Daily Archives: August 16, 2015

(G+M) Simon Hedlin on why Amnesty International made the wrong decision on sex workers

There are important reasons why it is a gigantic misstep for Amnesty to advocate for the decriminalization of sex buyers. First, the empirical evidence of potential benefits from making it permissible to purchase sex is weak while the costs may be enormous. New Zealand decriminalized prostitution in 2003 and yet the country’s Prostitution Law Review Committee found in its evaluation that a majority of prostituted persons felt that the decriminalization act “could do little about violence [in prostitution].” At the same time, several studies have found that countries where buying sex is decriminalized, sex trafficking is more prevalent.

Second, decriminalizing buying sex seems to be at odds with Amnesty’s core objectives. One of the reasons that there are so many of us who have strongly supported Amnesty for years is the organization’s steadfast commitment to the fundamental rights of individuals, whether they are refugees, prisoners of conscience, or victims of torture. But buying sex is not a human right.

Instead of adopting a harmful proposal, Amnesty should have learned from Sweden’s prostitution policies. In 1999, Sweden made it illegal to buy sexual services, but not to sell them ”“ an approach that is now often called “the Swedish model.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Europe, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Sexuality, Sweden

(RNS) Black churches bucking the trend of decline

There are numerous reasons why some black churches retain their members, but, most prominently, the church has played a historic role in black life that has fostered a continuing strong black Protestant identity. Members and visitors at Alfred Street say the church’s holistic ministry ”” the preaching, the singing and the community outreach ”” are what draw them in and keep them there.

“I think black churches have always been very pivotal in social movements and outreach,” said Kelli Slater, 20, a Howard University student from Mississippi who was visiting Alfred Street at the invitation of her older sister. “I think black churches do a whole lot more than religion.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Slavic Evangelical Baptist Church Pastor Charged in Hacking Scheme Detained for N.Y. Hearing

A Pennsylvania pastor who’s the key suspect in a global insider-trading scheme must remain in custody while being sent to New York for a bail hearing.
A judge in Philadelphia, whose decision on Tuesday to free Vitaly Korchevsky on $100,000 bail was blocked by a judge in Brooklyn, ordered the pastor temporarily detained while he’s transported by U.S. Marshals to the New York borough for the hearing.
Korchevsky made no comments Friday in court in Philadelphia. He whispered to his wife and brother-in-law across the courtroom. Bob Levant, one of his attorneys, said the father of two is the “centerpiece” of a close-knit Ukrainian community in the Glen Mills area.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology, Stock Market, Theology

(PJP) Remembering the remarkable life of Brother Roger, Taizé

Brother Roger’s life ended tragically ten years ago when he was stabbed during a worship service by a young woman who was mentally ill. I was convinced this violent incident would change the character of Taizé, that the brothers would put up bulletproof glass between themselves and the visitors or that people would have to run their bags through x-ray machines upon arrival.

But this was not the case. The community of brothers continued to welcome pilgrims with openness and care.

In a world that is hyper-militarized, the brothers modeled a different response ”“ one of trust, prayerfulness and compassion in a desperately wounded world. Taizé continues to organize what is called a “Pilgrimage of Trust” in different cities around the world each year where thousands of pilgrims are welcomed into people’s homes and churches.

Why is this place so special? Why does it continue to attract so many pilgrims? I believe Taizé is what the Celts referred to as a “thin place” where the veil between this reality and God is permeable.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, France, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

(CT) Lamentations: A Bottle for the Tears of the World

What is the likely setting in which Lamentations was written?

Almost certainly, it is the immediate aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 B.C. It was the most traumatic moment in Israel’s Old Testament history. The writer paints a portrait of utter devastation and appalling suffering: starvation, disease, slaughter, rape, scavenging, looting, and the desecration of holy things.

Unlike in Job and many of the Psalms, God says nothing to the writer of Lamentations. What should we make of his silence?

One commentator, Kathleen O’Connor, calls God’s silence “inspired.” This resonates on three levels. First, God allows the suffering people to have their full say. He listens, without interrupting to comfort or correct. Second, the Prophets had already explained that this would happen and why. And third, although God does not speak as a character in the book, he speaks by including it in his Word, within the canon of Scripture.

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Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Local Paper) New speed dating event helps seniors find companions, maybe even romance

Joyce Southwell is looking for a little more fun in life. She wants romance, a dancing partner and someone to talk to. However, that hasn’t been easy to find because Southwell, who lives on James Island, is 80 years old.

Despite the challenges she faces dating at an older age, finding that special someone may be getting a little bit easier for men and women like her. Southwell and about two dozen other women and men over the age of 70 in the Charleston area recently took part in a Speed Dating event at the Lowcountry Senior Center.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Men, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Women

St. Mary's Anglican Church in Auburn to celebrate 225th anniversary

For her choice of hymns to play on an old pipe organ in a church built in 1790, Johanna Goldenberg doesn’t dust off a tune written years ago by some English vicar in a country parish.

Instead, she chooses a contemporary piece. A reflection, she says, that there’s still plenty of history to be made at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.

“This is not a museum,” she says. “This is a vibrant, thriving church. It’s a wonderful little church, I love it.”

This weekend, St. Mary’s is celebrating its 225th anniversary and on Sunday a special service is being held that Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, will attend.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Parish Ministry

A Prayer to Begin the Day from BF Westcott

Blessed Lord, who for our sakes wast content to bear sorrow and want and death: Grant to us such a measure of thy Spirit that we may follow thee in all self-denial and tenderness of soul. Help us by thy great love to succour the afflicted, to relieve the needy, to share the burdens of the heavy laden, and ever to see thee in all that are poor and destitute; for thy great mercy’s sake.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!

–Psalm 118:1

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) VJ Day: Veterans at 70th anniversary commemorations

Veterans of World War Two have taken part in events to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day, when Japan surrendered and the war ended.
A memorial event was held at Horse Guards Parade, attended by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
And the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh joined the PM and former prisoners of war at a remembrance service at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London.
David Cameron said it was important to “honour the memory of those that died”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, History