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The South Carolina Case of the Historic Diocese and the Nearly brand New TEC Diocese gets a Date for SCOTUS Conference

From there:

Friends,

Good news! Today the United States Supreme Court announced that our Petition for Certiorari has been distributed for Conference on Thursday, June 7.

As anticipated, the Eden Prairie case (which involves the same legal issues as our own case) has also been docketed for Conference that day.

Both cases raise the question of how courts interpret the Jones v. Wolf (1979) decision and its guidance on “neutral principles of law”. In Conference, the Justices will be discussing if these are cases they wish to review to resolve the conflicting interpretations.

The consequence is that we could hear as early as Monday, June 11th what the Court’s decision is regarding our Petition for Certiorari. If granted, our case would then be heard some time in the next session of the court, which begins this fall.

Please encourage your congregation to keep the Court’s deliberations that day in their prayers.

Blessings,

(The Rev. Canon) Jim Lewis

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

Blessed Pentecost 2018 to all Blog Readers

Posted in Pentecost

A S Haley–The South Carolina Case of the Historic Diocese and the Nearly brand New TEC Diocese Goes to SCOTUS Conference

In their (non-linkable) respondents’ brief, ECSC and ECUSA took a gamble by resting their main opposition upon just a single ground: that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review the case because the five divided justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court had decided the case below on independent state-law grounds, and did not rest their decision on any interpretation of federal law. (SCOTUS reviews only issues of federal law that are decided by either the state or federal courts.)

As the Diocese’s reply brief points out, this claim is far from accurate. Two of the justices below (Pleicones and Hearn) were clear that they viewed the 1979 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones v. Wolf as requiring them to give effect to the trust on church property imposed by the Dennis Canon, even if the documentation of that trust failed to pass muster under South Carolina law. In other words, Justices Pleicones and Hearn held that the First Amendment trumped state trust law — and that was obviously a federal ground of decision.

Even Chief Justice Beatty, who declined to articulate his reasoning, held that the Dennis Canon was sufficient to create a trust under South Carolina law so long as the individual parishes “acceded” in some way to that Canon. Since, as Justice Kittredge pointed out in dissent, any argument that a trust under South Carolina law could rest upon such a dim showing of assent was “laughable”, it is only fair to conclude that Chief Justice Beatty reached his result by relying upon the same (federal-law) reading of Jones v. Wolf that drove Justices Hearn and Pleicones.

In sum, the South Carolina case presents as good a reason as ever will arise for SCOTUS to grant review, in order to end the confusion over the meaning of Jones that divides some nineteen different state and federal courts below. (Those decisions are reviewed and discussed at pp. 21-29 of the Diocese’s petition.)

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

A Prayer for Trinity Sunday from the book of Common Order

Almighty God, most blessed and most holy, before the brightness of whose presence the angels veil their faces: With lowly reverence and adoring love we acknowledge thine infinite glory, and worship thee, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, eternal Trinity. Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto our God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ”˜After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ”˜He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

–John 1:29-34

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to Real Madrid for Winning the 2018 Champion’s League Final

Posted in England / UK, Europe, Spain, Sports

From 2015: (Crisis) James Matthew Wilson–The Joyful Death of Catholic Ireland

The reason the Irish—as Irish—are celebrating is that they have with this referendum delivered a decisive and final blow to their venerable image as a Catholic nation. They have taken their vengeance on the Church. They must relish the unshackling; they must love the taste of blood. But, finally, they take joy in becoming what, it seems, they were always meant to become. An unexceptional country floating somewhere in the waters off a continent that has long since entered into cultural decline, demographic winter, and the petty and perpetual discontents that come free of charge to every people that lives for nothing much in particular.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(BBC) Irish abortion referendum: Ireland overturns abortion ban

The Republic of Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4% to 33.6%.

A referendum held on Friday resulted in a landslide win for the repeal side.

Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman’s life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality.

The Eighth Amendment, which grants an equal right to life to the mother and unborn, will be replaced.

The declaration was made at Dublin Castle at 18:13 local time.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(AC) Rod Dreher–Christianity For Iceberg Time

Here’s the part of the [Pete Sanlon] piece that I think is most valuable for Evangelicals. The reality it describes in the UK is nearly our own in the US, and becoming more so every day. Earlier in the piece, Father Sanlon describes the situation for Christians in the West as being like the Titanic‘s. So many people perished, says Father Sanlon, because far too many people assumed that the ship was too big to sink, and because they ignored warnings. So too is it with the church today. Here’s Father Sanlon:

I believe that the iceberg that has sunk the way we live as Christians in the UK is actually a concoction of attitudes and social-spiritual realities, that have frozen together.

The first part of the iceberg has arisen from the fact that Christianity once had a deep hold on the consciousness of the UK. When a culture has rejected Christianity, it tends to then despise it. That creates a more volatile situation than before the culture has ever heard the gospel. (This phenomena of hostile rejection is described in Mark 4 at the personal level, and Romans 1 at the cultural level.)

The second part of the iceberg is the joining of government authoritarianism to enforced celebration of unbiblical views of humanity – especially in the area of sexuality. The story of how the 1960s vision of free love developed in the UK through the individualist 1980s and entertainment focused 1990s is a complex tale. What is proving to be the twist of the knife is the willingness of our governments (local and national and European) to use (or abuse) their powers to enforce celebration of views that were only a short time ago viewed as eccentricities.

The third part of the iceberg has formed because almost everything about how British Christians have done church over the past 70 years has depended upon a very high degree of cultural acceptance of our activities and beliefs. Consider how many churches advocate friendship and workplace conversations as key for evangelism. Well that becomes very difficult under current HR guidelines. Consider how many church plants rent space for meetings from councils or schools – we are already seeing that become more difficult due to holding beliefs that are not culturally acceptable. Many churches view their buildings as a hub for local community events — this is thought of as a bridge to the local community. But how does this work when the next generation views people who are Christians as evil — homophobic, transphobic — and worse? Some continue to argue for setting up Christian schools — but they must be regulated by a government that is increasingly hostile. Others promote social helps of various stripes – but these usually must exclude what is derisively termed ‘proselytising.’

Over the past few weeks an Independent Enquiry into horrific sex abuse cases in the Church of England has heard witness statements suggesting that traditional Christian beliefs made leaders more likely to ignore abuse. As such views are increasingly accepted by the next generation — and reinforced by the media — the Church will find its model of building bridges, making cultural connections for outreach – impossible to sustain. Already it is proving very unfruitful – but many press on with it, unable to admit the ship has been holed beneath the waterline.

 

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., England / UK, History, Religion & Culture

Saturday Food for Thought–G.K. Chesterton on education and faddishness

from there:

“Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. The latest fads of culture, the latest sophistries of anarchism will carry us away if we are uneducated: we shall not know how very old are all new ideas.”

–G.K. Chesterton, “Our Note Book,” Illustrated London News, December 2, 1905

Posted in Church History

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Augustine of Canterbury

O Lord our God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst call thine apostles and send them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: We bless thy holy name for thy servant Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labors in propagating thy Church among the English people we commemorate today; and we pray that all whom thou dost call and send may do thy will, and bide thy time, and see thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O Holy Ghost, giver of light and life, impart to us thoughts higher than our own thoughts, and prayers better than our own prayers, and powers beyond our own powers, that we may spend and be spent in the ways of love and goodness, after the perfect image of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

–Psalm 20:6-9

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Irish Times exit poll projects Ireland has voted by landslide to repeal Eighth Amendment

Ireland has voted by a landslide margin to change the constitution so that abortion can be legalised, according to an exit poll conducted for The Irish Times by Ipsos/MRBI.

The poll suggests that the margin of victory for the Yes side in the referendum will be 68 per cent to 32 per cent – a stunning victory for the Yes side after a long and often divisive campaign.

More than 4,500 voters were interviewed by Ipsos/MRBI as they left polling stations on Friday. Sampling began at 7am and was conducted at 160 locations across every constituency throughout the day. The margin of error is estimated at +/- 1.5 per cent.

Counting of votes begins on Saturday morning at 9am with an official result expected to be declared in the afternoon.

However, the size of the victory predicted by the exit poll leaves little doubt that, whatever the final count figures, the constitutional ban on abortion, inserted in a referendum in 1983, is set to be repealed.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

A BBC Radio 4 Profile on the New Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally

Sarah Mullally, appointed this week as the first woman Bishop of London, the third most senior position in the Anglican Church. A former nurse and senior civil servant, she was ordained in 2001. Her surprise appointment followed a brief spell as Bishop of Devon in Crediton. She’s expected to attract criticism from more conservative elements of the Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical elements of the church. Mark Coles profiles the most senior woman in the Anglican Church.

Listen to it all (a little under 14 minutes).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(NYT) When Living Your Truth Can Mean Losing Your Children

The questioning went on for days. Did she allow her children to watch a Christmas video? Did she include plastic Easter eggs as part of her celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim? Did she use English nicknames for them, instead of their Hebrew names?

This grilling of Chavie Weisberger, 35, took place not in front of a rabbi or a religious court, but in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, during a custody battle with her ultra-Orthodox Jewish ex-husband after she came out as lesbian and decided to leave the ultra-Orthodox fold. The stakes could not have been higher. In fact, the judge, Eric I. Prus, eventually ruled that she should lose custody of her children, largely because she had lapsed in raising them according to Hasidic customs.

Ms. Weisberger’s case, which was reversed on appeal in August, is still reverberating through New York courts that handle divorce and custody matters for the state’s hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

A New York State appellate court ruled that Justice Prus had erred in making religious observance the paramount factor when deciding custody. The court also said he had violated Ms. Weisberger’s constitutional rights by requiring her to pretend to be ultra-Orthodox around her children, even though she was no longer religious, in order to spend unsupervised time with them.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

(NPR) Q&A: National Correspondent Leila Fadel Discusses ‘Muslims in America’

Were you surprised by anything you learned through reporting this series?

What shocked me was just how much the communities I visited seem to be flourishing at a really difficult time for Muslim Americans. Despite the anti-Muslim rhetoric, people are out there telling their own stories. They’re getting into politics and fashion and music and storytelling. I also was surprised by the incredible diversity of practice and culture that exists here. I’ve covered the Muslim world for over a decade, and I don’t think I’ve seen such diversity within Islam outside of the Muslim pilgrimage, Hajj, in Mecca.

What do you hope readers and listeners will take from reading or listening to “Muslims in America”?

I hope people listen to these as stories about Americans they might not know otherwise. One of the things I’ve been struck by since coming back to the U.S. is how we live in a country with such rich diversity of culture, religion and race but so often people feel stuck in a stereotype of their own community. After the presidential election, which was seen as so polarizing, I think a lot of people felt they didn’t know their fellow citizens.

I want these stories to be about knowing and understanding people not through the lens of what you think they might be, but who they actually are.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Islam, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Want to know about God? Just ask Alexa

The Church of England has launched an “Alexa skill” that provides answers to questions about faith and prayer, and can find a church to attend on the basis of the user’s location.

Launched on Wednesday night, the skill is compatible with all Amazon Echo and Alexa devices. Users can ask questions such as “Who is God?” and “How do I become a Christian?” besides making the device read specific prayers or prayers for different situations or periods of the day.

The skill is similar to an app on a smartphone or tablet, and is one of the “first significant faith-based resources” for Alexa, the C of E’s head of digital, Adrian Harris, says.

It works alongside the website A Church Near You to help users find their nearest church events and services.

Users can launch the C of E skill on Alexa by saying “Alexa, open the Church of England.” A full list of commands is available online.

 

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology