These days the Middle East is undergoing a profound and historic transformation. Many Middle East scholars are attempting to understand the developments in the Arab world and in the Arab and Muslim culture and religion. Additionally, Iran’s nuclear aspirations are the cause of a deep concern to many all over the world.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a research associate of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and formerly a lecturer in the Department of Arabic Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, is one of Israel’s leading figures in understanding the Arab and Islamic world. He is the Middle East analyst of Israel’s channel 14 and the weekly newspaper “Makor Rishon” as well as other publications. Dr. Kedar is a frequent guest in the Israeli, Arab and international media.
Dr. Kedar will be on a speaking tour, visiting North America during February 2023. He is available to be booked for lectures and various presentations. He can be a scholar-in-residence for a weekend or give presentations and lectures during the weekdays.
His lectures are about the Middle East, Israel’s existence within the Middle Eastern environment, the struggle over Jerusalem, Anti-Semitism in the Islamic world and Iran etc. Please see the list of topics below.
https://libertyfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_v6_225x110.png00DrRichSwier.comhttps://libertyfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_v6_225x110.pngDrRichSwier.com2022-10-21 13:51:212022-10-21 13:51:21Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Upcoming Speaking Tour to the U.S. and Canada – February 2023
My latest in PJ Media is a VIP article. I am happy to be able to offer you a 5% discount on becoming a VIP member at PJ Media. Just enter the code SPENCER when you sign up here.
MSNBC may have been trying for a share of the Babylon Bee’s market on Sunday when its host Mehdi Hasan featured a discussion of one of the burning issues of our time, Donald Trump’s alleged anti-Semitism. Hasan claimed to have discovered anti-Semitism in the most pro-Israel president in American history’s recent statement that “Jews need to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel before it’s too late.”
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I am a woman who was born in a Muslim-majority country and I have resisted the pressure of the headscarf for my whole life. The issue of the headscarf is personal for me, and, like many others, I am following the protests in Iran. The spark caused by the Iranian morality police’s killing of Jina Amini, better known in the press as Mahsa Amini, after she was detained for not properly wearing her headscarf, has enflamed hundreds of thousands of candles in Iran, and these honorable, noble, bright candles continue to burn with all their might to illuminate Iran, though some may be burnt to the wick for the sake of this illumination. I believe with my whole heart and reason that sufficient light will penetrate the darkness.
Some Muslim women with whom I have spoken about the protests and who themselves wear the headscarf have made extremely shallow comments normalizing the situation. They say: “The requirement of the headscarf in Iran is very light – anyway you can see the women’s hair. It is enough if they just wrap their scarf so that it covers half of their hair. Let them do this little thing, what is the problem?” The issue here is not the shari’a-compliant manner of wearing the headscarf. It is how the governments and societies of many countries today utterly disregard the individual bodily inviolability of women and seek to shape those women according to their own beliefs, and for this purpose apply punishments that include death. We have grown so accustomed to the requirement of the headscarf that we have lost perspective of how truly bizarre it is. To view the absurdity of this situation objectively, one need only imagine a government that killed men because they violated a hypothetical injunction that “men must always wear blue socks.”
As a woman who was born and lived for 27 years in a Muslim-majority country I can say this with certainty: The crushing majority of women in those countries who wear the headscarf do not do so willingly. Girls in those countries are forced, either by their families or by society, to wear the headscarf. After all this pressure, most women who wear the headscarf say that they do so “because I want to.” I have never seen a single woman who wore the headscarf without psychological pressure, physical violence, or both from their own parents, other family members, or other adults. In such families, the lightest form of pressure is, as the girl is growing up, to speak as though it is assumed, it is a given, that in the future the girl will wear the headscarf, and to convey the message often that if she does not do so, she will not have her family’s approval or love. The heaviest forms of pressure include direct insult, physical violence, and not allowing the girl to leave the house.
Unfortunately, I was born as the youngest girl in a family in which wearing the headscarf was viewed as an absolute and unquestionable requirement. My mother and my five sisters all started wearing the headscarf when they were children. As I was growing up, I saw from the closest proximity the pressure on my sisters from our family and from society. When the time came the same pressure was put on me. From my childhood, my family spoke as though it was a certainty, taken for granted, that I would wear the headscarf like my sisters do, and implied that if I did not, my family would not accept me. When they saw that I was openly resisting this pressure, they started forcing me to go to courses to study the Quran.
When I was in my early teens, our neighbors and relatives added to this pressure. They said that the ordinary blue jeans and t-shirts that I wore were not suitable for “a moral girl,” that my arms down to my wrists should not be visible, that my jeans showed the shape of my body. They made thinly veiled insults, asked often when I was going to wear the headscarf, and gave endless speeches about how “a moral woman must wear the headscarf.”
In high school, the molestation and harassment on the street – either verbal or physical, mostly in the form of nonconsensual touching in crowded settings – was added to all of this. The perpetrators were men, most of whom were older than 40, who thought that because you did not wear a headscarf, you were an immoral woman open to such things, and so they could touch you. The existence of this perception is a certainty: I know it because I have heard men say it themselves, and because from discussions with the women from the country of my birth that I know, there is a difference in the frequency with which women who wear and do not wear the headscarf experience this molestation and harassment. In fact, in my country there is an expression that everyone knows and that some are shameless enough to say out loud: “A woman without a headscarf is like a house without curtains: either for sale or for rent.” More evidence of this way of thinking can be found in how, in my mother tongue, the shortest way to describe a woman who wears the headscarf is to say that she is “closed,” and the shortest way to describe a woman who does not wear the headscarf is to say that she is “open.” These words are the ordinary and most frequently used descriptive words for this situation: One would say “that woman is open” to say simply that she does not wear the headscarf. However, the secondary implications of promiscuity suggested in these two words sound the same in my mother tongue as they do in English.
When I went to university, my boyfriend at the time, with whom we were discussing marriage, came to me one day and said: “After we get married I want you to wear the headscarf. My family would not want a bride who does not wear the headscarf.” At the time, I told him: “Up until now, I have not worn the headscarf, despite believing that God wants me to do so, so I am definitely not going to wear it just because you or anybody else wants me to. If one day I decide to wear it, it will be completely because God wants it, not because people do.” I broke up with him in the same conversation, and to this day this remains one of the best things I ever did for myself in my life.
The great majority of women in my country live one by one through the stages and experiences I have described. Some of them resist each of these stages. Unfortunately, the majority of them, at one of these stages or another, cannot resist anymore, and put on the headscarf. Some start wearing it immediately, to please their family. Others do so later, to avoid harassment or the gossip of neighbors and relatives. Still others hold out until they finally give in to please a potential husband. But when asked, nearly all of them will say that they wear the headscarf “because I want to.”
They say this because it is spiritually very painful to think that you have done something out of submission to these people, who think that they have the right to speak authoritatively and make decisions about your body and your personality, which are the two most valuable things that you can ever have. It is much easier to believe you have done that act because you wanted to. I completely respect the choices of women who truly wear the headscarf because they want to. I also understand the helplessness experienced by women who wear the headscarf as a result of pressure, and I do not blame them. For me these women are the victims of male-dominated Muslim societies. My only expectation from them is that they do not pressure their daughters and other women in the same way. They should not continue this chain of tyranny against women, and should instead have it end with them. Others must acknowledge that while a minority of Muslim women wear the headscarf truly because they choose to do so, without pressure from family or society, the majority of women who wear the headscarf do so because they are forced to, whether by their family, by society, or by a government that purports to represent them.
This is the situation in the country of my birth, which is not governed by shari’a, so I can imagine the physical and psychological pressure applied to the women of Iran, which for more than 40 years has been governed by shari’a and whose government has forced women to wear the headscarf. That in this era, those who speak authoritatively in government and society still intervene in the individual bodily inviolability of women, and of their freedom of thought and belief, to attack their rights with pressure and violence, is a shame not only on the countries in which this is the case, but on all humanity. Contrary to what many Westerners may think, these attacks are not a matter of cultural choice; they are simply crimes. A person’s religious belief is binding only on themselves. Muslim societies need to understand that the path to paradise does not pass through tyrannizing women and children.
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Stephen P. Whiteon a new study of how the abuse crisis, and the American Church’s response to it, affected the relationship and trust between priests and their bishops.
The crisis of clerical sexual abuse, which wracked the Church in the United States in recent years, deeply eroded confidence in the credibility of our bishops. There has been no shortage of painful reminders of the tremendous deficit of trust that has resulted from the Church’s failure to adequately address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse, particularly when it comes to episcopal accountability.
No one ought to be satisfied with the record of the Church in this country, still less complacent about the progress that has been made. But neither should anyone forget the Church’s real accomplishments, in no small part because of the efforts of our bishops.
In the twenty years since the passage of the Dallas Charter, the Church in the United States has become a global leader in protecting the young and holding abusers accountable. The safeguarding measures, reporting procedures, and review boards established under the Charter have become the standard model for anti-abuse and accountability policies around the world. The United States remains one of the only parts of the global Church with a strict policy of zero tolerance for confirmed abusers.
If there is one universally acknowledged flaw in the Dallas Charter, it’s that it failed to hold bishops accountable for their own abuse or for negligence and mishandling of abuse by those under their authority. Rome has attempted to address those shortcomings in episcopal accountability with (to put it charitably) mixed results.
But the Dallas Charter, for all the good it has accomplished, also had a downside.
For decades, there have been warning signs – anecdotal, but coming from both priests and bishops – that the policies put in place in response to the abuse crisis had caused a shift in the relationship between priests and their bishops. What had once been akin to a familial relationship had been de-personalized. Priests were worried that bishops saw them as liabilities to be managed rather than as brothers of sons. Bishops were worried that priests were less and less likely to come to them with serious personal problems or failings.
For the better part of three years, The Catholic Project (of which I am the executive director) and a team of sociologists led by Brandon Vaidyanathan (our Chair of Sociology here at Catholic University) has been working on a study to address this question: How has the abuse crisis, and the Church’s response to that crisis, affected the relationship and trust between priests and their bishops?
This week, we published the initial results of that study – the largest survey of American Catholic priests in more than fifty years.
What we learned from the study is this: American priests are thriving. They are “flourishing” in their vocations and deeply fulfilled in their ministry. Priests don’t have particularly high confidence in their bishops (though this varies greatly from diocese to diocese) and very little confidence in “the bishops” as a whole. Priests see their bishops very differently than bishops see themselves, more as administrators than fathers.
There are three particular points from our study, however, that I do want to highlight.
First:82 percent of priests regularly fear being falsely accused of abuse. Seeing that number in print is striking. Priests know that even a single, anonymous allegation can result in suspension from ministry. Priests know that even a false allegation, once made, can be very difficult to disprove definitively. And priests know that, even if such an allegation is dismissed as “not credible” and they returned to ministry, they may carry the stigma of that allegation forever. Add to this a widespread conviction among priests that bishops see the accused more as liabilities than as men who are innocent until proven guilty, and one can easily imagine how living with such fear – constantly, for decades – would take a toll.
Second: Close to 70 percent of priests support a zero-tolerance policy for abusers as set forth in the Dallas Charter, though 40 percent think it is too harsh. Our interviews added some flesh to these bones. Priests overwhelmingly, even unanimously, support the permanent removal from ministry of priests proven to have sexually abused a minor. There are no qualms among priests about zero-tolerance when it comes to such abuse. They are less sure that zero-tolerance is an appropriate policy for other sorts of impropriety, especially given a lack of clarity about what constitutes a “vulnerable adult.”
Third: Priests in religious orders show far less anxiety about what would happen after a false allegation. Religious communities are bound to take care of their own, even if a member of the community is accused of something as heinous as abusing a minor. They’ll have a roof over their head, food, and the community will provide defense counsel. This is not necessarily the case for diocesan priests.
Religious priests, especially among younger cohorts, also show lower signs of burnout than diocesan priests. Finding ways to combat isolation and strengthen community ties among diocesan priests ought to be priorities.
Our priests understand and support the reforms of the Dallas Charter, including zero-tolerance. Our priests, especially diocesan priests, are also acutely aware of just how weak the due-process protections of the Charter can be in practice. This leaves our priests feeling vulnerable, isolated, and distrustful of their bishops.
Yet through all of this, no doubt owing to grace, our priests remain deeply in love with their vocation and fulfilled in their ministry. They’re flourishing. That is no small encouragement.
The bishops are currently engaged in the process of revising the Dallas Charter, which they do every few years. My hope is that this survey will encourage them in that work – both as a reminder of the importance of the Charter, and as a spur to find ways to strengthen due-process protections for priests, even while continuing to improve protections for the vulnerable and accountability for the guilty.
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There is a debate today over capital punishment. And that debate is taking place right now in Florida, particularly after the Parkland school shooter received a sentence of life, not death.
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who in my book has done a fantastic job keeping the Sunshine Street free, called for the death penalty in this case.
DeSantis has been seeking a change in Florida’s death penalty law, which would apply to Nicholas Cruz who took the lives of 17 students and others at his former high school in 2018 in what could be called the second “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”
Javier Manjarres of “The Floridian” notes: “Governor Ron DeSantis has signaled that the Republican-led state legislature could address the 2017 death penalty law that requires a unanimous jury to find that a criminal defendant should be put to death…DeSantis called the recent jury decision to recommend Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz a life sentence instead of death, a ‘miscarriage of justice….[t]hat did not honor the victims and the families and all that they went through. I think we’ll be able to do something legislatively.’” [emphasis added]
Is the death penalty just a vestige from previous barbaric ages, as some maintain? The Constitution forbids “cruel and unusual punishment” in the Eighth Amendment (which in its original meaning never included capital punishment, which was widely considered necessary and appropriate at the time), while allowing for the death penalty (in the discussion on capital crimes) in the Fifth Amendment. Does the Bible condemn or forbid capital punishment?
Dr. D. James Kennedy, my longtime pastor, with whom I had the privilege to co-write 19 books, once said: “I believe a careful study of Scripture would clearly teach us that a faithful Christian must be involved in the political and social issues of his time….God commands men to form civil governments to stem the growth of violence through administering the death penalty (Genesis 9:6). From this flows all other powers and functions of government.”
Genesis 9:6 states: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” In the New Testament, in Romans 13, the Apostle Paul lays down the principle that the state has the legitimate authority to “bear the sword” if done in a just way: “For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”
Dr. Kennedy has been criticized for being pro-life in opposition to abortion, while at the same time favoring the death penalty. He said his critics are the inconsistent ones: “They are willing to kill the innocent but they are not willing to kill the guilty. That is inconsistency.”
One of the books Dr. Kennedy and I wrote was called, How Would Jesus Vote? (2008). It provided a thoughtful Christian view of the issues commonly on the ballot, including the death penalty.
As we noted, when the Bible says, “Thou shalt not kill,” the more accurate translation from the Hebrew is “Thou shalt do no murder.” Meanwhile, God commands punishment of those who deliberately and wantonly take human life, if properly convicted, on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Today, there is a philosophy of crime-and-no-punishment which treats criminals as if they are patients who need treatment rather than wrongdoers who need punishment. In this view, criminals hey are ill and do what they do because they can’t help themselves.
But as we note in our book, C. S. Lewis, the great British writer, criticized this approach to criminality: “We demand of a deterrent not whether it is just, but whether it succeeds…when we only consider what will cure him…we have tacitly removed him from the sphere of justice altogether; instead of a person…we now have…a ‘case’ to be treated in a clinic.”
To paraphrase Lewis, “When we make the issue medical rather than criminal, justice gets lost, and we treat criminals, like cases to be cured.”
But this medical approach actually depersonalizes the criminal. In this view, he has no free will of his own and is only being compelled by the mechanics of his brain. (Remember the Twinkie Defense? My client wasn’t guilty—eating too many Twinkies made him do it.)
In his 12/6/06 WND article, “Another Argument for Capital Punishment,” columnist Dennis Prager noted: “It is a cosmic injustice to allow a murderer to keep his life.”
He adds, “Killing murderers is society’s only way to teach how terrible murder is. …..A society that kills murderers is saying that murder is more heinous a crime than a society that keeps all its murderers alive.”
In short, if implemented justly and with impartiality, capital punishment sends a statement to society—a statement that human life does have value—so much so that we are willing to exact the ultimate penalty for heinously or callously destroying it
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And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Jesus Answers their Question With TRUTH
In response to the disciples question, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (Gr. aion / age)?” The first words of Jesus’s answer to His disciples were “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Jesus surely knew that deception would be multiplied as the end of the current age drew closer, so He warned His disciples about that deception.
His warning was directed to them and them alone at that time. Since they would be the people through whom Jesus would establish the Church, His Body on earth after His departure, it was critical that they understood about deception and how, if accepted, it can steal, kill and destroy.
The stones of the temple will all be thrown down – done
Many will claim to be The Anointed, or to be anointed – Occurring NOW
Wars and Rumors of Wars (reports of, the hearing of)– Occurring NOW
Nation will rise against nation – Occurring NOW
Kingdom will rise against kingdom – Occurring NOW
Famines, Pestilences and earthquakes in various places – Occurring NOW
Persecution and killing of the saints – Occurring NOW
The next three statements by Jesus indicate a growing apostasy among believers which was mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3. In verse three of that passage, Paul also warned believers that they should not allow themselves to be deceived “by any means” because that deception would elad to a “falling away” (Strong’s 646, from the Greek apostasia, pronounced ap-os-tas-ee’-ah, means defection from truth).
Offense and betrayal and hatred among the Church – Occurring NOW
Many false prophets will arise and deceive many in the Church – Occurring NOW
Due to waxing (increasing) iniquity the love of many will grow cold – Occurring NOW
There is not one word in that passage predicting that any nation will grow more spiritual, more loving, more kind, more moral or righteous or become “great again”; in fact, such a statement contradicts the words of Jesus who clearly stated that the wars on earth will be due to nations and kingdoms rising against each other, not because they will be getting ‘better’. He also states that “iniquity will abound” and that the growing iniquity, NOT any increase in the ‘goodness of any nation’, will affect the Church, causing many to believe the deception, commonly known as propaganda, whether from any government or from any “Religious officials”.
Every statement of Jesus in this passage is occurring NOW, all over the planet. Earthquakes are definitely increasing in both frequency and intensity, in many cases in conjunction with volcanic eruptions, in many different places around the earth. The earth itself is groaning, awaiting its own redemption from the curse placed on it by God in response to Adam’s sin. The current predictions of a coming massive famine with millions of people starving are totally in accordance with what Jesus said in Matthew 24:7. We are also seeing pestilence in new forms, but in addition, the return of many which were thought to have been eradicated from the earth. Any true believer who has studied the word of God MUST be aware that we ae seeing ALL the signs Jesus told us about. Jesus also declared that the signs are only “the beginning of sorrows”.
Anyone who ignores them, or refuses to see them, is denying the truth of Jesus’ words and in effect is placing his or her trust in the words of false prophets who would have us believe that man is capable of fixing the problems plaguing this planet and all the people dwelling on it. Since man in his fallen state is responsible for those problems, the chance that he can fix them in nil. What is the likelihood that Donald J Trump, or any other politician, most of whom are lying, cheating and corrupt snakes, can “Make America Great Again”? An apparition, a fleeting ghost of false hope that will lead astray anyone who accepts it’s possibility. For that to occur would bring ‘glory’ to the one, or the many, through whom it would be accomplished and that would also be contrary to scripture wherein God declared: “Iam the Lord: that is my name: and my GLORY will I NOT GIVE ANOTHER, neither my praise to graven images”. (Isaiah 42:8 KJV)
I have wondered how easily Satan can deceive so many, especially those who claim to be followers of Christ, and convince them of something that, while it might ‘seem good’, is totally contradictory to God’s word.
Could it be that we have come to see this world as a place so desirable, a place we should love so much, that we cannot let go of it, all the while knowing in our hearts that it will not last much longer? Have we decided to cling to this world, forgetting that Jesus promised He was going away to prepare a place for us, one of the many mansions in His Father’s house?
Abraham ”saw” it by faith and longed to be in it.
As clean and untouched as the earth was in Abraham’s day, the Patriarch declared that “…he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:10 KJV). Abraham’s vision, seen by faith, was his view of one of those many mansions that are likely now prepared and waiting for the arrival of the Church, the Body of Christ. I have never seen that place but it must be beautiful, a place we should all have our hearts and eyes looking toward as our eternal dwelling place where we will never again experience the sadness and sorrows we have endured in our lives on this earth.
While it would be wonderful to write that the world is becoming a better place, that America will be “made great again”, that she will rise again as the moral, religious and political leader of the world, it would not be the truth, and anything that is not the truth is deception, designed to mislead and bring destruction and misery.
The plain simple truth is that we ARE seeing ALL the signs of the end of this age, the Church age; all those who believe on, and accept Jesus as Lord, are closer to the joyous realization of all the promises made to us by the Lord: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 KJV)
The signs we are witnessing should cause shouting and joy as we watch for the approaching of the Lord as He is even now preparing to come for us. We will leave this cursed earth behind and begin our new eternal lives in bodies that are just like His immortal, perfect body!
The most wonderful part of the passage in Matthew 24 is : “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end (of the Church age) come.”
I will close with this fervent admonition: ENDURE UNTO THE END!
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WASHINGTON, D.C. /PRNewswire/ — Following months of research, dedication and perseverance, HinduPACT has officially launched its HinduVote.org website to help voters select Federal candidates based on their support for issues that are important to the Hindu diaspora.
The comprehensive website, the first of its kind in the history of the American Hindu community, consists of location-based listing of candidates for the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, biographical and social media details of the candidates, responses from the candidates on a Hindu-focused questionnaire, and HinduPACT’s assessment of legislative votes that are deemed of importance by the incumbents and federal candidates.
The website uses the power of crowdsourcing to express the sentiment of the Hindu community by providing the constituents with an opportunity to rate the candidates based on the positions they have taken.
All Federal incumbents and candidates will receive the questionnaires this week. This questionnaire covers the issue of growing hate campaigns against Hindus across the country. It also addresses concerns about U.S. foreign policy that affect Hindu communities across the world.
Rakhi Israni, Director of Legal for HinduPACT, said, “The American Hindu community is peaceful, affluent and productive. They are, in many ways, the model community in any society in which they reside. They have held massive economic power in their hands for sometime now. This HinduVote initiative is the first step in claiming the political power that they should have been afforded a while ago.”
Convener of HinduPACT, Ajay Shah, said, “There are six million Hindus in America and an additional six million followers of dharmic traditions (Buddhist, Jain and Sikhs). Conservatively, we estimate that around 5% of the voters are the followers of dharmic traditions. In battleground states, and in close races elsewhere, these voters can decisively impact the outcome. HinduVote.org is a community resource to inform and educate the Hindu community and to ensure a Congress that understands, respects and fulfills the aspirations of the American Hindu community.”
HinduPACT and HMEC are initiatives of the World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) 200 New Bond Street, Sugar Grove, IL 60554-9171 Web: hindupact.org hmec.info | Facebook: HinduPACT | Twitter: @hindupact | Instagram: @hindupact
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In this terrific book, Dubliner Fr Paul O’Callaghan, a lecturer in the school of theology in the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, presents a succinct and insightful analysis of a daunting topic: the interaction of faith and culture.
He sets himself the task of examining how Western culture has been moulded by faith (by which he means faith in the strict sense of revealed religion, and not religion in general) and in particular how this is true of four realities key to contemporary culture: rationality, freedom, equality and (surprisingly) conquest.
As we might imagine, the faith-culture relationship will of necessity be a complex one. They are two very different realities: faith stems from a divine initiative, indeed an “interruption” into human history, while culture is the fruit of human endeavour. And nevertheless as the author points out, the West has developed without either element erasing the other; rather they “seek each other out”, each respecting the contribution of the other (for the most part):
“Christian revelation and grace are not meant to ride roughshod over reality, over the world as we know it, over the lives and dreams and projects of its inhabitants, over the traditions and civilizations consolidated over the centuries…”
And yet we know that Modernity (the period dating from around the 16th or 17th century) has been predicated on an elevation of man accompanied by a diminished view of God and a disregard for the West’s Christian roots — an unfortunate over-correction of the mediaeval world’s bias for the divine over the human.
The effects of the secularising tendency of modernity are apparent in the impoverishing effect on those four key areas of rationality, freedom, equality and conquest, distorting them in the direction of rationalism, licence, reductive egalitarianism and rapine respectively.
The interaction of faith and culture
O’Callaghan discusses briefly a number of core tenets of Western civilisation which have their roots in the Bible, such as the notion of intrinsic human dignity, the centrality of human freedom, and the sanctity of marriage.
He cites the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ most interesting distinction between the Judeo-Christian concept of “righteousness and guilt” and the pagan “honour and shame” culture. The former places man’s intrinsic worth on something interior and not immediately apparent, something at the realm of freedom and conscience, and ultimately a person’s interior relationship with God.
The latter on the other hand looks to the external actions alone, for which a person earns honour or shame from others. Such a culture easily (perhaps excessively) exalts its heroes and unequivocally and even brutally condemns its enemies (think “cancel culture”). Lacking the classic Judeo-Christian distinction between sin and sinner, it equates the sinner with their apparent sins, and so is merciless in shaming (and “cancelling”) offenders.
Many core elements of Western culture come from an “intelligent and practical assimilation of Christian Revelation” which is complex and ongoing. There has never been, nor can there ever be, a “purely Christian culture” (despite the nostalgia of some for a Medieval Golden Age of Christendom): sin is a constant in human existence, and has always been present in human culture. Modernity itself, despite all its secularising tendencies, is a “highly positive phenomenon”. As Pope Benedict has reminded Christians, Modernity’s own intrinsic merits as well as its “material fidelity to Christianity” must be acknowledged.
While the theme of the modern world’s fundamental indebtedness to Christianity has recently been revisited and popularised in Tom Holland’s highly successful Dominion, this is not Holland’s discovery: it has been covered in the past by the likes of Dostoevsky, Guardini, T.S. Eliot, and even Jürgen Habermas (for whom the West’s sense of personal conscience, human rights, equality and democracy is built directly on “the Jewish ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love… All the rest is postmodern chatter.”)
Unfortunately of course, the Christian roots of Western values are increasingly being ignored and forgotten, and it would be, in the words of the Dutch reformed pastor Wim Rietkerk, modern man’s biggest mistake if he thought “that he could keep enjoying the fruits without the roots, without walking humbly with his God. … There is no future for a Western civilisation cut off from its roots.”
The four key tenets
O’Callaghan then focusses his attention on those four concepts so central to the West’s very identity: rationality, freedom, equality, and conquest. The last, “conquest” is an unusual concept, and the author explains it as follows:
We assume that what we obtain, what is at our disposal, we have a right to, as if it were our very own and belonging to no-one else. Whether we are talking about children, or property, or space travel, or instant telematic communication to the other side of the world … we see the world around us as a terrain of conquest, of achievement, of success.
He examines how these four notions as we understand them in the West, are essentially the fruit of Christian revelation.
The first, rationality, was already much prized — as logos — by the Greeks. For them rationality could not be understood without reference to the divine. Nevertheless the Christian conception of reason is even more elevated and optimistic than that of the Greeks, for whom reason was marred by very significant limitations.
Human reason for Christians receives a greater trustworthiness on account of the trustworthiness of its author: God. Nevertheless the secularising tendency of Modernity has lost the vastness of the power of reason as glimpsed by the Greeks, and boldly affirmed by Christianity. It began by reducing reason to a merely “computational and mathematical” power, and even now tends towards a radical scepticism which jettisons all confidence in reason.
O’Callaghan goes on to discuss how much the Western notion of freedom owes to Christianity. For Christianity freedom is essentially the filial freedom of those who are called to become God’s children: it is the “freedom of the glory of the children of God” in the words of St Paul. This is the ultimate goal for freedom to aspire to, a true “freedom for”.
However, this Christian-inspired concept of freedom came gradually to be eclipsed by a reductive “freedom from” — which reduces freedom to the mere capacity to choose one thing over another, without any intrinsic direction or dynamism. This reductive freedom is developed by the likes of Ockham, Bacon, Luther and more recently Foucault. Nevertheless, there has been a recovery of the richer conception of freedom, in particular by the Personalist movement for whom freedom is inseparable from man’s fundamental relatedness to others, and to God.
The notion of the fundamental equality of human beings so central to Western values is equally something stemming from Christian revelation. Man’s social and relational nature is presented throughout the Bible as constitutive of his very being. Against this is a non-Christian understanding of relationality as a sign of weakness, insofar as it implies dependence on others; a lack of the autonomy so valued by Modernity (and to a degree even by the Greeks).
The equal dignity under God of all men receives an unequivocal affirmation throughout the Bible. And yet the manifest inequalities between men are not a scandal for Christianity in the way they are for modern culture (for which all “inequality” must be ultimately stamped out), because the presence of neediness is a divine call to the others to live out the charity which must be at the heart of all social relations.
There follows a most illuminating consideration of the fourth tenet: the idea of conquest (by which we see “the world around us as a terrain of conquest”). What O’Callaghan shows here is that the now dominant “anthropology of the self-made man who designs and constructs himself down to the last detail” has lost sight of the Christian notion of gratitude.
The radical individualism that has developed in the West rejects as “childish”, indebtedness to others. Dignity requires that the self must be “self-made” and autonomous. This produces a great incapacity to receive from others, and with that a systematic ingratitude.
However for the Christian, absolutely everything is a gift from God, and man is a receiver of gifts before anything else. This then allows us in our turn to give and receive from others — there is no shame, nor subjugation in receiving understood in Christian terms.
Modernity, on the other hand, is marked by a systematic rejection of gift and so is marked by a striking ingratitude. What is needed is a return to the sense of gratitude gestured at by Heidegger when he said that “denken ist danken” (“to think is to thank”); that even “thought itself is a grateful receptiveness to the giveness of being”.
And so the ungrateful West is faced with the important task of rediscovering true gratitude, also gratitude towards God. The secular world’s “eclipse of worship” (to coin a phrase from Charles Taylor in his work A Secular Age) means that “humans have stopped recognising God as the source of all good and intelligibility. They have stopped thanking God, they no longer recognise the world they live in as a gift, they no longer live ‘eucharistic’ lives.” And such ingratitude is a serious state of affairs: “the most abominable of sins” for Ignatius of Loyola. The author concludes that:
“This has led many of those influenced by modern culture to a generalised loss of faith and to a pathology of individualism and ingratitude, as they attempt to live out their lives in isolation from their fellows, unprepared to recognise the world they live in and the privileges they enjoy as so many gifts they should be profoundly grateful for.”
The question of the gratitude leads on in the Epilogue to a very interesting discussion on the integration of conservatism and progressive liberalism. O’Callaghan shows that both the conservative and liberal tempers are embraced by Christianity: it is conservative insofar as it is conscious of being the receiver of gifts from God, and handed down by others by tradition; the Christian is by definition a conserver of these gifts.
At the same time, the Christian doctrine of Original Sin necessitates the liberal dimension since certain elements from the past will of necessity be tainted by sin and in need of reform and purification; not everything merits conservation. But there is need of a delicate balance of these two opposed tendencies: too much conservatism produces a lazy complacency that is fearful of change, while too excessive liberalism fails to appreciate what has been received from predecessors.
It is hard to overestimate the value of this book. O’Callaghan shows how our contemporary culture simply cannot be understood without a deep grasp of its Christian roots. And furthermore, he shows what damage our culture has already suffered because the key tenets of rationality, freedom, equality and conquest have to the degree to which they have become unmoored from their Christian roots.
At the same time, these affirmations are never simplistic; O’Callaghan takes into account the great complexity of the relationship between faith and culture. And even though it is quite a short book, the author does not oversimplify the issues involved. For that reason, parts of the book will be challenging for someone unfamiliar with the issues involved.
Certainly, this book would make a wonderful basic text for a college course on faith and culture. It would also very beneficial for anyone interested in the deeper issues at play in our current “culture wars”, where much of the discussion is unfortunately as heated as it is uninformed by philosophy and theology.
Rev. Gavan Jennings studied philosophy at University College Dublin, Ireland and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. He is co-editor of the monthly journal Position Papers. He teaches occasional… More by Fr Gavan Jennings
The cure for being stuck in victimhood is to see ourselves as responsible for making our own choices.
Over 2,000 years ago, the Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote, “Show me a man who is not a slave.” Seneca was speaking of mental enslavement: “One is a slave to lust, another to greed, another to ambition, and all men are slaves to fear.”
Epictetus, another Stoic philosopher, himself born a slave, described how one might willingly subject himself to another. In his Discourse, On Freedom he writes,
Whenever, then, you see any one subject to another, and flattering him contrary to his own opinion, confidently say that he too is not free; and not only when he does this for a supper, but even if it be for a government, nay, a consulship. Call those indeed little slaves who act thus for the sake of little things; and call the others as they deserve, great slaves.”
The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was also a Stoic philosopher. In Meditations, he wrote, “Alexander and Caesar and Pompey. Compared with Diogenes, Heraclitus, Socrates? The philosophers knew the what, the why, the how. Their minds were their own. The others? Nothing but anxiety and enslavement.”
Conquering politicians may have ruled over millions, but they still couldn’t control their own minds.
Do privilege and wealth help one escape mental enslavement? We have only to look at all the dysfunctional behavior in Hollywood and see that money cannot buy psychological freedom.
Aurelius reproached himself: “Stop allowing your mind to be a slave, to be jerked about by selfish impulses, to kick against fate and the present, and to mistrust the future.”
How to reach beyond emotional turbulence caused by our own thinking is what the Stoic philosophers taught. Their contributions are part of the great works of humanity because they reflected on timeless themes.
Stuck in Victimhood
Few of us have not suffered bitter setbacks, as Ryan Holiday, author of several books on Stoicism, observes:
So much of what happens is out of our control: We lose people we love. We are financially ruined by someone we trusted. We put ourselves out there, put every bit of our effort into something, and are crushed when it fails. We are drafted to fight in wars, to bear huge tax or familial burdens. We are passed over for the thing we wanted so badly. This can knock us down and hurt us. Yes.”
Each of us forms our identity around what could be called our “story of me.” In his book Question Your Life, Greg Krech observes how often these stories contain resentment. Through our stories, Krech cautions, we create our own burdens:
Wearing a garment of disappointment, resentment and anger is a great burden. It continuously weighs us down as we try to move forward in our lives… It affects our fundamental view of life. It buries us in a complaint-based lifestyle in which our attention is consistently drawn to what is going wrong and how the world fails to meet our expectations.”
In his book, Bonds That Make Us Free, philosopher C. Terry Warner asks us to reflect on this question: “Why do we embrace our miseries and preoccupy ourselves with our victimhood?”
“Experiencing other people or circumstances as having more power over our own happiness than we do,” Warner explains, is to be “stuck” in our victimhood. Warner continues, “We believe they have the ability to cause troubling feelings in us that we cannot do anything about, no matter how we try.”
When we believe other people and circumstances are responsible for how we feel and for the choices we make, we are living a lie of victimhood.
Seeing Our Self-Victimization
Warner asks us to reflect on times we are most troubled. The real source of our “afflicted emotions” can be found in our “self-absorption.” Warner writes, “those times when we feel most miserable, offended, or angry are invariably the occasions when we’re also most absorbed in ourselves and most anxious or suspicious or fearful, or in some other way concerned about ourselves.”
In our self-absorption, we betray our sense of right and wrong. Warner helps us recognize that our self-betrayals can occur in small ways, as in this story of a “busy man”:
A busy man driving home late at night notices the gas gauge dropping near empty. Almost imperceptibly, yet unmistakably, he feels he ought to fill the tank for his wife so she won’t have to do it the next day. But he doesn’t.”
In the mind of this busy man, an urge arose to act from his highest values, yet he did not. This is self-betrayal.
To justify his choice, the busy man may have searched his mind for “data.” Thinking of all the things he does for their household that his wife doesn’t, he may have concluded, I’m far busier than my wife; she should be keeping the tank filled for me. In his mind, he became the victim of an unsupportive wife. His wife, not he, was to blame for his failure to put gas in the car.
In this trivial example, the busy man got stuck in his thinking. Portraying himself as a victim, he undermined his relationship and a happy life.
Warner writes, “Life becomes hard to bear only when we, as self-betrayers, cast ourselves in a victim’s role by regarding others as our victimizers and nurse our misfortunes as if they were badges of honor.”
Feelings of “irritation [escalating to anger], humiliation, self-pity, resentment or frustration” come with self-betrayal. These emotions are accusatory. Warner writes, “Only people who are doing something that goes against their own sense of right and wrong have to spend time and energy spinning out a self-justifying story.”
Our self-justifying stories create resentment. Warner writes, “To take up a hard, resentful attitude toward others is to have to live in a resented world, a world full of people who oppose and threaten us. How they are in our eyes is reflective of how we are.”
Warner warns of three aspects of self-betraying conduct: “accusing others, excusing oneself, and displaying oneself as a victim. We can’t seek vigilantly for evidence that others are mistreating us, as self-betrayers do, unless we actively put ourselves in the victim’s role.”
Having chosen the role of a mistreated victim, we may also choose to feel resentful and entitled. We may see the world as unjust and owing us something. We may believe we are broken while seeing others as advantaged and privileged.
In our victimhood we believe we are not responsible, others are. And many politicians are happy to exploit our false belief.
What might one say to a man who grew up in a single-parent household in a violent inner-city neighborhood and attended a public school where he learned little and was bullied by classmates? This man may face racial discrimination. If he fathers illegitimate children with several women and is and in out of prison, is he responsible for his behavior? Is he not a victim of his circumstances?
Warner recognizes life’s trials and sees life beyond victimhood:
Though none of us is responsible for the misfortunes that befall us, we are, thankfully, responsible for how we use those misfortunes. We cannot alter past events, it’s true. Not having been responsible for them, we cannot take responsibility for them. But we are responsible for the effect they have upon us—for the meaning we assign to them and the way we remember them. And we can learn and grow from them.”
Marcus Aurelius put it this way in his Meditations: “It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise, it cannot harm you—inside or out.”
Warner acknowledges that one may be called “uncharitable” for holding the view that we are responsible for what we make of our lives. Yet, to say a person is not responsible “says, ‘You can’t!’ rather than ‘You can!’” Warner reflects on what it means to believe that a person is not responsible:
Although those who hold this view think they’re being compassionate and kind, they are only being indulgent. Indulgence is a punitive counterfeit of charity. It extends no hope at all for freeing ourselves of our emotional troubles. It takes the position that we are stuck with being the deficient vessels we think we are and are doomed to cope with our lot as best we can.”
Genuine compassion, seeing in all people the ability to take responsibility, is hopeful. Warner writes, “It is because we are responsible for whatever we have become that there is hope for us to change fundamentally. True compassion can be found only in extending this hope to others, never in denying it to them.”
Look around, Warner asks, “Have you known people who seem to have made a lifestyle out of amplifying their victimhood?” Don’t stop with seeing the choice for victimhood in others. Warner asks, “Do you see any of this tendency in yourself?”
The cure for being stuck in victimhood is to see ourselves as responsible for making our own choices.
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HBO host Bill Maher called out Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan Friday night over antisemitic comments they posted on social media….
“Here’s one, ‘Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,’” Maher said, while not explicitly naming Omar as the author of the 2012 tweet that is now deleted. “Ten years ago, if you read that to me, I’d have thought that would be from Hezbollah. That’s an American congressperson.”
Maher then read a post on Twitter where Tlaib invoked apartheid when discussing the Israeli government.
“Another American congressperson says, ‘The reality of Israel’s apartheid government,’ goes on to say, ‘the occupation and ethnic cleansing Palestinians [must] live with every day,’” Maher read, before moving on to a second tweet by Tlaib that accused Israel of deliberately targeting journalists….
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The left excuses this brutal carnage to ‘cultural differences’.
The Qur’an teaches that Infidel women can be lawfully taken for sexual use (cf. its allowance for a man to take “captives of the right hand,” 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59) The implication there is that if women do not cover themselves adequately with their outer garments, they may be abused, and that such abuse would be justified.
The underlying belief is the same: non-Muslim women exist for the pleasure of Muslim men. It’s in the Quran: Muslims can take “captives of the right hand” and use them for sex (4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). And as long as it is not addressed, there will be more and more of these Muslim rape gangs, aided and abetted by hopelessly compromised British officials.
Why does this keep happening?
The answer to that question is quite clear, but no one wants to see it. In France, a Muslim quoted Qur’an while raping his victim. A survivor of a Muslim rape gang in the UK has said that her rapists would quote the Qur’an to her, and believed their actions justified by Islam. Thus it came as no surprise when Muslim migrants in France raped a girl and videoed the rape while praising Allah and invoking the Qur’an. In India, a Muslim gave a Qur’an and a prayer rug to the woman he was holding captive and repeatedly raping. And the victim of an Islamic State jihadi rapist recalled: “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God…He said that raping me is his prayer to God.”
In India, a Muslim kidnapped and raped a 14-year-old Hindu girl, and forced her to read the Qur’an and Islamic prayers. In Pakistan, another Christian woman recounted that her rapist was also religious: “He threw me on the bed and started to rape me. He demanded I marry him and convert to Islam. I refused. I am not willing to deny Jesus and he said that if I would not agree he would kill me.” Rapists demanded that another girl’s family turn her over to them, claiming that she had recited the Islamic profession of faith during the rape and thus could not live among infidels.
The Qur’an teaches that Infidel women can be lawfully taken for sexual use (cf. its allowance for a man to take “captives of the right hand,” 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59) The implication there is that if women do not cover themselves adequately with their outer garments, they may be abused, and that such abuse would be justified.
However, anyone who points all this out will be excoriated as a “racist” and an “Islamophobe,” and accordingly ignored. This has been going for years, and there is no sign that it’s going to stop anytime soon. (more here)
As for the victim’s tender young age: Child marriage has abundant attestation in Islamic tradition and law. Turkey’s directorate of religious affairs (Diyanet) said in January 2018 that under Islamic law, girls as young as nine can marry. Ishaq Akintola, a professor of Islamic Eschatology and Director of Muslim Rights Concern in Nigeria, stated: “Islam has no age barrier in marriage and Muslims have no apology for those who refuse to accept this.” Dr. Abd Al-Hamid Al-‘Ubeidi, an Iraqi expert on Islamic law, agreed: “There is no minimum marriage age for either men or women in Islamic law. The law in many countries permits girls to marry only from the age of 18. This is arbitrary legislation, not Islamic law.” Dr. Salih bin Fawzan, a prominent cleric and member of Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, said that there is no minimum age for marriage and that girls can be married “even if they are in the cradle.” Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology ruled: “Islam does not forbid marriage of young children.”
France in shock: 4 Algerian migrants arrested for brutal rape and murder of 12-year-old Paris girl found stuffed in a suitcase with throat slashed
French police has four Algerians in custody suspected of participating in the brutal murder and rape of a 12-year-old schoolgirl only identified as Lola. The suspects (Dahbia B., Amine K., Friha B., and Rachid N.) all hail from the same Algerian village, and one of them may be in the country illegally.
The body was found in a suitcase curled up, shackled, with a deep wound in her throat, and marked with inscriptions. According to the autopsy, carried out on Saturday, her death was due to asphyxiation. Two of the suspects in the case have been charged with “murder of a minor under the age of 15 in connection with a rape committed with acts of torture and barbarism,” “rape of a minor under the age of 15 with acts of torture and barbarism,” and “concealment of a corpse.” Although there was no mention of sexual violence when the story first broke, the latest details from BMFTV allege the girl was also raped. Macron pushes to send migrants to French countryside, labels plan an ‘opportunity’ during ‘demographic transition’
The French president’s plan may be in the hope of shoring up rural votes for the left
Police also say that “a device” was used to imprint the numbers “one” and “zero” on her body, but further details about what these numbers mean and how they were “imprinted” on the body remains unclear.
Lola’s father reported her disappearance on Friday because she had not returned after her classes at Georges-Brassens College, located just behind the building where she was eventually found. Lola’s mother, Delphine, went to the police station of the XIXth. The schoolgirl, with medium-length blond hair, was wearing white jeans with holes in them, a white hoodie, a sleeveless jacket and white sneakers, the report said.
The mother posted a desperate message on social media to find her daughter after she went missing, writing: ”Our daughter Lola was last seen at 3:20 p.m. in the company of a woman we do not know in our residence.”
The investigators also arrested a fourth suspect early this Saturday morning in Bois-Colombes, in the Hauts-de-Seine. It is a woman, whose description could match that of a woman seen on video surveillance at the time of the crime. Another woman, who allegedly asked for help from a local Friday afternoon to carry a big trunk to her car, is the fourth person presently in police custody, according to Le Parisien. The two women in custody are sisters, and according to media reports, one of them is homeless.
The Paris prosecutor’s office currently says that a 24-year-old man is the main suspect in the case; he spoke “clearly” to investigators, apparently divulging key evidence in the case, according to BFMTV. A second suspect, in his 40s, is suspected of having helped the younger male perpetrator transport the body. It is unclear what role the female suspects may have played in the case.
According to Le Journal du Dimanche, police are also investigating the possibility that the girl was kidnapped and targeted for organ harvesting.
In front of the girl’s building, the entrance is overflowing with stuffed animals and flowers placed there by mourners. A friend of the girl, spoke with BFMTV, saying, “We were still laughing on Friday, I didn’t realize what would happen.”
Politicians across France are pointing to the fact that once again, migrants are responsible for another shocking murder and rape.
“Lola, 12, brutally murdered in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. Four Algerians in custody. Our youth is being slaughtered while professional mourners chase imaginary Islamophobia,” wrote Stéphane Ravier, senator for Bouches-du-Rhône.
Lola, 12 ans, assassinée sauvagement dans le 19e arrondissement de Paris. Quatre Algériens en garde à vue.
National Rally parliamentary leader Marine Le Pen wrote on Twitter, “Once again, a terrible assassination. A little girl massacred in the middle of Paris. One day, it will be necessary to go to the end of the investigations to find, not only the direct culprits, but also to stop the crazy policies which make these crimes possible.”
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Long overdue. No one else alive is more deserving of such an award than President Donald J. Trump. It is unfortunate that the vast majority of American Jews do not understand that fact.
Zionist Organization of America(ZOA)is presenting Donald Trump,the most pro-Israel president ever, it’s highest award, the Theodor Herzl Gold Medallion, at our Gala in NYC on Nov. 13. Also honoring Leader Kevin McCarthy, Jason Greenblatt, Israeli General https://t.co/eD4TtplhjE
(October 14, 2022 / JNS) The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) on Friday announced that it will honor former President Donald Trump with its Theodor Herzl Medallion.
Trump will receive the honor, which ZOA said it “rarely gives,” at the organization’s national award dinner in New York City on Nov. 13.
ZOA stated in an email that it is honoring Trump “for being the best friend Israel ever had in the White House.” It listed a number of items in the context of Trump’s pro-Israel and pro-Jewish record, including brokering the Abraham Accords, relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, an executive order strengthening Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to protect Jewish students, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, pulling the U.S. out of the Iran deal, halting U.S. funding of the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, recognizing the legality of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, becoming the first U.S. president to pray at the Western Wall, and more…….
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DC Comics is canceling Superman: Son of Kal-El, a book series it launched last year about a bisexual Superman, amid poor sales. The series’ 18th issue, due out in December, will be its final installment. The series saw a 17-year-old Jonathan Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, take on a number of social issues including climate change, school shootings, and the rescue of “undocumented migrants.” The series even featured face coverings in an effort to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in fiction.
After experiencing low sales, Superman: Son of Kal-El is being canceled by DC Comics.
The announcement was made over the weekend during New York Comic Con. According to DC, the 18th issue will be the series’s last. The comic book company told the Washington Examiner that this is not a cancellation, however. “The Superman: Son of Kal-El series was not canceled. Historically, there have been multiple titles that feature Superman, including Action Comics, Superman and Adventure Comics. It was always our plan to have Clark Kent return to the main Superman title and Jon Kent’s story is continuing in Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent,” said a representative from DC.
“Superman: Son of Kal-El will end with issue #18, but fans of Jon Kent do not need to worry! Writer Tom Taylor and artist Clayton Henry will be telling new Jon Kent stories in Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent,” said the company in a press release.
“I couldn’t be more excited for Jon Kent to headline the iconic Adventures of Superman,” said Taylor. “It’s a real testament to the fantastic response of fans to Jon as Superman. This series is going to be one of the most action-packed books I’ve ever written and Jon is going to be tested more than ever before. While we can tell you the Superman of Earth-2, Val-Zod, and Jon’s nemesis, Ultraman, will be key characters in the early part of Adventures of Superman, what we’re going to reveal at the end of issue #2 will have everyone talking and issue #3 launches us in a direction that no one will see coming.”
Last year, DC announced that Superman Jon Kent would come out as bisexual, and issues of the comic even featured a male love interest. One illustration showed the two characters engaged in a passionate kiss.
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One of the deceptions rampant in the organized church is that if people will follow liturgy or ritual; if people will simply attend church and keep church traditions and do not confront grievous sins it is believed those doing such have all they need and have God figured-out. Not only is such sentiment sorely wrong and indefensible but, in part, such unchallenged teaching along with generally poor teaching to ready people for the times we are in and those about to unfold, El Shaddai (God Almighty – God is all powerful, Genesis 17:1; Psalm 91:1) is moving to present Signs and Wonders the likes not seen since the Days of Noah and the Days of Exodus.
It is my conviction the Lord Attiq Yomin (The Ancient of Days – God is the ultimate authority who has such authority to judge ALL nations, Daniel 7:9, 13) has reached His limit, and is now beginning the process of humbling, seriously disciplining and bringing punishment to America, as well as across all the nations. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear will respond. They will come before the Lord with true humility and ownership, seek the Lord’s discipline in full measure not petition merely for a slap on the wrist. Others will be removed instantly from this life, as they have become reprobate casting their allegiance to the lord of darkness. This last group will include, but not be limited to those in the political, economic, corporate, medical and science professions. You will witness churches shuttered, pastors removed, some then restored after full and complete humbling and discipline for the worldly gospel they have promoted; others completely removed.
The Lord has directed me to blow the Shofar of Warning as to what is about to come to this Land named America; this Land which chose at formation to place God first and follow His lead, His direction for the construction of a earthly government and economy. America has chosen to turn from the covenant and submission (meaning cooperation) that ordained this nation. The Lord God chose the people of Israel to be His; America’s Forefathers chose God to follow and lead this exceptional Nation. The Lord God has been calling a Remnant that will again wait upon Him, submit to Him, share His Gospel not the gospel of man.
What follows are the Words of the Lord given to one of His Prophets who resides in the State of Texas. I have known this man for five years. This servant of the Lord is a Seer and Prophet of many years. The following message was given to this present-day Prophet just the other night, and he was instructed by the Lord to give the same to me as a Watchman for me to sound the Shofar of Warning!
In lamentation and grief of soul hear the decree of “Alpha and the Omega,” the “Beginning and the End” whose eyes are torches of fire. My Watchman, it is time to Blow the Shofar over this adulterous land and to rebuke the rebellious who wickedly committed whoredom with many lovers. Shall I send a knife to cut a rotten root or a hammerstone to break idols of stone? The “Righteous Branch” will send My “battle ax” to chop and uproot and a “sledgehammer” to pulverize your calves of gold. Thus says the Lord, hear O foolish mockers without understanding, which have eyes, and see NOT; which have ears and hear NOT! My wrath as a consuming fire is against those who turn justice into bitterness of wormwood and cast the righteous to the ground. You have been exposed for the wickedness of your hearts, in pride, you corrupt yourselves at the alters of pleasure and seek exalted positions all the while killing the innocent and trampling the poor. As your father was a murderer from the beginning and filled with lies and deceptions, you satisfy your evil passions and say the Lord does not see nor take heed of our ways. Blinded and deceived, the Lord God utters His voice, and the blasting trumpets of My Watchmen are sounded. Woe, for the day of destruction and desolation enters as a thief in the night, a day of darkness and gloom is at your door.
Reprobates of a nation founded for light and truth, you swallow lies of deceit as a gluttonous beast but reject your creator. Your abominations have ascended on high as you worship the lies of evolution and seek to redefine your creation to indulge in vanity and evil pleasures. Mockers and defilers, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the true God who created man and forms the seed in the womb. Sudden destruction and mischief shall befall you as the bite of the serpent you worship and the sting of the scorpion you honor.
As Rachel wailed for her children, you shall know the pains and suffering and great loss and which of your idols of silver and gold can offer a cure for grievous wounds in that day. Alas…alas…the Lord does bring forth true justice and recompense to those who give themselves over to impunity and indulge in the unnatural depravity with animals and defile themselves in sensual perversity. This adulterous generation has chosen the profit of Balaam and the murder of the innocent as Cain – you will perish as the rebellion of Korah and in the fire that the Lord of Retribution rained on “religious hypocrites.”
Therefore, because you tread upon the poor and take the food off his table and the blanket of warmth; your ill-gotten gain and luxurious palaces will be given to a stranger. You have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. As you afflict the uncompromising of My children (righteous) and take a bribe for the destruction of the nation, you will seek Me in false humility and supplication, but I will not hear! Though you pled as a mother for her children and offer that which you will not (actually) do, I will NOT listen to the melody of your harps or accept the vanity of your incense!
I AM the Lord God who watches over the seven stars and walks among the seven lampstands of gold, thus My decree has gone forth to the watchers – those whom I have called as Watchman – to blow the trumpet and remain faithful – for I know My Sheep, and will keep them in the day of trouble.
The prophetic word ended. Thus saith the Lord of lords and King of kings.
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This protest was “very embarrassing” for everyone concerned. The far-Left Detroit Free Press pseudo-journalist Niraj Warikoo says that even “a heavy police presence” couldn’t keep the meeting from “descending into chaos,” and this is especially “embarrassing” for local Muslim leaders such as Osama Siblani, as they know that Leftists are their staunchest and most dependable allies. If the Leftist-Islamic alliance splits, events could take an ugly turn, especially given the Left’s increased penchant for authoritarianism.
But this is also embarrassing for the Leftist school board members for they would rather have their teeth pulled out one by one with rusty pliers than appear to be “Islamophobic,” and yet they can’t appease the Muslims in Dearborn in this instance without giving up their cherished gender fantasies and relentless agenda of sexualizing children. So who will give? The appalling Niraj Warikoo is staunchly on the LGBTQ side, as you can tell here from his editorializing at the end of his article, where he says “As Stone walked away, a protester yelled at him a phrase advocates note is often used to make bigoted attacks against gay people based on inaccurate stereotypes: ‘Leave our kids alone.’” What will Warikoo do when all the friends he has made in the Muslim community over the years with his relentlessly biased coverage turn on him because of nasty little digs like that one?
“Protesters shut down Dearborn school board meeting over LGBTQ books,” by Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, October 11, 2022:
Hundreds of protesters packed a Dearborn Public Schools board meeting this week and shut it down with cries of anger over certain LGBTQ books they said are too sexually explicit for children. And now, some community leaders anxiously await a rescheduled meeting set for Thursday night as others call for calm.
A heavy police presence failed to prevent the Monday night meeting from descending into chaos as demonstrators took it over and then various factions within them jostled for control, shouting at each other. Protesters often ignored the requests of police officers to stop interrupting board members.
It was unclear who was in control of the meeting at times. Most of the crowd appeared to be in opposition to the books, but there were also a number of people with the the American Federation of Teachers union who showed up to support inclusion of LGBTQ people and others.
Not until Dearborn Police Chief Issa Shahin arrived later did the protesters stop their agitation. Shahin pleaded with the crowd to relax and not embarrass Dearborn. There was concern expressed by some community leaders that the protesters are making the city and its Arab American Muslim population look bad. But others said that as Muslims, they have to stand up for their faith….
“Vote them out!” the crowd repeatedly chanted during the raucous meeting inside an administrative center where the board holds its public meetings. The room was packed tightly, with many using an overflow room and others standing in the back and on the sides. Several held up signs with anti-gay rhetoric in English and Arabic, making religious references to assert that LGBTQ educational materials and books should not be available in Dearborn Public Schools, the third largest school district in Michigan. Some of the placards held up read: “Keep your porno books to yourself,” “Homosexuality Big Sin,” and “If democracy matters, we’re the majority.”
Most of the protesters appeared to be Arab American and Muslim. But others in the Arab American community strongly objected to the actions of the protesters Monday night.
“What happened tonight at the school board meeting in Dearborn is very embarrassing and is totally rejected,” Osama Siblani, publisher of the Dearborn-based Arab American News and a longtime community leader, wrote on Facebook. “Remember that the loss of any individual’s right to express himself/herself is the beginning of the end of all people’s rights … Remember that Islam is a religion of love, peace and tolerance, not a religion of insults, violence and threats.”
Aya Moughni, a Dearborn resident who is Muslim, also said earlier that Arab Americans should not be attacking the LGBTQ community. She spoke at a previous Dearborn rally in support of the books….
Police officers repeatedly told people who yelled out and interjected to keep quiet. But their efforts failed as the crowd’s anger grew. Part of the frustration was the board first addressed other issues not related to the books that most had showed up to discuss. They also didn’t like what some called a condescending attitude toward them and their concerns….
Brian Stone, who is part of the LGBTQ community, attended the meeting with a poster that displayed two photos next to each other: the one on the left said “1957” with a photo of whites screaming in anger at a Black woman, Hazel Bryan, attending a school in Little Rock, Arkansas that was integrated for the first time; the photo on the right said “2022,” with a photo of a man with an angry face giving the middle finger to Sam Smalley, a transgender person who was a counter-protester, at the Sept. 25 rally at the library against the books.
As he displayed the sign, Stone drew the attention of some angry men, including Chami.
“This is a community where everyone should be safe and they should be represented,” Stone said as they yelled.
Stone was later escorted to his car by two police officers, echoing the scene after the Sept. 25 rally, where several police officers had to escort Smalley to protect him as he walked to his car.
As Stone walked away, a protester yelled at him a phrase advocates note is often used to make bigoted attacks against gay people based on inaccurate stereotypes: “Leave our kids alone.”
The Dobbs Supreme Court decision in June which overturned Roe v. Wade, notes Ob-gyn, Ingrid Skop, “has sent abortion advocates and their allies in the media scurrying to strike fear into the hearts of women.” Just last Tuesday (10/4/22), the White House held a meeting to see how they could further promote abortion in America.
But much of the abortion debate essentially centers around eight key myths about the abortion procedure:
1. Myth: The Dobbs case will cause women to die for lack of abortions.
I spoke with the above-mentioned Dr. Skop on a radio segment. She has delivered more than 5,000 babies and serves as a senior fellow and director of medical affairs at Charlotte Lozier Institute, a pro-life organization. She wrote an op-ed exploding this myth.
Says Dr. Skop: “An ectopic pregnancy happens when an embryo implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube, and the fetus has no chance of survival to a live birth….As soon as it’s diagnosed, physicians will treat an ectopic pregnancy because the mother’s life is at risk, a routine obstetric procedure that is not jeopardized by Dobbs. This is lifesaving medical care. It is not an elective abortion.”
2. Myth: Abortion does not kill a human being.
Recently, Whoopi Goldberg said that abortion is needed to remove that “toxic thing” inside
women. But we were all once that “toxic thing.” How dehumanizing. Similarly, one abortion clinic nurse said that the unborn babies are just “pieces of goo.”
But Carol Everett disagrees. She’s a former abortion worker (and part owner of some abortion facilities). She once told me, “In the front counseling room, the young woman is asking, ‘Is it a baby?’ And she’s being told, ‘No.’ But in the back, every single baby, as early as it can be done, has to be put back together—the arms, legs, hands, feet, the head, and the spine—to be sure it’s all there. It is a baby.” (Anything left inside can cause an infection.)
3. Myth: Life begins when a baby is born.
Danielle D’Souza Gill, the daughter of Dinesh D’Souza, wrote a book in 2020, entitled, The Choice: The Abortion Divide in America.
She addresses this and other myths in a radio segment she did with me: “They always act as if ‘poof’—the baby has exited the womb. Now it’s a person. And that really makes no sense because moments before it’s born versus moments after it’s born, really make no difference. We’re really just talking about a matter of location.”
4. Myth: Even if it’s technically a human life, the fetus doesn’t feel anything or know what’s happening anyway.
Gill explodes this canard: “The baby in the womb actually has more consciousness, more brain waves than a comatose person.…It does feel pain and releases cortisone and the same stress hormones we release, even in the first trimester, when it’s under duress, when we’re trying to abort it.”
5. Myth: Abortion is a safe and simple procedure.
Gill answers: “First of all, we have to ask: For whom? Obviously, it’s not safe for the child….They like to act as if it’s an everyday nothing—like removing a polyp. But in reality, your body is going to fight back against that because the woman’s body is designed to protect that life and protect that fetus.”
6. Myth: Abortion is necessary in order for women to fully control their own bodies.
Gill responds: “They like to say, ‘My body, my choice.’ And I would say to them, ‘Sure, you can do whatever you want with your body, but we’re talking about another human’s body. It’s another human’s body that you’re trying to mutilate. And it’s another person’s heartbeat you’re stopping.”
7. Myth: We must have legal abortions because of rape and incest (leaving people with the impression they comprise most abortions).
Dr. Chuck Donovan, president of the above-mentioned Charlotte Lozier Institute, says the data shows that abortions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother comprise less than 1% of all abortions.
8. Myth: The mother has no option but to give birth and keep her baby.
Donovan told me in a radio interview that safe harbor/safe haven laws exist in one form or another in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia. Within 30 days of delivering a baby, that baby can be brought over in a box or basket to a local fire department or police department and be dropped off, no questions asked, no charges filed.
The Declaration of Independence says our rights come from the Creator and the first of these is the right to life. After a half-century of the abortion ethic, we have a lot of lost ground cherishing that right. Exploding myths that promote abortion is a step in the right direction.
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Public discourse is at a nadir. There is plenty of debate, especially over politics and morality. But it is generating way more heat than light.
People on all sides are frustrated with their opponents. “Why don’t they see the light?”
For any single interlocutor, one possible answer is that the person is not actually seeking enlightenment. In that case, trying to share whatever light you have with him is futile. Enlightenment cannot be imposed upon another against his will.
But another possibility is that the other person is not seeking enlightenment from you specifically, because they don’t see you as having much light to offer.
As Leonard E. Read wrote:
“No person will knowingly seek light from one who has no light.”
Read pointed out that enlightenment-seekers are drawn to teachers who manifest mastery. And mastery is an outgrowth of dedication to self-enlightenment. Read cited St. Augustine as an example:
“St. Augustine is a case in point. Deeply contemplative and introspective, he experienced insights and understanding far surpassing those of most people. Bent on his own improvement, the expansion of his own consciousness, he became a master of exposition; that is, he learned to explain the truth which came into his possession. In numerous writings, among them his Confessions, he made available to others that which he had first made his own. Today, more than fifteen centuries later, this is among the most widely purchased of all autobiographies! Here we observe the power of attraction extending itself remarkably in time.”
The best thing you can do to aid in the enlightenment of others is to first and foremost tend to your own light. Seek improvement in your own understanding through study and reflection. And share your understanding with others primarily for the sake of further improving your understanding (by formulating and testing it), not for the sake of fixing theirs.
The more you do that, the more that genuine enlightenment-seekers will be attracted to you as a teacher because of your evident mastery and dedication to the truth. They will be drawn by your light to share in your light.
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Protests ignited by the death of a young woman in police custody continued across Iran on Sunday in defiance of a crackdown by the authorities, as a human rights group said at least 185 people, including children, had been killed in demonstrations.
Anti-government protests that began on Sept. 17 at the funeral of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in her Kurdish town of Saqez, have turned into the biggest challenge to Iran’s clerical leaders in years, with protesters calling for the downfall of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“At least 185 people, including at least 19 children, have been killed in the nationwide protests across Iran. The highest number of killings occurred in Sistan and Baluchistan province with half the recorded number,” the Norway-based Iran Human Rights said on Saturday.
Authorities have described the protests as a plot by Iran’s foes, including the United States. They have accused armed dissidents amongst others of violence that has reportedly left at least 20 members of the security forces dead….
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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul took several pictures with a Democratic donor who has a history of sharing anti-Semitic content online, including propagating the conspiracy theory that 6 million Jews were not killed in the Holocaust.
Hochul, the Democratic governor running for election in the Empire State, attended a Harvard Club fundraiser in New York City last month where she stopped to take a few photos with Maher Abdelqader.
Abdelqader is the vice president at AI Engineers in New York and is also an activist who has propagated anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, such as sharing a video claiming that Jews are “satanic” and controlling the media and questions whether 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust.
“A great fundraiser by a small group of entrepreneurs and business leaders at the prestigious Harvard Club of NYC for NYS Governor Kathleen Hochul,” Abdel Qader wrote in his tweet. “Governor Hochul is an American politician serving as the 57th Governor.”
The tweet has since been deleted after Fox News Digital reached out to the governor’s campaign.
Will Reinert, spokesperson for the Republican Governors Association, told Fox News Digital, “Kathy Hochul unabashedly rubbed shoulders with a widely publicized radical anti-Semite — begging the question — who else in the Governor’s inner circle have anti-Semitic ties?”
“With friends like these, it’s no wonder recent polling shows Hochul on the ropes and Zeldin surging towards victory,” Reinert said.
Jen Goodman, Hochul’s campaign spokesperson, told Fox News Digital, “Governor Hochul strongly condemns antisemitism in any form and has taken decisive action to hold perpetrators accountable and fight back against hate crimes.”
“Antisemitism and anti-Israel rhetoric are both abhorrent and unacceptable, and the governor will continue her tireless efforts to protect the Jewish community from these attacks,” Goodman said.
Hochul, who replaced disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo after his resignation, is in a political battle with Republican challenger Lee Zeldin, who is closing the gap between the two and is receiving bipartisan support.