Church Turns to Congress for Relief from Attacks on Religious Freedom

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ed Uthman https://www.flickr.com/photos/euthman/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ed Uthman https://www.flickr.com/photos/euthman/

The city of Washington, DC has passed two laws that directly attack religious freedom.

The first is the ironically titled Human Rights Amendment of 2014. According to Catholic News Agency,

… the Human Rights Amendment of 2014, forces religious schools to recognize persons and groups who might conflict with their stated mission and allow them use of their facilities and benefits. For example, a Catholic school would be forced to officially recognize an openly-gay student group and could not deny them use of its facilities.

The second is the equally mis-titled Reproductive Health Non-Discrmination Act of 2014. Again, according to Catholic News Agency,

… the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act of 2014, prohibits all employers from discriminating against employees over their “reproductive health decision making.” Thus, a Catholic or pro-life group could not make employment decisions based on their employees’ decision to act contrary to the mission – such as procuring an abortion, for example.

Both of these two laws are direct attacks on both religious liberty and First Amendment freedoms. That is why I say that their titles are ironic. They do not guarantee human rights and freedom from discrimination. These laws themselves are attacks on the basic human right of religious liberty and freedom from discrimination of religious believers.

To read a fact sheet on the two laws, go here.

There are two resolutions in the United States Senate which would overturn these laws. Congress has 30 days to review the bills, which are slated to become law on April 17. As noted in the Catholic News Agency article,

The Archdiocese of Washington supports these two resolutions, which, they say, “subjugate the Church’s moral teaching to the moral views of the government” and “result in discrimination against religious believers.”

The Knights of Columbus, the United States bishops’ conference, the Catholic University of America, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention have joined the Archdiocese of Washington in the call to pass the resolutions.

I do not know if Georgetown University has joined the opposition to these laws. If they have not, I would like to know why.

Congress clearly has the power to overturn these laws. The question, as always with Congress, is will they use their power for the purpose it was given to them, or will they set this up as another partisan fight in order to align voters for the ’16 elections?

Congress needs to hear from their constituents as to why they are not doing any of the things that got them elected in the first place.

The Archdiocese of Washington issued the followed press release concerning the resolutions in Congress on March 18:

Religious Freedom at Stake

U.S. Senate Must Stand for Religious Freedom in Nation’s Capital

March 18, 2015

WASHINGTON – Today the Archdiocese of Washington, along with a large and growing coalition of religious institutions, faith-based organizations, and pro-life advocacy organizations within the District of Columbia, welcomes the introduction of two resolutions disapproving the unprecedented attack on religious freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of association in the nation’s capital through the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA).

HRAA, by removing conscience protections in the law, would prevent religious educational institutions from operating according to the tenets of their own faith with regard to human sexuality, and RHNDA would force religious institutions and other organizations to hire or retain employees who publicly act in defiance of the mission of their employer. Both laws subjugate the Church’s moral teaching to the moral views of the government, violating the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and result in discrimination against religious believers.

The Archdiocese of Washington has long respected home rule for the District of Columbia and, therefore, advocated for our religious rights with the D.C. Council throughout the legislative process. Despite this, the Council passed these acts. The archdiocese’s appeal to Congress to restore these constitutional rights is the only legislative recourse that remains. The Council of the District of Columbia transmitted the new measures to Congress on March 6, initiating a thirty-day congressional review period.

The archdiocese is grateful for the resolutions introduced today in the U.S. Senate and is hopeful for swift action in both chambers of Congress within the remaining days of the congressional review period.

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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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Jihadi John Unmasked

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Matt Lemmon https://www.flickr.com/photos/mplemmon/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Matt Lemmon https://www.flickr.com/photos/mplemmon/

“Jihadi John,” the murderer of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Haines, Peter Kassig, Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto is not a victim of poverty and discrimination. He is a well-to-do Londoner who obtained a degree in computer science from Westminster University. His name is Muhammed Emwazi.

Of course, the nonsense is already starting. According to CAGE, a Muslim-led human rights advocacy group in London, Emwazi was “harassed” by UK security services. International Business News immediately posted an article headlined: Jihadi John: Was ‘gentle’ Mohammed Emwazi radicalised due to harassment from UK security services? 

The harassment they cite is that Mr Emwazi had trouble obtaining permission to leave Britain. What they’re leaving out of their “analysis” is that UK security services were right about Mr Emwazi.

He was and is a terrorist murderer. I do not normally support the death penalty, but there are certain criminals — Adolph Eichmann, Osama bin Laden and Muhammed Emwazi come to mind — for whom the death penalty is necessary. This man needs to be put down and his ashes scattered over the sea in an anonymous location.

From Reuters:

LONDON (Reuters) – Investigators believe that the “Jihadi John” masked fighter who fronted Islamic State beheading videos is a British man named Mohammed Emwazi, two U.S. government sources said on Thursday.

He was born in Kuwait and comes from a prosperous family in London, where he grew up and graduated with a computer programming degree, according to the Washington Post.

In videos released by Islamic State (IS), the black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent appears to have decapitated hostages including Americans, Britons and Syrians.

The Washington Post said Emwazi, who used the videos to threaten the West and taunt leaders such as President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, was believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined IS.

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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.

 

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The Price of Clean Hands: He Died for Refusing a Bribe

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Arlington County https://www.flickr.com/photos/arlingtonva/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Arlington County https://www.flickr.com/photos/arlingtonva/

Officials who take bribes are committing a crime against just and stable government. Considering the enormous harm that unjust and unstable governments do to vast numbers of people, this is, in a very real sense, a crime against humanity.

Countries that are mired in the corruption of bribe taking find themselves unable to defend their citizens against criminal organizations such as Boko Haram.

This is the story of one young Congolese young man who refused a bribe and paid with his life. The Vatican calls him a Christian martyr.

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Brother of Two ISIS Victims Testifies to Their Christian Faith

 

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ted https://www.flickr.com/photos/frted/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ted https://www.flickr.com/photos/frted/

The brother of two of the 21 Coptic Christians murdered in Libya used live television (17 February) to thank their killers for including the men’s declaration of faith in the video of their execution.
Beshir called SAT-7′s weekly worship programme, We Will Sing and said how he and his entire village were proud of the 21 men including his brothers Bishoy Estafanos Kamel (25) and Samuel Estafanos Kamel (23), because they were “a badge of honour to Christianity”.

This video of the call is a blessing and a challenge to watch.

Twenty-one St Stephens were martyred on that beach. The challenge for us is, how can we carry their witness to the whole world?

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History of the Crusades: Muslim Conquest of Christian Egypt 639-646

 

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

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

Tom Zampino posted a fascinating discussion of the Christians in Egypt on his blog Grace Pending. It’s a good read that amplifies the information in the video below.

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 in 633-638 AD. 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.

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Netanyahu Calls for Jews to Leave Europe, Migrate to Israel

Photo Source: Flickr Commons by Dennis Jarvis https://www.flickr.com/photos/archer10/

Photo Source: Flickr Commons by Dennis Jarvis https://www.flickr.com/photos/archer10/

Israeli  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has issued a call for the remaining European Jews to immigrate to Israel. European leaders have repudiated this call, urging unity instead.

Europe’s Jews are a vanishing group.

In 1939, 9.5% of the world’s Jews lived in Europe. By 1945, that had dropped to 3.8%. That number reflects the catastrophe of the Holocaust which decimated the numbers of Jewish people on this planet. Hitler killed 35% of the world’s Jews in those six years.

The decline in the Jewish population of Europe was slow for the first 15 years after World War II, dropping from 3.8% in 1945 to 3.2% in 1960. Then, the pace of migration increased. Jews were 2% of the European population in 1991 and by 2010, they had dropped to 1.4%.

What that means in real numbers is that the Jewish population of Europe was 9.5 million in 1939 and 3.8 million in 1945. The death of such a large percentage of its people decimated world Jewry. Pew Research estimates that the 2010 world Jewish population was about 14 million, which is still less than it was in 1939.

Much of the migration of Jews from Europe in recent decades has come from immigration of Jews out of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Most of the migration of Jews from Europe has been due to them going to Israel.

The shooting in Denmark last week included the murder of a Jewish man at a synagogue at which a Bar Mitzvah was taking place. Hundreds of gravestones in a Jewish cemetery were desecrated in France, hours after the shooting. Five young men have been arrested in connection with this crime.

In 2014, more than 7,000 French Jews left for Israel. The numbers of migrants have been on the increase since March 2012 when Mohammed Merah stormed a Jewish school in Toulouse, and killed three children and a rabbi.

The graveyard vandalism came just a month after a gunman killed four Jews in a kosher supermarket in Paris. These murders were part of a three-day siege of violence that left 17 people dead.

In Brussels, four people were shot and killed at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May 2014. This came after pro-Palestinian rallies were marked by demonstrators shouting “Death to the Jews!” and “Gas the Jews!” in France, Belgium and Germany.

Later last year, a Jewish-owned pharmacy in Paris was destroyed by youths protesting Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. A synagogue in Wuppertal Germany was attacked with firebombs. A group of Muslim men patrolled the neighborhood wearing uniforms that said “Shariah Police.”

These violent attacks are accompanied by a “soft” anti-Semitism that sounds a lot like the hazing, bashing, hate speech that always precedes violent persecution.

“The fear is that now things are blatantly being said open, and no one is batting an eyelid,” Jessica Frommer told the New York Times.  “The Middle East is being imported into Europe,” said Philip Carmel, European policy director for the European Jewish Congress.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Monday that the French government would defend French Jews against “Islamo-fascism.”

“A Jew who leaves France is a piece of France that is gone,” he told RTL radio.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that her government would do everything possible to make sure Jewish sites are secure. “We are glad and thankful that there is Jewish life in Germany again,” she said.

 

 

 

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Is the I Aborted My Baby Because He was a Boy Story a Confabulation?

 

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Elvert Barnes https://www.flickr.com/photos/perspective/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Elvert Barnes https://www.flickr.com/photos/perspective/

The I Aborted My Baby because He was a Boy story is almost too perfect.

By “perfect,” I mean that it reads like someone took every crazy accusation anyone ever leveled against man-hating feminists and characterized them in a blog post. Is this story a not-so-funny first-person prank? Did someone make up a tale about how they murdered their baby boy with abortion?

The bedeviling thing, to me at least, is that I’ve dealt with people just as crazy mean as the author of this post sounds. I’ve dealt with women who are this man-hating, and I’ve dealt with men who are this woman-hating and neither one had any qualms about sharing their viewpoint. That gives the post a certain cultural veracity.

None of the people I’ve dealt with took to the web to write blog posts about it. They either contacted me in anger about legislation I was trying to pass, wanted me to “help” them pass a hateful law, or, occasionally, wanted me to use my legislative powers to “get” somebody for them.

What that means in terms of the I Aborted My Baby Because He was a Boy story is that I know it’s possible it’s the truth. I know this because I’ve met and listened to people who are this crazy, this evil and this self-righteous about their vile beliefs.

I went back to the Injustice Stories web site this morning and read through the posts that it lists. The blog is said to be a forum for individuals to post their own “injustice stories.” Thus, the various blog posts are purportedly written by different people.

I’m not a linguist, but it doesn’t seem to me that the writing style differs from one post to the next. It’s not difficult to tell my writing from Kathy Schiffer’s or that of the Anchoress. All three of us write differently from Deacon Greg. Our writing is a “voice” we use, and it is somewhat unique to each of us. It’s usually that way with people.

I’m not saying that the posts on Injustice Stories are all written by one person. I don’t know that. But I will say that they do not differ in voice or syntax enough to sound like more than one person is doing the writing.

So, the question is out there? Is the I Aborted My Baby Because He was a Boy Story an attempt to prank the internet? Is it true, or is it confabulation?

I don’t know the answer to that.

Confabulation or fact, the story is possible. Sex-selected abortion is a horrible realty all around the world, including here in the United States. The world’s two largest nations by population — China and India — both have seriously lopsided male-female ratios due to sex-selected abortion. Men outnumber women in these countries by margins wide enough to unhinge the social order.

Live Action has released videos of Planned Parenthood counselors in locations all over the United States who are willing to help women obtain abortions simply because their unborn child is a girl. Half a world away, an Australian doctor had to fight to keep his medical license because he refused to either do or refer for a sex-selected abortion.

This is why the I Aborted My Baby Because He was a Boy story is plausible. I don’t know if this particular blog post is a fact or a confabulation. I don’t even know the author’s last name. But I believe that baby boys have been aborted just because they were boys, and right here in the United States.

Why would anyone do that?

Because they can.

When you legalize killing a whole group of people for any reason whatsoever, they will be killed for every reason possible.

We live in a fallen world. We all bear the mark of Cain. Blood guilt is our heritage, born of unending war, violent crime, family violence, abortion and euthanasia.

Legal abortion knocked over the carefully tended wall we had built between human life and our passions. It let the wolves of our own depravity into the fold. We defined a class of people as subhuman and declared open season on killing them.

So why should we be surprised when people avail themselves of this freedom to kill by doing exactly what we have given them the legal right to do: Kill for any reason that suits us.

Is the I Aborted My Baby because He was a Boy story fact or confabulation? If it’s fact, a precious baby boy has been horribly murdered. That matters quite a lot.

But in terms of social/political commentary in which individual lives get swept up and lost in talk of millions dying for decades, no, the veracity of the story does not matter. It does not matter because the laws which allow such things and the belief systems which excuse them are real.

Every abortion kills an innocent person who can not fight back, can not even speak for themselves. We can pretend they are not real, and if confronted by a million ultrasounds attesting to their reality, we can persist and refuse to back down in our claims that they are not human. If that fails, we can fall back on claims that, yes, they are human, but not human enough.

And that concept of not human enough is another slippery slope of illogic claiming to be the heart of rationality that leads even deeper into the abyss. If we can kill human beings because they are not human enough, the door swings wide for euthanasia and after that killing the poor and disabled, the “useless eaters” among us. Not human enough is such a subjective and frail reed of verbal positioning that it falls easily before the next new killing plan.

A large segment of our society has abandoned the notion of moral absolutes and seeks to replace it with verbal positioning. If they can concoct an argument that sounds convincing in their own ears, then whatever they are arguing for becomes their new morality. Ironic as it is, they then claim this newly-minted moral reality of theirs as a moral absolute.

When it comes to legalized killing, there is no bottom for these people. They sincerely believe that it is a moral imperative to allow the legal murder of any group of people that they can convince themselves should be killed. The great wall of the sanctity of human life was breached with legal abortion and that let the wolves in.

Now, they, like satan, prowl about, seeking whom they may destroy.

 

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ISIS and the Braggadocio of Serial Killers

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, by Aia Fernandez, https://www.flickr.com/photos/99566311@N06/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, by Aia Fernandez, https://www.flickr.com/photos/99566311@N06/

ISIS is organized murder’s answer to every lone serial killer who yearns for recognition.

Just like Ted Bundy who famously claimed that when he killed someone he “felt like God,” and John Wayne Gacy who denied wrongdoing by saying “I didn’t kill anybody, I just took out the trash,” ISIS is proud of what they do and will tell anybody that there’s nothing wrong with it.

ISIS connects its murderous behavior with Islam and makes the claim that ISIS is the sole arbiter of what is Islam. They are just as eager to kill other Muslims who don’t bend the knee to their satanic interpretation of faith as they are to kill Christians and members of other faiths.

ISIS is satanic. They are organized, well-funded serial killers, and like all serial killers, they style themselves as something much different from the measly little nothings that they really are. Also like most serial killers, they love the spotlight. They want to be recognized for the monsters they are. Like their master, they enjoy the terror, horror and rage they cause. That’s a big part of the pay-back for sending themselves to hell.

Not content with horrifying the West, ISIS has now released a tape of themselves, murdering a bound and helpless Japanese prisoner named Haruna Yukawa. As usual, they displayed another Japanese prisoner, Kenji Goto, who they say they will kill next. This is undoubtedly an attempt to extort money from the Japanese government to buy the remaining prisoner’s release.

I know that many Muslims are shamed and outraged by ISIS. I hope that all good people of every faith can unite in putting them down, hard. We need to end ISIS, and there should be no legal amnesty for those who have aligned themselves with them. I think we should hunt those who have supported ISIS with their money, and who have journeyed to join them in their killing, to the ground. If it takes decades, we should track them down, every one of them, and put them before the bar.

ISIS is serial killing on an international scale. The whole world needs to unite in ending it.

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