Saturday, January 12, 2008

An Islamic Leo XIII - George Weigel

IT IS OFTEN SAID that "Islam needs a Reformation" -- that the world awaits an "Islamic Luther" or an "Islamic Calvin." This is a bit too easy, however, in terms of its close identification of the Reformation with the emergence of free societies in the West, and in its understanding of what ails politicized Islam. Rather than an Islamic Luther, Islamic reformers might better look toward the possibility of an Islamic Leo XIII ...

... Leo understood that the highly politicized idea of "tradition" that prevailed in much of nineteenth-century Catholicism was not, in fact, traditional, and that the political arrangements it favored -- such as the use of state power and authority to enforce the truth claims of the Church -- were not the only possible conclusion to be drawn from core Catholic theological premises. Leo XIII's retrieval of authentic Thomistic philosophy as a tool of social analysis led to a remarkable, evolutionary development of social doctrine in the Catholic Church, and eventually to the Second Vatican Council's historic Declaration on Religious Freedom, a high-water mark in the disentanglement of the Church from state power -- the disentanglement of sacerdotium from regnum. That process of retrieval and development, as distinct from rupture and revolution, is a model that can be recommended to genuine Islamic reformers today.
[Faith, Reason and the War Against Jihadism, pp. 67-68]

Liberal Fascism On The March

The new law signed by the Governator and now taking effect offers proof positive that human pride, disordered passions, and Gnostic arrogance can overwhelm, for a time, that which is obvious and natural.

Last Oct. 12, California’s Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a controversial Democratic-authored measure, SB 777, that subtly redefines how sexuality and gender may be taught and dealt with in public schools.

This law had been held in abeyance until this month while conservatives were given 90 days to collect signatures to qualify a June ballot referendum that would let voters approve or overturn it.

On Thursday (1/10/08), the referendum deadline, activists acknowledged that they had fallen short, gathering only 350,000 of the 433,971 signatures required.

With the new law in effect, said referendum supporter Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Family Impact, conservative groups will now advance a ballot initiative to replace the most troublesome language of the new law in California’s education code.

“San Francisco values should not be forced on every school district throughout the state,” England told Newsmax. Read all …

The Scimitar and Scalpel

Giraldus Cambrensis posts a talk from the German publication Welt Online:

You will not find the true face of Islam at the German Conference on Islam. You find it in countries like Pakistan. This Islam turns against all who don't live by the rules of the Koran - against democrats, against atheists and above all, against women. And the world watches in paralysis.


Koran and violence: Do they belong together?

Even if most Muslims do not admit it, terror belongs to the core dogma of Islam, it comes directly from the Koran. It turns against all who do not live and act according to the rules of the Koran, that is democrats, western inspired thinkers and scientists, against agnostics and atheists. And above all, it is directed directly against women. Islam is a tool in the hands of male traditionalists who strive with all might to prevent women from attaining equal rights and to free themselves from the yoke of the centuries.

[The true Islam, like you find it in countries like Pakistan], has started a world war. But the world behaves as if it knows nothing about it. Modern people are aware some conflict exists far away in the "back yards of Turkey". Unfortunately, in our modern networked world there is no "far away backyards" any more. There is only our "front door", and that's the place where things happen. The totalitarian intent of the Taliban and the terror cells is probably worse than that of fascism, it is not the result of a civilizing process. It exists in an environment where even the memory of civilized progress has ceased to exist. Read all …

The writer sees the rough outlines of two aspects of the primitive Sacred encased in cultural Islam: (1) the use of prohibitions to accrue new sacrificial victims for cultural and psychological renewal; and (2) the subjugation of women. One might argue that both these characteristics are post-lapsarian effects of Original Sin; the former observable in all conventional cultures, the latter an outgrowth of Genesis 3,16.

Post-modern Western culture is no better, as Mark Gordon observes recently in his Big Brother, Eh?. Insofar as the West is hellbent in its effort to cast out the effects of the Gospel in history, it has created a void into which is rushing the two-prong expressions of the primitive Sacred, dionysiac paganism and Islam. Feminism has not relieved subjugation of women, only replaced that of traditional societies with a newer, insidious version of it replete with child sacrifice.

It is yet to be seen if the consequential judgment that Israel faced and was warned of by its Prophets will be the fait accompli of the West.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ben Stein Takes On Hostile Atheism

Watch the trailer.

In my opinion, Stein is noticing, naming, and trying to confront the worsening level of scandal in the scientific research community. This is something of which many take notice, like Stein himself, but few know how to address. To do this, one must have revelatory knowledge borne of the Church and her saints, or the homespun wit and wisdom of a Flannery O'Connor, or, most exceptionally, the gift of René Girard's mimetic theory.

Having said this, let it be stated for the record that Girard, a son of the Church, would bow to the greater knowledge and magisterial wherewithal of the Catholicism, according to sources close to the great man. Indeed, again in my opinion, mimetic theory is a subset of the deposit faith; a true expression of the work of theology and anthropology in service to the Magisterium of Scripture and Tradition.

Even so, it is fun watching Stein clean the clock of Darwinian fundamentalists. Anyone want to watch? Anyone? Anyone?

It's the Theology, Stupid

Brussels Journal offers a top flight documentary entitled Islam: Wat U Moet Weten - What You Need To Know (Dutch subtitles if you need them). It features such notables as Robert Spencer, Bat Ye'or, Serge Trifkovic, Walid Shoebat and Abdullah al-Araby. A little long, but worth the watching.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Would That Include Churches?

Maybe we won't always have Paris. [h/t: Jihad Watch]

PARIS (AP) - French prosecutors are investigating a cryptic e-mail sent to an Islamic Web site urging attacks on the capital's mayor and its tourist sites, judicial officials said Wednesday.

The e-mail's sender and the site were not identified by the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. They said only that the message went to an Internet site run by Salafists, or Islamic fundamentalists.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said on RTL radio that authorities informed him of the threat Saturday.

''I am calm. I have the information I need and I have complete confidence in the work ... of police headquarters vis-a-vis security problems in general, terrorism in particular and finally the protection of the mayor of Paris,'' Delanoe said later on the TV station iTele.

The anti-terrorism section of the Paris prosecutor's office is overseeing the investigation by the French counterespionage agency known as the DST, the judicial officials said.

Better Alchemical Gnosticism Thru Surgery

Al seeking to become more Sal-like, sues Catholic hospital for denying him a breast-augmentation procedure. [h/t: Mark Shea]

Meanwhile, Paul McHugh, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, relates the problems such persons deal with in "Surgical Sex" at First Things.

Disordered passions want to deny the impeccable design of the Creator. Hubris desires to do modifications, alterations, and fabrications to the very beginning places of Natural Law and God-given paths in natural revelation and salvation. It is as though the train doesn't want to be hindered with railroad tracks anymore. They crimp his freedom and self-actualization. He wants to be free to go off the rails and do things his way. Ultimately, as C. S. Lewis pointed out, it is Thy way or my way.

The dude wants big chest bumpers. Why? To nurse a child? Probably not.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Peter Hitchens on Burgeoning Islam in UK

Peter (not his atheist brother) Hitchens opines on watching Britain become part of dar al-Islam.

One of the great puzzles of modern Britain is the political left's attitude to Islam.

Why should an atheist, sexual liberationist, morally relaxed liberal attack people such as me (as they do) for criticising Islam? They have nothing in common.

It is in fact quite simple.

The left will deal with any ally against conservative Britain. It thinks it can use Islam to further its ends, just as in the past it has allied itself with any anti-conservative, anti-patriotic cause that was going. But the alliance lasts only long enough to allow the Left to destroy what it doesn't like.

The trouble is, Islam is more serious and determined than any of the other people whom the left have sought to use for such purposes.

And so, while intending to dethrone Christianity and make this a secular society, the left now risks helping make this an Islamic society, which - if it comes to pass - will be profoundly hostile to everything the left wants.

These are the fruits of cynicism.

Read all …

UPDATE: Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali stands by his views - Telegraph.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Weigel - Three Sublessons

George Weigel gives three "sublessons" in Lesson Five of his new book, Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism:

(1) ... Fouad Ajami has written, "It was not an isolated band of young men who came America's way on 9/11. They emerged out of the Arab world's dominant culture and malignancies." Those malignancies have many sources; one of those sources is defective theology, and we deny that at our peril ...

(2) ... Poverty, in and of itself, doesn't turn men and women into jihadists. By the same token, however, (Walter) Laaqueur notes that "demographic growth and the incapacity of the Arab governments to find jobs for young people leaving the schools and graduating from the universities" has "contributed to the terrorist potential in the Arab world."

(3) Jihadism isn't caused by the fact of the State of Israel ... as Fouad Ajami writes, Israel is "the deadliest of all Arab alibis" in a political culture formed in part by an ideology of victimhood. Jihadists do not hate the West because of Israel, they hate Israel because it is part of the West -- hence, that standard jihadist trope, "Zionist-Crusaders" ...

The indictment of Israel is also ... an example of the "time-honored tradition in the Muslim world to put most or all of the blame [for] its failures on foreigners rather than on their own shortcomings." This disinclination "to engage in self-criticism" has one of its roots in Islamic supersessionism -- reasons for Muslim failure cannot be the result of any deficiencies in God's final revelation -- and helps explain why the fact and the success of Israel seem to so many Muslims to be the result of a vast global conspiracy against them.

It is an even greater folly not to take jihadist leaders like Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah with great seriousness when they pass sentence:
"Let the entire world hear me. Our hostility to the Great Satan [the United States] is absolute ... Regardless of how the world has changed after 11 September, 'Death to America' will remain our reverberating and powerful slogan: 'Death to America'."
Hassan Nasrallah was not speaking metaphorically. [pp. 56-58]

O Yeah, THIS Looks Like a Good Idea

Economist Gordon Dahl takes a stab at violence reduction by steady doses of slasher/gore films to the criminally violent and general populace:
Are movies like “Hannibal” and the remake of “Halloween,” which serve up murder and mutilation as routine fare, actually making the nation safer?

A paper presented by two researchers over the weekend to the annual meeting of the American Economic Association here challenges the conventional wisdom, concluding that violent films prevent violent crime by attracting would-be assailants and keeping them cloistered in darkened, alcohol-free environs.

Instead of fueling up at bars and then roaming around looking for trouble, potential criminals pass the prime hours for mayhem eating popcorn and watching celluloid villains slay in their stead.

“You’re taking a lot of violent people off the streets and putting them inside movie theaters,” said one of the authors of the study, Gordon Dahl, an economist at the University of California, San Diego. “In the short run, if you take away violent movies, you’re going to increase violent crime.”

Professor Dahl and the paper’s other author, Stefano DellaVigna, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, attach precise numbers to their argument: Over the last decade, they say, the showing of violent films in the United States has decreased assaults by an average of about 1,000 a weekend, or 52,000 a year.

Quirky. I'd love to know how he quantifies such "decreased assaults" -- mind reading? Precognition? Meanwhile, Mark Shea takes succinct exception in a related piece aptly entitled RUBBISH.

Mimetic theory agrees with Shea, not to mention mirror neurons. Such balderdash from an economist belongs in the bull-sessions of the undergrad dining room, not for publication. Lest someone actually take his advice seriously.

Barack Obama - Ex-Muslim or Not?

[h/t: IBA] While the level of discourse is not the highest, the questions posed are telling and important ones:

Catholic Preschool Shot Up

St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church found a disturbing sight over the weekend. The parish in the suburbs of Grand Rapids, Michigan found that a portable classroom and the back of the main building were hit nearly 50 times by rifle and shotgun blasts sometime late Saturday or early Sunday.
[h/t: New Oxford Review]

Local drunks with guns, joy riding and shootin' over the weekend? Perhaps. Or, perhaps a dry-run with a very specific sort of target in mind. More to come, but a mental experiment for those of you at home: How many blocks is it between the Grand Rapids Islamic Center and the shot-up Catholic preschool?

Monday, January 7, 2008

World Peace & Natural Law

Catholic World News reports that Natural Law was the theme of Benedict XVI's recent "state of the world" address.
World peace is possible only if it is "solidly anchored in natural law, given by the Creator," Pope Benedict XVI told the members of the Vatican diplomatic corps in a major address on January 7.

Early each year the Roman Pontiff meets with all the diplomats accredited to the Holy See. The annual address has become the equivalent of a "state of the world" speech, with the Pope offering a panoramic view of world events as seen from the Vatican's perspective.

[ ... ]

After giving a rundown of the world's trouble spots, Pope Benedict concluded that "the security and stability of the world are still fragile." To maintain a lasting peace, he said, world leaders must recognize natural law. "This is another reason why God can never be excluded from the horizon of man or of history," he said.

The Catholic Church will always defend the human rights based on natural law, the Pope reminded the assembled ambassadors. For that reason, he said, "I cannot but deplore once again the continual attacks perpetrated on every continent against human life."

Read all of the address.

The Big Lie & the Prelate

The "No-Go Zones" in England are a fact that is not disputed (albeit in the U. S. A., a steady stream of yahoos and patriots would be teaching No-Go Zoners the meaning of the word "cruising"). What apparently is disputable is one's right to talk about them. Particularly if one happens to be a bishop in the Church of England.

Adolf Hitler in his Mein Kampf explicated the the Big Lie -- something so egregious, so incredible that the hearers would not and could not believe that the speaker of the Big Lie would or could say such a thing unless it were true.

Enter Mohammed Shafiq:
Religious groups have demanded the resignation of the Bishop of Rochester after he claimed that Islamic radicals had turned parts of Britain into "no-go" areas for non-Muslims.

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali wrote in The Sunday Telegraph that fundamentalism had made some communities hostile to Christians and those from other faiths.

But Mohammed Shafiq, from the Ramadhan Foundation, said: "Mr Nazir-Ali is promoting hatred towards Muslims and should resign."

He tells the Big Lie. Namely, that Mr. Nazir-Ali is "promoting hatred toward Muslims" by seeing, recognizing, and telling the truth about No-Go Zones. Gladly, men of goodwill and lovers of truth and freedom see Shafiq's Big Lie, unless bamboozled by the mystification of the primitive Sacred. Sadly, Shafiq is sufficiently blind, deaf, and ignorant due to his presuppositions lodged as they are firmly in the Koran and, hence, the primitive Sacred, to believe his own Big Lie.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

John Paul II and Islam's Deity

Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments, and then reads the Qur'an, clearly sees the process by which it completely reduces Divine Revelation. It is impossible not to note the movement away from what God said about himself, first in the Old Testament through the Prophets, and then finally in the New Testament through His Son. In Islam, all the richness of God's self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the Old and New Testaments, has definitely been set aside.

Some of the most beautiful names in the human language are given to the God of the Qur'an, but He is ultimately outside of the world, a God who is only Majesty, never Emmanuel, God with us. Islam is not a religion of redemption. There is no room for the Cross and the Resurrection. Jesus is mentioned, but only as a prophet who prepares for the last prophet, Muhammad. There is also mention of Mary, His Virgin Mother, but the tragedy of redemption is completely absent. For this reason not only the theology but also the anthropology of Islam is very distant from Christianity.

-- Crossing the Threshold of Hope

No-Go Zones My *ss

Pardon the low level of discourse, but I truly wonder what Lord Acton, Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson -- let alone Hilaire Belloc, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Chesterton -- would say if they heard of "No-Go Zones" set aside for Mohammadens in ENGLAND.

If they tried this in the United States, I can guarantee it would be like catnip to any yahoos as well as men who love freedom within shouting range who, as Americans, will not put up with such affronts and restrictions: Islamic extremists have created "no-go" areas across Britain.

If those made blind by multiculturalist balderdash and naïveté do not awaken soon to what is taking place, the likes of James Pinkerton's Shire Strategy will no longer be a possible solution, given the rabbitine proliferation of West-hating Mohammadens in our midst.

UPDATE: Robert Spencer reports "Muslims call for 'no-go' CoE bishop to resign," by Caroline Gammell in the Telegraph