Category : History

(Christian Today) Massive collapse in number of Anglicans in Britain, new survey shows

The number of Anglicans in Britain has collapsed by 50 per cent in under two decades, according to figures released today.

The latest British Social Attitudes survey’s data on religion show that the number of people in Britain who describe themselves as having no religion at all is also at its highest ever level.

More than half, 53 per cent, of the British public now describe themselves as having ‘no religion’.

This is up from 48 per cent in 2015.

Figures released earlier from the same survey showed that that religious people are becoming more socially liberal on issues like same sex relationships and abortion.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Religion & Culture, Sociology

A S Haley–Faults in the South Carolina Supreme Court Decision Laid Bare (I)

In a demonstration that tops all that came before, the motion makes its most convincing argument for Justice Hearn’s disqualification at pp. 11-12. ECUSA itself has for a long time declared in its national canons that as an unincorporated association of dioceses, its members are individuals who have been baptized in the Church (Canon I.17.1 [a], cited in n. 1 on p. 11). Justice Hearn fits that description, so ECUSA itself regards her as one of its own members.

Likewise, ECSC stated in discovery that “its members are persons” (ibid.), and so Justice Hearn, who belongs to a parish that recognizes the authority of ECSC and its Provisional Bishop, is a member of that body as well.

But the kicker is that under South Carolina law, all members of unincorporated associations are deemed to be parties to an action in the name of the association — and both ECUSA and ECSC are unincorporated associations. Ergo, Justice Hearn is a party defendant, and could be found personally liable if ECSC ends up with a money judgment against it and no means to pay it. As a party defendant, she has no right to sit in judgment of her own case (just as she has no inherent right to rule on her own disqualification by participating in deciding the motion). See the motion at pp. 11-12, and 24.)

Two Experts in Legal Ethics State that Justice Hearn Should Have Recused Herself

It is no answer to all of the foregoing to say that it was the responsibility of Bishop Lawrence’s attorneys to have requested Justice Hearn to withdraw from participation in the case. The South Carolina Judicial Canons required her to make a full disclosure on the record of all of the relevant facts before proceeding at all. Not only that, once she made such a disclosure, the Canons forbid parties from waiving disqualification on grounds of personal involvement, so that she would have had to step down once she revealed the extent of her and her husband’s personal involvement (see motion, pp. 13-19).

In further support of their motion, Bishop Lawrence’s attorneys submitted the affidavits of two recognized experts in the field of legal ethics.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

A Look Back to John F Kennedy’s Labor Day Address in 1963

We honor too the contributions of labor to the strength and safety of our Nation. America’s capacity for leadership in the world depends on the character of our society at home; and, in a turbulent and uncertain world, our leadership would falter unless our domestic society is robust and progressive. The labor movement in the United States has made an indispensable contribution both to the vigor of our democracy and to the advancement of the ideals of freedom around the earth.

We can take satisfaction on this Labor Day in the health and energy of our national society. The events of this year have shown a quickening of democratic spirit and vitality among our people. We can take satisfaction too in the continued steady gain in living standards. The Nation’s income, output, and employment have reached new heights. More than 70 million men and women are working in our factories, on our farms, and in our shops and services. The average factory wage is at an all-time high of more than $100 a week. Prices have remained relatively stable, so the larger paycheck means a real increase in purchasing power for the average American family.

Yet our achievements, notable as they are, must not distract us from the things we have yet to achieve. If satisfaction with the status quo had been the American way, we would still be 13 small colonies straggling along the Atlantic coast. I urge all Americans, on this Labor Day, to consider what we can do as individuals and as a nation to move speedily ahead on four major fronts.

First, we must accelerate our effort against unemployment and for the expansion of jobs and opportunity.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General

(First Things) John Waters for Labor Day 2017–Back to Work

In a recent book, Men Without Work, Nicholas Eberstadt shows that, although unemployment in the U.S. has been falling in what he calls this “second Gilded Age,” there is simultaneously a “flight from work” by men in their prime. Even while manufacturers are finding it difficult to fill vacancies, the percentage of working men between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-four is now lower than it was at the end of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Approximately one in eight men in their prime has left the workforce altogether, and about one in six is without paid work, a trend that has been visible since the mid-1960s. The graph of this male exodus from the workplace is an almost straight upward line, regardless of booms or recessions, indicating that weakening market demand is not the critical factor. Nearly seven million American men in their prime have left behind—it seems of their own volition—the idea of trading their skills and talents in the marketplace, and many have turned their backs on all forms of commitment and responsibility. Some are ex-cons, but the greater part is composed of single men without parental responsibilities and with limited formal education, a significant quotient of these being African Americans. Marriage trumps race as an indicator of employment, as does being a recent immigrant. For every man in his prime deemed unemployed, there are three others who are neither working nor looking for work. Almost three in five of these men are receiving at least one disability benefit, a factor that Eberstadt concedes may not be driving the phenomenon but is certainly financing it.

We observe, then, the depths of an existential rather than an economic or purely social crisis, with most of these men wasting away for an average of 2,100 hours a year in front of screens, binging on TV, pornography, sugar, and painkillers, no longer feeling that America has a place for their humanity. They don’t do civic society, religion, or volunteerism. If 1965 work rates pertained in the U.S. today, ­Eberstadt maintains, there would be approximately 10 million more men with paid work than there are now. He ­professes to find this baffling, given that national wealth has doubled since the turn of the millennium. He expresses ­similar incomprehension about the fact that, ­globalization and deindustrialization notwithstanding, this precise syndrome has not afflicted other Western ­societies to anything like the same extent. He calls it the “quiet catastrophe,” ignored by politicians and ­commentators.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Standpoint) Rabbi Jonathan Sacks–Cultural Climate Change

One thing is clear. Religion is not about to die. The religious have bigger families and stronger communities. They’re going to grow in numbers and confidence in the course of the 21st century. But the secular West is in real trouble. It’s re-enacting a scenario played out many times in the course of history, in Athens and Rome in antiquity, and Renaissance Italy. The same thing happens each time. A culture or civilisation at the very height of its affluence and its creativity finds that people are becoming more individualistic. They become more hedonist. They become more sceptical of religious beliefs, and that causes a loss of social cohesion, social energy and social ideals. No one said it better than a great American historian, Will Durant. As a young man he wanted to be a priest but actually became an atheist. So listen to what this atheist says — and it’s unbelievably powerful. After his huge study of the story of civilisation, he says:

What happens at a certain point in history is that the intellectual classes abandon the ancient theology and, after some hesitation, the moral code allied with it. Literature and philosophy become anti-clerical. The movement of liberation rises to an exuberant worship of reason and falls to a paralysing disillusionment with every dogma and every idea. Conduct deprived of its religious support deteriorates into epicurean chaos and life itself shorn of consoling faith becomes a burden alike to conscious poverty and to weary wealth. In the end, a society and its religion tend to fall together like body and soul in a harmonious death. Meanwhile, among the oppressed, another myth arises and gives new form to human hope, new courage to human effort and, after centuries of chaos, builds another civilisation.It is a very sober warning for our times, though it was written 60 years ago.

So in a world like today, religion can do one of three things. Number one, it can attempt to conquer society. That is the radical Islamist version. Number two, it can withdraw from society. That is the Benedict option or the ultra-Orthodox option, or the Soloveitchik option. Or number three, it can attempt to reinspire society, to do what Will Durant called giving people a new form of human hope and new courage to human effort.

If we adopt the first option, the radical anti-Western option, we will move straight away into the dark ages. If we adopt the second option, we will survive the dark ages, but they will still be dark. But if we adopt the third option of being true to ourselves and yet engaged in the public square, we have a chance of avoiding the dark and of countering cultural climate change. By religion, I don’t mean religion as a substitute for science. I certainly don’t mean religion in opposition to a free society. Don’t forget the architects of freedom in the modern world, in Holland, in England, and in America, Spinoza, Locke, and Jefferson, they did it in the name of religion, not as a protest against but in the name of religion.

So what do I mean by religion in the public square? I mean simply religion as a consecration of the bonds that connect us, religion as the redemption of our solitude, religion as loyalty and love, religion as altruism and compassion, religion as covenant and commitment, religion that consecrates marriage, that sustains community and helps reweave the torn fabric of society. That kind of religion is content to be a minority. Jews have been a minority wherever we went for 2,000 years, and in the immortal words of Sir Elton John, we can all say as Jews, “I’m still standing.” So religion can be a minority, but it can be a huge influence. It doesn’t seek power; it seeks influence. It’s engaged with the world; it’s not in retreat from the world. If we can do that, we might just bring those two cars closer together. We might just find that we can have our feet in society and our head in Heaven and we can bring the light that will vanquish the darkness. That is the kind of religion the world needs right now.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Religion & Culture

More on Michael Cromartie RIP

EPPC scholars and staff mourn the death on August 28 of our longtime friend and colleague Michael Cromartie. We pray for the repose of Mike’s soul and for the consolation of his wife Jenny and their children.

“Mike was at the heart and soul of the Ethics and Public Policy Center for more than three decades,” said EPPC President Ed Whelan. “The beautiful tributes that he has received are an eloquent testament to his special qualities. We will miss him dearly.”

EPPC Distinguished Senior Fellow George Weigel said of Mr. Cromartie:

Mike Cromartie was a pioneer of ecumenical evangelical dialogue and a wonderful colleague and friend. Among his many gifts, Mike had an extraordinary ability to engage all sorts of folks in serious conversation. He made an exceptional contribution to the work of EPPC, and to American public life, for over three decades. That he now lives with the Lord he loved and served is a consolation amidst a profound sense of loss.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Today in History–54 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Language, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(LARB) Monica Rico–How Fragile We Were: Why the United States Almost Failed Early

[Carol Berkin’s new book]…A Sovereign People prods us to remember that the early statesmen of this country sometimes were less like the formal tableau in John Trumbull’s famous painting of the signing of the Declaration (a painting produced many years after the event itself) and more like a quarrelsome neighborhood association, full of old grievances and new disagreements over any number of issues.

Some of the best passages in the book explore the weaknesses that beset these men: Adams’s injured vanity, Hamilton’s impatience with anyone not as smart as he, Jefferson’s tendency to overlook hard truths about his idealized French revolutionaries. We get less well-known figures as well, such as a young John Marshall, bright but with “lax, lounging manners,” according to his cousin Jefferson. Berkin’s description of the high-maintenance Elbridge Gerry, a man “whose mission in life often seemed to be alienating others,” will help readers understand why Adams’s appointment of Gerry to represent the United States in France in 1798 was one of the decisions that doomed that particular diplomatic errand to failure.

Perhaps the accidental hero of the story, if there is one, is John Adams, whose decision to seek yet another negotiation with France at the end of 1798 made a mockery of his administration’s drive toward war preparation. In stepping back from the brink, Adams opened the way for a new treaty with France that recognized American neutrality, but he also doomed his party and his own career. Berkin portrays a man who knew he lacked the glitter of Hamilton and the patrician dignity of Washington, but who knew, at the end, who he was: “a statesman rather than a politician. He would act in the best interests of the nation, not the narrow interests of the party.” We can only hope that we have such leaders in our own time. We do not know where the story ends.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Books, History, Politics in General

Malcolm Muggeridge: Sex is the Mysticism of Materialism

From here:

“Never, it is safe to say, in the history of the world has a country been as sex-ridden as America is today. And the rest of us, all eagerly emulating the American Way of Life, are going the same way. Sex has become the religion of the most civilized portions of the earth. The orgasm has replaced the Cross as the focus of longing and the image of fulfillment; the old pagan admonition, Do What Thou Wilt, has superseded the Pauline teaching that, since spirit and flesh lust contrary to one another, Ye Cannot Do the Things That Ye Would Do. In the beginning was the Flesh, and the Flesh became Word. Sex is the mysticism of materialism. We are to die in the spirit to be reborn in the flesh, rather than the other way around. Instead of the cult of the Virgin Mary we have the cult of the sex symbol – the busts, the thighs, the buttocks of a Jean Harlow, a Marilyn Monroe, a Carroll Baker displayed in glossy photographs, on cinema and television screens, to be feasted upon by countless hungry eyes, the physical tension thereby set up being subsequently relieved in autoeroticism or in squirmings and couplings with an available partner. Eyes which launched not a thousand ships, but a vast sea of seminal fluid; mistresses not of kings and great ones, but of the Common Man, who clasps them to him and enjoys their wanton favors in his secret dreams.”

“Even the most ardent advocates of the sexual revolution are inclined to feel that it is not working out quite as it should. Instead of sex-happy citizens of all ages blissfully coupling, psychiatrists and sexologists are besieged by patients eager to pour out their sexual woes. Orgasms have been too little and too late; despite bodies duly sealed and pasteurized, and recommended positions duly taken, the promised delight has failed to materialize. Happiness pursued in accordance with the book has proved elusive. Something must be wrong.”

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., History, Sexuality

(Atlantic) Jean Twenge–Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

In the early 1970s, the photographer Bill Yates shot a series of portraits at the Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink in Tampa, Florida. In one, a shirtless teen stands with a large bottle of peppermint schnapps stuck in the waistband of his jeans. In another, a boy who looks no older than 12 poses with a cigarette in his mouth. The rink was a place where kids could get away from their parents and inhabit a world of their own, a world where they could drink, smoke, and make out in the backs of their cars. In stark black-and-white, the adolescent Boomers gaze at Yates’s camera with the self-confidence born of making your own choices—even if, perhaps especially if, your parents wouldn’t think they were the right ones.

Fifteen years later, during my own teenage years as a member of Generation X, smoking had lost some of its romance, but independence was definitely still in. My friends and I plotted to get our driver’s license as soon as we could, making DMV appointments for the day we turned 16 and using our newfound freedom to escape the confines of our suburban neighborhood. Asked by our parents, “When will you be home?,” we replied, “When do I have to be?”

But the allure of independence, so powerful to previous generations, holds less sway over today’s teens, who are less likely to leave the house without their parents. The shift is stunning: 12th-graders in 2015 were going out less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

Taking a Mental Health Day to see the Solar Eclipse

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., History, Science & Technology

(PewR) God or the divine is referenced in every state constitution

The U.S. Constitution never explicitly mentions God or the divine, but the same cannot be said of the nation’s state constitutions. In fact, God or the divine is mentioned at least once in each of the 50 state constitutions and nearly 200 times overall, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Religion & Culture, State Government

(NBC) Wonderful Story–Man Travels 10,000 Miles to Return Flag to Fallen Soldier’s Family

During World War II, Marvin Strombo found a flag on the body of a fallen Japanese soldier. 73 years later, the 93-year-old veteran is bringing it back to that man’s family.

Watch it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Japan, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces

(CEN) Andrew Carey–Disestablishment is now the only option

It was around the time of the same-sex marriage legislation that it finally became clear that the establishment of the Church of England had become harmful. The very fact that the state had to legislate the so-called quadruple lock, which banned the Church of England from being bound by the state’s redefinition of marriage, highlighted the absurdity of the arrangements.

In turn, politicians themselves are endangering the establishment by their attitudes. Theresa May has every right as a communicant member of the Church of England to an opinion on the theology of same-sex marriage, but no right to use her position as a Prime Minister to prevail or persuade the Church of England. In spite of the headlines, she probably has not overstepped the mark but her colleagues have.

Justine Greening, Equalities Minister, in her enthusiasm for transsexual rights, positively advocates the Church to change its position. Her religious illiteracy was trumped, though, by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, who famously urged the Church to ‘get with the programme’. Cameron once compared his faith to the dodgy radio reception in the Chilterns – ‘it comes and goes’. And it was Cameron who presided over the ever-building pressure for a change in the Church’s relationship.

By interfering in the Church of England’s own decision-making with his indefensible ‘lock’ he made it impossible to defend the Church’s establishment. His breezy, braying Etonian interventions were representative of religious illiteracy that is now widespread in the Palace of Westminster.

In a matter of five years or so, conservative religious attitudes to marriage are now regarded as extremism or hate speech. The Church of England has no choice but to flee the relationship it has with the state. To stay is to risk having a relationship like the official Chinese church has with the Communist Party.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(TGC) Tim Keller–Race, the Gospel, and the Moment

Twentieth-century fascist movements that made absolute values out of “Blut und Boden” (“Blood and Soil”)­—putting one race and one nation’s good above the good of all—also claimed to champion traditional family values and moral virtues over against the decadence of relativistic modern culture. Even though they were no friends of orthodox Christianity (see Adolf Hitler’s heretical “Positive Christianity” movement), they could and can still appeal to people within our own circles. Internet outreach from white nationalist organizations can radicalize people who are disaffected by moral decline in society. So it is absolutely crucial to speak up out about the biblical teaching on racism—not just now, but routinely. We need to make those in our circles impervious to this toxic teaching.

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Posted in Church History, Evangelicals, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture