Learning about Islam is a crime


This attitude of middle America mirrors Congress’ attitude towards POTUS.  If you don’t like what is being done, shut the whole operation down.

Extra-curricular activities have been cancelled tonight and schools will be closed Friday in a western Virginia school district after the district received “voluminous phone calls and electronic mail” over a high school teacher’s use of an Arabic statement in a geography lesson……

Some parents were upset after learning that Riverheads High School teacher Cheryl LaPorte had students in her class complete an assignment that involved practicing calligraphy and writing a statement in Arabic.

The statement translated to: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

Liberty UniversityThis is the same state which is the home of Liberty University whose president is on record for saying….

I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in

….and this is post racial America?

What clash of civilizations?


We’ve been hearing that for some time, that Muslims are trying to precipitate a clash or war between Islam and the West.  Islamic encroachments against western values are existential threats that imperil western democracies and peoples.  The truth is however, there are people on the western side of the divide who are just as interested in keeping ideologies separate and isolated from one another as much as the most ardent ISIS supporter and there’s no more blatant example of that than with this university professor, Larycia Hawkins.

Dr. Larycia Hawkins

Dr. Larycia Hawkins

It doesn’t help this profs case that she is female or even worse a person of color but to identify with the most evil group of people known to the western world since Hitler’s scourge, the Jews, is really the nail in her professional coffin.  Hawkins has been an associated professor of political science at Wheaton College since 2007 but it’s only now that she asserts,”that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. She did not insist that Christians and Muslims believe the same things about that one God. She did not state that Islam and Christianity are the same religion under a different name, or even that Islam is equally as true as Christianity. She did not deny that God was incarnate in Christ. Neither did she contest that the one God is the Holy Trinity. In fact, by having signed Wheaton’s Statement of Faith, she affirmed her belief in God as the Trinity and Jesus Christ as God and man, fundamental Christian convictions which, among other things, distinguish Christian faith from Islam.”

Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian institution, has disciplined a professor who put on a head scarf in solidarity with Muslims and said they worship the “same God” as Christians.

The private liberal arts college in Wheaton, Ill., said in a statement on Tuesday that Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science, had been placed on administrative leave over “significant questions regarding the theological implications” of recent remarks she made about the relationship between Christianity and Islam.

“As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the College’s evangelical Statement of Faith,” the statement said.

The college president, Philip G. Ryken, emphasized in a statement on Wednesday that Dr. Hawkins’s words, not her appearance in a scarf, were the issue. He said Wheaton had “no stated position on the wearing of head scarves as a gesture of care and concern for those in Muslim or other religious communities that may face discrimination or persecution.”

The college and Dr. Hawkins could not immediately be reached for comment. But the disciplinary move appeared to be in response to statements she made on Facebook this month that touched on the monotheistic similarities between the religions.

The college said that as a tenured faculty member, she was entitled to a full review over her leave status. It gave no other details on the length of her leave, its effect on her compensation, or whether she was barred from classes or from the campus.

Last Thursday, Dr. Hawkins posted photographs of herself on Facebook in a Muslim head covering, which she pledged to wear at work, in airplanes and at social events during the weeks before Christmas in solidarity with Muslims facing religious discrimination.

“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” she wrote, in part. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

The next day, Wheaton College said it had received inquiries about remarks on social media by unnamed faculty about the relationship between Christianity and Islam, and their “fundamental differences.”

“Some recent faculty statements have generated confusion about complex theological matters, and could be interpreted as failing to reflect the distinctively Christian theological identity of Wheaton College,” the statement said.

Two days later, Dr. Hawkins said on Facebook that after her gesture of solidarity with Muslims, she had “received pushback almost exclusively from other Christians. The pushback has primarily centered on the claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.”

Dr. Hawkins“My wearing of the hijab as an act of advent devotion has certainly caused some to question the sincerity of my devotion,” she said.

The posts drew support on her Facebook page from people who identified themselves as her students, acquaintances at the university and friends.

One former student, Kelsie Wendelberger, who described herself as a graduate of the college, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that Dr. Hawkins was “one of my favorite, most influential professors.”

She noted that Dr. Hawkins quoted the pope, and that the Rev. Billy Graham, the evangelical minister and a graduate of Wheaton, had made similar remarks about other religions, including Muslims being “called by God.”

“Wheaton is holding a double-standard,” Ms. Wendelberger said of the leave imposed on Dr. Hawkins. “I was saddened by it. I thought they reacted the wrong way. They could have made headlines by showing a story of love, by a teacher showing solidarity.”

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The new face of the #demonicGOP

 

joni ernst

Pope Francis on Charlie Hebdo: ‘You cannot insult the faith of others’


popeFrancisPope Francis is not your normal Catholic Pope; born in Argentina he does not have the Eurocentric  world view that has surrounded the Roman Catholic Church for so many centuries and he comes from a refreshing place in theology that emphasizes a lot more of the things people have in common, regardless of their faith.  What he had to say regarding the Charlie Habdo cartoons is indicative of a view that certainly puts him at odds with most of punditry

Calling freedom of expression a “fundamental” human right, the pope outlined why he believes there are limits to that right. If someone “says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” he joked, according to an Associated Press translation. “It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

Despite joking about his mother, Francis also condemned violent retaliation. “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion — that is, in the name of God,” the pope said. “To kill in the name of God is an aberration.”

Francis was speaking in Italian aboard the papal plane, on the way from Sri Lanka to the Philippines. According to the National Catholic Reporter, the pope was responding to a question about freedom of speech and religion in general. But acknowledging that the reporter asking the question was French, Pope Francis indicated that his response applied specifically to the attacks. “Let’s go to Paris, let’s speak clearly,” he said, according to NCR.

“The Pope’s expression is in no way intended to be interpreted as a justification for the violence and terror that took place in Paris last week,” the Vatican press office said in a later statement, addressing Francis’s remarks. The statement adds, “the Pope’s free style of speech, especially in situations like the press conference must be taken a face value and not distorted or manipulated.”

“The Pope has spoken out clearly against the terror and violence that occurred in Paris and in other parts of the world,” the statement continues, “Violence begets violence.  Pope Francis has not advocated violence with his words on the flight.”

Days ago, Francis denounced the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the “deviant forms of religion” he said were behind them. “Religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings, eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological pretext,” he said, according to the AP.

There is no God fearing sincere believer who would say anything different than what the Pope has said or what has been written in the pages of Miscellany101 but in this writer’s opinion it’s also unrealistic to expect people would not feel resentment towards those who use satire as a weapon to dehumanize or devalue one’s religious beliefs. The Pope believes that people have a responsibility to their fellow citizens and that satire and freedom of speech has limits  and unbridled free speech also has consequences.  It is a mature position and it takes a certain amount of courage to embrace it.

Believers in One God are non-believers to most Americans


According to this poll, Muslims rank lowest of all religious denominations and lower than atheists.

Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians are viewed warmly by the American public. When asked to rate each group on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100 – where 0 reflects the coldest, most negative possible rating and 100 the warmest, most positive rating – all three groups receive an average rating of 60 or higher (63 for Jews, 62 for Catholics and 61 for evangelical Christians). And 44% of the public rates all three groups in the warmest part of the scale (67 or higher).

Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons receive neutral ratings on average, ranging from 48 for Mormons to 53 for Buddhists. The public views atheists and Muslims more coldly; atheists receive an average rating of 41, and Muslims an average rating of 40. Fully 41% of the public rates Muslims in the coldest part of the thermometer (33 or below), and 40% rate atheists in the coldest part.

This is the result of the active marginalization of Muslims by main stream media, pundits, politicians.  Way to go America…..

American diversity


2nd largest religionIf you ever needed proof of the ethnic and religious diversity of America….and perhaps something that scares the pants off of many who maintain their privilege you need look no further than this map provided by the Washington Post.

Christianity is by far the largest religion in the United States; more than three-quarters of Americans identify as Christians. A little more than half of us identify as Protestants, about 23 percent as Catholic and about  2 percent as Mormon.

But what about the rest of us? In the Western U.S., Buddhists represent the largest non-Christian religious bloc in most states. In 20 states, mostly in the Midwest and South, Islam is the largest non-Christian faith tradition. And in 15 states, mostly in the Northeast, Judaism has the most followers after Christianity. Hindus come in second place in Arizona and Delaware, and there are more practitioners of the Baha’i faith in South Carolina than anyone else.

Your tax dollars at work for you!


Louie Gohmert

Louie Gohmert

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) spent one minute too long debating with someone…..I really don’t care who…..during a Congressional hearing funded by the American tax payer whether someone who accepts Jesus Christ as the ‘way, the truth, the life’ will or will not go to Heaven!?! Should time on the government’s clock be spent on this topic?!?!  What are Gohmert’s intentions on knowing the answer to this question?  Will he institute a faith based litmus test for citizenship….thereby abrogating the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment?

Don’t forget where Gohmert comes from…..T-E-X-A-S the state where people are intimidating citizens with vigilantes walking around with tx rifleslong rifles strapped across their backs in a manner so extreme even the NRA consider their in your face attitude politically unacceptable, weird before it backed off feeling itself intimidated as well.  T-E-X-A-S is the state where the #DemonicGOP wants to correct homosexuals with “reparative therapy” which in essence is saying the way one is is not acceptable to them…….and it doesn’t take much to conclude such “therapy” might come whether one wants it or not.  (Having people walking around with the full blessing of elected officials carrying semi-automatic long rifles in the streets subconsciously drives home that point.)  T-E-X-A-S is the home of white elected officials who want to enforce the disenfranchisement of its African-American
voter idcitizens…..voter nullification as it were and has gone on to legislate some of the more stringent voter registration laws in the country.  Gohmert is just as normal as they come in the state of T-E-X-A-S but still as dangerous in his beliefs as the others.

The latest alteration to the hate campaign advertisement


First there was this

then this

and now this

Keep them coming America.  It’s free speech and it’s constitutionally complaint!

Gingrich is back to divisive politics


English: Former U.S. Representative and Speake...

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Newt Gingrich has been reported to have said

I think we need to have a government that respects our religions. I’m a little bit tired of being lectured about respecting every other religion on the planet. I’d like him(Obama) to respect our religion.

This is typical Gingrich cowardice, appearing before a crowd that wants to be pandered too, making divisive and inflammatory remarks to appeal to the very basic instinct of his constituents. Nothing lofty or inspiring about Gingrich during this campaign.

One just has to ask, what religion of his does Gingrich want respected.  First off, let’s eliminate Islam.  It’s not one of the religions he thinks government should respect, even though he spoke in the plural. It should be…it’s one of the many religions that inhabit our shores, but Gingrich doesn’t think it necessarily belongs here and he’s been quite provocative in saying so…likening Muslims to Nazis, promoting the idea that Islamic religious places of worship and where they are built should be determined by the government, that a liberal establishment favors Islam over Christianity, thereby trying to minimize Christian influence while inflating or insuring Muslim domination, etc.  Of course all of this is an indirect reference to Obama’s questionable, in the mind of the Tea Party member, ancestry or origin.  In other words, Gingrich is playing the race card; he’s pandering to the racial and religious prejudices of a certain segment of the population in order to gain political power and or influence.  That’s also known as demagoguery, which has become a staple of the GOP stable in this new epoch.

But Gingrich is also guilty of an even more perverse hypocrisy involving his own Christian faith.  He was raised Lutheran, then became a Southern Baptist in his rise to political power as a congressman for the state of Georgia, and finally upon marrying his third wife  became Roman Catholic.  In other words in his lifetime, Gingrich has embraced three different faith communities while aspiring to become the GOP nominee for president.  In fact, wife #2 asserts his latest conversion is just another attempt at social and political climbing, which also speaks volumes for Gingrich’s sincerity when talking about faith or even public policy. Which one of those “our” religion from the quote above is  Gingrich’s?  Obviously that question is not to be considered. America has been warned repeatedly by people within Gingrich’s sphere of politics, family members, colleagues and pundits of his sinister behavior and duplicity. Let’s hope the repudiation of the Florida electorate to this chameleon is the beginning of the end for his campaign.

Muslims are the most loyal American religious group, new poll says


Bet you didn’t know this did you?

Muslim Americans are loyal to the US and optimistic despite facing high levels of discrimination, a Gallup poll on American religious groups finds.

A poll released Thursday revealed curious contradictions in the Muslim-American community, which is more enthused about its country and president than any other religious group, yet is the least politically active and faces the greatest discrimination.

The Gallup poll on American religious groups offers a counterpoint to the stereotype that Muslims in the US lead isolated lives because they do not feel comfortable fitting in or associating with mainstream American culture. Moreover, it also offers insights into the Muslim-American experience – from how dramatically the election of President Obama affected them to how little they trust the activists who work on their behalf.

In total, the poll paints a picture of a community characterized by optimism but still seeking acceptance among its fellow citizens.

For instance, 93 percent of Muslim Americans say they are loyal to America. They have the highest confidence in the integrity of US elections (57 percent), and they are the most hopeful about their lives over the next five years, compared with other groups.

Yet 48 percent of Muslim Americans report they experienced some kind of racial or religious discrimination, a finding that places them far ahead of Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, and atheists/agnostics.

One reason for the optimistic outlook despite discrimination could be that Muslim Americans see their financial fortunes improving. Some 64 percent of Muslim Americans in 2011 reported their standard of living got better, compared with 46 percent in 2008.

But the presidency of Mr. Obama has arguably had an even more powerful affect on Muslim Americans. Muslim Americans give him the highest approval rating – 80 percent – of any religious group. American Jews are a distant second, giving Obama a 65 percent approval rating.

The number is even more striking when compared with Muslim American support for George W. Bush in 2008, which was 7 percent.

The shift in leadership in Washington was “truly transformational” for US Muslims in how they viewed their loyalties to democratic institutions and the nation at large, says Dalia Mogahed, director and senior analyst of the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, based in the United Arab Emirates.

After the 9/11 attacks, Muslim Americans faced intense scrutiny, both individually and from federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Obama is credited with helping smooth tensions through his outreach to the US Muslim community and his effort to end the Iraq war responsibly. The poll shows that 83 percent of Muslim Americans – more than any other religious group – say the war was a “mistake.”

Despite the positive signs, “there are still obstacles” for Muslim Americans, Ms. Mogahed says.

“They embrace American values and democratic principles but aren’t sure if the rest of American embraces them,” she says.

Some 56 percent of Protestants said American Muslims had no sympathy for Al Qaeda, the lowest number of any faith group. By comparison, 63 percent of Catholics and 70 percent of Jews thought Muslim Americans had no sympathies for Al Qaeda.

“That’s certainly a challenge for the [US Muslim] community – to have their loyalty questioned by such a large number of their fellow Americans,” Mogahed says.

Those challenges, however, have not led Muslim Americans to try to affect change at the ballot box. They are the least likely religious group to vote, with just 65 percent of Muslims in America are registered. One reason is age: The average age of a Muslim-American is 35, while the average American Protestant is 55. Younger people tend to be less politically active, Mogahed says.

Another reason is affiliation: Poll findings show that the majority of Muslim Americans say that none of the leading Muslim organizations in the US, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations or the Islamic Society of North America, represents their interests.

With the 2012 election around the corner, Mogahed says political parties that want to reach out to Muslim-American voters might be better off establishing partnerships with local mosques than focusing on winning endorsements from national advocacy organizations. This is especially relevant considering that Muslim Americans who attend a religious service once a week are two times more likely to be politically active than those who attend less frequently, the poll found.

“The mosque should be more the mobilization engine” for get-out-the-vote drives than it has been in the past, she says.

The poll surveyed 2,482 adults, 475 of whom were Muslim. For Muslims, there was a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 7 percentage points.

Which begs the question, where does everyone else rank in comparison?  This article addresses that with respect to Christian evangelicals, one of the groups largely responsible for the current Islamophobic public attacks going on in America today.  Citing a Pew Research Center poll the article makes the point that Christian evangelicals are far less patriotic than American Muslims

Among Christians in the U.S., white evangelicals are especially inclined to identify first with their faith; 70 percent in this group see themselves first as Christians rather than as Americans, while 22 percent say they are primarily American.

so the upshot of this is the next time you hear someone ranting about the Muslim fifth column or taqiyah or any other cliches used by people on the right to justify casting suspicion of members of the Islamic faith remind them that they are more a threat to the national security than the Muslims against whom they rail.

Assaulting adherents of a faith because of their religious texts is a funadmentally flawed concept for Christians


and here’s why.

the Bible overflows with “texts of terror,” to borrow a phrase coined by the American theologian Phyllis Trible. The Bible contains far more verses praising or urging bloodshed than does the Koran, and biblical violence is often far more extreme, and marked by more indiscriminate savagery….

portions of the Bible, by contrast, go much further in ordering the total extermination of enemies, of whole families and races – of men, women, and children, and even their livestock, with no quarter granted…..

Commands to kill, to commit ethnic cleansing, to institutionalize segregation, to hate and fear other races and religions . . . all are in the Bible, and occur with a far greater frequency than in the Koran.

and so it goes.  With all the Biblical references to death, murder, terror does that mean that Christians are terrorists and murderers and in order to preserve mankind we must institute collective punishment against all those who proclaim the Christian faith.  Such talk is ludicrous, yet it is the type of talk directed towards Muslims who have been living peacefully, relatively speaking, for decades if not centuries in North America.  The purveyors of this idea of collective punishment, a Biblical injunction ironically enough, claim that they are not racist or bigoted because Islam is an ideology, not a race, but they seek to make  illegal practices of Muslims associated with the Islamic religion, like the ritual washing before prayer, or even the prayer itself even when such actions are beneficial to the greater society and not just Muslims like interest free banking, and they claim this is not racism or bigotry?  It is the very definition of bigotry: intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself  and xenophobia.

To say that terrorists can find religious texts to justify their acts does not mean that their violence actually grows from those scriptural roots….The difference between the Bible and the Koran is not that one book teaches love while the other proclaims warfare and terrorism, rather it is a matter of how the works are read. Yes, the Koran has been ransacked to supply texts authorizing murder, but so has the Bible…If Christians or Jews want to point to violent parts of the Koran and suggest that those elements taint the whole religion, they open themselves to the obvious question: what about their own faiths? If the founding text shapes the whole religion, then Judaism and Christianity deserve the utmost condemnation as religions of savagery. Of course, they are no such thing; nor is Islam.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

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Entertaining.  I wonder if this guy would be welcomed in France?

America’s corrputed notion of Christianity


The Founding Fathers wanted government to  make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof prescient in their vision that doing so would lead to a fragmented Nation, but racism has driven those who aspire to power to insist that their religion should reign supreme in the body politic of America because it’s what this country was founded on.  We’ve disputed that notion a time or two here.

ConsortiumNews’ writers have weighed in heavily on this subject in a series of thought provoking articles.  This one examines how Christianity has morphed into something that allows its followers to wage war, death and destruction on enemies real and imagined and in the process stray far away from its core values.

The first Christians tried to be faithful to Jesus’s commandments to “put away the sword,” ”do not repay evil for evil,” “do unto others that which you would have them do unto you,” “do good to those who persecute you,” “pray for those who despitefully use you,” “love your neighbor as yourself,” “turn the other cheek,” “love your enemies” and “love as I have loved you.”

Jesus’s earliest followers regarded the human body as the holy temple of God here on earth, and, knowing that violence to a holy place was considered an act of desecration (and therefore forbidden), they refused to kill or maim other children of God, and therefore they also refused, out of conscience, to become killing soldiers for Rome.

Martyrdom, in the first three centuries, was regarded as the ultimate act of social responsibility. And the church flourished!

The Roman Emperor Constantine first recognized Christianity as a valid religion around 311 CE and he made Christianity the official state religion within decades.

He showered the now-legal church with the goodies of the Empire and the Christians accepted them, not aware that property, dominative power, wealth and the tight connections to militarism were eventually to become curse for the church.

Before long Christians began endorsing, and then participating in, un-Christ-like acts of homicidal violence in war.

n 311 CE, you could not be a Christian and be a killing soldier in Rome’s army. By 416, you couldn’t be in the Roman army unless you were a Christian! It had all turned around in 105 years, and Christianity has been a war-tolerating religion ever since….

Massacres of non-Christian “infidels” in the Crusades were soon followed by massacres of fellow Christians. In the Middle Ages, the organized church actively persecuted, tortured and murdered millions of women who were feared as intellectuals, midwives and “witches.”

The use of atomic bombs against the civilian targets of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was perhaps the spiritual low point in Christendom’s history of un-Christ-like cruelty and inhumanity to man.

It is a little known fact that Ground Zero for the second bomb was the largest Christian church in the Orient. The Nagasaki Urakami Cathedral and most of its members were vaporized in nine seconds by an all-Christian bomb crew on Aug. 9, 1945. American Christianity remains unrepentant.

And then there was the horrific example of German Christianity, easily Nazified because of its historical connections to Prussian militarism, and therefore allied to Hitler’s policy of perpetual war.

Many “good Germans” had good-paying healthcare-related jobs but they found themselves obediently participating in the extermination of the mentally and physically deformed “useless eaters.”

Many “good Germans” earned their livings participating in the oppression and extermination of gypsies, homosexuals, trade unionists, liberals, communists and Jews; and many churches consented to those atrocities by their silence.
The Jewish Holocaust occurred in part because the German churches had, for centuries, falsely blamed the Jews for killing Jesus (a myth), ignoring Jesus’s commandment to “love as I have loved you.”

The movements of Gandhi, King and Jesus, as well as a multitude of other examples of successful nonviolent, faith-based resistance movements throughout history, are proof that nonviolence can work, but they are only for the faithful and the courageous.

Far more courage is demanded of unarmed resisters who may be forced to jail or to their deaths, than is asked of modern super-patriotic warriors who do battle using highly lethal, high-tech weaponry that almost guarantees their physical survival.

 

Most likely the founding fathers were good students of history.  They realized that if the State endorsed one religion, Christianity for example, over another it would lead to the corruption of that religion which could be easily pliable in the hands of the omnipotent state and thus loose its religious character and meaning.  Maybe that’s why they weren’t too keen on insisting that America was to be a Christian nation; they possessed crystal balls that allowed them to peer into our future and see how religion could metastasize into large mega churches with their own television stations that would swindle people out of their money and their souls while feeding them into the meat grinder of an expansionist state that needs bodies to fight wars of empire.  This might be one of the endearing legacies of our founding fathers, that in refusing to refer to America as a Christian country they hoped that would make us  more Christian. Sadly, such is not the case.

The impetus behind today’s Islamophobia


The misguided notion that the presence of Islam in the West is a threat to western values has been gaining a lot of traction lately. Its roots arise from a group of people who have attached themselves to a religious doctrine, Christian-Zionism that is completely at odds with itself, for on one hand it is driven by those who believe Jesus is the Savior of Mankind and by others who don’t share that belief at all. They have come together to form this unholy alliance against a group of people, Muslims, whose only objection to either of them is their military presence, which in many cases is an illegal presence, or their disrespect for their territorial sovereignty, in Muslim dominated countries.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

A Christian Cleric’s Response to a Christian’s burning of Qurans


Hat tip


Respected Pastor Terry Jones,

I have read your worldwide call for the burning of the Quran on this coming 11th of September. Your message stated that you are a pastor of one of the churches in Florida in the United States of America.

As an Arab Catholic priest from Damascus (Syria), I wondered what would be your objective, as an American pastor, for such a call?

I wondered, and I ask you: What are your responsibilities as a pastor?
Are you really a Christian pastor serving God in a church in America?
Or are you merely a layperson from America who is pretending to be in the service of Christ?

Did you give in to your nationalism (Americanism) rather than giving in to your Christianity?

What is your aim with that call?

(Do you wish) to further fuel hatred among people? Is that consistent with (the teachings of) Jesus, whom you represent in your eyes and the eyes of many others?
Tell me, is there in the character of Jesus, in his words or in his actions anything that would remotely justify even a hint of promoting disdain and hatred among people?

Have you forgotten that Jesus was completely for love, forgiveness and peace? Have you forgotten what he taught us when he told his disciples and the people after them to tell God the heavenly Father of all to “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who wrong us”? You overlooked or forgot that when Jesus was hanging on the cross and being subjected to insults and vile words, he raised his voice, saying, “O Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Who, then, do you represent or who are you trying to guide with this call of yours?

Isn’t it enough what has been happening since September 11, 2001: the killing, destruction, displacement and starvation of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, from Palestine – the land of Jesus – by your leaders in particular, headed by George Bush, who was claiming direct communication with God?

Wouldn’t you agree with me that with your call (to burn the Quran), you have demonstrated that you are really unfamiliar with Jesus and that you desperately need to re-discover him again to be a true Christian pastor who calls, like Jesus, for the comprehensive love and full respect for every human being and a commitment to the full and wonderful teachings that call upon all believers, without exception, to always stand beside the poor, the oppressed and the disadvantaged?

My brother Pastor Terry Jones. Can you tell me, honestly, if Jesus came today, whose side would he take?

Is it the side of the powerful and arrogant oppressors who dominate the world and endlessly plunder its resources, violate its laws and international treaties, and kill people in their countries and destroy houses on top of their owners and turn them into refugees across the earth? Or is it the side of those who are oppressed, the disadvantaged, hungry, and homeless?

Did you forget what Jesus himself would say on the Day of Judgment to each person in front of him: “All that you did to one of my brothers, you actually did to me”?

I wonder if you have overlooked or forgotten that Jesus did not point in that speech on the Day of Judgment to the religion of any of those mistreated persons. He only referred to everyone as belonging to the human race and to his standing with the deprived, the weak, and the oppressed in this world.

So how could you as an American Christian pastor stand with the oppressors from your country whose injustice has spread around the world?

Aren’t you afraid of when you appear before Jesus on Judgment Day and you are burdened with a heavy conscience, like your leaders who are blinded by the gods of power, money, control and greed?

My brother Pastor Terry. Do you think I am being unfair if I conclude that your hatred toward Islam is what drove you to such a reprehensible call for the burning of Islam’s holy book, the Quran?

But let me ask you, as a Syrian Roman Catholic priest: What do you know about Islam? It appears to me from your call to burn the Quran that you are ignorant of Christ and Christianity, and that makes me believe that you are also ignorant of Islam and Muslims.

Believe me, it is not my intention to indict you and it is not my intention to engage with you in a religious debate about Christianity or Islam. However, after I prayed for a long time, let me suggest for both of us to make a joint effort on this coming September 11.

You might ask me what effort can we do jointly when you are in Florida and I’m in Damascus?

He is my suggestion.

I invite you to visit Syria, where you will be my guest and the guest of many of my Muslim and Christian friends. Syria is a country populated mostly by Muslims and in which Christians are indigenous to the land and have lived side-by-side with Muslims for centuries and centuries.

Come and don’t worry about anything.

Come and you will find out about Islam and Muslims what will comfort you, please you, surprise you, and even lead you, from where you are today in Florida, to invite all people to live in respect, love and cooperation among all people.

This is what people need rather than the un-Christian call to fuel the sentiment of hatred and division.

Come to Syria and you will be amazed by the good nature of people and their faith, their relations, friendly cooperation and openness toward all strangers.

Come to Damascus to witness and live an experience that is not in your mind nor the mind or expectation of all the churches of the West or their bishops, pastors, and clergymen.

Come to see and hear two choruses, Christian and Muslim, singing together during Christian and Islamic holidays to praise Allah, the One God, who created us all, and to whom we all return.

My brother Pastor Terry.

I call you my brother and I am serious about calling you brother and about my invitation to you. I await a word (of reply) from you. Trust me that you will find a brother in Damascus, actually many brothers.

Please contact me and don’t delay. I am waiting for you in Damascus.

I ask God to make our anticipated meeting the beginning of a long and interesting path that we undertake together with other brothers in Damascus and around the world.

How desperate is the need of our world for bright roads.

Come, the road to Damascus is waiting for you.

Father Elias Zahlawi

Is it Shari’ah Law you should be afraid of or is it Christian Evangelism?


Islamophobic racists are all singing the dangers of Shari’ah law as something that will overtake the Nation and either make everyone Muslim or kill those who don’t convert.  From the looks of this article, their fears are misplaced; rather it is their own Christian-Judeo tradition which has enveloped the  US military they should be worried about.  Imagine, an American military force made up of Christians determining whether you meet the criteria for safety or punishment.  Think it won’t happen here?  Maybe it already is.

The Army said Friday it was investigating a claim that dozens of soldiers who refused to attend a Christian band’s concert at a Virginia military base were banished to their barracks and told to clean them up.Fort Eustis spokesman Rick Haverinen told The Associated Press he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the investigation. At the Pentagon, Army spokesman Col. Thomas Collins said the military shouldn’t impose religious views on soldiers.

“If something like that were to have happened, it would be contrary to Army policy,” Collins said.

Pvt. Anthony Smith said he and other soldiers felt pressured to attend the May concert while stationed at the Newport News base, home of the Army’s Transportation Corps.

“My whole issue was I don’t need to be preached at,” Smith said in a phone interview from Phoenix, where he is stationed with the National Guard. “That’s not what I signed up for.”

Smith, 21, was stationed in Virginia for nearly seven months for helicopter electrician training when the Christian rock group BarlowGirl played as part of the “Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concerts.”

Smith said a staff sergeant told 200 men in their barracks they could either attend or remain in their barracks. Eighty to 100 decided not to attend, he said.

“Instead of being released to our personal time, we were locked down,” Smith said. “It seemed very much like a punishment.”

You can read more about the efforts of many in the military to make it Christian, thereby usurping the Constitution, here.

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This is an “I told you so” moment.

With arms outstretched, the congregation at National Evangelical Baptist Church belted out a praise hymn backed up by drums, electric guitar and keyboard. In the corner, slide images of Jesus filled a large screen. A simple white cross of wood adorned the stage, and worshipers sprinkled the pastor’s Bible-based sermon with approving shouts of “Ameen!”National is Iraq’s first Baptist congregation and one of at least seven new Christian evangelical churches established in Baghdad in the past two years. Its Sunday afternoon service, in a building behind a house on a quiet street, draws a couple of hundred worshipers who like the lively music and focus on the Bible.

“I’m thirsty for this kind of church,” Suhaila Tawfik, a veterinarian who was raised Catholic, said at a recent service. “I want to go deep in understanding the Bible.”

Tawfik is not alone. The U.S.-led toppling of Saddam Hussein, who limited the establishment of new denominations, has altered the religious landscape of predominantly Muslim Iraq. A newly energized Christian evangelical activism here, supported by Western and other foreign evangelicals, is now challenging the dominance of Iraq’s long-established Christian denominations and drawing complaints from Muslim and Christian religious leaders about a threat to the status quo.

The evangelicals’ numbers are not large — perhaps a few thousand — in the context of Iraq’s estimated 800,000 Christians. But they are emerging at a time when the country’s traditional churches have lost their privileged Hussein-era status and have experienced massive depletions of their flocks because of decades-long emigration. Now, traditional church leaders see the new evangelical churches filling up, not so much with Muslim converts but with Christians like Tawfik seeking a new kind of worship experience.

“The way the preachers arrived here . . . with soldiers . . . was not a good thing,” said Baghdad’s Roman Catholic archbishop, Jean Sleiman. “I think they had the intention that they could convert Muslims, though Christians didn’t do it here for 2,000 years.”

“In the end,” Sleiman said, “they are seducing Christians from other churches.”

Iraq’s new churches are part of Christian evangelicalism’s growing presence in several Middle Eastern countries, experts say. In neighboring Jordan, for example, “the indigenous evangelical presence is growing and thriving,” said Todd M. Johnson, a scholar of global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts.

Nabeeh Abbassi, president of the Jordan Baptist Convention, said in an interview in Amman that there are about 10,000 evangelicals worshiping at 50 churches in Jordan. They include 20 Baptist churches with a combined regular Sunday attendance of 5,000, he added. The organization also operates the Baptist School of Amman, where 40 percent of the student body is Muslim.

While most evangelicals in Jordan come from traditional Christian denominations, Abbassi said, “we’re seeing more and more Muslim conversions, not less than 500 a year” over the past 10 years.

Iraq’s Christian population has been organized for centuries into denominations such as Chaldean Catholicism and Roman Catholicism. While Hussein’s secular regime allowed freedom of worship, it limited new denominations, particularly if backed by Western churches.

During the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, American evangelicals made no secret of their desire to follow the troops. Samaritan’s Purse, the global relief organization led by the Rev. Franklin Graham — who has called Islam an “evil and wicked” religion — and the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, were among those that mobilized missionaries and relief supplies.

Soon after Hussein’s fall, they entered the country, saying their prime task was to provide Iraqis with humanitarian aid. But their strong emphasis on sharing their faith raised concerns among Muslims and some Christians that they would openly proselytize.

Then the security environment deteriorated in Iraq — four Southern Baptist missionaries were killed, Westerners were kidnapped and at least 21 churches were bombed — forcing most foreign evangelicals to flee. But Iraqi evangelicals remain.

“For Christians, it’s now democratic,” said Nabil A. Sara, 60, the pastor at National Evangelical Baptist. “It’s not like before. There is freedom now. Nobody can say, ‘Why do you start a new church?’ ”

Some church leaders, however, are asking that very question.

“Evangelicals come here and I would like to ask: Why do you come here? For what reason?” said Patriarch Emmanuel Delly, head of the Eastern rite Chaldean Catholic Church, Iraq’s largest Christian community.

In interviews, Delly and Sleiman were torn between their belief in religious freedom and the threat they see from the new evangelicalism. They also expressed anger and resentment at what they perceive as the evangelicals’ assumption that members of old-line denominations are not true Christians.

“If we are not Christians, you should tell us so we will find the right path,” Delly said sarcastically. “I’m not against the evangelicals. If they go to an atheist country to promote Christ, we would help them ourselves.”

Sleiman charged that the new churches were sowing “a new division” among Christians because “churches here mean a big community with tradition, language and culture, not simply a building with some people worshiping. If you want to help Christians here, help through the churches [already] here.”

Still, the Roman Catholic prelate said he could not oppose the evangelicals because “we ask for freedom of conscience.” He also said he respected how they appear “ready to die” for their beliefs. “Sometimes I’m telling myself they are more zealous than me, and we can profit from this positive dimension of their mission.”

Some Iraqi Christians expressed fear that the evangelicals would undermine Christian-Muslim harmony here, which rests on a long-standing, tacit agreement not to proselytize each other. “There is an informal agreement that says we have nothing to do with your religion and faith,” said Yonadam Kanna, one of six Christians elected to Iraq’s parliament. “We are brothers but we don’t interfere in your religion.”

Delly said that “even if a Muslim comes to me and said, ‘I want to be Christian,’ I would not accept. I would tell him to go back and try to be a good Muslim and God will accept you.” Trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, he added, “is not acceptable.”

Sheik Fatih Kashif Ghitaa, a prominent Shiite Muslim leader in Baghdad, was among those who expressed alarm at the postwar influx of foreign missionaries. In a recent interview, he said he feared that Muslims misunderstand why many Christians talk about their faith.

“They have to talk about Jesus and what Jesus has done. This is one of the principles of believing in Christianity,” said Ghitaa. “But the problem is that the others don’t understand it, they think these people are coming to convert them.”

Robert Fetherlin, vice president for international ministries at Colorado-based Christian and Missionary Alliance, which supports one of the new Baghdad evangelical churches, defended his denomination’s overseas work.

“We’re not trying to coerce people to follow Christ,” he said. “But we want to at least communicate to people who He is. We feel very encouraged by the possibility for people in Iraq to have the freedom to make choices about what belief system they want to buy into.”

Sara said that if Muslims approach him with “questions about Jesus and about the Bible,” he responds. But the white-haired pastor said there was plenty of evangelizing to be done among Christians because, in his view, many do not really know Jesus. “They know [Him] just in name,” he said, adding that they need a better understanding of “why He died for them.”

His church appeals to dissatisfied Christians, he said, adding, “If you go to a Catholic church, for example, there is no Bible in the church, there is no preaching, and just a little singing.”

National congregant Zeena Woodman, 30, who was raised in the Syrian Orthodox Church, agreed. “Praising Jesus Christ in this church is not as traditional as other churches,” she said. “It’s much more interesting here.”

Sara, a former Presbyterian who started an underground evangelical church in his home after having a born-again experience, began working openly during the U.S. occupation. In January 2004, he was ordained pastor of his church in a ceremony attended by more than 20 Baptist pastors and deacons from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the United States. Baptist communities in these countries financially support National Evangelical, Sara said.

The church’s name and a white cross are visible from the street. The pastor said that no one has threatened the church and that it has good relations with its Muslim neighbors.

In fact, said Sara, “Muslims across the street came and asked us to pray for their mother.”

The Spread of Christianity Under Force of Arms


Hunting people for Christ has become a part time job in Afghanistan.  No doubt that is legal, whereas US soldiers are prohibited from proselytizing people, huntingk tracking down and killing adversaries  is something the US military is allowed to do.  No doubt it will be claimed that hunting them for Christ and then killing them after they have accepted Christ as their savior is far more humane than merely killing them before witnessing.

It is against military rules to proselytize — a regulation one of the soldiers filmed by the network readily acknowledged. “You cannot proselytize, but you can give gifts,” says the soldier. It is a crime in Afghanistan to attempt to convert anyone from Islam to any other religion. “I also want to praise God because my church collected some money to get Bibles for Afghanistan. They came and sent the money out.” The footage is said to be roughly a year old.

“The Special Forces guys, they hunt men. Basically, we do the same things as Christians. We hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down. Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the Kingdom. That’s what we do, that’s our business,” he says.

If you think this is just an isolated phenomenon, check out this article which mentions even more examples of US military personnel behaving in the most un-christian like way while claiming to be Christ’s representatives on earth.  Evangelical notions of behavior have infiltrated the US military and manifest themselves in ways that are threatening and intimidating to believers and non believers alike.  Most likely the response to group which barges into your house with  guns  in one hand and a book in the other most probably will be to do whatever the person says who has the gun, even if it means taking the book they’re “offering” you which might be against your religious beliefs.   Of course, the people who are making this offer know that,  which is why proselytizing is illegal, so skip the formalities and say you’re hunting down your enemy to kill them.  That excuse is much more convenient and easier to say without having to lie and getting caught in your lies.  US forces have even been known to use special equipment which helps them spot the prey they are hunting in order to hound them into hell; the irony of this all is it’s happening under the “Muslim” administration of Barack Obama which begs the questions, when will these same US military forces set their “sights” on him?