Daily Archives: July 7, 2015

(F Things) Joshua Schulz–False Enlightenment at the Court

Putting aside legal arguments about hidden autonomy rights in the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court justifies its decision on the basis of the “new insight” that procreation is accidental to marriage. Its warrant for this claim is that social changes, including recognition of the equal dignity and rights of women, “have worked deep transformations in the structure of marriage, affecting aspects of marriage once viewed as essential” (2, my emphasis). Thus, the Court claims, there is precedent for the view that the procreative potential once thought essential to marriage is in fact no more central to the institution than the race, precedents embodied in the Court’s previous affirmation of liberty rights to contraception and sodomy in Griswold and Lawrence. Rather, the Court now believes that what is essential to marriage is the autonomy right of “self-definition” in one’s intimate relationships and the right to be esteemed for this choice.

If this claim about the essence of marriage was either true or insightful, it would indeed be momentous. Unfortunately, it is neither. The Court’s argument rests on an insidious and profound misunderstanding of what “essential” means””let alone what the essence of marriage is””and a majoritarian understanding of moral progress. While real moral progress often does require us to distinguish what is essential from what is accidental””as when the Court correctly held that race is accidental to the institution of marriage””the Court’s current use of the term invalidates the very distinction it wishes to invoke.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

7/7 London bombings anniversary: Archbishop of CanterburyJustin Welby's statement

“Today, the survivors and families of the 7/7 London attacks continue the journey that those of Tunisia have just begun. Our hearts grieve with those who lost loved ones ten years ago, and with those so suddenly and cruelly bereaved less than a fortnight ago. We hold them all before God and our spirits call out to Christ to strengthen them.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology

(WI) Ryan Anderson–What the Supreme Court Said in Obergefell v. Hodges and Why It Got It Wrong

The question before the Supreme Court in Obergefell was not whether a male-female marriage policy is the best or whether government-recognized same-sex marriage is better, but only whether anything in the Constitution specifically took away the power of the people to choose their marriage policy. Yet the Court spoke almost exclusively about its “new insights” into marriage, and was virtually silent on the Constitution. That’s because it had no choice. Our Constitution is itself silent on what marriage is; We the People retain the authority to make marriage policy.

The Court claimed to show that the marriage policy that has existed in the United States for all its history is now prohibited by the Constitution. It failed to do that. As I explain in my forthcoming book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, what the Court actually did was to assume that marriage is an essentially genderless institution and then announce that the Constitution requires states to adopt that same vision of marriage in their laws.

This is all the more remarkable, given that during oral arguments on Obergefell Justice Kennedy pointed out that marriage as the union of man and woman “has been with us for millennia. And it””it’s very difficult for the Court to say, oh, well, we””we know better.” Kennedy at least pretended to be reluctant to redefine marriage judicially. Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships has, Kennedy pointed out, only been around for ten years. And, he added, “10 years is””I don’t even know how to count the decimals when we talk about millennia.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(BBC) In Nigeria, Zaria bomb 'kills 25'

A bomb attack has killed at least 25 people and wounded 32 others in northern Nigeria’s Zaria city, the state governor has said.

A suspected suicide bomber targeted civil servants at a government building in the city, witnesses said.

Emergency workers have rushed to the scene to help evacuate the wounded.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Telegraph) Shops to trade for longer on Sundays under radical new plans

Shops across the country will be able to stay open for longer on Sundays, George Osborne will announce in this week’s Budget.

The Chancellor will use his first Budget as Chancellor in a majority Tory Government to begin a massive shakeup of Sunday trading laws that currently prevent businesses opening for more than six hours.

He said that “there is still a growing appetite for shopping on a Sunday” and that businesses need the change to ensure that they can compete with online retailers.

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

Reform: Response to the US Episcopal Church Resolution on Marriage

…In rejecting this definition of marriage, the bishops of the US Episcopal Church have rejected Jesus’ own teaching. As such, they have denied the faith they profess to teach, forfeiting any right to be regarded as true bishops of the church of Jesus Christ. Jesus warned us to “watch out for false prophets” who come in his name (Matthew 7.15, 22)

Their actions will entrench still further the division in the Anglican Communion. We are grieved at their dishonouring of Jesus’ name. We are distressed by their discouragement of faithful believers, especially those who struggle with same-sex attraction and those who live in cultures where pronouncements from liberal Western church leaders endanger their lives and discredit their witness to Jesus Christ.

We stand with faithful Anglicans in the US and around the world, who continue to pray to Almighty God: “grant, that all they who do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity, and godly love.” (Book of Common Prayer).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

Music to Soothe the Soul for a Tuesday–To the River by Down like Silver

Listen carefully to it all.

Lyrics: I walk to the river
Waiting to hear the water sing
I sit down beside her
Trying to hear the quiet ring
The leaves break the falling
Of the sunlight that covers these banks
I’ve seen the water running, I’ve seen the color wash away
I come to the river heavy and tired to the bone
I lay down beside her
Grave as a slowly sinking stone
I see clear to the bottom
I watch how the shadows play
I’ve seen the water falling, I’ve seen the colors bleed away

The light turns silver
Draining the hours from the day
The weight of the water
Pulls at the branches along the banks
And it tears at the fallen and it carries the broken on its way
I’ve seen the water rolling, I’ve seen the colors fade away
I’ve seen the water rolling, I’ve seen the colors fade away

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Music

(Guardian) 7/7: London comes together to remember and reflect 10 years on

Ten years to the minute after the 7/7 bombings brought carnage to London, the 52 victims of the terrorist atrocity were remembered in a simple ceremony at the Hyde Park memorial that bears their names.

At the first of a series of events throughout Tuesday to mark the 10th anniversary, David Cameron and Boris Johnson stood with heads bowed in silent tribute at 8.50am amid the 52 steel pillars, each one representing a life lost.

The skies above central London darkened suddenly as the prime minister and the mayor of London walked silently through the thicket of stainless steel pillars, the only sounds the clicking of cameras and the rumble of passing traffic.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Economist DIA Blog) Marriage and polygamy: Three's company, too

“Part of liberalism is tolerating illiberality,” Mr Freiman rightly says. In the absence of credible evidence that plural marriage in America today would be any more inegalitarian or socially harmful than the old-fashioned patriarchal monogamous marriages that millions of Americans already have, it’s hard to justify, at least on liberal grounds, our legal prohibition against more than two consenting adults freely entering into a marital arrangement. As I’ve argued before, many of the unseemly and unhealthy aspects of existing American polygamous “marriages” are a side-effect of our having made them illegal, and a target for disgust and contempt, much as homosexuality was within living memory.

Perhaps there are other, excellent arguments against legalising plural marriage. But for now, not even extremely sophisticated liberals are making them. Messrs Rauch and Macedo’s claims about the harms that would ensue from legalising plural marriage have the same speculative character as some conservative arguments against legal gay marriage. This ought to pique some concern.

Fredrik deBoer, writing in Politico, speculates that liberal opponents of plural marriage remain “trapped … in prior opposition that they voiced from a standpoint of political pragmatism in order to advance the cause of gay marriage”. This is probably right. Now that gay marriage is finally legal from sea to shining sea, it’s time for liberals to refine their arguments against polygamy. We need better, more rationally compelling arguments if we wish to be fair in shutting against would-be polygamists the libertarian door that we’ve just blasted open.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

South Carolina Religious leaders honor grace shown after church shooting

Around 9:30 a.m. Monday morning, as state Senators filed briskly into chambers and protestors waved their red rebel banners outside, about 100 people congregated amidst the chaos in the South Carolina Statehouse rotunda and sang “Amazing Grace.”

But first, Hal Stevenson closed his eyes and led them in prayer.

“We pray for our state. We pray for our nation. We pray for our world that the grace that’s been displayed in our state will catch on, that your holy spirit will direct each of us to love our neighbors as ourselves and do your will.”

They’re not activists, Stevenson said. They don’t represent any formal organization, either. But they are Christians ”” from multiple denominations, races and political ideologies ”” moved by the showing of grace from the families of the nine people murdered at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last month.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Christology, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Wash. Post) Jonathan Turley–The trouble with the ”˜dignity’ of same-sex marriage

Instead, Kennedy fashioned the opinion around another part of the 14th Amendment, holding that denial of marriage licenses infringed on the liberty of gay men and women by restricting their right to due process. As Justice Clarence Thomas correctly pointed out, liberty under the Constitution has largely been defined as protection against physical restraints or broader government interference ”” “not as a right to a particular governmental entitlement.” While Kennedy makes a powerful case for an expansive new view of due process, he extends the concept of liberty far beyond prior decisions.

In reality, he has been building to this moment for years, culminating in what might now be called a right to dignity. In his 1992 Casey decision, he upheld Roe v. Wade on the basis of “personal dignity and autonomy [that] are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.” Kennedy wove this concept of protected dignity through a series of cases, from gay rights to prison lawsuits, including his historic 2003 Lawrence decision striking down the criminalization of homosexuality. These rulings on liberty peaked with Obergefell, which he described as an effort of the petitioners to secure “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.” He used the word “dignity” almost a dozen times in his decision and laid down a jurisprudential haymaker: “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

Grant, O blessed Lord, that thy Church in this our day may hear anew thy call to launch out into the deep in the service of thy glorious gospel; that souls for whom thou hast died may be won for thee, to the increase of thy kingdom and the glory of thy holy name.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints that lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aene”²as, who had been bedridden for eight years and was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, “Aene”²as, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
Now there was at Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him entreating him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he had come, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing tunics and other garments which Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, rise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then calling the saints and widows he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner.

–Acts 9:32-43

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

GAFCON Primates' Council: TEC decision ”˜a mistake with serious consequences’

See also:
+ Global South Statement on TEC marriage vote””“we are deeply grieved again”
+ Church of Uganda’s response to TEC’s General Convention and USA Supreme Court/
+ Statement from the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas
+ Bp Mouneer Anis’s statement regarding the US Supreme Court Ruling for same-sex marriage

“Being part of a global Communion should always be such a source of mutual encouragement to faithful witness, not a source of hurt to that witness.”
A Response to The Episcopal Church of the United States’ (TEC) decision to make ”˜Same ”“ Sex Marriage’ official

The recent decision of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, to remove reference to gender in the marriage canon and introduce rites for conducting ”˜same-sex marriage’, is a mistake with serious consequences.

The problems for the rest of the Anglican Communion have already been noted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. But the fundamental reason that it is a mistake ”“ and the reason why it is so destabilizing ”“ is that it is a significant departure from Holy Scripture. This is a departure which Christians are not at liberty to make.

With this action, TEC has officially rejected the Anglican Communion’s standard, Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which expresses the Communion’s received and historic understanding of marriage and sexual relationships. TEC has now taken the pattern of behaviour which Lambeth describes as ”˜incompatible with Scripture’ and equated it with Holy Matrimony.

It may be claimed that TEC is modelling ”˜two integrities’, but the Church of God finds its integrity in teaching and living according to the received Word of God. The determination of TEC to press ahead with changes which ignore the serious concerns of many others in the Communion, in some cases for their physical safety, shows very clearly the inadequacy of initiatives designed to create reconciliation without repentance.

The recent decision of the United States Supreme Court that claims ”˜same sex marriage’ is a constitutional right puts pressure on all churches in the United States, but in different ways all of our Provinces face the temptation to compromise with the surrounding culture. It is within this context that we commend the Anglican Church in North America for their willingness to speak with courage, truth, and charity. Being part of a global Communion should always be such a source of mutual encouragement to faithful witness, not a source of hurt to that witness.

The GAFCON movement remains totally committed to the renewal of this global witness and the restoration of its integrity, knowing that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that all need to hear the good news of God’s redeeming love in Jesus Christ. It welcomes and recognizes Anglicans who through no fault of their own have had to disaffiliate from their original province over serious matters of biblical truth. The struggle and spirit of the remnant church must be kept alive.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of Kenya and Chairman, The GAFCON Primates Council

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of All Nigeria and Vice Chairman, The GAFCON Primates Council

6th July 2015

Posted July 7, 2015

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates

(F Things) Methodist Official: “I never have asked Jesus to define marriage”

Contrast this statement with another, from January 1963. [Maxie] Dunnam, then a young pastor in Mississippi, invited three other Methodist pastors to his river camp in order to draft “Born of Conviction,” a historic challenge to Jim Crow amid one of its darkest moments. Only a few months before, rioting had broken out when James Meredith became the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. A few months later, a white supremacist shot and killed Mississippi NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers (whose wife would later honor Dunnam).

“Born of Conviction” cited the official Methodist teaching that all men were equal, denounced resegregation under the cover of Christian schooling, and rejected the charge that the civil rights movement was Communist. Several of the twenty-eight Methodist pastors who subsequently signed the statement were forced to leave the state. Some received death threats.

The distance between Dunnam’s statement in 1963 and [Bill] Mefford’s in 2015 provides another measure of the loss of moral seriousness in mainline social justice activism. The comparison is not, I think, an altogether unfair one. Mefford’s official position makes it impossible to dismiss his comments as the mere product of one man’s glibness, rather than to admit them as evidence of a church bureaucracy that has lost touch with scripture, tradition, and the believers it purports to represent.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture