Daily Archives: March 8, 2012

(RNS) Scotland Yard says witchcraft abuse a hidden crime

British police say they have investigated more than 80 witchcraft-based child abuse cases in the last decade, and warned that the practice is “far more prevalent” than previously believed.

Authorities say the belief in witchcraft is widespread and growing in some African immigrant communities in Britain.

The disclosure came as a couple from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Magalie Bamu and Eric Bikubi, were sentenced to life in prison for torturing and drowning the woman’s 15-year-old brother, Kristy Bamu.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(LA Times) U.S. military struggles to teach troops to respect Koran

North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops last week started mandatory refresher training on how to handle the Koran. Troops are now told flatly not to dispose of Korans and will be urged to err on the side of caution when dealing with Arabic texts, assuming “material is sacred if there is any doubt over its religious significance.”

But some experts think the more explicit approach might not stop future incidents. Montgomery McFate, an anthropologist who has worked closely with the U.S. Defense Department, said the issuance of cultural do’s and don’ts was only useful to a point.

“It makes culture into a set of arbitrary rules. You don’t understand why,” she said. “The Bible is not considered itself a holy object, and unless you’d grown up in a religious tradition where that was true, you wouldn’t understand the way that Muslims feel about the Koran.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(IBD) CBO: Soaring U.S. Debt Will Soon Hurt Economic Growth

The agency’s 2011 long-term budget outlook showed that federal debt would begin to hurt the economy once it reaches about 77% of GDP. CBO’s January budget and economic outlook estimated that it will hit that level in 2013 under its high-debt scenario that is based largely on current policy.

“CBO expects that the large government deficits during the recession and afterward will raise the cost of capital in the future . . . constraining investment,” the nonpartisan scorekeeper wrote in its January budget and economic outlook.

Initially, the impact would be minimal, but it would grow over time as debt levels increase.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Globalization, History, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, Social Security, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

A ([London] Times) Article on the previous article–New Dean pledges to bless gay unions in St Pauls

The new Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral has spoken in support of gay marriage in a move that threatens to deepen divisions within the Church of England.

Dr David Ison, 57, said that the virtues of marriage should be available to gays, adding that it was better to talk of “Christian marriage” rather than homosexual or heterosexual unions. He admitted that he had conducted ceremonies for homosexuals after civil partnerships, even though formal blessing services for gays are banned by the Church and no liturgy has been authorised.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A ([London] Times) Profile on the New Dean of Saint Paul's Cathedral, David Ison

The 57-year-old grandfather, who enjoys scuba diving and drives a kit car, speaks softly, but he has strong views and a steely determination. As Dean of Bradford, his previous job, he rescued the cathedral from bankruptcy. Now he must restore the reputation of St Paul’s ”” and help the Church of England to rethink its role in society.

The country is “in danger of drifting apart, with the financiers, politicians and others at the top and people ”˜lower down’ feeling that they’re not being heard”, he warns. “Historically, if the top and bottom of society drift too far apart, there comes a point where there’s an explosion.

“We must get on and deal with the reform of our institutions while we still can, before it turns into a situation of revolution.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(NPR) Christians Provide Free Labor On Jewish Settlements

For the settlers, the presence of the Christian workers has more practical applications.

“Today we have more than 200 acres. It’s a lot of agriculture and it takes a lot of work,” says Veret Ben Sadon, who helps run the Tura Winery. “We saw that we cannot work alone. I can say for sure that without this help, we cannot do what we are doing today.”

Essentially she gets free labor for the heavy seasonal work that needs to be done. She says there is a labor shortage in the area and the Christians fill the gap.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Evangelicals, Inter-Faith Relations, Israel, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

(LA Times) Syrian Christians worry about life after Bashar Assad

For 40 years, Um Michael has found comfort and serenity amid the soaring pillars and ancient icons of St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox cathedral.

But as a priest offered up a prayer for peace one recent Sunday, the 70-year-old widow dabbed tears from her eyes.

“I was wishing that life would go back to the way it used to be,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria

(Independent Leader) The end of the Afghan war must be accelerated

The news that six UK soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan was met by duly respectful and stoical tributes yesterday, first in Downing Street, then at the Ministry of Defence, and then in Parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions. The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, insisted that what had happened would “not shake our resolve to see through the mission”. David Cameron stressed the commitment of the troops to “getting the job done”, while offering “everypossible support” to a political settlement….

With the date for withdrawal almost three years away, however, these fatalities cannot be seen in isolation. And it is hard to escape the impression that, even as the training of Afghan soldiers and police continues, little is changing so far as the authority of the government, overall security and the safety of foreign troops are concerned.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Violence, War in Afghanistan

One picture in one tweet of the Disastrous Situation in Greece

[The] Greece youth unemployment rate has risen to 51.1%. It was 39% in 2010, 28.9% in 2009, 26.3% in 2008, 24.5% in 2007

–Alberto Nardelli as cited in this morning’s Telegraph.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Greece, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

Thursday Morning Mental Health Break–the Four Little Creatures from Despicable Me sing a song

Watch and listen to it all. LOL.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Movies & Television, Music

Sima Samar on the Koran burning: US 'should have known better'

US troops who burned copies of the Koran at a base in Afghanistan last month should have been aware it would enrage Muslims based on the reaction to previous instances of desecrating Islam’s holy book, the head of Afghanistan’s independent human rights body says.

Sima Samar, chairwoman of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, said Americans previously have dealt with issues relating to the treatment of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and had seen the furor created by the burning of the Koran at a Florida church last year.

US officials have said that the Korans were confiscated from prisoners at Bagram air base and mistakenly discarded in an incinerator.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, America/U.S.A., Asia, Books, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, War in Afghanistan

Patricia Templeton–"What's Right with the Episcopal Church"

One of the primary strengths of the Episcopal Church is that we don’t require you to leave your brain at the church door.
We believe Jesus’ words that we heard in today’s Gospel, that we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and all our souls, and all our minds. Certainly we know that there are mysteries in faith beyond our understanding, but we also know that God expects us to use our God-given intelligence.
Another strength of the Episcopal Church is our comfort with ambiguity. We know that the world is not black and white, and efforts to divide is, and our faith, up that way will not sustain us for long.
That does not mean we do not know the difference between right and wrong, or that “anything goes,” as our critics sometimes charge. It does mean that we recognize that the world is a complex place, and there are times when there is no absolute answer or “one size fits all” solution to a problem.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Psychology, Religion & Culture

PEARUSA Communiqué

At the conclusion of the January, 2012 Sacred Assembly in Raleigh, NC, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje established a temporary Steering Team on behalf of the Anglican Church of Rwanda to serve in directing its ongoing missionary efforts in North America. The Steering Team was commissioned to both respond to immediate needs and also to prepare the way for future long” term mission and structure. The immediate task of the team was to provide pastoral care and oversight for clergy canonically resident in Rwanda, as well as those congregations desirous of continuing affiliation with Rwanda, all under the auspices of an interim organization known as PEARUSA (Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda en USA). In preparing for the future, the team was charged to explore and develop plans for long”term ecclesiastical structures. Toward this end, a working group of laity, clergy and bishops met in a retreat center outside of Washington, DC, on Feb 26”28, 2012, to consider future possibilities. This communiqué reports the outcomes of this working group retreat….

Read it all (another from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Ecclesiology, Theology

(BBC) Nigeria gunmen kill customs boss in Yobe state

A high-ranking Nigerian customs officer has been shot dead by gunmen thought to be from the militant Islamist Boko Haram, police have said.

Adamu Ahmadu was killed in Yobe state in north-east Nigeria, weeks after tightening up border controls to stem the flow of arms in the region.

Boko Haram has its stronghold in Maiduguri in neighbouring Borno state.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy

Glorious God, we give thanks not merely for high and holy things, but for the common things of earth which thou hast created: Wake us to love and work, that Jesus, the Lord of life, may set our hearts ablaze and that we, like Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, may recognize thee in thy people and in thy creation, serving the holy and undivided Trinity; who livest and reignest throughout all ages of ages. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Military / Armed Forces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer