Thursday, March 31, 2011

Devotional: The decision behind every decision...

The decision behind every decision must always be "Jesus is Lord! I will try to be faithful to Him as Lord in this set of circumstances." When we have difficult decisions to make and are not sure what is right, we start by conciously deciding again that we belong to Him and are called to be responsible to Him...Jesus is the norm, by which everyone and everything in life is measured. ...William P. Barker image by Surian Soosay

ACNA Congregation Settles In At New Leesburg Home

By Kara Clark Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pastor Clancy Nixon reflects on the strides the church he founded 18 years ago has made.

It started out as a small meeting in his family living room, where eight people showed up.

"Four of them were named Nixon," he says with a smile.

Then an attorney in private practice, Nixon said he was called to full-time ministry by the Lord and envisioned that his role would be in church planning.

The Church of the Holy Spirit, affiliated with the Anglican Church of North America, was born out of Truro in Fairfax and moved to Ashburn in 2000, where it remained for 10 years in different forms.

"When we had 72 people in our living room we realized it was time to move," he said. the rest

Planned Parenthood: "We're Mostly a Surgical Facility"

 by Matthew Archbold
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lila Rose and her Live Action crew have done it again. While the mainstream media have all but ignored the story I’ve listened to a lot of conversation about this on the radio and read about it on blogs. One aspect of the story doesn’t seem to me to have received its due.

When Live Action called the abortion giant a woman named Samantha answered the phone and when asked about mammograms she did something completely surprising. She told the truth.

“We don’t…um… deal with the health side of it so much…we’re mostly a surgical facility.”

Ah, finally some truth from Planned Parenthood. That is the statement that tells all if you ask me. They don’t deal with health. They are an abortion facility. That’s what they do. We’ve all known it. And Live Action got them to admit it.  the rest  image

PETA Contest Offers Free Vasectomy to [human] Winner

March 30, 2011
Associated Press

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has long advocated for dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered. Now, it's extending the campaign to humans.

The Norfolk, Va.-based group is offering a free vasectomy to the winner of its "Why should PETA neuter you?" campaign. Applicants enter the contest by getting their cat or dog spayed or neutered and submitting an essay to PETA. the rest

PETA Offers to “Neuter” Human Pet Spaying Contest Winner
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Wesley J. Smith

PETA is anti human, and believes our moral worth is no greater than that of animals–or as Ingrid Newkirk once put it, “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” Showing its misanthropic tendencies, PETA is now running a contest to see who will be offered a free vasectomy after they neuter their pet...

'Not done weeping yet,' missionary in Japan says

Mar 30, 2011 | by Tess Rivers

"Disaster" says it all.

Southern Baptist missionaries and volunteers finally distributed relief goods in Ishinomaki, Japan, this week after two weeks of attempting to gain access to the quake-stricken areas. Power outages, gas rationing, an escalating nuclear crisis and relocation of International Mission Board personnel hampered earlier attempts.

Ishinomaki -- a small city of around 120,000 people -- was devastated March 11 by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Officials estimate that more than 18,000 people died and thousands more are missing along Japan's northeastern coast.

The 11-member team spent two days distributing relief goods at multiple locations throughout the city, including an apartment complex, a nursing home and a bus station. Everywhere they went, they found grateful Japanese, eager for someone to listen to their stories. the rest

Easter ad rejected by national movie theater chain

posted March 31,2011
Christian Examiner staff report

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — An Orange County church hoping to promote its upcoming Easter services through multi-screen advertising at local theaters had its ads pulled by the company because the content included the name of Jesus.

“We were told we could promote our Easter services with a commercial that featured the date, time and place with some fun bunnies and eggs thrown in,” Pastor Mike Fabarez, senior pastor, of Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo, Calif. “But for us, Easter isn’t about springtime fun, it’s the most important day in Christian history, and we won’t water that message down. It’s unfortunate that what our country was founded on has now become ‘too controversial.’”

Fabarez said he was told by officials with NCM Media Networks that the ad, which some viewers might find offensive, violated its content policy. Among the prohibited content were topics that included such things as nudity, political messaging and gambling. The pastor said he saw nothing on the list that mentioned religion or Christianity. the rest

Study: Church Giving Begins to Rebound, but Charitable Deduction Issue Looms Large

The 3rd Annual State of the Plate survey from 1,507 churches showed giving increased last year for 43 percent of churches. But 91 percent of church leaders are concerned about proposed government changes to tax deductions for charitable giving.
WASHINGTON, March 30, 2011

Christian Newswire -- It's been a tough time financially for churches the past three years. But just as a glimmer of hope began to surface this past year, the federal government's desire to tinker with the charitable tax deduction has most church leaders concerned.

The 3rd annual "State of the Plate" constituency survey of more than 1,500 congregations showed that 43 percent of churches saw giving increase this past year (up from 36 percent last year).

When asked about the federal government's plan to modify the rules concerning charitable tax deductions, 91 percent of church leaders expressed concern that this would negatively affect giving.  the rest

Do you give at church with tax deductions in mind?

UK: Marriage rate falls to record low

By Jenny Purt, PA
Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Marriage rates in England and Wales are at their lowest since records began, new statistics show.

Just 21.3 out of every 1,000 males aged 16 plus were married in 2009, down from a rate of 22.0 in 2008, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The proportion of women aged 16 plus who were married fell from 19.9 in 2008 to 19.2 in 2009.

The rates were the lowest since calculations of rates began in 1862. the rest

Two Christians killed, churches burned: extremists respond to Florida Koran burning

In Hyderabad and Lahore, a mob of Islamic fundamentalists targeted the Christian places of worship. Desecrated several copies of the Bible. Anti-American slogans and demonstrations in different cities of Pakistan. The extremists pledge more violence, if Washington does not condemn pastor Jones to death. Bishop of Islamabad: the gesture of a "fanatic."
by Jibran Khan

 (AsiaNews) - Two believers killed, churches attacked, copies of the Bible burned: the Christian community in Pakistan is once again the victim of violence by Islamic fundamentalists, who have targeted places of worship in the country. The extremist violence was triggered by the insane act - repeatedly condemned by Christians in Pakistan and India – of the pastor Wayne Sapp, who last March 20, in Florida burned a Koran under the supervision of the evangelical preacher Terry Jones. The escalating violence has raised alarm over the fate of Asia Bibi, a symbol of the abuses committed in the name of the blasphemy law. The bishop of Islamabad / Rawalpindi defines the US pastor a "fanatic" who encourages followers to a "violent ideology", the consequences of which have an impact "on innocent Christians" across the world.

On March 25, a mob of Islamic extremists attacked a Pentecostal church in Hyderabad, killing two Christians and burning some copies of the Bible. Eyewitnesses said that the fundamentalists stormed the place of worship looking to set it on fire, but a group of believers defended the church. Security forces have fled the scene, leaving those present at the mercy of the crowd. The attackers hurled anti-Christian slogans and a feeling of anger toward the religious minority has spread. in the city The pastor of the church reports that "despite the condemnation of the burning of the Koran" the community "has come under attack because they think that we are linked to the Americans."  the rest

14 arrested in Orissa for unlawful conversion

Sins of the Father: Abortion, Birth Control and the ACLU

Share by Paul Kengor, Register correspondent
Friday, Mar 04, 2011

As someone who has the highly unusual task of researching old, declassified Soviet and Communist Party USA archives, I often get quizzical looks as to why certain things from the distant past still matter, beyond mere historical curiosity. In a sense, it all matters. Truth is truth. History is history.

Even then, I often get asked why something I’ve found in communist archives from, say, the 1920s, pertains to America right now in the 21st century. Well, indeed, past is often prologue, as what happened a century ago is hardly irrelevant to today’s political stage.

That certainly seems the case with what I’ve found on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), from its challenging of Christmas carols in public schools seven decades ago to its recent actions trying to compel Catholic hospitals to do abortions and denouncing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for opposing birth control and contraception in “health care” reform legislation. Few organizations have been as consistently radical in advancing abortion as the ACLU, to such a degree that Alan Sears and Craig Osten, authors of The ACLU vs. America, refer to “the ACLU’s crusade against the unborn child.”

How ironic that I would find the seeds of these things in communist archives or, even more directly, in the pro-communist or pro-Soviet writings of the ACLU’s founders. the rest

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dynamic new pro-life video makes case against abortion using embryology

by Rebecca Millette
March 30, 2011

( – In a brand-new, fast-paced video, the pro-life site makes the “case against abortion” based upon the development of the pre-born child.

“At what point does it become wrong to intentionally destroy a developing human being?” asks the video, going on to point out that while a startlingly high number Americans think abortion should be legal in the first trimester, far fewer agree to it in the third. “Why the discrepancy?”

“Because a 3rd trimester abortion kills a baby, and a 1st trimester abortion kills a bunch of cells,” the video suggests, than asking, “Or does it?” the rest

Only 14, Bangladeshi girl charged with adultery was lashed to death

By Farid Ahmed and Moni Basu
March 29, 2011
Shariatpur, Bangladesh

(CNN) -- Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.

Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.

Hena dropped after 70.  the rest

Calls Confirm Planned Parenthood Misleads on Offering Mammograms

by Steven Ertelt
Washington, DC

Today, Live Action released videotaped footage of calls to 30 Planned Parenthood centers nationwide in 27 different states where abortion facility staff were asked whether or not mammograms could be performed on site. Every one of the Planned Parenthood centers admitted they could not do mammograms. Every Planned Parenthood, without exception, tells the women calling that they will have to go elsewhere for a mammogram, and many clinics admit that no Planned Parenthood clinics provide this breast cancer screening procedure.

“We don’t provide those services whatsoever,” admits a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona while a staffer at Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, Kansas tells a caller, “We actually don’t have a, um, mammogram machine, at our clinics.”

Live Action president Lila Rose says the new recordings further confirm Planned Parenthood’s corruption.

“Planned Parenthood is first and foremost an abortion business, but Planned Parenthood and its allies will say almost anything to try and cover up that fact and preserve its taxpayer funding,” she told “It’s not surprising that an organization found concealing statutory rape and helping child sex traffickers would misrepresent its own services so brazenly, playing on women’s fears in order to protect their tax dollars.”

Full Story

Muslim Jihad in Christian Ethiopia

by Raymond Ibrahim
 Mar 28, 2011

Not only does last week’s jihadist rampage against Ethiopia’s Christians highlight the travails Christians encounter wherever Islam has a sizable population, but it offers several insights, including some which should concern faraway, secular nations with Muslim minorities. According to Fox News:

Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Western Ethiopia after Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes. At least one Christian has been killed, many more have been injured and anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 have been displaced in the attacks that began March 2 after a Christian in the community of Asendabo was accused of desecrating the Koran. the rest

Support for 'gay' rights rising among Catholics

Charlie Butts

A new study shows that Roman Catholics are more supportive of homosexual special rights than are the general public and other Christians.

The survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, addressed such topics as legal recognition, same-gender "marriage," and suicide rates. Dr. Robert Jones, the Institute's CEO, says the study is fairly comprehensive. the rest
"Nearly three-quarters of Catholics favor laws that would protect gay and lesbian people against discrimination in the workplace," says Jones. "Sixty-three percent of Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian people to serve openly in the military -- and six in 10 Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children."

Company Uses Cells From Abortions to Test Artificial Flavors

by Steven Ertelt
 Washington, DC

 A pro-life group that monitors the use of cells from babies victimized by abortions is today highlighting a biotech company, Senomyx, which it says produces artificial flavor enhancers using aborted fetal cell lines to test their products.

The group Children of God for Life is calling for a public boycott of major food companies partnering with Senomyx.

Debi Vinnedge, the director of the pro-life organization, tells today that, in 2010, her group wrote to Senomyx CEO Kent Snyder and pointed out that moral options for testing their food additives could and should be used. But when Senomyx ignored her letter, the group wrote to the companies Senomyx listed on their website as “collaborators” warning them of public backlash and threatened boycott. They included food giants PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup, Solae and Nestlé. the rest

“What they don’t tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 – human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors,” she said. “They could have easily chosen animal, insect, or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors.”

Germany: Incarcerated parents' treatment 'appalling'

Bill Bumpas

Some German parents continue to be jailed for protecting their children's Christian beliefs.

Five sets of parents in a German town have been punished for refusing to allow their elementary school-aged children to participate in school sex-education programs (see earlier article). "[The children are] being put through an interactive sex-education play which teaches them that if something feels good, then you should do it," explains Roger Kiska with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF).

According to Kiska, one father has just been released from prison, two other parents are currently jailed, and two more mothers are waiting to be jailed.

"One is pregnant, so she's got an exemption until she gives birth; [and] the other just had a baby, so they're allowing her some time to bond with her child before she goes to prison for a longer sentence," he says. "It's absolutely appalling what these parents are going through." the rest

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Priest accused of ‘anti-gay indoctrination’ for teaching Catholic view of homosexuality in class

by Rebecca Millette
Tue Mar 29, 2011

 ( – A Catholic priest has come under fire from homosexual activists for “anti-gay indoctrination” after he taught his students what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality in his high school course on gay “marriage.”

Equality Matters, a media and communications group for homosexual rights, on their website accused the chaplain of Indianapolis’ Cardinal Ritter High School of “spouting a stream of homophobic and offensive falsehoods about same-sex marriage and gay people in general to a classroom full of students.”

Fr. John Hollowell, chaplain and teacher at the private Catholic high school, had posted the videos of the lectures on YouTube and his personal blog last week. the rest

UK: Children as young as four to be educated in atheism

By Daily Mail Reporter
29th March 2011

School pupils aged just four are to be taught atheism in a move schools hope will equip them to be 'citizens of the world'.

Education bosses in Blackburn with Darwen, Lancashire, have radically restructured the RE syllabus to accommodate non-religious beliefs.

Youngsters will continue to learn about the six major faiths - Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism - but they will also be taught humanism, the belief that there is no God or Gods, and that moral values are founded on human nature and experience. the rest

Archbishop calls for prayer in response to jihadist attacks in Nigeria

March 29, 2011
by Georg Conger

Tragedy was narrowly averted this week in the city of Jos in Nigeria’s Plateau State, after bomb bombs destined for two packed churches exploded prematurely, killing the would-be assassins.

On March 20 two men riding a motorcycle approached the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Jos. A large crowd was gathered outside the church as the morning English language service was ending and worshippers were waiting to enter the building for a Hausa service. A bomb carried by the motorcyclists detonated prematurely, killing the two men. A third motorcyclist was killed by a mob after the explosion, accused of being a scout for the two dead killers.

A second bomb attack at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church in Jos on Sunday was foiled after a bomb planted by two men riding a motorcyclist failed to explode. The two would-be bombers escaped and are at large. the rest

Churches bombed and Christians attacked as violence spreads in Nigeria

'Facebook Depression' Affecting Teens, Report Says

Tue, Mar. 29 2011
 By Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter

Youths who spend a lot of time on social media sites are at risk of "Facebook depression," a group of doctors say.

Though the symptoms and the resulting harmful behavior may be similar to "offline depression," the American Academy of Pediatrics has proposed Facebook depression as a new phenomenon.

The AAP issued a new clinical report, “The Impact of Social Media Use on Children, Adolescents and Families,” published online on Monday, detailing both the negative and positive effects of social media use on youth and families.

The report points out that the number of preadolescents and adolescents using such sites as Facebook and MySpace has increased dramatically during the last five years. the rest  image by Julien Lazelli

Biblical scholars excited by ‘books’ discovered in Jordanian cave

Biblical scholars believe a collection of ancient texts discovered in a Jordanian cave may shed new light on Christianity.
by Amy Shank
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If the finding is found to be authentic, it would be constitute the earliest known Christian writings.

The text is in the form of codices written onto credit-card-sized sheets of lead and bound with lead rings.

The fragments of text that have been translated so far and the images and symbols on the “books” indicate that they are Christian.

Many of the 70 books are sealed, leading to speculation that they contain secret writings. the rest

Jordan battles to regain 'priceless' Christian relics
They could be the earliest Christian writing in existence, surviving almost 2,000 years in a Jordanian cave. They could, just possibly, change our understanding of how Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and how Christianity was born...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Devotional: Thou, the Lord, lifted up on the cross...

Lord, never was a magnet so powerful to draw to itself the hard steel, as Thou, the Lord, lifted up on the cross, art powerful to draw unto Thee the hearts of men. 0 beloved Lord, draw me through joy and sorrow, from all that is in the world to Thee and to Thy cross; form me, and shape me into Thine image here below, that I may enjoy Thee eternally in the glory whither Thou art gone. ...Henry Suso image by Rennet Stowe

Time-Lapse Auroras Over Norway

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Larger size here-beautiful!

Pro-life march in Spain draws over 150,000 participants

by Rebecca Millette
Mon Mar 28, 2011

 ( – An estimated 150,000-plus pro-lifers gathered to celebrate life and protest a new abortion law in Madrid on Sunday. Hundreds of others marched in over 80 Spanish cities, including Barcelona, Oviedo, Zaragoza and Las Palmas, and internationally on March 25 as part of recognition for the International Day of the Unborn Child.

From little children to teens to grandparents, families walked in the streets in support of a Spanish “manifesto” that calls abortion “a terrible hypocrisy against women” and a “terrible injustice to the children.” Participants were asked to sign the petition demanding that Spanish laws protect life “at all times and circumstances” and seek to offer true aid to women with unplanned pregnancies. the rest

Marriage and Procreation: The Intrinsic Connection

by Patrick Lee, Robert P. George and Gerard V. Bradley
March 28, 2011

There is an intrinsic link between marriage and procreation, but this does not mean that infertile couples cannot really be married.

Activists seeking to redefine marriage typically claim that it is unfair—even arbitrary—for law and public policy to continue to honor the historic understanding of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. Believing that marriage has a degree of malleability that our legal tradition has heretofore failed to recognize, they maintain that “excluding” same-sex partners from marriage violates a moral right possessed by every individual to marry a person of one’s choice (with that person’s consent). Defenders of conjugal marriage reply (in part) that marriage is not malleable in the ways that their opponents suppose. It is by nature oriented to procreation, and so defining marriage as a male-female union is not unjust discrimination. On a sound understanding of marriage, they argue, it is no more unfair to “exclude” same-sex partners from marriage than it is to “exclude” three (or more) polyamorous sexual partners from marriage. Indeed, it is not accurately characterized as exclusion at all.

Those who support defining marriage in such a way as to include same-sex partnerships deny that marriage has any intrinsic relation to procreation. When striking down Proposition 8 (which re-established conjugal marriage under California law after it had been invalidated by that state’s supreme court), Judge Vaughn Walker curtly argued: “Never has the state inquired into procreative capacity or intent before issuing a marriage license; indeed, a marriage license is more than a license to have procreative sexual intercourse.” The same argument was advanced earlier by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall in her majority opinion in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the ruling that struck down Massachusetts’ conjugal marriage law; replying to the contention that marriage’s primary purpose is procreation, Marshall confidently replied that:

This is incorrect…. General Laws c. 207 contains no requirement that the applicants for a marriage license attest to their ability or intention to conceive children by coitus. Fertility is not a condition of marriage, nor is it grounds for divorce. People who have never consummated their marriage, and never plan to, may be and stay married.

But this argument—that since infertile couples can marry, marriage is not oriented to procreation—is radically unsound. the rest

Christian in Bangladesh goes to prison for evangelism

by ASSIST News Service
Monday, March 28, 2011
Compass Direct News

(CDN) is reporting that a Christian in Bangladesh has been sentenced to one year in prison for "creating chaos" by selling and distributing Christian books and other literature near a major Muslim gathering north of this capital city.

CDN says that a magistrate court in Gazipur district handed down the sentence to Biplob Marandi, a 25-year-old tribal Christian, on February 28 after he was arrested near the massive Bishwa Ijtema (World Muslim Congregation) on the banks of the Turag River near Tongi town on January 21.

"Duty police found Marandi creating chaos as he was propagating his religion, Christianity, by distributing the tracts as a mobile court on January 21 was patrolling near the field of the Bishwa Ijtema," the verdict reads. the rest

Christian Political Dissident Receives 10-Year Prison Sentence in China

A. S. Haley: The Soft Tyranny of Low Expectations

Friday, March 25, 2011

ECUSA's House of Bishops is gathered for its annual spring meeting at the Kanuga center near Hendersonville, in North Carolina. The spring meetings have in the past been characterized by an atmosphere of retreat and contemplation, with a goal of increasing the ability of the group to work together -- while separated from the turmoil of Church politics (what an oxymoron!). As one participant expresses it:

I remember the first Spring meeting we had there after the melt-down General Convention in Phoenix when Ed Browning decided we needed to meet more regularly as bishops, to work on our common life, and to find venues in which to pray and talk and relate to one another, free from the highly-charged “political” atmosphere of General Convention or even the traditional Fall meetings of the House.

I think these meetings have served us well and one doesn’t [hear] the “d” word –”dysfunctional” — thrown around quite so much any more describing the House of Bishops. These Spring meetings used to have more of a ‘retreat’ atmosphere which I always appreciated. I think some of that has gone by the wayside over the years, but the conference/retreat center setting of Kanuga still lends itself to a different feeling for the meeting.

Given the collegial atmosphere and expectations, therefore, it comes as a bit of a shock to learn that the leadership of ECUSA has arranged a slightly different agenda for the 2011 spring meeting of the House of Bishops. That agenda includes an indoctrination of the attendees into what President Ronald Reagan once memorably called "the soft tyranny of low expectations" (and which George W. Bush changed into "the soft bigotry of low expectations"). the rest

And what better subject for the "teachers" than the newly created metropolitan authority of the Presiding Bishop herself? She begins the process with an exhortation to the assembled bishops to "show up in the various challenging venues of today's world" (how postmodern can we make this?). Having thereby subtly established her authority to issue pastoral directives to her colleagues, she hands the real task of instruction over to those who were the architects of the changes to Title IV of the national Canons -- the members of the (Second) Title IV Task Force. The constitutionality of their changes has been called into serious question, both on this blog and on others deeply concerned with Episcopal Church polity. It is a bit disconcerting, but nevertheless entirely within the character of the current administration, to have the assembled bishops hear only from members of the Title IV Task Force, who continue to maintain -- in the face of all historical and logical evidence -- that they are right and every other canon law expert is just wrong.

UK: Manchester Cathedral to host tarot card readers and healers at 'new age' festival

Yakub Qureshi
March 28, 2011

Manchester Cathedral is to host a ‘new age’ festival featuring tarot card readers, crystal healers and ‘dream interpretation’.

Local Anglican leaders have agreed to throw open the doors of the historic cathedral in a bid to embrace alternative forms of Christianity.

Fortune tellers, meditation experts and traditional healers will fill the pews during the day-long festival in May. The Bishop of Manchester, Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said he wanted to celebrate ‘all forms of spirituality’. the rest image

Church of England row as cathedral opens doors to tarot card readers and crystal healers in 'new age' festival
...But Bishop Nigel insisted the unconventional activities due to take place in Manchester Cathedral were not incompatible with Christian belief.
He said: 'The event is a chance to discover and explore old and new Christian spiritual traditions from living in a community to praying with icons, from healing to bead-making, from Franciscan spirituality to contemporary music and movement.
'Practitioners from all over the country will be on hand to offer their experience of how God speaks to us today through the cultural language and practices so common in mind, body, spirit fairs.'...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

London marchers protest massive spending cuts in Britain

Tens of thousands of demonstrators throng the streets of London to protest $130 billion in spending cuts the Conservative-led government says are needed to tame a runaway deficit. It was one of the biggest demonstrations since rallies in 2003 against the Iraq war.
By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
March 26, 2011

 Reporting from London— Tens of thousands of demonstrators whistled, chanted, drummed and marched their way through the heart of London on Saturday to protest massive government spending cuts that threaten to leave almost no part of British society untouched.

It was one of the biggest public demonstrations in Britain since 2003, when antiwar rallies were held across the country before the invasion of Iraq. Organizers said up to 250,000 people participated in the march, whose carnival-like atmosphere was briefly marred by black-clad anarchists who smashed a few shop windows, flung paint bombs and attacked luxury icons such as the Ritz Hotel.

The protesters gathered here from all corners of Britain to express their outrage over a whopping $130 billion in cutbacks that the government insists are necessary to tame a runaway budget deficit. The retrenchment is expected to result in a radical shakeup of bedrock social services such as welfare and healthcare and in the elimination of nearly half a million public-sector jobs. the rest

Stink bug population spreading across USA

By Doyle Rice
posted March 26, 2011

They're here.

Stink bugs, the smelly scourge of the mid-Atlantic, are hitch-hiking and gliding their way across the country. Officially known as the brown marmorated stink bug, sightings of the pest have been reported in 33 states, an increase of eight states since last fall.

"I would say people now regard them as an out-of-control pest," says Kim Hoelmer, a research entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Newark, Del.

TELL US: Your experience with the smelly pests
The National Pest Management Association warns homeowners this week that the bugs' growing populations are likely to make infestations significantly worse this year. "This season's stink bug population will be larger than in the past," says Jim Fredericks, director of technical services for NPMA. the rest image

Thousands of Christians Displaced in Ethiopia After Muslim Extremists Torch Churches, Homes

By Diane Macedo
March 24, 2011

Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Western Ethiopia after Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes.

At least one Christian has been killed, many more have been injured and anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 have been displaced in the attacks that began March 2 after a Christian in the community of Asendabo was accused of desecrating the Koran.

The violence escalated to the point that federal police forces sent to the area two weeks ago were initially overwhelmed by the mobs. Government spokesman Shimelis Kemal told Voice of America police reinforcements had since restored order and 130 suspects had been arrested and charged with instigating religious hatred and violence. the rest

PETA: Don't call animals 'it' in the Bible

By Eric Marrapodi
CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is calling for a more animal-friendly update to the Bible.

The group is asking translators of the New International Version (NIV) to remove what it calls "speciesist" language and refer to animals as "he" or "she" instead of "it."

The NIV is a popular translation of the Christian Bible. An updated translation was released this month. The translators said 95% of the 1984 translation remains the same. But the committee of scholars made a move to be more gender-inclusive in their translation into English from the original Hebrew and Greek texts...

....PETA is hoping the move toward greater gender inclusiveness will continue toward animals as well.

“When the Bible moves toward inclusively in one area ... it wasn’t much of a stretch to suggest they move toward inclusively in this area," Bruce Friedrich, PETA's vice president for policy, told CNN.

Friedrich, a practicing Roman Catholic, said, "Language matters. Calling an animal 'it' denies them something. They are beloved by God. They glorify God." the rest image by Bradley Gordon

Animal Rights Activism Would Harm Disabled Veterans
Animal rights ideology states that there should be no domesticated animals of any kind and no human utilitarian uses of animals of any sort. This would cause great human harm, which animal rights/liberation theorists try to downplay so as to not lose any chance of suading the public to their misguided cause. I mean, when most of your advocacy is emotion-based–photos of injured dogs or screaming monkeys–you can’t focus on the suffering and harm that would be caused to us if animal rights were the law of the land...

California: Christ Church (ACNA) begins anew -- again -- in own space

 Friday, March 25, 2011

Christ Church is welcoming a new building for a new era.

The Fallbrook congregation, formerly known as St. John's Anglican Church, has been conducting services at Living Waters Christian Fellowship Assembly of God Church for the past two years. The church began sharing space with Living Waters after legal battles over property rights and organizational authority allowed the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego to take over the former church property (which is now operating as St. John's Episcopal).

The members at St. John's Anglican had previously voted to secede from the Episcopal Church, which is the North American branch of the global Anglican Union, and reaffiliated with a more theologically traditional conservative archdiocese in Africa. Disagreements regarding homosexuality and biblical authority are at the core of an ongoing dispute between the Episcopal Church and hundreds of its congregations, as well as Anglican bishops in other countries.  the rest

Ohio: Anglicans forming plans for new church in Canton

Friday, March 25, 2011


The God whom earth and sea and sky
Adore and laud and magnify,
Whose might they own, Whose praise they tell,
In Mary's womb vouchsafed to dwell.

How blessed that Mother, in whose shrine
The world's Creator, Lord divine,
Whose hand contains the earth and sky,
Once deigned, as in His ark, to lie.

Blessed in the message Gabriel brought,
Blessed by the work the Spirit wrought;
From whom the great Desire of earth
Took human flesh and human birth.

O Lord, the Virgin-born, to Thee
Eternal praise and glory be,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost for evermore.
... For­tu­na­tus

Britain is no longer a free society, says Bishop Nazir-Ali

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has warned that Britain is no longer a free society where conscience is respected.
by Karen Peake
Friday, March 25, 2011

Speaking at the Christian Broadcasting Council’s annual conference, the bishop warned that “encroaching totalitarianism” was threatening respect for conscience.

“What we are facing is not a free society, but an ideology that is seeking to impose its views on us,” he said.

“We are making the assumption that conscience will be respected because we are living in a free society.

“But we are not in that society anymore.” the rest image

The bishop said that the secular worldview was undermining absolute respect for human life and amounted to an attack on the unborn child, the ill, the disabled, the elderly and the family.

Albert Mohler: Must a Pastor Be Married? The New York Times Asks the Question

The New York Times has asked the question. How would you answer it?
Friday, March 25, 2011

Is marriage a requirement for pastoral ministry? That question is not new, having been a major focus of debates at crucial points in church history, but it is being asked once again.

Erik Eckholm of The New York Times asked the question in a news story that put a focus on Mark Almlie, a single seminary graduate who has been looking for a pastorate. As Eckholm reports, Almlie, “despite a sterling education and years of experience, has faced an obstacle that does not exist in most other professions: He is a single pastor, in a field where those doing the hiring overwhelmingly prefer married people and, especially, married men with children.”

Mr. Almlie calls this unfair discrimination, and he suggested that the motive behind this discrimination comes down to what Eckholm described as “irrational fears” that an unmarried pastor would be hampered in counseling, might be susceptible to sexual advances, or “might be gay.” In Almlie’s words, “Prejudice against single pastors abounds.” the rest

Title IV and The Constitution: Dioceses’ Exclusive Authority for Clergy Discipline

The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
By C. Alan Runyan and Mark McCall

In our previous papers we have shown that the new Title IV is unconstitutional in two key respects: it usurps the exclusive constitutional authority given to dioceses for the trial of priests and deacons and it gives the Presiding Bishop unprecedented and unconstitutional authority over diocesan bishops. These conclusions continue to be disputed, both publicly and privately, by those primarily responsible for drafting the revised Title IV even as these issues are under review by others throughout the church. Given the purposes of our previous papers, we have presented only the highlights of the extensive historical analysis that supports our conclusions. In light of the continued defense of the constitutionality of these revisions, however, we think it is important to present the full analysis. We begin with this review of the historical background of Article IX of the Constitution, the article that commits clergy discipline to the exclusive authority of the dioceses. We submit that this review demonstrates conclusively that Title IV as enacted is unconstitutional.

the rest

Deposed CNY Episcopal priest receives probable 'life sentence'

March 25, 2011

MONTROSE - An 84-year-old deposed Episcopal priest will spend 4½ years behind bars for sexually assaulting two teenage boys more than a decade ago in his Susquehanna County home.

The sentence delivered Thursday to Ralph Johnson of Gibson Twp. is likely a "death sentence," said his attorney, John Petorak, after the hearing.

In November, Mr. Johnson pleaded guilty in Susquehanna County Court to two felony counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a minor. Mr. Johnson will serve two concurrent 4½-to-18-year sentences in a state prison.

District Attorney Jason Legg agreed to waive the five-year mandatory minimum sentences in each case but asked the court to fashion a jail term in the aggravated range. Given the fact that there were multiple victims, an aggravated sentence would "still be lenient," he said.
the rest

Mr. Johnson was deposed in 2006 by Bishop Gladstone "Skip" Adams of the Central New York Episcopal Diocese after similar allegations of inappropriate conduct surfaced while Mr. Johnson was serving at a parish in Owego, N.Y.

Bishop Adams said in March 2010 that no victim ever came forward at that time to verify the allegations, but he felt the information was credible enough to merit Mr. Johnson's discipline.

While ordained, Mr. Johnson served in parishes in Buckingham, part of a Philadelphia area diocese; as well as at the New York churches of St. Paul's, Owego; Zion Church, Windsor; and St. Ann's, Afton.

Former Tier priest sentenced for sex crimes
"Justice has finally come to the victims," the Rev. David G. Bollinger said Thursday. Bollinger retired in 2009 after serving at St. Paul's in Owego from 1985 to 2005.

"The victims were courageous in coming forward in this case," he said.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Christian woman lawyer told she cannot represent people before Malaysia’s Islamic courts

The lawyer will appeal to a higher court after an initial rejection of her application for a permit to practice before Shari’a courts. Malaysia has a dual, secular-religious, legal system. 03/22/2011

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A Christian woman lawyer in Malaysia was unsuccessful in her bid to obtain a permit to practice law before Shari’a courts. Victoria Jayaseele Martin said she wanted to represent non-Muslims. Malaysia has a dual legal system, a secular system for non-Muslim Malaysians and a religious one for Muslims, who constitute the country’s majority.

Ms Jayaseele Martin objected to a decision by a religious council to bar non-Muslim lawyers from Shari’a courts, but a judge in Kuala Lumpur rejected her claim. She said however that she would appeal to a higher court to argue that the ruling against her was unconstitutional.

Victoria Jayaseele Martin’s lawyer, Ranjit Singh, said that it is hard to find Muslim lawyers willing to represent non-Muslims before Islamic counts because they usually do not like to take cases that might run counter to their faith. the rest

Forced Into Medicare

A federal judge tells seniors to take it or lose Social Security.

MARCH 24, 2011

This week marks the first anniversary of ObamaCare, and if you are wondering where that coercive law is headed, we'd point to a case in federal court. That's where Judge Rosemary Collyer has ruled that Americans have a legal obligation to accept subpar government health benefits.

It remains a remarkable fact that America obliges most citizens over the age of 65 to take that rickety government health plan known as Medicare. Judging by today's growing number of health-savings options (HSAs, medical FSAs), some Americans would prefer to maintain private coverage upon retirement, rather than be compelled into second-rate Medicare. Yet the idea of patient choice offends many in government, and in 1993 the Clinton Administration promulgated so-called POMS rules that say seniors who withdraw from Medicare Part A (which covers hospital and outpatient services) must forfeit their Social Security benefits.

Several senior citizens in 2008 challenged the government, suing to be allowed to opt out of Medicare without losing Social Security. The plaintiffs paid their Medicare taxes through their working lives and are not asking for that money back. They simply want to use their private savings to contract for health services they believe to be superior to a government program that imposes price controls and rations care. They also dutifully contributed to Social Security and—fair enough—prefer to keep those benefits.

As recently as the fall of 2009, Judge Collyer provided support for the plaintiffs. She rejected the Obama Administration's argument that the plaintiffs were lucky to get Medicare and therefore had suffered no "injury" and lacked standing. She noted the Clinton POMS are simply part of a government handbook and never went through a formal rule-making. She also refused the Administration's request to dismiss the suit, noting that "neither the statute nor the regulation specifies that Plaintiffs must withdraw from Social Security and repay retirement benefits in order to withdraw from Medicare."

Yet in a stunning reversal, Judge Collyer last week revisited her decision and dismissed the case. In direct contravention to her prior ruling, the judge said the Medicare statute does—with a little creative reading—contain a requirement that Social Security recipients take government health care. The Medicare statute provides that only individuals who are "entitled" to Social Security are "entitled" to Medicare. Therefore, argues the judge, "The only way to avoid entitlement to Medicare Part A at age 65 is to forego the source of that entitlement, i.e., Social Security Retirement benefits." the rest

Large quake hits Myanmar near northern Thailand

March 24, 2011.
By Panumet Tanraksa

CHIANG MAI, Thailand (Reuters) – A large 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Myanmar near the border with northern Thailand on Thursday, killing one woman, police and witnesses said.

Witnesses said the tremors were felt in Bangkok, central Myanmar and as far away as the Vietnam capital of Hanoi where people were evacuated from tall buildings.

Police said a 53-year-old woman in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, had been killed when one wall of her house collapsed. Hospital officials said there were no other deaths or injuries reported. the rest

First pictures emerge of the Fukushima Fifty

By Matt Blake and Richard Shears
24th March 2011

The darkness is broken only by the flashing torchlight of the heroes who stayed behind.

These first images of inside the stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant reveal the terrifying conditions under which the brave men work to save their nation from full nuclear meltdown.

The Fukushima Fifty - an anonymous band of lower and mid-level managers - have battled around the clock to cool overheating reactors and spent fuel rods since the disaster on March 11.

the rest-pictures

US Bishop: How long will pro-abort politicians be able to receive Communion

by John-Henry Westen
Wed Mar 23, 2011

 ( - “One must honestly ask, how many times and years may a Catholic politician vote for the so called right to abortion, - “murder” in the words of John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (58), and still be able to receive Holy Communion?” The remark came as part of a keynote address delivered by Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo on March 18.

“The continual reception of Holy Communion by those who so visibly contradict and promote a grave evil, even more than simply dissent, only creates grave scandal, undermines the teaching and governing authority of the Church and can be interpreted by the faithful as indifference to the teaching of Christ and the Church on the part of those who have the responsibility to govern,” Bishop Aquila told over 150 participants at the 10th Annual Symposium on the Spirituality and Identity of the Diocesan Priest in Philadelphia, PA. the rest

Christians face trial for blasphemy in Iran

Five Christians are to stand trial in a lower court in Iran charged with blasphemy.
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pastor Behrouz Sadegh-Khandjani, Mehdi Furutan, Mohammad Beliad, Parviz Khalaj and Nazly Beliad are due to appear before the court in a fortnight’s time, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

They were first arrested in June last year on charges of apostasy, holding political meetings, and committing blasphemy and crimes against the Islamic Order.

The Revolutionary Court in Shiraz found the five men guilty of crimes against the Islamic Order and sentenced them to one year’s imprisonment. the rest

In quake-torn Japan, a baptism is celebrated

Mar 22, 2011
 by Susie Rain

TOKYO (BP)--Excitement and happiness fill the air. Smiles and laughter abound and, for some, tears of joy.

One week after the onset of Japan's triple disaster, everyone is ready for something to celebrate. For a small group of Japanese Christians, it was a double baptism.

When Shinichi Saito bobs up out of the water, everyone breaks out in applause. The new believer immediately reaches out to missionary Mark Busby with a radiating smile. It's hard to tell who is happier -- Busby or Shinichi Saito. the rest-lovely!

BBC: Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

22 March 2011
By Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News, Dallas

A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers.

The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.

The team's mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one.

The result, reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, indicates that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries. the rest
The team took census data stretching back as far as a century from countries in which the census queried religious affiliation: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

More U.S. colleges adding Muslim chaplains

By Matthew Daneman, USA TODAY
posted March 24, 2011

ITHACA, N.Y. — When Jainal Bhuiyan attended Cornell University, he and his fellow Muslim students were mentored and led in religious prayers by a collection of Muslim professors, graduate students and staff.

"That was our network that filled the void," says Bhuiyan, 28, and now senior vice president at the New York investment bank Rodman & Renshaw.

Cornell soon could join the growing ranks of universities with full-time Muslim chaplains working alongside the Christian and Jewish chaplains already common on college campuses. the rest

The Most Islamic Community in Europe

by Soeren Kern
March 24, 2011

Leicester, an industrial city in central England, is home to the most conservative Islamic population anywhere in Europe, according to American diplomatic cables that were obtained and recently released by the website, Wikileaks. Leicester is also on track to become the first majority non-white city in British history.

The politically incorrect observation was made by a senior US State Department official who visited the city as part of an effort to engage Muslim communities in Europe. It reflects how Leicester's long-ballyhooed experiment with multiculturalism is being challenged by Muslim separatism and assertiveness.

A leaked diplomatic cable recounts the October 2007 visit of Farah Pandith, the US State Department's Senior Advisor for Muslim Engagement, to Leicester, a mid-sized city some 70 minutes north of London. The stated purpose of the visit was for the US government to find ways to help Britain "update and improve" its approach to stopping "home-grown" Islamic extremists. The document says Pandith found the lack of integration of the Muslim community in Leicester to be "striking."

The cable says, among other observations, Pandith was shocked to find "girls as young as four years old were completely covered." The document continues: "At a local book store, texts… seemed designed to segregate Muslims from their wider community, urging women to cover themselves and remain in their homes, playing up the differences between Islam and other religions, seeking to isolate Muslims from community, and feeding hate of Jews to the young."  the rest

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?

Women of a liberated generation wrestle with their eager-to-grow-up daughters—and their own pasts.
MARCH 19, 2011

In the pale-turquoise ladies' room, they congregate in front of the mirror, re-applying mascara and lip gloss, brushing their hair, straightening panty hose and gossiping: This one is "skanky," that one is "really cute," and so forth. Dressed in minidresses, perilously high heels, and glittery, dangling earrings, their eyes heavily shadowed in black-pearl and jade, they look like a flock of tropical birds. A few minutes later, they return to the dance floor, where they shake everything they've got under the party lights.

But for the most part, there isn't all that much to shake. This particular group of party-goers consists of 12- and 13-year-old girls. Along with their male counterparts, they are celebrating the bat mitzvah of a classmate in a cushy East Coast suburb.

In a few years, their attention will turn to the annual ritual of shopping for a prom dress, and by then their fashion tastes will have advanced still more. Having done this now for two years with my own daughter, I continue to be amazed by the plunging necklines, built-in push-up bras, spangles, feathers, slits and peek-a-boos. And try finding a pair of sufficiently "prommish" shoes designed with less than a 2-inch heel.

All of which brings me to a question: Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this—like prostitutes, if we're being honest with ourselves—but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards? the rest
But it's easy for parents to slip into denial. We wouldn't dream of dropping our daughters off at college and saying: "Study hard and floss every night, honey—and for heaven's sake, get laid!" But that's essentially what we're saying by allowing them to dress the way they do while they're still living under our own roofs.

Two Christians Killed Outside Church in Pakistan

Muslim youths kill two, wound two others after dispute over teasing of Christian women.
By Compass Direct News
Tue, Mar. 22 2011

KARACHI, Pakistan – Two Christians were gunned down and two others are in a serious condition with bullet wounds after Muslim youths attacked them outside a church building in Hyderabad last night, witnesses said.

Residents of Hurr Camp, a colony of working-class Christians in Hyderabad in Sindh Province, were reportedly celebrating the 30th anniversary of their Salvation Army church when a group of Muslim youths gathered outside the building and started playing music loudly on their cell phones. They also started teasing Christian women as they arrived for the celebration, according to reports.

Christians Younis Masih, 47, Siddique Masih, 45, Jameel Masih, 22, and a 20-year-old identified as Waseem came out of the church building to stop the Muslim youths from teasing the Christian women, telling them to respect the sanctity of the church. A verbal clash ensued, after which the Muslim youths left, only to return with handguns.

Witnesses told Compass by phone that the Muslim youths opened fire on the Christians, killing Younis Masih and Jameel Masih instantly, and seriously injuring Siddique Masih and Waseem. The injured men have been transferred to a hospital in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. the rest

ObamaCare and Carey's Heart

My daughter probably wouldn't have survived in a system where bureaucrats stifle innovation and ration care.
MARCH 23, 2011

Today is the first anniversary of the greatest single assault on our freedom in my lifetime: the signing of ObamaCare. As we consider what this law may do to our country, I can't help but reflect on a medical miracle made possible by the American health-care system. It's one that holds special meaning for me.

Some years ago, a little girl was born with a serious heart defect: Her aorta and pulmonary artery were reversed. Without immediate intervention, she would not have survived.

The infant was rushed to another hospital where a surgeon performed a procedure at 1 a.m. that saved her life. Eight months later, when her heart was the size of a small plum, an incredibly dedicated and skilled team of medical professionals surgically reconstructed it. Twenty-seven years later, the young woman is now a nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit where she is studying to become a nurse practitioner.

She wasn't saved by a bureaucrat, and no government mandate forced her parents to purchase the coverage that saved her. Instead, her care was provided under a run-of-the-mill plan available to every employee of an Oshkosh, Wis., plastics plant.

If you haven't guessed, this story touches my heart because the girl is my daughter, Carey. And my wife and I are incredibly thankful that we had the freedom to seek out the most advanced surgical technique. The procedure that saved her, and has given her a chance at a full life, was available because America has a free-market system that has advanced medicine at a phenomenal pace. the rest

Failing to Protect Our Own in America's Nursing Homes

"Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members." ...Pearl S. Buck
Ken Connor
posted March 23, 2011

Sadly, however, that the same pains are not taken to protect a class of individuals that is just as weak, vulnerable, and helpless as children. According to a recent report issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 90% of nursing homes employ at least one ex-convict. The very same people who go out of their way to ensure that their children are safe and protected while at daycare may have a grandparent in a nursing home who is suffering at the hands of poorly qualified, sometimes criminally-abusive staff members.

Why is this happening? Why would those in the business of caring for America's elderly turn a blind eye to such behavior? As with so many other instances of reprehensible human conduct, the culprit lurking behind the curtain is Greed. Because the largest expense of a nursing home's budget is "labor," corporate executives at these companies have learned that one surefire way to increase the profitability of their homes is to reduce costs by cutting back on staff and hiring individuals who are willing to accept lower wages. The end result? Profits up! Patient welfare down, forgotten, ignored, and suffering.

Undoubtedly, most Americans with family members in nursing homes have no idea that this is happening, and truly believe that their loved ones are being treated well. They have no idea that behind the reassuring advertisements and sophisticated marketing are profit-driven enterprises who often care more about the bottom line than they do about the welfare of seniors. They are unaware that these business often take advantage of programs like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which incentivizes the hiring of certain "target groups," including convicted felons. By hiring hard to emply ex-cons, nursing home operators get a "two-fer": tax credits that improve the bottom line, and lower paid employees (which produces the same result).

One possible reason for such widespread ignorance is that, quite simply, there is very little media coverage of elder abuse (the New York Times being a notable exception). Aside from the occasional headline-grabbing report like the one recently issued, the subject is largely ignored. Perhaps that's because much of it goes on behind the closed doors of nursing homes. Perhaps it's because our culture is obsessed with youth and no one wants to contemplate getting old. Or perhaps it's because we simply devalue the elderly?after all, many of them have substantially degraded mental and physical abilities. the rest
 image by Derrick Tyson

Elizabeth Taylor dead at 79

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 23, 2011

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary actress famed for her beauty, her jet-set lifestyle, her charitable endeavors and her many marriages, has died, her publicist told CNN Wednesday. She was 79.

Taylor died "peacefully today in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles," said a statement from her publicist. She was hospitalized six weeks ago with congestive heart failure, "a condition with which she had struggled for many years. Though she had recently suffered a number of complications, her condition had stabilized and it was hoped that she would be able to return home. Sadly, this was not to be."

Though a two-time Oscar winner -- for "Butterfield 8" (1960) and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" (1966) -- Taylor was more celebrated for simply being Elizabeth Taylor: sexy, glamorous, tempestuous, fragile, always trailing courtiers, media and fans. She wasn't above playing to that image -- she had a fragrance called "White Diamonds" -- or mocking it. the rest image

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First spring crocuses!

(Raymond got a great picture of the first crocuses to bloom in our backyard-much more to come!)

...for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
...Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Albert Mohler: This Priest Faces Mecca? A Parable of Confusion

Tue, Mar. 22 2011

Rev. Steve Lawler has attracted the attention of the national media because this Episcopal priest chose a very odd way to observe Lent. He decided to “adopt the rituals of Islam” for the forty day season observed by many liturgical denominations, including the Episcopal Church.

As reported in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lawler decided to practice as a Muslim for the forty days as a part of his “Giving Up Church for Lent” emphasis at St. Stephen’s Church. The closer you look at this story, the more it appears that Rev. Lawler “gave up church” some time ago.

According to the press reports, the priest began to perform Muslim prayer rituals, facing toward Mecca and praying five times a day. He prayed to Allah, read the Qur’an, and adopted Islamic dietary restrictions.

He also got in trouble with his bishop. “He can’t be both a Christian and a Muslim,” said Bishop George Wayne Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. The bishop continued: “If he chooses to practice as Muslim, then he would, by default, give up his Christian identity and priesthood in the church.” The bishop also told the public that his priest had a responsibility “to exercise Christianity and to do it with clarity and not with ways that are confusing.” the rest
What Rev. Lawler really represents is the postmodern spirituality that masquerades as authentic belief. This becomes clear when the report reveals that the priest did not declare the oneness of Allah nor acknowledge Muhammad as God’s prophet. These just happen to be the first of Islam’s Five Pillars.

Judge orders use of Islamic law in Tampa lawsuit over mosque leadership

By William R. Levesque
Times Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TAMPA — The question of what law applies in any Florida courtroom usually comes down to two choices: federal or state.

But Hillsborough Circuit Judge Richard Nielsen is being attacked by conservative bloggers after he ruled in a lawsuit March 3 that, to resolve one crucial issue in the case, he will consult a different source.

"This case," the judge wrote, "will proceed under Ecclesiastical Islamic Law."

Nielsen said he will decide in a lawsuit against a local mosque, the Islamic Education Center of Tampa, whether the parties in the litigation properly followed the teachings of the Koran in obtaining an arbitration decision from an Islamic scholar. the rest
The Tampa case is drawing attention from some who cite it as proof judges are improperly using foreign law.

Obamacare: One Year Later, Even Less Popular

 Mar 21, 2011

 One year ago today, the then-Democratic House of Representatives openly disregarded the cool and deliberate sense of the people and rammed Obamacare down the American people’s throats. At the time, the Democrats claimed that their bill would become more popular once Americans found out what was in it (a process that, as Democrats explained, required passing it). A year later, polls show that Obamacare’s popularity has declined even further.

Take the monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. The Kaiser poll is an outlier poll that almost always indicates stronger support for Obamacare than other polls convey. Shortly after passage, the Kaiser poll actually showed respondents having a favorable, rather than unfavorable, opinion of Obamacare, by a margin of 6 points (46 to 40 percent). Since then, that margin has moved 10 points against Obamacare — from plus-6 to minus-4 — as those with unfavorable opinions (46 percent) have come to outnumber those with favorable ones (42 percent).

It’s not hard to tell why. The Kaiser poll shows that, in the intervening year, people have become more convinced that Obamacare would raise their health costs and lower the quality of their health care. the rest
The biggest condemnation of all, across 53 consecutive Rasmussen polls, beginning the day that the president signed Obamacare into law and proceeding to today, is that Americans have supported repeal in all 53 of them — and by double-digit margins in all but one of them (the poll of October 4th, in which Americans supported repeal by “merely” 6 points).

New York City sued over law targeting pregnancy care centers

New code requires centers to post, publish notices advising women to seek help elsewhere, but law does not affect abortion facilities
Monday, March 21, 2011

NEW YORK — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed suit against the city of New York Friday over a new law that threatens non-medical, pro-life pregnancy care centers with steep fines and potential closure if they don’t post signs and publish in their ads that the city health department encourages women to go elsewhere.

“Pregnancy centers, which offer real help and hope to women, shouldn’t be punished by political allies of the abortion industry,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “Attacks on pregnancy centers are an ideologically motivated attempt to distract from the growing national scandals in the abortion industry. For years, abortionists have preyed on women and girls for profit. Now pro-abortion politicians are trying to give women fewer choices.” the rest

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pope Benedict’s latest book is a bestseller

March 20, 2011

Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week debuts among world’s best selling books

SAN FRANCISCO, — Pope Benedict XVI’s second volume on Christ’s life debuts on the March 27 New York Times Bestseller List. Released March 10 worldwide, the new volume covers the last week of Jesus’ earthly life — from his entrance into Jerusalem to his resurrection and appearances to his apostles and other followers. “We’re delighted that Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week is an instant New York Times bestseller. It means that many people across the country are discovering Pope Benedict’s insights into the life of Jesus Christ,” said Mark Brumley, President of Ignatius Press reacting to the announcement. “In this way, more and more people will encounter the real Jesus, which was the Holy Father’s goal in writing the book. It would be great if Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week became the number one book in America!”

Global reaction to the book makes it clear that Benedict XVI has contributed a work on Jesus that is as important and historically significant as it is well-written and thorough.

“It’s a remarkable achievement,” said Protestant scholar Dr. Craig A. Evans of Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University, in Wolfville, N.S., Canada. “It’s the best book I’ve read on Jesus in years. This is a book that I think all Christians should read, be they Protestant or Catholic.” the rest

Firebomb Thrown at Elderly Woman at Pro-Life Prayer Event

by Steven Ertelt
 Kalispell, MT
A homemade incendiary device was thrown at one of the participants of the 40 Days for Life pro-life prayer vigil at an abortion business in Kalispell, Montana on Thursday night.

The woman walked on the public sidewalk near the abortion business when an unidentified person threw the device — akin to a “Molotov cocktail” — in her direction. The woman did not see either the firebomb nor the assailant it exploded on the sidewalk behind her, making a loud popping noise like a big firecracker as it burst into flame. Fortunately, the woman was not hurt in the incident.

After she regained her composure, the victim called Karen Trierweiler, coordinator of the 40 Days prayer vigils in Kalispell at the All Family Health Care abortion center, over to her.

After a lengthy delay, a Kalispell police officer arrived. However, according to officials with the Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal group that is helping the participants, instead of inspecting the bomb debris or calling evidence technicians to the scene, the officer remarked that police could never get prints or other evidence from the bomb’s remains and said he would call the city’s garbage service to dispose of all the debris. the rest

Apple under fire for 'gay conversion' app

Apple has come under fire for approving an "app" that offers guidance on how homosexual people can be "cured" and convert to heterosexuality
By Alex Spillius, Washington
20 Mar 2011
 The "gay cure" application, designed to be used on Apple's hand-held devices, was created by and named after Exodus International, a religious organisation which believes in teaching "freedom from homosexuality through prayer and practicing conversion therapy".

The app is offered free on Apple's iTunes online shop and was given a "4+" rating by the company, meaning it is not considered to contain objectionable content.

A description of the app on the online shop said: "With over 35 years of ministry experience, Exodus is committed to encouraging, educating and equipping the Body of Christ to address the issue of homosexuality with grace and truth."  the rest

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Catholic weddings drop 71 percent in R.I.

Sunday, March 20, 2011
By Richard C. Dujardin

The Rev. Joseph D. Santos Jr., pastor of Holy Name Church in Providence, contends that the falloff in Catholic weddings has its roots in the 1970s. That, he says, is when Catholic educators started revamping religious education and “basically destroyed or watered down” traditional teachings to the extent that increasing numbers of Catholics no longer understand what marriage and sexuality are about.

The church has traditionally taught that matrimony has two purposes: To allow the couple to love each other in a way that mirrors Christ’s love for his church, and to become partners with God in bringing new life into the world.

Unfortunately, says Father Santos, the failure to show the connection between those aspects has caused many Catholics to mistakenly think that sex can be primarily about pleasure and gratification and to believe that premarital sex, and even living together without marriage, are OK.

The Rev. Ronald E. Brassard, pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Cranston, says there is no doubt that cohabitation has been the biggest factor in the decline in the number of Catholic weddings. the rest image

Church in Wales recommends action against 'homophobic' clergy

The Ugley Vicar

Friday, 18 March 2011

UPDATE: the full report is here.

The relevant paragraphs would appear to be 22, 29 and 35:

22. It is necessary to provide a policy with guidance to clerics on the dangers of emotional abuse arising out of the inappropriate use of pastoral supervision or theological teaching.

29. The cleric as role model, as seen by children and young people is significant. This needs to be fully recognised and appreciated by the Church in Wales. Inappropriate and unacceptable conduct such as discriminatory behaviour involving aggression, bullying or attitudes such as homophobia should not be tolerated and can in some instances be emotionally abusive. This should be a professional development issue and where necessary, subject to disciplinary procedures.

35. Reference has been made earlier to the need for policy and guidance in relation to certain approaches to ministry within the Church in Wales (see 21 and 22 above). It would be appropriate to initiate a debate on the subject which would include exploring the importance of ensuring responsible attitudes towards age appropriate emotional and spiritual growth. This would ensure that the Church in Wales exercises its duty to protect children and young people from spiritual and emotional abuse. the rest

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Planned Parenthood is Abortion Violence Masquerading as Compassion

by Tom Grenchik
Washington, DC
A priest friend of mine has been known to say, “abortion is nothing more than violence masquerading as compassion.” Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, tries hard to keep public focus on their “compassionate” services to women and not on the grisly reality that they put to death over 300,000 defenseless children, year in and year out.

As much as abortion advocates struggle to hide that violence from the public view, nothing can hide the ongoing revelations of botched abortions and wanton injuries and deaths of mothers undergoing abortions coming from many abortion clinics around the country.

The news of Dr. Gosnell’s chamber of horrors abortion factory in Philadelphia was the most dramatic example of the depravity to which a person might sink when he makes his living by killing children. Abortion makes fast money with little-to-no government regulation. the rest