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By swallowing its opposition to the minister who doesn’t believe in God, the United Church shows just how irrelevant it is

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They brought her flowers. They gave her a standing ovation. They repeatedly professed it “a great day.”

This is the cult of Gretta Vosper.

A United Church of Canada minister who doesn’t believe in God.

An atheist — outed herself before the congregation five years ago — rather than the less radical non-theist term, which is a person who doesn’t think of God as a being, thereby avoiding some of the more negative baggage associated with the A-word.

A heretic, frankly, as Vosper herself shorthands it on tweets with the hashtag #heresytrial.

There will be no trial, no formal ecclesiastical hearing, no defrocking. After three-and-a-half years of preparation and internal controversy, the United Church swallowed its theological opposition, last week announcing that Vosper is free to continue her ministry without any sanctions or restrictions, thus aborting a much-anticipated “trial” that had been scheduled to begin next Monday.

Carry on deleting all reference to God or a supernatural being in all sermons and rewritten hymns. Carry on expunging the Lord’s Prayer. Carry on with a fundamentally humanist dogma. Carry on conducting services as a community-centred attestation where everybody gets a shot at the microphone.

But what a cross to bear that gigantic wooden crucifix at the front of the Church of the Master must be, constant reminder of everything this parish rejects. Church of the Master in far-flung Scarborough is only a temporary landlord, of course, providing worshipping space for West Hill United because their building has a leaking roof and other structural issues.

Read more:

In surprise settlement, United Church agrees Toronto’s atheist minister can keep her job

It came as a shock to the wider United Church — Canada’s second-largest religious denomination (and dwindling fast) — when the “inquisition” (the General Council) halted in its tracks on Wednesday, declaring in a joint statement with Vosper and the Toronto Conference that they’d settled all outstanding issues between them.”

Immediately disappearing was the threat hanging over Vosper’s head that she, ordained minister, would be placed on the Discontinued Service List (Disciplinary).

Curiously, illogically, on the United Church of Canada website appeared a further statement, stressing that the decision “doesn’t alter in any way the belief of The United Church of Canada in God, a God most fully revealed to us as Christians in and through Jesus Christ.”

Except, you know, for the exceptional.

The heresy trial would have been the next big step following a 2016 report that found Vosper unsuitable for ministry because she was no longer in “essential agreement” with church doctrine; was “unwilling and unable” to reaffirm the vows she made when she was ordained in 1993.

I don’t know how big the congregation was when this scandal bubbled to the surface in 2015. Vosper, oft inclined to “pseudo-controversial pronouncements,” as described by one critic, had objected to a prayer published on the United Church website by then-moderator Gary Paterson, following the massacre by Islamist militants at the Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris. In an open letter, Vosper wrote that she was offended by a prayer that espoused belief in some sort of transcendent entity, pressing Paterson to denounce all religion and eradicate religiosity from the public sphere.

“I urge you to lead our church toward freedom from such idolatrous belief …”

But on Sunday morning, there were fewer than 100 congregants at interim West Hill United. All but a handful white, most of them grey, plus two children, one baby and one mutt. As 60-year-old Vosper noted regretfully in her sermon, the church needs to take risks to make it a more welcoming place to the non-traditional, the minorities and the marginalized. “That’s what the United Church right now is — it’s a great white wall of seniors.”

I would characterize their embrace of Vosper as idolatrous.

They may not believe in God — some still do — but they clearly believe in the virtue of Vosper. Those who don’t have already peeled away, distressed with where Vosper has taken the congregation.

As one introductory speaker reminded: They are “aggressively progressive” and their focus is not on theology.

If I understand correctly, Vosper promotes the rigidly secular, the gospel of get-God-out. Which is stunningly oxymoronic for a church. There are myriad ways to do good work — as this parish, like so many others, is in the process of sponsoring a refugee family. But to strip faith out of doctrine, to go God-less (or godless) is intrinsically, profanely sacrilegious and anti-spiritual. It is what Vosper exalts: Apostasy.

Which is fine. But how can an individual, a minister, wrap herself in the mantle of a formal church while simultaneously repudiating its ethos? Right Rev. Richard Bott, elected this past July to lead the United Church in Canada, hasn’t explained that. And there will likely never be any explanation because the agreement contains a confidentiality clause.

What Bott did say, in a message praising the resolution to church adherents, stressing core values and inclusivity: “The dance between these core values, how they interact with and inform each other, is one that we continue to explore as followers of Jesus and children of the creator. As a Christian church, we continue to expect that ministers in the United Church of Canada will offer their leadership in accordance with our shared and agreed upon statements of faith.”

How can anybody in the United Church take that contradictory statement, in its Vosper hands-off, on faith?

Christian religion, except in charismatic and evangelical interpretations, is losing traction globally, churches shuttered and sold off as attendance plunges. The United Church in Canada, perhaps the quintessential Protestant faith in this country, making a virtue out of easy-peasy belief — the church that stands for nothing which requires rigour or temperance — has tumbled more than most. From its founding in 1925 as a merger of Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists, when it boasted 6.25 per cent of the Canadian population as members — peaking at 1.06 million in 1967 — its adherents have fallen to 1.5 per cent, according to its own published figures. Between 1968 and 2009, it lost more than half its membership.

Relevance is the matter. When you hold nothing sacred, then nothing is relevant.

When you take the God out of religion, as Vosper has done, then you are innately irreligious. Doesn’t make you a bad person but definitely makes you a subversive outlier within the hierarchy of church and theology. Or Vosper could have found a more amenable place in the Unitarian Church, which is post-theist and professes no creed.

“There’s no gloating in this,” Vosper told her congregants. “There’s no waking up in the morning and saying it should have been different, we shouldn’t have had to go through that three-and-a-half years. There’s only gratitude.’’

Swear it on a Bible? Probably not.

Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno



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These US entities partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology — time for a criminal investigation?

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(Natural News) The Wuhan Institute of Virology from which the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is believed to have “escaped” has a number of questionable partnerships that are worth looking into in light of the pandemic.

Most of them are universities, including the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, and Harvard University. There is also the EcoHealth Alliance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Wildlife Federation.

While the relationships between these entities and the Wuhan Institute of Virology may be completely innocent, there is no way to really say for sure without a proper investigation. And this is exactly what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for, as is the nation of Australia.

Pompeo and the folks down under, along with millions of Americans, would really like to know the true origins of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). An increasing number of people simply are not buying the narrative that the novel virus originated in bat soup at a Chinese wet market, and this even includes mainstream media outlets like Fox News.

The only way to really determine what was going on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and who else might have been involved. is to open the place up for an international investigation. But communist China is against this, of course, accusing Australia of “petty tricks” and collusion with the United States.

“Overnight, I saw comments from the Chinese Foreign Ministry talking about a course of activity with respect to Australia who had the temerity to ask for investigation,” Pompeo is quoted as saying in response to China’s aggression against a proposed investigation.

“Who in the world wouldn’t want an investigation of how this happened to the world?” he added.

As the U.S. aims to get back on track economically speaking, Pompeo believes that now is the time to hold communist China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and whoever else may have been involved accountable for unleashing this pandemic on the world.

“Not only American wealth, but the global economy’s devastation as a result of this virus,” Pompeo further stated. “There will be a time for this. We will get that timing right.”

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New U.S. analysis finds that lab in Wuhan, China was “most likely” origin of coronavirus release

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(Natural News) While American Leftists and most of the Democrat Party continue to serve as apologists for the Chinese Communist regime over its role in creating and then perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic, a new U.S. government analysis concludes that COVID-19 “most likely” escaped from a lab near Wuhan city.

The Washington Times reports that the analysis cataloged evidence linking the outbreak to the Wuhan lab and has found that other explanations for the origins of the virus are not as credible.

The paper reported:

The document, compiled from open sources and not a finished product, says there is no smoking gun to blame the virus on either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both located in the city where the first outbreaks were reported.

However, “there is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case,” the paper says.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

ChiCom officials have claimed that the virus’ origin is unknown. However, Beijing initially stated that coronavirus came from animals at a “wet market” in Wuhan where exotic meats are butchered and sold in disgusting conditions.

Chinese officials claim that COVID-19 went from bats to animals sold in the market last year, then infected humans.

U.S. intelligence officials have increasingly dismissed that explanation, however, as attention has begun to focus on evidence suggesting that Chinese medical researchers were working with coronavirus in the country’s only Level 4 facility, which is in Wuhan.

U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that intelligence agencies are investigating whether the virus escaped from a lab or was the result of a naturally occurring outbreak, but that analysts have ruled out reports that COVID-19 was manmade.

‘The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off’

“At this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural,” the general said on April 14, “but we don’t know for certain.”

The analysis said that the wet market explanation does not ring true because the first human diagnosis of coronavirus was made in someone who had no connection to the wet market in question. And according to Chinese reports, no bats were sold at that particular market.

At the same time, several questionable actions and a growing paper trail provide clues that the virus actually escaped from a lab, even as China begins to clamp down on those information streams.

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The biggest media lies about the coronavirus: Origins, treatments and vaccines

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(Natural News) If there is one thing that most everyone can agree on concerning the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is the fact that there is no shortage of conflicting information out there about the nature of it. And the mainstream media is certainly doing its part to steer the narrative as part of a larger agenda, using plenty of misinformation along the way.

The following are among the most commonly parroted lies about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that aim to distort the facts and deceive you into believing falsehoods about this pandemic:

Media LIE: The virus is not man-made

From the very beginning of this thing, the official narrative was that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) came from a Chinese wet market where bats and other “exotic” animals are sold as meat. But the world later learned that it actually more than likely “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The mainstream media and social media platforms went nuts trying to censor this information and even called it  “fake news.” But eventually it became undeniable that bat soup was not responsible for spreading the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) around Wuhan and eventually to the rest of the world – hence why we continue to call it the Wuhan coronavirus rather than just COVID-19.

We have even seen attempts by the media machine at making the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) a racial issue because there are supposedly more “people of color” coming down with it than people with fair skin, which further detracts attention away from the source of this virus.

Media LIE: Hydroxychloroquine is extremely dangerous and doesn’t work

The minute that President Donald Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine may be an effective, and very inexpensive, remedy for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the mainstream media immediately began decrying this claim as fake news, even though Anthony Fauci himself praised hydroxychloroquine back in 2013 under Barack Obama as being some type of “miracle cure” for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

There have even been studies conducted that were designed to intentionally smear the drug as both ineffective and dangerous, though one in particular purposely left out zinc, which appears to be a critical co-factor in supporting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine – in other words, politics as usual.

Media LIE: Only a vaccine can save us from coronavirus

Many politicians and public health officials are parroting the lie that the only way America can come out of lockdown and go back to “normal” is to get vaccinated with some future vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that does not even yet exist. A vaccine, we are repeatedly told, is the only thing, or perhaps some new “blockbuster” antiviral drug, that can cure the world of this scourge and make everything happy and wonderful once again.

Meanwhile, not a peep is being made about things like intravenous (IV) high-dose vitamin C, which is being successfully used in other countries to stem the tide of infections without the need for new drugs and vaccines.

By omission, nutrition is pointless

Speaking of natural approaches to overcoming the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that are being systematically ignored by the mainstream media and most in politics, have you heard anyone mention the importance of nutrition in all of this? We did not think so, and this is intentional.

Regular readers of this site over the years should know by now that the single-most important thing you need to do to stay healthy besides exercising regularly is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to naturally ward off illnesses, including those associated with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Research compiled by the Lewin Group reveals that nutritional remedies such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and more all play a critical role in fortifying the immune system, which, if properly nourished, should have little problem fending off disease.

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