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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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When rebel forces surged into the city of Aleppo, then Syria’s largest, in the summer of 2012, they hoped to establish an alternative seat of power that could rival the government’s in the capital, Damascus. But those hopes quickly faded as the operation to seize the city stalled. The rebels could only capture half of Aleppo, splitting the city in two. A lethal stalemate ensued.
The rebel’s hopes of ever breaking the deadlock are now dead. In July, forces loyal to the Syrian government cut the last remaining road into the east, imposing a siege that has slowly strangled life there. Russian and Syrian warplanes have relentlessly bombed hospitals, schools and marketplaces, crippling civilian infrastructure. With the east on its knees, the regime launched a devastating ground offensive on November 15th to drive rebel forces out of the city.
Since then, the rebels have lost about three-quarters of their enclave, their last big urban stronghold anywhere in the country. Their defence of the city has crumbled faster than many expected. The Old City, whose winding alleyways were supposed to be well defended, fell quickly this week as pro-Syrian forces, including Shia militias from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, crashed through rebel lines on December 7th. Cornered by pro-government forces, defeat is inevitable.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary Middle East Syria * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Churches are generally tax-exempt, but New Hampshire’s highest court ruled the parking spaces are taxable because they were rented to students for “their own private and secular purpose.”
Todd Selig, Town Administrator of Durham, said “this was not in any way an effort on the part of the town to bring in more revenue. It was simply an issue of equity and fairness.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Taxes Politics in General City Government * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
How might Williams go about “contextualizing” the Haystack Monument?
The monument’s bicentennial celebration in 2006 provides clues. The weekend events included twilight vespers, panel discussions on the meaning of mission work today, and Sunday worship services. But the event also featured a critical reflection in which Prof. Denise Buell argued that Christian missionary work is “a justification” for violent forms of cultural imperialism.
All of this reflects what Glenn Shuck, a scholar who taught courses on the history of Christianity at Williams for over a decade, calls the college’s “ironic relationship” with the monument: It is a memorial to something important that happened on campus—but not something of which the college’s faculty is necessarily proud. According to Mr. Shuck, many Williams faculty members regard efforts to translate the Bible into other languages to spread Christianity as inherently racist and imperialist, a view he does not share.
Despite the recent media tempest about the Haystack Monument, the statue seems relatively uncontroversial among students. I spoke with about 15 students walking by the monument this week, and none knew what it represented. Once told, not one took offense.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Missions * Culture-Watch Education History Religion & Culture Young Adults * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Bishops and clergy have given a cautious welcome to a strongly worded government review of the integration of minority communities into British society.
Dame Louise Casey, an experienced civil servant, published The Casey review: A review into opportunity and integration, on Monday. She concludes that work needs to be done to “repair the sometimes fraying fabric of our nation”.
The unprecedented scale of immigration and demographic change in recent decades has led to segregation and division in some deprived communities in the UK, the review states.
“Problems of social exclusion have persisted for some ethnic-minority groups, and poorer white British communities in some areas are falling further behind,” Dame Louise writes in her introduction.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Immigration Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Rev. Charles D. Cooper (Pete) died on December 7, 2016. A memorial service will be held at St. John’s Church (252 South Dargan Street) at 11:00 am on Monday, December 12, 2016, with burial immediately following the service, in the St. John’s Memorial Garden. A reception will follow in the St. John’s Fellowship Hall.
Mr. Cooper was born in Lancaster, SC and was raised in Great Falls and Clinton, SC. A 1963 graduate of Clinton High School, Pete was a member of the Class of 1967 at the Citadel. He also received postgraduate degrees from Furman University and the University of the South (Sewanee) and was ordained in the Episcopal Church, 1981.
Pete served in the United States Marine Corps and was most proud of his fellow Marines. He spent many years as priest, teacher, coach, chaplain, assistant headmaster of several schools beginning his career with Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville, SC and ending with Trinity Byrnes Collegiate School near Florence. He loved all of his school families. He also served in the Church as Assistant and Rector of several Parishes beginning at St. John’s Church in Columbia, retiring as Rector of St. John’s Church in Florence after 20 years, and continuing as Interim at The Church of the Ascension in Hagood, SC until the time of his death. His other service included St. David’s in Cheraw, SC and St. Cyprian’s in Lufkin, TX. Again, he loved all of his parish families.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * South Carolina * Theology
Michael Lewis’s brilliant book celebrates Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, Israeli-American psychologists who are our age’s apostles of doubt about human reason. The timing is fortunate, given that overconfident experts may have caused and then failed to predict such momentous events as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.
Mr. Kahneman and Tversky (who died in 1996) first started working together in 1969. They were well-matched. The Holocaust survivor Mr. Kahneman chronically doubted even himself. The brash Tversky targeted his doubts toward others, especially (as one acquaintance noted) “people who don’t know the difference between knowing and not knowing.” Testing people with quizzes in their laboratory, they found a host of “cognitive biases” afflicting rational thinking.
One bias they found is that we underestimate uncertainty. In hindsight bias, for example, test subjects misremembered their own predictions as being correct. As Tversky explained, “we find ourselves unable to predict what will happen; yet, after the fact we explain what did happen with a great deal of confidence. . . . It leads us to believe that there is a less uncertain world than there actually is.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Books History Psychology Science & Technology Sports * Economics, Politics Economy * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Middle East Israel * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The dead appeared in court today, staring out from video monitors at their families and friends, their congregation’s pastor, a federal judge, a jury and Dylann Storm Roof, the man charged with firing more than 60 bullets into the nine of them in an effort to start a race war in America.
U.S. attorney Jay Richardson, prosecuting Roof on 33 counts of federal hate crimes, used his opening statement to introduce jurors to the men and women he said Roof killed during a church basement Bible study on June 17, 2015.
As their pictures appeared, Richardson sketched them in words: the Rev. Clementa Pinckney: pastor, husband, father; the Rev. Daniel Simmons: spiritual guide; the Rev. Sharonda Singleton: ray of sunshine, loving mother, track coach; the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor: singer, whose four young daughters always carried milkshakes to church; Cynthia Hurd: wife, sister, librarian; Ethel Lance: grandmother, church usher; Susie Jackson: called Aunt Susie by everyone, proud matriarch of the sprawling Jackson family; Tywanza Sanders, 26, a man just beginning to see the promise of an extraordinarily bright future; and Myra Thompson, leading her first Bible study.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General City Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * South Carolina * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
One question which hovered over the initial ET judgment was in relation to the doctrine of the Church in relation to marriage. I was startled when, under cross-examination, Richard Inwood had agreed that the doctrine of the Church ‘was a busted flush’. But both the ET and the EAT have ruled that, in the context of employment law, the Church’s doctrine of marriage is both clear and enforceable, and that clergy can reasonably be expected to conform to it.
As for the doctrines of the Church, this referred to the teachings and beliefs of the religion and the ET had been entitled to find these were as stated by Canon B30 (“marriage is … a union … of one man with one woman …”), evidenced, in particular, by the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage. The Respondent had applied a requirement that the Claimant not be in a same sex marriage so as to comply with the doctrines of the Church; it was not fatal to the ET’s conclusion in that regard that a different Bishop might not have done the same.
That final comment seems to me to be highly significant. Even if the Church’s doctrine has been applied inconsistently in the past, and elsewhere in the Church, then that does not undermine the action of a bishop who acts on it. In other words, if the collegial support for this doctrine in the House of Bishops collapses, and some bishops decide to declare UDI [Unilateral Declaration of Independence] and ignore the doctrine, then other bishops are still secure in law in enacting discipline based on this doctrine.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Seventy-five years ago today: pic.twitter.com/PKvDxpneaE— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) December 7, 2016
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I am speaking to you tonight at a very serious moment in our history. The Cabinet is convening and the leaders in Congress are meeting with the President. The State Department and Army and Navy officials have been with the President all afternoon. In fact, the Japanese ambassador was talking to the president at the very time that Japan's airships were bombing our citizens in Hawaii and the Phillippines and sinking one of our transports loaded with lumber on its way to Hawaii.
By tomorrow morning the members of Congress will have a full report and be ready for action.
In the meantime, we the people are already prepared for action. For months now the knowledge that something of this kind might happen has been hanging over our heads and yet it seemed impossible to believe, impossible to drop the everyday things of life and feel that there was only one thing which was important - preparation to meet an enemy no matter where he struck. That is all over now and there is no more uncertainty.
We know what we have to face and we know that we are ready to face it.
Read it all.
Update: Through the onders of the internet you hear it live there.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Women * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Asia Japan * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Even with all the setbacks from recessions, burst bubbles and vanishing industries, the United States has still pumped out breathtaking riches over the last three and half decades.
The real economy more than doubled in size; the government now uses a substantial share of that bounty to hand over as much as $5 trillion to help working families, older people, disabled and unemployed people pay for a home, visit a doctor and put their children through school.
Yet for half of all Americans, their share of the total economic pie has shrunk significantly, new research has found.
This group — the approximately 117 million adults stuck on the lower half of the income ladder — “has been completely shut off from economic growth since the 1970s,” the team of economists found.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine History Marriage & Family Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The word "survivor" seems especially fitting when describing Ray Chavez — a 104-year-old gym rat who defies his age. Chavez first became a survivor on Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor.
"I can't forget it. I never will," he says of the attack.
Chavez was stationed at the U.S. naval base when the bombing started.
"I got very emotional that day. There were so many, many innocent people that were lost," he said.
Read it all (and the video is highly recommended).
It is worth the time to look at them all.
Watch it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * General Interest Photos/Photography * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Asia Japan
By all appearances, we’re in a golden age of innovation. Every month sees new advances in artificial intelligence, gene therapy, robotics and software apps. Research and development as a share of gross domestic product is near an all-time high. There are more scientists and engineers in the U.S. than ever before.
None of this has translated into meaningful advances in Americans’ standard of living.
Economies grow by equipping an expanding workforce with more capital such as equipment, software and buildings, then combining capital and labor more creatively. This last element, called “total factor productivity,” captures the contribution of innovation. Its growth peaked in the 1950s at 3.4% a year as prior breakthroughs such as electricity, aviation and antibiotics reached their maximum impact. It has steadily slowed since and averaged a pathetic 0.5% for the current decade.
Outside of personal technology, improvements in everyday life have been incremental, not revolutionary.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Education Health & Medicine Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
....there are two misunderstandings we have to be especially on guard against in deploying the elusive and self-transcending language of the common good. One is what we may perhaps be permitted to call "the Prussian doctrine of the state": the idea of a political organisation comprehensive of all actual and possible communications, which is in itself therefore the concrete universal, the achievement and interpretation of the purposes of God. The universal good may be represented in a form we can conceive synthetically, for practical purposes, by the state or some other established order. But this conceivable form does not anticipate all possible moral demands. Concrete moral demand can always outrun synthetic moral vision; it may call us to do what we do not wholly see. That is the truth of the experience of obligation, the experience of something as required of us which is not wholly, or not yet, self-explanatory and perspicuous.
One of the most memorable features of Gaston Fessard's contribution is his recognition of the "problem" of imagining the universal common good, and his insistence that it cannot be grasped simply as an extension of scale, whether in existing community, on the one hand, or in the activity of communication, on the other.
The Prussian doctrine of the state can migrate into larger-scale bureaucratic organisations of a multinational or international character. One false universal the Scriptures can acquaint us with is that of empire. In the common good, as Gaudium et Spes sought to remind us, there is a thrust towards the universal, but the true universal is not quantitative, realised by extension of organisational scale, scope or rigour, but qualitative, too, requiring a depth of personal "communion," as Fessard names it.
The other misunderstanding we must beware of concerns the relation of the universal common good to history. The truth of history is that time is not, as Richard Wagner conceived it in Parsifal, "turned to space." Language about action in history cannot be assimilated to language about making things. The universal is not an artefact, to be constructed, replicated, copied and so on, with time as a kind of material element out of which it is wrought.
The question of the universal is inevitably a question about eschatology, the "fulfilment of the times." As this is not at the disposal of human imagination, so it is not at the disposal of human construction. What is realised historically can only be watched and hoped for, refracted indirectly through the prism of anticipation.
Read it all from ABC Australia.
A UK charity is selling a series of Christmas cards featuring images that combine traditional Biblical imagery with contemporary pictures from conflict zones across the Middle East.
Doctors of the World UK is selling the cards, with names including ‘Not So Silent Night’ and ‘The Star of Bedlam’, to raise funds for its mission to provide medical aid to people who’ve been forced from their homes by war.
The cards were designed by ad agency McCann London, incorporating Press Association photographs taken over the last year.
Read it all from the Telegraph.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Charities/Non-Profit Organizations Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary England / UK Middle East
Why are suffering Syrian and Iraqi bishops banned from visiting the UK? They only wanted to attend the consecration of the country’s first Syriac Orthodox cathedral, dedicated to St Thomas. They might even have met the Prince of Wales for a cup of tea, but after that they’d have surely returned to serve their rapidly-diminishing flocks and lead them through their daily crucifixions, beheadings, enslavement, murder, rape… Surely the Sunday Express has got this story completely wrong. Bishops banned? Why on earth?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Middle East * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Orthodox Church * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
British officials are encouraging the country to put Christ back in Christmas—even in their workplaces.
“There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to dealing with religion at work. I want to put the record straight: It is OK to hold a party and send Christmas cards,” said David Isaac, chairman of the national Equality and Human Rights Commission.
This week, Christians and politicians alike welcomed Isaac’s assurance following the growing prevalence of more generic terminology in public and office celebrations, such as “season’s greetings” and “Winterval.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Multiculturalism, pluralism Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Italy plunged into political and economic uncertainty early Monday after voters rejected a constitutional reform upon which Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had staked his government. The result is certain to reverberate across a European Union already buffeted by political upheaval and anti-establishment anger.
Ostensibly the vote was about arcane changes to Italy’s Constitution that would have streamlined government. But opposition to the reforms came from the same anti-establishment sentiment — spiked with skepticism of globalization, open borders and the feasibility of an ever-closer European Union — that has transformed the politics of a growing list of European countries.
Read it all.
Over the past two years, diplomats in Pakistan and the U.S. have scaled back contacts, according to officials in both countries. U.S. diplomats say they are afraid of what the NSA and the FBI might hear about them.
“What happened to Raphel could happen to any of us,” said Ryan Crocker, one of the State Department’s most highly decorated career ambassadors. Given the empowerment of law enforcement after 9/11 and the U.S.’s growing reliance on signals intelligence in place of diplomatic reporting, he said, “we will know less and we will be less secure.”
“Look what happened to the one person who was out talking to people,” said Dan Feldman, Raphel’s former boss at State. “Does that not become a cautionary tale?”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy The U.S. Government Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Asia Pakistan * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
There are Christians who worry about whether they can or cannot speak about their faith at work. This is a fact. There are Christians who worry about it. However, that is not to say that their concern is justified. Furthermore, we cannot – and should not – extrapolate from (for example) one media report of a Christian being disciplined for doing so to a judgement that all Christians are concerned. This is patent nonsense. Theresa May was following a report that said we should grow up and use common sense.
I did not use the word “scared”. I did not “slam” (as I am being reported to be doing) anyone. I also said clearly that this is not a concern for me and that we should get on with it with confidence.
The bit about secularists was simply that there is too often an assumption that there is a potential tension between the faiths and that others might be offended by Christians talking about their faith or the content of Christmas. This also is nonsense. However, there can be an illiberal element to some liberals who are tolerant only of those who consent to their understanding of liberalism or tolerance. That is true. However, it is not to say that all liberals are illiberal.
Read it all and you can find a Yorkshire post article on this there.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
...before we shout, we need to pay proper attention to the voices of those whose votes have caused this revolution, whether or not we like what we hear.
On both sides of the Atlantic, there has been an almighty cry of anger from a dispossessed and marginalised working class — the so-called “victims of globalisation”. Such people feel frozen out of the post-crash economy, their wages shrinking in real terms while the rich get ever richer. They are routinely accused of xenophobia, or worse, when they express concerns about changes imposed on their communities by those who live far away. In the UK, they feel abandoned by the institutions that were formed to represent them: austerity-stricken local government, the Labour Party, and the demutualised building societies.
If the C of E was still adequately present in areas of deprivation, it would not have been surprised at the revolution in popular politics that this anger caused (Comment, 1 July). But it has become so disconnected from many of these communities that it no longer hears what they are saying, let alone amplifies their voices to the nation. And, until the Church re-invests in urban ministry, places the best leaders in the most deprived parishes, and returns to the estates it has abandoned, these voices will continue to go unheard.
The Church’s agenda is being set not by the poor, but by academia, the moneyed elites, and certain sections of the secular media.
Read it all from the Church Times.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Poverty Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The House is scheduled to vote Friday on the National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation is passed annually to set the military’s budget and settle other policy issues. A significant hangup had been Democratic opposition to a provision known as the “Russell amendment,” which would have clarified conscience protections for religious groups that receive federal contracts. The amendment is named after Rep. Steve Russell (R., Okla.), who offered the amendment at the House Armed Services Committee.
Forty-two Democratic senators signed an Oct. 25 letter opposing the Russell amendment. They claim it would have authorized bigotry by allowing religiously affiliated contractors to “engage in discriminatory hiring practices” or even to fire employees for using birth control or in vitro fertilization. These accusations are grossly inaccurate, but they led to the amendment’s removal from the final bill. The U.S. now risks losing the crucial work religious service providers do for communities with the support of federal contracts.
Every day, stories of grace and mercy are being written as people of faith help those in need. Catholic Charities has helped single moms fill their basic needs. The Mormon Church, through LDS Charities, has donated wheelchairs to hundreds of thousands of people. The University Muslim Medical Association Community Clinic in Los Angeles provides care for thousands of people in a desperate part of town. The Jewish Social Service Agency supports families of children with autism. Samaritans Purse provides disaster relief across the world.
These groups are being marginalized by the federal government. What happened?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Charities/Non-Profit Organizations History Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Politics in General House of Representatives Office of the President Senate * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
In what sense is the contemporary progressive the faithful heir of Jim Crow? https://t.co/5lSLWGAR0B— Justin Taylor (@between2worlds) December 2, 2016
Perhaps progressives hope and expect that, under the heavy weight of the law, traditionalists will abandon their religious conviction that sexual relations should be confined to marriage between a man and a woman. If that is the expectation, then the project would appear to be one in suppression or elimination: disagreements about marriage and sexuality should be eliminated by using law to make one side disappear.
More commonly, though, what we hear from the progressive side is that the Christian florist and photographer and marriage counselor are still free to retain their private religious convictions about marriage. They simply cannot act on those convictions while carrying on the business of florist or photographer or counselor. Such religious commitments should be left behind when the believer enters the public square. If a believer is unwilling or unable to make that sacrifice, then she should stay at home or find some other line of work.
This position is overtly segregationist in its strategy for dealing with religious diversity. Those who take this view are analogous to the 1960s segregationist who said, “Of course there’s a place for you: it just isn’t here (in this school, or this section of the bus, or this end of the lunch counter).” In that respect, it is the contemporary progressive, not the Christian florist or photographer, who is the faithful heir of Jim Crow.
Read it all from Professor Steven Smith at PD.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Multiculturalism, pluralism Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
New video, obtained by ABC News, shows Farook two days before the attack practicing at a local firing range with a pistol and an assault rifle that a friend bought for him
The video shows Farook adjusting the sights on his rifle and then firing at paper torso silhouette targets, one of which was later recovered in the shooters’ vehicle and led authorities to the range.
“They had high-powered weaponry. They had lots of ammunition. They had bombs at their disposal,” said Burguan.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
There is no better example of the expression of good values than in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan; a story deeply embedded in our collective understanding of what it means to be a good citizen, and which reminds us that our values have not emerged from a vacuum — but from the resilient and eternal structure of our religious, theological, philosophical and ethical heritage.
It reinforces a Christian hope of our values: those of a generous and hospitable society rooted in history; committed to the common good and solidarity in the present; creative, entrepreneurial, courageous, sustainable in our internal and external relations; and values that are a resilient steward of the hopes and joys of future generations in our country and around the world — hopes that are not exclusive, but for all. That is what our values have been when they are at their best.
Burke famously wrote that society is a “partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” He articulates an idea of loyalty: loyalty to those who have sacrificed much in the past for us to be where we are; to our fellow citizens and to those whose lives will stem from our lives. Speaking of loyalty transforms the abstract idea of values — shared or otherwise — into relationships and practices.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Europol has warned that militants from so-called Islamic State (IS) will aim to step up attacks on European targets, as they face defeat in the Middle East.
The European police force says more foreign fighters will try to come back to Europe, and "several dozen" capable of attacks could already be there.
Their tactics could include car bombs, kidnappings and extortion, it said.
But the report plays down the likelihood of attacks on critical infrastructure, such as nuclear sites.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Europe * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
In the last two chapters, he offers a couple of countermeasures:
What we give we gain
What we master brings us joy
These are what he calls the formulation of "divine economics", a kind of upside-down approach to wealth where giving does not result in depletion but blessing, and where overcoming our natural appetite for accumulating wealth is the challenge that brings genuine and deep-seated peace.
"Money buys capabilities," he says.
"It also buys security, but it risks taking us further and further away from being those who wash feet, who dethrone Mammon by subverting the power of wealth to give us a better life."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Personal Finance * Theology Anthropology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
he governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have all outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror organization and want Whitehall to ban the Muslim Brotherhood’s ability to operate in Britain. These Arab countries insist that Muslim Brotherhood activists are taking advantage of Britain’s tolerant attitude toward Islamist groups to plot terror attacks in the Arab world, allegations that the Muslim Brotherhood denies, claiming that it is opposed to terrorism and violence. Pro-Western Arab states also still resent Britain and America’s involvement in supporting the removal of Mr. Mubarak, who had been a loyal ally of Western policy in the region, dating back at least to the First Gulf War.
The review’s failure to come out strongly against the Muslim Brotherhood is now causing the British government some major headaches. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have reportedly threatened to cancel lucrative trade deals with Britain in retaliation for the inquiry. Meanwhile, the British government has been heavily criticized by the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs as well as highly vocal pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Britain, who claim the review failed to take into account the brutal repression Muslim Brotherhood supporters suffered at the hands of the Egyptian security authorities after President Sisi came to power.
The continuing controversy certainly serves as an indictment of Mr. Cameron’s ill-advised meddling in Egyptian politics. Like many supporters of the Arab Spring, he took at face value the Muslim Brotherhood’s claim to be a reforming and democratic party that would transform Egypt’s political landscape following the endemic corruption of the Mubarak regime.
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The election of Donald Trump has lifted fringe ideologies, such as the alt-right, and little-known political figures, such as Trump’s immigration adviser Kris Kobach, to new levels of national prominence.
It has also elevated a group of evangelical Christian leaders and traditions that are often treated as marginal. Specifically, Trump’s victory has been an unlikely triumph for the prosperity gospel, as well as for a handful of prosperity-oriented preachers from the world of African American televangelism.
The president-elect identifies as a Presbyterian. But his rhetoric during the campaign often reflected the language of the prosperity gospel, a diffuse American Christian movement that links faith, positive thinking and material wealth into “the American religion of winning,” as journalist Jeff Sharlet described it this year.
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Social media giants should block children from sharing explicit images to help to curb Britain’s “sexting” crisis, the health secretary has said.
Jeremy Hunt also heaped pressure on tech and mobile phone companies to tackle sexting among under-18s. Technology existed to allow social media platforms to block explicit images from young users automatically, following a request from their parents, he said.
It is the latest demand from a senior government figure for social media companies to take a greater role in confronting issues such as online porn, cyberbullying and extremism.
Giving evidence to the Commons health committee yesterday, Mr Hunt said the companies needed to show that they were willing to help to improve mental health among teenagers. He warned against an online culture of intimidation and sexual imagery.
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Estates in Old Street and Bethnal Green and their local church communities have been the first to benefit from missional workers living on-site, following the success of a pioneering bond. The Missional Housing Bond was developed by a partnership of churches and charities to allow church workers to live among the communities they serve, in spite of the rising rents in the capital.
Three years of work on the Missional Housing Bond have resulted in two successful rounds of crowdfunding raising close to £1 million of capital. This has enabled a partnership involving the Diocese of London to purchase two small flats near to Inspire London church in Old Street and St Peter’s church in Bethnal Green, both rapidly growing churches in an area of London where high levels of need and deprivation exist alongside some of the highest property values in the world.
The flats are made available at social rents to church missional workers who are not only on hand to help the life of their church, but also embed themselves in the life of the local area, helping the Church to fulfill its mission to local people.
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When I introduced myself, Artan initially seemed surprised. It was his actual first day of classes at Ohio State, as he had just transferred to one of the largest college campuses in the country from a community college nearby. But he opened up quickly. He was soft-spoken, in a slightly accented voice, and friendly.
In a 20-minute, wide-ranging conversation, Artan told me about his major in logistics management. He told me about his family fleeing Somalia when he was about 10 years old — including fuzzy memories of his native, war-torn land — and then about living for years in Pakistan and how much he enjoyed it. He bemoaned what he felt were western misconceptions about Pakistan: “It’s not like people believe.” He told me about his family’s journey once they got to the United States just a few years earlier, first spending some time in Dallas before coming to Columbus, which has a large and vibrant Somali expat community.
Artan spoke calmly but seriously about his acute awareness of what he saw as major American misconceptions about Islam, his religion. From memory, he ticked off examples of Islamophobia that garnered media attention, such as the police being summoned because a man in Avon, Ohio, was speaking Arabic in a parking lot or when a college student was removed from a plane after he said “Inshallah” in a phone conversation with his uncle.
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Today some 60% of Americans age 65 or older rely on Social Security for 50% or more of their family income–the average payment is a modest $1,300 a month. For some 33% of families, the benefit makes up 90% to 100% of their income.
There’s a lot at stake for the overall federal budget as well, since entitlement programs are grabbing a larger and larger overall share of federal expenditures. Social Security alone accounts for $1 out of every $4 spent, and Medicare and Medicaid spending make up another 25%. Together these entitlement programs account for most of the future growth in spending, not including interest payments on debt, says MacGuineas.
The surge in Social Security spending is chiefly driven by the aging of the U.S. population. The leading edge of the baby-boom generation of 75 million began heading into retirement just as Obama took office. Back in 2009, the nation’s worker-to-retiree ratio stood at 3.0 to 1. Today, with more boomers having exited the workforce, the ratio has dropped to 2.8 to 1, and by 2035 it is projected to shrink to 2.1 to 1.
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In a revealing personal interview with the Sunday Times, Mrs May confessed that the Brexit debate is keeping her awake at night, but that her faith was guiding her decision making.
She said that while the issues were "really complex" she is also "very conscious" that the government needs to get on with delivering a deal for Britain.
She said: “Well, it is a moment of change. It is a hugely challenging time. And we need to get on with the deal in terms of Brexit. And I’m very conscious of that. I want to make sure that everything we do ensures Britain is a country that works for everyone.
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Melbourne's Catholic and Anglican archbishops have condemned the Andrews government's imprisonment of teenagers in "the harshest of adult prison settings", warning that teen offenders' welfare and chances of rehabilitation are at risk.
Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart and his Anglican counterpart Philip Freier have taken the "unusual step" of writing a joint letter to Mr Andrews offering to boost chaplaincy and pastoral care services to "the most vulnerable and impressionable children" in the care of the state as the youth justice crisis deepens.
Earlier this month rioting teen inmates damaged the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre at Parkville. In response, Premier Daniel Andrews' government moved some inmates to the maximum security Barwon Prison, making "no apology" for the plan.
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The problem is deeper. Trump’s campaign succeeded in spite of the cast-iron demonstrations of his total indifference to truth (not to mention decency). It has offered not a connected strategy for national reconstruction, but an incoherent series of crowd-pleasing postures; as if Trump’s real aim was not to do anything as president but simply to be president, to be the most important man in the Western world. This election represents a divorce between the electoral process and the business of political decision-making. It is the ersatz politics of mass theatre, in which what matters most is the declaration of victory.
As such, it is the most cynical betrayal of those who are disenfranchised. It confirms that they have no part in real political processes; they can only choose their monarch. They have become detached from the work of politics by the erosion of liberties and economic opportunities – one reason why there is such pressure to displace this on to a feverish defence of archaic “freedoms” such as gun ownership, and on to whatever scapegoated minority can be held responsible for unemployment or general insecurity.
The politics of mass democracy has failed. It has been narrowed down to a mechanism for managing large-scale interests in response to explicit and implicit lobbying by fabulously well-resourced commercial and financial concerns (ironically, one of the things that Trump has undertaken to change). The 2008 financial crisis sent a tremor through that world but failed to change its workings. The effect has been a growing assumption that what goes on in public political debate does not represent any voices other than the privileged and self-interested. And so, for significant parts of a population, “theatrical” politics comes to look like the only option: a dramatic articulation of the problems of powerlessness, for which the exact details of economic or social reality are irrelevant. This delivers people into the hands of another kind of dishonest politics: the fact-free manipulation of emotion by populist adventurers.
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In August, Christianity Today partnered with Deidox Films to debut The Ordinance, a documentary exploring churches’ efforts to fight predatory payday lenders. Many church leaders recognize the shameful practices of these lenders and seek to meet the needs of their church members while also fighting for justice on a legislative level. On the other side of the same coin, however, are churches attempting to fight poverty and prevent the situations that lead people to accept these loans.
In recent years, several Christian organizations have developed programs providing microloans, savings groups, and economic education in international contexts. But how much do we know about empowering our own communities? With racial and economic tensions exacerbated in recent years, the local church has a key role to play in bringing about reconciliation. Organizations like The Chalmers Center, whose founders wrote the bestselling When Helping Hurts, have recognized the vast needs in the United States and are now working to equip churches to meet economic and spiritual needs in their communities.
“As Chalmers worked to empower grassroots churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to help the poor help themselves, we became acutely aware of the same need to address poverty holistically in our own nation,” said John Mark Bowers, the Curriculum Specialist at The Chalmers Center. “After publishing When Helping Hurts, we heard from even more churches that were hungry for tools to help them walk alongside people across economic lines right here in the United States. Thus, the birth of an IDAs [Individual Development Accounts] pilot—out of which came Faith & Finances, and later, Work Life.”
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The final phase of a two year grants programme to English cathedrals for urgent repairs is announced today. Grants totalling £5,423,000 have been awarded to 24 Church of England and Catholic cathedrals for repairs including to stained glass windows, stone pinnacles, and roofs as well as drainage and lighting.
Heritage Minister, Tracey Crouch said:
"The First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund has done fantastic work to help revive and restore stunning cathedrals across the country.
"Cathedrals are not only beautiful pieces of architecture, they hold centuries of our nation's history and are centrepieces in our communities. This important fund will help maintain and repair these historic buildings so they can be enjoyed for years to come by everyone."
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For at least the first few sessions with men who have survived horrific violence during the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s north-east, therapist Kingsley Nworah knows to expect lots of long silences and scepticism.
After he helps the group establish trust, he typically then witnesses a deluge of emotions and often tears from the men as they begin to “face demons”, says Mr Nworah of the International Committee for the Red Cross.
He stresses that far too few from among the more than 2m Nigerians who fled their homes as the Islamist extremist group raped, kidnapped and murdered its way across the region have access to this type of support.
About half of those who endured the war are probably suffering from trauma and its side effects such as depression, say mental health specialists. If this problem is left untreated it will “threaten the future of the country,” says Lateef Sheikh, medical director of a psychiatric hospital in the northern city of Kaduna, where some survivors have been treated.
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Until three weeks ago, many of Abu Osama's customers were Islamic State militants who brought their wives and children to his pharmacy on the eastern edge of Mosul for injections and treatment.
Now, most of them are Iraqi security forces who recaptured the Gogjali neighborhood earlier this month and are pushing further into the city, which has been under Islamic State control for more than two years.
As the militants retreat, civilians are adjusting to a new reality in their wake and a clearer picture is emerging of what they did to survive the punishments and deprivation of Islamic State rule.
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Following a bruising presidential election, some Americans are afraid of the future. Others feel that the tumult of the campaign was necessary to disrupt business as usual. Multitudes feel that the country has lost its way, while just as many believe that the nation has finally found its footing. No doubt millions of people have witnessed these divisions at their own Thanksgiving feasts.
Many of us in the religious world wonder: How can we bridge this chasm and unify our body politic? How does the country close the fault line that divides the U.S. in half? Is it possible to stand for what we believe is right while still being civil toward the friends, family and neighbors who supported the “wrong” candidate? The way forward lies not in politics, but in something that binds us together as human beings: the simple act of giving to others.
Giving has long been invoked as a healing counterpoint to the darker sides of human nature. Tzedakah—the Jewish concept of donating at least 10% of one’s income to charity—comes from the Hebrew word for justice, or righteousness. Generosity is also at the heart of Christianity, and it is one of the five pillars of Islam.
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Okoh, who is also the Bishop of the Abuja Diocese, said recent killings in parts of Kaduna and other states were worrisome and government must take action to protect all Nigerians.
Okoh said: “The Agatu incident has not been forgotten, in fact they have not recovered and now another group; the Enugu incident is there; we cannot continue to have a repeat of such incidences.
“The government is responsible for the protection of the people; that is the essence of good governance.
“We call on the government of this country to bear in mind that they were voted into office by the people and they owe them the responsibility of protecting them.”
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The Islamic State is being crushed, its fighters are in retreat and the caliphate it sought to build in the image of a bygone glory is crumbling.
The biggest losers, however, are not the militants, who will fulfill their dreams of death or slink into the desert to regroup, but the millions of ordinary Sunnis whose lives have been ravaged by their murderous rampage.
No religious or ethnic group was left unscathed by the Islamic State’s sweep through Iraq and Syria. Shiites, Kurds, Christians and the tiny Yazidi minority have all been victims of a campaign of atrocities, and they now are fighting and dying in the battles to defeat the militants.
But the vast majority of the territory overrun by the Islamic State was historically populated by Sunni Arabs, adherents of the branch of Islam that the group claims to champion and whose interests the militants profess to represent. The vast majority of the 4.2 million Iraqis who have been displaced from their homes by the Islamic State’s war are Sunnis. And as the offensives get underway to capture Mosul, Iraq’s biggest Sunni city, and Raqqa, the group’s self-proclaimed capital in Syria, more Sunni towns and villages are being demolished, and more Sunni livelihoods are being destroyed.
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During the six decades of the Castro brothers totalitarian rule, more than two million Cubans fled their beloved island, taking solace in the words of Cuba’s most famous exile, poet and independence hero José Martí: "sin patria, pero sin amo," without a homeland, but without a master.
Countless met their deaths in the attempt to cross the seas and now trekking through the jungles of some seven countries to reach the U.S. border. One of Castro’s most heinous crimes was the massacre of 41 men, women and children attempting to flee Cuba on a tugboat on July 13, 1994. Cuban authorities sprayed the vessel with water hoses, rammed and sank it. This is not something I read. I interviewed survivors at the Guantanamo Cuban refugee camps months later. The Cuban Coast Guard refused to rescue the drowning, they told me.
There were so many other crimes and human rights abuses, largely ignored or benignly viewed by a world that gave Castro the benefit of the doubt, and only slapped him on the wrist occasionally at some forums like the United Nations.
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In the summer of 2015, armed American drones over eastern Syria stalked Junaid Hussain, an influential hacker and recruiter for the Islamic State.
For weeks, Mr. Hussain was careful to keep his young stepson by his side, and the drones held their fire. But late one night, Mr. Hussain left an internet cafe alone, and minutes later a Hellfire missile killed him as he walked between two buildings in Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State’s de facto capital.
Mr. Hussain, a 21-year-old from Birmingham, England, was a leader of a band of English-speaking computer specialists who had given a far-reaching megaphone to Islamic State propaganda and exhorted online followers to carry out attacks in the West. One by one, American and allied forces have killed the most important of roughly a dozen members of the cell, which the F.B.I. calls “the Legion,” as part of a secretive campaign that has largely silenced a powerful voice that led to a surge of counterterrorism activity across the United States in 2015 as young men and women came under the influence of its propaganda.
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Apple I Computer (1976) pic.twitter.com/8DmRsoR3LW— History In Pictures (@HistoryInPix) November 25, 2016
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About sunset, it happened every Friday evening on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast. You could see an old man walking, white-haired, bushy eye-browed, slightly bent.--Paul Harvey's the Rest of the Story (Bantam Books, 1997 Mass paperback ed. of the 1977 Doubleday original), pp. 170-172
One gnarled hand would be gripping the handle of a pail, a large bucket filled with shrimp. There on a broken pier, reddened by the setting sun, the weekly ritual would be re-enacted.
At once, the silent twilight sky would become a mass of dancing dots...growing larger. In the distance, screeching calls would become louder.
They were seagulls, come from nowhere on the same pilgrimage… to meet an old man.
For half an hour or so, the gentleman would stand on the pier, surrounded by fluttering white, till his pail of shrimp was empty. But the gulls would linger for a while. Perhaps one would perch comfortably on the old man’s hat…and a certain day gone by would gently come to his mind.
Eventually, all the old man’s days were past. If the gulls still returned to that spot… perhaps on a Friday evening at sunset, it is not for food… but to pay homage to the secret they shared with a gentle stranger.
And that secret is THE REST OF THE STORY.
Anyone who remembers October of 1942 remembers the day it was reported that Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was lost at sea.
Captain Eddie’s mission had been to deliver a message of the utmost importance to General Douglas MacArthur.
But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life. . Somewhere over the South Pacific, the flying fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, and the men ditched their plane in the ocean.
The B-17 stayed afloat just long enough for all aboard to get out. . Then, slowly, the tail of the flying fortress swung up and poised for a split second… and the ship went down leaving eight men and three rafts… and the horizon.
For nearly a month, Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun.
They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts. Their largest raft was nine by five… the biggest shark ten feet long.
But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred.
In Captain Eddie’s own words, “Cherry,” that was B-17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, “read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off.”
Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking… Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a seagull. I don’t know how I knew; I just knew.
“Everyone else knew, too. No one said a word. But peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at the gull. The gull meant food… if I could catch it.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten; its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.
You know that Captain Eddie made it.
And now you also know...that he never forgot.
Because every Friday evening, about sunset...on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast...you could see an old man walking...white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, slightly bent.
His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls...to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle...like manna in the wilderness.
It is hard to imagine America's favorite holiday as a source of political controversy. But that was the case in 1789, the year of our first Thanksgiving as a nation.
The controversy began on Sept. 25 in New York City, then the seat of government. The inaugural session of the first Congress was about to recess when Rep. Elias Boudinot of New Jersey rose to introduce a resolution. He asked the House to create a joint committee with the Senate to "wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God."
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October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
[New York, 3 October 1789]
By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions–to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, has issued the following response to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement:
Bishop David said: "The political turbulence of the past year and lower growth forecasts have meant the Chancellor has been given limited economic room for manoeuvre. But I welcome the emphasis in the Autumn Statement on long term stability, investment in innovation, in our national infrastructure and on supporting regional growth. To be a nation living within its means is an aspiration worth keeping, even if the revised figures for deficit reduction mean that the goal of its achievement has been moved slightly further away.
The Government is to be commended for wanting to address the situation of those who are 'just managing' and for its emphasis on work as being an important route out of poverty. The increases in the National Living Wage and a partial reversal of planned cuts to Universal Credit announced in today's Autumn Statement are welcome and will offer some help. But at a time when the cost of living is set to rise, more on the lowest incomes will still struggle to get by and they might benefit from more targeted assistance than further increases in the tax free personal allowance, which mostly benefits better off families, as the recent report by the Centre for Social Justice points out.
As the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have highlighted, the four-year freeze on working-age benefits is looking increasingly out of date, especially with rising inflation.
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Red Wednesday is an occasion for people to stand in solidarity with the millions who are targeted for their beliefs and are living in fear. It takes place on the Feast of the Pope and Martyr, St Clement, and a growing number of parishes, schools and groups around the country are pledging their support for the day of witness.
The buildings taking part in the Red Wednesday witness include Catholic, Church of England and Free Churches which are being lit up in red – most notably Westminster and Brentwood Cathedrals, Westminster Abbey and the Liberal Jewish Synagogue at St John’s Wood, as well as Stonyhurst and the Palace of Westminster. “We are also inviting everyone, and especially schools, groups, and university students to wear red – as a symbol of the suffering today of people of faith,” says the event’s coordinator Patricia Hatton. “Priests too can get involved by wearing red vestments to celebrate the Feast of St Clement.”
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It’s very difficult to understand the things that impel people to some of the dreadful actions that we have seen over the last few years unless you have some sense of religious literacy. You may reject and condemn it – that’s fine – but you still need to understand what they’re talking about.
And in order to understand, religious people in Europe must regain the ability to share our religious vocabulary with the rest of the continent. If we treat religiously-motivated violence solely as a security issue, or a political issue, then it will be incredibly difficult – probably impossible – to overcome it. A theological voice needs to be part of the response, and we should not be bashful in offering that.
This requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that ISIS is ‘nothing to do with Islam’, or that Christian militia in the Central African Republic are nothing to do with Christianity, or Hindu nationalist persecution of Christians in South India is nothing to do with Hinduism. Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Europe * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Seventy-seven percent of Americans, a new high, believe the nation is divided on the most important values, while 21% believe it is united and in agreement. Over the past 20+ years, the public has tended to perceive the nation as being more divided than united, apart from two surveys conducted shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The latest poll was conducted Nov. 9-13 after a contentious presidential campaign involving the two of the least popular candidates in postwar U.S. history, and as protests erupted nationwide in response to Donald Trump's victory.
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Sarah-Jane Cunningham knew that her Facebook posts about the election were rubbing her family the wrong way, but she didn’t realize the posts would get her uninvited from Thanksgiving dinner.
The 19-year-old said her mother called a week before Thanksgiving and confronted her about the Facebook posts regarding President-elect Donald Trump.
“She asked me if I was going to be disrespectful to my family, and I told her that it could work either way, Cunningham said. "If the things I am saying are disrespectful to Trump supporters, the things they are saying are also disrespectful to me."
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The US city of Bloomington in Indiana has renamed Good Friday and Columbus Day as "Spring Holiday" and "Fall Holiday" to be more "inclusive".
Mayor John Hamilton said the move would "better reflect cultural sensitivity in the workplace", local media said.
Bloomington is a traditionally liberal city. Its county gave Hillary Clinton 58.6% in the presidential election.
But the move sparked a backlash on social media, with opponents condemning it as an act of political correctness.
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AS part of efforts aimed at reducing the high level of civilian casualties being recorded in the ongoing war against insurgency in the North East, the British military has begun training of Nigerian soldiers on mitigation of collateral damage.
The development came as the Defence Headquarters in collaboration with the Centre for Civilians in Conflict, CIVIC, also began a multi-stakeholder high level dialogue on strengthening civilian protection and harm mitigation policy practice.
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I mean, is it the case that liberals believe that artistic performances — theater, music, and so forth — must be limited only to people who share their moral and political views? If I were worried that the Trump administration was going to be hostile to minorities and gays, I would have gone out of my way to make Mike Pence feel welcome at Hamilton, and hoped and prayed that the power of art moved his heart and changed his mind. But that’s not how the audience saw it. They wanted to show Pence that he is not part of their community, and the cast took it upon itself to attempt to catechize Pence at the end of the show. (And people say Evangelical movies are bad because they can’t let the art speak for itself, they have to underline the moral and put an altar call at the end!).
Let’s think about it in religious terms. If you were a pastor or member of a church congregation, and a Notorious Sinner came to services one Sunday, would you boo him as he took his seat in a pew? Do you think that would make him more or less likely to value the congregation and accept the message from the sermon? And if you were the pastor, would you think it helpful to single the Notorious Sinner out among the congregation, and tell him, in a bless-your-heart way, that you hope he got the point of the sermon (him being a bad man and all)? You should not be surprised if the Notorious Sinner left with his heart hardened to the religion and that congregation. Any good that might have been done toward converting him to the congregation’s and the pastor’s way of belief would almost certainly not come to fruition.
Look, I’m not saying that churches should downplay or throw aside their sacred beliefs to be seeker-friendly. Sure, congregations should treat visitors with respect, but the church exists to fulfill a particular purpose, to carry out a specific mission. Its behavior must be consonant with that mission. Nevertheless, a church that repudiates hospitality to guests, and thereby chooses to be a museum of the holy, violates its purpose, and diminishes its power to change the world.
So, do liberals want theaters (and campuses) to be museums of the holy, where the already converted commune with each other? Does one have to be baptized into the mystery cult of liberalism before one is allowed in the door? Because that’s the message from last night’s display at the Richard Rodgers Theater. And if this kind of thing keeps up — Trump will do nothing to stop it, because it benefits him and his tribe — America will lose one more gathering place for all of its people.
This is by no means only the fault of the left.
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
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A report released Wednesday calls out Allegheny County law enforcement officials and the court system for putting people in jail when alternatives would better serve the defendants and the taxpayers. Too bad it came out after James Marasco died of undetermined causes in the county jail while serving a 10-day sentence for loitering.
The report, by the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics, indicated the jail’s population had swelled to 2,200 despite falling crime rates. Many are locked up while awaiting disposition of their cases; 81 percent of inmates in the county jail are not serving sentences, compared with a national average of 62 percent. Only 19 percent of county inmates have been charged with violent crimes; the rest are there for drugs or the kind of lower-level crimes that landed Mr. Marasco behind bars.
Moreover, as many as 75 percent of inmates have mental illness, substance abuse problems or both. Mr. Marasco had mental illness and used drugs. Mental illness may be the underlying factor in a person’s crimes and should be taken into account before incarceration. The primary purpose of jail is correction, not treatment. It’s unlikely that a person’s mental illness will improve in jail. The illness is likely to worsen, and that is why mentally ill inmates often incur more disciplinary infractions and serve longer sentences than healthy peers.
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Abu Sayyaf, once written off as one of the global jihadist movement’s also-rans, is gaining strength in the southern Philippines by chasing down high-value victims at sea and ransoming them off for millions of dollars.
After a relative lull for most of a decade, kidnappings have surged to more than 20 annually since 2014, when the group’s main leader Isnilon Hapilon swore allegiance to Islamic State.
That rebranding—and the accompanying brutality, including beheadings—has generated international headlines and raised fears that the island-dotted region could re-emerge as a hub for Islamist terrorists, as it was for al Qaeda in the 1990s.
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(Bp Tim Dakin: Diocese of Winchester photo)
My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, for securing this debate. With Malawi on the brink of a major humanitarian crisis, there is no better time to highlight the challenges facing Africa today. I declare an interest as the chair of a small charity supporting education and development in Africa.
The welfare of the east African nations is of particular importance to me. I was born in Tanzania and spent some of my teenage years in Kenya. In the 1990s, I was the principal of a small college in Nairobi—indeed, we still keep a home situated on an old coffee farm near Thika. Through this previous experience and from regular visits, I have observed the finely balanced life which Kenyan agricultural workers live. Smallholdings are a significant element in the agricultural sector of Kenya. Many city dwellers also have a smallholding upcountry. A severe drought might mean the end of their children’s education. It may also result in families being unable to afford even the most basic medicines or in workers having to resort to desperate means of generating income to support their families.
The economic partnership agreements that we discuss today may have as much of an impact on the livelihoods of east African smallholders as a bumper harvest or a deadly drought. We have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, a sample of the difficulties caused by EPAs. I want to highlight two issues which could specifically affect the smallholder in Africa.
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The United States is one of the richest countries in the world, but it would look dramatically different if its 50 states were organized according to income instead of geography.
If that were the case, residents of the poorest state in the union would have a median household income that’s just above the federal poverty line for a family of four. They would also expect to live shorter lives than people in more than half of the world's countries.
It's not a pretty picture, according to the researchers who carried out this thought experiment.
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An American bishop and a Christian peer have avoided being attacked by Islamist militants by minutes.
Baroness Cox and Bishop Stewart Ruch were in Nigeria's Jos State on Monday 14th November to meet people affected by Islamic insurgency.
Boko Haram has left thousands of people dead in attacks on mainly Christian areas.
The pair were part of a group of church and charity leaders on a fact finding mission.
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When David Uth, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Orlando, heard of the shooting, he contacted several local pastors, telling them, “We have to minister to this community. This is a broken place now.”
For First Baptist, that meant serving the Hispanic community. The church’s Spanish-ministry pastor, , assessed needs and looked for ways to demonstrate the love of Christ. The church became aware of two young men critically wounded in the attack who were in intensive care and would soon lose their condo because they could not work.
“We contacted them and told them not to worry,” said Uth. “We told them we were going to cover their rent until they were able to get back on their feet.”
First Baptist also offered their facilities free of charge to victims’ families who wanted to hold funerals for their loved ones.
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Just when it looked as if Donald Trump might be mellowing came the unsettling symbolism of his weekend meeting with Nigel Farage, a seasoned pro of nativist politics. The leader of Britain’s pro-Brexit forces and the U.S. president-elect, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager explained, chatted “about freedom and winning and what this all means for the world.”
Just what does it mean? Kindred spirits or co-conspirators, Mr. Trump and Mr. Farage owe their respective victories – Mr. Farage’s came in June’s British referendum on leaving the European Union – to the popular backlash against globalization that they fomented with their fearful claims about the negative impacts of trade agreements and immigration. Closing their borders, they told voters left behind by technological change and ill at ease with the new demography, was the only way to recover what, in truth, is lost forever.
There is no understating the significance of the anti-globalization backlash in U.S. and British politics. These aren’t just any two countries. The United States and Britain have been the guarantors of the international order since the Second World War. Their “special relationship” led to the end of the Cold War and the growth in world trade and investment flows that lifted living standards almost everywhere and ensured the global peace.
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..you may wonder why this group [some white evangelicals] voted in historic numbers for a man like Trump. Perhaps, as some have suggested, they are hypocrites. Perhaps they are merely partisans. But I will make a further suggestion: They are scared.
Consider that over the course of the past few years, Democrats and liberals have: booed the inclusion of God in their platform at the 2012 convention (this is disputed, but it is the perception); endorsed a regulation that would allow transgendered students to use the bathroom and locker room corresponding to their identity; attempted to force small businesses to cover drugs they believe induce abortions; attempted to force nuns to provide contraceptive coverage; forced Brendan Eich to step down as chief executive officer of Mozilla due to his opposition to marriage equality; fined a small Christian bakery over $140,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding; vigorously opposed a law in Indiana that would provide protections against similar regulations – despite having overwhelmingly supported similar laws when they protected Native American religious rights – and then scoured the Indiana countryside trying to find a business that would be affected by the law before settling upon a small pizza place in the middle of nowhere and harassing the owners. In 2015, the United States solicitor general suggested that churches might lose their tax exempt status if they refused to perform same-sex marriages. In 2016, the Democratic nominee endorsed repealing the Hyde Amendment, thereby endorsing federal funding for elective abortions. Democrats seemingly took up the position endorsed by critical legal theorist Mark Tushnet [quoted on T19 this past May]:
The culture wars are over; they lost, we won. . . . For liberals, the question now is how to deal with the losers in the culture wars. That’s mostly a question of tactics. My own judgment is that taking a hard line (“You lost, live with it”) is better than trying to accommodate the losers, who – remember – defended, and are defending, positions that liberals regard as having no normative pull at all. Trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War, nor after Brown. (And taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.) I should note that LGBT activists in particular seem to have settled on the hard-line approach, while some liberal academics defend more accommodating approaches. When specific battles in the culture wars were being fought, it might have made sense to try to be accommodating after a local victory, because other related fights were going on, and a hard line might have stiffened the opposition in those fights. But the war’s over, and we won.Read it all.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Some evangelical leaders around the globe worry that the recent US presidential election has damaged Christian moral witness, and will fuel discord abroad.
In a conference call Tuesday, a week after Donald Trump’s win, more than 70 ministry presidents, pastors, and scholars spoke with concern as they discussed the ramifications of the American election on the global church.
The call was organized by Doug Birdsall, a former top leader of the Lausanne Movement and the American Bible Society, as part of his new Civilitas Group. Participants included evangelical representatives from Asia, Europe, and South America, as well as a diverse span of US church leaders.
“One of the things that America was stood for in the past was moral leadership and character. Over the past few decades, it has slowly dissipated,” said Hwa Yung, longtime bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia. “In this election you have produced two candidates, both of whom are deeply flawed in character. The question people around the world are asking is, ‘Is this what America is today?’ The election has done great damage to your moral standing in the eyes of the world.”
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“You now have billions of people on the internet, and most of them are not that happy with the status quo,” said Ian Bremmer, the president of the Eurasia Group, a research firm that forecasts global risks. “They think their local government is authoritarian. They think they’re on the wrong side of the establishment. They’re aggrieved by identity politics and a hollowed-out middle class.”
Many factors accounted for Mr. Trump’s win: middle-class economic anxiety in the industrial Midwest; an inchoate desire for some kind of change in the national direction; and some mix of latent racism, xenophobia and sexism across the electorate. But as even Mr. Trump acknowledged in an interview with “60 Minutes” aired Sunday, social media played a determining role in the race.
In the past, Mr. Bremmer said, the concerns of Mr. Trump’s supporters might have been ignored, and his candidacy would almost certainly have foundered. After all, he was universally written off by just about every mainstream pundit, and he faced disadvantages in money, organization and access to traditional political expertise. Yet by putting out a message that resonated with people online, Mr. Trump hacked through every established political order.
“Through this new technology, people are now empowered to express their grievances and to follow people they see as echoing their grievances,” Mr. Bremmer said. “If it wasn’t for social media, I don’t see Trump winning.”
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During the 2016 presidential campaign, the label “evangelical” became an especially blurred category both because of the media and because of some evangelical voices. Over the course of the campaign, the press increasingly referred to evangelicals as politically conservative, and predominantly white Christians. For some evangelicals, abortion and future Supreme Court appointments were of primary concern, placed over and against concerns for women, people of color, Muslims, and LGBT persons. This polarization, even among evangelicals, led some to conclude that evangelicals on both sides were increasingly and inextricably bound to and complicit with scandalizing words and actions that degrade people and contradict and betray the gospel of Jesus Christ. At times, these associations have not just been attributed by the press, but clearly and repeatedly captured through evangelicals’ own witness. The reported influence of the evangelical vote in the post-election surveys only intensified this view.
For some who have identified themselves as evangelical, these distorted entanglements now compel them to abandon the term, to adamantly reject further identification with evangelical and with groups associated with it. Only by distancing themselves from the now pervasive and destructive associations with evangelical do they feel they can reclaim or maintain their identity and integrity as followers of Jesus. For these, anything less than this seems like a meaningless and impossible semantic position.
As President and President Emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary, we lament and reject the disgrace that hateful words and actions by some evangelicals have heaped specifically upon people of color, immigrants, women, Muslims, and LGBT persons in our nation, as we uphold the dignity of all persons made in the image of God. We grieve and condemn the racism and fear, rejection and hatred that have been expressed and associated with our Lord. Such realities do not in any way reflect the fruit of God’s Spirit and instead evoke the sorrow of God’s heart and of our own.
To whatever degree and in whatever ways Fuller Theological Seminary has contributed or currently contributes to the shame and abuse now associated with the word evangelical, we call ourselves, our board of trustees, our faculty, our staff, our students, our alumni, and our friends to repentance and transformation.
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As Paul reminded the Christians in Philippi, “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” So, what difference does having an ultimate transcendent citizenship make for our lives as earthly citizens of the United States of America?
Having a heavenly citizenship allows us to avoid the polar postures of triumphalism on the one hand, and nihilism on the other. It allows us to unequivocally pray for President-elect Trump in his victory and pray for Secretary Clinton in her defeat. Just as we have prayed for President Obama throughout his time in office, we will, without hesitation, pray for President Trump after his inauguration just as we would have prayed for Secretary Clinton had she won the election. We must pray for and meaningfully aid President-elect Trump in “binding the wounds of division” as he put it in his conciliatory victory speech. As citizens of heaven we can have the eyes of our hearts opened to the very real pain and fear that people are feeling in many parts of our country. I received a message this morning from a friend who is a teacher asking for my prayers as she had genuinely frightened African American and Muslim children weeping in her arms today at school. Our call as citizens of heaven is to have open arms of love and compassion like my friend and to work tirelessly on our knees and in the civic square to make sure that their fears are not realized. As citizens of heaven, we are free to celebrate and magnify that which is good, and to rebuke and stand against that which is evil, regardless of which political party or politician is before us. As citizens of heaven, we know full well that all authority on earth comes under the sovereign authority of Almighty God. As citizens of heaven, we are rooted in a great and glorious truth that Christ Jesus our redeemer lives and his Spirit is within us, bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
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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.
Worth the time to go through them all.
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In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve–KSH.
P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:
It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done." The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: "The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene." Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.
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Amid protests on and off campus and a wider sense of unease among students, University of Pittsburgh leaders today sought to settle nerves frayed by an extraordinarily divisive national election that propelled Donald J. Trump to the presidency.
In an email to campus, Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said electing a president and transitioning power are Constitutional hallmarks of a Democracy. He said the process has been repeated dozens of times in the nation's history.
"However, this election feels different,'' he wrote. "While fierce debate and profound differences are part of all campaigns, this one was more negative, personal and polarizing than any in recent memory.
"And many of us have experienced post-election reactions that were powerfully personal and emotional."
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Three South Carolinians who put their political fortunes on the line backing Donald Trump early in his campaign could be rewarded with jobs in the president-elect's administration.
Those working closely with the Trump transition team say Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster, state Rep. Jim Merrill and Columbia real estate developer Bill Stern are in the best position among Trump's many Palmetto State backers to be offered to work for him in Washington, D.C.
"One thing I learned is, Mr. Trump is extremely loyal," said Ed McMullen, Trump's South Carolina campaign chairman. "Every one of the people who worked on the campaign from start to finish will be in a position to be a part of this administration because Mr. Trump directed that to be the case."
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They may not have gone to Harvard or Yale (though surely some did), but, like Ripepi, they were tired of their values and principles being the butt of everyone’s jokes — including the president’s.
In the end, their support for Trump was non-ideological and not solely a revolt by poorer whites left behind by globalization. These voters turned out for Trump, too, but it was the Ripepis of the world who put this race over the top for Trump.
Voters keep sending Washington a message, and Washington — and the reporters who cover it — keep missing the signal. On Wednesday, pundits kept trying to calculate why progressivism was rejected, and they kept looking past what was right in front of them.
Voters are rejecting big government, big banks, big corporations and big technology. They said no to establishment Republican primary candidates and Wall Street, and they hid from the political statheads trying to track their mood.
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The most important divide in this election was not between whites and non-whites. It was between those who are often referred to as “educated” voters and those who are described as “working class” voters.
The reality is that six in 10 Americans do not have a college degree, and they elected Donald Trump . College-educated people didn’t just fail to see this coming — they have struggled to display even a rudimentary understanding of the worldviews of those who voted for Trump. This is an indictment of the monolithic, insulated political culture in the vast majority our colleges and universities.
As a college professor, I know that there are many ways in which college graduates simply know more about the world than those who do not have such degrees. This is especially true — with some exceptions, of course — when it comes to “hard facts” learned in science, history and sociology courses....
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Certainly, The Times isn’t the only news organization bewildered and perhaps a bit sheepish about its predictions coverage. The rest of media missed it too, as did the pollsters, the analysts, the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign itself.
But as The Times begins a period of self-reflection, I hope its editors will think hard about the half of America the paper too seldom covers.
The red state America campaign coverage that rang the loudest in news coverage grew out of Trump rallies, and it often amplified the voices of the most hateful. One especially compelling video produced with footage collected over months on the campaign trail, captured the ugly vitriol like few others. That’s important coverage. But it and pieces like it drowned out the kind of agenda-free, deep narratives that could have taken Times readers deeper into the lives and values of the people who just elected the next president.
In other words, The Times would serve readers well with fewer brief interviews, fewer snatched slogans that inevitably render a narrow caricature of those who spoke them.
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Professor Helmuth Norpoth of Stony Brook University on Long Island correctly called this election for Donald Trump back in February, when everyone -- and I mean everyone -- was confident that Trump would lose by a big margin. Later in the season, he was joined by a different professor using a different model, but who went contrary to the popular trends and predicted the same result.
The biggest loser in this election was not Hillary Clinton. She lost, and lost decisively, to be sure -- but the professors' models predicted she would lose, and they've been infallible in past elections for decades.
No, the biggest loser -- actually, losers (to use a term beloved of our President-elect) -- are (1) the Beltway elite; and (2) the mainstream media -- who gave it everything they had, and still fell way short.
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"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else." ~ Winston Churchill
If you are unhappy about the results of yesterday's presidential election, go back and read my previous blog post.
If you are happy about the results of yesterday's presidential election, go back and read my previous blog post.
Yesterday Americans struck a blow for liberty. Political correctness lost; free speech won.
Global elitists lost; ordinary citizens won. Cynics and secularists lost; people of faith won.
The implications of those last three sentences will take time to be felt. But there is a fresh wind blowing; and it is good.
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Notwithstanding a priest's recent comment that the earthquakes in Italy recently are a judgment of God re The Issue, I think God's judgment on this world is best discerned in the course of human history. The decisions we make have consequences, and the consequences come to pass in the course of time. In Paul's repeated words in Romans 1:24, 26, 28, "God gave them up ..." we find that God does not so much visit us with punitive earthquakes as refuse to rescue us from what we have foolishly chosen to do...
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Did you notice something about the quotes? The Trump supporters spoke in less strident, more conciliatory terms. The opponents still seem to be working out the bile of the rhetoric from the campaign.
This reveals a weakness of the pure aggregation approach. Some of the more extreme reactions fairly cried out for follow-up questions.
For Harris, one might ask if one party did all the demonization. It was Hillary, not Trump, who said half of the other side was a "basket of deplorables" … "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic." Sure, she walked back from that, but only after a backlash of criticism.
For Campolo, Hatmaker and the Muslim Advocates, it would be interesting to ask: "What do you fear? What could Trump do that would pass scrutiny by Congress and the courts?"
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...to those in the United States, regardless of how you voted, this morning we are all even more aware of the fact that our country is in need of healing. There is a need for reconciliation across the divisions of race, ethnicity, class, and political party. While the issues are complicated, it is clear that many in our country are scared and feeling wounded. This is a time for the Church to be a refuge and an example. While living in this earthly kingdom, we must allow our citizenship in the heavenly kingdom to lead us in thought, word, and deed.
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Humility is hard. So is contrition. As is taking responsibility for one's own unjustified arrogance and undeniable mistakes.
But all of that and more is what America's political and media establishments owe to the country. They failed — we failed, I failed — to grasp the extent of the seismic shift that the rise of Donald Trump portended. Trump's campaign and personal behavior are so offensive to so many things that the members of these establishments take for granted, believe in, and valorize, that the thought that Trump could prevail electorally was close to unthinkable for most.
We can't blame James Comey. Hillary Clinton's slide in the polls began before he temporarily reignited his investigation into her State Department emails, and she rebounded from some of that decline over the past week.
The polls were just plain wrong.
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What can we do now? We can, first of all, maintain a prophetic clarity that is willing to call to repentance everything that is unjust and anti-Christ, whether that is the abortion culture, the divorce culture, or the racism/nativism culture. We can be the people who tell the truth, whether it helps or hurts our so-called “allies” or our so-called “enemies.”
Moreover, no matter what the racial and ethnic divisions in America, we can be churches that demonstrate and embody the reconciliation of the kingdom of God. After all, we are not just part of a coalition but part of a Body — a Body that is white and black and Latino and Asian, male and female, rich and poor. We are party of a Body joined to a Head who is an Aramaic-speaking Middle Easterner.
What affects black and Hispanic and Asian Christians ought to affect white Christians. And the sorts of poverty and social unraveling among the white working class ought to affect black and Hispanic and Asian Christians. We belong to each other because we belong to Christ.
The most important lesson we should learn is that the church must stand against the way politics has become a religion, and religion has become politics.
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Prayers following the US election result: pic.twitter.com/G4mSeDAup5— Justin Welby ن (@JustinWelby) November 9, 2016
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Donald J. Trump shocked the world Tuesday, winning election as the 45th president of the United States.
The Republican nominee’s victory came after projections showed him winning the states of Florida and North Carolina, as well as Wisconsin, which a Republican nominee had not won in decades.
Trump, once again, defied all the predictions.
His condemnations of the political establishment and his insistence that he alone can restore American greatness resonated with voters far from the media epicenters of the east and west coast. They came out in huge numbers to lift him to victory in the key battleground states.
Polling organizations will face hard questions as to how they misread Trump’s backing so badly, even though aides to the candidate had long insisted that there were “shy” supporters who were not admitting their allegiances.
Read it all and for some analysis of the voting patterns see fivethirtyeight
Father, we are an anxious and fearful people. For all of our bluster and bragging, we are so easily shaken. We are anxious about money, anxious about the future, anxious about the economy, anxious about the election, anxious about our enemies, anxious about food, anxious about health, anxious about safety, anxious about everything under the sun. We live in so much fear. And we confess that anxiety is fundamentally a form of pride. Our anxiety is our sinful and arrogant reaction to the truth that we are not ultimately in control.
This is a great evil.
Father, as your people, we too live in fear. We have baptized the worries and anxieties of the world. We have feared what they fear, and lived in dread of what they dread. And in our fear and anxiety, we have become reactionary and easily manipulated. And because our anxiety and fear feels so justified by the riskiness of life, we do not feel it to be really sinful. We do not feel the arrogance in our insecurities.
Forgive us, O God, in your great mercy.
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General Orders, May 15, 1776–
The Continental Congress having ordered Friday the 17th. Instant to be observed as a day of “fasting, of humiliation, of prayer, humbly to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God, that it would please him to pardon all our manifold sins and transgressions, and to prosper the arms of the United Colonies, and finally, establish the peace and freedom of America, upon a solid and lasting foundation”–The General commands all officers, and soldiers, to pay strict obedience to the Orders of the Continental Congress, and by their unfeigned, and pious observance of their religious duties, incline the Lord, and Giver of Victory, to prosper our arms.
You are indeed the Giver of Victory. Prosper the arms of Your angelic hosts to establish the peace and freedom of America, upon a solid and lasting foundation. Amen.
John Onwuchekwa, Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, Georgia:
Guiding Principles: Corporate prayer takes up a significant time of our corporate gathering—usually 15-20 minutes total, split between four prayers. So we don’t pray for our leaders merely around election cycles, but all the time.
Praying for our leaders routinely and regularly helps to remind our church that we’re appealing to someone who’s actually in control. This regularity especially helps mitigate the fears of people who tend to be consumed with politics under the sun, reminding us that our hope for change here on the earth ultimately lies beyond the sun, not under it.
We keep an eye toward unity in the church. Politics tends to divide—especially when you have a diverse church. As we pray, we’re reminded that the biggest obstacle to the church fulfilling its purpose in the world is disunity.
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Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States...[and of my 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.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Economics, Politics Politics in General House of Representatives Office of the President Senate State Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
First, we can do better ourselves and we can work to make the world better. How we live matters. Public policy matters. Our political and economic choices change other people’s lives. The poor depend upon our making good choices. We can’t bail out. We cannot say “a pox on all your houses” (the Mennonite option) and drop out.
Second, the world will still be a painful place no matter what political choices we make. People don’t stop being sinful even if a nation elects the best politician with the best policies, and no nation ever does that. People will always suffer. The workers and the poor will still suffer the exploitation Leo condemned. No political achievement is ever unmixed with evil. No achievement lasts. Power tends to corrupt.
The answer is Christ and his Church. Leo wrote at the end of Rerum Novarum: “Since religion alone can destroy the evil at its root . . . the primary thing needed is to return to real Christianity.” Treat politics seriously, but don’t expect it to save the world. Someone else will do that.
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For over a century, the best response to Plato’s critique of democracy has been John Dewey’s claim that precious and fragile democratic experiments must put a premium on democratic statecraft (public accountability, protection of rights and liberties, as well as personal responsibility, embedded in a fair rule of law) and especially on democratic soulcraft (integrity, empathy, and a mature sense of history). For Plato, democratic regimes collapse owing to the slavish souls of citizens driven by hedonism and narcissism, mendacity and venality. Dewey replies that this kind of spiritual blackout can be overcome by robust democratic education and courageous exemplars grounded in the spread of critical intelligence, moral compassion, and historical humility. The 2016 election presents a dangerous question as to whether Dewey’s challenge to Plato’s critique can be met.
Yet Clinton is not a strong agent for Dewey’s response. There is no doubt that if she becomes the first woman president of the United States — though I prefer Jill Stein, of the Green Party — Clinton will be smart, even brilliant, in office. But like her predecessor, Barack Obama, she promotes the same neoliberal policies that increase inequality and racial polarization that will produce the next Trump. More important, she embraces Trump-like figures abroad, be they in Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Israel, or Syria — figures of ugly xenophobia and militaristic policies. The same self-righteous neoliberal soulcraft of smartness, dollars, and bombs lands us even deeper in our spiritual blackout. Instead we need a democratic soulcraft of wisdom, justice, and peace — the dreams of courageous freedom fighters like Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Joshua Heschel, Edward Said, and Dorothy Day. These dreams now lie dormant at this bleak moment, but spiritual and democratic awakenings are afoot among the ripe ones, especially those in the younger generation.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Philosophy Psychology Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
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