Friday, May 04, 2012

O Thou who camest from above...

O Thou who camest from above,
The pure celestial fire to impart
Kindle a flame of sacred love
Upon the mean altar of my heart.

There let it for thy glory burn
With inextinguishable blaze,
And trembling to its source return,
In humble prayer and fervent praise.

Jesus, confirm my heart's desire
To work and speak and think for thee;
Still let me guard the holy fire,
And still stir up thy gift in me.

Ready for all thy perfect will,
My acts of faith and love repeat,
Till death thy endless mercies seal,
And make my sacrifice complete.
...Charles Wesley image by Angus MacRae

Virginia Anglican Congregation Stands in Faith Despite Leaving Property

Church of the Apostles, Fairfax, and Episcopal Diocese End Property Dispute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(via email)
May 4, 2012

Church of the Apostles, an Anglican congregation located in Fairfax, Va., today announced that it has reached a final settlement of its lawsuit with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church. Under the settlement, Apostles will transfer its buildings and land, $230,000, and some personal property to the Episcopal Diocese. There is a mutual release of all claims. Despite the high cost of its 2006 decision to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church, Apostles looks forward with great excitement and confidence to continuing its robust and spirit-filled ministry at another location. Apostles is grateful to be walking this new path with other area congregations, as part of the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, formed to reflect our common understanding of Anglican traditions and the historic Christian faith.

David Harper, Apostles Rector, said: “Although the settlement involves the loss of our church home, which has been our base for spreading the Gospel for almost 40 years, we realize that this is the appropriate time to leave it behind. God is in control of our past, our present, and our future, and we trust that in time He will help us obtain a new church home of our own. We are seeking His guidance as we move forward, continuing our focus on exuberant worship and local and worldwide ministries of hope and healing through the power of the Holy Spirit. We also continue to embrace our unique synthesis of the Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Catholic traditions: “Three Steams, One River.” At Apostles, we have always believed that our church is its people and programs, not its buildings. This experience has only served to reinforce that reality.”

“We are deeply grateful to be able to hold our regular Sunday worship services at Whole Word Fellowship in Oakton, Va. at 3:30 PM, and to use facilities that other area churches have generously made available for our various ministry needs. We also appreciate the grace extended by the Episcopal Diocese over the period in which the settlement was negotiated, and we agreed to go our separate ways,” concluded Harper.

Church of the Apostles is a member congregation of the newly established Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, a regional and growing diocese of the Anglican Church in North America, dedicated to reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. The Diocese consists of 35 member congregations.

Christian Slaughter in Nigeria

by Faith J. H. McDonnell
May 4th, 2012

Are they terrorists yet? Boko Haram, an Islamist sect seeking to impose Sharia throughout Nigeria, attacked three church services on Sunday, April 29, 2012. The latest slaughters added twenty-seven more dead to 900+ victims of the past two years’ efforts by Boko Haram to kill all the Christians in northern Nigeria. In recent months, the sect has also been marking the houses of Christians in the north, targeting them for killing, forcing thousands to flee from their homes.

On the morning of April 29, Boko Haram struck Catholic and Protestant worship services simultaneously at Bayero University in Kano. Twenty-two so farhave been confirmed dead, and twenty-three wounded. In the evening they attacked a church service in Jere, near Maiduguri, Borno State, killing another five people.

U.S. Congressmen Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Patrick Meehan (R-PA) recently wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging that she designate the group as a terrorist organization. Meehan’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence released an extensive, bi-partisan report on Boko Haram as an “emerging threat to the U.S. Homeland.” But the State Department continues to downplay Boko Haram’s Islamist nature, preferring to see the terrorist murderers – of whom even the Nigerian police are afraid – as victims of poverty and marginalization. the rest

The Avengers



Review at ChristianCinema.com

Christians 'Most Persecuted' Religious Group in the World, Says Expert

By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post Reporter
May 4, 2012

WASHINGTON – The head of a California-based evangelical religious liberty group stated Thursday that Christianity is presently the most persecuted religion on earth based on evidence gathered.

Dr. Carl Moeller told The Christian Post at an event on rising religious intolerance abroad that Christians are "the most persecuted in the world" when the nonprofit examined religious groups suffering from increased persecution.

"In terms of sheer numbers, the large size of the Christian populations around the world, where they're repressed or restricted… Whether you count martyrs, those killed, or you count those living in regimes, sizable Christian populations live under extreme restrictions in places like China, Indonesia, and of course the Middle East," said Moeller. the rest

And Then the Nun Lost It!

May 3, 2012
By Nicholas G. Hahn III

When the Vatican ordered the supervision of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious last month, the 1,500 members flipped their habits. They claimed to be "stunned by the conclusions of the doctrinal assessment."

Many, many liberal commentators took up their cause. Pope Benedict XVI and company, we were told, were picking on little old nuns. For shame!

But these aren't your mother's, er, sisters, as I discovered the hard way. I was at a movie screening in Beverly Hills for For Greater Glory -- a dramatization of Mexico's Catholic revolt against a viciously anti-clerical government -- and so was a Pauline sister. We got to chatting.

She initially was quite cordial. We talked about our travels and she invited me to visit her order's bookstore on Chicago's Michigan Avenue. When I asked in passing what she thought of the recent Roman order, she became irate. "The Vatican has become a patriarchal institution in need of serious change," the sister sputtered.

Now, I could have let that pass. Instead, I admitted how I thought the Bishops may have a point. And they do. The Vatican wasn't targeting all nuns. It was singling out the most activist among them, nuns who hold "public witness events" that are actually full-fledged demonstrations "promoting social, economic, and earth justice."
the rest

Rod Dreher on Maureen Dowd
...What strikes me is the total amateurishness of a paper of the Times's caliber. Let me make this perfectly clear: I'm not objecting to the stance Dowd and Kristof are taking on the nun controversy (though I disagree with it). I'm objecting to the fact that neither columnist gives any indication of understanding the nature of the issue here, and its complexity...

More Catholic College Holding LGBT Graduations

by Jason St. Amand
Thursday May 3, 2012

A number of Catholic colleges around the country are holding special graduation ceremonies geared toward LGBT students, the Cardinal Newman Society Blog reported.

Some schools are calling the special events "lavender graduations," including Georgetown University. The college’s president John DeGioia is scheduled to deliver a speech at the school’s LGBT-friendly ceremony and the university’s website describes its lavender graduation as "a special ceremony for LGBTQ and Ally undergraduate and graduate students to acknowledge their achievements, contributions, and unique experiences at Georgetown University."

The ceremony’s keynote speaker is Melissa L. Bradley -- a Georgetown alumna and the CEO of the Tides Foundation. The Tides Foundation is an organization that has made grants to a number of LGBT-friendly groups, such as ACLU, Lambda Legal, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and many more.

The College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y., also celebrated a lavender graduation. The school said the reception was "an opportunity for the Saint Rose community to acknowledge and honor the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allies for their achievements and contributions to not only the community but also to the college." The school’s website notes that several of the university’s officials will speak at the event and it is an opportunity for LGBT students to "cross the lavender stage to celebrate your success and to receive a Lavender certificate as well as a rainbow tassel."

Next week, St. Mary’s College of California will host their sixth annual Lavender Graduate Celebration. the rest

Family Breakdown at the Heart of Global Aging Crisis

May 03, 2012
By Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D.

(C-FAM) Is family breakdown the cause or the cure for the global crisis of population decline? Two new articles in top foreign policy journals raise the question.

"As the flight from marriage and the normalization of divorce has recast living arrangements in Japan, the cohort of married fertile adults has plummeted in size," Nicholas Eberstadt says. "And marriage is the only real path to parenthood. Unwed motherhood remains, so to speak, inconceivable because of the enduring disgrace conferred by out-of-wedlock births. In effect, the Japanese have embraced voluntary mass childlessness." Eberstadt is a demographer and political economist with the American Enterprise Institute. His essay appeared in the latest volume of the Wilson Quarterly.

The answer to population decline according to another expert is gender equality, managed immigration, and "the acceptance of non-traditional family structures, such as unmarried cohabitation. After all," Steven Philip Kramer noted in the New York Times, "the countries most committed to the traditional family, such as Germany, Italy and Japan, have the lowest birthrates. Countries with high birthrates, in contrast, usually also have large numbers of children born out of wedlock." Kramer teaches at the National Defense University in Washington, DC and his views were also published in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs.

While Kramer's recommendations for non-traditional families focus on the number of children born, other experts warn that children's quality of life suffers, as does the national economy. "In Sweden, where cohabitation enjoys widespread acceptance and legal support, cohabiting families are less stable than married families," a report from the Social Trends Institute says. Children born to cohabiting couples were 75% more likely than children born to married couples to see their parents break up by the age of 15, even while the percentage of single-parent households in Sweden nearly doubled from 11% in 1985 to 19% in 2008. Out-of-wedlock births are the "new normal" in much of the world where 40% of all children are born without married parents.
 the rest
"Men who get and stay married work harder, smarter, and longer hours, and they earn between 10 and 24 percent more money," the report says. "Children in the United States who are raised outside of an intact, married home are two to three times more likely to suffer from social and psychological problems, such as delinquency, depression, and dropping out of high school."

Bishop of London welcomes FCA

May 3rd, 2012
By Chris Sugden, CEN

At an evening gathering of over 500 Anglicans in the Emmanuel Centre, Westminster, on Thursday 26 April, the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (UK and Ireland) hosted scores of senior Anglican leaders from 30 countries who arrived from conference at St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, in a fleet of red double decker buses. They were welcomed by the Bishop of London who encouraged them in evangelism. They also heard of Christian witness amid the terrorism in Nigeria and countries of Central Asia.

The chairman of the Global FCA, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya said: “You are coming under growing pressure to compromise the gospel. Sometimes laws are interpreted to inhibit Christian witness and popular opinion is often hostile to the Christian values and beliefs that have provided the historic foundation of your society. A Jesus who is just a guide and teacher along with others is deemed acceptable, but not a Jesus who is Lord, and a Jesus who is not Lord is not the Jesus of the Bible, the one who is Alpha and Omega, the crucified and risen Lord of all creation.”

He continued: “In such times the Church should be a ‘pillar and bulwark of the truth’, (1 Timothy 3:15) but as we have heard this week, the Church of England and the other Anglican Churches of the British Isles are in spiritual crisis themselves. We have been saddened to hear of the all too familiar pattern of orthodox and evangelical laity, ordinands and clergy being marginalised and their witness chilled by church hierarchies that bend to the prevailing culture.

“There is no middle ground. If you do not face any immediate threats in your particular circumstances, it is tempting to think that you can opt out and keep these difficult things at arm’s length, but we need each other. We should not exist in isolation. the rest

Chicago: South Side Episcopal church will be sanctuary for NATO protesters

May 4, 2012

An Episcopal church on the South Side will serve as a sanctuary for protesters coming to the NATO summit.

Trinity Episcopal Church's small fenced yard at 26th Street and Michigan Avenue is to serve as a campsite for a group of about 40 demonstrators planning to ride bicycles from Madison, Wis., to Chicago for the NATO summit the weekend of May 19.

Andy Thayer, a lead organizer of the May 20 march against NATO, said the campsite will be public and, at the priest's request, a team will keep watch to make sure campers treat the church and property with respect.

On Thursday, Chicago Episcopal Bishop Jeffrey Lee told the Rev. Errol Narain that he should not be present when the campsite is on the property, according to the Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, director of networking for the Chicago Episcopal Diocese. the rest

Church Times: ‘We are a Communion: we are together’ says Wabukala

by Ed Thornton
May 4, 2012

THE Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) is not trying to estab­lish a shadow Anglican Com­munion, the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, said at the end of a meeting in London last Friday.

Speaking to the press after a conference at St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, in London (News, 27 April), Dr Wabukala said: “We are a Com­munion: we are together. What we are doing is that we are in a Com­munion and spiritu­ally recognising the need for us to be scriptural, to uphold the tenets the Bible has taught us, and wanting to make them louder, and to possibly help to form and help others. We are helping ourselves within the Com­munion to hear more about what God is saying.”

Dr Wabukala said that there was a “misconception about what the entire Communion is”. It was “made up of independent provinces across the world. There is no centre of power. . . All along there is always interaction between dioceses, between parishes.”

The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, said: “There is no need to think of the Communion, even as it exists now, as some sort of top-down movement. . . People who be­long to FCA are Anglicans, of course: it’s a movement within the Anglican Communion, of which there are others.” the rest

Truro Anglican Church Settlement Update

posted May 4, 2012
Found here.

Bishop John Guernsey Letter to Truro Anglican Church

Notes of Encouragement from Anglican Leaders


Joint Statement from Truro Anglican Church and Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

Letter from Sr. Warden Dan Van Ness

Anglican preacher barred from pulpit over opposition to gay marriage

An Anglican lay preacher has been banned from the pulpit after encouraging parishioners to oppose against gay marriage – in line with official Church teaching.
By John Bingham
04 May 2012

Peter Gowlland, 78, was accused of sowing discord among worshippers at the liberal-leaning All Saints Church in Sanderstead, Surrey, by inviting them to sign a petition against the Government plans to introduce same-sex weddings.

Despite being told by his Archdeacon to “withdraw” from ministry for two months as a result, Church authorities continued to insist last night that he had “not been suspended”.

The retired science teacher says he was told “we don’t do that here” by a fellow lay reader when he set out a pile of leaflets promoting the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey’s Coalition For Marriage before a Sunday service last month.

Matters came to a head shortly during the service when he urged parishioners in his sermon to be “bold like the apostles” and register their opposition to the redefinition of marriage. the rest

A.S. Haley: Through a Glass Darkly: Considerations behind the Christ Church Settlement

May 3, 2012

Earlier today, both the Anglican parish of Christ Church in Savannah and the Diocese of Georgia made separate (note: not joint) statements that they had reached a settlement of all their outstanding disputes. (See also the separate message from the Rev. Marc Robertson "to our allies" at this link.) This is good news for Christ Church, and for its stalwart and beleaguered rector and vestry, as I shall explain below. But it is also good news for Episcopalians everywhere, because another unseemly (and even spiteful) dispute among divided Christians has come to an end, so that each group can now pursue their separate ministries as each believes best.

Some concerns have been raised about the effect of the settlement on the other cases now pending before the U. S. Supreme Court. The settlement need not have any effect at all, and we probably won't know in any event whether the Court will accept either of the remaining two cases until next October 1. Let me explain my thinking.

The settlement between Christ Church Anglican and the Diocese of Georgia affects only one of the three petitions that are pending before the Supreme Court. The Diocese had been due to file a response to the petition by May 25; now it will not do so, and the justices will not read the briefs that have already been filed (Christ Church's brief, and two amicus briefs filed on its behalf). But there are similar briefs, and similar amicus briefs, on file and to be filed in the other two cases -- and the issues are virtually identical: can a national church bypass state-law trust requirements to impose a trust on all of its local parish properties? And if it can, is that not a violation of the First Amendment's prohibition against the "establishment" of a church (i.e., favoring it in the law)? the rest

Jon Will’s gift

By George F. Will
May 2, 2012

When Jonathan Frederick Will was born 40 years ago — on May 4, 1972, his father’s 31st birthday — the life expectancy for people with Down syndrome was about 20 years. That is understandable.

The day after Jon was born, a doctor told Jon’s parents that the first question for them was whether they intended to take Jon home from the hospital. Nonplussed, they said they thought that is what parents do with newborns. Not doing so was, however, still considered an acceptable choice for parents who might prefer to institutionalize or put up for adoption children thought to have necessarily bleak futures. Whether warehoused or just allowed to languish from lack of stimulation and attention, people with Down syndrome, not given early and continuing interventions, were generally thought to be incapable of living well, and hence usually did not live as long as they could have.

Down syndrome is a congenital condition resulting from a chromosomal defect — an extra 21st chromosome. It causes varying degrees of mental retardation and some physical abnormalities, including small stature, a single crease across the center of the palms, flatness of the back of the head, a configuration of the tongue that impedes articulation, and a slight upward slant of the eyes. In 1972, people with Down syndrome were still commonly called Mongoloids.

Now they are called American citizens, about 400,000 of them, and their life expectancy is 60. Much has improved. There has, however, been moral regression as well.

Jon was born just 19 years after James Watson and Francis Crick published their discoveries concerning the structure of DNA, discoveries that would enhance understanding of the structure of Jon, whose every cell is imprinted with Down syndrome. Jon was born just as prenatal genetic testing, which can detect Down syndrome, was becoming common. And Jon was born eight months before Roe v. Wade inaugurated this era of the casual destruction of pre-born babies.

This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full, garish flowering of the baby boomers’ vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature’s mishaps, and to a perfect baby. So today science enables what the ethos ratifies, the choice of killing children with Down syndrome before birth. That is what happens to 90 percent of those whose parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis through prenatal testing. the rest

Syracuse hit by swarm of butterflies

May 03, 2012
By Charles Ellis

Syracuse, N.Y. -- That swarm of insects many of you saw in Central New York this afternoon was not locusts or some sort of biblical plague.

One caller to The Post-Standard said he saw them during his entire drive east on the Thruway from Syracuse to the Mohawk River. Another caller from Baldwinsville described it as “a bazillion butterflies everywhere. . . . It’s ridiculous.”

It was part of the annual migration of red admiral butterflies, which look very much like monarch butterflies, said Larry Abrahamson, senior research associate and forest entymologist with the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry. They travel every spring from Mexico to northern Canada, and go back in the fall.

Similar swarms were reported in the Midwest last month, including huge numbers in the Chicago area on April 17, according to the CBS Channel 2 there.

Most years, people will see a few butterflies here and there, Abrahamson said. In this case, he believes, a powerful storm front with southerly winds pushed the massive numbers of them into the area at the same time. the rest image by Peter Broster

(They were indeed all over the place! -PD)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

But we must call evil evil, and sin sin...

While extremely sensitive as to the slightest approach to slander, you must also guard against an extreme into which some people fall who, in their desire to speak evil of no one, actually uphold and speak well of vice. If you have to do with one who is unquestionably a slanderer, do not excuse him by calling him frank and free-spoken; do not call one who is notoriously vain, liberal and elegant; do not call dangerous levities mere simplicity; do not screen disobedience under the name of zeal; or arrogance, of frankness; or evil intimacy, of friendship. No, my friends, we must never, in our wish to shun slander, foster or flatter vice in others: but we must call evil evil, and sin sin, and so doing we shall serve God's glory. ...Francis de Sales  image

The Lonely Life of Julia

In Obama's ideal world, men are replaced by bureaucrats.
May 3, 2012
by JAMES TARANTO

Barack Obama has a new composite girlfriend, and her name is Julia. Her story is told in an interactive feature titled "The Life of Julia" on the Obama campaign website. Julia, who has no face, is depicted at various ages from 3 through 67, enjoying the benefits of various Obama-backed welfare-state programs.

As a toddler, she's in a head-start program. Skip ahead to 17, and she's enrolled at a Race to the Top high school. Her 20s are very active: She gets surgery and free birth control through ObamaCare regulations, files a lawsuit under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and pays off her student loans at a low interest rate. We get updates at age 31, 37 and 42--and then the narrative skips ahead 23 years when she enrolls in Medicare. Two years later, she's on Social Security, at which point she can die at any time.

In a column amusingly titled "Who the Hell Is 'Julia' and Why Am I Paying for Her Whole Life?" David Harsanyi raises an obvious objection to the story: "What we are left with is a celebration of a how a woman can live her entire life by leaning on government intervention, dependency and other people's money rather than her own initiative or hard work. It is, I'd say, implicitly un-American, in the sense that it celebrates a mindset we have--outwardly, at least--shunned." the rest

Savannah: Christ Church Anglican Announces Settlement

May 3, 2012

Christ Church Anglican (CCA) in Savannah, GA has agreed to settle a 4 ½ year legal battle with The Episcopal Church (TEC), and The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. At the heart of the dispute was a lawsuit against CCA, the Senior Pastor and fourteen members of the 2007 Vestry (Board) including money damage claims by the Diocese against these individuals in excess of $1million. “While we never agreed that our people had any personal liability, we are pleased to see these claims dropped as this threat of personal financial loss has hung over our people for more than four years. These parishioners served as volunteer directors on a non-profit 501-C3 board and made decisions to try to stand for their beliefs and fulfill their duty to protect the non-profit corporation they served,” said John Albert, CCA Senior Warden

In 2007, Christ Church Anglican, established in 1733 and predating the formation of TEC by 56 years and the TEC Diocese of Georgia by 90 years, conducted a congregational vote by which 87% of the congregation supported the Vestry’s decision to disaffiliate from TEC over core theological differences. Subsequently, TEC sued Christ Church Anglican, its pastor, and the 14 individual members of the 2007 board. After the Georgia Supreme Court ruling on November 21, 2011, CCA turned over possession of its three buildings (including the church building on Johnson Square) and the parking lot, all worth in excess of $6 million.

As set forth in the settlement agreement, the Church will adopt the title “Christ Church Anglican.” “We see the addition of ‘Anglican’ to our name as a way of identifying our roots going back to our beginnings in Savannah as a Mission of the Church of England in 1733. God has given us the privilege of living out a truth we have always believed, that the Church is not the building but the people of God. God has blessed us in this struggle, as we have maintained the vast majority of our congregation while adding new members who are excited to be part of a church that seeks to live out its beliefs. Orthodox Anglicanism is alive and well in Savannah and we look forward to a bright future,” commented The Rev. Dr. Marc Robertson, Christ Church Anglican’s senior pastor.

Also included in the agreement, is a requirement that all litigation be dropped including CCA’s appeal to the US Supreme Court which asked the Court to decide whether the “neutral principles”doctrine embodied in the First Amendment permits imposition of a trust on church property when the creation of that trust contradicts the state’s property and trust laws. “It was a hard decision to give up our appeal as we are aware of the pain many other Anglican Churches which are being sued by TEC are experiencing, but we are encouraged by the fact that two other strong cases, (Timberridge Presbyterian Church, McDonough, GA and Bishop Seabury, an Anglican parish in Groton, Conn.) are going forward and feel we have supported their effort with our appeal. However, at this time we feel our primary call is to build a stronger Anglican presence in Savannah,” stated Albert.

Judge Michael Karp’s 2008 decision declared that all church property “was held in trust for the Diocese and the national church”, so other aspects of the settlement provide that CCA will relinquish any claim to the Endowment Funds worth some $2.3 million and return $33,000 of operating funds pursuant to an accounting of funds at the time of disaffiliation. The Diocese however agreed to assume a $33,000 debt obligation from CCA. “We have left all our material possessions on Johnson Square, but that which we have taken with us is far more valuable: our people, the historic faith and the Holy Spirit. We have no regrets,” said CCA senior pastor, Marc Robertson.

On December 11, 2011, two weeks before they were required to vacate, Christ Church held its final service in its historic building on Johnson Square. Following that service, the entire congregation of more than 400 people processed down Bull Street to Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC), where they were welcomed by 500 IPC members and Pastor Terry Johnson who stated “our faith is your faith and our buildings are your buildings.” Christ Church now holds Sunday services at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 9 p.m. at IPC and Wednesday and Friday noon services at St. Andrew’s Reformed Episcopal Church. Here

Study: Mormonism is fastest-growing faith in half of USA

By Kevin Eckstrom
posted May 3, 2012

Mitt Romney may or may not become the first Mormon to move into the White House next year, but a new study shows that Mormonism is moving into more parts of the country than any other religious group, making it the fastest-growing faith in more than half of U.S. states.

The 2012 Religious Congregations and Membership Study,  released here Tuesday, shows that the mainline Protestants and Catholics who dominated the 20th century are literally losing ground to the rapid rise of Mormons and, increasingly, Muslims.

The study is conducted once every 10 years and can track Americans' religious affiliation down to the county level, from the largest (Los Angeles County, where Mormons grew 55% while Catholics shrank by 7%) to the smallest (Loving County, Texas, which is home to 80 people and one nondenominational evangelical church).

Romney's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported 2 million new adherents and new congregations in 295 counties where they didn't exist a decade ago, making them the fastest-growing group in the U.S.

Mormons were the fastest-growing group in 26 states, expanding beyond their historic home in Utah to the heart of the Bible Belt and as far away as Maine.

Muslims came in second, with growth of 1 million adherents in 197 new counties, to a total of about 2.6 million. Overall, non-Christian groups grew by 32 percent over the past decade. the rest

Huffpo: Diversity Rising: Census Shows Mormons, Nondenominational Churches, Muslims Spreading Out Across U.S.
Consider these findings:
•Taken together, nondenominational and independent churches may now be considered the third largest religious group in the country, with 12.2 million adherents in 35,500 congregations. Only the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention are larger.
•The U.S. was home to 2,106 mosques nationwide in 2010. The figure includes 166 mosques in Texas, 118 in Florida and 50 Muslim houses of worship in North Carolina.
•Buddhist congregations were reported in all 50 states, and Hindu houses of worship in 49 states...

Albert Mohler: Bigotry on the Ballot? No, Dishonesty in the Editorial

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Many of the nation’s leading newspapers serve as advocacy agents for the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage. Leading this charge for some time, The New York Times regularly promotes same-sex marriage in its editorials and news coverage. Even so, the paper’s latest editorial serves as a display of how the argument for homosexual marriage is often pressed with what can only be described as undisguised intellectual dishonesty.

In “Bigotry on the Ballot,” the paper editorialized against Amendment One, the effort to amend the constitution of North Carolina in order to preclude the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. That question will be put before the voters of North Carolina on May 8, and the result will be an important signal of where the nation now stands on the question. No similar effort has yet failed when put before the voters of a state, but polls indicate that the vote in North Carolina may be close.

The editorial begins:

“North Carolina already has a law barring same-sex marriage, but the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature is not satisfied. It devised a measure to enshrine this obvious discrimination in the State Constitution and placed it on the ballot of the state’s May 8 primary election — a test of tolerance versus bigotry that ought to be watched closely nationwide.”

The paper has every right to editorialize as it chooses, and an editorial against Amendment One is no surprise to any informed reader of that paper. But look closely at the language used. The effort to limit marriage to the union of a man and a woman is described as “obvious discrimination.” the rest image

Episcopal Church may approve blessing of same-sex relationships

May 02, 2012

This July, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church will decide whether to approve “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant,” a rite for the blessing of homosexual relationships.

If the proposed rite is approved, the presider will ask each person, “N., do you freely and unreservedly offer yourself to N.?” and “Will you live together in faithfulness and holiness of life as long as you both shall live?”

After indicating their assent to the presider’s questions, each person will say, “In the name of God, I, N., give myself to you, N. I will support and care for you by the grace of God: enduring all things, bearing all things. I will hold and cherish you in the love of Christ: in times of plenty, in times of want. I will honor and keep you with the Spirit’s help: forsaking all others, as long as we both shall live. This is my solemn vow.”

Following an exchange of rings, the presider will say, “Inasmuch as N. and N. have exchanged vows of love and fidelity in the presence of God and the Church, I now pronounce that they are bound to one another in a holy covenant, as long as they both shall live.” the rest
To help prepare the way for the rite, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of the Episcopal Church has prepared a report dismissing the traditional interpretation of biblical passages that describe homosexual acts as sinful.
Scottish Episcopal church unveils gay wedding mural

Episcopalians in Houston prepare for possible same-sex ceremonies

Canada: Anglican bishop makes first visit to shared ministry

May 3, 2012
Gary Kean

CORNER BROOK — Retired Anglican Bishop Leonard Whitten made history last week when he participated in the first-ever shared episcopal ministry in Canada.

Bishop Whitten had agreed to provide services to six parishes within the Diocese of Montreal late last year when they became disgruntled with the stance of their bishop over the issue of the ordination of partnered homosexual clergy members.

Since 2007, at the direction of a diocesan synod, Bishop Barry Clarke had authorized blessings of at least two civil same-sex marriages without controversy. However, six parishes in the diocese protested last year after the induction of a partnered gay priest, Very Rev. Paul Kennington, as the dean of Montreal and rector of Christ Church Cathedral and the ordination as a deacon of a partnered gay man, Rev. Robert Camara.

The six parish priests who protested all agreed to have Whitten's intervention. Whitten, who does not agree with same-sex marriage, agreed to go to these parishes — when requested to do so — and conduct the duties normally carried out by the bishop in the parishes opposed to Bishop Clarke’s views. the rest

Holy Trinity Anglican closing its doors

High Price of Foreclosure: Your Marriage

05/ 2/2012
Anna Cuevas

Excerpt:
Which comes first, divorce or foreclosure? There is no particular order. A foreclosure could be the final straw in an unstable relationship, or a divorce and the ultimate lack of financial support could create financial distress. Either way, the statistics in the state of Nevada appear to show some correlation between foreclosures and divorce. It does not have to be that way if you both understand upfront what the process entails and make a plan together to fight for your dreams. You must also remember to take some time to enrich your marriage while navigating the frustrating white waters of the loan modification process. You may end up with both your home and a stronger marriage if you keep the lines of communication open and free of blame and hostility toward each other in the process. While it is difficult because of the high frustration involved in the process, it is vital to your health and relationship to keep a positive outlook.

Homeowners may be able to prevent foreclosure by renting a room, getting a second job, or by removing other debt. They also might qualify for a reduction in their mortgage principal, refinancing, or a loan modification based on their current situation.

Homeowners who are faced with foreclosure can save their marriage by becoming empowered with the right knowledge about foreclosure, the loan modification process, refinancing, and other alternatives and remaining positive and working as a team as they act as their own best advocates. Having a positive outlook, goals, and making plans for the future help to relieve the stress that comes with foreclosure, as does remaining committed to the family unit and its future by working together to change their current situation.

It is easy to spiral down in your relationship when facing a financial crisis, but it doesn't have to be that way if your keep your priorities in the right order. the rest

Vatican to the UN: all parents have the right to homeschool

by Ben Johnson
Tue May 01, 2012

(LifeSiteNews.com) – In a significant victory for parental rights worldwide, a Vatican representative said all parents have the right to homeschool their children.

“The State should respect the choices that parents make for their children and avoid attempts at ideological indoctrination,” the permanent observer mission of the Holy See to the United Nations wrote in a statement released last Tuesday.

Parents “have the right and duty to choose schools inclusive of homeschooling, and they must possess the freedom to do so, which in turn, must be respected and facilitated by the State.”

“That’s huge,” said Jeremiah Lorrig, director of media relations at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), told LifeSiteNews.com. “Having the support of the Vatican ambassador would invaluable to the homeschool movement.”

A growing number of parents opt to educate their children at home because of the poor quality of schools available, or because schools increasingly promote values that conflict with traditional Christian morality. the rest

The Battle of Vanderbilt: The Tennessee Legislature Comes Through

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
By David French

For some time I've been commenting on a critical front in the battle for religious liberty on campus, the fight for religious liberty at Vanderbilt University. For those who haven't been following this case, a summary: In the name of a particularly empty-headed and hypocritical brand of "nondiscrimination," Vanderbilt is requiring campus Christian groups to be open to non-Christian leadership, even as it protects the special prerogatives of its large (and powerful) community of fraternities and sororities.

It is difficult to fully describe the mendacity and bad faith of senior Vanderbilt officials throughout this process. University officials claimed that they were merely enforcing an old policy - yet they've been confronted with irrefutable evidence of written policy changes that removed protections for religious groups. They compared Christian students seeking Christian leadership for their groups to segregationists. According to multiple sources, they falsely told their own board that their nondiscrimination policy was necessary to preserve federal and state funding. They misled the legislature by claiming that no one had made a written appeal to the university's Board of Trust, when the Board had received multiple written appeals (including one I authored). Finally, when the legislature indicated that it was willing to protect religious liberty on campus, Vanderbilt responded by threatening to opt out of Tennessee's managed-care Medicaid program, causing massive disruption in medical care for Nashville's poorest citizens.

As disappointing as this conduct is, it's not inconsistent with past behavior. Last year, Vanderbilt was caught unlawfully requiring applicants to a nursing residency program to sign a pledge that they'd participate in abortions. Vanderbilt's initial reaction was to deny wrongdoing, but one day later the university reversed course and changed its blatantly unlawful policy. the rest

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Walking On Air


Published on April 20, 2012

This video features a series of time lapse sequences photographed by the Expedition 30 crew aboard the International Space Station. Set to the song "Walking in the Air," by Howard Blake, the video takes viewers around the world, through auroras, and over dazzling lightning displays. The sequences are as follows:

:01 -- Stars over southern United States
:08 -- US west coast to Canada
:21 -- Central Europe to the Middle East
:36 -- Aurora Australis over the Indian Ocean
:54 -- Storms over Africa
1:08 -- Central United States
1:20 -- Midwest United States
1:33 -- United Kingdom to Baltic Sea
1:46 -- Moonset
1:55 -- Northern United States to Eastern Canada
2:12 -- Aurora Australis over the Indian Ocean
2:32 -- Comet Lovejoy
2:53 -- Aurora Borealis over Hudson Bay
3:06 -- United Kingdom to Central Europe

(In the film the song "Walking in the Air" was performed by St Paul's Cathedral choirboy Peter Auty.)

Ireland: Priests must break confessional seal

Irish government introduces anticipated bill
by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Mon Apr 30, 2012

(LifeSiteNews.com) – The Irish Justice Minister has evoked outrage from the Catholic Church by proposing 5-year prison sentences for priests who fail to report sex abuse of minors if they hear about it in the confessional.

Alan Shatter’s mandatory reporting bill, introduced Wednesday, will make it a criminal offence to fail to disclose information to police which would “assist in prosecuting a person who commits a serious offence against a child or vulnerable adult.” The bill confirms fears that the government of Ireland will attempt to force priests to break the seal of the confessional, an idea that caused an uproar when it bruited about the Dail last summer.

A statement from the Vatican last August made it clear that under no circumstances whatever may a priest reveal what he learns in confession, even if a penitent confesses to criminal activity. the rest

YouTube pulls plug on Christian videos

By Michael Thompson
posted May 2, 2012

WASHINGTON – The author of a soon-to-be-released book on Christian apologetics, “The Magic Man in the Sky: Effectively Defending the Christian Faith,” is questioning the motives behind the termination of the immensely popular PPSimmons Ministry account on YouTube.

Where once one of the more popular God and Country YouTube Channels – with more than 23,000 subscribers, 530-plus videos and 21 million views – could be accessed, now a barren page is found, save for a message. The message reads: “This account has been terminated due to repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines and/or claims of copyright infringement.”

For Pastor Carl Gallups, one of the people behind the popular PPSimmons YouTube Ministry, seeing a channel disabled he has worked tirelessly to build and promote since 2009 was devastating.
“It was as if you have a thriving business and you came to work one day and the building was burnt down and everything you had created was gone. Instantly,” he told WND. the rest

Hundreds slaughtered as anti-Christian violence in Nigeria rages on

Around 300 Christians killed in one diocese; 27 dead in church attacks
Tuesday 01 May 2012

Around 300 Christians have been killed in one diocese alone, and 27 people died in attacks on three church services as anti-Christian violence in Nigeria continues unabated.

The Rt Rev Timothy Yahaya, Bishop of Jalingo, Taraba State, in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, told Barnabas Fund that 300 Christians have been killed in his diocese in a series of incidents over the last three weeks.

Then on Sunday (29 April), three church services in Northern Nigeria were targeted in attacks that left 27 people dead.

The first happened when people had gathered for worship in two lecture theatres at Bayero University in Kano. So far 22 people are confirmed to have died, while 23 were injured, after bombs were thrown into the building at around 8.30 a.m. and gunmen fired on worshippers. Witnesses said that the offenders first threw in explosives and fired shots, and as Christians fled, the gunmen chased them, firing indiscriminately. the rest

Savage Speech Reveals Double Standard

Kevin Theriot
May 01, 2012

Excerpt:
For example, when homosexual activist Dan Savage—who created the “It Gets Better” anti-bullying campaign that has been commended by President Obama—spoke to students gathered at NSPA/JEA’s annual High School Journalism convention, his opening words were, “We can learn to ignore the bulls**t in the Bible about gay people, the same way we have learned to ignore the bulls**t in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery…[and] about virginity.”

Savage went on to say that because (in his opinion) the writers of the Bible got so many simple things wrong, “What are the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong?” He answered his own question with, “100%.”

Savage is correct that the Bible teaches that homosexual behavior is wrong, but he purposely takes the teachings and historical records of the Old Testament out of context in order to deride the Bible’s teachings on sexual morality. Christian students in the listening audience walked out in droves. And once they’d walked out, Savage looked at the remaining audience members and mocked the Christians as “pansies” (among other things).

This is a perfect example of the anti-bullying campaign double standard. While homosexual activists contend that anti-bullying laws should protect people who practice homosexual behavior from hearing the negative opinions of others regarding that behavior, and shield them from the Bible’s teaching on the subject, activists like Savage (and many others) want to be free to call Christians names and debase and mock the Bible. Savage’s hypocrisy was even more egregious than typical student to student speech because he is an adult who used his position of authority to vilify kids who disagreed with his anti-biblical views, but had no way of responding.

Savage’s rant demonstrates that he and his colleagues want Constitutional protection to offend and criticize people of faith who believe homosexual behavior is harmful, but are pushing for laws that criminalize any speech they find offensive.

So the truth is that there is a hierarchy of acceptable and unacceptable views on the issue of homosexual behavior. For homosexual activists, the number one protected viewpoint should be theirs, and any groups who might not take too kindly to the activists’ pursuit of special rights should lose their constitutionally protected freedom. the rest

Criticism mounts against Dan Savage address to teens

Anti-bullying seminar turns into anti-Christian diatribe: Today’s journey beyond satire.

Obama's Savage Administration
...Back in 2000, Savage was hired by Salon to infiltrate the Gary Bauer presidential campaign. He became so frustrated with Bauer's religiosity that after contracting the flu, he decided to go around the office licking doorknobs in order to infect the other staffers. He even handed Bauer a saliva-coated pen, hoping to infect him with the flu. He then proceeded to vote in the Iowa caucuses, although he wasn't registered in the state. This isn't bullying. It's biological warfare. Beyond that, it's gross -- no doorknob deserves to be licked by Dan Savage...

Barack Obama's Silence Speaks Louder than His Words
...Based on how quickly Barack Obama raced out to the microphones to address what he felt were demeaning comments directed toward the frail Ms. Fluke, is Obama planning on doing likewise and officially distancing himself from Dan Savage by publicly addressing his "inappropriate," anti-Christian remarks?

When he's finished straightening out Mr. Savage, will the President then be phoning the children who were called 'pansy asses' by his abusive White House guest, as he did Sandra Fluke ? Will he tell the kiddies their parents should be proud of them for the dignified way they respectfully dismissed themselves from the awkward confrontation?

ACNA receives two AMiA bishops

TJ Johnston and John Miller not Congo bound
April 30, 2012
By George Conger

The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) has received two bishops from the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) as honorary temporary assistant bishops.

The Rt. Rev. T.J. Johnston will serve as an assistant bishop to the Rt. Rev. Foley Beach of the Anglican Diocese of the South and the Rt. Rev. John Miller will serve as an assistant bishop to the Rt. Rev. Neil Lebahr of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese, Anglican Ink has learned.

A memorandum of understanding dated 18 April 2012 endorsed by Bishops Johnson and Miller and by Bishop Leonard Riches and Charlie Masters on behalf of the ACNA states the agreement serves to “provide a temporary jurisdictional connection” and will last for 180 days, with an interim review at the 90 day mark. the rest

Two AMIA bishops move to ACNA

Pope donates $250,000 to Anglican ordinariate

May. 01, 2012
By Carol Glatz

ROME -- Pope Benedict XVI donated $250,000 to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham to help support its clergy and work.

The gift "is a clear sign of (the pope's) personal commitment to the work of Christian unity and the special place the ordinariate holds in his heart," said Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Vatican nuncio to Great Britain.

The ordinariate made the announcement in a press statement May 1.

"The gift will help establish the ordinariate as a vibrant part of the Catholic Church in England and Wales," the statement said. the rest

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

How Retirement Benefits May Sink the States

Illinois is a lesson in why companies are starting to pay more attention to the long-term fiscal prospects of governments.
By STEVEN MALANGA
April 27, 2012

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently offered a stark assessment of the threat to his state's future that is posed by mounting pension and retiree health-care bills for government workers. Unless Illinois enacts reform quickly, he said, the costs of these programs will force taxes so high that, "You won't recruit a business, you won't recruit a family to live here."

We're likely to hear more such worries in coming years. That's because state and local governments across the country have accumulated several trillion dollars in unfunded retirement promises to public-sector workers, the costs of which will increasingly force taxes higher and crowd out other spending. Already businesses and residents are slowly starting to sit up and notice.

"Companies don't want to buy shares in a phenomenal tax burden that will unfold over the decades," the Chicago Tribune observed after Mr. Emanuel issued his warning on April 4. And neither will citizens.

Government retiree costs are likely to play an increasing role in the competition among states for business and people, because these liabilities are not evenly distributed. Some states have enormous retiree obligations that they will somehow have to pay; others have enacted significant reforms, or never made lofty promises to their workers in the first place. the rest

Kidnapped British Red Cross doctor found dead, beheaded

GUL YUSUFZAI QUETTA
Apr 29 2012

The beheaded body of a kidnapped British doctor working for the International Committee of the Red Cross was found dumped by the roadside on Sunday in the southwestern Pakistan city of Quetta, police and Red Cross officials said.

Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, was abducted by suspected militants on January 5 while on his way home from work.

"The ICRC condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act," ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord said in a statement. "All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil's family and friends."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague also condemned the killing.

"This was a senseless and cruel act, targeting someone whose role was to help the people of Pakistan, and causing immeasurable pain to those who knew Mr Dale," Hague said in the statement. the rest

Albert Mohler: The Case of the Lesbian Den Mother: Moral Reasoning Exposed

April 30, 2012

Excerpt:
The Boy Scouts of America has the right to establish policies consistent with its convictions. Indeed, the group's policy of excluding homosexuals from leadership would seem to be necessary and prudent. A consideration of recent national scandals should make that point sufficiently clear.

No one is charging Jennifer Tyrrell with any improper action or motivation in this case, but the Scouts applied their policy and the controversy is now incredibly revealing.

One parent said this: "I teach my children to judge people on their actions . . . whether you agree with their lifestyle or not."

The only way to make sense of this is to see that this parent is trying to separate "actions" from "lifestyle" as if the lifestyle should be free from moral scrutiny. Lifestyles involve actions, but those are now to be considered beyond moral judgment.

Oddly enough, this rather bizarre form of thinking is indicative of a larger cultural pattern. Sexual relationships are off-limits for moral judgment. What is left is a far smaller sector of moral investigation. Once sexual behavior is removed from moral scrutiny, what will be next to be declared off-limits.

As one observer recently noted, our society is exchanging moral concern about sex for moral concern about diet. We are not sure that moral judgments should be made when it comes to sexual behaviors, but when it comes to free range chickens and excess carbohydrates, the moral categories kick in. the rest

Catholic college commencement scandals in 2012

posted May 1, 2012

The spring 2012 commencement season comes nearly eight years since the U.S. Catholic bishops banned Catholic honors and platforms for public opponents of Catholic teaching — and still The Cardinal Newman Society finds at least 11 scandalous speakers and honorees at Catholic colleges, with possibly more to be announced in the coming weeks.

In one respect, that may be good news. Recent years have seen a marked decline in Catholic college commencement scandals: from 24 colleges in 2006 to 14 last year. Although repeat offenders like Georgetown and DePaul have not yet released names for 2012, dare we hope for another decline?

And readers should celebrate the fact that the large majority of Catholic colleges appear to have chosen non-controversial speakers or honorees whose public actions don’t run counter to Catholic teaching. Good for them.

Nevertheless, in a year when the Catholic Church is fighting for religious liberty against government overreach, it’s especially important that colleges refrain from undercutting the clear moral stance of the bishops. One might even expect that Catholic colleges would be gratefully honoring the bishops this year. But while we know of a few instances of bishops to be honored in this year’s commencement ceremonies (we will celebrate these and other stellar choices in a subsequent post), we are aware of only two invitations to the heroic Cardinal Timothy Dolan and none at all to Archbishop-designate William Lori. the rest

New Zealand Anglicans choose unconventional bishop

Apr 30, 2012
by David Crampton
Wellington, New Zealand

(ENInews)--A dreadlocked priest who is usually seen in shorts and bare feet is to be the new Anglican bishop in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Justin Duckworth replaces Bishop Tom Brown who recently retired after 14 years.

In announcing the appointment on April 29, Archbishop David Moxon pointed to Duckworth's lifestyle, Christian discipleship and mission, citing more than 20 years of mission to street people and those on the margins. "I am confident that his election will challenge, invigorate and grace the church with a deep sense of the breadth and height and depth of the love of God," Moxon said.

While Duckworth said he feels "humbled, privileged - and terrified," he believes the Anglican Church has huge potential for change. "I think the Anglican Church is doing amazing stuff, and is a total treasure. But it's a treasure that needs to be dusted off. God wants his people to go on a journey – and if we have the courage, he’ll be faithful to equip and sustain us," he said. the rest

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pepsi Stops Using Aborted Fetal Cell Lines to Test Flavors

by Steven Ertelt
4/30/12

After months of pro-life protests and opposition, PepsiCo has indicated it will no longer contract with biotech firm Senomyx Inc., which uses cells from a baby killed in an abortion to conduct flavor testing.

The second largest beverage company in the world contracted with the firm in a $30 million deal in August 2010 and once Debi Vinnedge of the pro-life group Children of God for Life uncovered the connection, numerous pro-life groups, including LifeNews, joined together to promote a boycott of Pepsi until it ends the Senomyx contract.

Vinnedge informed LifeNews today of Pepsi’s decision and hailed it as a major breakthrough and achievement by thousands of concerned consumers who have been writing and boycotting PepsiCo beverages since last May. the rest

Anti-Bullying Speaker Curses Christian Teens


By Todd Starnes
April 27, 2012

As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker began cursing, attacked the Bible and reportedly called those who refused to listen to his rant “pansy assed.”

The speaker was Dan Savage, founder of the “It Gets Better” project, an anti-bullying campaign that has reached more than 40 million viewers with contributors ranging from President Obama to Hollywood stars. Savage also writes a sex advice column called “Savage Love.”

Savage, and his husband, were also guests at the White House for President Obama’s 2011 LGBT Pride Month reception. He was also invited to a White House anti-bullying conference...

...Savage was supposed to be delivering a speech about anti-bullying at the National High School Journalism Conference sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. But it turned into an episode of Christian-bashing.

Rick Tuttle, the journalism advisor for Sutter Union High School in California, was among several thousand people in the audience. He said they thought the speech was one thing – but it turned into something else. the rest
“I thought this would be about anti-bullying,” Tuttle told Fox news. “It turned into a pointed attack on Christian beliefs.”
Parent of Kids Who Walked Out on Savage: 'What a Pig'

Mathilda's Solo



She is 94 years old!

Mysterious Objects Punching Holes In Weird Saturn Ring


by Clara Moskowitz
Date: 24 April 2012

Mysterious objects appear to be doing some damage to Saturn's "weirdest ring," scientists say.

The discovery comes from detailed photos taken of the Saturn system by NASA's Cassini orbiter. In these images, researchers spotted strange objects about a half-mile (kilometer) wide tearing through Saturn's F ring, the thin outermost discrete ring around the planet.

As they pass through the ring, these interlopers drag glittering ice particles out with them, creating visible trails of debris scientists are calling "mini jets." the rest

Wind Farms Warming Texas

Turbines mix air at night and could affect local climate and farming.
By Eric Niiler
Sun Apr 29, 2012

New research finds that wind farms actually warm up the surface of the land underneath them during the night, a phenomena that could put a damper on efforts to expand wind energy as a green energy solution.

Researchers used satellite data from 2003 to 2011 to examine surface temperatures across as wide swath of west Texas, which has built four of the world's largest wind farms. The data showed a direct correlation between night-time temperatures increases of 0.72 degrees C (1.3 degrees F) and the placement of the farms.

"Given the present installed capacity and the projected growth in installation of wind farms across the world, I feel that wind farms, if spatially large enough, might have noticeable impacts on local to regional meteorology," Liming Zhou, associate professor at the State University of New York, Albany and author of the paper published April 29 in Nature Climate Change said in an e-mail to Discovery News.
the rest image

Obama’s Senior Swindle

By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
posted April 30, 2012

The most politically brazen feature of Obamacare has always been its looting of Medicare. About half of Obamacare’s costs are to be covered with money taken from an already nearly bankrupt program for seniors. And the most politically perilous aspect of this ploy is Obama-care’s cuts in Medicare Advantage funding, which would cause many seniors to lose their preferred health plans. Under the implementation schedule stipulated in Obamacare, many seniors would either lose their plans, or learn that they are going to lose them, before the election that will likely decide Obamacare’s—and Obama’s—fate.

Anticipating a senior revolt, the administration took action. It ran millions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer-funded TV ads featuring Andy Griffith saying things like, “That new health care law sure sounds good for all of us on Medicare!” It mailed out full-color, taxpayer-funded propaganda brochures singing the same tune. It repeatedly claimed (and continues to claim) that money taken out of Medicare to fund Obamacare would—magically—also stay in Medicare and be used to extend its solvency.

But the administration didn’t stop there. Instead, it launched an $8.35 billion “demonstration project” to postpone the vast majority of Obamacare’s Medicare Advantage cuts until after what Obama likes to call his “last election.” In truth, this isn’t really a demonstration project at all. It’s something closer to the opposite: an attempt to keep Obamacare’s effects from being demonstrated until it’s too late for voters to respond. the rest

The Senior Swindle provides a further reminder of the unseemliness of Obamacare, a preview of the politicizing of medicine that Obamacare would spawn, and an example of the unprincipled side of our politics. But mostly it offers a testament to the Founders’ wisdom in making our government leaders accountable to the people. The American people have now been living under the looming specter of Obamacare for more than two years. In the fall, they will finally get to issue their verdict on its architect. The bet here is that $8.35 billion in unscrupulously—and perhaps illegally—allocated diversionary funds won’t be enough to keep the citizenry from voting Obama out of office in November and insisting on the repeal of Obamacare in January. In fact, it might serve as a catalyst
Missouri House of Representatives bans 'Obamacare' — House bill aims to prosecute officials who attempt to enforce it

Fred Barnes on Charles Colson

posted April 30, 2012

Excerpt:
Why did Colson appeal to me, beyond the power and authenticity of his Christian witness? I can think of many reasons, but I’ll keep it to a few.

Until I met Colson, I didn’t know what “muscular Christianity” was. It was Colson. His was a kind of tough guy religious faith. Go to almost any church these days and you’ll see a lot more women than men. But when Colson talked, men listened. He was on the wavelength of successful middle-aged men, inmates who came to Prison Fellowship meetings in some previously Godforsaken jail, and lots of men in between.

This is no small thing. Men are inclined to think they’re self-sufficient and don’t require God’s help to get along in life. (Women seem to know better.) Colson explained why Christ wasn’t just for wusses. And then he led men to do what they’d never expected: embrace Christ as their savior and role model. And join their wives in church.

Colson’s faith dispatched him in many directions. After serving his seven-month jail term, he started Prison Fellowship, but that was only the beginning. Mike Cromartie, his assistant in the late 1970s, introduced him to dozens of Christian scholars and theologians from whom he learned the historical and intellectual depth of Christianity. “He feasted on it,” Cromartie says. the rest

Chuck Colson to Be Buried at Quantico, Honored at the National Cathedral
The evangelical leader will be buried with full military honors.

Nigeria attack on church services kills around 20

Nigeria attack on church services kills around 20
By Aminu Abubakar
posted April 30, 2012

KANO, Nigeria — Attackers armed with bombs and guns opened fire at church services at a Nigerian university on Sunday, killing around 20 people as worshippers tried to flee, witnesses and officials said.

Explosions and gunfire rocked Bayero University in the northern city of Kano, with witnesses reporting that two church services were targeted as they were being held on campus.

One of the services was being held outdoors, while the second was inside a building, but with an overflow audience outside, witnesses said.

Officials were unable to confirm casualty figures, but an AFP correspondent counted six bullet-riddled bodies near one of the two sites.

At least another dozen bodies could be seen on a roadside by the university, but the exact number was unclear. the rest

Deadly attack on Nigeria's Bayero university in Kano

N.H. Episcopalians may elect 2d gay bishop

Vote less charged than in 2003
By Lisa Wangsness
April 30, 2012

Nine years after electing the first openly gay bishop in the history of their church, causing a rift in the worldwide Anglican Communion that remains unrepaired, New Hampshire Episcopalians may choose a second gay man as their leader.

The Rev. William W. Rich, a senior associate rector at Trinity Church in Boston and a married gay man, is one of three priests nominated by a Diocese of New Hampshire search committee to succeed Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who is retiring.

About 200 clergy and elected lay delegates will vote by secret ballot in Concord on May 19. The Rev. Adrian Robbins-Cole, president of the Standing Committee, a diocesan advisory board, declined to handicap the vote but speculated most delegates will see the nominees’ sexuality as irrelevant.

“I think electors in New Hampshire are interested in getting the best bishop for New Hampshire,’’ he said. “People are very parochial in the end.’ the rest

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vanderbilt Forbids “Personal Commitment to Jesus” in Student Group’s Bylaws

by Dave Bohon
Friday, 27 April 2012

A commitment to Christ is apparently out at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University, as the school’s religion police continue to crack down on campus organizations that place a priority on the Christian faith of their members. According to the Christian Post, Vanderbilt’s administration informed the school’s chapter of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) that it will lose its recognized status on campus if it does not drop a requirement that the group’s leaders have a “personal commitment to Jesus Christ.”

Last year the CLS was one of four Christian groups on campus targeted by school officials for their distinctly Christian requirements for leaders and members. The other groups were Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Graduate Christian Fellowship, and Beta Upsilon Chi. According to an overview of the case by CLS, Vanderbilt has dropped its long-standing embrace of Christian groups, decreeing that such groups can no longer:
•Require their leaders to agree with the groups’ religious beliefs.
• Require leaders to lead Bible studies, prayer, and worship.
• Force leaders to step down if their religious beliefs change (for example, if a leader became an atheist — which, the school’s administration conceded, has actually happened at the school).

In all, CLS noted, a total of 13 Christian student groups have “have joined together to resist the administration’s demand that religious groups surrender the right to have their leaders agree with their religious beliefs.” In addition to the original four, those groups are: Asian American Christian Fellowship, Vanderbilt Catholic, Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru), Medical Christian Fellowship, Navigators, Bridges International, St. Thomas More Society, Lutheran Student Fellowship, and Every Nation Ministries. the rest

Presentation by Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, and ACNA Bishop John Guernsey

A.S. Haley
posted April 29, 2012

The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall Harmon has posted at his blog a link to an audio recording of remarks which Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina and Bishop John Guernsey of the ACNA Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic delivered to an audience hosted by the Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship of the Diocese of Guildford, just southwest of London, an event which occurred during the recent GAFCON meeting in London, but which was independent of that gathering. The format (following introductions) called for remarks first by Bishop Lawrence, then by Bishop Guernsey, and closed with a robust session of questions-and-answers. The link requires an mp3 player and may be downloaded or listened to here, as well as at the bottom of this post. It is about an hour and a half in duration, but worth every minute.

Bishop Lawrence begins with a brief recounting of the problems that beset a diocese and its bishop who are striving to remain true to their Anglican heritage in the midst of the cultural wars sweeping through the Episcopal Church (USA). The chief problem is caused by what he calls the “false gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity”—the idea that uncouples repentance from sin, and treats the latter as respectable by pushing a false ideal of “equality.” In trying to keep his Diocese on a true course, Bishop Lawrence found that his Diocese had four kinds of constituents: (1) About 10% who are “in lockstep” with ECUSAs General Convention and leadership; (2) About 30-35% who just want to continue doing what they’ve always done, and who expect the Bishop to keep all outside forces for change at bay; (3) Another 35% or so who keep themselves aware of happenings within ECUSA and the Anglican Communion, and who support his orthodox stance athwart those trends; and (4) a final 15-20% who ask only two questions: “Are we leaving, or going?” and “When?”

He then makes clear that because his own Diocese has been so isolated by ECUSA, it is more important than ever for them to stay connected with the rest of the Anglican Communion, and hence his attendance at the two GAFCONs to date, as well as the partnerships they have entered into with many other orthodox provinces and dioceses. Within ECUSA itself, relations are most difficult—he describes them as a kind of “Cold War.” In such circumstances, just as in the original Cold War, every step taken by one side can be interpreted as an act of aggression by the other side. He looks forward to the day when the whole of ECUSA, and not just South Carolina, will not look upon ACNA as “the enemy.”

Bishop Guernsey opens by telling the story of his own church’s journey in leaving the Diocese of Virginia before the “new sheriff in town” made it impossible for the rest of the congregations there to follow peaceably. He then tells the story of the remarkable coming together of ACNA, and how, to its founders, bringing the Gospel to the unchurched was more important than any individual theology. He makes abundantly clear that ACNA has no mission to attract “disgruntled Episcopalians”—“we’re here,” he says, “we’re not going anywhere, and they know where to find us.” ACNA has grown so strongly in its early years—two new churches a week, on average—because it is targeting people who never before heard the Gospel, and not those who are in other churches already.
 the rest

[Excellent!  Take time to listen to the whole thing-it is well worth hearing these perspectives and summaries of events regarding Anglicanism, ACNA and TEC. -PD]

Joint Communiqué from Archbishop Rwaje of P.E.A.R. and Archbishop Duncan of the Anglican Church

April 28, 2012
By George Conger

To All Confessing Anglicans in North America: Greetings in this happiest of seasons, when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and grow in the knowledge of what it means to live as people who have been “raised up with Christ.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

We have just completed a rich week of blessing and encouragement at GAFCON’s Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans’ Leadership Conference at St Mark’s Church in Battersea, London. We joined 200+ delegates from over thirty nations as we listened to God’s word, worshipped, prayed, studied, and talked. It was deeply encouraging and challenging to share with people who serve Christ faithfully with great sacrifice in the face of revisionist opposition or outright persecution from the unbelieving world. We thank the Lord Jesus for his faithfulness and for the Gospel by which people are being saved and his Church is growing.

While in London, we had the opportunity to talk at length together about the continuing turbulence from the separation of the Anglican Mission in America from its founding church, the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The House of Bishops of Rwanda has recently declared the establishment of a Missionary District in North America (PEARUSA) as its only continuing work on this continent and has offered a deadline of August 31 for clergy and churches to determine their future jurisdiction. There are three options available: remain with Rwanda through PEARUSA, transfer to another Anglican jurisdiction through letters dimissory, or follow the Anglican Mission into its new venture. Provision and procedure for each of these options is available or is being developed as rapidly as possible. (These materials will be available through the www.pearusa.org website as they are developed.)

At the same time, there has been a great deal of confusion recently around the issue of the resigned bishops of the AMiA, their relationship with Rwanda, and their possible relationship with ACNA. We write this communiqué together primarily to address that confusion.

1. Archbishop Rwaje and the House of Bishops of Rwanda have established April 29 as the deadline for the resigned AMiA bishops to declare their intention for future jurisdiction. Having declared their intention, he is willing to work with those bishops seeking letters dimissory to another jurisdiction in the weeks and months ahead. (April 29 is simply a deadline for declaring intention and direction.)

2. The Anglican Mission is seeking canonical residency in the Church of the Congo, and those bishops and clergy that have applied for letters dimissory to the Congo are being processed according to standard Anglican procedure.

3. Several AMiA bishops have approached the ACNA, through diocesan bishops or directly with Archbishop Duncan, concerning transfer into ACNA. Archbishop Duncan has established a clear path for this process:

• Following normal transfer process, any bishop seeking transfer must initiate the request with Archbishop Rwaje. He will respond individually to each bishop appropriate to his situation.

• An AMiA bishop received into ACNA will be received in the following manner:

o Graciously and willingly, as the Lord has received all of us, and with the understanding and expectation that God’s love constantly transforms and renews us into the image of Christ

o Into a diocese or diocese in formation, that is, through proper ecclesiastical interaction between Rwanda and the diocesan bishop

o As an assisting bishop, which does not automatically seat one in the ACNA College of Bishops

o Able to give episcopal care to former AMiA churches and clergy that follow them into that diocese, under the blessing of the diocesan bishop

o Prepared to engage a process of full reconciliation with all parties wounded through the actions of recent months

In these matters, we are united in heart, soul, mind, and action.

This has been a painful and difficult time for many. Nevertheless, we are confident that the Lord, in his sovereignty, is building his church, and that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. We are confident that this will ultimately redound to the Glory of God, in this life and the next. We rejoice at the growing closeness and partnership within the GAFCON provinces and particularly between our respective provinces. We rejoice at our growing joint missionary effort through PEARUSA. We can honestly say that we pray for our brothers and sisters in the AMiA, asking God’s grace to be fully poured out on them and the Gospel to be proclaimed faithfully through them. We pray for further reconciliation and friendship, as the Lord gives grace.

Finally, brothers and sisters, be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might. Continue to serve the Lord in faith and humility. Pray for us, as we pray for you.

In the love and truth of Christ,

Archbishop Robert Duncan
Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje

Here-Anglican Ink