Friday, May 24, 2019

Liberal UMC Leaders: “We Cannot Affiliate” With Traditionalist United Methodists!

In a remarkably quick turn from the recent “unity, unity” rhetoric, a notable group of liberal United Methodists leaders, from Alaska to Florida to Germany, has declared in no uncertain terms that they “cannot” remain in the same church with Christians who support the traditional standards of the United Methodist Book of Discipline. And they are apparently not sure whether or not they can continue to tolerate the presence of Methodists who have not yet settled what they believe about matters related to homosexuality and transgenderism.

Read the rest here.

Francis urges Chinese Catholics to submit to state church (updated)

The Red Pope strikes again.

(Update) And then there is this. I am not a fan of Breitbart at all, but in this case I think they have done a much better job of noting the relevant message here than the mainstream press/media. Which once again, is studiously ignoring those occasions when the pope sounds like either a Unitarian Universalist, or just a babbling idiot.

Report: Greek Church released Archimandrite Epiphanius to schismatic Ukrainian Church

No official confirmation from the Greek church, but if true this would be a serious development. Allowing your clergy to be consecrated a bishop by another "church" would certainly be seen as a specie of formal recognition of that entity. To date no canonical Orthodox church, excepting the EP, has recognized the schismatic OCU.

Details.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

NPR Memo Instructs Writers How to Frame Abortion Debate

After reading a “guidance reminder” posted last week by NPR, it’s become even more obvious why those in favor of abortion and those opposed to it are increasingly at odds with one another.

Mark Memmott, supervising senior editor of standards and practices for NPR, put together the guide after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed into law the most stringently pro-life legislation in the country and not long after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a bill into law barring abortion after a heartbeat is detectable, which usually occurs around six weeks into pregnancy.

The style guide makes one thing abundantly, painstakingly clear: NPR writers are to go out of their way to make sure it never, ever sounds like the collection of cells inside a mother’s womb is a human life.

Perhaps the most absurd — and absurdly bias — rule in the NPR manual is the injunction against the word “unborn,” which journalists are to avoid like the plague, according to Memmott, because it “implies that there is a baby inside a pregnant woman.”

“They’re fetuses,” he lectured. “Incorrectly calling a fetus a ‘baby’ or ‘the unborn’ is part of the strategy used by antiabortion groups to shift language/legality/public opinion.” (Just FYI: Even the Mayo Clinic refers to fetuses who have, according to Memmott, not yet turned into humans as babies.)

The moratorium on the sinister words can only be lifted “when referring to the title of the bill.” The fact he used the word “strategy” only to refer to those opposed to abortion should be telling, as if there’s a clandestine plan by pro-lifers, but those who support abortion are just trying to protect some inalienable right.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Fr. Theodore Zisis on the Greek Church and the Situation in Ukraine

 For the first time, the Constantinople Church has found itself isolated from the other autocephalous Churches, due to its anti-canonical and anti-conciliar actions in granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian schismatics.

Thus, it itself has placed under doubt its accepted coordinating role as a unifying factor and driven its hitherto proven and effective ecclesiastical politics into complete failure. It all began with the incomplete, truncated representation of the Body of Christ at the pseudo-council in Kolymvari, Crete.

In our previous articles we noted the unavoidable danger arising for the Grecophone leaders of many Local Churches (Alexandrian, Jerusalem, Cypriot, Greek, and Albanian) of falling into the temptation of following ethnophytelistic criteria, supporting the Greek first-throne Church. This would in fact mean falling into the heresy of ethnophyletism, which was condemned by the Local Synod of Constantinople in 1872 due to the Bulgarian ethnophyletistic demands of the time.

Unfortunately, such criteria dominate amongst a significant part of the Grecophone clergy, theologians, and specialists in canon law who place patriotism and ethnic origins higher than the national integration of all Orthodox into one body of the Church of Christ, Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all (Col. 3:11).1

Thus, it is clear as God’s day that the Constantinople Church’s interference in the Russian Orthodox Church’s jurisdictional territory, to which the Ukrainian Church has belonged for over three centuries since 1686 with total and uncontested recognition by all the Local Churches and even the Ecumenical Patriarchate itself (as scholarly research into the historical and sacred canonical aspect demonstrates), is anti-canonical.2 However, despite this fact, today we have a planned attempt by researchers to present a different picture that favors the supposedly existing jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch over the territory of Ukraine, and what is worse, a jurisdiction that supposedly allows it to independently grant autocephaly without the agreement of the entire body of the Church, expressed in a conciliar and pan-Orthodox manner.

This newly-proclaimed ecclesiology is trying to represent the Ecumenical Patriarch not as the “first among equals” (primus inter pares)—and thus expressing and accepting decisions on a par with others—but as the “first without equal” (primus sine paribus), ruling in the papal-monarchical manner. Its apotheosis is the Ecumenical Patriarch’s completely self-willed “restoration” of the Ukrainian schismatics without meeting the conditions stipulated by the sacred canons, namely public expression of repentance and their re-ordination or re-consecration.

In the case of the Ukrainian schismatics, even worse and unthinkable from the ecclesiological and pastoral point of view is that they are not returning to the bosom of the canonical Church that has existed for centuries, which is led by Metropolitan Onuphry, and from which they broke off. But Patriarch Bartholomew has instead created a parallel jurisdiction on the same territory and a new synod, and thus has become the initiator of a schism with painful consequences not only for Ukraine, but also for Universal Orthodoxy.

Read the rest here.

Ugghh

Kremlin Is Spending $43M to Renovate Imperial Mansion for Orthodox Patriarch, Media Reports

Friday, May 17, 2019

Disturbing reports from the Ecumenical Patriarchate

There have been rumors for years in the GOA (and the OCA). Unfortunately the attachment of some prominent clergy to certain vices, one in particular, now seems to have become the subject of open discussion and scandal within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Details.
HT: Dr. Tighe

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Jad Ganem reflects on Constantinople's appointment of the new Greek primate in N. America

This past Saturday, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople elected Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa, abbot of the Monastery of Chalki, as archbishop of Constantinople's Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America. This comes after accepting the resignation of Archbishop Demetrios, who had been elected to the position almost twenty years ago to succeed Archbishop Spiridon, who had been imposed on this archdiocese by Constantinople after the resignation of Archbishop Iakovos, and who resigned after disagreements and a crisis of trust between him and members of this archdiocese.

Metropolitan Elpidophoros' election confirms the information circulated by sources close to the Patriarchate of Constantinople in recent years, which indicated His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew's desire to see this metropolitan at the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople's largest and richest diocese.

What was noteworthy in this election, however, is the Synod of Constantinople's total inattention to the opinion of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council, which requested in an official letter following its recent meeting, that Patriarch Bartholomew:...
 
Read the rest here.

RIP Tim Conway


Quote of the day...

The woke world is a world of snitches, informants, rats. Go to any space concerned with social justice and what will you find? Endless surveillance. Everybody is to be judged. Everyone is under suspicion. Everything you say is to be scoured, picked over, analyzed for any possible offense. Everyone’s a detective in the Division of Problematics, and they walk the beat 24/7. You search and search for someone Bad doing Bad Things, finding ways to indict writers and artists and ordinary people for something, anything. That movie that got popular? Give me a few hours and 800 words. I’ll get you your indictments. That’s what liberalism is, now — the search for baddies doing bad things, like little offense archaeologists, digging deeper and deeper to find out who’s Good and who’s Bad. I wonder why people run away from establishment progressivism in droves.
-Freddie deBoer quoted here. This is well worth a read in it's entirety.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Jonathan Turley: Democrats showing contempt by holding William Barr in contempt

The House Judiciary Committee is voting to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress and to secure a vote of the entire House of Representatives in order to send the matter to federal court. The problem is that the contempt action against Barr is long on action and short on contempt. Indeed, with a superficial charge, the House could seriously undermine its credibility in the ongoing conflicts with the White House. Congress is right on a number of complaints against the White House, including possible cases of contempt, but this is not one of them.

As someone who has represented the House of Representatives, my concern is that this one violates a legal version of the Hippocratic oath to “first do no harm.” This could do great harm, not to Barr, but to the House. It is the weakest possible case to bring against the administration, and likely to be an example of a bad case making bad law for the House.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) laid out the case for contempt. He raised three often repeated complaints against Barr in that he failed to release an unredacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller, allegedly lied twice to Congress, and refused to appear before the committee. Yet, notably, the only claim the committee seeks to put before a federal court is the redaction of the report. That seems rather curious since, if Barr lied or refused a subpoena as House leaders claim, it normally would be an easy case of contempt. The reason for this move is that House Democrats know both claims would not withstand even a cursory judicial review.

Read the rest here.

When local governments are run by greedy *bleeps*

The city of Dunedin, Florida, wants to foreclose on a private home because the owner, Jim Ficken, owes the city over $29,000 in fines. The crime for which he is threatened with home loss? Having his lawn grass be too tall (over 10 inches) for a period of eight weeks last summer. The city fined him $500 per day of violation, with no warning.

Ficken was out of town at the time, settling his mother's estate. Ficken hired a handyman to deal with his lawn while he tended to his dying mother and then to her estate, but in a cruel twist, the handyman also died during the Fickens' ordeal, leaving the lawn uncut.

Ficken is 69 years old and lives on a fixed income. He was unaware that he was racking up the daily fines, but cut his grass within two days of finally being informed by a city code inspector that there was a problem. In a sane world, Ficken's explanation for neglecting his lawn and the fact that he remedied the problem as soon as he learned of it, would seemingly resolve the issue. No harm, no fine.

But the Dunedin government is apparently not sane. Because Ficken was also cited for overly tall grass in 2015, the city—unbeknownst to Ficken—classified him as a "repeat violator." This classification doubled his daily fine from $250 to $500 and relieved the Code Enforcement Board of providing him notice. Because Ficken cannot afford the fines he didn't know he was accumulating, the city of Dunedin insists that it can now take his home to pay off his debt.

Read the rest here.


All of which reminds me of a stretch of old US Rt 301 that was a short cut for people driving south on I 95 and who wanted to cut over to I 75 heading towards south Florida. There were no less than four small towns that were infamous for their old fashioned speed traps. By which I am not referring to the honest cop parked on the side of the road with a radar gun looking for people going more than ten over the posted speed limit or driving like they were drunk. I am talking about towns with a population of maybe a thousand and a ten man police force solely dedicated to zero tolerance traffic enforcement on a stretch of highway, perhaps a couple of hundred feet, that happen to fall within their jurisdiction. People, especially those with out of state plates, were routinely pulled over for going 1 mph over the speed limit, which changed suddenly and without much warning.  It got so bad that AAA used to post giant billboard signs warning motorists of the danger ahead.

Eventually there was a formal investigation by a committee of the Florida state legislature over whether or not to strip these towns of their municipal charters. All of them were sanctioned and three were forced to disband their police departments.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

What's behind Trump's threat to reignite the Sino-American trade war?

The diplomatic cable from Beijing arrived in Washington late on Friday night, with systematic edits to a nearly 150-page draft trade agreement that would blow up months of negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, according to three U.S. government sources and three private sector sources briefed on the talks.

The document was riddled with reversals by China that undermined core U.S. demands, the sources told Reuters.

In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.

U.S. President Donald Trump responded in a tweet on Sunday vowing to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10% to 25% on Friday – timed to land in the middle of a scheduled visit by China’s Vice Premier Liu He to Washington to continue trade talks.

The stripping of binding legal language from the draft struck directly at the highest priority of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer - who views changes to Chinese laws as essential to verifying compliance after years of what U.S. officials have called empty reform promises.

Lighthizer has pushed hard for an enforcement regime more like those used for punitive economic sanctions – such as those imposed on North Korea or Iran – than a typical trade deal.

“This undermines the core architecture of the deal,” said a Washington-based source with knowledge of the talks.

Read the rest here.

Although I have been a sharp critic of this president, his decision to take a hard line on trade with China has been one of the areas where I support him. China has been getting away with economic murder, not for years, but for decades. And successive administrations from both parties have allowed it to go on. Enough. No deal is better than another bad deal.

Drop the hammer Mr. President.

Administrative Hardball at the University of Tulsa

On April 11, the administration of the University of Tulsa shocked faculty, students, and alumni by announcing the elimination of 40 percent of the school’s academic programs. Undergraduate and graduate programs in theater, musical theater, dance, vocal and instrumental music, English, history, philosophy, religion, chemistry, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Greek, Latin, anthropology, mathematics, and many others were axed. The administration has eliminated all academic departments and dumped professors, now stripped of disciplinary protections and powers, into big new divisions, including one called “Humanities and Social Justice.”

Administrators at other colleges and universities have recently cut the liberal arts. But TU is the first top-100 research institution, and the first university with a ten-figure endowment—$1.1 billion, to be precise—to have done so. What is more, our administration did all this under a cloak of secrecy and without consulting faculty.

The restructuring appears, among other things, to be a hostile takeover of the university by some of Tulsa’s richest and most powerful corporate interests. The gory details, already well known to many who follow higher education, are available in my essay “Storm Clouds Over Tulsa” at City Journal. But what that essay doesn’t cover is the wholesale rejection of the ironically named “True Commitment” plan by faculty, students, and alumni, and the administration’s highly authoritarian countermeasures to this rejection.

After the restructuring bombshell exploded in a slick, highly orchestrated rollout on the morning of April 11, students and faculty moved to protest quickly and decisively. That evening, I wrote to about 50 faculty and 500 students and alumni inviting them to attend a meeting in the Department of Languages the following day, and I pasted into the email an unedited version of my City Journal article. When I arrived for the meeting, over 400 people were present. We moved into the old theater next door, and I found myself leading a meeting at which we formulated key strategies for resistance to the restructuring.

In the days that followed, students drafted a petition on Change.org (“Saving the Heart and Soul of the University of Tulsa”) that has 5,600 signatures to date, and formed a Facebook group with over 1,700 members that serves as a vital clearinghouse for information. The College of Law voted almost unanimously—but for one vote by the disgraced president of the Faculty Senate, who was forced to apologize when he said publicly that opponents of the restructuring can “go f*** themselves”—not to implement key features of the “True Commitment” plan next year. The College of Arts and Sciences voted 89-4 not to implement any part of it until it could be thoroughly reviewed by our faculty.

Alumni have papered the administration with heartfelt letters of protest, and produced TUplan.org: a clear and concise summary of what is being done to TU, why it matters, and why we must stop it. Sixteen national scholarly societies signed a public statement urging the administration to “reconsider and rescind” the restructuring.

Read the rest here.

I don't know too much of the background to this, but it sounds pretty brutal.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

For History Enthusiasts



A good overview of the USSR's role in the war and modern historical revisionism, up to and including the revival of the cult of Stalin in modern Russia.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Archbishop Demetrios Has Resigned

Details.

There have been rumors for years of financial shenanigans in the GOA. The business with the church building project at the 9-11 memorial site has been  something of a black eye. And now the Archdiocese’s flagship seminary appears to be in danger of losing their accreditation. So while not exactly unexpected, it will be interesting to see if this leads to some transparency.

Monday, April 29, 2019

500 churches in C of E still ban female priests

Apparently there are still some 500 CofE parishes that do not allow female clergy. However there is evidence that tolerance for those unable and/or unwilling to burn incense before the altar of the zeitgeist may be coming to an end.

See here.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Christ is risen!


Father Gagged, Found Guilty Of ‘Family Violence’ For Calling His Trans Daughter A ‘She’

Last week, Justice Francesca Marzari of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada, declared a father guilty of “family violence” against his 14-year-old daughter on the sole basis that he had engaged in “expressions of rejection of [her] gender identity.” These “expressions” revolved entirely around his polite refusal to refer to his daughter as a boy in private, and his steady choice to affirm that she is a girl in public.

As previously reported, the BC Supreme Court ordered in February that 14-year-old Maxine* receive testosterone injections without parental consent. Accordingly, Maxine began regular injections at British Columbia (BC) Children’s Hospital over the course of the last two months.

Her father, Clark*, strongly objects to this treatment and immediately sought to reverse the decision in the BC Court of Appeal. Hoping to raise awareness of his case, Clark gave a number of interviews to media outlets, including The Federalist. In these interviews, he repeatedly referred to his daughter as a girl, stating to The Federalist that “she is a girl.  Her DNA will not change through all these experiments that they do.”

While many might take this to be an honest statement of biological fact, Marzari quoted it as a prime example of Clark’s “family violence of a public denial of [Maxine’s] gender identity.” Marzari convicted Clark of this violence, and issued a “protection order” preventing him from speaking to journalists or the public about his case.

While the main thrust of Marzari’s ruling focused on Clark’s public statements, Marzari also ordered that Clark be enjoined from “exposing” Maxine to any materials that might “question whether [her] gender identity is real or the treatments [she] seeks are in [her] best interests.” This order arose from the fact that, in mid-March, Clark invited his daughter to watch a video of a small-time Canadian conservative commentator with him.

The video contained a section discussing Maxine’s case, which she quickly recognized. She told her father she “did not want to watch the video, and went to [her] room.” This incident, according to Marzari, was a clear case of an “attempt to persuade [Maxine] to abandon treatment,” and, hence, of family violence.

Read the rest here.
See also this from Rod Dreher.