Category : Politics in General

(LA Times) California attorney general appeals judge’s decision to overturn physician-assisted suicide law

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Monday filed an appeal against a judge’s recent ruling overturning the state’s physician-assisted suicide law.

The controversial law, which allows terminally ill patients to request lethal medications from their doctors, has been the subject of litigation since it was enacted two years ago.

Last week, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia ruled that the law’s passage was unconstitutional and the law should be overturned.

Becerra’s action Monday moves the case to an appeals court, which will decide the future of the law. He also asked that the law stay in place while the matter is further litigated, a request that will most likely be granted, said Kathryn Tucker, an attorney who heads the End of Life Liberty Project at UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, State Government, Theology

(NYT) Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Married

Prince Harry, 33, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, married Meghan Markle, 36, an American actress, at a ceremony at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, which is (you might have guessed) in Windsor, an ancient town west of London.

• Oprah Winfrey was there. So was Elton John. Serena Williams was spotted, as were the Clooneys and the Beckhams. The dress was by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy. The big moment was the rousing address by the Most Rev. Michael Curry.

• Harry is now the Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel. Ms. Markle will be known as Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex. For more photos from the royal couple and their wedding, go here.

• In the scheme of things, this particular marriage is not that important. Harry is only sixth in line to the throne. But Ms. Markle is a highly unusual royal bride: She’s American, three years older than Harry, had a high-profile career and is biracial.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

(Christian Today) Worried Church of England urges ministers against scrapping civil partnerships

The Church of England’s stance on sexuality would be thrown into disarray if the government pushes ahead with scrapping civil partnerships.

Officials within the CofE are urging ministers against the move which came as figures suggest this form of union has been made almost obsolete by the introduction of same-sex marriage.

Civil partnerships legislation was introduced in 2004 to give same-sex couples legal recognition of their relationship without changing the definition of marriage. But the Marriage (Same-Sex couples) Act in 2013 allowed gay couples to marry, or convert their civil partnership into a marriage.

This meant that in 2016 there were just 890 civil partnerships registered in England and Wales, down from 6,305 from 2007 to 2013.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Telegraph) Christine Odone–There’s a modern case for marriage – so why isn’t the government making it?

Marriage may have changed over millennia, but it still offers partnership to two individuals. Given that loneliness is the scourge of our times would it not make sense to campaign for a relationship that counters isolation? Even uber-feminists might be reconciled to such a support network.

Then there are the health statistics. Married people are less likely to suffer strokes, stress or heart attacks, and more likely to adopt safer behaviour, like driving within the speed limit, and drinking the right number of units. Studies also continue to show that marriage is good for mental health – boosting confidence and communication skills. Think of the savings to the NHS, if our parliamentarians could fog-horn the benefits of getting hitched.

But it is children, most of all, who benefit from marriage. Children thrive when their biological parents stay together and marriage is almost twice as likely to survive a child’s birth than cohabitation. A recent study found that children of married couples did better on a vocabulary test than those of cohabiting or single parents. Marriage, especially now that it is being freed from expensive trappings like white weddings and Magaluf-bound hen parties, could emerge as the secret weapon in the battle for social mobility.

A social enterprise that promotes well-being normally has politicians rushing to champion it. What are you waiting for, Mrs May? Give us some policies that show marriage tops your agenda. Like the forthcoming Royal Wedding, this is a good news story. That’s a rare thing, these days: let’s celebrate it.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

(Local Paper front page) South Carolina unlikely to legalize sports betting, despite U.S. Supreme Court ruling

A short stack of South Carolina legislators is pushing to allow sports betting in the Palmetto State following a U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday that overturned a federal ban.

But the odds are long.

The ruling by the nation’s high court leaves states to decide whether people can legally bet on football, basketball and other sports. Under the 1992 federal law it struck, Nevada was the only place where people could bet on results of a single game.

About three dozen states could offer sports betting within five years — from California to Iowa to Delaware. At least five states including New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia have passed laws awaiting the high court’s ruling.

But don’t bet on those including South Carolina, where even church raffles weren’t legal until 2015.

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Posted in * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Sports, State Government, Supreme Court

In the Diocese of SC Supreme Court Case–The Diocese has now filed its response to TEC and the new TEC Diocese

You can find the full 17 page pdf here–read it carefully and read it all. Please do continue to note that you can follow all the documents as they become available there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church History, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, State Government

(NPR) Supreme Court Rules States Are Free To Legalize Sports Betting

The Supreme Court’s court decision reversing that outcome will make it easier to open the door to sports betting.

But the status quo struck down by the Supreme Court looks almost quaint in light of increased pressure to legalize sports betting across the board.

The American Gaming Association estimates that illegal sports betting has grown to $150-billion-a-year market. And cash-starved states are salivating at the thought of raising billions from legalizing and licensing that activity, not to mention taxing the proceeds.

New Jersey, home to at least a half dozen shuttered Atlantic City casinos, is a state where Republicans and Democrats since 2011 have been trying to overturn the federal ban or somehow get around it.

After oral arguments in December, then-Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., said on the Supreme Court steps, “If we’re successful here, we can have bets being taken in New Jersey within two weeks of a decision by the court. We’re like boy scouts; we’re prepared.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Sports, State Government, Supreme Court, Theology

Anglican Bishop Alexander Ibezim argues that president Buhari is fighting corruption+terrorism with kid gloves

Bishop Ibezim, who spoke in his Presidential Charge at the 2ndSession of the 11th Synod of the Diocese, holding at St. Peters Church Amawbia, said that rather than fight corruption, the government was habouring actors in the field.

He said, “It does seem the fight against corruption for which this administration was voted into power has slowed down, if not jettisoned. People had expected prompt prosecution and incarceration of offenders, to deter others, but what we witnessed was a situation where some key officials of this administration were involved in unwholesome acts, capable of tarnishing the image of government.

“The latter did not respond effectively or looked the other way, thereby eroding the confidence of the people in the fight against corruption. A government that is serious in fighting corruption should not engage in lopsided appointments, reducing some sections of the country to second class citizens or entrenching ethnic chauvinism in its policies.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General

(CT Gleanings) Families Who Cross the Border Together Won’t Stay Together

amily unity is among the biggest factors for American evangelicals advocating for immigration reform; it comes up in almost every statement, prayer, and open letter rallying believers around the cause.

And it continues to prove a major concern, as the government’s recent crackdown on border-crossings requires authorities to split up parents and children who illegally enter the country together.

Despite the pleas from top evangelical leaders—including some of President Donald Trump’s advisers—to protect the family unit, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this week that all adults caught by Border Patrol would be prosecuted as criminals while their children would be separated and treated as if they entered the US as unaccompanied minors.

“I have put in place a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for illegal entry on our Southwest border. If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple,” he said on Monday in San Diego, where a caravan of migrants, many of them mothers and children, had arrived a week before.

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Posted in Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

(Guardian) Ontario issues first non-binary birth certificate after human rights claim

Canada’s largest province has issued its first non-binary birth certificate, marking the culmination of a successful human rights claim against Ontario.

Joshua Ferguson had waited nearly a year after petitioning the provincial government for a new birth certificate in order change the document from male to non-binary, as Ferguson identifies as neither male nor female. Instead, the film-maker uses the pronoun “they”.

“It’s a victory for me. It’s a victory for the trans community,” Ferguson told reporters on Monday.

Born in Ontario but now residing in Vancouver, Ferguson had travelled to Toronto to apply for the new birth certificate, which they said would better reflect their identity. Ferguson’s successful application follows a push by the transgender activist Gemma Hickey, whose non-binary birth certificate in Newfoundland and Labrador last year marked a first for Canada.

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Posted in Anthropology, Canada, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

(Forbes) Religious Organizations Rally To Preserve Current Tax Treatment Of Clergy Housing Allowances

The wonderful thing about this litigation is how it brings different faith communities together in their desire to protect their cherished tax benefit. Not yet available is the brief from the following amici – Christian Legal Society, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, National Association of Evangelicals, Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, Council of Churches of New York City,  and Queens Federation of Churches.   Last time around there was a brief that included The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Commission (Southern Baptists, the second largest denomination in the United States probably have the most skin in this game) and   The International Society for Krishna Consciousness and The Islamic Center of Boca Raton.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Taxes

(BP) Albert Mohler tells NRB of a ‘new regime of invented rights’

Mohler quoted a 2016 official report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in which the chairman, Martin R. Castro, wrote, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”

The commission’s report, Mohler pointed out, placed both religious liberty and religious freedom in scare quotes as if they are “linguistic constructions without any objective reality.”

“We are now witnessing a great and inevitable collision between religious liberty and newly declared and invented sexual liberties,” he said, listing various incidents illustrating how the collision is now taking place.

Mohler encouraged Christian leaders to hold on to the truths expressed in the Declaration of Independence and to defend these truths “that should be, but often are not, recognized as self-evident.”

And to the generation of young people who are committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ but assume that the defense of religious liberty is political, Mohler said they also need to be committed to the free propagation and voicing of the Gospel, without which sinners will not hear the Gospel.

“We’re in a fight that’s worth fighting,” Mohler said. “And we understand that as we contend for the freedom of religion, and the freedom of speech, and the freedom of press, again, we’re doing this not just for ourselves and for our children, not just for our churches, but for the world.

“Let’s pray that God will give us wisdom to hold these truths in perilous times,” Mohler concluded.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Media, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution

Statement from the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Ken Good, on the Referendum on the Eighth Amendment in Ireland

Unquestionably, the Referendum on the Eighth Amendment raises a number of complex questions: should abortion be dealt with in the Constitution or by way of government legislation; should the fact that hundreds of Irish women already leave the state every year to procure abortions influence our response; does the fact that many terminations are already taking place in Ireland (using unregulated pills) mean abortion should be made legal; and how should Ireland’s record of failure in the care of women and children – for example in the mother and baby homes – affect the way we vote?

Often, in the past, the protection of vulnerable women and children in Ireland left a lot to be desired, but legislating now to allow the lives of the most defenceless among us to be terminated is not the answer.

Past wrongs would be better addressed by providing better pastoral care in future for women, their partners and their families; by improving support services; and by investing more in medical and mental health services. We must be compassionate in responding to those for whom pregnancy is unwelcome or traumatic, and must seek to offer a positive alternative to abortion.

The Archbishops of the Church of Ireland have stated that “unrestricted access to abortion in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, or indeed at any stage, is not an ethical position we can accept.” Nevertheless, our tradition is concerned to ensure provision for terminations in – hopefully – rare circumstances and in a safe medical setting.

People differ on where the line should be drawn….

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Posted in --Ireland, Church of Ireland, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Post-Gazette) Religious institutions wait to see what tax reform does to their place in people’s budgets

The conventional thinking is that most people who donate to places of worship are not primarily motivated by tax benefits.

For many, giving is a core value based on religious teachings and a sense of gratitude.

This could be the year when those assumptions are put to a test.

The new federal tax law has cut taxes for working American families, but it also could have the unintended consequence of reducing the financial incentive for many people to donate to religious and charitable organizations.

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy estimates roughly 30 million households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 will be less likely to itemize deductions on their taxes due to the new law. With less incentive to donate, researchers predict the amount those households give will decline.

“Tax incentives do affect how much people give,” said Una Osili, associate dean for research. “If it is more expensive to give, they give less.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance & Investing, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Taxes

(Wash Post) Rachel Laser–Why do we need a chaplain in Congress, anyway?

Patrick J. Conroy’s forced resignation as chaplain of the House of Representatives — attributed to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) — has opened up a new round of partisan and religious divisions in Congress. But if there’s any upside, it’s this: We now see clearly why it’s time to do away with taxpayer-funded, government-supported congressional chaplains.

The controversy surrounding Conroy’s departure illustrates how chaplains in Congress inevitably sully religion with politics. Some believe that Ryan fired Conroy because Ryan perceived him to have delivered a prayer that was critical of the Republican tax bill. (Ryan has denied this.) Others believe that Conroy was secretly aligned with the Democrats and find proof in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s disagreement with Ryan’s decision to fire Conroy….

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Posted in America/U.S.A., History, House of Representatives, Ministry of the Ordained, Politics in General, Religion & Culture