Daily Archives: January 25, 2013

Avi Schick: Separation of Church and State, Disaster Edition

One would have hoped that the Seattle opinion and common sense would be sufficient, but FEMA has apparently reverted to a position that provides less than full participation for religious institutions. Its reasons for doing so are not entirely clear but seem to include a mix of constitutional, statutory and regulatory concerns.

Many of these concerns should have been put to rest by the Oklahoma City experience and Congress’s approval of aid to religious organizations there. Nobody suggests that government should entirely rebuild sanctuaries or pay for the printing of prayer books. But if roofs are being repaired and other structural damage is being remediated, the religious nature of what might occur below shouldn’t matter. That is consistent with the reasoning of a 2003 Justice Department opinion that permitted the federal government to provide assistance to help restore the landmarked Old North Church in Boston.

In essence, federal disaster relief is a form of social insurance meant to help repair a tear in our social fabric. Houses of worship are an important part of that social fabric and are often where people turn for comfort and support after a disaster. After Hurricane Sandy, they are equally in need of repair and should be equally eligible for assistance.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Church/State Matters, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Politics in General, Religion & Culture, The U.S. Government

Unaffiliated TEC Group in South Carolina Still not Complying with Court Order

Go here to see it. Anyone see some symbolism in which site is still unchanged?

Update: The site is now password protected. Here is the webcache of the original site:
– the elves

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(WSJ) Islam at the Louvre

The roof of the Louvre’s new Islamic art department undulates like golden fabric gently lifted by the wind””a feat, considering it is made of steel and glass and weighs almost 150 tons. Filling a neoclassical courtyard, the addition that opened last fall tripled the space devoted to Islamic art and more than doubled the number of objects on view to almost 3,000, or about a sixth of the museum’s works from the Islamic world.

In contrast to the spectacular architecture by Mario Bellini and Rudy Ricciotti, the installation is understated, an elegant version of open-storage: objects grouped in long glass cases; larger pieces””carved steles, inlaid doors, stone latticed windows””clustered on low pedestals; and architectural fragments affixed to partitions. The flooring is dark, the passageways plain and the lighting democratic, giving shards of earthenware as much attention as finely woven rugs from Iran, a jewel-encrusted dagger from Mughal India or 14th-century enameled blown-glass lamps from Egypt and Syria that are about as close to numinous as objects can get.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Art, Europe, France, History, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Local paper–Judge issues restraining order against Episcopal Church

“A diocese is a collection of churches led by a bishop,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, canon to the ordinary. “By that definition we are a diocese, we are not a diocese in The Episcopal Church, but that doesn’t make us not a diocese.”

Episcopal Church officials, who have organized a special convention for Saturday to install a provisional bishop, said they planned to comply with the court order.

“We are aware of a temporary restraining order that names The Episcopal Church, but we do not expect it to have any effect on our plans to welcome the presiding bishop on Friday and meet with her on Saturday to choose our new bishop,” said Holly Behre, spokeswoman for the steering committee, in a statement. “We will adopt a name for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina that will comply with the spirit of the order…

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Great Australian Open Semifinal–Federer and Murray have gone into the Fifth Set

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Men, Sports

Thomas McDonald–Habemus Appam: The Pope’s Own App

I may have to take back all the bad things I’ve been saying about Vatican communications. (Okay, some of them.) First, the Pope starts Tweeting, and now they roll out an app.

And ”¦ it’s actually a pretty good one! Given how crummy the Vatican’s own website is, this is nothing short of amazing.

The Pope App (free, iOS, and Android forthcoming) could have been all kinds of wrong, from the function, to the name, to the icon. (Icons matter on mobile.) Instead, The Pope App hits most of the bases in style. The name is light, direct, and almost saucy. Just imagine the ponderous Latin names that were probably kicked around. The icon has a bold yellow silhouette of Papa Bene. The only strike I can really level against the rollout is that it’s iPhone-native only, with no native iPad support, and no simultaneous Android.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

(PBS Newshour) Exploring Technology: the Effectiveness and Consequences of Drone Warfare

NARRATOR: Depending on the situation, the decision to kill comes from an intelligence officer who could be anywhere, a battle commander on the ground, or sometimes the pilot.

JEFFREY BROWN: Since the Obama administration came to power four years ago, the United States has vastly increased the number of drone strikes against suspected terrorists.

Just today, Reuters reported that six suspected al-Qaida militants were killed in Yemen. But their use has been highly controversial, on a number of levels.

And we move to that debate now, with Seth Jones, who worked for the commander of U.S. special forces in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2011 and is now a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, and Chris Anders, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union….

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Terrorism, The U.S. Government, Theology

(RNS) S.C. Episcopal diocese claims a victory in theology and polity struggle

The …Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has won the latest round in its fight…[with] the national church.

A South Carolina judge on Wednesday (Jan. 23) issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the national church from using the name or seal of the diocese, which espouses a more traditional theology and disapproves of the national church’s acceptance of same-sex marriage and [non-celibate] gay bishops.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

(Church Times) Clergy in North Africa fearful as PM talks of military response

Police dogs checking for explosives at St George’s Anglican Church, Tunis, on Sunday, were “a healthy reminder that we live in volatile times”, the Area Bishop for North Africa, Dr Bill Musk, said on Tuesday. He spoke in the wake of an attack by Islamist terrorists in Algeria in which 37 hostages were killed, and a warning by the Prime Minister that North African states had become “a magnet for jihadists”.

Addressing Parliament on Monday, Mr Cameron said that the “murderous violence” perpetrated by the terrorists at the remote Tigantourine gas complex in the Saharan desert last week required a “strong security response”. Britain was engaged in a “generational struggle against an ideology which is an extreme distortion of the Islamic faith”.

Clergy had mixed views on the implications of Mr Cameron’s speech for Christians.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

A.S. Haley–SC Circuit Court Issues Temporary Restraining Order to Protect Diocese's Identity

The order goes into effect immediately, so it will essentially force the remnant group meeting this Saturday to adopt a different name for the entity it will form, and by which it will be known. The governing documents which are scheduled for approval (a Constitution and Canons based on the former diocesan version before changes were approved in 2011 and 2012) will need to be changed to remove all references to “the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina” and “the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.” The order will remain in effect until February 1, when a hearing will be held starting at 9:00 a.m. in the Richland County courthouse on a preliminary (“temporary”) injunction, pending the trial and final resolution of the case. (I am not sure why it is not to be held in the Dorchester County courthouse at St. George; perhaps some South Carolina attorney will enlighten us on injunction procedures there.)

This order, despite its temporary nature, represents a huge advantage gained in the lawsuit which Bishop Lawrence’s Diocese brought early this month, after all attempts had failed to get the remnant Episcopalians to cease voluntarily their appropriations of the diocesan names and corporate seal. (The Diocese announced yesterday that fifteen other parishes had joined in the lawsuit, and that thirteen more are considering joining it later, which would bring the total number of plaintiffs to 44. Perhaps this ruling will provide the spur they need to make their decision.) The Court has found, based just on the showing presented ex parte by Bishop Lawrence and his capable attorneys, that the plaintiff Diocese made “a prima facie showing . . . as to the likelihood of [its] success on the merits.” In other words, the Diocese showed to the Court sufficient indicia of its ownership of the registered marks (the names and corporate seal) that the Court believes it will prevail in the ultimate lawsuit.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

(ACNS) Tanzania bishop: "Africa's churches should complement state education"

A Tanzanian bishop has said African churches have a duty to complement state education to help improve the local lives and the local community.

Bishop of the Diocese of the Rift Valley the Rt Revd John Lupaa was speaking after the Tanzanian government announced it would re-register Kalimatinde School of Nursing, which is owned and run by his Diocese.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anglican Provinces, Education

Episcopal Priest Patrick Miller's TED Talk Goes Viral

The Asia Society of Houston hosted the most recent TEDx Houston event in November 2012, and the Rev. Patrick Miller was asked to share his wisdom gained through his work as a priest and a boxer.

Read it all and see what you make of the talk.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Vatican Radio) Christian Unity: communication and conversation at the Anglican Centre

The week of prayer for Christian Unity draws to a close on Friday as Pope Benedict prepares to celebrate Vespers in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls with representatives of all the different local Christian communities.

Among them will be Canon David Richardson, the outgoing director of the Anglican Centre here in Rome. Set up in the wake of the Second Vatican council, the centre has an important library, runs educational courses, welcomes pilgrims to Rome and maintains close contact with the different Vatican departments.
Every Tuesday the centre welcomes locals and visitors for a Eucharist, followed by an informal lunch hosted by David and his wife Margie for people of all religious backgrounds or none. The aim, as Philippa Hitchen found out, is to foster understanding, reconciliation and better relations amongst all members of the Body of Christ”¦”¦.

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Europe, Italy, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Richard John Neuhaus on Roe versus Wade–We Shall Not Weary, We Shall Not Rest

“We the People” have not and will not ratify the lethal logic of Roe v. Wade. That notorious decision of 1973 is the most consequential moral and political event of the last half century of our nation’s history. It has produced a dramatic realignment of moral and political forces, led by evangelicals and Catholics together, and joined by citizens beyond numbering who know that how we respond to this horror defines who we are as individuals and as a people. Our opponents, once so confident, are now on the defensive. Having lost the argument with the American people, they desperately cling to the dictates of the courts. No longer able to present themselves as the wave of the future, they watch in dismay as a younger generation recoils in horror from the bloodletting of an abortion industry so arrogantly imposed by judges beyond the rule of law.

We do not know, we do not need to know, how the battle for the dignity of the human person will be resolved. God knows, and that is enough. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta and saints beyond numbering have taught us, our task is not to be successful but to be faithful. Yet in that faithfulness is the lively hope of success. We are the stronger because we are unburdened by delusions. We know that in a sinful world, far short of the promised Kingdom of God, there will always be great evils. The principalities and powers will continue to rage, but they will not prevail.

In the midst of the encroaching darkness of the culture of death, we have heard the voice of him who said, “In the world you will have trouble. But fear not, I have overcome the world.” Because he has overcome, we shall overcome. We do not know when; we do not know how. God knows, and that is enough.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Conversion of Saint Paul

O God, who by the preaching of thine apostle Paul hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same by following the holy doctrine which he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, eternal, righteous, and merciful, give us poor sinners to do for thy sake all that we know of thy will, and to will always what pleases thee; so that inwardly purified, enlightened, and kindled by the fire of thy Holy Spirit, we may follow in the steps of thy well-beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.” My times are in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors! Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love!

–Psalm 31:15-16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reuters) Boeing says working around the clock on 787 issue

Boeing Co on Thursday said it was working around the clock to resolve issues that have grounded the entire global fleet of the company’s new 787 Dreamliner for over eight days, and underscored its regret about the issue.

Boeing said it welcomed Thursday’s briefing on the 787 investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and said it continued to assist the NTSB and the other government agencies investigating two recent 787 incidents.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, Travel

Government data requests to Google continue to rise

Governments continue to ask Google for more data about its users, with more than two-thirds of requests in the U.S. made through a subpoena, which usually doesn’t require asking a judge for a search warrant.

User data requests of all kinds have increased by more than 70 percent since 2009, Google said in its biannual “transparency report” that tallies government requests for users’ data. For the six months from July through December 2012, the company said it has received about 21,389 information requests for some 33,634 users — up slightly from 20,938 requests for 34,615 users during the first half of the year.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, Theology

South Sudan: Bishop Urges African Leaders to Act On Sudan's 'War of Horror'

A panel of African civil society leaders, including Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, were joined today by the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Dr. Mukesh Kapila, in urging African political leaders to use the upcoming African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa to end the humanitarian suffering in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

The panel identified the January 25 Heads of State meeting on Sudan as a key test of the AU’s “credibility” and urged African leaders to recognise the importance of addressing the conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile for wider regional security.

Having just returned from a visit to the region, Dr Kapila called for an independent commission of enquiry into the conflict amongst warnings of “ethnic cleansing”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology, Violence

(RNS) Lutherans warn Vatican against simpler conversions

Lutheran leaders have warned the Vatican that the creation of a structure to welcome conservative Lutherans into the Catholic Church would harm dialogue and damage ecumenical relations.

In 2009, Pope Benedict created a special church structure, called an ordinariate, to allow disgruntled Anglicans to convert to Catholicism while maintaining bits of their traditions and culture.

Ordinariates have been created in the U.S., England and Australia, attracting hundreds of conservative Anglicans who oppose female and gay bishops and who seek greater lines of authority.

In recent weeks, senior Vatican officials publicly suggested the creation of a similar structure for disaffected Lutherans; the idea was first floated last October by Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Vatican chief ecumenist.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic