Saturday, June 30, 2012

Muppet Movie 1979 camera test


Jun 29, 2012

The banter is so hilariously improvised.

Seven more TEC bishops charged with misconduct

Support for ACNA pleading is grounds for discipline complaint alleges
June 30, 2012
By George Conger

Seven bishops have been charged with misconduct for having endorsed a friend of the court brief prepared by the Anglican Communion Institute in the Diocese of Fort Worth case.

On 28 June 2012, the Rt Rev Maurice M. Benitez, retired Bishop of Texas, the Rt Rev John W. Howe, retired Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Rev Paul E. Lambert. Suffragan Bishop of Dallas, the Rt Rev William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, the Rt Rev D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana, the Rt Rev Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield, and the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas were informed they had been charged with misconduct.

“As the Intake Officer for the Church, I am obliged to inform you that a complaint has been received against you for your action in filing of Amicus Curiae Brief in the pending appeal in the Supreme Court of Texas in opposition to The Episcopal Diocese of Texas and The Episcopal Church. In the next few weeks, I will initiate a disciplinary process according to Title IV Canon 6 Sec. 3 & 4 of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church,” Bishop F. Clayton Matthews wrote to the seven bishops.

The bishops have not been notified with violation of the canons they have committed, but Bishop Matthews’ notice refers to the pleading they endorsed in the Diocese of Fort Worth case presently before the Texas Supreme Court.

In an amicus brief filed on 23 April 2012 the seven bishops and three scholars from the ACI – the Rev. Christopher R. Seitz, the Very Rev. Philip W. Turner, and the Very Rev. Ephraim Radner -- argued a Tarrant County, Texas trial court misconstrued the church’s constitutions and canons by holding that the Episcopal Church was a hierarchical body with ultimate power vested in the General Convention.

The 29-page brief stated that attorneys for that national Episcopal Church sought “to establish an alternative authority to that of the diocesan bishop” in their pleadings, which they said was contrary to the church’s Constitution and Canons. Attorneys for the national church have argued the Episcopal Church possesses a unitary polity, where dioceses are creatures of the General Convention. the rest

Bishops Salmon, Beckwith, and MacPherson charged with misconduct

A.S. Haley: Stalinist Tactics Deployed to Silence ECUSA Bishops in Court

Exodus International Rejects Reparative Therapy for Gays

By Jeff Schapiro
June 29, 2012

Exodus International President Alan Chambers addressed the crowd at the 37th annual Freedom Conference on Wednesday in order to share why the organization will no longer use reparative therapy to help those who struggle with same-sex attraction (SSA), and will use a model that focuses more on discipleship instead.

Chambers told The Christian Post on Thursday that reparative therapy, which seeks to "cure" SSA through activities like counseling and prayer, sets the person seeking therapy up for failure by giving him or her unrealistic expectations.

"As the president of Exodus International and, even more than that, as a Christian leader who is out in front of people all the time, it is my responsibility to lead honestly and transparently and to share with people that, just because you become a Christian,...your struggles don't always go away," he said. "You don't get to a place where you're never going to be tempted again." the rest

Dr. Robert Gagnon: Time for a Change of Leadership at Exodus?

Dreams, Visions Moving Muslims to Christ



by Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl
June 30 2012

JERUSALEM, Israel -- Several years ago, Ali took the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca known as Hajj.

"Of course when I went to Mecca I was going there in order to pay hommage to the Kabba and to fulfill the requirements in Islam," he recalled.

But the trip became more of a spiritual journey than he could ever imagine.

"That night I saw Jesus in a dream. First, Jesus touched my forehead with his finger. And after touching me, He said, 'You belong to me,'" Ali recalled.

"And then He touched me above my heart," he continued. "'You have been saved, follow me. You belong to me,' he said."

Ali's story in Mecca was told and dramatized in a DVD called "More Than Dreams."

"I decided I'm not going to finish the Hajj, the pilgrimage. Whatever it takes, I'm going to follow that voice," he explained. the rest

NZ: Anglican debate on gays risks splitting church

By David Fisher
Saturday Jun 30, 2012

Proposals being considered by the Anglican Church could see gay marriage services carried out in churches by gay priests.

Bishops and priests are to vote on proposals covering the blessing of same-sex civil unions, the church's response to requests to marry those couples, and ordination of gay priests.

The debate, to be heard next week at a meeting of the church's ruling body, the General Synod, has created concern it could divide parishes in New Zealand and - if adopted - cause a schism with the international faith. the rest

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mark Levin: Obamacare Decision 'Absolutely Lawless'



June 28, 2012

Anglican Unscripted Episode 44 (One Year Anniversary)


Jun 29, 2012

In this week's Anglican Unscripted Kevin and George discuss the Arab Apocalypse and the effects on the Anglican Church in Egypt. Also, the two June Birthday boys discuss General Convention and the illogical musings of Rowan Williams. Alan Haley delves into the mess we call the Supreme Court and special guest Bishop Dan Martins gives us a sneak peak on GC2012.

A.S. Haley: Supreme Court Does the Unexpected

Dutch monk may have killed psychiatric patients in 1950s

June 28, 2012

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Thirty-seven boys who died in the early 1950s in a Dutch psychiatric hospital run by the Catholic Church were probably killed by a monk in charge of their care, prosecutors said on Thursday.

It was the latest in a string of scandals to hit the church in the Netherlands, where an independent commission found last year up to 20,000 minors were sexually abused in Catholic orphanages, boarding schools and seminaries between 1945 and 1981.

In a report released on Thursday, prosecutors said the boys who died between 1952 and 1954 in St Joseph's psychiatric hospital in the southeastern town of Heel had likely been given morphine overdoses by Brother Andreas. the rest

Multiple deaths at boys’ home were no accident

World's first genetically modified babies born

by MICHAEL HANLON
posted June 29, 2012

The world's first genetically modified humans have been created, it was revealed last night.

The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics.

So far, two of the babies have been tested and have been found to contain genes from three 'parents'.

Fifteen of the children were born in the past three years as a result of one experimental programme at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey.

The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a female donor were inserted into their eggs before they were fertilised in an attempt to enable them to conceive.

Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year- old children confirm that they have inherited DNA from three adults --two women and one man.  the rest

Wesley J. Smith: I Was Right: Obamacare Upheld

Thursday, June 28, 2012
Wesley J. Smith

It appears that the Supremes have rewritten the law in order to uphold it. They simply call a penalty a tax, even though it was expressly stated not to be a tax. Why? Precisely for the reasons I predicted:
The Supreme Court has vastly expanded the power of the federal government since the 1930s. In so doing, the justices have often based their decisions as much on policy as on law—and then fashioned legal justifications to back up their decisions (which, in turn, become springboards for further federal expansion). Some call this phenomenon “judicial legislation,” but we won’t get into that here. Moreover, the justices generally come from what is sometimes called the “ruling class,”—people who graduated Yale, Harvard, Princeton, etc.—people who have faith in “experts” and technocratic solutions to societal problems. The rulings of the Court on controversial social and political issues often reflect the views of this subset of Americans more than those of the general population (not that the opinions of either should be relevant). While polls generally show a majority of Americans opposing Obamacare, the ruling class tends to support it.
With the above in mind, I believe the majority of the Supreme Court will rule that Obamacare’s purposes are laudable, that universal coverage is equitable and necessary for the country’s future, and that since the mandate is a necessary element of making the new law work, it is constitutional. That may sound like bootstrapping, but there it is.
Never doubt me.

That’s the ballgame folks. Even if the Republicans win big in November, the law will not be repealed. The era of limited government is over. We are now a full fledged technocracy. Here

Pelosi on Obamacare: I Knew Ted Kennedy ‘Would Go to Heaven and Help Us Pass the Bill’

The Constitutional Importance of the ObamaCare Ruling
...In sum, Chief Justice Roberts arguably followed a circuitous route to reach the wrong result with regard to the constitutionality of the Obamacare individual mandate. However, whether or not the political process eventually sweeps Obamacare away, the limitations on the Commerce Clause that Chief Justice Roberts used his opinion to clearly articulate will endure and may serve as a brake on future progressive initiatives that go too far.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kraft defends rainbow-stuffed gay pride Oreo as ‘reflection of our values’

by Kathleen Gilbert
Wed Jun 27, 2012

Kraft Foods, the company behind the Oreo cookie, has defended a promotional image of the cookie stuffed with rainbow filling as “a fun reflection of our values,” even as the gay rights endorsement triggered boycott threats within hours of appearing on the Internet.

The Photoshopped image of “America’s favorite cookie” caused a stir on the brand’s Facebook page Monday evening when it appeared with the caption, “Proudly support love!”

The image had garnered nearly 220,000 Facebook “likes” by Wednesday morning, 66,600 shares, and 35,850 comments fueling an unending flame war over the cookie’s stand in favor of the homosexual movement. the rest

Kraft Foods owns a number of brands, including Capri Sun, Nabisco, Philadelphia cream cheese, Ritz, Baker’s chocolate, Triscuit, Cool Whip, Grey Poupon, and Wheat Thins.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Dennis Canon – updated

By George Conger
posted June 27, 2012

In 2007 I wrote an article for the Living Church magazine reporting on the controversies surrounding the passage of the Dennis Canon at the 1979 General Convention. In that article I reported that it could not be shown that the Dennis Canon had passed the convention, but the balance of probabilities made it more than likely that it did.

In the five years since I wrote that article I have done further research on this question, and in light of these researches I have revised my conclusions.

As stated in the pleading below, I believe:
Although I hereby express no opinion as to the legal significance of my findings set forth above regarding the documentation relating to the Dennis Canon of the 1979 General Convention, I believe that the Dennis Canon was not properly adopted. In that regard, I affirm those findings: (1) that documentation relating to the Dennis Canon of the 1979 General Convention is missing from the archives and therefore that it cannot be verified that the canon was lawfully adopted by the Convention; (2) that no evidence exists in the archives that shows notice as required by Canon V.1 Section 5a was given to the wider church; (3) that no evidence exists in the archives that shows a motion to suspend the rules was offered to the House of Deputies under Rule VI.22 to permit the resolution to be considered out of time or that two-thirds of the deputies voted for such a suspension.
In recent years I have been engaged as an expert witness in a number of court cases concerning the Episcopal Church’s property cases. I am not a canon law expert, but an expert in the Episcopal Church’s history and polity, which includes the history of Episcopal canon law, Episcopal church properties and how they were historically acquired and held, and on the evolution and growth of the Episcopal Church’s national structures in relation to its parishes and dioceses. the rest

American Muslims Stone Christians in Dearborn, MI


Joe Newby
June 26, 2012

A disturbing video posted Tuesday by The United West shows a small group of sign-carrying Christians attacked and stoned at the 2012 Arab Festival in Dearborn, Michigan.

Worse yet, the police took no action against the attackers, telling the Christians they were the problem, instead of the mob who engaged in numerous acts of assault and battery.

The 22-minute video shows a number of attacks made against the Christians by adults and children repeatedly hurling profanities in addition to rocks, garbage, water bottles and crates.

According to the United West, Wayne County Deputy Chief Mike Jaafar "summed up his situational awareness of the 2012 Dearborn Arab Festival in the Dearborn Patch by stating, 'No official arrests were made, and Jaafar said his team was pleased with the overall outcome.'” the rest

American Muslims Stone Christians in Dearborn, Michigan

AU: The terminators: using abortion as a form of contraception

SARAH BERRY
26 Jun, 2012

Grace* 31, was 18 when she had her first abortion. Since then, she has had five.

To many, this figure is shocking, but she is not alone in having aborted multiple foetuses.

The Daily Mail recently reported that Britain's National Health Service is spending around £1 million a week on repeat abortions. The paper revealed that the latest figures show some 189,000 abortions took place in the UK in 2010. Of these, more than 64,000 terminations were on women who had already had at least one abortion.

"Abortion is an unpleasant and harrowing experience for women and to hear it is happening repeatedly makes your hair stand on end," Josephine Quintavalle, of the UK's Pro-Life Alliance, told the Daily Mail. "These figures show that sadly, abortion is being seen by many as a form of contraception."

The figures for abortion in Australia are unclear, partly because abortion and miscarriage are given the same medicare number. However, in 2006 there were an estimated 71,773. the rest

The Vatican Bank: The Most Secret Bank In the World

By Avi Jorisch
6/26/2012

Italian prosecutors have now detained the former head of the Vatican’s bank after searching his home and former office for suspected criminal behavior. Catholics and followers of the Holy See will be disappointed to learn that the Vatican’s bank appears to be embroiled in yet another financial scandal.

After a number of very embarrassing episodes in recent years, the Pope pledged to comply with international standards on illicit finance and clean up the bank’s image. The European Union has an important role to play in helping the Vatican mitigate risk and come into full compliance; the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), set up by the G-7 to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, has a responsibility as well.

The Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), commonly referred to as the Vatican Bank, is a privately held financial institution located inside Vatican City. Founded in 1942, the IOR’s role is to safeguard and administer property intended for works of religion or charity. The bank accepts deposits only from top Church officials and entities, according to Italian legal scholar Settimio Caridi. It is run by a president but overseen by five cardinals who report directly to the Vatican and the Vatican’s secretary of state. Because so little is known about the bank’s daily operations and transactions, it has often been called “the most secret bank in the world.” the rest

Christianity on the Decline in Australia; Eastern Faiths Increasing

By Stoyan Zaimov
June 21, 2012

A national census has revealed that while most Australians profess Christianity as a belief, the religion as a whole in the country has been on a steady decline, while the number adherents of Eastern faiths like Buddhism and Hinduism has grown.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently revealed its first set of findings for 2011, which showed that Christianity remains the dominant religion among Australia's 21,507,717 population, and was claimed as the faith of practice by 61.1 percent of respondents – although that figure was down by almost 3 percent from 63.9 percent in 2006.

Of those Christians, 25.3 percent identified themselves as Catholic, 17.1 percent as Anglicans, 5 percent as Uniting Church (a union of the Congregational Union of Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia and the Presbyterian Church of Australia) and 2.8 percent as Presbyterian and Reformed – meaning that every major Christian denomination in Australia has suffered a decline in membership from 2006. the rest

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Military Gay Pride: Behavior Once Grounds for Court Martial Now Celebrated

By Alex Murashko
June 26, 2012

The U.S. Department of Defense's recognition of Gay Pride Month less than a year after the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) is the new "stark reality" that behavior once considered by the military as grounds for court martial is now celebrated, says the director of a chaplain alliance group.

"For the first time ever, the Department of Defense is making a positive event over behavior (sodomy) that had been a court martial offense a year ago," Chaplain (Col.) Ron Crews, USAR retired, executive director for the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told The Christian Post on Monday. "Now the DoD is wanting to honor that behavior. That's the stark reality that we're living in now."

The Pentagon announced it will hold its first-ever Gay Pride event Tuesday. Plans for the event include a keynote speech by the DoD's lead lawyer, Jeh Johnson, followed by a panel discussion called "The value of open service and diversity," according to CNN.

Crews said the chaplain alliance is concerned about a couple of areas inside the U.S. military since the repeal of DADT, a transition period he calls the "new environment." the rest

Obama Plugs Birth Control and Planned Parenthood in Speech at High School

 By Fred Lucas
June 26, 2012

(CNSNews.com) – Listing the reasons why Americans should vote for him, President Barack Obama told an audience at a high school in New Hampshire on Monday that failure to subsidize abortions and contraception is the same as “restricting access” to those services.

“In this election, on every single challenge that we face, you’ve got the final say,” Obama told the crowd at Oyster River High School in Durham, N.H.  the rest

Statement by Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt

RE: The First Islamist President of Egypt
June 24, 2012
By George Conger

Dear friends,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ! The majority of Egyptians have been holding their breath over the last few days. They were eagerly awaiting the announcement of the first president after the 25th of January Revolution. It was announced this afternoon, the 24th of June, that Mohammed Mursi won 51.7 percent of the votes, while his opponent Ahmed Shafiq won 48.3 percent.

By this close margin, Mursi became the first Islamist President in Egypt. Mursi, 60 years of age, was born in the Nile Delta. He is married and has five children and three grandchildren. He has a doctorate degree in space engineering from the University of Southern California. He has been an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement for many years. The Muslim Brotherhood is a political Islamic movement that started in Egypt in 1928, and is now an international network. Mursi became the President of the Muslim Brotherhood party, called the Freedom and Justice Party, which was established after the Revolution. He was arrested and imprisoned several times for short periods during Mubarak’s time. The last time was on the 28th of January 2011, and he was released by unknown people who opened the prison two days later.

Mursi promised to be a president for all Egyptians, to appoint a prime minister who is not from the Muslim Brotherhood, and moreover he promised to appoint a Christian vice-president. He made these promises to calm the widespread anxiety of the moderate Muslims and the Christians, who were hoping for a secular government. It is worth mentioning that over the last eight months, the Muslim Brotherhood has lost a lot of support because when they became the biggest party in the Egyptian parliament, they tried to dominate the committee which was responsible for writing the constitution. In addition, the Muslim Brotherhood promised that they would not nominate a presidential candidate; however they changed their mind and nominated Mursi. They also did not give any attention over the last year to the hardships of the Christians in Egypt. All of these reasons were behind the narrow margin in today’s election results.

The fear now is that Mursi will not fulfill his promises, and will try to control the government, the police and the upcoming parliamentary elections. If Egypt became an Islamic state, this will mean that Christians will be marginalized. It is true that today he withdrew from the Muslim Brotherhood Party; however he will continue to be influenced by their ideology. Some writers express their fears that if the Muslim Brotherhood gained control of Egypt, they will stay in power for more than 100 years. the rest

A.S. Haley: Supreme Court Healthcare Decision This Thursday

June 25, 2012

[IMPORTANT UPDATE 06/25/2012: The Court's decision in the Arizona immigration case had not been published for more than five hours before the Obama administration announced that it is suspending all cooperation with Arizona law enforcement to determine the status of illegal immigrants. This is lawlessness at the highest level of our country. The question is whether or not we are too polarized to do anything about it. See more below.]

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a decision in three of the cases pending before it. It summarily reversed (i.e., without hearing arguments or having additional briefs), by a vote of 5-4, the Montana Supreme Court's decision refusing to apply the U.S. Court's previous holding in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. Here is the decision announced today, in its entirety:
PER CURIAM.A Montana state law provides that a “corporation may not make . . . an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political committee that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party.” Mont. Code Ann. §13– 35–227(1) (2011). The Montana Supreme Court rejected petitioners’ claim that this statute violates the First Amendment. 2011 MT 328, 363 Mont. 220, 271 P. 3d 1. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, this Court struck down a similar federal law, holding that “political speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation.” 558 U. S. ___, ___ (2010) (slip op., at 26) (internal quotation marks omitted). The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law. There can be no serious doubt that it does. See U. S. Const., Art. VI, cl. 2. Montana’s arguments in support of the judgment below either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case.
The petition for certiorari is granted. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Montana is reversed.
It is so ordered. the rest

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Those who know nothing of the spiritual life...


Those who know nothing of the spiritual life declare that it is impossible to experience real peace and heavenly joy in this grief-stricken world. But those who have experience of the spiritual life know that just as one finds here and there in the midst of the ice fields of the polar regions flowing streams of hot water, so in the midst of this cold and sorrow-laden world there are to be found flowing in the hearts of believers restful streams of heavenly peace, for the hidden fire of the Holy Spirit glows within them. ...Sadhu Sundar Singh image

Church of the Holy Trinity, Syracuse: Installation of Fr. Brian E. Smith as rector.

Church of the Holy Trinity in Syracuse, NY is rejoicing in the installation of Fr. Brian E. Smith as their new rector on Friday evening, June 22, 2012. Bp. Julian Dobbs led the service with visiting clergy on hand to celebrate this occasion.

You can hear Bp. Dobbs'  sermon here. 

Waiting for the service to begin.

Bp. Julian Dobbs leads in prayer.

Liturgy of the Word.

Members of the congregation pray for Fr. Brian.


Holy Eucharist.
Visiting clergy.

Fr. Brian E. Smith and his lovely bride Bethany.
(Married one month ago!)

(Click on pictures to enlarge) Pictures by Raymond Dague.

Why is GLSEN Bullying My Community?

Aaron Sweeney is a youth minister in Illinois.
June 21, 2012

I can’t remember the last time my town’s been in the national news—in fact, maybe there hasn’t really been another time. I guess that’s why what’s going on now has taken so many of us by surprise.

I’m the youth minister at a church in Erie, Illinois—a town of about 1,500 people that represents a mixture of local business owners, farmers, teachers and factory workers and others.

We’ve never experienced anything like this—where for the last several weeks our town has been the target of a national pressure campaign launched by gay activists and liberal media. People in our town have been called insulting names by angry bloggers. They’ve gotten phone calls to their home and hate emails from people who don’t even live here.

So what was our town’s big crime—the one that suddenly put us on the map for hate speech and CNN coverage?

Well—we just dared to say no. the rest

So I’ve been asking myself why a well-funded, big-time outfit like GLSEN would find it worthwhile to use pressure-tactics against a 200-student elementary school in a rural area. And the best answer I’ve come up with so far is that they don’t like the precedent of anyone—even parents in smalltown America—saying no to them. I guess they really do think they know better than the majority of people raising their kids and elected community leaders.

Prominent atheist blogger converts to Catholicism

By Dan Merica
June 22nd, 2012
She went from atheist to Catholic in just over 1,000 words.

Leah Libresco, who’d been a prominent atheist blogger for the religion website Patheos, announced on her blog this week that after years of debating many “smart Christians,” she has decided to become one herself, and that she has begun the process of converting to Catholicism.

Libresco, who had long blogged under the banner “Unequally Yoked: A geeky atheist picks fights with her Catholic boyfriend,” said that at the heart of her decision were questions of morality and how one finds a moral compass.

“I had one thing that I was most certain of, which is that morality is something we have a duty to,” Libresco told CNN in an interview this week, a small cross dangling from her neck. “And it is external from us. And when push came to shove, that is the belief I wouldn’t let go of. And that is something I can’t prove.”

According to a Patheos post she wrote on Monday, entitled “This is my last post for the Patheos Atheist Portal,” she began to see parts of Christianity and Catholicism that fit her moral system. Though she now identifies as a Catholic, Libresco questions certain aspects of Catholicism, including the church’s positions on homosexuality, contraception and some aspects of religious liberty. the rest

World’s First Of Its Kind Surgery Saves Miami Girl’s Life

June 21, 2012

To see 20-month old Lyna Gonzalez, you would think she’s just like every other toddler at that age – vibrant and energetic.

“She’s perfectly normal, thank God,” said mother Tammy.

But it wasn’t always that way. During her pregnancy, Gonzalez’s doctors discovered a benign tumor the size of a tennis ball growing on her unborn baby’s mouth. Doctors told Tammy there was little chance her daughter would survive birth – and if she did, she would require an immediate tracheotomy in order to breath and have multiple surgeries thereafter. the rest

Pressure mounts to put off women bishops vote

A bishop last night called for an historic Church of England vote next month on ordaining women to the episcopacy to be put on hold amid growing acrimony over concessions to traditionalists.
By John Bingham
23 Jun 2012

The Bishop of Sherborne, Dr Graham Kings, said a recent compromise to those who cannot accept the authority of a woman should be reconsidered.

His comments echo a call from representatives of parishioners in the Diocese of Salisbury who dramatically broke ranks this week in a special vote demanding bishops rethink the recent concessions.

The Church’s General Synod is due to take a final vote on women bishops when it meets in York next month, supposedly ending a tortuous 12-year process.

But senior figures are now bracing themselves for the prospect of the measure collapsing altogether because of the new row.

There is strong support in the Church of England for women bishops but sharp disagreement over the details of any special arrangements to accommodate those who are opposed. the rest

Friday, June 22, 2012

'Electronic cocaine': a new look at addiction to computers

By Damian Thompson
June 21st, 2012

"Electronic cocaine": I wish I'd thought of that. The phrase has been coined by Dr Peter Whybrow, a British-born psychiatrist who runs the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviour at UCLA, to describe how digital innovation is becoming ever smarter at exploiting our bodies' natural reward systems. Here's a passage from his interview with Mary Fischer for Pacific Standard:
“The computer is electronic cocaine for many people,” says Whybrow. “Our brains are wired for finding immediate reward. With technology, novelty is the reward. You essentially become addicted to novelty.”

We can’t stop because the brain has no built-in braking system. With most natural constraints gone, all we’ve got left is our own intelligence and the internal regulatory system in the frontal cortex, the most recent evolutionary addition to the brain. This “executive brain” regulates impulse control and reasoning. But, Whybrow notes, “despite our superior intelligence, we remain driven by our ancient desires.”

The most primitive part of our brain – the medulla and cerebellum – developed millennia ago when dinner tended to run or fly away. It cradles the roots of the ancient dopamine reward pathways. When an action has a good result, like snatching food before it escapes, or finding something new, dopamine neurotransmitters release chemicals that make us feel pleasure. And the more we get, the more we want. When these reward circuits are overloaded with near-continuous spikes in dopamine, our craving for reward – be it drugs, sex, food, or incoming texts – “becomes a hunger that has no bounds,” says Whybrow.
the rest image

Thursday, June 21, 2012

‘Get in line’ or ‘resign’ Admiral tells military chaplain

by Jean McCarthy
Wed Jun 20, 2012

 Although the U.S. Military fight and die to uphold freedom, high-level military chaplains report they are increasingly being denied freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. There is also alarm about the negative effects on troop morale over the undoing of the 237-years’ practice of providing traditional religious support for U.S. soldiers.

“We were promised that we would see no change - very little change,” says Col. Ron Crews, alluding to a two-star officer’s assurance that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal would not impede the ministry of military chaplains. That promise, he says, has not been kept.

Col. Crews, executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, was speaking at a panel along with military chaplains and religious freedom activists during the 2012 National Religious Freedom Conference in Washington D.C on May 24.  the rest

More religious freedom complaints are piling up. But Shackelford said that his office can’t provide any help unless people are willing to take a stand and work through a litigation process. He ended his talk declaring, “We need to stand in a Christ-like manner, but whether we stand or not is not an option.”

Episcopal Diocese Wooing Breakaway Groton Church Back Into The Fold

U.S. Supreme Court Declined To Consider Fight Over Bishop Seabury Church Property
By WES DUPLANTIER
June 20, 2012

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this week not to hear the case of a conservative Episocopal parish in Groton that split from the larger church, Connecticut's Episcopal bishop said Wednesday that the diocese is trying to reconcile with the breakaway congregation.

The high court said Monday that it would not hear arguments about whether the Bishop Seabury Church in Groton should have to return property to the Episcopal diocese, which it left in 2007. The state Supreme Court ruled last year that the 136-year-old parish had to return the property — the 6.5-acre church site, the sanctuary and its contents.

Bishop Seabury Church was one of six parishes in Connecticut that split from the Episcopal Church of the United States after it ordained an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003 and elected a woman as presiding bishop in 2006. the rest
Gauss said five other area churches have offered his parish space if the congregation is forced to leave its building at 256 North Road in Groton. One neighboring church also has offered Seabury money if the parish needs financial support, he said.

Whatever Seabury decides to do, Gauss said, the decision would not be determined solely by one-on-one talks between him and Douglas. He said he would make the decision with his parishioners, just as he did when Seabury left the church five years ago.

Research Shows Growing Republican, Democratic 'God Gap'

Napp Nazworth
June 20, 2012

A new report by Pew Research Center shows more evidence of a growing religious divide between Republicans and Democrats.

For the last couple of decades, election exit polls have shown a partisan divide based upon religious participation. Those who attend religious services frequently have been more likely to vote Republican while those who attend religious services less frequently, or are nonreligious, have been more likely to vote for Democrats. This split is sometimes called the "God gap."

Pew Research Center finds further evidence for this growing partisan split in its values survey, conducted every five years.

Respondents were asked whether or not they doubt the existence of God. Republican answers have remained high and stable since the first values survey in 1987. Ninety-two percent of Republicans in 2012 said they never doubt the existence of God, which is about the same as it was in 1987 – 91 percent. the rest

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

First gay-marriage suit hits Catholic institution

By BRUCE GOLDING
June 20, 2012

A lesbian couple from Westchester yesterday filed the first suit against a Catholic institution for refusing to recognize New York’s gay-marriage law.

The Manhattan federal court filing says the women — identified only as “Jane Roe” and “Jane Doe” — were wed Oct. 15, and that “Roe,” who’s worked at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers since 2007, later applied to add “Doe” to her medical-benefits coverage.

But the request was denied by both St. Joseph’s and its insurance administrator, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, because hospital policy excludes same-sex spouses. the rest

UK's Top doctor: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year

By Steve Doughty
19 June 2012

NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds, a senior consultant claimed yesterday.

Professor Patrick Pullicino said doctors had turned the use of a controversial ‘death pathway’ into the equivalent of euthanasia of the elderly.

He claimed there was often a lack of clear evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients that is used in hospitals across the country.

It is designed to come into force when doctors believe it is impossible for a patient to recover and death is imminent.

It can include withdrawal of treatment – including the provision of water and nourishment by tube – and on average brings a patient to death in 33 hours.

There are around 450,000 deaths in Britain each year of people who are in hospital or under NHS care. Around 29 per cent – 130,000 – are of patients who were on the LCP. the rest
This determination in the LCP leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. The personal views of the physician or other medical team members of perceived quality of life or low likelihood of a good outcome are probably central in putting a patient on the LCP.’
Switzerland Welcomes Dr. Suicide Into Nursing Homes

Uganda: Anglican Bishops to Elect New Archbishop

By Henry Sekanjako
19 June 2012

Church of Uganda Bishops are converging at Lweza conference center in Lweza along Entebbe road for a week long retreat to elect a new Archbishop.

The New Archbishop will replace the outgoing Archbishop Church of Uganda the Right Rev. Henry Luke Orombi .

The Bishops started arriving at Lweza conference center last evening and are expected to start off their retreat today morning.

The retreat will be attended mainly by members of the House of Bishops which include Bishops from different dioceses.

Some of the Bishops expected to attend the retreat include, Dr. Steven Kazimba Mugalu Mbowa (Mitiyana diocese), Rev Stanley Ntagali (Masindi - Kitala diocese), Rev Joel Obetia (Madi and West Nile diocese) and the RT Rev, Henry Luke Orombi Archbishop church of Uganda. the rest

Bishop Seabury Congregation Must Relinquish Church To Episcopal Diocese

June 20, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the case of a 136-year-old Connecticut parish that broke away from the Episcopal Church and tried to keep its property after the church consecrated its first openly gay bishop in 2003.

The high court's decision on Monday ended the dispute between the Bishop Seabury Church in Groton and the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. The parish was seeking a review of a Connecticut Supreme Court ruling last year in favor of the diocese, which argued that church rules prohibit congregations from walking away with church properties. the rest

Episcopal clergy convicted after N.Y. “Occupy” demonstration

By Sharon Sheridan
June 19, 2012

NEW YORK — A retired Episcopal bishop and a Harlem priest were among seven people convicted Monday (June 18) on charges of trespassing on property owned by one of the Episcopal Church’s wealthiest parishes at the height of the Occupy protests.

Bishop George Packard, who oversaw the military and federal ministries before he retired, and the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, were sentenced to four days of community service. They had faced up to 90 days in prison on the most serious charge, Packard’s lawyer, Gideon Oliver, told Episcopal News Service. the rest

Diocese of SC: Standing Committee Releases Statement Regarding General Convention

Declaration of the Standing Committee
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina
June 15, 2012

1. As the Standing Committee of the sovereign Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, we view with dismay and great sadness what appears to be the inevitable outcome of the 2012 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, that is, the official approval of a rite for the blessing of same-gender unions. This is a defining moment in the life of the Episcopal Church, being the first formal adoption of doctrine, discipline and worship which are contrary to the unequivocal mandate of Holy Scripture, the historic Christian faith, Anglican doctrine, and the pronouncements of the four instruments of Anglican unity. Furthermore, the adoption of such a rite at General Convention contravenes the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and the Book of Common Prayer, and in so doing reveals the bankruptcy of our own polity and institutional integrity.

2. Of greatest concern is not that a blessing of same-gender unions contravenes specific verses of Scripture, though that is unacceptable – of greatest concern is the theology which underlies this rite, set forth in the 82 page I Will Bless You document, [here] which patently redefines the Christian faith, subverting the doctrines of creation and baptism, the nature of sin and salvation, and the grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

3. We have compassion for those who struggle with and act upon same-gender attraction, and we urge equal treatment for all men and women in the church. Our Lord calls us all, equally, to repent of sin that we might receive forgiveness and cleansing through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, restoration to the Body of Christ, and transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit.

4. We hereby repudiate, denounce and reject any action of the Episcopal Church which purports to bless what our Lord clearly does not bless. Specifically, we declare any rite which purports to bless same-gender unions to be beyond the authority and jurisdiction of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church and without force or effect.

5. In view of the persistent movement of the General Convention of this church away from orthodox Christianity, including its expected embrace of such a rite of same-sex blessings, we further affirm and assert our calling in this diocese to seek to “make Biblical Anglicans for a global age,” and we declare that we will not walk with General Convention down the road they are choosing. We will instead continue to partner with Anglican dioceses, provinces and other Anglican entities here and abroad to further the spread of the Good News of salvation for sinners through faith in Jesus Christ. Here

Monday, June 18, 2012

Shall I give you yet another reason why you should pray?

Shall I give you yet another reason why you should pray? I have preached my very heart out. I could not say any more than I have said. Will not your prayers accomplish that which my preaching fails to do? Is it not likely that the Church has been putting forth its preaching hand but not its praying hand? Oh dear friends! Let us agonize in prayer. ...CH Spurgeon image by Jesus Leon

Anglican Unscripted Episode 43


June 18, 2012

After a one week hiatus George and Kevin return. Allan Haley brings breaking news from the Supreme Court concerning TEC churches and the Dennis Canon. Your hosts talk about their adventures at the Anglican Church in North America's Assembly, including the topic everyone was 'not' talking about. David Ould brings news from Australia and England while his twin brother Peter is enjoying a vacation with is family at Eurodisney.

Normandy still honors American WWII pilot's sacrifice


June 6, 2012

Story/video-very moving!

Series of bombings hit Nigerian churches

A series of apparently coordinated bombings targeting churches in northern Nigeria yesterday killed at least 17 people and provoked reprisals against Muslims by mobs of angry Christians.
By Mike Pflanz, West Africa Correspondent
17 Jun 2012

Explosions hit churches in four cities in Kaduna state in the latest in a series of attacks on Sunday congregations in the majority Muslim north of the country.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Nigeria's al-Qaeda-linked Islamist terror group Boko Haram has carried out at least 10 similar strikes so far this year.

Authorities in Kaduna imposed a 24-hour curfew ordering everyone to stay indoors after gangs of young men blocked a major highway heading south out of the state capital and dragged Muslims from their cars.

There were unconfirmed reports that several were killed, and that the attacks were to revenge the bombings earlier in the day.

Four children playing outside a church in Zaria were among the first victims of yesterday's blasts, at the Evangelical GoodNews Church in the city's Sabon-Gari district. the rest

Nigerian Violence: AP, Reuters Won't Label Boko Haram a Muslim Terrorist Group

A.S. Haley: Supreme Court Denies Review of Church Property Cases

Monday, June 18, 2012

The list of orders from their June 14 conference is now online, and it shows that less than four of the Supreme Court's Justices were interested in reviewing the two petitions from parishes who lost their properties in the courts below. It takes a vote of at least four Justices to grant review, and the two cases (the Timberridge case from Georgia, No. 11-1101, and the Bishop Seabury case from Connecticut, No. 11-1139) are shown as having review denied.

The result is regrettable, because it means that the morass of State court decisions interpreting Jones v. Wolf, 443 U.S. 595 (1979) will remain unresolved, with some States allowing certain churches to bypass their legal requirements for the creation of a trust, and with other States requiring that all churches comply with their local trust laws. Thus the outcome of any church-parish dispute over property will continue to turn upon the State in which it arises: if the parish is in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York or Ohio, it will most likely lose its property; but if it is in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire or South Carolina, it will most likely keep its property. And if it is in Kentucky or Pennsylvania or Virginia, then the courts could hold that any national trust canon is ineffective to create a trust, but still find that a trust existed anyway.

Fortunately, the denial of review will have little or no bearing on the three pending property lawsuits involving entire dioceses which left the Church (Quincy, Fort Worth and San Joaquin). That is because the Church's Dennis Canon has no application to real or personal property owned by dioceses. Furthermore, the fact that the Supreme Court declines to review a lower court's decision is not a judgment on the merits -- it does not mean that the Court views that case as having been correctly decided. Its net effect, therefore, will be to leave the various States' results exactly as they are. the rest

The U.N.'s Internet Power Grab

Leaked documents show a real threat to the international flow of information.
By L. GORDON CROVITZ
June 17, 2012

It's easy to understand why countries like Russia, China and Iran would want to rewire the Internet, cutting off access to their citizens and undermining the idea of a World Wide Web. What's more surprising is that U.S. diplomats are letting authoritarian regimes hijack an obscure U.N. agency to undermine how the Internet works, including for Americans.

The failure by U.S. negotiators to stop attacks on the Internet became known only through documents leaked last week. They concern a U.N. agency known as the International Telecommunications Union. Founded in 1865 to regulate the telegraph, the body (now part of the U.N.) is planning a World Conference on International Telecommunications in December, when the 193 U.N. member countries, each of which has a single vote, could use the International Telecommunications Regulations to take control of the Internet. The U.N. process is mind-numbing, but as Vincent Cerf, one of the founders of the Web, recently told Congress, this U.N. involvement means "the open Internet has never been at a higher risk than it is now."

The process is secret, so it was hard to know what authoritarian governments were plotting or how the U.S. was responding. This column last month detailed some of the proposals, but other commentators doubted that any changes would be material. the rest

Is There a Woman's Right to Be Born?

June 14, 2012
By TR Clancy

Excerpt:
Abortion proponents view a woman's "choice" as extending beyond herself even to disposal of the life of a born child who has survived a botched abortion. Obviously, a live infant can't be discounted any longer as just part of "a woman's body," nor be blamed, post partum, for being a threat to her life in childbirth. None of that matters. No circumstance can be allowed to nullify the woman's decree that the child be unmade. Then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama followed this logic exactly when he opposed a state bill that required life-saving measures for such children by saying that "the decision concerning a baby should be left to a woman." His objection to the bill was that it would "burden the original decision of the woman [to abort her child]." Given the choice between a baby's life and a woman's decision, Senator Obama thinks it's no choice at all.

The fact is, if abortion is only a solution to a problem, then aborting little girls in favor of male babies is the reductio ad absurdum of that logic. As long as pro-abortionists were able to convince large majorities that millions of mothers needed unrestricted abortion to save their own lives or to erase the memories of savage sexual assaults, pro-lifers were fighting an uphill battle, "forcing their morality" on these unfortunate victims of circumstance.

But if it starts to get widely known that mothers are killing off their female offspring in significant numbers just because their regressive cultures place more value on boys than girls, then pro-abortion advocates will find themselves goosed against the pointy horns of their own hopeless dilemma. A problem is a problem, after all, and abortion fixes all. The pro-abortion left isn't going to be able to straddle contradictory public positions that the government must be allowed to decide what constitutes a legitimate reason for a woman to be terminated from her job, but can't be allowed to decide what constitutes a legitimate reason for an (unborn) woman to be terminated from her existence. the rest

C of E — Church of Everybody?

June 17, 2012
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

The article is interesting and well written. It explains the tensions that have arisen due to the homosexualist’s pressure for “equality.” The core of the argument is that up until now the way the state defined marriage was the same as the Christian definition. Marriage is for life and between one man and one woman. The demand for homosexuals to marry in church means that the state is imposing on the church a new definition of marriage. The church may do this for so called civil partnerships, but for the state to impose a new definition of a basic belief on a religious group is outrageous. What the British government doesn’t seem to understand is that marriage for Christians–even for Protestants with a watered down view of sacraments–is not only a civil agreement, but also a theological and spiritual issue.

For Christians, marriage is linked with a Christian anthropology, Christian ecclesiology and Christian cosmology and theology. What we do with our bodies affects what happens to our souls. For any state to barge in and impose a new definition of marriage is as outrageous an infringement on religious freedom as it would be, for example, to make Christian ministers endorse and bless abortion and say that abortion was not only a civil right, but a religious responsibility. British Christians are right to stand their ground. They do not wish to impose heterosexuality on those who make other moral choices, but they also insist that homosexuality should not be imposed on them.

For any other church the decision is clear. We are separate from the state. We will not be forced to conform to the civil rules. If a law violates our conscience then we must violate the law. For members of the Church of England it is not so easy. Their privilege, their wealth, their property, their position in society is all bound up with being a state church. Disestablishment of the Church of England would be painful, but there seem to be few options as the secular state advances it’s reach.

What complicates the matter further is that there are plenty of members of the Church of England who have no problem with homosexual marriage. Opposition to the innovation is by no means universal, and it may be that the Church of England submits to the law of the land and embraces the innovation by arguing for “equality.” the rest

Catholic hospitals reject Obama’s birth control compromise

David Gibson
June 15, 2012

In an unexpected blow to the Obama administration and a major boon for America's Catholic bishops, the influential Catholic Health Association on Friday (June 15) rejected White House proposals aimed at easing faith-based objections to the contraception mandate.

“The more we learn, the more it appears that the … approaches for both insured and self-insured plans would be unduly cumbersome and would be unlikely to adequately meet the religious liberty concerns of all of our members and other Church ministries,” Sister Carol Keehan and leaders of the CHA said in a five-page response to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Keehan, a crucial ally of the Obama administration in passing health care reform in 2009, had initially sounded a positive note about the administration's proposals in February and again in March that sought to address a wave of bad publicity by accommodating religious concerns about the mandate.

The mandate requires that all employee health insurance plans must provide no-cost birth control coverage to employees, and it grants what many consider an unacceptably narrow exemption for religious groups. the rest

The Tithe in Old Palestine

June 17, 2012

I recently came across a fascinating book entitled The Handbook of Palestine by H.C. Luke and E. Keith-Roach. Produced in 1922 by the British Mandate government which had just taken control of the country after a long Ottoman Turkish rule, it’s a fascinating snapshot of the Holy Land beginning its transition to the State of Israel and the other claimants of the land. I plan to reproduce some of the more interesting parts of the book on a sporadic basis.

This post takes a look at the tithe, a subject of long-running interest on this blog. It’s interesting that the tithe, originally a Hebrew institution, was taken over so readily by the Muslims; such will come as a shock to many Christians, who regard the tithe as a Christian institution. It’s also interesting how the British administration became involved so quickly in the collection of taxes for Muslim religious endowments.

Moslem religious endowments (waqfs), that is, property appropriated or dedicated (by a document called a waqfiah) to charitable uses and the service of God… the rest

Southern Baptists Set for a Notable First

By ERIK ECKHOLM
June 17, 2012

NEW ORLEANS — The Southern Baptist Convention, a denomination born in 1845 in defense of slavery and a spiritual home to white supremacists for much of the 20th century, is poised to elect its first African-American president.

The Rev. Fred Luter Jr., 55, a New Orleans pastor who got his start preaching on the streets of the Lower Ninth Ward, is expected to be the only candidate for office on Tuesday when Southern Baptists gather here for their annual meeting.

“That I can be president of the largest Protestant denomination in the country is unbelievable,” Mr. Luter said in an interview last week after one of his trademark cadenced sermons that drew “amens” from the predominantly black congregation.

His anticipated victory is being hailed as a milestone by white and black pastors alike in the convention, a grouping of 51,000 congregations with 16 million members, about a million of them black. Acutely aware of the nation’s changing demographics, the fiercely evangelical Southern Baptists have been working to draw in more black, Hispanic and Asian members, often by starting new churches in ethnically diverse urban areas in the country. the rest

Southern Baptists poised to elect New Orleans pastor first black president

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Faith and our Fathers

June 15, 2012
Archbishop José H. Gomez

Excerpt:
This Sunday is Father’s Day, when again we celebrate the beautiful reality of fatherhood and the importance of our fathers and grandfathers in our lives. But we also realize that we’re living increasingly in a “fatherless” culture where many fathers are absent from their children’s lives. Almost half of all American children are now born to mothers who are not married to the child’s father. More than a third of our children aren’t being raised in the same home as their fathers. These trends are part of a broader skepticism in our society toward traditional ideas of the family and the human person.

There are strong forces at work that would have us reimagine and reengineer the basic meaning of human nature. They want us to believe that whether one is a man or a woman is just an “accident” of birth, and not intrinsic to who we really are. They want us to believe that motherhood, fatherhood, and marriage aren’t natural realities, but just arbitrary “social constructs.”

This drift in our society has deep pastoral implications for our religious communities and for the Church’s duty to evangelize, because the Gospel that we are called to live and proclaim is the good news of God’s “family plan”—for history and for each one of our lives.

There is a reason that the history told in Scripture begins with the marriage of the first man and woman and ends with the wedding of Jesus and his bride, the Church, at the end of time. In salvation history, the human family proves time and again to be the vessel through which God’s blessings are poured out on creation. It begins with his promise to make Abraham the father of a multitude of nations and to bless all the families of the earth by his descendants. Indeed, Jesus was born as a “son of Abraham” in a mother’s womb and nurtured in a holy family, with a mother and a father. And the good news that Jesus came to announce is that God is our Father who loves us as his sons and daughters and who desires us to live as brothers and sisters.

For Christians, the crisis of fatherhood and the family makes it much harder for the Church to tell the world this good news and to lead people to God our Father. How are people supposed to understand these beautiful realities if they’ve never had any contact with their fathers or if they’ve never known any experience of traditional family life? I’m more convinced than ever that our mission to proclaim the Gospel requires the Church to work to restore a “family culture” in our society. the rest image by Geraint Rowland

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fr. Phil Ashey: "Straight Talk on Hell"



2012-06-10

Excellent-find time to listen!

Wallenda poised for Niagara Falls tightrope walk



Free desktop streaming application by Ustream
The Niagara Falls area prepares for Nik Wallenda's tightrope walk, even if he is being forced to wear a tether.
By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times
June 15, 2012

NIAGARA FALLS, Canada — As high-wire artist Nik Wallenda examined the slender cable suspended across Niagara Falls, Harmina Wikkerink couldn't hide her disdain for the spectacle about to unfold — Wallenda battling fierce winds, icy spray, glaring lights and perhaps even dive-bombing peregrine falcons as he inches over the roaring water.

"What's it good for — thrills?" Wikkerink said dismissively as she watched a tittering crowd watch Wallenda prepare for his Friday night feat.

Then, despite herself, Wikkerink lifted her camera and began snapping pictures, admitting gleefully that no matter what you think of Wallenda's not-so-death-defying act (he'll wear a tether), it's hard to look away. the rest

Rejected Designs for the Great Seal of the United States

File:US-GreatSeal-Obverse.svgJonathan Mulinix
June 13, 2012

This month marks the 230th anniversary of the adoption of the Great Seal of the United States, which is most often seen on the back of the $1 bill. But if John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin had their way, the seal would look very different... Here

Australia Awards Infanticide Backer Peter Singer Its Highest Honor

by Wesley J. Smith
6/12/12

Good grief. Peter Singer is one of the most subversive, pro culture of death advocates in the world, and he has been granted Australia’s highest civic award. After my head stopped exploding, I took to The Corner: From “Australia Awards Infanticide Guru Highest Civic Award:”

Singer is best known for advocating the ethical propriety of infanticide. But that isn’t nearly the limit of his odious advocacy. Here is a partial list of some other notable Singer bon mots:

- Singer supports using cognitively disabled people in medical experiments instead of animals that have a higher “quality of life.”

- Singer does not believe humans reach “full moral status” until after the age of two.Singer supports non-voluntary euthanasia of human “non-persons.”

- Singer has defended bestiality.

- Singer started the “Great Ape Project” that would establish a “community of equals” among humans, gorillas, bonobos, chimpanzees, and orangutans.

- Singer supports health-care rationing based on “quality of life.”
the rest

UK: Christian Doctor Found Guilty of Malpractice for Sharing His Faith

June 14th, 2012

The General Medical Council’s Investigation Committee has today (14 June) reprimanded a Christian doctor for sharing his faith with a patient at the end of a private consultation.

The GMC has ruled that his actions ‘did not meet the standards required of a doctor’. Dr Richard Scott has now been issued with a Warning which will remain on his record for five years.

The National Secular Society encouraged the proceedings and handed transcripts of evidence to the GMC, detailing Dr Scott’s appearances on radio and television where he had defended himself.

Dr Scott, who has been a doctor for over 28 years, was initially investigated by the GMC after it received a complaint from a patient that Dr Scott had discussed the benefits of Christianity with him.

The GMC proceeded with the case despite the fact that the patient refused to give evidence in person. the rest

Spending Off the Hook: Free Phones Costing Taxpayers $2.1 Billion Per Year

by John Sexton
posted June 15, 2012

You're probably familiar with the food stamp program which grew from $35 billion in 2008 to $75 billion last year. But did you know that getting food stamps also makes you eligible for a free government cell phone?

A program called Lifeline provides free phones and free monthly minutes to anyone on food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, Head Start, and several other government programs. And just like food stamps, Lifeline (aka "phone stamps") has been growing by leaps and bounds since 2008, at significant cost to taxpayers.

Lifeline was started in the mid-'80s to reduce the cost of phone service to rural and needy customers. The program's costs are covered by a tax included on every monthly phone bill called the Universal Service Charge. The program eventually grew to include discounted cell service but took off in 2009, partly because TracFone announced a new program whereby eligible individuals could get a free phone and free monthly minutes. As a result, participation in the program (and costs) skyrocketed:
Program participation was stable from 2005 to 2008, from 6.9 million to 7.1 million participants, but increased to 8.6 million in 2009. Likewise, support payments were relatively stable from 2005 to 2008, from $802 million to $823 million annually, before increasing to approximately $1 billion in 2009.
the rest

Pentagon to mark gay pride month

By PAULINE JELINEK
Friday, June 15, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last summer, gays in the military dared not acknowledge their sexual orientation. This summer, the Pentagon will salute them, marking June as gay pride month just as it has marked other celebrations honoring racial or ethnic groups.

In the latest remarkable sign of change since the military repealed the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, the Defense Department will soon hold its first event to recognize gay and lesbian troops. It comes nine months after repeal of the policy that had prohibited gay troops from serving openly and forced more than 13,500 service members out of the armed forces.

Details are still being worked out, but officials say Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wants to honor the contributions of gay service members.

"Now that we've repealed `don't ask, don't tell,' he feels it's important to find a way this month to recognize the service and professionalism of gay and lesbian troops," said Navy Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman.
 the rest

The Battle for the American Conscience

Elizabeth Garvey
June 13, 2012

More than 80 plaintiffs in 23 different lawsuits are now challenging the HHS mandate that will require many religious institutions to provide health insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and other contraceptive services. At the heart of these lawsuits is whether the government’s purported interest in marginally increasing access to contraceptive services trumps the basic right to religious liberty that both individuals and institutions have traditionally enjoyed.

The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The institutions challenging the HHS mandate argue that it violates their right to free exercise because the mandate forces them to provide coverage for contraceptive services that conflict with their religious beliefs. HHS is allowing exemptions from the mandate for institutions that have as their primary purpose the inculcation of religious values and that mainly employ and serve people sharing the same religious beliefs as the institution. Essentially churches would appear to be the only religious institutions that meet HHS’s narrow definition of a “religion employer.” As Rev. Larry Snyder, President of Catholic Charities USA, has quipped, it is doubtful that the ministry of Jesus Christ would have qualified for HHS’s narrow definition of exempted religious services.

Thus, other religious institutions, including religious schools, hospitals, and numerous social service ministries, will be faced with the choice of either hiring and serving only individuals of the same faith or acceding to the Obama Administration’s pressure and covering contraceptive services. The New York Times would have us believe that the “real threat” stems from “the effort to impose one church’s doctrine on everyone.” But the debate is not about whether women should be able to have access to contraception or have abortions, as the left has tried to paint it. Rather it is about government encroachment into the American conscience, and as James Madison wrote in his Essay on Property, “Conscience is the most sacred of all property.” the rest

Church of England, Catholic Bishops, Declare Opposition to Britain’s Same-Sex Marriage Plan

Thursday, 14 June 2012
Written by Dave Bohon

Officials with Great Britain’s two major Christian denominations have expressed their opposition to a government proposal that would legalize same-sex marriage in the country. The Associated Press reported that the Church of England, as well as the Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales, formally objected June 12 to a government proposal to officially legalize homosexual marriage, declaring that the Christian position on marriage only permits the union of a man and a woman.

The official opposition from the churches came on the same day that a pro-family group, the Coalition for Marriage, delivered to the office of Prime Minister David Cameron more than a half-million petition signatures opposing the move. The Coalition for Marriage noted that “throughout history and in virtually all human societies marriage has always been the union of a man and a woman. Marriage reflects the complementary natures of men and women. Although death and divorce may prevent it, the evidence shows that children do best with a married mother and a father.”

The AP noted that Prime Minister Cameron “is backing a proposal to permit civil marriages for gay couples, despite the strong opposition of some lawmakers in his Conservative Party. Gay couples are already allowed to have civil partnerships, with the first such ceremony in 2005.” the rest

AP noted that approximately a quarter of all marriage ceremonies in England occur in Church of England facilities, which are legally bound to provide a wedding ceremony for any resident of a local parish who wishes it. Such a requirement would appear to prime Church of England churches for a challenge from homosexual couples once a same-sex marriage law is passed.

Bishop unlikely to allow same-sex blessings in Dallas Episcopal diocese

National church expected to OK ceremonies, but heavily gay parish hasn’t requested permission from conservative local leader Stanton
ANNA WAUGH
14 Jun 2012

The heavily LGBT congregation at The Episcopal Church of St. Thomas the Apostle likely won’t be able to bless same-sex relationships even if a resolution allowing the blessings passes at the July General Convention in Indianapolis.

Bishops will decide whether to allow the blessings in their dioceses, making Dallas parishes doubt that they’ll be performing them anytime soon.

The Rev. Stephen Waller, openly gay rector at St. Thomas, said he hasn’t even requested permission from the Dallas bishop to perform the blessing because he doesn’t think it would be granted.

“We would not be given such permission by our diocese,” Waller said. “I can’t speak for the bishop, but I suspect he will toe the line and not grant permission. Our bishop has been pretty clear that he didn’t want to do that.” the rest

Holy See establishes Australian ordinariate for former Anglicans

June 15, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI has established an ordinariate in Australia for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church and named a former bishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion to lead it.

The new ecclesiastical jurisdiction, formally known as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, was established on June 15. Father Harry Entwistle, who once served as western regional bishop for the Traditional Anglican Communion in Australia, was ordained to the Catholic priesthood on June 15.

“Ordinariates have thus far been erected in England and the United States and are the response of Pope Benedict to Anglicans who have been petitioning the Holy See to enter into full corporate unity with the Catholic Church while retaining essential elements of their heritage,” the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference said in a statement. the rest