Thursday, 20 September 2012

Islamist Violence is Intentional, Not Spontaneous.

Rejecting the "Spark-and-Fire" Metaphor
From here...
The Western reaction is... familiar, particularly in its understanding of the Middle East as a bonfire waiting to happen and criticism of Islam as the spark that ignites it. Descriptions of the YouTube film (a trailer, actually) that “sparked protests in many Muslim countries”—as the New Yorker put it in a typical formulation—rely on this false metaphor. It suggests that the protests are spontaneous occurrences that would not have come about without such a spark, and that the demonstrating Muslims are primitive savages governed by passion, not responsible for their own actions. The only parties with control over their actions are the filmmakers.

The American State Department, various celebrities, news media and even Anglican clerics are condemning the video trailer in question and blaming it for the mobs' behaviours throughout the Middle East. I heard that Bette Midler even went so far as to claim that the makers of the movie should be tried as accessories to murder!

I have heard it argued that the current situation is tantamount to crying, "Fire!" in a crowded theater (the standard argument for limits on free speech.) Well first of all, expressing an opinion (criticism of Islam), whether true or not, is hardly the same as shouting Fire when there is none. Secondly, those who hear the word, "Fire!" in a crowded theater would quite naturally have one reaction - to head as quickly as possible toward the exits. Muslims who feel insulted have a choice how to respond, don't they?

Frankly, this liberal attitude should be an insult to all moderate Muslims. To assume that the only possible reaction to an insulting movie is to riot, burn and kill, as if these mobs had no control over their behaviour, is nothing short of incredibly condescending. It's almost as if to say, "These people, after all, are savages, they can't help their reaction."

Many on the liberal side are now dropping their pants and bending over calling for the curtailing of free speech; to make it against the law to blaspheme a religion, but of course, what they mean is not any religion, but Islam. Because what other religion behaves like Islam in response to a perceived insult. You would be hard pressed to find one.

What happened was anything but spontaneous:

Al-Qaida already has claimed that the Benghazi killings were motivated not by the film, but by a desire to avenge the drone killing of an al-Qaida leader. The Egyptian unrest was no less premeditated. On August 30, the terrorist group Jamaa al-Islamiya called for 9/11 riots in Cairo, and Egypt’s large Salafist party, Al Nour, followed suit. The film seems to have been used as a pretext. Egyptian prime minister Hesham Kandil now claims that “a number” of demonstrators admit they were paid for their efforts.
We are playing right into the extremists' hands.

Take Care

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Freedom of Conscience? Not for long.

Ontario Christian Minister Forced to Conduct Same-Sex Ceremonies or Be Fired

From Here

A Church of Christ minister who has been responsible for civic marriage ceremonies at Cambridge city hall for the past 15 years is facing the axe if she doesn’t agree to perform same-sex “marriages.”
Rev. Jay Brown told LifeSiteNews that city council voted 8 to 1 Monday night on a motion, brought forward by Councillor Donna Reid, that Brown be forced to officiate at homosexual “marriages” or they would issue a “request for proposal” to find a replacement.
Frankly, I'm not going to campaign for this minister to keep her job. I post this merely as an observation of how things are going and where they are surely headed. If I were that minister, I think I would just see the writing on the wall and resign. Same-sex "marriage" is legal in Canada and I think that the Cambridge city council has the right to set her conditions of employment. It's just interesting to see how far the pendulum has swung in how short a time. Cambridge City council obviously has no room for freedom of conscience, at least as far as Christian faith is concerned, and in that they are just reflecting a view that is quickly becoming more and more common.

Where I will draw the line as far as what I think is truly wrong is concerned, is when (not if) clergy in churches are forced to  act against their consciences in this matter.  It is one thing for a city council to direct an employee (if that is what she is) in the performance of her duties to her employer; quite another to force private citizens who are not public servants to toe a moral line contrary to their religious beliefs - especially when there are probably plenty of others quite willing to perform the service. However, it is only a matter of time, in my opinion, before some poor pastor or priest is hauled up before some human rights commission and convicted of hate crimes.

It seems to me that earlier in the SSM debate, all assurance was given that clergy would not be forced to act against their consciences.

We'll see how long that lasts.

Take Care

Monday, 17 September 2012

US State Dept. Defends Right to Insult Religion (Sometimes)

From Here...

On August 17, Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton’s State Department, issued the following press release in response to the two-year prison sentences handed down to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich for desecrating the altar of a Russian Orthodox Cathedral:

“The United States is concerned about both the verdict and the disproportionate sentences handed down by a Moscow court in the case against the members of the band Pussy Riot and the negative impact on freedom of expression in Russia.
We urge Russian authorities to review this case and ensure that the right to freedom of expression is upheld.”

By contrast, on September 14, Clinton, speaking about the YouTube video “Innocence of Muslims” that allegedly sparked the protests and attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts, sang a very different tune:

“The United States government… absolutely reject[s the] content and message [of the video]… to us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage.”
So. The U.S. government lectures the Russians about “freedom of expression” in defense of freaks who engage in public sex, public vandalism, and the denigration of a “great religion,” the Russian Orthodox Church.

But when Americans exercise First Amendment freedoms that Muslims dislike, the Secretary of State reproaches them, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs calls them to encourage them to cease and desist, and federal law enforcement officers haul them in for questioning.

Once again, just sayin'

Take Care

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Once More the Game's Afoot (Bumped)

(Originally posted March, 2011)
For what it's worth...

Regarding This...
.....US and UK vessels launch missile strike against Gadhafi's limited air defences in Libya

Iraq, Afghanistan, now this?

Without editorializing, I found my self thinking of this passage of Scripture, even though the context is not exactly the same.
That day will be darkness, not light.
It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear,as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him.
Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light— pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? (Amos 5:18b-20)

I wonder what we're getting ourselves into this time. As I said, just thinkin'

Take Care

(Updated with further thoughts)
What I mean is this; we (the West) have gone into Iraq and Afghanistan and been stuck there in what we may have called a, "transition period," until stability can be restored in these areas. But even if we don't end up physically occupying them, what are we going to see in the various countries of North Africa in which we are seeing such change and turmoil recently. Is what replaces the status quo going to be better or worse than that which is being replaced? What is going to fill these vaccuums, freedom or increased tyranny and repression? More tolerance for the rights of minorities or less?

We don't yet know, do we?

Take Care

(Updated Sept 13/12)
But we plunged in anyway,didn't we?
See also here..

"Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred..." - Tennyson - The Charge of the Light Brigade.

I believe it is time to stop interfering around the world, however noble we feel is the motive. The white man's burden is passe. Let's stop trying to export democracy to those who either don't want it or who have no clue how to use it.

Take even more Care

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Monkeys With Keyboards?

From here...

...Evangelism is the spiritual practice of opening ourselves to engage the image of God in others. Through this spiritual practice of seeking and serving Christ in all persons, we are drawn into the Spirit’s reconciling and transforming passion. This passion drives us to mission, the gathering of spiritual communities in which we can experience each other and ourselves as the Beloved of God. This experience of Belovedness makes us want more. We want to expand and deepen our capacity to practice the kinds of evangelism and mission through which we participate in the Spirit’s revelation of God’s love.

...Together we will explore: engaging people and communities generatively across lines of difference, forming missional leaders who can nurture others’ pursuit of their authentic vocation, and discerning the Spirit’s movement in our worship, in our spiritual communities and in our local contexts. In all these explorations, we will seek to follow the Spirit’s lead together.
Participants will experientially and collaboratively engage topics in the following areas:...
And on it goes - one incomprehensible phrase or buzzword of the middle-aged pseudo-intelligensia after another.

And young people are leaving the church? Wow! Who'da thunk!

Now, I would have many objections to the way the Episcopal church in the US, and the Anglican church in Canada, is going, but that is not the point of this post. I am actually making them a serious suggestion.

One would think that a church wanting to attract new members would at least speak in a language understood by those it is hoping to reach. The only people to whom this kind of pseudo-intellectual baby-boomer nouveau-theological bafflegab appeals are already there.

Take Care

h/t themcj

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The God Who Does Stuff

Or... The God Who Opens Doors

From Here...
Yousef Nadarkhani, the Church of Iran pastor sentenced to death for apostasy, has been released and is at home with his family.
What more can we say? What a mighty God we serve.
Nothing is impossible. Pray without ceasing for things that seem to be.

Take Care

h/t Stand Firm

Just Sayin'

New York's Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan prayed a prayer at the close of the Democratic National convention.
Apparently none of the major TV networks carried it. Well, of course they didn't.

I just finished my Apha training conference today, and part of my own message was how society's attitudes have changed dramatically in just a very short time. Where Christianity even less than a generation ago was at least acceptable, today it is spat upon and cursed in the public square.

If I were less a person of faith, I would find this disturbing, but frankly I just shake my head in sad amusement at the new left's rabid anti-faith agenda. We Christians are the ones often accused of intolerance, but without fail, the true intolerance comes from that other side of the fence. One of the things Cardinal Dalton snuck into his prayer, rather innocouosly yet cleverly I thought, was a prayer for, "...those waiting to be born."

The response of the supposedly tolerant left demonstrates just who are the truly intolerant ones. If you can grit yout teeth and stand the language, the typical vocabulary of angry atheists, check this out.  I have found, even on my own blog, that the F-bomb seems to be a favourite debating strategy of those who have no better way of answering someone with whom they disagree.

Take Care
h/t the mcj