8 Things I Think I Know about the Oklahoma Beheading

Imam Enchassi

Imam Imad Enchassi

I think our local newspeople here in Oklahoma have done a fine job of presenting the news about the recent atrocity in our state. They have reported in a straightforward and factual manner. I actually put trust in what they are telling me to be the facts as they know them.

But the national cable news is so rotten with wing-nuttery from both sides of the spectrum that they couldn’t tell the straight facts if the straight facts would serve them best. The gossipy conflab from MSNBC that is shown in the video below reminds me of a bunch of college sophomores, swilling down cheap wine, smoking a toke and trying to outdo one another with their brilliant bits of sarcasm.

When you watch this, bear in mind that these people, who have enough news media gravitas to get on national news, are talking about the grisly murder of an innocent woman.

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Did you watch?

In the words of my gay friends, Isn’t that just special?

Unlike the folks in this video, I’m not an absolute total and complete expert on Oklahoma. I’ve lived here all my life, and I have been a community leader in a statewide forum for much of that time, but I am a long way from being able to go on a national forum and give the rest of the world The Word about Oklahoma.

Here’s what I do think I know. I’ll just line it up one, two, three and let you decide how much weight you want to give it.

1. Islam has a problem, and its a big, bad violent problem. Violence against innocent people in the name of Islam is happening all over the world. It is so widespread and so intractable that it denies credence to the notion that it is caused by the societies in which it is happening. It appears, at least at first glance, to be something in Islam itself that is causing this.

2. This is not ubiquitous within Islam. I think the people who commit these dastardly acts (many of which are committed against other Muslims) are a minority of Muslims.

3. However, the peaceable majority does not appear to be able to control the violent ones in their midst. If anything, I get the sense that they are more afraid of them than anyone else.

4. I think this problem stems from the bad leadership of some Islamic religious leaders. I think it gains traction because of the factionalism within Islam.

5. Whatever the reason, this situation is real, and taking some pie-in-the-sky wing-nut position that anyone who talks about what is happening is a Muslim hater not only doesn’t help, it becomes a form of enabling to those who murder. From Jeffrey Dahmer, to ISIS, to Alton Nolen, murderers of innocent people do not need and should not have apologists flapping their yaps on the nightly news.

6. Oklahoma City was subjected to a black mass on September 21. Those who know about these things warned about the effect this might have on the community. Does this have anything to do with this beheading and the subsequent threat of beheading by Muslims in our community? I don’t know.

7. Whether the black mass contributed to this situation or not doesn’t matter in terms of what we do about it. What we do about it is put these two men before the law and let the law work.

8. What we do about the larger question of Islamic violence against innocent people is another question. I think the first thing we need to do is ask the Muslim community if they are willing and ready to stand against the preaching of violence in their places of worship, if they are willing to turn their backs on religious leaders who preach death and destruction.

I was touched by Imam Enchassi’s statement to the press. I hope with all my heart that it came from his heart and was totally genuine. I personally know a Muslim man who went door to door in his neighborhood after 9/11, introducing himself to his neighbors and assuring them that he stood with them, not the terrorists.

I think it must be hard to be trapped in a situation where violence is the public face of your faith.

I believe we should stand with those who are willing to take the chance to step out and speak against murder and violence. I think they are probably placing themselves in harm’s way by doing so.

At the same time, I am not given to denying the plain facts when I see them. The plain facts are that this is happening all over the world.

The situation is real. All the insulting on-air wing-nuttery conflab in the world can not change that.

We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be bullied by ideologues like those on that MSNBC panel. Neither should we give in to the primitive urge to cast all Muslims as murderers.

Above all, we should never, no matter what mask he assumes, fight satan with satan’s weapons. Jesus told us that Satan cannot cast out satan. We need to believe Him and act accordingly. We must use the gifts of the Holy Spirit:  grace, love and peace, to drive this evil down. Every person who walks this planet is His child. That includes Muslims.

We need to get real about this, and that begins by talking honestly about what is happening, without the politically correct censorship.

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Alton Nolen’s Imam: He’s as Far from Islam as He Could Be

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Jah-Keem Yisrael is the name he wanted to be known by. Everyone else calls him Alton Nolen.

“Like any American, any Oklahoman, my heart was broken.” This comment came from Imad Enchassi, Senior Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City. This is the same place of worship Mr Nolen is standing in front of in the photo above.

I don’t know Imam Enchassi, but I have talked to him. He was one of the signatories of the pledge to work for an end to violence against women. This pledge was signed by religious leaders who attended the two Days of Prayer for an End to Violence Against Women that I helped organize. Imam Enchassi was not able to attend the Day of Prayer, but he came to my office afterwards and signed the pledge.

I understand that Islamic groups around the country have condemned this barbarous murder. However, I’m only really interested in what Imam Enchassi had to say. He’s our Oklahoma Islamic religious leader. His comments are in the interview in this story. I’m glad he gave this interview and spoke so feelingly about his reaction as a religious leader to this crime.

I couldn’t find a copy of this interview so I could link to it directly. If it’s on YouTube, I didn’t see it. I hope you follow this link and watch it for yourselves.

In other Oklahoma news, a second Muslim, this time an immigrant from Kenya, threatened to behead a coworker in the nursing home where he was employed. He’s now in jail. It chills me to think that this man was working in a nursing home, of all places.

We are one week out from the black mass and counting.

 

Here are a few videos related to the crime. It’s a random roundup, including one link to a story with a video from MSNBC, pulling their pants down to reveal their politically correct inanity in the face of tragedy.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper talks about Alton Nolen’s previous attack on her.

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Alton Nolen’s mother makes a comment.

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I couldn’t find a direct link to this, but you need to see it. It’s MSNBC commenters being total, absolute ninnies; pushing their politically correct agenda onto events with no regard for anything, including basic decency. 

To put things in perspective, here is another comment (at an entirely different time and in another context) from the panel’s moderator, Melissa Harris.

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Jah-Keem Yisrael aka Alton Nolen aka the Man Who Committed the Oklahoma Beheading

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Alton Nolen, aka Jah-Keem Yisrael.

Take a gander at Alton Nolen’s Facebook page before somebody takes it down.

He had been on parole for convictions for drugs, assault and battery on a police officer and attempted escape. He was given an early release from probation less than a month ago. His probation was originally scheduled to end in 2017.

At some point, he converted to Islam. It appears, from his Facebook page, that his interest had turned — in an approving way — to the violence and degradation being enacted on other people by ISIS and the various other terrorist groups making the news lately.

I’m guessing, based on his photos, that he was welcomed in the local Islamic community. Alongside photos of beheadings and gun-toting terrorists, he also posted notices of trips with his fellow Muslims to a local amusement park.

He was employed by Vaughn Foods. Knowing what I know of Oklahoma law, I would guess that this gainful employment played a part in his being given early release from probation. Shortly before he began his murderous rampage, Mr Nolen was fired from this job. Employees told the press that he and been trying to convert them to Islam in what sounds like an aggressive and harassing manner. I do not know if this is why he was fired.

He drove to the building where he began his killling, slamming into another car in the parking lot. He attacked, murdered and beheaded 54-year-old Colleen Hufford. He did not know Ms Hufford. He then attacked another co-worker, Traci Johnson.

Mark Vaughn, the company’s chief operating officer, used a rifle that he kept in his office to shoot Mr Nolen. Mr Nolen is in the hospital, recovering from his wounds.

I only have a few comments to make about this attack.

One: This is Oklahoma. We’re heavily armed here. Most Okies have guns and a lot of them pack. What that means is that, instead of screeching and yelling or wandering around helplessly, as bystanders have done in other parts of the world, this particular attack was stopped before more people died.

Two: This is Oklahoma. Mr Nolen is going to have to explain himself to an Oklahoma jury.

Three: This business of cherry-picking verses from holy books to justify horrible behavior can happen to any philosophy or faith. But it is happening 24/7 and all around the world to Islam. It is happening within this one faith far too consistently and in too many cultures and situations for it to simply be a random thing, or for the explanation to come from external forces.

I look to the religious leaders of Islam for both the cause and the resolution of this problem. Holy men teach holiness, not murder of innocents.

According to Breitbart, Mr Nolen is linked, at least indirectly, to Suhaib Webb, the former leader of the mosque that the Boston bombers attended. Mr Webb is said to have ties to al-Qaeda. This underscores my point that Islamic religious leaders are responsible for a great deal of this behavior.

Four: I hope that the Oklahoma Muslim community will offer condolences to the families of these two women. I think it would help the situation. Evidently one Muslim civic leader, went the other way. This kind of thing makes it even more important for responsible Muslim leaders to demonstrate that they do not share this thinking, but grieve for the loss of innocent life with the rest of Oklahoma.

Five: The FBI is investigating Mr Nolen’s link to any possible terrorist connections. I have respect for the work they do when they are focused and on point. I think they’ll sift through this and get to the truth.

Six: Thank you Mark Vaughn for stopping this tragedy before it got worse.

Seven: Our prayers and thoughts should be for Colleen Hufford and Traci Johnson, both of them unarmed, innocent women who were simply at work, doing their jobs.

Eight: I wrote a post earlier, entitled Britain, You’ve Got a Problem. Does this mean America also has the same problem?

US Bombing Oil Sites Owned by ISIS

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The US is bombing oil refineries ISIS is using to fund their murderous onslaught on the people of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also participated in the air strikes.

We also need to prosecute the “businessmen” who are buying and selling this oil. There should be ways to do this through international law. They are participants in genocide and other crimes against humanity.

From Business Insider:

In an oil field in northeastern Syria, trucks line up daily to load crude sold cheaply by Islamic State militants who have hijacked parts of the country’s energy industry in their bid to build a caliphate.

Sales at Shadada field, described by an oil trader, are just one example of how the group, which has seized land in war-torn Syria and neighboring Iraq, is creating its own economy through a series of pragmatic trades.

It is cutting deals with local traders and buyers, even businessmen who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and some of its oil has made its way back to government buyers through a series of middlemen.

“Islamic State makes not less than $2 million daily that allows them to pay salaries and maintain their operations,” said a former Western oil executive who worked in a foreign oil firm operating in Syria before the crisis and who is familiar with the nascent oil market

Beheading in Oklahoma.

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Alton Nolan, a fired employee, beheaded a woman at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma, yesterday.

He was attacking a second woman when an off duty deputy shot Nolan.

It seems that Nolan was a bad guy from jump street. He had multiple previous felony convictions, including assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was a recent convert to Islam who had been trying to convert people to that faith before the attack.

I first heard about this from a news feed that I have on my phone. At that time, it just said that there was a shooter situation at a food store in Moore.

I was on my way to a meeting — in Moore — when I saw this, so I put it aside and forgot it. This morning, my friend Kathy Shiffer sent me a message about what had actually happened.

I don’t know enough to give an opinion.

Here is the story from Fox News:

FBI officials are reportedly investigating a beheading at an Oklahoma food distribution center after co-workers said the suspect tried to convert them to Islam after his recent conversion.

The alleged suspect, Alton Nolen, 30, was recently fired from Vaughan Foods in Moore prior to Thursday’s attack. Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis told KFOR that Nolen drove to the front of the business and struck a vehicle before walking inside. He then attacked Colleen Hufford, 54, stabbing her several times before severing her head. He also stabbed another woman at the plant, 43-year-old Traci Johnson.

Lewis said Mark Vaughan, the company’s chief operating officer and a reserve county deputy, shot Nolen as he was stabbing Johnson, who remains hospitalized in stable condition Friday.

“He’s a hero in this situation,” Lewis told the station. “It could have gotten a lot worse.”

Nolen was apparently attacking employees at random, authorities said. The motive for the attack is unclear, but FBI officials are now reportedly probing whether Nolen’s recent conversion to Islam is somehow linked to the crime.

Lewis said he does not yet know what charges will be filed against Nolen, adding that police are waiting until he’s conscious to arrest him. Authorities said he had no prior connection to either woman.

Nolen, according to state corrections records, 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.

 

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Eric Holder to Resign

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Eric Holder will announce later today that he is going to resign as Attorney General of the United States. He is said to be planning to stay in his office until his successor is in place.

From Fox News:

Attorney General Eric Holder plans to announce Thursday that he is resigning from the Obama administration, officials confirmed to Fox News. The decision would cap a tumultuous six-year term for the nation’s top law enforcement official.

Holder is one of the few Cabinet officials to have stayed on since the beginning of the Obama presidency. A Justice Department official said Holder has agreed to remain on the job until his successor is confirmed.

According to the official, Holder has discussed his plans with Obama on “multiple occasions” in recent months.

“[He] finalized those plans in an hour-long conversation with the president at the White House residence over Labor Day weekend,” the official said. The official added that Holder has “no immediate plans” after leaving the post.

German Committee Says ‘Incest a Fundamental Right.’

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The German Ethics Committee, which is described as “a government committee” and which appears to have some sort of legitimacy, has labeled laws against incest “unacceptable” because they “don’t allow the right to sexual self-determination.

This is especially interesting since the European Court of Human Rights ruled in April in favor of the German law making incest illegal. The case was based on the conviction of a man who had an incestuous relationship with his sister that began when the girl was 16 and he was 23.

The committee uses the same old arguments we’ve heard in the gay marriage context.

In case you need a refresher, here are a few snapshots:

fundamental right to sexual self-determination

criminalizing private behavior

incestuous couples are forced to live in secret

individual rights outweigh abstractions such as “family”

2% to 4% of Germans do it.

fundamental freedoms have been violated

must deny their love

“we just want to lead a normal life”

We heard it over and over and over again. Gay marriage would not lead to polygamy. But before the gay marriage deal is fully set, the agitation for normalizing polygamy through the media and legalizing polygamy through the courts is going gangbusters. 

We heard it over and over and over again. Gay marriage would not bother anyone. “If you oppose gay marriage, don’t get gay married,” the slogan went. But small business people all over the country have been drug into court because they didn’t want to become unwilling participants in gay weddings in violation of their religious beliefs.

I don’t remember anyone even asking if gay marriage would lead to incest. That seemed too off the wall. But, sadly, the line of argument used to create a phony-baloney claim that two men or two women are the same as a man and a woman has no limit to the things it can justify.

The reason for this is simple: The claims about gay marriage have no basis in reality. I’m not talking about the legitimate claims of homosexual people that they are human beings and American citizens and that they should be treated fairly and without discrimination under the law.

I am talking about codifying a fantasy scenario in which homosexual couples are the same as a marriage between a man and woman. Twisting your mind around to force it to think that this lie is truth destroys rational thought. It requires saying that you see what you don’t see until you begin to actually see what is not there.

This kind of delusional thinking, and the arguments on which it is based, lead to a ever-broadening set of delusions. Human beings are categorizing, if-this-is-true/then-this-must-also-be-true kind of thinkers. When the basic if-this-is-true premises of our thinking become tainted with forced acceptance of delusional lies, the ability to respond rationally to anything and everything related to it slides off the table and smashes itself into pieces.

That appears to be what has happened with the German Ethics Committee. I don’t know anything about German governance, but it seems that this committee has some sort of law-making recommendation ability. I say that because German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded seriously to the committee’s recommendation that Germany legalize incest.

I’m guessing that this puts their recommendation somewhat ahead of a vote taken by the ladies neighborhood flower arranging society of Frankfurt.

Will Germany jump on this parade and legalize incest?

Based on Chancellor Merkel’s response, I don’t think that’s going to happen right away. But the arguments are in place and the persistent lobbying has begun.

Unless we shake off this mass delusion, it’s only a matter of time.

From The Independent:

 

Germany’s national ethics council has called for an end to the criminalisation of incest between siblings after examining the case of a man who had four children with his sister.

Patrick Stuebing, who was adopted as an infant and met his sister in his 20s, has launched several appeals since being imprisoned for incest in 2008 and his lengthy legal battle has prompted widespread public debate.

Sexual relations between siblings or between parents and their children are forbidden under section 173 of the German criminal code and offenders can face years in prison.

But on Wednesday, the German Ethics Council recommended the section be repealed, arguing that the risk of disability in children is not enough to warrant the law and de-criminalising incest would not remove the huge social taboo around it.

The chairman of the council, Christiane Woopen, was among the 14 members voting in favour of repealing section 173, while nine people voted for the ban to continue and two abstained.

A statement released on Wednesday said: “Incest between siblings appears to be very rare in Western societies according to the available data but those affected describe how difficult their situation is in light of the threat of punishment.

“They feel their fundamental freedoms have been violated and are forced into secrecy or to deny their love.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Says ISIS Plans Terrorist Attack on US, France

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Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi,  says that his country’s intelligence systems have uncovered a plot to attack “underground railway systems” in the United States and Paris.

He further said that he did not know the timing of the planned attacks, but did feel that they had not been thwarted. Suspects “included extremists from the United States and France who were fighting” for ISIS in Iraq.

From ABC News:

Iraq’s prime minister said Thursday his country’s intelligence operation has uncovered a plot for an attack on subway systems in the United States and Paris.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he was told of the plot by Baghdad, and that it was the work of foreign fighters of the Islamic State group in Iraq. There was no immediate comment from Washington or Paris, and al-Abadi’s assertion could not be independently confirmed.

Asked if the attacks were imminent, he said, “I’m not sure.” Asked if the attacks had been thwarted, he said, “No.” Al-Abadi said the United States had been alerted, and that the suspects included extremists from the United States and France who were fighting for the Islamic State group in Iraq.

“Today, while I’m here I’m receiving accurate reports from Baghdad that there were arrests of a few elements and there were networks from inside Iraq to have attacks … on metros of Paris and U.S.,” al-Abadi said, speaking in English. “They are not Iraqis. Some of them are French, some of them are Americans. But they are in Iraq.”

 

Be Ready to Take a Beating: OKC Bishop Emeritus Marched with Martin Luther King, Jr

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Our current leader, Archbishop Paul Coakley, and Archbishop Emeritus Eusebius Beltran.

Oklahoma City’s Archbishop Emeritus Eusebius Beltran was a gift to our state when he led us.

He was always willing to take the hard step up to the plate to defend the human person from the ravages of discrimination and hate.

About 10 years ago, Oklahoma passed an outrageous law aimed at Hispanics. This law made it a crime to help people, even when they were in dire situations, who had entered this country illegally. It was so draconian that it cut right across the mission of every Christian to serve and love the “least of these.” It was, in truth and in fact, a Jim Crow law for Hispanics.

I actually debated this point when I spoke against this law. I dug out the vote on the original Jim Crow law that Oklahoma had passed not long after statehood.

Do you want your name on a list like this, I asked my fellow legislators, pointing to the votes. It did no good. The state Republicans had whipped the public into a mindless and vicious anti-Hispanic hatred in order to win elections, and even legislators who saw that this law was a crime against God voted for it for fear of losing their next election.

My own district, which was a mix of all sorts of people — a true “rainbow” district of skin colors — was in a welter over it. Later, when the pro abortion people tried to defeat me in an election, they made an attempt to use that stand against this law to defeat me.

I had to take another stand, this time in my district, and tell the people there that I would not vote for something like this, and that if they wanted a racist who attacked people for political gain, then they should not vote for me. I won that election by a huge margin, with the full support of every racial group in the district.

What that meant — and continues to mean — to me is that the people of District 89 are far better people than you will find in much of the rest of our good state. They are some of the best people you will find anywhere.

Archbishop Beltran did not have the luxury of speaking to and for the Catholics of a small part of Oklahoma, like my House district. He wasn’t dealing with people who had known him all his life. He had to deal with the irascible and diverse Catholic population of his archdiocese. Many of the Catholics were just as thoroughly whipped up into anti-Hispanic hatred as the rest of the state.

So, when their Archbishop came out against this law with the full force of his prophetic and moral voice as their religious leader, they were irate with him for doing so. He did not let that stop him at all. The Catholic Church in Oklahoma stood tall against this dastardly legislation, just as it had stood for life and human dignity in an absolutely reliable way for years.

The Church was not able to stop passage of the law, but the Church, by taking this stand, raised the issue of the moral responsibility of lawmakers in an arena which was operating by a faux morality that justified harming other people. The Catholic Church was alone in taking a stand against this law. Others joined later, but in the beginning, the only voice against it was the Catholic Church.

The priests who were on the priest council here in Oklahoma all signed a declaration saying that they would not obey this unjust law. The statement declared that they would minister to everyone, regardless of ethnicity or legal status, even if doing so meant that they would go to jail.

These men made me proud to be Catholic. More than that, they made me feel that the Church was a refuge for those who were without other refuge, that Christ really did animate what they were doing as His priests. They sent the message with that statement that the Church was for real.

That taught me a simple lesson that I’ve seen enacted again and again around the world. When people are totally abandoned by everyone; when they become the object of such universal hatred that anyone who stands up for them is taking a big risk, the Church is their refuge.

That is what happened to black people during the long dark night of segregation. The black churches not only created community, they ennobled a people. Their message of Christ saved black Americans from falling absolutely into the pit of rageful despair which would have destroyed them in an absolute way that Jim Crow could not.

Archbishop Beltran was a young priest in Atlanta at the time of the Civil Rights Movement. He knew Martin Luther King, Jr. Father Beltran did in that time what Archbishop Betran did later. He stood with the weak and the hated against the powerful haters who wanted to destroy them. Archbishop Beltran marched with Martin Luther King when it was a dangerous thing to do. He marched with his bishop’s permission, but with the understanding that if he was arrested, his bishop would not try to get him out of jail.

This was a time when jail was a witness to truth. Father Beltran marched with the understanding that he might have to be just such a witness.

Among the many wonderful things that Archbishop Beltran did, he wrote a pastoral letter about violence against women. I treasure this deeply. The Church needs to use its moral and prophetic voice to speak out more decisively against violence against women. It could make such a difference if it did.

The Sooner Catholic recently published an article, discussing Archbishop Emeritus Beltran’s experiences in the Civil Rights movement. Here is a brief excerpt.

From the Sooner Catholic:

On a steamy Georgia morning in March 1965, Father Eusebius Beltran and three of his brother priests piled into the four-door sedan they borrowed from the Archdiocese of Atlanta and headed south toward Selma, Ala.

 It had been two days since they’d heard news of a police shooting and beatings during a protest march in Selma that would later become known as “Bloody Sunday.”

 The men were not strangers to marches during the Civil Rights Movement, having marched many times through the streets of Atlanta to protest discrimination by schools, restaurants, bus stations and other public venues. But, they hadn’t marched in a protest like this. The Selma marches became a national spark to protest the ongoing exclusion of African-American voters from the electoral process and from the discrimination they faced.

 At the urging of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who they’d spoken with often at his father’s Baptist church, the Catholic priests sought approval from Archbishop Hallinan for the road trip to Selma and use of the archdiocese’s car.

 “He told me that he wanted to see the boys, the priests, who were going with me before we left,” said Archbishop Beltran, who is now Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

 “The four of us went to see Archbishop Hallinan in the hospital and that’s when he asked us ‘Do you guys know what you’re doing? Do you realize you’re breaking the law? Do you know that you could go to jail? And, that if you go to jail, I want to let you know I will not bail you out because part of standing for the truth is you take the punishment, and that’s part of the punishment.’ We said we all knew that, and he said ‘OK, God bless you.’”

 After a nervous 4-hour drive to Selma, the priests each claimed a mattress on the floor of a hallway at the Catholic church and headed to join the crowds at a pre-march pep rally.

 “The whole thing was well-organized and there was always a spokesman up there who was giving directions, reminding people no violence and to be ready to take a beating. It was scary in a way, but when you’re young, you don’t think about it. And, it had to be done too. It was part of the movement at that time. Selma brought together everything we were working toward.”

 The next day, the march began in the same way it had two days earlier. Dr. King led the way across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where the group of more than 2,500 marchers were met by state troopers. Since a judge had issued a court order prohibiting the marchers from continuing to Montgomery, Ala., they turned around and marched back to the church without incident. (Later that evening, three white pastors were attacked by members of the Klu Klux Klan, killing one Universalist pastor after the public hospital refused treatment.)

 Following the second march, which became known as “Turnaround Tuesday,” Father Beltran and his crew returned to Atlanta where they continued their meetings and marches for several years – including a march to protest a segregated chicken restaurant owned by Lester Maddox, who later became Georgia’s governor.

Archbishop Coakley’s Homily at the Benediction and Eucharistic Procession in Response to the OKC Black Mass

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This is Archbishop Coakley’s excellent homily from yesterday’s Benediction and Eucharistic procession in response of the black mass that took place in Oklahoma City.

 

September 21, 2014

St. Francis of Assisi Church

The Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley

Archbishop, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

Praised be Jesus Christ!  It is my great privilege to welcome you to St. Francis of Assisi Church and to spend this hour together with the Lord in prayer and adoration.  Thank you for being here.  Your presence is a powerful witness of faith in the midst of what has been a particularly challenging time for our community.  I would like to gratefully acknowledge the participation of our Catholic people from around the Archdiocese but also those of you who have come from near and far to join us today.  I am especially grateful for the presence of my brother bishops (and their support), Archbishop Beltran, Bishop Slattery of Tulsa, Bishop Kemme of Wichita and so many priests, deacons and religious women and men.  It is a special blessing to recognize here so many Christian leaders and believers from other churches and ecclesial communities who have come to join us in prayer as well.

We gather today in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord who is the source of our unity, imperfect though it might be, and our bond of charity.  We just heard our Lord proclaim:  “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” For Catholics these words from the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel are the very heart of our understanding and appreciation of the Holy Eucharist.  Jesus does not speak metaphorically when he says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”  It is truly Jesus whom we encounter and receive in the Holy Eucharist.

At times, Christians have argued over the theological significance of these words.  Satan, on the other hand, hears these words and trembles.  The Eucharist has been at the heart of the current controversy over the so-called black mass which (which to our shame as a city) is being allowed to proceed this evening at the Civic Center Music Hall. That blasphemous and sacrilegious ritual is a mockery of the Catholic Mass that requires for its consummation the corruption and desecration of the Eucharist.  Why?  Because Satanists, and their master, know who is present.  They acknowledge the Real Presence of the Lord Jesus, not to adore him, but only to mock and to scorn in hatred. 

I think many people in our community haven’t understood the persistence of our efforts nor the depth of our outrage over this blasphemy largely because they do not share our faith.  They do not understand, or accept, what we believe to be true.  They do not share our faith in what we Catholics (and many other Christians) acknowledge to be the greatest gift that the Lord has entrusted to the Church:  the gift of his own Body and Blood in the Blessed Sacrament.  The Eucharist, instituted by the Lord at the Last Supper and entrusted to the Apostles is truly the Lord’s abiding Presence among us.  It is really and substantially spiritual food for our pilgrim journey and the pledge of future glory in the Heavenly Banquet.  It is the bread of angels given to men.

We are not here, however, to protest.  Let us put aside, for the moment, our outrage.  We are here to praise and to adore.  We are here to give thanks for the gift of our faith and the priceless treasure of the Lord’s abiding presence with us in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood.  We are gathered before our Eucharistic Lord to listen to his holy Word and open ourselves to the promptings of his Spirit so that we might become more faithful and authentic witnesses of his love and mercy in the midst of our broken and suffering human family.  

We are also here to offer our petitions to the Lord, that he might deliver us from the power of sin and, yes, from all demonic influences.  We are here to offer our prayers in reparation for the blasphemous outrages being committed against our Lord, against his Church and the Eucharist in these days.  Our city has also been the target of these dark forces of hatred that seek not to build up, but only to destroy.  We beg the Lord’s protection through the intercession of his Holy angels and saints.

We are gathered as witnesses to hope at a time when darkness seems to be gaining ground both here and around the world.  We know that Christ is victorious!  He has conquered Satan.  He has destroyed the reign of sin and the power of death through his holy Cross and glorious Resurrection.  Through faith and Baptism we already share in his victory.  The war has been won, though skirmishes will continue until Christ comes again in glory to reign forever.  In the meantime we have been enlisted to bear the standard of the Cross and our share of the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his Body, the Church. 

We gather here in prayer.  We gather to adore, to praise and to give thanks, to beg the Lord’s mercy on our city, our nation and our world.  We pray for our own continuing conversion that we might be holy and courageous witnesses.

Our faith is not meant to be (and cannot remain) contained within the walls of this beautiful church.  Our Eucharistic Procession through the neighborhood beyond these walls which will follow in a few minutes is a reminder that we, the Church, are present in the world as light, as salt and as leaven to bring hope and the offer of Christ’s salvation to all we meet.  Let us pray that we might embrace our mandate to live as missionary disciples in the midst of the world so that we might draw all people to Jesus Christ and to safe harbor in his Church.


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