Monday, May 14, 2018

Sen. Joe Lieberman: Why US Embassy Jerusalem move happened and why it matters

This is a historic day. Why did it finally happen and why does it matter? Senator Joe Lieberman explains:

From here:
In 1995, I had the privilege of working in the U.S. Senate on the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act (JERA) with a bipartisan group of colleagues, including Senate Majority Leader, Bob Dole of Kansas and Senator Pat Moynihan of New York.

Our bill found that “Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital,” and “Since 1950, the City of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.” In fact, at the time, Israel – a fellow democracy and one of our closest allies in the world – was the only place in the world where we did not locate our embassy in the city designated by the host country as its capital.

Our legislation aimed to eliminate that inequity by mandating that “Jerusalem should be recognized (by the U.S.) as the capital of the State of Israel and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem.” There was broad bipartisan support for the JERA in the Congress, but not in the administration. Part of the reason for that opposition was the traditional struggle for influence over foreign policy between Congress and the president. But more was about the particular historical moment.

Two years earlier in September 1993, the so-called Declaration of Principles of Interim Self-Government (also known as the Oslo Accords) was signed at the White House by Yitzhak Rabin and Yassir Arafat. It laid out a timetable for the resolution of “final status” issues including Jerusalem. Hopes were high then for a permanent two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. People who argued against the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act said that it would diminish or extinguish those hopes by determining the status of Jerusalem.

We supporters of JERA said that was clearly not true, that our legislation would not affect the implementation of the Oslo Accords at all but simply treat Israel like every other country in the world and respect its right to designate its own capital. In fact, the United States already owned a piece of land in West Jerusalem on which we intended to eventually build our embassy, and that piece of land had been part of Israel since its re-establishment in 1948. Unless one thought that a two-state solution would involve Israel ceding sovereignty over land in Jerusalem that had been Israeli since 1948, which no one did, there was no way the Jerusalem Embassy Act would affect final status negotiations pursuant to the Oslo Accords. In fact, we argued in Congress, that moving our embassy to Jerusalem could ease the way to a two-state solution by giving Israel the confidence that the peace process, which we supported, would not result in Israel’s right to its historic capital being diminished.

Nevertheless, the Clinton administration said that a premature focus on Jerusalem could undermine negotiations and complicate the chances for peace, so President Clinton would veto the legislation.

To avoid that veto, a compromise was agreed upon that was practical and lead to enactment but was not based on reality or principle. A new section was added to our legislation which enabled the president and his successors to suspend the law from becoming effective every six months if he determined that such suspension was “necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.”

That amended legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 93-5 and the House, 374-37. President Clinton still refused to sign the law but let it go into effect without his signature ten days later, as is provided by law. At the time, the president said the act “could hinder the peace process. I will not let that happen and will use the legislation’s waiver authority to avoid damage to the peace process.”

That is exactly what President Clinton and his successors, Presidents Bush and Obama, did repeatedly over the next 22 years, until December 6, 2017 when President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and ordered that the American Embassy be relocated to that capital. On February 23 of this year, President Trump announced that our Embassy would open in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, to coincide with the 70th Anniversary of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

In the Arab world, concerns have been expressed but the focus of the Arab world is, like Israel, on the great threat from Iran. It is true that hopes for the peace process are much lower today than they were in 1995, even though the Trump administration correctly continues to work for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In sum, when President Trump finally implemented the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act of 1995, the sky – as far as we know – did not fall, as so many had long predicted.

There is a larger lesson to be learned from this story. America remains the strongest nation in the world and should never hesitate to make important foreign policy decisions that we believe are consistent with our national values and interests, because of predictions by others of the worst possible reaction to those decisions. Otherwise, we are likely to diminish our national strength and compromise our national values and interests.

That lesson is worth remembering in a number of other foreign policy decisions President Trump has made or will soon make, including pulling the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement and negotiating with North Korea.
_________________

Joseph I. Lieberman is chairman of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), a former U.S. senator from Connecticut, and the 2000 Democratic nominee for vice president of the United States.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Texas Woman Prays While Others Gawk at Suicidal Man

From KSAT, where there is video;
A Texas woman prayed for a suicidal man as police attempted to talk him down from jumping to his death. Other bystanders spent their time taking cell phone photos of the impending tragedy while others shouted obscenities at him.

KSAT ABC12 saw the woman praying and asked her about her decision. The woman, Grace Hernandez, told the reporter that with Mother’s Day approaching, she “felt compelled to pull over and pray.”

Her prayers were answered as police successfully talked the man down from the billboard where he contemplated his demise.

Hernandez said she also prayed for the police and first responders who worked fearlessly to save the man’s life.

“My prayer is not just for him,” Hernandez said. “My prayer is for everyone that’s around this because you don’t know what could happen. I’m just grateful God heard my prayers.”

Others who watched took a different tack and actually encouraged the man to jump, the news outlet reported.

Officials reportedly transported the man to an area hospital for evaluation.
POSTSCRIPT -- I normally have a high regard for Texans--their Christianity, their conservatism, their manners (which I realize are not necessarily characteristic of all Texans) appeals to me. Sadly, the people shouting obscenities and encouraging the man to jump were Texans too. Watch yourselves, Texans! The fall from true virtue and civility into barbarism is an easy slide.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Facebook Punishes European News Site for Criticizing Mass Migration

(Last week I voluntarily took a 30-day hiatus from Facebook.  I decided to end it early because the growing scandal regarding the misuse of our data as well as censorship by social media companies is too great to remain silent.)

Facebook has repeatedly punished a fast-growing news website for its conservative views on immigration and other topics–-suspending its moderators, censoring content, and threatening to close the site down.

Voiceofeurope.com, which takes pride in its “uncensored news,” has been effectively bludgeoned into submission by Facebook and recently announced it will censor itself to avoid losing its page.

According to Facebook statistics, Voiceofeurope.com was growing at the rate of about 30,000 new followers every month, with some days registering as many as 5,000 new followers.

As examples of some of the “offensive” postings that incurred the wrath of Facebook, Voiceofeurope.com exhibited a photo of Poles protesting behind a banner that said “Mohammed not welcome.”  Despite the fact that the photo was undoctored and the news 100 percent accurate, Facebook forced the site to remove the content and suspended one of the site’s moderators for 24 hours.

Voiceofeurope.com also posted a book review of former Czech President Václav Klaus, who compared the influx of migrants to “the barbarian invasions of Europe.”  The review was highly critical of uncontrolled immigration, and for this, Facebook punished Voiceofeurope.com by removing the article, suspending a moderator for 30 days, and threatening to shut the site down permanently.

Do we really want social media companies censoring us?  The reality is that social media companies now exercise a control over our lives, communication, and commerce that previously belonged only to government.  We need legislation extending the First Amendment freedom of speech as well as other Constitutional rights to Corporations as well as government.  We already do this with Equal Opportunity Employment.  We need to do it with the right to Free Speech!

Friday, April 06, 2018

China pulls Bibles from online bookstores

In the history of the Jewish and Christian traditions, there have been the ancient Egyptians, the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, Alexander's Greek Empire, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Soviet Empire, the Nazi Third Reich--all bent on destroying either Jews or Christians, or both (i.e., the children of Abraham).  All these empires are gone with the wind.  Jews and Christians are still around.  If the Chinese Communists want to continue a war on Christians, I think I know who has history on their side.

From here, where there is more:
Chinese online retailers have recently pulled copies of the Bible from their shelves.

A merchant told AFP that 'Bibles and books without publication numbers have all been removed in recent days.'

The clamp down on the books comes as the Vatican and Beijing negotiate to appoint bishops in China.

China’s officially atheist government doesn't like organized movements it can't control, including religious ones, according to AFP.
Read the rest at either AOL or AFP.

A little biblical food for thought:

Genesis 12:1-3
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 17:1-8
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

Galatians 3:7-9, 26-29
7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Waitress' Act of Kindness Leads to College Scholarship

Over the last couple of weeks, a picture of a young Waffle House worker helping out an elderly man has been making the rounds.

18-year-old Evoni Williams was working one Saturday when she noticed an older man with an oxygen tank struggling to cut up his food.  The man said his hands didn’t work too well, so without hesitation, she did it for him.

Another customer saw the random act of kindness and posted a picture of it on Facebook. And it took off!

About a week later, it had been shared more than 40,000 times, and it caught the attention of Texas Southern University.  Evoni had been working at Waffle House to save money to go to college, so TSU offered her a $16,000 scholarship!  It’s a life-changing gift for her!  Read the original story at Fox10TV NewsSee the original Facebook post.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Col. James S. Munday, Rest in Peace

I originally wrote this piece in November 2015 when I was in Savannah, Georgia, for my last surviving uncle's 100th birthday.  Col. James Stanley Munday, USAF Ret. ("Uncle Stan") passed away this afternoon at the age of 102.  Healthy and vigorous until the last few months, he lived life to the fullest.  Rest in peace, Uncle Stan!

----------

Lt. Munday in 1942
Col. James Stanley Munday's flying career began several years prior to World War II, when he and some buddies barnstormed all over the Midwest.  When the war arrived, "Uncle Stan," as many in the family now call him, went off to flight training for the US Army Air Force (before the US Air Force became a separate branch of the military) and emerged as a First Lieutenant and pilot (yes, you read that right, he skipped 2nd Lieutenant), commanding the crew of a B-24 "Liberator" bomber.

Before he could depart for overseas duty, the Air Force commandeered his squadron's B-24s for anti-submarine duty and switched Lt. Munday over to the venerable B-17 "Flying Fortress."  With barely more than a few hours to get "checked out" on the B-17, Lt. Munday found himself and a crew ferrying their own B-17 over to the 384th Bomb Group at Grafton Underwood, England, which would be their base for the duration of the war.

Bastille Day, July 14, 1943 found the Americans engaged in a "maximum effort" assault to show our French allies that we were determined to win their freedom and achieve victory over the Nazis.  After bombing the Nazi-occupied Villacoublay Airfield and aircraft factories outside Paris, Lt. Munday and his crew succumbed to enemy flak and strafing from Focke-Wulf 190s.  Lt. Munday himself took an enemy machine gun round from a FW 190 in the leg.  Keeping the B-17 aloft while his crew bailed out, Lt. Munday finally bailed out almost too low for safety.

Col. Munday (2nd from left) with Alex Gotovsky (left)


Landing in his parachute in a grove of trees, near the village of Les Essarts-le-Roi, Lt. Munday was aided by a young French boy, Alex Gotovsky, who hid Munday's parachute and directed him to a hiding place.  (Young Alex' family had become refugees in France following the Communist Revolution in Russia.)

The treatment and recovery from the wound in Munday's leg would take many weeks.  Finally, with the help of the French Underground, Lt. Munday was disguised as a French surveyor, equipped with forged identity papers and sent south.  Being out of uniform and in civilian clothes with forged papers meant Munday would be shot as a spy if caught.  The long journey led over the Pyrenees (traveling through the mountains at night on foot) to Barcelona, then Madrid, then at last to Gibraltar, where he could secure a flight that would take him back to his base in England.

Col. Munday in 1963
Thus began an Air Force career that would take James Stanley Munday through B-29 duty in the Pacific, hurricane hunting over the Atlantic, and finally into the ranks of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) in which he would spend the remainder of a long and distinguished career.  In those years, he flew every model of bomber and tanker (and most of the transports) that the Air Force possessed, becoming a Command Pilot and rising to the rank of Colonel.

In 1997, Col. Munday returned to the village of Les Essarts-le-Roi where he was awarded a medal and had the opportunity to be reunited with Alex Gotovsky, the young boy who had once helped him hide from the Nazis, both of them now much older.

The celebration of Col. Munday's birthday took place at the national "Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum" ourside Savannah, which Col. Munday helped found and where he volunteered each week as a guide for many years.  There was nothing quite like hearing about the Mighty Eighth Air Force's many adventures from a pilot who had been a part of them all.

Col. Munday with yours truly at his 100th birthday celebration.
If you are ever in the Savannah area, I strongly encourage you to take a tour of the museum, with its many exhibits and aircraft, and the magnificent grounds with a chapel that is a reconstructed English parish church like the one near their World War II base at Grafton  Underwood, England.

Col. Munday turned 100 years old on November 1 and is still sharp, vigorous, and in good health.  In what I consider to be a real act of faith, he just bought a new computer.  He will probably outlast this one too.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Flashback 30 Years: Guns Were in Schools ... and Nothing Happened

From PJMedia


The millennial generation might be surprised to learn that theirs is the first without  guns in school.  Just 30 years ago, high school kids rode the bus with rifles and shot their guns at high school rifle ranges.

After another school shooting, it's time to ask: what changed?

Cross guns off the list of things that changed in thirty years.  In 1985, semi-automatic rifles existed, and a semi-automatic rifle was used in Florida.  Guns didn’t suddenly decide to visit mayhem on schools.  Guns can’t decide.
High school gun range 1985. "Obey instantly all firing line commands."

We can also cross the Second Amendment off the list.  It existed for over 200 years before this wickedness unfolded.  Nothing changed in the Constitution.

That leaves us with some uncomfortable possibilities remaining.  What has changed from thirty years ago when kids could take firearms into school responsibly and today might involve some difficult truths.

Let’s inventory the possibilities.

What changed?  The mainstreaming of nihilism.  Cultural decay.  Chemicals.  The deliberate destruction of moral backstops in the culture.  A lost commonality of shared societal pressures to enforce right and wrong.  And above all, simple, pure, evil.

Before you retort that we can’t account for the mentally ill, they existed forever.
Paranoid schizophrenics existed in 1888 and 2018.  Mentally ill students weren’t showing up in schools with guns even three decades ago.

So  it must be something else.
High school gun range.

Those who have been so busy destroying the moral backstops in our culture won’t want to have this conversation.  They’ll do what they do -- mock the truth.

There was a time in America, before the Snowflakes, when any adult on the block could reprimand a neighborhood kid who was out of line without fear.

Even thirty years ago, the culture still had invisible restraints developed over centuries.  Those restraints, those leveling commonalities, were the target of a half-century of attack by the freewheeling counterculture that has now become the dominant replacement culture.

Hollywood made fun of these restraints in films too numerous to list.

The sixties mantra “don’t trust anyone over thirty” has become a billion-dollar industry devoted to the child always being right -- a sometimes deeply medicated brat who disrupts the classroom or escapes what used to be resolved with a paddling.

Instead of telling the kid to quit kicking the back of the seat, we buy seat guards to protect the seat.
High school gun range, 1984.

If you think it’s bad now, just wait until the generation whose babysitter is an iPhone is in high school.  You can hardly walk around WalMart these days without tripping over a toddler in a trance, staring at a screen.

The high school kids who shot rifles in school in 1985 were taught right and wrong. They were taught what to do with their rifle in school, and what not to do.  If they got out of line, all the other students and the coach would have come down on them hard. There were no safe spaces, and that was a good thing.

Culture is a powerful force for good. When good behavior is normalized and deviant destructive behavior is ostracized, shamed, and marginalized, you get more good behavior.

Considering evil in this debate makes some of you uncomfortable, but evil bathes all of these shootings.  I am reminded of Justice Antonin Scalia’s spectacularly funny and profound interview in 2013 when he toyed with a New Yorker reporter about evil.  “You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil!”, he chortled.

Setting targets for rifle shooing inside a high school gun range.

Thirty years ago, kids who brought their rifles to the high school shooting range didn’t wonder about evil and cultural decay.  They simply lived in a time in America when right and wrong was more starkly defined, where expectations about behavior were clear, and wickedness hadn’t been normalized.

The idea that guns caused the carnage we have faced is so intellectually bankrupt that it is isn’t worth discussing.  Remembering where we were as a nation just 30 years ago makes it even more so. It’s time to ask what changed.

High school student with rifle inside high school range.

Monday, December 25, 2017

New Book Presents Evidence Christmas Story of Visit by Wise Men Was ‘Historically True’

For many years, skeptical scholars have tended to dismiss the Christmas story of the “wise men from the East” as pious legend.  Matthew’s gospel offers few details, but imaginative Christians filled out the story early on, giving us the three kings guided by a magical star who join the adoring shepherds in every Christmas crèche.

For many scholars, then, there is no reason to take the gospel story seriously.  But are they right?  Are the wise men no more than a poetic fancy?

In an impressive feat of detective work, Dwight Longenecker makes a powerful case that the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem really happened.  Piecing together the evidence from biblical studies, history, archeology, and astronomy, he goes further, uncovering where they came from, why they came, and what might have happened to them after eluding the murderous King Herod.

In the process, he provides a new and fascinating view of the time and place in which Jesus Christ chose to enter the world.

The evidence is clear and compelling.  According to Longenecker's research, the mysterious Magi from the East were astrologers and counselors from the court of the Nabatean king at Petra, where the Hebrew messianic prophecies were well known.  The “star” that inspired their journey was a particular planetary alignment―confirmed by computer models―that in the astrological lore of the time portended the birth of a Jewish king.

The visitors whose arrival troubled Herod “and all Jerusalem with him” may not have been the turbaned oriental kings of the Christmas carol, but they were real; and by demonstrating that the wise men were no fairy tale, Mystery of the Magi demands a new level of respect for the historical claims of the gospel.

Purchase Mystery of the Magi on Amazon.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Apocalypse Now?

You would’ve thought they were preparing for the apocalypse.

Former Obama White House Ethics Chief, Walter Shaub, tweeted that he was “stocking up” on gear to “take the streets.”  In his words, it was supposed to be a “defining moment for the Republic.”

Actor-turned-activist George Takei tweeted that Americans should “shut the country down.”

Cenk Uygur, the founder and CEO of far-left online news show “The Young Turks” prophesied that this should be an “uprising like we’ve never seen in America.”

Former Attorney General Eric Holder drew what he called an “absolute red line.”

Their message was clear: if President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller, the American people should act as if this country's 241-year-old experiment in democracy has come to an end.

But unfortunately for them, when asked about the firing on Sunday night, the president shut down all of the rumors (and all of their plans) by simply declaring, “no, I’m not.”  In an instant, he vanquished all the left’s dreams of sparking a “Tahrir Square like uprising” and made their hysterics over the potential firing appear foolish.

Make no mistake.  The left will soon find another issue (or rumor of an issue) to incense their base and stir up outrage in our country.  Eventually, they’ll draw a new red line and then pray that the president crosses it.  Their dream of widespread panic isn’t going away—it’s just deferred for a little while.

The real problem is this:

First, regardless of their empty assurances that their uprising will be peaceful—their rhetoric says otherwise.  They pay lip service to holding a peaceful protest while using inflammatory language like “stock up on gear” and “shut down the country.”  But if there is anything that “Antifa” has taught the United States, it’s that there are plenty members of the far-left with no intentions of keeping the peace.

You can’t spew alarmist, end-of-the-world rhetoric and then expect your base to respond with careful, dignified street protests.  It doesn’t work that way.  Leaders have a unique duty to dial down their followers’ radical impulses.  Instead, it seems that some culture leaders prefer to do exactly the opposite.

Second, the liberals’ selective outrage is appalling.  Moveon.org, the organization behind the protests, made their motto “nobody is above the law.”  Ostensibly, that’s an idea that both sides of the aisle could support.  Patriotic Americans would agree that all citizens are equal under the law.  But to many who hold progressive political views, that idea only applies to one end of the political spectrum.

These same activists made no calls for mass protests after former FBI Director James Comey cleared Hillary Clinton of criminal charges a year ago.  There was no indignation from these folks after it came to light that the FBI altered the language in Comey’s statement in Clinton's favor.  They have no outrage about a so-called "independent" prosecutor who employs team members who worked for the Clinton campaign and FBI agents whose e-mails reveal they had a plan to take down candidate Trump in case he was elected.  That’s why it’s difficult to believe that these activists are genuinely motivated to uphold the rule of law, and not just their own political ideologies.

One thing is true: the President’s words may have temporarily halted what the left saw as a “defining moment for the republic.”  But they will find new opportunities.  New pots to stir.  And new calls for chaos.
 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bigoted Progressive Church of Sweden Refuses To Call God By His Preferred Gender Pronouns

Last week, the Babylon Bee (a satirical website) ran an article entitled, "Bigoted Progressive Christian Refuses To Call God By His Preferred Pronouns."  Well, life didn't waste any time imitating art, with this (real) news from the Church of Sweden: "Priests to be banned from calling God 'he' or 'the Lord' in bid to be gender neutral."

The Bible tells us that God has a name (YHWH).  But the Jews had such reverence for God's name that they refused to use it, though they had other names for God: Adonai, El Shaddai, etc. that reflected his Personhood.  Jesus taught his followers to call God "Father."  And Jesus couldn't call God "Mother" because he had a mother, and she wasn't God.  The YHWH of the Old Testament was/is Jesus' Father; and, the precious truth of the Gospel and the New Testament is that, if we are in Christ, his Father becomes our Father.

But more recently, especially in the West, we simply refer to God as "God."  And when you do that, you can invest that rather ambiguous name with any content (or gender) of your choosing.  You can create a god to fit your liking or your perceived needs.  But that is the very essence of idolatry.  (Side note: The god of philosophy is not the Christian God.)

But in order for God to be God--in fact, and not merely in our imagination, he has to have an objective existence and identity.  (The late Francis Schaeffer had that right: the two most essential things a person must know about God are summed up in two of Schaeffer's books: The God Who is There; and He is There and He Is Not Silent.) 

God has an objectively real identity; and in order for us to know God, he has to have revealed himself to us, which he has done in the words of the Bible.  The Bible is God's Word written, just as Jesus of Nazareth is the Word of God Incarnate.  So, either we stick to the imagery and identity of God as he has revealed himself in the Bible and in the Person of Jesus Christ, or else we are just making it all up.  And this, apparently, is what the Church of Sweden and other theological liberals in our day want to do.

From The Mirror (UK) [with my comments added in bold type and brackets]:
The Church of Sweden, which is headed by a woman, made the decision during an eight-day meeting but not everyone is happy with the new rules.

Church clergy have been told to refer to God using gender-neutral language, dropping masculine words such as He and Lord.

The order came after more than 250 members of The Church of Sweden, which is a Evangelical Lutheran church, met to discuss ways of updating a 31-year-old handbook that sets out how services should be conducted.  [Just wait until the Episcopal Church (USA) comes out wth its new Prayer Book, possibly as early as next year's General Convention.]

The church is headed by a woman, Archbishop Antje Jackelen, who told Sweden’s TT news agency the church had been discussing using more inclusive language since its 1986 conference. [Because if you have been talking about it for a long time, that makes it okay.]

She said: “Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human.”  [God is not human, but God is a Person.  And personhood requires gender, which is why God chose to reveal himself to us in personal language and, ultimately, in the Person of Jesus Christ.  ("He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).]

But not everyone is happy with the decision.

Christer Pahlmblad, an associate theology professor with Sweden’s Lund University, told Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad the move was “undermining the doctrine of the Trinity and the community with the other Christian churches.”

He added: “It really isn’t smart if the Church of Sweden becomes known as a church that does not respect the common theology heritage.”  [And, more importantly, when you face God at the Last Day, he isn't going to be very happy either.]

The meeting lasted eight days and the decision was one of many made by the church’s 251-member decision-making body.

The new rules will come into affect on May 20 next year, which is the Christian holiday of Pentecost.

The Church of Sweden is known for its liberal position on many issues, particularly homosexuality.

When Eva Brunne became Bishop of Stockholm in 2009, she was the first openly lesbian bishop in the world.

The church has 6.1 million baptised members out of a country of 10 million people. [Because it is a state church and they baptize everyone who doesn't say no; yet they still only get about 200,000 people in church on the average Sunday.]

A Church of England spokesman told The Mirror its clergy will continue to refer to God as male. [For now.]

He said: “The Church of England has always used masculine language when speaking about God, for example in the words of the Lord’s Prayer – ‘our Father, who art in Heaven’ – and in referring to God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and continues to do so."

However, the spokesman said the C of E uses “inclusive” language when referring to people and, earlier this month, published guidelines on helping children “explore the possibilities of who they might be", including their gender identity.  [This is how it begins.]