Saturday, 7 April 2007

Giles Fraser: Why Liberals believe in the resurrection more than Evangelicals do

Ed: Not Fraser's title, but what he wants to say nevertheless.

The only time I have ever been asked directly: “Do you believe in the resurrection?” was during a job interview. I answered that I did, and that, moreover, believing in the resurrection is a great deal more than believing in the empty tomb. The resurrection is either a life-changing belief, or it is nothing. It is not, therefore, simply a belief about a matter of fact that happened long ago.

I found out later (after I got the job) that the question was designed to search and destroy those whom some might consider too liberal. Well, they asked the wrong question. Liberals now are much more comfortable with the resurrection than many others in the Church.

Sure, some liberals might frame their commitment to the resurrection with a load of well-meaning waffle about the epistemological complexity of “knowing” something without evidence. Even so, I believe it is liberals who are most committed to the resurrection, out of all the theological tribes of the Church.

Of course, Evangelicals believe in the Bible. This enables them to hold their hands up to anything that’s in it. None the less, most Evangelicals subscribe to the doctrine of penal substitution. And on this model, the resurrection is almost an unnecessary add-on of the overall story of salvation. What Evangelicals really believe in is the cross. Read more

Easter message from the Archbishop of Sydney

[...] We humans are all, no matter what our origin or the colour of our skin, bearers of the image and likeness of God. We are therefore of great worth and we all deserve to be treated with the dignity belonging to our God-given humanity. Read more.

Listen here.

Church 'fails' to spread message

Ed: In a corporation that is failing, the management takes the blame. Expect to see more cuts in parish clergy soon.

The Church of England is guilty of "corporate failure" because it has not properly spread the message of Christ, the Archbishop of York has said. Read more

Listen to Dr Sentamu's interview here.

Ed: Absolutely worth a listen, but I'm not sure that Sentamu presents a good advocacy of Christianity here, as distinct from spiritually-based moralism!

Senior Catholic says Britain is heading for moral danger

Britain is becoming “aggressively antireligious”, according to a senior Roman Catholic Archbishop. The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, said that acts of terrorism such as the July 7 bombings had “shaken people’s perception” of the presence of all faiths in the UK.

In an interview with The Times, he also accused the Government of neglecting “moral values” that should form the bedrock of society. Read more

Friday, 6 April 2007

Good Friday: The Crucified Creator

(4 talks, about 12 minutes each)

[...] The problem with a truncated view of the atonement is that it has a truncated view of evil. Jeffrey John makes this comment on the sufferings of Auschwitz:

For me ... this above all is the meaning of the Cross: that God is one with us in our sufferings
And there is a truth in that. But if we stop there, then that truth becomes a falsehood, because we must go on to consider the causes of the sufferings of Auschwitz: what makes men and women, created in the image of God, behave like the very devil?

Furthermore, how should God respond to that? It is not enough that he suffers too, for that simply identifies him with the victim.

If he is going to save sinners, he must also identify with the oppressor. And here, Christ’s relationship with creation as its creator is all-important. [...]

Listen to Talk 1, Talk 2, Talk 3, Talk 4.

Jesus walks into a bar ...

'JESUS asked his mates to stay with him, but they got pissed and fell asleep, the bloody bastards." As an account of the disciples' failure in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before Jesus was cruci fied, it may lack the poetry and majesty of the King James Bible. But the 22 street people in a dingy city basement get the point powerfully.

This rather loose Bible reading from Matthew 26 by a young church worker, Virginia Moebus, is part of a weekly gathering in Credo Cafe, run by Urban Seed in Melbourne, a Baptist Church outreach to homeless and drug-addicted city dwellers.

Most of these people would never set foot in church, but they come faithfully to the gathering, followed by the free lunch served every day. "People see it like their living room, especially if they are on the street. It's somewhere they can come and sit down and be warm and safe," Moebus says. Read more

The Times: Harder to talk about Easter


So isn’t it enough to believe that Christ was just a good man, a moral teacher, the classic victim of a cruel injustice? You can’t do it. Try as you might, none of the Good Friday story makes an iota of difference in the world without the Resurrection. Not just because without it Jesus is just another wronged man in a flawed world. But because it is only the shock of the empty tomb on Sunday morning that helps us to make sense of what happened on Friday.

It leads us to understand that all that suffering and dying was not the result of some horrible persecution of some man by isolated groups of Jews or Romans or former friends and followers. But that it was a man who represented all humanity who was the victim. That we were brought in that shocking moment of earthly suffering into complete union with the creator of it all — when in “strange and awful strife, met together death and life”, as the Easter hymn puts it. The idea that God himself suffered with us so we could all be saved is the central mystery of the story we remember this weekend. Read more

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Bishop of Chelmsford's speech to General Synod on Civil Partnerships

The Bishop of Chelmsford (Rt Revd John Gladwin):
I want to speak just for a moment or two because I led in relation to this issue when it came to the House of Lords on a number of occasions, and I thought it right just to brief the Synod with regard to my understanding of what Parliament was doing. In the final round of the debates on this issue, I did directly ask the question of the Government as to the doctrine of marriage held in English law, and Baroness Scotland, who led on these matters for the Government in the House of Lords, made it very clear that the legislation on civil partnerships is not marriage. I made it very clear that no bishop could vote for an Act on civil partnerships which could in any way be interpreted as marriage. The doctrine of marriage held in English law is unchanged, and the doctrine of marriage held in this Church is unchanged. A marriage is a union of a man and a woman who are of an age to marry and who freely give their consent.

In a few weeks’ time I am conducting a marriage somewhere else in the country of a young couple; she is already pregnant and expecting a child. They have got the order the wrong way round but they are very clear that, as a man and a woman, they are in love with each other and they want to be joined together as one flesh in the union of marriage. Marriage appropriately for couples, of course, involves the possibility of bearing children and raising families. All of that is embodied in the law of our country as well as in the doctrine of the Church. It is very important therefore, whether we think this legislation is good or bad legislation – and there is a proper debate about that because it is complex – that we as Christians do not go round talking of civil partnerships as if they were marriage. That is the vital thing that we need to get right, and if we get that right, whatever our view on the legislation, and whatever our view on civil partnerships, we might find ourselves sharing a common perspective on our understanding of marriage which, in my view, was well set out in the House of Bishops’ statement a few years ago.

Early last year I attended my first civil partnership in one of the town halls in London: two people who had been living together for over 40 years. They were entering a civil partnership in order that the rights and obligations that go with it could be publicly affirmed. Both of them have been churchwardens in their parishes and have served our Church all the duration of their lives. One of them said to me – and there were a number of clergy there in the town hall - ‘What a pity we couldn’t have some prayers’. I thought to myself, with regard to Christian ministry in the future, I must never, in terms of people entering these partnerships, fail in my duty of bringing Christian ministry to bear at this important moment in their lives. I am very clear that there is no service in the Church of England for the blessing of same-sex relationships; we have not got one. That does not mean to say that we cannot, with thankfulness, support and enable and pastor people who are entering these relationships and obligations and help them as they help us to live holy and godly lives.

Responses to Jeffrey John

Peter Ould
Pete Broadbent and Wallace Benn
Pierced for our Transgressions website
The Crucified Creator

A different report on the March Diocesan Synod

Ed: This is Trevor Ireland's personal report on Diocesan Synod. It includes some details not contained on the Diocesan website (see the Questions section, for example).

Report on Diocesan Synod AD 10th March 2007 - D. T. Ireland


The Bishop did not make a Presidential Address and Synod opened with prayer led by the Dean. In what has become known as the Good News slot we were told by Revd. Eric Fisher of a "Fresh Expression" of church in Great Oakley and Wrabness called Table Talk. With an adult/child split and concentrating on the Word with shared tea and worship it had produced the largest congregation for the church. Scripture Union notes were the basis of the teaching. Praise the Lord.

Synod was directed to a motion from Braintree Deanery (attached to my November '05 report), which has had to be re-submitted due to new Synod term beginning last November and is still gathering signatures. This is the motion which, if passed, will hold our bishops to the Gospel through the expression of Lambeth Resolution 1.10. If it is not passed it will, in my opinion, reflect a leadership and a synod which seeks the path to schism. If you advise your views to me I will endeavour to present them in debate.

Church Urban Fund
This fund was intended to exist for a specific period only, however, during its life it developed an excellent reputation and became the catalyst for other bodies to co-fund projects. The Diocese will re-launch the Fund with a project to raise money from wealthy people in the Diocese. Details will be sent to Deaneries whose only task will be to identify people for the Diocese to approach. It was recognised that the parishes themselves could not be expected to contribute.

Back To Church Sunday
We learnt the Church has managed to put 30% of Christians off going to church and Sunday 30th September has been designated as the Sunday to attract them back. See

The Bishop's Council Report DS(06)1 and Finance Committee report DS(06)2 were presented and received. Reports available if required.

Dr. Susan Aitkin, "Chair of Lay Chairs" asked, "Is it true that the ABp of Kenya refused to take Communion in Zanzibar at the recent Primates meeting on the grounds that he would not share the Eucharist with Presiding Bp Katherine Jefferts Schori and if so would the Bishop consider writing to him expressing disappointment that the Eucharist had been used in this way for apparently political purposes?

The Bishop would not be drawn to the suggested conclusion and a supplementary "Question" stated the obvious. The way this matter has been treated in the press shows ignorance and indeed mischief and I was distressed that it was raised in Synod.

Rev. Simon Smallwood referred to the Diocese of Lichfield's Strategy for Growth featuring an Evangelism Sunday and asked for the Bishop to do the same in our Diocese. The Bishop commented that every Sunday should be Evangelism Sunday. The Lichfield Strategy for Growth has been very successful and relevant in view of the next question from Rev Smallwood. In response to "Re Deanery Vision - any news on how the exercise is going? Is a coherent strategy emerging to help deaneries grow and develop?" we were told that it was too early for sound conclusions to be drawn.

Women and the Episcopate
Synod was asked to debate that this Synod:
1 Commends parishes to reflect on the issue of women and the episcopate.
2 Asks Deanery Synods to discuss the issue and to send feedback to the Chief Executive at the Diocesan Office by 30th November 2007.

We were addressed "for" and "against" respectively by Christina Rees and Prebendiary David Houlding before the issue was thrown open to the floor. I noted comments from many speakers. They fell into two categories. Those "for" were largely patronising and uncaring, those "against" despairing and resigned, apart from one which noted a significant increase in parishes petitioning for "C" status in their deanery. That we were allowed to discuss the underlying issue rather than the straight motion, with which one can have no disagreement, was a useful guide to the future in this and other social engineering matters currently facing the church. In summary if you are a traditional priest or a traditional congregation petition to become a "C" parish now. Put it on the agenda of the next PCC. Support your priest if it is an issue of conscience for him. If you do not, you will be treated as a "little local difficulty" with counselling for your consciences. There is apparently no room for Reception, Conscience or Theology.

The last voice from the floor asked, "was it Christian not to trust your church to handle the matter appropriately?" Perhaps Caesar aided by 23 out of 26 Bishops may exclude a right to conscience, but for mother church to do it ...

Please email for information. My name in the subject of an email helps me exclude spam.

Ban on human-animal embryos is unacceptable, MPs say

Government plans to outlaw the creation of embryos which are part-human, part-animal are "unacceptable" and threaten to undermine Britain's leading position in stem cell science, MPs will say today.

A report by the Commons science committee calls on ministers to scrap the proposed ban and accuses the government of basing its opposition to the research on a "deeply flawed" consultation. Read more

Abp Jensen calls for end to 'modern slavery'

The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has used his Easter message to call for a renewed effort to end slavery.

There were commemorations around the world last month for the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

But Archbishop Peter Jensen says slavery continues through modern day sexual servitude and the use of child soldiers. Read more

Full text of Jeffrey John's Lent attack on penal substitution

[...] What sort of God was this, getting so angry with the world and the people he created, and then, to calm himself down, demanding the blood of his own Son? And anyway, why should God forgive us through punishing somebody else? It was worse than illogical, it was insane. It made God sound like a psychopath. If any human being behaved like this we'd say they were a monster. Read the rest here.

Responses to Jeffrey John.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Long hours in nurseries 'can lead to anti-social toddlers'

Ed: This article is based on different research from that highlighted in the Guardian article below. The government spokesman's response is interesting: "The [UK] study also found that good quality provision - better average qualification levels of staff and presence of a qualified teacher, significantly improves levels of social and emotional development and reduces the risk of children developing negative behaviours. Our drive to improve skills and qualifications is therefore the right way to tackle this issue." Yet the American study referred to in the Guardian came to a different conclusion: "There is something unique to group-based childcare. But it's not about the quality of care - the researchers eliminated that possibility. Nor is it about the quality of parenting. It could be the scenario of stressed, tired parents picking up children after work, but the study ruled out quality of parenting too."

Toddlers who attend nurseries for 35 hours a week are more likely to display anti-social behaviour and be worried and upset, research for the Government suggests.

A study of a £370 million Government initiative to expand childcare provision found that the longer children were left in childcare facilities, the more disruptive they became.

Those in nurseries or similar centres for more than 30 hours or three days a week were more anti-social, more likely to tease other children and call them names, or to be bossy and want their own way, the report suggested. Youngsters who attended for 35 hours or more per week displayed yet more “worried and upset” behaviour. Read more

Nursery daycare makes children more aggressive - but don't worry

Ed: Extraordinary that this article in the Guardian acknowledges that nursery care measurably damages children, but still concludes on an optimistic (or head in sand) note: "There's no need for panic responses. There are clearly trade-offs to be made in any circumstances: the benefit a child may experience from no longer living in poverty if his or her single mother is in work may outweigh any risks of group-based care."

[...] several studies in different countries into the adverse and long-term impact of group-based care on children have reached strikingly similar conclusions. They make uncomfortable reading for parents. Now it's happened again. In the US, the latest tranche of the world's biggest study into the impact of childcare on subsequent development finds that children who have been in group care such as nurseries in their pre-school years are more likely to be aggressive and disruptive once they reach school, and that this persists to the age of 12. What is most disturbing about this new research is how enduring these negative effects are proving to be.

The more time over 10 hours a week children spend in group care, the more likely teachers are to report that their behaviour is more difficult at school. Even good quality group care has the same impact. The effect is small but significant, and the research team's concern is not that individuals become "axe murderers or rapists", but to discover the cumulative effect of millions of children being slightly more difficult. Read more

Bishop denies discriminating against gay man

A Church of England Bishop has denied unlawfully discriminating against a homosexual man who was turned down for the post of youth worker within his diocese.

The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, told an employment tribunal in Cardiff that he was complying with the teachings of the Church when he decided not to give 41-year-old John Reaney the job.

The Bishop said the sexuality of Mr Reaney was not the issue but his lifestyle or behaviour was; specifically having sex outside of marriage. Mr Reaney, a committed Christian from Llandudno, north Wales, claims being openly gay cost him the job, and he has lodged a claim for unlawful discrimination against the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance. Read more

Bishop denies discrimination against gay man

A CHURCH of England Bishop today denied unlawfully discriminating against a homosexual man who was turned down for the post of youth worker within his diocese.

The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, told an employment tribunal in Cardiff that he was complying with the teachings of the Church when he decided not to give 41-year-old John Reaney the job.

The Bishop said the sexuality of Mr Reaney was not the issue but his lifestyle or behaviour was; specifically having sex outside of marriage. Read more

Sexual activity grounds for denying employment claims bishop

A bishop of the Church of England has explained to an employment tribunal that he decided not to hire an openly gay man as he felt he would not be able to remain celibate. Read more

March Diocesan Synod report


Norwich diocese looking for growth

[...] The Rev Jan McFarlane, spokesman for the Diocese of Norwich, said the Church of England was on the cusp of a revival fuelled by its overhaul of how it made traditional Christian beliefs chime with a modern audience.

She described church attendance figures across the diocese, which covers most of Norfolk and Waveney, as "steady" and she was encouraged by the new survey's findings that about three million people said they would attend church if they were given the "right invitation".

She said: "In the last couple of years, the church has faced up to the fact that it is not enough for us just to expect people to turn up.

"We have realised the need to make our services much more relevant to people with no church background who realise there is more to life than consumerism."

She said today's C of E was much less intimidating, adding that it had changed its services to "common worship", with less archaic language, that delivered a message more in tune with the modern world, and started setting up informal Bible discussion groups in places such as pubs or after- school clubs.

The church is also trying to recapture people put off by traditional stuffiness, with its initiative "back to church Sunday" whereby congregation members encourage lapsed Christians to return to the church. Read more

Statement from Hereford Diocese on sexual orientation discrimination

The Bishop of Hereford denies any unlawful discrimination and has acted in accordance with Church teaching in applying a standard of sexual practice that applied equally to heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and transsexual people and not on the orientation of any particular group. We expect the same sexual standards of behaviour from support ministers, or lay ministers, as we do of clergy. We will not comment further whilst the Employment Tribunal proceedings are continuing.


Daily Express: Youth cannot crack Easter

BRITAIN’S youngsters have no idea why we celebrate the Easter holiday.

In a sign that Britain is losing its Christian values, one in six 16-24-year-olds do not know what happened on Good Friday, when Jesus was crucified. And one in 10 do not understand the meaning of Easter Sunday, the day of his resurrection. Read more

Young Brits ignorant about Easter

While millions happily munch on chocolate eggs and enjoy a long weekend this Easter, many Brits have no idea what the holiday is about, according to new research.

And the survey showed that youngsters, who particularly enjoy gobbling up Easter eggs, are especially ignorant of the story.

One-in-six 16 to 24-year-olds (15 per cent) know nothing about Good Friday, the commemoration of Jesus' crucifixion.

And 10 per cent are in the dark about Easter Sunday which marks Jesus' resurrection. Read more

Bishop faces gay claim tribunal

An Anglican bishop is expected to appear before an employment tribunal in Cardiff, accused of refusing to employ a man because of his sexuality.

John Reaney, 41, from Llandudno, Conwy, claims he was refused a job as a youth worker because he is gay.

He says the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Anthony Priddis asked him "humiliating" personal questions after an initial interview.

The Diocese of Hereford says the Bishop denies any unlawful discrimination. Read more

Cathedrals expect high Easter turnout

The number of worshippers at Church of England cathedrals at Easter has risen steadily since 2000, and the Church hopes the trend will continue this year to a new seven-year high.

Figures released yesterday indicate that the number of worshippers at Church of England cathedrals this Easter weekend may be the largest since the millennium.

Last year attendance at cathedrals on Easter Eve and Easter Sunday increased to 52,400 last year, an increase of nine per cent since 2000. If the current trends continue, the number of worshippers will reach 53,300 this Easter. Read more

Daily Mail: We've given up on churchgoing, but not on Christianity

Two in three of us never go to church, it has emerged.

Just one in ten attends a service every week, meaning most of the population only turn up for baptisms, weddings or funerals.

Britain has not, however, lost its faith.

More than half of us are still happy to describe ourselves as Christians, according to the survey by the charity Tearfund.

And around three million say they would only need the slightest encouragement to darken a church's door more frequently. Read more

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

19% of gay men in survey had sexual experience before aged 12

In July 2006,, "the award-winning LGBT newsite", published the results of an online survey of readers' "current sex lives". In their own words, "The results reveal some surprisingly conservative values."

This is a meaning of the word "conservative" with which most Anglican Mainstream readers will be unfamiliar. Amongst other things, the survey revealed that for male respondents:

  • Of those in a relationship, only 39% were completely monogamous. 12% had other partners by mutual agreement, whilst 18% admitted they had "cheated".
  • 23% had had more than 100 same-sex partners, of whom 46% had had more than 300 partners, yet ...
  • ... 34% had had 2 or more female sexual partners. 8% had had more than 6!
  • Only 47% said they "always" practised safer sex, whilst 61% had had sex with two or more other people on occasion.
  • 40% had had their first same-sex sexual experience before the age of 14, and of these 46% had that experience before the age of 12.
For the complete results, go here.

Tear Fund: One in seven adults attends church every month

Tear Fund's own article about their survey is here

Church invites 'could boost congregations'

Churchgoing may be declining, but nearly three million lapsed worshippers say they would return the pews with the right encouragment, new research has found.

About 2.3 million people who have been regular attenders, and a further 600,000 who have barely darkened a church door in their lives, say they are “likely” to go in the future, according to the survey published yesterday.

Most of those questioned indicated that the strongest motivation for going would be if a family member or a friend wanted them to, but a number said they would be tempted by a church invitation.

Difficult personal circumstances, such as redundancy, illness, a bereavement or depression, could also encourage people to seek solace in church. Read more

US usurer's comeuppance

New Century Financial, the giant US mortgage lender which rode the boom in the country's housing market, has filed for bankruptcy protection, engulfed by arrears in its customers' accounts and a collapse in confidence by its own creditors.

The Californian business, once the second-largest lender to Americans with poor credit histories - so-called "sub-prime" customers - bowed to the inevitable after teetering on the brink for several weeks, saying it would now conduct a fire sale of its loan portfolio and sack half its workforce. Read more

Britain's dirty cities more dangerous than an A-bomb

Another hilarious headline (or at least, ridiculous in this case).

(Back in the 1960s a British army officer was asked where was the best place to be when a nuclear bomb went off. His prompt answer: "Somewhere where you can say, 'I wonder what that was.'")

Missouri Baptist: 'Emerging Church is Liberalism under the radar'

For Roger Moran, the most powerful Baptist in Missouri, the past represents victory and personal grace.

He has spent nearly a decade building a political Baptist empire, one based on a conservative foundation that he put in place.

But when talk turns to the future — specifically, the future of the Missouri Baptist Convention — Moran is suddenly an Old Testament prophet of doom. Read more

The Liberal path to Communion (in every sense)

[...] On a final, personal note, I would like to mention one of the most moving spiritual moments of the week for me. An old friend of mine who, like I, is a conservative, traditional bishop, had chosen to refrain from taking communion with the House since 2003. He did this quietly and without show; he simply felt he could not take communion with his fellow bishops because of the theological difficulties which have been with us in recent years. But during this meeting—at the very time one might suppose those theological difficulties would be most evident—my friend was at the communion rail every single day. Last week marked the first time that I have been privileged to receive communion with this old friend as a fellow bishop. It was a profound experience.

I asked my friend how his change of heart had come about, what it was that had brought him back to communion with the House of Bishops. He spoke to me of illness in his family and of turbulence in his vocational life. And he told me of how it was that as he stood in the need of prayer, it was the more liberal members of the House of Bishops who had called him and reached out to him. As my friend spoke, I heard a message of deeper and richer communion: communion formed not by agreement on all theological issues but by a common life of devotion to God and of care for one another. Read more

The national mood in a nutshell (and the Olympics will be a disaster as well)

[...] At the end of my own spasm of soul-searching, I cannot quit my place among the gloom-mongers. It is hard to believe that, whatever tactical military successes Petraeus's people are achieving - and these are real enough - Iraq's leaders, security forces and citizens can take the strain in real time. We still look like losing. Read more, and as a balance to Hastings, read this.

New survey: 1 in 7 go to church monthly; millions 'waiting to be asked'

One in seven adults in the UK attends a Christian church each month, with nearly three million more people saying they would attend church if only they were asked, one of the largest surveys of churchgoing in the UK reveals today (3 April).

The findings of the in-depth survey by Christian relief and development agency Tearfund, also show that, contrary to the UK’s secular image, Christianity is still the dominant faith in the UK. More than half (53%) or 26.2 million adults claim to be Christian. Read more

Only 1 in 10 go to church, but 3m would if asked

One in 10 people in the UK attends church every week and one in seven goes once a month, according to research.

Christian charity Tearfund's survey of 7,000 people puts the UK among Europe's four least observant countries. Read more

Monday, 2 April 2007

Schools 'avoid Holocaust lessons' because of offence

Some schools avoid teaching the Holocaust and other controversial history subjects as they do not want to cause offence, research has claimed.

Teachers fear meeting anti-Semitic sentiment, particularly from Muslim pupils, the government-funded study by the Historical Association said. Read more

4 police officers tackle 'homphobic' 11 year-old

When two policemen turned up unannounced at Alan Rawlinson's home asking to speak to his young son, the company director feared something serious had happened.

So he was astounded when the officers detailed 11-year-old George's apparent crime - calling one of his schoolfriends 'gay'.

They said primary school pupil, George, was being investigated for a 'very serious' homophobic crime after using the comment in an e-mail to a 10-year-old classmate. Read more

Freedom belongs to the self-governing

[...] Freedom and personal liberty belongs to only those willing to govern themselves. Our prisons are overflowing with immoral people unable to govern themselves. We can not build and maintain enough prisons to hold all those who will refuse moral self-governance once morality is gone from society.

It has nothing to do with evangelical Christian television preachers in the White House or any so-called extreme religious right-wing conspiracy. It has to do with mans ability to self-govern, which requires a moral code of conduct to be established and imposed upon himself, by choice. When not enough men make this choice, other men will fill that void and rule over them by man made law.

America was designed to forever be a moral people willing and able to govern themselves through the moral tenants taught in every Judeo-Christian church, once taught in every public school house.

Morality and self-governance are inseparable. If ever fully separated, both will cease to exist… and America will become just another third world nation ruled by anarchy and governed by survival of the fittest and most evil. Read more

'Spirit will lead' Canadian Anglicans over gay sex

The Council of General Synod (CoGS) endorsed a response to the Windsor Report that stated Canadians will make decisions around the blessing of same-sex unions at its General Synod “mindful of the common life of the Communion and in response to the leading of the Spirit, as we see it in our own context.”

The Windsor Report, produced in 2004 by an international commission, outlined ways of healing divisions within the Anglican Communion over human sexuality. It recommended a moratorium on public rites of same-sex blessings and election of a gay person to the episcopate. Read more

And now you can be jailed in Britain without breaking British laws

[...] Last autumn, the Government indicated that it wanted to sign up to a new EU scheme under which prisoners would be transferred, without their consent, to their country of origin. With a prison service bursting at the seams, this was a good deal because we have more EU nationals in our jails (2,000) than they have UK nationals in theirs (800). So a reciprocal agreement could theoretically release some 1,200 places.

However, the scrutiny committee wrote to Joan Ryan, the Home Office minister responsible for European matters, to register concern about the proposed arrangement. They pointed out that a British subject jailed in, say, Austria for the offence of Holocaust denial could be compulsorily transferred to a British prison and incarcerated here for something that is not a crime here.

As the committee observed, this "bizarre consequence" arose because the deal does not contain the safeguard of dual criminality. This used to prevent the extradition of people for something that is not a crime in the UK; but it was dropped for 32 offences - including Holocaust denial - when the European Arrest Warrant was introduced three years ago. Read more

Everyone needs to be given a strong sense of national identity

Ed: Q. What has this got to do with Christianity or Anglicanism? A. We are supposedly the 'national church', therefore we should have a take on 'nationalism'. Secondly, we live here and, like the Jews in Babylon, we should (arguably) seek the peace and prosperity of the city into which God has carried us into exile (Jer 29:7).

[...] In Britain, the concern over ethnic minority isolation is now largely to do with the fear of terrorism; in France, it is more about conventional crime and civil unrest. But the dilemma - and what politicians are beginning to understand as the source of it - is turning out to be remarkably similar.

The Left in France, just as in Britain, is discovering the importance of patriotism. Ségolène Royal has decreed that her political rallies should end with the playing of the French national anthem rather than the Marxist Internationale. She has even suggested, as Gordon Brown has here, that it would be a good idea if the flag were to be displayed more often and more proudly, as it is in the US. Read more

Usury bringing grief to American housing market

Ed: See also my article on the church's understanding of interest payments.

[...] Viewed in hindsight, the debacle that is now unfolding was, like many such events, an obvious accident waiting to happen.

Around the turn of the decade, as the US housing boom accelerated, a large group of greedy American lending institutions became so rashly intent on maintaining the growth of their loan books at all costs that they began to hand out mortgages to borrowers with varying combinations of poor credit history, no steady source of income and little or no collateral.

As lending criteria grew more and more relaxed, the risks associated with this reckless “sub-prime” lending escalated, with vulnerable borrowers being given access to loans for 100 per cent of property values and high multiples of their incomes. And, just as soaring house prices meant that more people had to resort to such sub-prime loans, so sub-prime lending itself gave more fuel to the property boom. Read more

Guardian: For Blair, it's child's play to make us all criminals

We are told that every child in the country will be assessed to see if they are likely to turn to crime. Those that comply to a profile set by some grim determinist working for the government will be 'actively managed' by youth justice workers and local social services. This is what Blair meant by being tough on the causes of crime. Read more

Jeffrey John talk 'to attack penal substitution'

The Church's traditional teaching of Christ's crucifixion is "repulsive" and "insane", a controversial cleric will claim on the BBC this week.

The Very Rev Jeffrey John, who had to withdraw before taking up an appointment as bishop of Reading in 2003 after it emerged he was in a long-term homosexual relationship, is set to ignite a row over one of the most fundamental tenets of Christian belief.

Clergy who preach this Easter that Christ was sent to earth to die in atonement for the sins of mankind are "making God sound like a psychopath", he will say.

In a BBC Radio 4 show, Mr John, who is now Dean of St Albans, urges a revision of the traditional explanation, known as "penal substitution". Read more

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Gay 'marriages' correlate with 'weakened' marriage

[...] Support for marriage as an institution is weakest in those countries with same-sex marriage. Countries with same-sex civil unions show more support, and countries with regional recognition show still more. By significant margins, support for marriage is highest in countries that extend no legal recognition to same-sex unions. Read more

Test case for CofE on gay employment

A Church of England bishop stands accused of blocking the application of a homosexual to work in his diocese.

In a landmark legal battle, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, the Bishop of Hereford, will face claims this week that he has breached employment practice by unlawfully discriminating on grounds of sexual orientation.

John Reaney, 42, who has previously worked as a youth officer in the dioceses of Norwich and Chester, applied for a similar post in Hereford. Read more