Daily Archives: November 14, 2007

Peter Beinart: The Devil in Every Fan

Last week we New England Patriots fans learned that Bill Belichick, our team’s wildly successful head coach, cheats. Turns out that in the first game of the season, one of Belichick’s assistants improperly videotaped the defensive coaches of the opposing New York Jets, trying to steal their signs. As punishment, the Pats were stripped of future draft picks and fined, as was Belichick. Across the nation, sports writers wagged their fingers. Editorials called Belichick a disgrace. And us fans? Well, when Belichick’s mug appeared on the video screen just before the Pats’ second game, the hometown crowd cheered so loudly and so long that Belichick actually waved. Some diehards unveiled a banner reading in bill we trust.

I wish I could say I was surprised. In truth, Pats fans already knew that Belichick doesn’t play by Marquis of Queensberry rules. This February former linebacker Ted Johnson alleged that Belichick made him practice even after he suffered a concussion and that today he has brain damage so severe that he can barely get out of bed. But in Boston those earlier revelations–like these new ones–haven’t hurt Belichick’s popularity a bit. And there’s only one thing that could: losing.

That’s the dirty little secret about sports fans. We’re basically amoral. Kant said that acting ethically means treating other people as ends in and of themselves, not merely as means to our own desires. I happened to catch this in the doctor’s office yesterday waiting for an appointment after missing it when it orginally came out. Read it all.

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

The Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne raises childhood depression concerns

MARK COLVIN: The Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne believes depression among young people is now so bad that many have effectively had their childhood stolen from them.

Dr Philip Freier says society is making children stressed, forcing them to grow up too early and sexualising them.

He’s now calling for a national inquiry into the state of childhood in Australia.

Dr Freier spoke to our Youth Affairs Reporter, Michael Turtle.

PHILIP FREIER: Talking about situations. Not just of people being unhappy but situations where we think there is up to 100,000 young people in Australia who are actually impaired from normal participation in life. So a very serious growth in people for whom that mental health issue is quite a limitation on their development.

MICHAEL TURTLE: Why do you think this is the case?

PHILIP FREIER: Well, I think there is a lot of reasons and some of them are to do with society and the way in which we push young children into almost adult like decisions and role models. But I’ve called on the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to support having a national enquiry into childhood because that I think that there is enough evidence that there is a crisis that we are in the middle of that needs to have all the best information and research put together to guide how we develop public policy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Children, Psychology

Richard Rubin on the Last Living American Veteran of World War I

BY any conceivable measure, Frank Buckles has led an extraordinary life. Born on a farm in Missouri in February 1901, he saw his first automobile in his hometown in 1905, and his first airplane at the Illinois State Fair in 1907. At 15 he moved on his own to Oklahoma and went to work in a bank; in the 1940s, he spent more than three years as a Japanese prisoner of war. When he returned to the United States, he married, had a daughter and bought a farm near Charles Town, W. Va., where he lives to this day. He drove a tractor until he was 104.

But even more significant than the remarkable details of Mr. Buckles’s life is what he represents: Of the two million soldiers the United States sent to France in World War I, he is the only one left.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

BabyBlue's Look at Day One in the Virginia Anglican/Episcopal Church Trial

Check it out.

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

Washington Post: Trial Begins in Clash Over Va. Church Property

After voting to leave, the 11 churches placed themselves within a Virginia-based branch of the Church of Nigeria — another wing in the Communion.

The Virginia diocese is arguing that there was no division, but rather that individuals unhappy with the Episcopal Church chose to leave. The diocese and the national church, which are both parties in the case, say that the Episcopal Church is hierarchical and therefore a “division” can only happen if there is a vote of its governing body.

But those on the breakaway side say it was the Episcopal Church that “left” by letting stand the 2003 installation of a gay bishop in New Hampshire. The national church “has willfully torn the fabric of the communion at the deepest level,” attorney Steffen N. Johnson said yesterday in his opening argument.

They called as witnesses two U.S. church historians to discuss how church disputes were settled at the time the law was passed.

Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Randy I. Bellows has said he will rule on this case next month. Regardless of how he rules, a second trial will be held on lawsuits brought by the diocese and national church against the breakaway churches. That action asks the Circuit Court to declare the diocese the rightful owner of all property. The suits also asked the court to force the breakaway congregations off the 11 properties, which they have occupied since the votes in December and January.

Bellows’s ruling in the first trial will help whichever side he rules for in the second, representatives on both sides said.

Read it all.

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

Virginia court delves into Episcopal Church split

The congregations, including The Falls Church in Falls Church and Truro Church in Fairfax, argue that they are entitled to keep their land and houses of worship because the congregations overwhelmingly voted to disaffiliate with the Episcopal Church.

The diocese argues that church members who disagree theologically are permitted to leave the congregations as individuals, but have no right to take church property with them.

The disaffected congregations, now members of a breakaway group called the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, or CANA, say the 1867 law is on their side. It states that a majority vote will determine whether a congregation can realign and retain its property when a church faces internal division.

Episcopal leaders argue that the state law does not apply in this case because there has been no formal division recognized by the Episcopal hierarchy.

Read it all.

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

Robin Eames lead Anglicans on North Korea visit

The former Church of Ireland Primate, Lord Robin Eames, is leading an Anglican Communion delegation in North Korea, on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

Lord Eames left Northern Ireland this week to meet up with a group of other Anglicans, including the primates of South Korea, the United States and Japan.

Prior to his departure, Lord Eames told the Belfast Telegraph: “The visit to North Korea is linked to humanitarian aid provided by the Anglican Communion and the project concludes with an international peace conference in South Korea at the weekend.

“During this meeting I will be delivering a keynote speech from the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Church of Ireland

Bishop Graham Chadwick RIP

The apartheid era in South Africa produced Anglican Church leaders who stood out against injustice. Bishop Graham Chadwick, as Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman, following the example of one of his predecessors, Bishop Crowder, was expelled from the country for his actions. The Welsh-born bishop was finally escorted by the security police to Kimberley airport where 50,000 protesters joined in voicing their contempt at his deportation.

Graham Charles Chadwick was born in 1923 in Mid-Wales. The early death of his father led the family to relocate to Swansea, where Chadwick attended Swansea Grammar School. In 1942 he joined the RNVR. With his great gift for languages, he was selected to learn Japanese, before serving as an intelligence officer on flagships in the Pacific. He lost a close friend when he survived a kamikaze attack on HMS Formidable, and in 1946 he acted as an interrogator of war criminals.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces

From the No Comment Department

BEIJING – China’s largest cell phone service provider successfully tested a transmission station on Mount Everest on Tuesday, making it possible for climbers and those on next year’s Olympic torch relay to make calls, a state news agency reported.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Science & Technology

Roman Catholic bishops issue call for Iraq 'transition'

Decrying “political stalemate” in Baghdad and Washington, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will reiterate its call for a “responsible transition” that gets U.S. troops home without a sudden, precipitous withdrawal from Iraq.

“We don’t advocate for retreat. Neither do we advocate staying the course. We advocate for responsible transition” that takes into account the humanitarian crisis that the war has precipitated, said Bishop Thomas Wenski, of the Diocese of Palm Beach, Fla., chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Policy.

This is at least the sixth statement that the bishops or their representatives have issued on Iraq since September 2002 when they raised “serious questions about the moral legitimacy of any preemptive, unilateral use of military force to overthrow the government of Iraq.” But, at the time, their words were all but lost in the avalanche of media attention to reports about the failure of some bishops to respond to reports of sexual abuse by priests. But, regarding Iraq, the bishops were far quicker with their qualms than they were 40 years earlier during the Vietnam war. Although they condemned the war in 1971 — which made an impact on a middle America that often disapproved of protesting “hippies” — their statements earlier in the war were more equivocal.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Iraq War, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

NBC News: Cleveland feels foreclosure crunch

Watch it carefully and watch it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Middle-Class Dream Eludes African American Families

Forty-five percent of black children whose parents were solidly middle class in 1968 — a stratum with a median income of $55,600 in inflation-adjusted dollars — grew up to be among the lowest fifth of the nation’s earners, with a median family income of $23,100. Only 16 percent of whites experienced similar downward mobility. At the same time, 48 percent of black children whose parents were in an economic bracket with a median family income of $41,700 sank into the lowest income group.

This troubling picture of black economic evolution is contained in a package of three reports being released today by the Pew Charitable Trusts that test the vitality of the American dream. Using a nationally representative data source that for nearly four decades has tracked people who were children in 1968, researchers attempted to answer two questions: Do Americans generally advance beyond their parents in terms of income? How much is that affected by race and gender?

“We are attempting to broaden the current debate” beyond the growing gap between higher- and lower-income Americans, said John Morton, Pew’s managing director for program planning and economic policy. “There is little out there on the question of mobility across generations, and we wanted to examine that.”

Read it all.

Update: An AP article is here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Race/Race Relations

In Atlanta Empty Houses Home to Crime As Loans Fail

Eighty-five bungalows dot the cul-de-sac that joins West Ontario Avenue and East Ontario Avenue in Atlanta. Twenty-two are vacant, victims of mortgage fraud and foreclosure. Now house fires, prostitution, vandals and burglaries terrorize the residents left in this historic neighborhood called Westview Village.

“It’s created a safety hazard. And if we have to sell our house tomorrow, we’re out of luck,” said resident Scott Smith. “Real estate agents say to me ‘We’re not redlining you, but I tell my clients to think twice about buying here.'”

As defaults surge on mortgages made to borrowers with spotty credit and adjustable-rate loans, more people are noticing that their neighbors are caught up in the meltdown. Their misfortunes are haunting those left living on the same streets. The effects aren’t confined to just low-income or redeveloping communities; they are seeping into middle-class neighborhoods and brand new developments.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

U.S. Sets Record in Sexual Disease Cases

More than 1 million cases of chlamydia were reported in the United States last year – the most ever reported for a sexually transmitted disease, federal health officials said Tuesday.

“A new U.S. record,” said Dr. John M. Douglas Jr. of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More bad news: Gonorrhea rates are jumping again after hitting a record low, and an increasing number of cases are caused by a “superbug” version resistant to common antibiotics, federal officials said Tuesday.

Syphilis is rising, too. The rate of congenital syphilis – which can deform or kill babies – rose for the first time in 15 years.

“Hopefully we will not see this turn into a trend,” said Dr. Khalil Ghanem, an infectious diseases specialist at Johns Hopkins University’s School of medicine.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Sexuality

Living Church: Methodist Pastor Concelebrates at San Jose Cathedral

In what is believed to be a first for the Diocese of El Camino Real, a United Methodist Minister has taken a role in the celebration of the Eucharist. The 8 a.m. service at Trinity Cathedral, San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 11 included the installation of Canon-vicar Lance Beizer.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Other Churches