Monthly Archives: November 2012

Church of England Rejects Appointing Female Bishop: Female American’s Reaction

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Canterbury Cathedral: West Front, Nave and Cen...

Canterbury Cathedral: West Front, Nave and Central Tower. Seen from south. Image assembled from 4 photos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Church of England has been letting women serve as priests since 1994 but on November 20, 2012, it voted against letting women serve as bishops. Though most of the Church supported women serving as bishops, the voting procedure requires a two-thirds majority in each of its three houses (Church Rejects Appointing Female Bishops). The measure easily passed the House of Bishops (44 to 3) and the House of Clergy (148 to 45), but it failed by only six votes in the House of Laity (132 to 74) (Church still won’t allow Female Bishops). The Church of England needs to become more modernized and accept that women are equal to men or else it will not last.

Women are an  important part to the Church of England since female priests account for 1/3 of clergy members (Church Rejects Appointing Female Bishops) and in 2010, for the first time in the history of the Church of England, more women than men (290 women and 273 men) were ordained as priests (New Women Priests than Men). Since the number of women in the Church is only going to increase over the next few years, women will continue to push for equal rights in the Church. If the Church allowed women as bishops, it could move on to more pressing issues, like war and world hunger, but instead it has to deal with ancient sexist rules. Women priests are not the only ones who want equals rights, even men within the Church wish to see female bishops. The Archbishop of Canterbury (symbolic leader of the Church of England) Rowan Williams agrees that the Church needs to become modernize in order to survive, “We have, to put it bluntly, a lot of explaining to do. Every day that we fail to resolve this to our satisfaction. . . is a day when our credibility in the public eye is likely to diminish” (Church Rejects Appointing Female Bishops). Already the Church’s population has decreased; in 2010, the Archbishops’ Council showed that less than 2% of Britons attended regular service (Church votes against Women Bishops). Meanwhile, a July 2012 poll showed that 74% of Britons favored the Church of England allowing women bishops, showing that the Church of England is going against the wishes of the English (Church votes against Women Bishops). This vote will not make more English believers but further diminish its popularity. Though the Church of England refuses women bishops, there are female Anglican bishops in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States (Vote Rejecting Women Bishops). The Anglican churches did not experience the wrath of God when they allowed female bishops, showing that it is possible for the Church to change its ways and make female bishops.

One reason that Traditionalists voted against women becoming bishops is because female bishops would hold superiority over men (Church still won’t allow Female Bishops).  As St. Paul wrote, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man. She must remain quiet. For Adam was formed first and then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (New King James Version, Timothy 2:12-14). The Traditionalists wish to follow scripture that was written by men nearly 2,000 years ago, scripture that has been translated over the centuries. Another reason is because Jesus only had male disciples – even though some consider Mary Magdalene to be a disciple since she also stayed with Jesus at the cross when all the other disciples left and she was the first one to see him when he was resurrected – but surely Jesus did not consider her important.

According to the Church rules, the vote may not be brought back before the synod during the current term, ending in 2015. “There will be women bishops in my lifetime,” Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu promises (Church still won’t allow Female Bishops). The issue is no longer with just the Church since the Church has 26 places reserved for it in the  House of Lords Chamber and the Synod’s decision means these places are exclusively set aside for men. In England, a petition wishing to have bishops thrown out of the House of Lords after the Church of England voted to retain the ban on women being ordained was created – it reads “We call on the Government to remove the right of the Church of England to have automatic seats in the House of Lords, in line with its commitments to equality and non-discrimination, set out in the Equality Act (2010) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979)” (Women Bishops House of Lords Ban). Labour Member of Parliament Chris Bryant said parliament should consider repealing the exemption from equality legislation for churches in order to force them to consecrate female bishops and Tory Member of Parliament Claire Perry said the Synod’s vote was “incomprehensible” given the Queen was the supreme governor of the Church of England (Women Bishops House of Lords Ban). There is even talk that several members of parliament are going to investigate the voting process and see if Parliament can force the Church to allow female bishops – a move that could threaten to separate church from state.

Until this vote, I had no idea that the Church of England did not allow female bishops since the number of religions allowing women to be priests, pastors, bishops, etc. in the United States has been increasing.  Traditionalists need to stop following scripture in the Bible that puts men above women since women have shown to be capable of doing anything men can, including leading a congregations. The bible’s ancient text is based on ideas and culture 2,000 years ago; if the Church does not adapt to modern views, it will not last in modern times. Parliament should get involved with forcing the Church to change its views since the Church is not separate from the government and should also follow the Equality Act set by the government. If the church chooses to live in the past, the government should separate the Church from the government, allowing the Church to focus on fixing its identity problem or watching its popularity drop even further.

Thanksgiving: A Holiday being Overshadowed by Greed

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Black Friday shoppers at Walmart

Black Friday shoppers at Wal-Mart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1620, a group of people (known today as the Pilgrims) arrived in the New World in order to escape religious prosecution in England. Of the original 102 passengers, only half of them survived the winter. In spring, they came in contact with the Natives, who taught them how to grow food. In November, after the Pilgrims’ first successful corn harvest, they organized a celebratory feast and invited their Native American friends. This feast would last for three days, though the peace between the two groups would last for over fifty years. Though New England would celebrate Thanksgiving annually, it was President George Washington who proclaimed Thanksgiving to be celebrated across the country for the “Happy conclusion of the War of Independence.” Though John Adams and James Madison followed suit, it was Abraham Lincoln who made Thanksgiving a National Holiday that would occur on the final Thursday in November. In the middle of the Civil War, Lincoln asked that all Americans to ask God “to commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”

Today, families gather around the table to eat turkey and watch football before going off to work… that is, if one is in the retail business. On a day where one should be thankful for what he has, it has now become consumed with shoppers “wanting more,” forcing retail employees to cut spending time with the family short. Originally Black Friday meant stores opened earlier, but now stores are opening early on Thanksgiving. Wal-Mart is opening at 8pm while Target is opening at 9pm. There are even some stores, like Old Navy, that is opened all day Thanksgiving. Besides the hours, Black Friday has also brought out the worse of the human kind.  In 2008, a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death as shoppers knocked the doors from their hinges and stepped on him in their rush to the stacks of sales items. In 2011, a woman used pepper spray on fellow shoppers to get Xbox videogames.

Since the first Macy’s Parade in 1924, the day after Thanksgiving has kicked off holiday shopping season. The term “black” refers to stores’ accounting records when records were kept by hand – red ink indicated a loss while black ink indicated a profit. In the 1960’s, Philadelphia police in Philadelphia complained about the traffic, calling it “Black Friday.” Today, Black Friday has become a giant economy boost since the National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will increase 4.1% this year to $586.1 billion, causing retailers to hire between 585,000 and 625,000 seasonal workers this holiday. In 2011, 226 million people went shopping, spending on average $400 each, and resulting in a total of $52 billion dollars being spent. Another (safer) option to Black Friday is Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday where retailers offer more sales; in fact, more than 70% percent of Black Friday deals last year were also available online.

The retail employees have expressed anger at having to work on a holiday; some employees have threatened to not show up on Black Friday. Wal-Mart has filed a complaint with a federal agency accusing one of the largest unions in the country of unlawfully organizing picket lines and in-store “flash mobs.”  People have also expressed  displeasure at stores for forcing their employees to work on a holiday, but  ultimately it is the shoppers who decide – if no one was lining outside Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving night, then Wal-Mart would not be open on Thanksgiving. Those customers in line must ask themselves, years from now, will they remember the Thanksgiving spent with family or the price they saved on a new television.

Texas Petition Insults Civil War Soldiers’ Memories

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English: Incidents of the war. A harvest of de...

English: Incidents of the war. A harvest of death, Gettysburg, PA. Dead Federal soldiers on battlefield. Negative by Timothy H. O’Sullivan. Positive by Alexander Gardner. Deutsch: Vorkommnisse im Krieg. Die Ernte des Todes. Gettysburg, Juli 1863 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this day, November 19th, 149 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln gave one of the most famous speeches in United States history– the Gettysburg Address. President Lincoln read his inspiring speech at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The cemetery was where, months earlier, over 50,000 American (Union and Confederacy) soldiers died. The Civil War claimed over 620,000 American lives – a number that is estimated because not all of the bodies were recovered. This war resulted in families being torn apart and cities being burned to the ground; but yet, the talk of Civil War has emerged again… all because President Barack Obama was reelected.

All fifty states have started petitions about having their state seceding from the United States, but the top seven states (Texas, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee) are all from the South. Texas boasts of a petition of over 100,000 signatures; though in a state where the population is over 25 million, the petition only represents .0039% of the population. These petitioners actually believe that their state can stand alone, yet it was the original settlers of Texas who chose to be a part of the United States. These petitioners believe that they can protect themselves from other countries, but the Texans needed help from the United States during the Mexican-American War in the 1840s. These people believe they can make a profit, yet six of these seven states account for 23% of aid received from the federal government. Most of these states have tried to leave the United States before and it resulted in a bloody battle; as the philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.” The possibility of the states seceding from the United States is slim as the Civil War showed.

As talk of secession continues, the talk of a possible Civil War has appeared in discussions amongst the social media websites. The people talk as though Civil War is needed in order to demonstrate how corrupt the United States has become…yet do they realize how over 620,000 Americans died in the last war. And in a world of planes, bombs, and drones, that number would only be greater. Are these petitioners willing to risk their lives to fight against their fellow countrymen because President Obama was re-elected? The first Civil War resulted after decades of issues, including: states’ rights, slavery, confusing territory outlines, international trading, and differing economy. The election of a Republican president was the final straw for the South since the states soon seceding after President Lincoln was elected. The fact that the petitioners want their state to leave the United States because someone they didn’t like was chosen as president is insulting to the original Southerners who had more than one reason to want to leave the country. The petitioners also argue that the United States is a corrupt country, even though the American people participated in democracy and chose their leader – a type of government that is uncommon worldwide. There are other countries where the people have no say in electing their countries’ leaders, but here in the United States, the White House has to waste time reviewing these petitions.

When people delightfully talk about a Civil War being probable, it appears as though they have never were taught about the Gettysburg Battle, the bloodiest battle on the American soil that took place during the original Civil War. The Gettysburg Battle took place in three days (July 1-3, 1863) but resulted in over 50,000 soldiers dying. Months later, President Abraham Lincoln was asked to attend and speak at the dedication of the cemetery. The speech was small, but yet it sent a message. President Lincoln said “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here” yet it seems as though people have forgotten how horrible war is. They forgot about the sight of blood, the smell of dead bodies, the tears of family members – they forgot how soldiers risked their lives to bring back the Southern states. “These dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” said President Lincoln, stating how the Civil War was a test on the United States’ strength and that it would survive the war… and he was right.

The United States is a land of freedom where every adult can vote for president. Instead of signing their names on a piece of paper, the petitioners should be productive and focus on what they can do to better the country or if they want, they can leave the United States on their own. But acting as though a possible Civil War is justified through the reelection of President Obama – it is insulting to everyone who fought in the Civil War.

Oklahoma Fails to Separate Church from State

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Oklahoma State Capitol

Oklahoma State Capitol (Photo credit: StevenM_61)

On November 16th, a 2,000 pound block describing the Ten Commandments was installed on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol. Representative Mike Ritze (R) sponsored the “Ten Commandments Monument Display Act” which states that the Ten Commandments found in the Bible are “an important component of the moral foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Oklahoma.” Is he trying to suggest that Oklahoma is controlled by the bible? Because if he is, he did not take high school government since the First Amendment (a law that Oklahoma should actually be following) states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The law clearly states that the government cannot make a law establishing a religion, yet Oklahoma created a religious monument and placed in on government grounds. Also, in the Treaty of Tripoli, sent to the Senate by President John Adams, is written that “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” Once again, a founding father points out how the United States is not founded on the Christian religion.

Though the Ten Commandments do have some good laws, like how one should not murder someone else, it also forbids people from believing in other gods. Seeing how this statement is sitting a few feet from the Capitol, it can make other religions feel uneasy, as though Oklahoma may possibly create laws from the Christian religion. As Ryan Kiesel, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma, claims that when “legislatures set up a monument that seems to put one faith above others, it creates an environment where some visitors will feel like second-class citizens.” Another problem is what will happen when other religious start creating laws that support their religious laws to be shown at the Capitol grounds also? If the laws pass, a nice Scientology monument may be the next monument to share space on the Capitol grounds.

At the moment, ACLU has not begun to sue Oklahoma for violating the separation of state and government but the Liberty Legal Foundation promises to represent Oklahoma at no cost. The Liberty Legal Foundation also led legal challenges to President Barack Obama’s place of birth – in other words, Oklahoma will be represented by a bunch of crazies. This is just more proof that Oklahoma is wrong to place religious text on government property.

The fact that there was an actual law about this monument also shows how politicians are wasting their time. Instead of actually trying to help the people, they are wasting time and money creating religious monuments. The tax payers did not pay for the monument since it was raised through private donations and the Ritze family; the fact that people were willing to spend $10,000 to put a bunch of ancient laws near the capitol is insulting to Christians. In the bible, it is mentioned how important donating to the less fortunate are, but people actually thought a historical symbol depicting ancient laws from another country were important. That money could have gone to supporting education, helping the homeless, saving the rain forest; but instead, it went to a monument that contains scripture found in every hotel room in the United States.

Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments

Treaty of Tripoli

First Amendment

First Amendment Oklahoma