By and large, America’s houses of worship have been abysmal during the coronavirus outbreak. From Laurence M. Vance at lewrockwell.com:
“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” ~ Acts 17:16
Many Christians recently received a double whammy of blasphemy and idolatry because the Fourth of July fell on a Saturday this year.
Most churches—and especially conservative, evangelical churches—usually have some kind of a patriotic service on the Sunday before the Fourth of July. If you have the misfortune of attending, there you will see the church building and the grounds around the church decorated with American flags, hear special prayers for the troops and government officials, see military personnel wearing their uniforms to church, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, see veterans recognized, read the church bulletin with an American flag on the cover, see men wearing cross and flag lapel pins, and sing hymns of worship to the state.
What happened this year is that some churches moved their patriotic services to Sunday July fifth since that is only one day removed from the fourth. But not being content with just one Sunday of blasphemy and idolatry, some churches also had in addition a mini patriotic service on the Sunday before the Fourth of July, hence the double whammy.
With a few isolated exceptions, religious figures capitulated to the state’s decrees on coronavirus without protest. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:
Here is a pop quiz on the Constitution. What is the first freedom protected by the Bill of Rights? If you guessed speech or press, then you are close. The first protected freedom is religion. The two religion clauses in the First Amendment keep the government out of our pockets for religious purposes and out of our churches for all purposes. That was, at least, the intent of the framers.
The tyrannical behavior of many state governors, who have issued executive orders purporting to regulate private behavior on private property — even religious behavior in houses of worship — and in the process have enforced these orders as if they were laws, has ignored this. In America, governors do not write laws; only legislatures do. There are no pandemic or public health or emergency exceptions in the Constitution.
Here in New Jersey, Catholics were permitted — permitted — to attend public Masses last Sunday for the first time in 88 days.
This has deeply troubled many of the faithful, and many non-adherents, who understand the concepts that only legislatures write laws and that no legislature can write a law telling a religious institution when and how to permit worship.
So, who closed all the houses of worship? Why did Catholic bishops dispense with a nearly 1,600-year-old rule — which survived all sorts of wars and pestilence — requiring attendance at Sunday Mass? What became of the wall of separation?
Somehow the plight of women in Wahhabist Saudi Arabia never enters into discussion of either the multiculturalism we’re supposed to embrace or American policy towards Saudi Arabia. From Medea Benjamin and Ariel Gold at antiwar.com:
This week, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia’s 34-year-old de facto ruler, was on a tear. He arrested members of his own royal family and initiated an oil price war with Russia that has sent the price of oil – and the world’s stock markets – plummeting. Behind the headlines, however, another critical event will take place in Saudi Arabia starting March 18: women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who was arrested almost two years ago for advocating the right to drive, is due in court. The diabolical MBS wants the world to believe he is the Arab world’s liberal reformer and took credit for eventually granting women the right to drive, but he is also the one who had al-Hathloul and nine other women thrown in prison, charging them as foreign agents and spies. The imprisonment of these peaceful women activists exposes the brutal nature of MBS’s regime and the duplicity of the Western democracies that continue to support him.
Loujain al-Hathloul gained notoriety in 2013 for campaigning against the driving ban when she posted videos of herself driving as an act of civil disobedience. She was first arrested in December 2014 when she attempted to drive from the United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia and spent 73 days in prison at that time. Al-Hathloul has also been an outspoken advocate for an end to the male guardianship system that treats women as no more than children throughout their entire lives.
Waco is yet another incident in fairly recent US history that most Americans, and certainly the Deep State and its media, would like to sweep under the rug. From John Wilder at theburningplatform.com:
“There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.” – Battlestar Galactica (New One)
Don’t worry, Leftists, all those people at Waco were here legally.
The Waco Siege started 27 years ago. It started as a raid by the ATF – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The ATF was formed after the Gun Control act of 1968. In researching the ATF, I was amazed that its history consists of nothing more than an unending series of scandals and heartache visited upon (mainly) people with no criminal intent who had no idea that they were violating some extremely technical law. And that’s on a good day.
How bad is the ATF? Here’s what a Senate subcommittee said: “Based upon these hearings it is apparent that ATF enforcement tactics made possible by current federal firearms laws are constitutionally, legally, and practically reprehensible.” From that, it actually got worse.
Non-objective laws such as hate crimes inevitably lead to lead to repression and tyranny. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and hereand here and here and hereand here). A teenager has sparked a national debate about blasphemy in France after an Instagram post calling Islam a “religion of hate”. Indeed, France has emerged as one of the greatest threats to free speech in the Westand we continue to face calls for European-style speech crimes, including calls by its President on the floor of the House of Representatives. Now a teenager in France has triggered a debateover its plunge into speech crimes and regulation after characterizing Islam as “a religion of hate.” She can now be criminally investigated for hate speech under the notorious French speech law.
On a January 18th live broadcast on her Instagram account, Mila, 16, was called a “dirty lesbian” by a Muslim commenter. She responded by saying “I hate religion. The Koran is a religion of hate” and using vulgarity against the religion. She added “I am not racist. You cannot be racist towards a religion. I said what I thought, you’re not going to make me regret it.”
Christians are being slaughtered for their religion in Nigeria and the world cares very little. From Giulio Meotti at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- The Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria described the area as “killing fields”, like the ones the Khmer Rouge created in Cambodia to exterminate the population.
- “We are Aramaic people and we don’t have this right to have anyone protect us? Look upon us as frogs, we’ll accept that — just protect us so we can stay in our land”. — Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, home to many of the Christians who fled jihadis, National Catholic Register, April 7, 2017.
- In an era of round-the-clock information… the abominations suffered by Christians have been left without images, while the brutality against the Chinese pig was streamed all over. Christians are an endangered species; pigs are not.
- One of the last Nigerian Christians was executed by an Islamic State child soldier. Slaughterhouses’ workers go on trial in France for abuses to animals. But the same France has already repatriated more than 250 ISIS fighters, the same people who turn Iraqi churches into slaughterhouses.
First there was the beheading of 11 Nigerian Christians during the recent Christmas celebration. The next day, a Catholic woman, Martha Bulus, was beheaded in the Nigerian state of Borno with her bridesmaids, five days before the wedding. Then there was a raid on the village of Gora-Gan in the Nigerian state of Kaduna, where terrorists shot anyone they met in the square where the evangelical community had gathered, killing two young Christian women. There was also a Christian student killed by Islamic extremists who recorded his execution. Then pastor Lawan Andimi, a local leader of the Christian Association of Nigeria, was beheaded.
Systematic extermination of Christians doesn’t receive the attention and concern that it would for other groups. From Giulio Meotti at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- How much bigger and more extended must this war on Christians become before the West considers it a “genocide” and acts to prevent it?
- The day after Christians were beheaded in Nigeria, Pope Francis admonished Western society. About beheaded Christians? No. “Put down your phones, talk during meals”, the Pope said. He did not speak a single word about the horrific execution of his Christian brothers and sisters. A few days before that, Pope Francis hung a cross encircled by a life jacket in memory of migrants who lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea. He did not commemorate the lives of Christians killed by Islamic extremists with even a mention.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that her priority will be fighting climate change. She did not mention persecuted Christians. Meanwhile The Economist wrote that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a passionate defender of persecuted Christians, politically “exploits” the issue.
- “The United Nations has held inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that same terrorist organization [Hamas]. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference”. — Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, The New York Times,August 19, 2014.
|So far, 900 churches in northern Nigeria have been destroyed by Boko Haram. At least 16,000 Christians have been killed there since 2015. Pictured: The burnt First African Church Mission in Jos, Nigeria on July 6, 2015. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)
Martha Bulus, a Nigerian Catholic woman, was going to her bridal party when she was abducted by Islamic extremists of Boko Haram. Martha and her companions were beheaded and their execution filmed. The video of the brutal murders of these 11 Christians was released on December 26 to coincide with Christmas celebrations. It is reminiscent of the images of other Christiansdressed in orange jumpsuits bent on their knees on a beach, each being held by a masked, black-clad jihadist holding a knife at their throats. Their bodies were discovered in a mass grave in Libya.
Let’s not forget that in his day Jesus was considered a dangerous radical and made an example of for others considering dangerous radicalism. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:
“Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child’s cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts… We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It’s his birthday we’re celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that. Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then, let each put in his share, loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.”—The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
The Christmas story of a baby born in a manger is a familiar one.
The Roman Empire, a police state in its own right, had ordered that a census be conducted. Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary traveled to the little town of Bethlehem so that they could be counted. There being no room for the couple at any of the inns, they stayed in a stable (a barn), where Mary gave birth to a baby boy, Jesus. Warned that the government planned to kill the baby, Jesus’ family fled with him to Egypt until it was safe to return to their native land.
Yet what if Jesus had been born 2,000 years later?
There are things that cannot be publicly discussed in France, notably criticism of Islam. From Guy Millière at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- Defending someone who is accused of being a “racist” implies the risk of being accused of being a “racist” too. Intellectual terror reigns in France.
- France is moving from a “muzzled press to a muzzling press that destroys free speech”. — Alain Finkielkraut, writer and philosopher.
- Writers other than Éric Zemmour have been hauled into court and totally excluded from all media, simply for describing reality.
- In a society where freedom of speech exists, it would be possible to discuss the use of these statements, but in France today, freedom of speech has been almost completely destroyed.
- Soon in France, no one will dare to say that any attack openly inspired by Islam has any connection with Islam.
|(Images source: iStock)
On September 28, a “Convention of the Right” took place in Paris, organized by Marion Marechal, a former member of French parliament and now director of France’s Institute of Social, Economic and Political Sciences. The purpose of the convention was to unite France’s right-wing political factions. In a keynote speech, the journalist Éric Zemmour harshly criticized Islam and the Islamization of France. He described the country’s “no-go zones” (Zones Urbaines Sensibles; Sensitive Urban Zones) as “foreign enclaves” in French territory and depicted, as a process of “colonization”, the growing presence in France of Muslims who do not integrate.
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.