Category : Law & Legal Issues

For those of You closely Following the Diocese of SC Supreme Court Case–TEC and the new TEC Diocese have requested another extension until May 7th

From there:

Apr 26, 2018: Motion to extend the time to file a response is granted and the time is further extended to and including May 7, 2018, for all respondents.

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

(Sun Online) Nigerian Anglican Primates calls on Government to offer better security, criticizes idea of more armed self-defence

The clergyman said that the responsibility of security lies squarely on the shoulders of the government as that was, according to him, part of the social contract it entered into with the people.

Apparently referring to the call by some prominent Nigerians for the people to defend themselves, the Prelate said that a situation where everybody would have to carry arms to defend themselves would spell doom for the country.

The Primate made the call at the Cathedral of All Saints, Abakaliki, in an interview with newsmen shortly after commissioning about 135 metres of road that leads to the Cathedral, which was constructed by the Ebonyi State Government.

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Posted in Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Police/Fire, Politics in General

The Alfie Evans Case (III)–Dominic Lawson: Parents can love, but not protect: ask Alfie Evans’s mum

This is emphatically not an argument for parents to impose quacks on seriously ill children. But the NHS has an institutional antipathy to experimental forms of cancer treatment, even in cases where it knows its own methods hold no prospect of a lasting cure. I can’t help thinking a system in which patients and their parents are not themselves paying (except compulsorily as taxpayers) encourages the attitude that they should keep quiet and be grateful for what they get.

Still, the vituperation directed at the staff of Alder Hey is unconscionable. They looked after Alfie to the very best of their ability, and must also have felt distress as his condition — the result of an inexplicable degenerative disorder that attacked the brain of an apparently healthy newborn — worsened. But for him to have ended up as, in effect, a prisoner until death of the state that had earlier removed his ventilation against his parents’ wishes is no advertisement for the English medico-legal system. It’s one thing to give up the medical fight for the child’s life; quite another to say to the parents, “But, all the same, you can’t take him away from us, either back home to die or to a foreign hospital prepared to treat him at its own expense.”

Even if such treatments are pointless — our courts had decided there was no further point in the existence of Alfie Evans — it offends against our entire idea of family to treat the feelings and wishes of loving parents as irrelevant. This love is not just the indispensable basis of a good society. Maternal love is the most powerful force in the known universe. It demands more respect than this.

That truth is about to be put before the courts in another case, in which my wife is involved. With two other mothers whose adult children, like our younger daughter, have what nowadays is called “learning difficulties”, she is bringing a test case before the Court of Protection. As the law stands, the parents of such adults, whether in residential care or not, have no right to a decisive role in how their children are treated. The carers would be obliged to give the parents such a right if the mother or father were appointed by the courts to be their adult child’s welfare deputy. But the current code stipulates that this can be agreed by courts only “in the most difficult cases”.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Alfie Evans Case (II)-Ross Douthat: Alfie Evans and the Experts

[The New Yorker’s Rachel] Aviv focuses on the Kafkaesque odyssey of Julie Belshe, a mother of three who spent years extracting her parents from the talons of a woman, April Parks, who was later indicted on charges of perjury and theft. But Parks flourished in a larger system designed around the assumption that old people are basically better off without their kids, because offspring are probably motivated either by raw emotionalism or by gimme-gimme avarice, as opposed to the cool wisdom of expert doctors, professional guardians, and wise judges.

Such a system is custom-built for the coming world of post-familialism, the world bequeathed to us by sexual individualism and thinning family trees. Just as more and more children are growing up without the active fathers who fought for Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans or the extended kinship network that saved Jahi McMath, more and more people will face old age without sons and daughters to care for them or to challenge the medical-judicial complex’s will.

It is the tragedy of our future that for many people there will be no exit from that complex, no alternative means of receiving care. But it is the task of our present to ensure that where the family still has the capacity to choose for an aging parent or a dying child, the family rather than the system gets to make the choice.

Yes, that choice may be wrong; it may have its own dark or foolish motivations. But those are risks a humane society has to take, so that in our weakest moments we can hope to be surrounded not just by knowledge or power, but by love.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family

The Alfie Evans Case (I)–Albert Mohler: Life in the Balance in Liverpool — Alfie Evans Is Not Alone

One of the most important rights throughout human history is the right of parents to make decisions concerning their children’s welfare. Almost every culture and civilization has honored this principle—formally or informally–as a basic human right and a necessary foundation for family flourishing. Western countries often recognized parental rights as natural rights—rights that cannot be compromised by government interference. But in the case of Alfie, the state is redefining parental rights so that they extend only as far as the government or other elites, such as the medical elites, determine.

Furthermore, unlike the Charlie Gard case, Alfie Evans has only been examined by one medical team or acute care team. As Charles Camosy has pointed out, those acute care teams of medical experts often make the wrong decisions regarding the inevitability of death. To put the matter bluntly, there are numerous cases in which medical authorities said an individual would surely die, but those people are still alive.

Sohrab Amari, writing for Commentary Magazine, is on point: “The medical complexities of the case, played up by the court and its defenders, serve to obscure a basic moral principle. No one is asking the UK National Health Service to expend extraordinary measures to keep Alfie alive. All Alfie’s parents ask is to be allowed to seek treatment elsewhere, again at Italian expense, even if such treatment proves to be futile in the end.” The same principle, says Amari, was at stake in last year’s Charlie Gard case. Once more, British courts have distorted the relevant legal standard, the best interest of the child, to usurp natural rights. This disturbing point is a political issue, to be sure. But natural rights are pre-political. Governments do not invent or grant natural rights. The rightful role of government is to respect and protect the rights that exist prior to the state and its laws.

If the state does not recognize parental rights as natural rights and government authorities and elites can subvert the will of parents, then we’re going to witness a long succession of cases just like Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans—and not just in Great Britain.

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Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family

(Economist) is the Assisted Suicide Advocacy Movement gaining Momentum in the USA?

Three years ago John Radcliffe, a jovial retired lobbyist in Hawaii, was diagnosed with terminal stage four colon and liver cancer. He has since undergone 60 rounds of chemotherapy but doctors suspect he has just six more months to live. His illness often leaves him feeling exhausted but, undeterred, he has spent the past few years pushing to pass one last bill: Hawaii’s “Our Care, Our Choice Act”, which allows doctors to assist terminally ill patients who wish to die. Earlier this month, as Mr Radcliffe beamed behind him in a colourful lei, Hawaii’s governor signed the bill into law making Hawaii the seventh American jurisdiction to approve an assisted-dying law.

Like the laws in California, Washington, Vermont, Colorado and Washington, DC, Hawaii’s law is modelled on legislation in Oregon, which was the first state to allow assisted dying, in 1997. It permits an adult, who two doctors agree has less than six months to live and is mentally sound, to request lethal medication. The most commonly used drug is secobarbital, a barbiturate that induces sleep and eventually death by slowing the brain and nervous system. It is usually prescribed in the form of about 100 capsules that must be individually opened and mixed into liquid—a process advocates say averts accidental overdoses. The patient must take the medication themselves, without aid, but they can choose when and where to do so. Death with Dignity, an Oregon-based pressure group, estimates that 90% of the recipients of this service end their lives at home.

Legislatures in 24 other states are considering similar bills this year. Most will flounder. In 2017, 27 states debated assisted dying. None approved it. Still, the right-to-die movement seems likely to gather momentum. Between 1997 and 2008, Oregon was the only state that allowed doctors to let some patients hasten their deaths. In the decade since, six other jurisdictions have legalised assisted dying, either through legislation or ballot initiatives. Advocates are hopeful that Nevada, New Jersey and Massachusetts might soon follow….

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(KC Star) Elizabeth Kirk–Kansas adoption bill would protect religious liberty, not discrimination

When the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision affirmed Americans’ constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Justice Anthony Kennedy assured the country that the religious freedom safeguards enshrined in the First Amendment would protect those who continue to oppose those marriages. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Samuel Alito was not so sanguine, warning, “I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers and schools.”

Not quite three years later, Alito’s concerns have already come to pass.

In a Star guest commentary earlier this month, Lori Ross, CEO of FosterAdopt Connect, claimed that a bill currently proposed in Kansas would enshrine “taxpayer-funded discrimination,” calling it “negligent” and “harmful.” By referencing the truly tragic story of a young boy’s suicide, she implied that the bill could lead to the deaths of children in the state foster care system. Or take Republican state Sen. Barbara Bollier’s statement on the Senate floor during a debate on the bill, where she called Catholic teachings on marriage “sick discrimination.” What sort of legislation would draw such vehement denunciation?

The proposed legislation is the Adoption Protection Act. All it does is ensure that faith-based adoption providers will be allowed to continue to operate in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs. In other words, the proposed legislation merely preserves the status quo and makes it clear that faith-based providers will not be penalized for serving in accordance with their beliefs.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, State Government, Theology, Uncategorized

(Christian Today) Religious freedoms deteriorating, American federal watchdog finds – but there are glimmers of hope

While many countries are increasingly denying religious freedoms, especially bad acts of religious persecution are more likely to draw global protest 20 years after the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, a US federal watchdog commission has reported.

Delivering a mixed picture, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2018 annual report on 2017 religious freedom violations in 28 countries.

‘Sadly, religious freedom conditions deteriorated in many countries in 2017, often due to increasing authoritarianism or under the guise of countering terrorism,’ USCIRF chairman Daniel Mark said.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, writes a letter which warns TEC (The Episcopal Church) about same-sex marriage rites

Proposals to incorporate marriage rites used by same-sex couples into the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) of the Episcopal Church in the United States will increase pressure in the Church of England to “dissociate” itself, the secretary general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, has warned.

In a letter to the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which has produced the proposals, Mr Nye writes that, if the rites — written to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples — are incorporated into the BCP as the only marriage rite, “the pressure to dissociate the Church of England from TEC [the Episcopal Church], in all manner of ways, would increase”. Such a move would also be “potentially damaging” to work in the C of E to create a new teaching document on sexuality (News, 30 June), he writes.

He goes on to warn that, if provision is not made for traditionalists in the Episcopal Church, it would be a “serious blow for interfaith relations, negatively impacting Christians around the world especially in areas where they are persecuted minorities, as well as harming the stringent efforts to reinforce moderation in religious expression in countries like ours which are affected by terrorism”. The Episcopal Church’s promulgation of the new liturgies is, he writes, “at the least, unhelpful to those of us seeking to bring the Church of England’s deliberations to a good outcome”.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Local paper) Lowcountry South Carolina’s St. Andrew’s Church ‘finding a way forward’ after blaze that ravaged ministry center

One day after a fire devastated a large portion of St. Andrew’s Church Sunday, leaders started to plan how they’ll press forward, as authorities investigate the cause of the blaze.

Staff gathered Monday morning in a conference room inside Whole Foods, where they worshiped and debriefed after the fire that ravaged the Mount Pleasant church’s ministry center in the Old Village early Sunday.

Officials from the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina attended the meeting to offer support, St. Andrew’s spokesman Greg Shore said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire

Adrian Hastings–Did Archbishop Sentamu fob off the Clergy Discipline Commission to protect bishops from allegations of misconduct?

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Posted in Anthropology, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(BP) Army chaplain fights charge of unlawful discrimination

Southern Baptist chaplain Jerry Scott Squires is fighting a U.S. Army investigator’s charge of unlawful discrimination for refusing to preside over a marriage retreat including same-sex couples.

But Squires followed federal law and Army and Southern Baptist Convention chaplaincy protocol when he rescheduled a Feb. 9 Strong Bonds marriage retreat in order to involve a non-SBC chaplain, thereby accommodating the attendance of a lesbian couple, First Liberty Institute said in an April 17 letter to the Army in Squires’ defense.

“Federal law and Army policy both make clear that chaplains must remain faithful to the tenets of their faith,” First Liberty attorney Michael Berry wrote in the letter. “The failure of a chaplain to do so exposes the chaplain to risk of losing their ecclesiastical endorsement, or worse, violates … federal law and policy…. Squires’ actions here are fully protected by federal law and regulation.”

Squires, who follows the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message in protocol established by the North American Mission Board as an SBC-endorsed chaplain, told First Liberty he was shocked when an Army investigator concluded he should face disciplinary action, which is currently pending.

“I hope the Army sees that I was simply following Army regulations and the tenets of my church,” Squires, a decorated major with more than 25 years of military service, said in a First Liberty press release April 17.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Baptist, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The rector of Saint Andrews updates his parish on Yesterday’s Fire

The recurring question of the day has been, “what can I do?” I love that about our church family; everyone willing to jump in and do what they can. Because a fire of this magnitude is beyond a pick-up clean-up crew we are working with our insurance agency about specific next steps.

I need your prayers for wisdom. Over the next few days we have to sort out some very practical matters. We need space for our weekly staff meetings. We need office space. We need to have electricity restored to the undamaged part of our campus. We need to sort weekend worship schedules. Most importantly, we need to rally to one another and to the Lord who will surely lead us in the weeks ahead.

Let me close with a picture that one of our members took with his drone at the end of the day. Amidst the ruin of our beloved sanctuary you will see standing the emblem of our faith, the cross of Jesus Christ. That wooden cross was at the epicenter of the fire – and it still stands! I believe with every fiber of my being that what the enemy meant for ill the Lord will redeem for His Kingdom purposes in ways that will surprise and delight us.

We – you and I – are the church and the Lord dwells within us and among us, He will surely lead us higher up and further in.

With much love in Christ,
Steve​ ​& Jacqui

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire

A S Haley unpacks the recent Second District Court of Appeals in Fort Worth Episcopal Church Decision

After reviewing the history of church property cases in the United States Supreme Court, and fleshing out what that Court meant by the term “neutral principles”, the Texas Court of Appeals then focused on its own Supreme Court’s recent decision in Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas (Tex. 2013) 422 S.W.3d 594 as instructing how neutral principles of law are used to resolve church property disputes in Texas. It set out the following concise summary of Masterson’s holdings (pp. 78-79):

    • Absent specific, lawful provisions in a corporation’s articles of incorporation or bylaws otherwise, whether and how a corporation’s directors or those entitled to control its affairs can change its articles of incorporation and bylaws are secular, not ecclesiastical matters, and an external entity—under the former or current statutory scheme—is not empowered to amend them absent specific, lawful provision in the corporate documents. Id. at 609–10 (citing Tex. Bus. Orgs. Code § 3.009; Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 1396–2.09).
    • The TEC-affiliated bishop could, as an ecclesiastical matter, determine which faction of believers was recognized by and was the “true” church loyal to the Diocese and TEC, and courts must defer to such ecclesiastical decisions, but his decision identifying the loyal faction as the continuing parish does not necessarily determine the property ownership issue, and his decisions on secular legal questions such as the validity of the parish members’ vote to amend the bylaws and articles of incorporation are not entitled to deference. Id. at 610.
  • If the title to the real property is in the corporation’s name and the language of the deeds does not provide for an express trust in favor of TEC or the Diocese, then the corporation owns the property. Id.

These propositions are all correct statements of Texas law as expounded in Masterson. Followed correctly, they should have led to a correct decision in the Fort Worth case. Instead, look where the Salazar court ended up…

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

The Local Paper’s Updated story about the tragic Fire at Saint Andrews, Mount Pleasant, Yesterday

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Uncategorized