Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Tu QuoqueOn Islam and the Crusades
Often, when I am criticizing crimes inspired by Islamic extremism, I am interrupted by the remark that Christianity was once culpable of similar abuses. That Christianity may have been intolerant in the past, however, does not make criticisms of Islam’s present-day intolerance any less valid. Also, Islamic intolerance is an immediate danger, whereas Christian intolerance is generally a historical phenomenon and no longer a threat to civilization. And Christendom’s crimes were recorded by Christians themselves—a stark contrast to our politically correct climate, in which many, especially Muslims, are reluctant to criticize Islam.
Still, one might point out Christianity’s historical shortcomings in order to avoid demonizing Islam alone. But this principle should work both ways: we should also avoid demonizing Christianity and be prepared to point out Islam’s shortcomings. In December 2008, Boris Johnson, mayor of London, presented a biased BBC program on the Crusades that laid the blame for them entirely on Christians. The program pointed out that after expelling the Moors from Spain, Christians converted a mosque into a church—an act of “vandalism.” However, it failed to note that the Crusades were a reaction against over 300 years of jihad and persecution of Eastern Christians, during which Muslims destroyed hundreds of churches and converted many others into mosques, including the magnificent Byzantine church Hagia Sophia.
Consider the situation in the Holy Land 100 years before Pope Urban II’s call in 1095 for a crusade to liberate it. It was part of the territory ruled by the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim, whose cruelties Christian and Muslim historians alike recorded. Fourteenth-century historian Ibn al-Dawadari tells us that al-Hakim destroyed the Church of Saint Mark in al-Fustat, Egypt (on the outskirts of modern-day Cairo), which Christians had built in defiance of a law forbidding new church construction. The al-Rashida mosque arose not only over the ruins of Saint Mark’s but also over Jewish and Christian cemeteries, surely an act of vandalism. But the height of al-Hakim’s cruelties was the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which, according to Muslim sources, began in September 1007. Also known as the Church of the Resurrection, this was possibly the most revered shrine in Christendom—considered not only Golgotha (or Calvary), where the New Testament says that Jesus was crucified, but also the place where he was buried and hence the site of the Resurrection. According to historian Moshe Gil, al-Hakim ordered that the Church of the Resurrection be torn down “to its very foundations, apart from what could not be destroyed or pulled up, and they also destroyed the Golgotha and the Church of Saint Constantine and all that they contained, as well as all the sacred gravestones. They even tried to dig up the graves and wipe out all traces of their existence.”
A new generation of Western medieval scholars has tried to rectify misconceptions about the Crusades. Historian Jonathan Riley-Smith has pointed out that “modern Western public opinion, Arab nationalism, and Pan-Islamism all share perceptions of crusading that have more to do with nineteenth-century European imperialism than with actuality.” Muslims, in particular, have developed what Riley-Smith calls “mythistories” concerning the putative injuries that they received at the crusaders’ hands. This is not to deny, of course, that the crusaders were responsible for outrages, including what is sometimes called the First Holocaust—the massacres of Jews that began in Worms on May 18, 1096, and continued into Mainz, where the Jewish community, one of the largest in Europe, was decimated. It is rather to say that the Crusades are misunderstood on multiple levels.
For one thing, they were not exclusively concerned with combating Islam. Pagan Wends, Balts, and Lithuanians; shamanist Mongols; Orthodox Russians and Greeks; Cathar and Hussite heretics; and those Catholics whom the Church perceived as its enemies—all were targets of the broader mission to extirpate heresy.Nor were the Crusades “thoughtless explosions of barbarism,” as Riley-Smith accurately characterizes their reputation today. They had a sophisticated underlying rationale, elaborated theologically by Christian nations threatened by Muslim invaders who had managed to reach into the heart of Europe—from central France in the eighth century to Vienna in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They were a response to the desecration of Christian shrines in the Holy Land, the destruction of churches there, and the general persecution of Christians in the Near East. A Crusade had to fulfill strict criteria for the Church to consider it legitimate and just. It had to be waged for purposes of repelling violence or injury, with the goal of imposing justice on wrongdoers. A Crusade was not to be a war of conversion but rather a rightful attempt to recover unjustly seized Christian territory..MORE>>
Thursday, November 12, 2009
One thing you can give our media Chattering Classes: They are utterly consistent. After Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on a roomful of defenseless people in Fort Hood, it was absolutely assured that we would immediately be told that this outrage had nothing to do with his Islamic faith and that it was not an act of terror. Then, as time went on and the bleedin' obvious became bleedin' obvious, we would spend all weekend enduring TV pundits scratching the $200 haircuts on their 88-cent heads and pondering the question of whether there might be some remote connection between Islamic belief and a guy who praises Muslim suicide bombers as heroes and martyrs, sits under the teaching of a Radical Islamic imam who praises his act of slaughter as heroic, uses his authority as a psychiatrist to proselytize vulnerable patients with Islamic agitprop, and dresses in traditional Muslim garb and shouts "Allahu akbar!" as he guns down his prey.
It was a spectacular display of deliberate willed stupidity by a media culture that demonstrates repeatedly it does not want to acknowledge that Islam tends to breed such acts of terror with startling frequency. And it was predictable because it happens every time some Islamic butcher opens up on innocent victims in the name of the Prophet. So, for instance, when a Koran-spouting Egyptian took it upon himself to butcher innocent people for the crime of flying on El Al, the initial twaddle from both the state and the media immediately assured us this was an "isolated incident" and that it had nothing to do with the crazy, bloodthirsty Islamic beliefs of the butcher who did it. Finally, after nearly a year of intensive study of the noses on their own faces, the FBI and CNN finally figured out that the murders were specimens of Islamic terrorism. Same deal with the guy in Seattle, who slaughtered a few Jews in the name of Allah some years back. We got the assurance from the media that this had nothing to do with Islam. Then they eventually tried the novel approach of opening their eyes to see the plain light of day. Good job, Sherlock.
Of course, that same media culture has absolutely no trouble painting Christians as dangerous fanatics (no doubt due to the roving gangs of gun-toting Methodists who shout "Jesus is Lord" as they blast away at defenseless people)...MORE>>
The only similitude when seeing school children singing the praises of an American president was, rightly so, the Frank Capra documentaries of German school children doing the same re: who-know-National-Socialist-who.
To see the statist swallowing of the American car companies - save the Bailey Saving and Loan (FORD) - was to see the way the Big Government of the Left is just and only a mirror image of the Big Business, fat-cat-itis of the Right.
Personally, I am grateful that I have an option, as do all men of good will. It is the Catholic Church. The earthly powers and principalities will never comprehend how a hierarchical entity such as Mother Church is anything but an anachronism. Never mind them.
It is the sole source of clarity, truth, goodness, and beauty. Let none dissuade you of this. Let the brave and glorious multitude - Tolkien, Schumacher, Chesterton, Girard, Merton, Day, Augustine, Dun Scotus, Belloc, Sheen, Seelos, Bailie, Pearce, Nybakke, Eden, Taylor, Campion, Moore, Shakespeare, Hendrix - be your comrades-in-arms.
We ARE the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.
Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.
"If the city requires this, we can't do it," Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Wednesday. "The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that's really a problem"..MORE>>
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
There is, however, no mention of any kind of equal or escalating violence in reaction to Mr. Hamid's behavior. Fear, yes, on the part of bystanders (or crouchers).
Note well: the founder of the Christian faith is modeled in non-retaliation. The founder of the Scimitar is modeled in the actions of Mr. Hamid. The scriptures of each substantiate both, respectively.
Father Mark reminds us of helpful ways to pray for the souls of the dead all of this month.
And do keep in mind that all of us will be in similar need eventually.
Lt. Col. Ralph Peters wants common sense and a facing of facts in the following interview:
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Tom Coburn is a Southern Baptist deacon, a family man married to a former Miss Oklahoma, a white-coated physician back in Muskogee who has delivered more than 4,000 babies and sees patients free of charge every Monday.
But there's a darker side of the story, something that Coburn, a Marcus Welby type in ostrich-skin boots, confesses is his less honorable side.
He's a member of the United States Senate.
"I would fire us all," Coburn says, blasting Congress, as he does every chance he gets, as a place populated by people who don't do a whole lot to make the country a better place.
"I don't get my identity from being a senator," said Coburn, 61, a Republican. "I may get some of it from being a doctor . . . a real honorable profession...
"The ground is shaking," Coburn said on a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, warning that America was at a "rendezvous" moment, sagging under trillions in debt.
It is Congress, he said, that is steering the American ship toward the disastrous shoals ...
"The country would be much better off if they kept us at home and not let us vote on anything."
Read it all ...
Monday, November 9, 2009
"Neo-pagan?" you may ask. "Is it not rather radical secularism in word and deed?"
No, it isn't. Only if one listens to its themes and self-justifying slogans. Observed through a cool, forensic lens of René Girard's mimetic theory, the structural behavior betrays its pagan pomp and ritual, right down to its Molech-like abortuarial cultus.
The other "pincer" attacking the remnants of the Christian West is, of course, the Scimitar. Again, it betrays its claims of "monotheism", let alone being a religion of "peace", by its necessary dependency upon victims for its sacrificial pyres of regeneration.
The two "pincers" are unlikely bedfellows, but both writhe and roil before the revealed faith, morals, and truths of the Church. Both hate (and secretly admire and desire in rivalry's side-long glances) what they can only reject, revile, and seek to destroy. Both are enslaved to this mission of destruction, for both house a collective mind trapped in mimetic rivalry to Catholic truth. As Robert Hamerton-Kelly describes this trapped mind:
“It is a mind enslaved. It desires not only to possess the other, but to consume or destroy. It wishes not only to imitate the other, nor merely to possess itself in the other, but to destroy the other as the place where the self is alien to the self.”
We really have no idea what we are up against unless we take a careful look at what is held theologically and what has happened historically in the Muslim world and its understanding of the world outside itself, which it calls the sphere of war. The voluntarism of Islamic thought enables it, apparently, to justify means of advancement that are by any reasonable or democratic standard immoral. Indeed, as Benedict noted in his “Regensburg Lecture,” this voluntarism and its invalidity stands at the intellectual root of Islam’s self-understanding.
Many western writers on Islam today, especially in explaining its violence, want to interpret this violence as somehow an aspect of western ideology, as if there were no roots of it in the sources of Islamic revelation itself. It is true that a number of modern Muslim thinkers were influenced by Lenin, Marx, or other revolutionary thinkers. There is a modern component. But there was violence in Islam’s expansion from its beginning.
Islam aggressively conquered large areas of the world, often ones ruled by unprepared Christians. Its methods of rule by tribute, second-class citizenship to the conquered, and isolation of subject groups are grim to contemplate. Much revolutionary Muslim theory and practice would want to rid Muslim lands of all foreigners who do not accept the Qur’an and its law. To a large extent, this exodus of non-Muslims from Muslim-controlled lands is happening. The Holy See has often sought to stem this tide, but one can hardly blame Christians and others from leaving such hostile environments while there is still time and still someplace to escape to.
The solution to the “problem” of Islamic violence, according to these same contemporary thinkers, is to “westernize” or “modernize” it. That is, make it something other than it conceives itself to be. While there may be some of this secularizing that is feasible—to “democratize” Islam—the drift is now decidedly in the other direction after the independence of Muslim states after both wars. Muslim states are under pressure of their own religious enthusiasm to reject overtures to modernity as contrary to Islam..MORE>>
In using the MSM and its apparent power to convince, these leaders wager that the Scimitar will become pacific, even though a millennium of violence against non-Scimitar peoples proves otherwise. But it also enervates and lowers people's legitimate defensive posture, causing wisdom to be doubted and clouding common sense judgment.
By legitimate defense I do not mean stockpiling weapons. I mean, as a former Boy Scout, "Being Prepared." All "have fallen short of the glory of God," of course. But when progressive revelation is not allowed, as in Jewish and Christian understanding of Scripture, and mandates to subjugate non-Scimitar peoples still stand, individuals, armies, nations, and all informed and enlightened by the Christian faith would do well to "Be Prepared."
Sunday, November 8, 2009
After all, the score is still 12-0. Or, 2,993+12-0 if one counts only the Twin Towers incident.
If one were wise, one would consider well Daniel Pipes' concept of Sudden Jihad Syndrome.
When a Muslim in the West for no apparent reason violently attacks non-Muslims, a predictable argument ensues about motives.Read all…
The establishment - law enforcement, politicians, the media, and the academy - stands on one side of this debate, insisting that some kind of oppression caused Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, to kill 13 and wound 38 at Ft. Hood on Nov. 5. [...]
Instances of Muslim-on-unbeliever violence inspire the victim school to dig up new and imaginative excuses. Colorful examples (drawing on my article and weblog entry about denying Islamist terrorism) include:
1990: “A prescription drug for ... depression” (to explain the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane)
1991: “A robbery gone wrong” (the murder of Makin Morcos in Sydney)
1994: “Road rage” (the killing of a random Jew on the Brooklyn Bridge)
1997: “Many, many enemies in his mind” (the shooting murder atop the Empire State Building)
2000: A traffic incident (the attack on a bus of Jewish schoolchildren near Paris)
2002: “A work dispute” (the double murder at LAX)
2002: A “stormy [family] relationship” (the Beltway snipers)
2003: An “attitude problem” (Hasan Karim Akbar’s attack on fellow soldiers, killing two)
2003: Mental illness (the mutilation murder of Sebastian Sellam)
2004: “Loneliness and depression” (an explosion in Brescia, Italy outside a McDonald’s restaurant)
2005: “A disagreement between the suspect and another staff member” (a rampage at a retirement center in Virginia)
2006: “An animus toward women” (a murderous rampage at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle in 2006)
2006: “His recent, arranged marriage may have made him stressed” (killing with an SUV in northern California in 2006)
"What happened to those men and women at Fort Hood had a horrible symbolism: Members of the best trained, best equipped fighting force on the planet gunned down by a guy who said a few goofy things no one took seriously. And that's the problem: America has the best troops and fiercest firepower, but no strategy for throttling the ideology that drives the enemy — in Afghanistan and in Texas."- Mark Steyn