Yikes! Is this evidence of secular backsliding?

“The Virgin Mary is an interesting prism through which to examine America’s emphasis on faith,” Kristof argues, “because most Biblical scholars regard the evidence for the Virgin Birth … as so shaky that it pretty much has to be a leap of faith.” Here’s a little hint: Anytime you hear a claim about what “most Biblical scholars” believe, check on just who these illustrious scholars really are. In Kristof’s case, he is only concerned about liberal scholars like Hans Kung, whose credentials as a Catholic theologian were revoked by the Vatican. the rest image
Implications, indeed. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, who was His father? There is no answer that will leave the Gospel intact. The Virgin Birth explains how Christ could be both God and man, how He was without sin, and that the entire work of salvation is God’s gracious act. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, He had a human father. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, the Bible teaches a lie.

The Anglican Crack-Up

by Rob Schwarzwalder
December 14, 2011

Joseph Bottum argues in a rather grim new piece in The Weekly Standard that the Anglican Church is on the verge of falling apart, irrevocably, due to the serious theological divisions between Western communions (specifically the U.S. and the U.K.) and much of the rest of the Episcopalian world.

He notes that such things as abortion, homosexual “marriage,” and the ordination of practicing homosexuals are the drivers of the Anglican crack-up. While these are the immediate causes, they are not the only ones. For example, the theologically notorious John Shelby Spong, former Bishop of Newark, NJ, denies the authority of Scripture and all the essential doctrines of orthodox faith, including the existence of a “theistic” God and the resurrection of Jesus. He remains an Episcopal priest in good standing.

The presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church, Catherine Jefferts Schori, commenting on Jesus’ claim to the only way to God (“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me,” John 14:6), tells us the following:
I certainly don’t disagree with that statement that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. But the way it’s used is as a truth serum, or a touchstone: If you cannot repeat this statement, then you’re not a faithful Christian or person of faith. I think Jesus as way — that’s certainly what it means to be on a spiritual journey. It means to be in search of relationship with God. We understand Jesus as truth in the sense of being the wholeness of human expression. What does it mean to be wholly and fully and completely a human being? Jesus as life, again, an example of abundant life. We understand him as bringer of abundant life but also as exemplar. What does it mean to be both fully human and fully divine? Here we have the evidence in human form. So I’m impatient with the narrow understanding, but certainly welcoming of the broader understanding … in its narrow construction, it tends to eliminate other possibilities. In its broader construction, yes, human beings come to relationship with God largely through their experience of holiness in other human beings. Through seeing God at work in other people’s lives. In that sense, yes, I will affirm that statement. But not in the narrow sense, that people can only come to relationship with God through consciously believing in Jesus.
the rest

Federal judge: Montana blogger is not journalist

By JEFF BARNARD
Associated Press
Dec. 7, 2011

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a Montana woman sued for defamation was not a journalist when she posted online that an Oregon lawyer acted criminally during a bankruptcy case, a decision with implications for bloggers around the country.

Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Mont., was sued for defamation by attorney Kevin Padrick when she posted online that he was a thug and a thief during the handling of bankruptcy proceedings by him and Obsidian Finance Group LLC.

U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez found last week that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.

Although media experts said Wednesday that the ruling would have little effect on the definition of journalism, it casts a shadow on those who work in nontraditional media since it highlights the lack of case law that could protect them and the fact that current state shield laws for journalists are not covering recent developments in online media.

"My advice to bloggers operating in the state of Oregon is lobby to get your shield law improved so bloggers are covered," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "But do not expect the shield law to provide you a defense in a libel case where you want to rely on an anonymous source for that information." the rest

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Internet piracy bill: A free speech 'kill switch'

By Bill Wilson, Americans for Limited Government
12/12/11

What began as an attempt to restrain foreign piracy on the Internet has morphed into a domestic “kill switch” on First Amendment freedom in the fastest-growing corner of the marketplace of ideas.

Proposed federal legislation purporting to protect online intellectual property would also impose sweeping new government mandates on internet service providers – a positively Orwellian power grab that would permit the U.S. Justice Department to shut down any internet site it doesn’t like (and cut off its sources of income) on nothing more than a whim.

Under the so-called “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) the federal government – which is prohibited constitutionally from abridging free speech or depriving its citizens of their property without due process – would engage in both practices on an unprecedented scale. And in establishing the precursor to a taxpayer-funded “thought police,” it would dramatically curtail technology investment and innovation – wreaking havoc on our economy.

Consider this: Under the proposed legislation all that’s required for government to shutdown a specific website is the mere accusation that the site unlawfully featured copyrighted content. Such an accusation need not be proven – or even accompanied by probable cause. All that an accuser (or competitor) needs to do in order to obtain injunctive relief is point the finger at a website. the rest

Euthanasia: There is Always A “Next Step”

Wesley J. Smith
Monday, December 12, 2011

Euthanasia is not just a lethal act, but a deadly ideological appetite–one that is never satiated. Once killing is unleashed as a solution to suffering, activists will always want more. Always. As I have written before, they remind me of the man killing plant in Little Shop of Horrors, growing ever larger and constantly yelling, “Feed me!”

Latest of so many cases in point: Belgian activists have a petition out to open euthanasia to minors and to force all doctors to be complicit in killing by creating a duty to refer to a death doctor if they are not willing to personally euthanize. Here is the Google translation of the petition, linked here in, I think, Flemish: 

The Right to Euthanasia: Time for the Next Step. Euthanasia possible, even for those not aware, and who is a minor:

Through this petition we want the federal government, federal parliament seats and all democratic parties insist that the euthanasia during the next legislature will be expanded and refined. We ask the following enhancements:

• Since the advance [euthanasia request] is always revocable, is a time limit of five years obsolete. It is desirable to remove the time limit. The municipalities that the declarations of intent to register must already requires the parties to automatically notify the imminent expiration of the deadline.

• If the advance euthanasia was registered, its existence must be included on the chip of the electronic ID card.  the rest

Anglican Unscripted Episode 21


December 13, 2011

Kevin and George discuss the interesting responses coming from South Carolina, TECs meddling into the Anglican Ordinariate, and your Hosts briefly talk about the situation with AMiA and the Province of Rwanda.

Monday, December 12, 2011

What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

Religious persecution on the rise in Syria

Charlie Butts
12/11/2011

Syria is once again a focus of concern for Christian persecution, both now and in the future. As the country continues to be embroiled in violence challenging the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Christians are being attacked.

Paul Estabrooks, a spokesman with Open Doors USA, explains: "They enjoyed a reasonable amount of peace and opportunity under the Assad regime to practice their faith, and even on a low-profile basis, share their faith. But they are very much afraid that changes in the country will limit them in both those situations in the days ahead."

According to the Estabrooks, they are extremely fearful that if an extremist Muslim group takes over and the Assad administration is deposed, it will be difficult for them to practice their faith at all. the rest

"They've gone into churches. They've destroyed churches. They've robbed them of any valuable things in the church and have limited people in their ability to meet together for worship and especially to share their faith," Estabrooks says.

Obama Admin Blocks Texas’ De-Funding of Planned Parenthood

by Steven Ertelt
12/12/11


The Obama administration has turned down a request from Texas to run its Title X family planning program, funded with federal taxpayer dollars, without funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

The adminsitration sent a letter to inform the Texas Health and Human Services Commission of its intent to deny a request to extend the Medicaid Women’s Health Program if Texas complies with its law banning contractors “that perform or promote elective abortions or affiliate with entities that perform or promote elective abortions.”

Earlier this year, Texas yanked about $64 million in funding from Planned Parenthood and directed the funds to agencies that do not do abortions. In conjunction with that, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission submitted a request to the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services to continue its family planning program without funding Planned Parenthood or other abortion agencies. the rest

Monarchy changes do ‘raise questions’ about C of E head

The MPs said the House of Commons may want to consider the Church of England issue 'in due course'.
Mon, 12 Dec 2011


A proposal that would allow future heirs to the throne to marry Roman Catholics raises questions about the monarch’s position as the head of the Church of England, MPs have said.

MPs in a House of Commons Committee were looking into the implications of the change announced in October by David Cameron.

There are worries that the change could lead to pressure to disestablish the Church of England – something which critics are concerned would further marginalise Christians. the rest

God in austerity Britain

As recession looms, the Church of England is active and vocal, but in the wrong way
The Economist
Dec 10th 2011

CONSIDERING that Britain is a deeply secular country, there is a lot of God about this Christmas. Austerity is a part of the explanation. With the core cultural activity of modern Britain—shopping for stuff—losing its lustre, there are hints of a nation groping for something more profound.

For millions, austerity Christmas will include a dose of carols. The trend has been noticeable for a couple of years. The great cathedrals expect to be packed on Christmas Eve. Charity services, family services, carols by candlelight and sing-along concerts abound. A London church, St Martin-in-the-Fields, is offering “carols for shoppers”, while across town the grand organ of the Royal Albert Hall, a 9,997-pipe monster, will pound through some two dozen carol concerts in December.

Anglican voices are prominent in less cosy contexts, too. On December 6th the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, made front-page news with a commentary on the riots that gripped English towns last August. Too many young people feel they have nothing to lose, the archbishop argued, decrying consumerism and government cuts to youth services. A fortnight earlier, 18 Anglican bishops wrote a joint letter condemning plans for a per-household benefits cap (intended to ensure that welfare recipients do no better than the average working family). This risked being “profoundly unjust” to poor families with children, said the bishops. the rest

SC Standing Committee Responds to Province IV Bishops' Request to Meet with Bishop Lawrence

On Friday, December 9, 2011 the Standing Committee responded to the December 5th letter from Bishop Clifton Daniel, acting as Vice-President of Province IV. The letter, whose text is below, summarizes the unanimous belief of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina regarding the issues raised by Bishop Daniel's letter. It is asked that the people of the Diocese keep the scheduled Wednesday afternoon, (December 14th) meeting of Bishop Lawrence with the representative bishops in your prayers.

The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis
Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
Canon to the Ordinary

December 9, 2011

The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina
Vice President of Province IV of The Episcopal Church
PO Box 1336
Kinston, NC 28503

Rt. Rev.d Sir,

“May the God of peace sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit be kept safe and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Thess. 5:23

Your letter to Bp. Lawrence on Monday of this second week of Advent raises several concerns to which the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina feels it must respond.

First, the stated purpose of your inquiry concerns the release of quitclaim deeds to the parishes of this Diocese. Given the very public nature of their release, the accompanying explanation (all still widely available on the internet), and their availability from any county deed registrar, the necessity of such questions is puzzling. Of more concern, however, is the character of your requests.

We are sure you are aware that the Constitution of The Episcopal Church does not allow a bishop to act within any other Diocese on any basis except for episcopal acts and then only by request of the Bishop of that Diocese. (Art. II, Sec. 3). It also provides that a diocese only participates in provincial matters if it consents to such participation. (Art. VII). Further, only the provincial Synod can determine the provincial synodical “rights and privileges of the several dioceses within the Province.” (Canon 1.9.3) and the Synod expressly lacks any “power to regulate or control the internal policy or affairs of any constituent diocese.” (Canon 1.9.8)

Therefore, the bishops of Province IV have no constitutional or canonical grounds for these requests, which relate exclusively and entirely to matters involving the internal policies and affairs of this Diocese. Our decisions to date have been made out of a fully informed concern for the people of South Carolina, which we shall continue to exercise, as we prayerfully believe God directs.

Second, the theological underpinning of your request, Matthew 18:15-20 and your oath, is very troubling. We fail to see how the issuance of quitclaim deeds to the parishes of this diocese could be construed to be a “sin against you”, and of course you have ignored the meeting between “you and him alone” and proceeded to the last scriptural step by “tell[ing] it to the church” through your publication of the matter. As to your oaths, if that perceived basis is to uphold the “doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal church”, then you must realize that your inquiries into the affairs of this diocese, without constitutional or canonical support, are contrary to that oath. the rest

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View a signed copy of the letter.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tim Tebow: God's Quarterback

He has led the Denver Broncos to one improbable victory after another—defying his critics and revealing the deep-seated anxieties in American society about the intertwining of religion and sports.
DECEMBER 10, 2011
By PATTON DODD

On a brisk Thursday evening in mid-November, I sat high in the stands at a Denver Broncos home game, covering the ears of my 4-year-old son as the fans around us launched f-bombs at Tim Tebow, the Broncos' struggling second-year quarterback. Mr. Tebow was ineffective and off-target for most of the game, and one of his more voluble and obnoxious critics was standing right in front of us.

But the heckler's friend wasn't joining in. "Just wait until the end of the fourth quarter," he said. "That's Tebow time."

And so it was. In the waning moments against the New York Jets, Mr. Tebow manufactured a 95-yard game-winning drive, punctuated by his own 20-yard touchdown dash. He brought the Broncos back from imminent defeat, just as he had done in previous weeks against the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs.

And when the shouting was over, Mr. Tebow did what he always does—he pointed skyward and took a knee in prayer. In postgame interviews, the young quarterback often starts by saying, "First, I'd like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" and ends with "God bless." He stresses that football is just a game and that God doesn't care who wins or loses. the rest