Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category
That’s the thing with the diversity loving crowd. They only love diversity when you agree with everything they say.
Former tennis champion and now pastor Margaret Court organised a rally in Perth last night. Church members and the public were invited to learn more about and pray for the preservation of the meaning of marriage; a life long commitment between a man and a woman.
But no expression of this belief is permitted. Every such expression must be declared to be homophobic, bigoted and hateful.
A couple of dozen gay rights protestors (as opposed to the hundreds at the Court/Family Association Rally) forced their way into Court’s church to demand their rights.
One activist declared that marriage is a celebration of love, and therefore should be open to any two people in love. But that is not what marriage is. Marriage is a life-long commitment between a man and a woman for the purposes of procreation, support of any children, and companionship and care for each other, made in love, with the intention to respect and honour each other for life.
Of course the word marriage could be re-defined. But once it is re-defined, say, as a ‘celebration of love’, what is to stop one man and four women being married, or a woman and her dolphin, or any community of any number of people and animals, no matter how related? Why not have families – parents and children – able to marry? There doesn’t have to be anything sexual in the relationship, after all. It is simply a celebration of love. So why not celebrate your love publicly?
Why not indeed? But a celebration of love is not a marriage. If marriage were to be redefined in this vague way, another word would have to be found for what we now call marriage. All of the above mentioned possibilities are qualitatively different from a life-long, open to children, loving commitment between a man and a woman. And then the protests would start anew, because the gay lobby, the poly-amorous, the bestial, would all want the right to have their relationships called the same thing.
Gay lobbyists declare they have majority support for redefining marriage in the way they want (somewhere between 55 and 60 percent of all Australians, they claim). Such provisions have sometimes been read into the law by activist judges in the US. But whenever they have gone to a referendum, such measures have been soundly defeated.
Gay marriage is never going to be normal. Get over it.
John Darbyshire has copped some fierce criticism over the last few days for his article The Talk: Non Black Version. The article appeared in Taki’s Magazine, but that page has been intermittently inaccessible. Try Taki’s first. If their page is not working, you can find the full version at Camp of the Saints.
Darbyshire referenced articles in which black parents describe The Talk they give their children. The talk about how to relate to white people and Asians. About how racism is built into white society, how they (young black people) will have to work twice as hard before they are granted the same positive recognition, about white tribalism, etc, etc.
He then goes on to describe various talks he has had with his children about how to relate to black people.
Some of these are claims about reality. Perhaps the most controversial is his claim that black people are on average several points lower in IQ than whites. This is true, he says, no matter how ‘culturally balanced’ the test. It also has practical application – blacks are significantly more likely than whites or Asians to default on their mortgages, for example.
Darbyshire provides some interesting links to studies support his views on this. He might be wrong. The studies might be wrong. But facts are not racist. Truths are not racist. They can be used in racist ways, but it is not clear that Darbyshire is doing so.
As black parents talk to their children about reality as they see it, and how to live within it, Darbyshire talks to his children about reality as he sees it, and how white people can live safely and effectively within it. That means knowing the truth. Rather than yell ‘racist,’ it would be more convincing to provide alternate studies which show he is wrong.
Other parts consist of practical advice:
A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.
(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
(10e)If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
You may disagree. Feel free to say why. But I bet this guy wishes his parents had given him some similar advice:
That is the title of Anita Heiss’s new book.
Anita was one of the people who sued Andrew Bolt.
The answer to Anita’s question is “No-one cares. Call yourself what you like.”
But if you claim tax payer money on the basis of your race, then expect the tax payers to take an interest. In other words, your race only makes a difference to anyone else when you demand it should make a difference. And if you do demand that it make a difference, you have no right to complain when people ask why.
For example, $90,000 of tax payer money so you could go to Paris and write a very dull book about how you went to court to stop someone discussing the question that is the title of your book. I can understand you might want to write this. I don’t understand why I should be forced to pay for it.
Here are Anita’s comments about the burdens she faces as a writer. No, not just a writer, an aboriginal writer, since that, she says, is the whole point:
It’s not easy being a writer. If you do in fact take the research seriously, there is much to consider… here are just five of the hardships of researching in Paris:
1. WEIGHT GAIN: I had to eat an embarrassing amount of bread and cheese, macaroons, croissants and chocolate – so I could actually write about it! This meant I had to put on weight for my job.
2. SORE FEET: Paris is a city for walking. Strolling down the Champs-Elysees eyeing all the designers stores and cafes is hard on the feet, trust me, I know, I did it quite a bit!
3. FLIRTING WITH STRANGERS: Now, let me preface this by saying, I was in character! Anita Heiss would never flirt with strangers, but for the purpose of ‘research’ I did what needed to be done for my craft. If you are serious about your writing, you will too!
All at the tax payers’ expense. Can I be black too?
One of the things that makes this especially interesting is that having invited discussion on the issue of her race, Anita, her publishers and the Australian ABC have gone to great lengths to shut down any discussion. Comments have been disappeared from all those sites. Well, people answered the question the wrong way, you see.
And $18.60 for a kindle book she has already been given $90,000 to write? Sheesh!
Update. As expected Random House has pulled all comments from the page linked to above. According to the Random House website, their imprints comprise of (sic) Ballantine Books, Bantam Dell, Delacorte Press, Del Rey/Spectra, The Dial Press, ESPN Books, The Modern Library, One World, Presidio Press, Random House, Spiegel & Grau, and Villard.
Since Random House is not interested in freedom of speech, I suggest exercising the freedom you do have, and choosing not to buy their books.
Amazon is still accepting comments and reviews. Go Amazon!
OK, on one hand I am not surprised. The Sunday Mail is a paper I only ever read when it is being given away free.
The conversation in the shop this morning was
“Would you like a free paper, Peter?”
“What, the Sunday Mail?”
“But it’s free.”
“Hmm…” (remembering I can use it as padding in parcels I send, and to start my fire in Winter) “OK then.”
Once I had it I could not resist leafing through it. Mostly just the usual empty-headed waffle that passes for journalism amongst the educated. A photo of Ian Thorpe emerging from a pool with a bit of mucous hanging from his nose, with the headline “Snot a good look.” That sort of thing.
On page 26 is an article by Lainie Anderson. It is available online.
Lainie seems a nice enough young lady. She has all the currently popular opinions. But she suffers from that curious left-wing journalist’s affliction of being unable to think.
This is the (very small) headline: Doesn’t it make sense to invest now in renewable technology – like the windfarms Denmark has established – and have something else to offer the world when the coal runs out?
Surely before writing that, or after for that matter, a journalist would stop to ask two key questions:
1. Are fossil energy sources running out?
2. Do wind-farms and other renewable energy technologies actually save any fossil fuel over their lifetimes?
The answer to both questions is no. Neither question seems to occur to Lainie.
A really good journalist might go on to consider the relationship between the price of energy and employment rates, and between the price of energy and poverty levels, and write about the possible development of a long term energy policy which would encourage economic growth, noting that this will be better for the planet, because wealthier societies have more liberty to be concerned about conservation.
But this is the Sunday Mail. So we have to read about Ian Thorpe and snot instead.
Lainie says that climate sceptics are just confusing people. They should stop it, because “we’ve got around 97 per cent of the world’s climate scientists telling us that human behaviour is warming the planet.”
That figure is passed around like a hanky in a party game. It is based on a single study, Doran, P. T., and M. Kendall Zimmerman (2009), Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, Eos Trans. AGU, 90(3).
Doran and Zimmerman sent two questions to some 10,000 scientists. About 30% responded. According to Doran and Zimmerman, only 5% of respondents were climate scientists. Climate scientists are people who were authors for the IPCC, or other climate alarmist bodies. The answers given by this carefully selected group were used to arrive at the 97% figure quoted by Ms Anderson. According to the study, 76 of 79 answered ‘Yes’ to question 1, and 75 of 77 answered ‘Yes’ to question 2. That’s about 97%.
Already this is so dubious it smells like five day old road-kill. But what were the questions?
1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
Virtually every ‘sceptic’ I know would answer ‘Yes’ to question one. The world has been warming at a pretty constant rate since about 1850. If CO2 is a factor in this increase, it can only have been a factor since about 1940. But there has been no change in the average rate of temperature increase since then.
Question 2 is simply badly written. What counts as significant? If there is a human influence on global climate change, it is so small compared with natural change that it is barely discernible. But that small amount may still be significant in some contexts.
So out of a group of 3,000 scientists, 97% of a very small and carefully selected sub group answered ‘Yes’ to two ambiguous questions, at least one of which would get a yes from almost every sceptical scientist. This is not proof of anything except a depressingly poor level of study design.
Lainie’s other ‘gotcha’ claims are that the world has been getting warmer for a while now, and that sea levels are rising. Both of these claims are true. No one disagrees. We have been coming out of a little Ice Age. Thank God it is getting warmer. Sea levels have been rising for the past 10,000 years, and if anything, the rate of rise is slowing.
No one denies that global climate is changing. It always has and always will.
The real question is, is there any evidence of damaging human influence on global climate? To answer that with a yes, there would have to be a clear correlation between human activity and global climate change. There is no correlation.
Climate alarmism may still sell a few papers. But it is damaging and dishonest. Just stop it.
Andrew Bolt’s blog changed format today, making it harder to read. It also now requires registration to access, although registration is free and gives you the entire Herald Sun site. It will only be free for two months, however, after which it will cost $2.95 per week.
I never read anything in the Herald Sun except Andrew’s blog, and have no particular wish to do so. $150 per year to read a blog? I think, when that time comes, that I will no longer be amongst Andrew’s visitors.
Today Andrew wrote that Bob Katter had disgraced himself with a TV ad pointing out that a vote for Newman’s Queensland Liberals could be a vote for the legalisation of gay marriage.
Bolt claims the ad is irrelevant. It is not. Queensland Labor introduced legislation permitting ‘civil unions’ between same sex couples. The Liberals do not support such unions and have talked about repealing the legislation. Campbell Newman has said he supports gay marraige.
It is entirely reasonable to create and broadcast a political ad pointing out this inconsistency.
The real question is, is the ad offensive or homophobic?
Belief that homosexual acts are wrong and harmful, and that equating homosexual relationships to marriage between a man and woman is dishonest and will undermine society may be wrong, but it is not homophobic. Simply disagreeing with the homosexual lobby does not make you a homophobe.
Bolt regularly demands that people who disagree with him argue on the facts and don’t simply call him names. He is right to do so. The same courtesy should be applied to those who have concerns about what they see as a dangerous homosexualist agenda.
If they are wrong, explain why. Don’t just shout ‘homophobe’ and think you have made a point.
The ad points up a difference between Katter’s party on one side, and the increasingly indistinguishable Labor and LNP on the other. That is what election ads are meant to do.
Bolt also complains about the images used. But these are very similar to images used by the homosexual lobby – along with slogans like “They are in love, why shouldn’t they be allowed to marry?” or “How can love be a crime?” If it is acceptable for the homosexual lobby to use such images to normalise homosexual relationships, why is it unacceptable for Katter to use them to raise concerns about that normalisation?
As for Andrew’s claim that video of Newman folding a skirt is meant to suggest he is a closet gay, the only possible response is ‘hogwash.’ That video was taken at the same time and in the same place as the other short segment where Newman says he supports gay marriage. At very most, it might highlight a contrast between Newman’s claim to be a decent, ordinary bloke, concerned about ordinary families, understanding ordinary workers (like laundry workers), and supportive of family values, and his support for what many of those same ordinary Australians see as a dangerous undermining of famliy and society.
You may disagree. But yelling ‘homophobe’ at Bob Katter, or the many Queenslanders who think he is right, is not going to convince him or them.
PS I was wrong about needing to register and pay to read Andrew Bolt’s blog. It was not entirely my fault – the blog entry I was talking about had the headline ‘Why we are asking you to register’ and did not make it clear that readers would only need to register to access Andrew’s columns and other Herald Sun print content, not to the rest of the blog. But since the columns normally make up about half the word count of the blog, this is still a blow to readers who have no interest in other Herald Sun print content. I suspect many, like me, will have trouble justifying spending $150 per year on opinion content which was formerly funded through advertising.
Soon to be Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr says it is time Labor exposed Tony Abbott’s weaknesses.
He also says he will reach out to the federal opposition to try to engender a more bipartisan approach to Australian foreign policy.
Make up your mind, Bob.
With that kind of clarity and decisiveness, perhaps it is just as well he also reminded us that we should not think of him as a cure-all:
‘You don’t get saviours in politics, you just get people who are prepared to roll their sleeves up and work hard for Australia.’
Looking forward to it, Bob.
I have said this before, but campaign promises in Queensland and arguments in US about health insurance coverage make the point worth repeating.
When people say something should be free, what they are really saying is ‘Someone else should pay for it.’
When politicians say something will be free, they are really saying ‘We will make you pay for other people’s ….’
For example, Anna Bligh, soon to be ex premier of Queensland, has promised free swimming lessons for toddlers.
What she is really saying to the people of Queensland is ‘We will make you pay for swimming lessons for other people’s kids.’
When Obama says contraception should be free, he is really saying is ‘We will make you pay for other people’s condoms.’
Something is coming that will leave the world a different place. Not something wicked perhaps, though made necessary by wickedness. Certainly something sad, bad and dangerous.
I wrote a couple of days ago about what I thought was a likely sequence of events leading to a major war in the Middle East in 2012.
The initiating factor (underlaid, as always, by longstanding hostility and mistrust) is the imposition of stronger sanctions against Iran.
President Barack Obama has just signed into US law the strongest sanctions yet against any trade with Iran’s central bank. These sanctions are not only against Iran, but against any country which trades with Iran through its central bank. The US is effectively saying, you either trade with us or Iran. You can’t trade with both.
Meanwhile, the EU continues to consider sanctions specifically against Iranian oil. EU foreign ministers will meet again on January 30th to try again to formalise an agreement.
When imposed, those sanctions will cause huge difficulties for Greece, because Iran is the only major oil exporter still willing to offer Greece credit. Greece will need to be plied with promises of support and energy supply before it will agree. Some of those promises will not be kept, because when the time for payment comes, countries that made the promises will be in such financial straits they will be struggling to pay their own energy bills.
Meanwhile, Iran is flexing its muscles in the Straits of Hormuz, test firing a new medium range anti-radar missile, a weapon that could strike a US aircraft carrier, or more easily, other major shipping including oil tankers carrying Saudi or Kuwaiti oil.
Europe is weak. It has spent the last twenty years undermining the strength of its democracies and economies, and handing power to a bunch of mealy mouthed bureaucrats.
The US is economically weaker than at any time since the 1930s, and is lead by an ineffective and ill-informed president.
The West, in the sense of the world’s liberal democracies, will win. But the fight will be economically crippling, and tragically costly in human life.
I am not sure ‘earns’ is the right word, but it is, as Governor General Quentin Bryce noted in her congratulations to John Howard, ‘a rare and singular honour for his service to Australia.’
It is rare in that only 24 persons can be members at any one time (other members include Baroness Thatcher, Prince Charles, and Tom Stoppard), and singular in that he is the only Australian politician to whom this honour has ever been granted. Other Australians admitted to the Order of Merit include Howard Florey, Sidney Nolan and Joan Sutherland.
If you are not sure why he deserved to be honoured in this way, why not buy his autobiography?
The Kindle edition is only $15.25. It is a great read. Not only is Howard a good writer, but he is consistently fair to both colleagues and political opponents.
Runaway Global Warming promises to literally burn-up agricultural areas into dust worldwide by 2012, causing global famine, anarchy, diseases, and war on a global scale as military powers including the U.S., Russia, and China, fight for control of the Earth’s remaining resources. Over 4.5 billion people could die from Global Warming related causes by 2012, as planet Earth accelarates into a greed-driven horrific catastrophe.
OK, so The Canadian is hardly renowned as a careful and accurate purveyor of news.
But just as Christian and other groups are rightly criticised when they make end-time predictions that fail, so scientists should be subject to criticism when their end-time predictions fail. Two things that characterise science are its basis in real world evidence, and its predictive power. The IPCC’s version of climate science has neither.
So it is doubtful whether global warming alarmism counts as as science at all. What happens in the real world continues to refuse to conform to the computer models on which the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) scare is based, and prophecies based on AGW theory continue to fail at a rate of 100% – a rate that would embarrass even Harold Camping.
Unlike Harold Camping’s fantasies, however, global warming alarmism costs billions of dollars every year. Those billions of dollars, if they had been spent on real problems, could have eradicated polio and malaria, and provided permanent clean drinking water for every person on the planet.
Now if only we can get these enthusiastic sceptics to be sceptical about something that is worth being sceptical about!
I wholeheartedly wish and pray for my readers and all people of goodwill, a happy, purposeful, peaceful and prosperous New Year.
But I don’t think it is going to happen.
Over the last six years the UN Security Council has passed four resolutions calling for economic sanctions against Iran, primarily relating to trade in nuclear technology. Various individual countries including the US and Australia have imposed wider sanctions. The US sanctions amount to an almost complete ban on any financial interaction with Iran.
These sanctions are motivated by disgust with a violent and oppressive regime, by growing concern over Iran’s refusal to wind back its nuclear programme, by Iran’s support for terrorist groups, and its threats against other nations.
Iran’s economy depends almost entirely on oil. EU foreign ministers, along with the US, Canada, Japan and Australia and other nations, have begun to wonder whether the only way to to encourage regime change without military intervention, or at least, to force Iran to shut down its nuclear programme, is to impose even tighter sanctions on Iran’s oil exports.
This would bring Iran’s economy to a grinding halt. Iran has said it will regard such sanctions as an act of war. It has promised that if oil sanctions are tightened, it will close the Straits of Hormuz. It could easily do so. The Straits are only about thirty miles wide.
Closing the Straits of Hormuz will not only stop the movement of Iran’s oil, but also most of Saudi Arabia and Iraq’s oil, and that of some smaller states like the UAE and Kuwait. About 35% of the world’s oil travels through the Straits of Hormuz on its way to Europe, Asia and the Americas.
If tighter oil sanctions are imposed and remain in place for any length of time, Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs will believe they have nothing to lose. Even allowing for Russia’s likely refusal to co-operate, Iran will become unstable, and regime change will be inevitable. Iran is unlikely to back down from its threat.
Industrial nations will not be able to accept a 35% reduction in world oil supplies. The Saudis will not tolerate a complete stop to their oil exports.
Military intervention will become inevitable. Barack Obama has seen Wag the Dog. He will be desperate to look strong and decisive.
Iran will resist any foreign forces on its territory, and they will not hesitate to use chemical or any other weapons at their disposal. They will also attack Israel, in an attempt to draw other islamic nations into the conflict. This did not work when Saddam Hussein tried it. Given Iran’s influence in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and now Egypt, it may well work when they try it.
There is a strong possibility of a major war in the Middle East in 2012.
It is a tad disappointing that church leaders trot out the same bland comments about illegal immigrants year after year. You might hope that if all they can up with is platitudes, they could at least try to find some new ones.
But no. This year, yet again, we heard that Jesus was a refugee, and that this means we have an obligation to be warm and welcoming to anyone who arrives here, no matter where they come from. We are asked to imagine the fear felt by Jesus’ family as they fled the violence of Herod’s persecution, and to understand that refugee families feel the same fear and desperation.
These are worthwhile thoughts. Or they would be if church leaders had not battered us with them every Christmas for the last twenty years.
Just as cliches in writing are to be avoided like the pox, cliches in preaching are to be avoided like polio, and for the same reason. Cliches become cliches because they express a thought strikingly. They make you think. As soon as they become cliches they cease to express anything very much. They are just boring and predictable and don’t encourage thought at all. It is the same with lazy, cliched preaching.
Church leaders who talk year after year about the need to be compassionate to refugees are not going to convince anyone, because everyone is already convinced. We all know we need to find a compassionate way to deal with refugees, including those who make their way to Australia illegally.
What most Australians understand, but which seems to have escaped the bishops and moderators, is the complexity of going from good feelings and wanting to do the right thing, to formulating and enacting policy which really does do some good.
Under the Howard government, people smuggling and illegal immigration had slowed to a trickle. That left more resources for the Department of Immigration to allocate to refugees who were in greatest need, and to supporting those refugees in their transition to life in Australia. When Labor was elected there were fewer than 400 people in immigration detention. Now there are over 4,000. That number is growing rapidly as new boats arrive every week.
At least 400 people have died in transit since Labor came to office. Yet there has been no acceptance of responsibility, no acknowledgement that the kinder policies demanded by churches and refugee advocate groups have been responsibile for the current cruel and expensive mess. Instead, the same people are serving up the same tripe about the ‘need for compassion.’
A lack of compassion is not the problem. A lack of willingness to think is. If church leaders really want to help, they need to stop the reflexive bagging of conservative politicians and recognise that it is possible for politicians on both sides of parliament, and for ordinary people, to feel the same depth of concern, but to have completely different ideas about the best way forward.
The best way forward, of course, is the one that works. What works is stopping illegal immigration, and concentrating resources on bringing to Australia people who are most in need, and who are most likely to share, or to come to share, Australia’s key values of rule of law, equality for men and women, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, fair work for fair pay, generosity and ‘having a go.’
And by way of contrast, thank God for Queen Elizabeth.
I would have thought the primary motivation for becoming a journalist was to make the world a better place by helping people to know the truth.
So it is a constant source of dismay that so many journalists and media outlets decline to be truthful, either by not covering stories which don’t match their own viewpoint, or by leaving out crucial facts, or by outright distortion of reality. The refusal to cover or even mention the constant attacks against Israel by state supported terrorists from Gaza and the West Bank is an example of the first. Calling the massive and ongoing violence by muslims against Christians ‘sectarian violence’ is an example of the later.
The so-called “Arab Spring” continues to transition into a “Christian Winter,” including in those nations undergoing democratic change, such as Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis dominated the elections—unsurprisingly so, considering the Obama administration has actually been training Islamists for elections.
Arab regimes not overthrown by the “Arab Spring” are under mounting international pressure; these include the secular Assad regime of Syria, where Christians, who comprise some 10% of the population, are fearful of the future, having seen the effects of democracy in neighboring nations such as Iraq, where, since the fall of the Saddam regime, Christians have been all but decimated.
Meanwhile, it was revealed that “Christians are being refused refugee status [in the U.S.] and face persecution and many times certain death for their religious beliefs under Sharia, while whole Muslim communities are entering the U.S. by the tens of thousands per month despite the fact that they face no religious persecution.”
Categorized by theme, November’s batch of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed according to theme and in alphabetical order by country, not necessarily severity.
Ethiopia: More than 500 Muslim students assisted by Muslim police burned down a church, while screaming “Allahu Akbar” (and thus clearly positing their attack in an Islamic framework); the church was built on land used by Christians for more than 60 years, but now a court has ruled that it was built “without a permit.”
Indonesia: Hundreds of “hard-line” Muslims rallied to decry the “arrogance” of a beleaguered church that, though kept shuttered by authorities, has been ordered open by the Supreme Court. Church members have been forced to hold services on the sidewalk, even as Indonesia’s leading Muslim clerics warned Christians that it would be “wise and sensible” for the church to yield to “the feelings of the local believers, specifically Muslims.”
Iran: The nation’s minister of intelligence said that house churches in his country are a threat to Iranian youth, and acknowledged a new series of efforts to fight the growth of the house church movement in Iran.
Nigeria: Islamic militants shouting “Allahu Akbar” carried out coordinated attacks on churches and police stations, including opening fire on a congregation of “mostly women and children,” killing dozens. The attacks occurred in a region where hundreds of people were earlier killed during violence that erupted after President Jonathan, a Christian, beat his closet Muslim rival in April elections.
Turkey: The ancient Aghia Sophia church has been turned into a mosque. Playing an important role in ecumenical history, the church was first transformed into a mosque in 1331 by the jihadist Ottoman state. As a sign of secularization, however, in 1920 it was turned into a museum. Its transformation again into a mosque is a reflection of Turkey’s re-Islamization.
Apostasy and Proselytism
Afghanis around the world are being threatened for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity. One exile, who changed his name after fleeing Afghanistan in 2007 when an Islamic court issued an arrest warrant for his conversion, is still receiving threats: “They [Afghan officials] were very angry and saying that they will hit me by knife and kill me.” Even in distant Norway last September, an Afghan convert to Christianity was scalded with boiling water and acid at a refugee processing center: “If you do not return to Islam, we will kill you,” his attackers told him.
Algeria: Five Christians were jailed for “worshiping in an unregistered location.” International Christian Concern (ICC), an advocacy group investigating the case, states that the five Christians are charged with “proselytizing,” “unauthorized worship,” and “insulting Islam.”
Iran: Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who caught the attention of the world after being imprisoned and awaiting execution for leaving Islam, remains behind bars as officials continue to come up with excuses to force him to renounce Christianity, the latest being that “everyone is [born] a Muslim.” A Christian couple “who had been snatched and illegally-detained” by authorities for eight months without any formal charges, were finally released, beaten again, and have since fled the country. While imprisoned, they were “ridiculed and debased” for their Christian faith.
Kashmir: Muslim police arrested and beat seven converts from Islam in an attempt to obtain a confession against the priest who baptized them. After the grand mufti alleged that Muslim youths were alternatively being “lured” and “forced” to convert by an Anglican priest “in exchange for money,” the priest was arrested in a “humiliating” manner. Recently released, his life is now “in serious danger.”
Kenya: A gang of Muslims stabbed and beat with iron rods a 25-year-old Somali refugee, breaking his teeth; he was then stripped naked, covered with dirt, and left unconscious near a church. Although he was raised Christian since age 7, he was attacked on the “assumption that as a Somali he was born into Islam and was therefore an apostate deserving of death.”
Nigeria: The Muslim militant group, Boko Haram, executed two children of an ex-terrorist and “murderer” because he converted to Christianity. When still a terrorist, he “was poised to slit the throat of a Christian victim” when “he was suddenly struck with the weight of the evil he was about to commit.” After finding he converted to Christianity, “Boko Haram members invaded his home, kidnapped his two children and informed him that they were going to execute them in retribution for his disloyalty to Islam. Clutching his phone, the man heard the sound of the guns that murdered his children.”
Egypt: After a Christian inadvertently killed a Muslim in a quarrel begun by the latter, thousands of Muslims rose in violence, “collectively punishing” the Copts of the village. Two Christians “not party to the altercation” were killed; others were stabbed and critically wounded. As usual, “after killing the Copts, Muslims went on a rampage, looting and burning Christian-owned homes and businesses.” Even so, “Muslims insist they have not yet avenged” the death of their co-religionist, and there are fears of “a wholesale massacre of Copts.” Many Christians have fled their homes or are in hiding.
Kenya: Suspected Islamic extremists, apparently angered at the use of wine during communion—Islam forbids alcohol—threw a grenade near a church compound killing two, including an 8-year-old girl, and critically wounding three others. The pastor of another congregation received a message threatening him either to flee the region “within 48 hours or you see bomb blast taking your life and we know your house, Christians will see war. Don’t take it so lightly. We are for your neck.”
Nigeria: In the latest round of violence, soon after mosque prayers were heard, hundreds of armed Muslims invaded Christian villages, “like a swarm of bees,” killing, looting, and destroying virtually everything in sight; at the end of their four-hour rampage, some 150 people had been killed—at least 130 of them Christians. Another 45 Christians were also killed by another set of “Allahu Akbar!” shouting Muslims who burned, looted, and killed. Hundreds of people are still missing; the attacks have included the bombing of at least ten church buildings. Nearly all the Christians in the area have fled the region.
Pakistan: A 25 year-old Christian was shot dead by “an unidentified gunman in what his family believes was a radical Muslim group’s targeting of a Christian.” According to the son, “We firmly believe that my father was killed because of his preaching of the Bible, because there is no other reason.” He began to receive threats “after voicing his desire to start a welfare organization for the poor Christians” of the region.
(General Abuse, Debasement, and Suppression of non-Muslim “Second-Class Citizens”)
November’s major instances of dhimmitude come from two Muslim nations notorious for violating Christian rights—Egypt and Pakistan—neither of which is even cited in the U.S. State Department’s recent International Religious Freedom report:
Egypt: Following October’s Maspero massacre, when the military killed dozens of Christians, some run over intentionally by armored vehicles, Egypt’s military prosecutor detained 34 Christians, including teens under 16, on charges of “inciting violence, carrying arms and insulting the armed forces”; many of the detainees were not even at the scene and were just collected from the streets for “being a Christian.” Three are under 16 years of age, including one who, after having an operation to extract a bullet from his jaw, was chained to his hospital bed. Hundreds of Christians also came under attack from Muslims throwing stones and bottles, after the Christians protested against the violence at Maspero: “Supporters of an Islamist candidate for upcoming parliamentary election joined in the attack on the Copts.” Meanwhile, a senior leader of the Salafi party, which came in second after the Muslim Brotherhood in recent elections, blamed Christians for their own massacre, calling “Allah’s curse on them.” Muslim Brotherhood leaders asserted that only “drunks, druggies, and adulterers” are against the implementation of Sharia—a clear reference to Egypt’s Christians.
Pakistan: A new U.S. government commission report indicates that Pakistani school textbooks foster intolerance of Christians, Hindus, and all non-Muslims, while most teachers view religious minorities as “enemies of Islam.” “Religious minorities are often portrayed as inferior or second-class citizens who have been granted limited rights and privileges by generous Pakistani Muslims, for which they should be grateful,” notes the report. Accordingly, in an attempted land-grab, Muslim police and cohorts of a retired military official, beat two Christian women with “batons and punches,” inflicting a serious wound to one of the women’s eyes after the women spoke up in defense of their land, and shot at Christians who came to help the women. “In the last few years Muslims have made several attempts to seize the land from the Christians, usually succeeding because Christians are a marginalized minority.” Likewise, under a “false charge of theft,” a Christian couple was arrested and severely beaten by police; the pregnant wife was “kicked and punched” even as her interrogators threatened “to kill her unborn fetus.” A policeman offered to remove the theft charges if the husband would only “renounce Christianity and convert to Islam.”
What strikes me about this is not so much the courage, but the kindness of the store clerk.
Mustafa comes at him with a gun, threatening his life for money. Derek knocks the robber out with a single punch and calls the police. But there is no more shouting or violence. Derek sits with him, almost in a comforting way, and gives him paper towels to help with the bleeding.
He has good advice to offer too: If you want money, get a job. Work, like everyone else.
Jimmy Carter is a kind-hearted and sincere man who, partly because of his own honesty and gentleness, cannot seem to believe in the dishonesty and brutality of others. He is a Christian who does not believe people can be evil. This naivety made him a bad president, and makes him a poor judge of foreign policy and a dangerously incompetent commentator on social issues.
Michael Wiess in the UK Telegraph is right to point out just how destructive some of Carter’s comments and actions have been. But I cannot get distressed at Carter’s reported sending of condolences to Kim Jong Il’s son Kim Jong Un. Jong Il was a vile dictator. We may be glad his reign is over. But his family still suffers grief at his death, and it is right that we condole with them.
Nor can I share in the sentiments expressed by John McCain, for whom I have considerable respect:
“The world is a better place now that Kim Jong Il is no longer in it,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement after the North Korean leader died, reportedly of a heart attack. “For more than six decades, people in North Korea have been consigned to lives of dire poverty and cruel oppression under one of the most totalitarian regimes the world has ever known. I can only express satisfaction that the Dear Leader is joining the likes of Qaddafi, Bin Laden, Hitler, and Stalin in a warm corner of hell.”
I hope not. None of us is worthy of salvation. If Qaddafi and Kim Jong Il don’t deserve to be in heaven, well, no more do I. Jesus came to save them as much as to save me, and if he loved them enough to go to the cross for them, then I cannot rejoice at their deaths, nor hope for damnation for them.
That is not to deny the harm they have done, and the immense suffering they have caused. My prayer for the family of Kim Jong Il is that they will be comforted in their time of sorrow, and that both the sorrow and the comfort will lead to a change of heart, then to changes in policy and eventually to freedom for North Korea.