Saturday, March 24, 2012

True prayer...

As I see it, true prayer is neither mystical rapture nor ritual observance nor philosophical reflection: it is the outpouring of the soul before a living God, the crying to God “out of the depths.” Such prayer can only be uttered by one convicted of sin by the grace of God and moved to confession by the Spirit of God. True prayer is an encounter with the Holy in which we realize not only our creatureliness and guilt but also the joy of knowing that our sins are forgiven through the atoning death of the divine savior, Jesus Christ. In such an encounter, we are impelled not only to bow before God and seek his mercy but also to offer thanksgiving for grace that goes out to undeserving sinners. ...Donald G. Bloesch image

Bishop Seabury case appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court

Court asked to decide whether the Dennis Canon violates the 1st Amendment
March 24, 2012
By George Conger

Bishop Seabury Church in Groton, Conn., has filed a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court asking for a review of the Connecticut Supreme Court that upheld the Episcopal Church’s Dennis Canon.

Last week lawyers for the former Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut congregation, which now is part of the Anglican Church in North America, filed a 44 page petition with the court asking for review. Only a fraction of the cases appealed to the Supreme Court are reviewed, however there is a likelihood the case may be heard as it covers legal issues addressed in two petitions filed in response to rulings by the Georgia Supreme Court: the case of Christ Church v. the Diocese of Georgia and the case of Timberridge Presbyterian Church v. Presbytery of Greater Atlanta.

The question presented in the Bishop Seabury case to the Supreme Court is:

“Whether the First Amendment, as interpreted by this Court in Jones v. Wolf, 443 U.S. 595 (1979), requires state civil courts to enforce an alleged trust imposed on local church property by provisions in denominational documents, regardless of whether those provisions would be legally cognizable under general-ly applicable rules of state property and trust law. Groton — Bishop Seabury Church has asked the United States Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that says the church and all its property must be turned over to the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.” the rest

Book tells Muslim men how to beat and control their wives

Terry Davidson
Friday, March 23, 2012

Excerpt:
In the book’s opening pages, it is written that “it might be necessary to restrain her with strength or even to threaten her.”

Later, its author advises that “the husband should treat the wife with kindness and love, even if she tends to be stupid and slow sometimes.”

Page 45 contains the rights of the husband, which include his wife’s inability to leave “his house without his permission,” and that his wife must “fulfil his desires” and “not allow herself to be untidy ... but should beautify herself for him ... ”

In terms of physical punishment, the book advises that a husband may scold her, “beat by hand or stick,” withhold money from her or “pull (her) by the ears,” but should “refrain from beating her excessively.” the rest

Televangelists 'defrauded tens of million of dollars from Christian network'

Private jets, 13 mansions and a $100,000 mobile home just for the dogs
By Nina Golgowski
23 March 2012

Two former employees of the world's largest Christian television channel Trinity Broadcasting Network are accusing the non-profit of spending $50 million of its funding on extravagant personal expenses.

Among purchases, the network founded by Televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch, is accused of misappropriating its 'charitable assets' toward a $50 million jet, 13 mansions and a $100,000-mobile home for Mrs Crouch's dogs. the rest

Cheney Undergoes Heart Transplant Surgery .

March 24, 2012
By PETER NICHOLAS

Former Vice President Dick Cheney underwent heart transplant surgery on Saturday and was recovering in the intensive care unit of a northern Virginia hospital, according to his spokeswoman.

Mr. Cheney, who has a long history of heart disease, had been on the list for a heart transplant for more than 20 months, according to the statement released by his office.

Neither he nor his family knows the identity of the heart donor, the statement said, though "they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift.'' the rest

Protests Against HHS Abortifacient Mandate in 140 Cities; Will Media Cover?

By Matthew Balan
March 23, 2012

ABC, CBS, and NBC covered the far-left Occupy Wall Street movement with glee during 2011, devoting 33 stories on the air during the first eleven days of October alone to publicizing the protests. However, the Big Three networks have yet to mention the planned demonstrations in 140 cities across the U.S. today at noon local time against the Obama administration's sterilization, abortifacient, and contraception mandate.

The Coalition to Stop the HHS Mandate, which is being coordinated by the Illinois-based Pro-Life Action League; and includes multiple pro-life, social conservative, and religious groups, including Human Life International, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Alliance Defense Fund, and Priests for Life; have organized the "Stand Up For Religious Freedom" rallies "in defense of religious freedom and STAND UP against the Obama administration's HHS mandate at federal building in cities across the country."

Back on October 5, 2012, NBC's Brian Williams celebrated the arrival of the Occupy movement, describing it as a "massive protest movement" that "could well turn out to be the protest of this current era." One might expect that rallies in 140 cities against the federal government might be describe, at the very least, as a large movement. But given that the media have ignored the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, where tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people protest against abortion, it will not be a complete surprise if the Big Three minimize or omit covering the pro-religious freedom demonstrations. the rest

A.S. Haley: Christ Church Savannah, Bishop Seabury File for Review in Supreme Court

Friday, March 23, 2012

In a well-coordinated move, Christ Church in Savannah, Georgia and Bishop Seabury Church in Groton, Connecticut have each filed a petition for review of the decisions in their respective cases by the United States Supreme Court. (More on the Christ Church filing is here.) They thus join Timberridge Presbytery of Atlanta in asking the high court to correct the wretched excesses wrought by ECUSA and PCUSA as a result of Justice Blackmun's fatuous dictum in Jones v. Wolf, 443 U.S. 595 (1979).

Both of those churches have a provision in their governing documents which purports to declare and impose a trust in their favor on the individual properties of each of thousands of their member parishes. Innocently continuing to maintain and contribute to the improvement of their church buildings, the congregations in those churches never realize that they do not really own their own property -- at least, not until they start to disagree with the drift of their denominations. Then, if they seek legal advice, they all too often find out that their national church has a chokehold on their properties: if they vote to leave, they cannot remain in their buildings, or keep any donated communion vessels, altar cloths or vestments.

In his majority opinion, after holding that Georgia courts constitutionally did not have to defer to church authorities regarding the ownership of parish property, Justice Blackmun invited churches with a national superstructure to modify their governing documents. He wrote: "Alternatively, the constitution of the general church can be made to recite an express trust in favor of the denominational church. The burden involved in taking such steps will be minimal." (443 U.S. at 606.)  the rest

Georgia's 'Mother Church' fight going to Supreme Court

Dog Welcomes Home Soldier...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Christ Church Savannah turns to U.S. Court in property dispute

March 23, 2012
By Jan Skutch

Attorneys for Christ Church Savannah have filed documents asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in litigation they contend deprived them of the Johnson Square church property.

The 45-page document filed Thursday afternoon asks the high court to determine the law on local church property, which it contends has been inconsistently treated in five different jurisdictions considering the issue.

The Supreme Court may accept or reject the request for review.

The basic issue is whether a trust allegedly imposed on local church property in church documents must be treated as legally binding under court rulings and the First Amendment. the rest

The worst job in the world

Rowan Williams’s successor will have an even harder tenure
Mar 24th 2012
The Economist

CHRISTIANITY’S founder told his disciples to expect tribulation in this world. That has been true for Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Announcing on March 16th that he would step down at the end of the year, he said the next head of the English church and the Anglican Communion would need “the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros.”

Archbishop Williams is agreed to have done a heroic job of holding together the national church and the worldwide communion, at a time when sex and sexuality are tearing them apart. Conservatives liked his deep, theologically grounded faith; liberals, including his gay clerical friends, admired his touchy-feely humanity, although they often felt let down. But the strains are growing unbearable.

Two painful episodes loom for the English church. The leadership will lose its battle to dissuade the government from legalising gay marriage. That will expose the gap between liberal bishops who agree with the government, and hardliners in the evangelical parishes who will wish the church had fought harder. The church is also set to agree to the idea of women bishops, with less generous terms for dissenters than Archbishop Williams would have liked. That will alienate Anglo-Catholics. the rest

Philly owes $877,000 for Boy Scouts' eviction case legal fees

March 22, 2012

The city must pay nearly $900,000 after a failed effort to evict the Boy Scouts of America because of the group's ban on gays, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

The post-trial ruling is just the latest twist in a decade-long legal dispute over the Boy Scout oath, which requires members to be "morally straight."

The two sides have sought a compromise that would let the local Boy Scouts chapter keep its rent-free, city-owned headquarters without violating the national Scout policy.

However, a tentative deal struck since the city lost a court case last year has fallen apart. U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter therefore said the city must pay $877,000 for the Scouts' legal fees. the rest

Most audacious plan in 500 years?

March 20, 2012
David Plaza

"You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan. Never knowing for certain," Vice President Biden said during a fundraiser in Morris Township, N.J.

Of course, he was referring to Obama deciding to give the Navy SEALs the green light to attack Bin Laden's Pakistani compound.

Now I'll give Obama credit -- he did give the order to go in and it did only take him 16 hours to make that decision, which should have been remarkably obvious to anyone with a lingering memory of 9/11, but the 'most audacious plan' in 500 years?

Really? the rest

U.S. Silent on Top Saudi Cleric’s Call to ‘Destroy Churches’

By Patrick Goodenough
March 23, 2012

(CNSNews.com) – Ten days after Saudi Arabia’s foremost religious leader called for a demolition of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula – in line with a purported injunction by Mohammed – the U.S. government and other allies of the kingdom have yet to react.

Major media outlets also have largely ignored the incident; a Nexis search finds reporting on the issue has been restricted to blogs and opinion columns, including a Washington Times editorial on March 16. the rest
The Barnabas Fund, a charity that helps Christian minorities in Islamic societies, noted that Asheikh’s comments came against a backdrop of intensifying pressure on Christians in the Middle East as a result of the “Arab spring” and growing dominance of Islamist groups.

The Return of Infanticide

By Chuck Colson
Christian Post Guest Columnist
March 22, 2012

"A person's a person, no matter how small," was the refrain from Dr. Seuss' famous children's story, "Horton Hears a Who!" Horton the elephant has to convince his fellow jungle-dwellers that there really are tiny people on a speck of dust. When they find out Horton is right, they're ashamed of their efforts to destroy the microscopic town of Whoville.

Well, if only modern ethicists were so ethical.

Two professors from the universities of Milan and Melbourne recently published an article in the online Journal of Medical Ethics entitled, "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?"

"We claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be," write Drs. Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. the rest

Sacred Heart University to Name Building for Abortion Backer

by Steven Ertelt
3/22/12

Sacred Heart University (SHU), the second largest Catholic university in the Northeast, has announced it intends to dedicate a new building on campus to a pro-abortion Catholic politician.

The Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic educational ewatchdog group, has the details. According to CNS’ Matthew Archbold:

The new building, named after former WWE CEO and Senatorial candidate Linda McMahon, was made possible by a $5 million gift from McMahon. the rest

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bibles read without prayer...


Bibles read without prayer; sermons heard without prayer; marriages contracted without prayer; journeys undertaken without prayer; residences chosen without prayer; friendships formed without prayer; the daily act of prayer itself hurried over, or gone through without heart: these are the kind of downward steps by which many a Christian descends to a condition of spiritual palsy, or reaches the point where God allows them to have a tremendous fall. ...JC Ryle image by Mac Mitchell

Not kidding: UK Schools ban children making best friends

By HARRY HAWKINS
19th March 2012

TEACHERS are banning schoolkids from having best pals — so they don't get upset by fall-outs.

Instead, the primary pupils are being encouraged to play in large groups.

Educational psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni said the policy has been used at schools in Kingston, South West London, and Surrey.

She added: "I have noticed that teachers tell children they shouldn't have a best friend and that everyone should play together.

"They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But it is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they're learning to deal with it." the rest image by Loren Kerns

Anglican Perspective: Canadian Anglicans


March 22, 2012

This week Canon Phil Ashey discusses his recent training session with Anglicans in Newfoundland, Canada. Two congregations began the AAC's Sure Foundation program and continued their efforts to evangelize and serve their community.

Nearly 1,000 Pakistani women ‘killed for honor’ last year

Thursday, 22 March 2012
By AFP
Islamabad

At least 943 Pakistani women and girls were murdered last year for allegedly defaming their family’s honor, the country’s leading human rights group said Thursday.

The statistics highlight the growing scale of violence suffered by many women in conservative Muslim Pakistan, where they are frequently treated as second-class citizens and there is no law against domestic violence.

Despite progress on better protecting women’s rights, activists say the government needs to do more to prosecute murderers in cases largely dismissed by police as private, family affairs. the rest
“At least 943 women were killed in the name of honor, of which 93 were minors,” wrote the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its annual report.

Court sides with property owners over EPA

MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that property owners have a right to prompt review by a judge of an important tool used by the Environmental Protection Agency to address water pollution.

The court sided with an Idaho couple who object to an EPA order that blocked construction of their new home near a scenic lake and threatened fines of more than $30,000 a day.

Wednesday's decision is a victory for Mike and Chantell Sackett, whose property near Priest Lake has sat undisturbed since the EPA ordered a halt in work in 2007. The agency said part of the property was a wetlands that could not disturbed without a permit.

In an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court rejected EPA's argument that allowing property owners quick access to courts to contest orders like the one issued to the Sacketts would compromise the agency's ability to deal with water pollution. the rest

Wetland? Nah. More Like a Perfect Spot for a Dream Home

Upcoming United Nations Summit Repackages Global Warming Agenda Under the Guise of “Sustainability”

22.03.2012
by Kevin Mooney

Excerpt:
Charles Battig, president of the Piedmont Chapter of Virginia Scientists & Engineers for Energy & Environment (VA-SEEE), notes that in the 1990s “sustainability” joined “smart growth,” “comprehensive planning,” and “growth management” as code words cited by local, national and international agencies to justify government regulations and orders. These terms, says Battig, were popularized in a 1999 White House policy document, “Towards a Sustainable America,” released under President Clinton.

The Obama administration is now codifying the concept. In June 2010, President Obama issued an executive order launching the Ocean Policy Initiative. It calls for imposing federal zoning rules on America’s waterways—rivers and bays, the Great Lakes, and ocean coastal waters—in the name of sustainability.

A year later, in June 2011, the President issued another executive order creating the White House Rural Council, which is charged with directing government agencies to “enhance the federal engagement in rural communities.” The order, which no doubt will be used to regulate agriculture and land use, declares “strong sustainable rural communities are essential to winning the future and ensuring American competitiveness in years to come.”

Last August the National Research Council (NRC) placed its seal of approval on the concept of sustainability when it issued a report laying out what it called an “operational framework for integrating sustainability as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of the EPA.” (The NRC is administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineers and the Institute for Medicine.)  
the rest

Gratitude and happiness

Virginia middle school teacher had students do 'opposition research' on GOP candidates

March 22, 2012
FoxNews

A Virginia middle school teacher is under fire after making his students do "opposition research" on Republican presidential candidates, according to a report.

Eighth-graders at Liberty Middle School in Fairfax County were assigned to research the backgrounds and positions of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul and find any “weaknesses,” according to The Daily Caller.

The students were then required to draft a strategy paper, mapping out how to exploit those weaknesses and then research how to forward it to the Obama campaign.

“This assignment was just creepy beyond belief -- like something out of East Germany during the Cold War,” a father of one of the students who asked for anonymity told The Daily Caller. the rest

Another attempt to protect chaplains' conscience rights

Chad Groening
OneNewsNow
3/21/2012

An advocate for America's fighting men and women says it's essential for Congress to pass a proposed amendment that protects traditional values in the armed forces.

Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) has introduced H.R. 3828, which has been inserted into the 2012 House Defense Authorization Bill. It is designed to define and protect marriage and the rights of conscience in the military. It is similar to an amendment approved by the House last year. That measure, however, was removed by the Senate-House conference committee.

Elaine Donnelly is president of the Center for Military Readiness (CMR). She says military chaplains who espouse the biblical view of homosexuality are being pressured to conform to the new law that allows "gays" to serve openly in the military. the rest

Episcopal Diocese closes historic St. Margaret’s Church

By Christina Leach Phillips
Thursday, March 22, 2012

FLEMING ISLAND -- With a dwindling congregation of about 40 members and a shortage of funds, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Hibernia, on Fleming Island officially closed its doors after holding its last worship service March 4.

The closing left some members surprised and upset, one parishioner said.

"The congregation is very upset about this -- they were doing everything they could, but it wasn’t enough … People were crying," said Anna Grass, who attended the final service. "Some of these people had been there for 30 years."

The church’s Pine Avenue campus includes an original Carpenter Gothic chapel, built in 1878 with its adjoining cemetery. The chapel is one of the five oldest wooden church buildings still in use in Florida.

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church and the cemetery are on the National Register of Historic Places. As part of the restructuring, the Diocese said it will take into account the historical significance of the chapel. the rest

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What the world needs is more believers who want to do God's will...

What the world needs is more believers who want to do God's will as much as unbelievers want to do their own will...It is wonderful to see what miracles God can work in wills that are completely surrendered to Him. He makes hard things easy and bitter things sweet. It isn't that He puts an easy thing in the place of the hard one; He actually changes the hard thing into an easy one. ...Catherine Jackson image

Women and Religious Liberty

The HHS mandate is a fundamental assault on our constitutional rights.
March 21, 2012

For Jeanne Monahan, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, defending Americans’ religious liberty is a matter of human dignity. She testified before the House Judiciary Committee last month during their hearing on “Executive Overreach: The HHS Mandate Versus Religious Liberty.”

Monahan talks with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about the perniciousness of the coercive HHS mandate for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs, and some of the common myths about it. the rest

European ruling: Gay marriage is not a 'human right'

By Steve Doughty
20 March 2012

Same-sex marriages are not a human right, European judges have ruled.

Their decision shreds the claim by ministers that gay marriage is a universal human right and that same-sex couples have a right to marry because their mutual commitment is just as strong as that of husbands and wives.

The ruling was made by judges of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg following a case involving a lesbian couple in a civil partnership who complained the French courts would not allow them to adopt a child as a couple. the rest
The ruling also says that if gay couples are allowed to marry, any church that offers weddings will be guilty of discrimination if it declines to marry same-sex couples.

Notre Dame offers pro-abortion “internship opportunities” to students

March 19, 2012

The University of Notre Dame – a Catholic institution – is offering students “summer internship opportunities” at several notorious pro-abortion organizations. “Our majors have interned at the following organizations,” states the university’s web site, which includes:

•Center for American Progress
•Emily’s List
•Feminist Majority Foundation
•Human Rights Watch
•Institute for Women's Policy Research
•National Women’s Law Center
•Think Progress
•United Nations Population Fund

the rest

Massacre of French Jewish Children Was Muslim Terrorist Attack

Abigail R. Esman, Contributor
3/21/2012

The Washington Post and France24 have reported that French police have raided a Toulouse home to arrest the suspect in the shooting deaths of three children and an adult at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. The suspect, an Algerian-born French citizen, reportedly told the police that he committed the killings “to avenge Palestinian children” – ironic at a moment when Palestinians have been shooting rockets into Israel. According to the Washington Post report,
Gueant described the suspect as a French citizen, 24, who has spent time with Islamic groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. News reports said he was of Algerian origin and had invoked the al-Qaeda terrorism network in his contacts with police in shouted conversations through the locked door of an apartment.
the rest

The Jihad in France
Mohammed Merah is suspected of killing seven people in eight days, including three Jewish children.

Sweden: Nation doubles down on homeschooling

No 'religious or philosophical' reason valid for parents to teach children
by Bob Unruh
posted mar. 21, 2012

Swedish officials are doubling down on homeschooling with a recently uncovered statement from the European nation’s ambassador to the United States that there is no need – ever – for homeschooling.

The comment from Ambassador Jonas Hafstrom is that all children must be taught the state-mandated beliefs because it is their right.

“The government does not find that homeschooling is necessary for religious or philosophical reasons,” Hafstrom said in the statement, which was quoted by Michael Donnelly of the Home School Legal Defense Association in a commentary about new attacks on parental rights.

Donnelly explained that the HSLDA had obtained a copy of a letter from Hafstrom to U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. Blunt had written Hafstrom asking about the case involving the Himmelstrand family, whose members now face fines of more than $26,000 for homeschooling.
the rest
Experts in homeschooling battles note that Sweden is becoming another Germany. In Germany, according to Practical Homeschool Magazine, one of the first acts by Adolf Hitler when he moved into power was to create the governmental Ministry of Education and give it control of all schools and school-related issues.

Swedish Home-School Family ‘Broken to Pieces’

Sweden's anti-home schooling attitude out of hand

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Church giving drops $1.2 billion reports 2012 Yearbook of Churches

New York, March 20, 2012 -- Churches continue to feel the effects of "the Great Recession" of 2008 as contributions dropped $1.2 billion, according to the National Council of Churches' 2012 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.

Membership trends in denominations reporting to the Yearbook remain stable, with growing churches still growing and declining churches still declining, reports the Rev. Dr. Eileen Lindner, the Yearbook's editor.

The 80th annual edition of the Yearbook, one of the oldest and most respected sources of church membership and financial trends in the U.S. and Canada, may be ordered for $55 each at www.yearbookofchurches.org.

Not all churches report their financial information to the Yearbook, Lindner said, but the downward trends are reasons for concern. the rest
Among mainline denominations, the sharpest rate of membership decline (down 5.90 percent to 4,274,855 members) was posted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


Others posting declines include the Presbyterian Church USA (down 3.45 percent to 2,675,873), the Episcopal Church (down 2.71 percent to 1,951,907), the United Church of Christ (down 2.02 percent to 1,058,423), the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod (down 1.45 percent to 2,278,586), the United Methodist Church (down 1.22 percent to 7,679,850), and the American Baptist Churches USA (down .19 percent to 1,308,054).

Mexico hit by strong earthquake near Acapulco

20 March 2012

A large earthquake has struck near Acapulco on Mexico's Pacific coast.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake had a magnitude of 7.6 and put the epicentre at 15 miles (525 km) east of Ometepec, in Guerrero state.

Witnesses said buildings swayed in the capital, Mexico City, sending office workers rushing out onto the streets.

It was not immediately clear whether the earthquake had caused any significant damage. the rest

Strong 7.6 earthquake rocks Mexico City

Aftershock shakes Mexico City after 7.6-magnitude earthquake

Flimflammery with ECUSA’s Draft Budget

A.S. Haley
March 20, 2012

At the end of its meeting in Maryland this past January, ECUSA’s Executive Council adopted a draft budget for the next triennium. The draft was immediately handed off to the Church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance, which has the final responsibility to propose a recommended budget to the 77th General Convention at its gathering this July, in Indianapolis.

I wrote at the time about the Council’s somewhat tortuous process of producing the budget (see here and here). Anyone could read between the lines to see that there were different factions vying to implement their respective agendas, and that their clashes at the Council meeting produced confusion, despair at the disjointed process, and general disgruntlement with the leadership.

Having spent some time with the draft budget in the interim, I now understand more clearly the frustrations to which the news reports of the Council’s meeting alluded. The end result of three days’ deliberations was not a real budget at all. Instead, it was what the Executive Committee could cobble together in haste before the meeting ended, and then get the members to vote for because they were all out of time, and had their planes to catch. (Yes, the Executive Council of the Church—meant to function as the interim arm of the General Convention during the 154 out of every 156 weeks in the triennium in which the latter is not meeting—itself has an Executive Committee, to function in the interim of the 50.7 out of every 52 weeks every year during which the Council is not meeting. Are you beginning to see how all this works?) the rest

NY Trinity Church Rector Accused of Lavish Overspending

By Anugrah Kumar
March 19, 2012

Ten of the 22 members of Trinity Church's board of directors have been forced out or quit over alleged subversion of the institution's mission and extravagant spending by the rector of the Episcopal church in Lower Manhattan, the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper.

Former directors accuse 67-year-old Cooper, who heads the world's richest Anglican parish with over $1 billion in Manhattan real estate, of departing from Trinity's original mission and wasting money, New York Post reported Sunday.

Accusations against Cooper include misreporting of numbers of worshippers on Sunday services; demands for a $5.5 million SoHo townhouse; an allowance for his Florida condo and a fat salary; trips around the world at church's expense; wasting more than $1 million on development plans for a luxury condo tower; and spending $5 million on a publicity campaign. His compensation was worth $1.3 million in 2010 and it included a salary of $346,391 and deferred compensation of $507,940.

A former board member alleged that Cooper concentrated on studying the condo development, "not at all paying attention to the principal focus of those that hired him, which was try to solve the problem and try to make the church more of a powerful force in the philanthropy world." the rest

The devil is a theologian

03/16/2012
By Mark Judge

Excerpt:
Fr. Guarnizo has just issued a statement about what actually happened, and I believe him. In the original version of the story in The Washington Post, written by Michelle Boorstein — a reporter whose problems I will address shortly — it appeared as if Barbara Johnson had arrived at her mother’s funeral, and in a casual chat with Fr. Guarnizo before Mass had introduced her girlfriend. Then she was denied communion.

Why didn’t I listen to my instincts, and the wisdom I have acquired about the left over the years?

The left lies.

And they lie in particularly slippery ways. I have written several articles over the last couple years about one of my favorite films, “The Exorcist,” and one of the deepest observations of the book and film is that the demonic does not necessarily come storming down the street on horses with flaming swords held high. It plays word games. It shames and bullies. It attacks the soul through sexual dehumanization. When Christ was in the desert fasting, Satan did not arrive in a thunderous chimera of lightning. He attempted to fool Jesus by quoting scripture. As Pope Benedict noted in his book about Jesus, “It turns out that the devil is a theologian!” Indeed.

Fr. Guarnizo has now issued his own account of what happened. According to him, Barbara Johnson met with Fr. Guarnizo before Mass and intentionally introduced her girlfriend as her “lover.” Johnson then left, and when Fr. Guarnizo attempted to follow her, Johnson’s lover blocked his way. When Johnson presented herself for communion, Fr. Guarnizo quietly whispered to her that he could not give her the Eucharist. She then went to a Eucharistic minister a few feet away, who gave her communion. the rest 

The Fertility Implosion

By DAVID BROOKS
March 12, 2012

When you look at pictures from the Arab spring, you see these gigantic crowds of young men, and it confirms the impression that the Muslim Middle East has a gigantic youth bulge — hundreds of millions of young people with little to do. But that view is becoming obsolete. As Nicholas Eberstadt and Apoorva Shah of the American Enterprise Institute point out, over the past three decades, the Arab world has undergone a little noticed demographic implosion. Arab adults are having many fewer kids.

Usually, high religious observance and low income go along with high birthrates. But, according to the United States Census Bureau, Iran now has a similar birth rate to New England — which is the least fertile region in the U.S.

The speed of the change is breathtaking. A woman in Oman today has 5.6 fewer babies than a woman in Oman 30 years ago. Morocco, Syria and Saudi Arabia have seen fertility-rate declines of nearly 60 percent, and in Iran it’s more than 70 percent. These are among the fastest declines in recorded history.   the rest

For decades, people took dynamism and economic growth for granted and saw population growth as a problem. Now we’ve gone to the other extreme, and it’s clear that young people are the scarce resource. In the 21st century, the U.S. could be the slowly aging leader of a rapidly aging world.       

Massive, systemic Planned Parenthood fraud on brink of exposure?

Jill Stanek
posted march 20, 2012

The backstory, from LifeNews.com, March 12:
Former Planned Parenthood abortion facility director Abby Johnson has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the abortion business claiming its Texas affiliate knowingly sent in about $6 million in false claims to Medicaid and covered up its actions….
The formerly sealed federal “whistleblower” suit… was made public [March 9] and was filed in 2009 by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of Johnson….
The suit alleges that Planned Parenthood knowingly committed Medicaid fraud from 2007 to 2009 by improperly seeking reimbursements from the Texas Women’s Health Program for products and services not reimbursable by that program.

Johnson was the third former PP employee to file fraud charges, joining Victor Gonzalez, who filed a complaint against Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California in 2008, and Karen Reynolds, who filed a complaint last year against the same affiliate as Johnson, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. the rest

Whistleblower Lawsuit Alleges $6 Million Fraud by Planned Parenthood
A former Planned Parenthood clinic director has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against her former employer, Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas (now known as Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast), charging that between 2007 and 2009 the abortion provider filed fraudulent Medicaid claims totaling nearly $6 million...

Albert Mohler: Rest in Print, Britannica: An Elegy for an Encyclopedia

Monday, March 19, 2012

And then they were no more. Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. announced Tuesday that it would no longer offer its venerable reference set in a printed edition. Western Civilization just took another hard blow to the chin.

“It’s a rite of passage in this new era,” said Jorge Cruz, president of the Chicago-based company. He went on to celebrate the new digital age. “Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continually updated, it’s much more expansive, and it has multimedia.” the rest image by Nathan Borror
I admit to believing that this is a loss, even if inevitable. I also believe that the experience of reading the Bible on an iPhone is radically different from the experience of reading the Bible in printed form, feeling the texture of the book as our eyes take in the inspired text. The digital age brings wonders, but subtle dangers as well. Multimedia publishing can offer riches, but maybe some things are better received without digital sound and fury.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 33


March 20, 2012

This weeks episode is devoted to the man who served as the Archbishop of Canterbury for the last 10 years. Indeed Episode 33 is everything you wanted to know about Rowan Williams, but were afraid to ask. So fear no more brave viewer.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Lord will give grace and glory...

The Lord will give grace and glory. (Psalm 84:11)

Grace is what we need just now, and it is to be had freely. What can be freer than a gift? Today we shall receive sustaining, strengthening, sanctifying, satisfying grace. He has given daily grace until now, and as for the future, that grace is still sufficient. If we have but little grace the fault must lie in ourselves; for the Lord is not straitened, neither is He slow to bestow it in abundance. We may ask for as much as we will and never fear a refusal. He giveth liberally and upbraideth not.

The Lord may not give gold, but He will give grace: He may not give gain, but He will give grace. He will certainly send us trial, but He will give grace in proportion thereto. We may be called to labor and to suffer, but with the call there will come all the grace required;

What an "end" is that in the text—"and glory!" We do not need glory yet, and we are not yet fit for it; but we shall have it in due order. After we have eaten the bread of grace, we shall drink the wine of glory. We must go through the holy, which is grace, to the holiest of all, which is glory. These words and glory are enough to make a man dance for joy. A little while—a little while, and then glory forever! ...CH Spurgeon image

Al Qaida Gunmen Murder American Teacher In Yemen for Spreading Christianity

Gunmen shot dead an American teacher in the Yemeni province of Taiz on Sunday, two defense ministry officials said.Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula -- the terror network's affiliate in Yemen -- claimed responsibility for the killing.
Sunday, March 18, 2012

In a text message sent to Yemeni media outlets, the group said the victim was spreading Christianity to the Yemeni people, calling him one of the biggest missionaries in the country.

Authorities have not said who killed the teacher, whom the head of security in the province, Mohamed Saidi, identified as Joel Sharm.

Saidi said Sharm had been working at a Swedish-run language center in Taiz since 2010.

The U.S. Embassy in the capital Sanaa said it had heard reports of an American death and was investigating. It did not confirm an American had been killed. the rest

Gunman kills American teacher in city in Yemen, official tells NBC

US urges justice over American killed in Yemen

To Fix a Heart, Doctors Train Girl's Body to Grow New Part

March 19, 2012
By RON WINSLOW
New Haven, Conn.

Four-year-old Angela Irizarry was born with a single pumping chamber in her heart, a potentially lethal defect. To fix the problem, Angela is growing a new blood vessel in her body in an experimental treatment that could advance the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine.

Doctors at Yale University here implanted in Angela's chest in August a bioabsorbable tube that is designed to dissolve over time. The tube was seeded with cells, including stem cells, that had been harvested from Angela's bone marrow. Since then, the doctors say, the tube has disappeared, leaving in its place a conduit produced by Angela's cells that functions like a normal blood vessel.

"We're making a blood vessel where there wasn't one," says Christopher Breuer, the Yale pediatric surgeon who led the 12-hour procedure to implant the device. "We're inducing regeneration."

Angela, who had little stamina before the operation, now has the energy of a regular kid. She is on several medications, but Dr. Breuer and her parents think she'll be able to start school in the fall. the rest

Supreme Court rules against campus Christian clubs

3/19/2012

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from Christian groups that challenged a discrimination policy at California state universities.

The justices on Monday are leaving in place a federal appeals court ruling that found that the policy doesn't violate the Constitution. The policy says officially recognized campus groups can't discriminate based on religion or sexual orientation.

A Christian fraternity and a sorority at San Diego State University sued in 2005, arguing that the policy violates their religious freedom. The groups are restricted to Christian members. the rest

Egypt's grief-stricken Christians fear a new wave of persecution

Death of Coptic Pope Shenouda III leaves millions of worshippers around the country without a spiritual leader
Patrick Cockburn
Monday 19 March 2012

The death of Pope Shenouda III, who led Egypt's Coptic Christian Church for 40 years, has increased fears among Copts that they will face persecution and discrimination as Islamic parties become more powerful.

Hundreds of thousands of mourners, many crying, packed the streets around St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo yesterday as they waited to file past the body of Pope Shenouda, dressed in ceremonial robes and sitting in the papal chair. Ashraf, 26, a blacksmith, said as he stood beside the outer wall of the cathedral that "the very existence of Shenouda made us feel protected".

A tired-looking woman, who would not give her name, was sitting on the pavement holding a child. She said: "I wish I could get in to see the body. I feel worse that our protector has gone. God knows what is going to happen." the rest

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia: 'Destroy All the Churches of the Region'

Obama silent while Saudi grand mufti targets Christianity
March 16, 2012

If the pope called for the destruction of all the mosques in Europe, the uproar would be cataclysmic. Pundits would lambaste the church, the White House would rush out a statement of deep concern, and rioters in the Middle East would kill each other in their grief. But when the most influential leader in the Muslim world issues a fatwa to destroy Christian churches, the silence is deafening.

On March 12, Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.” The ruling came in response to a query from a Kuwaiti delegation over proposed legislation to prevent construction of churches in the emirate. The mufti based his decision on a story that on his deathbed, Muhammad declared, “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula.” This passage has long been used to justify intolerance in the kingdom. Churches have always been banned in Saudi Arabia, and until recently Jews were not even allowed in the country. Those wishing to worship in the manner of their choosing must do so hidden away in private, and even then the morality police have been known to show up unexpectedly and halt proceedings.

This is not a small-time radical imam trying to stir up his followers with fiery hate speech. This was a considered, deliberate and specific ruling from one of the most important leaders in the Muslim world. It does not just create a religious obligation for those over whom the mufti has direct authority; it is also a signal to others in the Muslim world that destroying churches is not only permitted but mandatory. the rest

Gunman Kills 4 at a Jewish School in France

By SCOTT SAYARE and STEVEN ERLANGER
March 19, 2012

TOULOUSE, France — A man opened fire outside a Jewish school in southwest France on Monday morning, killing four people, three of them children, and wounding another, officials said. It was the third killing of unarmed people in the region in little over a week, and the police said the same gun was used in all three attacks.

Witnesses said that a man fled the scene in Toulouse on a motorbike. Last week, a man on a motorbike killed three French paratroopers and critically wounded another in two separate shootings, police officials said. The soldiers were all Arab or black, but were paratroopers from a unit that fought in Afghanistan.

There has been no claim of responsibility for any of the murders, which the French police are treating as acts of terrorism. the rest

The New Science of the Birth and Death of Words

Have physicists discovered the evolutionary laws of language in Google's library?
March 16, 2012

By CHRISTOPHER SHEA
Can physicists produce insights about language that have eluded linguists and English professors? That possibility was put to the test this week when a team of physicists published a paper drawing on Google's massive collection of scanned books. They claim to have identified universal laws governing the birth, life course and death of words.

The paper marks an advance in a new field dubbed "Culturomics": the application of data-crunching to subjects typically considered part of the humanities. Last year a group of social scientists and evolutionary theorists, plus the Google Books team, showed off the kinds of things that could be done with Google's data, which include the contents of five-million-plus books, dating back to 1800.

Published in Science, that paper gave the best-yet estimate of the true number of words in English—a million, far more than any dictionary has recorded (the 2002 Webster's Third New International Dictionary has 348,000). More than half of the language, the authors wrote, is "dark matter" that has evaded standard dictionaries. the rest  image by Chris Dlugosz

Dr John Sentamu too old to be Archbishop of Canterbury, say critics

by Ruth Gledhill and Ruth Maclean
From: The Times
March 19, 2012

LEADING Anglicans are lobbying against Dr John Sentamu, the favourite candidate to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury, by suggesting that he is too old.

Dr Sentamu, whom liberals regard as too conservative on gay marriage, emerged as an early favourite to replace Rowan Williams when he steps down at the end of the year.

But critics have privately questioned the African-born archbishop's suitability for the role, pointing out that, at 62, he is already a year older than Dr Williams.

One insider said: "Just as the initials ABC are used to designate the Archbishop of Canterbury, the initials ABY have been used for York. But now, for those against him, they are being used to mean 'Anyone But York'." the rest

Anglican Ink: Statement by the Archbishop of Sydney on the resignation of Dr. Rowan Williams

First Private Lawsuit Filed Against Contraception Mandate

by Dr. Susan Berry
posted March 19, 2012

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of a private business owner from Missouri who claims that the HHS contraception mandate is in violation of his First Amendment-protected religious liberties. The lawsuit is the first filed by a private citizen against HHS regarding the contraception mandate that requires employers to purchase health insurance coverage, for their employees, that includes free contraceptives, sterilization procedures, and abortion-inducing drugs. To date, six lawsuits have been brought against HHS by religious schools and institutions that are challenging the mandate.

Frank R. O’Brien, a Catholic, is the chairman of O’Brien Industrial Holdings, LLC, the parent company of the Christy family of companies that explores, mines, and processes refractory and ceramic raw materials. According to Mr. O’Brien, the philosophical foundation of his businesses are his religious beliefs, as evidenced by the statement on his company’s website which announces that its mission is “to make our labor a pleasing offering to the Lord while enriching our families and society.” the rest

Obamacare turning 2, costs still rising as point of no return nears

Exit the Archbishop

Rowan Williams leaves the Church of England and the Anglican Communion with some unresolved questions.
By John O'Sullivan, NRO
March 19, 2012

The first thing to be said about Dr. Rowan Williams is that he is by common consent a subtle theologian, a sensitive pastoral priest, and a genuinely good and holy man, because a great many less flattering things will be said about him in the next few months, some of them further down this column. Dr. Williams announced last Friday that he intended to resign at the end of the year as Archbishop of Canterbury and therefore as spiritual leader of the Church of England and, by extension, of the 77 million–strong Anglican Communion around the world.

His announcement came as a surprise. He had been appointed archbishop only ten years ago at the age of 52. As archbishops go, he was a mere stripling. The general expectation had been that he would serve a good round 20 years before handing in his miter. But when the initial shock had faded, his resignation seemed, however regrettably, the right decision.

His tenure had been littered with avoidable errors — mainly bold statements that needed immediate corrections that themselves then needed further corrections. He was the angel who rushed in where journalists, policemen, politicians, and cynics of every kind feared to tread. He would then fall with innocent surprise through a series of trapdoors marked “partisan politics,” “Islam,” and, riskiest of all, “sexual politics.”

The trapdoor through which he plunged most frequently was partisan politics. Like almost all Anglican bishops, he was a man of the Left, and his political sermons reflected the fact. Like his fellow bishops too, he seemed more self-confident breezily issuing pronouncements on political questions than agonizing over religious ones. the rest

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Free Sterilizations Must be Offered to All College Women, Says HHS

By Terence P. Jeffrey
March 17, 2012

(CNSNews.com) - All student health care plans covering female college students in the United States must include coverage for free voluntary sterilization surgery, the Department of Health and Human Services announced late Friday afternoon.

Women of college age who do not attend school will also get free sterilization coverage whether they are insured through an employer, their parents, or some form of government-subsidized plan.

All student health plans, HHS said Friday as it finalized a new regulation under the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) must cover the full set of cost-free women’s “preventive services” that HHS ordered last month must be covered by all U.S. health care plans. the rest
The study said that 16.7 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 have been sterilized. This includes 4.5 percent of American women ages 15 to 44 who have never been married.

CHURCH OF NIGERIA REACTS TO ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY’S RESIGNATION

Press statement
posted March 18, 2012

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family. Unfortunately, he is leaving behind a Communion in tatters: highly polarized, bitterly factionalized, with issues of revisionist interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and human sexuality as stumbling blocks to oneness, evangelism and mission all around the Anglican world.

It might not have been entirely his own making, but certainly “crucified under Pontius Pilate”. The lowest ebb of this degeneration came in 2008, when there were, so to say, two “Lambeth” Conferences one in the UK, and an alternative one, GAFCON in Jerusalem. The trend continued recently when many Global South Primates decided not to attend the last Primates’ meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

Since Dr. Rowan Williams did not resign in 2008, over the split Lambeth Conference, one would have expected him to stay on in office, and work assiduously to ‘mend the net’ or repair the breach, before bowing out of office. The only attempt, the covenant proposal, was doomed to fail from the start, as “two cannot walk together unless they have agreed”.

For us, the announcement does not present any opportunity for excitement. It is not good news here, until whoever comes as the next leader pulls back the Communion from the edge of total destruction. To this end, we commit our Church, the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) to serious fasting and prayers that God will do “a new thing”, in the Communion.

Nevertheless, we join others to continue in prayer for Dr. Rowan Williams and his family for a more fruitful endeavour in their post – Canterbury life.

+Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria
Here (Image by Raymond Dague)