The ten largest Lutheran church bodies

James Kushiner at the Touchstone blog quotes an article about how the Lutheran church of Tanzania is standing up in the Lutheran World Federation to oppose the normalization of homosexuality, resolving to reject all aid from the Western Lutherans who accept gay marriage.  Kushiner then marvels at the comment in the news story that Tanzania has the world’s second largest Lutheran church.  He then a little research, finding these to be the top ten (in millions):

1.  Church of Sweden 6.75

2.  Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania 5.3

3.  Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus 5.3

4.  Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 4.6 number on rolls; only 2.7 mil. have taken communion in the past two years

5.  Church of Denmark 4.56.  Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland 4.5

7.  Protestant Christian Batak Church, Indonesia 4.2

8.  Church of Norway 4.0

9.  Malagasy Lutheran Church 3.0

10.  Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover, Germany 3.0

via Touchstone Magazine – Mere Comments: Tanzania Lutherans Flex, Wont Bend.

What can we learn from this list?   For example, I find it interesting that #2, 3, 7, & 9 are in countries with strong Muslim populations.  Far from being “a German church,” Lutheranism is more like an African church.  As Kushiner says, there are likely more Lutherans worshipping in Africa on any given Sunday than in Europe and the United States put together. Especially considering that the European state churches pretty much list all of their citizens as members, even though they hardly ever attend.

Does anyone have any reliable numbers as to the total number of Lutherans in the world?  I had heard that Lutheranism is the largest Protestant tradition, with some 100,000,000 adherents.  Then I heard that Anglicanism was, citing about as many.  But the actual numbers I have dug up seem to be way out of date, especially given the growth of the church in Africa.

The Greek retirement package

If you are a Greek public service worker, you can retire at age 53, getting 80% of your salary.   If you hold a job officially deemed to be hazarous–including hairdresser (all those chemicals) and broadcaster (bacteria on the microphones), you could retire at 50.

The austerity plan that is the condition for Greece’s bailout requires that the retirement age be raised into the 60s.  This is one reason there is rioting in the streets.

See  this and this .

Interesting linguistic footnote: The Greek word for “crisis” is also the word for judgment.

Public uprising in debt-ridden Greece

What happened to the cradle of Western Civilization?  The new austerity measures designed to deal with the debt crisis in Greece is being protested with a national strike, riots, and localized anarchy, which have already resulted in three deaths:

Greece’s 24-hour nationwide general strike brought much of the country to a standstill, closing government offices and halting flights, trains and ferries.

At the same time, tens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country's budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.

Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.

A police spokesman said eight fires in Athens office buildings and bank buildings had been brought under control.

Later Wednesday, black smoke billowed from fires on one of Athens's main shopping streets. Glass shards and smoldering garbage littered the sidewalks.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou condemned the violence. “Everyone has the right to protest,” he said in a statement to parliament. “But no one has the right to violence and especially violence that leads to the death of our compatriots.”

Wednesday’s protests were sparked by Greece’s weekend agreement to adopt austerity measures in exchange for a €110 billion ($143 billion) bailout loan from the European Union and the IMF. Unions challenged Greece’s parliament, which could consider the measures as soon as Thursday, to vote them down.

via Europe Crisis Deepens As Chaos Grips Greece – WSJ.com.

So Germany and other economically stable countries agree to bail out Greece. But the general public refuses to accept the terms, which require fiscal discipline from the government.  The unions are demanding that the parliament refuse to accept the  conditions!  So what do they think would happen then?

Tourism as a human right

Now that America is going the way of Europe in our economy, politics, and institutions, get ready for this one:

An overseas holiday used to be thought of as a reward for a year’s hard work. Now Brussels [the capital of the European Union] has declared that tourism is a human right and pensioners, youths and those too poor to afford it should have their travel subsidised by the taxpayer.

Under the scheme, British pensioners could be given cut-price trips to Spain, while Greek teenagers could be taken around disused mills in Manchester to experience the cultural diversity of Europe.

The idea for the subsidised tours is the brainchild of Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, who was appointed by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister.

The scheme, which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds a year, is intended to promote a sense of pride in European culture, bridge the north-south divide in the continent and prop up resorts in their off-season.

Tajani, who unveiled his plan last week at a ministerial conference in Madrid, believes the days when holidays were a luxury have gone. “Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life,” he said.

Tajani, who used to be transport commissioner, said he had been able to “affirm the rights of passengers” in his previous office and the next step was to ensure people’s “right to be tourists”.

via Get packing: Brussels decrees holidays are a human right – Times Online.

HT: Joe Carter

Global warming & Africa revisited

Thanks to tODD for actually doing research on that piece I blogged about by Civil Rights activist turned conservative Roy Innis, accusing the Obama administration of devastating Ghana because of its global warming mandates:

This article appears to be less than truthful.

I searched on Google News for any mention of articles that discussed
[Ghana OPIC]. And here’s the weird thing. With the exception of this
Washington Times article, most of the news all stemmed from
Forbes[1][2][3]. I found that odd. There are basically two
sources on this story, and they both have conservative biases. That
doesn’t smell right.

Then I did a search on OPIC.gov for news of this story. Nothing I
could find, though I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to say anything
about it.

So I started searching on Google News for [ghana 130-megawatt,
gas-fired power plant], just to find discussion of this plant. And I
found all of two articles. The Washington Times article that
Veith posted, and a story from Ghana Business News.

And the latter had an interesting story[4]:

In recent times some publications in the Wall Street Journal and
particularly Forbes.com have [sought] to impugn the integrity of Ghana
and to question the country’s sovereignty. One of the articles on
Forbes actually went to the extent of accusing President Obama of
being responsible for an American power company losing an energy
contract to build 130-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant at
Aboadze in the Western region. Meanwhile, a ghanabusinessnews.com
investigation of this power project contract revealed that there was
no contract at all that has been awarded to HPI. Indeed,
ghanabusinessnews.com communicated with officials of HPI by telephone
and by email and their responses were included in the report that was
published on April 16, 2009. It is curious therefore, that the Forbes
article will seek to link the failure to award a contract that never
was to Obama’s doing.

If you go to the Ghana Business News link below[4], you can
follow the link they have to a story from last year[5] investigating
this power-plant-contract that didn’t exist.

Feel free to prove me wrong, but I call “bull” on this story. It
appears to be nothing more than another right-wing potshot at Obama
and against anti-global-warming measures. I expect conservatives like
Mr. Innis (and son) to make arguments like that, but I also expect
them to tell the truth in so doing.

[1]mobile.ghanaweb.com/wap/article.php?ID=177408
[2]theghanaianjournal.com/2010/02/25/a-presidential-doublespeak-on-investing-in-ghana/
[3]forbes.com/global/2010/0315/companies-obama-ghana-hpi-energy-dont-read-my-lips.html
[4]ghanabusinessnews.com/2010/03/01/is-the-us-after-ghana’s-oil-at-all-cost/
[5]ghanabusinessnews.com/2009/04/16/us-company-to-build-another-power-plant-for-ghana/

OK, the Power Plant story sounds bogus.

The other part of the article says that new OPIC rules prevent help for projects that might contribute to global warming. Is that part true? I found this: http://www.opic.gov/news/press-releases/2007/pr061407
That, however, is from 2007, which would be from the Bush administration.

tODD also dug up President Obama’s executive order that the article referenced, which isn’t as specific as Innis made it sound:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/2009fedleader_eo_rel.pdf

tODD also found an article about OPIC and global warming:

http://www.climatechangeinsights.com/2009/11/articles/us-policy/opic-and-the-exportimport-bank-after-the-nepa-settlement-a-tale-of-two-agencies/

So, have these rules prevented investment in needed projects in Africa? We don’t really know. Maybe, and maybe they will in the future, but Innis’s column has not demonstrated what he claims.

Also, who knew that Roy Innis, black nationalist that he used to be, is now considered a conservative? I didn’t.

I know that I should be doing all of this research, but I just don’t have time. I depend on you to keep me honest. So thanks to Todd for all of this digging.

Global warming policies vs. Africa

The veteran civil rights activist Roy Innis is blasting the administration for the way its policies to combat the alleged global warming are devastating Africa:

The president signed an executive order requiring that the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC) and other federal agencies reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with their projects by 30 percent over the next 10 years. The order undermines the ability of sub-Saharan African nations to achieve progress in energy and economic and human rights.

Ghana is trying to build a 130-megawatt, gas-fired power plant to bring electricity’s blessings to more of its people, schools, hospitals and businesses. Today, almost half of Ghanaians never have access to electricity, or they get it only a few hours a week, leaving their futures bleak.

Most people in Ghana are forced to cook and heat with wood, crop wastes or dung, says Franklin Cudjoe, director of the Imani (Hope) Center for Policy and Education, in Accra. The indoor air pollution from these fires causes blindness, asthma and severe lung infections that kill a million women and young children every year. Countless more Africans die from intestinal diseases caused by eating unrefrigerated, spoiled food.

But when Ghana turned to its U.S. “partner” and asked OPIC to support the $185 million project, OPIC refused to finance even part of it – thus adding as much as 20 percent to its financing cost. Repeated across Africa, these extra costs for meeting “climate change prevention” policies will threaten numerous projects and prolong poverty and disease for millions.

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 800 million people, 80 percent of whom live on less than $2.50 per day. More than 700 million people – twice the population of the United States and Canada combined – rarely or never have access to the lifesaving, prosperity-creating benefits of electricity, Mr. Cudjoe notes.

Even in South Africa, the most advanced nation in the region, 25 percent of the populace still has no electricity. Pervasively insufficient electrical power has meant frequent brownouts that have hampered factory output and forced gold and diamond mines to shut down because of risks that miners would suffocate in darkness deep underground. The country also suffers from maternal mortality rates 36 times higher than in the United States and tuberculosis rates 237 times higher.

And yet Mr. Obama told his Ghanaian audience last July that Africa is gravely “threatened” by global warming, which he argues “will spread disease, shrink water resources and deplete crops,” leading to more famine and conflict. Africa, he says, can “increase access to power while skipping – leapfrogging – the dirtier phase of development,” by using its “bountiful” wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels energy.

via INNIS: Obama keeps Africa in the dark – Washington Times.

Mr. Innis and his co-author (I believe his son) go on to explain why that just doesn’t work. Africa just needs electricity, like the rest of us. Meanwhile, those of us who have electricity, along with virtually everything else we need, have the luxury of ideological purity applied to others, though not ourselves.


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