Daily Archives: April 18, 2012

(NY Times India Ink) Saritha Ray–Bangalore’s ”˜Maybe Virgin’ Generation

Recently, Nidhi Raichand, 33, and the other editors at health care Web site mDhil decided to find out how young India really feels about liberal sexual behavior.

To the Web site’s English-speaking, upper-class, Internet-savvy audience, they posed the question, “Would you marry a non-virgin?”

The answers were sharply divided, but not the way that you may think….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women, Young Adults

Barna–How the Faith of Likely 2012 Voters Affects the Issues They Care About

Which political issues will have the greatest influence on voters’ decision of which presidential candidate to support? The answer to that question depends in part on the person’s spiritual leanings. A new nationwide survey by the Barna Group, conducted among people likely to vote in November’s election, indicates that the worldview of different religious segments of the population significantly impacts the issues they care about the most.

Among all likely voters, regardless of their faith inclinations, the most influential issues are health care (said to influence their candidate selection “a lot” by 74% of likely voters), tax policy (62%), employment policies and strategies (54%), and plans regarding the nation’s dependence upon foreign oil (52%).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Office of the President, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Argentina friendless as Europe unites in protest over seizure of oil firm

Europe threw its weight behind Spain yesterday after a diplomatic war broke out between Madrid and Buenos Aires over Argentina’s decision to take over a multibillion-pound energy company.

In the wake of tensions between Britain and Argentina on the anniversary earlier this month of the Falklands invasion, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner risked further alienation around the world by pushing ahead with the nationalisation of Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF), in which Repsol, a Spanish energy group, has a majority shareholding.

In response, Spain launched a trade and diplomatic offensive against Argentina, rallying allies in Brussels and the G20 against the move to take over 51 per cent of YPF.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Europe, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, South America, Spain

(Telegraph) David Conway–Don’t take the faith out of church schools

For all who favour high standards, and who also believe that moderate religious affiliation benefits children and those involved in their education, the Secretary of State’s support for the expansion of publicly funded Anglican schools can only seem a cause of celebration.

But I’m not so sure. There’s a risk that educational standards, and even Anglicanism itself, might be endangered by the expansion of church schools. My fear is that Anglican schools may be forced, for the sake of becoming more inclusive, to dilute their distinctively religious character, and even to turn away applicants from genuine Anglican backgrounds, to accommodate those who are not.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Archbishop Sentamu Speaks On Tackling Poverty At Church Urban Fund Conference

In his address, the Archbishop referred to depending inequality, the invisibility of poverty and the cyclical nature of poverty.

Dr Sentamu said: “We are far richer today yet misery is growing. The current recession has led to significant cuts in public spending and services with more likely in the immediate years ahead. As well as the reality of poverty and growing inequality in our country today, we also face the problem of poverty of vision. Put simply, we have lost a vision of how we might transform our society to bring about changes that we wish to see.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Poverty, Religion & Culture

Gallup–U.S. Unemployment Provides Mixed Picture in Mid-April

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup on a preliminary basis without seasonal adjustment, declined to 8.2% in mid-April from 8.4% in March. However, the government’s likely seasonal adjustment of 0.3 percentage points leads to a Gallup seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate of 8.5% in mid-April, up from 8.1% last month.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

In Canada Some Former Anglicans join Catholic Church

Pockets of breakaway Anglican groups in Canada, including their married priests, are joining the Roman Catholic Church in ceremonies across the country.

Conservative Anglicans say their beliefs are more in line with Rome than with increasingly liberal teachings of some of their own bishops regarding hot-button issues, such as female priests and same-sex marriage.

Deborah Gyapong, an Ottawa-based freelance journalist who reports for Catholic and evangelical newspapers, was one of about 40 Anglicans recently welcomed at a rite of reception in Ottawa on Sunday, part of several Anglican parishes across the country that will be entering into “full communion” with the Catholic Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Ecumenical Relations

Britain Arrests Muslim Cleric, Again Seeking Deportation

The British authorities on Tuesday rearrested Abu Qatada, a radical Muslim cleric who was released from prison in February after a European court overruled British judges and blocked his deportation to Jordan on terrorism charges. They said they would resume efforts to remove him from Britain.

The cleric, 51, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, was convicted in absentia by Jordan of involvement in a series of terrorist bombing plots more than a decade ago. Jordanian officials have said he will face retrial for the bombings if he is repatriated from Britain.

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

Time Cover Story–Rethinking Heaven

As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Easter, a running debate about the hereafter is raising new questions about the definition of heaven–and what it says about the meaning of life. This conversation takes a subject that has occupied humanity for millennia and places it squarely amid topics of faith that are deeply relevant today. Even in the wake of the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution, many of us believe in heaven–85% of all Americans, according to Gallup. Most of us are apparently confident–or at least say we are–that life does not end at the grave.

Yet we don’t necessarily agree on what heaven is. There is, of course, the familiar image recounted by Colton Burpo. But there is also the competing view of scholars such as N.T. Wright, the former Anglican bishop of Durham, England, and a leading authority on the New Testament. What if Christianity is not about enduring this sinful, fallen world in search of a reward of eternal rest? What if the authors of the New Testament were actually talking about a bodily resurrection in which God brings together the heavens and the earth in a wholly new, wholly redeemed creation? As more voices preach a view that’s at odds with the pearly gates (but supported, they note, by Scripture), faithful followers must decide which approach they believe in.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Eschatology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CNA) Roman Catholic Bishops say New Evangelization requires lives of witness

In response to Blessed John Paul II’s call to evangelize formerly Christian societies, the Church must build a “culture of witness,” said representatives of the U.S. bishops in a new document.

It is “primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelize the world,” explained the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.

The committee, headed by Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisc., released a new online resource on April 16 to assist dioceses, eparchies and parishes in reaching out to engage the faithful and encourage them to witness to their faith through their lives.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

(Globe and Mail) John Ibbitson–The Charter proves to be Canada’s gift to world

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was signed 30 years ago Tuesday. Since then, not only has it become a national bedrock, but the Charter has replaced the American Bill of Rights as the constitutional document most emulated by other nations.

“Could it be that Canada has surpassed or even supplanted the United States as a leading global exporter of constitutional law? The data suggest that the answer may be yes.” So conclude two U.S. law professors whose analysis of the declining influence of the American constitution on other nations will be published in New York University Law Review in June.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

John Mauldin–Spain: Too Big to Fail and Too Big to Save

I fully intended to ignore Spain this week. Really, truly I did. I had my letter all planned, but then a few notes drew my attention, and the more I reflected on them, the more I realized that the inflection point that I thought the European Central Bank had pushed down the road for at least a year with their recent €1 trillion LTRO is now rushing toward us much faster than ECB President Mario Draghi had in mind when he launched his massive funding operation.

So, we simply must pay attention to what Spain has done this week ”“ which, to my surprise, seems to have escaped the attention of the major media. What we will find may be considered a tipping point when the crisis is analyzed by some future historian. And then we’ll get back to some additional details on the US employment situation, starting with a few rather shocking data points. What we’ll see is that for most people in the US the employment level has not risen, even as overall employment is up by 2 million jobs since the end of the recession in 2009. And there are a few other interesting items. Are we really going to see 2 billion jobs disappear in the next 30 years?

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(The Atlantic) Linda Killian–This Year's Fight Over Taxing the Middle Class””And the Rich

The last major overhaul of the tax code took place when a Democratic Congress, working with Reagan, passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986. It simplified the code, decreased individual tax rates, increased corporate taxes and significantly reduced the number of exemptions, deductions, credits and loopholes. The reform also set the tax rate for capital gains at about 23 percent, which was reduced dramatically to around 15 percent as part of the Bush tax cuts.

Ever since the 1986 reform was passed, Congress has been systematically chipping away at the tax code, adding literally thousands of changes and additional tax benefits, exemptions and loopholes, junking up the tax code and making it more complicated and less fair.

“It’s out of control, says Eugene Steuerle, an Urban Institute economist. “They keep throwing junk in the tax code which adds to the deficit.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, History, Politics in General, Taxes

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord God Almighty, whose blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ did on the third day rise triumphant over death: Raise us, we beseech thee, from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness, that we may seek those things which are above, where he sitteth on thy right hand in glory; and this we beg for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

-Scottish Prayer Book

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

–John 15:1-11

Posted in Uncategorized

(Washington Post) The Secret Service Scandal in Colombia Deepens

Investigators now suspect that as many as 21 prostitutes were brought by U.S. Secret Service and military personnel to the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia, last week during a night of carousing, a dramatic increase in the number of women previously disclosed by government officials.

Officials said that 11 Secret Service and nine military personnel are suspected of the misconduct that took place in advance of President Obama’s trip to the country for an international economic summit. Initially reports suggested that the military personnel, some of whom were confined to their rooms after the scandal broke, had merely violated curfew, while the Secret Service members had engaged with prostitutes.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, The U.S. Government, Theology

In the Champions League Semifinal, Bayern Munich draws first blood against Real Madrid

In a largely claustrophobic game at the Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich dramatically defeated Real Madrid 2-1 thanks to an 89th-minute strike by Mario Gomez, giving Jose Mourinho endless cause for concern heading into the second leg at the Bernabeu on April 25.

Many wondered how Real Madrid would handle its first truly top-class opponent in the Champions League knockout stages — having sparred with CSKA Moscow and cruised past plucky APOEL in the round of 16 and quarterfinals — and I suppose this dispiriting defeat gives us plenty of indication….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Men, Spain, Sports

Joint Statement from Truro Anglican Church, Fairfax and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

Truro Anglican Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia announced today a settlement that concludes five years of litigation that arose after Truro Anglican and other parishes left the Episcopal Church in 2006 to become part of what is now the Anglican Church in North America.

The settlement follows a January ruling in which the Circuit Court of Fairfax County held that all real and personal property held by the parishes at the time they left the denomination belongs to the Diocese.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, TEC Departing Parishes

South African Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba writes his Province on Easter

As you may know, the Church of England has voted not to adopt the Anglican Covenant that has been sent to all the Member Churches of the Communion for consideration. This does not mean that the Covenant lapses. Nor does not mean an end to the fundamental underlying questions which the Covenant is intended to address. We still need to ask ourselves: who do we believe ourselves called to be by God, and what does it mean to speak of an Anglican ”˜Communion’ ”“ rather than, say, a ”˜Federation’ or other form of association. A ”˜Communion’ is so much more ”“ a true family of churches, within the body of Christ, as so many of us have experienced, for example, through exchanges with link Dioceses. We feel a closeness through recognising our ”˜family resemblance’, even when we are from very different parts of the world, and the frequently used language of ”˜bonds of affection’ resonates clearly.

But how can we order our international institutional life, and the relationships between Provinces, in ways that reflect this experience, and our theological understanding of the unity with diversity that is found in belonging together as members of the body of Christ, as Scripture describes? Provinces have always been legally independent (reflecting their separate Constitutions and Canons); while the ”˜Instruments of Communion’ have only been advisory, rightly respecting Provinces’ status under canon law. But such legal independence can allow, and even promote comfortableness with, a separateness that has not always been sufficiently balanced by more organic and spiritual interrelationships. We have wrestled over decades with how to get this balance right, for example, in commitments to ”˜Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ’ made at the 1963 Toronto Congress. The Communion said then ”˜our unity in Christ, expressed in our full communion, is the most profound bond among us, in all our political and racial and cultural diversity’, and therefore ”˜our need is ”¦ to understand how God has led us, through the sometimes painful history of our time, to see the gifts of freedom and communion in their great terms, and to live up to them.’ The Congress warned ”˜if we are not responsible stewards of what Christ has given us, we will lose even what we have.’

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter