Monday, February 28, 2011

The World is Obsessed With Facebook

The World Is Obsessed With Facebook from Alex Trimpe on Vimeo.

Albert Mohler: How Did this Happen? Why Same-Sex Marriage Makes Sense to So Many

Same-sex marriage is not an idea that emerged from a vacuum. The project of normalizing homosexuality has deep roots and ideological momentum.
Monday, February 28, 2011

Why does same-sex marriage make sense to so many people? The momentum toward the full legalization of same-sex marriage seems to intensify with every passing month — or even faster. The moral divide in this nation is now seen most clearly in the distance between those for whom marriage is exclusively heterosexual and thus a settled issue and, on the other hand, those who honestly see the legalization of same-sex marriage as a moral mandate required by justice.

Given the venerable status of marriage and its universally established heterosexual character — at least until very recently — the burden of argument falls on the need to explain how such a movement for a moral revolution gained credibility, cultural mass, and momentum. How did this happen?

A culture does not consist only of ideas and ideologies, but no culture exists without them. Given the complexity of any culture, a comprehensive map of these ideas, moral intuitions, and philosophies is impossible to create. Nevertheless, some patterns are clear enough. We can trace the acceptance of same-sex marriage to at least three major ideas that have been shaping the modern mind for some time — and are held to some extent by both social liberals and conservatives. the rest
Same-sex marriage is not an idea that emerged from a vacuum. The project of normalizing homosexuality has deep roots and ideological momentum. The elites, the entertainment culture, the news media, and the educational establishment celebrate all three of these ideas as central to the modern experience and as ideological propulsion into a better future.

Christians Deprived of Food, Water in Laos at ‘Critical Stage’

Local officials try to force expelled Katin village farmers to give up their faith.
February 25, 2011

(CDN) — A total of 62 Christians forced from their village to crude shelters at the edge of the jungle in Saravan Province, Laos, are at a “critical stage” from lack of food and water, an advocacy group warned.

“The wells are drying up as they are going into the dry season, and their food supplies are exhausted” after villagers thwarted their attempts to plant new crops, a source from Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF) told Compass. “The authorities have successfully gotten them into a situation where they feel defeated.”

Officials marched 11 Christian families, totaling 48 people, out of Katin village in Ta-Oih Province at gunpoint in January 2010 after they repeatedly refused to give up their faith. The officials left them to find shelter about six kilometers (nearly four miles) outside the village and confiscated the Christians’ homes, livestock, and essential registration documents. the rest

Bernard Nathanson: A Life Transformed by Truth

A man who made a career of death and lies became a hero for life and truth.

by Robert P. George
February 27, 2011

Tomorrow morning in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Archbishop Timothy Dolan will celebrate a Mass of Christian Burial for a giant of the pro-life movement: Dr. Bernard Nathanson.

Few people, if any, did more than Bernard Nathanson to undermine the right to life of unborn children by turning abortion from an unspeakable crime into a constitutionally protected liberty. Someday, when our law is reformed to honor the dignity and protect the right to life of every member of the human family, including children in the womb, historians will observe that few people did more than Bernard Nathanson to achieve that reversal.

Dr. Nathanson, the son of a distinguished medical practitioner and professor who specialized in obstetrics and gynecology, had his first involvement with abortion as a medical student at McGill University in Montreal. Having impregnated a girlfriend, he arranged and paid for her illegal abortion. Many years later, he would mark this episode as his “introductory excursion into the satanic world of abortion.” the rest
We in the pro-life movement have no enemies to destroy. Our weapons are chaste weapons of the spirit: truth and love. Our task is less to defeat our opponents than to win them to the cause of life. To be sure, we must oppose the culture and politics of death resolutely and with a determination to win. But there is no one—no one—whose heart is so hard that he or she cannot be won over. Let us not lose faith in the power of our weapons to transform even the most resolute abortion advocates.

British Doctors Told to Advise Women Abortion Safer Than Giving Birth

By Laura Donnelly
26 Feb 2011

The advice, which would be given to women considering terminations, has caused anger, with anti-abortion campaigners accusing doctors' leaders of forcing an "absurdly liberal agenda" on women in a vulnerable situation.

The draft guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is for all doctors, nurses and counsellors advising women contemplating terminations.

Its first recommendation on "what women need to know" instructs health professionals: "Women should be advised that abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term." the rest
Never before has official advice to doctors and nurses in Britain instructed them to use such comparisons to help pregnant women decide whether to keep a child.

Christchurch residents vow to rebuild city shattered by earthquake

Feb 28 2011
By Kristen Gelineau

RESIDENTS of Christchurch held poignant open-air prayers for the dead and missing yesterday in the shadow of cracked and shattered churches.

As rescue teams continued their search through the debris of the city devastated in last week's earthquake, thousands of locals gathered to remember victims.

Mayor Bob Parker told the sombre crowds: "As our citizens make their way to church they will be joined in prayer by millions around the world. the rest

Archbishop says the Church will resist Government moves on gay marriage

The Archbishop of Canterbury has vowed to defend the Church’s traditional stance on marriage against Government moves to introduce homosexual weddings in churches.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
26 Feb 2011

Dr Rowan Williams has refused to be drawn on the issue publicly, but has broken his silence to tell MPs he is not prepared for the Coalition to tell the Church how to behave.

He told a private meeting of influential politicians that the Church of England would not bow to public pressure to allow its buildings to be used to conduct same-sex civil partnerships.

The comments are the first time he has spoken since the Coalition unveiled plans to allow religious buildings to be used to conduct homosexual partnership ceremonies. the rest

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Devotional: We do not understand the intricate pattern...

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
the highest resolution version available.
We do not understand the intricate pattern of the stars in their courses, but we know that He who created them does, and that just as surely as He guides them, He is charting a safe course for us. ...Billy Graham image

SC Episcopal diocese responds to national church

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Officials of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina affirmed this month their sovereignty and discussed the need to encourage growth by starting new congregations.

At the 220th convention, held Feb. 18 and 19 at the Parish Church of St. Helena in Beaufort, delegates voted a second time to pass two resolutions amending the diocesan constitution. The first removes the accession clause to the canons of the Episcopal Church and the second permits the diocese to convene its representatives more than once a year if required.

"These resolutions seek to protect the diocese from any attempt at unconstitutional intrusions in our corporate life in South Carolina and were in response to the revisions to the Title IV Canons of the Episcopal Church," the diocese wrote in a summary of the convention.

The resolutions are part of six drafted last year in response to what the diocese called "far-reaching and polity-changing revisions to the disciplinary canon of the Episcopal Church." the rest

AnglicanTV: Bishop Mark Lawrence's Address SC 2011

Damaged cathedral symbolizes NZ city's anguish

The Associated Press
Saturday, February 26, 2011

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand -- For 130 years, Christchurch Cathedral stood at the center of its city as a graceful monument to its heritage and civic pride. Now, with its spire decapitated by an earthquake, it has become a symbol of the city's anguish.

Tuesday's 6.3-magnitude earthquake that killed at least 145 people in New Zealand left the Anglican cathedral's once-stately bell tower in ruins, possibly with an additional 22 people lying dead in the rubble.

"The cathedral is the heart of the city, and the city has a broken heart," the building's dean, Peter Beck, said while looking at the damage. the rest

Anglican settlement takes hold

Parish 'disestablished'; some clergy leave another
Ottawa Citizen
February 26, 2011

The Anglican Church in Ottawa will "disestablish" one parish, and some clergy in another parish will depart the diocese as part of a settlement between the church and two breakaway congregations.

In 2008, clergy and congregations at St. Alban's and St. George's churches in downtown Ottawa voted to join the Anglican Network of Canada because of their opposition to the decision of the diocese and the national church to bless same-sex civil unions. On Jan. 16, after months of negotiations, the diocesan council and the two congregations reached an agreement under which the diocese will disestablish the parish of St. George's, and sell the Metcalfe Street property to the Anglican Network for a "substantial sum of money." The property will be renamed once the sale is completed by March 1. the rest

Friday, February 25, 2011

Egyptian Armed Forces Fire At Christian Monasteries, 19 Injured

(AINA) -- For the second time in as many days, Egyptian armed force stormed the 5th century old St. Bishoy monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, 110 kilometers from Cairo. Live ammunition was fired, wounding two monks and six Coptic monastery workers. Several sources confirmed the army's use of RPG ammunition. Four people have been arrested including three monks and a Coptic lawyer who was at the monastery investigating yesterday's army attack.

Monk Aksios Ava Bishoy told activist Nader Shoukry of Freecopts the armed forces stormed the main entrance gate to the monastery in the morning using five tanks, armored vehicles and a bulldozer to demolish the fence built by the monastery last month to protect themselves and the monastery from the lawlessness which prevailed in Egypt during the January 25 Uprising.

"When we tried to address them, the army fired live bullets, wounding Father Feltaows in the leg and Father Barnabas in the abdomen," said Monk Ava Bishoy. "Six Coptic workers in the monastery were also injured, some with serious injuries to the chest." the rest

Wisconsin Assembly passes union bill

February 25, 2011

Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly took the first significant action on their plan to reduce the collective bargaining rights of most public workers by passing the measure early Friday morning.

The vote ended three straight days of debate in the Assembly. But the political standoff over the bill and the protests at the state Capitol appear far from over.

The Assembly’s vote sent the bill on to the Senate, but minority Democrats in that house have fled to Illinois to prevent a vote. No one knows when they will return from hiding. the rest

Va. OKs bill to likely close most abortion clinics

Feb 24, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia took a big step Thursday toward eliminating most of the state's 21 abortion clinics, approving a bill that would likely make rules so strict the medical centers would be forced to close, Democrats and abortion rights supporters said.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican and Catholic, supports the measure and when he signs it into law, Virginia will become the first state to require clinics that provide first-trimester abortions to meet the same standards as hospitals. The requirements could include anything from expensive structural changes like widening hallways to increased training and mandatory equipment the clinics currently don't have. the rest

Technology can blur teens’ view of cheating

By Heidi Stevens,
Agence France-Presse
February 22, 2011

A call that your teenager was caught cheating is hard to interpret as anything but bad news. But you can turn the incident into a learning experience - and maybe even a turning point.
In an age of cell phone cameras, Internet-enabled hand-held devices and other technology, it’s easier than ever to game the system.
"Our poor kids live in a world where the lines have been blurred," says Liz Perle, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Common Sense Media. "Downloading a song for free. Is that theft? But it’s free. We have to look at our whole culture of electronic empowerment." the rest

In a recent poll of more than 2,000 students and parents in the U.S., Common Sense found that many teens aren’t clear about what constitutes cheating. Twenty-three percent, for example, said storing notes on a phone to access during a test is not cheating, and 19 percent said downloading a paper from the Internet to turn in as your own is not cheating.

Combat troops to get gay sensitivity training

New policy OK’d for battlefield
By Rowan Scarborough
The Washington Times
Thursday, February 24, 2011

American combat troops will get sensitivity training directly on the battlefield about the military’s new policy on gays instead of waiting until they return to home base in the United States, the senior enlisted man in Afghanistan said Thursday.

The Pentagon is launching an extensive force-wide program to ease the process of integrating open homosexuals into the ranks, including into close-knit fighting units.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill, the top enlisted man in Afghanistan where 100,000 U.S. troops are deployed, said that the sessions on respecting gays’ rights will go right down to the forward operating bases, where troops fight Taliban militants. the rest
Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness, said it is “ridiculous” to train combat Army soldiers and Marines as they are engage in daily combat with tenacious insurgents.

“It’s absurd because the military has more important things to think about in that dangerous part of the world,” she said. “For the administration to say this is more important than even with the troops we’re trying to train in that part of the world, I think it shows flawed priorities at best. It is ridiculous.”

China Bans Reincarnation Without Government Permission

Friday, 25 February 2011

In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission.

According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation."

But beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region's Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country. the rest

Church group blasts Obama for abandoning Defense of Marriage Act

Steve Coleman
Associated Press

WASHINGTON- A coalition of 34,000 black churches is blasting President Barack Obama's decision to stop defending the federal law that bans recognition of gay marriage.

The Rev. Anthony Evans, who heads the National Black Church Initiative, says Obama "has violated the Christian faith" by failing to uphold Jesus' teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman.

The Justice Department announced Wednesday that, at Obama's direction, it would not defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in a court case where it's being challenged. the rest

Q and A: What Obama's DOMA decision means & why it is significant

Duplicity revealed in DOMA decision?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Title IV Revisions Unmasked: Reply To Our Critics

The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.
Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The second part of our critics’ paper is devoted to defending the unprecedented expansion of authority the new Title IV would grant to the Presiding Bishop. For the first time in TEC’s history the Presiding Bishop would be able to exercise archiepiscopal or metropolitical authority over other bishops.13 As we pointed out in our original paper, this was accomplished by a seemingly technical definition near the end of a detailed set of canons, the effect of which was not publicly recognized until after General Convention had passed the new Title IV. In a very precise way, the Presiding Bishop is made the bishop of other bishops with the same disciplinary authority over those bishops that they have over their clergy.

Our critics do not deny that this provision would give the Presiding Bishop authority to issue pastoral direction to another bishop, to suspend or inhibit a diocesan bishop “at any time” without consent from the Ecclesiastical Authority of the diocese, and to become the primary authority in determining whether disciplinary charges should be brought and prosecuted against other bishops. None of these powers has ever been given to the Presiding Bishop in TEC’s two centuries of existence. the rest

A.S. Haley: Rushing to Judgment: a Spurious Defense of Title IV (Part I)

Executive Branch DOMA Power Grab

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
William A. Jacobson

The decision by the the Department of Justice to refuse to defend the Defense of Marriage Act is a massive power grab by the Executive Branch.

The Justice Department is tasked with representing the "government" is the broad sense in legal matters coming before the courts. There is no congressional Justice Department. Whether it likes a law or not, the Justice Department traditionally has fulfilled the role of arguing for the constitutionality of a law if there were any good faith basis for doing so, because someone has to represent the will of the legislative branch in the courts.

For two years the Obama-Holder Justice Department fulfilled this role for DOMA, as challenges worked their way through the courts, despite the Executive Branch being opposed to the law on policy grounds.

But, in a crass political move, Holder in consultation with Obama has decided to stop defending a key section the law in the courts, although the law will be enforced until the courts rule definitively. The excuse for the reversal is that there is a challenge underway in the Second Circuit. the rest

Coptic Christian Priest Killed in Southern Egypt
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The killing of a Coptic Christian priest has prompted thousands of Christians to take to the streets of southern Egypt in protest.

About 3,000 demonstrators scuffled with Muslim shop owners and smashed car windows in the city of Assiut. They believe Father Daoud Boutros' death was a result of a divide between Egyptian Muslims and the smaller Christian community.

The priest was found dead in his home by his daughter late Wednesday. A fellow clergyman said he had been stabbed several times. the rest

Kashmir: a Christian school burnt down in Srinagar. Islamic militants suspected

Albert Mohler: A Milestone in the Betrayal of Marriage

The President has made his decision. The Attorney General has now made his announcement. Mark your calendars for yesterday. That day now represents a tragic milestone in the betrayal of marriage.
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder informed Congress yesterday that President Obama had ordered the Department of Justice to cease all efforts to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in the courts. The announcement came without public warning, even as the administration was dealing with an international crisis in Libya and a political showdown over unions in Wisconsin.

The Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] emerged in 1996 as at least one state — Hawaii — indicated the very real possibility that it would vote to approve same-sex marriage. The Act makes clear that no state can require any other state to recognize a same-sex marriage, and that the federal government is prohibited from extending marital benefits to same-sex couples. The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 85 to 14. In the House of Representatives, the vote was 342 to 67. Faced with such overwhelming congressional support, President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law.

But 1996 was a long time ago, politically and culturally speaking. President Obama vigorously and repeatedly declared his opposition to DOMA during the presidential campaign of 2008. the rest
In the press briefing, Jay Carney said that the President’s personal position on same-sex marriage is “distinct from this legal decision.” Last December, President Obama told reporters that his personal position on same-sex marriage is “constantly evolving.”
Well, there may be issues in which the distinction between the legal and the moral arguments makes a real difference, but this is not one of those issues. To suggest that President Obama does not personally support same-sex marriage is to posit a dualism within him that is nothing less than Gnostic.
In reversal, White House orders Justice to stand down on gay marriage

New Zealand earthquake rescue efforts now in full swing

With the New Zealand earthquake death toll now at 98, authorities have mounted the country's largest-ever rescue operation in a bid to save as many of the 226 missing people as they can.
By David Cohen, Correspondent
February 24, 2011
Wellington, New Zealand

Since Tuesday's 6.3 magnitude earthquake leveled New Zealand's second-largest city, Christchurch, officials have been scrambling to mount what has become the largest search-and-rescue operation in the South Pacific nation's 170-year history.

The US was among the first nations to dispatch a team to help with building searches and structural inspections. The 75-strong American contingent has since been joined by more than 320 international rescue workers drawn from Australia, Britain, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan, working alongside some 1,100 local army personnel. the rest

Photo gallery

Christchurch earthquake: New Zealand city 'embodies Church of England dream'

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Anglican Perspective: A Prayer for Families

Unmarried Gov. Cuomo is guilty of sacrilege and should be denied Communion, Vatican adviser says

BY Leo Standora
Wednesday, February 23rd 2011

Gov. Cuomo committed a "gravely sacrilegious" act by receiving Communion while holding certain political beliefs and living with his girlfriend, Sandra Lee, a Vatican canon law adviser said Tuesday.

Edward Peters told CNSNews that Cuomo, who supports abortion and gay marriage, should be denied Communion if he tries to take the sacrament again "as long as he persists in such conduct."

Peters zeroed in on the Mass, at Albany's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, that Cuomo attended a day after his Jan. 1 inauguration. He received Communion from Bishop Howard Hubbard at the Mass. the rest

Identifying Children “Criminals”

Tuesday, February 22,
Wesley J. Smith

This is very scary. Scientists claim that brain scans can identify potential future criminals. From the story:

More researchers believe that violent tendencies have a biological basis and that tests and brain imaging can pick them up in children. They argue that, by predicting which children have the potential to be trouble, treatments could be introduced to keep them on the straight and narrow. If the tests are accurate enough then a form of screening could be introduced in the same way we test for some diseases.

The theories were put forward by two leading criminologists at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington. Prof Adrian Raine, a British criminologist, argued that abnormal physical brain make-up could be a cause of criminality, as well as helping to predict it. His studies have shown that psychopaths and criminals have smaller areas of the brain such as the amygdla and prefrontal cortex, both of which regulate and control emotion and behaviour. He also believes that a lack of conditioning to fear punishment, which can be measured in toddlers before disruptive behaviour is apparent, could also be a strong indicator…Dr Raine said he acknowledged the ethical implications of treating children before they had done anything wrong, but argued that “biological” causes of crime could not be ignored.

No. No. No. We should never treat a child as a pre criminal when they haven’t done anything wrong. Indeed, doing so could lead to criminality. the rest

(Kinda reminds me of the movie "Minority Report")

Anger over court’s decision to acquit suspects in Coptic killing case

by Brian Hutt
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Six Christians were killed in January 2010 as they left their church in Nag Hammadi after celebrating Christmas Eve mass. The church’s Muslim security guard was also killed in the attack.

In a hearing on Monday, a state security court in Qena upheld the death sentence handed to chief suspect Mohamed Ahmed Hussein last month but decided to acquit the suspected accomplices.

In a report by the Assyrian International News Agency, the Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Nag Hammadi, Bishop Cyril, condemned the verdict. the rest

UK: Four men slashed teacher's face and left him with fractured skull 'for teaching other religions to Muslim girls'

By Daily Mail Reporter
 22nd February 2011

Four men launched a horrific attack on a teacher in which they slashed his face and left him with a fractured skull because they did not approve of him teaching religion to Muslim girls.

Akmol Hussein, 26, Sheikh Rashid, 27, Azad Hussain, 25, and Simon Alam, 19, attacked Gary Smith with a Stanley knife, an iron rod and a block of cement.

Mr Smith, who is head of religious education at Central Foundation Girls' School in Bow, east London, also suffered a fractured skull.  the rest

'Gay' hazing charge disproven

- sign of things to come?Chad Groening OneNewsNow

Recent accusations of "gay bashing" by a Navy sailor have been proven false -- illustrating, says a conservative military watchdog, what's likely to happen if unabashed, open homosexual behavior is unleashed on the U.S. armed forces.

The Navy now says it wrongly accused Navy dog-handler Michael Toussaint of singling out a homosexual sailor for hazing at kennels he ran in Bahrain. Former Petty Officer Third Class Joseph Rocha had claimed Toussaint singled him out for being homosexual, causing him mental trauma and his exit from the Navy.

Rocha was later invited to the White House to witness President Barack Obama signing the repeal of the ban on homosexuals serving in the military. But two naval officers say Navy officials have found the investigation into Rocha's charges was "flawed" and the claims unsubstantiated. the rest
"If you have open and professed homosexuals in the military and anything happens -- anything that causes disruption, tension, or worse -- how is this all going to work out?"

Census estimates show 1 in 4 US counties are dying

posted February 23, 2011

WELCH, W.Va. (AP) — Nestled within America's once-thriving coal country, 87-year-old Ed Shepard laments a prosperous era gone by, when shoppers lined the streets and government lent a helping hand. Now, here as in one-fourth of all U.S. counties, West Virginia's graying residents are slowly dying off.

Hit by an aging population and a poor economy, a near-record number of U.S. counties are experiencing more deaths than births in their communities, a phenomenon demographers call "natural decrease." the rest
In all, roughly 760 of the nation's 3,142 counties are fading away, stretching from industrial areas near Pittsburgh and Cleveland to the vineyards outside San Francisco to the rural areas of east Texas and the Great Plains.

Egypt: Christians asked to bow in submission to Allah

 February 21, 2011
By Aaron Klein
© 2011 WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – In what Egypt's Christians fear may be a sign of things to come, a senior Islamic cleric asked Christians to bow in Muslim prayer in an act of submission to Allah.

On Friday, famed Egyptian theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a spiritual leader to the Muslim Brotherhood who hosts a popular Islam-themed television show on Al Jazeera, led the Islamic prayer services in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt's uprising.

While he repeatedly offered nods to Egypt's Coptic Christians, unmentioned in most news media accounts of the ceremony was that Qaradawi asked all in attendance, specifically singling out Christians, to bow in Islamic prayer. the rest
'We are in the extreme minority in the crowd, it is intimidating'

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Devotional: Joy

Where others see but the dawn coming over the hill, I see the soul of God shouting for joy. ...William Blake image by Lee Coursey

Cathedral collapse strikes at city heart

Rowan Callick
February 23, 2011

THE heart has been torn out of beautiful Christchurch, highlighted by the collapse of the spire of the iconic Anglican cathedral, which soared 63m above Cathedral Square, the central meeting place of the city.

Peter Beck, the dean of the cathedral -- designed 150 years ago by British architect Sir George Gilbert Scott -- said its part-destruction was unimportant in the light of the earthquake's human cost. "A building's a building. The important thing is the people," he said.

"We just don't know if there were people underneath, so all we can do now is just pray and wait while the emergency services get in there." the rest

BBC video: First look inside collapsed Christchurch Cathedral

Benedict XVI's 2011 Lenten Message

"God Created Men and Women for Resurrection and Life"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2011 ( Here is Benedict XVI annual Lenten message, which was released today with a theme from Colossians: "You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him." The message offers a reflection for each of the Sunday Gospel readings of the liturgical season.

* * *

"You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him." (cf. Col 2: 12)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Lenten period, which leads us to the celebration of Holy Easter, is for the Church a most valuable and important liturgical time, in view of which I am pleased to offer a specific word in order that it may be lived with due diligence. As she awaits the definitive encounter with her Spouse in the eternal Easter, the Church community, assiduous in prayer and charitable works, intensifies her journey in purifying the spirit, so as to draw more abundantly from the Mystery of Redemption the new life in Christ the Lord (cf. Preface I of Lent).  the rest

Ex Director: Planned Parenthood Has History of OKing Sex Trafficking

by Steven Ertelt
Washington, DC

In two recent interviews responding to the national videos that have received so much attention, former Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director Abby Johnson says the abortion business has a history of tolerating sex trafficking.

The videos show Planned Parenthood staffers in four locations bending over backwards to help undercover investigators posing as sex traffickers. The staff help arrange abortions, STD testing and give advice on how to avoid suspicions from authorities and evade laws.

Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood center in a large Texas town that is home to Texas A&M University, shared her thoughts on the video on the Fox News program O’Reilly Factor on Friday night.

“It happens all the time, it happened at my clinic,” Johnson said of Planned Parenthood staffers helping sex traffickers, prostitutes and others in the sex trade to get abortions. the rest image

Four Americans killed by pirates days after yacht was hijacked off the Somalia coast

BY Philip Caulfield and Corky Siemaszko
Tuesday, February 22nd 2011

Four Americans who were being held hostage by Somali pirates were slaughtered Tuesday before the U.S. Navy could rescue them.

After boarding the yacht, "the forces discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors," General James Mattis, head of the U.S. Central Command, said in a statement.

"Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four hostages ultimately died of their wounds," he wrote.

The victims were identified as yacht owners Jean and Scott Adam of California, and Seattle residents Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle.
 the rest

Albert Mohler: Boys Wrestling Girls — A Clash of Worlds and Worldviews

I, for one, am proud to know of a boy and a family who refuse to consider girls and women as proper opponents on a wrestling mat — opponents to be bloodied, gouged, and slammed. Joel Northrup may have forfeited a match, but he refused to sacrifice his Christian conscience for a moment of earthly glory.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The state of Iowa takes high school wrestling seriously. Iowans take wrestling so seriously, in fact, that the state wrestling champion among high school boys in Iowa is like “Mr. Basketball” in Indiana — a celebrity for life. Joel Northrup is only a sophomore, but the home-schooled student who wrestles for Linn-Mar High School went into the state wrestling tournament with a 35-4 record and high hopes.

Nevertheless, in his first match, he forfeited. Why? Because he could not by conviction wrestle against a girl. the rest

BANGLADESH - A village burned down, tribal Christians forced out by Muslim settlers


 (Agenzia Fides) – A village was burned down and dozens of indigenous have been injured and driven from Ragipara in the mountain district of Rangamati, Diocese of Chittagong. The indigenous people who have suffered violence, perpetrated by Muslim settlers, are Buddhist, Hindu and Christian ethnic minorities. This is the news sent to Fides from the Commission for Justice and Peace of the local Church. On 17 February more than 300 Muslim settlers, who intend to take possession of new lands for agriculture, organised a punitive expedition against the village inhabited by indigenous people. The settlers were backed by local police who legitimised the violence. Other cases like this (of attacks on tribal members and private land) have been recorded in recent days in the area of Gulishakhali. The Muslims settlers committed this under the pretext of the death of their comrade, Ali Saber, found dead in the Ragiparam, and staged a violent reaction, trampling on the rights of minorities. the rest

Bernard Nathanson, abortionist who became pro-life activist, dead at 84

February 21, 2011

Bernard Nathanson, who was one of the leading figures in the abortion industry before he converted to the pro-life cause and the Catholic faith, died on February 21 in New York at the age of 84.

Nathanson estimated that he performed 5,000 abortions personally, and as director of busy abortion clinics he supervised more than 70,000 abortions. He was co-founder of the group now known as NARAL, and helped craft the arguments in favor of abortion on demand. But Nathanson experienced a profound change of heart, and eventually embraced the pro-life cause.

In 1985 the former abortionist produced The Silent Scream, a highly influential film that showed ultrasound images of the unborn child in the womb. Later, in his book Aborting America, he revealed how he and other abortion advocates had distorted facts— notably by concocting false statistics on the number of deaths from illegal abortion—in order to gain public acceptance of the practice. In later years he expressed profound remorse for his participation both in the destruction of unborn children and in the propaganda campaign to promote the abortion industry. “I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age,” he confessed. the rest

Earthquake in New Zealand kills at least 65, hundreds still trapped under debris in Christchurch

BY Aliyah Shahid
Tuesday, February 22nd 2011

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake rocked New Zealand on Tuesday, causing widespread damage and killing at least 65 people in one of the country's worst natural disasters.

The earthquake struck Christchurch, the country's second largest city, around lunchtime when offices were occupied and stores and streets were bustling with people.

Rescuers frantically scrambled to find hundreds people who were thought to be still trapped in the debris as darkness fell on the city Tuesday night. Dazed, screaming and crying residents were seen wandering through the streets. the rest

Christchurch earthquake: New Zealand city 'embodies Church of England dream'

Salvation Army appeals for donations after Christchurch earthquake kills 65

Monday, February 21, 2011

Colossal volcano eruption sends ash plume 2 miles high in Philippines

Thousands flee as Philippine volcano erupts

UK: Gay hotels investigated for breaching equality laws

Hotels that only accept homosexuals are being investigated by a government-funded watchdog for discriminating against heterosexual couples.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones,
 Religious Affairs Correspondent
20 Feb 2011

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is examining whether "gay-only" guesthouses breach new laws designed to prevent people being treated unfairly in the provision of goods or services.

Last month, Christian owners of a guesthouse in Cornwall became the first to be found guilty of discrimination under equality laws after they refused to let a homosexual couple stay in a double room, in a legal action supported by the EHRC.

Now, the watchdog says it must establish an "objective balance" by considering if gays-only accommodation also defies the legislation. the rest

Obama Distances Himself From Planned Parenthood Sex Trafficking Scandal

by Steven Ertelt
Washington, DC

In a weekend interview with a local television station in Virginia, President Barack Obama was forced to answer a question concerning the national scandal surrounding Planned Parenthood.

The scandal has Planned Parenthood centers in Virginia and three other places — New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia — actively helping to arrange for abortions and STD testing for undercover investigators who pose as operators of a sex trafficking ring. The Planned Parenthood staff not only show no concern about he illegal and anti-woman activities, they help the sex trafficking operators avoid further scrutiny and give them advice for how to get the girls back out on the street.

“There’s a conservative group that went into Planned Parenthood with video cameras and taped what appeared to be Planned Parenthood workers turning a blind eye to sex trafficking,” the NBC 12 interviewer began in the late Friday interview. “Republicans here in Washington have turned this into a call for you and for other leaders in Washington to strip Planned Parenthood’s funding from the federal government. Do you think this video should be a reason to look at Planned Parenthood funding? Do you think it’s a setup? How would you react to that?” the rest

Controversial doctor injects fetal hearts with poison in 'partial' abortions

Feb 18, 2011
by Tom Strode

(BP)--Abortion doctor James Pendergraft -- his medical license suspended four times in Florida -- has opened a secret clinic in the Washington, D.C., area to help perform late-term procedures.

Pendergraft, who received a one-year suspension in August from the state where he operates five abortion clinics, has advertised his new clinic online. The website describes a procedure for late second-term and third-term pregnancies that involves the injection of poison or air into a baby's heart to kill him or her. Pendergraft does not complete the abortion, however. After "several minutes" of observation, the woman is released in order for her to go to her doctor or a medical facility for induction of the dead child.

Pendergraft's secret operation and partial procedure, which were first reported by Operation Rescue, have been decried by pro-life advocates. the rest

Anglican parish in Va. settles property dispute with Episcopalians

By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 20, 2011

A tiny, 133-year-old conservative Anglican parish near Leesburg has agreed to settle its part of a bitter, costly land dispute with the Episcopal Church. The case drew national attention in 2006 when a cluster of like-minded parishes in Virginia voted to leave the denomination over disputes about scripture and sexuality.

The Church of Our Saviour, Oatlands, was one of nine congregations in Northern Virginia that, until it voted Sunday to settle, was locked in litigation over the nine church properties, which include the large Truro Church in Fairfax City and the Falls Church in Falls Church. Legal fees on all sides are believed to total more than $12 million.

The cases are being watched closely by Episcopalians - the American wing of Anglicanism - and other religious denominations that have seen splits over whether women or gays and lesbians can be clergy and whether Christianity is the sole path to God. the rest

ADV member parish Church of our Saviour Settlement

ADV Chairman Jim Oakes has released the following statement in response to this news:

“We are saddened that our ADV member parish, Church of Our Saviour, was put in such a difficult position. As we have said all along, this litigation has been a tragic distraction from the good work these churches are trying to undertake as servants of Christ. For many months, we have encouraged our congregations to pray for an end to this costly litigation. There has been a great deal of discussion and soul searching and we will continue to pray that His will be done. No matter the path Church of Our Saviour has chosen, they will remain our brothers and sisters in Christ and we pray for the opportunity to have continued fellowship together.”

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Communion on the Verge of a Breakdown: What Then Shall We Do?

Written by: Rev. Dr. Philip Turner
Saturday, February 19th, 2011
The Meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion just concluded in Dublin might well mark the breakdown and consequent breakup of what has been the Anglican Communion. Up to a dozen Primates who come from the most populous areas of the Anglican Communion refused to attend. They did so because the Archbishop of Canterbury, ignoring his pledge that there would be “consequences” resulting from the actions of The Episcopal Church (TEC), insisted nonetheless on inviting its Presiding Bishop. From an ecclesiological perspective, the meeting itself proved vacuous, producing little more than points gathered on newsprint by a facilitor. If Dublin is linked with the obvious failure of both the last Lambeth Conference and the last meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, one is forced to conclude that none of the supposed “Instruments of Communion” have been able to address the divisions in the Communion in a satisfactory manner. This series of failures has left the Anglican Communion with no effective means to sustain unity among its autonomous provinces.

Sadly, as things now stand, the Archbishop of Canterbury has lost his ability to serve as an effective symbol and focus for the unity of Anglicans. In effect, he now presides over a vastly reduced grouping of Provinces dominated by native English speakers who represent the liberal edge of what is a dominantly conservative body of churches. It is simply the case that the Provinces that contain the majority of the world’s Anglicans do not feel that they are adequately represented and respected in the councils of the church. They have chosen not to participate until this situation is remedied. the rest

Obama Administration Rewrites Conscience Protections for Health Workers

Sat, Feb. 19 2011
 By Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter

According to a new rule released by the Obama administration Friday, health care workers can still refuse to take part in abortions if they find it morally objectionable but they cannot refuse to give contraception.

After years of debate, the Department of Health and Human Services rewrote the Bush-era Conscience Clause, essentially rescinding most of the rules that protected the conscience of medical workers.

"The Department supports clear and strong conscience protections for health care providers who are opposed to performing abortions," said the HHS. the rest

No action on gay blessings in Southern Africa

 Feb 18, 2011
by George Conger

The Southern African House of Bishops has deferred taking action on adopting guidelines for the blessing of same-sex unions, citing legal difficulties and theological divisions within its ranks.

Meeting from Feb 7-12 at the Mariannhill Conference Centre in the Diocese of Natal, the bishops released a pastoral letter at the close of their meeting confirming they were at an impasse.

They noted that Archbishop Thabo Makgoba had “taken a lead in bringing concerns to us from the dioceses in the Western Cape with regard to the pastoral care of persons who have entered into civil unions or are considering doing so.” the rest

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Devotional: Drudgery

"Arise, shine." Isaiah 60:1

We have to take the first step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us, He will not; but immediately we arise we find He is there. Whenever God inspires, the initiative is a moral one. We must do the thing and not lie like a log. If we will arise and shine, drudgery becomes divinely transfigured.

Drudgery is one of the finest touchstones of character there is. Drudgery is work that is very far removed from anything to do with the ideal - the utterly mean grubby things; and when we come in contact with them we know instantly whether or not we are spiritually real. Read John 13. We see there the Incarnate God doing the most desperate piece of drudgery, washing fishermen's feet, and He says - "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet." It requires the inspiration of God to go through drudgery with the light of God upon it. Some people do a certain thing and the way in which they do it hallows that thing for ever afterwards. It may be the most commonplace thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it. Our Lord took on Him our human flesh and transfigured it, and it has become for every saint the temple of the Holy Ghost. ...Oswald Chambers image

Your marital status is not relevant to us now, Church tells clergy

By Jonathan Petre
19th February 2011

The Church of England has infuriated traditionalists by dropping the requirement for clergy to disclose their marital status when they apply for new posts.

Church officials say the changes have been introduced to mirror new secular employment and equality laws aimed at eliminating discrimination.

But traditionalists say they further undermine the Christian view of marriage by hindering parishes from finding out whether candidates for jobs are divorced or in a gay ‘marriage’. the rest

The Cost of Abortion

Added to Youtube May 6, 2008

Episcopal diocese offers Anglicans a peaceful out

Saturday, February 19, 2011
By Ann Rodgers
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In a rare sign of peace since a bitter break in 2008, the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh has welcomed an offer from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh for the Anglican parishes to negotiate for their property.

On Thursday, Pittsburgh Episcopal Bishop Kenneth Price Jr. wrote to 41 parishes that followed Archbishop Robert Duncan out of the Episcopal Church at the October 2008 diocesan convention. Pre-emptive property litigation began in 2003. The Episcopal proposal includes eight guidelines for negotiations.

"My first hope, of course, is that we be reconciled in a way that your parish can share in the life of the Episcopal Diocese again. If that is not possible at this time, I reiterate my invitation that you contact me to begin a conversation seeking an amicable resolution of these property issues," Bishop Price wrote to rectors and lay leaders of Anglican parishes.  the rest

How hawks see the world.


Friday, February 18, 2011

House de-funds Planned Parenthood, blocks funds for ObamaCare

Associated Press

The House has voted to block money to implement President Barack Obama's health care law, a victory for Republicans trying to derail the program, and has approved a GOP proposal to block federal aid for Planned Parenthood. Lawmakers voted to deny the healthcare funding by a near party-line vote of 239-187.

Republicans say the healthcare overhaul, enacted last year, was an overstepping of power by Washington and would hurt the economy. Democrats say by preventing government agencies from carrying out the law, Republicans would harm families and help the insurance industry. The provision was made part of GOP bill cutting federal spending this year.

The House voted earlier this year to completely repeal the health program. But support for the overhaul by Obama and the Democratic-run Senate means House Republicans will almost certainly have to settle for less. the rest

House votes to defund Planned Parenthood, national health-care law

Abortion funding - 'Offensive to every American'

Planned Parenthood, Pro-Life Groups React to De-Funding Vote

House Votes to Defund 'ObamaCare' in Burst of Activity on Spending Bill

Civil partnerships will not be forced on Church, says May

by Ed Beavan and Simon Sarmiento
18 February, 2011
Church Times

THE Government announced this week that it plans to allow religious buildings to be used to host the registration of civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

The proposals, from the Govern­ment Equalities Office (GEO), emphasised that any changes would be “entirely voluntary”, and would not “force any religious group to host civil partnership registrations if they do not wish to do so”.

But the announcement received mixed reactions from Churches. The Church of England warned that such changes could lead to “inconsist­encies with civil marriage, have unex­plored impacts, and lead to confu­sion”. The Bishops had “consistent­ly been clear that the Church of En­gland should not provide services of blessing for those who register civil partnerships”. the rest

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Devotional: Faith is not a refuge from reality...

Faith is not a refuge from reality. It is a demand that we face reality, with all its difficulties, opportunities, and implications. The true subject matter of religion is not our own little souls, but the Eternal God and His whole mysterious purpose, and our solemn responsibility to Him. ...Evelyn Underhill image

Final score on 'Jeopardy!': Computer 1, humans 0

Feb 17, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Note to self: Never play "Jeopardy!" with a supercomputer.

That's a useful lesson for me or any mortal who has followed the Man vs. Machine faceoff this week on the popular trivia game show, where on Wednesday the second of two exhibition matches sealed the deal: Watson, the IBM-created megabrain, officially buried his flesh-and-blood opponents, veteran "Jeopardy!" champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

Watson's winning score was $41,413 for the day ($77,147 for both games), while Jennings notched $19,200 ($24,000 overall) and Rutter reached $11,200 ($21,600 overall).

For crushing his rivals, Watson gets a total prize of $1 million, which IBM has said will go to the charities World Vision and World Community Grid. the rest

Nigerian Archbishop Okoh in Lambeth meeting with Dr Williams

by George Conger
February 17, 2011

The head of the Anglican Communion’s largest province will meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury this week at Lambeth Palace.

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria is scheduled to meet with Dr. Williams on Feb 17, and will also meet with officials from the Nigerian High Commission and Nigerian expatriates during a three day pastoral visit to the UK

A spokesman for Archbishop Okoh said this week’s visit will be his first to London since his election as primate. A trip set for December 2010 was postponed due to inclement weather. The trip will also provide an opportunity for Dr. Rowan Williams to mend fences with the Nigerian Church, which along with a majority of the African church has become estranged from Lambeth over the past three years. the rest
 (picture by Raymond Dague)

Obama Rebukes Israel at UN

February 16, 2011

The U.S. has informed Arab governments that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.

The move by the Obama administration appears calculated to avoid having to cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security council by joining others in the council in sending a strong message to Israel to stop its continued construction of new building of settlements. the rest

Hewitt: President Obama Throws Israel Overboard

In sharp reversal, U.S. agrees to rebuke Israel in Security Council

Hawaii Legislature passes civil unions bill; governor will sign it

February 17, 2011

(CNN) -- Hawaii's Senate has given final passage to a measure legalizing same-sex unions in the state, and Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said he will sign it.

The state House had already passed the bill, which "extends the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities of spouses in a marriage to partners in a civil union," according to the Legislature's website. It will take effect January 1, 2012.  the rest

Former Planned Parenthood director joins staff of Live Action

by John Jalsevac
Wed Feb 16, 2011

( – Today the pro-life group Live Action announced the addition of Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility turned pro-life advocate, to the Live Action team. She will assume the role of Chief Research Strategist.

Live Action has been prominent in the news in recent weeks, after the release of a series of videos showing Planned Parenthood staffers apparently willing to aid and abet underage sex trafficking by advising a “pimp” how to obtain abortions and birth control for his young “sex workers.” the rest

Canada: Diocese asks high court to end legal battle

February 16, 2011
Anglican Journal

The diocese of New Westminster has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to end the legal battle over church properties filed by breakaway members of four Anglican churches opposed to the blessing of same-sex unions.

The members, who are part of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), filed an application for leave to the high court on Jan. 14, two months after the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld a 2009 Supreme Court of B.C. ruling that the diocese should retain possession of the church properties worth $20 million. The courts ruled that the church properties are to be used for worship within the Anglican Church of Canada and under the jurisdiction of the bishop of the diocese. the rest

Prop. 8 delay: California court will decide if gay-marriage foes can appeal

The California Supreme Court will answer a sticky legal question: Can the opponents of gay marriage who backed Prop. 8 defend it in court? Oral arguments won't start before September.
By Elizabeth Fuller
February 16, 2011

The latest question in California’s ongoing legal battle over same-sex marriage is now in the hands of the California Supreme Court.
California’s highest court announced Wednesday it would decide if the original sponsors of Proposition 8 – which banned same-sex marriage in California in 2008, then was subsequently overturned in federal court – have the legal standing to defend the measure.

The issue arises because the state of California declined to appeal the ruling of Chief US District Judge Vaughn Walker that the initiative violated the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Prop. 8’s supporters then looked for someone else with the legal right to appeal. In the name of a deputy clerk from Imperial County and on behalf of their own organization, Protect Marriage eventually filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. the rest

Britain Inadvertently Encouraging Home-Grown Radical Islam

by Soeren Kern
February 17, 2011

A growing number of Muslim parents in Britain are sending their "problem children" to madrassas [Islamic religious schools] in Kashmir; and these students are "at high risk of radicalization," according to American diplomatic cables that were obtained and recently released by the secret-spilling website, Wikileaks. The disclosure, one of several, reveals that the challenge posed to Britain by home-grown radical Islam is far greater than previously admitted by the British government..

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron says his country's long-standing policy of multiculturalism has failed, and is actually responsible for fostering Islamist extremism. Instead of discouraging the British Muslim community from behaving in ways that "run completely counter to our values," Cameron says that a two-pronged approach is needed to neutralize the threat of radical Islam in Europe: "I believe it is time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past. So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we -- as governments and as societies -- have got to confront it, in all its forms. And second, instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity that is open to everyone." the rest

PCUSA Pastors in Talks of a New Future

Wed, Feb. 16 2011
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

Members of the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country are currently aflutter with talks of a desperate need for change for the aging and shrinking body.

A group of them – 175 to be exact – believes the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is "deathly ill" and will not survive without "drastic intervention."

"Is it time to acknowledge that traditional denominations like the PC(USA) have served in their day but now must be radically transformed?" the group of pastors, lay leaders and elders pose. the rest

Vatican: pope, Russian leader want stronger ties

The Associated Press
Thursday, February 17, 2011
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met at the Vatican on Thursday, stressing the need for better ties and the promotion of shared Christian values, the Holy See said.

"I should learn Russian," the German-born Benedict said following the half-hour private talk, although there was no indication that Benedict would go to Russia. Long-running tensions in Russia between Orthodox faithful and Catholics prevented Benedict's predecessor John Paul II from achieving his dream of a Russian pilgrimage.

The Holy See's statement sidestepped any mention of the tensions between Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in Russia, including over property issues, and Orthodox claims that the Catholics are trying to poach converts from the Orthodox's ranks. Instead the Vatican stressed the "positive contribution inter-religious dialogue can make to society." the rest

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Huge solar flare said to have disrupted China communications

February 16, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The sun has unleashed its strongest flare in four years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said Wednesday, as astronomers in southern China reported disturbances to radio communications.

The massive Class X flash -- the largest such category -- erupted Tuesday, according to the U.S. space agency.

"X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms," disturbing telecommunications and electric grids, NASA added.

The China Meteorological Administration reported a large solar flare and electromagnetic storms jammed shortwave radio communications in southern China, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. the rest

Devotional: Oh, when we are journeying...

Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot, and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as "in all points tempted like as we are," bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us. ...Alexander MacLaren
image by Richard Freeman

California University Defines Christians as Oppressors

By Todd Starnes
February 16, 2011

More than two dozen Christian students at the University of California at Davis have filed a formal complaint over a university policy that defines religious discrimination as Christians oppressing non-Christians.

The definition is listed in a document called, “The Principles of Community.” It defines “Religious/Spiritual Discrimination” as “The loss of power and privilege to those who do not practice the dominant culture’s religion. In the United States, this is institutionalized oppressions toward those who are not Christian.”

“This is radical political correctness run amok,” said David French, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. The conservative advocacy group has written a letter on behalf of more than 25 students who object to the policy and want it revised. He said it’s absurd to single out Christians as oppressors and non-Christians as the only oppressed people on campus. the rest
“This was amazing to actually enshrine in your non-discrimination statement – discrimination against Christians,” he said. “This is a symbol of the seeming impunity in which universities violate the law to establish a radical, secular-left agenda.”

ENS: Episcopal Church, China to explore ways to partner in seminary education

By Lynette Wilson
February 16, 2011

[Episcopal News Service] One of the leaders of the post-denominational Protestant churches in China recently met with the presiding bishop and others in the Episcopal Church to explore the possibility of future seminary education partnerships and exchanges, and to ask for support for an upcoming Bible exhibition.

"We came here to renew friendship with Episcopal Church and explore possibilities where we can cooperate in the future," said Elder Fu Xianwei, chairman of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, following a Feb. 9 meeting with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.

"We talked about theological education and also we're going to have a Bible ministry exhibition. The hope is that it can be supported by the presiding bishop and the Episcopal Church," he added, as translated from Mandarin Chinese by the Rev. Lin Manhong, interim dean of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, the national seminary of the China Christian Council. the rest

Scottish deerhound wins Westminster dog show

Hickory the Scottish Deerhound
(What a sweet face!-photo credit: Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

February 16, 2011

A Scottish deerhound named Hickory won best in show at the Westminster dog show, the most prestigious competition for purebred dogs in the U.S., as the show concluded its two-day run Tuesday night.

It was the first time the Scottish deerhound -- a tall, lithe, rough-coated sighthound that is similar in appearance to the more familiar Irish wolfhound -- has won best in show at Westminster and only the fourth time one has won first place in the hound group in more than 80 years of competition. story/image

Photo gallery-don't miss!

Let there be light: new Saskatoon cathedral will draw solar power from stained glass

By Jeremy Warren
Postmedia News
February 15, 2011

SASKATOON — A different kind of trinity is emerging at Saskatoon's newest cathedral, where the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon is combining art, technology and faith in a stunning and environmentally-friendly project.

The Holy Family Catholic Church, a $28.5-million cathedral under construction in Saskatoon's northeast, has solar cells embedded in the large stained glass windows that will be installed this spring.

The cathedral could be the first church in North America to use photovoltaic cells in a stained glass installation, said cathedral building committee chair Jim Nakoneshny. The University of British Columbia used the combination in a library. the rest


Catholics rethink celibacy rule

Theologians in Europe worry about waning
By Sumi Somaskanda
The Washington Times
Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shrinking parishes, a dwindling number of clergy and the taint from the Catholic Church‘s sex-abuse scandal are prompting calls in parts of Europe for church leaders to re-examine some of the institution’s basic policies.

More than 140 Catholic theologians from Germany, Austria and Switzerland this month published an open declaration to the church, urging officials to phase out the celibacy requirement for priests and implement other drastic reforms, such as ordaining women, allowing divorce and recognizing same-sex couples.

With more than 1 billion adherents, the Catholic Church has made significant gains in recent years in Asia, Africa and South America, but has been losing followers in the industrialized West, its longtime source of social, financial and political support. the rest

Growth stalls, falls for largest U.S. churches

By Richard Yeakley, Religion News Service
posted February 16, 2011

Mainline Protestant denominations in the United States continue their decades-long membership decline, while the membership in Pentecostal churches are on the rise, according to new figures compiled by the National Council of Churches.

The Roman Catholic Church (No. 1) and the Southern Baptist Convention (No. 2) are still significantly larger than all other North American denominations, but Catholics posted minimal growth of less than 1%, and Southern Baptist membership fell for a third straight year, according to the 2011 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churchespublished this week.

The figures in the 2011 yearbook, compiled by churches in 2009 and reported to the council in 2010, show that mainline Protestant churches continue the decline in memberships that began in the 1970s. The newest numbers show that the membership drop in mainline churches led to a 1% decrease in total U.S. church membership, to 145.8 million. the rest image

Federal Report Confirms 'Nuclear Family' Best for Children's Health

Tue, Feb. 15 2011
By Peter Sprigg

The outcome of state legislative elections last year ensured that same-sex “marriage” will continue to be hotly debated this year, with legislators in some states seeking to legalize it (Maryland), repeal it (New Hampshire), or amend their Constitution to prevent it (Indiana).

During such debates, Family Research Council and other pro-family groups note social science evidence showing children raised by their own mother and father, who are committed to one another in a lifelong marriage, are happier (experience better mental health), healthier (have better physical health), and more prosperous (attain higher socioeconomic status) than children raised in any other household setting. For example, the non-partisan research group Child Trends summarized the evidence this way:

“Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.” the rest image

‘Worst attack - ever’: Planned Parenthood reeling from attacks on all fronts

by Thaddeus Baklinski
Tue Feb 15, 2011

 ( - In a desperate attempt to rally pro-abortion forces to head-off proposed defunding and allegations of illegal activity at Planned Parenthood, CEO Cecile Richards sent out an email on February 14 with the subject line “the worst attack – ever.” Richards said that the “anti-choice House leadership is forcing a vote on the most dangerous legislative assault on women’s health in Planned parenthood’s 95-year history.”

“They want to shut down every Planned Parenthood health center in America,” Richards declared. the rest

"At its core, Planned Parenthood and its clinics are not safe for women, for children and for the public at large. American taxpayers should not be funding this organization that engages in potential criminal activity,” Dannenfelser said.
Planned Parenthood Advises Man With STD to Donate Blood

Orthodox church sues over temple destroyed on 9/11

February 14, 2011
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Greek Orthodox church sued the public agency that owned the World Trade Center on Monday, saying the agency reneged on a deal to rebuild a church that was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.

The church says the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey broke a 2008 promise to rebuild the St. Nicholas Church at a new location down the block from its old site. It also says the Port Authority has started excavating church property without permission as part of the new business and transportation complex at Ground Zero. the rest

Sentamu: don't force churches to conduct gay weddings

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York and the second most powerful cleric in the Church of England, has warned against forcing vicars to conduct same-sex civil partnerships as the Coalition prepares to grant full marriage rights to homosexual couples.
by Tim Ross, Social Affairs Editor
 13 Feb 2011

The Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone, is expected to announce that churches, synagogues and other religious settings will be able to host civil partnership ceremonies for the first time.

As The Daily Telegraph reported in December, the Coalition is also considering extending homosexual rights to allow full “marriage” for same-sex couples.

Currently, the term “marriage” applies only to the union of a man and a woman.

Liberal Jewish groups, Quakers and other Christian organisations have been pressing the Coalition to introduce the civil partnership reforms, and gay rights campaigners welcomed the latest news.  the rest

Britain must recover its Judeo-Christian discourse, says Nazir-Ali

No Dice, No Money, No Cheating. Are You Sure This Is Monopoly?

You can still collect $200 when you pass “Go,” but not in piles of play money.
February 15, 2011

In the new version of Monopoly, the game’s classic pastel-colored bills and the designated Banker have been banished, along with other old-fashioned elements, in favor of a computer that runs the game.

Hasbro showed a preview of the new version, called Monopoly Live, at this week’s Toy Fair in New York. It is the classic Monopoly board on the outside, with the familiar railroads like the B.& O. and the development of property. But in the center, instead of dice and Chance and Community Chest cards, an infrared tower with a speaker issues instructions, keeps track of money and makes sure players adhere to the rules. The all-knowing tower even watches over advancing the proper number of spaces. the rest image

Cohabitation: Marriage Lite or the New Concubinage?

 Alan F. H. Wisdom
Posted Frbruary 16, 2011

In ancient times, there was an option for a man who desired a regular sex partner but did not wish to marry her. He could take a low-status woman as a concubine. He could enjoy her company as long as it pleased him, and he could dismiss her at any time. The man made no promises and signed no contract; consequently, the concubine had few legal protections. Any children that she bore would have an inferior legal status.

The early Church fought long and hard against concubinage. It insisted that such a sexual relationship, without the permanent and total commitment expressed in marriage vows, was immoral and unjust. Over the course of a thousand years, concubinage retreated into the shadows of social disapproval.

In the past 40 years, it seems, concubinage has come to light again under a different name. Like ancient concubinage, contemporary cohabitation is a deliberately ambiguous relationship. The partners make no promises and have no legal obligations to one another. The arrangement has no specified duration and can be terminated at a moment's notice. Those who cohabit tend to be of lower social status. Their children, on average, do not fare as well as children born to married couples. the rest (h/t Anglican Mainstream)