Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Forward in Faith (and Ruth Gledhill) Respond to HofB Amendments

Forward in Faith UK has issued the following statement in response to the House of Bishops amendments to draft legislation on women bishops:

Forward in Faith welcomes the amendments to the draft legislation on women bishops passed by the House of Bishops on Monday.
The first amendment secures the provision of bishops for traditional catholics and conservative evangelicals who are not simply male, but who share the theological convictions of those to whom they will minister. For traditional catholics, that means bishops ordained into the historic episcopate as we understand it. The draft Measure now recognises that our position is one of legitimate theological conviction for which the Church of England must provide. This principle will be enshrined in law.
The second amendment helpfully clarifies that the charism of episcopal ministry derives from the fact of a bishop’s ordination, and is not by delegation from another bishop.
It was disappointing that the amendment which would have implemented co-ordinate jurisdiction was not passed. The draft Measure stills fails, therefore, to address questions of jurisdiction and authority in the way we need.

On a lighter note is Ruth Gledhill’s succinct headline summation of the press release announcing the HofB amendments:

Church of England Issues Worst-Written Press Release Since the Reformation.

And that is certainly one of the best-written headlines I’ve come across.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ABC, NBC Evening “News” Shows Ignore Catholic Lawsuit v. Obama

Yesterday 43 Catholic institutions, including Notre Dame, sued the Obama Administration for violating their freedom of religion via the Obamacare birth control mandate.  Whoever one stands with on this matter (And you know where I stand.), one would, I hope, agree that this is rather newsworthy.
Yet last night’s evening news shows from ABC and NBC ignored the lawsuit.  And CBS did not do much better, grudging only 19 seconds to this news.
I have to agree with Brent Bozell on this one:
They are now withholding news from the American people if it is harmful to the re-election of Barack Obama.
This is not a mistake, nor is it an editorial oversight by the broadcast networks. This is a deliberate and insidious withholding of national news to protect the ‘Chosen One’ who ABC, CBS and NBC have worked so hard to elect and are now abusing their journalistic influence to reelect Obama. And when a network like CBS mentions the suit ever-so-briefly, they deliberately distort the issue by framing it as a contraception lawsuit instead of what they know it to be: a religious freedom issue. It’s bogus, dishonest – a flat out lie.
The fact is that the Catholic Church has unleashed legal Armageddon on the administration, promising ‘we will not comply’ with a health law that strips Catholics of their religious liberty. If this isn't 'news' then there's no such thing as news. This should be leading newscasts and the subject of special, in-depth reports. Instead, these networks are sending a clear message to all Americans that the networks will go to any lengths – even censoring from the public an event of this historic magnitude – to prevent the release of any information that will hurt Obama’s chances of re-election.
The so-called 'news' media have sunk to a new low. This is despicable.

Well, I’m sure the “Mainstream” “News” Media has sunk lower than this before.  Dan Rather’s attempted pre-election hit on W with a bogus story comes to mind.  Let us not underestimate the Fourth Estate! 

But otherwise, I’d say Mr. Bozell has it about right.


Housekeeping: I will be particularly busy for about two weeks.  So do not be unduly alarmed (or rejoice unbecomingly) if I post infrequently during this time.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cranmer shows us how to fight tyrants.

I know that I disappointed some when this blog took a turn in 2008.  I saw tyrants taking (more) power and felt it my duty to sound the alarm and expose them and have done so since.  Although this blog has always clearly put “worldly things” under its remit and although I’ve not taken my eye off “churchly” matters, I acknowledge the shift in focus was unpleasant.  But needful tasks often are.
I changed my focus because I believe tyranny must be opposed as early and as clearly as possible.  For tyrannical acts that succeed with little or ineffective opposition become precedents.  See Roe v. Wade.  And, yes, there are times when one should even refuse to submit to tyrannical so-called authority for that very reason.
I could go on about this, as you very well know, but better that I defer to an ashen archbishop who shows us all how to stand up to tyrants. 
As many of you know, the UK Advertising Standards Authority has harassed and threatened Cranmer over his running a very upbeat ad in support of traditional marriage on his site.  He has not only fought back very publicly, but also refused to acknowledge that the ASA has authority in this matter.
His latest missive to the ASA is masterful, particularly in picking apart ASA’s claim to have any authority over political advertising:
By choosing to investigate a promotional campaign which sought merely to uphold the traditional view of marriage, it is clear that you have expanded your remit to incorporate the promotion of political causes and ideas, which the CAP Code states specifically is excluded from the scope of your competence, except where they are ‘direct solicitations of donations for fund-raising’. That is manifestly not the case with the Coalition for Marriage advertisement: the only direct solicitation was for people’s signatures upon a petition. That the campaign is political is in no doubt, because HM Government have decreed it so by their decision to investigate those schools which advocate support of the marriage petition, which a minister has referred to as ‘political campaigning’. Your decision to investigate the complaint with threats and menaces, contra your own online remit, constitutes bullying, harassment and intimidation, which amounts to censorship of the cause for the retention of traditional marriage and the idea that marriage is a union of one man and one woman.

By sending out ‘complaint’ papers which demand responses with such phrases as ‘We require you to respond...’ and ‘we will need to see robust documentary evidence to back the claims and a clear explanation from you of its relevance’; and by doing so with demands to answer your questions by a certain deadline with threats of punitive action for non-compliance, you fraudulently convey an excess of power and claim an authority which you do not, in law, possess. You impress upon the recipient that you are the superior moral agent, and that submission and obeisance are the only appropriate response. Authority which is exerted without right is an illegitimate use of power; illegitimate authority is tyranny; and tyranny leads to injustice, which can have no authority at all. By abusing your self-certified power and self-authenticated authority for the perpetuation of an image of your self-integrity, you deny all authority. You ought to rename yourselves the Political Substandard Tyranny.
Further, he points out that the Chairman of the ASA, being Vice President of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, is a player in the political fight over gay marriage and has a glaring conflict of interest.  The said Chairman is abusing and exceeding his authority in order to harass political opposition.
And I think it important again to emphasize that Cranmer has been very public in standing up to the ASA.  Citizens who take a stand and say NO loud and clear to tyrants are perhaps the best remedy to tyranny.
But do not take my word for it.  Get thee hence and let His Grace show you how to deal with tyrants.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Bittersweetness of the Ascension

Last night during Holy Communion, it hit me what a bittersweet celebration is the Feast of Ascension.
Yes, the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven to take the throne and to intercede for us is glorious and comforting.  Certainly, his departure and ascension is for our good as he said. (John 16:7)
But still, he is not visibly with us.  And the church yearns to be with him.  Yes, he is always with us.  But it is not the same as seeing him there beside us as the disciples did during the 40 days after his resurrection.  We miss him, one might say.
That departure is symbolized by the Paschal Candle. Back at the beginning of the Easter Vigil comes one of the most dramatic moments of the liturgical year when the lit candle is carried into a darkened sanctuary with the chant “The Light of Christ!”.  (I’ve been fortunate to get to carry out that task the past two years.)  The candle stays lit during the 40 days (or theoretically so.  Like most parishes we keep it lit as long as possible when the church doors are open so as to give the illusion of it being continually lit.).
And, yes, as you can tell, the Paschal Candle is a comfort and reminder to me of his presence and his ever living for us.
But then during or immediately after the Gospel on Ascension Day, in which Jesus is “parted from” the disciples, the Candle is extinguished.  This year I did that, too.  (Note that we do not keep it lit until Pentecost.)
And it is bittersweet indeed.  I found myself both joyful but quite subdued during Holy Communion last night.  I guess it is one of those Anglican things – he’s with us, but he’s not with us. 
And we, his church, do miss him.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Second Catholic College May Drop Student Health Insurance Because of Obamacare

Ava Maria University is considering whether to drop heath care insurance for students.  And the problem is not only the HHS Obamacare mandate for contraception.
University officials plan to meet Monday to discuss their insurance options and potentially make a decision.
Towey said the school’s insurance provider told them that students would be looking at a premium increase ranging from 65 to 82 percent in the coming year if no changes are made.
“At a minimum, we’ve got to communicate to students on why they’re going to see a huge spike in insurance,” Towey said. He added, though, “we just might get out of this business.”
But . . . but I thought Obamacare was supposed to get healthcare costs under control.

And Now . . . Gender-baiting

As if we are not afflicted enough by race-baiting, congressional Democrats are now trying to score political points with gender-baiting.  The excuse for such is that D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton will not be allowed to push babykilling testify in subcommittee for allowing the District of Columbia to allow late term abortions.
But why should the Republicans in charge of the relevant subcommittee invite that Democrat to testify? What, are Republicans supposed to assist Democrats in proclaiming their murderous message?  The Democrats on the subcommittee can call a witness and they chose not to call her.  It is their own fault she will not be testifying. 
But then Democrats turn around and blame and gender-bait Republicans for that.  Incredible.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In case anyone thinks those Catholics were bluffing about the Obamacare mandate . . .

 . . . they wern’t.
 The Obama Administration has mandated that all health insurance plans must cover “women’s health services” including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing medications as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Up to this time, Franciscan University has specifically excluded these services and products from its student health insurance policy, and we will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life.
Additionally, the PPACA increased the mandated maximum coverage amount for student policies to $100,000 for the 2012-13 school year, which would effectively double your premium cost for the policy in fall 2012, with the expectation of further increases in the future.
Due to these changes in regulation by the federal government, beginning with the 2012-13 school year, the University 1) will no longer require that all full-time undergraduate students carry health insurance, 2) will no longer offer a student health insurance plan, and 3) will no longer bill those not covered under a parent/guardian plan or personal plan for student health insurance. The current student health insurance plan will expire on August 15, 2012.
Oh, and remember “If you like your health care coverage you can keep it”?
Hat tip to Hot Air.

Well, that was quick.

Remember a few short days ago when Obama came out for gay marriage?  He said he was all for states’ rights on the issue (SNORT!).
But yesterday, while speaking at a gay fundraiser, of course, he calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). 
But the chief purpose of DOMA (signed by Bill Clinton, by the way) was to protect states’ rights on the issue, to ensure that marriage status of gays in Texas would not be decided by Vermont.  And Obama would replace DOMA with . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ?
So much for states' rights.
Now I knew that the president is a habitual liar, but to out himself as one so quickly on this issue is a remarkable accomplishment.
I will say that bait-and-switch is old hat for the gay rights crowd although usually done more artfully than Obama’s prevarications. 
Remember the good old days when gay rights was about “tolerance”?  That soft sell was mere bait and is now long out of fashion.  Now it’s You must support gay marriage, gay adoption and the whole LGQBLTWXYZ agenda, or you’re a BIGOT who should be stopped (or worse (severe language warning))!
Do not be fooled.  The gay rights crowd is all about taking away the rights of those BIGOTS who disagree, be it states rights or freedom of religion or freedom of speech.  We’ve seen that again and again in the U.K.  (The latest being the harassment of Cranmer.)  We are only beginning to see that here in the U.S.
And Obama is enabling that with one side of his mouth while lying about it with the other.
Kudos to David Fischler for pointing that out well.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Rigged Standing Committee helps rig Crown Nominations Commission

One wishes one could forget the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.  Created in such a way as to undermine the Primates Meeting, it was so stacked with Western liberals that several Southern orthodox openly stopped attending, saying their presence had been rendered pointless.
Such committees then fade into irrelevance, right?  Sadly not in this case.  For the Standing Committee has appointed the Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan to the Crown Nominations Commission tasked to pick the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
As the press release puts it, “The Standing Committee then voted by single transferable vote — the method agreed by the Anglican Consultative Council for all its elections — and Morgan’s name emerged.”
This reminds me of Exodus 32:24.  To paraphrase and adapt, “they threw in their votes, and out came this appointment.”  As if the appointment just happened and was not caused by a perniciously and willfully rigged process.
And after the appointment of --Morgan, I fear the same could be said of whomever the Crown Commission picks.  The appointment of --Morgan is truly egregious.  With the exception of the Presiding Heretic herself, one could hardly think of an appointment more obnoxious to the orthodox.  Unless the commission somehow makes a great pick for Canterbury after all, the credibility of the next Lord of Canterbury is already undermined.
Perhaps the silver lining is that if a good pick is somehow made, no one could say it came from a commission of mossback reactionaries.  But given the blowhard that Morgan is, I would not put it past him to spout off and undermine a reasonable pick for Canterbury.
It is hard to see anything good coming out of this provocative appointment, just as it is hard to see anything good coming out of the stacked Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.
And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off: so they gave it me; and I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Most Egregious Thing About Obama’s Gay Marriage Statement

When I think about, ah, those soldiers or airmen or Marines, sailors, who are out there fighting on my behalf

On “my” behalf??

What a megalomaniac.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

About Bishop Todd Hunter (and 1 Timothy 5:22)

There has been concern expressed online and elsewhere about the appropriateness of Todd Hunter speaking at the upcoming ACNA Provincial Assembly in the aftermath of AMiA’s fall out with Rwanda. (+Hunter is (or was) an AMiA bishop.)
Bishop Todd Hunter of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has been received by the Anglican Church in North America and will serve as an assistant bishop in the office of the primate, the Most Rev. Robert Duncan.
And I agree with Matt Kennedy that it is good to see him, at his initiative, reconciled with Rwanda.
Bishop Hunter also stated that he had asked for and had received forgiveness from the Primate of Rwanda, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje for “my part in actions, attitudes or communications that were hurtful to him or to my brother bishops in Rwanda.”
So he, Bishop Duncan, and others involved are to be commended for getting this matter resolved and that well before the Provincial Assembly.
However (“Uh, oh,” my readers are saying.), I think we should not let pass without comment a significant reason Todd Hunter got into this mess in the first place.  The following gives a clue about that:
When I walked across the dance floor and was introduced to Anglicanism three years ago I was told repeatedly that we were all working toward one, unified, missional, kingdom-oriented, Spirit-enabled Anglican church in North America. I took that vision into my heart and have pondered it since,” [Bishop Hunter] said.
So he was an Anglican for only three years before being made an Anglican bishop?  Not exactly.  He was made bishop back in 2009.  Look at his own statement back in 2009 between his election and consecration as bishop in the AMiA:
It is big shocker because in the past I would have never thought of myself as an Anglican. While I admired and respected Robert Webber from a distance, I was not one of those people on the Canterbury Trail. I’ve often said over the last six months that this has all come out of the blue for me.
It is not clear exactly what “six months” refers to.  But “three years ago” is 2009. So, by his own admission, he was Anglican for less than a year before being elected an Anglican bishop. (By the way, I remember overhearing talk of this at the Bedford Provincial Assembly.)  That is indeed “out of the blue.”  Read more of his 2009 statement and the comments there to get a flavor of that.
Paul commanded Timothy to “lay hands hastily on no man.” (1Tim. 5:22) It is safe to say that making a new Anglican an Anglican bishop is hasty.
And it put Hunter in a difficult position.  Certainly, to be a bishop of a church and tradition of which one is just getting to know is not an easy position to be in.  That goes double for Anglicanism, in which jurisdictions can be slightly labyrinthine.  This all compounded the difficulty of dealing with the mess when Chuck Murphy went rogue.
Again, +Hunter is to be commended for setting matters aright.  And he may turn out to be an outstanding bishop.  It is clear Archbishop Duncan is among those who have high hopes for him.  God is gracious and often causes undertakings that did not start well to become great blessings and end well.  Even some of the church fathers were made bishops very quickly.  And if anyone is to be criticized, it is those who laid hands on Todd Hunter more than Mr. Hunter himself. 
But Paul did not give the above commandment to Timothy for nothing.  And the awkwardness in which +Hunter found himself in recent months illustrates part of St. Paul’s wisdom.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Those who are old enough, remember when food and household product corporations would hype the most trivial changes in their products as “New! Improved!”?
Well, that is exactly what I am doing.  In the past, getting to the home page of this blog has been cumbersome.  But not any more!  There is now a convenient link to the right that takes you directly to “home.”  Wow!
And I’m adding a few other links, too, including one to my BRAND NEW tumblr account, where I will display (mostly) my photography.  4 OUT OF 5 . . . Well, I’ve been told I’m a good photographer at times.
If you go to my tumblr page IN THE NEXT TEN MINUTES, you will receive a special photographic greeting. 
Admittedly, the tumblr site is bare bones at the moment.  I might add comments and spruce it up later.  Then I can hype “NEW! IMPROVED!” again.

You might need coffee if . . .

. . . you take your F-150 in to be serviced . . . to a Chevy dealership.

Monday, May 07, 2012

About Those Empty Seats

An aspect of Obama’s official campaign kick off rallies (as if Obama has ever stopped campaigning) that has gotten much attention in the conservative blogosphere are all those empty seats at Ohio State.
And those empty seats should get some attention.   Ohio State is a rather large university with an enrollment of over 55,000 at their Columbus campus alone.  They are indeed in the midst of their spring term.  (I double-checked.)  The Obama campaign did indeed work “feverishly” to fill up that arena . . . and utterly failed.
I point all this out because if the Obama campaign cannot fill up an arena for a key speech by the The Dear Leader himself in the midst of so many students under such favorable circumstances, it says volumes about what has happened to the enthusiasm of youth for Obama. 
Maybe they are wising up to what Obama is doing to their financial future . . . and present. 

Friday, May 04, 2012

At Methodist GC, Libchurchers Go Booooo Hooooo

This week the United Methodist General Conference defeated an attempt to weaken its stand against “the practice of homosexuality”.  Overseas delegates, particularly from Africa, were important in defeating said Hamilton-Slaughter motion, which would have replaced language clearly opposing homosexual practice with:
Homosexuality continues to divide our society and the church. All in the United Methodist Church affirm that homosexual persons are people of sacred worth and all are welcome in our churches, but we disagree as a people regarding whether homosexual practices is contrary to the will of God. . . .
And then more nice words, including:
It is likely that this issue will continue to be a source of conflict within the church. We have a choice: We can divide, or we can commit to disagree with compassion, grace, and love, while continuing to seek to understand the concerns of the other. Given these options, schism or respectful co-existence, we choose the latter.
I note that paragraph because the reaction of libchurchers to defeat revealed those words to be little more than just that, words.  They marched into the conference proceedings and disrupted them with chant and song.
Disrupting a church’s meeting like that is not “respectful co-existence”.  It is insufferable self-righteousness and victim-playing that respects neither the processes of church governance nor orthodox Christians and their upholding of traditional morality.  In other words, it is typical libchurcher behavior.  “Moral infants” banging “spoons on their high chairs” has got it about right.
It would greatly improve this and future church synods and conventions of Methodists and of other denominations if those engaging in such behavior were immediately stripped of their badges and banned from such meetings for ten years . . . or at least sent to stand in the corner.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Texas Chainsaw Prosecution Massacre

At the risk of sounding like a bleedin’ heart lib’rul, I cannot help but notice a rash of news from Texas that does not reflect well on prosecutors.
First, another two Dallas County men have been cleared of previous convictions thanks to advances in DNA evidence.  That brings to 32 the number of men so cleared of past Dallas County convictions.
Now it is a good thing DNA science has advanced to make more clear the guilt or innocence of many.  And the current Dallas Co. District Attorney Craig Watkins is to be commended for being proactive in reversing past wrongful convictions which did not happen under his watch.  May his tribe increase.  And it is good that under Texas law, if you have a conviction reversed and receive a declaration of “actual innocence,” you are entitled to $80,000 for each year of wrongful imprisonment.
BUT if so many men in one county have had convictions reversed, it makes one wonder just how many innocent people are rotting in prison.
Just Northeast of Dallas, in Denton County, one judge was so enraged by two prosecutors withholding evidence from the defense, he has banned the two from his court, adding that they lack “the innate intellect of a fifth-grader”.  Read more to get an idea of the displeasure of Judge Burgess and the cause thereof.
Down in South Texas in Nueces County last week was the sensational hearing on the infamous 2007 capital murder conviction of Hannah Overton for allegedly poisoning her foster child . . . with salt. 
Yes, the conviction was absurd and aided by questionable and confusing instructions to the jury by Judge Longoria.  Some jurors polled afterward indicated they voted to convict because of supposed slowness of Overton to get medical attention (But she wasn’t slow, and testimony last week indicated greater speed probably would not have saved the boy anyway.), not because they thought she intentionally and with malice and aforethought killed him.  But by definition you have to have that intent to convict for capital murder.
With evidence of prosecutorial misconduct arising since, an appeals court ordered a hearing in Longoria’s court.  In it, the 2007 prosecutor Sandra Eastwood (since fired, thank God) did not come off well.  Testifying reluctantly under a subpoena, many of her answers were of an “I don’t remember” variety.  And a member of her 2007 prosecution team, Anna Jimenez, frankly testified that she was so troubled by Eastwood’s ethics that she complained to the District Attorney.  Then there was this:
According to Jimenez, Eastwood told her, “I will do anything to win this case.” Jimenez also recalled Eastwood sending someone to spy on Hannah’s fellow church members in order to determine what sort of defense strategy would likely be pursued at trial. (Eastwood denied Jimenez’s allegations.)
“Her behavior during the entire course of this trial was so—” Jimenez said, taking a few moments to search for the right words, “—far out.”
I think that cuts to the core of the problem with Sandra Eastwood and with too many prosecutors.  They will “do anything to win” regardless of ethics, the evidence or lack thereof, and justice.  Given the choice of laying a case aside when the evidence for guilt is lacking or going for a scalp, they will go for a scalp.  And if innocent people are sent to prison . . . well defending them is neither their job nor their concern.
I wish I could say the current Nueces County D. A. is not of this ilk.  But Mark Skurka’s office is fighting the effort to overturn Overton’s conviction.
Pamela Colloff’s reporting on this case has been stellar.  Recent posts from her may be found here.  And be sure to read her excellent Texas Monthly article on Hannah Overton.
I continue to pray for real justice for Hannah Overton and all who are wrongfully imprisoned.

MORE: I forgot to mention that the similarities between the Hannah Overton case and another wrongful conviction for alleged salt poisoning are remarkable and relevant.