Friday, 25 July 2014

20 years ago: Israel and Jordan end their enmity by signing the Washington Declaration

On July 25, 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan signed the Washington Declaration, formally ending the state of war that had existed between the nations since 1948, and starting negotiations to achieve a lasting peace between Israel and Jordan. U.S. President Bill Clinton also signed the Declaration in a ceremony on the White House lawn. Go here to see the full text of the Washington Declaration.

The negotiations culminated in a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan signed on October 26, 1994.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

30 years ago: God strikes York Minster Cathedral with lightning three days after the consecration of heretic David Jenkins as Bishop of Durham

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. II Peter 2:1

On Friday, July 6, 1984, the Church of England consecrated Rev. David Jenkins as Bishop of Durham. As reported by Associated Press, July 8, 1984:

York, England--A former theology professor who said he did not believe that Jesus physically rose from the dead has been ordained as one of the highest-ranking bishops in the Anglican church.

"One of the glories of the Church of England is that it has always allowed many different shades of opinion within it," Archbishop of York John Habgood told reporters Friday after ordaining the Rev. David Jenkins as bishop of Durham.

The appointment of Bishop Jenkins to the fourth most important bishopric in the church has created one of the fiercest Anglican controversies in decades.

The new bishop has said that some central elements of the Christian creed--such as the virgin birth and the resurrection of Jesus--are symbolic rather than literal truths.

He also said in an April television interview that while he believes that Jesus was both God and man, other Christians are not obliged to do so.

Midway through the two-hour service, the Rev. John Mowll of Congleton seized the lectern, edging aside a church official who was about to read the decree by Queen Elizabeth II appointing Bishop Jenkins to the post in northern England.

Two church wardens rushed forward, argued with Father Mowll and then escorted him out of the historic York Minster Cathedral.

Earlier, a sole protester in the audience of 1,500 people shouted that the service should be stopped, provoking cries of, "Shame" from the new bishop's supporters. The protester also was escorted out.
On Saturday, July 7, the General Synod of the Church of England, meeting at York, declined to take any action. In his Sunday morning sermon in the Minster, Archbishop of York John Habgood did not rebuke Mr. Jenkins. Later in the day, a strange cloud began hanging over York Minster Cathedral, and hung there for hours. In the early hours of Monday, July 9, 1984, God decided to make His own comment, as reported by BBC News:

A massive fire has devastated large parts of York Minster causing an estimated £1m damage.

Shortly after 0200 BST the alarm was raised and 150 fire-fighters from across north Yorkshire spent two hours bringing the blaze under control.

The fire was concentrated in the 13th Century South Transept and left its roof destroyed.

The cause of the fire is unclear, but early suggestions are that the medieval cathedral was struck by lightning.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

25 years ago: U.S. Supreme Court upholds Missouri law restricting abortion

On July 3, 1989, the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold a Missouri law that restricted a woman’s right to have an abortion. The court majority, in the case of Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, upheld a Missouri law prohibiting public employees from performing abortions unless the mother’s life was endangered; barring abortions in public buildings; and requiring medical tests on any fetus more than 20 weeks old in order to determine if it could live outside the womb.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing for the majority, said that any restriction on abortion should be judged by whether it "permissibly furthers the state’s interest in protecting potential human life." The reader will notice that Mr. Rehnquist actually weakens the pro-life case with his use of the term "potential human life" to describe a fetus rather than "human life," which is what a fetus actually is. "Justice" Harry Blackmun, author of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made up a woman’s "right" to an abortion, wrote in dissent, "I fear for the future...The signs are evident and very ominous, and a chill wind blows." The reader will notice that "Justice" Blackmun’s argument is emotional rather than legal.