Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

Houston Mayor Annise Parker Lies, Renews Assault on City Pastors

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Houston Mayor Annise Parker initially defended her decision to subpoena the sermons of several pastors who lead churches in the city. Parker defended that decision publicly, on Twitter.

 

Blowback was national, immediate and fierce (though, not from Wendy Davis, Barack Obama or any other of Parker’s fellow Democrats. They stayed quiet as Parker launched lawfare against churches.).

Parker backtracked and lied, claiming that she isn’t interested in the sermons.

Now she is lying again, claiming that the pastors knew that she wasn’t ever interested in their sermons.

“‘We don’t need to intrude on matters of faith to have equal rights in Houston, and it was never the intention of the city of Houston to intrude on any matters of faith or to get between a pastor and their parishioners,’ Parker said. ‘We don’t want their sermons, we want the instructions on the petition process. That’s always what we wanted and, again, they knew that’s what we wanted because that’s the subject of the lawsuit.’”

That is not what the original subpoenas said, and it is not what Parker defended demanding in the tweet above. In the tweet above, Parker admitted that she is interested in putting anything that the pastors might have said that can be construed as any way political under scrutiny. She wants to use discovery in the lawsuits against her to put the pastors and their tax-exempt status on trial.

As we and others have reported previously, the pastors who find themselves targeted by Parker’s subpoenas are not even party to the lawsuit in question. The lawsuit is over the Parker administration’s decision to throw out a petition that more than met the threshold to get a question on the ballot for Houston voters to decide.

That referendum would have put Parker’s “bathroom ordinance” up to a vote of the people. It needed a little over 17,000 signatures. It got 50,000, but Parker’s administration threw it out, citing “irregularities.”

That’s what the lawsuit is about — getting that petition re-instated, and putting Parker’s controversial “bathroom ordinance” up for a vote of the people.

Read bullet |

Houston Mayor’s Subpoenas Aimed at Shutting Churches Up, or Shutting Them Down

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Houston Mayor Annise Parker has revealed her purpose behind subpoenaing pastors.

Despite protestations from her office that they cannot comment on ongoing litigation, Parker did, here.

 

As we reported earlier, the sermons in question are accessible online without a subpoena. Parker did not need to unleash lawyers to obtain them. She is asking for much more than just sermons. Her subpoenas demanded that the pastors appear in person. They also demanded internal communications within and among the churches that were involved in the petition drive.

But the above tweet reveals her purpose. She wants to build a case that the pastors engaged in politics from the pulpit.

Which means that she is building a case to attack their tax-exempt status.

That’s the threat here, and it’s real. Mayor Annise Parker wants to shut churches out of political and cultural discussions because she disagrees with them, or shut them down if they refuse to comply with her diktats. That will intimidate other churches to either agree with her, or self-censor out of fear.

That is an abuse of power.

h/t Joshua Trevino

Read bullet |

Facebook, Apple Pay for Female Employees to Freeze Eggs

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

YouTube Preview Image

Are you a woman who wants it all? Career now, kids eventually? Now you can have it – as long as you work for Apple or Facebook.

Two Silicon Valley giants now offer women a game-changing perk: Apple and Facebook will pay for employees to freeze their eggs.

Facebook recently began covering egg freezing, and Apple will start in January, spokespeople for the companies told NBC News. The firms appear to be the first major employers to offer this coverage for non-medical reasons.

“Having a high-powered career and children is still a very hard thing to do,” said Brigitte Adams, an egg-freezing advocate and founder of the patient forum Eggsurance.com. By offering this benefit, companies are investing in women, she said, and supporting them in carving out the lives they want.
The coverage comes at an opportune time for a tech industry under (highly questionable) severe scrutiny for a lack of female representation in its ranks. Promoted as a perk open to female employees on a voluntary basis, “covering egg freezing can be viewed as a type of “payback” for women’s commitment.” The “payback” goes both ways:
The benefit will likely encourage women to stay with their employer longer, cutting down on recruiting and hiring costs. And practically speaking, when women freeze their eggs early, firms may save on pregnancy costs in the long run, said Westphal. A woman could avoid paying to use a donor egg down the road, for example, or undergoing more intensive fertility treatments when she’s ready to have a baby.
Now, for the real slap in the face:

But the emotional and cultural payoff may be more valuable, said [Extended Fertility founder Christy] Jones: Offering this benefit “can help women be more productive human beings.”

Egg freezing is marketed as the latest, greatest equalizer between women and men. So, long metaphor short, if you want to be a “more productive human being” you’d better start working like a man. I wonder, would George Bernard Shaw discount the reproduction of human life and the raising of good, moral, decent human beings as not being a “productive” enough member of society? If so, he might have found good company in Silicon Valley.

The real question is, as the science of egg freezing continues to develop, will these employer benefits go from being optional perks to potential requirements of the job? Will employers frown upon women who choose to take their chances on children now instead of freezing their options for another day?

Read bullet |

Why Is Houston Mayor Annise Parker Subpoenaing Pastors for Sermons that are Already Publicly Available?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Tuesday news broke that the city of Houston is subpoenaing area pastors who opposed the city’s “bathroom ordinance.”

The city is being sued after it tossed out a petition that would have put repealing the ordinance up to a referendum. The petition garnered 50,000 signatures, about three times the number it needed, yet Houston tossed it citing “irregularities.”

That’s an awful lot of “irregularities.”

The city has refused to comment on the subpoenas, citing “ongoing litigation.”

But the subpoenas themselves appear to be entirely unnecessary, if the city really just wants to check on sermons. Not that the city has any business monitoring sermons in churches where no illegal activity has been alleged, and none has in this case.

Most churches of any size now post full videos of all of their services, including sermons, online for anyone to watch on demand. They maintain extensive archives. They conduct tape and mp3 ministries to help people who cannot attend services for any reason.

For instance, one of the subpoenaed churches is Grace Community Church of Houston, pastored by Rev. Steve Riggle. That church has an extensive website, here. As it’s a network of churches, the link to the Houston campus church is here. Right up top is a link to “Watch Online.” Click on that link, and you’ll be taken here. Over on the right is an archive of past sermons that anyone can watch on demand. Its Podcast link has an archive that goes all the way back to January 2013, more than a year before Houston passed its ordinance that the pastors opposed. No subpoena required.

Rev. Dave Welch was also subpoenaed by the city. He is pastor of Bear Creek Church in Houston. Bear Creek’s online sermon archive also goes all the way back to January 2013. Anyone can download and listen, at any time they desire, no subpoena required.

I didn’t go through the web sites of all the churches and groups that the city of Houston has subpoenaed. Just by going through the two above, it’s clear that the subpoenas are questionable as a matter of legal discovery. The city did not need subpoenas to get the information — sermons — that it claims it wants. The subpoena to Riggle even mentions electronic or videotape recordings, which are available free of charge, no subpoena required.

The subpoena goes farther than merely requesting sermons, by the way. It commands the pastors to appear, in person, at a city law office — Susman Godfrey, LLP. It also commands the reverends to produce internal church communications related to the sermons. That, in turn, might produce communications between the churches.

That the churches communicate with each other is no secret. Churches engage in interfaith activities with each other all the time, especially in large cities like Houston. In this case, these pastors had allied with each other for a cause, so they surely emailed and texted one another. As they have every right in this country to do.

These subpoenas appear to have several purposes outside the court case, then — to call out and intimidate the pastors, and to fish for information from within and among the church staffs. Complying with the subpoenas may also cost money and tie up church staff who will be tasked with gathering up the materials demanded, rather than attend to their churches’ ministries.

 

Read bullet |

Do Religious Rights Require Religious Laws?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

Addressing the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, called for government to include “a faith perspective” in policy deliberations. From The Blaze:

What Williams advocated was for a middle group approach between a perspective that wants religion to be the basis of all laws and one in which faith isn’t addressed at all outside of church doors.

The government’s role in this case, then, is to facilitate discussions that ensure that minority views on controversial issues — or any issue at all for that matter — are considered in the wider discussion. Rather than winning the debate, per se, religious views help round it out, he argued.

Williams presents a spectrum of authoritarianism, with hardcore theocrats on the one end and religious suppressors on the other. What does “a middle group” on that axis look like? Would they advocate for religious-based laws half the time and suppress religious rights the other half?

How about this. Instead of giving religion a place at government’s table, let’s limit government’s role to protecting the rights of each individual, whether they harbor faith or not. The best way to protect minority views is to empower the greatest minority, the individual. If government remains barred from interfering in an individual’s private judgment, then religious rights will stand unmolested.

The vague alternative which Williams suggests would only place more cooks in the statist kitchen. This idea that every different perspective must have special representation in government, whether religious or racial or any other variety, assumes that such inclusion will produce better policy. But the quality of policy depends upon its effect on individual liberty, not the diversity of its authors. A diverse body of dictators proves no more sufferable than a homogenous one.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 9:33 minutes long; 9.23 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

Read bullet |

‘Think Progress,’ or Think Poorly?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Nathan D. Lichtman

Why? Why do I follow Think Progress on Facebook? Well, two reasons—one is that I think it’s important to know what the other side is saying. The other reason is because sometimes it’s downright hilarious.

This falls into both camps.

Think Progress thinks it embarrasses conservatives anytime they express even the slightest doubt that man-made climate change is upon us. All the more reason for them to go nuts when they heard that a Michigan congressman had not only said he didn’t see the evidence behind the global warming hype, but that he called himself a scientist. They published an article, which was the lead for several hours on their website, entitled: “Congressman: ‘I am a Scientist’ And There’s No Evidence Of Manmade Climate Change.”

The ultra-liberal Center for American progress uses Think Progress as their primary blog, and Time Magazine included it as one of the top-25 blogs. They don’t necessarily call themselves a source for news, but they do present their findings as facts, and sway people’s opinions with their logic.

Let’s go back to the Michigan congressman, Rep. Dan Benishek.

He has a degree in Biology from the University of Michigan, and a Medical Degree from Wayne State University, and he’s been a practicing surgeon most of his life. I am fairly familiar with him and his excellent work, because I lived and worked in Michigan for almost a quarter of my life. He is a man who retired from his medical practice, and realized that the world wasn’t the way he wanted it to be for his grandchildren. So he did something about it—he ran for US Congress, and currently serves.

He apparently said that, as a scientist, he only believes something if it is supported with evidence in a peer-reviewed journal. And, he argues, he has not seen support for the idea of man-made global climate change in such a peer-reviewed manner.

I’m not going to argue one way or another on climate change; do your own homework.

But, this is why Think Progress went crazy. They heavily implied that Benishek was not indeed a scientist, and most of the Facebook comments were as such. Firstly, lets put this to rest—being a Medical Doctor is being a man of science. Its called Medical Science! Let alone having a science degree in Biology. Some of the most scientific discoveries have been written about in medical peer-reviewed journals, like the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, etc. Even if he is not directly a climatologist, he is still a scientist, even in the way he would go about researching a topic.

But, I’m more concerned with the poor quality of the Think Progress article itself. The writer, Jeff Spross, is a “reporter and video editor for ThinkProgress.org,” and has worked for such publications as The American Prospect and The Guardian. One would think that in an article, where he questions the validity of someone’s claims, that he has fact-checked his own claims. Well, even in the case of this so-called reporter, you’d be wrong.

The original article (he has updated it a couple times) had this sentence in the very first paragraph: “In recent months, American politicians from House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) to Louisiana Governor Rick Scott (R) and U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R-IA) have all responded to questions about humanity’s role in climate change with some version of ‘I’m not a scientist.’” He goes on to talk about where Benishek gets his campaign money from, that many scientists agree on climate change, and that there are peer-reviewed sources for his info — but can we trust an article with two blatant misstatements in the first paragraph?

Let’s start with the fact (uncorrected as of writing this, by the way), that John Boehner is not the House Majority Leader. He is the Speaker of the House, second in the Presidential line of succession, and presiding leader over the House of Representatives. The House Majority Leader is California Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and he is only the leader of the Republicans in the House. Boehner is the leader of all House members. And, Rick Scott is indeed a Governor, but he’s the Governor of Florida, not Louisiana.

This type of article is cited and treated as a sacrosanct argument for leftists on Facebook. If a ‘reporter’ is going to cite figures and facts, he should also be able to at least get the most Google-able stuff right. This type of sound bite journalism is part of the problem with American civics knowledge, and makes you wonder what other non-factual blog posts they sneak by with.

Read bullet |

Using Social Media Activism as a Mask for Apathy

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Leslie Loftis

meriamI loved Nancy Kaffer’s recent offering in the Daily Beast, When Activism is Worse than Apathy. Before noting that those things we were so fussed about for a few days here and there over the past six months are still happening, she writes:

Apathy isn’t our problem. We care—we care a lot. Show us an injustice, and we’ll slap a hashtag on it in a hot minute. We may even have a national conversation about it. And then? Ooh, shiny! We’re on to the next outrage. Call it hashtag activism, call it slacktivism—worse than indifference, it’s a transitory, bustling attentiveness that passes so quickly it barely registers, yet leaves in its wake a sense that we’ve done something.

Social media can decry a problem. It can spread news like wildfire scorching a dry field. But it doesn’t Do. Results require action. And we’ve seen that in the past 6 months.

While the Nigerian girls have not been brought back, Meriam Ibriam is free.

People spread #BackOurGirls all over the web, and then forgot it. But Meriam, the Christian woman sentenced to lashings and death for apostasy and adultery in South Sudan for not adhering to the Muslim faith of her father, hardly had a hashtag. Christian persecution isn’t something the hashtag warriors get fussed about. Still, Meriam had something better than social media activism. She had old media, Italian diplomats, and the Vatican.

In the comments on to the Times of London article on her freedom and surprise audience with the Pope, one highlighted the truth about PR campaigns.

David Cameron said that her oppression was “barbaric.” The former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the way she had been treated abhorrent. Western feminists didn’t even bother to create on of those ‘we care but aren’t willing to actually do anything about it’ hashtags. But the Italian Foreign Minister acted.

And that made all the difference. Apparently, the Italians offered diplomatic help to the US State Department to secure her release as The Telegraph and The Times of London publicized the story. The Italian Foreign Ministry flew representatives to Sudan and negotiated her release with the help of Vatican funding and advice. It wasn’t easy. There were setbacks and scares, but Meriam arrived in the US months ago. She is free. The Nigerian girls who we all heard about are not.

Read bullet |

Pedophilia, the Next Chapter in the ‘Gay Marriage’ Court Saga?

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

YouTube Preview Image

Those seeking further proof that “gay marriage” isn’t really about gay marriage at all need look no further than the op-ed pages of the New York Times

The attempt to legitimize pedophilia may very well be the next chapter in the ongoing saga of reshaping America through the courts. The Daily Caller picked up on a New York Times op-ed written by Rutgers Law Professor Margo Kaplan, who argues in defense of pedophiles:

Kaplan says criminal law should be changed so that pedophiles are only stigmatized or denied jobs if law school graduates agree that they pose a “direct threat” to children.

That could be a bonanza for law school graduates, because they’d be paid to argue over whether the hiring of a particular pedophile for a particular job is a direct threat to particular children. “The direct-threat analysis rejects the idea that [prospective] employers can rely on generalizations; they must assess the specific case and rely on evidence, not presuppositions,” Kaplan writes.

But this shift would also be a loss for the 99 percent of non-pedophile American citizens and voters, because it would eliminate their longstanding civil right to simply and cheaply exclude pedophiles from mainstream society or from jobs near children.

That right would be handed over to the hourly-paid law school graduates, including judges, defense lawyers, arbitrators and prosecutors, if Kaplan’s career plan becomes law.

For Kaplan, the pro-pedophilia fight is more than a potshot at job creation for a generation of unemployed law school grads. It is a holy mission to obtain the right to classify kiddie fiddlers as suffering from a “mental disorder” and thereby deserving of all the employment protection the ADA allows.

“Acknowledging that pedophiles have a mental disorder, and removing the obstacles to their coming forward and seeking help, is not only the right thing to do, but it would also advance efforts to protect children from harm,” she insisted, without providing evidence.

In the 1970s, the Catholic Church accepted the advice of many experts in the new mental-health industry, and concluded that pedophile priests could be successfully treated with private therapy. The theory was not proven correct, and it helped protect many priests as they sexually abused thousands of boys.

Pedophilia isn’t the first sexual behavior to show up in the post-”gay marriage” courts. Back in December, Breitbart reported on Brown v. Buhman, a case in which

…a federal judge [Clark Waddoups] has now ruled that the legal reasoning for same-sex marriage means that laws against polygamy are likewise unconstitutional. …Waddoups’ opinion would not only cover such groups, however, but also Muslims or anyone else who claims a right—religious or otherwise—to have multiple-person marriages.

The case, currently being appealed, has a very good chance of heading to the Supreme Court, giving our illustrious justices another opportunity to fundamentally change the way we live our lives with their “emerging awareness”. Such “emerging awareness” is already evident in the pages of the American Psychological Association’s diagnostic manual, which “…distinguishes between pedophiles who desire sex with children, and those who act on those desires.”

Gay marriage supporters who cheer legislation from the court bench should think twice about what they’re actually rooting for. It is their advocacy of un-Constitutional principles hidden under the guise of compassion that has opened the floodgates for judicial abuse. This abuse sets a horrifying precedent for what can be defined by a court as permissible behavior or, worse yet, protected as a faultless disability.

 

Read bullet |

Gay Marriage: Get Over the Theology and Look at the Law

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
gaymarriage2

It’s time to focus on the flag being hidden behind the antagonizing spectacle.

Put your emotions aside for a moment and read Ben Shapiro’s succinct explanation of the ramifications of the Supreme Court’s refusal to take on gay marriage cases from five states:

The Court clearly wants to wait until a majority of states have been forced to embrace same-sex marriage by lower-level appeals courts. Then they can determine that a “trend-line” has been established, suggest that society has “evolved,” and declare that a new standard must be enshrined. That, of course, was the logic of Lawrence v. Texas (2003), in which the Court waited 17 years to overrule Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), stating that anal penetration was a hard-fought Constitutional right; the Court in that case stated that Bowers no longer applied because of “an emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex.” Justice Scalia rightly pointed out that the Court’s statement was false – the state, he explained, still regulates “prostitution, adult incest, adultery, obscenity, and child pornography.” And Scalia also pointed out that “Constitutional entitlements do not spring into existence because some States choose to lessen or eliminate criminal sanctions on certain behavior.”

…This is the beauty of Supreme Court doctrine: they don’t even have to do their judicial dirty work anymore. They can rely on lower-level courts to violate the Constitution, then declare the Constitution magically changed because of an “emerging” consensus on violating the Constitution.

And the people have no recourse. They cannot pass laws that for two and a half centuries have been fully Constitutional. They cannot fight state attorneys general who betray their voters. They must sit by as the courts play legal games while awaiting the great Obama-esque “evolution” – an evolution that is almost entirely top-down, and that will then be dictated to us by our betters.

Shapiro’s legal insight, akin to that of Mark Levin, provides further evidence for my own previously stated belief that the Right needs to argue on the basis of law, not theology, if they want to keep America free:

Instead of rebutting those who argue that the Constitution is an amorphous idea that will bend to their will with the simple truth that they are empowering a court to render their individual vote effectively useless, we get caught up in arguments over whether or not God approves of homosexuality. We then get stereotyped as a bunch of Bible-thumpers who have no clue how government works – by a bunch of ideological terrorists intent on destroying the very government they claim to uphold.

When gay marriage is over there will be another hot-button morality issue to be abused in the name of raping and pillaging our individual rights through legal abuse. It is time to get out from under the theological rock and see the big picture. Conservatives, if you want a truly constitutional republic, start sending your kids to law school. We may be forced into play the game, but that just means we should play to win.

Read bullet |

Obama’s Foreign Policy Faux Pas Make ISIS More Formidable

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Jennifer Hanin

There’s little controversy over the foreign policy screw-ups and missed opportunities that have arisen from the Obama Administration over the last two years. Not addressing the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) is perhaps one of the biggest faux pas thus far. But there are at least nine other epic-scale gaffes that continue to plague Obama’s administration like Benghazi and its evil step-child contrived out of sheer stupidity: the cover-up video pack of lies.

So now we’re faced with the stark reality and collective baggage of how to prevail over ISIS as the terrorist group continues making headway and head-chopping videos in Iraq, Syria and beyond. President Obama recently addressed the UN National Security Council and finally outlined a set of criteria to stave off ISIS. Yet there is much more needed to win a war against an unscrupulous and formidable enemy fighting an ideological war that goes against everything we believe in as Americans. Fighting an enemy whose firm belief is deeply rooted in Wahhabism is not exactly second nature to Americans yet now we are faced with the grim reality that our national security (and that of other countries) is in jeopardy if we don’t act fast.

So what’s Obama doing right and what does he need to do better? Plenty. For instance, acknowledging that these four criteria must occur is a decent start:

1)    ISIS must be degraded and ultimately destroyed

2)    World support (especially support from Muslims) must reject ideology adopted (and spread) via al Qaeda and ISIS (and other main or fringe terrorist groups).

3)    Intervention by various countries’ governments and military to stop the cycle of conflict, especially sectarian conflict in the Middle East, which attracts terrorist groups to invade weakened war-torn nations.

4)    Arab world must renew a greater focus on their people, particularly their youth, which often makes up 60 plus percent of the population.

Yet this alone is not enough. Obama has received regular intelligence for the last two years that ISIS not only existed but was a growing threat and more is needed. At this point, its going to take not only ground forces (something the Pentagon has continually repeated) but five to eight years to undue gains made by ISIS in Iraq and Syria and beyond. Unfortunately, ground troops and a lengthy war also means countless lost American lives and treasure.

As Reagan’s national security advisor Robert (Bud) MacFarlane and senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research Lt. Col. Anthony (Tony) Shaffer indicated in a recent audiotaped call on Obama’s UN address not every country is capable of carrying out the responsibilities required by true democracies, and this was clear from our dealings with Libya. It takes very special circumstances for democratic rule to take root, and it’s exactly why many countries fall short of the real definition and succumb to invading terrorist factions who force tyrannical rule under the guise of “democracy.”

Read bullet |

CAIR Calls on NFL to ‘Clarify Policy on Prayer’ After Abdullah’s Penalty

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

abdullahprayer

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said the National Football League needs to “clarify” its prayer policy after Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was penalized Monday night for kneeling in the end zone — “sajdah.”

Abdullah, an observant Muslim, had just received completed a 39-yard interception return versus the New England Patriots.

He was penalized for 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct under the NFL’s Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d), “Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.”

“However, the officiating mechanic in this situation is not to flag a player who goes to the ground as part of religious expression, and as a result, there should have been no penalty on the play,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora said today, according to ESPN.

Abdullah told the Kansas City Star that he thought he was penalized for sliding on his knees. “I just got a little too excited,” he said. The safety added that his coach agreed and chided him for sliding.

This morning, Abdullah tweeted an Instagram of himself prostrated in prayer with the words, ”‘Subhana Rabbial-’Ala’ (Glory be to my Lord The Most High).”

CAIR noted the NFL rule, but said singled out the exception for religious expressions, “such as Tim Tebow’s prayer while kneeling.”

After Tebow, as a college player, wrote Bible scriptures on his eye black, the NCAA banned players from writing anything under their eyes. In the NFL, “Tebowing” became a verb for when the quarterback took a knee in prayer on the field.

“To prevent the appearance of a double standard, we urge league officials to clarify the policy on prayer and recognize that the official made a mistake in this case,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper urged the NFL in a statement.

Read bullet |

Owner Makes Gun Range a ‘Muslim Free Zone,’ and Will Probably Get Sued Out of Existence

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The state of fundamental freedoms of religion and association, in two acts.

Act One: A gun range owner has announced that her business is now a “Muslim free zone.”

Jan Morgan owns the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range in Arkansas. She has posted a notice that Muslims may no longer use the range. She is attempting to exercise the freedom of association, along with her duties as a federally licensed firearm dealer.

The primary reasons I do not want muslims shooting at my range are listed:

1) The Koran (which I have read and studied thoroughly) and (which all muslims align themselves with), contains 109 verses commanding hate, murder and terror against all human beings who refuse to submit or convert to Islam. Read those verses of violence here.

2) My life has been threatened repeatedly by muslims in response to my publication of those verses from their Koran. Why would I want to rent or sell a gun and hand ammunition to someone who aligns himself with a religion that commands him to kill me?

3) * The barbaric act of beheading an innocent American in Oklahoma by a muslim 
* the Boston bombings(by muslims)
* the Foot Hood mass shooting (by a muslim) that killed 13 people and injured over 30 people
* and the murder of 3000 innocent people (by muslims) on 9/11

She writes that two Muslims came to the range last week and caused a disturbance, which added to the recent news about Islamic terrorism home and abroad caused her to make the range a Muslim free zone.

Two muslims walked in to my range last week with allah akbar ring tone and message alert tones on their smart phones. They spoke very little english, one did not have proof of U.S. citizenship, yet they wanted to rent and shoot guns.

Their behavior was so strange, it was unnerving to my patrons. No one would enter the range to shoot while they were there. Some of my customers left.

(can you blame them?)

She also mentions that Muslim supporters of ISIS and al Qaeda are threatening to kill innocent Americans, which is true.

She also addresses the fact that most Muslims won’t pose a problem.

I understand that not all muslims are terrorists. I also believe there are as many Muslims who do not know what is in their Koran as there are Christians who do not know what is in their Bible.

Since I have no way of discerning which muslims will or will not kill in the name of their religion and the commands in their koran…I choose to err on the side of caution for the safety of my patrons.

8) On the issue of religious discrimination:
I view Islam as a theocracy, not a religion. Islam is the union of political, legal, and religious ideologies. In other words, law, religion and state are forged together to form what Muslims refer to as “The Nation of Islam.”

It is given the sovereign qualities of a nation with clerics in the governing body and Sharia law all in one. This is a Theocracy, not a religion.

The US Constitution does not protect a theocracy.

The 1st Amendment is very specific about protecting the rights of individuals from the government, as it concerns the practice of religions, not theocracies.

And that’s where she’s wrong. Or at least, cites opinions and facts that won’t matter.

The U.S. Constitution doesn’t protect theocracy, but it no longer protects our fundamental rights. The very specific First Amendment has been gutted by political correctness.

Here is Act Two.

A bakery owning married couple worked within existing Oregon state law when they refused to bake a cake for a gay couple who, in violation of state law at the time, planned to get married. The law has since been changed

That bakery no longer exists, and the couple face ruinous fines thanks to a state government ruling that their First Amendment religious rights no longer exist.

Earlier this year, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries found “substantial evidence” that Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, discriminated against the lesbian couple.

They now face a fine in excess of $150,000.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal on Friday at the 2014 Values Voter Summit, Aaron said the fee would “definitely” be enough to bankrupt the couple and their five children.

The ordeal started in February 2013, when Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman asked the bakery owners to design a wedding cake for their same-sex commitment ceremony.

At the time, Oregon defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman; voters overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment in 2004.

Aaron told The Daily Signal he thought he was “well within” his legal rights to decline the service, citing his traditional beliefs that a marriage is between a man and a woman.

In January 2014, the Kleins were charged with violating Oregon’s Equality Act of 2007, a law that protects the rights of the LGBT community.

It wasn’t until months later, May 19, 2014, that a federal judge would declare Oregon’s amendment unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex marriages.

“Ironically, the state was in violation of its own anti-discrimination laws,” said Aaron.

So the law-abiding couple whose beliefs run back about 5,000 years have lost their business and face bankruptcy, because some rights have become more equal than others.

Eric Holder is still the reigning attorney general in Washington. If he gets wind of the Arkansas gun range owner’s decision to block Muslims from her business, her reasoning won’t matter. Holder will bring the Civil Rights Division down on her.

Or maybe he won’t, since the right to use the range is found in the Second Amendment, which is in disfavor with liberals such as Holder. But all it will take is a Muslim to file a discrimination lawsuit.

 

Read bullet |

Admin Lauds ‘Key Outcomes’ of UN Human Rights Council, Including LGBT Discrimination Resolution

Monday, September 29th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama reversed President George W. Bush’s decision to boycott the UN Human Rights Council, and the State Department said the 27th session last week “underscored the importance of robust U.S. engagement at the Council, where the United States continues to work with countries from all regions to address urgent human rights concerns.”

“U.S. leadership helped to keep the Council at the forefront of international efforts to promote and protect human rights, including by underscoring the critical role of civil society,” the department said in a fact sheet detailing “key outcomes” at the session:

LGBT: The Council adopted the second-ever UN resolution on violence and discrimination facing LGBT persons world-wide. Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay led the resolution, with the United States co-sponsoring and lobbying heavily. Countries from every geographic region joined its supporters. The resolution will lead to further UN reporting on this critical human rights issue.

Civil Society Space: The United States proudly supported the HRC’s second resolution urging states to create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment for civil society. The Ireland-led resolution underscored the importance for civil society to be able to seek, receive, and use resources and affirmed freedom of expression

Syria: The HRC’s 15th resolution on Syria focused on torture and the situation in Syrian prisons, and reiterated the international community’s demand for unfettered humanitarian access in Syria.

Yemen, CAR, DRC, and Sudan: The United States co-sponsored resolutions on Yemen, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, highlighting our shared commitment to protecting human rights through assistance and enhanced dialogue. The Council extended the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sudan, through a resolution that criticized ongoing violations and abuses of human rights in Sudan.

Journalists, FGM, and Political Participation: The HRC’s Safety of Journalists resolution condemned recent violence against journalists and urged states to provide protection and prevent such actions. The Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) resolution acknowledged progress toward the elimination of FGM but underlined ongoing concerns. The Equal Participation in Political and Public Affairs resolution urged all states to eliminate barriers to the full participation of all citizens in political and public affairs.

The LGBT resolution was singled out in a statement by Secretary of State John Kerry, who said the “historic” passage “marks yet another important chapter in UN efforts to stand united against the human rights abuses that LGBT individuals face around the world.”

The vote was 25 in favor and 14 against, with seven abstentions.

Countries voting against the measure, which “takes note with appreciation of the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights entitled ‘Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity’” and commissions a major report on challenges facing gays worldwide, were Algeria, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan said “the wider connotations of sexual orientation could be detrimental” and “Muslims strongly believed that their religious and cultural values should be respected.”

“The United States will continue to promote human rights around the world for all people,” Kerry said. “Who you love, and who you are, must not be an excuse or cover for discrimination or abuse, period.”

Read bullet |

Judaism’s ‘Chained Wives’ Facebook-Shame Delinquent Husbands

Monday, September 29th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

RedeemRivky

Tablet Magazine is giving press to one of the Jewish world’s most truly feminist causes, the right of a woman to obtain a divorce decree, known in the Rabbinic world as a get. Rivky Stein has spent the past 2 years attempting to obtain a get from her husband Yoel Weiss who simply refuses to appear in court (a Rabbinic beit din) in order for the decree to be issued. Sick, tired, and more than ready to move on with her life, Rivky took to social media to publicly shame her husband into relenting.

A surge of news reports followed, adding to an ongoing saga that had been chronicled by publications ranging from The Daily Mail to Haaretz. A call to action was posted on a website devoted to Stein’s cause. Donations poured in to a crowd-funding website that has raised over $22,000 so far.

The coordinated use of publicists, Facebook, Twitter, donation sites, and rallies is becoming common for women like Rivky Stein who seek religious divorces from their husbands. Many Jews give little thought to the get, but in traditional Judaism only men can grant a divorce. Without one, a woman cannot date or remarry without carrying and passing onto her children what is widely considered in the Orthodox world to be a tremendous stigma. So, with few options in Jewish law, more agunot—Hebrew for “chained wives”—are embracing contemporary and high-tech tools to publicly shame men.

Rivky is far from the first woman to take her divorce demand to the court of public opinion. Statistics indicate that there are 462 agunot in North America, but due to the insular nature of the Orthodox Jewish community those numbers are far from reliable.

Rivky Stein’s case is a he-said, she-said story. She claims mental, physical and sexual abuse. He says she’s “a sham”. Still, the history of Orthodox men abusing their wives and refusing to grant divorces doesn’t bode in his favor. Get detectives rake in the bucks in Israel “…where all Jewish marriages and divorces must be made in rabbinic courts,” and in America, of course, we have the “Prodfather”:

While shame and exclusion have worked for centuries, another tactic has raised a great deal of attention: violence. A recent article in GQ details allegations against Rabbi Mendel Epstein, who is referred to as the “Prodfather” for his use of electric cattle prods to coerce reluctant husbands. At 69 years old, Epstein faces 25 years to life in federal prison after an elaborate FBI sting operation led to his arrest and indictment on multiple counts of kidnapping.

The power of social media can only go so far, and the women who do take their case to social media are internet-shamed in turn, orphaned by their own religious communities.

Although agunot may be better-equipped than ever, with the ability to instantaneously reach out to thousands of followers through social media, or bankroll an attorney through crowd-funding, the power of divorce is ultimately given to the husband, according to Jewish law. If Weiss is bent on staying married, there is little Stein can do.

…As for Stein, much of her effort at this point goes into prayer. “I feel like I did everything,” she said. “I don’t know what to do anymore, honestly.”

Streams of Judaism that require religious approval for a divorce have largely adopted the Lieberman clause in the ketubah (wedding contract) that give the wife the option to petition a reluctant husband through a secular court. Despite being promoted by some Orthodox rabbis, most Orthodox groups refuse to include the clause in wedding contracts.

Read bullet |

The Church is Afraid of Islam

Sunday, September 28th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

YouTube Preview Image

An evangelical Zionist friend of mine sent me a link to pro-life Catholic Lisa Graas’s response to Ted Cruz’s shock-speech at the IDC Summit held earlier this month. Her opinions are illustrative of exactly how theology continues to impact politics in America. Threatening Cruz with the loss of the Catholic vote, Graas writes:

In Catholicism, Israel doesn’t have to be a “Jewish state.” We can accept it as a Jewish state, but we are in no way bound to it being so because we see the Church as the New Israel, theologically.

Graas is a believer in supersessionism, a.k.a. replacement theology. Replacement theology is an old school church teaching that the Christian Church replaces Israel in God’s eyes, that after Jesus, God was done with the Jews and has summarily dubbed the Church his “New Israel” to be the recipients of all the blessings Biblically directed to Israel. It is a nasty idea that was used to defend Crusades, expulsions, and pogroms. Now, Graas is using replacement theology to defend what she defines as the “high church”/Muslim relationship at the sake of Catholic support for the Jewish State.

In saying “no greater ally than the Jewish state,” he [Cruz] stepped over into theology and insulted Catholics who see the Church as the New Israel theologically. We can, and desire to be, friends with Israel, even as a Jewish state, but we cannot pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state in the manner that people of Ted Cruz’s religion pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state. We cannot say that if suddenly everyone in Israel converted to Catholicism and turned Israel into a Catholic state, that this would be a “bad” thing. Protestants, of course, would be horrified if that happened because they have some deeply-held theological views that Israel MUST BE a Jewish state. We can take it or leave it as a Jewish state, but they can’t take it or leave it. Catholics can be your friend, Israel, even as a Jewish state, but we cannot pledge unfailing loyalty to “a Jewish state” like Ted Cruz and evangelicals do. You ask too much there.

Graas rambles on about the evils of Protestant ideology, him-hawing over whether or not Israel should be considered a Jewish state with arguments that boil down to a valley girl’s, “Uh, yeah, well, I guess…whatever,” in her theological defense of Catholic replacement theology. Then, oddly enough, she comes out with this whopper:

Another thing is that many Christians in the Middle East see his statement “Jewish state” as being bad not because it’s “Jewish,”, per se, but because it is a “sectarian” statement. They distrust the advancement of ideas that promote theocratic rule over religious minorities who are in disagreement with that particular theology.

An old-school, Pope is “lower than man, but higher than God,” replacement theologian Catholic decides that Cruz isn’t to be trusted because he’s the sectarian one in the room. Apparently there hasn’t yet been an edict issued against irony.

Read bullet |

A Beheading in Oklahoma

Friday, September 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A young Muslim man is accused of beheading a co-worker in Oklahoma.

Sgt. Jeremy Lewis says the alleged suspect, 30-year-old Alton Nolen had just been fired when he drove to the front of the business, hit a vehicle and walked inside.

He walked into the front office area where he met 54-year-old Colleen Hufford and began attacking her with a knife.

Sgt. Lewis confirms the type of knife used in the attack is the same kind used at the plant.

Lewis confirms that Hufford was stabbed several times and that Nolen “severed her head.”

At that point, Lewis claims Nolen met 43-year-old Traci Johnson and began attacking her with the same knife.

Officials say at that point, Mark Vaughan, an Oklahoma County reserve deputy and a former CEO of the business, shot him as he was actively stabbing Johnson.

A good guy with a gun stopped a monster with a knife. This situation would have been far worse if Vaughan had not been carrying his firearm. Concealed carry permit applications will likely spike nationwide after this.

There’s no suggestion that Nolen targeted his victims personally. He was attacking the employees of the company “at random,” according to police.

There’s this for a possible motivation:

The FBI is now looking into Nolen’s background after his former co-workers said he tried to convert them to Islam after recently converting himself.

We’ll see if that pans out.

Nolen does have a history of violence.

According to the state corrections department, Nolen was convicted in January 2011 of multiple felony drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was released from prison in March 2013. Neither woman had any relationship with Nolen.

And radical Muslims have a strategy of using prisons as places to proselytize. Radical mosques give these violent outcasts homes, many for the first time in their lives. ISIS has come along as the latest radical group to provide motivation for attacking infidels.

If the Nidal Hasan case is any guide, and it probably is, the official federal word will be that Nolen killed in a fit of “workplace violence.”

Rational Americans will see that and hear the horrible 9-1-1 call and rightly determine that the Obama government is unwilling to see the truth, and is unwilling to protect us.

Update: Nolen is at least a social media jihadist.

Read bullet |

The West’s Multiculturalism Blows Up on the ISIS Battlefield…and Here at Home

Friday, September 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Islamist State’s chief propagandist is believed to be a wealthy American. His name is Ahmad Abousamra, he is 32 years old, and he is the son of a Boston doctor. He is young and he is not poor, and he is not ignorant. He is also not unacquainted with western notions of individual freedom. He just rejects them.

He was born and raised in France and his formal education does not have Islamist overtones at all. He attended Xaverian Brothers Catholic high school and Northeastern University, where he made the dean’s list.

He is but one of thousands of westerners who are now fighting for ISIS — including 3,000 Europeans.

The number of Europeans joining Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq has risen to more than 3,000, the EU’s anti-terrorism chief has told the BBC.

Gilles de Kerchove also warned that Western air strikes would increase the risk of retaliatory attacks in Europe.

US-led forces have launched more than 200 air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq since August and on Monday began targeting IS in Syria.

The UK parliament is due to vote on possible air strikes in Iraq on Friday.

IS – also known as Isil or Isis – has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months.

Mr de Kerchove said the number of 3,000 included all those who have been to the region, including those who have returned and those who have been killed there.

That’s about one-tenth of the total fighting force that the Islamic State is now believed to have in the field — western-raised Muslims who can freely travel to and from the battlefield, while journalist Stephen Hayes gets tagged on the terrorism watch list.

How did we get here? Let’s explore that question on the next page.

Read bullet |

Arab Bank Found Complicit in Hamas Terror Funding

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Jennifer Hanin

Ever hear of the Holy Land Foundation? It was the largest Islamic charity in the USA, and it was only a short drive away from George Bush Intercontinental Airport based in Richardson, Texas. Our U.S. government designated HLF a terrorist organization in December of 2001, seized its assets, and closed its doors. By 2004, a federal grand jury in Dallas charged HLF and five former officers and its assigns with disseminating material support to Hamas and tacked on related charges. In essence, the HLF funneled money to “charity” committees controlled by Hamas in the West Bank. It sounds like déjà vu when you consider Monday’s verdict where jurors needed less than two days to deliberate the fate of Jordan’s biggest lender for financing Hamas terrorist activities; the Arab Bank.

It’s not surprising to see similarities when comparing the Arab Bank to the HLF or even the money funneling and legal woes of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). It’s also not surprising it took jurors less than two days of deliberations following six weeks of courtroom drama in a Brooklyn federal court to find Jordan’s biggest lender liable for financing Hamas, a case lawyers tout as the first terrorism financing civil case to reach trial in the United States.

Arab Bank Found Liable

Jurors determined that Arab Bank PLC aided Hamas terrorists when they engaged in malicious attacks that killed and injured  Americans on Israeli soil. The jurors determined that the Amman-based bank did business with nearly 200 Hamas leaders and operatives dating back some 14 years. It is believed that in all, about 25 deadly suicide bombings took place in restaurants and on public transportation in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and surrounding areas in Israel.

It’s also not earth shattering but rather anticipated by financial experts eyeballing this case, that shares of Arab Bank plummeted as much as 6.8 percent, the biggest drop in more than a month, before closing at 7.60 dinars, down 1.9 percent in Amman trading.

Senior fellow with Kohelet Policy Forum, Professor Eugene Kontorovich had this to say about the ruling:

“The verdict demonstrates that it is impossible to separate money to Hamas – whether to its “political” or military wings – from support for terror. This should remind us that many other organizations, like UNRWA and European countries that have indirectly funneled money to Hamas – are also complicit in terror.”

Not only will a trial on damages take place later, but similar lawsuits are pending in New York against Bank of China Ltd, which is accused of providing services to Palestine Islamic Jihad, and Credit Lyonnais SA. Both financial institutions are also accused of aiding Hamas. As expected both banks denied any wrongdoing.

The case shines a floodlight on the way banks can be held accountable by bankrolling bloodshed and the subsequent legal and civil hemorrhaging that results as they stand to lose both their reputation and their pocketbook.

The suit, filed in 2004, accused Arab Bank of violating the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows victims of U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations to seek compensation. The U.S. State Department designated Hamas a terrorist group in 1997, and that status still reigns today.

Is This a Fair Analogy?

Many may wonder if HLF is anything like the Arab Bank case. Maybe not at first glance as critics will always point to the fact that HLF knew they were funding Hamas directly but the Arab Bank did not. Well, actually the Arab Bank had to know or should have known since Hamas and Islamic Jihad were directly tied to the funding. Does that make every bank responsible for what their clients use their funding for? Absolutely not — unless, of course, it’s pigeonholed for jihad (aka holy war). Privacy is one thing to a reasonable point, but funding terror organizations is now front and center. Only the courts will be the judge and they convene when they’re ready. So in other words, stay tuned.

Kontorovich writes extensively on legal matters and agrees this case not only resembles the Holy Land Foundation on some levels and amplifies the legal woes of organizations like CAIR, but has legs with little wiggle room when it comes to abandoning laws, the Geneva Convention and finding new and creative ways to finance terror and perpetrate similar crimes against humanity going forward.

Jen­nifer Hanin is an award-winning writer, influ­en­tial blog­ger and social media maven, and co-founder and for­mer Exec­u­tive Edi­tor of Act For Israel. She is co-author of the critically-acclaimed What to Do When You Can’t Get Preg­nant: the Com­plete Guide to All the Options for Cou­ples Fac­ing Fer­til­ity Issues (Da Capo, 2013; 2005) and Becom­ing Jew­ish: The Chal­lenges, Rewards and Paths to Judaism.

Read bullet |

Chuck Todd: Don’t Question Obama’s ‘Resolve’ to Take Down ISIS

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Apparently NBC’s Chuck Todd isn’t aware that President Obama didn’t even mention ISIS in his letter to Congress outlining why he launched airstrikes in Syria. Instead, Obama predicated the attack on a threat from a group that most have never even heard of.

Todd appeared on MSNBC today and said that whatever you think about Obama’s strategy of telling our enemies that we’ll never ever ever send ground troops to fight ISIS — ever — you can’t question the man’s “resolve.”

So just don’t.

Todd said: “I think. Look, you have to say this. I’m still a bit shocked by the timing of this and I think anybody that was questioning the president’s resolve about going after ISIS and doing it through Syria, I’m with Richard. There is a lot to be skeptical about, about this plan. But you can’t question his resolve. he did it the day before he goes to the UN. That’s quite the statement.”

If Bush had done that…Todd would question more than just his “resolve.”

Just for grins, I looked up the meaning of “resolve.” It means “firm determination to do something.” Obama has been dragged into action against ISIS — which he doesn’t mention in that letter to Congress — because the American people have been way ahead of him on the threat. It took the beheadings of two Americans to get him off the campaign trail.

As I was writing this, Obama advocated arguing over theology with ISIS — that that’s the way to defeat them. Not by wiping them out and providing their demise as an example to others who might even contemplate attacking Americans.

So, yeah, some “resolve.”

Read bullet |

Poll: Nearly Half of Americans Want More Faith In Their Politics

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

An against-the-grain story about a surprising poll from the New York Times.

The Pew Research Center reported Monday that 72 percent of Americans believe religion is losing its influence on American life, a striking development in a nation where religious arguments, religious leaders and religious voting blocs have long played an important role.

While the​ ​declining influence of religion is, perhaps, a natural side effect of the declining religiosity of​ ​Americans, more surprising is that as religion fades in American culture, many Americans regret its receding role in politics.

Nearly ​half of Americans — 49 percent, to be precise — say houses of worship should express their views on social and political questions, up 6 points since the 2010 midterm elections. And 32 percent — a rising minority — say houses of worship should endorse candidates, which is currently illegal.

It’s illegal, but you’ll see it happen in black churches every single election year.

And that’s perfectly fine with me. It shouldn’t be illegal. Churches should have more freedom, not less, to weigh in on the culture and issues in society. If that means endorsing or rejecting specific candidates and parties, so be it.

The fact is, politics is warfare by other means, and it’s also an expression of morality and beliefs by means other than sermons and songs in church.

Of course, the fact that 49% want churches to be more vocal means that a nearly equal number want the exact opposite. The Pew poll finds that it’s 49-48 to the yes, which is well within any margin of error.

We’re a divided nation on morality. Politics is an expression of that division.

Other key findings of the poll: Support for allowing gay men and lesbians to marry has dropped to 49 percent, down from 54 percent in February, and 50 percent say it is a sin to engage in homosexual behavior, up from 45 percent last year. Only 30 percent of Americans now see the Obama administration as friendly toward religion, down 9 points​ since 2012.

Materialism, entertainment, sports, personal success, even family achievements do not, ultimately, fulfill that God-shaped hole that most of us have. It only makes sense that millions want faith to have a prominent place in our national family life. What doesn’t make sense at all, is one party becoming the chief antagonist for those of traditional faith. But that’s very much where we are.

Read bullet |

The Climate Marchers’ Real Agenda Is…?

Monday, September 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Democratic Socialism.

At least, according to the “People’s Climate” marchers who trashed New York City this weekend.

These people want to impose socialism, the brutal system that has failed or is failing everywhere it has ever been tried.

Exit question:

climate-stupid

Read bullet |

Pope Francis Selects Spokane Bishop to Head Up Chicago Archdiocese

Saturday, September 20th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

In the first big move by Pope Francis to put his imprint on the American Catholic church, the pontiff named Blase Cupich, the Bishop of the diocese of Spokane, to lead the 2.2 million Catholics of the archdiocese of Chicago.

Cardinal Francis George, the current archbishop, announced he was stepping down last May after he was diagnosed with cancer for the third time since 2005. Since then, George has said that he believes the cancer will take his life.

Bishop Cupich is considered a “moderate” in church circles and is said to mirror the opinions of the pope about de-emphasizing issues like abortion and gay marriage. While Cupich is said to be opposed to both, he is expected to bring a different style of advocacy to the debate.

Chicago is the third largest diocese in America and is considered one of the most influential in the nation, with innovative lay outreach programs and the largest private school system in the country.

Associated Press:

Cupich, 65, is a native of Omaha, Nebraska, where he was ordained a priest. He holds degrees from the Pontifical Gregorian University and The Catholic University of America. He was appointed bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1998, and served there until 2010, when he was appointed to Spokane.

In a 2012 essay in the Jesuit magazine America, Cupich said the U.S. bishops “rightly objected” to the original narrow religious exemption in President Barack Obama’s requirement that employers provide health insurance that covers contraception. But Cupich called for a “return to civility” in conversations about religious liberty and society.

Cupich also served as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ child protection committee at the height of the clergy sex abuse crisis and as church leaders were putting in place a toughened policy on disciplining guilty priests.

“While the outrage to the (government) decision was understandable, in the long run threats and condemnations have a limited impact,” Cupich said. “We should never stop talking to one another.”

Cupich has also defended Francis’ views on the economy and emphasis on fighting poverty, which some Catholics and others have criticized as naive and against capitalism.

“Instead of approaching life from the 30-thousand-feet level of ideas, he challenges policymakers and elected officials — indeed all of us — to experience the life of everyday and real people,” Cupich said at a conference last June on the Catholic case against libertarianism. “Much like he told religious leaders, Francis is saying that politicians and policymakers need to know the smell of the sheep.”

A Francis clone in the 3rd largest diocese in America would certainly have an impact on the hierarchy. Catholic bishops tend to be more liberal than their leaders both in the US and Rome and the notion that a more pastoral archbishop will have such a high profile position can only encourage the bishops in their attacks on wealth and capitalism.

But there is no difference of opinion regarding the contraceptive controversy, except perhaps in the manner in which Cubich will approach the administration.

In a letter last year on the Obama administration’s birth-control coverage rule for employers, Bishop Cupich said faith-affiliated groups should never be forced to provide services that the church considers morally objectionable. However, he condemned threats by some U.S. church leaders that they would shut down social-service agencies over the Affordable Care Act.

“These kind of scare tactics and worse-case scenario predictions are uncalled for,” he wrote in a letter to diocesan employees. “I am confident we can find a way to move forward.”

Is Pope Francis sending a message to the American Catholic church? “I think he sent a pastor, not a message,” Cupich says. Nice thought, but irrelevant. Of course popes send messages. But what kind of message he is passing along won’t be known until Archbishop Cubich has a chance to place his own stamp on the Chicago Catholic church.

Read bullet |

Exactly Who is ‘In Defense of Christians’?

Saturday, September 13th, 2014 - by Michelle Horstman

Much has been written over the last few days about Ted Cruz’s appearance at the first summit of a new organization, “In Defense of Christians.” The organization is working to form an alliance of  leaders to preserve and protect some of the world’s oldest Christian groups. What may be most curious about this organization is how they are now covering up exactly who makes up their board.

The incident in the news that brought this group front and center occurred as the result of Cruz walking away from the podium after stating that those who will not stand with our ally, Israel, will not have his support. You can view more here. His attempt to suggest that all religious bigotry (including anti-semitism) was a problem did not seem welcome to some in this audience. Watching his preliminary words before he left the stage helps put it in context.

Among the many opinions out there, Mark Tooley and his commenters appear to be aware of the political and nationalist aspect of being a Mideast Christian, which helps clarify the reaction to Cruz from some of the audience:

It’s no secret that many Mideast Christians generally aren’t big fans of Israel. I learned this firsthand during the 2006 Israel war on Hezbollah, when my discussion at church with a Lebanese Christian nearly escalated to a shouting match.

Sometimes American Christians romanticize overseas persecuted Christians into disembodied noble souls unaffected by terrestrial concerns. But they, like everybody else, have histories, loyalties, resentments, grievances, and political calculations. Generally, most Mideast Christians cannot further imperil themselves by ever seeming politically to sympathize with Israel or the West. But their notions are not just for appearances. Many Mideast Christians are Arab nationalists. And whether for survival or genuine sympathy, some church leaders over the years have aligned with repressive regimes, like Assad’s and Saddam’s.

Mideast Christians, in other words, are not necessarily planning to ever be on board with Israel and may very well continue to align with terrorist groups and leaders as they see fit.

An article from the Free Beacon outlines some of the concerning associations found within this group and its’ summit speakers, for example:

Funding for the conference was provided by Clinton donor and Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, according to organizers. The wealthy businessman pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009.

Chagoury is also reportedly backer of Lebanese politician Michel Aoun, Hezbollah’s top Christian ally in the country, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks.

And another:

Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Raï, who was scheduled to speak during the same keynote slot as Cruz on Wednesday evening, has called Israel an “enemy state that is occupying Lebanese territory” and defended Hezbollah’s right to attack the Jewish state.

And another:

Others at the summit have also aligned themselves with the Iranian-backed terrorist group. Syriac Orthodox Church Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II posted photos from his meeting with a “high level delegation from Hezbollah” on his official Facebook page last week.

See their article for even further examples, all of which would have been of reasonable concern to those, like Cruz, who feel anti-semitism must not be tolerated any more than the abuse of Mideast Christians.

Yet, the In Defense of Christians website felt it necessary to post yet again on the incident on Sept. 12th, taking a new slant which insinuates that Cruz turned a peaceful and productive event into a political one:

In last night’s Solidarity Gala Dinner, Senator Cruz chose to stand against the small and vocal minority of attendees who disagree with his views on Israel rather than standing with the vast majority of those who attended the gala and support both Israel and the Middle East’s Christians.

For those who do choose to listen to the entire video, it seems clear that Cruz was being shouted down loudly enough to make speaking difficult and that those doing the shouting had no intention of joining him in denouncing anti-semitism. The Sept. 12th post on their website suggests Cruz could have spoken in a way that may have been more pleasing to the audience:

Yesterday, 17 Republican and Democratic Senators and Representatives addressed this same audience, referring to peace and unity with Muslims and Jews—themes expressed throughout the conference with the resounding support of those present.

It seems like it would have been disingenuous for Cruz to gloss over that deeply held belief in order to appease an audience.

Read bullet |

Government Threatened Hostage Families with Prosecution if They Raised Ransom Money

Saturday, September 13th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

I am of two minds about this story. Certainly, we can all relate to the desperation of the parents of Steve Sotloff and James Foley. They were willing to do anything to get their children back — as any of us would do in a similar situation. The fact that the government apparently threatened both families with prosection if they tried to raise ransom money seems harsh and arbitrary.

But the government is forced to think not only about present hostages, but any future hostage taking of Americans by the terrorists. It seems logical that paying ransom for hostages only encourages more hostage taking. Recall in Lebanon in the 1980s when the U.S. bartered arms for hostages only to see more hostages taken by the terrorists.

But there is more to this story. Specifically, White House lies about being in “constant contact” with the families of hostages. That’s not the story the families are telling. And the manner in which the message about potential prosection was delivered is more reminiscent of a threat delivered by a mafioso than a caring, compassionate government.

ABC News:

The mother of slain American journalist James Foley said she wasn’t necessarily surprised that the U.S. government threatened her family with prosecution should they raise money to pay her son’s ransom, but she was astounded by how such a devastating message was delivered.

“I was surprised there was so little compassion,” Diane Foley told ABC News today of the three separate warnings she said U.S. officials gave the family about the illegality of paying ransom to the terror group ISIS. “It just made me realize that these people talking to us had no idea what it was like to be the family of someone abducted… I’m sure [the U.S. official] didn’t mean it the way he said it, but we were between a rock and a hard place. We were told we could do nothing… meanwhile our son was being beaten and tortured every day.”

Earlier this week five current and former officials with direct knowledge of the Foley case confirmed the alleged threats were made.

“It was an utterly idiotic thing to do that came across as if [the U.S. official] had the compassion of an anvil,” said a former official who has advised the family.

[...]

At times, Diane Foley said the family “had to beg” the government for information on their son.

“We were an annoyance, it felt, at some level… They didn’t have time for us,” she said.

Today White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said that government officials were in constant contact with the Foley family and declined to comment on the alleged ransom warnings, telling reporters he’s “not going to be in a position to detail the kinds of conversations that took place so often between members of the administration and the Foley family.”

“It is a long standing policy of this administration, it was the policy of previous administrations that ransoms should not be paid to terrorist organizations,” Earnest said before referring more specific questions about the Foley’s situation to the Justice Department.

Secretary of State John Kerry today told reporters that he was “really taken aback [and] surprised” by Foley’s allegations. “I can tell you that I am totally unaware and would not condone anybody that I know of within the State Department making such statements,” Kerry said.

The family of Steve Sotloff, the other murdered American, was also threatened directly with prosecution at a White House meeting.

Sources close to the families say that at the time of the White House meeting the Sotloffs and Foleys — after receiving direct threats from IS — were exploring lining up donors who would help pay multimillion-dollar ransoms to free their sons. But after the meeting those efforts collapsed, one source said, because of concerns that “donors could expose themselves to prosecution.”

Although European hostages have been freed through ransom payments that have run into the millions of dollars, the Obama administration has taken a hard line against any such payments, viewing the transfer of cash as a violation of federal laws that forbid providing “material support” to a terrorist organization.

“They’ve been stricter than any administration on this,” said a former law enforcement official who has been working with the families of IS hostages.

Barfi said that within a few hours of the White House meeting, he was at a separate meeting with State Department officials. One of those officials repeatedly mentioned the “material support” law and made it “clear,” said Barfi, that criminal prosecutions could result if ransoms to the IS terrorists were paid.

Such explicit threats made to parents who “had to beg” to get any information about their children points to an administration that employed clod-hoppers as liaisons to the families. No doubt it was a tough job to inform the families of the law and the potential penalties that would have come with raising ransom money. But it’s obvious from statements made by both families that the administration blew it. The situation called for striking the right balance between showing compassion and imparting the matter-of-fact information about potential prosections. The White House chose people without tact or empathy to deliver their message and struck out.

Even though they’re right about the policy.

Read bullet |

Salafis Return to Egypt’s Mosques and Media

Friday, September 12th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

 

In a move that has many anti-Islamist Egyptians concerned, the government has again allowed the Salafis to return to preaching in mosques and on television.

They’re back

Salafis are Muslims who profess to follow as literally as possible the teachings and habits of Islam’s prophet and his companions.

Soon after the June 2013 revolution in Egypt, which saw the ousting (and subsequent imprisonment) of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic supremacist groups—chief among them the Salafis—were banned from preaching.

The logic was that they were the primary actors responsible for inciting the nation’s more zealous Muslims to attack government targets, Coptic Christian churches, etc.

Accordingly, their access to mosques and other outlets were severely curtailed.

According to Nabil Zaki, the former spokesman for Assembly Party of Egypt, this new  move allowing the Salafis, particularly the Nour party, to make a comeback

is a major setback that will make it that much harder for the government to combat reactionary thinking—and this, after the Egyptian public had made great strides against such thinking….  Permitting the Salafi sheikhs to ascend to the pulpits again revives the bitter experiences of confronting this form of thinking, bringing us back to square one.

Zaki and others also warned that this decision coincides with parliamentarian elections, meaning that the Salafi clerics will again use their influence and religious rhetoric to sway voters towards a more “reactionary,” that is, Islamic, agenda.

Read bullet |

Obama Still Wants Poor Catholic Nuns to Pay for Others’ Birth Control

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The so-called “war on women” isn’t going away anytime soon. The Obama administration is renewing its war, in fact, to force some women who have taken lifetime vows of chastity to pay for birth control for the likes of Sandra Fluke.

LifeNews reports that the Obama administration today announced that it is continuing its legal battle to force the Little Sisters of the Poor — a group of Catholic nuns who devote themselves to charity — to either pay for birth control through the Obamacare mandate, or face paying ruinous fines. Paying for birth control violates the nuns’ religious beliefs. Never mind that, as nuns, they have no need of birth control themselves.

The government filed a supplemental brief in the case today. The government’s brief specifies that it believes the Little Sisters of the Poor should not be granted an exception from the Obamacare birth control mandate.

The Little Sisters of the Poor serve about 10,000 elderly poor in the United States. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is defending the Sisters from the Obamacare mandate.

The Obama administration granted numerous waivers and exemptions from various aspects of its unpopular law, and President Obama has delayed parts of the law unilaterally when it was to his political advantage to do so.

Yet he still has his administration lawyers working to force a group of nuns to obey the birth control mandate. The Supreme Court has previously allowed the Little Sisters to escape the mandate by notifying the government of its objections. The Obama administration issued new regulations in August 2014 to circumvent the Supreme Court’s order, according to LifeNews.

 

Read bullet |

Obama Wants a $5 Billion Slush Fund to Fight ISIS

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Hill reports that President Obama wants Congress to give him a $5 billion fund, but does not want to go to Congress to get explicit authorization to fight the Islamic State.

President Obama is pushing congressional leaders to authorize a $5 billion counterterrorism fund that could be used to support operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The president first suggested the fund during a foreign policy address earlier this year at the West Point military academy, but it went nowhere in Congress.

The idea was revisited on Monday by White House press secretary Josh Earnest, who floated it as something that “would strengthen the hand of this president and future presidents for dealing with urgent situations like this.”

“This is a core component of the president’s strategy for dealing with this and other issues like it around the globe — that is, additional resources that can be used by the United States to build up effective partners so that when the United States has to confront threats like this, that we have well-trained, well-equipped, effective partners that we can work with to confront these problems,” Earnest said Monday.

Did you see the part that I put in bold letters there?

That’s some tricksy maneuvering by the White House. The imminent threat, the one that the president is resisting going to Congress over, is IS. But Earnest made sure to include “and other issues like it around the globe.”

Now, what might those be? What else might constitute a looming “threat,” in the eyes of this administration?

If you ask Secretary of State John Kerry, it’s “climate change.”

Former Secretary of State and presumed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says climate change is “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.”

Not IS or similar Islamic terrorism. Not Putin, with his designs on rebuilding the Soviet empire.

President Barack Obama: climate change is a “direct threat” to the United States.

Now the president resists consulting Congress on IS, but wants Congress to hand him a check for $5 billion to deal with IS “and other threats like it around the globe.” He wants the money, but no oversight on how it gets spent.

Congress should not write the president a blank check.

Read bullet |

The Real Lesson of Steven Sotloff’s Hidden Identity

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

sotlofffoley

This past week Jewish media was abuzz with stories of how hard journalist Steven Sotloff’s family and friends worked to hide his Jewish identity after he was captured by ISIS. It seemed strange to me that Jew haters would have such terrible Jewdar. After all, the guy’s name was “Sotloff”, but apparently that’s not a “tell” in the Muslim world:

One thing journalists quickly learn is that the Jewish “tells” in the West don’t mean much in the Middle East. Jewish names obvious in the West are not at all so in the region, and stereotypical “Jewish looks” among westerners are indistinguishable from the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern features that are common throughout the Middle East.

“My name might have been Miriam Leah Goldbergstein, and I wouldn’t have worried,” said Lisa Goldman, who reported for various outlets in Lebanon and then in Cairo during the Arab Spring in 2011.

“A rose by any other name” would still be an infidel, so it would seem:

It’s not known whether ISIS was aware that Sotloff was Jewish. Colleagues believe his kidnapping by ISIS-affiliated terrorists in 2012 in Syria was one of opportunity and not a deliberate targeting. James Foley, another journalist kidnapped by ISIS and beheaded last month by the terror group, was Catholic.

Which is, perhaps, the overarching point of the latest rash of radical Islamist beheadings of Western journalists. We are all roses to be de-headed, whether we call ourselves Jews, Christians, or simply Westerners of a secular stripe. Iranian American scholar Haleh Esfandiari didn’t blink in her distinction of “The West” from the Muslim east when she commented on radical Islamist recruits:

These young men who grew up in Western cultures seem to have absorbed nothing regarding the value of human life and respect for women.

Read bullet |

Chick-Fil-A Founder S. Truett Cathy, RIP

Monday, September 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The founder of Chick-Fil-A, whose orthodox views on marriage made his family and his business a figure of hate on the left, has passed away.

S. Truett Cathy, the billionaire founder of the privately held Chick-fil-A restaurant chain that famously closes on Sundays but also drew unwanted attention on gay marriage in recent years because of his family’s conservative views, died early Monday, a company spokesman said. He was 93.

Chick-fil-A spokesman Mark Baldwin told The Associated Press that Cathy died at home surrounded by members of his family. The company said in a statement that preliminary plans are for a public funeral service at 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Jonesboro in Jonesboro, Georgia.

Cathy built Chick-Fil-A up from nothing in the post-war years. He always observed the sabbath, keeping all of the chain’s hundreds of stores closed on Sundays so workers could rest or go to church.

Cathy always gave substantially to church and charity, mainly through the WinShape Foundation, yet became a figure of hate on the left when his son, Dan, stated his opinion that marriage is between one man and one woman. That hatred led to a boycott of Chick-Fil-A, to Democrats trying to block the restaurants from doing business in Chicago and Boston, and also to the chain’s highest revenues ever.

Truett Cathy never retired from a job that he loved, and never retired from his charitable work. He set Chick-Fil-A up to remain in the family, and never to go public.

Read bullet |

What Makes The West the Antidote to Radical Islam?

Sunday, September 7th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

islamwest

Haleh Esfandiari is an Iranian American who escaped the revolution in ’79. Currently directing the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Esfandiari was held captive by the Iranian regime for 105 days in 2007. One of the few voices willing to speak up for the women being oppressed under the ISIS regime, she recently turned a critical eye toward Arab and Muslim governments in the region in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:

Arab and Muslim governments, vocal on the threat ISIS poses to regional stability, have been virtually silent on ISIS’s systemic degradation, abuse, and humiliation of women. To the men of ISIS, women are an inferior race, to be enjoyed for sex and be discarded, or to be sold off as slaves.

Zakia Hakki, an Iraqi judge and a woman herself, says that the fighters leave behind pregnant women who, as “soiled goods,” are ostracized by their own societies, while their children are treated as illegitimate. These raped women become targets for honor killings in their own families and communities. The governments of Iraq and Syria have also failed to protect these women and give them any assistance; nor have Western NGOs been effective in looking after these abandoned women and children. ISIS’s men not only leave behind dead bodies in their wake but also women and children who are scarred for life.

In its propaganda, ISIS emphasizes women’s modesty and piety. It created the al-Khansaa female brigade to protect the morality of women and to ensure they appear totally veiled in public. The irony will not be lost on anyone.

Esfandiari’s damning evidence adds fuel to the fire most feminists are unwilling to take on. But, it is her cultural analysis that demands the West’s wholehearted attention (emphasis mine):

Volunteer fighters from around the world, including from Western countries, who have joined ISIS are complicit in these crimes against women. These young men who grew up in Western cultures seem to have absorbed nothing regarding the value of human life and respect for women. Why are there are no demonstrations in Western and Muslim societies against this barbaric onslaught on women and girls? How much longer will the Muslim and Arab world watch these horrors against women and children before speaking out and acting forcefully to protect them and rid the region of the ISIS calamity?

Read bullet |

At Chautauqua Institution, the Truth About Qaradawi and Terrorism Will Out

Saturday, September 6th, 2014 - by Rachel Lipsky

To fully appreciate the meaning of interfaith dialogues with so-called “moderate” Muslims and friends, consider the apt Sears Optical commercial. “Mama,” Kitty’s myopic owner, fails to see without her glasses. She opens the door to let Kitty in to “snuggle with mama” but instead, a raccoon―known to carry rabies―runs in and jumps in with ‘mama’ on her cozy bed.

Consider this an analogy for a distressing drama in progress at Chautauqua Institution, a strikingly beautiful summer retreat in Chautauqua, N.Y. While enveloped by pastoral landscape, Lake Chautauqua, beautiful houses and gardens, and enriched by music, visual arts, ballet, opera, symphony, chamber music and much more, Chautauqua is opening its doors to another sort of rabid beast.

After toying with the idea for many years, Chautauqua’s religion department this summer announced plans to add a Cordoba House to the Institution’s “Abrahamic family,” to be led by the infamous Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a move it describes as “highly supported by Chautauqua Faith leaders.”

What’s the rush? Why now, when bands of Islamic brigands roam much of the Middle East and Africa, and Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers worldwide endanger Western civilization? Why at this moment, as Islamic jihadists slaughter Christians throughout the entireMiddleEast as well as elsewhere. After all, Chautauqua Institution was founded by Protestant Christians.

Rather than outrage over endemic tyrannical Islamic abuses of Christians, associate religion department director Maureen Rovegno expresses what an objective individual could at best describe as naiveté:

“The only way that this fear [of Islam] can be alleviated, or neutralized, is to get to know each other in a personal way.” As the Psalm goes: ‘How good is it, and how pleasant, when people dwell together in unity’.”

Thus, only this summer, Chautauqua featured five influential Muslim Brotherhood functionaries and apologists as guest speakers: Former Islamic Circle of North America president Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Imam Rauf, DaliaMogahed, KarenArmstrong and John Esposito, a Georgetown University professor and head of its Prince Alwaeed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding, eponymous for the Saudi royal who in 2005 donated $20 million to the center.

Esposito has long espoused views consistent with Brotherhood doctrine and during the 1990′s was known to claim that Islamic fundamentalism, in fact, was democratic and posed no threat to the U.S. Esposito has also served with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Yusef Qaradawi―since 1999 banned for his terror support from entry to the U.S.―at both the Institue of Islamic Political Thought and the Circle of Tradition and Progress as well as the United Association For Studies and Research (USAR), part of the Hamas’ U.S. Muslim Brotherhood support infrastructure.

On Aug. 15, 2014, I tried to question Esposito following his presentation at the Chautauqua Hall of Philosophy. Chaos briefly ensued. I began with a referral to Sheikh Qaradawi, the MB spiritual leader banned in the U.S., and a major supporter of Hamas―the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

I stated:

John Esposito is known to view Sheikh Yusef Qaradawias a “reformist.”

Karen Armstrong considers him a moderate.

Imam Rauf favorably describes him as the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today.”

Dalia Mogahed, a featured Chautauqua speaker during the Week on Egypt, conducted her first interview with Qaradawi on his Islam Online website.

(All four, presumably involved with Chautauqua’s future Muslim House, were the Institution’s guest speakers this summer.)

I intended to share the following data on the horrors that Qaradawi sanctions, authorizes and stands for. Esposito refused to let me read even a small sample of Qaradawi’s edicts:

  Qaradawi condones female genital mutilation;

  Qaradawi endorses  killing Muslims who leave Islam (apostates);

  Qaradawi claims that Hitler was sent by Allah to punish the Jews (see video);

  Qaradawi declares force a legitimate means to establish or support Islamic principles (“changing wrong by force whenever possible”)  Priorities of the Islamic Movement chapter

  Qaradawi promotes Islamic conquest of the West;

  Qaradawi describes the mosque as a political institution to mobilize participants for jihad;

  Qaradawi endorsed the use of suicide bombers and killing Americans in Iraq.

Time clearly was not at issue. The preceding questioner was as short as possible. To paraphrase, he asked (55:13-55:45)

The U.S. state department declares Hamas a terrorist organization. Would you be willing to denounce Hamas?”

Esposito claimed that this was not his topic. When pressed, Esposito again dodged.

At other Chautauqua assemblies, questioners ran on at length but asked no question—and received applause. On Jul. 15, 2014, after Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid spoke, for example, another woman stood in the same Hall of Philosophy and for two minutes (1:03:27 - 1:05:05) bemoaned the fate of Sami Al-Arian, a “convicted terrorist-supporting felon, …under…separate indictment for criminal contempt,” as if he were a “poor victim.” Al Arian workedwith the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and served as a board member. In September 1991, Al Arian was caught on tape declaring:

These people – whom God, the Glorious and sublime, had made into monkeys and pigs, had become discontent and angry with, had cursed in this world and in the hereafter… [Koran 5:78, 5:60, and related Hadith]”

On Aug. 15, by contrast, I could have finished my question in under one minute. However, Esposito interrupted repeatedly and instructed me to “show some civility.” (55:50 – 58:40) This same man refers to the wicked Qaradawi ― for good reason banned from the U.S. for 15 years ― as a “reformist” and “continues to consider Al-Arian a ‘very close friend’ and ‘a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice’.” Obviously, he wished only to conceal the truth.

Fellow audience members shouted me down, displaying appallingly belligerent disrespect. They thus unveiled Chautauqua’s general tolerance for such fascist attitudes: not a single voice asked the hecklers to behave with decorum.

The sad reality: about Islam, Chautauqua won’t let the truth out. The precepts of sharia (Islamic law) prohibit criticism of Islam. As if in keeping with that, Esposito manipulatively suppressed any legitimate questions, much less open, honest discourse. He evidently acquiesces to sharia’s bans of free speech, press and conscience.

It makes sense: Esposito regularly appears as a keynote speaker at the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the U.S. fund raising arm of Hamas, and an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land terror-funding case, with ties to Hamas that led the FBI to terminateany official contact with the group.

At a recent CAIR fundraiser, Esposito smeared Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a highly acclaimed champion of the rights of Muslim women,asan “Islamophobe” (7:15-7:23), a slanderous noun for a fictitiousphenomenon. “Phobia” means an unusually persistent fear of some object or situation. Indeed, the word Islamophobia was reportedly concocted by Islamists at the Virginia offices of the Muslim Brotherhood’s International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). Chautauquans, especially, use it to tiringly silence all critics of Islam and more specifically all criticism of the barbaricIslamiclegal code. They intend solely to prohibit correct, indeed highly appropriate, expressions of alarm.

Sadly, at this pace, Chautauqua Institution’s engagement of radical supporters of Islamic law will undoubtedly render it a tyrannical place, especially regarding the alarmingly supremacist Islamic political ideology. Chautauqua apparently prefers to assume the mantle of a protector and advocate of Islam than defend the Western civilization that made its existence possible.

The myopic “mama” missing her glasses in the Sears Optical ad cannot distinguish between her kitty and a raccoon. That Chautauqua, similarly, fails to see the reality of “civilization Jihad” as described by the Muslim Brotherhood’s explanatory memorandum, could potentially have far more devastating results.

At some point, the truth will out, even at Chautauqua. Let’s hope that by then, it’s not too late to save the Institution from its own folly.

Read bullet |

New Caption Contest: Translate the Message Under Obama’s Doctored Image in the ISIS Video

Friday, September 5th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
Obama ISIS video

Caption from UK Telegraph: A grab from the Isil video

This week the Drudge Report had this link from the UK Telegraph with the headline and subhead:

How Isil doctored the image of Obama, making him appear haggard in videos

The terrorist group carefully manipulate their videos to make the US president look as tired and weary as possible, demonstrating its technical prowess

Welcome to war in the modern age where our enemies use media manipulation to taunt President Obama. (Remember when Putin and the Russians made light of Obama’s wimpy image using the kitty cats? Click here if you missed that unusual caption contest.)

Below, the Telegraph describes the techniques ISIL (or ISIS) used in the screen-grab image that is the subject of our contest.

In the same way, Mr. Obama’s blue jacket is made to appear a funereal black. His strands of grey hair are picked up and exaggerated. The editor has also caused an interlacing effect of black lines to run across the president’s white shirt. For good measure, he has carefully stretched the screen length ways in order to make Mr. Obama appear thin and gaunt.

Now, here is your “special ops” mission for these dangerous times. You must translate the message written in whatever language these barbarians used, into a language that PJ Media readers can better understand.

In addition to the “official translation,” you can also write a non-official translation from the Democratic National Committee, the Republican National Committee or from any committee or organization you wish, even the NRA or the Navy Seals.

Finally, is it just me, or does the ISIS video manipulation make Obama resemble, even more than before, “this guy” from the History Channel’s Bible mini-series? (Official name of “this guy” withheld for many political, religious and IRS reasons.)

Credit: History Channel

Credit: History Channel

Good luck, and you don’t have to be nice with your translations because the “folks” who did this video manipulation really are the personification of “this guy” in the photo above.

 

Read bullet |

According to John Kerry, Christian America Must Protect Muslims from Global Warming

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Is America a theocracy? Secretary of State John Kerry seems to think so. He cites the Holy Bible to push Christians to take a particular policy action.

YouTube Preview Image

America’s chief diplomat is a secular officer in a secular government. Yet he calls the nations he is addressing in the clip “Muslim-majority,” identifying them not by their names or even their ethnicities, but by their dominant religion. Are they democracies, are they dictatorships, are they mullahcracies? It doesn’t matter. Kerry says that they’re all “Muslim” or “Muslim-majority,” and that’s what counts.

America is majority Christian, so according to Secretary of State John Kerry, we are a Christian nation. Therefore, according to  Kerry, we must govern according to what the Bible says.

In the clip Kerry calls on other countries, presumably ones in which majorities respect the Bible, to protect those Muslim countries from climate change. He starts to cite specific scriptures, which he says “clearly” call for Christian countries to protect Muslim countries from climate change, and then appears to change his mind and settle on “Genesis.”

Who knew that John Kerry is such a hard core theocrat?

Read bullet |

Islamic State Brands Itself as a Unique Multi-Racial Melting Pot

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

On Friday before the Labor Day holiday, the third edition of the Islamic State’s glossy English-language magazine hit the Internet.

It’s called Dabiq, named after a small town in Syria where the Islamic State believes that the final battle for the world will begin. The third edition is titled A Call to Hijrah — “hijrah” means “the path to jihad.”

As we reported Friday, the magazine includes a lengthy statement said to be from James Foley, whom IS had beheaded in the days before A Call to Hijrah was released. It also calls President Barack Obama an “apostate,” which according to Islamic law marks him for death. IS may believe that Obama is a Muslim apostate because his father and grandfather were Muslims, or because he was educated in an Islamic school as a child in Indonesia, or both, and now states that he is a Christian.

In its opening chapters, Dabiq stakes the Islamic State’s claim that it is unique in all of history.

dabiq-1

dabiq-2

 

That is from page four, which includes an undated photo of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He is probably the “unknown man” that the text above refers to, because until the rise of the Islamic State he has not been the worldwide known figure that Osama bin Laden was for al Qaeda until his death.

Dabiq states if one were to travel to the Islamic State’s units on the front-lines in Syria and Iraq, they would see that the “soldiers and commanders [are] of different colors, languages and lands: the Najdi, the Jordanian, the Tunisian, the Egyptian, the Somali, the Turk, the Albanian, the Chechen, the Indonesian, the Russian, the European, the American, and so on. They left their families and their lands to renew the state of the muwahhidin in Sham, and they had never known each other until they arrived in Sham!”

The author goes on to state: “I have no doubt that this state…has become the largest collection of muhajirin in the world, is a marvel of history that has only come about to pave the way for al-Malhamah al-Kubra (the grand battle prior to the Hour).”

Part 2 of Dabiq, which begins on page 6, continues in this vein, extolling its jihadists. It connects Ibn Masud, who lived in the time of Mohammed, to al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who also praised foreign fighters who joined the al Qaeda cause in Iraq. Part 2 endeavors to put the Islamic State squarely into Islamic history, in the mainstream, as inheritors of the mantle left by Mohammed himself and carried out by Zarqawi and now al-Baghdadi.

As a propaganda and recruitment tool, Dabiq is impressive. It is well-produced and takes the time to explain many Islamic concepts that even Muslims who grew up in the West might not be familiar with. The magazine’s characterization of the Islamic State as a multi-national and multi-ethnic melting pot, coupled with photos of smiling IS warriors, is an overt pitch to westerners who have been steeped in multiculturalism in schools and media for decades. IS is pitching itself as the joyous fulfillment of the West’s ideal to bring all races, nationalities and cultures together to live side-by-side in harmony.

The Islamic State’s harmony depends not on voluntary assimilation and tolerance, but on exterminating everyone and everything that it deems haram — sinful.

Dabiq: A Call to Hijrah is embedded  on the next page.

Read bullet |

Muslims Sexually Enslaving Children: A Global Phenomenon

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

As shocking as the Muslim-run sex ring in Rotherham, England may seem to some—1,400 British children as young as 11 plied with drugs before being passed around and sexually abused in cabs and kabob shops—the fact is that this phenomenon is immensely widespread.  In the United Kingdom alone, it’s the fifth sex abuse ring led by Muslims to be uncovered.

Some years back in Australia, a group of “Lebanese Muslim youths” were responsible for a “series of brutal gang rapes” of “Anglo-Celtic teenage girls.” A few years later in the same country, four Muslim Pakistani brothers raped at least 18 Australian women, some as young as 13.  Even in the United States, a gang of Somalis—Somalia being a Muslim nation where non-Muslims, primarily Christians, are ruthlessly persecuted—was responsible for abducting, buying, selling, raping and torturing young American girls as young as 12.

The question begs itself: If Muslim minorities have no fear of exploiting “infidel” women and children in non-Muslim countries—that is, where Muslims themselves are potentially vulnerable minorities—how are Muslims throughout the Islamic world, where they are dominant, treating their vulnerable, non-Muslim minorities?

The answer is a centuries-longcontinents-wide account of nonstop sexual predation.  Boko Haram’s recent abduction and enslavement of nearly 300, mostly Christian, schoolgirls last April in Nigeria is but the tip of the iceberg.

The difference between what happens in Nigeria and what happens in Western nations is based on what I call “Islam’s Rule of Numbers.”  Wherever Muslims grow in numbers, Islamic phenomena intrinsic to the Muslim world—in this case, the sexual abuse of “infidel” children and teenagers—comes along with them.

Thus in the United Kingdom, where Muslims make for a sizeable—and notable—minority, the systematic rape of “subhuman infidels” naturally takes place.  But when caught, Muslim minorities, being under “infidel” authority, cry “Islamophobia” and feign innocence.

In Nigeria, however, which is roughly 50 percent Islamic, such “apologetics” are unnecessary.  After seizing the nearly 300 schoolgirls, the leader of Boko Haram appeared on videotape boasting that “I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah….  There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell.”

It’s the same in Pakistan—the nation where many of the United Kingdom’s Muslims, including the majority involved in the Rotherham sex ring, come from.  See this article for a long list of Christian children—as young as 2-years-old—who were targeted by Muslim men for abduction, enslavement, and rape.  In every single case, police do nothing except sometimes side with the Muslim rapists against their “infidel” victims.

For example, last Easter Sunday, four Muslim men gang-raped a 7-year-old Christian girl named Sara, leaving her in “critical condition.”  According to Asia News, “the police, instead of arresting the culprits, helped the local clan to kidnap the girl’s father… to ‘force the family not to report the story, to reach an agreement with the criminals and to avoid a dispute of a religious background.’”

As for systematic child grooming, in 2010, Kiran George, a Christian girl who was “enslaved by a woman, Sama, a dealer of youth to be sold as prostitutes or slaves to wealthy Muslim families,” was doused with gasoline by a police officer involved in the sex ring, set on fire, and burned to death… Keep reading

Read bullet |