Sunday, February 23, 2014

Some church/state relationships never change

Patriotic Christians often lament the lack of influence of the Church on our government and culture.  While this concern can be heartfelt, well-founded, and well-meaning, we need to be careful what we wish for.

History has shown that the Church has gone overboard in its close relationship with the State.  In fact, this has happened quite often throughout history.

It was the Jewish leaders (the 33AD version of organized religion – the synagogue being that period’s equivalent to the “church” of the day) and the Roman government who conspired to crucify Christ.  This was the first “church”/state partnership in persecution related to Christianity.  

Persecution of Christians continued for over two centuries following Christ’s crucifixion until the conversion of Constantine to Christianity in c.312.  It didn’t take long for the the Roman Christians (the “Church) to join with the Roman government (the “State”) in forcing the conversion of pagans to Christianity.  Those who would not convert were persecuted and often killed.  This pattern continued for centuries.  And here we have the second “church/state” partnership.

Moving on to the beginnings of Protestantism in the 1500’s we have the mainstream protestants (the “Church”) and those like the Anabaptists whose beliefs and doctrine diverged from that mainstream.  In a number of instances, the prevailing majority church joined with their respective national governments to persecute and condemn these minority “heretics.”  This is the third “church/state” partnership.

Fast forward to the 1930’s and 40’s to the church in Germany.  This state-funded church/state alliance was the heart of Nazism.  All others - Christians, Jews, pagans - who were outside of that mainstream church/state partnership were persecuted, condemned, and most murdered.  Thus ends the forth “church/state” alliance.

Then I thought about what is going on today in the mainstream churches.  They, too, have been partnering with our government in a number of ways.  Most churches have jettisoned their millennia-old doctrine in favor of politically-correct, but immoral state-promoted public policy.  Homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia, legalizing mind-altering drugs, lowering expectations of personal responsibility and raising expectations for government entitlements are all part of the new church/state endorsed doctrines.  The state, once again, has co-opted the Church.  And the Church has willingly given itself over to the influence of the State.  Those of us who disagree with these new decrees, whether we are Jew, Christian, or atheist, are now outsiders – the minority. 

Will those of us who maintain our Christian standards be persecuted?  What do you think?  History proclaims that we surely will be.  Such is the nature of fallen humanity.

It is not Christianity that persecutes, condemns and kills.  It is those who maintain an erroneous view of God and Christ’s gift to us that does this.  Islam is the best known and most flagrant example of this with its faulty understanding of God and His love and Islam’s consequent intolerance, hatred and jihad against those who do not submit to their brand of Islam – including those Muslims who are not devout “enough.”  In Islam, religion and government (sharia) are one and the same.  Talk about a partnership!  Running a close second are nations like China and Russia who have partnered with the religion of atheism to form their church/state partnership to persecute, condemn and murder all who threaten their belief system.

Is it any wonder that Islam, liberal churches, and our government have created a new alliance that calls the rest of us “bigots”, “intolerant” and all manner of “–phobes?”  Faithful Christians are now the outsiders.  We are now at the beginning of the fifth “church/state” alliance.  We do indeed need to be careful what we wish for with regard to church and state.  Some church/state relationships never change.  When church and state get in bed together all hell breaks loose.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Syrian peace talks fail. No surprise here.

Lakhdar Brahimi, a Sunni Islam Muslim, was appointed by the United Nations as the new peace envoy to Syria, replacing Kofi Annan on 17 August 2012.  On Saturday, February 15, 2014, those peace talks failed.

Why?  The answer may be complex but seems clear to me.

Here is a clue from Wikipedia:

The ongoing Syrian civil war was inspired by the Arab Spring Revolutions. It began in 2011 as a chain of peaceful protests, followed by a crackdown by the Syrian Army.[54] In July 2011, army defectors declared the formation of the Free Syrian Army and began forming fighting units. The opposition is dominated by Sunni Muslims, whereas the leading government figures are Alawites.

Who are the Alawites?

Alawites are a prominent group, centered in Syria, who follow a branch of the Twelver school of Shia Islam.

The “Twelvers” comprise the majority of Shia Islam Muslims and believe in the soon return of the Twelfth Imam at the end of days.

What did Sunni Muslim negotiator Lakhdar Brahimi propose to the Shia Muslim government of Syria?  (Are you beginning to sense the problem yet?)

Sunni Brahimi suggested instituting a new transitional governing body with members from the Shia al-Assad government, as well as members from Sunni the Sunni opposition.  That didn’t go over too well with Assad – wanted no part of it – and only wanted to discuss “terrorism.”  As an aside, this reminds me of the US Democrats wanting amnesty for 15 million illegal aliens while the rest of us see that of a danger to our culture and a diluting of conservative and Republican representation.  Think of the Syrian equivalents being Brahimi is to Democrats as Assad is to Republicans insofar as a concern of shift of power is concerned. 

Here is the rest of the story from Generational

The al-Assad regime wanted no part of that discussion, but only wants to discuss "terrorism," referring to the jihadists in Syria. So Brahimi came up with a kind of compromise: The Geneva II peace talks would discuss "terrorism" on day 1, then discuss the "transitional governing body" on day 2, and alternate between the two topics on subsequent days.

Well, the al-Assad regime refused to even discuss the "transitional government body," and his spokesman said that the terrorism problem has to be completely solved and agreed by all sides "with a common vision," before any other topic could be even discussed.

A “transitional governing body” is out of the question for the Assad government.  I can relate to Assad’s concern.  It is much like the US conservative desire to close the border and enforce existing immigration laws before we open the floodgates of future liberal, entitlement Democrats into our nation.

I can also sympathize with Assad’s insistence on eliminating terrorism as a priority before anything useful can be accomplished.

Now as for the perceived evil of the Assad regime, this is where where the theory of relativity kicks in:  Relative Evil.  The entire Middle East is indisputably a bad neighborhood.  Unfortunately, liberal Pollyannas in the United States believe that those folks live by a similar moral code as we do in the West and respect similar peaceful values for their governments.  Wrong, wrong, wrong!  That false belief is what has gotten us into costly, endless, and futile “nation-building” wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As much as we chafe at the thought, iron-fisted Assad-esque regimes are required in that neighborhood.  That is the only way any semblance of stability can be maintained.  They live under millennia of bad habits.  And we think we can change those habits in a decade or two?  We are fools.

We will be more “humanitarian” by being on the side of stability, even though the price of stability is high in blood and freedoms.  The prospect of even more radical Islamic rebels taking over will result in a much higher cost in blood, freedoms, and stability.  The better of two evils.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Lone Survivor: Everything that’s wrong with our policy toward Islam…

I experienced the movie “Lone Survivor” this afternoon.

It is both a propaganda film and a lesson in everything that’s wrong with our policy  toward Islam.  It is also a film worth avoiding because it distorts the truth of the conflict and dwells on gore.

First, the propaganda:  Near the end of the movie, the Pashtuns, an Islamic Afghan/Iranian sect, were made out to be the heroes by sacrificing themselves to hide and save Marcus Lattrel, the lone survivor of the Seal team.  The endnotes to the movie portray the ancient Pashtun “ethic”, called Pashtunwali, in a very Christian light:  Sacrificing to save others.  It leaves the ignorant viewer of the movie to believe that Afghanistan is filled with these peace-loving, pro-American Pashtun with the ethics of angels.  NOTHING could be further from the truth.

Here is reality: 

“In the late 1990s, Pashtuns became known for being the primary ethnic group that comprised the Taliban, which was a religious government based on Islamic sharia law…”

The reality is that while 42% of the Afghan population is Pashtun, a significant number have sided with the Taliban.  The reality is that there may be only a small minority of the Pashtun who continue any semblance of a peace-loving persona of the Pashtunwali tradition as exclusively portrayed by this propaganda film.

Once again, the problem is Islam, not Afghanistan.

There are a number of other problems portrayed in the movie.

  • Our rules of engagement (ROE):  They put our soldiers at a distinct disadvantage.  Our ROE fail to recognize the environment our men are required to engage – an environment where the enemy dress and act like civilians.  There should be no distinction when confronted.  The ROE prevent our soldiers from carrying out their mission.  If international laws of warfare are broken by the enemy, e.g. enemy combatants not wearing a uniform and hiding in the midsst of civilians, the other side (the US) should not be restricted in their behaviors. 
  • Our political correctness:  I have no doubt that cultural sensitivity training these SEALS had to endure caused them to make absolutely the wrong decision that resulted in their failed mission and their ultimate death.  Fear of CNN trumped their fear of the enemy and resulted in a wrong and deadly decision.
  • Technological failures:  Overreliance on technology and “an awful lot of moving parts” to a mission begged for failure. 
  • Resource shortage:  Any public official who advocates running a war on the cheap as we are doing in Afghanistan ought to be convicted of treason.  The shortage of Apache helicopters and an effective extraction force is just one example.

And finally, and most significant, is our failure to recognize the real enemy:  The Islamic ideology.  The Taliban, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and every one of the dozens of other Islamic terror organizations and front groups are the military and political arms of the Islamic ideology.  We, as a nation, fail to recognize this.  We need to consider every human being who knowingly insists on affiliation with Islam to be an enemy and threat to our nation.

Yes, there are cultural Muslim who are ignorant of the Islamic ideology.  They need to be educated about the evils of Islam so they become knowledgeable, aware, and convinced to the point where they can freely and intelligently renounce their ignorant Islamic association.  But this will never happen because most of our leaders and media of this nation are also ignorant of the Islamic ideology – they wrongly insist it is a religion of peace.

As long as we continue in this ignorance, we are doomed to failure.  We will see Lone Survivor repeated time and time again ad nauseum – someday in our own nation.