Daily Archives: February 25, 2012

Lynne Featherstone tells the Church: 'don't polarise' the same-sex 'marriage debate'

The Church does not have the exclusive right to define who should be allowed to get married, the equalities minister warns, as she suggests that religious groups have polarised the debate on gay marriage.

Lynne Featherstone directly challenges the role of the Church in the debate over homosexual weddings, saying it does not “own” marriage.

Read it all. Also, please peruse this BBC article as well.

Posted in Uncategorized

[Equalities Minister] Lynne Featherstone neither the Church nor the State "owns" marriage

Who owns marriage? It’s an interesting question and a pressing one in the debate around equal civil marriage. It is owned by neither the state nor the church, as the former Archbishop Lord Carey rightly said. So it is owned by the people.

The fierce debate over the past few weeks has shown people feel very strongly about marriage. Some believe the Government has no right to change it at all; they want to leave tradition alone. I want to challenge that view ”“ it is the Government’s fundamental job to reflect society and to shape the future, not stay silent where it has the power to act and change things for the better.

I believe that if a couple love each other and want to commit to a life together, they should have the option of a civil marriage, irrespective of whether they are gay or straight.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, Church/State Matters, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Forbes) How The "Right To Be Forgotten" Threatens The Internet

A group of teens posts pics showing the results of alcohol consumption and perhaps some “smoking paraphernalia.” Is that an indiscretion that should follow them for the rest of their lives?

All of us do moronic things and some of them end up on the Internet. But should they stay forever, like a time bomb waiting to explode a person’s life maybe decades later?

Twenty-seven European countries say “no” and have introduced laws allowing people to have content about themselves removed on demand. Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission, discussed the proposal in a speech… she gave last month in Munich.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues

(Telegraph) Sex-selection abortions are 'widespread’

A former medical director of the country’s largest abortion provider said it was “well known” that women were terminating pregnancies because of the gender of the child and that he had been asked by women to arrange the procedure for this reason.

Dr Vincent Argent, who previously worked for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and is now a GP and consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, said he had “no doubt” that women were terminating pregnancies because of the sex of the baby and that he believed the practice was “fairly widespread”. This week The Daily Telegraph disclosed that women were being offered illegal abortions by doctors on the basis of the gender of the foetus.

Dr Argent said there were “an awful lot of covert abortions for sex selection going on” where women would have a scan or blood test to find out the sex, then ask for a termination without telling the doctor the real reason.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology

(Telegraph) Abortion investigation: doctors filmed agreeing illegal abortions 'no questions asked'

Women are being granted illegal abortions by doctors based on the sex of their unborn baby, an undercover investigation by The Daily Telegraph reveals.

Doctors at British clinics have been secretly filmed agreeing to terminate foetuses purely because they are either male or female. Clinicians admitted they were prepared to falsify paperwork to arrange the abortions even though it is illegal to conduct such “sex-selection” procedures.

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, said: “I’m extremely concerned to hear about these allegations. Sex selection is illegal and is morally wrong. I’ve asked my officials to investigate this as a matter of urgency.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Diocese of SC Opportunities to hear Michael Nazir-Ali and Grant LeMarquand

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Black Pastors take heat for not viewing same-sex marriage the way many in power want them to

“This is a cultural war, a cultural shift, and those who are in rebellion have decided to portray us as bigots and prejudiced,” says [Nathaniel] Thomas, pastor of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church, a trim, pale-brick building across from a storage facility on a dead-end road just inside the Beltway near Pennsylvania Avenue.

He knows that some gay activists are incredulous that black ministers could oppose a civil rights initiative. “”‰”˜How dare a black preacher take this position,’ they say, ”˜because you’ve felt this pain,’ and I have,” he says. Over the decades, he has marched for voting and housing rights and fought for equal protection for blacks.

But Thomas and the 77 other Baptist ministers in the association do not see same-sex marriage as a civil rights matter. Rather, they say, it is a question of Scripture, of whether a country based on Judeo-Christian principles will honor what’s written in Romans or decide to make secular decisions about what’s right.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, State Government

(NY Times) U.S. Agencies See No Move by Iran to Build a Bomb

Even as the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said in a new report Friday that Iran had accelerated its uranium enrichment program, American intelligence analysts continue to believe that there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb.

Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier, according to current and former American officials. The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.

At the center of the debate is the murky question of the ultimate ambitions of the leaders in Tehran….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(Washington Post) U.N. sees spike in Iran’s uranium production

Iran dramatically boosted its production of a purer form of nuclear fuel in recent months, with much of the increased output coming from a newly opened plant built inside a mountain bunker, U.N. officials said Friday, further exacerbating worries about Iran’s march toward nuclear-weapons capability.

The finding, in a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, showed a nearly 50 percent jump since the fall in Iran’s stockpile of a kind of highly enriched uranium that is closer to weapons-grade than the type normally used in nuclear power plants.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology

Economist Leader on Nuclear Proliferation and the Challenge of Iran

…. the world should [not] just let Iran get the bomb. The government will soon be starved of revenues, because of an oil embargo. Sanctions are biting, the financial system is increasingly isolated and the currency has plunged in value. Proponents of an attack argue that military humiliation would finish the regime off. But it is as likely to rally Iranians around their leaders. Meanwhile, political change is sweeping across the Middle East. The regime in Tehran is divided and it has lost the faith of its people. Eventually, popular resistance will spring up as it did in 2009. A new regime brought about by the Iranians themselves is more likely to renounce the bomb than one that has just witnessed an American assault.

Is there a danger that Iran will get a nuclear weapon before that happens? Yes, but bombing might only increase the risk. Can you stop Iran from getting a bomb if it is determined to have one? Not indefinitely, and bombing it might make it all the more desperate. Short of occupation, the world cannot eliminate Iran’s capacity to gain the bomb. It can only change its will to possess one. Just now that is more likely to come about through sanctions and diplomacy than war.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(Telegraph) Richard Dawkins: I can't be sure God does not exist

He is regarded as the most famous atheist in the world but last night Professor Richard Dawkins admitted he could not be sure that God does not exist.

He told the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, that he preferred to call himself an agnostic rather than an atheist.

The two men were taking part in a public “dialogue” at Oxford University at the end of a week which has seen bitter debate about the role of religion in public life in Britain.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Atheism, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

At Gary Carter’s Memorial, Remembrances of Baseball, Faith and Family

Amid the emotional tributes to Gary Carter here Friday, his accomplishments in baseball were an unavoidable topic.

But the memorial service for Carter, who died last week after a battle with brain cancer at age 57, also highlighted his devotion to God and his family.

The service for Carter, who entered the Hall of Fame as an Expo but who helped propel the Mets to the 1986 World Series championship, was held in front of hundreds of friends, family members and former teammates at Christ Fellowship, a large modern church resting on a palm tree-laden campus.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sports

Federal judge expands churches-in-schools reprieve in New York City

A Manhattan Federal Court judge Friday reversed a previous eviction of religious groups from city schools where they had long rented space for worship services.

Judge Loretta Preska had issued a 10-day reprieve to 60 churches last week, but that was then shot down by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the stay applied only to the sole plaintiff in the case, the Bronx Household of Faith.

But in granting a new reprieve and extending it for an undetermined period of time, Preska said Friday that her “order extends to the Bronx Household of Faith and, in addition, to any similarly situated party.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lift up our souls, O Lord, to the pure, serene light of thy presence; that there we may breathe freely, there repose in thy love, there may be at rest from ourselves, and from thence return, arrayed in thy peace, to do and bear what shall please thee; for thy holy name’s sake.

–E. B. Pusey (1800-1882)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture