Category : 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

(NYT Op-ed) Ross Douthat–The huge Proliferation of Gambling in America is the Symptom of a Deeper Cultural Malaise

….in rationalizing our gambling regime by making it ever more universal, we’re following the same misguided principle that we’ve followed in other cases. With pornography, for instance, where the difficulty of identifying a perfectly consistent rule that would allow the publication of “Lolita” but not Penthouse has led to a world where online porn doubles as sex education and it’s assumed that the internet will always be a sewer and we just have to live with it. Or now with marijuana, where the injustice and hypocrisy of the drug war made a good case for partial decriminalization, but stopping at decriminalization may be impossible when the consistent logic of commercialization beckons.

The reliability of this process doesn’t mean that it can never be questioned or reversed. Part of what we’re witnessing from #MeToo-era feminism, for instance, is a backlash against the ruthless logic of an unregulated sexual marketplace, and a quest for some organic form of social regulation, some new set of imperfect-but-still-useful scruples and taboos.

But it’s a lot easier to tear down an inconsistent but workable system than it is to build a new one up from scratch — and the impulse to rebuild usually becomes powerful only once you’ve reached the bottom of consistency’s long slope.

I’m not sure where we are with gambling’s cultural trajectory. But every time this playoff season served up another ad for Caesars Sportsbook, it felt like a sign that we’ve accelerated downward, with a long way yet to fall.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Pornography, Sports, Supreme Court

Unanimous backing from C of E Synod for call to protect child survivors of trafficking

The General Synod has given unanimous backing to a call for the Government to ensure the protection of child survivors of trafficking after hearing of fears that the Nationality and Borders Bill could leave more children unprotected and at risk.

Members voted 331 in favour, with no votes against and no abstentions, both to acknowledge the ‘leading role’ that the Government has played internationally in challenging slavery – while calling on the Government to ensure the proper protection of minors who are trafficked and enslaved.

The Synod also voted to encourage all dioceses, deaneries and parishes in the Church of England to raise awareness of modern slavery. Members further called on people to pray for the victims and survivors of slavery and trafficking and all those organisations who work to help and support them.

General Synod member Alistair Bianchi, introducing the debate at the Synod, said progress that had been made in tackling modern slavery and protecting children who have been trafficked risked being endangered as a result of measures in the Nationality and Borders Bill.

There are ‘considerable concerns’ that the lack of attention paid specifically to protecting children in the Bill – currently before Parliament – could have a negative impact both on child survivors of trafficking and children subject to the immigration system who are at risk of exploitation, he told the Synod

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

A front page NYT Profile piece on Prospective Supreme Court nominee and South Carolina Judge Michelle Childs

It was just before Christmas, and Jean H. Toal, then the chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, was in a bind. She needed an emergency order drawn up, but the courthouse in Columbia, the state capital, was empty. She was relieved to reach someone who assured her, “Chief, I got it.”

It was J. Michelle Childs, then a state circuit court judge who had made a name for herself as one of the most adept on the bench.

“Within an hour she came back to me, and she had a complete order with footnotes and everything,” Judge Toal, now retired, recalled of the day more than a dozen years ago. “Days later, she delivered her child. So, she was über-pregnant and it was right at Christmas time, but she had her work ethic on full steam, as she always did.”

The memory sums up the reputation of Judge Childs, now a Federal District Court judge in South Carolina, who rose through the ranks of state schools, local government and the South Carolina legal system to the short list of potential Supreme Court nominees for President Biden, who has pledged to nominate a Black woman to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, President Joe Biden, Race/Race Relations, Senate, Supreme Court, Women

(PRC) Four-in-ten countries and territories worldwide had blasphemy laws in 2019

Apostasy and blasphemy may seem to many like artifacts of history. But in scores of countries around the world, laws against apostasy and blasphemy remain on the books – and many are enforced to various degrees.

A new Pew Research Center analysis finds that 79 countries and territories out of the 198 studied around the world (40%) had laws or policies in 2019 banning blasphemy, which is defined as speech or actions considered to be contemptuous of God or of people or objects considered sacred. Twenty-two countries (11%) had laws against apostasy, the act of abandoning one’s faith. The analysis draws on the Center’s wider body of research on global restrictions related to religion.

These laws were most common in the Middle East and North Africa, where 18 of the 20 countries (90%) in the region have laws criminalizing blasphemy and 13 of them (65%) outlaw apostasy. In Saudi Arabia, an Indian national was charged with blasphemy in 2019, fined, and sentenced to 10 years in prison for tweeting criticism of Muhammad and Allah, as well as of the Saudi government.

Read it all.

Posted in Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

‘Bored’ Grandma Turns The Tables On Phone Scammer

‘A Long Island woman received a scam call that her grandson was in a drunken car crash. She notified the police, who helped tackle the fraudster when he showed up demanding money.’ Watch it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance & Investing, Police/Fire, Science & Technology

(Plough) Erika J. Ahern–Divorce Wrecks Children’s Lives Too

Just after Christmas 2021, Honor Jones, a senior editor at the Atlantic, published “How I Demolished My Life: A Home-Improvement Story.” It’s a self-portrait of a mother who, while wrangling with kitchen renovation plans, decides she doesn’t want a new kitchen.

She wants a divorce.

Jones spends the next three thousand perfectly manicured words trying to justify her decision to break up her family. She displays all the self-congratulatory bravado of middle-aged white women who read Henrik Ibsen’s Doll’s House or Oscar Wilde’s A Picture of Dorian Gray for a high school literature class and then imagine themselves forever in the role of Brave Protestor of Victorian Oppression.

Jones describes her marriage, which produced three children who are still young, as her cage. Her imperfect suburban home is, to her, an icon of her imprisonment.

She doesn’t like the “chaos” of her house and, even with the help of sensible Luba, her hired cleaning woman, she finds the lived-in quality of a home with children irksome.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(ACNA) Firm Hired To Investigate Allegations Of Misconduct In Upper Midwest

Husch Blackwell LLP has been elected to serve as the firm contracted to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct and mishandling in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest. Husch Blackwell is a national firm and the team engaged for this investigation is based out of their Chicago, Illinois office.

In late June 2021, the Anglican Church in North America was notified that there had been an erosion of trust in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest due to allegations that the Diocese mishandled accusations of sexual misconduct. On July 10, Archbishop Foley Beach announced the Province’s acceptance of a request from the Diocese to take on oversight of the investigation and called for the formation of a Provincial Response Team. The Province is a separate legal entity from the Diocese of the Upper Midwest.

The Provincial Response Team (PRT) of experienced men and women, laity and clergy, began building a process to contract a third-party investigative firm that is trauma-informed, properly experienced, and capable of competently investigating this matter.

The PRT developed a set of criteria, with input from some of the alleged survivors, to vet potential firms. The PRT then began the process of engaging potential investigators based upon those criteria, contacting eleven firms. Out of those contacted, the PRT determined two firms sufficiently met the selection criteria. All alleged survivors known to us were sent the names of these two firms and a summary description of each and were asked to vote or to indicate no preference. These votes, along with the vote of each member of the PRT, resulted in the selection and subsequent engagement of Husch Blackwell. The Province is grateful for the time and energy the other firms gave to us as the PRT considered them.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(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.

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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.

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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.”

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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

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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.

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