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December 2, 2006

Pope in Turkey: A Reluctant State Guest

Filed under: Diverse, Islam, Tyrkiet, Western civilisation — limewoody @ 8:55 am

On Friday Pope Benedict XVI arrived back in Rome following a four-day visit to Turkey. His trip marked his first papal visit to a Muslim nation, and was marked by controversy that followed remarks he made in September on the link between violence and Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. Before leaving Turkey the pope celebrated Mass for the small Roman Catholic community in Istanbul and repeated his call to heal divisions among the world’s Christians. On Wednesday pope met Patriarch Bartholomew I, widely respected as “the first among equals” among Orthodox bishops. Earlier in the week, immediately upon his arrival in Turkey, the pontiff surprised the world by telling the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that the Holy See supports his country’s entry to the European Union. He also called for increased dialogue, peace and reconciliation between Christians and Muslims, and—according to Mr. Erdogan—“the most important message the Pope gave was toward Islam, he reiterated his view of Islam as peaceful and affectionate.”



November 23, 2006

Animal bordellos draw Norwegians

Filed under: Diverse — limewoody @ 2:11 pm

November 13, 2006

Punishment from above.

Filed under: Diverse, Mellemøsten — limewoody @ 8:01 am

A wooden stage collapsed during a memorial for Yasser Arafat on Sunday, lightly wounding 14 people, including the sister of the late Palestinian leader.

Thousands of people attended Sunday’s memorial in a Gaza City field to remember Arafat, who died on Nov. 11, 2004, after a sudden, rapid decline in his health. The crowd waved yellow flags of the Fatah Party, which Arafat founded and led for four decades, singing folk songs and firing guns in the air.

In the middle of one song, the makeshift wooden stage created for the event collapsed, silencing the crowd for nearly a minute before the singing continued. The head of the Presidential Guard, an elite security unit, and Arafat’s sister, Khadija, were among those hurt in the collapse, officials said.

November 6, 2006

Macht ohne Moral

Filed under: Diverse — limewoody @ 11:40 am

If a respected British medical school has its way, British doctors will be routinely killing babies born with serious disabilities.

The Times of London reported in a page one story this weekend on the shocking proposal from Britain’s respected Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.

The College has called on doctors to consider permitting infanticide in the case of seriously disabled newborn babies.

According to the paper, geneticists and medical ethicists supported the proposal -— as did the mother of a severely disabled child -— while a prominent children’s doctor described it as “social engineering.”

John Wyatt, consultant neonatologist at University College London hospital, told the Times: “Intentional killing is not part of medical care,” adding that “The majority of doctors and health professionals believe that once you introduce the possibility of intentional killing into medical practice you change the fundamental nature of medicine. It immediately becomes a subjective decision as to whose life is worthwhile.”

If a doctor can decide whether a life is worth living, he told the Times, “it changes medicine into a form of social engineering where the aim is to maximize the benefit for society and minimize those who are perceived as worthless.”

And Simone Aspis of the British Council of Disabled People told the Times: “If we introduced euthanasia for certain conditions it would tell adults with those conditions that they were worth less than other members of society.”

Arguing that what it called “active euthanasia” — their euphemism for infanticide — should be considered for the overall good of families, to spare parents the emotional burden and financial hardship of bringing up the sickest babies, the college statement declared: “A very disabled child can mean a disabled family. If life-shortening and deliberate interventions to kill infants were available, they might have an impact on obstetric decision-making, even preventing some late abortions, as some parents would be more confident about continuing a pregnancy and taking a risk on outcome.”

The college’s call that “active euthanasia” of newborns be considered came as part of an inquiry into the ethical issues raised by the policy of prolonging life in newborn babies by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

In response to the inquiry, the college stated: “We would like the working party to think more radically about non-resuscitation, withdrawal of treatment decisions, the best interests test and active euthanasia as they are ways of widening the management options available to the sickest of newborns.”

Initially, the inquiry did not address euthanasia of newborns, as this is illegal in Britain, the Times reported, noting that now the college has succeeded in having it considered. Although it says it is not formally calling for active euthanasia to be introduced, it wants the mercy killing of newborn babies to be debated by society.

If doctors in the Netherlands –- where the Times observes mercy killing is permitted for a range of incurable conditions, including severe spina bifida and the painful skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa –- the question may be moot; they say that British doctors are already killing disabled babies.

Dr. Pieter Sauer, co-author of the Groningen Protocol, the Dutch national guidelines on euthanasia of newborns, told the Times that British pediatricians are already performing mercy killings, and says the practice should be done openly.

Sauer, head of the department of pediatrics at the University Medical Centre Groningen, told the Times: “In England they have exactly the same type of patients as we have here. English neonatologists gave me the indication that this is happening.”

As much was admitted by Dr Richard Nicholson, editor of the Bulletin of Medical Ethics, who told the Times he hastened the death of two severely handicapped newborn babies when he was a junior doctor in the 1970s. Speaking of the “pain, distress and discomfort” of severely handicapped babies he said: “I wouldn’t argue against this.”

Others coming out in favor of killing disabled babies were John Harris, a member of the government’s Human Genetics Commission and professor of bioethics at Manchester University and the mother of a baby born with a serious disability. Harris told the Times: “We can terminate for serious fetal abnormality up to term but cannot kill a newborn. What do people think has happened in the passage down the birth canal to make it OK to kill the fetus at one end of the birth canal but not at the other?” he said, obviously referring to partial-birth abortion.

And Edna Kennedy of Newcastle upon Tyne, whose son suffered epidermolysis bullosa, said: “In extremely controlled circumstances, where the baby is really suffering, it should be an option for the mother.”

October 26, 2006

In search of the Holy Grail???????

Filed under: Books, Diverse — limewoody @ 8:02 am

October 22, 2006

The Post Modernist Makes no Judgement – Which is a Judgement and therefore……….

Filed under: Diverse — limewoody @ 3:47 pm


What is a human being actually for? Is there a reason for our existence? If you are any kind of materialist or secularist, you must be intellectually honest and affirm that there is no such reason aside from those that we simply make up. And this is precisely what the secular left does. The doctrines of “diversity,” multiculturalism and moral relativism all insist that there is no proper way for a human being to “be,” and that any judgment we make about other people and cultures is not only wrong, but probably racist as well. Completely lost on the postmodern left is the irony that this itself is a very strong statement about the ultimate purpose of human beings, which is to not make judgments unless it is to harshly judge those who judge. This is what we call a sophisticated “postmodern” belief, which is to say that it is a limb on the tree of western civilization that its inhabitants have cut from the trunk, so that they mysteriously hang suspended in thin, irony-poor acadanemic air with no visible means of philosophical support. It makes no sense at all–certainly less sense than the religious traditions they deride and dismiss–but that’s an intellectual for you. They always believe that their abstractions are more real than reality, and that reality itself is a diseased deviation from their beautiful ideas. It’s one of the reasons they detest liberty, because they cannot accept the idea that the robust “bottom up” order produced by chaotic liberty surpasses their own beautiful ideas of how the good society should be imposed by leftist elites from on high.”

October 21, 2006

Fastest Growing Faith:…………..Christianity

Filed under: Diverse — limewoody @ 10:45 am

Washington (The Daily Standard) – NOW NUMBERING OVER 500 million, and probably the fastest growing religious movement in the world, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians are transforming the global religious demographic, especially in Latin America and Africa. They comprise nearly half of Brazil’s population, and 25 percent of the United States is Pentecostal or Charismatic.


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Are these religious, social conservatives replicating in the Global South political trends that are present among Republican-oriented evangelicals in the United States? A new study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life tries to answer just this question.

Pew estimated that Pentecostals and Charismatics account for about one fourth of the world’s 2 billion Christians. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, published in 2001, there are about 66 million Pentecostals and 470 million Charismatics.

Both Pentecostals and Charismatics have effusive worship styles, emphasize divine healings and other gifts of the Holy Spirit, and believe that evangelism is imperative. Pentecostals belong to specifically Pentecostal denominations, such as the Assemblies of God, which date to the early 20th century. Charismatics are found across evangelical and Protestant churches, but also within Roman Catholicism. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there are about 120 million Catholic Charismatics, or over one fifth of the Pentecostal/Charismatic total.

Pew measured opinion among Pentecostals/Charismatics where they are thought to be strongest: the United States, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, the Philippines,

South Korea, and India. Though there are also millions in China, government restrictions on religion there likely would have made polling problematic.

Not surprisingly, Pew found that Pentecostals/Charismatics in every country are more socially conservative than the general population, disapproving of homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, suicide, and divorce. In Africa and Asia, they were more strongly opposed to the practice of homosexuality than they were in Latin America and the United States. Africans and Asians, both the general population and Pentecostals/Charismatics, are also the most hostile to divorce and pre-marital sex. Brazilians and Chileans were the least disapproving.

About 60 percent of Pentecostals/Charismatics in the United States think abortion is always wrong, compared to 45 percent of the general population. But Latins, Africans, and Asians were all much more opposed to abortion. Americans were the most accepting of euthanasia. Only 50 percent of Pentecostals here insist it is never justified, though that is still higher than 37 percent of the general population.

Pentecostals/Charismatics everywhere attend worship services more frequently than other Christians, are more adamant about their doctrines, and have more literal understandings of the Bible. Politically, outside the United States, they are a little harder to measure beyond key social issues.

In most countries, Pentecostals/Charismatics are more pro-

Israel than the general population. They also tend to support the free market, but not much more than the general population. This is a little surprising, as Pentecostals, especially in Latin America, are heavily influenced by U.S. parachurch groups and are commonly portrayed, especially by their critics, as extensions of American-style capitalism.

Pentecostals/Charismatics in the United States strongly support the war on terror, but in most of the other polled countries, they are ambivalent or negative. The exceptions are Nigeria, Kenya, India, and the Philippines, all of which have struggled against Islamic terrorism and, in the case of Nigeria, Islamist repression of Christian populations. Americans, religious and not, are the most likely to trust their own nation’s military. Religious Filipinos and Kenyans also trust their national militaries. The other national populations do not trust theirs.

In all of the measured countries except for the United States, South Korea, and South Africa, Pentecostals/Charismatics comprise the majority of Protestant Christians, and in Latin America overwhelmingly so. But in Brazil and Guatemala, Charismatics also comprise a majority of Roman Catholics. Pentecostals/Charismatics are a majority of the total populations of Guatemala and Kenya. And they are nearly half of Brazil and the Philippines. One quarter of Americans are Pentecostal/Charismatic.

Although the West, excluding the United States, is getting more secular, the Global South is getting more religious, or at least switching from traditional religion to more charismatic Christianity. Nigeria is a prime example. Pew reports that over the last 50 years Nigeria has gone from 45 percent Muslim to 50 percent, and from 21 percent Christian to 48 percent, a majority of which is Pentecostal/Charismatic. Traditional religion has declined from one third of the population to just less than 2 percent.

Similarly, South Korea is becoming more Christian and more Buddhist, with a quarter of the population now belonging to each, up from 20 percent each 20 years ago, with no religious affiliation slipping from 58 percent to less than half of the population over the same period. South Africa has gone from 68 percent to 80 percent Christian over the last 50 years. The Latin American countries and the Philippines have growing evangelical Protestant minorities, with Guatemala now 30 percent evangelical. But this evangelical resurgence has been accompanied by a growing Charismatic Catholicism in all these countries. Evangelical resurgence seems to stimulate a corresponding resurgence of Catholic faith.

Somewhat disturbingly, the Gospel of Health and Wealth has thoroughly penetrated much of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, especially in the Global South. Over 40 percent of Pentecostals/Charismatics in the United States believe that God grants good health to the faithful, compared to a quarter of the general population. But strong majorities of Pentecostals/Charismatics in Latin America and Africa believe in the promise of good health. Interestingly, the figures in Africa are not that different from the general population, among whom there seems to be a consensus that God will reward good living with good health.

Contrary to some stereotypes about the hyper nationalism of American evangelicals, an overwhelming majority of Pentecostals/Charismatics in this country said that their religion is more important than their nationality. This was true in every other country in Pew’s study. Pentecostals/Charismatics did not differ very much from the general population on gender roles in most countries, although they were more inclined to support female clergy than were the general populations in Asian countries. There is a strong tradition of female lay preaching among Pentecostals, and some Pentecostal churches ordain women.

Americans, religious and not, were the most adamant about religious freedom among all the nations surveyed. But overwhelming majorities in each, religious and not, affirm the importance of multi-party democracy, free elections, freedom of speech, and independent courts. Pentecostals/Charismatics were only slightly more likely than others to affirm their importance.

Pentecostals cannot always be neatly lumped together with Charismatics. For example, 60 percent of American Pentecostals sympathize with Israel, compared to 7 percent with Palestinians. But only 37 percent of American Charismatics favor Israel, compared to 10 percent for the Palestinians. Pentecostals tend to have strong views about God’s ongoing covenant with the Jewish people. Charismatics among mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics are less inclined to this view. This same difference was found elsewhere except in South Korea and Kenya.

In Latin America, Pentecostals/Charismatics were less inclined than the general population to support the American war on terrorism, but they were more supportive in Africa and Asia. When asked to place themselves on the ideological spectrum, Pentecostals/Charismatics everywhere overwhelmingly picked the middle, though they were slightly more tilted right everywhere except in Kenya and South Africa.

The World Christian Encyclopedia estimates that Pentecostals/Charismatics will number over 800 million in 20 years, comprising 10 percent of the world’s population and nearly one third of all Christians. In 1970, they numbered fewer than 80 million, or two percent of the global population. They are now the majority in several nations, and likely will become the majority in many more within the next decade. Their growth has helped make evangelicals the largest religious group in the United States, with enormous political repercussions. Those repercussions have now become global.

Mark D. Tooley directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

October 19, 2006

Benedict’s War Cabinet

Filed under: Diverse — limewoody @ 9:51 pm

In contrast to the pope’s obvious call to Europe to step up to the battle against extremist Islam that he broadcast from Bavaria in September, Pope Benedict XVI has been far less overt in publicizing the revolutionary changes he is making within the Vatican bureaucracy.

Commentators have mentioned the frailty of old age that inflicts this pope. They in turn note his thin and reedy voice and his comparative lack of charisma compared to his predecessor, John Paul II. But all seem to agree on one thing: the power of this pope’s tremendous intellect.

So it is that, having bided his time, Benedict has recently begun, with typical German thoroughness—one could even say administrative brutality—trimming the fat in the governing body of the Catholic Church, the Curia, and placing hand-picked troops in his front line. This is a pope gearing up for battle. Benedict is preparing to wage war with any who would challenge his word on dogma, on liturgy, and on any of his initiatives at promoting a great religious revival within Rome’s collective global congregation of over 1 billion souls. With the benefit of John Paul’s papacy having laid the groundwork, Benedict XVI is even now preparing for his clarion call to revive the church’s mission to catholicize the world.

Consider the wide-ranging changes Benedict has already enacted over the past few months, with no sign of these changes slowing down.

Starting with his own replacement in the office of prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Benedict turned to an interesting choice by appointing then-archbishop of San Francisco, William J. Levada, in May last year. The two had worked closely together during John Paul’s pontificate. Benedict would know full well that Levada, known as shy and retiring in demeanor, would not challenge the pope on any matter of theological consequence. Thus Benedict guarantees that he remains sole and final authority on Catholic doctrine.

Then this March, the pope started his downsizing program by first eliminating two senior positions in the Curia. He accepted the resignation of Japanese Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, who had been president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants, and reappointed Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald from president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to apostolic nuncio to Egypt. In the process, Benedict merged four existing pontifical councils into two.

There followed a change in the post which is key to Vatican relations with the developing world. The office of the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples, formerly held by Italian Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, was given to the archbishop of Bombay, Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias.

In July, the Vatican’s longstanding press officer, Opus Dei layman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, was replaced by Jesuit priest Federico Lombardi, director general of Vatican radio and television.

In September, with the retirement of Cardinal Edmund Szoka from the post of president of the Vatican City governate, the Vatican’s secretary of relations with states, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, moved into that role, thus leaving the Vatican’s key foreign-policy office vacant. That position was later filled by French Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, a Moroccan native with an understanding of the Muslim world.

Also in September, following the papal visit to Bavaria, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, having served for the past 15 years in the powerful position of Vatican secretary of state, was replaced by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Ratzinger’s prior trusted deputy in his former position as the head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It is believed the pope considers that Betone will more effectively serve Benedict’s goals of changing the Curia into an administrative body better tuned to facilitating his global mission to catholicize the masses.

All these moves are, according to a recent report, designed to help achieve the pope’s vision of enabling the Vatican as a “church headquarters to be both a more holy and a more efficient entity” (Time, September 11). This certainly bespeaks a “holy” Roman imperial vision, underwritten by typical German motivation for thoroughgoing efficiency.

Dual posts now under consideration by Pope Benedict for review and change are that of vicar of Rome and head of the Italian Bishops Conference, both currently held by the veteran Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

Benedict is also mulling over the need to place a man in charge of the Vatican purse strings whom he can trust. Although it may come as a shock to some, particularly in Italy, the fact that Benedict is currently considering a fellow German for this position should surprise few who have watched his power plays. The Italian magazine Panorama recently reported that Benedict has in mind appointing the former head of the German Central Bank, Hans Tietmeyer, to that key treasury position. As Time observed, should that appointment become a reality, it “would shake things up almost as much as a German pope” (ibid.).

As we have consistently advised, watch Rome, and watch Berlin. The state of the world for the immediate future will vitally hinge on strategies being currently worked out in these two key capital cities.

Pope Benedict certainly lit the fuse to the Middle East tinderbox during his now infamous speech in Regensburg, Bavaria. Islam will soon reap the whirlwind, Iran having pushed its foreign policy to the point of stimulating a powerful papal response. The pope is busy assembling his war cabinet within the Curia in Rome. The battle will be joined in one final great crusade. That titanic battle is about to begin. 2007 will powerfully demonstrate that reality. Watch Rome—watch Berlin!

October 15, 2006

Armenia memorial stolen in France

Filed under: Diverse — limewoody @ 6:02 am

 bronze statue commemorating the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in Turkey has been stolen from the Paris suburb of Chaville. Police say the monument may have been taken to be sold as scrap metal.

But some are connecting the theft to last Thursday’s vote by the French parliament making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered “genocide”.

Armenia says Ottoman Turks killed 1.5 million people systematically in 1915 – a claim strongly denied by Turkey.

October 14, 2006

…and an ol´country is an ol´country: EXCLUSIVE PHOTO: Willie Nelson’s stash

Filed under: Diverse — limewoody @ 3:28 pm

When Willie Nelson’s bus was searched on Monday in Breaux Bridge, LA on Interstate 10, a “routine traffic stop” turned into a drug bust. Louisiana state troopers found more than a pound and a half of marijuana (0.7 kg) and more than three ounces (91 grams) of psilocibin mushrooms.

See photo above

The 73-year-old Nelson’s was traveling west after performing at the Hank Williams tribute concert in Montgomery, AL on what would have been Williams’ 85th birthday. The day before he headlined the Austin City Limits festival.

The online Post Chronicle reports: “Our friends spoke with a spokesperson for the Louisiana State Police who said, ‘The tour bus was stopped on a common interstate vehicle inspection, and when the trooper approached the bus door a strong odor of marijuana was detected. The occupants were not brought to jail because it was not accepting [inmates] on misdemeanor charges.'”

The 73-year-old Nelson (pictured above) was charged with possession of both substances as were his older sister Bobbie Nelson, 75; Tony Sizemore, 59; Gates Morre, 54; and David Anderson, 50.

One of Nelson’s recent albums, Countryman, featured a pot-leaf on the cover. The country singer is on the Advisory Board to NORML. Allen St. Pierre, NORML’s executive director, stated: “This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that diverts law enforcement personnel away from focusing on serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism.”

The source of the stash photo is the Louisiana State Police news release, dated Sept. 18.
See the whole thing:

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