Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Vatican recognizes alphabet perverts for the first time

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

More evidence for those who regard Pope Francis as an antipope; as reported by Olivia Rudgard of the London Daily Telegraph, June 19, 2018:

The Vatican has recognised "LGBT" for the first time, as bishops admitted that the Catholic church must be more inclusive.

In a working document published on Tuesday senior Church figures said "LGBT youth" wanted to "benefit from greater closeness" with the Church.

The shift marks a departure from previous language used by the Vatican, which has in the past included "persons with homosexual tendencies", while more recent documents have used the term "homosexuals".

Pope Francis has also used the word "gay" at press conferences and in interviews.

The document also recognised that "some LGBT youth" wanted to "experience greater care by the Church".

At a press conference Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the secretary general of the Vatican's synod office, told reporters that the term was included because it had been used by young people and the church was following suit.

"We are open. We don't want to be closed in on ourselves," he said.

The report was released ahead of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will cover the topic “Young people, the faith and vocational discernment”, and will be held in October this year.

"The Synod’s primary aim is to make the whole Church aware of her important and not at all optional task of accompanying every young person, without exclusion, towards the joy of love," said the Cardinal.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Norwegian rapper curses Jews at concert celebrating "diversity"

I don't know which is more disgusting--a performer publicly cursing Jews, or the fact that even Norway isn't immune to the moral and "musical" American ghetto garbage known as "rap." As reported by Jewish Telegraphic Agency, June 18, 2018 (links in original):

A Norwegian rapper hired by the City of Oslo to sing at an event intended to celebrate diversity cursed the “f***ing Jews” during his performance.

In response to the profane statement Friday by Kaveh Kholardi, the leader of the country’s Jewish community has threatened to take legal action against the 23-year-old performer.

Kholardi wished Muslims “Eid Mubarak,” a greeting in Arabic for the Eid al-Fitr holiday that on Friday marked the end of Ramadan, Dagen reported. He went on to ask if there were Christians present, smiling upon hearing cheers. Then he asked if there were any Jews, adding “f***ing Jews … Just kidding.”

Christine Thune, a spokeswoman for the Oslo municipality, told the Verdens Gang daily that the organizers had complained to Kholardi. Anne Christine Kroepelin said the whole “point of the event was diversity and inclusion,” and that Kholardi’s apparent expression of anti-Semitism was “exactly the opposite of what the organizers wanted to promote.”

On June 10, five days before the concert, Kholardi wrote on Twitter: “f***ing Jews are so corrupt.”

On Facebook, Kholardi wrote following criticism by the Jewish leader, Ervin Kohn, that he is “neither a racist nor anti-Semite,” and that the reference to Jews during the concert was taken out of context” and was only a joke.

Kohn demanded an apology from Kholardi, threatening a complaint to police for incitement to hate if Kholardi does not comply with the request.

Kholardi’s Facebook account has become inaccessible following the incident.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Radio frequency may replace X-rays in security devices

As reported by Joshua Philipp of The Epoch Times, June 7, 2018 (link in original):

A new device that fits on a cellphone could soon replace X-ray machines in airports and security checkpoints, while being affordable enough for schools and nightclubs.

Rather than using X-rays, which often require heavy equipment, the new device, SWORD, uses radio frequency. The technology can achieve effects similar to X-rays, but in a noninvasive way, and with no more radiation than what a cellphone already emits.

The SWORD platform would help move options for preventing terrorist attacks and mass shootings from being reactive to proactive, according to Barry Oberholzer, CEO of Royal Holdings, which created the system.

“If you look at all the mass shooter and terror attacks that have been happening, we believe this product we develop is proactive and can save lives,” he said. “It’s not reactive like many people are currently pushing.”

Oberholzer said the system was an answer to threats he has witnessed in his work as an intelligence contractor. He has worked with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Belgium Customs Intelligence Agency, and others to counter criminal operations, including narco-terrorism and smuggling networks.

SWORD works through a specialized smartphone case with an internal processor and antennae that emit radio frequency waves. These waves can scan people and bags, and transmit data back to the phone. It then runs the data through an app on the phone itself, which connects to an AI-driven threat database. It can then give alerts on whether people are carrying guns or explosives, and can do facial recognition to detect if an individual is banned from a location or wanted by authorities.

Oberholzer said the new system would give even security guards at locations such as airports and metro stations the ability to scan individuals and unattended bags for threats, rather than having to call in police, K-9 units, or bomb squads, which can often take hours.

Beware of lawnmowers at church

Charismaniacs would probably accuse the lawnmower in this incident of being demon-possessed. As reported by The Canadian Press, June 16, 2018:

HALIFAX - Police say a 61-year-old man is dead after a lawn mower rolled on top of him in the Halifax area Saturday morning.

Halifax Regional Police say the man was operating a ride-on mower on the grounds of a church on Rocky Lake Drive.

They say it appears that he rolled over a steep hill leading to the nearby Bedford Highway.

Emergency personnel responded just after 10 a.m. but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say their thoughts are with the victim's family.

HT: WHM


Newfoundland and Labrador court declares three adults in polyamorous relationship to be legal parents of child

More evidence that the country that still goes by the name "Canada" is a pathetic rotting corpse that's already under the judgment of God-- I feel sorry for the child, who's yet another involuntary guinea pig in a social experiment. As reported by Michael MacDonald of The Canadian Press, June 14, 2018:

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- In what is believed to be a legal first in Canada, a court in Newfoundland and Labrador has recognized three unmarried adults as the legal parents of a child born within their "polyamorous" family.

Polyamorous relationships are legal in Canada, unlike bigamy and polygamy, which involve people in two or more marriages.

In this case, the St. John's family includes two men in a relationship with the mother of a child born in 2017.

"Society is continuously changing and family structures are changing along with it," says the decision, by Justice Robert Fowler of the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court's family division.

"This must be recognized as a reality and not as a detriment to the best interests of the child."

The April 4 decision says the unconventional family has been together for three years, but the biological father of the child is unknown. The family members are not identified in the decision, which was released Thursday by the court.

It's not the first time a Canadian court has recognized that a family can have three legally recognized parents. In 2007, for example, the Ontario Court of Appeal recognized both women in a lesbian couple as the mothers of a child whose biological father was already deemed a legal parent. But the three adults in that case were not in a relationship.

The three people in the Newfoundland case turned to the courts after the province said only two parents could be listed on the child's birth certificate.

Lawyers for the province's attorney general argued that the provincial Children's Law Act does not allow for more than two people to be named as the legal parents of a child.

In his decision, Fowler acknowledged that was the case, but he stressed that the court's opinion hinged on what was in the best interests of the child.

"It has been well-established that in dealing with the matters of children, the best interests of a child or children shall always be the determining factors for the courts," the decision says.

Fowler said the child was born into a stable, loving family that is providing a safe and nurturing environment.

When the province's Children's Law Act was introduced about 30 years ago, he said, it did not contemplate the "now complex family relationships that are common and accepted in our society."

The judge said it was clear the legislation was aimed at bringing about equal status for all children, but the law included an unintentional gap that acts against the best interests of children born into polyamorous relationships.

"I have no reason to believe that this relationship detracts from the best interests of the child," Fowler's decision says.

"On the contrary, to deny the recognition of fatherhood (parentage) by the applicants would deprive the child of having a legal paternal heritage with all the rights and privileges associated with that designation."

9th century clay amulet praising Allah is found in Jerusalem's City of David

Ancient Ayyubid seal found at Jerusalem’s City of David, Givati Parking Lot excavations.

As reported by Adam Elyahu Berkowitz of Breaking Israel News, June 14, 2018 (link in original):

Last week, archaeologists at the City of David in Jerusalem discovered a tiny ceramic amulet from the 9-10th century with an Arabic inscription praising ‘Allah.’

The one centimeter long piece of clay pottery was inscribed with two lines that were translated by Dr. Nitzan Amitai-Price from the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University:

“Karim (a first name) will trust in Allah

‘Rabbo” (master) of the worlds is Allah’”

Amitai-Price noted that stamps made of semi precious stones that bear similar inscriptions are a common find from the Abbasid period, but this type of clay object, especially one so tiny, is a relatively rare archaeological find. The new discovery is also unusual in that most amulets of this type contain only one line.

According to the directors of the excavation, Prof. Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “the size of the object, its shape, and the text on it indicate that it was apparently used as an amulet for blessing and protection.”

According to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) press release, “The wording of the first line is familiar from seals made of semiprecious stones, as well as from roadside inscriptions (graffiti) along the pilgrims’ route to Mecca (Darb al-Haj) from the 8th-10th centuries CE. The lower portion of the letters in the second line are faded, and its interpretation is based on similar wordings that appear on personal seals and in several verses from the Koran.”

The inscription seemed strangely appropriate given that the amulet was found in the last days of Ramadan, the month-long Muslims fast, when Muslims greet each other with the phrase, “Ramadan Karim”.

The piece was discovered in the flooring of a structure believed to have been built in the 9-10th century during the Islamic Abbasid Caliphate that ruled the region from 750 CE to 950 CE. Archaeologists conjecture that the amulet was intentionally placed in the flooring when it was constructed. It was found near pottery sherds and a nearly intact oil lamp marked with black soot. The the small room also contained an oven.

“Unfortunately,” the researchers said in the IAA press release, “the poor preservation of the architecture make the purpose of the structure difficult to determine. It is interesting to note that several installations indicate cooking activities that occurred here. Modest structures from the same period were found in prior excavations at the same site, including residential homes interspersed with stores and workshops. It is reasonable to assume that this structure was used as part of that same industrial zone.”

The archaeological dig is in the City of David’s Givati Parking Lot excavations near the Old City of Jerusalem.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Fight over ownership of America's oldest synagogue goes to the Supreme Court

This sort of dispute can be found anywhere; as reported by Jewish Telegraph Agency, June 15, 2018:

BOSTON — The legal fight over ownership of the country’s oldest synagogue is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week denied a petition filed by Congregation Jeshuat Israel, which worships in the historic synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, for a rehearing of a ruling from August that said it was a tenant of the building.

That ruling by a three-judge panel found that New York’s Shearith Israel, which was founded in 1654, is the rightful owner of the Touro Synagogue, which was built in 1763. Jeshuat Israel will appeal, according to its lawyer, Gary Naftalis.

It is the latest development in a years-long property dispute between Jeshuat Israel and Shearith Israel, the nation’s oldest congregation.

The appeals court ruling by Justice David Souter, a former U.S. Supreme Court justice, also grants the Manhattan congregation ownership of some of Touro’s possessions.

“We will seek review by the United States Supreme Court to continue our fight to preserve the Touro Synagogue,” Naftalis wrote in an email to JTA. He said that Jeshuat Israel is the only congregation that has prayed at Touro for over a century.

But Louis Solomon, the board chairman of Shearith Israel and its lawyer in the case against Jeshuat Israel, said the “Court’s decision reaffirms the need, for the good of American Jewry and people of faith everywhere, to put this divisive matter behind us.”

The two congregations have had a close, centuries-old intertwined relationship. During the Revolutionary War, when Newport’s Jews fled the city, Shearith Israel became the trustee of Touro and for a time held its possessions. Later, with a wave of new Jewish immigrants, the congregation recharted.

The current legal dispute dates back to 2012, when Jeshuat Israel, seeking to secure its financial footing and maintain a rabbi, planned to sell artifacts worth millions of dollars. Shearith Israel moved to block the sale, arguing in part that it is the rightful owner of the Touro Synagogue and its possessions.

Two years ago, a U.S. District Court judge in Providence ruled in favor of Jeshuat Israel and removed Shearith Israel as a trustee. Shearith Israel appealed and won the decision in August, with Souter finding that Jeshuat Israel was a tenant.

The intended sale that sparked the conflict was of a pair of Colonial-era silver Torah scroll finials handcrafted by prominent silversmith Myer Myers valued at more than $7 million.

The ruling last week featured a dissent by Judge Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson in which she expressed concern that the decision did not consider long-standing Rhode Island law on charitable trusts that “could lead to different legal conclusions.”

Designated a national historic site in 1946, the Touro Synagogue attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, including for its annual summertime reading of a historic letter from George Washington, who visited the synagogue in 1790. The nation’s first president wrote that the government “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

Friday, June 15, 2018

Narrow majority in Argentine Chamber of Deputies votes in favour of legalizing abortion

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19

Argentina threatens to head in the same self-destructive direction as that recently favoured by Ireland. As reported by BBC News, June 14, 2018 (bold, links in original):

Catholic Argentina's lower house has backed a bill legalising abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

After a divisive debate lasting more than 22 hours, 129 members of the Chamber of Deputies voted in favour and 125 against while one abstained.

The bill will now have to go to the Senate.

President Mauricio Macri is strongly opposed to the bill but has said that he would not veto it if it was passed by both houses.

Last-minute turnaround
Abortion is currently illegal in Argentina, except in cases of rape or when the life or health of the woman is at risk. Women seeking abortions also have to apply to a judge for permission, which critics say can unnecessarily delay the procedure.

Up until three hours before the vote, those against the bill seemed to be in the majority until a lawmaker in the province of La Pampa, Sergio Ziliotto, announced on Twitter that he and two colleagues had changed their minds and would vote "yes".

Junto a Melina Delú y Ariel Rauschenberger, los 3 diputados nacionales peronistas por La Pampa votaremos a FAVOR de la despenalización del aborto.

— Sergio Ziliotto (@ZiliottoSergio) June 14, 2018

The announcement invigorated pro-choice lawmakers at a time when despondency was beginning to set in after the night-long debate.

Supporters of the bill, many of whom had spent the entire night demonstrating outside of the Congress building in Buenos Aires, cheered and hugged when the result of the vote was announced.

Many also took to social media to celebrate with #AbortoSeraLey (#AbortionWillBeLaw), a hashtag that is trending on Twitter in Argentina.

Among those celebrating the vote as a "historic step" was the secretary general of human rights group Amnesty International, Salil Shetty.

Historic step forward for women's rights in #Argentina today! It's not over yet, but the vote to decriminalise abortion up to 14 weeks sends a powerful message which will reverberate across the whole region #AbortoSeraLey https://t.co/cwBM19SWGn pic.twitter.com/VFKoUubykF

— Salil Shetty (@SalilShetty) June 14, 2018

There was high drama even as the result came in. The electronic board inside the chamber initially showed 131 in favour and 123 against but two lawmakers immediately shouted that their vote had not been recorded accurately.

The speaker then proceeded to ask a number of deputies to confirm how they had voted and after some tense minutes confirmed that the bill had been passed.

'Innocent blood'
The bill will now go to the Senate, where it is expected to be put to a vote in September.

Analysts say it faces an uphill battle in the upper chamber, where a number of senators have already expressed their opposition.

Women's rights activists said they would continue to campaign vigorously for the bill to be passed.

They argue that legalising abortions is a public health issue, with many women currently taking huge risks with their health and sometimes even their lives when they resort to illegal terminations.

Some of the lawmakers taking part in the debate said they had been swayed by the argument. They said that while they personally remained opposed to abortions, they saw the need for women to have access to safe, legal terminations.

But many others did not change their minds. Horacio Goicoechea of the Radical Civic Union made an impassioned plea for his colleagues to vote "no", saying: "We're building a law on innocent blood."
See my post Irish referendum results in removal of right to life of unborn from the constitution (May 26, 2018)

50 years ago: United Church in Calgary experiments with modern music

Submitted for your approval, more evidence that not only are today's evangelicals tomorrow's liberals, but yesterday's liberals are today's evangelicals. Substitute the name of almost any "Evangelical" church for the United Church of Canada in the following article, and it would be true of 21st century Evangelicalism. Increasing worldliness in church music is part of generally declining standards of holiness.

A few things have changed in the 50 years since the following item appeared. The United Church of Canada was in the early years of its decline in prestige (membership peaked in 1965, the year after the news Sunday School curriculum was published, making the church's apostasy clear), but the mainline churches in Canada were still generally respected and influential. A United Church "couple" in ministry consisted of a husband, i.e., male, and his wife, i.e., female. The mainline churches hadn't yet gone full speed ahead into promotion of alphabet perversion, but once a church falls into apostasy, it drops into a bottomless abyss, and it will become ever more apostate until it either destroys itself or is destroyed by the Lord Jesus Christ in the brightness of His coming.

As reported by Edythe Humphrey in the Calgary Albertan, June 15, 1968:

Blues, brass and bongos may seem to most people alien in a church environment, but for a young Bowness United Church clergyman, they're part of his regular service of worship.

As a leader in church music experimentation, not only in Calgary, but across Canada, Rev. D.W. Hyde is in tune with the changes taking place in the church of today, and adding to the impetus with some innovations of his own.

He's not alone in his work, for while he possesses the musical training, his wife Marilyn has the enthusiasm and love for the experiment, and their growing congregation has the courage to accept the blues, jazz, guitars and drums they've introduced as a regular part of the service.

Other Calgary churches, too, such as Rev. Bob Wallace's Parkdale United, have adopted some of his arrangements.

And recognition has come to the young English-born minister and his wife from the national level, in the form of an invitation to the United Church's conference on evangelism, to be held at Whitby, Ont. Aug. 20 to 23.

The Hydes are the first to admit their adaptations are experimental. "Not everything we use is good, but we believe these things are being written and deserve to be heard."

The "things" they refer to are a wealth of new poetry and music by British writers Peter Firth, Geoffrey Beaumont and Patrick Appleford, as well as other composers.

This modern young couple, parents of two small children, contend the new theology is not a matter of choosing the old hymns and jazzing them up, however, but adopting an appreciation of those who are writing the new music and words which contain much less ecclesiastical language than before.

To illustrate, Rev. Hyde, at this point in a recent interview, turned to the piano in his living room and demonstrated with a blues version of Just As I Am. Though this particular hymn has been tried a couple of times at a workshop, it hasn't been used as yet in a service of worship.

But a lot of others have, most of them joyful. At a recent Easter service in their church, the Hydes said they sang Jesus Christ Is Risen, and they discovered to their great delight, that the congregation responded enthusiastically to the light, happy approach, regarding it as an apt expression of the season.

Many old hymns advise people to escape from the world and seek their own spiritual satisfaction. But the church's modern day approach is one of going out into the world and facing the social problems and challenges, and the Hydes are convinced this is what the music, too, must emphasize.

It's no wonder attendance dwindles in churches where people are expected to sing outmoded hymns, they argue. It's condescending, self-centred attitudes that are a major cause of loss of interest, confusion and apathy in the church, and not the experiments and changes people are trying.

Though some of the things they try will be discarded, something of value is bound to emerge, they believe, and by bringing the new approach into the church, they see a narrowing of the gap between holy and secular.

Theirs is a wide-open approach in which they believe all available tools ought to be used to express today's faith. "Not too long ago, the organ was considered an abomination to the Lord" by many churchgoers, but now it is the accepted instrument in the most conservative of cathedrals, the Hydes point out, so why should people balk at the use of the guitar, drums and other instruments.

At a recent service, a brass fanfare was employed as the call to worship. Guitars are often used, and the junior choir has used flute accompaniment.

While Rev. Hyde is keen on experimentation in church music, and his wife is equally enthusiastic, their daily life is no different than that of any other young couple whose experience is similarly church oriented.

The young clergyman has found, however, that experimentation in church music has forced changes on the rest of the service as well. They occur almost on a Sunday-to-Sunday basis. A good example is the takeover by the Senior Hi-C of the entire ushering duties of the congregation.

"But it's not a case of pushing the older ones out. On the contrary, the older members seem proud and pleased at the interest of the younger generation," he says.

His congregation is approaching a 50-50 division in percentage of youth and middle-age, and no one knows at this point what the future may bring. It may require separate services to satisfy both tastes, or it may mean a skilful blending of half mod and half traditional music in each service.

So far, Rev. Hyde says acceptance has been encouraging, as evidenced in the enthusiasm of an elderly woman who maintained "this new idea of singing the blues away makes a person forget their troubles for a while."

Instead of sermons, they've experimented with discussion groups, and Rev. Hyde frankly admits at first he felt "quite threatened" but he has since discovered that out of each panel has come something of value.

The first discussion, on the role of the church and the new evangelism, received such a response from the congregation that it led to a second, on theology and the new morality. New plans are underway for a third, also on the new morality.

The Hydes, with Karen, now 4, and David, 2, came to Calgary less than a year ago, with no preconceived notions of what would happen. Rev. Hyde received his arts degree with a music major from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, after coming to Canada from England in 1957, then studied theology at St. Andrew's College in Saskatoon and graduated from Pine Hill Divinity Hall in Halifax in 1963. They came to Calgary in September, 1967 from Aneroid, his first charge.

During the years in Saskatchewan, their interest in new church music evolved gradually. The new folk masses, sessions at the Prairie Christian Training Institute, camp musical programs, all had their influence, so by the time they arrived at Bowness, a pattern was evolving.

Whether those who are involved in their experiment heartily endorse the idea, reserve judgment or feel somewhat critical, they find it impossible to deny that the atmosphere their new music creates is lively and thought-provoking. And the Hydes are determined to make it more so.
See my post 50 years ago: United Church of Canada unveils Sunday School curriculum denying the truth of the Bible (August 1, 2014)

Roman Catholic Bishop in New Mexico supports lawless invasion of U.S. by Mexicans

A Roman Catholic bishop with a surname that appears to be of Hispanic origin presumably supports American citizenship for those who've been living illegally in the United States for years purely because he's a man of compassion. He couldn't possibly support this because he's of the same ethnicity and as the scofflaws, and because the scofflaws are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, could he? I'm not going to mention Pope Francis, who had the chutzpah to criticize Donald Trump for wanting to build a wall to keep invaders out, while Pope Francis lives in the Vatican, which as far as I know, is surrounded by a wall.

As reported by Xchelzin Peña in the Las Cruces Sun-News, February 21, 2018:

LAS CRUCES - Bishop Oscar Cantú, leader of the Las Cruces Catholic Diocese, kissed the feet of DREAMers before washing them with Holy water Tuesday at the San Pedro Del Cerro Mission in Vado.

The symbolic gesture, based on the story in the Bible of Jesus cleaning the feet of his disciples, was intended to highlight the plights of those who entered into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program established under President Barack Obama, which is scheduled to be discontinued next month.

“We’ve realized how vulnerable they are, especially that so many of them have given all their information to the government, in good faith obviously," Cantú said. "So, we wanted to lift a prayer for our country and Congress that they will enact a law that will provide a pathway for legalization for DREAMers and their parents.”

The event was organized by the diocese in coordination with New Mexico Communidades en Acción y de Fé (NM CAFe), which is part of the PICO National Network, the largest faith-based community organization in the country.

About 10 young immigrants attended. Johana Bencomo, community organizer of NM CAFe, said some of those who received the foot washing are protected under DACA, while other did not qualify.

“You can be a DREAMer and not have DACA, but if you’re a DACA you’re a DREAMer,” Bencomo said.

Those not protected under DACA are at risk of deportation, while DACA recipients are threatened to be stripped from their ability to live and work in the United States if Congress fails to produce an agreement by March 5, the deadline set by President Donald Trump.

A court order has temporarily stopped the administration from winding down the program, but a final decision by the courts is still pending.

Former President Barrack Obama created the federal program to protect illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children. The Trump administration announced its rescission on September 5, 2017.

Cantú said he, along with other bishops from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), have been involved with the issue since the DREAM Act was first introduced in the early 2000’s. The act failed to pass in 2010, prompting Obama to take executive action.

Bencomo said Wednesday's ceremony was to also lift the stories of DREAMers and their families during the congressional recess.

“We wanted these events to be happening the week Congress members are back home, so that they can remember why they do the work they do,” Bencomo said.

If no agreement is reached in Congress, the approximate 12,000 Dreamers in New Mexico must individually decide what to do, Cantu said.

“We really haven’t gone there. And I am not sure, it’s going to depend on each family. I can’t make that decision for them nor anybody else,” Cantú said. “I think if they were to be deported or forced to leave on their own, it would be a loss for this country and a gain for whatever country receives them.”

During the ceremony, Bishop Cantú called out to the DREAMers asking them how they felt about their situation.

DACA recipient Viviana Arciniega, 21, responded that she felt desperate to find the answer to her future. Born in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, she came into the U.S. when she was 3 years old. Throughout the years, Arciniega and her family moved between Vado, Mesquite and now Las Cruces.

“The thought of leaving this state, where I grew up, it doesn’t cross my mind. I don’t want to go to a place where I’ve never been,” she said. “And I feel very desperate that our congressmen and women haven’t decided what is going to happen to us.”

Arciniega she had positive and hopeful feelings during Tuesday's service.

“I felt really blessed. Bishop Cantú said faithful words. I mean, I felt my that faith grew within me. I really felt that God was with me and He was giving me strength to keep moving forward,” Arciniega said.

DACA recipient Cindy Vazquez, 19, came to the U.S. when she was 1. Vazquez and her family originate from Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico, but because of the current political climate, she is scared, along with other emotions, about perhaps being deported.

“I just feel a lot of frustrations," she said. "I am feeling scared, I feel hopeless at times. I feel like I am put inside a football and I am being tossed around. I don’t know what is going to happen to us. It just scares me and it makes me have a lot of doubts.”

Vasquez said the experience gave her chills, knowing that the communities are coming together for her and other young immigrants across the nation.

“I was really emotional.” Vazquez said. “Just to know that we are all here together and we’re going to get through this and we are going to get it done.”

For more information, go to justiceforimmigrants.org.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Yet another "weeping" statue of Mary appears, this time in New Mexico

More evidence that Roman Catholicism is a religion of superstition and idolatry; it will come as a great surprise to this blogger if the latest "weeping" statue of Mary turns out to be more legitimate than any of the others that have been reported over the years. As reported by Carlos Andres López of the Las Cruces Sun-News, June 2, 2018 (link in original):

LAS CRUCES - Is it natural or supernatural? Is it divine or demonic? These are the questions the Las Cruces Catholic Diocese is hoping to answer at the conclusion of its investigation into a statue of the Virgin Mary that appears to shedding tears at a Hobbs church.

Bishop Oscar Cantú addressed the statue in a news conference last week, saying the diocese, which serves as the governing entity for all Catholic churches in southern New Mexico, including Hobbs, is in the middle of its investigation into the occurrence at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Hobbs.

"We've initiated an investigation," Cantú said. "It'll be on a lot of different levels."

As of last Wednesday, Cantú said he had not visited the church since parishioners first reported seeing what appeared to be tears streaming down the face of a statue of the Virgin Mary last month. The church has since become a destination for Catholics, non-Catholics and others who have traveled from near and far in pilgrimages to see what many have called a miracle.

Several images of the statue are on the church's Facebook page, including one that shows a long line of people waiting to see the figure.

In its investigation, the diocese will first try to determine if the tears are a supernatural occurrence, Cantú explained. This part of the probe includes laboratory tests of the liquid believed to be tears, eyewitness interviews and scrutiny of possible natural causes, including human tampering.

"We have to rule out any natural possibilities of that statue emitting liquid, whatever it is," he said. "We will continue to conduct interviews with eyewitnesses, with the pastors, with the priests."

He added: "We are sending the liquid for a chemical analysis, (and) we're going to reach out to the fabricator, the producer of the statue."

However, it is unclear how long the analysis will take to complete. Cantú said it wouldn't be a quick process.

But if the diocese ultimately concludes the tears are in fact a supernatural phenomenon — which has not yet happened — officials will then try to decipher the underlying message, Cantú said.

"If it is supernatural, then is it God? Or it of an evil spirit? We do believe in the fallen angels," he said, "and we renounce the fallen angels because we believe from the scriptures that they're frustrated and they want to make everyone else frustrated — and sometimes they use things, they can be rather cunning.

"So that would be other piece: what are the fruits? If it's from God, it's going to produce positive fruits of joy, of peace, of healing — perhaps physical healing," Cantú said.

Cantú said he personally has not reached any conclusion, and even admitted to being somewhat apprehensive. "As the bishop, I have to kind of have a distance and a kind of a healthy dose of skepticism, as well," he said.

Since the first sighting of the suspected tears, the church has remained open around the clock, only closing for a few hours, as crowds gather in droves to pray before the statue. One person wrote on the church's Facebook page that he drove from Denver to see the statue, and said he hope a permanent church is built in the Virgin Mary's honor.

Cantú views the overwhelming response as a sign that people are looking for "peace or direction in their lives," or "illumination in their lives."
As reported by Evan Folan of the El Paso television station KVIA, June 10, 2018:

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Twenty thousand people from as far away as Hong Kong have traveled to see the statue of the Virgin Mary reportedly crying at a Hobbs church, parishioners say.

"We've been swamped," said Judy Ronquillo, the church manager.

Not only that, the church told ABC-7 the statue began weeping again on Saturday.

"We need to stay together and unite each other and pray," Ronquillo said. "All I ask is for everybody to forgive and pray."

The Las Cruces Catholic Diocese, the governing body of all Catholic churches in southern New Mexico, will interview witnesses tomorrow, Ronquillo said.

Bishop Oscar Cantú told the Las Cruces Sun-News the diocese will first try to determine if the tears are a supernatural occurrence. This part of the probe includes laboratory tests of the liquid believed to be tears, eyewitness interviews and scrutiny of possible natural causes, including human tampering.

It is unclear how long the investigation will take to complete. The church is open daily, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

New Horizons spacecraft discovers evidence of methane ice dunes on Pluto

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Psalms 8:3-4

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Psalms 19:1

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

As reported by David Shukman of BBC News, May 31, 2018 (link in original):

Scientists say they have found evidence of dunes of frozen methane on Pluto.

The research, which is published in the journal Science, suggests that the distant world is more dynamic than previously thought.

Pluto's atmosphere was believed to be too thin to create the features familiar in deserts on Earth.

The findings come from analysis of the startling images sent back by Nasa's New Horizons mission, which flew close to Pluto in July 2015.

After an epic trek through the Solar System that took nearly a decade, New Horizons sped by at a speed of 58,536 km/h (36,373 mph), gathering data as it passed.

In their study, the researchers explain how they studied pictures of a plain known as Sputnik Planitia, parts of which are covered with what look like fields of dunes.

They are lying close to a range of mountains of water ice 5km high.

The scientists conclude that the dunes are 0.4-1km apart and that they are made up of particles of methane ice between 200-300 micrometers in diameter - roughly the size of grains of sand.

The paper's lead author is Dr Matt Telfer, a physical geographer at the University of Plymouth. He told BBC News: "We can't see individual grains but what we are able to identify dunes, and characterise their basic physical parameters, and the density of the atmosphere that they've been formed under.

"And we can measure some basic things like how far apart they are spaced, and have an estimate at least of the wind speeds that are forming them.

"We can feed all that back into a physical model and from that deduce what the size of the grains must be."

To be able to form, dunes need an atmosphere dense enough to make wind transport possible, a supply of dry particles, and a mechanism that lifts particles off the ground.

At first sight, none of those conditions seem to be met on Pluto.

But Dr Telfer and his colleagues calculate that the dunes may be in one of the windiest areas of the Pluto with wind speeds reaching up to 10m/sec - enough to keep particles moving.

The wind is generated as air flows downhill from the neighbouring mountains and also as frozen material sublimates - or turns directly into gas.

They believe that the dunes are composed of grains of methane, and maybe of nitrogen as well, and that a "reservoir" of methane may exist in the snowpack of the mountains.

As for the process of "lofting" the grains off the ground, the paper suggests that the driver could be a slight warming from the distant Sun, raising the temperature above the frost point of nitrogen: -230C.

With that warming of the ice below the surface, methane crystals should enable nitrogen ice to sublimate - and that would allow the methane crystals to be wafted into the atmosphere.

Dr Telfer says the analysis provides a new insight to Pluto and also changes our view of it.

"It's really exciting just to be able to look at this world and recognise that it's not just a frozen icy blob in the outer reaches of the Solar System but really we're seeing a dynamic world still changing, still forming today," he said.

That sentiment is echoed in an article accompanying the Science paper by Prof Alexander Hayes, an astronomer at Cornell University in Ithaca, US.

He quotes the late Sir Patrick Moore, the famous BBC Sky at Night presenter, describing Pluto in 1955 as "…plunged in everlasting dusk, silent, barren, and touched with the chill of death…" and says that that perspective has to shift.

Prof Hayes says we now know Pluto to be "a geologically diverse and dynamic world driven by internal heat, extreme seasons and sublimating ices".

He adds that it's not the frontier of the Solar System as Patrick Moore suggested, but the "gateway" to the unexplored realm of the Kuiper Belt.

And it may be that dunes themselves are emerging as a fascinating new feature of space exploration.

Pluto now joins Earth, Mars, Venus, Saturn's moon Titan and even the comet 67P - which a European Space Agency (Esa) mission landed on - as homes to dunes.

And Prof Monica Grady of the Open University told me that the discovery raises fascinating questions about whether there are dunes on worlds in other star systems too.

"It makes you realise that you have to open your mind to the idea that familiar objects on different planetary bodies must have formed in their own ways," she said.

"What it does is lead you to thinking about what's there beyond the Solar System, because we can't see their surfaces at the moment but we will do and then we'll probably see familiar things - we'll see dunes and they'll remind us of the dunes of Pluto or the dunes on Earth but they'll have formed in a different way."

New Horizons is now approaching another object in the Kuiper Belt, known as 2014 MU69. The spacecraft will be brought out of hibernation next week and a fly-past is scheduled for Jan 1 2019.

Monday, June 11, 2018

25 years ago: U.S. Supreme Court supports Santeria ritual animal sacrifice

On June 11, 1993, the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah that the Florida city's statute prohibiting "unnecessar[y]" killing of "an animal in a public or private ritual or ceremony not for the primary purpose of food consumption" violated the religious freedom of Santeria, a mixture of Roman Catholicism and Yoruba religion whose adherents were mainly to be found in the Caribbean area.

I'm not particularly interested in the convoluted reasoning behind the ruling in this case, because it's the observation of this blogger that both the U.S. and Canadian Supreme Courts over the last few decades have made their decisions in accord with the agenda that they've been pursuing, and have invented legal justifications to support the decisions they were going to make, anyway. It's worth noting, however, that the U.S. Supreme Court seemed much more enthusiastic in defending the rights of a pagan religion that was a recent import into the United States than in defending the rights of the Christianity which had so much influence on the founding and history of the country.

U.K. Bible Society fined £100,000 for cyber hack of over 400,000 supporters

It seems as though no one is safe from the perils of modern technology; as reported by Robert Mendick of the London Daily Telegraph, June 8, 2018 (link in original):

The Bible Society has been fined £100,000 over computer security failings that allowed hackers to access the personal details of more than 400,000 mainly Christian backers.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the details of supporters - including home addresses, telephone numbers and bank accounts - were compromised by cyber attackers who guessed the “weak password” of one the charity’s databases.

The password was the same as the username on the account, set up in 2009 but not hacked until November 2016. The account contained details of 417,000 Bible Society supporters.

The ICO complained, in issuing the large fine, that the cyber attack caused “distress” because the “religious belief of the 417,000 supporters could be inferred”.

The fine is particularly embarrassing for the Bible Society which is one most distinguished charities in the UK. It has been operating for more than 200 years, distributing and promoting the bible in the UK and overseas while its patron is Her Majesty the Queen.

But a source close to the charity complained that the ICO had issued an arbitrarily large fine in punishment and had wrongly concluded that the Christian beliefs of its supporters was something they would wish to remain private.

But Steve Eckersley, the ICO’s head of enforcement, said: “The Bible Society failed to protect a significant amount of personal data, and exposed its supporters to possible financial or identity fraud.

“Our investigation determined that it is likely that the religious belief of the 417,000 supporters could be inferred, and the distress this kind of breach can cause cannot be underestimated.

“Cyber-attacks will happen, that’s just a fact, and we fully accept that they are a criminal act. But organisations need to have strong security measures in place to make it as difficult as possible for intruders.”

According to the ICO, “one or more attackers exploited the vulnerability by using brute force” to guess the weak password. Then on December 1 2016, the attackers deployed ransomware that encrypted one million shared files held on the Bible Society’s open network. Ransomware allows hackers to hold organisations to ransom by offering to unlock the encrypted data in exchange for money.

The files included 1,020 payment card details that included card numbers and start and end dates; 27,800 bank details with sort code and account numbers; and contact details of more than 400,000 supporters.

The ransomware also had the capability of stealing files from the Bible Society computer network.

The ICO, the authority which prosecutes data breaches, concluded that the cyber attack was likely to cause “substantial damage or substantial distress” and that the hackers had likely deliberately targeted the charity in an attempt to hold it to ransom.

The Bible Society said in a statement it was the victim of a criminal ransomware attack and that “the incident occurred because of a vulnerability in a single isolated account which had been overlooked”.

It went on: “No other Bible Society account was – or could have been – compromised by the attack as robust cyber security measures were – and remain – in place across the organisation. At no point did this breach involve or affect our website (biblesociety.org.uk) or associated online Bible Society accounts.”

The society said it had “acknowledged, from the outset, the significance of the data security incident and we have taken it very seriously”.

But it also pointed out that it had not received a single report of a breach any supporters’ accounts while “there is no evidence of any material effect on supporters”.

The Bible Society has already paid the fine, receiving a 20 per cent discount for early payment. It insisted that no donations were used to pay the discounted £80,000 fine.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Archantichrist Archbishop of Canterbury sings the praises of the European Union

This blogger is rapidly coming to the conclusion that nobody whose first name is Justin is to be trusted, as the two most prominent people with that name are mentally and morally retarded. Archantichrist Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has made it clear that he supports the antichrist agenda of the European Union, as reported by Tom Parfitt of the London Daily Express, June 6, 2018:

BREXIT supporters have slammed the Archbishop of Canterbury after he bizarrely praised the EU as one of the biggest achievements in history.

Justin Welby sparked a backlash after calling the union the "greatest dream realised for human beings" since the Roman Empire fell in the fifth century.

He also claimed the Brussels bloc – ruled by unelected bureaucrats – had brought "peace and prosperity" to its member states.

The staunch Remainer was accused of being out-of-touch, with former Ukip leader Nigel Farage branding him "delusional".

Archbishop Welby said: "The EU has been the greatest dream realised for human beings since the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

"It has brought peace, prosperity, compassion for the poor and weak, purpose for the aspirational and hope for all its people.

But the religious leader insisted Brexit would not led to the end of the EU.

Speaking at a Christian conference in Serbia last Sunday, he said: "Europe is not in danger of falling.

"And there is no sense in which I suggest that Brexit or other crises currently around will derail the European Union or bring about the downfall of Europe.

"To suggest that would be akin to the old English saying that when there is fog in the Channel then the continent is cut off.

"But Europe, like other parts of the world, is in a fragile phase.

"Current geo-political uncertainty is unsettling.

"In my part of the continent there is a nation attempting to leave the EU, on the other edges of the EU such as here there are countries and peoples keen to get in."

But David Jones, a former minister in the Department for Exiting the EU, said he was "astounded" by the Archbishop's anti-Brexit comments.

He said: "The European Union is not democratic – it is the world's greatest bureaucracy, it is governed by unelected commissioners.

"If the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks that this is utopia then he has a very different view of most Britons.

"It is an indication of the way the Anglican church is out of touch with the people of this country."

Fellow Tory MP Nigel Evans said the "majority of UK citizens" disagreed with the Archbishop.

He told the Mail: "Most Church of England parishioners tend to be older who were the ones who most voted leave.

"I think the Archbishop has a widely distorted view if he doesn't see this wasteful expensive and dictatorial protectionist racket for what it is."

Ukip leader Gerard Batten added: "They say God moves in mysterious ways, but never as mysteriously as the Archbishop.

"The UK has done more to spread liberty, peace, prosperity and the overthrow of tyranny than the EU, and we are far from perfect."
Leo McKinstry in the Daily Express, June 7, 2018 has it right:

JUSTIN Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is a woeful spiritual leader. Under his failing stewardship the decline of the Anglican Church has continued to accelerate.

As the pews empty and the congregations dwindle, his brand of Christianity is becoming ever more irrelevant in our national life.

Yet, for all his inadequacy, Welby serves one useful purpose. He is an utterly reliable barometer of politically correct thinking.

On almost every issue from welfare to immigration, he can be guaranteed to spout the latest fashionable orthodoxy.

Like so many in the modern priesthood, his creed seems to be based more on progressive ideology than the traditional Christian faith.

That reality was dramatically highlighted in a speech he gave this week in Serbia, where he demonstrated the fervour of his attachment to the EU.

Speaking to an assembly of European churches, he extravagantly declared that the Brussels bureaucracy was not only “the greatest dream realised for humans” since the end of the Roman empire, but also had delivered “hope for all its people”.

In further exultations he claimed that the EU had brought “peace” and “prosperity” to the continent.

In its devotion to the commissars of Brussels, this was an extraordinary address. It might have been thought that an Anglican cleric would regard the Christian gospel as the greatest message of hope.

But no, this prattling prelate wants us to look to the edicts of the EU for inspiration and guidance.

His worship of Brussels is deluded.

He shamefully ignores the central role that Christianity has played in building European civilisation over the past 1,500 years, whether it be in the arts, the law or our moral code.

Just as absurdly, he wilfully neglects all the historic progress made in Europe that had nothing to do with Brussels, such as the spread of the printed word, the industrial Revolution, the advance of medical science and the arrival of liberal democracy.

It insults our intelligence to pretend that the monstrously awed political institution of the EU is more important than the Renaissance in the story of mankind.

Indeed, the catalogue of supposed achievements that he ascribes to the European Union is baseless.

He talks of peace but it was Nato, not the EU, that protected Europe from Soviet tyranny, just as it was Nato that helped to end the conflict in the balkans in the 1990s after Brussels had stood impotently by.

Far from promoting stability, the EU has brought Europe soaring crime and terrorism through its obsession with free movement, precisely the reason why there has recently been such a eurosceptic populist revolt against Brussels across the continent.

Welby blathers about challenging “the divisions of our societies” but it is the EU, with its dogmatic inflexibility and lack of accountability, that helped to create those divisions and distrust.

Sweden used to be one of the most peaceful, egalitarian places on earth, a byword for liberalism. now, thanks to open borders under EU membership, it is a crime-fuelled land of fear.

Just as empty is Welby’s talk about EU prosperity. In truth, the EU is a vast engine of debt, over-regulation and job destruction, as shown by the brutal unemployment rates of young people in southern Europe.

For Greece, the price of EU membership has been savage austerity, for Italy sclerotic growth. If the european Community had remained a common market of free nations, then the outcome might have been different, but the aim of the ideologues was always to use economics as a vehicle to bring about the political goal of the federal superstate.

That is why Welby’s prognostications on Brexit are such nonsense. With the political sanctimony so typical of progressives, he claims the EU withdrawal vote was driven by “fear of the other”, as if the result were a triumph for bigotry.

But what really motivated Brexit was the natural human wish for democratic control over our own laws, trade, justice and borders.

There is nothing ignoble or prejudiced about such an instinct. As Welby should recognise, the desire for freedom from unelected foreign rule has been behind so many of the great, anti-imperial liberation movements in history.

By contrast, there is nothing uplifting about the EU. It is the enemy of European democracy, nationhood and heritage.

Europeans used to be united by shared values based on the ethics of our Judeo-Christian civilisation. The tragic paradox is that the EU, while ruthlessly seeking political unification, has obliterated that real sense of unity through its twin dogmas of mass immigration and cultural diversity.

In fact, the EU is explicitly anti-Christian. During the discussions about the EU constitution in the 2000s, there was a suggestion that the document might make a reference to Europe’s Christian roots.

The very idea was arrogantly rejected by Brussels, not least because it was feared that Turkey, then a candidate for EU membership, might be alienated. The constitution was never implemented but the dismissive attitude remains.

The bitter irony is that the EU, so disdainful of Christianity, has all the trappings of a cult itself, including an exploitative leadership, an army of brainwashed followers and a blind adherence to the founding doctrine despite all the evidence of its failure.

Tellingly, the EU is now desperate to punish Britain for the crime of heresy.

The Archbishop should know better than to act as a cheerleader for this arrogant, destructive oligarchy.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

40 years ago: "Revelation" prompts Mormons to reverse long-standing policy and admit Negroes to the priesthood

On June 9, 1978, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, popularly known as the Mormon Church, opened its priesthood--normally entered by all white Mormon males at age 12--to "all worthy men," ending a 148-year-old policy of excluding Negro men. Spencer W. Kimball, the church's "Prophet, Seer and Revelator," announced in Salt Lake City that the decision had been based on a revelation that had come to church leaders. He said, "The long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood." The change was expected to facilitate the church's active missionary program. Women were still not considered worthy for the priesthood.

As was the case with the Latter-day Saints' ban on polygamy in 1890--at a time when Utah was being denied statehood because of the practice of polygamy--the "revelation" concerning the priesthood conveniently came at a time when the church was under social pressure and criticism of its racial attitudes and policies. The occurrence of such "revelations" may seem strange for a church that claims to be restoring the true faith that was supposedly lost centuries earlier, but the "revelations" of the present "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" take precedence over those of any Mormon Presidents.

In contrast to the Mormon priesthood, the priesthood of the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ includes all members of the body of Christ:

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ...
..But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
I Peter 2:5,9

For more on the 40th anniversary of the "revelation" concerning the Mormon priesthood, see Priesthood Revelation 40 Year Anniversary by Bill McKeever at the blog Mormon Coffee (June 8, 2018).

Click on the links to see the following articles from the Salt Lake Tribune:

This week in Mormon Land: the lives of black Latter-day Saints past and present — and whose idea was the priesthood and temple ban in the first place? (May 31, 2018, updated June 1, 2018)

Tears, disbelief, shock, joy — How Mormons reacted when they heard the priesthood ban was lifted (June 3, 2018, updated June 4, 2018)

One Sunday, they received the sacrament; the next, they blessed it — how life changed for black Mormons after the priesthood ban (June 3, 2018, updated June 5, 2018)

‘Mormon Land’: Brigham Young, fearing interracial marriage, started the priesthood/temple ban on blacks, but there’s more to the story, says Utah historian (June 6, 2018, updated June 7, 2018)

See also my posts:

40 years ago: Mormons uphold exclusion of Negroes from the priesthood (January 8, 2010)

Mormon Church and NAACP reach historic agreement (May 19, 2018)

Friday, June 8, 2018

Minnesota Army National Guard joins Minnesota Council of Churches "Blessed Ramadan" campaign

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3:5

Americans who are inclined to worship their armed forces and regard the military as doing the work of God would do well to rethink such an attitude, especially in light of items such as the following, reported by Jean Hopfensperger of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 27, 2018:

Minnesota Army National Guard leaders are packing an unexpected item when they head to their annual training camp next month — a lawn sign displaying the words “To Our Muslim Neighbors: Blessed Ramadan.”

The blue signs, part of a campaign launched by Minnesota Council of Churches three years ago, also will be showing up at several thousand churches, individual homes and educational centers across the nation to mark the expected first day of Ramadan May 15.

The campaign’s popularity, including media coverage from as far away as Indonesia, has caught the council by surprise. So did the request by the Minnesota Army National Guard last year for some signs to display at their headquarters — the first such request from an armed service group.

“It’s an opportunity to demonstrate that we support our soldiers, of all religious traditions,” said National Guard Chaplain Philip (Buddy) Winn, who will post a sign at Camp Atterbury in Indiana for the annual training event next month.

“We’re extending good will — from our tradition to yours,” he said.

National Guard Sgt. Alkali Yaffa, one of about 50 Muslims in the Minnesota Guard, called the signs “wonderful.”

“Those signs mean that people are celebrating with us,” Yaffa said. “They may not be fasting, but they are remembering.”

The Minnesota Council of Churches launched the Blessed Ramadan campaign in 2016 not knowing what to expect. But the presidential campaign had sparked anti-Muslim sentiment, and this was a visible way for the public to show their support, said the Rev. Jerad Morey, a council programs director.

The first year, more than 2,200 signs were distributed, mainly in Minnesota but also from coast to coast, said Morey. That’s in addition to signs that could be downloaded for free off the council’s website, a number not tracked.

The humble yard sign soon was showing up on social media and featured in other media ranging from the Voice of America to the Huffington Post to Minnesota news outlets.

About a dozen state councils of churches — organizations that typically represent mainline Protestant churches in each state — ordered them, Morey said. This year, the Councils of Churches in Wisconsin, New York and Oklahoma are new on board.

Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslims, a time of dawn-to-dusk fasting and frequent prayer. It is based on the lunar calendar, and this year is expected to start May 15 and end June 14.

Most Minnesotans don’t know a lot about Ramadan, and the signs often open the door to questions, said Winn and Yaffa.

“It spurs conversation,” said Winn. “What is Ramadan? Is that when they fast?”

“It’s another way to increase understanding among people,” added Yaffa. “It’s an opportunity for anyone who isn’t Muslim to learn what this means.”

Mayflower United Church of Christ is among the Twin Cities churches that embraced the Blessed Ramadan campaign from the start. It distributed 50 signs the first year and nearly 50 last year, said Belle Scott, who coordinates the campaign.

This month, there’s a table in the church hallway on Sundays offering sign-up sheets for the next batch of signs, said Scott. The Minneapolis church also displays the Blessed Ramadan greetings in front of its building, which often attracts attention from cars whizzing by.

“People drive by the church and honk,” said Scott. “Some have even called the church and thanked us.”

In the weeks ahead, the Blessed Ramadan signs will be showing up across Minnesota and sprinkled across the nation. Although they haven’t been able to end anti-Muslim sentiments, they are a growing public testimony to Muslims’ many supporters.

“There will be bright spots across this country, ” said Morey. “They tell our Muslim neighbors we don’t fear you. We welcome you.”
Of course, there are large numbers of real Minnesotans who don't want to celebrate Islamic holidays, and don't want to welcome large numbers of foreign Muslim invaders into their state--and I don't blame them. As for the Minnesota Council of Churches--which is affiliated with the hopelessly apostate and antichrist World Council of Churches--the list of member denominations should be evidence enough of that organization's liberalism and apostasy:

African Methodist Episcopal Church

American Baptist Churches USA

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Church of God in Christ

Church of the Brethren

The Episcopal Church

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Mennonite Church USA

Moravian Church in North America

National Association of Congregational Christian Churches

The National Baptist Convention USA

Pentecostal Assemblies of the World

Presbyterian Church (USA)

United Church of Christ

The United Methodist Church

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Mormons and Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan together

Antichrists of a feather flock together, as reported by Jacob Paulsen of the blog Colorado Mormons, May 29, 2018 (bold in original):

On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) attended a beautiful Iftar dinner hosted by Multicultural Mosaic Foundation (“Mosaic”), and its President, Ismail Akbulut. The purpose of the event was to deepen friendships while increasing mutual understanding, among local Latter-day Saints and Muslims.

In the tradition of Islam, an Iftar is the evening meal in which Muslims complete their daily fast as part of their holy month of Ramadan. Throughout this special month, Muslims strive to more fully observe the principles of virtuous and generous living that are central to their beliefs. For example, in his highly informative opening presentation (following a welcome given by Brother Akbulut), Mosaic’s Interfaith Director, Dr. Ismail Demirkan, explained that for devout Muslims the Ramadan fast is about abstaining from more than just from food and water, but from other more worldly activities and sin–indicating that one’s words, thoughts, and treatment of others receive greater attention during Ramadan.

In addition to fasting, another of the five pillars of Islam consists of almsgiving, which is the subject of particularly heightened attention during Ramadan, according to Dr. Demirkan. In fact, citing the Prophet Muhammad, he explained: “ you will never be a true believer if your neighbor goes to bed hungry and you go to bed with a full stomach.” In his overview of the Muslim faith, Dr. Demerkin also made reference to the other three pillars of Islam, e.g., declaration of faith, prayer, and pilgrimage (to Mecca).

Following Dr. Dermirkin’s remarks, Elder Thomas T. Priday, one of two Colorado-based Area Seventies for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared some of his own thoughts regarding fasting in the Latter-day Saint tradition and made reference to many other areas of common belief between Muslims and Latter-day Saints. Citing recent remarks by LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson, Elder Priday affirmed “that all people are God’s precious children and therefore our brothers and sisters” and that “all people, organizations and governmental units [must] work with greater civility, eliminating prejudice of all kinds and focusing more on the many areas and interests that we all have in common.” Noting the blessings that enter our lives as we practice fasting and prayer, Elder Priday closed with a story of an extended family member who overcame the great challenge of quitting smoking only after the power of heartfelt fasting and prayer were offered by family members on his behalf.

At about a quarter past 8 p.m., just as the sun was setting, a Muslim brother went to the front of the room and offered a stirring call to prayer, which was effectively the combination of a pleasant song and chant expressing praise for and the greatness of God. Thereafter, all guests were invited to enjoy the evening meal, which began with enjoying fresh dates, followed by the main dinner courses and dessert. All the while, local Latter-day Saints–including many members of local stake presidencies and public affairs leaders across the Denver metropolitan area–enjoyed the sweet conversation and fellowship of their gracious Muslim hosts.

Of the event, President William Thunell, First Counselor in the Arvada Stake Presidency, expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to hear the insightful presentations that were provided and to learn of the many similarities between our two faiths, rather than focusing on differences as can often be the case in the world today. President Thunell added, “the highlight for me was to visit with our hosts at our table and to ask them questions about their faith, and how it operates in their lives, and in particular to hear how they practice repentance and seek forgiveness.”

Denver North Director of Public Affairs for the LDS Church, Jonathan Toronto, added: “We are so grateful for this special invitation extended by our remarkable brothers and sisters of the Muslim faith, for the opportunity to feel of their love and fellowship in such a personal setting, and we look forward to additional opportunities to engage in these sorts of deeply meaningful and enriching interfaith events with our friends of other faiths.”
This isn't the first time such an event has happened. Click on the links to read articles about similar events in 2017 (Montreal); 2017 (Salt Lake City); 2016 (Montreal); and 2010 (southern California). For a remarkable combination of liberalism, Mormonism, and outright lies on this and other subjects, go here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

90 years ago: Scottish Episcopal Church eliminates the word "obey" from its marriage service

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing...
...and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Ephesians 5:22-24, 33b

Liberalism had already begun to set in by June 6, 1928, when it was reported that the Scottish Episcopal Church had eliminated the word "obey" from its marriage service. The Provisional Synod, which had been revising the canons and prayer book in use in Scotland, decided by majority vote of the Upper and Lower Houses to substitute the words: "Wilt thou love him and comfort him?" for "Wilt thou obey him and serve him?" They also decided that instead of the woman promising to "love, cherish and obey" she should undertake "to love and to cherish."

The Scottish Episcopal Church Marriage Liturgy 2007, which is still effective in 2018, has done away with the distinctions between "him" and "her," and the question now for both parties is. "Will you love him/her, respect him/her, and be for ever faithful to him/her?" (p. 12). "To love and to cherish" is still there (pp. 21-22).

The position of the Scottish Episcopal Church on same-sex "marriage" (December 6, 2011) is one of opposition, but it's worded in such a way that one can easily imagine the church going the other way in the near future:

The Canons of the Scottish Episcopal Church (Canon 31) state that the doctrine of the Church is that marriage is ‘a physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman created by their mutual consent of heart, mind and will thereto, and as a holy and lifelong estate instituted of God’. In the light of that Canon, there is no current basis for agreeing that the law should be changed to view marriage as possible between two people of the same sex.

As mentioned above in the introduction and in response to Question 1, the question of same sex unions in general is the subject of discussion within the Anglican and Porvoo Communions. Within those Communions, and within the Scottish Episcopal Church, the blessing of same sex unions is a matter on which there is a variety of views.
(p. 4)

In other words: Not yet. If the experience of other mainline churches (with "evangelical" churches quickly coming up behind) is any indication, the Social Justice Warriors will keep pushing until they get what they want, and the minute it tips in their favour, "a variety of views" will be reduced to one view.

The Scottish Episcopal Church position on the blessing of "civil unions" seems similarly wimpy, leaving the door open to subversion by SJWs:

The Church does not give official sanction to informal blessings but each Bishop would nevertheless expect to be consulted by clergy prior to the carrying out of any informal blessing of a civil partnership in his diocese. The College is of the view that a decision as to whether or not to attend such an informal blessing should be a personal decision of the individual Bishop in question.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

50 years ago: Roman Catholic priest says "Sock it to 'em, God!" in high school benediction

Buffoonery on the part of clergy in an attempt to be culturally relevant is nothing new. Chris Rosebrough has said that relevance is a cruel mistress, and this item is evidence of that, as some of the phrases used and things referred to, that seemed relevant in 1968, seem a wee bit dated in 2018. The reader will notice that, as is so often the case, the lay person has a better grasp of things than the clergyman. Submitted for your approval, the following item, as reported by Reuters, that somehow found its way onto the front page of the London Free Press, June 5, 1968:

Glendale, Ariz. - A Roman Catholic priest apologized Tuesday for saying "Sock it to 'em God" in a high school benediction.

St. Jerome's Church assistant pastor Rev. William Healy said he used the phrase--which provoked a storm of protest here--while trying to relate God with the teen-age world.

In his benediction to Cortez High School seniors Sunday, he said: "We ask your blessing on things and people You created...Bless hair spray, mini-skirts, turtleneck shirts,...For God's sake bless our parties, religious exercises,...We ask because You are an understanding God, a swinging God. Sock it to 'em God."

Mrs. John McClellan, representing the parents of some children at the school, claimed Tuesday the "sock it" remark bordered on blasphemy. She deplored what she called "an attempt to bring God down" to the level of the graduating class.

Father Healy, who re-read the benediction in the Glendale Union High School Board on Monday night, declared: "I was praying from the heart and not just from words..."

Superintendent Howard Roberts said the words were misunderstood by the students and advised Father Healy to apologize.

Father Healy replied:

"I apologize if I offended anyone in doing what I thought was right. I was speaking to the graduates in terms they know.

"What does a swinging God mean to the mentality of a teen-ager?

"A swinging God is a God they know as a good God."

Monday, June 4, 2018

Wiccans join Edmonton's perversion pride parade

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

This blogger is glad that the alphabet perverts are increasingly making it clear that the doctrine of whatever religion they choose to associate with is less important than that religion's willingness to approve of their perversions--which serves as a warning to those who think they can accommodate "gay Christians." The reader will note that immoral sexual practices invariably accompany defective doctrine. As reported by Catherine Griwkowsky of StarMetro Edmonton, June 3, 2018:

EDMONTON—Wiccans have long fought against perceptions that their religion is shadowy, scary and sinister—but this June, they’re wearing their differences loud and proud.

For the first time, Wiccans will be marching in the Edmonton Pride Parade on June 9.

Local Wiccans — a religious group that describes itself as a revival of paganism — say they’ve long been one of the most LGBTQ-friendly religions, but now they’re looking to step up the advocacy.

The Congregationalist Wiccan Assembly of Alberta has participated in interfaith events at Pride for the past four years, but this year members are holding their own celebrations and plan to march in eye-catching Wizard of Oz-themed costumes during the main parade.

The Stony Creek Temple will also host a ritual the day after to show the community what they’re all about.

They say they’ve always been LGBTQ-friendly, but now they want to play a bigger role.

“Our community is so different than the typical church environment,” said Stony Creek Temple high priest Keegan Quinton. “A lot of people have come to our religion because they have felt like they don’t have a safe place because of how they identify.”

Quinton, who said he was more in touch with his feminine side, having grown up as gay man with six sisters, said Wicca helped him discover and embrace a non-toxic masculinity.

“I feel like I was very unbalanced before because I didn’t strongly connect with being a man and what that stereotypically means,” he explained. “Coming to a religion where I was encouraged to be who I am, but also explore that other side of me, has really made me more balanced as a person.”

Quinton said Wicca didn’t feel like something he had to convert to; rather, it was something that fit with his own beliefs and understandings about the world.

“I’m eternally grateful to have become comfortable in my own skin,” he said.

The Stony Creek Temple of Alberta, part of the Congregationalist Wiccan Assembly of Alberta, is currently made up of 25 people from diverse backgrounds, including Norse Pagans, Indigenous spiritual practitioners, traditional Wiccans and feminist Wiccans.

With growing diversity and membership in the temple, Quinton said the timing was right for Wiccans to have their own presence at Pride.

“When we’re involved with the Pride interfaith service, it’s wonderful to be a part of that group, to be a part of this mosaic, to be a part of these different religions, but I also think it’s important for people to come and experience who we are completely as we normally are and express ourselves fully,” he said.

This wouldn’t be the first time Wiccans have tapped into a broader social movement — the religion was founded in the United Kingdom during the 1950s and its members have been social activists right from the beginning.

Since then, practitioners coming from naturalist communities, non-traditional relationships and the LGBTQ community found solace in the “live and let live” Wiccan philosophy.

High Priestess Kayleen McKie, who identifies as a cisgender bisexual woman, explained that while Wicca is a very individual practice, the basic tenets are a match with many members of ostracized groups.

“At the end of the day, if you’re not directly negatively impacting somebody else, you should be able to do what you see fit in your life and what resonates with you,” McKie said.

There is no hierarchy and no equivalent of a Bible, Torah, or Qur’an with written rules of conduct, said McKie, making it appeal to people who want to express themselves freely.

With the only rule being “if you cause no harm, do as you will,” McKie said Pride is a perfect time to promote love over hate.

Sam Wagar, the Wiccan chaplain at the University of Alberta, has activist roots intertwining with his faith. He was the founding high priest of the Pagans for Peace tradition of Wicca in 1982, working toward non-violence.

Wagar said Wicca has long been a haven for those outside of mainstream society — from nudists to people in non-traditional relationships.

The polytheistic nature of Wicca means there is representation in gods, goddesses and deities for non-binary people, he said.

“There are goddesses who are very butch. Warrior goddesses who are dangerous and powerful, goddesses of war,” Wagar said. “There are also soft, nurturing, caring aspects of masculinity expressed in the gods.”

He gave the example of Loki, whom Wagar called “genderqueer,” a Norse trickster god said to have transformed into a female horse and gave birth before reverting to a male form.

From feminists attracted to a role of women in the spiritual practice, as well as the worship of goddesses and female deities, to environmentalists who see the appeal in a nature-based faith, the religion draws those looking for justice and has long been aligned with social activism.

Gender and sexual minority community members are the latest in a lineage of activists and marginalized people seeking acceptance and spirituality.

Pride is the perfect venue to showcase that.

Alyssa Demers, chair of the Pride Society of Edmonton, said her organization is happy that more religious groups are part of the movement, as people should not have to choose between their sexual orientation or gender identity and their faith.

“I think when someone feels they’re torn between the two, that can be really discombobulating because those are two really fundamental parts of yourself,” Demers said.

There are a number of other faith groups participating in Pride, a fact that hasn’t always been the case.

Some religious organizations, such as the United Church, have been very accepting. The Pride Society of Edmonton is working with Catholic and Islamic groups, and while Demers said there is a way to go yet, a number of LGBTQ Muslims, Christians and Jews will be marching.

“Some people see religion as an excuse to be exclusionary, but some people see it as a reason to be inclusive,” she said.

Demers said Wiccans definitely appear to be the latter, so when the group applied to march and to host an event this year, the choice was clear.

“Obviously, if a lot of queer-minded individuals are finding their faith within that group, they are affirming and accepting,” she said. “We love that they’re coming to celebrate with us.”

On top of being a natural partnership, Wagar said it’s critical for the Wiccan and LGBTQ communities to support each other.

As an activist who has fought for religious freedom, Wagar is concerned about authoritarian elements in society.

“We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately,” said Wagar, quoting Benjamin Franklin. “The unfortunate rise of fascism, literal fascism, these days makes that abundantly clear: We really all have to stick together.”

The Edmonton Pride Parade will take place June 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Congregationalist Wiccan Assembly of Alberta will host an “open circle” on June 10 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Richie community league at 7727 98th St.

An open circle is a ritual done at significant times of the year, usually involving a change of season or light. It can involve crafting, singing, dancing, giving back and asking for positive change in the world.
For further reading on the actual origins of Wicca, see Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality (1999) by Philip G. Davis.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Israel proposes to tighten laws on conversion to Judaism

The answer to the question "Who is a Jew?" is a matter for debate in Israel, with conflicts among the various branches of Judaism. As the old saying goes, wherever you have two Jews, you have three opinions. As reported by Jewish Telegraphic Agency, June 3, 2018:\

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A proposal to overhaul the conversion system in Israel, which would remove it from under the control of the haredi-Orthodox dominated rabbinate, has met with opposition from the chief rabbis of Israel and dozens of haredi and religious Zionist rabbis.

The final report and recommendations on conversion in Israel written former government minister Moshe Nissim was delivered on Sunday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The report recommends removing conversion from under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate and establishing a new state-run Orthodox authority.

Under the recommendations, conversions that take place in Israel must still be conducted under Orthodox Jewish law. The proposal also calls for recognition in Israel of conversions by the Conservative and Reform movements carried out in the Diaspora.

Nissim said the proposal must be implemented to prevent a “spiritual Holocaust.”

“There are some 400,000 people without a religion in Israel today,” he said, including immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not recognized by the rabbinate as Jewish. Every year, fewer than 2,000 people convert [to Judaism in Israel], while some 10,000 people without a religion are added. Today, there is 10 percent assimilation in Israel – and if we do not act now, this figure will only increase. There is no other possibility but to describe it as no less than a spiritual holocaust,” he said during a news conference.

“We are continuing our constant efforts to find solutions that strengthen unity among the Jewish People in Israel and the Diaspora,” Netanyahu said upon receiving a copy of the report.

Interior Minister Arye Dery, who is the head of the Sephardi Orthodox Shas party, said he opposes the proposal and will not advance it as legislation in the Knesset. The interior minister is the lawmaker charged with submitting legislation for conversion.

Israel’s chief rabbis, Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, convened an emergency meeting of haredi-Orthodox and religious Zionist rabbis, calling on them to reject the proposal and saying the proposal “must be buried.”

The rabbis signed a statement calling the proposed law “a danger to the unity of the Jewish people.”

“We, the rabbis of Israel, regard with concern the danger to the unity of the Jewish people as a result of the proposals for reform in conversion which include the appropriation of conversion from the Chief Rabbinate and the recognition of Reform and Conservative conversion,” the statement said.

Non-Orthodox Jewish movements in Israel also reportedly rejected the proposal because their conversions still would not be recognized.

Under the proposal, a state body would oversee five conversion centers across the country, run by Orthodox officials who would conduct conversions based on Orthodox Jewish law.
As reported by Ben Sales of Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 31, 2018 (links in original):

Jewish converts in America may have a much harder time being accepted in Israel because of a new set of regulations proposed by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

If adopted, some activists in Israel say, the new guidelines for religious courts could drive a deeper wedge between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.

The Chief Rabbinate, which controls Jewish marriage, divorce, conversion and burial in the Jewish state, is largely run by haredi Orthodox leaders. For years it has clashed with rabbis in America — even Orthodox ones — who have more liberal interpretations of Jewish law.

The Chief Rabbinate does not consider non-Orthodox Judaism to be valid, so it does not accept the authority of Conservative and Reform rabbis. And in recent years, it has had a series of public disputes with Orthodox rabbis whose authority it rejects.

This week, hoping to clarify exactly which Orthodox rabbis meet its standards, the Chief Rabbinate published a list of draft criteria for religious courts in the Diaspora. If a religious court meets the criteria, the Jewish conversions it conducts will be recognized by the Chief Rabbinate. If not, the Chief Rabbinate will not consider its converts Jewish.

The same goes for Jewish ritual divorces: The Chief Rabbinate will accept them only if they are performed by a qualified religious court.

This matters for non-Israeli converts and divorcees if they ever want their religious or marital status recognized in Israel. Those who convert in America under an unrecognized religious court, for example, would not be able to marry in Israel because the Chief Rabbinate controls Jewish marriage there. Likewise, divorced individuals would not be able to remarry in Israel if their Jewish divorce is not recognized. If a female divorcee’s Jewish divorce is not recognized, her children from a subsequent marriage would be forbidden by the Chief Rabbinate from marrying most Jews.

The document’s language is in the past tense, which means it could apply retroactively — rejecting the status of Jewish converts who formerly were accepted in Israel. In other words, a convert accepted by the Chief Rabbinate this year could be rejected next year.

The criteria demand that the courts be permanent and operate year-round. Their rabbis must demonstrate fealty to Orthodox Jewish law and be endorsed by a major Orthodox organization.

This means non-Orthodox rabbis and rabbinical courts will be rejected. So will graduates of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, a liberal Orthodox seminary in New York City, because they are not recognized by the Rabbinical Council of America, the major U.S. Orthodox rabbis’ group. Ad hoc religious courts, often set up in small communities for a specific person’s conversion, also will not be approved.

If two courts are serving the same local population of Jews, only one will receive approval. Courts that want to apply for approval must submit their rabbis to an exam on Jewish law administered by the Chief Rabbinate.

The Chief Rabbinate says the criteria are an attempt to set transparent, objective standards. At a Knesset meeting on the proposed criteria this week, Knesset member Uri Maklev of the haredi United Torah Judaism party said that “clarifying what is Judaism is an obligation in [rabbinical] courts and a fundamental principle upon becoming part of the Jewish people.”

In the past, the religious authority has rejected the qualifications of an Orthodox rabbi because it deemed him insufficiently observant of Jewish law. That’s what happened in 2014 when the Chief Rabbinate rejected a conversion affirmed by Rabbi Avi Weiss, the prominent liberal Orthodox rabbi and founder of Chovevei Torah.

But in other cases, the Chief Rabbinate has rejected rabbis’ authority simply due to bureaucratic confusion. In 2015, one of its district courts rejected the authority of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, a widely respected Modern Orthodox rabbi in New York, even though Israel’s chief rabbi vouched for him.

As of now, one midlevel bureaucrat, Rabbi Itamar Tubul, decides which rabbis and marriages are accepted by the Chief Rabbinate. Last year, JTA obtained a so-called “blacklist” of Diaspora rabbis whose authority the Chief Rabbinate had rejected.

Critics are calling the criteria demeaning and overly strict. Itim, an Israeli nonprofit that works to navigate and challenge the Chief Rabbinate’s bureaucracy, called the list a “power grab.”

“These ‘criteria’ show the Chief Rabbinate’s disdain for world Jewry, blatant attempt at power consolidation, and profoundly un-Jewish approach,” Rabbi Seth Farber, Itim’s founder and director, said in a statement. “Itim will fight this using every legislative and legal tool available.

The Israel Democracy Institute think tank called the document “very problematic.”

“The proposal creates a reality in which the Israeli rabbinate extends its monopoly over Jews’ personal status in areas of marriage and divorce — beyond Israel,” Shuki Friedman, director of the institute’s Center for Religion, Nation and State, said in a statement. “Thus the rift between Israel and Diaspora Jewry could grow, many Jews around the world may feel alienated, and immigration to Israel could decline.”