Daily Archives: November 3, 2008

Further Conflict between Recife and Brazil

While we were still linked to the Brazilian Province (IEAB) we approved in our Diocesan Canons a veto on the ordination of practicing homosexuals, and heterosexuals who affirm the normality of homosexual practice, while simultaneously condemning homophobia. We also resolved to forge relationships and links exclusively with those Provinces, Dioceses, Parishes and Institutions of the Anglican Communion which uphold biblical teaching, the apostolic tradition and the resolutions of the Lambeth Conferences. The Standing Committee and bishops undersigned the “Declaration of Recife”, a document of protest against the consecration of Gene Robinson. At Lambeth 1998, of the Brazilian delegation, only Bishop Cavalcanti (Diocese of Recife) voted in favor of Resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality, and in 2004, participated in a Confirmation Rite in Akkron, Ohio. On both these occasions the diocesan bishop received ample support from the wider diocesan leadership.

During the most difficult moments of our crisis with the Brazilian Province, in opposition to false teaching, the Diocese of Recife remained committed to firm debate in the sphere of ideas, principles and practice, never lowering the tone, and never indulging in personal attacks. However, the Brazilian Province (a direct ally of TEC [USA]) insisted on attacks at a personal level, a diversionary tactic intended to dislocate the focus of the real issues which divide us, so as to weaken international support for us and our just cause. In Brazil and in the UK we had to hire lawyers who could file criminal charges against our defamers – those that shy away from ecclesiastical and civil courts but not from the dark terrain of malign, using to aid their cause, the institution and the visibility of their leaders. Given the historical context, the bishop of the Diocese of Recife would have come under personal attack from adversaries, regardless of who he was.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

US deaths in Iraq plunge to wartime low in October

U.S. deaths in Iraq fell in October to their lowest monthly level of the war, matching the record low of 13 fatalities suffered in July. Iraqi deaths fell to their lowest monthly levels of the year. Eight of the 13 Americans died in combat, most of them in northern Iraq where al-Qaida and other Sunni insurgent groups remain active. The U.S. military suffered 25 deaths in September and 23 in August.

In Afghanistan, meanwhile, 15 U.S. military deaths were reported for October. The monthly toll in that combat theater had been in the 20s since June, when 28 Americans were killed – the worst one-month total since that war began in late 2001.

The sharp drop in American fatalities in Iraq reflects the overall security improvements across the country following the Sunni revolt against al-Qaida and the rout suffered by Shiite extremists in fighting last spring in Basra and Baghdad.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces, War in Afghanistan

Professors’ Liberalism Contagious? Maybe Not

An article of faith among conservative critics of American universities has been that liberal professors politically indoctrinate their students. This conviction not only fueled the culture wars but has also led state lawmakers to consider requiring colleges to submit reports to the government detailing their progress in ensuring “intellectual diversity,” prompted universities to establish faculty positions devoted to conservatism and spurred the creation of a network of volunteer watchdogs to monitor “political correctness” on campuses.

Just a few weeks ago Michael Barone, a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, warned in The Washington Times against “the liberal thugocracy,” arguing that today’s liberals seem to be taking “marching orders” from “college and university campuses.”

But a handful of new studies have found such worries to be overwrought. Three sets of researchers recently concluded that professors have virtually no impact on the political views and ideology of their students.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Education, Politics in General, Young Adults

U.S. rejects GM's call for help in a merger

The Treasury Department has turned down a request by General Motors for up to $10 billion to help finance the automaker’s possible merger with Chrysler, according to people close to the discussions.

Instead of providing new assistance, the Treasury Department told GM on Friday, the Bush administration will now shift its focus to speeding up the $25 billion loan program for fuel-efficient vehicles approved by Congress in September and administered by the Energy Department.

Treasury officials were said to be reluctant to broaden the $700 billion financial rescue program to include industrial companies or to play a part in a GM-Chrysler merger that could cost tens of thousands of jobs.

But it remained unclear whether the officials were also seeking to avoid making any decision that would conflict with the goals of a new presidential administration. The Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama, has said in recent days that he supports increasing aid to the troubled auto companies, while Senator John McCain has not said whether he would support aid beyond the $25 billion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

GetReligion on the Comunion of the Unbaptized

They are discussing the Boston Globe article to which we linked earlier. I chose to make a comment. Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, TEC Parishes, Theology

Stephen Prothero: An election that is, and isn't, about God

The strongest evidence for a tectonic shift in America’s religio-political landscape, however, comes from a Faith in Public Life survey published in October. This poll shows an astonishing turnaround among Hispanic Protestants: from 63%-37% for Bush in 2004 to 50%-34% for Obama in 2008.

But the most telling data point comes in another Faith in Public Life survey, published by Public Religion Research: Americans see Obama as more friendly to religion than McCain. While 49% said Obama was “religion-friendly,” only 45% thought that description fit his GOP opponent, who in some moments during this campaign has seemed at least as pained discussing his faith as John Kerry did four years ago.

When we look back at the 2008 presidential election, we will of course reckon with a handful of big stories about gender and race. But religion matters, too, and the big religion story is this: Democrats have effectively neutralized a political weapon that Republicans had wielded masterfully at least since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

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

In Pittsburgh, Presiding Bishop says exodus 'tragic'

Jefferts Schori fielded questions from about 350 people who stayed after the service to discuss their church’s future. While some have come to terms with the growing role of gay men and lesbians in the diocese, a few said their fellow parishioners wonder whether the presiding bishop sees Jesus Christ as the sole way to salvation.

Jefferts Schori replied that like most Christians, she believes Jesus died for “the whole world.” But his life and resurrection did not sever the promise God made to Jews and to Muslims, she added, and those groups still have access to salvation.

“I see evidence of holiness in people who are not Christians. I have to assume in some way God is present and important in those people who may not consciously know Jesus. And it’s really God’s problem to figure out how to deal with that,” she said, to surprised laughter and applause. “My problem is to be the best Christian I can be and to share what I know of the power of Jesus in my own life.”

Once again the Presiding Bishop hits exactly the wrong note on the subject of the scandal of particularity. Neither Billy Graham nor Benedict XVI would make this error in this pluralistic age. This continues to reinforce the strong concern many of us have about the loss of vibrant and muscular Christology among TEC’s leaders. Read it all

Posted in Uncategorized

Study is first to link TV sex to teen parenthood

The study is the first to draw a direct link between sexual content on TV and the likelihood that teens who watch it will become parents. Researchers examined survey data from about 2,000 teens. They plucked out 23 popular shows and asked how much teens watched each. They coded the replies to established indicators of sexual content for each show ”” everything from nudge-nudge jokes on network sitcoms to full-blown intercourse on steamy cable dramas.

What they found: By age 16, teens who watched a lot of sexually charged TV were more than twice as likely to be pregnant or father an out-of-wedlock baby as teens who watched very little: 12% vs. 5%. The gap holds steady through age 20. Researchers controlled for parents’ race, income and education and teens’ total TV time.

Previous studies have linked sex on TV to earlier initiation of sex; this is the first to link TV sex to pregnancy.

“I don’t find it surprising,” says Jane Brown, who studies media and adolescent health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill….

I don’t find it surprising either. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Sexuality, Teens / Youth

A Prayer for All Souls Day

O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of thy Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as thy children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

–Revelation 14:12,13, very appropriate for All Soul’s Day

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Britain and France call for urgent action on Congo

Britain and France today called for urgent international action to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

In a joint statement to mark the end of their two-day visit to the region, David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner said there was “no excuse for turning away”.

Gordon Brown, meanwhile, expressed concern that the Congo could be lurching towards a repeat of the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda in which up to a million people were killed. “I am very concerned by the situation in the Congo,” he told reporters during his tour of the Gulf states. “Thousands have been displaced. We must not allow Congo to become another Rwanda.”

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Republic of Congo

The Economist's Lexington Column: Two cheers for American democracy

But the best thing that can be said for the system is that it is so democratic. In most countries party leaders are chosen by political insiders. In America rank-and-file party members (and some independents) get to choose””and this year they upset all political calculations by rejecting the inevitable Mrs Clinton on the left and choosing the maverick Mr McCain on the right.

Millions of people have been enthused by the campaigns on both sides. On October 26th 100,000 people in Denver, Colorado, endured cold weather and time-consuming security checks to see Mr Obama. Mr McCain and (particularly) Mrs Palin have also attracted boisterous crowds. More people than ever before have given money to one candidate or another””and unprecedented numbers will take part in get-out-the-vote efforts on election day. All the signs are that this will be the third presidential election in a row where turnout has gone up rather than down.

There are plenty of reasons to withhold the final cheer. The candidates spend too much time repeating their stump speeches and not enough wrestling with tough questions (the Obama campaign’s aloof way with the press is particularly inauspicious). But the biggest problem is perhaps that the process is too enthralling. Americans have spent the past two years in a state of obsession with their presidential campaign. Even important global events such as Russia’s invasion of Georgia have been seen through that prism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., US Presidential Election 2008

Theo Hobson: Milton’s vision for Church and State is our answer

In his tract Areopagitica Milton said that, rather than be satisfied with the formulas of Luther or Calvin, the English had to forge a new liberal version of Protestantism: “God is decreeing to begin some new and great period in his Church, even to the reforming of Reformation itself. What does he then but reveal himself to his servants, and as his manner is, first to his Englishmen?”

Simultaneously opposing the religious authoritarianism of both “High” and “Low”, Milton urged toleration and the co-existence of different forms of Protestantism. He persuaded Cromwell to show leniency to sects many saw as heretical: “Woe to us, while, thinking thus to defend the gospel, we are found the persecutors.”

He kept pushing for the full separation of Church and State, but was not anti-religion: Milton wanted a secular state on Christian grounds ”” only in such a State could a free Christian culture thrive. Imagine a new sort of Christian culture, Milton said, in which there is no priestly power, no uniformity of worship, no “orthodoxy”, just the free pursuit of Christian truth. Christianity must not stand against the spirit of liberty, but embrace it absolutely.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(London) Times: Marian miracles plunge Christians into a ferment

Apparitions are in. It’s official. Martin Shaw is to star as an exorcist in the BBC One programme Apparitions, a drama devoted to supernatural phenomena to be broadcast on November 13.

For the religious believer, apparitions of the Marian variety have proved a hot topic this autumn, in places as geographically diverse as Baltimore and Bosnia. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore has asked Gianna Tallone-Sullivan, the alleged recipient of regular and apparently apocalyptic messages from the Virgin Mary, to stop publicising their content. In Bosnia, the controversial apparitions of Medjugorje, the remote Balkan village where it is alleged that the Virgin Mary has appeared daily since 1981, resurfaced with the news that the Vatican had disciplined for sexual misbehaviour a Franciscan who was once mentor to the shrine’s six seers.

Apparitions, however, are not just a topic for Roman Catholics: for the first time in history a leader of the Anglican Communion, Dr Rowan Williams, went on public pilgrimage recently to Lourdes, the French Pyrenean shrine where, according to the Roman Church, the Virgin Mary appeared on 18 occasions in 1858.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Europe, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Robert Lee Hotz: Will We Vote Against a Candidate's DNA?

In the coming era of personal genomics — when we all can decode our genes cheaply and easily — political candidates may be pressed to disclose their own DNA, like tax returns or lists of campaign contributors, as voters seek new ways to weigh a leader’s medical and mental fitness for public office.

The technology is advancing so quickly that the next generation of presidential hopefuls may be judged not just on the content of their character but also on the possibilities revealed in their genes, highlighting the tension between privacy and public life.

“DNA is not an issue in this campaign, but in the next campaign it will be bigger,” says George Annas, a leading authority on bioethics and human rights at Boston University. “It’s coming.”

Caught this in Friday’s Wall Street Journal–I confess I hadn’t even considered it. Ugh. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Science & Technology