Daily Archives: November 2, 2009

Mark I. Pinsky: Science, faith used to be allies

In recent years, some Americans have come to view science and religion as consistent antagonists, butting heads over everything from the origin of the cosmos to when human life begins (abortion) and when it ends (euthanasia).

Conservative denominations, like the Southern Baptists, Catholics, Assemblies of God and some non-denominational evangelicals, object to particular areas of scientific research ”” embryonic stem cells and cloning, for instance. By contrast, mainline Protestant and Jewish denominations, as well as Hindu and Muslim communities, have tended to support embryonic stem cell research, adding a new voice to such highly politicized debates.

What is sometimes obscured by the clamor is that there was once an era in American history when science and religion were considered symbiotic allies, rather than the rancorous adversaries they too often are today.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

In the Southcoastal Massachusetts Area, Vatican decision received with some applause, some apathy

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River reacted with cautious optimism, warning that much is still unknown; local Anglican (American Episcopal) clergy said the Vatican decision will have no impact on their congregations.

“It is a most interesting development and quite preliminary at the same time,” said Father Marc H. Bergeron, director of the diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs Office. “There are many details that remain to be worked out and possible ramifications go in many directions: What does it mean about celibacy in general? Will the invite go to men not already ordained? What about the pastoral provision already in place here in the USA in a few parishes?”

In 1980, a Vatican-approved provision allowed conservative Anglicans to convert to Catholicism. Consequently, six of these parishes are worshipping in this country.

Yet, it is unclear whether this model will work when the new provision is in place and difficult to predict how many Anglicans will choose to convert.

“American Episcopalians are quite liberal,” Bergeron said. “That seems to limit local interest.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

A.S. Haley: A Documentary History of ECUSA's Constitution

There is much litigation going on currently in State courts over the polity of the Episcopal Church. At the same time, there do not appear to be any online versions readily available of ECUSA’s early Constitution, either as originally adopted or as subsequently from time to time amended. The commentary on the history of the Constitution and Canons published in 1981 by Messrs. White & Dykman, and reprinted in 1997, is available for download from this site (along with two supplements written by others, carrying the account through General Convention 1991). However, even it does not have in one place a complete version of ECUSA’s original Constitution, which is so important for understanding the nature of ECUSA’s mixed form of ecclesiastical polity.

Since the nature of ECUSA’s polity is so much in dispute these days, I have decided that as a public service, I will publish in this post the earliest version of the Church’s Constitution, as well as some further historical materials leading up to its formulation. The purpose will be so that everyone may access and understand the Church’s organic evolution (see this earlier post for even more detail and background), out of a meeting of delegates from the various successors, in each new State, of the previously established Church of England in the respective colonies.

Let us begin with the six principles for the formation of a national replacement in the States for the Church of England, as it had existed in the Colonies prior to the Revolutionary War. The Rev. Dr. William White, of Christ Church in Philadelphia, later one of the first Bishops in the newly established Church, first proposed them in a pamphlet which he had published in 1782, entitled The Case of the Episcopal Churches in the United States Considered….

Read it all and please follow all the links also.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC)

On the Media Remembers Reporter Pete Shellem

Pete Shellem, a reporter for the Central Pennsylvania paper, the Patriot News, died last week. Shellem was best known for his investigative journalism, which directly led to the freeing of four prisoners serving life sentences for murder. Mike Feeley, Shellem’s editor at the paper, recalls Shellem’s accomplished career.

Take the time to listen to it all (a little over 5 minutes total).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Media

A Must Watch Frontline: The Warning

In The Warning, veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk unearths the hidden history of the nation’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. At the center of it all he finds Brooksley Born, who speaks for the first time on television about her failed campaign to regulate the secretive, multitrillion-dollar derivatives market whose crash helped trigger the financial collapse in the fall of 2008.

“I didn’t know Brooksley Born,” says former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, a member of President Clinton’s powerful Working Group on Financial Markets. “I was told that she was irascible, difficult, stubborn, unreasonable.” Levitt explains how the other principals of the Working Group — former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin — convinced him that Born’s attempt to regulate the risky derivatives market could lead to financial turmoil, a conclusion he now believes was “clearly a mistake.”

Take the time to watch it all and take special note of who the key characters are.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

New bishop ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota

A Michigan native who believes his church can make a difference in the staggering rate of reservation suicides was ordained Saturday as the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota.

Six hundred people gathered in the Sioux Falls Convention Center to witness the ordination and consecration of the Rev. John Tarrant in a two-hour ceremony.
Tarrant will succeed the current bishop, the Rev. Creighton Robertson, who is expected to retire at the end of the year.

Read it all.

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

Newsday: Long Island's new Episcopal bishop faces strong challenges

But weeks into his reign, [Bishop Lawrence] Provenzano faces another challenge: The Vatican last month announced it is setting up a new structure to allow Anglicans or their entire parishes to more easily switch to the Roman Catholic Church. This would allow married Anglican priests to continue to operate within the Catholic Church.

The move appears aimed at attracting Anglicans – or Episcopalians, as they are known in the United States – who oppose their church’s embrace of female priests and gay bishops.

Provenzano, 54, is taking it all in stride and says he is not taking any special steps to prevent defections. “This all becomes a distraction to us in terms of really doing what we are called to do, and that is preaching the Gospel, taking care of the poor, taking care of the homeless,” he said. He added that “I don’t think any parish in our diocese will take this invitation” by the Vatican. There are nearly 150 Episcopalian parishes in the Long Island diocese.

Still, some of his initial comments created a stir. Shortly after Rome’s announcement in late October, he wrote, “At the heart of all this is the reality that the Roman Catholic Church is willing to welcome angry, reactionary, misogynistic, homophobic people.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Bishops

Facing Identity Conflicts, Black Students Fall Behind

The identity issues facing middle-class black and Latino teenagers might be a clue as to why they don’t do as well academically as their white and Asian counterparts, some researchers and educators say. The teens often live in dual worlds: the suburban one they live in, and the rougher street life they see glorified in the media.

Known as the “minority achievement gap,” the lower average test scores, grades and college attendance by black and Latino students have long perplexed researchers. Many have focused on the values and attitudes of students and whether black students think doing well in school is “acting white.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Race/Race Relations

Blacks still drawn to Islam despite FBI raids

By now, Sekou Jackson is used to the questions: Why does he need to leave a work meeting to pray? Don’t black Muslims convert to Islam in jail? Why would you even want to be Muslim?

“It’s kind of a double whammy to be African-American and Muslim,” said Jackson, who studies the Navy at the National Academy of Science in Washington. “You’re going to be judged.”

Jackson’s struggle may have gotten harder when the FBI raided a Detroit mosque Wednesday, saying its leader preached hate against the government, trafficked in stolen goods and belonged to a radical group that wants to establish a Muslim state in America. The mosque’s imam, a black American named Luqman Ameen Abdullah, was killed in a shootout with agents.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Religious Intelligence: Two US dioceses back Anglican Covenant

The Dioceses of Western Louisiana and South Carolina have endorsed the Ridley-Cambridge draft of the Anglican Covenant, joining Central Florida as the third American diocese to formally back the Archbishop of Canterbury’s plan for creating a structure to manage the divisions over doctrine and discipline dividing the Anglican Communion.

On Oct 24, a special convention of the Diocese of South Carolina approved a resolution by a margin of 88 to 12 per cent that “endorses” the Anglican Covenant “as it presently stands, in all four sections, as an expression of our full commitment to mutual submission and accountability in communion, grounded in a common faith.”

Delegates to the Oct 9-10 annual convention of the Diocese of Western Louisiana also affirmed their support for the Covenant and backed Bishop Bruce MacPherson’s endorsement of the Anaheim Statement, which reaffirmed his commitment to remain part of the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Covenant process.

Read the whole article.

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

Sydney Synod resolution embraces ACNA

The resolution states:

Synod ”“
(1) welcomes the creation of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) under the leadership of Archbishop Bob Duncan and notes the GAFCON Primates’ Council recognition of the ACNA as genuinely Anglican and its recommendation that Anglican Provinces affirm full communion with the ACNA and ”“

(a) therefore expresses its desire to be in full communion with the ACNA, and

(b) furthermore, requests that Standing Committee seek to have a motion brought to the General Synod affirming that the Anglican Church of Australia be in full communion with the ACNA,

(2) welcomes Archbishop Duncan’s assessment that the recent Vatican offer of a Personal Ordinariate ”˜will not be utilised by the great majority of the Anglican Church in North America’s bishops, priests, dioceses and congregations’ and urges all Anglicans to reject the Vatican’s proposal….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

BBC-In pictures: Rawalpindi bomb

Hard but important to look at.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Pakistan

Democrats Push for Plan to Cut Deficit

Faced with anxiety in financial markets about the huge federal deficit and the potential for it to become an electoral liability for Democrats, the White House and Congressional leaders are weighing options for narrowing the gap, including a bipartisan commission that could force tax increases and spending cuts.

But even the idea of a panel to bridge the partisan divide has run into partisan objections. Many Democrats, including in the White House, are loath to cede such far-reaching decisions to a commission and doubt Republicans’ willingness to compromise. And most Republicans remain adamantly opposed to tax increases, leaving the prospects for any bipartisan approach limited at best.

The proponents, however, are pressing for a Senate vote this month. “If we have the same process and the same people, we are going to get the same results,” said Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, who recently met with Mr. Obama to discuss the idea. “The Democratic Party wants to spend more than we can afford; the Republican Party tends to want to cut taxes more than we can afford. So we are stuck.”

Concerns about the deficit are building even as the White House and Congress continue to add to it with tax cuts and spending to stimulate a still-fragile economy. Yet those one-time costs do not trouble most economists and market analysts.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Salena Zito: Mood Sours Towards Both Parties

What does all of this mean?

Populism is on the rise and conservatism is gaining steam, perhaps at its own expense. (If Hoffman loses in New York, it almost ensures that the Northeast will be almost exclusively Democrat-blue territory).

A sour mood exists among people, with close-to-10-percent unemployment, decreasing health-care benefits and rising taxes – and a view that the well-heeled get bailed-out but John and Joan Q. Citizen do not.

Because our political system was designed to be slow and laborious and to do little, that sour mood grows rather than dissipates.

These political conditions have made the difficult course of lawmaking become nearly impossible, and governing has become highly averse to coherent action.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Former U.S. Episcopal churches in Texas pave way for Catholic switch

The Rev. Allan Hawkins, who leads Saint Mary the Virgin church outside of Dallas, said the Vatican’s decision could start unifying the Catholic and Anglican churches after a centuries-old rift.

“I didn’t think I would live to see this day,” Hawkins said during a recent Sunday Mass.

Saint Mary the Virgin is one of three churches in Texas to become Catholic after the Vatican’s 1980 approval of the “Anglican use” provision, which allowed U.S. churches to convert on a case-by-case basis but also retain their traditions and identity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes