Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I am outraged
I was brought up as a Presbyterian and, culturally, I guess I still am one. I even still read Presbyterian publications at times. So the lily-livered report below from one such publication is deeply disappointing to me.
The report is from the head of the Presbyterian church in Queensland, Australia, and his report is of a meeting with local Muslim leaders. So did the meeting express any concern at all about the large-scale and grievous attacks on Christians in Muslim lands?
Such attacks were not mentioned at all. We read that the meeting was "to express concern about the violence that has been perpetrated against some Muslims simply because they are Muslims".
And in the press release we find out what the "violence" was: "recent negative sentiments expressed toward Muslims and especially Muslim women". So rape, torture and death of thousands of Christians fades into insignificance compared with a few harsh words about Muslims!
I am flabbergasted. The man quotes the Bible but he is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".
Has he not read: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:40). Christ had great concern for every one of his followers but the Rt. Rev. Phil Case apparently does not.
He was only one of the church leaders at the meeting but he voices no disquiet about its reprehensible proceedings.
Heads of Churches meeting with members of Queensland Islamic council
By Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland)
I attended the Heads of Churches meeting on the 20th October. We met with the Brisbane leaders of the Islamic community.
Some might ask why we would meet with them when our faiths are so different. This was not a meeting about the content of our respective faiths, but a meeting to express concern about the violence that has been perpetrated against some Muslims simply because they are Muslims. It was a meeting to support the Freedom of Religion we enjoy in Australia.
I think it was Evelyn Beatrice Hall biographer of Voltaire who wrote “I disapprove of what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
If we do not speak out against these actions pertaining to people because of their religion, how can we speak out when we are acted against because of our Christian faith? We do not share beliefs with the Islamic Community, but we do share our humanity with them. Our Lord has commanded us to love our neighbour, and to love our enemies.
Speaking out in defence of their right to live in peace as law abiding citizens is doing just this. Aggression toward people arises from fear; fear of that which is different, fear of that which we do not know and understand.
It would be good if we as Christians could take the time to get to know our Islamic neighbours and show them love at the appropriate level. How can we expect them to listen to us if we will not listen to them and take the time to get to know them?
Not only is this an opportunity to live out the commands of our Lord to love our neighbour, but it is an opportunity to share the Gospel with people who desperately need it. God has brought these people to our shores, but the tragedy is that most of these people have no more contact with Christians than they would if they still lived in their Islamic homeland.
They hear no more of the Gospel and know no more of Christianity than those in countries where Christians are not free to share the Gospel. In 1 Peter 3:15-16 we read "...in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience..."
If Christ is Lord, we are to be prepared to give an answer to those who ask about our faith and hope. But no one is going to ask about our hope if we never bother to meet and get to know anyone.
Note also, that we are to do it with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience. We are always to act with care and respect for those we speak to. It is interesting that this is Peter’s command to those who may be afraid of persecution (see verse 14).
We are not to be afraid. We are not to fear anything because our Lord is in control. Let us take the opportunity while it is day to do good to all men and to share the Gospel.
I encourage all Christians to learn not just about the beliefs of Islam, but also to get to know some people who practise Islam. Our common humanity ensures we have much in common with them.
Many of their concerns are our concerns. They are having open days at mosques and are open to invitations to events that we might hold at our churches. This is a golden opportunity to build peace and share the Gospel as the Lord permits.
It will take time and effort to build relationships in which questions can be asked and answered, but let’s not miss out.
Heads of Churches meeting with members of Queensland Islamic Council
by Rt Rev Phil Case
On Monday 20 October, the Heads of Christian Churches met with members of the Islamic Council of Queensland to consider ways of strengthening relations between the Christian and Islamic communities in the State that promote respect and harmony.
The meeting was precipitated by the concern over the recent negative sentiments expressed toward Muslims and especially Muslim women.
The meeting abhorred such actions, and called upon all Queenslanders to respect the right of all Australians to enjoy Freedom of Religion, and seeks to promote ways in which understanding and tolerance between people of different faiths can be increased.
Churches represented included the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Uniting, Congregational Federation of Australian and New Zealand, Australian Christian Churches, Presbyterian Church of Queensland and the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia.
As well as members of the Queensland Islamic Council there were also representatives of the Council of Imams, Crescents of Brisbane and AMARAH in attendance.
Topics discussed included supporting freedom of religious practices and ideas within the Australian community; showing dignity to all people regardless of their beliefs and ways of life; and speaking with a united voice to government and politicians on topics of mutual concern.
As well it was agreed to support initiatives such as the open mosque days, organising forums to educate the wider community about Islam
Phil's email is firstname.lastname@example.org should you wish to give him your comments
Nazi policy from some hypocritical Australian luvvies
The theatrical world is generally very Leftist. Fantasy is their trade
A Sydney theatre has refused a young Jewish theatre group’s request to use its venue in an alleged act of discrimination.
The Jewish group, Hillel is a not-for-profit educational and cultural organisation which aims to ‘inspire university-aged young adults to engage with Jewish life’ and become future leaders.
The group are planning a series of performances about survivors of the holocaust and were in search of a venue.
When Hillel made an application to perform at The Red Rattler Theatre in Sydney’s inner west, they were shocked at the email they received in response.
‘Our policy does not support colonialism/Zionism. Therefore we do not host groups that support the colonisation and occupation of Palestine,’ the Marrickville Theatre group responded curtly.
Members of the youth group could not believe that they were being rejected, allegedly due to their religious beliefs.
Assistant director Shailee Mendelvich was confounded when she received the rejection email from The Red Rattler Theatre group.
‘I was shocked and disappointed because I believe that denying a Jewish group the right to make a commercial booking is clearly racial discrimination and, in this case, Antisemitism,’ Ms Mendelvich told Daily Mail Australia
Ms Mendelvich was particularly troubled by the rejection as The Red Rattler Theatre are also a not-for-profit, artist-run company which purports to have ‘community at heart’.
On their website, the Red Rattler claim that the theatre ‘was set up as a space where racism, homophobia, transphobia and sexism are not welcome on stage, in the audience, at the door, and at the bar.’
‘We ask you to join us in efforts to make this space welcoming, stimulating, and happiness producing to people regardless of their ethnicity, sexuality or gender.’
Hillel believes that the decision to reject a Jewish theatre group contradicts the company’s ethos.
‘I hope that people working in community service and the not-for-profit sector can acknowledge the common ground we share, especially for events that encourage honest and open creative expression for important cultural or social issues.’
The event series, called ‘Moth’, is a performance evening to ‘encourage people to express themselves in a creative way’.
The upcoming event aims to ‘unpack what it means to be the third generation of holocaust survivors.'
The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff have written to the theatre to express his concern that Hillel have been discriminated ‘based on conflicts taking place far from Australia.’
Mr Alhadeff sent the letter on March 13 and has placed several calls with The Red Rattler but is yet to receive a response.
‘It is disappointing that a theatre group (The Red Rattler Theatre company) let politics get in the way of policies, as they claim their ethos is about equality and acceptance,' Mr Alhadeff told Daily Mail Australia.
Mr Alhadeff also reiterated that the group are apolitical and the purpose of the performance would be to explore the impact of the holocaust on modern generations, rather than engaging with the issue of the occupation of Palestine.
‘These young people have been the subject of discrimination because of an overseas conflict whilst conducting a play which had nothing whatsoever to do with any conflict overseas,' he said.
‘Their focus was on exploring the lessons future generations can learn from the holocaust survivors.’
‘The Jewish community in Australia are Australians. This is very disappointing as we need to be able to embrace difference and focus on the shared values we have as Australians.'
The Hillel theatre group continue to search for a venue for their performance and are looking forward to the series, which will include the spoken word, poetry, acoustic instrumental performances and rap.
Daily Mail Australia attempted to contact The Red Rattler Theatre Company for comment but did not receive any reply.
Britons smugly boast of Magna Carta... while all it stands for is being trampled
This country is now in the grip of a permanent inquisition into the past. It can never really end, or find out the truth, because there is no objective test of it.
Many of those being investigated are dead. The only effect of it is to discredit and undermine what is left of our institutions, from Parliament to the police.
Do people have any idea how much our civilisation depends on trust, or of what will happen when it is gone?
But it is even worse than that. As we boast of our supposed respect for Magna Carta and national liberty, we are trampling on them.
I suspect that many in politics and the media, like me, are worried by this. But they fear to say anything because they can feel the hot breath of the mob on their necks.
The moment you say that Geoffrey Dickens was a buffoon with a poor grasp of facts, that his ‘dossier’ on child abuse might not have amounted to very much, and was lost for that reason, some basement-dweller hunched in the sickly glow of his computer screen will start muttering ‘What’s he got to hide?’ and ‘Perhaps he was one of them’.
From such accusations there is no escape, especially in an age when bemedalled field marshals in their 90s can have their homes searched by officious gendarmes. The word ‘police’ can really no longer be applied to this bureaucratic, continental-style militia of paramilitary social workers, jangling with weapons, loaded with powers they aren’t fit to wield, and almost wholly bereft of common sense.
The quiet collapse of English liberty, and the shortage of people willing to defend it against the braying demands of ‘security’, has left us all powerless against the state. If Lord Bramall is not safe from this sort of treatment, nobody is.
I must stress here that I have no opinions at all on the guilt or innocence of anyone accused of such crimes. I am morally and legally bound to presume that they are innocent, unless and until their guilt is proved.
That presumption, far more than a near-useless vote or a ‘Human Rights’ Act, is the single most important defence we have against tyranny. Once it has gone, in practice, the state may at any time invade your home, seize your possessions, lock you up for ever and melt the key, simply because it does not like you. And it can invent reasons to do so, which a gullible media will unquestioningly accept.
Any judge of spirit, faced with the behaviour of police and prosecutors in modern Britain, really ought to throw out all such cases because it is impossible for those accused to have a fair trial.
Everyone will have seen on TV the processions of grim-jawed gendarmes in white forensic suits carting away computers, houses surrounded with cars and vans with flashing lights, the hovering helicopters, the self-righteous officers enjoying their fame as they trawl for ‘victims’ and promising such persons – as they have no right to do – that ‘You will be believed. We will support you’.
It is no part of a policeman’s job to believe either the accused or the accusers. Imagine how you would feel if the police told alleged burglars awaiting trial, and denying their guilt, that ‘you will be believed’. It is their job, and that of the courts, to assemble a case and seek to prove it before an impartial jury.
Over many years, those protections have been salami-sliced away. The innocent have never been at more risk of ruin. But at the same time, the police and the courts have almost completely failed to deter or control actual crime, much of which now goes unrecorded, unprosecuted and unpunished.
Our system is so upside-down and back-to-front that you can now be cautioned for rape, or be let out on bail after being convicted of crimes as grievous as manslaughter; yet in the late evening of your years, full of honour, having risked your life for your country and having done great service to the state, you can be publicly smeared by some jack-in-office.
The place where our demolished liberty once stood has been cleared of all traces, and rolled flat. In such conditions, we merely await the construction of the new totalitarian state in which our children will have to live.
On the neurotically fragile always-offended nudniks
In 21st Century America, hypersensitive people are going out of their way to make their imagined oppressors or assailants feel miserable, and the hypersensitive are acting like bullies and inflicting acts of aggression and suffering against innocent others as well.
But why are so many people so thin-skinned nowadays? It seems to be such a world-wide phenomenon now. A lot of people have to be very careful with what they say and they have to censor themselves around others.
But such socially pathological tiptoeing, intolerance and outright censorship has made its way up to academia and the court system. 30 years ago, we didn’t have to deal with this stuff, and could more or less freely just say what we wanted in social situations, and not fear being ostracized, or worse.
On college campuses, conservative speakers are either shouted down or just banned from campus entirely. That’s nothing new, of course. But more recently, some college campuses are issuing letters urging “civility.” To them, unfortunately, being “civil” means being politically correct. Frankly, the new “civility” really is the stifling of diversity and free expression.
Some colleges are banning the utterances of certain words or phrases, such as the word “freshman” at Elon University. As the College Fix notes, the reason Elon is replacing the word “freshman” with “first year” is because, according to the university’s director of “Inclusive Community Well-Being,” the word “freshman” may imply a hierarchy and may refer to some students as younger and less experienced, and could cause the younger students to be targeted for sexual violence. (I am Not. Making. This. Up.)
So “freshman” implies the younger students, but that word’s replacement, “first year,” does not?
And also according to the College Fix, now forbidden at the University of Michigan includes the words “crazy,” “insane,” “retarded,” “gay,” “tranny,” “gypped,” “illegal alien,” “fag,” “ghetto,” “raghead,” and the phrases “I want to die” and “that test raped me.”
Huh? “I want to die”? (Tell that to Roseanne Roseannadanna.)
And “That test raped me”? I’ve never even heard that before. Who the hell would even say that? Hmm, I wonder if the parents who are paying such insane tuition rates for this crazy stuff might feel a little gypped now? Ya think?
Apparently, if someone uses the word “rape” in such a nonchalant or insensitive manner, such an utterance trivializes that act of sexual violence, and for those who happened to have been victims they feel re-traumatized when hearing certain words and phrases. Such language “triggers” terrible, painful emotions and fear. This has been happening to non-victims as well. But many people are just neurotically over-sensitive now, in my view.
Just what is it with the thin-skinned people now that their merely hearing someone happening to say certain words or phrases — not directed at them, mind you, just happening to be spoken — causes someone to be re-traumatized? If that’s the case, then it is they who may need some further counseling to resolve some issues that they may have, rather than censoring, silencing and stifling someone else’s mere verbal expression, regardless how silly, immature or rude such an expression might be.
I’m sorry if I sound extremely insensitive here, but, seriously, we really have to pussyfoot around and censor ourselves verbally these days, just to protect the overly-sensitive feelings of someone whose fragile being may be harmed emotionally in some way.
In fact, that situation has become so absurd that a male college student, who happened to resemble a rape victim’s assailant, was actually banned from campus and prevented from getting to his classes, and so on. Need I add any further comment to that? (I think not.)
But I wonder how many people who have not been the victims of sexual assault are nevertheless joining in and saying that they, too, feel traumatized by others’ utterances of certain words or phrases? Or are the younger generations now being so indoctrinated to believe that they feel traumatized because that’s the “correct” or socially acceptable reaction that they should be having? Just asking.
And it isn’t just college campuses or the government schools engaging in so much censorship absurdity. As I mentioned, it’s the culture in general.
A similar phenomenon occurs when the subject of Israel is brought up. Nowadays in the modern, developed, advanced age of 21st Century discourse, it is very difficult to express any kind of criticism of Israel, the Israeli government or its military’s aggressions against Gaza or settlers’ intrusions in the West Bank, without being accused of anti-Semitism or being labeled “self-hating Jew”.
And we see this intolerance of critical thinking and of questioning the official government-approved narrative in today’s politicians who dare not criticize U.S. government foreign policy when it comes to Israel.
In fact, just recently members of Congress fell over themselves trying to get close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as though they were seeing the Beatles singing on Capitol Hill. And obviously they feared some kind of terrible consequences had they not vigorously applauded Netanyahu’s every word and sentence, regardless of how ridiculous some of his statements were. Sen. Rand Paul even received very negative feedback from the neocons he has been trying to court because of his tepid, unenthusiastic clapping.
And in New York last Fall activists organized a censorship campaign and protests against the production of the opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, as I had predicted months earlier that there would be. It is unlikely that most of the protesters had ever seen the opera, but that didn’t matter to them. It contains material referring to the Palestinian hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro, the murder of a Jewish American passenger, and themes pertaining to the Palestinians’ grievances, which to some people meant that it was “anti-Semitic” and an example of “Jew-hatred,” which “glorified terrorism.” However, one orthodox Jew who saw the performance said it was not anti-Semitic, and others stated that it did not glorify terrorism. But the ones who were ignorant about the opera, but seemed to not tolerate different points of view on Israel, wanted to make fools of themselves and display their ignorance anyway.
And this intolerance of Israel’s critics or of any form of speech that could refer to something that might not be parroting the official pro-Israel narrative has also reached the college campuses.
For her campaign for the student government’s senate, University of California Berkeley student Sumayyah Din used the hashtag “#DINTIFADA,” a combination of her last name and the word “intifada,” which refers to “uprising,” “rebellion,” or civil disobedience.
But after her Facebook post, some campus pro-Israel groups claimed that “#dintifada” was offensive, and they felt “triggered” and “terrorized,” and some began to imply that her campaign was promoting terrorism, violence and the murders of innocent Jewish children.
Mondoweiss notes that StandWithUs, a pro-Israel organization, had a Facebook post which erroneously described Ms. Din as “anti-Israel,” referring to her use of the word “intifada” without mentioning her combining it with her name, “Din,” and the Mondoweiss post notes that some of the comments included, “Those terrorists must be eradicated,” “she is a terrorist,” and “Someone should eliminate her from the Earth.”
That despite that she actually promotes peace and tolerance, and that one of her campaign issues pertains to police reform, the militarization of the local police and campus police having military-grade weapons.
You see, like some leftist organizations such as Media Matters and the Southern Poverty Law Center who spend time searching for some slight manner of speech from which to feel offended, terrorized or traumatized, there also exist groups on the other side who do the same thing. Some activists taking things out of context, omitting certain facts and slandering are typical tactics used to delegitimize their ideological opponents. So really with StandWithUs and other activist groups it was yet another case of ignorance and anti-Muslim, anti-Arab prejudice. No surprise there.
But sadly, when it comes to Israel most people get their information from mainstream news media who merely repeat government propaganda. This is why we have an entire U.S. Congress acting like fools when Netanyahu appears and why ignoramuses stand outside protesting an opera performance calling it “anti-Semitic” when it isn’t anti-Semitic.
So, I’m sure that I myself will be accused of being insensitive, but because of society’s ultra-sensitivity on Jewish matters, we really have to pussyfoot around to spare others of being “triggered,” and so forth, even though most had never experienced concentration camps, gulags or pogroms. And this phenomenon is mainly with Jewish subjects, but especially regarding Israel. For example, I don’t hear Chinese people complaining about feeling offended or “triggered” if someone might make a reference to Mao who murdered many more millions than Hitler. I didn’t hear complaints from Chinese-Americans when conservatives referred to Barack Obama as “Maobama.” Crickets, in fact.
But we’re just not allowed to say anything negative or critical, not about Jews or Jewish matters, but specifically about Israel. And that is because, in my view, many people have this mystical view of Israel and based mainly on Biblical scriptures, as I wrote in my article last year on Israel and Zionism.
And I really find it hard to believe that actual grown-ups are offended by, or terrorized by a use of the word “intifada” — and frankly, I find it offensive that 535 so-called grown-ups in Congress can applaud and cheer wildly and act like fools for a political hack like Benjamin Netanyahu. This whole “Stop making me feel bad” political correctness and censorship seems like it’s one hell of a racket, if you ask me.
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.