THE SUPREME URGENCY

Filling the vacant seat on the Supreme Court is urgent for both Trump and the Republican Senate. You will hear all kinds of lies and threats from the Democrats, the Fake News and leftists—and from all the usual RINOs. Even now, they have begun screaming that this is tyrannical, evil and wrong to place someone on the bench during an election year.

Throughout American history, the party that controls the Senate, gets to fill Supreme Court vacancies at any time. This includes election years, lame duck sessions after an election and even when the election is lost by the majority in the Senate. They have the power to do it any time there is an opening.

If the Senate is controlled by the party that opposes the President, they can block the nomination.  In 2016, Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia in March of the last year of Obama’s term, during the Trump–Clinton election.

Because Republicans held the majority in the Senate they blocked Garland’s nomination. Elections have consequences. The Democrats cried foul, but they were wrong. This was a simple case of how our system works. People elected Republicans to do their job, and they did it. This has happened many times in our history.

As Dan McLaughlin said “Historically, when the opposite party controls the Senate, the Senate gets to block Supreme Court nominees sent up in a presidential election year, and hold the seat open for the winner. Both of those precedents are settled by experience that is as old as the republic.

“Twenty-nine times in American history there has been an open Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential election year, or in a lame-duck session before the next presidential inauguration. (This counts vacancies created by new seats on the Court, but not vacancies for which there was a nomination already pending when the year began, such as happened in 1835–36 and 1987–88.) The President made a nomination in all twenty-nine cases. George Washington did it three times. John Adams did it. Thomas Jefferson did it. Abraham Lincoln did it. Ulysses S. Grant did it. Franklin D. Roosevelt did it. Dwight Eisenhower did it. Barack Obama, of course, did it.”

JOE BIDEN SAID THIS IN 2016: “Whenever there is a vacancy in the courts created by the Constitution itself, the supreme court of the United States the president shall—not may—shall appoint someone to fill the vacancy with advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. And deciding in advance simply to turn your back even before the president names a nominee is not an option the constitution leaves open.  It’s a plain abdication of the Senate’s solemn constitutional duty. If the president consults in cooperation with the senate then his nominee may enjoy my support. I made it absolutely clear I would go forward with the confirmation process as chairman even a few months before a presidential election.” Joe Biden 2016

It is extremely dangerous for Republicans to cave to pressure being put upon them, and hesitate to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. They would be creating a new and disastrous precedent. McLaughlin says, “Choosing not to fill a vacancy would be a historically unprecedented act of unilateral disarmament.”

The Nancy Pelosi clown car has careened away from constitutional law so long that they don’t even see the Constitution in their rear-view mirror. They can whine and rage all they want, but Republicans are absolutely right to take action now to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The threats have already begun to be more and more insane: “If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire f***ing thing down,” former CNN host Reza Aslan wrote on Twitter. “Over our dead bodies. Literally.” That is what Aslan wrote, a man who is a total hack and gained notoriety by being anti-Christian. He wrote the dumbest book I have ever seen about how Jesus resembled an Islamist Jihadist. That’s why he’s on CNN. That is also why we should utterly ignore his kind of threats and do the right thing.

The single most important reason we must move with haste is our 5 decade-old war to end one of the most heinous practices that has ever seen the light of day: Abortion.

Is it right to confirm a Supreme Court Justice in just 45 days? We have done it three times in our history. One of those times was when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed—it took just 42 days…

 

 

 

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‘Jihadi John’: Islamic State killer is identified as Londoner Mohammed Emwazi

‘Jihadi John’: Islamic State killer is identified as Londoner Mohammed Emwazi

The identity of Jihadi John is exposed and it proves that Obama is totally wrong about terrorism.  It does not spring from poverty, it is a imminent threat  and yes it is about Islam.  – Mario Murillo

 Jihadi John is exposed

February 26 at 9:45 AM

The world knows him as “Jihadi John,” the masked man with a British accent who has beheaded several hostages held by the Islamic State and who taunts audiences in videos circulated widely online.

But his real name, according to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming. He is believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined the Islamic State, the group whose barbarity he has come to symbolize.

“I have no doubt that Mohammed is Jihadi John,” said one of Emwazi’s close friends who identified him in an interview with The Washington Post. “He was like a brother to me. . . . I am sure it is him.”

A representative of a British human rights group who had been in contact with Emwazi before he left for Syria also said he believed Emwazi was Jihadi John, a moniker given to him by some of the hostages he once held.

“There was an extremely strong resemblance,” Asim Qureshi, research director at the rights group, CAGE, said when shown one of the videos and asked to confirm whether Emwazi could be “Jihadi John.”

“This is making me feel fairly certain that this is the same person,” Qureshi added.

Authorities have used a variety of investigative techniques, including voice analysis and interviews with former hostages, to try to identify Jihadi John. James B. Comey, the director of the FBI, said in September — only a month after the Briton was seen in a video killing American journalist James Foley — that officials believed they had succeeded.

Nevertheless, the identity of Jihadi John has remained shrouded in secrecy. Since Foley’s killing, he has appeared in a series of videos documenting the gruesome killings of other hostages, including four other Westerners, some of whom he personally beheaded.

In each, he is dressed in all black, a balaclava covering all but his eyes and the ridge of his nose. He wears a holster under his left arm.

A spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Washington said: “Our prime minister has been clear that we want all those who have committed murder on behalf of ISIL to face justice for the appalling acts carried out. There is an ongoing police investigation into the murder of hostages by ISIL in Syria. It is not appropriate for the government to comment on any part of it while this continues.” ISIL is another name for the Islamic State.

U.S. officials declined to comment for this report. Emwazi’s family declined a request for an interview, citing legal advice.

The Kuwaiti-born Emwazi, in his mid-20s, appears to have left little trail on social media or elsewhere online. Those who knew him say he was polite and had a penchant for wearing stylish clothes while adhering to the tenets of his Islamic faith. He had a beard and was mindful of making eye contact with women, friends said.

[Archives: The tactics of Islamic State beheadings]

He was raised in a middle-class neighborhood in London and on occasion prayed at a mosque in Greenwich.

The friends, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation, believe that Emwazi started to radicalize after a planned safari in Tanzania following his graduation from the University of Westminster.

Emwazi and two friends — a German convert to Islam named Omar and another man, Abu Talib — never made it on the trip. Once they landed in Dar es Salaam, in May 2009, they were detained by police and held overnight. It’s unclear whether the reason for the detention was made clear to the three, but they were eventually deported.

Emwazi flew to Amsterdam, where he claimed that an officer from MI5, Britain’s domestic security agency, accused him of trying to reach Somalia, where the militant group al-Shabab operates in the southern part of the country, according to e-mails that he sent to Qureshi and that were provided to The Post.

Emwazi denied the accusation and claimed that MI5 representatives had tried to recruit him. But a former hostage said Jihadi John was obsessed with Somalia and made his captives watch videos about al-Shabab, which is allied with al-Qaeda.

The episode was described in the Independent, a British newspaper, which identified Emwazi as Muhammad ibn Muazzam.

Emwazi and his friends were allowed to return to Britain, where he met with Qureshi in the fall of 2009 to discuss what had happened. “Mohammed was quite incensed by his treatment, that he had been very unfairly treated,” Qureshi said.

Shortly afterward, Emwazi decided to move to his birthplace, Kuwait, where he landed a job working for a computer company, according to the e-mails he wrote to Qureshi. He came back to London twice, the second time to finalize his wedding plans to a woman in Kuwait.

In June 2010, however, counterterrorism officials in Britain detained him again — this time fingerprinting him and searching his belongings. When he tried to fly back to Kuwait the next day, he was prevented from doing so.

“I had a job waiting for me and marriage to get started,” he wrote in a June 2010 e-mail to Qureshi. But now “I feel like a prisoner, only not in a cage, in London. A person imprisoned & controlled by security service men, stopping me from living my new life in my birthplace & country, Kuwait.”

Nearly four months later, when a court in New York sentenced Aafia Siddiqui, an al-Qaeda operative convicted for the attempted murder of U.S. personnel in Afghanistan, Emwazi expressed sympathy for her, saying he had “heard the upsetting news regarding our sister. . . . This should only keep us firmer towards fighting for freedom and justice!!!”

In the interview, Qureshi said he last heard from Emwazi in January 2012, when Emwazi sent him an e-mail seeking advice.

“This is a young man who was ready to exhaust every single kind of avenue within the machinery of the state to bring a change for his personal situation,” Qureshi said. In the end, he felt “actions were taken to criminalize him and he had no way to do something against these actions.”

Close friends of Emwazi’s also said his situation in London had made him desperate to leave the country. It’s unclear exactly when he reached Syria or how.

One friend said he believed Emwazi wanted to travel to Saudi Arabia to teach English in 2012 but was unsuccessful. Soon afterward, the friend said, he was gone.

“He was upset and wanted to start a life elsewhere,” one of the friends said. “He at some stage reached the point where he was really just trying to find another way to get out.”

Once in Syria, Emwazi contacted his family and at least one of his friends. It’s unclear what he told them about his activities there.

A former hostage who was debriefed by officials upon release said that Jihadi John was part of a team guarding Western captives at a prison in Idlib, Syria, in 2013. The hostages nicknamed the facility “the box.” Emwazi was joined by two other men with British accents, including one who was dubbed “George.” A former hostage said Emwazi participated in the waterboarding of four Western hostages.

Former hostages described George as the leader of the trio. Jihadi John, they said, was quiet and intelligent. “He was the most deliberate,” a former hostage said.

Beginning in early 2014, the hostages were moved to a prison in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital, where they were visited often by the trio. They appeared to have taken on more powerful roles within the Islamic State.

About the same time, Qureshi said, he sent an e-mail to Emwazi.

“I was wondering if you could send me your number,” he wrote. “Inshallah [God willing] it will be good to catch up.”

There was no response.

Goldman reported from Washington. Julie Tate in Washington and Griff Witte and Karla Adam in London contributed to this report.

Muslim Cleric Defends Paris Terrorist Attack

Anjem Choudary

Muslim Cleric Defends Paris Terrorist Attack

January 8, 2015 – 10:24 AM

By Curtis Kalin

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In the wake of the terrorist attack on the offices of French satirist paper Charlie Heddo , one Muslim cleric justified the murders under Islamic law.

USA today published a column by avowed “radical Muslim cleric” Anjem Choudary. The piece titled “People know the consequences” asks why France would allow the paper to mock Islam, and further excused the systematic murders as justified under Islamic law:

French citizens gather in Paris to denounce the terrorist attack against magazine Charlie Hebdo and to rally in defense of free speech. (AP)

“Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, “Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.”

“However, because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see.”

The contention that mass murder is in any way an appropriate response to being personally offended is a dangerous slope on which to tread. There is no doubt that some of these cartoons can be seen as offensive to certain people, but that same sentiment can be asserted on nearly any form of speech, especially in politics. Hence, the reasoning behind and the sanctity of the Constitution’s first amendment.

Choudary then reversed the blame for the attack away from the three terrorists themselves and onto the French government:

“So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?”

This kind of blame shifting is also intellectually perilous. Placing the onus of speech on the any secular government is asking for abuse. But, if Choudary had his way, the government of the Islamic State would tightly control speech and punish transgressions with death.

Choudary’s entire argument excusing the Paris attack reveals the fundamental disconnect between views of civilizations. Radical Islamists have no intention of assimilating into their respective cultures or contributing to any kind of meaningful dialogue about religion and free speech. They are intent on terrorizing western citizens out of exerting their rights. Their plan of terrorism and intimidation, with the ultimate goal of imposing their religion on others is fundamentally anti-American and is not meant for the 21st century.

Rand Paul’s message to Evangelicals: There’s a war on Christianity

Rand PaulRand Paul’s Message To Evangelicals: “There is a war on Christianity.”

Senator Rand Paul, who is seriously considering running for President of the United States, told a conservative Christian audience today that, “There is a war on Christianity” being waged by “liberal elites’ and “worldwide as well.

Read his remarks below, delivered at today’s Faith and Freedom Coalition luncheon in DC. The organization’s big “Road to Majority” event starts today and runs through Saturday. Jeb Bush, sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and many others are speaking in the next couple days.

Rand Paul has been actively courting the conservative Christian community for months. He took a trip to Israel which was organized by influential evangelical organizer David Lane and has been speaking to Christian audiences in key GOP Primary states. He will speak to hundreds of Iowa pastors next month in Des Moines. The Brody File also knows of plenty of private events he has done within the Christian community.

Rand Paul has quite a bit going for him if he makes a run. His libertarian views give him distinct crossover appeal but, in addition as a committed pro-life believer in Jesus Christ he can court evangelicals in a a way that doesn’t look like pandering. Plus, he’s super smart which not only gives the Tea Party more credibility as a movement but allows Paul to get a serious look from the shark-infested waters filled with mainstream media members. He should NOT be underestimated.

Senator Rand Paul’s Remarks below:

“Last year in Pakistan, 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for being a girl and for wanting to go to school.

If you haven’t seen the YouTube videow of Malala being interviewed on national television, speaking out for the education of girls, watch and you will be amazed at her poise and grace.

Malala never met the great Urdu poet Parveen Shakir, who grew up in Pakistan when women could become highly educated and even Prime Minister.
This line from one of Shakir’s poems reminds me of Malala:

“They insist upon evaluating the firefly in daylight. The children of our age, have grown clever.”

Why would anyone want to kill this innocent young girl? Because Malala, in her young life, insisted on exposing the firefly to daylight.

Her “crime,” as seen by the Taliban, is to believe in enlightenment, to believe that out of the darkness a flicker of tolerance can glow and grow to overcome ignorance.

Americans are seen by Pakistanis as infidels and invaders. We will not in a thousand years bring enlightenment to Pakistan, only Pakistan can do that.

When Pakistan begins to police Pakistan better, when girls who long for nothing but freedom and education are embraced — rather than gunned down by murderous thugs — then will progress finally be made.

My heart breaks for Malala and her family. It breaks for all those who suffer under violent oppression in the name of religion. It breaks for those who cannot grow up to be poets and teachers, but mostly it breaks for those who cannot speak without being gunned down by extremists.

I can only hope that the violence done to her will motivate those who believe in both Islam and peace and tolerance to stand unanimously and proclaim this violence does not represent them. That the Taliban does not represent them. That gunning down children in cold blood does not please their God.

The violence and intolerance against girls is also directed toward Christians. It saddens me to see countries that are supposedly our allies persecute Christians.

It angers me to see my tax dollars supporting regimes that put Christians to death for blasphemy against Islam, countries that put to death Muslims who convert to Christianity, and countries who imprison anyone who marries outside their religion.

There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide.

And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it.

You are being taxed to send money to countries that are not only intolerant of Christians but openly hostile. Christians are imprisoned and threatened with death for their beliefs.

In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian, sits on death row. Her crime, according to her, is that she dared to drink from a glass that belonged to a Muslim co-worker.

According to her co-workers, she insulted the Prophet. In our country, we refer to such quibbling as gossip. In Pakistan, if you are a Christian, it can land you on death row.

Recently, in Pakistan, a 12-year-old with Downs syndrome was imprisoned and charged with a death penalty crime for burning the Koran.

After weeks she was released after a local Imam was accused of actually sprinkling pages from an Arabic book into a fire near the little girl.

Dr. Shakil Afridi is not a Christian but his imprisonment by Pakistan is nonetheless an injustice. He was tortured and held without charge for nearly a year.

He was shackled with his hands behind his back for months and he was finally imprisoned, likely for the rest of his life for the crime of helping America get Bin Laden.

How do your leaders respond? 90 % of them voted against my bill that would have put restrictions on this aid.

My bill said that Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan would get no more foreign aid from the US taxpayer unless they turned over the assassins that killed our ambassador, pledged and verified that they CAN and WILL protect our embassies, and in the case of Pakistan they must release Dr. Afridi.

Overwhelmingly, I was voted down. Is it any wonder that Congress has a 10% approval rating? In Egypt, in Pakistan, they burn our flag—I say not one penny more to countries that burn the American flag!

Even when we’ve tried through good intentions to make the world a better place our actions have often backfired.

During the Iraq War, over a quarter-million Iraqi Christians fled Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator but his government was secular and therefore relatively safe for Christians. Christians, however, feared the Shiite government that we helped put in place after Saddam, and they fled in droves.

Where did these Christians go? They headed mostly for Syria, joining the over one million Syrians who have lived as Christians since the time of Christ.

Now, the senate is attempting to arm the rebel forces in syria, many of whom are al quaeda or affiliates.   they do so out of a miguided attempt to stop the violence in syria.

Instead their actions will bring more violence and more persecution of Christians, who have long been protected in Syria.

Before the Arab Spring, Christianity flourished in small outposts, like the Coptic Christians in Egypt. I had hoped that the Arab Spring would bring freedom to long-oppressed people throughout the Middle East, but I fear the Arab Spring is becoming an Arab winter.

Today, Christians in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria are on the run—persecuted or under fire—and yet, we continue to send aid to the folks chasing them.

While they burn the American flag and the mobs chant Death to America, more of your money is sent to these haters of Christianity.

Even if all the atrocities to Christians were not occurring in these countries, we simply don’t have the money to engage in this foolishness. We must borrow the money from China to send it to Pakistan.

While American soldiers spent a decade fighting to liberate Iraq and while American taxpayers have sent roughly $470 million each year in aid, Christians in Iraq are the subjects of what Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors, describes as “religicide.”

Before the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Mosul, a city in Iraq, was home to some 75,000 Christians, but now the number has dropped to around 25,000.

Christian homes are set on fire, bombs are being placed in their cars and Christian families are receiving letters threatening them to leave Iraq or be kidnapped or killed.

American soldiers have also risked their lives for the sake of these countries liberation. Our young men and women have fought for a noble cause but the law of unintended consequences is an unforgiving one.

These countries are not our true allies and no amount of money will make them so. They are not allies of Israel and I fear one day our money and military arms that we have paid for will be used against Israel.

This fight has made me unpopular in Washington but I am willing to risk unpopularity with politicians to do what I am convinced is right.

The new leader of Egypt is Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Recently, he stood by when a radical cleric said a prayer for the destruction of Israel and her supporters in his presence.

Actually, it is worse, he did not just stand by, he was seen to mouth the word “Amen” as the cleric said these words of hatred.

How does your government respond?

The bipartisan consensus in Washington vows to increase Egypt’s funding. The President is currently requesting a billion dollar increase in aid to Egypt.

This is an outrage! It is amazing that so many in Washington fail to see who the real enemies are. We should immediately stop sending F-16’s and tanks to Egypt!

It is clear that American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East and I believe that must end.

When Pope John Paul II spoke about a “culture of death,” he talked about “a war of the powerful against the weak.”

As Christians, we know we must always stand with the most defenseless. I believe that no civilization can long endure that does not respect life from those not yet born to life’s last breath.

I am the sponsor of a life are conception act in the senate, and I will stand up for unborn children as long as I am privileged to be in office.

These days Christians are often unified in our defense of the not yet born but I exhort you to remember the 19-year-olds who are sent into battle.

War is not a game or a sport and any politician who speaks of pre-emptive war with gleeful bravado should not be leading any nation.

As we sit here, our brave troops risk their lives, serving our country with faithfulness and honor. They endure harsh conditions, loneliness and great danger. I pray for their safe return each day and I pray for an end to the war.

I can recall no utterance of Jesus in favor of war or any acts of aggression. In fact, his message to his disciples was one of non-resistance. I do not believe that means that we don’t defend ourselves.

I believe individuals and countries can and should defend themselves. But I simply can’t imagine Jesus at the head of any army of soldiers and I think as Christians we need to be wary of the doctrine of pre-emptive war.

We must and should stand with our fellow Christians in the Middle East and around the world—but that does not necessarily mean war and it certainly does not mean arming sides in every conflict.

Jesus, himself, reminds us of this in the Sermon on the Mount, when he proclaims, Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Today, we have a culture that accepts the wanton disposal of millions of innocent children, and sends aid to countries that persecute Christians. . . . . I, for one, will not rest until this injustice ends.

As Christians, we understand that the right to life, and freedom of religion, pre-exist all government. These rights are not granted to man by other men, these rights are granted to us by our Creator.

God, help us in these troubling times to make wise decisions, to make moral decisions, and to listen to the voice of God that lives and breathes and resides in us all. Amen.”

“There is a war on Christianity.”- Rand Paul

Rand PaulRand Paul’s Message To Evangelicals: “There is a war on Christianity.”

Senator Rand Paul, who is seriously considering running for President of the United States, told a conservative Christian audience today that, “There is a war on Christianity” being waged by “liberal elites’ and “worldwide as well.

Read his remarks below, delivered at today’s Faith and Freedom Coalition luncheon in DC. The organization’s big “Road to Majority” event starts today and runs through Saturday. Jeb Bush, sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and many others are speaking in the next couple days.

Rand Paul has been actively courting the conservative Christian community for months. He took a trip to Israel which was organized by influential evangelical organizer David Lane and has been speaking to Christian audiences in key GOP Primary states. He will speak to hundreds of Iowa pastors next month in Des Moines. The Brody File also knows of plenty of private events he has done within the Christian community.

Rand Paul has quite a bit going for him if he makes a run. His libertarian views give him distinct crossover appeal but, in addition as a committed pro-life believer in Jesus Christ he can court evangelicals in a a way that doesn’t look like pandering. Plus, he’s super smart which not only gives the Tea Party more credibility as a movement but allows Paul to get a serious look from the shark-infested waters filled with mainstream media members. He should NOT be underestimated.

Senator Rand Paul’s Remarks below:

“Last year in Pakistan, 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for being a girl and for wanting to go to school.

If you haven’t seen the YouTube videow of Malala being interviewed on national television, speaking out for the education of girls, watch and you will be amazed at her poise and grace.

Malala never met the great Urdu poet Parveen Shakir, who grew up in Pakistan when women could become highly educated and even Prime Minister.
This line from one of Shakir’s poems reminds me of Malala:

“They insist upon evaluating the firefly in daylight. The children of our age, have grown clever.”

Why would anyone want to kill this innocent young girl? Because Malala, in her young life, insisted on exposing the firefly to daylight.

Her “crime,” as seen by the Taliban, is to believe in enlightenment, to believe that out of the darkness a flicker of tolerance can glow and grow to overcome ignorance.

Americans are seen by Pakistanis as infidels and invaders. We will not in a thousand years bring enlightenment to Pakistan, only Pakistan can do that.

When Pakistan begins to police Pakistan better, when girls who long for nothing but freedom and education are embraced — rather than gunned down by murderous thugs — then will progress finally be made.

My heart breaks for Malala and her family. It breaks for all those who suffer under violent oppression in the name of religion. It breaks for those who cannot grow up to be poets and teachers, but mostly it breaks for those who cannot speak without being gunned down by extremists.

I can only hope that the violence done to her will motivate those who believe in both Islam and peace and tolerance to stand unanimously and proclaim this violence does not represent them. That the Taliban does not represent them. That gunning down children in cold blood does not please their God.

The violence and intolerance against girls is also directed toward Christians. It saddens me to see countries that are supposedly our allies persecute Christians.

It angers me to see my tax dollars supporting regimes that put Christians to death for blasphemy against Islam, countries that put to death Muslims who convert to Christianity, and countries who imprison anyone who marries outside their religion.

There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide.

And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it.

You are being taxed to send money to countries that are not only intolerant of Christians but openly hostile. Christians are imprisoned and threatened with death for their beliefs.

In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian, sits on death row. Her crime, according to her, is that she dared to drink from a glass that belonged to a Muslim co-worker.

According to her co-workers, she insulted the Prophet. In our country, we refer to such quibbling as gossip. In Pakistan, if you are a Christian, it can land you on death row.

Recently, in Pakistan, a 12-year-old with Downs syndrome was imprisoned and charged with a death penalty crime for burning the Koran.

After weeks she was released after a local Imam was accused of actually sprinkling pages from an Arabic book into a fire near the little girl.

Dr. Shakil Afridi is not a Christian but his imprisonment by Pakistan is nonetheless an injustice. He was tortured and held without charge for nearly a year.

He was shackled with his hands behind his back for months and he was finally imprisoned, likely for the rest of his life for the crime of helping America get Bin Laden.

How do your leaders respond? 90 % of them voted against my bill that would have put restrictions on this aid.

My bill said that Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan would get no more foreign aid from the US taxpayer unless they turned over the assassins that killed our ambassador, pledged and verified that they CAN and WILL protect our embassies, and in the case of Pakistan they must release Dr. Afridi.

Overwhelmingly, I was voted down. Is it any wonder that Congress has a 10% approval rating? In Egypt, in Pakistan, they burn our flag—I say not one penny more to countries that burn the American flag!

Even when we’ve tried through good intentions to make the world a better place our actions have often backfired.

During the Iraq War, over a quarter-million Iraqi Christians fled Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator but his government was secular and therefore relatively safe for Christians. Christians, however, feared the Shiite government that we helped put in place after Saddam, and they fled in droves.

Where did these Christians go? They headed mostly for Syria, joining the over one million Syrians who have lived as Christians since the time of Christ.

Now, the senate is attempting to arm the rebel forces in syria, many of whom are al quaeda or affiliates.   they do so out of a miguided attempt to stop the violence in syria.

Instead their actions will bring more violence and more persecution of Christians, who have long been protected in Syria.

Before the Arab Spring, Christianity flourished in small outposts, like the Coptic Christians in Egypt. I had hoped that the Arab Spring would bring freedom to long-oppressed people throughout the Middle East, but I fear the Arab Spring is becoming an Arab winter.

Today, Christians in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria are on the run—persecuted or under fire—and yet, we continue to send aid to the folks chasing them.

While they burn the American flag and the mobs chant Death to America, more of your money is sent to these haters of Christianity.

Even if all the atrocities to Christians were not occurring in these countries, we simply don’t have the money to engage in this foolishness. We must borrow the money from China to send it to Pakistan.

While American soldiers spent a decade fighting to liberate Iraq and while American taxpayers have sent roughly $470 million each year in aid, Christians in Iraq are the subjects of what Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors, describes as “religicide.”

Before the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Mosul, a city in Iraq, was home to some 75,000 Christians, but now the number has dropped to around 25,000.

Christian homes are set on fire, bombs are being placed in their cars and Christian families are receiving letters threatening them to leave Iraq or be kidnapped or killed.

American soldiers have also risked their lives for the sake of these countries liberation. Our young men and women have fought for a noble cause but the law of unintended consequences is an unforgiving one.

These countries are not our true allies and no amount of money will make them so. They are not allies of Israel and I fear one day our money and military arms that we have paid for will be used against Israel.

This fight has made me unpopular in Washington but I am willing to risk unpopularity with politicians to do what I am convinced is right.

The new leader of Egypt is Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Recently, he stood by when a radical cleric said a prayer for the destruction of Israel and her supporters in his presence.

Actually, it is worse, he did not just stand by, he was seen to mouth the word “Amen” as the cleric said these words of hatred.

How does your government respond?

The bipartisan consensus in Washington vows to increase Egypt’s funding. The President is currently requesting a billion dollar increase in aid to Egypt.

This is an outrage! It is amazing that so many in Washington fail to see who the real enemies are. We should immediately stop sending F-16’s and tanks to Egypt!

It is clear that American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East and I believe that must end.

When Pope John Paul II spoke about a “culture of death,” he talked about “a war of the powerful against the weak.”

As Christians, we know we must always stand with the most defenseless. I believe that no civilization can long endure that does not respect life from those not yet born to life’s last breath.

I am the sponsor of a life are conception act in the senate, and I will stand up for unborn children as long as I am privileged to be in office.

These days Christians are often unified in our defense of the not yet born but I exhort you to remember the 19-year-olds who are sent into battle.

War is not a game or a sport and any politician who speaks of pre-emptive war with gleeful bravado should not be leading any nation.

As we sit here, our brave troops risk their lives, serving our country with faithfulness and honor. They endure harsh conditions, loneliness and great danger. I pray for their safe return each day and I pray for an end to the war.

I can recall no utterance of Jesus in favor of war or any acts of aggression. In fact, his message to his disciples was one of non-resistance. I do not believe that means that we don’t defend ourselves.

I believe individuals and countries can and should defend themselves. But I simply can’t imagine Jesus at the head of any army of soldiers and I think as Christians we need to be wary of the doctrine of pre-emptive war.

We must and should stand with our fellow Christians in the Middle East and around the world—but that does not necessarily mean war and it certainly does not mean arming sides in every conflict.

Jesus, himself, reminds us of this in the Sermon on the Mount, when he proclaims, Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Today, we have a culture that accepts the wanton disposal of millions of innocent children, and sends aid to countries that persecute Christians. . . . . I, for one, will not rest until this injustice ends.

As Christians, we understand that the right to life, and freedom of religion, pre-exist all government. These rights are not granted to man by other men, these rights are granted to us by our Creator.

God, help us in these troubling times to make wise decisions, to make moral decisions, and to listen to the voice of God that lives and breathes and resides in us all. Amen.”

MUSLIM AUTHOR’S ‘ZEALOT’ BOOK RILES CHRISTIAN CRITICS WITH CLAIMS JESUS NEVER CONSIDERED HIMSELF GOD, SOMETIMES PROMOTED VIOLENCE

660-Zealot-cover
Author Reza Aslan never got a degree in history as he claimed.   He never got a degree in primitive Christianity.  Giddy liberals were all too willing to hear any “former Christian”  who could provide damaging evidence against Christ.  Aslan deliberately kept his Muslim faith in the background.  It appears he has taught some courses on Islam in the past, and he may do so now, moonlighting from his creative writing duties at Riverside. Aslan has been a busy popular writer, and he is certainly a tireless self-promoter, but he is nowhere known in the academic world as a scholar of the history of religion. And a scholarly historian of early Christianity? Nope.
And by lying about his education and hiding his faith he is practicing Islam: 

Muslims are allowed to lie to unbelievers in order to defeat them.  The Qur’an:

Qur’an (16:106) – Establishes that there are circumstances that can “compel” a Muslim to tell a lie.

Qur’an (3:28) – This verse tells Muslims not to take those outside the faith as friends, unless it is to “guard themselves.”

Qur’an (9:3) – “…Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters…”  The dissolution of oaths with the pagans who remained at Mecca following its capture.  They did nothing wrong, but were evicted anyway.

Qur’an (40:28) – A man is introduced as a believer, but one who must “hide his faith” among those who are not believers.

Qur’an (2:225) – “Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts”  The context of this remark is marriage, which explains why Sharia allows spouses to lie to each other for the greater good.

Qur’an (66:2) – “Allah has already ordained for you, (O men), the dissolution of your oaths”

Qur’an (3:54) – “And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers.”  The Arabic word used here for scheme (or plot) ismakara, which literally means deceit.  If Allah is deceitful toward unbelievers, then there is little basis for denying that Muslims are allowed to do the same. (See also 8:30 and 10:21)

Taken collectively these verses are interpreted to mean that there are circumstances when a Muslim may be “compelled” to deceive others for a greater purpose.  However, I believe God shattered this attempt as He will every attempt to discredit the Bible.   Liberals who hailed this book now have egg on their face…but don’t look for them to consider this a chance to debunk Islam.

Here’s way, way more…

MUSLIM AUTHOR’S ‘ZEALOT’ BOOK RILES CHRISTIAN CRITICS WITH CLAIMS JESUS NEVER CONSIDERED HIMSELF GOD, SOMETIMES PROMOTED VIOLENCE

Jul. 31, 2013 1:44pm 
Reza Aslan blog
  • Dr. Reza Aslan’s book “Zealot” sparks major controversy among the faithful
  • Author, a Muslim, claims that Jesus never considered himself God and that he was a revolutionary
  • Aslan claims the Bible is “replete with the most blatant and obvious errors”
  • Christian faith leaders respond to his claims that the holy book is not historically accurate

Dr. Reza Aslan has sparked a plethora of controversy with his new book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” The author, a Muslim, says he penned the book in an effort to shed light on the Christian savior’s life. Since its release, though, controversy has abounded — and for good reason.

Some of the conclusions Aslan comes to in the book are frustrating followers of Jesus who contend that the academic is misrepresenting facts and recycling old and debunked theories and ideas generally embraced by Islamic adherents. His views and the accusations being waged against him are complex, so TheBlaze consulted with a number of Christian experts to better understand them.

Before we get into the finer details, let’s look at some of the author’s more divisive and contentious claims.

SOME OF THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL CLAIMS IN “ZEALOT”

In an article about the book published on Tuesday, The Daily Beast’s Lizzie Crocker admitted that, upon reading “Zealot,” it’s understandable why “some Christians have found it so explosive.” As the reporter noted, there are a number of key claims that are overtly shocking — not the least of which is Aslan’s claim that Christ was “a man of profound contradictions.”

To begin, Aslan argues that Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem as is recorded in the New Testament. And rather than the “prince of peace,” Christ is depicted as being more of a rabble-rouser who, at moments, condoned violence. While Aslan claims that Jesus didn’t promote unrest, the author does claim he didn’t avoid it.

Was Jesus Really a Rabble Rousing Revolutionary Who Didnt Consider Himself Gods Son? | Reza Aslan, Zealot

While Christ’s many miracles were documented in the Bible and through external sources, Aslan argues that this has more to do with the time period — one in which many “magicians” roamed around (Jesus, in the author’s view, was seemingly just another one of these individuals who was able to “perform” intriguing acts, or who, at the least, was said to in literature) — than it does reality.

As for the crucifixion, Aslan’s argument is that Jesus was put to death for violating the law and that his murder had nothing at all to do with saving humanity from its sins. Crocker explains:

When Jesus marched into Jerusalem around A.D. 30, flanked by a chorus of followers singing, “Blessed be the coming kingdom of our father David!” he was announcing himself to the city as the messiah and ancestor of David, King of Judah. Then, like a true revolutionary, he forced the city’s vendors out of the temple’s public courtyard—a “blatantly criminal act,” Aslan writes. “After all, an attack on the business of the temple is akin to an attack on the priesty nobility, which, considering the temple’s tangled relationship with Rome, is tantamount to attack on Rome itself.”

With that sweeping gesture, Jesus’s message was simple: the land didn’t belong to Rome but to God, and it was time for Caesar to concede power to Hossana, the real King of Jews. This was sedition and the punishment was crucifixion. The New Testament says Jesus’s crucifixion was a cruelly special punishment for a man who sacrificed himself for humanity’s sins, but history tells us that he was no different from “any other criminal who hangs on a cross.”

Perhaps most controversially — and piggybacking off of this latter claim –  Aslan holds that Christ never considered himself a deity, calling into question central Biblical tenets. Generally speaking, this is consistent with the Islamic view of Christ, as he is seen as a messenger and not God’s son (while Muslims do not believe that Jesus was crucified, Aslan does, indeed, embrace this notion).

The author drove these ideals home by plainly outlining his beliefs.

“I wouldn’t call myself a Christian because I do not believe that Jesus is God, nor do I believe that he ever thought that he was God, or that he ever said that he was God,” he recently said in an interview with NPR.

HOW ASLAN CAME TO REJECT JESUS CHRIST

It’s impossible to understand “Zealot” without looking at the author’s rejection of Jesus as he is shown in the scriptures. Aslan, who was once a Christian, recently detailed his de-conversion in an article for CNN entitled, “Why I Write About Jesus.” In it, he explained that the more he discovered about the Jesus of the gospels, the more he learned of the disparity between the religious view of the man and the historical figure.

Aslan said his doubt fully emerged in college after he began studying the history of world religions (note: Aslan has been accused of misrepresenting his scholarly credentialsFirst Things, among other blogs, claims that he does not have a degree in religious history as he stated during his contentious Fox News interview). Of particular note, the author said that he found himself unable to accept the notion that “every word of the Bible is God-breathed and true, literal and inerrant.” This, of course, is an essential belief for those who embrace an evangelical mindset.

“The sudden realization that this belief is patently and irrefutably false, that the Bible is replete with the most blatant and obvious errors and contradictions — just as one would expect from a document written by hundreds of different hands across thousands of years — left me confused and spiritually unmoored,” he wrote.

Was Jesus Really a Rabble Rousing Revolutionary Who Didnt Consider Himself Gods Son? | Reza Aslan, Zealot

Aslan makes it clear that there is a major distinction between “Jesus Christ” (that is, the God-man shown in the Bible) and “Jesus of Nazareth.” Through years of religious study, he claims that he became attached to the latter and that he is a more committed follower of the human (a man that he believes was, in reality, entirely different from his Biblical depiction) than he ever was of the deity.

“The Jewish peasant and revolutionary who challenged the rule of the most powerful empire the world had ever known became so much more real to me than the detached, unearthly being I had been introduced to in church,” he continued. “Today, I can confidently say that two decades of rigorous academic research into the origins of Christianity has made me a more genuinely committed disciple of Jesus of Nazareth than I ever was of Jesus Christ.”

All this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the general critiques that have been waged against his contentions.

GENERAL CRITIQUE OF THE IDEAS ESPOUSED IN “ZEALOT”

Considering that nearly all of these tidbits Aslan embraces cast doubt on the Jesus story that has traditionally been told, it’s hard for many Christians to digest. Critics like Dr. William Lane Craig, a Christian thinker and the founder of the online ministry ReasonableFaith.org, maintain that the book includes debunked assertions and patent falsities.

“Aslan has offered nothing new under the sun when it comes to offering a critique of the historical Jesus,” Craig said in a recent press release distributed in an effort to decry the book. “In fact, he is attempting to revert scholarship back to the early 1900’s by echoing Albert Schweitzer’s book, ‘The Quest for the Historical Jesus.’ Like Schweitzer, Aslan claims that Jesus is historically unknowable and we can never get back to the real Jesus.”

Dr. Darrell Bock, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and author of “Who Is Jesus?: Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith,” also gave a wide-sweeping decry of Aslan’s work in an e-mail to TheBlaze, calling it “hype on old stuff.” While he has not yet read the text, the central ideas, he contends, have been spouted in the past.

These two intellectuals aren’t alone, either.

John S. Dickerson, a pastor at Cornerstone Church in Arizona and the author of “The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors that Will Crash the American Church…and How to Prepare,”recently penned an op-ed in which he lambasted “Zealot” and Aslan’s claims that he provides a historical analysis of the book.

“His book is not a historian’s report on Jesus. It is an educated Muslim’s opinion about Jesus — yet the book is being peddled as objective history on national TV and radio,” Dickerson wrote. “Aslan is not a trained historian. Like tens of thousands of us he has been formally educated in theology and New Testament Greek.”

The pastor went on to call Aslan “bright” and to note that he has every right to share his views on Christ. That said, he believes it’s essential to remember that the Jesus story in “Zealot” is being told through a Muslim’s eyes and that this sentiment impacts its central message.

“Aslan informs us that we cannot trust the Gospel of Mark — because it was written 40 years after Jesus’ death. He then chides us to trust his new book, written almost 2,000 years later,” Dickerson says, providing a specific example that gets at the heart of critics’ issues with the book.

JESUS AS A REVOLUTIONARY

Was Jesus really a revolutionary? That depends, of course, on how one defines the term. If the standards of “radically new” or “outside or beyond established procedure” then, by all means, many would that Christ meets the dictionary’s standards. However there are some important distinctions that critics point out when considering Aslan’s views on the matter and interpretation of the term.

“[That] Jesus was a revolutionary is an idea that has been around among more skeptical readers for several decades,” Bock said. “The simple answer to this claim is, how does someone rebel who never even tries to raise an army against Rome? Jesus was hardly a Zealot.”

Theologian R.P. Nettelhorst also addressed this “revolutionary” theme, noting that Christ was a zealot (or a member of the Zealot movement to revolt against the Roman empire) would require ignoring much of the information present in the New Testament. In describing Jesus’ character, Nettelhorst makes it clear that the only information we have about Jesus — or the only reliable information, rather — comes from the New Testament (Aslan, too, actually admits this in how own book, which we will discuss later).

“Some may argue that various Gnostic texts also give us some information but given their general late date — much later than the New Testament texts — and from the Christian perspective, the simple fact that the Gnostics are, for wont of a better word, heretics, I am not willing to put much stock in them,” he said in an e-mail interview with TheBlaze. “For an analogy, the Gnostic documents are to the New Testament texts about Jesus as 21st century biography of Lincoln written by members of the Ku Klux Klan.”

Was Jesus Really a Rabble Rousing Revolutionary Who Didnt Consider Himself Gods Son? | Reza Aslan, Zealot

Through this lens, then, the Bible would be seen as the most viable basis through which one could — or should — view Jesus Christ. While Nettelhorst doesn’t see the savior as a revolutionary, he does see how some might argue that he was. At the time of Christ’s life, revolutionaries were, indeed, fighting against the Roman government — but the Bible speaks nothing of the Christian savior seeking to do the same.

Still, questioning on this issue, he argues, isn’t entirely out of bounds. The theologian noted that even Jesus’ disciples might have assumed that Christ would overtake the Romans (he mentions Acts 1:6, which reads, “Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’”).

But again, this revolutionary notion of what Aslan assumes Christ might have been isn’t shown anywhere in the New Testament, Nettelhorst argues. Of course, none of the theologian’s arguments would sway the author, as he doesn’t put much credence in the Bible.

This aside, Nettelhorst makes some fascinating points about what we do know about Christ — mainly that he had an overt focus on God’s kingdom.

“The New Testament record in all four gospels paints a different picture of Jesus. It portrays the disciples as being confused about his mission, and holding the expectations and hopes in keeping with the prevailing popular expectations of the time,” he said. “But it portrays Jesus as having a mission at odds with the popular expectations. He keeps telling his disciples stories beginning with the phrase, ‘the kingdom of heaven’ or ‘the kingdom of God is ‘like’ — and then he compares God’s kingdom to everything but a political kingdom.”

Nettelhorst went on to say that God’s kingdom is never compared to the Roman government or the kingdom of David. Also, Jesus tells Pilate, the Roman governor, that his kingdom is “not of this world.” This theme continues even after the crucifixion.

After Christ’s death, his disciples aren’t preaching about revolution; in fact, they are encouraging people to repent and to join them in following Christ. Salvation, based on Jesus’ death, became the message — and politics, at least concerning the Bible’s account, played little role.

Pastor Phillip Dennis of New Hope Christian Church in Monsey, N.Y., brings up another fascinating point: If Roman authorities viewed Jesus as a true threat — or as someone really looking to move on political fronts — they would have also arrested those closest to him. But Christ’s disciples went free.

“If the authorities had thought Jesus was organizing an armed rebellion, or even anything that might turn into an armed rebellion, his lieutenants — the disciples — would certainly have been arrested and tried along with him,” Dennis said. “That is not what happened.”

JESUS’ BIRTH AND CRUCIFIXION

Dr. Denny Burk, associate professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, added to the discussion, telling TheBlaze in an e-mail interview that Aslan’s views about Jesus are “patently false.” While he has not read the book, the Christian thinker spoke about the theology of the issues presented within it.

“Aslan is selling a historically reconstructed Jesus, not the Jesus that appears on the pages of scripture. And that’s the bottom line here. The author doesn’t take the testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as reliable eyewitness testimony,” Burk wrote. “It is bad history to argue that Jesus’ crucifixion means that he must have been an insurrectionist — especially given what we know about the brutality of the Romans and in particular of Pontus Pilate.”

Burk also tackled the notion that the gospels are inaccurate. Based on Aslan’s book, the contents of the biblical stories are obviously called into question. Among them, he explores the virgin birth and attempts to question the history surrounding it. Burk took issue with this sentiment.

“It is often claimed that the canonical gospels are mythical. There are a number of problems with this claim, not least of which is the fact that the authors of the gospels did not claim to be writing myths,” he added. “Luke, for example, claims that his account is based on eyewitness testimony (Luke 1:1-4). The earliest Christians recognized that if the claims of the gospels were mythical, then the Christian faith falls to the ground (1 Corinthians 15:14).”

Aslan does accept that Christ was crucified, although not under the same pretenses that the Christian Bible details. So on that front, Burk and the author are in agreement. But on the purpose of the crucifixion they are not. The eyewitnesses shown in the Bible, though, hold that Jesus was crucified and that he later rose from the dead.

“If apostles didn’t believe it to be so, they hardly would have let themselves become martyrs for a lie,” Burk said. “To ignore the central claims of the eyewitnesses is to ignore the testimony of those closest to the historical Jesus.”

Was Jesus Really a Rabble Rousing Revolutionary Who Didnt Consider Himself Gods Son? | Reza Aslan, Zealot

Pastor Dennis also addressed the Bethlehem issue, noting that there’s a significance in the Bible that likely isn’t being given its due attention. The faith leader called the evidence “quite strong” on this front. The Christian texts, he argues, repeatedly mention that Bethlehem is Jesus’ birthplace. Matthew, Luke and John, all books with different literary traditions, corroborate this.

“When working with ancient history, to have three independent attestations to a fact such as that is considered very strong evidence indeed,” he said. “The fact that Mark’s gospel says nothing at all about Jesus’ early life, such as his place of birth, is irrelevant.”

THE RELIABILITY OF THE GOSPELS

Aslan argues that the gospels were written after 70 A.D. and that they must be seen through the lens of turmoil. Here’s what he said in his NPR interview earlier this month:

“In the year 66 [common era], [a Jewish revolt resulted in] actually throwing Rome out of the Holy Land and keeping them at bay for three and a half [to] four long years. Of course, in 70 CE the Romans returned and ended up destroying Jerusalem, burning the temple to the ground, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Jews and scattering the rest to the winds. …

“What I think is important for Christians to understand is that every Gospel story written about Jesus of Nazareth was written after that event, this apocalyptic event which for Jews signaled the end of the world as they knew it.”

The only problem here is that only some scholars would side with Aslan’s assessment of the time frames during which each book was written. Others claim that the New Testament books were penned before the Roman slaughter. But this is an example that shows, again, that he views the gospels as entirely unreliable.

Ironically, despite these declarative statements, Aslan himself notes the difficulties of writing about Jesus. He addressed these issues in “Zealot,” noting that he is essentially basing much of his work on “educated guesses.”

“Granted, writing a biography of Jesus of Nazareth is not like writing a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte,” Aslan wrote. “The task is somewhat akin to putting together a massive puzzle with only a few of the pieces in hand; one has no choice but to fill in the rest of the puzzle based on the best, most educated guess of what the completed image should look like.”

WAS JESUS GOD?

As mentioned, the author contends that Jesus never saw himself as God. By essentially dispelling the information we do know about Jesus Christ (i.e. the gospel mentions of the savior), Aslan corroborates his argument.

Of this general notion that Jesus never claimed to be God, though, Bock said that the assertion, based on the context of the time, doesn’t make sense.

“There is no incentive for those who believed in Jesus to invent this as Jews unless something moved them in this direction,” he noted. “There was too much danger in the claim for it to be made up later and for those like Paul to preach it so early after Jesus’ ministry.”

While Aslan might possibly contend that it was the Roman destruction of Jerusalem that colored these claims in the gospels (this is an “educated guess”), the debated time frame wouldn’t make such a notion so definitively clear.

Nettelhorst adds that the scriptures repeatedly call Jesus “Lord” and that Christ, himself, in verses like John 8:58, is quoted as saying the same.

“It should also be pointed out that Jesus was [frequently] referred to as ‘Lord,’” he concluded.

Burk, too, held similar views, specifically commenting as well on John 8:58.

“In John’s gospel, Jesus even takes the divine name for himself saying, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am,” he recounted. “With the term ‘I am,’ Jesus takes to himself the divine name revealed in the Old Testament (Exodus 3:14).”

“This was no accident. Jesus knew what he was saying. So Aslan obscures this eyewitness testimony to what Jesus said about himself,” Burk added.

In the end, these are only some of the debates and elements surrounding “Zealot.” And whether readers agree with Aslan or his critics, it’s fair to say that book is one of the most controversial on Jesus to come along in recent memory. That said, readers shouldn’t shy away from wrestling with the book and drawing their own conclusions.

Reza Aslan Misrepresents His Scholarly Credentials.

Monday, July 29, 2013, 11:03 AM

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There is a bit of a hubbub in the interwebs about an interview conducted by Lauren Green, religion correspondent for Fox News Channel, with Reza Aslan, author of a new book on Jesus titled Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Our friend Joe Carter, over at GetReligion, has the basic story. Green launched the interview (available here in full) with a question about why a Muslim should want to write a book about Jesus. A reasonable question, and not a hostile one on its face–but by the end of the interview Green has returned to it in a somewhat more accusatory fashion. As Joe says, the interview is a mess. But as he also points out, Green’s critics are passing right by something far more interesting: that Aslan has misrepresented his scholarly credentials.

In fact, it is Aslan who immediately turns the interview into a cage match by reacting very defensively to Green’s first question. And here is where the misrepresentations begin. For roughly the first half of the interview Aslan dominates the exchange with assertions about himself that seem intended to delay the substance of the discussion:

I am a scholar of religions with four degrees including one in the New Testament . . . I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions . . . I am a professor of religions, including the New Testament–that’s what I do for a living, actually . . . To be clear, I want to emphasize one more time, I am a historian, I am a Ph.D. in the history of religions.

Later he complains that they are “debating the right of the scholar to write” the book rather than discussing the book. But the conversation took that turn thanks to Aslan, not Green! By the final minute he is saying of himself (and who really talks this way!?) that “I’m actually quite a prominent Muslim thinker in the United States.”

Aslan does have four degrees, as Joe Carter has noted: a 1995 B.A. in religion from Santa Clara University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa and wrote his senior thesis on “The Messianic Secret in the Gospel of Mark”; a 1999 Master of Theological Studies from Harvard; a 2002 Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of Iowa; and a 2009 Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

None of these degrees is in history, so Aslan’s repeated claims that he has “a Ph.D. in the history of religions” and that he is “a historian” are false.  Nor is “professor of religions” what he does “for a living.” He is an associate professor in the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Riverside, where his terminal MFA in fiction from Iowa is his relevant academic credential. It appears he has taught some courses on Islam in the past, and he may do so now, moonlighting from his creative writing duties at Riverside. Aslan has been a busy popular writer, and he is certainly a tireless self-promoter, but he is nowhere known in the academic world as a scholar of the history of religion. And a scholarly historian of early Christianity? Nope.

What about that Ph.D.? As already noted, it was in sociology. I have his dissertation in front of me. It is a 140-page work titled “Global Jihadism as a Transnational Social Movement: A Theoretical Framework.” If Aslan’s Ph.D. is the basis of a claim to scholarly credentials, he could plausibly claim to be an expert on social movements in twentieth-century Islam. He cannot plausibly claim, as he did to Lauren Green, that he is a “historian,” or is a “professor of religions” “for a living.”

It may be that Aslan sensed a tougher interview from Lauren Green than he is accustomed to. Hence he immediately went into high-dudgeon mode, and made the ten minutes all about her alleged disrespect of him and his alleged scholarly credentials. But in order to change the subject he told a string of gratuitous falsehoods about himself. Perhaps that master’s in fiction writing came in handy.

Is Aslan’s book worth reading? I have no idea. But he has earned enough distrust from me that I haven’t any interest in finding out.