Church

Hamas Child Labor and Tunnel Fatalities

Unreported, and well researched.

From the Institute for Palestinian Studies:

Gaza’s Tunnel Phenomenon: The Unintended Dynamics of Israel’s Siege

[…]

A similarly cavalier approach to child labor and tunnel fatalities damaged the movement’s standing with human-rights groups, despite government assurances dating back to 2008 that it was considering curbs. During a police patrol that the author was permitted to accompany in December 2011, nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies. At least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials. Safety controls on imports appear similarly lax, although the TAC insists that a sixteen-man contingent carries out sporadic spot-checks.

[…]

HT goes to Fr Z.

 

Church

Christian Air Force Chaplain Under Fire for Reference to Atheists

bible-american-flagWorthy News:

An Air Force chaplain in Alaska who was censored in his weekly column may now face additional consequences, according to The Washington Times.

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Kenneth Reyes had posted a sermon on the base’s online site titled: “No Atheists in Foxholes”. Although the saying comes from a speech made by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation claimed that Reyes’ reference to atheists somehow violated military policy. But even after his sermon was removed from the site, MRFF demanded that Reyes also be disciplined.

In reply, the Family Research Council asked why we even have chaplains if they aren’t allowed to express theirs beliefs about the role of faith in the lives of their fellow service members?

Military chaplains are the exception to the First Amendment’s establishment clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Under the principle of religious accommodation, the government may support religious activity if it addresses the religious needs of Department of Defense personnel who, because of government action, no longer have access to religious resources. When the military separates service members from their worship, the government may provide the required religious resources, i.e., chaplains. In this situation, the government is simply responding to a religious need and not promoting religion.

U.S. Army Regulation 165-1 states: “In striking a balance between the ‘establishment’ and ‘free exercise’ clauses, the Army chaplaincy, in providing religious services and ministries to the command, is an instrument of the U.S. government to ensure that soldiers’ ‘free exercise’ rights are protected. At the same time, chaplains are trained to avoid even the appearance of any establishment of religion.”

Military chaplains predate the Constitution; in September 1775, George Washington wrote Benedict Arnold to ensure religious freedom within the ranks of his command.

Church

Mobile Churches to be Erected in the Arctic

Wrangel Island

Two mobile military churches will be brought by trains to the Arctic Circle, where bases of the Russian Army will be deployed, reported the head of the Eastern Military District press service Colonel Alexander Gordeyev to RIA-Novosti. “Two churches will be erected on Cape Schmidt and Wrangel Island.[i] Such a decision was made following a working tour to the region by army general Arkady Bakhin, First Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation.” said Gordeyev.

At the present time two 40-ton containers with the churches have arrived by rail from the western part of Russia to Port Vanino (Khabarovsk Territory). The churches are to be erected in September. In recent years Russia has actively started development of its northern territories, including hydrocarbon production, as well as development of the North Sea Route which is more and more becoming an alternative to the traditional routes from Europe to Asia. A complex of measures, including those of military character, are intended for the defense of Russia’s interests in the Arctic, given the increased attention to the region by NATO member countries.

According to the Russian Federation’s Ministry for Extraordinary Situations, the total value of the mineral resources concentrated in the Arctic region of Russia exceeds 30 trillion dollars. Ministry experts believe that the center of gravity of Russia’s oil and gas production will gradually move to the shelf of the Arctic seas. Cape (Otto) Schmidt (“Mys Shmidta”) is a cape on the shore of the Chukchi Sea, near the De Long Strait. Wrangel Island is situated in the Arctic Ocean between the East Siberian and the Chukchi seas. Administratively, they belong to the Iultin District of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug (District). Wrangel Island is a part of a nature reserve with the same name and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Source.

 

Church

Inside the Church Without a God

With 700 mostly evangelical places of worship Nashville, Tennessee is often described as the “Protestant Vatican”, but even here a secular church is finding its niche .

In the Telegraph:

Viewed from the outside, the pointy-roofed building in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee deep in the heart of America’s Bible Belt, looks very much like a church.

And stepping inside, where a congregation is swaying along to music, listening to sermons and discussing ways to help their local community, it sounds very much like a church too.

There is, however, one rather fundamental missing ingredient that sets this congregation apart from the hundreds of others turning out to worship this Sunday morning in Nashville: this is a church without God.

“I pass seven big churches between my house and the main road two miles away, there are plenty of churches in Nashville, but we needed a place for us,” says David Lyle, a founder-member of the Nashville branch of the “Sunday Assembly” secular church movement.

Started in London in January 2013 by a pair of British stand-up comedians, Sunday Assembly offers a church experience but without the ‘God part’ and, according to organisers, it is starting to catch on in America…

Rest here, with a video. And whatever it is, it ain’t Church.

Culture

Gaza Campaign on Pace to Become Deadliest Israeli Conflict in Recent Years

The Washington Post:

Palestinian and Israeli casualties are mounting at a pace that could surpass any other Israeli conflict in nearly a decade, amid signs of a deepening military and political stalemate driven by diplomatic gridlock, Palestinian militant resilience and the absence of a clear Israeli exit strategy.

The rising death toll in the Gaza Strip conflict propelled U.S. and European diplomats huddled in Paris to call for an extension of a 12-hour humanitarian truce Saturday that had afforded both sides a brief respite from the nearly three-week-old conflict.

Late Saturday, Israel approved a 24-hour extension of the truce but said it would retaliate if Hamas prevented its forces from continuing to destroy tunnel networks through which the militants have attempted to infiltrate Israel. Hamas fighters, though, resumed firing rockets and mortar rounds into Israel.

Read on here.