Daily Archives: December 9, 2014

(Globe and Mail) Stefanie Carsley –What problem is Quebec’s IVF bill trying to solve?

Discussions surrounding Quebec’s proposed reforms to its laws relating to assisted procreation have focused on its decision to eliminate its program of funding three cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF). But this narrow focus ignores other significant changes in Bill 20: notably, its decision to prohibit women over the age of 42 from using IVF and the requirement that Quebeckers using donated sperm or eggs undergo a psychosocial assessment prior to accessing treatment.

These new laws draw distinctions between Quebeckers on the basis of their age and whether parents will have a genetic connection to their children. The government has also advanced these changes without explaining the differential treatment they propose.

Quebec law currently states that anyone of “childbearing age” ”“ i.e. pre-menopause ”“ can use IVF. Bill 20 would prohibit any woman over the age of 42 from accessing IVF and physicians who treat women above this age could be fined $5,000 to $50,000. Importantly, this restriction and the associated penalties would apply even though the government would no longer be paying for IVF treatment, but would instead be offering a tax credit.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

(NPR) Nursing Homes Rarely Penalized For Oversedating Patients

Antipsychotic drugs have helped many people with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. But for older people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, they can be deadly. The Food and Drug Administration has given these drugs a black box warning, saying they can increase the risk of heart failure, infections and death. Yet almost 300,000 nursing home residents still get them.

So in 2012, the federal government started a campaign to get nursing homes to reduce their use of these drugs. But an NPR analysis of government data shows that the government rarely penalizes nursing homes when they don’t get with the program.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Three American teens, recruited online, are caught trying to join the Islamic State

Mohammed Hamzah Khan, 19, rose before dawn on Oct. 4 to pray with his father and 16-year-old brother at their neighborhood mosque in a Chicago suburb.

When they returned home just before 6 a.m., the father went back to bed and the Khan teens secretly launched a plan they had been hatching for months: to abandon their family and country and travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.

While his parents slept, Khan gathered three newly issued U.S. passports and $2,600 worth of airline tickets to Turkey that he had gotten for himself, his brother and their 17-year-old sister. The three teens slipped out of the house, called a taxi and rode to O’Hare International Airport.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology

Lent and Beyond: Prayer for South Carolina on Tuesday December 9th

Awaiting results of litigation”“
Please pray for the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the Judge and for the growth of God’s Kingdom in South Carolina

Our Father in heaven,
When Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.
O blessed tear in temple veil, translating the ark into our hearts, translating Your life into our spirits!

Praise the Lord, all you nations.
Praise him, all you people of the earth.
For his unfailing love for us is powerful;
the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.
Praise the Lord!

O blessed tear in time and space! In adoration Your creature earth did quake! We bless You, O Lamb that was slain, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills; weaving in and out, over and through time and space. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

Praise the Lord, all you people of the Diocese of South Carolina! The winter is past indeed. Worthy is the Lamb. His unfailing love is powerful, and His faithfulness endures forever. Amen.

Song of Solomon 2:8-11, Matthew 27:50-52, Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 5:12, Psalm 117

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(Chrn Today) Britain's hunger crisis: Bishop of Truro says benefits system doesn't work

The Bishop of Truro, together with a group of cross-party MPs, has criticised the effectiveness the benefits system in a comprehensive report into Britain’s hunger crisis released today.

The Feeding Britain report was published by the all-party parliamentary inquiry into hunger and food poverty, led by Labour MP Frank Field and the Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton, and was compiled with funding from the Archbishop’s charitable trust.

The report said that benefit-related problems were the reason most often given for people resorting to a food bank. Problems with the administration of benefits, creating delays or income gaps which create emergency needs were some of the problems cited.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(New Statesman) Food banks: why can't people afford to eat in the world's sixth richest country?

When a family turns to the food bank in a time of need, they are met with warmth and compassion that is qualitatively different to what the state can provide. So when they are provided with food, it acts as a social gateway to a discussion about the wider problems in someone’s life.

We believe this offers a valuable opportunity for us to redesign a fragmented approach to support. We want to help more food banks evolve into hubs where services like debt and welfare advice are in one place, and end the system where people are sent from pillar to post in a constant cycle of referral.

We therefore propose a practical solution. We will bring together the voluntary sector, stakeholders and retailers in a new national voice: Feeding Britain. This will have three key goals that have been difficult to address by individual food banks in isolation. First, we will seek to double the redistribution of surplus food. Second, we will pilot twelve regional hubs that bring local agencies together. Third, we will pilot schemes to tackle school holiday hunger.

Read it all from Frank Field and John Glen.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Theology

(RNS) Will Angelina Jolie’s ”˜Unbroken’ disappoint Christians? It depends

The film doesn’t ignore faith, but it includes no mention of Jesus or Graham. Faith is portrayed more generically ”” unlike the 2010 book by Hillenbrand (she also wrote the best-selling “Seabiscuit”), which was praised by Christian readers for capturing the drama of Zamperini’s conversion.

Zamperini died from pneumonia on July 2 at age 97. His son, Luke Zamperini, is helping promote the film.

Jolie’s role as director prompted questions about the film’s faith element; given Jolie’s own lack of faith, some reviewers questioned whether the actress would give short shrift to Zamperini’s faith.

“There doesn’t need to be a God for me,” Jolie said in 2000. “There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike.” Her husband, actor Brad Pitt, has said he is “probably 20 percent atheist and 80 percent agnostic.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, History, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Reuters) Ebola still spreading in western Sierra Leone, Guinea's forest: U.N

“We know the outbreak is still flaming strongly in western Sierra Leone and some parts of the interior of Guinea. We cant rest, we still have to push on,” Nabarro told a news briefing in Geneva.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Sierra Leone

(Gospel Project) Jesus, The Long Awaited King

Most of us have not experienced what it is like to live in a kingdom, under the true reign of a king. We are familiar with kingdom language. Michael Jackson once reigned as the “king of pop.” Budweiser notoriously declares in their advertisements that they are “the king of beers.” Even LeBron James refers to himself as “King James” and supposedly rules the hardwood. But in reality, this language is devoid of any lasting meaning, missing the essence of true kingship.

Why does this matter? In every society, there is the structure for leadership, a particular person or a body of people to reign over its citizens. Human society needs the structure of justice to deliver its people from the cruelty of the sinful acts of men. Human civilization needs to provide protection over its people to promote what is good and guard peace in the land. We all want someone to look to, to lead the way, to make the difficult calls in order to seek our welfare. However, as history has shown, we have never seen that perfect king-like leader. We have never experienced the perfect and pure rule of a king. Even our best leaders are flawed, and our worst leaders can be tyrants.

However, while the human experience leaves us longing for the perfect rule of a perfect king, the Bible provides us with a more meaningful, hope-filled understanding of true kingdom reign.

Read it all (hat tip:Lent+Beyond)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Anthropology, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Heroin and the Faith Community; Drugs of Last Resort

LAWTON: Federal officials say the new heroin crisis is crossing race, age, gender and geographical lines.

BOTTICELLI: What we’ve seen with this, with this upsurge has really been a demographic shift. So not only do we see younger users who are using heroin, but also much more suburban and rural use.

LAWTON: Fredericksburg, George Washington’s boyhood home, is one of the most historic small towns. But this seemingly idyllic small town has seen an explosion of heroin abuse, as 21-year-old John Cizik and his girlfriend Tayler Beets can confirm.

J. CIZIK: It’s not surprising when you hear about people doing it. Sad to say. But it’s true.

TAYLER BEETS: You just see it a lot in this town. Like, good kids.

REV. TOBY LARSON (Celebration Anglican Church): You’re only kidding yourself if you think it’s not in your town. It’s everywhere.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O Almighty God, that as thy blessed Son Jesus Christ at his first advent came to seek and to save that which was lost, so at his second and glorious appearing he may find in us the fruits of the redemption which he wrought; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God world without end.

–Scottish Prayer Book

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

O LORD, I love the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwells.

–Psalm 26:8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(FT) Oil price plunge raises Mexico energy reform concerns

Falling oil prices are putting a cloud over the one thing Mexico’s struggling government had been clinging to in its attempts to invigorate a sluggish economy ”” its historic energy reform.

The government had been planning to auction 169 oil and gas blocks next year. It was to be one of the most ambitious bid rounds the industry had seen in a country whose sector has been closed to private investment for nearly 80 years, and where production is at its lowest level in two decades.

But the oil price fall has sobered what one executive called the “frothy, crazy bidding environment” Mexico had been expecting, unsettling a government reliant on oil revenue for a third of its budget. Officials are hastily striking off shale and other fields that might now look unappealing to bidders. Long-awaited initial tender terms are likely to be published on Wednesday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Mexico, Science & Technology

South Carolina Lawmaker will introduce legislation to support advanced nurses

A Summerville lawmaker will pre-file a bill this week in the state Legislature that would lift restrictions on advanced nurses, despite anticipated push-back from some doctors.

Rep. Jenny Horne, R-Summerville, an attorney, said her bill is an attempt to improve health care access in rural areas.

“We still have a shortage of primary care physicians and this will be in the best interest of the health and welfare of the citizens of South Carolina,” Horne said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government

(Reuters) Church of England files shareholder resolutions at BP and Shell on climate change

The Church of England said it was in the process of filing shareholder resolutions on climate change at BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

“The resolution is intended to challenge the companies to run their businesses so that they participate constructively in the transition to a low carbon economy”, The Church of England wrote in a blog. (bit.ly/1tUBUlN)

The Church said it chose BP and Shell because they have the biggest carbon footprints of all the companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Read it all and make sure to read the whole C of E blog post also.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market, Theology