Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Devotional: The Spirit....

He is intangible and invisible. But His work is more powerful than the most ferocious wind. The Spirit brings order out of chaos and beauty out of ugliness. He can transform a sin-blistered man into a paragon of virtue. The Spirit changes people. The Author of life is also the Transformer of life. ...RC Sproul
image by lady-bug

Catholic Senators are Decisive Factor in Denying Conscience Protection

Bottom line: Both conscience protection and a ban of federal funding would have passed but for the Catholic Senators.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

News came out earlier today, that the Senate Finance Committee led by Senator Max Baucus refused to accept an amendment proposed by Senator Orrin Hatch specifically excluding federal funding of abortion in that committee’s version of health care reform. The vote was 10-13 against the Hatch Amendment. All Democrats on the committee, except Kent Conrad, opposed the amendment. All Republicans, except Olympia Snowe, supported it.

There is nothing surprising about the vote. Far more disturbing was a later vote by the same margin denying conscience protection to doctors, health care facilities and hospitals which refuse to perform abortions. Thirteen Senators, including Catholics John Kerry, Maria Cantwell and Robert Menendez, voted against a second Hatch Amendment which would have protected Catholics and other conscientious objectors to abortion from discrimination by the Federal Government. the rest

Archbishop: Covenant Adoption Limited to Provinces

September 30, 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed an endorsement of the first three sections of the Anglican Covenant by the Diocese of Central Florida’s board and standing committee, but said only provinces can officially adopt the covenant.

On Sept. 17, the diocesan board and standing committee adopted a resolution stating that they “affirm sections one, two and three of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant, as we await the final draft of section four.”

Central Florida also asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to “outline and implement a process by which individual dioceses, and even parishes, could become members of the Anglican Covenant, even in cases where their provincial or diocesan authorities decline to do so.”

In a Sept. 28 letter to the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, Archbishop Williams called the diocesan bodies' endorsement a step in the right direction. However, he stated, “as a matter of constitutional fact, the [Anglican Consultative Council] can only offer the covenant for ‘adoption’ to its own constituent bodies (the provinces).” the rest

Robert Gagnon: What Should Faithful Lutherans in the ELCA Do?

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Sept. 30, 2009

With a process that gives new meaning to the expression “stacked deck,” the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August 2009 voted to allow for the blessing of homosexual unions and the rostering of pastors in homosexual relationships. I salute the efforts of the renewal group Lutheran CORE, which courageously fought against the homosexualist agenda at the assembly (I had the great privilege of addressing them). Just this past weekend they had a meeting attended by 1200 persons that began the process of defining a new vision and structure for those who recognize the ELCA’s hard-left departure from normative Christian faith and practice.

How should faithful Lutherans—that is, Lutherans who affirm the male-female requirement for sexual unions so important to Jesus and the scriptural witness to him—deal with these new heretical and immoral actions? In particular, do the recent actions of the Churchwide Assembly justify beginning a trajectory that will lead eventually to disaffiliation with the denominational structure known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America? Let me suggest a syllogism that goes something like this: Essay here

Indonesia earthquake kills 75 and traps thousands

At least 75 people have died and thousands more were left trapped under rubble following a powerful earthquake which struck off the city of Padang on Indonesia's Sumatra island.
30 Sep 2009

Vice President Jusuf Kalla announced the death toll at a news conference, hours after the 7.6-magnitude quake hit off the coast of the town of Padang on Wednesday.

Officials said the quake triggered a landslide that cut off land transport to the area closest to the epicentre. Power and telecommunications were also cut. the rest

Scores dead, villages flattened in devastating Samoan tsunami

Planned Parenthood Gives Late-Term Abortion Practitioner George Tiller Top Award

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 29, 2009

Washington, DC ( -- The International Federation of Planned Parenthood Foundation gave slain late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller its highest award over the weekend. The international abortion business honored Tiller posthumously in Washington months after he was shot and killed in his Kansas church.

Planned Parenthood gave Tiller its Medal of Honor for "outstanding individual contribution to sexual and reproductive health."

According to a Wichita News report, Tiller's widow Jeanne accepted the award on her late husband's behalf.

Alexander Sanger, grandson of Margaret Sanger, the woman who founded Planned parenthood and who has come under fire for having racist views for doing so, presented Tiller with the award. the rest

What I Saw at the Muslim Prayer Rally

Robert Knight
Coral Ridge Ministries
September 28, 2009

Visitors to Washington D.C. on Friday got to hear what residents in Hamtramck and Dearborn, Michigan, as well as areas of London, Amsterdam and other Western cities already endure five times a day: The sound of amplified Muslim prayers lifted to Allah.

This time, the prayers reverberated over America's front lawn as some 2,000 Muslims gathered for the Jummah Prayer on Capitol Hill: A Day of Islamic Unity. Promoters had planned for 50,000 but came nowhere near that.

Hadn't you heard about this? If not, it's probably because the media have been tight lipped, the better not to embarrass the One in the White House. While some women in burkas were sighted in the crowd, there was no sign of Nancy Pelosi in a hijab, which she wore on her Middle East tour.

The purpose of Friday's event, according to its Website, was to "manifest Islam's majestic spiritual principles" in chants echoing "off the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and other great edifices that surround Capitol Hill." the rest

Porn surfing rampant at U.S. science foundation

By Jim McElhatton
Sept. 29, 2009

Employee misconduct investigations, often involving workers accessing pornography from their government computers, grew sixfold last year inside the taxpayer-funded foundation that doles out billions of dollars of scientific research grants, according to budget documents and other records obtained by The Washington Times.

The problems at the National Science Foundation (NSF) were so pervasive they swamped the agency's inspector general and forced the internal watchdog to cut back on its primary mission of investigating grant fraud and recovering misspent tax dollars. the rest

The Trouble with Obama

He only seemed to be all things to all people.
by Noemie Emery

For a talented man who ran a textbook campaign and was declared a great president before he even took office, Barack Obama has been having a rather hard time. The Midas Touch of 2008 has seemed to desert him. The famed oratory has not made a difference. The uniting president has turned into the ultra-divider. The music has died.

It's less that McCain voters oppose his proposals than that his own voters are turning against him: His approval ratings, above 70 percent when he first took office, now are near or less than 50 percent as independents, who gave him his win last November, give him negative ratings, and are dropping away. Presidents tend to drift down to earth as good will is ground down in the process of governing, but Obama's decline has been sudden and swift. Democrats predictably blame this on race, as if the strain of feigning enlightenment had become too much all at once for millions of people, but this seems unlikely in the case of a figure who only a few months ago was so widely adored.

In fact, he may have been adored rather too widely, by too many people wanting incompatible things. As disillusion sets in, it becomes more and more clear that he and his country misread one another. People embraced him for opposite reasons, while he held mistaken ideas about them; lies were not told, but conclusions were drawn that were not wholly accurate. He is what he seemed, only not that completely. And here are just five of the ways. the rest

Booming medical pot sales concern officials

By William M. Welch
posted Sept. 30, 2009

LOS ANGELES — Almost 13 years after California became the first state to allow the sale of marijuana for some medical conditions storefront purveyors of the drug are nearly as easy to find as a taco stand.

Yet police and prosecutors say the law is vague on who can sell pot and in what circumstances. They worry that the state unwittingly created safe havens for drug pushers who are doping the population with immunity.

"They appear to be run by drug dealers who see an opening in the market and a way to make a fast buck," says San Diego district attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who says every pot store her office has looked at is operating illegally. the rest

World Habitat Day: Monday, October 5th, 2009

Posted September 30, 2009

The United Nations has designated the first Monday each October as World Habitat Day.This year on Oct. 5 in Washington, D.C. and around the world, please join Habitat for Humanity in support of this global observance as we come together and declare that the lack of decent, affordable housing is unacceptable.

According to the United Nations, more than 100 million people in the world today are homeless. Millions more face a severe housing problem living without adequate sanitation, with irregular or no electricity supply and without adequate security.

Worldwide, more than 2 million housing units per year are needed for the next 50 years to solve the present worldwide housing crisis. With our global population expanding, however, at the end of those 50 years, there would still be a need for another 1 billion houses. (UN-HABITAT: 2005)

Raising awareness and advocating for change are the first steps toward transforming systems that perpetuate the global plague of poverty housing. World Habitat Day serves as an important reminder that everyone must unite to ensure that everyone has a safe, decent place to call home. Website-more info here (click on image to see mosaic)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Devotional: And have the bright immensities...

And have the bright immensities
Received our risen Lord
Where light-years frame the Pleiades
And point Orion’s sword?
Do flaming suns his footsteps trace
Through corridors sublime,
The Lord of interstellar space
And Conqueror of time?

The heaven that hides Him from our sight
Knows neither near nor far:
An altar candle sheds its light
As surely as a star;
And where His loving people meet
To share the gift divine,
There stands He with unhurrying feet,
And Heaven’s splendors shine.
... Howard Chandler Robbins

7.9 magnitude quake sparks tsunami warning for New Zealand

Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:40pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A tsunami warning was issued for New Zealand and other small Pacific islands after a major 7.9 magnitude quake struck in the ocean off American Samoa, U.S. government agencies said on Tuesday. the rest

Judge in Case of Arrested Notre Dame Pro-Lifers is Married to Pro-Abortion ND Professor

Monday September 28, 2009
By Kathleen Gilbert

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, September 28, 2009 ( - The attorney representing the pro-lifers arrested while protesting Obama at Notre Dame today repeated his request that the judge in the case, who is married to a pro-abortion Notre Dame professor, be removed from the case.

Attorney Tom Dixon's motion provides detailed support for his assertion in a previous recusal motion that there exists sufficient actual and perceived bias that Judge Jenny Pitts Manier, the judge assigned to the "ND 88" case, is required by Indiana state law to recuse herself in the matter. Dixon states that ever since Judge Manier has known her husband, Professor Edward Manier, he has been a well-known and outspoken advocate of the pro-abortion position.

As his views were well-known and have largely defined his identity at Notre Dame, Dixon argues, it seems implausible that Judge Manier could claim to be unaware of his views on the "ND 88" case, which stem from "the single biggest controversy in the history of the University of Notre Dame." the rest

Crossing the Rubicon: Analyses of D025 & C056

Episcopal Majority blog
Monday, September 28, 2009

I’m out of hibernation because of two significant resolutions passed by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church on same-sex blessings and the ordination of non-celibate gays.

The real Episcopal majority ought to take notice, not just because General Convention has given the green light for non-celibate gay priests and bishops and for blessings of gay unions, but because this was done facing down the clear majority of the Anglican world.

The title above taps a powerful, if well-used, analogy. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River at the head of an army, there was no turning back. It would now be conquer the capitol or burn it down or die trying. Observers from all sides at General Convention reported that the Bishops and Deputies (voting delegates made up of clergy and laity) understood that this was a Rubicon moment for gay issues. It is clear to all that there will be no going back.

Leaders at opposite ends of the spectrum (and those in the middle) interpret the resolutions differently. Read the words carefully and decide for yourself. Following are extracts of the exact words of the crucial paragraphs (in italics) with connectors in [brackets]. The form is altered to bullet-points with underlines added for important points. My commentary is in regular print.
The rest-don't miss this

h/t and comments at Stand Firm

Sex abuse rife in other religions, says Vatican

Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
and Anushka Asthana
Monday 28 September 2009

The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was "busy cleaning its own house" and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.

In a defiant and provocative statement, issued following a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva, the Holy See said the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.

The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse. the rest

Religious life won't be the same after downturn

by Rachel Zoll, Ap Religion Writer
Mon Sep 28, 2009

NEW YORK – Organized religion was already in trouble before the fall of 2008. Denominations were stagnating or shrinking, and congregations across faith groups were fretting about their finances.

The Great Recession made things worse.

It's further drained the financial resources of many congregations, seminaries and religious day schools. Some congregations have disappeared and schools have been closed. In areas hit hardest by the recession, worshippers have moved away to find jobs, leaving those who remain to minister to communities struggling with rising home foreclosures, unemployment and uncertainty...

..."In 2010, I think we're going to see 10 or 15 percent of congregations saying they're in serious financial trouble," says David Roozen, a lead researcher for the Faith Communities Today multi-faith survey, which measures congregational health annually. "With around 320,000 or 350,000 congregations, that's a hell of a lot of them." the rest

Study: One in Five Americans Secular in Twenty Years

Atheists examine Christmas from angel-free angle

Riazat Butt
Sunday 27 September 2009

It is a book about Christmas but there's not a manger, virgin birth or angel in sight.

Buoyed by the success of their campaign which proclaimed There's Probably No God, Now Stop Worrying on the side of London buses, some of Britain's most prominent atheists have come together to publish a book for the festive season.

The Atheist's Guide to Christmas features contributions on the theme of Christmas and God by scientists Richard Dawkins, Simon Singh and Adam Rutherford, agony aunt Claire Rayner, pop star Simon Le Bon, illusionist Derren Brown and Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker. the rest

ACORN Story Shows How Internet Reporting Is Beating the New York Times

September 28, 2009
By Doug Heye,
Thomas Jefferson Street blog

In a meeting of New York conservative activists earlier this month, Andrew Breitbart received a raucous standing ovation for doing something many conservatives never dreamed possible. He beat The New York Times.

As video upon video were released showing ACORN employees eagerly helping two conservatives (Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe) set up prostitution as a legitimate business, file false tax statements and engage in the trafficking of underage illegal immigrants, much of the major media remained silent.

For conservatives, the rationale was simple: the major media were uninterested in exposing an organization linked with President Barack Obama. the rest

Without Bush, media lose interest in war caskets

ACORN's Man in the White House

Troy, NY: Massive voter fraud linked to ACORN

Legislation Could Expand Assisted Suicide to New Hampshire, Surrounding States

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 28, 2009

Concord, NH ( -- New Hampshire state Representative Charles Weed is introducing a measure that would not only expand assisted suicide to New Hampshire but allow it for residents of surrounding states. The language of the Weed amendment would turn the Granite State into a suicide haven.

The newly proposed HB 304 by Weed would allow assisted suicide.

But it would go further by making it so a terminally ill patient need not be actually suffering serious symptoms to qualify for assisted suicide. the rest

'Night-texting' taking its toll on N.J. teens

Teenage sleep-deprivation caused by too much texting

By Aliyah Shahid/For The Star-Ledger
September 28, 2009

This summer, night after night, the lanky 14-year-old texted with friends for hours on end, sometimes not going to sleep until well after the sun was up. She’d interrupt her evening showers to check for messages, and at night she’d lie in bed with her phone pressed against her thigh to make sure she’d be alerted to any new messages. the rest

Human embryonic stem cell lines may now be submitted for US federal funding approval

28 September 2009
By Nienke Korsten

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a website through which scientists can request their human embryonic stem (ES) cell lines to be approved for federally funded research. Eligible lines will appear on the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry, also accessible online. Dr Francis Collins, Director of the NIH, has appointed a working group to assist him in deciding which lines will be approved.

This is a major step in President Obama's initiative to lift the ban - created by the Bush administration - on the federal funding of human ES cell research, as announced in March. The NIH published guidelines for the eligibility of human ES cell lines in July, forbidding the use of embryos specifically created for research purposes, thus restricting research to surplus embryos from IVF treatments. Full and informed consent from the donor is also required. the rest

Fertility clinic sued for destroying embryos

Disaffected Lutherans Begin 'Re-visioning' Lutheranism

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Sep. 28 2009

Conservative Lutherans from congregations throughout the country voted on Saturday to begin deciding on whether to go their separate ways from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Arguing that the ELCA has fallen into heresy, the traditional group has essentially initiated a process that they hope will lead to a reconfiguration of Lutheranism in North America.

"We are forming a churchly community because our prior churchly community has walked away from the faith off the one holy catholic and apostolic Church," said Ryan Schwarz, a member of the Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Reform) steering committee.

Some 1,200 Lutherans gathered in Indianapolis this past weekend to take actions in response to last month's vote by ELCA's chief legislative body to approve a resolution allowing gays and lesbians in "life-long, monogamous, same gender relationships" to be ordained. the rest

Monday, September 28, 2009

Devotional: The surest method...

The surest method of arriving at a knowledge of God's eternal purposes about us is to be found in the right use of the present moment. God's will does not come to us in the whole, but in fragments, and generally in small fragments. It is our business to piece it together, and to live it into one orderly vocation. ...Frederick W. Faber image by jared

Fort Worth to Vote on Southern Cone Ties

September 28, 2009

A member diocese of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) will consider a resolution that maintains the diocese’s ties with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.

The resolution is being proposed by the Diocese of Fort Worth’s standing committee. The diocese’s convention will meet on Nov. 6 and 7 in Arlington, Texas. The resolution commits the diocese to continued participation in the ACNA, but also “maintains its status as a member diocese in the Province of the Southern Cone while the formal process of recognition of [ACNA] continues in the Anglican Communion.”

“At this point, the Anglican Church in North America is not yet fully recognized as a province of the Anglican Communion,” the standing committee said in an explanation. “We are working towards that goal, but it is a lengthy process involving the primates, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Anglican Consultative Council.”

The standing committee also says it is important for the diocese to remain within ACNA, in order to “support and encourage an authentic Anglican witness in North America.” the rest

Proposal Requires House to Post Bills on Web 72 Hours Before Vote

Monday, September 28, 2009
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer

( – Before health care legislation or any other issue is voted on by Congress, the public should have 72 hours to review it, according to a bipartisan resolution in the House.

The resolution comes in a year when a $787 billion stimulus bill, with 1,073 pages, was approved after the public had just 12 hours to review the final version. The $846 billion cap-and-trade legislation that passed the House this summer was 1,428 pages long and available just 16 hours before the vote. the rest

Presidential “Family Day” Proclamation Includes “Same-Sex” Couples

For Immediate Release September 28, 2009
- – - – - – -


Our family provides one of the strongest influences on our lives. American families from every walk of life have taught us time and again that children raised in loving, caring homes have the ability to reject negative behaviors and reach their highest potential. Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things. Today, our children are confronting issues of drug and alcohol use with astonishing regularity. On Family Day, we honor the dedication of parents, commend the achievements of their children, and celebrate the contributions our Nation’s families have made to combat substance abuse among young people. the rest

Homosexuality debate grips South African Church

Monday, 28th September 2009
By George Conger

A second South African diocese will take up the question of pastoral care for gays and lesbians when the False Bay synod meets from Sept 23-26. Carved out of the eastern half of the Diocese of Cape Town in 2005, the Diocese of False Bay will debate a resolution akin to last month’s Cape Town request for an official church policy on gay marriage in light of the country’s gender-neutral marriage laws.

The South African general synod in 2002 endorsed a resolution that “acknowledges and gives thanks to God for the role played by lesbian and gay members of the CPSA and encourages the welcoming and affirmation of all members regardless of their sexual orientation, in all the Churches of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.”

However, the church forbids its clergy from performing gay marriages or blessing same-sex unions in churches. the rest

Polish Priest Fined for Comparing Abortion to Holocaust, Saying Abortion is "Killing"

Friday September 25, 2009

KATOWICE, Poland, September 23, 2009 ( - In a ruling that Church leaders are calling a serious infringement of freedom of speech, a Polish judge has accused the Archdiocese of Katowice and the priest-editor of their Catholic weekly newspaper of comparing a woman who sought an abortion to the Nazis, and has ordered them to publish a court-dictated apology.

Judge Ewa Solecka, further, fined the Gosc Niedzielny (Sunday Visitor) paper $11,000, objecting to comments from editor-in-chief Fr. Marek Gancarczyk that she deemed offensive, such as his statement that in seeking to get an abortion, the woman sought to 'kill' her child. the rest

The average British man or woman has slept with 2.8 million people

Sep 23, 2009

The average British man or woman has slept with 2.8 million people -- albeit indirectly, according to figures released on Wednesday to promote awareness of sexual health.

A British pharmacy chain has launched an online calculator which helps you work out how many partners you have had, in the sense of exposure to risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).

The "Sex Degrees of Separation" ready reckoner tots up the numbers based on your number of partners, then their previous partners, and their former lovers, and so on for six "generations" of partners. the rest image

Ariz. Megachurch Cuts Ties with ELCA

By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Sep. 28 2009

A megachurch in Glendale, Ariz., unanimously voted Sunday to cut ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and will be joining the smaller Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

At a congregational meeting following worship, Community Church of Joy voted 129-0 to terminate its affiliation with ELCA as the church’s vision, values and mission are no longer aligned with the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination, according to the Rev. Walter P. Kallestad, senior pastor of the congregation.

"There is such a different direction that the ELCA has chosen, a path they're traveling on, and we really believe that it just was not consistent to where God has called us,” said Kallestad, whose congregation was the 10th largest in ELCA with 6,800 baptized members.
“And so we’re parting,” he told the ELCA News Service. the rest

Video: Favre does it again

Christians tempted to emigrate as Lebanon grows increasingly 'Islamized'

Christians tempted to emigrate as Lebanon grows increasingly 'Islamized'
By Josie Ensor Daily Star staff
Monday, September 28, 2009

BEIRUT: Christians are tempted to flee Lebanon as the country becomes increasingly “Islamized,” according to the founder of the Center for Arab Christian Research and Documentation (CEDRAC). One-third of the nation’s Christian population has left since the beginning of the 1975-90 Civil War, and a recent surge in emigration means Christians now make up just 34 percent of Lebanon’s population, Father Samir Khalil, a Jesuit teacher at Beirut’s St. Joseph University’s CEDRAC department, told Vatican Radio last week.

“Christians used to make up 50 percent of the nation’s population; now experts think the Christians are probably not exceeding 34 percent, which is worrying,” Khalil said in the radio interview during a visit to The Holy See. the rest

'Safe school czar' encouraged child sex with an older man

At the president's pleasure
Monday, September 28, 2009

A teacher was told by a 15-year-old high school sophomore that he was having homosexual sex with an "older man." At the very least, statutory rape occurred. Fox News reported that the teacher violated a state law requiring that he report the abuse. That former teacher, Kevin Jennings, is President Obama's "safe school czar." It's getting hard to keep track of all of this president's problematic appointments. Clearly, the process for vetting White House employees has broken down.

In this one case in which Mr. Jennings had a real chance to protect a young boy from a sexual predator, he not only failed to do what the law required but actually encouraged the relationship.
According to Mr. Jennings' own description in a new audiotape discovered by Fox News, the 15-year-old boy met the "older man" in a "bus station bathroom" and was taken to the older man's home that night. When some details about the case became public, Mr. Jennings threatened to sue another teacher who called his failure to report the statutory rape "unethical." Mr. Jennings' defenders asserted that there was no evidence that he was aware the student had sex with the older man. the rest

"With ObamaCare in a Hole, Will the White House Stop Digging?"

ObamaCare Is Income Redistribution

In Canada, a move toward a private healthcare option

Rasmussen: Support for Health Care Plan Hits New Low

A professor pope wields some rhetorical jiu-jitsu

Sep. 27, 2009

In the Japanese martial art of jiu-jitsu, the key to success is turning your opponent’s strength into a weakness. If your opponent is bigger or hits harder, you deflect his energy rather than directly opposing it, turning the blows back upon the guy delivering them.

In effect, Pope Benedict XVI has been practicing some rhetorical jiu-jitsu this weekend in the Czech Republic. Time and again, the pontiff has taken charges that secularists commonly level at Christianity and turned them back around – so that they become indictments of, rather than an apologia for, a secular worldview.

The pope’s address this evening to a group of academics at Prague’s Charles University offered a classic case in point. the rest

“Relativism … provides a dense camouflage behind which new threats to the autonomy of academic institutions can lurk,” the pope said...

Pope urges Europe to remember Christian heritage

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Devotional: It may be that my soul sits in darkness...

For thou wilt light my candle. Psalm 18:28

It may be that my soul sits in darkness; and if this be of a spiritual kind, no human power can bring me light. Blessed be God! He can enlighten my darkness and at once light my candle. Even though I may be surrounded by a "darkness which might be felt," yet He can break the gloom and immediately make it bright around me.

The mercy is that if He lights the candle none can blow it out, neither will it go out for lack of substance, nor burn out of itself through the lapse of hours. The lights which the Lord kindled in the beginning are shining still. The Lord's lamps may need trimming, but He does not put them out.

Let me, then, like the nightingale sing in the dark. Expectation shall furnish me with music, and hope shall pitch the tune. Soon I shall rejoice in a candle of God's lighting. I am dull and dreary just now. Perhaps it is the weather, or bodily weakness, or the surprise of a sudden trouble; but whatever has made the darkness, it is God alone who will bring the light. My eyes are unto Him alone. I shall soon have the candles of the Lord shining about me; and, further on in His own good time, I shall be where they need no candle, neither light of the sun. Hallelujah! ...CH Spurgeon
image by anne.oeldorfhirsch

Time to Call Islam to Account

posted September 27, 2009
The Rev’d Canon Julian Dobbs

An expected 50,000 Muslims are preparing to descend on Capitol Hill on Friday, Septemter 25, to enable the “peace, beauty and solidarity of Islam to shine through America's capitol.”

It would be easy for many Americans to believe that Islam is a religion of peace and beauty. By far the majority of Muslims in North America are law-abiding citizens who seek to live out their lives without recourse to violence. However, there is a strong and influential movement in the Muslim community that is positioning Islam to gain world dominance in the social, political, financial and religious sectors of nations.

The advertised objective of Friday’s gathering is “to invite the Muslim Communities and friends of Islam to express and illustrate the wonderful diversity of Islam.”

Diversity? the rest

Albert Mohler:Why Do the Heathen Rage? — International Blasphemy Day

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ready for a day to honor blasphemy? According to press reports, September 30 is set as the observance of the first-ever International Blasphemy Day. This could be interesting.

The choice of September 30 looks back to that date in the year 2005, when the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad's face sparked outcry and protests in the Muslim world and threats toward the West.

Now, as Religion News Service reports, the Center for Inquiry is planning a day of observances to mark the occasion. Ron Lindsay, a lawyer who serves as president of the Council for Inquiry International, said that the day was part of the group's effort to expose religious beliefs to investigation. In the words of the RNS report, the goal is "to expose all religious beliefs to the same level of inquiry, discussion and criticism to which other areas of intellectual interest are subjected." the rest

Clergy abuse settlements can lead to new suffering

Saturday, Sep. 26, 2009

David Guerrero lies curled like a small child in bed, his teeth chattering and his fever spiked at 104 degrees. He has left his room only once since he crawled home from his latest crystal meth binge three days ago, to let his mother drive him to the emergency room for his soaring temperature.

Now, Minerva Guerrero hovers close to her 41-year-old son, making a mental list of the day ahead: she must change his bed linens, nurse him, pick up his new prescriptions.

Sixty miles away and days later, Dominic Zamora rages at his father, who suspects he bought a house in someone else's name. You're not my father, Dominic screams. You just want my money. When the 36-year-old finally calls his parents three weeks later, he is drunk and angry at the world - and most especially, at them.

This was not the future the Guerreros and the Zamoras imagined when their sons received millions from the Roman Catholic church to settle claims they were molested by their childhood priests. But that was before the money ushered in a new and never-ending nightmare. the rest

William Safire, Nixon Speechwriter and Times Columnist, Is Dead at 79

September 28, 2009

William Safire, a speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon and a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for The New York Times who also wrote novels, books on politics and a Malaprop’s treasury of articles on language, died at a hospice in Rockville, Md. on Sunday. He was 79.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said Martin Tolchin, a friend of the family.

There may be many sides in a genteel debate, but in the Safire world of politics and journalism it was simpler: there was his own unambiguous wit and wisdom on one hand and, on the other, the blubber of fools he called “nattering nabobs of negativism” and “hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.” the rest image

Conservative Lutherans organize after vote on gays

September 27, 2009

FISHERS, Ind. — Conservative members of the nation's largest Lutheran denomination voted Saturday to spend the next 12 months deciding whether to split from the church after it liberalized its stance on gay clergy.

About 1,200 people meeting in suburban Indianapolis approved a constitution for the conservative umbrella group Lutheran CORE and a resolution directing its steering committee to report back in a year on whether to stay within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, form their own denomination or join another.

Some members urged the assembly to more quickly sever ties with the 4.7-million member ELCA after the vote last month to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy, dropping a requirement that gay clergy remain celibate. the rest

Church court denies Episcopal bishop new trial

Sat, Sep. 26, 2009
By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

A court of the Episcopal Church USA has rejected a request from deposed Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. for a new church trial.

Bennison, head of the five-county Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania since 1998, was suspended from his duties nearly two years ago on charges that he had concealed his brother John Bennison's sexual abuse of an underage girl about 35 years ago in California. At the time of the abuse, Charles Bennison was pastor of a parish outside Los Angeles, and John Bennison was his youth minister.

Last year, after a four-day trial here, the church court unanimously found the bishop guilty on two counts and ordered him deposed, or removed, from all ministry. the rest

The Lost Symbol and The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown: 50 factual errors

Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol, says that his books, while fictional, are grounded in fact. We look at 50 of his claims.
By Tom Chivers
25 Sep 2009

Dan Brown’s new novel The Lost Symbol opens with a bold word: FACT. "All rituals, science, artwork, and monuments in this novel are real", it says.

The Da Vinci Code, his previous bestseller, began in a similar fashion. "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate", Brown says before the prologue.

So is that true? We take a look at 50 of Brown's more contentious points in the two novels and a third, Angels and Demons, his previous work also starring Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon.
This represents our best attempt to find the facts behind Brown's stories. If you disagree with any of them, or if you have any more information, please add your thoughts in the comment box below. the rest

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Devotional: All ye who seek a comfort sure...

All ye who seek a comfort sure
in trouble and distress,
whatever sorrow vex the mind,

or guilt the soul oppress:

Jesus, who gave himself for you

upon the cross to die,
opens to you his sacred heart;
oh, to that heart draw nigh.

Ye hear how kindly he invites;
ye hear his words so blest:
'all ye that labor come to me,
and I will give you rest.'

Jesus, thou joy of saints on high,
thou hope of sinners here,
attracted by those loving words
to thee I lift my prayer.

Wash thou my wounds in that dear blood,
which forth from thee doth flow;
new grace, new hope inspire, a new
and better heart bestow.
...Edward Caswall
image by fazen

From the Pulpit, New Moves To Change Machismo Culture

Hispanic Evangelical Pastors Try to Instill Respect for Women and Families
By Steven Vegh
Religion News Service
Saturday, September 26, 2009

VIRGINIA BEACH -- As the new pastor at Vino Nuevo Church, the Rev. Gladys Mejias-Ashmore has been teaching a lot about family, parenting -- and the dangers of machismo.

In Latino culture, the macho man looms large as boss of wife and family. But more than a few Hispanic evangelical pastors are teaching that machismo violates Christian norms for husbands and fathers.

It's a message Mejias-Ashmore said she never heard in church in her native Honduras. "I used to think the Christian let the man do whatever he wants -- even extramarital relationships." But after being "born again" and studying Bible passages on marriage, Mejias-Ashmore said she challenged her first husband about his drinking and adultery. the rest

Holy mess: 11 million Irish Americans leave Catholic Church

By Niall O'Dowd
Friday, September 25, 2009

A new survey shows 34 million Americans, or 15 percent of the population, say they have no religion.

Even more significant is that one-third of those, about 11 million people, are Irish Americans.

The survey by professors at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, does not explain why Irish Catholics are by far the highest number of people who are losing their religion every year in America. the rest

Obamacare: Death Panels by Proxy

Friday, September 25, 2009
Wesley J. Smith

Most of the focus in the Obamacare debate has been on HB 3200. But Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) has been trying to forge a compromise package. Instead, he has upset both sides, the Left because it has no public option and the Right because it too contains provisions that would, in the name of cost cutting, put the expensive for whom to care at great medical hazard.

A Washington Times editorial points out one provision that I have been meaning to address. It seems that physicians who spend the top 10% in caring for patients each year will see their compensation reduced–no matter the cause! From the editorial: the rest

Indian Christians urge help for Sri Lankan refugees

Tamil Christians in India have called on their government to do more to help thousands of Sri Lankans stranded for the last six months in refugee camps, where conditions are reportedly poor.
by Joseph Keenan, Christian Post
Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tamil Christians in India are supporting nearly 300,000 Tamil refugees in Sri Lanka who have been in temporary camps for the past six months.

The refugees, many of them Christians, were displaced by the conflict between Sri Lankan army and the Tamil militants, the Liberation Tamil Tiger Eelam (LTTE), which came to an end in May this year after 26 years.

In a memorandum submitted to the government of India, Tamil Christians in India said, “Thousands are dying of hunger and difficulties in the refugee camps”. the rest

Bishop Little: Conscience Without Sunset

September 25, 2009

Four years ago I wrote an article, “Living With Tares,” responding to an editorial in the evangelical magazine Christianity Today that had described schism as sometimes necessary and offered the Episcopal Church as its primary cautionary tale. I argued that I remain in the Episcopal Church because biblical faithfulness requires me to do so; because Jesus is Lord of the Church, and it’s up to him—and not us—to sort things out in the end.

In light of the actions of the 76th General Convention, I find myself revisiting that article and asking the question again: Why do I stay? Does our Lord have a continuing purpose for people like me, a bridge-building conservative and evangelical Catholic, in the Episcopal Church? If so, what is it? And what are the conditions required for continuing and faithful engagement with the church?

I ask these questions with a heavy heart. The bonds of affection in this church are deep. I minister, and gratefully so, to gay and lesbian parishioners all around my diocese. Many of my most beloved friends are colleague bishops who vote on the opposite side of the issues that divide us. I see Jesus in them, and I pray they see him in me. They are brothers and sisters in Christ. the rest

The Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II is the Bishop of Northern Indiana, and a member of the Communion Partners coalition.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Devotional: We must alter our lives...

We must alter our lives in order to alter our hearts, for it is impossible to live one way and pray another. ...William Law
image by bran.dean

American's losing their religion & Catholics are moving

September 24, 3009
Vanessa Barnes

The Catholic population of the United States has shifted away from the Northeast and toward the Southwest. "The decline of Catholicism in the Northeast in nothing short of stunning" said Barry Kosmin.

"The secularity of the American public is undoubtly increasing but the pace varies considerably between how individuals belong, believe and behave," said Kosmin. "The overall trend is being pushed by men and the young but slowed down by women's greater religiosity." the rest

US company offers celebrity ‘look-a-like’ sperm

07 September 2009
By Louise Mallon

A California-based fertility company is offering prospective parents a range of celebrity 'look-a-like' sperm donors. Cryobank, which is also planning to offer services in New York, allows customers to search through a database according to characteristics such as ethinicity and eye colour without revealing donors' photographs. In addition, the company has now added features that resemble celebrities such as David Beckham and David Blaine.

Cryobank's introduction on its website reads: ‘Have you ever wondered if your favorite donor looks like anyone famous? You know how tall he is and his hair and eye color, but wouldn't it be great to have an idea of what he really LOOKS like? Now you can find out with a click of your mouse!' the rest

Benedict XVI to make historic first papal state visit to Britain

Isabel de Bertodano and Christopher Lamb
26 September 2009

POPE BENEDICT XVI is coming to Britain next year, in what will be the first papal state visit to this country. The news first emerged this week from a source close to the Prime Minister in New York, and early confirmation from the Holy See and the papal nuncio to Great Britain was expected.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: “We are encouraged and pleased at the news which has emerged about the possible official visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the UK next year.”

The visit is most likely to take place in September 2010 and will include a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Queen. The last papal visit, by Pope John Paul II in 1982, was a pastoral one due to complications around the Falklands War. the rest

Virtue and Courage – What America Could Use Now

By Gary Palmer
Alabama Policy Institute
Friday, September 25, 2009

Ordinarily, when a 21 year-old man thinks about what he will do with the rest of his life, he thinks in terms of years. But the tall, handsome, athletic and well-educated young man being led to his date with the executioner could have only been thinking of the minutes he had left to live.

It is certain that he thought of his family because just before he was executed, he hastily wrote a letter to his mother. But family members were not the only people on his mind. He also had a message for those who gathered to witness his death that day and for every American who desired to live in freedom when he spoke in defense of the cause for which he and his comrades were fighting and for which he was about to give his life. Nathan Hale said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

Denied a military trial, denied a Bible and denied a visit by a clergyman, Captain Nathan Hale was hanged as a spy by the British on September 22, 1776 in an artillery park near the East River in New York City.

The story of Nathan Hale and his last words, which was once well-known by every school-age child in America, is about much more than just his inspiring utterance to the crowd which gathered to watch him hang. Like other school children of the 60s, I learned the story of Nathan Hale and memorized his last words without ever knowing the full story. Much to my surprise, I learned that Hale’s last words were not entirely his own. the rest image

Mourners Protest Islamic Attacks on Copts in Egypt

Muslim assailant gruesomely slays Christian, attacks two others with knife.
September 23, 2009

(CDN) — A funeral for a Coptic Christian gruesomely killed on a village street north of Cairo by a Muslim assailant last week turned into a protest by hundreds of demonstrators in Egypt.

Galal Nasr el-Dardiri, 35, attacked 63-year-old Abdu Georgy in front of the victim’s shop in Behnay village the afternoon of Sept. 16, according to research by a local journalist. Other Copts watched in horror as El-Dardiri stabbed Georgy five times in the back, according to interviews by Gamal Gerges, a reporter for newspaper Al-Youm al-Sabeh.

As Georgy fell to the ground, El-Dardiri took his knife and stabbed him four times in the stomach. He then disemboweled him, slit his throat and began sawing off his head, according to Gerges. The Rev. Stephanos Aazer, a Coptic priest who knew Georgy and saw photographs of his mutilated body, said the victim’s head was attached to the body by a small piece of flesh. the rest

Muslim 'apostates' in U.S. ask for protection

Muslim 'apostates' in U.S. ask for protection
By Julia Duin
September 25, 2009

Five ex-Muslims who founded a group called Former Muslims United put out a public appeal Thursday to the U.S. government for protection, saying the lives of thousands of "apostates from Islam" are in peril.

Speaking at a Capitol Hill press conference, the Granada Hills, Calif., group cited the case of Fathima Rifqa Bary, a 17-year-old from Ohio who converted to Christianity four years ago. She fled to Florida this past summer in fears that her parents would murder her for "honor" reasons. Her father, the girl said in a court filing, had already threatened to kill her.

Fathima first stayed with a pastor and his wife, then ended up in protective custody with Florida's Department of Children and Families. Currently, she is living with a foster family. Investigators in Florida and Ohio, where her parents live, have said they can't find evidence to support her allegations. The girl's fate will be determined at a court hearing in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 27.

Former Muslims United cited no U.S. deaths and could not come up with exact numbers of how many former Muslims reside in the United States or how many have been threatened. the rest

Muslim Prayers at Capitol Stir Protests
Some Conservative Christians Say Event Is Part of Plan to 'Islamize' America

'Joseph-era' coins found in Egypt

Sep 25, 2009 9:06

Archeologists have discovered ancient Egyptian coins bearing the name and image of the biblical Joseph, Cairo's Al Ahram newspaper recently reported. Excerpts provided by MEMRI show that the coins were discovered among a multitude of unsorted artifacts stored at the Museum of Egypt.

According to the report, the significance of the find is that archeologists have found scientific evidence countering the claim held by some historians that coins were not used for trade in ancient Egypt, and that this was done through barter instead.

The period in which Joseph was regarded to have lived in Egypt matches the minting of the coins in the cache, researchers said.

"A thorough examination revealed that the coins bore the year in which they were minted and their value, or effigies of the pharaohs [who ruled] at the time of their minting. Some of the coins are from the time when Joseph lived in Egypt, and bear his name and portrait," said the report.
the rest

Anglican Bishop Minns tells Lutherans to leave

By Julia Duin
Sept. 25, 2009 into Belief Blog

I was just about to go to bed at 1 a.m. today when I saw that the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) - one of several groups representing the 100,000 or so Episcopalians who have left their denomination for more conservative climes - has posted a video for the benefit of a this weekend's Lutheran CORE meeting near Indianapolis. I last wrote about that here.

Lutheran CORE has drawn 1,200+ folks to a meeting to discuss what future - if any - conservatives have in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America now that that the denomination has OK'd gay clergy as of last month. The CORE folks have given every indication they're heading out the door to form a new group or join with other dissident Lutheran groups. Story

Archbishop of Canterbury calls for a nuclear-free world

Friday, 25th September 2009
By Judy West

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has called for a world free from nuclear weapons. He made his comments during a visit to Nagasaki in Japan, where he is on an official visit to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the church there.

He took part in an Act of Remembrance at the epicentre of the atomic bomb blast in Nagasaki. During the service, Dr Williams laid flowers at the memorial and spoke about the pressing importance of working for a world free from nuclear weapons:

“There are no victories in human history without their element of tragedy. Victory in human affairs always means that someone has lost ...sometimes the victory has been gained at the price of such violence that we have to say that everyone has lost. Those who have won the conflict have lost some dimension of their own life, their own welfare and integrity. “To see the effects of the use of the atomic bomb here in Nagasaki is to see how this degree of slaughter and violence leaves everyone defeated. The wholesale killing of the innocent and the destruction of an entire environment, natural as well as cultural, the long-term effects, physical and psychological, on those who survived – all of this constitutes a would that affects the attackers as well as the victims. the rest

Law dean seems to welcome faculty opposition to Catholic teaching on gay "marriage" and abortion.


On September 15, 2009, released a television ad which featured Scott Fitzgibbon, a professor at Boston College Law School, arguing in defense of marriage between one man and one woman. He encouraged Maine voters to vote “yes” on an upcoming ballot referendum which aims to overturn state legislation which legalized homosexual “marriage” last May.

Complaints from fellow faculty members at Boston College soon began piling up. Merely one day after the ad aired, Boston College Law Dean John Garvey issued a letter to the BC law community, writing, “Several of you have contacted my office to express your anger at Scott’s actions, and it is hard for me to see any of our students, faculty, or staff offended or hurt by the words of others.”

Rather than praising Fitzgibbon’s public defense of a Catholic teaching, Dean Garvey wrote that Fitzgibbon’s “public statements represent his own opinions. . . and do not state any official position of Boston College Law School.” Garvey defended Fitzgibbons’ participation in the advertisement but also seemed to welcome faculty opposition to Catholic teaching. the rest

Obama's Self-Worship

September 25, 2009
By Mona Charen

President Obama's speech to the United Nations has been called naive and even "post-American." It was something else, as well: the most extravagant excursion into self-worship we have yet seen in an American leader.

Beware of politicians who claim to be "humbled by the responsibility the American people have placed upon me." It's a neon sign flashing the opposite. And sure enough, in almost the next sentence, the president allowed that "I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world." Really? The whole world pulses with hope and expectation because Obama is president? People in Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Taipei have a spring in their step because an Illinois Democrat won the White House?

Well, yes, he says, but it's not "about me," rather it's a reflection of dissatisfaction with the "status quo that has allowed us to be increasingly defined by our differences and outpaced by our problems." Oh, yes, and everyone around the world was electrified by Obama's campaign slogan because these expectations "are also rooted in hope. The hope that real change is possible and the hope that America will be a leader in bringing about such change."

Obama is, we are told, the smartest man to sit in the Oval in many a year. And yet he is capable of truly flabbergasting fatuities like this: "In this hall, we come from many places, but we share a common future." You don't say? That's right up there with Warren Harding's declaration that "the future lies before us." the rest

Obama’s Dangerous UN Agenda
Obama made reference to himself nearly 1,200 times...

Contrasted with this:

Part 2... Part 3... Part 4...

Text: PM Benjamin Netanyahu's Address to the 64th General Assembly

Netanyahu's Historic Speech -Touchstone

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Archbishop of Canterbury 'delighted' at Pope Benedict XVI visit to Britain

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has said he is "delighted" that Pope Benedict XVI is to make an official visit to Britain next year.
By Chris Irvine
24 Sep 2009

Dr Williams, who yesterday was visiting the Anglican Church in Japan, welcome the news that the pope is set to visit, the first visit in almost 30 years.

"Some time ago, following similar invitations from Roman Catholic bishops and the British Government, I personally expressed my hope to Pope Benedict that he would accept the invitation to visit Britain," he said.

"I am therefore delighted to hear that there is every possibility that the Pope may indeed visit Britain in the course of the next year.

"I'm sure I speak on behalf of Anglicans throughout Britain, in assuring him that he would be received with great warmth and joy." the rest

Inside the Apocalyptic Soviet Doomsday Machine

By Nicholas Thompson

Valery Yarynich glances nervously over his shoulder. Clad in a brown leather jacket, the 72-year-old former Soviet colonel is hunkered in the back of the dimly lit Iron Gate restaurant in Washington, DC. It's March 2009—the Berlin Wall came down two decades ago—but the lean and fit Yarynich is as jumpy as an informant dodging the KGB. He begins to whisper, quietly but firmly.

"The Perimeter system is very, very nice," he says. "We remove unique responsibility from high politicians and the military." He looks around again.

Yarynich is talking about Russia's doomsday machine. That's right, an actual doomsday device—a real, functioning version of the ultimate weapon, always presumed to exist only as a fantasy of apocalypse-obsessed science fiction writers and paranoid über-hawks. The thing that historian Lewis Mumford called "the central symbol of this scientifically organized nightmare of mass extermination." Turns out Yarynich, a 30-year veteran of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces and Soviet General Staff, helped build one. the rest image

The Sun could be heading into period of extended calm

Sept. 23, 2009

Researchers in the US may have discovered further evidence that the Sun is heading towards an extended period of quiet activity, the like of which has not been seen since the 17th century. The impact this may have on climate is poorly understood but it would be good news for satellite communications, which would continue to avoid the harsher impacts of space weather.

Scientists have long known that the Sun's magnetic activity varies over a cycle of approximately 11 years. Greater magnetic activity leads to more "sunspots", or darker patches visible on the solar surface. These sunspots are regions where the magnetic field lines have become twisted due to differential rotation in the outer layers of the Sun.
the rest image for Sept. 24

Scotland to Allow Homosexual Partners to Adopt Children

Wednesday September 23, 2009
By Hilary White

EDINBURGH, September 23, 2009 ( - Scotland's devolved parliament has announced that, starting next week, homosexual partners may adopt children together and both be regarded as the child's parents.

Previously the rules said that homosexuals could adopt only as singles. Legislation in 2005 granted adoption rights to unmarried couples, including homosexual partners in England and Wales.

Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church, denied that the move would provide more stable homes for children. "This change is unlikely to have an effect on the shortage of adoptive parents because there are very few same sex couples interested in adoption," he said. the rest

NRB Leader Warns Congress of ENDA's 'Chilling' Effect on Christian Groups

By Lawrence D. Jones
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Sep. 24 2009

An evangelical leader representing the nation’s largest association of Christian media professionals warned lawmakers Wednesday of the devastating blow that a highly contentious bill would deal to faith-based organizations and Christian ministries if passed.

In a testimony before Congress, Craig Parshall, senior vice-president and general counsel for the National Religious Broadcasters, said the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 (ENDA) would “impose a crippling burden on religious organizations” as it prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of “actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Though the bill purports to contain an exemption for religious groups, Parshall testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor that the language, from a legal standpoint, is a “mirage,” and would subject faith groups to “endless, expensive, and harassing litigation” where the courts would be forced to use a previous legal formula in future law suits against religious organizations – a formula that has proven ineffectual in protecting religious liberty. the rest

Afghan women hiding for their lives

September 24, 2009
By Atia Abawi

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Shameen's brown eyes seem lost as she thinks about the one day she wants to forget, but it is all she can think about.

Nearly 90 percent of Afghan women suffer from domestic abuse, according to the U.N.

1 of 3 Still traumatized, she recounts the events that led her to a safe house in Kabul.

She was raped and nearly stabbed to death by her husband just seven days before we met her.

Her lips are quivering and her eyes full of fear.

"He forced himself on me," she said. "All I could do was scream."

She was married off 15 years ago when she was a teenager.

Throughout those years she was tortured and abused, suffering daily beatings with an electrical wire or the metal end of a hammer.

This was her normal life. the rest

Obama's Policies Would Redistribute Nearly $1 Trillion in Wealth Every Year

Thursday, September 24, 2009
By Karen Schuberg

( - By 2012, nearly $1 trillion from the top 30 percent of American families will be redistributed among the bottom 70 percent if Obama’s proposals on taxes, health care, and climate change become law, according to the Tax Foundation.

“Even if none of Obama’s policies becomes law, the extent of income redistribution is remarkable,” Scott Hodge, president of the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, said. “The top-earning 40 percent of families will transfer $826 billion to the bottom 60 percent in 2012.”

Under the Obama plan, 70 percent of American families as a group -- those earning less than $109,460 -- will receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes, Hodge said.

“The majority of people below the 70 percent mark will get more back than they pay in taxes,” Hodge told the rest

Elementary School Students Reportedly Taught Songs Praising President Obama

Conservative Lutherans overflow upcoming conference

By Julia Duin
Sept. 23, 2009

There seems to be no shortage of folks from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America who are upset about several votes last month at the denomination's convention in Minneapolis. For those of you who weren't reading about how -- despite a tornado that showed up on a key day of the conference -- the denomination voted to approve gay clergy and, by implication, same-sex blessings -- a huge switch that placed the ELCA as America's largest mainline Protestant denomination to accept homosxual ministers.

Lutheran CORE, the chief opposition group, had slated a convention to start this Friday in Indianapolis, and they recently sent out a bulletin saying their registrations were swamped. Not only did organizers have to move the venue to a larger church -- a Roman Catholic one, in fact -- but as of Sept. 14, they had reached their limit of 1,200 attendees. Some of you who are older than 50 may remember an era in which Lutherans and Catholics never spoke to one another, much less shared worship spaces.

And so I love the quote on CORE's press release: "It is wonderfully ironic that Lutherans who started 500 years ago as a movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church would now return to a Catholic Church to re-form themselves," said the Rev. Mark Chavez of Landisville, Pa., director of Lutheran CORE. the rest

Lutheran bishop warns about withholding donations

A Message to ELCA Rostered Leaders from Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Devotional: The sifting process is going on still...

For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all sections, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. Amos 9:9

The sifting process is going on still. Wherever we go, we are still being winnowed and sifted. In all countries God's people are being tried "like as corn is sifted in a sieve." Sometimes the devil holds the sieve and tosses us up and down at a great rate, with the earnest desire to get rid of us forever. Unbelief is not slow to agitate our heart and mind with its restless fears. The world lends a willing hand at the same process and shakes us to the right and to the left with great vigor. Worst of all, the church, so largely apostate as it is, comes in to give a more furious force to the sifting process.

Well, well! Let it go on. Thus is the chaff severed from the wheat. Thus is the wheat delivered from dust and chaff. And how great is the mercy which comes to us in the text, "Yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth"! All shall be preserved that is good, true, gracious. Not one of the least of believers lose anything worth calling a loss. We shall be so kept in the sifting that it shall be a real gain to us through Christ Jesus. ...CH Spurgeon

Gadhafi refers to Obama as "my son"

Gadhafi’s Speech, Lowest U.N. Moment Ever?
By Gerald F. Seib
September 23, 2009

Could Moammar Gadhafi’s bizarre speech to the United Nations be “the lowest point in that organizaton’s history”? There would seem to be a lot of competiton for the title, but that’s precisely the label human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson puts on Wednesday’s address by the Libyan leader.

“At one level,” Robertson writes on The Daily Beast, “it was black humor at its zenith: the world’s worst international terrorist and mass murderer urging the United Nations to investigate all the atrocities with which he is not connected. But it also prompts the thought of how far we have yet to go in the struggle for global justice, when the worst perpetrators can strut in triumph on the General Assembly stage. We do indeed, as the Colonel said, have a right to live unmolested on this earth.” But, Robertson continues, Gadhafi has personally ordered the murders “of his dissidents (he calls them ’stray dogs’) and the passenger airplanes he has ordered to be blown up—PamAm 103 and UTA 772. His secret intelligence operatives have been convicted of these crimes, but everyone knows that they would not have happened without Gadhafi’s approval. His speech today was the exemplar of hypocrisy.” the rest

"Wild Brain": Avoiding Emotional Overload

Dr. David Hawkins
posted Sept 23, 2009

Having just spent several days in Tennessee, we watched broadcasts of cities being flooded with unseasonal rains. Many panicked as their homes were besieged with water. I felt immediate empathy, having been a victim of flooding myself.

This literal flooding reminded me of another kind of flooding that takes place —emotional flooding. When our brains are overwhelmed with too many emotions, in a short period of time, they are unable to process information accurately, leading to something I call wild brain.

Perhaps you’ve experienced wild brain yourself. Overcome with too much emotion, you:

• Can’t think straight;
• Panic, tempted to engage in “fight or flight”;
• Distort information;
• React, instead of act;
• Make threats you later regret;
• Make promises you later regret;
• Use language you later regret.

the rest