Daily Archives: May 3, 2010

Shots Still Reverberate For Survivors Of Kent State

Out in the world, when people talk about the shootings at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, they call it “Kent State.” But in the small town of Kent, 35 miles south of Cleveland, and on the university campus, they call it “May 4th.”

It was 40 years ago Tuesday that the shootings ”” which killed four people and wounded nine others ”” stunned the nation. Even at the height of the Vietnam War protests, no one imagined that government soldiers would fire real bullets at unarmed college students.

“I saw the smoke come out of the weapons, and light is faster than sound, and so I knew immediately [they] were not firing blanks. So it was almost instinctive to dive for cover,” remembers Jerry Lewis, who was 33 and teaching sociology at Kent State in 1970.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, History, Violence

Tom Krattenmaker–Abortion's middle ground? Reducing them

Black children, according to the signs, are ” an endangered species.” A news release backing this billboard campaign protests the “ugliest form of racism.” Those leading and supporting the drive speak ominously of an elite conspiracy, eugenics and black genocide.

You might think these volleys come from a progressive crusade against poverty, gun violence, or poor access to health care. Surprise: This recently concluded campaign in Atlanta was mounted by Georgia Right to Life, part of a new front in the anti-abortion movement that links abortion to a sinister plot to destroy black America.

Give credit to the abortion-is-genocide vanguard for this at least: They have demolished the usual left-right boundaries in their mixing of cries against racial injustice (typically a liberal cause) with anti-abortion politics (usually a cause of social conservatives). And by bringing new national attention to disproportionately high rates of abortion among African Americans, they have succeeded in shining a spotlight on distress in black communities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Theology

Obama blasted on religious freedom

A bipartisan U.S. commission on religious freedom says President Obama is softening his stand on protecting the right to one’s faith at a time when religious persecution is on the rise, according to an annual report to be released today.

The 11th annual report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom says Obama’s recent call for nations to respect “freedom of worship” rather than “religious freedom” allows regimes to claim they are not oppressing certain religions if those faiths exist in a form acceptable to the regime.

“When you start narrowing the discussion, the signal the administration is sending to the international community is that as long as they prop up a few churches or houses of worship (of minority faiths), there isn’t going to be a problem,” Leonard Leo, the chairman of the commission, told USA TODAY.

The report also criticizes the administration for failing to nominate an ambassador-at-large for religious freedom.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture

Repaying Taxpayers With Their Own Cash

Taxpayers are naturally eager for news about bailout repayments. But what neither G.M. nor the Treasury disclosed was that the company simply used other funds held by the Treasury to pay off its original loan.

Neil M. Barofsky, the inspector general overseeing the troubled asset program, revealed this detail when he spoke before the Senate Finance Committee on April 20.

“So it’s good news in that they’re reducing their debt,” Mr. Barofsky said of G.M. But he went on to note that G.M. was using other taxpayer money to make the loan repayment, according to the transcript of his testimony.

Armed with this information, Mr. Grassley fired off a letter to Mr. Geithner on April 22, asking for details of the transaction. “I am concerned … that this announcement is not what it seems,” he wrote. “In fact, it appears to be nothing more than an elaborate TARP money shuffle.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry, Theology

Economist–The new commission’s first task will be a lot easier than its second

THE drama over Europe’s sovereign debt might seem good ammunition for American deficit hawks. Not so. As Barack Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission held its first meeting on April 27th, the rising cost of government debt across southern Europe was, if anything, being used to draw a favourable contrast between the American and Greek fiscal positions.

Nevertheless, the American fiscal picture has darkened considerably, thanks to the recession. The projected 2010 deficit, of around 11% of GDP, contrasts with one of 1.2% as recently as 2007, while the net public debt has climbed from 36% to 64% of GDP. These figures look good beside those of Greece, where debt may touch 150% of output by the middle of the decade. There is still enough gloom, however, to trigger concern over the potential for rising interest rates and continued fiscal weakness as America’s baby-boomers start to retire.

The good news is that the deficit is forecast to fall as the federal stimulus unwinds and growth returns.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Church leaders in East Anglia urge people to vote

Church leaders in East Anglia are encouraging people to vote in the general election with the “wellbeing of all people in our communities in mind”.

Five years ago almost four in 10 of those registered to vote did not do so and in a bid to encourage more people to the polls, they have come together to urge people to exercise their rights.

In a joint statement, including Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, and Bishop of East Anglia, the Rt Rev Michael Evans, said: “The churches in our area have hosted some of the best-attended hustings during this campaign and have done so in service to the wider community. The tradition of hospitality is well reflected in this area’s notable history of welcoming people fleeing persecution elsewhere in Europe, sometimes on religious grounds.

“As Christian leaders in this generation we believe living together with mutual respect remains the foundation of a civilised society. All human beings are created equally in the image of God. That is why racism is a sin. Christ calls us to love our neighbours as ourselves and in this forthcoming election we believe it is right to be vigilant about any party or individual candidate seeking to use people’s fears for their own wellbeing to stir racial or religious hatred.

“Inevitably this is an election taking place when people are anxious about their jobs, finances and future. We pray that the best and most generous traditions of our national life will guide all voters on May 6.”

Read it all.

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

Atlanta archbishop: Despite discouragement, it’s ”˜high season’ for ecumenism

Despite disappointment and discouragement voiced over the slower pace of ecumenical talks than in decades past, Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory offered his view that it is “high season” for the ecumenical movement during an April 20 address in Tampa.

“Some have even spoken of a ”˜winter’ of ecumenism in the sense that the enthusiasm of the early days has given way to a more sober realism,” Archbishop Gregory told participants at the April 19-22 National Workshop on Christian Unity.

He referred to German Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, whose book assessing the past 40 years of ecumenical dialogue, “Harvesting the Fruits: Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue,” was published last year.

The book was written in part, according to Archbishop Gregory, because “we now face a new situation, quite different from the one we faced at the end of the Second Vatican Council,” whose decree on ecumenism, “Unitatis Redintegratio,” helped pave the way for greater ecumenical dialogue in the Catholic Church.

“We now realize that there was a kind of naive enthusiasm in those days, which now contributes to a certain fatigue or even disappointment,” Archbishop Gregory said. “We know now that the ecumenical enterprise will be longer than it appeared to be after the council.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations

Don Finto, godfather of local charismatic movement, still spirited at 80

In December 1969, Don Finto went looking for the Holy Ghost.

Growing up in the Church of Christ, Finto believed in God the Father Almighty, and he learned to trust in Jesus. But for the most part, he felt the Holy Ghost was missing from his life ”” especially when it came to speaking in tongues, a practice of praying in unknown languages.

“I felt like I was stuck in a box,” he said.

Finto, then 39, decided to give the Holy Spirit a try. The former missionary-turned-David Lipscomb University-professor knelt and prayed, asking to be baptized in the Spirit, an experience relatively unknown outside of Pentecostal circles.

When he stood up, Finto says, his life had changed forever.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History

Anglican parish splits from Episcopal congregation in Northeast Portland

On Sunday, members of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Parish were still reeling from their separation.

For the second week, two dozen people gathered in the wood and brick building on Northeast Prescott Street that has been their home for 55 years. An hour later, almost 100 of their former brothers and sisters in Christ, who recently declared themselves Anglicans, worshiped in rented space at Mt.Tabor Seventh-day Adventist Church. The storm that has battered the Episcopal Church in the United States has touched down in Portland.

Since the Episcopal Church in the United States decided in 2003 to accept the election of its first openly gay bishop, the denomination has been rocked with disagreements over biblical authority. With a reputation as a conservative congregation, St. Matthew’s had for 66 years included people who read the Bible almost literally and others who interpreted it from more liberal points of view. But over time, that range grew problematic. On March 21, a majority of St. Matthew’s members voted to leave the church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Irish Times–Rome refuses to comment on 'secret' Anglican meetings

Senior Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi was yesterday unable to confirm UK media speculation that leading Church of England bishops held a series of secret “conversion” meetings with advisers to Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican last week. Other senior Vatican officials claimed to have no knowledge of such meetings.

Reports in yesterday’s online editions of the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail claimed the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst; the Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Rev Keith Newton; and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham were involved in meetings with the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last week.

The scope of the meetings was to discuss future Anglican conversions “en masse” to Rome with the bishops reportedly informing the Vatican that many Church of England clergy are keen to defect to Rome.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Albany Times-Union: Ex-Episcopal bishop returns to flock

A conservative former Episcopal bishop of Albany who left the church in 2007 to become a Roman Catholic has now returned to his former faith.

Daniel W. Herzog became an outspoken national opponent of ordaining gay clergy after he retired from the ministry in 2007. He made news that year when he and two other diocesan bishops left the Episcopal Church to join the Roman Catholic Church.

The Episcopal Church, the American wing of the worldwide Anglican Communion, had been in turmoil following the consecration in 2003 of V. Gene Robinson as its first openly gay bishop.

Herzog’s return was announced this week by Albany Bishop William Love. Both Herzog and his wife, Carol, left the church. Herzog was one of only a handful of Episcopal bishops ever to join another church.

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

Telegraph–Thousands of Anglican churchgoers could cross over to Rome with bishops

Churchgoers in almost 300 parishes that disapprove of women priests may take advantage of Pope Benedict XVI’s offer to change denomination if their “flying bishops” lead the way.

However the Church of England is expected to make a last-ditch attempt to stop the disillusioned groups leaving, by offering them concessions over the introduction of female bishops.

As The Sunday Telegraph disclosed, the bishops of Fulham, Richborough and Ebbsfleet held a secret meeting with papal advisers last week to discuss plans for Anglicans to convert to the Roman Catholic Church en masse.

At least one key member of the English Catholic church’s commission on the Anglican Ordinariate ”“ the Pope’s move to allow Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Holy See while retaining some of their spiritual heritage ”“ was in Rome at the same time.

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

Bronwen Maddox–Sanctions on Iran have failed. The US must target its oil

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad walks up to the podium today in New York to deliver another blast of venom, the only proper response is for the US to hit Iran’s economy with much tougher sanctions than anyone has yet tried. That means targeting its oil industry, not just its leaders and its banks.

Otherwise, Iran’s President will deliver real injury, not just insult, to this crucial conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). He has taken Iran to the brink of having nuclear weapons, and if it does soon get them (despite protestations that it only wants nuclear power), that will trigger a Middle East arms race.

The only country able to impose tough sanctions quickly is America. It should do so now. The brutal truth is that the time for dissuading Iran has probably passed. But if it hasn’t, the US needs to act now. It’s a tribute to the success of the NPT, in force since 1970 and signed by 189 countries, that these five-yearly reviews are usually dusty talks about the inspection of power stations. Meetings have tried to patch up ”” but not rewrite ”” the lopsided bargain built into the treaty. This says that the original five nuclear weapons states (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France) promise to help others to get nuclear power (but not weapons), while cutting their own stockpiles.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East

Bishop Edwin Barnes on the Sunday Telegraph Articles

Then on the way home we bought a Sunday Paper to find the Telegraph spinning nonsense about ”˜defections’ to the Catholic Church. Most of what they wrote was reprinted from a stolen email they had already published months ago. All that was new was an assertion that three of our Bishops had visited Rome. If they did, and no chapter and verse was given, then the Newspaper was unable to find anything about what was said, whom they had met, why they were there. Just daft speculation.

This is the sort of nonsense we must expect to see appearing in the media over the next few months, as preparations are made for the visit to England of the Holy Father. Meanwhile, I am getting ready to go on Pilgrimage to Fatima next week. And, guess what, the Pope will be there too! No doubt the pilgrimage of half a million Portuguese has been specially arranged in order to cloak the secret meetings between me and the Holy Father! I hope I might possibly get near enough to take a photo with my zoom lens, and you should with luck be able to pick out a small figure in white somewhere in the crowds ”“ look for my blog two weeks or so from now”¦ but don’t breathe a word to the Sunday Telegraph.

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

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Arizona Immigration Law

BISHOP GERALD KICANAS (Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, Arizona): Even the Arizona legislators, Bob, are considering modifications to the bill, which suggests that they themselves are concerned about how it could be misinterpreted. So there will be legal action, certainly, and we’ll monitor that and participate where we feel it would be appropriate.

{BOB] ABERNETHY: Do you think the church might become a party to the lawsuits to try to stop the bill?

BISHOP KICANAS: I don’t know that we’ll be bringing the lawsuits forward. Those will be brought forward by, certainly, others, but we will review those, and perhaps being a friend of the court where it would be appropriate.

ABERNETHY: Do you think in the end that the bill can be stopped, that the law can be stopped?

BISHOP KICANAS: Well, there is great national concern, certainly concern within our state among religious leaders, among many portions of our community. It has to be addressed that this bill does not well represent the state of Arizona and is not going to resolve the issues that we are facing.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government