Daily Archives: September 24, 2011

(The Tablet) If the euro falls, what price peace?

The European Community has always been a project led by the elites of its member states. For most of its history, outside Britain at least, it enjoyed popular support because it delivered growth and prosperity, especially in its early years. But the last two decades have seen a big change. The treaty that set up the single currency obliged all member states of the now European Union, with the exception of Denmark and Britain who had opted out, to adopt it once they met the economic criteria. For the sake of the political dynamic, the criteria for joining were sometimes fudged. The more fragile economies struggled, especially when, faced with economic downturn and unemployment, they were bound by exchange rates and interest rates better attuned to the stronger economies than to their own needs.
Over the same period, the EU welcomed in the newly liberated countries of eastern and central Europe. Their acceptance by the existing membership has been the supreme achievement of the European Union to date: a brilliant act of generosity in the interests of peace and stability. But it has been accompanied by migration from the new member states on a scale that few anticipated. That in turn has contributed to massive social change. The resulting tensions have combined to turn public opinion away from support of the European Union and its institutions.

None of us can know whether the European Union could survive the break-up of the single currency. It looks for now as if the departure of some members is more likely than the demise of the whole project. And it may yet be that the crisis will finally bring about the central political governance necessary to make the currency a success. But the pressures of national public opinion make such a dramatic breakthrough very problematic.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, History, Other Churches, Politics in General, Roman Catholic

(RNS) Clock Is Ticking for Religious Freedom Panel

The independent and bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom could be forced to shut its doors if the Senate does not vote by week’s end to reauthorize the panel.

The commission appears to be in legislative limbo after the House voted Sept. 15 to extend the panel for an additional two years. The commission is authorized through Sept. 30, but both houses of Congress are scheduled to be in recess starting Monday (Sept. 26).

Before the House vote, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., urged fellow members to support the watchdog panel that monitors the persecution of religious minorities across the globe. But he worried that the Senate might not act in time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Senate

Roman Catholics Warn of National Conflict over Same Sex Marriage

The Obama Administration’s fight against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, will undermine marriage and create a serious breach of Church-State relations, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote in a September 20 letter to President Barack Obama, The Administration’s assault on DOMA, Archbishop Dolan said, will “precipitate a national conflict between Church and State of enormous proportions and to the detriment of both institutions.”

Read it all and follow the link to the full letter.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, State Government

China, Driver of World Economy, May Be Slowing

On the surface, economists at the International Monetary Fund and most banks are still estimating China’s growth rate to be over 9 percent this year. China continues to run very large trade surpluses. New construction starts have soared with a government campaign to provide more affordable housing.

And yet, the country’s huge manufacturing sector is starting to slow and orders are weakening, especially for exports. The real estate bubble is starting to spring leaks, even as inflation remains stubbornly high for consumers ”” despite a series of interest rate increases and ever-tighter limits on bank lending.

Because China’s mighty growth engine has been one of the few drivers of the global economy since the financial crisis of 2008, signs of deceleration could add to worries about the global outlook.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Europe, Globalization, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(AP) Libyan fighters push into Qaddafi's hometown

Hundreds of revolutionary fighters pushed into Muammar Qaddafi’s hometown Saturday in the first significant assault in about a week as Libya’s new rulers try to rout remaining loyalists of the fugitive leader. At the same time, the political leadership sought to boost its authority, promising to announce an interim government.

Explosions rocked the city of Sirte and smoke rose into the sky as Qaddafi’s forces fired mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at the fighters. Ambulances sped from the direction of the front line, and a doctor said at least one fighter was killed and 25 others wounded in the battle.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Libya

Email from Saint John's Anglican Church Vancouver about their Move

St. John’s Vancouver Anglican Church, the largest Anglican congregation in Canada, will begin Sunday services at a new location after moving from its historic location on Granville Street and Nanton Avenue. The congregation, through a lengthy legal action, chose to leave their buildings rather than compromise their beliefs.

St. John’s Vancouver, which had been meeting at the Granville Street location for almost 100 years, will begin Sunday services on September 25 at Oakridge Adventist Church, at West 37th Avenue and Baillie Street in Vancouver.

Disagreement over basic Christian beliefs has separated Anglican congregations around the world into two camps, usually labeled orthodox and liberal, with those holding to historic, Bible-based values and beliefs in the vast majority. The St. John’s Vancouver Anglican congregation has aligned itself with the mainstream global Anglican Church, rather than continue as part of the local, more liberal Diocese of New Westminster.

“It is remarkable to be part of a Christian community which is putting faith into action in a way that seems inexplicable to those who love the world,” explained Canon David Short, Rector of St. John’s Vancouver. “We are doing something countercultural and counterintuitive for the truth of God’s word, losing something very valuable for the surpassing worth of Jesus Christ, holding the unity of faith by acting together as one, and joyfully accepting the confiscation of our property.”

The underlying, central issues of belief are: the authority of God’s Word in the Bible, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, and the need to be saved by Him. St. John’s, along with the majority of Anglicans worldwide, joyfully upholds the historic biblical faith, expressed in the founding Anglican affirmations.

The move was the result of a court action to determine whether the Diocese of New Westminster or the St. John’s Vancouver congregation was conducting the ministry for which the buildings were intended, and is a result of an on-going world-wide upheaval in the Anglican Communion, the 80 million member Christian Protestant denomination formed 500 years ago.

St. John’s Vancouver’s final Sunday services at the Granville Street location on September 18, attended by over 1,100 congregants, included prayers to bless the Diocese of New Westminster and those that would occupy the buildings after the congregation had left. Congregation members both wept and smiled as they left the church to travel the short distance to the new location. There, they joyfully sung hymns and prayed together.

“It is inexpressibly sad that we are forced to choose between God’s final word and these wonderful buildings,” said Canon Short, “but we feel relief and much joy in God’s faithfulness and provision for us.”

St. John’s Vancouver will continue to be led by its present clergy, Canon David Short, Rector, Venerable Daniel Gifford, Associate Minister, Rev. James Wagner, and Rev. Aaron Roberts, assisted by Canon Dr. J.I. Packer, Honorary Assistant Minister and a world-renowned published theologian, a staff of 15, and by the Trustees of St. John’s Vancouver Anglican Church.

The new location secured by St. John’s Vancouver is at West 37th Avenue and Baillie Street and belongs to Oakridge Adventist Church, which has graciously offered to share its building. St. John’s Sunday services will start in Oakridge on September 25, 2011 and all other mid-week activities are planned to continue as normal in the new location.

All those who visited St. John’s Granville Street location in the past, new neighbours in the Oakridge location, and all visitors and residents in Vancouver are welcome at the services, prayer times and church events. Special events are planned during the transition period and special welcoming services will be held. (My emphasis–KSH)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CP) Vancouver Anglican congregation leaves historic church building over same sex split

An Anglican congregation in Vancouver is abandoning a historic church…after losing a court case spawned by divisions within the church over same sex marriages.

The St. John’s congregation says it’s giving up the Granville Street church, which it’s used for almost 100 years, and moving its Sunday services to another location.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Times On Religion) Distinctive Mission for Muslims’ Conference: Remembering the Holocaust

The conference ”” held at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, a town in the Atlas Mountains about two hours south of Rabat ”” brought together Holocaust scholars and survivors, leaders of Morocco’s Jewish community and American Jewish and Moroccan Muslim students. Its twin mandates were to teach about the extermination of European Jewry and to pay homage to the courage of Morocco’s wartime king, Mohammed V, in resisting the orders of the Vichy French occupation government to round up and turn over Jews for internment and probable death.

Uncommonly among Arab and Muslim nations, Morocco has accepted the reality of the Holocaust, rather than either dismissing it outright or portraying it as a European crime for which those countries paid the price in the form of Israel’s creation. Partly, no doubt, because of Mohammed V’s stand against the Vichy regime, the current king, Mohammed VI, called in a 2009 proclamation for “an exhaustive and faithful reading of the history of this period” as part of “the duty of remembrance dictated by the Shoah.”

Still, the recent conference would never have occurred without Mr. Boudra. Now 24 and majoring in political science, Mr. Boudra grew up after much of Morocco’s Jewish population had moved to France or Israel. But he heard from his grandmother about her childhood in the Jewish quarter of Casablanca, and a grandfather still had Jewish neighbors in his apartment house.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Europe, Germany, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Morocco, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(CT Politics Blog) After Troy Davis: The Religious Belief Breakdown on the Death Penalty

The execution of Troy Davis last night in Georgia has reinvigorated public debate over the death penalty. Davis was convicted in the 1989 murder of Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail. The execution made headlines because there were questions raised about the evidence in the case, including recantations by seven of the nine witnesses against Davis.

The execution was condemned by Pope Benedict XVI, former president Jimmy Carter, and governments around the globe. In the U.S., most Christians support the use of the death penalty to punish murders. Unlike Catholics and mainline Protestants, evangelicals support for capital punishment remains high even among those who say their views are shaped most by their religious beliefs.

Public opinion on the death penalty has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades. According to polls by Gallup, support for the death penalty was highest in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. At that time, 80 percent of Americans said they favored executing murderers. Since then, support has dropped to 64 percent.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Capital Punishment, History, Law & Legal Issues, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Local paper front page–Parents say book inappropriate for teens

Author Bret Lott says his book “The Hunt Club” is a story about a 15-year-old figuring out who he is in the most specific and universal sense.

Wando High School parent James Pasley says the book uses foul language, degrades women and people of color, and isn’t appropriate to be on a recommended reading list for high school students….

“I don’t know what motivates this kind of reaction except a kind of Victorian sensibility, and I say that as a believing Christian and Sunday school teacher,” Lott said. “How do you shield children from racism? Virtue is not virtue unless it is made vulnerable and put to the test in confronting these things.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Books, Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth

(BBC) Russia's Putin set to return as president in 2012

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says he has accepted a proposal to stand for president in March 2012.

Addressing the ruling United Russia party’s annual congress, Mr Putin and current President Dmitry Medvedev backed one another to switch roles.

The announcements end speculation over which man should run for the top job.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Politics in General, Russia

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who in thy Son Jesus Christ hast called us in from the bondage of sin to be servants of righteousness: Give us grace to yield our lives wholly to thine obedience; that, being made free from sin, we may have our fruit unto holiness, and hereafter may be made partakers of the life everlasting; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frank Colquhoun (1909-1997)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song. On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia–“this one was born there,” they say. And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High himself will establish her. The LORD records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”

–Psalm 87

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Chinese Turbine Firm Tied to Software Theft

A former employee of American Superconductor Corp. was convicted in Austria on criminal charges in a corporate espionage case linked to China’s biggest manufacturer of wind turbines.

The conviction on charges of fraud and industrial espionage may buttress American Superconductor’s allegations against its once-biggest customer, Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology

(CEN) Archbishop of Canterbury’s international agenda in tatters

The latest blow came in a statement released after Aug 30 to Sept 10 Global South meeting in China. While the primates said they were “wholeheartedly committed to the unity of Anglican Communion and recognize the importance of the historic See of Canterbury,” they were not pleased with what Dr. Williams’ subordinates were doing.

The instruments of communion: the Lambeth Conference, the Primates Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, “have become dysfunctional and no longer have the ecclesial and moral authority to hold the Communion together.”

The Global South primates stated it was “regrettable” that the 2008 Lambeth Conference had been “designed [so as] not to make any resolutions that would have helped to resolve the crisis facing the Communion.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Globalization