Thursday, April 30, 2015

Uncharitable Thursday: Why Does Bishop X Check His Cell Phone While Taking Confessions?

From the comments section on one of the most perceptive pieces on Bishop X:
Oh, and one piece of advice for any of you who ever happen to go to him for confession: ask him to turn off his phone BEFORE the sacrament begins. He is on his phone CONSTANTLY, (which is not news to residents of his former city), but I was STUNNED to hear text beeps occurring while he was listening to my confession. To this day, I regret not asking him why he would leave his phone on during this holy sacrament.
Now, this has never happened to me. Once in a while I have snuck a peak at priests in-between confessions at our church. In every single case, they've either been praying the Rosary, saying other prayers or reading what looked like a Bible or a Missal.

They're probably guilty of crypto-Lefebvrist tendencies.

But back to Bishop X. Now, I've heard other negative things about his personal behavior, some of them directly from "insiders" that I personally know, not from comments on the internet. That I've heard them is one of the reasons I'm using the above public bit of "hearsay" in this blog post. But for a couple of obvious reasons, I'm not going to talk about the other things here.

Whoa! How unfair of me. How uncharitable. How gossipy. Accusing the man without allowing him to defend himself.

Well, give me a break. Anyone that has followed his career knows what he is. And from a number of other personal accounts, the man is a stewing bundle of bias, uncharity, selfishness and hypocrisy. Sure, I hope he goes to Heaven. But at the moment he's greatly harming the Church and endangering souls. I hope he has a change of heart.

And he can defend himself whenever and however he wants. For example, this blog is entirely open to him.

Why does Bishop X check his cell phone while taking confessions?
Q: You seem to also embrace this idea that we've heard-- from Cardinal Kasper and also from Pope Francis the idea of mercy. Not ideas, but the mission of mercy. Why mercy?
A: Well, as Cardinal Kasper said in his very important book on mercy-- there really has not been a fully developed theology of the mercy of God, and so that's why he wrote about it. And yet, it's at the heart of the Scriptures. That if you read throughout the Psalms, also through the Prophets and then how Jesus conducted himself, mercy is at the heart of what God does for us. And it's because the condition that we're in of sinfulness....And so the only remedy for that is God's mercy. It's not something that we can do. So we are thrown at the feet of God's mercy, because we're enslaved by sin. All of us are.
So then, in the confessional, the primary and most physically obvious and consistent mechanism for mercy in the Catholic Church,

Why does Bishop X check his cell phone while taking confessions?
Q: So it's about listening? 
A: It is. It's about listening.... 
Q: And so to win a convert, what you have to do is? 
A: Listen, talk, be respectful of people—and make sure that you really have an openness to where people are coming from...
If it's about listening,

Why does Bishop X check his cell phone while taking confessions?
A: ...And I just think that more and more you're going to see that kind of appointment (the Pope appointing me--Bishop X--and other likeminded clerics) happening... 
Q: When you say “that kind of appointment?” 
A: The kind of appointment that you're talking about of somebody who looks at people the way the pope does and wants. The pope has said this and the nuncio has said this. The nuncio told us last year the pope told him, I want more pastoral bishops...the Holy Father wants bishops who know “the smell of the sheep.” The pope has been very direct about that. 
Q: What do you hope to accomplish as Bishop? 
A: I'm going to be attentive to the needs of the people that are there and get to know them...
So, why does Bishop X check his cell phone while taking confessions?

Because he's a fake.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fellow Prisoner in Police Van Says Freddie Gray "Was Intentionally Trying to Injure Himself"

Did Freddie Gray's own actions lead to or contribute to his own death?

I don't know. And quite honestly, it sounds farfetched to me. But the only other prisoner in the police van has just given testimony that might support that claim.

According to The Washington Post:
BALTIMORE — A prisoner sharing a police transport van with Freddie Gray told investigators that he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” of the vehicle and believed that he “was intentionally trying to injure himself,” according to a police document obtained by The Washington Post. 
The prisoner, who is currently in jail, was separated from Gray by a metal partition and could not see him. His statement is contained in an application for a search warrant, which is sealed by the court. The Post was given the document under the condition that the prisoner not be named because the person who provided it feared for the inmate’s safety... 
Jason Downs, one of the attorneys for the Gray family, said the family had not been told of the prisoner’s comments to investigators. 
“We disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord,” Downs said. “We question the accuracy of the police reports we’ve seen thus far, including the police report that says Mr. Gray was arrested without force or incident.”
Now, of course a plausible alternative explanation is that Gray was already injured (perhaps fatally) and in pain, and through frustration, anger, pain and/or some sort of mental condition cause by the injury was banging against the walls for whatever reason. This was misinterpreted by his fellow prisoner as constituting an intentional desire on Freddie Gray's part to harm himself. For the cynical, it's also I suppose possible that someone (a dirty cop) put the other prisoner up to this.

But the point is we don't know. And certainly the fact that a fellow prisoner would give such testimony is important and interesting.

It goes without saying that the rioters, protesters, members of the "Civil Rights" establishment and other allied parties don't give a damn about what actually happened.

And we could say the same thing about Ferguson.

As to his death, Freddie Gray didn't "deserve it" (not that I've heard anyone suggest that). On the other hand that doesn't mean that the police murdered him or caused his death through negligence.

Freddie Gray was a serial criminal, who had been arrested eighteen times and had spent a number of years in jail. It doesn't appear that he was a particularly dangerous or violent criminal (relative to some of his criminal peers). His girlfriend described him as "happy-go-lucky with an infectious sense of humor." His mother was a heroin addict, and when he was out of prison he lived off the proceeds from "lead checks"--settlement money given to him and others in his neighborhood from lawsuits regarding toxic paint. He may have been borderline retarded and/or functionally illiterate.

Perhaps he is now with God. If not but if he is on the way to Him, say a prayer that he gets there quickly.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Twelve-Year-Old Mayor of Baltimore Thanks Nation of Islam and Blames Riots on Small Group of Agitators

From the Mayor's own website

She's not twelve. But she looks twelve. She's also an embarrassment.

"Okay, you're a girl and you don't have shampoo? Hello!"

Here's a photo of Nation of Islam representatives posing with Crips and Bloods gang members in Baltimore. They have all vowed to make temporary peace in the cause of killing cops:

The website I lifted this from (The Last Refuge) kindly made red circles around the finger gestures. I guess they're supposed to be making ISIS signs or something.

Hey guys, you didn't murder Malcolm X, did you?

Just asking.

And here's the video where Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake praises the Nation of Islam:

She also praises the police, shortly before she introduces the twin sister of the deceased Freddie Gray, who blames the police for killing her brother. He was a serial criminal who had been arrested at least eighteen times.

It's all Whitey's fault.

It's always Whitey's fault.

Being black in America, 2015 is a heavy cross to bear. Your supposed heroes and heroines are strutting clowns. Your supposed soldiers are thugs who wear their boxers six inches above their designer jeans. 

No moral agency whatsoever is assigned to you. You're a pet to be coddled and condescended to.

You have a problem with that? Well then, you must be an Uncle Tom.

The bow ties are just so swag, man. Whitey likes to see you wear them. It makes Whitey feel, you know, diverse.

How do you feel?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Another Zionist Plot: Israelis Create Bible the Size of a Pinhead

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds... (Matthew 13:31).
So, after the Jews reclaimed part of Palestine, within a few years much of Israel was green. Beyond Israel was still a desert. And you could see the border from space.

What are those evil Israelis doing now?

They're manufacturing a leather-bound Bible, containing 1.2 million words, the size of a pinhead.

The fiends.

You can pick it up and put it down anytime. Just don't sneeze.

I like the Psalms myself. Pass me the electron microscope.

But it's a testament to the human spirit and its devotion to God. It's amazing what you can do when you're not spending 95% of your time throwing rocks, constructing bombs or, you know, complaining.

God sees all. I cannot believe he doesn't love this.

From the BBC:
A copy of the Hebrew Bible the size of a pinhead has gone on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. 
The so-called Nano Bible is the smallest version in the world. 
It consists of over 1.2 million letters carved on a gold-plated silicon chip by engineers using an ion beam. 
The "book" is being exhibited as part of events marking the Museum's 50th anniversary. 
The hi-tech creation is being housed in the museum's Shrine of the Book, home to the Dead Sea Scrolls - the oldest copies of Biblical texts ever found. 
Dr Adolfo Roitman, curator at the Shrine of the Book, spoke to BBC News about how the microscopic Bible was created.
And here's the video link:

Pope Receives Colorful Set of Briefcases: He Chooses the Green One

The briefcases were a gift to the Pope from the President of the Czech Republic. As can be seen from the photograph, he was also given an Infant of Prague. The Pope is not blessing the briefcases but rather an alter stone, below the frame, that will be used for masses in two nursing homes.

"The green one is perfect for carrying my next encyclical on the protection of creation," said the Pope.

Don't blame me. The original story received 9,912 likes on Facebook.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Bill Maher and Guests Make Fun of the Holocaust

"Hey Tucker, you wanna get a couple beers and make up jokes about the Gulag?"

From the October 12th, 2007 episode of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher:

Bill Maher: The people who are really getting tough in foreign policy are part of the House Foreign Relations Committee...they voted yesterday to once again commemorate the mass murder of six million Jews by the Nazis during World War Two. Mild Applause. This is exactly why the voters gave control to the Democrats: to send a stirring message to Adolph Hitler. 
Huge laughter from audience. 
Tucker Carlson: Unbelievable. To sell out to the Jewish lobby. Now, the Holocaust happened... 
Joy Behar: Yeah. 
Tucker Carlson: ...and it was a terrible thing, and I'm sure in a perfect world we would...take time out to condemn this, but we are doing this at the price of offending some of our key allies, such as various Arab states, factions within the current German leadership and other friends in the War on Terror. 
Joy Behar: And wait until the Duke of Windsor hears about it from his mansion in Bermuda. 
More laughter from audience. 
Tucker Carlson: What do we get out of it...what interest of ours is served by making some of our allies mad? 
Paul Krugman: (Shrugs good naturedly.) 
Bill Maher: Because there are a lot of Jews in, apparently California, and they're a lobby. It's the ultimate in special interest lobbying. 
Joy Behar: The Jews deserve attention, but timing is everything; wait a little while. 
Tucker Carlson: I like the Jews. 
Bill Maher: We all like the Jews. 
Tucker Carlson: This is all pointless... 
Loud laughter and applause from the audience.

Doesn't this just turn your stomach?

The only problem is, I lied. The above conversation never happened.

Sort of.

Actually this exact conversation really did happen. With one small difference: they were talking about Armenians not Jews. I transcribed the entire conversation virtually word-for-word, but replaced every occurrence of "Armenians" with "Jews". I also changed a few other things to make the references match--like inserting "Adolph Hitler" in place of "The Ottoman Empire". See end of post for the actual transcript.

Please, do not misunderstand. I am not minimizing the Holocaust. If anything, I think the murder of six million Jews should be remembered a hundred times more in our current culture. Even now, seventy years later, when most of the survivors (and perpetrators) are dead. And in a number of ways (though not all), the Holocaust was singular and unique.

But the Armenian Genocide, which while killing fewer people--"only" 1 to 2 million--was one of the great horrors of the twentieth century, and, according to one report, was an inspiration for Hitler's own effort.

It isn't funny.

It shouldn't be a political football.

And politics--"timing is everything"--shouldn't carry one atom of consideration when weighed against the truth.

On this blog we've praised Maher many times. He often has spoken the politically-incorrect truth about all sorts of things when others have been silent.

But not then.

He (and his guests) for once should have just kept their mouths shut.


Here is what was actually said:
Bill Maher: The people who are really getting tough in foreign policy are part of the House Foreign Relations Committee...they voted yesterday to condemn, as an act of genocide, the killings of Armenians, in Turkey, in 1915. Mild Applause. This is exactly why the voters gave control to the Democrats: to send a stirring message to the Ottoman Empire. 
Huge laughter from audience. 
Tucker Carlson: Unbelievable. To sell out to the Armenian lobby. Now, there was a genocide in Armenia... 
Joy Behar: Yeah. 
Tucker Carlson: ...and it was a terrible thing, and I'm sure in a perfect world we would...take time out to condemn this, but we are doing this at the price of offending one of our key allies in the region, Turkey... 
Joy Behar: And wait until the Weimar Republic hears about it. 
More laughter from audience. 
Tucker Carlson: What do we get out of it...what interest of ours is served by making Turkey mad? 
Paul Krugman: (Shrugs good naturedly.) 
Bill Maher: Because there are a lot of Armenians in, apparently California, and they're a lobby. It's the ultimate in special interest lobbying. 
Joy Behar: The Armenians deserve attention, but timing is everything; wait a little while. 
Tucker Carlson: I like the Armenians. 
Bill Maher: We all like the Armenians. 
Tucker Carlson: This is all pointless... 
Loud laughter and applause from the audience.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Last American President to Explicitly Recognize the Armenian Genocide was Ronald Reagan

"President Erdogan, tear down this lie!"

The title (and photograph and caption) of this blog post was intended to spark interest, thought and perhaps healthy controversy.

The claim of the title is true as far as it goes.

But let me say right now that this is not going to be a pro-Reagan, pro-Republican, pro-conservative or even (perish the thought) anti-Obama piece, at least per se.

First, here's the Ronald Reagan statement from 1981. It was actually made in the context of remembering the Holocaust:
Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it — and like too many other such persecutions of too many other peoples — the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.
Now, I'm going to make some claims that will muddy the waters and may even offend a few people.

  • Every recent American president has explicitly opposed congressional resolutions branding what happened as a "genocide".
  • This includes Reagan, notwithstanding the above statement (which again was made almost tangentially in the context of another genocide).
  • Frankly, I think Reagan had the best reason for it (if there can be a "best" reason). During the 1970's and 1980's, the cause of recognition was tainted by Armenian terrorist groups--first and foremost, The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia. This was a hard-left group that trained with the PLO, was against Turkey in part because it was pro-Israel (how things have changed) and killed 46 people in assassinations, bombings, airport shootings and the like. This was in that more innocent era when terrorism was not so much a Muslim phenomenon as it was either the work of a broad front of loosely allied leftists or the last desperate stratagem of "oppressed" nationalities. As always, anti-Semitism was a factor. Reagan argued that explicitly recognizing the genocide would reward Armenian terrorists, who, sincerely or not, put recognition of the genocide at the head of their demands.
  • But that was a personal opinion that Reagan merely happened to express once or twice. The quasi-official reason for not mentioning "genocide" was that recognition would offend a vital NATO ally (Cold War)  or offend a crucial ally in the War on Terror (post Cold War). 
  • President Barrack Obama may have additional reasons. He seems to favor Muslims over Jews and Christians whenever possible. And thus an historical event that appears to frame Muslims as oppressors and Christians as victims would not be something he would wish to, so to speak, emphasize. He also appears to have a real friendship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
  • But to be fair, on the recognition question itself, there's no formal difference between the position of Obama and the position of George W. Bush, or for that matter, the position of Ronald Reagan.     

What happened was genocide. The man who coined the term "genocide" in 1943 actually said that he was first motivated by contemplating the Armenian case. The Turks tried to eliminate the greater part of the Armenian race. There can be no good excuse for not telling the truth on that. Or for not calling it what it is.

And what good reason is there to kowtow to Turkey? It was a cut-rate NATO ally and now it's a fake ally in the "War on Terror". The only thing the Turks have been successful at is convincing others they're more important than they actually are.

And for one day shy of one-hundred years they have lied about the murder of over a million innocents.*

I can deal with an embargo on doner kabobs, or sludgy coffee or bald, mustachioed circus weightlifters or whatever. But one thing richly deserves to be said:

Take your lie and shove it.


*I should say, I'm referring to the post occupation Turkish governments. Many individual Turks have indeed spoken out about the Genocide in circumstances that have often been dangerous, sometimes fatally so. The journalist Hrant Dink was killed for it in 2007. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Story for Earth Day: "A Narrow Escape" by Lord Dunsany

"A Narrow Escape" from Tales of Wonder, 1916, by Lord Dunsany

It was underground.

In that dank cavern down below Belgrave Square the walls were dripping. But what was that to the magician? It was secrecy that he needed, not dryness. There he pondered upon the trend of events, shaped destinies and concocted magical brews.

For the last few years the serenity of his ponderings had been disturbed by the noise of the motor-bus; while to his keen ears there came the earthquake-rumble, far off, of the train in the tube, going down Sloane Street; and when he heard of the world above his head was not to its credit.

He decided one evening over his evil pipe, down there in his dank chamber, that London had lived long enough, had abused its opportunities, had gone too far, in fine, with its civilisation. And so he decided to wreck it.

Therefore he beckoned up his acolyte from the weedy end of the cavern, and, "Bring me," he said, "the heart of the toad that dwelleth in Arabia and by the mountains of Bethany." The acolyte slipped away by the hidden door, leaving that grim old man with his frightful pipe, and whither he went who knows but the gipsy people, or by what path he returned; but within a year he stood in the cavern again, slipping secretly in by the trap while the old man smoked, and he brought with him a little fleshy thing that rotted in a casket of pure gold.

"What is it?" the old man croaked.

"It is," said the acolyte, "the heart of the toad that dwelt once in Arabia and by the mountains of Bethany."

The old man's crooked fingers closed on it, and he blessed the acolyte with his rasping voice and claw-like hand uplifted; the motor-bus rumbled above on its endless journey; far off the train shook Sloane Street.

"Come," said the old magician, "it is time." And there and then they left the weedy cavern, the acolyte carrying cauldron, gold poker and all things needful, and went abroad in the light. And very wonderful the old man looked in his silks.

Their goal was the outskirts of London; the old man strode in front and the acolyte ran behind him, and there was something magical in the old man's stride alone, without his wonderful dress, the cauldron and wand, the hurrying acolyte and the small gold poker.

Little boys jeered till they caught the old man's eye. So there went on through London this strange procession of two, too swift for any to follow. Things seemed worse up there than they did in the cavern, and the further they got on their way towards London's outskirts the worse London got. "It is time," said the old man, "surely."

And so they came at last to London's edge and a small hill watching it with a mournful look. It was so mean that the acolyte longed for the cavern, dank though it was and full of terrible sayings that the old man said when he slept.

They climbed the hill and put the cauldron down, and put there in the necessary things, and lit a fire of herbs that no chemist will sell nor decent gardener grow, and stirred the cauldron with the golden poker. The magician retired a little apart and muttered, then he strode back to the cauldron and, all being ready, suddenly opened the casket and let the fleshy thing fall in to boil.

Then he made spells, then he flung up his arms; the fumes from the cauldron entering in at his mind he said raging things that he had not known before and runes that were dreadful (the acolyte screamed); there he cursed London from fog to loam-pit, from zenith to the abyss, motor-bus, factory, shop, parliament, people. "Let them all perish," he said, "and London pass away, tram lines and bricks and pavement, the usurpers too long of the fields, let them all pass away and the wild hares come back, blackberry and briar-rose."

"Let it pass," he said, "pass now, pass utterly."

In the momentary silence the old man coughed, then waited with eager eyes; and the long long hum of London hummed as it always has since first the reed-huts were set up by the river, changing its note at times but always humming, louder now than it was in years gone by, but humming night and day though its voice be cracked with age; so it hummed on.

And the old man turned him round to his trembling acolyte and terribly said as he sank into the earth: "YOU HAVE NOT BROUGHT ME THE HEART OF THE TOAD THAT DWELLETH IN ARABIA NOR BY THE MOUNTAINS OF BETHANY!"

Naked Under My Burka: Sex Shop Owned by German Porn Giant Opening in Mecca

Relax. She's halal.

Okay, when I say "naked under my burka" I don't mean my burka. I mean it's the sort of thing a sexy Muslim woman who was naked under her burka might say. I haven't worn a burka since, well, since that sublime weekend interlude in Penang...

But I digress.

From the Arabic news portal Alyaoum24, via Malaysian Digest, via International Business Times, via Breitbart, via Drudge:
By Oliver Lane, Breitbart, 22 April, 2015: A Dutch-German ‘Sharia compliant’ sex aid company is to establish a shop in Mecca, the Saudi Arabian city considered holy in Islam as it is believed to be the birth place of Mohammed. 
Despite the outwardly controversial nature of the planned establishment, negotiations have taken place with local clerics and sheikhs to ensure it is fully compliant with Sharia law while owner Abdelaziz Aouragh says they are nearly ready to open. The Moroccan Muslim, who founded El Asira in 2012 said despite the commonly held belief that Muslim women are sexually repressed, this was not the case. 
Aouragh said: “The image of women in the kitchen with burqa is not a true picture… There is a lot of love and respect Islam has for adult women. Our store puts women at the center, offers information, and provides answers to frequently asked questions on sex” 
The company, which retails products such as ‘glide and care sensual silicone’ sexual lube from the ‘Sensual Arabica Collection’ and retails the ‘touch her gently creme’, has recently merged with German sex shop giant and porn baron Beate Uhse AG, the largest sex company in the world.
The El Asira website expounds on the philosophy of the company:
We believe that if couples don’t take the time to show the love for their partner nor themselves, they won’t be able to reach a deeper sensual, sexual or spiritual connection. That is what El Asira is trying to accomplish. In the end, we’d like to see our Sensual Arabica product range to be able to build bridges. Not only between the East and West, but more importantly, between man and woman. 
Will you join the enticing journey of Sensual Arabica? 
...El Asira puts women on a pedestal without embarrassing them. In our vision women deserve respect, so at El Asira, we communicate with them in a subtle and elegant way... 
El Asira is completely Sharia compliant. Contrary to popular belief, sharia compliance is not something eerie; it just means we develop products which are ‘halal’...all our products are maintaining the integrity, pure humanity and ethics inherent with the sharia... 
You were probably surprised when you entered our website and didn’t see products or images you’d normally see in a sex shop. Indeed, El Asira is different. Because we sell different products. Products with which we have set a different goal: to reach a deeper sensual, sexual or spiritual connection between man and woman.
Sharia compliance is not eerie. Who knew?

Sure enough, there are no blow up dolls or battery operated appliances. Just creams, oils and perfumes. In other words, about what you would find in the average Disney Store.

But Beate Uhse AG--"the largest sex company in the world"--is a bit different. In our exhaustive investigative research on the firm, we learned a number of fascinating facts:
  • The company was founded by Nazi "stunt pilot" Beate Uhse-Rotermund, who among other exploits, escaped Russian encircled Berlin in a mini-plane with her two-year-old son, his nanny and two other injured Germans squished in.
  • The company began in 1946 as a distributor of "family planning pamphlets" and was actually run by Ms. Uhse-Rotermund until her death in 2001.
  • She opened the world's first legal sex shop in Flensburg, West Germany in 1962.
  • Pornography was only legalized in Germany in 1976.
  • The company currently has sales of approximately 500 million dollars and owns multiple cinemas and sex shops as well as having a thriving mail-order business.
Here at Mahound's Paradise, we make no judgments (following the example of our Pope). If sex is good, sexy sex is better. And it's super-sexy better if you can have it with another person.

Or as one erotic poet put it:

Sex is natural, sex is fun
Sex is best when it's one on one.

And only one, you naughty-minded sheikh. Even if you have four wives, the rule is one at a time.

More than that would be Makrooh.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Video Tuesday: Who Would Dare to Love ISIS? The Most Amazing Video of the Year

This may be the most moving and powerful video you will see this year, or for that matter, any year.

Who Would Dare to Love Isis? (A Letter From the People of the Cross) is a project of Michael Chang, a 26-year-old Los Angeles filmmaker. The beautiful text was cowritten by Jeanette Fu. The website of Chang's company, Mighty, is not up yet but it has a Facebook page that is now gaining "likes" at an exponentially increasing rate.

I first saw the video yesterday on Steve Skojec's One Peter Five. Apparently, it was one of his most popular posts and was quickly picked up by Fox News. But at the time Steve knew almost nothing of its origins. The filmmaker contacted Steve shortly after and One Peter Five had a fascinating interview with him today. Among other things we learn that Chang is a non-denominational Christian who left his day job two months ago to focus on his craft. In the meantime, the video has gone viral, appearing on more and more Christian blogs and sites.

From the interview:
People dying for their beliefs is noble. A lot of people do that. But people dying for their enemies…that’s almost unheard of. This kind of love is what drew Christians to adore Christ in the first place. A kingdom is conquered in one of two ways. Either by force or by winning over the hearts of the people. Jesus won our hearts over. And it’s the opposite of ISIS is doing now – conquering by force. I don’t like the term conversion, but yes, the blood of our martyrs speaks louder than teachings, and I believe God will save many ISIS members through them.
Actually, Chang is not a pacifist. Read the interview to see precisely what he says on this.

I should add, in just a bit of perusing I've seen it on Traditionalist Catholic sites (including One Peter Five), Orthodox sites and Protestant sites--including "liberal" ones with a focus on "social justice", etc.

But this is not because the message is dumbed down or "averaged" to appeal to everyone. Rather it's sharp, radical (in the best sense of the word) and, well, extreme.

Just as Christ's message was.

If this isn't the New Evangelization, the term has no meaning.

Steve confessed to "choking up" each time he saw it. I'll double down on that and say I got teary just thinking about it on my way home from work.

If you don't, that says nothing about your religious sensibilities or beliefs. Rather, it will prove you're a Vulcan.

The people of the cross gather at your gates with a message
Love is coming after you...

Though your sins are like scarlet
They can be washed white as snow
Though you call yourselves servants
He will make you into Sons...

You die for your god but our God died for us...

Christ has been crucified once. And for ALL.
To make sinners like you and me into brothers
Even you.
Even now.

There is a full transcription here.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stoning in Islam (and Judaism and Christianity), Part 1

From The Stoning of Soraya M

Many people feel that the quintessential horrific punishment of Islamic law is death by stoning. Generally, it is reserved for sexual offenses--fornication, adultery and homosexual acts. Apologists for Islam would say it is a sort of exception or aberration, not sanctioned by the Koran, or else it is a holdover from Mosaic law that Jews and Christians are at least partly responsible for, if not merely a few hundred years away from.

I want to investigate this.

First, I want to make the discussion more real by citing an actual case. It occurred in Somalia in 2008. The text is taken from an article in The Independent:
'Don't kill me,' she screamed. Then they stoned her to death 
Outrage at execution of 13-year-old Somali rape victim for 'adultery' 
This was a death foretold. A Toyota pickup with a loudspeaker began an early-morning tour of the ruined neighbourhoods of Kismayo, a port in southern Somalia, announcing that there would be a killing. By 4pm a crowd of 1,000 people had gathered at the football stadium. A hole had been dug in the ground, and half an hour later a truck loaded with rocks arrived. 
A group of fighters from the Al-Shabab militia who control the city appeared, firing warning shots into the air to disperse a crush of people trying to reach the stones. 
A young girl was dragged into the stadium. She knew what was going to happen next, and witnesses saw her struggling and screaming. 
"What do you want from me?" she asked. Then she shouted "I'm not going, I'm not going. Don't kill me." 
But four men forced her into the hole and buried her up to her neck. Fifty men then set about stoning her to death. After 10 minutes she was dug up and two nurses checked to see if she was alive. She was. So they put her back in the ground and the stoning recommenced. 
Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow's crime was to be raped and then report it. After being attacked by three men her family went to the Al-Shabab Islamist militia to report the crime. She was detained and accused of adultery. No effort was made to identify or arrest the rapists.
Despite reports that she was 23 years old, Aisha was actually 13. "She hadn't even reached the age to be married," her distraught father said. 
People in Kismayo say they live in constant fear of the Al-Shabab, but not everyone was content to watch a "clearly distressed" girl being stoned to death. Some people tried to intervene. The gunmen fired shots; one man was wounded and an eight-year-old boy was shot dead. The militia later apologised for his killing. 
After the execution a man called Sheik Hayakalah told a radio station: "The evidence came from her side and she officially confirmed her guilt," he said. "She told us that she was happy with the punishment under Islamic law." Aisha's father said his daughter had begged for her life. It is illegal under Sharia to convict a 13-year-old of adultery. 
There are so many things to note about this account: The crowd that was so eager to pick up stones they had to be dispersed by gunfire. The terrified, screaming young woman, pleading for her life. The presence and actions of those "nurses". The fact that the "adultery" was almost certainly a gang-rape. The resistance and heroism of some (that 8 year old boy?) The technical question of the age requirement-when would stoning be permitted--14? 16? 18?

In the next post I want to answer a number of questions:

  1. To what extent is the punishment of stoning present in the law codes of contemporary Muslim countries?
  2. To what extent is it practiced by extra-legal means in Muslim countries?
  3. Is it sanctioned by the Koran?
  4. If not, is it sanctioned by other original Islamic sources?
  5. Was stoning decreed and/or practiced under ancient Jewish or Christian law?
  6. If so, when and why did it disappear?

These questions are not difficult to answer and in fact have relatively non-controversial answers. Or at least they do for all those that desire to approach the question without bias or prejudice.

In the meantime, I know that all readers would regard the above case and similar cases as acts of grave evil.

Please pray for Aisha Duhulow and all the other victims.

Recommendation: The Pope Francis Little Book of Insults

Many of you in the Catholic o'sphere may have already seen this, but if not, I invite you to take a look. The Pope Francis Little Book of Insults was first introduced more than a year ago, though it is an ongoing project and further suggestions continue to come in through the comments section of the original post and elsewhere.

It was launched by the English blogger at That the Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill, a long-running and extremely useful site that is one of the few that I link to on my relatively short Catholic blog roll. As many of you probably recognized, the distinctive title is from Psalm 51.

A few caveats. Though this may not be completely clear from a casual reading, there is in fact no such book. (This didn't stop a few news services from reporting on it as if there were.) Rather, the list is contained on the original post. While I think the author and I are on often on the same page on the state of the current Church and things Catholic, no endorsement by Bones of my own quirky blog is necessarily suggested.

From my point of you, what is particularly annoying about the Pope's "who am I to judge?" statement--an originally off the cuff remark that obviously took on a life of its own--and the implicit (and sometimes) explicit message of much of his pontificate, is not that a general Christian attitude of refraining from the judgment of persons is not meritorious--after all, there is firm scriptural backing for it--but the idea that this Pope is somehow different from or better than his predecessors and perhaps other Catholics in this regard.

In point of fact Pope Francis has been incredibly judgmental in terms of persons, especially towards fellow Christian and Catholic persons. Indeed, what the "book" clarifies for us, beyond any reasonable doubt is that judgmentalism has reached a sort of mania with Francis. That this is almost the reverse of the mainstream view simply shows that when it comes to judgment the mainstream view is almost exclusively concerned with judgment concerning non-Christians and non-Catholics as well as, for lack of better terms, dissenting or "liberal" Christians or Catholics. On this view, passing judgment on opinions in favor of, say, communion for the divorced and remarried or some such is fascist. Judging Cardinal Burke or some anonymous Catholic who likes the Traditional Mass is righteous. And so on.

Or, as you-know-who might say, who am I to judge? Judging is for those liquid Christians (no. 14), those querulous and disillusioned pessimists (no. 28), those sloth-diseased, acidic Christians (no. 61), those moralistic quibblers (no. 96) over there!

Go the the original post, but here are two excerpts from the short and long parts. To his credit, every insult has a link to the original source. I hope the author had a good cocktail after finishing it. 

Who can deny that these are positively Shakespearean?
"Old maid!" 
"Fomenter of coprophagia!" 
"Specialist of the Logos!" 
"Rosary counter!" 
"Self-absorbed, Promethean neo-Pelagian!" 
"Ideological Christians!" 
"Mr and Mrs Whiner!"
Weathervanes! All of them! 
Rotting in the heart, weak, weak to the point of rottenness! Gloomy in the heart! 
Weak-hearted Christians! 
So much sterility within our Mother Church: when because of the weight of the hope in the Commandments, that pelagianism that all of us carry within our bones, she becomes sterile. She believes she is capable of giving birth… no, she can’t! 
Many times I think that in some places the Church is more like an entrepreneur than a mother. 
A discouraged, anxious, sad Church; a Church who is more spinster than mother; and this Church isn’t useful”, such a Church is no more than a museum. 
Christians in appearance! Made-up Christians, because when the rain comes, the make-up runs off! 
“So many ‘apparent Christians,’ collapse at the first temptation,” 
Appearances! Christians of appearance ... they are dead! 
“Band of the chosen” in that “ecclesiastical microclimate!”

These really do not do the whole thing justice. You have to read the full post (and hopefully the comments) to get the full impact in all its, so to speak, glory. It's funny, then painful, then funny, then...

Spalding, signing out. I have to go now. My make-up is running off.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Just Because: Gaddafi and Berlusconi Together in Pictures

I know it's wrong. But with Libya all but in the hands of ISIS, and Italy under sea-borne invasion by Muslims using Libya as a jumping off point (and they're now murdering Christian hangers-on in transit), I thought it would be appropriate to remember in images two former leaders from a more innocent time. It was only a few years ago...

"Why is Muammar wearing a photograph of an anti-Italian guerrilla fighter on his lapel?"
"Why does Silvio always dress up his mistresses to look like American rap singers?"
"Damn! The casual look upstages me again!" 
"Before I formally address the nude, could I please hold your hand?" 
"You always look different!"
"You always look the same!"
"Is that Old Spice?"
"It IS Old Spice!"
"A potpourri gift basket from the Libyan people to the Italian people!"
"Is it permitted?"
"Of course, Orrence, you're one of us now!"
"I can't release my hand."
"I can't release my hand either. I think my joker of an assistant put superglue on the gun barrel."
"I want to introduce those of you at this pool party to my homeless uncle."
"No fair. The deal was I would dress up as Crockett and YOU would dress up as Tubbs."