Monthly Archives: September 2010

Disputed India Holy Site to Be Divided, Court Rules

With the nation on high alert, an Indian court handed down a long-awaited decision on Thursday over control of the country’s most disputed religious site by splitting the land into three portions to be divided among Hindus and Muslims, according to lawyers in the case.

Much of the detail and rationale behind the decision issued late Thursday by a three-judge panel in the state of Uttar Pradesh remained unclear. The court was expected to release the complete ruling only later in the evening. But lawyers in the case, interviewed on Indian news channels, said the panel had unexpectedly ruled by dividing the land in a way that gave something to both Hindus and Muslims after a legal battle that originated six decades ago.

The case focused on a site in the city of Ayodhya, which many Hindus have long claimed as the birthplace of the Hindu deity Ram, but which also was the site of a mosque, known as the Babri Masjid, built in the 16th century by India’s first Mughal ruler. In 1992, Hindu extremists destroyed the Babri Masjid, sparking riots that would claim the lives of about 2,000 people, mostly Muslims.

One of the central questions in the case had been whether a Hindu temple had existed on the site before the construction of the Babri Masjid. Lawyers in the case said the court’s ruling would reserve one-third of the land for construction of a temple to Ram, another third for another Hindu party to the case, while designating the final third for Muslims to build a mosque.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Hinduism, India, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Dolan Cummings reviews Zygmunt Bauman's" Identity": The trouble with being human these days

As Bauman notes, ‘Most of us, most of the time, are in two minds about that novelty of “bond-free living” – of relationships “with no strings attached”. We covet them and fear them at the same time.’ The flipside of freedom from ties rooted in social convention is a lack of guarantees, and a heightened consciouness of the risk involved in relationships. Bauman refers to the old idea that to love someone means giving a hostage to fortune, but what he goes on to describe is very different from Francis Bacon’s famous and essentially pre-modern observation (borrowing in fact from the Latin poet Lucan): ‘He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief’.

What Bauman means is not simply that the object of one’s affections is vulnerable, and therefore a liability, but that in modernity the object of one’s affections is also a subject. Loving a subject means ‘making oneself dependent on another person endowed with a similar freedom to choose and the will to follow that choice – and so a person full of surprises, unpredictable.’ That person’s surprising choices can be painful. In the absence of the guarantees offered by tradition, the whole enterprise of commitment is fundamentally unilateral, and consequently precarious. Traditional marriage, in contrast, meant staying together ‘through thick and thin’ for the sake of convention rooted in practicality, rather than as a fully autonomous decision. Bourgeois marriage is, or was, emblematic of ‘solid modernity’, combining, never quite satisfactorily, traditional function with an ideal of free choice. That tension between practicality and romance is not resolved in ‘liquid modernity’, merely disenchanted.

Where subjectivity is unconstrained by tradition, then, it is instead inhibited by uncertainty. Dea Birkett argued recently in the Guardian: ‘Falling in and out of love is unpredictable. Promising to love someone forever is a promise no honest person would make.’ But this apparent hard-headed realism is really the flipside of sentimentality. Both attitudes abandon responsibility to the Fates, casting love as a mere subjective feeling rather than, as it might be, a rational determination.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Andrew Mcgowan on the Anglican Church of Australia Synod–'Divided' Anglicans dodge conflict

The 2010 Synod met at Melbourne Grammar School, an establishment bastion every bit as solid as its Tudor Gothic bluestone walls. Those inside sensed and responded to the frailty of the Church itself. Archbishop Philip Aspinall of Brisbane, the Primate, made a heartfelt call to the Synod to exercise a generosity of spirit, which may often have been in evidence; but it is at times hard to distinguish such generosity from caution or fear.

The question of Sydney’s relationship with the rest was never far from the surface, but only once or twice did it breach it in threatening ways. There was predictable posturing about the divisions in the wider Anglican Communion, but overall a curious sense of avoiding conflict prevailed: a motion ‘welcoming’ the proposed Anglican Covenant was met with ambivalence at both liberal and conservative ends of the spectrum. Both were satisfied with a motion referring it for further and wider study.

When the ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ from the gathering of conservative Anglicans held there last year came up for consideration, Perth Archbishop Roger Herft, who has been a frank critic of the conservative forces, made the generous response of seeking and gaining an amendment that encouraged study of the document and its context.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

Anglican Archbishop-Elect in Rwanda Vows to Fight Same Sex Marriage

Archbishop elect, Onesphore Rwaje, who is set to succeed Anglican Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini in January, 2011, has vowed to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps by taking a firm stand against homosexuality.

“Anything that is contrary to God’s family set-up is not acceptable; there is nowhere in the Bible where same-sex marriage is encouraged. God created a man and woman to be the basis of a family,” the Archbishop-elect told The New Times, a week after he was elected to succeed Kolini.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Rwanda, Sexuality

Seaways News–Pope Benedict’s visit helped ease strains with Anglicans

Pope Benedict made some of his clearest condemnations yet of the sexual abuse of children by priests saying the Catholic Church was not vigilant enough about the problem. This visit by the pope accomplished many things. Most of all Pope Benedict easily managed to shed his hard line image in the eyes of many Britons. This visit helped to unify Catholics and humanise a pope who has so often been perceived as cold and aloof and also authoritarian. This was no doubt a very successful visit.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

WSJ: House Lashes Out at China

The House of Representatives by a wide margin passed legislation to penalize China’s foreign-exchange practices, sending a powerful warning to Beijing but risking a response that could harm U.S. companies and consumers.

The measure would allow, but not require, the U.S. to levy tariffs on countries that undervalue their currencies, which makes their goods cheaper relative to American products. A majority of Republicans lined up with Democrats to pass the bill on a 348-79 vote, highlighting lawmakers’ long-simmering frustration with Chinese trade practices as well as their sensitivity to the faltering U.S. economic recovery with an election looming.

The vote marks the strongest trade measure aimed at China to make it through a chamber of Congress after more than a decade of threats by lawmakers. But despite the broad support Wednesday, dim Senate prospects make it unlikely the measure would become law this year.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Foreign Relations, House of Representatives, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Tony Curtis RIP

Tony Curtis, a classically handsome movie star who earned an Oscar nomination as an escaped convict in Stanley Kramer’s 1958 movie “The Defiant Ones,” but whose public preferred him in comic roles in films like “Some Like It Hot” (1959) and “The Great Race” (1965), died Wednesday of a cardiac arrest in his Las Vegas area home. He was 85.

His death was confirmed by the Clark County coroner, The Associated Press reported.

As a performer, Mr. Curtis drew first and foremost on his startlingly good looks. With his dark, curly hair, worn in a sculptural style later imitated by Elvis Presley, and plucked eyebrows framing pale blue eyes and wide, full lips, Mr. Curtis embodied a new kind of feminized male beauty that came into vogue in the early 1950s. A vigorous heterosexual in his widely publicized (not least by himself) private life, he was often cast in roles that drew on a perceived ambiguity: his full-drag impersonation of a female jazz musician in “Some Like It Hot,” a slave who attracts the interest of a Roman senator (Laurence Olivier) in Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus” (1960), a man attracted to a mysterious blond (Debbie Reynolds) who turns out to be the reincarnation of his male best friend in Vincente Minnelli’s “Goodbye Charlie” (1964).

But behind the pretty-boy looks could be found a dramatically potent combination of naked ambition and deep vulnerability….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry

Marketplace: Chris Whalen Nails the Government's Poor management of Selling its AIG Stake

Bob Moon: What’s the rush? That’s what investment consultant Chris Whalen was asking today at Institutional Risk Analytics. He says the government seems to be in a hurry to get the word out that it’s aiming to start unloading its $49 billion in AIG shares within the coming year. Whalen warns the market isn’t ready and won’t support it.

Chris Whalen: We’re trying to do a public offering of shares in a company that can’t stand by itself, that has to have government support. That’s not going to work.

Flooding the market with shares, he cautions, is a money-losing proposition. He says it’s the same catch-22 the government faces with General Motors, and has already run up against trying to sell its Citigroup shares. Gauging by AIG’s total market capitalization — the value of all outstanding shares — he argues the idea of taxpayers making all their money back is pie-in-the-sky.

Whalen: The market cap of this company is single digits. They owe us $100 billion, right? So what the market’s telling you is that the company is worth, today, a tenth of what they owe us.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package, The U.S. Government, Theology

A Private Moment Made Public, Then a Fatal Jump

It started with a Twitter message on Sept. 19: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

That night, the authorities say, the Rutgers University student who sent the message used a camera in his dormitory room to stream the roommate’s intimate encounter live on the Internet.

And three days later, the roommate who had been surreptitiously broadcast ”” Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman and an accomplished violinist ”” jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River in an apparent suicide.

The Sept. 22 death, details of which the authorities disclosed on Wednesday, was the latest by a young American that followed the online posting of hurtful material. The news came on the same day that Rutgers kicked off a two-year, campuswide project to teach the importance of civility, with special attention to the use and abuse of new technology.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Theology, Young Adults

Statement from Jewish, Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders: New Hope for the Peace of Jerusalem

Despite tragic violence and discouraging developments, there are signs of hope. Majorities of both Israelis and Palestinians still support a two-state solution. Arab states have declared their commitment to peace in the Arab Peace Initiative. There are U.S. diplomatic efforts to restart Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese negotiations for peace. Official and informal negotiations have produced the outlines of concrete compromises for resolving the conflict, including the final status issues: borders and security, settlements, refugees and Jerusalem. Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders both here and in the region reject the killing of innocents, support a just peace, and believe sustained negotiations are the only path to peace.

As we said two years ago, there is a real danger that cynicism will replace hope and that people will give up on peace. With the resumption of direct negotiations, clarity is demanded. So let us be clear. As religious leaders, we remain firmly committed to a two-state solution to the conflict as the only viable way forward. We believe that concerted, sustained U.S. leadership for peace is essential. And we know that time is not on the side of peace, that delay is not an option.

The path to peace shuns violence and embraces dialogue. This path demands reciprocal steps that build confidence. This path can lead to a future of two states, Israel and a viable, independent Palestine, living side by side in peace with security and dignity for both peoples, stability in the region, and a comprehensive peace between Israel and all her Arab neighbors.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Islam, Judaism, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

Presiding Bishop joins interfaith leaders in declaring 'new hope for the peace of Jerusalem'

Saying that they are people of hope who “refuse … to give in to cynicism or despair,” a group of interfaith leaders delivered a declaration to the White House and State Department Sept. 29 uniting in support of “active, fair, and firm U.S. leadership for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was among the 28 Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders who signed the statement.

Alexander D. Baumgarten, director of government relations for the Episcopal Church, represented Jefferts Schori at the meeting with General James Jones, United States national security adviser, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Middle East, Other Churches, Presiding Bishop, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Jerome

O Lord, thou God of truth, whose Word is a lantern to our feet and a light upon our path: We give thee thanks for thy servant Jerome, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we beseech thee that thy Holy Spirit may overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, may transform us according to thy righteous will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive thee, diligence to seek thee, patience to wait for thee, eyes to behold thee, a heart to meditate upon thee, and a life to proclaim thee; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Benedict

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” And he looked around on them all, and said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Down Under, Disgraced Anglican bishop failed in his duty church tribunal finds

The former Anglican bishop of the Murray was found guilty of disgraceful conduct by a church tribunal in Adelaide yesterday.

The body rebuked him and recommended that he be prohibited from acting as a bishop.

The special tribunal found Ross Davies had failed to deal appropriately with sexual misconduct allegations against an archdeacon, displayed a lack of commitment to the Anglican Church and used threatening and aggressive language towards parishioners.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces