Daily Archives: November 15, 2014

(NYT Op-Ed) N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver: Allow Gambling on Pro Games

Outside of the United States, sports betting and other forms of gambling are popular, widely legal and subject to regulation. In England, for example, a sports bet can be placed on a smartphone, at a stadium kiosk or even using a television remote control.

In light of these domestic and global trends, the laws on sports betting should be changed. Congress should adopt a federal framework that allows states to authorize betting on professional sports, subject to strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards.

These requirements would include: mandatory monitoring and reporting of unusual betting-line movements; a licensing protocol to ensure betting operators are legitimate; minimum-age verification measures; geo-blocking technology to ensure betting is available only where it is legal; mechanisms to identify and exclude people with gambling problems; and education about responsible gaming.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Sports, Theology

(Telegraph) Pope Francis denounces euthanasia as 'sin against God'

Pope Francis denounced the right to die movement on Saturday, saying that euthanasia is a sin against God and creation.

The Latin American pontiff said it was a “false sense of compassion” to consider euthanasia as an act of dignity.

Earlier this month, the Vatican’s top bioethics official condemned as “reprehensible” the death by assisted suicide of a 29-year-old American woman, Brittany Maynard, who was suffering terminal brain cancer and said she wanted to die with dignity.

“This woman (took her own life) thinking she would die with dignity, but this is the error,” said Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

Ashley Maguire–Millennial madness–kids without marriage

The other day, something came across my newsfeed about Kourtney Kardashian’s pregnancy style.

I’ll hand it to her; she’s a stylish pregnant lady. And we know this for certain now, because this is her third pregnancy with boyfriend Scott Disick.

But that’s just it. Boyfriend.

It’s head-scratching to me why a couple would have multiple children ”” all “planned” ”” but refuse to tie the knot. It seems to me, if you’re building a family together, why not make it official? Yet keeping it unofficial is becoming the new norm.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Personal Finance, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Women

(NPR) Victims Of Online Threats Say Perpetrators Aren't Being Caught

It is illegal to threaten someone online. But in recent weeks there have been a number of high-profile threats against women ”” among the targets were several feminist video game critics and an actress who starred in a video about street harassment of women.

But many victims of online threats say they are frustrated because the perpetrators are never caught.

Rebecca Watson says she’s had many threats against her on Twitter, in email and on her website, Skepchick. The site focuses on feminism and science; she ignores most of the threats ”” but once in a while they truly scare her.

Someone sent Watson a link to a man’s website. “He was making music and the album was a picture of me ”” my face with a target on it,” she says. And even worse, Watson says, “the name of the album was I Have A Tombstone With Rebecca Watson’s Name On It. ”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Violence

A Muslim Prayer Service at the National Cathedral (IV)–photos provided by RNS

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Photos/Photography, TEC Parishes

A Muslim Prayer Service at the National Cathedral (III)–A Letter to Global South Anglicans

Dear Brother and Sister Anglicans:

It is a beautiful building, isn’t it? Those white spires reaching into a perfect blue sky! Today, November 14, 2014, that building, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s National Cathedral, will for the first time offer Muslim Friday Prayers (Jumu’ah) within the sanctuary.

The prayers, which the Cathedral will proudly webcast live from their website, will be co-sponsored by the leaders of such Muslim organizations as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), and Masjid Mohammed (The Nation’s Mosque), as well as South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool and the Cathedral’s Director of Liturgy, the Rev. Canon Gina Campbell. CAIR, ISNA, MPAC, and ADAMS are all affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood (the Ikhwan).

I took the photo of the National Cathedral in 2006 while I was with hundreds of Iranian Americans ”” both Christian and Muslim ”” protesting the Cathedral’s invitation to former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami to speak there. Family members of those who languished and/or died in Iranian prisons held posters with their loved ones’ pictures. Other signs showed women being stoned ”” during the years of Khatami’s presidency or tenure as Minister of Culture.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Parishes, Theology

A Muslim Prayer Service at the National Cathedral (II)-A Juicy Ecumenism piece

In welcoming comments, The Rev. Canon Gina Gilland Campbell of the National Cathedral noted she has learned the patterns and practices of prayer from Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs and others. Stating that “Openness to those whose prayer differs from our own is one thing” but that preparedness to exercise hospitality is another, Campbell announced that “deep relationships come out of shared prayer.”

No statement was offered noting the use of the Cathedral sanctuary for non-Christian worship, despite the space being consecrated to the worship of Christ. The sanctuary of the National Cathedral has also been used for Tibetan sand painting by monks and for a Native American smudging ceremony, in which a gift of smoking tobacco leaves was offered to welcome spirits from the four cardinal directions.

In his sermon, Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool of South Africa noted appreciation to the church for making the facility available, but explained the group chose not to have prayers in the “main church” (the nave) “lest subsequent generations of Muslims see that as a license to appropriate the church for Islam”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Muslim Prayer Service at the National Cathedral (I)–A Haaretz Article

While not the United States’ official church, owing to a constitutional ban on such a delineation, the episcopal National Cathedral is nevertheless deeply symbolic, designated by Congress as America’s “National House of Prayer.” It is the final resting place of American icons such as Hellen Keller and Woodrow Wilson, and has hosted the presidential inaugural prayer services for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, both Bushes and President Barack Obama. Islam is the third-largest religion in the United States, behind Christianity and Judaism, and with an estimated 2.6 million adherents, constitutes approximately 0.8% of the country’s population.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(ITV) Liverpool's new bishop "ready for the challenge"

The Right Reverend Paul Bayes will be officially installed in his new position as Bishop of Liverpool during a special service at the city’s Anglican Cathedral.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

The letters of TS Eliot Vol 5: 1930-1931, book review: A personal tragedy, and a turn to Faith

In many ways, this year of Eliot’s life is the personal calm before the storm, although that is scarcely obvious from the public and professional nature of his letters.

At the end of 1931, Eliot accepts a year-long post at Harvard; on 11 December, his wife, Vivienne, writes to Ottoline Morrell: “I was so happy at your house today ”¦. Particularly it did strike me, for I had just been through such a fearful time with T. All of a sudden.” “T” is clearly her husband, and it seems likely that they were discussing his near departure.

This year will be the last that he and Vivienne spend together; on his return from Harvard he will endure a horrible and disturbing separation from her as she will enter a sanatorium where she will remain for the rest of her life.

The utter tragedy of this personal story, though, is rarely glimpsed in Eliot’s letters, and the always excellent footnotes provide much of the back story, with excerpts from letters written by Virginia Woolf or Morrell, who detail Vivienne’s increasingly erratic behaviour (Vivienne tells them both she keeps hornets “in her bed”).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, History, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Francis Asbury and George Whitefield

Holy God, who didst so inspire Francis Asbury and George Whitefield with evangelical zeal that their faithful proclamation of the Gospel caused a great awakening among those who heard them: Inspire us, we pray, by thy Holy Spirit, that, like them, we may be eager to share thy Good News and lead many to Jesus Christ, in whom is eternal life and peace; and who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer for those in ministry to begin the day

O Almighty God, be pleased to remember with thy mercy and love all those who minister before thee in holy things. Prosper the great work in which they are engaged. Enable them faithfully to preach thy Word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy sacraments. May they uphold Christ, both by their words and in their lives, and in all things set forward thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Ashton Oxenden

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.

–Psalm 87:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(FT) Elif Shafak–In the Middle East, female bodies are a battleground

After a talk I gave in London a woman in the audience approached me: middle-aged, tall, and wearing a designer dress. Although she agreed with me on various issues she could not understand why I was critical of military takeovers. “In the Middle East a coup d’état is the only way forward,” she said. “If it weren’t for [Egypt’s president] General Sisi, modern women like me, like yourself, would end up in a burka. He’s there to protect the likes of us.”

As I listened to her, I recalled scenes from my childhood in Turkey. I remembered my mother saying that we should be grateful to General Kenan Evren, who led the coup d’état in 1980, for protecting women’s rights. After the military seized power, a number of pro-women steps were taken, including the legalisation of abortion. Yet the coup would eventually bring about massive human rights violations and systematic torture in police headquarters and prisons, particularly against the Kurds, maiming Turkey’s civil society and democracy for decades to come.

Female adulation of male autocrats is widespread throughout the Middle East. I have met Syrian women who have tried to convince me that Bashar al-Assad is the best option for modern women. The Syrian regime seems aware of this rhetoric, recruiting hundreds of so-called Lionesses for National Defense , who are said to be fighting against Islamic fundamentalism and defending women’s freedom.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Women

(Commentary) Peter Wehner–NT Wright on Christians and the Loss of Cultural Influence

n an interview with Ken Myers, host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal, the theologian N.T. Wright spoke about the importance of narrative in understanding Scripture and the ways of God.

What Wright emphasizes is the eschatological message that God is doing something in history; that the Jewish and Christian faiths aren’t simply about moral laws, abstract concepts, and disconnected canonical books but are rather about a grand story starting in Genesis and moving forward, “a project going somewhere,” in Wright’s words.

The story has a beginning, soon followed by disaster, which is followed by God’s effort to transform and renew the world, to redeem it and to make things right and whole. (Obviously the Jewish and Christian faiths, while sharing a common origin, differ in how they eventually unfold.)

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture