Daily Archives: November 5, 2010

MSNBC suspends Keith Olbermann indefinitely

Keith Olbermann’s political contributions have come back to haunt him.

MSNBC President Phil Griffin just issued this statement: “I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

RNS–Forbes Names Pope World’s Fifth Most Powerful Figure

Pope Benedict XVI won the No. 5 spot in a list of the world’s most powerful people, one of only two religious leaders in Forbes magazine’s list of 68 influential men and women.

Benedict was sandwiched between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The only other religious leader on the list was the Dalai Lama, who ranked at No. 39.

Forbes, which released the list Wednesday (Nov. 3), scored the rankings by the person’s influence over people, which for religious leaders meant counting the followers in their flocks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

A Communique from the Anglican/Al-Azhar Dialogue Committee

This year’s papers focused especially on the importance of religious leaders using their influence to play a constructive role in ensuring religious harmony, particularly in countries where there is religious diversity. Bishop Mouneer Anis reviewed the religious situation in Egypt and Singapore. He drew attention to some examples of inter-communal violence in Egypt, and analysed the causes of these incidents in the context of the wider Middle East. Bishop Mouneer referred to the experience of Singapore, an Asian country with a diverse religious demography which has successfully fostered both religious tolerance and full citizenship. Mrs Clare Amos spoke about the relationships between Christians and Muslims in England, and the pivotal role of the Church of England in this particular context. She pointed out the positive role played by the current Archbishop of Canterbury in seeking to enable adherents of all religions to contribute ”˜to the common good’ of the nation. Dr El Gindi noted the common goals of Christianity and Islam and highlighted the importance of religions demonstrating their positive commitment to peace, both for the well-being of all people and because otherwise religion often seemed to be discredited in the eyes of non-religious people. Sheikh Ali Abdel Baki noted how within Islam forgiveness was considered preferable to revenge, and reflected that justice and tolerance were considered two bases within Islam, and important pathways to peace.

Both Dr El Gindi and Bishop Mouneer Anis spoke of the special importance of ensuring that Christian and Muslim young people were educated in ways which encourage them to treat other religions, and their followers, with respect. The need for mutual respect in relation to the doctrines and sacred texts of each other’s religion was highlighted.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Theology

U.S. Added Jobs Last Month for First Time Since May

The United States economy added 151,000 jobs in October, a welcome change after four months of job losses but still not enough to make a dent in unemployment.

Private companies have been slowly growing their payrolls throughout 2010, according to a Labor Department report released Friday. This private job growth had been overwhelmed by the elimination of temporary Census Bureau jobs and layoffs by state and local governments during the summer and early fall, until October.

Private companies added 159,000 jobs in October, while governments cut 8,000 jobs in the month. The month was much stronger than expected ”” most forecasts were for a gain of 60,000 jobs, 80,000 of which were from private employers. The reportalso sharply revised the numbers for August and September. The August data was revised to reflect a loss of 1,000 jobs instead of 57,000, and September was revised to 41,000 losses instead of 95,000.

Sure is nice to read some better news! Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Church Times–C of E plans neighbourly scheme for Big Society

The General Synod will debate the Government’s Big Society pro­gramme, which is to give voluntary groups a greater part in serving local commun­ities, when it meets in Westminster this month.

The debate, on a motion from the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, will respond to a report by the Mission and Public Affairs Council, “The Big Society” and the Church of England (GS1804). It will take place on Tuesday afternoon (23 November), during the first of two days of sessions.

The secretary general of the Synod, William Fittall, said at a press conference at Church House on Monday that it would be “an interesting and a rather unpredic­table” debate, in the context of “very severe cuts” to public spending.

“[It is] a helpful reminder that the Synod doesn’t just sit around thinking about the organisation of the Church of England. . . It does actually deliberate on matters of public policy that the Church of England’s got something to say about,” he said. “It is natural ter­ritory for the Church.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

WSJ: Central Bank Treads Into Once-Taboo Realm

The Fed is essentially lending enough money to the government to fund its operations for several months, something called “monetizing the debt.” In normal times, this is one of the great taboos of central banking because it is seen as a step toward spiraling inflation and because it risks encouraging reckless government spending.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, G20, Globalization, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

CEN–Australian Anglican church Says ”˜no’ to euthanasia

The Archbishop of Adelaide has called for the government to put the question of decriminalizing euthanasia to a national vote.

“If politicians believe voluntary euthanasia is a public policy priority of first importance, then let them seek an electoral mandate upon it,” Archbishop Jeffrey Driver told his diocesan synod last week.

“It is too significant an issue to be introduced any other way,” he said on Oct 21.

Dr. Driver’s comments follow upon church-wide denunciations of euthanasia in the wake of the new Labor government’s decision to debate the issue. State legislatures in Australia have also taken up the issue, with the upper house of the South Australia parliament scheduled to vote on Nov 24 on a bill sponsored by the Green Party to legalise voluntary euthanasia. A similar bill was defeated by a single vote last year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry

(WSJ) Obama Faces Chillier Reception Abroad

President Barack Obama steps back onto the world stage Friday, when he leaves for two economic summits in Asia after a big electoral rebuke.

But his troubles will not ease overseas.

The U.S. and nations abroad are at odds over economic policy. Among the issues, conservative governments in Britain and Germany are pressing for fiscal austerity measures in Europe that Mr. Obama’s administration is resisting implementing in the U.S.

“The rest of the world is looking more like the tea party,” which wants to rein in government spending, according to Kenneth Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Credit Markets, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

(NY Times) Readers' Comments–Deep Rifts Divide Obama and Republicans

Read them all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

(NY Times) Deep Rifts Divide Obama and Republicans

More conciliatory than contrite, Mr. Obama used that phrase, “take responsibility,” six times but rejected the suggestion that his policies were moving the country in the wrong direction. He conceded that legislation to limit greenhouse gases was dead and said he was “absolutely” willing to negotiate over the extension of tax cuts, including for the wealthy. But he drew the line at any major retreat from signature priorities, saying he would agree to “tweak” his health care program, not “relitigate arguments” over its central elements.

While Republicans also called for more cooperation, they suggested that Democrats might not have fully absorbed the lessons of their drubbing.

“Their view is that we haven’t cooperated enough,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader. “I think what the American people were saying yesterday is that they appreciated us saying no to the things that the American people indicated they were not in favor of.”

The trials awaiting a fractured capital could arrive swiftly when the departing Democratic-controlled Congress returns in lame-duck session this month with contentious issues like tax cuts, the federal debt limit, unemployment insurance, an arms control treaty with Russia and gay men and lesbians in the military all on the table.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Differing views on sexuality may affect Primates’ Meeting, warns Canadian Archbishop Hiltz

The strain caused by differences of opinion about matters of sexuality appears to be evident among primates of the world’s Anglican churches. This could affect a primates’ meeting planned for January, says the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

“There is a lot of tension within the group,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz said last Sunday in his address to the Oct. 22-25 joint meeting of the Anglican House of Bishops and the Lutheran Conference of Bishops in Montreal. Some primates seem “unwilling to come to the table with everyone present,” he said. This suggests that some primates strongly opposed to same-sex marriages would not be willing to attend with primates of more favourable or nuanced views.

Archbishop Hiltz said the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams may try to deal with this problem by arranging prior meetings of smaller groups of like-minded primates.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Two Letters to the Editor in response to the Previously Posted Piece by Shmuley Boteach

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Shmuley Boteach: My Jewish Perspective on Homosexuality

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Anglican Diocese of Toronto: Pastoral Guidelines for the Blessing of Same Gender Commitments

Diocesan Diversity ”“ The Diocese of Toronto honours and appreciates the diversity represented in its parishes and clergy. This diversity will continue to be reflected in the selection and appointment of clergy, and in the membership of committees and councils of the diocese. We recognize there are theological and cultural differences across our diocese and within parishes which are strained by both the limits and permission represented in blessing same gender relationships.

–All congregations and individual Anglicans are called to exercise pastoral generosity one to another.
–Permission to participate in blessings of same gender commitments will be extended only to those parishes and clergy who fulfill the requirements noted above and are granted permission by the diocesan bishop.
–No clergy nor parishes will be required to participate in the blessing of same gender relationships.
–Clergy who object to blessing same gender relationships will be asked to exercise pastoral generosity by referring same gender couples seeking a blessing, if requested, to the Area Bishop.
–Clergy who support blessing same gender couples will be asked to exercise pastoral sensitivity to those in their parish who are not in agreement with the parish designation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Church/State Matters, Ecclesiology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, the Father of lights, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift: We beseech thee to grant us such health of body as thou knowest to be needful for us; that both in our bodies and our souls we may evermore serve thee with all our strength and might; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–John Cosin

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'”

–Luke 13:34-35

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Report on the Southern Cone Synod 2010

(Via email–KSH).

The tenth Synod of the Province of the Southern Cone of America, meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 1-5 November, 2010, has elected Bishop Hector “Tito” Zavala of Chile as its next Primate replacing Bishop Gregory Venables. Bishop Zavala becomes the province’s first Primate of Chilean extraction. The role of Primate is a three year renewable term in the Cone. Bishop Venables is not retiring, but will maintain his present position as Bishop of Argentina and Northern Argentina. In another closely followed vote, the possibility of allowing women’s ordination to the priesthood in those dioceses that so affirmed to move ahead (local option) was turned down by the house of clergy; the other two houses voted in favor. The Province of the Southern Cone comprises the seven dioceses of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Northern Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]

Pursuing reconciliation in Iraq: An Anglican cleric in Baghdad offers a view

On October 21, Canon Andrew White delivered a lecture titled “Pursuing Reconciliation in Iraq: The Art of Mediation Between Warring Religious Factions.” Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School, the lecture focused on the role that religion must play in the peacemaking process in the Middle East.

White is president of the Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle East, and the Anglican Chaplain to Iraq and Rector of St. George’s Church in Baghdad. The recipient of the Train Foundation’s Civil Courage Prize, White has been involved in the release of more than 50 hostages in the Middle East.

“Although I’m supposedly a religious leader myself, I actually think religion is bad,” he said. “So much of what we’ve seen is religion going wrong, and causing hatred and damage and pain.”

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, Iraq, Iraq War, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

The States’ Role in Gambling Addiction

America’s history with gambling has been characterized by ambivalence. There have been periods of full embrace of gambling within communities, followed by movements seeking temperance and prohibition.

Starting in the 1970s, there was a slow movement to accept gambling as a regulated pastime. As gambling expanded over the last 20 years, regulation of gambling has been an issue at the state level, meaning that there has not been a national, consistent plan to address the impact of gambling problems.

The result has been that each state has different approaches, resources and attitudes on how to deal with gambling addiction. Legalizing gambling has significantly contributed to the economy and has supported many different businesses and industries. The negative impact, though, of pathological gambling remains under-addressed in many states. It is my belief that there is a shared responsibility between the gambling industry, the government and individuals who gamble to work together to develop policies and procedures that limit harm from gambling.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Gambling, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Psychology, State Government

Michael Barone–American voters have rejected Barack Obama's big government

Even so, Republicans would be foolish not to act on the assumption that voters want policies sharply different from those of the Obama Democrats. No other administration in recent memory has suffered such a repudiation in its first offyear elections. Franklin Roosevelt’s Democrats actually gained House seats in 1934, as did George W. Bush’s Republicans in 2002; John Kennedy’s Democrats came very close to doing so in 1962. Dwight Eisenhower’s, Richard Nixon’s and George H. W. Bush’s Republicans in 1954, 1970 and 1990 suffered small losses, as did Jimmy Carter’s Democrats in 1978.

A more salient comparison is with the fate of Ronald Reagan’s Republicans in 1982. Both Reagan and Obama came to office with reputations as inspiring orators and with professional pedigrees (movie actor, community organiser) unusual for a practical politician. Both came to office while the economy was languishing and both saw recessions deepen in their first two years. But there was a big difference in voters’ responses. In 1982 the Republicans lost 26 seats in the House – a significant but not enormous loss. Exit polls showed that most voters believed that Reagan’s economic policies would produce a good economic recovery in the long run. Lower tax rates, reductions in scheduled government spending -voters believed these would lead to a private sector recovery after an extended period of economic stagnation.

Compare that with the results this week. The Obama Democrats lost about 65 seats – an unusually high number. And polling showed that most voters believe that their policies of increasing government spending and deficits and increasing at least some tax rates will lead not to a private sector recovery but to a continuation of the stagnation so apparent in just about every economic statistic.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, State Government