Daily Archives: July 4, 2007

Kenneth Davis: The Founding Immigrants

Scratch the surface of the current immigration debate and beneath the posturing lies a dirty secret. Anti-immigrant sentiment is older than America itself. Born before the nation, this abiding fear of the “huddled masses” emerged in the early republic and gathered steam into the 19th and 20th centuries, when nativist political parties, exclusionary laws and the Ku Klux Klan swept the land.

As we celebrate another Fourth of July, this picture of American intolerance clashes sharply with tidy schoolbook images of the great melting pot. Why has the land of “all men are created equal” forged countless ghettoes and intricate networks of social exclusion? Why the signs reading “No Irish Need Apply”? And why has each new generation of immigrants had to face down a rich glossary of now unmentionable epithets? Disdain for what is foreign is, sad to say, as American as apple pie, slavery and lynching.

That fence along the Mexican border now being contemplated by Congress is just the latest vestige of a venerable tradition, at least as old as John Jay’s “wall of brass.” “Don’t fence me in” might be America’s unofficial anthem of unfettered freedom, but too often the subtext is, “Fence everyone else out.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Immigration

Play examines Mormonism, homosexuality

Not many theater productions include a glossary of Mormon theological and ecclesiastical terms in the program. Then again, Carol Lynn Pearson’s play, Facing East, defies a number of expectations.

Pearson’s somber but compassionate one-act portrayal of a Mormon family’s struggle to come to terms with the suicide of their gay son treats, as some reviewers have noted, both church traditionalists and critics with humanity and empathy. It’s one reason the play had a much-feted premiere in Salt Lake City last November.

The play has now started to premiere in major U.S. cities with large gay and lesbian populations. Facing East recently completed a successful off-Broadway run in New York, dovetailing the city’s June Gay Pride festivities. The play now moves on to San Francisco for a 17-day run in August and there is talk of the play moving to Boston.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Faiths, Sexuality

From the TLC: Confessions of an Episcopal Fundamentalist

My goodness. An “Episcopal Fundamentalist” from New Jersey?! 😉 Wow!

The Rev. Kenneth D. Aldrich’s op-ed is great reading. A loud Amen to his conclusion.

Confessions of an Episcopal Fundamentalist

Fundamentalist: That abominable “f word;” so inimical to polite society in The Episcopal Church; the most offensive term of opprobrium the liberal religious establishment can use to demean its adversaries. It would seem that one may be almost anything in The Episcopal Church today except a fundamentalist.

Even in centers of American Anglican conservatism, this appellation is taboo. Calling someone at Ambridge or Nashotah a “fundamentalist” quite likely could result in your being regarded as a persona non grata on campus.

Over the course of my ministry, I began to notice that whenever my revisionist colleagues were not able to refute an orthodox argument, they could reduce their opponents to embarrassed stammerings of protested innocence, and thereby regain the upper hand, merely by declaring “You sound like a fundamentalist.”

After personally enduring this supercilious putdown on a number of occasions, I turned the tables on my antagonists by responding, “Yes, you’re right. What’s wrong with that?” This retort reduced opponents to stunned silence and forced the debate back to a reasoned discussion of the issues at point. The other side could no longer carry the argument by dismissively stigmatizing the traditionalists with a pejorative label.

As time went on, the more I owned up to being a “fundamentalist,” the more comfortable I felt with the appellation. What is so bad about affirming the fundamentals of the Christian faith set forth in the historic creeds of the Church?

Read it all here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, Theology

From NPR: Forgotten Facts from the U.S. War for Independence

Self proclaimed know-it-all A.J. Jacobs talks with Scott Simon about lost facts and heroes from the American Revolution.

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch

4th of July Open Thread

Wishing all our U.S. readers and your families a wonderful 4th of July! Since I (elfgirl) will be offline pretty much all day, I thought it might work well to set up an Open Thread for the holiday. A couple discussion starters…

— What’s your favorite 4th of July memory?
— For what are you most thankful as an American?
— What are you praying for our country today?

May the Lord help each of us who know Him today to rejoice in the freedom that Christ has won for us.

Posted in * General Interest

Independence Day

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the peoples of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History

Notable and Quotable

“Today we stand on an awful arena, where character which was the growth of centuries was tested and determined by the issues of a single day. We are compassed about by a cloud of witnesses; not alone the shadowy ranks of those who wrestled here, but the greater parties of the action–they for whom these things were done. Forms of thought rise before us, as in an amphitheatre, circle beyond circle, rank above rank; The State, The Union, The People. And these are One. Let us–from the arena, contemplate them–the spiritual spectators.

“There is an aspect in which the question at issue might seem to be of forms, and not of substance. It was, on its face, a question of government. There was a boastful pretence that each State held in its hands the death-warrant of the Nation; that any State had a right, without show of justification outside of its own caprice, to violate the covenants of the constitution, to break away from the Union, and set up its own little sovereignty as sufficient for all human purposes and ends; thus leaving it to the mere will or whim of any member of our political system to destroy the body and dissolve the soul of the Great People. This was the political question submitted to the arbitrament of arms. But the victory was of great politics over small. It was the right reason, the moral consciousness and solemn resolve of the people rectifying its wavering exterior lines according to the life-lines of its organic being.

“There is a phrase abroad which obscures the legal and moral questions involved in the issue,–indeed, which falsifies history: “The War between the States”. There are here no States outside of the Union. Resolving themselves out of it does not release them. Even were they successful in intrenching themselves in this attitude, they would only relapse into territories of the United States. Indeed several of the States so resolving were never in their own right either States or Colonies; but their territories were purchased by the common treasury of the Union. Underneath this phrase and title,–“The War between the States”–lies the false assumption that our Union is but a compact of States. Were it so, neither party to it could renounce it at his own mere will or caprice. Even on this theory the States remaining true to the terms of their treaty, and loyal to its intent, would have the right to resist force by force, to take up the gage of battle thrown down by the rebellious States, and compel them to return to their duty and their allegiance. The Law of Nations would have accorded the loyal States this right and remedy.

“But this was not our theory, nor our justification. The flag we bore into the field was not that of particular States, no matter how many nor how loyal, arrayed against other States. It was the flag of the Union, the flag of the people, vindicating the right and charged with the duty of preventing any factions, no matter how many nor under what pretence, from breaking up this common Country.

“It was the country of the South as well as of the North. The men who sought to dismember it, belonged to it. Its was a larger life, aloof from the dominance of self-surroundings; but in it their truest interests were interwoven. They suffered themselves to be drawn down from the spiritual ideal by influences of the physical world. There is in man that peril of the double nature. “But I see another law”, says St. Paul. “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind.”

–Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914)

Posted in * General Interest, Notable & Quotable

Stephen Andrews on the Canadian General Synod: Why patience is required yet again

Well this is the second time we have found ourselves in this predicament. Three years ago the General Synod said that the doctrinal status of the blessing of same-sex unions needed further discussion and then affirmed the sanctity of same-sex relationships. Now the synod avows that the blessing of same-sex unions is not a matter of creedal doctrine and yet defeats a motion authorizing it. It is no wonder so many are confused by the church’s stance; indeed, not a few are angry that we have failed to give an unequivocal yes or no to this vexing issue.

The anxiety people are now feeling in the wake of Winnipeg is part of the roller-coaster ride of being a Canadian Anglican these days. We get ramped up for the next significant ecclesiastical event, in the hopes that a General Synod or a Lambeth Conference will put us out of our misery by declaring that our differences are irreconcilable, and then we are plunged into disappointment when we discover that the church is susceptible to timidity and muddleheadedness. Why are we so inconsistent? Why do our beliefs and actions so often contradict each another?

Political pundits will have their cynical answers to these questions, but I want to try to be generous and charitable. I think that we are genuinely perplexed about these matters, and that the plea for more time to study them was in earnest.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007

Integrity reports: Another Los Angeles Property Ruling

The Integrity blog is reporting breaking news about yet another Los Angeles property ruling in a case of TEC vs. a “breakaway” parish in La Crescenta.

Susan Russell’s brief blog entry is here. She says a diocesean press release will follow soon.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

For the record: AAC Statements on bishops-elect

There have been so many statements about the various newly-elected bishops that they all seem to merge together. For the record, here are two new AAC statements of support:

AAC Supports Kenya’s Appointment of U.S.-based Bishop
AAC Enthusiastically Supports Ugandan Appointment of U.S.-based Bishops

And please, before some wag starts in trying to compare the level of enthusiasm in those two headlines, the first line of the Kenya statement says: The American Anglican Council (AAC) fervently applauds the sound decision by Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of the Anglican Province of Kenya in appointing a suffragan bishop…
So we can assure you. The support is enthusiastic for both actions. 😉

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Organizations, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda

British Prime Minister gives up church appointments

AFTER WEEKS of speculation Prime Minister Gordon Brown this afternoon unveiled a range of constitutional changes that will see a change to the way that bishops in the Church of England are appointed.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the new Prime Minister announced a raft of changes, in a manner reminiscent of the radical changes announced in 1997 the day after Labour came to power.

At that time the most significant change was giving power over interest rate changes to the Bank of England. But today’s proposals go much further….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

From the Sunday NY Times Magazine: The Wild and Wonderful World of Wiki

When news broke on May 8 about the arrest of a half-dozen young Muslim men for supposedly planning to attack Fort Dix, alongside the usual range of reactions ”” disbelief, paranoia, outrage, indifference, prurience ”” a newer one was added: the desire to consecrate the event’s significance by creating a Wikipedia page about it. The first one to the punch was a longtime Wikipedia contributor known as CltFn, who at about 7 that morning created what’s called a stub ”” little more than a placeholder, often just one sentence in length, which other contributors may then build upon ”” under the heading “Fort Dix Terror Plot.” A while later, another Wikipedia user named Gracenotes took an interest as well. Over the next several hours, in constant cyberconversation with an ever-growing pack of other self-appointed editors, Gracenotes ”” whose real name is Matthew Gruen ”” expanded and corrected this stub 59 times, ultimately shaping it into a respectable, balanced and even footnoted 50-line account of that day’s major development in the war on terror. By the time he was done, “2007 Fort Dix Attack Plot” was featured on Wikipedia’s front page. Finally, around midnight, Gruen left a note on the site saying, “Off to bed,” and the next morning he went back to his junior year of high school.

Wikipedia, as nearly everyone knows by now, is a six-year-old global online encyclopedia in 250 languages that can be added to or edited by anyone. (“Wiki,” a programming term long in use both as noun and adjective, derives from the Hawaiian word meaning “quick.”) Wikipedia’s goal is to make the sum of human knowledge available to everyone on the planet at no cost. Depending on your lights, it is either one of the noblest experiments of the Internet age or a nightmare embodiment of relativism and the withering of intellectual standards.

Love it or hate it, though, its success is past denying ”” 6.8 million registered users worldwide, at last count, and 1.8 million separate articles in the English-language Wikipedia alone ”” and that success has borne an interesting side effect. Just as the Internet has accelerated most incarnations of what we mean by the word “information,” so it has sped up what we mean when we employ the very term “encyclopedia.” For centuries, an encyclopedia was synonymous with a fixed, archival idea about the retrievability of information from the past. But Wikipedia’s notion of the past has enlarged to include things that haven’t even stopped happening yet. Increasingly, it has become a go-to source not just for reference material but for real-time breaking news ”” to the point where, following the mass murder at Virginia Tech, one newspaper in Virginia praised Wikipedia as a crucial source of detailed information.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet