Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Studies in Islam: the Blood of Christians

As the year 2013 ends, and the world is preoccupied with comedies and crises great and small, we should focus for just a moment on the continuing atrocities of "the religion of peace," Mohammedanism.  These barbarities can be performed on a grand stage, such as the recent Chechen terrorist bombings in Russia, or on a more personal and intimate scale.  In the following video, Hatune Dogan, a Syrian Orthodox nun living in Turkey, describes in detail some of the horrific and heartbreaking activities of the followers of Muhammad.  This is far different from the "blood libel" often spread against Jews by the Roman Catholic Church; this is a celebrated humanitarian describing acts that are very recent, and very real.  Sister Dogan is the founder of Helfende Hände für die Armen ("Helping Hands for the Poor"), an international relief agency, and in 2010 was awarded the Medal of the Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany.  She is anything but a sensationalist or a rabble-rouser: she is a decent and charitable woman, who, in this video, simply tells the truth about Islam and some of its slaves and victims.  Warning: the video is very graphic and unpleasant, and, if you have tears, you should prepare to shed them now.

video

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dick and Jane Meet the TSA

Many years ago, before the advent and popularization of the phonetic method of reading instruction, American children were taught to read using the "whole word" technique.  From the 1920s to the 1970s, elementary schoolteachers used very simple "primers," or basic instructional books, using a limited vocabulary, repetition, and lots of pictures.  The most widely utilized series of such books were the "Dick and Jane" books, written by William S. Gray and Zema Sharp.  Generations of elementary school students learned to read by studying these books, starting with the classic Fun with Dick and Jane, to the point where the children in the books became iconic figures of American childhood.


In the 1970s, American educationalists decided that the "whole word" approach was inadequate and outdated, and phonics became the order of the day.  Nevertheless, Dick and Jane remained embedded in the national psyche, and are still fondly remembered as beloved, if not particularly effective, symbols of childhood.

The popularity of the "Dick and Jane" books is, of course, a remnant of an earlier and more innocent time, before the United States and its educational system degenerated into bureaucracy and eventual savagery.  Dick and Jane are associated with World War II, the widely-reviled decade of the 1950s, and the era before vampire dolls and "ultra-violent" video games became avatars of American childhood.  And, of course, Dick and Jane never lived to see the rise of the American police state, which can be observed in full flower in the continuing antics of the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), which has become the bane of travelers in the once-free United States.

When the TSA was first becoming a fixture in American airports, as part of George W. Bush's mythical "war on terror," it was primarily the source of grumbling and cursing by frequent business travelers and other citizens who resented the constant interference and harassment by its genuinely stupid and insensitive employees.  As time went on, and the TSA flourished and bloomed during the Bush and Obama administrations, things got worse.  The TSA never reported the capture of any actual terrorists, but it certainly had its hands full (quite literally) with the invasion of the privacy of innocent travelers - - - including children, pregnant women, and the aged and infirm.  But it was the groping and intimidation of children that caught the public imagination most of all.  No one likes having their kids manhandled or threatened by strangers, but such treatment was now a government-mandated necessity of travel, from Miami to Seattle:

video

Such incidents are legion, and, in examining the phenomenon, the problem is not finding examples, but choosing just a few representative cases:

video

It seems that the grandchildren of Dick and Jane are having no fun at all, at least when attempting to use the public airways, train stations, or, now, even select bus stations.  The image of the TSA was not enhanced by a significant number of its employees being arrested and indicted on child pornography charges.* No one is claiming that the TSA is a nest of pedophiles, but its hiring practices seem to leave a lot to be desired.

So, how has the federal government responded?  Why, in the way that police states always respond: by producing propaganda to desensitize and lull the citizenry - - - in this case, children - - - into complacency and obedience.  Here is a recent advertisement, produced for use on the Internet and in public schoolrooms, presenting the thuggish, merciless TSA agents as friendly, happy little animals.  We've come a long way from the days of "fun with Dick and Jane:"

video

Friday, December 27, 2013

December 25

And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
 - - - Job 1:5 

What the patriarch did early in the morning, after the family festivities, it will be well for the believer to do for himself ere he rests tonight. Amid the cheerfulness of household gatherings it is easy to slide into sinful levities, and to forget our avowed character as Christians. It ought not to be so, but so it is, that our days of feasting are very seldom days of sanctified enjoyment, but too frequently degenerate into unhallowed mirth. There is a way of joy as pure and sanctifying as though one bathed in the rivers of Eden: holy gratitude should be quite as purifying an element as grief. Alas! for our poor hearts, that facts prove that the house of mourning is better than the house of feasting. Come, believer, in what have you sinned today? Have you been forgetful of your high calling? Have you been even as others in idle words and loose speeches? Then confess the sin, and fly to the sacrifice. The sacrifice sanctifies. The precious blood of the Lamb slain removes the guilt, and purges away the defilement of our sins of ignorance and carelessness. This is the best ending of a Christmas-day - - - to wash anew in the cleansing fountain. Believer, come to this sacrifice continually; if it be so good to-night, it is good every night. To live at the altar is the privilege of the royal priesthood; to them sin, great as it is, is nevertheless no cause for despair, since they draw near yet again to the sin-atoning victim, and their conscience is purged from dead works.

Gladly I close this festive day, Grasping the altar's hallow'd horn; My slips and faults are washed away, The Lamb has all my trespass borne.  


 - - - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Morning and Evening

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Keep Christ in Christmas?

Once again, the "holiday" season is in full swing; and, once again, certain of my fellow Christians are beating their breasts about "the war on Christmas."  Nonsense, say I: if there really is a war on Christmas, Christians shouldn't be fighting on either side.  We should ignore it.  In fact, we should ignore Christmas itself, for the most part.

At least, I should.  I have no right to lay down rules for my fellow believers:  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind (Romans 14:5). If my brothers and sisters in Christ want to participate in this ghastly heathen ritual, they have that right.  But count me out, please.

Because, really, what does "Christmas" have to do with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ? Christians are commanded, in the Bible, to remember His crucifixion and resurrection: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. We're given the wonderful details of His nativity, of course, as part of His scriptural "biography," in Luke 2 and elsewhere. But we're never, ever commanded to commemorate this glorious event, and the early Christians didn't.  It's wonderful and personally meaningful to remember Jesus' birth; that's why I did a little post on "Christmas in July."  But what does that have to do with the annual orgy of obligation and debt and hysteria that rolls around every December 25th?  Where is the "sweet little Jesus Boy," much less the crucified Saviour, in the following?
video

I'm not just grousing, however, about "the commercialization of Christmas."  That's old news.  I'm talking about the Christmas "holiday" itself.  It's not a Christian observance, and has never been a Christian observance, except in the hearts of many sincere believers.  But those believers, for all their devotion to Christ, are a bit ignorant of history.

The Incarnation of Christ at Bethlehem was, of course, the most earth-shattering event in history.   The words of the traditional hymns, such as "Joy to the World," are true, and wonderful to contemplate.  But they're not the center of the Christian faith.  According to the Bible, the Resurrection is the center of the faith: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable (1 Corinthians 15:14-19).

Any historian knows that "Christmas" is a purely human invention, created by the Roman Catholic Church to co-opt the genuine orgy that was the Roman Saturnalia.  The Saturnalia was the Roman Empire's celebration of the winter solstice, called the Natalis Solis Invicti, "the birthday of the unconquered sun," and it fell on Dec. 25th. It was a time of drunkenness, sexual debauchery, and ... of course ... the exchanging of gifts.  It was so popular that the Catholic Church simply had to appropriate it, and "Christianize" it, as they have historically done, and are doing today, with pagan rituals around the world.  But it was a hideous, anarchic horror. Think of Mardi Gras, writ large.

Saturnalia
 
It wasn't even celebrated as a "Christian holiday" until the late 4th century AD.  And when it was, it was merely a power grab, a play for acceptance and popularity by the Roman Church.  Those facts may not be palatable or pleasant, but they are facts, and facts are stubborn things.  And we won't even mention Santa Claus!


This is not to say, of course, that the Roman Catholic Church is entirely responsible for the pagan monstrosity that "Christmas" has become.  Even during the Reformation, Martin Luther probably swigged his egg nog, or his beer, as he admired his "Christmas tree."  All Christians love Jesus, and many think that remembering His birth is a good idea - - - which it is.  But what does it have to do with the winter solstice, or the heathen orgies of ancient Rome?

For that matter, it's not even Jesus' birthday.  He was probably born in September; this can be determined by a number of factors.  For one thing, the shepherds who keep watch over their flocks don't stay in the fields at night in December: it gets cold, even in the Middle East.

 
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Christians are committing some egregious sin by celebrating December 25th.  I'm not a Jehovah's Witness: I don't believe that the observation of birthdays and holidays is inherently wicked.  I certainly don't believe in depriving children of the fleeting joy that Christmas affords them.  If families can get together and enjoy one another's fellowship, and entertain the children, without forced, artificial familiarity and the incurring of horrendous debt, I'm all for it.  But I'd be all for it in March or July or September, too.  It has nothing to do with December 25th, and it most assuredly has nothing to do with Jesus Christ.
 
Why, I don't even dislike Christmas trees, although Jeremiah 10:2-5 makes for interesting reading at this time of year.  If you like having lighted trees in your home, more power to you.  I'm fond of pretty lights myself.  But why not have them year round?  Why claim that they have anything to do with Christianity?


So, it's a bit hard for me to get very agitated about what certain commentators, like those on Fox News, call "the war on Christmas." In fact, when I hear such stories in the media, I wonder: are they really upset about Jesus being obscured, or are they afraid that secularists like the ACLU will somehow interfere with the economic explosion that Christmas provides?

If people who don't really know Jesus Christ, who have never received Him as their Saviour and Lord according to John 1:12, want to engage in this yearly frenzy of debt and false jollity, then by all means let them do it.  Happy Holidays, everybody!  Do your thing!


Just leave my Saviour out of it, okay?  He deserves better than that.  He's more important than that.  And, by the way, He's not a cute baby in a manger any more: He's the Lord of the Universe, Who grew up and was tortured to death for your sins and mine on the cross.  But that's not the Jesus we think of in December, is it?  We think of the baby.  And who doesn't love a baby?  A baby doesn't present any threat.  A baby doesn't demand a changed life, or even a bent knee.  But that bloody Man of Sorrows on the cross is a different image!

It gives me no great joy, but on this matter, I must break ranks with so many of my fellow believers, as much as I love them.  My brethren say, "Jesus is the reason for the season!"  That's true in their hearts, God bless them, but not in the real-world sense.  And, of course, they say, "Keep Christ in Christmas!"

 
I say it's time to give the holiday back to the pagans.  It was theirs to begin with, and it's still theirs.  I say we should take Christ out of Christmas, and worship and adore Him year-round.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mandela: Death of a Terrorist

Osama Bin Laden, Yasir Arafat, and Carlos "the Jackal," have now been joined in the afterlife by another of the greatest terrorists of the 20th and 21st centuries.  I refer, of course, to Nelson Mandela.

The former President of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Mandela is hailed almost universally as a hero of nearly godlike proportions.  Everyone from Clint Eastwood (who made a movie about him) to Barack Obama (who loves anyone who's sufficiently anti-American) to the authors of America's schoolbooks refer to Mandela as one of the great liberators and heroes of modern times.  To say otherwise is regarded as something close to blasphemy.


In point of fact, Mandela and his former wife Winnie were two of the most bloodthirsty, racist murderers who ever defiled the continent of Africa.  The truth about Mandela is available, on the Web and in the libraries of the world, but the truth is not "politically correct," so it is obscured and erased whenever possible.

Below is a video about the man, from a somewhat offbeat Christian YouTube channel.  Regardless of the source, the facts presented are true.  Nelson Mandela is indeed a martyr: a martyr to Communism, terrorism, and, yes, racism.  He joins such African leaders as Robert Mugabe and Idi Amin in infamy, and the world is a cleaner place without him.


As the tributes roll in from every quarter, one would do well to remember the words of Jesus Christ:  Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets (Luke 6:26). And, that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:15).

We take no pleasure in Mandela's death, because the world doesn't need another Communist martyr; but we will reserve our tears for the Christians, such as Saeed Abedini and Asia Bibi, who, while being tortured to death by Muslims, will never achieve Mandela's shameful popularity.

video

Additional reading:

"How to Be a Good Communist" by Nelson Mandela 
For Mandela Reverence, But Criticism Too (NY Times) 
Nelson Mandela: Just Another Thug 
Mandela Criticism: Yahoo Answers 
ADL criticizes Mandela's anti-Americanism 
Few Dare to Criticize Ailing Mandela

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Saeed in Danger; Trump Speaks Out

 (NOTE/UPDATE: Please notice the date of this post: it was written nearly two years before Mr. Trump began his run for the presidency of the United States.  Regardless of what one might think of him, this story was obviously not motivated by political ambition, but by a genuine concern.)

There's some good news, and some very bad news, in the ongoing story of Saeed Abedini, the American pastor being held captive in Iran.  First, the bad news: after having been moved from his earlier prison to the deadly Rajai Shahr facility, where the most violent murderers, rapists, and other criminals are simply left to die, Saeed is now in worse health than ever before, and has been repeatedly threatened and robbed at knifepoint by other inmates.  According to the American Center for Law and Justice

“Pastor Saeed is facing constant threats to his very life in the new prison. There have been several nights where he has awoken to men standing over him with knives,” the group said. His “cell” is only separated by a curtain from the rest of the violent prisoner ward he is forced to share, ACLJ said, allowing dangerous prisoners, including murderers and rapists, unfettered access to him 24 hours a day.
“He has also been robbed at knifepoint several times, stripping him of what few necessities he has been permitted to purchase for personal hygiene,” the group said.
Tiffany Barrans, international legal director for the advocacy organization, said it is “increasingly difficult to hear about the deplorable conditions in which the Iranian regime continues to hold Pastor Saeed.” “The human body can only endure so much,” she said.
Barrans said sanitation is limited, leaving Abedini prone to further infections. She added that threats of violence are a daily occurrence. “He lives in filth where he has been denied proper medical attention and nutrition. Pastor Saeed has also suffered psychologically,” Barrans said.
She said that because of neglect, the medical problems “that concerned us so much during his detainment in Evin prison have returned."“Pastor Saeed is facing constant threats to his very life in the new prison. There have been several nights where he has awoken to men standing over him with knives,” the group said.
His “cell” is only separated by a curtain from the rest of the violent prisoner ward he is forced to share, ACLJ said, allowing dangerous prisoners, including murderers and rapists, unfettered access to him 24 hours a day.
“He has also been robbed at knifepoint several times, stripping him of what few necessities he has been permitted to purchase for personal hygiene,” the group said.
Tiffany Barrans, international legal director for the advocacy organization, said it is “increasingly difficult to hear about the deplorable conditions in which the Iranian regime continues to hold Pastor Saeed.”
“The human body can only endure so much,” she said.
Barrans said sanitation is limited, leaving Abedini prone to further infections. She added that threats of violence are a daily occurrence.
“He lives in filth where he has been denied proper medical attention and nutrition. Pastor Saeed has also suffered psychologically,” Barrans said.
She said that because of neglect, the medical problems “that concerned us so much during his detainment in Evin prison have returned.”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/u-s-pastor-jailed-in-iran-gets-knife-threats/#wFDf3iejD2HBbgp4.99
 "Pastor Saeed is facing constant threats to his very life in the new prison. There have been several nights where he has awoken to men standing over him with knives,” the group said.

His “cell” is only separated by a curtain from the rest of the violent prisoner ward he is forced to share, ACLJ said, allowing dangerous prisoners, including murderers and rapists, unfettered access to him 24 hours a day.

“He has also been robbed at knifepoint several times, stripping him of what few necessities he has been permitted to purchase for personal hygiene,” the group said.

Tiffany Barrans, international legal director for the advocacy organization, said it is “increasingly difficult to hear about the deplorable conditions in which the Iranian regime continues to hold Pastor Saeed.”

“The human body can only endure so much,” she said.

Barrans said sanitation is limited, leaving Abedini prone to further infections. She added that threats of violence are a daily occurrence.

“He lives in filth where he has been denied proper medical attention and nutrition. Pastor Saeed has also suffered psychologically,” Barrans said.



All of this despite the recent deal between the Obama administration and Iran giving the Muslim regime more latitude in their uranium enrichment program, $8 billion in sanctions relief, and actually returning Iranian nuclear scientist Mojtaba Atarodi, who was arrested in California in 2011 for trying to help Iran's nuclear program by circumventing western sanctions. A Times of Israel report revealed that he was released in April as part of "back channel talks."

It is obvious that President Obama is more interested in assisting Iran's nuclear program than in protecting American citizens unjustly imprisoned abroad.

The good news, although it's cold comfort, is that a new voice has been raised on behalf of Saeed: that of Donald Trump.  According to Christian Post:

American businessman Donald Trump criticized President Barack Obama's failure to negotiate with Iran for the release of imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini. The pastor's wife, Naghmeh, expressed her gratitude toward Trump.

"I am very happy to hear that he is doing this, because this is the first example of anyone outside of the legal and political areas speaking out. I hope that more people like him will speak out," Naghmeh Abedini told WND.com.

"I would very much like to meet him and thank him for what he has done in bringing awareness to this issue," she added. "Every voice counts and especially voices like Mr. Trump's. I'm just thankful he's using his voice to speak out against this injustice."

Trump has recently been tweeting about the controversial deal the U.S. struck with Iran, which provides over $7 billion in relief from international sanctions for the Islamic Republic in return for temporary freezing its nuclear program. The businessman denounced Obama for not making Abedini's release part of the deal.

"Mr. President, tell Iran to immediately free the Christian pastor, as a sign of good faith, & if they refuse break off talks - - - big sanctions," Trump posted on his official Twitter account on Wednesday.

"How does Obama rationalize giving Iran $8B in sanction relief when a Christian pastor is being tortured in an Iranian prison?" the billionaire asked in another post.


Donald Trump professes to be a Christian, but one need not be a believer in order to be outraged by Barack Obama's cold-blooded complicity in the literal martyrdom of Saeed Abedini.  As America's President seeks to strengthen Saeed's barbaric captors, Christians worldwide will continue to hold our brother up in prayer.

Sources:  
Christian Post N.A. 
CNN
Fox News 
World Net Daily
astor Saeed is facing constant threats to his very life in the new prison. There have been several nights where he has awoken to men standing over him with knives,” the group said.
His “cell” is only separated by a curtain from the rest of the violent prisoner ward he is forced to share, ACLJ said, allowing dangerous prisoners, including murderers and rapists, unfettered access to him 24 hours a day.
“He has also been robbed at knifepoint several times, stripping him of what few necessities he has been permitted to purchase for personal hygiene,” the group said.
Tiffany Barrans, international legal director for the advocacy organization, said it is “increasingly difficult to hear about the deplorable conditions in which the Iranian regime continues to hold Pastor Saeed.”
“The human body can only endure so much,” she said.
Barrans said sanitation is limited, leaving Abedini prone to further infections. She added that threats of violence are a daily occurrence.
“He lives in filth where he has been denied proper medical attention and nutrition. Pastor Saeed has also suffered psychologically,” Barrans said.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/u-s-pastor-jailed-in-iran-gets-knife-threats/#wFDf3iejD2HBbgp4.99
“Pastor Saeed is facing constant threats to his very life in the new prison. There have been several nights where he has awoken to men standing over him with knives,” the group said.
His “cell” is only separated by a curtain from the rest of the violent prisoner ward he is forced to share, ACLJ said, allowing dangerous prisoners, including murderers and rapists, unfettered access to him 24 hours a day.
“He has also been robbed at knifepoint several times, stripping him of what few necessities he has been permitted to purchase for personal hygiene,” the group said.
Tiffany Barrans, international legal director for the advocacy organization, said it is “increasingly difficult to hear about the deplorable conditions in which the Iranian regime continues to hold Pastor Saeed.”
“The human body can only endure so much,” she said.
Barrans said sanitation is limited, leaving Abedini prone to further infections. She added that threats of violence are a daily occurrence.
“He lives in filth where he has been denied proper medical attention and nutrition. Pastor Saeed has also suffered psychologically,” Barrans said.
She said that because of neglect, the medical problems “that concerned us so much during his detainment in Evin prison have returned.”

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"A Song for Simeon"

One of my favorite characters in the New Testament has always been Simeon, the faithful old man who had been given, at some point in the distant past, the promise that he would not die until he had seen God's Saviour, the Messiah of Israel.  (The story is found in Luke 2:25-35; Simeon's female counterpart, Anna, is found in verses 36-38.  I would suggest reading the brief Biblical account before reading the poem.) In 1928, the greatest poet of the twentieth century, T. S. Eliot, re-told the story, from Simeon's perspective, in one of his finest poems.  Naturally, as a man grows older, this poem becomes more and more meaningful to him. As the madness of the "holiday" season proceeds, these very thoughtful words might provide a brief respite.


Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and
The winter sun creeps by the snow hills;
The stubborn season has made stand.
My life is light, waiting for the death wind,
Like a feather on the back of my hand.
Dust in sunlight and memory in corners
Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.

Grant us thy peace.
I have walked many years in this city,
Kept faith and fast, provided for the poor,
Have given and taken honour and ease.
There went never any rejected from my door.
Who shall remember my house, where shall live my children’s children
When the time of sorrow is come?
They will take to the goat’s path, and the fox’s home,
Fleeing from foreign faces and the foreign swords.

Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation
Grant us thy peace.
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,
Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel’s consolation
To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow.

According to thy word.
They shall praise Thee and suffer in every generation
With glory and derision,
Light upon light, mounting the saints’ stair.
Not for me the martyrdom, the ecstasy of thought and prayer,
Not for me the ultimate vision.
Grant me thy peace.
(And a sword shall pierce thy heart,
Thine also).
I am tired with my own life and the lives of those after me,
I am dying in my own death and the deaths of those after me.
Let thy servant depart,
Having seen thy salvation.

- - - T. S. Eliot, 1928