War is the American religion. From William J. Astore at tomdispatch.com:
America’s Militarized Profession of Faith
When I was a teenager in the 1970s, I looked to the heavens: to God and Christianity (as arbitrated by the Catholic Church) and to the soaring warbirds of the U.S. military, which I believed kept us safe. To my mind then, they were classic manifestations of American technological superiority over the godless Communists.
With all its scandals, especially when it came to priestly sexual abuse, I lost my faith in the Catholic Church. Indeed, I would later learn that there had been a predatory priest in my own parish when I was young, a grim man who made me uneasy at the time, though back then I couldn’t have told you why. As for those warbirds, like so many Americans, I thrilled to their roar at air shows, but never gave any real thought to the bombs they were dropping in Vietnam and elsewhere, to the lives they were ending, to the destruction they were causing. Nor, at that age, did I ever consider their enormous cost in dollars or just how much Americans collectively sacrificed to have “top cover,” whether of the warplane or godly kind.
There were good and devoted priests in my Catholic diocese. There were good and devoted public servants in the U.S. military. Admittedly, I never seriously considered the priesthood, but I did sign up for the Air Force, surprising myself by serving in it for 20 years. Still, both institutions were then, and remain, deeply flawed. Both seek, in a phrase the Air Force has long used, “global reach, global power.” Both remain hierarchies that regularly promote true believers to positions of authority. Both demand ultimate obedience. Both sweep their sins under the rug. Neither can pass an audit. Both are characterized by secrecy. Both seem remarkably immune to serious efforts at reform. And both, above all, know how to preserve their own power, even as they posture and proselytize about serving a higher one.
Will India swallow Kashmir? From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
It has long been called the most dangerous place in the world. Still, few Americans know anything about the place; nor could they point out the troubled region of Kashmir on a map. Yet for 62 years India and Pakistan have contested for control of the province. In fact, a long-running insurgency there has even been punctuated by at least three inter-state wars between the nuclear armed powers. Now, after India recently revoked Kashmir’s “special status” – essentially annexing the disputed (and Muslim-majority) territory – there might just be another war. Tens of thousands have already been killed over the years; how many more will now die is anyone’s guess.
It’s tempting to blame the British for the whole mess. After all, like so many ongoing world conflicts, the violent struggle in Kashmir has its roots in the dissolution of venal, exploitative British Empire in the decades after World War II. Before its independence in 1947, British India – known as the raj – consisted of a massive, ethnically diverse mega-state that included the modern countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Burma (Myanmar). When the Brits took off, ethnic and religious tensions boiled over into a state of civil war as the raj bloodily devolved into separate Hindu and Muslim majority countries. Perhaps a million people died and fifteen million others were displaced in a tragic population swap that set a gold standard for ethnic cleansing.
India under Narendra Modi looks like it’s on a roll. From Eric S. Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
How fleeting is glory! Back in 1998, the South Asian Journalists Association proclaimed me ‘Journalist of the Year’ for a newspaper article I had written about India.
But the next year the award was angrily rescinded after I wrote that India should compromise with Pakistan over the festering Kashmir conflict. Prickly Indians didn’t like being criticized, even by an old friend like myself.
This week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition won a landslide electoral victory, gaining 302 of the 542 seats in parliament. The venerable Congress opposition party, that long led India, was crushed.
We should pay attention. India is more or less the world’s largest democracy and is expected to be the third largest economic power by 2020. It’s also an important nuclear state with land and sea-launched ICBM’s that can strike the United States and Canada, Europe, and its rival, China.
If someone is murdered for his religious beliefs and nobody hears about it, he’s still dead. From Raymond Ibrahim at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- Many of the world’s most persecuted Christians have nothing whatsoever to do with colonialism or missionaries. Those most faced with the threat of genocide — including Syria’s and Iraq’s Assyrians or Egypt’s Copts — were Christian several centuries before the ancestors of Europe’s colonizers became Christian and went missionizing
- The BBC report highlights “political correctness” as being especially responsible for the West’s indifference….
- Among the worst persecutors are those that rule according to Islamic law, or Sharia — which academics such as Georgetown University’s John Esposito insist is equitable and just. In Afghanistan (ranked #2), “Christianity is not permitted to exist.”
|UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) commissioned an “Independent Review into the global persecution of Christians,” which was recently published. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
“Christian persecution ‘at near genocide levels,'” the title of a May 3 BBC report, cites a lengthy interim study ordered by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and led by Rev. Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro.
According to the BBC report, one in three people around the world suffer from religious persecution, with Christians being “the most persecuted religious group”. “Religion ‘is at risk of disappearing’ in some parts of the world,” it noted, and “In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”
Notre-Dame is a symbol of fast fading Western civilization. From Guillaume Durocher at unz.com:
The recent fire which destroyed much of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris has led to a great outpouring of emotion. Social media were also ablaze and the government was quickly able to raise a €1 billion in donation pledges to rebuild the iconic monument. Some people I know were quite affected by the sight, being practically reduced to tears. Others were less moved. Quite a few people have been indignant about the money raised: Why not spend such sums on poverty or the environment rather than a mere pile of stone? One person even joked that the edifice should be razed to the ground to make way for something new.
Yet, Notre-Dame resonates. Partly, no doubt, for shallow reasons: Paris is the most-visited city in the world and Notre-Dame is one of the City of Light’s most-visited attractions. As such, millions of frequent-fliers, however godless or anti-Christian they might otherwise be, feel some emotional connection to this great cathedral.
And yet, I think there is something more. Notre-Dame is simply and objectively a national and earthly masterpiece: the intricately semi-controlled chaos of the the Gothic, the delicacy of “stone made into lace” (in the words of Jean-Yves Le Gallou), those gloriously Christian and European luminous flowers of stained glass, so suggestive of the transcendent . . . all this expresses, more viscerally and better than any book, the best that the French soul has had to offer to the world. Notre-Dame is a collective work of art, meticulously built up and maintained from generation to generation.
How big does the divergence between Christ and a professed follower have to be before you question the follower’s sincerity? From Fred Reed at unz.com:
There Are Christians Who Love and Christians Who Hate
The torture facility in Zacatecas, Mexico, a museum of applied Christianity
Pompeo: “My Faith in Jesus Christ Makes a Real Difference”
Pompeo says God may have sent Trump to save Israel from Iran
“As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” said Mr Pompeo….”I am confident that the Lord is at work here,”
Pence, a Catholic Evangelical who almost became a priest: “I made a commitment to Christ.”
Christians? These Christians support a war on Yemen in which huge numbers of people are dying of mutilation, cholera, and starvation, a war they could stop with a telephone call. They similarly support butchery of Afghans from the air, massive killing in Syria, bombing of Somalis, and torture chambers around the world. Such is their Christianity. They lack even a shred of human decency. But they are Christians.
Tell me, Mr Pompeo, Mr. Pence:. Have you ever seen a child die of starvation? I have heard it described. It takes many days. Crying, crying, crying, slowly getting weaker. The mother, frantic, desperate, going crazy. The child holds out his arms, expecting as children do that their mother will do something. The crying eventually stops. But maybe you would get more of a kick out of watching one die of cholera caused by your wars. Death by cholera is quicker, but more interesting: Puking and defecating uncontrollably, crying, crying. The dehydration kills them. Neat, huh? Meanwhile, Mike, you eat prime rib in Washington and talk of the sanctity of your faith. You are a goddamned pious monster. May you rot in hell, if any.
“Official” Western Europe, and France in particular, no longer even want to recognize that Christianity exists. From Guy Millière at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- Barely an hour after the flames began to rise above Notre Dame — at a time when no explanation could be provided by anyone — the French authorities rushed to say that the fire was an “accident” and that “arson has been ruled out.” The remarks sounded like all the official statements made by the French government after attacks in France during the last decade.
- The Notre Dame fire also occurred at a time when attacks against churches in France and Europe have been multiplying. More than 800 churches were attacked in France during the year 2018 alone.
- Churches in France are empty. The number of priests is decreasing and the priests that are active in France are either very old or come from Africa or Latin America. The dominant religion in France is now Islam. Every year, churches are demolished to make way for parking lots or shopping centers. Mosques are being built all over, and they are full.
|The fire that destroyed much of the Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris is a tragedy that is irreparable. Even if the cathedral is rebuilt, it will never be what it was before. (Photo by Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images)
The fire that destroyed much of the Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris is a tragedy that is irreparable. Even if the cathedral is rebuilt, it will never be what it was before. Stained glass windows and major architectural elements have been severely damaged and the oak frame totally destroyed. The spire that rose from the cathedral was a unique piece of art. It was drawn by the architect who restored the edifice in the nineteenth century, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who had based his work on 12th century documents.