Thursday, April 17, 2014
Victims’ families speak at moving memorial service in Overland Park, Kansas
By Stephanie Butnick|April 17, 2014 12:12 PM|
A Crime Scene Investigation unit sits parked outside the Jewish Community Center on April 14, 2014 in Overland Park, Kansas. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Four days after Frazier Glenn Miller shot and killed two people outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and a third person outside Village Shalom, a nearby Jewish retirement home, the JCC reopened to host an interfaith memorial service for the three victims. Miller, 72, a well-known anti-Semite who yelled “Heil Hitler” from the back of a police car after his arrest, made no secret of his decades-long vitriolic hatred of Jews. In a dark and morbid twist to the tragic shootings, which took place the day before Passover, none of the victims were Jewish.
The first two victims, William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson Reat Griffin Underwood, a high school freshman who was at the JCC to audition for a local singing competition, were members of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood. The third victim, Terri LaManno, who was visiting her mother at Village Shalom when the shooting occurred, was a longtime parishioner at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Kansas City along with her husband and children.
This morning’s memorial, which was attended by U.S. General Attorney Eric Holder, was billed as an interfaith service of hope and unity, incorporating Jewish and Christian traditions in a moving repudiation of the hate that fueled Sunday’s attack. There was music and speakers who spanned the religious spectrum, all emphasizing the message that acts like these should unite communities, not divide them.
Reat Griffin Underwood’s father spoke of the diversity of crowd at the day’s event, adding that it’s not an unusual sight at the community center. “This place always looks like this,” he said. He also emphasized the importance of understanding across different communities: “With our connections, we have the power to move past hatred to a life based on love.”
Australia's Ambassador to the United States Kim Beazley had the rapt attention of nearly 20 Adventist Church leaders during a protocol lunch on April 10 during a visit to the denomination's headquarters. He spoke briefly on many aspects of Australia, drawing on knowledge from his long and varied political career. From left: John Graz, director of the Adventist Church's Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department; Ambassador Beazley; Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson; and Education department director Lisa Beardsley-Hardy. [photo: Ansel Oliver]
Former deputy PM Beazley says secular country supports religion
April 15, 2014 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Ansel Oliver/ANN
Australia’s ambassador to the United States visited with Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders last week at the denomination’s headquarters, affirming the South Pacific country’s commitment to religious freedom and discussing the government’s ongoing financial support for private education.
Kim Beazley, the former deputy prime minister, thanked church leaders for hosting him in his first visit since he became ambassador in 2010.
“There’s a wonderful sense of peace and purpose about this building and about the people in it. That comes, of course, with the experience everybody in this place has had at the cross and what it means in their lives,” Beazely told a group of church leaders during a protocol lunch on April 10.
Beazley spoke briefly on a variety of subjects, drawing on his knowledge of the country from his long and varied political career in the federal government. Beazley has served as Minister for Transport and Communications, Defence, Finance, and Employment.
He said Australia is a largely secular society, but its government funds private schools, including religious institutions. Beazley also said faith-based institutions are the most reliable in delivering aid at home and abroad, particularly through health and education initiatives. “Adventists are enormously present in both,” he said.
Church leaders thanked Beazley for Australia’s religious freedom and government funding of private schools.
“We want you to know that Seventh-day Adventists are very much part of helping to build the structure of society, …and we are extremely gratified that Australia provides full religious freedom,” said Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson.
Australia’s federal and state governments fund private schools on an as-needed basis, anywhere from 25 percent to 100 percent or more, based on specials needs or populations they serve, Beasley said.
Education director Lisa Beardsley-Hardy said she was proud of Beazley’s father, who served as Minister for Education in the 1970s and introduced the government funding for schools.
“I wanted to publically thank you for what your father has done in making distinction between choice and conscience and allowing federal funds going to parents who wish to educate their children in private schools for reasons of conscience,” she told Beazley.
The Adventist Church in Australia has more than 58,000 members and operates nearly 50 primary and secondary schools, as well as Avondale College. The church there also operates Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company, which produces the national iconic breakfast cereal Weet-bix.
The Adventist Church headquarters and the International Religious Liberty Association periodically host diplomats to strengthen relationships in the promotion of religious freedom. In the last year alone, diplomats have visited from Cuba, Fiji, Romania, Switzerland and Zambia.
Source: "Adventist News Network"
Copyright © 2014, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Bad News for LGBT Anglicans, Mormons, Adventists, Norwegians, Russians, Georgians, Egyptians, Kuwaitis, Saudis...
April 10, 2014
Post by Peter Montgomery
This week’s recap begins with three global churches affirming opposition to marriage by same-sex couples and in the case of the Adventists, even membership by non-celibate gays.
Anglicans: Archbishop of Canterbury: Gay Marriage = Death for Christians
Justin Welby, the head of the Church of England and symbolic leader of the Anglican Communion, said that if the Church of England accepts same-sex marriage, it will lead to the killing of Christians in Africa.
Speaking on an LBC phone in, Justin Welby said he had stood by a mass grave in Nigeria of 330 Christians who had been massacred by neighbours who had justified the atrocity by saying: "If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians."
"I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened in America. We have to listen to that. We have to be aware of the fact," Welby said. If the Church of England celebrated gay marriages, he added, "the impact of that on Christians far from here, in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic. Everything we say here goes round the world."
As the Guardian report noted, Anglican churches in Uganda and Nigeria have backed the brutal new criminal penalties imposed on gay people in those countries.
Mormons: Apostle Affirms Commitment to One Man-One Woman Marriage
Mormon Apostle Neil Andersen, speaking at a biannual national conference in Salt Lake City, affirmed the church’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
"While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not," said Andersen, an Apostle of the Quorum of the Twelve, the second-highest governing body of the church, according to the AP. "He designated the purpose of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults, to more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared and nurtured."
Andersen also encouraged his fellow Mormons to remain steadfast in their convictions against what he said is an increasingly forceful pro-equality movement on social media.
Andersen reportedly said he admires those who "struggle with same-sex attraction” but “stay true to the commandments of God” by remaining celibate.
Today, April 10, the Tenth Circuit Court will hear the state of Utah’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling overturning the state’s ban on same-sex couples getting married.
Adventists: Church Leadership Adopts Anti-LGBT ‘Guidelines’
We have reported on a recent summit in which global leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church discussed the church’s response to LGBT people. This week, church leaders officially adopted “Guidelines for the Seventh-day Adventist In Responding to Homosexual and Other Alternative Sexual Practices." The guidelines state clearly that pastors should not officiate at same-sex weddings but go further in saying that people who live outside biblical teaching on sexual conduct should not be admitted or retained as church members. The document was reportedly brought up at the very end of the day when about 80 of 200 delegates were still present, and without information usually provided about committees that had approved it.
Spectrum Magazine reported before the vote that the guidelines include the following language;
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church will encourage all its congregations, employees, ministry leaders, organizations, and entities to uphold church teachings and faith-based practices in Church membership, employment, education, and marriage ceremonies, including officiating at weddings. These teachings and faith-based practices, built upon the Bible’s instructions about human sexuality, are equally applicable to heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It is inconsistent with the Church’s understanding of scriptural teaching to admit into or maintain in membership persons practicing sexual behaviors incompatible with biblical teachings. Neither is it acceptable for Adventist pastors or churches to provide wedding services or facilities for same-sex couples.”
The document is presented as guidelines rather than policy because decisions about membership are made at the local congregational level. The General Conference may not be able to constitutionally enforce them, says a representative of SDA Kinship, but the guidelines will affect the climate in which local congregations and Adventist ministers, teachers, and nonprofits work. Last year, an Adventist pastor in Maryland was fired after he signed a civil marriage certificate in Washington state for his step-daughter and her partner.
Norway: Church of Norway Won’t Let Priests Marry Same-Sex Couples
This week the Church of Norway, a protestant denomination, rejected a proposal that it allow religious weddings for same-sex couples, reports Agence France Presse, even though most of the country’s bishops supported the proposal.
Norway was among the first countries in Europe to grant homosexuals full rights, including marriage and adoption in 2009, but the Church does not marry same-sex couples.
Eight of Norway’s 12 bishops said in October they favoured such a move, but on Tuesday the Church’s highest decision-making body the synod rejected the proposal….
Delegates at the national synod also rejected proposals to allow priests to bless a gay marriage on the sidelines of a civil ceremony.
But they also voted against a proposal to maintain the status quo and reserve marriage for heterosexual couples, plunging the synod into chaos.
“It (the rejection of all options) is something that no one had foreseen and no one knows now what will happen,” bishop Tor Berger Joergensen told public broadcaster NRK.
“We must have a little time now to look into the procedures.”
Russia: Legislator Calls for Saudi-Style ‘Morality Police’
Vitaly Milonov, the author of a regional anti-gay “propaganda” law that helped build momentum for the passage of a national law last year, has called for the creation of a “morality police force” that would fine people who violate “traditional values.” His targets appear to include not only gay people but those from minority religions.
According to Agence France-Presse, the Milonov said the force would be made up of “spiritually whole people belonging to traditional faiths for Russia, without rotten liberal values.” He says, “Children must be shielded from debaucher, propaganda of sodomy, asocial lifestyles and sects.”
Georgia: Prime Minister Calls for Constitutional Marriage Ban
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has introduced a constitutional amendment to define marriage as only between one man and one woman in order to avoid “misinterpretation” of a proposed law against anti-LGBT discrimination. “If passed, Georgia would join six other EU Member states with constitutional same-sex marriage bans, including most recently Croatia, which in December 2013 passed its ban. Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland also ban same-sex marriage.”
South Africa: President ‘Respects’ Ugandan Law; Gay Judge Publishes Memoir
In response to a parliamentary question this week, South African President Jacob Zuma refused to condemn Uganda’s anti-gay law, writing, “South Africa respects the sovereign rights of other countries to adopt their own legislation.
Also this week, Edwin Cameron, an openly gay judge who joined South Africa’s Constitutional Court in 2009, launched a book that traces his personal journey as well as the country’s journey toward justice.
According to an Associated Press report by Christopher Torchia, Cameron’s book, Justice: a Personal Account, recounts personal hardships, including his 1986 discovery that he is HIV positive and illness that was beaten back with anti-retrovial drugs. Cameron told AP that he is troubled by the wave of anti-gay legislation in other African countries:“There’s absolutely no doubt that the end of this is going to be a recognition that homosexuality is as African as it is human anywhere in the world,” Cameron said. “Whether that’s going to take another 20 years or 30 years or in my grieving moments, 40 years even, I don’t know.”
Kuwait: Anti-Gay MP Calls for ‘Zero Tolerance’ But Willing to Seek ‘Cure’
Andrew Potts of Gay Star News reports, “Kuwaiti MP Hamdan Al Azimi, who earlier this month called for the police to raid gay people in their homes has said he is willing to meet with homosexuals who want ‘solutions for their issues.’”
Kuwaiti MP Hamdan Al Azimi has called for homosexuals to come forward to have their ‘physiological and psychological issues’ ‘treated’ by health professionals just days after he called for police to raid homosexuals in their homes to catch them in the act.
Earlier this month Al Azimi called on the Interior Ministry to launch raids on apartments where ‘gay people indulge in their illicit debauchery that could not be tolerated under any pretext.’
He now says he wants to talk to Kuwaiti homosexuals seeking “solutions” for their issues, but that gay foreigners should be “deported promptly” because “our virtue-based society has zero tolerance for them.”
Al Azimi heads a national commission against “negative phenomena” and said he wants the Interior Ministry to deal more harshly with gay people: “‘We feel that if the authorities were stricter in dealing with them, we would not see these gay people continue their decadence and depravity.’
‘The commission aims to achieve reform, but at the same time, it cannot tolerate disgraceful behavior or allow practices that are contrary to Islam and to moral integrity,’ Al Rai reported him saying on Sunday.
‘We do know some people have physiological problems that could be addressed properly by experts,’ he said, ‘We will start sitting with those who seek genuine help starting next week.’
Egypt: Four Men Reportedly Sentenced to Prison for ‘Debauchery’ in Anti-Gay Crackdown
Conor Sheils, an Irish writer living in Cairo, reports for Cairo Scene:
Four men have been jailed for hosting gay sex parties as part of a brutal crackdown on homosexuality in Egypt. The men were stood accused of hosting so-called "deviant parties" and cross-dressing in women’s clothes. Three were sentenced to eight years and a fourth to three years behind bars on trumped up debuachery charges.
The news comes after it emerged that three men arrested for so-called indecent acts (dressing in womens' clothing) last month at a party in Nasr City, are still being detained in secret. Sources close to the men who were arrested for dancing while wearing female clothing at a nightclub in the busy resort. He said: "The men have completely disappeared. Even their families do not know where they are. They are really scared."
Sheils quotes an anonymous source saying, “It is a very difficult time to be gay in Egypt right now. People are terrified, it is crazy."
Saudi Arabia: Police Arrest 35 for ‘Gay Party’
Thirty-five men attending a party were reportedly arrested by religious police in Saudi Arabia this week. According to Gay Star News:
The police took the arrested men to the station and kept the dresses and music equipment until an investigation is complete.
LGBTI rights in Saudi Arabia are non-existent. Homosexuality is taboo and punished with jail, flogging, chemical castration or even death.
Trans men and women are considered gay and suffer the same fate.
Entrapment by the religious police does not necessarily lead to prosecution, but often results in life-long financial and/or sexual blackmail.
Ali, a 31 year-old gay law student in Jeddah told Gay Star News: ‘Once the Hay’ah [religious police] have your identity on record for being gay, you are very likely to face financial and even sexual blackmail.
Argentina: President will Godmother to Child of Lesbian Couple
President Cristina Fernandez, who led Argentina to becoming the first South African country to legalize same-sex marriage, over the objections of the Catholic Church, has agreed to become the godmother to a lesbian couple’s baby, Pink News reports. won a battle with the Catholic church four years ago and Argentina became the first South American country to legalise same-sex marriage.
World Congress of Families Slams Obama Admin for Sanctions on Backer of Russian Adoption Ban
Don Feder, communications director for the World Congress of Families, told the right-wing WorldNetDaily that head of the Russian parliament’s committee on families Yelena Mizulina was included in the U.S. government’s list of Russian leaders sanctioned in the wake of the Crimea annexation because the Obama administration is “controlled by the gay lobby.”
Mizulina is among the organizers of the WCF’s 2014 summit, which is scheduled to be held in Moscow in 2014, though planning is now on hold. She promoted the anti-gay propaganda ban and the ban on Russian children being adopted by American parents.
Feder told WorldNetDaily that Mizulina was “absolutely right” in her push to ban American adoptions because children could end up adopted by same-sex couples. “The Russians are very traditional people,” he added. “They have a strong religious orientation. They haven’t got caught up in the whole politically correct thing that has captured so many people in this country.”
“They don’t want to see Russian children placed with homosexuals,” he said. “Frankly, I don’t blame them.”
Serbia: US and EU Ambassadors Meet with Activists
This week the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) met in Belgrade with US Ambassador Michael Kirby and Head of EU Delegation Michael Davenport in the wake of death threats against the leaders and members of the group. Kirby reportedly said “We talked to their activists about what had happened. We will continue to support the work of human rights of LGBT people, which for us is a basic human right.”
Caribbean: Dennis and Judy Shepard Meet with Officials and LGBT Activists
The Washington Blade reports that the parents of Mathew Shepard are meeting with LGBT rights activists and others in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica this week.
“We’re going again to talk about human rights and equal rights throughout these countries at the behest of organizations and human rights activists within those countries and with the support of our own government,” added Dennis Shepard. “If Matt was alive, we wouldn’t be doing this. It would be him.”
The Shepards’ visit to Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica is their fourth trip abroad with the U.S. State Department.
The couple traveled to Singapore, Taiwan and Sweden late last year. The Shepards visited Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Hungary in September 2012.
UK: Protest Against Planned Deportation of Lesbian Nigerian Asylum Seeker
Activists are planning a Friday protest against plans by the Home Office to deport 46-year old Apata Adejumoke, who claims she was subject to violence and her girlfriend was murdered in Nigeria and that she fears for her life if she is returned there. Anti-gay violence and official persecution has been on the rise since passage of a harsh anti-gay law in January.
Amnesty International Panel on LGBT Rights
This week a Ugandan LGBT rights activist Clare Byarugaba participated in a panel at an Amnesty International USA national conference in Chicago. Other panelists included All Out co-foounder Andre Banks and Chicago transgender educator Trian Alexander. According to a report in the Windy City Times, Byarugabe said, "I don't feel safe in my own country. Our leaders have sanctioned homophobia and intolerance of the LGBT community. [Our] leaders are calling for prosecution rather than protection."
More from the Windy City Times’ Jason Carson Wilson:
Religious influence, particularly the U.S brand of conservative Christianity, has created and exacerbated issues facing LGBTI people in the United States and abroad, which Byarugaba and Alexander have learned from experience.
"I'm uncomfortable in those spaces," Alexander said. "I'm not sure how I'll be perceived."
Their experience has made religious institutions suspect to them. Byarugaba said only one Ugandan clergy has shown support for LGBTI people.
"We don't have enough visible faces," she said. "We're not after your children. We just want to hold hands with our partners."
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Force should be met with force in Ukraine, but civil war can only be avoided if Russia's legitimate interests there are accepted
theguardian.com, Wednesday 16 April 2014 08.30 EDT
A fighter jet flies above Ukrainian soldiers in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, on 16 April 2014. ‘Under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum the UK and US are guarantors of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.' Photograph: Marko Djurica/Reuters
As foreign ministers from Russia, the UK, the US and Ukraine prepare for talks in Geneva on Thursday, Ukraine is stumbling towards civil war – the victim both of President Vladimir Putin's ambition and spite, and of the west's consistent failure to predict or counter his moves. All the signs suggest they are going to leave it too late once again.
First, let us be clear: Putin has no grand plan to reconquer all parts of the Soviet Union. (Wanting to create a common market with a few of them is hardly a crime.) But he certainly has other goals, scarcely less sinister, such as "protecting" what he describes as "the Russian world". And he is a master in reacting to events, often created by the west, and turning them to his advantage. He will prise open any chink that allows him to further his aims, and he will continue to do so if the west keeps pussy-footing around.
The EU astonishingly failed to predict that Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovych would turn away from a "partnership" deal that promised little money and lots of tough conditions. This gave Putin his first chance to make an opportunistic counter-proposal that cost, in Russian terms, small change. That in turn provoked the "Maidan" revolution and Ukraine's decisive turn to the west. Once again, amid the mad cheering over the downfall of Putin's supposed ally Yanukovych, no western leaders seemed to foresee what this would provoke.
It should hardly have been a surprise that Putin's first thought would be to secure his Crimean military base from Nato hands. He has more or less promised this for years.
At that point, surely, the west should have taken steps to make absolutely sure that eastern Ukraine would not fall too. That required a big stick, and big carrots too – or at least some subtle diplomacy. Instead we got utterly meaningless sanctions aimed at the wrong people (Putin's big-business cronies do not determine his foreign policies).
This was accompanied by sneers and taunts intended only to rile Putin, such as Barack Obama's comments about the Crimea annexation being the work of a "regional power" acting out of weakness. Was belittling the strongman meant to win him round? Ah yes, and then Obama sent his CIA chief to Kiev just to make sure the Russians got the point about where the new Ukraine is headed.
Then Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, suggested that federalisation would help. Predictably he was scorned. But why? If ever a country needed some sort of major devolution of power it is surely Ukraine. The west should have had this idea first and insisted that its clients in Kiev got a move on – before it became branded as a Kremlin idea (and therefore became by definition worthless).
It needs to made absolutely clear to Putin – even as the time for manoeuvre slips tragically away – that further military intervention (or disguised invasion) will be met not with more warnings, jeering and pointless sanctions, but with resolute western military support for Ukraine. Under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum the UK and US are guarantors (morally, if not legally) of Ukraine's territorial integrity. They should make clear that any attempt to dismember the country will be repulsed by force.
That's the big stick. And there needs to be a smaller one too: the threat of total isolation of Russia. Sanctions should be introduced with immediate effect against the people who matter – the entire political leadership (government, Duma, military, security services), plus their families. Visa bans and asset freezes on them all – that would really send a shock up the Kremlin spine.
Economic sanctions are pointless, and sanctions against Putin's oligarch friends are meaningless gestures, winning braying applause in the west but laughed at in Russia.
Finally, the west must also offer some incentives. Western leaders should assure the Kremlin that they will press Kiev to devolve power in the regions and guarantee Russians' rights. They should order President Oleksandr Turchynov to get rid of the far-rightists who inexplicably are in his government. ("Order" is a horrible word, but the time has passed when we could pretend Ukraine's policies should be left to Ukranians; that will come later.) They should condemn the west's darlings such as Yulia Tymoshenko when she is heard calling for Russians to be wiped out. And they should tell Putin to call on his proxies in eastern Ukraine to back down, leave all occupied buildings, drop the idea of a referendum, and wait for the results of the 25 May election.
The west must also accept that Russia has legitimate security interests, and rule out Nato membership for Ukraine for ever. In the long run a global rethink of security is needed, to guarantee the west's security together with Russia's, not in opposition to it – but that cannot happen until after Putin leaves the scene.
By Cindy Wooden on Wednesday, 16 April 2014
In This Article United Nations
Today’s Catholic must-reads: 02/04/14
UN official lauds Church’s support of migrants
Blame the Government for food banks where they are really culpable: but this is mainly a global problem – and bishops need to understand that. And the EU doesn’t help
Bishops in southern Congo denounce increasing violence
Catholic leaders praise missionaries in Central African Republic
Fr Lombardi said the Vatican would file reports on its anti-torture efforts (CNS)
The Vatican’s scheduled May appearance before a United Nations committee monitoring adherence to an anti-torture treaty is being done willingly and not because Church officials were ordered to appear for questioning, a Vatican spokesman has said.
Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi told reporters yesterday that as a signatory of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Vatican promised to file periodic reports about its laws and efforts to fight torture.
Along with representatives of seven other states, Vatican representatives are scheduled to review the periodic report with committee members from May 5-6 in Geneva.
“This is part of the ordinary procedures to which all state parties to the convention adhere,” Fr Lombardi said. “It is not that the Holy See was convoked in a way outside the normal procedures.”
In addition, he said, the treaty was signed in 2002 “in the name of Vatican City State – not for the universal Church – because the convention has juridical characteristics” that apply to a geographical nation-state.
The UN committee’s questions to the Vatican representatives “must take into account the nature of the convention, its text and the fact that it regards Vatican City State,” and not the worldwide church, he said.
The UN committee tentatively scheduled a May 2 session for nongovernmental organizations wanting to discuss the Holy See’s position. The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, representing SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, filed a report with the committee stating that “rape and other forms of sexual violence are recognized as torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and the Vatican has fallen woefully short of its obligation to prevent and protect against these crimes” in the way it has handled the clerical sex abuse scandal.
In a statement April 14, SNAP said it hoped the UN committee would “call out Catholic officials for saying one thing and doing another, and for putting children in harm’s way time and time and time again, not just in years past, but today as well.”
SNAP said it hoped the committee would be as tough on the Vatican as the UN committee monitoring adherence to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was after Vatican representatives took part in the normal review process in mid-January. The committee said the Vatican was not doing enough to prevent clerical sexual abuse of children and even suggested that, for the good of children, the Catholic Church change its teaching on abortion, contraception and homosexuality.
The Vatican’s report to the committee against torture focused on the laws and policies of Vatican City State regarding crime and punishment, but also mentioned the work of Vatican representatives and the Vatican media to educate people around the world about the sacredness of human life and the immorality of torture.
“The Holy See notes that ‘in times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture,’” the report said, quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Continuing to quote from the catechism, the report said, “Regrettable as these facts are, the church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person.”
The Holy See condemns torture and “other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which may not amount to torture but are equally contrary to the inherent dignity of the human person and his or her integrity and identity. They include the death penalty, in cases where bloodless means are available to protect public order and the safety of persons; subhuman living conditions in prisons… arbitrary imprisonment, detention or deportation,” the report added
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Nicole Winfield, Associated Press 11:03 a.m. EDT April 10, 2014
(Photo: L'Osservatore Romano via AP)
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis denounced human trafficking as a crime against humanity Thursday after meeting with four women who were trafficked and forced into prostitution.
Francis attended a Vatican conference of church workers, charity representatives and police chiefs from 20 nations, Interpol and Europol who pledged greater cooperation to prevent trafficking and encourage its victims to come forward to police.
"Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ," Francis said. "It is a crime against humanity."
The pope met privately with freed sex slaves from his native Argentina, Chile, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Three of them addressed the conference, which issued a final statement pledging to develop strategies to do more to prevent trafficking, care for victims and help them reintegrate into society once freed.
"Our strategy must work across all borders, languages cultures and religious beliefs," Interpol's secretary general, Ronald Noble, told the group. "The 'merchants' do not care about these differences, indeed they thrive on them, as they have done for years."
Attending were police chiefs from countries where women are routinely trafficked for sex, including Nigeria, Romania, Poland and Albania.
Francis has made combating human trafficking and slavery a priority of his papacy. The Vatican recently joined forces with the Anglican Church and Al-Azhar university, the world's foremost seat of Sunni learning, in an anti-slavery initiative.
Yet only about 1 percent of all trafficking victims denounce their smugglers to police and seek assistance, said Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the metropolitan police commissioner in London which has formed a partnership with the Westminster archdiocese to care for victims. Many victims fear coming forward, thinking they will be judged, deported or prosecuted when in fact law enforcement and the church want to offer them a "sanctuary," he said.
The conference, dubbed the "Santa Marta Group" after Francis' Vatican hotel where participants stayed, meets again in London in November.
Interpol's secretary general, Ronald Noble, to the right of Pope Francis (Bergoglio) in photo above.
Uploaded on Nov 1, 2011
I am not anonymous. I am a nonymous. But I do not forget. I do not forgive. And be sure. I will help.
If you like this film... BUY IT on
Americans generally like to hear good news. They like to believe that a new president will right old wrongs, that clean energy will replace dirty oil and that fresh thinking will set the economy straight. American pundits tend to restrain their pessimism and hope for the best. But is anyone prepared for the worst?
Meet Michael Ruppert, a different kind of American. A former Los Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, he predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter, From the Wilderness, at a time when most Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial. Director Chris Smith has shown an affinity for outsiders in films like American Movie and The Yes Men. In Collapse, he departs stylistically from his past documentaries by interviewing Ruppert in a format that recalls the work of Errol Morris and Spalding Gray.
Sitting in a room that looks like a bunker, Ruppert recounts his career as a radical thinker and spells out the crises he sees ahead. He draws upon the same news reports and data available to any Internet user, but he applies a unique interpretation. He is especially passionate about the issue of peak oil, the concern raised by scientists since the seventies that the world will eventually run out of fossil fuel. While other experts debate this issue in measured tones, Ruppert doesn't hold back at sounding an alarm, portraying an apocalyptic future. Listening to his rapid flow of opinions, the viewer is likely to question some of the rhetoric as paranoid or deluded, and to sway back and forth on what to make of the extremism. Smith lets viewers form their own judgments.
Collapse also serves as a portrait of a loner. Over the years, Ruppert has stood up for what he believes in despite fierce opposition. He candidly describes the sacrifices and motivators in his life. While other observers analyze details of the economic crisis, Ruppert views it as symptomatic of nothing less than the collapse of industrial civilization itself.
Chris Smith - Director
Chris Smith is an accomplished filmmaker whose previous films include American Job (1996 Sundance Film Festival), American Movie (1999, Grand Jury Prize-Sundance Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics), Home Movie (2001, Sundance Film Festival), The Yes Men (2004, United Artists) and most recently The Pool (2008). The Pool won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was selected as one of the Top 25 Films of 2008 by the Museum of Modern Art.
Kate Noble - Producer
Kate Noble has worked in production for the last ten years. She joined Bluemark Films in the spring of 2004 and has since worked on projects including The Yes Men, Suffering and Smiling, and The Grand Human Experiment. Before Collapse she produced the narrative feature The Pool, also with director Chris Smith.
Barry Poltermann - Editor
Barry Poltermann first collaborated with Chris Smith as editor on American Movie. He recently directed and edited the documentary feature The Life of Reilly. Barry also served as an executive producer on the documentary, Rock the Bells, which chronicles the struggle to put together the final performance of the Wu Tang Clan. Most recently he and Chris collaborated on the narrative feature, The Pool, which was edited in large part on location in India.
Didier Leplae / Joe Wong - Composers
This is the third collaboration between Chris Smith and composers Didier Leplae and Joe Wong. Didier and Joe are also founders in their music company Noisola. See www.noisola.com for more information.
By BallerStatus Staff / Published 04/15/14
Former LAPD narcotics investigator Michael C. Ruppert -- best known as an investigative journalist and peak oil awareness advocate -- is dead. While details are sketchy, various sources and his Facebook page say that he committed suicide.
He was 63 years old.
In the mid-1990s, Ruppert worked as an LAPD narcotics investigator, before he experienced, first hand, government corruption. He uncovered evidence that pointed to the CIA being involved in drug dealing... and would publicly confront agency director John Deutch during a town hall meeting. Deutch did not handle the confrontation very well... and was ultimately terminated from the CIA as a result.
After his time with the LAPD, Ruppert went on to become an investigator and journalist, establishing a newsletter called From The Wilderness, a watchdog publication that exposed governmental corruption, including his experience with CIA drug dealing activities. The newsletter would evolve into a website under the same name, covering vast range of conspiracy theories, including international politics, peak oil, civil liberties, drugs, economics, and the nature of the 9/11 conspiracy.
In 2009, Ruppert starred in a documentary film by Chris Smith called Collapse, in which he summarizes current energy and economic issues, focusing mainly around the core concepts of peak oil and sustainable development... that ultimately lead to his belief of the imminent collapse of the world.
Earlier this year, VICE visited the man in the Rocky Mountains (where he had moved) and published a video series called "Apocalypse Man", where he runs down the theories he's discussed over the past two decades.
The Documentary - Preparing for Disaster
Lu Olkowski reports from New York about the growing 'prepper' movement in the city. Preppers are people who are fearful of the future and who are preparing for the next disaster. The city has already experienced natural calamities such as Hurricane Sandy and has suffered devastating terrorist attacks. Preppers, who operate as individuals or in small organised groups, are convinced another disaster will strike the city soon and refuse to believe that the government will do enough to protect them. They train in self-defence and plan ways to escape the city in the event of emergency. They store food and water in their houses and have 'bug out' bags ready at a moments notice if they have to flee. Lu Olkowski talks to a number of New York preppers and listens to their concerns and plans for the future. She finds out what they are particularly worried about – everything from a nuclear explosion to economic collapse and another major storm. She hears about their plans of escape and the variety of objects they have secured for their survival – everything from decades' worth of dried food to hoards of silver coins for possible barter after the natural order breaks down. She watches on as they prepare their defence. Are these people simply paranoid and easily influenced by the wild imaginings of Hollywood disaster films? Or do they have genuine concerns that all of us who live in cities should take heed of? (Photo: Jay Blevins walks to his backyard with a bug out bag, a quick grab bag with about 40lb of survival gear, including a Katana sword. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/ AFP/Getty Images)
Duration: 25 minutes
First broadcast:Tuesday 15 April 2014
Listen to the podcast:Or
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BBC World Service
Monday, April 14, 2014
Photo credit ACNS/ Neil Vigers
Friday 28th March 2014
Looking forward to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, a beech tree was planted in Lambeth Palace garden.
Presiding Bishop of the VELKD, Gerhard Ulrich and Archbishop Justin (Photo credit: ACNS/ Neil Vigers)
In the context of the Meissen Agreement, Archbishop Justin welcomed leaders from the Church Council of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD) to Lambeth Palace today.
During the visit, in anticipation of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, an English beech tree was planted in the Lambeth Palace garden. A similar tree was planted by representatives of the Anglican Communion in Wittenburg in 2009.
The VELKD delegation included the Presiding Bishop of the VELKD, Gerhard Ulrich; Bishop Martin Lind and Mrs Lind, representing the wider Lutheran World Federation. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion and Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director for Unity, Faith & Order, Anglican Communion, were also present.
Speaking to the group shortly after the ceremony, Archbishop Justin said: “It is crucial that the agenda of our ecumenical relationships is not limited to the status of our churches in relationship to each other. We are profoundly united in the work of Christ.”
The Archbishop noted that the Meissen Agreement was approved by the Church of England General Synod in July 1990 “without dissent”, which remains a “significant achievement”.
Archbishop continued; “In the broader context of Anglican Communion and Lutheran World Federation relationships, I am sure this will meeting will be a further sign of churches growing together and responding to the call of Christ that all may be one that the world may see who Christ is.”
Bishop Ulrich said that the trees which had been planted in the Lambeth garden and in Wittenburg showed how deeply the Lutheran World Federation valued its relationship with the Anglican Communion. “It is a symbol of reconciled diversity,” he said.
Bishop Ulrich went on to say that the Meissen Agreement “gives witness to the good and trustworthy relations between the two churches”.
Archbishop Justin sent greetings last month to the 8th Meissen Theological Conference, saying that the Meissen Process had “made a significant contribution to the reconciliation process between our two nations and has enabled the establishment of a large number of vibrant partnerships and links between our churches”.
Canon Kenneth Kearon and Bishop Martin Lind plant tree in Lambeth Palace garden (Photo credit: ACNS/ Neil Vigers)
by Tim Wyatt
Posted: 11 Apr 2014 @ 04:14
Reconciliation: Archbishop Welby told his audience to seek to pray with both victim and perpetrator (file photo)
THE Archbishop of Canterbury has urged the Episcopal Church in the United States to challenge a culture of violence by being reconcilers.
Speaking at a peace conference in Oklahoma on Thursday, Archbishop Welby said that the Church should neither pretend violence was not happening, nor be compromised by being drawn into it. Instead, he proposed a "prophetic response to violence which accepts the world as it is and seeks to bring redemption and salvation".
He told his audience at the Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace conference, in Oklahoma City, of how the provost of Coventry Cathedral had begun a reconciliation ministry, following the destruction of the cathedral and much of the town in German bombing raids during the Second World War.
Archbishop Welby worked as a canon at the cathedral for five years, and said it was essential to recognise the evil at the heart of humanity and how violence "damages the soul", if the Church wished to speak out against it.
"Reconciliation and an end to violence is something that can only be achieved by sacrifice and by a prophetic stand. There are no shortcuts and no cheap options."
Speaking of how the US Church should respond to violence, he cited the shooting in 2012 at Sandy Hook, where 20 children and six teachers had been killed at a primary school, as well as the bombing of a US government building in Oklahoma in 1995, which killed 168 people.
He acknowledged that, coming from a different culture in the UK, it would be "discourteous" for him to tell Americans what to think.
"What does [reconciliation] look like in the USA where there are people who are faithful Christians on all sides of the debate about guns?" he asked.
"What it does not mean is to shout louder from your corner in the conviction that you are right and everyone else is stupid. Rather, a Church committed to the reclaiming of the gospel of peace looks like those who join their enemies on their knees.
"Here in the USA you look at questions of gun law and violence. Perhaps part of the answer is not only advocacy, and that must happen, but being on knees together with the poorest and the most vulnerable in your local communities."
The Episcopal Church has been increasingly drawn into the national debate on guns in America in recent years. Earlier this year, the law in the state of Georgia was changed, making it possible for churchgoers to bring firearms into church for the first time.
Bishops and clerics expressed their discomfort with the idea of parishioners carrying weapons in the pews. In an open letter opposing the new law, the Bishops of Atlanta and Georgia, the Rt Revd Robert C. Wright and Scott Anson Benhase, remarked that supporters of the Bill "claim that if only the 'bad guys' have guns, then the 'good guys' cannot stop them.
"Our Christian faith has a more complex understanding of 'good guys' and 'bad guys'. Our biblical understanding of human sin informs us of this universal truth. This Bill solves nothing, and it only creates the potential for more gun violence, not less."
Separately, a group of more than 30 Episcopalian bishops have started a campaign to introduce stricter gun regulation.
Called Bishops Against Gun Violence, the group lobbies for expanding the system of background checks on those buying firearms, ensuring that guns are stored safely, and improving access to mental healthcare.
The three bishops who convened the group said: "We will no longer be silent while violence permeates our world, our society, our Church, our homes and ourselves. Our faith calls us to be ministers of reconciliation, to give voice to the voiceless and to strive for justice in the name of our Lord."
Full text of Archbishop Welby's speech here
Published 11 April 2014 | Cath Martin
The consultation brought together nine Anglicans and eight Pentecostals
Representatives of the Church of England and Pentecostal traditions came together in Hertfordshire this week to explore their similarities and differences, and consider their partnership in mission.
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reports that the two-day consultation at High Leigh follows the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's call for greater interaction between the two traditions.
The Reverend Dr David Hilborn, a member of the Faith and Order Commission and the Society for Pentecostal Studies, said the talks represented a "real step forward in mutual understanding and co-operation" between Anglicans and Pentecostals.
"I had been involved in ecumenical work for some years and had noticed that while Roman Catholic, Reformed and Lutheran churches had been engaged in bilateral theological conversations with Pentecostals, Anglicans had lagged behind," he said.
His sentiments were shared by the Reverend Nezlin Sterling, of the New Testament Assemblies, who said the consultation was a "welcome new development in understanding and cooperation" between the two traditions.
The consultation considered key doctrinal questions around the work of the Holy Spirit, apostolic leadership and prophecy, as well as practical aspects of relationship, such as chuch sharing, Christian schools and joint ministerial training.
Anglicans and Pentecostals in England have enjoyed informal relationships over the years but this is the first structured conversation, the ACNS reports, and more meetings are being planned.
Professor William Kay, of the Assemblies of God, said: "Pentecostals have much to learn from Anglicans and, dare I say it, Anglicans have much to learn from Pentecostals, and this enriching consultation got us off to a flying start."
By: Rosemarie Pace, Director Pax Christi Metro New York
Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014 10:42 pm
In addition, Pax Christi Metro New York (PCMNY) dedicates this year’s Good Friday Way of the Cross to the Most Reverend Joseph M Sullivan, former Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn. For most of PCMNY’s 32 years of organizing this solemn Way of the Cross, Bishop Sullivan led the opening prayer. Last June, tragically, he died after being struck down in a terrible car accident.
This is our first year without Bishop Sullivan, and we mourn his absence. He who once walked with us in the flesh now walks with us in spirit. We are most grateful for having been blessed with his presence all those years, and we trust that he will continue to watch over us as we carry on without him.
The PCMNY Good Friday Way of the Cross is a procession of prayer for suffering people throughout the world: refugees and immigrants; people without health care; those suffering from addiction and mental illness; victims of hunger and homelessness, racism, bullying, gun violence, and human trafficking. It is a walk of repentance for our indifference to the plight of our environment, and it is a plea for serenity and hope that we might be energized to be the change our faith calls us to be in the world.
The Good Friday Way of the Cross is sponsored by over 80 religious organizations and individuals. It begins at 8.30am across from Holy Family Church at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, East 47th Street between First and Second Avenues, proceeds along Manhattan’s 42nd Street, and ends across from the Port Authority Terminal near Holy Cross Church.
Participants stop along the route at 15 contemporary Stations of the Cross. At each Station, groups as varied as high school and college students, young adults and veteran peace activists, reflect on Jesus’ passion as described in scripture and experienced in modern times. Songs of petition and praise accompany and link each Station.
At the final Station, all unite to celebrate life transformed when we follow the Way of Christ. The faithful will have turned 42nd Street into a place of prayer, reminding us that Jesus’ suffering and death were public events and that establishing peace and justice is everyone’s responsibility. All are welcome!
For more information contact: email@example.com
Visit: www.nypaxchristi.org Like us on Facebook.
By Staff Reporter on Wednesday, 9 April 2014
In This Article British Association of the Order of Malta, Charity Commission, Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, Order of Malta
‘Yours is a noble ideal and the Church is enriched by your presence’
Fake equestrian orders – what drives men to playact?
Catholic Care loses its five-year legal battle
Ordinariate returns £1m grant to charity after ruling
Morning Catholic must-reads: 26/06/12
The Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in St John's Wood, north London (PA)
The relationship between the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in London and the Order of Malta “is likely to alter”, the order has said.
In a statement, the order said: “Following an extraordinary general meeting on March 31 at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in north London (the Company) to change the Company’s articles of association, a special resolution was passed, by a vote of the majority, rescinding the right of the British Association of the Order of Malta to nominate members to the Board and to the Company.
“As a result, the relationship of the British Association of the Order of Malta with the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in north London is likely to alter. The changes, if implemented in the hospital’s Scheme, will require the approval of the Charity Commission.
“In line with its 900-year old commitment to the poor and the sick, the order currently runs inner-city soup kitchens and 78 care homes in England providing an array of services for the elderly.”
The order’s relationship with the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, known informally as “John and Lizzie’s”, dates back to the hospital’s foundation in 1856.
A spokesman for the hospital declined to comment.
Published on Mar 13, 2014
For more please visit:
Published on Apr 13, 2014
Many people view the United States as a crumbling Empire that will self-destruct, for it has bit more than it can chew, but it will retain her power and Bible prophecy that gives the greatest insight into her role on the world stage beforehand, forewarns us that it will use both economics and the supernatural as a global weapon to dominate the globe.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Published on Apr 10, 2014
http://AdventBible.com - This week the Sunday Law News Report examines why people say, Hail Mary. There's no doubt about it, there's a Mary revival going on in Protestant circles. The dividing wall that has solidly separated Catholics and Protestants is rapidly coming down. The Virgin Mary is the glue that is binding them together.
A growing number of Protestant theologists have concluded that their previous stance on the subject of Mary needs to be changed.
Arguments on the Virgin Mary's behalf have appeared in a flurry of scholarly essays and popular articles. Some publications have even gone so far as to devote an entire cover story on the subject. Seventh-day Adventists know that the two primary constituent elements of spiritualism—the natural immortality of the soul and communication with the spirits of the dead, meaning Virgin Mary and the "saints," are both present in Marian theology.
Just as Ellen White predicted, and in the fulfillment of prophecy, spiritualism is the adhesive that is bringing Protestantism and Catholicism into closer contact with each other.
JESUS SAYS GET OUT OF THE CITIES!! back to enoch
Thieleman Van Braght
Published on Jul 23, 2013
"FEAR Reverence Respect GOD and GIVE GLORY to HIM FOR THE HOUR of HIS JUDGMENT IS COME Heralds a TRUTH that must be proclaimed till The Saviour s Intercession Shall Cease in the Most Holy
Published on Mar 27, 2014
http://religiousmatrix.com/ Pope Francis has rejected accusations from rightwing Americans that his teaching is Marxist, defending his criticisms of the capitalist system and urging more attention be given to the poor in a wide-ranging interview.
In remarks to the Italian daily La Stampa, the Argentinian pontiff said the views he had espoused in his first apostolic exhortation last month -- which the rightwing US radio host Rush Limbaugh attacked as "dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong" -- were simply those of the church's social doctrine. Limbaugh described the pope's economics as "pure Marxism".
In remarks to the Italian daily La Stampa, the Argentinian pontiff said the views he had espoused in his first apostolic exhortation last month -- which the rightwing US radio host Rush Limbaugh attacked as "dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong" -- were simply those of the church's social doctrine. Limbaugh described the pope's economics as "pure Marxism".