Thursday, October 16, 2014
Some Christians are promoting death for Muslims
An amusing rant from a Leftist atheist below. He fulminates at great length about a small number of Christians who want to take the battle to Muslims but says that Muslim sadism, terrorism etc is no cause for action. Why? Because "They can't invade us, occupy us, or overthrow our government. They pose no existential threat to America or to the world". Tell that to the Kurds and the Yazidis!
So he is quite relaxed about a vast and merciless barbarism that is right now taking lives on a large scale while being very censorious about a bit of trash talk from nobodies. Very Leftist
He is right that what YHWH commanded of the Israelites when they took Canaan is similar to what Jihadis think they are doing today. He fails to mention however that Mohammed took a lot of his thinking from the Bible and that is one part of it. Christians and Jews have however almost entirely outgrown those ideas whereas Muslims have not. Theologically, the settlement of the land of Israel was a one-off event, not any kind of precedent for other times and places
A leading Evangelical magazine is calling for the destruction of Islam. It's not the outlier we might like to think. Recently, Charisma magazine, a major media outlet for evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, published an open call to genocide. The article in question, titled "Why I Am Absolutely Islamaphobic" [sic] and written by Gary Cass, begins with the premise that "every true follower of Mohammed" wants to "subjugate and murder" non-Muslims, and therefore it's impossible for Christians to live together peacefully with them.
Cass proposes three solutions to this problem. One is for Muslims to undergo mass conversion to Christianity; the other is mass deportation combined with eugenics - either "force them all to get sterilized" or kick them out of America "like Spain was forced to do when they deported the Muslim Moors." But he says both of these plans are unlikely to work, so "really there's only one" solution, which is:
Violence: The only thing that is biblical and that 1,400 years of history has shown to work is overwhelming Christian just war and overwhelming self defense.
Notice Cass' statement that war has been "shown to work" by "1,400 years of history." The only thing he could be referring to is the Crusades (presumbly beginning with the Spanish Reconquista, around 700 AD), which often entailed the massacre of civilians in captured areas. Most of us know the Crusades as a bloody and barbaric era in our history and think that a repeat is something to be avoided at all costs, but Cass is openly cheering the idea.
"Overwhelming self defense" is another bizarre and disturbing contradiction in terms. By definition, anything more than the minimum amount of force to stop an imminent threat isn't self-defense. The idea that self-defense requires waging "overwhelming war" on entirepopulations, rather than against specific aggressors, is the hallmark of paranoid and racist fantasies which believe civilization is under threat by "the other" and must be protected at all costs.
Like many deluded, macho wannabe crusaders, he fantasizes about the collapse of society, urging his readers to buy guns and form militias:
First trust in God, then obtain a gun(s), learn to shoot, teach your kids the Christian doctrines of just war and self defense, create small cells of family and friends that you can rely on if some thing catastrophic happens and civil society suddenly melts down.
Finally, he closes with a bloodcurdling statement that can only reasonably be interpreted as a call for genocide against Muslims:
Now the only question is how many more dead bodies will have to pile up at home and abroad before we crush the vicious seed of Ishmael in Jesus’ Name? …May we be willing to take the lesser pains now so our children won’t have to take greater pains later.
Notice, again, that he envisions "pil[ing] up" dead bodies, and not just "abroad", but also "at home." Most assuredly, the irony of this escapes Cass, but he himself is advocating exactly the same thing as what he accuses his enemies of wanting. He wants to subjugate or kill Muslims (with either mandatory sterilization and deportation, or "overwhelming war"). Most chilling, he calls this the "lesser pains" and says it's necessary so that we won't have to take even more drastic actions later.
After facing a storm of criticism from both Christians and atheists, Charisma pulled Cass' article down. But there's no explanation, no retraction, no apology; the original link now just goes to a 404 error page. Rather than reflect on what that led them to consider this piece reasonable to publish in the first place, or acknowledge they were wrong to run it and say what they'll do differently in the future, they chose to flush it down the memory hole, to try to pretend it never happened. (It's still available at its author's personal website, where it's prefaced with a banner that reads "Why We Cannot Coexist" - further proof that he's advocating violence against Muslims in general and not merely those who commit acts of terrorism).
Cass is by no means the first or the only Christian to defend genocide. Phil Robertson (star of the reality TV show Duck Dynasty) appeared on Sean Hannity's show recently to argue that we should either "convert them or kill them", referring to ISIS. Ironically, this is exactly the choice that ISIS offers to religious minorities under their dominion - either convert to their brand of Islam or die. Robertson, like Cass, is the mirror image of the radical theology he claims to despise.
The roots of this genocidal mindset come from the Bible itself. In the Old Testament, after the Israelites escape from Egypt, they arrive at the promised land only to find that it's already populated by the Canaanites and other pagan peoples. What follows, according to the biblical book of Joshua, is a campaign of slaughter in which God instructs his people to invade and massacre everyone already living there:
“When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; and when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.” —Deuteronomy 7:1-2
And, according to the Bible, God's people did as they were instructed:
"And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain… So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded." -Joshua 10
Prominent Christian apologists such as William Lane Craig have defended these ghastly verses, arguing that if God commands you to do it, you're justified in committing any act of violence, up to and including the slaughter of helpless men, women and children. (In fact, Craig argues that the most morally troubling part of this is the psychological toll that would have been inflicted on the Israelite soldiers who were tasked with carrying out the mass execution.) As we see with Cass, this genocidal, God-is-on-our-side mindset isn't purely a matter of ancient history, but continues to inform the beliefs and ideas of Christians today.
Of course, there's no question that Islamic terrorism does exist. Groups like ISIS are extraordinarily violent and brutal. Moreover, they seem to take sadistic glee in broadcasting proof of their own atrocities, like the killings of journalists. But in the final accounting, they're no more than a bunch of thugs with guns. They're no match for America's military. They can't invade us, occupy us, or overthrow our government. They pose no existential threat to America or to the world. But they count on us overreacting, lashing out with disproportionate and irrational panic (which is, after all, why they're called "terrorists" - they seek to accomplish their aims by creating terror).
Meanwhile, mundane, ordinary, everyday gun violence kills more Americans every year than international terrorism ever has or ever will.
If ISIS and similar groups are a threat to anyone, they're first and foremost a threat to other Muslims, who've suffered the most from their ruthless and violent quest to impose a harsh theocratic state. But, again, the starkly black-and-white worldview of American fundamentalists doesn't allow for this kind of nuance. In their eyes, all Muslims think and believe the same way, want the same things, and are all equally and irredeemably evil. Conversely, they believe all true Christians are good and righteous by definition. Good and evil, in the worldview of both Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, has no relation to your actions; it's solely a matter of whether you profess allegiance to the right side.
More Than 1,800 Pastors Advocate For Political Speech Rights in Church
There's plenty of political speech in universities courtesy of the taxpayer so why not in churches courtesy of the taxpayer too
So far this year, more than 1,800 pastors across the United States have participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, an annual event hosted by Alliance Defending Freedom that advocates for pastors’ right to speak on politics from the pulpit without fear of losing their churches’ tax exempt status.
Pulpit Freedom Sunday, which started Oct. 5 and runs through Election Day on Nov. 4, first began in 2008 with only 33 participating pastors.
So far this year, Alliance Defending Freedom, the Arizona-based Christian activist group that started the event, reported pastors in more than 1,500 churches in all 50 states and Puerto Rico have preached sermons “representing biblical perspectives on the positions of electoral candidates” since the event began nearly two weeks ago.
Another 242 pastors have signed a statement declaring that “the IRS should not control the content of a pastor’s sermon,” the ADF stated.
ADF Legal Communications Director Kerri Kupec explained the event is a nationwide protest of the Johnson Amendment, a provision in the U.S. tax code which states that pastors of churches who fall under the federal government’s 501(c)(3) non-profit tax exemption cannot expressly endorse or oppose political candidates.
Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code states, “Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes” may qualify for tax-exempt status, provided that “no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
The restriction on political endorsements was first proposed by former-President and then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and added to the tax code in 1954.
According the Internal Revenue Service's online explanation of the restrictions for non-profit groups, churches are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”
The IRS adds churches are restricted from “voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.”
But Kupec maintains that the language in the Johnson Amendment is vague and opens the door for the federal government to monitor and restrict pastors from speaking on biblical issues during sermons under the guise of enforcing restrictions on political speech. These restrictions, she said, ultimately curb a pastor’s First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.
“Pastors do not surrender their First Amendment free speech rights when they take the pulpit,” Kupec explained.
“If you use that language [in the law], it’s whatever that means,” Kupec continued. “And no one knows what that means. There aren’t any guidelines. There aren’t any parameters set out.”
Kupec added the law creates an environment of fear for many pastors who are “afraid to cross some invisible line” when it comes to talking about politically sensitive issues, such as marriage and abortion, which may be linked to a particular candidate’s platform.
“There’s been a history of vague and unequal enforcement throughout the years of this Johnson amendment,” she said. “It’s been used as this tool of intimidation, almost this cloud of bullying. But nobody really knows what that line is, so the knee-jerk reaction is to not say anything, because [pastors] are afraid. And the IRS knows this.”
The ultimate goal of Pulpit Freedom Sunday, which has had more than 3,800 participants since its inception in 2008, is to eventually challenge the Johnson Amendment in court, Kupec said.
“The goal of the event is to get pastors to exercise their constitutional rights, and if the IRS decides that they’ve crossed some line and they decide to pursue some action against them, we’re here to represent those pastors in the court,” she explained. “It’s a way of getting the Johnson Amendment into the court, because it’s an unconstitutional amendment.”
Kupec said ADF has drafted a “legislative fix” for the amendment that clarifies what pastors can and cannot say from the pulpit without risking their church’s tax-exempt status, thus eliminating any gray area currently surrounding the issue. But the end goal, she explained, is to win pastors the same freedom of speech behind the pulpit as they would have anywhere else – including the ability to speak on specific candidates.
“Ultimately, they shouldn’t not be able to speak freely from the pulpit,” Kupec said.
But the event is not without its critics, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist watchdog group that recently filed a lawsuit against the IRS for allegedly not enforcing the current restrictions against political endorsements in churches.
In a news release published on the FFRF’s website, the secular group accused ADF of “inciting illegal acts” and “treating church pastors like pawns” through the Pulpit Freedom Sunday event
"Churches and their pastors are not above the law,” said FFRF co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor in a news release on the group’s website. “Ministers who claim to be moral leaders should realize it's not only illegal for tax-exempt groups to endorse political candidates, it's unethical. It's an abuse of the public trust."
The news release said FFRF has been “given assurances” that the IRS has “authorized procedures and ‘signature authority’ to resume initiating church tax investigations and examinations.”
Goodbye Columbus, Goodbye America
Columbus may have outfoxed the Spanish court and his rivals, but he is falling victim to the court of political correctness.
The explorer who discovered America has become controversial because the very idea of America has become controversial.
There are counter-historical claims put forward by Muslim and Chinese scholars claiming that they discovered America first. And there are mobs of fake indigenous activists on every campus to whom the old Italian is as much of a villain as the bearded Uncle Sam.
Columbus Day parades are met with protests and some have been minimized or eliminated.
In California, Columbus Day became Indigenous People's Day, which sounds like a Marxist terrorist group's holiday. While it's tempting to put that down to California political correctness, in South Dakota it was renamed Native American Day.
The shift from celebrating Columbus' arrival in America to commemorating it as an American Nakba by focusing on the Indians, rather than the Americans, is a profound form of historical revisionism that hacks away at the origins of this country.
No American state has followed Venezuela's lead in renaming it Día de la Resistencia Indígena, or Day of Indigenous Resistance, which actually is a Marxist terrorist group's holiday, the whole notion of celebrating the discovery of America has come to be seen as somehow shameful and worst of all, politically incorrect.
Anti-Columbus Day protests are mounted by La Raza, whose members, despite their indigenous posturing, are actually mostly descended from Spanish colonists, but who know that most American liberals are too confused to rationally frame an objection to a protest by any minority group.
About the only thing sillier than a group of people emphasizing their collective identity as a Spanish speaking people, and denouncing Columbus as an imperialist exploiter is Ward Churchill, a fake Indian, who compared Columbus to Heinrich Himmler. Ward Churchill's scholarship consists of comparing Americans in past history and current events to random Nazis. If he hasn't yet compared Amerigo Vespucci or Daniel Boone to Ernst Röhm; it's only a matter of time.
The absurdity of these attacks is only deepened by the linguistic and cultural ties between the Italian Columbus Day marchers and the Latino Anti-Columbus Day protesters with the latter set cynically exploiting white guilt to pretend that being the descendants of Southern European colonists makes them a minority.
If being descended from Southern Europeans makes you a minority, then Columbus, the parade marchers, the Greek restaurant owner nearby and even Rush Limbaugh are all "people of color."
Italian-Americans are the only bulwark against political correctness still keeping Columbus on the calendar, and that has made mayors and governors in cities and states with large Italian-American communities wary of tossing the great explorer completely overboard. But while Ferdinand and Isabella may have brought Columbus back in chains, modern day political correctness has banished him to the darkened dungeon of non-personhood, erasing him from history and replacing him with a note reading, "I'm Sorry We Ever Landed Here."
But this is about more than one single 15th century Genoan with a complicated life who was neither a monster nor a saint. It is about whether America really has any right to exist at all. Is there any argument against celebrating Columbus Day, that cannot similarly be applied to the Fourth of July?
If Columbus is to be stricken from the history books in favor of ideological thugs like Malcolm X or Caesar Chavez, then America must soon follow. Columbus' crime is that he enabled European settlement of the continent.
If the settlement of non-Indians in North America is illegitimate, then any national state they created is also illegitimate.
It is easier to hack away at a nation's history by beginning with the lower branches.
Columbus is an easier target than America itself, though La Raza considers both colonialist vermin. Americans are less likely to protest over the banishment of Columbus to the politically correct Gulag than over the banishing America itself, which was named after another one of those colonialist explorers, Amerigo Vespucci. First they came for Columbus Day and then for the Fourth of July.
The battles being fought over Columbus Day foreshadow the battles to be fought over the Fourth of July. As Columbus Day joins the list of banned holidays in more cities, one day there may not be a Fourth of July, just a day of Native Resistance to remember the atrocities of the colonists with PBS documentaries comparing George Washington to Hitler.
These documentaries already exist, they just haven't gone mainstream. Yet.
We celebrate Columbus Day and the Fourth of July because history is written by the winners. Had the Aztecs, the Mayans or the Iroquois Confederation developed the necessary technology and skills to cross the Atlantic and begin colonizing Europe, the fate of its native inhabitants would have been far uglier. The different perspectives on history often depend on which side you happen to be on.
To Americans, the Alamo is a shining moment of heroism. To the Mexicans who are the heirs of a colonialist empire far more ruthless than anything to be found north of the Rio Grande, the war was a plot to conquer Mexican territory. And neither side is altogether wrong, but choosing which version of history to go by is the difference between being an American or a Mexican.
A nation's mythology, its paragons and heroes, its founding legends and great deeds, are its soul. To replace them with another culture's perspective on its history is to kill that soul.
That is the ultimate goal of political correctness, to kill America's soul. To stick George Washington, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, James Bowie, Paul Revere, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and all the rest on a shelf in a back room somewhere, and replace them with timelier liberal heroes. Move over Washington, Caesar Chavez needs this space. No more American heroes need apply.
Followed of course by no more America.
This is how it begins. And that is how it ends. Nations are not destroyed by atomic bombs or economic catastrophes; they are lost when they lose any reason to go on living. When they no longer have enough pride to go on fighting to survive.
The final note of politically correct lunacy comes from a headline in the Columbus Dispatch about the Columbus Day festival in the city of Columbus, Ohio. "Italian Festival honors controversial explorer with its own Columbus Day parade".
Once the great discover of America, Columbus is now dubbed "controversial" by a newspaper named after him, in a city named after him. And if he is controversial, how can naming a city after him and a newspaper after the city not be equally controversial?
Can the day when USA Today has a headline reading, "Some cities still plan controversial 4th of July celebration of American independence" be far behind?
The dubious rationale for homosexual marriage
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday” to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision to let stand a number of judicial rulings overturning the acts of legislators and/or voters in 16 states, famed advocate Ted Olson offered the kind of reasoning that, in his former incarnation as a conservative, he would have scorned. “Over 59 percent of Americans now believe that marriage equality should be the law of the land,” he proclaimed. Seconds later he seemed to contradict himself: “We have a Constitution and Bill of Rights precisely because we want protections from majority rule.”
Which is it: a fundamental right that ought to be recognized without regard to majority views, or a popular view that deserves to be enshrined in the Constitution by the courts just because it’s polling well? If it’s true that large majorities have changed their minds on same-sex marriage, why not leave the matter to state legislatures and voters rather than undemocratically taking the question out of their hands?
When his opponent, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, asked Olson what the purpose of marriage is, Olson dodged the question and spoke instead of courts recognizing a “fundamental right that involves privacy, association, liberty…” Repeating the boilerplate offered by judges is non responsive.
Olson sprinkles his language liberally with emotionally laden expressions such as “dignity” and “respect,” as if to say that those who resist same-sex marriage are opposed to those civilities.
Asked about where he would draw boundaries on who should be permitted to marry if it’s “only about love,” Olson changed the subject, mentioning the “tens of thousands” of children being raised in same-sex households who “deserve the right to equality and the same respect and decency that other people have that are living right next door.”
“People Next Door” has become the chief talking point of the same-sex-marriage advocates. Chris Wallace asked it of Perkins (not that he was taking sides, he was fair): “You and your wife live happily in this house; there’s a same-sex couple living here. What’s the damage to you?”
This is the nub of the argument. As Olson claimed, “There’s no heterosexual couple that is going to decide to get divorced or not to get married or not to raise children just because another couple next to them is treated equally and with respect and decency under our Constitution.”
But it does affect the larger culture. If it didn’t, there would be no need for debate. Homosexuals comprise a tiny fraction of the population (just over 2 percent according to the CDC). I wish them nothing but happiness and peace, but they are a side issue. Of course they deserve “dignity” and “respect,” but changing marriage is not the way to get there.
Families began disintegrating and failing to form long before gay marriage became a cause celebre. But the movement for same-sex marriage pushes our culture in exactly the wrong direction because it forwards a damaging conception of marriage. Marriage, Olson says, “is about being with the person you love.”
Not so. Marriage is about the welfare of children. The state confers benefits on opposite-sex couples because they conceive and raise children, and it believes that strong families are the foundation of strong polities. Libertarian claims that the state should remain aloof from family matters overlook the fact that when couples divorce or part ways, the state becomes involved in property division and custody, so it’s unrealistic to keep the state out.
The problem with endorsing same-sex marriage is that it conveys to heterosexuals that mothers and fathers don’t really matter. If two men who love each other or two women who love each other are equally good for children’s welfare, then the argument that men and women should marry and remain faithful to the partner with whom they conceived children loses its force.
The “being with someone you love” case fits nicely on a greeting card, but it also contributes to the divorce culture, because the implicit message is that when you no longer love someone, the purpose of the marriage is over. Adults' feelings will trump all, as they too often do already.
The move for same-sex marriage was never about marriage. It was about social acceptance.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.