Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Martyr's Love-Letter

The Shootings of May Third 1808 - Goya

Zenit translated a letter from Bartolomé Blanco Márquez, one of the beatified martyrs killed during the Spanish civil war. It was written to his girlfriend. He was a leader of Catholic Action.

Provincial prison of Jaen, Oct. 1, 1936

My dearest Maruja:

Your memory will remain with me to the grave and, as long as the slightest throb stirs my heart, it will beat for love of you. God has deemed fit to sublimate these worldly affections, ennobling them when we love each other in him. Though in my final days, God is my light and what I long for, this does not mean that the recollection of the one dearest to me will not accompany me until the hour of my death.

I am assisted by many priests who -- what a sweet comfort -- pour out the treasures of grace into my soul, strengthening it. I look death in the eye and, believe my words, it does not daunt me or make me afraid.

My sentence before the court of mankind will be my soundest defense before God's court; in their effort to revile me, they have ennobled me; in trying to sentence me, they have absolved me, and by attempting to lose me, they have saved me. Do you see what I mean? Why, of course! Bec ause in killing me, they grant me true life and in condemning me for always upholding the highest ideals of religion, country and family, they swing open before me the doors of heaven.

My body will be buried in a grave in this cemetery of Jaen; while I am left with only a few hours before that definitive repose, allow me to ask but one thing of you: that in memory of the love we shared, which at this moment is enhanced, that you would take on as your primary objective the salvation of your soul. In that way, we will procure our reuniting in heaven for all eternity, where nothing will separate us.

Goodbye, until that moment, then, dearest Maruja! Do not forget that I am looking at you from heaven, and try to be a model Christian woman, since, in the end, worldly goods and delights are of no avail if we do not manage to save our souls.

My thoughts of gratitude to all your family and, for you, all my love, sublimated in the hours of death. Do not forget me, my Maruja, and let my memory always remind you there is a better life, and that attaining it should constitute our highest aspiration.

Be strong and make a new life; you are young and kind, and you will have God's help, which I will implore upon you from his kingdom. Goodbye, until eternity, then, when we shall continue to love each other for life everlasting. [HT: Holy Whapping]

Trancredo & Bill Murray - Before It's Too Late

Lest we lose one of our greatest assets in the struggle, recently Tom Tancredo aired an ad that confronted terrorism, open borders, immigration, and all the hot-button issues. It culminates in the phrase, "Tancredo. Before it's too late," which Jihad Watch calls "refreshingly direct." I will say the ice has been broken in the arena of public discourse, and that is good.

But I just can't help feeling that Tancredo's publicists are parodying this " I B C commercial" in Bill Murray's "SCROOGED" --

Friday, November 16, 2007

Waziristan, Pushtunwali, & "The Hardest People on Earth"

Stanley Kurtz discusses the books of Akbar Ahmed at The Claremont Institute website. It is an informative essay that looks at Waziristan, its tribesmen described as "physically the hardest people on earth," their honor system ("Pushtunwali"), and what this microcosm has to say to the question of how to meet and live in peace.

Kurtz concludes Tribes of Terror by saying, "In a sense, global Islam is now Waziristan writ large. (The author) Ahmed rightly spots tribal themes of honor and solidarity throughout the Muslim world—even in places where tribal social organization per se has receded. Literally and figuratively, Waziristan now seeks to awaken the tribal jihadist side of the global Muslim soul."

This is an essay at once interesting, informative, and unique in its perspective. For one with a predilection to the work of René Girard, there is a great deal of grist for the mill here. [HT: GA Blog]

In the Words of Jesus & Mohammad

Raymond Kraft juxtaposes a few things about the founders of the Catholic Church and Islam at Family Security Matters. I do not agree at all with his playing fast and loose with ecclesiology and, hence, soteriology, but overlooking those free-wheeling generalizations, his central message is worthwhile; namely:

Islam has a problem. That is, what we like to think of as peaceful, moderate, liberal Islam has a problem, one that won't go away. And that problem is Mohammed, the character of Mohammed, and the words of Mohammed, which are believed by Muslims to be the words of Allah, given by God to Gabriel, spoken by Gabriel to Mohammed, then recited by Mohammed, written down by various of his listeners, and over time, after the death of Mohammed, collected and compiled into what we now know as the Koran, the recitation by Mohammed of the words of Allah, the words of God.

The Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) and the Christian Bible, the New Testament, except for a few passages that specifically quote God, such as the Ten Commandments, or the sayings of Jesus, is believed by Jews and Christians to be inspired by God, but not the literal words of God. The Koran, however, is believed by devout Muslims to be the literal, inerrant, eternal, perfect, unchangeable words of Allah himself.

There are many Muslims who do see, and practice, Islam as a religion of peace, grace and mercy. And there are clearly many others who do not. Those who want Islam to be a religion of peace have a problem, a conflict, for they cannot follow the inerrant, eternal, unchangeable words of Allah, as recited by Mohammed, as written in the Koran, and also practice Islam as a religion of peace, justice, grace, and mercy, for the Koran demands eternal Jihad, never-ending war against the infidels, until Islam is victorious over all other religions, and all people submit to the supremacy of Islam.

To illustrate this, I will quote from the words of Jesus, and from the words of Mohammed. And it does not matter whether you are a Zoroastrian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, a Jew, Christian, Muslim, or Atheist, the difference between the words of Jesus and the words of Mohammed is stark. Continue reading …

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The World Needs Heroes

Archbishop Oscar Romero

The Archdiocese of New York has a new website: The World Needs Heroes. Isn't it the truth. [HT: New Advent]

If You're Not Baroque, You Have Monet

[Thanks to Atlas Shrugs and -- clearly -- Chopin]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Belloc Was Right

A seminal essay by Spengler, reviewing in his words, "a theological text by a Scots Dominican, ranked 133,692nd in recent Amazon sales, as the year's most important work on global strategy." He is talking about Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians by Fergus Kerr, but Spengler has some important points to make himself:
To win a gunfight, first you have to bring a gun, and to win a religious war, you had better know something about religion. America's "war on terror" proceeds from a political philosophy that treats radical Islam as if it were a political movement - "Islamo-fascism" - rather than a truly religious response to the West. If we are in a fourth world war, as Norman Podhoretz proclaims, it is a religious war. The West is not fighting individual criminals, as the left insists; it is not fighting a Soviet-style state, as the Iraqi disaster makes clear; nor is it fighting a political movement. It is fighting a religion, specifically a religion that arose in enraged reaction to the West.

None of the political leaders of the West, and few of the West's opinion leaders, comprehend this. We are left with the anomaly that the only effective leader of the West is a man wholly averse to war, a pope who took his name from the Benedict who interceded for peace during World War I. Benedict XVI, alone among the leaders of the Christian world, challenges Islam as a religion, as he did in his September 2006 Regensburg address. Who is Joseph Ratzinger, this decisive figure of our times, and what led the Catholic Church to elect him? Fr Kerr has opened the coulisses of Catholic debate such that outsiders can understand the changes in Church thinking that made possible Benedict's papacy. Because Benedict is the leader not only of the Catholics but - by default - of the West, all concerned with the West's future should read his book.

I do not view religion as an instrument for strategic ends. On the contrary: we are in a strategic crisis precisely because religion is not an instrument, but rather the expression of the existential requirements of humankind. Nonetheless, we are in a war, and war concentrates the mind wonderfully. Radical Islam threatens the West only because secular Europe, including the sad remnants of the former Soviet Union, is so desiccated by secular anomie that it no longer cares enough about its future to produce children. Muslims may form a majority in Russia by mid-century, and may dominate Western Europe 100 years hence. Without the demographic decay associated with the decline of religion, radical Islam would be a minor annoyance to the West rather than a deadly adversary. [HT: Real Clear Religion]
Continue reading …

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mark Steyn - Augean Stables Reporting

Our friend, Scott Dinsmore, put me on to a report on a talk given by Mark Steyn and a fine looking blog, Augean Stables (you know, Hercules’ 5th task – the stables, the merde?). From Steyn's talk:
The West is engaged in a world historical gamble on the power of cultural relativism to solve a series of civilizational dilemmas ... “Never again!” — one runs into this Holocaust slogan repeatedly in Europe, and yet somehow this pledge to the memory of the dead declined into hollow moral preening: “Never again power politics, never again nationalism, never again Fürhers…” The result — an inaction that closely resembles the policies of appeasement that made the first Holocaust possible, and could well lead to a second fascist take-over of Europe.
An important talk by Steyn. Commentary (in italics) by Landes equally important to read.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Scully, We've Got a Problem Here

Douglas Farah at Counterterrorism Blog sounds a vital warning in A Dangerous Transfer of Wealth. "Our inability to wean ourselves from foreign oil has long been providing the financing for groups and countries that want to eliminate us, including terrorist organizations fed from the oil-rich nations. Former CIA director R. James Woolsey has been trying to drive that point home for years. The irony of financing our own destruction seems lost on most policy makers."

It's a point I emphasize too in Functional Dhimmitude. United States legislators predicate their sense of stability on lethargy spawned in lobbyist dollars and sleeping-dog constituents. Politicians only become alarmed about anything when their office and/or income is threatened, period. Don't look for any change in oil dependency. It may not be CALLED dhimmitude, but it is, regardless of what congressional flatulence calls it.

If one sees a striking parallel to the X-files' cassandra-like cries of Mulder about aliens and the many bloggers trying to get the attention of what is going on in petrol-driven and funded jihad, so be it.

Why Muslims Follow Jesus

J. Dudley Woodberry is professor of Islamic studies at the School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena.
Between 1991 and 2007, about 750 Muslims who have decided to follow Christ filled out an extensive questionnaire on that basic question. The respondents -- from 30 countries and 50 ethnic groups--represent every major region of the Muslim world. (Copies of the questionnaire are available from The participants ranked the relative importance of different influences and whether they occurred before, at the time of, or after their decision to follow Christ. While the survey, prepared at Fuller Theological Seminary's School of Intercultural Studies, does not claim scientific precision, it provides a glimpse into some of the key means the Spirit of God is using to open Muslim hearts to the gospel.
Continue reading here. [HT: Real Clear Religion]

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Will Draw All Men to Myself

Good news, kids! Washington-based cleric, Abdul Alim Musa, is working toward 'Islamic State of North America' by 2050!
The paramount goal of the movement is the establishment of Islam as a complete way of life in America," his group declares. "This ultimate goal is predicated on the belief – shared by many Muslims worldwide – that Islam is fully capable of producing a working and just social, political, economic order."
The dream of world domination is one with ancient pedigree. From Alexander the Great to Adolf Hitler, this conquering spirit lives on with varying degrees of altruistic motives. In my Jungian-influenced days, I would have said there seems to be a marked proclivity for this conqueror archetype emerging among Muslim clerics like Musa and filtering through the semi-conscious masses of Islam. Sort of a "trickle down" theory of world domination. In this paradigm, the archetype finds a particularly permeable individual who, like the froth on a cauldron, gives voice to and vents this bile for the many. It looks like leadership, but it is really more like a pimple of a hypodermic boil (needing to be lanced, some would say).

More recently to my way of seeing and interpreting current events, René Girard's modality, the mimetic theory of cultural anthropology, would see such matters in terms of a small fish in a very large pond seeing the opportunity to step into the spotlight of public attention, gaining his "fifteen minutes of fame" (Warhol) and a sizable dose of "ontological density" (deLubac) by means of our deepest template of human culture, the primitive Sacred. With Muslim clerics, it is a tailor-fit suit -- or set of robes -- since Islam was born in the crucible of the primitive Sacred. They feel exceptionally righteous making such bold statement, for Islam's founder, the Prophet, looked up from his cave and saw the way Christendom had "conquered" the world that he knew. He forthwith had a "revelation" and, with scimitar in hand, set out to do the same thing. His followers have been following this template ever since. Imam Musa, hence, is doing the same old same old.

Funny thing, though. Christendom never had a founder who said anything about conquering the world for God. He said, rather, "...when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself" [Jn 12, 32]. The empire of the Christians that Mohammed looked up, saw, and has led his followers to imitate, was won not by the sword, but the Word.

I'm afraid Imam Musa, and the plethora of other Muslim leaders planning, plotting, and leading with scimitar, bomb, and Koran in-hand will never -- never -- conquer the world. Indeed, I'll lay my last penny that their offspring one day, too, will be "drawn" to the Word made flesh as so many have been. But in the mean time, vigilant practice of the virtues is the order of the day, gentlemen, knights, and squires. Vigilant practice of the virtues.

Fjordman Quotation

I don't agree with everything Fjordman thinks or says, but with this I fully agree:
"Christians need to understand that there can be no peace or understanding with the Islamic world. They want to subdue us, pure and simple. Church leaders of all denominations, Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, must stop stabbing Israel in the back and campaigning for a de facto open borders policy while Muslims are threatening to swamp our lands. Yes, Christianity teaches compassion, but it also teaches identifying evil and standing up to it. . ."
What Fjordman deplores is a prime indicator of any conventional religion, anthropologically speaking. Many argue that an extremely violent faction is “hot-wiring” Islam and growing in number (Daniel Pipes). I tend to think Islam is inherently part and parcel with the primitive Sacred, as René Girard has explicated religion in cultural anthropological terms. Its origins are violent, attributing it to their deity’s wishes, and ritually substantiating itself through blood, vengeance, and a vast thirst for transcendence left by the vacuity of secular society.

The latter accounts for the quick gains in new members — the false transcendence and fascination with violence. In the West, this false transcendence is seen in such “entertainment” as “Saw IV” and other inexplicable phenomena — inexplicable except by Girard’s reading of conventional religious experiences of violent origins.

True transcendence is to be found in the Judeo-Christian biblical faith, which Islam mimicks and hates, all at the same time — but is utterly dependent upon in rivalry and negative imitation. The vapid, dry, secular West is primed and ready for Islam's form of the false transcendence; vast numbers have already converted to postmodern nihilism's form already. The Church offers an alternative -- the only Alternative -- at the heart of which is perfect revelation of the true nature of God in Jesus Christ and him crucified. Which shall it choose?

Secular Vacuity - 0 Radical Islam - 1

From the Desk of Brussels Journal, an op/ed piece the better I have not found: Why Secularism Is No Match for Radical Islam. I'm talking highlight, save, print, and reread slowly later on material here. Read for yourself, man, unless you're too toked out. And, by the way, please recall that the primitive Sacred comes in two predominant modes today: the postmodern nihilistic and Islamic. These are two sides of the same coin, structurally. Find the victims of both, and you see their human sacrificial altars.