Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scotland had the worst rate for alcohol-related deaths in any part of the UK, according to figures recorded over the past 20 years.

Alcohol death rates for men in Scotland have risen dramatically, according to the figures published by the Office for National Statistics. In Scotland they stood at 31.2 per 100,000 of the population, compared to 18.1 per 100,000 in England, 20.3 in Northern Ireland and 19.9 for Wales.

The latest findings from 2014 led to renewed calls for the introduction of the Scottish Government’s plan for a minimum alcohol price, aimed at tackling alcohol abuse.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 3, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When talking about the beginnings of the project, Sharon said:
“The management of chronic pain has been a challenge for health care providers and current evidence supports a multidisciplinary approach including the provision of exercise therapy, occupational therapy, psychological support and medical support. We offer an emphasis on the ability to take control and self-manage.”

“Treatment for this condition can be difficult to access on the NHS, and waiting lists are long which may result in a patient becoming isolated and not being able to work or to join in with normal day-to-day community life. This condition can be associated with depression, another factor that contributes to isolation. As a result of this great need, one of the more cost-effective ways to treat patients is with clinical pilates or through small group exercise classes, which is why we started the Pain Exchange.”
Mutually, they run the 12-week management plan which starts with a full assessment, to screen out people who might need further investigation, or who are not suitable for the programme. Where this is the case they write to the GP with the findings and suggestions, and as a result, two patients have had surgical interventions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted February 2, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no precise diagnosis. There is no cure. There is no way to scientifically prove that a disorder allegedly affecting more than 6 million Americans even exists.

Joseph Helpern and his colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina have made significant progress studying attention deficit hyperactivity disorder through innovations in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Still, he’ll be the first to tell you that there’s so much they don’t know about ADHD.

He hopes that will change. Helpern believes MRI testing will one day be the tool for doctors to diagnose ADHD.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* South Carolina

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Posted February 2, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A woman who believes she was born a cat has opened up about her life as a feline, describing how she has a superior sense sense of hearing and sight which allows her to hunt mice in the dark.

Nano, 20, from Oslo, Norway, makes the revelation in an interview published on the NRK P3 Verdens Rikeste Land YouTube channel, and it's been viewed 122,000 times.

And she claims to possess many feline characteristics including a hatred of water and the ability to communicate simply by meowing....

Nano sums up her life as a cat as 'exhausting' but says that you get you to living with 'cat acts and cat instincts'.

'My psychologist told me I can grow out of it, but I doubt it,' she concludes. 'I think I will be cat all my life.'

Read it all from the Daily Mail.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychologyYoung Adults* General InterestAnimals* International News & CommentaryEuropeNorway* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted February 1, 2016 at 4:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Beards are fashionable again, but the subject of facial hair and the clergy stirs strong emotions. The bearded King Edward VII, in enjoining Archbishop Cosmo Gordon Lang to “stop curates wearing moustaches”, gave voice to the general hostility of the Christian tradition to hair confined to the upper lip; but there the consensus ends.

The discovery that two of the most energetic priests in east London had recently grown beards of an opulence that would not have disgraced a Victorian sage prompted me to look again at the barbate debate throughout Church history. The two priests work in parishes in Tower Hamlets. Most of the residents are Bangladeshi-Sylheti, for whom the wearing of a beard is one of the marks of a holy man. This view is shared among many Eastern cultures, but it was not so for much of the history of the West.

Alexander the Great was clean-shaven, and this was the fashion also in the Roman Republic and early empire, until the reign of the Emperor Hadrian in the second century. Early representations of Christ in Western European art, such as the Hinton St Mary mosaic on display in the British Museum, show the Saviour also clean-shaven, and portrayed as some Classical hero.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryMenPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 28, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Bryan] Anderson is one of very few combat veterans who lost three limbs and survived.

“It hurt to breathe. It was hard to breathe” on the sidewalk, he said, “but, at the same time, I never felt like I was going to die.”

Military doctors who treated Anderson induced a coma. He was transported to Germany for life-saving surgery, then to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., for a 13-month-long recovery.

The 34-year-old now lives in Chicago and travels the country sharing his story with other veterans and various groups. He was featured on the cover of Esquire magazine, on “60 Minutes” and recently appeared in the 2014 film “American Sniper.” He also hosts an Emmy Award-winning PBS series in the Chicago area called “Reporting for Service with Bryan Anderson.” He was awarded a Purple Heart.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMilitary / Armed ForcesPsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryIraq War* Theology

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Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The march itself was barely over before snow began accumulating quickly on every surface in the Washington, DC area. All of the “happy warriors” for Life this year went above and beyond the usual sacrifices they make to come and march because of Snowstorm Jonas, a blizzard of historic proportions.

Among the warriors were dozens of Anglican church members led by the Anglicans for Life ministry along with the Archbishop and a number of other bishops of the Anglican Church in North America.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 25, 2016 at 12:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Naghmeh Abedini is looking forward to reuniting next week with her husband, Saeed, the Iranian-American pastor freed on Saturday after more than three years in an Iranian prison.

But she’s not rushing the reunion.

In an interview at her parent’s home in Boise, Idaho on Wednesday, Abedini said that rebuilding their marriage after her husband’s imprisonment will take time.

The relationship, she said, has been strained in recent months by the publication of an email she sent to friends and supporters late last year. Her note described “physical, emotional, psychological and sexual” abuse by her husband, who she said was addicted to pornography.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPornographyPrison/Prison MinistryPsychologyViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIran* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 23, 2016 at 9:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The March for Life — an annual rally held for four decades to protest the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court that legalized abortion — has long been dominated by Roman Catholics.

But evangelical leaders expect that on Friday (Jan. 22), there will be more evangelicals walking beside them. That’s the result of Catholic and evangelical conservatives bridging the divide to work on issues of common concern, they said.

Several hundred evangelicals gathered on the eve of the rally at a hotel near the U.S. Capitol, pledging to join forces with Catholics in the anti-abortion effort.

“There’s no tension between evangelicals and Catholics on this issue,” said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in an interview. However, he added that Catholics have been “more intentional about communicating the march to their constituents and see the value.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 22, 2016 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number is stark: 57,762,169. That is through the end of last year—the number of legal abortions in America since the Roe v. Wade decision 43 years ago tomorrow on January 22, 1973. That was one of the darkest days in American history, and ever since then America has been at war over abortion. We’re now talking about four decades and more. When the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe v. Wade, the Court’s majority attempted to put an end to the abortion question. That’s actually what they thought they were doing. To the contrary, that decision has enlarged and revealed the great moral divide that runs through the center of our culture.

Most Americans actually are probably pretty much unaware of the actual contours of the abortion debate as it emerged in the early 1970s. Going back to 1973, the primary opposition to legal abortion came from the Roman Catholic Church; Evangelicals in the pro-life movement joined later. Until the late 1970s and the awakening of the evangelical conscience on abortion, most Evangelicals didn’t want to talk about the issue, considering it to be an issue for other people in other places. Roe v. Wade changed all of that legally in 1973 ruling that in all 50 states abortion on demand, as it has been called, must be considered a woman’s right. The decision was demanded by and later championed by feminists as one of the great feminist victories. The leaders of that movement claimed, and continue to claim, that the availability of abortion on demand is necessary in order for women to be equal with men with respect to the absence of pregnancy as an obstacle to career advancement.

Furthermore, the moral logic of Roe v. Wade was a thunderous affirmation of the idea of personal autonomy that had already taken ahold of the American mind. As the decision made all too clear, “rights talk” had displaced what had been seen as a higher concern for right versus wrong.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 22, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In her 67 years as a registered nurse, she’s cared for veterans of the Spanish-American War, vaccinated thousands of children with the then new Salk polio vaccine, and was among the first to report the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. For the past quarter century, until her retirement this month, she has been caring for HIV and AIDS victims at the Veterans Administration hospital in Philadelphia.

“When you have a passion and you impact people’s lives on a daily basis,” she says, “it gives you a purpose.”

As a nursing student, one of her very first patients was a 12-year-old boy, Tommy Rios, who was riding double on the handlebars of a bicycle when he fell and was hit by a car, fracturing his skull and breaking his femur and pelvis. He was in a full body cast, in the hospital, for six months. Molly not only cared for him, but also brought him hoagies — the Philly word for submarine sandwiches — because he wasn’t eating the hospital food.

Molly’s niece Anne Harriott asked her the other day what ever became of the boy.

“I had lunch with him last week,” Molly replied.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychologyWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 17, 2016 at 6:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

About two million Americans are hooked on prescription painkillers. In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written -- that's one bottle for every American adult. CBS News went to West Virginia, a state that is attempting a drastic solution: allowing addicts to sue the doctors who got them hooked....

"We are talking in a certain sense drug traffickers. They are doing nothing but writing and cranking out prescription after prescription after prescription," said DEA agent Gary Newman.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 7, 2016 at 5:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sickness relieved is a beautiful thing. A heart attack treated takes the elephant off the chest and leaves a smile. A child made well, a broken bone splinted, a wound closed, a tooth numbed, an abscess opened are among the reasons that physicians, at least at first, decide to walk among the sick.

However, we poor doctors, with our paltry degrees and bags of tricks, can only do a little. We merely treat the symptoms. He treated the disease. He brought an end to it all with his birth, death and resurrection. No more sin, no more death. He offered every patient the cure, free of charge, with no need for insurance or cash.

How it must feel to be him! Not to cure the broken bones, but to offer healing to the broken hearts. Not to excise the tumor, but to remove the guilt. Not to bypass the heart, but to replace it with a new one.

At Christmas, we celebrate the child. How blessed we are that he walked among us, knew our every disease, then grew up to become the only physician qualified to heal us.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The parallel is inexact, but peoples and cultures also have to deal with the power of hard memories. Painful traumas and experiences can be passed down generation to generation, whether it is exile, defeat or oppression. These memories affect both the victims’ and the victimizers’ cultures.

Many of the issues we have been dealing with in 2015 revolve around unhealed cultural memories: how to acknowledge past wrongs and move forward into the light.

The most obvious case involves American race relations. So much of the national conversation this year has concerned how to think about past racism and oppression, and the power of that past to shape present realities: the Confederate flag, Woodrow Wilson, the unmarked sights of the lynching grounds. Fortunately, many people have found the courage to tell the ugly truths about slavery, Jim Crow and current racism that were repressed by the wider culture.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryMarriage & FamilyPhilosophyPsychologyRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 16, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to a blogger in the ancient Iraqi city of Mosul, ISIS (also known as ISIL) leaders there have issued a "fatwa" against children with Down syndrome and other birth defects.

The only source for the story is the Mosul Eye, self-described as a "blog … set up to communicate what's happening in Mosul to the rest of the world , minute by minute from an independent historian." It has been repeated by dozens of mainstream and niche news sites, from the British Daily Mail through Fox News to Breitbart.

According to the Mosul Eye's December 14 Facebook entry, "the Shar'i Board of ISIL issued an 'Oral Fatwa' to its members authorizing them to – in the fatwa's words, 'kill newborn babies with Down's Syndrome and congenital disorders and disabled children.'"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 15, 2015 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As part of his push for the Affordable Care Act in 2009, President Obama came to Central High School to laud this community as a model of better, cheaper health care. “You’re getting better results while wasting less money,” he told the crowd. His visit had come amid similar praise from television broadcasts, a documentary film and a much-read New Yorker article.

All of the attention stemmed from academic work showing that Grand Junction spent far less money on Medicare treatments – with no apparent detriment to people’s health. The lesson seemed obvious: If the rest of the country became more like Grand Junction, this nation’s notoriously high medical costs would fall.

But a new study casts doubt on that simple message.

Price has been ignored in public policy,” said Dr. Robert Berenson, a fellow at the Urban Institute, who was unconnected with the research. Dr. Berenson is a former vice chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commision, which recommends policies to Congress. “That has been counterproductive.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

10 Comments
Posted December 15, 2015 at 2:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Irwin Weiner felt so good after heart surgery a few weeks before turning 90 that he stopped for a pastrami sandwich on the way home from the hospital. Dorothy Lipkin danced after getting a new hip at age 91. And at 94, William Gandin drives himself to the hospital for cancer treatments.

Jimmy Carter isn't the only nonagenarian to withstand rigorous medical treatment. Very old age is no longer an automatic barrier for aggressive therapies, from cancer care like the former president has received, to major heart procedures, joint replacements and even some organ transplants.

In many cases, the nation's most senior citizens are getting the same treatments given to people their grandchildren's age — but with different goals.

"Many elderly patients don't necessarily want a lot of years, what they want is quality of life," said Dr. Clifford Kavinsky, a heart specialist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "They want whatever time is left for them to be high quality. They don't want to be dependent on their family. They don't want to end up in a nursing home."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England could agree to the genetic modification of human embryos, its medical ethics adviser has suggested.

The controversial method known as germline editing could be used to cure inherited diseases and treat infertility. There have been concerns, however, that the changes are passed on to future generations.

Critics of the technology, who include several European governments, have called for a global ban on the ground that it could be unsafe and might lead to “designer babies” genetically enhanced to have greater strength or intelligence.

Britain is running several pioneering gene therapies, and ministers have hinted that they could allow scientists more scope to carry out fundamental research on embryos.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLife EthicsReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 13, 2015 at 4:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

BEING THANKFUL MAKES YOU MORE PATIENT

In one recent study, psychologists found that being primed with gratitude can help us make longer-term decisions. Subjects who wrote about a time they felt grateful were more likely than other groups (who wrote about happy and neutral experiences, respectively) to opt for a check to be mailed to them later than for a smaller amount of cash immediately.

So the next time you’re up against a test of your willpower, think of something you’re thankful for. The exercise could help tamp down the part of your brain whining for instant gratification.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 10, 2015 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nurses at a downtown Monrovia hospital were about to punch out from work late one November afternoon when a feverish teenager, convulsing and bleeding from his mouth, stumbled into the waiting room.

For Mosoka Fallah, the boy’s symptoms pointed in a grimly familiar direction. He drove off—speeding in the wrong lane and dodging head-on traffic—to a meeting of government officials in the center of the capital, where he burst into the room with the news: Ebola is back.

Twice this year, Liberia, the worst hit of all Ebola-affected nations with at least 4,800 deaths blamed on the disease, has been declared Ebola-free, only to see new cases appear. Liberian officials and medical researchers now wonder how soon their country and its neighbors will be completely rid of the scourge.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia

0 Comments
Posted December 10, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A socialite obsessed with youth and beauty who feared getting old has been told she has the right to refuse the medical treatment which keeps her alive.

The 50-year-old mother, who was married four times and had numerous lovers, took an overdose of painkillers washed down with champagne, the Court of Protection was told.

She survived, but the damage caused to her liver means she requires renal dialysis.

A judge ruled today that the woman has the mental capacity to refuse dialysis, despite the near certainty that the withdrawal of treatment will lead to her death.

Read it all.




Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Call it medicine. Call it Christian kindness. Call it a miracle, even.

On Tuesday, in a small, windowless office at the Medical University of South Carolina, 3-year-old Diana Maria Gutierrez-Guzman heard her mother’s voice for the first time in her short life.

It was a beautiful thing to watch. Diana, frightened by the noise, turned to her mother for comfort. Her mom started crying.

Read it all and please dont miss the video, all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & Family* South Carolina

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Posted November 26, 2015 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“It was like Kabul come to Paris,” said one doctor at a military hospital on the outskirts of Paris, as the city’s emergency medical teams responded to the gravest attack on French soil since the Second World War.
At least 415 people were wounded in last Friday’s attacks and rushed to 38 different hospitals in and around Paris.
The city put into action its “plan blanc”, a maximum level of mobilisation designed to deal with “exceptional medical scenarios”. It has been hailed as a testament to France’s renowned public hospitals system that only three of the injured victims are believed to have died in hospital, arresting the death toll at 129 when it could have been far higher.
Parisian hospitals had carried out a drill for a terrorist attack that morning, just hours before the real attacks took place. The “plan blanc”, devised in 2004 for just such a crisis, allowed staff to requisition nurses, surgeons, resuscitation staff, operating theatres, beds, ambulances and psychiatric services.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance

0 Comments
Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We tried everything to help Matthew, from acceptance and enabling to tough love, but the trajectory was not a good one and its ending has scarred and devastated our lives forever. I cannot say with certainty that if we had been able to force treatment on Matthew, including anti-psychotic medications, that he would have survived. In addition to suffering from anosognosia, Matthew became very religious after his break, embracing his Judaism, keeping kosher, and he was convinced that taking medication was dishonorable and would offend God.

But I do know that for many, treatment saves lives. The true insanity is that our laws leave those who suffer to fend for themselves. But Congress is now ready to grapple with the issue in a bipartisan bill introduced by Tim Murphy, a Republican from Pennsylvania and the only clinical psychologist in the House, and Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Democrat from Texas who is a psychiatric nurse.

The bill is not perfect. But it does many things to improve the financing, treatment and delivery of services across the range of mental illnesses, and in particular it has provisions aimed directly at helping those like my son.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyMental IllnessYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 17, 2015 at 3:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor,” said David R. Reines, 60, of Jefferson Township, N.J., a former hardware salesman with chronic knee pain. “We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.”

In many states, more than half the plans offered for sale through HealthCare.gov, the federal online marketplace, have a deductible of $3,000 or more, a New York Times review has found. Those deductibles are causing concern among Democrats — and some Republican detractors of the health law, who once pushed high-deductible health plans in the belief that consumers would be more cost-conscious if they had more of a financial stake or skin in the game.

“We could not afford the deductible,” said Kevin Fanning, 59, who lives in North Texas, near Wichita Falls. “Basically I was paying for insurance I could not afford to use.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

6 Comments
Posted November 16, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was 100 years ago that John McCrae wrote his famous First World War poem In Flanders Fields. When he wrote the poem, McCrae was a major and a doctor with the Canadian military in Belgium.

Thanks in part to the famous opening lines from his poem—"In Flanders fields the poppies blow/Between the crosses, row on row"—poppies have become a symbol of remembrance for those killed in war.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the poem, the City of Guelph has created an interactive map journal that explores McCrae's birthplace, his life in the city, his military service and how he came write In Flanders Fields.

Read it all it is well worth the time.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryPoetry & Literature* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryCanada

0 Comments
Posted November 13, 2015 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Warrior and Warhorse from The Seventh Movement on Vimeo.

Saratoga Springs, N.Y., famous for its historic racetrack, is among the most idyllic places in America. But on a recent fall weekend, not far from the track, horses were serving a different mission: retired thoroughbreds were recruited to help returning veterans at Song Hill Farm. A group from the US Army 2nd Battalion, 135th infantry, united in grief over the death of a fellow solider, gathered for the first time in five years to be part of Saratoga Warhorse, a three-day program that pairs veterans with horses. Tom Rinaldi reports the emotional story of the veterans, paired with their horses, undergoing a rebirth of trust and taking a first step toward healing.

Watch it all, and, yes, you will likely need kleenex--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* General InterestAnimals

1 Comments
Posted November 11, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From her dining room in suburban Atlanta, [Elaine] Riddick, 61, points to a half-inch scar above her right eye as she remembers the afternoon in 1967 when her life irrevocably changed. At age 13, Riddick was walking home in rural eastern North Carolina when a grown man from her small town attacked her: Riddick says he raped her and threatened to kill her if she told anyone. She stayed quiet.

A few weeks later, while she was picking cotton, Riddick vomited. She thought she had a virus, but when she started gaining weight, her grandmother took her to the county health department. The young girl was pregnant.

Instead of launching an investigation, welfare officials recommended doctors sterilize Riddick after she delivered her baby. They deemed her promiscuous and “feeble-minded.” Without benefit of a review or accountability process, the government declared Riddick at age 13 unfit ever to reproduce again.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & TechnologySexualityViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Ashley Madison hack may have faded from the headlines but one of its key revelations lingers on in our cultural conversations about sex.

It's present in more recent offerings like Rachel Hills's book The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality and the romantic comedy Sleeping with Other People, currently showing in cinemas.

That this theme should crop up so repeatedly suggests that we need to be constantly reminded of it - no great surprise, really, since sex is often something that can (if you pardon the phrase) screw with our thinking, feeling, and desiring.

What each of these sex stories reinforces, again and again, is that all of us have great sexpectations that remain, frequently, unfulfilled.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingBooksHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMediaMenPsychologyReligion & CultureSexualityWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q:Your article on homesickness was very thought-provoking. Many of my peers and I relocated in our sixties. Although we volunteer, attend houses of worship, have friends and travel, many of us are still lonely for home and sometimes depressed because of it. Has anyone studied this?

— E.M.

A:People of all ages can feel homesick, and longing for the security and comfort of a past home can increase with age, according to a few studies that have included healthy elderly participants.

People often look for new sources of identity as their relationship with career and past colleagues fade. A 2004 study by Norwegian researchers found that elderly Danes and Pakistanis who had settled in Norway decades earlier identified more strongly with their native countries as they grew older, bringing a feeling of homesickness. Connecting to their cultural heritage by decorating their homes with related artwork or talking about their memories supported self-esteem and helped make up for age-related losses in other areas, researchers found.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted November 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A large segment of white middle-aged Americans has suffered a startling rise in its death rate since 1999, according to a review of statistics published Monday that shows a sharp reversal in decades of progress toward longer lives.

The mortality rate for white men and women ages 45-54 with less than a college education increased markedly between 1999 and 2013, most likely because of problems with legal and illegal drugs, alcohol and suicide, the researchers concluded. Before then, death rates for that group dropped steadily, and at a faster pace.

An increase in the mortality rate for any large demographic group in an advanced nation has been virtually unheard of in recent decades, with the exception of Russian men after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The rising death rate was accompanied by an increase in the rate of illness, the authors wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingAlcoholismDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMiddle AgeSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 3, 2015 at 7:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A French doctor convicted last week of having given an elderly patient a lethal injection was hospitalized in critical condition on Saturday after apparently trying to commit suicide, according to media reports said....

The drama came seven days after the doctor, described in court as a “militant supporter of euthanasia,” was convicted of deliberately causing the death of an 86-year-old woman who was in a coma after suffering a severe stroke. Bonnemaison gave her a fatal dose of sedative, the court was told.

He was given a two-year suspended sentence in the woman's death, while cleared of six other charges of euthanasia involving elderly patients with fatal diseases at the hospital in Bayonne where he worked in 2010 and 2011.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Robert's first parish placement in the early 1980s was St. Matthias Episcopal Church in Summerton. The couple's impact on the parish was immediate, said Deb Embry, a parishioner there.

“It is hard to talk about how many lives they have touched and changed,” she said. “They made such a big difference for all of us and gave us such an example of how to live the Gospel.”

Embry, a palliative care and hospice nurse, was a single mother then, trying to figure out her life. She said Martha ministered to her and taught her the Gospel one on one, guiding her to the Scriptures for appropriate wisdom at every turn in her life's circumstances.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMarriage & Family* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 31, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Choking back tears, Kill, 54, announced Wednesday morning that he was retiring immediately, shocking fans across the state as he explained that he could no longer coach the way he wants because of his health issues.

With his wife, Rebecca, tearfully watching near the side of a university stage, Kill told a stunned audience that his seizures had returned, he hadn’t slept more than three hours a night in weeks, he had quit taking some of his medication and that he doesn’t “have any more energy.”

“This is not the way I wanted to go out,” Kill said. “But you all know about the struggles, and I did my best to change. But some of those struggles have returned, and I don’t want to cheat the game.”

Read it all from the Star-Tribune.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilySportsYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 30, 2015 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The] Reverend David West said it was the first lecture the church had banned and admitted the timing was “unfortunate”, saying he only became aware of the content of the talk on Monday....

“We use church property for all sorts of groups, but the content of any group can’t be offensive to the Anglican Church and assisted dying is something the Anglican and mainstream Christian churches object to.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 27, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On a spring evening last year, Debra Davidson flipped on the television to watch the local news. When an item came on about her longtime physician, she perked up and leaned forward. Then she screamed. Her husband rushed into the living room to see if everything was O.K.

Everything was not O.K. The report said that her cardiologist, Dr. Arvind Gandhi, had been sued by two former patients who accused him of performing unnecessary operations.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyRural/Town Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We're all painfully aware of the toll binge drinking takes on the body but what may be less known is the damage it inflicts on the economy.

Excessive drinking cost the U.S. $249 billion in 2010, or $2.05 per drink, according to a newly-released study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a significant increase from $223.5 billion, or $1.90 per drink, in 2006.

The financial toll on the economy stems in part from reduced workplace productivity - in other words, hangovers. Crime, accidents and the cost of treating people for health problems caused by excessive drinking also add to the cost.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingAlcoholismHealth & MedicinePsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 16, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

KPOVÉ, Togo--The church grounds here sprawled through a strange, dreamlike forest. More than 150 men and women were chained by the ankle to a tree or concrete block, a short walk from the central place of worship. Most were experiencing the fearsome delusions of schizophrenia. On a recent visit, some glared, while others slept or muttered to themselves. A few pushed to their feet and gestured wildly, their cries piercing the stillness.
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Until this year, Koffi Gbedjeha, 45, a carpenter and father of four, was one of them — a resident of the Jesus Is the Solution prayer camp here, shackled like the others, his family and camp staff members said. For more than two years, his youngest sister, Akossiwa, 27, tended to him. Rising early each morning, she walked along a cool red-earth path to the human forest; each day, amid the stirring bodies and clinking chains, she emptied her brother’s chamber pot, swept the ground and cooked his meals over a charcoal fire.

“Don’t you pray for me,” Mr. Gbedjeha (pronounced guh-BED-zhe-ha) sometimes shouted at camp workers who asked God to cast out the dark spirits they believed were making him sick. “I should be praying for you.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychologyMental IllnessReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaTogo* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 14, 2015 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The grim reaper is feeling bullish.

Following success in California — the fifth state where doctors are now free to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally-ill or dying patients — so-called “right-to-die” activists have turned their eyes to Maryland, New York and beyond.

“I think that this is a national wave,” Maryland Del. Shane E. Pendergrass, D-Howard, told The Washington Post. Pendergrass plans to sponsor “right-to-die” legislation in January.

It’s a wave with the potential to sweep some of society’s most vulnerable — the elderly, the terminally ill and disabled — prematurely into the hereafter.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 13, 2015 at 5:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

underscoring the incredible momentum to legalize marijuana is the misconception that the drug can’t hurt anybody. It can, especially young people.

The myth that marijuana is not habit-forming is constantly challenged by physicians. “There’s no question at all that marijuana is addictive,” Dr. Sharon Levy tells me. She is the director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, one of a few programs designed to preemptively identify substance use problems in teens. At least 1 in 11 young adults who begin smoking will develop an addiction to marijuana, even more among those who use the more potent products that are entering the market.

Levy speaks of an 18-year-old patient who had started smoking marijuana several times a day in 10th grade, dropped out of high school, and been stealing money from her parents. “She and her family were at their wits’ end trying to find appropriate treatment in a health care system that doesn’t consider addiction to marijuana a serious problem,” Levy says. “We are simply not prepared for the fallout of marijuana legalization.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 13, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the many who are already engaged in ministry - whether ordained or not - opportunities for ongoing professional development certainly need to be provided, and in a format that is accessible. With many theological institutions utilising online learning platforms, there is a potential opportunity for them to further serve denominations by developing short courses on holistic mental health ministry that could be made available, regardless of location or time availability. This also ensures that courses are contextually appropriate for different denominational settings.

However, because training is not as much of a priority within many settings, denominations also need to ensure appropriate incentives are provided for those who engage in training. In many cases, theological institutions across Australia provide vocational training in basic chaplaincy skills that may complement a more rigorous theological training - and the incentive of adding a Certificate IV or Diploma to one's resume may be attractive. But when such courses are not logistically possible due to time restraints or location, shorter programs like Mental Health First Aid can also be beneficial, as they can work with the schedule of pastors, while still providing some recognition for training undertaken.

Still, there is a long way to go. While mental health training is readily available, much needs to be done to address the unbalanced theological underpinnings within congregations that may shape unhelpful attitudes and responses to those with mental illness. What is needed is a well-rounded understanding that God works through both the spiritual and the medical and psychological.

Read it all from Greta Wells at ABC Australia.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyMental IllnessReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 11, 2015 at 3:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hypochondria among Americans may be jeopardising the development of new medicines, as a study reveals that the placebo effect is becoming worryingly powerful in the US.

Huge American drugs trials are increasingly foundering on the unexplained scientific phenomenon, which does not appear to be happening anywhere else in the world.

The findings leave US drugs companies with a serious dilemma. As the difference between receiving a new painkiller and simply thinking that you are receiving a new painkiller evaporates, it is becoming ever harder to tell whether the drug works or not.

This may explain why more than nine out of ten new pain-relief drugs fail at the testing stage.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicinePsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 10, 2015 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Perhaps it's not surprising that the best arguments against assisted suicide — especially advanced by such liberal icons as E.J. Dionne and Victoria Kennedy — are progressive. Liberals are generally happy for government to restrict individual freedoms to prevent violence and killing. They are also generally skeptical of the idea that choice leads to genuine freedom, especially for those without power on the margins of our culture.

Indeed, liberal states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and, until this week, California had all recently rejected such legislation. Britain's attempt to pass an assisted-suicide bill also went down to overwhelming defeat.

To get a victory in California, its supporters were forced to bypass the regular legislative process (which defeated the bill) and instead consider the bill in a healthcare special session, and under unusual rules. This context is as telling as it is disturbing.

Read it all from the LA Times.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The rooms in the intensive care unit are filled with folded-up walkers and moving boxes. In the lobby, plaques and portraits have been taken off the wall. By this weekend, the last patients will be discharged and Mercy Hospital Independence will close, joining dozens of rural hospitals around the country that have not been able to withstand the financial and demographic challenges buffeting them.

The hospital and its outpatient clinics, owned by the Mercy health care system in St. Louis, was where people in this city of 9,000 turned for everything from sore throats to emergency treatment after a car crash. Now, many say they are worried about what losing Mercy will mean not just for their own health, but for their community’s future.

Mercy will be the 58th rural hospital to close in the United States since 2010, according to one research program, and many more could soon join the list because of declining reimbursements, growing regulatory burdens and shrinking rural populations that result in an older, sicker pool of patients. The closings have accelerated over the last few years and have hit more midsize hospitals like Mercy, which was licensed for 75 beds, than smaller “critical access” hospitals, which are reimbursed at a higher rate by Medicare.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted October 9, 2015 at 12:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The killers involved in this and many other shootings haunt us. But lately there is some evidence of another pattern: a young man, good-natured and military-trained, who acts instantaneously in the moment of crisis to save the lives of others. This was the case with the Paris train affair a few weeks ago. This was the case again in Oregon. Those of us who bemoan the declension of the American man, historically a force for good in numerous ways, have found our hearts strangely warmed by ordinary heroes as we scan news reports of death and destruction.

I say “strangely warmed” because there is indeed much reason to shake your head at many modern men. As just one example from pop culture, I sometimes watch the television show “House Hunters” on HGTV. Almost invariably on this harmless show about would-be homebuyers, we encounter a man whose demands for the would-be home outpace his wife’s. As the realtor asks the couple what they want, the man spits out an extensive list of his desired accouterments, and they’re usually of the predictable sort. His wife stands uncomfortably beside him as he prattles on. The boy-man speaketh.

This common scene crystallized for me how many men today think about life: they think it’s about them. They believe that they should get what they want, and that everyone else can fend for themselves. The instinct to lead in their marriage by putting their wife’s interests before their own has gone missing. Chivalry, it seems, lies sprawled on the couch in the man cave, snoring loudly while a huge flat screen TV broadcasts endless replays of men playing the games of children.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 7, 2015 at 1:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told Congress on Tuesday that the deadly U.S. airstrike on a civilian hospital in Kunduz was a mistake, but he declined to endorse calls for an outside investigation.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Campbell said the hospital was "mistakenly struck" and that the decision to carry out the attack was made through the U.S. military chain of command.

Campbell thus offered a further refinement of previous Pentagon claims. On Monday, he told reporters that Afghan forces had called in the airstrike. The Pentagon initially had said the attack by an AC-130 gunship was ordered to protect U.S. forces on the ground.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaAfghanistan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sorting out the specifics of the shooter’s background and motivation will take investigators some time. Those who have studied mass killings say it’s not uncommon for the perpetrators to harbor anger against society and express hatred toward various groups. Yet harboring such views doesn’t necessarily mean they were the prime motivation for the crime, they say.

Usually it’s “a toxic cocktail of factors,” says Christopher Kilmartin, a professor of psychological science at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.

But there’s one topic that’s not getting enough discussion, he and some others say: masculinity. “The elephant in the room with ... mass shootings is that almost all of them are being done by men,” Professor Kilmartin says. Male shooters often “project their difficulties onto other people.... In this case, it sounds like he was blaming Christians for his problems, but the masculinity piece is what is really missing in the discussions about the equation.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMenPsychologyViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 7, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: What do critics say?

Many doctors continue to object to it, as do many religious leaders and activists for the disabled who fear that the disabled could be put under duress to end their lives prematurely.

The California Catholic Conference, the Medical Oncology Assn. of Southern California and the California Disability Alliance note that similar bills have failed recently in Connecticut, Delaware and Colorado.

"This bill is simply about protecting doctors and HMOs from liability," Marilyn Golden, a senior policy analyst for the Berkeley-based Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund told The Times earlier this year, "and tells people with disabilities who face a terminal diagnosis that may well prove inaccurate that there is no dignity in our lives."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 6, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The eight-hour workday hasn't changed much since Henry Ford first experimented with it for factory workers. Now, Americans work slightly longer—an average 8.7 hours—though more time goes into email, meetings, and Facebook than whatever our official job duties actually are. Is it time to rethink how many hours we spend at the office?

In Sweden, the six-hour workday is becoming common.

"I think the eight-hour workday is not as effective as one would think," says Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus. "To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge. . . . In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the workday more endurable. At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work. We want to spend more time with our families, we want to learn new things or exercise more. I wanted to see if there could be a way to mix these things."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryEuropeSweden* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 5, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

THE tendency to ignore bisexuals seems particularly prevalent in Christian circles. The Pilling report made almost no reference to bisexuality...It repeatedly used the phrase “gay and lesbian”. At certain points, it seems that this is meant to mean “people who are not straight” or “people in same-sex relationships”. At other points, it seems to involve the more usual meaning of “people attracted only to others of the same sex”.

Church discussions on sexuality are confusing and controversial enough without using sloppy language and ignoring a sizeable number of people. The Pilling report is far from being the only culprit.

Campaigners on both sides of the argument say “gay marriage” when they mean same-sex marriage. As a bisexual Christian, I know that marrying a man would not make me gay, nor would marrying a woman make me straight.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 3, 2015 at 3:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz was badly damaged early Saturday after being hit by what appears to have been an American airstrike. At least 19 people were killed, including 12 hospital staff members, and dozens wounded.

The United States military, in a statement, confirmed an airstrike at 2:15 a.m., saying that it had been targeting individuals “who were threatening the force” and that “there may have been collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

The airstrike set off fires that were still burning hours later, and a nurse who managed to climb out of the debris described seeing colleagues so badly burned that they had died.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaAfghanistan* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 3, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was an emotional and heartfelt reunion 38 years in the making inspired by a photo of a severely burned baby being cradled by her nurse.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenHealth & MedicineHistory* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 1, 2015 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Doctors have been granted approval to carry out the UK's first 10 womb transplants, following the success of the procedure in Sweden.
The go-ahead has been given by the Health Research Authority - as part of a clinical trial - which launches in the spring.
Around one in 7,000 women are born without a womb, while others lose their womb to cancer.
If the trial is successful, the first UK baby could arrive in early 2018.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineScience & TechnologyWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 1, 2015 at 12:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One 15-year-old I interviewed at a summer camp talked about her reaction when she went out to dinner with her father and he took out his phone to add “facts” to their conversation. “Daddy,” she said, “stop Googling. I want to talk to you.” A 15-year-old boy told me that someday he wanted to raise a family, not the way his parents are raising him (with phones out during meals and in the park and during his school sports events) but the way his parents think they are raising him — with no phones at meals and plentiful family conversation. One college junior tried to capture what is wrong about life in his generation. “Our texts are fine,” he said. “It’s what texting does to our conversations when we are together that’s the problem.”

It’s a powerful insight. Studies of conversation both in the laboratory and in natural settings show that when two people are talking, the mere presence of a phone on a table between them or in the periphery of their vision changes both what they talk about and the degree of connection they feel. People keep the conversation on topics where they won’t mind being interrupted. They don’t feel as invested in each other. Even a silent phone disconnects us.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 1, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New research is helping medical experts devise formulas for how long a typical office worker should spend sitting and standing.

Studies have found that sedentary behavior, including sitting for extended periods, increases the risk for developing dozens of chronic conditions, from cancer and diabetes to cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Some ergonomics experts warn that too much standing also can have negative effects on health, including a greater risk for varicose veins, back and foot problems, and carotid artery disease.

“The key is breaking up your activity throughout the day,” said Alan Hedge, a professor of ergonomics at Cornell University. “Sitting all day and standing all day are both bad for you,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistory* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 1, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Virgin mothers having IVF, three-parent babies, transgender gold medallists . . . the new sexual politics is changing so rapidly that few can keep up. Facebook now has more than 71 terms for gender identity including gender fluid, hermaphrodite, polygender, asexual and two-spirit person. Google has increased its coverage of transgender healthcare for employees to include genital surgery, facial feminisation and pectoral implants.

In America they are increasingly clued up about these new sexual identities. Caitlyn Jenner — formerly known as Bruce — the Olympic decathlete and reality TV star, came out in July as transgender and said she was tired at 65 of telling lies. The arguments have now moved on to whether you have to be biologically female for the ladies’ loos. Campaigns have been launched, #weneedtopee and #occupotty, as states such as Florida and Kentucky struggle to work out what is appropriate in schools, hospitals and prisons.

The acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) doesn’t trip off the tongue so easily here, but slowly the discussions are reaching Britain. The comedian Eddie Izzard, whom I interviewed, explained that he now sees being a transvestite as a gift, “because women talk to me in a different way”. Grayson Perry’s art transcends what he wears. Gender is increasingly no longer about men v women, Mars v Venus, but where you are on the spectrum.

The young are much more likely to challenge their sexuality. The number of children under ten being seen for transgender treatment on the NHS has quadrupled in the past five years.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologySexualityWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 30, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bill Nye is supposed to be “the science guy.” Recently he published a video on YouTube purporting to inform viewers of what science tells us about abortion. Nye claims that laws against abortion reflect “a deep scientific lack of understanding.” But it turns out that it is Nye himself who doesn’t understand the science. “I really encourage you to look at the facts,” he says. But then he misrepresents the facts from top to bottom in an embarrassingly transparent effort to hijack science in the cause of pro-abortion ideology.

Nye’s video is so breathtakingly arrogant and incompetently argued that it is hard to know where to begin. He opens by saying: “Many, many, many, many more hundreds of eggs are fertilized than become humans. Eggs get fertilized, and by that I mean sperm get accepted by ova — a lot.” The fact he is pointing to here — the high rate of pre-implantation spontaneous abortions (estimates range from 45 percent to as high as 70 percent) — is the only bit of science Nye ever mentions in the video. But he thinks one can infer from it that a human being does not come to be until the embryo implants on the uterine wall: “[The sperm’s joining the ovum] is not all you need. You have to attach to the uterine wall, the inside of a womb, a woman’s womb.”

But that is easily exposed as a non sequitur — a logical fallacy, the conclusion does not follow from the premise. The fact that many human embryos die at an early stage of development (pre-implantation) provides no evidence whatsoever for the proposition that they are not embryonic human beings — no more than comparable high rates of infant mortality in most places before the 20th century showed that infants were not human beings.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyApologeticsEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 29, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dammer, the University of Scranton professor, said people are often skeptical of religious people in prisons, and particularly those who convert behind bars. “The common thought by correctional officers or people who run prisons or even the general public is that people who are involved in religion in prison because …[they] think they’ll get parole easy or earlier,” he said. This isn’t really the case, he said; especially as states have moved away from indeterminate sentencing, or prison terms that involve a range of possible lengths, this kind of pious performance hasmattered less for helping people get parole.

“Do some inmates use religion in prison in a manipulative way? Absolutely. They do it to meet women at services, they do it to get goods and services,” he said. “Most of them, though, don’t do it for this myth—just to get out of prison. They do it to help them live in prison in a way that helps them survive.”

Religious figures play various roles in prisons. Institutions will usually have hired chaplains on staff, sometimes euphemistically called “faith representatives.” These chaplains often oversee groups of volunteers who come into prisons to run bible studies and other programs. In one prison that Dammer studied, “the only contact [inmates] had with anybody was with the chaplains, who would walk up and down the hallways and read the bible. [Otherwise], it was 23 hours a day of total solitary confinement.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePrison/Prison MinistryPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 29, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...research suggests that while it’s true that lawmakers passed a lot of measures calling for long prison sentences, if you look at how much time inmates actually served, not much has changed over the past few decades. Roughly half of all prisoners have prison terms in the range of two to three years, and only 10 percent serve more than seven years. The laws look punitive, but the time served hasn’t increased, and so harsh laws are not the main driver behind mass incarceration, either.

So what does explain it? Pfaff’s theory is that it’s the prosecutors. District attorneys and their assistants have gotten a lot more aggressive in bringing felony charges. Twenty years ago they brought felony charges against about one in three arrestees. Now it’s something like two in three. That produces a lot more plea bargains and a lot more prison terms.

I asked Pfaff why prosecutors are more aggressive. He’s heard theories. Maybe they are more political and they want to show toughness to raise their profile to impress voters if they run for future office. Maybe the police are bringing stronger cases. Additionally, prosecutors are usually paid by the county but prisons by the state, so prosecutors tend not to have to worry about the financial costs of what they do.

Read it all from the New York Times Op-ed page.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPrison/Prison MinistryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted September 29, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Women are having children after undergoing IVF - despite never having had sex, according to doctors.

25 young women in the UK who are hetereosexual and in their twenties have opted for IVF in the past five years because they feel ready to be a parent, doctors told the Mail on Sunday.

Some who have had the "virgin borths" said they are still waiting for the right partner - and a few may be afraid of sex owing to psychosexual complications, experts have said.

Read it all.

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Posted September 28, 2015 at 5:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When he was 8 years old, my son, Noah, a true-blue New York Yankees fan, visited his pediatrician for a physical exam before starting day camp. His doctor found a lump in his neck.

The evaluation began with a chest X-ray, which showed a mass; the CT scan confirmed a large lesion in his chest. As a physician, I prayed to God that it would be tuberculosis. Perhaps I was the only doctor ever to ask God to give his son tuberculosis. The biopsy revealed Hodgkin’s disease, a form of lymphoma, and I quickly began to pray for my son’s life. A deep, gut-penetrating fear seared through my body.

Tefillah is the Hebrew word for prayer. The Torah, also referred to as the Old Testament, begins with: “When God began to create.” And how did God create? With words. Genesis 1:3 “God said ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” Genesis 1:26 “God said: ‘Let us make man in our image.’ ” Thus, we see that God used words to bring all that we know into existence.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMulticulturalism, pluralism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

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Posted September 25, 2015 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It might not be well-publicised by the church, but every diocese in Britain has its own deliverance minister. Each is appointed, personally, by the Bishop. Many, like Stephen, become interested in taking on the role after having their own experience of some apparently supernatural phenomena . “I used to live in a house that seemed to have some sort of presence,” says Stephen. His haunting, though, was mild: more pest than pestilence. “Even though it was a relatively modern house it was always very cold, particularly in my children’s bedroom,” he says. “We bled the radiators, we looked for a draft and there was none. The place just had an atmosphere. I went away for a couple of nights and my wife, who’s fairly level headed, was freaked out just by being left in the house with my child.” At a loss, he called in a deliverance minister who told him, ‘Don’t worry, I can deal with this,’ and blessed the house. As he said his prayers everyone gathered felt the temperature rise around them, right where they stood. “It went from cool to being very warm, and it wasn’t just me that felt it,” he says. “This is something I’ve experienced a few times. The house is actually quite a pleasant place to live now.”

Becoming a deliverance minister not only requires selection by the bishop, but the attendance of a compulsory training course. “It lasts three or four days,” he says. “It gives you a huge amount of input along the lines of, ‘these are things you may not have experienced before and how you go about dealing with them.’ There’s also a very heavy emphasis on the difference between people who are psychotic and people who might be manifesting evil influences.” As part of his general training, Stephen says he completed an extended placement working at a mental health facility. “I have quite an extensive knowledge and experience of people who’ve got various psychiatric problems.”

Read it all.

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Posted September 25, 2015 at 8:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon





For decades, the never-ending abortion debate has been summarized by the dueling sound bites of pro-choice and pro-life. Very slowly, but lately more steadily, the fundamental premise of pro-life advocacy—that abortion not only stills a beating heart, but takes a human life—has resonated with the American public. Indeed, the New York Times itself reports that “one of the most enduring labels of modern politics—pro choice—has fallen from favor” as a means of furthering abortion rights policies.

That’s a notable shift. But pro-lifers should not unduly celebrate. Rather than moderating, activists have embraced an advocacy model they once eschewed—being explicitly pro-abortion. In this new approach, Roe v. Wade is no longer a moment to celebrate. Rather, it must be overturned because it is too restrictive of what they believe should be an absolute right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, at any time, for any reason.

Why did “pro-choice” lose its efficacy? Mendacity has its costs. Understanding the public’s sentimentality about babies, pro-choice apologists often falsely claimed their goal was simply to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” That worked for a time. But conceding that abortion should be “rare” implicitly accepted the pro-life movement’s fundamental premise—that the entity terminated in an abortion is far more than an inflamed appendix. Eventually, the sheer force of logic and fact helped push the country in a more pro-life direction.

Read it all.

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Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Social media has created dependency issues; research has proven it. Academic studies have linked apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to symptoms of depression, anxiety and general dissatisfaction.

Therapy website Talkspace has a solution: a new 12-week plan to address social-media dependency. That's right, exchange texts with a real therapist to talk through your dependence – not "addiction," mind you – to your phone. Created in 2012, the Talkspace app offers text-based therapy provided by 200 therapists to its current 150,000 registered users. But unlike texting a friend, a parent or a significant other, on the other end is a therapist. It's the gig economy, but for therapists.

The launch includes an installation in New York's Flatiron District, where passersby are encouraged to look in a mirror and use the hashtag #reflectreality.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Specialists in infectious disease are protesting a gigantic overnight increase in the price of a 62-year-old drug that is the standard of care for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection.

The drug, called Daraprim, was acquired in August by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up run by a former hedge fund manager. Turing immediately raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50, bringing the annual cost of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“What is it that they are doing differently that has led to this dramatic increase?” said Dr. Judith Aberg, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She said the price increase could force hospitals to use “alternative therapies that may not have the same efficacy.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted September 21, 2015 at 12:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The denial of God -- or the blithe bracketing of the question of God -- is not a harmless parlor game. Rather, it carries with it the gravest implications. If there is no God, then our lives do indeed belong to us, and we can do with them what we want. If there is no God, our lives have no ultimate meaning or transcendent purpose, and they become simply artifacts of our own designing. Accordingly, when they become too painful or too shallow or just too boring, we ought to have the prerogative to end them. We can argue the legalities and even the morality of assisted suicide until the cows come home, but the real issue that has to be engaged is that of God's existence.

The incoming freshman class at Harvard is a disturbing omen indeed, for the more our society drifts into atheism, the more human life is under threat. The less we are willing even to wrestle with God, the more de-humanized we become.

Read it all.

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Posted September 20, 2015 at 1:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dr. Mimi C. Lee and Stephen E. Findley had not been married long when he began to have doubts about the relationship. Now divorced, he is fighting to prevent her from having a child with their frozen embryos, made after Lee was diagnosed with cancer.

The case, to be decided in the next several weeks, is likely to lead to the first legal rules in California for resolving embryo disputes. If Lee prevails, Findley could be forced to become a parent against his will. If Findley wins, it is extremely unlikely that Lee, now 46, will ever have a genetically related child.

"It is compelling and dramatic how these issues play out," said Dr. Mark Sauer, a reproductive endocrinologist and professor of medicine at Columbia University. "These are embryos that will potentially live lives. It is not like you are bartering over the furniture in your house."

Read it all.

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1 Comments
Posted September 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After the sixth suicide in his old battalion, Manny Bojorquez sank onto his bed. With a half-empty bottle of Jim Beam beside him and a pistol in his hand, he began to cry.

He had gone to Afghanistan at 19 as a machine-gunner in the Marine Corps. In the 18 months since leaving the military, he had grown long hair and a bushy mustache. It was 2012. He was working part time in a store selling baseball caps and going to community college while living with his parents in the suburbs of Phoenix. He rarely mentioned the war to friends and family, and he never mentioned his nightmares.

He thought he was getting used to suicides in his old infantry unit, but the latest one had hit him like a brick: Joshua Markel, a mentor from his fire team, who had seemed unshakable. In Afghanistan, Corporal Markel volunteered for extra patrols and joked during firefights. Back home Mr. Markel appeared solid: a job with a sheriff’s office, a new truck, a wife and time to hunt deer with his father. But that week, while watching football on TV with friends, he had wordlessly gone into his room, picked up a pistol and killed himself. He was 25.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyStressSuicide* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 19, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly 700 million cases of malaria have been prevented in Africa as a result of concerted efforts to tackle the disease since 2000, a study shows.
The report published in the journal Nature showed that overall the number of infections fell by 50% across the continent.
Bed nets were responsible for the vast majority of the decrease.
There have also been calls to maintain funding to ensure the progress is not undone.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistory* International News & CommentaryAfrica* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 17, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A few years ago, Tim Kreider wrote this for the New York Times:
I’ve often thought that the single most devastating cyberattack a diabolical and anarchic mind could design would not be on the military or financial sector but simply to simultaneously make every e-mail and text ever sent universally public. It would be like suddenly subtracting the strong nuclear force from the universe; the fabric of society would instantly evaporate, every marriage, friendship and business partnership dissolved.
An utterly chilling thought, isn’t it? It makes the Ashley Madison hack look quaint in comparison. I have certainly said and done things in one context that would be troublesome in another. I suspect that my private e-mails, made public, could undo me in a quick minute.

We affirm a right to privacy, yet privacy is largely an illusion. As Sproul rightly if unwisely pontificated, we hide nothing from God. Ironically, the Internet, in becoming such a powerful force in our lives, illustrates this—albeit as a mere idol. If you took the sum total of everything the Internet knows about any one user—search history, website memberships, financial data, e-mail archive—you might well be able to conjure up a reasonable facsimile for Who You Really Are, secrets and all.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Feb. 6, 2016 – one year after the historic Supreme Court ruling in the case of Kathleen Carter and Gloria Taylor – physician-assisted death will be legal in Canada. The Canadian Medical Association last week debated what life would be like for physicians and patients in this brave new world. One thing was clear: We are woefully unprepared for Feb. 7.

The Court said the Criminal Code’s prohibitions on assisted suicide will no longer apply “to the extent that they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person who (1) clearly consents to the termination of life and (2) has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.” It also stated that physicians cannot be compelled to hasten a person’s death.

In the yawning gap between this straightforward theory and the complexities of everyday practice lie many questions:

• When a patient asks for a hastened death, who will they ask?

• What do the terms “grievous and irremediable” and “enduring suffering that is intolerable” mean?

• Who will determine a patient’s capacity to consent?

• If a physician can’t be compelled to perform the act, does he or she have an obligation to refer to a doctor who will?

• How long will the “cooling off” period be between a request and administration of a lethal drug?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 16, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw is set for a long spell on the sidelines after suffering a double fracture in his right leg against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The England international was caught in a challenge with Hector Moreno when bursting into the box in the 15th minute. Although Moreno won the ball, the momentum of his tackle saw him catch Shaw with his follow through.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMenSportsYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted September 15, 2015 at 8:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A campaign has been launched calling for a ban on the development of robots that can be used for sex.

Such a use of the technology is unnecessary and undesirable, said campaign leader Dr Kathleen Richardson.

Sex dolls already on the market are becoming more sophisticated and some are now hoping to build artificial intelligence into their products.

Those working in the field say that there is a need for such robots.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted September 15, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The fundamental question of how the brain’s physical processes give rise to thoughts, feelings and behavior, much less how to simulate them, remains a mystery. So many neuroscientists see the possibility of reproducing an individual’s consciousness as unforeseeably far off.

“We have to recognize that there are many huge gaps that have to be leaped over,” said Stephen J. Smith, a neuroscientist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. “The brain is holding on to many of its secrets.”

Jeffrey Lichtman, a Harvard University neuroscientist, said, “Nothing happening now is close to a reality where a human patient might imagine that their brain could be turned into something that could be reproduced in silico.”

But in the spring of 2011, as Kim began chemotherapy that caused hives to erupt all over her body, an unusual letter appeared in Cryonics magazine. Titled “The Brain Preservation Technology Prize: A challenge to cryonicists, a challenge to scientists,” it argued that if a brain was properly preserved, time would not be an issue.

Read it all.

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Posted September 15, 2015 at 7:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Social media bullying has been blamed for suicides among teens and young adults, but now there’s a national effort afoot to use social media to prevent young people from taking their lives.

The basic idea is to provide online tools such as discussion forums and chat rooms for those who may feel despondent or disenfranchised to share their feelings and to connect them to resources that can provide help.

Other ideas include educating social media users to identify and react to messages that may indicate an individual is considering harming themselves and providing online mental health screening functions on sites that teens and young adults visit.

Those were among the topics discussed during a national online forum held last week by the National Alliance for Suicide Prevention, which hopes to harness the power of social media to help young people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHealth & MedicinePrison/Prison MinistryPsychologySuicideTeens / Youth* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 15, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s so obviously reasonable – and kind. You wouldn’t let your dog suffer if there was no hope, would you? “It’s quite wrong that only people who can afford it and have the emotional wherewithal and the support to do it have this choice (to go to Switzerland and end their own lives),” as Lord Falconer said on ITV News.

I was diagnosed with a ‘motor neurone disorder’ 13 years ago. It turned out to be Primary Lateral Sclerosis, the slowest and rarest form of MND. Over time my life has become progressively more restricted. No more walking in Snowdonia and the Lake District; no more camping with the family in France; no more squash, or cycling, or gardening. I stopped working. We had to move to a smaller house with a lift and a small garden. My wife who had now become my sole carer didn’t have time to spend mowing lawns and growing beans. She is occupied getting me dressed and undressed, meeting my needs from toilet to teatime, from breakfast to bedtime.

We might well be expected to support the Marris Bill to legalise assisted dying. After all, what quality of life do we have ahead of us? Wouldn’t it be something to hold on to – the possibility that when we’d both had enough we could call time? But it’s not all about me. Society is a network of relationships, of interdependence. Our actions are never without effects. That is why life is in fact so rich. My life, when I open my eyes to look, has not been impoverished by my disabling disease; it is deeper and fuller in a way I could not have foreseen. I’m not saying it’s easier. It’s frustrating and painful; it can be depressing. But life is still good.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sierra Leone, one of the world's poorest countries, was startlingly unprepared for the Ebola outbreak that tore through the country last year. It had only 120 doctors for a population of 6 million people, and life expectancy hovered below 50 years. The Rhode Island-sized district where the disease first struck lacked both electricity and paved roads.

But the country is rich in a resource that may best promote recovery from an epidemic that killed nearly 4,000 people and turned whole communities against one another: forgiveness.

“It begins with honest conversation,” says Keppa. “I wanted him to know that by isolating his son, we prevented others from getting sick here. He died, but that was the last case we had in this village.”

Just over a year after their ordeal, Tommy and Keppa stand side by side as they recount the story, not betraying even a flicker of the hurt and suspicion that both men say nearly broke them after the younger Tommy’s death.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaSierra Leone* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 14, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The controversial Liverpool Care Pathway for dying patients was phased out after an independent review by Baroness Neuberger, which concluded that it had been “misused and misunderstood” by hospital staff.

But although the LCP has gone (in name, at least), it represented “the best quality of care possible” for the dying as defined by palliative medicine physicians. It is therefore not surprising that new guidelines replacing the LCP, recently issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), are very similar. Indeed, they perpetuate the features that made the LCP so dangerous.

The Nice guidelines are, if anything, even worse than the LCP as a result of certain additions. The writers had the Neuberger report to draw on, but they have not taken on board some of its main recommendations. Although the guidelines say they respond “to a need for an evidence-based guideline for the clinical care of the dying”, references to a solid base of scientific evidence are almost totally lacking.

Read it all.

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Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Dale Kuehne writes]:
While today’s conversations push the boundaries of how we understand gender, they don’t understand that this brave new world of identity is about more than gender.

The students with whom I associate—from middle school to college students—have understood for several years that we now reside in a world beyond gender. The youngest of them probably don’t realize that TIME’s article announced anything “new.”

For many of them, gender discussions, even of the transgender variation, are just so yesterday. When we talk about personal identity, we don’t include the mundane questions about being male and/or female. A person can certainly identify as male or female if they wish, but there is little expectation that one would do so.

After all, today Facebook gives us over 50 “gender” identities to choose from. (Conversations about this can involve questions about why there are so few options.) And rather than looking to gender or variations on a gender, more and more young people are seeking to discover their identity by widening the options to include “otherkins” (people who consider themselves to have a non-human identity, such as various animals, spirits, mediums, and so on).
Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologySexualityTeens / YouthWomenYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted September 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a landmark victory for supporters of assisted suicide, the California State Legislature on Friday gave its final approval to a bill that would allow doctors to help terminally ill people end their lives.

Four states — Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont — already allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to some patients. The California bill, which passed Friday in the State Senate by a vote of 23 to 14, will now go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will roughly triple access to doctor-assisted suicide across the country if he signs it. Mr. Brown has given little indication of his intentions.

The California bill is modeled on the law in Oregon, with several notable changes. The California law would expire after 10 years and have to be reapproved, and doctors would have to consult in private with the patient desiring to die, as part of an effort to ensure that no one would be coerced to end his or her life — a primary concern for opponents of the law.

Leaders of the “death with dignity” movement said they hoped the passage of the California law could be a turning point.

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0 Comments
Posted September 12, 2015 at 11:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I suppose it would be wholly wrong, and simplistic, to suggest that these potential problems could be obviated by doing away with sperm banks....

Read it all.

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


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & TechnologySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology


Posted September 10, 2015 at 2:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...I can understand the argument for assisted dying, especially when I see people with dementia. I can (or I think I can) cope with physical frailty but it is the thought of losing one’s mind that troubles me most. Perhaps I, too, would want the independence to end my life at a time and circumstances of my choosing. But is dementia or another intractable condition even part of this assisted dying bill, which talks of capacity and death within fixed timeframes?

The proposed bill does not offer sufficient safeguarding for patients and doctors. Mental capacity can change depending on mood, physical distress or social hardship. There is always the risk that doctors will get it wrong. This risk of causing harm far outweighs any potential benefits.

Patients must have the trust and assurance that we are on their side. More thought needs to go into amending the bill further and looking at the practicalities of how assisted dying could be implemented, as there is no scope for this in routine medical practice. Assisted dying should not be the cheap alternative to high-quality palliative care.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted September 10, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wesley Smith is right: north of the border there is a concerted attempt to erase the conscience rights of doctors, by demanding referrals for the killing of the unborn (who do not need to put in a request) and of the terminally ill (who thus far do) and, for that matter, of any other procedure deemed “medical.”

The Montreal Gazette today published a letter of mine objecting to this “ethical cleansing” of conscientious objectors from the medical community. The editor chose to leave off my final remark, that “the time has come to press for the full legal rights and recognition for those, both patients and professionals, of Hippocratic conviction. Bill 52 notwithstanding, and Carter v. Canada notwithstanding, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms still guarantees freedom of conscience and religion.”

While Carter (a truly atrocious judgment) left open the question of how patients’ rights and doctors’ rights are to be balanced under the Charter, it is noteworthy that the former set of rights is always considered only in terms of the rights of those who desire “medical assistance in dying” and never in terms of the rights of those who want physicians and health care professionals committed to the Hippocratic principles. It is imperative, at least as a holding action, that the latter be asserted and defended. Otherwise it will soon be impossible even to be trained in medicine without grave violations of conscience.

Read it all and follow the links.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 8, 2015 at 5:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is an irony that troubles health care providers and policymakers nationwide: Even as public awareness of mental illness increases, a shortage of psychiatrists worsens.

In vast swaths of America, patients face lengthy drives to reach the nearest psychiatrist, if they can even find one willing to see them. Some states are promoting wider use of long-distance telepsychiatry to fill the gaps in care. In Texas, which faces a severe shortage, lawmakers recently voted to pay the student loans of psychiatrists willing to work in underserved areas. A bill in Congress would forgive student loans for child psychiatrists.

Even with such efforts, problems are likely to persist. A recent survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that 59 percent of psychiatrists are 55 or older, the fourth oldest of 41 medical specialties, signaling that many may soon be retiring or reducing their workload.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 8, 2015 at 12:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Assisted dying would create new dilemmas at the end of life. Doctors would be concerned about the certainty of the diagnosis. For example, I recall an elderly man who was confidently diagnosed by a specialist team as having inoperable pancreatic cancer and given weeks to live. He would have met the Assisted Dying Bill criteria, but years later he is still playing golf; the diagnosis was wrong. Doctors would be concerned about assessing people’s mental capacity to take such an irrevocable decision. The standard tests assess a person’s ability to take a decision, not whether the decision itself is reasonable or based on realistic assumptions. Doctors would be concerned that a person might be pressurised in subtle or concealed ways.

In the Netherlands the law requires that the doctor believes that the person faces unbearable and hopeless suffering and that there are no reasonable alternatives. There is no such requirement in the Assisted Dying Bill. A doctor might be asked to end the life of a person who, although believed to be terminally ill, was not suffering and where palliative care would be expected to alleviate future suffering. Even doctors who find assisted suicide morally acceptable would find ending the life of such a person difficult.

The Bill would legalise physician-assisted suicide but not euthanasia. The deliberate killing of a person with the intention of avoiding suffering would remain illegal. A health professional could assist someone to self-administer the medicine but the final act must be taken by the person herself. Consider the position of a nurse attending a home to carry out an assisted suicide. The patient cannot swallow the medication so she sets up a syringe driver. The patient is too weak to press the button and requests that the nurse does it. But if the nurse presses the syringe driver button, that would be euthanasia, therefore illegal, and would expose her to the risk of an accusation of murder. The line between assisted suicide and euthanasia can be a fine one.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It appears, then, that it is a question of when, not if, there will be a change in the law. And yet we must heed John Stuart Mill’s call to be wary about the tyranny of the majority. For, as the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, argues in today’s Observer, such a change would mark the crossing of a legal and ethical Rubicon. “We are asked to sanction doctors participating in individuals taking steps to end their lives,” Welby writes. “This is a change of monumental proportions both in the law and in the role of doctors.”

Welby observes that any “change in the law would place very many thousands of vulnerable people at risk”. Fearing that they were a burden, some would choose to end their lives, he says. The risk, ultimately, he warns is that we end up in a society “where each life is no longer seen as worth protecting, worth honouring, worth fighting for”. For Welby, “the current law is not ‘broken’. There is no need to fix it.”

Society seems to disagree, as does one of his predecessors, Lord Carey. So, too, do the majority of Christians, according to at least one poll. But this is not to say that polls should determine policy nor that the church’s entrenched opposition to reform be ignored.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain will cross a “legal and ethical Rubicon” if parliament votes to permit terminally ill patients to end their lives, said the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as leaders of all the UK’s major faith groups call on MPs to reject plans to allow assisted suicide.

In an extraordinary show of unity on Sunday, the heads of Britain’s Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities wrote a joint letter to every MP – published in the Observer – urging them to throw out the assisted dying bill, which will be debated in the Commons on Friday.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted September 6, 2015 at 12:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My third concern is that we need to reflect on what sort of society we might become if we were to permit assisted suicide. At present, we can show love, care and compassion to those who at all ages and stages of life are contemplating suicide. We can try to intervene, to support them to embrace life once more. We can do all in our power to surround those who are terminally ill with the best possible palliative care, including physical, emotional and spiritual support. We can redouble our efforts to alleviate suffering. We can show that we love even when people have given up on caring for themselves. We can support our doctors and nurses as they act consistently in the best interests of their patients, affirming life and caring for the vulnerable.

We risk all this for what? Becoming a society where each life is no longer seen as worth protecting, worth honouring, worth fighting for? The current law and the guidelines for practice work; compassion is shown, the vulnerable are protected. In spite of individual celebrity opinions and the “findings” of snap opinion polls (that cannot hope to do justice to the intricacies of the issue) the current law is not “broken”. There is no need to fix it.

Read it all from the Observer.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 6, 2015 at 7:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wellness is prized these days. We want to balance our work and life, ensuring a healthy lifestyle. We try to carve out time for exercise, avoid fatty foods, and shun smoking (and smokers). Positivity is considered a virtue.

But Stockholm Business School professor Carl Cederstrom believes we have gone overboard with our walking meetings, treadmill desks, and meditation classes. “Wellness has become an ideology,” he says in an interview – a dangerous ideology because not all of us can live up to the wellness creed and there can be an intolerance towards smokers and people with weight issues, for example. But it’s also dangerous because it obscures the fact economic and social factors – and political decisions – can have a much greater determinant on overall health than the individual actions of the higher-income folk who have bought into what he and fellow critic André Spicer, a professor at London’s City University, call in their new book The Wellness Syndrome.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted September 5, 2015 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hammering home the momentous difficulties that would await us as parents was clearly a tactical move by the doctor to push us toward an abortion.

That abortion is not the exception, but rather the expectation in cases of Down syndrome, is not limited to medical professionals. Though precise numbers are unavailable, at least two-thirds and as many as 90 percent of fetuses found to have Down syndrome in utero are aborted. Public opinion polls show that Americans are significantly less critical of abortion in the case of mental or physical impairment. Even the Dalai Lama says it is understandable.

So it raised eyebrows when we — a couple of pro-choice liberals — informed our doctors that we had chosen not to terminate the pregnancy. There was pushback: Did we not understand the decision?

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology


Posted September 5, 2015 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Erceg’s condition is so incredibly rare that it took numerous scientific studies and brain scans to diagnose her with what is called “savant syndrome.”

Savant Syndrome is described as vastly enhanced cognitive ability in an area such as art and math. Acquired savant syndrome is when a person isn’t born with the condition, which is the case with Erceg. She also suffers from “synesthesia,” a mixing of senses, where the person can see a sound, or hear a color as a series of numbers and letters.

“Leigh is the only woman in the world who has acquired savant syndrome and synesthesia following brain injury that I know of,” said Dr. Berit Brogaard, a neuroscientist at the University of Miami who has been studying her.

Read it all from ABC's Nightline (or even better watch the video) {emphasis mine].

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1 Comments
Posted September 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And please, whatever you do, don’t try to argue against assisted dying on religious grounds. Dignity in Dying has been scathing of religious opposition, treating it as irrational and irrelevant in a predominantly secular society. “Look!” they say, “We have Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, fighting our corner, as well as Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, and his chaplain, Canon Rosie Harper, and..”

And who? Well, that’s pretty much it. It doesn’t seem to matter that last year more than 20 senior faith leaders, including Justin Welby, all signed a letter opposing the previous version of the Bill. Trying to find a Christian who will publicly support their objectives is like finding a turkey who looks forward to Christmas. “No, no, you’re all wrong and our tiny band of Christian friends are absolutely right,” Dignity in Dying insists. “Can’t you see how wise Lord Carey is when he describes the proposed law as ‘a profoundly Christian and moral thing’?” He wrote a piece for the Mail on Sunday last month, in which he said: “I often find myself asking: ‘What would Jesus do?’ I think I know what he wouldn’t do. He wouldn’t say: ‘There, there. Pain is good for you. Take it like a man or a woman.'”

Let’s take a deep breath and think about this for a moment. If assisted dying is Christian and moral, we must believe that Jesus would encourage it. Can you really imagine a woman coming to him with a malignant cancerous growth, and Jesus looking at her with compassion but offering some poisonous berries? Or, if none was available, handing her a knife, telling her that there is nothing left in her life worth living for and that it would be better if she slit her wrists?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

6 Comments
Posted September 5, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a first-of-its-kind study, LifeWay Research surveyed 1,500 pastors of evangelical and historically black churches and found an estimated 13 percent of senior pastors in 2005 had left the pastorate 10 years later for reasons other than death or retirement.

"Pastors are not leaving the ministry in droves," said vice president Scott McConnell.

Still, pastors say the role can be tough:

84 percent say they're on call 24 hours a day.
80 percent expect conflict in their church.
54 percent find the role of pastor frequently overwhelming.
53 percent are often concerned about their family's financial security.
48 percent often feel the demands of ministry are more than they can handle.
21 percent say their church has unrealistic expectations of them.

"This is a brutal job," McConnell said. "The problem isn't that pastors are quitting—the problem is that pastors have a challenging work environment....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & CultureSociology* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 4, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A judge on Wednesday cleared the way for a 48-year-old transgender woman to undergo gender-reassignment surgery, rejecting her parents' effort to have the operation blocked because they say she is mentally incompetent.

Christine Kitzler demonstrated clear understanding of the three-hour procedure and its risks, Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. said, dismissing her parents' request that he appoint a legal guardian and subject her to an independent medical exam.

"I'm so happy," Kitzler whispered as the judge ruled.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted September 3, 2015 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A woman who recently died in northern Sierra Leone has tested positive for Ebola.

It comes as a setback to the country's effort to eradicate the deadly disease.

Sierra Leone was celebrating last week when it discharged its last known Ebola patient from hospital.

News of the new case means the country is no longer Ebola-free. High-risk contacts of the woman have been identified, isolated and will now be watched for symptoms.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaSierra Leone

0 Comments
Posted September 2, 2015 at 7:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...once society generally accepts the dark premise that killing is an acceptable way to end suffering–we haven’t yet–there is no way to effectively constrain euthanasia inflation.

This isn’t a “slippery slope” argument but determinable from facts on the ground. Thus, in addition to the physically ill and dying, doctors in Belgium and the Netherlands kill the mentally ill, the healthy elderly “tired of life,” and in Belgium, even engage in joint killings of married couples that fear widowhood and/or dependency.

Switzerland’s legal suicide clinics have facilitated the deaths of people who are not sick for existential reasons. Recently, an elderly Italian woman received assisted suicide because she was in despair over her loss of beauty. The first her family knew that she was dead was when the suicide clinic mailed the family her ashes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 2, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The American Medical Association remains opposed to physician assistance in dying; the California Medical Association has moved from opposition to neutrality. Litigation has been unsuccessful in seeking judicial affirmation of a right that California’s legislature should establish. Legislation to do this has been authored by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, chair of the Democratic caucus.

There are reasons for wariness. An illness’s six-month trajectory can be uncertain. A right to die can become a felt obligation, particularly among bewildered persons tangled in the toils of medical technologies, or persons with meager family resources. And as a reason for ending life, mental suffering itself calls into question the existence of the requisite decisional competence.

Today’s culture of casual death (see the Planned Parenthood videos) should deepen worries about a slippery slope from physician-assisted dying to a further diminution of life’s sanctity. Life, however, is inevitably lived on multiple slippery slopes: Taxation could become confiscation, police could become instruments of oppression, public education could become indoctrination, etc. Everywhere and always, civilization depends on the drawing of intelligent distinctions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 2, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A growing measles epidemic in the province of Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, has sickened more than 20,000 people and killed 300 people this year, according to official figures, while resources to combat the outbreak are still lacking, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today.

More than 20 of Katanga's 68 health districts are now affected—up from 10 districts in June—but the Congolese government has still not made an official declaration of the epidemic, which may have delayed a timely response.

"Every day we discover new deaths related to measles that have not been accounted for," said Augustin Ngoyi, MSF coordinator of the response. "In a village of 500 inhabitants two hours’ drive from Kabalo, more than 30 children under 5 years of age have died in the last two months. Their little graves are still visible in the cemetery. This represents one third of this age group in the community."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaRepublic of Congo

0 Comments
Posted September 1, 2015 at 5:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Cities across the nation are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines, and few places have witnessed a shift as precipitous as this city. With the summer not yet over, 104 people have been killed this year — after 86 homicides in all of 2014.

More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ago. In New Orleans, 120 people had been killed by late August, compared with 98 during the same period a year earlier. In Baltimore, homicides had hit 215, up from 138 at the same point in 2014. In Washington, the toll was 105, compared with 73 people a year ago. And in St. Louis, 136 people had been killed this year, a 60 percent rise from the 85 murders the city had by the same time last year.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 1, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of US university students who smoke cannabis on a near-daily basis is at its greatest for 35 years – and has even surpassed daily cigarette use, according to a recent study.

As part of the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, a series of national surveys showed use of the drug has been growing slowly on the nation’s campuses since 2006, with 5.9 per cent saying they smoke it almost every day – the highest number since 1980.

This figure is up considerably from 2007 when 3.5 per cent admitted to the same, meaning one in every 17 university students is now smoking marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationHealth & MedicineYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted September 1, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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