Archive for August, 2014

The Wrong Kind of Christian

Friday, August 29th, 2014
I thought a winsome faith would win Christians a place at Vanderbilt’s table. I was wrong.
Tish Harrison Warren
The Wrong Kind of Christian

Image: KEVIN VANDIVIER / GENESIS

I thought I was an acceptable kind of evangelical.

I’m not a fundamentalist. My friends and I enjoy art, alcohol, and cultural engagement.
We avoid spiritual clichés and buzzwords. We value authenticity, study, racial reconciliation, and social and environmental justice.

Being a Christian made me somewhat weird in my urban, progressive context, but despite some clear differences, I held a lot in common with unbelieving friends. We could disagree about truth, spirituality, and morality, and remain on the best of terms. The failures of the church often made me more uncomfortable than those in the broader culture.

Then, two years ago, the student organization I worked for at Vanderbilt University got kicked off campus for being the wrong kind of Christians.

In May 2011, Vanderbilt’s director of religious life told me that the group I’d helped lead for two years, Graduate Christian Fellowship—a chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship—was on probation. We had to drop the requirement that student leaders affirm our doctrinal and purpose statement, or we would lose our status as a registered student organization.

I met with him to understand the change. During the previous school year, a Christian fraternity had expelled several students for violating their behavior policy. One student said he was ousted because he is gay. Vanderbilt responded by forbidding any belief standards for those wanting to join or lead any campus group.

In writing, the new policy refers only to constitutionally protected classes (race, religion, sexual identity, and so on), but Vanderbilt publicly adopted an “all comers policy,” which meant that no student could be excluded from a leadership …

Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;’ Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

By Michael W. Chapman

mchughDr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry. (Photo: Johns Hopkins Medicine)

(CNSNews.com) —  Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

Dr. McHugh, the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles, made his remarks in a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, where he explained that transgender surgery is not the solution for people who suffer a “disorder of ‘assumption’” – the notion that their maleness or femaleness is different than what nature assigned to them biologically.

He also reported on a new study showing that the suicide rate among transgendered people who had reassignment surgery is 20 times higher than the suicide rate among non-transgender people. Dr. McHugh further noted studies from Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic of children who had expressed transgender feelings but for whom, over time, 70%-80% “spontaneously lost those feelings.”

While the Obama administration, Hollywood, and major media such as Time magazine promote transgenderism as normal, said Dr. McHugh, these “policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”

“This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.”

The transgendered person’s disorder, said Dr. McHugh, is in the person’s “assumption” that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature. It is a disorder similar to a “dangerously thin” person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are “overweight,” said McHugh.

This assumption, that one’s gender is only in the mind regardless of anatomical reality, has led some transgendered people to push for social acceptance and affirmation of their own subjective “personal truth,” said Dr. McHugh. As a result, some states – California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – have passed laws barring psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor,” he said.

The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know, said McHugh, that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings “spontaneously lose those feelings” over time. Also, for those who had sexual reassignment surgery, most said they were “satisfied” with the operation “but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery.”

Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is a ‘Mental Disorder’ – Sex Change is ‘Biologically Impossible’Pro-transgender activists. The Obama administration announced in May that Medicare will now cover transgender surgical procedures. (AP)

“And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs,” said Dr. McHugh.

The former Johns Hopkins chief of psychiatry also warned against enabling or encouraging certain subgroups of the transgendered, such as young people “susceptible to suggestion from ‘everything is normal’ sex education,” and the schools’ “diversity counselors” who, like “cult leaders,” may “encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery.”

Dr. McHugh also reported that there are “misguided doctors” who, working with very young children who seem to imitate the opposite sex, will administer “puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous – even though the drugs stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility.”

Such action comes “close to child abuse,” said Dr. McHugh, given that close to 80% of those kids will “abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated ….”

“’Sex change’ is biologically impossible,” said McHugh. “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”

Gafcon in talks with New Zealand parish

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Aug 2014

Author: George Conger

 

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is in talks to offer alternative episcopal oversight to a breakaway New Zealand congregation, The Church of England Newspaper has learned. The Rev. Michael Hewat, (pictured) the former vicar of West Hamilton Anglican Church in Dinsdale, New Zealand reports that “following communications from FCA-affiliated leaders from 3 overseas provinces, our Vestry decided on [8 Aug 2014] to make exploration of a relationship with FCA its priority –ahead of Wesleyan Methodist, Baptist or anyone else.” In a letter published last month in the Waikato Times, Mr. Hewat said he was withdrawing from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia as a consequence of the May vote by General Synod to begin the process towards authorizing gay marriage. Motion 30 approved by synod set in place a two year process towards finding a theological rationale for revising the church’s doctrine on marriage. Approximately 95 per cent of the congregation has followed Mr. Hewat out of the church. A spokesman for the GAFCON secretariat in Sydney confirmed there had been “initial contact” with the parish leaders. “The story of this congregation is repeated around the world. Time and again we see congregations alienated from their home province because of decisions those provinces have made to distance themselves from biblical teaching,” the FCA/GAFCON spokesman said. Mr. Hewat noted the parish decided to pursue alternative Anglican oversight “from our own preference to retain links with orthodox Anglicans, and a sense of responsibility to fellow evangelicals in NZ who have yet to go through what we’ve been through.” Categories: News

We have the anti-Semites we deserve

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

By Cristina Odone, Telegraph:

Sainsbury’s throws out its kosher food. Muslim parents are accused of turning state schools into madrasas. Christians lose a high court bid to challenge a Transport for London ban on their 2012 advert that read, “Not gay! Ex-gay, post-gay and Proud!”

This is not on a par with the Islamic State’s persecution of Christians in northern Iraq. But the West should stop pretending outrage at the bigots it has spawned. With stealthy determination its governments have demoted religious freedom from a crucial right to a secondary consideration.

Sexual preference and gender equality are taken seriously: laws and a host of employment regulations protect these rights with a convert’s fervour. A schoolboy who calls another one “gay” as a term of abuse faces arrest; a woman can sue the pants off her boss if she can prove his sexual discrimination.

But people’s beliefs are of no account. The conscientious objector who cannot marry a gay couple because to do so would run counter to her religious beliefs will lose her job; the pharmacist who won’t sell the morning-after pill because he thinks abortion is a sin will lose his.

The state will not protect belief – and in some countries it will actively quash it: as the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination on Christians in Europe found two years ago, the EU has introduced more than 50 laws that discriminate against Christians.

The liberal secular establishment rubs its hands in satisfaction: yes, this is enlightened governance. No room for antiquated prejudice in their brave new world.

They seem genuinely unaware of the impact of their actions. In erasing God from public life they have laid the ground for ignorance and bigotry of another kind.

Read here

A VERY clear picture of how the ‘liberalizing Anglican Communion’ functions against the orthodox!!

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

SAN JOAQUIN: Anglican Diocese will Appeal to Fifth District Court of Appeals over Properties

By Bishop Eric Menees

Brothers and Sisters of the Diocese,

I write today to inform you that the final paperwork has been submitted to Judge Black of the Fresno County Superior Court in the case known as the Diocese of San Joaquin v. Schofield. We expect a final judgment will be issued within a few days. Judge Black ruled in favor of The Episcopal Church (TEC) based, I believe, on deference to TEC as a hierarchical church rather than the neutral principles of law analysis required by our State Supreme Court. Judge Black’s decision awards all of the property to TEC. In sum, TEC has been handed more than $40 million of property although it has paid nothing for the properties’ acquisition, upkeep, and maintenance over the past 50 years.

After a great deal of prayer, discussions throughout the diocese, and consultation with bishops across the province I HAVE DECIDED TO APPEAL THIS DECISION to the Fifth District Court of Appeals, which already reversed this case once in our favor in 2009.

Negotiations

My decision follows a meeting with Bishop Rice, the provisional bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and his lawyer on May 22nd in the Chapel of the Holy innocents at St. James Cathedral. At that meeting I sought, once again, a negotiated settlement which would have al- lowed us to keep our church properties as a platform for ministry. Bishop Rice conferred with Presiding Bishop Schori who responded quite clearly: No negotiations for the Property and no sale to Anglican churches.

This was not the first time we attempted to negotiate. We have repeatedly sought a negotiated settlement and the response has been the same every time -“We’ll negotiate on the time for you to leave and possible rental back, but nothing else.”

History

Since its founding in 1961, the Diocese of San Joaquin has identified herself as an orthodox Anglo-Catholic diocese. This has been evident in our adherence to the Word of God and the traditional faith as received throughout the ages. This has meant that over the years we have dis- agreed with the new teachings of TEC’s leadership regarding the doctrine of salvation, the role and authority of the scriptures, and the sanctity of life, among other serious moral and theological issues. The Diocese of San Joaquin saw herself firmly in TEC and sought to work using the

democratic process to effect change, trusting that TEC would not require the Diocese to accept, or act upon, anything that we felt we could not in good conscience adhere to and which was not in good catholic order and belief. Sadly that proved not to be the case.

Upon the election of Bishop Schori as Presiding Bishop, there was widespread concern across the Diocese because her preaching and teaching strayed from the faith once delivered.

Still desiring to stay within TEC, we applied for alternative primatial oversight. Bishop Schori agreed to such a plan, along with all the other leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion at a 2007 meeting held in Dar es Salaam. However, when Bishop Schori returned to the USA, TEC’s House of Bishops repudiated the plan, which became the basis of Bishop Schori’s reneging on her agreement with the Primates of the Anglican Communion to allow alternative primatial oversight. This resulted in making the internationally agreed upon plan unavailable to the Diocese of San Joaquin, under TEC.

Feeling that there was no option for us outside of separation, we sought a negotiated settlement allowing the Diocese to withdraw from TEC and come under the oversight of the Archbishop of the Southern Cone. Following our governing documents and the laws of the State of California, our Annual Convention passed measures by an overwhelming 90% vote to change our spiritual affiliation from TEC to the Province of the Southern Cone with direct primatial oversight from Archbishop Gregory Venables of Argentina.

Those congregations that did not want to stay with the Diocese of San Joaquin under the primatial oversight of Archbishop Venables were permitted to disaffiliate from the Diocese and keep all of their property with the blessings of the Diocese and Bishop Schofield. Seven congregations chose to leave the Diocese of San Joaquin and form their own organization. Not satisfied to with keeping their own property, these congregations united with TEC and filed a lawsuit in 2008 to seize the property of the 90º/’« majority that voted to stay true to the Diocese’s Anglo- Catholic heritage and join the Southern Cone. We have been in litigation to keep our property continuously since 2008.

In January of 2014 the case went to trial and, as noted above, Judge Black ruled in favor of TEC in June. Following the example of St. Paul who appealed the decision of the Roman Procurator, Festus, (Acts 25) so too I will be making an appeal to the Fifth District Court of Appeals. I have directed our legal counsel to pursue the appeal. The appropriate paper work will be filed with the appellate court shortly. It is my hope and prayer that the appellate court will review the case using a neutral principals of law analysis which will demonstrate that in leaving TEC we followed all of their canons and all of the laws of the State of California.

Request for Prayer & Support

I bid the Diocese of San Joaquin to join me in prayer. Prayer for Bishop Rice and the Episcopal Church that they may turn from continued prosecution of the Diocese of San Joaquin for our refusal to accept their change in doctrine. Prayer that they will come to the table for real and meaningful negotiations and take the dispute out of the hands of the civil courts. Prayer for me as your bishop, that God will grant me the wisdom and discernment that will most assuredly be needed in the coming weeks and months. Most importantly join me in the prayer of Jesus, “…not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

I also bid that your prayerfully consider supporting our appeal with a gift to the legal defense fund.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and grant you peace!

Faithfully,

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Eric Vawter Menees
Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin

Put the Bibles Back

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

BibleSo says the Navy.

The Navy on Thursday ordered the Bibles returned to rooms and said it is reviewing a decision by the Navy Exchange to remove them from its worldwide network of military hotels.
Atheists had cheered a victory after a complaint prompted the exchange to begin moving the Bibles to its lost-and-found bins this summer, but the Navy said the decision was made without consulting senior leadership.
“That decision and our religious accommodation policies with regard to the placement of religious materials are under review,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes. “While that review is under way, religious materials removed from Navy Lodge rooms will be returned.”
The Navy Exchange sent a memorandum in June to all its lodge managers saying the Bibles and all religious materials left in rooms will be removed using “established procedures for lost-and-found property.”
In the meantime, managers were ordered to “refer all inquiries about placing religious materials including Bibles to the chaplain’s office for the military installation where the lodge is located,” according to the memo written by Bill Mayhue, the Navy lodge program regional manager. It was signed off on by the director of the Navy Exchange lodges program.
“This will allow the commanding officer to determine … whether the materials will be accepted and how they will be handled and distributed,” Mayhue wrote…

More here.

Archbishop of Mosul: “Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here”

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

From Cranmer:

The translated words of Amel Nona, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, now exiled in Erbil (via Rorate Caeli)

“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future,” says Amel Nona, 47, Chaldean archbishop of Mosul exiled in Erbil. The message is unequivocal: the only way to end the Christian exodus from the places that witnessed its origins in the pre-Islamic age is to respond to violence with violence, to force with force. Nona is a wounded, pain-stricken man, but not resigned. “I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive.” He is very glad to meet Western media. “Please, try to understand us,” he exclaims. “Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal,” Archbishop Amel Nona continues, “but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.”

[…]   But, taken at face value, we are presented here with a number of irrefutable primary truths, any one of which could be extracted to create an alarming leader:

“Our sufferings are the prelude of all Europeans and Western Christians”

“I lost my diocese to Islamic radicals”

“Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here”

“You are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims – you are in danger”

“You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal”

“Your values are not their values”

“You will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home”

All of these are pertinent; any of them would be an admissible truth, though not all an advisable headline. And none of these phrases is likely to be uttered by any Western church leader, simply because there is so little understanding in the liberal and democratic Christian West of the Islamic Hydra that manifests itself so variably across what we call the Arab-Muslim world. Even the ubiquity of this geo-ethnic-religious term is indicative of the paucity of theological knowledge and religious observation, for not all Muslims are Arab; not all Arabs subscribe to the same doctrine of Allah; and not all Muslims accord with any notion of inhabiting the same world as those they view as heretics and apostates.

Read here