Daily Archives: November 7, 2008

Bishop of Los Angeles says California voters 'ignorant' about homosexuality

The Bishop of Los Angeles has challenged California voters who backed the successful ballot initiative to ban gay marriage to examine their consciences and banish their ignorance on homosexuality.

In a statement released on Nov 5, the Rt Rev J Jon Bruno (pictured) called upon Californians who supported Proposition 8 “to make an honest and dedicated effort to learn more about the lives and experiences of lesbian and gay humanity whose constitutional rights are unfairly targeted by this measure. Look carefully at scriptural interpretations, and remember that the Bible was once used to justify slavery, among other forms of oppression.”

With 99 per cent of precincts reporting, voters backed Proposition 8 by 5,376,424 to 4,870,010 votes, or 52 per cent to 48 per cent. Proposition 8 amends the state constitution to specify that only marriages between one man and one woman would be recognized as valid in California — overturning a May 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

Bishop Bruno and the bishops of San Diego, California, Northern California, El Camino Real, and the bishop of the provisional diocese of San Joaquin lent their support in September to the “no” campaign.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, TEC Bishops

Local Paper Front Page: Charleston S.C. Area soldier killed

He was an avid sportsman who loved soccer and the outdoors. But he also loved his country. On Wednesday, he died in Iraq.

Adam McKamey Wenger, 27, was the second Charleston-area soldier to have lost his life in the war on terror in about a month.

The circumstances are unclear and his family does not have many details. He had been in the Army for about eight years and leaves behind a wife and two young children.

His older brother spoke Thursday of someone who made sacrifices.

“He was a good kid,” said David Wenger, 31. “He loved his country. He wanted to serve his country. He wanted to do his duty.”

Please let us not forget those who serve. Read it all.

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

Church Times: Jubilant bishops greet first black US president

The Bishop of North Carolina, the Rt Revd Michael Curry, said on Wednesday: “This is a day that I honestly never dreamed I would see. I think about my grandmother, who was the daughter of a sharecropper here in North Carolina. My ancestors were slaves here. My daddy went to jail so folk could vote.

“My great-aunt Callie was a Sunday-school teacher at Sixteenth Street Baptist chapel where the little girls were killed in 1960. Somehow, all the things that people did without knowing how it was going to turn out helped to make this moment possible.

“But they never dreamed this. Americans have said what we want to be: a country for all. That was the American dream from the beginning. God blesses us sometimes, in spite of ourselves, and, every once in a while, something happens that says that dream is real, and don’t give up on it for America, and ultimately for the whole world.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Race/Race Relations, TEC Bishops, US Presidential Election 2008

LA Times: At 114, a daughter of former slaves votes for Obama

Gertrude Baines’ 114-year-old fingers wrapped lightly over the ballpoint pen as she bubbled in No. 18 on her ballot Tuesday. Her mouth curled up in a smile. A laugh escaped. The deed was done.

A daughter of former slaves, Baines had just voted for a black man to be president of the United States. “What’s his name? I can’t say it,” she said shyly afterward. Those who helped her fill out the absentee ballot at a convalescent facility west of USC chimed in: “Barack Obama.”

Baines is the world’s oldest person of African descent, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which validates claims of extreme old age. She is the third-oldest person in the world, and the second-oldest in the United States after Edna Parker of Indiana, who is 115.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Race/Race Relations, US Presidential Election 2008

LA Times: Obama faces a difficult choice for Treasury secretary

Reporting from Washington — During the campaign, when Barack Obama needed an authoritative voice to defend his tax and spending proposals, he turned to Lawrence H. Summers — the Clinton administration Treasury secretary and former Harvard president who has one of the sharpest minds in modern economics.

Now, as President-elect Obama considers his choice for Treasury secretary, Summers’ name is again front and center. But this time, the decision is not so clear. Obama faces conflicting advice from his close advisors, from Capitol Hill and from important Democratic constituencies.

Some argue that, with the economy gripped by a deepening crisis, he needs the country’s best and brightest to help him deal with it, chief among them Summers.

Others warn that Summers’ sharp elbows and his penchant for controversy could make him a damaging distraction at a time when the nation and the new president can least afford it. And they worry that Summers’ wide-ranging knowledge, expansive personality and combative impulses could clash with the president’s desire to have the White House deeply involved in the biggest problems facing the new administration.

These voices argue that a more reassuring pick might be the venerable former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker, perhaps teamed with New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy F. Geithner.

I prefer the Volcker option. Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, US Presidential Election 2008

Christianity Today's Politics Blog: The Evangelical Electoral Map

Check it out.

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

Naomi Schafer Riley: Loyal to the End: Evangelicals Stay the Course

So much for the “new evangelicals.”

For the past two years, hundreds of articles have appeared in newspapers across America making the claim that the old religious right was moving left and that Barack Obama, with his religiously infused rhetoric and various “outreach efforts,” was leading the charge. A year ago, David Kirkpatrick predicted the “evangelical crackup” on the cover of the New York Times Magazine. “Jesus Rode a Donkey: Why Republicans Don’t Have the Corner on Christ,” “Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America” and “Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics After the Religious Right” are just three of the dozens of books released since 2004 that suggested that evangelicals were rethinking their loyalty to the Republican Party and conservatism in general. The new evangelicals, just in case anyone missed the storyline, were not so backward as to vote on issues like abortion and gay marriage. They were enlightened about the environment and favored government aid to the poor.

Well, whoever these new evangelicals were, they didn’t show up at the polls on Tuesday.

John McCain won 74% of white born-again Protestants’ votes. And while this was four percentage points lower than George Bush’s share in 2004, President Bush’s re-election was “the highpoint” for evangelical support of Republicans at least since 1980, according to John Green, a pollster at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. It’s become something of a cliché that Mr. Bush has a “special relationship” with his fellow evangelicals — but it’s true. And it’s a little unrealistic to expect that Sen. McCain would enjoy the same relationship with them, given that he is not one of their own. But he did just as well as, if not better than, every other GOP candidate in the past 30 years. The large victory that Mr. Obama scored with most of the electorate makes it remarkable that his gains with white evangelicals were so small.

Read it all.

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

Report: '08 turnout same as or only slightly higher than '04

A new report from American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate concludes that voter turnout in Tuesday’s election was the same in percentage terms as it was four years ago ”” or at most has risen by less than 1 percent.

The report released Thursday estimates that between 126.5 and 128.5 million Americans cast ballots in the presidential election earlier this week. Those figures represent 60.7 percent or, at most, 61.7 percent of those eligible to vote in the country.

“A downturn in the number and percentage of Republican voters going to the polls seemed to be the primary explanation for the lower than predicted turnout,” the report said. Compared to 2004, Republican turnout declined by 1.3 percentage points to 28.7 percent, while Democratic turnout increased by 2.6 points from 28.7 percent in 2004 to 31.3 percent in 2008.

Read it all and follow the link to the full report.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

A chance to Follow the Diocese of Quincy General Synod

Live Broadcasting by Ustream

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Primates Meeting Set for Jan. 31-Feb. 6 in Egypt

The next meeting of the primates of the Anglican Communion will be Jan. 31 through Feb. 6, in Egypt, The Living Church has learned.

Among the topics expected to be discussed are the proposed Anglican Covenant and the three-fold moratoria proposed during the Lambeth Conference by the Windsor Continuation Group.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates

Christian aid groups fear catastrophe in North Kivu province

Christian emergency response organizations have expressed alarm at a deteriorating situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province and about brutalities innocent civilians are facing in a potential humanitarian catastrophe.

The Geneva-based ACT International (Action by Churches Together) said in a statement on October 30 that it had accounts from aid workers of looted shops and dead bodies on the pavements in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

“It has been a night of horror, but Goma is quiet now,” ACT International quoted one of its aid workers as saying. Emergency work became paralysed after aid workers themselves were withdrawn from the field for security reasons, while thousands of people have sought refuge as rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda has moved towards the city.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Other Churches, Poverty, Republic of Congo

Shelby Steele: Obama's post-racial promise

For the first time in human history, a largely white nation has elected a black man to be its paramount leader. And the cultural meaning of this unprecedented convergence of dark skin and ultimate power will likely become — at least for a time — a national obsession. In fact, the Obama presidency will always be read as an allegory. Already we are as curious about the cultural significance of his victory as we are about its political significance.

Does his victory mean that America is now officially beyond racism? Does it finally complete the work of the civil rights movement so that racism is at last dismissible as an explanation of black difficulty? Can the good Revs. Jackson and Sharpton now safely retire to the seashore? Will the Obama victory dispel the twin stigmas that have tormented black and white Americans for so long — that blacks are inherently inferior and whites inherently racist? Doesn’t a black in the Oval Office put the lie to both black inferiority and white racism? Doesn’t it imply a “post-racial” America? And shouldn’t those of us — white and black — who did not vote for Mr. Obama take pride in what his victory says about our culture even as we mourn our political loss?

Answering no to such questions is like saying no to any idealism; it seems callow. How could a decent person not hope for all these possibilities, or not give America credit for electing its first black president? And yet an element of Barack Obama’s success was always his use of the idealism implied in these questions as political muscle. His talent was to project an idealized vision of a post-racial America — and then to have that vision define political decency. Thus, a failure to support Obama politically implied a failure of decency.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Race/Race Relations, US Presidential Election 2008

A civil rights movement, still in motion

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Race/Race Relations, US Presidential Election 2008

World reaction to Obama victory: Elation

Reporting from London — If history records a sudden surge in carbon emissions on Wednesday, it may be due to the collective exhalation of relief and joy by the hundreds of millions — perhaps billions — of people around the globe who watched, waited and prayed for Barack Obama to be elected president of the United States.

In country after country, elation over Obama’s victory was palpable, the hunger for a change of American leadership as strong outside the U.S. as in it. And there was wonderment that, in the world’s most powerful democracy, a man with African roots and the middle name Hussein, an upstart fighter who took on political heavyweights, could capture the highest office in the land.

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

Pat Toomey on Some interesting results on a Poll of some American Voters

A poll commissioned by the Club for Growth in 12 swing congressional districts over the past weekend shows that the voters who made the difference in this election still prefer less government — lower taxes, less spending and less regulation — to Sen. Obama’s economic liberalism. Turns out, Americans didn’t vote for Mr. Obama and Democratic congressional candidates because they support their redistributionist agenda, but because they are fed up with the Republican politicians in office….

Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district will always support universal health care, and Jeff Flake’s Arizona district will always support less government. But the 12 districts we surveyed represent the political middle of the country, and in this cycle their partisan allegiances changed. The question is, have their opinions on the issues changed as well? The answer is emphatically no.

Consider the most salient aspects of Mr. Obama’s economic agenda: the redistribution of wealth through higher taxes on America’s top earners; the revival of the death tax; raising the tax on capital gains and dividend income; increased government spending; increased government involvement in the housing crisis; a restriction on offshore drilling and oil exploration in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR); and “card check” legislation stripping workers of their right to a secret ballot in union elections.

On each of these issues, swing voters stand starkly against Mr. Obama. According to the Club’s poll, 73% of voters prefer the federal government to focus on “creating economic conditions that give all people opportunities to create wealth through their own efforts” over “spreading wealth from higher income people to middle and lower income people.” Two-thirds of respondents prefer to see the permanent elimination of the death tax, and 65% prefer to keep capital gains and dividend tax rates at their current lows.

Read it all and take the time to look at the overall poll results also

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