Daily Archives: April 8, 2008

NCC Projects Big Costs Due to Global Warming

Global warming will force faith organizations to significantly increase spending on humanitarian efforts–including refugee resettlement, feeding the hungry and disaster relief–according to a new study by the National Council of Churches.

More financial resources and volunteer services will be needed due to global climate change, which is expected to increase the lack of food, shelter and water available, especially among the poor, the study said.

“Individuals or communities living in poverty in developing countries tend to rely on their surroundings more for their day-to-day needs,” said Tyler Edgar, associate director of the NCC’s Climate and Energy Campaign. “These people are more likely to go down to a local river or stream to bring water for their family. With climate change, those systems are extremely vulnerable.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Religion & Culture

Asian Inflation Begins to Sting U.S. Shoppers

The free ride for American consumers is ending. For two generations, Americans have imported goods produced ever more cheaply from a succession of low-wage countries ”” first Japan and Korea, then China, and now increasingly places like Vietnam and India.

But mounting inflation in the developing world, especially Asia, is threatening that arrangement, and not just in China, where rising energy and labor costs have already made exports to the United States more expensive, but in the lower-cost alternatives to China, too.

“Inflation is the major threat to Asian countries,” said Jong-Wha Lee, the head of the Asian Development Bank’s office of regional economic integration.

It is also a threat to Western consumers because Asian exporters, even in very poor countries, are passing their rising costs on to customers.

Developing countries have had bouts of inflation before. Indeed, some are famous for them, like Brazil, which experienced triple-digit inflation in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But two things make this time different, and together promise to send prices higher at Wal-Mart and supermarkets alike in the United States, just as the possibility of recession looms.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Civil Rights Groups Seeing Gradual End of Their Era

Forty years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, the storied organizations that propelled the modern-day civil rights movement alongside him are either struggling to stay relevant or struggling to stay alive.

In Atlanta, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) — which was founded in 1957 after Alabama’s Montgomery bus boycott and was led by King through the most difficult days of the movement — clings to life. Three years ago, utilities shut off the lights and the phones when the group did not pay its bills.

In New York, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which helped shape the movement’s philosophy after adopting Mohandas K. Gandhi’s doctrine of nonviolent protest, is scarcely known outside Manhattan. CORE conceded that it now has about 10 percent of the 150,000 members it listed in the 1960s.

In Baltimore, the near-century-old NAACP, which tore down racial barriers with deft lawyering in the courts, recently cut a third of its administrative staff because of budget shortfalls. For decades, the NAACP asserted that it was the largest civil rights group, with about half a million dues-paying members, but one of its former presidents recently acknowledged that it has fewer than 300,000.

Some groups have disappeared, such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which organized the Freedom Rides that drew sympathy to their cause and which was later led by firebrands such as Stokley Carmichael and H. Rap Brown. Others, such as the National Urban League, remain viable but have diminished visibility.

“They don’t really exist now,” said the Rev. C.T. Vivian, a former interim director of the SCLC, who spoke with pain in his voice. He added: “They’re just names. There has been so little activity from so many of them. SCLC rose from the dead, but we’re not so certain life has been blown into it yet. And the NAACP is vital, but they’re not doing what I’d expect.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Race/Race Relations

A Times Colonist Editorial: When churches lose their way

There is something terribly sad about the fighting between the Anglican Church and parishes that wish to break away over the issue of same-sex unions. The fact that people of a shared faith, facing a world with so many physical and spiritual challenges, are wasting time, energy and money in the courts sparks both despair and anger.

Our editorials, as a rule, don’t enter into debates of faith. Those are matters for those directly involved to resolve. And beliefs are not subject to the kinds of arguments editorials usually make.

But this division has become more than an internal debate over religious doctrine. The battle for control of St. Mary of the Incarnation Church in Metchosin brings all religion into disrepute.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Catholic Insight: Anglican doldrums and Catholic ecumenists

Meanwhile, some members of the Anglican-Catholic team in Rome seem to live in a world of their own. Monsignor Donald Bolen, a Canadian priest at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, recently printed once again the list of ecumenical documents signed by the clerical academics from both sides over some 30 years, implying that they represent a real advance in communications between the two bodies. (“Dialogue beyond the media sensationalism”, L’Osservatore Romano–English edition–February 13, 2008). But as Anglicanim in the West has been disintegrating since 1930, causing a splitting off from official national Anglican churches, this view seems highly dubious. Today, the “Traditional Anglican Church” community is a large umbrella for groups of Anglicans who broke relations with their national bodies as long as three decades ago.

Recently, their representatives in Britain asked for formal talks with Rome. The Church should work with them, not with the British/North American/Australian dissenting liberals whose intellectual and spiritual confusion is severing the last links with Orthodox Christianity.

Similarly, the Anglicans have split already worldwide. Contact should be taken up with groups in Africa and Asia who are defending traditional Christian doctrines against the rejection of biblical and moral teaching by the post-modernist secularizers among Western Anglicans. Canadian Catholic bishops, too, should discourage contact with dissembling Anglicans.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

(London) Times–Tony Blair: articles of faith

As Prime Minister, Tony Blair spoke little about his faith, believing that religion in Britain is a private matter that does not sit comfortably with public life. But he made no secret of his Christianity and acknowledged, in office and afterwards, the enormous help and sustenance he received from his religious beliefs. His decision to set up a Faith Foundation to encourage interfaith dialogue and rescue religion from extremism is therefore particularly welcome: not only does it draw on his deep personal convictions and long political experience, but also it comes at a time when faith plays an ever more central part in politics and policy. Rarely have faith issues intruded as forcefully into Britain’s largely secular society, or religious extremism been as critical to fanning and prolonging conflicts around the world.

In outlining his hopes for this new forum to The Times, Mr Blair has focused on two key challenges: the reconciliation of faith with modernity; and the interfaith dialogue between the world’s main religions. Already, this dialogue is gathering pace: not only are academic and church bodies playing an ever more visible role in current debates on multiculturalism, extremism, identity and Britishness, but also in the wider world there have been potentially momentous initiatives to end historic schisms and enmities – the Vatican’s overtures to Eastern Orthodoxy, the Pope’s readiness to reassess Martin Luther and the call by 138 Muslim leaders for an institutional dialogue with Christianity. What could Mr Blair’s initiative add to the work of the Three Faiths Forum, St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace and the Cambridge Interfaith programme, to name but three?

The answer is much needed political weight and experience. Religious leaders speak from the heart; they are not often versed in the pitfalls of politics or public relations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Inter-Faith Relations, Religion & Culture

His Legacy Tarnished, Alan Greenspan Goes on the Defensive

Alan Greenspan’s reputation is under siege, and he’s incredulous.

Hailed three years ago as “the greatest central banker who ever lived,” the retired chairman of the Federal Reserve now is being criticized for his management of the U.S. economy before he retired in 2006. The Fed’s low rates and laissez-faire regulatory oversight during his final years are widely blamed for sowing the seeds of today’s financial crisis — one that began in the U.S. housing market and is now battering banks, stock markets, borrowers and consumers around the world.

For much of his 18 years atop the world’s most-influential economic institution, Mr. Greenspan was lionized for the economy’s performance. Now, he notes, he’s being second-guessed for it.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Michel Quoist: The Telephone

I have just hung up; why did he telephone? I don’t know”¦Oh! I get it”¦

I talked a lot and listened very little.

Forgive me, Lord, it was a monologue and not a dialogue. I explained my idea and did not get his; Since I didn’t listen, I learned nothing, Since I didn’t listen, I didn’t help, Since I didn’t listen, we didn’t commune.

Forgive me, Lord, for we were connected, and now we are cut off.

–Michel Quoist, Prayers (English translation of the 1963 French original, Avon Books, 1975), p.19

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

Elie Wiesel: A God Who Remembers

The moment the war ended, I believed ”” we all did ”” that anyone who survived death must bear witness. Some of us even believed that they survived in order to become witnesses. But then I knew deep down that it would be impossible to communicate the entire story. Nobody can. I personally decided to wait, to see during 10 years if I would be capable to find the proper words, the proper pace, the proper melody or maybe even the proper silence to describe the ineffable.

For in my tradition, as a Jew, I believe that whatever we receive we must share. When we endure an experience, the experience cannot stay with me alone. It must be opened, it must become an offering, it must be deepened and given and shared. And of course I am afraid that memories suppressed could come back with a fury, which is dangerous to all human beings, not only to those who directly were participants but to people everywhere, to the world, for everyone. So, therefore, those memories that are discarded, shamed, somehow they may come back in different ways ”” disguised, perhaps seeking another outlet.

Granted, our task is to inform. But information must be transformed into knowledge, knowledge into sensitivity and sensitivity into commitment.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths

The Pope's Address to the Bishops of The Antilles

Dear Brothers, each one of you feels the great responsibility to do everything possible to support marriage and family life, which is the primary source of cohesion in communities and hence of vital importance in the eyes of the government authorities. In this perspective, the great network of Catholic schools throughout your region can make a great contribution. Values rooted in the way of truth presented by Christ illuminate the spirit and heart of young people and encourage them to continue along the path of faithfulness, responsibility and real freedom. Good young Christians make good citizens. I am sure that everything will be done to encourage the Catholicity of your schools, which, for generations, have offered a remarkable service to your people. In this way, I do not doubt that the young adults of your dioceses will know to discern their return, in an urgent way, to contribute to the economic and social development of region, because it will be an essential dimension of their Christian witness.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

In Kentucky Atheist father sues to keep son out of St. Xavier High School

As a practicing Catholic whose eighth-grade son, Michael, has always attended parochial schools, Susan Bisig says it would be best for him to attend St. Xavier High School.

The 144-year-old Catholic secondary school also happens to be Michael’s first choice.

But Bisig’s ex-husband, David Ryan, an atheist who has joint custody of their 14-year-old son, wants Michael to attend a nonreligious high school.

And he says the Kentucky Constitution is on his side because it says no one shall be “compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed.”

The battle between Ryan and Bisig, both commercial pilots, has landed in Oldham County Family Court….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

A. S. Haley: History of the "Abandonment of Communion" Canons

One notes that the requirement that a full majority of all the Bishops entitled to vote in the House of Bishops—both active and retired (or “resigned”, as they now say)—has been with us since the very first abandonment canon was adopted in 1853. I shall return to this legislative history in a later comment about the procedural violations that have occurred in the cases of Bishops Schofield and Duncan. But my next post (when it is ready) will show how the (ab)use of the abandonment canons has lately been greatly expanded, to the detriment of the Church and its polity.

Read it all carefully.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, TEC Polity & Canons

Sarah Hey: An Action Idea Regarding the Non-Canonical Actions of the HOB.

In case you had not seen it.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

A Living Church Editorial: Inconsistent Treatment

The following editorial originally appeared on page 10 of the April 13, 2008 issue of The Living Church, an independent weekly magazine supporting catholic Anglicanism. It is reprinted by permission. If you wish to cite it, could you please include this heading and this blog as a source–KSH.

Inconsistent Treatment

The unusual occurrence of the House of Bishops voting to depose two of its members [TLC, April 6] has pointed out some inconsistencies in the application of canon law. Following the decision by the bishops to depose bishops John-David Schofield and William Cox, questions arose as to whether canon law was followed correctly. At issue is whether there were enough bishops present to be able to take action against these two bishops. The matter is complicated. Title IV, Canon 9, Section 2 of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church states that a vote to depose requires “a majority of the whole number of bishops entitled to vote.”

Because only 131 bishops registered for the gathering held last month at Camp Allen in the Diocese of Texas and at least 15 of them left before the vote to depose took place, and because there were 294 bishops entitled to voted on March 12 when the decision was made, it would appear that the depositions are invalid, for those in attendance were only about a third of the number of those entitled to vote.

Since the voting took place, several bishops have said that those present on March 12 were told that canonical procedures were being followed, and that there were no challenges to the procedure that was used. Later, David Booth Beers, the Presiding Bishop’s chancellor, said the vote conformed to the canons. He said the canon meant a majority of those bishops present rather than all of the bishops eligible to vote.

We are concerned about an apparent inconsistency by some church leaders in dealing with canons. When the Diocese of South Carolina sought consents for its bishop-elect to be consecrated, the canons were applied with great detail when it was decided that procedures had not been followed correctly. The same diligence to canon law should have been given to decisions as important as these depositions.

The casual treatment of canon law in the depositions does not bode well for the future. With the possibility of similar action to be taken against more bishops and other clergy, it is necessary that all involved have a clear understanding of how the Title IV canons are to be applied. If the canons are unclear in their language, then someone needs to take the lead in getting them clarified, for there is much at stake.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, TEC Polity & Canons