Monday, May 30, 2011

Hospitals hunt substitutes as drug shortages rise

AP Medical Writer
May 30, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A growing shortage of medications for a host of illnesses - from cancer to cystic fibrosis to cardiac arrest - has hospitals scrambling for substitutes to avoid patient harm, and sometimes even delaying treatment.

"It's just a matter of time now before we call for a drug that we need to save a patient's life and we find out there isn't any," says Dr. Eric Lavonas of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

The problem of scarce supplies or even completely unavailable medications isn't a new one but it's getting markedly worse. The number listed in short supply has tripled over the past five years, to a record 211 medications last year. While some of those have been resolved, another 89 drug shortages have occurred in the first three months of this year, according to the University of Utah's Drug Information Service. It tracks shortages for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
the rest  image

"No one is tracking patient harm. But last fall, the nonprofit Institute for Safe Medication Practices said it had two reports of people who died from the wrong dose of a substitute painkiller during a morphine shortage."

Memorial Day 2011

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping
all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad.
Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace;
strengthen them in their trials and temptations;
give them courage to face the perils which beset them;
and grant them a sense of your abiding presence
wherever they may be;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer, pg. 823)

IRS does poor job of handling homeowner tax credit programs

An audit showed the IRS was unable to verify key requirements for eligibility. Many people who claimed tax credits for installing energy-saving equipment and materials in their houses showed no evidence of owning a home.
By Kenneth R. Harney
May 29, 2011

Can the Internal Revenue Service handle tax credit programs that pump out billions of dollars to homeowners and buyers? A new federal investigation on home energy tax credits suggests the answer may be: Not quite yet.

The Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration audited the residential tax credit program, created by Congress to encourage homeowners to install energy-saving equipment and materials in their houses, and found some disturbing oversights.
the rest

"Because IRS Form 5695, which is used by homeowners to claim energy credits, does not require documentation of purchases, property addresses or whether the property even qualifies as the taxpayer's residence, the government primarily relies on the veracity of the taxpayer in processing the credits, and sometimes discovers irregularities or fraud only when it later audits an individual's return."

Obama Adm. Tries to Lock Out Lawyer Protection for Patients on Medicaid

Sunday, May 29, 2011
Wesley J. Smith

One of the reasons I turned against single payer is that I believe–as an advocate who learned the trade at the knees of Ralph Nader–in the tort system. It provides a free market remedy in a free market system.

Tort law is especially important in the health care marketplace, where private health insurers that deny benefits can have the bottom line sued out from under them for “bad faith”–if the company refuses clearly owed coverage. We’re talking punitive damages, baby! Just the threat can keep avaricious executives from crossing the line.

But under single payer, that protection evaporates. The government can provide benefits–and it can take them away–as we saw when Arizona stopped covering organ transplantation due to a Medicaid budget crisis. Now, the Obama Administration has gone to court in an amicus brief to make sure it stays that way. From the NYT story:
Medicaid recipients and health care providers cannot sue state officials to challenge cuts in Medicaid payments, even if such cuts compromise access to health care for poor people, the Obama administration has told the Supreme Court. States around the country, faced with severe budget problems, have been reducing Medicaid rates for doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes and other providers.

the rest

Mugabe Ally Escalates Push to Control Anglican Church

May 29, 2011

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Religion, like politics, is often a dangerous business in this country.

As President Robert Mugabe, 87, pushes for an election this year, the harassment of independent churches seen as hostile to his government has intensified.

Truncheon-wielding riot police officers stormed a Nazarene church here in the capital last month to break up a gathering called to pray for peace. Days later, the authorities in Lupane arrested a Roman Catholic priest leading a memorial service for civilians massacred in the early years of Mr. Mugabe’s decades in power.

Mr. Mugabe, a Roman Catholic, recently denounced black bishops in established churches as pawns of whites and the West, singling out for special opprobrium Catholic bishops who have “a nauseating habit of unnecessarily attacking his person,” the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported.

But it is leaders of the Anglican Church, one of the country’s major denominations, who have lately faced the most sustained pressure. Nolbert Kunonga, an excommunicated Anglican bishop and staunch Mugabe ally, has escalated a drive to control thousands of Anglican churches, schools and properties across Zimbabwe and southern Africa. the rest

"Anglican leaders here who have refused to submit to Mr. Kunonga’s authority say they have been subjected to death threats, spied on by state agents and blocked from worshiping in their churches or burying the dead in Anglican cemeteries.

Godfrey Tawonezvi, bishop of Masvingo, described a visit from two men, who told him that Mr. Kunonga had instructed them to “eliminate” the five bishops who stood in the way of his controlling the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe. “They had all our phone numbers, our home addresses,” Mr. Tawonezvi recalled."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Devotional: Unless we know the difference...

Unless we know the difference between flowers and weeds, we are not fit to take care of a garden. It is not enough to have truth planted in our minds. We must learn and labor to keep the ground clear of thorns and briars, follies and perversities, which have a wicked propensity to choke the word of life. 
...Clyde Francis Lytle  image

Gender Diversity Education?

Professor risks political storm over Muslim 'inbreeding’

Prof Steve Jones, one of Britain’s most eminent scientists, has warned that the level of inbreeding among the nation’s Muslims is endangering the health of future generations.

29 May 2011

The geneticist said that it was common in the Islamic world for men to marry their nieces and cousins.

He said that Bradford has a particular problem and warned that it could affect the health of children born into these marriages.

Prof Jones, who lectures at University College London, is likely to find himself at the centre of controversy in the wake of the comments.

Similar remarks made by Phil Woolas, a Labour environment minister, in 2008 resulted in calls for him to be sacked from the government. the rest
"He added: “Bradford is very inbred. There is a huge amount of cousins marrying each other there.” Research in Bradford has found that babies born to Pakistani women are twice as likely to die in their first year as babies born to white mothers, with genetic problems linked to inbreeding identified as a “significant” cause."

UK: Elderly patients dying of thirst: Doctors forced to prescribe drinking water to keep the old alive

By Sophie Borland27th May 2011

Doctors are prescribing drinking water for neglected elderly patients to stop them dying of thirst in hospital.

The measure – to remind nurses of the most basic necessity – is revealed in a damning report on pensioner care in NHS wards.

Some trusts are neglecting the elderly on such a fundamental level their wards could face closure orders. the rest

"Another 300 die malnourished. The latest report – by the Care Quality Commission – found patients frequently complained they were spoken to in a ‘condescending and dismissive’ manner.

The watchdog said three of 12 NHS trusts visited in the past three months were failing to meet the most basic standards required by law."

Porn's destruction is infiltrating the church

May 27, 2011
by Tom Strode

LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md. (BP)--Foes of pornography are losing, and an onslaught of sexual attacks likely will result, Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land believes.

"We're losing this war. We haven't lost it, but we're losing it," Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said at a conference on porn and sex exploitation. "And if you don't think we're losing it, you spend time with college-age young people, and you'll find out we're losing."

He described hardcore, online pornography as "the greatest danger this country faces."

"[I]t is destroying our culture. It is destroying our families. It is destroying our children," Land said. the rest image
"Internet pornography is in your church. If your church has got more than 50 members, it's in your church," he told the audience. "I can tell you hardcore pornography is on the seminary campus. It's on the Christian college campus. It's in the pastorate. It's on the staff."

Are Americans Getting Comfortable With Immorality?

Fri, May. 27 2011
 By Stephanie Samuel | Christian Post Reporter

While the majority of Americans believe that the country’s morality is poor and lacking, the gap between those looking for the moral high ground and those who believe we are already morally good is closing.

A Thursday Gallup poll shows the number of Americans who believe the overall state of moral values in the U.S. is poor has dropped seven percentage points to 38 percent. Meanwhile, the number of those who believe the country's morality is excellent or good has risen eight percentage points to 23 percent.

Fewer Americans also believe the country's moral values are getting worse. Sixty-nine percent, down from 76 percent in 2010, say the state of moral values is worsening, while 22 percent, up from 14 percent, believe it’s getting better. the rest

Canada: Same-sex blessing passes

But Anglican synod vote upsets some
By BILL POWER Staff Reporter
Sun, May 29, 2011

Legally married same-sex couples in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island can now obtain a blessing from the Anglican Church.

A motion that approves the blessings, only when the same-sex couple are legally married, was approved at the 143rd Synod of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, which concluded Saturday in Halifax.

An overwhelming majority of the more than 300 participants voted in favour of the motion, but at least one participant left the event in disgust after a heated debate and the vote, said a priest attending the event.

"It’s a contentious issue and it will continue to be," said Rev. David Fletcher of Lantz. the rest
The issue of blessing same-sex relationships has been hugely controversial for years for the Anglican Church of Canada.

Pakistan: Christian tombs desecrated, woman gang raped

May 27, 2011

Plowing over tombs with a tractor, Muslim landowners in a town near Pakistan’s third-largest city desecrated a Christian cemetery. The attack took place in Chak Jhumra, which is located near Faisalabad.

The attack follows reports of a recent gang rape of a Christian woman near Gojra, which is also located in Punjab province. The woman had been kidnapped by a Muslim colleague.

Also in Faisalabad, Christians report that a wealthy Muslim kidnapped two Christian girls, forcing them to accept Islam and to marry him. When the father of the girls complained to local police, he was arrested and charged with using alcohol. the rest

African-Americans, Bullies and the Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage

Penny Young Nance
May 27, 2011

As much as I respect Gallup and their polling prowess, I am skeptical of their recent poll which finds that for the first time a majority of Americans support legalizing same-sex "marriage." The supporters of allowing same-sex marriage are certainly loud at times but as I see it they are also most certainly in the minority.

When given the chance to vote on this issue, 31 out of 31 states voted against gay marriage, even in such traditionally liberal states as Michigan, Oregon, Hawaii and California (twice).

The supporters of same-sex marriage have grasped their hands tightly around the argument that Judge Vaughn Walker -- the judge who ruled that the ban on same-sex "marriage" was unconstitutional and who is homosexual himself -- made when he equated race with marriage:

"Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage. Today, gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses' obligations to each other and to their dependents."

That did not go over well with many Americans and especially with African-Americans. the rest

Church fined $100 per branch for excessive tree pruning

By Brittany Penland
 Saturday, May. 28, 2011

Every two to three years, Eddie Sales trims and prunes the crape myrtles at his church, Albemarle Road Presbyterian Church.

But this year, the city of Charlotte cited the church for improperly pruning its trees.

"We always keep our trees trimmed back because you don't want to worry about them hanging down in the way," said Sales, a church member. the rest

Kirk fears secessions over gays

27 May, 2011
by Ed Thornton

THE Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Revd David Arnott, pleaded with conservatives to “remain in the Church” after it voted on Monday to move towards accepting those in same-sex relationships as deacons and ministers.

The Assembly (photo, above) spent several hours debating a report on sexuality by the Special Commission that it appointed two years ago after it approved the appointment of an openly gay minister, the Revd Scott Rennie, to Queen’s Cross in Aberdeen (News, 29 May 2009).

The Assembly had at the same meeting voted for a two-year moratorium on further appoint­ments of people in same-sex rela­tionships.  the rest

"He said it was “too early to tell” whether conservatives would leave, but hoped “people don’t have a knee- jerk reaction. A lot of us will be con­sidering our positions and talking with our people. There is a lot of discussion and discernment to take place.”  "

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kansas: Brownback Signs Bill De-Funding Planned Parenthood

by Steven Ertelt
Topeka, KS

Governor Sam Brownback, on Wednesday, signed into law a bill that would shift funding away from the Planned Parenthood abortion business and stops abortion funding in health insurance programs.

The legislation follows a new law in Indiana that made the state the first to yank millions from Planned Parenthood by cutting off its revenue stream from Medicaid. The Kansas Senate passed the measure on a 28-10 vote and the state House followed suit with an 86-30 vote.
 the rest

PAKISTAN: Christian sisters kidnapped, forced to marry a wealthy Muslim

The girl's father reported the kidnapping. In response, the police accused him of abusing alcohol and his daughters. Neighbour: the authorities overturned the facts, because they are colluding with criminals. Catholic priest killings and kidnappings of young Christian women common practice, encouraged by the mullahs and supported by the government.
by Jibran Khan

 (AsiaNews) - A powerful Muslim businessman, with the help of a group of accomplices, kidnapped two Christian sisters, forced them to convert to Islam and marry him. The girl's father reported the kidnapping to the police but the police blocked investigations by reversing the facts: the daughters fled because of their father’s violence. A priest from the diocese of Faisalabad points out that the kidnapping of young women has become "common practice", because the authorities and police are "puppets in the hands of extremists."

The father of two girls, Rehmat Masih is a Christian carpenter from Jhung District, in Faisalabad, Punjab province, an arena of repeated violence against religious minority. Muhammad Waseem - the parent explains to AsiaNews, - is a Muslim businessman in the area, long time leader of a banned extremist group. A few weeks ago he came to my house, along with gunmen, saying he was concerned about my daughters and wanted to marry them. " In case of refusal, the man continues, the Muslim businessman threatened to abduct the two girls. the rest

"Fr. John William, a priest of the diocese of Faisalabad, confirms that the kidnapping of young women has become "common practice", because the authorities and police are "puppets in the hands of extremists." In recent days, AsiaNews reported the tragedy of another young girl, again from Punjab, seized by force and forced to marry a Muslim..."

Crystal Cathedral Up for Sale to End Debt Woes

May. 27 2011
By Alison Matheson
Christian Post Correspondent

The Crystal Cathedral is being put on the market as the church seeks a way out of its crippling debt.

The Orange County church is hoping the sale of its imposing glass building will generate enough revenue to save it from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and make good with some 550 creditors.

It has been looking for an exit strategy from its financial woes ever since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last October.

The reorganization plan includes the sale of the 40-acre campus to a real estate group with a guaranteed option of leasing it back for 15 years. the rest image by Dave Reichert

Kung Fu Panda 2

Review-Dove Foundation

Eugenic abortion of disabled babies increasing in UK

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
May 26, 2011

( – The most recent available statistics from England and Wales show that eugenic abortions have risen by ten percent in the past year.

The 2010 statistics, published by the Department of Health this week, also found that unmarried girls are overwhelmingly more likely to abort their children than married women, with 81 percent of abortions carried out on single women. For every two abortions carried out on married women, 11 children of unmarried women were killed by abortion.
the rest

"The report notes that 2,290 abortions, about 1 percent, were carried out under “Ground E,” or in cases where the child was suspected of having a handicap, in 2010, a rise of around 10 percent over 2009, when 2,085 disabled babies were aborted; the average for Ground E over the last 5 years has been under 2000."

Confusing teens about their gender: the radical new French high school curriculum

by Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
Thu May 26, 2011

( - As of next September, the new official French science curriculum will require all 11th grade students preparing the Baccalaureate – a majority of French teenagers – to study a number of themes more closely related to gender ideology and aggressive sex education than to nature studies.

Two main headings, “Feminine-Masculine” and “Taking charge of your sexual life together and responsibly,” make up about a third of the yearly curriculum for non-science students; they are also included in a wider program for science candidates. The program shamelessly promotes contraception, justifies abortion and defends homosexual activity.

It also minimizes differences between men and women: “Anatomic and physiological differences, caused by the influence of sexual hormones, between the masculine and the feminine brain are no more important than differences between individuals of the same sex,” is one of the “concepts” 11th graders will be expected to have understood by the time they pass public examinations. the rest

“Illegal” Babies Abducted by Chinese Population Control Officials

by Steven MosherBeijing, China

As Beijing continues to vigorously pursue its infamous one-child policy, PRI has gathered evidence showing that Chinese villagers who cannot afford to pay these fines have their “illegal” children abducted and sold by Chinese population control officials.

It is well known that those who violate the one-child policy have sometimes been subjected to coerced abortions or, if they have already given birth, have been forced to pay punitive fines and have been sterilized. the rest

This practice of child abduction has recently been confirmed by the Chinese government. According to a report in the Caixin Century magazine, authorities in the southern Chinese province of Hunan have begun investigating a report that population control officials had seized at least 16 babies born in violation of strict family planning rules, sent them to state-run orphanages, and then sold them abroad for adoption. “Before 1997, they usually punished us by tearing down our houses for breaching the one-child policy, but after 2000 they began to confiscate our children,” the magazine quoted villager Yuan Chaoren as saying.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Four Ways to Make Your iPhone Battery Last Longer

Monday May 23, 2011

A good friend of mine had been complaining that her iPhone 3GS battery was holding less and less of a charge. When we got together at 5 p.m. one recent day, it was at 5 percent full - and it had been fully charged that morning. She had barely used it all day. The phone was apparently running itself dry simply by being turned on.

The single biggest battery consumer is the screen brightness. But it wasn't especially bright on this phone.

So I suggested that she take the phone to an Apple store to get the $60 battery replacement service. In fact, there was an Apple store only two blocks away, so I accompanied her - and found out, upon arrival, that there is no $60 battery replacement service! There's one for iPods, but apparently not for the iPhone. the rest image

Provincial Official in Algeria Orders Churches to Close

Christians plan to attend services this weekend despite intimidation tactics.ISTANBUL
May 25, 2011

(CDN) — Seven Algerian churches face closure this week after the governor of their province sent them written notice that they were operating “illegally.”

The notice on Sunday (May 22) from Police Chief Ben Salma, citing a May 8 decree from the Bejaia Province governor, also states that all churches “in all parts of the country” will be closed for lack of compliance with registration regulations, but Christian leaders dismissed this assertion as the provincial official does not have nationwide authority.

“All buildings permanently designated for or in the process of being designated for the practice of religious worship other than Muslim will be permanently closed down in all parts of the country, as well as those not having received the conformity authorization from the National Commission,” Salma stated in the notice. the rest

What's Wrong with Credit Card Debt?

Observers weigh in on debt's indication of lack of faith, danger, and potential immorality.
Ron Blue, John G. Stackhouse Jr., and Mary Hunt

God wants us to be obedient to his commands, but he also wants us to be wise in how we live. Ephesians 5:15-16 (NASB) says, "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." When we make unwise choices, such as accumulating credit card debt, we must live with the consequences. However, we can also trust that God will work out his good purposes as we walk through the tough disciplines of living within our means and paying off the debt we have accrued (Rom. 8:28).
the rest

Pope shuts down famous monastery that liked to party

AFPposted may 25, 2011

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI has shut down a famous community in Rome that organised dances by a former nightclub dancer nun and hosted VIPs like Madonna, earning the disfavour of the Vatican.

The closure of the monastery of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, which holds some of the Church's most prized relics, was reported by Italian dailies La Stampa and Il Foglio.

The reports said the community of Cistercian monks based at the church for more than five centuries was being transferred to other churches in Italy. the rest

The basilica had become a hub for the "Friends of Santa Croce", an aristocratic group, and had been criticised for some unorthodox practices including dances in which nuns pranced around the altar.

One of the nuns who performed at the church, a former disco dancer, can be seen in a YouTube video performing a modern dance with a crucifix.

Va. town says church school prohibited because disabled kids would ‘endanger’ other children

ADF attorneys file suit against city of Fredericksburg
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the city of Fredericksburg for its refusal to allow a church to begin a school program for mentally and emotionally challenged children despite a recommendation of approval by city planning officials. ADF attorneys say the city is violating federal laws geared expressly to avoid such a prohibition and that the city’s reasons for denial of a permit are baseless.

“Churches shouldn’t be singled out for discrimination, especially when attempting to expand their ministries to safely serve the needs of the community--in this case, disabled children,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “No disabled students would even be on campus at the same time as other students, and the church has the approval of planning officials because it has met all zoning requirements to run such a facility. There’s no legitimate reason for a denial, so the city’s stated reasons only serve to feed old stereotypes about the disabled.” the rest

The city of Fredericksburg Planning Commission recommended approval for the school program after a public hearing, but the city council denied a special-use permit on the basis of supposed safety concerns for other children attending the church’s daycare. The concerns were cited even though the church’s daycare children would only be in attendance during the early morning and afternoon--before and after the disabled students would be present. The city council also expressed concern that Fredericksburg was becoming “saturated” with facilities that provide services to the disabled.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Devotional: "Is faith growing or declining as the years go by?

"Is faith growing or declining as the years go by? Does faith stand strong and four square, these days, as iniquity abounds and the love of many grows cold? Does faith maintain its hold, as religion tends to become a mere formality and worldliness increasingly prevails? The enquiry of our Lord, may, with great appropriateness, be ours. 'When the Son of Man cometh,' He asks, 'shall He find faith on the earth?' We believe that He will, and it is ours, in this our day, to see to it that the lamp of faith is trimmed and burning, lest He come who shall come, and that right early." ...EM Bounds image by Kumaravel

In Wake of Tornado, Official Says 1,500 Are Unaccounted For

May 24, 2011

JOPLIN, Mo. — About 1,500 people are unaccounted for in this battered city, a Fire Department official said Tuesday, as rescue workers took advantage of a few hours of sunny weather to continue searching for survivors in buildings leveled by the country’s deadliest tornado in more than 60 years. At least 117 people have died.

While the number of those unaccounted for is alarmingly high in a city with only 49,000 people — and raises the specter of a far higher death count — it may merely be a reflection of the widespread breakdown of communication systems here in the wake of Sunday’s vicious storm. Many residents who fled ahead of the tornado or survived it may be unable to notify the authorities or family members who have reported them missing.

Capt. Robert Daus of the Maryland Heights Fire District, who is helping to lead a team of about 100 St. Louis-area firefighters in search and rescue operations in Joplin, said that in addition to the 1,500 people who remain unaccounted for, an additional 500 had been injured by the tornado, which cut a three-quarter-mile-wide path through this southwestern Missouri city and damaged as many as 30 percent of its buildings. the rest

Outsourcing parenting in Sweden

Jonas Himmelstrand
Friday, 13 May 2011

While preparing for a trip to Canada, I have learned that many Canadians consider my country, Sweden, to be a model for good family policy. After all, Sweden has a universally accessible, government-funded daycare system, and a 2006 study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranked Sweden at the top and Canada at the bottom in childcare provision. Indeed, Swedish family policies are internationally admired, offering comprehensive and affordable daycare, gender equality and a high percentage of women in paid work. This, however, is only one half of the story...

...Then there are the questions about the social toll Sweden's childcare system is taking. Sweden has offered a comprehensive daycare system since 1975; since the early '90s, negative outcomes for children and adolescents are on the rise in areas of health and behaviour. While direct causation has been difficult to prove, many Swedish health-care professionals point to the lack of parent involvement beyond the first 16 months as a primary contributing factor. Psychosomatic disorders and mild psychological problems are escalating among Swedish youth at a faster rate than in any of 11 comparable European countries. Such disorders have tripled among girls over the last 25 years. Education outcomes in Swedish schools have fallen from the top position 30 years ago, to merely average amongst OECD nations today. Behaviour problems in Swedish classrooms are among the worst in Europe.

This isn't surprising. After a generation of inexperience, Swedish parenting abilities are deteriorating. A study sponsored by the European Union showed many middleclass parents lack the ability to set limits and sense their children's needs. the rest

Satellite Video Close-Up of Deadly Joplin, Missouri Tornado

NASA NOAA video captured May 22, 2011
This animation of GOES-13 satellite visible imagery from May 22 shows the progression of the line of thunderstorms that generated the monster tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri (located in the center of the video). Viewers can see the line of thunderstorms that generated the tornado as the animation continues.

Death toll from Joplin, Mo., tornado climbs to 116

Frantic search in Joplin as more storms loom

Chaos, bravery in storm-struck Joplin hospital

Joplin tornado damage could total $3 billion

Iceland volcano eruptions continue, flights cancelled

May 24, 2011

Reykjavik/Stockholm - Ash from an erupting Icelandic volcano forced the cancellation Tuesday of some 250 flight cancellations in Europe, mainly in British airspace.

The Brussels-based association of European air traffic controllers, Eurocontrol, said there was also 'a strong possibility' that parts of Denmark and southern Scandinavia would be affected.

When Grimsvotn erupted Saturday it created a plume about 20 kilometres high. By Monday it was between 8 to 10 kilometres, and on Tuesday the Icelandic Meteorological Office said the plume was lower, at between 3 and 5 kilometres. the rest

15 U.S. Catholic colleges that featured anti-life/family commencement speakers

by John-Henry Westen
Mon., May 23, 2011

 ( - Fifteen U.S. Catholic colleges invited abortion or gay ‘marriage’ supporters to give addresses to graduates this year, according to the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS).

CNS, a watchdog group seeking to ensure Catholic colleges live up to their Catholic identity, issued its annual report on commencement speakers and honorees Friday.

They argue that the invitations of the speakers contravene the 2004 instruction issued by the U.S. Catholic Bishops called ‘Catholics in Political Life,’ which forbade Catholic institutions from granting honors and platforms that might suggest support for opponents of Catholic teaching.
the rest

Military chaplains seek protection for troops who share beliefs on gay service members

By Associated Press
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

SAN DIEGO — Military chaplains are concerned troops could be punished for expressing objections to homosexuality once the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy is lifted.

Leaders of 21 religious groups that provide chaplains to the U.S. military on Monday sent a letter to the chiefs of chaplains of the Navy, Army, and Air Force. They want Congress or the Pentagon to guarantee troops won’t be punished if they openly discuss their objections to homosexuality. the rest

“This is already an assault and a challenge on individual conscience and some soldiers may think it’s forcing them to abandon their religious beliefs or being marginalized for holding to those beliefs,” said Douglas E. Lee, a retired Army brigadier general and chaplain, whose signature was the first on the letter.

Millions of female foetuses aborted in India

Sex selection of foetuses in India has led to 7.1 million fewer girls than boys up to age six, a gender gap that has widened by more than a million in a decade, according to a study published in The Lancet.
24 May 2011

In Indian families in which the first child has been a girl, more and more parents with access to prenatal ultrasound testing are aborting a second female in the hope that a subsequent pregnancy will yield a boy, said the study.

The increasingly lopsided ratio of girls to boys is larger in wealthy households than poorer ones, the researchers reported.

Between 1980 and 2010, they estimate, four to 12 million girls were aborted because of their sex. the rest

"Selective abortion of female foetuses, usually after a firstborn girl, has increased in India over the past few decades, and has contributed to a widening imbalance in the child sex ratio," they conclude

Bp. Nazir-Ali: Was Obama’s Speech Addressed to the U.S. or to the Muslim World?

May 23, 2011
By Michael Nazir-Ali

You cannot blame a politician for liking rhetoric, and President Obama’s speech on the Middle East is full of it. His favorite word “change” occurs often, and there are idealistic expressions like “a season of hope.” But what was wrapped up in the sugar coating, and will it be acceptable to the American people and those who value freedom in the world at large? A few observations on those questions:

Throughout the speech, I had a recurrent sense that he was not addressing the U.S. and its people but Muslim opinion in the Middle East and beyond. Some scholars have written about the dhimmi mentality, i.e., a subservient attitude developed towards Muslim rulers by Christian, Jewish, and other communities that were allowed to survive, but under heavy restrictions, in the Muslim world. It has sometimes been held that the West’s response to events in the Muslim world betrays a similar mentality, brought about by fear. Was the president’s speech an example of this?

The president seemed understandably but unduly optimistic about the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death. It will undoubtedly affect some of al-Qaeda’s operations, but extremist Islamism is now so decentralized that it will have little effect, for instance, on the Taliban in Pakistan or Afghanistan, or al-Shabab in Somalia, or even on AQ in the Arabian Peninsula. It would be a great mistake to see bin Laden’s death as the end of radical Islam. It may in fact lead to his becoming an icon or a martyr in exactly the way that the president does not wish. the rest

'The process is beautiful': Chilling boast of 'New Dr Death'....

...after assisting almost 300 suicides
By Daily Mail Reporter
24th May 2011

A hugely controversial doctor who has assisted the suicides of almost 300 patients across the country has spoken of the 'beauty' involved in helping ill people die.

In divisive comments that will reopen the debate about whether seriously unwell people should be allowed the right to have help killing themselves, Dr Lawrence Egbert, from Baltimore, has spoken out to defend the 'dignity' of the role he provides.

While critics say that his work as part of the Final Exit Network, a group that organises assisted suicides, is criminal and amounts to murder, Dr Egbert argues he provides a compassionate service. the rest

Albert Mohler: The Myth of the Genderless Baby

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Back in the nineteenth century, the British people were introduced to a fairy tale about “water babies” through a story written by Rev. Charles Kingsley. The water babies entered folklore, and generations of British children imagined the water babies and their story.

Now, out of Canada comes another strange story, but this one is not a fairy tale. Two Canadian parents have ignited a firestorm over their determination to raise their third child as a “genderless” baby.

As reporter Jayme Poisson reports, “The neighbors know [Kathy] Witterick and her husband, David Stocker, are raising a genderless baby. But they don’t pretend to understand it.”
the rest image by Jeff M.

The controversy surrounding Storm is a sign of our times. Our rebellion against the Creator has now reached the point that we will deny the fact that our identity is not just our own personal project, but is first of all established in the Creator’s intention — and part of that intention is the fact that we are male or female.

Church of Scotland votes on gay ministers

The Church of Scotland has voted to allow the possible selection of gay and lesbian ministers in the future.
23 May 2011

The controversial issue was being debated at the Kirk's General Assembly.

A theological commission will now be set up and will report in 2013 before a final decision on the issue of gay ordination is taken.

Earlier the Assembly voted to accept gay and lesbian clergy provided they had declared their sexuality and were ordained before 2009.

Two years ago, the Reverend Scott Rennie's appointment to Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen threatened to split the Church.
the rest

Church of Scotland considers overturning ban on gay ministers
The Church of Scotland faces a difficult road ahead after voting on Monday to consider lifting a two-year moratorium on the ordination of gay ministers...

Few suitable choices for worshippers who want to find new theological home
FOR those Kirk members who feel compelled to leave the Church following today's vote, the question of where they go is littered with potential problems, both theological and practical...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Devotional: The trivial round, the common task...

The trivial round, the common task,
Would furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselves; a road
To bring us, daily, nearer God.

Seek we no more; content with these,
Let present Rapture, Comfort, Ease,
As Heaven shall bid them, come and go;—
The secret this of Rest below.

Only, O Lord, in thy dear love
Fit us for perfect rest above;
And help us, this and every day,
To live more nearly as we pray.

"Boy, girl or both?"

Oakland elementary school teaches pupils there are more than two genders
May 23, 2011

Today and tomorrow, Redwood Heights Elementary School in Oakland will be teaching children from kindergarten through fifth grade that there are more than two genders, Pacific Justice Institute reports.

In a press release, Pacific Justice Institute provided the following details:

The two days calendared for this are entitled "Gender Spectrum Diversity Training." In documents released by the school, students will be taught that "gender is not inherently nor solely connected to one's physical anatomy." Further, gender is a "complex interrelationship between (physical traits) and one's internal sense of self as male, female, both or neither as well as one's outward presentations and behaviors related to that perception."

Another document from the school advises parents: "When you discuss gender with your child, you may hear them exploring where they fit on the gender spectrum and why." the rest

Bishop David Anderson: On the Title IV disciplinary canon

Message from Bishop David Anderson
posted may 23, 2011
AAC Weekly Update

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus,

Many within the American Episcopal Church (TEC) have been sheltered from the worst of TEC's spiritual and theological innovations. Moderate to conservative bishops and stalwart orthodox parish rectors have often sheltered their people from the harsh reality of the new Episcopal Church, but those days are soon to end.

In July of this year, less than six weeks from now, the changes to the disciplinary canon (Title IV) go into full force and effect, and revisionist bishops will be able to remove parish leaders on the flimsiest of charges. Likewise, if a bishop doesn't fully go along with Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori's agenda, she will be able to remove the bishop on the flimsiest of charges. It no longer is required that someone has done something to damage "the church," only that they intend to do so, or that they might do so, as determined by the Presiding Bishop.

Rectors will no longer be able to protect their flock, nor will bishops, for the long arm of the national church will reach down even into the pew where Mom and Pop sit. If you are intending to stay in TEC for at least five years, I predict you will see the adoption of homosexual marriage with official prayer book liturgy accommodating it coming to your local church. the rest

Britain third worst country for families in Europe

Britain is the third worst place for a family to live in Europe, according to a new index published by the Relationships Foundation.
by Karen Peake
Monday, May 23, 2011

The think tank’s new family pressure gauge compares the pressures on families in 27 European countries and finds that families in Britain are struggling more than their European counterparts under the weight of money worries, long working hours and high living costs. Only families in Romania and Bulgaria are more pressured.

The study found that while Britons work the longest hours per week in Europe – 43 on average – they are also paying dearly for it, with nearly a quarter of the family income (23.5%) being spent on childcare.

That amounts to twice the amount paid by families in France, three times that paid by German families, and four times the cost of childcare in Sweden.

Around one in five British families with dependent children (20.9%) is experiencing “difficulty” or “great difficulty” in making ends meet.
 the rest

Obamacare repeal means waivers for everybody

By Grace-Marie Turner
Special to The Examiner.

Can't we all just get a waiver from Obamacare? Unfortunately not, but the list of people applying is getting longer by the day.

There are now 1,372 companies, labor unions and states that have applied for and been granted waivers from an early provision of the law that says health policies must provide at least $750,000 a year in insurance protection.

In the latest batch of waivers, one in five went to expensive restaurants, spas and other businesses in former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district in San Francisco. What a coincidence!

Nearly two dozen states have either applied for or have been granted waivers from an Obamacare provision that forces health insurers operating in their states to comply with strict federal limits governing how much they can spend on administrative costs versus reimbursements for medical bills. the rest
In other words, Obamacare would cause people to lose their insurance coverage or cause costs to go up if they don't grant these waivers. Wasn't Obamacare supposed to do just the opposite?

Parents keep child's gender secret

May 21, 2011
Jayme Poisson

“So it’s a boy, right?” a neighbour calls out as Kathy Witterick walks by, her four month old baby, Storm, strapped to her chest in a carrier.

Each week the woman asks the same question about the baby with the squishy cheeks and feathery blond hair.

Witterick smiles, opens her arms wide, comments on the sunny spring day, and keeps walking.

She’s used to it. The neighbours know Witterick and her husband, David Stocker, are raising a genderless baby. But they don’t pretend to understand it.  the rest

Pope Benedict XVI Makes 1st Heavenly Call to Astronauts in Space

By Robert Z. Pearlman
May 21, 2011

In a first for The Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI called to the heavens on Saturday -- but instead of reaching God, he spoke to two Italian astronauts and their 10 colleagues working on board the International Space Station (ISS).

"Dear astronauts, I am very happy to have this extraordinary opportunity to converse with you during your mission and especially grateful to be able to speak to so many of you as both crews are present on the space station at this time," said the Pope, reading in English from prepared remarks. [Video: Science & Faith Merge in Pope's Space Station Talk]

The video call, which began at 7:11 a.m. EDT (1111 GMT), originated from the Foconi Room of the Vatican Library in Rome, Italy. It was organized by the European Space Agency (ESA), whose astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Roberto Vittori are currently working in space.

The conversation marked the first time that the Pope has spoken with astronauts in orbit. the rest

Tornadoes Rip Across Midwest; 89 Dead in Joplin, Mo.

May 23, 2011

Rescue workers today searched for victims of fierce storms that ripped through several Midwestern states this weekend, killing at least 89 people in Joplin, Mo., where a devastating tornado touched down and left trapped survivors still crying out for help this morning.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Sunday evening and activated the Missouri National Guard in response to the destruction.

St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., was fully evacuated after it took a direct hit from the tornado. Every window in the facility was blown out and the roof was torn off. Seven people have been reported dead at a nursing home, according to police reports. the rest

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nigeria: Election violence: 84 churches burnt -Anglican synod

Written by Dipo Laleye, Minna
Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Anglican Synod has hailed the smooth conduct of the 2011 general elections, describing it as free and fair. He, however, lamented that 84 churches were burnt in the post election violence that took place in five states of the federation.

The synod said the 84 churches were burnt in riots that took place in Kaduna, Niger Adamawa Bauchi and Kano states, but did not give a breakdown of the churches burnt in each state.

A communiqué issued after the third session of the Seventh Synod of the Diocese of Minna Anglican Communion held at St James Anglican Church, Suleja Niger State also bemoaned the death of a number of members of the National Youth Service Corps taking part in their national service during the crises. the rest

Bishop and baroness warn of rising violence against Christians in Egypt

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and Baroness Caroline Cox criticise inadequate response of Egyptian Army to violence against Christians
Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and Baroness Caroline Cox have expressed concern over the frequency of attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt and international media coverage of the events.

They are among the signatories of an open letter warning of widespread ethno-religious violence “that demands an immediate response”.

It comes after several clashes between Christians and Muslims, one of which left 12 people dead and two churches badly damaged after being set on fire by Muslims.

“The collapse of the powerful state apparatus and the subsequent power vacuum this created, however, quickly opened a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of social problems that the Mubarak regime had either maintained or failed to address,” they warn. the rest

Christchurch NZ: Multi-faith cathedral unlikely, says dean


A multi-faith rebuild of the quake-shattered ChristChurch Cathedral is unlikely, says Anglican dean, Peter Beck.

"It's a holy place, a sacred space for people of all faiths, [but] at the heart of it, it is a Christian church. It's the Anglicans' cathedral.

"The Anglican Church was part of the foundation of this city and has been a living part of its growth and heritage for all these years and we have no intention of doing anything other than continuing to contribute to the life and spirit of our city."

He said Christchurch was a multi-faith society, and the Anglican Church would work with other religions "in all sorts of ways – but the cathedral will continue to be the cathedral". the rest

Volcano eruption closes Iceland’s airports

By Trey Johnson

A plume of ash 12 miles high from the eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano closed Iceland’s main international airport and canceled all domestic flights Sunday.

This event is larger than last year’s Eyjafjallajokull eruption which caused havoc for travelers across the globe. Scientists, however, do not think this eruption will cause as many hassles. the rest

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Virginia Anglicans Vote to Become a Diocese within Anglican Church in North America

Delegates Elect The Rt. Rev. John Guernsey as Bishop

FAIRFAX, Va. (May 21, 2011) – The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) held a Constitutional Convention on May 20-21, 2011 at Church of the Epiphany in Herndon, Va. At this event, ADV delegates voted to petition the Anglican Church in North America to become a diocese and adopted new governing documents (Constitutions and Canons). Pending approval of the diocesan petition, the Anglican District of Virginia elected The Rt. Rev. John Guernsey to serve as bishop of the diocese, to be named the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.

Bishop John Guernsey has served in various clergy roles during his years of ordained ministry in Virginia. He served as rector of All Saints’ Church in Dale City, Va., for 29 years before serving as the head of the Diocese of the Holy Spirit in the Anglican Church in North America. For more background on Bishop Guernsey and to read his vision statement for the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, click here.

“Our hope is that the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, under the courageous and blessed leadership of Bishop John Guernsey, will continue to follow the path Christ is setting for us as we strive to grow and share our faith,” said Anglican District of Virginia Chairman Jim Oakes.  the rest

ACNA Statement: Mid-Atlantic Anglicans Vote to Move Forward with Becoming a New Anglican Church Diocese
PITTSBURGH, Pa. (May 21, 2011) – The Anglican Church in North America welcomed the news that Anglicans in the Mid-Atlantic region voted to pursue diocesan status as the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. The group of congregations, currently joined together as the Anglican District of Virginia, also voted to elect The Rt. Rev. John Guernsey as its bishop. If the petition for diocesan status is approved, the formal transition to the new structure under the leadership of Bishop Guernsey will take place this fall.

The votes were taken during a constitutional convention meeting in Herndon, Va., on May 20-21. A special event was also held to express gratitude for the service of retiring Bishop David Bena.
“It is with great joy that we receive the petition from Mid-Atlantic Anglicans to become a formal diocese within the Anglican Church in North America. The growth of the Anglican District of Virginia and its unwavering commitment to planting new churches and winning hearts for the Gospel has been a beacon of light to the whole Anglican Church. The move towards diocesan status serves only to strengthen our existing relationship and would provide a geographic home for orthodox Anglicans throughout the Mid-Atlantic region,” said The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America. the rest

Devotional: Thou, who art the true Sun of the world...

Thou, who art the true Sun of the world, evermore rising, and never going down: who, by Thy most wholesome appearing and sight dost nourish, and make joyful all things as well that are in heaven, and also that are on earth; we beseech Thee mercifully and favorably to shine into our hearts, that the night and darkness of sin, and the mists of error on every side, being driven away, Thou brightly shining within our hearts, we may all our life long go without any stumbling or offence, and may walk as in the daytime, being pure and clean from the works of darkness, and abounding in all good works which Thou hast prepared for us to walk in. ...Desiderius Erasmus image by Brian Snelson

Friday, May 20, 2011

Iranian court acquits 11 Christians

Christians in Iran have walked free from court after a judge cleared them of crimes against the order of the country.
Friday, May 20, 2011

The 11 Church of Iran members had been charged with “action against the order of the country” and drinking alcohol, after joining a house church meeting and taking communion wine.

The churchgoers were arrested in April and brought before the Revolutionary Tribunal in Bandar-Anzali for a rushed hearing on May 1.

In its written verdict, the court determined that the group were taking part in a Christian ceremony and therefore within their rights under Article 13 of the Iranian Constitution, which allows Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians to “perform their religious rites and ceremonies, and to act according to their own canon in matters of personal affairs and religious education”.

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the judge concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that the group had been acting against national security or the order of the country. the rest

US backing for communion without baptism

May 20, 2011
by George Conger

The Episcopal Church’s national office has given a backhanded blessing to the practice of allowing those not baptized to receive Holy Communion—a practice forbidden by canon law.

Supporters of Communion without Baptism (CWOB) have argued that relaxing the church’s Eucharistic discipline will serve as a recruiting tool for those outside the faith. However, traditionalists have rejected the practice as uncanonical and contrary to church teaching.

Last month the Episcopal Church Office of Congregational Vitality posted a video to the national church’s website highlighting the ministry of parish of St Paul & the Redeemer in Chicago. The congregation “exemplifies transformative work,” the Rev. Bob Honeychurch, the Episcopal Church’s officer for congregational vitality, said, adding that the parish “sees its primary point of contact with the wider community through its Sunday morning experience. The worship becomes its witness to the world.”

“What we do is the Episcopal liturgy,” said parish rector the Rev. Peter Lane. “We just do it in creative ways.”

St Paul & the Redeemer welcomes “everybody. Orthodox believer or skeptic, gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor, everybody is invited to eat at God’s table” Mr. Lane said. the rest

NJ: Muslims/Christians To Worship Together Sunday In Episcopal Church

An interfaith worship service will be held at 10 a.m.
 By Shelley Emling
May 19, 2011

Christians and Muslims will worship together Sunday at St. John's Episcopal Church in Montclair as part of an effort to build sustainable relationships between the two communities.

More specifically, the idea is to counter the country's continuing focus on the radicalization of Muslims.

The 10 a.m. service will be tailored to include both Christian and Muslim traditions, incorporating music and readings from both faiths.

Indeed, organizers say that this "groundbreaking" morning will begin with the adhan, the call to prayer with “Allahu akbar,” (God is greater), ringing out in an Episcopal Church.” During the service, verses from the Holy Qur’an will complement verses from the Holy Bible. Passages from Qur’an will be part of the Communion service as well. The music of the day comes from both faiths and "extols the Almighty One." the rest

"This will be a blending of traditional Episcopal liturgy along with readings of the Qur'an," he said. "It is a blending of traditions. It's not easy to do this. It can be rather difficult ... to be respectful of different traditions. But I think it's important."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Devotional: It is not necessary to maintain a conversation...

It is not necessary to maintain a conversation when we are in the presence of God. We can come into His presence and rest our weary souls in quiet contemplation of Him. Our groanings, which cannot be uttered, rise to Him and tell Him better than words how dependent we are upon Him. ...O. Hallesby image

Priest Threatened with IRS Investigation for Standing Up for Marriage

May 16th, 2011

This is truly amazing. The Minnesota Independent reported last week that Minnesota State representative John Kriesel’s office threatened a priest who sent a letter supporting traditional marriage. Minnesota is considering adopting a marriage amendment in the state constitution and Rep. Kriesel is the only Republican who doesn’t support the marriage amendment referendum. Reverend John Echert, who is the priest of Holy Trinity/Saint Augustine Parish sent a letter to Rep. Kriesel’s office.  the rest

An aide to rep. Kriesel sent the following response to Father Echert:

Mr. Echert,
I would like to respectfully remind you that the Internal Revenue Service frowns upon churches and religious organizations devoting time to influencing legislation. Your admission of the commencement of a politically involved “campaign” will probably violate several state and federal tax provisions.

Rare colour photographs of the era that defined a generation

By Daily Mail Reporter
 18th May 2011

 It was an era that defined a generation. The Great Depression marked the bitter and abrupt end to the post-World War 1 bubble that left America giddy with promise in the 1920s. Near the end of the 1930s the country was beginning to recover from the crash, but many in small towns and rural areas were still poverty-stricken. These rare photographs are some of the few documenting those iconic years in colour. The photographs and captions are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color. The images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, shed a bleak new light on a world now gone with the wind.

 Wow-don't miss this!

Pakistan 'blasphemy' law used against kids

May 17, 2011
 by Staff/Compass Direct

ISTANBUL (BP)--Pakistan's notorious "blasphemy" laws can put even children at risk, and Christians say the days when they could teach their offspring pat answers to protect them from accusations of disparaging Islam or its prophet seem to have passed.

A 30-year-old Pakistani woman who grew up in Lahore said her Christian parents taught her formula answers to keep from falling prey to accusations under the blasphemy statutes, such as "I am a Christian, I can only tell you about Him." But even then, before militant Islamists began influencing Pakistani society as they have in recent years, schoolchildren were taught not to discuss religion, she said.

"We knew never to get into religious discussions with others," she said. "We had them at home -- our parents would put us through the drill of asking us tough questions to see how we answered. Only now I realize that was practice for school." the rest

Syrian Christians fear the worst
...Syria's minority Christians are watching the protests sweeping their country with trepidation, fearing their religious freedom could be threatened if President Bashar Assad's secular rule is overthrown...

Girl Scouts, No Longer a Family Friendly Organization for 2 Sisters

 May 18, 2011
By Eryn Sun

Two sisters are fighting to stand up for what they believe in, even if it means leaving everything they’ve worked for during the past eight years.

After discovering disturbing connections and curricula of Girl Scouts of the USA, Sydney and Tess Volanski decided to leave their beloved Girl Scout Troop after eight years of involvement, compelled not only to quit, but also to spread the truth about the highly acclaimed organization.

The two Houston siblings share their reasons for leaving in their recently launched site called “SPEAK NOW: girl scouts” and reveal several ways in which Girl Scouts has been promoting Planned Parenthood, promiscuity and abortion to their members.

Trusting that Girl Scouts was a wholesome organization, both Sydney and Tess were extremely hurt when they realized beginning in March of 2010 that they had been unknowingly supporting and promoting a group whose views were in direct contrast with their pro-life, pro-family, Christian views. the rest
“While we recognized the many good things about Girl Scouts, we had to ask ourselves: Will we stand for our beliefs, for the dignity of life, the sanctity of marriage, modesty, purity? Or will we remain true to Girl Scouts? We cannot see any way to truly do both.”

Anglican Diocese of the South Helping with Tornado Relief Efforts

Busloads of Donations Delivered to Relief Centers
May 16, 2011

The Anglican Church in North America’s Diocese of the South is doing its part to help with tornado relief efforts.

Many of those in the path of the devastating tornadoes are just beginning to grasp the full impact of the storms that swept across the South.

The Anglican Church in North America has 18 parishes in Alabama, the state that was hardest-hit by the storms and members across the country have committed to pray and to give through the Anglican Diocese of the South.

The funds are already making a difference. The Diocese, led by Bishop Foley Beach and in partnership with several Anglican Mission in the Americas parishes, has gathered volunteers and delivered two busloads of supplies and food to Northeast Alabama tornado relief centers. the rest

Pope’s 1st chat with astronauts in space will be streamed live by Vatican

By Associated Press
Thursday, May 19, 2011

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says Pope Benedict’s XVI’s audio and video hookup Saturday with the International Space Station will be streamed live on the Internet site of Vatican Radio and CTV, the broadcasting arms of the Holy See.

While the pontiff is expected to greet all the crew, the Vatican says he will chat in particular with the two Italian astronauts aboard, Paolo Nespoli and Roberto Vittori. the rest

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Beyond irony: Nursing homes need waivers from Obamacare

By: Examiner Editorial

Above the fold on the front page of the New York Times is not normally where one expects to find a news article that lays bare the mortal threat posed by Obamacare to a key segment of the health care industry and hundreds of thousands of its workers. But the pro-Obamacare newspaper pulled no punches Monday in a column-one story titled, "Nursing homes seek a reprieve from health law."

The focus of the piece was that "many nursing homes and home care agencies, alarmed at the cost of providing health insurance to hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers, have started a lobbying effort seeking an exemption or special treatment that would relieve them of the obligation or help them with the expense." A little further on in the article, Mark Parkinson, president of the American Health Care Association, explained that his industry has to get a waiver from Obamacare because "we do not have much ability to increase prices because we are so dependent on Medicaid and Medicare" for revenue.  the rest

The result, if Obamacare becomes fully operational, will be that thousands of small nursing homes like Gantz's will either have to fire employees and restrict services, be bought out by nursing home conglomerates, or both.

Radical Environmentalism: “Rights of Nature” Push Continues

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Wesley J. Smith
I have been pounding the “nature rights” warning drum for a few years, and most people still yawn thinking, “It can’t happen here.”  (Anyone who would still say such a thing has been making like Rip Van Winkle for the last 50 years.)  The issue is being pushed on the radical environmentalist Australian Broadcasting Corporation (remember the network teaching OZ children when they should die to save the planet?)  by a professor (of course!) named Peter Burdon. From his column, “What if Trees Could Sue?”:
The legal recognition of nature’s rights is a novel but potentially important step toward an ecologically sustainable human presence on Earth. When the legal standing of the entity shifts, so too does our understanding of it. Throughout history, we have seen a continual evolution in the types of things that can be owned, who was considered capable of ownership and the meaning of ownership itself…In a country like Australia, which does not recognise a Bill of Rights for human beings, we are a long way off achieving such recognition for nature. But if nature is recognised as a bedrock value and limit on human activity, then it could create opportunity for a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship.
the rest

Scholar: China Notices Link Between Christianity, U.S. Economic Success

Wed, May. 18 2011
By Michelle A. Vu | Christian Post Reporter

WASHINGTON – The officially atheist Chinese government is surprisingly open to Christianity, at least partially, because it sees a link between the faith and economic success, said a sought after scholar who has relations with governments in Asia.

China believes that Christianity is responsible for much of the historic success of Western Europe and the United States, said Dr. William Jeynes, senior fellow of The Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J., during a presentation at the Family Research Council on Tuesday.

But while the Chinese government is open to Christianity, it also “wants to control Christianity.” Those in authority are very much aware of the Church’s role in bringing down the Berlin wall and advancing democracy in the Soviet bloc. the rest

China unlikely to ease crackdown on Shouwang Church
China (MNN) ― Making waves on NPR, CNN, BBC and the New York Times, the story of one persecuted house church has struck international chords.

The Shouwang Church in Beijing has been in a battle of rights with China for years, but the struggle has only just come into focus for most. The 1,000-member church was ousted from its building when their landlord was pressured by officials to evict them. For the six weeks following, Shouwang members have been meeting publically outside.

During the first week of meeting, over 160 members were arrested under the auspices of disturbing the peace. Most arrested were released within a few hours, but the church leaders have been on house arrest since.

Each subsequent outdoor Sunday worship service has resulted in dozens more arrests...

A Review of A Queer Thing Happened to America. By Michael L. Brown.

EqualTime Books, 2011.
Bill Muehlenberg
posted May 18, 2011

The fact that this book almost did not get published may be the most telling aspect of this volume. One publisher after another refused to have anything to do with this book. This simply shows the enormous power the militant homosexual lobby now exercises.

The simple truth is, they have effectively imposed an iron curtain of censorship, intimidating and bullying anyone who dares to question their radical agenda. Thus those voices that are willing to stand up and speak truth are few and far between.

Michael Brown is one such voice, and he has done us all an inestimable service by persevering with this book. It is the first major book on this topic to appear for some years now. It is a very thorough, well-researched and well-documented volume which covers most of the bases. the rest

He also examines how the mainstream media has become almost fully homosexualised, and is now continuously in the service of the homosexual activists. Whether it is film, or television, or music videos, or what have you, the media is saturated with pro-homosexual imagery, messages and propaganda.

The same with our schools. Not just our universities, but all education, starting with kindergarten on up, is being aggressively targeted by the activists. There are very few schools that are safe today; most are being exposed to the radical agenda of the activists, and often parents have no say in the matter.
Brown also looks at the issue of ex-gays, something which the activists hate above all else. If they can show that homosexuality is an in-built, immutable condition, then they have a much stronger leg to stand on to promote their radical social agenda. But if homosexuals can and do change, then their whole case is blown out of the water.