Posted by Kendall Harmon

On a Sunday morning this past October, some 1,500 preachers and ministers across the country joined in a nationwide protest they called Pulpit Freedom Sunday. They spoke defiantly from their pulpits about political campaigns and pending legislation. They even endorsed politicians, knowingly violating laws meant to prevent such mixing of church and state. Organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, this group of evangelicals targeted the Johnson Amendment, which forbids tax-exempt organizations from endorsing political candidates and getting involved in campaigns. By violating these rules in an act of civil disobedience, they hoped to trigger a court case to get the amendment overturned. The issue, as they see it, is too much involvement by the government in religious life. The government should not tell Christians how to run their businesses, how to teach their children, or—as the Pulpit Freedom Sunday protesters asserted—how to write their sermons.

These sermons of protest were part of a broader political mobilization among religious institutions in the United States in recent years. The number of “Nones”—those professing no religious affiliation—is on the rise, and a small but vocal group of atheists are challenging Christian displays in public spaces. And the Christian Right appears to be losing the battle on gay rights. In response, many of the leading conservative religious organizations are mobilizing politically while also shifting their strategy. Their new aim is to mark off a part of life that can remain Christian, to protect Christians as a minority that can stand apart from the demands of a national culture they see as being dominated by secularism. The Hobby Lobby case was only the most prominent example of this trend.

On the other hand, a broad swath of American Christians sees things entirely differently. Although they receive far less attention, members of the religious left do not feel besieged by their country. Instead, they are pushing law and politics in the very directions the religious right is resisting. The United Church of Christ filed suit in April 2014 to overturn the prohibition on gay marriage in North Carolina. In the same state, many ministers are participating in the “Moral Monday” campaigns, a movement that is saturated in religious language. And Jim Wallis and Cornel West were arrested last month for protesting police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri. Although the left differs with the right on cultural policy, both groups see political mobilization as being at the heart of religious thought and practice.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranMethodistPresbyterianUnited Church of Christ* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 21, 2014 at 9:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dozens of faith leaders and consumer advocates are pressing Congress to create a national interest rate cap for payday lenders instead of the exorbitant three-digit rates currently charged to people in several states. Eighty activists from 22 states came to Washington in hopes of shaping new regulations that are expected from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many of their congregations are surrounded by payday loan businesses that they say prey on poor residents by charging high interest rates and creating a cycle of debt.

“Together, you guys are really bringing a strong message and a light and a moral perspective about predatory lending that’s valuable,” said Rachel Anderson, director of faith-based outreach for the Center for Responsible Lending, which spearheaded a three-day visit and training session for religious leaders on Capitol Hill. “We hope that your message is heard strongly.”

The leaders asked members of Congress on Wednesday (November 19) to pass legislation capping interest rates, citing a 36 percent interest cap required by the Military Lending Act. “If it’s fair for the military, we felt it should be fair for all people,” said the Rev. Susan McCann of Grace Episcopal Church in Liberty, Missouri.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 21, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglicans and Episcopalians from Communion provinces worldwide are being invited to share their thoughts on the ministry priorities and qualities of the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Consultative CouncilAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In two seismic rulings upholding gay rights in South Carolina, a federal appeals court on Tuesday denied the state attorney general's request to halt same-sex marriages just minutes before a district judge ruled South Carolina also must recognize gay marriages from other states.

However, the rulings left attorneys in both cases scrambling to figure out when exactly that means same-sex couples can get married - when courts open on Wednesday or at noon on Thursday?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sen. Mary Landrieu’s bid to pass a Keystone XL pipeline bill fell short by the slimmest of margins Tuesday, leaving the $8 billion pipeline still on the table for the ascendant Republican Party to push the project to President Barack Obama’s desk in January.

The 59-41 Senate vote was just shy of the 60 votes needed to pass the bill, following a dramatic six days of whipping by the embattled Louisiana Democrat on an issue that almost all of Washington had expected to sit idle until next year.

The defeat deals a blow to Landrieu’s campaign ahead of her Dec. 6 runoff against GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, whom polls show running comfortably ahead. Winning on Keystone would have helped her demonstrate her clout on the Hill as a champion of her state’s influential oil and gas industry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketEnergy, Natural ResourcesForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Canada* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 19, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two Palestinian assailants entered a synagogue in the quiet West Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof Tuesday morning with axes, knives, and a pistol and killed at least four worshipers in the single deadliest attack on Jews since tensions in this city began escalating this summer.

Three of the dead, all rabbis, were American immigrants to Israel. The fourth was a rabbi born in Britain.

Such an attack poses a challenge not only to Israeli security forces, but also to leaders on both sides as political tensions take on an increasingly religious tinge.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 19, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, at weekend in Onitsha, Anambra State, painted a gloomy picture of Nigeria during the burial ceremony of the late Chike Ofodile, the Onowu of Onitsha and former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice during his (Buhari)'s regime.

This is even as he said Nigeria is suffering from tripodal problems of social injustice, insecurity and poor economy, contending that a society where social injustice, insecurity and poor economy are the order of the day, it cannot stand but is bound to fall "as Nigerian is currently falling."

The former leader was accompanied by Chris Ngige and some national and state officers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the burial ceremony.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The upcoming OPEC meeting is going to be the most difficult one during this century,” said Mohammad al-Sabban, a former senior adviser to Mr. Naimi. “It seems that OPEC has forgotten how to cooperate.”

Within the group, officials are increasingly worried its divisions contribute to weaker prices. “If OPEC fails to reach an agreement,” one OPEC official said, “oil prices will keep on falling....”

A collective move to cut output could boost prices, but it would also rob OPEC members of revenue. It is unclear how long such vulnerable OPEC economies as Venezuela and Nigeria could afford to limit production without reopening the spigots.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural ResourcesForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaMiddle EastSouth AmericaVenezuela* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 18, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As she hobnobs with the other G20 heads of state in Brisbane this weekend, Dilma Rousseff, re-elected last month to a second four-year term as Brazil’s president, will have precious little besides her (narrow) victory to boast about. Every day seems to bring more evidence of just how big a mess she has left herself. Official data released in the past three weeks have shown a bulging budget deficit, falling industrial production and rising poverty. Even the job market, until recently a rare bright spot, with unemployment near historic lows of around 5%, is beginning to falter. This week payroll numbers showed a net loss of 30,000 jobs in October, the worst result for the month since 1999 and well below the average market expectations of a gain of 56,000.

Days before a kerfuffle broke out over a bill sent to Congress that would let Ms Rousseff in effect turn a primary fiscal surplus (before interest payments) of 1.9% of GDP promised in the 2014 budget into a deficit. Since the primary balance showed a hole equal to 0.5% of GDP in the nine months to September (because of a pre-election spending splurge), the government was merely facing up to reality. The opposition leapt on the opportunity to bash Ms Rousseff for fiscal incontinence and obfuscation. Some threatened to contest this budgetary meddling before the Supreme Court.

If that weren’t enough, on November 14th the federal police rounded up dozens of suspects in an ongoing corruption probe into Petrobras, the state-controlled oil giant, in which Ms Rousseff’s left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) and some coalition parties have been implicated. They include a former Petrobras director, as well as executives at several big construction firms with contracts worth 56 billion reais ($21.5 billion) with the company; 720m reais-worth of their assets were frozen.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaBrazil

0 Comments
Posted November 17, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Nigerian army says it has recaptured the north-eastern town of Chibok, which was seized by Boko Haram militants on Thursday.

Boko Haram fighters kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the village in April, sparking global outrage.

The group, which says it is fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria, has repeatedly targeted villages in Borno state in recent months.

There are reports of many Boko Haram members being killed in Sunday's raid.

Read it all.

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

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Posted November 16, 2014 at 4:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A federal court of appeals has rejected an atheist group’s lawsuit seeking to strike down a 60-year-old tax provision protecting ministers, notes the Becket Fund. The ruling allows ministers of all faiths to continue receiving housing allowances. “This is a great victory for separation of church and state,” said Luke Goodrich, Deputy General Counsel of the Becket Fund of Religious Liberty. “When a group of atheists tries to cajole the IRS into raising taxes on churches, it’s bound to raise some eyebrows. The court was right to send them packing.”

Aside from the question of constitutionality, the clergy exemption raises a question that many people — whether religious or not — are likely to be wondering: Why exactly do ministers receive a tax exemption for their housing allowance?

To answer the question we must first consider how taxation of church property, including clergy housing, has historically been considered.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* Theology

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Posted November 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, though, the Middle East and parts of Asia and Africa are undergoing a seismic shift in precisely the opposite direction. People are de-secularising. They feel betrayed by secular nationalist governments that failed to deliver prosperity and national pride. They consider the national boundaries imposed by colonial powers to be artificial and obsolete. They are uninspired by the secular culture of the West with its maximum of choice and minimum of meaning. And they have come to believe that salvation lies in a return to the Islam that that bestrode the narrow world like a colossus for the better part of a thousand years.

And though their faith is hostile to modernity, they sometimes understand modernity better than its own creators in the West. They know that because of the Internet, YouTube and the social media, communication, indeed politics itself, has gone global, and they also know that the great monotheisms are the most powerful global communities in the world, far broader and deeper in their reach than any nation state. And the religious radicals are offering young people the chance to fight and die for their faith, winning glory on earth and immortality in heaven. They have started recruiting in the West and they have only just begun.

But when ancient theologies are used for modern political ends, they speak a very dangerous language indeed. So for example, Hamas and Hizbollah, both self-defined as religious movements, refuse to recognise the legitimacy of the state of Israel within any boundaries whatsoever and seek only its complete destruction.

The Islamists also know that the only way they can win the sympathy of the West is by demonising Israel.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaEngland / UKMiddle EastIsrael* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamSecularism* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 16, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After a talk I gave in London a woman in the audience approached me: middle-aged, tall, and wearing a designer dress. Although she agreed with me on various issues she could not understand why I was critical of military takeovers. “In the Middle East a coup d’état is the only way forward,” she said. “If it weren’t for [Egypt’s president] General Sisi, modern women like me, like yourself, would end up in a burka. He’s there to protect the likes of us.”

As I listened to her, I recalled scenes from my childhood in Turkey. I remembered my mother saying that we should be grateful to General Kenan Evren, who led the coup d’état in 1980, for protecting women’s rights. After the military seized power, a number of pro-women steps were taken, including the legalisation of abortion. Yet the coup would eventually bring about massive human rights violations and systematic torture in police headquarters and prisons, particularly against the Kurds, maiming Turkey’s civil society and democracy for decades to come.

Female adulation of male autocrats is widespread throughout the Middle East. I have met Syrian women who have tried to convince me that Bashar al-Assad is the best option for modern women. The Syrian regime seems aware of this rhetoric, recruiting hundreds of so-called Lionesses for National Defense , who are said to be fighting against Islamic fundamentalism and defending women’s freedom.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 14, 2014 at 4:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While international observers fixate on the Sunni-Shia rivalry’s role in shaping geopolitics in the Islamic world, deep fissures within the Sunni arc that stretches from the Maghreb-Sahel region of North Africa to the Afghanistan-Pakistan belt are increasingly apparent. Moreover, it is Sunni communities that produce the transnational jihadists who have become a potent threat to secular, democratic states near and far. What is driving this fragmentation and radicalization within the ranks of Sunni Islam, and how can it be managed?

The importance of addressing that question cannot be overstated. The largest acts of international terror, including the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, DC, and the 2008 Mumbai attack, were carried out by brutal transnational Sunni organizations (Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba, respectively).

The Sunni militant group Boko Haram, known internationally for abducting 276 schoolgirls in April and forcing them to marry its members, has been wreaking havoc in Nigeria for years. And the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State, whose dramatic rise has entailed untold horrors to Iraq and Syria, are seeking to establish a caliphate, by whatever means necessary.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To say, as Jerome Starkey does, (The Times 11 Nov) that insurgency in the North of Nigeria is fueled more by poverty than by Islamic extremism, is to undermine the truth with the same old story we hear again and again from those unwilling to face the connected and organized global jihadist network we face today.

Poverty does not explain the death by suicide bomb of 40 school children- Muslim children- in Potiksum yesterday. It does not explain the abduction, forced conversion, and forced marriage of some 200 girls in Chibok. To say that this is the result of poverty and corruption is to play down the evil of Boko Haram, and their form of Islam- an Islam we do not know from the Quran, or from the Muslims of my generation. Remember that often- as yesterday- those Muslims who do not share their extremist ideology are often their victims too. Boko Haram and their kind delight in massacres, slaughters, rape and murders- this is not the face of poverty, but the face of radical Islamist jihad.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The crisis in Ukraine is at risk of spinning out of control, a top U.S. diplomat said, as European leaders remained split over imposing deeper sanctions on Russia for backing a rebellion that’s killed thousands of people.

Russia must stop violating a Sept. 5 cease-fire agreement signed in Minsk, Belarus, Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, told journalists today, citing a growing number of military convoys in Ukraine’s rebel-held regions and increased shelling of the Donetsk airport. Ukraine’s foreign minister said his country is prepared to defend itself after NATO warned Russia was sending combat troops across its border. Russian President Vladimir Putin denies military involvement.

“Is there a risk that the situation is getting out of control? Yes, there is that risk,” Power said. It’s “an extremely worrying period.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted November 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Is the pope Catholic? Is the president of the Christian student club Christian?

These questions might seem equal in their wry obviousness. They’re not. In the massive California State University system, as at some other universities, new anti-discrimination rules for student groups mean it can no longer be required that the president of the Christian student fellowship is Christian, or that the head of the Muslim association is Muslim, or that the officers of any group buy into the interests and commitments of that group.

Student clubs that refuse to accept the new rules will find themselves on the sidelines when it comes to meeting space, recruitment opportunities and other valuable perks that go with being an officially recognized group.

Such is the fate that has befallen InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a national campus ministry that finds itself “derecognized” in the 450,000-student Cal State system for insisting that student leaders of its campus chapters affirm the basic tenets of evangelical belief.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 13, 2014 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of the Koforidua Diocese of the Anglican Church, Very Reverend Francis Benjamin Quashie, has advised government to use part of the resources used to encourage foreigners to invest in the country, to concentrate on motivating Ghanaian entrepreneurs both home and abroad, to invest in the country.

He said the citizenry have the resources that can be invested in the economy, to help turn things around when given the needed support and encouragement.

Very Rev, Quashie gave the advice at a Confirmation Service at the Anglican Church of Transfiguration at Odumase-Krobo.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Province of West Africa* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaGhana* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 13, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Keeping guns out of the hands of convicted abusers is one measure under consideration by a state House committee set up to improve the state's domestic violence laws.

The committee is to begin efforts Wednesday to draft the reforms. Rep. Shannon Erickson, a Beaufort Republican who chairs the panel, said guns could be banned from convicted abusers in a manner similar to the way the state last year restricted guns from those designated mentally incompetent by the courts.

Erickson said evidence presented to her committee showed that domestic violence often is an escalating crime that can result in severe injury or death to others. Accordingly, she said she believes it's possible to maintain South Carolina's support for individual gun rights while creating "good laws that protect our own citizens in the process."

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexualityViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 13, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A female suicide bomber has blown herself up at a college in northern Nigeria, killing at least three people, witnesses say.

The explosion went off outside a packed lecture hall at the college in Kontagora town, the witnesses added.

Casualty figures are unclear, but lecturer Andrew Randa told the BBC he had seen four bodies.

This is the second suicide attack on a school this week - on Monday, 46 boys were killed in Yobe State.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The truth is we all lose out from the inequity of low pay. Billions of pounds are spent each year on topping up the incomes of low paid workers at a time when public finances are very tight. Demand is sucked out of the economy by the lack of spending power of a fifth of the workforce. And where inequality grows, we all become diminished. It makes us all poorer.

But amidst this darkness, some light has begun to shine through, and many of you are part of that light, as you have embraced the principle of paying a Living Wage. Over 1,000 employers – from Local Councils, to small and large private businesses, are now accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. The number of Living Wage Employers in the FTSE 100 has risen from four to 18.

I would like to thank you, and the other organisations here that not only support work on the Living Wage but are also accredited themselves. You are leading the way for responsible employers.

The other good news we heard recently is that the Living Wage has now been increased by 2.6%, in line with the actual cost of living.

But there is still a long way to go....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Terrorists and criminals are exploiting a European court ruling to hide internet records about their pasts, a cabinet minister has warned.

Sajid Javid, the culture secretary, unleashed a fierce rebuke to “unelected judges” in Luxembourg who passed the “right to be forgotten” law. It grants anyone the right to demand the removal of damaging or embarrassing information from search engines, even if it is factually true.

Mr Javid hit out at the ruling as “censorship by the back door”. In a speech to newspaper editors, he said that thousands of requests to remove links to articles were pouring in to companies such as Google from people who “for one reason or another, would prefer their pasts to be kept secret”.

Read it all (requires subscription).


Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 12, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a world tormented by tension and the possibilities of conflict, we meet in a quiet commemoration of an historic day of peace. In an age that threatens the survival of freedom, we join together to honor those who made our freedom possible. The resolution of the Congress which first proclaimed Armistice Day, described November 11, 1918, as the end of "the most destructive, sanguinary and far-reaching war in the history of human annals." That resolution expressed the hope that the First World War would be, in truth, the war to end all wars. It suggested that those men who had died had therefore not given their lives in vain.

It is a tragic fact that these hopes have not been fulfilled, that wars still more destructive and still more sanguinary followed, that man's capacity to devise new ways of killing his fellow men have far outstripped his capacity to live in peace with his fellow men.Some might say, therefore, that this day has lost its meaning, that the shadow of the new and deadly weapons have robbed this day of its great value, that whatever name we now give this day, whatever flags we fly or prayers we utter, it is too late to honor those who died before, and too soon to promise the living an end to organized death.

But let us not forget that November 11, 1918, signified a beginning, as well as an end. "The purpose of all war," said Augustine, "is peace." The First World War produced man's first great effort in recent times to solve by international cooperation the problems of war. That experiment continues in our present day -- still imperfect, still short of its responsibilities, but it does offer a hope that some day nations can live in harmony.

For our part, we shall achieve that peace only with patience and perseverance and courage -- the patience and perseverance necessary to work with allies of diverse interests but common goals, the courage necessary over a long period of time to overcome...[a skilled adversary].

Do please take a guess as to who it is and when it was, then click and read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

2 Comments
Posted November 11, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leading figures from France’s two traditional parties have been enmeshed in a fresh political scandal involving former president Nicolas Sarkozy, complicating their attempts to halt voter defection to the far-right National Front.

The latest “affair” to rock France’s political establishment involves the chief of staff of President François Hollande, who is already struggling with the lowest popularity ratings of any French leader since the second world war.

It also touches François Fillon, a leading figure in the country’s centre-right UMP party and a former prime minister who has stated his determination to run for the presidency in 2017.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 10, 2014 at 6:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Liberia lies just north of the equator and is home to part of the last great rainforest in West Africa, where the Ebola virus thrives in tropical, humid conditions.

With their hospitals overwhelmed, special centers for the sick, called Ebola treatment units, are being built as fast as possible. One of them is run by an American relief-group, the International Medical Corps -- where Lara Logan, who is currently self-quarantined for 21 days, reported this story.

To get to the Ebola treatment unit, we traveled north from the Liberian capital along pitted roads toward the border with neighboring Guinea where this outbreak began. American virologist Joseph Fair, who's been here for most of the epidemic, came with us.

Read or watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPoverty* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 10, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A top medical expert in Britain has said that assisted dying will be made legal in UK within the next two years.

The deputy chair of the British Medical Association Dr Kailash Chand has confirmed that a Bill that offers assisted dying to terminally ill patients who are mentally capable and are likely to have less than six months to live will soon be cleared.

UK has been seeing a growing support for the move — influenced by opinion polls suggesting that up to three quarters of the public would support a change in the law allowing assisted dying.

One of the world's most revered religious leaders Desmond Tutu - a Nobel peace laureate and archbishop emeritus of Cape Town has lent his full-fledged support to Britain's plans of legally allowing assisted death.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2014 at 5:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a kid, Tim Scott badly wanted to fit in with the majority white kids at Stall High School, and the black kids, too. And he didn't want any outward signs of his family's poverty.

A pair of Converse high tops were the ticket.

But his mom said no.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesSenate* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Queen has led the nation in remembering service personnel who have died during conflicts, as Remembrance Sunday services are held around the UK.

A two-minute silence was observed before the monarch laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in central London.

Events are being held across the UK and abroad, including in Afghanistan.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryMilitary / Armed ForcesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEschatology

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Posted November 9, 2014 at 5:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even as the Nigerian military stepped up efforts at beating back the extremist Boko Haram sect from the areas it currently occupies, including the commercial border town of Mubi in Adamawa state, the militants are intensifying attacks on remote communities and villages, residents have told PREMIUM TIMES.

Also, there are reports that three retired Generals of the Nigerian Army narrowly escaped death when Boko Haram insurgents stormed their village asking for their whereabouts.

The insurgents did not succeed in their mission as they (the army Generals) were reportedly not around when the Boko Haram terrorists struck their village of Gashala in Hong Local Government, few kilometers away from Mubi town.

Read it all.

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

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Posted November 8, 2014 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pastors and congregations representing numerous Christian denominations from around the state gathered at the State House to declare their moral convictions at The Stand rally Saturday.

“We have gathered to declare there is a new day in South Carolina. There is a new day in this nation,” said Dr. Kevin Baird, pastor of Legacy Church in Charleston and director of the S.C. Pastors Alliance, which organized the rally. “We as pastors are here to say that we will not be silent. We will no

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear the most serious challenge to the Affordable Care Act since the justices found it constitutional more than two years ago: a lawsuit targeting the federal subsidies that help millions of Americans buy health insurance.

More than 4 million people receive the subsidies, which the Obama administration contends are essential to the act by making insurance more affordable for low- and middle-income families.

But challengers say the administration is violating the plain language of the law. They are represented by the same conservative legal strategists who fell one vote short of convincing the court that the law was unconstitutional the last time around.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 8, 2014 at 10:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Besides choosing lawmakers, on November 4th voters in three American states and the District of Columbia considered measures to liberalise the cannabis trade. Alaska and Oregon, where it is legal to provide “medical marijuana” to registered patients, voted to go further and let the drug be sold and taken for recreational purposes, as Colorado and Washington state already allow. In DC, a measure to legalise the possession of small amounts for personal use was passed. A majority of voters in Florida opted to join the lengthening list of places where people can seek a doctor’s note that lets them take the drug. However, the measure fell just short of the 60% needed to change the state constitution. Even so, that such a big state in the conservative South came so close to liberalising shows how America’s attitude to criminalising pot has changed.

After this week’s votes only 27 states outlaw all sale or possession of marijuana. In the rest, a thriving “canna-business” is emerging...: trade in the drug is escaping the grasp of organised crime and becoming normal, just as alcohol did after the end of Prohibition. But even as moves to legalise and regularise the business continue at state level, the federal government and Congress remain dead set against the drug. A panoply of federal laws to curb the marijuana trade remain in place; and in recent months the Drug Enforcement Administration has raided cannabis dispensaries in California that are operating under state licences.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingTaxesPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 8, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Myanmar government has given the estimated one million Rohingya people in this coastal region of the country a dispiriting choice: Prove your family has lived here for more than 60 years and qualify for second-class citizenship, or be placed in camps and face deportation.

The policy, accompanied by a wave of decrees and legislation, has made life for the Rohingya, a long-persecuted Muslim minority, ever more desperate, spurring the biggest flow of Rohingya refugees since a major exodus two years ago.

In the last three weeks alone, 14,500 Rohingya have sailed from the beaches of Rakhine State to Thailand, with the ultimate goal of reaching Malaysia, according to the Arakan Project, a group that monitors Rohingya refugees.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Remarkably, the 26 percent of the 2014 electorate who were white evangelicals, according to exit polls, is higher than the 23 percent of 2004, when evangelicals were lionized as an imposing electoral force. Their key role in reelecting fellow evangelical George W. Bush provoked overwrought rhetoric by some on the left about the threat of impending theocracy. (Bush also won Hispanic evangelicals.)

Much of the public reaction to conservative Christian voting patterns, especially for evangelicals, is hyperbolic—both the warnings of impending theocracy and the claims of demographic collapse. But as religion reporter Mark Silk has noted: “Simply put, the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.” The 2014 exit polls show the “religious layout of the electorate looks almost identical to the last midterm election in 2010, and not much different from the 2012 presidential election.”

Wherever demographic trends lead in the future, conservative Christians were decisive in the 2014 election, and their percentage of the electorate has not declined.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ukraine’s east lurched back toward open war as the government in Kiev and pro-Russian rebels accused each other of starting major offensives in the region.

The Ukrainian government said there were 26 outbreaks of fighting yesterday between its forces and separatists in the east, while the rebels said the Kiev government’s troops had gone on a large-scale military push there.

The standoff is coming to a head after Ukraine and its allies accused separatists of undermining peace efforts with Nov. 2 elections in Donetsk and Luhansk. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Nov. 5 that Ukraine’s “civil war” isn’t subsiding as cities continue to come under shelling and the civilian death toll rises.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 6, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On a dirt field between two tall plum trees, barefoot young women played a surprisingly ferocious game of kickball one evening this week. Sweating in the heat and humidity despite the approach of dusk, they battled with the pent-up energy of teens who have been stuck at home too long.

A crowd of 100, maybe more, gathered to watch. Huge speakers blared the Ghanain hip-hop of Sargo D, making conversation nearly impossible. The spectators stood closely together. Some danced, some moved more subtly to the music. Had there been food and drink, this gathering in Monrovia’s Capitol Hill neighborhood could have been a block party.

Barely six or seven weeks ago, it also would have been impossible.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationHealth & MedicinePsychologyTeens / Youth* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Minutes after Gov. Nikki Haley's blowout win Tuesday night, speculation began anew that the governor may not finish out her second four-year term if the eventual Republican presidential nominee comes calling.

Some say the idea of Haley getting a spot on the ticket is a long shot. One obvious strike against her is that she's a Southerner in a region already owned by the GOP.

"She's probably not a first-tier vice presidential candidate simply because she's from a very safe red state, and the eventual GOP nominee may be looking for a VP choice from a swing state," University of Virginia political scientist Geoffrey Skelly said Wednesday. But there are other variables that no one can predict, Skelly added.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina

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Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The [Religious Freedom in the World] Report [2014] concludes that in order to begin to establish any form of consensus, responsibility for combatting violence and persecution rests, first and foremost, within religious communities themselves. The necessity for all religious leaders to loudly proclaim their opposition to religiously-inspired violence, and to re-affirm their support for religious tolerance, is becoming ever more urgent.

Although not explicitly phrased, this would appear to be directed toward Muslim leaders who too often have been unwilling or slow to condemn acts of violence carried out in the name of Islam. The Report has identified places where positive inter-religious bridges are being built at a local level, but these are few and far between.

There is certainly a need for this to happen in the UK, too, if the current national tensions surrounding the Islamic faith are to improve. And this an issue that our politicians must do more to address. The Report states that there is a pressing “need for the West to develop a fuller and more sophisticated understanding of religious motivation. The religious illiteracy of Western policy makers is creating a formidable barrier of understanding between the West and other parts of the world”. This is “hampering productive dialogue and effective policy making”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 6, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former East Germany remains one of the most godless places in the world, according to research showing that social attitudes have changed little since the end of communist rule 25 years ago.

Far fewer believe in God than their “Wessi” counterparts in the west, researchers found, while East Germans have also stuck firmly to the belief that “socialism is a good idea — it was just executed poorly”.

The findings came from a growing number of studies which treat the once-divided German society as a laboratory for analysing communities and the way that political regimes influence human values and behaviour.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted November 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It should be sobering for the White House that when Obama took office, Democrats had 59 senators and 256 House members; after Tuesday night, they will likely have 45-47 senators and some 190 House members. That is one of the biggest slides in congressional seats of any modern president. Surely, his White House has to take serious responsibility -- and look for ways to leave a better legacy.

• This was an unexpectedly big night for the GOP: Predictions for Republicans were already high, but they blew the doors off. Who could have imagined Republicans winning the governorships of Maryland and Massachusetts, winning Senate seats in Obama states such as Colorado and Iowa, and assembling their biggest coalition in the House of Representatives since the 1940s.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

MPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion declaring that sex-selection abortion is illegal.

They voted 181 to 1 for a motion brought forward by a cross-party alliance of MPs in an effort to end uncertainty over whether doctors can be prosecuted for the practice. It will now have a second reading in January.

Confusion over the law was exposed last year by the decision of the then Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Keir Starmer, not to bring charges against two doctors caught on camera agreeing to arrange abortions of baby girls purely because of their sex, in a Telegraph investigation.

The case was investigated by Scotland Yard and passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service which said that although there was enough evidence, it was not in the “public interest” to bring charges.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted November 5, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenateState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted November 5, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By winning re-election Tuesday, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley became just the fourth S.C. governor elected to a second term in office.

But as the 42-year-old Bamberg native prepares to push workforce training and road-repair plans when the General Assembly reconvenes in January, political observers and allies wonder if Haley will finish her final four-year go-around.

A handful of 2016 GOP White House hopefuls already are courting Haley, whose endorsement could help them in South Carolina’s first in the South presidential primary.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 5, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham easily won a third term to the Senate Tuesday – adding three more vanquished challengers to the half-dozen Republicans he defeated in the June GOP primary.

“I return to the Senate not to seek revenge, but with a burning desire to right the ship of state before it’s too late,” Graham said in a statement from his campaign. “I’m seeking willing partners on both sides of the aisle.

“Tonight, the American people are choosing divided government and rejecting President Obama’s policies, which – he rightly indicated – were on the ballot. The question for the country is – can a conservative Republican Congress work with a liberal Democratic president to move our nation forward? The answer should be yes. I believe it must be yes.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesSenateState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Voters in Washington, D.C., have approved the legal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Supporters of the D.C. marijuana measure had a 65-29.5 percent lead as of 9:09 p.m. ET, with 20,727 voting in favor.

Read it all.

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

5 Comments
Posted November 5, 2014 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Republicans seized control of the U.S. Senate and were on track to expand their grip on the House of Representatives and governorships in the 2014 elections, marking a dramatic midterm rout that cut deep into territory President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party won by commanding margins only two years ago.

With several Democratic-held Senate seats still up for grabs, the GOP has already captured more than the six seats required to take the upper chamber of Congress. Their candidates ousted Democratic incumbents in North Carolina, Arkansas and Colorado and sailed into the open seats of retiring Democrats in West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana. A seventh Republican candidate, Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst, won a brutally competitive open-seat race in Iowa to pad the GOP’s new majority.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate

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Posted November 5, 2014 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Republicans swept to control of the U.S. Senate by capitalizing on voter anger over President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, setting up a clash of priorities that will shape his final two years in office and the race to succeed him.

The economy was voters’ most pressing concern as they cast their ballots in the midterm election, with seven of 10 rating conditions poor, preliminary exit polls showed.

More than five years after the recession ended, ordinary Americans still feel pinched. Wages and incomes haven’t recovered even as corporate profits hit records, stocks have almost tripled and the nation’s output of goods and services grew more than $1 trillion from its pre-recession peak.

Read it all from Bloomberg.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralSenate

0 Comments
Posted November 4, 2014 at 10:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralSenate* South Carolina

7 Comments
Posted November 4, 2014 at 7:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Muslim leaders have a duty to warn their own followers about the “indescribable tragedy” of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and around the world, the Prince of Wales has insisted.

He said that faith leaders must ensure their followers respect believers in other faiths “rather than remaining silent”.

His comments came in a special message recorded for the publication of a new report which concludes that Christians are the “most persecuted religious minority” in the world and that Muslim countries dominate the list of places where religious freedom is most under threat.

While emphasising the importance of his own personal Christian faith, he also signalled that he saw his role as to “defend” followers of other faiths including Islam.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 4, 2014 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sporting an “I voted” sticker yet? On Tuesday, Nov. 4, many citizens across the United States will head to the polls. Others will stay at home, arguing, “My vote won’t make a difference.”

However, two young United Methodist pastors beg to differ.

The Rev. Elizabeth Murray, a provisional deacon in the South Carolina Conference, is director of Hispanic ministries at Mount Hebron United Methodist Church, West Columbia, South Carolina, and a Hispanic/Latino ministry consultant to the conference Office of Congregational Development.

“I vote,” she says, “because I know voting can make a difference in my community, nation and the lives of others. I vote, not only because it is my civic duty as a United States citizen, but also because I have vowed, as a Christian, to do no harm and to do good. I vote to protect the rights of — and promote equality for — women. I vote to make sure everyone has equal access to the right to vote. I vote for my voice to be heard on comprehensive immigration reform.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Oregon, one recent poll by SurveyUSA showed supporters for marijuana legalization leading by 52 percent to 41 percent; another by Elway Research, for The Oregonian, found them behind by 46 to 44. The only recent public polls in Alaska were conducted by interested parties; unsurprisingly, pro-legalization forces found the question ahead, and opponents found it behind.

The proposal in the District of Columbia is highly likely to pass: An NBC4/Washington Post/Marist poll found support at 65-33 in September. However, Congress can overrule Washington voters’ choice to legalize, and Representative Andy Harris, a Republican from Maryland, has signaled his intention to push Congress to do so.

Florida will vote on medical marijuana. Because the state’s proposal is a constitutional amendment, it must get 60 percent of the vote to pass.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. officials are weighing whether to broaden the air campaign in Syria to strike a militant group that is a rival to the Islamic State and that is poised to take over a strategically vital corridor from Turkey.

Extremists from the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra group were said Monday to be within a few miles of the Bab ­al-Hawa crossing in northwestern Syria on the Turkish border, one of only two openings through which the moderate Free Syrian Army receives military and humanitarian supplies provided by the United States and other backers.

Over the weekend, rebels said Jabhat al-Nusra forces swept through towns and villages controlled by the Free Syrian Army in Idlib province, west of Aleppo. Rebel groups associated with the Free Syrian Army were routed from their main strongholds, with scores of fighters fleeing toward Turkey or defecting to join the militants, according to opposition activists.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastSyria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted November 4, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Justin Welby said: “This week you have gathered to consider how our Anglican Communion can be more effective in working together and collaborating with other faith communities and secular partners to end modern slavery.

“It is a huge and daunting challenge – but it is a task that we must face. Evil will thrive if humanity stands by and does nothing while the most vulnerable suffer at the hands of traffickers and slavers.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesSexualityTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church in Michigan has passed a controversial resolution calling for stiffer gun control, drawing sharp criticism from conservative members who say it violates the right to bear arms.

The dispute is part of a larger debate among Episcopalians and other mainline Protestants about the future of their churches as they face sharp declines in membership.

Some conservatives say the gun resolution is the latest example of the Episcopal Church focusing on promoting liberal social issues such as gun control and same-sex marriage instead of the gospel, alienating congregants. But liberals say that their views are in line with the teachings of Christianity.

By a clear majority, members of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan — which consists of southeast Michigan and the Lansing and Jackson areas — voted recently to approve a resolution calling for universal background checks on all gun purchases, banning all sales of semiautomatic weapons, high-impact ammunition, high-capacity ammunition magazines, and making gun trafficking a federal crime.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The coastal city of Wenzhou is sometimes called China’s Jerusalem. Ringed by mountains and far from the capital, Beijing, it has long been a haven for a religion that China’s Communist leaders view with deep unease: Christianity. Most cities of its size, with about 9m people, have no more than a dozen or so visibly Christian buildings. Until recently, in Wenzhou, hundreds of crosses decorated church roofs.

This year, however, more than 230 have been classed as “illegal structures” and removed. Videos posted on the internet show crowds of parishioners trying to form a human shield around their churches. Dozens have been injured. Other films show weeping believers defiantly singing hymns as huge red crosses are hoisted off the buildings. In April one of Wenzhou’s largest churches was completely demolished. Officials are untroubled by the clash between the city’s famously freewheeling capitalism and the Communist Party’s ideology, yet still see religion and its symbols as affronts to the party’s atheism.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther Churches* Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the five states where it’s legal, physician-assisted dying involves rigorous regulations, including how long a person has lived there, says Cathy Lynn Grossman, senior national correspondent for Religion News Service. “Brittany Maynard moved from California to Oregon, where it’s legal specifically to qualify for…a prescription for lethal drugs. The person takes the drugs themselves if and when they choose to, and not everyone who gets the prescription ever uses it.”

Read or watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States (or of this community) in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

--1979 American Book of Common Prayer


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentHouse of RepresentativesSenateState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 2, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even as Americans' trust in government eroded in recent years, people kept faith in a handful of agencies and institutions admired for their steadiness in ensuring the country's protection.

To safeguard the president, there was the solidity of the Secret Service. To stand vigil against distant enemies, the U.S. nuclear missile corps was assumed to be on the job. And to ward off threats to public health, the nation counted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Now, in the space of just a few months, the reputations of all those agencies - as well as the Veterans Administration - have been tarred by scandal or tarnished by doubt. Maybe a public buffeted by partisan rhetoric and nonstop news should be used to this by now. But, with the CDC facing tough questions about its response to the Ebola outbreak, something feels different. Government is about doing collectively what citizens can't do alone, but its effectiveness is premised on trust.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 2, 2014 at 4:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Churches have condemned the British Government as un-Christian over its rejection of rescue missions for refugees drowning in the Mediterranean.

Bishop Patrick Lynch, who speaks for the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales on migration, said the decision not to support rescues was “a misguided abdication of responsibility” to thousands of desperate people fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East and Africa.

He said that as Europe’s “leading naval power” the UK has a moral responsibility to step in to save those risking death in attempting to reach Europe.

The Anglican Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Alan Smith, said the decision was one he would “lament”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 1, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A brief look at the news suggests African countries aren’t stepping up their support to the affected countries. This view, however, ignores three important lessons from Africa’s response to the outbreak.

The first is the capacity of the state to act in a timely and aggressive manner. Recently, WHO Nigerian representative Rui Gama Vaz said: “The virus is gone for now. The outbreak in Nigeria has been defeated.

“This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world Ebola can be contained, but we must be clear that we have only won a battle. The war will only end when West Africa is declared free of Ebola.”

Behind this success story lies competent public leaders and institutions that pursued their mission with vigour. After the diagnosis was made, Nigeria implemented a co-ordinated approach that involved making 18,000 visits to about 898 people to check their temperatures. This was possible because Nigeria had the state capacity to undertake such a massive effort in a timely manner.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted November 1, 2014 at 2:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Boko Haram has claimed that the 219 schoolgirls it kidnapped more than six months ago have converted to Islam and been "married off", shocking their families and confirming their suspicions about a supposed ceasefire and deal for their release.

The Islamist group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, made the claim in a new video obtained by AFP on Friday in which he also denied government assertions of an agreement to end hostilities and peace talks.

The mention of the girls, who were abducted from the remote northeastern town of Chibok on April 14, is the first by Shekau since May 5, when about 100 of the teenagers were shown on camera.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Canada is following in Australia's footsteps and has suspended, effectively immediately, the issuance of visas to residents of the West African countries battling Ebola.

In a move that puts Canada at odds with the World Health Organization, the federal government said Friday it is suspending visa applications for residents and nationals of countries with "widespread and persistent-intense transmission" of Ebola virus disease.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada

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Posted October 31, 2014 at 4:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For average Sierra Leoneans, the timing of the Ebola crisis could not be worse. It is the rainy season and, thanks to government-sanctioned quarantines, crop harvests are at a low. The price of food has skyrocketed and forced people to go into the bush for food and firewood. Quarantined areas such as Waterloo, about 20 miles east of Freetown, have seen severe food shortages, and the United Nations Food Program has had to step in to provide rice to thousands of residents there, many of whom were queuing up shoulder-to-shoulder in public areas — precisely the kind of gathering a quarantine is meant to prevent. Add to this the further dependence on the world community for survival and the demoralization of the people takes deeper root.

Economic forces are also jeopardizing national stability. Growth rates — in some sectors topping 15 percent in investments in the last few years — have been obliterated. London Mining, one of the key contracts secured by the Sierra Leonean government during this period, has announced it will be going into bankruptcy. The extractives industry is not what it used to be and stock for the London-based company tumbled dramatically in the last year as the price of iron ore declined. As a result, the company is reneging on a covenant with the people of Sierra Leone for thousands of jobs at its mine in Marampa and a needed injection of tax revenue.

When young people are unemployed and desperate, mischief occurs. In the southeastern city of Bo, for instance, crime — too often violent crime — has been rising. With police now occupied in responding to calls from infected households or keeping the curious away from dead bodies, they cannot monitor the city as before.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePovertyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia

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Posted October 31, 2014 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The protests that on Friday ended the rule of Burkina Faso’s long-serving president may have seemed like another African drama in an isolated corner of the continent. However, they have created a possible problem for the US and France, which rely heavily on the west African nation in their fight against Islamic extremism in the semi-desert south of the Sahara.

Much as the Arab spring toppled western allies in north Africa such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, what demonstrators called Burkina’s “black spring” led to the resignation of President Blaise Compaoré. His departure removes an important regional supporter of both Washington and Paris, the former colonial power, in the volatile Sahel, where the jihadist threat is growing.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaBurkina Faso* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 31, 2014 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Roma constitute the largest ethnic minority in Europe. While many think the continent would be better off without them, the Roma have lived in Europe for more than 1,500 years, and represent one of Europe’s last, great hopes.

But currently, the Roma are among the continent’s most underserved communities. And like Europe’s Jews, and newcomers from Africa and the Middle East, they’re finding themselves caught up in a resurgence of racism and xenophobia.

The unemployment rate for Roma in Bulgaria was 59% in 2010, and 50% in Romania according to a seminal World Bank report, while average unemployment in Bulgaria was 11.6%, and 7.3% in Romania in 2013.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--Eastern EuropeBulgariaRomania* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I accept the doctors' conclusion -- mandatory quarantine is a bad idea -- but not the way they justify it. You don't have to be a cynic, a slanted term, to argue for "better safe than sorry." The calculus isn't simple, either. The crucial thing, though, is that the doctors' sensible conclusion doesn't rest solely on the science.

It requires a delicate judgment about many different risks and costs -- the risk of extra U.S. cases in the short run, the risk of discouraging health workers from traveling to West Africa so that the disease keeps spreading there, the cost in civil liberty of restricting people's movements, and so on. I agree with the doctors about where the balance lies, but the issue isn't easy and, in any event, it isn't just about the science of Ebola.

The doctors conclude, "We should be honoring, not quarantining, health care workers who put their lives at risk..." We should indeed be honoring them -- and, unless I'm mistaken, we are -- but that comment isn't science; it's pure politics. Forgive me for stating what should be obvious, but if the facts about the transmission of Ebola were different, one could imagine that mandatory quarantine would be justified; and if it were, the policy would imply no disrespect to the health professionals involved.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMedia* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentForeign RelationsPolitics in General* Theology

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Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S.-led airstrike campaign is hardly a plausible solution to quelling the encroaching and horrific reign of Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, says the Rev. Nadim Nassar, the lone Syrian Anglican minister and director of the London, England-based, Christian charity, Awareness Foundation.

“It can’t be the solution because it only adds to the casualties and destruction to the region,” said Nassar, who spoke at a gathering Oct. 28 at St. John’s (Stone) Church. “The only solution is to dry out external resources that it relies on and all the veins that are feeding it.”

Military response merely provides a distraction, he said, ­­ a “show that they are doing something” —while the situation worsens daily as more than a million dollars a day is pumped into the operations of the Islamic State (known as ISIS or ISIL), a radical group of insurgents in Iraq and Syria and an offshoot of the Islamist militant organization al-Qaeda.

The alternative, said Nassar, is to pinpoint the source of its funding rather than to raise arms.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If traditional Christian teaching produces despair it is likely that such teaching has somehow been pressed or malformed to obscure the gospel. Whether one identifies as homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual, the hope of the gospel is the same. In the words of Tim Keller, “We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” The profound experience of grace in the gospel provides the onus to a life of faithful discipleship. The homosexual need not stop experiencing same sex attraction in order to “earn” salvation just as straight people need not stop experiencing opposite-sex attraction. What he must do is remain chaste, an ancient word with little currency in today’s culture.

There can be little doubt that traditional Christians often communicate to gays that they must somehow stop experiencing same sex attraction in order to make themselves acceptable to God. This is not the gospel. There is nothing than we can do to make ourselves acceptable to God. What the Bible asks of us is, however, to recognize that sexual relationships with people of the same sex violates God’s intention for human sexuality. The Christian tradition directs us in one of two equally valid directions: celibacy or heterosexual marriage.

Reasonable people ought to respect Gushee’s right to change his mind and to do so publicly. However, it’s important to note that Gushee’s capitulation is not the only possible response to the precipitous change in cultural attitudes toward sexuality.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted October 31, 2014 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The president waited until her family members were seated around the dining table before announcing, with no fanfare, the latest defection from her cabinet.

“I lost my justice minister today,” she said, picking up a spoon before heading out to visit Ebola treatment units.

As the table erupted with questions, the president, having said all that she intended to, finished up her lunch of Libby’s tinned corned beef and rice — the Liberian equivalent of ramen noodles — and rose.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The standard portrayals of economic life for ordinary Americans and their families paint a bleak picture of stagnancy, rising economic inequality, joblessness, and low levels of economic mobility. From President Barack Obama’s speech last year at the Center for American Progress to Fed chairman Janet Yellen’s address this month in Boston, we’re getting the picture that the American Dream looks to be in bad shape. These portrayals contain an important germ of truth — today’s economy isn’t doing ordinary Americans many favors — but what is largely missing from the public conversation about economics in America is an honest discussion of the family factor in all of this.

That’s unfortunate, because one reason — though, to be sure, not the only reason — that the American economic landscape looks bleaker today is that American families are not as strong and stable as they could be. Indeed, in a new report released this week from the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies, we find that about one-third of recent increases in family-income inequality and male joblessness, and a significant share of median family-income stagnation, can be linked to the declining share of Americans who are getting and staying married....

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMarriage & FamilySociology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General

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Posted October 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S. health care apparatus is so unprepared and short on resources to deal with the deadly Ebola virus that even small clusters of cases could overwhelm parts of the system, according to an Associated Press review of readiness at hospitals and other components of the emergency medical network.

Experts broadly agree that a widespread outbreak across the country is extremely unlikely, but they also concur that it is impossible to predict with certainty, since previous Ebola epidemics have been confined to remote areas of Africa. And Ebola is not the only possible danger that causes concern; experts say other deadly infectious diseases - ranging from airborne viruses such as SARS, to an unforeseen new strain of the flu, to more exotic plagues like Lassa fever - could crash the health care system.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted October 30, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Carolina ranks 37th in the country in terms of its tax structure being friendly to business.

The state's biggest problems, according to an annual analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tax Foundation, are its high individual income tax and its unemployment insurance rates.

The issue of tax reform has been touched on during this year's gubernatorial campaign, but it hasn't played a central role.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeTaxesPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 30, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While no one would argue that the United States has more bombs, bullets and boots, the question is, “Why does the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continue to gain territory and to recruit young people to their cause from the western world?”

The Jihadists see themselves in a struggle against evil and we are the face of their evil. We are attempting to win on the battlefield but we are losing the battle for hearts and minds.

Former Senator Birch Bayh referred to the Jihadist ideology as “empty” on Fox New Sunday (October 26th) If only. If only he was correct. We may kill their soldiers but their ideology, while evil, is robust, certain and virulent. The western world in general and the U.S. lack the courage of their convictions because they lack convictions. We have no vision and are lacking in moral authority. Do we honestly think that we could reinstate the draft to compel young men once again to fight this war?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted October 29, 2014 at 7:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria says it is still holding talks with Boko Haram, two weeks after the government said it had agreed a truce with the Islamist militant group.

A presidential spokesman said he was optimistic that something "concrete and positive" would come out of the talks.

There has been no comment from Boko Haram, and violence in northern Nigeria has continued.

More than 200 schoolgirls are still being held by the group, which has been fighting an insurgency since 2009.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 29, 2014 at 4:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hanging on by a wing and a prayer, the Lords Spiritual fight for their survival, writes David Maddox

For constitutional geeks the years 1871 and 1920 bear a special significance in terms of reform of that much debated body the House of Lords. The first date was the removal of the Irish Episcopalian bishops from the Upper Chamber, when it was finally accepted that Roman Catholicism and Presbyterian Protestantism were the churches of its peoples. The second was the removal of Welsh bishops, making the Lords Spiritual – as they are collectively known – an English-only body.

It is worth noting that there were never any Scottish bishops given seats in the House of Lords, because of the success of Scotland’s politicians in keeping the Church separate in their negotiations for the 1707 Act of Union.

So with this in mind, Archbishop Justin Welby’s appearance at the Press Gallery lunch yesterday was poignant at a time when political reform, devolution and English votes for English laws are so high on the agenda.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted October 28, 2014 at 11:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They were among the final holdouts. Even as many of their neighbors fled the violence that engulfed Iraq after the American invasion, the three men stayed put, refusing to give up on their country or their centuries-old Christian community.

Maythim Najib, 37, stayed despite being kidnapped and stabbed 12 times in what he believed was a random attack. Radwan Shamra, 35, continued to hope he could survive the sectarian war between his Sunni and Shiite countrymen even after losing two friends shot by an unknown gunman who left their bodies sprawled in a Mosul street. And a 74-year-old too frightened to give his name said he remained despite the trauma of spending three anguished days in 2007 waiting to learn if his kidnapped 17-year-old son was dead or alive.

Now all three men from Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and its environs have fled with their families to Jordan, forced out by Islamic State fighters who left them little choice. After capturing the city in June, the Sunni militant group gave Christians a day to make up their minds: convert, pay a tax, or be killed.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraqJordan* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

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Posted October 27, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations called attention to the need for a greater response to the Ebola outbreak that has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa.

Samantha Power posted on Twitter early Monday, after spending a day in Guinea, that the "scale of need is staggering" and that the "most basic resources will help save lives."

She is on a multistop tour this week of the worst-hit countries, including Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Power also highlighted the efforts of those already working in Guinea to treat patients, build treatment facilities and educate people, including Doctors Without Borders and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaSierra LeoneAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 27, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The much heralded asset-backed securities purchase programme will only yield about €250bn-€450bn in assets over the next two years. More LTRO (or the newer targeted LTRO) will prove a challenge as sovereign bond yields in Europe are so low that a large balance sheet expansion through this means seems impractical. Perhaps there is another €500bn-€750bn to do over the next year or two. Outright purchases of sovereign debt would prove politically difficult, as many would interpret such purchases as violating the ECB’s mandate and the matter would probably end up in the European courts.

The bottom line is that none of the tools currently on the table will get the job done. There are not enough assets to purchase or finance and the timetable to get anything done is too long. Policy makers do not have the luxury of a year or two to figure this out. The ECB balance sheet shrinks virtually daily and as it shrinks, the monetary base of Europe is contracting and putting downward pressure on prices. Europe is clearly in danger of falling into the liquidity trap, if it is not already there. The likelihood of a “lost decade” like that experienced in Japan is rapidly increasing. The ECB must act and act quickly.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 27, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The question for our government” says Lenni Benson, executive director and founder of the nonprofit Safe Passage Project, “will be, even if they have deportation orders, is it ethical and legal to remove a child to a country of origin if we aren’t assured that child will be safe upon return?”

Read or watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsImmigrationPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 26, 2014 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With Ebola rising as a concern for Americans due to a case of the disease in New York City, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said Friday that the challenge posed by the virus can be met through vigorous effort.

President Kim, himself a medical doctor, called the response by New York officials “impressive” and praised the Ebola patient there as a physician who was willing to go to West Africa to help others with the disease.

“Dr. [Craig] Spencer is a hero,” Kim told reporters at a breakfast for reporters sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. Far from putting America at risk, “he is doing exactly what’s needed” to protect Americans and others worldwide.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 25, 2014 at 9:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I did not know the man I was drinking tea with in the parish hall below my office. He had introduced himself as a retired Episcopal priest a few days before, when he'd called for this appointment. He told me then that he was offering something called "coaching," and was asking for referrals from local clergy. At the time of the call I had thought he was running some sort of sports team, but now, over tea, he was telling me what he meant by the word "coaching."

"We ask five power questions to help people change their lives," he told me (I cannot remember even one of those power questions). "This helps individuals grow and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and recognize his working in their lives."

"So far so good," I thought to myself. "At least up until now he has said things I cannot fault." Still, something felt wrong. And then he told me what coaching had done for him.

"It helped me evolve," he said with a wide smile. Since he appeared to be an average homo sapiens, I awaited an explanation. "Why, just last week I drove up to Maryland and did my first ever same-sex wedding."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted October 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 24, 2014 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There was the voice of Dr. Tom Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the telephone Thursday night, at the news conference that Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio and others were holding now that Ebola had come to New York City.

“It is very important that people understand how Ebola is spread and what the risk is,” Frieden said, but then that is something he has been saying all along.

This wasn’t about the state of preparedness at Bellevue Hospital now that Dr. Craig Spencer has been admitted there and officially diagnosed with Ebola. It is quite clear that the city was ready and the state was ready. It’s just as clear that there is no reason for panic.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 24, 2014 at 5:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China's newly announced switch to a two-child population control policy does not resolve the coercive nature of the program, pro-life leaders say.

The disclosure of the change came even as the communist government imposes the most severe oppression in four decades, according to a leading advocate for the Chinese church.

Christians face the "worst persecution in China since the Cultural Revolution," Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, said in an article by Christian Today on Oct. 9.

That description is justified, Fu explained to BP in written comments in an email interview...[yesterday] (Oct. 22), due to "both the large scale and the severe degree of [the] violent crackdown" against not only the unregistered house churches but against the government-approved Three-Self Patriotic Movement congregations. About 300 churches have either been destroyed or had crosses forcibly removed recently in an ongoing campaign, and various believers have been arrested, Fu said.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 23, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Terror reached Canada this week when a “radicalized” convert to Islam on Monday ran down and killed a soldier with a car and a gunman yesterday invaded the capital. He murdered a soldier at a war memorial before entering Ottawa’s parliament building where he was shot to death.

Canada had until now dodged a terror attack even as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and others had warned that the nation, whether from Islamist extremists or lone wolves looking to settle some real or imagined grudge, was vulnerable.

“It’s hard to see how this won’t change things,” said Andrew MacDougall, a former director of communications for Harper who’s now a consultant in London at MSLGroup. “To see my former place of work lit up in a blaze of gunfire is shocking, disheartening and worrying.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 23, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Colorado health authorities suggested banning many forms of edible marijuana, including brownies and cookies, then whipsawed away from the suggestion Monday after it went public.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told state pot regulators they should limit edible pot on shelves to hard lozenges and tinctures, which are a form of liquid pot that can be added to foods and drinks.

The suggestion sparked marijuana industry outrage and legal concerns from a regulatory workgroup that met Monday to review the agency's suggestion. Colorado's 2012 marijuana-legalization measure says retail pot is legal in all forms.

"If the horse wasn't already out of the barn, I think that would be a nice proposal for us to put on the table," said Karin McGowan, the department's deputy executive director.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 21, 2014 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In addition to many drug candidates, there are vaccines in development. In early September, the National Institutes of Health began testing a vaccine, made by a division of GlaxoSmithKline and based on an adenovirus, on twenty volunteers. Another vaccine, called VSV-EBOV, developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed to NewLink Genetics, started human trials last week. It seems possible that some time next year a vaccine may be available for use on people who have already been exposed to Ebola, though it will still not be cleared for general use. If a vaccine is safe and shows effectiveness against Ebola, and if it can be transported in the tropical climate without breaking down, then vaccinations against Ebola could someday begin.

If a vaccine works, then the vaccinators might conceivably set up what’s known as ring vaccinations around Ebola hot spots. In this technique, medical workers simply vaccinate everybody in a ring, miles deep, around a focus of a virus. It works like a fire break; it keeps the fire from spreading. Ring vaccination was the key to wiping out the smallpox virus, which was declared eradicated in 1979, but whether the ring technique—provided there was a good vaccine—would work against Ebola nobody can say. In any case, epidemiologists would not give up trying to trace cases in order to break the chains of infection.

In the U.S. and Europe, hospitals have made fatal mistakes in protocol as they engage with Ebola for the first time—errors that no well-trained health worker in Africa would likely make. But they will learn. By now, the warriors against Ebola understand that they face a long struggle against a formidable enemy. Many of their weapons will fail, but some will begin to work. The human species carries certain advantages in this fight and has things going for it that Ebola does not. These include self-awareness, the ability to work in teams, and the willingness to sacrifice, traits that have served us well during our expansion into our environment. If Ebola can change, we can change, too, and maybe faster than Ebola.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationGlobalizationHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If the left does own popular culture, it's because they worked hard for it, employing the conservative values of perseverance and creativity. There is a chasm that separates the infrastructure that the left has erected over the last 50 years to celebrate and interpret popular culture and the tiny space that establishment conservatism allocates to popular culture. It is for this reason, more than any claim that American popular culture is irredeemably decadent and leftist, that the right seems lost in the world of movies, music, and bestsellers. Every month, if not every week, important works of popular culture go unnoticed by the right. These are often things that speak to people's souls -- films that wrestle with questions of honor, novels, like Le Guin's about the meaning of sex and politics, music that explores the limits of self-sacrificial love.

And the right has nothing to contribute to the conversation.

In 1967 a college student named Jann Wenner borrowed $7,500 and founded Rolling Stone magazine because he wanted to cover the music and culture that was providing poetry to his generation. Around the same time a student named Martin Scorsese was graduating from New York University's film school, and a young would-be novelist named Ursula Le Guin was having her first five novels rejected. In other words, these artists, and many others, laid the groundwork for what they would eventually become -- the liberal establishment. They played the long game. This is why if musician Mark Turner had been inspired by Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness, a book that imagines a race that can change its gender, there would be an interview in the New York Times, play on the internet, a mention in Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, maybe even a spot on Letterman. The structure is in place so that when an artist reinforces dominant liberal values, he or she has an instant pipeline to the people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtBooksEducationMediaMusicPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 21, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Of the many things that are worrying investors around the world, from tumbling oil prices to the spectre of recession and deflation in Europe, one of the most important, and least understood, is China’s debt. For the past few years China has been on a borrowing binge. Its total debt—the sum of government, corporate and household borrowings—has soared by 100% of GDP since 2008, and is now 250% of GDP; a little less than wealthy nations, but far higher than any other emerging market....

Since most financial crashes are preceded by a frantic rise in borrowing—think of Japan in the early 1990s, South Korea and other emerging economies in the late 1990s, and America and Britain in 2008—it seems reasonable to worry that China could be heading for a crash. All the more so because the nominal growth rate, the sum of real output and inflation, has tumbled, from an average of 15% a year in the 2000s to 8.5% now, and looks likely to fall further as inflation hit a five-year low of 1.6% in September. Slower nominal growth constrains the ability of debtors to pay their bills, making a debt crisis more likely.

Reasonable, but wrong. China has a big debt problem. But it is unlikely to cause a sudden crisis or blow up the world economy. That is because China, unlike most other countries, controls its banks and has the means to bail them out. Instead, the biggest risk is complacency: that China’s officials do too little to clean up the financial system, weighing down its economy for years with zombie firms and unpayable loans.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/SectorPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

VALENTE: Transgender isn’t the same as being homosexual or merely cross-dressing. It’s a far more complex phenomenon known clinically as “gender dysphoria,” a severe discontent with one’s assigned sex. Transgender people often take hormones and have surgery to become more like the opposite sex. A little over a year ago, Becker began injecting testosterone. He had his breasts surgically removed.

transgenders-and-theology-post01BECKER: My only regret is throughout this entire process is not starting it sooner.

VALENTE: Emboldened by the new Amazon Online series "Transparent" and "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix, which features a transgender actress, transgender individuals are increasingly speaking out about their needs and their lives. An Episcopal priest recently came out as transgender, and a community of Carmelite nuns in Canada just accepted a novice with both male and female physical characteristics. The novice, Tia Michelle Pesando, has written a book called Why God Doesn’t Hate You.

OWEN DANIEL-MCCARTER (Transgender Activist, Chicago House): Even in the past 14 years, it is an incredible change in the visibility of transgender people in the media, the number of transgender activist organizations, people who are trying to change the law, and the medical system for trans people. It’s remarkable.

Read or watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This “different spirit” is the key to Welby’s thinking, and it is not one that can be entrusted to our politicians. Whether we choose to accept religious belief or not, it does not alter the reality that religious faith and ideologies hold far more power than guns and bombs. In the first three centuries of the Church it had no armies and pitched no battles, yet it overcame the Roman Empire through love and a gospel of God’s peace. Religious leaders need to be given a place at the top table as much as military commanders. Their insights into the role of religious belief as a driving force in individuals’ lives, along with their status, hold great value and potential to change the stakes.

There is an onus, too, on all of our religious leaders to take the initiative and become more outspoken, addressing those both inside and outside of their respective religions:
Religious leaders must up their game and engage jihadism in religious, philosophical and ethical space. Religious justifications of violence must be robustly refuted. That is, in part, a theological task, as well as being a task that recognises the false stimulation, evil sense of purpose and illusory fulfilment that deceive young men and women into becoming religious warriors. As we have seen recently, many religious leaders have the necessary (and very great) moral and physical courage to see the need for an effective response to something that they have condemned. It is essential that Christians are clear about the aim of peace and the need for joint working and that Muslim leaders continue explicitly to reject extremism, violent and otherwise. Any response must bring together all those capable of responding to the challenge.
Justin Welby talks about treasuring and preserving our values, but also of reshaping them. This would appear to be contradictory, but the context suggests that he is referring to both the values that have built peace and progress and also those that we have developed that bear the hallmarks of selfishness and self-preservation.

This is the battle that Justin Welby is calling for.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraqSyria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 17, 2014 at 3:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Truro has called for a 'major cultural change' in British society to recognise the need for justice for all - in particular young carers, those who use food banks and families living in poverty.

The Rt Revd Tim Thornton warned against an 'us and them' approach to social justice, calling instead for a greater sense of the 'glue' in society, or interdependence, that holds together people regardless of economic status.

"Social justice assumes, surely, that there is such a thing called society in which a key value is justice, and implicit in that, is that it is justice for all people in our country," he told a House of Lords debate on social justice.

"I suggest that there is clear evidence that our society is struggling to understand itself as a society today and there is not enough evidence on the value of justice for all people, for all members of our society."

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 17, 2014 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A leading Nigerian evangelical, Samuel Kunhiyop, author of African Christian Ethics,serves as general secretary of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), a 5-million-member denomination in Nigeria. ECWA has been doing frontline evangelism in Nigeria since 1954. In recent years, this group has planted hundreds of congregations in Muslim areas of Nigeria. Kunhiyop spoke with Timothy C. Morgan, CT's senior editor for global journalism.

Is Nigeria as bad as we read in news headlines?

It’s even worse. Hundreds of churches have been destroyed, over 50 in Kano alone. One church and ministry has been built seven times and destroyed seven times. Another has been built three times and destroyed three times. Pastors have been murdered in their houses. Another was murdered in the church during a prayer service.

The situation is much worse further north in Yobe and Borno states, the headquarters of Boko Haram. People have fled residences where their forefathers lived for generations. Christians have been the victims.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Although Hansard now records the ABC’s response to Lady Howe’s Q4, in view of the nature of the debate[1] and his non-governmental position, such assurances carry different weight from those made by a government minister at the dispatch box and subsequently relied upon under Pepper v Hart.

With regard to the application of the Equality Act, the Archbishop’s specification of “parochial appointments” implicitly acknowledges that the House of Bishops considers other appointments differently, i.e. hospital chaplains. With regard to remarriage after divorce, this dispensation is not strictly within the gift of the bishops, as clergy are provided a “conscience clause” directly through s8(2) Matrimonial Causes Act 1965.

On Monday 20 October, the House of Commons will consider the Motion: “To approve a Church of England Measure relating to women bishops”. Following the expected vote in favour, the Measure will be presented to the monarch for Royal Assent after which it becomes part of the law of the land.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted October 16, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The leader of the Anglican Church of Hong Kong has issued a statement calling for "dialogue" between pro-democracy protestors and government officials.

Archbishop Paul Kwong issued the statement Tuesday where he said that he was "saddened and distressed by the increasing social conflict."

"In order to engage in real dialogue, we need to develop greater trust in one another. However this is not yet happening," stated Kwong.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 16, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Experts who study public psychology say the next few weeks will be crucial to containing mounting anxiety. “Officials will have to be very, very careful,” said Paul Slovic, president of Decision Research, a nonprofit that studies public health and perceptions of threat. “Once trust starts to erode, the next time they tell you not to worry — you worry.”

The risk of Ebola infection remains vanishingly small in this country. The virus is not airborne, not able to travel in the way that, say, measles or the SARS virus can. Close contact with a patient is required for transmission. Just one death from Ebola has occurred here, and medical care is light-years from that available in West Africa, where more than 4,400 people have died in the latest outbreak.

By contrast, in some years, the flu kills more than 30,000 people in the United States. Yet this causes little anxiety: Millions of people who could benefit from a flu shot do not get one.

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Posted October 16, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This struggle is not simply a religious conflict, but a terrible mix of ethnicity, economics, social unrest, injustice between rich and poor, limited access to resources, historic hatreds, post-colonial conflict and more. It is impossible to simplify accurately. We cannot tolerate the complexities and so we seek to hang the whole confusion on the hook of religious conflict. And because even to do that on a global scale is complicated, we focus on one area, at present Iraq and Syria, while others—Sudan, Nigeria and most recently Israel and Gaza—are forgotten. Or, equally dangerously, we deny it is religious, in the illusion that religion makes it unfixable.

The clear religious and ideological aspects of the conflicts have to be tackled ideologically, including through the leadership of those who see the world in religious terms. Religious leaders must up their game and engage jihadism in religious, philosophical and ethical space. Religious justifications of violence must be robustly refuted. That is, in part, a theological task, as well as being a task that recognises the false stimulation, evil sense of purpose and illusory fulfilment that deceive young men and women into becoming religious warriors. As we have seen recently, many religious leaders have the necessary (and very great) moral and physical courage to see the need for an effective response to something that they have condemned. It is essential that Christians are clear about the aim of peace and the need for joint working and that Muslim leaders continue explicitly to reject extremism, violent and otherwise. Any response must bring together all those capable of responding to the challenge.

It is hard to exaggerate this point, and it is one that was picked up recently by Richard Dannatt, former Chief of the General Staff of the British army. We should be quite hesitant about considering this only as a war of self-defence. The justification for our use of military force rests principally in the extreme humanitarian need of the local communities.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 16, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England is being urged to pray for victims of human trafficking at services this Sunday.

Freedom Sunday, a global day of prayer, action and worship backed by major Christian denominations in Britain, takes place on October 19.

Organisers have produced a set of resources for churches with prayers, Bible studies, reflections, case studies and sermon notes to help mark the day.

In a foreword to the resources, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, warns that human trafficking is a "grave crime" against humanity.

"It is a form of modern day slavery and a profound violation of the intrinsic dignity of human beings," he wrote.

"It is intolerable that millions of fellow human beings should be violated in this way, subjected to inhuman exploitation and deprived of their dignity and rights."

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistrySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesSexuality* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 15, 2014 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At least 17 Ebola cases have been treated outside of West Africa in the current outbreak, including two Dallas hospital workers who have tested positive for Ebola. Most of these involve health and aid workers who contracted Ebola in West Africa and were transported back to their home country for treatment. Four cases were diagnosed outside of West Africa: A Liberian man who began showing symptoms four days after arriving in Dallas, a Spanish nurse who became ill after treating a missionary in a Madrid hospital and the two Dallas hospital workers who were involved in the treatment of the Liberian man. These cases are compiled from reports by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders and other official agencies.

Read it all and examine the map.

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Posted October 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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