Category : Law & Legal Issues

(NBC) Police Departments Across The Nation Face Staffing Shortages

“Departments of all sizes are fighting rising crime while facing severe staffing shortages, many due to large numbers of officers resigning amidst retention and recruitment challenges. NBC News’ Ron Allen speaks with former officers to understand why they left and what they think would help keep more officers on the force.”

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in Police/Fire

(CT) Ewan C. Goligher–Canada Euthanized 10,000 People in 2021. Has Death Lost Its Sting?

How then can we as Christians respond to the matter of physician-assisted death? First, we can call upon reason and the light of nature to affirm absolutely the value of life. Assisted death and suicide is said to be a matter of respect.

But to value a person is to value their existence. A willingness to deliberately end someone’s existence therefore necessarily devalues the person. If people matter, we must not intentionally end them.

Second, our churches can be communities where assisted death is inconceivable because the weak, the aged, the disabled, and the dying are regarded as priceless members of the community. We can be a place where those who suffer enjoy the devoted companionship, love, and support that reminds them of their value and bears them up through pain. This is, after all, what all of us long for.

Third, we can advocate for access to the very best medical and palliative care for those who are suffering or dying. The palliative care movement was started by a Christian physician, Dame Cicely Saunders, and has transformed medical care at the end of life. Yet access to good palliative care in the US, Canada, and the rest of the world is still far too limited.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Information Regarding Settlement Reached by the Historic Anglican and new TEC Dioceses of South Carolina Released

Reflecting on the agreement, Bishop Edgar said, “This settlement agreement allows us to invest our diocesan energy, time, focus, and resources in gospel ministry rather than litigation. While the losses we have experienced, including those of St. Christopher and several of our parish buildings are painful, I am grateful that the work we have done has brought an end to litigation between our dioceses. I am grateful, too, for the willingness to work to avoid further litigation that Bishop Woodliff-Stanley showed throughout this process. These hard past few months were made easier by her kind and generous willingness to compromise to reach this settlement.”

Bishop Woodliff-Stanley echoed this sentiment: “From the very beginning of this process, I have been grateful for the gracious spirit of Bishop Edgar in doing just this work with us. I am grateful for his leadership and his generosity. While each diocese has had to leave things on the table to get to this moment, and while we experience pain over losses of some of the historic churches our members hold dear, even still, we have seen the Spirit at work in drawing us toward God’s redemptive way of love at every juncture.”

While we give thanks that the legal disputes at the diocesan level are being brought to a close, we nevertheless recognize that a number of our parishes await a final resolution of their legal concerns. It is our prayer that these issues will soon come to a resolution as well as we move forward together as a diocese into this next season of ministry.

What does this next season look like? For some, it will be full of new challenges – and opportunities – as they as they learn to minister outside the walls of their beloved church buildings. For others we’ll seek to pull together as a diocese and grow in our roles as supportive brothers and sisters. For all of us we’ll continue to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and pursue the work of the gospel in South Carolina and beyond out from under the shadow of litigation with a renewed focus on our mission and ministry. Therefore, let us move forward prayerfully, in thanksgiving for this Spirit-led settlement, and in hope for the work of the Gospel and continued in-breaking of the Kingdom of God.

The Rt. Revd Chip Edgar, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina
The Revd B. Tyler Prescott, President, ADOSC Standing Committee

Read it all and follow the link.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Departing Parishes

Brand New TEC Diocese Petitions South Carolina Supreme Court for a Rehearing on two parishes in the Historic Anglican Diocese of SC

(Via email–KSH)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

To file under “we-should’ve-seen-that-coming”…

…(On September 1, 2022)..the Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina filed a Petition for Reconsideration and Rehearing with the South Carolina Supreme Court asking the Court to reverse their ruling regarding the property rights of two parishes whose rights they had affirmed in their August 17 ruling.

Those parishes are: Old St Andrew’s, Charleston, and the Church of the Holy Cross, Stateburg.

Please join me in praying the Court will deny this final effort and, once and for all, put this case to rest.

Additionally, The Church of the Good Shepherd, Charleston, whose property rights the Court denied in their August 17 ruling, filed a Petition for Rehearing asking the Court to reconsider that ruling.

We’ll pray that the Court will reverse that earlier ruling and affirm the property rights of Good Shepherd.

With me, you are likely tired of the back-and-forth and wondering if this will ever end. It will. Someday, in the not too distant future, I trust these matters will be behind us, and we will move forward—whatever the outcome—into ministry without this distraction. Until then, we do well to heed St Paul’s advice to: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer.” (Rom 12.12) Never losing sight of the fact that, “…you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” That truth can never change.

Blessings,

–The Rt Revd Chip Edgar is bishop of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship

(Forbes) The University Of North Carolina Strikes A Blow For the Freedom Of Speech

On July 27, the University of North Carolina (UNC)–Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees made a strong, new commitment to safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus. Colleges and universities face immense pressure to comport with majority beliefs, but UNC’s trustees proactively resolved to maintain institutional neutrality on controversial political and social issues.

The trustees’ unanimous resolution built on the previous work of the faculty. To the credit of the UNC Faculty Assembly, it adopted in 2018 the Chicago Principles on Freedom of Expression, an action affirmed by the trustees in March 2021. The faculty resolution read, in part, “By reaffirming a commitment to full and open inquiry, robust debate, and civil discourse we also affirm the intellectual rigor and open-mindedness that our community may bring to any forum where difficult, challenging, and even disturbing ideas are presented.”

The trustees took a remarkable further step. In addition to confirming once more the decision of the Faculty Assembly, they put the university in the vanguard of institutions committed to a robust heterodoxy of views and opinions by also adopting what is known as the Kalven Committee Report on the University’s Role in Political and Social Action. The UNC resolution notes that the Kalven Report “recognizes that the neutrality of the University on social and political issues ‘arises out of respect for free inquiry and the obligation to cherish a diversity of viewpoints’ and further acknowledges ‘a heavy presumption against the university taking collective action or expressing opinions on the political and social issues of the day.’”

In an interview with me, UNC Trustee Dr. Perrin Jones, who introduced the resolution, observed that the unanimity of the board reflected its desire for public affirmation of the university’s commitment to be a forum for open and vigorous debate, which cannot happen without institutional neutrality. Board members embrace, in Dr. Jones’s words, the “high bar” of living up to these “timeless principles.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Education, Law & Legal Issues, Young Adults

The South Carolina Supreme Court Approves Petition for Rehearing Sought by Six Parishes of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

[Diocesan PR] Columbia, S.C. (August 17, 2022) – [Yesterday], the South Carolina Supreme Court granted petitions for rehearing filed by six of seven parishes of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina.

“We are grateful and heartened that the property rights of six more parishes were affirmed by this ruling,” said the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis. “Today we rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, but the balance is with rejoicing.” With today’s revised opinion, all property ownership questions are finally settled.

The six churches whose petitions were granted today are: the Church of the Holy Cross (Stateburg), the Church of the Holy Comforter (Sumter), St. Jude’s Church (Walterboro), Old St. Andrew’s (Charleston), St. Luke’s Church (Hilton Head) and Trinity Church (Myrtle Beach).

These six churches, along with 21 others, have now had their property rights affirmed by the Supreme Court. Today’s opinion followed the Court’s earlier April 20 ruling in determining if a parish had created a trust interest in its property in favor of The Episcopal Church (TEC) or its local Diocese (TECSC). Four of the parishes in today’s ruling were judged to have never created a trust, based on that earlier standard. Two more were judged to have created a revocable trust, which they subsequently and properly revoked.

The earlier April 20 ruling stated that 15 parish properties of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina will also remain with the Anglican Diocese. They are: All Saints, Florence; Church of our Savior, John’s Island; Church of the Cross, Bluffton; Christ-St. Paul’s, Yonges Island; Epiphany, Eutawville; Redeemer, Orangeburg; Resurrection, Surfside/Myrtle Beach; St. Helena’s, Beaufort; St. Paul’s, Bennettsville; St. Paul’s, Summerville; St. Philip’s, Charleston; St. Luke & St. Paul, Charleston; St. Michael’s, Charleston; Trinity, Edisto; and Trinity, Pinopolis. Of the 36 parishes that were parties to this litigation, 28 have had their property rights upheld. All 36 will continue their parish ministries going forward, though some in new locations.

Only one additional parish, the Church of the Good Shepherd, Charleston was ruled today to have created a trust interest in their property on behalf of TEC and TECSC.

In addition to the Church of the Good Shepherd, the April 20 opinion called for transfer of the deeds to Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant; Holy Trinity, Charleston; St. Bartholomew’s, Hartsville; St. David’s, Cheraw; St. Matthew’s, Fort Motte; St. James, Charleston and St. John’s, Johns Island to the Episcopal Church and it’s local diocese, the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

Conversations between the Anglican Diocese, its parishes and the Episcopal Diocese concerning these properties are ongoing. Anglican Diocese Bishop Charles F. Edgar has met with Bishop Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, the leader of the Episcopal Diocese several times to reach resolution on the remaining questions.

Posted in * South Carolina, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry

(CBS) FBI rescues more than 200 trafficking victims, including 84 children, in “Operation Cross Country”

Law enforcement across the country rescued more than 200 sex trafficking victims, including 84 children, in a nationwide sweep dubbed “Operation Cross Country,” the FBI announced Monday. The youngest victim was 11 years old.

Authorities located 84 victims of child sex trafficking, as well as 37 children that were actively missing during the campaign, the FBI said. Law enforcement officers also located 141 adult victims of human trafficking.

In 2021, more than half of all trafficking victims in the U.S. were minors, according to the Human Trafficking Institute. In a news release Monday, FBI Director Christopher Wray called sex trafficking “among the most heinous crimes” the agency encounters.

Read it all.

Posted in Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Sexuality, Violence

(Nikkei Asia) China forcing political critics into psychiatric hospitals: report

Chinese authorities are pushing political critics into psychiatric hospitals where they are subjected to electroshock therapy and forced drugging nearly a decade after the country passed laws against such abuse, a new report said on Tuesday.

The study published by Madrid-based rights group Safeguard Defenders drew on the testimony of 99 people over a period of seven years, with alleged victims saying they were also placed in isolation for long periods and tied to beds where they were forced to lie in their own excrement.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in China, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

(C of E) Championing Just-Ice in Cheshire

Just-Ice is an innovative social enterprise that combines a love of ice-cream with a desire to provide sympathetic employment to survivors of modern slavery.

Situated in the heart of Poynton, a leafy suburb in Cheshire, Just-Ice is helping to raise awareness of modern slavery amongst Poynton’s school children, church, and wider community as well as employing several survivors of modern slavery. It is a brilliant example of a group of Christians taking action and could be mirrored in other communities across the country.

Jo Rodman, the founder of Just-Ice Poynton, was considering a vocation in ordained ministry when she heard about a Christian couple in Derby who had turned their passion for ice cream into a thriving social enterprise. She was excited about starting a similar café in Poynton and was encouraged by the Director of Vocations at Chester Diocese to pursue the idea as part of a Distinctive Deacon role. Distinctive Deacons have a strong call to an outward-looking and community-minded ministry. They often have a particular concern for issues of poverty and justice.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Law & Legal Issues, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(Church Times) C of E General Synod rejects assisted suicide by a large majority

Dr Simon Eyre (Chichester), a retired GP, moved a private member’s motion on the subject on Sunday afternoon. “Hospices are suffering from a lack of funding,” he said, and linked this to a pressure to change the law to allow assisted suicide. People might choose to end their lives prematurely rather than face suffering exacerbated by poor-quality palliative care, he said.

“Sanctity of life is central to our understanding as Christians,” he said, and cited Psalm 31: “Our times are in his hands”.

Terminally ill people with depression, and people with disabilities, including learning disabilities, would be put at risk if legislation was changed, Dr Eyre said.

The Suicide Act 1961 prohibits assisted suicide, although directions from the Crown Prosecution Service published in 2010 require that any prosecution be in the “public interest”.

Several attempts have been made in recent years to introduce legislation that would permit assisted suicide in some circumstances, most recently in the form of a Bill in the House of Lords, which failed to reach a Second Reading before Parliament was prorogued in April.

Dr Eyre conceded that palliative care “sometimes fails to deliver”, but said that “the response to this should be to improve palliative care rather than make changes to the Suicide Act.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Cof E General Synod votes to leave the law on Assisted Suicide unchanged

Following a debate, members backed a Private Member’s Motion (PMM) paying tribute to the ‘enormous and untiring’ efforts of health professionals working in palliative and end of life care.

They called on the Government to guarantee adequate funding and resourcing of palliative care services to ensure the highest possible standards of care for all. Members further affirmed that the law on Assisted Suicide should remain unchanged.

General Synod member Dr Simon Eyre, from the Diocese of Chichester, introducing the PMM, called for the Government to ensure adequate funding for hospices over the next decade.

He said palliative care was currently ‘insufficiently comprehensive’ with only one palliative care consultant per 100,000 of the population.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics

Keep up momentum on highlighting abuses of freedom of religion and belief, bishop Philip Mounstephen urges

The Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, told a global summit on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) hosted by the UK Government, that there had been some good progress in some areas made since the publication of the review in 2019, but ‘much’ still needed to be done.

“The challenge going forward is to keep up the corporate momentum that has developed around this issue because this is a really, really significant global issue,” he told a panel session of the Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in London today.

“We must not let it sink back into the place that it was before, largely ignored and overlooked.”

Asked what his advice would be to Parliamentarians, Bishop Philip said: “My key message to Parliamentarians would be: understand what the main drivers behind freedom of religion or belief abuses are – we are looking at totalitarian regimes, religious fundamentalism, militant nationalism – these are really serious issues that must be addressed. So please Parliamentarians, make this a bipartisan issue, espouse it across the political spectrum.”

In his remarks during the panel session Bishop Philip welcomed the creation of the UK Freedom of Religion or Belief Public Forum made since the publication of the 2019 report.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution

(NYT front page) Troubling Signals, Yet Still Cleared to Buy Guns

The suspect in the shooting, Robert E. Crimo III, 21, had drawn police attention more than once, and despite warnings about his troubling behavior, had gotten a firearm license and bought several guns.

How a young man who had sent troubling signals managed to end up with a semiautomatic rifle in Illinois is a question that is haunting not only the survivors of Monday’s deadly massacre in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb. It is also a question of federal importance, coming just days after President Biden signed into law the most significant gun legislation passed in decades.

As details of Mr. Crimo’s past continued to emerge, and as a judge ordered him held without bail on murder charges on Wednesday, it remained unclear whether the horrific episode revealed weaknesses in state restrictions on guns, or in the limits of even potent safeguards in a system that ultimately relies on the judgments of people — the authorities, families, observers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, State Government, Violence

(PD) Nicole Stelle Garnett–Another Chink in the Armor of Legal Discrimination against Religious Schools

Fortunately, in Carson v. Makin, the Supreme Court ruled that faith-based schools cannot be asked to shed their religious identity in order to participate in school-choice programs. As the majority opinion makes clear, Maine’s exclusion of faith-based schools from its tuition assistance program is neither constitutionally required nor constitutionally permissible.

Of course, before the twenty-first century, the state might have been forgiven for making an honest mistake. The Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause doctrine has been all over the map in the second half of the twentieth century. In 1980, many decisions seemed to prohibit students from using public funds to attend religious schools. Speaking of maps, for example, in Meek v. Pittenger (1975) and Wolman v. Walters (1977), the Court held that the Establishment Clause permitted states to provide secular textbooks, but not instructional materials such as maps, to faith-based schools. Seriously.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause doctrine has taken a decidedly pro-religion turn in the past few decades. In decision after decision leading up to Carson, the Court has reiterated that the Constitution demands neutrality and prohibits hostility toward religious institutions and believers. Importantly, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), the Court held that the Establishment Clause does not prohibit faith-based schools from participating in publicly funded private-school-choice programs.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, State Government, Supreme Court

(CL) Southeastern’s Karen Swallow Prior: Why the Pro-Life Movement Must Prioritize Nuance, Education and the Imagination Post-Roe

Yet even though she is grateful that Roe has been overturned, Prior cautioned Christians against being hasty with how they move forward, saying that Roe’s absence gives us a unique opportunity to create beneficial legislation.

“For example,” said Prior, “we need to learn the difference between between intervening in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, which is going to be fatal to both mother and child and an abortion.” Because Roe was the law of the land for so long, Christians haven’t had to think through how the answer to such questions will impact the laws we create—but now in some states we have new opportunities.

Said Prior, “We’re going to have to educate ourselves quickly and thoughtfully and not just rush to put legislation in place that would be disastrous or uninformed or medically irresponsible. Of course, we want all of these laws to protect all of the human lives involved, but that’s not something that happens quickly and overnight. We have to really understand what it means to be pro-life and how to apply that in principle.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(AC) Georgette Forney–Why are Anglicans Pro-Life?

People often say that abortion isn’t mentioned in the Bible. But the command to protect and honor Life is implicit in every word of Scripture.

First, we need to understand that the value of human life is based in our creation by God and in our redemption through Jesus. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Our lives have value not because they are ours but because they are His! For this reason, we must live our lives giving glory to God and living in His statues. In this way, Scripture firmly contradicts the “my body, my choice” mantra of abortion supporters.

Second, because our lives have value in Him, we as His people are called to protect and honor all Life. The clearest evidence of this is in the commandment, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13) But even earlier, in the book of Genesis, God declares that the spilling of man’s blood is inherently wrong, due to our status as God’s beloved creation: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” (Genesis 9:6)

True, society in general believes that murder is wrong. However, Scriptures show that “valuing” Life goes beyond avoiding the act of killing. Honoring the sacredness of Life means serving those in need and sharing the love of God. Christ demonstrates how we should do this: “For I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in…Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.” (Matthew 25:41-45) Being a life-affirming Christian means more than opposing death—it means serving those who are hurting, lonely, and broken. It means caring for the “least of these,”—the unborn, the homeless, the single mothers, the elderly, and the handicapped. Because our lives are valuable to God, so theirs must be to us.

God didn’t “forget” to talk about abortion, assisted suicide, or euthanasia in the Scriptures. The gift of Life is proclaimed in all of God’s commands and in everything that God has created, including us.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Language, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Theology

An Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Legal Update for today

Friends,

As most of you are aware, the South Carolina Supreme Court released its final ruling in our case on April 20 this year. Shortly thereafter, eight of our congregations filed a petition for rehearing, each providing additional legal considerations for the court suggesting the standard adopted by the Court did not, in fact, create a trust interest in their property. Of those eight, there are still seven petitions being given active consideration by the Court.

Last week, legal counsel for the Episcopal Church (TEC) filed their Court directed return, detailing their legal arguments for why the remaining petitions should not be granted. Monday, legal counsel for the parishes in our Diocese filed their reply, providing counter arguments to those in the TEC return last week. Those filings can be found HERE and HERE.

To simplify somewhat, the ruling of the Court is that if a congregation acceded to the constitution and canons of TEC after 1979, it created a trust interest in the property in favor of TEC and its local Diocese. The arguments of the petitioning parishes, supported by yesterday’s reply, addresses two essential issues. Based on the Court’s holdings in April, to create a trust requires present action and present intent. Because the parishes of Holy Comforter, St. Jude’s, St. Luke’s and Trinity Church added their accession clauses long before the adoption of the Dennis Canon in 1979, those actions should not represent present action or intent to create a trust.

The other issue identified for Good Shepherd, Holy Cross and Old St. Andrew’s is that the documents referenced by the Court that created the alleged trust were adopted after January 2006. By state statute 62-7-602(a), trusts created after this date are revocable, unless there is clearly expressed intent at that time they should not be. Arguments provided in the petitions and Monday’s reply demonstrate there was no such intent at the time and these parishes clearly acted with intent to revoke any such interest.

Based on these arguments, it is our hope that these remaining seven parishes will be judged by the Court to have retained unencumbered ownership of their property. The outcome is now fully in the hands of the South Carolina Supreme Court. Please keep the Court, its Justices and staff in your prayers, that justice might be done, and swiftly.

In Christ’s service,

–The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis is Canon to the Ordinary in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

Posted in * South Carolina, Church History, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(World) Erin Hawley and Kristen Waggoner on the historic Dobbs decision–A victory for life and the Constitution

The U.S. Supreme Court’s courageous decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a win for life and the Constitution. That historic ruling finally reverses the court’s disastrous opinion in Roe v. Wade—a decision that made up a constitutional right to abortion and resulted in the deaths of more than 60 million unborn children. Because of the court’s ruling in Dobbs, states may now fully protect unborn life.

The Mississippi law at issue in the case, the Gestational Age Act, protects unborn children and the health of their pregnant mothers based on the latest science. It protects unborn life after 15 weeks of gestational age—a point in time when babies can move and stretch, hiccup, and quite likely feel pain. It permits abortions to save the life of the mother or for severe fetal abnormalities. Despite the modesty of Mississippi’s law, the lower courts struck it down because no matter what science showed, or how strong a state’s interest in protecting unborn life was, under the Roe regime, states may not protect life until viability—about 22 weeks of gestational age.

Dobbs is a win for life. Fifty years of scientific progress and innovation establish what the Bible has always taught: Life begins at conception. Ultrasound technology allows expectant parents to see the truth of Psalm 139: Children are fearfully and wonderfully made from the very beginning.

Under Roe v. Wade, moreover, the United States has been an extreme outlier in abortion law and policy. As the chief justice noted during oral arguments, the United States is one of only six nations, including China and North Korea, that allow elective abortions through all nine months of pregnancy. The Washington Post recently ranked the United States as the fourth most liberal abortion country in the world. Most countries do not allow elective abortions at all, and 75 percent protect life after 12 weeks of gestation.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Supreme Court, Theology

A look back to 1985–George Scialabba: The Trouble with Roe v. Wade

From left to right, not many people have had a kind word for Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that partially legalized abortion. Radical feminist Catharine MacKinnon called it “a study in male ideology” that “reaffirms what the feminist critique of sexuality criticizes: the public/private split.” Michael Kinsley, editor of “The New Republic”, called it “one of the worst things that ever happened to American liberalism” and warned that “there is a time bomb ticking away” inside it. Conservatives have, of course, registered disapproval often and loudly (sometimes explosively).

Roe v. Wade struck down a Texas law that made abortion a crime except when “procured or attempted by medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother.” The court’s logic was not transparent (Kinsley calls it “a mess,” and many agree), but was essentially this: (1) A woman’s right to make reproductive decisions is part of a “right of privacy” implicit in the 14th Amendment to the constitution, which says that government may not “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (2) A fetus does not have a “right to life” or to “equal protection” because, according to the court, “the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.” (3) Constitutionally guaranteed rights may only be infringed when a “compelling” societal interest is at stake. In the case of abortion, society has two legitimate interests: to protect the health of pregnant women and to protect “potential life.” But these interests are not “compelling” from the moment of conception. The former becomes compelling only when the medical risks of abortion become comparable to those of normal childbirth, i.e. (as of 1983) during the second trimester. The latter becomes compelling only when the fetus becomes “viable,” or “capable of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb,” i.e. (as of 1973) during the third trimester. (4) What follows from all this, the court said, is that the state may regulate abortion during the second trimester, but only “in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health,” and may prohibit abortion during the third trimester “except where it is necessary . . . for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

Roe raised a host of questions, of two kinds. First: is the court’s reasoning persuasive? Does the constitution really recognize a “right of privacy,” even though it’s not mentioned anywhere in the text? Why doesn’t the 14th Amendment apply to fetuses, even though they are not mentioned anywhere in the text? What is “potential” life? Why does the state have a “compelling interest” in protecting it, even at the expense of actual persons? And why does that interest become compelling at viability rather than at conception or birth?

Read it all.

Posted in Law & Legal Issues, Supreme Court

(ACNA) Anglicans React To Supreme Court Dobbs Decision

Today the United States Supreme Court ruled that “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion,” overruling Roe v. Wade (1973). The decision will “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives … to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.” In the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a five Justice majority of the Supreme Court overruled both Roe and the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey.[1]

The inherent value of human life is revealed in the Scriptures, and this biblical commitment is reflected in the Anglican Church in North America’s Constitution and Canons which calls all members and clergy “to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death” (Title II.8.3).

Archbishop Beach commented:

While this decision doesn’t end abortion in the U.S., it will lead to fewer children being killed through abortion. We thank God for this limited victory, and the Anglican Church in North America recommits itself to serving mothers so they can embrace motherhood and welcome their children. We also continue to point the way to God’s healing and forgiveness for all who suffer physically and emotionally from their abortion experiences.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Children, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Supreme Court

(Scotus Blog) Supreme Court argues that constitutional right to abortion did not and does not exist

The Supreme Court on Friday eliminated the constitutional right to obtain an abortion, casting aside 49 years of precedent that began with Roe v. Wade.

The decision by Justice Samuel Alito will set off a seismic shift in reproductive rights across the United States. It will allow states to ban abortion, and experts expect about half the states to do so.

In one of the most anticipated rulings in decades, the court overturned Roe, which first declared a constitutional right to abortion in 1973, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which re-affirmed that right in 1992. The decision followed the leak in early May of a draft opinion showing that a majority of the justices were privately poised to take that step. On Friday, they made it official.

The vote was 6-3. Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett joined Alito’s opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts did not join the opinion but agreed with the result and filed a separate opinion. The court’s three liberals, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, filed a joint dissent.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Supreme Court, Theology

(Local Paper) Senate gun bill supported by Lindsey Graham addresses Charleston loophole

The Senate’s bipartisan gun safety bill, which has the backing of South Carolina’s senior Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, includes a pair of provisions that would address two issues of tremendous importance in the Palmetto State:

1. Closing the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allowed a young white supremacist to buy a gun on a technicality before going on a hate-fueled rampage inside a downtown Charleston church in 2015, and

2. Expanding the definition that determines which domestic abusers are barred from getting guns, an issue of significance in a state that ranks sixth-worst in the nation for women killed by men.

Graham was one of 14 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who joined all 48 Democrats and two independents in advancing the bill June 21 for debate.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Senate, Violence

(CT) Supreme Court Rules Against Maine Policy Denying Christian School Aid

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a Maine policy covering tuition for private schools but not religious schools violates the First Amendment.

Maine offers the tuition assistance in rural districts that do not have public schools. The challenge involved two private Christian schools, Bangor Christian Schools and Temple Academy, which didn’t meet the state’s “nonsectarian” requirement for families to qualify.

The court said such a requirement infringes on free exercise protections and that there was “nothing neutral” about the program.

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Posted in Education, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, State Government, Supreme Court

(NYT) How a Religious Sect That Dominated a Company Unit Landed Google in a Lawsuit

Founded in 1970 by Robert Earl Burton, a former San Francisco Bay Area schoolteacher, the Fellowship of Friends describes itself as an organization “available to anyone interested in pursuing the spiritual work of awakening.” It claims 1,500 members across the globe, with about 500 to 600 in and around its compound in Oregon House. Members are typically required to give 10 percent of their monthly earnings to the organization.

Mr. Burton based his teachings on the Fourth Way, a philosophy developed in the early 20th century by a Greek Armenian philosopher and one of his students. They believed that while most people moved through life in a state of “waking sleep,” a higher consciousness was possible. Drawing on what he described as visits from angelic incarnations of historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci, Johann Sebastian Bach and Walt Whitman, Mr. Burton taught that true consciousness could be achieved by embracing the fine arts.

Inside the organization’s Northern California compound, called Apollo, the Fellowship staged operas, plays and ballets; ran a critically acclaimed winery; and collected art from across the world, including more than $11 million in Chinese antiques.

“They believe that to achieve enlightenment you should surround yourself with so-called higher impressions — what Robert Burton believed to be the finest things in life,” said Jennings Brown, a journalist who recently produced a podcast about the Fellowship called “Revelations.” Mr. Burton described Apollo as the seed of a new civilization that would emerge after a global apocalypse.

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Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(ITV) Grenfell victims remembered at Westminster Abbey service on fifth anniversary

Attendees included former prime minister Theresa May, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Housing Secretary Michael Gove, building safety and fire minister Stephen Greenhalgh, and shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy.

Opening the service, the very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster, said the loss and anguish “are still vivid and sharp” as the congregation gathered “in sorrow and in pain”.

He said: “Here we renew our commitment to remember those we have lost.

“We gather as those who look for justice and a renewed commitment to securing safety in our homes, safety in times of fire.

“Grateful for the support of the communities and individuals that have sustained the bereaved and the survivors over the last five years, we meet in faith and hope looking to a better, safer, surer future.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire

(Cambridge Independent) Jesus College will not pay legal costs for Rustat Memorial Group’s defence

The legal costs of the 65 alumni who successfully petitioned to keep the memorial to slave trade investor Tobias Rustat on the west wall of Jesus College chapel will not be paid by the college following a ruling by David Hodge QC of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Ely.

Jesus College Chapel. Picture: Keith HeppellJesus College Chapel. Picture: Keith Heppell
A three-day hearing took place in February to determine whether the diocese would approve Jesus College’s request to remove the memorial to an exhibition space elsewhere on college grounds.

The hearing was overseen by David Hodge, who had been appointed as deputy chancellor to consider the college’s petition. In late March, the verdict was issued in a 108-page statement: the memorial will stay where it is. The unsuccessful case cost Jesus College £120,000.

David Hodge QC accepted, in his ruling date June 5, 2022 and made public on June 7, that it is convention for unsuccessful parties to pay the legal fees for the winning party in conventional hearings, but “that general rule does not apply in contested faculty proceedings in the consistory court,” he wrote.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Race/Race Relations, Stewardship

A Local Paper Article about the recent South Carolina Supreme Court Decision

On April 20, the state’s top court ordered that 14 of the 29 congregations that split from the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina were to hand over the properties to the Episcopal Church. It appeared that the court’s decision put an end to a decadelong legal battle over the ownership of dozens of church properties valued at roughly $200 million.

But in a stunning development Tuesday, the state’s top court did not deny petitions for rehearing submitted by seven of those churches. Instead, the court requested that the Episcopal Church respond by June 20 to the arguments made by the seven parishes.

The court’s order gives hope to some of the breakaway parishes, which fall within the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina umbrella, that they could, in fact, retain their valuable religious facilities.

“We are encouraged by the recent development from the South Carolina Supreme Court and are buoyed by the hope that seven more of our parishes might keep their properties,” said Bishop Chip Edgar of the Anglican Diocese. “But in all these legal matters, we are keeping our eyes focused on our Lord Jesus and the work he has called us to — to glorify God in worship and in our lives, to proclaim his name, to build up the church, and to love our neighbors as Christ loves us.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

SC Supreme Court Moves Petitions for Rehearing Forward for 7 of 8 parishes

From there:

Columbia, S.C. (June 8, 2022) – Yesterday, in welcome news for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, the South Carolina Supreme Court released an order concerning the eight petitions for rehearing filed by parishes of the Diocese. For seven of those congregations, the court requested that the Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) submit a return by June 20 responding to the arguments made by the seven parishes. The issues TEC and TECSC must address are: 1) the effect of subsection 62-7-602(a) of the South Carolina Code making all trusts created after Jan. 1, 2006 revocable, and 2) the argument that no trust was created by accession language incorporated in governing documents prior to 1979. Based on the April 20 ruling, these parishes maintain they did not create a trust interest in favor of TEC or TECSC and therefore, should retain ownership of their properties.

The parishes whose petitions for rehearing are included in the Court’s request are: the Church of the Holy Cross (Stateburg), the Church of the Good Shepherd (Charleston), the Church of the Holy Comforter (Sumter), St. Jude’s Church (Walterboro), Old St. Andrew’s (Charleston), St. Luke’s Church (Hilton Head) and Trinity Church (Myrtle Beach). The petition for Christ Church (Mt. Pleasant) was denied in its entirety. The people of the Diocese are encouraged to keep these parishes, the Supreme Court and its continued deliberations in their prayers.

In Christ’s Service,

The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis
The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina
Anglican Church in North America

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, State Government, Stewardship

(WCIV) St John’s [Anglican] Chapel works to stop crime on the east side through doorbell cameras

St. John’s Chapel on the east side of Charleston starting giving out ring cameras in 2018. They wanted to help solve crime on the east side.

So far, they have given out around 70 cameras and hope to give out about 80 more.

St John’s Chapel works to stop crime on the east side through doorbell cameras. (WCIV)

“As a community we must stand together. I think it’s a rally and cry right now for the community to do that,” said Reverend Matthew Rivers of St. John’s Chapel.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Urban/City Life and Issues

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

As we take steps in response to the recent ruling of the South Carolina Supreme Court, we ask you to keep in mind that every property, every circumstance, every congregation, every timetable is unique. We covet your prayers for our leaders, our congregations, our legal teams, and all involved as each seeks to listen for God’s direction and respond in ways that both glorify God and build up the church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry