Daily Archives: August 27, 2008

Poll: McCain holds big lead in South

Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain enjoys a 16-point lead ”” 51 percent to 35 percent ”” among Southern voters over rival Democratic U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, a new poll by Winthrop University and ETV shows.

And, the further into the South you go, the larger McCain’s lead grows, the poll of likely voters in 11 Southern states shows.

Likely voters in the Deep South ”” those in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina ”” preferred McCain by a 25-point margin, 56 percent to 31 percent.

Southern voters said what they want most in a president is honesty, experience and shared values. Southern voters rated McCain ahead of Obama in each of those categories.

McCain’s strongest support comes from white working-class Southerners ”” who favor him by a 34-point margin ”” and white evangelicals ”” who favor the Arizonan by 54 percentage points.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

New Credit Hurdle Looms for Banks

U.S. and European banks, already burdened by losses and concerns about their financial health, face a new challenge: paying off hundreds of billions of dollars of debt coming due.

At issue are so-called floating-rate notes — securities used heavily by banks in 2006 to borrow money. A big chunk of those notes, which typically mature in two years, will come due over the next year or so, at a time when banks are struggling to raise fresh funds. That’s forcing banks to sell assets, compete heavily for deposits and issue expensive new debt.

The crunch will begin next month, when some $95 billion in floating-rate notes mature. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. analyst Alex Roever estimates that financial institutions will have to pay off at least $787 billion in floating-rate notes and other medium-term obligations before the end of 2009. That’s about 43% more than they had to redeem in the previous 16 months.

The problem highlights how the pain of the credit crunch, now entering its second year, won’t end soon for banks or the broader economy. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said on Tuesday that its list of “problem” banks at risk of failure had grown to 117 at the end of June, up from 90 at the end of March. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said her agency might have to borrow money from the Treasury Department to see it through an expected wave of bank failures. She said the borrowing could be needed to handle short-term cash-flow pressure brought on by reimbursements to depositors after bank failures.

Read it all from the front page of this morning’s Wall Street Journal.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Bishop Robert Gepert of Western Michigan Reflects on Lambeth 2008

While I and a number of others are not in favor of an Anglican Covenant, I believe it is something that is going to happen. Therefore The Episcopal Church needs to be fully part of the conversation which forms it. — A “document” will be the result of the indaba group conversations, but this should not be interpreted as the last word. There are voices yet to be heard. Each Province of the Anglican Communion will have an opportunity to respond to the document. This will take time.

Many were looking for a definitive outcome of the Lambeth Conference. “What will you tell the people back home?” was a question frequently asked by the press and by visitors to the Conference. I believe the answer to that question has less to do with the issues we wrestled with than with what evolved during the process of Lambeth 2008. My answer is that we moved closer to God, we grounded ourselves in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we realized more fully the importance of a worldwide Anglican Communion. We focused on the spiritual, rather than the political. Those who came to Lambeth with heightened expectations will be disappointed. Under the leadership of Archbishop Williams, we avoided the cultural aspect of creating winners and losers. We agreed that we are Church in different contexts, and we agreed to continue our journey together. I believe Lambeth has been a huge success. It is a beginning, not an end. Our trust in one another is greatly improved and “we” are the outcome of the Conference.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops

Diocese of New Westminster takes steps under Canon 15

The Diocese has taken steps under Canon 15 towards removing clergy who have left the Anglican Church of Canada rather than accepting the decisions of the Diocesan Synod and General Synod.

The Diocese has invoked the provision that returns control of the parishes to the Diocese, an action that was approved by Diocesan Council.

The parishes are St. Matthew’s Abbotsford and St. Matthias and St. Luke, Vancouver. Former diocesan clergy who have continued working in the parishes are Trevor Walters, Michael Stewart, and Don Gardner at St. Matthew’s, and Simon Chin at St. Matthias and St. Luke.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Bonnie Anderson challenges laity to live into baptismal covenant

(ENS) Part of the responsibility of living in community is building relationships. That may mean connecting with someone who has a different set of beliefs or cultural standards. That may mean, as the Gospel reading for August 24 suggested, that the pursuit of truth is not about the end product of defining truth but about the journey together.

“Does one person, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, for instance, have a ”˜corner on the truth market?'” asked Anderson in her sermon. “Has one particular group been given the gift of pure truth and the rest of us just can’t hear it?

“I don’t think so. Right now the how of coming to the truth is as important as getting to the truth. Right now, the way in which the Anglican Communion goes about the search for the elusive truth is as important as the truth itself.”

Through relationships characterized by intimacy and vulnerability, “we come to know the truth,” said Anderson. The relationships between bishops that were forged and fostered at the Lambeth Conference are an important beginning to this journey for truth. But laity, priests and deacons all must be a part of building relationships and making connections so that the truth of Christ can be made known to the world.

Anderson challenged each group to live into the baptismal covenant.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sacramental Theology, Theology

USA Today: Young guys try to read society's road map for behavior

It’s a rough road to manhood for young guys, who more than ever are finding themselves confounded and conflicted about what “masculinity” means.

Behavioral researchers say being a heterosexual male used to mean being macho, but guys today get mixed messages on all fronts as they navigate sex, drinking, friendships and the future.

“The social messages ”¦ about how to be a good person or a good guy vary quite widely,” says Glenn Good, professor of counseling psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Joseph Hammer, 23, who is working on a master’s in counseling at Missouri, hears a lot of competing messages. “Your parents tell you things. Your friends tell you things. Your teachers tell you things. You see things on TV.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Men, Sexuality, Young Adults

Candidates' Health Care Plans: Private Vs. Public

Health care has fallen from its status as the top domestic issue in this year’s presidential campaign, but that doesn’t mean voters no longer care.

A poll released last week found more than 80 percent of those surveyed think the nation’s health care system needs fundamental change. Both Arizona Sen. John McCain and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama are promising that, but change is really the only feature their plans have in common.

McCain and Obama have very different prescriptions for solving the problem of ballooning health care costs, says Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health politics and policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Read it all and consider listening to the longer, linked report.

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

Europe of the future: Germany shrinks, France grows, but UK population booms

Britain will overtake Germany and France to become the biggest country in the EU in 50 years’ time, according to population projections unveiled yesterday. A survey of demographic trends finds Britain’s positive birth rate contrasting strongly with most other large countries in Europe.

The impact of population shrinkage, coupled with the ageing of key European societies, spells big problems for pensions, health and welfare systems across much of the union, says the report, published by Eurostat, the statistical service of the European commission.

But Britain, it says, is likely to suffer less because of its strong population growth and the younger average age of British society.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe

The Diocese of Singapore restates her stand on human sexuality issues

The Diocese of Singapore, in its teaching on biblical faith and order, is firmly committed to this orthodox position on sexual ethics. I need to express as clearly as I possibly can; that what the church here believes (in essential beliefs and moral ethics) needs to be taught and upheld personally and publicly by all our clergy, lay leaders and members of the Diocese. While we can continue to discuss the pastoral challenges on the ground, we need to remain faithful to the teaching of the Church by virtue of the trust committed to us by the Lord and our love for our fellow human being

We believe and hold that the Bible is clear and authoritative in bearing witness to God’s will regarding human sexuality; namely that sexual relations are to be expressed only within the life-long union of a man and a woman in holy matrimony. All forms of sexual promiscuity, including homosexual practices, between men or women, as well as heterosexual relationships outside marriage are incompatible with the divine vision and design of human life. The Bible describes them as sinful practices that are contrary to God’s good purposes. They dehumanise God’s image in humanity and need to be repented of. At the same time, we hold that there is divine grace of forgiveness, healing and transformation for all who repent of homosexual or other illicit forms of sexual practice. We do not condone inhuman and unsocial acts against homosexuals nor do we discriminate against them. Rather, we extend to them God’s love, compassionate ministry and true freedom through Jesus Christ.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), The Anglican Church in South East Asia

Peter Carrell asks some Much Needed Questions

But the quest for theological coherency in the case is a quest for something more from a church which normally acts with, and not against, the grain of Scripture and its interpretation worked out and received as the church’s tradition. Questions I do not see being answered, in TEC or in ACANZP, include:

– what Scriptural basis authorises the church to bless a sexual relationship apart from a marriage between a man and a woman?
– where, in the long history of Israel and the church, both as written down in Scripture, and recorded through Christian history, does the tension between faithful marriage and committed singleness of leaders of Israel and of the church extend to the possibility that God calls leaders who are in committed same sex partnerships?
– given the fact that the situation in Western society now is such that the quest for ‘acceptance’ of homosexuality includes a growing agenda (gay, lesbian and bisexual and transgender; same sex couples rearing children with the aid of a third person as biological father or mother), where is the ‘positive’ basis in Scripture and the tradition of the church for acceptance of the whole agenda being advanced?
– how is the church to theologically sustain either of the following situations: being a church in which ministers may teach that the blessing of same sex partnerships is wrong and ministers may live in a blessed same sex partnership OR being a church in which both ministers may live in a blessed same sex partnership and ministers may not teach that such blessings are wrong?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Marilyn McCord Adams: The proposed Anglican Covenant and its implications for the Communion

TWR’s solution was to give extant pan-Anglican instruments of union legislative and juridical authority. Member churches were to commit themselves to submit innovations in doctrine or practice (especially those concerning whom the Church is prepared to ordain and bless) to the instruments of union for approval, and to refrain from giving such changes institutional expression until such approval was secured. In other words, pan-Anglican instruments were to be given a veto power over any changes of ”˜essentials’ by national churches. TWR suggested the mechanism of a pan-Anglican covenant, whose provisions would be given legal force through member churches changing their canons.

Rhetorically, TWR is remarkable for presuming its own legitimacy. It speaks throughout as if TWR polity were already in force and as if TEC and New Westminster had violated covenant commitments. Rhetorically, TWR encouraged the instruments of union to act on this presumption. Rhetorically, TWR was persuasive.

So when TWR went on to suggest ways of disciplining TEC and New Westminster (putting them on probation by asking them to withdraw from participation in pan-Anglican instruments until matters were settled, until TEC and New Westminster had repented and enforced moratoria on ordaining non-celibate homosexuals and blessing homosexual partnerships) and of protecting the faithful in (what came to be known as) non-Windsor-compliant dioceses or provinces, the ABC and the primates at Dromantine took authority and proceeded to do just that.

Read the whole argument

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

RNS: Is voting a Christian rite or right?

Jason Ford, 29, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., will be spending Election Day at home this year.

A self-identified evangelical Christian, Ford cast his vote for President Bush in 2004, but says he and his wife plan to stay away from the polls Nov. 4, rather than vote for Sen. John McCain.

“I’m not going to be able to vote for anyone who doesn’t take a 100-percent stand against abortion,” said Ford, “so right now I’m in a dilemma.”

Ford is concerned by McCain’s support for embryonic stem cell research, as well as reports that the Arizona senator may choose a running mate who supports abortion rights, such as Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

“If he’s OK with that, then I’m not,” Ford said.

Read the whole article.

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

Nancy Pelosi stands by abortion comments

Under fire from U.S. Catholic bishops, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not backing off contentious comments about abortion she made during a weekend television talk show appearance.

Pelosi said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “doctors of the church” have not been able to define when life begins. That prompted swift rebukes from Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said Pelosi was incorrect and that Catholic teaching has consistently condemned abortion.

Cardinal Edward Egan of New York voiced similar sentiment Tuesday. Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, also issued a statement correcting Pelosi.

Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Pelosi, said in a statement Tuesday that she “fully appreciates the sanctity of family” and based her views on conception on the “views of Saint Augustine, who said: ‘… the law does not provide that the act (abortion) pertains to homicide, for there cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation …’

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

The Democratic National Convention has begun and the poll numbers are bouncing, but not in the direction that most people anticipated.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows Barack Obama attracting 44% of the vote while John McCain also earns 44%. When “leaners” are included, it’s still tied with Obama at 46% and McCain at 46%. Yesterday, with leaners, Obama had a three-point advantage over McCain….

Obama is supported by 78% of Democrats while McCain gets the vote from 85% of Republicans. The GOP hopeful also has a slight advantage among unaffiliated voters.

Read it all.

Update: The latest from Gallup is here.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

MLB reverses on instant replay, will allow umps to check video on home runs starting Thursday

Major League Baseball reversed its long-standing opposition to instant replay and will allow umpires to check video on home run calls in series that start Thursday.

The start date comes nearly 10 months after general managers voted 25-5 to use the technology, and following MLB agreements with the unions for umpires and for players.

“I believe that the extraordinary technology that we now have merits the use of instant replay on a very limited basis,” commissioner Bud Selig said. “The system we have in place will ensure that the proper call is made on home run balls and will not cause a significant delay to the game.”

Three series are scheduled to start Thursday, with Philadelphia at the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota at Oakland and Texas at the Los Angeles Angels. For other games, replays will be available to umpires starting Friday.

I am concerned it may unduly extend the games–but let us see how it works in practice. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports