Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Willesden concluded by saying:

"We lack a consensus on what we mean by "good disagreement" - is it about process or is it about outcomes? I think that many who want change believe that it's possible, on the basis of good disagreement, to have pluriformity of practice in the Church. Others don't believe that it's possible to live in that way because of the canonical and legal constraints of uniformity that exist in our Church.

We will find this debate a continuing source of disagreement because we haven't coalesced around an end point. When we legislated for women to be bishops, even those opposed came to the view that the Church of England had to make it possible for women to be bishops in the Church of God according to our canons and formularies. In this debate, we haven't even begun to find a place where we can coalesce. The Bishops' Report acknowledges a place of starting. More conversation is needed. We don't yet know the next stage - nor yet when and whether we can bring any further report to Synod. Please make the fullest possible use of the groups and the debate to enable those deliberations."

Read it all and the presentations are below.



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Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It used to be so simple. Girl met boy. Gametes were transferred through plumbing optimised by millions of years of evolution. Then, nine months later, part of that plumbing presented the finished product to the world. Now things are becoming a lot more complicated. A report published on February 14th by America’s National Academy of Sciences gives qualified support to research into gene-editing techniques so precise that genetic diseases like haemophilia and sickle-cell anaemia can be fixed before an embryo even starts to develop. The idea of human cloning triggered a furore when, 20 years ago this week, Dolly the sheep was revealed to the world (see article); much fuss about nothing, some would say, looking back. But other technological advances are making cloning humans steadily more feasible.

Some are horrified at the prospect of people “playing God” with reproduction. Others, whose lives are blighted by childlessness or genetic disease, argue passionately for the right to alleviate suffering. Either way, the science is coming and society will have to work out what it thinks.

Read it all.

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Posted February 22, 2017 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"My overall conclusion: the appellants are right.” These were the words of Lady Justice Arden in the Court of Appeal today – and yet we lost our legal challenge to the government’s ongoing ban on mixed-sex civil partnerships.

Lady Justice Arden’s two fellow judges disagreed – and outvoted her. All of the judges were critical of the status quo, whereby civil partnerships are still only available to same-sex couples, despite 13 years passing since their introduction and clear demand for them among mixed-sex couples. But the other two judges concluded that the government should be allowed more time to make a decision on whether to extend civil partnerships to mixed-sex couples before its position becomes unlawful.

Naturally we are deeply disappointed by this ruling. The narrowness of the defeat makes it all the harder to swallow: we came so close to winning, yet lost on a technicality. Nevertheless, there is so much in the ruling that is positive.

Read it all from the Guardian.

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Posted February 21, 2017 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The plain truth is that the Washington religious liberty case is going to be resolved in favor of the proprietor of the business, as it should be.

We need to be as deferential as we can to the rights of conscience, especially as they pertain to small/family businesses. I wouldn’t want the state to harshly fine me if I declined to arrange flowers for the Westboro Baptist Church’s annual banquet.

Progressives are fighting a losing battle, and the optics of financially ruining a 72-year-old grandmother are terrible. If progressives are on the right side of history and we are just moments away from same sex unions being celebrated as marriages by virtually everyone of every faith, then find another florist and leave this poor lady alone.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Like I keep saying: this may not be the end of the world, but it is the end of a world. When the might of the State of Washington and the American Civil Liberties Union comes down on the head of gentle, grandmotherly, small-town florist, and seeks her ruin for declining to arrange flowers for a gay wedding, you know that we are dealing with a bottomless well of hatred. You know exactly what we are dealing with here. So, prepare. We are all going to be asked to pay the cost of discipleship. When I interviewed her last summer, Stutzman said to me: “If they can come after me, they can go after anybody.”

True. Expect no justice, tolerance, mercy, or love in these matters. The Religious Right Must Lose. Alliance Defending Freedom, the religious liberty legal organization representing Barronnelle pro bono, is taking tax-free donations to help pay for her defense. If the US Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, or rules against her, the Christian community nationwide will need to step up to pay her fine, and to reward her for having stood in the crucible and held firm, despite the contempt heaped on her head. Today its Barronelle Stutzman; tomorrow it might be you. And one day, it probably will.

I’ll say one more thing here. As regular readers know, I do not like Donald Trump and do not like the glee with which so many of my fellow conservatives view his trashing of longstanding rules and conventions of political behavior. Trump is tearing things down, but what will be left after he’s done that? Having said that, when I contemplate a system and a society that is willing to pour everything it has into crushing a little old Southern Baptist lady who arranges flowers for a living, I find that I have very little enthusiasm for defending that system. A society that would do this to a Barronnelle Stutzman is a corrupt and unjust society. At times like this, it is hard not to adopt a “let the dead bury the dead” attitude toward the whole.

Make sure to take the time to it all and watch the video.

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

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Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our nation has a long history of protecting the right to dissent, but simply because Barronelle disagrees with the state about marriage, the government and ACLU have put at risk everything she owns,” Waggoner continued. “This includes not only her business, but also her family’s savings, retirement funds, and home. It’s no wonder that so many people are rightly calling on President Trump to sign an executive order to protect our religious freedom. Because that freedom is clearly at risk for Barronelle and so many other Americans, and because no executive order can fix all of the threats to that freedom, we will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear this case and reverse this grave injustice.”

A lower court ruled that Stutzman must pay penalties and attorneys’ fees for declining to use her artistic abilities to design custom floral arrangements for a long-time customer’s same-sex ceremony. Rather than participate, Stutzman referred Rob Ingersoll, whom she considers a friend and had served for nearly 10 years, to several other florists in the area who were comfortable promoting and participating in their ceremony. The two continued to chat about the wedding, they hugged, and Ingersoll left.

“Rob Ingersoll and I have been friends since very nearly the first time he walked into my shop all those years ago,” said Stutzman. “There was never an issue with his being gay, just as there hasn’t been with any of my other customers or employees. He just enjoyed my custom floral designs, and I loved creating them for him. But now the state is trying to use this case to force me to create artistic expression that violates my deepest beliefs and take away my life’s work and savings, which will also harm those who I employ. I’m not asking for anything that our Constitution hasn’t promised me and every other American: the right to create freely, and to live out my faith without fear of government punishment or interference.”

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

..The way forward needs to be about love, joy and celebration of our common humanity; of our creation in the image of God, of our belonging to Christ - all of us, without exception, without exclusion.

Nevertheless while the principles are straightforward, putting them into practice, as we all know, is not, given the deep disagreements among us.

We are therefore asking first for every Diocesan Bishop to meet with their General Synod members for an extended conversation in order to establish clearly the desires of every member of Synod for the way forward.

As Archbishops we will be establishing a Pastoral Oversight group led by the Bishop of Newcastle, with the task of supporting and advising Dioceses on pastoral actions with regard to our current pastoral approach to human sexuality. The group will be inclusive, and will seek to discern the development of pastoral practices, within current arrangements.

Secondly, we, with others, will be formulating proposals for the May House of Bishops for a large scale teaching document around the subject of human sexuality. In an episcopal church a principal responsibility of Bishops is the teaching ministry of the church, and the guarding of the deposit of faith that we have all inherited. The teaching document must thus ultimately come from the Bishops. However, all episcopal ministry must be exercised with all the people of God, lay and ordained, and thus our proposals will ensure a wide ranging and fully inclusive approach, both in subject matter and in those who work on it.

We will also be suggesting to the Business Committee a debate in general terms on the issues of marriage and human sexuality. We wish to give the General Synod an opportunity to consider together those things we do affirm..

Read it all.

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Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...clearly, Genesis 2 and Matthew 19 demonstrate that all sexual expression outside the lifelong and permanent union of one man and one woman is sinful. It’s contrary to God’s purposes. We have the picture of Christ who will come for his beautiful bride clean. He died for her. We rob society of that picture when we seek to destroy the truth of what marriage is.

God’s people are called to be set apart and clergy are to be examples to their people, to model holiness, chastity, purity, to model the way of the cross.

If sexual immorality were simply a secondary issue as opposed to a first order salvation issue then the Bible would not link it specifically with salvation (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). And that is why it is so important to speak clearly with regard to sexual sin, because, actually heaven and hell depends upon it. Our very eternity depends upon it. That’s why it’s loving to hold firm to it. And it’s also beautiful and freeing for all that hear this message.

Read it all.

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Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What practical difference will the vote make? It will not lead to a new report, since we cannot consider one on the same issue in the life of this Synod. It is difficult to see how the position of the bishops will change; if some break ranks, many will respond ‘Why didn’t you speak up earlier?’ It might lead to a fracture in the House of Bishops, as some clearly hope—which will mean dioceses diverging in their teaching and policies. If so, evangelicals will start to withdraw both cooperation and funding—so keep an eye out for the next diocese to run out of money. It has perhaps raised hopes for change again—which are likely to be dashed once more, at least in terms of formal change in the Church. In introducing the report, Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, emphasised yet again that changing this teaching, shared in much of the Anglican Communion and ecumenically, wasn’t in the gift of the Church.

What it has done is highlighted the deep divisions in the Church—but done nothing to heal them. Not only do we disagree, we even disagree about what it is we disagree on. And it has set clergy against their bishops. Some will ask what the bishops have been doing all these years, in terms of teaching and training and holding clergy to appropriate account, to lead to such a deep level of mistrust. But others might ask clergy what they think they are doing in rejecting the teaching of those to whom they have pledged canonical obedience. Either which way, it is incoherent, and no way to run a railway. And in the end it has demonstrated the power of this issue to break the Church. Those seeking change have demonstrated their determination to continue pushing, regardless of the consequences.

As Zachary Giuliano concludes: there are no winners.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

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Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no easy way to dress up what has been an embarrassing night for the senior leadership of the Church of England.
After three years of so-called shared conversations costing the church more than £300,000, General Synod has chosen not to take note of the Bishops report.
It was neither the Bishops nor ordinary members of the church (the laity) who chose to reject the report. It was the vicars, rectors and priests that decided they could not continue with the current prohibition on blessing or marrying same sex couples in church.
For lesbian and gay Christians, there is widespread rejoicing. But conservative evangelicals are dismayed, the vote confirming what they say is their worst fear that the authority Scripture is no longer the rule of faith and practice.

Read it all.

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Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There were impassioned contributions from all sides of the argument. Lucy Gorman (York diocese) argued that the Church’s current stance was devastating its mission to the nation, especially among young people, who saw it as homophobic.

The Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who married his male partner in 2014..., begged the Synod not to take note of the report. “Your LGBTI brothers and sisters are not beggars looking for entrance on the borders of the Church,” he said. “We are your family in Christ. We are baptised, faithful, prayerful. I am not a case study. We are flesh and blood.”

Others, including a “same-sex-attracted” Evangelical, the Revd Sam Allberry, said that, while the report was not perfect, they were glad that it had held the line on the traditional marriage teaching. “I was bullied at school for being gay,” he told the Synod. “I now feel bullied in Synod — for being same-sex-attracted, and for agreeing with the doctrine on marriage.”

Read it all.

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Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all the links are at the bottom of the page (p 1-7).

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Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first paragraph of the report states, “As St Paul writes, ‘I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me…’ (Galatians 2.19ff). For St Paul that meant setting aside even the wonderful privilege of Jewish identity and giving priority to the cross and resurrection of Christ. It is in this light that the Church of England has to consider the difficulties over human sexuality that have been a source of tension and division for many years.”

What this introduction misunderstands and misses is twofold. Firstly, in both his letters and in the Acts of the Apostles, Paul is a Jew and identifies clearly as a Jew in the present tense. To state that Paul is “setting aside” his “Jewish identity” misunderstands Paul. Second, such misunderstanding in the very first paragraph means the report misses the nuance of Paul’s writings and the reality that he too is grappling with “tension and division” both within his communities and in terms of his own identity. To recognise such a nuance would make clear that questions of identity are not as simple as this report’s introduction suggests and that identity with Christ is not as simple as “setting aside” one’s identity at birth (which itself is a loaded and potentially harmful assumption in a report on sexuality and identity).

In Philippians 3.4-6, therefore, Paul writes that in terms of confidence “in the flesh”, he has more for he is: “a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews.” Even if these “gains” are now regarded by Paul “as loss because of Christ” (Phil 3.7) and as “rubbish” (3.8), Paul’s Jewish identity is not solely in his past. This is made clearer in Romans 11.1 where Paul states in his defence of God’s promises that “I myself am an Israelite, a descendent of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.” Paul’s testimony before the tribunal in Acts 21 is even more direct, demonstrating unambiguously what the Evangelist thinks of Paul’s identity. Paul begins his defence with the words, “I am a Jew” and then repeats this same claim “in the Hebrew language” in Acts 22 (“I am a Jew”) after which he immediately recounts in the past tense that he previously “persecuted this Way”. Moreover, returning to his letters, Paul counters Corinthian boasting with his own in 2 Corinthians 11.22: “Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? … I am a better one.”

And here we encounter first-hand the tension in Paul’s identity. Paul is still a Hebrew, an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, in other words, he is a Jew. But he is also a minister of Christ; he is also one who suffers for the sake of the gospel. Paul’s identity is inextricably wrapped up in both.

Read it all.

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Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So what we have seen over the past few days, and particularly now during Synod, is that pro LGBT activists have embarked on an attempt to force the Church of England to change its teachings on sex and marriage, firstly by means of appeal to the rational and reasonable middle ground in the church, branding conservatives as extremists and proposing an alternative conclusion to the Bishops GS 2055 report (eg here).

And then, the fist inside the velvet glove: an all-out assault on the tenets of basic Christian orthodoxy in the public domain outside the church, through the parading of pain and fury at every opportunity on the floor of Synod, and through the secular media. The aim here is to appeal to the public at large, particularly the powerful and influential figures in Government, law and the media, to force change on the church from the outside.

How can this powerful lobby with its emotional force be resisted? In the short term, we can perhaps pray that the Bishops and the majority of Synod members would see through and refute the hypocrisy of the campaigners, who claim to want diversity, when in fact they want to eradicate orthodox faith; they claim to be powerless victims or standing on their behalf, when in fact they stand with the most powerful lobby in the nation. They speak with the language of Christian faith but have imbibed a philosophy that is implacably hostile to the teachings of the bible about the human person, sexuality, marriage, self-control and chastity – and ultimately, as we have seen, hostile to the idea of a Saviour who takes away sin’s deserved consequences.

But what of the longer term? It should be obvious that a church which allows such views with their bullying tactics to flourish as part of legitimate theological diversity, has abandoned any concept of apostolic deposit based on divine revelation. Such a church will soon be forced to reflect the secular ideology of the powerful lobby group more and more, as has happened in north America. The orthodox can agree to being one view among many, and be gradually erased. A better option: stand firm and if necessary force a schism, and at the same time plan for an alternative jurisdiction.

Read it all.

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Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, The Right Reverend David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, warned changes to the church's authorised blessings are highly unlikely.

He said: "We know those numbers are just not there at the moment to change the law. We have a liturgy for marriage, we can't change that without the majorities that would be required."

However, The Right Reverend added: "What we have said is that we are committed to maximum freedom and I and many of the other bishops are very keen to explore the full extent of what that means. If we don't change the law but everything else is up for grabs, everything else is up for conversation.

"There is an awful lot we can do which doesn't actually require a change in the law and that is what I want to explore.

Read it all.

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Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is wide recognition on all sides that one of the central issues revolves around how Scripture is interpreted both in and across cultures. It is our conviction that the hermeneutic task is not simply a matter of ‘correctly’ interpreting Scriptural texts, but must involve reading any given text in the light of the whole gospel, with a heart that is open to what the Spirit is saying to the Church in each and every generation. The Reformation principle of scriptura sui ipsius interpres (scripture interprets itself) must give us cause to pause and consider such texts in the light of Jesus’ overriding call to ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”’ (Luke 10:27)

There are three issues that we believe we, the evangelical community, need to be honest about.

The first, which causes us significant concern, is that of the high levels of homophobia that appear to go unacknowledged and unchallenged. Obviously, we understand that to assert a traditionalist position on same-sex relationships is not in itself homophobic, and that those who take a conservative line may not be individually hostile towards LGBT people. However, we would plead for some recognition, reflection and repentance of the fact that Christian teaching on this continues to function as the lynchpin, not just in the Church but also in secular society, of a widespread and sometimes subterranean nexus of negative attitudes that frequently manifest in overt homophobic behaviour. LGBT people are all too familiar with the impact of this, and whilst some are able to withstand it, many find themselves internalising feelings of shame and self-hatred, which all too frequently then result in depression, self-destructive behaviours, and even suicide. Are these really to be seen as the side-effects of the good news of Jesus Christ? Credible Christian witness cannot just be a matter of repeated verbal denials of homophobia but must involve active steps to combat it. Should not the churches be as well known for their efforts in this area as they are for, say, supporting issues of social justice? The issue is even more pronounced in countries across the world where Christians are known to be condoning and at times positively supporting proposals for severe penalties, including capital punishment, for homosexual behaviour. Should not the repudiation of this by churches in this country be immediate, public, and categorical?

Read it all.

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Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jules Gomes: The last few weeks has seen a PR disaster for the Church of England. If not a reading from the Koran that denies the divinity of Jesus at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, it is a service of Evening Prayer at Westcott House, Cambridge using gay slang and calling the Holy Spirit “Fantabulosa Fairy.” As director of Reform and committed to biblical orthodoxy, you must be hanging in by your fingernails. How long before your fingernails begin to crack and you let go?

Susie Leafe: I’m not sure we can blame the Church of England for what happens in Glasgow but I know what you mean. The great thing to know is that we are not hanging over an abyss—God has promised to build his Church—only he knows what role the Church of England will play in his future plans. As Reform, we have followed the experiences of orthodox Anglicans in North America and like them we are very grateful for the support and leadership we receive from other parts of the Anglican Communion GAFCON and the Global South. As always, we pray and work for the best whilst planning for the worst.

JG: In its recent report the House of Bishops have upheld traditional teaching that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. But in the very same breath the report says that Church law should be interpreted to provide “maximum freedom” for LGBT people. Isn’t this the C of E fudge factory working overtime?

SL: The Report will be discussed at General Synod this week. It describes itself as a compromise and I have not heard anyone endorse it without very serious reservations. Personally, I believe the most worrying element of the Report is the way the bishops have reinterpreted the law of the C of E about where our doctrine can be found. They appear to sideline Scripture and the traditional formularies of the Church, in favour of finding the boundaries of freedom in Canon Law.

Read it all.

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Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can find a daily time table here and the link for a live video feed is there. also, you can find the official synod twitter feed there.

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Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The ever-litigious bunch at 815 Second Avenue, the New York headquarters of ECUSA, may be getting a taste of their own medicine. Or it may just be a case of litigation inculturated beyond the point of no return: the litigators at ECUSA have been sued by the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, one of their own (and a former lawyer in his own right), who worked there as Chief Operating Officer until the Presiding Bishop terminated him last April.

The complaint, unusually filed in Alabama's Mobile County Circuit Court (see remarks below), makes for an absorbing read (or maybe that's just a lawyer talking): you may download it here. (A big tip o' the Rumpolean bowler to The Living Church, which first broke the story.) It names ECUSA and its corporate arm, the DFMS, as defendants, along with 30 unidentified "John Does", who allegedly participated in some manner in the actions alleged

Read it all and note the download link.

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Posted February 14, 2017 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, the Episcopal Church’s former chief operating officer who was placed on administrative leave in December 2015 and lost his job, has filed a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy by senior leadership of the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

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Posted February 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In an unprecedented move, 14 retired Church of England Bishops have released a letter expressing concern about the House of Bishops' report on marriage and same sex relationships. The former Bishop of Worcester Peter Selby, who wrote the letter, speaks to William Crawley.

A man who claims he was beaten when he was a boy by John Smyth, the former head of a Christian charity, says his abuser claimed the beatings could be theologically justified. David Hilborn, Chair of the Theology Advisory Group for the Evangelical Alliance and Angela Tilby, Canon Emeritus of Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford join William to discuss' 'violent theology'.

Trevor Barnes speaks to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby about his book 'Dethroning Mammon'.

Listen to any or all at the audio link provided at this linked page.

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Posted February 13, 2017 at 7:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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Posted February 13, 2017 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Everyone needs to be heard. There has been much talk (on social media) of people boycotting the small groups at General Synod. I am saddened by the thought that I won’t hear their voices. The assumption may be that I won’t listen because I wear purple and the report has already been written and everything is decided. I don’t believe that is the case. I have much to learn in my own pastoral response to LGBTI people and I can only learn it by listening.

Everyone needs to be seen. There has also been much talk (on social media) of gestures of defiance. There will be protest groups outside Synod and others inside proposing alternatives to the ‘take note’ debate. I understand the motives behind this but wonder what will be achieved. Will it lead to change and a greater acceptance of LGBTI people in churches? I’m really not sure. The media will circle like wolves and everyone’s hackles will rise.

We need each other. My sincere prayer is that the new relationships generated among members of General Synod by previous small groups will triumph over the old pattern of playing to the public gallery. Vent your anger at me, but please do it face to face in a small group. Tell me of your frustration, but please do it in such a way that we can talk together about new ways of decision making which model to a war-torn world how we can live well together.

Read it all.

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Posted February 13, 2017 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Using today’s terminology, Anglo-Catholicism has often been caricatured and derided as harbouring a gay subculture. Irrespective of the actual sexual orientation of Anglo-Catholic laity and clergy, past or present, we have borne the opprobrium, and offered safe space to recipients, of homophobia.

And still we love the faith and the Sacraments received by the Church of England as something rich and life-giving, an articulation of Christian truth shared with the ancient Churches of East and West.

I have no formal mandate for saying so, but that is the reason why many Anglo-Catholics, and others, sincerely and gladly accept the retention of the doctrine of marriage as we have received it.

However, aware of the destructive force of homophobic innuendo and denigration, we also know we need a theological language that can articulate and honour difference in human sexual identity and relationship.

Read it all.

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Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The House of Bishops’ report on marriage and same-sex relationships...is a “morally reprehensible document that needs to be rejected by the Synod”, the Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury, Canon Simon Butler, said on Wednesday.

Describing it as a “betrayal of trust” that left “weapons on the table”, he expected a “very close vote” after the take-note debate scheduled to take place on Wednesday evening.

“If it is defeated, that is a clear signal to the House of Bishops that Synod is unwilling to progress in the direction they are taking,” he said. “If it is a narrow vote, the Bishops would be very unwise to continue down this course, because the whole of the Church’s wider agenda will be subsumed into a conflict that will last for the next period of the life of the Church. That would be a disaster.”

Read it all.

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Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




The Church of England is facing a fresh crisis over its stance on gay relationships following unprecedented criticism by a group of leading retired bishops over its failure to provide leadership on the issue, and its marginalisation of LGBT members.

The highly unconventional intervention comes before this week’s synod, which will be dominated by rancorous divisions over sexuality. Officials hope the 500-plus members of the church’s general assembly will approve a recent report from bishops which upholds the traditional teaching that marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman.

But a rebellion is being orchestrated by supporters of LGBT rights who are dismayed at the bishops’ restatement of doctrine. The church insists that gay clergy must be celibate, and clergy are forbidden from conducting same-sex marriage services. An open letter from 14 retired bishops, led by Peter Selby, the former bishop of Worcester, and including Richard Harries, former bishop of Oxford, urges their successors to think again. They say serving bishops have sought to manage a conflict “rather than perhaps enabling or leading”.

Read it all.

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Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican church is set for a renewed clash on the divisive question of gay marriage this week when its ruling body votes on a key report from the Bishops on same sex relationships.

The Church of England synod, the governing body made up of Bishops, clergy and laity which decides on church law and policy, will vote on Wednesday whether to ‘take note’ - confirm - or reject the report confirming the status quo against gay marriage.

Liberals within the church are hopeful the synod will reject advice from the Bishops’ to leave its policy against gay marriage unchanged.

A vote by the synod in favour of same-sex marriage could eventually pave the way for a fundamental change in Anglican teaching.

Read it all.

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Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From there:
Dear Fellow Bishop

The Bishops’ Report to Synod on Sexuality

Most retired bishops would be prepared to admit that participation in the synodical processes of the church is not what they most miss about their role as diocesan or suffragan bishops. They also feel some reticence about entering into the current debates occupying their successors on the basis of information that is partial and becomes more and more dated with the passing of the years. There is a dilemma, though: you don’t work for years as a bishop and then easily and suddenly lose the bond you feel for the bishops, your successors and former colleagues. Nor do you lose your concern that the church of which you continue to be a bishop should be faithful in its commendation of the Gospel to the society at large.

So when a report emerges that is the subject of major controversy within the church and society some retired bishops will wish to do what the signatories of this letter are seeking to do, namely to reflect from their particular perspective on what our successors are seeking to say and do about an issue that has been a longstanding source of concern and contention.

Your statement is the product of enormous time and effort, our memories of such situations suggesting perhaps too much time and too much effort. The ‘too much’ comes from the enormous sense of responsibility your document shows to manage a conflict that you and we know causes huge amounts of grief and argument. The result, dare we say, is that whereas it used to be said that bishops often sounded as though they spoke with a pipe in their mouths, now that pipes are rare they sound more as though they see their task as managing – rather than perhaps enabling or leading – the conflicts that are bound to occur. And we remember how exhausting that is, and how it seems to blunt the edge of bishops’ own passionate convictions, which might divide them but also invigorate the conversation.

You write after the Shared Conversations. We well remember having had lots of those, even if they did not have capital letters. But their integrity rested on the assurance that in reporting them the voices of those who participated would not be drowned out by the ‘majority view’ or ‘established position’. Our perception is that while the pain of LGBT people is spoken about in your report, we do not hear its authentic voice. Our experience would lead us to doubt whether there was an expectation around that canons and doctrinal statements would be changed within any reasonable timescale, and that focus seems to have taken far more time than it would have done if the authentic voices of lesbian and gay people had been allowed to express the major focus of their hopes. Going down the road of seeking a change in the law or doctrinal formulation would indeed not have been realistic – but you might not have had to spend as much time explaining why if those other voices had been allowed to come through more clearly.

The result of that focus on the issue of a change in the law is that your call for change of tone and culture, while absolutely right, does not carry conviction. Indeed, from the perhaps luxurious perspective of retirement the tone and culture of your document are incredibly familiar – we’ve been there and talked in that tone of voice, and it prevents calls for a change of culture, of course offered in complete sincerity by you, from ringing true.

We’ll avoid making too many detailed points just now; but hard as you have tried you have really not allowed the theological voice of some of us to be heard properly. In para 8 you draw a contrast between ‘the many who [hold] a conservative view of scripture [for whom] the underlying issue at stake is faithfulness to God’s word’ and others for whom ‘the imperative to read scripture differently stems from a parallel conviction’. If the second group are to recognise their voice in theological conversations their ‘parallel conviction’ needs to be expressed and not just alluded to.

May we end by assuring you that we continue to sympathise with the challenging nature of the task you have in this and other matters. You will receive much negative comment about your report, and we hope that these brief remarks may illuminate the reason for that: it is not that the Shared Conversations were thought to herald changes of law or doctrine; rather there will be deep disappointment that those who are not officially part of your meetings, who experience at first hand the struggles you only allude to, have once again been spoken about by their bishops instead of being enabled to speak in their own voice about their future and the future of the church they belong to and care about.

Yours sincerely in Christ

The Rt Revd Dr David Atkinson, formerly Bishop of Thetford

The Rt Revd Michael Doe, formerly Bishop of Swindon

The Rt Revd Dr Timothy Ellis, formerly Bishop of Grantham

The Rt Revd David Gillett, formerly Bishop of Bolton

The Rt Revd John Gladwin, formerly Bishop of Guildford and of Chelmsford

The Rt Revd Dr Laurie Green, formerly Bishop of Bradwell

The Rt Revd the Lord Harries, formerly Bishop of Oxford

The Rt Revd Stephen Lowe, formerly Bishop of Hulme

The Rt Revd Dr Stephen Platten, formerly Bishop of Wakefield

The Rt Revd John Pritchard, formerly Bishop of Oxford

The Rt Revd Dr Peter Selby, formerly Bishop of Worcester

The Rt Revd Tim Stevens, formerly Bishop of Leicester

The Rt Revd Roy Williamson, formerly Bishop of Bradford and of Southwark

The Rt Revd Martin Wharton CBE, formerly Bishop of Newcastle

Please note that there is also information on the additional signatories to the letter here.

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Posted February 13, 2017 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ore than 500 conservative evangelical pastors and leaders representing all 50 states are urging President Donald Trump to reverse his temporary ban on refugee resettlement and his “dramatic reduction” of the total America will accept this fiscal year.

The open letter, published Wednesday as a full-page ad in The Washington Post with more than 100 of the signatories listed, was notable for two reasons. First, it contained only conservative evangelicals, instead of the mix of progressive names that usually sign such open letters. And second, topping the list were Tim Keller and Max Lucado—two well-known and well-respected pastors and authors who rarely speak out on political matters.

Other key signatories include Kathy Keller, Willow Creek’s Bill and Lynne Hybels, authors Stuart and Jill Briscoe, author Ann Voskamp, Southern Baptist seminary president Daniel Akin, and pastors Joel Hunter and Derwin Gray, among many others [full ad available in the linked article].

Read it all from CT.

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Posted February 12, 2017 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all. The film is available on Netflix for those interested.

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Posted February 11, 2017 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yet the IRS hasn’t investigated any of the pastors who have participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday. The agency has made a confusing situation worse by providing no explanation for why it has refused to enforce the law against these pastors. Thus many religious leaders remain in legal limbo while the IRS continues to pronounce its ability to monitor and punish them. This inaction has stymied the possibility of a civil-rights lawsuit, making a legislative fix necessary.

The Free Speech Fairness Act would get the IRS out of the speech-police business while prohibiting political expenditures or contributions by tax-exempt organizations. It would provide a relief valve for speech by allowing all charities to speak on political issues, as long as the speech is done in the course of carrying out the group’s regular activities. Because the bill doesn’t allow for political contributions or expenditures, dark money can’t flow through exempt organizations to campaigns.

America’s pastors deserve better than the Johnson Amendment. The Constitution demands that they have the ability to speak from their pulpits without fearing punishment by the officials from one of the most feared federal agencies. President Trump should urge Congress to swiftly pass this law and do away with this injustice.

Read it all.

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Posted February 10, 2017 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I was saddened and shocked to read in the Ministerial statement released yesterday that only 350 children will be received under the regulations in the Dubs Amendment. Our country has a great history of welcoming those in need, particularly the most vulnerable, such as unaccompanied children.

Refugees, like all people, are treasured human beings made in the image of God who deserve safety, freedom and the opportunity to flourish. Jesus commands us to care for the most vulnerable among us:

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40).

Read it all.

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Posted February 10, 2017 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For moms like Stefany Rodriguez-Neely, Marianne Touger and Zakeia Smith, a sinister secret was lurking beneath the surface of their favorite spot online – a website so popular, that more than 100 million use it each day.

“I was clueless. I was like, really?!” Smith told 8 On Your Side. “’Cause I think, when I think Pinterest, or one of those other sites, I think it’s all about crafting and recipes.”

Touger had the same response.

“It never occurred to me, never occurred to me that it would be a problem with Pinterest,” she said.

Read it all.

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Posted February 9, 2017 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I remain hopeful about the next moves, and the idea of a teaching document. In answer to MTH’s question about its value, I think that it is perfectly possible for a teaching document to articulate a biblical theology of sexuality and look like good news to many people. For me, it would need to include:
1. Sex is God’s good gift in creation. The Church has often struggled with that but, as Diarmaid McCulloch pointed out, that was often because the Church paid too much attention to Greek philosophical ideas, and too little to the teaching of Jesus and Paul.
2. Human life is bodily, and our bodies are inherently good. We are not spirits (or internet browsers) trapped in an unfortunately material world.
3. Sex differentiation is a normal, natural and inevitable part of this bodily life.
4. Our sexual lives should form one part of an integrated physical, emotional, relational, communal and spiritual life.
5 Sex is powerful—powerfully good when used right, and powerfully damaging for so many people when it goes wrong.
6 Humanity is fallen, and this affects all aspects of our sexuality as well as every other area of our life.
7 Sexual activity is therefore bounded, not because sex is bad, but because sex is powerful and we are fallen. The boundaries God has put in place are, rightly understood, there for our flourishing and well-being, and in particular serve to protect the weak from exploitation by the strong.
8 Sex is penultimate—it is not the most important thing about us, and there are more important ways to understand who we truly are.
There is much here which offers good news to a world and a culture in which the misuse of sex does so much harm. Read it all.

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Posted February 9, 2017 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If this is a reasonably accurate account of how the bishops ended up with the report they did then, in evaluating it, among the questions raised are:

Can this process be recognised and received as a reasonable way of faithfully seeking to do what the bishops sought to do in the exercise of episcopal oversight?
Can a plausible case be made that any of the rejected options would have accomplished their goals – particularly the goals of unity and doctrinal coherence and serving the whole church – better than this one?
Can any of the options considered and rejected be implemented within the existing doctrine and law or do their advocates acknowledge that they really require a change in doctrine and/or law and that is therefore what they are demanding?
Can a convincing case be made that one of the three other paths not followed should have been offered as more faithful to the bishops' vision of what is involved in exercising episcopal oversight?

Read it all.

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Posted February 8, 2017 at 3:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Should teachers be able to use body cameras to record the disruptive behaviour of some pupils or, indeed, to celebrate the achievements of others? The question arises because of an experiment doing just that. A criminal justice academic at Portsmouth University, Tom Ellis, has revealed that teachers at two schools in England are using video cameras to record incidents and then play them back to the pupils concerned and to their parents. The practice is not widespread but it is legal. It may be a harbinger of things to come.

It is easy to see the possible utility of such cameras. Disruptive classroom behaviour is a constant problem that blights the education of children and the careers of teachers, and may be getting worse. In 2014 Ofsted released a report entitled Below the Radar: Low-level Disruption in the Country’s Classrooms, which was based on the inspection reports of a sample of nearly 100 schools conducted in the first six months of that year.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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Posted February 8, 2017 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the absence of such a solution, the fact that the report was agreed nem. con. by the Bishops suggests only one thing: that each party sees something to its liking in the document. This has been achieved by separating doctrine from pastoral practice. The doctrine of marriage, enshrined (a telling word) in Canon B30, has been reasserted, as being “in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side”. This pleases the Catholics, to whom doctrine is their link with the received deposit of belief and the universal Church, and the Protestants, who like things to be stated plainly and unambiguously. At the same time, both these parties, with liberals, welcome — perhaps even relish — the freedom to respond to difficult pastoral situations in ways that do not challenge the doctrine directly, but which might, in effect, set it temporarily aside. An analogy has been been made to second marriages. The doctrine of a permanent union is preserved, since that is certainly the intention of the couple at the time of the wedding.

Read it carefully and read it all.

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Posted February 3, 2017 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England should have done more to investigate allegations that young boys were abused by a former colleague of the archbishop of Canterbury, its top safeguarding official has said.

Read it all and there is further material there.

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Posted February 3, 2017 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An evangelical Christian accused of grooming and sadistically abusing young men to make them “become holy” was a clever, charming and delightful man, the Archbishop of Canterbury said today.

John Smyth, a former leader at Iwerne holiday camp for teenage boys, where the Right Rev Justin Welby worked as a dormitory officer in the late 1970s, is accused of violently assaulting young men with a cane in his garden shed.

Last night the archbishop apologised unreservedly to survivors after Channel 4 News revealed that allegations of physical abuse had been handled badly.

It has emerged that the Iwerne Trust was made aware of the allegations in 1982 and a report was carried out. The trust did not alert the police, however. The Church of England said that it first became aware of the accusations in 2013 and the police had been notified.

Read it all (requires subscription)

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Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued an “unreserved and unequivocal” apology on Wednesday on behalf of the Church of England after admitting he had worked at holiday camps at which teenage boys were groomed for abuse.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said the Church had “failed terribly” by not reporting John Smyth QC, the head of the Christian charity that ran the summer camps, to police after he was accused of carrying out a string of “horrific” sado-masochistic attacks in the late Seventies.

Read it all and there is more there.

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Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England has tonight apologised unreservedly after a Channel 4 News investigation revealed that a prominent Anglican evangelical and former colleague of the Archbishop of Canterbury is alleged to have severely assaulted boys and young men for decades

Read it all.

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Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The implication would seem to be that whatever might "directly and publicly" undermine the doctrine of marriage may be perfectly admissible if done "indirectly and privately." The progressive wing of the Episcopal Church used that ploy for years, surreptitiously establishing facts on the ground, until it couldn't be ignored any longer.”

Two years after TEC was threatened with discipline by the Primates at Dar Es Salaam in 2007, General Convention 2009 came up with an end run that did not directly change the teaching of Christian marriage as between one man and one woman. Instead, they enacted Resolution C056 which circumvented those boundaries in practice by authorizing bishops and clergy to provide a "generous pastoral approach to meet the needs of [LGBT] members of this Church."

Within a mere six years the foundations of the Church’s teaching on marriage were so compromised by “facts on the ground” that TEC General Convention 2015 effectively revised the Prayer Book by simply passing a “marriage equality” canon eliminating any language limiting marriage as between one man and one woman. In fact, those “generous pastoral provisions” evolved into the liturgies of the Church.

Read it all.

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Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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Posted February 2, 2017 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Guernsey’s Vice-Dean says the Church of England has much to repent towards the LGBTQ community, following a heavily criticised report by the College of Bishops released last week.

The report recommended the Church of England should not change its opposition to same-sex marriage but it should adopt a 'fresh tone and culture of welcome and support' for gay people.

I think it's very clear that in the past the church has a lot to repent of with regards to the LGBTQ community with the way in which they've been treated and some of the homophobia which has been expressed.

So I'd like to see the Church coming to a different place there.

– [THE] REV. MIKE KEARLE
Read it all.


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Posted February 1, 2017 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




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Posted January 31, 2017 at 8:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministry, Apostle Johnson Suleman has said that Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai knows the Fulani herdsmen doing the killings in Kaduna state. The cleric said since the Governor had also confessed that he paid the herdsmen to stop killing Christians in the state, he must therefore be made to produce them to answer to crimes of murder and other crimes.

Suleman had also asked the Federal Government to compel Governor El-Rufai to produce the Fulani herdsmen so as to disabuse the minds of Nigerians that Christians are not the target of President Muhammadu’s administration.

Read it allfrom the Vanguard.

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Posted January 31, 2017 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a nation, we must seek to resolve the tension created by these two values — compassion for the sojourner and the security of our citizens — in a way that upholds both values.

While we know refugees are already the most vetted category of immigrants to the United States, the FBI and others raised legitimate questions about the sufficiency of these procedures. It is crucial these questions be resolved. As a result, we are sympathetic to the desire to strengthen our nation’s security processes.

However, we have concerns about the Executive Order’s consequences. We share the concerns of Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.), a Southern Baptist lawmaker, who said, “The language of the order should not apply to legal permanent residents of the United States, and if it is being enforced in any other way, the administration should step in swiftly to clarify.”

Read it all.

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Posted January 30, 2017 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Philip Huggins, the Vicar-General of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, has called for a fresh approach to the growing problem of youth crime in the state of Victoria. His comments come after a spate of riots and violent crimes by young offenders over many months and a mass breakout from a youth justice centre earlier this week. The authorities have announced plans for a new high security juvenile prison that will be built for the state’s worst youth criminals.

But Bishop Huggins has now called for a more strategic approach to replace what he called the current fragmented system: “Problems evident in Victoria’s youth justice system will not be solved simply with new prisons and tougher sentences, and certainly not by just blaming politicians or police”, he said. “There is a growing cohort of young people who are dysfunctional at many levels, whose backgrounds may involve domestic and family violence, unstable housing, problems of addiction, and perhaps an inability to find positive social identity through education and durable employment.”

Read it all.

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Posted January 30, 2017 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I welcome the BRGS Report’s upholding of the doctrine set out in Canon B30. It is to be noted that this Canon is not just about marriage being between a man and a woman but also about its lifelong nature, the birth and the nurture of children and the ‘hallowing and right direction of the natural instincts and affection’. This cannot go hand in hand with wanting to make pastoral provision for public prayer for those in others kinds of relationships.

I miss any treatment of a biblical anthropology in the document and, even more, of the detailed work both of biblical scholars and by the Church of England of the biblical material as set out, for example, in Some Issues with Human Sexuality (Church House Publishing, 2003). Although Scripture, tradition and reason are mentioned as a ‘classic Anglican triad’ the primacy of Scripture is not affirmed. Instead, the report, mistakenly, invokes ‘provisionality’ in theology, although Lambeth Conferences have done this only in relationship to ecclesiology.

Read it all.



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Posted January 30, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Friday the House of Bishops released a report saying the Church of England shouldn't change its teaching on marriage but recommending that it reviews other aspects of how it treats LGBTI+ clergy and laity. The Rev Rachel Mann is critical of elements of the report and gives Martin Bashir her reaction to it....

([The Rev.] Canon Andy Lines is also interviewed about his perspective on the report).

The Bishops of Manchester and Maidstone respond to criticism that the Church has come up with a 'don't ask, don't tell' solution.

Listen to it all (begins approximately at 21:58 and ends about 35:42).

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Posted January 29, 2017 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By giving preference to Christians over Muslims, religious leaders have said the executive order pits one faith against another. By barring any refugees from entering the United States for nearly four months, it leaves people to suffer longer in camps, and prevents families from reuniting. Also, many religious leaders have said that putting an indefinite freeze on refugees from Syria, and cutting the total number of refugees admitted this year by 60,000, shuts the door to those most in need.

“We believe in assisting all, regardless of their religious beliefs,” said Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, the chairman of the committee on migration for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Jen Smyers, the director of policy and advocacy for the immigration and refugee program of Church World Service, a ministry affiliated with dozens of Christian denominations, called Friday a “shameful day” in America’s history.

Read it all.

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

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Posted January 29, 2017 at 11:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To the extent this ban applies to new immigrant and non-immigrant entry, this temporary halt (with exceptions) is wise. We know that terrorists are trying to infiltrate the ranks of refugees and other visitors. We know that immigrants from Somalia, for example, have launched jihadist attacks here at home and have sought to leave the U.S. to join ISIS. Indeed, given the terrible recent track record of completed and attempted terror attacks by Muslim immigrants, it’s clear that our current approach is inadequate to control the threat. Unless we want to simply accept Muslim immigrant terror as a fact of American life, a short-term ban on entry from problematic countries combined with a systematic review of our security procedures is both reasonable and prudent. However, there are reports that the ban is being applied even to green-card holders. This is madness. The plain language of the order doesn’t apply to legal permanent residents of the U.S., and green-card holders have been through round after round of vetting and security checks. The administration should intervene, immediately, to stop misapplication. If, however, the Trump administration continues to apply the order to legal permanent residents, it should indeed be condemned.

Read it all from David French.

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

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Posted January 29, 2017 at 11:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Friday morning the 20th of January, the Mall in Washington, DC, was the sight of the much-publicized Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America. One week later on January 27, the Mall will once again be the sight of an important event to protest prayerfully a legal decision in the United States known as Roe v. Wade from January 22, 1973. This event on the Mall will receive far less coverage than the Inauguration but is every bit as important. This year, I will make the trip to be a part of the March for Life with the contingent from Anglicans for Life and bishops from the Anglican Church in North America.

I have long protested the act of protesting. In fact, I ironically responded to the request to be a part of a “March for Jesus” in the 90’s by saying “I do not march.” Well it turns out God has other plans. So why would I leave family and home in a busy week in January? Why would I go somewhere colder than Beaufort? Simply, why march? I want to offer three main reasons:

I am marching because I am convinced that the Bible requires me to speak up for the voiceless and defenseless in our culture. No one has less power in our world than the unborn.
I am marching because I believe that the Life issue is not political but scriptural. I believe it is intrinsic to our faith, not optional.
I am marching because I want to bear witness to these truths with other Brothers and Sisters as well as other co-belligerents. I want to feel the strength of the pro-life movement in this country. Most polls show this country at about 50% pro-life but that strength is not often represented in the media.



This Sunday, we will celebrate Sanctity of Life Sunday at St. Helena’s, and there will be a bulletin insert from Anglicans for Life. I will be teaching about the sanctity of human life from a biblical perspective during the Rector’s Forum. We also will have information about the Radiance Women’s Center here in Beaufort. My hope is that many of you will feel called to join me in starting an Anglicans for Life chapter here at St. Helena’s. I believe there is much for us to do in our church and in the community to uphold the cause of life.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Blessings,

(The Rev) Shay Gaillard, rector, Saint Helena's, Beaufort, SC

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Posted January 28, 2017 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"We are the pro-life generation,” the crowd chanted, voices building to an overwhelming crescendo with each repetition of the line. Packed onto the National Mall across the street from the White House Friday, the revelers deafened one another with their joyful shouts, tens of thousands gathered just across the street from President Donald Trump’s new home, smiling and laughing and breaking into spontaneous cheers.

Such was the scene at the 44th annual March for Life, first held here on January 22, 1974, one year to the day after the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide. In good weather and in bad — given Washington’s bitter Januaries, it’s usually the latter — crowds swarm the Mall every year to protest against the country’s abortion laws and to advocate for the protection of unborn life.

Read it all.


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1 Comments
Posted January 28, 2017 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out.


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Posted January 27, 2017 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Church of England bishops have upheld traditional teaching that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, in a move that will frustrate campaigners for gay rights and risk further alienating the church from wider society.

After two years of intense internal discussion involving clergy and laity – and at least two decades of bitter division within the church – the bishops have produced a report reaffirming that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.

However, it says church law and guidance should be interpreted to provide “maximum freedom” for gay and lesbian people without a change of doctrine – meaning clergy will have some leeway in individual cases.

While calling for a “fresh tone and culture of welcome and support” for lesbians and gays, the report offers little in the way of concrete change.

Read it all.

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Posted January 27, 2017 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England should not change its opposition to same-sex marriage but it should adopt a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" for gay people, a report has said.

The House of Bishops report said there was "little support" for changing the Church's teaching on marriage" - that it was between one man and one woman.

It also said the Church needed to repent [of] homophobic attitudes.

Read it all.

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Posted January 27, 2017 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England should not change its opposition to same-sex marriage, a new report has recommended, despite saying it needs to "repent on the homophobic attitudes" it has previously had.

A document from the House of Bishops says the Church should adopt a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" for gay people.

It says guidance in marriage should be interpreted in a way that provides "maximum freedom" for homosexuals.

Read it all.

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Posted January 27, 2017 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The report will then be the subject of a "take note" debate. Such a debate is a neutral motion. It allows Synod to discuss the content and recommendations contained in the report, but a vote in favour of the motion does not commit the Synod to the acceptance of any matter in the report. The House of Bishops will listen carefully to the debate, and to any subsequent matters raised by members in correspondence, to inform their further work.

Read it all (appended at the bottom).

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Posted January 27, 2017 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When reports to the General Synod are launched at a press briefing they are often published at the end of a process and contain recommendations. This report on marriage and same sex relationships from the House of Bishops isn't that sort of report. It describes where the bishops have reached in their reflections. It goes on to provide a framework identifying areas where we believe present advice, policies or practice need further consideration, and invites members of General Synod and the wider Church, to contribute. So this isn't the end of a process but we are somewhere in the middle of it. We are sharing where we have reached in order to be as transparent as possible, and open to other voices.

We hope that the tone and register of this report will help to commend it, though we recognise it will be challenging reading for some. This is no last word on this subject. For there are very different views on same sex relationships within the Church, and within the House of Bishops, mainly based on different understandings of how to read scripture. The House is agreed, however, that our present teaching documents do not address some elements of the contemporary situation regarding marriage and relationships in our culture. I refer to the current teaching document on marriage, issued by the House of Bishops in 1999, and an earlier document on same sex relationships, Issues in Human Sexuality. Neither discusses nor even anticipates same sex marriage, a reminder of just how quickly things have changed. Issues, published in 1991, was written when Clause 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 was in force. It prohibited the promotion of homosexuality in schools and prevented local councils from spending money on lesbian and gay projects including anything which suggested support of what it called "pretended family relationships". The temper of the time in which Issues was written was a very different one from ours. The later teaching document from 1999 simply assumes marriage is the union of one man with one woman. Hence, the House of Bishops believes it needs to commission a new teaching document which articulates such an understanding of marriage within a theology of relationships for our changed times. This report isn't that document but it indicates why it is needed.

Read it all (appended at the bottom).

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Posted January 27, 2017 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England's law and guidance on marriage should be interpreted to provide "maximum freedom" for gay and lesbian people without changing the Church's doctrine of marriage itself, bishops are recommending.

A report from the House of Bishops to be discussed by the Church's General Synod next month upholds the teaching, recognised by canon law, that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.

But it also concludes that the current advice on pastoral provision for same-sex couples - which allows clergy to provide informal prayers for those marrying or forming a civil partnership - is not clear enough and should be revisited.

Read it all.

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Posted January 27, 2017 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From the deliberations of the House and the College as described...there has emerged a provisional approach regarding how the Church of England should move forward in this area following the conclusion of the Shared Conversations. The two key elements of this would be:

(a) proposing no change to ecclesiastical law or to the Church of England’s existing doctrinal position on marriage and sexual relationships; and

(b) initiating fresh work in the four key areas identified [in 4 key areas]....

Read it carefully and read it all.

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Posted January 27, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rebecca Cooper spent 27 hours on a charter bus on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last year full of teens and Christian youth leaders from West Michigan when she attended the March for Life in 2016.

Despite being stranded in two feet of snow, the then 18-year-old Michigander from Grand Rapids said their group was resilient; two members hiked across the field from the Turnpike to the home of a farmer, who then took them to a grocery store to get food. They also found creative ways to stay warm, including using prayer and song to keep them from letting the cold and confining circumstances get the best of them.

"It was an experience that made me even more devoted to attending this year's march as opposed to discouraging me," she said.

Read it all. You can find the website here and you can follow the twitter hashtag #marchforlife.

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Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What surprised me, however, was not that churches suffer from hate crime — we have known this anecdotally for years, but do not have the research statistics to prove it — but the response of churches, the police, and other statutory authorities to how to tackle and best protect churches.

Almost all the applications were for the installation of CCTV in and around the church. There seems to be a common thought that CCTV stops crimes because it is a deterrent to offenders. This is simply not true. CCTV is a useful tool: it is most effective at providing evidence after an offence, and in assisting the police in identifying offenders. It does not, however, prevent the crime, especially when it comes to the types of crimes which most often occur in churches.

Theft, violence, and disturbances in churches are usually committed by people who are under the influence of a substance such as alcohol or drugs, or are suffering from a mental-health episode. These types of offenders do not care or recognise that they are being recorded by CCTV at the time of the offence. Therefore, the decision to put CCTV into a church should be looked at carefully, and those making the decision need to recognise its limitations.

Read it all from Nick Tolson in the Church Times.

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Posted January 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After the ruling Christian MPs on both sides of the debate gave their reaction to Christian Today.

David Burrowes, a Conservative MP for Enfield South and a Leave campaigner, said: "I fully respect the Supreme Court's decision and Parliament now needs to do what it should have done soon after the Referendum which is to authorise the triggering of Article 50."

He warned MPs against opposing the government's bill....

Tim Farron, leader of the Lib Dems and an evangelical Christian, said the case was never about legal arguments but rather was about "giving the people a voice in what happens next".

Read it all from Christian Today.

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Posted January 25, 2017 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
Does the Minister agree that the Bill which will come to this House is essentially about process, not outcomes? The way we handle our processes is different from how we may argue about outcomes at the end of this whole two-year period. The use of language which may occasionally sound threatening is very unhelpful if, at the end of the two-year period we are to end up with a country which can go forward in a reconciled, prosperous and flourishing way. I hope the Minister agrees that those who, like the judges, have quite rightly come to an unbiased and impartial opinion, should be defended against criticism, as should the person who brought the case. We need to take our processes calmly and quietly, without issuing threats and with an eye to the unity of this country.


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Posted January 25, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The highest U.K. court ruled Prime Minister Theresa May must seek an act of Parliament to trigger the two-year countdown to Brexit, handing lawmakers a chance to soften the government’s plan.

The court ruled against the government by an 8-3 vote, Judge David Neuberger said Tuesday. The judges ruled unanimously, however, that legislatures in Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t get to vote on the Article 50 process that starts to wrest the U.K. from the European Union after 44 years.

Read it all.

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Posted January 24, 2017 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ben Bradshaw, a Labour MP who is in a civil partnership, said: “It is progress for them to stop asking the celibacy question but it still leaves the Church of England policy based essentially on dishonesty and encouraging its clergy to lie.”

He also suggested the church’s apparent reluctance to usher in full equality meant it could be time for parliament to intervene, as it did when the synod initially refused to allow women to become bishops in 2012.

Bradshaw, a member of parliament’s ecclesiastical committee, said: “There is a growing sense that if the church can’t sort this out for themselves, then parliament may have to do it for them.”

Frank Field, a fellow Labour member of the committee, urged the bishops to be “brave” and usher in equality, with a conscience clause for those clergy who feel they cannot marry gay people.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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Posted January 23, 2017 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The archbishop of Canterbury has intervened in an attempt to prevent an Iraqi Christian who fled Islamic State jihadis from being returned to his home country.

Justin Welby wrote a letter in support of the man ahead of an appeal against his rejected asylum claim, saying he supported his application to remain in the UK.

Last week, a second letter was sent by the archbishop’s interfaith adviser, Mark Poulson, “unequivocally endors[ing]” an appeal for asylum by the man, who met him and the archbishop while working as a volunteer.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2017 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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Posted January 22, 2017 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

KHALID LATIF: You know, I think a lot of Muslims are very scared, and I think they're valid in that fear. The reality, unfortunately, is such that even leading into the elections we saw a gross increase in anti-Muslim bias and incidents. In New York City, where I live, leading into the elections, just in a matter of weeks you had two imams - religious leaders of a Muslim community in Queens - who were shot in the back of their head and passed away subsequently. Following afternoon prayers, a 60-year-old woman of Bengali descent was walking home one evening in Queens as well with her husband who is asthmatic, and she had moved a few blocks ahead of him to get home quicker to get dinner ready. And he said later at a press conference that I was at that he heard her screaming and came upon her and found her stabbed and had eventually succumbed to the wounds just a couple of blocks away from their home. There was two mothers strolling their babies in Brooklyn who had been assaulted. A woman wearing a headscarf in Midtown Manhattan had been set on fire. These were all things that happened prior to the election.

Post the election, you know, I think what hit me hard, being at New York University, we have various prayer rooms that Muslim students use on our campus. And the day after the election in our school of engineering in Brooklyn, Muslim students walked into their prayer room to find the entrance with the word Trump written across it and an exclamation point. About a week later, there was Jewish students who on their dorm room door found swastikas, the words make America great again, white pride, make America white again on their doorways. And these were realities that I think evoked a lot of different emotions understandably.

Read it all.


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

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Posted January 22, 2017 at 11:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bishop who was a key figure in the campaign to uncover the truth about the Hillsborough disaster is to receive the Freedom of Liverpool.
Bishop James Jones chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel, whose report led to the quashing of the 1989 tragedy's inquest verdicts.
The cleric will be honoured later at a ceremony in the city.
Bishop Jones, 68, was made Knight Commander last year for his services to the Hillsborough Inquiry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesSports* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump remembers representing the family of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black male who was fatally shot in February 2012 in Sanford, Florida.

The shooter, George Zimmerman, was a neighborhood watch volunteer who was found not guilty in a high-profile murder trial.

The verdict, among others Crump has seen, has left minority communities feeling like second-class citizens, he said Sunday at Morris Street Baptist Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical Relations* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2017 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Clutching the blood-stained Bible she had with her when Dylann Roof executed nine family and friends around her, Felicia Sanders told the self-avowed white supremacist in court Wednesday that she still forgives him for his actions. They have scarred her life but haven't shaken her faith.

Addressing Roof the day after a jury sentenced him to death, Sanders said the mass shooting that killed nine black worshippers at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015 has left her unable to hear a balloon pop or an acorn fall without being startled. She can no longer shut her eyes when she prays.

But she will carry on, she told him, and continue to follow the words of God still clear in the battered Bible she cherishes.

"I brought my Bible to the courtroom ... shot up," she said. "It reminds me of the blood Jesus shed for me and you, Dylann Roof."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCapital PunishmentLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted January 15, 2017 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all--NYC's finest indeed.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If the genetic basis of attributes like intelligence and musicality is too thinly spread and unclear to make selection practical, then tweaking by genetic manipulation certainly seems off the menu too. “I don’t think we are going to see superman or a split in the species any time soon,” says Greely, “because we just don’t know enough and are unlikely to for a long time – or maybe for ever.”

If this is all “designer babies” could mean even in principle – freedom from some specific but rare diseases, knowledge of rather trivial aspects of appearance, but only vague, probabilistic information about more general traits like health, attractiveness and intelligence – will people go for it in large enough numbers to sustain an industry?

[Bioethicist Henry] Greely suspects, even if it is used at first only to avoid serious genetic diseases, we need to start thinking hard about the options we might be faced with. “Choices will be made,” he says, “and if informed people do not participate in making those choices, ignorant people will make them.”

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Another 5,000 French Jews emigrated to Israel last year, figures showed Monday, continuing a trend that has seen tens of thousands quit the country after a series of attacks targeting the community.

The Jewish Agency of Israel issued the update as France marked two years since attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and on a Jewish supermarket in Paris, where four shoppers were shot dead.

Daniel Benhaim, who heads the Israeli-backed group in France, said that insecurity had been a "catalyst" for many Jews who were already thinking of leaving.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeFranceMiddle EastIsrael* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

0 Comments
Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

James B. Johnson V’s arrest exemplifies what his attorney says is a modern “American tragedy” — an injury leads to painkiller addiction which, in turn, leads to heroin use.

“Local kid gets injured, gets hooked on opioids and can’t get off of them,” attorney D. Scott Lautner said Thursday. “This clearly shows the drug epidemic problem in the United States right now, that it affects everybody of different ages, sexes, religions and occupations.”

In this case, the addict is a police officer.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new national survey of law enforcement officers found that the vast majority feel their jobs are harder than ever before, after the police-involved shootings of black Americans over the past several years.

The nationally representative survey of close to 8,000 police officers, released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, provided some data to back up assertions made by leading law enforcement figures, including the F.B.I. director James Comey, that the publicity surrounding such episodes has discouraged the police from confronting suspects.

The survey found that 72 percent of respondents said their colleagues are “now less willing to stop and question suspicious persons”; that 86 percent thought police work had become harder because of high-profile incidents like the killings of Mike Brown in 2014 and Alton Sterling in the summer of 2016; and that 93 percent of police officers think their colleagues now worry more about personal safety.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race Relations* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2017 at 1:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just a few hours after he told a crowded courtroom “I still feel like I had to do it,” Dylann Roof was sentenced to death by a federal jury for carrying out a cold, calculated massacre inside Charleston's Emanuel AME Church in a bid to spark a race war.

The 12-member panel – three white jurors, nine black – deliberated for a little less than three hours before unanimously deciding that the 22-year-old white supremacist should die for his crimes rather than spend his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

It will be up to the presiding judge to formally impose that sentence, but he is bound by law to follow the jury’s decision. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel has scheduled the formal sentencing hearing for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchCapital PunishmentLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted January 10, 2017 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Switzerland has won a case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) obliging Muslim parents to send their children to mixed swimming lessons.

It said authorities were justified in giving precedence to enforcing "the full school curriculum" and the children's "successful integration" into society.
The ECHR acknowledged that religious freedom was being interfered with.
But judges said it did not amount to a violation

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeSwitzerland* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 10, 2017 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Victoria police say they have foiled an alleged plot by terrorists to attack landmark locations in Melbourne’s CBD including St Paul’s Cathedral, Flinders Street station and Federation Square with explosives and other weapons, possibly on Christmas Day.

The chief police commissioner, Graham Ashton, told reporters on Friday morning that five search warrants were conducted at properties in Flemington, Meadow Heights, Dallas, Campbellfield and Gladstone Park on Thursday night.

Seven arrests were made, with five people remaining in custody, he said. Some of the men would appear in court on Friday afternoon, he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

0 Comments
Posted December 23, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Berlin market attack suspect Anis Amri has been shot dead by police in Milan, Italy's interior minister says.

The man, who opened fire on police who asked him for ID during a routine patrol in the Sesto San Giovanni area in the early hours of Friday morning, was "without a shadow of a doubt" Anis Amri, Marco Minetti said.

One police officer was injured in the shootout.

Germany has been on high alert since the attack, which left 49 injured.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermanyItaly

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Posted December 23, 2016 at 5:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Holy See diplomat has said that Christians face increasing discrimination, even in countries where there is not obvious persecution.

Mgr Janusz Urbanczyk, the Holy See’s permanent representative to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), was speaking last week at a conference in Vienna on combating intolerance and discrimination against Christians across the OSCE region. The region includes 57 countries in Europe, Central Asia and North America.

Mgr Urbanczyk said that even though the OSCE region does not see “blatant and violent persecution” of Christians as in some parts of the world, “manifestations of intolerance, hate crimes and episodes of violence or vandalism against religious places or objects continue to increase.”

In addition, he said, “offending, insulting or attacking Christians because of their beliefs and their values, including in the media and in public debate, based on a distorted and misinterpreted concept of freedom of expression, often goes uncontested.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamSecularism* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Twelve people were killed and more than 45 others injured Monday evening when a 40-ton truck from Poland crashed into a popular outdoor Christmas market in the heart of Berlin and smashed its way about 80 yards through the crowd.

Police said they were still investigating whether it was an intentional attack on the holiday market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, one of dozens of cherished holiday markets across the city where hundreds of people gather for drinks, snacks and a chance to shop for handmade gifts.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. condemned the “horrific incident,” which he said “appears to have been a terrorist attack.”

The incident came on the same day that Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was shot to death in Ankara, and three people were shot and wounded near a Muslim prayer center in the Swiss city of Zurich.

Read it all and the Telegraph has live updates there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 20, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Eyes closed and on bended knee, Pastor Edward Ducree gave thanks to God for guiding his congregation through a "painful week."

Emanuel AME Church had just endured the final days of the Dylann Roof trial, which ended with the jury finding the self-proclaimed white supremacist guilty of 33 charges.

“We thank you for being with us last week - a painful week,” Ducree prayed. “It was a week that reminded us of horrific acts that happened in this fellowship hall.”

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* South Carolina* Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England’s overriding compulsion to jettison its workers in favour of self-protection suggests that promoting (or attempting to re-gain) its reputation is more important than upholding basic principles of justice. The church is sacrificing its present loyal workers and members in order to atone for its past sins and omissions.

Innocence has manifestly become a difficult concept for the church to handle in the area of child safeguarding. What happened to the common law presumption? While the church’s measures and guidelines are developing, there are few safeguards, if any, put in place to protect the innocent and wrongfully accused. David Potter MBE (…) has been caught up in the injustice of the church’s procedures and was supported by his bell ringers who also appreciated the unfairness. They acted like a quasi-jury: consider that these are 30 adult minds – not necessarily impartial, but certainly ‘good men and true’. The Dean and Chapter failed to persuade any of them that David Potter MBE (…) presented an ongoing risk to children. Some of them doubtless have children.

And so we must add the name of David Potter MBE (…) to those of Bishop George Bell, Bishop Michael Perham and Sister Frances Dominica, along with sundry unnamed and unknown others who are suffering indignity if not excommunication. In the fitful fever of paedomania, the mere allegation of child abuse has surpassed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin. While the Church of England becomes a safe place for children, it is hell for those wrongly accused of abuse. Pastoral care? What’s that?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted December 18, 2016 at 5:51 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We spoke with police officers from around the country to hear what it’s like to walk (or drive) a beat right now. Their answers offer a glimpse into the great highs and debilitating lows they experience as they try—and usually succeed—to serve our communities. At the same time, they, like the nation at large, are preoccupied with both the causes of and the fallout from the high-profile shootings of unarmed African Americans that have drawn so much attention to what they do and how they do it. Listen in....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire

0 Comments
Posted December 17, 2016 at 2:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In summer 2013, I attended a conference on cybersecurity at Tel Aviv University. It was there that I learned for the first time that Stuxnet — the super-sophisticated computer virus that the US and Israel allegedly managed to insert into Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility in 2010, there to play havoc with the centrifuges — had come to be regarded in the world of cyber-warfare as a terrible mistake.

Several speakers at the conference made this assertion, branding as a failure what had been widely regarded in Israel as a dazzling success — a nonmilitary strike that had set the Iranian program back by a good few months, and had planted all kinds of uncertainty in the minds of their nuclear technicians.

On the sidelines of that conference, therefore, when I interviewed Richard A Clarke, the counterterrorism chief for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, I asked him whether he too thought Stuxnet had been, to put it mildly, counterproductive. Absolutely, Clarke made clear.
For one thing, “the attack code was supposed to die and not get out onto the internet,” he noted, but it did. “It got out, and ran around the world.” It couldn’t harm anything else, because it had been programmed only to strike at Iran’s centrifuges, but “nonetheless it tried to attack things and people therefore grabbed it and decompiled it, so it’s taught a lot of people how to attack,” said Clarke.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 16, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Late Thursday, [Jennifer] Pinckney drove home after a jury found Dylann Roof guilty of all 33 charges against him, including hate crimes and religious obstruction. She prepared to speak with her girls again. This time, she could tell them that a jury had found the man who killed their father guilty. At the least, he would spend his life in prison.

"The first step is over," Pinckney said. "It gave us at least a little bit of closure before the holidays and before we get going again in January."

She hopes the penalty phase of Roof's trial, set to start Jan. 3, goes as quickly as the first.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventChristmasLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 16, 2016 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted December 15, 2016 at 5:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dylann Roof, a gun-obsessed loner who tried to provoke a race war after soaking up online hate, faces a potential death sentence after a jury convicted him Thursday of 33 federal crimes stemming from his massacre of nine black parishioners at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church.

A federal jury with three black members and nine whites deliberated for two hours before finding the white supremacist guilty of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and firearms violations. Roof stood facing forward, impassive, as the jury foreman read each count in order, accompanied by: "We find the defendant Dylann Storm Roof guilty."

They will return Jan. 3 to decide whether he will be put to death or imprisoned for life for committing the shooting rampage.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 15, 2016 at 4:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The gunmen, who abducted the wife of the General Secretary of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Venerable Ayodeji Fagbemi, Ebunoluwa had contacted the family, demanding for a sum of N20 million for her release.

The victim, Mrs.Fagbemi was kidnapped by unknown gunmen who invaded her house at Oba-Ile in Akure North local government Area of Ondo State on Monday night.

Leadership learnt that the abductors took the woman away to unknown destination after gaining entrance into her house through the window.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyAnthropologyEschatology

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Posted December 14, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lawyers for Dylann S. Roof, accused in the killings of nine people at a South Carolina church, rested without presenting a witness on Wednesday. Earlier, federal prosecutors concluded their death penalty case against Mr. Roof by presenting Polly Sheppard, a trustee of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, who survived the June 2015 shooting there. She testified that Mr. Roof had asked her if he had shot her yet; when she said no, he told her he was “going to leave you to tell the story.”

She did, first in a panicked, terrified call to a 911 operator, and on Wednesday to a federal courtroom packed with the family members and friends of the fellow congregants who died.

Ms. Sheppard was the government’s final witness, and soon after, Mr. Roof’s lawyers rested in the case, which is being tried in Federal District Court here. Under questioning from Judge Richard M. Gergel, Mr. Roof, 22, said that he did not wish to testify in his own defense.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolenceWomen* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 14, 2016 at 3:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(You need first to take the time to read read the original document there.

“In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber,” said Flannery O’Connor. Her point was that sentimentality cannot restrain the darker forces in human nature. Which brings us to the Catholic bishops of eastern Canada.

They recently published a pastoral document indicating how, in their opinion, Catholics who commit suicide voluntarily, through doctor-assisted euthanasia (which is now legal there), should be treated by the Church....It is a masterpiece of Francis-speak. The document can be summed up like this: “Yes, euthanasia is strictly forbidden by the Catholic Church, but we know that some people are going to choose it anyway, so we intend to offer them all the sacraments to help them along the way, because who are we to judge?”

Here are some passages from the document. This is the opening paragraph:
In our Catholic tradition we often refer to the Church as our Mother. We perceive her as a mother who lovingly accompanies us throughout life, and who especially wishes to support and guide us when we are faced with difficult situations and decisions. It is from this perspective that we, the Bishops of the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly, wish to share with you this pastoral reflection on medical assistance in dying.
Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 13, 2016 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Government has shown that it does not care about the persecution of Christians overseas by refusing visas to three prominent Syrian Orthodox archbishops, the most senior Syrian Orthodox cleric in Britain, Archbishop Mor Athanasius Toma Dawod, has said.

Archbishop Dawod, who is the Metropolitan and Patriarchal Vicar of the UK, had invited three of his colleagues from Iraq and Syria to attend the consecration of their Church’s first cathedral in Britain last month.

The clerics were denied visas to enter the UK, however — actions which made a mockery of any claims by the authorities that they were concerned about the persecuted Church in the Middle East, Archbishop Dawod said on Tuesday.

The Archbishop of Mosul, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, and the Archbishop of St Matthew’s, Mor Timothy Mosa Alshamany — both from Iraq — were denied visas on the grounds that they might claim asylum and because they did not have enough money, Archbishop Dawod said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 13, 2016 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the month since the presidential election, many in the American Jews have been in mourning over Donald Trump’s victory. For all too many Jews and the organizations that purport to represent Jewish interests, partisan disappointment has led to a great deal of loose and highly irresponsible comparisons of our present situation to Weimar Germany and the rise of Hitler. It is in that context that a new report from the Community Security Service (CSS) about terrorist incidents and attacks on Jews and Israelis in the United States since 1967 is critical reading for those who wish to re-focus the Jewish community on real rather than imagined threats to its security.

The report, which was written by Yehudit Barsky, one of the top experts on radical hate groups in the country, provides a comprehensive analysis of the recent history of anti-Semitism in the United States. She paints a frightening picture of the rising toll of violence against Jews from two distinct sources: white supremacists and radical Islamists. But more than just seeking to scare Jews about these threats, the CSS has some conclusions and recommendations that should be taken to heart.

This serves as a reminder that for all of the talk about Islamophobia, both before and after the election, Jews and Jewish institutions remain the main targets of religious-based hate crimes in this country. This is a fact borne out by the FBI’s annual reports on hate crimes. The latest available report is from 2014 and that one, like every other issued since the outset of such compilations confirms this fact. In that year, 58.1 percent of all religious hate crimes in this country were directed at Jews. Only 16.3 percent were anti-Islamic.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 12, 2016 at 2:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The ET found that Bishop Inwood’s refusal to grant Canon Pemberton an EPML did fall under s 53 Equality Act 2010 and was a “relevant qualification” within the meaning of s 54: that was not the case, however, in respect of the revocation of his PTO. The ET further held, however, that the EPML qualification was for the purposes of employment for the purposes of an organised religion and the compliance principle was engaged; therefore, Bishop Inwood was exempt from liability by reason of paragraph 2, schedule 9 Equality Act 2010. As for the harassment claim, Bishop Inwood’s conduct did not amount to harassment. Context was everything: Canon Pemberton would not have experienced that (admittedly, unwanted) conduct had he not defied the doctrine of the Church. Moreover, Bishop Inwood had acted lawfully pursuant to schedule 9; it would be an affront to justice if his conduct was found to constitute harassment.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted December 10, 2016 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Churches are generally tax-exempt, but New Hampshire’s highest court ruled the parking spaces are taxable because they were rented to students for “their own private and secular purpose.”

Todd Selig, Town Administrator of Durham, said “this was not in any way an effort on the part of the town to bring in more revenue. It was simply an issue of equity and fairness.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 9, 2016 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The dead appeared in court today, staring out from video monitors at their families and friends, their congregation’s pastor, a federal judge, a jury and Dylann Storm Roof, the man charged with firing more than 60 bullets into the nine of them in an effort to start a race war in America.

U.S. attorney Jay Richardson, prosecuting Roof on 33 counts of federal hate crimes, used his opening statement to introduce jurors to the men and women he said Roof killed during a church basement Bible study on June 17, 2015.

As their pictures appeared, Richardson sketched them in words: the Rev. Clementa Pinckney: pastor, husband, father; the Rev. Daniel Simmons: spiritual guide; the Rev. Sharonda Singleton: ray of sunshine, loving mother, track coach; the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor: singer, whose four young daughters always carried milkshakes to church; Cynthia Hurd: wife, sister, librarian; Ethel Lance: grandmother, church usher; Susie Jackson: called Aunt Susie by everyone, proud matriarch of the sprawling Jackson family; Tywanza Sanders, 26, a man just beginning to see the promise of an extraordinarily bright future; and Myra Thompson, leading her first Bible study.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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