Category : Law & Legal Issues

(Telegraph) Mother gives up baby for adoption over dishonest sperm donor

A Japanese woman has given up her baby for adoption after discovering the sperm donor lied about his education and ethnicity.

The woman, identified only as a Tokyo resident in her 30s, is suing the man in a case that has cast light on Japan’s widely unregulated sperm donation industry.

She is seeking around 330 million yen (£2m) for emotional distress, claiming he lied in order to have sex with her, in the first legal case of its kind, according to Japanese media.

The woman and her husband reportedly came into contact with the man, who is in his 20s, via a social media sperm donation account while trying to conceive their second child.

Read it all (registration).

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

(Economist) As violent crime leaps, liberal cities rethink cutting police budgets

In the days after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020, protesters took to the streets across America. They urged cities to “defund the police”, and politicians listened. Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, called for his department’s budget to be cut by up to $150m. London Breed, San Francisco’s mayor, announced that she would “redirect funding from the sfpd to support the African-American community”. City councils in Oakland and Portland, Oregon, among other cities across America, approved budgets that cut police funding.

That trend has reversed. Portland and Oakland increased police funding to hire more officers. The Los Angeles Police Department’s budget will get a 12% boost. Last month Ms Breed vowed to “take steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement” and “less tolerant of all the bullshit that has destroyed our city”. Why such a stark reversal, and what does it mean for the future of criminal-justice reform?

The first question is easy to answer. Though crime overall did not rise during the pandemic, the type people fear most—murders and shootings—did, and the surge has not abated. Over three decades from 1990, America’s homicide rate fell steeply (see chart). From 2019 to 2020, however, the rate had its highest-ever year-on-year rise, of nearly 30%, followed by a further rise in 2021. More than three-quarters of the murders were committed with guns. In Oakland, 133 people were murdered in 2021, more than in any year since 2006, and almost 600 more were shot but not killed. Portland was one of at least 16 American cities that set all-time homicide records last year.

Read it all (registration).

Posted in America/U.S.A., City Government, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(CT) Russell Moore–Why Christians should support our government staying out of religious affairs.

We believe in religious freedom not because we believe in freedom on its own terms, but because we believe in the exclusivity of Christ and in the power of the gospel. We believe there is one name under heaven whereby we must be saved—and that name is not “Caesar” or “Ayatollah” or “assistant secretary for civic affairs.”

We believe in religious freedom because we know what Jesus has given us to fight against the kingdom of darkness—the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. We believe in religious freedom because there’s no civil substitute for the gospel of Christ.

We believe in religious freedom because we want to persuade our neighbors to be reconciled to God—not so they won’t be fined by the earthly government, but so they will find eternal life in the heavenly kingdom. So that they won’t end up in hell.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution

Archbishop Justin Welby’s speech in House of Lords debate on Freedom of Speech

What is it that we are debating today in this House when we talk about freedom of speech, and why does it matter?

Free speech is not just frank speech but fitting speech; it is a necessary condition to the building of good communities. That is my essential point that I am putting in this speech – communities which are healthy enough to disagree well, and which challenge power misused. Your Lordships’ House, if I may use flattery but true flattery for a moment, is such an example. Here we are in a place which, after much tragedy and disagreement has learned that what matters is not just communication, but good communication. The House encourages a community of sharp disagreement in a shared space, where politics is done in the classic Aristotelian sense, where issues are settled which reject the classic misuses of power. Misused power is shown by killing, coercion or causing the opponent to flee. And the alternative to all those three is politics.

Politics takes it for granted that human beings are not merely declarative, but communicative, that is to say there is an absolute link between freedom of speech and a healthy community. That is why it matters so much. It is not just a free standing right, a good in and of itself, but it is the means, the only means, to the end of a just and generous society. That is surely something of which we all dream.

Having said that I will touch on three of the major threats to freedom of speech today as I see them: the fear of reprisal, the distortion of truth, and the dehumanisation of those with whom we disagree. They are great threats and as throughout our modern history we should not underestimate the fragility of our society when it comes to the enjoyment of our freedoms. They must always be defended and guarded, or they fail, and with the loss of freedom of speech goes justice and generosity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

How Did Billy Graham Respond to an Invitation to Meet with Notorious Los Angeles Mobster Mickey Cohen?

A few days after a tearful Vaus made his way to the front of the tent to publicly commit his life to Christ, he came to visit Mr. Graham, and he had an unusual request. He asked if the evangelist would be willing to meet with Mickey Cohen.

“I’ll go anywhere to talk to anybody about Christ,” Mr. Graham said.

As he wrote in his autobiography, Just As I Am:

“By arrangement then, we slipped out of the tent by a back exit after the meeting one night, in order to avoid the press, and got away undetected in Jim’s car. As he drove toward Mickey Cohen’s home, I had mixed feelings—a little uncertainty and hesitation, to be sure, yet a deep-down boldness as well.”

He said the boldness came from knowing he was going in the name of Jesus Christ to share the Gospel.

Seeing Cohen reminded Mr. Graham of Zacchaeus, a notorious figure from the Bible who was short in stature.

Read it all; from a story that was used in yesterday morning’s sermon by yours truly.

Posted in Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

A local Paper Article on the TEC in SC/Anglican Diocese of SC Case’s Oral Arguments before the SC Supreme Court

Chief Justice Donald Beatty acknowledged the befuddlement in the legal dispute, which involves dozens of parishes that stretch from the Lowcountry to the Grand Strand. The properties are valued at roughly $500 million.

“I’d like to apologize for any confusion the court created in its multiple opinions in this case,” Beatty said. “It’s obvious we weren’t clear as to what we wanted you all to do, and what was meant by that opinion….”

Clarification around the Supreme Court’s initial [2017] decision was needed since the case involved five separate decisions.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues

Alan Haley Analyzes what happened in the Oral Arguments Wednesday before the South Carolina Supreme Court in the TEC in SC/Anglican Diocese of SC Case

If anything remained clear at the conclusion, it was this: the current Justices will have to do the homework of looking carefully at all the documentary evidence in the record in order to feel comfortable with any final ruling they make. There has been too much legal bias and posturing in the past — like the claim that All Saints Waccamaw was no longer the law in South Carolina, when it clearly was; or like the claim that the Court was required to “defer” to the unilateral decisions by ECUSA in matters of property law (as opposed to religious doctrine).

The reason for much of that bias and posturing, it has to be said, should be laid at the feet of the now recused, but in 2017 highly partisan, Justice Kaye Hearn — aided and abetted by retired Justice Pleicones. Together, their unified front against (former) Chief Justice Toal seems to have deprived her of the command of the law and the authority she wielded to great effect in achieving the unanimous decision eight years before, in the All Saints Waccamaw case. They appear to have determined that she not be allowed to treat ECUSA in the same fashion again, and alas, if that was their goal, they succeeded. Fortunately, that success may not be lasting, if the current justices prove up to the evidentiary task before them.

Trying to make the Court’s work less burdensome, by having the parties pare down the record, Chief Justice Beatty admitted at the end, had been a mistake. The complex cannot be made simple in that way. There will be no easy out for this Court, and I predict we will have to wait a good many months for a consensus to emerge. Given the facts as we all know them from the history of the last twenty-odd years, there is no reason, in my humble opinion, why there should not be another 5-0 decision in this case.

Read it carefully and read it all and make sure to take the time to follow the links.

Posted in * South Carolina, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

The Brand new TEC Diocese in South Carolina Press Release of Wednesday’s Oral Arguments before the SC Supreme Court

The Rt. Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, watched remotely in Columbia, SC, near the proceedings and met with the attorneys afterward. “I am grateful for the outstanding work of our legal team, and I ask the people of the diocese to continue holding all concerned in your prayers,” said Bishop Woodliff-Stanley.

The South Carolina Supreme Court is expected to respond to today’s hearing after a careful weighing of the issues before them, including the information they learned today. There is no expected timeline for a response.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops

(Historic Anglican Diocese of SC) South Carolina Supreme Court hears TEC appeal from Judge Dickson’s interpretation of the 2017 Collective Opinions in Church Property Dispute

…[Wednesday] the South Carolina Supreme Court heard the appeal of Judge Edgar W. Dickson’s interpretation of the high court’s 2017 ruling. On June 19, 2020, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Edgar W. Dickson granted the motion by the Plaintiffs (The Anglican Diocese of S.C. and Parishes) for clarification and other relief related to the August 2017 ruling of the South Carolina Supreme Court. That ruling had the rare character of consisting of five separate opinions (the “Collective Opinions”). Judge Dickson’s clarification determined that the disassociated parishes and The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina are, “affirmed as the title owners in fee simple absolute of their respective parish real properties.”

The Episcopal Church’s (TEC) arguments at that time that the Dennis Canon alone, or the Canon in conjunction with various pledges of allegiance and the like were sufficient to create a trust under South Carolina law were rejected. Judge Dickson’s ruling clarified the Collective Opinions, explaining that, “the Dennis Canon by itself does not create a legally cognizable trust, nor does it transfer title to property.” This affirmed that those congregations that followed state non-profit guidelines for their disassociation from TEC retained all their real and personal property.

TEC appealed this interpretation of the Courts 2017 collective opinions in July 2020, not on the basis of Judge Dickson’s legal arguments, but only on the assertion that he had no authority to provide any interpretation. Their argument is that his only possible role was to simply enforce what they assert the Court had ruled.

In today’s hearing, the justices were very active in their questioning. The time allotted to both sides legal counsel was exceeded because of the extensive questioning.

Read it all.

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

Yesterday’s Oral Arguments Before the South Carolina Supreme Court in the long running between the brand new TEC in SC dispute with the traditional Anglican Diocese of SC

Watch and listen to it all (about 1.5 hours). For some crucial background information, please see all the information and links provided there. The single most important thing constantly to remember about the original 2017 ruling is then Chief Justice Toal’s statement: ‘As I stated at the outset, this is unfortunately a difficult case leading us to five
different, strongly-held opinions…we all write separately
‘ (footnote 72). For those who wish to reread the 2017 SC Supreme Court decision please see there.

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

An Ad Clerum on Domestic Violence from Bishop Martyn Minns

It all began with a knock at the kitchen door at the Truro rectory. Standing there were two women. I recognized one of them as “Karen,” a long-time, active member of the congregation, but I didn’t know the other woman standing with her. I did notice, however, that she looked as if she had been crying.

“Angela, it’s for you!” I called, and invited them in. After a few more brief words, I retreated upstairs to my study, while Angela listened to their story.

They were next-door neighbors in a nearby apartment complex. “Maria” was a recent immigrant, she and her husband both refugees from Eastern Europe. He was an angry and abusive man, and Karen had heard their arguments through the walls of the apartments. Sometimes she heard the sounds of violence. She had knocked on their door a couple of times to ask if all was well, and they had reassured her that it was. Karen had thought about speaking to the police, but she knew that Maria would have been alarmed at that, so she kept quiet and kept praying. But this night was different. The sounds of violence were more intense and the screams more piercing, and then their door slammed and there was silence and muffled sobs. Karen went to their door and this time Maria couldn’t hide the nightmare. Her husband had stormed out, carrying a gun, and she was terrified. Unsure about the best way forward, Karen had brought Maria to us. We would know what to do!

Angela listened and prayed and then invited them both to spend the night in our guest room. We would deal with next steps in the morning.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women

(CT) Can Maine Cover the Cost of Christian School Tuition?

The latest Supreme Court case over public funding for religious schooling examines a policy in Maine, a state dotted with small towns too tiny to run their own public schools. Over half of the state’s school districts (officially called “school administrative units” or SAUs for short) contract with and pay tuition costs to another nearby school of the parents’ choice—public or private.

And that’s where the hangup lies. By law, Maine mandates that partnering private schools be “nonsectarian in nature, in accordance with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution” to receive the funding, and three Christian families in the state are challenging the requirement.

The Supreme Court will hear their case, Carson vs. Makin, this week. The decision could set further precedent in defining the distance between church and state and the approach to religious freedom itself, as it makes a distinction between barring public funding due to religious identity of the recipient and barring funding to the religious purpose it would be used to advance.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, State Government, Supreme Court

Archbishop Justin Welby awards Lambeth Doctorate to Canon John Rees

The Archbishop awarded Canon Rees a Lambeth Doctorate of Civil Law last night in recognition for his erudition and distinguished service as Provincial Registrar. The award was given during a service of Evening Prayer at Lambeth Palace, in the company of Canon Rees’s family, friends and former colleagues.

For over 20 years, Canon Rees held the offices of Registrar of the Diocese of Oxford, Registrar of the Province of Canterbury and Legal Adviser to the Anglican Consultative Council. He was a founder member, treasurer and, latterly, chairman of the Ecclesiastical Law Society. The Anglican Communion has benefited from his wisdom and knowledge through, amongst other things, the Windsor Report in 2004, and his role as Convenor of the Legal Advisors’ Network which published Principles of Canon Law Applicable to the Churches of the Anglican Communion for the Lambeth Conference in 2008.

Canon Rees has advised upon, assisted and enabled the ministry of the church at every level from individuals to parishes and dioceses, national churches and international bodies, assisting the Church in the fulfilment of the call to preach the gospel in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4. 2). Throughout this, as an ordained priest he has continued to minister in his local parish.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Windsor Report / Process

(NYT front page) The Woman on the Bridge Police and prosecutors spent five years chasing a domestic violence case. Would it be enough?

Frustration was nothing new, not for any of them. Ms. Burns, who specializes in domestic violence, describes the criminal justice response to these crimes as ineffectual, like “putting Band-Aids on bullet wounds.” She spends much of her time scraping for evidence that can be admitted in court, but so many of the assaults she prosecutes take place behind closed doors, she said, that not guilty verdicts are common.

Ms. Neal’s suicide — the way she had slipped away from them — made this failure different, more agonizing.

“From the criminal justice side of it, we had a piece of paper telling Nelson not to contact her, that’s what we had,” Ms. Burns said. In domestic violence cases, she added, “the dynamics and the history are too deep” to be altered by “a piece of paper from a judge.”

Domestic violence cases are so challenging that some experts, like Rachel Teicher of John Jay College’s National Network for Safe Communities, argue that arrests and prosecutions are simply inadequate as a response, and should be supplemented with other kinds of interventions.

Perpetrators and victims become accustomed to a cycle — charges dismissed or reduced, restraining orders violated — and conclude, she said, that “these are systems I don’t have to take all that seriously.”

“The folks at the front lines are often using every tool they can,” she said. “Sometimes our tool kit isn’t big enough.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Psychology, Suicide, Violence, Women

(ADOSC) Important Information about the South Carolina Supreme Court Hearing in December on the Dispute Between the brand wew TEC Diocese+The Historical Anglican Diocese

there:

Dear Friends,

The South Carolina Supreme Court will conduct a hearing on Wednesday, December 8 at 9:30 am of the appeal of Judge Edgar W. Dickson’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s 2017 rulings. On June 19, 2020, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Edgar W. Dickson granted the motion made by our Diocese and Parishes for clarification and other relief related to the August 2017 ruling of the South Carolina Supreme Court. That clarification was needed because the 2017 ruling had the rare character of consisting of five separate opinions. Judge Dickson’s clarification determined that our parishes and the Diocese are, “affirmed as the title owners in fee simple absolute of their respective parish real properties”. TEC and TECSC appealed Judge Dickson’s decision to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court Clerk has announced the following parameters for that day’s hearing. The only individuals allowed in the courtroom will be two attorneys representing each side. No other visitors will be allowed. Those wishing to view the proceedings will be able to do so online via the court’s livestream. Legal Counsel for TEC/TECSC will be granted an initial 25 minutes to present their arguments and respond to questions from the Justices. Our counsel (Mr. C. Alan Runyan and Mr. C. Mitchell Brown) will then be afforded 25 minutes to present their arguments. A final 10 minutes is then allocated for TEC/TECSC to make their reply. From that point, the outcome will be entirely in the hands of the South Carolina Supreme Court. As before, there is no timeline for when they will issue an opinion.

The importance of this hearing for the Diocese and its Parishes cannot be overstated. For that reason, the clergy and people of the Diocese are strongly encouraged to keep the coming hearing in your prayers as the date approaches. Pray first for the shielding of Mr. Runyan and his legal team as they prepare for this hearing. Pray also that they be granted divine wisdom in preparing their arguments. Pray finally for the Justices (Donald W. Beatty, John W. Kittredge, John Cannon Few, George C. “Buck” James) that they be granted divine clarity in their preparations, in the hearing and, in their final ruling.

While all are invited to pray wherever they are, the Prayer Center at St. Christopher will be hosting a virtual Prayer Vigil on Tuesday, December 7 from 9 a.m – 9 p.m. and an on-site Prayer Vigil at St. Christopher on Wednesday, December 8, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Learn more.

In Christ’s service,

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

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

(BioEdge) Euthanasia has had negative effect on palliative care in Canada: report

Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) act began to operate in 2016. It is a laboratory for how legalised euthanasia will operate in a largely English-speaking country. And, according to an article in the journal Palliative Care written by five Canadian specialists, it has had a very negative effect upon palliative care.

The authors interviewed 13 doctors and 10 nurses about their impressions. Some of the feedback is unexpected.

First, all of them spoke about an inherent conflict between the provision of palliative care (PC) and eligibility for MAiD. To ensure that their patients remained eligible, they had to withhold medications which would have otherwise removed or alleviated their pain. “Maintaining lucidity and eligibility for assisted death, by avoiding sedative medications, took priority over achieving good symptom control for some patients,” they write. Both the patients and the PC providers found this distressing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics

(CNA) In win for Anglican nuns, Supreme Court orders new scrutiny for New York mandatory abortion coverage

Foes of mandatory coverage of abortion in New York State insurance law will have another hearing after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a New York state court to reconsider their decision. The law’s narrow religious exemption wrongly disqualifies many religious groups which object to providing abortion, critics said.

A group of Anglican nuns is among the objectors.

“We believe that every person is made in the image of God,” said Mother Miriam of the Sisterhood of Saint Mary, an Anglican body. “That’s why we believe in the sanctity of human life, and why we seek to serve those of all faiths—or no faith at all—in our community. We’re grateful that the Supreme Court has taken action in our case and hopeful that, this time around, the New York Court of Appeals will preserve our ability to serve and encourage our neighbors.”

The Sisterhood of Saint Mary, also known as the Sisters of the Community of St. Mary, is aligned with the Anglican Church in North America. It was founded in 1865 and claims to be the oldest Anglican religious order in the United States.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics

Archbishop Justin Welby speaks on Assisted Dying Bill in the House of Lords

Sadly, I believe this Bill to be unsafe. As a curate and parish priest I spent time with the dying, the sick and the bereaved. I still do. All of us have personal experience. I have as well. We know that the sad truth is that not all people are perfect, not all families are happy, not everyone is kind and compassionate. No amount of safeguards can perfect the human heart, no amount of regulation can make a relative kinder or a doctor infallible. No amount of reassurance can make a vulnerable or disabled person feel equally safe, equally valued, if the law is changed in this way.

All of us here are united in wanting compassion and dignity for those coming to the end of their lives.

But it does not serve compassion if by granting the wishes of one closest to me, I expose others to danger.

And it does not serve dignity if in granting the wishes of one closest to me I devalue the status and safety of others.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Unherd) Mary Harrington–The death of Britain’s dignity–The Assisted Dying Bill exploits the rhetoric of compassion

We largely have Christianity to thank for our faltering modern belief that human life is sacred. The ancients took a much more casual approach. Unwanted babies were abandoned to die or be rescued by strangers: like Romulus and Remus, Rome’s mythical founders, who were raised by a wolf.

Much as new lives were not automatically worth preserving, taking your own life in the ancient world wasn’t automatically bad either. Socrates’ decision to drink hemlock rather than face exile, was deemed honourable by many ancient philosophers.

Christian doctrine, though, taught that human life is sacred, because it holds a spark of the divine. Thus only God should be permitted to give or take life. The 325AD Council of Nicaea decreed that every Christian village should have a hostelry for the sick, a principle which extended to abandoned children. For the same reason, a long-standing Christian tradition forbids suicide. But as the Christian era has faded, so old debates about the beginning and end of life have re-surfaced – most recently, in the accelerating campaign to legalise assisted dying.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General

A Strange Development in the Anglican Diocese of Fort Worth Property fracas–the Corporation of All Saints’ Fort Worth (TEC) files for bankruptcy

From the Anglican Diocese of Fort Worth:

A hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. today, Wednesday, Oct. 20, in the 141st District Court was abruptly canceled when a surprise bankruptcy filing was shared with the Court. However, it was not the plaintiff All Saints’ Episcopal Church but rather its corporation that submitted the filing. As our attorney’s letter (attached) makes clear, that corporation has never at any point been a party to the litigation now being concluded before the Court. Therefore, we are asking for another hearing date in order to proceed as originally planned with motions that were filed to compel the Plaintiffs to surrender property and funds awarded to the Defendants.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

South Carolina Supreme Court sets hearing date for TEC’s appeal from Judge Dickson’s interpretation of the 2017 Collective Opinions in Church Property Dispute

The Diocese disassociated from The Episcopal Church in the fall of 2012, along with 80% of its congregations and members. That action was taken in response to attempts by TEC to remove the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence as Diocesan Bishop. Litigation in this case began the following January. The Diocese and Parishes filed this action seeking a declaratory judgement to clarify the rights of the Diocese and its parishes. In February 2015, the Honorable Judge Diane Goodstein ruled that the Diocese and those parishes in union with it, “are the owners of their real personal and intellectual property and that [TEC and TECSC] have no legal, beneficial or equitable interest in the Diocese’s real, personal and intellectual property.” TEC and TECSC were permanently enjoined from using, assuming or adopting the marks of the Diocese.

Judge Goodstein’s ruling was appealed to the South Carolina Supreme Court, which ruled on August 2, 2017 in the form of five separate opinions. The lack of agreement among those five opinions required clarification. The Diocese and Parishes filed a Motion for Clarification on March 23, 2018.

In his ruling, Judge Dickson made several important conclusions of law. Chief among them was his ruling on the central issue of interpreting the Collective Opinions. As he noted in quoting former Chief Justice Toal, “The Court’s collective opinions in this matter give rise to great uncertainty, so that we have given little to no collective guidance in this case or in church property disputes like this going forward.” He concluded that, “This court must distill the five separate opinions, identify the court’s intent and produce a logical directive.”

With respect to parish property, the law of this case follows the precedent of All Saints Parish, Waccamaw (2009). In his deciding opinion, Chief Justice Beatty, “found that the Dennis Canon, standing alone, does not unequivocally convey an intention to transfer ownership of property to the national church…” In accordance with established South Carolina law, establishment of a trust interest must meet the standard of being “legally cognizable”. Judge Dickson concluded there is no evidence that any parish agreed to the Dennis Canon: “This court finds that no parish expressly acceded to the Dennis Canon” and “defendants failed to prove creation of a trust.” He further concluded, “TEC’s argument that their unilaterally drafted Dennis Canon created a trust under South Carolina law is rejected.”

Read it all and where necessary follow the links.

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

(Anglican Diocese of Fort Worth) State Supreme Court rejects TEC loyalists’ bid to keep property

Today the Supreme Court of Texas declined to overturn or delay the April 2021 order of the 141st District Court directing Episcopal Church parties to return property removed from churches they formerly occupied.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

The Church of England’s adviser on medical ethics responds to calls for ‘[so-called] doctor assisted dying’

The authors speak of ‘safeguards’ to ensure that vulnerable people are not put at risk and reference the provisions of the ‘Meacher Bill’. Safeguards on paper, however, are worthless unless they can be consistently, universally and comprehensively translated into practice.

It is a tragic irony that on the day the authors’ article was published, news headlines were dominated by the deaths of three vulnerable adults in Care. In spite of every written policy, protocol, and approved practice, their reality was tragically different.

These were not isolated incidents; we have only to think of the hundreds of avoidable deaths in the Mid-Staffs hospital scandal, abuse of residents with learning disabilities in Eldertree Lodge and ‘systemic biases contributing to unequal mortality outcomes in ethnic minority women and women facing multiple problems and deprivation’.

We can add to this, the recent experience of many elderly care home residents in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic who were given DNACPR notices without proper protocols being followed.

Human lapses and failings build upon one another until catastrophic outcomes ensue…a process that, in too many instances, no amount of assumed monitoring or paper safeguards has been able to capture, never mind stop.

What can possibly give us confidence that similar safeguards will provide a better outcome if the law on assisted suicide were to be changed?

Read it all.

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

Kendall Harmon for 9/11: Number 343

On [a] Monday [in September 2003], the last of the 343 firefighters who died on September 11th was buried. Because no remains of Michael Ragusa, age 29, of Engine Company 279, were found and identified, his family placed in his coffin a very small vial of his blood, donated years ago to a bone-marrow clinic. At the funeral service Michael’s mother Dee read an excerpt from her son’s diary on the occasion of the death of a colleague. “It is always sad and tragic when a fellow firefighter dies,” Michael Ragusa wrote, “especially when he is young and had everything to live for.” Indeed. And what a sobering reminder of how many died and the awful circumstances in which they perished that it took until this week to bury the last one.

So here is to the clergy, the ministers, rabbis, imams and others, who have done all these burials and sought to help all these grieving families. And here is to the families who lost loved ones and had to cope with burials in which sometimes they didn’t even have remains of the one who died. And here, too, is to the remarkable ministry of the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, who played every single service for all 343 firefighters who lost their lives. The Society chose not to end any service at which they played with an up-tempo march until the last firefighter was buried.

On Monday, in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, the Society therefore played “Garry Owen” and “Atholl Highlander,” for the first time since 9/11 as the last firefighter killed on that day was laid in the earth. On the two year anniversary here is to New York, wounded and more sober, but ever hopeful and still marching.

–First published on this blog September 11, 2003

Posted in * By Kendall, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

(C of E) An update on timing for the John Smyth Review from the National Safeguarding Team

Read it all and for background please see there.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence, Youth Ministry

John Stott on William Wilberforce’s Great Example of Perseverance on Wilberforce’s Feast Day

It was in 1787 that he first decided to put down a motion in the House of Commons about the slave trade. This nefarious traffic had been going on for three centuries, and the West Indian slave-owners were determined to oppose abolition to the end. Besides, Wilberforce was not a very prepossessing man. He was little and somewhat ugly, with poor eyesight and an upturned nose. When Boswell heard him speak, he pronounced him ‘a perfect shrimp’, but then had to concede that ‘presently the shrimp swelled into a whale.’ In 1789 Wilberforce said of the slave trade: “So enormous so dreadful, so irremediable did its wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for the abolition…. let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest till I had effected its abolition.

So abolition bills (which related to the trade) and Foreign Trade Bills (which would prohibit the involvement of British ships in it) were debated in the commons in 1789, 1791, 1792,194, 1796 (by which time Abolition had become ‘the grand object of my parliamentary existence’), 1798 and 1799. Yet they all failed. The Foreign Slave Bill was not passed until 1806 and the Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill until 1807. This part of the campaign had taken eighteen years.

Next, soon after the conclusion of the Napoleonic wars, Wilberforce began to direct his energies to the abolition of slavery itself and the emancipation of the slaves. In 1823 the Anti-Slavery Society was formed. Twice that year and twice the following year, Wilberforce pleaded the slaves’ cause in the House of Commons. But in 1825 ill-health compelled him to resign as a member of parliament and to continue his campaign from outside. In 1831 he sent a message to the Anti-Slavery Society, in which he said, “Our motto must continue to be PERSEVERANCE. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success.” He did. In July 1833 the Abolition of Slavery Bill was passed in both Houses of Parliament, even though it included the undertaking to pay 20 million pounds in compensation to the slave-owners. ‘Thank God,’ wrote Wilberforce, that I have lived to witness a day in which England is willing to give 20 million pounds for the abolition of slavery.’ Three days later he died. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, in national recognition of his FORTY-FIVE YEARS of persevering struggle on behalf of African slaves.

— John R W Stott, Issues facing Christians Today (Basingstoke: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1984), p. 334

Posted in Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations

(Atlantic) Annie Lowery–The Time Tax–Why is so much American bureaucracy left to average citizens?

The issue is not that modern life comes with paperwork hassles. The issue is that American benefit programs are, as a whole, difficult and sometimes impossible for everyday citizens to use. Our public policy is crafted from red tape, entangling millions of people who are struggling to find a job, failing to feed their kids, sliding into poverty, or managing a disabling health condition.

The United States government—whether controlled by Democrats, with their love of too-complicated-by-half, means-tested policy solutions; or Republicans, with their love of paperwork-as-punishment; or both, with their collective neglect of the implementation and maintenance of government programs—has not just given up on making benefits easy to understand and easy to receive. It has in many cases purposefully made the system difficult, shifting the burden of public administration onto individuals and discouraging millions of Americans from seeking aid. The government rations public services through perplexing, unfair bureaucratic friction. And when people do not get help designed for them, well, that is their own fault.

The time tax is worse for individuals who are struggling than for the rich; larger for Black families than for white families; harder on the sick than on the healthy. It is a regressive filter undercutting every progressive policy we have. In America, losing a job means making a hundred phone calls to a state unemployment-insurance system. Getting hit by a car means becoming your own hospital-billing expert. Having a disability means launching into a Jarndyce v. Jarndyce–type legal battle. Needing help to feed a toddler means filling out a novel-length application for aid.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Taxes, The U.S. Government

(RCR) Asma T. Uddin–Defend Religious Liberty for All Despite Our Differences

I recently attended the inaugural Religious Liberty Summit hosted by the Religious Liberty Initiative at Notre Dame Law School, where attendees’ religious differences were obvious even to a casual observer. At this leading Catholic university, I watched a Jewish Rabbi praise a Mormon author. And as Rabbi Dr. Soloveichik spoke, I glanced up and saw an Elder from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a Catholic cardinal, and a notable Protestant leader sitting side by side. I saw secular agnostics and devout believers — reporters, advocates, and pundits. For all the differences in that room, there was a comfortable warmness, academic and earnest. It was apparent that the leaders who had gathered there shared an understanding that religious freedom is about our individual dignity as human beings and the demands of conscience.

Sitting inside that Catholic university, I remembered “Dignitatis Humanae,” Catholicism’s definitive 1965 document about religious liberty: “The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power.” The document also argues that free will — free search — is foundational: “The inquiry is to be free, carried on with the aid of teaching or instruction, communication and dialogue, in the course of which men explain to one another the truth they have discovered, or think they have discovered, in order thus to assist one another in the quest for truth.” Religious liberty as a whole is at risk when a society embraces the idea that some searches for truth are invalid because of where they lead.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution

(AP) Court Upholds Ruling in Favor of InterVarsity at U of Iowa–“We are hard-pressed to find a clearer example of viewpoint discrimination”

Attorneys with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office listed on court filings as representing the university in the lawsuit did not immediately return phone messages Friday seeking comment.

A UI spokeswoman, Anne Bassett, said in an email Friday afternoon that the university “respects the decision of the court and will move forward in accordance with the decision.”

Daniel Blomberg, an attorney for InterVarsity, said Friday’s ruling puts other schools on notice.

“Schools are supposed to be a place of free inquiry and open thought, but the school officials here punished opinions they didn’t like and promoted ones they did — all while using taxpayer dollars to do it,” Blomberg said.

Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(NBCU) Kidnapped 6-year-old girl rescued with help from neighbors, police

“Neighbors immediately called 911 after a 6-year-old girl was kidnapped while outside with her bike in Louisville, Kentucky. Police officers quickly located the car to rescue the little girl.”

Watch it all.

Posted in Children, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Urban/City Life and Issues