Wildfire Jihadis and the Genocide of Cultural and Ancient Sites

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.  Never yield to force.  Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Winston S. Churchill

“Europe is no longer Europe, it is Eurabia, a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense.” –  Oriana Fallaci, Italian Journalist

“In each of our cities lies a second city: a Muslim city, a city run by the Quran.  A stage in the Islamic expansionism.” – Oriana Fallaci, Italian Journalist

“Some Westerners have argued that the West does not have problems with Islam but only with violent Islamist extremists.  Fourteen hundred years of history demonstrate otherwise.” –  Samuel P. Huntington, American Political Scientist


Chaplain Austin Miles, a friend of over 23 years, recently authored a commentary on the fires of Australia.  He was right, they are not the product of climate change as the socialists in our society claim, but of purposely set fires by Islamists to destroy and instill fear in the nations they wish to occupy and control.

Miles wrote, “The Daily Telegraph reported that they now know how the Australian fires started. You will not see this in most newspapers.  They were deliberately started by two Muslim teenagers living in Australia with their parents.

Those teens, Fadi Zraika and his brother, Abraham were seen, laughing as they left court and walked out free.  Got that?  Walked free after setting Australia on fire.”

For many years, the Al-Qaeda Magazine and the Islamic State (ISIS) have offered instructions to its operatives and followers in the West about how to start large wildfires with timed explosives and how to build remote-controlled bombs.  Even ABC News has reported this.

Because of the great difficulty in identifying the perpetrators of the various wildfires, only a few Muslims have been caught and arrested.  But considering how many wildfires take place every year, it is not out of line to presume that some of the fires have been Al-Qaeda-inspired. Yes, Al Qaeda promotes forest fire attacks.

Muslims in Australia are among nearly 200 arsonists who have set fires. Authorities in Australia have arrested close to 200 people for deliberately starting the bushfires that have devastated the country, yet the media and celebrities continue to blame “climate change” for the disaster.

Many organizations believe the killing of terrorist Qasem Soleimani will activate the multitude of Islamic sleeper cells in America to retaliation…that remains to be seen.

Fire Jihad in Israel

In Israel, fires set by Muslims are a common occurrence.  Firefighters continue to deal with epidemics of arson in the Haredi community, with groups of young boys repeatedly setting fires in open areas. They would watch the firefighters battling the blaze and taunt them, saying they’d be called back to the same place in less than an hour.

Israel National News reported that two Arab arsonists were arrested in Jerusalem blazes. One of the fires was set next to an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) base on Mount Scopus, and the other was set next to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus. One of the Muslim thugs confessed, incriminating his partner in crime.

Islamic State in its summer 2017 English language magazine called on supporters to commit arson in the spirit of “devastating fires that ravaged Jewish settlements in Palestine.”

Through arson, operatives can “impose terror on an entire country,” the Sunni Islamist organization stressed.  They added, “The whole world witnessed the devastating fires that ravaged Jewish settlements in Palestine, destroying around 700 Jewish homes.”

Recruits should target “ideal locations” such as “houses and apartment buildings, forest areas adjacent to residential areas, factories that produce cars, furniture, clothing, flammable substances etc., gas stations, hospitals, bars, dance clubs, night clubs, banks, car showrooms, schools, universities, as well as churches, Rafidi temples, (Rafidi means those who have rejected Islam) and so forth,” the article explained.

Worldwide Jihadi Fires

Thousands of fires by jihadists have destroyed churches and cathedrals in Europe and around the world. Millions of acres have burned in California; forests, wildlife and homes have been destroyed.

In 2019 a Protestant Church was set ablaze in Niger, a landlocked country in West Africa following the arrest of a prominent Muslim leader and extending ongoing interreligious strife in the country.

Early in 2013, the New York Times reported that in Islamabad, Pakistan, an enraged Muslim crowd attacked a Christian neighborhood in Lahore setting fire to more than 200 Christian homes and two churches, in a new display of religious intolerance as Pakistan reels from violent persecution against other minorities.

In 2010, Muslim jihadists set fire to a church and to a Christian school in Punjab, India in reaction to the proposed Qur‘an burning by U.S. clergyman, Rev. Terry Jones,  in order to commemorate 9/11, an action he later abandoned but still caused protests among Muslims along with anti-Christian violence.

Then there’s the fire that nearly destroyed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. The two dominant forces in Europe, secular leftism and Islamism, have sought the end of Christianity and the West. The Left believes that protecting Western civilization is equivalent to protecting white supremacy.

Whether Notre Dame’s fire was a worker accident or that a Muslim jihadist set fire to the landmark, as they have to scores of other churches around Europe, it doesn’t much matter. The omen is that fire jihadists are burning and destroying worldwide.

California fires over the last ten years have increased exponentially, burning homes, forests, and wildlife. ISIS has urged its followers to ‘ignite fires’ in forests across the US and Europe.  The disturbing call comes as wildfires have devastated California.

At least four propaganda posters have appeared on Quraysh, a pro-ISIS media outlet, urging followers to “ignite fires” in forests, The Washington Free Beacon says, citing The Middle East Media Research Institute.

“Ignite fires in the forests of America, France, Britain, and Germany, for they are painful to them,” one poster reads, according to the site.

Cultural and Historic Jihadist Destruction

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Paris, France. UNESCO, the international body that has been given the powers of judgment over what sites on this planet constitute our “world heritage,” has denounced the many incidents of vandalism as “acts of barbarism.” That’s about it, in terms of a concerted international response, they have done nothing to stop it.  UNESCO has no policing powers. We have empowered a body to recognize the rare and beautiful things of this planet, yet we do nothing when they are destroyed by Islamic jihadists.

Islam is not even a religion; it is a political system that uses a deity to advance its agenda of global conquest, and that system is growing faster than any other.

Muslim extremists have long sought to destroy the physical evidence that any other faith worth valuing existed before their own. In March, 2001, the Afghan Taliban announced to the world that they would destroy the ancient, giant Buddhas of Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, and then, using explosives and artillery, proceeded to do just that. In the last decade, the Saudis, as the keepers of the Muslim holy places, have razed hundreds of historic sites in the cities of Mecca and Medina to make way for new construction, including shopping malls and hotels.

Famous Italian journalist, Oriana Fallaci wrote her book, The Rage and the Pride after the 9/11 carnage by Islamists.  She railed against them knowing that Europe was already lost and America’s political correctness would be our demise as well.  She raged against the worldwide cultural and historical destruction by these jihadists.  Oriana was infuriated at the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. This destruction is cultural genocide.

Islamists willfully and with impunity are destroying some of the world’s oldest and rarest archeological treasures. In 2015, there were video clips of the Islamic State in Iraq of al-Sham’s extremists wielding sledgehammers and drills, methodically destroying an exquisitely carved stone lamassu, or winged man-bull, at the Assyrian complex of Nimrud, which was created by artists nearly three thousand years ago.

Then it was the ancient temple complex of Hatra, in northern Iraq, which was built by the Seleucid Empire around two or three centuries before Christ. Hatra had been the site of a series of glorious colonnaded buildings and statues; it is reported that beginning on March 7th, 2015, ISIS destroyed what was left of them.

Images on social media showed ISIS extremists attacking the grounds of St. George’s, a centuries-old Chaldean Catholic monastery outside of Mosul. In this world of all-seeing, all-hearing killer drones, these acts somehow continue.

Islamic State militants completely ransacked the northern Iraq City of Mosul’s central museum and destroyed priceless artifacts, some which dated back thousands of years. Some of the statues and artifacts dated to the Assyrian and Akkadian empires. The terrorist group published a video of the destruction. In the video, an ISIS representative condemns Assyrians and Akkadians as polytheists. The militants smashed the statues in the museum with hammers and pushed the remains to the ground so they shattered even more. ISIS had not just destroyed the museum, however, they have caused irreparable damage across Syria and Iraq since 2010.

Before and after ISIS, here are heartbreaking photos of destroyed historical   monuments in Syria.  Here is a guide from National Geographic to ancient cultural sites that ISIS has damaged or destroyed so far.

Destroying Freedom for the Love of Money

There are many enemies of freedom and liberty.  Communism and Communist Red China is one of the greatest, but another is just as violent and evil. Islam has conquered Europe through the migrant crisis; now their target is the west, i.e. America.  The Islamist goal is total control of the world for Muhammed.

Why do our politicians promote the politically correct attitude toward Islamists when they desire to ultimately control America?  Because they have succumbed to the bribery of the multitude of Muslim organizations who fund their candidacies. Ahh yes, the love of money, 1 Timothy 6:10 (KJV) states, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The Bible clearly says that love of money, (not money) produces all kinds of evil.

That love of money by our politicians has cost America dearly.  The Muslim Brotherhood, which was introduced to the George W. Bush White House after 9/11 by pro-Islamist and CFR member, Grover Norquist, has infiltrated all of American intelligence.

The FBI severed its relationship with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in 2008, saying until it determines “whether there continues to be a connection between” CAIR leadership and Hamas terrorists, the organization is not an appropriate liaison partner.

However, two recent episodes show that, despite this rhetoric and evidence linking CAIR to a Hamas support network – in addition to unresolved questions about its current connections – government agencies continue to engage with the group, even sending its officials abroad to represent the U.S.

Conclusion

In 2009, David Gaubatz wrote Muslim Mafia, a book that details his son, Chris Gaubatz’s infiltration of CAIR and the Brotherhood for six months and what he found and exposed.  Chris and his team revealed a well-funded conspiracy to destroy American society and promote radical Islam.

The Islamic worldwide destruction of cultural and historic monuments is much like destroying America’s Civil War history by eliminating the statues of veterans of both sides of that war…they eliminate the historic truth.  The Muslim goal is to instill fear and pain by burning their enemy’s countries, their homes, their churches, and destroying their landmarks and their culture.  They now reside in our Congress…America must not allow them to succeed.

© All rights reserved.

Los Angeles: Anti-Semitic hate crimes 14 times more frequent than anti-Muslim hate crimes

No hate crimes are ever justified. The “Islamophobia” industry, however, wildly exaggerates the threat to Muslims and falsely portrays them as subject to widespread discrimination and harassment in the US, in its indefatigable pursuit of protected victim status.

“Anti-Semitic hate crimes in LA increased by 60 percent,” JNS, January 24, 2020 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

(January 24, 2020 / JNS) Reported anti-Semitic hate crimes in Los Angeles increased by a little more than 60 percent between 2018 and 2019—the highest total for hate crimes on the basis of religion, according to data released on Wednesday by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Of the reported 81 total hate crimes that targeted religious groups in 2019, 69 of them were anti-Jewish, compared to 43 of the 52 total hate crimes in that category the previous year as anti-Semitic—or a 60.5 percent increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes.

There are more than 500,000 Jews in Los Angeles, according to Brandeis’s Steinhardt Social Research Institute.

There were five reported hate crimes that targeted Muslims in 2019, compared to just two the previous year, followed by four hate crimes targeting other religions not listed….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

The Constitution and the March for Life

Hadley Arkes: The logic of the Constitution’s separation of powers should be enough to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that disfigured our laws and altered the moral sensibilities of our people.


As we reached the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers gathered again in the March for Life, in what is usually the coldest weather that Washington D.C. will suffer.  The March began with speeches on the Mall and then it would move, en masse, down Constitution Avenue until it culminated at the Supreme Court, the scene of the crime.

In January 1973, seven judges had taken upon themselves to sweep away, in a stroke, the laws in all of the States and the District of Columbia that cast protections over the life of a child in the womb.  And now, the pro-lifers head to the Court with the sense of seeking redress for the wrong that emanated from that place, transforming the culture as well as the laws.

They go with a livelier hope that the Court, as it is now constituted, is closer to the moment when Roe v. Wade may be overruled, or at least scaled back, in a decisive move that would lead, step by step, to its withering away.

In my last column, I recalled the classic example of the political branches, led by Lincoln, countering the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, the decision that threatened to sweep away all laws that barred slavery.  As I sought to show, Lincoln’s argument for the constitutional role of the political branches was anchored in the very logic of the separation of powers under the Constitution.

Over the last twenty years some of us have sought to make Lincoln’s understanding explicit as part of the preamble, or understanding, attached to pro-life legislation.  That effort failed, for various reasons until 2002 when we succeeded in passing the Born-Alive Infants’ Protection Act, the Act that sought to protect children who had survived abortions.

And now some of us have sought to raise the issue again with the sequel, the bill that seeks to attach serious penalties for the surgeons who kill those babies surviving abortion. If the political class had been clear on this understanding in the run-up to Roe v. Wade, there would have been no need for pro-lifers to be marching in the cold every January.

The argument begins by returning to the classic case of Cohens v. Virginia (1822).  Chief Justice John Marshall observed there that any question arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States may rightly come within the reach of the judicial branch of the federal government.

But if that were the case, we suggested that the corollary clearly followed:

If the Supreme Court can articulate new “rights” under the Constitution, the legislative branch must be able to vindicate the same rights under the same Clause in the Constitution where the Court claims to have had found them.  And in filling out those rights, the Congress, at the same time, may mark their limits.  The one thing that should not be tenable under this Constitution is that the Court may articulate new rights – and then assign to itself a monopoly of the legislative power in shaping those rights.

With the benign logic of the separation of powers, it would have made the most profound difference if Justice Brennan and his colleagues had understood, at the very outset, that if they loosed upon this country this new “right to abortion,” the judges could not keep control of it.  Congress would have laid hands on it at once, and we know, from the record, what Congress was likely to have done.

Lest we forget, the parties were not as polarized as they are now on this question. There were strong pro-life Democrats in Congress, reflecting the outrage of their voters, and quite ready to do something.  If Congress laid its hands on this matter, it would have been to counter forcefully the decision in Roe, not to endorse and promote it as a breakthrough in our jurisprudence.

Justice William Brennan was no mean reader of the political winds, and with this cast of things, it seems highly unlikely that he would have encouraged his colleagues to spring this decision, especially with two judges in bristling dissent.

In that event we would have been spared the scene of pro-lifers marching every year in the cold, winding around the Capitol until they reached the Court – and with that move confirming a premise even worse yet: that, among the branches of our government, the Court is truly the most sovereign of all in governing our lives.

What I am suggesting is that the simple logic of the separation of powers – the logic explained by Lincoln and exemplified by his Administration – that this logic of the Constitution could have been enough to have spared us the decision that disfigured our laws and altered the moral sensibilities of our people.

If and when Roe v. Wade is overturned, it would be on a day in June, when the Court announces its decisions on the cases most freighted with controversy.  In that event, the pro-life March of celebration could be held in the spring, with the signs of life renewing.

And yet my sense of the pro-lifers is that they would still march every January in the cold. For something in them just doesn’t want to make things easy.  They might prefer to remember with cold sobriety that the temptation to do thoughtless, even murderous things, may spring even from decent people living in good places.

COLUMN BY

Hadley Arkes

Hadley Arkes is the Ney Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus at Amherst College and the Founder/Director of the James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights & the American Founding. His most recent book is Constitutional Illusions & Anchoring Truths: The Touchstone of the Natural Law. Volume II of his audio lectures from The Modern Scholar, First Principles and Natural Law is now available for download.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

The Method to Their Madness

“America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” – Abraham Lincoln.   January 27, 1838.


For different reasons and perhaps unknowingly, the leftist-supported LGBTQ movement and Islam are allied in a common goal of ridding the West of its Judeo-Christian ethos.  The former would abandon America to the tyranny of unrestrained freedom, the latter to the prison of a mullahcracy – strange bedfellows united by a common goal.

Our school systems countrywide have long been moving away from our Biblically-inspired culture – gradually eliminating our own values to make way for the chaos of the Left and the tenets of dehumanizing Islamic laws, sharia.  It began in the 1960s, but it was never so insidious and efficient until the Obama years and the implementation of Common Core standards and other deviations from our Founding Principles and Virtues.

With an influence on all aspects of students’ lives, schools have been discouraging close friendships within the classroom for quite some time, preparing the children for dependency on and development of a group mentality, in which opinions are insinuated into the entire class rather than encouraged to be formed by the individual.  Longer time spent on computers and away from critical peer interaction stunts the brain development necessary to form and defend their own thoughts.  Kept from reading quality literature that would expose them to the experiences and hard-won wisdom of previous generations, they are instead confined to the propaganda du jour.

Further disengagement from amity is accomplished with the introduction of intersectionality, whereby the children are emotionally divided into conflicting groups determined by superficial characteristics, such as race, religion, ethnicity, sex/gender, social or political group membership.  The  dissimilarities rouse their distrust, envy and intolerance, which in turn trigger their resentment, anger and violence.  Their rational judgment abandoned, they look to the leader (schools, textbooks, instructors) for protection.  This becomes the “wolf pack” from which they gain their relevance, acceptance, power and invincibility.  Their blind need for harmony overrides all desire for alternative ideas and viewpoints.  The product of their schooling, implemented long before we understood the Left’s control over academia, is more stressing and devastating than we had imagined.

The removal of literature authored by “old white men” has decreased their language skills and reading comprehension, killing the inspiration that once empowered further investigation and learning.  It was also used to instill a resentment for the “old white men” – our Founding Fathers and all Caucasians.  The reading skills of many of today’s high school graduates are no better than fourth-grade level.  They cannot read their own diplomas, but have been promoted in the name of “equality,” and disposed to listening to mind-bending oration on whom to hate and blame for their plight, their incompetence, unemployability, and social station – the true culprits being their educators.

Hearing a persuasive speaker can preclude research and critical thinking, and prevent the development of the vital ability to discern fact from misinformation. Consequently, they are rendered defenseless against, for example, the simpler Arabic-published, antisemitic material that damns Israel and Jews worldwide.  The unrelenting emphasis on equality has leveled the learning field and produced mediocrity in the students.  The resultant “Brave New” American unexceptionalism is indistinguishable from the capabilities of the Third World, and is fatally vulnerable to the confident assertions of Islam.

Beware of Islam, but beware equally of an education that disarms our youth.

The other attack is against the essence of the children’s identity, their family heritage, their ability to bond with others in a mutually supportive friendship or marriage and parenthood, their God-ordained role in human society.  Leftist-controlled academia have been laying the groundwork for this destruction patiently over time, eroding the core and spirit of their personality, even to removing their sexual identity, making them vulnerable to assaults, humiliation, and total dominance.  Although homosexuality and its various effects are publicly considered haram (prohibited, impure and sinful) in Islam, some unspoken acceptance exists, so that, even here, these two evils of Islam and Marxism (the Green-Red Axis), may still work conjointly – at least until the final accounting.

With homosexuality and deviance now becoming acceptable, the exposure of the very young to bizarre behaviors, the appearance of Drag Queens at libraries’ Storytime, the gay-rights activists are being allowed to condition our young children (including Kindergartners) to accept masturbation, transgenderism (to some deadly results) and pedophilia.  The behavior of a pedophile, now innocuously termed a MAP (Minor Attracted Person), is being hailed as acceptable, without giving thought to the victimized child.  We need not leave it up to imagination to consider the effects of rape at an early age.

In the Islamic world, the mother has complete control over her son for his first seven years, during which time she may take him to the local bathhouse where he will be assaulted, raped and humiliated, and bond violently to sexual relations.  The result is a lack of intimacy and empathy, animosity toward his mother’s betrayal, feelings of aggression against all women, and confusion that extends into his adulthood.  The act becomes synonymous with power, control and domination.  The infamous mass attacks and sexual assaults by Arab migrants on the women in Cologne, Germany, have revealed the Arab man’s sick relationship with women.  His rage is nurtured by his family life and encouraged by imams and Mahmoud Abbas’s Days of Rage, and western cultures are still denying this form of combat.  The Islamic woman who is raised to be subservient is valued only when she has borne a son and when he has been martyred in suicide while murdering the perceived enemy of Islam.

The objectification of children is a commonality shared between the Left and Islam, the attitudes now being overtly introduced into our culture as we descend into a godless darkness.   The LGBTQ community’s activists, supported by the Left and Islam, have no reservations about allowing pedophiles to conduct a dehumanizing assault on our most vulnerable.  Robbed of their childhood, these children are to be exposed to a deviance for which they are disastrously immature, so that they, too, may react with terrible fear, abandonment, shame and degradation, their anger paralleling that of the jihadi’s.  Pedophiles and their victims are to be added to the progressives, anarchists, communists, prematurely released criminals, uncontrolled migrants, Antifa, Black Lives Matter – the mainstream media’s darlings – as the homegrown warriors rise up against capitalism, citizen sovereignty, freedoms and individuality.

Abraham Lincoln warned us to beware that we could be destroyed from within, but never, in his wildest nightmares, could he have envisioned how it would be attempted.  Those who are so fearful as to remain in denial may never know what hit them.

© All rights reserved.

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Tlaib retweets “Palestinian” propagandists’ tweet blaming Israelis for death of boy who apparently drowned

Rep. Tlaib has nearly 900,000 followers on Twitter. Hundreds of thousands likely saw her initial tweet before she took it down. She did not retweet the retraction.

“Tlaib deletes retweet blaming Israelis for death of boy who apparently drowned,” Times of Israel, January 26, 2020:

Rep. Rashida Tlaib retweeted then removed a tweet falsely blaming Israelis for the death of a Palestinian child.

Tlaib, a Palestinian American who is a Michigan Democrat and one of only two lawmakers to back the boycott Israel movement, retweeted a tweet by Hanan Ashrawi, a top Palestinian official, who was quote-tweeting an account, realSeifBitar, that accused Israeli settlers of kidnapping, assaulting and throwing into a well an eight-year-old child. “The heart just shatters,” Ashrawi said.

In fact the boy, Qais Abu Ramila, appears to have drowned accidentally in a reservoir of rainwater in eastern Jerusalem. Israeli first responders found him on Saturday and tried to revive him.

Tlaib removed her retweet, and Ashrawi eventually apologized for “retweeting something that’s not fully verified.” Tlaib did not retweet the retraction.

Dani Dayan, the Israeli consul general in New York, took Tlaib to task for spreading what he called a “blood libel.”

“I am always extremely cautious in criticizing US elected officials,” Dayan said on Twitter. “However, when an American elected official retweets an unfounded blood libel against Jewish Israelis, I cannot remain silent. Congresswoman @RashidaTlaib just did.”

Abu Ramila had apparently slipped into and drowned in the pond, formed after days of rain in the city’s Beit Hanina neighborhood, police sources said….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Trump Administration countering Iran’s influence in Latin America and winning key support

“The Trump administration’s push to counter Iran’s influence in South America won key support from leaders in the region in recent days, with three Latin American nations officially declaring Lebanon’s Tehran-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.”

The work of Iranian jihadist proxies worldwide is underrated and under reported. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo captures the magnitude of the Iranian proxy problem well in this statement:

 When you see the scope and reach of what the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regime has done, you can’t forget they tried to kill someone in the United States of America. They’ve conducted assassination campaigns in Europe. This is a global phenomenon.

And the phenomenon of narcoterrorism is linked to Iranian proxy Hizballah, as indicated in this exposé by the Washington Times: “Hezbollah moving ‘tons of cocaine’ in Latin America, Europe to finance terror operation.”

“Trump administration homing in on Iran-backed operations in Latin America,” by Guy Taylor, Washington Times, January 23, 2020:

The Trump administration’s push to counter Iran’s influence in South America won key support from leaders in the region in recent days, with three Latin American nations officially declaring Lebanon’s Tehran-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras have now officially joined with Paraguay and Argentina in recognizing the designation, with the new conservative government in Bogota joining with Washington in declaring Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization as well.

At a counterterrorism conference in Bogota this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials underscored the global reach of Lebanon-based Hezbollah — a Shia Muslim militant-political movement and a part of the Lebanese political establishment that Washington has listed as a terrorist organization since the late 1990s.

Hezbollah was a big winner in the political upheaval that has gripped Lebanon this month, with new government made up of appointees nominated by Hezbollah and its allies — a development that has worried both the U.S. and Israel, Lebanon’s neighbor. Counterterrorism analysts consider the well-armed Hezbollah one of Tehran’s most effective military proxies in the region.

Heading into this week’s conference in Bogota, State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan Sales told the Miami Herald and Nuevo Herald that U.S. officials “know that Hezbollah operatives and facilitators and finance leaders are active” in the loosely governed “Tri-Border Area” between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

U.S. and Israeli officials say Hezbollah orchestrated and executed a 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina that killed 29 people, as well as a 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead…..

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

FRANCE: Girl, 16, receives death threats and ‘200 messages of pure hatred a minute’ for insulting Islam online

Celebrate diversity all you want. But is diversity going to celebrate you?

“French teenager in hiding after insulting Islam online,” by Adam Sage, The Times, January 24, 2020 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

Police have told a French teenager to go into hiding after she received death threats for insulting Islam.

The 16-year-old has been advised to stay away from her lycée (sixth-form college) in southeast France after calls on the internet for her to be killed, raped or attacked.

The girl, named only as Mila, is understood to have been told by officials that she should avoid being seen in public until the controversy fades. She is being given psychological support by the local prosecutor’s office.

Prosecutors said two separate criminal inquiries were under way, the first to track the authors of threats to kill and rape the teenager, the second to determine whether her comments amounted to the offence of hate speech….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Northeastern University student deported back to Iran over family’s ties to jihad terror groups

“A U.S. official familiar with information reviewed by authorities told CBS News that Dehghani himself does not have ties to terroristic groups, but ‘some very close to him’ do.”

Many in the U.S. think Shabab Dehghani is an innocent victim of official “Islamophobia.” And it is certainly true that no one should be punished for someone else’s misdeeds. At the same time, how can anyone be certain that he doesn’t hold the same views that his family members hold? To how much of a risk is Northeastern University required to expose its students?

“Northeastern Student Was Deported Back To Iran Over Family’s Ties To Terroristic Groups,” CBS, January 22, 2020:

BOSTON (CBS) – Shabab Dehghani, a Northeastern University college student who was detained at Logan Airport and sent back to Iran before an immigration hearing was held, was deported because of his family’s ties to terroristic groups, CBS News reports.

A U.S. official familiar with information reviewed by authorities told CBS News that Dehghani himself does not have ties to terroristic groups, but “some very close to him” do.

Dehghani is studying economics at Northeastern. He’s been studying in Boston for two years, but was stuck at home in Iran in December 2018 after visiting his family as he waited for his student visa to be renewed.

Dehghani’s attorney, Susan Church, told WBZ-TV he was detained starting Sunday night despite having a legal F1 Student Visa, as he tried to get back to school – and said at the time she didn’t know why.

An immigration hearing was scheduled for Tuesday morning, but Dehghani was deported before it began.

Judge Richard Stearns said during the brief hearing that there was nothing he could do because Dehghani had already been deported. Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey tweeted Wednesday that he still hadn’t heard from U.S. Customs and Border Protection about why Dehghani was turned away….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Exceptionless Moral Rules

David Carlin: Morality declines when exceptions are made for “hard cases” and collapses when the fundamental rules become merely unobtainable “ideals.”


One of the distinctive things about Catholic moral doctrine is that it has a number of absolute or exceptionless rules, many of them involving or at least associated with sexual matters.  For example:

  • One must never perform or undergo an abortion.
  • One must never commit adultery.
  • One must never engage in fornication.
  • One must never engage in marital contraception.
  • One must never divorce and remarry.
  • One must never commit suicide.

Most people, I believe, including most people who are on the whole sympathetic to the prohibitions just outlined, feel that some exceptions should be made to the above prohibitions. But their sympathies are partly misguided, and warrant serious clarification:

(1) Divorce.  Almost everybody agrees that marriage should be a permanent and lifelong thing.  Once you’ve promised to remain married “till death do us part,” you should make every effort to keep that promise.  You should bear with your spouse’s shortcomings as long as they are bearable.  But sometimes they are not bearable.  In that case, you may resort to measures to remove those conditions that are making you miserable.

Of course, Catholicism agrees with this, after a fashion.  It is willing to tolerate, if there is sufficient cause, divorce from “bed and board” – that is, a permanent separation.  What it is not willing to tolerate is a divorce from “the chains of matrimony” – it is unwilling, in other words, to tolerate the kind of divorce that allows for remarriage.

Most people find this unreasonable.  “Why,” they ask, “should a man or woman who made a foolish mistake early in life, the foolish mistake of marrying a very unsuitable partner, be barred from ever enjoying the many benefits and consolations of marriage, these including children, a shared marriage bed, shared values, shared ownership of property, and so on?”

The Catholic Church itself seems to share these misgivings as to the no-remarriage rule.  And so the Church makes annulment available, allowing that the parties involved in an immature decision that was no real marital union the possibility of a declaration of nullity. Annulment is not divorce.  It is simply a declaration that the apparent first marriage was not in fact a real marriage.

By maintaining this theory of annulment the Church remains faithful to Jesus’s ban on divorce-and-remarriage.  Unfortunately, in practice annulment is, at least in many cases, little more than a legal fiction that allows Catholics to divorce and remarry just like their non-Catholic neighbors.  It is then, as it has often been called, “Catholic divorce.”

(2) Adultery.  Suppose you’re a married man or woman working for the CIA as a counter-spy, and suppose that by engaging in an adulterous relationship with a spy from Russia or China or Iran you will very probably gain information that will save hundreds or thousands of American lives – Catholicism says you mustn’t do this.  As for the hundred or thousands of lives that may be lost as the result of your remaining faithful to your wedding vows, well. . .regrettable, but not to be saved by immoral means.

Or suppose, less dramatically, you’re a healthy young woman with normal sexual appetites, but your husband (like Lady Chatterley’s husband) is incapable of performing the sexual act; and let’s also suppose that your husband (again like Lady Chatterley’s husband) has given you permission to go to bed with other men – provided these men treat you with kindness and respect, and provided precautions are taken against pregnancy and disease.  Again, Catholicism says: NO.

Even if aliens from a distant galaxy turn up and tell you, a married woman, that they will destroy the planet Earth and every person on it unless you have sex with, say, Brad Pitt or Tom Hanks, Catholicism will still say NO. As St. Paul warned when the Faith was still young, we cannot “do evil that good may come” (Rm. 3:4)

(3) Fornication.  Suppose you’re an elderly widow, and you and an elderly man, likewise widowed, are in love with one another.  You’d both be happy to marry one another.  However, your late husband, who left you many millions, provided that in the case of your remarriage all these millions would go to the SPCA or, worse still, to Planned Parenthood.  Would it be morally okay for you and your boyfriend, while remaining unmarried, to have sexual relations with one another?  Catholicism says NO.

I’ve given enough hypotheticals to make my point.  Readers can easily imagine what other hypotheticals I might offer about abortion, contraception, and suicide.  In all these imaginary cases Catholicism would say, “No exceptions may be made,” while the average non-Catholic would say, “Surely some exceptions may be made.”

What justification can a Catholic offer for these exceptionless rules?  I think there are three.  Given space limitations, I won’t elaborate, at least not today.

First, the Catholic can say: “This is what divine Revelation tells us.  These absolute rules have been revealed to us by God, speaking through Jesus, through the Bible, and through the Church.  We dare not disagree with God.”

Second, the Catholic can say:  “This is what natural law tells us, and by natural law I mean a moral law that is the common law of the human race, a law that all humans understand, at least in its fundamental principles.  We must listen to the voice of nature.”

Finally, the Catholic can say: “Once you allow for a few exceptions, you’ll soon have to allow for more, and then more and more, until, finally, the rule collapses altogether.  Make a few exceptions for divorce, and soon people will divorce for trivial reasons.  The same with abortion, suicide, adultery, etc.”

In fact, as we’ve seen in recent decades, that’s precisely what has happened. The process begins with hard cases and has within it no limiting principle. And so the norms themselves essentially evaporate except as “ideals.”

I hope to analyze this problem, which has now gotten entry even in Church circles, in the near future.

COLUMN BY

David Carlin

David Carlin is a 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.

RELATED ARTICLE: Sex is for married heterosexual couples only, says Church of England

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: From the Party of Abortion and Allah Akbar to the 2020 Right to Life March and death of terrorist Soleimani

EDITORS NOTE: This is the sixth in a series titled Decadent Democrats. You may read the previous installments here:

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Pedophilia to Sex with Animals

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Electing a Dream ‘Queer Latina’ Candidate to No Incarceration For Drug Use of Any Kind

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: The Enemies of America are Our Best Friends Forever

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Ricky Gervais’ Golden Globe Diatribe to Abortion to Climate Change [+Videos]

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: From Creating Weak Men and Disorderly Women to Making Sex a Biological Reality Illegal


“If a mother can kill her own child – what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me – there is nothing between.” ― Mother Teresa

“…kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them.”  – Quran 6:151


ABORTION – A Godless Act

Today,  February 24th, 2020, is the 46th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. For the first time in history a sitting President spoke at this annual event. In October 1973 a group of 30 pro-life leaders gathers in Nellie Gray’s home in Washington, D.C. to discuss how to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In January 1974 the first March for Life walks on Washington to lobby Congressional leadership to find a legislative solution to the Supreme Court’s decision. Soon after realizing congressional protection of the unborn was not on the horizon, Nellie Gray decides to hold a March for Life every year until Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The 2016 Democratic Party Platform states:

Appointing Judges
We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, curb billionaires’ influence over elections because they understand that Citizens United has fundamentally damaged our democracy, and believe the Constitution protects not only the powerful, but also the disadvantaged and powerless. [Emphasis added]

In The Atlantic article 2020 Candidates Are Going All In on Abortion Rights Emma Green wrote:

Kirsten Gillibrand has made abortion the central issue of her presidential campaign. The senator from New York has consistently led the field of 2020 candidates on abortion policy, moving first and going the furthest to embrace an expansive vision of abortion rights. Her approach is a bellwether of where the Democratic Party is heading on this issue: Abortion is guaranteed to be a key topic in the 2020 election, especially following major policy battles at the state and federal levels. Gillibrand and other Democrats have warned that Donald Trump and the conservative-leaning justices he has appointed to the Supreme Court are working to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that established a constitutional right to abortion in 1973. Because of this, they argue, now is the time for Democrats to take a definitive stance, rather than try to compromise or telegraph discomfort over the issue.

The Democratic Party has gone beyond protecting a “woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion” to fully embracing abortion up to and even after birth.

According to The Religion of Islam website:

These unique rights mentioned in Islam also include the rights of children.  Children’s rights are not guaranteed by the actions of their parents, their communities, or even their governments.  God Himself guarantees children’s rights.

The Party of Allah Akbar

The Democratic Party is the party of Allah Akbar. Among the Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus are two Muslim women – Reps. Ilan Omar and Rashida Talib and Socialist Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Both have been highly critical if President Trump. But most recently they have been especially enraged by President Trump ordering the elimination of Iran’s Al Quds General Qassem Soleimani.

According to the Times of Israel:

In a 2013 profile of President Trump during his press conference after the termination of , New Yorker reporter Dexter Filkins wrote that as head of the Quds Force, which he took control of in 1998, Soleimani “sought to reshape the Middle East in Iran’s favor, working as a power broker and as a military force: assassinating rivals, arming allies, and, for most of a decade, directing a network of militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq.”

Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) responded to the U.S. military killing top terrorist targets in Iraq on Thursday [January 2, 2020] by ignoring the facts of the situation and going all in to stop the Trump administration from further targeting enemies of the United States that have killed Americans.

“Last night the President engaged in what is widely being recognized as an act of war against Iran, one that now risks the lives of millions of innocent people,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Now is the moment to prevent war & protect innocent people – the question for many is how, publicly & Congressionally.”

During President Donald J. Trump’s January 3rd, 2020 remarks the termination of  Soleimani, he stated:

Under my leadership, America’s policy is unambiguous: To terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American, we will find you; we will eliminate you.  We will always protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans, and our allies.

[ … ]

Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London.

[ … ]

We took action last night to stop a war.  We did not take action to start a war. [Emphasis added]

Women’s March vs. Right To Life March, Washington, D.C.

Here’s a video of the 2020 Women’s March:

President Donald J. Trump made history when he addressed the 2020 Right to Life March in Washington, D.C. Watch:

President Trump stated:

All of us here today understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. Together, we must protect, cherish, and defend the dignity and sanctity of every human life. When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation.

What a difference a party can make. 2020 will clearly be a choice between the Decadent Democrats and the Republican President Donald J. Trump.

© All rights reserved.

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A Cause, Not a Country: Iran’s Islamic Republic by Andrew Harrod

“The Iranian state serves the revolution, not the other way around,” concluded Iran analysts at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (IGC) in a series of 2019 studies four decades after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. As this series has previously indicated, in the name of pursuing an Islamic new world order, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has gone to extreme lengths to suppress any contrary indigenous, independent Iranian culture.

Iranian-Canadian political analyst Shahir Shahidsaless has noted that the IRI’s founding father and first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, had “viewed the concept of nationalism as un-Islamic.” “Like many other pious Muslims,” for him nationalism meant “opposition to the concept of ummah (Muslim worldwide community), which fundamentally rejects borders that divide Muslim societies.” “Those who, in the name of nationalism, factionalism, etc., create schism and disunity among Muslims are armies of Satan, opponents of the Holy Quran, and helping agents of the superpowers,” Khomeini had stated. He believed that “nationalism is designed by the plotters to create discord among the Muslims and it is being propagated by the agents of imperialism.”

Shahidsaless contrasted the “secular rule of the Shah,” Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, overthrown in 1979, whose “vast propaganda empowered nationalist fervour.” “In a glaring move,” the shah eliminated in 1976 the Islamic calendar, which begins with the 622 migration (hijrah) of Islam’s prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. As replacement came the Iranian royal calendar based upon the 559 BCE coronation of Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great. From Najaf, Iraq, where Khomeini had fled from the shah into exile in 1963, Khomeini labeled the new calendar a “preamble to the elimination of Islam.”

Ascending to power in 1979, Khomeini presented a dramatic reversal with the statement “Islam in fact is an ideology, in which religion represents one aspect.” The IGC analysts have noted that the “constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran makes clear the expansionist and Islamist nature of the country’s 1979 revolution” with a “centrality of ideology.” “Iran’s Islamist ideology is therefore at the crux of the Islamic Republic and cannot be detached from the Iranian state” while “for Iran’s leaders, the creation of an Islamic state in Iran was a first step to establishing a broader pan-Islamic order.” “The revolution does not exist to perfect the state; the state—the republic—is simply a means to support and perfect the revolution. Where the two conflict, the revolution is prioritized,” the IGC experts have summarized.

“All of Iran’s leaders are Islamists and claim their mandate to implement an Islamic order on the nation derives from God,” the IGC analysts have detailed. The “supreme leader is the leader of the revolution, not of the republic,” and the “Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is sworn to defend the purity of the revolution from enemies both within and without.” In public addresses, Iranian leaders have typically “opened with a prayer in Arabic, something that was not a regular feature of Iranian political culture before 1979.”

The IGC reports have especially noted that the

Green Movement protests against the 2009 Iranian presidential election results were a rude awakening to many Iranians who had believed the revolution was about political emancipation, when it was abruptly announced that obedience to the supreme leader and his appointees was the equivalent of obedience to God. No modern Iranian monarch could have made such a claim.

As Israeli Iran expert Raz Zimmt has explained, the IRI has tried to inculcate such loyalty by purging Iranian culture of nonconforming elements from the shah’s ancien régime in an attempt to create a new Iranian homo Islamicus. The “Islamic regime sought to place religion at the center of Iranian national identity, as a reaction to the blatant secularism of the royalist regime, and its efforts to emphasize Iran’s pre-Islamic past.” The national security and Middle East analyst Sarah Katz has concurred that the IRI “spurned Iranian nationalism in favor of a world conquering Islamist vision; and dissociated itself from Iran’s pre-Islamic past.”

Katz has elaborated that,

in the wake of the 1979 revolution, the government in Tehran has smothered the country’s rich, diverse, and ancient culture beneath a theocratic dictatorship. The regime is openly contemptuous of Iran’s history, its ethnic and religious minorities, and its secular-minded citizens.

In this diversity’s place, the IRI has indoctrinated a monoculture reflecting the Arab-Islamic seventh-century conquest of Iran, as the Iranian-American expatriate Amil Imani has noted. Since 1979 a “proud people with an enviable heritage have been systematically purged of their sense of identity and forced to think and behave like barbaric and intolerant Muslims.” His fellow Iranian expatiate Sheda Vasseghi has observed that the “Islamic Republic’s political and social agenda is to dilute Iranian culture and heritage with Islam to facilitate its Arabization.”

Public place names have served as one reeducation means. Khomeini gave Khalid al-Islambouli, the jihadist leader of the 1981 assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, martyr status and named a Tehran street after Islambouli after his 1982 Egyptian state execution. Katz particularly noted that the IRI has been “Arabizing many Tehran street names from their classical Persian.”

Much more egregious, a “concerted effort was made to demolish historical monuments,” Imani noted, including previously examined attempts to destroy remains of the ancient Achaemenid Empire such as Persepolis and Cyrus the Great’s tomb. “The Islamist zealots ruling Iran for the past 40 years have undertaken a systematic campaign of endangering and destroying the cultural sites of pre-Islamic Iran, ignoring the numerous petitions and pleas of the Iranian people.” Imani stated that:

History is repeating itself. When the original Arabs conquered Iran, the first thing they did was destroy Persian books, heritage and artifacts, as we have witnessed similar actions by ISIS [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] in both Iraq and Syria. The Islamic Republic of Iran also despises anything and everything Iranian, and has been gradually obliterating Iranian antiquities while no one notices.

Yet Vasseghi found “no better evidence regarding the Islamic Republic’s cultural genocide of Iran than its own textbooks.” Imani elaborated that the

animosity toward Iranian pre-Islamic culture and history and became the hallmark of the Islamic Republic’s regime. De-Persianization and adulation of the Arabic tribal culture entered elementary school books. In schools, instead of teaching Persian history, culture and geography and history, they taught culture and geography of the Bedouins of another land. In schools, children were brainwashed by a type of ideological indoctrination no longer acceptable by modern society and taught a Persian language obliterated by unfamiliar jargon. Purging of our institutions of higher education of scholars, top professors and researchers caused lowering of educational standards relative to international standards and flight of the best and the brightest of our country.

The views of Imani and others, along with recent Iranian events, indicate that the IRI’s revolution is backfiring. Iranians naturally reject abandoning their national identity for the costly, cosmic claims of an Islamic ideology perceived by many Iranians as a foreign imposition. Rather than fomenting totalitarian religious zeal, the IRI has ultimately highlighted Iran’s conflicted history between native and Arab-Islamic elements, as the next part of this series will analyze.

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Islamic Republic of Iran: MP offers “$3 million reward in cash to whoever kills Trump”

“U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood dismissed the reward as ‘ridiculous’, telling reporters in Geneva it showed the ‘terrorist underpinnings’ of Iran’s establishment.”

Indeed. And if anyone succeeds in doing this, there will be great rejoicing in Washington and mourning all over Iran. It’s a topsy-turvy world.

“Iran MP offers reward for killing Trump, U.S. calls it ‘ridiculous,’” by Parisa Hafezi, Reuters, January 21, 2020:

DUBAI (Reuters) – An Iranian lawmaker offered a $3 million reward to anyone who killed U.S. President Donald Trump and said Iran could avoid threats if it had nuclear arms, ISNA news agency reported on Tuesday amid Tehran’s latest standoff with Washington.

U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood dismissed the reward as “ridiculous”, telling reporters in Geneva it showed the “terrorist underpinnings” of Iran’s establishment.

Tensions have steadily escalated since Trump pulled Washington out of Tehran’s nuclear agreement with world powers in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions. The standoff erupted into tit-for-tat military strikes this month.

“On behalf of the people of Kerman province, we will pay a $3 million reward in cash to whoever kills Trump,” lawmaker Ahmad Hamzeh told the 290-seat parliament, ISNA reported.

He did not say if the reward had any official backing from Iran’s clerical rulers.

The city of Kerman, in the province south of the capital, is the hometown of Qassem Soleimani, a prominent Iranian commander whose killing in a drone strike ordered by Trump on Jan. 3 in Baghdad prompted Iran to fire missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq.

“If we had nuclear weapons today, we would be protected from threats … We should put the production of long-range missiles capable of carrying unconventional warheads on our agenda. This is our natural right,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA….

This month, Iran announced it was scrapping all limits on its uranium enrichment work, potentially shortening the so-called “breakout time” needed to build a nuclear weapon….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

China’s underground Christian communities: Unwitting forerunners of the Benedict Option?

Both Catholics and Protestants have survived decades of persecution.


In early 2017, conservative American pundit Rod Dreher published a bombshell of a book called The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.

He argued that conservative Western Christians should give up their futile war over the cultural mainstream and withdraw into tightly-knit communities centred around their faith and their church. This would be the only way to survive a coming persecution of conservative Christian values.

Many articles have been published about Dreher’s controversial proposals, most of them centred on the West.

But what about the East? For more than a century the “Benedict Option” has worked in China, a nation which has never been overly friendly to Christianity. These communities in China pre-date Mr Dreher by many decades. Christians in the West will do themselves a favour by pondering their brethren’s experience of survival.

Who are these Chinese communities? Catholics and Protestants in China can be roughly divided into two camps: a faction loyal to the government and an independent faction.

Protestants can worship in the government-sanctioned Protestant “Three-Self Patriotic Movement” (三自爱国运动). Or they can join defiant house churches, which have been long subject to persecution and produced many heroic examples of resistance. Pastor Wang Yi of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, for instance, was sentenced to nine years in prison late last year for “inciting subversion of state power and illegal business operations”.

For Catholics, the underground movement loyal to the Pope has long suffered harsh persecution and has had a bitter relationship with the official Catholic Patriotic Association (天主教爱国会). Its government-approved bishops were even excommunicated by the Pope until the recent controversial Sino-Vatican agreement.

All of the above has been well covered by Western media — but what has it to do with the Benedict Option? Well, Dreher believes that in an age where anyone who does not toe the progressive line of thinking is at risk of being excluded from the cultural mainstream, minority Western Christians must huddle together for warmth.

Newsflash, guys! Chinese Christians were never in control of the cultural mainstream. Ever since the days of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and even in the years before that, Chinese who converted to Christianity were brutally oppressed and many were murdered. Catholics, who outnumbered Protestants before the 1900s, had to endure the wrath of not only the Qing Empire but also of their ancestor-worshipping neighbours.

It was the Boxer Rebellion that marked the emergence of Chinese “Benedict option” communities. The Boxers were virulently anti-West and anti-Christian, and thousands of Chinese faithful were slaughtered along with Western priests. Many Catholics had to retreat to places deep in the mountains and build settlements which were easier to defend and harder to attack; they formed militias of their own to protect themselves.

Thousands fled to communities like these throughout northern China and especially in the Shanxi and Hebei Provinces. To this day they make up the bulk of northern Chinese Catholics. This is the origin of the so-called “Catholic laity villages” (教友村),hundreds of which still exist. Even today, the Provincial Religious Bureau monitors these villages and publishes lists to help local party cadres to increase surveillance of these areas.

Many of these communities unwittingly mirror Dreher’s vision. Life centers around the Church and all the villagers are raised as Catholics, in stark contrast to most of the neighbouring villages. Fortifications (many still visible) were built to defend themselves from the wrath of their fellow countrymen, who viewed them as traitors to the Chinese nation. From a point of weakness, these early Chinese Catholics gathered together in a vision of strategic retreat and managed to survive years of violence.

Some of these communities thrive today, even after 70 years of Communist rule. During the Cultural Revolution, many Catholic villagers in Hebei, Shanxi and other Chinese provinces hid statues of the Virgin Mary which they venerated in secret, at a time when religious eradication was government policy and churches and pilgrimage sites were being bulldozed.

After enjoying a brief revival, the Chinese Catholic faithful are once again at the crossroads. Many regard the Vatican negotiation and eventual agreement with Beijing as a betrayal. But as a Hong Kong media (RTHK) documentary broadcast in February 2019 shows, the rural villagers in Hebei show amazing resilience. They set up makeshift altars and chapels in decrepit village factories and fields. Defiant underground priests performed services in the most unremarkable of rural courtyards. Hundreds of villagers came to worship in bitterly cold nights after the police and party cadres have gone.

Chinese Catholics also have larger families. Many young children can be seen even in the makeshift chapels — yet another act of defiance against a law banning all minors from attending religious services or activities, as well a snub to China’s population control.

This is the true resilience of faith. Westerners accustomed to freedom of religion may be shocked at the sacrifices Chinese underground Catholics have endured. But Catholics in China are benefitting from adversity. It only strengthens their faith, at a time when Westerners seem to have lost their way. It is very similar to Rod Dreher’s strategy.

Protestant house churches fill in the other half of the picture. Unlike Catholics, whose strength is in rural strongholds, Protestant house churches draw their strength from urban China. The recently jailed Pastor Wang’s Early Rain Covenant Church is one of the best examples.

Started barely a decade ago, Early Rain grew and challenged the Chinese government’s authority. The church held commemorative services for the June 4 crackdown, a huge taboo in China. It had a pro-life department which openly went onto the street every Children’s Day (June 1) rolling out banners protesting abortion. Early Rain also aggressively planted churches in its native city of Chengdu and beyond and sought to form a “Calvinist association” of sorts in Southwestern China, a direct snub and rejection of the Chinese government sanctioned Three-Self Association.

Early Rain is another facet of the “Benedict Option”. Even though it is urban and its followers do not necessarily live in the same compound, it is an amazingly tight-knit community in a country where everyone feels that he has to fend for himself and the government is omnipotent and omnipresent.

Early Rain was a pioneer in establishing unsanctioned church schools catering for its congregants’ children (illegal according to Chinese law). It operates a seminary of its own instead of sending people to government sanctioned seminaries (again, illegal). It even operates its own online video and radio channels with recorded footage of Mr. Wang and other pastors preaching.

At its peak, Early Rain had more than 700 congregants.

Of course, this was never going to be tolerated by Beijing’s mandarins. Thus in December 2018, the church was raided (the last of many raids), Mr. Wang and his wife, together with key congregants, were arrested, and the church was shut down for good.

But in a true show of strength, many congregants continue to form prayer groups and still attempt to worship together in apartments, backyards and bathrooms. The faith still lives on.

In short, something very much like the “Benedict Option” has worked to the advantage of the Chinese faithful, both Catholic and Protestant. The difference between them and American Christians like Dreher is that Dreher can still ponder his options for a survival strategy.

For many Chinese Christians, the Benedict Option is their only option.

COLUMN BY

WILLIAM HUANG

William Huang is a product of the one-child policy as he is the only son in the family. Born and raised in China, it is only when he went overseas to study that he had an epiphany, realizing just how much damage this policy has done to the Chinese nation and his generation of peers. Now he is an avid researcher in China and East Asia’s looming demographic crisis and he also aims to raise his voice for the sanctity of life wherever and whenever he can. Mr. Huang is an avid researcher into China and East Asia’s looming demographic crisis. He also aims to raise his voice for the sanctity of life wherever and whenever he can.

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Why Do Christians Believe in Hell?

Michael Pakaluk: Hell is a truth that Jesus teaches and indirectly affirms on many occasions. It exists because we have freedom to reject God and the good.


Why Do Christians Believe in Hell?   Because Christendom has affirmed it, Jesus clearly teaches the reality of Hell in the Bible, and Hell’s reality resonates with an honest account of our own experience.

That’s not the answer theologian David Bentley Hart gave earlier this month, when the New York Times offered him a perch to discuss the misguided beliefs of his fellow Christians.  The Bible is so unclear about Hell, he wrote, while it is clear about universal salvation, that the doctrine of Hell must be purely an expression of the ill will of Christians.  They hate their fellow human beings so much that they want them to spend eternity in torment.

When the Roman Empire embraced Christianity, Hart writes, the doctrine of Hell was a form of “spiritual terror,” which served as an “indispensable instrument of social stability.”  But the enduring motives, Hart insists, have always been deeply personal – and demented.  Christians derive a “secret pleasure,” he says, from hoping that, when they are saved, they will be envied by the damned: “What heaven can there be. . .without an eternity in which to relish the impotent envy of those outside its walls?”

Indeed, the malice of these Christians knows no bounds, according to Hart. They cannot accept any “concept of God that gives inadequate license to the cruelty of which [their] own imaginations are capable. . . .The idea of Hell is the treasury of their most secret, most cherished hopes.”

That’s a pretty gross slander of Christians, which naturally the New York Times is eager to promote.  Hasn’t it always been clear that those “enemies of the human race,” who oppose abortion, same-sex marriage, and other good things, harbor hatred within their hearts?  Now even one of their own comes clean about that!  And if you want to become fully convinced of the inveterate malice of Christians in this matter, you can follow the link, which Hart kindly provides, to his new book about it.

Of course, a theologian like Hart who accuses billions of Christians of malice, and who opines that Christians take a morbid delight in setting themselves above others, puts himself in a rather exposed position.  Didn’t Jesus say something about splinters and logs?  So Hart has to package his attack as self-defense.  His book, he says, has provoked a frenzy of criticisms (“if only,” you might say), which he variously describes as indignant, hysterical, truculent, uninhibited, and demented.  He’s forced to account for these attacks against him, in the pages of the New York Times.

If someone were to ask me why Christians believe in Hell, my starting point wouldn’t be angry emails to Hart about his new book, but the Catena Aurea, on Matthew 25:46, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

The Catena Aurea, or “golden chain,” is St. Thomas Aquinas’ remarkable stitching together of commentaries by the Fathers on the Gospels, to produce a single running commentary. It provides a balanced view of authoritative teaching by the Fathers on Scripture.  I would start with Mt. 25:46, because that is a proof text for the existence Hell: if anything ever counts as a proof-text, it must be those words from one of Jesus’ own parables.

There’s symmetry here between the fate of the righteous and the unrighteous.  The righteous are said to “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (v. 34) But to inherit something is to be given it as one’s own possession, and the phrase “foundation of the world” points to an ultimate, not a conditional, reality.  The unrighteous similarly are consigned to “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” which must, therefore, be as fixed and unalterable as is Satan’s will against God.

The word rendered “everlasting” here (aiōnios, which draws upon the meaning of “endlessness” inherent in its Indo-European root, *aiw-, just like our word, “ever”) is always used in that sense in the New Testament, mainly for “everlasting life.”

But more importantly, Jesus uses the same term for the duration of the punishment, as for the duration of the life.  What holds for the one, then, must hold for the other. If the life is everlasting, the punishment is everlasting.

The term for punishment, too, has connotations of torment, as indeed the word “fire” suggests.  “Some deceive themselves,” St. Augustine says, quoted in the Catena, “that the fire indeed is called everlasting, but not the punishment. This the Lord foreseeing, sums up His sentence in these words.”

Hart bites the bullet. To make the everlastingness of Hell look doubtful, he makes that of Heaven doubtful.  Here’s how he renders Mt 25:46 in his recent translation of the New Testament: “And these will go to the chastening of the Age, but the just to the life of that Age.”

What? “The frightening language used by Jesus in the Gospels,” Hart assures us in his New York Times column, “when read in the original Greek, fails to deliver the infernal dogmas we casually assume to be there.” At least, his translation makes sure that it fails to deliver.   But, similarly, it fails to deliver the dogma of Heaven.  Every promise Jesus makes about eternal life becomes, in Hart’s rendering, a promise about “life in the Age.”

But Hell is not simply a truth that Jesus teaches and indirectly affirms on many occasions (e.g., as when he says that it would have been better for his betrayer not to be born, Mt 26:24).  As the Fathers point out, it resonates in our hearts, not because it is “there” already, but because we are aware that we have freedom to reject God and the good.  And we sense that chances eventually come to an end. We can set ourselves on evil, and a true attitude of penance recognizes no claim on God to bail us out. (Ps. 51:4)

Hart and other recent writers make strenuous efforts to deny the truth, but the words stand.

Michael Pakaluk

Michael Pakaluk, an Aristotle scholar and Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, is a professor in the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America. He lives in Hyattsville, MD with his wife Catherine, also a professor at the Busch School, and their eight children. His latest book, on the Gospel of Mark, The Memoirs of St Peter, is now available from Regnery Gateway. He is currently at work on a new book on Mary’s voice in the gospel of John.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

VIDEO: The Vortex — McCarrick Dead? An ‘anonymous’ source says so.

TRANSCRIPT

Is Theodore McCarrick dead? Church Militant yesterday received an anonymous letter with a New Jersey postmark on it stating just that.

First, here is the letter, in its entirety:

Church Militant
2840 Hilton Rd.
Ferndale, MI 48220

Here is a tip of the day for you. You have been played for fools by the bishops of Florida and elsewhere. Theodore McCarrick died on Tuesday, October 15, 2019. You are trying to locate him! He is in a cemetery in Hays, KS. He is buried under a modified name.

All this happened with little or no notice from the media. This is news known to a few. Break it. Or disregard it altogether. You are wasting your time in Florida. Who did the funeral prayers? The most liberal bishop in the far southwest of the US, known for its fine weather… October 18. Some of us were there.

An involved reader

First, Church Militant receives all sorts of tips on all sorts of stories. Until we can verify them, we would never report them. And for the record, we are not reporting that McCarrick is dead and has been secretly buried in Hays, Kansas.

After thoroughly checking every possible angle and source on this we can report, it appears to be not true, even in the slightest. Some of the timeline in the letter doesn’t seem to correspond with on-the-record information.

For example, the Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas where McCarrick was last known to have lived reported to media that he had left around Christmas time on his own and that they are not responsible for tracking his whereabouts. Obviously he couldn’t have left at Christmas if he was already in a grave two months prior.

So the letter is wrong, or the friary is lying — but we’re not sure why the friary would lie.

Likewise, again after thorough vetting with various officials and funeral homes and cemeteries, and police and public records, and medical examiners, etc., nothing has been discovered by us that would suggest this letter has a shred of truth to it.

So why are we telling you about it?

A couple of reasons. First, to show how someone or someones might be trying to steer the McCarrick story from behind the scenes and influence coverage. Interest in this story is intense and intensifies every day that passes that the Vatican does not release its investigation.

McCarrick remains — to this day — an enigma, and no one in the hierarchy has come forward publicly to reveal what they know about his lifelong evils, in which many of them were participants.

It would be unthinkable that various members of the McCarrick inner circle would not want to know where he is in case he would come forward and spill the beans on them.

It’s safe to say that some would, in fact, prefer that he be dead and take his secrets to the grave. Others might even assist him to an early grave.

McCarrick was at the center of decades of crimes and cover-ups on a gigantic scale, and not a few prelates know that McCarrick knows.

The second reason we are telling you about this anonymous letter is the damage that this kind of news — if and when it begins to circulate — could inflict on McCarrick’s surviving victims.

Imagine for a moment that this homopredator had entrapped you in his snare for months or years. You are suffering the silent agony of his predation and are reminded of it even more pointedly now as news of his whereabouts and the Vatican’s delay keep making headlines.

There’s something a bit twisted about not feeling any sympathy for the survivors of this former cardinal who molested and abused countless boys and young men.

And there’s something further twisted about wanting to deliberately spread disinformation about one of the most closely followed stories in the Church — where loads of people have an intense interest in wanting the full truth to come out, and many others have an equally intense interest in keeping that truth from ever being revealed.

EDITORS NOTE: This Church Militant video is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.