Current Events

North Korea’s Missile Test–“As Powerful as Hiroshima Bomb”

The Guardian wrote on May 25:

“North Korea today risked further international isolation after it claimed to have successfully tested a nuclear weapon as powerful as the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The test comes less than two months after the North enraged the US and its allies by test firing a long-range ballistic missile…

“Officials in South Korea said they had detected a tremor consistent with those caused by an underground nuclear explosion… [It] created an earthquake measuring magnitude 4.5…

“Today’s test will add to fears that the North is moving closer to possessing the ability to mount a nuclear warhead on long-range missiles that are capable, in theory, of reaching Hawaii and Alaska…

“Today’s test is a direct challenge to attempts by Obama to engage the North and stem the spread of nuclear weapons. Despite promising a fresh start to bilateral relations, Obama… has so far failed to persuade North Korea to enter into negotiations.

“Kim Myong-chol, executive director of the Centre for Korean-American Peace in Tokyo… said the test was a reminder that North Korea ‘is going it alone as a nuclear power. North Korea doesn’t need any talks with America. America is tricky and undesirable… We are not going to worry about sanctions. If they sanction us, we will become more powerful. Sanctions never help America; they are counter-productive … We don’t care about America and what they say.'”

North Korea Fires More Short-Range Missiles

Reuters wrote on May 26:

“North Korea, defiant in the face of international condemnation of its latest nuclear test, fired two more short-range missiles off its east coast on Tuesday and accused the United States of plotting against its government. In a move certain to compound tensions in the region, South Korea said it would join a U.S.-led initiative to intercept ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction, something Pyongyang has warned it would consider a declaration of war… North Korea fired off three short-range missiles on Monday…

“The U.N. Security Council condemned the nuclear test [on Monday] and is working on a new resolution… But analysts say North Korea’s giant neighbor China, one of five permanent members of the Council, is unlikely to support anything tough.”

No Nuclear Freeze for Iran?

Reuters reported on May 25:

“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday rejected a Western proposal for it to ‘freeze’ its nuclear work in return for no new sanctions and ruled out any talks with major powers on the issue. The comments by the conservative president, who is seeking re-election in a June 12 presidential vote, are likely to further disappoint the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama, which is seeking to engage Iran diplomatically…

“‘Our talks (with major powers) will only be in the framework of cooperation for managing global issues and nothing else…’, Ahmadinejad said. ‘The nuclear issue is a finished issue for us,’ he told a news conference.”

Iran Prepares for War

Reuters reported on May 25:

“Iran has sent six warships to international waters, including the Gulf of Aden, to show its ability to confront any foreign threats… putting Israel and U.S. bases in the area within reach…

“Iranian waters stretch along the Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman. Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 40 percent of the world’s traded oil is shipped, if it were attacked over its nuclear programme… Nearly 20,000 ships pass through the Gulf of Aden each year, heading to and from the Suez Canal. Seven percent of world oil consumption passed through the Gulf of Aden in 2007…

“On May 20, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran had tested a missile that defence analysts say could hit Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf, a move likely to fuel concern about Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.”

No Settlement Freeze in the West Bank

Reuters reported on May 24:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rebuffed U.S. calls to impose a freeze on all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, setting the stage for friction with President Barack Obama… The note of defiance came less than a week after Netanyahu held talks in Washington with Obama, who wants Israel to halt all settlement activity, including natural growth…

“Half a million Jews live in settlement blocs and smaller outposts built in the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, all territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War. The World Court says all are illegal. The United States and European Union regard them as obstacles to peace. Palestinians see the settlements as a land grab meant to deny them a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

Russia vs. EU

BBC News reported on May 22:

“Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned the European Union not to turn a proposed partnership with former Soviet countries against Moscow. Mr Medvedev was speaking at the end of a Russia-EU summit held against a background of deep divisions over security, trade and energy supplies…

“The BBC’s Richard Galpin in Moscow says divisions between Russia and the European Union seem to be growing ever wider, and this latest summit, held in the far east of Russia, made that abundantly clear, with little sign of progress on any significant topic… Moscow has accused the 27-member bloc of creating new dividing lines in Europe by offering closer ties to six former Soviet republics…

“On the divisive issue of energy supplies, President Medvedev raised questions about whether Ukraine can afford billions of dollars to top up its gas stocks… Russia supplies 42% of EU gas imports. Its decision to cut all gas to Ukraine – a vital transit country – meant that many EU member states also lost their supplies of gas for two weeks in January… European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned there should be no more disruptions to gas supplies from Russia.”

The Future of Europe?

On May 25, Der Spiegel Online published the following article:

“The president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, of the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), spoke out against Turkish membership in the European Union on Tuesday, two weeks before EU parliamentary elections are to take place. ‘It is my deep belief that — politically, culturally, financially and geographically — it would be too much to have Turkey as a member of the European Union,’ Pöttering said… At best, he said, he could imagine a ‘privileged partnership’ on an economic, environmental and security policy level.

“With his statements, Pöttering underscored one of the central demands being made during the European election campaign in Germany by the Christian Democrats and their sister party in the state of Bavaria, the Christian Social Union (CSU). Both parties are calling for a “consolidation phase’ in the European Union and for Turkey not to be given full membership… The position puts the CDU on a direct confrontation course with its coalition partners in the German government, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD). For years, the SPD has pushed for full membership for Turkey in the EU…

“Pöttering… regretted that the EU ‘does not always have a united position in foreign and security policy… Pöttering also called on the EU to use all its strength to help promote a solution to the Middle East conflict. One of the major subjects for the EU, he said, is to promote peace on the basis of a two-state solution, ‘with Israel in safe borders and a state of Palestine in safe borders as well’…

“The CDU politician also warned against allowing the European Union to become overly dependent on Russia for its energy supplies… Russia should just be one of the sources used by the EU…

“Commenting on the Treaty of Lisbon, the successor to the failed EU constitution that still hasn’t been ratified by every member state, the 63-year-old said: ‘I am confident that the Lisbon Treaty will come into force.’ He said he believed the Irish would also approve the treaty in a second referendum. ‘Ireland has no interest in a two-speed Europe which excludes other countries,’ he said. ‘We are a Union to which all 27 countries belong.'”

Germany Unhappy with USA Over Opel and GM

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 28:

“Despite an entire night of non-stop negotiations in Angela Merkel’s Chancellery, there is still no plan in place to save Opel from following GM into bankruptcy…

“The talks, as quickly became clear, had failed… and… the flash of anger was likewise unmistakable — anger at Germany’s negotiating partners from the US. Roland Koch, governor of the state of Hesse, which plays host to Opel headquarters, complained that the American role in the negotiations ‘was not exactly helpful’…

“With the US automobile giant General Motors facing imminent bankruptcy in the US, Berlin is doing what it can to prevent its German subsidiary Opel from going down with the ship… But on Wednesday night, General Motors made a surprise demand for an additional €300 million ($415 million), catching German negotiators off guard. To make matters worse, the US had only bothered to send a low level representative who frequently had to confer with his superiors in Washington…

“The issue has attracted massive attention in Germany, first and foremost because of the risk that thousands of jobs could be lost. Opel employs 25,000 people in Germany with many thousands more dependent on the company for their livelihoods. All of the potential investors currently courting Opel and Berlin have said that some job cuts would be unavoidable.

“And they wouldn’t just be in Germany. GM’s Europe division employs a further 25,000 people elsewhere in Europe… The sports car icon Porsche, for example, is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and may need public help. The ball-bearing giant Schaeffler and the retail conglomerate Arcandor, both large employers in Germany, are likewise far from healthy. And with the economic crisis still in full swing, there may be more to come…

“For now, though, the US has managed to succeed where Berlin’s political elite has failed for months: getting the CDU and SPD to agree. Both parties are unified in their excoriation of America’s role in Opel negotiations thus far…”

US Economy–“Further Disaster to Come”

Haaretz wrote on May 25:

“Many Americans have been led to believe that the worst of the financial crisis is over, but last week the U.S. economy was dealt another heavy blow that may signal further disaster is still to come.

“The Financial Post reported last Wednesday that ‘…the U.S. dollar slid against most major currencies… hitting a five-month low of US $1.3775 against the euro…’ The day after, Florida’s Bank United FSB was seized by Federal regulators in the largest U.S. bank failure so far this year.

“The sudden dollar decline and seizure of Bank United is a flashback to the U.S. economic turmoil of late 2008, and a brutal reality check for many who thought the worst was over…

“As investors become more willing to play stocks again, they are taking money out of the U.S. dollar because it is losing its status as a safe-haven currency. Ashraf Laidi, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, recently cautioned that we are at the start of a ‘serious case of dollar damage,’ adding that his organization ‘long warned about the day of reckoning for the dollar emerging at the next economic recovery.’

“Laidi’s prediction may not be too far off. Russia has ditched the dollar in favor of the euro, Pravda reported last week… Other nations are apparently following suit. The Financial Times quotes top Brazilian officials as saying that Brazil and China are also working toward ‘using their own currencies in trade transactions rather than the U.S. dollar…’ This scenario, says economic commentator Peter Schiff, is ‘not only a possibility, it’s inevitable.'”

Obama: “We Are Out of Money Now”

The Drudge Report wrote the following on May 23:

“In a sobering holiday interview with C-SPAN, President Obama boldly told Americans: ‘We are out of money.’

“C-SPAN host Steve Scully broke from a meek Washington press corps with probing questions for the new president.

“SCULLY: You know the numbers, $1.7 trillion debt, a national deficit of $11 trillion. At what point do we run out of money?

“OBAMA: Well, we are out of money now. We are operating in deep deficits.. we have a short-term problem and we also have a long-term problem. The short-term problem is dwarfed by the long-term problem…

“SCULLY: States like California in desperate financial situation, will you be forced to bail out the states?

“OBAMA: No. I think that what you’re seeing in states is that anytime you got a severe recession like this… their demands on services are higher. So, they are sending more money out. At the same time, they’re bringing less tax revenue in. And that’s a painful adjustment, what we’re going end up seeing is lot of states making very difficult choices there…”

Two More US Banks Closed

Press TV wrote on May 24:

“Two Illinois banks have been closed by regulators, bringing to 36 the total number of US bank failures so far this year. The closure of Citizens National Bank and Strategic Capital Bank is estimated to cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) around $279 million… The Wall Street Journal study published on Tuesday found that more than 900 small and midsized US banks could face losses of $100 billion by the end of 2010 if the economy continues its fast freefall.”

Biggest Federal Tax Revenue Drop Since 1981

USA Today wrote on May 28:

“Federal tax revenue plunged $138 billion… the biggest April drop since 1981… 6 million people lost jobs in the 12 months ended in April — and that means far fewer dollars from income taxes. Income tax revenue dropped 44% from a year ago… Big revenue losses mean that the U.S. budget deficit may be larger than predicted this year and in future years.”

Obama Nominates Supreme Court Judge

“President Barack Obama on Tuesday moved to place his imprint on America’s judiciary by nominating Sonia Sotomayor as the next Supreme Court Justice – the first Hispanic and only the third woman to be put forward for America’s apex court… Republicans issued a guarded response to her nomination, suggesting the party has yet to decide on how hard to oppose her nomination. Any filibuster of Ms Sotomayor’s nomination would require total Republican unity to be sustained.

“’The party is deeply split on this issue between the ideologues and the pragmatists and it’s unclear yet which will prevail,’ said Frank Luntz, a leading Republican consultant. ‘The conservatives want to use her appointment to rally their base but there will be others who want to show they can cooperate with the President’…

“Wendy Long, counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network, a conservative group which monitors judicial appointments, described Ms Sotomayor as ‘liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written.’ Democrats have a big enough Senate majority to override Republican opposition but conservatives could make it a bruising process for the nominee…”

The Wall Street Journal wrote on May 26:

“A judge’s job, Mr. Obama said, is ‘to interpret, not make, law’… Conservatives have said Mr. Obama’s emphasis on a justice with ’empathy’ would ensure that his nominee would be an activist, seeking judgments that favor underdogs without deference to the facts and law…

“Ms. Sotomayor was nominated to the federal bench by a Republican, President George H.W. Bush, and later elevated to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York by a Democrat, President Bill Clinton. Her experience, as a lawyer, a prosecutor, a trial judge and an appellate justice, would make her more experienced in the law than any other sitting justice, the president said.

“But it is her life story – and the presence of her aging mother – that choked up much of the audience in the East Room. Her parents arrived in New York from Puerto Rico during World War II and took up residence in a public housing project in the shadow of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Her father, a factory worker with a third-grade education and no knowledge of English, died when Ms. Sotomayor was 9. Her mother worked two jobs as a nurse to raise her family, bought the only set of encyclopedias in the neighborhood, and helped her daughter win a scholarship to Princeton University and her son, Juan, to become a physician…

“She also acknowledged that her life experiences influence her judicial philosophy, a plus, she said, but a potential negative to Republicans…”

The Washington Times wrote on May 27:

“With Judge Sonia Sotomayor already facing questions over her 60 percent reversal rate, the Supreme Court could dump another problem into her lap next month if, as many legal analysts predict, the court overturns one of her rulings upholding a race-based employment decision…

“In 2002, in a speech in California, Judge Sotomayor said race or sex does affect a judge’s rulings, and said because of that, a minority woman is a better decider than a white man: ‘I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.’

“Three years later, at a panel discussion at Duke Law School, she seemed to endorse judicial activism on the appeals courts, telling students considering clerkships: ‘Court of Appeals is where policy is made. And I know – I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don’t make law. I know.'”

On May 27, USA Today published its opinion on the matter. We are quoting the following excerpts:

“The tougher question, the one likely to define the political fight over her nomination, is the degree to which her ‘life experience’ as a 54-year-old Latina divorcée who grew up [as a Catholic] in the Bronx projects should shape her legal opinions… Republican critics — who hardly need provocation to be skeptical of any Obama nominee, particularly one likely to align with the court’s liberal wing — quickly insisted that the Senate assure itself that Sotomayor would not make rulings based on her ‘personal politics, feelings and preferences.’

“To some extent, the entire argument is overblown. People inevitably are the product of their experiences, and they can hardly shed their history and character at the courthouse door. That is why the court is enriched by having an eclectic mix of justices who can bring differing perspectives to bear on the case at hand — but always in the context of the Constitution and court precedent.

“Earlier this year, for example, the court was asked whether school officials should be allowed to strip-search students — in this case a humiliated young girl — to make sure they weren’t bringing drugs to school. After the male justices argued the case with a lack of sensitivity that bothered the court’s only female member, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg [said]… that it was obvious her colleagues ‘have never been a 13-year-old girl.’

“If experience can help illuminate legal questions, however, relying too much on life lessons risks distorting the impartial justice the court is expected to mete out. Sotomayor has given critics much to work with…”

What Could Have Happened in California…

The Wall Street Journal wrote on May 25:

“… what might have been had Arnold Schwarzenegger immediately pushed for reform upon taking office in 2003… Mr. Schwarzenegger did offer a plan to revamp state government during his honeymoon phase in 2004. But his approach — the ‘California Performance Review,’ or CPR — was a metaphor for his political failure. It involved a 275-member task force that produced a 2,500-page proposal. That report, which offered upwards of $32 billion in savings, never caught anyone’s fancy. It was dead on arrival because it was too complicated for voters to rally behind and legislators didn’t want to see it enacted…

“Instead of reform, the man who promised to ‘blow up the boxes’ of government nearly six years ago embarked on a crusade to save the planet in an attempt to win re-election in 2006. If Arnold’s political obituary were to be written today its narrative would turn on environmental issues, such as solar roof panels, hydrogen cars and curbing emissions. Missing would be the issues that got him elected in the first place — tax cuts, fiscal discipline and restoring dignity to Sacramento…

“Last year was supposed to be, according to a declaration from the governor, ‘the year of education.’ Before that, we were in the year of health reform.’ In 2005, his theme was ‘the year of reform.’ None of these slogans translated into tangible changes — 2005 culminated in a special election in which all four of the governor’s proposals… failed spectacularly…

“Where is Mr. Schwarzenegger’s core? Is he the free-market, antitax candidate of the recall? The right-of-center union buster of the 2005 special election? The humbled, bipartisan eco-warrior of the 2006 re-election campaign? The tax-and-spend-and-cut Sacramento insider?… Today, Republicans running for governor in California go out of their way to point out where they differ with Mr. Schwarzenegger. Maybe Mr. Schwarzenegger will be able to mount another political comeback. In the meantime, he must wish life could imitate art, and like the Terminator he too could go back in time.”

Religious Persecution in San Diego

WorldNetDaily reported on May 22:

“A  San Diego pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a county official and warned they will face escalating fines if they continue to hold Bible studies in their home. The couple… told their attorney a county government employee knocked on their door on Good Friday, asking a litany of questions about their Tuesday night Bible studies, which are attended by approximately 15 people. ‘Do you have a regular weekly meeting in your home? Do you sing? Do you say “amen”?’ the official reportedly asked. ‘Do you say, “Praise the Lord”?’ The pastor’s wife answered yes.

“She says she was then told, however, that she must stop holding ‘religious assemblies’ until she and her husband obtain a Major Use Permit from the county, a permit that often involves traffic and environmental studies, compliance with parking and sidewalk regulations and costs that top tens of thousands of dollars. And if they fail to pay for the MUP, the county official reportedly warned, the couple will be charged escalating fines beginning at $100, then $200, $500, $1000, ‘and then it will get ugly’…

“[Attorney] Dean Broyles… [who] has been retained to represent the couple, told WND the county’s action not only violates religious land-use laws but also assaults both the First Amendment’s freedom of assembly and freedom of religion. ‘The First Amendment, in part, reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,”‘ Broyles said. ‘And that’s the key part: “prohibiting the free exercise.” We believe this is a substantial government burden on the free exercise of religion.’

“He continued, ‘If one’s home is one’s castle, certainly you would think the free exercise of religion, of all places, could occur in the home.’ Broyles confirmed the county official followed through on his threat. The pastor and his wife received a written warning ordering the couple to ‘cease/stop religious assembly on parcel or obtain a major use permit.’

“‘The Western Center for Law and Policy is troubled by this draconian move to suppress home Bible studies,’ said the law center in a statement. ‘If the current trends in our nation continue, churches may be forced underground. If that happens, believers will once again be forced to meet in homes. If homes are already closed by the government to assembly and worship, where then will Christians meet?’

“On a personal note, Broyles added, ‘I’ve been leading Bible studies in my home for 13 years in San Diego County, and I personally believe that home fellowship Bible studies are the past and future of the church…

“Broyles also explained to WND that oppressive governments, such as communist China or Nazi Germany, worked to repress home fellowships, labeling them the ‘underground church’ or ‘subversive groups,’ legally compelling Christians to meet only in sanctioned, government-controlled ‘official’ churches. ‘Therein lies my concern,’ Broyles said. ‘If people can’t practice their religious beliefs in the privacy of their own homes with a few of their friends, that’s an egregious First Amendment violation’…

“Broyles said the WCLP is nearly ready to file a demand letter with the county to release the pastor and his wife from the requirement to obtain the expensive permit. If the county refuses, Broyles said, the WCLP will consider a lawsuit in federal court. Broyles also told WND the pastor and his wife are continuing to hold the Bible study in their home.”

Religious Persecution in France?

The Independent wrote on May 25:

“The Church of Scientology in France went on trial today on charges of organised fraud. Registered as a religion in the United States, with celebrity members such as actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Scientology enjoys no such legal protection in France and has faced repeated accusations of being a money-making cult. The group’s Paris headquarters and bookshop are defendants in the case. If found guilty, they could be fined €5 million ($7 million) and ordered to halt their activities in France. Seven leading French Scientology members are also in the dock. Some are charged with illegally practising as pharmacists and face up to 10 years in prison and hefty fines…

“In a trial that has revived a debate about religious freedom in secular France, the defence is expected to argue the court should not intervene in religious affairs. Scientology has faced numerous setbacks in France, with members convicted of fraud in Lyon in 1997 and Marseille in 1999. In 2002, a court fined it for violating privacy laws and said it could be dissolved if involved in similar cases.”

We don’t want to give any misimpression that we agree with much of the teaching of Scientology. Nevertheless, the issue is whether Europe’s treatment of this clearly religious group is tantamount to religious persecution. Regarding their rather weird teaching, notice the following news clip from Press TV, dated May 25:

“According to Scientology teachings, 75 million years ago, an evil galactic overlord named Xenu collected all the billions of people from 76 planets, brought them to earth and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their spirits now infest our bodies.”

“American Idol” Contest–Israel “More Tolerant” Than America

Haaretz wrote on May 25:

“If it had been up to Israelis, ‘American Idol’ runner-up Adam Lambert would have won. Not because he’s Jewish. Because he can sing…

“I should state at the outset that [this] is not a column about music. This is, at heart, about deviance, and how societies respond to the deviants in their midst… Seldom has a singing contest been so clear-cut a case of no contest. In a final duet alongside eventual winner Kris Allen, Adam Lambert sang him off the stage. And no one knew that better than Kris Allen.

“So what was it about Lambert that moved tens of millions of Americans to make sure that he would not win? Some, at least, decided to take a stand. It was time to cast a vote against deviant behavior… ‘The battle of good versus evil, dark versus light, played out in the context of a culture war,’ wrote Danielle Berrin in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. ‘The nation’s conservatives changed the game by voting their conscience, not their common sense…’

“Which brings us to Israel… the mass-circulation Maariv newspaper published an extensive article detailing how ‘Over the past decade homosexuals have turned from an exotic detour… to the kings of prime-time’… Say what you will about Israel, this place has developed an exceptional tolerance for behavior traditionally deemed deviant. One of the judges on Kochav Nolad (A Star is Born), Israel’s version of American Idol, is Dana International, a post-op transsexual singing star whose unapologetic exuberance persuaded Israelis to choose her as their representative to the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, in which she took first place…

“A recent online poll commissioned by Channel 2 Television showed that 52 percent of all Israelis (and 76 percent of secular Israelis) favor civil marriage for gays; 51 percent of all Israelis back full equal rights for gays and lesbians; and 80 percent of all Israelis would be willing to be neighbors to gays and lesbians. The military in Israel has also shown more openness to gays than its American counterpart. As one observer noted, ‘The policy in the IDF is, “Don’t ask, and nobody cares.”‘

No New Same-Sex Marriages in California–for the Time Being…

The Associated Press reported on May 26:

“The California Supreme Court upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, but it also decided that the estimated 18,000 gay couples who tied the knot before the law took effect will stay wed. The 6-1 decision written by Chief Justice Ron George rejected an argument by gay rights activists that the ban revised the California constitution’s equal protection clause to such a dramatic degree that it first needed the Legislature’s approval. The court said the people have a right, through the ballot box, to change their constitution…

“The announcement of the decision set off an outcry among a sea of demonstrators who had gathered in front of the San Francisco courthouse awaiting the ruling… Gay rights activists immediately promised to resume their fight, saying they would go back to voters as early as next year in a bid to repeal Proposition 8…

“The state Supreme Court had ruled last May that it was unconstitutional to deny gay couples the right to wed. Many same-sex couples had rushed to get married before the November vote on Proposition 8, fearing it could be passed. When it was, gay rights activists went back to the court arguing that the ban was improperly put to voters. That was the issue justices decided Tuesday.

“‘After comparing this initiative measure to the many other constitutional changes that have been reviewed and evaluated in numerous prior decisions of this court, we conclude Proposition 8 constitutes a constitutional amendment rather than a constitutional revision,’ the ruling said.”

Church of Scotland Appoints Gay Minister

CNN reported on May 24:

“A gay minister at the center of a row about his appointment to a church in a Scottish city said he was ‘humbled’ after the Church of Scotland upheld his appointment. In a ground-breaking move, the church’s ruling body voted by 326 to 267 in support of [the appointment]… provoked opposition from traditionalist members of the church and has led to fears it could cause a damaging split…

“Papers lodged with the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly in Edinburgh claimed scriptures in the Old and New Testament describe same-sex activity as a ‘wrong choice,’ the British Press Association said. However… supporters [of the appointment] argued that the Bible does not directly address homosexual relationships, which are now ‘essentially a feature of modern society.'”

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