Friday, June 07, 2013

Federal court considers S.C. Episcopal division

posted June 7, 2013

CHARLESTON — Attorneys for two factions of South Carolina Episcopalians made their case Thursday to a federal judge over the proper venue for their legal battle — state or federal court.
In a courtroom jammed with more than two dozen attorneys, U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck heard arguments arising from the Episcopal schism in eastern South Carolina.

Last year, the conservative Diocese of South Carolina separated from the more liberal national Episcopal Church over a variety of theological issues, among them gay marriage and the consecration of homosexual bishops.

It then sued in state court seeking to protect the use of its name and a half billion dollars’ worth of property controlled by its parishes. State Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein later issued an injunction saying only the parishes that left the denomination may use the name the Diocese of South Carolina. the rest

A.S. Haley: Decision Time in South Carolina
Today is the day that Senior Federal District Judge Houck hears oral arguments from counsel on the motion by Bishop Mark Lawrence, his Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and more than three dozen parishes to remand (“send back”) the lawsuit they began last January to South Carolina’s Circuit Court in Dorchester County. I reviewed the history of this increasingly complex litigation in this post, and will not repeat it here.

Essentially, what is at issue on the motion to remand is whether or not the Court can fairly read the Lawrence State court complaint to state a “claim or controversy” under the laws of the United States, so that the case could have been brought initially in the federal Court. One would think that a complaint based only upon State trademark law would be left to the State courts to decide, but ECUSA and its Potemkin diocese saw things differently. ECUSA has not done well in the South Carolina State courts, and so they wanted desperately to have the federal courts take jurisdiction of the dispute over who owns the rights to the name “Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.”

If the judge decides to keep the case in his court, then it will be consolidated with the federal lawsuit begun by Bishop vonRosenberg against Mark Lawrence personally, under the federal trademark law (called the “Lanham Act”). But if he does not—if Judge Houck sends Bishop Lawrence’s case back to State court, then look for him to stay the Lanham Act lawsuit until the State court resolves the trademark issues first (since that lawsuit was filed first)....

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Scrolling around...June 6, 2013

Jury awards $170,000 to lesbian Catholic school teacher sacked after artificial insemination
Dias is not Catholic. She is, however, a lesbian and it seems obvious that she underwent artificial insemination so that she could have a child without entering into a traditional marriage.

WHO expert team, including Canadian, in Saudi investigating MERS outbreak
The mission is an attempt to find answers to some of the many questions that persist about the puzzling new MERS virus.

More than a year after the first known infections occurred, the world still has no idea where the virus lives in nature, how people are contracting it, how often and under what conditions person-to-person spread occur and whether the genetic sequences of the viruses suggest they are evolving to infect people more easily.  U.S. Says Deadly MERS Virus Could Affect Nat’l Security

Boy Scouts: Sending up the White Flag
...You were also the last public institution whose mission was specifically directed to the moral, educational, and social health of boys. It is no surprise that when boys and girls are taught at home, the boys prove to be quite teachable; they do not fail, as they do in our schools. That is not because homeschooling is particularly beneficial to boys, but because our schools have become pernicious to them...

Transgender bill in Canadian Senate will open door to normalizing pedophilia, women’s org warns
“This devious manipulation, using the smokescreen of the transgendered bill to expand legal protection for other problematic sexual activities, is unacceptable as it is contrary to all democratic principles and to the health and safety of Canadian citizens.”

How the Supreme Court Gave Us Gosnell
...Thus, forty years after Gosnell opened his clinic, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to approve health and safety regulations governing first- or second-trimester abortions, leaving many women exposed to unnecessary risks. First Things

Dolan: Cuomo Bill May Decriminalize Forced Abortions

Embryonic stem cells: Where are the cures?
Thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of lives killed under microscopes.
Not one cure.
Not one apology.

JI Packer: The Gentle Temeraire
...His latest book, Weakness is the Way, is a case in point. It is a fine volume; but I wonder how may of us will really take seriously its message.  This brief volume offers some reflections on 2 Corinthians, Paul's letter of weakness.  As a man in his late eighties, Packer is physically weak and becoming weaker by the day.  It makes him perfectly positioned to write such a book.   A younger man, even a man on the cusp of middle age, will probably not have the sensitivity to his own decline that comes naturally to one in his eighties. Dr. Packer clearly feels the gently encroaching presence of his own mortality, as is made clear in the moving video which Crossway have made to promote the book.

This work speaks eloquently of how God uses weakness; and, indeed, of how Christians are to make themselves weak in order for God to be shown to be truly strong.   Herein lies the difference between the much-trumpeted theology of the cross and a theologian of the cross.  A theology of the cross can simply be a way of thinking, an intellectual technique; as such it can ironically be found on the lips of a theologian of glory if it is simply his sales pitch, his means of drawing attention to himself, of honing a hip patois.   Recent days have indeed seen the theology of the cross used by some as a kind of triumphalism; yet for Packer, as for Paul and for Luther, it is a means of seeing through present pain and affliction and the existentially painful contradictions of life to the glories of the resurrection - glories which are real despite their utter invisibility to human experience here and now.  A theologian of the cross combines a cross-shaped way of thinking with a cross-shaped way of living, not escaping from pain and weakness but looking through such and that only by God-given faith....

Dept. of Homeland Security: Laptops, Phones Can Be Searched Based on Hunches
...Since his election, President Barack Obama has taken an expansive view of legal authorities in the name of national security, asserting that he can order the deaths of U.S. citizens abroad who are suspected of terrorism without involvement by courts, investigate reporters as criminals and — in this case — read and copy the contents of computers carried by U.S. travelers without a good reason to suspect wrongdoing...

NSA's Verizon Spying Order Specifically Targeted Americans, Not Foreigners
The National Security Agency has long justified its spying powers by arguing that its charter allows surveillance on those outside of the United States, while avoiding intrusions into the private communications of American citizens. But the latest revelation of the extent of the NSA’s surveillance shows that it has focused specifically on Americans, to the degree that its data collection has in at least one major spying incident explicitly excluded those outside the United States...

Obamacare law's unpopularity reaches new highs
...For individuals, the current poll also finds 38 percent of respondents saying that they (and their families) will be worse off under the health care law. That’s the highest percentage of respondents to express a negative outlook toward “Obamacare” since 2010, when the president signed this signature piece of legislation into law following an extended, bruising battle in Congress...

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Spring garden

June 5, 2013

Raymond took this lovely photo of the view of part of our garden along the driveway. -PD

SC: Pensions come into question as Episcopal churches split

June 3, 2013

The retirement savings of more than 80 non-clergy employees of the Diocese of South Carolina and its parishes are being held hostage by their former pension plan at the Episcopal Church (TEC).

The lay employees have been trying to arrange for the rollover of their retirement savings since February, when they first contacted the Church Pension Group, which provides retirement, health and other benefits to employees of The Episcopal Church, its parishes, dioceses and other institutions. The employees became eligible to rollover their funds into another qualified plan when their employer, the Diocese or the parishes that voted to disassociate from the denomination, officially ceased to be employed by any organization or parish affiliated with TEC.

In mid-March, the Diocese's pension administrator Nancy Armstrong began correspondence with TEC's Church Pension Group administrator to notify it that several Diocese employees would soon begin the rollover process. After numerous emails back and forth, Frederick Beaver, a senior vice president with the Church Pension Group, informed Armstrong that protecting TEC's pension plans is "paramount" and said he would contact her when he has "definitive legal responses." Here

SC Episcopal diocese alleges retirement savings held hostage
...Church Pension Group issued a statement Tuesday saying it is trying to ensure that clergy and employees in parishes that have left The Episcopal Church have access to their funds, in accordance with federal laws.

"In doing so, we are following protocols required by the Internal Revenue Code to avoid any adverse consequences for the participants in the plans," the statement said. "We expect to complete this process shortly. In the meantime, all funds remain invested in the options selected by these employees, and all accounts are fully viewable on (a) website."

Lewis said he has consulted lawyers for the diocese and is unaware of any legal issues precluding employees from rolling over their plans. He believes that preventing employees from doing so could be illegal. Communication between the diocese and Church Pension Group has dropped off, Lewis said.
"We're in the dark, and it feels like rather incommunicado at this point, which is why we're making this situation publicly known, since there seems to be no other way," Lewis said...

Read more here:

Read more here:

Episcopal Church Holding Retirement Accounts 'Hostage

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Anglican Unscripted Episode 74

Jun 4, 2013

Episode 74 tracks the latest news from Britain and their House of Lords Same-Sex Marriage debate -- and you won't believe what the Archbishop of Canterbury said. Your hosts also talk about the latest decision from the Boy Scouts and how it will be worked out around the country and the churches.

You won't be surprised to learn about the new obedience rules which are being discussed for new TEC Bishops. What will surprise you is the response.

Peter Ould explains how the House of Lords operates and AS Haley explains (in very frank terms) why you don't sign an Accord with the Devil.

Scrolling around...June 4, 2013

Two Doctors Lose Licenses After Killing Woman in Botched Abortion
...The Maryland Board of physicians concluded that both abortionists were so dangerous that “the public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action.”...

Who’s tracking your children?
...Two days before their Memorial Day weekend break, kids from at least three different public schools — Bethune Academy (K-5), Davenport School of the Arts (K-5, middle and high school), and Daniel Jenkins Academy (6-12) — were subjected to iris scans without their parents’ knowledge or consent. The scans are essentially optical fingerprints, which the school intended to collect to create a database of biometric information for school bus security.

One mother took to Facebook to decry the outrageous breach after her son informed her of the unauthorized imaging. She posted a face-saving letter from Polk County Senior Director of Support Services Rob Davis notifying families only after the high-definition eye scans had been conducted...

Two-Thirds of Americans Don’t Know If They Will Insure Under Obamacare
"I was really shocked that 64 percent [of uninsured adults] said they haven't decided if they will purchase insurance by the Jan. 1 deadline," Adams said. "I was definitely surprised by the high number of people who really have no clue what they're going to do next year."

Treasury IG Conducting Audit of IRS Bonuses
...Rogers said the Office of Personnel and Management requires Obama to approve bonuses over $25,000, and Werfel said he was not sure if some of the six-figure bonuses received by IRS officials were a combination of payments that were less than $25,00o or if they were indeed payments that were more than $25,000. He conceded there are special bonuses President Barack Obama may have approved...

Top political appointees use secret email accounts
Some of President Barack Obama's political appointees, including the secretary for Health and Human Services, are using secret government email accounts they say are necessary to prevent their inboxes from being overwhelmed with unwanted messages, according to a review by The Associated Press... AP

Archbishop of Canterbury: Gay Marriage Not a Faith Issue
“It is not at heart a faith issue,” said Welby. “It is about the general social good.”

Photo of Father Duffy Statue in Duffy Square
...In my wanderings this past weekend, I stumbled upon the granite memorial, illuminated by the glow of booze, cola, and movie ads. On its front stands a statue of Father Francis P. Duffy, Catholic chaplain to the Fighting 69th Infantry and pastor. Father Duffy’s bronze face is turned towards the downtown tower of dancing lights, his back to a tourist bleacher... image

Abortionist sang hymns to Jesus during abortion procedures
An abortionist who is under investigation for incompetent and dangerous practices used to sing hymns to Jesus while performing abortions inside a Delaware Planned Parenthood affiliate, according to a former nurse.

Timothy Liveright, 68, is at the heart of an investigation into dangerous practices at a Planned Parenthood facility in Wilmington, Delaware, which two former nurses described as a “nightmare” environment...

Monday, June 03, 2013

Bishop's wife escapes death when tornado damages home

Note fom Bishop Bill Love
By William Love

Friday 31 May 2013

“Bishop Dan and Carol Herzog’s home in Mariaville was one of the homes severely damaged by the tornado that hit Wednesday night,” writes Bishop Bill Love of Albany Diocese.

“By the grace of God, Carol, who was at home at the time of the storm, was able to take cover in the basement seconds before the tornado hit, thus avoiding what most likely would have been life threatening injuries.

Please hold Bishop Dan and Carol up in your prayers as well as all others who were impacted by the storm, giving thanks to God that Carol’s life was spared and that she and others in the area suffered no physical injuries.

We also pray that their needs will be met in the days and weeks to come as they recover and rebuild following the storm... the rest

Japan’s National Yo-Yo Champion

This yo-yo champ's mad skillz will make you forget it's Monday

A Tale of Two Demons: Pope Francis vs. Bp. Jefferts Schori

June 3, 2013         
Timothy George

Bultmann we know, but who is Katharine Jefferts Schori? And yet we should not single out Bishop Katharine unduly. The downplaying of the miraculous, the supernatural, and a fortiori the demonic has long been a staple in mainline Protestant culture and takes its toll among some progressive Catholics and evangelicals as well. Perhaps this is why Pope Francis devoted the second chapter of his book, Heaven and Earth, to “The Devil” and warned against the ultra-modernist idea “that everything can be traced to a purely human plan.”

There is a wider angle to this tale of two demons. It is worth noting that Pope Francis came from the global South to the heart of Europe to confront demons, whereas Bishop Schori traveled from North America to Venezuela to cast the demons from the text—without the benefit of an exorcism. There is some irony in this: a prominent representative of the rarified, Enlightenment-based religion of the North peddling a domesticated version of the Gospel in the global South. As we know, the Christianity thriving there is increasingly Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Pope Franciscan-Catholic. Like the robust faith of the New Testament, this kind of affective Christianity embraces the charismatic, the visionary, and the apocalyptic. These are all held in deep suspicion by those who still find spiritual warmth in the dying embers of rationalist religion. As Kenya’s Musimbi Kanyoro wrote, “Those cultures which are far removed from biblical culture risk reading the Bible as fiction.”

JeffertsSchori.JPGWhy do so many southern Christians take with utter seriousness spiritual things that seem to most of us as outmoded leftovers from a redundant worldview? Is it that we have allowed our hearts to become hardened to the spiritual realities all around us?...The pontificate of Pope Francis makes this task an urgent necessity for all who love the Church and wish to see her united in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and giver of life.
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