Will Gay Marriage Pit Church Against Church?

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Will Gay Marriage Pit Church Against Church?

The fight over gay marriage may be far from over, but already some conservative Christian leaders are looking beyond the courtroom dramas and the legislative infighting. The trouble they see is not just an America where general support for gay marriage will have driven a wedge between churches and the world, but between churches themselves.

“More than anything else, these developments may signal the fact that those who, on biblical grounds, are led by conscience to reject same-sex marriage, really will be exposed as a moral minority,the Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a staunch defender of traditional definition of marriage, told TIME recently. “If so, it will expose a great divide over the authority of the Bible among many Christian churches and denominations — perhaps in a way exceeding any other issue.” (Check out the story “What If You’re on the Gay ‘Enemies List.'”)

Ever since Jesus told followers to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” preachers have been warning about a clash between “the world” and “the church.” But now Mohler is predicting something more, a clash between churches themselves. (Most recently, the Anglican Communion has been paralyzed by debate over the consecration of gay bishops.) Writing on Thursday morning in his personal blog, Mohler laid out his thoughts more clearly still. “No issue defines our current cultural crisis as clearly as homosexuality. Some churches and denominations have capitulated to the demands of the homosexual rights movement, and now accept homosexuality as a fully valid lifestyle,” he wrote. “Other denominations are tottering on the brink, and without a massive conservative resistance, they are almost certain to abandon biblical truth and bless what the Bible condemns. Within a few short years, a major dividing line has become evident — with those churches endorsing homosexuality on one side, and those stubbornly resisting the cultural tide on the other.”(Those of us who stand on the Word of God are stubbornly resisting? You bet we are and will continue to do so until the end comes!) (Read the story “A Gay Marriage Solution: End Marriage?”)

Mohler’s view is, to a certain extent, shared by Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, who leads an ad hoc panel of U.S. Catholic bishops set up to fight gay marriage. He too sees a potential future when a greater acceptance of homosexuality leads to pressure on churches to conform, and even to change their teachings. “There are grave threats that decisions by the courts, legislative actions or regulations could erode religious freedom,” Kurtz tells TIME. “With regard to marriage, this implicates the right of Catholics to practice our beliefs. Here we are talking about the bedrock of society, it’s not just a belief, it’s written on the hearts of every human person.”

Unlike the Baptist’s stark outlook, however, Kurtz is more optimistic that the fight to preserve a traditional definition of marriage is not doomed — and is actively forming alliances and organizing to shore up the one-man-and-one-woman concept of matrimony. He sent a letter last fall to Thomas Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, praising Mormon support for Prop 8, the ballot-initiative in California that made gay marriage unconstitutional. That state’s Supreme Court is expected to rule on the validity of the amendment soon.

Kurtz concedes there have been wins for supporters of gay marriage lately, but last November’s statewide votes against gay marriage in California, Arizona and Florida buoyed him. “It’s hard for any of us to have a crystal ball to know our culture society will move,” says Kurtz. “The Catholic Church will certainly respond with a commitment to truth and love. … November is not all that long ago, and I still believe that getting out the message about marriage, with a commitment to both truth and love, will succeed. In upholding the traditional definition of marriage, there is not a desire to punish or hurt anyone. We want to do a better job of communicating our concern for all, for both those who agree, and disagree.”

Mohler sees the true church as a body comprised of believers who refuse to give ground on gay marriage. So does the Catholic Church, which has shown no willingness to change its own teachings, rooted as they often are in centuries of tradition. But, except for the November referendums, solidarity among fellow-thinkers has not borne much fruit. And a recent swarm of dire ads warning of a “gathering storm” of gay rights mostly backfired. “Those advocates want to change the way I think,” a woman says in one of the most-viewed commercials. Another adds, “I will have no choice.” And another warns that she will soon be faced with a choice between “my job and my faith.” The ads prompted hundreds of thousands of views on Youtube.com, but they mainly served to show how far removed their creators were from the zeitgeist. The Colbert Report mocked the ads, and countless parodies have sprung up across the Internet at the expense of the ads’ grave-faced actors.

So while both men are calling for courage and compassion among their flocks, it’s not clear yet whether their message that homosexuals are sinners by definition is resonating beyond their staunchest supporters. Of course, that may be just fine with both men, who see in the future a kind of purifying ordeal that will sort out the true church from the others.

Time.com

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Obama Exposed to Possible Swine Flu Case

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I thought this article was interesting…..one news article I read from CBS.com said this man Felipe Solis died the next week instead of the next day after meeting with Obama, but the main point of the article is he may have been exposed to this extremely rare strain of  “swine flu”, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), A-H1N1 has gene segments from North American swine, bird and human flu strains and a segment from Eurasian swine flu. Which makes it extremely rare. Is this man made? Maybe.

Obama Exposed to Possible Swine Flu Case

President Barack Obama was exposed this month in Mexico to a potential case of swine flu the day before the ailing Mexican official died, reports the Independent. Distinguished archeologist Felipe Solis, who met Obama at a state dinner, showed the president around Mexico’s anthropology museum 11 days ago during Obama’s visit to Mexico. Solis died the following day from “flu-like symptoms,” according to Mexican press reports. Mexican officials deny Solis suffered from swine flu, and said he died of pneumonia. US Health officials have given the president a clean bill of health after he exhibited no flu symptoms following the incubation period for swine flu. “The president doesn’t have any symptoms, and his doctors advised that there was no need for him to be tested,” an aide told the New York Daily News. The incubation period for the deadly new flu strain is believed to be just three days.

Newser.com

U.S. Slow to Learn of Mexico Flu

Canadian Officials Knew of Rare Strain Before Americans Did

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 26, 2009

U.S. public health officials did not know about a growing outbreak of swine flu in Mexico until nearly a week after that country started invoking protective measures, and didn’t learn that the deaths were caused by a rare strain of the influenza until after Canadian officials did.

The delayed communication occurred as epidemiologists in Southern California were investigating milder cases of the illness that turned out to be caused by the same strain of swine flu as the one in Mexico.

Whether delayed communication among the countries has had a practical consequence is unknown. However, it seems that U.S. public health officials are still largely in the dark about what’s happening in Mexico two weeks after the outbreak was recognized.

Asked at a news conference yesterday whether the number of swine flu cases found daily in Mexico is increasing — a key determinant in understanding whether an epidemic is spreading — Anne Schuchat, an interim deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “I do not know the answer to those questions.”

In recent years, Mexico has done extensive pandemic planning with Canada and developed a close relationship with the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. Tests on virus samples from the Mexican patients suggested the strain was different from this year’s flu. So on Monday, Mexican officials sent lung and throat swabs to Canada to be characterized.

“The only reason the samples went first to Winnipeg is because the paperwork is easier. We were in a rush,” Hernández said.

The samples arrived in Canada on Wednesday. Six hours later, Mexican authorities were told that 16 of 17 had tested positive for swine flu and that it was the same strain just isolated by the CDC from the very different cases in California.

The next day, Mexican health authorities contacted the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services and said their country’s outbreak and the U.S. cases appeared to be two parts of the same event. That same day, the Mexican samples arrived in Atlanta. They were tested in four hours, and Mexico was informed that they pointed to swine flu.

Washington Post.com