Posted by Kendall Harmon

The South Carolina Supreme Court has intervened in a lawsuit and granted the Diocese of South Carolina’s Motion to Transfer jurisdiction from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court. This may effectively prevent The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its local subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), from using serial appeals to further delay a trial to prevent the two groups from seizing Diocese of South Carolina property.

The Supreme Court decision comes days after TEC and TECSC filed new appeals apparently aimed at delaying the discovery process in advance of the trial that is scheduled to start on July 7. While the Supreme Court ruling does not prevent the denomination from filing appeals, it eliminates the time-consuming step of first going to the South Carolina Court of Appeals.


Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

9 Comments
Posted April 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev David Smith from Oakfield Methodist Church, Rev Kelvin Bolton from Christ Church and Holy Trinity and Father Stephen Maloney from All Saints Church Anfield led the service and read the names of the 96 from the Book of Remembrance.

It took eight poignant minutes.

The stadium then fell silent for a minute in memory of the victims of that terrible day in Sheffield at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureSportsUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Around 100 girls are thought to have been abducted in an attack on a school in north-east Nigeria, officials say.

Gunmen reportedly arrived at the school in Chibok, Borno state, late last night, and ordered the hostel's teenage residents on to lorries.

The attackers are believed to be from the Islamist group, Boko Haram, whose militants frequently target schools.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The marriage of canon Jeremy Pemberton and Laurence Cunnington, the first gay clergy wedding in England, looks like a decisive test of strength within the Church of England between liberals and conservatives. But it may just shift the trenches a few hundred yards. The tangles of employment law and church law make it almost impossible for either side to get all they want.

It looks as if it should be easy for the bishop of Lincoln, in whose diocese the canon works, to discipline Pemberton if he wants to. But Pemberton is not in fact a vicar. He is a hospital chaplain, which means he is employed by the local NHS trust. They are not going to sack him for contracting a perfectly legal marriage. The bishop has no power to get him sacked even if he wanted to.

But this is the Church of England; things are seldom simple....

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

4 Comments
Posted April 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One hundred and thirty five civilians have reportedly been killed in North East Nigeria since Wednesday. The killings, which took place in the State of Borno, were carried out in at least three separate attacks.
The attackers are suspected to be from the Islamist Boko Haram movement. Human rights organizations say that at least 1,500 people, half of them civilian, have been killed in the region this year.
Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni spoke to Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos in Plateau State which is also in the North Eastern region of Nigeria. Archbishop Kaigama appeals for help and support in tracing the roots of the Boko Haram group in what could prove a necessary attempt to reveal who is behind the group, who provides its militants with arms, what is its scope beyond wreaking fear, death and destruction…

Read and listen to it all.

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1 Comments
Posted April 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A priest has become the first in Britain to defy the Church of England’s ban on gay clergy marrying.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton, 58, a divorced hospital chaplain, wed his long-term partner Laurence Cunnington, 51, on Saturday afternoon.

Campaigners expressed delight that the couple had taken advantage of Britain’s newly-introduced gay marriage laws and urged bishops to “bless” their partnership. They predict he will be the first of many gay clergy to marry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships

2 Comments
Posted April 13, 2014 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An Anglican hospital chaplain has become what is believed to be the first member of the clergy in Britain to have a gay marriage.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton is a chaplain at Lincoln Hospital and has Permission to Officiate and leads occasional services in Nottinghamshire.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gunmen have killed 135 civilians in north east Nigeria since Wednesday, a senior official from the region has told the BBC.

Borno state senator Ahmed Zannah said the killings took place in at least three separate attacks in the state.

The attackers are suspected to be from the Islamist Boko Haram movement.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I am (or try to be) a partisan of pluralism....But this respect is difficult to maintain when these institutions will not admit that this is what is going on. Instead, we have the pretense of universality — the insistence that the post-Eich Mozilla is open to all ideas, the invocations of the “spirit of free expression” from a school that’s kicking a controversial speaker off the stage.

And with the pretense, increasingly, comes a dismissive attitude toward those institutions — mostly religious — that do acknowledge their own dogmas and commitments, and ask for the freedom to embody them and live them out.

It would be a far, far better thing if Harvard and Brandeis and Mozilla would simply say, explicitly, that they are as ideologically progressive as Notre Dame is Catholic or B. Y.U. is Mormon or Chick-fil-A is evangelical, and that they intend to run their institution according to those lights.

I can live with the progressivism. It’s the lying that gets toxic.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted April 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A property rights battle over the historic St. John's Parish has ended years after a schism erupted within the Episcopal Church when part of the congregation opposed the church's acceptance of gay pastors.

Superior Court Judge Roger Ross on April 4 awarded the parish in downtown Stockton to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

The group that had broken away from the diocese - most of them with a history of multiple past generations in the Episcopal Church - and became aligned with the more conservative Anglican Church of North America was ordered out of the building in the ruling.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

1 Comments
Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England has submitted its response to the Government's consultation document on the future of civil partnership. The 12 week consultation period opened in January and closes next Thursday (17 April).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 11, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishops in South Sudan have confirmed the Archbishop of Canterbury's warning that Christians in their country face a violent reaction if the Church of England permits same-sex marriage and blessings.

Archbishop Welby gave his warning during a phone-in on LBC radio last Friday. Asked why the Church of England could not permit clergy to bless same-sex relationships, he said: "The impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Nigeria, and other places, would be absolutely catastrophic."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesEpiscopal Church of the SudanSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & PartnershipsViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 11, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As many congregations have already split within mainline Protestantism, Northern Seminary professor Scot McKnight said that in 25 years, he suspects evangelical churches will be split on the issue.

“What has happened is that the same-sex marriage/same-sex legitimacy has become the focal point or scapegoat of the culture wars,” McKnight said. “It is Bible, theology and politics all rolled into one big monster.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a conflict that pits animal welfare against religious rights, Denmark has ordered that all food animals must be stunned before being killed. The move effectively bans the ritual slaughter methods prescribed in both Muslim and Jewish tradition.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* General InterestAnimals* International News & CommentaryEuropeDenmark* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 10, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a part of a mutually agreed court settlement of a defamation of character lawsuit, David Jenkins has apologized to Bishop Michael Bird of the diocese of Niagara “for any suffering he has experienced as a result of blog postings” on his blog Anglican Samizdat.

The settlement also stipulated that Jenkins would pay “a majority of the legal costs involved, remove the Bishop from his posts, and agree not to publish any similar posts about the Bishop in the future,” according to a release issued by the diocese of Niagara. In a related post on Anglican Samizdat, Jenkins noted that he had agreed to pay $18,000 toward legal costs, which Bird’s lawyer had stated were $24,000. Jenkins did not pay damages, which were listed as $400,000 in the original claim filed in February 2013.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetLaw & Legal IssuesMediaReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a brief order filed...[yesterday], the Supreme Court of South Carolina has granted the motion filed earlier by Bishop Lawrence, his diocesan trustees and individual parishes to transfer to it jurisdiction of the current appeals brought by ECUSA and its rump group in an attempt to delay the trial of the main action set for next July in front of Judge Goodstein.

The Supreme Court's action came just after ECUSA and its rump group had filed a petition for rehearing with the Court of Appeals, asking a full panel to overrule a single judge's earlier order dismissing that appeal, which seeks review of an order by Judge Goodstein denying the rump group access to attorney-client communications between Bishop Lawrence and his counsel, Alan Runyon.

The appeal raises the question of whether the rump group may be seen in law as the continuing successor to the Episcopal Diocese, or whether it is a new entity that began its legal life with a special convention in January 2013 -- regardless of whether ECUSA treats it for religious purposes as a continuing "diocese" in the Church. The rump group contends that they are the legal successor to the Diocese, and so are entitled to see prior communications between the Episcopal Diocese and its attorneys.

But the Episcopal Diocese is very much alive as a legal entity under South Carolina law, with its same Constitution and Canons (amended so as to remove any affiliations with ECUSA), as the rump group has found out in defeat after defeat these past fifteen months.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 8, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Silicon Valley, where personal quirks and even antisocial personalities are tolerated as long as you are building new products and making money, a socially conservative viewpoint may be one trait you have to keep to yourself.
--The opener of a front page article from Friday saying so much more than the author thinks

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingLaw & Legal IssuesMediaPsychologyReligion & CultureScience & TechnologySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted April 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Those pressing for change therefore need seriously to attend to these complex realities and questions even though they are not as obvious and pressing for most English Anglicans in their parishes as they are for bishops whose ministry connects them with the wider church. Those of us upholding the current teaching and discipline similarly have seriously to address the complex realities and questions we face here and now with the introduction of same-sex marriage and ask those in other parts of the Communion to understand our context as we seek to understand theirs. If we can honestly and humbly acknowledge and wrestle with these challenges then the forthcoming facilitated conversations could, rather than being a belligerent stand-off, still become fruitful dialogues where we might discern together what it means for us to love God and to love our neighbours, both near and distant.

Read it all from Fulcrum.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & PartnershipsViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted April 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s said that nobody ever died from a marijuana overdose. Nobody ever died from a tobacco overdose either, but that doesn’t prove tobacco safe. Of all the dangers connected to marijuana, the most lethal is the risk of automobile accident. Marijuana-related fatal car crashes have nearly tripled across the United States in the past decade.Marijuana legalizers may counter: Can’t we just extend laws against drunk driving to stoned driving?

Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. What exactly defines marijuana impairment remains fiercely contested by an increasingly assertive marijuana industry. It took Colorado four tries to enact a legal definition of marijuana impairment: five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. Yet even once enacted, the standard remains very difficult to enforce. Alcohol impairment can be detected with a Breathalyzer. Marijuana impairment is revealed only by a blood test, and long-established law requires police to obtain a search warrant before a blood test is administered.

More important than catching impaired drivers after the fact is deterring them before they get behind the wheel. In the absence of a blood-testing kit, marijuana users themselves will find it difficult to know how much is too much.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 6, 2014 at 11:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christians are being killed in Africa as a consequence of liberal attitudes towards homosexuality in the United States and Britain, the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested on Friday.

Speaking on LBC radio about his opposition to same-sex marriage, he said: "I've stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America."

This is the first time that Archbishop Welby has publicly voiced his fears for Christians overseas as a key factor in the Bishops' opposition to same-sex marriage and the blessing of gay couples in church. "The problem we face is that everything we say here goes round the world, for reasons of history and media and all that. And so we don't make policy on the hoof," he said on Friday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAfrica* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 6, 2014 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Church in New Zealand could be split up over a debate on whether to bless same sex relationships and allow the ordination of gay priests at its General Synod next month.

A commission, chaired by former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand, has come up with ten possible options, including a total ban, universal acceptance, or even splitting the church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Calls for...[Brendan Eich's] ouster were premised on the notion that all support for Proposition 8 was hateful, and that a CEO should be judged not just by his or her conduct in the professional realm, but also by political causes he or she supports as a private citizen.

If that attitude spreads, it will damage our society.

Consider an issue like abortion, which divides the country in a particularly intense way, with opponents earnestly regarding it as the murder of an innocent baby and many abortion-rights supporters earnestly believing that a fetus is not a human life, and that outlawing it is a horrific assault on a woman's bodily autonomy. The political debate over abortion is likely to continue long past all of our deaths. Would American society be better off if stakeholders in various corporations began to investigate leadership's political activities on abortion and to lobby for the termination of anyone who took what they regard to be the immoral, damaging position?

It isn't difficult to see the wisdom in inculcating the norm that the political and the professional are separate realms, for following it makes so many people and institutions better off in a diverse, pluralistic society. The contrary approach would certainly have a chilling effect on political speech and civic participation, as does Mozilla's behavior toward Eich.

Its implications are particularly worrisome because whatever you think of gay marriage, the general practice of punishing people in business for bygone political donations is most likely to entrench powerful interests and weaken the ability of the powerless to challenge the status quo. There is very likely hypocrisy at work too. Does anyone doubt that had a business fired a CEO six years ago for making a political donation against Prop 8, liberals silent during this controversy (or supportive of the resignation) would've argued that contributions have nothing to do with a CEO's ability to do his job? They'd have called that firing an illiberal outrage, but today they're averse to vocally disagreeing with allies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMediaReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 5, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The long-awaited report of the Ma Whea? Commission into the question of same-gender blessings and ordinations has been released.

The report, which is the fruit of 15 months’ work by five eminent New Zealand citizens, lists 10 options to inform the General Synod debate at Waitangi next month.

The options range from a more conservative statement about who can be blessed and ordained (ie a firmer statement than the canons now prescribe) through various degrees of change and liberalisation.

The options are:

Option A: Affirming Traditional Understanding

Option B: Preserving Present Circumstances

Option C: Bishops to Determine What Equals Right Relationships

Option D: Delegate to Diocesan Synods/Te Runanganui Power to Determine Right Relationships

Option E: Adopt a New Understanding

Option F: The Anglican Church Having Two Views

Option G: Dual Episcopacy

Option H: Planned Dismembering

Option I: Anglican Church to Add a New Rite of Blessing by Priests of Those in a Same Sex Relationship.

Option J: Adopt a Two Year Period of Focussed Discussion within Church Communities with a View to Making a Decision in (say) 2016

Read it all and follow the links to the whole report.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted April 4, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bob Kuhn, Trinity Western University’s newly-named president, says the degree of outright opposition to its new law school could mark the beginning of “a new era of persecution” against the Church in Canada.

“It’s sudden and swift and very powerful,” says Kuhn. “Having practiced law for close to 34 years, I have never seen anything quite like it in terms of the sea-change, a tsunami of societal offence against Christians and Christian views.”

In December, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada gave the school the green light. Now, three of its member-societies (British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia) are in the process of debating whether to allow TWU law school grads to article in their provinces. At issue is the university’s community covenant, which upholds biblical values on sexual relations. Many in the legal community interpret that as “anti-gay.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I had hoped that Church of England liturgy would come to include provisions for church blessing of civil partnerships. I fear that the precipitate and profoundly undemocratic way in which the Marriage Bill was hustled into law has set obstacles in the way of persuasive change. The Church of England will now have extreme difficulty in relating to the law on marriage.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 1, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Will Ross reports on the challenge of fighting Boko Haram, and watches rare footage filmed by the group of a recent attack.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church's real problem, however, is not the hypocrisy of closeted prelates. It's that so many priests are perfectly content to solemnise homosexual marriages in church and will indeed be "creative" in finding ways to do so.

How will Archbishop Justin Welby respond? "I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it's the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being," he told the Guardian in best Rev J C Flannel mode. Uh-huh. Oh, and there will be "structured conversations" to help resolve the problem.

Here's my prediction. As of today, pro-gay clergy will begin to unpick Cameron's "triple lock" banning parishes from holding gay weddings; during the next Parliament it will cease to exist. Priests who want to marry same-sex couples, or indeed marry their own gay lovers, will just do it. Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical parishes that reject the whole notion won't be forced to host such ceremonies, but both these wings of the C of E are moving in a liberal direction, and in the long run demographic change will finish the job.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMediaPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

4 Comments
Posted March 31, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A big-hearted restaurant owner known as "Momma" leads a group in Arlington, Washington called the Soup Ladies who for 10 years have been dishing up meals for first responders. They are feeding hot meals to search and rescue workers at the site of a tragic mudslide roughly 70 miles away in Oso.

Watch the whole thing from NBC.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsDieting/Food/NutritionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 3:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has signalled that the Church of England will mount no more resistance to gay marriage among churchgoers.

Gay marriage will be legalised from Saturday with dozens of ceremonies planned around the country for one minute past midnight. This passing of the legislation caused deep rifts within the church.

"I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it's the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being." Justin Welby told the Guardian.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

4 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 11:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Bishop Alan Wilson]...said: “I’ve blessed lots of things, I once blessed a bucket of cement in India, it seems to me very difficult to say that you can’t bless this.

“But the official line which I have to be loyal to in my working practice is that you can pray with people pastorally but you mustn’t use the ‘b’ word.

“That technically is very interesting because if the Church of England produced a liturgy for blessing a civil partnership, for example, there would be an official line on how to do this.”

On the question of equal marriage, he said everybody has a “very basic human right” to order their life and their family and their household in a way that goes with their conscience and their faith.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 6:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gay clergy should follow their conscience and defy the Church of England’s restrictions on same-sex marriage, a prominent bishop has said as the most radical change ever made to the legal definition of marriage in Britain comes into force.

The Rt Rev Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, said priests should be “creative” to get around restrictions on blessings for same-sex couples and that gay clergy who wish to marry should do so in defiance of the official line.

He also claimed that several current serving bishops are themselves in gay partnerships, and urged them to publicly acknowledge their status for the sake of “honesty and truthfulness” and even consider marrying.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

4 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken frankly about the legalisation of same-sex marriage during the launch of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese centenary celebrations in Bury.

Taking a question on the legislation which saw the first same-sex weddings in England and Wales held today, The Most Rev Justin Welby said: “Parliament has spoken very clearly and we accept that”

The head of the Church of England added: “The church does look very bad on this issue to many people in this country particularly younger people and we’re mugs if we think anything else. We need to be really blunt about that.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Right Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, has congratulated same-sex couples who will be getting married from... [Saturday 29 march 2014] and assured them of his prayers.

Bishop Nicholas said:

“Tomorrow, the first same-sex civil marriages will take place in this country. This is a new reality being undertaken by people who wish their relationships to have a formal status which embodies a commitment to them being faithful, loving and lifelong. These are virtues which the Church of England wants to see maximised in society. I therefore congratulate those who are getting married, assure them of my prayers, and wish them well in all that lies ahead.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

2 Comments
Posted March 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With the row over the use of the word Allah still simmering, Anglican Christians in Sarawak said they will go all out to defend their right to use the word in worship.

Datuk Bolly Lapok, Anglican Archbishop for Southeast Asia, said they were willing to abandon their calling to be peacemakers and reconcilers, if “turning the other cheek to the provocateurs and extremists in political Islam that are relentlessly stoking the fire of hatred and bigotry is tantamount to sending a wrong message to them”.

He said this in a statement after a mass gathering of its Iban speaking congregation in Sri Aman today.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaMalaysia* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even those who advocate most strongly for the legalization of marijuana concede the impaired functioning that research has shown. One such site acknowledges,

The short-term effects of marijuana include immediate, temporary changes in thoughts, perceptions, and information processing. The cognitive process most clearly affected by marijuana is short-term memory. In laboratory studies, subjects under the influence of marijuana have no trouble remembering things they learned previously. However, they display diminished capacity to learn and recall new information. This diminishment only lasts for the duration of the intoxication. There is no convincing evidence that heavy long-term marijuana use permanently impairs memory or other cognitive functions.

Other studies suggest that the effect on diminished brain function is more lasting, especially for teenagers.

Thus, unlike caffeine, marijuana is not generally thought of as an empowering drug that enables you to be a more alert dad, or a more aware mother, or a more competent employee. Rather, for most users, it is a recreational escape, which produces diminished accuracy of observation, memory, and reasoning. And it may have lasting negative effects on the mind’s ability to do what God created it to do.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More important, perhaps, is this reason to listen to the arguments we are having, even if they often outstrip the legislative reality: the contending voices in this debate, including the many thoughtful church-state scholars who have spoken out on each side, are not really arguing about the effects of these laws. Arguably, they are not even debating their possible effects. The real debate is over the logic of their opponents’ positions.

Here, both sides have a point. Whether you call these laws “Gay Jim Crow” or not, the logic of legislative accommodations for individuals, let alone businesses, that object on religious grounds to the application of antidiscrimination laws does indeed pose a serious threat to our civil-rights laws, which are the foundation of a just, egalitarian modern society. It’s tough to have a regime of civil rights when every such law carries the footnote “unless you really mind.” It’s tougher still when those accommodations are triggered by an assertion of “sincere” religious objections, which courts are rightly reluctant to second-guess.

On the other side, the logic of a regime of robust egalitarianism, vigorously backed by law, leaves little room for conscientious religious objection. It tells individuals who want to engage in public and commercial life but have serious religious objections to the new settlement, “Of course there is room for you. Speak, if you must. But don’t act.” (Sometimes, as the Elane Photography case suggests, that distinction is hard to make.) And it tells them that as long as the law’s commands forbid some conduct without actively discriminating against religion, those commands are absolute. The title of law-and-religion scholar Steven D. Smith’s new book, The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom, may be premature. Nonetheless, he is right to worry that “traditional religion and contemporary secular egalitarianism are at some deep level fundamentally incompatible.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The guidance shows that under the new legislation:
• Same sex couples will be able to get married in England and Wales and those marriages will be recognised in law (subject to meeting legal requirements).
• Same sex married couples will be treated in the same way as opposite sex married couples in most circumstances.
• Religious organisations can choose to opt in to conduct marriages for same sex couples. But no one can compel the organisations or their officials to participate in religious marriages of same sex couples if they do not wish to do so. Religious freedom is specifically protected under human rights law.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships

0 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 7:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): What the Church of England’s policy is on priests entering a same-sex marriage; and what guidance has been given on what would happen to a priest who did so.

Sir Tony Baldry: Clergy and ordinands remain free to enter into civil partnerships. The House of Bishops in its pastoral guidance distributed on 15 February said that it was not willing for those in same-sex marriages to be ordained to any of the three orders of ministry—deacon, clergy or bishops—and that

“it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same-sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church’s teaching in their lives”.

As with any alleged instance of misconduct, each case would have to be considered individually by the local diocesan bishop.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Pakistani Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, in a case which sparked fierce rioting in the eastern city of Lahore last March.

Sawan Masih was convicted of using derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammed in a row with a Muslim friend.

Hundreds of Muslims attacked the city's Christian Joseph colony, torching homes, when the allegations surfaced.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

4 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

World Vision U.S., an evangelical Christian charity known for asking donors to sponsor a hungry child, set off an uproar when it announced this week that it would hire Christians in same-sex marriages.

The charity, the nation’s 10th largest, is based in Washington State, where same-sex marriage is legal, and said it intended to present a symbol of “unity” for Christians in an era when controversy over homosexuality is splintering the church.

Instead of the unity it sought, World Vision’s move was swiftly denounced by some prominent evangelical leaders as a “disaster” and a devil-inspired betrayal of biblical morality. Christians proclaimed online that they had canceled their child sponsorships. Less than 48 hours later, World Vision reversed course, calling the decision “a mistake” and pleading for forgiveness.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

3 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In our board's effort to unite around the church's shared mission to serve the poor in the name of Christ, we failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.'s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, "We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God." And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners. As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage.

We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority. We ask that you understand that this was never the board's intent. We are asking for your continued support. We commit to you that we will continue to listen to the wise counsel of Christian brothers and sisters, and we will reach out to key partners in the weeks ahead.

While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

7 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Richard Stearns has every right to try to make his case, but these arguments are pathetically inadequate. Far more than that, his arguments reveal basic issues that every Christian ministry, organization, church, and denomination will have to face — and soon.

The distinction between an “operational arm” of the church and a “theological arm” is a fatal misreading of reality. World Vision claims a Christian identity, claims to serve the kingdom of Christ, and claims a theological rationale for its much-needed ministries to the poor and distressed. It cannot surrender theological responsibility when convenient and then claim a Christian identity and a theological mandate for ministry.

Add to this the fact that World Vision claims not to have compromised the authority of Scripture, even as its U.S. president basically throws the Bible into a pit of confusion by suggesting that the Bible is not sufficiently clear on the question of the morality of same-sex sexuality. Stearns insists that he is not compromising biblical authority even as he undermines confidence that the church can understand and trust what the Bible reveals about same-sex sexuality.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the Supreme Court will hear arguments by Hobby Lobby, a nationwide chain of craft stores, asking the court for the right to discriminate against their employees who are entitled to reproductive health care under the Affordable Care Act. I know that Hobby Lobby's owner family, the Greens, are deeply religious people, and I respect their beliefs. They object to certain forms of birth control, claiming they constitute abortion (a "fact" disputed by much of the medical community). The Greens claim that corporations, through their owners, have freedom of religion — a very slippery slope. But should the entire company and its 14,000 employees be held hostage by the beliefs of its owners?

We know that most American women, regardless of what religion they are, use contraception at some point in their lives. As a pastor, I have seen firsthand what a gift it is to be able to control when and whether one has a child. It offers women some measure of control over their lives.

Sometimes, even for a bishop, it's embarrassing to be a Christian. Not that I'm embarrassed by Jesus, whose life was spent caring and advocating for the marginalized, and whom I believe to be the perfect revelation of God. I'm just sometimes embarrassed to be associated with others who claim to follow him.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life

8 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Not too long ago, the Greens of Oklahoma City were law-abiding people running an arts-and-crafts chain called Hobby Lobby.

They weren’t disturbing the peace, or denying anyone his or her rights. They were minding their own business — quite successfully and in keeping with their Christian faith. The roughly 600 Hobby Lobby stores stock Christian products, close on Sundays, and play Christian music.

Then one day Uncle Sam showed up to make an offer that the Greens couldn’t refuse — literally. As part of Obamacare, federal law demands that the chain cover contraceptives that the Greens consider abortifacients. The family decided it couldn’t comply with the law in good conscience, and its case is now before the Supreme Court.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 11:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Nicholas Orogodo Okoh, believes strongly that the on-going National Conference must not fail, saying it is a great opportunity to resolve the challenges faced by Nigeria. He also speaks on the Boko Haram insurgency which has claimed many lives and affected the Church in the North-east and the controversial anti-gay law.

Excerpts from interview:
There are allegations lately that corruption has crept into Christianity with some men of God accused of sharp practices. How do you react to this?
I think you used an omnibus word ‘sharp practices’. I don’t know what it means because it could mean so many things. Can you be more specific?
Corruption has one definition, unethical practice. That is exactly what I am talking about.

Read it all (from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seemingly divided, the Supreme Court struggled Tuesday with the question of whether companies have religious rights, a case challenging President Barack Obama's health overhaul and its guarantee of birth control in employees' preventive care plans.

Peppering attorneys with questions in a 90-minute argument, the justices weighed the rights of for-profit companies against the rights of female employees. The discussion ranged to abortion, too, and even whether a female worker could be forced to wear an all-covering burka.

The outcome could turn on the views of Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the decisive vote, as his colleagues appeared otherwise to divide along liberal and conservative lines.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The main reason for the state to be involved with marriage is children," says Prof David Paton, an industrial economics lecturer at the University of Nottingham and a supporter of the Coalition for Marriage, a group arguing that traditional marriage is beneficial to society and would be undermined by a definitional change. "It seems reasonable for the state to treat the one type of relationship from which children can directly result in a different way to others, and this is the basis for marriage laws," says Paton.

Not all marriages will result in children, he concedes, and also suggests that issues such as pension rules or inheritance may require the state to recognise alternative relationships in different ways.

But the same-sex marriage law is not about this, he says. "It's about changing the very definition of marriage to encompass other types of relationships that are inherently different. That is both unnecessary and carries the risk of weakening the legal structure designed to encourage the attachment of children to their natural mother and father."

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPhilosophyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A divided Supreme Court seemed inclined to agree Tuesday that the religious beliefs of business owners may trump a requirement in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act that they provide their employees with insurance coverage for all types of contraceptives.

With both snow and demonstrators gathering on the sidewalk outside, it was difficult to predict a precise outcome from the spirited 90-minute argument.

But a majority of the justices seemed to agree that the family-owned businesses that objected to the requirement were covered by a federal statute that gives great protection to the exercise of religion. That would mean the government must show the requirement is not a substantial burden on their religious expression, and that there was no less intrusive way to provide contraceptive coverage to female workers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A challenge to part of President Obama's healthcare law that hits the Supreme Court on Tuesday could lead to one of the most significant religious freedom rulings in the high court's history.

Four years ago, in their controversial Citizens United decision, the justices ruled that corporations had full free-speech rights in election campaigns. Now, they're being asked to decide whether for-profit companies are entitled to religious liberties.

At issue in Tuesday's oral argument before the court is a regulation under the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide workers a health plan that covers the full range of contraceptives, including morning-after pills and intrauterine devices, or IUDs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two women who were abducted by Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria have given a rare account of life as captives of the Islamist militants.

"They asked me if I am Christian or Muslim. I said I am Christian," said 23-year-old Liatu, as she recalled her ordeal in the hands of Boko Haram.

"On the 11th day [in captivity], they brought a man to me and said that he liked me and I should convert to Islam so that he can marry me."

She was stopped at a roadblock set up last year by the Islamist militant group. She said any Muslims employed by the government were killed on the spot, as Boko Haram had earlier warned them to leave their work.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was nearly five years ago that any doubts were laid to rest among engineers at General Motors about a dangerous and faulty ignition switch. At a meeting on May 15, 2009, they learned that data in the black boxes of Chevrolet Cobalts confirmed a potentially fatal defect existed in hundreds of thousands of cars.

But in the months and years that followed, as a trove of internal documents and studies mounted, G.M. told the families of accident victims and other customers that it did not have enough evidence of any defect in their cars, interviews, letters and legal documents show. Last month, G.M. recalled 1.6 million Cobalts and other small cars, saying that if the switch was bumped or weighed down it could shut off the engine’s power and disable air bags.

In one case, G.M. threatened to come after the family of an accident victim for reimbursement of legal fees if the family did not withdraw its lawsuit. In another instance, it dismissed a family with a terse, formulaic letter, saying there was no basis for claims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyTravel* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....with less than 10 days left in the 2014 window to apply for coverage with policies through the federal marketplace, lots of people still don’t understand the penalties. Who pays? Who doesn’t? How do you pay? How do you avoid paying?

Toni McKinnon of Columbia stopped by Richland Library’s main branch on Assembly Street last week to find out about the health insurance marketplace because she was worried about having to pay a penalty.

“When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you can’t afford insurance,” McKinnon said, “and you sure can’t afford to pay some kind of penalty.”

She left the library slightly confused and very disappointed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinanceTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
For [the National Episcopal Church at] 815 [Second Avenue in New York City] to continue to pour money into the current property litigation in both those States is nothing less than an actionable waste of charitable resources on a purely punitive mission, and as such is a breach of fiduciary duty at the highest level.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted March 24, 2014 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In another recent but unpublished decision, the same [South Carolina] Court of Appeals disposed in one paragraph of an appeal by a Baptist Church Conference from a judgment finding it had no ownership or trust interest in the property of one of its churches (Haselden v. New Hope Church, No. 2012-213355, March 19, 2014) (h/t: commenter "Joe"). The per curiam opinion is self-explanatory:
The General Conference of the Free Will Baptist Church of the Pentecostal Faith ("the Conference") appeals the circuit court's order granting summary judgment in favor of New Hope Church ("New Hope") on the grounds that New Hope owned the property on which it was situated free and clear of any legal interest claimed by the Conference. We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities: Rule 56(c), SCRCP (stating that summary judgment is proper when no genuine issue exists as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law); Jones v. Wolf, 443 U.S. 595, 603 (1979) (stating that when resolving disputes over the ownership of church property, courts must rely "exclusively on objective, well-established concepts of trust and property law familiar to lawyers and judges."); S.C. Code Ann. § 62-7401(a)(2) (Supp. 2013) ("To be valid, a trust of real property, created by transfer in trust or by declaration of trust, must be proved by some writing signed by the party creating the trust."); All Saints Parish Waccamaw v. Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of S.C., 385 S.C. 428, 449, 685 S.E.2d 163, 174 (2009) ("It is an axiomatic principle of law that a person or entity must hold title to property in order to declare that it is held in trust for the benefit of another or transfer legal title to one person for the benefit of another.").

AFFIRMED.
Since it is unpublished, the opinion has no precedential value (i.e., it cannot be cited to any other South Carolina court), but its summary disposition is still a strong indicator of the way the wind blows in South Carolina. The Court found applicable Jones v. Wolf's holding that state courts may apply traditional concepts of trust and property law in resolving church property cases; a South Carolina statute setting out the legal requirements for a valid trust in the State; and the Supreme Court's opinion in the All Saints Waccamaw case, which ruled against a similar argument made by ECUSA and the then-EDSC. Taken together, those three authorities are all a court needs to cite in order to find a Dennis-Canon type of claim invalid and of no consequence under South Carolina law.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 24, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The wedding was a modest affair, held in a reception hall overlooking an artificial lake tucked behind a suburban strip. But just minutes after it ended, the bride and groom hurriedly scurried past dozens of protesters here who were chanting “Bigamist!” and “Shame on you!”

One of the wedding guests on Thursday evening glared at the demonstrators, repeatedly hissing: “Mazel tov. Mazel tov. Mazel tov.” The bride, in a lace and sequin floor-length gown, grasped the hand of her husband and looked at the crowd in silence.

Meir Kin, the new husband, has been divorced for more than seven years, under California’s civil law. But he has refused to give his previous wife the document known as a “get,” as required by Orthodox Jewish law to end a marriage. In the eyes of religious authorities, the woman he married in 2000 is what is called an agunah — Hebrew for chained wife. Without the get, the woman, Lonna Kin, is forbidden under Jewish law to remarry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In March 1965, [Daniel Patrick] Moynihan, then 37 and assistant secretary of labor, wrote that “the center of the tangle of pathology” in inner cities — this was five months before the Watts riots — was the fact that 23.6 percent of black children were born to single women, compared with just 3.07 percent of white children. He was accused of racism, blaming the victims, etc.

Forty-nine years later, 41 percent of all American children are born out of wedlock; almost half of all first births are to unmarried women, as are 54 percent and 72 percent of all Hispanic and black births, respectively. Is there anyone not blinkered by ideology or invincibly ignorant of social science who disagrees with this:

The family is the primary transmitter of social capital — the values and character traits that enable people to seize opportunities. Family structure is a primary predictor of an individual’s life chances, and family disintegration is the principal cause of the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today the Texas Supreme Court denied the losing parties' petitions for rehearing in the two ECUSA cases pending before it: No. 11-0265, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, et al. v. The Episcopal Church, et al.; and No. 11-0332, Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas. The Court had delivered its opinions in the two cases last August 30. In the first case, the Court had sided with Bishop Iker's Diocese by a closely split vote of 5-4, reversed the summary judgment of Circuit Judge John Chupp which had awarded all of the property and assets of Bishop Iker's Diocese to the Episcopal Church and its rump diocese, and sent the case back to the trial court. The majority held that the trial court had improperly failed to apply a "neutral principles of law" analysis to the issues. The four dissenters did not disagree with that result, but instead believed that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear a direct appeal from the trial court's judgment in the case.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

1 Comments
Posted March 21, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church and its local supporters in Fort Worth have suffered a second defeat from the Texas Supreme Court. On August 30, 2013, the high court reversed a lower-court decision that favored TEC’s claim to all church property in the Diocese of Fort Worth, which left the denomination in 2008. Today the Court denied TEC’s subsequent motion to rehear the case which now returns to the lower court for a new hearing and summary judgment based on neutral principles of law, not deference to a hierarchical church. We praise God for this very good news.

Some speculate that TEC will now seek a review of the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court as a further delaying tactic, but given past decisions on cases similar to this, it is highly unlikely that such a request would be granted. In recent appeals, the SCOTUS has left church property disputes to each state Supreme Court to decide. Moreover, the Texas Supreme Court will issue its mandate referring the case to the trial court, regardless of any such filing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

5 Comments
Posted March 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When President Obama visits Saudi Arabia next week, he will have an opportunity to follow through on his inspiring words at the Feb. 6. National Prayer Breakfast. There, he told thousands of Christian leaders that "the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose" is central to "human dignity," and so "promoting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy."

The freedom so central to human dignity is denied by the Kingdom. The State Department has long ranked Saudi Arabia among the world's most religiously repressive governments, designating it a "Country of Particular Concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act. Yet the Obama administration, like its predecessors, has not pressed Riyadh to respect religious freedom.

Saudi Arabia is the only state in the world to ban all churches and any other non-Muslim houses of worship. While Saudi nationals are all "officially" Muslim, some two to three million foreign Christians live in the kingdom, many for decades. They have no rights to practice their faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSaudi Arabia* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

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Posted March 21, 2014 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain is one of the least religious countries in Western Europe because the Church of England is a “very undemanding church”, the UK’s most senior woman judge has said.

“It has no dietary laws, no dress codes for men or women, and very little that its members can say is actually required of them by way of observance,” said Baroness Hale of Richmond, a Supreme Court justice.

England was a “parodoxical country” when it came to religion, she added. Despite having an established church, half the population did not belong to any religion. Affiliation to the Church of England fell from 40 per cent in 1983 to 20 per cent in 2010.

Read it all (subscription required) and there is an article from the Telegraph there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted March 21, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

England (and I mean England) is a paradoxical country when it comes to religion. We have an established church. This means that our head of state, the Queen, is also head of the Church of England and 26 of its bishops have seats in the upper House of Parliament. The Church of England also has special privileges and duties in relation to marriages and to burials. Until recently it also enjoyed the special protection of the law of blasphemy. But England is one of the least religious countries in Western Europe. According to the British Social Attitudes Survey (No 28, 2011), half the population do not belong to any religion and affiliation to the Church of England fell from 40% in 1983 to 20% in 2010. Politicians are not encouraged to wear their religion , if any, on their sleeves. Religious observance is much more common amongst minority communities than it is amongst the majority, who would once unhesitatingly have described themselve s as “C of E” even if they never went to church. One reason for this loss of interest, of course, could be that the Church of England is a very undemanding church. It has no dietary
laws, no dress codes for men or women, and very little that its members can say is actually required of them by way of observance....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 21, 2014 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.

The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinancePolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 20, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Banning marriage blessings for gay couples could be “illegal” and we will fight for equality.

This is the message from two Camden vicars who have vowed to defy a Church of England ban on blessing gay marriages and open their churches to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples, ahead of the first same-sex weddings in the UK next week.

In what could become a test case, the Rev Anne Stevens, of St Pancras New Church, in Euston, and Father Andrew Cain, of St James’s in West Hampstead and St Mary’s in Kilburn, will campaign for the law to be changed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 20, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A proposed law to allow Connecticut physicians to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives has opened a debate about the nature of sin, what constitutes an invasion of privacy, even the definition of suicide.

The bill has struck a chord with people such as Sara Myers, 59 years old, of Kent, Conn., who said she supported the concept even before she was diagnosed three years ago with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. She said she was unsure whether she would ever opt to end her life but would like the right to seek a doctor's help if she decided to do so.

"The emotional comfort of knowing that if I got to the point where I didn't want to go on—that I could do it in a loving and peaceful way and not put anybody in legal jeopardy—would just let me rest a whole lot easier," Ms. Myers told lawmakers on Monday at a legislative hearing on the bill.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted March 20, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No-fault divorce changed the American culture of marriage. So did the sexual revolution. Now proponents of gay rights are redefining marriage at an even more fundamental level. What’s to be done? As a post-biblical vision of sex, gender, and marriage gains the upper hand in our society, should our religious institutions get out of marriage? Should priests, pastors, and rabbis renounce their roles as deputies of state authority in marriage? Or should we sustain the close links between religious and civil marriage?

To help us think more clearly about these issues, we asked eight writers to respond to the following question: With the legal affirmation of same-sex marriage in some states, should churches, synagogues, and mosques stop performing civil marriages?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 20, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The head of the Episcopal Church in southeastern Michigan announced Tuesday that he strongly supports same-sex marriage, indicating to 70 churches that marrying people of the same in gender is in line with their denomination’s beliefs.

But the Rt. Rev. Wendell Gibbs stopped short of saying gay marriages could be performed immediately in local churches because the Episcopal Church technically still doesn’t formally approve of them, and they are illegal under Michigan law.

Noting that public opinion is shifting rapidly on the issue, Gibbs, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, said that “picking and choosing whose rights should be protected or which civil rights the church will support is neither American ‘justice for all’ nor supported by the God of salvation history.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 19, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Federal Government yesterday unveiled a new approach to tackling insurgency in the country.

National Security Adviser Mohammad Sambo Dasuki announced the new strategy in Abuja.

He said said the new approach, dubbed "Nigeria's Soft Approach to Countering Terrorism", includes adopting a means of de-radicalising extremists and stopping others from being radicalised.

Other items in the strategy plan are news ways of mobilising the society, strategic public communication and economic revitalisation of the North-East states affected by insurgency.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Court of Appeals effectively said it will not tolerate legal shenanigans to delay a trial to decide whether the denomination may seize South Carolina property, including churches and the diocesan symbols. In asking the Court of Appeals to dismiss the action, the Diocese of South Carolina argued that TECSC is appealing a court order that is “unappealable”.

South Carolina’s Court of Appeals justices agreed.

“We are grateful that the court recognized that TEC and TECSC are misusing the judicial system to delay resolution of this case,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese. “Their strategy of using legal motions to delay court decisions caused eight months to be wasted when they asked the federal court to override the state court injunction. As in that matter, the courts sided with the Diocese of South Carolina.”

TEC has a long history of dragging out legal battles, apparently in hopes of draining the resources of parishes and dioceses it seeks to punish for leaving the denomination. According to the latest published reports, TEC has spent more than $40 million on litigation in the past few years. TEC routinely appeals court decisions in hopes of wearing down its opposition – and to intimidate parishes and dioceses that wish to leave the denomination.

Read it all.

The background to this story is here.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A group, Nigeria Arise Against Terror (NAAT), has called on the international community to help the federal government in the fight against terrorism.

NAAT stated this in support of the clarion call by the Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, for global effort to urgently end the orgy of terrorism ravaging the North-east region of the country.

In a statement issued by NAAT Publicity Secretary, Malam Abba Aliyu, at the weekend in Abuja, the interim National Coordinator of the group, Hon. Emeka Kanu-Nwapa, said NAAT had reasons to believe that most of the attacks in the region recently suggested that the war has gone beyond the Boko Haram insurgency and has now gone international.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 18, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The groundbreaking agreement to work closely together across the different faith communities was signed by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo on behalf of Pope Francis. The Argentinian bishop is chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences which brought together a broad coalition of anti-trafficking experts for a workshop last November. He was joined by New Zealand Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre here in Rome and representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See. Also on hand to sign the founding declaration was Dr Mahmoud Azab, representing the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, one of the most important centres of Sunni Islam located in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The other key figure who put his signature to the document was Australian businessman Andrew Forrest, founder of a philanthropic organisation called the Walk Free Foundation. Set up after Forrest’s daughter travelled to Nepal where children were being caught up in a trafficking for prostitution ring, its aim is to stamp out this modern form of slavery by galvanizing and supporting action at local, national and international level. Planned actions include urging governments to publicly endorse the establishment of the Global Fund to End Slavery and persuading multi-national businesses to commit to eradicating slavery from their supply chains. By mobilizing the world’s major faith communities, this new Network hopes to bring an end by 2020 to what Pope Francis has dared to call a crime against humanity.

Read and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireSexualityViolence* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis Other FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 18, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Large bipartisan majorities passed the restoration law and its state counterparts to correct the Supreme Court's 1990 decision to downgrade religious freedom from its preferred status alongside freedom of speech and of the press. As a result of that decision, halting the use of peyote among Native Americans, government restrictions on the exercise of religion would no longer be subject to "strict scrutiny." Instead, such laws would be upheld as long as there was a rational basis.

The result was a drumbeat of court decisions against religion: Sikh construction workers ordered to swap turbans for hard hats; Amish farmers forced to affix warning signs to their buggies (impermissible "worldly symbols") rather than reflector tape. The list was long.

So a sprawling coalition of religious and civil liberties groups, ranging from the ACLU to the National Association of Evangelicals, joined forces with congressional odd fellows Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch to remedy the problem. With only three dissenting votes, Congress restored the protections the Supreme Court had jettisoned. More than a dozen states did the same. The new laws were no stalking horse for bigotry; they protect the most fundamental of all American rights — freedom of conscience.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted March 18, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis have given their backing to a ground-breaking ecumenical initiative to combat modern slavery and human trafficking.

The agreement to help eradicate an injustice affecting up to 29million people was co-signed on March 17th by the Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Science, Bishop Sanchez Sorondo and Mr Andrew Forrest, the founder of the large international philanthropic anti-slavery organisation from Perth, Western Australia "Walk Free".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireSexualityViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 17, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Proposals to convert the House of Commons chapel, St Mary Undercroft, into a multifaith centre (News, 15 March 2013) so that MPs and peers could use it to solemnise same-sex marriages, have been blocked.

Black Rod, Lt. Gen. David Leakey, confirmed that the original suggestion that the chapel be converted into a multifaith centre had been modified "so that the chapel would be a multi-denominational chapel; in other words, still a Christian place of worship rather than multifaith. None the less, there are no plans to take the proposal forward."

The chapel is a Royal Peculiar, under the care of Westminster Abbey, and one of the few remaining areas of the Palace of Westminster still under royal control. Chris Bryant, the MP who first put forward the idea, suggested that the proposal was personally blocked by the Queen, who visited the chapel in December. "She is a very conservative woman," he said.Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryAdult Education* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted March 14, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The head bishop of the United Methodist Church in New York on Monday committed to ending church trials in his region for ministers who perform same sex-marriages, essentially freeing them to conduct a ceremony still prohibited under his denomination’s laws.

As the first sitting United Methodist bishop to publicly make such a pledge, Bishop Martin D. McLee instantly became a leading figure in a decades-old movement within the United Methodist Church, the country’s second-largest Protestant denomination, to extend equal recognition and rights to gay and lesbian members. Though Bishop McLee said that he hoped his approach would heal the church’s deep divisions over homosexuality, more conservative Methodists warned that his actions would push the denomination closer to an irrevocable split.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted March 14, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At 12.30pm last Friday, computer programmer Rowan Laurence, 32, saw a strange sight on Brick Lane — “as is quite normal down there,” he says. The sight in question was a well-dressed man in dark skinny jeans and brown brogues carrying a large wooden crucifix on his back, striding under the railway flyunder in the direction of Aldgate East. As is also quite normal down there, Laurence snapped what he saw and uploaded it to Instagram, captioning the picture “Jesus Lives”.

Two hours later, the good people of St Matthew’s, the lovely 18th-century church 10 minutes’ walk away in Bethnal Green, were in a panic. Their beautiful and historic altar cross, installed in the church after it was bombed on the first day of the Blitz in 1940, was gone. There was no trace of further damage in the church, nor anything else stolen, so the Rev Kevin Scully emailed his parishioners for help. By 4.15pm a local blogger informed of the theft had seen Laurence’s image from Brick Lane and a parishioner sent it to the vicar....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 13, 2014 at 7:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the Netherlands people with early dementia are already being visited by mobile euthanasia units. In Belgium the law allows euthanasia only when, technically, “the patient is in a medically futile condition of constant unbearable suffering”. Wesley J. Smith, of the US-based Centre for Bioethics and Culture, has listed examples of ways in which the law has been interpreted much more expansively.
It has, for example, permitted the euthanasia of a transsexual left distraught by the results of a botched sex change operation and elderly couples who prefer joint and early death to living alone. Belgian doctors encourage each other to look out for suicidal patients whose organs can be harvested. In one PowerPoint presentation it was noted that patients with neuro-muscular diseases were good potential donors because, unlike cancer sufferers, they have “high-quality organs”.
And don’t think that Britain will be any different. We can’t regulate the banks or the police properly and assisted dying laws would soon become lethal tools in the hands of activist judges, greedy relatives and financially stretched health services. Look at our abortion laws. Introduced to end the horror of back-street terminations, they’re now used to end late-term pregnancies because of a cleft lip or a club foot.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 13, 2014 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Throughout the rest of the book, Robinson seeks to convince the reader of the need for legal gay marriage in all fifty states and at the federal level. Chapters with titles such as “Why Marriage Now?” “Don’t Children Need a Mother and a Father?” and “What Would Jesus Do?” attempt to counter commonly heard objections to homosexual unions. Robinson concludes the book with his final chapter, “God Believes in Love,” where he makes the case that God’s bountiful love puts no restrictions upon the gender of those expressing their love for one another.

God Believes in Love is a deeply personal story told with conviction, but it comes up short in a number of areas. The most glaring is the undercurrent of self-centeredness which arises from time to time in its narrative. As in all divorce stories told by the uninjured party, Robinson’s is one in which everyone concerned has benefitted greatly from the break up. His wife was freed from a relationship with a man who couldn’t love her in a truly marital way. His daughters benefitted from a happier father, and they built a new and wonderful relationship with their new stepdad, Mark. Above all, Robinson was able to be “true to himself,” the highest in our current table of virtues. But one wonders how his ex-wife and daughters remember those difficult years when Robinson decided to disassemble their family (the children were four and eight years old).

While Robinson served as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, he surprisingly uses far more secular arguments than theological ones.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted March 12, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 was designed to deal with a range of disciplinary issues concerning the clergy in the Church of England – but to the exclusion of matters of doctrine or ritual.

The 1963 Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure (one of whose chief architects was the late +Eric Kemp) retained the jurisdiction inherited from the Victorian era, and ultimately from the middle ages, expressly as a criminal jurisdiction, modelled on the former Assize Courts.

This meant among other things that the procedures of the consistory court when sitting under the EJM were those of a criminal trial, that prosecutors had to achieve a criminal standard of proof – beyond all reasonable doubt – in persuading the court to convict – and that the court’s sentences were effectively criminal convictions for what in some cases were relatively trivial offences. Its proceedings were open to the public and to the media.

The CDM was designed to be a civil tribunal and to operate without the full glare of publicity brought by EJM proceedings. The world’s press turned up for the trial of the Dean of Lincoln, Brandon Jackson, and the false evidence against him was published on the front pages of national newspapers. He was acquitted.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 12, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The focus on analysis has led to (or perhaps is because of?) paralysis among church leaders with traditional beliefs. Typically, there is no urgency. Marriage has been redefined with huge implications for the spiritual and moral health of the nation, and yet many otherwise biblically orthodox clergy are not sure there is a problem – especially since the Bishops have at least for the moment appeared to hold the line. There is little prayer, because of the influence of secularism which teaches us to rely on our management techniques rather than on God, because of the upsetting nature of the topic, and because of a lack of understanding about spiritual realities. “Oh yes, I will pray in general for the nation”, I have been told, “but not specifically about gay marriage”. There is no courage. Clergy tell me privately that they believe in what the Bible says about sex, but their priority is for hassle-free pastoral care, for unity in the congregation, and ultimately for their own livelihood. As a result there is a lack of good teaching in the congregations on this topic, and no action at local or national levels or support for others taking such action.

Of course not all churches in England have capitulated. Many are wanting to stand firm – and this brings division. The church is now irredeemably divided over homosexuality. The Gospel should be truth lived out in experience, but today ‘my story’ is ranged against propositional truth and right principles. Churches which should be based on the Word and oriented towards their communities are now choosing ‘community’ over against the Word. ‘Witness’ seen as cutting the cost of discipleship to get people into church is increasingly opposed to bearing witness to Christ at any cost. Words such as sin, the need for repentance and transformation are now applied more to people who do not approve of same gender sexual relationships, than to people in those relationships.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted March 12, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The sad reality is that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Although it is reported that only one bishop voted against the guidance, it is also being claimed that a significant number, even a majority, are not personally happy with it. The reactions to the guidance make clear just how extensive the divisions are in the wider church and thus how difficult the environment for the facilitated conversations is going to be. They also perhaps highlight two areas where the conversations need to focus their attention but which were largely unaddressed by the Pilling Report:

(1) What doctrine of marriage should the Church have and how should it then bear faithful witness to that in ordering its own life and in mission in a wider society which recognises same-sex marriage? and

(2) What is to be done, what new church structures may be needed, so that those who find themselves unable to accept the conclusions on the doctrine of marriage and its practical implications can faithfully bear witness to their understanding of marriage without undermining the mind of the majority or condemning the Church of England to continuing destructive conflict over this issue?

Read it all and Pt I is here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


Well, you could knock me down with a feather duster. The Pope is looking into the subject of gay marriage. According to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Holy Father said to him that "rather than quickly condemn them, let's just ask the questions as to why that has appealed to certain people". OK, it's hardly a new Vatican policy. But language matters. And in the week of the first anniversary of Francis's appointment as pope, it is worth recognising how far the language has come.

But things are going to change even faster for the Church of England over the next few weeks. With gay marriage becoming a legal reality on 29 March, it is certain that a number of clergy will be looking to get hitched, in direct defiance of the wishes of their bishops who have vaguely warned of disciplinary action if they do. But the truth is that the bishops can actually do very little about it. The following is slightly nerdish stuff, but for the likes of north London vicar Reverend Andrew Cain, now preparing for his nuptials, it is crucial. Writing on my Facebook page last night, the Bishop of Buckingham explained the clergy discipline measure:

"Its Section 7 lays down that matters of doctrine and worship are not justiciable under the measure, but must be tried under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963. Insomniacs may remember that around 10 years ago there was a proposal to have a Clergy Discipline Measure type measure for doctrine and worship cases but it failed. The legal trail leads from here to section 39 of the EJM63. The maximum penalty it lays down for a first offence is a rude letter telling you not to do it again – which hopefully people getting married won't."

Of course, the bishops could pretend that clergy getting married is not a matter of doctrine, but this would be a bit of a problem given that they have been going round telling everyone that it is.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

7 Comments
Posted March 11, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Church of England bishop has accused the Government of penalising stay-at-home mothers and carers by discriminating against families in the tax and benefits system.

The criticism came after an inquiry by a Christian charity to be launched on Tuesday found that that married couples with only one earner keep less of every extra pound they earn in the UK than in any other country in the developed world.

Last month, church leaders including 27 Anglican bishops condemned the Coalition’s welfare policies for causing hardship and hunger, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said its benefit cuts were “a disgrace". Now the Government is under attack for being “anti-family” in a study carried out by the charity Christian Action Research and Education (CARE).

Read it all from the Independent.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted March 10, 2014 at 5:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christ Episcopal Church in Marion is inviting the public to attend a special Lenten season program on end-of-life issues and celebrate Holy Week with a symbolic meal.

“This is a season when we think about our own mortality and look at Christ’s last days on Earth,” said the Rev. Emily Edmondson. “On Ash Wednesday, we remember that we were created from dust and to dust we will return.”

Discussions will be held on Wednesday evenings from March 12 through April 9 with different topics each week led by an expert in the field. Each evening begins with a prayer and soup and sandwich dinner at 5:30 p.m. with the program following the meal.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult Education* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 10, 2014 at 12:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The order list published this morning by the United States Supreme Court shows that, after relisting the case for its conferences four times, it has denied certiorari (review) in No. 13-449, The Falls Church v. Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, et al. Under its rules, the Court grants certiorari when at least four of the nine justices are interested in a given case; it takes five justices to make a majority.

Read it all and and there is a Washington Post article there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Virginia* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted March 10, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Indiana’s law banning same-sex marriages and the recognition of such unions legally performed in other states is the latest to come under attack in federal court.

Four Indiana same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana challenging the state law, hoping to catch a recent wave of successful challenges to similar state laws.

Two of the couples — Melissa Love and Erin Brock of Jeffersonville, and Michael Drury and Lane Stumler of New Albany — want to get married in Indiana.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships

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Posted March 9, 2014 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The legislation of assisted suicide has moved a significant step closer after the Government made clear that it would not stand in the way of a change in the law.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs and peers – including Coalition ministers – will be given a free vote on a Bill that would enable doctors to help terminally ill patients to die, The Telegraph can disclose.

The proposed legislation will come before Parliament in the next few months.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda was a strong supporter of the final bill there. He was among the religious leaders who recommended changes in 2010 to make it less harsh by removing the death penalty, reducing the sentencing guidelines and deleting a clause on reporting homosexual behavior.

On Wednesday (March 5), Ntagali denied reports that the province was considering breaking away from the Anglican Communion. According to the primate, the fabric of the Anglican Communion was torn in 2003 when the Episcopal Church in the United States consecrated Gene Robinson as bishop in New Hampshire.

“Not only was this against the Bible, but it went against the agreed position of the Anglican Communion,” Ntagali said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.CanadaEngland / UKEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 7, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Google’s playful primary colors, quirky Doodles and whimsical office spaces are outward expressions of the company’s “Don’t be evil” motto. But the real work Googlers do trying to uphold that mantra goes far beyond flash.

I recently spoke with Ross LaJeunesse, Google’s global head of free expression and international relations, about what the company is doing to address hate speech, free speech and religious freedom online. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Brian Pellot: Why does Google have an entire team devoted to freedom of expression?


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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureScience & TechnologySexuality* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 6, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his most recent column, Douthat strives to reframe the current debate about anti-gay discrimination (and even segregation) into one about sincere believers being brutally trampled by gay rights activists eager to bury religious freedom. It’s a failed effort, but a useful failure nonetheless. Arizona’s anti-gay bill may be dead, but several more are alive and kicking, and Douthat neatly anticipates the many straw men, euphemisms, and verbal chicanery anti-gay forces will deploy to make their case.

In fact, Douthat’s column is such an effective piece of homophobic apologia that I expect many red state politicians to borrow from its playbook in the coming months and years. To make their job easier, I’ve laid out the most effective means of disguising raw hatred as religious liberty and rounding discrimination down to “dissent.” If you’re thinking about introducing an anti-gay discrimination bill to your own state’s legislature, you should pay close attention.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sudanese authorities arrested a pastor in Omdurman as he was preaching on Sunday (Feb. 23) and threatened that he would “face justice” unless he resigned his position, sources said.

Personnel from the Criminal Investigation Department entered the compound of Omdurman Evangelical Church and arrested the Rev. Yahya Abdelrahim Nalu as part of a government plan to take over properties of the church’s denomination, the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC), the sources said. Omdurman is opposite Khartoum on the River Nile.

The Federal Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments seeks to replace Nalu, senior leader at the church and moderator of the SPEC Synod, with a government-appointed committee that favors turning SPEC properties over to the government, they said.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

His co-workers may have not seen past his beard, but the jury did.

A Muslim American man from Ypsilanti, Mich., has won a nearly $1.2-million jury award after successfully arguing he was harassed, taunted and discriminated against at work because of his religion, race and appearance - most notably, his long scruffy beard.

Ali Aboubaker, 56, a U.S. citizen and Tunisia native with four advanced degrees, was awarded the judgment on Thursday following a two-week jury trial in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

"We were stunned," said Aboubaker's lawyer, Shereef Akeel, who stressed to the jury that his client had several strikes against him.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What makes [The publicity of the Arizona debate and its]... response particularly instructive is that such bills have been seen, in the past, as a way for religious conservatives to negotiate surrender — to accept same-sex marriage’s inevitability while carving out protections for dissent. But now, apparently, the official line is that you bigots don’t get to negotiate anymore.

Which has a certain bracing logic. If your only goal is ensuring that support for traditional marriage diminishes as rapidly as possible, applying constant pressure to religious individuals and institutions will probably do the job. Already, my fellow Christians are divided over these issues, and we’ll be more divided the more pressure we face. The conjugal, male-female view of marriage is too theologically rooted to disappear, but its remaining adherents can be marginalized, set against one other, and encouraged to conform.

I am being descriptive here, rather than self-pitying. Christians had plenty of opportunities — thousands of years’ worth — to treat gay people with real charity, and far too often chose intolerance. (And still do, in many instances and places.) So being marginalized, being sued, losing tax-exempt status — this will be uncomfortable, but we should keep perspective and remember our sins, and nobody should call it persecution.

But it’s still important for the winning side to recognize its power. We are not really having an argument about same-sex marriage anymore, and on the evidence of Arizona, we’re not having a negotiation. Instead, all that’s left is the timing of the final victory — and for the defeated to find out what settlement the victors will impose.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 2, 2014 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Charles VonRosenberg]...emphasized, however, the need for Christian unity among different denominations and groups who might not agree on all issues but who can still operate as a family with common roots and missions of faith and service.

"The spirit of God moves through history in the direction of unity among God's people. I believe that principle," vonRosenberg said. "I pray for our unity, and I encourage you to join me in that belief and prayer."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Divorce is not God's will or desire for us. Even where divorce is allowed, it is not commanded, and then it is still a tragedy. Divorce leaves behind devastation and victims in its wake.

That God himself is a divorcee, despite his faultless covenant faithfulness, calls us to a more nuanced understanding of marriage and divorce. In our own marriages, God calls us to follow his example of covenant faithfulness, and has demonstrated how much grace and forgiveness is needed to maintain a relationship in the face of human sinfulness. God's example give us a framework to talk meaningfully about commitment and grace, and yet also to say that in situations of hard-hearted and deliberate covenant violation, divorce was allowed as God's way of officially declaring a broken covenant "broken."

We find wisdom when we view hot topics within the larger framework of Scripture. A discussion on purity should not just be about whether a person is a virgin when they marry (even if they've done "everything but"), but about how they steward their sexuality throughout their lives. Similarly, the litmus test for covenant faithfulness in marriage should not just be about whether or not someone got divorced (even if they did "everything but"), but about how we steward our marriages and make daily attempts to model God's faithfulness to our spouses.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 1, 2014 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Episcopalians are obliged to violate earthly laws in order to advance the higher law established by God, the dean of Washington National Cathedral said on February 24. During a panel on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” the Very Rev. Gary R. Hall cited the actions of Episcopalians in the 1960s to desegregate the racially divided church.

Hall said every faith community has to decide whether it is prepared to engage in “disturbing the peace.” Otherwise, he asked, “Are we protectors of the status quo?”

“The church sometimes has to break the law,” he said, “in the service of a higher law.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 1, 2014 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, has described the House of Bishops' pastoral statement on same-sex marriage, which he signed a fortnight ago, as "Anglican fudge".

The Bishops have also been challenged over the accuracy of their guidance, issued on 15 February. In it, they reiterated the ban on same-sex marriages in church, and stated that clergy may not enter into gay marriages... Several priests have publicly declared their intention to defy the Bishops.

Dr Sentamu, speaking at a meeting of Jewish and Christian students in Durham in the middle of last week, said that the Church of England's position was that "a clergy person has a right, an expectation, to live within the teaching of the Church, but for lay people and others they should be welcomed into the Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted February 28, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Married couples will be able to draft their own DIY divorce settlements using an officially-approved financial formula without having to fight over details in court under plans put before ministers today.

Under proposals put forward by the Government’s legal reviewer, prenuptial agreements would become legally binding in England and Wales for the first time.

The Law Commission is also urging the Government to consider devising a specific numerical formula which separating couples could use to calculate how to divide their assets.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychology* International News & CommentaryCanadaEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Brunei's all-powerful sultan, stung by rare criticism, has ordered social media users to stop attacking his plans to introduce harsh Islamic criminal punishments in the placid oil-rich kingdom.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah -- one of the world's wealthiest men -- announced last October that Brunei would phase in sharia law punishments such as flogging, severing limbs and death by stoning beginning April 1.

The move has sparked a growing outcry on social media, the only outlet for public criticism of authorities in the Muslim country where questioning the 67-year-old sultan is taboo.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaBrunei* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scientists have already experimented with combining genetic material from cells of three people. In 2001, researchers in New Jersey did so using material from the cytoplasm, the material that surrounds the nucleus of the egg and directs its development after fertilization, from fertile women into the eggs of infertile women. More than 17 babies have been born this way in the United States.

The practice raised questions and eventually led the F.D.A. to tell researchers that they could not perform such procedures in humans without getting special permission from the agency. Since then, studies have been confined to animals.

But a researcher in Oregon, Shoukhrat Mitalipov, has performed the mitochondrial procedure in monkeys and has said that it is ready to be tried in people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 26, 2014 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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