Drag Queens And The ‘Queering’ Of The Church thumbnail

Drag Queens And The ‘Queering’ Of The Church

By Lyle J. Rapacki, Ph.D.

If you would have told me a few years ago that the church at-large would accept the diabolical scheme of allowing Drag Queens to teach or in any way influence 5-8 year old’s, I would have been in disbelief. To tell me that long-standing Christians would remain silent if such was proposed, or if someone serving with them in a ministry leadership would also be silent, not object firmly, I would have doubly been in disbelief. Both scenarios are happening, and I am additionally learning that raising concerns makes Christians uneasy.

May the below article shed light onto the weakness within the church at-large, and as to why the Lord is, and has already, brought a sword to separate His Remnant. A house divided cannot stand—this includes churches, ministries, and families.


Drag queens and the queering of the Church

By M. D. Perkins

It’s Sunday morning at a progressive church. The pastor introduces himself, states his preferred pronouns, welcomes the congregants, and then announces the arrival of the guest preacher—the drag queen performing under the name of “Ms. Penny Cost.” It is explained that Isaac Simmons (the man in drag) is a first-year seminary student and candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church. Simmons will explain why he “gets dolled up” during the children’s sermon, before delivering a message to the whole congregation denouncing capitalism.

This is not the beginning of some pretentious short story from freshman English class. It is, in fact, a real event with real people taking place in a real United Methodist church. And things like this will continue to happen in the days, weeks, and years ahead.

Drag queens in public life

Once an obscure part of the gay subculture, men dressing up as drag queens have now become a common feature of pop culture. They are, of course, featured prominently in Pride parades and other LGBTQ+ celebrations. There are a number of current TV shows focused on drag, like RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1), We’re Here (HBO), Call Me Mother (OutTV in Canada), Queen of the Universe (Paramount+), and Legendary (HBO Max). Drag queens have also found their way into elementary education, with book readings and other “family-friendly” drag events offering ways that children can interact with these performers. With this comes the inevitable controversy and backlash, fueling news stories across the media landscape.

Since drag queens have been mainstreamed, is it any surprise that there would be churches wanting to feature them in worship services? Is it any surprise that a seminary student would want to dress up in drag to present his screeds against capitalism and “queerphobia” to the church? Certainly not. “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions” (Jude 1:18).

What may be surprising for Christians, is that this is not accidental. The normalization of homosexuality leads to greater degrees of decadence and debauchery—not simply by laws of entropy but by concerted efforts on the part of activists to attack the image of God in man. The rise of drag queens in public life is a defiant attempt to queer our children and the church of Jesus Christ.

What is queering?

Some readers may remember a time when the word queer simply meant odd or strange. Most may still remember when queer was considered a pejorative slur for a homosexual. However, nowadays, queer has become an identity label as well as a point of pride and celebration. Hence the Q in the LGBTQ+ acronym. Queer can be a collective label for anything within the LGBTQ+ spectrum—that is, any person or thing that falls outside heterosexual or stereotypical gender norms.

As academic scholars began using the word queer to define their radical social theories, the word gained additional power. These theories were aimed at elevating non-traditional sexuality and fighting ways that heterosexuality is normalized or considered good in society. One way of combating what these scholars labeled heteronormativity was by a specific disruptive process of queering. Through this use, queer had become a verb, an action.

Queering is intended to complicate and disrupt what is perceived to be normal. As an action, it is the use of words, actions, or representatives to directly challenge heterosexuality, traditional gender roles, or the male/female binary. What is normal is sometimes described as binary—such as identifying as a man or a woman or even presenting yourself as a man or woman.

Here is how queering is defined in the Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015):

Queering is one strategy for queer activists who want to unsettle or complicate normative practices, spaces, or discourses. Introducing queer bodies into normative spaces, for instance, changes the dynamics of that space by unsettling the taken-for-granted characteristics of that space. Drag queens might “take over” a “straight bar” in order to queer the space, or complicate what that space means to the people inhabiting it.

The purpose is to disrupt foundational assumptions about sex and gender and, thereby, transform social norms by offering new possibilities. These possibilities do not have to be the new normal in themselves, but they work to move people’s sensibility toward accepting queerness as normal by offering a counterpoint to it. This can even be seen in the rise of the terms nonbinary and genderqueer, used to express a person’s inner feeling of gender identity. Whether discussing gender or sexuality, the binary is rejected in favor of a spectrum. Queering is intended to help people see the various colors of this spectrum.

This may sound very abstract, so an illustration is in order.

Drag performance as an act of queering

Drag performance itself is an act of queering because of its attempt to complicate and unsettle binary depictions of sex and gender. This can be seen even with the complicated use of pronouns which dismantles order and clarity. As in the case of Isaac Simmons/”Ms. Penny Cost,” Isaac has one set of pronouns (they/them) and a different set when dressed in drag (she/her). The drag persona is singular while the real person underneath is plural. The fact that the pronoun protocol is outlined at the beginning of each presentation only adds to the chaos.

But the queering goes deeper. Consider the way Drag Queen Story Hours have become a feature of education in recent years. These are events where a drag performer reads storybooks to young children in a school, library, or bookstore setting. The Drag Queen Story Hour website proudly declares that through these events “kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where everyone can be their authentic selves!” The purpose is to stretch a child’s imagination to include drag queens as normal. Where a child may think it wrong or strange for a man to dress as a woman, the drag performer gives a visible (and potentially fun) counterpoint to that latent assumption.

According to the theory that undergirds these efforts, the act of having drag queens read in a library or school has effectively queered the space. As the theory stresses, this is supposed to help the child become more accepting of all LGBTQ+ expressions—including those the child may develop later. Not all drag performances are brazenly sexualized but the very act of drag—especially where the maleness of the female impersonator is particularly recognizable—is intended to pervert. That’s the point. This doesn’t even mention the frequently sexualized performances that have been documented—which is why many conservatives have labeled the practice “grooming.”

This same theory was earlier employed at the college level by sociology professor Steven P. Schacht. Before his death, Schacht took over 300 students to drag performances in order to challenge their traditional views. He reported that it was a highly effective method of giving his students an “experiential appreciation” of gender performance, with an ultimate political goal in mind: “Equality will not be realized until non-dichotomous, truly new ways of relating to others are envisioned and acted upon.” In other words, drag helps us envision a new world.

This is the heart of queering.

Queering the Church

The appearance of “Ms. Penny Cost” at Allendale United Methodist Church is evidence that the practice of queering is now entering some church settings as well. In one sense, this is to be expected. After all, embracing gay-affirming theology will eventually require further participation in activism in order to prove one’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ cause. As one author said, “Queer Christians deserve a queer theology that is not just inclusive but takes into account their distinct experiences.” How can these “distinct experiences” be shown without bold attempts to feature public expressions of queerness by those who identify as queer?

But in another sense, it is surprising to hear of a drag queen leading a church service because it is so obviously antithetical to sound doctrine and reverent worship of the God described in Scripture. But this is exactly the point of queering: it is meant to disrupt, surprise, and shock those who adhere to biblical orthodoxy. It is defiant, abrasive, and transgressive—by design. As queer theologian Robert Shore-Goss triumphantly declares in Jesus Acted Up: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto:

Fundamentalist and literalist Christians traffic in the production and commerce of certain truths, but doubts, ambiguities, pluralities, and complexities will bring their fragile discursive edifice of fundamentalist truth to an end in the area of public discourse and curtail its harmful effect to those who are sexually different.

This act of queering the church may take many different forms. One form is through the use and promotion of queer theology. Queer theology presents shocking takes on theological ideas that are intended to elevate LGBTQ+ experience. One example is when Brian G. Murphy (of QueerTheology.com) declares that sexual promiscuity is a reflection of God’s love and Christian hospitality—where a person is “welcoming the stranger—into your home, or the backseat of your car, or even your body.” The purpose here is not simply to justify promiscuity but also to attack the traditional way Christians think.

Another form of queering the church is through the process of queer readings, whereby a work of Christian literature is read through a queer lens in order to pull new possibilities from the text. This can be seen in Keegan Osinski’s recent book Queering Wesley, Queering the Church (Cascade Books, 2021) where the sermons of John Wesley are queered in order to show that the queer perspective is “consistent with the broader thrust of Wesleyan theology and practice.” This includes a redefinition of holiness, where queerness itself becomes “not only compatible with holiness freshly understood, but also a truly fruitful and beneficial piece of a broader picture of what holiness can be.”

Queering the church can also take the form of a drag performance in the middle of Sunday morning service. The presence of the performer is intended to complicate the expectations of who can or should lead a worship service and who is given an opportunity to speak in church. Isaac Simmons (the name of the man who plays “Ms. Penny Cost”) said as much in his message:

We are here to learn and to grow and to deconstruct and to reimagine what church can be, who church can be for, and how church can feel together. It can be a place unafraid to denounce queerphobia, a place unafraid to name the sin of racism and to call for the end of white supremacy. A place where all have equal and equitable access, not just to the pulpit itself, to the sanctuary, but to God themself—and all that it represents within the community.

Conclusion

Understand that queering is wicked and is intentionally designed to blur the lines of right and wrong, natural and unnatural, male and female, objective truth and subjective experience, and beyond. It is meant to make people more accepting of LGBTQ+ at an emotional level. It is a spiritual attack made manifest in the flesh—with makeup, heels, and wigs. Christians are completely right to oppose it.

One drag queen, who goes by the name “Kitty Demure,” scolded foolish and naïve parents for promoting Drag Queen Story Hour events:

Would you want a stripper or a porn star to influence your child? It makes no sense at all. A drag queen performs in a nightclub for adults. There is a lot of filth that goes on. A lot of sexual stuff that goes on. And backstage there’s a lot of nudity, sex, and drugs. Okay? So I don’t think this is an avenue you would want your child to explore.

This comment exposes the darkness underneath it all—and the deep personal brokenness that even brings about a desire to perform and parade around in this way. It is worthy of pity and prayer. Pray for repentance! Pray for revival! Pray that the Lord would be merciful and show Himself mighty to save to the uttermost! Yet, there are souls at stake. There is Christ’s honor at stake. These things must be fought against—with vigor and courage.

Yet many Christians have been ashamed to speak up and there are some evangelical leaders who—even now, with the debauchery before their eyes—insist that Christians just need to quiet down, hold their peace, and love their neighbors. This kind of false dichotomy between loving our neighbors and standing for righteousness needs to stop. Whatever is ultimately true is ultimately good and to want our neighbors to be spared the onslaught of sexual confusion and decadence is certainly a very loving—and righteous—response. Many Christians need to repent of rejecting the truth through dozens of tiny accommodations and nuances.

Whether it be drag performances in a church, bookstore, public school, or civic event—the normalization of drag is grievous and the Lord will not be mocked, even as femininity is mocked by these performers. The wrath of God is coming. And woe to those churches who call what is evil, good—who parade it as righteousness before a lost and dying world. “Ms. Penny Cost” is a clear illustration of why many United Methodist Churches and ministers are choosing to disaffiliate from the rapidly eroding mainline denomination. Free from the restraint that the righteous men and women of that denomination have brought thus far, we will soon see what happens when the biblical witness is completely removed.

The American church in 2022 would do well to remember the fuller statement of the apostle Jude:

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. (Jude 1:17–23)

May the church of Christ stand boldly against the godlessness of a society bent on bringing God’s judgment. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

AUTHOR

M. D. Perkins

M.D. Perkins is research fellow of church and culture for American Family Association. He is author of “Dangerous Affirmation: The Threat of ‘Gay Christianity’” and producer of the award-winning documentary “In His Image: Delighting in God’s Plan for Gender and Sexuality.”

©Lyle J. Rapacki, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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The Struggle Among The Political Elite Of The Islamic Republic Of Iran

By Middle East Media Research Institute

The divisions within the Iranian establishment have deepened and become more evident than they had been because of the current uprising raging across Iran. These divisions seem to exist even among the Iranian clergy. Reformists condemn the government’s violent response while conservatives demand that protestors be “harshly punished” and “sentenced to death.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly called on the political forces to refrain from actions that could risk Iran’s unity and integrity. In the past, Khamenei warned that “bipolarity is detrimental to the country,” adding that the “enemies are waiting to take advantage of any polarity or conflict” among Iran’s political forces.[1]

However, the recent developments in the country have once again revealed the depth of the great political multi-polarity within the Iranian establishment. In a commentary in the reformist Etemad newspaper, former government spokesman and long-time member of Iran’s intelligence community, Ali Rabiei, warned that Iran may face “bloody confrontations,” as the country’s uprising has been raging on for almost two months. He further stressed that there is a growing “pressure” from Iranian ultraconservatives “to disrupt the role of intermediary groups,” and monopolize power. Rabiei also stated: “The political participation of various political groups and parties was extremely limited in two consecutive elections. As a result, the ballot box lost its function of creating mediators, who played as go-betweens among various generations and their demands.”[2]

The political conflict between the reformist and conservative factions shaped Iranian politics for almost two decades. However, the current conflicts are also within the conservative faction that rules the country, facing the regime with a threatening internal infight.

Ultraconservatives Vs. Neoconservatives

Contradictory and often inflammatory remarks from regime insiders illustrate the growing disunity within the Iranian establishment.

In an interview with the state-sponsored media outlet, Ettela’at, commenting on the fact that at least 50 percent of Iranian women do not observe the regime-imposed dress code, Khamenei’s senior aide Ali Larijani stated: “When a behavior is so widely prevalent in the society it is wrong to involve the police in a bid to curb that behavior.”[3] He then added that “dialogue” is necessary with protesters.[4] Meanwhile, Ebrahim Rezaei, a member of the National Security Committee, told Mehr News Agency: “One should definitely not appease those who have taken up weapons or behave violently against the system and the nation or are related to foreign security services, because soft treatment of these people and rioters is a betrayal of the country’s security and the nation.”[5]

Hence, it is possible to notice that, inside the conservative camp, there are two main currents of how to approach the protests. In fact, since the 2005 elections and the end of Iran’s reformist era (1997-2005), Iranian conservatives have been divided into two groups: extremist hardliners (ultraconservatives/traditional conservatives) and neoconservatives (neocons). Khamenei supports both sides, but, undoubtedly, he tends to prefer the hardliners over the neocons.

Ultraconservatives are Iran’s most right-wing party – they can be defined as “far-right.” They have a political party called Jebha-ye paydari-e enqelab-e eslami (“Front of Islamic Revolution Stability” aka the Paydari party). The party’s members are predominantly veterans of the 1980s Iran-Iraq War and their worldview is thus shaped by their wartime experience. They are extremely anti-West, anti-Saudi Arabia, and anti-Israel. Basically, the IRGC and Khamenei’s inner circle belong to this faction.

The Front’s spiritual leader used to be Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, who died in 2021. Since his death, current President Ebrahim Raisi and Saeed Jalili (who is nicknamed the “living martyr,” after losing the lower portion of his right leg fighting in the Iran-Iraq War) are the behind-the-scenes leaders of this front. They reject any calls for reform and insist on a strict observance of shari’a. For example, they established the Morality Police in 2005 to strictly enforce the regime’s dress code.

On the other hand, the “neoconservatives” can be defined as “centrist-rightists.” They have adopted some “reformist” ideas, such as the necessity of changes in the government regulations but without making major structural changes. Neocons started as a movement in 2005, as a “third way” between Iran’s reformist and traditionalist conservatives (i.e., ultraconservatives).

The rivalry between the neoconservatives and ultraconservatives (also pejoratively called “super-revolutionaries”) in Iran has been apparent in the Assembly of Experts, City Council, and Parliament (Majlis) elections since the mid-2000s, but it has become more obvious and intense during the current political unrest. In fact, neocons have been accusing the ultraconservatives in the Ebrahim Raisi government of incompetence and inability to solve the current crisis.

The Neocons’ Plans For A “New Governance”

Neoconservatives are led by Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Iran’s Parliament Speaker and former IRGC commander, who recently accused ultraconservatives of “opening their mouth and saying anything and doing anything without calculating the consequences of their behavior.”[6] London-based media outlet Iran International mentioned that Ghalibaf’s inner circle has also said that ultraconservatives are stoking the ongoing protests in the country with “their hardline positions and behavior that have annoyed Iranians from all walks of life.”[7]

It is worth noting that Ghalibaf recently stated that he promoted the idea of establishing a “new governance” and bring about reforms, based on new plans that would initiate “innovative” and “great” changes in all levels of the government. However, he then added: “I hope security will be completely restored in the country soon, so that legitimate and necessary changes would begin to establish a new governance in economic, social and political areas within the framework of the Islamic Republic.”[8] The fact that Ghalibaf considers postponing these reforms until “security is completely restored” (i.e., the protests are ended) may indicate (as reformists stressed) that there is no real will to implement a “new governance.”

Nevertheless, Ghalibaf’s call for reforms found several supporters among conservatives. Mohammad Saeed Ahadian, a conservative journalist related by marriage to Ayatollah Khamenei, stressed in the IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency that the recent situation has shown the necessity of urgent reforms in the country. He remarked that Ghalibaf’s proposal for “new governance” is based on Khamenei’s orders.[9] Furthermore, on November 10, Ahadian tweeted that Ghalibaf’s reform plan was welcomed by the country’s ruling elites. However, he said that the existing vagueness of some points of the plan brought the “super-revolutionaries” to find an excuse to “destroy” the proposal for reforms, as “they did it before” in the past.[10]

Iran International reported that Ghalibaf’s camp believes that, after the protests end, the regime will not collapse, but rather the neocons will take over the ultraconservatives. “Neocons insist that once the country leaves behind the current wave of nationwide protests, everything will be ready for unseating the Paydari Party,” wrote Iran International, adding that the neocons want to change all the ministers that are believed were imposed by Saeed Jalili, Ghalibaf’s political adversary, in the Raisi government.

Critical Voices In Qom

On November 9, in order to rally the regime supporters around ultraconservatives, Kayhan newspaper, which is funded by Iran’s Supreme Leader, stated: “One of the dreams and hopes of this movement is that in the future after the Islamic Republic is toppled, homosexuality will be legalized and spread in Iran, the day after the downfall of the Islamic Republic will be nothing less than hell.”[11]

However, some clerics have raised their critical voices against the ultraconservatives even in Qom, Iran’s religious capital. For instance, on November 13, Hojatoleslam Mohammad Ali Ayazi, a prominent Iranian cleric in the city, blamed the ultraconservatives for taking harsh stances against the protestors and stressed that “objection is a human right.” He then added: “In autocratic systems, they stigmatize and denounce their opponents as irreligious, and then use this stigma as an excuse to deal harshly with their opponents.”[12]

Given the rising criticism against ultraconservatives, some Iranian activists in social media suggested that Ghalibaf’s statement about implementing legitimate changes, if the situation calms down, is a “clear message” for the people: the elite has “accepted defeat and is retreating,” by offering reforms.[13] In fact, the pro-reform newspaper Etemad suggested that this is a golden opportunity for the neocons that can use the protests to attack the ultraconservatives for Iran’s problems and take over.[14]

Reformists Call For Referendum And “Self-Reforming” System

Aside from conservatives and neocons, the Islamic republic’s political elite comprises also of reformists, which represent the “left wing” of the Iranian politics. They are known to be “pragmatists,” they want to improve Iran’s regional and international relations and ease restrictions inside the country. Nevertheless, both reformists and conservatives support the Islamic Republic’s system of government.

Historically, reformists were led by former Presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami. The Supreme Leader Khamenei managed to purge the government of reformists first in 2005 with the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, followed by the brutal crackdown on reformists after the 2009 green movement. It is also worth noting that Rafsanjani’s daughter Fatima always claimed that her father did not die of a natural death, as the official report stated in 2017.[15] Most recently, Rafsanjani’s other daughter Faezeh was arrested in Tehran for “inciting” the ongoing riots.[16]

Finally in 2021, Khamenei himself removed all the reformist and even moderate conservative candidates for presidency to ensure the success of the current ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi, in the election of that year. The reformists are now led by former associates of Khatami and Rafsanjani.

On November 9, as ultraconservatives keep supporting harsh crackdown on protests, Iran’s Reform Front, which was founded in March 2021 by Khatami’s associates and is formed by parties from Iran’s reformist camp, issued a statement calling for a referendum and the immediate end of violence against protesters.

The statement stressed: “The protests are the outcome of many years of denial of the people’s problems [by the government] and refusal to recognize them, as well as being the product of accrued and unsolved issues, such as humiliation and suppression of the people. Unfortunately, despite 50 days having already passed [since the beginning of the protests], there are still no signs of an effective, realistic solutions by the ruling institutions for the current protests and the widespread social unrest.”

The statement then accused the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC Intelligence Organization of not understanding that what they consider to be “the solution” to the current crisis is instead “the problem itself” and the “root cause” of the crisis.

The statement warned: “Collapse and subversion threaten the regimes that either maintain their stubborn positions against society’s demands, like the Gaddafi regime, or showed flexibility and initiated changes when it was too late, like the Pahlavi regime.” Therefore, Iran’s Reform Front suggested starting “endogenous changes and reforms,” in order to meet the “people’s demands.” “[This is] the best and at the same time the least expensive way to overcome the crisis and prevent the country’s descent into the abyss,” the statement assessed. [17]

Most importantly, the Reform Front’s statement proposed the organization of a referendum in the country, to bring “immediate, courageous, and innovative changes” and open an “effective dialogue on a national scale.”

The statement recommended: “This first action is even possible by relying on the democratic approach of the current Constitution and by implementing it in full, including… Article 59 on the organization of a referendum.” It then added: “However, in order to create fundamental reforms and in order to completely solve the problems related to the incorrect processes in the country, it seems that an effective measure is to solve the ambiguities, flaws, and contradictions of the existing Constitution, in a peaceful atmosphere, during a legal process and based on the collective wisdom and national will of all Iranians.”[18]

Azar Mansouri, the general secretary of the reformist Union of Islamic Iran People Party, Iran’s main reformist party led by Khatami’s former aides, also said in a tweet that the “lack of political legitimacy [of the government] is the most obvious threat to the country’s national security.”[19]

It is worth noting that, at the end of September, a few days after the spread of the protests all around the country, the Union of Islamic Iran People Party called on the Iranian government to “prepare the legal elements necessary for the repeal of the law on the mandatory hijab.”[20][21]

Most recently, Khatami himself stated: “Overthrowing [the regime] is not possible or desirable. However, the continuation of the current situation is widening the grounds of a social collapse that could happen at any moment. Hence, the least expensive and most beneficial solution is the ‘self-reforming’ system [i.e., to promote social, political, and economic reforms without dismantling the Islamic republic].”[22]

Ultraconservatives Vs. Reformists

The IRGC daily newspaper Javan strongly criticized the Reform Front for its statement. In an article, Javan called the Reform Front an “opportunistic” political movement trying to take advantage of the situation for its own interests. It then accused it of “changing the nature” of the “riots,” describing them as simple “protests.” Javan criticized the political movement for accusing the government of being the source of the uprising in the country while ignoring the “foreign origin” of the revolt.[23]

During the past two months, Khamenei himself has made it clear that he wants the protesters to be punished severely, insisting that the uprising is supported by foreign services.

As reported by Iran International, the Islamic Republic’s Army Ground Forces Commander, Kiumars Heydari, has recently threatened harsher responses to the protesters, that he defined as “flies,” if Khamenei orders it.[24]

Neoconservatives May Establish An Alliance With Reformists

There are currently three factions within Iranian ruling elite with different agendas and proposing different policies to overcome the current crisis. Even though the three of them want to keep alive the Islamic Republic regime, the current protests are showing strong divisions inside the political elite: reformists call for structural changes in the system to grant people greater freedom through holding a referendum; ultraconservatives insist on suppressing the uprising and retaining the status quo; and neoconservatives seek reforms without making structural changes.

This polarization between neoconservatives and ultraconservatives at the heart of the ruling establishment, with only a small reformist faction, renders Iranian politics potentially explosive, especially if a rift within the conservative faction leads to a power struggle, with neoconservatives moving toward establishing an alliance with reformists.

However, political divisions within the current ruling elites may not threaten the regime, as Khamenei and his inner circle control the government, unless the political infighting leads to military infighting. The IRGC under Khamenei, which is considered Iran’s “deep state,” continue to play a zero-sum game, as it considers that to compromise with the protesters would be a sign of weakness that will be exploited by “the enemy.” It is also unlikely that the Raisi government would embark upon a radical reform plan that would structurally alter the system.

Even if conservatives move toward greater openness, entrenched conservative clerics would attempt to repress dissident views and impose Shia shari’a law upon Iranians, as long as they remain powerful militarily or politically. Furthermore, Khamenei has to continue to support his devout ultraconservatives, particularly the IRGC, if he wants to keep retaining his authoritative position and the regime’s ideological heritage. Yet, discontent among the factions will continue to grow, making the political situation in the country more unstable.

Conclusion

International media and public statements by Iranian officials fail to see that the protests in Iran are not only about Iran’s hijab law. The protests will continue even if this law is abolished; the protesters have made it clear that they aim at overthrowing the regime. In particular, ethnic minorities are fighting for the ethnic and human rights of which they have been deprived for over a century.

The protesters believe that the Iranian regime cannot be fixed, therefore they want nothing less than regime change. This is made clear by the slogans of the uprising: “Reformist, hardliner, it is over!” “Death to the whole apparatus of power, death to the Islamic Republic,” and “we don’t want referendums, we want regime change!”[25]

Hence, the people – not the government, and not the political factions – will probably have the last say in Iran this time. Protesters have so far refused to back down despite facing a brutal crackdown. It may take months or years, but the protesters will likely continue to fight until they overthrow the Islamic Republic regime.

AUTHOR

Himdad Mustafa

Himdad Mustafa is a Kurdish scholar and expert on Kurdish and Iranian affairs.


SOURCES:

[1] Tasnimnews.com/en/news/2016/09/26/1196641/leader-urges-iranian-political-figures-to-avert-polarity-in-society, September 26, 2016.

[2] Iranintl.com/en/202211078932, November 7, 2022; Etemadnewspaper.ir, November 2, 2022.

[3] Iranintl.com/en/202210159406, October 15, 2022.

[4] Ettelaat.com/mobile/archives/306255, October 12, 2022.

[5] Mehrnews.com/news/, November 12, 2022.

[6] Iranintl.com/en/202210287847, October 28, 2022.

[7] Iranintl.com/en/202210287847, October 28, 2022.

[8] Iranintl.com/en/202211096048, November 9, 2022;Etemadnewspaper.ir, November 8, 2022.

[9] Farsnews.ir, November 10, 2022.

[10] Twitter.com/ahadian_ir/status/1590690572544913410?cxt=HHwWhMDRwbupopMsAAAA, November 10, 2022.

[11] Sharghdaily.com/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-6/860943-%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%BE%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%AC%D9%87%D9%86%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA, November 9, 2022.

[12] Twitter.com/SharghDaily/status/1591759027402264576?cxt=HHwWgMCqxdyZiJcsAAAA, November 13, 2022.

[13] Twitter.com/rezahajilou/status/1589274131568431104, November 6, 2022.

[14] Iranintl.com/en/202211096048, November 9, 2022.

[15] Aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/rafsanjani-didn-t-die-natural-death-says-daughter/1359527, January 8, 2019.

[16] Arabnews.com/node/2171631/middle-east, September 29, 2022.

[17]Etemadnewspaper-ir.translate.goog/fa/main/detail/193142/%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%AE%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D9%86%D8%AA%D9%8A%D8%AC%D9%87-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%84%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%83%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA?_x_tr_sl=fa&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=iw&_x_tr_pto=wapp, November 10, 2022.

[18] Etemadnewspaper-ir.translate.goog/fa/main/detail/193142/%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%AE%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D9%86%D8%AA%D9%8A%D8%AC%D9%87-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%84%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%83%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA?_x_tr_sl=fa&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=iw&_x_tr_pto=wapp, November 10, 2022.

[19] Twitter.com/MansooriAzar/status/1589529844488208384?t=MMs1S1KDsIFSpXxLF513cA&s=19, November 7, 2022.

[20] Voanews.com/a/iran-main-reformist-party-urges-end-to-mandatory-dress-code/6761732.html, September 24, 2022.

[21] It is worth noting that, while reformists showed their readiness to support the repeal of the law on mandatory hijab, ultraconservatives are not inclined to give up. Ultraconservative cleric Mojtaba Zolnouri, a member of the Iranian parliament from Qom, urged the authorities to enforce hijab strictly and said: “Women who do not cover their hair should be sentenced to 74 lashes… A notice served by the morality police will not be enough for women who take off their hijab.” Iranintl.com/en/202210189009, October 18, 2022.

[22] Instagram.com/p/Ck8N7gPoA1r/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y%3D, November 14, 2022.

[23] Javanonline.ir/fa/news/1114656/%D8%AC%D8%A8%D9%87%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B5%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AA%D8%AC%D8%B2%DB%8C%D9%87%E2%80%8C%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A8%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D9%88%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D9%86%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF, November 9, 2022.

[24] Iranintl.com/en/202211099705, November 9, 2022.

[25] Euronews.com/2022/11/11/iran-women-reformists-analysis, November 11, 2022.

EDITORS NOTE: This MEMRI Daily Brief No. 430 is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden’s handlers mum as ‘Palestinian’ jihad advocate calls for ‘defeat’ of the U.S. thumbnail

Biden’s handlers mum as ‘Palestinian’ jihad advocate calls for ‘defeat’ of the U.S.

By Jihad Watch

What can they say? It isn’t is if this or anything would make Biden’s handlers reconsider their support for the “Palestinian” jihad.

by Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller, November 13, 2022:

A top coordinator of a terrorist-linked pro-Palestinian organization threatened the U.S. and called for its “defeat,” but two weeks later the Biden administration has yet to respond.

Mohammed Khatib, one of the leaders of Palestinian activist organization Samidoun, urged the “defeat” of the U.S. and the European Union at a protest outside an EU parliament meeting in Brussels in late October. Samidoun has links to a prominent Palestinian resistance group that has engaged in terrorism, according to a prior DCNF investigation, and while the U.S. has addressed other Palestinian nonprofits labeled as terrorist organizations in Israel, its silence regarding Samidoun is puzzling and may neglect due diligence regarding terrorism, experts told the DCNF.

“Defeating Israel means defeating the U.S. Defeating Israel means defeating Canada, these settlements that exist on the backs of the indigenous people and black people,” Khatib, Samidoun’s Europe coordinator, said on Oct. 29.

Khatib provided the keynote remarks at the March for Liberation and Return that culminated in calls before the European Parliament to free Palestinian prisoners and end colonialism and Zionism, according to the organization. Khatib is described as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a militant leftist organization dating back to the 1960s, in Palestinian media; the U.S. labeled the PFLP a terrorist organization in 1997.

Samidoun coordinator Khaled Barakat also serves on the PFLP Central Committee and is “involved with establishing militant cells and motivating terrorist activity in Judea & Samaria and abroad,” Israel’s Ministry of Defense alleged. Samidoun denied that Barakat had ever served as a “director or chief coordinator” in the organization; Barakat was set to attend the Oct. 29 demonstration, but the Netherlands denied him entry to the EU, the Jerusalem Post reported.

In February 2021, Israel designated Samidoun as a terrorist organization, citing its role in fundraising, recruiting and publicity efforts on behalf of the PFLP.

The U.S. has so far failed to address Samidoun’s persistence in the U.S. and connections to the PFLP, an oversight experts said fails to take appropriate precautions against terrorism.

“When you begin to think that this is happening in the heart of Europe, and we (the U.S.) continue to be champions of the Palestinian national movement, it certainly seems like at minimum there should be some kind of statement issued to the [Palestinian Authority] on something like this,” Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research and Middle East scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and former counter-terrorism official in the U.S. Treasury Department, told the DCNF.

“The question is whether the U.S. begins to ask for evidence” of Samidoun’s complicity in terrorist activities “in light of such rhetoric, and whether the U.S. is going to respond in any way,” Schanzer added.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network advocates for jailed Palestinians around the world, including some imprisoned for attempted or successful violent attacks, according to Samidoun’s website. One such prisoner is Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, who is jailed in the U.S. for involvement in the 1982 assassinations of Israeli diplomat Yaacov Bar-Siman-Tov and U.S. military attaché Charles Ray.

In addition, the organization has staged “Day of Rage” rallies across the North Atlantic, including in the U.S. Protesters shouted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” some waving flags bearing the insignia of the PFLP.

However, the State Department has not indicated whether it has knowledge of Samidoun’s terrorist affiliations or whether the group would be investigated further. The State Department declined to respond to questions from the DCNF.

Read more.

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

France: Isabelle Adjani says she ‘expects’ women who wear hijab to take it off in solidarity with Iranian women thumbnail

France: Isabelle Adjani says she ‘expects’ women who wear hijab to take it off in solidarity with Iranian women

By Jihad Watch

Why not? Western feminists stage an annual Hijab Day in solidarity with hijab-wearing women in the West who are supposedly victims of “Islamophobia,” but Isabelle Adjani will find that her expectation is not fulfilled. As always, the outreach and accommodation go only in one direction.

Iran: Isabelle Adjani expects women who wear the veil to remove it in solidarity with ‘those who are massacred for this gesture

Translated from “Iran : Isabelle Adjani attend des femmes qui portent le voile qu’elles l’enlèvent par solidarité avec ‘celles qui se font massacrer pour ce geste,’”

FranceInfo, November 7, 2022:

A first version of the title of this article could suggest that Isabelle Adjani launched a “call” to women to remove their veil. Which she did not formally do. She said there was no question of “not hearing the call” from Iranian women. “This fight makes me want to expect women who wear the veil to remove it, all over the world, in solidarity with those who are killed, massacred, for doing this gesture.”

While the demonstrations against the regime continue in Iran, the French actress Isabelle Adjani estimates Monday, November 7 on franceinfo that there is no question of “not hearing the call” of Iranian women. “This fight makes me want to expect women who wear the veil to remove it, all over the world, in solidarity with those who are killed, massacred, by making this gesture,” she explains.

A month ago, several women artists, including Isabelle Adjani, Juliette Binoche, Apple and Marion Cotillard, cut a lock of their hair to support the protest movement born in response to the death of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old student died on September 16, three days after she was arrested in Tehran by morality police who accused her of breaking the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. “It is not us who are going to change the policy of the mullahs and bring them back to human reason,” explains Isabelle Adjani. “Even if what we do with a pair of scissors is strictly symbolic, we risk nothing, that we are not in the street, we are there. We are there and we are sending Iranian women a message that can bring them a little strength in a fight that goes beyond the comprehension of courage.”

Read more.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Musk’s New Blue Check System Costs Eli Lilly Billions After Fake ‘Free Insulin’ Tweet thumbnail

Musk’s New Blue Check System Costs Eli Lilly Billions After Fake ‘Free Insulin’ Tweet

By The Daily Caller

Elon Musk’s new blue-check system for Twitter apparently cost at least one multinational corporation billions of dollars in value this week.

Eli Lilly, one of America’s foremost pharmaceutical brands, saw its stock price fall more than 2% Thursday after a fake tweet went viral earlier in the day promising “free insulin.” The account responsible for the fake tweet impersonated the official Eli Lilly account and had purchased a verification checkmark under Musk’s new “Twitter Blue” system.

Did Twitter Blue tweet just cost Eli Lilly $LLY billions?

Yes. pic.twitter.com/w4RtJwgCVK

— Rafael Shimunov is on Mastodon (@rafaelshimunov) November 11, 2022

The account, which used the username @EliLillyAndCo and the official Eli Lilly logo, tweeted Thursday afternoon, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” The tweet quickly gained hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes, precipitating the drop in stock value that cost the real company roughly $20 billion in market cap.

The blue check was removed from the account and its tweets were made private later Thursday, but the damage had been done. Eli Lilly issued a statement clarifying that insulin would not be free under its real twitter username, @LillyPad, and apologized for the misleading statement being disseminated.

Musk promised to begin charging $20 per month to users who were verified on Twitter after he purchased the platform last month, a plan that quickly evolved into charging $8 per month for “Twitter Blue,” which would give users the same blue check mark as those who are verified along with some other perks.

Within days of the service launching, misinformation began to run rampant across the platform as accounts impersonating celebrities and politicians now had blue checks to grant them a veneer of credibility. An account impersonating Lebron James requested a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers. Another pretending to be the Pittsburgh Steelers announced the death of starting quarterback Kenny Pickett. A fake George Bush and fake Tony Blair shared memories of “killing Iraqis.”

NEW: Twitter has suspended the launch of Twitter Blue and is actively trying to stop people from subscribing “to help address impersonation issues,” per an internal note. 1/

— Zoë Schiffer (@ZoeSchiffer) November 11, 2022

Twitter reportedly circulated an internal memo Friday claiming it is suspending the launch of Twitter Blue and actively discouraging people from signing up while it addresses “impersonation issues.”

AUTHOR

DYLAN HOUSMAN

Chief foreign affairs correspondent. Follow Dylan on Twitter

RELATED ARTICLR: Musk Tells Twitter Staff ‘Bankruptcy Isn’t Out Of The Question’ As Executives Jump Ship Over Privacy Concerns

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

ISIS ‘Breaking The Crosses’ and Other Ills thumbnail

ISIS ‘Breaking The Crosses’ and Other Ills

By Middle East Media Research Institute

Issue 15 of the ISIS English-language magazine Dabiq from 2016 was titled “Breaking the Cross” by the terrorist organization. It was mostly an anti-Christian edition featuring theological arguments expanding on the much more succinct ISIS threat to the West that they would “break your crosses, take your women, and paint the White House black.”[1]

The Islamic State’s dreams of world conquest turned out to be a pipe dream, although the group is very much alive in the corners of the world and boosts its body count numbers these days mostly by killing African Christian civilians. But the dream of “breaking the crosses” is not limited to jihadists.

In preparation for the recent G-7 meeting in Munster, Germany’s Foreign Ministry removed a 482-year-old crucifix from the city’s historic town hall where the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648.[2] Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, a Green Party member of Germany’s ruling leftist coalition, regretted that the cross had been removed by her ministry but could not really explain why it happened. Meanwhile in Spain, the country’s ruling leftist (Socialists plus the Communists of Unidas Podemos) and anti-clerical allies are wrestling how or whether to take down the tallest (150-meter or 500 feet) cross in the world, built by the Franco regime in Spain’s Valle de los Caidos (“Valley of the Fallen”).[3] The complex was finished in 1958. Facing tough political and economic headwinds, the ruling leftist parties are eager to be seen as zealously anti-Franco although the dictator has been dead for almost 50 years.[4]

Elsewhere in Europe, a Tory majority Parliament endorsed a ban on silent prayer too close to abortion clinics[5] while the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled unanimously in favor a topless abortion activist who entered La Madeleine church in Paris and simulated aborting baby Jesus using a bloody calf’s liver in front of the main altar just days before Christmas. The tribunal overturned the ruling against the activist and ordered the French state to pay her 9,800 Euros (2,000 for “moral damages” and 7,800 for costs and expenses).[6]

All of these actions in Europe were in the service of the increasingly dominant ideology of the age, not Christianity of course, but a successor faith that elevates as dogma certain views about gender, race, abortion, and immigration and that is often either skeptical if not hostile toward traditional religion and traditional families and the nation state. Most flags, except perhaps the rainbow flag or the Ukrainian one, make the new faith’s clerisy uncomfortable.

The partisans of the Islamic State were terrorists and revolutionaries but today much change, radical ideological change included, comes from above and not from below, not from revolutionary regimes or from populist insurrectionists but from entrenched permanent bureaucracies. These bureaucracies, often coupled with powerful NGO networks boosted with government money and a mostly left-leaning social media and academic infrastructure, act as ideological enforcers of the new dogma. Indeed, in Europe these enforcers target governments – Hungary, Poland, and possibly Meloni’s Italy – seen as fallen from the pure progressive faith. Farther afield, an increasingly rightist nationalist democracy like Israel also makes them uneasy. These Western enforcers decide what constitute the new sacred cows, the new blasphemies. A Barcelona hate crimes prosecutor just sentenced a Twitter user to 15 months in jail and a 1,600-Euro fine for racist, anti-immigrant tweets.[7]

While the United States is still different than Europe in many ways (certainly on free speech issues), the combination of bureaucracy plus the activist/academic community plus compliant media is also a powerful progressive tool on these shores. It is perhaps not surprising that the French abortion activist at La Madeleine later praised the influence of American “intersectional” Critical Race Theory (CRT) ideologues had on her thinking.[8]

Despite talk about a global confrontation between democracy and authoritarianism, the new orthodoxy being steadily but surely imposed on the West has parallels in, of all places, those authoritarian regimes in the East.

Certainly, in the Arab world, authoritarian regimes have often embraced political Islam or Islamist narratives for their own reasons, enabling Islamist and jihadist action (while at times fighting it). Sudan’s leftist dictator Nimeiry turned to Islamism as his popularity waned. Baathist Syria channeled jihadist fighters into Iraq to kill Americans. Baathist Saddam Hussein’s late Islam Campaign enabled the education of a pious young man who would become “ISIS Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. All of this came from above.

While Saudi Arabia was once the chief promoter of Islamism in the region, they have stopped and the slack has been taken up by Qatar and Turkey. Probably almost as dangerous a model is in ostensibly anti-Islamist Egypt. There the national security state zealously pursues the banned Islamist Muslim Brotherhood while allowing other forms of Islamism to flourish. The narratives often seen on Egyptian media, which is deeply penetrated by Egyptian security services, are replete with conspiracy theories, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism.[9] Rather than a refutation of an extreme ideology, they complement and reinforce it. The Egyptian government is zealous in the policing of its own “sacred cows,” including the power to prosecute religious blasphemy. These charges fall heaviest on the marginalized: secular or heterodox Muslims, atheists, Shias and, of course, Coptic Christians.

There is indeed in the region Islamist and jihadist grassroots, extremist subversion, and terrorism, but much of the space given to the larger Islamist narrative is provided by regimes, as in Egypt, for their own reasons, the main reason being to stay in power and distract populations from other, less popular, topics. If in democratic Spain, the Socialists would rather talk about long-dead Franco than sky high prices, in Egypt the regime can talk about immorality and blasphemy rather than deal with corruption or inflation. The power to punish “transgressors,” whether they are freethinkers in the East or populists, rightists, or Christians in the West, is the ultimate demonstration of entrenched power by ruling elites.

Ironically, despite the fierce competition and incendiary rhetoric we often here about “us and them,” the powerful share some characteristics. Whether in dictatorships or in ostensible democracies, raw power is being used from above to enforce conformity among the dissenters.

AUTHOR

Alberto M. Fernandez

Alberto M. Fernandez is Vice President of MEMRI.

SOURCES

[1] Acct.nl/publication/dabiq-issue-15-a-call-to-islamic-states-enemies-as-the-caliphate-crumbles, August 4, 2016.

[2] Msn.com/en-xl/news/other/germanys-foreign-office-removes-historic-cross-for-g7-summit/ar-AA13KaPs, accessed November 10, 2022.

[3] Blogs.publico.es/otrasmiradas/65382/volar-la-cruz-del-valle-de-los-caido-una-imprescindible-iconoclasia-laica,

October 27, 2022.

[4] Actuall.com/historia/la-obsesion-patologica-de-la-izquierda-con-franco, November 11, 2020.

[5] Cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2022/november/uk-bans-prayers-near-abortion-clinics-even-silent-ones-when-did-it-

become-against-the-law-to-pray, November 1, 2022.

[6] Businessinsider.co.za/france-catholic-church-topless-slut-protester-wins-human-rights-case-2022-10?

fbclid=IwAR2UlJWslAwAZaLo8s26C9THMsogY1Qvg0pBLoJkHy8fg3E5fd-sQXP6nuk, October 22, 2022.

[7] Thespainreport.substack.com/p/spanish-supremacist-twitter-user, accessed November 10, 2022.

[8] Cafebabel.com/en/article/eloise-bouton-liberated-after-femen-5ae009e4f723b35a145e5997, accessed November 10, 2022.

[9] See MEMRI TV Clip No. 9844, Egyptian TV Host Muhammad Musa: Freemasonry Aims To Establish A New World Order, Turn Arab States Into Zionist Lebensraum; The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion Contains Plots To Spread Deviant Entertainment, September 16, 2022.

EDITORS NOTE: This MEMRI column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

“A City on a Hill” thumbnail

“A City on a Hill”

By Jerry Newcombe

In eight years, America will celebrate a major milestone—the 400th anniversary of Boston. I passed through Boston’s airport in 2021 and noticed that they seem to be gearing up for this milestone with lots of signs and images celebrating major events in Boston’s history.

Alas, they grossly underplayed the role of the Puritans in this upcoming anniversary. The Puritans established Boston. Their leader, Rev. John Winthrop, even said, famously,

“For we must consider that we shall be like a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are on us.”

The “city on a hill” reference comes ultimately from Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, as his hearers knew.

There was only one reference to the Puritans that I could see in the display of notable events of nearly 400 years in Boston. In 1636, Harvard University was established. That school was named after the Puritan Reverend John Harvard, a Congregationalist minister.

Recently, I produced an hour-long documentary that begins with the founding of Boston. It’s called “A City on a Hill,” and it’s part of the Foundation of American Liberty series I have made for Providence Forum (now a division of D. James Kennedy Ministries).

Guests in this program include Dr. Os Guinness, Alveda King (niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.), Dennis Prager, and Dr. Peter Lillback, the founder of Providence Forum.

The late Marshall Foster, author of The American Covenant, also appears, speaking of the link between the Puritans and much of the freedoms we enjoy today.

He told me, “The Puritans are often maligned today” because of The Scarlet Letter and the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692. “These sidelights of history should be put in context that these Puritans, the vast majority of them, not only were they biblical thinkers, they were open-minded and developed a form of government that allowed liberty and justice for all. If you believe in America’s Constitution and in the freedoms we have today, you can look no further than the Puritans.”

John Winthrop was the leader of the Puritans who founded Boston, a decade after their “spiritual cousins” (the Pilgrims) founded Plymouth. The Puritans had tried to work for the “purity” (hence the name “Puritans”) of the Church of England in their native homeland.

But under King Charles I’s horrific persecution, it became hopeless. Thus, in 1620 the Pilgrims found a toehold in New England, and the Puritans began mass migrations to New England ten years later.

British historian Paul Johnson, author of A History of the American People, writes that John Winthrop was “the first great American.”

Johnson calls Rev. Roger Williams “the second great American.” Williams disagreed with Winthrop on some points of leadership. So he struck out on his own to spare being sent back to England. He eventually made it to what is today Rhode Island, the colony he created.

Because God in His Providence spared his life during this trek in the wilderness in winter, Williams decided to name the city he founded after God: Providence. About Rhode Island, Williams declared, “I desired…it might be for a shelter for persons distressed for conscience.”

Another splinter group of Puritans also left Boston and founded their own colony, that of Connecticut. Their leader, Rev. Thomas Hooker, preached a sermon in 1638 which became the foundation of the constitution they wrote up in 1639—the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.

The Fundamental Orders says, “We…do, for ourselves and our successors…enter into combination and confederation together, to maintain the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess.”

That constitution, a forerunner to the U.S. Constitution (1787), was the first fully developed constitution written on American soil, which is why, to this day, Connecticut calls itself “the Constitution State.”

By 1643, the various colonies of New England came together to create the New England Confederation, in which they declared, “[W]e all came to these parts of America, with one and the same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The “city on a hill” reference of Rev. Winthrop is a great metaphor for America. President Ronald Reagan certainly appreciated it.

Said Reagan in his last presidential radio address in 1989: “The hope of human freedom, the quest for it, the achievement of it is the American saga. And I’ve often recalled one group of early settlers making a treacherous crossing of the Atlantic on a small ship when their leader, a minister, noted that perhaps their venture would fail and they would become a byword, a footnote to history. But perhaps, too, with God’s help, they might found a new world, a city upon a hill, a light unto nations.”

The Puritans should be remembered, not maligned, for their indispensable contribution to America as a “city upon a hill.”

©Jerry Newcombe, D.Min. All rights reserved.

Italy’s Conservative New Prime Minister Stands Up to Migrant Smugglers thumbnail

Italy’s Conservative New Prime Minister Stands Up to Migrant Smugglers

By Jihad Watch

The new Italian government refused to let male migrants leave the smuggling ships and enter Italy.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni vowed to resist mass migration. The low bar at stake here is the migrant smuggling operation in which NGOs pick up mostly Muslim migrants and “rescue them” by transporting them to Italy.

The new Italian government lightly put its foot down and refused to let the male migrants leave the smuggling ships and enter Italy.

Cue Das Outrage.

Charities have branded the actions of the Italian government “illegal” after it prevented 250 people disembarking two migrant rescue ships.

They’re not “rescue ships”. That’s a legal fiction, they’re human smuggling ships. And Italy has said that they’re welcome to take their “rescuees” who are no longer in any danger, anywhere they please.

So long as it isn’t Italy.

Migrants set sail in small, overcrowded boats from North Africa – often they get into distress and are rescued by charity vessels.

Correction, they get into the boats as a starting point for a feigned rescue and transportation to Europe where they can rob, rape and bomb to their hearts’ content.

In total 144 people were allowed to disembark the Humanity 1, which sails under a German flag, on Sunday morning. In the afternoon, 357 people were allowed off the Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF)-run Geo Barents, which sails under a Norwegian flag.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said those who did not qualify as vulnerable would have to leave Italian waters and should be taken care of by the “flag state”.

Why can’t Germany, the home of Wir Schaffen Das, take them? Or Norway?

The charity, known in English as Doctors Without Borders, added that “a rescue operation is considered complete only when all of the survivors have been disembarked in a safe place”.

Both charities said everyone on board their ships was vulnerable as they had been rescued from the sea.

That’s how this legal fiction works. The migrants pretend to be in distress. The smugglers pretend to rescue them. And now suddenly the illegal migrants are entitled to invade Italy because all the men are “vulnerable”.

“Free all the people, free them,″ Italian lawmaker Aboubakar Soumahoro said, calling the government’s new policy “inhuman”.

“Italian lawmaker”.

Soumahoro, 40, arrived in Italy from Ivory Coast at age 19 and went to work in the fields picking crops. But he aimed higher. He enrolled in the University of Naples and earned a degree in sociology.

Just think of all the sociologists and politicians on board those boats.

AUTHOR

DANIEL GREENFIELD

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden Says ‘We’re Gonna Free Iran’ and Also ‘They’re Gonna Free Themselves Pretty Soon’ thumbnail

Biden Says ‘We’re Gonna Free Iran’ and Also ‘They’re Gonna Free Themselves Pretty Soon’

By Jihad Watch

At a campaign rally for Rep. Andy Levin, who is a J-Street “Zionist” opposed by AIPAC, but whom President Biden would like to see re-elected, Our President gave us all a brief display of his terminal confusion. This is what he said:

Don’t worry, we’re gonna free Iran,” Biden told supporters in an aside during a campaign speech in California late Thursday, after audience members appeared to call on him to address the ongoing protests. “They’re gonna free themselves pretty soon,” he added.

Forgive me for asking, but which is it? Are “we gonna free Iran,” or are they, the Iranians, “gonna free themselves pretty soon”? And when might “pretty soon” be – in a month, or in six months from now, in a year, or ten years from now? And how precisely are we gonna, or are they gonna, do it?

You expect confusion from our Confuser-In-Chief, but this reversal of message within two six-word sentences takes some kind of – I’m gonna go out on a limb here and use a word that I think pretty much says it all – cake.

Now there are other great confusers. Let me offer two examples. There was Gracie Allen, of Burns & Allen fame, who wrote a play with the title “Before the Behind Yet Under the Vast Above, the World Is In Tears and Tomorrow is Tuesday.” I understand from his speechwriters that Biden is going to use that very title in his final pre-election speech-and-shoutout next Monday.

There was also Arthur Flegenheimer, the gangster also known as Dutch Schultz, who on his deathbed provided a Joycean, or now we might say Bidenite, stream-of-consciousness:

Schultz noticed a newspaper and spoke:

Has it been in any other papers? George, don’t make no full moves. What have you done with him? Oh, mama, mama, mama. Oh stop it, stop it; eh, oh, oh. Sure, sure, mama.

Now listen, Phil, fun is fun. Ah please, papa. What happened to the sixteen? Oh, oh, he done it, please. John, please, oh, did you buy the hotel? You promised a million sure. Get out. I wished I knew.

Please make it quick, fast and furious. Please. Fast and furious. Please help me get out; I am getting my wind back, thank God. Please, please, oh please. You will have to please tell him, you got no case.

You get ahead with the dot dash system didn’t I speak that time last night. Whose number is that in your pocket book, Phi1 13780. Who was it? Oh- please, please. Reserve decision. Police, police, Henry and Frankie. Oh, oh, dog biscuits and when he is happy he doesn’t get happy please, please to do this. Then Henry, Henry, Frankie you didn’t even meet me. The glove will fit what I say oh, Kayiyi, oh Kayiyi. Sure who cares when you are through? How do you know this? How do you know this? Well, then oh, Cocoa know thinks he is a grandpa again. He is jumping around. No Hobo and Poboe I think he means the same thing.

Will you help me up? O.K. I won’t be such a big creep. Oh, mama. I can’t go through with it, please. Oh, and then he clips me; come on. Cut that out, we don’t owe a nickel; hold it; instead, hold it against him; I am a pretty good pretzler -Winifred- Department of Justice. I even got it from the department. Sir, please stop it. Say listen the last night!

I don’t know, sir. Honestly I don’t. I don’t even know who was with me, honestly. I was in the toilet and when I reached the -the boy came at me.

No. If he wanted to break the ring no, please I get a month. They did it. Come on. (A name, not clear) cut me off and says you are not to be the beneficiary of this will. Is that right? I will be checked and double-checked and please pull for me. Will you pull? How many good ones and how many bad ones? Please I had nothing with him he was a cowboy in one of the seven days a week fight. No business; no hangout; no friends; nothing; just what you pick up and what you need. I don’t know who shot me. Don’t put anyone near this check~ you might have -please do it for me. Let me get up. heh? In the olden days they waited and they waited. Please give me a shot. It is from the factory. Sure, that is a bad. Well, oh good ahead that happens for trying. I don’t want harmony. I want harmony. Oh, mamma, mamma! Who give it to him? Who give it to him? Let me in the district -fire-factory that he was nowhere near. It smoldered No, no. There are only ten of us and there ten million fighting somewhere of you, so get your onions up and we will throw up the truce flag. Oh, please let me up. Please shift me. Police are here. Communistic…strike…baloney…honestly this is a habit I get; sometimes I give it and sometimes I don’t. Oh, I am all in. That settles it. Are you sure? Please let me get in and eat. Let him harass himself to you and then bother you. Please don’t ask me to go there. I don’t want to. I still don’t want him in the path. It is no use to stage a riot. The sidewalk was in trouble and the bears were in trouble and I broke it up. Please put me in that room. Please keep him in control. My gilt edged stuff and those dirty rats have tuned in. Please mother, don’t tear, don’t rip; that is something that shouldn’t be spoken about. Please get me up, my friends. Please, look out. The shooting is a bit wild, and that kind of shooting saved a man’s life. No payrolls. No wells. No coupons. That would be entirely out. Pardon me, I forgot I am plaintiff and not defendant. Look out. Look out for him. Please. He owed me money; he owes everyone money. Why can’t he just pullout and give me control? Please, mother, you pick me up now. Please, you know me. No. Don’t you scare me. My friends and I think I do a better job. Police are looking for you all over. Be instrumental in letting us know. They are English-men and they are a type I don’t know who is best, they or us. Oh, sir, get the doll a roofing. You can play jacks and girls do that with a soft ball and do tricks with it. I take all events into consideration. No. No. And it is no. It is confused and its says no. A boy has never wept nor dashed a thousand kim. Did you hear me?

Two thousand. Come one, get some money in that treasury. We need it. Come on, please get it. I can’t tell you to. That is not what you have in the book. Oh, please warden. What am I going to do for money? Please put me up on my feet at once. You are a hard boiled man. Did you hear me? I would hear it, the Circuit Court would hear it, and the Supreme Court might hear it. If that ain’t the pay-off. Please crack down on the Chinaman’s friends and Hitler’s commander. I am sore and I am going up and I am going to give you honey if I can. Mother is the best bet and don’t let Satan draw you too fast.

That is what caused the trouble. Look out. Please let me up. If you do this, you can go on and jump right here in the lake. I know who they are. They are French people. All right. Look out, look out. Oh, my memory is gone. A work relief police. Who gets it? I don’t know and I don’t want to know, but look out. It can be traced. He changed for the worse. Please look out; my fortunes have changed and come back and went back since that. It was desperate. I am wobbly. You ain’t got nothing on him but you got it on his helper.

Then pull me out. I am half crazy. They won’t let me get up. They dyed my shoes. Open those shoes. Give me something. I am so sick. Give me some water, the only thing that I want. Open this up and break it so I can touch you. Danny, please get me in the car.

I don’t know. I didn’t even get a look. I don’t know who can have done it. Anybody. Kindly take my shoes off. (He was told that they were off.) No. There is a handcuff on them. The Baron says these things. I know what I am doing here with my collection of papers. It isn’t worth a nickel to two guys like you or me but to a collector it is worth a fortune. It is priceless. I am going to turn it over to… Turn you back to me, please Henry. I am so sick now. The police are getting many complaints. Look out. I want that G-note. Look out for Jimmy Valentine for he is an old pal of mine. Come on, come on, Jim. Ok, ok, I am all through. Can’t do another thing. Look out mamma, look out for her. You can’t beat him. Police, mamma, Helen, mother, please take me out. I will settle the indictment. Come on, open the soap duckets. The chimney sweeps. Talk to the sword. Shut up, you got a big mouth! Please help me up, Henry. Max, come over here. French-Canadian bean soup. I want to pay. Let them leave me alone.

Gracie Allen, Arthur Flegenheimer, and now, our latest entrant, out of the left field of politics, President Joe Biden.

Let’s think. How are “we gonna free Iran”? Certainly not by going through with any Iran deal, which would trigger a removal of sanctions and hundreds of billions of dollars being restored to the regime that we are “gonna free Iran” from. So why not tell your audience and the world that “we” have no intention of removing economic sanctions unless, and until, the current regime is overthrown. That should hearten those Iranians who are now risking their lives to protest that unsavory regime.

But what else? How about Biden suggesting a blockade of tankers carrying Iranian oil? That should bring Tehran to its knees. But as he does it, Biden should warn the Iranians that any retaliation by them will be regarded as an act of war and would trigger a devastating response.

What “we gonna” do to “free Iran” should include encouraging separatist sympathies over the airwaves, and on social media, among the four main ethnic minorities. Does Biden remember who they are? In case he’s forgotten, or never knew, here they are: Kurds, Azeris, Baluchis, Arabs. Biden could send weapons to any of those minorities should they request them: to the Kurds in Iranian Kurdistan, sent through Iraq, to the Arabs in Khuzestan via ship from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, to the Azeris, with supplies from Azerbaijan next door, to the Baluchis in southeastern Iran, via airdrops of weapons to the 7.5 million fellow Baluchis in Pakistan for delivery just across the border in Iran. “We hear you and we’re gonna help you.” Also sprach Joe Biden.

And he should announce that as long as the protesters are being suppressed by the regime, American hackers will be disrupting the Iranian government, including the Supreme Leader’s office, and those of every member of the Majlis, as well as the IRGC and Basij command-and-control centers, the oil industry, the electricity plants, the transportation sector, the prisons, even the food distribution system. No part of the regime, or of Iran’s economy, will remain untouched.

And should “we” fail to free Iran as Biden promised we were gonna do, then how will “they” — the Iranians — “free themselves pretty soon”? They — those Iranians — can be provided with our satellite and other intelligence on the movement of the police, the Basij, the IRGC killers, to know where and when it is safest to march, and where to go to avoid a bloody encounter. We can help the protesters hack into systems that will allow them to take over for long periods Iran’s radio stations and television channels, as up till now they have managed to do only momentarily, and to seize control of Farsi-language social media, so that pro-government propagandists are silenced and only the protesters’ messages can be seen and heard. We can help them to “free themselves” by keeping up the diplomatic pressure at the U.N., where a resolution to expel Iran from the institution should be introduced; Iran now has only a handful of unsavory allies – Russia, China, North Korea, Syria – willing to stand up for it.

In other words, “we gonna free Iran ” by helping those Iranians who are “gonna free themselves.” Which is to say, avoid the confusion you created, and rely instead on a proverb that is as old as Aesop; “God helps those who help themselves.” Next time, Mr. President, say it exactly that way, without any Lunchbucket Joe “gonna’s.” A little dignity, please: “We and the rest of the civilized world are going to help the Iranians to help themselves. They don’t doubt that they will win. And neither should we.”

AUTHOR

HUGH FITZGERALD

RELATED ARTICLES:

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

MSNBC claims that efforts to remove pornography from public schools are ‘book banning’ thumbnail

MSNBC claims that efforts to remove pornography from public schools are ‘book banning’

By Judicial Watch

“Book banning is much more than just the removal of books from school libraries.” — Reza Aslan


Actually, that’s all it is: an effort to remove explicitly pornographic material such as Gender Queer from public libraries and public schools. But Ali Velshi and Reza Aslan are in the business of stoking Leftist hysteria, and they love posturing as the courageous enlightened against the benighted, willfully stupid bigots.

If Velshi is serious about his “Banned Book Club,” however, let him feature an author whose books are not subject to an official ban, but to the de facto ban of Leftist conformism. Let him discuss a book that cuts against the Left’s authoritarian agenda. Don’t hold your breath.

Velshi Banned Book Club: The Concerted Effort to Ban Books

NBCUniversal, November 5, 2022:

Book banning is much more than just the removal of books from school libraries. It has become a rallying cry for the Christian Right, and a wedge issue for these upcoming midterm elections. So how do you speak to religious fundamentalists about an issue like book banning? Reza Aslan, author of “Beyond Fundamentalism” has an answer, “The way that you defeat religiously-inspired hate is with religiously-inspired love….

AUTHOR

ROBERT SPENCER

RELATED TWEET:

Why is the Left fighting to make pornography available to children? Because this is a revolutionary moment for them. Everything must be upended — including the innocence of children.

— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) November 8, 2022

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Islamic Republic of Iran: Youths knocking off turbans of Muslim clerics as part of anti-regime protests thumbnail

Islamic Republic of Iran: Youths knocking off turbans of Muslim clerics as part of anti-regime protests

By Jihad Watch

This may seem at first glance to be gratuitous, rude, juvenile, etc. But it must be seen against the backdrop of 40 years of women being harassed, threatened and imprisoned for not wearing hijab.

These days I’ve been receiving many videos from inside Iran where schoolgirls & boys knock turbans off clerics as part of anti regime protests.

Removing the turbans of clerics has turned into an act of protest after regime killed hundreds of innocent protesters. #MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/guoOrwIhca

— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) November 2, 2022

If you really want to know why knocking off turbans of clerics has become a sport in Iran, just watch this video, then you will understand their anger the teenagers. For years clerics have been harassing women in the streets for hijab.#MahsaAmini

pic.twitter.com/vbbAjr0Avy

— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) November 6, 2022

#Iran: Following the “Knock the turban off” trend, Iranian Shiite clerics started appearing in public without their turbans

I see a lot of symbolism here – the ongoing protests started because demonstrators wanted to fight for a woman’s right to walk in public without… (1/2) pic.twitter.com/cYuBLGJtw1

— AbuAliEnglish (@AbuAliEnglishB1) November 6, 2022

Youths in Iran hit and strike turbans of Islamic clerics in protest against hijab, videos viral

OpIndia, November 6, 2022:

Visuals of young Iranians knocking clerics’ turbans off their heads have gone viral on social media as protests over the execution of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Iran intensify. As part of the ongoing protests against the authoritarian government that makes hijabs obligatory, many videos of schoolboys and girls striking clerics’ turbans and running away have gone extremely viral on social media.

In one video that has gone viral, a young lady can be seen approaching a man wearing a traditional robe from behind and striking his white turban hard enough to cause it to fall to the ground. The Muslim preacher bends down to pick up his headpiece as the woman departs without turning around.

International anxiety over Iran’s response to the protests has increased, prompting a new form of protest. Iran’s authorities warned demonstrators to leave the streets, yet demonstrations nonetheless took place. Social media users posted videos demonstrating that the protests are still going strong.

The public’s worries about Iran’s response to the demonstrations are growing as a result of this unique display of contempt for the nation’s religious establishment. According to reports, hundreds of people were killed by Iranian security forces during the protests that broke out when Mahsa Amini, 22, died while being held by Iran’s morality police after being arrested for improperly donning her headscarf….

It is worth emphasising that women in Iran are forced to wear a hijab, which covers the head and neck and hides the hair, under Islamic law, which has been in place since the 1979 revolution. While Iranian women battle to be emancipated from the restrictions of headscarves, the hijab is used to further the Islamic agenda across the world.

AUTHOR

ROBERT SPENCER

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

JEXIT: The First Jewish Organization to present President Donald J. Trump with the ‘American Defender of Zion Award’ thumbnail

JEXIT: The First Jewish Organization to present President Donald J. Trump with the ‘American Defender of Zion Award’

By The United West

PALM BEACH, FL – JEXIT, Inc. has become the world’s first Jewish organization to present a US President with the American Defender of Zion Award.

President Donald John Trump accepted the award in Mar-a-Lago’s White and Gold Ballroom before an audience of over 120 people. JEXIT honored President Trump with this first-of-a-kind award acknowledging that President Trump has done more than any other US President for Israel and the Jewish people. During his time as President, he moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, recognized Israeli sovereignty of the Golan Heights and brokered the Abraham Accords.

“I have a great love for the Jewish people, and for the state of Israel, always have and always will,” said President Trump during his acceptance speech thanking JEXIT. “When I was president, the world knew I would stand by Israel.”

JEXIT is determined to make the world a safer place, while reinstating the powerful and unquestioned relationship between the United States and Israel. JEXIT recognizes that together, the two nations are stronger.

To learn more about JEXIT, their mission and to donate, visit www.jexitusa.org or email info@jexitusa.org

©The United West and JEXIT. All rights reserved.

Biden still hasn’t called Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory thumbnail

Biden still hasn’t called Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory

By Jihad Watch

The reason why is clear: Biden’s handlers support the “Palestinian” jihad.

No Call to Bibi: Biden Has Yet to Congratulate Newly Elected Israeli Leader

by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, November 4, 2022:

The Biden administration will not say when the president plans on calling newly elected Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory, drawing accusations the U.S. administration is trying to isolate the conservative Jewish leader before he even takes office.

Asked on Thursday afternoon if President Joe Biden has any plans to phone Netanyahu following his victory this week in the Israeli elections, a White House spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon, “We don’t have any call to preview at this point.”

The Israeli media reported on Thursday that Biden is expected to call Netanyahu some time over the weekend, citing the U.S. president’s packed schedule campaigning around America’s midterm elections. But the White House would not confirm these reports when asked by the Free Beacon.

Biden called Brazil’s newly elected far-left president-elect, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on Monday, just a day after that country’s elections. This discrepancy is fueling accusations the Biden administration is taking a chilly approach to its diplomacy with Netanyahu, who made history by being elected as Israel’s prime minister for the third time.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Free Beacon that the president’s delay in calling Netanyahu “is not an accident.”

“President Biden rushed to call Lula, a committed anti-American Chavista, but is finding every possible excuse not to call the next Prime Minister of Israel. That is not an accident,” Cruz said. “Biden has spent his entire administration undermining America’s allies and boosting America’s enemies. The next Republican Congress is going to leverage aggressive oversight and legislation to reverse that recklessness.”

This is not the first time Biden has been accused of dissing Netanyahu. It took Biden nearly a month to call Netanyahu upon taking office in 2021, fueling speculation Biden was trying to create some distance with Israel after four years of warm relations under former president Donald Trump. When outgoing Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett was elected, it took Biden just two hours to call and congratulate him.

Omri Ceren, a national security adviser for Cruz, said reports that Biden is too busy campaigning to call Netanyahu are “nonsense.”

“Biden found time call [sic] Lula the day after his election—and that was on Monday so it’s not like Biden wasn’t midterm campaigning,” Ceren wrote on Twitter. “Also if he calls this weekend, it will still be before the midterms. Why can’t this [administration] just admit what their foreign policy is?”…

AUTHOR

ROBERT SPENCER

RELATED VIDEO: Will There Be A Conflict Between Bibi and Biden?

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Widespread Anti-Regime Protests In Iran Continue thumbnail

VIDEO: Widespread Anti-Regime Protests In Iran Continue

By Middle East Media Research Institute

Basiji, IRGC, You Are Our ISIS! We’ll Give Our Lives For Freedom In Iran!


This clip is a compilation of the continued widespread anti-regime protests in Iran following the death of Jina (Mahsa”) Amini, who died after being beaten and arrested by Iran’s morality police for not wearing her hijab properly. In this clip, protestors can be seen knocking off the turbans of Islamic scholars, clashing with Iranian authorities, chanting “Basiji, IRGC, you are our ISIS!”, burning down communications jamming facilities, and throwing Molotov cocktails at posters of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and of his predecessor Ruhollah Khomeini.

In one protest, protestors chanted that Khamenei is the “murderer,” who was behind the shooting of IRGC members in the Shiraz shrine of Shahcheragh and that he is a “cripple.” Protesters waved their arms limply, mocking his disabled arm. In another protest, they chanted: “From Zahedan to Tehran, [I’ll give] my life for [freedom in] Iran!” The footage in this clip was posted between October 29 and November 1, 2022, to various Iranian accounts on social media, including those of Iran International Media and of Iranian dissident journalist Masih Alinejad. For more footage from the protests in Iran, see MEMRI TV Clips No. 9891No. 9837, and No. 9833.

Crowd: “Basiji, IRGC, you are our ISIS!”

©MEMRI TV. All rights reserved.

Ibn Warraq’s ‘The Islam In Islamic Terrorism’ zooms to Top 100 at Barnes & Noble after being banned at Amazon thumbnail

Ibn Warraq’s ‘The Islam In Islamic Terrorism’ zooms to Top 100 at Barnes & Noble after being banned at Amazon

By Jihad Watch

Good to see people striking back against the fascists.

Ibn Warraq’s The Islam in Islamic Terrorism, after being banned at Amazon, has zoomed to #73 on Barnes and Noble’s charts. That’s out of all the books there are, kids.

Get your copy here.

Background of the controversy.

Amazon Fascists Ban Another Book That Leftists Hate

The battle for the freedom of speech is heating up this week, with Elon Musk chasing out the Twitter fascists and beginning to open up the platform for free discussion and dissent (amid howls of rage from the Left), but the other social media giants are showing no signs of retreating from their fascism. New English Review Press announced Sunday that a book it published back in 2017, The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology by the renowned ex-Muslim scholar Ibn Warraq, has been pulled for sale from Amazon without explanation or the possibility of appeal.

It’s a strange move. I have the privilege and honor of having known Ibn Warraq for many years and calling him my friend. I’ve also read The Islam in Islamic Terrorism. Before I met him, his groundbreaking and courageous work Why I Am Not A Muslim was a powerful influence on me in the 1990s and had a great deal to do with my beginning to write about jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women myself. Ibn Warraq is a gentle soul, a careful scholar, a superb writer, and a profound and original thinker. The Islam in Islamic Terrorism is not some flame-throwing hate screed but a carefully documented exploration of the elements of Islam that jihad terrorists use in order to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims.

Amazon, however, is run by Leftists, and for Leftists, any criticism of Islam, including any hint that it may have some connection to Islamic terrorism, is “Islamophobic” and thus to be rejected out of hand without any discussion of the actual evidence. For years now, the notorious far-Left smear machine, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has defamed opponents of jihad violence and Sharia oppression as “hate group leaders,” and Amazon has banned counter-jihad 501c3 charitable organizations from its Amazon Smile charity program on the basis of the SPLC’s “hate” listings.

Amazon has also shown a readiness to ban books that counter the Left’s nonsense. A few years back, the Leftist behemoth banned Ryan Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. It has also banned other books that jihadis and their allies would find offensive, such as Peter McLoughlin’s Easy Meat: Inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal, and Mohammed’s Koran by McLoughlin and British activist Tommy Robinson.

Leftists will say, as they always say to criticism of the social media giants, that Amazon is a private company that can do what it wants and that if patriots don’t like it, they can start their own bookstore. Remember bookstores? There used to be many in every American city. They all had different selections, based on the owners’ perspectives and interests. But now they are almost all gone. Amazon dominates the book market, and Barnes & Noble takes most of the rest. If Amazon decides that your book is not acceptable, then most people who are interested in books will never have the opportunity to see it at all.

In earlier, less polarized times, the U.S. government determined that several monopolies — Standard Oil, American Tobacco, AT&T — were not in the public interest and compelled them to break up. It would be a great boon for the freedom of speech if Big Tech were subjected to this treatment, but the U.S. government as it is currently constituted is more likely to act against Musk for protecting the freedom of speech on Twitter than against the other social media giants for suppressing that freedom. The American people would also benefit immensely from the breakup of Amazon and reconstitution of bookstores that reflect differing points of view with selections that reflect not just Amazon’s doctrinaire Leftist line, but other points of view as well.

The Islam in Islamic Terrorism can still be found here. But it’s clear that Amazon is intending to shut down debate on a highly controversial issue. Even if you don’t care for the works of Ibn Warraq (which would be odd, as it would mean you don’t care for lucid, elegant prose, compelling reasoning, and a broad command of the salient facts), make no mistake: anytime Amazon pulls a book for political reasons, we are all threatened. The precedent has been set by the only bookseller that really matters today that books that are offensive to the Leftist elites can be deep-sixed at will. This precedent is dangerous and corrosive to a free society. In this age of the Biden regime’s creeping authoritarianism, it’s ominous in the extreme.

AUTHOR

ROBERT SPENCER

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Ten philosophers who discovered faith thumbnail

Ten philosophers who discovered faith

By MercatorNet – Navigating Modern Complexities

Stimulating stories of how the pursuit of truth led to God.


Faith and Reason: Philosophers Explain Their Return to Catholicism

Brian Besong and Jonathan Fuqua (eds.) | Ignatius Press 2019, 289 pages

Faith and Reason consists of ten chapters, written by ten different philosophers, plus an introduction by the editors and a foreword by Francis Beckwith, professor of philosophy at Baylor University. Each chapter relates the author’s conversion (or reversion, in the case of Edward Feser) to the Catholic Church. All of the contributors are active professional philosophers and one might expect a certain sameness in their stories.

However, they are strikingly distinct: there are many paths to Rome and it is a city with many gates. Each of the tightly argued chapters richly repays careful reading.

Almost all of the authors come from Protestant backgrounds, predominantly Baptist and Lutheran, and some of them (Koons, Gage, Kreeft and Judisch) examine the claims of the strands of the Reformed tradition rather than explore a philosophical school.

Others, notably Feser, Budziszewski and Cutter, demonstrate how an extended engagement with certain schools of philosophy led them to “mere Christianity” and eventually to the Catholic Church.

The final chapter, “A Spiritual Autobiography” by Candace Vogler, is very different. She suffered the most appalling abuse at the hands of her father from a very early age (she does not go into details, but the hints are sufficient) and subsequently had to cope with a very dysfunctional family. The story of how she worked through all of this with the help of her studies in philosophy makes compelling reading. This is the least technical of the chapters and may have the widest appeal.

The contributions are extremely well written — a testimony to philosophy as an aid to clarifying one’s ideas. Some are quite technical, especially those of Budziszewski and Cutter. The technicality in Budziszewski’s case consists of a stringent examination of the claims of “science” – not real science, but the materialist goddess erected by contemporary culture and media. In order to make that distinction clear, Budziszewski delves into physics and asks why this should work against religious belief.

The quasi-religious dimension of certain contemporary scientific theories such as the Big Bang is well-known, as is the sincere religious belief of scientists like the cosmologist Georges Lemaitre and the geneticist Jerome Lejeune. And yet many still believe that science and religion are opposed.

Budziszewski highlights the commitment of some scientists to philosophical materialism as an assumption rather than as a conclusion. It is often thought that scientists begin with a blank slate and discover by reason that materialism or naturalism or physicalism (the belief that there is nothing at all in existence beyond material entities) is true.

But, as a well-chosen quotation from Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin makes abundantly clear: he would remain a materialist even if the evidence pointed in the opposite direction. This conviction on the part of some, but by no means all, scientists, amplified to an enormous extent by the media, does much to explain the popular conviction that religious belief is something one holds in the teeth of scientific evidence. There is no scientific evidence for the non-existence of God. There couldn’t be: you cannot prove a negative.

Physicalism, or materialism, emerges again in Cutter’s article. However, here we are concerned with Anglo-American analytic philosophy. Cutter homes in on philosophical anthropology, in particular the phenomenon of human consciousness and notes that the attempt to explain certain human phenomena (classically believed to be the fruit of human reason) in materialist terms ultimately fails.

Materialist philosophical anthropology set out to demonstrate that such things as free will, the capacity for reflection and so on were simply epiphenomena (i.e., highly developed instances) of material processes. Consequently, there was no reason to believe in a spiritual dimension to human existence — nor would the hypothesis of God make any sense.

Cutter demonstrates that such arguments simply do not stand up to scrutiny: an intense examination of the human capacity for cognitive development and a consideration of the horrible moral implications of a materialist anthropology led him to conclude that it is simply impossible. At that point, he notes, and taking several other elements into consideration, he “began to find Christianity plausible”. This is a difficult chapter because he packs a great deal into a few pages – the reader has to go very slowly in order to keep up – but it is extremely clear and well written.

Having convinced himself of the validity of Nietzsche’s claims, Edward Feser taught philosophy of religion to undergraduates. In an effort to make the classes more interesting, he ended up arguing himself back into the Catholic Church. Feser is known for his work on the arguments for the existence of God. His account of how he went from teaching dull, anthologised, ultimately falsified versions until he realised that he had to accept them if he was to remain a philosopher at all is very engaging.

Philosophy of religion is very often taught to show students that religion is every bit as stupid as the general culture tells them, so Feser’s account of his increasing interest and conviction of the merit of classical theistic arguments is very refreshing. He generously gives the names of several books which he found helpful in his research.

As mentioned, every chapter highlights something of concern to contemporary Catholics. In his contribution, the noted apologist Peter Kreeft engages with literary sources in an entertaining way and gives a list of classic Catholic works in an extensive footnote.

Logan Paul Gage takes up the question of the Canon of Scripture: why do Catholics and Protestants have different Bibles? What is the explanation of the Protestant rejection of the deutero-canonical books of the Old Testament? Is it justified? Cradle Catholics, who tend to feel inferior to Protestants in scriptural matters, will appreciate his treatment of the Catholic canon of Scripture as valid.

Robert C. Koons takes up the question of justification by faith, a most important element in Luther’s rejection of Catholicism, and provides an ample discussion of the 1999 Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.

The joint article by Lindsay K. Cleveland and W. Scott Cleveland treads the path mapped out by Scott and Kimberly Hahn in Rome Sweet Home: each recounts his/her story of conversion, weaving it into the story of their marriage and careers. How a serious engagement with religious faith affects life will be of compelling interest to some readers.

Certain themes run through the articles: reason, and, in most cases, an engagement with the thought of St Thomas Aquinas. This is interesting, because none started out from a perspective where Aeterni Patris (Leo XIII’s encyclical recommending the study of Aquinas to all Catholics) would have motivated them.

All authors note the hostility of contemporary culture to religion, especially Catholicism, and all recount how they managed to escape. The editors note hostility in departments of philosophy, but it exists in literature, history and science departments as well.

Faith and Reason is demanding – the authors are determined to give value for money — but it repays the effort. Philosophers may find it easier, but there is something for everyone.

AUTHOR

Catherine Kavanagh

Dr. Catherine Kavanagh is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Mary Immaculate College (University of Limerick) and Director of Postgraduate studies there. She received her B.A. and M. Phil. from UCD and her… More by Catherine Kavanagh

RELATED ARTICLE: Today Mankind is in Dire Need of More Philosophers like Anicius Boëthius

EDITORS NOTE: This Mercator Net column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Is It a Sin Not to Vote? thumbnail

Is It a Sin Not to Vote?

By Jerry Newcombe

In 1629, the first American balloting for an election occurred in Salem, Massachusetts. The issue? Choosing a minister and choosing a Christian teacher for the colony. “Such is the origin of the use of the ballot on this continent; [Samuel] Skelton was chosen pastor and [Francis] Higginson teacher.”  So writes George Bancroft, an early American historian, on this first election on American soil in Volume I of his 6-volume, History of the United States of America (1882).

Historian Paul Johnson writes in his 1997 classic, A History of the American People: “In a sense, the clergy were the first elected officials of the new American society, a society which to that extent had a democratic element from the start.”

And Christians in America have been voting ever since.

Founding father Samuel Adams once said, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote…that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

However, there has arisen a feeling among some professing believers that somehow it is spiritual to not participate in something as earthly as politics.

As the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, noted pastor and author, once said: “A Christian said to me, ‘You don’t really believe that Christians should get active in politics do you?’ And I said, with tongue in cheek, ‘Why, of course not, we ought to leave it to the atheists. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have anything to complain about. And we’d really rather complain than do something, wouldn’t we?’”

But today we find ourselves in such a mess in America that the very least Christians could do is vote, and vote our Biblical values.

Some people have written off elections because they think it’s all rigged. They look at some of the anomalies that have occurred in recent balloting, and they think, “Why should I even bother? My vote won’t count.” Well, if you don’t cast a vote, your potential vote certainly won’t count.

With great understatement, Gary Bauer notes in his End of Day Report (10/28/22), “We know unhinged leftists are not constrained by the basic teachings of Judeo-Christian civilization. They feel justified in doing anything and everything necessary to win.”

But if Christians show up in great numbers, we can overcome the potential for cheating because the Christian conservative voting bloc is huge.

About a decade ago, Alveda King, the niece of MLK, made some interesting observations about Christians and voting in an interview for television.

Alveda told me, “I hear remarks from both sides of the aisle. You know, ‘God’s not a Republican’ and ‘God’s not a Democrat.’ And so, we as God-fearing people don’t need to try to lock in a position to a political party, but certainly our votes must always follow our values.”

One of those values is against abortion and for life. Meanwhile, the left is embracing abortion to the hilt. When we vote Biblical values, we obey what the Lord would have us do.

Writing for the Washington Times (10/30/22), Everett Piper, a former president of a Christian college, opines on how far to the left the left has gone these days because of things like the castration of children and pornography in the schools: “The Democrat party is now so extreme that no serious follower of Christ can align with it. There is no longer any such thing as a ‘Christian Democrat.’”

The aforementioned Dr. Kennedy once declared that it is indeed a sin not to vote. His proof-text was from the passage in the Gospel, where Jesus said that we should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s (Mark 12:17).

On the issue of voting, he said: “For non-Christian Americans, voting is a privilege and responsibility; for Christians, it is a duty demanded by God that we should fulfill.” [Emphasis his]

It has been said that in America, we get the kind of government we deserve.

Historically, Christians in America applied their faith to virtually every sphere of life, including their politics. While the founding fathers were not all Christians, the vast majority of them were, and more importantly they had a Biblical worldview.

So, for example, they divided power, since they knew man is sinful. James Madison, one of the key architects of the Constitution, noted: “All men having power ought to be distrusted.” This is a Biblical perspective. Sometimes people complain that the Constitution limits the amount of power any one single branch may have. That was by design.

The only poll that counts is the one you cast at election time. Don’t sit this one out. As the late Bishop Harry Jackson once declared, “Too many people died for the right of all people in the nation to vote.”

©Jerry Newcombe, D.Min. All rights reserved.

Today Mankind is in Dire Need of More Philosophers like Anicius Boëthius thumbnail

Today Mankind is in Dire Need of More Philosophers like Anicius Boëthius

By Dr. Rich Swier

“A man content to go to heaven alone will never go to heaven.” — Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius


I recently read The Consolation of Philosophy by Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius.

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius or Anicius Boëthius lived from 480-524 AD.

Boëthius was a Roman scholar, Christian philosopher, statesman and the author of the celebrated De consolation philosophiae (The Consolation of Philosophy), a largely Neoplatonic work in which the pursuit of wisdom and the love of God are described as the true sources of human happiness.

What mankind is suffering from today is a lack of happiness because mankind has forgotten the words of Boëthius that proved what truly makes one happy is based upon the pursuit of wisdom and the love of God.

Boëthius wrote The Consolation of Philosophy while in prison wrongfully accused of treason and awaiting his execution which happened in 524 AD.

The Pursuit of Wisdom and the Love of God

Boëthius, while in prison, lamented his state of affairs. Boëthius was a high level Roman official whose words were embraced by many before a few accused him of treason against the Roman state.

Boëthius wrote,

“These it is who kill the rich crop of reason with the barren thorns of passion, who accustom men’s minds to disease, instead of setting them free.”

Boëthius was the victim of “the usual sickness of deluded minds.” Today, we are seeing deluded minds that have singled out free men and women for punishment for speaking “truth to power.” In America these free men and women are simply exercising their Constitutional rights to petition their elected officials. For this effort to tell the truth they have been labeled terrorists, semi-Fascists and traitors.

GradeSaver.com wrote this about The Consolation of Philosophy,

Evil has no substance, according to Philosophy, because it cannot participate in the ultimate pursuit of mankind: the supreme good. Therefore people who inflict their wickedness on the good are not truly powerful, since they have no capacity to stop the good people’s attainment of the one thing that matters. God orders the world through Providence, and the order of things that happen on earth is called Fate. Though people on earth cannot understand the ways of Providence, they must nevertheless accept whatever Fate sends, for all fortune, good or bad, is good. Bad fortune can instruct the recipient in the ways of virtue, and, often is better for the soul.

God does not interfere with free will, Philosophy concludes. Though God knows all things past and present, this knowledge doesn’t preclude the freedom of choice of human beings. God’s knowledge is not like our knowledge, and doesn’t happen over a period of time. God had one act of knowing the world, and in that act knew all things, including all the free choices of all the people throughout the entire history of the world.

Finally, Boethius, through this long conversation with Philosophy, has been comforted. Philosophy leaves him with the advice to cultivate virtue, for the Heavenly Judge sees all things. [Emphasis added]

The Story of an American Patriot and Political Prisoner

Fast forward to 2022 AD and we see many American patriots in prisoned who have been wrongfully accused of participating in an “insurrection” and accused of treason just because they attended a rally on January 6th, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

These falsely accused political prisoners, like Boëthius, are still awaiting judgment.

Among these political prisoners, much like Boëthius, is a young man named Zachary “Zach” Rehl who on March 17th, 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested him at his home in Port Richmond, Pennsylvania.  From October 2008 to May 2012, Zack was a U.S. Marine Corps non-commissioned officer in Yuma, Arizona. Zack is a 100% disabled Marine Corps. veteran with a wife and young child.

Why Zack?

Because Zack takes his oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic seriously. Zack understands that the oath that he, and all those who honorably served our nation, does not expire until we do.

What are Zack’s crimes?

  1. Zack is the leader of the Philadelphia chapter of the Proud Boys. He was one of the organizers of the We the People rally outside the Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 2018, which supported Donald Trump.
  2. In July 2020, he attended the Back the Blue rally outside the Fraternal Order of Police lodge in Philadelphia where the Proud Boys members mingled with police officers. (c)
  3. “Just FYI, WE’RE HERE with you in DC now! Love you all!” he wrote on Parler on the evening of January 5, 2021. He had raised more than $5,500 via the Christian website GiveSendGo to fund his travel from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., USA. 
  4. Wearing a camouflage cap while carrying a Temple University backpack, he went to the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. That day, Trump’s supporters held a peaceful Save America rally while the joint session of Congress was certifying the vote of the Electoral College and affirming Joe Biden‘s victory in the 2020 presidential election. During the Save America rally, he assisted Proud Boys leaders Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs but never entered the U.S. Capitol building.

You see Zack is an American patriot, a disabled veteran and a member of the Proud Boys. These are now punishable offenses according to this administration.

Like Anicius, Zack is a political prisoner who has yet to be judged by a jury of his peers.

Zach, in a letter to his wife, warned:

“They are jailing innocent people on bogus and trumped-up charges because those people simply supported the sitting president Donald Trump at the time; which is absolutely insane. If you think it can’t happen to you, look at me, because if it can happen to me, trust me, it can happen to you.”

Zack like Anicius faces an uncertain future. But he wears the full armor of God.

But Zack and his fellow imprisoned patriots  are consoled by the truth that people who inflict their wickedness on the good are not truly powerful, since they have no capacity to stop the good people’s attainment of the one thing that matters.

May God bless Zack, his family and his fellow political prisoners.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

IRAN: Freedom fighters defy Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ultimatum to cease protests thumbnail

IRAN: Freedom fighters defy Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ultimatum to cease protests

By Jihad Watch

Note how Reuters once again refers to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as the “Revolutionary Guards.” Why won’t these “journalists” call the group by its correct name?

Security forces tear gas students defying Iran protest ultimatum

by Parisa Hafezi, Reuters, October 30, 2022:DUBAI (Reuters) -Protests in Iran entered a more violent phase on Sunday as students, who defied an ultimatum by the Revolutionary Guards and a warning from the president, were met with tear gas and gunfire from security forces, social media videos showed.

The confrontations at dozens of universities prompted the threat of a tougher crackdown in a seventh week of demonstrations sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was arrested by the morality police for attire deemed inappropriate.

“Security is the red line of the Islamic Republic, and we will not allow the enemy to implement in any way its plans to undermine this valuable national asset,” hardline President Ebrahim Raisi said, according to state media.

Iranians from all walks of life have taken to the streets since Amini’s death in protests that the clerical rulers said were endangering the Islamic Republic’s security.

Authorities have accused Islamic Iran’s arch-enemies the United States and Israel and their local agents of being behind the unrest to destabilise the country.

What began as outrage over Amini’s death on Sept. 16 has evolved into one of the toughest challenges to clerical rulers since the 1979 revolution, with some protesters calling for the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards told protesters that Saturday would be their last day of taking to the streets, the harshest warning yet by Iranian authorities.

Nevertheless, videos on social media, unverifiable by Reuters, showed confrontations between students and riot police and Basij forces on Sunday at universities all over Iran.

One video showed a member of Basij forces firing a gun at close range at students protesting at a branch of Azad University in Tehran. Gunshots were also heard in a video shared by rights group HENGAW from protests at the University of Kurdistan in Sanandaj.

Videos from universities in some other cities also showed Basij forces opening fire at students.

Across the country, security forces tried to block students inside university buildings, firing tear gas and beating protesters with sticks. The students, who appeared to be unarmed, pushed back, with some chanting “dishonoured Basij get lost” and “Death to Khamenei”….

AUTHOR

ROBERT SPENCER

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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Giorgia Meloni: “We are the heirs of St. Benedict”

By The Catholic Thing

Roberto de Mattei: The mission of the Church and of the Vicar of Christ on earth is this and no other: to recall the saving truths that the world ignores or despises.


As of October 21, Italy has a new government: the best possible government at the worst historical moment since the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946.

What does it mean, the best possible government? It means that since politics is the art of the possible, those who govern cannot constitute an ideal government, but only that which reality permits. Giorgia Meloni has had to take into account the international and European context, which leaves very little autonomy to our country, because nation-states, after Maastricht, have been stripped of much of their sovereignty.

The premier must also keep in mind the media firepower of the so-called strong powers and the driving forces within a center-right coalition made up of different political souls. Like any man of politics, she can do what is concretely possible, while not forsaking a few basic principles that guide her.

And this appears to be the best government among those possible, because it is the first right-wing and conservative government of the Italian Republic since its foundation.

Silvio Berlusconi, who deserves a great deal of credit for having stopped the rise of communism in Italy in 1994, was and is a liberal in the European sense of the term, but he has always defined himself as a man of the center, rather than a conservative.

Giorgia Meloni is a woman of the right, in 2020 she was made president of the European Conservatives, a group whose cornerstones are the defense of the sovereignty of nation-states, the control of illegal immigration, freedom from arbitrary and oppressive taxation, the rejection of ideologies such as that of gender.

This grouping includes the Law and Justice party (PiS) that governs Poland. And everything leads one to think that Giorgia Meloni will follow, in terms of international policy, the approach of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki rather than that of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. “We will not give in to Putin’s blackmail,” she said amid applause in the October 25 speech with which she won the confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies.

In her first speech as premier, Giorgia Meloni condemned Nazism, fascism, and racial laws, and presented a vision of society founded on the values of the Western and European tradition: “We are the heirs of St. Benedict, an Italian, the principal patron of the whole of Europe.”

Businesses and families are at the center of Giorgia Meloni’s platform/manifesto. Businesses will get more help through tax cuts and support for investments aimed at the country’s economic development.

The family, she says, represents the “core of our societies, the cradle of the affections and the place where the identity of each one of us is formed. Therefore, we intend to support and protect it and, with this, to support childbearing, which in 2021 recorded the lowest birth rate from the unification of Italy until today, in order to emerge from the population freeze.

On immigration, she stated that the government wants to stop illegal departures and break the chain of human trafficking in the Mediterranean.

On the environment, she maintained that “there is no more convinced ecologist than a conservative; but what distinguishes us from a certain ideological environmentalism is that we want to defend the nature that has man in it.

Giorgia Meloni quoted a phrase of Roger Scruton’s, “one of the greatest masters of European conservative thought,” according to whom “ecology is the most vivid example of the alliance between those who are here, those who have been here, and those who will come after us.” “Protecting our natural heritage,” she added, “is no less a duty for us than is the safeguarding of our heritage of culture, traditions, and spirituality, which we have inherited from our fathers in order that we might pass it on to our children.”

The new Italian premier concluded her speech with these words:

The day our government took its oath before the head of state was the liturgical memorial of John Paul II, a pontiff, a statesman, a saint whom I had the honor of knowing personally. He taught me something fundamental that I have always treasured. ‘Freedom,’ he used to say, “does not consist in doing what we please, but in having the right to do what must be done.” I have always been a free person, I will always be a free person, and for this reason I intend to do precisely what I must do.

This government, however, finds itself facing a dramatic situation. Italy and the West have been at war since February 24, 2022. A hybrid war, but a real one, which has not yet reached its peak, and which could have serious repercussions not only in the military theater but also within individual nations, threatening the social fabric that ensures their survival and setting off phenomena of protest, even violence.

But the political and economic catastrophe that is threatening Europe as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, even before the geopolitical reasons, has its ultimate roots in the abandonment of the natural and Christian order on the part the West. The conflagration of war appears to be only the latest outcome of a historical process with cultural and moral origins.

It must be said that without special help from God a change of course appears humanly impossible. This help is obtained with prayer, which allows us to obtain the grace to follow the natural law.

The mission of the Church and of the Vicar of Christ on earth is this and no other: to recall the saving truths that the world ignores or despises. Paraphrasing Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, who said “he who prays is saved, he who does not pray is damned,” it’s worth repeating that when a nation returns to the natural and Christian order, it rises again. When it moves away from this, it plunges into chaos.

This is the fundamental crossroads before which the new Italian government finds itself, to which we extend our best wishes, assuring it of our prayers.

You may also enjoy:

Robert Royal’s A New Sign of Our Times

James V. Schall, S.J.’s On Saints and Souls

AUTHOR

Roberto de Mattei

Roberto de Mattei, a distinguished Italian historian, is the author of Saint Pius V: The Legendary Pope Who Excommunicated Queen Elizabeth, Standardized the Mass, and Defeated the Ottoman Empire (Sophia Institute, 2021).

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2022 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.