Daily Archives: February 27, 2011

Perpectives on Wisconsin (I): David Brooks–Make Everybody Hurt

…let’s try to put aside the hyperventilation. Everybody now seems to agree that Governor Walker was right to ask state workers to pay more for their benefits. Even if he gets everything he asks for, Wisconsin state workers would still be contributing less to their benefits than the average state worker nationwide and would be contributing far, far less than private sector workers.

The more difficult question is whether Walker was right to try to water down Wisconsin’s collective bargaining agreements. Even if you acknowledge the importance of unions in representing middle-class interests, there are strong arguments on Walker’s side. In Wisconsin and elsewhere, state-union relations are structurally out of whack.

That’s because public sector unions and private sector unions are very different creatures. Private sector unions push against the interests of shareholders and management; public sector unions push against the interests of taxpayers. Private sector union members know that their employers could go out of business, so they have an incentive to mitigate their demands; public sector union members work for state monopolies and have no such interest.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(RNS) Religious Voices Enter Wisconsin Union Debate

The pro-union rallies in Wisconsin have a retro feel to them — particularly for people of faith.

Clergy and faith-based groups were historically on the front lines of the American labor movement, but priorities shifted with the rise of the religious right and the weakening of unions.

In the Wisconsin protests over the governor’s budget proposal to reduce collective-bargaining rights for teachers and other public-sector employees, however, religious voices have re-entered the fray.

Groups like Faith in Public Life and Interfaith Worker Justice have mobilized coalitions that include Protestants and Muslims, in addition to the Catholics and Jews that dominated pro-union efforts in previous generations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture

PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Religion and Worker Justice

KEVIN ECKSTROM (Editor, Religion News Service): Yeah, you’ve really seen, I think, in the last couple weeks a revival of this message from religious groups that we haven’t heard in a long time, this sort of solidarity with workers and with union rights. You know, with all the talk in recent years about abortion and gay marriage and health care even, we haven’t heard much about unions from many churches, especially the Catholic Church, which has been a longtime supporter of organized labor.

[BOB] ABERNETHY: Long tradition of support of labor.

ECKSTROM: Right, and that’s really come back this week.

KIM LAWTON (Managing Editor, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly): And I think that’s surprised a lot of people, because the church, the Catholic Church, had been perceived as really focusing more on issues like abortion, and so to see them come out and take a stand to say, yeah, we understand there are tough budget decisions, but workers’ rights and human dignity and the common good of all, including workers, is important, and the ability to organize is also a moral value, and that’s what the bishops were saying.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology

The Economist–The West has to deal with tyrants, but it should do so on its own terms

When strongmen are vulnerable, as now, the priority is to push them towards reform and away from violence. Barack Obama, America’s president, was right to stand behind the protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and now Libya. America’s army chiefs were right to use their influence to restrain Egypt’s armed forces from shooting into the crowds…. And if Mr Qaddafi uses his air force to kill large numbers of his own people, the world would be right to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.

But most of the time strongmen are not vulnerable, and then the judgment becomes more complicated. Libya, with all its cruelty and its tragic violence this week, shows why.

The ostracism of the 1990s failed to shift Mr Qaddafi from power, despite its moral clarity. But it did help persuade him that he stood to gain from engaging with the world. That opened the door to some shabby deals. The release of one of Mr Qaddafi’s terrorists from a British jail, the sale of weapons to Libya and the elevation of a dictator into a statesman at the G8 all looked unwise at the time. Today they look despicable.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., England / UK, Europe, Foreign Relations, Libya, Middle East

An African White Lion Cub Picture

What a shot–check it out.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, who giveth power to the faint, and strength to them that have no might: Look mercifully, we beseech thee, on our low estate and cause thy grace to triumph in our weakness; that we may rise and follow in the way of righteousness those who by faith already inherit the promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–From the German Reformed Church

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.

–2 Timothy 4:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Unable to pay for repairs, Houston area Episcopal church will open its facility for the last time

As much as Church of the Redeemer’s members will miss the glowing mural of the risen Christ, the sanctuary echoing with music, the basement lined with old photos and the historic buildings themselves, they’re most heartbroken to leave the place where they served the Eastwood neighborhood for more than 90 years.

Redeemer can’t afford the $7 million needed to bring the church up to code, so after Sunday’s service, the congregation will move from its crumbling structure to a shared space in a nearby Lutheran church, where a group of small-but-committed parishioners will try to keep up with its outreach programs.

“It’s not just about us,” said Daniel Coleman, who has led the 70-member congregation as senior warden since September. “We want our congregation to continue the ministries we have here,” including gatherings for neighborhood kids, Scout troops, a bike repair shop and weekend meals for the homeless.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

An ABC News Nightline Interview with Robin Williams

Caught this on the morning run today–very enjoyable. Watch it all.

You can also read an article about the interview here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Movies & Television

In San Diego St. Mary's Episcopal Church to Close Sunday After More Than 50 Years

After first opening its doors in 1960, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church will hold its last services Sunday.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, who have supported the church financially for decades, said they can no longer afford to do so.

About 10 to 15 families regally attend, said Rev. Peter Tagdulang, who served as the church’s leader since March 2009.

“Their hearts are bleeding right now with the closure,” Tagulang said. “It’s a very sad thing.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

Cana Press Release–Dual Citizenship in CANA & ACNA

When Bishop Martyn Minns (who was born in England) flies into Heathrow Airport near London, he flashes his UK passport and the guard greets him with “Welcome home, Mr. Minns!” On his return flight into Newark Airport outside of New York City, he pulls out his US passport and the security officer says, “Welcome home, Mr. Minns!”

CANA congregations and clergy have the privilege of holding dual citizenship in both CANA and the ACNA. While the provinces in the Anglican Communion and GAFCON live in the current period of evolving ecclesiastical structures, these guidelines will help us understand and manage some practical issues related to holding two virtual passports.

Q1. What does “dual citizenship” mean?
The largest province of the Anglican Communion and GAFCON, the Church of Nigeria, sponsors the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) as an indigenous, ecclesiastical structure of districts, congregations, and clergy in North America. As such, CANA also is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) which is an indigenous province-structure. Thus, congregations and clergy in CANA have a dual citizenship and two virtual passports that allow them to be bona fide members of the Church of Nigeria (and thus the Anglican Communion) and the ACNA.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), CANA