Daily Archives: July 24, 2012

Survey finds 19% without religious affiliation

Unbelief is on the uptick. People who check “None” for their religious affiliation are now nearly one in five Americans (19%), the highest ever documented, according to the Pew Center for the People and the Press.

The rapid rise of Nones ”” including atheists, agnostics and those who say they believe “nothing in particular” ”” defies the usually glacial rate of change in spiritual identity.

Barry Kosmin, co-author of three American Religious Identification Surveys, theorizes why None has become the “default category.” He says, “Young people are resistant to the authority of institutional religion, older people are turned off by the politicization of religion, and people are simply less into theology than ever before.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

James Schall S.J.–Blithe Christianity and the Last Free Election

We should be clear, as writers like Paul Rahe have pointed out, that this subjection of Catholicism to the control of the state is being carried out by officials that many of them voted for in great numbers and with enthusiasm. We have not been able to imagine that the Catholic Church in its essential moral teaching would come to be seen as an enemy of democracy and human “rights.” Yet, these new versions of democracy and human “rights” embody positions that diametrically oppose human life, marriage, basic morality, and the nature of transcendence. No one who cannot accept this new version of “rights” will be a member of the new state that has come to exist before our very eyes. The “inversion” of morals is almost complete. It is “sinister.”

As George Rutler remarks, St. Paul would not have been much surprised at this turn of events. There is a “logic” already in place that, if allowed to go further by the continuation of the present regime, will reduce the Catholic presence to a mere shell, perhaps a “remnant,” to recall an Old Testament term. True, there will still be institutions that call themselves “Catholic.” Willingly, they will accept the funds of the state on its own terms. We may even anticipate a situation in which we see two churches calling themselves “catholic,” one accepting government funds and terms, the other, much reduced, not accepting them.

Rutler’s term, “post-comfortable Catholicism” is both a witty and an accurate description of where we are. If this is indeed our “last free election,” we will not be overly surprised if most of us accept it, well, comfortably.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Charles Lewis–The Episcopal Church takes its new theology into the secular stratosphere

In a sense, this was probably to expected. Just view the language now used around issues of sexual identity. Whereas gay and lesbian ”” or even just gay ”” was once considered fine it is now necessary to add a whole bunch more of sexual identities.

The simplest is LGBT ”” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ”” but it is not uncommon to see LGBTTIQ ”” lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, intersex, queer and questioning.

Use these terms enough and no longer is it right question why these various groups are being jammed together ”” even though being transgender has nothing to do with being gay and I still have no idea how two spirited became a category. The decision that they are related comes from interest groups and not common sense. And now politicians, journalists and social scientist feel obliged to repeat this litany as if it was the law of the land.

This is nothing to do with liberalism but with group-think.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, --Gen. Con. 2012, Canada, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Western Louisiana Episcopal Diocese ordains new bishop

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana ordained and welcomed its fourth bishop Sunday in a centuries-old consecration ceremony in St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral
on Rutherford Street.

The Very Reverend Dr. Jacob W. Owensby, installed in January 2009 as the cathedral’s second dean, was elevated by the Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. Owensby takes over from the Right Reverend D. Bruce MacPherson, the diocese’s retiring third bishop.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(BBC) Gavin Hewitt–Spain's euro woes: Crisis deepens

Spain is heading for a general bailout. It may not happen immediately, but that is what the figures suggest – that sometime in the autumn, maybe sooner, the country will need a full-blown rescue.

It is fiercely denied, of course. The Spanish Economy Minister, Luis de Guindos, said “Spain is a solvent country, there will be no bailout… I believe that Spain is a competitive country. We have a trade surplus with the eurozone, we have a very competitive tourism sector”.

Then there are the facts on the ground. The bailout of the Spanish banks – sealed last Friday – lacks conviction. House prices are still falling. Indeed in the second quarter they were declining at the fastest rate since the start of the crisis. The real estate bubble, stoked by the eurozone’s low interest rates, continues to take its toll.

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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, Foreign Relations, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Thomas a Kempis

Holy Father, who hast nourished and strengthened thy Church by the writings of thy servant Thomas a Kempis: Grant that we may learn from him to know what we ought to know, to love what we ought to love, to praise what highly pleaseth thee, and always to seek to know and follow thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast brought life and immortality to light by the gospel, and hast begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: Make us steadfast and immovable in the faith, always abounding in the work of the Lord, who died for our sins and rose again, and now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, world without end.

–James Mountain

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

–Romans 14:7-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Der Spiegel) Berlin, IMF To Refuse Fresh Aid for Greece

Greece has fallen behind with its budget cuts and is asking lenders for more time to meet the conditions of the 130 billion euro aid package. But that would require fresh help of up to 50 billion euros, SPIEGEL has learned. Neither Berlin nor the IMF are prepared to make that money available.

Germany and other important international creditors are not prepared to extend further loans to Greece beyond what has already been agreed, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday. In addition, SPIEGEL has learned that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) too has signalled it won’t take part in any additional financing for Greece.

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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, Foreign Relations, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Christianity Today) Rob Moll–Are Liberal Democracies Morally Stunted?

….Haidt’s view of religion is incomplete. For him, it offers nothing more than an incentive for people to work together. In his view, doctrine is merely post hoc rationalization used to explain religious behavior. And, strangely, he doesn’t include religious ritual among those things capable of inspiring awe in humans, but instead nature, hallucinogenic drugs, and night club raves.

Still, Haidt is unequivocal that societies need all six moral senses. “We evolved to live, trade, and trust within shared moral matrices. When societies lose their grip on individuals, allowing all to do as they please, the result is often a decrease in happiness and an increase in suicide.” Haidt continues, “Societies that forgo ”¦ religion should reflect carefully on what will happen to them over several generations. We don’t really know, because the first atheistic societies have only emerged in Europe in the last few decades. They are the least efficient societies ever known at turning resources (of which they have a lot) into offspring (of which they have few).” As the ultimate prize in Haidt’s evolutionary views, this is a bad thing.

Haidt’s main concern is to explain to liberals that the views of conservative moral thinkers (not Republicans) make a lot of sense. Liberals will continue to fail to attract voters until they expand their moral vision beyond concern for the care or harm of individuals and the free expression of their desires.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology