President Trump to U.S. Naval Academy graduates: ‘You are now leaders in the most powerful and righteous force on the face of the planet’

President Donald J. Trump addressed the graduating class of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland on May 25, 2018. At the beginning of his remarks the President of the United States used the words “righteous force.” The word righteous appears in Bible 493 times. From Genesis to Revelation righteousness is used to show how evil is defeated. Revelation 15:4:

Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Here are some excerpts (watch the full speech below):

You are now leaders in the most powerful and righteous force on the face of the planet: the United States military. Each of you will make your own mark on the Navy, the Marine Corps, the military, and the history of our great nation…There is no hill our Marines our can’t take and there is no stronghold the SEALs can’t breach. There is no sea the Navy can’t brave.

Together you are the tip of the spear, the edge of the blade and the front of the shield defending and protecting our great country. America is the greatest fighting force for peace, justice, and freedom in the history of the world.

[ … ]

Together their is nothing America can’t do. Absolutely nothing. We are all in for America like never before. We are all in for our great country.

Strive for excellence, live for adventure, think big, dream bigger, push further, sail faster, fly higher, and never, ever stop reaching for greatness. As long as we are united with the same mission, the same purpose, the same patriotic heart, we will win because we are one people, one family, and one glorious nation under God.

President Trump understands that our military must be righteous in order to be a “glorious nation under God.”

Learning the Lessons of Chile

Fr. Gerald E. Murray writes that the resignation of Chile’s bishops reminds us that removal of abusers from the priesthood is a necessary and unmistakable rebuke.

The surprise announcement by all the bishops of Chile of their submissions of resignations to Pope Francis is a stunning development. I did live television commentary for the Brooklyn Diocese’s NET TV of Pope Francis’ January apostolic voyage to Chile and Peru. At that time, we discussed, at length, the pope’s strong rebuke of people who accused Bishop Juan Barros of having enabled the sexual abuse of minors by his friend and mentor Fr. Fernando Karadima.

Five months later, the entire Chilean Bishops’ Conference, after a three-day meeting in Rome with Pope Francis, concluded that their collective departure would please him, and would allow him the greatest freedom to rebuild the confidence of Chilean Catholics by installing new bishops throughout the country. How did we arrive at this point?

At the press conference announcing the mass resignation, Bishop Fernando Reyes, the Secretary General of the Chilean Episcopal Conference, said:

In this context of dialogue and discernment, various suggestions were presented as to how to deal with this great crisis, and furthermore the idea developed that, in order to be more in tune with the will of the Holy Father, it was appropriate to declare our absolute readiness to place our pastoral charges in the hands of the pope. In this way, we were able to make a collegial gesture of solidarity to take responsibility – not without sorrow – for the grave things that occurred, and so that the Holy Father could freely decide how to proceed regarding all of us.

The Chilean bishops seem to have thought that the pope wanted their resignations. This turn of events was unthinkable back in January. What happened? Outrage by victims of sexual abuse and by ordinary Catholics exploded in Chile, combined with persistent media coverage of this conflict.

The pope took to heart the vehement reactions to his dismissive comments. He sent two outside investigators to Chile to gather evidence and report back. Then he called the Chilean hierarchy to Rome.

He then laid out the evidence gathered by his investigators in a letter (later leaked to the press) given to the Chilean bishops when they arrived in Rome. The manifest wrongdoing cited by the pope rings true, given similar experiences in other countries: destruction of evidence; transfer of accused priests without concern for the minors who would come under their influence; delaying tactics and superficial or non-existent investigations of complaints received, pressure put upon those carrying out the canonical investigation of alleged crimes; and the placement by bishops and religious superiors of priests suspected of being active homosexuals in seminaries and novitiates.

The investigators, it’s no surprise, discovered this familiar pattern in Chile. The self-reporting to Rome by the Chilean hierarchy in these matters was gravely deficient and even deceptive.

The lesson here is clear: if the Holy See wants to root out the sexual abuse of minors by clergy, and also put an end to the associated cover-ups by senior clergy and bishops, then it must use the same means in other places that it used here. Vatican designated investigators with no ties to the local church under investigation should be sent to gather evidence when complaints of sexual abuse and cover-ups are received.

The self-policing and self-reporting system has been shown to be completely inadequate in the Chilean case. The effectiveness of canonical provisions governing the handling of accusations of sexual abuse of minors by priests depends on the full and vigorous cooperation of the local hierarchy. Absent that co-operation justice is not done. Such co-operation is often absent.

The sad reality is that the exposure of the crime of sexual abuse of minors and the widespread efforts by bishops and religious order superiors to hide the facts from the public was not the result of actions initiated by the Church herself. That exposure came by way of the police, the courts, and the media in various countries.

In the case of Chile, victims of sexual abuse only got a fair hearing in Rome by insisting on the truth of their claims in the face of both episcopal and papal rejection. Pope Francis decided to have another look at the matter and what he discovered is that he had not been given the complete story.

He should also review the record of the various Roman curial departments that were involved in monitoring the situation in Chile for the past thirty years. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found Fr. Karadima guilty in 2011 of the sexual abuse of minors. He was forbidden to exercise priestly ministry and commanded to lead a live of prayer and penance. He is reported to still claim his innocence. Was this enough?

By not removing him from the priesthood and returning him to the lay state, the gravity of his crimes was not sufficiently recognized. As in the case of Fr. Marcial Maciel, who also was not removed from priesthood despite his multiple and grave crimes, a life of prayer and penance becomes the functional equivalent of forced retirement and does not deprive the sexual predator of the state of life that allowed him to have easy access to his victims.

Removal from the priesthood unmistakably rebukes him for the grave offense he has given to Christ and to Christ’s little ones, and also clearly communicates to the whole world that the Church considers him to have completely forfeited his right to exercise the office of the priesthood that he so badly misused.

Roman action on Chile was necessary and purgative. The Church’s mission is to uphold the Gospel. That includes doing all that is possible to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. This is not vengeance. This is justice.

And now is the time to take a similar look at other countries where there remain similar questions about the proper handling of accusations of sexual abuse and cover-ups.

Fr. Gerald E. Murray

Fr. Gerald E. Murray

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is a canon lawyer and the pastor of Holy Family Church in New York City.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Pope Francis with the Chilean bishops. © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Good News: God Didn’t Make This Mess

Fr. Timothy V. Vaverek writes that God does not make us sin, although He permits us to choose sin. And our sins are the reason for the Incarnation of Christ.

Pope Francis is reported to have told a homosexual, “God made you that way and loves you.” In the last six months, I have responded to the miscarriage of a three-month-old baby, the sudden death of a hospice nurse due to an aneurism, and the terminal diagnosis of a middle-aged husband and father. In these situations, I have continually insisted on God’s love and providence. I have never said God made it happen.

One of the most astonishing features of the Biblical creation account is that the entire cosmos is declared “very good.” This flies in the face of human experience. In fact, the creation myths of many cultures hold that good and evil are inherent elements of human nature and the world order. It is the way things are made.

Genesis corrects this error by revealing that evil is not rooted in creation, but in humanity’s abusive decision to turn away from God, one another, and God’s created order through sin. At the same time, the account of the Fall of Adam and Eve unfolds in the context of God’s continual love and providential care in the face of sin and the evils unleashed by it.

The Scriptures tell the story of God opening a path to salvation that frees us from the effects of personal sin and the evils that befall us so that we might fully share His divine life through nuptial union with Christ. In Jesus, we discover that God foretold this saving union when He created the human race as sexually differentiated persons united in indissoluble marriage. (Mt. 19:56, Gen. 2:24, Is. 62:5, Eph. 5:31-32)

Despite the fallen nature of the human race and the cosmos, therefore, we can still affirm that God created us and loves us. But we cannot simply say, “God made me this way.” If “this way” refers to the image and likeness of the Trinity and the calling to be a member of the body and bride of Christ, then the statement is true. If “this way” refers to the ill-effects of the messed-up world or of our personal sin, then the statement is false.

God loves sinners, the handicapped, the sick, the mentally ill, the imprisoned, the enslaved, the abused, the starving, the doubting, the grieving, the dying, etc. In some cases, these people contributed to their situation, in others they did not. God loves them all, but He has not made them that way.

It can be said truly that God tolerates these situations since, evidently, He chooses not to enter into history to prevent these particular wrongs from happening. The nature of this toleration, however, warrants our careful attention. It is not indifference, acceptance, or welcoming. It is a “bearing with” (Latin: toleratio) or a “suffering with” (Latin: compassio).

The full revelation of God’s compassionate toleration of sin and the effects of evil is found in the passion, death, and glorification of Jesus. Precisely because Jesus loved us with the Father’s love, He carried in his humanity the burden of all the ill that we do and that we bear. In doing so, He made our innocent and culpable sufferings a place of encountering God and his love, that is, a place of conversion, healing, and communion.

God brings about our salvation, our “well-being” (Latin: salus), not by preventing, denying, or eradicating evil at each moment, but by fundamentally altering our relation to it through our union with Christ. He thereby enables us to carry and suffer every form of evil that afflicts us and others without entering into further sin.

This is the Good News we have been sent to live and to proclaim: “God did not make us the way we are and He loves us. That is why He carried the burden of the sins and evils that distort our lives and invites us to carry that burden with him. He wishes to espouse us to himself so that we might share his divine life now and forever. And I love you enough to tell you this.”

Experiencing same-sex attraction, being divorced by a spouse, feeling a compulsion to abuse others, having an addiction, and the myriad of other troubles of body, psyche, and soul that we face as members of the fallen human race are not made better by being declared the handiwork of God. Nor, of course, are they helped by being treated as sins if we have not deliberately willed them or if we have repented of the sin that gave rise to them.

What is helpful, indeed the only thing ultimately able to sustain us, is the truth about our fallen, sometimes sinful, condition and the union that God offers us in Christ. That union requires, as Jesus said, that we take up the Cross daily. We do so by acknowledging our sins, our distorted inclinations, the burden of evil in our lives and the lives of those we love, and by carrying those with Christ who first carried them for us. Because of this union, we can carry these burdens without yielding to sin.

That is the Gospel. It is not something to hide or to evade. We are called to announce it unambiguously to the world. Consequently, when our witness to Jesus is misunderstood we are obliged to take reasonable steps to offer a correction.

Were a priest to be misquoted about the Gospel in the local paper or by a parishioner publicly recounting a private meeting, the priest would need to remedy the error. I have myself faced this situation.

The solution is simple and involves no accusation of deception or violation of confidence. A priest need only say, “The position attributed to me is mistaken. It mischaracterizes (or contradicts) the Gospel of Christ that I profess. I regret any misunderstanding and am happy to clarify the matter.”

To do less would harm those misled by the report. Besides, my brother, a priest, would charitably but firmly insist on it.

Fr. Timothy V. Vaverek

Fr. Timothy V. Vaverek

Fr. Timothy V. Vaverek, STD has been a priest of the Diocese of Austin since 1985 and is currently pastor of parishes in Gatesville and Hamilton. His doctoral studies were in Dogmatics with a focus on Ecclesiology, Apostolic Ministry, Newman, and Ecumenism.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is titled “Go and sin no more.” The Woman Taken in Adultery by Lorenzo Lotto, c. 1528 [Louvre, Paris]. © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

How many times does the word ‘sword’ appear in the Bible?

The word sword has a special place in the Holy Bible. Most members of the clergy don’t present sermons on this important symbol to their flocks.

Perhaps it is time to revisit the different uses of the sword in the Old (Hebrew) and New Testament.

Bible Gateway lists a total of 406 passages in the Bible that have the word sword. Of these 373 are in the Old (Hebrew) Testament and 33 in the New Testament. From Genesis to Revelations the sword is used as both a weapon and metaphorically to bring Christians to the truth about God’s grace and his promise of life everlasting. But why the sword?

According to Knights Edge:

The sword was called by many the “Queen of the weapons”. There is a lot of merit in this epithet as the sword, throughout the ages possessed beauty in its many forms and the art with which it has been adorned. It took a lot of skill and sophisticated knowledge to make a sword and also, it took a lot of skill and knowledge to know how to wield the sword efficiently.

For Christians it too takes a lot of skill and knowledge to know how to wield the sword of God efficiently.

Hebrews 4:12 reads:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Swords are in the shape of a cross.

Many people link the use of the sword in Christianity to the crusades and the crusaders who wore a cross on their tunics.

Thomas F. Madden, professor of Medieval History and Renaissance Studies as Saint Louis University, is a recognized expert on the Crusades. Professor Madden in his book “The Crusades Controversy: Setting the Record Straight” notes,

“Prior to September 11, 2001, the world was a different place. Then, the Crusades were a faraway concept, an odd series of events in a distant and murky medieval past. Wars of religion seemed largely irrelevant to citizens of a modern secular civilization. That has changed.”

Professor Madden’s expertise in the Crusades brought him into the lime light and lead him to write how we got to this point in time. Professor Madden wrote that Osama Bin Laden,

“never failed to describe the American war against terrorism as a new Crusade against Islam, and the Americans themselves as crusaders…The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), for example, routinely refers to the United States, Israel, and European nations as ‘crusader states.’ Ironically this perspective is not an uncommon view in the Middle East.”

Are Christian nations “crusader states”?

Professor Madden notes that the Crusades were defensive acts to stop the spread of Islam. He writes, “Pope Urban II called the knights of Christendom to push back the conquests of Islam at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The response was tremendous. Many thousands of warriors took the vow of the cross and prepared for war.” Why did they do it? For two reasons:

  1. The first was to redeem [free from oppression] the Christians of the East.
  2. The second goal was the liberation of Jerusalem and the other places made holy by the life of Christ.

Professor Madden writes:

The word crusade is modern. Medieval crusaders saw themselves as pilgrims to the Holy Sepulcher.

[ … ]

The re-conquest of Jerusalem, therefore, was understood by Christians as an act of restoration and an open declaration of one’s love of God.

[ … ]

In Medieval Europe, Crusades to the East were universally seen as acts of tremendous good. And how could they not? A crusader was one who, at great expense and personal peril, sought to rescue the downtrodden, defend the defenseless, and restore to Christendom what had been violently taken away. A Crusade indulgence, then, was a formal recognition of the penitential component of these actions. Crusaders were sinners. They undertook the Crusade not only to defend their world, but to atone for their sins. By the nature of their profession, warriors put their souls at risk. The Crusade was a means for them to save their souls. And that was no small thing. I the medieval world, where death was always near at hand, the salvation of one’s soul meant everything. It was a matter of constant concern. [Emphasis added]

Of the eight Crusade expeditions that occurred between 1096 and 1291, only the First Crusade was a success.

Is it time for a Ninth Crusade?

In a column titled “PBS Broadcasts Crusade Myths & Falsehoods” Andrew E. Harrod writes:

The Crusades were a Christian reaction to centuries of Islamic jihadist aggression that directly targeted the Catholic Church and [Saint] Francis’ followers. Frank M. Rega, a Secular Franciscan and author of Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslimshas noted that an army of 11,000 Muslims sacked Rome itself in 846 and desecrated the tombs of saints Peter and Paul. Rega’s fellow Secular Franciscan Vail noted that Muslims later in 1240 attacked the Franciscan Poor Clare monastery in Assisi, which the order’s founder herself, St. Clare, successfully defended.

Professor Madden reports:

[I]n a speech delivered at Georgetown University a few weeks after 9/11, former President Bill Clinton stated:

“Those of us who come from various European lineages are not blameless. Indeed, in the First Crusade, when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem, they first burned a synagogue with three hundred Jews in it, and proceeded to kill every woman and child who was Muslim on the Temple Mount. The contemporaneous descriptions of the event describe soldiers walking on the Temple Mount, a holy place to Christians, with blood running up to their knees. I can tell you that that story is still being told today in the Middle East, and we are still paying for it.”

Clinton is correct that the story is still told, but it is neither accurate nor is it a long-held memory of a traumatic event. Indeed, the simple and startling fact is that the Crusades were virtually unknown in the Muslim world even a century ago. The term for the Crusades, harb al-salib, was only introduced into the Arab language in the mid-nineteenth century.

Many people see what is happening with the Muslim migration (hijrah) in Europe as a warning that Western civilization is being invaded once again. This time, however, the invasion is at the behest of the United Nations and with the support of the European Union (EU). While some member of the EU like Poland and Hungary are resisting, the pressure is mounting to allow this new invasion. Unlike previous invasions by Muslim armies, the violence comes after the migrants arrive primarily targeting women and children.

The below video by Dr. William Finley provides in five minutes a timeline of the Islamic Jihad (holy wars) and Christian crusades:

Islamic jihad is evident today in places like Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Many see the turmoil in the Middle East and the migration to Western Europe as a new Jihad. A holy war by other means.

It is time for a Ninth Crusade? We report, you decide.

Revelation 19:21:

The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

The Pope’s New Clothes

As a Catholic I have been following the travails of Pope Francis. The phrase “the emperor’s new clothes” came to mind. The phrase is a “label given to any fictional item that viewers have been induced into believing as real.”

Since becoming the Bishop of Rome and Holy See, Pope Francis has worked to turn fiction into Biblical reality.

Every Christian, is commanded to wear the full armor of God. Ephesians 6: 10-18:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

The Pope has taken off the full armor of God. The Pope is wearing new clothes.

In April 2014, the BBC reported:

The UN has accused the Vatican of “systematically” adopting policies allowing priests to sexually abuse thousands of children.

Pope Francis has said that dealing with abuse is vital for the Church’s credibility, and that “sanctions” must be imposed against perpetrators.

But the Church has been accused of failing to address some allegations properly.

Pope Francis’ papacy began on March 13, 2013.

When asked about Juan Barros, the bishop of Osornos, Chili, and reported sexual abuses of under-aged children, Pope Francis in January, 2018 said to reporters:

“You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward. No one has come forward. They haven’t provided any evidence for a judgment. This is all a bit vague. It’s something that can’t be accepted.” [Emphasis added]

Pope Francis recently met with Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean gay man who was a victim of clerical sexual abuse under Bishop Juan Barros 30 years ago and has become one of Chile’s leading spokesmen for abuse survivors. According to Mr. Cruz Pope Francis said to him,

“You have to be happy with who you are. God made you this way and loves you this way, and the pope loves you this way.” [Emphasis added]

What made Juan Carlos Cruz a homosexual was a Catholic priest, not God.

Pope Francis lied first to the press about the long and ongoing sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Chile and then to Juan Carlos Cruz. Dummies.com writes this about Catholicism and the Ten Commandments:

According to Exodus in the Old Testament, God issued his own set of laws (the Ten Commandments) to Moses on Mount Sinai. In Catholicism, the Ten Commandments are considered divine law because God himself revealed them. And because they were spelled out specifically with no room for ambiguity, they’re also positive law. Hence they’re also known as divine positive law. [Emphasis added]

Divine positive law is the law given by God to man in addition to the natural laws.

Dummies.com goes on to state this about the Eighth Commandment of God’s divine positive law “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”:

The Eighth Commandment condemns lying. Because God is regarded as the author of all truth, the Church believes that humans are obligated to honor the truth. The most obvious way to fulfill this commandment is not to lie — intentionally deceive another by speaking a falsehood. [Emphasis added]

Sadly, Pope Francis lied to not only all Catholics, but to the entire world when he told Cruz that he “should be happy with who you are.”

Twice Pope Francis violated God’s divine positive laws by not telling the truth. Pope Francis took off the belt of truth and with it opened himself and his sheep to “the devils schemes.”

God’s truth is clear. Galatians‬ ‭6:7-8‬ ‭ASV‬‬:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life.”

God is especially hard on “those who follow their own twisted sexual desire.” If God made Juan Carlos Cruz a sodomite, then the moral boundaries on human sexual desires has been torn asunder by Pope Francis. We are seeing the Pope’s new clothes.

Pope Frances has shed the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation and dropped his shield of faith. The Pope is naked.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Pope Francis celebrating the Assumption Day mass in the Castelgandolfo’s central square on August 15, 2013. AFP PHOTO / POOL/ ALESSANDRO BIANCHI.

VIDEO COMMENTARY: Killing Puppies, The Man-eater Wars & Bonus Words of Wisdom

What if Planned Parenthood Killed Puppies?

The Man-eater Wars

BONUS VIDEO: Man Card Christians

St. Ambrose College’s Segregated Muslim Prayer Room Is A Chilling Reality

That St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa has opened a sex-segregated prayer room for Muslim students requires an explanation. On the surface, it seems totally bizarre. Why exactly do Muslims want to go to an explicitly Catholic college and why is that now-progressive Catholic college proudly violating normative standards of equal treatment for men and women?

The answer is found in why feminists have turned into crickets on select overt sexism when they howl outrages over only perceived slights against women. Muslims, feminists and most American progressives have a common enemy: America’s Judeo-Christian heritage, which they have been working to dismantle for generations.

This is the only way to make sense of the otherwise head-scratching alliance of religiously antagonistic progressives, feminists and devout Muslims. Their stated beliefs and goals should make them natural foes — and they are in Muslim run countries. But they are not in America. However, if you identify a common enemy, the reason for their alliance comes into focus. It also explains why these groups are so disdainful of American exceptionalism, of America’s heritage and specifically of the founding fathers and the Constitution they produced.

The hrumphing at this proposition will be loud. But it is undeniably a part of today’s Islam around the world. It is pretty easily a part of modern feminism that focuses on the demon of the patriarchy, denies differences in the genders and celebrates whatever the Bible decries. And it is patently manifest in pretty much all of the actions of modern progressives.

Judeo-Christian America is what modern feminism and progressives find to be an archaic, backward, gun-toting, Bible-clinging threat to the march of civilization — as they perceive it. And the Muslim march of civilization is basically all Muslim.

And what this decision by St. Ambrose College shows is that the college makes policy based on being progressive before being Catholic. That, it would seem, is unarguable.

Just listen to the very-pleased-with-himself college senior who designed the prayer room, in conjunction with the Saudi Student Association — because every Catholic college needs to have an association of the women-crushing, hand-cleaving, civil-rights-denying ruling House of Saud.

“It’s uniquely Ambrosian, and it just sort of shows our commitment to all different faiths,” Matt Mahoney said of the sex-segregated worship room he designed. “It is really outstanding.”

What might the early church father St. Ambrose think of this “commitment to all different faiths” — which rather sounds like a commitment to no faiths? Let’s look at who Ambrose was.

“A zealous preacher and valiant defender of the Christian Faith, Saint Ambrose received particular renown as a Church writer. In dogmatic compositions he set forth the Orthodox teaching about the Holy Trinity, the Sacraments, and Repentance,” according to Orthodox Church in America. “Saint Ambrose, defending the unity of the Church, energetically opposed the spread of heresy.” [Emphasis added.]

Ambrose converted many pagans to Christianity, from Germany to Persia (he lived before Mohammed founded Islam) and most famously, he showed a wayward young man named Augustine the way to God through Christ. Ambrose would most certainly have considered Muslims as pagans in need of conversion — not celebration.

It’s safe to say that Ambrose would be aghast at what was being done at a college named after him. And it’s further safe to say that when the young man said the sex-segregated Muslim prayer room is “uniquely Ambrosian” he was not referring to Ambrose the man, but the culture of the progressive college that appears to have turned its back on the legacy of St. Ambrose — and made alliance with those who actively seek to destroy the actual legacy of Ambrose.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

VIDEO: Rape, of body and mind

“Taharrush,” or “collective harassment,” is an Arab phenomenon that defines an horrific form of rape, both physically and psychologically.

Originating as a weapon against female protestors in Tahrir Square in Egypt, May 2005, it became commonplace by 2012, and it has reached Europe. It takes the form of a group of male aggressors who encircle the female in a public setting and simultaneously grope, molest, beat and rape her, while a second, outer circle of men diverts the attention of strangers.  While they continue to scream Allahu Akbar, the outer ring prevents the victim from being heard or accessed by police, who might also be fewer than required and inadequately armed.

Islamic rape is steeped in hatred and vengeance.  These jihadis have been trained to hate and dehumanize women, and inflict great physical harm on the female, who may be as young as a toddler or as old as Lost Horizon’s Lo-Tsen.  There are also Muslim gangs, criminal organizations that kidnap young girls for sexual slavery, rape and torture.

The vulnerable young preteen girl may be kidnapped near her school or approached by a 17-year-old “Romeo,” the bait.  He plies her with drugs and/or alcohol, emotionally isolating her from her family to lure her where she’ll be simultaneously raped by ten men in a room.  The men’s behavior is mandated by Islam; she is forced into prostitution.  Just as FGM (female genital mutilation) destroys the woman’s sexuality, so these gang rapes completely destroy these girls, an ongoing phenomenon for 25 years in England, yet protected by fearful law-enforcement agencies.

Deceptively identified as Asian, they are devout Muslims who follow sharia law, praying in mosques by day and preying on women by night, reaching extreme intensity in Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.  The Koran decrees, “Women are your fields; go, then, unto your fields when and how you please.” 2:223; “We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, 3:151; and Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you.  Deal firmly with them,” 9:123.

In civilized, diverse Germany, where women might expect government protection, Angela Merkel has invited, since 2015, 1.2 million invaders who are responsible for 90 percent of the increased violent crimes.  Two thousand Muslim migrants assaulted 1,200 women on New Year’s Eve 2015/16; few were apprehended and punished.  Accusations of Islamophobia deter the population from redress. With 600,000 able-bodied “asylum seekers” on welfare, and poverty at an all-time high, they are free to indulge in violence.

Although the UK’s voters are distressed about homeland security, PM Theresa May recently announced her favoring trade, and unlimited immigration until the end of 2020, despite a 15 percent increase in rapes, a record-breaking 65,000 child sex-abuse cases registered last year, an average of 177 cases per day.  In nearly 14,000 cases, the victim was under age 10, and 2,788 were age four and under.

Sweden has become the rape capital of the European continent, 95 percent of the rapes committed by “foreign” men.  Political analyst Nicolai Sennels alerts that Sweden is in collapse, under violent Islamic control, destined to endanger all of Scandinavia. The Swedes can no longer shield themselves from their “self-inflicted misery.”

Western multiculturalism facilitates the increase of Muslim rape and violence.  In America, violence is increasing as we lose our survival instinct.  Somalis drove their trucks through a Minnesota neighborhood, broadcasting sounds of women being raped, screams of jihad.  Weeks later a 5-year-old girl in Twin Falls, Idaho, was brutally raped. The media withheld the stories. The State of Maine’s democrats support FGM, a precursor to the sharia laws that are encroaching upon our own civilized society. 

A disturbing question emerges.  Where is our survival instinct?  Where are the men, the traditional strong defenders and protectors of women and children?  Our adults of tomorrow are being demoralized by the Left’s disastrous teaching standards, both in America, as Common Core, and in Europe.  If we do not address the crisis, we must prepare for a deteriorating situation.

The assault is confined not to curricula alone, but to altering the children’s psychology.  (Schools are altering the children’s psychology and support system, as I explained in “Good Morning, Little Comrades.”) We find gender-free pronouns encouraged in our schools, enforced by law in Canada.  Today, the excitement of belonging to a masculine group, Boy Scouts, has been officially diminished to accepting girls whose interests and physical prowess differ.  Scouts BSA’s equalization and identity destruction for older children has begun.

Students are overwhelmed with readings deliberately assigned beyond their maturity level.  Phonemes, necessary for reading comprehension, have been discontinued.  Cursive writing, essential for visual recognition, learning of letters, motor skills and creativity, has been withdrawn.  Students cannot tell time on an analog clock and will be unable to read our Founding documents, requiring them to be explained by all-too-obliging politicians.  Math courses have been proven academically inferior to other standards, making eventual college entry more grueling.  History textbooks are revised with socialist and Islamic propaganda and Christians are labeled racist; our Judeo-Christian heritage is under destruction.  A new textbook, “By the People,” by James Fraser, which slams President Trump and his supporters, is planned for use in the upcoming school year.

Our schools are teaching that Americans are evil racists, guilty of historic victimization of all “people of color,” warranting the replacement of white-skinned by darker-skinned people, capitalism by socialism, our Constitution by activism, and our Judeo-Christian morality by sexual freedom and abortion.  Novels of adventure, discovery and heroism have been replaced by depressing dystopian stories, a possible contributing factor to a steadily rising suicide rate for adolescents, doubled for ages 15 to 19 from 2007 to 2015.

These changes particularly affect the psychology of the boys.  From a very early age, they are deprived of their usual interests and toy selections, their book preferences of exploration and valor, their innate eagerness and energy.  This social engineering is designed to alter their sexuality and their identity.  In fact, boys’ testosterone levels and cognitive abilities have been decreasing, their weight and lethargy increasing.

By destroying their masculine get-up-and-go, they are not only less likely to protect the females in the community, but also unlikely to reject and reverse the new social order.  They are being emasculated, learning to eschew confrontation and challenges, to not bite the bullet, but to run from life into the nearest safe space, complete with hot chocolate, or to a Cry Closet, or to a Yale University  emotional-support animal, to further their snowflakery.

The left wants to incapacitate the masculine spirit, its natural assertiveness, its instincts of hunter, breadwinner, and protector, and create, instead, “grown children” who will cower and quaver for the rest of their lives.  And all this has been implemented under the name of equality, that boys and girls be conformed, reduced in intelligence, reasoning and ability – a compliant population subservient to the triumphant regime.  Since rape is taking advantage of somebody’s vulnerability, clearly there is rape of both body and mind – a way of destroying the spirit of both.

“The Feminization of Boys,” by Dr. Leonard Sax, reveals that more boys than girls in America are in special education classes, and more often prescribed with mood-managing drugs. They do not read well, are more likely to drop out of school and shun college, more apt to wind up in prison, and five times more likely than girls to die by suicide.  A February 13, 2018 report discloses that 75 percent of US youths (17-24 years old) are ineligible for military service due to lack of education, criminality, and obesity.

Here, the blame goes to the Obama administration, academia and their supporters.  These students may never hold decent jobs, marry or become responsible parents.  They will live in dread, never venture out, take chances or create anything for the good of mankind. The traumatized will become welfare recipients, mentally unstable, perhaps a danger to society.  Paradoxically, the young in a multicultural society are taught to belong to categories (race, religion, ethnicity).  As a result, they are losing their individual identity to the group’s defining characteristics, and sacrificing the hope of personal merit, achievement, and excellence.  An even greater cost will be the loss of freedom, prosperity, and the historic derring-do of the American character.

The Afterlife

I suppose the great majority of people who have ever lived have believed in life after death in some form or other.  It may not have been a happy life after death they believed in.  For instance, Christians and others have believed in an absolutely miserable place where many of us (but not all) will be punished for our sins.  Homeric Greeks believed in a dark underworld where almost everybody will go: not a place of punishment but simply a place where the spirits of the dead reside after their earthly lives end.  The shade of Achilles gives Odysseus some idea of the misery of Hades by telling him, “I’d rather be a servant in the house of the poorest man on earth than be a king in the underworld.”

Christians used to believe that some of us (the bad ones) will go to hell while others among us (the good ones) will go to heaven.  But in modern America, as far as I can tell, not many people believe in hell. I often read newspaper obituaries that say something like this: “On Wednesday of this week Mr. John Doe, a longtime resident of this city, went to be with Jesus.”  I never read anything that says, “On Monday of this week Mary Roe, a local woman who was no better than she had to be, went to live with Satan and other evil spirits.”

And those who believe in hell don’t think it is densely populated.  Hitler and Stalin may be there, and perhaps Charles Manson and Attila the Hun.  But not many others.  Americans seem to be mostly universalists.  We find it hard to believe that God, a really nice guy, could be so hard-hearted as to condemn anybody to an eternity of punishment.

I have sometimes thought that if, when I die and approach the seat of judgment, I learn that Hitler and Stalin have gained entry to Paradise thanks to the infinite mercy of God, I will shout “not fair!” and refuse to pass through the heavenly gates.  I like it that God is merciful, but I don’t want him to be that merciful.

In our skeptical age, many people do not believe in life after death.  When you’re dead, they contend, you’re dead. That’s the end of the story.  But how can this be?  How can they dissent from the ancient and almost-universal opinion of their fellow human beings that our souls (or ghosts) live on after bodily death?

One reason they offer to justify their disbelief is that this world, the world of material objects, of atoms and molecules and stars and planets, is the only world there is; and if you’re dead in this one and only world, you no longer exist.  This seems to me a preposterous belief.  Of the billions and billions and billions of possible worlds, why should only one actually exist, the one we happen to live in?  That our universe is the only one, that there are no other universes either material or nonmaterial – can anything be more improbable?

Another reason offered by those who disbelieve in life after death is that such a belief is merely wishful thinking.  We would, of course, like to think that we ourselves live after death, and even more we’d like to think that our friends and family members live after death. And we’d like to think that Abraham Lincoln and Elvis Presley live after death.  Such wishes are only natural, like the wish to win the lottery.  But they are only wishes.  No more than that.

But wishes often come true.  I have wished to have food to eat, a house to live in, a wife to live with, money in my bank account – and many more things.  And these wishes have come true.  Why shouldn’t my wish for life after death also be realized?

The strongest argument against survival, it seems to me, is that the dead never get in touch with us.  Over the years I myself have lost many persons who were very dear to me: my grandparents, my mother and father, my sister, and some of my very best friends. But not one of them has ever contacted me after death.  Wouldn’t they get in touch with me to assure me that they are okay?  Wouldn’t they from time to time offer me advice and guidance? Wouldn’t they try to push me in the direction of good or hinder me when I was drifting in the direction of evil?

Who can be sure, however, they are not doing this?  Below the level of our conscious minds, we have unconscious minds. And below the level of my personal unconscious there may be (as William James once suggested) an impersonal unconscious.  My dead family and friends may not be “talking” to me at the level of my conscious mind, but why can’t they be “talking” to me at the level of the unconscious mind?

Many other things happen at the level of unconscious mind.  Not just Freudian fears and wishes, but all sorts of creativity – artistic, scientific, mathematical, political, commercial.  I read the other day that Mark Twain, in his belief that a novel would write itself (so to speak), took long intermissions in his writing of Huckleberry Finn.  Finally, his creative unconscious gave birth to a literary classic.

If one’s unconscious mind can write poetry, paint pictures, solve scientific and mathematical puzzles, etc., why can’t it be the place where we receive messages from the great beyond?  For that matter, why can’t God Himself talk to us in our unconscious?

I’m fully aware that this is a dangerous hypothesis.  For madmen and fanatics have often imagined that they hear voices. All the same, the hypothesis may be true.  Perhaps we really do hear voices – including, quite possibly, the voice of God.  At all events, I don’t know how to rule the hypothesis out.  God and other spirits may be closer than we think.

David Carlin

David Carlin

David Carlin is professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of the painting Vanitas (the essentials: life, death, and time) by Philippe de Campaigne, 1671 [Musée de Tessé, Le Mans, France]. © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Though Persecuted, Christians and Patriots are Standing

I praise God for Wyoming GOP county chair Vicki Kissack having the courage to share my article, “Christians Deceived by the LGBTQ Movement” on her Facebook page. Folks, my article is 100% factually correct; spoken in God’s love.

As might be expected, leftists at the Casper Star-Tribune, distorted the truths in my article to brand Mrs Kissack a hater — hoping that fearful Republicans will run away from her. Please pray that God gives this patriot sister courage to stand and will build a hedge of protection around her and her family. I claim this scripture for Mrs Kissack, “No weapon formed against you shall proper.” Isaiah 54:17

The immediate severe attack on Mrs Kissack for simply sharing my article confirms the bullying and intolerance of LGBTQ enforcers exposed in my article.

A few years ago, I was an executive of a conservative group. LGBTQ activists launched a media assault attempting to brand me and anyone associated with me haters; to bully me into not writing obvious truths. My wonderful wife Mary and I realize God is our financial source. I must freely spread God’s truth. Therefore, I resigned from my position to protect friends and associates from LGBTQ enforcers. God is faithful.

I told my 90 year old preacher dad about the April 23rd international parents’ Sex-Ed protest. Parents are outraged, unable to opt-out their children from LGBTQ lessons which include asphyxiation, BDSM, gender-bending, anal sex and rimming. Dad replied, “Rimming? I don’t even know what that is.” Ponder that folks. LGBTQ bullies have successfully mandated that elementary school kids be taught a dangerous sexual perversion unknown to a 90 year old.

A Texas pre-K teacher sounded-the-alarm that her principal ordered teachers to explain homosexuality to 4-year olds and teach them that “gay love is beautiful“. And yet, LGBTQ activists are trying to brand us haters for seeking to protect our kids’ innocence, while they tyrannically demand that we surrender our children for LGBTQ indoctrination.

My wife alerted me regarding another Christian bridal shop in business for 22 years in Pennsylvania, driven out of business by LGBTQ enforcers. Despite the owners referring a lesbian couple to another bridal shop eager for their business, that was not acceptable to LGBTQ enforcers. Clearly, LGBTQ enforcers’ mission is to force Christians to betray their faith, demanding that they kneel in worship to leftists’ false gods.

The good news is Christians and patriots are standing up for their religious liberty and freedom of speech.

Cathy Miller refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple but offered to sell them a pre-made cake. The lesbian couple, in essence, said screw you and sued Ms Miller. As I stated, this is not about acquiring a cake. LGBTQ enforcers are targeting Christian businesses to force them to affirm their agenda.

Remarkably, a California judge ruled in favor of Ms Miller. Judge Lambe said,

“The State asks this court to compel Miller to use her talents to design and create cake [sic] she has not yet conceived with the knowledge that her work will be displayed in celebration of marital union her religion forbids . . . Such an order would be the stuff of tyranny.”

Amen! 

Demanding total subservience, LGBTQ enforcers sought to fire New Jersey high school teacher and ordained minister Jenye Knox for posting homosexuality is a sin on her personal Facebook page. Ms Knox sued the school district for violating her right to free speech and religious expression. A confidential settlement was made regarding Ms Knox’s tenure. I salute Ms Knox for courageously fighting back

A standing room only crowd of 190 showed up at the EWC board meeting to raised their hand to oppose the implementation of transgender policies at Eastern Wyoming College. Wyoming GOP chair Frank Eathorne read his party’s 2017 resolution vs SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity). 

In essence, the GOP resolution explained how SOGI laws attack our freedom rather than the other way around.

Whereas the Party of Abraham Lincoln was created to abolish slavery, recognizing the dignity and equality of every human being under the law; and this same Republican Party continued to lead the fight for the natural rights of our common humanity, against the Jim Crow laws of the southern Democrats; and still stands for the rights of all people regardless of color, culture, ideology, or religion, and

Whereas such equal protection under the law demands protection against personal injury or property loss, but cannot demand affirmation of personal ideas, choices, or behaviors without infringing upon the integrity and property rights of other persons; yet “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (SOGI) laws obliterate this foundational legal distinction, and

Whereas, laws using undefined and undefinable terms are inherently unjust, depriving persons under the law of any reasonable opportunity to know in advance how the law will be applied to them; and “gender Identity” lacks any definite legal content such that even its proponents are unable either to list every current identity, or rule out the addition of new identities in the future, and

Whereas wherever the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” have been added to anti-discrimination laws, this ill-defined language has enabled unjust prosecution and legal harassment such as…

Life has taught me to always look for the blessing in everything. Samuel Adams said,

” It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.”

While being persecuted, the courage of Christians and patriots standing up for our free speech and religious liberties will ignite a national movement. Therefore, all is well.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Shutterstock.

Security Camera Video Captures an Archangel?

Security camera photo image. Photo: Glen Thorman.

Connor Hansson from WPBN/WGTU in East Jordan, Michigan asks,

Do you believe in miracles?

A group of people in East Jordan believe they have come across one.

“I said ‘That’s an angel!’ And I was just blown away,” said Glen Thorman, whose security camera captured the image. “I couldn’t wait to send it to my wife and send it to Deneille. And I said ‘I got an angel, and my camera took a picture of an angel.'”

The above image appears to be an archangel. An Archangel has historically been depicted as having wings and carrying a sword, which is the word of God.

The featured image is of the Archangel Michael. Archangel Michael, also known as St. Michael the Archangel, serves on the first ray of protection, faith and the will of God. The guardian angels serve under Archangel Michael. He is the Prince of the Archangels and of the Angelic Hosts, the Defender of the Faith, the Angel of Deliverance and his divine complement is Archeia Faith. In the Book of Daniel he is called “the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.” Archangel Michael is the sponsor of police departments and law enforcement agencies around the world.

PODCAST: Analyzing the Embassy Move to Jerusalem, Palestinian Protests

The Heritage Foundation’s Jim Phillips spoke to The Daily Signal’s Daniel Davis and Katrina Trinko for an interview for “The Daily Signal” podcast Monday.

Below is a lightly edited transcript of their conversation about the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, and rising tensions in the Middle East. 

Daniel Davis: Here to explain this opening of the new embassy and what it means for Israel and the region is Jim Phillips back on the show. He’s a Middle East analyst here at The Heritage Foundation. Jim, thank you for joining us again.

Jim Phillips: Well, thanks for inviting me.

Davis: So, Jim, there’s obviously a lot of implications for this in the region. We’re already seeing a backlash from some neighbors of Israel. But I wanted to ask you first—can you put this in historical perspective for us? Why is this moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem so important for Israel as a nation?

Phillips: Well, I think it corrects a historic injustice in the sense that Israel is the only nation in the world that was barred from declaring where its own capital was. That lead to a historic anomaly where the U.S. had a diplomatic consulate in East Jerusalem for talking to Palestinians but it had no diplomatic facility elsewhere in Jerusalem for talking to Israelis. All of the diplomatic contact came out of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

In 1995, the U.S. Congress, by a huge bipartisan majority, approved the Jerusalem Act, which called for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem by 1999. But there was a waiver within the act, which allowed presidents to postpone moving the embassy if they could cite national security reasons, and every president up until President [Donald] Trump did just that. In part because there was the Oslo peace negotiations early on, and the Clinton and Bush administrations didn’t want to disrupt those.

But in recent years, the Palestinians have refused to engage with the Israelis so I think that’s one thing that led the Trump administration to go ahead and move the embassy. Also, that was one of candidate Trump’s promises that he would do as president.

Katrina Trinko: So obviously Israel is thrilled about this move of the embassy to Jerusalem. At the same time, we’re seeing reports that, I believe, tens of thousands of Palestinians are protesting. It seems like the Middle East is heating up once again, and you in a piece last year noted that this could be an outcome. Does this show that it was maybe a mistake to move the embassy? Do you think it complicated the Middle Eastern situation in ways that we’re going to deal with for years to come?

Phillips: Well, there’s no doubt that it did entail added risk to move the embassy, but I would maintain that much of those risks are from terrorists who would plan to attack the U.S. regardless. They might use the movement of the embassy as a pretext to justify their latest terrorist attack. But to me that was not a reason to hold back.

I was more concerned about the impact on the negotiations, but in recent years, the negotiations have gone nowhere anyway. So that risk was greatly reduced. I think even the most recent Palestinian wave of protest was going to happen anyway because today is the 70th anniversary of Israel’s birth, which Palestinians call … the disaster, and they were going to riot and do demonstrations regardless of what the U.S. decided about the embassy.

Davis: So, Jim, a lot of folks might think it’s just moving the embassy. It’s just symbolic gesture. It doesn’t seem like a threat to neighbors. Can you put this into context for us? Why do Palestinians and some neighbors see this as a threat? Do they see this as one step toward Israelis taking over the whole city of Jerusalem or some kind of moving the ball in a larger context? Can you fill that in for us?

Phillips: Well, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, has said that the recognition of Jerusalem and the movement of the embassy discredits the U.S. and made it a pro-Israeli partisan rather than a neutral broker.

But I really don’t buy that argument. I think it shows that the Palestinians are still locked in the zero-some thinking that reveals them to be not really focused on peace, but they see everything that’s a plus to Israel to be a negative for them. As long as that thinking goes on and as long as their efforts to delegitimize Israel by even doubting that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel, then I think that policy should be resistant.

U.S. officials were careful to say that the movement of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem did not mean that the Palestinians couldn’t eventually have their own capital in Jerusalem, but they choose to interpret this as an either/or situation.

Trinko: Do you think there’s anything differently Israel should be doing toward Palestine right now? I mean, obviously, the 52 died—and Palestine is saying Israel is overreacting on the border thing. Israel is saying this is our border, “we need to keep it secure.” Then you mentioned Palestine isn’t even really engaging with Israel right now. Is there anything different Israel should be doing?

Phillips: I think it has to defend its borders, and I would blame all of this on Hamas, which is organizing these demonstrations. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization not only by the U.S. and Israel but by the [European Union].

Hamas is a revolutionary Islamic extremist organization that not only is opposed to a peace treaty with Israel, [but] is opposed to Israel’s very existence. So as long as Hamas has a strangle hold on Gaza, I have long argued there can be no peace because even if Israel signed a perfect peace treaty with the Palestinian Authority tomorrow, Hamas would be in a position to explode with another round of rocket terrorism.

When Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, Hamas staged a military coup against the authority, and turned Gaza into a base for terrorism. So as long as Hamas survives, then there can be no peace.

Davis: Well, you mentioned the rocket terrorism and last week we just saw rocket, uranium-backed rockets launched from Syria at Israel. Is Israel’s confrontation with Iran in any way connected to these developments in Jerusalem? How is Iran responding to the new embassy opening?

Phillips: Well, Iran not only supports Hezbollah and many other Shiite militias that are mobilized and deployed to Syria, but it also finances and arms Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, two of the terrorist organizations in Gaza that are firing increasingly sophisticated missiles against Israel. Hezbollah has more than 150,000 rockets and missiles in the north, along the Lebanon border, and Hamas has an unknown number inside Gaza that are smuggled through tunnels by smugglers that are being paid by Iran.

So Iran is very much involved in attacking Israel from both directions, and really all three directions, from Lebanon, from Syria, and from Gaza.

Trinko: So last question, it’s a simple one. How do we get to peace in the Middle East?

Phillips:  I would say that if you want peace now, you’re never going to get it because the other side will use that as a bargaining chip. If you show you want peace more than the other side, then I think that actually puts peace farther off.

I think peace can only come when totalitarian, Islamic ideologies are defeated and discredited because as long as Hamas and Hezbollah and Islamic extremists organizations like that rule out any peace with Israel, as long as they are in the driver’s seat, then unfortunately, there’s no chance for peace with more moderate Palestinians.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis is the commentary editor of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal podcastSend an email to Daniel. Twitter: @JDaniel_Davis.

Portrait of Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko is managing editor of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal podcast. She is also a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors. Send an email to Katrina. Twitter: @KatrinaTrinko.

Portrait of James Phillips

James Phillips

James Phillips is the senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He has written extensively on Middle Eastern issues and international terrorism since 1978. Read his research.

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin standing next to the dedication plaque at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. (Photo: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters/Newscom)

Moving Day! U.S. Celebrates New Jerusalem Embassy

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for Israel — first with a jubilant 70th anniversary of independence party and now, with the official opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. For our allies, today has been a long time coming. American presidents have been promising to take this step for more than 20 years. Now, after decades of waiting, we finally have a White House that means it.

While crowds of dignitaries looked on, a delegation from the United States that included the president’s daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared, helped make history for two nations that have believed in this cause from the beginning. “My friends,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began, “this is a great day for Israel. It’s a great day for America. It’s a great day for our fantastic partnership… but I believe it’s also a great day for peace.” Truth and peace, he explained, “are interconnected. A peace that is based on lies will only crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern realities. And the truth will always be that Jerusalem has always been, will always be, the capital of the Jewish state.”

For Donald Trump, today’s ceremony marks another major milestone on the growing list of White House accomplishments. As Jared Kushner reminded everyone, “Presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American Embassy once they were in office. This president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it.” As far back as the campaign, this president vowed to bring America’s physical presence in Israel in line with our stated policy: that Jerusalem is the eternal undivided capital of the Jewish people.

The decision is a bold one, since it signals that America won’t be held hostage to a fractious peace process that’s frightened other administrations away from doing what this White House is. While other presidents let the threat of violence dictate American policy, Donald Trump refuses to make decisions based on what other groups think. As he’s done from the beginning, this president is sending a strong message that America is not going to be bullied or pushed around. The United States will stand with Israel in hopes that there can someday be managed peace.

From a biblical standpoint, the magnitude of this day isn’t lost on evangelicals. This moment further solidifies Israel as a sovereign nation — the only country to return and occupy their land, speaking their native tongue after a diasporic 1900 years. But as important as this day is to Christians, it’s also important to Israelis, who’ve waited patiently for their greatest ally to acknowledge in action what it did in spirit.

To the world, it signals a new chapter in America’s foreign policy. Under Barack Obama, our country was babysitting the status quo, terrified that a show of strength like this would heighten tensions. And yes, it is a volatile area — but there are new dynamics in the region with Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia that are positive. As Gregg Roman, the director of the Middle East Forum, pointed out back when the move was announced, this policy of timidity has gotten us nowhere. “Years of concessions, of work to build the Palestinian Authority into something capable of handling the levers of power that a state must wield, have brought us no closer to peace. Shaming Israel politically for defending its own people hasn’t worked either.”

President Trump is re-establishing a constitutional order that the world hasn’t witnessed in years. He won’t be cowed by the media or intimidated by other leaders. And his approval ratings continue to climb with his most important base because he’s willing to fight on these things. Trump’s strategy in Israel, on North Korea, and Iran, are all perfect examples of Ronald Reagan’s motto, “Peace through strength.” Together with millions of Americans and Israelis, we thank him — not only for having the will to act, but the necessary courage.

As the president told all of those on hand by satellite, “The U.S. will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace,” President Trump told the crowd. “We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians, and to all of their neighbors. May there be peace. May God bless this embassy. May God bless all who serve here, and may God bless the United States of America.”


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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Film ‘A Quiet Place’ is all about faith and family

I went to see Paramount Pictures’ film “A Quite Place.” The featured image is of, from left to right, Noah Jupe who plays Marcus Abbott, John Krasinski who plays Lee Abbott, Emily Blunt who plays Evelyn Abbott and Millicent Simmonds who plays Regan Abbott.

Here is the trailer:

The trailer portrays “A Quiet Place” as a horror film. While the film is suspense filled it is more about faith, family, sacrifice and the human will to survive and flourish.

When the Abbot family sits down to dinner they all join hands in silent prayer. It is a powerful moment because Lee and Evelyn Abbott just lost their youngest son and Marcus and Regan their little brother to one of the alien creatures that attack anything that makes a sound.

Most of all the film is about family, the traditional family.

The Bible quote Proverbs 6:20 is the core message of “A Quiet Place”:

My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother.

The father Lee leads the family, protects the family and in the end sacrifices himself to save his children and family. Emily Blunt does a masterful job in portraying a strong, loving and devoted mother Evelyn Abbott. While Lee is the provider, Evelyn is the powerful mother who holds the family together in the greatest times of peril. Evelyn shows strength and courage in the face of evil.

Evelyn is pregnant. Evelyn and her husband prepare themselves for the birth of their fourth child. It is beautiful to watch as Evelyn gives natural birth alone, while being hunted by a monster who hears the new born baby’s cry.

In the end we see something else that we don’t normally see from a Hollywood film. In the end, Evelyn and her daughter Regan, who is deaf, discover how to defeat the monsters. Regan discovers the greatest weakness of these monsters is sound. The power of “A Quiet Place” and is in the characters. They are family examples to be emulated. They are frightened but fearless when defending one another.

Sound, not quiet, is what saves the family in the end. That along with a 12-gauge shotgun.

This is a must see film.

As you view it think about how the human spirit survives. Think about how the human race wins. Think about the strength of the faithful traditional family.

Lesson: The safest place is in the bosom of the traditional family.

AFTER THOUGHT: There are many people of the Christian faith who are afraid to speak out about their beliefs. They do not speak, are put in a quite place, for fear of being attacked, much like the monsters that the Abbott family fought. Perhaps the best way to defeat evil is to speak out.

Bible Professor Knocks Down David French’s Attack On Evangelical Trump Supporters

Writing in National Review, David French launched another attack on evangelical Christians who support President Trump, calling them out as sinful compromisers denying the supreme purpose of God in their lives.

I wholeheartedly reject French’s rebuke as valid. It is wrong biblically, philosophically and, by extension, politically.

By way of context, I became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1982 when I was 17. Due to my submission to the authority of Scripture, I likewise fall into the category of what is commonly called “evangelical” — a term that is as frequently misunderstood as it is misused. I mention these points upfront since it is people like me who sit in the audience to which French was aiming his rebuke.

It landed hollow, however, because it is fraught with nonsense arguments, non-sequiturs and self-incriminating irony that French appears to miss. Below is just a brief glance at some of the main problems with his accusation.

 French began the piece by asking what the ultimate goal of a Christian’s life should be. The lead was obvious: Evangelical Christians who support Trump have strayed from God’s purpose for their lives. French was in essence invoking God’s supreme purpose in Christ as the basis for why an Evangelical should not support Trump. However, the entire argument is nonsense. Everything that follows his opening question is non sequitur to that initial question. Just because pursuing the “common good” (i.e., civil righteousness) of one’s culture is not a Christian’s ultimate goal in this age, it does not follow that it is not an incredibly important responsibility. It is silly to negate numerous areas of God-ordained responsibilities on the premise of God’s ultimate purpose. French would undoubtedly argue that support for President Trump is antithetical to what is good for a nation; but that is an altogether different issue than his main and opening premise.

 Voting for Trump and continuing to support the vast majority of his subsequent policies is without question a pursuit of the “common good” of our nation and culture. The choice to vote for Hillary Clinton, or even abstain from voting because Trump is a flawed man, is arguably a choice to pursue (or passively permit) overt and vile wickedness to prevail in the life of a nation. Present space does not permit me to itemize the progressive agenda and examine it in the light of the Good, the Beautiful, and the True — virtues that are revealed supremely in the character and nature of God. Suffice it to say that God expects (and will hold accountable) all post-Fall humans to live according to how we were created. Scripture describes it as God’s “image and likeness.” Even those people groups who deny His existence have long recognized fixed, uniform, and universal moral principles that are a part of our very moral fabric.

 French has no authority to state that Evangelical Christians who voted for and support Trump are guilty of “sin.” He made no case from Scripture; it was merely a fiat judgment of his own making. Ironically, making such a judgment based solely on the basis of one’s opinion is a very serious charge. I don’t think French perceived the irony.

 On the other hand, a positive case can be made, contra French, that one of the God-ordained responsibilities of a Christian is to actively oppose evil in one’s culture and promote that which is good. Again, Clinton and nearly every position she actively pursues is contrary, not only to the common good (viz., natural law), but to the very moral fabric of humans made in God’s image and likeness. While it is true that such responsibilities do not fall under the Christian’s relationship to God as Redeemer (in Christ); it is without question the duty of all human beings who relate to God as their Creator (whether they admit it or not). It is called loving your neighbor.

 As already noted, French’s article made no sense. I am not stating this because I disagree with his assertions (which I do), but he demonstrates absolutely no correlation between his opinions and everything that goes before and after them. While he is certainly entitled to his own opinions, he is not entitled to determine his own facts — particularly ones that when disagreed with makes one guilty of “sin” in God’s sight.

Interestingly, if I were to take French’s own actions as my lead, I would have to conclude that the obligation of a Christian is to scold Evangelicals who voted for Trump and publicly shame them for this “sin” — and that this would be my supreme purpose.

ABOUT DARREL COX

Darrel Cox is Professor of Biblical Studies at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va. He teaches core and upper level courses in Biblical Studies and writes curriculum for online classes. Dr. Cox lives near Winchester, Virginia, with his wife and seven children.