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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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And yet all admit that yes, we’re in uncharted waters.
The mood among Republicans in Washington is hopeful apprehension. Even Trump supporters, even his staff and advisers, feel it. No one knows what he’ll be like as president, how this will go. Including, probably, him.
Read it all (my emphasis).
Oblivious to the moment and the setting, the always remarkable Trump proved that something dystopian can be strangely exhilarating: In what should have been a civic liturgy serving national unity and confidence, he vindicated his severest critics by serving up reheated campaign rhetoric about “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape” and an education system producing students “deprived of all knowledge.” Yes, all.
Read it all.
In his first full-length book, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby looks at the subject of money and materialism.
Designed for study in the weeks of Lent leading up to Easter, Dethroning Mammon reflects on the impact of our own attitudes, and of the pressures that surround us; on how we handle the power of money, called Mammon in this book. Who will be on the throne of our lives? Who will direct our actions and attitudes? Is it Jesus Christ, who brings truth, hope and freedom? Or is it Mammon, so attractive, so clear, but leading us into paths that tangle, trip and deceive?
Read it all and you can read an extract there.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Books Psychology Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Personal Finance * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The bishop who was a key figure in the campaign to uncover the truth about the Hillsborough disaster is to receive the Freedom of Liverpool.
Bishop James Jones chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel, whose report led to the quashing of the 1989 tragedy's inquest verdicts.
The cleric will be honoured later at a ceremony in the city.
Bishop Jones, 68, was made Knight Commander last year for his services to the Hillsborough Inquiry.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Sports * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Davos takes place this year at a time of uncommon instability. How come?
When you look at the major European or North Atlantic nations, people do not know what the policy of the next administrations will be. The U.S., maybe together with China, is the elephant in the room. Both uncertain. You have elections in France, the unknown nature of Brexit’s implications. And then you have Germany, and given what happened in Berlin with terrorism, what will be the position of Angela Merkel one year from now? That creates the whole atmosphere of morosity.
You have a phrase about the rise of discontented workers—you call it the Precariat?
I didn’t coin the phrase, but it describes why people have this uneasy feeling. Is my job still safe? I think there are 3.5 million cashiers in the U.S. and as many truck drivers for whom technology might be overtaking their jobs. People feel a lot of anxiety, and it may not even be conscious.
Read it all.
More than two dozen Jewish community centers across the U.S. reported receiving false bomb threats on Wednesday. It's the second wave of bomb threats in two weeks: On Jan. 9, 16 community centers received threats in a single day.
No actual bombs have been found, according to the JCC Association of North America, and many centers have already reopened and resumed regular operations.
The FBI is investigating "possible civil rights violations in connection with threats," The Associated Press reports.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Judaism * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Church of England’s briefing paper was drawn up by its mission and public affairs council, led by Philip Fletcher, and its environment working group, chaired by the Bishop of Salisbury. It is being issued to environmental officers in every diocese and is intended to help to inform bishops and other leading clergy as the church is increasingly pressured by local campaigners to take a stand.
The document says fracking can be “a morally acceptable practice” if it forms part of a transition to a greener economy and is subject to robust regulation and planning procedures. “Having concluded that shale gas may be a useful component in transitioning to a low carbon economy, we are persuaded that a robust planning and regulatory regime could be constructed,” it says.
It also says it is “essential” that legitimate concerns of those who face disruption from fracking are heard and that “appropriate protections and compensation are in place”.
Read it all (subscription required).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Energy, Natural Resources * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
It has become fashionable in recent years among some medical historians to argue that the operation was not the medical horror story that popular culture portrays it as being. These scholars suggest that, seen in the context of the times, lobotomy was perhaps a defensible response to massively overcrowded mental hospitals and the therapeutic impotence of the psychiatry of the time. That is not my view, and Luke Dittrich’s book adds to evidence from elsewhere that Scoville, like Freeman, was a monster: ambitious, driven, self-centred and willing to inflict grave and irreversible damage on his patients in his search for fame. He certainly had no time for the Hippocratic injunction, “First, do no harm”.
Read it all.
While the Archbishops of Canterbury and York embrace the theological distinctives that arose out of the Reformation, specifically Martin Luther's emphasis on Christian salvation being through faith and not by merit or effort, they regret the bloodshed that followed that historic rupture in 1517.
It is worth noting that both Churches always mark 4 May as a day for Reformation Martyrs, with the Church of England praying that 'those who have been divided on earth may be reconciled in heaven'.
Today's statement is a call to all Christians, of whatever denomination, to repent of division and to unite within the Christian Gospel.
Read it all and please note the printed correction at the bottom.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations * Theology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
College sex, it turns out, is not so very different from the hotel food in that old Jewish joke made famous by “Annie Hall”: terrible, and in such small portions.
Lisa Wade opens “American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus” with a cascade of statistics that says as much. The average graduating senior has hooked up just eight times in four years, or once per semester. Almost one-third of college students never hook up at all. Those who do report mixed feelings about the experience, with one in three saying that intimate relationships in the past year have been “traumatic” or “very difficult to handle.”
“In addition,” Ms. Wade writes, “there is a persistent malaise: a deep, indefinable disappointment.”
Read it all.
Manchester United have taken steps to increase they security by hiring a counter-terrorism chief after two high-profile lapses last year.
United are the first Premier League club to create a position of this kind, with the club made aware that their Old Trafford home lends itself to a significant target for extremists.
A former inspector from Greater Manchester Police’s specialist search unit has been appointed to fill the role, having been trained in cover police operations including terrorism, as well as specialising in sweep searches of buildings are vehicles.
Read it all.
ove, therefore, becomes the hallmark of nonviolent resistance requiring that the resister not only refuse to shoot his opponent but also refuse to hate him. Nonviolent resistance is meant to bring an end to hate by being the very embodiment of agape. King seemed never to tire of an appeal to Anders Nygren's distinction between eros, phila and agape to make the point that the love that shapes nonviolent resistance is one that is disciplined by the refusal to distinguish between worthy and unworthy people. Rather agape begins by loving others for their own sake, which requires that we "have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution."
Such a love means that nonviolent resistance seeks not to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win a friend. The protests that may take the form of boycotts and other non-cooperative modes of behaviour are not ends in themselves, but rather attempts to awaken in the opponent a sense of shame and repentance. The end of nonviolent resistance is redemption and reconciliation with those who have been the oppressor. Love overwhelms hate, making possible the creation of a beloved community that would otherwise be impossible.
Accordingly, nonviolent resistance is not directed against people but against forces of evil. Those who happen to be doing evil are as victimized by the evil they do as those who are the object of their oppression. From the perspective of nonviolence King argued that the enemy is not the white people of Montgomery, but injustice itself. The object of the boycott of the buses was not to defeat white people, but to defeat the injustice that mars their lives.
Read it all from ABC Australia's Religion and Ethics site.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology
[Michael] Gilbreath (a CT editor at large) hearkens back to the 1963 Birmingham civil rights campaign, to the world of Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Shuttlesworth, and other heroic Christian leaders. Today, we idolize these figures for leading a beleaguered people to the Promised Land. But as Birmingham Revolution makes clear, the civil rights movement was no slam dunk. Uncertainty, scarce resources, and outside hostility could have ground its progress to a halt.
The Birmingham campaign was pivotal. On the heels of defeat in Albany, Georgia, victory in Birmingham restored the movement's momentum. Failure could have crippled it, by drying up funding, discrediting the nonviolent method, and validating fears that the leaders were—take your pick—extremists, rabble-rousers, too Christian, not Christian enough, too Southern, or insufficiently urban.
How—amid the noise and ambiguity, the internal struggles and self-doubts, the bone-deep weariness and constant fear of death—did the Birmingham leaders maintain their focus? And how might their example instruct the church today? Gilbreath gives four answers.
Read it all
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.
There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Prison/Prison Ministry Race/Race Relations * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
As [Ralph] Abernathy tells it–and I believe he is right–he and King were first of all Christians, then Southerners, and then blacks living under an oppressive segregationist regime. King of course came from the black bourgeoisie of Atlanta in which his father, “Daddy King,” had succeeded in establishing himself as a king. Abernathy came from much more modest circumstances, but he was proud of his heritage and, as he writes, wanted nothing more than that whites would address his father as Mr. Abernathy. He and Martin loved the South, and envisioned its coming into its own once the sin of segregation had been expunged.
“Years later,” Abernathy writes that, “after the civil rights movement had peaked and I had taken over [after Martin’s death] as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” he met with Governor George Wallace. “Governor Wallace, by then restricted to a wheel chair after having been paralyzed by a would-be assassin’s bullet, shook hands with me and welcomed me to the State of Alabama. I smiled, realizing that he had forgotten all about Montgomery and Birmingham, and particularly Selma. ‘This is not my first visit,’ I said. ‘I was born in Alabama–in Marengo County.’ ‘Good,’ said Governor Wallace, ‘then welcome back.’ I really believe he meant it. In his later years he had become one of the greatest friends the blacks had ever had in Montgomery. Where once he had stood in the doorway and barred federal marshals from entering, he now made certain that our people were first in line for jobs, new schools, and other benefits of state government.” Abernathy concludes, “It was a time for reconciliations.”
Read it all (my emphasis).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
You can find the full text here.
I find it always is really worth the time to read and ponder it all on this day--KSH.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Hayhoe is the director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where she teaches and conducts research as an atmospheric scientist and an associate professor of political science.
As a Texas-dwelling, evangelical Christian, atmospheric scientist, Hayhoe can often win the ears of many religious communities, receive invitations to address students at Christian colleges, or have conversations with mega-church-going Republican climate cynics she otherwise mightn’t meet or who wouldn’t listen.
Her faith and, now, her web series, has led many people to tell her they had believed or suspected that human-influenced climate change was a liberal hoax but that she has changed their minds, she said.
Read it all.
Around the table at U.C.S.F., Miller stood out. The other doctors wore dress pants and button-downs — physician-casual — while he wore a sky blue corduroy shirt with a tear in the sleeve and a pair of rumpled khakis; he could have come straight from camping or Bonnaroo. Even just sitting there, he transmitted a strange charisma — a magnetism, people kept telling me, that was hard to explain but also necessary to explain, because the rapport Miller seems to instantly establish with everyone is a part of his gift as a clinician.
“It’s reasonable to say that it’s impossible to describe what it feels like to be with him,” [Dr. Michael] Rabow told me. “People feel accepted. I think they feel loved.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Watch it all--NYC's finest indeed.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
If the genetic basis of attributes like intelligence and musicality is too thinly spread and unclear to make selection practical, then tweaking by genetic manipulation certainly seems off the menu too. “I don’t think we are going to see superman or a split in the species any time soon,” says Greely, “because we just don’t know enough and are unlikely to for a long time – or maybe for ever.”
If this is all “designer babies” could mean even in principle – freedom from some specific but rare diseases, knowledge of rather trivial aspects of appearance, but only vague, probabilistic information about more general traits like health, attractiveness and intelligence – will people go for it in large enough numbers to sustain an industry?
[Bioethicist Henry] Greely suspects, even if it is used at first only to avoid serious genetic diseases, we need to start thinking hard about the options we might be faced with. “Choices will be made,” he says, “and if informed people do not participate in making those choices, ignorant people will make them.”
Read it all.
Designer babies: an ethical horror waiting to happen? https://t.co/bF8Mp2dGH6— Guardian Science (@guardianscience) January 8, 2017
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine History Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Science & Technology * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The uncertainty and turmoil caused by Brexit could prove worthwhile if it acts as a catalyst in the redistribution of power and wealth to the North, a leading figure in the church has claimed.
According to the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, last year’s vote presents politicians with a fresh opportunity to boost prosperity in the region – and to avoid deepening division across the country. The intervention from the senior clergyman comes amid growing concerns about the impact of Brexit on the North’s economy, following reports that the region is twice as dependant on EU trade as other parts of the UK.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
James B. Johnson V’s arrest exemplifies what his attorney says is a modern “American tragedy” — an injury leads to painkiller addiction which, in turn, leads to heroin use.
“Local kid gets injured, gets hooked on opioids and can’t get off of them,” attorney D. Scott Lautner said Thursday. “This clearly shows the drug epidemic problem in the United States right now, that it affects everybody of different ages, sexes, religions and occupations.”
In this case, the addict is a police officer.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Drugs/Drug Addiction Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
By the time the ordeal ended, 10 hours later, 22 people, including two police officers, were dead, the restaurant spattered with blood and shattered glass.
For months, Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter was a spooked place. Restaurants were empty night after night. Foreigners no longer left the safety of their compounds. Young Bangladeshis found themselves wondering who they could trust: Several of the terrorists came from wealthy, cosmopolitan families, not so different from the young elites who died in the siege.
In an effort to break this trance, the restaurant’s owners decided to reopen the Holey, known for its flour-dusted baguettes and homemade pasta. One of the owners, Ali Arsalan, said he was inspired in part by the staff: When he paid them two months’ salary and suggested they return to their villages to recover from the trauma, they said they would prefer to go back to work
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Dieting/Food/Nutrition Urban/City Life and Issues * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Terrorism * International News & Commentary Asia Bangladesh * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
For a nation struggling to make sense of deflation, duty and the shock of a graduate trainee being worked to death at one of Japan’s most prestigious companies, “Premium Friday” seems to provide a glimmer of hope.
Following revelations of ruinously excessive overtime demands at Japan’s largest advertising agency, Dentsu, the government wants bosses to order their overworked and under-slept employees home at 3pm on the last Friday of every month.
Proponents of the idea, which include the powerful Keidanren business lobby, argue that workers could use the time for recuperative snoozing or enjoy more leisure activities and rev the economy out of deflation.
It may not, say many labour experts, be quite that simple.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine History Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * International News & Commentary Asia Japan * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Thirteen leading international asset owners and five asset managers with over £2 trillion under management launched the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) today to better understand how the transition to a low-carbon economy affects their investments. The TPI will assess how individual companies are positioning themselves for the transition to a low-carbon economy through a public, transparent online tool. The heads of funds involved launched the Initiative this morning at the opening of the stock market at the London Stock Exchange.
The Initiative has been led by the Church of England's National Investing Bodies and the Environment Agency Pension Fund in partnership with the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. Data has been provided by FTSE Russell.
Preliminary assessments released today include the oil and gas and electricity utilities sectors. As part of a phased rollout, management quality and carbon performance assessments of additional sectors and individual companies will follow in the coming months.
Read it all from the C of E.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Stock Market Energy, Natural Resources * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Saward’s case led to changes in attitudes toward rape victims and important legal overhauls. Victims of sexual assault were given the right to appeal lenient sentences and the media was blocked from identifying a victim before a defendant was charged. In 1990, Saward became the first person in Britain to waive her right to anonymity as a victim of rape. With Wendy Green, she wrote a book, Rape: My Story, in which she spoke openly about her trauma, how it had led to suicidal thoughts and how she had overcome them. “I believe forgiveness gives you freedom,” she wrote. “Freedom to move on without being held back by the past.” Saward went on to give training to judges and police on how to treat rape victims.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality Violence Women * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
LAWTON: Immigration is going to be a really interesting issue to watch this coming year, and the years ahead, not just legal and illegal immigration, but also refugees coming in, and how the Trump administration handles that. And again, if any refugees—I mean the Obama administration set a goal for fiscal year 2017 of 110,000 refugees to be brought into this country. What’s going to happen to that?
DIONNE: I think that all disappears under the Trump administration
LAWTON: And, again, you had a pretty broad faith coalition—evangelicals, Catholics, mainline Protestants, Jews and others really coming together to say we want to bring people in, we want to help resettle them, and so they’re not going to be on board with some of that policy, and some of them, especially in the mainline Protestant community, have said, we’re going to make our churches sanctuary churches, so that rather than being deported, immigrants can come here and receive some kind of protection. So that’ll be a very interesting issue.
ABERNETHY: Many bits of action, too, all over the place, by police chiefs, by mayors already.
Read it all from PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.
A new national survey of law enforcement officers found that the vast majority feel their jobs are harder than ever before, after the police-involved shootings of black Americans over the past several years.
The nationally representative survey of close to 8,000 police officers, released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, provided some data to back up assertions made by leading law enforcement figures, including the F.B.I. director James Comey, that the publicity surrounding such episodes has discouraged the police from confronting suspects.
The survey found that 72 percent of respondents said their colleagues are “now less willing to stop and question suspicious persons”; that 86 percent thought police work had become harder because of high-profile incidents like the killings of Mike Brown in 2014 and Alton Sterling in the summer of 2016; and that 93 percent of police officers think their colleagues now worry more about personal safety.
Read it all.
The Obama administration’s failure to beat back the rise of radical Islam reflects a greater failure of thinking elites. Steeped in an intellectual culture of secularism, Western leaders have consistently denied both the Koranic motives of America’s enemies, and the Christian underpinnings of the U.S. system of values. They look for economic and social reasons for this clash of cultures and dismiss the far more terrible possibility that humanity is actually at war over the nature of God.
This estrangement from the sacred continues a trend begun during the Enlightenment of the 18th century.
But its roots are in the 17th century’s rise of science. The scientific method transformed a world of miracles into a world of material. Its successes, in time, made atheism seem the default setting of true reason. But is it?
The physicist Stephen Hawking, who publicly confirmed his atheism in 2014, doesn’t believe that God is needed to explain creation. “The laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing,” he explained. The philosopher Roger Scruton, writing in this newspaper, thoroughly undid this argument simply by asking, “But what created the laws of physics?” Such an obvious flaw in Mr. Hawking’s reasoning should have been clear to anyone who wasn’t being carried off on the skeptical tide of the times.
As a former secular Jew who converted to Christianity, I understand the temptation of such skepticism. My baptism in 2004 was an act of transgression. I sensed it at the time and know it all the more certainly today. I was nearly 50 then. I had lived my adulthood as a postmodern man, a worldling of the coasts and cities. For me to accept the truth of God and his incarnation in Jesus Christ was to defy the culture of the age.
Read it all.
What are the principles for which America fights? This is a trick question. Countries can pursue principles to the point of sparking conflict. They can invoke principles to raise morale. They can follow principles in waging war. But few principles can be turned into a casus belli without driving a country headlong into fanaticism.
It is fanaticism, America’s fanaticism, that the Pulitzer Prize–winning University of Pennsylvania historian Walter McDougall blames when he considers the strategic advantages the United States has squandered since Osama bin Laden led an attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. George W. Bush, whom Americans had elected to the White House a year before the attacks, really did say in their aftermath, “Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.” His administration named its original Afghan invasion plan Operation Infinite Justice. And McDougall has a particularly bleak assessment of the Iraq invasion that followed the attack on Afghanistan. “To speak of draining the swamps of Islamo-fascism through democratization of the whole Muslim crescent,” he writes, “was mad.”
If so, it was a madness that has been a signature of American foreign policy at least since the end of the Cold War.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Books History * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Just a few hours after he told a crowded courtroom “I still feel like I had to do it,” Dylann Roof was sentenced to death by a federal jury for carrying out a cold, calculated massacre inside Charleston's Emanuel AME Church in a bid to spark a race war.
The 12-member panel – three white jurors, nine black – deliberated for a little less than three hours before unanimously deciding that the 22-year-old white supremacist should die for his crimes rather than spend his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
It will be up to the presiding judge to formally impose that sentence, but he is bound by law to follow the jury’s decision. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel has scheduled the formal sentencing hearing for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Read it all from the local paper.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Capital Punishment Law & Legal Issues Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * South Carolina * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Christians are determined by the conviction that a brown-skinned Jew—whose body was publically tortured to death on a cross by a consortium of government and religious officials, and whose crucified body was resurrected from the dead, opening up the realm of God to people of every color, including people who believe their skin is without color—is the truth about God.
The invention of whiteness is the sin of designating humanity by reference to physical characteristics for the purpose of one race (white) dominating nonwhite races. Race is humanly conceived, structurally maintained, deeply personal, and (from a specifically Christian standpoint) sin.
Because power is used to maintain and institutionalize racial privilege, racism is more insidious than disorganized, infrequent racist acts by disconnected individuals. Though a social construction, rooted in sinful misunderstandings of our humanity in Christ, race is a political reality that has far-reaching economic, social, and individual deleterious consequences.
While race is a fiction, a human construction, racism is a fact.
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Switzerland has won a case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) obliging Muslim parents to send their children to mixed swimming lessons.
It said authorities were justified in giving precedence to enforcing "the full school curriculum" and the children's "successful integration" into society.
The ECHR acknowledged that religious freedom was being interfered with.
But judges said it did not amount to a violation
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Almost 1,000 days since she was kidnapped with 275 other schoolgirls from school dormitories in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, the 24th girl to be released from captivity has been found.
Rakiya Abubakar Gali was discovered on 5 Jan. by the Army, who were questioning captured Boko Haram militants. She has a six-month-old baby.
The mass abduction on 14 April 2014 eventually generated headlines around the world and fuelled a social-media storm, with the hashtag #bringbackourgirls and campaign group Bring Back our Girls (BBOG). It says 195 are still missing.
Fifty-seven girls escaped shortly after being taken by extreme Islamist militants Boko Haram, while others have recently found freedom.
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First, thank God, often and always… Thank God, carefully and wonderingly, for your continuing privileges and for every experience of his goodness. Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.--Michael Ramsey, The Christian Priest Today (London: SPCK, 1972), 79-81 (the chapter is entitled "Divine Humility")
Secondly, take care about confession of your sins... Be sure to criticize yourself in God’s presence: That is your self-examination. And put yourself under the divine criticism: That is your confession.
Thirdly, be ready to accept humiliations. They can hurt terribly, but they help you to be humble. There can be the trivial humiliations. Accept them. There can be the bigger humiliations… All these can be so many chances to be a little nearer to our humble and crucified Lord…
Fourthly, do not worry about status… there is only one status that our Lord bids us be concerned with, and that is the status of of proximity to himself…
Fifthly, use your sense of humor. Laugh about things, laugh at the absurdities of life, laugh about yourself, and about your own absurdity. We are all of us infinitesimally small and ludicrous creatures within God’s universe. You have to be serious, but never be solemn, because if you are solemn about anything there is the risk of becoming solemn about yourself
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And there it is. Born to give them second birth. Bound up in the many promises of the manger is the promise that the babe born in Bethlehem has power to reconstitute human beings, which means he can start them over again, spiritually speaking from scratch. This is what the Bible means by “born again,” or what Wesley meant by “second birth.” And this is indeed what Scrooge needs. After all, neither we nor he wish to trust his eternal chains to the fragile and fickle powers of human resolve. Better to enter into the mystery, terror, joy, and dark night of Christmas Eve as one man only to emerge hours later through miracle (or magic?) another man.
Flinging the curtains open on Christmas Day, his spiritual pilgrimage through the past, present and future complete, the first thing Scrooge does is laugh.
Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs.
“I don’t know what day of the month it is,” said Scrooge. “I don’t know how long I’ve been among the Spirits. I don’t know anything. I’m quite a baby. Never mind. I don’t care. I’d rather be a baby. Hallo! Whoop! Hallo here!”
“I’m quite a baby.” Indeed. Christmas magic made the man new. He had started all over gain. He had been born anew. Dickens’ point was not about ghosts and phantasms but rather about Christmas itself.
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Washington went on to express his gratitude for the support of "my countrymen" and the "army in general." This reference to his soldiers ignited feelings so intense, he had to grip the speech with both hands to keep it steady. He continued: "I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God and those who have the superintendence of them [Congress] to his holy keeping."
For a long moment, Washington could not say another word. Tears streamed down his cheeks. The words touched a vein of religious faith in his inmost soul, born of battlefield experiences that had convinced him of the existence of a caring God who had protected him and his country again and again during the war. Without this faith he might never have been able to endure the frustrations and rage he had experienced in the previous eight months.
Washington then drew from his coat a parchment copy of his appointment as commander in chief. "Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theater of action and bidding farewell to this august body under whom I have long acted, I here offer my commission and take leave of all the employments of public life." Stepping forward, he handed the document to Mifflin.
This was -- is -- the most important moment in American history.
The man who could have dispersed this feckless Congress and obtained for himself and his soldiers rewards worthy of their courage was renouncing absolute power. By this visible, incontrovertible act, Washington did more to affirm America's government of the people than a thousand declarations by legislatures and treatises by philosophers.
Thomas Jefferson, author of the greatest of these declarations, witnessed this drama as a delegate from Virginia. Intuitively, he understood its historic dimension. "The moderation. . . . of a single character," he later wrote, "probably prevented this revolution from being closed, as most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty it was intended to establish."
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Federal authorities warned Friday that ISIS sympathizers "continue aspirational calls for attacks on holiday gatherings, including targeting churches."
The bulletin was issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security and issued to law enforcement agencies and private security companies around the US.
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[Sebastian] Kahl wanted to go to the service at the Memorial Church, not just because of what he and his girlfriend went through, but also out of respect for the fates suffered by others. A gesture of compassion. But then he hears the news that the police have arrested the wrong man. His girlfriend is afraid that the terrorist is still running around in the city and that he could kill again and the couple remains at home. They both want to spend Christmas with their families and Kahl feels he has much to be grateful for. He sees his survival akin to "being born again."
5:20 p.m., Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
It is 40 minutes before the services are set to begin, but so many people have come that police have already had to close the church to non-invited guests. The benches inside are full. The closer the hour comes, the more anxious the mood in front of the church becomes. An interpreter tells the heavily armed police that she has to go inside because otherwise the journalists who have traveled from France won't know what is being said from the altar. Some visitors are so brazen that they try to sneak between the Christmas market stalls toward the church entrance. But they don't get far and the police officers react angrily.
A group from the Muslim community Ahmadiyya shows up wearing T-shirts reading: "Love for all, hate for none." When Aiman Mazyek, of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, is allowed to pass with a small entourage, two women standing in front of the church snap: "Of course the Muslims are allowed in."
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Churches, parishes, and individuals will be urged next spring to join a global disinvestment mobilisation to end the dependence on fossil fuels.
The campaign Bright Now will launch the event next May to increase pressure on big investors to move their money away from coal, oil, and gas producers into green-energy technologies.
The campaign, which is run by a Christian charity that campaigns on climate change, Operation Noah, is putting together a resource for churches on how they can disinvest from fossil fuels and reinvest in renewable energy.
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The scale of religious persecution around the world is not widely appreciated. Nor is it limited to Christians in the troubled regions of the Middle East. A recent report suggests that attacks are increasing on Yazidis, Jews, Ahmadis, Baha’is and many other minority faiths. And in some countries even more insidious forms of extremism have recently surfaced, which aim to eliminate all types of religious diversity.
We are also struggling to capture the immensity of the ripple effect of such persecution. According to the United Nations, 5.8 million MORE people abandoned their homes in 2015 than the year before, bringing the annual total to a staggering 65.3 million. That is almost equivalent to the entire population of the United Kingdom.
And the suffering doesn’t end when they arrive seeking refuge in a foreign land. We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive towards those who adhere to a minority faith.
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The technology allows for an inexpensive and portable breathlyser-style device, which costs as little as £24 and is able to screen for various diseases in a non-invasive way.
Lead author Professor Hossam Haick, said: "We found that just as we each have a unique fingerprint, each of the diseases we studied has an unique breath print, a 'signature' of chemical components.
"We have a device which can discriminate between them, which is elegant and affordable."
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In a year when U.S. restaurant chains have bemoaned sluggish traffic, competition from supermarket food and even the chilling effect of the presidential election, one area has continued to thrive: pizza.
Shares of Domino’s Pizza Inc. are up 45 percent this year. And Papa John’s International Inc. is up more than 60 percent. Compare that with a 3.4 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index.
The reasons are pizza is cheap, fast and increasingly easy to get -- thanks to user-friendly mobile-ordering apps and technology that lets diners order from Facebook, Twitter and Apple TV. That’s helped insulate pizza chains from a shift away from eating out.
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Congo Bishops urge settlement of political crisis before Christmas https://t.co/d3iib4OCzT— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) December 22, 2016
Mediators urged Congo’s president and opposition parties to reach an agreement before Christmas on a peaceful settlement to the country’s political crisis, saying dozens already have been killed this week amid protests over the president’s stay in power.
“Enough is enough,” Msgr. Marcel Utembi, one of the Catholic Church mediators, said Wednesday. “A solution must be found as soon as possible by all political actors, but in particular by the government in order to reassure the Congolese people.”
He also conveyed a message from Pope Francis following their meeting this week: “I am concerned by what is happening in your country, which I wish to visit at the opportune moment. I pray for the Congolese people, who need peace so much now.”
Read it all from the WSJ.
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Rashad Ali is a British Sunni Muslim who devotes most of his life to combating extremism and urging young co-religionists to reject the siren voices of jihadism. At the risk of making himself unpopular with some members of his community, he actively assists the government’s efforts to counter hard-line Islamism. He works mostly in his own country but also follows the Muslim scene in many other places.
Like many others working in his field, he is convinced that recent events in Syria have made his life much, much harder. Whether in Britain or in Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia or Morocco (all countries he has visited recently), he finds that ordinary Sunnis are appalled and angry over the suffering of civilians in east Aleppo before and during the collapse of the rebel stronghold.
The news has made them furious with Russia, which claims inter alia to be deploying its fighter-bombers in support of local Christians; angry with Iran and the Shia Muslim militias that it sponsors in Syria; and disappointed with Western countries for doing nothing to restrain the Russo-Iranian coalition. A common grievance, says Mr Ali, a fellow of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, is that Western consciences are moved by the plight of ethnic and religious minorities, such as the Kurds or Yazidis or small Christian sects, but indifferent to ordinary Sunni Arabs.
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Jediism, the worship of the mythology of Star Wars, is not a religion, the Charity Commission has ruled.
The commission rejected an application to grant charitable status to The Temple of the Jedi Order.
It said Jediism did not "promote moral or ethical improvement" for charity law purposes in England and Wales.
In the 2011 census, 177,000 people declared themselves Jedi under the religion section, making it the seventh most popular religion.
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A cross-party group of peers has been set up to come up with ways to reduce the size of the House of Lords.
Earlier this month peers voted to reduce the size of the Upper House, which currently has 809 members.
There have been calls to make it no bigger than the Commons, which is set to be cut to 600 MPs.
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No one knew what was in the baggie. It was just a few tablespoons of crystalline powder seized back in April, clumped like snow that had partially melted and frozen again.
Emily Dye, a 27-year-old forensic chemist at the Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Testing and Research Laboratory, did not know if anyone had died from taking this powder, or how much it would take to kill you.
What she did know was this: New drugs were appearing in the lab every other week, things never before seen in this unmarked gray building in Sterling, Virginia. Increasingly, these new compounds were synthetic opioids designed to mimic fentanyl, a prescription painkiller up to 50 times stronger than heroin.
This, Dye realized, could be one of them.
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“The church is in the [St Marks] cathedral complex signaling the vivid symbolism of the explosion,” says Ishak Ibrahim, a religious freedoms researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. “It aims at terrorizing the heart of Coptic Orthodoxy in Egypt”.
The terrorist group vowed further attacks and declared ‘a war against polytheism’ referring to the Christians’ belief in the trinity pejoratively in a statement.
This particular attack fits in with the pattern of ISIS’s notorious aim to shock and awe, hitting a minority religion and at women. It also shows the difficult position Coptic Christians find themselves in Egypt today, as the largest religious minority in the Middle East at around 10 million people. On the one hand an easy target for a callous terror group. But on the other, living as a second class group in their own country, under a different kind of threat from the authorities.
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O Tempore, O Mores. George Carey, ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, has been evicted by King’s College London from its "wall of fame" on The Strand (a public gallery of illustrious people associated with the university).
Meanwhile, dozens of other alumni continue to gaze imperiously from an otherwise grey concrete facade. Was Carey too male, pale and stale? Perhaps not, as Desmond Tutu also lost his pane. Yet we smell a rat.
Back in 2010, at the height of the gay marriage debate, LGBT student campaigners demanded the removal of Lord Carey for opposing this policy. The university, however, stood firm, a spokesman explaining that "Lord Carey’s views are his own and offered as part of an open debate".
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A Holy See diplomat has said that Christians face increasing discrimination, even in countries where there is not obvious persecution.
Mgr Janusz Urbanczyk, the Holy See’s permanent representative to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), was speaking last week at a conference in Vienna on combating intolerance and discrimination against Christians across the OSCE region. The region includes 57 countries in Europe, Central Asia and North America.
Mgr Urbanczyk said that even though the OSCE region does not see “blatant and violent persecution” of Christians as in some parts of the world, “manifestations of intolerance, hate crimes and episodes of violence or vandalism against religious places or objects continue to increase.”
In addition, he said, “offending, insulting or attacking Christians because of their beliefs and their values, including in the media and in public debate, based on a distorted and misinterpreted concept of freedom of expression, often goes uncontested.”
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Twelve people were killed and more than 45 others injured Monday evening when a 40-ton truck from Poland crashed into a popular outdoor Christmas market in the heart of Berlin and smashed its way about 80 yards through the crowd.
Police said they were still investigating whether it was an intentional attack on the holiday market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, one of dozens of cherished holiday markets across the city where hundreds of people gather for drinks, snacks and a chance to shop for handmade gifts.
U.S. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. condemned the “horrific incident,” which he said “appears to have been a terrorist attack.”
The incident came on the same day that Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was shot to death in Ankara, and three people were shot and wounded near a Muslim prayer center in the Swiss city of Zurich.
Read it all and the Telegraph has live updates there.
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Former Foreign Secretary David Miliband has warned “house-to-house murder” is being carried out in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo.
He also denounced the “appalling bombardment” of civilians and raised fears the fighting could spread to Idlib, the rebel-held province where people from Aleppo were being taken during the evacuation.
Some 8,000 civilians, including 2,700 children, have been allowed to leave besieged rebel-held areas in the city’s east, but the evacuation was halted on Friday after reports a ceasefire, negotiated by Turkey and Russia, had broken down.
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A church commission is proposing four ways that Anglicans across Canada can take part in the task of reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada: praying, learning, building relationships and acting. “Reconciliation is daily individual spiritual practice and communal conversion, the transformation of the whole church,” members of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice say in an open letter to Canadian Anglicans.
“We know that many of you are on this path, but we hope to link our efforts to yours, so that we as a whole church might embrace the promise of reconciliation, walking together with other churches, and with others of faith and conscience in persistence and in hope.”
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The world’s largest Islamic nation is Indonesia, where Muslims represent a large majority of a population of some 250 million. Christians make up about 10 percent of that number, and relations between the two faiths have on occasion been rocky. Matters reached their worst in the late 1990s, a time of economic crisis and the collapse of the long-standing military dictatorship. During the chaos, Christian minorities in regions like Sulawesi were subjected to ethnic cleansing and Chinese Christians in major cities were targeted for violence and mass rape.
In large part, these crimes resulted from economic grievances—Chinese merchants were targeted as scapegoats. Active Islamist terror movements also appeared, with ties to al-Qaeda. For some years, Indonesia seemed to epitomize Muslim-Christian tensions at their most alarming.
Subsequently, conditions have improved enormously, or rather, reverted to traditional norms of tolerance. Although Christians must be very cautious about any attempts at evangelism, congregations worship openly, and Indonesia is now home to some spectacular megachurches.
The most encouraging manifestation of improved attitudes is Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is commonly known by his Chinese nickname, Ahok. Since 2014, Ahok has been governor of the nation’s capital, Jakarta, a city with a population of 10 million, with some 30 million in the larger metropolitan region.
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For rector Sarah Lunn, it’s only a stone’s throw from the small sandstone church of St James to the purpose-built surgery in the tiny Cumbrian village of Temple Sowerby where she often meets troubled parishioners referred to her by one of two GPs.
Lunn, who looks after 12 agricultural parishes nestling between the Lake District fells and the Pennines from her home base at Long Marton, is not at the surgery to talk to patients about Jesus, but simply to listen to whatever they feel they need to get off their chest – and at the same time take the pressure off struggling local primary health services.
The GP practice run by doctors Jo Thompson and Helen Jervis is up against it – like many others in Cumbria – because it is two doctors down and can’t attract anyone else to replace them, despite the beauty of the area.
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On Monday, December 12, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi walked alongside the Coptic Pope Tawadros (Theodore) II at the funeral procession for victims of the bombing that had killed at least twenty-five people at the chapel of St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo the day before. At the funeral, Sisi announced that the government had identified the suicide bomber, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahmoud Shafik Mostafa, and arrested four other people—three men and one woman—in connection with the attack. He also had strong words of condemnation: “Those who commit acts such as this do not belong to Egypt at all, even if they are on its land.”
This series of events was strangely similar to what had taken place almost six years ago in another Egyptian city. In the early morning of January 1, 2011, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the midst of a large crowd of worshippers who were leaving al-Qiddissin Church in Alexandria. Twenty-three people died. Soon thereafter, President Hosni Mubarak appeared on state television to condemn the attack: “The blood of their martyrs in Alexandria mixed to tell us all that all Egypt is the target and that blind terrorism does not differentiate between a Copt and a Muslim.”
Much has changed in Egypt since 2011. Mubarak is no longer in office. He was ousted by a peaceful popular uprising a little over a month after the Alexandria attack. Mohamed Morsi—the Muslim Brotherhood–backed candidate who became the first democratically elected president of Egypt in 2012—has come and gone. He was ousted by a coup d’état led by Sisi in 2013. Sisi is still in power, having won an “election” (with 97 percent of the vote), and he has aggressively opposed his rivals, notably the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet with all of these developments, one thing has not changed: Attacks against Christians have continued.
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Under current Church rules, gay clergy wanting to enter into civil partnerships are required to assure their bishops they will remain celibate – in line with traditional Church teaching that sex is only permitted within heterosexual marriage.
Such clergy also have to make similar official assurances to their archbishop before they can be promoted to the rank of bishop.
But sources said the bishops could now call for the rule to be scrapped so that clerics living with same-sex partners would no longer have to make a solemn vow.
They would still be expected to remain celibate.
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Little could dampen the enthusiasm of 13-year-old Tony Atef as he wore his soccer outfit and headed to Egypt’s most successful club, Al Ahly, to partake in the team’s junior soccer tryouts. After Tony scored two goals, a coach approached him, asking for his name to record among those accepted. But his dream of making the team died quickly, when the coach noticed the small tattoo of a cross on his wrist. Tony was quickly sent home. There would be no place for a Coptic Christian on an Egyptian soccer team.
Tony’s case soon went viral, after his brother took to social media to decry bigotry and discrimination. Embarrassed, the club invited Tony for another tryout, but it was too late. Similar stories soon emerged of other Coptic kids being rejected by other soccer teams. A newspaper pointed out that there wasn’t a single Copt among the league’s top 540 players. In fact, there had been only five Copts among the league’s players in the last few decades, and some of them spoke out about the discrimination they faced.
During Mass this past Sunday, an Islamic State suicide bomber made his way inside St. Peter and St. Paul’s Coptic Church in Cairo and detonated his bomb, leaving 25 people, mostly women, dead. The bombing, the deadliest since the 2010 New Year’s Eve bombing of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria, drew swift condemnations from governments around the world. But as much as such attacks remind the world of the plight of Copts, it is their daily encounter with discrimination and persecution that poses the greatest threat to their future.
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With his slick navy suit, silver watch and non-stop smoking, Yu Feng is an unlikely ambassador for Chinese family values. The office from which he operates, in Chongqing in western China, looks more like a sitting room, with grey sofas, cream curtains and large windows looking out on the city’s skyscrapers. Women visit him here and plead for help. They want him to persuade their husbands to dump their mistresses.
Mr Yu worked in family law and then marriage counselling before starting his business in 2007. He charges scorned wives 100,000-500,000 yuan ($15,000-75,000); cases usually take 7-8 months. He befriends both the two-timing husband and the mistress, encouraging them to find fault with each other, and gradually reveals that he has messed up his own life by being unfaithful. Most clients are in their 30s and early 40s. “This is the want, buy, get generation,” he says; sex is a part of China’s new materialism. But changing sexual mores and a rocketing divorce rate have prompted soul-searching about the decline of family ties. Mr Yu claims a 90% success rate.
The ernai, literally meaning “second wife”, is increasingly common. So many rich men indulge that Chinese media sometimes blame extramarital relationships for helping to inflate property prices: some city apartment complexes are notorious for housing clusters of mistresses, paid for by their lovers, who often provide a living allowance too.
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The Church of England’s overriding compulsion to jettison its workers in favour of self-protection suggests that promoting (or attempting to re-gain) its reputation is more important than upholding basic principles of justice. The church is sacrificing its present loyal workers and members in order to atone for its past sins and omissions.
Innocence has manifestly become a difficult concept for the church to handle in the area of child safeguarding. What happened to the common law presumption? While the church’s measures and guidelines are developing, there are few safeguards, if any, put in place to protect the innocent and wrongfully accused. David Potter MBE (…) has been caught up in the injustice of the church’s procedures and was supported by his bell ringers who also appreciated the unfairness. They acted like a quasi-jury: consider that these are 30 adult minds – not necessarily impartial, but certainly ‘good men and true’. The Dean and Chapter failed to persuade any of them that David Potter MBE (…) presented an ongoing risk to children. Some of them doubtless have children.
And so we must add the name of David Potter MBE (…) to those of Bishop George Bell, Bishop Michael Perham and Sister Frances Dominica, along with sundry unnamed and unknown others who are suffering indignity if not excommunication. In the fitful fever of paedomania, the mere allegation of child abuse has surpassed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin. While the Church of England becomes a safe place for children, it is hell for those wrongly accused of abuse. Pastoral care? What’s that?
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One of CEEC’s tasks, prompted by “Guarding the Deposit”, is to consider together the various ways evangelicals will respond to this situation and how the wider church might face the reality of our diversity over human sexuality. “Guarding the Deposit” outlines three broad ways the church might act in 2017 and beyond.
Its hope is that the Church of England will maintain its current teaching and practice as the 2007 Synod committed us to do. Alternatively there may be a full acceptance of same-sex relationships as in a few other Anglican provinces. This would undoubtedly lead to major division within the CofE and the destruction of the Anglican Communion in its current form. There may therefore be an attempt – as in the Pilling Report – to offer some form of supposed via media with official permission for marking of same-sex relationships.
But, as “Guarding the Deposit” argues, this too would both represent a departure from apostolicity and lead to continuing conflict. It would therefore require some form of agreed visible differentiation and structural separation within the Church of England (and wider Communion).
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The Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, is to take early retirement, he said December 15. The announcement comes two months after he voluntarily stood aside from his duties after admitting that he failed to act on repeated reports that some priests in his former diocese of Newcastle, in the Anglican Church of Australia, were sexually abusing children.
Roger told his diocesan council that he would continue to take accrued leave until he retires on July 7, 2017, a year ahead of schedule.
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The police officer who entered Mikaya Feucht’s Ohio apartment found it littered with trash, dirty dishes and plastic milk jugs full of the opioid addict’s vomit.
He also found two toddlers, aged 3 and 2, who watched as the officer uncovered the track marks on their mother’s arms and looked in vain for any food to feed them.
That was three years ago. By the time Mikaya overdosed and died from the elephant tranquilizer carfentanil this summer, her sons were living with their grandparents. But the chaos of watching their mother descend into addiction will burden them for years. They were often hungry and dirty in her care, and spoke of being hit with a belt by her boyfriend, according to their grandparents.
At the funeral home before Mikaya, 24 years old, was cremated, her younger son, Reed, clung to her through the open casket. “And it wasn’t just a quick hug. It was heartbreaking,” says Chuck Curran, his grandfather.
Widespread abuse of powerful opioids has pushed U.S. overdose death rates to all-time highs. It has also traumatized tens of thousands of children. The number of youngsters in foster care in many states has soared, overwhelming social workers and courts. Hospitals that once saw few opioid-addicted newborns are now treating dozens a year.
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...something of my own stuckness was softened by the comments this week of the theatre director Alexander Zeldin. His new play is now on at the National Theatre in London and soon to be on in Birmingham. “In this political moment” he said “it is important to feel life strongly”. He is not offering policy proposals but he is contributing to the conversation by amplifying the stories of people, in the few weeks before Christmas, who are in temporary accommodation. In one scene, a son is washing his mother’s hair in the kitchen sink with washing up liquid – and drying it with a filthy tea towel – that on one review night made the audience gasp. The scenes like this are made much more powerful by the fact that there is no special theatre lighting in this production. As the audience, we are in the kitchen, not watching people in the kitchen. The fourth wall that normally separates actors and audience has been dissolved.
In Advent, much of the theological imagery turns on the themes of light brightening the darkness and the anticipation of God becoming a child, vulnerable to the vagaries of human politics and power. Taking our cue from the play, it might be that we need to change the lighting when illuminating the stories of people who are vulnerable and in need of support
Read it allfrom the BBC.
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In summer 2013, I attended a conference on cybersecurity at Tel Aviv University. It was there that I learned for the first time that Stuxnet — the super-sophisticated computer virus that the US and Israel allegedly managed to insert into Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility in 2010, there to play havoc with the centrifuges — had come to be regarded in the world of cyber-warfare as a terrible mistake.
Several speakers at the conference made this assertion, branding as a failure what had been widely regarded in Israel as a dazzling success — a nonmilitary strike that had set the Iranian program back by a good few months, and had planted all kinds of uncertainty in the minds of their nuclear technicians.
On the sidelines of that conference, therefore, when I interviewed Richard A Clarke, the counterterrorism chief for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, I asked him whether he too thought Stuxnet had been, to put it mildly, counterproductive. Absolutely, Clarke made clear.
For one thing, “the attack code was supposed to die and not get out onto the internet,” he noted, but it did. “It got out, and ran around the world.” It couldn’t harm anything else, because it had been programmed only to strike at Iran’s centrifuges, but “nonetheless it tried to attack things and people therefore grabbed it and decompiled it, so it’s taught a lot of people how to attack,” said Clarke.
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Seth and his girlfriend of many years were already engaged when he discovered she had cheated on him. It was only once, with a co-worker, but the betrayal stung. “I had jealousy, insecurity, anger, fear,” he recalls. “It was really hard to talk about it.” He wondered whether his fiancée’s infidelity meant there was something fundamentally wrong with their otherwise loving relationship. He worried it was a sign that their marriage would be doomed. He also still felt guilty about an indiscretion of his own years earlier, when he’d had a one-night stand with an acquaintance. “I knew that what I had done meant nothing,” said Seth, a New York-based entrepreneur in his early 30s. “It felt like a bit of an adventure, and I went for it.” But anxiety about these dalliances gnawed at his conscience. How could he and his fiancée promise to be monogamous for a lifetime if they were already struggling to stay loyal to each other? Did their momentary lapses of judgment spell bigger problems for their union?
For help answering these questions, Seth and his partner went to Esther Perel, a Belgian-born psychotherapist who is renowned for her work with couples. Her two TED talks – about the challenge of maintaining passion in long-term relationships and the temptations of infidelity – have been viewed over 15m times. Her bestselling 2006 book “Mating in Captivity”, translated into 26 languages, skilfully examined our conflicting needs for domestic security and erotic novelty. Recently she has taken her work further, into more controversial terrain. Her forthcoming book “The State of Affairs”, expected in late 2017, addresses the thorny matter of why people stray and how we should handle it when they do. When Perel is not seeing clients in New York, she is travelling the world speaking to packed conferences and ideas festivals about the elusiveness of desire in otherwise contented relationships. After Seth saw Perel speak at one such conference, he sought her out for guidance with his fiancée.
“Esther helped us understand that perfection is not possible in relationships,” he explains to me. With Perel’s help, Seth and his fiancée have come to embrace a relationship they are calling “monogamish” – that is, they will aspire to be faithful to each other, but also tolerate the occasional fling. “It just never occurred to us that this is something we could strive for,” he says. “But why should everything we built be destroyed by a minor infidelity?”
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Dylann Roof, a gun-obsessed loner who tried to provoke a race war after soaking up online hate, faces a potential death sentence after a jury convicted him Thursday of 33 federal crimes stemming from his massacre of nine black parishioners at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church.
A federal jury with three black members and nine whites deliberated for two hours before finding the white supremacist guilty of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and firearms violations. Roof stood facing forward, impassive, as the jury foreman read each count in order, accompanied by: "We find the defendant Dylann Storm Roof guilty."
They will return Jan. 3 to decide whether he will be put to death or imprisoned for life for committing the shooting rampage.
Read it all from the local paper.
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Bellringers at Leeds Minster have turned down an invitation to ring York Minster’s bells at its Christmas services, in an ‘act of solidarity’ with York’s axed ringers.
Deputy ringing master Robert Childs said members discussed the invitation from York’s Dean and Chapter during a practice session, and 13 members voted no, with two abstaining.
He said Leeds’ ringers would normally have relished the opportunity to ring York’s bells, which were the finest in the country in terms of the sound.
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Lawyers for Dylann S. Roof, accused in the killings of nine people at a South Carolina church, rested without presenting a witness on Wednesday. Earlier, federal prosecutors concluded their death penalty case against Mr. Roof by presenting Polly Sheppard, a trustee of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, who survived the June 2015 shooting there. She testified that Mr. Roof had asked her if he had shot her yet; when she said no, he told her he was “going to leave you to tell the story.”
She did, first in a panicked, terrified call to a 911 operator, and on Wednesday to a federal courtroom packed with the family members and friends of the fellow congregants who died.
Ms. Sheppard was the government’s final witness, and soon after, Mr. Roof’s lawyers rested in the case, which is being tried in Federal District Court here. Under questioning from Judge Richard M. Gergel, Mr. Roof, 22, said that he did not wish to testify in his own defense.
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My spiritual director, a Norbertine Priest, diagnosed the problem as impasse and gave me an article by Constance Fitzgerald on the subject.
By impasse, I mean that there is no way out of, no way around, no rational escape from, what imprisons one, no possibilities in the situation. In a true impasse, every normal manner of acting is brought to a standstill, and ironically, impasse is experienced not only in the problem itself but also in any solution rationally attempted. Every logical solution remains unsatisfying, at the very least. The whole life situation suffers a depletion, has the word limits written upon it….This has been my relationship with the church for the past seven years—no way out of, no way around a sense of exile and alienation, despite much effort. Fitzgerald ties this to the teaching of the imprisoned 16th-century monk St. John of the Cross. In impasse, God is at work preparing us to know him in new ways. So, the proper response to impasse—as to the dark night—is not frantic effort, but simple, expectant waiting on God, "contenting [oneself] with merely a peaceful and loving attentiveness toward God, and in being without anxiety, without the ability and without desire to have experience of Him or to perceive Him," as St. John of the Cross writes in The Dark Night of the Soul.
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(Saint John of the Cross by Francisco de Zurbarán, 1656, from the Archdiocese Museum in Katowice, Poland)
The College of Bishops of the Church of England met at Lambeth Palace on Monday 12th December.
The meeting began with a service of Holy Communion and reflections from the Archbishop of York. Discussions on issues of sexuality took place as part of a process of episcopal discernment which began in September and continued at the meeting of the House of Bishops in November.
The college discussed the reflections of the House from their November meeting and also received an update from the Chair of the Bishops Reflection Group on Sexuality.
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(You need first to take the time to read read the original document there.
“In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber,” said Flannery O’Connor. Her point was that sentimentality cannot restrain the darker forces in human nature. Which brings us to the Catholic bishops of eastern Canada.
They recently published a pastoral document indicating how, in their opinion, Catholics who commit suicide voluntarily, through doctor-assisted euthanasia (which is now legal there), should be treated by the Church....It is a masterpiece of Francis-speak. The document can be summed up like this: “Yes, euthanasia is strictly forbidden by the Catholic Church, but we know that some people are going to choose it anyway, so we intend to offer them all the sacraments to help them along the way, because who are we to judge?”
Here are some passages from the document. This is the opening paragraph:
In our Catholic tradition we often refer to the Church as our Mother. We perceive her as a mother who lovingly accompanies us throughout life, and who especially wishes to support and guide us when we are faced with difficult situations and decisions. It is from this perspective that we, the Bishops of the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly, wish to share with you this pastoral reflection on medical assistance in dying.Read it all.
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The Government has shown that it does not care about the persecution of Christians overseas by refusing visas to three prominent Syrian Orthodox archbishops, the most senior Syrian Orthodox cleric in Britain, Archbishop Mor Athanasius Toma Dawod, has said.
Archbishop Dawod, who is the Metropolitan and Patriarchal Vicar of the UK, had invited three of his colleagues from Iraq and Syria to attend the consecration of their Church’s first cathedral in Britain last month.
The clerics were denied visas to enter the UK, however — actions which made a mockery of any claims by the authorities that they were concerned about the persecuted Church in the Middle East, Archbishop Dawod said on Tuesday.
The Archbishop of Mosul, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, and the Archbishop of St Matthew’s, Mor Timothy Mosa Alshamany — both from Iraq — were denied visas on the grounds that they might claim asylum and because they did not have enough money, Archbishop Dawod said.
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Josiah Idowu-Fearon, appointed secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council last year, said his commitment to reconciliation remained firm.
But on the issue at the root of the disagreements, human sexuality, he admitted there was "no way" of finding agreement. "It's not possible," he said. The alternative to finding a way to live together was to allow separate "splinter groups".
Idowu-Fearon also criticised the leadership of Anglican churches in Africa as ineffective.
He said he was speaking from experience, and described them as "despotic".
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(Church of Ireland Gazette)
00:00 Background to reconciliatioin priority
04.18 Hatred within Anglican Communion and between Christians and Muslims
07:26 Secretary-General’s role in inter-Anglican reconciliation
10:22 Conservatives’ attitudes
12.30 End of Part 1
00:00 Human sexuality an issue for all major denominations
08.02 Possibility of a dialogue body for GAFCON-Anglican Communion Instruments reconciliation
12.20 End of Part 2
00:00 Comments on Primates’ Meeting 2016 & ACC-16
03.17 Churches’ financial contributrions to Anglican Communion Office
06.00 Archbishop Idowu-Fearon’s comments to CAPA in 2015/African Church leadership/Anglican orthodoxy
13:00 Human sexuality debate within Anglican Communion/American conservatives intervening in Africa
15:40 End of Part 3
00:00 The Anglican Covenant
02:48 Anglican Communion Task Force
04:33 Next Lambeth Conference
05:10 Next meeting of Anglican Consultative Council
05:49 End of Part 4
Listen to it all (45 minutes for all 4 segments).
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Many churches have been involved in wonderful work in ministering in fearful communities, caring for the suffering and the families of those killed by disease or violence, while at the same time (in the case of bible-based congregations), continuing to teach of the love of Christ, and following God’s design for celibate singleness and faithful marriage as the best way of avoiding HIV. Some churches have been brave enough to challenge, with the Gospel, the toxic culture of machismo which is partly responsible for the high levels of murder and sexual abuse. While of course there are church leaders and nominal Christians who live no differently to those in the communities around them, there are many thousands of godly, prayerful and compassionate men and women who understand that counter-cultural sexual purity and control of anger is not old fashioned prudishness but a literal lifesaver and a witness to God’s goodness.
This background, essential for understanding any discussion about sex in South Africa, did not feature in the BBC programme, which sought to give the impression that people with same sex attraction are uniquely vulnerable. While violence against gay people is appalling and unacceptable, it is sadly part of a culture where women are abused whether they are gay or not, and people are beaten up and murdered for being foreign, or in the wrong place at the wrong time, for having a phone, for looking at someone’s girlfriend, etc, etc. The Western concept of LGBT rights is simply inappropriate in such a context. The church should be speaking up publicly against all violence and abuse, and developing communities of peace, safety and tolerance (as is doing so in many places), not focusing on one particular minority.
Also, given the prevalence of heterosexual promiscuity in society and even in the church, which combined with the sexual abuse has contributed to the devastating spread of AIDS and family breakdown, what effect would an acceptance and celebration of same sex relationships have in the townships and across Africa as a whole? It would surely send the message that the church is controlled by white Western liberalism (not good for mission?); that the Bible is not reliable; and that only ‘love’, not sexual self-control, is the concern of the church. If a same sex relationship is OK, people will ask, then why is adultery wrong?
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In the month since the presidential election, many in the American Jews have been in mourning over Donald Trump’s victory. For all too many Jews and the organizations that purport to represent Jewish interests, partisan disappointment has led to a great deal of loose and highly irresponsible comparisons of our present situation to Weimar Germany and the rise of Hitler. It is in that context that a new report from the Community Security Service (CSS) about terrorist incidents and attacks on Jews and Israelis in the United States since 1967 is critical reading for those who wish to re-focus the Jewish community on real rather than imagined threats to its security.
The report, which was written by Yehudit Barsky, one of the top experts on radical hate groups in the country, provides a comprehensive analysis of the recent history of anti-Semitism in the United States. She paints a frightening picture of the rising toll of violence against Jews from two distinct sources: white supremacists and radical Islamists. But more than just seeking to scare Jews about these threats, the CSS has some conclusions and recommendations that should be taken to heart.
This serves as a reminder that for all of the talk about Islamophobia, both before and after the election, Jews and Jewish institutions remain the main targets of religious-based hate crimes in this country. This is a fact borne out by the FBI’s annual reports on hate crimes. The latest available report is from 2014 and that one, like every other issued since the outset of such compilations confirms this fact. In that year, 58.1 percent of all religious hate crimes in this country were directed at Jews. Only 16.3 percent were anti-Islamic.
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The UK today became the first country to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
Theresa May said that the definition “means there will be one definition of anti-Semitism – in essence, language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews – and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.”
The definition states: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The term was agreed during IHRA Plenary meetings held in Bucharest from 23-26 May this year. IHRA Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, stated at the time that by adopting a working definition, “the IHRA is setting an example of responsible conduct for other international fora and hopes to inspire them also to take action on a legally binding working definition.”
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Every Thanksgiving for the past 10 years, George Dimopoulos has done something amazing.
It's not that he shuts down his Northville, Michigan restaurant, called George's Senate Coney Island. It's that he opens it up even more than usual.
If you are homeless or even just alone for Thanksgiving (or Easter!), you can get a free meal at George's.
"I'm a very good cook," he told TODAY.com. "I cook a lot of good food, and I give a lot of food to people. I don't tell people that I do this; I do this because I believe in God and believe that there are people who need a little help."
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By the time the jihadists had finished, not even a woman’s eyes were legal. Showing them was a punishable offense.
The dress code imposed on the women of Mosul started soon after the Islamic State overran the city more than two years ago. It was carried out gradually, until every part of the female body was erased, starting with the face, then the rest of the body — including the hands, which had to be covered with gloves, as well as the feet, which had to be hidden by socks. It ended with an announcement blared over loudspeakers, telling women to wear a film of black cloth over their eyes.
Halima Ali Beder, 39, said she had resentfully made each new addition to her wardrobe, starting with the niqab to cover her face, and the abaya, also known as a jilbab, a loosefitting gown. Yet she still ran afoul of the Islamic State’s increasingly harsh enforcement of its codes when she stepped into the lane outside her home, planning to pop over to her neighbor’s house.
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The ET found that Bishop Inwood’s refusal to grant Canon Pemberton an EPML did fall under s 53 Equality Act 2010 and was a “relevant qualification” within the meaning of s 54: that was not the case, however, in respect of the revocation of his PTO. The ET further held, however, that the EPML qualification was for the purposes of employment for the purposes of an organised religion and the compliance principle was engaged; therefore, Bishop Inwood was exempt from liability by reason of paragraph 2, schedule 9 Equality Act 2010. As for the harassment claim, Bishop Inwood’s conduct did not amount to harassment. Context was everything: Canon Pemberton would not have experienced that (admittedly, unwanted) conduct had he not defied the doctrine of the Church. Moreover, Bishop Inwood had acted lawfully pursuant to schedule 9; it would be an affront to justice if his conduct was found to constitute harassment.
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Trainee priests must undergo a robust spiritual formation that roots out clericalism, an obsession with the liturgy and a “presumed theological or disciplinary certainty”, according to new Vatican guidelines.
But while the 91-page document primarily seeks to ensure that seminarians become mature pastors, it controversially reiterates a ban on ordaining gay men or “persons with homosexual tendencies”, first implemented in 2005 causing widespread offence to gay Catholics, including many gay priests.
It is also at odds with Pope Francis’ more compassionate “who am I to Judge?” response when he was asked about gay priests in 2013 - and the reiteration of the ban has already received a negative response from LGBT catholics.
Nevertheless the text was signed off by Francis and was written following a two-year process, including consultation with bishops from across the world and various Vatican offices.
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
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When rebel forces surged into the city of Aleppo, then Syria’s largest, in the summer of 2012, they hoped to establish an alternative seat of power that could rival the government’s in the capital, Damascus. But those hopes quickly faded as the operation to seize the city stalled. The rebels could only capture half of Aleppo, splitting the city in two. A lethal stalemate ensued.
The rebel’s hopes of ever breaking the deadlock are now dead. In July, forces loyal to the Syrian government cut the last remaining road into the east, imposing a siege that has slowly strangled life there. Russian and Syrian warplanes have relentlessly bombed hospitals, schools and marketplaces, crippling civilian infrastructure. With the east on its knees, the regime launched a devastating ground offensive on November 15th to drive rebel forces out of the city.
Since then, the rebels have lost about three-quarters of their enclave, their last big urban stronghold anywhere in the country. Their defence of the city has crumbled faster than many expected. The Old City, whose winding alleyways were supposed to be well defended, fell quickly this week as pro-Syrian forces, including Shia militias from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, crashed through rebel lines on December 7th. Cornered by pro-government forces, defeat is inevitable.
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Churches are generally tax-exempt, but New Hampshire’s highest court ruled the parking spaces are taxable because they were rented to students for “their own private and secular purpose.”
Todd Selig, Town Administrator of Durham, said “this was not in any way an effort on the part of the town to bring in more revenue. It was simply an issue of equity and fairness.”
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How might Williams go about “contextualizing” the Haystack Monument?
The monument’s bicentennial celebration in 2006 provides clues. The weekend events included twilight vespers, panel discussions on the meaning of mission work today, and Sunday worship services. But the event also featured a critical reflection in which Prof. Denise Buell argued that Christian missionary work is “a justification” for violent forms of cultural imperialism.
All of this reflects what Glenn Shuck, a scholar who taught courses on the history of Christianity at Williams for over a decade, calls the college’s “ironic relationship” with the monument: It is a memorial to something important that happened on campus—but not something of which the college’s faculty is necessarily proud. According to Mr. Shuck, many Williams faculty members regard efforts to translate the Bible into other languages to spread Christianity as inherently racist and imperialist, a view he does not share.
Despite the recent media tempest about the Haystack Monument, the statue seems relatively uncontroversial among students. I spoke with about 15 students walking by the monument this week, and none knew what it represented. Once told, not one took offense.
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Self-harm among children has reached “epidemic levels” with almost 19,000 under-18s ending up in hospital for their injuries last year, a report says.
Figures obtained using Freedom of Information requests found a growing number are being treated after cutting or burning themselves to try to cope with mental health problems.
In all, 18,778 children aged 11 to 18 were admitted to hospital for self-harm in the year to March 2016, compared with 16,416, two years previously, a 14 per cent rise.
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Bishops and clergy have given a cautious welcome to a strongly worded government review of the integration of minority communities into British society.
Dame Louise Casey, an experienced civil servant, published The Casey review: A review into opportunity and integration, on Monday. She concludes that work needs to be done to “repair the sometimes fraying fabric of our nation”.
The unprecedented scale of immigration and demographic change in recent decades has led to segregation and division in some deprived communities in the UK, the review states.
“Problems of social exclusion have persisted for some ethnic-minority groups, and poorer white British communities in some areas are falling further behind,” Dame Louise writes in her introduction.
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Michael Lewis’s brilliant book celebrates Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, Israeli-American psychologists who are our age’s apostles of doubt about human reason. The timing is fortunate, given that overconfident experts may have caused and then failed to predict such momentous events as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.
Mr. Kahneman and Tversky (who died in 1996) first started working together in 1969. They were well-matched. The Holocaust survivor Mr. Kahneman chronically doubted even himself. The brash Tversky targeted his doubts toward others, especially (as one acquaintance noted) “people who don’t know the difference between knowing and not knowing.” Testing people with quizzes in their laboratory, they found a host of “cognitive biases” afflicting rational thinking.
One bias they found is that we underestimate uncertainty. In hindsight bias, for example, test subjects misremembered their own predictions as being correct. As Tversky explained, “we find ourselves unable to predict what will happen; yet, after the fact we explain what did happen with a great deal of confidence. . . . It leads us to believe that there is a less uncertain world than there actually is.”
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The dead appeared in court today, staring out from video monitors at their families and friends, their congregation’s pastor, a federal judge, a jury and Dylann Storm Roof, the man charged with firing more than 60 bullets into the nine of them in an effort to start a race war in America.
U.S. attorney Jay Richardson, prosecuting Roof on 33 counts of federal hate crimes, used his opening statement to introduce jurors to the men and women he said Roof killed during a church basement Bible study on June 17, 2015.
As their pictures appeared, Richardson sketched them in words: the Rev. Clementa Pinckney: pastor, husband, father; the Rev. Daniel Simmons: spiritual guide; the Rev. Sharonda Singleton: ray of sunshine, loving mother, track coach; the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor: singer, whose four young daughters always carried milkshakes to church; Cynthia Hurd: wife, sister, librarian; Ethel Lance: grandmother, church usher; Susie Jackson: called Aunt Susie by everyone, proud matriarch of the sprawling Jackson family; Tywanza Sanders, 26, a man just beginning to see the promise of an extraordinarily bright future; and Myra Thompson, leading her first Bible study.
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A leading human rights lawyer is backing a campaign for inclusive education in a bid to stamp out discrimination in Scotland's schools. Aamer Anwar is urging the Scottish Government to take steps to tackle homophobic bullying in schools, in order to "save the lives" of young people.
It comes as part of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign for a government commitment for mandatory teaching of LGBTI issues to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Scottish schools.
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
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One question which hovered over the initial ET judgment was in relation to the doctrine of the Church in relation to marriage. I was startled when, under cross-examination, Richard Inwood had agreed that the doctrine of the Church ‘was a busted flush’. But both the ET and the EAT have ruled that, in the context of employment law, the Church’s doctrine of marriage is both clear and enforceable, and that clergy can reasonably be expected to conform to it.
As for the doctrines of the Church, this referred to the teachings and beliefs of the religion and the ET had been entitled to find these were as stated by Canon B30 (“marriage is … a union … of one man with one woman …”), evidenced, in particular, by the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage. The Respondent had applied a requirement that the Claimant not be in a same sex marriage so as to comply with the doctrines of the Church; it was not fatal to the ET’s conclusion in that regard that a different Bishop might not have done the same.
That final comment seems to me to be highly significant. Even if the Church’s doctrine has been applied inconsistently in the past, and elsewhere in the Church, then that does not undermine the action of a bishop who acts on it. In other words, if the collegial support for this doctrine in the House of Bishops collapses, and some bishops decide to declare UDI [Unilateral Declaration of Independence] and ignore the doctrine, then other bishops are still secure in law in enacting discipline based on this doctrine.
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Mr Pemberton, a hospital chaplain in Lincolnshire, was barred in 2014 by the then acting Bishop of Southwell from taking up a job for the NHS in Nottinghamshire, just weeks after marrying.
The Church had warned him marriage other than between heterosexual couples was against its teaching.
In a statement today, Mr Pemberton said his appeal had been dismissed on every ground but judge Jennifer Eady QC had granted leave to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Pemberton said: "The result is, obviously, not the one my husband and I had hoped for...."
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Rachel Harden, Deputy Director of Communications for the Church of England, is to have her contribution to the church recognised as she is made a Lay Canon of Liverpool Cathedral during the Evensong Service on Friday (December 9).
Rachel has longstanding connections to the Diocese of Liverpool and the city. Rachel worked on a range of Liverpool media outlets having trained as a journalist on the South London News Group. She was a reporter for the Liverpool Post and Echo and also contributed to BBC Radio Merseyside and edited the diocesan magazine Livewire.
During that time her husband John Kiddle, now Archdeacon of Wandsworth, served as a curate in Ormskirk and a vicar in Huyton.
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Seventy-five years ago today: pic.twitter.com/PKvDxpneaE— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) December 7, 2016
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I am speaking to you tonight at a very serious moment in our history. The Cabinet is convening and the leaders in Congress are meeting with the President. The State Department and Army and Navy officials have been with the President all afternoon. In fact, the Japanese ambassador was talking to the president at the very time that Japan's airships were bombing our citizens in Hawaii and the Phillippines and sinking one of our transports loaded with lumber on its way to Hawaii.
By tomorrow morning the members of Congress will have a full report and be ready for action.
In the meantime, we the people are already prepared for action. For months now the knowledge that something of this kind might happen has been hanging over our heads and yet it seemed impossible to believe, impossible to drop the everyday things of life and feel that there was only one thing which was important - preparation to meet an enemy no matter where he struck. That is all over now and there is no more uncertainty.
We know what we have to face and we know that we are ready to face it.
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Update: Through the onders of the internet you hear it live there.
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Even with all the setbacks from recessions, burst bubbles and vanishing industries, the United States has still pumped out breathtaking riches over the last three and half decades.
The real economy more than doubled in size; the government now uses a substantial share of that bounty to hand over as much as $5 trillion to help working families, older people, disabled and unemployed people pay for a home, visit a doctor and put their children through school.
Yet for half of all Americans, their share of the total economic pie has shrunk significantly, new research has found.
This group — the approximately 117 million adults stuck on the lower half of the income ladder — “has been completely shut off from economic growth since the 1970s,” the team of economists found.
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By all appearances, we’re in a golden age of innovation. Every month sees new advances in artificial intelligence, gene therapy, robotics and software apps. Research and development as a share of gross domestic product is near an all-time high. There are more scientists and engineers in the U.S. than ever before.
None of this has translated into meaningful advances in Americans’ standard of living.
Economies grow by equipping an expanding workforce with more capital such as equipment, software and buildings, then combining capital and labor more creatively. This last element, called “total factor productivity,” captures the contribution of innovation. Its growth peaked in the 1950s at 3.4% a year as prior breakthroughs such as electricity, aviation and antibiotics reached their maximum impact. It has steadily slowed since and averaged a pathetic 0.5% for the current decade.
Outside of personal technology, improvements in everyday life have been incremental, not revolutionary.
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(Hat tip: Greg Kandra)
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