Daily Archives: June 26, 2008

Supreme Court says Americans have right to guns

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense in their homes, the justices’ first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court’s 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms restrictions intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues

Reuters: Conservative Anglicans reluctant to break away

But mid-way through the conference, conservative leaders spoke only of making GAFCON a “movement”, without indicating how such a process would be handled and if there was enough support among the bishops to initiate a split.

“There is a sense of betrayal and abandonment by the existing leadership and Communion structures,” Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya said at a press conference.

But he added that “there is a genuine desire to continue to reach out to other Anglicans around the Communion who share our common faith.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

Daniel Kimmage: Fight Terror With YouTube

Unfortunately, the authoritarian governments of the Middle East are doing their best to hobble Web 2.0. By blocking the Internet, they are leaving the field open to Al Qaeda and its recruiters. The American military’s statistics and jihadists’ own online postings show that among the most common countries of origin for foreign fighters in Iraq are Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen. It’s no coincidence that Reporters Without Borders lists Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria as “Internet enemies,” and Libya and Yemen as countries where the Web is “under surveillance.” There is a simple lesson here: unfettered access to a free Internet is not merely a goal to which we should aspire on principle, but also a very practical means of countering Al Qaeda. As users increasingly make themselves heard, the ensuing chaos will not be to everyone’s liking, but it may shake the online edifice of Al Qaeda’s totalitarian ideology.

It would be premature to declare Al Qaeda’s marketing strategy hopelessly anachronistic. The group has shown remarkable resilience and will find ways to adapt to new trends.

But Al Qaeda’s online media network is also vulnerable to disruption. Technology-literate intelligence services that understand how the Qaeda media nexus works will do some of the job. The most damaging disruptions to the nexus, however, will come from millions of ordinary users in the communities that Al Qaeda aims for with its propaganda. We should do everything we can to empower them.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Terrorism

Christine Rosen: The Myth of Multitasking

But more recently, challenges to the ethos of multitasking have begun to emerge. Numerous studies have shown the sometimes-fatal danger of using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving, for example, and several states have now made that particular form of multitasking illegal. In the business world, where concerns about time-management are perennial, warnings about workplace distractions spawned by a multitasking culture are on the rise. In 2005, the BBC reported on a research study, funded by Hewlett-Packard and conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, that found, “Workers distracted by e-mail and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.” The psychologist who led the study called this new “infomania” a serious threat to workplace productivity. One of the Harvard Business Review’s “Breakthrough Ideas” for 2007 was Linda Stone’s notion of “continuous partial attention,” which might be understood as a subspecies of multitasking: using mobile computing power and the Internet, we are “constantly scanning for opportunities and staying on top of contacts, events, and activities in an effort to miss nothing.”

Dr. Edward Hallowell, a Massachusetts-based psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and has written a book with the self-explanatory title CrazyBusy, has been offering therapies to combat extreme multitasking for years; in his book he calls multitasking a “mythical activity in which people believe they can perform two or more tasks simultaneously.” In a 2005 article, he described a new condition, “Attention Deficit Trait,” which he claims is rampant in the business world. ADT is “purely a response to the hyperkinetic environment in which we live,” writes Hallowell, and its hallmark symptoms mimic those of ADD. “Never in history has the human brain been asked to track so many data points,” Hallowell argues, and this challenge “can be controlled only by creatively engineering one’s environment and one’s emotional and physical health.” Limiting multitasking is essential. Best-selling business advice author Timothy Ferriss also extols the virtues of “single-tasking” in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek.

Multitasking might also be taking a toll on the economy….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Telegraph: Liberals are tearing apart church says Bishop Wallace Benn

He said: “The reason I don’t feel I can go [to Lambeth] is because I don’t think I can pretend to have fellowship with those with whom there is a broken fellowship.

“How am I meant to set down at a table with people who are persecuting my friends?

“I don’t believe I can pretend that the facts on the ground of the tearing of the fabric of the Communion doesn’t exist.

“It is of great regret to me that the invite list includes almost all those who have torn the fabric of the Communion.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali's GAFCOn address

Anglican TV has a video of the whole thing here.

If anyone feels led to transcribe this as a service to us all please email me off blog–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

Roger Cohen: Why Obama should visit a mosque

At Obama’s old school in Jakarta earlier this year, an establishment scurrilously described as a “madrassa” in all the innuendo, a gentle principal showed me the large mosque and small Christian prayer room. He then invoked the words emblazoned on the coat of arms of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country: “Unity in diversity.”

That’s what I saw among the kids at the school, 85 percent of whom are Muslim and the rest Christian. That’s also what America’s supposed to be about, not religious slurring and stereotyping.

Yet, because he’s called Barack Hussein Obama, and because his Kenyan grandfather was a Muslim, and because his commitment to Israel has been questioned, and because the U.S. Rorschach test is Muslim-menace mired, he’s had to tread carefully.
As Andrea Elliott of The New York Times chronicled in an important piece, Obama has visited churches and synagogues but no mosque. He had to apologize after two Muslim women wearing head scarves were barred from appearing behind him at a recent Detroit rally.

Obama should visit a mosque. He has repeatedly shown his courage during this campaign; Americans have responded to his intellectual honesty. One of the important things about him is the knowledge his Kenyan and Indonesian experiences have given him of Islam as lived, rather than Islam as turned into monstrous specter.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

Ephraim Radner: A short primer in defense of an Anglican Covenant

Why do we need a Covenant at all?

A covenant has been proposed, not to change the nature of Anglicanism or the nature of the Anglican Communion, but in order faithfully to respond to developments that have already taken place within our common life as Anglicans. These developments have to do with the enormous blessing God has given to the missionary receipt of the Gospel within different parts of the globe over the past 150 years through the Anglican church. Many of these blessings, though taking form over a long period, did not become apparent in their scope until just the past few decades, as Anglican churches in Africa and Asia especially, as well as in other parts of the world, have emerged as vital and Spirit-filled Christian communities, themselves engaged in a broad range of missionary endeavors. The Covenant seeks to address how Anglicans around the world, although no longer bound by the past habits and culture of a more restricted British and Anglo-American fraternity, will maintain their unity and energy as they witness to the Gospel.

At the same time, the Anglican Communion has always understood itself to be “bound together not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference” (Lambeth Conference 1930, Resolution 49). This eschewal of a “central legislative and executive authority” has always been understood as embodying the Anglican charism of “mutual responsibility and interdependence” (to use the phrase from the 1963 Anglican Congress), exercised under the “ultimate” authority of the Scriptures themselves. Given this tradition, “procedure” in terms of common council and behavioral norms of common decision-making with regard to the meaning and application of Scripture’s rule must take a higher profile for Anglican churches than perhaps for some other Christian ecclesial communities. The Covenant is designed to address this traditional need for procedural faithfulness.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant

Raymond J. de Souza: Breaking the Bonds of communion

Many of those who are not attending Lambeth are in Jerusalem this week for an alternative meeting, to discuss how they see the way forward. The parallel meetings are a clear manifestation that the bonds of communion have broken down. The Archbishop of Canterbury is not in Jerusalem, and is not welcome there. The breach appears irreparable and therefore the Anglican Communion’s days as a global community centred in Canterbury are numbered.

That is a sadness for those, like myself, who have affection for the Anglican sensibility. But sensibilities are not doctrines, and it cannot be the case that members of the same communion can hold directly contradictory views on matters of grave importance. The Canadian and American proponents of same-sex marriages are arguing that homosexual acts can be morally good, and even sacramental. The traditional Christian view is that such acts are sinful. That is a gap that cannot be bridged: Either one holds to the ancient and constant teaching of the Christian Church, or one rejects it in favour of a different position. It cannot be that both views exist side-by-side as equally acceptable options.

It is not a disagreement only about sexual morality. It goes deeper than that, to what status the ancient and apostolic tradition has in the Church today. There can be no doubt that the blessing of homosexual relationships is entirely novel and in contradiction to the Christian tradition. So if that tradition no longer holds, it raises questions about the apostolicity of those communities which have abandoned it.

An additional sadness for Catholic and Orthodox Christians is that if the Anglican Communion embraces the path of doctrinal innovation, they will be closing the door on closer ecumenical relations. By unilaterally choosing to do what Catholics and Orthodox have always taught is outside our common tradition, they would be choosing the path of division.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Analysis, Ecumenical Relations, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Diocese of Northern Indiana GC Deputies Respond to the Draft Covenant

Many, particularly within the Episcopal Church, have already argued that the very idea of an Anglican Covenant, and all the more the St Andrew’s Draft, is inherently alien to the Anglican tradition and ethos. We do not share this perception. We have tried to note several points in the documents of Anglican history which reveal a developmental arc that would lead us to this place even absent the present crisis. The formal embrace of an Anglican Covenant is an organic and natural next step in the growth to maturity of a Christian tradition that we believe God yet wills to use as a vehicle of great blessing on behalf of “all who profess and call themselves Christians.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC)

U.S. Roman Catholic Bishops Agree With Pew Study Finding That Faith Is Important To Americans

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reacted to the findings of a report on religious beliefs and practices by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life made public today.

The study, which is based on a survey of more than 35,000 American adults, estimates that nearly 92 percent of American adults say they believe in God or a universal spirit. The findings also point to the fact that Americans take religion seriously, that faith is a very important part of their lives and that many of them attend religious services regularly and pray daily.

Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington agrees.

“History testifies that religious faith is very important to Americans. At every juncture of our past, Americans have called upon God for guidance, protection, and direction. There is a clear identification with religion in America which, for Catholics, reflects the dedicated efforts of priests, catechists and teachers in our history,” said Archbishop Wuerl, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Rising Bank Fees Squeeze Consumers

But this is prompting some consumer backlash. Karney Hatch, for example, recently finished shooting a documentary called Overdrawn! inspired by his own experience of using a debit card to buy $65 worth of items, then getting charged $140 in overdraft fees.

In the film ”” and at the urging of consumer advocate Ralph Nader ”” Hatch sues his bank, Wells Fargo, in small claims court and recovers the overdraft charges, as well as the legal fees associated with his suit. The movie does not yet have a distributor.

“I guess what was compelling to me was that it’s yet another instance of the rise of corporate power,” mostly at the expense of consumers, Hatch said in an interview. “The banker used to be the most trusted person in town, and now they’re likely the most reviled person in town … if you even know the banker.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Nancy Gibbs: Prayer and the Presidency

Having a President in your Parish can go to a pastor’s head, as Dwight Eisenhower learned soon after he took office. Ike, though personally devout, wasn’t much of a churchgoer, but he didn’t think people would want a President who just played golf on Sundays. So he became the first President to be baptized in office and joined National Presbyterian. The minister had promised there would be no publicity, but as Eisenhower wrote angrily in his diary, “we were scarcely home before the fact was being publicized, by the pastor, to the hilt.”

We still have a lot to learn about the choreography of faith and politics. None of the candidates in this year’s race have looked very graceful, or sounded very wise, about how they would manage the eternal dance between their personal faith and its public expression were they to become President. And the conduct and coverage of this race isn’t making the challenge easier.

For many Democrats, it has been refreshing to welcome a candidate who is not only able but eager to talk about his faith journey, starting two years ago at the Call to Renewal conference when Barack Obama addressed the “God gap” head-on, calling for a “serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy,” and declared that “secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square.” But having brought his own faith and church and pastor into that square, he found them to be serious obstacles on the way to the nomination…

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

Pilgrims help draft GAFCON statement

There is no advance text of a final statement of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), nor prepared plans for future organization and action. And there won’t be one until the 1,200 bishops, priests and laity meeting in Jerusalem June 22 ”“ 29 has had a chance to seek God’s guidance and contribute their thoughts to the Statement Committee.

“The final statement is going to emerge as the work of all the participants of GAFCON,” said Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of the Anglican Church of Kenya and chair of the Statement Committee.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

The Bishop of Central Pennsylvania's Diocesan Convention Address

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops