Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Compromise over women bishops in the Church of England rejected
No allowance at all for those who follow the Bible on the matter. Further shrinking of an already drastically shrunken church to be expected. Average Sunday attendance is less than a million in a country of 60 million. It's said that more people in Britain go to Mosque on Friday than go to the CofE on Sunday. Women bishops will find themselves preaching to largely empty pews
The Archbishop of Canterbury made a humiliating apology to the Church of England yesterday for the latest fiasco over women bishops.
Dr Rowan Williams spoke of ‘penitence’ as the bishops asked the Church’s parliament, the General Synod, for another three months to make up their minds over how to draw up a new law about the place of women.
It would allow women priests to be promoted for the first time to the leadership ranks of the bishops. It has already taken the CofE 12 years of agonising to get to the brink of consecrating its first woman bishop.
But yesterday the Synod voted for another delay after Dr Williams admitted that, together with his fellow bishops, he had badly misjudged an attempt at a compromise.
Supporters of women bishops were so angry that they were poised to vote down the new Church law.
The Archbishop said: ‘It is quite clear that the reaction cannot be ignored. When there is a reaction of real hurt and offence in the Church, Christians and Christian pastors in particular, cannot afford to ignore it.
'If other bishops feel as I do, they will need to examine themselves and feel appropriate penitence.
'An adjournment gives us at least the chance of lowering the temperature and explaining ourselves to each other.
‘If other bishops feel as I do they will need to examine themselves and feel appropriate penitence that they did not recognise just how difficult that was going to be.'
The Synod will gather again to try to agree a law on women bishops in November.
Dr Williams and his colleagues now have until September to draw up a compromise to save the consciences of traditionalists who will not accept the leadership of women bishops, while ensuring the women bishops who are expected to be appointed from 2014 have the same status as their male colleagues.
Yesterday’s climbdown came as Dr Williams and his colleagues faced an open warning from a senior politician that further delay or mishandling of the women bishops issue will have serious political consequences for the Church of England.
A ‘train crash’ would threaten the Church’s power to keep seats for bishops in a reformed House of Lords, Tory MP Sir Tony Baldry told the Synod. Under Lords reform proposals currently before Parliament, the CofE would see its 26 bishops in the Upper House reduced to 12.
Sir Tony, who as Second Church Estates Commissioner is the CofE’s link with the Government, said: ‘I am your only voice in the House of Commons who will be arguing for the bishops.’
‘The Deputy Prime Minister has already made it clear he is indifferent to the matter, the Honourable Member for Rhondda (Labour MP Chris Bryant) has already made it clear that he intends to introduce an amendment for the removal of bishops from the Second Chamber.
‘If you have a train crash this afternoon all I am saying is that my task of maintaining bishops in a mainly elected second chamber is going to be infinitely more difficult if not impossible.’
Synod members voted 288 in favour of a delay, 144 against and 15 abstained.
The compromise on women bishops that has now been withdrawn was produced by Dr Williams and his colleagues in May.
It would have put into law the rights of traditionalist parishes to reject a woman bishop and insist on oversight by a male bishop who was himself untainted by ever having ordained a woman priest or accepted the authority of a woman bishop.
Supporters of women said they could not support this because it would turn women into second class bishops.
A leading tradionalist at the Synod, conservative evangelical the Reverend Rod Thomas, said: ‘The House of Bishops has a huge amount of work to do. Unless it comes up with clear space for us to have a permanent space in the Church it will fail - that has to be done.’
'All babies deserve the best start in life': British government to speed up adoption system by finding children in care permanent homes faster
Babies and children who are taken into care must be given permanent homes quicker, ministers said yesterday.
Some children are being moved ‘again and again’ before finding a home, causing huge disruption to their young lives, Education Secretary Michael Gove said.
Mr Gove, who was himself adopted at four months, said he wanted to ‘radically’ speed up the amount of time it takes to place young children with potential adopters.
‘I want as many babies as possible to have the best start in life,’ he added. ‘I know that stable and loving families provide the ideal environment for young people to achieve their full potential.’
Under the new plans, children will be able to move in with their possible future permanent families before lengthy legal procedures are finalised, the Prime Minister has announced.
And there will be a new legal duty on local authorities to consider placing children with approved adopters who will foster them first.
Currently, local authorities often do not begin to look for a permanent family for a child until a court’s placement order has been received. It can take 21 months from entering care to moving in with a new family.
Under the Fostering for Adoption scheme, it is also hoped that more people will come forward to become potential adopters.
Jonathan Pearce of the charity Adoption UK said: ‘Initiatives that offer children in care the chance of both earlier placement with their adoptive parents and fewer moves in care have to be welcomed, as we know so much about the damage caused to children through delay in finding stable and permanent families.’
Analysis released yesterday shows half of newborn babies in care are eventually adopted. However, it takes an average of more than 15 months for them to move to their permanent family.
David Cameron said: ‘These plans will see babies placed with adopters who will foster first and provide a stable home at a much earlier stage in a child’s life.’
Ministers said they would legislate ‘as soon as possible’ to make fostering by potential adopters standard practice.
Freedom from religion?
Let’s note that the Founding Fathers wanted to guarantee the free exercise of religion, so they enshrined freedom of religion in the Constitution. The First Amendment ensures there will be no official, state supported “Church of America.” They’d seen the way the Church of England could stifle freedom, and they wanted no part of that.
But while the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, it doesn’t provide freedom from religion. Sadly, though, that seems to be how many want to read the First Amendment.
For example, In the “Mt. Soledad Cross” case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that the federal government could not acquire and maintain a war memorial that included a cross honoring veterans. The court believed that such a display violated the Constitution’s prohibition on Congress respecting an establishment of religion.
To its credit, the Obama administration disagrees. “The decision below, if permitted to stand, calls for the government to tear down a memorial cross that has stood for 58 years as a tribute to fallen service members,” the Justice Department wrote in a brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn the Ninth Circuit ruling. “Nothing in the Establishment Clause compels that result, because the Establishment Clause does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm."
The Supreme Court has decided not to hear the case at this time, turning the issue back over to lower courts. But even Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr. says that if the cross must be removed, the case "unnecessarily fosters the very divisiveness” about religion that the Constitution intended to prevent.
There are other recent challenges to religious freedom.
Frank Buono filed a lawsuit some years ago requesting that an 8-foot tall cross in the Mojave Desert be removed because he “claims to be offended by the presence of a religious symbol on federal land.” The cross is part of national memorial to the 300,000-plus American soldiers who were killed in World War I.
Buono’s case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which shot him down by a 5-4 margin. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority that the Constitution’s Establishment Clause “does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm.”
Note how close that vote was. As legal expert Brian Walsh (then at The Heritage Foundation) wrote at the time, “If the Court had affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s extreme decision, it would have opened the door to legal challenges eliminating Stars of David, crosses, and similar religious symbols found, for example, on soldiers’ graves in Arlington National Cemetery and every other federal cemetery.”
As long as there have been humans, they seem to have always worshipped a god or gods of some kind. The genius of the Founders was in allowing people to worship any faith (or no faith) as long as they “demean themselves as good citizens,” as George Washington phrased it in a letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I.
It bears repeating: Americans enjoy freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Trying to obtain it is a misreading of the Constitution, and a waste of time and energy to boot.
Can one child have many parents?
When she was a precocious preschooler, the daughter of my cousin was famous for begging to sit in the front seat of the family car. As the youngest of four children, she was unlikely to have that privilege, even if she was large enough to safely sit up front. She begged anyway.
The story goes that after repeatedly being denied the chance to sit in the front, the little girl buckled herself into her booster seat in the back, smugly declaring, “This is the front seat.”
Which proves that even a 4-year-old can execute the “When all else fails, redefine the issue” strategy.
This is the avenue being pursued by California state Sen. Mark Leno, who has introduced legislation in the Golden State to allow a child to have more than two parents.
Reflecting the changing nature of families, Mr. Leno believes that adults in nontraditional families — such as when there is a gay couple as well as a biological father or mother — ought to have parental rights conferred on all the parties engaged in the business of “parenting.”
Referring to the 1950s TV show about the quintessential American family, the San Francisco Democrat is quoted as saying, “The bill brings California into the 21st century, recognizing that there are more than Ozzie and Harriet families today.”
Mr. Leno is an outspoken proponent of gay marriage, which the voters of California have resoundingly and repeatedly rejected. Now it appears he’s going around the will of the citizens to confer at least one of the “rights” associated with gay marriage — the “right” to be designated as a parent to a child with whom one has no biological connection.
In a tasteless nod to pragmatism, Mr. Leno thinks this bill is a good idea for, among other reasons, its ability to assign financial responsibility for children to an even larger pool of people than just the two responsible adults known as a “mother” and “father.” He envisions kids having access to more child support, Social Security benefits and health insurance.
Apparently what he does not envision are the gruesome and protracted custody battles and fights over who must (or mustn’t) pay child support, fund a college education, foot the bill for a wedding, or even pay attention when said (confused and understandably screwed up) child lands in jail or rehab or on a therapist’s couch.
Most troubling, Mr. Leno seeks to redefine “parenthood” in a fundamentally different way, eliminating old-fashioned designations of “mother” and “father” in favor of the gender-neutral term “parent,” something he presumes anyone can be to another person with whom they form a special emotional bond.
The irony in this bill is that Mr. Leno believes it somehow serves children’s “best interests,” something he wants California courts to determine.
But Mr. Leno ignores the irrefutable proof: If we want to serve the best interests of children, we’d work harder to raise them in intact two-parent families consisting of one mother and one father.
At the risk of stating an obvious, if unpopular, fact: Children of “traditional” families do better by every measurable standard. They achieve more educationally, they engage in fewer risky behaviors, they get more sleep, eat more vegetables, read more books, enjoy better health, and have greater potential for success as adults than do children raised in any other family structure.
Apologies to those who simply aren’t able to provide the benefits of a two-parent home, for whatever reasons. Life throws curves and we all do the best we can with what God sends our way.
But redefining what it is to be a “parent” will no more make someone a mother or father than will sitting straight and tall in your booster seat put you up front where you’d prefer to be sitting.
Words have meaning, and no matter how they redefine it in California, “mom” and “dad” mean something unique and irreplaceable.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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