Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rev. Graham: ‘We Are Under Attack … Stop All Immigration of Muslims to the U.S.’

Commenting on the five U.S. military service members killed by Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez last week in Chattanooga, Tenn.,  Rev. Franklin Graham said we need to face up to the fact that “we are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad,” and advised that America “should stop all immigration of Muslims” into this country until the threat from radical Islam ends.

“Four innocent Marines (United States Marine Corps) killed and three others wounded in ‪#‎Chattanooga yesterday [July 16] including a policeman and another Marine -- all by a radical Muslim whose family was allowed to immigrate to this country from Kuwait,” said Rev. Graham in a July 17 post on Facebook.

“We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad,” he said.  “We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled.”

“Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized  -- and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad,” said the reverend, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and also runs the international Christian relief group Samaritan’s Purse.

“During World War 2, we didn't allow Japanese to immigrate to America, nor did we allow Germans,” said Rev. Graham.

He continued, “Why are we allowing Muslims now? Do you agree? Let your Congressman know that we've got to put a stop to this and close the flood gates. Pray for the men and women who serve this nation in uniform, that God would protect them.”

CNN reported on July 18 that Abdulazeez “was a devout Muslim” although it is unclear whether he was a radical-type Islamist, according to some of the people that knew him. Abdulazeez was born in Kuwait and was a naturalized U.S. citizen.

CNN further reported that Abdulazeez had been in Jordan in 2014, and had been in Kuwait and Jordan again in 2010. The Washington Post, citing U.S. law enforcement officials, saud Abdulazeez had been to Jordan at least four times prior to the shootings.

The Post further reported that while Jordan apparently is a "popular tourist destination," it "has been a way station for foreign fighters attempting to enter Syria, including a 22-year-old U.S. citizen who similarly went undetected during trips to Jordan before carrying out a suicide attack in Syria last year."

Abdulazeez came to the United States with his parents from Kuwait in 1996.

The five U.S. military personnel shot and killed by Abdulazeez are: USMC Sgt. Carson Holmquist, 25; USMC Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, 40; USMC Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” Wells, 21; USMC Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, 37; and USN Logistics Specialist Randall Smith, 26.

A Marine recruiter was also shot in the leg and wounded by Abdulazeez, and a police sergeant, Dennis Pedigo Jr., was shot in the ankle by Abdulazeez. The shooter was killed in a gunfight with authorities near a naval reserve center on the highway in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Rev. Graham, 62, is the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham. Franklin Graham is married, has five children, and lives in Boone, N.C. He frequently preaches in the United States and around the globe.


Poll: 59% Believe Businesses Should Be Able to Decline Gay Weddings

Four in ten Americans support and an equal percentage disagree with the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in June.

Asked about the Supreme Court’s decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, 39 percent of respondents said that they agree with the ruling and 41 percent said that they disagree, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.

The poll also found that 59 percent of Americans believe that business owners should be free to decline to participate in a same-sex wedding service if they feel doing so would violate their religious beliefs, up from 52 percent earlier this year.

When religious liberty conflicts with gay rights, 56 percent said the government should prioritize protecting religious liberty, and 39 percent said gay rights should be prioritized.

Support for same-sex marriage has slightly decreased following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter. Following the ruling, 42 percent of respondents were in favor of same-sex marriage, and 40 percent were opposed.

Earlier this year, an Associated Press-GfK poll found that 44 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage.

Ryan Anderson, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of the new book “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” said “the poll is just the latest indication that the Supreme Court did not—because it cannot—settle the marriage debate.”

“Americans remain divided on the question of what marriage is and why marriage matters, and now is the time for conservatives to make the case for marriage,” Anderson said.

Anderson added that he was “encouraged that the poll reveals a majority of Americans agree that the government should not coerce or penalize anyone because they act on the belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife.”

Recently, businesses that provide wedding services such as bakers, florists and photographers have come under fire when their owners have chosen not to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Some businesses that don’t typically provide wedding services, such as a pizzeria, have also come under fire.


The Empire strikes back: This awesome painting of a bloodied British soldier will star in a brave new exhibition of the Empire's most stirring masterpieces

Nestled in the dusty hills of eastern Afghanistan, the British sentries on the walls of Jalalabad saw a speck in the distance that afternoon of January 13, 1842.

As the speck came closer, they realised it was a man, bloodied and weary, astride an exhausted horse. It was Dr William Brydon, assistant surgeon in the British Army that had occupied the Afghan capital, Kabul, just over two years earlier.

Brydon was in a terrible state. Part of his skull had been sheared off by Afghan attackers, and it was a miracle he was still alive. Where, his rescuers asked, was the rest of the British Army? Brydon stared back at them. Then he said hoarsely: ‘I am the Army.’

The occupation of Afghanistan had been a disaster, and the British retreat from Kabul, in which almost 17,000 were massacred by tribesmen, was one of the greatest military catastrophes in history.

To the Victorian public, the story of Dr Brydon, the lone survivor, became an irresistible reminder of the dangers of imperial hubris.

Years later, his story was immortalised in a stunningly powerful painting by Elizabeth Butler, pointedly titled The Remnants Of An Army — a picture that, in the aftermath of our latest retreat from Afghanistan, is charged with a new poignancy.

For years, Butler’s painting was virtually forgotten. Yesterday, however, Tate Britain announced that it will be one of the key pictures in a new exhibition, Artist And Empire, the first major show to explore the artistic legacy of the greatest empire the world has ever known.

The Tate should, I think, be applauded for its vision and courage in holding this exhibition, which opens in November. The experience of Empire — merchants and massacres, missionary zeal and military glory — played a central part in the making of modern Britain.

It is our imperial legacy, after all, that explains why (at least on paper) Americans, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders speak English; why so many people around the world play rugby, cricket and football; and why chicken tikka masala is today the UK’s favourite dish.

Too often, however, museums and galleries have shied away from exploring our imperial history with any depth or balance, while our politicians have often been far too quick to echo the self-flagellating whingeing of second-rate academics who love to blame the British Empire for all the ills of the modern world.

In reality, the story of Britain’s Empire presents a spectacle of almost unparalleled richness, grandeur, tragedy and inspiration. Like any similar construct, it had its fair share of dark chapters and grim episodes.

Even so, no reasonable observer can deny it often represented a tremendous force for good, or that the tale of its rise and fall remains one of the most stirring stories in all world history.

Judging by the publicity, the Tate’s forthcoming exhibition promises to be rich in this kind of melodramatic derring-do.

Among its key paintings is William Barnes Wollen’s splendidly evocative The Last Stand Of The 44th Foot At Gundermuck (1898), which captures another tragic scene during the retreat from Kabul — the remnants of the British Forces, surrounded, making their last doomed stand against overwhelming odds. Perhaps surprisingly, personal tragedy and military catastrophe are common themes. One picture by Anglo-American Benjamin West shows General Wolfe, conqueror of Quebec, breathing his last as victory is won.

Another painting, once one of the most famous images in Britain, shows the doomed imperial hero General Gordon making his final stand in Khartoum against a tide of Muslim fanatics — yet another image that, alas, now seems powerfully resonant.

Then there is Augustus John’s haunting portrayal of T. E. Lawrence — better known as Lawrence of Arabia — who played a key role in the liberation of Arabs from the Ottoman Empire during World War 1, only to see his dreams of fully independent, prosperous Arab nations shattered in the aftermath . . . a legacy with which we are still grappling today.

There was more to the imperial experience, though, than battles and massacres. The Tate’s exhibition promises to bring out the weird and wonderful side of Empire — the quirks and curiosities assembled by missionaries and explorers.

Perhaps the finest painting in the show is George Stubbs’s Cheetah And Stag With Two Indians, which was commissioned by the British governor-general of Madras in 1765.

At the time, the cheetah in question was one of the great celebrities of the age, being hailed in Britain as a ‘She Tyger’. Initially given as a present to George III, the cheetah ended up as the star tourist attraction at the Tower of London, where she was known as ‘Miss Jenny’.

Another extraordinary image shows spy novelist John Buchan, best known today as the author of The Thirty-Nine Steps, while he was governor-general of Canada in the late 1930s.

Photographed by the peerless Yousuf Karsh, Buchan stares sternly ahead beneath an extraordinarily vast and lavish American Indian feathered head-dress — a supremely potent symbol of British power abroad, as well as a striking illustration of the Empire’s marriage of different cultural traditions.

It is a relief to see that, on this evidence, the Tate’s exhibition will not present the story of the Empire as a simplistic, hand-wringing tale of wicked British colonialists and virtuous, oppressed natives.

For the truth, as the best historians have shown, is that the Empire was always a collaborative enterprise, in which British merchants, administrators and missionaries often worked hand in glove with local people themselves.

During the heyday of the Raj, for example, barely 20,000 British administrators and soldiers ruled an Indian population more than 300 million strong. As any sensible observer would surely conclude, they could only have done so with the close co-operation of the Indians themselves.

This is not, however, what many Left-wing writers like to believe. They prefer an infantile fairy story in which hard-faced British oppressors went out across the world to steal and murder, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.

And to their undying shame, some of our less principled politicians have endorsed this twisted view of our history. Tony Blair, for example, loved nothing better than going around the world offering unctuous apologies for Britain’s alleged sins, from our role in the slave trade to the mishandling of the Irish potato famine.

I hope that the Tate’s new show steers well clear of this sort of thing, although it has to be said that a few of its exhibits, including some truly dreadful examples of contemporary ‘post-colonial’ art, do not look very encouraging.

It is, I know, tempting for academics and curators to pander to Left-wing audiences, setting themselves up as moral judges of our supposedly wicked predecessors. But they really ought to know better.

Of course Britain’s Empire-builders made their fair share of mistakes. Yet no fair-minded judge can, I think, deny that it was far better to live under British rule than under our French, Dutch or Portuguese rivals — let alone under many of the violent regimes that followed, from Idi Amin’s Uganda to Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

The Empire was not perfect. No institution built by human hand ever is. But at its best, Britain’s imperial enterprise reflected some of the noblest aspirations of the human soul, from the Victorians’ deep sense of philanthropic duty to their commitment to the rule of law.

And if the Tate’s new exhibition captures some of that spirit, then it will not merely have done our predecessors justice, it will have done us all a great public service.


The Women’s Equality Party: for ladies too nice for politics

British politics got a bit more girly at the start of this week, with the official launch of the Women’s Equality Party. Garnering support with the versatile hashtag #WE, the party was pleased with the 1,000 supporters it gained during its first day. ‘If #WE’re honest, some of us are a little bit teary’, said a post on Facebook. For those not on social media, the Women’s Equality Party is a non-partisan party that campaigns against inequality for women ‘at home, at work, in politics and in public life’.

The party is currently fundraising and boasts some tempting offers in exchange for your cash – £250 will get you a copy of founding member Sandi Toksvig’s book, Girls are Best, while £5,000 will get you dinner with the author herself. However, the party does not seem to recognise its own contradictions. Not only is there a mismatch between the party’s appeals to radicalism and its knitting-circle vibe, cosy tweets and general air of loveliness, but the party’s slogan, ‘Equality for women isn’t a women’s issue’, also jars, given the party is being marketed solely at women.

On the surface, the Women’s Equality Party seems like nothing more than a politically correct sorority, with matching #WE phone stickers and smug grins. However, there is something very sinister about Toksvig’s project. Appearing on The One Show earlier this year, the former News Quiz presenter stated, ‘We’re not going to fight with each other. When you watch Prime Minister’s Questions, you’re sort of embarrassed. PMQs couldn’t be more bad-tempered if it was called PMT. It isn’t the way to get things done.’ If relating politics to periods wasn’t bad enough, Toksvig seems hell-bent on making clear that women are somehow not up to the cut and thrust of modern politics.

Let’s get one thing straight: this is not a party for all women, it is a party for media women. Both of its founding members, Toksvig and journalist-cum-royal-enthusiast Catherine Mayer, realised they shared an ‘appetite for change’ when they shared a platform at the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival. The driving force behind this party is a feeling that politics is vulgar, but rather than do what people disgusted with politics used to do and vote Lib Dem, the commentariat is now taking to creating its own parties – just without the politics. When an organisation says it is non-partisan, what it really means is that it is non-committal. As Toksvig said when she unveiled the party’s new logo, ‘you can be Tory, you can be Labour – let’s all work together instead of fighting each other’.

This is the pinnacle of middle-class feminism, a club for women who want to jazz up their image with a little politics, darling. The party’s objectives state a desire for ‘women to enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men’, but, as Joanna Williams has pointed out on spiked, women, on the whole, already do. What is the point in creating a sisterhood of victims? The Women’s Equality Party is yet another sign that contemporary feminists are uncomfortable with the fact that women in the West are doing just fine, choosing instead to imagine women as helpless creatures in need of empowerment.

This otherwise laughable organisation is a prime example of the long-drawn depoliticisation of women in British politics. The celebration of Blair’s Babes, New Labour’s record-breaking number of female MPs after the 1997 election, spoke to a sense that female representation, in and of itself, was positive and would attract more female voters. During the recent General Election campaign, Labour MP and Blair Babe Harriet Harman released a fleet of Barbie buses to encourage women to vote. At no point did these efforts try to engage women about what they thought, instead they used pink-coloured ploys to try to make politics look a bit more female-friendly.

What’s more, while mumsy middle-class feminists may seem more agreeable than blue-haired campus radicals, they still attach themselves to trendy feminist campaigns, like educating men who think tampons are icky, banning adverts that tell us we shouldn’t have another tea cake and promoting a Mary Whitehouse attitude to sex. The hashtag used by the Women’s Equality Party is misleading; #WE really means #US – that is, the the feminist commentariat, which dictates what women should do and think.

It is time for women to take a stand and kill off feminism as we know it. It is the only thing truly holding women back in the West today, reducing us to little more than our biology. The ideas of individual autonomy and free thinking have taken a beating recently, with the surge of patronising identity politics that judges us all on appearance rather than substance. But enough is enough. Women, if you truly value your brains over your bodies, you should have nothing to do with this Twittersphere slumber party from hell.



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


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