Once terribly divided, Jews and Christians are finding a new unity as the walls between them are coming down. Why is this happening? Primarily for two reasons.
Number one because Christians seem to be the only ones standing with Israel these days. As Avi Lipkin says, “Jews are finding that Christians are our only friends.”
Number two because of the mutually held concern over the violation of religious freedom that is increasing in America, Jews are standing with Christians over the assault against Christmas, and the rise of discrimination against Christianity — something they understand well.
Rabbi Aryeh Spero of Caucus for America has talked on our show about what’s at stake in the battle over Christmas, and why Jews need to speak up for Christmas. His articles on the subject are worthy reads, such as This Christmas Don’t Let Them Turn Off the Lights,
Once Upon a Time When Americans Had Christmas and Our Battle for the Soul of America.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
It's the episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie that I missed. The one where the father is so angry with his teenage daughter for not wearing the hijab that he strangles her to death. Perhaps it will be in the special features section of the DVD version, released just in time for the holiday that used to be known as Christmas, but not any longer because the word might hurt someone's feelings.
Not that we know why, or even if Muhammad Parvez killed his 16-year-old daughter Aqsa last week in Mississauga, Ont. But we do know that he has been charged with the crime and that friends told reporters there had been terrible arguments about Aqsa's refusal to wear Islamic head covering and that she wanted a different path from that of her family ...
Only a bigot would argue that every Muslim was violent or opposed to Western freedom. But only a coward or a liar would argue that there was not a profound and deeply worrying link between conservative Islam and myriad acts of terror, intolerance and hysterical anger.
It is not I who say this but the countless Muslims who take to the streets at the drop of a cartoon to scream for blood and war; or the Muslims who preach jihad in North America and Europe, where they enjoy open societies founded on Christian enlightenment.
They may represent a minority, but the harm they do is incalculable. This dysfunctional venom does not come from Christian, Jew, Hindu or Buddhist and fatuous relativism will only blind the foolish. It is time for free discussion in this free country, whether it offends or not. Read all. [HT: Real Clear Religion]
If you think the kerfuffle over the jerseys of the Istanbul team Fenerbahce has shown the thin-skin of Muslims over apparel, just remember this:
Iraqis shot 'for wearing shorts'
The men were stopped in their vehicle in southern Baghdad
Coach Hussein Ahmed Rashid and players Nasser Ali Hatem and Wissam Adel Auda were killed in the al-Saidiya district of the capital.
Witnesses said the three were dressed in shorts and were killed days after militants issued a warning forbidding the wearing of shorts. Read all of “Shot for Wearing Shorts.”
Friday, December 14, 2007
Such ad hoc priests, or imams as the case may be, are filled with self-righteousness, certainty, and gravitas availed these days only by the Sacred devoid of influence by the Gospel. It happens either in arenas of human experience where the Gospel never has had influence, like that of Islam, or where formerly influenced areas -- like the secular West -- have given up, gone to seed, "gone native" to pre-Christian influence.
Islam is a highly structured system that allows for the primitive Sacred to work surreptitiously using its jargon and devotional practices to laud such ad hoc priests of the primitive Sacred. Neo-pagan resurgence in the formerly Gospel-influenced West has no such structure and devotional practices. Therefore, such ad hoc priests find it easy to direct these loose-cannon Sacred impulses into their pre-existent Islamic forms and formalities. It is, nonetheless, the primitive Sacred's hallmark need to victimize that is the tell-tale feature to note.
Does this mean Islam is, ipso facto, part and parcel with the primitive Sacred? I have argued in the past that it is. Period. End of story. I am no longer so certain that it is. But until the spirit that drives the biblical faiths of Judaism and Christianity convinces and convicts Muslims to confront this predilection for violent exercise of the primitive Sacred within its ranks, it does not matter one way or the other. It remains a deadly foe to all that is true, good, and beautiful in the world just like the primitive Sacred. And men of goodwill must stand up against its violent and satanic ways.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
1. Not here in an animal's dish
2. Smack the Passageways
3. Move and speak towards the elevated plains
4. Yahweh sleep you happy dudes
5. Hey! The #1 angelic beings belt it out.
6. It showed up on a cloudless 12 at night
7. Shaking Chimes
8. Happiness to the planet
9. 12-25 shrubbery song
10. Get here if you're reliable
11. Like a strainer + time when the sun is down
12. Small city of Christ's birth song
13. Quiet non-day
14. The premier not 12th letter of the alphabet
15. XII 24hrs. of 12-25
16. Not down on the roof of the home
17. Us Trio that�s royalty from China (exist)
18. Us dream not us a happy December 25th
19. Spill the 411 on the baby
20. Small percussionist lad
21. Tim Allen's movie character will appear in a hood
22. Song about a hoofed animal with a crimson schnozola
23. Chilled the crystallized H20 male
24. Don't stop the winter precipitation
25. Traversing in a 4th season amazing country
St. Francis of Assisi answered: "It seems to me that you have not read the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in its entirety. In fact it says elsewhere: "if your eye causes you sin, tear it out and throw it away" (Mt 5 , 29). With this, Jesus wanted to teach us that if any person, even a friend or a relative of ours, and even if he is dear to us as the apple of our eye, we should be willing to repulse him, to weed him out if he sought to take us away from the faith and love of our God. This is precisely is why Christians are acting according to justice when they invade the lands you inhabit and fight against you, for you blaspheme the name of Christ and strive to turn away from his worship as many people as you can. But if you were to recognize, confess, and worship the Creator and Redeemer, Christians would love you as themselves instead"."
["Verba fratris Illuminati socii b. Francisci ad partes Orientis et in cospectu Soldani Aegypti", Codex Vaticanus Ott.lat.n.552]
The new atheists are quite right to see the threat of theocracy in Islamism. But in attacking all religion, they are like the French government which banned not only the wearing of the headscarf in schools, but the wearing of all religious insignia whatsoever, despite the fact that wearing a Star of David or a crucifix has and had a completely different social signification from wearing a headscarf. In the name of non-discrimination, the French government failed to discriminate properly: and proper discrimination is, or ought to be, practically the whole business of life. If there were large numbers of Christians or Jews who were in favour of establishing a theocracy in
, who had a recent record of terrorism, and who terrorised each other into the wearing of crucifixes and Stars of David, then the banning of those insignia would have been justified too. The wearing of the headscarf should be permitted again when Islam has become merely one personal confession among others, without the political significance that it has now. France
In attacking all religion so indiscriminately, the atheist authors are, I am sure inadvertently and unintentionally, strengthening the hand of the Islamists. In arguing, for example, that for parents to bring up a child in any religious tradition, even the mildest of Anglicanism, is to abuse a child, with the natural corollary that the law should forbid it (for how can the law permit child abuse?), some of the authors are giving ammunition to the Islamists, who will be able with justice to say to their fellow-religionists, See, it is all or nothing. If you give the secularists an inch, they will take a mile. No compromise with secularism is possible, therefore; cleave unto us.
Islamism is a worthy target, of course, but by now one that has been pretty well aimed at (though I recommend very strongly the forthcoming book from Encounter Books, Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan, by Caroline Fourest). To suggest, however, that all forms of religion are equal, that they are all murderous and dangerous, is not to serve the cause of freedom and tolerance. It is to play into the hands of the very people we should most detest; it is to hand them the rhetorical tools with which they can tell the gullible that our freedoms are not genuine and that our tolerance is a masquerade. It is to do what I should previously have thought was impossible, namely in this respect to put them in the right. Read all.
If the above seems somehow related to the neo-pagan recrudescence going apace in the West, your antennae don't need adjusting. You are simply picking up the signals of the two most prominent expressions of the primitive Sacred in today's world. Dark days. Dark days indeed.
By the way, Mark Steyn who is gifted with a Chestertonian wit and sangfroid under persecution, lays out the muddle that is the “case” against him by Islamofascista and crack-pot human rights commission types. It is one thing to seek peace and justice from a Thomist perspective. It is quite another and more sinister to do so from a vacuous secularist one caught in the downward spiral of the sacrificial vortex.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
"Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection?" The Blessed Virgin Mary spoke these words to an Indian merchant on December 12, 1531, during the last of her several appearances to him. It is quite probable that one of the consequences of these apparitions was the prevention of an armed revolt of the Mexican Indian population against their Spanish conquerors. Another was the greatest mass conversion to Christianity in the history of the Church.
Today, we are being told that there is a "clash of civilizations" between the Western and Islamic worlds. Few people, however, are asking if the Mother of God can help prevent this clash from becoming cataclysmic. Continue reading …
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
See also Bomb & A Burqa – Two Bits as well as 600 Pound Gorilla.
Monday, December 10, 2007
I may grow tired of saying it, but Islam is structurally part and parcel with the primitive Sacred limned with great alacrity by René Girard, Gil Bailie, and others. Ostensibly it claims revelation that supersedes both Judaism and Christianity; surreptitiously, Islam is a petulant, chip-on-its-shoulder "negative imitation" of both, always cocking an eye to see its model-rival in near-hilarious attraction/revulsion ... if it weren't so murderous.
But like all conventional expressions of the primitive Sacred, Islam cannot let go of its primary motivating force: the religious dread and awe of needing victims -- yes, human victims. Girard calls this essential element of conventional religion, anthropologically speaking, the "single victim mechanism" (Robert Hamerton-Kelly calls it the "Generative Mimetic Scapegoating Mechanism," and with good reason, but I won't get into all that now).
Needless to say, if the duck walks and talks and looks like a practitioner of human sacrifice, it is a form of quacking paganism. Period. Judaism long ago had to be pulled out of it -- ask the Major and Minor Prophets. Christianity has always ruefully dabbled in it, enjoying a good Sunday afternoon hangin' on the town square. But both listen to a biblical Spirit that says an unequivocal "NO!" to it as a raison d'etre.
There is too much gathering evidence that Islam is far, far away from such an unequivocal message. Especially when Mum and Dad want to take the daughter out back and slit her throat unless stopped by the authorities. UPDATE: And again, only a “successful” murder of a daughter.
Lee Smith, on the other hand, in The Weekly Standard (6/26/06) reminds us that the "Arab habit of blaming everything on the United States, or Israel, or the West in general, strikes many observers as evidence of faulty logical processes, or an abdication of basic political responsibility. But it is also part of an unspoken ceasefire pact--a reminder among Arabs that they have agreed not to attack each other and will focus their energies on external enemies in order to keep the peace at home." [HT: Daniel Pipes] This is the truest indicator of the nature of Islam in realpolitik -- recourse to the "lowest common denominator" of scapegoating as social cohesion.
May the day never come when America relinquishes and extinguishes the "moral power of American ideals" that rest squarely on the faith and morals of the Christian faith. For if it does, then our greatest foe will truly have conquered, and all that is best about the Shire will be lost.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
The collusion, the enabling, the dysfunctional behavior that passes for normalcy in postmodernity's oil-sated idolatry will not pass easily for any of us. Fortunately, Honda has the wherewithal to withstand the kind of big-time pressure that the oil industry and Detroit will bring to bear. I hope.
Will we live to see the end of the exportation of Middle Eastern oil and petro-financed dhimmitude and terrorism? Maybe. If Ford and General Motors get their a**es in gear and follow suit instead of negotiating with extensions with petrol-financed terrorists and American oil panderers and pimps.
Mumin Salih: "History will acknowledge the contributions made by the Americans, Europeans, Russians and other nations to [aviation]. History will also record the only contribution made by Muslims to aviation, which is to crash the planes and kill their passengers. Muslims happen to be the only group to perfect this art of crashing commercial planes to kill innocent, helpless civilians. Their list of achievements includes:
- "In 1967 they introduced to the world professional hijacking; a Palestinian group hijacked an Israeli Boeing 707 to Algeria.
- "In 1970 they introduced multiple plane hijacking when they hijacked, then exploded four commercial planes in a Jordanian desert.
- "In the 1980s they perfected the art of planting explosives in electronic devices such as cassette players. They successfully exploded a jumbo jet over Scotland killing hundreds of civilians.
- "In September 2001 humanity witnessed with disbelief how a group of dedicated Muslims hijacked four commercial planes and crashed them into buildings killing thousands of innocent civilians.
- "[In December 2001, they introduced the shoe bomb.]
- "In 2006 they introduced the use of liquid explosives.
"As the world continues improving in aeroplane designs to give us even better, more reliable and safer aeroplanes, Muslims work in the other direction and continue their own destructive innovation." ("Muslims and Air Travel," islam-watch.org, August 11, 2006)
What one sees in this tempest from a Girardian point of view is the way Henley's accusation, while ostensibly lending one of the Left's usual holier-than-thou social justice pronouncements, actually obfuscates and confuses in service to the need to find a certifiable bad-guy; namely, Mark Steyn. Henley thinks he's got a live one and is so busy pointing at what he thinks is Steyn's "frank bigotry" that he missed the fact that Steyn was quoting Mullah Krekar, who said in Oslo's newspaper Dagbladet in 2006:
"Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children ... Our way of thinking will prove more powerful than yours."
The farther one descends into the sacrificial vortex, the more facts become malleable, murky, difficult to muster with accuracy even while one feels an abundance of righteousness and certitude. Indeed, accuracy doesn't even matter, so long as we all agree and shout loud enough. In the realm of the primitive Sacred -- even in its postmodern neopagan expression -- reason sans faith and morals is seen for what it is: a construct of the primitive Sacred and just another way to feed fallen humanity's sacrificial appetite. "It goes without saying" that Steyn was being a bigot, right? Wrong.
Instead of liberation from sin, all efforts today are focused on liberation from regret over sin; instead of fighting against sin we fight against the idea of sin, replacing it with something very different, namely, "guilt feelings." We do precisely that which in every other sphere is considered the worst thing of all, that is, we deny the problem rather than resolve it, we push back and bury evil in the unconscious instead of removing it.
It is similar to believing that we can eliminate death by eliminating the thought of death, or worrying about bringing down the fever rather than curing the sickness when the fever is only a providential revelatory symptom of the sickness. St. John says that if we claim to be without sin, then we deceive ourselves and we make God a liar (cf. 1 John 1:8-10); God, in fact, says the contrary, he says that we have sinned.
Scripture says that Christ "died for our sins" (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3). If you take away sin, then Christ's redemption itself is made futile, you have destroyed the meaning of his death. Christ would then have been tilting at windmills, he would have spilled his blood for nothing. Read all …