Thursday, July 26, 2012

Steubenville Removes Franciscan University Chapel from City Logo

The effort to erase any public sign of Christianity in America took another step forward recently with the announcement that the city of Steubenville, Ohio is removing the image of the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s chapel from the official city logo.

Here’s a pic of the offending city logo which was unveiled just last year: 

The city of Steubenville, faced with the threat of an expensive lawsuit from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., a Madison, Wisconsin-based atheist group, decided to drop the image of the chapel and the cross.  They will be asking an artist to create a new logo in the near future.

Steubenville legal spokesman, S. Gary Repella, told the Herald Star, “We were contacted in May by the Freedom from Religion Foundation Inc. in Madison, Wis., who said one of our citizens had complained about the city logo.  During the past several months the foundation sent me their research and past case law regarding religious symbols.  I researched current case law and found a lot of case laws that do not allow religious symbols in government symbols.”

[Note to Mr. Repella:  This is not the inclusion of a religious symbol, it is the inclusion of an architectural landmark.  There is clearly no intent to advance religion by its inclusion.  It is merely an attempt by the city to depict its its most recognizable features and institutions.]

Franciscan University reacted to the announcement with the following statement from Michael Hernon, vice president of Advancement:
“For more than 65 years, Franciscan University of Steubenville has proudly served as an integral part of this community and we were honored to have our chapel included in the new city of Steubenville logo.  The city initially included our chapel because it represents Franciscan University, a world-renowned center of higher learning and one of the largest employers in the region.  We find it particularly troubling that an out of town and out of touch group targeted the University for removal from the logo solely because of our religious identity.

“Now that the city has decided not to keep the chapel in its logo, the University has declined the city’s offer to be represented by another campus building.  The Christ the King Chapel and its cross, which are the centerpiece of the University logo, are internationally recognized symbols of the campus here in Steubenville and are at the heart of our Catholic educational mission.  No other campus symbol or architectural feature so immediately identifies the University.

“As used in the city logo, the chapel image is not an endorsement of any one religion, or religion at all.  It merely signifies one of the many treasures of Steubenville—along with Historic Fort Steuben, the Veterans Memorial Bridge, and the downtown cityscape—that are well-known community landmarks.

“For these reasons, Franciscan University has decided not to be included at all in the revised logo rather than to be represented in a way that does not honor our mission as a faith-based institution.”
 The courts that have given birth to this nonsense have a very limited view of history.  Many cities in this country have prominent religious institutions that should not be censored from being mentioned in their histories, advertisements. and logos that depict the city.  There are whole cities in the US that owe their founding to people of strong Christian faith, and this is reflected in their very names: Providence, Rhode Island, St. Paul, Minnesota, La Crosse, Wisconsin, St. Louis, Missouri, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Los Angeles, California, as well as every other city in Texas, New Mexico, California and elsewhere that begins in "San" of "Santa."  Are we going to be forced to rename these cities?  If we are going to be consistent, this is a logical next step.

Pray for America, because the threats to freedom of speech and religion are increasing.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Paul Harvey: "If I were the devil..."

Paul Harvey (September 4, 1918 – February 28, 2009) first broadcast this monologue, "If I were the Devil" in 1965.  He updated it over the years, with this version being broadcast in 1996. 

If I were the devil …  If I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness.
And I’d have a third of it’s real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee.
So I’d set about, however necessary, to take over the United States.
I’d subvert the churches first — I’d begin with a campaign of whispers.  With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.’
“To the young, I would whisper that ‘The Bible is a myth.’  I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around.  I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is ‘square.’  And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…’
“And then I’d get organized.  I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting.  I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa.  I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could.  I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction.  I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
“If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed.  And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.
If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions — just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
“Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing.  I’d have judges promoting pornography.
Soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress.  And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science.  I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money.
If I were the devil I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
“If I were the devil I’d take from those, and who have, and give to those wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.
And what do you bet?  I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich?
I would caution against extremes and hard work, in Patriotism, in moral conduct.  I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be.
And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.
In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing on what he’s doing.
Paul Harvey, good day.”
[This video omits the "good day," but it is present in other recordings.]

Friday, July 20, 2012

Boston mayor vows to keep Chick-fil-A out of city

A business only discriminates against a population when it refuses to serve them, an obvious example being restaurants that refused to serve blacks in the era of segregation. Chick-fil-A hasn't discriminated against anyone, and I am certain they would never refuse to serve anyone. The owner of the chain simply expressed his religious belief about marriage.

I don't suppose we'll hear the mayor of Boston say he wants to keep Muslim-owned businesses out of the city, but if he were logically consistent, he would have to do so.

We have truly entered an era when political leaders are unashamedly persecuting Christians for their beliefs.

From here:
The mayor of Boston is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in the city after the company's president spoke out publicly against gay marriage.

Mayor Thomas Menino told the Boston Herald on Thursday that he doesn't want a business in the city "that discriminates against a population."

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press this week that his privately owned company is "guilty as charged" in support of what he called the biblical definition of the family.

The fast-food chicken sandwich chain later said that it strives to "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has more than 1,600 stores nationwide but just two in Massachusetts, both located in suburban malls.

Is liberal Christianity signing its own death warrant?

A very important interview with Bishop Mark Lawrence, from NBC News:
The Rt. Rev. Mark Joseph Lawrence, the Episcopal bishop of South Carolina, fears for the future of his church.

One week after the U.S. Episcopal Church overwhelmingly voted to approve a provisional rite for blessing gay unions and the ordination of transgender people, Bishop Lawrence said in an interview with NBC News that his denomination is moving too far out of the mainstream.

"Do I think that these two decisions will cause further decline? I believe they will," Bishop Lawrence said. "I think we've entered into a time of sexual and gender anarchy."
Lawrence's comments come amid a growing debate over the future of so-called mainline Christian churches: Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, some Lutherans and more. These denominations, which are generally more liberal than their evangelical counterparts, have been in decline for decades, a trend some observers attribute to their supposed leftward drift.

In a recent New York Times editorial, columnist and author Ross Douthat tackled the "looming extinction" of liberal Christianity, adding that: "Practically every denomination — Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian — that has tried to adapt itself to contemporary liberal values has seen an Episcopal-style plunge in church attendance."

Since 2000, the Episcopal Church has lost more than 16 percent of its membership. This decrease reflects a wider trend across most other Protestant denominations. In 2008, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reported that "the proportion of the population that is Protestant has declined markedly in recent decades."

Following the Episcopal Church's decision to adopt gay-union rites last week, most of the Diocese of South Carolina’s delegation left the General Convention to show their concern.

"I had an issue of conscience in which I believed that a line had been crossed in the church’s teachings, that I could no longer pretend that nothing significant had happened," Bishop Lawrence said, adding that the departure of the deputies should not be understood as a departure from the Episcopal Church.

“It’s not merely a matter of adapting the Church’s teachings about Jesus Christ, about salvation, about right and wrong to the culture," he said. "The culture is adrift in sexual confusion and obsession.”

But Jenna Guy, an Episcopalian from Iowa, said when the gay-rites vote was taken that the issue is important to the younger generation of Episcopalians and that the resolution would bring more people into the church.

"It’s always with great pride that I tell [people] of the inclusive nature of this church,” Guy said.

The Episcopal Church's approval of the rites makes it one of the more liberal churches on that issue.
  • In May, the United Methodist Church, the largest mainline denomination in the United States with about 7.8 million members, voted against changing its definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.
  • Earlier this month, the U.S. Presbyterian Church narrowly rejected a proposal for a constitutional change that would redefine marriage as a union between "two people" rather than between a woman and a man. The church, with around 2 million members, currently allows ministers to bless gay unions but prohibits them from solemnizing gay civil marriages.
  • The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America defines marriage as "a lifelong covenant of faithfulness between a man and a woman" and has no official rite for same-gender unions.
  • Standing out among the rest, the United Church of Christ, a mainline Protestant denomination with about 1 million members, voted in 2005 to support full civil and religious marriage equality for same-sex couples.
"I see other mainline denominations that are fairly liberal, like the Presbyterians and the Methodists, just really being very careful about jumping over this hurdle," David Hein, Hood College historian and co-author of “The Episcopalians,” a history of the church, told NBC News, "because it really wreaks havoc with the denominations for the national headquarters on down, the institutions, the seminaries, the parishes when you start to lose huge numbers of members.”

"I think churches that are fairly clear in their stance and are not either fundamentalist or way out there on the fringe are doing pretty well," Hein added.

Steady decline in membership, however, is a problem across the board for mainline Protestant churches.

According to the National Council of Churches' 2011 report, membership in the UCC declined 2.8 percent to 1.1 million members over the previous year; the Presbyterian Church was down 2.6 percent to 2.7 million; the Episcopal Church was down 2.5 percent to two million members and the Evangelical Lutheran Church was down 2.0 percent to 4.5 million members.

The United Methodist Church's membership has declined every year since it was formed in 1968, according to a 2010 report commissioned by the denomination.

In the case of the Episcopal Church, Hein believes it "might not have been hemorrhaging so quickly " had it been more accommodating of its traditionalists.

“I think it’s a mistake that the Episcopal Church is not more welcoming of the mainstream attitude,” he said, adding that "these accommodations should really have been made five, seven years ago, because really about all that’s left of the Episcopal Church is the left wing of the Episcopal Church.” [Emphasis added.]

In 2003, the election of the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church caused a deep rift between liberals and conservatives within the global Anglican Communion, with many churches leaving the U.S. and affiliating instead with the global Anglicans. The Episcopal Church is an independent church affiliated with the worldwide Anglican Communion.

"I still believe there is a broad and silent middle [within the Episcopal Church], I just don't know what it would take for them to stand up with moral courage and say, 'We don't believe this,'" Bishop Lawrence said.

Bucking the national trend, the Diocese of South Carolina experienced growth in 2011 in its average Sunday attendance, which rose 10.8 percent, from 11,086 to 12,286, according to the diocese.

“If ever there was a time for the church to be clear, hopeful, and to offer a moral compass to the struggling, and grace, and forgiveness, and healing to the broken, it’s now,” Bishop Lawrence said.
Read the original article.

Amen, Bishop Lawrence—and BRAVO!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Episcopal Diocese of New York: Permission Granted for Clergy to Officiate at Same-Sex Marriages

From here:

"Bishop Mark S. Sisk today sent a letter via email to the clergy of the Diocese of New York giving permission for them to officiate at same-sex marriages both in a religious capacity and as agents of New York State, commencing September 1, 2012."

Previously, Bishop Sisk had allowed clergy to undertake the Blessing of a Civil Ceremony for a same-sex couple, but not preside at the marriage.  In other words, clergy could not sign the marriage license, so couples desiring to marry had to undergo a civil ceremony first, and then come to the church.  Now that restriction is lifted, so that same sex marriages can be performed by clergy.  This action is a result of the Episcopal Church authorizing a rite for same sex marriages at its recent General Convention, held earlier this month.

Bishop Sisk explained the rationale for this move:

The 2012 General Convention  adopted Resolution A049 titled “Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships.”  In my view the debate over this Resolution was of crucial importance.  At one point in the House of Bishops’ consideration the question was asked:  "Couldn’t the resolve that read, 'That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-sex marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church be interpreted to mean that clergy in jurisdictions that allow civil marriage of same-gender couples, were permitted to officiate at those services?'"  The answer from the Special Committee spokesman was, "yes, that is what they had had in mind."  The debate then continued.  No amendment was offered.  The unamended Resolution A049 passed by a nearly 2/3 majority.  I conclude therefore, that it was the mind of this General Convention to extend the meaning of “generous pastoral oversight” to include circumstances such as those in which we in New York find ourselves.
This seems to me to be a typically oblique way for the Episcopal Church to approach a complex but important matter: indirectly.  Let the life of the community play it out.  This is a messy way to change, but there is a certain attractive organic quality to it.

Where then does that leave us? We are left with a situation in which the mind of this recent Convention appears to be to allow such services.  However, The Constitution and The Book of Common Prayer still say something else, and the State of New York sits on the sidelines.
I believe that the best that we can do, with humility and trust that we have correctly read the movement of the Spirit of God working in our midst, is to embrace the promise of full marriage equality between same and opposite sex couples, while recognizing, candidly, that the Constitution of our Church has yet to formally reach that conclusion.

It is my interpretation that the actions of this 2012 General Convention permit, perhaps even encourage, those of us who live in jurisdictions such as New York, to act on that conviction.  Therefore, in my view, if a cleric of this diocese feels moved by conviction and pastoral need to respond in the affirmative to a request to perform a same-sex marriage, he or she is free to do so on or after September 1, 2012.
Read it all.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why Orthodox Anglicans are Catholic Christians

 I am very thankful to Fr. Victor Novak for pointing out an excellent essay by Bishop Jack L. Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth, which I have taken the liberty of excerpting here, since it addresses the important question of whether orthodox Anglicans are just members of a denomination or something much, much more.
I invite us all to look beyond the surface level of our Anglican identity, with its temptation to denominationalism, and go back to our heritage as catholic Christians....  [W]e are a fellowship within, or a branch, of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church, maintaining and propagating the faith and order of the historic Church throughout the ages.

This means that we are not members of a sectarian, Protestant denomination, but of the Catholic Church.  Remember, the Church of England, which came to be known as Anglican, existed before the Reformation and traces its roots back to the Patristic age of the early Christian Church.  This same Church, which predated the arrival of Augustine and his missionaries from Rome in the sixth century, is continuous with the Church of England that emerged from the sixteenth century Reformation. Reformed, yes, but not a new denomination; the Church of England still maintained the sacraments, creeds and holy orders of the undivided church of the early centuries, before the Great Schism of West and East in 1054.

Knowing this, Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher famously said, “We have no doctrine of our own.  We only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church enshrined in the Catholic Creeds, and these creeds we hold without addition or diminution.  We stand firm on that rock.”  And to that we might add that Anglicanism has no Scriptures of its own, no sacraments of its own, no holy orders of its own – just those of the Catholic Church that we have received. Fisher was right, as Anglicans we have no faith of our own.

Like the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, orthodox Anglicans uphold the historic faith and order of the undivided Church.  We are nothing more nor less than Catholic Christians, seeking to be faithful to the teaching of the early Church Fathers and the great Ecumenical Councils of the first centuries of Christian witness.  With St. Vincent of Lerins, we affirm that the Catholic faith is that which has been believed “everywhere, always, and by all.”  Wherever you find departures from this given faith and received order, you will find sectarianism, heresy and error.

With this in mind, we understand that the divided and fractured nature of Anglicanism today has been caused by heretical innovations and departures from the Church’s historic faith and practice.  Two Provinces are specially to blame – the Anglican Church of Canada and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA.  It is our Christian duty to speak out and stand against the errors advocated by these Provinces because they lead others into falsehood and away from salvation.  All this to say nothing of the fact that deviations from the historic teaching of the Church have led to a serious state of brokenness and impaired Communion throughout Anglicanism.

In the Diocese of Fort Worth we stand against that.  Our commitment as an orthodox Anglican diocese is to the faith and order of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  We seek to do nothing other than maintain and propagate the faith once delivered to the saints, which is rooted in Holy Scriptures and one with the Apostolic Teaching of the ancient church.

Far from having joined a “different denomination,” we have remained faithful to the witness of the Catholic Church of the ages.  With our Lord Jesus Christ, we too pray for an end to our divisions and for a restoration of visible unity of Catholic Christians, both East and West.
You can read the original article here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"The End of the Mainline."

The Episcopal Church's General Convention, meeting in Indianapolis, has just ended.  As I reflected on this Convention, I was reminded of an article from the American Spectator about the death of Bishop Walter Righter in September 2011.   The article's overview of events surrounding the controversial Bishop Righter provides the background for much that happened in Indianapolis in the past ten days.   It is entitled, appropriately, "The End of the Mainline."

Bishop Walter Righter... set off a firestorm of controversy when he ordained an openly non-celibate homosexual man to the Episcopal diaconate in 1990.  His heresy trial concluded in 1996 with a 7-1 dismissal of charges by a panel of fellow bishops.  The episode further stoked disputes over scriptural authority and sexual ethics within America's once historically most prestigious Mainline denomination.

"I look around the Episcopal Church today where there are no impediments to the ordination of gay or lesbian members.…  None of that would have happened without Bishop Righter's leadership," pronounced a prominent pro-gay rights California priest [Susan Russell] in a Righter obituary.  "When the history of the movement for the full inclusion of the LGBT community in our church is written, there is no doubt that Walter Righter will be one of its great heroes."
Like many liberal prelates who fancy their supposed boldness in challenging Christian orthodoxy even as they embrace a far more suffocating secular liberal orthodoxy, Righter was proud of his "heresy" charges.  He reportedly introduced himself at the trial as "Walter Righter, the heretic," while his beaming wife's name tag unabashedly declared "heretic's wife."

The complaint against Righter was brought by 10 conservative Episcopal bishops who, at the time of the verdict, seemed surprised and unprepared for the almost inevitable victory for sexual revolution within the Episcopal Church.  Liberal skepticism of biblical authority, the virgin birth, and bodily resurrection of Christ, and other historic doctrines had swelled within the Episcopal Church's upper reaches for many decades prior to the Righter trial.  Traditionalists had long complained about enthroned revisionism but never fully effectively organized to arrest, much less roll back, its captivity of the denomination's seminaries, agencies, and ruling councils.  Righter's court in 1996 ruled that Episcopalianism had no core doctrine about homosexual behavior.  But it may as well have ruled that the denomination had no essential teaching except for devoted adherence to America's liberal secular fads. 
Calling Righter "a faithful and prophetic servant," Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori solemnly told Episcopal News Service that the bishop "will be remembered for his pastoral heart and his steadfast willingness to help the church move beyond old prejudices into new possibilities."  She did not mention how Righter's trial eventually divided her church in the U.S., estranged it from much of overseas Anglicanism, and accelerated an already unsustainable membership drain.  [Bold type added.]
Read it all.

"The End of the Mainline."  And so it is.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mary Ann Mueller reports on Episcopal Church General Convention vote to approve blessing of same sex unions

This is significantvery significant—in lots of ways, though not in the way that those who supported it might think.

Report from the House of Bishops

INDIANAPOLIS, IN: Same Sex Blessings at GC2012 - "It was horrifying"


By Mary Ann Mueller
Special Correspondent
July 10, 2012

It was horrifying to watch and listen to the House of Bishops vote for same-gendered blessing liturgy.

Bishop after bishop, following the calling of their name, answered "Yes."

Bishop Alexander - yes; Bishop Whitmore - yes; Bishop Gray-Reeves - yes; Bishop Robinson - yes. One hundred and eleven times the answer was "Yes."

Bishop Douglas - yes; Bishop Gulick - yes; Bishop Peter Lee - yes; Bishop Jones - yes; Bishop Glasspool - yes; Bishop Johnston - yes; Bishop Beisner - yes; Bishop Jefferts-Schori - yes ...

With each "yes", my heart dropped a little farther, another tear formed.

Again The Episcopal Church was hurtling down a path of spiritual self-destruction.

It was heartbreaking to witness. It is soul-wrenching to write about.

Before the roll call vote, Bishop Duncan Gray of Mississippi pleaded with his brothers and sisters in the House of Bishops for an air of humility.

"I know this will pass," he prophesied. "Can we walk beyond this vote with a sense of humility and less of a triumphant way?"

The Mississippian was correct. A-049 passed and, for the most part, The Episcopal Church is celebrating.

So much for restraint, Bishop Gene Robinson immediately tweeted: "Episcopal Bishops authorize rite of blessing for same-sex relationships 111 to 41. ‪#LGBT"

Report from the House of Deputies

GC2012: HOD Vote came Silently on Same-Sex Blessings

By Mary Ann Mueller
Special Correspondent
July 10, 2012

[Same Sex Blessings] INDIANAPOLIS - The House of Deputies' afternoon vote on A-049 came in silence, the result of modern technology.

When the House of Bishops voted to approve same-gender blessings each bishop was called by name and with their own voice they were required to vocalize their vote - yea or nay.

Electronic voting was the rule of the day in the House of Deputies. Each Order - lay and clergy, were called to vote using their hand-held electronic voting devise.

The laity was called to vote.

"The vote is open." Silence followed. "The vote is closed."

The clergy were called to vote.

"The vote is open." Silence followed. "The vote is closed."

Silence ... the waiting began.

To pass the time the candidates for the Vice President of the House of Deputies were nominated from the floor.

Silence ... the waiting continues.

Finally, out-going House of Deputies' President Bonnie Anderson announced the results: Lay yes votes - 86; lay no votes - 19; lay divided votes - five. Clergy yes votes - 85; clergy no votes - 22; clergy divided votes - 4.

"A-049 passes with a 78% in the lay order and 76% in the clergy order," a tired House of Deputies' president confirmed.

And with that same-gender blessings received the blessing of General Convention and became a part of the fabric The Episcopal Church.

[President] Bonnie Anderson then dismissed the House of Deputies.

[NOTE: A vote by orders in the House of Deputies means that the totals: 86-19 Lay and 85-22 Clergy represents the numbers of deputations (of 4 clergy and 4 laity in each deputation) voting yes or no. A divided deputation is a deputation that is evenly divided 2-2. Since a majority of yes votes is needed to pass legislation, a divided deputation is, in effect, a no vote.]
Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Accused bishops protest their loyalty to TEC

George Conger reports that seven of the nine bishops mentioned in my previous post on this subject have written a letter to the Episcopal Church House of Bishops protesting their innocence of charges of misconduct:
Seven bishops have written an open letter to the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops repudiating charges of disloyalty brought against them by the provisional bishops of Fort Worth and Quincy.

On 6 July 2012, seven of the nine bishops accused of misconduct by Bishops C. Wallis Ohl Jr., and James C. Buchanan stated there was no truth in the accusations leveled against them.

The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, retired Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt. Rev. Paul E. Lambert, suffragan Bishop of Dallas, the Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana, the Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield, the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, retired Bishop of South Carolina and Dean of Nashotah House, and the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas stated they had been forced to act in order to protect the Episcopal Church – not to harm it.

“No charge is more serious to us than the one that we have acted against our own Church—in other words, that we have been disloyal. We assure each of you that we have acted out of a profound loyalty to this Church we love,” they wrote.
Read it all.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Idaho woman placed aborted fetus on barbecue

I almost went into shock when I read the above title, reprinted here just as it appeared in the newspaper, since it could be taken to mean that the mother barbecued her unborn child.  But the actual story was only slightly less horrific:
POCATELLO, Idaho - When Pocatello police got a tip that Jennie Linn McCormack had ended her pregnancy by taking an abortion drug obtained over the Internet, they showed up at her apartment one cold January day in 2011 and demanded an explanation.
McCormack eventually took them out to her back porch, where the remains of her fetus were on the barbecue, wrapped up in a plastic bag and a cardboard box.
"My baby is in the box," McCormack said. Officers uncovered the frozen remains of a 5-month-old fetus and erected crime scene tape around the porch before taking her to the police station and charging her with a felony.
But—get this—a lawsuit has now been filed to strike down the law that prohibited the mother from doing what she did.
The civil suit that followed, scheduled to be heard by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on July 9, asks the courts to reject as unconstitutional the law in Idaho - a state with only two abortion clinics - that makes it illegal to obtain abortion pills from out-of-state doctors over the Internet.
The case also marks the most significant constitutional legal challenge so far to so-called "fetal pain" statutes, adopted by Idaho and at least five other states. Such laws significantly shorten the window of time in which a woman can legally abort a fetus - in the case of Idaho, to 19 weeks.
McCormack, living in a conservative, heavily Mormon region of southeast Idaho, now finds herself in the middle of an uncomfortable dilemma for both sides of the abortion debate.
Anti-abortion groups have usually been uneasy about the idea of arresting women who violate abortion laws, preferring to go after the doctors they see as the guiltier parties.
Abortion-rights groups, meanwhile, want to challenge increasingly restrictive abortion laws, but for them, McCormack is far from the ideal plaintiff - she aborted a fetus at home at close to 20 weeks. And her case, if it winds its way upward, would face a U.S. Supreme Court that seems little inclined to shore up Roe v. Wade.
Read the whole story.