an information resource
for orthodox Anglicans

Marriage Is a Matter of Definition

January 3rd, 2014 Posted in Gay Marriage, Marriage |

by Peter Sprigg, First Things

November 18 marked the 10th anniversary of the landmark decision by the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts which resulted in that state becoming the first to issue civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (440 Mass. 309), the court declared, “Limiting the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the basic premises of individual liberty and equality under law protected by the Massachusetts Constitution.”

Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall’s ruling for the Court got just about everything wrong (as the three dissenting Justices in the 4-3 decision made clear in three separate opinions). Justice Francis X. Spina pointed out that individual rights were not even at stake: “There is no restriction on the right of any plaintiff to enter into marriage. Each is free to marry a willing partner of the opposite sex.”

Justice Robert J. Cordy described succinctly the “rational basis” for limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, noting that “an orderly society requires some mechanism for coping with the fact that sexual intercourse commonly results in pregnancy and childbirth. The institution of marriage is that mechanism.”

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The Science of Pornography

January 3rd, 2014 Posted in Pornography |

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Paedophile Jailed For Sex With Girl, 11, Has Conviction Overturned Because Of ‘Loving Relationship’

January 3rd, 2014 Posted in Paedophilia |

From Huffington Post

A 60-year-old man caught having sex with an 11-year-old girl has had his conviction overturned by an Italian high court because the pair were in a loving relationship, according to media reports.
 
Social worker Pietro Lamberti of Catanzaro, southern Italy, was sentenced to five years in prison in February 2011 after he was convicted of sexual acts with a minor, AFP writes.
 
The agency adds the verdict was upheld by an appeals court but overturned by Italy’s supreme court, which ruled it did not sufficiently consider “the ‘consensus’, the existence of an amorous relationship, the absence of physical force, the girl’s feelings of love.”
 
The court’s October decision to order a retrial was made public in December by paper Il Quotidiano della Calabria.
 
The newspaper described the girl as “disadvantaged” and quotes Lamberti as telling the girl their relationship “is a secret that we have to bring to the grave.”
 
According to Russia Today, the high court judge who overturned the conviction said the pair: “Shared a genuine loving emotional bond that could justify the carnal union between the two.”
 
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Haters and Same-Sex Marriage

January 3rd, 2014 Posted in Gay Activism |

Liz CheneyBy Dennis Prager, Townhall.com

There are individual haters on the right and individual haters on the left. But there is no large-scale hatred in the United States of America today that compares with the hatred of the left for the right. Whereas the right regards the left as wrong — even destructively wrong — the left regards all those on the right as evil. Sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, bigoted — these are typical descriptions of the right made by the most respected names on the left. This hatred is what enabled MSNBC's Martin Bashir to broadcast — reading from a teleprompter, meaning that it was not spontaneous — that Sarah Palin deserves to have someone defecate into her mouth. (He later offered a serious apology.)

But among all of the left's hatreds, none compares with its hatred of anyone who believes that marriage should remain defined as the union of a man and a woman. The left believes anyone, or any business, that supports the only gender-based definition of marriage that had ever existed should be politically, personally and economically destroyed. Recall, for example, the left's attempt to drive out of business a restaurant in Los Angeles because one of its employees donated one hundred dollars to California's Proposition 8, the left's boycott of Chick-fil-A and the left's vicious attacks on the Mormon Church.

This greatest of contemporary American hatreds expressed itself again in the last two weeks after Liz Cheney, running for the Republican nomination for U.S. senator from Wyoming, said that she believes in the traditional definition of marriage.

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What Does Science Reveal about Homosexuality? – Dr. Brad Harrub

January 3rd, 2014 Posted in Homosexuality |

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Gift Aid provides windfall for C of E

January 3rd, 2014 Posted in Church of England |

By Gavin Drake, Church Times

DONATIONS to Church of England parishes have more than doubled over the past 30 years despite a fall in attendance of more than a quarter, research by the charity publishing company Civil Society has found.

The organisation says that the increase is the result of organised campaigns promoting tax-efficient giving, such as Gift Aid; andsays that £212 million of the addi-tional £217 million given to churches was given in a tax-efficient way.

"The Churches pioneered the idea of regular weekly or monthly gifts – the practice goes back to biblical times 2000 years ago," said Ian Clark, a fellow of the Institute of Fundraising, who serves as a consultant to Civil Society.

"As wage and salary payments changed, they adapted as weekly envelopes were replaced by bank standing orders and direct debits. The tax reliefs provided by Gift Aid certainly motivated many more donors to switch from casual to committed giving, thus helping to both grow and stabilise the Church's income."

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Against all the odds, abortion is losing at the UN

January 3rd, 2014 Posted in Gay Activism, pro-life/abortion |

By Austin Ruse, LifeSite News

Pro-abortion forces have spent hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man-hours in the past twenty years and they have not advanced their agenda even a single syllable past what they got at the Cairo Conference in 1994.

Let that sink if for a moment, because it is something that haunts the days and nights of the UN Population Fund and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. They have dedicated a significant portion of their lives to establish an international right to abortion and all they have achieved is vague language on reproductive health and rights that most countries soundly reject as having anything to do with abortion. They are no nearer to an international right to abortion than they were when they began.
 
It is something that haunts the days and nights of the UN Population Fund and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

What’s more, they have even begun to see their slight gains fade. Two years ago the UN hosted the 20-year review of the Rio Conference on the environment. Delegates rejected language related to reproductive rights. Hillary Clinton denounced the outcome document as did many other pro-abortion figures including Nafis Sadik, former head of the UN Population Fund.

In the past several months the UN Population Fund has hosted regional conferences in preparation for the upcoming negotiations for new development goals and the 20-year review of the Cairo Conference. These stage-managed regional meetings are full of radical pro-abortion language. How have these documents been received by delegates in New York? With polite disdain.

The other hot-button issue at the UN in recent years has been the attempt to make “sexual orientation and gender identity” new categories of non-discrimination in international law. Delegations have opposed this not because they hate gays but because they know that gays are already protected in international law and that these efforts are really about advancing things like gay marriage and gay adoption, things that most of the world rejects.

They have utterly failed to gain any real ground on this question. The best they have achieved is a PR campaign run by the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and a “study” of violence against gays run out of the human rights office in Geneva.

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The world’s Christian population – take our quiz

January 3rd, 2014 Posted in Christianity |

By Conrad Hackett, Pew Research Centre

Many people may not know that less than 1% of the world’s Christians live in the place where Christianity began — the Middle East-North Africa region. With only about 4% of its residents identifying as Christian, the region’s share of Christians is the smallest in the world, according to a 2011 Pew Research report. There are more Christians living in Indonesia (24 million) than in the region where Jesus of Nazareth was born (13 million as of 2010).

Although all Christians in the Middle East live as a minority, roughly nine-in-ten Christians worldwide live in countries where they are in the majority. Of the 232 countries and territories included in our 2012 Global Religious Landscape survey, roughly two-thirds have Christian majorities.

How much do you know about the world’s Christian population? How many Christians are there? Which country has the largest Catholic population, and which has the largest number of Protestants? Take our short, ten-question quiz on the global Christian population and test your knowledge.

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KFC festive ad to be investigated for mocking Christians

January 2nd, 2014 Posted in News |

From Marketing Week

The Advertising Standards Authority is formally investigating the TV spot after assessing 30 complaints challenging whether the featured line “all our stupid songs” mocks Christian hymns. The contentious lyric was part of the fast food chain’s tongue-in-cheek take on the traditional Christmas number one single that poked fun at the more serious tone of other campaigns.

Some viewers, however, failed to see the funny side and have complained on Twitter about the ad’s perceived insensitivity towards religion.

The Church of England played down the concerns claiming it’s the “kind of schmaltz that might leave you reaching for a bucket, though not necessarily a bucket of chicken”.

A spokesman for the church adds: “For Christians Christmas is a time of prayer and parties where we celebrate God entering into human history. The KFC ad – just like the product it promotes – won’t be to everyone’s taste but I wouldn’t complain about it. As a whole the advert seems to be more Glee and High School Musical rather than Kings College Cambridge or 9 Lessons and Carols.”

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Is paedophilia a sexual orientation?

January 2nd, 2014 Posted in Paedophilia |

ED: Anglican Mainstream’s remit includes a wide range of ethical and theological issues as well as ones more focused around human sexuality. Our readers will know that we stand against all forms of sex outside heterosexual marriage, whether it be gay, straight, bi, etc. However, as is increasingly obvious, ‘sexual orientation’ arguments are being publicly advanced by sexual minorities who are committed to following in the footsteps of the wildly successful LGBT. But even more concerning is the fact that a mainstream periodical would publish what is in fact a pro-paedophile apologetic. 

The writing is on the wall here! The church must address the fallacy of the sexual ‘orientation’ or Born This Way argument and soon. Paedophiles such as those mentioned below are ‘coming out’ now. They love working with children. Do you want to be forced to hire them as your next Director of Children’s Ministry? 

Once we are obliged to affirm this sexual ‘orientation’ we’re on the way to seriously undercutting the taboo that helps protects society against sex with minors.


By Laura Kane, Toronto Star

Pedophilia has been widely viewed as a psychological disorder triggered by early childhood trauma.

Now, many experts see it as a biologically rooted condition that does not change — like a sexual orientation — thanks largely to a decade of research by Dr. James Cantor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
 
Cantor’s team has found that pedophiles share a number of physical characteristics, including differences in brain wiring. It’s now thought that about 1 to 5 per cent of men are pedophiles, meaning they are primarily attracted to children.
 
These findings have been widely accepted among scientists, but have had little impact on social attitudes or law. However, we are left with the alarming question: if some men are born pedophiles, what should society do with them?

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Police issue new guidance on reform to ‘insult’ law

January 2nd, 2014 Posted in Civil Liberty, Freedom Of Speech |

From The Christian Institute

Police officers will be told they are no longer able to arrest people just because others might find their words or behaviour “insulting”, in new guidance issued by the College of Policing.

Last year the Government agreed to remove the word “insulting” from Section 5 of the Public Order Act after the amendment was voted in by the House of Lords in December 2012.

The important free speech reform, backed by The Christian Institute, is to become law on 1 February and will be known as Section 57 of the Crime and Courts Act.
 
“When the amendment comes into force”, the new College of Policing guidance states, “words or behaviour that are merely ‘insulting’, or the displaying of writing, signs or other visible representations which are merely ‘insulting’, within the hearing of someone likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, will no longer constitute a criminal offence under section 5(1).”

The campaign to change the law was spearheaded by the Reform Section 5 group, which united an unusual alliance including The Christian Institute, the National Secular Society, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, and other civil liberties groups concerned about free speech.

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Welby dismisses critics’ calls to stay out of politics and stick to talking about God

January 2nd, 2014 Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Politics |

by John Bingham, Telegraph

Archbishop Justin Welby says that in many deprived areas the Church has become the 'glue' holding the whole of society together

The Archbishop of Canterbury shrugged off calls from critics to steer clear of politics and “just talk about God” insisting that the Church has increasingly become the “glue” holding society together.

The Most Rev Justin Welby used his first New Year address as leader of the Church of England to reaffirm tackling poverty as one of the biggest priorities.

Archbishop Welby, a former oil executive, has drawn from his knowledge of the City as a prominent critic of practices by bankers, payday lenders and others.

It was a theme he returned to in his first Christmas sermon last week when he spoke about combating “injustice” adding that politics and religion “cannot be separated”.

But it led to attacks from some commentators who claimed that the Archbishop was failing to talk about faith.

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Watch the Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year Message on BBC iPlayer


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It’s official: Vatican says Pope Francis has not abolished sin

January 1st, 2014 Posted in Pope Francis |

By Philip Pullella, Reuters

The Vatican felt compelled on Tuesday to deny that Pope Francis had “abolished sin”, after a well-known Italian intellectual wrote that he had effectively done so through his words and gestures.

The singular exchange began on Sunday when Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist who writes opinion pieces for the left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper, published an article titled “Francis’ Revolution: He has abolished sin”.

Scalfari, who held a long private conversation with the pope earlier this year and wrote about it several times, concluded in the complex, treatise-like article that Francis believed sin effectively no longer existed because God’s mercy and forgiveness were “eternal”.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio that “this affirmation that the pope has abolished sin” was wrong.

“Those who really follow the pope daily know how many times he has spoken about sin and our (human) condition as sinners,” Lombardi said.

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United Nations too Christian, claims report

January 1st, 2014 Posted in Christianity, Religious Liberty |

From The Guardian

Study calls for greater religious tolerance with Hinduism and Buddhism under-represented and funding a major issue

Christianity dominates the United Nations and more diversity is needed to increase non-Christian representation in world peacemaking, according to a study.

Research undertaken by Prof Jeremy Carrette, with colleagues from the University of Kent's department of religious studies, has revealed that more than 70% of religious non-government organisations (NGOs) at the UN are Christian, and that there is historical privilege in allowing the Vatican a special observer status, as both a state and a religion.

The report, called Religious NGOs and the United Nations, calls for greater awareness, transparency and equality in the way religious NGOs operate within the UN, and more emphasis on religious tolerance.

The report also asks for greater understanding of how religions enhance and constrain human rights. It provides evidence that funding limits other religious traditions from establishing NGO work at the UN.

Islam, is represented more significantly through a collective of states (the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation) rather than civil society NGOs, which are dominated by Catholic groups, according to the report.

Asian religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, are under-represented and funding is a major issue in preventing their equal access, it said.

Carrette said: "It would seem there needs to be more of a 'global goodwill' to make the UN system work for all religions equally, and for religions to follow and share equally UN goals for peace and justice.

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The sinister reason they’re robbing the Guides of God

January 1st, 2014 Posted in Children/Family, Religious Liberty |

by Peter Hitchens, Mailonline

[...]  But I can’t help noticing that youth movements have been hugely important in the political struggles of our age. The Russian Communists and the German National Socialists both banned the Scouts and Guides.

And both Hitler Youth and Communist Pioneers had one thing very much in common – recruits were urged and even ordered to attack the Church. Pioneers jeered at priests in the street and even campaigned against Christmas trees.

Hitler Youths (whose meetings were held at the same time as church services) spied on priests and denounced them for the slightest criticism of the regime.

Hitler knew well what he was up to. To those many German adults who refused to follow him, he sneered: ‘When an opponent declares “I will not come over to your side”, I say calmly, “Your child belongs to us already .  .  . what are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this new community”.’

Or, as the brainwashed Hitler Youth sings in the film Cabaret, ‘tomorrow belongs to me’.

Parents who struggle to bring up children to love God and country know already how true this is, how their young come home from school stuffed with politically correct equality and diversity rubbish and ignorant of our history and tradition. Now the same process will affect the Guides.

Why should this happen? For those who think the Scouts and Guides are too patriotic or too religious, a Left-wing scout movement, the Woodcraft Folk, has long been available. I rather admire them for their independent-minded guts.

Long may the Woodcraft Folk flourish in our free, Christian country, but why should the Girl Guides copy them, and introduce this sickly little pledge of selfishness and squidgy loyalty to their ‘community’?

You’ll have to ask those who appointed Julia Bentley as the organisation’s chief executive. Ms Bentley is a zealous sexual liberationist, condom outreach worker, Blairite commissar and abortion apologist, so what did they expect?

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Why what happens to the Robert Lopezes of the world actually matters to us all

January 1st, 2014 Posted in Freedom Of Speech, Gay Activism, Religious Liberty |

Lisa Severine NollandOne of the most cowardly things ordinary people do is to shut their eyes to facts.  CS Lewis

Lisa Severine Nolland

The following is written in the aftermath of events pertaining to the Duck Dynasty, A&E and GLAAD.

In his ‘Life on GLAAD’s Blacklist’, US Professor Robert Lopez describes his fall from grace at the hands of the US-based gay rights organization, GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to become a persona non grata professionally and socially. Conjure up images of religious excommunication or informal McCarthyism and you will get an idea of what he has endured since ‘coming out’ publicly against gay ‘marriage’ (he was raised by two lesbians and so speaks from that vantage point).

Old friends and even some family members took GLAAD's marching orders and have summarily cut me out of their lives. And when I mean cut me out, I mean we will never be in the same room again. One person very close to me, who works in the entertainment industry, was accosted at a dinner and told in no uncertain terms that if he didn't join in denouncing me, he'd have difficulty finding work. (1)

But what about the situation in Britain? British evangelical leaders are not losing work, friends or status because of their public views, and indeed, the state authorities they partner with on various community projects are only too willing to have their input (and help). They hold orthodox Christian views on sexual matters, though they do not talk about it much, and certainly never with the said authorities, reassuring themselves ’preaching the Gospel’ will sort things.

Location, Location, Location

I believe that Robert Lopez’s situation is illuminative of what happens when the Stonewalls of this world (GLAAD is an American equivalent) are publicly challenged by professionals inside ‘the system’. Though we have a few brave souls here (think of the Bulls, Lesley Pilkington, Gary McFarlane, Mike Davidson) that there are not more examples shows how successful sex activists have been in taking over and shutting down public debate.

That most British evangelical leaders are professionals outside ‘the system’ means they are inherently protected by dog collars, and buffering religious communities and organizations; they have the luxury of holding and affirming convictions which the rest of us are rapidly losing the right to hold.

Because the Stonewall agenda does not directly impact the church leadership team, professionals in otherwise good congregations receive little if any help responding to being force-fed its ideology. Nor is the reality of the fact that church youngsters (with few exceptions) are presently marinated in all things LGBT affirmative through education, the media and their peers.

Indeed, frequently professionals in ‘the system’ end up quietly colluding with Stonewall’s agenda. Where is the sense in being the Lone Martyr?

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A parent’s time and love are the best gifts

January 1st, 2014 Posted in Materialism |

By Ann Widdecombe, Daily Express

KATIE McGILL is a single mother on benefits who used eight payday loans to buy each of her two children a new bike plus a new TV, DVD player and computer games.

The real scandal here is not the ease with which she borrowed money that from the outset she had no chance of paying back nor even that the silly woman now has the gall to blame Wonga instead of herself for the situation.

No, at the heart of this rather toofamiliar story is the cancer that is eating at modern Britain: the belief that you demonstrate your love for your children by giving them endless material goods.

A brightly painted second-hand bike would have meant as much to the three-year-old as a brand new one and a bike on its own without the TV, DVD player and computer games would have been present enough.

Better still a box of paints or a packet of crayons could give hours of endless fun if mum joined in, making up games to play with different pictures.

Christmas could have been memorable for all three singing carols round the tree or wrapping towels round their heads and acting out the nativity or playing grandmother's footsteps and pin the tail on the donkey or other games from an age when family fun and not piles of the latest must-haves made Christmas.

Instead Ms McGill is effectively teaching her children to measure affection by expenditure and to take material possessions as their due.

They will grow up to repeat that pattern and to seek solace in buying and owning.

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Some predictions for 2014 (and some looking back at 2013)

January 1st, 2014 Posted in News |

A happy New Year to all our readers!

Peter Ould tells us the Anglicans he will be watching in 2014

Cranmer's predictions are here

Andrew Lilico has ten political predictions in Conservative Home

Law & Religion UK look back at blogging their way through 2013

Evangelical Alliance are also looking back at 2013

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Archbishop of Canterbury: a ‘good vicar’ is key to tackling falling congregation numbers

December 31st, 2013 Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury |

By Sam Marsden, Telegraph

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, has issued a challenge to his priests to turn the tide of falling numbers of church-goers and make their congregations grow.

He said an initiative to engage with new worshippers by holding services in non-traditional venues like pubs and clubs had already swollen the church’s ranks by the equivalent of two dioceses.

“The reality is that where you have a good vicar, you will find growing churches,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The Archbishop said he was “extremely hopeful” about the future of the Church of England, and said many local congregations were increasing in numbers.

However, he admitted: “We are falling in numbers and there is a change in the attitude to the Christian faith generally across the country. That is unquestionable. We need to be quite realistic about that.”

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“The Only Intelligible Explanation of the Incarnation”—A. T. Robertson on the Virgin Birth of Christ

December 31st, 2013 Posted in Theology |

by Albert Mohler

The Christmas season comes each year with the expected flurry of media attention to the biblical accounts of Christ’s conception and birth. The general thrust of the secular media is often incredulity toward the fact that so many people still believe the Bible’s accounts to be true. This year, the Pew Research Center released a report on Christmas Day indicating that almost 75% of the American people affirm belief in the virgin birth of Christ. Meanwhile, the Public Religion Research Institute found markedly lower levels of belief, with just under half affirming the historical accuracy of the biblical accounts. The PRRI research indicated that four in ten Americans believe the virgin birth to be part of a “theological story to affirm faith in Christ.”

In truth, the virgin conception of Jesus, which most respondents know as the “virgin birth,” is no latecomer to controversy and rejection. On April 11, 1823, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to John Adams in which he discussed his views concerning Jesus Christ. Jefferson was already known for his denial of miracles and other claims of supernatural intervention in history and nature. In this letter to John Adams, he predicts the collapse of all belief in the virgin birth of Christ:
And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.
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