The Real War On Women And Children
Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 10:42 AM

We awoke this morning to learn about the horrific and tragic attack by Taliban terrorists against a high school in Pakistan which caused the death and injury to hundreds of children.  This comes on the heels of the sixteen-hour siege in Sydney, Australia, which resulted in the deaths of two hostages and injuries to others by a radical Islamist.  Tori Johnson, the Lindt Café manager, and Katrina Dawson, a mother-of-three, were killed in that terrorist attack.  Mr. Johnson, 34, was killed as he tried to wrestle the gun from the Islamic terrorist and ISIS supporter, Man Haron Monis, inside the café.  May God give peace to the memory of the victims of these cowardly acts, and comfort to the families of those killed and injured.

Although reported by only a few international news outlets, and mostly unnoticed in the United States, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (“ISIS”) distributed in its territory a pamphlet titled, “Questions and Answers on Taking Captives and Slaves.”  The pamphlet was published by the “Research and Fatwa Department of Islamic State.”  (No, I am not making that up.)  It describes in a clear question-and-answer format for the ignorant ISIS followers how to deal with issues arising from the slavery of non-Moslem women.  The English language translation was completed by the Middle East Media Research Institute (“MEMRI”).  One question asks whether all “unbelieving” (i.e., non-Moslem woman) women can be taken into captivity.  The answer, “There is no dispute among the scholars that it is permissible to capture unbelieving women.”

If you are an Islamic terrorist, you might be thinking, if I have a slave, may I have intercourse with her?  The answer: “It is permissible to have sexual intercourse with the female captive.  Allah the almighty said: ‘[Successful are the believers] who guard their chastity, except from their wives or [the captives and slaves] that their right hands possess, for then they are free from blame [Koran 23:5-6].’” And then in a follow-up question, what kind of sex is permitted with one’s female slave(s)?  “If she is a virgin, he [her master] can have intercourse with her immediately.  However, if she isn’t, then her uterus must be purified first.”  However, the procedure to “purify a uterus” is not explained in the pamphlet.  Perhaps there is more information to come from the Research and Fatwa Department.

Now you might be wondering what about child sex slavery?  Islamic State has the answer to that simple question, and instructs its followers:

Question: “Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty?”  Answer: “It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse; however if she is not fit for intercourse, then it is enough to enjoy her without intercourse.

Emphasis added.  After all, according to traditional Islamic hadith sources, among his many wives, Mohammed married his favorite wife, Aisha bint Abī Bakr, when she was six or seven years old.  According to Mohammed’s quasi-official biographer, Ibn Hisham, their “marriage” was consummated, not at the time of marriage, but rather when she was nine or ten years old and Mohammed was 53.

In other useful gems of wisdom, beating the women is allowed, but only for disciplinary reasons.  Further, the buying, selling, and gifting of slaves are also permitted “for they are merely property.”  The 27 questions and answers in the pamphlet delves into many other important questions applying Islamic “wisdom,” such as the question of whether one can engage in sexual intercourse with two sisters, and  how to cover up properly a slave during prayer.

It is well documented that ISIS fighters have taken thousands of women and children as captives, particularly both Christian and the minority Yazidi sect in Iraq.  Last month, a United Nations report said that some of these women were taken to Syria where they were sold to ISIS fighters, or were given as “gifts” to ISIS leaders.  Most undoubtedly are being used for sex.  Haras Rafiq, an expert at the British counter-terrorism think-tank, the Quilliam Foundation, said of the new ISIS pamphlet: ‘It is a sick and disgusting document, and it takes the world back to the Dark Ages.”  Indeed.  Please pray for the Christian and Yazidi women and children held by ISIS during this Christmas season, and the families of the Taliban victims in Pakistan.  May the one true God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ be close to all of them during these horrific days.



Another Case of Excessive Force by Police?
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 10:03 AM

622x350 300x280 Another Case of Excessive Force by Police?Since the events this past summer in Ferguson, Missouri, involving Michael Brown, or the more recent events involving Eric Garner on Staten Island, New York, much has been written and discussed about overly-zealous police officers.  The failure by two grand juries to indict police officers involved in these two cases has led to violence and large-scale protests, both in the United States and abroad, a situation encouraged by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.  As another recent example of excessive police tactics, Jacob Herrera, an eighth-grade student at Sam Houston Middle School in Amarillo, Texas, was arrested and detained overnight in late October. Prior to his detention, he was reportedly slammed face-first in the ground by a police officer during a school football game.  What was the young man’s crime?  He refused to remove his rosary beads from his neck.

Now one might wonder why Jacob’s rosary was so troubling to police officers.  According to the Amarillo Police Department, rosary beads are symbols for association with gang violence, and students in the Amarillo Independent School District are not permitted to wear them on school property.  However, Jacob’s rosary was given to him by his now-deceased brother, and it held great religious and sentimental value to him.  As a result, Jacob had prior approval from the school’s principal that allowed him to wear rosary beads underneath his clothing while in school or at school events.  But at the football game in October, Jacob was challenged by a police officer who told him to remove his rosary.  Reportedly, Jacob did not want to remove the rosary, and tried to explain to the officer that he had permission from school officials to wear his rosary.  But when Jacob refused to remove the rosary beads, police told Jacob to put his hands behind his back, which he then refused to do.  As a result, Jacob was arrested, and required medical attention at a local hospital from injuries inflicted by the police officer.

Jacob’s mother, Lori Martinez, told a local television station the following:

My son passed away two years ago, 2012, and he was teaching Jacob, you know about God and how you know, he should wear the rosary to protect him.  So Jacob believes that that rosary protects him and it is his remembrance to his brother.

Coming to Jacob’s aid, The Rutherford Institute, a Christian civil liberties law group, sent a demand letter to the Amarillo Independent School District on December 4, 2014, demanding that the district rescind its dress code policy that states that students may not wear anything deemed as “gang apparel” by local law enforcement.  The letter also asked the school district to encourage law enforcement to drop its criminal prosecution of Jacob.  Further, the lawyer letter asked the school district to issue a statement condemning the police department’s use of excessive force on young students.  The Rutherford Institute founder John Whitehead said in a recent interview with The Christian Post:

I think it was excessive force.  The school should not be allowing this to happen.  He is just an eighth grader.  I understand that this [could be seen as] a gang symbol, but you can’t repress the symbol.  It is a matter of religious freedom and is a First Amendment right.  I think that they are overreacting to the gang issues, and if you have somebody wearing it legitimately, yes, they should be allowed to wear it.  I think it is an important issue or we wouldn’t be involved.

The Rutherford Institute has given the Amarillo School District until December 12th to respond, but no lawsuit has been filed at this time.  I will continue to follow this story, but I do not think that most police are bad or racist, or that they are targeting black or Hispanic young men.  But I learned long ago, growing up in a major Midwestern city, not to argue with a police officer if you don’t want to get hurt.  I hope that Jacob will as well.



Pro-Life Activists File Civil Lawsuit Against Violent Professor
Monday, December 8, 2014, 10:26 AM

1MireilleMiller Young 220x300 Pro Life Activists File Civil Lawsuit Against Violent ProfessorThis past September, I posted a blog on these pages about Professor Mireille Miller-Young from the highly prestigious University of California at Santa Barbara (“UCSB”).  Professor Miller-Young teaches feminist studies at UCSB, and her research interests include pornography and sex work.  Last March, two teen-age sisters and pro-life activists, Thrin and Joan Short, were in the “free speech zone” at UCSB and displayed photographs on posters of the aftermath of abortion to engage students in discussion about abortion and alternatives to abortion.  Professor Miller-Young, while walking past the young women, became deeply incensed at the pro-life literature and photos.  She forcibly took their posters, and later assaulted the sixteen-year-old sister.  A video of the assault is available here: a video of the incident here.  You will note in the video that one of the sisters pleads with Professor to return the signs, at one point calling the Professor a thief.  A smiling Professor Miller-Young replies, “I may be a thief, but you’re a terrorist!”  Afterwards, police were called, and Professor Miller-Young told police that she found the pro-life literature and graphic photos “disturbing” because she teaches reproduction rights.  She also reportedly told police that she had a “moral right” to steal and destroy the pro-life signs.  Following the police investigation, Professor Miller-Young was charged with multiple offenses. After trial in July, she pled “no contest” to grand theft, vandalism, and battery.  At her sentencing the following month, rather than a slap on the wrist, the Professor received a veritable butterfly kiss from Judge Brian Hill instead, which included 108 hours of community service to be performed in teaching conflict-resolution workshops (no, I am not making this up), ten hours of anger management classes, restitution of $493 to the Short sisters, and three years of probation.

Prior to sentencing, a number of letters of support were submitted by the Professor’s defense attorney.  Among the letters of support, one letter by UCSB history professor Paul Spikard stated that his colleague was the object of “an energetic smear campaign that seems to have little to do with her person or her actions, and a great deal to do with fomenting racial hatred and rallying right-wing political sentiment.”  Emphasis added.  (Yes, I do agree that the tens of millions of aborted black babies in our nation constitutes a manifestation of racial hatred, but I am unsure that Professor Spikard had that in mind.)  Another letter of support came from Dr. Eileen Boris, also from the UCSB Feminist Studies Department (her research areas of interest include gender, race, class, and social politics), who argued for a light sentence for her colleague.  In her letter, Dr. Boris wrote the following:

[S]he was at the stage of a pregnancy when one is not fully one’s self fully [sic], so the image of a severed fetus appeared threatening.  If she appears smiling on camera, she is “wearing a mask,” that is, she is hiding her actual state through a strategy of self-presentation that is a cultural legacy of slavery.

Emphasis added.  And in follow-up to this case, last month, the pro-life group Life Legal Defense Foundation (“LLDF”) has filed a civil lawsuit against Professor Miller-Young and UCSB on behalf of the Short sisters.  In the lawsuit, LLDF seeks compensation for physical battery, property theft, and civil rights violations.  Interestingly, educational bureaucrats at UCSB never reprimanded Professor Miller-Young for her actions.  But as a public service to my readers, I offer some worthwhile advice to pro-death activists and supporters: if you see pro-life proponents on your campus or in your neighborhoods, unless you wish to engage them in civil discourse, it is most prudent, in the unforgettable words of Pink Floyd, to leave them kids (and their stuff) alone.  I hope that Professor Miller-Young and the few remaining taxpayers in California will find that violations of the civil rights of women is expensive.  Wouldn’t this be a useful case study for the Feminist Studies Department at UCSB?



High School Senior Sues Government School
Monday, December 1, 2014, 10:38 AM

I hope that my American readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that many were able to worship God and give thanks for His gracious bounty and innumerable blessings on our nation.  This past weekend, I was speaking with some of the younger children in church, and they told me that in their government schools they were not taught the history of Thanksgiving.  While we know little about the first Thanksgiving that the Pilgrims celebrated in Plymouth, we do know that it took place in 1621 after the autumn harvest.  William Bradford, the governor of the colony wrote that after a “sad and lamentable” first months that brought great sickness and many deaths to the colonists, the first harvest left them with “all things in good plenty,” including corn, cod, bass, and other fish, waterfowl, venison, and a “great store of wild turkeys.”  The Pilgrims also celebrated with their Indian neighbors.  Edward Winslow, one of the Pilgrims, wrote the following in his letter dated December 11, 1621:

. . . after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; [four fowlers] in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.

Emphasis added.  Of course, the “God” part of Thanksgiving is troubling to many in our nation.  As one more recent example of the hostility against Christians in our nation, and particularly in the government-run schools, Michael Leal, a devout Christian believer and a senior at Cascade High School in Everett, Washington, is in danger of being expelled.  What was the grave infraction?  He believes that he has a God-given responsibility to share his Christian beliefs with others.  As a result, Michael has been suspended three times, and has been threatened with expulsion for sharing his Christian faith through printed tracts and his own testimony.  However, high school officials have claimed that Michael’s tracts, such as one called “How to Know God,” and other Christian messages, “may be offensive.”  Moreover, the high school only permits students to distribute “literature” to other students only at the school entrances and exits before and after school, and the literature must be written by a student.  (I suppose Michael couldn’t distribute a copy of the Constitution either, but I digress.)  Subversively, Michael has distributed Gospel tracts to fellow students, and has audaciously engaged others in conversation about his Christian faith during lunch.  Imagine this: Michael has also spoken about his faith at a bonfire for the school, at a school open house, and yes, even at a volleyball game.

In response to Michael’s grave affronts, the high school administration issued a Notice of Disciplinary Action (“NDA”) that charged Michael with “boisterous conduct of religious material impinged on rights of other students and failure to comply with multiple administrative requests to stop activity.”  (Of course, high school administrators might want to brush up a bit on writing narrative English-language sentences.)  Yet, one NDA was not enough and there were additional NDAs that ultimately led to a series of suspensions.

As is common now, a lawsuit by Michael was filed last week against the high school district, and his complaint names as additional defendants Superintendent Gary Cohn, high school principal Cathy Woods, and the assistant principals Robert Aguilar and Laura Phillips.  In Michael’s complaint, he alleges that the principal Woods:

instructed [Michael] that she must give him permission to hand out tracts, and further that she needed to monitor him.  She attempted to justify her position by stating that if she allowed [Michael] to “hand out tracts and to talk about Jesus she would be breaking the law.”  Attempting to understand the principal’s position clearly, Leal asked to confirm that “if you allow me to hand out tracts and to talk about Jesus, then you would be breaking the law?”  [Cascade Principal Cathy Woods’] response was an unqualified “yes.”

Michael’s complaint concludes:

[The defendants] have prohibited him from distributing literature outside of the narrow confines [of a policy rule], even when performed during non-instructional time and in a non-disruptive manner.  Further, they have meted out punishment against [Michael] for exercising his speech rights.

As we know from the teachings of St. Paul, yes, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus and the Cross of Christ are deeply offensive to those who perish.  Michael Leal is being represented by attorneys for the non-profit Pacific Justice Institute (www.pacificjustice.org).  Please pray for Michael and his family, and his attorneys, during this trying time, but above all, please pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be honored and magnified.  Michael, notwithstanding his youth, powerfully echoes the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”  Christians know that the Holy Gospel stirs up devils and provokes evil persons for those who hate the Gospel’s powerful message of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ are enemies of the cross.  If you wish to send a polite email to Principal Woods, you can find her at cwoods2@everettsd.org.  I am sure she would enjoy hearing from you.



Please Pray for the Wunderlich Family of Germany
Tuesday, November 25, 2014, 10:11 AM

Wunderlich custody 8 28 2014 hiking B CROPPED LOW RES 300x172 Please Pray for the Wunderlich Family of GermanyOn these pages, I have written a number of blogs over the past several years about the travails of the Wunderlich family of Darmstadt, Germany.  Dirk and Petra Wunderlich are devout Christian believers and the parents of four children, aged 8 to 15.  In August 2013, the children were taken forcibly from their home by a SWAT team of twenty police, special agents, and social workers as the children began their morning home school classes.  Were the children being abused?  Actually, the children were taken into custody because their parents insisted on homeschooling their children, which is illegal under German law.  Following an international outcry, a Darmstadt court returned the Wunderlich children to their parents, but only on the condition that the parents promise to send the children to a government school.  The parents complied with the court’s order.  The parents were granted guardianship of their children, but not legal custody.  But rather than disappearing into the night by crossing German borders, the Wunderlichs petitioned the court for permission to emigrate from Germany to another country where homeschooling is permitted.  However, in late 2013, the Honorable Judge Malkmus slammed the door on the emigration hopes of the Wunderlich family.  Judge Malkmus stated that it was necessary to keep the Wunderlich children in German government schools to ensure that they were integrated into society.  If they were allowed to be homeschooled in Germany or anywhere else, the Judge reasoned, the consequences might be that “the children would grow up in a parallel society without having learned to be integrated or to have a dialogue who those who think differently and facing them in the sense of practicing tolerance.”  Finally, Judge Malkmus concluded that homeschooling creates “concrete endangerment to the well-being of the child.”  (Of course, the Honorable Judge failed to cite any evidence before the court in support of his conclusions.  Judge Malkmus’s written orders are available here in an unofficial English translation, and in the official German-language version here).

But now, in the German legal tradition in which more prosecution, more force, and more penalties and fines is the most effective strategy to force the Wunderlich family to submit to the uber-will of Leviathan.  After the children were originally taken into custody in August 2013, the children were sent to government schools for a time.  Although the children were unhappy in their secular government school, there were no further issues until March 2014 when a new lawyer began to represent the local school board.  In a likely effort to ingratiate himself with the local government officials, the new lawyer sent a “notice of enforcement” requiring the Wunderlich children to attend particular classes.  Shortly thereafter, the school board attorney followed with a “demand for prosecution,” which provided for a six month prison sentence for the feisty parents.  In response to the ham-fisted and authoritarian conduct by the school board attorney, the Wunderlichs deregistered the children from the government school, and brought them back home for their education.  By failing to comply with the “notice of enforcement,” the German government can now assess penalties and fines of up to 50,000 Euros (almost $68,000) against the Wunderlich family, as well as seizure of the family’s bank account and other assets.  Michael Donnelly, director of global outreach for the Home School Legal Defense Association (http://www.hslda.org/), who has been involved with the Wunderlich case from its beginning, stated recently:

The Wunderlich family are currently homeschooling after having won back custody of their children but there is little doubt that authorities there will resume criminal and civil prosecution of the family.  Authorities recently seized their bank account and are threatening the financial well-being of their family as a result of excessive and, in my view, unlawful costs levied against them in their custody case.  German authorities generally and in this locality in particular remain quite hostile to home education.  There are some who have written in the German press, such as Professor Franz Reimer at the University of Giessen, in support of homeschooling.  However, until state legislators change the laws homeschoolers will continue to be threatened and persecuted unjustly.  Situations like the Wunderlich family in Germany . . . demonstrate an alarming disrespect for the basic and fundamental rights of parents and families to be secure in their homes and in their authority to make decisions that are best for their children.  Homeschooling is recognized as a legal alternative in virtually every western and free country.  Even in countries like China where homeschooling is not legal, families are not persecuted as they are in Germany.

Emphasis added.  The anti-homeschool law in Germany was part of Adolf Hitler’s notion of government schools as a means of indoctrination.  The Fuhrer famously said, “[The] new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.”  In 2003, the German Federal Constitutional Court (equivalent to our nation’s Supreme Court) affirmed that the ban on homeschooling serves “a justified interest in counteracting the development of religiously or philosophically motivated ‘parallel societies.’”  Four years later, the German Federal Parliament changed a provision of Germany’s child protection law making it easier for children to be removed from their parents upon allegations of “educational neglect.”  So now, the official policy of the German government endorses the Fuhrer’s view of homeschooling.  Please continue to pray for the Wunderlich family and for justice in this important case.  If you wish to write to the German Ambassador to the United States regarding this matter, you can reach His Excellency, the Honorable Peter Wittig at https://www.germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/Kontakt.html.  I certainly will let him know my views on this sad matter.



Pastor Saeed Abedini and Nuclear Negotiations With Iran
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 9:11 AM

This week, the eyes of Americans are focused on Mr. Obama’s forthcoming amnesty for the almost 30 million illegal aliens living in the United States, and on events in Ferguson, Missouri.  Many expect large-scale civil disturbances after the grand jury decides, according to most media reports, not to indict Officer Wilson.  However, history is likely to record that the gravest threat to world peace at this time arises from the negotiations among the United States, European Union, and the Islamic regime of Iran over Iran’s nuclear program.  The deadline for a “comprehensive” accord is set for this coming Monday, November 24, 2014.

The principal negotiators are Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, U.S. Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry and European Union envoy Catherine Ashton.  The United States and Europe seek to defuse a long confrontation with Iran that ultimately threatens nuclear war between Iran and Israel.  Iran’s top aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, has said that Iran would not abandon its nuclear “rights,” but still was committed to the negotiations.  This means that the Iranian mullahs, being shrewd negotiators, will develop nuclear weapons while the United States and Europe continue to negotiate.  Of course, Iran denies any secret nuclear weapons program, and says that it only wants peaceful nuclear energy, notwithstanding its immense reserves of petroleum and natural gas.  Iran refused to curb nuclear enrichment capacity, and as a result, has been hit by crippling sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and United Nations Security Council.  The present negotiations seek to put verifiable limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment work that provide a path to nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of economic sanctions against Iran.  According to media reports, Western and Iranian diplomats involved in the negotiations stress that the major unresolved issues are the size of Iran’s enrichment program, the length of any long-term agreement, and the pace at which international sanctions would be phased out.  The Obama Administration seeks verification and monitoring measures to ensure Iran is living up to its end of the bargain.  Good luck with that as there is much to negotiate in the coming few days.

Related to the Iranian nuclear negotiations, I have often written on these pages about the plight of Pastor Saeed Abedini, the American pastor who is wrongly imprisoned in Iran.  After more than two years in captivity in Iran’s notorious prisons, his family reports that he is suffering great pain from internal injuries from frequent prison beatings by both guards and other prisoners.  And while the feckless Obama Administration is sitting across the table from Iran with the November 24th deadline that is likely to release billions of dollars and Euros to Iran, the plight of Pastor Abedini is ignored.  Can we naively trust the mullahs of Iran who are committed to the destruction of Israel as their regime wrongfully imprisons and torments an American pastor (and many other Christians)?  I don’t think so either.

When soldier Bowe Bergdahl, held by the Haqqani network in Afghanistan, was exchanged earlier this year for five Taliban members held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Mr. Obama promised that he would leave no American behind.  We must now hold Mr. Obama to his promise.  Please pray for Pastor Abedini, his wife, and their two beautiful children.  I encourage each of my readers to please call or write Mr. Obama regarding this matter.  The telephone number to the main White House switchboard is 1.202.456.1414, or you can email him here.  As you may have heard, Mr. Obama has repeatedly said that he is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history.  So I think he would enjoy hearing from regular folks about the plight of Pastor Abedini.  And as we move towards the Thanksgiving Day holiday, let us be mindful that we are admonished in Hebrews 13:3 to “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”



Another Historic First at The National Cathedral
Monday, November 17, 2014, 9:36 AM

Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C. Another Historic First at The National CathedralLast June, on these pages, I wrote about an historic first at Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral when the Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, the Episcopal chaplain at Boston University, became the first openly transgendered priest to preach from the Canterbury Pulpit at the cathedral.  The Right Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual Episcopal bishop, presided at that service, which was part of the cathedral’s celebration of LGBTQ pride month.  The service included readings and prayers from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.  The Very Rev. Gary Hall, Dean of the cathedral, said that he hoped that Rev. Dr. Partridge’s participation would “send a symbolic message in support of greater equality for the transgender community.”  The National Cathedral, which is officially The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, boasts an important image both in the United States and around the world.

This past Friday, there was another historic first at the National Cathedral when several hundred Moslem worshipers gathered for the first recitation of weekly Moslem prayers to Allah at the cathedral.  The National Cathedral was, in effect, turned into a mosque, and the Moslem worshipers were called to worship by the Arabic call to prayer, and they bowed toward Mecca, while shielding their eyes from Christian crosses.  Prayer carpets were arranged diagonally so Islamic worshipers could face the direction of Mecca without seeing any of the crosses or other Christian symbols.  Apparently, this is because Moslems are not to pray in view of non-Islamic sacred symbols.  So now, the National Cathedral has become the first church in America to host a Moslem-led prayer service.  Among the sponsors of this event were the infamous Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and the Islamic Society of North America, also known as ISNA.  Both CAIR and ISNA are known front groups for the Moslem Brotherhood, which has long had strong ties to senior figures in the Obama Administration.  (The two groups were named as unindicted co-conspirators in the 2009 Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism funding trial in U.S history.  CAIR and ISNA were directly involved in laundering money through fake charities to fund Hamas operations.)  Friday’s Islamic sermon was preached by His Excellency, Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, described as a Moslem “scholar,” who is the ambassador from South Africa to the United States.  In his remarks, Ambassador Rasool called on Moslems, Christians, and others to come together and make “common cause” in the fight against extremists who appropriate Islam.  In his remarks, Ambassador Rasool said:

We come to this cathedral with sensitivity and humility but keenly aware that it is not a time for platitudes, because mischief is threatening the world.  The challenge for us today is to reconstitute a middle ground of good people . . . whose very existence threatens extremism.

The Islamic prayer service was closed to the public, and media reports indicate that there was heavy security, with police checking every name and bag.  (I suppose the organizers feared that a Christian suicide bomber might set off a bomb, or send one or more Christian children wearing a bomb-vest.)  Organizers said there had been concerns about security and threats after the event was publicized, and the organizers and cathedral officials wanted to limit it to a small and select group.  However, as an imam was about to give the call to prayer, a Christian woman stood up, pointed to the cross, and proclaimed:

Jesus Christ died on that cross.  He is the reason we are to worship only Him.  Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.  We have built enough of your mosques in this country.  Why don’t you worship in your mosques and leave our churches alone?  America was founded on Christian principles.  Leave our church alone!

Indeed.  She was immediately taken into custody and forcibly removed from the cathedral by two men whereupon she was beheaded.  (OK, that didn’t really happen, or at least not yet in the United States, but it could have happened that way in many other countries.)  Our unidentified Christian sister’s interruption of the travesty was captured on video and posted online at PamelaGeller.com.

Of course, in Islam, Jesus Christ is not the Son of God.  The Koran 4:171 declares in part:

O People of the Scripture!  Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth.  The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a soul from Him.  So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease!  [It is] better for you!  Indeed, Allah is only One Allah.  Exalted is He above having a son.

Moreover, as Christians who recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s Holy Son, Islam teaches we are accursed and worthy of destruction.  The Koran 9:30 declares in pertinent part:

[T]he Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah.”  That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved.  May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?

The leaders of the National Cathedral have now permitted a grave blasphemy in this church.  But now, I will look forward, in an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect that was promised by this event, that this coming Christmas, we can celebrate the Feast of the Nativity at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and then, at Easter, celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Kaaba in Mecca.  In light of the Moslem persecution of Christians worldwide, it seems to me that it would be far more appropriate to promote love and respect by having Christian prayers in a mosque.  But don’t hold your breath.



Homosexual “Marriage” Heading Back to the Supreme Court
Friday, November 7, 2014, 2:17 PM

As much as the Supreme Court sought to avoid this result, the question of homosexual “marriage” will now inevitably return to the Supreme Court.  This is because there are now polar-opposite decisions in the courts of appeal, and therefore, a dispositive decision regarding the right of states to make their own decision regarding homosexual “marriage” will need to be decided by the Supreme Court.  Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has federal law jurisdiction over the states of Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee, overruled lower court decisions that struck down state constitutional amendments passed by popular vote that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that states have the right to set rules for marriage, and that changing a definition of marriage that dates to “the earliest days of human history” is better done through the political process, and not the courts.  Its decision breaks ranks with the 9th Circuit, based in San Francisco, the 10th Circuit in Denver, the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, and the 7th Circuit in Chicago, that have all overturned homosexual “marriage” bans in the West, South, and Midwest since this past summer.  The 6th Circuit’s appellate decision follows reasoning used to affirm traditional marriage in Puerto Rico by a federal judge.  On these pages, I recently wrote about the federal court ruling last month in Puerto Rico that concluded that there is no Supreme Court precedent that requires the federal judicial redefinition of marriage.  Moreover, both the court in Puerto Rico and the 6th Circuit appellate court found that the Supreme Court’s ruling last June on the federal Defense of Marriage Act case supports the authority of each state to make marriage policy.

Although the appellate court’s full decision is available here, there are some excerpts that merit the attention of my readers.  One of the stunning hallmarks of this decision is the judicial humility and the respect for the decisions of our citizens.  Although often forgotten today, our nation’s founders believed in the ability of virtuous, moral, and reasonable persons to govern themselves, and that a society could be built on limited government and great personal freedom.  In the first excerpt from the appellate court decision, it observed:

Of all the ways to resolve this question, one option is not available: a poll of the three judges on this panel, or for that matter all federal judges, about whether gay marriage is a good idea. Our judicial commissions did not come with such a sweeping grant of authority, one that would allow just three of us – just two of us in truth – to make such a vital policy call for the thirty-two million citizens who live within the four States of the Sixth Circuit.”

Emphasis added.  Then, at pages 19-21, the opinion states:

A dose of humility makes us hesitant to condemn as unconstitutionally irrational a view of marriage shared not long ago by every society in the world, shared by most, if not all, of our ancestors, and shared still today by a significant number of the States . . . One starts from the premise that governments got into the business of defining marriage, and remain in the business of defining marriage, not to regulate love but to regulate sex, most especially the intended and unintended effects of male-female intercourse.  Imagine a society without marriage.  It does not take long to envision problems that might result from an absence of rules about how to handle the natural effects of male-female intercourse: children. . . . Once one accepts a need to establish such ground rules, and most especially a need to create stable family units for the planned and unplanned creation of children, one can well appreciate why the citizenry would think that a reasonable first concern of any society is the need to regulate male-female relationships and the unique procreative possibilities of them…. People may not need the government’s encouragement to have sex.  And they may not need the government’s encouragement to propagate the species.  But they may well need the government’s encouragement to create and maintain stable relationships within which children may flourish.  It is not society’s laws or for that matter any one religion’s laws, but nature’s laws (that men and women complement each other biologically), that created the policy imperative. And governments typically are not second-guessed under the Constitution for prioritizing how they tackle such issues.

Emphasis added.  Finally, at page 21, the appellate court held:

What we are left with is this: By creating a status (marriage) and by subsidizing it (e.g., with tax-filing privileges and deductions), the States created an incentive for two people who procreate together to stay together for purposes of rearing offspring.  That does not convict the States of irrationality, only of awareness of the biological reality that couples of the same sex do not have children in the same way as couples of opposite sexes and that couples of the same sex do not run the risk of unintended offspring.  That explanation, still relevant today, suffices to allow the States to retain authority over an issue they have regulated from the beginning.

Much will be written in the coming weeks about the wisdom of this decision, but I was struck by the comment of Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Byron Babione regarding this decision.  Mr. Babione stated:

The people of every state should remain free to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws.  As the 6th Circuit rightly concluded, the Constitution does not demand that one irreversible view of marriage be judicially imposed on everyone.  The 6th Circuit’s decision is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s acknowledgement in Windsor that marriage law is the business of the states.

As old-fashioned as it might seem to some, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and Federal District Court Judge Juan M. Perez-Gimenez of Puerto Rico may well have gotten this decision right: let the people decide, and not unelected federal judges.



Election Day 2014
Friday, October 31, 2014, 1:33 PM

Next Tuesday, November 4, 2014, will be Election Day in the United States.  Although there are many local and state-wide offices being contested, for many, the election for the new Senate is drawing the most attention.  My friends who live in states where there are hotly-contested senatorial elections, such as in Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Kentucky, are overwhelmed with the number of political advertisements they face daily.  The cost of these campaigns will ultimately be in the billions of dollars, and yesterday, Senator Harry Reid (Democrat from Nevada) literally “begged” me to send money.  He wrote, “I’m begging for your help to close the [financial] gap IMMEDIATELY.”  (Emphasis in the original.)

I recently read an excerpt from Rev. Israel Evans’ 1791 sermon that was delivered to the Grand Court of New Hampshire (the State’s House and Senate).  You can read his sermon in a two-volume jewel of a book compiled by Ellis Sandoz, entitled Political Sermons of the Founding Era: 1730-1805, available here.  Rev. Evans preached the following in his sermon:

Religious liberty is a divine right, immediately derived from the Supreme Being, without the intervention of any created authority. It is the natural privilege of worshipping God in that manner which, according to the judgment of men, is most agreeable and pleasing to the divine character. As the conscience of man is the image and representative of God in the human soul; so to him alone it is responsible. In justice, therefore, the feelings and sentiments of conscience, and the moral practice of religion, must be independent of all finite beings. Nor hath the all-wise Creator invested any order of men with the right of judging for their fellow-creatures in the great concerns of religion.

As Christian citizens, we have a particular and shared responsibility in our modern American republic.  Consistent with being “salt” and “light,” Christians must choose our national and local leaders with values and integrity consistent with God’s Holy Word.  On some occasions, electoral races involve candidates of high quality and high integrity.  The candidates conduct a tough but fair campaign about the issues.  Voters in those electoral races, although they may have a difficult choice, can know that no matter who is elected they will be well represented by someone who won’t embarrass their community.  Sadly, such is not always so.  Our founders fought and died to establish and preserve our liberties, including the freedom to choose our own leaders.  However, the Church has had a poor voting record.  It may be due to apathy or sad ignorance, or perhaps a lack of gratitude for the privilege that Christians have been given by God for the privilege to live as citizens in this country.  Yet when we have the opportunity to help guide our nation by selecting men and women of righteousness, many Christians do not vote.  I was always deeply troubled by the fact, for instance, that of the more than 80 million American evangelicals eligible to vote in 2012, fewer than 32 million actually voted.  I believe that Christians fail to love our neighbors and our nation when we fail to vote, and then we fail our neighbors when we do not vote for men and women who will uphold righteous and just laws.  This coming Tuesday, I urge my readers to prayerfully and thoughtfully study the issues and to vote for the best candidate.  I remind you that all candidates are flawed men and women, but as we learn in Exodus 18:21, we must use our vote to elect “capable men from all the people – men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain.”  Amen!



Is Religious Freedom Flourishing in Cuba?
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 2:52 PM

A number of years ago, I spoke on a panel at a large church near Chicago regarding the persecution of Christians in other countries.  Seated to my right was a young pastor from Cuba, a refugee to the United States, who had been imprisoned for “abusing religious freedom” in the socialist paradise.  He spoke powerfully about the tortures many Christians faced on the island prison of Cuba.  Today, more than 55 years since the establishment of the Western Hemisphere’s first revolutionary socialist state, religious freedom remains deeply suppressed in Cuba.  After Fidel Castro, Cuba’s dictator, seized power in 1959, all Christian broadcasts were canceled.  The next year, all Christian publications were halted, and all Christian schools, whether Roman Catholic, Protestant, or non-denominational, were closed.  Ordinary Christians and their leaders were labeled “social scum” and jailed in Cuba’s notorious labor camps.  Even Christmas and Easter were abolished, with Christmas replaced with a secular holiday.  Even as late as December 1995, regulations were enacted that forbid the sale of paper, ink, typewriters, computers, and mechanical parts for photocopiers and printing presses to religious organizations.  Technicians who helped churches repair their machinery risked losing their jobs.  And yet, in spite of all the imprisonment, regulation, and persecution, today the churches in Cuba are flourishing, and are filled to overflowing.  At the International book Fair in Havana in recent years, the Bible has been the best-selling book by far.

In advance of St. John Paul II’s visit to Cuba in 1998, relations between the officially atheist government and the Roman Catholic Church began to improve slightly.  The government revived observance of Christmas (which was always celebrated by the people), and in fact, Castro allowed masses and homilies to be broadcast on Cuban state media.  The Cuban Communist Party also dropped a ban on church membership for its members that had been adopted after the 1959 revolution.  However, the new relative “freedom” did not extend to non-Roman Catholic churches.

On Monday, Cuban government authorities announced that they would allow the construction of the country’s first new Roman Catholic church in 55 years.  The new church, funded by donations from Roman Catholics in Tampa, Florida, will be built in Sandino, a small town in the western province of Pinar del Rio.  It is expected to hold 200 people.  Enrique Lopez Oliva, a professor of the history of religions at the University of Havana, was quoted, “The construction of a church is a clear demonstration of a new phase, of an improvement, in relations between the church and the state.”  Of course, it is a small positive step.  But I thought about the many militant non-Christians who complain about the pervasive nature of Christian thought and expression in the United States.  I wonder how much happier they might be living in a revolutionary socialist workers paradise of Cuba.  For me, I continue to support an embargo on Cuba until all of its people, including all Christians, are truly free.


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