Category : Law & Legal Issues

(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.

Read it all.

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.

Read it all.

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.

Read it all.

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.”

Read it all.

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.

Read it all.

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.”

Read it all.

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.

Read it all.

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.

Read it all.

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

(JC) Vicar accused of antisemitism faces removal from Church of England at disciplinary hearing

A vicar accused of sharing a platform with a Holocaust denier and promoting antisemitic material online is facing removal from the Church of England.

The Rev Dr Stephen Sizer is facing 11 instances of alleged antisemitism, as outlined yesterday at the opening of a Church disciplinary hearing – the first of its kind to be held in public.

He denies the allegations or the claim that he is any way antisemitic.

The Clergy Disciplinary Measure against Dr Sizer, 68, follows a complaint from the Board of Deputies to the head of his current diocese, the Bishop of Winchester, who referred him to the ecclesiastical professional hearing.

The vicar had been banned by his former diocese from using social media for six months in 2015, but still continued to make “deeply offensive” and “unpleasant” antisemitic pronouncements, the hearing in London heard.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

From the Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

This week, after much prayer and discussion as well as consultation with legal counsel, the Trustees and the Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina unanimously decided not to seek a rehearing of the April 20 opinion from the South Carolina Supreme Court. Many of the parishes have reached this same conclusion, although eight* of those named in the lawsuit filed a petition yesterday for rehearing, based on their specific and unique circumstances. Several questions remain about how this decision will be implemented, including that of the betterments statute, which may have implications on how these issues are finally resolved.

Nevertheless, we are preparing for the next steps in bringing this dispute to a resolution and charting a creative path forward for the entire diocese, especially our affected parishes and our summer camp. These ministries will continue. Ministry does not depend upon geography as much as it depends upon the faithfulness of the Lord and the Spirit working in the people of God.

This news will no doubt be met with mixed emotions. While we are thankful that many of the parishes in the lawsuit have retained their property, we grieve as we face the loss of sacred spaces where generations have worshipped and met Jesus.

In his pastoral letter, Bishop Edgar reminded us that “the ministry of this diocese to a confused and broken world is dependent on God’s mercy and call, not on our property and resources.” This truth does not lessen our grief, but we grieve as a people with hope (1 Thess 4:13). God remains faithful, Christ still sits on the throne, and our mission remains clear – to proclaim the death, resurrection, and Lordship of Jesus. We will continue to do so boldly, even as we grieve, certain of our strong bonds of fellowship and the Easter hope of the resurrected Christ.

The Rev Tyler Prescott, President

The Standing Committee
The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina
Anglican Church in North America
126 Coming Street
Charleston, SC 29413

tylerp [at]goodsamaritansummerville[dot] org

* Parishes filing Petitions
1. Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant
2. Good Shepherd, Charleston
3. Holy Comforter, Sumter
4. Holy Cross, Stateburg
5, Old St. Andrews, Charleston
6. St. Jude’s, Walterboro
7. St. Luke’s, Hilton Head
8 Trinity, Myrtle Beach

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

(Scotus Blog) Tom Goldstein–How the leak might have happened

The question here is who believed they would benefit from leaking the opinion itself. That document was much more likely to rally liberals than conservatives. It brought home the fact that the court was poised to overrule Roe in much more concrete terms than merely leaking the vote. The opinion is also a full-throated attack on abortion rights and – with important caveats – substantive due process rights more broadly. And as a first draft – without the benefit of later refinement – it does not yet present the critique of Roe in its most persuasive form.

It is also important to look at the leak of the opinion through the lens of the fact that someone – almost certainly a conservative – had just before leaked the court’s tentative decision and the state of the voting to The Wall Street Journal. That leak was itself an extraordinary and unethical breach of confidences and certainly caused very deep concern inside the court.

My guess is that someone on the left felt somewhat justified in releasing the opinion in response. Through the opinion, one would see what the Journal was saying Kavanaugh and Barrett were considering. That leak was a historically unprecedented violation of the deepest and most solemn trust among the justices and the court’s staff. It wounded the institution.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Supreme Court

Politico’s overnight Supreme court draft Leak Story that set Washington DC aflutter

The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO.

The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Science & Technology, Supreme Court

Robert Kunes Chimes in on the recent South Carolina Supreme Court Decision

From there:

The state Supreme Court got it right, and the state Supreme Court got it wrong when it came to the opinion issued last week regarding the former Episcopal Church parishes in South Carolina.

The court got it right when it quoted the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1979 case of Jones v. Wolf: “(The) constitution of the general church can be made to recite an express trust in favor of the denominational church.”

The state Supreme Court got it wrong when it relied upon the canons — not the constitution — of the Episcopal Church to determine that some of the parishes had “acceded” to the Dennis Canon.

Anyone who looks at the constitution of the Episcopal Church will find no provision in it addressing trusts for real estate owned by any church.

Such language is in the canons, which are analogous to an entity’s bylaws or operating rules, of the Episcopal Church but not in the constitution of the church, as required in the Jones v. Wolf decision.

The language was put into the canons because adopting those is a much simpler process that can be accomplished quickly.

ROBERT M. KUNES

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Please pray for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Clergy Day today

As a prisoner in the Lord, then, I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, and with diligence to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In light of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, I believe it is imperative that we spend time together, to grieve with those who have lost, to rejoice with those who have won; to pray and encourage one another in the Lord, and to prepare ourselves as a diocese to meet the days ahead.

To that end, we will gather in The Cathedral from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26 to worship, pray, and take counsel together.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

Alan Haley on the South Carolina Supreme Court Decision in the Historic Anglican Diocese vs the new TEC Diocese in SC Fracas

The unanimous decision announced on April 20, 2022 by the South Carolina Supreme Court fulfilled (by its unanimity) at least one of the predictions made in the previous post on this blog after the oral arguments last December. Unanimity, however, in this instance served not to resolve thorny issues of South Carolina law, but rather sent a strong signal that the collective Justices were circling their wagons around their own, in a somewhat transparent attempt to recover the Court’s dignity lost in the fiasco created by its disgraceful disunity in 2017.

The result (reached by implicit design) can, alas, bring peace to neither of the litigating factions. Applying extremely arbitrary criteria of its own devising, the Court decided that of the twenty-nine individual parishes before it, fourteen (by the documents they adopted) allowed the nationwide trust specified in the Dennis Canon to be applied to their properties, while fifteen did not. The hair-splitting on display here is best illustrated by the following passage from footnote 12 of the main opinion by Justice Few:

 

The analysis of whether Holy Cross, Stateburg satisfied the second element discussed above—intent to create a trust—is the same as our analysis for St. Paul’s, Bennettsville, but the outcome of the case for the two Parishes is different. This is because Holy Cross, Stateburg took affirmative present action in its 2011 Bylaws to “accede[] to the . . . Canons of the [National Church],” but St. Paul’s, Bennettsville merely stated it was “organized under” and “subject to” the Canons.

This strained construction transforms the English word “accede” (“join in, agree and consent to”) into a poison pill that forever dooms the property of the parish using it to belong to the national Church rather than to the parish itself and its members — the latter are entitled to make use of their own property only for as long as they agree to remain with the sinking ecclesiastical shipwreck that is the current Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

The construction has acquired its severity by a questionable legerdemain performed by Justice Few and his colleagues.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, Law & Legal Issues

A prayer for this Sunday from the Anglican Bishop of South Carolina Chip Edgar

From there:

A Petition for Sunday Prayers

Gracious God, every morning your mercies are new, and your faithfulness is great. Pour out your Holy Spirit on us, comfort us in our losses, and fill us with a desire to serve each other in these challenging days. Make known your will and plan for us as we seek to follow the path you prepare.

Lord in your mercy…

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry

A Letter from Saint Michael’s Charleston about the South Carolina Supreme Court Decision

1 Corinthians 12:26
If one member suffers, all suffer together;
if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it.
1 Corinthians 7:26

Dear St. Michaelites and Friends,

As you may have heard, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a decision earlier today in the church property case between our diocese and the national Episcopal Church. The opinion is lengthy, and both we and the diocese’s legal team are still digesting it.
What we know so far is that the decision is a mixed bag. We rejoice to read the Court’s determination that St. Michael’s real property is not held in trust for the Episcopal Church or any of its dioceses. That means that our Vestry continues to own and control our real property. At the same time, we are grieved to read the Court’s determination that the real property of 14 churches in our diocese are held in trust for the Episcopal Church, as is Camp St. Christopher, and we lift up in prayer all of the clergy, staff, and congregants affiliated with those churches.
It is too early to know the full ramifications of this decision or what other legal options may exist, and we await further guidance from the diocese on those matters. We will communicate additional information when it becomes available.
In the meantime, we urge you to remain in prayer for our diocese and all of its churches. And we thank you for your incredible faithfulness to doing the work of spreading the Gospel here at St. Michael’s throughout this process.

Blessings in Christ,

The Rev. Al Zadig, Jr+ Rector
Mr. Lee Cox, Senior Warden
Mrs. Laura Waring Gruber, Junior Warden

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry

A Pastoral Letter To The Clergy And People Of The Anglican Diocese Of South Carolina

From there:

Wednesday after Easter Day,
20 April 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace and peace to you, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, the Supreme Court of South Carolina published their opinion on the matter of our legal dispute with the Episcopal Church over property owned by parishes, the diocese, and the Trustees of the diocese. The court affirmed Judge Dickson’s ruling for some parishes and reversed his findings for others.

The ruling raises many issues that will have to play out in the coming weeks before any actions are taken, so our first response must be to quiet our hearts before the Lord as we pray for grace to meet the days ahead. Some of our churches are relieved that the court ruled their property does indeed belong to them. Some are grieving deeply, as the courts ruling went the opposite direction. If we take seriously St Paul’s admonition to rejoice with those who rejoice while we weep with those who weep (Romans 12.15), we will find this to be a season marked by both, regardless of how it affects us personally. So, lift each other up in prayer as we enter the complex emotions of these days.

Finally, I urge you to remember that when Jesus, early in his earthly ministry, first entrusted the mission of the gospel to his disciples he sent them out with, “…nothing for your journey, no staff, no bag, no bread, no money… not even a change of clothes!” (Luke 9.3) We must remember that while we have enjoyed the benefits of rich resources for gospel ministry, none are actually required. The Lord has provided—and always will provide—all we need to proclaim the gospel, bind up the brokenhearted, heal the sick, set the captives free, do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with our God. The ministry of this diocese to a confused and broken world is dependent on God’s mercy and call, not on our property and resources.

I ask your prayers for those of us who are called to lead as we sort through the difficult decisions of the days ahead.

Blessings,

The Rt Revd Chip Edgar, The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Easter, Law & Legal Issues

(WSJ) In Ukraine, New Reports of War Crimes Emerge as Russians Retreat From Kyiv Area

More than 100 civilians lay buried in mass graves in this suburb of Kyiv after Russian troops withdrew last week, one of several regions in which Ukrainian officials and independent rights watchdogs say they are uncovering evidence of war crimes perpetrated by occupation forces.

When the Russian military forces abandoned Bucha, it left streets littered with bodies of civilians. Human Rights Watch on Sunday released a report documenting instances of rape and summary executions in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, including Bucha, as well as other alleged crimes.

Ukrainians were finding “people with hands tied behind their back and decapitated… kids who were killed and tortured,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS. “As the father of two children and as a president, I think that these people, if they are put behind bars, this is one too little for what they have done.”

Accounts of purported Russian atrocities set off an outcry from Western governments and added to the persistent pressure on the Biden administration and European allies to do more to tighten sanctions on Russia and step up weapons transfers for Ukraine. They could make it harder for some countries to justify continuing to purchase oil and natural gas from Russia and complicate the peace talks currently under way between Kyiv and Moscow.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(Church Times) Jesus Christ forgave Tobias Rustat, judge argues, and so must Jesus College

The consistory court of the diocese of Ely has refused to grant the petition of Jesus College, Cambridge, for a faculty authorising the removal of a memorial dedicated to a benefactor of the college, Tobias Rustat (1608-94), from the west wall of the Grade I listed college chapel.

The petition, which had been supported by both the Dean of Chapel and the Bishop of Ely, was heard by the Deputy Chancellor, the Worshipful David Hodge QC (News, 25 January). It had been advanced on the basis that any harm caused to the significance of the chapel as a building of special architectural and historic interest by the removal of the memorial was substantially outweighed by the resulting public benefits in terms of pastoral well-being and opportunities for mission.

The college contended that, because of Rustat’s known involvement in the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, the continued presence of his memorial in such a prominent position, high up on the west wall, created a serious obstacle to the chapel’s ability to provide a credible Christian ministry and witness to the college community and a safe space for secular college functions and events.

Ranged against the college were 65 parties opponent to the petition, represented in court by Justin Gau. Another party opponent, Professor Lawrence Goldman, appeared in person, and two other parties opponent were neither present nor represented. The parties opponent contended that the court should give no weight to the petition since it was the product of a false narrative that Rustat amassed most of his wealth from the slave trade and used moneys from that source to benefit the college.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

(NPR) As a nurse faces prison for a deadly error, her colleagues worry: Could I be next?

Four years ago, inside the most prestigious hospital in Tennessee, nurse RaDonda Vaught withdrew a vial from an electronic medication cabinet, administered the drug to a patient and somehow overlooked signs of a terrible and deadly mistake.

The patient was supposed to get Versed, a sedative intended to calm her before being scanned in a large, MRI-like machine. But Vaught accidentally grabbed vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer, which stopped the patient’s breathing and left her brain-dead before the error was discovered.

Vaught, 38, admitted her mistake at a Tennessee Board of Nursing hearing last year, saying she became “complacent” in her job and “distracted” by a trainee while operating the computerized medication cabinet. She did not shirk responsibility for the error, but she said the blame was not hers alone.

“I know the reason this patient is no longer here is because of me,” Vaught said, starting to cry. “There won’t ever be a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I did.”

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues

(Local Paper front page) Domestic violence in South Carolina cost nearly $360M in 2020 – or $1M a day, study says

The financial cost of domestic violence in South Carolina runs to nearly $1 million a day when you add up the burden put on families, courts, law enforcement and the economy, a study conducted by researchers at the University of South Carolina says.

USC economist Dr. Joseph Von Nessen said the spread of domestic violence cost the state approximately $358.4 million in 2020 alone, a sum that victim advocates describe as leaving a “staggering” toll on the state’s health care facilities, businesses, nonprofits and the judicial system.

“Domestic violence does occur in every county in our state,” Von Nessen said Feb. 15 at a Statehouse press conference to discuss details of the findings. “So it is critical for us to make sure that there’s sufficient resources for intervention and support services within reach of all South Carolinians.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, State Government, Violence