Daily Archives: August 23, 2007

'Enough is enough', say police after murder of 11-year-old

The mother of 11-year-old Rhys Jones cradled her dying son in her arms after he was shot on the streets of Liverpool last night by a youth who rode past on a BMX bike.

Rhys, an Everton fan, had just finished football training and was kicking a ball around with friends in the car park of the Fir Tree pub in Croxteth, when he was gunned down.

Merseyside police has launched one of its biggest murder investigations, drafting in 300 police officers to catch those involved in the killing that has shocked a community hardened to gun crime in recent years. Two youths aged 14 and 18 were being questioned today after being arrested on suspicion of murder.

Detectives have appealed to the criminal community to “examine their conscience” and help.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Violence

Lessons from St. Arbucks

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

Louisiana Democratic Party Attacks Rep. Jindal for Anti-Protestant Statements

A Louisiana Democratic Party ad accusing Republican candidate for governor Bobby Jindal of calling Protestants “scandalous, depraved, selfish and heretical” has prompted a firestorm of criticism and calls Tuesday from the GOP to take the ad off the air.

Political watchers questioned whether the ad went too far and whether it accurately reflects Jindal’s writings on Catholicism. Republicans and the head of a national Catholic organization called the ad a smear campaign.

Democrats say the 30-second TV spot ”” running in heavily Protestant central and north Louisiana ”” simply explains Jindal’s beliefs with his own words, using portions of Jindal’s religious writings through the 1990s, before he was an elected official.

A lawyer for the Jindal campaign sent a letter to nine television stations airing the ad, requesting that they stop showing it and calling it defamatory.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations

James Kirchick: Mugabe and the Churches

Robert Mugabe, the dictator of Zimbabwe, claims to be a man of faith””and with some reason. He was born to mission-educated parents and, like many Zimbabweans of his generation, he attended a Jesuit school. He reportedly still attends weekly Mass in Harare. Martin Meredith, a former southern Africa correspondent for the London Times and a biographer of Mugabe, asserts that, at least in his younger days, Mugabe’s “mentor had been the Catholic Church.”

Yet in his twenty-seven years of dictatorial rule, Mugabe has shorn himself of anything his religious upbringing might have instilled. His genocide in the 1980s against members of the minority Ndebele tribe; his politically induced starvation of opponents; and the arrest, torture, and sometimes outright murder of those who speak out against his rule have all demonstrated a wanton disregard for what the Church””particularly the Church in Zimbabwe””has taught its flock. “I was brought up by the Jesuits and I’m most grateful,” Mugabe has said. “I benefited from their teaching enormously.” In truth, the only thing Mugabe seems to have kept from his Jesuit education is an austere self-discipline, a virtue that he has ruthlessly distorted to keep himself in power at the expense of his suffering countrymen.

To many African leaders, Mugabe is seen as a hero of the struggle against European dominance of the continent. But, in the end, the Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe remains remarkably similar to its predecessor, the Rhodesia of Ian Smith. The white authoritarian tyranny of Smith relied on distinct forms of prejudice, and so does the black kleptocratic tyranny of Mugabe””both abjectly refusing to recognize the inviolable rights of man.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

George Vecsey: Michael Vick Gambled With Career, and Lost

Michael Vick is almost surely going to jail and his football career is probably over. All the years he spent as a pampered celebrity in the general vicinity of education did not provide him with the insight that torturing dogs is not good and, besides that, could get him in trouble.

The plea bargain he struck with federal prosecutors in Richmond, Va., yesterday gives no real suggestion that he knows right from wrong. He does know that his former friends turned on him for the prosecutors, and that he is in big trouble, which is a start.

In one significant way, Michael Vick is part of the values of middle America: He is another symptom of America’s major gambling jones.

Up to now, Vick had been scrambling, looking for an opening, the same way he played quarterback ”” past tense, most likely. But yesterday, the play ended. By admitting to charges from the vile operations of the Bad Newz Kennels in rural Virginia, he could go away for up to five years, although he will probably serve only one.

That guilty plea should be quite enough for the N.F.L. to bar him permanently, particularly because of the gambling implications. These people who slipped furtively into the camouflaged farm Vick owned were not there just because they liked to see dogs chew each other to death. They were gambling.

Read it all (Scroll down the page about half way).

Update: Stephon Marbury defended Michael Vick, calling dogfighting a sport.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sports, Theology

Iran threatens German banks over pull-out

Tehran has threatened to bar major German banks that are pulling out of Iran due to US pressure and steep administration costs from returning to the country.

The vice governor of the Iranian central bank, Mohammad Jafar Mojarrad, told the Financial Times Deutschland that the banks’ actions could have long-term consequences.

“We are not happy with the banks’ decision,” he said.

“There is no guarantee that one can return when the good times are here again.”

Mojarrad said that because business ties are based on trust, it would be “very difficult to re-establish trust when it has been abused.”

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Europe, Iran

St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church News Release on recent Court Proceedings in California

Los Angeles Superior Court Rules That St. Luke’s Congregation May Remain On the La Crescenta Church Property Pending Appeal

La Crescenta, Calif. ”“ August 22, 2007 ”“ St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church will continue to occupy the church property and buildings it has purchased and maintained for over 60 years, during the appeal of a ruling by the Los Angeles Superior Court on July 3, 2007. St. Luke’s Church is located at 2563 Foothill Boulevard in La Crescenta, California, and was formerly affiliated with the Episcopal Church until it aligned with the Anglican Church of Uganda in February 2006. The Court had previously granted summary judgment in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and The Episcopal Church on their claim to take over the property of St. Luke’s based on an internal Episcopal rule, following a recent decision of the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District. On August 15, 2007, St. Luke’s Church appealed the Court’s judgment against it.

This morning, the Honorable John S. Wiley of the Los Angeles Superior Court granted a stay of the judgment pending appeal, which allows the St. Luke’s congregation to remain in the La Crescenta church property until a final appellate ruling is made.

The Court rejected the Episcopal demand that the local congregation deposit over $7 million ”“ based on a commercial valuation ”“ in exchange for permission to remain on the property. By doing so, the Court adopted St. Luke’s arguments that the property was an historic church in continuous operation for many decades. In addition, the Court rejected the demand of the Episcopal Diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, that no other Christian bishops be permitted on the property without his prior permission. This demand was irrelevant to protecting the property from damage pending appeal, and instead would have served solely to deprive St.Luke’s Church of visits from its spiritual leaders based on their church affiliation. St. Luke’s Church will be required to protect and preserve the property
pending appeal, and post a small bond which will be returned to the congregation if it ultimately prevails.

St. Luke’s has been a separate, California nonprofit religious corporation since 1940, and it will continue to hold worship services in La Crescenta.

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

Anglican Provincial Secretaries Meet in Hong Kong

Canon Margaret S. Larom, director of Anglican and Global Relations for The Episcopal Church, will attend a meeting of the Anglican Communion’s provincial secretaries Aug. 23-30 in Hong Kong.

This will be the sixth time the provincial secretaries have gathered. The triennial event is organized by the office of the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council.

“The aim is to bring together as many provincial secretaries from around the world as possible to get to know one another, to get to know their respective churches where they work, to talk about differences and the similarities,” said the Ven. Michael Pollesel, who was quoted in an article published on the website maintained by the Anglican Church of Canada. Archdeacon Pollesel is representing the Canadian church at the Hong Kong meeting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal

Brad Drell: Minding The Generation Gap In The Anglican Blogosphere

In the broadest definition, Generation-X encompasses folks born from 1960 to 1979.

Take a look at the Anglican blogosphere. Kendall Harmon, for example, was born in 1960. I was born in 1971. I don’t know when, exactly, Sarah Hey, Matt Kennedy, the Ould brothers, Binky, Mike the CaNNet ninja, the Confessing Reader, Baby Blue, and Greg Griffith were born, but I have hung out with them a good bit and we are all in the same generation, that being Generation-X.

On the “other” side of the Anglican blogosphere are hard core baby boomers like Mark Harris, Elizabeth Kaeton, Jan Nunley, and Jim Naughton.


Read it all. For the record, I usually get roped into the end of the Baby Boomers, which many people date to those born until 1963. I don’t identify either with Generation X or the Baby Boomers. Generation X is sometimes described as filled with those who have no sense of a narrative structure in their lives (but are looking for one), and maybe there is a search for narrative in their blogs–I certainly sense so–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

AP: Evangelicals in England praise the Lord and fill up the pews

It’s Sunday in England, and across the country many traditional stone churches are struggling to get people into their pews.
But not C3, the Cambridge Community Church, one of the country’s many evangelical groups. Its mostly white, middle-class congregants crowd a rented school auditorium with their arms outstretched to the heavens and their hands fervently clapping to evangelical sermons.

“I don’t need an old church with stained glass windows where a few people show up out of obligation, not inspiration,” said Ruth Chandler, a former member of the Church of England.

In England’s last census, 72 percent of people identified themselves as Christian. Many are Anglicans affiliated with the Church of England, which was created by royal proclamation during the 16th century after King Henry VIII ”“ who married six times ”“ broke ties with the Roman Catholic Church in a dispute over divorce.

But the Church of England has said that less than 10 percent of its members are regular churchgoers…

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Peter Schmidt: When loving parents choose segregation

Here is a question for parents everywhere: Suppose a genie popped out of a lamp and offered to make your world colorblind and perfectly racially integrated on one condition ”” that you relinquish all control over where your children go to school. Would you take that offer?

Having followed school desegregation efforts for nearly two decades as an education reporter, I can vouch that the overwhelming majority of parents would tell that genie to buzz off. Most want their children in the best schools possible, to gain an edge that will help them get into a good college and land a good job. As a result, our ideal of public schools as “the great equalizer” is constantly undermined by parents who will do whatever it takes to ensure that their own children’s education will be superior.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Race/Race Relations

Court Upholds Ban on Bible Distribution to Fifth-Graders

A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that prohibited the distribution of Bibles to grade school students in a southern Missouri school district.

At issue was a long-held practice at South Iron Elementary School in Annapolis, 120 miles southwest of St. Louis, in which Gideons International representatives came to fifth-grade classrooms and gave away Bibles. A U.S. district judge issued a temporary injunction, and a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis agreed the classroom distribution should be prohibited.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Church-State Issues

From Time Magazine: Letting Witches Be Witches in Salem

Should you find your way up to Salem, Mass., this Halloween season, your chances of encountering a psychic are up ”” and the odds that that he or she has a felony record are down. That, for those of you who were too drowned in multimedia Harry Potter to notice, is the news from the real town where some estimate every tenth person is a witch.

In June, the Salem town council eased its rules on fortune tellers ”” or, to be more specific, those locals who are engaged in “the telling of fortunes, forecasting of futures, or reading the past, by means of any occult, psychic power, faculty, force, clairvoyance, cartomancy, psychometry, phrenology, spirits, tea leaves, tarot cards, scrying, coins, sticks, dice, coffee grounds, crystal gazing or other such reading, or through mediumship, seership, prophecy, augury, astrology, palmistry, necromancy, mind-reading, telepathy or other craft, art, science, talisman, charm, potion, magnetism, magnetized article or substance, or by any such similar thing or act.”

Salem may have been where witches were once tried and executed by puritans, but ”” thanks to the magic of branding ”” it has since become a mecca for witches and others involved in the occult arts, as well as for tourists. Around a hundred thousand tourists descend on the town every Halloween season.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Faiths, Wicca / paganism