Saturday, December 31, 2005

As we grow older in life, years somehow seem to shorten and New Year's Day approaches with an ever increasing tempo. The more mature we get, the more we realize that time is only relative; how we live means more than how long we live. Haply also we do not live by years, but by days. In His wisdom God does not show us all that lies ahead. So we enter a new year to live it day by day. What is past is past. Today we start anew, and what we do today will make our life for tomorrow. Chin up, shoulders straight, eyes agleam, let us salute the New Year, and each day let us follow more faithfully, more courageously, more daringly the lead of our great Captain who bids us follow Him.

William Thomson Hanzsche

Resolution One: I will live for God.
Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.
Jonathan Edwards
The Works of Jonathan Edwards

Anglican Church Disowns Nigerian Gay-Activist

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) today in Abuja disowned Davis Mac-Iyalla, a self confessed gay-activist. The church insisted in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja that Mac-Iyalla ceased to be a member of the communion since 2003.

The statement signed by its Director of Communication, Rev. Canon Akintunde Popoola said that results of extensive searches revealed that Mac-Iyalla could not be traced to any particular congregation.

"He is not registered in any of our more than 10,000 local parishes as of the past two years.
The rest

The Tide Is Rising In The Diocese Of Florida
By Harris Willman
December 29, 2005

As 2005 draws to a close, we have been sadly reminded of the tsunami that brought such devastation just one year ago. Just as the multiple waves of that tsunami were caused by the one earthquake, there seem to be similar 'waves' of churches realigning away from The Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) and The Diocese of Florida (DoF) toward alternative Anglican jurisdictions due to the actions of the General Convention 2003...ECUSA's earthquake.

The evidence of these waves is plain to see. Six Churches known as The Florida Six, also known as 'The First Wave', will officially separate themselves from the ECUSA and the DoF on January 1st, 2006.

These churches are firm in their commitment to remain part of the world wide Anglican Communion, but due to conscience, find it spiritually necessary to separate themselves from the ECUSA now. The First Wave Churches are All Souls, Church of the Redeemer, both of Jacksonville , Grace Church, Orange Park , St. Michael's, Gainesville , St. Luke's Community of Life, Tallahassee , and Calvary , Jacksonville which realigned with an alternate Anglican jurisdiction on November 6th 2005 . They of course join with St. Peter's, Tallahassee (formerly St. John's ) who made their decision last October.

The rest at Virtueonline

Anglican Church Finds “No Room at the Inn” in Baltimore

Church of the Resurrection, an Anglican start-up church in Baltimore, Md., has found that there may be “no room at the inn” for them this Christmas season. In November, the congregation entered a “gentleman’s agreement” with Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church to rent worship space for a two-month “trial period” beginning on Christmas Eve. On December 22, the Rev. Eliot Winks, rector of Resurrection, and Patrick Cunningham, a lay leader in the church, were informed that the congregation could only use the facility for three weeks. In addition, they learned that bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland had pressured their Presbyterian counterpart, Executive Presbyter the Rev. Peter Nord, to deny use of the church. Nord instructed the Brown leadership to cancel the agreement.

Church of the Resurrection leaders informed their members of the decision in a December 26 newsletter, which detailed the chain of events: “In further conversation, it was revealed that all of this runaround resulted from a conversation or conversations between their Executive Presbyter Peter Nord and the Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, John Rabb. We firmly believe that Brown Memorial Woodbrook acted in good faith and are saddened that they were pushed into this untenable position. We thank them for doing their best to take us in.”

Organized last spring, Church of the Resurrection is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Rt. Rev. Frank Lyons, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Bolivia, ordained Fr. Winks on behalf of the Bishop of Chile at a service in Pittsburgh, Pa., November 12, 2005. Fr. Winks is a priest in good standing in that Anglican diocese.

The rest at AAC

Bishop: gays ‘amongst the best’ clerics
By Bill Bowder

GAY CLERICS are among the best in East Anglia, said the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Richard Lewis, this week. The Bishop also backed the new civil-partnership legislation, and urged people to affirm gay clergy.

"They are amongst the best we have, and I am daily thankful for them," he said. "Instead of bickering about what is thought to be wrong in terms of human relationships, for men and women and same-sex couples, it would be good if there was some affirmation of the things that are good and worth celebrating," he told the East Anglican Daily Times in an end-of-year interview.
The rest

Anglican Head to Offer Hope in Televised New Year’s Message
The Spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Dr Rowan Williams will address the UK public on BBC television to end 2005.
Posted: Saturday, December 31 , 2005, 12:00 (UK)

The Spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Dr Rowan Williams will address the UK public on BBC television to end 2005. The address will look to bring hope to the Church as well as the general public as the world greets the new year.

Even though across the globe in 2005 there have been numerous devastating natural disasters, as well as widespread persecution in a number of countries. However, despite this the Archbishop of Canterbury will look to offer a new hope for the coming 12 months.

Dr Williams, himself has had a very challenging year, with the Anglican Communion being strained to breaking point over the issues of homosexuality in the Church as well as women bishops.
The rest

Church Group Split Over Women Bishops
New proposals are failing to heal the rift in the Church of England over the consecration of women bishops.
Posted: Friday, December 30 , 2005, 19:10 (UK)
New proposals are failing to heal the rift in the Church of England over the consecration of women bishops.According to The Daily Telegraph, bishops within the Church remain divided over the issue, with the traditionalist contingency complaining that the plan does not go far enough to protect them.

The proposals are being drawn up by a working party of the House of Bishops in an attempt to prevent hundreds of traditionalists from walking out of the Church when women become bishops.

Liberals have complained, however, that that the proposals will demean women and institutionalise schism.The ongoing disputes between liberals and traditionalists bring into question whether the bishops will be able to present the proposals as their favoured opinion to the General Synod during the next debate on the issue in February.

Muslim in 'personal attack' on Home Depot
Crashes through store with Quran, Palestinian flag in trunk
Posted: December 31, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2005

With a copy of the Quran and a Palestinian flag in his trunk, a Jordanian-turned-U.S. citizen crashed his car into a Home Depot in Arizona where he formerly worked, igniting an explosive blaze in the stores' paint section and causing $1 million in damage.

The Dec. 18 attack in Chandler, Ariz., by 24-year-old Ali R. Warrayat was a carefully planned "personal statement," the East Valley Tribune of Mesa, Ariz., reported.

Teenagers Mix Churches for Faith That Fits
Published: December 30, 2005

COLORADO SPRINGS - At 11 a.m. on a recent Sunday, Emily Hoogenboom, 14, was at church, her second that morning.

First, she had dutifully sat through a staid worship at Forest Ridge Community Church, which she attends with her family. Now she was with her 17-year-old friend and 4,000 other worshippers at an evangelical megachurch listening to six singers, backed by a band and a swaying choir of 250 people.

Like Emily, a number of Christians are regularly attending different churches in the course of a week or a month, picking and choosing among programs and services, to satisfy social and spiritual needs. They are comfortable participating in multiple churches.

The practice is particularly pronounced among young people, sociologists of religion say. Everyone in a family may attend one church for a service on Sunday, but the children then go their own way to youth groups, for example.

Terri Schiavo - The Most Unforgettable News Story of 2005
December 30, 2005 10:15 PM EST
by Rob Hood

I thought long and hard about the events that took place over the course of 2005. There were some very good things that happened this year and some very tragic ones as well. Among the top stories covered this year was the war in Iraq, the Michael Jackson trial, Louis Farrakhan’s million man March as covered by the mainstream media, and other stories as well that centered on the White House suspected scandals that either lead to or may lead to indictments.

I nominated the Terri Schiavo case as the most unforgettable story of the year. While talk radio hosts like Bill Bennett, Sean Hannity, and others gave this story full coverage for almost two weeks, the mainstream media took very little notice at all. Sure they reported on it but only for about five to ten minutes at the end of the regularly scheduled newscast. They treated it like it was nothing.
The rest

Archdiocese in Oregon loses court bid to protect Catholic church assets

A US federal bankruptcy court judge dealt a blow to Roman Catholic Church leaders trying to protect parish property from lawsuits by victims of sexual abuse by priests.

US Judge Elizabeth Perris rejected the contention that church assets in the northwestern state of Oregon were being held in trust by the Archdiocese of Portland and therefore could not be used to settle lawsuit debts.

Perris also ruled that the court had proper jurisdiction over the bankruptcy proceedings despite religious freedom protections crafted into the US Constitution.

And here:
Archdiocese to pay in lawsuits
December 31, 2005

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A bankruptcy judge ruled yesterday that the Archdiocese of Portland, not its parishes, owns church assets, dealing a major blow to its efforts to protect church property from lawsuits filed by purported victims of priest sex abuse.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris, in a pair of opinions, ruled that church property and real estate is under the control of the archdiocese, not its individual parishes, as attorneys for the archdiocese had argued.
She rejected the archdiocese's claim that applying federal law instead of church law could violate its First Amendment right to religious freedom by disrupting the internal governance of the church. The rest

Friday, December 30, 2005


A MAN is raised up from the earth by two wings -- simplicity and purity. There must be simplicity in his intention and purity in his desires. Simplicity leads to God, purity embraces and enjoys Him.

If your heart is free from ill-ordered affection, no good deed will be difficult for you. If you aim at and seek after nothing but the pleasure of God and the welfare of your neighbor, you will enjoy freedom within.

If your heart were right, then every created thing would be a mirror of life for you and a book of holy teaching, for there is no creature so small and worthless that it does not show forth the goodness of God. If inwardly you were good and pure, you would see all things clearly and understand them rightly, for a pure heart penetrates to heaven and hell, and as a man is within, so he judges what is without. If there be joy in the world, the pure of heart certainly possess it; and if there be anguish and affliction anywhere, an evil conscience knows it too well.

As iron cast into fire loses its rust and becomes glowing white, so he who turns completely to God is stripped of his sluggishness and changed into a new man. When a man begins to grow lax, he fears a little toil and welcomes external comfort, but when he begins perfectly to conquer himself and to walk bravely in the ways of God, then he thinks those things less difficult which he thought so hard before.
Thomas a Kempis

2008 Lambeth Conference Faces $3 Million Shortfall

With less than three years remaining before the opening session, the 2008 Lambeth Conference is facing a potential cash shortfall of more than $3 million. Funding for the once every 10-year gathering of bishops from around the Anglican Communion is administered by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). The ACC administers two funds to finance the Lambeth Conference.

The audited financial statements for the year ending Dec. 31, 2004 report the value of the Lambeth Conference Designated fund at £679,727 ($1.2 million). The Lambeth Conference Restricted fund was valued at £582,627 ($1 million). Both funds experienced significant increases in their net asset value over the year due to prudent financial management.
The rest

Christian Leaders Join Interfaith Protest against Islamic Threat in Malaysia
Christians and other religious minorities in Malaysia held candles and a banner in an interfaith protest against what they feel is the increasing threat from the country’s Islamic authorities.
Posted: Friday, December 30 , 2005, 6:32 (UK)

Christians and other religious minorities in Malaysia held candles and a banner in an interfaith protest against what they feel is the increasing threat from the country’s Islamic authorities.

Standing outside the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, religious minorities banned together to protest the inequality in the justice system for religious minorities, using the recent case of a forced Islamic burial on a Hindu family as an example.

On Wednesday, M. Moorthy, 36, was buried in a Muslim ceremony by the Malaysia Islamic-Affairs department against the will of his Hindu widow. The Department claims that before his death, Moorthy had converted to Islam, but his wife said that he never converted and that she was by his side when he died.
The rest

ABC Blazes a Trail, Whooppee

A friend sends a press release from
the Catholic League about ABC's Primetime show, airing tonight, titled "On the Trail of Pope Joan." As the release points out, for years the network has offered specials on Jesus' divinity and resurrection as open questions. That is (this is me, not the Catholic League) reasonable enough for a network trying to speak to every kind of viewer, though I suspect the way the network presented the open question suggested one (the skeptical) answer or at least that agnosticism was the wisest course.

At least ABC's previous specials dealt with someone of whom we know something, whatever one thinks of him. Now they have presented, as if it were a serious subject, an old and not terribly plausible myth, lately become a feminist fantasy. "Those old misogynists had a female pope, who even had a baby in a procession! The joke's on them! Har har har." And a nice racy jolt for the religious but jaded.

Myth of the Lost Ark fuels pride of a nation on brink of war
By David Blair in Axum
(Filed: 29/12/2005)

If Indiana Jones had done his homework, he would have found the Ark of the Covenant by raiding a church in the barren mountains of northern Ethiopia.

Many Ethiopians believe that the Ark, containing the stone tablets inscribed with God's Ten Commandments, rests in the church of St Mary of Zion, at the town of Axum, and some western scholars have endorsed this national myth as true.

The story underpins the country's sense of identity. Ethiopia believes itself to be a unique nation with an ancient Christian tradition. This fervent patriotism has led Ethiopia into a
perilous military confrontation with neighbouring Eritrea. Story

Religious following for cyber sermons
Thursday, December 29, 2005

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- Even the faithful miss church occasionally, but these days they do not have to miss the sermon -- they can download it to their play lists.

Cyber sermons are catching on with a religious audience who are on the run, torn between worship and work.

Evangelical Christian and software designer Craig Patchett, from San Diego, California, started "Godcasting" for digital disciples about a year ago when he set up The GodCast Network (TGN).
"There's a call out there to spread that information -- podcasting is one of the easiest ways to do it," he told CNN.

Why European women are turning to Islam
Peter Ford
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

PARIS – Mary Fallot looks as unlike a terrorist suspect as one could possibly imagine: a petite and demure white Frenchwoman chatting with friends on a cell-phone, indistinguishable from any other young woman in the café where she sits sipping coffee.

And that is exactly why European antiterrorist authorities have their eyes on thousands like her across the continent.

Ms. Fallot is a recent convert to Islam. In the eyes of the police, that makes her potentially dangerous.

Muslim Women in Europe Claim Rights and Keep Faith
Published: December 29, 2005

PARIS, Dec. 28 - Hanife Karakus, the soft-spoken daughter of Turkish immigrants, is a thoroughly European Muslim. She covers her hair with a scarf, but she also has a law degree and married the man of her choice. Matchmakers exerted no pressure. The couple met on the Internet.

Perhaps even more telling, Mrs. Karakus this year became the first woman to lead one of France's 25 regional Islamic councils.
The rest

Open Doors Reports Escalation of Church Persecution in 2005
By Allie Martin
December 29, 2005

(AgapePress) - Dr. Carl Moeller, president of
Open Doors USA says there was a noticeable increase in persecution of Christians throughout the world in 2005. That international ministry has released a review of persecution against believers worldwide across the last year.

The Open Doors review found that there was an increase in persecution of Christians in such countries as North Korea, Indonesia, and Eritrea. Dr. Moeller says many believers in the U.S. and other free nations are largely unaware of the oppression and hostility faced by fellow believers in many parts of the world. He feels some of the countries most hostile to the Christian faith are simply not "on the radar screens" of many in the church.

For instance, the ministry leader notes, "Eritrea doesn't make the news very often because it's not either an ally or an enemy of the United States; but it is a country where millions of people are subjected to a Marxist-influenced government that is drumming up fear in a war with Ethiopia." For Christians in Eritrea, he explains, the difficulty with the government is "primarily that it refuses to acknowledge any religious expression apart from four permitted religions and denominations."

Misinformation Age More computers, less learning
by David Gelernter

We are supposed to be living in the "Information Age." If we are, exactly what topic are people so well--informed about? Video games? The same experts who know for sure that we are in mid--Information Age take it for granted that young people are colossally uninformed. And young people are more likely than anyone else to spend long hours beating their way happily through the dense, trackless electronic jungle. They grow up with computers, the web, cell phones, hundreds of cable TV channels, and digital electronics in countless forms.

Consider the Information Age in the context of the dominant news story of recent years, the Iraq war. You can be superbly well--informed about Iraq if you follow the right websites. On the other hand, the Bush administration, the Democrats, and all the world's intelligence services were poorly informed about Iraqi WMDs. (Although every few months, the rumor pops up that they were all relocated to Syria. Is it true? We don't have that information.) Most people who visit Iraq nowadays remark when they get home that Americans are poorly informed about the situation on the ground. And leading Democrats presuppose a second layer of misinformation: When they accuse the administration of misleading the nation about WMDs, they assume that the public is badly informed about the extent to which the Democrats (along with everyone else) were badly informed. It's true that Iraq was and is an Information Age war. The coalition war effort would have been radically different without networks and digital electronics. But many people have not been so informed.
The rest

Judge: 10 Commandments Arguments 'Tiresome'

A recent decision by a federal court of appeals has set the stage for yet another Supreme Court showdown over public displays of the Ten Commandments.

On December 20, a three-judge panel from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a public display of the Ten Commandments in a Kentucky courthouse.

The Mercer County display in question is nearly identical to displays the Supreme Court previously ruled unconstitutional in two other Kentucky counties in June 2005.

The Sixth Circuit explained the conflicting result by ruling that the displays had different purposes.

Loophole Slipped Into Measure Anti-Gay Bias Seen In Defense Bill
December 21, 2005
Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON -- Republican leaders quietly included in a sweeping defense spending bill a paragraph designed to pre-empt state and local anti-discrimination laws - a change that could make it easier for youth groups, notably the Boy Scouts, to bar gays and others from their functions.

The provision says that any state or town government that receives federal housing and community development funds cannot deny the scouts or other youth groups equal access to public meeting places.

Many House members, who approved the bill overwhelmingly Monday, said they were unaware of the language when they voted around 4 a.m. on a bill most had not read or even seen.

Anti-Christian jeans are a trend in Sweden
Friday, December 30, 2005 07:58:12 AM

Cheap Monday jeans are a hot commodity among young Swedes thanks to their trendy tight fit and low price, even if a few buyers are turned off by the logo: a skull with a cross turned upside down on its forehead.

Logo designer Bjorn Atldax says he's not just trying for an antiestablishment vibe.

"It is an active statement against Christianity," Atldax told The Associated Press. "I'm not a Satanist myself, but I have a great dislike for organized religion."

The label's makers say it's more of a joke, but Atldax insists his graphic designs have a purpose beyond selling denim: to make young people question Christianity, a "force of evil" that he blames for sparking wars throughout history.

In more religious countries, that might raise a furious response, maybe even prompt retailers to drop the brand.

Not in Sweden, a secular country that cherishes its free speech and where churchgoing has been declining for decades.
The rest

Gay Times on TV
by Cliff Kincaid
December 29, 2005 12:53 PM EST

What passes for a media watchdog show on Fox News has failed again. Discussing the new pro-homosexual propaganda film, Brokeback Mountain, Fox News Watch panelist Jane Hall declared that 10 percent of the U.S. population was gay. Host Eric Burns countered that it may be as low as 5 percent.

They were both wrong, as another panelist, James Pinkerton, pointed out. He noted the real figure is 1 percent. It comes from census data. The higher 10 percent figure comes from the discredited work of Alfred Kinsey, who greatly overstated the amount of sexual perversion in the population because he used criminals and pedophiles as his subject matter.

Jane Hall is no ordinary pundit. She teaches journalism at American University and claims a master's degree in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. And yet she was uninformed about the available scientific data on the number of homosexuals in the population. With people like Jane Hall teaching student journalists, it's no wonder we face a seemingly never-ending problem of liberal bias in the major media.
The rest

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Your God is love; love Him and in Him all men, as His children in Christ. Your Lord is a fire; do not let your heart be cold, but burn with faith and love. Your Lord is light; do not walk in darkness. Your Lord is a God of mercy and bountifulness; be also a source of mercy and bountifulness to your neighbors.
Anonymous photo

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:28-29

Retrospect of 2005, Prospect for 2006

"One of the most painful things in the last few months has been the disgraceful manner in which the Diocese of Rochester declared my former parish, now All Saints' Anglican Church, Rochester, extinct by twisting the diocesan canons to their purpose. Did the parish handle itself wisely? I don't think so, but the pastoral insensitivity of the bishop and the haughty arrogance of the diocesan convention demonstrated to me that there are those on the left who have an unhealthy hatred of what has historically been the Christian faith, and really don't understand the Gospel.

During 2005 I have finally accepted the reality that the Episcopal Church of the USA as presently configured will not continue to exist for much longer, and that our responsibility is to start building constructively for the future. I don't really know what Anglican Communion Christianity is going to look like in North America in the years to come, but I suspect it will include many of us who are part of ECUSA, many of the more sensible separated jurisdictions both new and old, and I suspect a scad of those in the emergent churches who are exploring Anglicanism from the outside but would happily leap in if there was something acceptable for them to leap into."

The rest at the Kew Continuum

Benedict Follows John Paul's Outlook on Unborn Life
Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 Posted: 7:22:32PM EST

Embryos are seen by God as “full and complete” humans, Pope Benedict said Wednesday, underlining the Roman Catholic Church’s firm stance against abortion and embryonic stem-cell research.

"The loving eyes of God look on the human being, considered full and complete at its beginning,” Benedict said in his weekly address to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, according to Reuters.

Quoting Psalm 139, Benedict said the Bible teaches the sanctity of each human life – including those unborn.

“It is extremely powerful, the idea in this psalm, that in this ’unformed’ embryo God already sees the whole future,” Benedict said, taking from the passage that reads, “Thou didst see my limbs unformed in the womb, and in thy book they are all recorded.”

“In the Lord’s book of life, the days that this creature will live and will fill with works during his time on earth are already written,” the pontiff said.
The rest

CULTURE DIGEST: UCLA study says major media outlets are liberal;
Christian colleges enjoy growth spurt
Dec 28, 2005
By Erin Curry Roach

Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--A first-of-its-kind look at media bias, which included comparing news stories to congressional speeches, revealed that coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media but that almost all major media outlets are liberal.

While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times, the study found, according to a Dec. 14 news release by the University of California-Los Angeles, which conducted the research. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left.

The study, which appears in the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly, the news release said. The rest

Russian Orthodox Church Suspends Relations With Swedish Lutherans Over Gay Marriages
Created: 27.12.2005

The Moscow Patriarchate has suspended relations with the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Sweden after it decided to establish an official ceremony to bless homosexual couples, the Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday.

“We have received with great disappointment and grief the news that not only does the Lutheran Church of Sweden not oppose so-called homosexual marriages, but has even ruled to establish an official blessing ceremony,” the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in a statement at a session in Moscow.

The members of the Synod believe that the Church of Sweden’s decision contradicts the Biblical concept of family and marriage “and the testimonies of the Holy Writing leave us no doubt that homosexuality is considered a sin and ’confusion’,” the statement says.

Court Asked to Rehear Case Over Calif. Schools' 'Becoming Muslim' Exercise
By Jim Brown and Jenni Parker
December 28, 2005

(AgapePress) - A federal appeals court is being asked to reconsider its ruling that allows public schools to teach junior high students how to "become Muslims."
The Thomas More Law Center, a national public-interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is asking the entire Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on what can be done in public schools with regard to teaching Islam and other religions.

Several parents sued California's Byron Union School District for requiring their 7th-grade children to participate in a three-week class activity in which they not only had to study important Islamic figures and wear traditional Muslim attire, but were also required to observe the "five pillars" of the Islamic faith, adopt Muslim names, recite a portion of a Muslim prayer, and even stage their own "jihad" or "holy war." The plaintiffs' attorney, the Thomas More Law Center's Ed White, believes the school district violated the parents' and children's constitutional rights to free exercise of religion.
The rest

Big Five The biggest stories of the year just past, plus a look ahead to '06.
Thursday, December 29, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

The big story of the year happened last year, after every journalist in the world filed his biggest-story-of-the-year piece and went away for the holidays. That of course was the great tsunami. On this day one year ago the dimensions of the disaster had finally become clear. The tsunami is the story of 2005 not because it was shocking that natural disasters occur or that a quarter million people can die and many more be hurt in them--that information is well known to all adults. The great tsunami is the big story of 2005 because after it occurred the tired old heart of a tired old world responded with the energy and alacrity of the youthful and untired. Thousands went to help. We sent billions; we sent former presidents; we devoted air time and print. For a lot of people there may have been something reorienting in the drama: no matter what, we are all the same, and all together, fleeing the wave.


Of cyberporn and democracy
By Arnaud de Borchgrave
December 29, 2005

The U.S. is guilty of imperial hubris, say Bush administration detractors at home and abroad. That means a blend of high-and-mightiness and high-hattedness. And the practitioners of this school of geopolitics are convinced the U.S. holds the moral high ground, which justifies hoity-toitiness.

As one surveys domestic airwaves, the high ground quickly gives way to a swamp. Howard Stern and Jerry Springer, the uncrowned kings of unadulterated smut, have shared some of the highest ratings in television history. One can now purchase a one-night stand on the World Wide Web, which provides 24,395 women, with their nude pictures, in the Washington region alone.

The Ten Commandments are now multiple choice. And late night comedians have suggested that if Moses were to come down from Mount Sinai today, he would probably have a hard time finding a publisher.

Europe frozen in its tracks
December 29, 2005

PARIS (Agence France-Presse) -- Europe shivered yesterday in the grip of an icy cold snap, with France hit hardest by blizzards that have cut rail and road links and left thousands of motorists stranded in subzero temperatures.

Snowstorms caused hundreds of train cancellations in Britain and flight disruptions in Germany, Sweden and Portugal, and brought road chaos to Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Worst hit was northeastern France, where 5,000 to 10,000 people spent a chilly night behind the wheel after traffic ground to a halt on a stretch of road between the towns of Toul and Nancy, regional authorities said. The rest

Indoctrinating the Third Grade
Ari Kaufman
December 29, 2005

The day before Thanksgiving, third-grade students at the
Frank Allis Elementary School in Madison, Wisconsin, were given a curious lesson in civic responsibility. They were told to write letters to their congressman and various media outlets calling for an end to the war in Iraq.

Parents were sent a letter justifying this political indoctrination as a social studies lesson. “The Frank Allis third grade will be writing letters to encourage an end to the war in Iraq,” the letter explained. “The letter writing will teach civic responsibility, a social studies standard, while providing an authentic opportunity to improve composition skills and handwriting. If the war has not ended by the 12th day [of the letter writing campaign] we will start the whole sequence over again, writing to students in middle school, high school, and college.”

Signed by the “third grade staff,”
the letter in closing asked parents to fund ten postage stamps and 12 envelopes for the project. As a “courtesy,” the teacher gave parents the option to opt out of the assignment – as if that excused the school’s attempt to recruit impressionable third-graders into the service of “antiwar” movement and mold their views on the War on Terror.
The rest

Kwanzaa: A Holiday From the FBI
Dec 28, 2005
Ann Coulter


"Coincidentally, the seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army, another charming invention of the Least-Great Generation. In 1974, Patricia Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snake head stood for one of the SLA's revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani -- the same seven "principles" of Kwanzaa."

Another quote:
"A movement that started approximately 2,000 years before Kwanzaa leaps well beyond merely "unity" and "faith" to proclaim that we are all equal before God. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). It was practitioners of that faith who were at the forefront of the abolitionist and civil rights movements. But that's all been washed down the memory hole, along with the true origins of Kwanzaa. "

The rest here: Commentary

49 Charged In Katrina Fraud Scam
FRESNO, Calif.,
Dec. 28, 2005

AP) Forty-nine people have been indicted in a scheme that bilked thousands of dollars from a Red Cross fund designated for Hurricane Katrina victims, federal authorities said.

At least 14 suspects worked at a Red Cross call center in Bakersfield and are accused of helping family and friends file false claims for aid money, said Mary Wenger, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott in Sacramento. Six have pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges, she said.

The fake claims drained at least $200,000 from the fund, with an average payout of about $1,000, Red Cross spokeswoman Devorah Goldburg said. The total could rise as the investigation continues.

Tourism twist in New Orleans: hurricane tours
Storm damage becoming a major attraction; could help restore lost dollars
By Ron Mott
NBC News
Updated: 6:25 p.m. ET Dec. 28, 2005

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Hurricane Katrina left New Orleans bruised and battered, sweeping away billions of dollars of potential tourism business. But like the city, the tourism industry is on the mend. Visitors are returning to New Orleans in bigger numbers, and they aren’t just going for the nightlife on Bourbon Street: One of the biggest attractions is storm damage.
The rest

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Now let me praise the keeper of Heaven's kingdom,
the might of the Creator, and his thought,
the work of the Father of glory, how each of wonders
the Eternal Lord established in the beginning.
He first created for the sons of men
Heaven as a roof, the holy Creator,
then Middle-earth the keeper of mankind,
the Eternal Lord, afterwards made,
the earth for men, the Almighty Lord.
Caedmon's Hymn

It is astonishing that scientists will dismiss the idea of a Creator as unscientific, yet turn around and embrace the bizarre, almost mystical concept of a conscious universe.
Charles "Chuck" Colson
Breakpoint Photo

VANCOUVER, BC: Bishop grabs Japanese parish from departing orthodox priest
By David W. Virtue

VANCOUVER, BC (12/27/2005)--A congregation made up of Japanese Anglican believers has left their 'Holy Cross Japanese Church building' after its rector, the Rev. Dawn McDonald, 47, an Evangelical and former lesbian, departed to take a parish in Fort Nelson in the Diocese of the Yukon under Bishop Terry Buckle.

Speaking from the Yukon, McDonald told VirtueOnline that most of the Holy Cross members left the church building after she moved on, with only five parishioners staying behind. "All but one parish council member left. One stayed because he wanted to oversee the memorial garden, and because he is a third generation member of Holy Cross, attached to the building and tradition," she said.

The revisionist Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham immediately made a grab for Holy Cross Japanese Church, putting in two part time preachers following the departure of McDonald whose parish was a constituent member of the Anglican Communion in New Westminster (ACiNW), a coalition of 11 parishes who declared themselves out of communion with the Bishop and Synod of New Westminster after the bishop promoted and allowed same-sex blessings in his diocese.
The rest at Virtueonline

Group protests NBC's dysfunctional "Christians''
Book of Daniel' by homosexual writer features drug-dependent minister
Posted: December 28, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern

A pro-family group has launched a protest campaign against a new NBC drama featuring a troubled, pill-popping Episcopal priest who is the father of a dysfunctional family.

"The Book of Daniel," written by a homosexual, is being promoted as the only show on television in which Jesus appears as a recurring character and the only network prime-time drama series with a regular male "gay" character, a 23-year-old Republican son, says the
American Family Association, which has an online petition.


Where The Boys Aren't
The gender gap on college campuses
by Melana Zyla Vickers

Here's a thought that's unlikely to occur to twelfth--grade girls as their college acceptances begin to trickle in: After they get to campus in the fall, one in four of them will be mathematically unable to find a male peer to go out with.

At colleges across the country, 58 women will enroll as freshmen for every 42 men. And as the class of 2010 proceeds toward graduation, the male numbers will dwindle. Because more men than women drop out, the ratio after four years will be 60--40, according to projections by the Department of Education.

The problem isn't new-women bachelor's degree--earners first outstripped men in 1982. But the gap, which remained modest for some time, is widening. More and more girls are graduating from high school and following through on their college ambitions, while boys are failing to keep pace and, by some measures, losing ground.

Underperformance in education is no longer a problem confined to black males, Hispanic males, or even poor whites. In 2004, the nation's middle--income, white undergraduate population was 57 percent female. Even among white undergraduates with family incomes of $70,000 and higher, the balance tipped in 2000 to 52 percent female. And white boys are the only demographic group whose high school dropout rate has risen since 2000. Maine, a predominantly white state, is at 60--40 in college enrollment and is quickly reaching beyond it. There are now more female master's degree--earners than male, and in 10 years there will be more new female Ph.D.s, according to government projections. American colleges from Brown to Berkeley face a man shortage, and there's no end in sight.
The rest

Wealth from worship
Dec 20th 2005
From The Economist print edition
An economist finds that going to church is more than its own reward

AT CHRISTMAS, many people do things they would never dream of the rest of the year, from giving presents to getting drunk. Some even go to church. Attendance soars, as millions of once-a-year worshippers fill the pews. In Britain, where most weeks fewer than one person in ten goes to church, attendance more than triples. Even in America, where two-fifths of the people say they go frequently, the share climbs in December.

Some of the occasional churchgoers must wonder whether they might benefit from turning up more often. If they did so, they could gain more than spiritual nourishment. Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims that regular religious participation leads to better education, higher income and a lower chance of divorce. His results
* (based on data covering non-Hispanic white Americans of several Christian denominations, other faiths and none) imply that doubling church attendance raises someone's income by almost 10%. The rest

December 27, 2005 10:31 PM EST
by Michelle Malkin

2005 was a banner year for the nation's Idiotarian newspaper of record, The New York Times.

What's "Idiotarian"? Popular warblogger Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs ( and Pajamas Media ( coined the useful term to describe stubborn blame-America ideologues hopelessly stuck in a pre-September 11 mindset. The Times crusaded tirelessly this year for the cut-and-run, troop-undermining, Bush-bashing, reality-denying cause. Let's review:

On July 6, Army reserve officer Phillip Carter authored a freelance op-ed for the Times calling on President Bush to promote military recruitment efforts. The next day, the paper was forced to admit that one of its editors had inserted misleading language into the piece against Carter's wishes. The "correction":

"The Op-Ed page in some copies yesterday carried an incorrect version of an article about military recruitment. The writer, an Army reserve officer, did not say, 'Imagine my surprise the other day when I received orders to report to Fort Campbell, Ky., next Sunday,' nor did he characterize his recent call-up to active duty as the precursor to a 'surprise tour of Iraq.' That language was added by an editor and was to have been removed before the article was published. Because of a production error, it was not. The Times regrets the error."

CAIR Fumes Over Mosque Radiation Tests
by Robert Spencer
Posted Dec 28, 2005

Revelations that federal officials are checking mosques for radiation levels has the Council on American Islamic Relations in an uproar. CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper
fumed: “This creates the appearance that Muslims are targeted simply for being Muslims. I don’t think this is the message the government wants to send at this time.” A CAIR statement claimed that the monitoring “could lead to the perception that we are no longer a nation ruled by law, but instead one in which fear trumps constitutional rights.”

Indeed, the mainstream media has made much of potential sonstitutional issues, trumpeting the fact that the radiation monitoring has been done without search warrants. Yet Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse maintained that “FBI agents do not intrude across any constitutionally protected areas without the proper legal authority,” and that it does not monitor groups in general but only acts on specific information. He spoke of “a growing body of sensitive reporting that continues to show al-Qaida has a clear intention to obtain and ultimately use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear” weapons. The rest

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christians in China Pray for the Opportunity to Share Gospel at Christmas
In the increasingly westernised China, Christmas has become one of the nation’s major holidays. More importantly, Christians in China are eager to take the opportunity to share the Gospel.
Posted: Monday, December 26 , 2005, 17:48 (UK)

In the increasingly westernised China, Christmas has become one of the nation’s major holidays. More importantly, Christians in China are eager to take the opportunity to share the Gospel with many non-believers.

Over Christmas day, many official churches in China opened wide their doors to welcome people for Christmas services in major cities such as Shanghai, Zhejiang and Beijing, it has been reported.

According to a report from the Baptist Press (BP), Christmas has brought countless opportunities all over China to announce the birth of the Saviour. In particular, on Christmas Eve, churches have not just attracted the faithful, but also the curious.

An anonymous Christian believer in a major Chinese city wrote, as quoted by the senior writer with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, "The Christmas season is upon us, a time where we have the opportunity to see a lot of exciting things."
the rest

Canada new destination of choice for pedophiles?
High court ruling legalized group-sex clubs with 14-year-olds
Posted: December 27, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern
by James L. Lambert

The Canadian Supreme Court ruling that redefined obscenity for that nation and legalized group-sex clubs, combined with Canada's unusually low age of consent – 14 – will result in an influx of pedophiles to America's neighbor to the north, contends a former consultant to the U.S. Justice Department.

In its Dec. 20 decision, Canada's Supreme Court legalized a type of business activity previously restricted by Canadian law, overturning two previous Quebec Court of Appeal decisions that had ruled group-sex clubs qualified as "bawdy houses" violating Quebec's community decency standards and were therefore illegal.
The rest

S.D. Makes Abortion Rare Through Laws And Stigma
Out-of-State Doctors Come Weekly to 1 Clinic
By Evelyn Nieves
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The waiting room at the Planned Parenthood clinic was packed by the time the doctor arrived -- an hour late because of weather delays in Minneapolis.

It was clinic day, the one day a week when the only facility in South Dakota that provides abortions could take in patients. This time it was a Wednesday. The week before it was a Monday.

The day changes depending on the schedules of four doctors from Minnesota who fly here on a rotating basis to perform abortions, something no doctor in South Dakota will do. The last doctor in South Dakota to perform abortions stopped about eight years ago; the consensus in the medical community is that offering the procedure is not worth the stigma of being branded a baby killer.

South Dakota, those on both sides of the abortion debate agree, has become one of the hardest states in the country in which to obtain an abortion. One of three states in the country to have only one abortion provider -- North Dakota and Mississippi are the others -- South Dakota, largely because of a strong antiabortion lobby, is also becoming a leading national laboratory for testing the limits of state laws restricting abortion, both opponents and advocates of abortion rights say.

Survivor tells of girls' beheadings
December 28, 2005

POSO: A thick scar running from the back of her neck to just under her right eye, the lone survivor of a machete attack in which three Christian girls were beheaded on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi has spoken for the first time of her terror."All I could do was pray to Jesus for his help," said 16-year-old Noviana Malewa, who fled the October attack with a gaping head wound. "I was streaming with blood."

Noviana, who now lives under police guard in the Christian town of Tentena, described how the girls were taking a short cut to school through jungle and plantations when they ran into at least five masked, black-clad men. Within seconds, three of the teenagers were beheaded -- fresh victims of violence that has turned the Indonesian island into yet another front in the conflict with terrorists.
The rest

Thousands of Christian teens to gather
Convention starts today in downtown Rochester
Victoria E. Freile
Staff writer

(December 27, 2005) — Rochesterians might notice fresh faces downtown this week, with a Christian convention for teens beginning today at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Event organizers said they expect about 4,500 teens and adults to pour into downtown Rochester for Joshua Revolution.

During the four-day event, teens will hear from Christian speakers, take part in seminars, pray and discuss issues facing them in and out of school, said Garret Hassak, a program assistant who has helped organize the conference.
The rest

FIRE: California School Curtails Christian Students' First Amendment Rights
By Jim Brown
December 27, 2005

(AgapePress) - A spokesman for the advocacy group known as the
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says California State University at San Bernardino is discriminating against a Christian student group in a way that has become all too common on college campuses across the United States.

California State University - San Bernardino is refusing to recognize a campus Christian Student Association (CSA) for requiring that its members be Christians and adhere to the group's statements of faith and sexual morality. The university claims that by trying to maintain its evangelical identity, the CSA is discriminating against non-Christians.

However, FIRE's legal director, Greg Lukianoff, calls the university's argument absurd. "If you do not share the core beliefs of the group, you do not have the right to join it," he asserts. "Freedom of association means nothing if you don't have the right to exclude people who don't agree with you on the fundamental reason why you associate in the first place."

Western Muslims' Racist Rape Spree
Sharon Lapkin
December 27, 2005

In Australia, Norway, Sweden and other Western nations, there is a distinct race-based crime in motion being ignored by the diversity police: Islamic men are raping Western women for ethnic reasons. We know this because the rapists have openly declared their sectarian motivations.

When a number of teenage Australian girls were subjected to hours of sexual degradation during a spate of gang rapes in Sydney that occurred between 1998 and 2002, the perpetrators of these assaults framed their rationale in ethnic terms. The young victims were informed that they were “sluts” and “Aussie pigs” while they were being hunted down and abused.

In Australia's New South Wales Supreme Court in December 2005, a visiting Pakistani rapist testified that his victims had no right to say no, because they were not wearing a headscarf.

And earlier this year Australians were outraged when Lebanese Sheik Faiz Mohammed gave a lecture in Sydney where he informed his audience that rape victims had no one to blame but themselves. Women, he said, who wore skimpy clothing, invited men to rape them.
the rest

Study confirms long-term mental trauma of abortion
Posted on December 26, 2005

Pro-Life groups are calling for a change to Government guidelines on abortion, after a new study into the mental effects of abortion has revealed that women who terminate pregnancies can still suffer from distress up to five years after the event. Research published by the University of Oslo indicates that women who have abortions suffer more long-term mental distress than those who have miscarriages during pregnancy. According to the study, after five years just 2.6 per cent of women in the miscarriage group were still suffering distress compared with 20 per cent in the abortion group. “This provides further evidence of the reality of post-abortion trauma, which is distinct in nature from trauma following a miscarriage,” Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented. “The Government has for decades made post-abortion trauma worse for women by denying them the ‘permission’ to grieve,” Mr Ozimic, added. “We will be challenging the Government to withdraw its pro-abortion propaganda that ‘only a small minority of women experience any long-term, psychological effects after abortion.’ “If the law was changed to create in effect a right to abortion on demand in early pregnancy, it would actually place women under psychological pressure to have abortions.” The Norwegian report confirms what many who work day in day out with women who have had abortions already knew – that abortions are seriously damaging to mental health. Laura Middleton, National Director of Caring at LIFE, a pro-life group that offers confidential pre and post abortion counselling hotlines, said: “Forty-five percent of calls to our help line are from women seeking support several years after having an abortion.”
the rest

Monday, December 26, 2005

When therefore the first spark of a desire after God arises in thy soul, cherish it with all thy care, give all thy heart into it; it is nothing less than a touch of the divine loadstone, that is to draw thee out of the vanity of time, into the riches of eternity. Get up therefore, and follow it as gladly as the wise men of the east followed the star from heaven that appeared to them. It will do for thee as the star did for them, it will lead thee to the birth of Jesus, not in a stable at Bethlehem in Judea, but to the birth of Jesus in the dark centre of thine own soul.

William Law
Biography and Works

Cord Blood Stem Cells Touted as Ethical Alternative to Embryonic
Saturday, Dec. 24, 2005
Posted: 9:15:41AM EST

Recently-approved cord blood stem cell legislation is drawing praise from Christian bioethicists and pro-life groups that say it promotes an ethical alternative to controversy-laden embryonic stem cell research, recently dealt a setback by a falsification scandal involving a top South Korean researcher.

The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, which has existed since 1993 to place a Christian perspective in biological research, expressed approval on Friday for recent legislation that will facilitate the collection of cord blood stem cells without controversy over the destruction of embryos. Recently, along with the President's bill, cord blood stem cells received a boost when Wisconsin’s governor signed similar legislation.

"We are elated by news of these two significant pieces of legislation," said CBHD President, Dr. Andrew Fergusson, "as they recognize that science continues to yield treatments and cures without ethical compromise. Embryonic stem cell research is unethical and there are no clinically applicable results foreseeable."

Cord blood stem cells, along with adult stem cells, already have many applications for treating diseases in contrast with embryonic stem cell research, which has been roundly criticized by Christian bioethicists as being morally objectionable. Embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of embryos, which is seen by some as the equivalent of abortion.

Born of A Virgin? An Episcopal Priest Shares Her Doubts
Posted: Saturday, December 24, 2005 at 4:21 am ET

Chloe Breyer serves an Episcopal priest at St. Mary's Manhattanville Church in West Harlem, New York. She is the daughter of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer and author of The Close, a reflection on her first year at General Theological Seminary in New York City. She is urbane, witty, and articulate. What she is not, however, is theologically orthodox -- a point she makes painfully clear in "
The Earthly Father--What if Mary Wasn't a Virgin?," published December 22, 2005 at the on-line magazine, Slate.

"At Christmas, Christians celebrate the birth of God's only son," Ms. Breyer notes. "Some believers, however, wonder if Jesus Christ is God's son only. The ancient "illegitimacy tradition" and its modern proponents propose that Jesus may have had a human father. That idea upsets one of the central mysteries of the Christian faith--the virgin conception. But it's entirely in keeping with more essential tenets: Jesus' role as the Messiah, and God's love for the poor and downtrodden."

Albert Mohler-Anglican Christians, don't miss this!

Gay 'marriage' battles rage on into third year
By Cheryl Wetzstein
December 26, 2005

At least 16 states likely will wrestle with same-sex "marriage" in 2006 as the issue enters its third year at the forefront of national debate since Massachusetts' high court ordered the state to become the first in the country to "marry" homosexual couples.

As many as 10 states could see campaigns on amendments to uphold traditional marriage as the union of a man and a woman, while homosexual couples in seven states have filed lawsuits seeking the right to marry.


Pope issues call to battle terror, poverty
By Philip Pullella
December 26, 2005

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI, in his first Christmas address as pontiff, yesterday urged humanity to unite against terrorism, poverty and environmental blight and called for a "new world order" to correct economic imbalances.

The pope spoke to tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered under umbrellas in a rainy St. Peter's Square for his "Urbi et Orbi" ("To the City and the World") message and blessing.

In his address, telecast live from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica to tens of millions of people in nearly 40 countries, Benedict also urged his listeners not to let technological achievements blind them to true human values.

He said humanity should look to the Christ child for encouragement in times of difficulty and fear.
the rest

Navy Chaplain On Hunger Strike Outside White House
Written by The Associated Press
Created:12/23/2005 9:48:57 AM

A U.S. Navy chaplain is conducting a hunger strike that includes nightly prayers outside the White House.

Lieutenant Gordon James Klingenschmitt, an Evangelical Episcopal priest, says he won't eat until President Bush signs an executive order allowing military chaplains to pray according to their beliefs.

Klingenschmitt began his fast on Tuesday. He says Navy admirals have told him that he can't pray publicly in Jesus' name unless he's wearing civilian clothes.
The rest

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again: for your sake, God became man.

You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy. You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death. You would have been lost if he had not hastened ‘to your aid. You would have perished, had he not come.

Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festive day on which he who is the great and eternal day came from the great and endless day of eternity into our own short day of time.
St. Augustine

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(Oh weary, weary was the world,
But here is all alright.)

Ah, dearest Jesus, Holy Child,
Make thee bed, soft, undefiled
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber, kept for Thee.
My heart for very joy does leap
My lips no more can silence keep,
I must sing with joyful tongue
That sweetest ancient cradle song.
G K Chesterton

Let us seek the grace of a cheerful heart, an even temper, sweetness, gentleness, and brightness of mind, as walking in His light, and by His grace. Let us pray to Him to give us the spirit of ever-abundant, everspringing love, which overpowers and sweeps away the vexations of life by its own richness and strength, and which, above all things, unites us to Him who is the fountain and the centre of all mercy, loving-kindness, and joy.John Henry Newman Art

Anglican Mainstream Calls on Government to Reconsider Civil Partnerships Act
Anglican Mainstream has called on the Government to reconsider the Civil Partnerships Act, describing the new legislation as both "confusing and unjust".
Posted: Friday, December 23 , 2005, 9:12 (UK)

Anglican Mainstream has urged the Government to reconsider the Civil Partnerships Act which came into force at the start of the month, with the first gay civil partnership ceremonies taking place across the country this week.

Dr Philip Giddings and Canon Dr Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream told Christian Today in a joint statement: "Marriage is a God-given institution between a man and a woman in which children are born and nurtured so that human society may flourish. The Civil Partnership Act 2005 is both confusing and unjust. It is confusing because it obscures the vital distinction between same-sex relationships and marriage.

“The rights in law which the Act confers are designed to be the same as the rights which flow from marriage. Yet the government insists that a civil partnership is not marriage. Some people are understandably referring to these partnerships as 'marriage', but calling something marriage does not make it marriage as properly understood.”

Anglican Mainstream said the Act was unjust because it excludes siblings and close relatives who are not married and “yet should surely be eligible for the same rights”.
The rest

Open Doors Releases 2005 Persecution Report, Notes Increases
Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2005
Posted: 8:56:24PM EST

Open Doors released this week a review of the persecuted church worldwide in 2005, which showed increased persecution of Christians in countries such as North Korea, Indonesia, and Eritrea.

The countries North Korea and Indonesia, in particular, have made headlines around the world not only over the atrocities against Christians, but also for severe human rights violations. As a result, Open Doors ranked the closed, authoritarian country of North Korea at the top of its 2005 World Watch List of countries where persecution is most severe for the third year in a row. The oldest on-going ministry to the persecuted church estimates that in North Korea, about 400,000 Christians have faced daily persecution, including tortures and public killings.

Jordan River cosmetics appeal to Christians

Most baptisms in the Jordan River are of the spiritually cleansing variety.
But two Israeli women recently asked why they couldn't be physically purifying as well. Their answer is the Nahara line of bath and beauty products "for the Christian woman," according to their Web site, made with Jordan River water.

"The region evokes so much empathy and so much spiritually [and] we wanted to package it," explains co-founder Debbie Saperia, surrounded by Nahara bottles. "We're going to take a little bit of the region, and all its beauty and its symbolism, and ship it over."

While there might be a steady trickle of Christian pilgrims making their way to the banks of the Jordan each year, there are 60 million or so evangelicals in the US who've never made the journey. Now they have an entr e of sorts. The products are all sold on a Web site that gives visitors a virtual tour of the Galilee, and the boxes of hand creams and body sprays come with postcards from the region and other souvenirs.
The rest

Priest removed from Church
By Julia Duin
December 23, 2005

An Episcopal priest who pulled his church out of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia last month is being removed -- under protest -- from the Episcopal priesthood by his bishop.

A press release dated Monday said Virginia Episcopal Bishop Peter J. Lee had deemed the Nov. 13 leave-taking of the Rev. J. Philip Ashey, pastor of South Riding Church in east Loudoun County, as a renunciation of his priesthood.

Mr. Ashey, who had transferred his 150-member church to the Ugandan Diocese of Ruwenzori under Bishop Benezeri Kisembo, responded with a letter Tuesday informing the bishop that he had not renounced ordained ministry.

He wrote that when he met with Bishop Lee and members of the diocesan standing committee in late November, he had submitted a resignation letter. But he refused to sign a "letter of renunciation" the bishop presented to him. The letter followed a church law (Cannon III.13) whereby clergy wishing to leave the ministry sign a letter confirming their intent.

Woolly mammoth genome comes to life (Jurassic Park, here we come)
December 22, 2005
Posted on 12/22/2005 9:33:04 PM PST

Decoding extinct genomes now possible, says geneticist A McMaster University geneticist, in collaboration with genome researchers from Penn State University and the American Museum of Natural History has made history by mapping a portion of the woolly mammoth's genome. The discovery, which has astounded the scientific world, surpasses an earlier study released today by Nature that also concerns the woolly mammoth. Hendrik Poinar, a molecular evolutionary geneticist in the department of anthropology and pathology at McMaster University, says his study involves the vital nuclear DNA within a Mammoth rather than the lesser mitochondria, on which the Nature study is based.

"Mitochondria is so 1980s. It only allows you to look at the maternal side of evolution," says Poinar. "The nuclear DNA we've mapped gives us our first glimpse at both sides of evolution. We can sequence Neanderthals, animals, plants. Basically, if we find a well-preserved specimen, we can sequence its genome."

Mullahs Versus the Bloggers
ran va Jahan
Friday, December 23, 2005
Ben Macintyre
Posted on 12/23/2005 1:29:45 AM PST

The explosive growth of youthful, irreverent online diaries has alarmed Iran's hardline Government

THE MUSIC OF Eric Clapton was banned in Iran this week. Broadcasters were ordered to cease playing “decadent” western songs and stick to “fine Iranian music”. Not content with denying the Holocaust, Israel’s right to exist, and advertising hoardings featuring David Beckham, Iran’s hardline President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has now denied his people the chance to listen to Layla — cruel and unusual punishment indeed.

But if Iran, under the repressive rule of the ultraconservatives, is silencing the sound of Western pop, in another area of its culture, a wild cacophony of voices has erupted. The blogosphere is exploding. In Iran there are now more than 100,000 active blogs or weblogs, individual online diaries covering every conceivable subject, from pets to politics. Farsi is the 28th most spoken language in the world, but it now ties with French as the second most used language in the blogosphere. This is the place Iranians call “Weblogistan”: a land of noisy and irreverent free speech.
the rest