Daily Archives: August 16, 2010

Ross Douthat–Islam in Two Americas

There’s an America where it doesn’t matter what language you speak, what god you worship, or how deep your New World roots run. An America where allegiance to the Constitution trumps ethnic differences, language barriers and religious divides. An America where the newest arrival to our shores is no less American than the ever-so-great granddaughter of the Pilgrims.

But there’s another America as well, one that understands itself as a distinctive culture, rather than just a set of political propositions. This America speaks English, not Spanish or Chinese or Arabic. It looks back to a particular religious heritage: Protestantism originally, and then a Judeo-Christian consensus that accommodated Jews and Catholics as well. It draws its social norms from the mores of the Anglo-Saxon diaspora ”” and it expects new arrivals to assimilate themselves to these norms, and quickly.

These two understandings of America, one constitutional and one cultural, have been in tension throughout our history. And they’re in tension again this summer, in the controversy over the Islamic mosque and cultural center scheduled to go up two blocks from ground zero.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture

An Open Letter to the People of the Diocese of Pennsylvania From the Standing Committee

We are committed to ensuring the spiritual, emotional and physical safety of all within this Diocese and all whom we seek to serve in the name of Christ. We are committed to serving the weak and most vulnerable in our midst, those who are oppressed, and the children and youth of our Diocese.

We do not believe that Bishop Bennison has the trust of the clergy and lay leaders necessary for him to be an effective pastor and leader of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, nor that he can regain or rebuild the trust that he has lost or broken.

We believe that it would be in the best interest of the Diocese that Bishop Bennison not resume his exercise of authority here.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Anglican Consultative Council’s Standing Committee: Who Is Janet Trisk?

Janet Trisk is a member of the Sea of Faith Network, which is an organization of people who, despite their varied church memberships, believes that God has no real objective existence. He is merely a human construct and a potent symbol.

Janet Trisk is an appointed member of one of the most powerful bodies in the Anglican Communion. To quote the Sea of Faith Network’s own website, her beliefs entail “the claim that even after we have given up the idea that religious beliefs can be grounded in anything beyond the human realm, religion can still be believed and practiced in new ways.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council

Final Nominees for Episcopal Bishop of Western New York Announced

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

AP–Ramadan holy month observance goes high tech

The most ancient traditions of Islam are going high-tech, with a slew of modern offerings for those observing the holy month of Ramadan, which begins today.
Cellphone applications such as “iPray” or “iQuran” offer a beeping reminder of requisite prayer times, while the “Find Mecca” and “mosque finder” programs help the Muslim traveler in an unfamiliar city find the nearest place to pray.

“When I saw these applications for the first time, I thought: this is amazing,” said James Otun, who has several Islamic applications on his Apple iPhone and iPad. “Whoever came up with this idea: God bless him or her.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Richard Land–God and immigration reform

What would the contours and outline of comprehensive immigration legislation based on these biblical principles look like? The Bible tells us God has ordained the civil powers (the government) to punish lawbreakers and to reward those who obey the law (Romans 13:1-7). Unfortunately, the U.S. government has not respected its own immigration laws enough to enforce them consistently for more than two decades (since President Reagan’s amnesty of illegal aliens in 1986). The government has not controlled the borders. The reality has been that too often, those who desire to enter our country illegally have encountered two apparently contradictory signs at our border: one saying “No Trespassing” and the other saying “Help Wanted.”

Any immigration reform that will generate sufficient public support to pass Congress must begin with securing the border first, then deal in a constructive and compassionate way with the 12 million undocumented workers already in the United States.

The failure of the 2006 effort shows reform must be done sequentially, not simultaneously. The people do not trust the government to commit the resources necessary to secure the border. The government will have to demonstrate its commitment by securing the border first.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, House of Representatives, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Senate

BBC–Robert Gates says US exit from Afghanistan on course

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates says the US will definitely start reducing the number of its soldiers in Afghanistan next July.

On Sunday, the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, said that he might advise President Barack Obama to delay the exit plan.

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

WSJ–Another Threat to the Economy: Baby Boomers Cutting Back

America’s baby boomers””those born between 1946 and 1964””face a problem that could weigh on the economy for years to come: The longer it takes for the economy to recover, the less money they’ll have to spend in retirement.

Policy makers have long worried that Americans aren’t saving enough for old age. And lately, current and prospective retirees have been hit on many fronts at once: They have less money, they earn less on what they have, their houses aren’t rising in value and the prospect of working longer to make up the shortfall has dimmed significantly in a lousy job market.

“We will have to learn to make do with a lot less in material things,” says Gary Snodgrass, a 63-year-old health-care consultant in Placerville, Calif. The financial crisis, he says, slashed his retirement savings 40% and the value of his house by about half.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Middle Age, Pensions, Personal Finance, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

CSM: Obama mosque dispute: In backing plans, he parts with many Americans

A number of newspaper columnists and even Republicans such as former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson praised President Obama for his studied affirmation of American religious rights Friday in supporting the building of a mosque just blocks from ground zero. There, more than 2,700 Americans died on Sept. 11, 2001, at the hands of Islamist terrorists.

But the Obama mosque decision ”“ wading into an issue that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs only days earlier had called “a matter for … the local community to decide” ”“ is also likely to affirm a broadening political view in the United States that the president is out of step with mainstream America. Nearly 70 percent of people feel an Islamic center near ground zero is disrespectful, even deliberately provocative, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll.

“Ground zero is, indeed, hallowed ground,” Obama told attendees at the second annual White House Ramadan dinner Friday night. “But let me be clear: As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture

Bloomberg: China Overtakes Japan as World's Second-Biggest Economy

China surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy last quarter, capping the nation’s three- decade rise from Communist isolation to emerging superpower.

Japan’s nominal gross domestic product for the second quarter totaled $1.288 trillion, less than China’s $1.337 trillion, the Japanese Cabinet Office said today. Japan remained bigger in the first half of 2010, the government agency said.

China led the world out of last year’s global recession with an economy that’s more than 90-times bigger than when leader Deng Xiaoping ditched hard-line Communist policies in favor of free-market reforms in 1978. The country of 1.3 billion people will overtake the U.S., where annual GDP is about $14 trillion, as the world’s largest economy by 2027, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. chief economist Jim O’Neill.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Japan, Politics in General

Local paper front page–Dorchester County students heading back to school

When more than 1,100 students arrive for the first day of the school year at Beech Hill Elementary today, Principal Rene Harris will be making sure everything is running smoothly.

Teachers will be easing children back into the learning world after lazy summer days. Food service workers will be preparing the first day’s lunch.

And school counselor Tammy Masopust will be helping out in any way she’s needed, while quietly watching for the subtle signs that indicate students might be having problems.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Education

The Economist–Fear of renewed recession in America is overblown; so is some eurozone optimism

Seldom does the United States look at Europe with economic envy. The past few weeks, however, have been one of those rare phases. Concern about America’s stumbling recovery has been rising, just as anxieties about the euro area’s economy have faded. The dollar is the weakling among rich-world currencies…. But Americans should take a little heart: it is too soon to despair about their economy. And Europeans should show a little caution: it is too soon to be sure that theirs is firmly back on its feet.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Politics in General, The U.S. Government

NBC Video: A social worker old enough to be a Grandfather Joins Iowa's National Guard

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wonderfully inspiring–watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lift up our souls, O Lord, to the pure, serene light of thy presence; that there we may breathe freely, there repose in thy love, there may be at rest from ourselves, and from thence return, arrayed in thy peace, to do and bear what shall please thee; for thy holy name’s sake.

–E. B. Pusey (1800-1882)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of St. Mary the Virgin

O God, who hast taken to thyself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of thine incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of thine eternal kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture