Daily Archives: April 24, 2015

(FT) Gillian Tett–Will cyber attacks switch off the lights?

A couple of months ago I lost my mobile phone. I duly called AT&T, my telephone company, to order a replacement ”” and received a nasty shock.

“So you are living in Shanghai,” an assistant announced, quoting an entirely unfamiliar Chinese address. Baffled, I explained that I didn’t live anywhere near the Bund; my residence was in Manhattan, New York.

“No, you live in Shanghai,” the voice firmly replied. When I protested vociferously, the AT&T official pronounced the three words that we have all come to dread: “You’ve been hacked.” Somebody, somehow, had managed to break into the AT&T systems and switch my cellphone billing address from New York to Shanghai. Presumably, they were Chinese.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Theology

Anna Sutherland–Should we not ensure that the tax and welfare system doesn't punish marriage?

Few people will pity the dual-earner couples earning more than $100,000 and paying a penalty for being married. But at a time when lower-earning couples are struggling to get by and less likely than ever to be reaping the benefits of marriage for themselves and their children, more should be done to ensure that the tax and welfare system doesn’t punish them for tying the knot.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Taxes, Theology

The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming A Shared Witness

An Open Letter from Religious Leaders to All in Positions of Public Service

Released April 23, 2015 [Via ACNA]

Dear Friends:

At this significant time in our nation’s history with the institution of marriage before the United States Supreme Court, we reaffirm our commitment to promote and defend marriage””the union of one man and one woman. As religious leaders from various faith communities, we acknowledge that marriage is the foundation of the family where children are raised by a mother and a father together. Our commitment to marriage has been expressed on previous occasions, including the Letter of Shared Commitment and Letter on Marriage and Religious Liberty. This commitment is inseparable from affirming the equal dignity of all people and the necessity of protecting their basic rights.

The state has a compelling interest in maintaining marriage as it has been understood across faiths and cultures for millennia because it has a compelling interest in the well-being of children. Every child has a mother and a father, and every child deserves the opportunity, whenever possible, to be raised by his or her own married mother and father in a stable, loving home. Marriage as the union of a man and a woman is the only institution that encourages and safeguards the connection between children and their mother and father. Although this connection cannot always be realized and sustained””and many single parents, for example, are heroic in their efforts to raise their children””it is in the best interests of the state to encourage and uphold the family founded on marriage and to afford the union of husband and wife unique legal protection and reinforcement.

The redefinition of legal marriage to include any other type of relationship has serious consequences, especially for religious freedom. It changes every law involving marital status, requiring that other such relationships be treated as if they were the same as the marital relationship of a man and a woman. No person or community, including religious organizations and individuals of faith, should be forced to accept this redefinition. For many people, accepting a redefinition of marriage would be to act against their conscience and to deny their religious beliefs and moral convictions.

Government should protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage to express their beliefs and convictions without fear of intimidation, marginalization or unwarranted charges that their values imply hostility, animosity, or hatred of others.

In this and in all that we do, we are motivated by our duty to love God and neighbor. This love extends to all those who disagree with us on this issue. The well-being of men, women, and the children they conceive compels us to stand for marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We call for the preservation of the unique meaning of marriage in the law, and for renewed respect for religious freedom and for the conscience rights of all in accord with the common good.

Sincerely Yours:

The Rev. Dr. Leith Anderson
National Association of Evangelicals

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America

Dr. A.D. Beacham, Jr.
Presiding Bishop
International Pentecostal Holiness Church

The Rev. John F. Bradosky
North American Lutheran Church

Rev. Mark Chavez
General Secretary
North American Lutheran Church

Clint Cook
Executive Director
General Association of General Baptists

Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone
Archbishop of San Francisco
USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios
Archbishop of America
President of the Holy Eparchial Synod
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

The Most Rev. Robert Duncan
Archbishop Emeritus
Anglican Church in North America
Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh

Rev. Dr. Ron Hamilton
Conference Minister
Conservative Congregational Christian Conference

Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison
Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

Rev. Bruce D. Hill
Evangelical Congregational Church

John Hopler
Great Commission Churches

Steven R. Jones
Missionary Church, Inc.

Imam Faizul Khan
Islamic Society of Washington Area

Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz
Archbishop of Louisville
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Most Rev. William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore
USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for
Religious Liberty

Dr. Jo Anne Lyon
General Superintendent
The Wesleyan Church

Most Rev. Richard J. Malone
Bishop of Buffalo
USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

Dr. Russell Moore
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Dr. Gus Reyes
Christian Life Commission, Texas Baptists

Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, III
Founder and President
Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies

Jacqueline C. Rivers
Executive Director
Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies

Larry Roberts
Chief Operating Officer
The Free Methodist Church ”“ USA

Rocky Rocholl
Fellowship of Evangelical Churches

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference / Hispanic Evangelical Association

Bishop Gary E. Stevenson
Presiding Bishop
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Dr. L. Roy Taylor
Stated Clerk
Presbyterian Church in America

His Beatitude, The Most
Blessed Tikhon
Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Orthodox Church in America

Dr. Joseph Tkach
Grace Communion International

Rev. Dr. David Wendel
Assistant to the Bishop for
Ministry and Ecumenism
North American Lutheran Church

Rev. Phillip Whipple
United Brethren in Christ Church, USA

David P. Wilson
General Secretary
Church of the Nazarene

Rev. Paul Winter
Bruderhof Communities

Dr. George O. Wood
General Superintendent
Assemblies of God

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Sexuality

(Economist) Xenophobia in South Africa: Blood at the end of the rainbow

A street vendor from Mozambique, Emmanuel Sithole, lay begging for his life in a gutter as four men beat him and stabbed him in the heart with a long knife. Images of his murder have shaken South Africa, already reeling from a wave of attacks on foreigners, mostly poor migrants from the rest of Africa. Soldiers were deployed on April 21st to Alexandra, a Johannesburg township, and other flashpoints to quell the violence, though only after seven people had been killed. Thousands of fearful foreigners, many from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, have sought refuge in makeshift camps. Others have returned home.

South Africa has experienced such horrors before. During widespread anti-foreign violence in 2008, 62 people were killed and some 100,000 displaced. Photographs of the murder of another Mozambican man, Ernesto Nhamuave, whom a jeering mob burned alive in a squatter camp, led to declarations that such atrocities would never happen again. Yet no one was charged in Mr Nhamuave’s death: the case was closed after a cursory police investigation apparently turned up no witnesses (who were easily found by journalists earlier this year). The latest violence flared up in the Durban area earlier this month after King Goodwill Zwelithini, the traditional leader of the Zulus, reportedly compared foreigners to lice and said that they should pack up and leave.

His comments poured fuel on an already-smouldering fire. Jean Pierre Misago, a researcher at the African Centre for Migration and Society in Johannesburg, estimates that at least 350 foreigners have been killed in xenophobic violence since 2008.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, South Africa, Theology

(Mirror) Jesus would pay a living wage and so should the government, says Archbishop of York

It’s a myth to suggest people on benefits must be scroungers. Most people in poverty in the UK are working. Of the children living in poverty, 61% have working parents.

When the Living Wage is introduced, everyone ­benefits. Morale goes up.

When work feels ­worthwhile, its quality improves. Raising pay to a living wage would reduce the benefits bill, increase tax receipts and boost the economy by stepping up workers’ spending power.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(WSJ) Confessions of a Synagogue-Hopper

One of the joys of traveling is seeing how other people worship. On vacation my daughter and I visited a shul in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands that had sand on the floor to represent either the Israelite journey through the desert or a homage to the congregants’ Murano Jewish ancestors who used sand to muffle the sounds of their secret prayer services during the Spanish Inquisition. They lived as Catholics publicly, but returned to their Judaism in their basements.

We happened to attend this Caribbean synagogue when the head of the women’s club was having an adult bat mitzvah. The highlight came during her speech, when she surveyed the crowd, appeared to do a mental calculation and announced: “Family hold back!” The lox was delicious, and the whole experience was so great””how could we not join for the off-island rate of $72 a year?

So if you are traveling to the ’burgh and looking for that special something from your synagogue experience: Ask and I’ll set you up. Just not during services. I’ll be busy talking to Finkelstein.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Judaism, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Archbishop Welby and Pope Francis unite in call for EU help for migrants

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis have demanded that European nations take in more of the migrants who are fleeing North Africa and the Middle East, days after hundreds were feared to have died after their boats sank in the Mediterranean.

Up to 400 migrants were believed to have drowned when their boat capsized last week, but as many as 900 people could have died after another boat sank near the coast of Libya on Saturday. The deaths prompted Archbishop Welby to call for a united effort to prevent more deaths.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: “We can’t say this is one country’s responsibility, the one nearest; that’s not right. Of course, we have to be aware of the impact of immigration in our own communities, but when people are drowning in the Mediterranean, the need, the misery that has driven them out of their own countries is so extreme, so appalling, that Europe as a whole must rise up and seek to do what’s right.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Yorkshire Post) Jonathan Gibbs: Church must lead way to a new kind of political vision

I AM surely not alone in thinking that there is something desperately lacking in politics today. I have found much of the output from the political parties in the current election campaign deeply depressing. They seem determined to treat voters as children looking for handouts of sweets, concerned with what’s in it for them, rather than as adult human beings who are interested in the kind of world we are making, both for our own generation and for those who will come after us.

For the most part I find it very difficult to work out what people stand for, and so much of the debate is couched in intensely negative terms, focusing on instilling fear about what the other lot might do if they get into power. It is divisive and it is corrosive ”“ and somebody needs to say “Stop!” and then to try and set us off in a different direction.

Christians cannot of course (thank goodness) impose their moral and political vision on the life of our nation. But we can and must seek to contribute to the formation of a new vision for our shared life and a new way of doing politics. This needs to happen right down at the level of every local church and parish ”“ and at the level of our contribution to political debate.

Churches must seek to become beacons of hope and communities of people who are learning to live differently and to refuse the culture of fear and suspicion which so characterises much of life today.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Theology

Anglican Indigenous Network issues communiqué from triennial meeting

The AIN met at Stony Point Center in New York from April 14th -17th, 2015. We began by being welcomed by Janine Tinsley-Roe and her uncle, LeRoy Carle, a tribal elder, on behalf of the Shinnecock-Sewanaka tribe of this area. Our meeting began in earnest on the 15th, as we heard reports from each delegation on the work being done in their areas, responding to the concerns of their people. In our discussions that followed we saw the larger overarching trends present in each of our areas of struggle ”“ that we are not engaging as individual Indigenous groups but rather as a global people.

From the United States, we heard the resolutions that went into the Blue Book report to be acted on at General Convention this June, 2015. The first of these resolutions was about at-risk teens, with specific examples of high teen pregnancy and suicides.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor's Prayerbook

O risen and victorious Christ, whose power and love destroyed the darkness and death of sin; Ascend, we pray thee, the throne of our hearts, and so rule our wills by the might of that immortality wherewith thou hast set us free, that we may evermore be alive unto God, through the power of thy glorious resurrection; world without end.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually!

–Psalm 105:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Blogging & the Internet, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Parish Ministry, Theology