REVIVAL STARTER

revival starter

Revival Starter

By Mario Murillo

Two thousand years later Christian theologians still don’t know what starts a revival.   Authors release books to tell us the “recipe for revival.”  No sooner are they out than the Spirit falls in a way that totally contradicts the book.   As soon as we add a “step” to revival, God steps over our step.

Even those that were in past revivals are no help because history shows that the old revival usually opposes the new revival.  It seems dangerous to be tagged an expert on revival.  As the rock song says, “If I claim to be a wise man then it surely means that I don’t know.”

Revivals have started in more ways than you or I can imagine.  Some began among children.  Some started in prisons. Some were touched off by the very people the church despised the most.    Has God kept us clueless about revival because He knows that anything that we can analyze, we will try to control? That is in us and there is no getting around it.

So why isn’t the devil happy?  We are divided, disorganized and ignorant of his devices.  There is no major threat of revival in America-right?  But he does not relax.  Does he know something we don’t know?   Like maybe revival has never been actually caused by the church?  Does he remember how many times revivals have hit him by surprise?  Does Satan respect one aspect of revival more than we do- that revival can strike at any moment in any place through any believer?

Okay, we can’t truly know how to start a revival and Satan doesn’t know how to stop one.  That dear pilgrim is called an impasse.  Only God can break the tie.  So what can we do?  Brace yourself…WE NEED TO LOOK AT GOD.

July envelope art

Satan is watching God more than he is watching us because we, my friend are not the threat.  Here is a love/hate triangle:  God is looking at us, we are looking at the devil and the devil is looking at God.

WE NEED TO LOOK AT GOD-Get this and you have taken a giant step forward.  We need to be watching God.  But that is so simple and obvious.  If it is so simple and obvious why aren’t we doing it?  Why in fact are we doing everything else but that?  Again, is it because Lucifer knows how to busy us with stuff that seems holy but is irrelevant to revival?

Even our prayers are often not directed at God.  They are the statements we have been told to make that will supposedly cause God to work.   Face it! God refuses to operate within our formulas.  He operates from a secret.  “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.” –Psalm 25:14

God is looking for a relationship with those who want revival.  Exodus 31:18 is strange.  It says, “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”  Moses and Israel have waited for centuries to gain legitimacy.  With law comes an identity and a legacy.  Instead God delays it for weeks so He can commune with Moses?

Here’s the rub: You want revival, but God wants you.   Is it possible that in all of our arduous efforts we have overlooked the most amazing simplicity of the entire universe-“If you abide in Me and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done.”-John 15:7

Standing against the storm

Revival is the natural result of getting so close to God that His secret takes hold and that ignites a chain reaction of others who suddenly cannot live without intimacy with God-and so and so on.

When can we know that revival has started?  Something I noticed in the great revivalists who led the great revivals.  They had an unshakable conviction that a revival had already started.  No matter what anyone said or did they would not back down from the confession “revival is here!”   Much of their preaching was devoted to this conviction.

“Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!-John 4:35 Revival starters kept an infectious declaration going no matter what.  Though the people around felt it was months away or years away, the revivalist says NO! IT IS ALREADY HERE!

Again I ask, when can we know that a revival has started? I got my answer one day at the beach when the tide was out.  Gentle white foam tickled my toes.  God said “no matter how small that wave is, it is an ocean wave.  It is a relative of the tsunami.”  Yes, a tidal wave can go 500 mph yet still it is a nothing but a larger ocean wave.

“A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.” –Matthew 12:20.   This verse is saturated with meaning but I will limit myself to the part about the smoking flax.  Jesus is not going to put out any fire no matter how insignificant it looks until justice is victorious.

The first time you cried out for America to be saved God took you at your word and started a revival fire in you. The first syllable said in prayer for revival at any gathering where women pray started a revival.  The first time a pastor told his people how much we need revival the spark was ignited.

The job now is to cooperate with God for bigger and bigger and bigger waves.  The tide rises as the revival core pays the price of obedience.   If they keep to the intention of the revival it will intensify.  If they refuse the hand of man and the ways of Baal the waves will come in faithful and ever increasing power.

How else can I say it?  You are a revival starter simply by wanting more of Jesus.

PS JOIN US FOR A POWERFUL NIGHT IN MARTINEZ CA!  SUNDAY NIGHT AT 6 PM

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Government sponsored Riots?

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Sheriff: ‘I Was Sick To My Stomach’ After Being Told To Stand Down

WASHINGTON, USA - APRIL 27: Police retreat from the hulks of burned out cars in the middle of an intersection during riots in Baltimore, USA on April 27, 2015. Protests following the death of Freddie Gray from injuries suffered while in police custody have turned violent with people throwing debris at police and media and burning cars and businesses. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, USA – APRIL 27: Police retreat from the hulks of burned out cars in the middle of an intersection during riots in Baltimore, USA on April 27, 2015. Protests following the death of Freddie Gray from injuries suffered while in police custody have turned violent with people throwing debris at police and media and burning cars and businesses. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

NorrisDavis_200x200The Norris and Davis Show

BALTIMORE (CBS BALTIMORE) — A Maryland sheriff who traveled to Baltimore to help law enforcement stop Monday’s riots told 105.7 The Fan that he was stunned when officers alerted him of the orders to stand down.

Michael Lewis is the Sheriff in Wicomico County, and was also a Sergeant with the Maryland State Police. He joined Ed Norris and Steve Davis on Thursday to talk about the alleged controversial orders the police were given during the riots.

Lewis said it wasn’t his intention to come to Baltimore, a drive of about two hours, but he felt it was his duty to help.

“I hadn’t planned to go to Baltimore at all. I watched the events unfold Saturday night like we all did, and was very concerned about what I saw, and the the lack of response Saturday night,” he said. “I immediately rallied up the troops. We made sure our MRAP was prepared and ready. … We were assigned to assigned to protect Baltimore City Police headquarters, all of E. Fayette Street up to City Hall, to include City Hall. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity taking place at all. We could smell that putrid smell of burning tires and a city on fire when as we came into the city. Had lots of concerns like everyone else. We maintained our post all night long until we were relieved.”

But what shocked him the most, he said, was when city police told him not to confront and accost the rioters.

“I was sick to my stomach like everybody else. … This was urban warfare, no question about it. They were coming in absolutely beaten down. The [city officers] got out of their vehicles, thanked us profusely for being there, apologized to us for having to be there. They said we could have handled this, we were very capable of handling this, but we were told to stand down, repeatedly told to stand down,” he said. “I had never heard that order come from anyone — we went right out to our posts as soon as we got there, so I never heard the mayor say that. But repeatedly these guys, and there were many high-ranking officials from the Baltimore City Police Department … and these guys told me they were essentially neutered from the start. They were spayed from the start. They were told to stand down, you will not take any action, let them destroy property. I couldn’t believe it, I’m a 31-year veteran of law enforcement. … I had never heard anything like this before in my life and these guys obviously aren’t gonna speak out and the more I thought about this, … I had to say a few things. I apologize if I’ve upset people, but I believe in saying it like it is.”

Lewis said though he didn’t hear the order to stand down come from the mayor, he did hear it from police officials.

“I heard it myself over the Baltimore City police radio that I had tethered to my body-armor vest, I heard it repeatedly. ‘Stand down, stand down, stand down! Back up, back up, retreat, retreat!’ I couldn’t believe those words. Those are words I’ve never heard in my law enforcement vocabulary,” he said. “Baltimore City police, all law enforcement agencies are very capable of handling that city. They’re trained to handle that city. These guys were hearing words that had never been echoed in their lives, in their careers.”

Lewis claims after the riots many officers told him they were done being cops in the city and how heartbroken they are that they were not allowed to defend their city and stop businesses from burning.

We made a dangerous promise to America

 3917900.pdf

We made a dangerous promise to America

By Mario Murillo

“So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation.  Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. – Daniel 2: 16-18

How bad was the King’s nightmare?  The King said he would kill every wise man unless they could tell the dream and give its interpretation.  Daniel did not know what the King dreamt but made him a promise anyway- Give me time, I will ask God and I will give you the meaning of your nightmare.

This little detail is often left out in the telling of the story of Daniel.  Think of it!  Death is certain if he fails to get a miracle.  He hung his entire life on a prayer.

America is having a nightmare.   Riots spread and international threats escalate.  The nation is gripped with divisive hate, crippling fear and deep uncertainty.

And just as Nebuchadnezzar despised the wise men for not knowing how to help him, America is taking out her frustrations on Christianity.  Americans are in no mood for religion.  They have made their feelings known loud and clear.  They have strayed away from church in droves.   Even hip churches are fading because the inner pain Americans feel is too great for groovy sermons.Donation page for year end letter copy

By announcing LIVING PROOF, Mario Murillo Ministries has made a dangerous promise to America.  Even before the miracles arrive, before we understand how to speak to the agony of our nation we went as far out on the limb as you can go.  We are in the same place Daniel was that night that he prayed.

We have said to America “give us time and we will tell you of your nightmare and give you the meaning you are so desperate to find.”   Our televisions commercials say it, our flyers say it.  We are totally at the out in the open.

Are we fools?  We are not fools and we have never been wiser.  Think about it.  Daniel was already on the death list.  His action was astute and courageous.   He recognized that the supernatural was no longer optional.   The Christians who are still playing church are the real fools.

We have done the only thing a ministry can do in this desperate hour.   We have prayed, sought the Living God and fasted.  We have allowed the searchlight of God to examine our deepest motives.  We have purchased the gold that is tried in the fire.

To evict devils and declare miracles I had to die to self.  I do not miss the old Mario.  I have never been so glad to see him go.

LIVING PROOF is not a meaningless title it is our reality.  The victims of this present darkness must walk into a meeting that is saturated by the presence of God.  They must be told bold and honest things about their soul and Jesus.  Then the Holy Spirit will provide the proof by healing incurable disease and instantly breaking demonic power.

LIVING PROOF is coming to your area!  When it does you will see with your own eyes the very thing that Peter asked God for when he prayed this prayer “Lord behold their threats and grant to your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your Word while You stretch out your hand to heal and let signs and wonders be done in the name of your Holy Son Jesus.” –Acts 4:29

<div id=”fb-root”></div><script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3″;  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));</script><div class=”fb-video” data-allowfullscreen=”true” data-href=”/mario.murillo.1948/videos/vb.1177376999/10206199682169151/?type=1″><div class=”fb-xfbml-parse-ignore”><blockquote cite=”/mario.murillo.1948/videos/10206199682169151/”><a href=”/mario.murillo.1948/videos/10206199682169151/”>Living Proof Yuba City June 10th-14th 2015</a><p>I will prove it to you. June 10th-14th Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds.  See more about these 4 spectacular nights in Yuba City and why you should experience them.  http://mariomurillo.net/why-you-should-come-to-these-nights-in-yuba-city/</p>Posted by <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/mario.murillo.1948″>Mario Murillo</a> on Tuesday, May 5, 2015</blockquote></div></div>

 

Martin Luther King Jr. would be heartbroken by riots in Baltimore

EXCLUSIVE: DR. ALVEDA KING ON BALTIMORE RIOTS: MLK JR. WOULD ‘BE HEARTBROKEN’

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Dr. Alveda King, niece of the great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said if he saw these Baltimore riots, “he’d be heartbroken, I am.”

High school students stormed the street in protests and riots Monday afternoon, throwing rocks at police officers.

The protests come on the same day as Freddie Gray’s funeral. He died earlier this month while in police custody.

“As I watched the protest, I’m reminded of several years ago… I was part of the first children’s march in Birmingham, Alabama,” King told Breitbart News. She added that those protests were peaceful and supervised.

“These children are not supervised—they are angry,” she said.

King said that she is very concerned that the Mayor of Baltimore has appeared to give these people an opportunity to destroy.

King went on to say when she sees the children on television running into a CVS and stealing—and police not doing anything because they have been told not to—that it’s not giving these children any compassion at all.

“That’s discouraging,” King stated.

She recalled what her father said to a group of people when their family home was burned in Birmingham, Alabama. She said he stood on a car and said, “Don’t riot, don’t destroy, go home”—“Go home and pray.”

“These children need help. They need guidance,” King added.

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Gov. Hogan Declares State Of Emergency, Activates National Guard

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Governor Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to address the growing violence and unrest in Baltimore City.

“I have not made this decision lightly. The National Guard represents a last resort in order to restore order,” Hogan said during a news conference Monday night. “People have the right to protest and express their frustration, but Baltimore City families deserve peace and safety in their communities and these acts of violence and destruction of property cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Hogan said he executed the request 30 seconds after it was made by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Some residents questioned why it took the mayor so long to respond to the crisis, and Hogan made some poignant remarks to that effect as well.

“When the mayor called me, which quite frankly we were glad that she finally did, instantly we signed the executive order. We already had our entire team prepared,” he said. “We were trying to get in touch with the mayor for quite some time, she finally made that call and we immediately took action.”

George W. Bush Bashes Obama on Middle East

In a closed-door meeting with Jewish donors on Saturday night, former President George W. Bush delivered his harshest public criticisms to date against his successor on foreign policy, saying that President Barack Obama is being naïve about Iran and the pending nuclear deal and losing the war against the Islamic State.

One attendee at the Republican Jewish Coalition session, held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas with owner Sheldon Adelson in attendance, transcribed large portions of Bush’s remarks. The former president, who rarely ever criticizes Obama in public, at first remarked that the idea of re-entering the political arena was something he didn’t want to do. He then proceeded to explain why Obama, in his view, was placing the U.S. in “retreat” around the world. He also said Obama was misreading Iran’s intentions while relaxing sanctions on Tehran too easily.

According to the attendee’s transcription, Bush noted that Iran has a new president, Hassan Rouhani. “He’s smooth,” Bush said. “And you’ve got to ask yourself, is there a new policy or did they just change the spokesman?”

Bush said that Obama’s plan to lift sanctions on Iran with a promise that they could snap back in place at any time was not plausible. He also said the deal would be bad for American national security in the long term: “You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren. That’s how Americans should view the deal.”

Bush then went into a detailed criticism of Obama’s policies in fighting the Islamic State and dealing with the chaos in Iraq. On Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011, he quoted Senator Lindsey Graham calling it a “strategic blunder.” Bush signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw those troops, but the idea had been to negotiate a new status of forces agreement to keep U.S. forces there past 2011. The Obama administration tried and failed to negotiate such an agreement.

Bush said he views the rise of the Islamic State as al-Qaeda’s “second act” and that they may have changed the name but that murdering innocents is still the favored tactic. He defended his own administration’s handling of terrorism, noting that the terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was captured on his watch: “Just remember the guy who slit Danny Pearl’s throat is in Gitmo, and now they’re doing it on TV.”

Obama promised to degrade and destroy Islamic State’s forces but then didn’t develop a strategy to complete the mission, Bush said. He said that if you have a military goal and you mean it, “you call in your military and say ‘What’s your plan?’ ” He indirectly touted his own decision to surge troops to Iraq in 2007, by saying, “When the plan wasn’t working in Iraq, we changed.”

“In order to be an effective president … when you say something you have to mean it,” he said. “You gotta kill em.”

Bush told several anecdotes about his old friend and rival Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bush recalled that Putin met his dog Barney at the White House and then later, when Bush went to Moscow, Putin showed him his dog and remarked that he was “bigger stronger and faster than Barney.” For Bush, that behavior showed him that Putin didn’t think in “win-win” terms.

Bush also remarked that Putin was rich, divorced his wife and loves power. Putin’s domestic popularity comes from his control of Russian media, according to Bush. “Hell, I’d be popular, too, if I owned NBC news,” he said.

Regarding his brother Jeb’s potential run for the presidency, Bush acknowledged that he was a political liability for Jeb, that the Bush name can be used against him, and that Americans don’t like dynasties. He also said that foreign policy is going to be especially important in the presidential campaign and that the test for Republicans running will be who has got the “courage” to resist isolationist tendencies.

Regarding Hillary Clinton, Bush said it will be crucial how she plays her relationship with the president. She will eventually have to choose between running on the Obama administration’s policies or running against them. If she defends them, she’s admitting failure, he said, but if she doesn’t she’s blaming the president.

For George W. Bush, the remarks in Vegas showed he has little respect for how the current president is running the world. He also revealed that he takes little responsibility for the policies that he put in place that contributed to the current state of affairs.

Opposing Gay Marriage is not Bigotry

 OPPOSING

Traditional teachings of marriage rooted not in animus, but in pursuit of happiness

BY TIMOTHY P. CARNEY | APRIL 23, 2015 | 5:29 PM

 Traditional marriage in the U.S. makes its last stand this week at oral arguments before the Supreme Court. If same-sex marriage wins out, the next question is what to do with the vanquished? Should we tolerate opposition to gay marriage?

What should be done, legally and socially, with photographers who don’t want to take part in a gay wedding, or churches that don’t want to consecrate a same-sex union? How should we all treat the old-fashioned view that marriage is between a man and a woman?

Many institutions, commentators and politicians already have their answer: Opposition to gay marriage deserves no more respect than racism. The government ought to force a photographer, a musician or a caterer to participate in a gay wedding, they argue, just as we forced racist diner owners to allow black customers to sit at their lunch counters.

But the premise here — that opposition to gay marriage is necessarily grounded in bigotry — is wrong.

But refusing to participate in a marriage ceremony is a different sort of thing. It’s not a statement about the people involved. It’s a decision about the ceremony itself — that one doesn’t want to endorse a definition of marriage that one doesn’t share.

And there are many valid reasons to believe in marriage as being between a man and a woman. There are many arguments to make here, but here’s one, from my own Catholic perspective:

There isn’t really a Catholic teaching on gay marriage — there is a rich Catholic teaching on marriage, which is a sacrament. Marriage is inextricably tied with sex and family formation. To deliberately separate these three things is a moral error, the Church teaches.

Sexual morality, as taught by traditional religions, isn’t terribly popular in the U.S. these days, but it’s a mistake to dismiss these views as archaic prescriptions followed blindly by the faithful. Such teachings are often far more complex than simple “shalls” and “shall nots” accepted as divine revelation.

Consider Aristotle’s view of virtue and happiness (eudaimonia, in Greek). Happiness — a deep, lasting happiness — is a life lived according to virtue, Aristotle writes. Morality can be seen as the roadmap to human happiness.

Over thousands of years, Christianity, building on the traditions of the Jews and ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, has tried to understand human nature ± — through experience, reason, and revelation. From that picture of the human soul, the Church has tried to craft a roadmap.

removing family

We need a roadmap because life is full of obstacles and pitfalls that we typically can’t see beforehand on our own, but which are well-known in prior human experience. Walking directly towards what we think we want can often be perilous to our happiness. Sacrifice, patience, and struggle are often required.

It’s not an old-fashioned or purely religious notion that sacrifice is necessary for happiness. Secular morality embraces that notion as well: You shouldn’t always eat whatever you want; you need to exercise; don’t get too drunk.

The road to happiness also involves giving up sex at times, even when following secular moral road maps. Perfectly irreligious, live-and-let-live moral systems often guard against (for example) prostitution, open marriages, sex in the early teen years, and extreme promiscuity. These activities may appeal to some people in the short run, but one need not believe any particular religion to understand how they can cause anguish and pain in the long run.

The roadmaps provided by conservative religious moral systems prescribe a narrower path and often call for more sacrifice. In many cases, for many people, the prescribed path is celibacy. If you want to be a Catholic priest, nun, or monk, you must also agree to a life of celibacy.

If you’re unmarried, most Christian teaching tells you to be celibate. Many men and women are unmarried, despite their best efforts, and asking them to forego sex is asking a lot. But the Church does so out of an understanding of human nature, and the true path to happiness.

Married Catholic couples are often called to abstain from sex if they want to space out the births of their children. And the limitations on divorce often mean a sexless life for married people whose marriages fell apart, or whose spouses suffered a debilitating injury, or were imprisoned.

Everyone is called to some level of sacrifice — some more, some less. Nobody says it’s fair. But it’s prudent, the Church teaches.

For people who are exclusively attracted to people of the same sex, the Catholic Church also prescribes celibacy.

I got this roadmap image from a conversation over coffee with Eve Tushnet, the author of Gay and Catholic. Her heartfelt book makes it clear that carrying the cross of gay celibacy is very different from, and often harder than, the chastity to which other Catholics are called. But she has concluded this is her cross, and her path.

These rules, again, aren’t terribly popular these days. I expect this column to persuade approximately zero people that they should give up premarital sex, birth control, or their same-sex relationship.

But however unappealing or unconvincing you find this approach to sexuality and marriage, how can you say this view is grounded in bigotry?

You don’t need to agree for an instant with Catholic, or Protestant, or Muslim, or Jewish teachings on sex, family, or marriage. But if you can grant that some of these teachings are grounded, not in animus, but in an understanding of love, then at least you can agree to this: We shouldn’t use the force of law to banish these views from our society.

Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner’s senior political columnist, can be contacted attcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Sunday and Wednesday on washingtonexaminer.com.

Hillary’s ‘Clinton Cash’ dismissal is dead in the water

Hillary’s ‘Clinton Cash’ dismissal is dead in the water

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Right about the time Drudge Report splashed a link to Jonathan Chait’s latest column across its homepage, I got a g-chat from a Democratic strategist: “This is a big deal,” he wrote. “My gut tells me it elevates this story to something bigger and more needing of her response. I think this might take away the chance of this ordeal being seen as a partisan witch hunt.”

The story in question is, of course, the revelation that Clinton Foundation donations and Clinton family speaking fees may have influenced Hillary Clinton’s actions as Secretary of State — which, if true, would be an extraordinary conflict of interest. In the last 24 hours, The New York Times, POLITICO, The Washington Post, Reuters, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal have all published reports on such possible connections, based off the forthcoming book by conservative author Peter Schweizer, “Clinton Cash.”

Just yesterday, The New Yorker’s John Cassidy argued that the “Clinton Cash attacks could end up aiding Hillary,” because it would enable her campaign to dismiss the book as partisan. Indeed, Clinton and her team have been doing just that. “We are back into the political season and there are all kinds of distractions and attacks,” the candidate said on Wednesday. Meanwhile, her press secretary Brian Fallon has been writing internal memos and public posts dismissing the whole thing as an agenda-driven smear campaign.”

The fact that Schweizer’s revelations have now been vetted and reported out by the likes of the Times, POLITICO, etc., means the Clinton campaign can no longer be so dismissive. And while Chait’s column is probably not the definitive nail in that coffin — “I think the stories themselves achieved that,” he told me Thursday — it is certainly an added blow, if only because it is so damning in its assessment of what he dubs the “disastrous Clinton post-presidency.”

cookie jjar

“[T]he best-case scenario is bad enough: The Clintons have been disorganized and greedy,” Chait writes. “The news today about the Clintons all fleshes out, in one way or another, their lack of interest in policing serious conflict-of-interest problems that arise in their overlapping roles.”

Chait also places the “Clinton Cash” revelations in the context of larger Clintonian secrecy: “The Obama administration wanted Hillary Clinton to use official government email. She didn’t. The Obama administration also demanded that the Clinton Foundation disclose all its donors while she served as Secretary of State. It didn’t comply with that request, either.”

“The Clintons’ charitable initiatives were a kind of quasi-government run by themselves, which was staffed by their own loyalists and made up the rules as it went along,” Chait concludes. “Their experience running the actual government, with its formal accountability and disclosure, went reasonably well. Their experience running their own privatized mini-state has been a fiasco.”

In the eyes of my Democratic strategist, this damning critique “gives a VERY strong retort to the argument that the New Yorker said they were going to push… which is that this is a Fox News/Koch brothers-pushed story.”

“Now one of the biggest liberal voices at a big liberal mag is calling them out in the harshest terms possible makes that argument nul and void,” he wrote.

Chait is more modest: “It’s really overestimating my influence to suggest something I wrote changes things,” he said Thursday. “Look, reporters are going to ask about this, I doubt the campaign’s response will be shaped by my piece in any way.”

However, he later added: “I’m sure they don’t like having a liberal criticize them. It might, in some very marginal way, help open up more space for a Democratic challenger.”

THE MYTH OF ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE

1998 al Qaeda Press Conference

THE MYTH OF ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE

In seeking to defend Islam against the claim that it promotes violence many Muslims have said that ‘Islam’ means peace, or that Islam is a religion of peace. Unfortunately this is just plain wrong.

ISLAM

Islam is derived from the Arabic “aslama”, which means ‘surrender’ (to the will of Allah). Muslimmeans ‘one who has surrendered to the will of Allah’. And unfortunately, violence, under certain conditions, is a legitimate means to affect that surrender.

The argument that Islam means peace is based on a three-fold interpretive error.

  1. Arabic is based on consonantal roots. Islam is derived from the root SLM. Arabic is also a poetic language that uses words derived from the same root as similes that are used to deepen the meaning of other words. SLM is also the root for the words salim, which means ‘safe’, saleem, ‘perfection’, sallama, ‘salvation’, salama, ‘blameless’ and salaam, ‘wellbeing’. Using all of these words gives an expanded meaning to the word Islam: ‘when one surrenders to the will of Allah (as revealed by His Prophet) one will find salvation, perfection, safety and wellbeing.’
  2. The word salaam is often translated as ‘peace’, but this is only one of several meanings. It’s primary meaning is actually ‘wellbeing’. It can also mean health, soundness, wholeness, safety and serenity. A common Arabic greeting is as-sallam alaykum, which is usually translated as ‘peace be upon you’, but it’s extended meaning is ‘may wellbeing, wholeness and tranquility be upon you’.
  3. The English word ‘peace’ has two meanings. The first and primary meaning is derived from its Latin root pax. This is translated as ‘cessation of conflict’. The term pax Romana described the peace secured by surrendering to Roman law. The second meaning of peace is derived from the Latin serenus, meaning serenity/tranquility – when one is serene one can also be said to be peaceful. The word salaam is actually synonymous with the second meaning of peace, serenity. The first meaning is better served by the Arabic word sulh (root SLH), from salaha, meaning; reconciliation, to make peace, or peace treaty.

In saying that Islam means peace Islamic apologists are simply indulging in word play in order to put as positive a spin on things as they can. It is an attempt to argue that Islam promotes non-violence. As we will see such a peace is only available to one who has first surrendered to Allah and it is denied to those who refuse to surrender. Mohammed would sign his treaty offers with the words,aslem taslam, ‘surrender and you will be safe’.

JIHAD

The key problem now revolves around what it means to surrender to Allah’s will. Here we need to introduce another controversial Arabic word, jihad. Jihad is derived from the root JHD. Many of the words derived from this root connote the idea of effort, exertion and struggle. Jihad is a derivative of jahada, to struggle or strive. Thus jihad is taken to mean the struggle to surrender to Allah’s will. The word mujahid means ‘one who struggles’, mujahideen is the plural. The root JHD also creates the word ijtihad, which means intellectual struggle.

Jihad is sometimes translated as ‘holy war’. Again apologists indulge in word play by arguing that the literal translation of holy war into Arabic, harb muqaddasah, gives a different meaning. This is perhaps true in Arabic but not true in English, where holy war is a reasonable translation of ‘spiritual struggle’.

There have been two meanings given to jihad. The original concept has been called the ‘lesser’ (asghar) jihad. This is the use of violence to defend Islam. We will have cause to examine this further. However many Muslim apologists now argue that the ‘real’ jihad is the ‘greater’ (akbar) jihad, an inner, or spiritual struggle to purify oneself. David Cook, author of Understanding Jihad says this:

Others have fallen into this error as well. They comprise two basic groups: Western scholars who want to present Islam in the most innocuous terms possible, and Muslim apologists, who rediscovered the internal jihad in the nineteenth century and have been emphasizing it ever since as the normative expression of jihad – in defiance of all the religious and historical evidence to the contrary. (my emphasis)

The idea of the greater jihad is linked to Sufism, which emphasizes the mystical or inner identification with Allah. However, mainstream Islam has often been hostile to Sufism and it prefers a literal and legalistic interpretation of the Koran and hadith (the collected saying of Mohammed). It is therefore somewhat intriguing to see orthodox clerics now argue that a Sufi concept is the real meaning. David Cook goes on to say:

There is no lack of evidence concerning the Muslim practice of jihad. The classical and modern works on the subject are voluminous, and they are documented by an examination of Muslim actions as recorded by historians. There can be no reasonable doubt that jihad is a major theme running through the entirety of Muslim civilization and is at least one of the major factors in the astounding success of the faith of Islam.

And,

….after surveying the evidence from classical until contemporary times, one must conclude that today’s jihad movements are as legitimate as any that have ever existed in classical Islam…

One such piece of evidence is the writing of Ibn Taymiyya who is favoured by many mujahideen. The scriptural authority of the concept of the greater jihad is supposedly based on a particular hadith. It is not based on the Koran. Ibn Taymiyya says:

“There is a hadith related by a group of people which states that the Prophet…said after the battle of Tabuk: ‘We have returned from jihad asghar to jihad akbar.’ This hadith has no source, nobody whomsoever in the field of Islamic knowledge has narrated it. Jihad against the unbelievers is the most noble of actions, and moreover it is the most important action for mankind.”

Thus Ibn Taymiyya rejects the tradition of the greater jihad in its entirety. So who are we to believe? This question is actually irrelevant for it is sufficient that enough Muslims follow the tradition of Ibn Taymiyya to challenge the Sufi tradition. In fact the four schools (madhhab) of Sunni jurisprudence as well as the Shia tradition only refer to the lesser jihad. This means that for many Muslims the concept of the greater jihad is unorthodox and heretical.

DAR AL’HARB

Dar_al_Kufr_by_PsychiatryThe language of the Koran separates the world into Muslims and kufir (infidels, unbelievers). It is quite clear about the fate of infidels, they will burn for eternity in Hell.

…then guard yourself against the Fire whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the unbelievers. 2:23

This language clearly splits the world into two, the world of the righteous and the world of the infidel. The terms commonly used to describe this duality are dar al’Islam and dar al’harb. Dar al’Islam, following from above, means the ‘abode of safety, perfection, salvation, wellbeing and peace’. It is often translated simply as the ‘abode of peace’. Dar al’harb is the opposite. It means ‘abode of war’. It is everything that Dar al’Islam is not. It is danger, chaos, punishment, disease and conflict.

This dichotomy clearly argues that Islam is superior and the unbelievers are therefore inferior. It allows Muslims to look down on non-Muslims with derision and contempt. This has found modern expression in many a Friday night sermon. Evidence of this line of reasoning can be found in the writings of the influential radical Sayyid Qutb who said:

Humanity today is living in a large brothel! One only has to glance at its press, films, fashion shows, beauty contests, ballrooms, wine bars and broadcasting stations! Or observe its mad lust for naked flesh, provocative postures, and sick, suggestive statements in literature, the arts and mass media!

To Qutb the world had fallen into a state of jahiliyya, or ignorance of the word of Allah. The main source of this ignorance is the West which is seen in wholly negative terms. He argued that it was the duty of Muslims to wage a jihad to rid the world of jahiliyya.

There is an argument that jihad should only be declared in order to defend Muslims from attack. However, much depends on the definition of attack and defence. Qutb argued that the notion of defence should be expanded.

If we insist in calling Islamic jihad a defensive movement, then we must change the meaning of the word ‘defence’ to mean the defence of man against all those forces that limit his freedom. These forces may take the form of beliefs and concepts, as well as political systems, based on economic, racial and class distinctions. (FromTomorrow’s Islam)

To Qutb the beliefs and practices of dar al’Harb were a threat to dar al’Islam, they were responsible for corrupting Muslims. The freedom he speaks of is a specific freedom, it is the freedom to choose Islam. It is based on the idea that the freedom to choose is limited by the lies of the infidels, when the lies are exposed people will naturally convert to the one, true religion, Islam. Therefore Islam is fully justified in defending itself from aggressive and corrosive ideas by waging jihad.

Another influential thinker is Sayyid Mawdudi, a scholar of Deobandism and founder of the Pakistan party Jemaat e-Islamiya (party of Islam). He puts it this way:

Islam wants the whole earth and does not content itself with only a part thereof. It wants and requires the entire inhabited world. It does not want this in order that one nation dominates the earth and monopolizes its sources of wealth, after having taken them away from one or more other nations. No, Islam wants and requires the earth in order that the human race altogether can enjoy the concept and practical program of human happiness, by means of which God has honoured Islam and put it above the other religions and laws. In order to realize this lofty desire, Islam wants to employ all forces and means that can be employed for bringing about a universal all-embracing revolution. It will spare no efforts for the achievement of this supreme objective. This far-reaching struggle that continuously exhausts all forces and this employment of all possible means are called jihad.

THE EXEMPLARS: MOHAMMED AND HIS COMPANIONS

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 2.23.21 PMOne of the enormous difficulties apologists have in trying to depict Islam as a religion of peace is the fact that the new religion was born in violence and that its prophet actually fought and killed.

The Koran is divided into two periods, the revelations in Mecca and the revelations in exile, in Medina. The Meccan revelations are often more peaceful and tolerant. The Medinite revelations indicate a shift towards belligerence. Qutb explains it this way:

For thirteen years after the beginning of his Messengership, he called people to God through preaching, without fighting or Jizyah, and was commanded to restrain himself and to practice patience and forbearance. Then he was commanded to migrate, and later permission was given to fight. Then he was commanded to fight those who fought him, and to restrain himself from those who did not make war with him. Later he was commanded to fight the polytheists until God’s religion was fully established.

There is a common argument that the later passages ‘abrogate’ (naskh) the earlier passages. That is, when trying to interpret apparently contradictory passages the later passages inform the earlier passages. Unfortunately the later passages are the most violent and the law of abrogation demands the peaceful passages be tempered by the belligerent passages, not the other way around. Many radical Muslims believe that the final command of Mohammed, to ‘fully’ establish Islam, has yet to be achieved.

Many apologists will however, argue that Mohammed only ever used violence in order to defend his people. This argument is based on the evidence that Mohammed made a treaty with the tribes of Medina which they later betrayed, thus he was fully justified in waging a war. And according to the traditional tribal rules of Arabia this makes perfect sense. Except that it only tells one side of the story. It ignores the fact that the tribes might have had very good reasons to break the treaty.

Mohammed had been disowned by his own tribe. He was given refuge in Medina and he made a pact with the tribes of the region, three of whom were Jewish. However Mohammed continued to claim that he was a prophet of God in the line of Abraham and that his teachings superseded the previous teachings of Judaism. This was something the rabbis of Medina could not accept and it is clear that the teachings of Mohammed became increasingly problematic. Of course, from Mohammed’s view the Jewish tribes were simply rejecting the word of God. In any case the Jewish tribes decided to rid themselves of Mohammed, who they now regarded as a false prophet, so they formed an alliance with his own tribe, the Bani Quraysh. This new alliance negated the previous treaty and so Mohammed declared war on the tribes of Medina.

The rest is well recorded history. There are a number of Islamic accounts of the various assassinations, campaigns and battles. However, there is one in particular that is often glossed over. This is the massacre of the Bani Qurayzah, one of the Jewish tribes. Most accounts agree that Mohammed’s men dug a long trench, then lined up all the males of fighting age (around 700) and then systematically beheaded them. The women and children were then handed to the victors as slaves. Now this was rather normal behaviour at the time, but it certainly challenges the idea that Mohammed was a man of peace and compassion.

Mohammed’s army went on to conquer Mecca and the defeated infidels were given a simple choice, convert or die. The atmosphere of the final revelations are the most violent. These are sometimes called the ‘sword verses’.

Fight and slay the unbelievers wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war. 9:5

Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them and heal the spirit of the faithful. 9:14

Here we return to the translation of Islam as ‘surrender’

If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, they shall become your brothers in the Faith. 9:11

And it was not confined to unbelievers but also to Jews and Christians, the People of the Book (Ahl al-Qitab):

Fight those among the People of the Book who do not believe in God and the Last Days, do not forbid what God and His Prophet have forbidden, and do not profess the true religion until they pay the poll tax (jizya) out of hand and feel themselves subdued 9:29

After the death of Mohammed there was a period of uncertainty because he had not left a clear successor. Eventually it was agreed that authority would pass to one of his deputies (Caliph). During this period of uncertainty a number of tribes returned to the old ways. The first Caliph Abu Bakr attacked them and forced them to recant, this has been called the ‘War of the Apostates’.

This early period was marked by a number of expansionary wars and internal civil wars. It was also marked by the assassination of two of the Caliphs, Uthman and Ali. This last civil war (Kharijites) created the schism between the Sunni and the Shia. So it can be seen that the birth of Islam was actually quite violent.

It is also interesting to note that much is made of the claim that Islam only engages in defensive war. Yet neither the Byzantine or Sasanian empires had declared war on Islam, rather the Muslims declared war on them. There is a tradition that says:

Abu Hurayra would say after these amsar (cities founded by Muslims) were conquered during the time of Umar, Uthman and afterwards, “Conquer whatever you wish, because by the One who holds the soul of Aby Hurayra in His hands, you have never conquered nor will you ever conquer any city until the Day of Resurrection without Allah having already given its keys into the hands of Mohammed previously”. (From Jihad: From Qu’ran to bin Laden )

What this means is that the success of the Muslim wars of expansion were considered to be preordained. And so the idea of the purely defensive war was quickly overturned and a tradition created to justify offensive war. Within a short time Islam had taken over the former Christian Byzantine empire and converted it’s most holiest church into a Mosque. The Muslim empire then went on to expand into Europe, Russia and Asia, to see the rise and fall of several ruling elites and periods of sectarian violence.

Perhaps the final word should go to the jurist al-Shaybani:

Allah gave the Prophet four swords (for fighting the infidels): the first against the polytheists, which Mohammed himself fought with; the second against apostates, which Caliph Abu Bakr fought with; the third against the People of the Book, which Caliph Umar fought with; and the fourth against dissenters, which Caliph Ali fought with.

DHIMMI AND MURTADD

Dhimmi-Christian-Islam-PakistanOne of the claims of apologists is that Islam is a tolerant religion. In many ways, in comparison to some other cultures of the time, it was somewhat more tolerant. However, it was a highly qualified tolerance. There is a famous ayat that says “there shall be no compulsion in religion.” There are also a number of ayat that claim that the People of the Book, that is, fellow Abrahamites and monotheists, should be free to practice their beliefs. Again such tolerance is a qualified tolerance.

However, all such acts of tolerance are denied to unbelievers, those who do not accept the god of Abraham. This caused some problems as Islam expanded and encountered Zoroastrian, Hindu and Buddhist communities. Scholars adapted the term People of the Book to include any religion that claimed to be based on revealed scripture. In the case of Zoroastrianism this was the Zend Avesta and in the case of Hinduism the Vedas. These two faiths were also called the People of the Flame. However Buddhism has never really been accepted as a legitimate faith. There have been some scholars who have developed a rather convoluted argument to accept Buddhism, but the majority opinion is that Buddhists are infidels. The principle stumbling blocks are that Buddhists worship a man, which is idolatry and that they are declared atheists (for an example of anti-Buddhist propaganda see this http://www.islamandbuddhism.com – now offline)

Yet, regardless of their special status, the People of the Book were still discriminated against. To begin with the Caliph Umar expelled all non-Muslims from Arabia. He also developed a code of behaviour detailed in the Pact of Umar, this relegated the People of the Book to second-class status who had to abide a set of humiliating rules. They were considered to be ‘protected people’ or dhimmi. Some of the restrictions placed on dhimmis were:

  • To pay a special tax (the jizya)
  • Not allowed to build new places of worship (but Muslims were allowed to destroy any place of worship they wished)
  • Not allowed to recite prayers aloud, least Muslims hear them.
  • Not allowed to publicly display their religious literature.
  • Not allowed to publicly display religious symbols
  • Had to always walk to the left of Muslims
  • Had to stand and give a Muslim their seat
  • Wear special clothes
  • Remove their shoes whilst walking near a Mosque
  • Never hit a Muslim (though a Muslim could hit them)
  • Never build their houses higher than a Muslim house
  • Not ride a horse
  • Not bear arms
  • Could not testify against a Muslim

If these Dhimmi laws were broken the offender was regarded as no longer a protected person and they reverted to the status of infidel, which meant they lost all legal rights, could have their property confiscated and might be summarily killed.

These laws were in effect in varying degrees of severity in every Muslim controlled area. They were even enforced in the supposedly tolerant society of Moorish Spain which still applied the jizya tax – and as far as Moghul controlled India. Some lenient rulers neglected to enforce them only to have the rulers who followed them reinstitute them. Many of these restrictions are a part of sharia law and some are enforced even today. In Aceh, Indonesia, there are restrictions placed on the construction of churches under sharia law.

Many apologists have argued that Islam did not use force to convert people to Islam. This is a distortion. To begin with infidels must convert or die, atheism or polytheism is not tolerated at all. The People of the Book are able to continue to practice their faith provided they adhere to the dhimmi laws. These laws were often so restrictive that many ordinary Jews and Christians converted simply to make their lives easier. It was only the most devout who resisted. However, in some instances particular communities, such as Egyptian Copts, were set aside for particular discrimination. The dhimmi laws could be applied harshly and even the smallest infringement could have the offender declared an infidel and their property seized. Unscrupulous Muslims could manipulate the dhimmi laws to destroy economic rivals amongst Jews and Christians. It is also fair to say that other Muslim communities were rather more lenient and provided they kept quiet some Jewish and Christian communities were able to thrive. However, it all depended on the whim of the ruling elites who could interpret the dhimmi laws as they saw fit.

Once you had converted to Islam you were forbidden to convert to another religion. Conversion, murtadd, or apostasy, is forbidden under sharia and the punishment is death. In Islam there are two types of apostasy, murtadd fitri, where someone born a Muslim converts and murtadd milli, where a convert to Islam reconverts. The rules defining apostasy can be strict. According to some jurists even to enter a church, synagogue or temple is an act of apostasy, as is questioning any aspect of Islam. It is this latter offence that allows hardliners to declare other Muslims to be apostates for daring to disagree with their interpretation. And given that the penalty for apostasy under sharia is death it is permissible to kill apostates. This excuse has been used to argue that the Muslim victims of terrorist attacks were engaged in un-Muslim activities and were therefore apostates.

So if Islam is the religion of peace and if there should be “no compulsion in religion” why is it permissible to kill atheists and polytheists, kill dhimmi as infidels if they break the dhimmi laws and kill apostates? It takes a considerable amount of rhetorical contortion to argue that Islam is a tolerant religion when these rules apply.

WHAT DO ISLAMISTS WANT?

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 2.29.38 PMAccording to orthodox Muslims Islam is the perfect system. They are idealists who believe they have a utopian solution. The answer to the world’s problems is Islam.

The tern ‘Islamist’ has been used to mean anyone who supports Islam as a political solution. There are many Islamist groups and they fall into two broad categories; nationalist groups and internationalists. Nationalist groups are primarily concerned with overthrowing their own government and replacing it with a government based on Islamic principles and sharia law.

The internationalist groups would prefer to see all Muslim countries united under the traditional system of the Caliphate and the Caliphate to enforce Islamic principles and of course, sharia law. The most extreme internationalists want to restore the Islamic empire including Spain, the Balkans and India, and then to continue to expand Islam.

There are too many of these groups to name, save to mention that the ideology of Islamism has reached every Muslim community. There are five major sources of the Islamist ideology.

  1. Wahhabism (also called Salafi). Founded in 1745 by Mohammed Ibn Wahhab. This is the state doctrine of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, it is highly influential in the Arab states. The Saudis have funded an extensive program of expansion and have funded the construction of Mosques and Islamic schools throughout the world through a network of charitable organisations (in my own city of Melbourne a prominent Islamic school, the King Khalid College, received funding from Saudi Arabia). The Wahhabi doctrine is strict and condemns Sufism and moderate interpretations as apostasy. A proportion of this charitable money has gone to fund Salafi jihadist groups, some of it to bin Laden and al Qaeda.
  2. Deobandism. Founded in the Indian city of Deoband in 1866 as a rejection of Sufism and syncretism, its aim was to overthrow the British and restore Muslim rule. It is highly influential in Pakistan where they control around 65% of the Mosques and madari (religious schools). The Taliban were the students of Deobandi madari. Salafi money has gone to support the madari and the war in Afghanistan saw a coalition of Salafi and Deobandi jihadi.
  3. Muslim Brotherhood (Ikwhan). Founded in Egypt by Hasan al-Banna. Sayyid Qutb was influenced by the Ikwhan. The Deobandi scholar Mawdudi was an important influence on the Ikwhan and Osama bin Laden is regarded as a follower of Qutb.
  4. The Shia under the influence of the revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini. The Iranian revolution inspired both Shia and Sunni fundamentalists with the hope that Islamic states could be created elsewhere.
  5. A loose coalition of fundamentalist Sufi and minority sects. The Naqshbandiya in Central Asia have formed a loose coalition with Salafi and Deobandi jihadis (see link), particularly in the war in Chechnya. Fundamentalist jihadi Sufis are influential in North Africa, particularly Sudan.

All of these groups provide a ready pool of mujahideen who are prepared to travel in order to fight the global jihad. The Indonesian group Jemaah Islamiya is a Salafi group that was funded with Saudi money and supported by members of bin Laden’s al Qaeda group. The bombings in Madrid were committed by Moroccan mujahideen operating in support of the mujahideen under Zaqarwi in Iraq. The London suicide bombers had links with Deobandi radicals in Pakistan, and so forth.

‘BUT THIS IS NOT THE REAL ISLAM!’

islamic_jihad_picture_1_by_jihadprincess-d31iuiuWhen confronted with the above moderate Muslims will often reply by arguing that these groups do not represent the real Islam. This is a nonsense. There is no such thing as a real Islam. Rather, there are multiple Islams. In fact the situation is quite absurd. There is no central authority in Islam and rival groups compete with each other to attract followers. As I write this a council of American Muslim scholars has issued a fatwa condemning terrorism. Yet, at the same time a council of orthodox scholars in Indonesia has issued a fatwa condemning moderates. Fatwa at twenty paces!

Authority for interpretation and judgement is usually given to theulemma, a council of recognised imams or mullahs. However their judgements are only binding on their community. Each sect and each country can have its own ulemma. This means that there can be a range of judgements made, some of them contradictory, with rival ulemma in the same country issuing fatwa against each other .

It is also possible for charismatic teachers to arise and to create their own following. There is actually no formal process by which teachers and clerics can be officially recognised. Some modern sects were created by a single charismatic figure.

The fact is that there are many rival interpretations of Islam. These rival interpretations are in a state of civil war. The Islamists believe that moderates are apostates who have betrayed Islam and have been corrupted by the Western doctrines of democracy, capitalism and also, socialism. A great many bombings and assassinations have actually been directed at moderate Muslims and those governments that have adopted non-Muslim political principles. The West has become a target because they are seen to support the moderates.

The cry that this is not the ‘real’ Islam is actually completely and dramatically irrelevant. What matters is that sufficient numbers of Muslims continue to choose to follow the radical fundamentalist interpretation.

Nor is it a question of the radicals being a minority, for even if they are a minority they are an influential minority. In fact they are actually a majority in some countries (the majority of any population are usually not involved in politics anyway and tend to passively follow political groups who promise a better future). They are able to punch above their weight because they have financial and ideological support from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Perhaps the question that should be asked of moderates is this, if the radicals are a minority and if they do not represent the ‘real’ Islam how is it they have been able to carry on a global jihad on several fronts, jihads that include civil wars, secessionist movements, revolutions, assassinations and global terrorism? The list of countries that have been affected by this global jihad is quite long. As I write this incidents have occurred in England, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Kashmir and Bangladesh. The simple fact is that there is broader private support for the Islamists objectives than is ever admitted to publicly and a number are sitting on the fence, waiting to see which way things turn out.

A FINAL NOTE ON IRAQ

16iraq-superJumboIraq has now descended into a civil war. This is sadly something I warned about in a previous article. The Iraq war has allowed radical Islamist mujahideen to set up operations. One of the aims of Islamism is to overthrow secular and corrupt governments in the Middle East. Saddam, as a Ba’athist was always a target. The US-led war has simply done the job for them. They are now waging an insurgent war with the primary goal of taking control of Iraq. Of course they want to defeat the US, but that is only the first step. They will not stop if the US withdraws. If they can control Iraq they can control substantial oil revenue and then have a geographical and financial base from which to wage jihad on the other countries in the region. The final goal is to set up a regional Caliphate.

CONCLUSION

Islam was never a religion of peace. It is a religion based on a warrior code. The evidence is clear, it was made evident in the actions of Mohammed and his Companions. Islam means ‘surrender’. It is entirely legitimate to interpret the tradition of Islam as a state of perpetual jihad with the final aim being the defeat of unbelief and the surrender of all to the word of Allah as revealed by His Prophet, Mohammed. It is only when that surrender has been completed that the world will abide in a state of perfection and peace. Many jihadi see themselves as simply following the example set by Mohammed.

Moderate Islam realises that this goal is impossible. However, what the moderates have not yet fully realised is that it is up to them to defeat the radicals. This cannot be done until the power centres of fundamentalism are isolated and choked of support. This is not something that infidels can hope to achieve. What it calls for is a jihad of another kind, a complete reformation of Islam that reinterprets Islam in light of modern history. A reformation that demands the overthrow of sharia law and the discrediting of supremacist and fundamentalist interpretations of Islam.

There are encouraging signs that after the London bombings moderate Muslims are beginning to wake up from their state of denial. This must be carried forward to the heartlands of orthodoxy.

The West can assist this process by isolating Saudi Arabia and demanding that the Saud’s end their support of the Wahhabi doctrine. Iraq was never the problem, it was always Saudi Arabia. This will then have the effect of cutting off important sources of funding to other jihadist groups. It will then be up to the moderates in each community to name and shame the radicals.

Radical Islamism is doomed to failure, but it will sadly be a bloody fight that will take decades to complete. It may take a violent revolution in both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan that may initially favour the extremists but will cause a final backlash. In many ways Islamism is the last rallying cry of a defeated cause. Islam reached it’s limit. It met infidels from east, west, north and south who refused to surrender and who fought back. Over time it began to lose territory, Spain, India, Greece, the Balkans. In many ways the defeat of the Ottoman empire in WW1 was the final defeat. Since then Islam has been struggling to find its way in a new world, a world not of all-embracing Islamic Caliphates but of independent nation-states, a world that can survive quite happily without it. This is not just a struggle against the Western enlightenment and modernity, but also a struggle against Asian values, a struggle against all that is not Islam. And perhaps this is the final humiliation – that Allah seems to have disserted Islam and the infidels are ascendant. The current violence is a futile protest against the inevitable, a protest against that those who would dare challenge Islam’s natural pre-eminence by those who believe it is they who should rule the world.

And what should we do? We should articulate a fair, free and fearless critique of Islam. We must identify those progressive Muslim voices that are calling for a reformation. And we should continue to refuse to ‘surrender’.

A note on transliteration: There are no set rules on how to spell Arabic words so any reader will inevitably come across a wide variety of spellings. Qutb is sometimes spelt Kutb and Koran as Qur’an, and so forth. I have kept the spellings as originally used in quotes but have otherwise used the spellings I am used to.

By Ray Harris

Kirsten Powers: Christians thrown overboard left to drown by Obama

Kirsten Powers: Christians thrown overboard left to drown by Obama

Obama only mentions Christians to lecture them, rather than defend them from persecution.

What do you call it when 12 men are drowned at sea for praying to Jesus?

Answer: Religious persecution.

Yet, when a throng of Muslims threw a dozen Christians overboard a migrant ship traveling fromLibya to Italy, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi missed the opportunity to label it as such. Standing next to President Obama at their joint news conference Friday, Renzi dismissed it as a one-off event and said, “The problem is not a problem of (a) clash of religions.”

While the prime minister plunged his head into the sand, Italian authorities arrestedand charged the Muslim migrants with “multiple aggravated murder motivated by religious hate,” according to the BBC.

Religious persecution of Christians is rampant worldwide, as Pew has noted, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where followers of Jesus are the targets of religious cleansing. Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the persecution and begged the world for help, but it has had little impact. Western leaders — including Obama — will be remembered for their near silence as this human rights tragedy unfolded. The president’s mumblings about the atrocities visited upon Christians (usually extracted after public outcry over his silence) are few and far between. And it will be hard to forget his lecturing of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast about the centuries-old Crusades while Middle Eastern Christianswere at that moment being harassed, driven from their homes, tortured and murdered for their faith.

A week and a half after Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast speech, 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded for being “people of the cross.” Seven of the victims were former students of my friend and hero “Mama” Maggie Gobran, known as the “Mother Theresa of Cairo” for her work with the poorest of the poor. She told me these dear men grew up in rural Upper Egypt and had gone to Libya seeking work to support their families. They died with dignity as they called out to their God, while the cowardly murderers masked their faces.

Monday, there was more horrifying news: ISIL terrorists released a video purporting to show more religiously motivated killing. According to CNN, before beheading and shooting two groups of Christians in Libya, a speaker said, “The Islamic State has offered the Christian community (the opportunity to convert to Islam or pay a tax for being Christian) many times and set a deadline for this, but the Christians never cooperated.”

So they kill them.

Indeed, let’s talk more about the Crusades.

The Impossibility Factor

the impossibility factor copy

The Impossibility Factor: Revivals are always  impossible until they happen

Mario Murillo

Revival has never looked more impossible in America.  The thing is that really doesn’t mean anything. Revivals are always impossible until they happen.

Revival struck London through John Wesley when it was impossible.   One out every seven houses in London was a house of prostitution.  More people were attending séances than church.  Nearly 100,000 children lived like animals.  The London times had not mentioned Christmas for decades…not even once.

Revival came anyway and England became the world’s missionary leader.

Revival struck Kentucky when it was unthinkable.  This was the most lawless state in the union.  There was no police.  Every criminal on the run headed for Kentucky.  Murder, rape, and alcoholism were pandemic.  Revival flipped Kentucky so violently that it became the most zealously Christian state in America.

The early twentieth century was a far more skeptical era than today.  The blush of Darwinism and Marxism was so feverish that it was a foregone conclusion that Christianity would go away altogether. Scientists declared the age of reason and solemnly assured us that religion would be gone by the 1920s.

raw bravery

Imagine in that atmosphere, if you were to have said in 1906, “a one eyed black man is going to rent a dingy horse livery on Azusa Street in downtown Los Angeles and start a movement that will engulf nearly 600 million people worldwide.”  The men in white would have been sent for you.

As I said in a recent post: We have so many wrong ideas about millennials and we have so much ignorance about Azusa Street!

We hear preachers say “millennials” ainsert 3re too skeptical and cannot handle Bible doctrine.  That is so wrong.   Did you know that Darwin and Karl Marx were more popular at the time of the Azusa Street Revival than he is today?  In fact, fundamentalism was organized at that time to stem the tide of atheism, Marxism, and a worldwide rejection of the Bible.

God’s remedy for the dark, disbelieving early 20th Century was to pour out His Spirit.   And that is the answer for today!

The point is that revivals are impossible until they happen.   Focus on the evil and you will feel despair.  Concentrate on the inherent unstoppable nature of past revivals and you will seek revival correctly.

You should also know what the church was preaching in those darkest moments before awakenings began.  Pulpits were filled with pessimists who instead of rebuking the despair joined in the chorus.  They declared the day of revival to be over!  Even that did not stop God.

How is it that revival can strike without warning in the most unpromising times and grow in the hardest soil?  The answer is that when darkness is intense we tend look at the wrong indicators.  It’s not that there are no warnings of revival it is simply that we do not know them when we see them because fear is so loud.insert 2

Look at today.  Do you see any signs of revival?  Most would say absolutely not.  They would say all of the same things that people have said before every outpouring of God.   The times are too evil.

That is the argument today.  We legalized gay marriage, drugs and we toy with Islam.  Our leaders are loons that are finding the best ways to drive us into extinction.  Churches are closing and 1,000 ministers are leaving the ministry every month.  You know the rest because you have heard a hundred times.

Atheists are boasting that the whole world in general is becoming secular and anti-supernatural.  The facts are just the opposite.  It is a very religious world, far more religious than it was 50 years ago.

Consider these statistics from sociologist Rodney Stark:

— 81 percent claim to belong to an organized religious faith, and most of the rest report engaging in religious activities such as prayer or making offerings to the gods in various “folk religion” temples.

— 74 percent say religion is an important part of their daily lives.

— 50 percent report they have attended a place of worship or religious service in the past seven days.

-In very few nations do as many as five percent claim to be atheists, and only in China, Vietnam, and South Korea do they exceed 20 percent.

-Furthermore, in every nook and cranny left by organized faiths, all manner of unconventional spiritual and mystical practices are booming. There are more occult healers than medical doctors in Russia, 38 percent of the French believe in astrology, 35 percent of the Swiss agree that “some fortune tellers really can foresee the future,” and nearly everyone in Japan is careful to have their new car blessed by a Shinto priest.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that little of this looks Christian…the waters of supernatural hunger are being stirred worldwide and truth must surrender to Christ.insert 4

Another sign is the evil of people itself.   For example, Saul of Tarsus was at the peak of his terrorism when he was violently converted. What no one but God knew was the growing desperation inside of this soon to be Paul the Apostle.   Societies are often at their worst right before revival.

What we do not want to do is miss revival when it hits!

Dark times can absorb our faith in the power of God.  Many believers find themselves in a condition that is truly worse than they ever imagined.  Pangs of fear grip men of God who were once lions in the pulpit.  We invent doctrines that fit our disappointment.  We build ministries based on our lowered expectations.

You need a healthy respect for the power of dark times to rob us of faith.  It has happened to the best of us.

500 people saw Jesus Christ ascend into the clouds.  Think about that.  In the face of such absolute proof that Jesus was the Son of God, how could they ever doubt?

As He ascended he told them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit.  Surely they would wait…right?  Astonishingly, only 120 were still waiting in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost.  How is it possible in the face of so great an assurance that they would falter and abandon their posts?

revival

Their world was filled with sudden terror from a wicked king, oppression from religious leaders, and tyranny from the Roman occupiers.  Their daily grind absorbed their zeal for the promises of God.

Do not be like the 380 people who missed one of the greatest moments in history.  Here are two things that you need to confess and say to your spirit so that you will not leave the upper room.

  1. Either it was always true or it was never true. Times do not alter truth. A lack of money does not change God’s word about prosperity.  Sickness does not nullify the fact of God’s healing power.  The evil of men does not overrule the supremacy of Christ.   If God promised you something, these dark times cannot stop their fulfillment.
  2. This will be like one of them. 1 Samuel 17: 4 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”

youth revivalIt is easy to say that evil is more intense and sophisticated than ever before.  Neither Saul, nor Israel had ever faced anything like Goliath before.  David said that it did not matter; this new threat would have the same outcome as all of the old threats.

Jesus is telling us to wait for the power that is about to break out no matter what.   Does revival look totally impossible to you?  Don’t worry, they all look that way until they happen.