Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More on Jesus' Tomb

For other reactions to the Jesus' Tomb story read an interview of Amos Kloner who originally discovered the tomb, and also the blogs by Ben Witherngton and Darrell Bock, both world-class "Jesus scholars."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The family tomb of Jesus

The discovery of Jesus’ family tomb was announced yesterday. The announcements were, no doubt, conveniently timed to introduce an upcoming documentary by the Discovery Channel and to coordinate the publication of a new book on the topic with the upcoming Easter holiday. No one from the general public has yet seen the documentary or read the book but that hasn’t kept anyone from discussing the topic. Realizing that I may have to modify my comments after the documentary and book come out, I’ll jump into the fray anyway, primarily because, as is often the case, some of the journalists are not getting their stories straight.

Twenty-seven years ago an excavation in the southern part of Jerusalem uncovered a tomb dating back to the first century AD. This tomb, known as the Talpiot Tomb, contained 10 empty ossuaries (stone “bone boxes” for burials). For a short period in Israel’s history, family members came back to the tomb of their loved ones after the bodies had decayed, collected the bones, and placed them in ossuaries. Some of the names inscribed on the ossuaries from the Talpiot Tomb are known to us from the New Testament: Jesus, Joseph, Joses, Matthew (?), and two Mary’s. There is also one inscribed, “Judah son of Jesus.” Sounds like pretty good evidence that archaeologists have discovered the Tomb of Jesus, right? Read on.

First, most of the names on these ossuaries were exceptionally common in Israel during Jesus’ time. Evidence from literary sources and ossuaries indicate that Joseph was the second most popular male name in Israel, followed by Judah (4th), Jesus (6th), and Matthew (9th. Bauckham, Richard. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Grand Rapids : Eerdmans, 2006).

The same literary and ossuary evidence indicates that Mary was by far the most popular female name. In fact, if the evidence is representative of the actual reality, it would seem that about one out of every five women was named Mary! I don’t think anyone would assume that the Talpiot Tomb was the family tomb of Jesus simply based on the common names alone.

One thing that makes the evidence so compelling is that one of the ossuaries was inscribed with Yeshua bar Yehosef (Jesus son of Joseph) and another with Yaaqov bar Yosef (Jacob—aka James—son of Joseph). On the surface, this, along with other common names in Jesus’ family would seem to be very strong evidence that the tomb is Jesus’ tomb. In fact, the documentary is reportedly going to produce statistical evidence showing that is it virtually impossible, statistically speaking, for this tomb to have been any other than the tomb of Jesus.

So on the surface, the evidence sounds especially compelling. But there’s more to this story. When it comes to Jesus’ family, all anyone really has to go on is the Gospels. According to the Gospel of Mark (6:3), Jesus had brothers named James, Joses, Judas (or Judah) and Simon as well as some unnamed sisters. As far as anyone knows, the list of Jesus’ brothers is complete and since most scholars believe the Gospel of Mark was written about AD 70, there is little likelihood that Jesus had additional brothers after this list was written.

The names on the ossuaries found in the Talpiot Tomb were Maria (Mary), Yeshua bar Yehosef (Jesus son of Joseph), Yaaqov bar Yosef (Jacob son of Joseph), Yehuda bar Yeshua (Judah son of Jesus), Yose (Joses), Matya (Matthew?), three unnamed ossuaries and Mariemene (or Mary e Mara—but, contrary to what some news reports have led people to believe, the ossuary does not read "Mary Magdalene").

So out of at least nine members of Jesus’ immediate family (the plural “sisters” in Mark must mean at least two) only four family names in the Talpiot Tomb are the same as known members of Jesus’ family. Not only that, but 1) Joseph is missing 2) Judah (Jude) is missing, 3) Simon is missing, and 4) Jesus’ sisters may be missing (DNA has apparently confirmed that Mariemene was not a blood relative), 5) In all of ancient literature, there is no known relation between Jesus and Matya, unless Matya is the disciple Matthew, but why the tax collector would be buried in Jesus’ tomb is anyone’s guess, 6) As seen below there is no credible evidence that Jesus was ever married, and 7) Also seen below, there is absolutely no evidence in all of ancient literature that Jesus had any children much less a son named Judah.

So although the coincidences look compelling, the pieces that don’t fit seem to disprove the hypothesis—unless of course you want to assume apart from any other evidence 1) That Jesus had a son, 2) That Matya was a member of Jesus’ family, 3) That the Mariemene in this tomb was Jesus’ wife and 4) that all the evidence is bunk that has convinced Christian and some non-Christian scholars alike that Jesus’ earliest disciples were genuinely convinced that they had seen the risen Jesus (see N.T. Wright’s massive 800 page tome on this topic). But then what you are really doing is trying to force the the evidence fit your theory.

Second, rather than acknowledging that the ossuary inscribed, “Judah son of Jesus” demonstrates that this is some other family than that of Jesus of Nazareth, the documentary assumes that Jesus must have been married and must have fathered a child named Judah.

But there is absolutely no credible evidence that Jesus was ever married. In fact, there is good circumstantial evidence that he was not. Those, like Dan Brown of Da Vinci Code fame, (it’s not usually the scholars) who argue that Jesus was married, point to two passages in the Gospel of Philip. The first passage reads, “There were three who always walked with the lord: Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion” (Gospel of Philip 59). The second passage reads, “And the companion of the [ ] Mary Magdalene. [loved] her more than [all] the disciples [and used to] kiss her [ ] on her [ ]” (Gospel of Philip 63, 64.The brackets indicate holes in the original text).

As Dan Brown wrote in his Da Vinci Code, “As any Aramaic scholar will tell you, the word companion, in those days, literally meant spouse” (246). This is really pretty funny since the Gospel of Philip was written in Coptic. Though most scholars think it was originally translated from Greek, the Gospel of Philip was never written in Aramaic! The word companion in Coptic is similar to the Greek word koinonos meaning "companion." Of course, one would hope that one’s wife is also a companion, but companion does not mean wife, not in Greek or Coptic.

Another argument for Jesus’ marriage is that virtually all Jewish teachers were married. While most Jewish teachers were married, it is simply not true that all were. Paul doesn’t seem to have been married nor does John the Baptist, and, according to Josephus, neither were many of the Essenes.

Reasons for thinking that Jesus was not married include the following: 1) There are no ancient sources that say Jesus was married—Not the New Testament, not early church fathers, not the New Testament Apocrypha and not even the heretical Nag Hammadi Gnostic documents. Marriage was viewed as very honorable in the Jewish and Christian world and we know, for example, that Peter and other apostles were married, so it seems rather strange that if Jesus had been married, not one single source mentions it.

2) The apostle Paul, in a letter everyone acknowledges as genuine, says, “Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas” (1 Corinthians 9:5). The interesting thing about this is that Paul was certainly much more interested in Jesus’ authority than he was in relying on the authority of others—even Peter. So if Jesus had been married it is very hard to understand why Paul would not appeal to Jesus himself as his authority.

3) When Jesus was dying on the cross he committed the care of his mother to his disciple John (John 19:27). If Jesus had been married, it is strange that he did not commit his wife to someone’s care as well.

4) According to Eusebius, Emperor Domition summoned the grandsons of Jesus' half-brother Jude to determine if they were a subversive threat. If Jesus himself had had descendants there can be little doubt that Domition would have summoned them also.

All in all, there is no credible reason for thinking Jesus was married and circumstantial evidence for thinking he was not. The discovery, therefore, of an ossuary with the inscription “Judah son of Jesus” does not prove Jesus was married—it is, rather, a piece of evidence that the Jesus bar Joseph in this tomb was not Jesus of Nazareth.

But even if Jesus had been married, there is absolutely no evidence that he had children, much less a son named Judah. There is nothing in the New Testament, nothing in the church fathers, nothing in the New Testament apocrypha, or Nag Hammadi Gnostic documents about Jesus having a son. In the absence of any other evidence, the inscription, Judah son of Jesus in the Talpiot Tomb is another piece of evidence that this is not the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.

Third, a lot of questions need to be asked before this is resolved. For example, is it possible that there was a man named Joseph in Jerusalem who named some of his kids after Jesus and Jesus family? And is it possible one or more of the inscriptions might be a hoax? After all, it was not long ago that the ossuary of "James brother of Jesus" was making its rounds (I actually saw it in Toronto). It turned out to be a very convincing hoax (even scholars were deceived at first) and I understand the perpetrator is now on trial for fraud.

Finally, regardless of the evidence produced in the documentary and the book, it is important note that would-be Jesus debunkers have often promised evidence that would bring about the demise of Christianity, only to have their evidence exposed as nonsense. A long time ago when I was in the Air Force, I remember my boss telling me that some new documents had been discovered that, when finally revealed, would completely destroy Christianity. Those documents turned out to be the Nag Hammadi documents. Needless to say, they did not destroy Christianity but demonstrated what truly bizarre nonsense ancient “heretics” believed (see my post on women and Christian bishops and On writings suppressed by bishops).

Then there was Burton Mack’s book on The Lost Gospel of Q which was supposed to change everything we thought we knew about Christianity. The fact is that for Mack to arrive at the nonsensical conclusions he did, he had to postulate hypothetical revisions of a hypothetical document by hypothetical communities! (See my articles on Mack, A Review of Who Wrote the New Testament?" Bibliotheca Sacra. (April-June, 1997) 205-221 and Kloppenborg. If Q actually existed, it tends to support, not undermine, Christianity.

Then last year there was the sensationalistic release of the Gospel of Judas documentary and book (also conveniently timed to come out about Easter) which was supposed to change the way we thought of Christianity. That turned out to be nonsense as well (see my posts on the Gospel of Judas).

It should be remembered that this is no new discovery. It has been around for 27 years. “In 1996, when the BBC aired a short documentary on the same subject, archaeologists challenged the claims. Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television. ‘They just want to get money for it," Mr. Kloner said” (Washington Times). Considering the timing of the announcement, I find myself suspecting that Kloner is right.

I’ll update this post if the documentary comes up with anything new.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The other side of Iraq

"For most people, the images of Iraq are of a country mired in sectarian violence or civil war - a country suffering car bombs, random killing, kidnapping, ethnic cleansing - a country in collective despair. There is validity to these images. However, alongside these tragic daily occurrences Iraq has its other face, a face of life and a degree of normalcy. This other face of Iraq is reflected in a series of pictures published by Halim Salman in his two monthly magazines published in London" (MEMRI).

To view some of these pictures see MEMRI. Strange that we don't see this side of Iraq in the mainstream media very often.

Products of conception

Before some abortionist convinces you to abort your "fetus" or "products of conception" please check out the new 3d ultrasounds at Grandviewultrasound.com. Then, if you need help, try one of the following:

Bethany Christian Services
Birthright
Care Net
CPC's Online
Harbor House
Heartbeat International
Project Rachel
America's Crisis Pregnancy Helpline

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A tiny minority of Muslims

According to the Telegraph, British intelligence reports,

The terrorist threat facing Britain from home-grown al-Qaeda agents is higher
than at any time since the September 11 attacks in 2001, secret intelligence
documents reveal. The number of British-based Islamic terrorists plotting
suicide attacks against "soft" targets in this country is far greater than the
Security Services had previously believed, the government paperwork discloses.
It is thought the plotters could number more than 2,000.
Recently the director of the British MI5 warned that,
there were more than 1,600 "identified individuals" actively engaged in plotting
terrorist attacks. There were 200 known networks involved in at least 30
terrorist plots. It is thought that the number of British citizens involved in
plots could be well in excess of 2,000 Telegraph.
I doubt that the British people are taking much comfort in the fact that these are just a tiny minority of Muslims.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Child porn and the ACLU

Yesterday, ABC News reported that
"Federal agents arrested Charles Rust-Tierney, the former president of the
Virginia chapter of the ACLU, Friday in Arlington for allegedly possessing child
pornography. According to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC News,
Rust-Tierney allegedly used his e-mail address and credit card to subscribe to
and access a child pornography website.
The videos apparently included the violent rape of little girls. The fact that this one former ACLU chapter president is a very sick pervert does not necessarily reflect on the rest of the ACLU any more than the hypocrisy of Ted Haggard reflects on the National Association of Evangelicals. But on the other hand, the NEA has never supported Haggard’s lifestyle while the ACLU actively supports the sale and distribution of child pornography. Perhaps the investigation of Charles Rust-Tierney should be widened to include other ACLU leaders as well.

AIDS prevention

Last year alone over 2 million people died from AIDS. The best prevention against AIDS would be to follow principles spelled out in the Bible: No sex outside of marriage and no homosexual sex. Since so many people seem determined to rebel against these biblical principles, there appears to be another effective preventative measure against AIDS. Ironically, it is also a practice that appears in the Bible--circumcision.

A study published recently in the journal, Lancet tracked over 7,000 circumcised and uncircumcised men in Kenya and Uganda and determined that circumcision can reduce men's chance of contracting AIDS by 60% (APNews). This actually confirms an earlier story reported by Recliner Commentaries in July 2005.

No compulsion in Islam

The Qur'an says "there is no compulsion in Islam." Apparently some Muslim men in Britain didn't get the message. See Dhimmi Watch or Britain's Daily Mail.

Friday, February 23, 2007

U.S. soldier gets 100 years

Breaking News: CBS news just reported that "A U.S. soldier was sentenced to 100 years in prison for the gang rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and the killing of her family last year."

It can cost up to $35,000 per year to incarcerate a prisoner--though that can go as high as $70,000 for elderly prisoners (RecordNet). If this soldier lives for another 40 years, that comes to a least 1.4 million dollars to feed, cloth, house and provide medical attention to this one rapist/murderer all because we refuse to follow biblical principles and execute murderers.

You'd think our society would be able to find something better to do with 1.4 million dollars wouldn't you--like, say, helping homeless people who want help, or providing medical or mental health care for those who fall through the cracks?

In spite of what some in Washington (both Republicans and Democrats) seem to think, our money supply is not unlimited. When we choose to support murderers we are also choosing to deny that money to people who need help.

Florida principal on crack

Many public schools have a drug problem. Hopefully not many have principals who buy crack from their offices on school time. A "principal of Tampa's Van Buren Middle School, was arrested in the school lobby Thursday after buying $20 worth of crack from an undercover officer while students were on campus" (WCVB). The principal will be suspended from work pending an investigation (ya think?!)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tammy Bruce vs. Bill Maher

Tammy Bruce is a fascinating woman. She is a lesbian who was once the head the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for women. Her book, “The New Thought Police,” on political correctness and multiculturalism is outstanding! Ms. Bruce recently spoke to Bill O’Reilly about Bill Maher’s hate-filled diatribe against President Bush. Check it out at Hot Air.

Soldiers on trial

Reuters reports that "A U.S. soldier under court-martial at a Kentucky military base broke down in tears on Wednesday as he described how he and others planned the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, murdered along with her family."

These soldiers should get the death penalty for their terrible crimes (or maybe we should just turn them over to the Iraqis). Whether at Abu Ghraib or elsewhere, when American soldiers are caught committing crimes, they stand trial and face the consequences. Funny, I don't recall hearing about our enemies putting anyone on trial for the atrocites they commit.

Steve Jobs and teachers' unions

Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computers has some ideas about what’s wrong with our country’s education system. In a recent speech he said,

"I believe that what's wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have
become unionized in the worst possible way."The problem with unionization, Mr.
Jobs argued, is that it has constrained schools from attracting and retaining
the best teachers and from dismissing the less effective ones. This, in turn,
deters quality people from seeking to become principals and superintendents.

"What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that
when they came in they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any
good? Not really great ones because if you're really smart you go, ‘I can't
win,'" Mr. Jobs said. He concluded by saying, "This unionization and lifetime
employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy." (New York Sun)

There are, of course, plenty of good teachers and school administrators, but Steve Jobs does have a good point. One of the best things teachers could do for education would be to abolish the NEA.

Format note

I have decided to change the settings on this blog to only allow registered responses.

The responses provide a much more balanced perspective so my intention is not to discourage response--not even the antagonistic ones--but we need to be able to follow the logic and consistency (or lack thereof) of someone's argumnents from one response to another.

Until now, we've had no way of knowing whether the arguments by one anonymous writer were coming from the same person as some other anonymous writer. We have tried to encourage anonymous responders to use pen names but to no avail.

To those not familiar with blogs, you do not need to use your own name, just pick a name even if it is only "Anonymous 1," "Anonymous 2" etc.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

And in this corner...Hillary vs.Obama

Things got ugly between the Hillary camp and the Obama camp recently. It started when David Geffen (Hollywood billionaire, former Clinton supporter now Obama supporter) said "Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.” Read the story at Editor and Publisher.

What does Obama believe?

Disturbing insight into Obama's "Christian" background. See LGF.

More background on Temple Mount

On Monday Recliner Commentaries provided some ancient background on the current Muslim-Jewish disputes over Temple Mount. Below is a little more current history:
When the United Nations voted in 1947 to create twin states in British
Palestine, a Jewish and an Arab state side-by-side, the city of Jerusalem was to
be internationalized and belong to neither. The Zionists accepted this plan but
the Arabs rejected it--and in May 1948, the armies of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq,
Egypt, and the Arab Legions of Transjordan attacked the new Jewish state. They
failed to destroy it but did capture half of Jerusalem--the important half, the
Old City, where the Temple Mount stands. For the next 20 years the Kingdom of
Jordan refused to allow Jews into the Old City, refused them access to the
Western Wall--and systematically destroyed the city's synagogues, presumably as
proxies for the Jews who got away.

Egypt provoked another war with Israel in 1967 (the Six Day War) by demanding that U.N. troops be withdrawn from the Sinai buffer zone and blockading the Straits of Tiran. During the fighting, Israeli soldiers recaptured the Temple Mount. They discovered that Jordanians had torn up Jewish tombstones from the Mount of Olives and used them to pave roads and build latrines. And yet soon afterward Israel unilaterally awarded control of the Mount to the Waqf. It was the same sort of pathetic, heartrending gesture that speaks of desperate longing for friendship and no more war that Barak made 30 years later, when he allowed the Waqf to pillage and violate the Mount.

That generous Israeli gesture of the late 1960s was met by universal
gratitude throughout the Arab world, especially among the Palestinians of
Jerusalem.

Just kidding.

Virtually all such Israeli gestures meet with the same response: redoubled hatred.
Read the entire article at the Weekly Standard.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Amillia: Healthy and thriving


Amillia Sonja Taylor is going home today, "healthy and thriving." Amillia was born about 22 weeks after conception (VOA), the same age as my grandson, Aiden, who was not so fortunate. I cannot understand how anyone can justify killing babies at this age.

Embryonic stem cell research part 2

Isn't it amazing that if an expectant mother wants a child it is a "baby," but if the mother does not want the child it is just "fetal tissue" or the "products of conception," or any other terms some might dream up to delude people into thinking that they are not really killing human lives!

Enough with the theological and philosphical speculations about when someone becomes a person--biology teaches us that we are living human beings even before we are born. What kind of savage society have we become when we destroy these tiny human beings, often merely for the sake of personal convenience!

Embryonic stem cell research

Is this the future of embryonic stem cell research? (hat tip: Don B.)
In the Ukraine, investigators are exploring the possibility that healthy
infants and preborns were killed for stem-cell experimentation. It is speculated
that the babies' organs were extracted after allegedly being stolen from mothers
by staff at Maternity Hospital Number Six in the eastern city of Kharkov.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) claims to have a video showing the
autopsy examination of 30 infants and fetuses that were exhumed from a cemetery
used by the Ukrainian maternity hospital. The video was also turned over to the
Council of Europe who is now carrying out its own investigation as a response to
about 300 families who are coming forward with charges against the hospital for
allegedly taking and killing their newborns (OneNewsNow).

Monday, February 19, 2007

Muslim protests in Jerusalem

Israeli authorities have been doing construction work near Temple Mount in Jerusalem, sparking protests by Muslims who say the work will endanger their Al Aqsa Mosque which sits on Temple Mount. Never mind the fact that Muslims have been doing extensive unauthorized digging underneath Temple Mount, which may have destabilized the site of their own Mosque! (CNSNews.com)

Temple Mount site is sacred to Jews because for hundreds of years Jews had a temple on that site—long before Muhammad was even born. It is sacred to the Muslims because Muhammad woke up one morning in what is now known as Saudi Arabia, declaring that he had traveled several hundred miles to Jerusalem during the night (no, they didn’t even have cars, much less planes back then!), prayed with Jesus, and ascended to heaven (and got back to the woman he had been sleeping with in time for breakfast)!

According to the earliest biography of Muhammad (written by a Muslim), Aisha, one of Muhammad’s favorite wives, said that Muhammad’s body “remained where it was but God removed his spirit by night.” The woman Muhammad was sleeping with that night said that Muhammad
“went on no night journey except while he was in my house. He slept that night
in my house. He prayed the final night prayer, then he slept and we slept. A
little before dawn the apostle woke us, and when we prayed the dawn prayer he
said…I prayed with you last evening prayer in the valley as you saw. Then I went
to Jerusalem and prayed there” (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, 183-184).

Knowing that people would mock Muhammad, she urged him not to tell anyone and sent her black slave to follow him. Ignoring her advice, Muhammad began telling everyone.

For a fascinating history of Muslims in Jerusalem, see danielpipes.org. Dr. Pipes has a Ph.D in history from Harvard and is an expert in terrorism and Islamic history.

Women and the internet

From the country that denies women the right to drive, now comes word that "Two Saudi clerics issued a fatwa forbidding women from accessing the Internet without the presence of a male guide" (Memri).

Yeah, ya gotta watch those women--they're just not smart enought to avoid all the dangers of the internet!

(In case there is any doubt, this last sentence is dripping with sarcasm!).

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Jihad as holy war

Jihad can refer both to a personal struggle and to holy war. There are many who, either out of ignorance or for propoganda purposes, want to entirely downplay the holy war aspect of jihad. In today's Jihad Watch Robert Spencer documents how central the concept jihad as violent holy war is to mainline Islamic thought. He writes,
Unfortunately, however, jihad as warfare against unbelievers in order to
institute Sharia worldwide is not propaganda or ignorance, or a heretical
doctrine held by a tiny minority of extremists; instead, it is a constant
element of mainstream Islamic theology. It is affirmed by all four principal
schools of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence (madhahib): the Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali,
and Shafi’i, to which the great majority of Muslims worldwide belong, as well as
of all the other schools.

Please read the entire post at Jihad Watch.

William Jefferson and Homeland Security

Do you remember William Jefferson, the congressman who has been under federal investigation for the $90,000 in cold, hard cash (literally) found in his freezer. According to news reports, Nancy Pelosi--the Speaker of the House who promised the most ethical Congress in history--is planning to appoint Mr. Jefferson to the Homeland Security Committee. Don't you feel safer now?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Japanese atrocities

Is there any adult in America who doesn't know that during World War II America locked up Japanese people during World War II? How many Americans know, however, about the 200,000 sex slaves held by the Japanese? According to FoxNews:
She shaved her head to make herself unattractive. She hid — once in a tree.
She huddled together and prayed with the other captive "comfort
women
" — a euphemism for the up to 200,000 women who historians say were
forced to have sex with millions of Japanese soldiers during the war. She
punched and kicked and screamed, even though it invariably meant she was beaten
worse.

"Never did any Japanese rape me without a fight. I fought each one of
them," she said Thursday at a House Foreign Affairs Asia subcommittee hearing
where three former comfort women pleaded with U.S. lawmakers to adopt a
resolution urging Japan to formally apologize.

The memories of being raped and beaten day and night, even by the doctor
who examined her for venereal disease, "have tortured my mind all my life," said
O'Herne, a former Dutch colonist born in Java who now lives in Australia. "I
have forgiven the Japanese for what they did to me, but I can never
forget."

I have an uncle whose identical twin brother was a Japaneese POW during World War II. He didn't look like his identical twin when he got out.

America has apologized and made restitution for illegally imprisoning Japanese Americans. If Japan has never formally apologized for their atrocities, it is long past time that they do so.

Former Muslim advice to Christians

A former Iraqi Muslim who converted to Catholicism has some suggestions for fellow Catholics. His advice deserves to be considered by all Christians. Excerpts of his CNSNews article appear below:
Muslims respect certitude and disdain weakness in exchanges with Christians
and are more responsive to principled individuals who are unapologetic in
defending their world view, according to a Catholic convert from Islam.

At a time when Islam is gaining strength worldwide, Ali told fellow
Catholics in attendance that the "first line of defense is to know to your
faith."

Catholics must be willing to speak up when their faith is under assault,
Ali said.

When Christians engage Muslims, they must avoid the temptation to
equivocate in their beliefs in order to appease or keep the peace."

You cannot flush out Jesus for the sake of getting along with Muslims," Ali
said.

"They do not like wishy-washy people. They are much more respectful of
those who stand by their convictions."Ali said in reference to the 9/11 attacks
on the U.S. "When Muslims say they want to take the West, they are not joking. I
know their minds, and I know they mean what they say."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Edwards' bloggers

The two virulently anti-Catholic, anti-Christian bloggers hired by John Edwards have resigned—note: they resigned, they were not fired. As I mentioned on February 13, I can’t help thinking that if these bloggers had been found to be anti-gay, anti-Hispanic, anti-Black, or anti-Muslim, Edwards would have dropped them like hot potatoes without the drivel about giving everyone a fair shake.

It is important to note here, that unlike Cindy Sheehan, Rosie O'Donnell or Michael Moore, John Edwards cannot be brushed off as part of the Left's wacko lunatic fringe. Edwards was a Democratic U.S. Senator, the 2004 Democratic nominee for Vice President and is a current Democratic Presidential candidate. Edwards is the mainstream of the Democratic party. Is it any wonder that many right wing Evangelical Christians think that a significant part of the Left and the Democratic Party are anti-Christian?

Police called on congressman

In the news this morning is a story about one congressman calling the police to report another congressman. What horrible, illegal thing was some congressman doing now, you might ask? Well, as it turns out, he was (gasp!) smoking a cigar in his office! (Rocky Mountain News)

Democrat Kieth Ellison, who had apparently never even met his new office neighbor, Rep. Tom Tancredo, called the police because the cigar smoke from Tancredo's office was wafting into Ellison's office. While I sympathize with Ellison (I abhor tobacco smoke!), I would recommend that if you are in a similar situation, you consider discussing the issue with your neighbor and that you not waste police time with relatively trivial matters that are not even illegal.

I think a more important issue, however, is why congress exempts itself from behaviors that are apparently illegal in other DC government offices.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Global warming in Washington

Thousands in Baltimore and Washington DC are without power, the DC airports are closed, and last, but not least, hearings on global warming scheduled on Capitol Hill for today have been cancelled--all because of snow and ice!

All of this says nothing one way or the other about global warming theories, but you've got to love the irony.

Hezbollah arming, the world silent

Bombs exploded in two minibuses in Beirut Lebanon yesterday. According to YaLibnan news from Lebanon:
The buses that were attacked originated in the hometown of Lebanese Defense
Minister Elias Murr, who on Feb. 8 seized a truckload of explosives belonging to
Hezbollah containing more than 120 mortars, Katyusha rockets and scores of
mortar shell cases. Murr's refusal to return the weapons to Hezbollah, which was
transporting them from the Bekaa Valley to stockpile in Beirut's
Shiite-controlled southern suburb, was an embarrassment for Hezbollah's
leadership.

We are hearing more and more reports of arms pouring into Lebanon in support of Hezbollah. Where is the United Nations? Where is the main stream media? Where is the world community? Once again the world sits silently by until Hezbollah feels strong enough to attack Israel, and then, when Israel defends itself, the world will again vent its rage at Israel!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ahmadinejad’s April surprise

An LGF headline reads “Ahmadinejad Promises an April Surprise” regarding Iran’s nuclear achievements. In light of the fact that Iran has been spreading their hatred and violence around the world for years, including the killing of U.S. Marines in Lebanon and the attack on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, not to mention the fact that the Iranians appear to be supporting the insurgency against Iraq, I think the time is comming for the United States to give Ahmadinejad a little surprise.

I’d suggest we consider a little “shock and awe” to absolutely demolish his nuclear and military capabilities, destroy any known terrorist camps, and empower pro-West Iranian revolutionary groups to bring down and take over the government. We can either fight this battle on Iranian soil now, or we can fight it on American soil later, only then it may be nuclear—unless, of course, we can appease Iran with a large enough Jizya!

John Edwards for president?

Presidential candidate, John Edwards recently hired two anti-Catholic, anti-Christian bigots for his staff. In the face of mounting criticism, Edwards defended his decision saying, among other things, that he believes in giving people a fair shake.

If the two staffers had similarly attacked gays, blacks, Hispanics or Muslims I’m quite sure Edwards would not be so forgiving. See Michelle Malkin for reader responses. I was particularly interested in a response by Dawn Eden who wrote:
I guess it's nice to know that all those times her blog referred to Our Lord and
Saviour as "Jeebus" — in 114 blog entries to date (the most recent last
Sunday) —she was only kidding. A search of Pandagon archives shows that
Amanda has yet to devise a similarly ha-ha name for Mohammed….”
Why anyone calling themselves “Christian” would support John Edwards for president is beyond my comprehension.

51% of women without spouses

Remember the story last month (it made national news) about how for the first time in American history 51% of American women were living without a spouse (New York Times). A guest on Fox and Friends parroted this study just this morning.

As it turns out, the New York Times writer arrived at that data by including 15, 16, and 17 -year olds in the study! Some journalism! Read the whole story at Hot Air.

Monday, February 12, 2007

American lives wasted

Yesterday in Ames Iowa, Barak Obama said we "have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted."

It's hard to imagine how he could have said anything much more malicious and cruel toward our troops, their families and friends. Does he really think this constitutes "supporting" our troops?

Breaking: Appeasment to North Korea

Breaking News: U.S. takes the appeasement route, bows to North Korea, and agrees to pay tribute:
Kyodo, the Japanese news agency, has reported that North Korea wants an
annual energy package of two million tons of fuel oil and two million kilowatts
of electricity for taking the first steps in the agreement. It quoted
unidentifed diplomatic sources who said the North also wanted a short-term
infusion of hundreds of thousands of tons of fuel oil almost immediately. That
presumably would be a reward for shutting down Yongbyon, even though Yongbyon
does not provide electric energy to the country (quoted from Hot Air)

Those are your tax dollars at work. The Hot Air blog then comments, "This is the global equivalent of a hostage negotiation, with Kim implicitly threatening to kill Koreans on both sides of the border if we don’t give him what he wants. So … we’re giving him what he wants. No other options at this point, really."

This is what you get when you don't stop a tyrant from getting nuclear weapons while you have the chance. Today, North Korea. Tomorrow, Iran.

Tribute: "Any payment exacted for protection." "A payment or tax given by a feudal vassal to an overlord." American Heritage Dictionary]

Political correctness and Islamic terrorism

Please read the recent post on Dhimmi Watch about how political correctness, even in the Bush administration, is hampering our war on Islamic terrorists:
"We are losing in Iraq and Afghanistan because the political leaders in both
parties – and their politically correct acolytes in the media, the academy and
the general officer corps – refuse to square with the American people about the
enemy's motivation," said Michael F. Scheuer, who headed the CIA's bin Laden
unit.

Read the rest at Dhimmi Watch. In an entirely differnt source, I'm now reading how political correctness destroyed our pre-911 ability to gather intelligence (Denial and Deception; An insider's view of the CIA by Melissa Boyle Mahle).

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Breaking: thousands evacuated in Spokane

According to news reports, hundreds of people have been evacuated from a Spokane Washington shopping mall due to some kind of toxic gas. The local utility company has confirmed that it is not a natural gas leak. Several have been taken to the hospital (KREM, KXLY, SeattlePi).

Update: Hazmat officials have determined that there is no longer any threat. Police are now in the mall doing a security sweep. Managers will then be allowed back in the mall to close up. KREM is intervieing victims whose symptoms include watery eyes, tight chest, scratchy throat. It sounds like some who initially had no symptioms are now going to the hospital. They report getting sick and having a very strong taste in their mouth which is not going away even after three hours. Holy family Hospital is advising everyone who was in the mall to shower and to call or see a doctor if they have any symptoms.

Obama the former Muslim

Barack Obama admits that his childhood years were "in the Muslim faith." (LGF, quoting from AP). Many Muslims believe that leaving the Muslim faith should be punished by death--Muhammad himself was the first one who ordered the execution of Muslims who left the faith.

Update: AP quietly corrects its story. See Hot Air.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Terrorists and the media




I've been reading American Jihad; the terrorists living among us, and recently finished reading Holy War on the Home Front. Both are well documented and demonstrate that Jihadists have been using our freedoms to set up cells all over America. Why are we hearing so little about this on the national news? Perhaps they're too busy covering other stories, like Anna Nicole or wayward astronauts.


Never asked questions

See LGF for a list of questions the media never seems to ask "moderate" Muslims.

The #1 killer of Black people

According to NPR, “A recent poll finds that many African-Americans believe the virus that causes AIDS is man-made, and is part of a larger conspiracy to decimate black populations.” Focusing attention on such conspiracy theories tends to divert attention from the real killer of Blacks. In an event on Capital Hill yesterday, Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union said:

"Abortion kills more black people -- as most of you in this room already know --
than other deaths combined," she shared. "Abortion is a silent killer because we
don't talk about it as a people." According to a press release from the Union,
15 million -- or roughly one-third -- of the estimated 44 million babies killed
by abortion since 1973 were black" (OneNewsNow).

Though hotly debated, some charge that this was one of the original intentions of Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger. If so, her followers are certainly succeeding. But even if the proportionately high destruction of so many Black babies is just an unintended consequence, it is still a national abomination!

Science and political correctness

According to CNSNews, “A dispute erupted this week in Oregon, where Gov. Ted Kulongoski is considering firing the state's climatologist George Taylor, who has said human activity isn't the chief cause of global climate change.”

This kind of pressure is apparently not isolated. See CNSNews for the rest of the story (see also Recliner Commentaries for similar pressure in a different area of science).

Isn’t it a bit concerning when science is manipulated by political correctness?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Impeaching the President

On January 17, Recliner Commentaries commented on the two border patrol agents who were sentenced to prison (this post sparked some excellent discussion by readers). The issue is not going away. Republican representative Dana Rohrabacher criticized President Bush for declining to pardon the agents saying, “This is the worst betrayal of American defenders I have ever seen.” He added that Bush "obviously thinks more about his agreements with Mexico than the lives of American people and backing up his defenders."

Last weekend, one of the agents, Ignacio Ramos, was attacked by inmates in his Mississippi prison. This resulted in an angry warning by Rep. Rohrabacher who said,
"I tell you, Mr. President, if these men -- especially after this assault -- are
murdered in prison, if one of them lose their lives, there's going to be some
sort of impeachment talk in Capitol Hill," he told
a press conference in Washington D.C.” (CNSNews)

I certainly think there needs to be an investigation of this attack. Prison officials know that a border patrol agent will be in particular danger and heads should roll if they failed to take adequate precautions to protect the agents.

In fact, if Rep. Rohrabacher led an attempt to impeach President Bush over failure to protect our borders, I would not be opposed. I think future presidents need to understand clearly that if they are neglegent in their efforts to protect America, they will lose their job.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Multiculturalism gone wild

Bernard Lewis, 0ne of the world’s leading authorities on Islam, recently had some sobering words for Europe. Excerpts appear below. America would do well to pay attention:
Islam could soon be the dominant force in a Europe which, in the name of
political correctness, has abdicated the battle for cultural and religious
control, Prof. Bernard Lewis, the world-renowned Middle Eastern and Islamic
scholar, said on Sunday.

Soon, he warned, the only pertinent question regarding Europe's future would be, "Will it be an Islamized Europe or Europeanized Islam?"

"Europeans are losing their own loyalties and their own self-confidence," he said. "They have no respect for their own culture." Europeans had "surrendered" on every issue with regard to Islam in a mood of "self-abasement," "political correctness" and "multi-culturalism,"

The Cold War philosophy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), which
prevented the former Soviet Union and the United States from using the nuclear
weapons they had targeted at each other, would not apply to President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's Iran, said Lewis.

"For him, Mutual Assured Destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement," said Lewis of Ahmadinejad. "We know already that they [Iran's ruling ayatollahs] do not give a damn about killing their own people in great numbers. We have seen it again and again. If they kill large numbers of their own people, they are doing them a favor. They are giving them a quick, free pass to heaven. I find all that very alarming," said Lewis.
Read the rest in the Jerusalem Post.

Hezbollah buildup in Lebanon

The Associated Press is reporting that:
Israel's defense minister on Wednesday accused Syria of allowing the
rearmament of Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and said Israel has the right to
act "forcefully" against the Shiite militia to counter the threat.Defense
Minister Amir Peretz's comments came days after Israel said it discovered four
bombs in northern Israel recently planted by Hezbollah guerrillas. The Israeli
claim, denied by Hezbollah, immediately raised tensions along the volatile
border.

With all the U.N.'s self-righteous indignation and cries for peace during last summer's war, I'm wondering what the United Nations is doing to stop Hezbollah's military buildup now?

If Israel has to fight Hezbollah again, they should give non-Hezbollah-supporting residents fair warning to move out of southern Lebanon, and then take off the kid gloves this time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Meet Husham Al-Husainy

“Meet Husham Al-Husainy.”

He was an advisor to the late Mohammed Bakr Al-Hakim, leader of the Iran-backed
Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution. He's allied with the mainstream of
Iraq's Shia Islam, which is terrorizing and driving out the few Christians left
there.

This past summer, Al-Husainy seemed very happy leading almost-daily
protests of thousands of Hezbollah supporters on the streets of Dearborn and
Detroit, swarming with swastikas and anti-Semitic, anti-American
signs.

Later, I watched him very much enjoy himself at an anti-Semitic rally
of 3,000 Hezbollah supporters at Dearborn's
Bint Jebail Cultural Center
. He was among several who delivered hate-filled,
anti-American rhetoric. I watched him cheer others on when they called for the
hastened destruction of the Jews and when they said Americans are
"diseased."

After the event, he seemed very happy when he put his arms around
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's favorite rabbi, Yisroel Dovid Weiss of the Neturei Kartah,
who attended the recent Holocaust-denial conference. "We make a great team," he
said of Weiss, who was flown into Detroit for the Hezbollah rallies.
Imam

Husainy was also in great spirits when he led a number of pro-HAMAS and
pro-Arafat rallies in the area. (debbieschlussel.com)

This is the man that the Democrats chose to lead them in prayer at the Democratic National Committee winter meeting (WorldNetDaily)

A race-based hate crime

Apparently race-based hate crimes only work one way. The brutal attackers of three girls last Haloween get off with a slap on the wrist. See WorldNetDaily.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Radical Islam, Terror in its own words

Last night I watched the Fox News special, Radical Islam, Terror in its own words. The host, E.D. Hill was careful to say that the program was not about “moderate” Muslims, but about the radicals.

It was disturbing to watch massive Muslim crowds shouting “death to America” and “death to Jews.” It was even more disturbing to watch parents teaching their children to aspire to be suicide bombers in order to kill Americans and Jews. It was also disturbing to watch Muslim cartoons designed to brainwash children--the heroes were suicide bombers blowing themselves up killing Jews and Americans.

One of the most disturbing of all was E.D. Hill's interview with a "moderate" Muslim leader in America. When Ms. Hill showed him some of the clips of Muslim children calling for death to Jews or wishing for martyrdom, I would have expected an unqualified condemnation of such brainwashing and tactics. I would have expected an angry denunciation of those who hijack Islam in the name of their radical agendas. He did neither. Instead, I thought his response was rather qualified and guarded.

When Ms. Hill asked him why we hear so little from moderate Muslims when radicals blow up innocent civilians, he said this was because the media doesn't want to air the response of moderate Muslims. Ms. Hill said this simply was not true. As an example, she said that after the terrorist attacks in England, Fox News specifically sought out moderate Muslim leaders who would go on the air to condemn the terrorism. Fox News was able to find a grand total of only one moderate Muslim leader who would do this!

One terrorist expert said that moderate Muslims are so intimidated and afraid of the radicals, that they (the moderates) are becoming more and more marginalized and irrelevant. I understand why moderates don’t speak up in places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, or Gaza, but I don’t understand why we aren’t seeing mass protests by moderate Muslims in America against those who are supposedly hijacking their religion (if there’s one thing they know how to do, its protest)!

If “moderate” American Muslims don’t protest out of fear of the radicals, America has a much more serious problem than most Americans want to acknowledge. If “moderate” American Muslims don’t protest because they sympathize with the radicals, America has much more serious problem than most Americans want to acknowledge.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Clinton and withdrawl from Iraq

"Yesterday the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, Senator Clinton, unequivocally declared that she would, if elected, end the war in January, 2009, which can only mean the sudden withdrawal of American troops from Iraq regardless of the situation there. Senator Clinton is to be praised for her candor: She is pledged to the return of the policies that animated her husband's eight years in the White House, policies of indifference to radical Islamists which led to 9/11 and the North Korean and Iranian nuclear crises --the refusal to take seriously that which is deadly serious" (Hugh Hewitt)

The really scary thing is that Senator Clinton is among the most conservative of the Democratic contenders!

Radical Islam: Terror in its own words

Fox News will air a special, Radical Islam: Terror in its own words for three days beginning tonight at 9:00 PM eastern time and again Sunday at 4:00 PM eastern time and finally on Monday at 3:00 AM eastern time. For a description of the special, see the Counterterrorism blog.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The tiny Islamic minority

The mantra recited over and over by the Left is that radical Muslims constitute only a very tiny minority of the world's Muslims. I have yet to see, however, any evidence to support this assertion. By contrast, a recent article provided the results of numerous surveys that appear to debunk the tiny minority theory. For example:

"nearly 25% of British Muslims said the July 7, 2005, terror bombings in London, which killed 52 innocent commuters, were justified."

"Another 30% said they would prefer to live under strict Islamic Sharia law rather than England's democratic system."

"44% of Nigerian Muslims believe suicide bombing attacks are "often" or "sometimes" acceptable."

"Only 28% said they were never justified."

"roughly one-in-seven Muslims in France, Spain and Great Britain feel that suicide bombings against civilian targets can at least sometimes be justified to defend Islam."

"less than half of Jordan's Muslims believe terror attacks are never justified."

"In Egypt, only 45% of Muslims say terror is never justified."

"77.2% of Palestinians supported the kidnapping [of Cpl Gilad Shilat by Hamas], while 66.8% said they would back additional such attacks."

"More than six out of 10 Palestinians also said they were in favor of firing Kassam rockets at Israeli towns and cities."

"a survey conducted by Al-Jazeera asked respondents, "Do you support Osama Bin-Laden?" A whopping 49.9% answered: yes."

"a quarter of Jordanians, a third of Indonesians, 38% of Pakistanis and 61% of Nigerians all expressed confidence" in Osama bin Laden.

"In Lebanon… over 80% of the Lebanese population said they supported Hizbullah."

"a majority of Palestinians backed Hamas in parliamentary elections"

"10 percent of Indonesian Muslims…some 20 million Muslims in Indonesia alone…are willing to say out loud that they support the use of violence and terror against innocent human beings."

Read the rest in the Jerusalem Post.

The number of Muslims who are “radical” is certainly not the majority but neither is it a tiny minority. I’d say its time for the Left to put up—and support their assertions—or shut up! Their “tiny minority” nonsense keeps many Americans from understanding the severity of the threat.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Alleged U.N. corruption

The Associated Press is reporting new allegations of corruption at the United Nations including allegations of three million dollars skimmed from the U.N weather agency and the firing of an investigator.

Torture in Egypt

Since the United Nations, European nations and Leftists in general seem so concerned about the mistreatment of terrorists at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, why are they so silent about the humiliation, brutality and torture that is a regular part of Egyptian imprisonment? Excerpts of a recent Associated Press article appear below:
The footage is shocking: A man lies screaming on the floor of a police
station as officers sodomize him with a wooden pole.

Compounding the shock, it turns out that it was the police who made the
film, and that they then transmitted it to the cell phones of the victim's
friends in order to humiliate him.

Human rights activists say police brutality is deeply entrenched in
Egyptian life.

"Torture in Egypt is just routine, exerted on everybody whether in
political or criminal cases, and the police don't really feel any shame in
practicing it," said Mohammed Zarie, head of the Human Rights Center for the
Assistance of Prisoners.

Hafez Abu Saada, secretary general of the Egyptian Organization for Human
Rights, said his group reports some 400 cases of alleged police abuse a year. He
said 20 percent result in prosecutions, and convictions are much rarer.