Daily Archives: February 15, 2011

(WSJ) 'Brothers' in Egypt Present Two Faces

Moaz Abdel Karim, an affable 29-year-old who was among a handful of young activists who plotted the recent protests here, is the newest face of the Muslim Brotherhood. His political views on women’s rights, religious freedom and political pluralism mesh with Western democratic values. He is focused on the fight for democracy and human rights in Egypt.

A different face of the Brotherhood is that of Mohamed Badi, 66-year-old veterinarian from the Brotherhood’s conservative wing who has been the group’s Supreme Guide since last January. He recently pledged the Brotherhood would “continue to raise the banner of jihad” against the Jews, which he called the group’s “first and foremost enemies.” He has railed against American imperialism, and calls for the establishment of an Islamic state.

After Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on Friday amid the region’s most dramatic grassroots uprising since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Brotherhood became poised to assume a growing role in the country’s political life. The question for many is: Which Brotherhood?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Evan Newmark–Mean Street: Obama’s Budget Can’t Save America

I wonder if Mr. Obama is at all embarrassed by the 2012 budget. Like his previous two budgets, this one breaks all those “Morning in America” campaign promises of a “new” Washington.

The 2012 budget also is a repudiation of the findings of his very own bipartisan deficit commission.

The Bowles-Simpson commission had plenty of sensible recommendations, like cutting funds for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, eliminating the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools and raising the qualifying age for Social Security.

But you’ll find precious little of this in the 2012 budget. At the White House, political sense apparently matters a lot more than common sense.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, House of Representatives, Politics in General, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Somerset Anglican Fellowship reaches agreement with Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh

The Somerset Anglican Fellowship resolved a three-year dispute with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Monday.

Property and legal disagreements arose in 2008 after members of St. Francis-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church decided to break apart from the diocese because of theological differences. St. Francis is located in Somerset.

Under the supervision of the Rev. Mark Zimmerman, the Somerset Anglican Fellowship formed and began holding services in a suite at Georgian Place.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

(Changing Attitude Blog) Civil Partnerships and Gay Marriage in church – yes, we want it NOW!

St Valentine’s Day is a good day on which to welcome the leaked news that later this week the government is expected to announce full marriage equality for gays and lesbians under reforms to the marriage law as well as allowing civil partnerships to be held in religious buildings.

Changing Attitude England has been involved in consultations with the government that tested public and LGBT opinion before the decision was made. We will now campaign vigorously for the Church of England to adopt the changes being proposed by the government, open Church of England doors to welcome gay marriages and civil partnerships and grant clergy persons the freedom to preside over and register them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(Telegraph) Cristina Odone on the Proposed Same Sex marriages Allowance in the U.K.

The Government, it would seem, feels no such respect. The Coalition proposes a new law that would allow gays to wed in church and other places of worship. No matter that in doing so they would upset large numbers of believers; or that clerics are warning that they cannot force conscientious objectors to celebrate ceremonies they deem to be a sacrilege. The Government sees this as a crucial step in obtaining full equality for gay people.

More than 20,000 gay Britons are joined in civil partnership. I know a few, and they enjoy a far happier union than some heterosexual marriages I come across. If the Coalition now seeks to replace civil partnership with civil marriage, that is its prerogative; already, the former confers the same rights and responsibilities as marriage, so it would be a question of semantics rather than principle. But so be it: men married to women, men married to men, women married to women ”“ they will all be equal before the law.

They’re not, however, equal in the eyes of the Catholic Church, Evangelical Christianity, Islam or most of Jewry. Even some Anglicans do not accept same-sex unions. Marriage, in these religious communities, joins only man to woman….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Statement from Anglican Mainstream on proposals for civil partnerships to be contracted in churches

From here:

“Civil partnerships are not marriage. The legal protections available to civil partnerships should not be confused with marriage. Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s provision for human flourishing. Research has shown that it offers the best environment for the care and nurture of children and family stability which our society needs today.”

Dr Philip Giddings Convenor
Canon Dr Chris Sugden Executive Secretary
Anglican Mainstream

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sexuality

BBC Radio Four Today Programme Audio Segment–Gender 'doesn't matter' in marriage

Herewith the BBC blurb:

Religious groups should be allowed to conduct civil partnerships in their place of worship should they wish, according to expected government proposals. Reverend Colin Coward, of the pressure group Changing Attitudes and the Reverend Rod Thomas, from the evangelical group Reform, debate whether this should happen.

Listen to it all (just over 5 3/4 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(Telegraph) Sentamu: don't force churches to conduct gay weddings

The Church of England, however, has voiced its opposition. Senior Anglican officials have said the Church is unlikely to host civil partnerships, which would include religious readings and hymns under the plan.

Some critics fear the reforms could pave the way for legal challenges that would force vicars to conduct homosexual “wedding” ceremonies against their will.
Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show: “I live in a liberal democracy and I want equality for everybody. I cannot say the Quakers shouldn’t do it.
“Nor do I want somebody to tell me the Church of England must do it or the Roman Catholic Church must do it because actually that is not what equality is about.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Melanie Phillips–Making a mockery of marriage

Gay partnership ceremonies in other venues will also be allowed for the first time to contain a religious element, such as hymns or readings from the Bible. These unions will then be called ”˜marriage’.

For sure, this change doesn’t force religious institutions to introduce such ceremonies; whether they do so is up to them.

But the Government’s position is anything but neutral. For it implicitly endorses the idea that there is nothing wrong with overturning centuries of Biblical understanding of the sacrament of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

As such, the Government will be cutting the ground from under the feet of religious traditionalists. And what if churches refuse to conduct such a travesty of a marriage ceremony? Presumably, they would then risk being sued for ”˜discrimination’.

Truly, we are fast reaching the stage where upholding Biblical sexual standards will become the morality that dare not speak its name.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Alister McGrath–There is Nothing Blind about Faith

As William James pointed out many years ago, religious faith is basically “faith in the existence of an unseen order of some kind in which the riddles of the natural order may be found and explained.” Faith is based on reason, yet not limited to the somewhat meagre truths that reason can actually prove.

So is this irrational, as the New Atheist orthodoxy declares? Christianity holds that faith is basically warranted belief. Faith goes beyond what is logically demonstrable, yet is nevertheless capable of rational motivation and foundation.

It is not a blind leap into the dark, but a joyful discovery of a bigger picture of things, of which we are part. It is complex and rich idea, which goes far beyond simply asserting or holding that certain things are true.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Atheism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

(USA Today) Online love is easy come, easy go

Dating, flirting, cheating ”” social media and other online venues are ripe for making and breaking romantic alliances, suggests an online survey of 1,000 Americans 18 and older being released today.

“Fundamentally, what social media has done is make it unbelievably easier to flirt and meet people and follow up,” says David Jones, global CEO of ad and marketing agency Euro RSCG Worldwide. Its survey, fielded in January, captures Americans’ most up-to-date attitudes about romance online.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Men, Psychology, Women

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Thomas Bray

O God of compassion, who didst open the eyes of thy servant Thomas Bray to see the needs of the Church in the New World, and didst lead him to found societies to meet those needs: Make the Church in this land diligent at all times to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it, and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We give thee humble and hearty thanks, O most merciful Father, for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men, for the blessings of this life and for the promise of everlasting happiness. And as we are bound, we especially thank thee for the mercies which we have received: for health and strength and the manifold enjoyments of our daily life; for the opportunities of learning, for the knowledge of thy will, for the means of serving thee in thy Church, and for the love thou hast revealed to us in thy Son, our Saviour; to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit be praise and glory for ever and ever.

–B.F. Westcott (1825-1901)

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel which he has granted them according to his mercy, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. For he said, Surely they are my people, sons who will not deal falsely; and he became their Savior.

–Isaiah 63:7-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Guardian) Same Sex Wedding ban in church may be lifted

The Church of England, which has said it will not allow any of its churches to be used for civil partnerships, said the reported proposals could lead to “inconsistencies” and “confusion”.

A spokesman said the church had yet to see the plans, but added: “The proposal as reported could also lead to inconsistencies with civil marriage, have unexplored impacts, and lead to confusion, with a number of difficult and unintended consequences for churches and faiths. Any change could, therefore, only be brought after proper and careful consideration of all the issues involved, to ensure that the intended freedom for all denominations over these matters is genuinely secured.”

However, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, gave the news a guarded welcome. He told the BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show that he “believes in a liberal democracy, and actually wants equality with everybody”, but he did not want churches to be told what to do.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality