Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Justice Pakistan style

"On February 5, 1999, Amjad Masih was arrested on vagrancy charges in the Pakistani town of Jhang. While in police custody, he was accused of burning the Quran (Koran) and charged under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. The Pakistan penal code states in Section 295B: ‘Defiling of the Holy Koran. Whoever wilfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Koran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.’ These blasphemy laws were introduced in 1985, and continue today."

"Because these laws require only the testimony of one Muslim against another person, they have been misused to settle personal disputes and persecute minorities. President Pervez Musharraf had called for reform of these laws but withdrew his suggestion after it was met with threats of demonstrations by several Islamic organizations" (Prisoner Alert, February 20, 2006).

Monday, February 27, 2006

Integration vs. diversity

There is a difference between “racial integration” and the ideology of “diversity.” Racial integration is a view which seeks to bring individuals together—in jobs, education, neighborhoods, churches, etc.—regardless of race, skin color or nationality. Those who believe in racial integration believe that people should be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. They believe that discrimination on the basis of race is a terrible evil. I am wholeheartedly in agreement with the philosophy of racial integration.

The ideology of diversity, on the other hand, often goes beyond the ideals of racial integration in that advocates of diversity often emphasize race over the individual. Rather than seeking to bring people together regardless of race, the ideology of diversity seeks to integrate people precisely on the basis of race. The following are excerpts from an article by Peter Schwartz, who explains this difference:

“Unlike the valid policy of racial integration, "diversity" propagates all the evils inherent in racism. According to its proponents, we need "diversity" in order to be exposed to new perspectives on life.”

According to an MIT newsletter, “We supposedly gain ‘enrichment from the differences in viewpoint of minorities…Admissions should be based on race, the University of Michigan's vice president insists, because "learning in a diverse environment benefits all students, minority and majority alike.”

“These circumlocutions…imply that people have worthwhile views to express because of their ethnicity, and that "diversity" enables us to encounter "black ideas," "Hispanic ideas," etc. What could be more repulsively racist than that? This is exactly the premise held by the South's slave-owners and by the Nazis' Storm Troopers.”

“The core of racism is the notion that the individual is meaningless and that membership in the collective--the race--is the source of his identity and value.”

“This philosophy is why racial division is growing at our colleges. The segregated dormitories, the segregated cafeterias, the segregated fraternities--these all exist, not in spite of the commitment to "diversity," but because of it.”

“The value of a racially integrated student body or work force lies entirely in the individualism it implies. It implies that the students or workers were chosen objectively, with skin color ignored in favor of the standard of individual merit. But that is not what "diversity" advocates want. They sneer at the principle of "color-blindness." They want decisions on college or job applicants to be made exactly as the vilest of racists make them: by bloodline. They insist that whatever is a result of your own choices--your ideas, your character, your accomplishments--is to be dismissed, while that which is outside your control--the accident of skin color--is to define your life.”
“We need to identify "diversity" for what it is: a malignant policy that harms everyone, because it is the very essence of racism.” (Capitalism Magazine, December 2003):

Friday, February 24, 2006

White Supremacy, Neo-Nazis and KKK

Wednesday night on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 there was a segment on America’s white supremacist groups. One expert reported that there are more than 800 Neo-Nazi, skin-head, KKK and other white supremacist groups in America. The segment showed a group pledging allegiance “with liberty and justice for all white men” and praying for “the white race.” Some of these groups apparently think they are Christian.

I have always been puzzled about how some of these groups can actually think that their racist, anti-Semitic ideology has anything whatsoever to do with Christianity. First, one of the most courageous and influential leaders in all of early Christianity was a black man named Athanasius. And according to the New Testament, one of the earliest converts to Christianity was an Ethiopian who in all likelihood was black. In fact, a leader of one of the earliest churches in Christian history—an associate of St. Paul himself—was a man named “Niger,” (meaning “black”), almost certainly a black man.

Second, the author of the New Testament book of Revelation reports a vision of a great crowd from “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues,” redeemed and standing before the throne of God. The author’s vision of Christianity is not white—it is a thoroughly multi-cultural unity.

Third, St. Paul believed that in Christ there should be no ethnic divisions. He wrote that in Christ there is no Jew or Gentile but that Christians are all one in Christ. He practiced what he preached by risking his life to bring the gospel of Jesus to people throughout the Roman empire regardless of their ethnic backgrounds.

Fourth, virtually all reputable Jesus scholars believe that Jesus, all of his first disciples and virtually the entire first generation of the Christian church were all Jewish! Although Christianity has a terrible and shameful history of abuses against Jews, it seems pretty stupid to claim to follow a Jewish God while hating Jews!

Finally, there is a story about Jesus in the Gospel of John which shows how radically NOT racist Jesus was. One day while Jesus was passing through Samaria on his way to Galilee, he stopped at a well and asked a Samaritan woman for a drink. She was amazed because, as the text says, Jews do not have things in common with Samaritans. This is usually explained by the fact that Samaritans were a "mixed race," i.e. not pure Jewish, but that’s only the beginning of the story (if you have the patience to bear with me you’ll find there is a point to this little history lesson).

When Jews were allowed to return home from their forced exile in Babylon in the fifth century BC, they began to rebuild Jerusalem and their temple. The primary obstacle was the Samaritans who did everything they could, including threats of violence, to stop the building projects. The racial tension between Jews and Samaritans, no doubt, increased significantly.

In the second century BC, Palestine was controlled by a ruthless Syrian king known as Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus is said to have enslaved or slaughtered 80,000 Jews and sacrificed a pig to a foreign god in the Jewish temple! He then sent soldiers into the countryside to force villagers to sacrifice to other gods…or die. The Samaritans generally sided with Antiochus. Whatever antagonism there had been between Jews and Samaritans turned to bitter hatred.

Finally, just a few years before Jesus began his ministry a group of Samaritans actually snuck into great Jewish temple in Jerusalem and scattered dead carcasses on the grounds, defiling the Temple area! While we may think of this as vandalism, pious Jews would have considered the defilement of their temple a nightmare which would have undoubtedly reminded them of the days of Antiochus. The flames of their hatred toward Samaritans were re-ignited.

In Jesus’ time, therefore, many Jews would have insisted that they had every right in the world to hate Samaritans—not just for being a “mixed race,” but for their anti-Jewish behavior as well. But according to the Gospels, Jesus didn’t hate Samaritans. He reached out to them, befriended them and even ate with them (eating together had much more significance in that society than it does today).

Of course this is not the only story we could cite. For example, the Romans were certainly hated by many in Jesus’ day, not just because they were "gentiles" (i.e. a differnt race), but because they were the conquering rulers of the Jewish homeland—and to pious Jews, it was not just the Jewish homeland, it was God’s land! Many Jews passionately hated Romans and wanted them out at all costs. Yet, far from hating Romans, Jesus showed compassion on a Roman centurion! In fact, Jesus’ final command to his followers was to make disciples of all nations.

Much more could be said, but the bottom line of this lengthy post is this: If you are anti-Semitic or white supremacist, you really need to stop deluding yourself into thinking that your ideology has anything at all to do with Christianity. White supremacy and Anti-Semitism are about as anti-Christ as one can get.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Public Prayer Protection Act

A bill has been introduced in congress that would protect the right of public prayer by elected officials. It is called the Public Prayer Protection Act of 2005 (H.R. 4364). The essence of the bill is copied below:

A BILL To protect the right of elected and appointed officials to express their religious beliefs through public prayer.

The Congress finds that--
(1) The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was intended by our Founding Fathers to prohibit one religious denomination from enjoying the exclusive backing of government and to prohibit the Federal establishment of any type of religious uniformity or orthodoxy that rewards observers and punishes violators.
(2) The First Amendment guarantees the right of elected and appointed officials to express their religious beliefs through public prayer.
(3) The exercise of this right does not violate the Establishment Clause.
(4) The courts and the legislatures of the several States are in the best position to protect this right.
(5) Article III, Section 2, clause 2 of the United States Constitution expressly grants Congress the authority to define the appellate jurisdiction of the Federal court system.

`Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter that relates to the alleged establishment of religion involving an entity of the Federal Government or a State or local government, or an officer or agent of the Federal Government or a State or local government, acting in an official capacity, concerning the expression of public prayer by that entity, officer, or agent.'

If you are interested in supporting this bill, contact your representative.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Breaking News: Abortion illegal in SD?

The information below is summarized from a U.S. Newswire article just posted. Just minutes ago the state senate of South Dakota passed a bill that would make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy except to save the mother’s life. The bill now goes to the governor.

Leslee Unruh, founder of Alpha Center, said, “The overwhelming mass of research could be ignored no longer. Abortion hurts women. South Dakota's legislature heard the cry of those who have been harmed by abortion and passed this bill to protect women and children.”
The South Dakota legislature had convened a task force which “collected over 3,500 pages of research and over 2,000 affidavits from women who have had an abortion…The Task Force found, ‘that it is simply unrealistic to expect that a pregnant mother is capable of being involved in the termination of the life of her own child without risk of suffering significant psychological trauma and distress.’ The task force also wrote, “it is clear that the CDC statistics do not include the vast majority of deaths due to abortions because they do not include deaths from suicide, deaths from physical complications from abortions, and deaths due to any of the cancers in which abortions may be a significant contributing factor.”

“During the confirmation hearings of Justices Roberts and Alito, both stated that a judicial precedent can be overturned when new information is brought forward. The information gathered and summarized in the 70 page of the Task Force Report has never been presented in any court for consideration.”

NATO: Put up or shut up?

In a recent article (February 15, 2006) Ann Coulter made the following statements:

"…I believe we are legally required to be bombing Syria right now. And unlike the Quran's alleged prohibition on depictions of Muhammad, I've got documentation to back that up! “Muslims in Syria torched the Danish Embassy a few weeks ago, burning it to the ground. According to everyone, the Syrian government was behind the attack - the prime minister of Denmark, Condoleezza Rice and White House spokesman Scott McClellan. I think even the gals on "The View" have acknowledged that Damascus was behind this one. McClellan said: "We will hold Syria responsible for such violent demonstrations since they do not take place in that country without government knowledge and support." We are signatories to a treaty that requires us to do more than "hold Syria responsible" for this attack. Syria has staged a state-sponsored attack on our NATO partner on Danish soil, the Danish embassy. According to the terms of the NATO treaty, the United States and most of Europe have an obligation to go to war with Syria. Or is NATO - like the conventions of civilized behavior, personal hygiene and grooming - inapplicable when Muslims are involved? Liberals complain about "unilateral action," but under the terms of a treaty created by Dean Acheson and the Democrats, France, Germany, Spain and Greece are all obliged to go to war with us against Syria. Why, it's almost like a coalition! OK, Mr. Commie: Saddle up!"

Ms. Coulter always has an entertaining way of making her point—but she does have a good point. I’m not sure NATO should start bombing Syria without further ado, but I do have to wonder what good is NATO if they won’t even respond to such an outrageous and unprovoked attack against a member country.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Open letter to rioting Muslims

Do you have any idea how incredibly stupid you appear to the rest of the world? Day after day you rage against Christians, Jews, Israel, Denmark, the United States, and the entire western world. You injure and kill innocent people and destroy the property of those who had nothing to do with the cartoons; so listen carefully: The United States did not do it! Israel did not do it! The Danish government did not do it. In fact, in a free society there may not have been much they could have done to stop it.

The cartoons were published by some insensitive editors of a single Danish newspaper. But the nature, extent and timing of your acting-out--several months after the cartoons were actually published--leads many of us to conclude that your riots really have relatively little to do with Muhammad. Rather, you have simply misused and abused the name of Muhammad as an excuse to vent your irrational, narcissistic, hatred and rage on anyone and anything that happened to be in your way—and in the process you brought worldwide shame on your religion. Do you seriously think Muhammad would have approved?

By contrast, in Minnesota last weekend, a thousand Muslims exercised their right to free speech by staging a peaceful protest against the cartoons. Their protest was covered by the media and they made their voice heard, but, unlike you who are rioting, they did not bring shame and disgrace to Muhammad. (Note to peaceful Muslims: why are you so silent about these riots when your Muslim brothers and sisters do more to disgrace the name of your prophet than the Danish cartoonists themselves?)

Monday, February 20, 2006

The media and Saddam Tapes

On February 16, Recliner Commentaries reported that ABC News has obtained twelve hours of tapes recorded in high level meetings between Saddam Hussein and his advisors. Now we learn that our government has thousands tapes that were recorded in Saddam’s palace. “Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, says the tapes are authentic and show that "Saddam had a fixation on weapons of mass destruction and he had a fixation on hiding what he was doing from the U.N. inspectors." Hoeckstra says there are more than 35,000 boxes of such tapes and documents that the U.S. government has not analyzed nor made public that should also be translated and studied on an urgent basis” (ABC News).
On Fox and Friends Sunday, General Paul Vallely, who has apparently heard some of the tapes, said that the Russians are seriously implicated in a plot to move Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to Syria before the war. Regardless of whether the general’s accusations are true, all of this raises serious questions. For example, why hasn’t ABC released transcripts of the tapes in their possession, and why is the media wasting its time on Cheney when they should be asking why the White House hasn’t translated and released the rest of these tapes? Could it be that the liberal media is afraid that the tapes will show that President Bush was justified in going to war? Could it be that the Bush administration is afraid the tapes will provide ammo for further liberal attacks against the war? Either way, Americans have a right to know, so why is the media not pressing this issue?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Religious Valentines censored

“Texas's family defender Kelly Shackelford hurried into court this week, determined to prevent the Katy School District from banning religious-themed Valentine's cards and favors. Students were being told they could not hand out Valentine materials that mentioned God. Five families from the Houston-area public school district sought and received a temporary restraining order against the policy that prohibited the sharing of cards and gifts that reflect their faith. Alliance Defense Fund senior legal counsel Mike Johnson charged the district's personnel with creating "an environment of intimidation and hostility toward Christian students…The effort to censor religious speech apparently has no limit” (WEA: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin).
For more info see KWTX in Huston.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Saddam Hussein tapes

ABC News has obtained twelve hours of tapes recorded in high level meetings between Saddam Hussein and his advisors. They were initially recovered by the CIA, which turned them over to the FBI. ABC got them from a former UN weapons inspector, Bill Tierney, who translated them for the U.S. government. Below are some excerpts of the conversations from an ABC transcript and from last nights’ “Nightline.”

Saddam: “Terrorism is coming.”

Saddam: “That in the future, there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction. I told them, in the future, what would prevent a booby-trapped car causing a nuclear explosion in Washington or a germ in or a chemical one?”

Saddam: "This is coming, this story is coming but not from Iraq."

Tariq Aziz: “It's so simple that any biologists can make a bottle of germs and drop it into a water tower and kill 100,000. This is not done by a state. No need to accuse a state. An individual can do it. Even an American in a house close to the White House.”

Saddam: “The situation is a pity. Had I known that the war would end, we would have found them on Israel's head.”

Hussein Kamel (Saddam's son-in-law): “We did not reveal all that we have. Not the type of weapons. Not the volume of the materials we imported. Not the volume of the production we told them about. Not the volume of news. None of this was correct.”

Hussein Kamel: “As for the nuclear, sir, we say we have disclosed everything. But no. We have undeclared problems in nuclear, as well.”

Hussein Kamel: “Sir, I go back to the question of whether we should reveal everything or continue to be silent. Sir, since the meeting has taken this direction, I would say it is in our interest not to reveal.”

An aide to Saddam: “No matter how much time passes, the factories are in our minds. The factories are there. As for time, it's not on their side. They cannot break our will, which gets stronger day after day. We are ready, sir, at your disposal. If you say resume activity in any specific area, we're here and prepared.”

Saddam: “With God's help, they will lose. They will lose the most-important thing. They lost the spiritual and human aspects. And God willing, you will win everything.”

Saddam: “We have become more aware and more capable in our vision and in our faith.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Discrimination ruled constitutional

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided that it was not unconstitutional for the New York City Schools to discriminate against Christians! Attorney Michael Gaynor sums up the issue in an article, “Will Scotus use Skoros to straighten out Everson? Excerpts appear below:

“At issue is a school policy promulgated by the Chancellor's office that prohibits the display of Nativity scenes in New York City's schools during the Christmas season, but expressly permits and encourages these schools to display during certain religious holidays and seasonal observances the Jewish Menorah and the Islamic Star and Crescent. New York City officials claim that the goal of this policy is ‘to promote understanding and respect for the diverse beliefs and customs relating to our community's observance of the winter holiday.”

“In 2001…several New York City public schools, including one of the schools attended by Ms. Skoros' son, displayed the Jewish Menorah and the Islamic Star and Crescent, but not the Nativity scene. One public school principal issued a memo…encouraging teachers to bring to school ‘religious symbols’ that represent the Islamic and Jewish religions without mentioning Christianity. Catholic League president William Donohue made several attempts to get school officials to change their discriminatory policy, without success. School officials dismissed requests to display the Nativity scene and instead would only allow Christmas trees, a secular symbol not the equivalent of the religious symbols allowed for Jews and Muslims."

"Richard Thompson, Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, summarized his clients' objection as follows: ‘The policy relegates Christians to second class citizens. Forcing schools to only allow secular symbols for Christmas while allowing religious symbols for other religions' holiday observances shows a callous indifference and hostility toward Christians during one of their holiest seasons. It is ironic that a religion enjoying the largest following in this nation is consigned by the City of New York to a least-favored status. It's a shame that we have reached a point in our Nation's history that 'respect for diverse beliefs and customs' has come to mean discrimination against Christians — at Christmas time no less.”

“Mr. Thompson condemned the majority decision: ‘Many federal courts are using the contrived endorsement test to cleanse America of Christianity. This unprincipled test allows judges to impose their ideological views under the pretext of constitutional interpretation. Thus, the majority opinion says it is legitimate to discriminate against Christians in the largest public school system in the country, with over one million students enrolled in its 1200 public schools and programs. This should be a wake-up call for Christians across this nation.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

NSA wiretapping

Last Sunday on Fox and Friends weekend Republican Congressperson Heather Wilson was introduced as the first Republican to break ranks with other Republicans over the NSA scandal. She cited the wiretapping of Martin Luther King as an example of how the government could not be trusted with wiretapping or domestic spying without oversight.

I agree with Ms. Wilson and quite frankly I’m amazed at how many conservatives have jumped on the President’s bandwagon on this issue. I wholeheartedly agree with wiretapping terrorists and I don’t even think the government should have to get permission beforehand to do it, not even if Americans are involved. But there must be some kind of oversight—even if only after the fact as FISA allows—to ensure that wiretapping or spying on Americans is only done with probable cause and legitimate purposes, and not just for the purpose of keeping tabs on, or silencing political opponents. Conservatives need to ask themselves whether they would want John Kerry or Hillary Clinton to have the authority to do wiretapping on Americans without oversight. Who knows, one of them may be president some day (heaven help us!)

Monday, February 13, 2006

U.S. Ports under new management

Later today, Dubai Ports World (DP World) is expected to finalize a $6.8 Billion purchase of a company that controls “significant operations” at ports in New York, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami, Philadelphia, and in New Jersey. DP World is based in the United Arab Emirates, a country which the State Department considerers to be a valuable ally in the war against terrorism, but was “an important operational and financial base” for the 911 hijackers. Nevertheless, the sale was apparently approved by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, a secretive government panel consisting of representatives from the departments of Treasury, Defense, Justice, Commerce, State and Homeland Security (Seattle Times).

Part of me says, “This deal has approval from Homeland Security—surely they know what they’re doing.” The other part of me says, “Are you crazy—like they knew what they were doing with Hurricane Katrina?!" Letting a middle-eastern Arab company take control of American sea ports appears, at least on the surface, to be a little like putting the proverbial fox in charge of the hen house.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Vice President Cheney shoots Harry Whittington

The headline sounds like something out of the old west, but is true. The story has been confirmed by the White House. The Vice President was quail hunting Saturday when he turned to shoot a quail, but accidently shot a 78 year old lawyer named Harry Whittington. Mr. Whittington, a friend of Vice President Cheney, was sprayed with bird shot. Someone on the ranch was quoted as saying of Mr. Whittington, "It broke the skin, it knocked him silly."
Mr. Wittington is recovering in a hospital and is reported to be in good condition and in good spirits. For more information tune in to Jay Leno, David Letterman, or the Daily Show--I'm sure they couldn't possibly pass this one up.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Muslim and Christian fundamentalists

The following are excerpts of an e-mail sent out recently by the Family Research Council:

“Liberal columnists are constantly trying to link conservative Christians with Muslim fundamentalists, suggesting that we are engaged in a jihad against their enlightened ideas. The Rev. Don Wildmon of the American Family Association is denounced as a mullah whenever he leads a protest against some liberal outrage on television….”

“Notice, though, what Don Wildmon has not done. He hasn't burned NBC executives' homes, threatened them with death, or strapped explosives to a bicycle messenger. Look at Europe. There, Muslim protesters against an offensive Danish cartoon portrayal of Mohammed have burned flags, set fire to a Danish Embassy, praised mass murderers, and yelled "Freedom Go To H_ll!" Four people have died in the rioting. We will continue to speak out against the media's constant attempts to insult and degrade Christians and Christianity. But we will continue to use the means and methods of freedom - freedom that rests upon the foundation of Christianity.”

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Palestinian Authority it’s the mask off?

The following are excerpts of a February 7, 2006 e-mail from World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis written by Elizabeth Kendal:

“A detailed and scholarly description of the suffering of Palestinian Christians can be found in a recently published work entitled: "Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society" by Prof. Justus Reid Weiner, under the auspices of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs. (The monograph may be downloaded freely from this site, but it is also available through Amazon.)”

“As Weiner explains, the PA's promotion of Sharia (Islamic Law) immediately placed Christians in a precarious position, as Sharia does not afford them equality before the law. Escalating hardship and lawlessness, combined with the inequity of Sharia, makes Palestinian Christians exceedingly vulnerable, and their life increasingly unbearable.”

“School curriculum in PA-run schools is infamous for its glorification of suicide bombers, its radical Islamic fundamentalism, its denial of Israel's right to exist, and its denigration of non-Muslims. As a pre-election Hamas video boasts, ‘We succeeded, with Allah's grace, to raise an ideological generation that loves death like our enemies love life.”

“Weirner describes the persecution of Christians as "diverse and widespread", adding that "institutionalised discrimination pervades virtually all realms of life and has become an inexorable part of Palestinian Christian existence”.

In his monograph Prof. Weirner details the various forms this diverse, widespread, institutionalised discrimination and persecution takes. In summary, Christian communities and individuals suffer the following:

“Christians suffer economic hardship as Muslims boycott their businesses. Islamic militants have also forced some Christians to close their businesses. The practice of extortion of Christian businesses is so widespread that one Christian businessman interviewed told Prof. Weiner, "There isn't a Christian businessman exempt." He said that around 90 percent of Christian businesses in Bethlehem have been forced to close. Those that remain in business are paying protection money to militants.”

“Christians in business in the Palestinian Territories are also harassed, beaten and robbed by PA police (Weiner cites examples). They are targeted simply because they are Christian. Refusal or inability to pay bribes can lead to torture and even death. These atrocities are committed with impunity.”

“Prof. Weiner also explains that, in violation of international human rights norms, Palestinian Land Law prescribes the death penalty to anyone selling land to Jews. According to Weiner, Jerusalem's Arafat-appointed mufti, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri has issued a fatwa to the effect that death will be the penalty to anyone selling land to any non-Muslim. This law extends to Christians, so that they cannot sell land to each other.”

“According to Weiner's research, violence against Christian women in the Palestinian Territories was rare before the PA took control. Christian women testify that before 1993, security was such that they could walk the streets in safety. However, after the PA took control, Christian women could be attacked with impunity. Weiner gives several reasons for the sharp rise in sexual violence against Christian women since the PA took control of the Palestinian Territories: the rise is Islamist attitudes (such as Muslim superiority and contempt of infidels); the denigration and relegation of Christians to dhimmi (second class citizen) status with limited rights and no equality before the law; combined with the PA's inaction, regardless of whether that is due to lack of authority or lack of will. Once again, Muslim criminals know they can rape Christian women without fear of retaliation or legal consequence.”

“Weiner quotes Joseph Farah, a Lebanese-American Christan editor of the WorldNetDaily online, as saying of Christians under the PA, ‘They are being driven out. They are being murdered. They are being raped. They are being systematically persecuted. They are being harassed. They are being intimidated.’ Weiner reports that Palestinian Christians under PA authority are discriminated against ‘...in the field of education, the receipt of medical benefits, and other government aid’. A Lutheran pastor told Weiner, ‘...if food aid is brought in from Saudi Arabia, Christians are told that they are not entitled to receive any because they are not Muslims.”

According to Prof. Weiner, PA security personnel frequently combine ignorance of the law with Islamist sentiment to become persecutors rather than protectors. Christians are often imprisoned on trumped up charges of collaborating with Israel. Apostates can expect to be punished mercilessly through torture in PA prisons.”

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Coretta Scott King funeral

At the funeral of Coretta Scott King yesterday, former President Jimmy Carter said: “The efforts of Martin and Coretta have changed America, they were not appreciated even at the highest level of government. It was difficult for them personally -- with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the target of secret government wiretapping, other surveillance, and as you know, harassment from the FBI.”

President Carter makes a valid point. If the executive branch of government can unilaterally decide which Americans to spy on without oversight or review from the legislative or judicial branches, eventual abuse is almost certain. Of course Mr. Carter, being a Democrat who wishes to score political points against a Republican president, didn’t mention that this abuse against the Kings ocurred under a Democratic administration! But aside from that, was it really appropriate for Mr. Carter to turn a tribute to Ms. King into a political statement?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The danger of Islam

There are many on the left who believe that only a tiny percentage of Muslims are dangerous and violent. In light of 1) the large number of Iranians who recently demonstrated in support of their president who wants to eliminate Israel, 2) the seemingly unending number of Muslim insurgents killing innocent Iraqi’s in order to enslave them again 3) the extensive nature of the riots by Muslims in France several weeks ago, 4) the recent Palestinian election of Hamas whose goal is the extermination of Israel, and 5 the tens-of-thousands of Muslims now rioting in numerous countries all over world—the idea that only a tiny percentage of Muslims are militant and violent is truly naïve. This idea is not only naïve, but also dangerous because it keeps some on the left from recognizing that Islam is one of the most serious threats to western civilization since the former Soviet Union. One difference, however, is that the former Soviet Union was hesitant to use their nuclear weapons because of potential US retaliation. When radical Muslim nations get nuclear weapons I doubt they will have such concerns.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Muhammad and cartoons

Yesterday, CNN and Fox News were reporting that Muslims around the world are becoming more and more violent over the Danish newspaper that published cartoons ridiculing Muhammad. In Lebanon alone, tens of Thousands of Muslims have been rioting, setting Danish and Norwegian embassies on fire.

I must admit that I’ve got mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I think it was cold and callous for this newspaper to publish such cartoons. I know that for true Christians, Jesus is more precious than anyone or anything in our lives, and many Muslims obviously feel the same way about Muhammad. To publicly ridicule Jesus or Muhammad is as hurtful as seeing someone humiliating your wife or children in public! Although I have certainly not been shy about criticizing Islam on this blog, there is a big difference between criticism and mockery.

But as much as I may like to have laws against disrespecting the name of God or ridiculing Jesus, I understand that in order for me to have the freedom to express my views, I must be willing to allow others the freedom to express their views, even if they attack my faith. What many don’t seem to understand is that the alternative to freedom of speech is the tyranny of whoever has the most power.

Incidentally, when a painting—funded with tax dollars—was displayed that depicted a crucifix of Jesus dipped in urine, Christians were upset and angry but we weren’t rioting and setting things on fire. Even today, there are no riots in the streets over the recent burning of numerous churches in Alabama, and while Muslims overseas burn Christian churches over the Danish cartoons (go figure), my Conservative Evangelical church (and many others I’m sure) prayed yesterday for the Muslim families whose loved ones died in the Red Sea ferry disaster. Those who try to equate Christian fundamentalists with Muslim fundamentalists are either demonstrating their ignorance of the facts or their hatred of Christian fundamentalists.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Coretta Scott King and Aiden

Yesterday, a great American, Coretta Scott King, passed away. No less tragic to me, however, was the death of another black person on the same day—my grandson, Aiden. Aiden died of premature birth at 22 weeks. He was 12 inches long, 1.25 pounds and fully formed—mouth, nose, ears, eyelids fingers, toes—a beautiful baby. He looked like he was sleeping peacefully as my daughter held him for a long time before tearfully saying goodbye. My son-in-law and daughter are now mourning their loss, as is the rest of our family. There is a movie in which a new mother holds her baby and says, “How can you love someone so much whom you just met?” With broken hearts, those are our sentiments exactly. Recliner Commentaries will return some time next week after the funeral.