The Ark

I saw this story a few years ago, and put it aside until today – the fortieth anniversary of the dedication of the more unusual Catholic churches in the world, Kosciol Arka Pana in Novy Huta, Poland.

Which is interesting in and of itself; Nowy Huta is a district in Krakow that was built as a “Socialist Realist” experiment, an entire community built from the ground up to reflect the ideals of Stalin-era communism.

Including absolute, suffocating atheism.

Poles are, of course, obstreperously Catholic – so the battle between Socialist Atheism and Faith seesawed across the city.  In 1960, a wooden cross was erected with aa permit, prompting police response; violent demonstrations ensued.  The future pope, then-bishop Karol Wojtyla, who began holding annual outdoor Christmas Eve Masses in Nowy Huta in 1959 – and saw to it that ever time the cops removed the cross, another one replaced it.

It took seven years to secure a permit – and, literally, nothing else.  In a society where all resources were officially allocated by the government – picture a government where everyone is Alondra Cano – they did it all with volunteer labor and scrounged material.

With no outside help it was down to the locals to mix cement with spades, and find the two million stones needed for the church’s facade. The first corner stone was laid in 1969 by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, who would later assume fame as Pope John Paul II, but the discovery of a WWII ammunition dump delayed work, as some 5,000 mines and shells had to be carefully removed. Finally, on May 15th 1977, the church was consecrated. Built to resemble Noah’s Ark, with a 70 metre mast-shaped crucifix rising from the middle, the church houses an array of curious treasures, including a stone from the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican, a tabernacle containing a fragment of rutile brought back from the moon by the crew of Apollo 11, and a controversial statue of Christ that shows him not on a cross, but about to fly to the heavens. If you think that’s odd, check out the statue dedicated to Our Lady the Armoured – a half metre sculpture made from ten kilograms of shrapnel removed from Polish soldiers wounded at the Battle of Monte Cassino. In the early 1980s, the church became a focal point during anti-communist protests, not least for the shelter it afforded the locals from the militia. Protesting during the period of Martial Law was dangerous business, as proven by the monument dedicated to Bogdan Włosik opposite the church. Włosik was shot in the chest by security services, and later died of his injuries. His death outraged the people, and his funeral was attended by 20,000 mourners. The monument commemorating the site of his death was erected in 1992 and is a tribute to all those who died during this period. As recently as September 2012, Kraków City Council awarded Arka Pana the ‘Cracoviae Merenti’ silver medallion for its significance to the city’s history.

Apropos not much, other than historical interest.

More Or Lesch

First, the good news:  Rep. Mary Franson has introduced a bill that would expose parents who subject their children to ritual genital mutilation to felony charges and potential loss of custody.  It’s currently illegal for a doctor to perform the procedure; if passed into law, Franson’s bill would spread the onus to the parents.

This is a good thing – especially if you are remotely familiar with the procedure:

Farhio Khalif of Minneapolis…described in horrific detail how she was forced as a little girl in Somalia to undergo a ritual mutilation.

Farhio Khalif, with Rep. Franson. Photo courtesy Tim Pugmire at Minnesota Public Radio.

“My legs were tied each side. My hands were tied each side. I was blindfolded, and the ritual took place and it was painful. It was so painful I think I died or maybe I passed away,” Khalif recalled. “I don’t know what happened. But I remember waking back up, and I see blood all over the place.”

And awful as that sounds, that’s really only the half of it.  The law seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

[“No-brainer” joke referencing Rep. John Lesch of HD 66A deleted – if only that were the problem].   Rep.  Lesch – representative from perhaps the least politically engaged district in the state, and a candidate for Attorney General – played for the cameras by…accusing Franson of playing for the cameras:

Despite bipartisan support for the bill, some Democrats suggested that parents could already be prosecuted without a new law…Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, raised concerns that only Republicans had signed on as co-authors of the bill. Lesch said criminal law bills have traditionally been bipartisan.

The current law, to which Lesch and Somali DFL representative Ilhan Omar referred, makes abetting female circumcision a gross misdemeanor – like throwing a rock at a train.  Like, not really that much of a crime.

Several Republicans on the committee criticized both Omar and Lesch for questioning the motives of their colleague.

“This has absolutely nothing to do with the cameras in the room, with the headlines in the paper,” Franson said. “This is about saving children’s lives.”

With Lesch, and his bid for Mayor State Senate to go to Iraq Attorney General, it’s always about the cameras.

This needs to follow him through the AG race, assuming it actually gets to the starting gate.

 

Unwarranted Sanctimony

The Evanglical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), aka “Unitarians with Lutefisk” (Keillor said it, not me!), are the far-left-leaning wing of American Lutheranism.  The people who gave us “ELCA hair” are headquartered in Minneaopolis, and often seem to spend more time on politics than faith; among certain ELCA circles, “faith” seems to be little but a common theme for (inevitably leftist) politics.  (Most mainline Protestants and Catholics in the Metro are no better).

One of their less-informed stances, like that of most of the dogmatist American left, is on civilian firearms and the Second Amendment.

And they’ve been taking some heat on the issue – because while, like my own former Presbyterian organization (the Presbyterian Church in the USA), the leadership is about as ideologically diverse as a the crowd at the Whole Foods in Berkeley, the folks in the pews on Sundays are all over the place politically (or were: the ELCA, like the PCUSA and other American liberal denominations, is hemorrhaging membership faster than the Gary Glitter fan club).

Anyway, some of the folks in those pews are law-abiding citizens who value the right to keep and bear arms, and they’re not shutting up and taking it from their self-appointed betters.  And  it seems to be rankling the ELCA; someone wrote a post on the ELCA’s “Engage” website responding to some of the flak they’ve gotten.

Well, not so much “responding”.  But we’ll come back to that.

I have received several angry replies to my “Stomping Stand Your Ground” blog. The writers deserve a response.

Although they don’t get a “Response” so much as getting “tut-tutted” by someone who really doesn’t know much about the issue.

One writer called the blog “shameful and disgusting…politically motivated crap. If my church supported this, I would be looking for a real church.” Another wrote “What load of crap! This Lutheran group ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

The ELCA has been supporting this “crap” about actions in support of gun violence prevention (GVP) since 1989.

Since the right to keep and bear arms is one of the things that separates a “citizen” from a “subject”, then yes – the ELCA should be ashamed of their pro-authoritarian stance, and anyone who believes that we, The Peoplle (of all faiths) are supposed to be citizens, not subjects, in our secular, political life, should have some pointed, acerbic questions for the ELCA’s temporal leadership.  (And so should you Catholics and PCUSA Presbyterians and Episcopals and Methodists, too).

Churchwide Assembly action happened in 1989, 1993, 2013 and 2016. Furthermore, the Church Council acted in 1994, the Social Statement “For Peace in God’s World” calls for the need to create peaceful environments, and the St. Paul Area Synod passed two strong GVP resolutions in 2013 and 2016. The ELCA must be a “crappy” church.

If you believe that the best way to secure Peace in God’s World is to keep authoritarianism, dictatorship and tyranny at bay – and I do – then yes.  Those resolutions, as they relate to disarming the law-abiding citizen – are prima facie evidence of a church that is, if not “crappy”, at least more suited to life under an authoritarian regime than a pluralistic democracy founded on the idea of self-government.

I would argue that the will of God and the ethics of Jesus are unabashedly nonviolent in focus. Violence is the result of the Fall and not God pulling the triggers of violence.

And it’s here that the writer – knowingly or not – gets insidious.

All violence is not the same.  Invading Normandy to free Europe is not the same as invading France to enslave Europe.  Freeing a concentration camp through force of arms is not the same as driving people into a camp via force of arms.   Shooting someone who is threatening to kill you or your family is not the same as threatening to kill someone or their family.  To slop them all together under an intentionally-vague label is rhetorically shoddy – and morally repugnant.

The gun in the hands of the law-abiding citizen deters violence; the gun in the hands of the would-be victim of violence turns them, often, into non-victims.

Jesus’ disgust at weapons is clear in his words “Enough!”, “No more of this!” and “Those who live by the [gun] shall die by the [gun].” The Sermon on the Mount is his “magnus opus” on nonviolence.

The Sermon on the Mount decried revenge killing; some religious leaders at the time were preaching that the doctrine of “an eye for an eye” meant that revenge killing was acceptable.  Jesus corrected those false teachings and put the kibosh on that with his sermon.  (Too bad Mohammed never had such a sermon, huh?).  It was not a foreclosure of self-defense.

God and Jesus must be crappy.

No, but the writer’s interpretation of scripture is a tad, er,  fecal.

The Bible also endorses self-defense in several places:  in Exodus 22:2-3 we are told “If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.”.  Which reads a lot like Minnesota’s case law on self-defense; you can defend yourself from an immediate threat to your life and health.  If you do it later, as revenge, then you are in huge trouble.

Proverbs 25:26 says “A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well.”   Allowing wickedness – whether street crime or political tyranny – to oppress the faithful is wrong.   LIfe – ours, and those of our fellow humans – is a gift from God; to allow the wicked to destroy them is an affront to His creation.

Anyway – you gotta figure that even if the learned scribe from the ECLA can’t do theology, they’ll at least have some Old Testament evidence and logic on their side.

Right?

You actually read this blog, right? What do you think?

Another called the article “misleading and false.” The sources for my comments are Protect Minnesota,

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

As I’ve shown in this space for the past fifteen years, “Protect” Minnesota has never – not once – made a substantial, true, original statement about guns, gun owners, gun laws, the Second Amendment and its legal history, the law-abiding gun owner’s affect on crime, or anything else.

Among the informed, using “Protect” Minnesota as a source is tantamount to admitting you know nothing about the subject.

…The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, State Health Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Center for Health, plus Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins Universities. I will trust these sources immensely more than those quoted by the gun lobby.

Let’s ignore for a moment the “Appeal to Authority”  – the logical fallacy of using the provenance of your sources as evidence, rather than the actual facts.  Saying “my sources are better than your sources!” are the mark of the seventh-grader who hasn’t learned debate, or logic, yet.

Leaving aside the risible “Protect” Minnesota, the other sources – I’m familiar with all of them – have deep flaws in the information they present.

What are those flaws?  We could go through them point by point, study by study, and systematically refute their applicability and authority.    Indeed, we have, and do, do that; it’s one of several reasons the good guys have been winning this debate for the past twenty years; the facts are on our side.

But I suspect we won’t be going through the with the anonymous writer, because the pro-criminal-safety movement – including the ELCA’s Reverend Nancy Nord Bence, the false-witness-bearing head of “Protect” Minnesota – have told their various adherents not to “engage” with Human Rights activists.

Seems exposure to the facts has caused the Kool-Aid to wear off with some of the less zealous disciples.

One hopes the writer of this piece is made of sterner stuff – more below – but this next bit casts doubts:

I am pleasantly surprised that no one criticized the references to the Second Amendment nor to our nation’s Founding Documents of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It is nice knowing they are not “crappy.”

Fourth Grade called.  They wanted their big finish back.

Speaking of “big finishes”:

Stand Your Ground escalates the probability of gun violence.

No, it doesn’t – the statement relies on turning a dubious correlation into a  specious causation – but let’s take it at face value for a moment.

If someone shoots someone wrongly – as an aggressor, in commission of a robbery or a gangland shootout – then “Stand your Ground” is irrelevant.   If someone is not the aggressor, and shoots a rapist, a robber, a burglar, a kidnapper, an attacker, then you can say an act of “gun violence” has happened.  But you’d be portraying an act of self-defense – where, by legal definition, someone legitimately feared for their life and health – into an evil act.

And that, itself, is downright evil.

Not “crappy”.  Evil.

Note to readers:  I’m going to try, in a spirit of respect, inquiry and attempt for mutual understanding,  to send a link to this story to the people from “Engage” to see if they will, y’know, engage.  Please feel free to do the same; tell ’em I sent you.

I’d very much like to invite the people behind “Engage” on my show for a rational, factual debate on the subject.   I doubt they’ll do it; I don’t think they have the confidence in their command of the issue, legally, theologically, morally or factually.

But hope, as they say, springs eternal.

Continue reading

Juxtaposition

Islam.

For 90-odd percent of its adherents, it may well be a religion of peace.

But they seem to have other attitudes that bear some examination.

For example:

This hatred of early’80’s country-pop star Judy Kay “Juice” Newton…

…is perplexing to outsiders.

Holidays…Or Christmas

Nicholas Frankovich on why “Happy Holidays” – regarded by so many Christians as a forced, PC bowdlerization of “Merry Christmas” – is a good and noble greeting.

Many good points – but I liked this one:

Recall that devout Jews kept a respectful distance from the Holy of Holies and that Gentiles respectful of Judaism kept a respectful distance from the Temple’s inner courts. Devout Jews to this day preserve the Tetragrammaton from contact with hand or mouth — and hence their references to “Adonai” (Lord), a hedge against the Ineffable, and “HaShem” (the Name), a hedge against the hedge. Recall also that the first of the seven petitions that Jesus formulated in the prayer that he taught his disciples, including us, is that the name of “our Father” be “hallowed.” Christians translate the Tetragrammaton as “Kyrios” (Greek), “Dominus” (Latin), “Lord” (English, with small caps in the King James Version), and the equivalents in other languages. “Throw not your pearls before swine,” the Lord teaches, meaning, among other things, “Be grateful wherever the character string ‘C h r i s t — ’ isn’t flashing next to underwear ads on Jumobtrons in Times Square.” Then redouble your gratitude if the word “holidays” enables us to smuggle into secular consumer culture a hint of anything like the transcendent. Most people now think of holidays as primarily days on which they don’t have to work, but even that much takes us halfway to the principle of the Sabbath, the very prototype of the holiday, or holy day.

It’s a good article, and you oughtta read the whole thing.

Here’s the rub; give me a good theological reason to prefer “Happy Holidays” – Frankovich makes a good case – and I’m on board.

Most of the kommissars of PC who are pushing the idea that “Merry Christmas” is a trigger are not making a theological case.   For better or worse, motive counts.

 

The New Romans

Trump’s election has thrown a good chunk of the American left for an unexpected loop.

Not least of the loopers is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), famous for “ELCA Hair” and unctuous, smug politics slathered on a fairly neutered reading of the Bible.

And over at their “Engage” blog – the ELCA’s gun-grab propaganda organ, which blindly opposes the Second Amendment and bows down to Michael Bloomberg – they are more depressed than most these days.  They posted about the current lay of the land:

The recent election spells difficult days ahead for gun violence prevention (GVP). Trump’s victory, coupled with his blind support of the Second Amendment and bowing to the NRA, spell high odds against any GVP laws being passed.

I’d like to ask someone from “Engage” what exactly they mean by “Blind Support” – but I suspect none of them actually knows.

But I’d very much like to invite a representative from “Engage” onto my show, on any weekend of their choosing.  Because I’m dying to find out – among other things.

Similarly, with the Republicans now in control of the Minnesota House and Senate, similar negative progress is probably the norm. Elections matter.

They can take some solace in the fact that they actually haven’t mattered that much for a little over a decade.  Even when the DFL controlled both chambers two short years ago, there was a functional pro-Second Amendment majority in the Legislature.  You guys have been in a deep hole since about 2002, and it just got a lot deeper.

As it should be.

Now what? We can take heart in Luke 21:5-19. It is the end time of Jesus’ earthly ministry. He has entered Jerusalem. The final countdown has begun. He told his disciples the Temple would be destroyed, they would be persecuted by the state and religious leaders, some of them would be executed, and they would be rejected by friends and family. Yet, these realities would give them the opportunity to give testimony to the truth, and by their persistent endurance in telling the truth in the face of negative odds, they would save their souls.

Right.  It’s a great verse – one that’s resonated with a lot of us Second Amendment advocates, especially here in urban areas, for a long time.

The right to defend ourselves, our homes, our families and our society from aggression is granted to us by God Almighty himself.

That right – enabling us to bear the responsibility of defending our earthly freedoms while we’re in this world – is one of few that separates us from subjects of a king or dictator.  Without that right and ability, our “rights” merely exist until government – or someone bigger and stronger than us – decides to take them away.

History is full of innocent, unarmed people who were wiped off the map by bigger, stronger people; sometimes the victims shared our faith; sometimes the killers did, too.

Citing Luke indicates you put yourselves in the position of the disciples.

You are not.

You are in the position of Herod’s Jews, the ones that collaborated with the Romans in oppressing other Jews.  You are the oppressors, working hand in hand with those who would render us, not citizens, but mere subjects.

And while I’m a subject of God’s kingdom, on this earth, I’m a citizen.  Not a subject.  And if you want to take that away from me by civil means, last Tuesday’s loss isn’t the last you’re going to face.

By consistently telling the truth in the name of Jesus, we will gain our souls! We will be faithful disciples. God’s grace is sufficient for the task!

I’m not going to speak for God.  Neither should you.  On this issue, you are not qualified.

I’d be more than happy to debate this – although clearly you don’t have enough faith in God’s grace to face me in a civil discussion.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Are Signs

Trevor Noah – who inherited “The Daily Show” from Jon Stewart – took a swipe at the restaurant in Lonsdale that had the infamous “Muslims Get Out” sign (which may have been less a matter of “hate” than “crummy editing”, by the way).

Noah (with emphasis added):

You know what’s also strange is this man genuinely thought people who go around blowing people up would be stopped by a sign? You realize you’re talking to terrorists, not vampires. They don’t need to be invited in, alright? Or maybe he’s onto something, because if you think about it, we’ve never tried that. We’ve never actually tried to repel terrorists with signs.

Sure we have.  But I digress.  Noah:

Yeah, maybe that’s all the airports need is a sign that says “No Terrorists,” yes? Yeah, and then guys are going to be walking going, “Oh, I was going to blow up the airport, but the rules are rules and they said I can’t come in. They said I can’t. They said I can’t come in.”

So, Trevor Noah: you’re saying that putting up a sign that impugns the vast, innocent majority, doesn’t actually prevent evil people from carrying out their plans, then?

According to Trevor Noah, the Mall of America might not be completely safe in perpetuity because of these signs. This could cause problems, couldn’t it?

Huh.  Let’s continue to explore this, Trevs.  Have your people call my people.

After they sweep your jaw up off the floor.

Faith And Law

Ilhan Omar has released a statement about the questions about her, at first and second and third glance, unusual marital history.

Faith:  I’m going to add bits and pieces of emphasis to Omar’s statement:

In 2002, when I was 19 years old, Ahmed Hirsi (whose name before he received citizenship was Ahmed Aden), the father of my children and love of my life, and I, applied for a marriage license, but we never finalized the application and thus were never legally married. In 2008, we decided to end our relationship in our faith tradition after reaching an impasse in our life together.

I entered into a relationship with a British citizen, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, and married him legally in 2009. Our relationship ended in 2011 and we divorced in our faith tradition. After that, he moved home to England. I have yet to legally divorce Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, but am in the process of doing so. Insinuations that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi is my brother are absurd and offensive.

Since 2011, I am happy to say that I have reconciled with Ahmed Hirsi, we have married in our faith tradition and are raising our family together. Like all families, we have had our ups and downs but we are proud to have come through it together.

That’s multiple references to marriage and divorce in Islam’s “faith tradition”.

On the one hand, it could be just a way of saying “it’s a Muslim thing, all you khufar wouldn’t understand”.   Could be.

On the other hand?  As a militant Christian who, should he ever remarry, will not get a government marriage license, I can completely agree with the concept that one’s marriage is none of goverment’s damn business!

Of course, coming from a “progressive” DFLer – the party that believes government is your real mother – one might fairly wonder how genuine it is, but what the heck; on principle, that settles things, doesn’t it?

The Law:  Well no – no more than claiming religious strictures forbid you from paying taxes.

Scott Johnson, who dragged the mainstream media to this story last week, talked with an immigration attorney; the attorney has some questions:

1. Which faith leader presided over her faith tradition marriage in 2002?

2. Is there written documentation of this?

3. Which faith leader presided over her faith tradition divorce in 2008?

4. Is there written documentation of this?

5. How was custody handled for the children after her faith tradition divorce in 2008?

6. Was there documentation of this?

7. How did she meet her legal husband?

8. Did she sponsor her legal husband for a green card?

9. Did he use his green card status to receive financial assistance to attend university in the US?

10. Is her legal husband a US citizen now as he has now been married to a US citizen (Ms. Omar) for 6 years? (Query – Are there voter registration or other documents that could be checked to substantiate this? The UK does allow dual citizenship.)

11. If Ms. Omar did sponsor her legal husband for a green card, then she was required to complete an I-864 affidavit of support documenting financial sponsorship of the husband. At the time in 2009 I believe she was a student and had 3 children so she would not likely have had the financial means to meet the I-864 obligations at the time and would therefore need a joint financial sponsor. Who was that joint financial sponsor? It would need to be a US citizen or green card holder with appropriate income or assets.

12. It has been reported that her legal husband was living in government subsidized housing in Minneapolis. This is likely inconsistent with the requirements of I-864 financial sponsorship. Does Hennepin County do anything to verify financial sponsorship before providing government assistance and subsidies for housing? Does Hennepin County now have a claim for reimbursement against Ms. Omar and/or the joint financial sponsor?

13. She is now remarried to her cultural husband according to her statement. Who was the faith leader who presided over this remarriage? Is there written documentation of this?

14. What Islamic doctrine was used to allow Ms. Omar to divorce a man, then marry someone else, and then remarry the first man?

15. There is no dispute based on her statement that she is currently in a cultural/faith tradition marriage with one man while still being legally married to another man. What Islamic doctrine permits this? I am familiar with certain Muslim traditions that allow a man to have more than one wife but I have never heard of a doctrine that permits a wife to have more than one husband which is without dispute what she is saying her situation is now.

Muslims who immigrate to this country should follow the same laws the rest of us do (or lobby to change them, like some of the rest of us do).

Especially elected officials.

Even DFLers.

Conclusion: What, you think I have a conclusion?

Part of me wants to root for Omar on pure libertarian principle.

Part of me sees the DFL telling the citizenry “Let Me Explain:  Shut Up”.

I have a hunch we’re not completely done with this.

Not The Onion

“Christian” chuch.  Atheist pastor:

“I do not believe in a theistic, supernatural being called God,” says Gretta Vosper, the United Church of Canada minister who has led West Hill since 1997. “I don’t believe in what I think 99.99% of the world thinks you mean when you use that word.” Tor [sic] her, God is instead a metaphor for goodness and a life lived with compassion and justice.

The Church of Canada, of course, makes the ELCA and the Episcopals look like Southern Baptists.

Question:  If you believe God is a metaphor, shouldn’t you just call yourselves Unitarians and be done with it?

All Is Proceeding As Foreseen

When President Obama threw out the welcome mat for the Castros, essentially giving them the legitimacy they’ll need to live out their lives and likely their kids’ lives in complete control and obscene wealth with no more American uppityness about “human rights” and “democracy” but all ready to allow American companies (with political clout and who are willing to play ball with the Castros on the Castros’ terms) to make money in Cuba (and sharing a lot of it with the regime, replacing all that Venezuelan and Soviet money they’ve been missing), I said that it’d be a terrible time to be a dissident; like if Ronald Reagan had given the Soviets and General Jaruzelski the money, political cover and permission to send Lech Walesa to prison unimpeded.

And that’s what’s happening.  Worse, the feds would seem to be doing the Castros’ work for them, here in the US.

Sánchez is a well-known activist in South Florida, who also has staged a number of hunger strikes to bring attention to various Cuba-related causes. In recent days, he had begun a protest campaign against what he considered a discriminatory act by Carnival Corp., which is abiding by a Cuban ban on allowing Cuban-American passengers aboard its Fathom cruise line sailing to Havana on May 1. Cuban law prohibits Cuban-born individuals from traveling to Cuba by sea.

Sánchez characterized the letter as “political pressure” by the Obama administration to try to thwart his plans for the flotilla and other future actions to promote democracy in Cuba.

I’m so proud to be an American today.  

Adrift

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Justice Scalia says separation of church and state isn’t Constitutional law and shouldn’t be used to purge religion from the public eye.  I’d go farther and suggest the lack of shared moral behaviors is destroying the country.  If some of the country thinks it’s just fine to give false testimony against their neighbors (UVA “rape” scandal) and to covet their neighbors’ goods (Bernie Sanders), then the rest of the country never can be certain when they’ll be the next target, when they’ll lose their job to a false accusation, when their bank account will be looted, when their children’s future will be threatened.  And how does a nation obtain shared moral behaviors?

 

Joe Doakes

When you ask “atheists” “why is murder wrong”, and they (many of them) start with “it just is

, dude”, and work their way down to photomemes about how dumb Christians are, I’d say we’ve got a problem.

A Lesson From Paris

In the Charlie Hebdo attack, Muslim terrorists slaughtered some deeply unsympathetic characters; “journalists” whose entire milieu involved whizzing in other peoples Wheaties.

And they attacked a kosher market – in other words, Jews.

So if you’re not a smug confrontational “journalist” or a Jew, you may have felt you were safe.

And their targets in the US, so far, have been similar; military installations of various types, full of unarmed servicepeople and dependents, for the most part.

Last Friday’s attacks “targeted” nobody; they were completely indiscriminate.

But the casualties were disproportionally younger people in the hipster parts of the 11th Arondissement of Paris; patrons at bars and sidewalk cafes, heavy metal fans at Baclaban, and soccer fans.

In other words – not only pretty much anyone, but especially at the four different attacks on bars and shopping areas, disproportionately people who, it seems likely, were likely than average to support aggressive, anti-ISIS policies.  I’m going to speculate, not without good reason, that many of the victims would have been actively hostile to hardline politics.

In any case, certainly none of the victims were within spitting distance of the French power structure.  Being neutral, or even opposed to the French counterterror policy, was no protection; any random passerby it was a bone to be chewed.

Moderation Is No Virtue:  If you read about the Middle East in any depth, you know that the single most dangerous thing to be is a “moderate Muslim”; it is they that the radicals kill off first, before the Americans, before the Brits, before even the Israelis.

That is pretty standard behavior among radicals; the Bolsheviks killed the Mensheviks; the Nazis muscled out lesser fascists; the Obama people turned the rhetorical long knives on Hillary.

But it is, literally, a matter of religious doctrine for ISIS; not only is failing to follow the Koran a crime, but failure to exact punishment by Koranic standards is punishable under Koranic law.  That includes the leadership; the Caliph must wage war on apostate Muslims (Shi’ites, and secular Muslim governments, to say nothing of secular government of any type), or be subject to penalty under a strict reading of Islamic law.  Don’t take my word for it; read this.

Your own moral neutrality on the subject is no defense.

The Dead Heart

I’ve been a presbyterian  my entire adult life. This has been for a number of very good reasons; I have been blessed to know a number of fantastic ministers – and the Presbyterian liturgy is notable in putting far putting less temporal BS between man and God than most other denominations.

(Your mileage may vary, of course, and everyone can believe what they want; these are mine, and while I can perhaps believe other, no one has come close to convincing me in close to 40 years).

But the nations largest Presbyterian denomination – the Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) is collapsing before our very eyes; it is on track to complete disappear before 2040.

Not Presbyterianism, mind you – just the PC USA.

Why?

“Ministers” like this – for lack of a better term – godforsaken hamster, for starters.

Unpersuaded

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Kim Davis, the Apostolic Christian who was elected County Clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples after the Supreme Court decision in June, citing her First Amendment right to a workplace accommodation based on a sincerely held religious belief.  It’s the same argument made by Muslim check-out clerks working for Target who refuse to scan SPAM because it contains pork.

A local judge ordered Ms. Davis to issue licenses for gay marriage and sent her to jail for contempt but a federal judge released her after five days.  A Deputy Clerk in the office is issuing marriage licenses to gays while Ms. Davis is out of the office but the drive-by and social media storm is relentless and seems to boil down to:

The Apostolic Christian religion does not prohibit gay marriage in the way that, say, the Roman Catholic Church does; therefore, Ms. Davis does not have a sincerely held religious belief and is not entitled to a workplace accommodation.

The Apostolic Christian religion does prohibit gay marriage, which is a hateful and bigoted theology; therefore, Ms. Davis should receive no accommodation for her sincerely held – but politically incorrect – religious belief.

The Apostolic Christian religion prohibits gay marriage but permits divorce meaning the religion doesn’t believe in the sanctity of heterosexual marriage and thus cannot prohibit homosexual marriage in the way that, say, the Anglican Church did from 1534 until 2003; therefore, it’s an illogical religion so its adherents are not entitled to a workplace accommodation.

Even though the Apostolic Christian religion permits heterosexual divorce while prohibiting homosexual marriage and Ms. Davis sincerely believes in her religion, she is a sinner and sinners are not entitled to Constitutional rights.

American government officials should not be allowed to hold Christian religious beliefs and thus won’t need workplace accommodations, a logical expansion of the Act of Settlement of 1701 that prohibited British Catholics from holding any position of trust.

Ms. Davis is from The South but is neither Liberal nor photogenic; therefore, she has no Constitutional rights at all.

I remain unpersuaded.

Joe Doakes

The US Government will eventually establish a state religion, by defining all the things that people of faith can’t do.