Islamic Republic of Iran: Prison guards break kneecaps of 70-year-old woman who participated in protests thumbnail

Islamic Republic of Iran: Prison guards break kneecaps of 70-year-old woman who participated in protests

By Jihad Watch

Iran’s Islamic regime has only one tool, the tool that the Qur’an gives it: terror.

“Make ready for them all that you can of force and of warhorses, so that by them you may strike terror in the enemy of Allah and your enemy…” (Qur’an 8:60)

Iranian guards ‘break kneecaps of pensioner, 70, during interrogation in hellhole jail after she was jailed for anti-governmental protests

by Christian Oliver, Daily Mail, April 11, 2023:

A 70-year-old grandmother has reportedly had her kneecaps broken by Iranian prison officials in Tehran’s notorious Evin jail.

Human rights campaigner Mahvash Sabet Shahriari was said to have been under interrogation by officials when she was inflicted with the barbaric punishment.

She had been serving a 10-year prison sentence in Evin jail for participating in anti-government protests.

The news of the attack emerged from independent Iranian media which said the activist’s knees had been broken by an interrogator during questioning.

Evin jail has a brutal reputation for its inhumane living conditions and merciless treatment of its detainees, with prisoners frequently subject to beatings and torture.

Mahvash Sabet Shahriari was said to have been under interrogation by officials when she was inflicted with the barbaric punishment.

Frud Sabet, son of Shahriari, said he was yet to hear of his mother’s condition since her initial trial.

He told RFERL Radio Farda: ‘The family is very worried about her health. We don’t know where she is, and we don’t know if she’s alive.’

Shahriari, a poet, was seized last summer as part of the Iranian regime’s repression of the Baha’i community that saw several community leaders detained.

The Bahaʼi faith is a religion that counts up to eight million members in the world….

Read more.

AUTHOR

ROBERT SPENCER

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

Does Islam Breed Violence? thumbnail

Does Islam Breed Violence?

By Amil Imani

here is a division of the house. On one side are the politically correct in government, the leftist mainstream media, and a raft of Islamist apologists. One and all are tripping over each other in reassuring us that the mass murderers such as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and suicide bombers who detonate their explosive vests in crowded marketplaces and even mosques are individual anomalies and Islam is not responsible for what they do.

On the other hand, are those who have been fed up with the numberless daily horrific acts that are clearly committed under the banner of Islam throughout the world. In all fairness, there needs to be a distinction. Numerous criminal acts are also committed, on a daily basis, by non-Muslims. The critical difference is that non-Muslim criminals do not hoist a religious banner to justify their misdeeds, while Muslims proudly claim that they commit their heinous acts in obedience to the dictates of their religious faith.

“Investigators in the FBI and U.S. Army determined that Hasan acted alone and as of yet have found no evidence of links to terrorist groups, satisfied that his communications with Awlaki posed no threat. Regretfully, Attorney General Eric Holder has declined to state that radical Islam was the major motive for Hasan’s attack.”

Would someone, please, explain what motivated Nidal Hasan who had been, at tax payer’s expense, educated from college all the way through medical school and post-medical-school training, to turn his deadly weapons against a nation that gave him everything he had?

If Islam had nothing to do with what Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan did, why:

  • had he repeatedly preached the ascendancy of Islam to the U.S. Constitution?
  • had he publicly supported Islamic suicide bombing?
  • had he proclaimed his highest loyalty to Islam?
  • had he been in contact with violent anti-U.S. Islamists and a virulent Yemeni Imam?
  • did he distribute copies of the Quran to people on the morning of his bloody attack?
  • did he keep screaming “Allah-o-Akbar” as he heartlessly sprayed over a hundred bullets, killing thirteen and injuring some thirty innocent men and women?

Here is the truth, as bitter as it may be. Islam is the culprit. Islam is anything but a religion of peace. Violence is at the very core of Islam. Violence is institutionalized in the Muslim’s holy book, the Quran, in many suras:

Qur’an:9:5 “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”

Qur’an:9:112 “The Believers fight in Allah’s cause; they slay and are slain, kill and are killed.”

Qur’an:8:39 “So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world).”

Qur’an:8:65 “O Prophet, urge the faithful to fight. If there are twenty among you with determination they will vanquish two hundred; if there are a hundred then they will slaughter a thousand unbelievers, for the infidels are a people devoid of understanding.”

Qur’an:9:38 “Believers, what is the matter with you, that when you are asked to go forth and fight in Allah’s Cause you cling to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? Unless you go forth, He will afflict and punish you with a painful doom, and put others in your place.”

Qur’an:47:4 “When you clash with the unbelieving Infidels in battle (fighting Jihad in Allah’s Cause), smite their necks until you overpower them, killing and wounding many of them. At length, when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind them firmly, making (them) captives. Thereafter either generosity or ransom (based upon what benefits Islam) until the war lays down its burdens. Thus are you commanded by Allah to continue carrying out Jihad against the unbelieving infidels until they submit to Islam.”

And the Quran is considered by Muslims as the word-for-word literal edicts of the Muslims’ god, Allah.

Right from the start, violence served as the engine of Islam under the command and supervision of Muhammad himself. For one, the Prophet’s son-in-law’s cousin, Ali, was titled the Commander of the Faithful for his unsurpassed feats of butchery. Ali with the assistance of one or two of his thugs, beheaded some seven hundred captives, most of them Jews, in only one day. This man, highly esteemed by the prophet of Allah, had a sword that had its own name—Zulfiqar. Ali’s portrait, holding the menacing sword, adorns the homes and shops throughout Shi’a’-lands. And the Shiites, at the same level as Muhammad, revere Muhammad’s executioner, Imam Ali.

On the Sunni side, Muhammad’s co-revered is Umar, another unabashed killer of untold numbers. And of course, the choice weapon of these champions of the religion of peace was the sword. And to this day, a sword adorns the flag of the birthplace of the religion of peace, Saudi Arabia.

And Islam, by the nature of its very doctrine, appeals to man’s base nature. It promotes intolerance, hatred, discrimination, and much more:

Qur’an:61:2 “O Muslims, why say one thing and do another? Grievously odious and hateful is it in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not. Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in a battle array as if they were a solid cemented structure.”

In reality, Islam is like a deadly contagious disease. Once it invades the mind of its victim, this debilitating disease is capable of transforming him into a helpless pawn that has no choice but to execute what he is directed to do.

Of the reported 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, millions are already trapped in the terminal stages of this affliction while millions of others are rapidly joining them. The people enslaved with the extreme cases of Islamic mental disease are highly infectious. They actively work to transmit the disease to others, while they themselves engage in horrific acts of mayhem and violence to demonstrate their unconditional obedience to the dictates of the Islamic cult of violence.

The savagery and variety of the actions of these Islamic captives are seen daily around the globe. Many of these acts, committed under the banner of Islam, have become so commonplace that the world has come to view them as the normal part and parcel of troubled humanity. And, from time to time, the world is shocked into a passing and momentary realization of the evil deeds these Islamist robots commit and quickly gets over it and does nothing to seriously address this affliction of humanity.

November 5, 2009, dastardly mass murder at Fort Hood, committed by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, is no longer in the public eye. Life will continue on its deadly course, pushed along in a variety of ways by agents of death, Islamists. Only the families who lost their loved ones and those who survived the bullets have to live the rest of their lives with incapacitating injuries, in the main, won’t be able to put the episode behind them.

The mass murderer Nidal Malik Hasan did not riddle people with bullets under the pressure of momentary insanity. The insanity, ironically, in a man who was trained to help people with sanity was introduced in him from the moment of birth and from the very early years when he prostrated himself five times daily toward Mecca in the expression of total submission to the dogma of hate called Islam.

Islam is a mental retrovirus that has mutated into numerous varieties and degrees of severity, over the past 1400 years. Everyone born in a Muslim family, as well as those who convert to Islam, contract a particular mutation of the Islamic Virus. As is the case with all retroviruses, the Islamic Virus burrows deeply in the person and erupts, from time to time with potentially devastating consequences.

The Islamic Virus first divests the person of his most fundamental human attribute. It takes away his right to make decisions himself and absolves him, in return, of any responsibility for his actions rendered in blind obedience to it.

A true Muslim does not and cannot believe in freedom of choice. In the religion of Islam—Submission—everything is up to Allah, as clearly and repeatedly stipulated in the Quran. The Raison d’être for the Muslim is to be unconditionally submissive to the will and dictates of Allah. Everything that a “good” Muslim does is contingent upon the will and decree of Allah, he is indoctrinated to believe.

Humanity is facing a deeply troubling dilemma. On the one hand, is the desire of enlightened people whose aim is to forge a world of diverse people into one universal society ruled by peace and justice for everyone while, on the other hand, Islamists are hell-bent on imposing their stone-age system on everyone. Tellingly, the Muslims themselves are at one another’s throats regarding which of dozens of Islamic sects’ dogma should rule.

For now, Islam is busy with what it did from the time of its birth, fighting the non-Muslims and infighting. Truth be told: Violence is the animating force of Islam. Islam is a religion born through violence, raised by violence, thrives on violence, and dies without violence.

©2023 Amil Imani. All rights reserved.

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The Queen of Queer Hill

By The Catholic Thing

David Carlin: Transgender ideologues are nothing less than monsters.  And the very worst monster of this kind is the parent (usually a mother) who encourages her little boy/girl to believe that he/she is a girl/boy.


Just as there are degrees of hot and cold, so there are degrees of political leftism, some very mild, some stronger, and some way too strong.

The mildest degree is what used to be called liberalism.  I don’t mean the liberalism of today, which is pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, pro-transgender, etc.  No, I mean the liberalism of the old days, the kind of liberalism characterized by Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson.  New Deal liberalism it may be called.

I myself am a liberal of that old kind.  It’s a center-left kind of liberalism that believes the federal government should play an important role in helping American society make progress by incremental steps that do no violence to American traditions.  It’s a liberalism that is relatively conservative.  A splendid example was Harry Truman, a political liberal who was a temperamental conservative: rather an ordinary American who just happened to be President of the United States at a critical moment in modern history.

Catholics also used to be good examples of this.  On the one hand, they belonged to a profoundly conservative religion; on the other, they supported a liberal political party, the Democrats.

Today, though I still think of myself as a liberal of this old-fashioned kind, I deplore almost everything that now passes under the name of liberalism.  I don’t just deplore it.  I hate it.

But I feel degrees of hate.  I don’t hate all elements of the new progressivism equally.

My mildest degree of hatred (so mild it should be called dislike, not hatred) is aimed at the bicycle tyrants, the people who want to make the world safe for bicycles (as President Wilson wanted to make it safe for democracy).  In progressive cities with very broad streets (e.g., Boulder, Colorado), ample bike lanes can be provided with little or no inconvenience to car drivers.  But in progressive cities with very narrow streets (e.g., Cambridge, Massachusetts), a zero-sum game is being played between bicyclists and car drivers: the more convenient you make it for one, the more inconvenient you make it for the other.

Now I happen to live in Newport R.I., an old city (settled in 1639) with lots and lots of narrow streets.  A few decades ago the state decided that Newport should have at least one four-lane highway; and so one was built, at the unfortunate cost of demolishing much of the most ancient part of the city.  In warm weather, when tens of thousands of tourists come to town, the streets of Newport are of course congested, including (sad to say) our four-lane highway.

Well, the bike tyrants have recently come up with a new idea.  They would like to reduce these four lanes to two, giving the other two lanes over to the exclusive use of bicyclists.  Needless to say, this will lead to a great increase in our already bad traffic congestion.  Not surprisingly, many of Newport’s ordinary people (people rather like Harry Truman) are up in arms about this.

Now I myself am somewhat (I stress “somewhat”) sympathetic to the concerns of the climate-change fanatics, and I was a great bike rider when I was a kid.  But I am an old man now, and I’m not willing to trade in my car for a bicycle, no matter how much my riding a bike might improve my precarious health or contribute to lowering the temperature of the Earth.

But local leftists are not active on bike paths only.  They are also active in our public schools.  Recently our middle school sponsored a “Transgender Appreciation Day.”  If the bike tyrants annoy me, those who promote transgenderism enrage me, in truth, drive me nearly mad.

Now my rage is not directed at people who are so much in the grip of transgender lunacy as to switch genders at an adult age.  I feel sorry for such people, but I don’t hate them.  Why should I?

But I do feel something like hate for leftist ideologues who promote transgenderism for kids, the ideologues who promote what they call “gender-affirming health care” – a 1984-ish euphemism which, among other horrible things, encourages mentally deluded, barely pubescent girls to undergo breast-removal surgery.  It encourages them to be proud of their scars, just as German university students used to be proud of the scars they obtained from duels.

Even when these ideologues are not actively busy promoting gender-transforming surgery and hormone treatment, they are busy encouraging something just a little bit less Satanic.  They are telling kids – all kids – that they owe it to themselves to ask themselves the important question, “Am I a boy or a girl?”, while assuring these kids that the answer to this question has little or nothing to do with the reproductive equipment they may find between their legs.

I was a kid, once upon a time.  I remember that in those long-ago days, I used to spend more than a few anxious hours worrying about needless things.  Those hours of needless anxiety are a price almost all kids have to pay for their necessary journey through adolescence.  How cruel one has to be to inflict one more needless worry – and such a worry! – on kids.  “Billy, you should think about the possibility that you may be a girl.  And Mary Sue, could it be that you are really a boy?”

These ideologues are nothing less than monsters.  And the very worst monster of this kind is the parent (usually a mother) who encourages her little boy/girl to believe that he/she is a girl/boy.  This allows the mother to say to herself, “Oh, how glorious!  To be the mother of a trans child!  I am super-cool, the envy of all my friends.”

And she adds: “I am even more cool than my old college roommate who for years boasted of being the proud mother of a gay child.  Eat your heart out with jealousy, old friend.  Now it is ME at the top of Queer Hill.”

You may also enjoy:

Robert Royal’s Transgenderism and Perfect Freedom

Brad Miner’s Further Thoughts on Transgenderism

AUTHOR

David Carlin

David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America and, most recently, Three Sexual Revolutions: Catholic, Protestant, Atheist.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. © 2023 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.

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Seeking Truth From a Passel of Liars

By Bud Hancock

Seeking the Living Among the Dead.


I have to ask two very important questions:

First, what is Truth?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines truth as: a) Conformity to fact or actuality, b) Reality; actuality and c) The reality of a situation. Further, the dictionary adds ‘accuracy’, ‘verity’ and ‘credibility’ as synonyms for the word ‘truth’.

Many ‘seemingly intelligent’ people throughout history have made comments indicating that “the truth is elusive”. This is likely due to their own ignorance of what truth is. However those statements could not be further from actually being true.

The dictionary definition of ‘elusive’ is:

  • Difficult to define, comprehend or identify
  • Tending to evade grasp or pursuit; fallacious
  • Tending to elude capture, perception, comprehension, or memory

In John 14:6, Jesus told His disciples, “I am the way, the truth and the life”. God sent His own Son into the world in order to reveal TRUTH to them, not to make it elusive. The Son of God stood among men openly declaring TRUTH and made Himself available to any and all who had need of TRUTH. Those who accepted that TRUTH were saved, healed, delivered and made whole of the effects of Satan’s lies that had imprisoned them for generations while all who rejected TRUTH went away sad, depressed and still bound in a world of lies.

But truth, being extremely valuable to people tired of lies is not something that just falls out of the sky onto a person; rather it is more like wisdom, which is mostly hidden, but NOT elusive; however, it MUST be sought after with much diligence AND it must be sought from the proper source. Looking for or even diligently searching for truth among ‘dead sources’ is an exercise in futility. If a fake version of truth is accepted and made a part of a belief system, it is nothing more than a clever lie cloaked in a counterfeit of truth.

When a person is seeking something he really needs, he uses all his knowledge to determine where he might most easily find what is being sought. If the internet is being accessed to search for ‘rain gear’ for example, the seeker would never put ‘suntan lotion’ in a search engine, would he? Of course not, that would make no sense. That analogy applies to non-material things such as wisdom and truth as much as to material objects that pertain to life and sustenance.

Truthfulness is a characteristic of people who have established a sound moral system that guides their lives. From the moment a child is born, it is the responsibility of parents to help them form a characteristic of truthfulness by teaching that child about truth and its importance in living a successful life and where it can be found.

The Source of Truth

Growing up in a small textile town in North Carolina, a town located in the “Bible Belt” in the southeastern US, I learned about truth and how important it is from my parents and their siblings, my aunts and uncles and my paternal grandmother. These were all men and women who believed in God, though not all were what I would call ‘strong Christians’. However, they were all raised in homes where at least one parent WAS a strong believer and taught sound biblical principles to their offspring.

I also learned about the opposite of truth, the lie, and how engaging in it can be dangerous to one’s health; both my father and my mother had no problem making sure I understood that. As a young child, I had no real understanding of why lying was bad, other than when caught doing so I would receive painful punishment. But as I grew up and matured intellectually, I began to realize how knowing the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie can be critically important to one’s life. Living a truthful life provides a spiritual comfort level whereas living the lie makes one apprehensive since the lie must always be embellished in order to remain relative.

If one is to truly seek for, and find truth, he or she MUST first know the source and diligently move in that direction.

Seeking Truth

In Luke 24, we are told that certain disciples of Jesus, women who had followed Him from Galilee, on the third day after His burial, went to the sepulchre where Jesus body had been placed, hoping to anoint His body with spices and ointments, but when they arrived, the stone covering the entrance had been rolled away. After entering in to the sepulchre, they did not find His body, but two ‘men’ (angels) were suddenly standing by them and asked the disciples, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?

The disciples were seeking the One Who, throughout His ministry on earth had presented them with TRUTH and they were desiring to show their love for Christ (The Truth) enough to enter the cemetery and anoint the body of TRUTH with preservative oils and spices. However, that body had been made alive again and was no longer in the tomb. My take on this incident: You will NOT find truth among the dead, the TRUTH is always alive!

When man was created, he stood in the very presence of TRUTH. The entire universe is founded upon truth. I know many men and scientists are continuously trying to prove how the universe came to be and they seem to believe it began with a “big bang” caused by….what? They surmise that their ‘big bang’ just sort of made the universe appear and set the stars and the planets and their moons into perfectly designed orbits and positions.

Even though more and more true scientists are beginning to realize there is no conflict between science and God’s word, the majority will still not accept that a perfect, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent being actually used TRUTH to create all the eye can see. In denying His involvement in creation, they seem to believe they can do a better job of creating something; yet they have all failed miserably in ALL their efforts.

When man sinned, the true life, the life of the Spirit of God IN him, was taken from him, his human spirit was made dark and separated from God and he was sentenced to live a physical life only, a life that always ended in physical death with no hope for life beyond the grave. Man’s only hope of escaping that sentence was through the promised redeemer, the Messiah (Genesis 3:14-15 KJV). Man in general, and the Jewish people in particular, had waited many centuries for His arrival but when He was standing in their midst, they failed to recognize Him or acknowledge Him. Truth was right before them, but they clung to their love for Satan’s lies and rejected TRUTH.

The grave that once held the body of Jesus, the tomb into which the disciples entered, represents the lie and just as the grave could not contain the risen Jesus, the lie cannot contain, or hold back, the truth. Truth WAS, Truth IS and Truth always will BE. It is NOT subject to change of any kind, ever.

The Source of Lies

My second question: what is a lie? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a lie as “an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker or writer to be untrue with intent to deceive; an untruth, ‘a fabrication’ ‘to deceive’, ‘to trick’, ‘to perjure’. From this definition, it becomes apparent that the word ‘lie’ is the direct opposite of ‘truth’.

Satan is the source of all lies; Jesus called him a liar and the father of it (lying). His lies and deception (all based on lies) to Adam and Eve brought a separation between mankind and God and only through Jesus Christ (the TRUTH) can that separation be erased and an honest relationship be established in its place.  Anything, any institution, any government, any business or corporation under Satan’s control or influence will have built its foundation on lies and anyone looking there for truth will not, indeed CANNOT, find it there.

Throughout the ages, man has tried with all his might and power to change the truth (not necessarily the facts, because the ‘facts’ and the truth are NOT always the same) into a message that, instead of enriching his spirit and soul with true knowledge, will make him feel good about himself, regardless of his actions. After all, the world is now totally ‘in touch with their feelings’ and nothing else matters to them. The foolish notion that through some action of their own, men can be made better than what they actually are, becomes the lie that will damn them to hell.

In the book of Romans, chapter one, Paul describes in detail these foolish people and the errors they make by denying the God Who created all things; they deny His majesty and His power and even try to deny His existence, leading them into a life dominated by a reprobate mind.

The dictionary definition of ‘reprobate’ is:

  • morally corrupt: depraved
  • foreordained to damnation
  • rejected as worthless or not standing a test : condemned

What they (deliberately) refuse to understand is that, no matter how intense their efforts to design and build their own “truth” system, based on lies instead of real truth, they are dealing with a supernatural, eternal and unchanging Being who, having created the universe and everything in it using TRUTH, will NOT ever allow His truth to be changed. If they cling to their foolish delusions and refuse to accept HIS truth, all their efforts are doomed to failure and, unless they change, THEY are doomed as well.

Conclusion

If you are a person who desires to know the truth, and NOT just the facts, about any situation, you must learn, first what truth is, and second, where it can be found.

As stated earlier, the truth is NOT elusive, it can easily be found by anyone who truly has had enough of the lies that have almost destroyed our nation and the world. If you still believe you can find truth in any mainstream media, any social media, any government agency, any educational institution, any entertainment venue, or even from your closest friends and family, you will NOT unless these have based their belief system on the only real TRUTH, Jesus Christ, the saviour of the world.

You will NOT find truth in, or from, any organization that has based its very existence on lies. Listening to lies allows the liars to trap you in a mental prison from which escape will become increasingly difficult. The liars who work in and for such institutions have no interest in providing the truth, in fact, they will mostly work overtime to hide or deny the truth. They know that a lie cannot long survive in an atmosphere of truth. The truth will always stand on its own without having anything added to it while the lie MUST be embellished continuously in order to stand; and eventually the lie will fall when facing truth.

So, if you are still expecting such institutions or organizations to provide the truth you seek, I guarantee you will be disappointed at the very least, and potentially damaged or worse unless unless you reverse course and begin looking where truth resides.

And make no mistake about it, looking for truth among a passel of liars is equivalent to looking for a living Christ in a death chamber tomb. Just as the risen Christ was NOT found in the tomb of death, truth is not found where the lie resides.

Blessings to all and…..

Maranatha

©2023 Bud Hancock. All rights reserved.

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Walter Reed Jettisons Catholic Priests from Serving Veterans at Medical Center

By Family Research Council

In a move that has stunned Catholics and religious freedom advocates, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. issued a “cease and desist order” just before Holy Week to a community of Franciscan Catholic priests from Holy Name College that had been serving servicemembers and their families at the center for almost two decades.

On April 7, the Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) announced that Walter Reed issued the order on March 31, just as the most sacred week of the year for Christians was beginning. AMS noted that the contract for providing Catholic Pastoral Care was instead awarded to a secular defense contracting firm that does not have the capacity to offer Catholic pastoral services such as Mass and confession, which can only be administered by an ordained priest. AMS further pointed out that without the services of the Franciscan priests, there would be only one other Catholic priest assigned to Walter Reed, an Army chaplain who is currently “in the process of separating from the Army.”

Archbishop for the Military Services Timothy P. Broglio was perplexed by Walter Reed’s decision and expressed concern that it would infringe on the ability of Catholic servicemembers and their families to freely exercise their faith while at the center.

“It is incomprehensible that essential pastoral care is taken away from the sick and the aged when it was so readily available,” he said. “This is a classic case where the adage ‘if it is not broken, do not fix it’ applies. I fear that giving a contract to the lowest bidder overlooked the fact that the bidder cannot provide the necessary service. I earnestly hope that this disdain for the sick will be remedied at once and their First Amendment rights will be respected.”

Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill reacted even more forcefully, saying that the order was a direct attack on the First Amendment.

“This is an unconscionable attack on Christian service members and the First Amendment by [President Joe] Biden, [Defense Secretary Lloyd] Austin, and [Joint Chiefs Chair General Mark] Milley,” tweeted Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) on Saturday. “The House must investigate why DOD did this, especially on Holy Week!”

AMS said that despite numerous appeals to Walter Reed by their general counsel Elizabeth A. Tomlin to reinstate the priests at least through Holy Week, they received no response from the medical center.

“Especially during Holy Week, the lack of adequate Catholic pastoral care causes untold and irreparable harm to Catholics who are hospitalized and therefore a captive population whose religious rights the government has a constitutional duty to provide for and protect,” AMS stated.

This latest move by the military under the Biden administration fits a pattern of what many experts see as a steady erosion of religious freedom for those working for the armed forces.

After the administration instituted a COVID vaccine mandate for all military personnel in August of 2021, most of the branches granted a tiny fraction of the religious exemptions that were requested before the mandate was rescinded in December 2022. Only 0.9% of religious exemption requests were granted in the Army, zero were granted in the National Guard, and 0.8% were granted in the Air Force.

Additionally, in September of last year, the administration issued a rule mandating that Veterans Affairs medical facilities carry out abortions as well as provide abortion counseling. When a Christian nurse practitioner requested a religious accommodation on two occasions from having to participate in abortions, she was denied. She is now filing suit against the hospital for placing a substantial burden on her sincerely held religious beliefs.

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin, a 36-year Army veteran who currently serves as executive vice president at Family Research Council, said Walter Reed’s cease and desist order showed harmful neglect of religious freedom.

“The First Amendment states that ‘Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’” he told The Washington Stand. “The U.S. military should be held accountable for violating the intent of the First Amendment at the same time that drag queen programs are acceptable.”

AUTHOR

Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLES:

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


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

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A Warning to Ali Khamenei

By Amil Imani

Editors note: This column was originally published on Dec 30th, 2022 in Israel National News.


Netanyahu put Iran on his 4-point list of challenges in his inaugural speech. A list of the mullahs’ deeds is a moral call to action.

It is worse than appeasement to negotiate a “deal” with the Islamic theocrats in occupied Iran because any deal struck with these mullahs is only another ruse for them to further their plans. The UN resolutions are nothing more than pieces of paper good for lighting fires. They can pass them all they want, the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, proclaims belligerently.

These Islamists go by their 1400-year-old charter of Allah, the Qur’an, the same charter that they hold in one hand while slashing the throat of an innocent infidel and yelling joyously “Allah is the greatest” throughout.

To the misguided “Supreme Guide,” mullah, Ali Khamenei of Iran, a few words are in order.

The civilized Iranians, descendants of Cyrus the Great, find you, Mullah Ali Khamenei, and your cabal of Islamists guilty of heinous crimes. A partial list of charges is given below.

Domestically

  • You do not represent the Iranian people.
  • You are an Islamist terrorist.
  • You are a usurper of power.
  • You are guilty of transforming a noble nation into a world pariah.• You are denying and violating a long-suffering people all its human rights.
  • You are guilty of beating, imprisoning, torturing and murdering women who braved participating in a peaceful demonstration and pleading for equal family rights, and removing a compulsory Hijab.
  • You systematically beat, rape, imprison, and torture all manner of citizens, from school teachers to students to union workers, for daring to raise their voices against the plight to which you have subjected them.
  • You savagely beat and haul to your dungeons of torture and death over tens of thousands of teachers who had gathered in front of the parliament requesting nothing more than their back pay and living wages.
  • In late 2009 and 2022, you ordered the Basij forces, revolutionary guards, plain-clothed and government forces to massacre thousands of innocent people in a mass popular uprising.
  • You direct systematic genocidal measures against all non-Shi’a religious minorities in Kurdistan and the Baha’is as a prime target, and genocidal actions against political groups; support of international terrorism; demolition of religious sites and cemeteries; for rape, torture, and summary execution of prisoners of conscience; forgery of documents, acts of blackmail and fraud, and much more.
  • You arrest some Christians; who even your Quran calls “People of the Book,” for observing Christmas.
  • You implement barbaric practices of stoning, hanging and amputations for those who are convicted of crimes in your kangaroo courts without due process. You even imprison those few lawyers who rise in the defense of the innocent.
  • You plunder, mismanage and dole out Iran’s national wealth with the result that the great majority of the people are living in poverty. Iranian women are forced into prostitution to survive or simply sold as sex slaves in Persian Gulf states.
  • * Your fascist misrule of nearly three decades has driven millions of Iran’s best children to the four corners of the world. Hundreds of thousands of educated Iranians are compelled to continue the exodus, depriving Iran of sorely needed talents at home.
  • You spend a fortune on the nuclear program that you claim is only aimed for peaceful purposes, while turning Iran into little more than a gas station nation, with its precious oil wealth squandered and its facilities on the verge of collapse through neglect.
  • You have created a suffocating social atmosphere that has driven masses of people to the use of hard drugs as a way of numbing their pain.

Internationally

  • You look far and wide to support any and all terrorists. Your delusional theology mandates the creation of horrific conditions in the world so that your Hidden Imam is compelled to appear and establish his rule.
  • You spare no efforts at sabotaging any settlement between the Palestinian Arabs and Israelis.
  • You arm and train all Palestinian Arab terror factions such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and any and all that come.
  • You direct similar criminal schemes on your eastern flank, in Afghanistan. You consider any democratic system as the enemy of Islamofascism, and rightfully so.
  • You work ceaselessly, expand Iran’s stolen funds, and do all you can in support of your Shi’a co-fascists Hezbollah in Lebanon.
  • Your hands are dripping with the blood of thousands of Iraqis, victims of your bloodthirsty kin mercenaries aiming to kill a budding democracy in Iraq next door.
  • You supplied your mercenaries with armor-piercing projectiles for killing and maiming the coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Your cowardly killing by proxy, using these roadside-planted bombs, has taken the lives of hundreds of Americans.
  • You interpreted the highly-subdued reactions of the coalition to your savage actions as indications of weakness. So, you found it in yourself to venture into direct confrontation by capturing lightly armed British sailors and marines in Iraqi waters.
  • You are responsible for helping Syrian forces slaughter seekers of freedom.
  • *You directly orchestrated an attack on the British embassy in Tehran last month and called the action of your “thugs,” “student protests.”
  • *You plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir, on US soil.

Time is of the essence; the clock is ticking and the window is closing on the Iranian people. Diplomacy cannot be open-ended.

To misguided advocates of negotiation with the devil (mullahs), beware:

The mullahs are on an Allah-mandated mission. They are intoxicated with petrodollars and aim to settle for nothing less than complete domination of the world under the Islamic Ummah. The pressures against them, led by the vanguard of freedom, university students and notable women are gathering more force.

The rule of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) is crumbling. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei must be held accountable and tried in the international court for crimes against humanity.

©2023 Amil Imani. All rights reserved.

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The Anachronism of Apostasy

By Amil Imani

Whereas the practice of slavery enslaves the body, the dogma of apostasy ensnares the mind. Whereas slavery is a shameful practice of the past, some shameless religionists still use the doctrine of apostasy to intimidate and severely punish people who elect to choose their own beliefs.

Islam is extremely possessive of its subjects. It is a religion that admits anyone into its fold by the person simply uttering a one-sentence statement of faith, shahada: I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is Allah’s messenger. By so saying, one becomes Muslim for life and surrenders the right of ever leaving it. Anyone who leaves the Islamic fold is murtad (revert), apostate.

The notion of apostasy is best understood within the overall Islamic dogma. Islam forms a binding covenant with the believer. Once a person is Muslim, he and his issues are considered Muslim forever. In this covenant, Islam promises to bestow its beneficence on the faithful conditional on the person’s total and unquestioned surrender to it in all matters. Some of the rewards offered by Islam to the truly obedient believer, particularly the privileged males, are of this world as well as a great deal more promised to him in the next. If a Muslim faithful does not reap the rewards of his devotion in this world, Islam assures him of his inestimably cherished and limitless compounded rewards in the next world.

Islam demands the subjugation of the individual’s will to that of Allah and permeates the thinking, actions, and speech of Muslims by prefacing commitments they make contingent on the will of God (inshallah)

This total surrender and submission to the will and decree of Allah also absolve the individual from taking full responsibility for his conduct or honoring commitments he may make. For it is Allah who has the unquestioned authority to consummate or contravene any action or promise made by a faithful.

Within this overall framework of complete acceptance of Islam as the perfect living charter for the believer, the rules pertaining to apostasy can be better understood. Islam considers an apostate as a person who unilaterally breaks the covenant he has made with the faith. An apostate is condemned as guilty of turning his back on Allah’s immutable eternal religion. Anyone born to Muslim parents and leaving Islam is stigmatized as murtad fitri (natural apostate) because he was born genetically Muslim and rejected his gift of birth. And anyone who converts to Islam and later leaves it is condemned as murtad milli (a person who has turned his back to the Ummah).

The severe stricture against leaving Islam is consistent with other main principle beliefs of the religion. Islam is a faith of surrender and not that of free will. A Muslim is to surrender his freedom of thoughts and actions to the will and dictates of Allah. The very principle of freedom is alien to the Islamic belief system.

With regard to apostasy, the two main branches of Islam, the Sunni, and the Shiite, are in considerable agreement. The great majority of Muslim scholars of both major camps agree that the Quran stipulates death for the apostate.

Islam, by its very nature, is an all-encompassing belief system that proscribes and prescribes every detail of the person’s and society’s conduct. The Sharia law, a comprehensive code of Islamic jurisprudence, purportedly is based on the Quran, and the Hadith (the reported enunciation of Muhammad and his conduct.)

Furthermore, Islamic societies rule by the Islamic laws of Sharia. Any new societal legislation must be harmonious with those of the Sharia which are conclusively anti-democratic. Sharia law is in explicit contradiction and violation of the foundation of democracy. Sharia law places Allah’s dictates and rules over the people’s sovereignty. It discriminates against non-Muslims to the extreme of disenfranchising them from their rights of citizenship of Baha’is barring them from jobs, higher education, worship, etc., not only in Iran but Saudi Arabia, and even Egypt. It is blatantly discriminatory against women, Muslim or not. Men have a greater claim to the inheritance, their testimony in the court of law is worth twice that of women and they may marry multiple women at the same time. It stipulates even different rules and privileges governing free Muslim men as opposed to slave Muslims, implicitly condoning slavery. Saudi Arabia, the flagship of Islam, was finally forced by the free world to abandon slavery, I believe, only in late 1960, but it has been reported that it has not been completely abandoned.

Apostasy is defined both in the Quran as well as the Sharia and its punishment is clearly stipulated.

“Those who blasphemed and back away from the ways of Allah and die as blasphemers, Allah shall not forgive them.” [Qur’an 4:48]

Islamic law does not allow the freedom to choose one’s religion.

“Let there be no compulsion in the religion: Clearly the Right Path (i.e. Islam) is distinct from the crooked path.” [Qur’an 2:256]

The Quran also specifically addresses the issue of murtad milli:

“But those who reject faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of faith, never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have (of set purpose) gone astray.” [Qur’an 3:90]

The Hadith further restates the provision of the Quran regarding the punishment of the apostate.

The Sharia law stipulates that any Muslim who turns his back on Islam should be given a chance to revert to the religion. For an un-repenting male apostate, death is the punishment, and life imprisonment for a female apostate.

“Kill whoever changes his religion.” __Sahih al-Bukhari 9:84:57

“The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.”__ Sahih al-Bukhari 9:83:17

At present, apostasy is illegal in most Islamic countries. Although execution of the apostate is not common, it does take place from time to time by frequently buttressing the “crime” with additional charges. The Islamic Republic of Iran, for instance, often adds the charge of mohareb (one who wars with God) to further legitimize its execution of apostates. A case in point pertains to the treatment of the religious minority Baha’is by the Islamic Republic. A number of Baha’is have been charged as apostates and mohareb, executed and some secretly buried in unmarked graves.

The late Ayatollah Khomeini in his Tahrir al-Wassilah adjudicates how a person’s apostasy is established: “Apostasy is proven in two ways: First, the person himself confesses to his apostasy twice. Second, two just and truthful men bear witness to the person’s apostasy. But women’s testimonies do not prove apostasy in any case; either they bear witness individually, in a group, or beside a man.”

The misogynistic nature of Islam is once again evident in Ayatollah Khomeini’s blanket disqualification of women’s testimony solely on the basis of gender.

“Apostasy — or the formal renunciation of religion — is already punishable in Iran with death. But now, Iran wants to make the death penalty for apostasy part of the penal code. The European Union is concerned and has asked Iran to reconsider.” Who is an apostate according to the legislation? Anyone in the world, not just Iranians, born to a Muslim parent; also, any convert to Islam who leaves it. Only one parent needs to be a Muslim at the time of conception for Islam to own that child for life. Islam is Ummahist. Islam doesn’t recognize nationalities and national boundaries. And these Islamist zealots are very serious and have no sense of humor. Some say they have no sense at all, and they may be right. They certainly have a thirst for blood, particularly for the blood of infidels and apostates.

It is noteworthy that Islam considers the world as its Ummah and overarches national boundaries. Hence, Islamic clerics feel free to issue fatwa and other adjudications regarding any person, group, or nation anywhere in the world. A celebrated case of this practice was the fatwa of Ayatollah Khomeini against the British author Salman Rushdie for his book The Satanic Verses. Hence, individual Muslims anywhere in the world take it upon themselves to carry out fatwa issued by Islamic high divines. In another high-profile case, the killing of Theo van Gough, a Dutch film director, and the recent attack on the Danish cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, clearly demonstrates this primitive practice that runs counter to the civilized world’s due process and has a seriously intimidating impact on the freedom of expression.

Free people and nations should not sacrifice their God-given liberty to please the Islamists by muzzling dissenters and even endangering their safety and their lives.

The concept and practice of apostasy are a shameful stain on the conscience of humanity. It is despicable for any belief system to stubbornly cling to the dehumanizing anachronism of apostasy while its counterpart, slavery, is already buried in mankind’s graveyard of past infamy.

©2023 Amil Imani. All rights reserved.

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Islamic Scholar Claims Muslim Migrants Only Accepted in Europe if They Say They’re Communists

By Jihad Watch

In reality, all manner of Sharia-adherent Muslims are coming to Europe, and Europeans are bending over backwards to accommodate them.

Afghan Islamic Scholar Khalifa Deen Mohammad: Muslim Refugees In Europe Are Only Granted Asylum If They Conceal Their Faith, Have Sex With Women Sent By The Government To Test Them

MEMRI, March 23, 2023:

Afghan Islamic scholar Khalifa Deen Mohammad, the head of the Council of Religious Scholars of Kabul, said in a video posted to the @FahimShinwari14 Twitter account on March 23, 2023 that Muslims who go to Europe as refugees are only granted asylum if they conceal their Islamic faith and have sex with women sent by the government to test them.

Khalifa Deen Mohammad: “I heard some things in Mansehra [district] and then in public meetings. There, lots of people used to escape from [Afghan refugee] camps towards Europe. So I spoke some very harsh words [about] the extremely shameful points, so that people can learn a lesson. I [delivered] the speech, and when I came to the room, a cleric told me that what I said is true. He said that his nephew escaped to Europe without informing him. It has been eight years, but he is not accepted [as a refugee]. Why? Because to be accepted… The condition is… The rooms and guesthouses there are owned by the government, and if he says that he escaped from Muslims, they will kill him. You have to present yourself as a communist. This is the first condition.

“The second condition is that they send girls to your room at night to test you and see on what basis you have come. You cannot refuse to have sex with the girl or [say] that it is forbidden. If you refuse, she will spy on you and say that you’re a Muslim and are lying… There, only the AIDS cards work – AIDS is a disease caused by adultery, and people with AIDS have a card that they can present to the girls as an excuse, that they have AIDS and can transmit it to her. This is the only way they spare you. The cleric said that his nephew did not do these things, and this is why he has been there eight years and is not accepted [as a refugee]. [Asylum seekers] do everything for them. They work in hotels. If pig’s meat is cooked, they serve it to people.”

AUTHOR

ROBERT SPENCER

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

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Why Confront Islamism

By Amil Imani

Why confront Islam(ism)? Because if we don’t it will continue to get more extreme.

This is not Islamophobia, as many Muslims and their apologists protest. A phobia is a baseless irrational fear. Detestation of Islamism, the violent form of Islam, is based on irrefutable facts and it is not only rational, but it is also ethically imperative.

It is a virtue to take action to oppose the hateful, and vice to ignore it. It is a virtue to hate tyranny, misogyny, discrimination of all sorts, oppression, and all manners of violations of the legitimate rights of the individual and people.

Islamism is a mutation of Islam into a terrible menace. It is religious fascism, a destroyer of liberty and much of what free people cherish. Therefore, it must be confronted.

Islamism, Islamofascism, radical Islam, and political Islam, are different terms for essentially the same thing: a virulent, hateful, and violent system of beliefs and practices. Yet, one and all are the progeny of Islam itself. It is a systemic problem of Islam that inevitably gives rise to Islamism. The three scriptures of Islam, the Quran, Islam’s holy book; the Hadith, sayings of Muhammad as recorded by his contemporaries; and the Sunna, the life examples of Muhammad himself, together form the body of Islamic beliefs. They provide an array of frequently confusing, multiple-meaning, and even outright contradictory dogma that enable anyone to pick and choose certain teachings of Islam and justify anything they do on the basis of the scripture.

The Quran enjoys a sanctified standing since Muslims believe it is written by Allah himself. Allah handed down the Quran to Archangel Gabriel, chapter by chapter, to deliver to Muhammad over the course of some 22 years. Muhammad could neither read nor write. So Gabriel had to whisper the chapters to him and Muhammad in turn would reveal them to any literate person who happened to be around to write them down on anything he could find. To Muslims, every word of the Quran is a literal perfect immutable eternal word of Allah himself. Therefore, no man or divine is ever to revise, much less dispute, the Quran.

The hodgepodge of Islamic scripture is the medium for generating all kinds of mutations, some of which such as Islamism are extremely dangerous. A segment of any society, at any time, is staffed by people who feel disaffected, alienated, and disenfranchised. It is from the ranks of this population that Islamists heavily recruit.

Islamism’s rallying cry is also particularly attractive to the young since it is rabidly anti-establishment. The young lack a major stake in society but brim with action-inclined vitality. They are among the most willing recruits for anti-establishment causes. Older leaders frequently take advantage of the young’s proclivity to act and enlist them as foot soldiers in their cause. Hitler’s youth, the Soviet Union’s young Communists, and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Basij (young Islamic stormtroopers) are some examples of the young’s enlistment by tyrannical systems.

Furthermore, there is excitement in action, any action. The greater the risk, the greater the excitement; this feature is highly attractive to a significant population segment. That’s why it is said that war is exciting, while peace is boring. The validation of this dictum is seen daily, for instance, in numberless arenas where battles rage between combatants, be they cocks, dogs, or humans. Throngs of spectators pay by time and money to participate vicariously in the socially-approved brutalities.

In any physical contest, the more violent side usually prevails. The Islamists use ruthless force to eliminate the opposition or to intimidate them into joining its ranks.

Islamism is rapidly advancing on two fronts. In every Islamic country, it is cowing the non-radicals while recruiting more and more radicals into its own ranks. In non-Muslim lands, flush with Petrodollars, Islamism establishes itself as a formidable force by enlisting the disaffected and attracting the delusional liberals with its promises. For the faithful, there is the added incentive of Allah’s heaven and its irresistible attractions.

There are those who claim that the majority of Muslims in the world are moderate and non-violent. It may be so. Yet, the silence of this majority is deafening, although, they do speak up from time to time by, for instance, claiming that the 9/11 slaughter was the work of the Jews, even when Osama himself proudly admits the dastardly act.

This very same Muslim majority pours into the streets of the West on a moment’s notice to protest against the slightest perceived affront to its sanctities, but they never march to condemn the violent acts of the Islamists- or speak up against them. This sort of majority behavior makes it complicit
with the Islamists.

In spite of all this, Islam’s apologists and lobbyists want us to accept the notion that the present Islamic radicalism is an aberration that given time will dissipate as have all radical movements of the past. These folk fail to tell us about the radical movements that inflicted horrors on humanity before they expired. Here are a few instances of the bloody acts of radicalism from

Wikipedia:

  • Japan 1910-45. Imperial Japanese killed 25,000,000 Chinese and enslaved millions of Koreans.
  • Soviet Union 1918-89. Communists killed 20,000,000 of their own citizens.
  • Germany 1940-45. Nazis killed 11,000,000 Jews, Romas, homosexuals, Slavs, the mentally ill, and Communists.
  • China 1950-80. Communists killed 65,000,000 fellow Chinese.
  • Bangladesh 1971. Muslims killed 1,500,000 Hindus.
  • Cambodia 1975-79. Communist Cambodians killed 1,700,000 Cambodians.
  • Afghanistan 1979-89. Soviet Communists killed an unspecified number of Afghans.
  • Sudan 1983-2007. Arab/Muslims killed over 2,000,000 Africans.

Also, Iraq’s socio-fascist Baathist government slaughtered several hundred thousand Kurds and Shiites during Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror. And let us not forget the genocidal mullahs presently ruling Iran. Without the least due process, these Islamofascists executed tens of thousands of the opposition to consolidate their Islamist tyranny. The mullahs’ present project is the subjugation of the region and, down the road, the world itself.

Islamism (Islam) threatens to set a new record for brutality, contrary to the contention that there is no reason to worry about it. Jihadist Wahabism’s tentacles are reaching out from its cradle in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf Arab Emirates. The Petrodollar flush Sunni zealots are liberally financing mosques, madrasahs (Islamic indoctrination schools), Islamic centers at universities, front organizations, and lobbyists to promote the Wahabi virulent Islamism in every part of the world.

Murderous Shiism, led by Iran’s racing to arm itself with the ultimate weapon, is busily doing whatever it can to ensnare the world into Islam’s nation, the Ummah. The purported peaceful Muslim majorities are nowhere to be

seen. They are either complicit with the Islamists or on the retreat from Southeast Asia to the Americas, from Australia to Europe.

Islamism is a pincer, with the world in its jaws between the end-of-the-world Shiism and the jihadist Sunnis. The two jaws aim to crush the life of all non-believers. It is imperative that people who value liberty rise up and act to defeat Islamism. Here are some specific suggestions:

  • The Hate Crime Laws should be vigorously enforced and strengthened.
  • Any mosque, Islamic center, or front organization that condones or promotes hate or violence must be shut down.
  • Islamic studies centers at universities must be scrutinized to guard against mercenary academes who deceptively preach the gospel of Islamism.
  • Lobbyists and front organizations serving Islamism must be investigated as to their sources of funds.
  • Laws should be enacted to protect all media and individuals against lawsuits so that they can report the truth without risking ruinous litigations.
  • Imams, mullahs, and others who promote Islamic hate doctrine should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
  • Racial, sexist, and other discriminatory hate teachings should be banned.
  • Local Muslims should review Islamic literature, including the Quran, and should mark them with an asterisk, disavowing teachings of hate and violence or purging them entirely.

It is urgent that we confront Islamism. All free people, Muslim or not, must demand that their governments, at all levels, abandon the practice of political correctness and act to safeguard liberty against the truly deadly assault of Islam(ism) on the rest of the World.

©2023 Amil Imani. All rights reserved.

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Iranians Are Friends of the Jews

By Amil Imani

For his acts of kindness, Cyrus the Great is immortalized in the Bible in several passages and called “the anointed of the Lord.”  The Jews throughout the recorded history looked to Cyrus’ people, the Iranians, as their friends and protectors against oppressors such as the Seleucids and the Romans.


Is there anyone left in the world who does not know that the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hates the Jews? His welcoming of representatives of an extremist branch of Orthodox Judaism to his conference denying the Holocaust reminded us of the Nazis’ use of some Jewish community leaders to facilitate the deportation of the Jews to the death camps.

This devout man of Allah, Ahmadinejad – known ‘affectionately’ by Iranians as “The Monkey” for his non-stop silly and embarrassing antics – should be given a fair hearing; never mind the fact that he would not even think of doing the same for others. What makes The Monkey more than a laughing stock is what he represents and the power he wields in arousing millions of his co-Islamofascists against the “undesirables” of the world.

For some reasons, Jews are on the top of The Monkey’s hit list, as they have been in the same position of “honor” with other past fascists of the world. Perhaps precedence by itself constitutes the basis for arriving at a verdict, as is sometimes the case in the law.

And when it comes to the Jews? Guilty verdict, there is no shortage of precedence. Jews have been around for a long time and have been a convenient target of scapegoating. People, being people, have a difficult time looking at themselves for their problems. It is far easier to find others to blame than it is to try to mend one’s own ways. So, the Jews became convenient scapegoats for bigots, fascists and all manner of malevolent louts.

This is neither the place, nor is it necessary for the purpose of this article, to provide an exhaustive documentation of the historical suffering of the Jewish people. The main purpose of this article is to tell the world that Iranians are proud of their historical friendship with the Jewish people. The bond of friendship goes back to the landmark action of King Cyrus the Great of Persia. In 537 BCE, having conquered Babylon, the benevolent King Cyrus freed the Jews from captivity and empowered them to return to the Promised Land and build their Temple.

For his acts of kindness, Cyrus the Great is immortalized in the Bible in several passages and called ?the anointed of the Lord.? The Jews throughout the recorded history looked to Cyrus’ people, the Iranians, as their friends and protectors against oppressors such as the Seleucids and the Romans. There existed, in the ancient world, a universal admiration for the beliefs and practices of the Persians as enshrined in the Cyrus Charter of Human Rights. Even the Greeks, the traditional adversaries of the Persians, called Cyrus “The Lawgiver.”

The return of the Jews to the Promised Land did not mark the end of their ordeal. Successive waves of ill-wishers, notably the Romans and then the savage Muslims, unleashed their unjustified wrath on the Jews.

The Jewish people, in spite of suffering huge losses at the hands of their enemies, remained resilient and, with one exception, outlived their tormentors. The pogroms in Russia, the ghettoization in much of Europe and even genocidal Hitlerism failed to wipe out the Jews. One die-hard enemy, Islam, has been hard at work for some 1,400 years to complete the work of finishing off the Jews that Muhammad himself had started.

Iranians are saddened and ashamed by the appearance of Ahmadinejad on the international scene and his declared intent to wipe out the Jewish homeland from the face of the earth. Ahmadinejad is not a true Iranian. Numerous photos show him proudly donning the Arab headscarf around his neck – a Palestinian headscarf that presently stands for the Arab-Islamic genocidal hate campaign against the Jews, as well as against non-believers of all stripes.

Ahmadinejad does not represent the Iranian people any more than his turbaned colleagues presently ruling Iran do. What needs to be understood is that, in fact, Ahmadinejad and the mullahs, above all else, are true Muslims and they despise anything “Iranian” for its ancient “pre-Islamic” heritage.

You can tell a true Muslim by the ferocity of his hatred. Islam is driven by hate. And the Islamic hate is so intense and blind that it consumes even its own adherents. Just consider, for instance, the rocketing of mosques full of Friday worshipers by one sect of the religion of peace against another sect of the same religion; or the raging gun battle between the Hamas thugs and the Fatah murderers in the Palestinian territory.

Iranian Muslims are victims of a virus that has destroyed in them their traditional respect for diversity. It is an Iranian ancient, fundamental belief in the validity and value of diversity that has held the nation together over the millennia.

The diverse people who give Iran its enduring strength include Persians, Azaris, Kurds, Baluchis, Torkemans, Arabs and more: one and all have their allegiance to Iran as an idea and a nation. Iranians are spiritual children of Cyrus the Great and adherents of his Charter – the first Charter of Human Rights – which clearly proclaims the equal rights and worth of the beliefs and practices of all people.

Islam overtook Iran and brutally strived to replace the traditional lofty Iranian belief in human rights with its barbaric exclusionary dogma of the primitive Bedouin Arabs. Regrettably, the forced subjugation of the Iranians succeeded to some degree in transmitting Islamic psychosocial patterns to many Iranians. These patterns transform a person into a bigot – one who sees only his way and his belief as the right way and the only right mandate. Any and all people who do not see things his way are wrong and must be reformed by whatever means, including eradication, if the bigot sees fit.

True Iranians have remained friends of the Jews in both belief as well as deeds. During the shameful Hitlerian campaign of exterminating the Jews, for instance, Iranian missions in Europe, notably the one in France, issued Iranian passports to facilitate the flight of French and other European Jews from the claws of the Nazis and their gas chambers – the very gas chambers that the true Muslim Ahmadinejad, disgracing Iranians, denies ever existed.

Iranians stand for the rights of the Jews, as well as for the equal rights under the law for any and all religious and secular people. Iranians believe that Islamofascism is a present and imminent danger, and call on all free peoples of the world to do all they can to frustrate its “pogrom”, heeding Martin Niemoller’s warning:

They came for the communists, and I did not speak up because I wasn’t a communist. They came for the socialists, and I did not speak up because I was not a socialist. They came for the union leaders, and I did not speak up because I wasn’t a union leader. They came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up for me.

Amil Amani. All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLE: Tehran Professor: Less Than 10% of Iranians Want to Annihilate Israel

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Gen Z Traded Church For ‘A New Religion,’ Faith Leaders Say

By The Daily Caller

  • A recent study found that 48.5% of Gen Z identifies as non-religious, atheist or agnostic, and religious leaders have a lot of thoughts about the reasons behind the decline in faith.
  • Gen Z’s mental health has declined along with their faith, as recent studies found that Gen Z reports the highest level of mental illness and suicidal ideation compared to other generations. 
  • “[I]t’s not that Gen Z isn’t religious, it’s that they picked a new religion,” Joshua Mercer, co-founder of the CatholicVote, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Nearly half of Generation Z does not identify as religious, according to a new study, and religious leaders that spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation said the trend is not surprising because they have substituted church for “a new religion.”

Data published this week by the Cooperative Election Study found that 48.5% of Gen Z identifies as either agnostic, atheist or nonreligious, a 3% increase from the previous year and another study from last month found that only 31% believe religion is “very important.” While the data did not delve into what has caused the rift between young people and religion, several experts that spoke with the DCNF had similar ideas about what is behind the split.

“[I]t’s not that Gen Z isn’t religious, it’s that they picked a new religion,” Joshua Mercer, co-founder of the CatholicVote, told the DCNF. “They have fervent beliefs and rituals, they have their symbols and sacraments, and they definitely purge their ranks of ‘blasphemers’ or anyone insufficiently dedicated to their faith. Look at how every corporation rushes to embrace the rainbow flag every June and look at how people adorn their social media platforms with symbols to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter, Covid vaccination, Ukraine, or climate change. They are definitely evangelizing, [i]t’s just not Christianity.”

Joseph Backholm, senior fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement at the Family Research Council made similar observations but also pointed out to the DCNF that the withdrawal from the church by younger generations has been happening for a while.

“I think the reality is that those who were identifying as religious were doing so more for cultural reasons than out of theological conviction,” Backholm said. “As the culture becomes more hostile to Christianity, for instance, and it’s not popular, you are seeing people not do so when there is not a social reason because a lot of their identity wasn’t theological in the first place.”

Among older generations, the share who identify as atheist/agnostic/nothing in particular has risen very slightly between 2020 and 2022.

Silent: 0
Boomers: +1
Gen X: +1
Millennials: +1
Gen Z: +3

Overall growth seems to be slowing a bit. Maybe a plateau is happening.

2/6 pic.twitter.com/A4HsObJDxN

— Ryan Burge 📊 (@ryanburge) April 3, 2023

As faith has declined for Gen Z, so has mental health, as recent studies found that Gen Z reports the highest level of mental illness and suicidal ideation compared to other generations. In 2022, a study revealed that 42% of Gen Z reported being diagnosed with a mental illness and 70% said that their mental health has gotten worse since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joseph Capizzi, executive director at the Institute for Human Ecology, told the DCNF that “loneliness, despair, unhappiness, and declines in worship and belief are connected.”

“This is something people have known for centuries, long before the rise of social science. For instance, Christians have long believed that hope requires more than material progress,” Capizzi said. “Believing in ‘progress’ — which is always ambivalent — cannot be a ground of hope; it will lead to despair. Instead, we must have experiences of great love to give our lives meaning. That can help explain why in an age of unprecedented material affluence we have so much hopelessness.”

Backholm agreed with Capizzi, saying that while mental health is a “complex question” the two things were “absolutely” related. He explained that in recent years the message “follow your heart” has backfired on Gen Z especially because they have “thrown themselves into that effort more zealously than any generation before them.”

“Gen Z has believed that following your heart will make you happy and they are just proving that it does not,” Backholm said.

The solution to the decline, according to Backholm, is to stop trying to “market Jesus” to young people who are actually “craving authenticity” and “purpose.” While Capizzi restated that “belief isn’t going away” but going to a different place and encouraged churches and people of faith to draw Gen Z to faith by giving them the space to encounter the love that they are “seeking.”

“As Pope Francis always reminds us, Christianity is first an encounter with a person, Christ,” Capizzi said. “People have to be drawn to faith by encountering love. Otherwise, our age of despair and loneliness will continue indefinitely.”

AUTHOR

KATE ANDERSON

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: Nearly A Third Of Americans Rank Evangelicals As The Most Unfavorable Religion: POLL

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


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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Good Friday and The War for Our Souls

By Family Research Council

The name of this holiday is always jarring to me.

Good Friday, the day we observe the crucifixion of Jesus, first leaps upon our senses as everything bad. An illegal trial gone wrong; a miscarriage of justice; extreme acts of violence; an innocent man stricken, smitten, and afflicted. Not only that, but there’s also the loss of hope, the triumph and cruelty of the mob, and a people sent into hiding. It’s bad, it’s evil, and it’s everything nefarious rolled into one.

We only know Good Friday as good through the lens of Sunday’s resurrection. That’s why pausing too long on Good Friday is dangerous for our souls. God in his mercy moved the focal point of the fullness of time from Friday to Sunday. If we lag too long on Friday, we miss the movement of resurrection. If it all ends on Friday, our souls are stunted, and Friday is not good. The only hope for our souls lies on Sunday with Friday behind it.

Followers of Jesus remind ourselves of this movement year after year because by it our souls have been saved. And therefore we celebrate Christ’s death — a celebration of mourning that, with resurrection, turns into jubilation. The celebration is continuous because our memories are not. At minimum, we need this yearly reminder of what God has done for us in Christ. We needed it in the years following Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension, and we need it in 2023.

Especially in 2023.

There is, of course, nothing new under the sun. Anything novel today has been seen before in one fashion or another. But still, 2023 has its unique challenges for Christians. There is a certain type of war being waged for our souls, and here in America, to say it’s under a microscope would be an understatement. It’s under the floodlights, and it’s by no means subtle.

Back in the 2020 presidential campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden said in his nomination speech at the Democratic National Convention, “This campaign isn’t just about winning votes. It’s about winning the heart, and yes, the soul of America.” Even the Trump campaign picked up on this language, producing a video mocking the rhetoric while asking people to give to their own campaign in order to “save America’s soul.” More recently, President Biden upped the ante on our nation’s soul during his infamous September 2022 speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Backdropped by ominous red lighting, a strangely imposing looking Biden railed:

“I ran for President because I believed we were in a battle for the soul of this nation. I still believe that to be true. I believe the soul is the breath, the life, and the essence of who we are. The soul is what makes us ‘us.’

The soul of America is defined by the sacred proposition that all are created equal in the image of God. That all are entitled to be treated with decency, dignity, and respect. That all deserve justice and a shot at lives of prosperity and consequence. And that democracy — democracy must be defended, for democracy makes all these things possible. Folks, and it’s up to us.”

The president made mention of “soul” eight times in that speech. And he’s continued to use the word gratuitously. In recent days declaring the Transgender Day of Visibility, he proclaimed, “Transgender Americans shape our Nation’s soul.” Make no mistake, while he may have grown up in suburban Pennsylvania, Joe Biden is most definitely a soul man.

Whether or not it’s Biden himself or one of his aides who is behind this overtly theological doctrine of the soul, it’s certainly a teaching at odds with the Bible’s concept of the soul. For Biden, “democracy makes all these things possible.” Contrast that with Paul: “For by him [Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16, ESV).

For Biden, transgender Americans shape our nation’s soul. The Bible’s view of shaping comes from a radically different frame: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29, ESV).

We who follow Christ in America must live in Biden’s world, but we must not live as students of his doctrine. We live as expatriates, as citizens of a kingdom that is far away, but that is also already present but not yet fully realized.

On Good Friday, Jesus was crowned by his captors with a garland of thorns. But what was meant as mockery served as a coronation. King Jesus ascended not a throne there in Jerusalem, but a cross. Jesus’s substitutionary death for his people revealed that the battle for souls was far more than a battle for what makes us “us.” As the late John R.W. Stott, in his classic work “The Cross of Christ” observed, “What God in Christ has done through the cross is to rescue us, disclose himself and overcome evil.”

The good news of Good Friday is that this battle — this war — is ultimately one-sided. Victory for souls is won on the cross of Christ and only on the cross of Christ. And we as combatants in this battle must be captured by the cross to have any hope of Sunday’s resurrection. The alternative leaves us stranded on Friday, and that’s anything but good.

AUTHOR

Jared Bridges

Jared Bridges is editor-in-chief of The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

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Biden’s Coup in Israel

By Jihad Watch

The puppet masters and puppet regime defeat democracy.


In the early days of March, a small crowd of leftists gathered outside the U.S. consulate in Tel Aviv holding up signs reading, “Biden help!” and “Biden, Blinken, Our democracy is sinking”.

A speaker at the rally appealed to Biden to “save us from ourselves”.

The consulate rally was held under the banner of “Defend Israeli Democracy” which had organized international protests against democratic judicial reform that would have restored checks and balances. International rallies, including one in Berlin which featured women dressed as the ‘handmaids’ from the TV show and signs accusing Israel of “fascism” and being an “apartheid state”, were not speaking to Israelis, but to the international anti-Israel Left.

Clips from the Tel Aviv rally were remixed by another of the interchangeable anti-democracy groups, Yalla Tikva, urging Biden to save Israeli democracy. The operation was as slick with professional videography, editing and branding as it lacked a clear transparent structure.

Protests like these were not so much appealing to Biden as coordinating with the administration.

The anti-democracy rallies by organizations claiming to be fighting for democracy paralleled an unprecedented degree of interference from the Biden administration.

“We don’t want to interfere,” Biden told reporters after Israel had surrendered on reforming the judiciary. “Anyway, we’re not interfering.”

“They cannot continue down this road,” he warned.

On Monday morning, Biden’s ambassador delivered an ultimatum to Netanyahu ordering him to stop the reforms. Later that day, Netanyahu officially announced a pause on judicial reform.

This followed public statements from every Biden administration official, including Secretary of Defense Austin, warning Israel not to proceed and urging the democratically elected government to turn over the process to its political opponent: leftist figurehead Herzog who had served as Marc Rich’s lawyer when negotiating a pardon with the Clinton administration.

Why was the Biden administration so obsessed with internal questions such as who picked Israeli Supreme Court justices and whether they could ever be overruled by the legislature?

While the leftist rioters in the streets clamored that they were fighting for democracy, the Supreme Court is the least democratic institution and the mobs were demanding that it stay that way. None of the American media outlets or politicians accusing the Israeli government of threatening democracy ever got around to explaining why elected officials selecting justices is a good thing in America and a bad thing in Israel. As Ruth Wisse, the greatest living Jewish academic, pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, some of the same advocates of weakening the United States Supreme Court violently denounced efforts to check the power of Israel’s court.

The Israeli Supreme Court is mostly immune to democratic influences like elections, and is not governed by a constitution, but derives its power from claiming unlimited standing to take on any cases it likes. But to trigger this superpower, it needs nonprofit groups to bring cases to it. These nonprofits are primarily funded by foreign interests from George Soros, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund  and the Tides Center to foreign governments in the European Union and America.

How it works is simple enough. A leftist nonprofit funded by a foreign government sets out to stop a policy by a democratically elected government. Even though it is in no way affected by a policy, such as building homes in Judea or cracking down on terrorism, it sues anyway. And even though it lacks any standing, the Supreme Court takes the case anyway and rules for it.

The actual case however was really brought by Soros or the EU or D.C. The Israeli Supreme Court acts as a rubber stamp for rule by foreign governments through leftist groups.

While a lot of the online protest groups conducting anti-democracy rallies were unknown, the larger Israeli rallies were led by the Movement for Quality Government. MQG is a serial plaintiff which repeatedly brings cases to the Supreme Court. In 2020, MQG hired a D.C. law firm to investigate Netanyahu. That same year, MQG began getting money from the State Department.

State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel claimed that this was false because MQG “received a modest grant from the State Department that was initiated during the previous administration” meant to promote civics in schools.

“Any notion that we are propping up or supporting these protests or the initiators of them is completely and demonstrably false,” Patel fumed.

But money is fungible and the State Department was well aware that MQG’s primary field of activity was lawfare. The plague of leftist nonprofits funded by foreign governments is an old problem that predates this administration. And touching it is the real red line.

In 2016, there was outrage when the Israeli legislature passed a law requiring nonprofits to disclose foreign funding. Even though the government bureaucracy refused to enforce the law, it nonetheless resulted in MGQ disclosing its funding from the State Department.

The State Department had claimed then that asking nonprofits to reveal foreign funding would “have a chilling effect on the activities that these worthwhile organizations are trying to do”.

Examples of such worthwhile activities had included the State Department funding a previous protest campaign against Netanyahu in 2015 using a “peacebuilding” nonprofit named One Voice.

In 2021, Israel cracked down on six nonprofits tied to terrorist organizations. The State Department warned, “we will be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for the designation. We believe respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and a strong civil society are critically important to responsible and responsive governance.”

The pattern is not difficult to spot.

The Biden administration, the EU and other leftist foreign governments use nonprofits and the legal system to control Israeli policy. When those tools of control are threatened, they step in.

The Obama and Biden administrations had fumed when Israel began forcing nonprofits to follow the law, but judicial reform was a line in the sand. Had judicial reform passed, democracy would have come to Israel. And a bunch of leftist governments couldn’t have used their puppets to overrule the will of the people. That was why they did everything they could to stop it.

What the media portrayed as organic protests were nothing of the kind. They were often backed and organized by tech companies. Some of those same companies, to protest judicial reform, announced that they were pulling their money out of Israel and sending them to SVB. The collapse of the bank, closely associated with leftist interests in the United States, was only a brief inconvenience since the Biden administration rushed to bail out its depositors.

Israeli startups draw on investments from American companies and investors: many of them close to the Biden administration. The SVB connection, a clearinghouse for woke capital, just spelled out the obvious. The coup against democracy was backed by foreign interests and implemented by the billionaires, who control much of the Israeli media, and leftist activists who are employed by nonprofits funded by foreign governments and foundations.

Political consultants rushed to brand the coup as a “democracy” movement even though there’s nothing less democratic than protecting an undemocratic institution from democratic change.

The Biden administration, which had been in on it all along, pushed for a “compromise” from Marc Rich’s former lawyer that would have kept the Left in power even while denying what it was doing, or that judicial reform was shut down after a Biden ultimatum.

Prime Minister Netanyahu backed down, as he often has, but the confrontation was revealing because the puppet masters were forced to show their hand. American Jews were largely fooled by the media’s propaganda campaign, but Israelis saw all too clearly who the activists and, more importantly, the Supreme Court really works for and whose power it serves.

The Israeli Left has consistently lost elections while clinging to power through undemocratic institutions like the Supreme Court and fake third parties. It’s fighting a war on democracy that it’s bound to lose. The ‘handmaids’ marching in Berlin and the radicals holding up posters accusing Israel of fascism in Hitler’s city have shown Israelis what they really are.

The greatest threat to democracy in Israel has always come from the Left. What was once a domestic oligarchy has evolved into a puppet regime. And the Israeli Zionists have learned that they can expose the puppet masters by pulling on the puppets and seeing who comes for them.

“Biden help!”, “Biden, Blinken, Our democracy is sinking”, “save us from ourselves”.

AUTHOR

DANIEL GREENFIELD

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RELATED VIDEO: This Week In Jihad with David Wood and Robert Spencer

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

Not Just Nashville: Attacks Against Churches Nearly Tripled in 2023, Report Finds thumbnail

Not Just Nashville: Attacks Against Churches Nearly Tripled in 2023, Report Finds

By Family Research Council

Last week’s mass murder of six people at a church-run Christian school constitutes 2023’s deadliest act of violence against churches, which have increased nearly three times this year compared to last year, a new report from Family Research Council finds. The number of anti-church attacks in 2022 had already tripled over four years, a previous report found.

In all, assailants attacked churches 69 times in the first three months of 2023, compared with 24 such acts during the same period last year, a 288% increase. The rising tempo of anti-Christian assaults — which includes arsons, bomb threats, vandalism, and sacrilege — has affected places of worship in 29 states. The motives behind such desecration run the gamut from pro-abortion activism or controversies over transgender ideology to apparently senseless acts of destruction.

“American churches are increasingly bearing the brunt of anger and aggression, whether that’s from political or other motivations,” the report’s author — Arielle Del Turco, assistant director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council — told The Washington Stand. “This contributes to an environment of hostility toward Christianity.”

The acts of anti-church aggression documented between January and March of this year includes:

  • 53 incidents of vandalism;
  • 10 suspicious fires;
  • Three gun-related incidents; and
  • Three bomb threats — including a pipe bomb recovered outside Philadelphia’s 127-year-old St. Dominic Catholic Church.

“If this rate continues, 2023 will have the highest number of incidents of the six years FRC has tracked,” the report notes. The number of church attacks in 2023 already exceeds “the entirety of 2018, in which we identified only 50 incidents, or 2020, in which we identified 54.”

The month of January 2023 had more church attacks than any single month in the five years FRC has kept records, with 43 such events, according to data furnished to TWS. “This steep increase is a cause for concern,” says the update.

Hostility toward Christian views of hot-button political issues have exploded into violence and vandalism numerous times this year. In January, abortion activists spray painted the words “Women’s Body, Women’s Choice” over a pro-life banner hanging outside St. Stephen Catholic Church in Riverview, Florida.

Last month, transgender activists lashed out at Kentucky legislators who voted against their agenda by defacing an historic church. Vandals spray painted the words “TRANS PWR” on St. Joseph Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 3 — “the day after the Kentucky House of Representatives passed a bill that would protect children from harmful gender-transition procedures,” the report states. Undeterred state legislators enacted the child safety protections over Democratic Governor Andy Beshear’s veto later that month.

Individuals who identify as transgender have focused their rage on Christian facilities as well. In addition to 28-year-old Audrey Hale’s attack on The Covenant School in Nashville, a 27-year-old man who identifies as a woman set the 117-year-old Portland Korean Church building ablaze on January 3. The suspect, whose legal name is Cameron Storer, claimed to hear voices that “threatened to ‘mutilate’ Storer if Storer refused to burn the church down,” the new FRC report states.

Nashville police have yet to release Hale’s “manifesto,” purportedly due to an “ongoing investigation,” but officers have said Hale’s views of the transgender issue may have touched off her violent rampage. Storer apparently suffers from mental illness, which afflicts those who identify as LGBTQ at far higher rates than average, according to the Biden administration.

Sometimes, the same perpetrator strikes multiple times. Police say 40-year-old Peter Sirolli vandalized three Roman Catholic churches in New Jersey on the same morning, including burning a 10-foot-tall cross on the lawn of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Woodbury on January 13.

The new FRC update builds on an 84-page report released last December. In the original study, FRC verified 420 acts of hostility against houses of worship between January 2018 and September 2022. The new addition brings the full number of anti-Christian incidents in 2022 up to date. In the original report, FRC calculated 137 intentionally damaging incidents against churches had taken place through last September. The last three months of 2022 brought an additional 54 such acts, bringing the total number of assaults against churches to 191 in 2022.

In all, researchers documented a total of 543 attacks on 517 separate churches between January 2018 and March 2023. Of the 517 separate churches attacked, 26 of the churches were victimized more than once, with three being targeted three times each, according to data furnished to The Washington Stand.

Between 2018 and 2023, American churches have suffered:

  • 442 acts of vandalism;
  • 71 cases of arson;
  • 15 gun-related incidents;
  • 14 bomb threats; and
  • 25 miscellaneous acts of aggression against church facilities

A total of 25 incidents fell into multiple categories, according to FRC researchers.

The worst period of sustained assaults during those 39 months broke out last summer over the unprecedented, and heretofore unsolved, leak of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling last May. After the media reported the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue of abortion to democratic control, pro-abortion activists committed 86 attacks against Christian churches last May (24), June (28), and July (34).

Churches also sustained damage from the “Black Lives Matter” riots, which broke out in the summer of 2020 over the killing of George Floyd. BLM rioters committed 11 acts of church desecration, researchers told TWS.

Despite the quickening pulse of anti-Christian crimes, some of which have been investigated as “hate crimes,” conservatives say the Biden administration has been too lax in its response. In January, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res. 3, which noted that abortion extremists such as Jane’s Revenge had “defaced, vandalized, and caused destruction to over 100 pro-life facilities, groups, and churches” in 2022, yet “the Biden Administration has failed to take action to respond to the radical attacks on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches, or to protect the rights of these organizations.”

The Democrat-controlled Senate has taken no action on the bill.

“American leaders and citizens alike should condemn acts of hostility against churches and affirm the right for all people to attend their houses of worship without feeling targeted or threatened,” Del Turco told TWS.

AUTHOR

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLE: Loudoun County Bans Teacher from Adding Bible Verse in Email Signature

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

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The Morning that Changed the World

By Dr. Rich Swier

Death and mayhem and bad news are nearly all we hear these days, or so it seems. It’s easy to lose hope.

An acquaintance emailed me recently: “I am completely broken by witnessing my beloved America commit suicide right before my eyes; it is painful to watch, as an old man who remembers her when she was still morally sane.”

Is there any good news anywhere? Yes. It is not new news, but it’s a message that can never be proclaimed too often. My acquaintance added: “If I didn’t have an eternal hope that this is not how it ends, I would be in complete despair.”

An “eternal hope”? How can we have such a thing in this world? The answer is “because Jesus walked out of His own tomb 2000 years ago.”

The original Easter morning changed the world. Your birth year is in direct reference to the birth year of Jesus Christ. But we wouldn’t know anything about the itinerant rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, had He not walked out of His own tomb. He would be a footnote to history.

Meanwhile, the Western world has experienced a crisis of faith for more than a century now. For example, in 1841, an anti-Christian philosopher in Germany, Ludwig Feuerbach, wrote a skeptical book entitled, The Essence of Christianity, in which he said, “Religion is the dream of the human mind.” Amazingly, he argued that the Christian faith was essentially a “false divine mandate for their personal advancement.” (The exact wording here comes from Christian apologist Alister McGrath of Oxford in a paraphrase summarizing Fauerbach.)

Anybody who knows anything about the birth of the Christian faith knows how insane that assertion is.

“Personal advancement”? Tell that to the early Christians, who experienced unparalleled persecution for their beliefs. Nero had many Christians covered over in tar and pitch and hoisted up by ropes and burned alive—to light his garden parties.

“Personal advancement”? Early Christians were fed to the lions to the amusement of the crowds.

We see beautiful statues in churches around the world dedicated to the twelve apostles. Some people would have us think that the apostles concocted some conspiracy to sell to the world that Jesus is Lord for the sake of their own glory and power.

But the reality is, these men, salt of the earth types, were the first skeptics of Christ’s resurrection. They had to be convinced by His re-appearing to them risen from the dead. Once they were convinced, nothing could stop them from proclaiming Christ crucified and risen from dead, through Whom comes the forgiveness of sins for those who believe.

However, what if they just made up the part about Him rising from the dead? By proclaiming Christ’s resurrection, these disciples faced scourging, torture, and in some cases, crucifixion—the most horrible form of death imaginable.

In the 19th century, when dealing with skeptics of his own age, Scottish theologian Dr. Principal Hill said that if you believe the testimony of the Apostles that Christ rose from the dead, then you can give the most natural account of every part of their conduct, of their conversion, of their steadfastness, of their heroism.

Noted Hill: “But if…you suppose their testimony to be false, inexplicable circumstances of glaring absurdity crowd upon you. You must suppose that twelve men of mean [i.e., average] birth, of no education, living in that humble station which placed ambitious views out of their reach, and far from their thoughts, without any aid from the state, formed the noblest scheme which ever entered into the mind of man, adopted the most daring means of executing that scheme, conducted it with such address as to conceal the imposture under the semblance of simplicity and virtue.”

Hill continues, “You must suppose that men guilty of blasphemy and falsehood, united in an attempt the best contrived, and which has in fact proved the most successful, for making the world virtuous; that they formed this singular enterprise without seeking any advantage to themselves, with an avowed contempt of loss and profit, and with the certain expectation of scorn and persecution; that although conscious of one another’s villainy, none of them ever thought of providing for his own security by disclosing the fraud, but that amidst sufferings the most grievous to flesh and blood they persevered in their conspiracy to cheat the world into piety, honesty, and benevolence.”

Hill concludes, “Truly they who can swallow such suppositions have no title to object to miracles.”

One man and his wife have a reminder at their grave about their hope in Jesus. Chiseled in stone behind the sarcophagi of George and Martha Washington at Mt. Vernon are words based on Jesus’s quote from John 11: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

We can have hope because Christ is risen indeed.

©2023 Dr. Jerry Newcombe, D.Min. All rights reserved.

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China Installs Stooge Bishop in Snub to Vatican Deal

By Church Militant

Pro-Commie prelate promises to promote sinicization of Catholicism.


SHANGHAI (ChurchMilitant.com) — The Chinese Communist Party has unilaterally appointed a bishop from its own ranks to the See of Shanghai in violation of its secret concordat with the Vatican.

In his installation ceremony on Tuesday, Bp. Joseph Shen Bin did not mention Pope Francis. Instead, he promised to press ahead with the sinicization of Catholicism and continue the tradition of “patriotism and love” for the Church in Shanghai.

The sudden move to unilaterally install Shen Bin, who is currently bishop of Haimen, has shocked the Vatican, which admitted on its official news website that it had learned of the appointment from media reports.

“The Holy See had been informed a few days ago of the decision of the Chinese authorities” to transfer the bishop from the diocese of Haimen, but it only “learned from the media of the installation this morning,” said Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office.

“For the moment, I have nothing to say about the Holy See’s assessment of the matter,” Bruni added.

Asia News reported that Shen Bin was appointed to lead the diocese of Shanghai by the Council of Chinese Bishops, the CCP-sanctioned bishops’ conference, which he himself heads.

In 2017, Shen Bin was elected vice president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. According to Andrew Tsien, former bishop of Hualien, Taiwan, the objectives of the CCPA are “to substitute it for the true Roman Catholic church” and “to eliminate religion in order to achieve a pure materialistic and autocratic society.”

In his 2007 letter to Catholics in China, Pope Benedict XVI declared that the association was “incompatible” with Catholic doctrine.

The bishopric of Shanghai had been vacant for 10 years since the death of Jesuit bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian in April 2013.

The Holy See had asked for Shanghai’s auxiliary bishop, Thaddeus Ma Daqin, to administer the diocese, but Ma Daquin has been under house arrest since 2012 for daring to resign from the CCPA immediately after his episcopal ordination.

On July 7, 2012, Ma Daqin was ordained with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI and the People’s Republic of China. At his episcopal ordination, he announced, “It is inconvenient for me to serve the CCPA post from now on.”

Closed-mindedness is never the way.GabTweet

In Nov. 2022, the Vatican protested the CCP’s appointment of Bp. John Peng Weizhao as auxiliary bishop of Jiangxi — a diocese created by the CCP without Vatican approval, Church Militant reported.

The Holy See Press Office noted the Vatican’s “surprise and regret” at the “installation ceremony” and explained that this event “has not taken place in conformity with the spirit of dialogue that exists between the Vatican parties and the Chinese parties” agreed “in the Provisional Agreement on the Appointment of Bishops of 22 September 2018.

“The Holy See hopes that similar episodes will not be repeated,” the statement added, and it “is awaiting the appropriate communication about the matter from the authorities” and reaffirming “its complete willingness to continue the respectful dialogue concerning all of the matters of common interest.”

Born in 1970 into a Catholic family, Shen Bin studied at the National Seminary in Beijing and was ordained a priest in 1996. With a pontifical mandate and recognition of the political authorities, his episcopal ordination took place in the cathedral of Nantong on April 21, 2010.

In a 2017 interview, Shen Bin insisted that Chinese Catholics had full freedom to “publicly pray for the pope” and “even sing hymns for the pope, which were not in use in China for a long time.”

“We follow his magisterium. In WeChat groups, we publish and share the homilies from Santa Marta every day, the Wednesday’s general papal Audiences (Papal Catechesis), and we report the pope’s words in our own homilies,” Shen Bin said.

The bishop, however, admitted that “it is convenient not to oppose the government, and sometimes we have to (it is convenient to) distinguish between ecclesial matters, matters of faith on one side, and economic and administrative issues, which in itself do not affect the deposition of faith, on another side.”

“The gospel does not ask us to assume the role of antagonists of the constituted authorities. And Jesus says we must be smart as snakes and simple as doves. I believe that now, in China, dialogue and reconciliation are the most important things. Also with the government,” Shen Bin said.

Until recently, Pope Francis repeatedly affirmed that the Vatican–China deal “is good” and fruitful. He added that renewing it twice in 2020 and 2022 was the right thing to do.

In September, Francis defended the secret deal, saying an uneasy dialogue is better than no dialogue at all.

“You can be deceived in dialogue; you can make mistakes, all that, but it is the way. Closed-mindedness is never the way,” the pope told Spanish radio network COPE.

Since the 2018 deal was struck between the Vatican and China, only six new bishops have been appointed.

In July 2021, the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cdl. Pietro Parolin, refused to confirm or deny reports that the gay cruising app Grindr may have been used to blackmail the Holy See into its secret deal with China.

AUTHOR

Jules Gomes

Dr. Jules Gomes, B.A., B.D., M.Th., Ph.D. (Cantab) is Rome Correspondent for Church Militant. He is a journalist, academic and editor of Rebel Priest.

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

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Vatican Repudiates Papal Bulls Calling for Resistance to Jihad Violence

By Jihad Watch

by Jules Gomes, ChurchMilitant.com, April 4, 2023:

VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) – The Vatican has abrogated three papal bulls claiming that the documents are offensive to indigenous peoples and “have never been considered expressions of the Catholic faith.”

The bulls Dum Diversas (1452), Romanus Pontifex (1455) and Inter Caetera (1493) contain the basis for the “doctrine of discovery,” which “is not part of the teaching of the Catholic Church,” the Vatican has announced.

Cultural Imperialism

“The Church acknowledges that these papal bulls did not adequately reflect the equal dignity and rights of indigenous peoples,” the dicasteries for Culture and Education and for Promoting Integral Human Development said in a joint statement published Thursday.

The Vatican dicasteries quoted Pope Francis’ words endorsing the repeal of the bulls: “Never again can the Christian community allow itself to be infected by the idea that one culture is superior to others, or that it is legitimate to employ ways of coercing others.”

Since the Magisterium “upholds the respect due to every human being,” the “Catholic Church therefore repudiates those concepts that fail to recognize the inherent human rights of indigenous peoples, including what has become known as the legal and political ‘doctrine of discovery,’” the Vatican statement categorically declared.

The bulls’ contents “were manipulated for political purposes by competing colonial powers in order to justify immoral acts against indigenous peoples that were carried out, at times, without opposition from ecclesiastical authorities,” the statement added.

Modern-day Islamophiles have sought to present these as wars of conquest and colonization.

But top Islamic scholars told Church Militant that the Vatican had annulled the bulls not so much because of their purported relationship to colonialism and slavery but because the documents were offensive to Islam and an obstacle to ongoing dialogue.

Appeasing Islam

“The revocation of these bulls is likely the result of Francis’ ongoing ‘dialogue’ with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb,” Robert Spencer, Islamic scholar and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (And the Crusades), told Church Militant.

“That ‘dialogue’ only resumed, after al-Tayeb broke it off during the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, when Francis agreed not to criticize Islam or speak out against Muslim persecution of Christians. Al-Tayeb, meanwhile, made no similar concessions. The ‘dialogue’ is entirely one-sided,” Spencer noted.

“The public repudiation of these long-forgotten documents is intended to buttress the pope’s efforts to engage Islamic groups in this dialogue, which results only in the issuance of soothing falsehoods and will not prevent a single Christian from Muslim persecution,” Spencer added….

In fact, all three bulls are mentioned together in volume seven of the scholarly series Christian–Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History — Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America (1500-1600), published in 2015 by the academic publisher Brill.

Enemies of the Cross

“The Dum Diversas of 1452 authorized the king of Portugal to attack, conquer and subdue not only Muslims but also pagans and other unbelievers and to seize their goods and territories, transferring them to his own possession,” the book notes.

In its Latin text, Romanus Pontifex encourages “Catholic kings and princes” to “not only repress the ferocity of the Saracens [Muslims] and the other infidel enemies of the Christians but also conquer their kingdoms and places, even if they exist in very distant and unknown parts from us, for the defense and increase of the Faith.”

The bull Inter Caetera is a historic remnant with no juridical, moral or doctrinal value.

The bull condemns “the perfidious enemies of the Cross, especially the Saracens and all the other infidels” and orders the excommunication of those who send the Muslims “weapons and other things prohibited by the law.”

It authorized King Alfonso of Portugal to “invade, conquer, defeat and subjugate all Saracens and pagans and other enemies of Christ” and to “enslave their persons perpetually” and seize their possessions for profit.

Pope Nicholas V ends the bull with a warning that no one may “infringe or rashly contradict his decree. … But if anyone does attempt this, let him know that he will incur the indignation of almighty God and His blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”

In Dum Diversas, Nicholas V commends Alfonso for intending “to subjugate the enemies of Christ, i.e. the Saracens, and bring them back to the faith of Christ with a mighty hand,” noting that “the authority of the Apostolic See supports you in this.”

Dum Diversas ends with a similar proscription:

It is therefore permissible for no man to diminish this page of our concession, reparation, will, indult and decree, or oppose it with rash initiative. If anyone dares to attack her, let him know that he is about to incur the wrath of Almighty God and the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Inter Caetera both “confirmed the terms” of Romanus Pontifex and “specified that the spiritual jurisdiction of the regions conquered was to lie with the Order of Christ, the successors to the Knights Templar in Portugal,” the Brill book explains.

The Holy See confirms that Inter Caetera has already been abrogated.

“These bulls, with their statements about how important it is to resist the efforts of Islam to conquer and subjugate Christians, embarrass Pope Francis and today’s Vatican,” Spencer said, lamenting how the pope “is wholeheartedly committed to the fond and false notion that ‘dialogue’ with Islam will blunt, and possibly even extinguish, the jihad imperative.”

“The recent histories of Nigeria, Iraq and elsewhere show how false and damaging that idea really is,” Spencer warned.

In July 2022, two protestors with a large banner confronted the pontiff during Mass at the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica outside Quebec City and asked him to rescind the “doctrine of discovery.”

However, in a statement to the United Nations Ninth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in April 2010, the Vatican argued it had abrogated the doctrine as early as 1494.

“The bull Inter Caetera is a historic remnant with no juridical, moral or doctrinal value,” the statement said. “The Holy See confirms that Inter Caetera has already been abrogated and considers it without any legal or doctrinal value.”

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

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America Had Its ‘First Brush’ with Islam 237 Years Ago

By Dr. Rich Swier

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” — George Santayana, Spanish philosopher.

A reader sent us a link to the following column by Raymond Ibraham published on March 28, 2023. We republish it for those who have never learned or forgotten history.

Exactly 237 years ago today, on March 28, 1786, two of America’s founding fathers documented the United States’ first exposure to Islamic jihad in a fascinating letter to Congress.

A Diplomatic Exchange in Response to Inexplicable Animosity

One year earlier, in 1785, Muslim pirates from North Africa, or “Barbary,” had captured two American ships, the Maria and Dauphin, and enslaved their crews. In an effort to ransom its enslaved crew and establish peaceful relations, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams — then ambassadors to France and England respectively — met with Tripoli’s ambassador to Britain, Abdul Rahman Adja. Following this diplomatic exchange, the Americans laid out the source of Barbary’s hitherto inexplicable animosity in a letter to Congress:

We took the liberty to make some inquiries concerning the grounds of their [Barbary’s] pretentions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.

The ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise [dated March 28, 1786].

Abdul had continued by smugly noting that Islam’s “law” offers “as an incentive” more slaves to those who are first to board infidel vessels, and that the power and appearance of the seaborne jihadis — who reportedly always carried three knives, one in each hand and another in their mouths — “so terrified their enemies that very few ever stood against them.”

One can only imagine what the American ambassadors — who years earlier had asserted that all men were “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights” — thought of their Muslim counterpart’s answer. Suffice to say, because the ransom demanded was over 15 times greater than what Congress had approved, little came of the meeting.

Christian “Infidels” Suffered Beyond Expression

Centuries before preying on the newborn American nation’s vessels, the Barbary States of Muslim North Africa — specifically Tripoli, Algiers, Tunis — had been thriving on the slave trade of Christians abducted from virtually every corner of coastal Europe — going as far as Britain, Ireland, Denmark, and Iceland. These raids were so successful that, “between 1530 and 1780 there were almost certainly a million and quite possibly as many as a million and a quarter white, European Christians enslaved by the Muslims of the Barbary Coast,” to quote historian Robert Davis.

The treatment of these European slaves was exacerbated by the fact that they were Christian “infidels.” As Robert Playfair (b.1828), who served for years as a consul in Barbary, explained, “In almost every case they [European slaves] were hated on account of their religion.” Three centuries earlier, John Foxe (b.1516) had written in his Book of Martyrs that, “In no part of the globe are Christians so hated, or treated with such severity, as at Algiers.”

The punishments these European slaves received for real or imagined offenses beggared description: “If they speak against Mahomet [blasphemy], they must become Mahometans, or be impaled alive,” continued Foxe. “If they profess Christianity again, after having changed to the Mahometan persuasion, they are roasted alive [as apostates], or thrown from the city walls, and caught upon large sharp hooks, on which they hang till they expire.”

As such, when Captain O’Brien of the Dauphin wrote to Jefferson saying that “our sufferings are beyond our expression or your conception,” he was clearly not exaggerating.

The Perpetual, Existential Nature of Islamic Hostility

Back in Congress, some agreed with Jefferson that “it will be more easy to raise ships and men to fight these pirates into reason, than money to bribe them.” General George Washington asked: “In such an enlightened, in such a liberal age, how is it possible that the great maritime powers of Europe should submit to pay an annual tribute to the little piratical States of Barbary? … Would to Heaven we had a navy able to reform those enemies to mankind, or crush them into nonexistence.”

But the majority of Congress agreed with John Adams: “We ought not to fight them at all unless we determine to fight them forever.”

Considering the perpetual, existential nature of Islamic hostility, Adams may have been more right than he knew.

Congress initially decided to emulate the Europeans by placating and paying off the terrorists, though it would take years to raise the demanded ransom. Inevitably, however, hostilities again broke out, leading to the Barbary Wars (1801 to 1805; again in 1815). But by now, the U.S. had built six war vessels.

‘Why Do They Hate Us?’

Thus the United States’ first war — which erupted before it could even elect its first president and intermittently lasted some 30 years — was against Islam; and the latter had initiated hostilities on the same rationale that had been used to initiate hostilities for the preceding 1,200 years.

Though most Americans are now unaware of their nation’s first military conflict, references to it are common. The oldest paean of the U.S. armed forces, “The Marines’ Hymn,” boasts of fighting everywhere for “right and freedom” — including as far as “to the shores of Tripoli.” And the oldest U.S. military monument was made to honor those Americans who fought and died in the Barbary Wars. According to its plaque, “‘Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute’ became the rallying cry for this war.”

The turbaned heads of the vanquished enemy appear at the foot of the eagle-topped column. Needless to say, although the United States’ oldest monument was for decades located inside the Capitol Building, it now rests in the much less conspicuous faculty club of the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

In short, although the question “Why do they hate us?” became immensely popular after 9/11, it was amply answered during America’s founding, including through a little remembered letter written to Congress 237 years ago today.

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Proofs for the Existence of God

By The Catholic Thing

Randall Smith: It is easy enough to believe in a “god” – a god of power – but a Creator-God of selfless love?  It is, admittedly, “mysterious.”


I have on occasion presented students with the famous proofs for the existence of God. Many students are amazed to find that one can actually approach the question about God with reason and serious thinking and not merely with “feelings” or by sacrificing all rational thought in favor of believing “six impossible things before breakfast every morning,” as the White Queen says to Alice in Wonderland.

Many young adults in American society are essentially fideists; they think that you “just have to take things on faith,” which to their minds means without reason or intelligent thought.  Reading Aquinas, especially his proofs for God’s existence, shows them pretty quickly – and for many, for the first time – that a person can approach theological questions with reason and intellect.

But I also have to report that even students who find these arguments valid do not always find them convincing.  For some, the problem is that they don’t believe in logic. Logic, they assume, is just “word games.”  Or they’ve been taught that logic is a patriarchal power play. But for others, the proofs are not convincing for another reason, and it’s important to understand why.

The problem with the “proofs” is not what they prove, but what they don’t.  Because when my wonderful, bright-eyed students are asking about “God,” they’re not really asking whether there is a Prime Mover or the Source of All Being. What they really want to know is whether anybody cares; whether there is someone who watches out for them and will “be there” if everything else fails; whether there is an ultimate foundation of meaningfulness. And the Prime Mover just doesn’t get them that.

As Aristotle’s notion of the Prime Mover shows, you can have a Prime Mover that does not love you or even ever think about you. The Christian “God,” by contrast, is the Source of the Being of Everything, and not merely another more powerful “thing” or “person” in the world like Zeus or Apollo, but He is also personal and loving, like Zeus and Apollo and unlike Aristotle’s Prime Mover.

The world might be an ordered cosmos, as the ancients thought, but that doesn’t mean it would necessarily have selfless love. The ancients didn’t think so. This is why I tell my students that the question they must ask themselves is not whether they believe in “God” but whether they believe in love.  Because if they can’t believe in selfless, providential love, then they’ll never believe in the Jewish-Christian “God,” because love and providential care are the central characteristics of that “God.”

But here’s the problem: How do you prove love – that it exists and that it’s meaningful and worthwhile – to people who don’t believe in it?

I was sitting at Mass the other day listening to one of those strange Old Testament stories wondering whether a sensible person could really believe all this stuff about God when I happened to see a father making silly faces at his young son.

There is something wonderful about watching parents with their children at Mass.  Mothers and fathers hold their babies and kiss them gently, stroke their hair, and look directly into their eyes with love.  Parents walk their children up to Communion, teach them to kneel respectfully and accept a blessing from the priest, sometimes proudly, sometimes shyly.

It’s love.  Where does that come from?  How does that exist?  It’s real, but it’s mysterious.

And it’s not just in Mass.  There is at least one insight in the movie Love Actually: namely, that when you see people greeting their friends and family at the airport, it makes you realize that love actually does exist; it actually is – all around.  And if you can for a moment become convinced that love does exist, then you might, someday, wonder: How?  Because there doesn’t seem to be any room for it in the universe that modern atheists insist upon.

Indeed, if at any moment the dedicated atheist were to engage in an act of selfless love, then would they not at that moment have “let the cat out of the bag,” so to speak?  Would they not have shown that they too believe that the universe is more than just atoms bumping into one another and that living a full, meaningful life involves more than just will-to-power and preference maximization?

It’s not just Christians who think the basic, most essential, and meaningful force in the universe is love.  Plenty of others do.  It’s just that many of them hold views of the universe that cannot make sense of that love.  Christianity has an account of the world that does.

The odd thing about what we call “the Paschal Mystery” – what makes it “mysterious” – is the claim that the Creator-God loves us so much that He became flesh and died for us and rose from the dead.  If, as Hans Urs von Balthasar has claimed, “love alone is credible,” then how could God reveal Himself to us – not as a different sort of Zeus or a different sort of Prime Mover, but as the God of selfless love – unless by giving Himself fully in selfless love?

Without the events of Holy Week, we might believe in a “god,” but not the God who, as Pope Benedict XVI has written, “created the universe in order to enter into a history of love with humankind.”  And without that love, how would we know, how could we even suspect, that “the universe is not the product of darkness and unreason.”

Because, as Benedict writes, “only if it is true that the universe comes from freedom, love, and reason, and that these are the real underlying powers, can we trust one another, go forward into the future, and live as human beings.”

It is easy enough to believe in a “god” – a god of power – but a Creator-God of selfless love?  It is, admittedly, “mysterious.”  But perhaps, in the end, it’s the only thing that can truly make sense of a world with love in it.

You may also enjoy:

Fr. Robert P. Imbelli’s Loving and Knowing God

St. John Paul II’s Conformity with God’s Plan

AUTHOR

Randall Smith

Randall B. Smith is a Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. His latest book is From Here to Eternity: Reflections on Death, Immortality, and the Resurrection of the Body.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. © 2023 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.

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Fatwa: Islam’s Murder by Fiat

By Amil Imani

Salman Rushdie is perhaps the most celebrated person with an Islamic bounty on his head.  He has been for decades.  The man was condemned to death by Ayatollah Khomeini, without the least due process, for supposedly insulting Islam’s sanctities in his book The Satanic Verses.  Rushdie has been living a dreadful life for decades, mostly in hiding, hoping to elude the daggers or bullets of far too many zany Islamists who would eagerly carry out the edict of the certifiably crazed Islamic ayatollah.

Shahin Najafi, a Persian musician, and songwriter is not famed like Rushdie, yet he has been sentenced to death by another ayatollah.  Again with no due process, for the “sin” of composing a song deemed by the officious Islamic clergy — in this case, Ayatollah Golpaygani — as an affront to the Shi’ite imams.

How these high priests and Islamic parasites operate makes for nothing short of international religious terrorism.  They consider it their prerogative to pronounce death sentences on anyone, of any nationality, anywhere in the world, who offends their sensibilities.  With their tentacles reaching every corner of the globe, these Islamic Godfathers unleash their lieutenants and soldiers on anyone who dares to in any way challenge their code of murder and mayhem billed as Allah’s sole valid religion for all of humanity.

Shahin may not be famed like Rushdie, but he is still a human being under a fatwa of death.  The man, who now lives in Germany, was an ordinary Persian musician and singer before Iran’s grand Ayatollah Golpayegani issued his fatwa.  Now, Shahin faces death threats after releasing a controversial song containing references to one of the 12 Shi’ites.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have watched this controversial clip posted on YouTube.  This issue has divided opinions in a nation where religious people find it offensive and insulting to their beliefs, but many others defend the song, praising it for breaking taboos, especially concerning expressing views about religious personalities.

More ayatollahs are ganging up on the poor artist.  The Islamic Republic of Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency reports that Ayatollah Naser Makareme Shirazi, a pro-Islamic regime cleric based in the holy city of Qom, with a great deal of influence among Shi’ites, has also issued a fatwa against Najafi by proclaiming, “Any outrage against the infallible imams … and obvious insult against them would make a Muslim an apostate.”  Makarem Shirazi has in the past issued other harsh and absurd religious rulings, such as the one against women attending soccer matches.  He has also issued proscriptions against keeping pets and denied the Holocaust.

The apostasy ruling was issued after a song released by Shahin titled “Naghi.”  Islamist fanatics contend that the song desecrates the tenth Imam of Shi’ites, Imam Naghi.

It is beyond the pale that a self-glorified cleric finds in himself the audacity to issue a death warrant for a human he has never seen, and without even a pretense of a trial.

Apostasy is a capital offense in most Islamic countries, but the execution of the apostate is not common.  Yet it does take place from time to time by frequently buttressing the “crime” of apostasy with additional fabricated charges.  The Islamic Republic of Iran, for instance, often adds the charge of mohareb (one who wars with Allah) to further legitimize its execution of apostates.  A case in point pertains to the treatment of the religious minority Bahá’ís by the Islamic Republic. Several Bahá’ís have been charged as apostates and mohareb and executed, with some secretly buried in unmarked graves.

It is noteworthy that Islam considers the world its ummah and does not bother with national boundaries.  Hence, Islamic clerics feel free to issue fatwas and other adjudications regarding any person, group, or nation anywhere in the world.  Fanatic Muslims anywhere in the world take it upon themselves to carry out fatwas issued by Islamic high divines.  Other high-profile cases — the killing of Theo van Gogh, a Dutch film director, and the recent attack on the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westeraard — are instances of this barbaric, arbitrary practice, which runs counter to the civilized world’s due process and has a serious intimidating impact on the freedom of expression.

Fatwas are religious rulings with wide-ranging and shocking implications.  For one, not long ago, Salih bin Fawzan, a prominent cleric and member of Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, issued a fatwa proclaiming that there is no minimum age for marriage and that girls can be married even if they are in the cradle.”  Why not?  Didn’t Islam’s founder, Muhammad, marry six-year-old Ayesha?

Islam must be fully exposed for what it is, with its Godfathers de-frocked and punished if they keep issuing fatwas as binding rules for Muslims to obey and implement.

Half-hearted, perfunctory attempts by the civilized world at staying at the hands of these villains and preventing them from issuing rulings by fiat serve only to embolden these perpetrators of hatred and violence.

Free people and nations should not sacrifice their God-given liberty to please the Islamists by muzzling dissenters and even endangering their safety and their lives.

In the final analysis, there is no difference between a Mafia Godfather issuing a death sentence on people who do not toe his line and a turbaned Islamist masquerading as the authorized agent of Allah to run and ruin peoples’ lives by fiat.

The civilized, free people of the world have paid the ultimate price far too many times in the past and are not likely to shirk their responsibility of fighting off the resurgence of the scourge of Islamism — a cult of intolerance and violence that has shed and continues to shed the blood of far too many people.

Let freedom ring.  Let people sing their songs and lead their lives without death threats hanging over their heads.

No oppression of women, minorities, or freedom lovers, and no death sentences by fiat.  Imams and mullahs who engage in these criminal acts must be dragged to the court of law and, after due process, given their due punishments, in the same way, that any criminal is processed by a just and civilized society.

©2023 Amil Imani. All rights reserved.