Saturday, May 26, 2012

Come down, O love divine...

Come down, O love divine,
Seek Thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing.
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
Shall far outpass the power of human telling;
For none can guess its grace, till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling.
...Bi­an­co of Si­e­na  image by Ben Sutherland

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bored to Death? How We Consume Media

By Eric Metaxas
May 25, 2012

By most estimates, South Korea is the most-wired society in the world. South Koreans "enjoy" virtually universal internet access at speeds and prices that Americans can only dream about.

But that access comes at a high price: By official government estimates, nearly two million South Koreans can be described as "internet addicts."

Now, the words "addict" and "addiction" get thrown around a lot in contemporary culture, but what would you call the following: a Korean couple repeatedly leaves their apartment and goes to an internet café where they spend all night playing an internet game. One night they return to find their three-month-old daughter dead from malnutrition and dehydration.

This actually happened in Seoul. While it's the most extreme case, the difference is one of degree, not kind. An episode of PBS' "Frontline" showed South Korean kids at government-sponsored rehab centers trying, mostly in vain, to wean themselves from their dependence on the internet.

There are several lessons we can learn from the South Korean experience, but I will settle for just one: We would be wrong to believe that media is inherently value-neutral and that any harm stems from the way it is used. the rest
The average American kid crams nearly 11 hours of media into 7.5 hours in front of screens: Consuming multiple media streams at the same time is becoming the rule rather than the exception.

Magic meerkat moments



May 18, 2012

"Botched abortion" (meaning the baby lived)

A Spanish doctor has been ordered to pay for the upkeep of a child after an abortion sought by the mother failed and she gave birth.
By Fiona Govan, Madrid
24 May 2012

A judge on the island of Majorca ordered the unnamed gynaecologist to pay the mother 150,000 euros (£120,000) in "moral damages" for his negligence and a monthly maintenance of 978 euros (£780) until the child reaches its 26th birthday.

The court in Palma heard how the woman had sought to terminate an unwanted pregnancy at a clinic in April 2010 when she was eight weeks pregnant but, unbeknown to her at the time, the procedure failed.

She returned to the clinic three months later seeking another abortion because she believed that she had fallen pregnant again.

But an ultrasound revealed she was five months pregnant and she was refused a termination because it was over the legal time limit of 14 weeks.

She was offered a refund of the £320 she paid for the initial procedure and referred to a clinic in Barcelona, which, it was suggested, might have performed a late-term abortion, but doctors there also refused.
the rest   (Wait till the boy finds out he was accidentally not murdered)

Churches sealed shut in Indonesia

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Seventeen churches have been forcibly closed in Indonesia’s Aceh province following last month’s election of a hard-line Islamic governor.

Emboldened by the April election of Zaini Abdullah of the staunchly Islamic Aceh Party, hundreds of Islamic demonstrators gathered and demanded that church buildings be demolished and not just closed.

Officials said grounds for the closures included improper permits and a more than a decade-old agreement that stated that only one church and four small houses that function as churches could be built in the entire district. About 12,000 people in the district are Christian—accounting for about one-sixth of the population, and the number of churches in the area had grown to 22. the rest

WHO Ignores Link Between Growing Incidence of Preterm Birth and Abortion

May 24, 2012
By Lucia Muchova

Excerpt:
Prematurity is identified as “the world’s single biggest cause of newborn death, and the second leading cause of all child deaths.” Premature births pose difficult challenges to parents, doctors and society at large, as premature babies often face a higher risk of lifetime disability, requiring lifelong care and medical support. According to the WHO report, preterm birth rates have increased in nearly all countries.

The reasons for this increase are not entirely clear. Recognizing the problem through improved data measurement likely plays a role, especially in developing countries. Underlying causes, however, may relate to the increased use of infertility treatments, higher frequency of caesarean births, higher rates of diabetes, and high blood pressure or infections among mothers.

But one important factor is consciously omitted in the list, abortion. The References section of the WHO report mentions two studies that demonstrate an increased risk of preterm birth associated with abortion. Yet the body of the 126-page long report is completely silent on abortion.

In a soon-to-be-released C-FAM briefing paper, Dr. Byron Calhoun, M.D. reveals a common trend in research literature on preterm birth to consciously exclude the link between abortion and preterm birth. No less than 127 individual studies of women from all around the world show that both induced and spontaneous abortion is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth. Several meta-analyses of multiple studies illustrate the same pattern. Multiple abortions can increase the risk of preterm birth by more than 200%. And yet none of this is mentioned in the WHO report. the rest

PA to defund Planned Parenthood!

The state's new bill would place Planned Parenthood at the bottom of the list for state funding, a move that would all but ensure the organization is left without money at the end of the budget process.
5/24/2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA (Catholic Online) - The bill has been presented by state representative, Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) and will put all abortion providers at the bottom of the state's funding list. The bill is known as the Whole Women's Health Funding Priority Act. The bill was co-authored by the Susan B. Anthony List and the Alliance Defense Fund.

The bill is similar to one that recently passed in Arizona.

Planned Parenthood relies on state and federal funding to provide abortions. Planned Parenthood also provides other services to women including screenings. However, women can access these services via other providers that do not perform abortions.

While Planned Parenthood insists the money they receive does not fund abortions, it does so indirectly since money is a fungible commodity.

Best of all, the bill provides more for women's health because it diverts funds from Planned Parenthood to other health clinics that can provide women with better comprehensive health care.
Mallory Quigley, the communications director for the SBA List referred to the bill as an "upgrade."
the rest

Church probes English vicar over obscene Facebook posts

May 25, 2012


DONCASTER, England -- A Church of England vicar has been caught on Facebook making obscene comments about his boozy antics and complaining about attending church.

Senior clergy in Britain are investigating the matter after receiving an anonymous letter about Canon Paul Shackerley, vicar of Doncaster Minster in the north of England, calling his use of language "abhorrent" and "distasteful," and arguing he is unfit to serve the church in any way, The (London) Times reported.

Sharkerley is said to have updated his Facebook status recently by posting, "I think I will put my feet up. I've done **** all today other than jazz lesson and visit a friend. I hear the fizz of tonic in my gin beckoning." the rest

CA: Holy Family Episcopal Church forced to close

By Nicolas Grizzle
May 24, 2012

When talking about her church's last service ever, Pastor Gail Cafferata of Holy Family Episcopal Church in Rohnert Park expressed, over other emotions, gratitude. The pastor for the past nine years at the 36-year-old church said of everything that had been accomplished, "We couldn't have done it without our neighbors.”

The church held its last service Sunday, May 20, at 4:30 p.m. The decision was made in September when the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California decided to sell the building.

“There was disappointment," said Cafferata. "There was heartbreak that we couldn't go forward." the rest

Rohnert Park Episcopal Church disbands after 36 years

Sigh-one of their recommended readings is here. ...energy in life...engaging a story...diverse community of believers...searching and questioning and doubting and finding...new possibilities...blah blah blah...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Woman priest compares Church of England bishops to wife beaters

A woman priest tipped as a future bishop has compared senior Church of England figures to wife beaters.
24 May 2012

In an article on her blog titled “The Battered Bride of Christ”, The Rev Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, questioned why women should stay in an “abusive institution”.

Her comments follow moves by bishops to alter proposals to allow the ordination of women bishops.

The Church's House of Bishops met behind closed doors in York to finalise long – awaited legislation designed to clear the way for a vote at the General Synod in July enabling the ordination of women as bishops.

But the bishops added an amendment that would allow traditionalist parishes that refused to accept the authority of a woman not only to opt out but also to have an alternative bishop chosen to be "consistent with the theological convictions".

Following the move, Dr Threlfall-Holmes, acting principal of Ustinov College at Durham University, wrote: "The question for women priests today is: do we stay with this abusive institution? the rest
She later removed the post, which also compared the bishops to a man who gouged his wife's eyes out and then kept her in the house for 12 hours to stop her getting medical attention.

Anglicans Hand Keys of Historic Falls Church to Episcopalians

By Nicholas F. Benton
Wednesday, May 23 2012

Last Sunday marked the epochal formal handover of the historic Falls Church property from the breakaway congregation that had occupied it since 2006 to its legal owners, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The Falls Church congregation affiliated with legal owners, known as "continuing Episcopalians" had been banished from the church property until now. While they celebrated Easter at the historic chapel on the property last month, this past Sunday marked the first of now on-going Sunday services there following the official transfer last week.

The breakaway group, the Falls Church Anglican, voted itself out of the Episcopal denomination in December 2006 due in part to its objection to the election of an openly-gay priest as a bishop in the denomination in 2003. It was compelled for the first time last Sunday by court rulings in January and last month (to deny a stay pending appeal) to move off the historic church campus to hold its Sunday services elsewhere.

The Anglicans' destination last Sunday was the Columbia Baptist Church a few blocks up the road for some early morning activities, and the Kenmore Middle School in Arlington for two main worship services that a spokesman said were "full."

This coming Sunday, the group, affiliated with the Council of Anglicans in North America (CANA) structure formed following the split to be inclusive of similar breakaway congregations, will move its main Sunday services to the auditorium of the Bishop O'Connell High School, a private school only blocks from the City of Falls Church border in North Arlington. the rest

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Modern culture is a mighty force...

Modern culture is a mighty force. It is either subservient to the gospel or else it is the deadliest enemy of the gospel. For making it subservient, religious emotion is not enough, intellectual labor is also necessary. And that labor is being neglected. The Church has turned to easier tasks. And now she is reaping the fruits of her indolence. Now she must battle for her life. ...J. Gresham Machen image by Vic Nanda

Press Statement: HoD President Bonnie Anderson to step down

Head of the House of Deputies announces she will not seek another term
May 23, 2012
By George Conger

Dear Deputies and First Alternates,

I write to you for two reasons: to thank you for your support, friendship, prayers, challenges, brilliance and love that has inspired and humbled me during these 6 years and second, to let you know that I do not plan to stand for election as President of the House of Deputies for another term.

The reason I am not seeking re-election is a simple one: I want to spend more time with my family. My husband, Glen, is retired. I want to be with him more. Our amazing son, Justin, lives with us and reminds us every single day, by his very existence, that God is a generous miracle maker. I want to celebrate Justin’s life by being with him every day. I want to bake cakes with my grandchildren and go to all their band concerts, soccer games and school plays. I want to have leisurely phone conversations with my daughters. You get the picture.

By tomorrow, you will receive information on the process for electing a President and Vice President while we are in Indianapolis. the rest

Transgender Five-Year-Old?

By Mona Charen
May 22, 2012

A five-year-old child with large dark eyes, full lips, and a button nose stares out from the front page of the Washington Post Sunday edition. “Transgender at Five” declares the provocative headline. The child’s hair is being cut in a close, boy’s cut by her father.

We learn from the article that “Tyler,” who was born “Kathryn,” began insisting that she was a boy at the age of two. “‘I am a boy’ became a constant theme in struggles over clothing, bathing, swimming, eating, playing, breathing.” The child’s parents, at first uneasy and later accepting their girl’s desire to be a boy, agreed to raise her as a boy. Starting at age four, she began to wear boys’ clothes, was permitted to choose a boy’s name for herself, and has been introduced to family, friends, teachers, and fellow congregants at church as a boy.

Oh boy. the rest

The problem with the Post’s recommended approach — which amounts to “let’s accept a child’s version of reality to avoid causing depression or worse” — is that the decision of parents to indulge a child’s whim on gender identity is itself irreversible. The effects of hormone blockers, the Post reassures readers, are fully reversible. Maybe. How much research can there have been on such a new practice? Would parents who hesitate to let their kids eat preservatives or non-organic eggs consent to block the complex hormones that begin to flood kids’ bodies at puberty? In any case, the decision to dress a girl in boys’ clothing, cut her hair, and call her a boy — even if reversed later — must, absolutely must, scramble a child’s psyche. Imagine the confrontation between a teenaged girl who has changed her mind and the parents who raised her as a boy. “Did you not think I was pretty enough to be a girl? Wasn’t I feminine enough?” Or, perhaps even more damaging, a teenaged boy demanding to know whether his father thought him lacking in masculinity as a child. It’s a psychological minefield.

Gallup: "Pro-Choice" Americans at Record-Low 41%

Americans now tilt "pro-life" by nine-point margin, 50% to 41%
May 23, 2012
by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as "pro-choice" is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009. Fifty percent now call themselves "pro-life," one point shy of the record high, also from May 2009.

Gallup began asking Americans to define themselves as pro-choice or pro-life on abortion in 1995, and since then, identification with the labels has shifted from a wide lead for the pro-choice position in the mid-1990s, to a generally narrower lead for "pro-choice" -- from 1998 through 2008 -- to a close division between the two positions since 2009. However, in the last period, Gallup has found the pro-life position significantly ahead on two occasions, once in May 2009 and again today. It remains to be seen whether the pro-life spike found this month proves temporary, as it did in 2009, or is sustained for some period. More...

More Than 40,000 Ultra-Orthodox Jews Hold Rally About Risks of Internet

by Alex Fitzpatrick
posted May 23, 2012

More than 40,000 of New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gathered at Queens’ Citi Field and another nearby stadium Sunday evening to discuss the danger the Internet can pose to the moral fabric of their community if it’s used in thoughtless or religiously deviant ways.

Inside the stadium, rabbis led the sold-out crowd in evening prayers and warned of the Internet’s ability to spread “filth,” such as pornography or hate speech. The rally was sponsored by Ichud Hakehillos Letohar Hamachane, a rabbinical group with ties to a software outlet that makes an Internet filtering app for Orthodox Jews, according to The New York Times.

The thousands of attendees at Citi Field and 20,000 others at an overflow event at a nearby tennis stadium were eager to discuss the web and its impact on ultra-Orthodox life.

Thousands of women watched the proceedings from afar in viewing parties, as ultra-Orthodox law prohibits the mixing of the sexes.

“There is a very significant downside to the Internet,” Eytan Kobre, one of the event’s organizers, told The Associated Press. “It does pose a challenge to us in various aspects of our lives,” he added, citing the distractions posed by online pornography, gambling and social media as as a threat to ultra-Orthodox Jews’ “ability to pray uninterruptedly, to focus and to concentrate.”  the rest

More photos at First Things

HHS doesn’t speak for me, or many women

By Helen Alvare
May 22, 2012

Excerpt:
More than a few women in my new e-mail community have taken note of some blatantly anti-woman aspects of the HHS proposal:

— First, while the mandate covers contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and surgical sterilization for women, it covers none for men. In other words, the government is facilitating only women’s ingesting chemicals (which the government’s own data indicate have some proven harmful side effects) and is placing the burden of pregnancy prevention entirely on women.

— Second, HHS is further suggesting that rather than allowing female employees of religious institutions to seek contraceptive coverage, a government-approved entity will simply provide it to them and all their female beneficiaries (minors included) “automatically” — and without any co-pay to tip off minors’ parents. This isn’t freedom. This is coercion, along with the undermining of parents’ duties and rights respecting their children.

— Third, if the entire rationale for the mandate is to end “unintended pregnancies,” and the government succeeds with this mandate, what would stop it from imposing abortion insurance on us all under the same rationale? This is particularly scary given that women generally oppose abortion more strongly than men, and suffer disproportionately from it.

Tens of thousands of thoughtful women are wondering why — at a time of national economic crises, and with contraception as cheap and widely available as it is — the government has chosen to pick a fight with the religious institutions employing and serving the most vulnerable people in the country, and is doing so under the banner of women’s rights. the rest

Critter Prayers and Transhumanism

May 23, 2012
George Weigel

Posed as ever on the cutting edge of the politically correct and theologically dubious, the Episcopal Church–U.S.A. will soon consider adopting a Burial Service for Beloved Animals, in which the following two Collects appear:

At the burial of a farm animal
Most gracious, good Lord, we are the people of your pasture and the sheep of your hand: We thank you for placing among us the beasts of the field and allowing us to care for them, and to receive from them food and clothing to meet our necessities. We grieve this day the death of A., and we return to you a creature of your own making, one who served as an effective sign of the generosity of your love for us; through Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
At the death of a wild animal
Almighty God, who make the beasts of the wild move in beauty and show forth the glory of your Name: We grieve the death of this creature, in whose living and dying the power of your Spirit was made manifest. We reverence the loss of that which was never ours to claim but only to behold with wonder; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A former Vatican official known for his prowess with a deer rifle commented on the latter: “I have my own prayer at the death of a wild animal. It begins, ‘Bless, O Lord, and these thy gifts . . .’” Another priest, seeing this, said “There’s plenty of room for all of God’s creatures . . . next to the mashed potatoes.” To which Former Vatican Official replied, “Don’t forget the gravy." the rest

Church of England begins major study on Church growth

23 May 2012

Research teams have been appointed to start work on an 18-month project on growth in the Anglican Church, supported by funding set aside by the Archbishops' Council and Church Commissioners.

The Church Growth Research Programme will focus on a range of growth areas including cathedrals, church plants, different patterns of deploying clergy and the union of parishes.

The organisations running the programme were appointed through a competitive tendering process which, the Church says, attracted a good number of high quality proposals.

A team from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, led by Professor David Voas, has been appointed to undertake the data analysis and church profiling strands of the research. These strands will involve extensive analysis of existing data to test hypotheses around factors relating to church growth and in depth profiling of churches through a survey of 4,000 churches (from a wide variety of contexts and traditions) and some follow up interviews. It will involve a comprehensive investigation into the wide range of factors which might encourage or prevent growth. the rest

Abortion, Cannibalism and Black Magic

Fr. Dwight Longenecker
posted May 23, 2012

In case you think the murder of little children, cannibalism and black magic are isolated practices or are simply part of a disgusting and primitive Chinese culture– the practice is increasing rather than dying out. The dried bodies of baby boys used to be replaced with wooden effigies. That wasn’t good enough. They’re bringing the real thing back again.

Furthermore, the practice of child sacrifice is not just an Asian phenomenon. It’s increasing in Africa too. Here is a BBC news story about the horrors of child sacrifice in present day Uganda. This article from Zimbabwe chronicles the scourge of child sacrifice in countries across Africa.

This is crude, primitive, barbaric and superstitious stuff. It doesn’t happen in United States and Britain does it? Sure it does. The medical industry in the USA “harvests” organs and body parts regularly from aborted fetuses. Here’s information about this industry which one industry worker calls “unpleasant but necessary”. If you have the stomach you might want to take time if you’re interested to watch this video about the presence of witchcraft within radical feminism and the abortion industry in the United States.

Of course the presence of a few witches in a couple of abortion clinics isn’t evidence of widespread black magic, cannibalism and primitive superstitious practices. Stop for a moment though and consider the reasoning behind child sacrifice, cannibalism and black magic. The occult practitioner–whether he is an African, a pre-Colombian South American, an ancient worshipper of Moloch or a Chinese businessman or Korean drug smuggler, wants the five “Ps”– protection, prosperity, potency, pleasure and power. The superstitious believe they will get this by making a child sacrifice to a pagan deity. the rest

China: What's Worse Than Abortion? This Is...

By Catholic Online
5/22/2012

According to Reggie Littlejohn, President of (WRWF) as reported by The Blaze, China performs 13 million abortions per year. That averages to about 1,500 abortions per hour.

Catholic Online has previously reported on the incredible brutality of abortion in China. While abortion is a violent form of murder, Chinese officials and doctors take the practice to another level, often subjecting women to even more abuse than they face in other countries such as the US. In China, women routinely suffer forced abortions that can include kidnapping, beating, and forced sterilization - not to mention the incredibly steep fines that follow.

Unlike in the US, where most women enter the abortion mills willingly (or at least under their own power) Chinese officials take women into custody and march them into the clinic. Some women run away in an attempt to save their children, but often their attempts prove futile as both family and officials hunt them down for their babies.

For a nation such as China, which is fast becoming a world leader in so many areas, it seems incomprehensible that such barbaric and inhumane practices would persist.

Once a woman enters the clinic, the experience intensifies. According to the investigative report, which published online discussions between doctors, it is common for babies to be murdered in their ninth month. In many cases, the babies are born alive after induced labor, forcing the mothers to go through the pain of childbirth - to be followed by the brutal murder of their infant child, right before their eyes and ears.

The online discussions mention babies tied into trash bags and thrown into trash cans labeled "hazardous waste" and left to die. At least one post referred to a child that suffered two days in such conditions before dying. the rest

Mob of Islamic Hardliners Attack Indonesian Church Congregation with Bags of Urine

Friday, May 18, 2012

A mob of 600 Islamic hardliners threw plastic bags filled with urine at an Indonesian church congregation celebrating the ascension of Christ, a lawyer said on Friday.

The attack, during which stones and dirt were also hurled, occurred on Thursday as around 100 Christians prepared to hold a service at a church in Bekasi, a city on the outskirts of the capital Jakarta.

Members of the Philadelphia Batak Christian Protestant Church have been targeted several times in recent years.

"They attacked when the priest started to speak to the congregation. A crowd of 600 people threw bags of urine and dirty water as they tried to push police," a lawyer for the church, Judianto Simanjuntak, told AFP.

"Police didn't even try to disperse the crowd, so they were open to attack us." the rest

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Episcopal Letter Expresses 'Disappointment' With Falls Church Anglican's Court Appeal

By Nicholas F. Benton
Tuesday, May 22 2012

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia issued a letter today stating that in the context of "a cascade of settlements" the Diocese has made with six of the seven breakaway Council of Anglicans in North America (CANA) congregations in Virginia in the wake of a decisive court judgment in January, it reports "with disappointment" that the same is not the case with the CANA congregation that occupied the historic Falls Church until last weekend. The leadership of that group, it reports, "has made it clear that they plan to pursue their appeal before the Supreme Court of Virginia unless the Diocese pays them a significant sume of money." It added that those in the Diocese leadership "remain confident in our legal position" as an appeal goes forward.

Excerpted from the text the Diocese's letter by Chief of Staff Henry Burt is the following:

"With disappointment, I report to you that we have been unable to reach a final settlement with the CANA congregation now known as the Falls Church Anglican. Their leadership has made it clear that they plan to pursue their appeal before the Supreme Court of Virginia unless the Diocese (with the Episcopal Church's approval) pays them a significant sum of money; we both are unwilling to do so. As a result, we expect the Falls Church Anglican to file their petition for appeal at the end of this month, asking the Supreme Court of Virginia to hear their case. We must file a responsive brief three weeks later, and the Court will issue its decision on whether to take the case at some point this fall. We remain strongly confident in our legal position.

"Despite the Falls Church Anglican's decision to appeal, we were able to reach other key side agreements with real and positive consequences for the people affected. The 50-year-old Falls Church Day School, which serves over 200 children, has returned to the oversight of the Falls Church Episcopal without disruption and will remain open for the long term. Also, the Diocese is leasing the rectory to the rector of the Falls Church Anglican for up to a year at a fair rent, allowing him time to relocate. Finally, Bishop Johnston has given the Rev. Cathy Tibbetts, priest-in-charge of the Falls Church Episcopal, authority to respond generously to requests for weddings and funerals in the Falls Church by members of the Falls Church Anglican." the rest

Mary Ann Glendon: Why the Bishops Are Suing the U.S. Government

The main goal of the contraception mandate is not to protect women's health. It is a move to conscript religious organizations into a political agenda.
May 21, 2012

This week Catholic bishops are heading to federal courts across the country to defend religious liberty. On Monday they filed 12 lawsuits on behalf of a diverse group of 43 Catholic entities that are challenging the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) sterilization, abortifacient and birth-control insurance mandate.

Like most Americans, the bishops have long taken for granted the religious freedom that has enabled this nation's diverse religions to flourish in relative harmony. But over the past year they have become increasingly concerned about the erosion of conscience protections for church-related individuals and institutions. Their top-rated program for assistance to human trafficking victims was denied funding for refusing to provide "the full range of reproductive services," including abortion. For a time, Catholic Relief Services faced a similar threat to its international relief programs. The bishops fear religious liberty is becoming a second-class right.

Along with leaders of other faiths who have conscientious objections to all or part of the mandate, they hoped to persuade the government to bring its regulations into line with the First Amendment, and with federal laws such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that provide exemptions to protect the conscience rights of religious institutions and individuals.

On Jan. 20, however, HHS announced it would not revise the mandate or expand its tight exemption, which covers only religious organizations that mainly hire and serve their co-religionists. Instead, the mandated coverage will continue to apply to hospitals, schools and social service providers run by groups whose religious beliefs require them to serve everyone in need. the rest

Ex-homosexual group sues Washington school district for discriminating against reformed homosexuals

by Calvin Freiburger
Mon May 21, 2012

(LifeSiteNews.com) - A Washington school district is under fire for discriminating against ex-gay students.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), a Virginia-based organization dedicated to eliminating discrimination against former homosexuals, has filed a sexual orientation discrimination complaint against Montgomery County Superintendent Joshua Starr after he called the group’s literature “reprehensible and deplorable.”

The flyer “promotes equality for all” and “doesn’t suggest that anybody should change” from homosexuality, PFOX Executive Director Regina Griggs told LifeSiteNews.com.

In February, PFOX distributed flyers offering to help students at five county high schools dealing with “unwanted same-sex attractions.” as part of a policy (http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/flyers/).  The flyer discusses why discrimination and verbal abuse against ex-gay students are wrong. It tells students “isn’t necessary to label” your sexual orientation as a teenager, the flyers say, because “[s]exuality develops over time.” It also asks students not to criticize homosexual students. the rest

Cardinal Timothy Dolan: ‘Horror’ of Obama exemption


By TIM MAK
5/22/12

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who’s suing the Obama administration over the birth control mandate, said Tuesday that President Barack Obama doesn’t understand the “horror” that the Catholic Church feels over a “strangling” religious exemption to the mandate.

“I worry that members of [Obama’s] administration might not particularly understand our horror at the restricted nature of the exemption that they’re giving us, that for the first time we can remember, a bureau of the federal government seems to be radically intruding on what the term of a church is,” Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, said on CBS’s “This Morning.” the rest
“This is about religious freedom, it’s not about contraception,” Dolan said. “What we’re worried about now is the exemption given to the churches is so strangling, and so narrow and it’s also presumptuous that a bureau of the federal government is attempting to define for the church the extent of its ministry and ministers.”

Notre Dame Sues Over Birth Control Rule

Monday, May 21, 2012

UK: House of Bishops approves Women Bishops Legislation

21 May 2012

The House of Bishops of the Church of England today concluded its consideration of the draft legislation to enable women to be consecrated as bishops. It agreed that the legislation should be returned to the General Synod for final approval.

The House of Bishops had power to amend the draft legislation in such manner "as it thinks fit". It made two amendments to the draft Measure.

The House accepted an amendment making it clear that the use of the word "delegation" (in Clause 2 of the draft Measure) relates to the legal authority which a male bishop acting under a diocesan scheme would have and was distinct from the authority to exercise the functions of the office of bishop that that person derived from his ordination. For example, when another bishop ordains someone to the priesthood he needs permission to do from the bishop of the diocese ("delegation"), but the power to ordain derives from his consecration as a bishop. The amendment also makes clear that delegation should not be taken as divesting the diocesan bishop of any of his or her authority or functions. the rest

A.S. Haley: On ECUSA's Apparent Ignorance of the Source of Holy Orders

Monday, May 21, 2012

With General Convention 2012 fast approaching, now starts what I call the Strange Dance of the Canons.

Proposals to change and amend the Canons (and Constitution, as well) of ECUSA begin to surface from every direction. Some come, like a debutante confident of her family's status, backed by the full weight of the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons ("SCCC"); others are proposed by Dioceses, or by individuals. All are given a whirl on the dance floor of General Convention. And just as in real life, there is no advantage to actual merit -- instead, politics and influence are the order of the day.

Indeed, the continual willingness of General Convention to tinker with the Canons is one of the Church's greatest weaknesses. Legislatures come together to legislate -- but that does not mean that any, or all, proposals to legislate are worthwhile, or will actually improve things.  the rest

When the looter is the government

By George F. Will
May 18, 2012

Russ Caswell, 68, is bewildered: “What country are we in?” He and his wife, Pat, are ensnared in a Kafkaesque nightmare unfolding in Orwellian language.

This town’s police department is conniving with the federal government to circumvent Massachusetts law — which is less permissive than federal law — to seize his livelihood and retirement asset. In the lawsuit titled United States of America v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Massachusetts, the government is suing an inanimate object, the motel Caswell’s father built in 1955. The U.S. Department of Justice intends to seize it, sell it for perhaps $1.5 million and give up to 80 percent of that to the Tewksbury Police Department, whose budget is just $5.5 million. The Caswells have not been charged with, let alone convicted of, a crime. They are being persecuted by two governments eager to profit from what is antiseptically called the “equitable sharing” of the fruits of civil forfeiture, a process of government enrichment that often is indistinguishable from robbery.

The Merrimack River Valley near the New Hampshire border has had more downs than ups since the 19th century, when the nearby towns of Lowell and Lawrence were centers of America’s textile industry. In the 1960s the area briefly enjoyed a high-tech boom. Caswell’s “budget” motel, too, has seen better days, as when the touring Annette Funicello and the Mouseketeers checked in. In its sixth decade the motel hosts tourists, some workers on extended stays and some elderly people who call it home. The 56 rooms rent for $56 a night or $285 a week.

Since 1994, about 30 motel customers have been arrested on drug-dealing charges. Even if those police figures are accurate — the police have a substantial monetary incentive to exaggerate — these 30 episodes involved less than 5/100ths of 1 percent of the 125,000 rooms Caswell has rented over those more than 6,700 days. Yet this is the government’s excuse for impoverishing the Caswells by seizing this property, which is their only significant source of income and all of their retirement security. the rest

Muslim Persecution of Christians: April, 2012

by Raymond Ibrahim
Gatestone Institute
May 18, 2012

Considering that Easter, one of the highest Christian holidays, comes in April, Christian persecution in Muslim nations—from sheer violence to oppressive laws—was rampant last month: In Nigeria, where jihadis seek to expunge all traces of Christianity, a church was bombed during Easter Sunday, killing some 50 worshippers; in Turkey, a pastor was beaten by Muslims immediately following Easter service and threatened with death unless he converts to Islam; and in Iran, Easter Sunday saw 12 Christians stand trial as "apostates."

The persecution of Christians has come to regions not normally associated with it. As in Nigeria, Muslim militants are running amok in Timbuktu, Mali—beheading a Christian leader and threatening other Christians with similar treatment. Sharia law has been imposed, churches are being destroyed, and Christians are fleeing Timbuktu in mass.

Categorized by theme, the rest of April's batch of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed in alphabetical order by country, not severityhere

Cardinal Dolan of NY, Cardinal Wuerl of D.C., Notre Dame--And 40 Other Catholic Dioceses and Organizations Sue Obama Administration

By Terence P. Jeffrey
May 21, 2012

(CNSNews.com) - The Archdiocese of New York, headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., headed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the University of Notre Dame, and 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations around the country announced on Monday that they are suing the Obama administration for violating their freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The dioceses and organizations, in different combinations, are filing 12 different lawsuits filed in federal courts around the country.

The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has established a special website--preservereligiousfreedom.org--to explain its lawsuit and present news and developments concerning it.

"This lawsuit is about an unprecedented attack by the federal government on one of America’s most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one’s religion without government interference," the archdiocese says on the website. "It is not about whether people have access to certain services; it is about whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to facilitate and fund services which violate their religious beliefs." the rest

Dozens of Catholic Groups Sue Obama Admin Over HHS Mandate

Anglican Unscripted Episode 40


May 21, 2012

Kevin and George bring news from the Episcopal Church and a General Convention resolution to allow Communion without Baptism. Ireland passes motion 8 during their General Synod despite creative use of Roberts Rules. The Roman Catholic church met with Anglcan leaders in Hong Kong for the third time. New Hampshire is going to elect a new Bishop tomorrow. Canon Phil Ashley explains how AMiA Bishops are moving into ACNA and which Canons are helping that transition.

Pelosi Calls Chaplain 'Conscience Clause' a 'Fraud'

By Paul Stanley
May 19, 2012

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blasted a Republican proposal that would protect military chaplains from performing same-sex marriages, saying the provision in unnecessary.

"Nobody is ordering them to do that," Pelosi told reporters Thursday. "I've never seen any suggestion that we're ordering chaplains to perform same-sex [marriages]. Where is that? I think that they can rest assured that if they don't believe in that, they don't have to perform those."

The issue surfaced after military chaplains expressed concern they would be ordered to marry same-sex couples against their personal beliefs and/or the beliefs of their denomination. Following President Barack Obama's announcement last week that he backs gay marriage, Republicans immediately proposed an amendment to the 2013 defense authorization bill that would protect chaplains from violating their conscience, moral principles and religious beliefs.

When asked by a reporter at her Thursday press conference if she supported the provision, Pelosi said she sided with the White House in opposing it. the rest
Former Navy Chaplain James Klingenschmitt was lobbying all 26 members of the Senate Armed Services Committee Friday on Capitol Hill and took exception to the minority leader's comments.

"I disagree with Rep. Pelosi. There are dozens of active duty chaplains who have been pressured to not speak against homosexuality," Klingenschmitt told The Christian Post. "I know of one Army and one Navy chaplain who have already resigned. Another active duty chaplain has been silenced, threatened and punished against speaking against 'don't ask, don't tell.' What they are saying is simply false."

The Perils of Polygamy

Recent empirical research suggests that, in virtually every respect, polygamy is socially detrimental—to society in general, to men, to women, and to children.
by Christopher Kaczor
May 21, 2012

In the course of history, approximately 85 percent of societies have practiced polygamy. Pushed by advocates of same-sex marriage and multiculturalism, some scholars, such as the signers of  “Beyond Gay Marriage,” argue that it is irrational and bigoted for contemporary society to limit marriage to just two people. However, there is no bigotry in treating different things differently, and there are many important differences between polygamy and monogamy in practice as well as in principle.

There are three main forms of polygamous relationships: polygyny, polyandry, and polygynandry. In polygyny, by far the most common form of polygamy, one man may marry a number of wives. In polyandry, one wife has two or more husbands. This form of polygamy is extremely unusual, and often takes the form of two brothers marrying the same woman. In polygynandry, two or more wives marry to two or more husbands. Polygynandry is even more rare than polyandry, but will be similar in some respects to polygyny, insofar as a man has more than one wife. Since both polygynandry and polyandry are virtually non-existent, I’ll focus on the more common case of one man with multiple wives, and use the more common term polygamy to describe this arrangement.

Now let us turn to the practical considerations drawn from human experience. Recent empirical research suggests that, in virtually every respect, polygamy is socially detrimental—to society in general, to men, to women, and to children. These problems arise because of the nature of human reproduction. the rest

High school teacher tells student he can be arrested for criticizing Obama

Joe Newby
May 20, 2012

After criticizing Mitt Romney, a North Carolina high school teacher yelled at a student for asking a question about Barack Obama, telling him that he could be arrested for criticizing Barack Obama.

Sarah Campbell wrote at the Salisbury Post Saturday that the heated exchange began "with a classroom conversation about a recent news story detailing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney allegedly bullying a classmate in prep school. It turns into a heated, sometimes confrontational debate."

“Didn’t Obama bully someone though,” one student asked, referring to an incident in Obama's memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” in which Obama admitted pushing a girl when other students called him her boyfriend.

“Stop, no, because there is no comparison,” the teacher said. the rest



-very disturbing

NAACP Backs Same-Sex Marriage As a Civil Right

May 21, 2012

The NAACP passed a resolution Saturday endorsing same-sex marriage as a civil right and opposing any efforts "to codify discrimination or hatred into the law."

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's board voted at a leadership retreat in Miami to back a resolution supporting marriage equality, calling the position consistent with the equal protection provision of the U.S. Constitution.

"The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people," Board Chairwoman Roslyn M. Brock said in a statement. "We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law." the rest

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fernando Ortega: From CCM hitmaker to Anglican liturgy minister

Sunday 20th May 2012
Tony Cummings

In 1998 Fernando Ortega won a Dove Award for his bluegrass-flavoured "Children Of The Living God", in 2000 landed the Inspirational Album Of The year award for 'Home' and in 2002 was one of the recipients of a Dove for his contribution to the multi-artist 'City On A Hill'. But in 2009 Fernando made a major departure from the "CCM star" route and joined the Christ The King Anglican Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico as music minister. In 2011 he released the 'Come Down O Love Divine' independent album which was praised by his legion of fans and by the critics. Fernando's Wikipedia entry described his music as "embracing country, classical, Celtic, Latin American, world, modern folk and rustic hymnody." With 'Come Down O Love Divine' one could add Anglican hymnody to the list. Fernando was quizzed by broadcaster Mike Rimmer about his latest musical direction.

Commented Fernando, "Isn't that weird, a Mexican Anglican? When Ruby, my daughter, was born, we were attending an Anglican church here in Albuquerque, and nobody in the church knew about what I did for a living. That was part of what drew us to the church: nobody there that was into contemporary Christian music, so we could go and just be part of the church. Then slowly people found out that I was a musician; I got asked to play a couple times. They finally asked if I would consider becoming the worship leader there. It was perfect, because I was trying to get off the road, because my daughter had just been born, and I didn't want to be gone from her, I didn't want to miss anything. It was like God opened this door. We've been part of this Anglican church for a year and a half now. Anglicans who are listening take it for granted - but we've never, as American evangelicals, ordered our worship or our devotional experience according to the narrative of Christ's life: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Lent, Holy Week. Every week has a theme, so I'm finding hymns, and having to write hymns, that are specific to those themes every week. That's just not part of evangelicalism, it's a very general sense of worship. You know how modern worship is: 'Lord, I love you, I bless you, I thank you for your grace'. But you don't have songs that are specific to holy days, like the Transfiguration or something like that - you don't go find contemporary praise songs that are about that. So I've ended up having to write those songs, or find old, traditional songs. It's really influenced my writing." the rest

UK: Female churchgoers sign petition against women bishops

19 May 2012

More than 2,000 female members of the Church of England have signed a petition opposing the ordination of women bishops.

The signatures were collected by Proper Provision, a group calling for a better deal for traditionalist parishes who do not want to be overseen by a woman.

It will be handed to Church leaders considering measures to introduce women bishops, at a meeting in York.

It is the final chance to change Church law before a final vote in July.

The petition was signed by 2,200 women.

Its organisers claim it was supported by churches that are mostly growing, and have young congregations, with women well represented in leadership roles. the rest
BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said it was designed to counter any impression that opponents of women bishops consist mainly of male traditionalists with a negative view of women clergy.