Daily Archives: November 16, 2009

Two Church of England Bishops question Afghanistan strategy

As over 9,000 ex-service personnel and civilians marched past the cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, two Anglican bishops were questioning the Government’s policy in Afghanistan.

On the Wednesday before, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Rev Peter Price, asked Baron William Brett in the House of Lords if he agreed “that the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism strategies have resulted in serious civilian casualties and the alienation of the population, producing angry recruits for terrorism, and that together with the Americans we should now, with development, using our military resources, provide security exclusively to protect the strategic rebuilding of the country that is urgently needed?” Lord Brett replied: “I cannot agree with the first part of his question; I do not think there is evidence that the vast majority of Afghans are alienated by what the United Kingdom and its allies seek to do. There is broad support.”

The rationale behind the campaign was further undermined by the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill, in his Remembrance Sunday sermon in Stoke Minster. The Bishop questioned whether the values the UK had sent its troops to uphold in Afghanistan were in fact valued domestically.

Bishop Gledhill said: “We are throwing our soldiers at a nation where the structures are endemically corrupt. We are trying to train up police in a society which is divided and where terrorism reigns. That is a difficult task for our troops and we salute them….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, War in Afghanistan

Niall Ferguson and Moritz Schularick on Chimerica: The Great Wallop

United States policy makers, meanwhile, seem equally willing to prolong America’s addiction to cheap money as long as economic recovery seems so fragile, regardless of the effect on the dollar’s exchange rate with other currencies. (When American officials insist that they favor a “strong dollar,” it’s usually a sure sign that they want the opposite.) And why would Americans want to discourage the Chinese from buying yet more dollar-denominated securities? With trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, the Treasury needs all the foreign buyers it can get.

The reality, however, is that an end to Chimerica is in the American interest for at least three reasons. First, adjusting the exchange rates between the currencies would help reorient the American economy ”” primarily by making American exports more competitive in China, the world’s fastest-growing economy.

Second, an end to Chimerica would lessen the potentially dangerous reliance of American economic policy on measures to stimulate domestic purchasing. American fiscal policy is clearly on an unsustainable path, and the Federal Reserve’s negligible interest rates and the printing of dollars are artificially inflating equity prices.

Finally, renminbi revaluation would reduce the risk of potentially serious international friction over trade.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Economy, Globalization, Politics in General

First woman is ordained as priest in TEC Affiliated Fort Worth Diocese

Kneeling during an ancient laying-on-of-hands ritual, the Rev. Susan Slaughter on Sunday became the first woman ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Among a sea of friends, relatives and colleagues gathered at St. Luke’s in the Meadow Episcopal Church, Slaughter was ordained by the Right Rev. Edwin F. “Ted” Gulick Jr., bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky, who has also been serving as provisional bishop of the Fort Worth Diocese.

A letter of congratulations from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori read by Gulick said: “I give thanks to God for this sign of the resurrection of the Diocese of Fort Worth. Susan, may his light shine through you. May the widow’s gifts spread throughout your diocese.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

Channel Two TV Video Report: Walterboro, S.C., residents turning to faith after a violent week

Watch it all (about two minutes)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Religion & Culture, Violence

The Walterboro, South Carolina, Newspaper coverage of the horrible Shooting

The echoes of a possible high-powered rapid fire weapon resounded several blocks from the gruesome scene of a deadly drive-by shooting at a home on the corner of Girardeau and McDaniel streets in Walterboro that left three dead, including a toddler and six others were wounded.

According to Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey, Shaniyah Burden, 20 months old, died, as a result, of multiple gun shot wounds and was pronounced at 10:18 p.m. at Colleton Medical Center. Charles Kitrell, 45, died of multiple gun shot wounds and was pronounced at 10:25 p.m. at the incident scene. Christopher Powell, 21, died of multiple gun shot wounds and was pronounced at the Medical University of South Carolina.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the Walterboro Public Safety Department are investigating the violent killing.

According to witnesses, a crowd was gathered outside of a home on McDaniel Street playing cards when a dark-colored vehicle drove by and fired several gunshots at the people. Community members quickly galvanized in response to the ailing victims and were able to transport a few victims, including the Little Miss Shaniyah Burden to the hospital.

Read it all and note especially the pictures. looking at the 20 month old does me in–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Violence

Time: Five Things the U.S. Can Learn from China

Could the world’s lone but weary superpower actually learn something from China? It’s a politically incorrect question, of course. China is an authoritarian nation; its ruling Communist Party deals ruthlessly with any challenge to its hegemony. It remains, relatively speaking, a poor, developing country with huge problems to confront, massive corruption and environmental degradation being Nos. 1 and 1a. Still, this is a moment of humility for the U.S., and China is doing some important things right. If the U.S. were to ask the Chinese what it could learn from their example, it might gain some insight into what it’s doing right and wrong. Here are five lessons from China’s success story….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Economy, Education, Globalization, Politics in General, Science & Technology

The Winter 2009 edition of the Anglican Digest

Check it out and if you are not a current subscriber, consider becoming one.

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

George Pitcher: It's time for Dr Rowan Williams to square up to a rampant Rome

But if Dr Williams has been determined not to make a drama out of this crisis, the Pope has been playing to the gallery. And it’s his strategy we should be focused on. Unlike the Bishop of Southwark, I don’t want Dr Williams to express his “disappointment”, I want him to ask, perhaps a little more politely than in my movie storyboard, what the Pope’s game is.

I’ll tell you what I think it is. Benedict is determined to rebuild his one, true and, importantly, universal Church. Under a banner of doctrinal purity, he is annexing orthodoxy. That’s why, in 2006, he dropped the title Patriarch of the West from the list of handles conferred on the Pope. Too parochial, too implicitly restrictive. Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church is altogether more agreeable to him.

Organic growth is not an option for him, so he must grow the Church by acquisition. The Apostolic Constitution is part of that acquisitive strategy, aimed less at dismembering the Church of England than at bringing home Catholics in America and Australia; but even more significantly being tested as a tool ahead of bringing others, such as the ultra-traditionalist and schismatic Lefebvrists, back into the fold. Benedict wants to consolidate orthodoxy wherever he finds it and, eastern Orthodox patriarchs should note, there can be only one voice of authority and it speaks from Rome. This Pope is on a reactionary and Counter-Reformational rampage.

Read it all.

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

Roman Catholic negotiators influenced abortion language in health bill

The Catholic Church’s influence in Congress came in part from its longtime support for improving access to health care for poor and low-income Americans. “Health care has been one of their basic goals out there for years,” said Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., the Democratic sponsor of the abortion amendment.

The church also was able to capitalize on good will amassed from years of working with Democrats on issues such as tax credits for the working poor, Immigration, climate change and nutrition programs. In that regard, it earned a level of trust in way that other anti-abortion groups never could.

The church “played a critical role in a number of initiatives over many years that affect our most vulnerable people,” said Ellen Nissenbaum, legislative director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a group that focuses on policies affecting low-income people.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The Bishop of Huntingdon on the press release from Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate

After much discussion, the members of the Committee were unable to identify a basis for specifying particular functions for vesting which commanded sufficient support both from those in favour of the ordination of women as bishops and those unable to support that development. As a result all of the proposals for vesting particular functions by statute were defeated.

The effect of the Committee’s decision is therefore that such arrangements as are made for those unable to receive the episcopal ministry of women will need to be by way of delegation from the diocesan bishop rather than vesting.

Read it all noting especially the Q and A.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

National Post on Robert Duncan: Dawn of a new Reformation

Archbishop Duncan, visiting Canada last week for the first time since he became head of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), the first Anglican jurisdiction that crosses national boundaries, earlier this year, says it is the national churches in Canada and the United States — the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church USA — that are the real schismatics, trading in the Bible and orthodoxy for a trendy form of Christianity that is trying to be popular instead of faithful.

Those institutions have “turned so far to the left” they are now on the road to virtual oblivion, he said, pointing to such innovations as the blessing of same-sex marriage.

“They’ll become irrelevancies,” he said during an interview with the National Post. “People who are looking for a saviour who can save. They are really looking for how they can shape their lives and what they can trust in. And what the [national churches] are offering is Jesus Lite. Folks don’t need a Jesus Lite.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Canada

BBC: Women bishops move suffers blow

The committee’s abandonment of this concession means that male bishops overseeing traditionalists would, in some cases, only be able to operate at the behest of women bishops.

BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said that as things stand, the development seems likely to encourage more traditionalists to convert to Catholicism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

Clive Crook on the new Book "Creating an Opportunity Society"

Many Americans think they live in a society which, more than most, offers citizens the chance to prosper. The US is not the most equal society in the world, and does not want to be. What matters is that a poor man can raise himself up.

Creating an Opportunity Society begins by showing that, especially for the poorest children, this is something of a myth. By international standards, intergenerational mobility in the US is quite low. This will surprise few who have ventured into a US public housing project or troubled inner-city school, but many middle-class Americans never have. The figures show that US children born in the lowest and highest quintiles of the income distribution are more likely to stay there than in Britain, for example, and much more likely than in countries such as Sweden and Denmark.

But what to do about it? The book confirms a finding well established in the literature, that transition to the middle class is all but guaranteed for poor children if they do three things: finish high school, work full time and marry before having children. The US underperforms as an opportunity society because so many of its young people fail at one or more. The book focuses on these areas.

Read the rest here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Poverty, The U.S. Government, Theology

FT: China says Fed policy threatens global recovery

Since the start of the financial crisis, Chinese officials have issued a number of warnings that the US should not inflate away its mounting debt burden. Before these latest comments, however, Beijing had generally been most critical of US fiscal policy, urging Washington to spend less.

But speaking at a conference in Beijing, Mr Liu [Mingkang, China’s chief banking regulator] said the Fed’s policy of maintaining low interest rates together with the weak dollar posed a threat to the global economic recovery.

“[It] is boosting speculative investment in stock and property markets and will pose new, real and insurmountable risks to the global recovery and particularly to the recovery in emerging markets,” said Mr Liu, who is chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

“The situation has already encouraged a huge dollar carry trade and had a massive impact on global asset prices,” he added.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Economy, Federal Reserve, Globalization, The U.S. Government

Newsweek: Is America Losing Its Mojo?

We cannot stop the world from rising and doing better at innovation, nor should we want to do so: the rise of the rest is a powerful, positive phenomenon for everyone. But America must adapt to it, not watch quietly as a spectator.

For the past three decades, funding for science research has slipped, the education system has continued to decline, and immigration policy has become less and less rational. Tax and regulatory policies have been made with more thought to domestic special interests than America’s long-term competition.

We have hoped it would all work out, and for a while it did. The seed capital from past decades was strong enough to carry us for decades. We got talent from abroad to mask the erosion at home. We used financial engineering to substitute for the real thing. We borrowed to the hilt and sold each other our homes in an ascending spiral that made us all feel rich. And we kicked all the real problems we face down the road, hoping that someone else would solve them. This too has become part of American culture, a culture that desperately needs to change if we are to preserve American innovation and rekindle the real American Dream.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Globalization, Science & Technology