History of the Crusades: President Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Comments

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by http://maps.bpl.org

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by http://maps.bpl.org

I’m going to backtrack for today’s video. This video is a discussion of President Obama’s comments about the Crusades at the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast.

I decided to put these videos on Public Catholic because of the president’s comments. Inaccurate history is used by Christian bashers to attack Christianity every single day. Christians do not know enough history to reply or deal with this intelligently. That needs to change.

After I finish with this series of videos on the Crusades, I’m going to take up the ignorant mis-use of Scripture to bash Christians.

We are living in a time in which Christians are the new group of people that it is ok to attack, bash, haze and hate. I see it all the time in crazy mean hate blogs and their crazy mean authors. I’ve encountered it repeatedly at certain political gatherings. It’s out there for everyone to see in the constant drip-drip-drip of anti-Christian articles in the press. We get a continuous battering from televised specials about Jesus which consistently seek to attack the veracity of the Gospels. It’s Lent, with Easter coming, so we’re going to see a lot of that right now.

Then there is the false history, the anti-history, about the Crusades and all other Christian history. You can be sure that whether the topic is the Black Death or the fall of Rome, there will be a jibe against Christians and Christianity in there somewhere. In fact, most of the time, anti-Christian propaganda pretending to be history will be prominent. What you will not see is any mention of the civilization-building power of Christianity, or the development of human rights because of the teachings of Christ. Some of these slanders in the popular media are distortions, but  a lot of it is direct lying.

Americans aren’t just ignorant of the truth, they are actively and aggressively being taught lies about Christianity and Christian history by the popular media. The media appears to be working in tandem with aggressive Christian bashers in an effort to destroy the faith of Christians in this country. The president’s speech, as well as a lot of other things he’s said and done, is an indication of how deep this hatred of Christians runs in certain circles.

It is no accident that we are witnessing an on-going genocide of Christians in a whole region of the world. These two things are, as they always are, tied together. Verbal hazing, degrading propaganda, lies and slanders of a whole people, are the intellectual scaffolding on which those who would commit genocide stand.

We really need to stop dismissing these constant attacks on our faith and ourselves as if they don’t matter. We also need to stop being overawed by the verbal violence and self-proclaimed authority of our attackers. I am not counseling a descent into the slime pit of public discourse alongside them. What I am suggesting is that Christians make the effort to learn the truth so that the lies will not impact us.

Equipping Christians to deal with this post-Christian culture is the primary purpose of Public Catholic. The first step is overcoming ignorance of their faith and their history among Christians themselves.

Christians do not need to apologize for Jesus Christ. We need to stand for Him without fear or equivocation.

I am aware that there are Islamic teachings which lead to a more peaceful application of that faith. I think that the interpretation referenced here is an accurate depiction of of the application of Islamic teachings of a thousand years ago. It also seems that it is still relevant to Islamic extremists today.

I want to emphasize that this video discusses events which happened almost over a thousand years ago. The reason I am posting it here is to correct the inaccurate  history of the Crusades which is being used in the popular media to attack and degrade Christians and Christianity.

 

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2015/03/history-of-the-crusades-the-first-crusade-1099/#ixzz3TWbP6IeR

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Netanyahu’s Speech: Is Beltway Partisanship Going to Get Us Killed?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by KAZ Vorpal https://www.flickr.com/photos/kazvorpal/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by KAZ Vorpal https://www.flickr.com/photos/kazvorpal/

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress this week.

The president of the United States went into full bully mode before this speech saying that the invitation was a partisan move to embarrass him. In the end, he managed to embarrass himself, and at least 50 of his fellow Democrats in Congress.

First, administration operatives chewed on the invitation to the Prime Minister. We’ve been treated to all sorts of press questions because Congress didn’t consult the president before issuing the invitation. There was tut-tutting about the prime minister trying to affect American policy with this speech.

That last complaint seems a bit coy considering the amount of lobbying that is thrown at Congress by foreign interests every day. That lobbying is hidden from the American people, but its affect on foreign policy is bound to be enormous. This speech was out there where we could all hear it. It brought we the people into the discussion, and that, I think, is the real reason the president was so irate.

When efforts to force Congress to withdraw the invitation failed, the president went to work on Democratic members of Congress. Most of the Ds who sit in the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives had the good sense to show up for the speech. They behaved like representatives of the people dealing with serious issues. However, at least 50 of them staged a grade school boycott.

This boycott accomplished nothing good. It’s primary affect was to pour gasoline on the partisan fires in our government and deepen the disrespect in which the American people hold Congress. It revealed just how bizarre and reality-deprived the thinking of these people has become.

I realize that they are inside a pressure cooker and that the whole world outside that pressure cooker is just a figment of memory to them. But their behavior about this speech, as well as the behavior of the entire Congress on most other issues, reveals more than a little bit of delusional thinking.

Did they really think that this puerile plan to boycott the speech of a head of state of a friendly nation was a good idea? Have they no sense of responsibility to the American people and our need for at least the appearance of a sane and functioning government?

We’ll get to the particulars of the speech itself in another post. For now, I want to address this partisan flap over the fact that the speech was made.

The first question is a simple one. Was the invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu a partisan political move on the part of Congressional leaders?

Rather than answer that, I’ll ask another question: Does Congress do anything that is not a partisan political move?

The next questions are, was President Obama within his rights to throw such a hissy fit about the invitation, and were the Democratic lawmakers right to boycott the speech?

The answer to those questions are no, and no.

Congress does not need the president’s approval when it invites someone into its house to speak. Congress can — as should be abundantly clear, after this speech — do that anytime it wants.

President Obama was not only out of line, he looked petulant and weak, pulling out all the stops to derail this invitation.

The Democratic members of Congress who chose to boycott the speech revealed themselves as blind party loyalists rather than representatives of the people. There is no requirement for anyone to agree with what Prime Minister Netanyahu said. Neither he nor President Obama has a vote in either the House or Senate of the United States.

As representatives of the people who should be engaged in making decisions about these serious issues, members of Congress have a responsibility to listen to the head of state of an affected nation who is also our ally. This speech was an opportunity, both for them and for the American people, to think more deeply about our position in that part of the world.

These members of Congress boycotted the speech because of party politics. I don’t have the words to appropriately characterize how shallow and callous that is.

This was another clash in these politician’s dangerous and absolutely vicious game of king-of-the-Hill. What’s sobering is that American foreign policy in this tinderbox part of the world appears to fall into that same category. The terrifying question of a nuclear Middle East with its deranged politics and mass murderers without limits seems to be just another battle in the great Congressional game of using the power of their elected offices to win the next election for their political party.

Yesterday’s boycott of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech by at least 50 members of Congress is not just another symptom of this partisan illness. It is an indication that the business of constantly jockeying for the next election has reached a lethal level.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech exposed the fact that the partisan gamesmanship has advanced to the point that it now controls what our Congress does in matters that concern issues such as nuclear war, with its potential for global annihilation. We are looking at an on-going holocaust in the Middle East. Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks for a tiny nation that clings to existence on the edge of a region of the world that has, quite frankly, gone mad.

The partisan wars are so out of control that our elected officials now use issues that could threaten the survival of much of the human race in their game of king of the Hill. The question of a nuclear Middle East is not a parlor game. Make no mistake about it, the issues that Prime Minister Netanyahu raised in his speech are issues of survival, and not just for Israel.

I am not saying that I agree with everything Prime Minister Netanyahu said. He is the leader of another nation. His interests do not coincide entirely with those of the United States. But he raised important issues that should be discussed in Congress and throughout these United States.

Should the Congressional leadership have used their power to invite a head of state to address their house to one-up the prez? No, they should not have done it to one-up the prez.

They should have done it because we the people have a need to know more about American policy in the Middle East. Too much of it is cloaked and kept away from the American people. It’s a sad day when we need the speech of a foreign head of state to bring the people of this nation into the conversation. For these reasons, I don’t have any problem with the invitation beyond the partisan motivations behind it.

We really need to demand better of our elected officials. We need more transparency in our government, more open discussion of real issues. We also need and deserve public servants who serve the public, not partisan brinksmanship.

If this country was not so strong, it could not have survived the past decades of bad governance. However, it has been greatly weakened by a long series of bad presidents from both parties and the abdication of responsibility by Congress.

If beltway partisanship replaces the good of America among our elected officials, even in matters this grave, it is going to get us killed.

Here’s a list of those who have admitted they took a powder on the speech. It’s from CNN:

At least 50 Democratic House members and eight senators who caucus with the Democrats said in recent weeks they wouldn’t attend the speech, many in protest to a move that they say is an affront to the president.

Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.) had originally said he would skip the meeting, but changed his mind on Tuesday.

A full list of the Democrats who confirmed they missed the speech follows:

SENATE – 8 members

Sen. Al Franken (Minn.)

Sen. Martin Heinrich (N.M.)

Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.)

Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.)

HOUSE – 50 members

Rep. Karen Bass (Calif.)

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.)

Rep. Corrine Brown (Fla.)

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (N.C.)

Rep. Lois Capps (Calif.)

Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.)

Rep. Joaquin Castro (Texas)

Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.)

Rep. William Lacy Clay (Mo.)

Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.)

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.)

Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.)

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.)

Rep. John Conyers (Mich.)

Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.)

Rep. Danny Davis (Ill.)

Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.)

Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.)

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas)

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.)

Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.)

Rep. Chaka Fattah (Pa.)

Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.)

Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio)

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.)

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)

Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.)

Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.)

Rep. John Lewis (Ga.)

Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)

Rep. Betty McCollum (Minn.)

Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.)

Rep. Jim McGovern (Mass.)

Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.)

Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.)

Rep. Gwen Moore (Wis.)

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas)

Rep. Donald Payne (N.J.)

Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine)

Rep. David Price (N.C.)

Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.)

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)

Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.)

Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.)

Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.)

Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.)

 

Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress: An Overload of Truth

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by IsraelinAmerica https://www.flickr.com/photos/israeldc/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by IsraelinAmerica https://www.flickr.com/photos/israeldc/

The Obama Administration has engaged in unseemly behavior, trying to block Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech before Congress.

I say it is unseemly because Congress is a separate body of government and it is their right to invite anyone they want into their house to address them. That simply is not the President’s call. I’m going to leave all the policy considerations alone, and leave it at that. I know how the Oklahoma House of Representatives would react if the Governor tried to tell them how to run their house. It wouldn’t be pretty.

Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a powerful speech that, frankly, was an overload of truth in our national capital. I say that because I sometimes get the feeling that our government is more concerned with manipulating and lying to the American people than it is with governing this great nation.

However, it is important to remember that he is the Prime Minister of Israel, not the United States. That doesn’t make anything he says untrue. But it does shift the concerns he raises.

As a side note, I think that the applause was at least in part a response to the president’s attempt to tell Congress not to allow Prime Minister Netanyahu speak. As I said, that is bound to rile just about any member of Congress, regardless of their party affiliation.

I’m going to write about this speech in detail in the next few days. But, in the meantime, I want you to hear it in its entirety and judge for yourself without me or anyone else telling you what to think. These are grave issues. The fate of the world rests on them. Americans are their government. So think carefully. Think deeply. Think prayerfully.  Think without partisan blinders.

To read the transcript of the speech, go here.

This is a video of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech, in full.

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Mexico Needs to Stop the Faux Outrage at the Pope and Get Real

Protests Against Violence in Mexico. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by  John S and James L. Knight https://www.flickr.com/photos/knightfoundation/

Protests Against Violence in Mexico. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by John S and James L. Knight https://www.flickr.com/photos/knightfoundation/

Evidently, Pope Francis was concerned about problems in Argentina and, in a private correspondence,  said, “Hopefully we are in time to avoid Mexicanization.”

When this statement became public, there was tsk-tsking in all the predictable quarters and Mexico went into the usual knee-jerk outrage and demands for apologies. I’m not sure if the Mexican president said he was “hurt” by the Pope’s remarks, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Everybody is “hurt” by things that couldn’t possibly hurt these days, including private remarks in private letters written by people they don’t know.

Whatever.

The Vatican apologized. Sort of. Here’s the sort-of apology:

‘The pope intended only to emphasize the seriousness of the phenomenon of the drug trafficking that afflicts Mexico and other countries in Latin America,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. “It is precisely this importance that has made the fight against drug trafficking a priority for the government.”

Now, according to the New York Post, Mexico is rebuffing the Pope’s sort-of apology.

I know this puts me entirely outside the politically correct industry of constant complaint and apology, but Mexico needs to get real.

I’m not outraged by the Pope’s comment. I am outraged by the long-standing corruption in Mexico’s government which has allowed drug cartels to kill, rape, torture and terrify civilians for decades.

 

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Julieta Alvarez Leal https://www.flickr.com/photos/soaringbird/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Julieta Alvarez Leal https://www.flickr.com/photos/soaringbird/

The murders of women in Juarez has been going on for decades. The people there have staged marches, asking for police protection. When families reported that their daughters were missing, the police told them they had run off with their boyfriends. When the mutilated bodies were recovered, the police told the families the girls were prostitutes. Even if that had been true, it had nothing to do with the fact that the women had obviously been murdered; except in the minds of these Mexican police.

Mexico’s corrupt police have allowed the situation to fall into a near state of anarchy in parts of the country in which citizens are murdered and battles occur that rival actual war zones. Tourists have been advised to avoid Mexico because of the violence.

This violence and corruption play a major role in the situation in which the Mexican people are so unhappy with their home country that they risk walking across the desert to get into this country. I’ve been saying for a long time — to deaf ears, I might add — that if America wants to stop the influx of illegal immigrants at our Southern border, we need to help Mexico develop good government. That would mean, among other things, that we need to stop exploiting Mexico, which gets into corporatism.

Government in Mexico is a failure. It is not just and it certainly is not stable. If Mexico had a just and stable government, these people would not leave their homes and families to make the perilous journey to this country. They would stay in the comforts of their own lives rather than go live as strangers in a strange land. They would stay home, if home was livable.

So, the Pope said something that was based on actual fact, and the Mexican government goes through the faux outraged dignity routine and demands more and better apologies.

The real apology should be made to the Mexican people by the Mexican police, Mexican elected officials and everyone else in Mexico who has failed their people so abysmally for decades. I’ll go back to the women of Juarez to make a point: If this violence against women had been addressed at Juarez — as a legitimate police force and a legitimate federal government would have done — it would not have worsened and spread into the rest of the country. Instead, it was ignored and allowed to continue. The official response seems to have been misogynist jingoism rather than police work and justice for the women of Juarez.

I think, instead of “rebuffing” the Vatican’s apologies, Mexico needs to get real. The Mexican government is the one that should apologize, first to its own citizens and second to the world community, for allowing corruption in its police force and its government to continue unabated and unchallenged for decades.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Thomassin Mickael https://www.flickr.com/photos/mickou/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Thomassin Mickael https://www.flickr.com/photos/mickou/

Will Mexico be able to pull itself out of the abyss of bandit government where the nation is run by drug cartels and the people flee the result of that corruption in such mass numbers that it has created a crisis of illegal immigration in this country? Not unless it decides it wants to, and not unless this decision goes from the top to the bottom.

I would guess that being an honest official of any sort, be that cop, elected official, priest, teacher or clerk, is dangerous business in Mexico. From the things my former constituents from Mexico have told me, the corruption honeycombs the country and all its institutions.

I don’t think the Pope should apologize to anyone for his comment about Mexico. The word choice may have been inept, and the fact that he said such a thing is sure to get him hammered by gaffe reporters and the politically correct censorship cops. But the comment was based on a sober reality that no amount of politically-correct censorship can change.

Mexico does not need the band-aid of politically correct censorship. Mexico needs a just and stable government.

 

 

Rep Kern Gets Ban on Bans of Gay Conversion Therapy Out of Committee

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern got her bill banning bans on gay conversion therapy out of committee.

HB 1598 passed without debate on a unanimous vote after a committee substitute was accepted, also on a unanimous vote.

It now goes to the full House, where it may or may not come to a vote. For an explanation of the process, go here.

If it does come to a vote, we may get to see some entertaining debate.

From The Daily Oklahoman:

A bill that seeks to protect the practice of gay conversion counseling passed out of an Oklahoma House committee Tuesday.

House Bill 1598, which now goes to the full House, says the state will not prohibit or restrict counseling intended to rid people of attraction to those of their own gender. It also seeks to protect parents who want such counseling for their children.

Nothing prevents this type of counseling now, but Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said her bill is needed because the practice is under attack legislatively in other states.

“All across the nation, bills are being introduced to ban parents from having the right to take their children for counseling if they are struggling with same-sex attractions,” Kern said. “As you know, we do lots of bills that are pre-emptive, so this is pre-emptive to make sure that parental rights are upheld.”

Gay rights advocates and others vehemently opposed the bill, saying conversion therapy has been harmful to children, including leading to anxiety, depression, shame, guilt and, potentially, drug abuse and suicide.

Teaching Hate: Anti-Semitism Soaring on US College Campuses

Graffiti on University Campus bathroom wall Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Quinn Dombrowski https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

Graffiti on University Campus bathroom wall Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Quinn Dombrowski https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

University Campuses have become hotbeds of anti-Israel propaganda. Anti-Semitism is rising along with this.

From The Washington Free Beacon:

Anti-Semitism on college campuses is growing, with more than half of Jewish students claiming they have witnessed or been subjected to some form of anti-Jewish harassment, according to a new report by a leading human rights organization.

With college campuses across the country acting as a hotbed for anti-Israel activism, Jewish students say they are beginning to be targeted on the basis of their religion, according to a nationwide survey conducted by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.

The survey, which interviewed 1,157 self-identified Jewish students at 55 U.S. colleges, found that 54 percent experienced or witnessed “anti-Semitism on campus during the first six months of the 2013-2014 academic year.”

Perhaps most surprising, the report found evidence of anti-Semitism across the country, a finding “strongly suggesting anti-Semitism on campus is a nationwide problem,” according to the report.

The findings come as anti-Semitic incidents rise across the globe, with Jewish citizens being targeted for attack by Islamic extremists and far-right neo-Nazis.

This has been accompanied by several high-profile episodes on college campuses in which Jewish students have been subjected to harassment and, in some cases, violence.

The Trinity College researchers who performed the study said they were surprised by the findings.

“The patterns and high rates of anti-Semitism that were reported were surprising,” said Ariela Keysar, an associate research professor at Trinity who co-wrote the report with her colleague Barry Kosmin. “Rather than being localized to a few campuses or restricted to politically active or religious students, this problem is widespread. Jewish students are subjected to both traditional prejudice and the new political anti-Semitism.”

The survey was conducted prior to last year’s conflict in the Gaza Strip, when incidents of anti-Semitism spiked globally.

 

Did the White House Exclude Reform Muslims from the Summit on Extremism?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. Official White House Photo.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. Official White House Photo.

I’ve kept mum about President Obama’s careful choice of words concerning ISIS and the tragedy in the Middle East because I could see legitimate reasons for it.

Tarring all Muslims with the same extremist brush is bad policy for this country for the simple reason that, in the final analysis, if Muslim extremists are ultimately defeated, it will be by other Muslims. We only have two choices in this matter: We can help other Muslims defeat the savages who are trying to destroy civilization in the Middle East, or, we can kill everybody there.

That is not hyperbole. The media is fond of saying, “we can’t kill them all.” But that is not a true statement. The United States of America could kill everything that lives just about anywhere on this planet. A more accurate statement would be “we won’t kill them all.”

Given that we won’t kill them all, the question remains: How do we stop this civilization-destroying plague of terrorist activity? The answer is that we do it by partnering with the civilization-building people from that part of the world to drive these barbarians to the ground.

President Obama, by his careful choice of words, seemed to me to be trying to thread the needle of coalition-building while registering this country’s rejection of the genocidal brutality being waged against civilian populations by Islamic terrorists. That’s why I didn’t join in the chorus of those who were attacking him.

In truth, I was — and still am — rather disgusted with much of the over-the-top criticisms of him in this regard. It seemed to me, and still does, to be more of a partisan bid for votes in the 2016 elections than a genuine concern for either the welfare of people in the Middle East or for America.

There are people who have become a bit unhinged in their hatred of President Obama. No matter what he does, they are against it. No matter what he says, they find fault with it. They’ve made him into a shade of satan and they hate him with an unreasoning, bitter hatred that cancels out any hope of moving this country into good governance.

I object — and have objected strongly — to certain of the president’s policies. But I honestly do not feel either hatred or anger toward him as a person. I want him to succeed, if his success is good for America. I will oppose him when I think his ideas are bad for America.

I especially want him to succeed in his efforts to bring Islamic extremism to the ground. I want to see the bloody reign of ISIS and their satanic barbarism ended permanently. I would like to see the Middle East move out of the Middle Ages and become a prosperous and productive part of the world community. That will never happen so long as the blood feuds and murderous ways of those who have plunged this whole region of the world into an on-going blood-bath continue to hold the public imagination of large sectors of that society.

If President Obama just took off with a full-throated blood lust, denouncing all Muslims, it would end any hope of working with Muslims of good will. It would also push the whole world inexorably toward a kill or be killed stand-off that could indeed lead to nuclear annihilation of large numbers of innocent human beings.

This is a rather long explanation as to why I haven’t jumped on the dump-on-Obama band wagon for his measured verbiage concerning this crisis. It is also an explanation as to why it is with reluctance that I criticize him now. I want him to succeed in bringing ISIS to ground. I do not want more bloodshed than is absolutely necessary to do this. I also want to find a way to live in peace with our Muslim neighbors.

I do not — most emphatically do not — want to kill them all.

I’ve decided to take the president to task because of an article I read in the Washington Times. If this article is true, his actions seem more motivated by wing-nut political-correctness than what is best for this nation.

According to the article, the White House hosted a terror summit this week. Reformist Muslim groups are said to have been excluded from this gathering. The reason cited by the article is that these groups take positions which run counter to the President’s public position that ISIS is not motivated by Islam.

If this story is true, the president’s summit on terrorism seems to have been operating under the parameters of group think. If Muslims who hold viewpoints that run contrary to the group think of certain intellectual/academic/political circles were excluded from the conversation, then the whole event was a production and not a conversation at all.

What bothers me most about this is that it’s a life and death, bone and blood issue. The president needs input from people who think differently than he does because he is not — nobody is — smart enough to think his way through this on his own. He needs to hear from people who will make him uncomfortable by stretching his thinking outside whatever box he’s got it in.

Willingness to do this is part of his job. An unwillingness to do this can unfit him for his job. In fact, I would say that it already has unfitted him for his job in serious matters such as the HHS Mandate, which has both tarnished and weakened his administration since the day he signed it.

It concerns me in ways that have nothing to do with posturing for the next election that the President of the United States is trying to conduct a war by the tenets of politically-correct shibboleths.

For that reason, I hope this article is more political partisan yapping than actual fact. However, based on a lot of things I know that I cannot talk about, it rings true.

 

Representative Kern Gets Gay Marriage Bill Out of Committee

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern’s HB 1599 passed out of the Oklahoma House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee this week. The vote was 5 to 3 in favor of putting the bill on the House floor.

If it becomes law, HB 1599 would have four effects. I am going to put my comments in bold to help you follow the thinking on this.

1. HB 1599 would prohibit the expenditure of state monies for “any activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage.”

The Oklahoma legislature clearly has the power to determine how state monies will be apportioned. There is a real possibility that this part of the bill would survive court challenge. 

2. HB 1599 requires that any Oklahoma state, county or city employee who takes actions that would “officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license” would lose “their salary, pension, or any other benefit” that is funded by Oklahoma tax monies.

This is broader than just state-appropriated monies. It takes in any funding for salaries, pensions or other benefits that come from local taxes, as well. The legislature has the power to determine how Oklahoma tax monies may be spent. Whether or not it has such sweeping powers to determine how local tax monies may be spent is questionable.

The legislature also has the power to allocate salaries, pensions and benefits to state employees. The question that will almost certainly arise if this bill becomes law is whether or not this particular use of that power is discriminatory. 

3. HB 1599 requires that state courts dismiss challenges to the “any portion of the Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act (HB 1599) with an award of costs and attorney fees to defendants.”

In my opinion, this is a violation of the separation of powers on which our government is built. I also think it is a violation of the First Amendment right to petition the government. 

4. HB 1599 mandates that judges who violate “this act” will be removed from office.

5. This is not an effect of HB 1599, but it is important to note that it has what is called a “severability clause.” A severability clause means that if the courts strike down one portion of the bill, the rest of the statute will still stand.

Now that HB 1599 is out of committee, it is, in legislative parlance, “on the floor,” referring to the “floor” of the full House of Representatives. The next step in its passage will be to get it on the House agenda where it can be brought to a vote of the full House.

Whether or not Representative Kern will succeed in getting this bill onto the floor agenda and then getting it called up for a vote is a matter of internal House politics. This has a great deal to do with the push and pull of what is happening with other legislation and how the various members align themselves on this issue. It is an internal, out-of-sight bit of legislating.

If HB 1599 comes to a vote of the full House, and if it passes the full House, it will then go to the Senate, where the Senate author will have to put it through the same process, all over again. If it passes the full Senate without amendments (unlikely) it will go to the governor, who has the power to veto it.

If it is amended in the Senate, it must come back to the House and, unless Representative Kern accepts the Senate amendments, would go through a conference process. If she accepts Senate amendments, HB 1599 would be voted on again by the full House. If the bill goes to conference, it has a lot of hurdles to get over before it can be voted on again. A lot of bills die in the conference process.

If it gets through the conference process, it must then be put back on the agendas of both houses, and be brought to a floor vote in both houses. If it survives all that, it still has to go to the governor, who can veto it.

Each of these steps is more complex than it sounds here. Each step has more variables than I can discuss in a blog post.

It is no small accomplishment that Representative Kern succeeded in getting this bill out of committee. She is a determined, hard-working legislator who does not attack or harm her colleagues.

If HB 1599 does not come to a vote of the full House before the end of the legislative day on March 12, it can not be voted on this year. That does not mean the bill is dead. It can be brought up for a vote next year.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few weeks.

History of the Crusades: Islamic Spain was NOT the ‘Ornament of the World’

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by http://maps.bpl.org

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by http://maps.bpl.org

The version of the Crusades being pushed by the media and much of our educational bureaucracy is not history. It is propaganda.

The idea that Islamic Spain was an Edenic “Ornament of the World” is obvious nonsense. I say that it is obvious for two reasons: The treatment of Christian populations throughout the rest of the territories conquered by Muslim invaders belies it. Even more to the point, the long-term and desperate war that the Spanish people engaged in to repel these invaders would not have occurred if these stories of conquered bliss were true.

Current history about the Crusades is deliberate propaganda that is being used as a political and social tool to bash Christianity. It is a lie that is so endemic that we heard it recently coming out of the mouth of the president of the United States.

Its purpose is to weaken Christian witness and tar Christianity in order to advance certain social and political agendas that are antithetical to Christian teaching. There is a lot of money at stake in this in the form of federal funding for things like embryonic stem cell research and Planned Parenthood.

The federal grant-making industry is the major industry and source of monies in several of the most prosperous zip codes in this country. It also dominates our most prestigious institutions of higher learning. It is fair to say that grantsmanship, rather than education, has become many of these institutions’ primary purpose.

For these reasons, Christian bashing is not only a social/moral/political evil: It is big business. In fact, it is the only business of large enclaves of prosperity and privilege that, at least so far, appear to be protected from the vicissitudes of a declining economy.

It is ironic that this declining economy is mostly due to the exportation of America’s industrial base to a Communist country. The irony lies in the fact that many of the apologists for this destruction of American industry and American jobs came from those same institutions of higher learning who continue to draw down the lion’s share of federal grant monies.

Enabling and encouraging Christian bashing in order to weaken the one institution that has any motive or chance of successfully standing for the ordinary people of this country is a rather obvious tactic for those who make their money from the way things are. Teaching ahistorical propaganda about the  Crusades as history is just one slice of this poisoned pie.

Despite the failings of its followers, Christian teaching is inclusiveness and that inclusiveness always wins out in the end. Christianity is a revolutionary force that proclaims that all human beings are made in the likeness and image of God. Christianity taught humanity that there is no Greek nor Jew, male nor female, slave nor free. All are one in Christ Jesus. 

Everything — the end of slavery in the Western world, the ideals of human rights and the unique value of each individual human being, grew from that mustard seed.

A social order that is built on defining specific groups of people as not human enough and thus liable to be killed at will, that excludes almost the entire country from prosperity and that siphons the wealth of a great nation into itself while promoting ideas that impoverish and disenfranchise the larger citizenry will, by its very nature, be inimical to the true Gospels of Christ. More and more, our institutions, whether they are institutions of higher learning or business or government, are isolating themselves from the larger culture.

They seek to create a self-sustaining enclosed system of thought and funding that loops back on itself and is powered by federal money. What I’m saying is that these people only talk to one another. They reference one another. They have created a false history of the Crusades — among other things — to protect the money machine that shelters their cushy existence from ideological interference.

The greatest danger to this walled-in system of exclusion and privilege is free-ranging Christianity with its empowering respect for the human.

 

I am aware that there are Islamic teachings which lead to a more peaceful application of that faith. I think that the interpretation referenced here is an accurate depiction of of the application of Islamic teachings of 1400 years ago. It also seems that it is still relevant to Islamic extremists today.

I want to emphasize that this video discusses events which happened almost 1400 years ago. The reason I am posting it here is to correct the inaccurate  history of the Crusades which is being used in the popular media to attack and degrade Christians and Christianity.


Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2015/02/history-of-the-crusades-muslim-conquest-of-christian-egypt-639-646/#ixzz3SIOIz3oD

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10 Reasons Not to See Fifty Shades of Grey

Photo Source: Flickr Commons by Ira Gelb https://www.flickr.com/photos/iragelb/

Photo Source: Flickr Commons by Ira Gelb https://www.flickr.com/photos/iragelb/

Fifty Shades of Grey did big box office yesterday. It pulled in $30.2 million. It is also, as the article I linked to shows, being regarded as something of a cultural event. I imagine today will be even bigger box office for the movie.

The fact that many of the viewers are women tells its own tale about the degradation of the female which has taken place in our world. There was a time when the feminist movement would have tarred Fifty Shades and women themselves would have been willing to march against it. It is the essence of failed feminism that, after decades of “advocating” for women’s rights, this is where we are.

In my opinion, that has everything to do with the fact that feminism replaced the just and prophetic cause of women’s rights with the fight for legal abortion. I feel so strongly about this that I’m writing a whole book about it.

If  you plan to give this movie a pass,  you need to congratulate yourself. You’re doing the right thing.

In case you need them, here are 10 reasons why.

1. Linking sex and violence is evil.

2. Depicting women as objects and degrading them for entertainment is evil.

3. Getting your jaw smashed is not liberating.

4. Men who abuse women shouldn’t be “rescued.” They should be put in jail.

5. Holding up the masochistic woman as a twisted ideal is the oldest misogynist game in the world.

6. There’s nothing romantic about excruciating pain.

7. Celebrating mental, emotional, spiritual sickness is not good for your own mind, heart, soul.

8. Blood, fecal matter, torture and abuse are not turns-ons … unless there’s something really wrong with you.

9. Your lifespan is finite. Why waste 125 minutes of it on this trash?

10. Your money is finite. Why waste a chunk of it on “art” that degrades the female half of the human race?


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