Daily Archives: October 1, 2010

(WSJ) Ruth Wisse: At Harvard, Groupthink About Islam

Last Saturday, at a university-sponsored event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Harvard’s Committee on Degrees in Social Studies, a group of former students launched a research fund in honor of Martin Peretz, a former teacher in the program and the longtime editor in chief of the New Republic. After the event adjourned, the afternoon turned ugly as police had to protect Mr. Peretz while he walked across campus surrounded by a mob of screaming students.

Mr. Peretz admits that he wasn’t blameless in the controversy. On Sept. 4, blogging at the New Republic’s web site, he lamented that Muslims don’t respond more vigorously to acts of terrorism against their own people:

“Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf [of the proposed Cordoba House mosque] there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Deforest Soaries: Black Churches and the Prosperity Gospel

Recent days have brought multiple allegations of sexual abuse against Atlanta megachurch Bishop Eddie Long. It would be premature to judge the truth of these allegations, but it is not too soon to weigh in on his opulent lifestyle. His fancy cars, expensive clothing and vast estate, all funded on a multimillion-dollar salary, are part of his act””pushing the so-called prosperity gospel on mostly African-Americans. Whatever Mr. Long has done in his personal life, his brand of theology has contributed to a troubling trend among black churches in America.

The prosperity gospel””the idea that God guarantees truly faithful believers physical health and financial wealth””is not new. But cable and satellite television broadcasting have turned prosperity preachers into celebrities that have followings similar to musicians and movies stars. A movement and a theology that once seemed like an aberration among black churches now appears to be mainstream….

Teaching that desire for more material possessions is a sign of one’s religious piety is simply offering a justification for crass consumerism. Prosperity theology elevates greed to a virtue instead of leaving it as one of the seven deadly sins.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Media, Psychology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

ENI: Southern Africa bishops disturbed by Swaziland's rights abuses

Bishops of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa say they are deeply disturbed by news of growing human rights abuses in Swaziland, a kingdom sandwiched between South Africa and Mozambique.

The bishops, meeting in Benoni near Johannesburg from 27 to 29 September for their twice-yearly synod, challenged their church to become more involved in the quest for democracy in Swaziland.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town, the leader of the church, said on 30 September he could not remain silent on the issue of democracy in Swaziland, “where power and wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, and political debate is hardly permitted”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, South Africa, Swaziland

CEN–2011 Anglican Primates meeting set for Dublin

US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori stated on Sept 21 that she had received notice of the meeting, and was planning on attending. The primates of the Global South coalition will meet next month and are expected to take up the issue of whether they will attend the gathering….

The choice of Dublin as the site of Dr. Williams’ fifth primates meeting came as a surprise to some primates, who had been led to believe after the Alexandria meeting they would next gather in Central America.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury

Church Times–Traditionalists hope for big-society model, courtesy of St Hilda

A new society has been formed to give “some sort of identity” to Catholic clergy and laity who are opposed to women bishops but do not wish to leave the Church of England.

The Bishop of Plymouth, the Rt Revd John Ford, said this week that the new Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda would “provide a place within the Church of England where Catholics can worship and minister with integrity without accepting innovations that further distance the Church of England from the greater Churches of the East and West”.

The society, he said, represented “a con structive initiative on the part of those who cannot accept the innovations proposed in legislation, and who are hurt and frustrated by General Synod’s inability to provide for their theological position”.

The idea emerged last week at a meeting of a “sacred synod” in Westminster, attended by 460 bishops, priests, and deacons. The meeting was called by Anglo-Catholic bishops to discuss concerns about women-bishops legislation and the lack of clarity about provision for those who would not accept it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Gaming Law hits South Carolina Charities Hard

Local charities are hurting since some quit holding raffles over legal concerns, according to testimony at a public hearing on the state’s gaming laws Thursday evening in North Charleston.

It was the first of several hearings around the state by a subcommittee appointed by Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston. The senators are drafting a bill that would call for a referendum next year to let voters decide on a constitutional amendment declaring charitable raffles legal. They’re drafting another bill to allow poker in homes.

As it is, state law written a century ago says all games of chance are illegal. Many charities quit holding raffles after a 2006 raid on a game of Texas Hold ’em at a Mount Pleasant home.

Read it all front the local paper on the front page of the local section.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Theology

(WSJ) Ecuador Calls A State of Emergency

Ecuador declared a state of emergency on Thursday as protests by police and some members of the military led to nationwide unrest, accusations of a coup d’état, and the dramatic rescue by army troops of the country’s president, who was holed up in a hospital after being tear-gassed by police.

The troubles tilted dangerously when police protesting cuts to their benefits surrounded a hospital where President Rafael Correa was being treated after inhaling tear gas during an earlier visit to a police barracks, where Mr. Correa was apparently verbally and physically threatened by angry police.

The showdown came to a dramatic climax as night fell, with soldiers clashing with police and storming the hospital. Minutes later, amid a barrage of gunfire broadcast live on Ecuadorean television, the army emerged with Mr. Correa safe and sound.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Ecuador, Politics in General, South America, Violence

(USA Today) Census: In the Economic Crunch, Households get fuller

The recession and housing costs cause many to move in together to help meet ends

The Grundy family seemed headed down the conventional path for American families: Daughter goes to college, graduates, gets a job and her own apartment.

Then something happened.

“She lost her job,” Vel Grundy says about daughter Monika, 25. “She kept looking and got very, very discouraged. She moved back home.”

Grown children returning home. Brothers and sisters moving in together. Families taking in grandparents. Friends living in the basement. Fueled by the dismal economy and high unemployment, more Americans ”” friends and families ”” are doubling up.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Census/Census Data, Children, Economy, Marriage & Family, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(Reuters) Health reform to worsen doctor shortage: group

The U.S. healthcare reform law will worsen a shortage of physicians as millions of newly insured patients seek care, the Association of American Medical Colleges said on Thursday.

The group’s Center for Workforce Studies released new estimates that showed shortages would be 50 percent worse in 2015 than forecast.

“While previous projections showed a baseline shortage of 39,600 doctors in 2015, current estimates bring that number closer to 63,000, with a worsening of shortages through 2025,” the group said in a statement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Gerald Bray: Out of Egypt–Bishop Mouneer Anis and the Disintegration of the Anglican Communion

When the Anglican Communion started to unravel in 2007, following the Archbishop of Canterbury’s unexplained decision to invite the American bishops to Lambeth 2008, even before the deadline for their compliance with certain restraints imposed by the primates, and the subsequent attempt to pretend that the ‘deadline’ was nothing of the kind, Bishop Mouneer [Anis] stood out as someone who was not prepared to break with the central organs of the Communion.

Unlike many other primates from the developing world, he continued to believe that the processes envisaged by the Windsor Report (2004) and the proposed Anglican Covenant, sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury as the answer to the Communion’s incoherence as an ecclesial body, were good and necessary solutions to the church’s problems. Accused of being naive by some of those who went on to form the FCA, Bishop Mouneer stuck by Rowan Williams and became one of his strongest backers. His public statements are full of praise for him and often quote him at some length, a degree of devotion which must make him virtually unique in the Anglican world.

Alas, Bishop Mouneer’s reward for this extraordinary loyalty has been meagre. At one point he specifically asked the ACC to hold back on a statement it was going to issue because he was on a pastoral visit elsewhere in the Middle East and would not have time to consider it until his return to Cairo. He was ignored, and the ACC went ahead without him, making only the shortest of apologies when it realised that it had caused offence. Dr. Williams, who seems to have all the time in the world for Ms Schori, never rushed off to Cairo or showed any public concern for Bishop Mouneer’s position. He could not ignore the bishop’s resignation of course, but his official statement was perfunctory in the extreme and betrayed no sign of any sympathy for the reasons which compelled him to leave.

Bishop Mouneer could easily have camouflaged his resignation in the way that people often do. He could have pleaded the burdens of office or the dangers of stress and ill health. He might even have said that it was time for someone else to take his place, and pretended that he was stepping down in order to give others a chance. He did none of those things.

Instead, he told the truth….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Remigius

O God, who by the teaching of thy faithful servant and bishop Remigius didst turn the nation of the Franks from vain idolatry to the worship of thee, the true and living God, in the fullness of the catholic faith; Grant that we who glory in the name of Christian may show forth our faith in worthy deeds; through 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

Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us, that in thy light we may see light: the light of thy grace today, and the light of thy glory hereafter; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Lancelot Andrewes

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to thee! Do not hide thy face from me in the day of my distress! Incline thy ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!

–Psalm 102:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Jack Iker–A response to the third TEC led lawsuit over Fort Worth

(Via email and with permission–KSH).

The federal lawsuit filed against me by the Schori-led group for trademark infringement is both preposterous and vindictive.

It’s preposterous because a “minority faction” ”“ in the words of the mandamus opinion from the Fort Worth Court of Appeals ”“ is trying to get a different result in federal court from the state court ruling, which clearly stated that their lead counsel do not represent the diocese, and the minority faction does not have authority to act for the diocese.

Having been heavily out-voted at our diocesan conventions in November 2007 and again in 2008, the minority group left the diocese, yet is trying a hostile takeover of the diocese through the courts. They filed a lawsuit in state court in Tarrant County in April 2009 claiming to be the diocese. In June of this year the state appellate court found that the attorneys hired by this minority faction cannot represent the diocese. The state court lawsuit includes the two trademarks, namely the name and seal of the diocese.
Having struck out at the diocesan convention and struck out at the state court level, the minority faction filed this new lawsuit in federal court over the same trademarks as in the state court case. It looks like they are shopping for a new judge. As to whether this new case will be a “game changer,” we are confident that the minority faction will not be any more successful in federal court than they have been in state court.

The lawsuit is vindictive because it is aimed personally at me, as an individual. I do not use the trademarks personally ”“ the diocese uses them! Even the minority faction acknowledges this when they say the diocese has used the marks since 1983. I have used the marks ever since I was consecrated bishop of the diocese in 1993, and I continue to hold that office. This is only one more indication of how angry the minority faction is at having lost the convention votes and left the diocese.

The question still remains: Why would they not accept our offer to transfer title of their property to them and avoid all this costly litigation?

–(The Rt. Rev.) Jack Leo Iker is Bishop of Fort Worth

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

Anglo-Catholic Parish in Baltimore Leaves the Episcopal Church under terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus

The vestry of Mount Calvary Church (Episcopal), a small but historic Anglo-Catholic parish in Baltimore, has voted unanimously in favor of two resolutions: first, to leave the Episcopal Church and second, to become an Anglican Use parish in the Holy Catholic Church under terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus, the apostolic constitution announced last year by the Vatican that provides for “personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering full communion with the Catholic Church,” while allowing them to retain most elements of Anglican worship using a modified version of the Book of Common Prayer.

The rector of Mount Calvary, the Rev’d Jason Cantania, has sent his parishioners a letter (posted below) announcing a special meeting on October 24th at which the vestry’s resolutions will be voted upon by the parish. Fr. Catania writes: “The result of these developments is that the Archdiocese of Baltimore now stands ready to welcome Mount Calvary as a body into full communion with the successor of St. Peter, and the process of establishing ordinariates in various countries, including the United States, has begun.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Meredith Whitney Says States May Need Federal Bailout in Next 12 Months

The U.S. government will face pressure to bail out struggling states in the next 12 months, said Meredith Whitney, the banking analyst who correctly predicted Citigroup Inc.’s dividend cut in 2008.

While saying a bailout might not be politically viable, Whitney joined investor Warren Buffett in raising alarm bells about the potential for widespread defaults in the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market. She said state and local issuers have taken on too much debt and that the gap between public spending and revenue is unsustainable.

“People will think the federal government will bail these states out,” Whitney, 40, the founder of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group Inc., said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop.” “It’s going to be an incredibly divisive issue.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, State Government, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The 2009 Obama Administration Housing Amelioration Plan, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package, The U.S. Government

U.S. lets rare earths become a Chinese Weapon

“The Pentagon has been incredibly negligent,” said Peter Leitner, who was a senior strategic trade adviser at the Defense Department from 1986 to 2007. “There are plenty of early warning signs that China will use its leverage over these materials as a weapon….”

The rare earths are chemically similar elements, with names such as yttrium and dysprosium. China has the largest share of worldwide reserves, about 36 percent, and the U.S. is second, with 13 percent, the U.S. Geological Survey says. While the elements aren’t rare, they’re less frequently found in profitable concentrations, expensive for Western producers to extract and often laced with radioactive elements.

China produced 120,000 tons, or 97 percent, of the world’s 124,000-ton supply last year, according to the GAO. Half of that came from Baotou, said Kingsnorth. The raw elements have many applications. Neodymium is used by Chinese companies including magnet makers, who sell to U.S. suppliers of defense contractors.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government

CEN–Zimbabwe's Kunonga grabs two more churches

Zimbabwe’s church property battle heated up last week as police evicted Anglicans loyal to Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Church of the Province of Central Africa from their church.

However, the Zimbabwe Standard reports the latest eviction by police on behalf of breakaway Bishop Nolbert Kunonga was from a church built by a congregation in Chitungwiza after they had been evicted from their original church home.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Parish Ministry, Zimbabwe

(ENS) Devon Anderson and Ian Douglas: Now is the time for prophetic action on the MDGs

Now is the time for prophetic action. The world leaders have come to New York briefed by their own economists and political advisors. They are negotiating commitments and generating their collective resolve as governments to achieving the MDGs by 2015. Clearly none disputes the worthiness of the MDGs. But even as they debate the best roadmap to 2015, world leaders are also weighing the probability that any specific commitment they make will pass muster with their citizenries.

But prophets don’t trade in probabilities. Maimonides, the Jewish scholar of the 12th century, argued that prophetic hope is belief in the “plausibility of the possible” as opposed to the “necessity of the probable.” Likewise, biblical faith calls Christians to something more in this Kairos moment than settling for realistic probabilities. Biblical prophets and Jesus’ ministry calls us to sustain a vision where the needs of all are met in the economy of God.

At this difficult time in our human global economy, the prophetic witness asked of us cannot merely be one of words but of vociferous, concrete action. Now is the time to move from MDG education and promotion to a model that will enfranchise Episcopalians for goal-oriented action and commitment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Politics in General, Poverty, Theology