Sunday, November 30, 2008

Devotional: Blest be the King whose coming

Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God!
For him let doors be opened, no hearts against him barred!
Not robed in royal splendour, in power and pomp comes he:
but clad as are the poorest - such his humility.

Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God!
By those who truly listen his voice is truly heard.
Pity the proud and haughty, who have not learned to heed
the Christ who is the promise and has our ransom paid.

Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God!
He only to the humble reveals the face of God.
All power is his, all glory! All things are in his hand,
all ages and all peoples, till time itself shall end!

Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God!
He offers to the burdened the rest and grace they need.
Gentle is he and humble! And light his yoke shall be,
for he would have us bear it so he can make us free.

by Federico J. Pagura image

Pope: Church Is to Be Hope for World in Advent

Says God Calls Us to Meet Him in Prayer

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2008 ( Advent is the season of hope par excellence, and during this time, the Church is called to be hope for itself and for the world, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this Saturday during his homily at the celebration of first vespers in St. Peter's Basilica.

He noted that in St. Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians, there is the exhortation to stay "irreprehensible 'for' the coming of the Lord."

"But in the original text we read 'in' the coming -- 'en te parousia' -- as if the coming of the Lord were, more than a future event, a spiritual place in which we already walk in the present, during the wait, and in which we are perfectly vigilant in every personal dimension," the Holy Father explained. "In effect, this is exactly what we live in the liturgy: celebrating the liturgical seasons, we actualize the mystery -- in this case the coming of the Lord -- in such a way as to be able, so to speak, to 'walk in it' toward its full realization, at the end of time, but already drawing sanctifying virtue from it from the moment that the last times have already begun with the death and resurrection of Christ."

the rest

Indian security chief resigns over Mumbai attacks

Sun Nov 30, 2008
By Rina Chandran

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The fallout from a three-day rampage that killed nearly 200 people in Mumbai threatened on Sunday to unravel India's improving ties with Pakistan and prompted the resignation of India's security minister.

New Delhi said it was raising security to a "war level" and had no doubt of a Pakistani link to the attacks, which unleashed anger at home over the intelligence failure and the delayed response to the violence that paralyzed India's financial capital.

Officials in Islamabad have warned any escalation would force it to divert troops to the Indian border and away from a U.S.-led anti-militant campaign on the Afghan frontier. the rest

Mumbai attacks: 300 feared dead as full horror of the terrorist attacks emerges

Dr. Philip Turner: A Response to my Critics

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

I am pleased that my article “The Subversion of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church” has generated the discussion it has. A number of the responses simply display the toxic atmosphere that sadly prevents the blogs from realizing their potential for furthering genuine debate. There have, however, been a number that are serious in their intent and deserve a measured response.

I would particularly like to thank those who, like Bishop Pierre Whalon, recognize that the very survival of both The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Communion is at issue in the crisis brought on by the Gene Robinson affair. Meaningful debate on the issues both TEC and the Communion now face is of vital importance if either or both are to emerge from the present conflicts as coherent expressions of Catholic Christianity.

Unfortunately, meaningful debate receives little support from the current atmosphere in the church—an atmosphere that does little to encourage either a careful and informed reading of TEC’s history or of its Constitution and Canons. It is also an atmosphere that produces unrealistic assessments of our present circumstances, often accompanied by wishful thinking and uninformed speculation about possible future states. the rest

Episcopal Church diocese to meet in Riverside amid same-sex marriage debate

Sunday, November 30, 2008
The Press-Enterprise

The leader of the Episcopal Church arrives Friday in Riverside amid a debate on homosexuality that continues to tear the denomination apart.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the 2.4 million-member denomination, will attend the annual meeting of the Diocese of Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday at the Riverside Convention Center. On the convention agenda is a resolution on whether priests in same-sex relationships should be consecrated bishops.

The Los Angeles Diocese includes San Bernardino County and west-central Riverside County. the rest

First Sunday of Advent and Beyond

After reading Joseph Bottum's essay at First Things entitled The End of Advent, I want to encourage the readers here to visit Lent and Beyond's post of some great links to all kinds of resources to make Advent more prayerful and meaningful.
*Link to Lent and Beyond now updated*

Benedict on interreligious dialogue: How religions talk with each other

Nov 28, 2008
by John L. Allen, Jr.

Friday, November 28, 2008 Any literary scholar will tell you that the key to interpreting a text is identifying its genre. It’s a point clearly applicable to news this week that Pope Benedict XVI has said that “interreligious dialogue, in the strict sense of the term, is not possible” -- a statement which, at face value, would seem to undercut 50 years of official dialogues with other faiths sponsored by the Catholic church, not to mention the theological vision of Nostrae Aetate, the document of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) on relations with non-Christian religions.

Among other things, the Vatican actually has its own Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, whose personnel may be surprised to learn that their work, according to the boss, is a logical non-starter.

Faced with such a puzzling declaration, the first thing to ask is, “What was its genre?” the rest

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Be careful not to offend gay worshippers, Catholic priests warned

By Simon Caldwell
29th November 2008

Roman Catholic priests have been banned from using 'heterosexist' language in their churches in case they offend gay worshippers.

They have been told by their bishops not to assume that every churchgoer is a heterosexual and to reflect this 'in language and conversation'.

'Remember that homophobic jokes and asides can be cruel and hurtful - a careless word can mean another experience of rejection and pain,' say the bishops in a leaflet advising priests and worshippers how to be more welcoming to gay people. the rest

Friday, November 28, 2008

Devotional: If we obey the Lord our God...

The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto. Deuteronomy 28:8

If we obey the Lord our God He will bless that which He gives us. Riches are no curse when blessed of the Lord. When men have more than they require for their immediate need and begin to lay up in storehouses, the dry rot of covetousness or the blight of hard-heartedness is apt to follow the accumulation; but with God's blessing it is not so. Prudence arranges the saving, liberality directs the spending, gratitude maintains consecration, and praise sweetens enjoyment. It is a great mercy to have God's blessing in one's iron safe and on one's banking account.

What a favor is made ours by the last clause! "The Lord shall bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand unto." We would not put our hand to anything upon which we dare not ask God's blessing, neither would we go about it without prayer and faith. But what a privilege to be able to look for the Lord's help in every enterprise! Some talk of a lucky man: the blessing of the Lord is better than luck. The patronage of the great is nothing to the favor of God. Self-reliance is all very well; but the Lord's blessing is infinitely more than all the fruit of talent, genius, or tact.

...CH Spurgeon image

Analysis: Recognition of Third Province Likely to Take Years

November 26, 2008

The members of the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and the college of primates are meeting in London this week in preparation for ACC-14, the triennial meeting of the ACC’s delegates scheduled for May in Jamaica.

Organizers of the gathering told a reporter that the “agenda is largely preparing for ACC-14 next year, and trying to build on the lessons learned from Lambeth.” The JSC is reviewing the ACC’s finances, communications and staffing needs; receiving an update on the work of the Faith and Order Commission proposed by the Windsor Continuation Group at the Lambeth Conference; and learning details of the meeting of the Anglican Covenant Design Group in Singapore in September.

The JSC meeting comes shortly after Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh announced that leaders of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) will meet Dec. 3 in Wheaton, Ill., to endorse a draft constitution to govern the loose coalition of breakaway dioceses, congregations, and Anglican jurisdictions in the United States. the rest

A.S. Haley: "Know the Enemy": As the Church Formed, So It May Dissolve

[Introductory Note: This is the third in an ongoing series of posts covering the institutions that now make up The Episcopal Church. In the spirit of Sun-Tzu's maxim to "know the enemy", the series explores why and how the Church has evolved from an early branch of Anglicanism, concerned exclusively with ministering the Word and having but one bishop, into a lumbering, litigious and topheavy bureaucratic nightmare that allocates millions and millions to lawsuits and "peace and justice" causes. The first post in the series gave an historical overview of the Church's beginnings, and the second post focused on the transformation that has lately occurred in the office of the Presiding Bishop. Because of all the recent discussion about dioceses leaving the Church, I have decided in this next post to demonstrate once and for all the entirely voluntary manner in which the Church was originally formed, and in which it has (until the recent usurpations of power at the national level) been maintained over the years. This post in turn will lay the foundation for my next in-depth study of General Convention itself.]


The End of Advent

By Joseph Bottum
Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas has devoured Advent, gobbled it up with the turkey giblets and the goblets of seasonal ale. Every secularized holiday, of course, tends to lose the context it had in the liturgical year. Across the nation, even in many churches, Easter has hopped across Lent, Halloween has frightened away All Saints, and New Year’s has drunk up Epiphany.

Still, the disappearance of Advent seems especially disturbing—for it’s injured even the secular Christmas season: opening a hole, from Thanksgiving on, that can be filled only with fiercer, madder, and wilder attempts to anticipate Christmas.

More Christmas trees. More Christmas lights. More tinsel, more tassels, more glitter, more glee—until the glut of candies and carols, ornaments and trimmings, has left almost nothing for Christmas Day. For much of America, Christmas itself arrives nearly as an afterthought: not the fulfillment, but only the end, of the long Yule season that has burned without stop since the stores began their Christmas sales.
The rest-Excellent! image

New Study Shows Direct Link Between Abortion and Mental Health Problems

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 28, 2008

Washington, DC ( -- A new research study featuring numerous controls and a national data set finds a link between abortion and psychiatric disorders. The study refutes the report the American Psychiatric Association released in August claiming abortion causes no mental health issues for women.

The research team found induced abortions result in increased risks for a myriad of mental health problems ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse disorders.

The number of cases of mental health issues rose by as much as 17 percent in women having abortions compared to those who didn't have one and the risks of each particular mental health problem rose as much as 145% for post-abortive women...

... "Abortion was found to be related to an increased risk for a variety of mental health problems (panic attacks, panic disorder, agoraphobia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, major depression with and without hierarchy), and substance abuse disorders after statistical controls were instituted for a wide range of personal, situational, and demographic variables," they wrote. the rest

Just In Time for Christmas - Gift Cards for Abortions from Planned Parenthood: here

YWCA Supports Freedom of Choice Act

Pope to make rare visit to Israel in May

By Anshel Pfeffer

Pope Benedict XVI is set to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories in May 2009 after accepting an invitation by President Shimon Peres. The Vatican and Israel are said, thus, to hopefully end the high tension of recent months between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people over the initiative of canonizing Pope Pius XII.

This visit, which would be the third visit of a pope to Israel since the establishment of the state, has not yet been officially confirmed. the rest

Church leaders condemn Mumbai attacks

by Dibin Samuel
Friday, November 28, 2008

Church leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury have condemned the deadly terrorist attacks on India's financial capital, Mumbai.

Dr Rowan Williams wrote on Thursday to the High Commissioner of India, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, expressing his shock and outrage at the atrocities and offering on behalf of the whole Anglican Communion prayers for those who have lost loved ones, for the injured and for all those caring for them or dealing with the ongoing siege.

“People everywhere stand in solidarity with the innocent and in condemnation of those who would destroy innocent lives out of evil and misguided motives," he wrote. the rest

Iowa's gay marriage ban goes before high court

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments next month about whether the Defense of Marriage Act - briefly struck down last year - is unconstitutional.
By P.J. Huffstutter
November 27, 2008

Reporting from Fort Wayne, Ind. -- The national fight over same-sex marriage is coming to a peak in Iowa, where the state's highest court will hear arguments next month over whether the state's ban on gay unions is unconstitutional.

The debate over the future of Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act, a decade-old law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, comes after a ruling by a lower court judge last year. the rest

Summary of a Presentation by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali at NEAC November 2008

November 27th, 2008

Over the last twenty years I have been able to get to know a large part of the Anglican Communion. As study secretary and co-ordinator for the 1988 Lambeth Conference I visited many provinces of the Communion. I continued this process as General Secretary of CMS and I still continue such visits as a diocesan bishop.

As I have visited I have continually asked myself: "why are these people, as diverse as they are, in fellowship together?" It is not because of Anglophilia. They are Anglican because the Anglican tradition has made it possible for them to respond to what God has revealed of himself in Jesus Christ.; to respond to the work of Jesus; to how he has stood in our place; to how he has done what we could not and were not willing to do; and to how he has turned away God’s wrath from our sinfulness. That is the heart of the Gospel.

Anglicanism, in different ways has made this possible: for them to find themselves friends again with God. Our fellowship is based on this friendship with God. That fellowship is shared among us. That is the miracle of being Christian. the rest

Canada: Conservative Anglicans determined to stay within church

Keith Knight
Interim editor
Nov 28, 2008

About 50 conservative Anglican leaders, including eight young theological students, gathered in Toronto for a one-day consultation on Nov. 25 and emerged with a determination to remain within the Anglican Church of Canada. They came from 16 dioceses across the country.

Rev. Brett Cane of St. Aidan’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg is chair of Anglican Essentials Federation who was quick to point out that the organization is going through a name change. He said that the “Essentials” label has negative connotations in some parts of the country. He said that the federation is loosening its connection to the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). “We will still maintain links of fellowship with the network but we will not be organizationally tied together.”

ANiC includes 23 congregations, 14 of which are churches that left the Anglican Church of Canada, and the rest are new church plants. They are under the episcopal oversight of Bishop Donald Harvey, formerly of the Anglican Church of Canada, and under the primatial authority of Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. the rest

Humanist attack on religions chickens out of criticising Islam

Damian Thompson
Nov 27, 2008

The New Humanist website carries a set of "God Trumps" cards mocking all the major world religions. Except one. Can you guess which it is? Yup, the religion of peace. A religion so peaceful, in fact, that the humanists make a nervous joke out of their decision not to criticise it.

The cards themselves, illustrated by Martin Rowson, are mildly funny by humanist standards: remember, this is a movement effectively led by Polly Toynbee, who despite her deep compassion for the working classes probably shouldn't risk playing Saturday night at the Glasgow Empire.

The card for Jehovah's Witnesses describes their "weapon of choice" as "foot in the door". Each religion has a "daffiest doctrine". That of Hunduism is the existence of a god who lives in a cow's anus ("Lucky him!"). Catholicism: "Virgin birth, resurrection, transubstantiation... shall we go on?" the rest

Province plan to be unveiled

28 November, 2008
by Pat Ashworth

THE Common Cause Partnership (CCP), a coalition of conservative Anglican groups in the United States and Canada, which have broken away from their national Churches, is to announce plans next week for a separate province.

The group will meet in the Evangelical Free Church in Wheaton, Illinois, next Wednesday to “release to the public” its draft constitution. Its moderator, the Rt Revd Bob Duncan, the deposed Bishop of Pitts­burgh, described it as “an im­portant concrete step towards the goal of a biblical, missionary and united Anglican Church in North America”.

The CCP represents about 100,000 Anglicans, 3000 of them in Canada. It comprises diverse groups that have left the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada: four US dioceses (San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy, and Fort Worth); associations such as the Nigerian-led Convocation of An­glicans in North America (CANA); and seceded congrega­tions and de­nom­ina­tions, such as the Reformed Episcopal Church. the rest

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Devotional: Gratitude...

Gratitude... goes beyond the "mine" and "thine" and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. ...Henri J. M. Nouwen image

My prayers for a blessed Thanksgiving to all who visit here!
...Pat Dague

Church members sue Episcopal Diocese over reservation land

By Mary Garrigan, Journal staff
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Members of 11 Episcopal churches on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have filed lawsuits in Oglala Sioux tribal court asking that the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota be prevented from closing their churches and from deconsecrating buildings and cemeteries in the process.

On Monday, the executive committee of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council also unanimously approved a resolution stating that the diocese should return those properties to the tribe in compliance with federal laws that govern the use of reservation lands for missionary or educational works.

The rite of deconsecrating a church allows that building to be used for secular purposes, but it would not necessarily prevent it from being used as a church again at some point. the rest

Saskatchewan: Official sues over gay marriage

Wed, November 26, 2008

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. -- A marriage commissioner is suing the Saskatchewan government after being fined $2,500 for refusing to marry a gay couple.

A Saskatchewan human rights tribunal cited Orville Nichols for discrimination in May for refusing to perform the same-sex marriage. Nichols told the tribunal last year that he refused to marry the couple in 2005 because it went against his Baptist faith. the rest

Colorado Springs: Police raid Grace Church & St. Stephen's

November 26, 2008

Colorado Springs police detectives raided Grace Church and St. Stephen's Wednesday morning to seize paper financial records and computers as part of a theft investigation launched more than a year ago.

More than 20 officers cordoned off the block-long church complex at 601 N. Tejon St., evicting its controversial pastor, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, who wandered the sidewalk in clerical garb, a copy of the warrant clutched in his right hand.

The raid focused on records tied to allegations from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado that Armstrong embezzled $400,000 from Grace & St. Stephens Episcopal Church, the congregation he headed before he and his followers broke away in early 2007 to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North American.

Colorado Springs Police Lt. David Whitlock said officers were searching for evidence of theft and fraud. the rest

Vatican wins award for creating rooftop solar-power generator

by Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican won the 2008 Euro Solar Prize for turning the football field-sized roof of its Paul VI audience hall into a giant solar-power generator.

A European association promoting renewable energy presented the award to Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the commission governing Vatican territory, during the inauguration of the new roof Nov. 26.

Cardinal Lajolo said he would make sure the award, a small silver and glass globe, would go to Pope Benedict XVI, who repeatedly has called on humanity to show greater care for creation. the rest

Vatican wins award for creating rooftop solar-power generator

Pope moves towards a greener Vatican

Florida Gay Adoption Ban Is Ruled Unconstitutional

November 25, 2008

MIAMI — A Florida law that has banned adoptions by gay men and lesbians for over three decades is unconstitutional, a judge here ruled on Tuesday.

“The best interests of children are not preserved by prohibiting homosexual adoption,” the judge, Cindy S. Lederman of Miami-Dade Circuit Court, said in a 53-page decision. She said the law violated equal protection rights for children and their prospective parents.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said the state would appeal, and the case is likely to end up before the State Supreme Court. the rest

The founder of Italian Communism had deathbed conversion

According to the Vatican Antonio Gramsci reverted to the Catholic faith
Times Online
November 25, 2008
Richard Owen in Rome

The Vatican has revealed that Antonio Gramsci, the founder of Italian Communism and an icon of the Left, reverted to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed.

Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, former head of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, which deals with confessions, indulgences and the forgiveness of sins, said Gramsci had "died taking the Sacraments". He had asked the nuns attending him in hospital to let him kiss an image of the infant Jesus, Monsignor De Magistris said.

He said rumours that Gramsci had reverted had never until now been confirmed, and the Italian Left had also remained silent on the issue. "But that is how it was" he told Vatican Radio. "Gramsci returned to the faith of his infancy". the rest

Volition - A Film that Demands a Radical Choice

By John Jalsevac

November 25, 2008 ( - Tim and Matthew Morgan have somehow produced a first-class short film that masterfully deals with the taboo issue of abortion despite working with a budget that would pay for approximately thirty seconds of a Hollywood blockbuster. "Volition," first created for a short film competition, is as yet unknown, but will soon, I predict, become very well known indeed, as it very well should.

Volition is an astonishing achievement. The film itself is not made any greater by the fact that Tim Morgan, who directed it, is only 23-years-old, and that his brother, who composed all of the music, is only 20-years-old, but the ages of the brothers does help put the scope of their accomplishment into even greater relief.

Volition places its central character, who goes unnamed, in the historical contexts of what the filmmakers clearly believe to be three of the greatest human rights violations in history: the holocaust, slavery, and abortion. In each of these situations the protagonist is placed in a position of some authority, with the promise of more to come: in the first, he is a Nazi who is being considered for a promotion; in the second, he is a respected American physician who has travelled to Africa and studied the blacks; and in the third, he is a promising medical student on scholarship whose girlfriend is pregnant. the rest

To watch Volition, go Here

Obama's debt of gratitude to George W. Bush

A Time for Thanksgiving
by Jules Crittenden

As the transition progresses and Barack Obama's inauguration draws closer, it's a good moment to mull the gifts George W. Bush has left for the incoming president. Bush has made the world a better place, and if Obama wants to do the same, he will take the good things Bush has done and move forward with them. the rest image

Scientists urge caution on global warming

By Erika Lovley
November 25, 2008

Climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill are quietly watching a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation.

While the new Obama administration promises aggressive, forward-thinking environmental policies, Weather Channel co-founder Joseph D’Aleo and other scientists are organizing lobbying efforts to take aim at the cap-and-trade bill that Democrats plan to unveil in January.

So far, members of Congress have not been keen to publicly back the global cooling theory. But both senators from Oklahoma, Republicans Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe, have often expressed doubts about how much of a role man-made emissions play. the rest

Brrr... Global Warming Predictions Overestimated

Young evangelist attacked by angry homosexual

The case of an assault against a young Christian by a homosexual in San Francisco is garnering national headlines.
Allie Martin

On November 14, Promised Land Fellowship church sent 13 members to the Castro District of San Francisco, a neighborhood known for its large homosexual population. The young people gathered at a street corner, joined hands, and began singing "Amazing Grace." During an interview on Fox network's The O'Reilly Factor, Christine Cloud described the group's intentions.

"We are not trying to convert gay people into straight people, but we are down there telling them about Jesus Christ in hopes that they would have that revelation," she explains. Cloud says an angry homosexual grabbed her Bible. She then describes what happened when she asked the man to return it. "And he turned around, and he said no, and he hit me upside the head with the Bible, knocking me to the ground, and began to kick my legs," she recounts. the rest

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Devotional: O people of God...

O people of God, be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your souls. ...CH Spurgeon image

Frying Turkey, Tasty but Dangerous

November 25, 2008
By Jennifer 8. Lee


U.S. Court Allows Abuse Case vs. Vatican

NOVEMBER 25, 2008

A federal appeals court has permitted a lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse to proceed against the Vatican, creating potential liability for the seat of the Roman Catholic faith for the activities of Catholic clergy in the U.S.

Monday's ruling, issued by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, marks the first time a court at so high a level has recognized that the Vatican could be liable for the negligence in sexual-abuse cases brought in the U.S.

The ruling is seen as a breakthrough by those allegedly abused by priests. Investigators and grand juries have found several instances where the church failed to report alleged abusers and covered up alleged misdeeds to protect them. the rest

Canada: Seven positions terminated as part of national office cuts

Marites N. Sison
staff writer
Nov 25, 2008

Faced with declining revenue and recurring budget deficits in recent years, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada announced on Nov. 25 the termination of seven positions at its national office in Toronto. The terminations were part of a plan to cut the 2009 budget by $1.3 million and reduce the deficit to $800,000.

“I want to emphasize that all these decisions were due to structural changes we are forced to make as a result of financial constraints we are facing. None were due to performance issues,” said an internal memo sent to staff by Archdeacon Michael Pollesel, the national church’s general secretary. “Each of these seven individuals contributed to the ongoing life of church house and we thank them for their time with us." the rest

Russian City Prepares for Week Without Abortions to Combat Underpopulation

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 24, 2008

Novorossiysk, Russia ( -- A Russian city located in the southern part of the nation near the Black Sea is starting a campaign called a "Week Without Abortions." The idea is to temporarily prohibit abortions in the city and encourage couples to have children in an effort to combat the growing underpopulation problem.

Russia, like many of its neighbors in Eastern Europe, is experiencing severe underpopulation thanks to abortion being used as a method of birth control for decades.

Most demographers generally believe that Russia's current population of 144 million will fall to 115 million by 2050. But Murray Feshbach, with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, thinks Russia's population will drop to 101 million and could go as low as 77 million by mid-point in this century. the rest

“Zero Tolerance for Dissent” from Radical Anti-Life, Anti-Family EU Documents

Legislating Immorality

November 24, 2008
By the Editors
National Review Online

Last week in a Denver suburb, someone lit a Book of Mormon on fire and dropped it on the doorstep of a Mormon temple, presumably as a statement about the church’s support of Proposition 8 in California, an initiative that amended the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In a move that may make gay-rights supporters’ heads spin, the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

The outbreak of attacks on the Mormon church since the passage of Proposition 8 has been chilling: envelopes full of suspicious white powder were sent to church headquarters in Salt Lake City; protesters showed up en masse to intimidate Mormon small-business owners who supported the measure; a website was created to identify and shame members of the church who backed it; activists are targeting the relatives of prominent Mormons who gave money to pass it, as well as other Mormons who are only tangentially associated with the cause; some have even called for a boycott of the entire state of Utah.

The wisdom of hate-crimes legislation aside, there is no doubt that a lot of hate is being directed at Mormons as a group. But why single out Mormons? And why now?

Dozens of church bodies — including the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian bishops of California, and a wide variety of evangelicals — supported the proposition. It’s also worth considering that, while gay-rights advocates cannot discuss same-sex marriage for more than 30 seconds without making faulty analogies to Jim Crow-era anti-miscegenation laws, some 70 percent of blacks voted for Proposition 8. While there have been a few ugly racist statements by gay-rights supporters, such vile sentiment has been restricted. Not so the hatred directed at Mormons, who are convenient targets. the rest

Conservative Anglicans face "punishment" for helping US rebels

Senior bishops are now considering suspending the Latin American Province
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
November 25, 2008

A conservative province in the Anglican church faces “punishment” this week for offering a safe haven to conservatives.

Senior bishops and laity meeting in London are to consider suspending the Anglican church in South America for taking rebel US dioceses under its wing.

The move will bring the Anglican Communion closer to a formal split. Early next month, rebel conservatives are expected to finalise plans for a new Anglican province in the US, to sit as a parallel jurisdiction alongside the existing Episcopal Church.

Unless this new province is recognised as part of the Anglican family by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and the other 38 primates, it will in effect become a new Anglican church. the rest

Monday, November 24, 2008

Devotional: Happy are they...

Happy are they...who shall learn...not to despair, but shall remember, that though the day is past, and their strength is wasted, there yet remains one effort to be made; that reformation is never hopeless, nor sincere endeavours ever unassisted; that the wanderer may at length return after all his errors, and that he who implores strength and courage from above shall find danger and difficulty give way before him. ...Samuel Johnson image

We Need Roots

By R.R. Reno
Monday, November 24, 2008

The major premise of “Roots” is simple: “Without our stories or our songs / How will we know where we come from?” The minor premise is implied: England now encourages cultural forgetfulness rather than memory. The conclusion: an urgent imperative of cultural renewal that gives this song extraordinary emotional power.

We hear the voice of anger—ready to strike back against the cultural elites who look down on love of place and love of country, assuming that it amounts to a primitive nativism, a reactionary racism, or a weepy nostalgia unwilling to face up to the realities of a global economy. Political correctness be damned: “I’ve lost St. George and the Union Jack / That’s my flag too and I want it back.”

“Roots” ends hauntingly, powerfully. A live audience echoes again and again the band’s refrain: “Haul away boys, let them go / Out of the wind and the rain and snow. / We’ve lost more than we’ll ever know / ‘Round the rocky shores of England.” It’s not great poetry, but as music it galvanizes and calls to action. We will not let our post-national minders seduce us into forgetting that we have forgotten. We will not reduce ourselves to utility-maximizing economic actors or deracinated global citizens. We will love our culture and our country. the rest

Bishop Iker Describes Inhibition by PB as ‘Irrelevant’

November 24, 2008

A letter inhibiting the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, and documents supporting her reasons were issued by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on Nov. 21. Bishop Iker, whose diocesan convention voted overwhelmingly to leave The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone on Nov. 15, issued the following response to the Presiding Bishop’s announcement:

“Katharine Jefferts Schori has no authority over me or my ministry as a Bishop in the Church of God. She never has and she never will,” he said. “Since Nov. 15, both the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and I as the diocesan Bishop have been members of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. As a result, canonical declarations of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church pertaining to us are irrelevant and of no consequence.”

The inhibition, which required the consent of the Title IV [disciplinary] Review Committee, is actually the third submission that Bishop Jefferts Schori made to inhibit Bishop Iker. On two separate occasions the Presiding Bishop’s chancellor, David Booth Beers, wrote the committee on behalf of the Presiding Bishop, seeking to have him removed along with Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh during the fall House of Bishops’ meeting. the rest

A Response to Ephraim Radner's piece on "A New 'Province'"

Dean Robert Munday
Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner has written a piece entitled, A New "Province" in North America: Neither the Only Nor the Right Answer for the Communion, in which, as the title suggests, he gives six reasons why he does not believe an alternative, orthodox province of Anglicans in North America is a good idea.

Let me be clear about my own position at the outset: I am still a priest in TEC, but I have many friends who are now in one of the entities that will comprise a new Anglican Province. And, as I read Dr. Radner's remarks, I could not help but put myself in the position of my Common Cause friends, who I believe will regard his comments as both unfair and unhelpful.

So I would like to make a few comments (in bold, below) on Dr. Radner's six points, as I imagine someone who is a part of Common Cause might respond to them. the rest

Comments at TitusOneNine

Albert Mohler: A Sign of Things to Come?

Monday, November 24, 2008

The passage of Proposition 8 in California has reset the table with respect to the issue of same-sex marriage. Clearly, those pushing for legalized same-sex marriage thought that the decision of the California Supreme Court last May was the final word, and same-sex marriage would be an established legal reality in California. The fact that Proposition 8 passed on November 4 threw that assumption aside, and an ugly new chapter is opening.

The Los Angeles Times provides an eye-opening report into the response of Hollywood's cultural liberals to the passage of Proposition 8. Reporters Rachel Abramowitz and Tina Daunt open their article with this question: "Should there be boycotts, blacklists, firings or de facto shunning of those who supported Proposition 8?"....

...Now, as these developments in California unfold, it is clear that where efforts to legalize same-sex marriage fail, proponents will hunt down opponents of gay marriage for sanction and opposition. Note carefully the fact that Hollywood insiders and gay rights activists are scrutinizing the list of those who contributed to Proposition 8 support, looking for individuals, organizations, and corporations to isolate and punish. At least some are out to get people fired.

The opposition and outrage are also directed at churches and religious organizations. Take a careful look at this development. In all probability, it's the shape of things to come. the rest

Obama's rush to support abortion may end up closing Catholic hospitals

Kansas Catholic Conference: 'If it ever got to the point where Catholic hospitals were ordered to do procedures they think are morally unacceptable then they will shut down.'
21 November 2008

President Bush is trying to get one last proposal passed before leaving office, but it’s a proposal that’s in direct contradiction to legislation President-elect Barack Obama is planning on advocating once in office.

Bush’s broad initiative would prohibit establishments which receive federal funding from discriminating against any health care worker that does not want to assist, or perform abortions or sterilizations because of religious beliefs or moral objections.

The proposed rule would also prevent a range of health-care facilities, including pharmacies, from requiring their workers to “assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity” funded by the Department of Health and Human Services if the activity violated religious convictions. the rest

America's ignorance of Obama 'disturbing'

How Obama intends to use corporations to effect social change

Barack Obama Consulted Repeatedly with Homosexual Anglican Bishop

Why "Yahweh" Isn't Used in Catholic Liturgy

Biblical Expert Says It Reflects Jewish Tradition
NOV. 21, 2008

( To understand the Vatican directive reiterating that the name of God revealed in the tetragrammaton YHWH is not to be pronounced in Catholic liturgy, it helps to know the history behind the Jewish tradition, says a biblical expert.

Father Michel Remaud, director of the Albert Decourtray Institute, a Christian institute of Jewish studies and Hebrew literature, explained to ZENIT that the message published in June by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments reflects current Jewish practice.

The Vatican note explained: "The venerable biblical tradition of sacred Scripture, known as the Old Testament, displays a series of divine appellations, among which is the sacred name of God revealed in a tetragrammaton YHWH -- hwhw.

"As an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, it was held to be unpronounceable and hence was replaced during the reading of sacred Scripture by means of the use of an alternate name: 'Adonai,' which means 'Lord.'" the rest

Numbers of German Protestants falling faster than Catholics

19 November 2008
Anli Serfontein
Trier, Germany (ENI)

The membership of Germany's two largest churches is shrinking, but the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the country's biggest Protestant grouping, has dropped below 25 million members for the first time since the unification of Germany in 1990.

At the end of 2007, EKD members accounted for 24.83 million of Germany's 82-million people, the German Protestant news agency epd reported on 17 November. The EKD now has more than a million fewer adherents than it did five years ago. the rest

Michael Jackson 'converts to Islam and changes name to Mikaeel'

Michael Jackson has reportedly become a Muslim and changed his name to Mikaeel.
By Graham Tibbetts
21 Nov 2008

The singer, who was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, converted to Islam in a ceremony at a friend's house in Los Angeles.

He is said to have sat on the floor and worn a small hat while an imam officiated.

According to The Sun, the ceremony took place while Jackson, 50, was recording an album at the home of Steve Porcaro, a keyboard player who composed music on his Thriller album. the rest

UK: Ministers to hold summit on church closure crisis

The Government will hold a top-level summit next month to tackle the crisis facing Britain's churches.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
22 Nov 2008

Ministers are to examine how extra funding can be given to churches, with one in five of them under threat of being closed.

Andy Burnham, the culture secretary, said there would be a new drive to make them central to community regeneration, backed up with financial support.

His comments follow The Sunday Telegraph's Save our Churches campaign, which has called on the Government to increase grants to churches and allow them greater freedom to make the buildings suitable for community use. The campaign has been backed by politicians, celebrities and leading church figures, including Joanna Lumley, Jools Holland, David Cameron and Archbishop Rowan Williams. the rest

Emergent church leader says 'gay' can be biblical lifestyle

Cutting-edge Christianity debates: Should we accept homosexuality?
November 23, 2008
By Drew Zahn

One of the key leaders of today's most cutting-edge church movement has opened an Internet discussion on the issue of same-sex marriage with the bold proclamation that he believes "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer" individuals can and should live out their sexuality in – and blessed by – the Christian church.

"I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (as least as much as any of us can!)," writes author and church leader Tony Jones, "and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state."

Jones is an author and former youth pastor who holds a doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is also the national coordinator of Emergent Village, a loosely-formed friendship of churches that derive their descriptive name from having "emerged" from postmodernism to take the gospel of Jesus Christ into a post-Christian culture. the rest

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Devotional: O Jesus, Splendor of eternal glory...

O Jesus, Splendor of eternal glory, Consolation of the pilgrim soul, with You my lips utter no sound and to You my silence speaks. How long will my Lord delay His coming? Let Him come to His poor servant and make him happy. Let Him put forth His hand and take this miserable creature from his anguish. Come, O come, for without You there will be no happy day or hour, because You are my happiness and without You my table is empty. I am wretched, as it were imprisoned and weighted down with fetters, until You fill me with the light of Your presence, restore me to liberty, and show me a friendly countenance. Let others seek instead of You whatever they will, but nothing pleases me or will please me but You, my God, my Hope, my everlasting Salvation. I will not be silent, I will not cease praying until Your grace returns to me and You speak inwardly to me, saying: "Behold, I am here. Lo, I have come to you because you have called Me. Your tears and the desire of your soul, your humility and contrition of heart have inclined Me and brought Me to you."

Lord, I have called You, and have desired You, and have been ready to spurn all things for Your sake. For You first spurred me on to seek You. May You be blessed, therefore, O Lord, for having shown this goodness to Your servant according to the multitude of Your mercies. ...Thomas a Kempis

A Review of Same-Sex Marriage Developments In Connecticut

Saturday, November 22, 2008

In the widespread coverage of the battle over gay marriage in California, less attention has been given to a decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court last month holding that limiting same-sex couples to civil unions, instead of marriage, violates the due process and equal protection guarantees of the Connecticut state Constitution. An article in this week’s Yale Herald titled Gay Couples Marry as Campus Christians Sit Silent is occasion to look more closely at developments in Connecticut.

In Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, (CT Sup Ct, Oct. 10, 2008) (majority, dissents 1, 2, 3), the court, in a 4-3 decision, applied intermediate scrutiny to strike down Connecticut's statutory scheme barring same-sex marriage. Opponents then got on the November ballot a proposal to call a state constitutional convention that could potentially propose a constitutional amendment to overturn the court's decision. However, that proposal was overwhelmingly defeated at the polls earlier this month.

Of particular interest is the analysis by the majority in the Kerrigan case concluding that sexual orientation is a quasi-suspect classification that triggers heightened scrutiny. One part of the test for a quasi-suspect class is its "political powerlessness." the rest

More Pro-Life Censorship -- At a Catholic University

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 21 /Christian Newswire/ -- Twice in two weeks, pro-life advertisements from Human Life Alliance have been denied access to college students--this time at Gonzaga University.

"We're saddened to learn Gonzaga University, a Catholic school, has refused to accept 'We Know Better Now,' our pro-life advertising supplement for 'The Gonzaga Bulletin,'" said Joe Langfeld, Deputy Director for Human Life Alliance. "As a non-profit organization dedicated to educating students on the humanity of the pre-born child and gruesome realities of abortion we use college newspapers to reach 19-24 year-olds who are the number one age group of abortion participants.

"When asked to run the advertising supplement, officials from "The Gonzaga Bulletin" rejected the inserts stating, "There are articles in the insertion that cast a negative light on various organizations or individuals. While these statements may be true, we simply cannot insert them in our paper per our advertising policies." the rest

Bishop Jack Iker is Inhibited


The Crushing of Sarah Palin

November 22, 2008
By Bob Weir

The other day, as I was watching one of the news channels I had to quickly check my calendar because I had the feeling that I may have only dreamt that the election was over.

The reason for my confusion was that several commentators were still taking shots at Sarah Palin. Here it was, weeks after the woman had left the campaign trail, and the abuse was as strident as it had been throughout her months-long quest for the second spot on the ticket. The man who ran for the first spot on the ticket had shed his bulletproof armor; yet, the woman still needed Secret Service protection.

The continuous assault on Sarah Palin is not so difficult to understand. In fact, it can be summed up thusly: she's a woman opposed to abortion. You see, when a man says he's opposed to abortion, women who disagree can accuse him of trying to control a woman's body and/or simply not understanding how a woman feels about dealing with pregnancy, career achievement and defeating the "good ole boy" network. But, how are they going to justify that to a Sarah Palin, who has raised a family, been elected to the highest office in her state and has gained a reputation as a corruption fighter? And a woman decided to keep, raise, and love a Down syndrome child, her son Trig. the rest

Poll Shows a Solid Majority of Canadians Want Legal Protection for Unborn Children

November 21, 2008

( - A new Environics poll shows a majority of Canadians want legal protection for the unborn child at some point before birth. This is consistent with survey results over the past seven years.

Canada remains the only country in the developed word with no legal limits on abortion throughout all 9 months of pregnancy. Yet, almost 6 in 10 respondents support legal protection for unborn children at some point before birth. Only 33% support the current situation of protection only after birth. Once again, women polled showed far more support for protection from conception on than men did: 33% versus 24%.

A majority of Canadians support informed consent requirements before an abortion that would be consistent with the informed consent expected and provided before any surgical procedure. Almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents agree that women considering abortion should be informed of the risks and possible consequences of the abortion procedure. the rest

Anonymous donor gives $50 million for Bible translations

The Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. — A new effort to translate the Bible into every living language kicks off Saturday with the help of a $50 million anonymous gift to the Orlando-based Wycliffe USA — the world's largest bible-translation company.

The goal of Wycliffe's Last Languages Campaign is to translate the Bible for all of the 2,400 languages that still do not have one. Those represent about a third of all languages spoken and include nearly 200 million people, mostly in three regions — Central Africa, northern India-southern China and Indonesia-Papua New Guinea.

The translations are expected to take at least 17 years to complete. the rest

Germany drops attempt to ban Scientology

By MICHAEL FISCHER, Associated Press
Sat Nov 22, 2008

POTSDAM, Germany – Germany is dropping its pursuit of a ban on Scientology after finding insufficient evidence of illegal activity, security officials said Friday. Domestic intelligence services will continue to monitor the group, officials said. The German branch of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology has been under observation by domestic intelligence services for more than a decade. Top security officials asked state governments in December to begin gathering information on whether they had sufficient grounds to seek a ban.

The Church of Scientology welcomed the ministers' decision to stop seeking a ban as the "only one possible."

"There never was a legal basis to open such proceedings," said Sabine Weber, a spokeswoman for Scientology in Germany. the rest

Financial Strain Evident at New York Diocesan Convention

November 21, 2008

The annual convention of the Diocese of New York approved a resolution petitioning General Convention to grant continued use of either the lectionary found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer or the Revised Common Lectionary indefinitely. Convention met Nov. 15-16 at a hotel and convention center in Mahwah, N.J.

Convention approved several other resolutions, including one calling on “the governor and the legislature of the State of New York to ensure civil marriage equality in this state by enacting the necessary legislation to permit same-sex couples to marry.”

None of the approved resolutions produced extended debate, but approval of the $13.3 million budget as presented was approved only after the Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, Bishop of New York, spoke in favor of it. The budget, which represented an increase of more than $880,000 over the previous year, was prepared last summer, before the severe financial downturn affected Wall Street. Some convention delegates were prepared to go through the budget line-by-line on the convention floor, but Bishop Sisk urged against a floor fight. Instead, he promised that the trustees would carefully monitor expenses in light of the new financial situation facing most parishes. Bishop Sisk also promised that the diocese would not take excessively punitive measures against congregations which are unable to meet their assessment due to financial hardship. the rest

Canada: Fiery Meteorite Burns Up the Sky

By Lauren Davis
Nov 22 2008

Thursday night, a meteorite fell in Western Canada, burning up as hit the Earth’s atmosphere and creating a brilliant flash over Alberta and Saskatchewan. Witnesses got to experience the brightest fireball the country has seen in over a decade. Fortunately for us non-Canadians, several video cameras captured the meteorite’s luminous fall.

The meteorite appeared in the sky around 5pm MT, and Alan Hildebrand, a planetary scientist said it was probably the largest to land in Canada in 12 years. And the object’s entry into the Earth’s atmosphere created an impressive display:

Hildebrand says the meteor could likely be seen up to 700 kilometres away, into the northern United States. It contained about a tenth of a kiloton of energy when it entered the earth's atmosphere, equal to 100 tons of the chemical explosive TNT.

“It would be something like a billion-watt light bulb.” the rest

Pieces of large meteor may have landed in Saskatchewan

Church of the Good Shepherd, Binghamton, NY: Day of Prayer and Fasting

November 22 will be a day of prayer and fasting at Church of the Good Shepherd, Binghamton, NY. Several guest clergy and their congregations will be with us from 10AM to 4PM to help us seek God's will as we face our court hearing on December 12. There will be meditations, music, and prayer. You may stay for the entire service or you may come and go as you wish. You are encouraged to fast during this time, but this is not obligatory. Please come and invite others to join us in prayer at this important time in the life of our church.

Prayer schedule and participating clergy

He has not made us for nought; He has brought us thus far, in order to bring us further, in order to bring us on to the end. He will never leave us nor forsake us; so that we may boldly say, "The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." We "may cast all our care upon Him who careth for us." What is it to us how our future path lies, if it be but His path? What is it to us whither it leads us, so that in the end it leads to Him? What is it to us what He puts upon us, so that He enables us to undergo it with a pure conscience, a true heart, not desiring anything of this world in comparison of Him? What is it to us what terror befalls us, if He be but a hand to protect and strengthen us? ...John Henry Newman

Please join them in prayer today!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Devotional: Dear Jesus, Help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go...

Dear Jesus,
Help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine.
Shine through me and be so in me that every soul
I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus.
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others. Amen.
...Mother Teresa image

Pope pondering change to Mass liturgy

posted November 21, 2008

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A high-ranking Vatican official says Pope Benedict XVI is considering introducing a change to the Mass liturgy.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, who heads the Vatican office for sacraments, says the pope may move the placement of the sign of peace, where congregation members shake hands or hug.

Arinze told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in an interview published Friday that the pope has asked bishops to express their opinions and will then decide.

Under the change, the sign of peace, which now takes place moments before the reception of communion, would come earlier. Arinze said the change might help create a more solemn atmosphere as the faithful are preparing to receive communion. link

The split in the Anglican Communion widens a tad

Nov 21, 2008

Barry Kosmin, one of the nation's top researchers on the demographics of faith, argues in a book he co-authored, Religion in a Free Market, that competition among religious groups keeps interest in God high in the USA, even as denominational identity is fading.

Now, you can see that "market" in action: The final formal break-off of a small but significant group of U.S. and Canadian parishes and dioceses from their national denominations and, quite possibly, from the Anglican Communion, the world's third largest Christian denomination, as well. the rest

Episcopal Church dissidents aim for new church

By Michael Conlon, Religion Writer
Thu Nov 20, 2008

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Conservatives who have abandoned the U.S. Episcopal Church by the thousands in recent years are trying to form a separate-but-equal church, a move that could leave two branches of Anglicanism on American soil.

"I have tried to see if we can create a safe haven (for traditional views) within the Episcopal Church, but failed," said Bishop Martyn Minns, a leader of the conservatives.

He is helping write a constitution for a new church, to be unveiled December 3, in an effort to be recognized as a new entity within the worldwide Anglican Communion. the rest

AS Haley: California Supreme Court to Consider Constitutionality of Proposition 8

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

News has recently broken of the order filed today by the California Supreme Court agreeing to hear arguments directly on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which was passed by California voters on November 4. The text of the order is here.The order is significant for several reasons.

First, the Supreme Court has agreed to accelerate the decision process. It has ordered all the cases filed challenging the ballot measure to be consolidated in one proceeding before it, and it has provided for an expedited briefing process. (The related story in the Sacramento Bee says that a court spokesman estimates oral arguments will take place in March 2009.)

Second, the order is significant because the Court denied the petition to prevent Prop. 8 from taking effect immediately---so it will remain in effect (and prevent further same-sex marriages) for a while, at least. (There was one dissenter from this denial---Justice Moreno, who would have voted for an immediate stay. The other six Justices disagreed---the three dissenters from the original decision, Justices Baxter, Corrigan and Chin, would naturally do so, while the others---Chief Justice George, and Justices Kennard and Werdegar---perhaps have an eye to the next time they are on the ballot for re-election.) the rest

Lambeth Faces Chicago Test

November 21, 2008
George Conger

The leaders of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) are set to endorse a draft constitution to govern the loose coalition of breakaway dioceses, congregations and Anglican jurisdictions in the United States.

In a statement released on Nov 17 by the American Anglican Council on behalf of the CCP, AAC spokesman Robert Lundy said the “the draft constitution of an emerging Anglican Church in North America” will be released on Dec 3. The leaders of the CCP will “formally subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) and affirm the Gafcon Statement on the Global Anglican Future.”

The Dec 3 ceremony will not launch a new province, CCP moderator Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh said, but will be an “an important concrete step toward the goal of a biblical, missionary and united Anglican Church in North America.” the rest

The Deadly Convenience of Christianity Without Culture

By Richard John Neuhaus
Friday, November 21, 2008

Obama’s public remarks on the freedom of religion and constitutional law demonstrate little awareness of the significance of the first freedom of the First Amendment in America’s law and lived experience. Moreover, after more than three decades of the most passionate public debate of these matters, Obama declared during the election that the moral and legal status of the unborn child are questions “above my pay grade.”

The truly ominous possibility, indeed likelihood, is that Obama does not see his extreme positions on abortion as being extreme at all. They are the entrenched orthodoxies of the parties that got him to where he is. Those in opposition are viewed as a recalcitrant minority guilty of perpetuating divisiveness, and the time has come to break their back once and for all. I hope I am wrong, but this strikes me as the more plausible understanding of the Freedom of Choice Act and other measures aimed at “bringing us together again.”

The response of Christian leaders to the imminent aggressions will require determined legal talent, especially in First Amendment law, a sharpening of public arguments, reaching out to those who do not understand what is at stake, and careful strategizing by pro-life activists and politicians. In the first place and in the long term, however, the need is for the courage to recover a biblical and historical understanding of what it means to say “Let the Church be the Church.” The Church is not an association of individuals sharing the experience of religion as what they do with the solitude. The Church is not in the consumption business, peddling the products that satisfy one’s self-defined spiritual needs. The Church is a unique society among the societies of the world; a community of obligation standing in solidarity with the truth who is Christ. the rest

Indian Pastor Appeals for Prayer Amid Death and Suffering

By Anne Thomas
Christian Today Reporter
Fri, Nov. 21 2008

The Bible Society in India has received a desperate appeal from a pastor in troubled Orissa state for prayers for the persecuted Christian community there, as thousands remain scattered across makeshift government camps or are hiding in the homes of relatives and sympathetic Hindus.

The letter from Pastor Raj details the atrocities committed against Christians in the north eastern Indian state by radical Hindus angry over the murder of their leader in August. Although the attacks – including killings, rapes, and the destruction of homes – have ceased in the last few weeks, Christian groups in India say the situation on the ground remains precarious. the rest

Orissa: Hindu extremists' reward to kill Christians, as Britain refuses to bar members

Albert Mohler: Echoes of Old Heresies Still Among Us -- A Visit to Divinity Hall

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1838 "Divinity School Address" was a call to radical theological revisionism, and thousands of ministers have answered his call. It is no accident that evangelical Christianity was so soon set on its heels in Emerson's New England.

Standing in the chapel in Divinity Hall last evening, I was struck by how contemporary Emerson's argument sounds. The call he issued 170 years ago is the very message we now hear from others -- Christianity must change or die. We cannot simply preach a book that is two thousand years old. God still speaks, and a slavish dependence on the Bible is both offensive and ineffectual. Doctrines must go -- intuition and sentiment will be enough.

The issues and arguments are the same. Nevertheless, we have all the evidence we need to show us where Emerson's argument leads. It leads to the death of churches, denominations, institutions, and ministries. It leaves sinners dead in their sins and robs them of hearing the Gospel.

The church has never needed "newborn bards of the Holy Ghost." Instead, the need of the church is for preachers who are skilled in the art of preaching the Word of God -- rightly dividing the Word of Truth, while holding without apology to the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
I am glad I visited that historic room in Divinity Hall last night. It served to remind me of what is at stake in our generation -- and for eternity. There are no new heresies, only echoes of the old ones. And yet, the old ones come back again and again. Full Essay image

Malkin: The eHarmony Shakedown

Friday, November 21, 2008
by Michelle Malkin

Congratulations, tolerance mau-mauers: Your shakedown of a Christian-targeted dating website worked. Homosexuals will no longer be denied the inalienable "right" to hook up with same-sex partners on eHarmony. What a landmark triumph for social progress, eh?

New Jersey plaintiff Eric McKinley can now crown himself the new Rosa Parks -- heroically breaking down inhumane barriers to Internet matchmaking by forcing a law-abiding private company to provide services it was never created to provide. "Men seeking men" has now been enshrined with "I have a dream" as a civil rights rallying cry of the 21st century. Bully for you, Mr. McKinley. You bully.

Neil Warren, eHarmony's founder, is a gentle, grandfatherly businessman who launched his popular dating site to support heterosexual marriage. A "Focus on the Family" author with a divinity degree, Warren encourages healthy, lasting unions between men and women of all faiths, mixed faiths or no faith at all.

Don't like what eHarmony sells? Go somewhere else. There are thousands upon thousands of dating sites on the Internet that cater to gays, lesbians, Jews, Muslims, Trekkies, runners, you name it.
the rest

Brazil targets illegal abortions

Friday, 21 November 2008
By Gary Duffy BBC News, Sao Paulo

Brazilian police are investigating more than 1,200 women suspected of having had abortions in a clinic in the state of Mato Grosso Do Sul.

Some 150 women have been charged and at least 30 have been sentenced to do community work.

Abortion in Brazil is illegal except in cases of rape or when the life or health of the mother is at risk. the rest

President-Elect Obama Lays Out Pro-Gay Agenda


President-elect Barack Obama is committed to creating special rights for homosexuals and trampling on traditional marriage. He laid out his agenda on his Web site:

-Expand hate-crimes legislation (which would create a new category of crime for actions said to be motivated by bias toward a person’s actual or perceived “sexual orientation” and “gender identity." Sexual-orientation hate-crimes laws have been used to prosecute speech in the U.S. and abroad).

-Support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (which would create special rights based on an employee’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and could force Christian employers to hire against their religious beliefs).

-Oppose a federal marriage-protection amendment.

-Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (which would open the door to forcing all 50 states to recognize same-sex "marriage").

-Expand gay adoption (which would leave vulnerable children without either a mom or a dad).

-Repeal the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy (which would jeopardize military readiness by allowing open homosexuality in the armed forces). the rest

Obama Selecting the Most Anti-Life, Anti-Family Radicals He Can Find for Administration