Daily Archives: April 22, 2013

(CBC) Alleged terror plot thwarted by arrests in Ontario, Quebec

Canadian police and intelligence agencies will announce later today they have thwarted a plot to carry out a major terrorist attack, arresting suspects in Ontario and Quebec, CBC News has learned.

Highly placed sources tell CBC News the alleged plotters have been under surveillance for more than a year in Quebec and southern Ontario.

The investigation was part of a cross-border operation involving Canadian law enforcement agencies, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Terrorism, Violence, Young Adults

(Reuters) David Rohde–For American-Muslims, dread

Friday morning, four Pakistani-American doctors dressed in business suits and medical scrubs sat in one of this city’s most popular breakfast spots and fretted. At an adjacent table, a middle-aged woman grew visibly nervous when their native land was mentioned. One of the doctors, a 47-year-old cardiologist, was despondent.

“We were all praying this wouldn’t happen,” he told me. “No matter what you do in your community, that’s the label that is attached.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Europe, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Russia, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

(WSJ Op-Ed) Michael Mukasey–Make No Mistake, It Was Jihad

For five years we have heard, principally from those who wield executive power, of a claimed need to make fundamental changes in this country, to change the world’s””particularly the Muslim world’s””perception of us, to press “reset” buttons. We have heard not a word from those sources suggesting any need to understand and confront a totalitarian ideology that has existed since at least the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1920s.

The ideology has regarded the United States as its principal adversary since the late 1940s, when a Brotherhood principal, Sayid Qutb, visited this country and was aghast at what he saw as its decadence. The first World Trade Center bombing, in 1993, al Qaeda attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in 2000, the 9/11 attacks, and those in the dozen years since””all were fueled by Islamist hatred for the U.S. and its values.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Europe, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Russia, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

The Virginia Supreme Court Decision in the Falls Church Case (IV): A.S. Haley's Analysis

The Court says that Virginia is a State that follows and applies “neutral principles of law,” but don’t let that fool you. What exactly is so “neutral” about (a) judges creating a trust out of whole cloth that the parties themselves never formalized, so that (b) a church like ECUSA can secure a windfall for the unjust enrichment of one of its dioceses?

Justice Powell’s result rests entirely upon her finding that a “fiduciary relationship” existed between The Falls Church and the national Church. But she spends no time whatsoever in examining the particulars of such a relationship, or deciding just when and how it actually came into being.

Fiduciary relationships are very special in the eyes of the law. A fiduciary is a person or entity in whom one confides (such as a client with his attorney, a patient with his psychiatrist, or a penitent with his priest) — or it can also be a person or entity to whom one entrusts money or property, such as a client with his stockbroker or banker. Or it can simply be the trustee who holds certain property in trust for what the law calls the beneficiary of that trust — the person for whose benefit the trust was established.

Read it all.

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

The Virginia Supreme Court Decision in the Falls Church Case (III): A Diocese of Virginia PR

Read it all.

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

The Virginia Supreme Court Decision in the Falls Church Case (II): a John Yates response Letter

Dear Friends,

We have received word from the Virginia Supreme Court that it has ruled in our appeal. The Court’s decision reverses the trial court’s ruling as to a part of our church’s funds, and sends the case back to the trial court for further proceedings regarding that point. But the Court has affirmed the trial court’s decision as to our church’s real property and much of the personal property, meaning that our lands, building, and much of our money have not been returned to us. The Court’s decision is now posted on its web site at http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opnscvwp/1120919.pdf
Please join me in praising and thanking God for his faithfulness to us despite this result. Although this is not the outcome we had hoped for, our faith and our future do not depend on court decisions. The Lord works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28), and we had purposed to praise Him regardless of the outcome. It is difficult to face the prospect of losing things that are precious to us, but ultimately we do not place our hope in land, buildings, or money. We have followed the course that we prayerfully believed was right. We have consistently sought to resolve this dispute outside the courts. We are grateful that we live in a country in which recourse to the courts was open to us. And it is a privilege to count this cost to be obedient to Christ.

There is no doubt in my mind that we as a church are much stronger as a result of the trials that we have undergone. Our witness remains strong. God has enabled us to continue to plant new churches and establish new ministries. And we have been blessed by the friendship, support, and assistance that so many other churches continue to provide to us. It is the body of Christ in action. And together we are determined to move forward in faith, to continue to provide a beacon of Christ’s love to Northern Virginia, and to serve our brothers and sisters in our community and beyond.

We will be in touch after we have had a chance to review the Court’s written opinion more carefully, and our vestry plans to meet tomorrow to prayerfully consider our next steps. We will keep you informed of further developments.

In the meantime, let’s continue to pray boldly that God would expand our vision and do beyond all that we can ask or imagine in our life as a church. Nothing is impossible with Him. To Him alone be all the honor, praise, and glory.

In the family,

–(The Rev.) John Yates is rector, Falls Church (Anglican)

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

The Virginia Supreme Court Decision in the Falls Church Case (I): The Decision itself

Read it all.

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

Heartwarming Monday Morning Video Report–Bostonians take back their city

“The city that started the American Revolution is proving its strength by simply moving forward; NBC’s Katie Tur reports.”

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Music, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Financial Times) US ”˜slow’ to tackle homegrown jihadism

[…An] important strand of the British effort is what the UK government calls the “Prevent” strategy. This involves the police and local authorities working with Muslim organisations and communities to ensure that British nationals who become radicalised are identified and encouraged to channel their anger before they resort to violence.

Professor Michael Clarke, an expert on counter-terrorism at the Royal United Services Institute, a think-tank, says the strategy has had some success. “It is about getting the Muslim community to accept responsibility for people in their midst, helping to identify those who are radicalised and working with the police and local authorities to stop them before they plan attacks,” he says….like a number of UK experts, he argues that the US has been slow to tackle “homegrown” jihadism pre-emptively. “The Americans find it hard to accept that jihadism can arise from within their own society. They still feel the phenomenon is pushed into the US by outside forces or foreign actors.”

Read it all (if needed another link is there).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, House of Representatives, Islam, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Senate, Terrorism, The U.S. Government, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

(WSJ) Turn to Religion Split Bomb Suspects' Home

A close examination of the Tsarnaev family shows that, over the past five years or so, the personal lives of the family members slipped into turmoil, according to interviews with the parents, relatives and friends. The upheaval in the household was driven, at least in part, by a growing interest in religion by both Tamerlan and his mother.

Once known as a quiet teenager who aspired to be a boxer, Tamerlan Tsarnaev delved deeply into religion in recent years at the urging of his mother, who feared he was slipping into a life of marijuana, girls and alcohol. Tamerlan quit drinking and smoking, gave up boxing because he thought it was in opposition to his religion, and began pushing the rest of his family to pursue stricter ways, his mother recalled.

“You know how Islam has changed me,” his mother, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in Makhachkala, Dagestan, says he told her.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Europe, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Russia, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who by triumphing over the power of darkness, didst Prepare our place in the New Jerusalem: Grant us, who have this day given thanks for thy resurrection, to praise thee in that city whereof thou art the light; where with the Father and the Holy Spirit thou livest and reignest, world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

–Colossians 1:1-14

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Charisma Magazine) Rick Warren–5 Ways to Respond When Tragedy Strikes

Can you lose a home? Yes. Can you lose a career? Yes. Can you lose a marriage? Yes. Can you lose your health? Yes. Can you lose your youthful beauty? Yes. Can you lose your relationship with God? No.

Christians get to approach tragedy differently than the rest of the world. We get to rely completely on Christ. We get to have hope. But how? By intentionally leaning on Christ for stability, listening to Christ for direction, and looking to Christ for salvation. He is our Rock, our Shelter, our Great Shepherd, our Hiding Place.

Suffering and tragedy are inevitable in a sinful world, but Jesus Christ makes all the difference. Decide that you will rely on Him even in the darkest of hours of your life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Rob Martin's Sermon last Sunday at the Cathedral

Listen if you wish to the Bishop of Marsabit, Kenya preaching at the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul during his visit to the diocese of South Carolina here. More Sunday Worship here

Posted in * South Carolina

(AP) Boston faithful come together for prayer, worship

Four glowing white pillar candles illuminated photographs of the people killed in bombing-connected violence in the Boston area last week as the city sought comfort in religious services on the first Sunday after the blasts plunged the community into days of chaos.

The photographs showing the faces of 8-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and 26-year-old Sean Collier, a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, were propped up on the altar at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross, where Roman Catholic Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley spoke about the city’s pain and looked ahead to its spiritual recovery.

“Everyone has been profoundly affected by this wanton violence and destruction inflicted upon our community by two young men unknown to all of us,” said O’Malley, speaking to a crowd of mourners that included Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who sat in the front row of the cavernous cathedral with other elected officials. “It’s very difficult to understand what was going on in their heads. What demons were operating, what ideologies or politics, or the perversions of their religion.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Brooklyn-Born R. Catholic Priest In Mexican prison Ministry–Even Violent Drug Cartels Fear God

M. had been in prison for about three years. He was normally a regular at morning Mass, skinny and skittish, with light eyes, and he had recently grown a scruffy beard. “You look like you belong on ”˜Lost,’ ” [the Rev. Robert Coogan] said when he greeted him. Unlike other prisoners, M. actually had a family of some means, and in a prison system without uniforms, his style often seemed more appropriate for an indie rock club. His sneakers were clean and hip; his jeans had designer labels.

Inside maximum, M. shared space not just with hard-core Zetas but also with inmates too insane to be kept anywhere else ”” including one who refused to wear clothes and spoke to angels. He slept little, like any prey encircled by predators, and that morning he anxiously greeted Coogan’s arrival, signaling immediately with darting eyes that he needed to talk privately. Coogan followed him into the yard, where M. pulled out a Bible for cover and positioned himself near a faraway wall. There, he explained that the Zetas wanted him to pay them 2,000 pesos ($165), with the first half due at noon the next day. Coogan, brightening the dusty pen with his purple robes, nodded as M. spoke. He had paid small ransoms to keep M. safe from the Zetas twice already, but this latest demand was larger, more than a week’s pay. He wasn’t sure whether the Zetas were serious or if they were just toying with M. He also didn’t know if M. could be trusted. M. claimed to be locked up because a friend stole a television and he was taking the rap, but other inmates doubted his story and said he was a schemer. Coogan considered his options. Paying the Zetas would encourage extortion, but ignoring the threat, or confronting the Zetas directly, could get M. beaten or killed.

Read it all from the New York Times Magazine.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Mexico, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Ezra Klein–About the Obamacare ”˜train wreck’

My read of the evidence is that the Affordable Care Act will have a much tougher first year than was initially anticipated but it won’t be the catastrophe that Republicans hope. The exceptions will be a handful of states where Republican governors have purposefully made it a catastrophe, but that’s likely to make the Republican governors look bad, particularly if the law is working smoothly in states that have tried to make it a success.

Conservative commentary on the law, with its continuous predictions of explosive premium hikes (and continuous omissions of the offsetting subsidies) and gleeful celebration anytime anything looks to be going wrong, is risking the mistake that the Obama administration made early on with the sequester. When the predictions of pain and chaos didn’t instantly come true, the whole narrative shifted in an instant.

Republicans have done a very good job prepping the country for the pain of Obamacare. They’ve not done a good job prepping the country for the people who will be helped by Obamacare.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Medicare, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The U.S. Government, Theology

(NY Times Op-Ed) T. M. Luhrmann–Why Going to Worship is good for You

One of the most striking scientific discoveries about religion in recent years is that going to church weekly is good for you. Religious attendance ”” at least, religiosity ”” boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life. The reason for this is not entirely clear.

Social support is no doubt part of the story. At the evangelical churches I’ve studied as an anthropologist, people really did seem to look out for one another. They showed up with dinner when friends were sick and sat to talk with them when they were unhappy. The help was sometimes surprisingly concrete. Perhaps a third of the church members belonged to small groups that met weekly to talk about the Bible and their lives. One evening, a young woman in a group I joined began to cry. Her dentist had told her that she needed a $1,500 procedure, and she didn’t have the money. To my amazement, our small group ”” most of them students ”” simply covered the cost, by anonymous donation. A study conducted in North Carolina found that frequent churchgoers had larger social networks, with more contact with, more affection for, and more kinds of social support from those people than their unchurched counterparts. And we know that social support is directly tied to better health.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology