Daily Archives: June 17, 2009

Theo Hobson: We must separate church and state

Well, OK, we’re not Iran, but our constitution does have a theocratic structure. I think this holds us back, impedes us, like an old invisible injury. Like a subtle poison in the blood, it quietly harms us. Most people seem unaware of it. Even Hazel Blears, who recently said that we are a secular democracy.

Yesterday a seminar was held at the UCL Constitution Unit to mark the launch of a book on the issue by Bob Morris. Church and State in 21st Century Britain is a meticulous analysis of the situation. No such study can be entirely neutral, but Morris seems to have no religious agenda; his aim is to point out that establishment is at odds with the principle of religious equality, making it “anomalous to the point of unsustainability”. He is wary of the term “disestablishment” but he does advocate the big reform ”“ ending the monarch’s need to be Anglican.

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

Wii Aids Doctors and Patients

Playing with the Wii could help surgeons in training improve their fine motor skills and performance in a surgical simulator. Eight trainees were asked to play the Wii for an hour before performing virtual laparoscopic surgery with a tool that simulates a patient’s body and tracks the surgeon’s movements as he or she operates.

The Wii-playing residents scored 48 percent higher than others without the warm-up with the Wii, working faster and more accurately.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

Cleric Sarfraz Naeem's Slaying Signifies a Shift in Pakistan

The modest office where Sarfraz Naeemi kept his library and received visitors seeking spiritual guidance is now a charred hole. The floor is strewn with burned pages, glass shards and ball bearings from a young suicide bomber’s lethal vest.

Even though this cultured provincial capital is fast becoming used to bombings, the assassination of Naeemi, a scholarly cleric who promoted religious harmony and spoke out against Taliban extremism, has resonated far beyond the blackened walls and shattered windows of the quiet seminary he headed here.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

Navajoland Declines P.B.’s Choice for Interim Bishop

The annual convocation of the Navajoland Area Mission adopted overwhelmingly an amended resolution to defer the election of an interim bishop until September. The convocation met June 12-14 at Good Shepherd Mission in Fort Defiance, Ariz.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presided and officiated at the opening Eucharist, which was attended by about 150 persons, including 40 delegates. Prior to the start of the convocation, Bishop Jefferts Schori had nominated the Rev. Canon David Bailey, canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of Utah, as a possible choice for interim bishop. Her proposal also included identifying and training Navajo leadership, and fund raising in conjunction with the Episcopal Church Foundation.

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

Mousavi issues direct challenge with rally call over 'shameful fraud' in Iran

Iran’s defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi issued a direct challenge to the country’s clerical regime today, calling for a mass rally to protest against the “shameful fraud” that saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected by a landslide.

Mr Mousavi’s appeal to supporters, issued via his website, flew in the face of a declaration last night by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, that the former prime minister should pursue his objectives through the electoral system and not on the streets.

It also came despite a demand from the powerful Revolutionary Guard that websites and bloggers should remove any materials that “create tension”.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East

Green Cards, Belief and Betrayal at a Storefront Church

It seemed too good to be true. And it was, according to prosecutors in the Queens district attorney’s office.

Mr. León and his wife are among at least 120 illegal immigrants in the New York region, most of them Ecuadoreans, who the authorities say were defrauded out of a total of nearly $1 million by Mr. Gonzalez, 56, and two accomplices who were arrested in March and April. The authorities say it was one of the region’s largest cases of immigration fraud in recent years.

Mr. León, 26, a Roman Catholic, still finds it hard to believe that a man of the cloth would lie to them. “For someone who talks so much about God,” he said, “why did he play people like that?”

Makes the heart very sad-read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Obama to propose strict new regulation of financial industry

The Obama administration this week will propose the most significant new regulation of the financial industry since the Great Depression, including a new watchdog agency to look out for consumers’ interests.

Under the plan, expected to be released Wednesday, the government would have new powers to seize key companies — such as insurance giant American International Group Inc. — whose failure jeopardizes the financial system. Currently, the government’s authority to seize companies is mostly limited to banks.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector

Washington Times: New Anglican Church poses dilemma

The Anglican Church in North America will be formally founded next week, challenging the legitimacy of the U.S. Episcopal Church and posing a dilemma for the worldwide Anglican Communion over who represents Anglicanism in the United States and Canada.

When 232 delegates to the ACNA convention at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas, approve the organization’s constitution and canons on Monday, Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan will become archbishop for this “emerging” 39th province of the communion, consisting of several groupings that have left the Episcopal Church over issues related to sexuality and biblical authority.

A ceremony celebrating Bishop Duncan’s installation is set for June 24 at Christ Church in the Dallas suburb of Plano, the ACNA’s largest parish, with more than 2,000 members. Also among the ACNA’s members are 11 Northern Virginia parishes, including the historic The Falls Church and Truro parishes, which left the Episcopal Church to found the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Common Cause Partnership

Job Seekers Find New Rules Of Recruitment

With the unemployment rate at 9.4 percent and ticking up, millions of Americans are in the job market for the first time in several years.

But the job market has changed in that short time. The paper resume is laughably passe, at least in some circles. Not having a profile on the social networking site LinkedIn is, for some employers, not only a major liability but a sign that the candidate is horribly out of touch.

“If someone sends us a paper resume folded in thirds, stuffed in an envelope, it’s hard to take it seriously,” says Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin, an online real estate brokerage.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

”˜Buy China’ policy set to raise tensions

China has introduced an explicit “Buy Chinese” policy as part of its economic stimulus programme in a move that will amplify tensions with trade partners and increase the likelihood of protectionism around the world.

In an edict released jointly by nine government departments, Beijing said government procurement must use only Chinese products or services unless they were not available within the country or could not be bought on reasonable commercial or legal terms.

Read it all from the Financial Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization

Brazil, Russia, India and China form bloc to challenge US dominance

With public hugs and backslaps among its leaders, a new political bloc was formed yesterday to challenge the global dominance of the United States.

The first summit of heads of state of the BRIC countries ”” Brazil, Russia, India and China ”” ended with a declaration calling for a “multipolar world order”, diplomatic code for a rejection of America’s position as the sole global superpower.

President Medvedev of Russia went further in a statement with his fellow leaders after the summit, saying that the BRIC countries wanted to “create the conditions for a fairer world order”. He described the meeting with President Lula da Silva of Brazil, the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and the Chinese President, Hu Jintao, as “an historic event”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Brazil, Europe, Globalization, India, Russia, South America

Fr. Jeffrey Steel Becomes a Roman Catholic: 'I Have Jumped into the Tiber to Swim Across'

Fr Steel writes out of Durham, England,in the United Kingdom. His announcement to “swim the Tiber” this month has shaken the blogosphere. It is one more sign of a move among many Anglicans toward full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Father’s bio was recently changed to read: “I am formerly an Anglican priest who is now swimming the Tiber with my family to become Roman Catholics. I am about to submit a PhD thesis at St. Andrews University in Scotland in the area of Eucharistic Sacrifice. The thesis looks at Lancelot Andrewes as a catalyst for ecumenism with the Roman Catholic Church on the Sacrifice of the Mass.”

We regularly cover the great challenges facing our Christian friends within the Anglican communion as they struggle against heresy, declining morals, and a wholesale effort to reject classical christian orthodoxy even among some of their Bishops. We will continue to do so because we believe that having a concern for all Christians is an obligation for Catholics. We have also covered those who, following their consciences, have chosen to come into the full communion of the Catholic Church. That is now the path that Fr. Steel and his family have taken. We welcome them home and present his stirring letter of announcement for our readers below.It can be found on his blog.Finally, we regularly attempt to educate Catholics on the growing contribution of the “Anglican Use” parishes in the Catholic Church. Many Catholics are not aware of the pastoral provision or Anglican use parishes.

It is important for Catholics to understand the great fullness of the treasury of our Catholic Christian faith….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Anglican Church in North America Committee and Task Force Appointments

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Bishop Visitor: TEC Theology Discouraged Aspirants for the All Saints Sisters

The Rt. Rev. Donald J. Parsons, Bishop of Quincy from1973-1987, said that as bishop visitor for the All Saints Sisters of the Poor for about the past six years, he was aware that the convent was undergoing a process of discernment about its continued affiliation with The Episcopal Church. But he said he played no role in their deliberations. The Catonsville, Md.-based order announced it will be received into the Roman Catholic Church in September.

In recent years, Bishop Parsons said the sisters had become increasingly discouraged in their efforts to recruit new aspirants, or members, to their order. While attracted by the sisters’ beautiful 80-acre campus and their mission and ministry, most potential aspirants declined to pursue a calling with the order because they found its traditional “vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience” to be incongruous with what the visitor understood to be the mission and ministry of The Episcopal Church.

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

End of Day Diversion: Try to Do Starring a Baby Squirrel

Posted in * General Interest, Animals