Daily Archives: February 2, 2011

(Zenit) An Interview on Religious Persecution in Eritrea

Q: Although reliable estimates are hard to come by, can you tell us a little bit about the religious landscape now in Eritrea?

[Habtu] Ghebre-Ab: The Eritrean people are very religious. Religion is an integral part of the lives of the people and Christianity and Islam have co-existed freely for centuries. Today, of the 4 million people, more or less 50% of the population is Christian and the other half belong to Islam. The Orthodox Church, being of course the largest Christian faith in Eritrea and Ethiopia, accounts for almost 95% of the Christian population.

Q: A Freedom House Report states: “Eritrea is a nation in a perpetual state of emergency, under siege by its own leaders with a population denied the most basic freedoms of speech, assembly, press and religious practice.” What does this mean for Christians today in Eritrea?

Ghebre-Ab: What it means for Christians is that, although the so-called minority churches were proscribed, beginning in May 2002, they have since been literally criminalized, their members and leaders thrown in jail and they are not allowed to worship in Eritrea at all.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Eritrea

(RNS) Critics Raise Concerns About House Hearings on Muslims

A coalition of more than 50 Muslim, human rights, and faith organizations is urging House leaders to raise concerns about planned hearings this month on the “radicalization” of American Muslims.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, plans to focus his hearing on homegrown terrorism, including the Fort Hood shooting and attempted Times Square bombing, both plots hatched by American-born Muslims.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, House of Representatives, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

(NPR) Walking Away: Inside The Nevada Foreclosure Crisis

Almost 1 in 4 of Nevada’s foreclosures involved a decision to walk away from the mortgage even though the homeowners could pay, according to a new study.

The practice is called a strategic default, and it’s at the heart of the ongoing foreclosure crisis in Nevada ”” the state that leads the nation in the number of foreclosures.

Nationwide, the number of Americans who are losing their homes due to foreclosure also continues to mount.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(Telegraph) WikiLeaks: al-Qaeda 'is planning a dirty bomb'

A leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a “nuclear 9/11”.

Security briefings suggest that jihadi groups are also close to producing “workable and efficient” biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Terrorism

(Tribune-Review) Moon Township Anglican church to keep property, cut ties

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh agreed to drop legal action against a Moon church that split from the national organization over issues such as abortion and gay clergy.

Part of the agreement allowing St. Philip’s church to keep its building and property stipulates it must cut ties with the newly formed Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh for at least five years.

The St. Philip’s congregation voted Tuesday night on the settlement.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Dennis Byrd was a Key Source of Inspiration to the New York Jets

As you probably know, former Jets player Dennis Byrd was paralyzed during a freak collision in 1992. This is an awesome piece–please take the time to watch it. I haven’t had a chance to post it until now, but it is truly inspiring–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Sports

(Living Church) Primates’ Meeting Changes its Focus

For the first time in seven years, the Anglican Communion’s Primates’ Meeting has not referred directly to broken communion, the three moratoria requested by The Windsor Report (2004), or what any provinces can do to restore communion and trust.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011

(Philadelphia Inquirer) A study asks: What's a church's economic worth?

They added up the money generated by weddings and funerals, festivals, counseling programs, preschools, elder care. They tallied the salaries of staff and the wages of roofers, plumbers, even snow shovelers. They put dollar signs on intangibles, too, such as helping people find work and teaching children to be socially responsible.

They even measured the diameter of trees on church campuses.

The grand total for the 12 congregations: $50,577,098 in annual economic benefits.

The valuation for 300-member Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Episcopal Church in Queen Village, for instance, was a middle-of-the-road $1.65 million. By contrast, the figure for Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic parish in Kensington, with 7,000 congregants, a parochial school, and a community center, was $22.44 million.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(CNBC) Nearly 11 Percent of US Houses Empty

More concerning than the home ownership rate is the vacancy rate. The Census tables don’t tell the entire story, but they tell a lot of it. Of the nearly 131 million housing units in this country, 112.5 million are occupied. 74.8 million are owned, and that’s only dropped by about 30 thousand in the past year. 38 million are rented, but that’s up by over a million year over year. That means more new households are choosing to rent.

Now to vacancies. There were 18.4 million vacant homes in the U.S. in Q4 ’10 (11 percent of all housing units vacant all year round), which is actually an improvement of 427,000 from a year ago, but not for the reasons you’d think….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Gazing Afar for Other Earths, and Other Beings

Over the next two or three years, as Kepler continues to stare and sift, astronomers say, it will be able to detect planets in the “Goldilocks” zones, where it is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water.

“What we want is to find life,” said Geoffrey Marcy, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley, who is part of the Kepler team.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

With no Internet, Egypt news freed by Google SayNow

Read it all.

Update: “New Service Lets Voices From Egypt Be Heard”:

There is still some cellphone service, so a new social-media link that marries Google, Twitter and SayNow, a voice-based social media platform, gives Egyptians three phone numbers to call and leave a message, which is then posted on the Internet as a recorded Twitter message. The messages are at twitter.com/speak2tweet and can also be heard by telephone.

The result is a story of a revolution unfolding in short bursts. Sometimes speaking for just several seconds, other times for more than a minute, the disembodied voices convey highly charged moments of excitement or calm declarations of what life is like in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, as it seeks to remove its leader.

The messages rolled out as Egyptians seemed to be approaching a crucial point, with hundreds of thousands of people crammed into central Cairo on Tuesday, as protests continued to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Read it all as well.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Egypt, Middle East, Science & Technology

Define Gender Gap? Look Up Wikipedia’s Contributor List

In 10 short years, Wikipedia has accomplished some remarkable goals. More than 3.5 million articles in English? Done. More than 250 languages? Sure.

But another number has proved to be an intractable obstacle for the online encyclopedia: surveys suggest that less than 15 percent of its hundreds of thousands of contributors are women.

About a year ago, the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that runs Wikipedia, collaborated on a study of Wikipedia’s contributor base and discovered that it was barely 13 percent women; the average age of a contributor was in the mid-20s, according to the study by a joint center of the United Nations University and Maastricht University.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Media, Men, Science & Technology, Women

Anglican Journal–Interview with the Primate of Canada about the recently concluded Primates Meeting

As he waited at London’s Heathrow International Airport to fly back to Toronto, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, spoke to Anglican Journal staff writer Marites N. Sison about the primates’ meeting, held Jan. 25 to 30 in Dublin. A total of 13 of 38 primates were absent. This included seven who boycotted the meeting to protest issues around the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of a lesbian bishop by The Episcopal Church in the U.S. last August. What follows is an excerpt of Sison’s interview with Archbishop Hiltz….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011

A Prayer for the Feast of the Presentation

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thee that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord God, who never failest both to hear and to answer the prayer that is sincere: Let not our hearts be upon the world when our hands are lifted up to pray, nor our prayers end upon our lips, but go forth with power to work thy will in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Daily Prayer

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.” And he left them, and getting into the boat again he departed to the other side. Now they had forgotten to bring bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

–Mark 8:11-15

Posted in Uncategorized

Egypt protests: Israel watches anxiously

Israelis are watching anxiously as anti-government protests continue in Egypt – one of the country’s only friends in the Arab world.

“Judgement Day” for President Hosni Mubarak was the full-page headline jumping from the Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth in Israel on Tuesday.

The implications of regime change in Egypt would be enormous here.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Foreign Relations, Israel, Middle East, Politics in General

Mubarak Says He Won’t Run for President Again

President Hosni Mubarak announced that he would not run for another term in elections scheduled for the fall, appearing on state television to promise an orderly transition but saying he would serve out his term. In comments translated by CNN, he swore that he would never leave Egypt but would “die on its soil.”

Television cameras showed the vast crowds gathered in Tahrir Square in central Cairo roaring, but not necessarily in approval. The protesters have made the president’s immediate and unconditional resignation a bedrock demand of their movement, and it did not appear that the concession mollified them. Reports said that thousands of protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square chanted “Leave! Leave!” after the speech.

Mr. Mubarak’s announcement came after President Obama urged him not to run, effectively withdrawing America’s support for its closest Arab ally, according to American diplomats in Cairo and Washington.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Middle East, Politics in General

Anglican Church in North America Calls Proposed Pa. Church Property Settlement “Heartbreaking”

“It is heartbreaking that even if they agree to pay a substantial settlement fee to keep their buildings, members of St. Philip’s are also being forced to separate from their Anglican family as a condition of the property settlement. Freedom of religion is at the heart of this matter and no congregation should have to stipulate that it will separate from its current body as part of a monetary property settlement,” said the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America and Bishop of Pittsburgh.

“Sadly, the separation mandate seems to be specifically designed to hurt both the local diocese and the North American province. If the settlement is approved by St. Philip’s, we urge the Court to strike any provisions of the settlement that abridge First Amendment rights.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Moon church to vote on settlement with Pittsburgh Episcopal diocese

Members of St. Philip’s Church in Moon will vote tonight on a proposed settlement with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that would allow them to keep their property but would also require them to cut ties with the rival Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh for at least five years.

The Rev. Eric Taylor, rector of St. Philip’s, said the proposal was the best option for his parish. Since the 2008 split in the original Episcopal diocese, the property of dozens of parishes that voted to leave the denomination and follow Archbishop Robert Duncan into the new Anglican Church in North America has been tied up in legal disputes. The settlement would leave St. Philip’s independent.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Upper South Carolina Bishop calls new Canon to the Ordinary

The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo has called the Rev. Tommy H. Tipton, rector of Holy Cross Faith Memorial Church on Pawley’s Island, to serve the diocese as Canon to the Ordinary.

Tipton has served Holy Cross as rector since 1999….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(USA Today) Muslim group supports protests

Any government in which the Brotherhood has a greater role would be less supportive of U.S. interests, says David Schenker, a Middle East adviser in the Defense Department under President George W. Bush. Senior leaders of the Brotherhood have pledged to end Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, he says.

The organization has been a revolutionary opposition group in Egypt since its founding in the 1920s, opposing corruption and advocating a conservative form of Islam in government. It inspired al-Qaeda and the Iran-backed Palestinian group Hamas, which the State Department considers a terrorist group.

Over the years, radical elements of the Brotherhood have tried to initiate armed rebellion in Egypt. President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by a Brotherhood cell, leading to Mubarak’s rise and a crackdown on the group

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Egypt, Foreign Relations, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture