Daily Archives: July 21, 2015

[Breitbart] Poll: Support for Gay Marriage Has Fallen After Obergefell

by Dr Thomas D. Williams

According to a recent AP-GFK poll, support for gay marriage among U.S. citizens has dropped six percentage points since their last poll in April, with more Americans disapproving of the Supreme Court ruling making gay marriage the law of the land than those approving it.
Rather than galvanizing Americans into a unified body, the Obergefell decision has left U.S. citizens more divided than ever on the question of gay marriage, after the court itself showed a deep divide on the issue. In an unprecedented move, the four opposing justices each published an independent dissent, leaving a mine of legal reasoning contrary to the majority opinion.

The AP poll reveals that 42% of Americans favor legal gay marriage, while a similar poll carried out last April showed 48% in favor. Moreover, in conflicts between the interests of same-sex couples and those of religious liberty, a majority of Americans (56%) believe that government should rule in favor of religious freedom.

Specifically, more Americans believe that local officials with religious objections should be exempted from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, with 49% siding with the exemption and 47% saying they should be obliged to comply with the law. Moreover, an increasing number of U.S. citizens believe that wedding-related businesses with religious objections should be allowed to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples. Whereas in April 52% thought they should be accorded this option, the number was up to 59% in the recent poll.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family

Andrew Symes: C of E: Orthodox protest voices growing louder?

There is evidence that some conservative and open evangelicals are finding common ground in engaging with church and culture around issues of sexuality.
..Gerald Bray, author of many books and visiting Professor at an American University, writes in the journal Churchman, of which he is Editor: “so warped has discussion of homosexuality become that speaking”¦truth has become risky”. Bray speaks of “the Lie” of “the gay agenda” which stifles free speech and creates fear ”“ he gives Dolce and Gabbana and Ashers Bakery as examples. Bray says that “the Lie is at work again” in the Pilling Report and the setting up of the Shared Conversations:

“at the heart of the Lie is the assertion that the unbridgeable chasm between those who advocate same sex marriage and those opposed to it can be overcome by a supposedly common dedication to ”˜mission’”¦the Christian church has to surrender to the world in order to reach it, which is exactly the opposite of what the New Testament teaches us.”

Bray concludes soberly: “will we accept public ridicule because we are standing up for truth? Are we so afraid of disestablishment that we will compromise the Gospel in order to preserve our increasingly imaginary secular privileges?”
Reform have issued robust Statements expressing dismay at the Gay Pride march at York Minster and the decision of TEC to prepare for celebrating same sex marriages in its liturgies.

One might expect conservative evangelicals to say this kind of thing but in fact in many circles there has been a reluctance to address these issues publicly. So it is encouraging to see evidence of a move away from the pietism which holds that issues of sex are an internal, pastoral matter, that Christians should not seek a return to “Christendom” which is implied by any critique of the culture, and that all attempts at mission must be preceded by grovelling apologies for “homophobia”.

Within the more “centrist” sections of evangelical Anglicanism there seems to be increasing frustration with revisionism, and the failure of orthodox Bishops to publicly hold the line on orthodox doctrine and ethics…

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

Wim Houtman: Interview with Bishop Graham Kings

”˜From my seventh till my twelfth year I sang in the church choir. I knew God existed, but I had no idea you could have a personal relationship with him. After high school I had a gap year in the army: I was miles away from God there. Then I went to Oxford to read law and I got to know some committed Christians. I started reading the gospels again and the Jesus I met in the gospels matched the Jesus I saw in the lives of those Christians.

Someone asked me along to an outreach service and there, on Sunday evening January 20th, 1974, I committed my life to the Lord. On Wednesday after that I met my future wife, and on Friday I attended a missionary prayer group of Operation Mobilisation. That was not just your average week!

In April, Alison and I started going out. At her parents’ house, I encountered books, music and arts, which I had not grown up with. A whole world opened itself up for me to do with faith and culture. I thought: do I really want to be a lawyer? I went for theology. My Dad was furious. After two weeks, he gave up his resistance and said: “Give me something to read then.’’ I gave him the New Testament in the Good News version. He went away with my Mum for a week and read the whole thing. My mother, who had chronic colitis, had been healed by prayer shortly beforehand in a Charismatic Church, nearby. And my Dad saw me change. Through all these ways God was speaking to him. In November he came to church and when the vicar made the altar call, he went up to give himself to Jesus. A week later my sister did the same. So God drew the whole family to himself in one year.’

Read it all from here originally and and there is a translation into Spanish here

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

The Diocese of Egypt hosts Iftar

The Diocese of Egypt Hosts Iftar (break of the fast of Ramadan) for Muslim and Christian Leaders, at Laylat al-Qadr.
The invincible Egypt

The Most Rev. Mouneer Hanna Anis, bishop of the diocese and primate of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, hosted an iftar, yesterday the 13th of July, at All Saints Cathedral, attended by Dr Ali Gomaa, the previous Grand Mufti, Dr. Mahmoud Hamdi Zaqzouq, the former Minister of Religious Endowments, Dr Hany Helal, the former Minister of Education.

More than 100 people attended the Iftar, including a number of Muslim and Christian clerics, politicians, ambassadors of the U.K., Netherlands, and Ireland, and journalists. The artist Madeleine Tabar, and the Lebanese singer Rula Zaki were keen to attend the ceremony, and Rula sang some beautiful national songs.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

NZ Herald: Battle lines drawn over Anglican churches

The Anglican Diocese of Auckland plans to sell two Mid North churches, in response to what it says are declining congregations and rising costs, but some at least are not prepared to let them go quietly.

A deputation, none of whom wished to be identified, representing St Catherine’s at Okaihau and St Stephen the Martyr’s in Kaikohe, told the Northland Age last week that they would fight the decision, and hoped that the two communities would rise up in their defence.

A report from Assistant Bishop of Auckland the Rt Rev Jim White, based on a draft that he said had been circulated to the Waimate North community earlier in the year, was accepted and approved by the Diocesan Council on May 28.
Critics of that decision, which they said was based purely on a highly offensive business model, pointed to the history behind the two churches, particularly St Catherine’s, the fact that they had been built for and by their communities, that they continued to be maintained by the communities at no cost to the diocese, and the distasteful realities of selling them, complete with their graveyards, for some other purpose or development.

St Catherine’s was completed in 1875. It was built, for the use of all denominations, on land gifted by Captain Henry Burleigh, using totara he also donated, that was pit-sawn by local settlers. It was erected by one Robert Neilson.

The church and its graveyard had been maintained and cared for by Okaihau families ever since.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces

([London] Times) TV vicar under fire for ”˜seedy’ reality show Married at First Sight

The vicar who is the star of a reality television show in which couples are married as soon as they meet has been criticised for allowing his clerical collar to give respectability to a “seedy” experiment.

The Rev Nick Devenish is one of five experts who selected six strangers to tie the knot in the Channel 4 show Married at First Sight.

The team vicar at the Church of St Mary & St Michael in Cartmel, Cumbria, analysed the participants’ understanding of marriage, what they wanted from their union and how well they understood the seriousness and commitment required. He was part of a panel of experts alongside a sex therapist, a psychologist and two anthropologists.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, accused the show of “inappropriate and rather seedy behaviour” and has said that a Church of England vicar should not have been involved.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Bahama IslandsInfo: Legacy of St. Agnes Anglican Church highlighted at 170th anniversary

St. Agnes Church, becoming the first Anglican Church, is extremely significant because the Anglican Church was the established church of all of Great Britain at the time so it was significant to have an Anglican Church in these communities regardless of how many other denominations were represented. St. Agnes was established to minister to the lowest in the society, to reach out to them, but now over 100 years later, St. Agnes Church is unofficially the “black Cathedral” of New Providence. That is a major achievement and it did not come about simply because we wished it so. It was because of the very significant role that St. Agnes Church played and continues to play in this very vibrant and diverse community that became and remains Over-the-Hill.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, West Indies

Kendall Harmon–Throttling the Blog Way Back for a needed break from now to July's end 2015

I know you understand. Posts will be catch as catch can but there will be updates so do check back. I am seriously considering an occasional open thread on an edifying subject so if you have suggestions for such threads please post in the comments below. Many thanks–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Today in History:July 21

You can check here and there. This is what stood out to me:

1160 Peterus Lombardus, Italian theologian, bishop of Paris, died.

1669 John Locke’s Constitution of English colony Carolina was approved.

1831 Belgium became independent as Leopold I was proclaimed King of the Belgians.

1861 In the first major battle of the Civil War, Confederate forces repelled an attempt by the Union Army to turn their flank in Virginia. The battle became known by the Confederates as Manassas, while the Union called it Bull Run.

1969: Man takes first steps on the Moon

What stood out to you–KSH?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History

A Prayer to Begin the Day from John R. W. Stott

O God, our heavenly Father, who so loved the world that thou didst give thine only Son to die upon the cross: Pour thy love into our hearts, we humbly beseech thee; that we loving thee above all things, may give up ourselves, our time, our money, our talents, to thy service; for the sake of him who loved us and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now at Lystra there was a man sitting, who could not use his feet; he was a cripple from birth, who had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and walked.

–Acts 14:8-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Anglican Journal) Cathedral exhibit extends spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Toronto’s Cathedral Church of St. James has mounted a historical overview of the Anglican church’s often painful relationship with Indigenous peoples, as part of an effort to keep alive the momentum generated by the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in May.

Truth and Reconciliation: A Special Exhibit on the Legacy of the Residential Schools is showing daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the cathedral’s east aisle during July and August. The cathedral is located on the northeast corner of Church and King streets.

The idea of an exhibit was supported by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. “The primate was keenly interested, and we thought this was something we could put together fairly quickly,” said Nancy Mallet, cathedral archivist and exhibits committee chair.
– See more at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/-cathedral-exhibit-extends-spirit-of-the-trc#sthash.Huf4i7CB.dpuf

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, History, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(London Times) Cameron crackdown on ”˜anti-British’ Muslims

British Muslims who hold “intolerant ideas” and create a climate for extremism will become the target of a new clampdown to be announced by David Cameron today.

In a landmark speech the prime minister will say that a failure of integration has meant that there are people born and raised in this country who do not identify with Britain. Outlining a five-year strategy to combat extremism, he will attack those who hold ideas “hostile to basic liberal values” and who promote “discrimination, sectarianism and segregation”.

Mr Cameron will single out Muslim conspiracy theorists who believe that “Jews exercise malevolent power”, that 9/11 was inspired by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, and that Britain allowed 7/7 because it wanted an anti-Muslim backlash.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

William Smith–Who’s Scared of Polygamy? A Restrained Case for the “Slippery Slope” Argument

Polygamy may well make for a coalition of strange bedfellows drawn from across the religious and non-religious spectrum in the United States. If the so-called “mainline” churches repeat their same-sex marriage trajectory, they could well provide polygamy some hefty cultural and political ballast (though the impact of that support may not be quite as big as it was for same-sex marriage in light of the continued demographic decline of these denominations).

These Christians would, of course, also need to square their religious heritage around polygamy with the kinds of feminist critiques that informed the overhaul of monogamy during the past 50 or so years. The Reformation proponents of polygamy, after all, only had polygyny in mind, and a very male-dominated version at that. Protestants today would almost certainly need to consider polyandry and, to use a clunky term, polygynandry.

I agree with Douthat and Silk that Americans are going to need to think seriously about polygamy. Douthat is probably right in arguing that many of the arguments liberals put forth on behalf of same-sex marriage will be deployed on behalf of polygamy, but Silk is probably also correct that religious freedom claims will play a role as well. In any case, rather than let fear guide the conversation, perhaps we should embrace an honest, thorough, and thoughtful debate that will likely generate a new set of pro- and con- alliances from a diverse range of people and groups in the United States. It wouldn’t be a reformation of marriage without one.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Lutheran, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Philosophy, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Psychology, Sexuality, United Church of Christ

(LA Times) President Obama again leaves Nigeria off his Africa trip itinerary

Nigeria felt slighted when President Obama overlooked the vast nation on his first African trip as head of state in 2009, instead visiting its shrimp-sized neighbor, Ghana, where he lauded the smaller country’s democratic achievements.

Obama left Nigeria out again in his 2013 visit to Africa. Now, as he prepares for his third and likely final trip to the continent as president, Nigeria is once more being bypassed in favor of Kenya and Ethiopia.

If democratic achievements play a role in the president’s itinerary, Nigerians may be wondering: Why?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Globalization, Nigeria, Politics in General